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Why medicinal mushrooms should be considered a staple in every household across America
October 30, 2017 10:14 AM
In a time when stress among people is at an all time high, many are trying to find new ways to reduce it. Medicinal mushroooms are being shown to be a remarkable healing plant that possess a wide array of nutrients that can help improve your daily life. They come in a variety of forms and can be consumed many different ways, including as a pill or poweder or in your tea or a smoothie. They promote almost all of your bodies systems like the immune system and digestive system working in a healthy way. Be wary of some from unknown sources, such as China, which can have heavy metal contamination that could wipe out all the health benefits.
"With unprecedented support for all the key functions of the body, it’s no surprise how medicinal mushrooms can have such an obvious impact"
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2017-10-23-why-medicinal-mushrooms-should-be-considered-a-staple-in-every-household-across-america.html
Curcumin Helps Alleviate Depression
Curcumin is a phenolic acid that can be sourced from the cooking spice turmeric. It acts as a powerful antioxidant in humans and protects the body's cells from dangerous free radicals (harmful by-products that are released into the cells during oxygen related reactions). Provisional studies suggest that it may also have many more health benefits. There is also some evidence that curcumin or turmeric may help alleviate the symptoms of certain skin diseases, viral infections, diabetes, colitis, stomach ulcers, and high cholesterol. Once again, the ancient herbal remedy is being celebrated as a modern wonder drug. But perhaps the most promising results have been seen in the use of curcumin to treat depression.
Curcumin vs. Prozac
If there's one thing Big Pharma fears more than anything else it's competition from the outside. Because herbal medicines have far fewer and less serious side effects than prescription pills, they would be the logical choice - if only they worked as well. Well, there is now irrefutable, ironclad scientific evidence that an herbal remedy is every bit as effective at treating depression as one of the most popular prescription antidepressants.
When researchers with the Department of Pharmacology of Government Medical College in BhavnAgar, Gujarat, India conducted a controlled clinical study comparing the effects of curcumin and Prozac, they didn't expect to make national, even global news. Although the popular herbal remedy is widely used in India, curcumin had never been subjected to rigorous scientific testing for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). The most serious and chronic form of the disease, major or clinical depression affects about 3 percent of population at any given time. The idea that a chemical compound from a popular native spice could compete with Prozac seemed far- fetched to those conducting the study. But after 60 patients diagnosed with MDD were randomly administered curcumin, fluoxetine (Prozac), and a combination of the two, the results spoke for themselves.
With the help of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, 17-item version (HAM-D17), researchers determined that curcumin was just as effective as Prozac at treating serious depression. Because the study utilized the latest research tools and followed strict testing guidelines, it became the first published report that indicated the efficacy of turmeric or curcumin in the treatment of depression. What the report did not take into account, however, were the serious side effects those who take Prozac endure; the most serious of which include anxiety, seizures, racing heartbeat, trouble sleeping, and suicidal ideation.
How Curcumin Treats Depression
Shortly after the results of the aforementioned study made news, researchers started looking for answers. It was not enough for Western scientists to know that curcumin is effective in the treatment depression, they also had to know how. As you might imagine, the how has proved more challenging than the if. This is not at all surprising, since curcumin has diverse biological properties that are difficult to study separately. So, while the mechanism of action is poorly understood, the effects of curcumin intake are well documented, particularly with regard to neurotransmitters.
As their name implies, neurotransmitters send messages to the billions of neurons in the human brain. Some of these neurotransmitters are responsible for regulating brain functions such as mood, memory, appetite, and sleep. Known as "feel-good" neurotransmitters because they help maintain mood balance, dopamine and serotonin play a role in depression. How do we know? For starters, studies have confirmed that people who suffer from clinical depression have consistently low levels of both neurotransmitters.
Once again, we aren't sure how curcumin extract works its magic, but testing has shown that those who take it have higher serotonin and dopamine levels. That fact alone might account for the improved mood those that take the dietary supplement have consistently reported. Although researchers will undoubtedly get to the bottom of this ancient mystery, it enough for most patients to know that curcumin is a safe and effective treatment option.
What Mushrooms Help Fight Cancer?
May 27, 2014 09:51 AM
What is a mushroom?
Mushrooms are commonly found on dead and decomposing plants. Over the years, human kind has used mushrooms for the purposes of boosting their immunity. Mushrooms are known to have the power to prevent illnesses and diseases. Today, there are some medical mushrooms that have been known to be the most potent immune boosters. Scientists have discovered that most potent mushrooms target the cancerous cells in your body while at the same time boosting the healthy cells. One of the most potent of them all is perhaps the Agaricus Blazei mushroom, commonly found in Brazil. The mushroom has been used as a major supplement for herbal manufacturers who credit it with the success in the treatment of major diseases around the world, such as cancer.
Benefits of mushroom
Another easy-to-find type of mushroom is the shiitake mushrooms, which scientists have discovered that is contained essential mineral and vitamins which enhances immune functions. The minerals occur in chemical compound and ancient civilization used the mushroom for various purposes such as a health tonic. Currently, it is used in the prevention of growth of cancerous cells and development of tumors. It is also used in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome. Besides improving the immune system, the shiitake mushroom also lowers body cholesterol. This is important as it also helps to prevent high blood pressure, resisting viruses and even prevent heart conditions.
The Maitake mushroom is another type of mushroom that most people consume on a daily basis in an effort to super-charge their immunity. Just as the maitake mushroom also reduces high blood pressure risks besides preventing against other illnesses such as diabetes as well as stroke. It has also been used in immunotherapy complementing radiotherapy, surgery as well as chemotherapy.
There are thousand of edible mushrooms that contain chemical compound essential in the treatment of various diseases. Some other common types of mushrooms that boost immunity include Reishi, Cordyceps Oglossoides, Coriolus Versicolor and even the Phellinus Linteus mushrooms.
What Is Agar Powder Used For?
January 27, 2014 09:44 AM
What Is Agar Powder Used For?
Agar, also known as Agar Agar or kanten, is a gelling agent that comes from a South East Asian seaweed. This natural additive has excellent gelling properties. It is often used by vegetarians as a vegetable gelatin as the true gelatin comes from calf’s feet.
For instance, biologists use it as filler in paper sizing fabric. Biologists also use it as a clarifying compound in brewing. Additionally, Agar can be used as a laxative, thanks to its high fiber concentration. Better yet, the product can be used as an appetite suppressant.
People who desire to lose weight fast may find Agar useful. It has no calories, no fat, no carbs, and no sugar and is loaded with fiber. As a matter of fact, 80 percent of Agar is comprised of nothing but fiber.
If I am A Vegetarian, Do I Need Extra Iodine For Proper Thyroid Function?
October 26, 2011 07:26 AM
Thyroid, Your Health, And MetabolismWe are given absolute freedom unto what kind of diet we would like to engage ourselves in hence, at present we could see a lot of people engaging into different kinds of diets. The vegetarian diet is one of the many kinds of diets that are becoming really common today. The vegetarian lifestyle is a diet composed mainly of fresh and organic foods however, if you plan to employ the said diet, thorough planning is highly required. Despite the fact that there are already a lot of vegetarian foods that are sold commercially, vegetarians should be mindful and vigilant so that they could avoid vegetarian foods that are heavily processed that gives you the wrong impression that these foods offers you a balanced nutrition while in fact they are deficient with some vital vitamins and nutrients.
Perhaps, we are all aware of the importance of iodine as a nutrient for the body. Iodine plays a vital role in various biological functions such as growth, metabolism, and development. When a person is deficient with iodine, it can cause various ailments such as goiters, thyroid cancer, thyroid nodules, menstrual problems, and headaches. Among the groups that are very susceptible of developing iodine deficiency are pregnant women and children. Pregnant women who are unable to meet the recommended daily allowance of iodine will relevantly affect the intelligence of their baby.
Most vegetarians get iodine from the cheese, milk products, and fish they consume. If you would want to have the sense of assurance that you are getting enough iodine that you need every day, you have to eat foods that contain liberal amounts of iodine such as Agar, turnips, kale, spinach, kelp, summer squash, asparagus, and mustard greens. Walnuts, brown rice, and wheat are also beneficial in providing you some protection against iodine deficiency. We could also not avoid the fact that some vegetarians are still unable to meet the recommended daily allowance of iodine because of some circumstances. To avoid such deficiency, intake of iodine supplements regularly and as prescribed is also very helpful.
At present, there are already many supplements that you can conveniently purchase to help you address iodine deficiency. However, when you are planning to take any supplement, it is wiser if you seek your physician’s advice first so that you will be properly and adequately guided on the right amount of the said mineral your body needs. Intake of supplements should be individualized because each and every one of us has different requirements of iodine because of the salient factors involved. So if you do not want to experience any health problems brought about by lack of knowledge.
All of us should be careful when it comes to taking good care of our health because any wrong move you could commit would have great implications to your over-all health state.
What is Red Marine Algae And What Are Its Health Benefits?
June 01, 2011 04:21 PM
Red Marine Algae And Your Health.
Red marine algae refer to a large group of seaweeds that contain phycobiliproteins, which give them their red coloration. They are simple organisms in that they do not have complex tissues in contrast with terrestrial plants. Many species of red marine algae plays an important role in the formation of coral reefs as they secrete calcium carbonate as well as provide nutrition for other marine species. Like plants, they are capable of making their own food by way of photosynthesis. And like most other seaweeds, they are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, and other healthy organic compounds.
Rhodophyta is the taxonomic classification of all red marine algae. It is oftentimes considered a part of the plant kingdom, but more recent definitions of plant suggest red algae belong to a kingdom of their own. Rhodophyta is one of the largest groups of algae, second only to green algae. It consists of up to 6000 aquatic species that are widely distributed in the tropical, temperate, and even frigid zones. These species usually take up residence along the coastal regions and significantly contribute to the distribution, abundance, and ecology of organisms found in the extended perimeter of each continent.
Seaweeds have become a part of the staple diet of many communities throughout history, and red marine algae are one of the best sources of human nutrition among all seaweeds. For thousands of years, different species of red algae have enjoyed significant presence in cuisines from all over the world. It is often consumed uncooked or added to salads. It is also an important ingredient in soups and stews. Ocean farmers have learned different techniques of domesticating crops of algae, and cultivation has been the solution to the growing demand of red marine algae in the past few decades.
Red marine algae have steadily grown in economic value since the 20th century. In addition to their historical culinary uses, their application now extends to medical science. Several organic compounds have been isolated from different species of red marine algae are now in wide use in the food and drug industries. For example, gelatinous substances are derived from Agarophytes, any species of seaweeds that belong to rhodophyta. These substances are used in the production of beer, food preserves, ice cream as well as papers, fabrics, lubricants, and other personal care products.
Red marine algae have a special place in antiviral research. Many species are now identified to contain organic compounds that are of medicinal value against several viruses. Decades-long studies have come to a conclusion that sulfated polysaccharides derived from red marine algae have an inhibitory effect on replication of herpes simplex virus (HSV). There is good evidence that one class of sulfated polysaccharides called carrageenan offer some protection against transmission of herpes. Furthermore, recent studies have revealed that sulfated polysaccharides are potent inhibitors of HIV-1 in cell culture.
Red marine algae is an excellent source of nutrients found in the sea. Get some red marine algae and reap the benefits of this nutrient rich food today!
Kaneka QH - Ubiquinol
November 30, 2007 03:40 PM
CoQ10 with Heightened Absorption
• New, active form of CoQ10 with heightened absorption, which results in increased blood serum levels
• Provides powerful antioxidant support by blocking free radical damage within cell membranes.
• Supports cardiovascular health and energy production by aiding the synthesis of mitochondrial ATP.
• Supports normal, healthy liver functioning by reducing oxidative stress.
Source Naturals Offers a New, Premier CoQ10 Product
UBIQUINOL COQH bundles all the great benefits of the powerful antioxidant CoQ10 into a superior form that enhances absorption into the body and increases blood serum levels. UBIQUINOL COQH facilitates the production of cellular energy in the mitochondria, which in turn provides robust support to some of the body’s most demanding systems. Both the cardiovascular and liver systems rely heavily on CoQ10 to help generate the energy needed for healthy functioning. Also found in high levels within cellular membranes, CoQ10 works as an effective antioxidant that protects the integrity of mitochondrial and lipid membranes.
1 softgel contains:
Kaneka QH™ Ubiquinol 100 mg
Acai - Super Antioxidant from Brazil
July 27, 2007 02:33 PM
Super Antioxidant from
• Powerful concentration of natural antioxidants that benefit every cell of the body
• Natural, effective free radical scavengers
• Rich in polyphenols and anthocyanins
• As seen on national media
Acaí is a palm from the Amazonian rainforest. It has small, purple fruits that have been used by Brazilian natives for food and health for hundreds of years. The active constituents in Acaí are polyphenols and anthocyanins. Scientific studies have shown these compounds to be powerful antioxidants, benefiting the entire body by protecting the cells from free radicals.
2 capsules contain:
Vitamin C (naturally occurring) 8 mg
Acaí Fruit Extract (4:1) 1 g
Suggested Use: 2 capsules daily.
Buy Acai at Vitanet
Natural Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone)
July 27, 2007 02:08 PM
Natural Coenzyme Q10 100 mg
• Supports cardiovascular function.
• Vital for the production of ATP, the energy molecule.
• Potent antioxidant.
• Addresses six of the twelve SystemiCareTM deep metabolic systems identified by Source
Naturals as critical for optimum health: Energy Production, Circulation/Heart Health, Liver/
Detox, Immunity, Cognition/Nerves, and Antioxidant Defense.
• Delicious, natural orange flavor.
One tablet contains:
Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) 100 mg
Suggested Use: 1 tablet daily with a meal. Not a sublingual tablet. Place tablet on top of tongue and allow tablet to dissolve while lightly pressing tongue against the roof of the mouth. Tablet will disintegrate rapidly. Swallow CoQ-Quick contents after the tablet has disintegrated.
Detox with ParaPhyte from Source Naturals
April 16, 2007 04:10 PM
ParaPhyte™ Intestinal Detoxifier
• Clears and detoxifies the GI tract
• Promotes a healthy immune system
• Aids the development of natural, healthy gastrointestinal flora ParaPhyte™ contains potent, traditional herbal ingredients that support and defend the body’s healthy gastrointestinal flora. Additional herbal ingredients soothe the gastrointestinal tract and maintain digestive balance.
2 tablets contain:
MSM (methylsulfonylmethane [OptiMSM™]....300 mg (2.5% cynarins)
Garlic Clove..................................................... 250 mg
Butternut Bark Extract (4:1)........................... 250 mg Slippery Elm Bark.............................100 mg
Grapefruit Seed Extract (Citricidex™)............. 150 mg Quassia Wood Extract (4:1)................50 mg
(49% polyphenolic compounds) Fennel Seed.........................................50 mg
Sweet Wormwood Aerial Parts Extract (8:1) 125 mg Gentian Root Extract (5:1)..................25 mg
Clove Fruit....................................................... 100 mg Marshmallow Root Extract (4:1)........25 mg
Suggested Use: 1 to 2 tablets, twice daily between meals with 8 ounces of water. Fasting or eating lightly is recommended during the first day or two. During this time it is important to drink plenty of fluids and juices to maintain electrolyte balance and hydration.
To Order Call 1-800
Mushrooms are good for the Immune System
January 26, 2007 06:12 PM
Medicinal Mushrooms Grown on Purple Kculli Corn Yield Life Changing Results
Even though we treat them like vegetables, mushrooms aren’t really plants. They’re fungi and fungi grow much differently than fruits and vegetables. Most food plants, like strawberries, broccoli, and red bell peppers make chlorophyll from sunlight to gain the nutrients they need to grow. Mushrooms don’t make chlorophyll; to get the nutrients they need to grow, mushrooms release enzymes into the forest floor or flora they’re living on to break down the organic matter into a form the mushroom can absorb.
Because most mushrooms that we eat or use today are raised as crops, or cultivated, they are grown on a variety of substrates. Similar to the commercial potting soils you can buy at nurseries and garden stores, mushroom substrates vary widely in quality and the kinds of nutrients within. Mushrooms are really unique in that they can grow on almost anything, such as sawdust, shredded newspaper, and straw.
However, mushrooms are only as nutritious as the substrate they were grown on-even those unique varieties called medicinal mushrooms. While the simple button mushrooms found on pizza are most often eaten for their woodsy taste and texture, the use of medicinal mushrooms is much more complex. These mushrooms are valued because they contain numerous compounds that have been extensively studies by researchers for their ability to activate cells of the immune system.
Researchers have recently discovered that when medicinal mushrooms are grown on a Purple Kculli (pronounced ka-coo-lee) Corn substrate, the resulting mushrooms are jam-packed with powerful and potent disease-fighting compounds. Beautiful Purple Kculli Corn has long been used by the people of the Peruvian Andes as a tasty vegetable, natural food color, and powerful functional food-keeping them healthy and free of disease.
In this issue of Ask the Medicine Hunter, we’re going to talk about four powerful medicinal mushrooms that, when grown on Purple Kculli Corn, have even more potent compounds to prevent and treat cancer and other serious health problems.
Q. How exactly do medicinal mushrooms prevent and treat cancer?
A. Medicinal mushrooms are very complex. They contain numerous compounds that have been extensively studied for their ability to activate cells of the immune system. Some of the most amazing immune boosting compounds in medicinal mushrooms are beta-glucans 1-3, beta glucans 1-6, arabinogalactins, and arabinoxylans – compounds that work “hand-in-hand” with certain cells of the immune system. But to get abundant amounts of these compounds, medicinal mushrooms must be grown on substrates with high levels of nutrients. And the most nutrient dense substrate of all comes from Purple Kculli Corn.
Q. Why is Purple Kculli Corn extract good for growing medicinal mushrooms?
A. You’ve probably heard that brightly colored fruits and vegetables (like beets, broccoli, and blueberries), have more antioxidant power than paler fruits and vegetables (like iceberg lettuce, onions, and garlic). In fact, the deeper the color, the better. And there is no deeper color in nature than the deep purple of Purple Kculli Corn grown in the lush coastal plains of Peru. The kernels from Purple Kculli Corn are not only naturally beautiful, the pigment itself is extremely healthy and have been used by the people of the Peruvian Andes for centuries as both food and food coloring.
Once harvested, the Purple Kculli Corn is naturally processed into an antioxidant-rich extract. When certain medicinal mushrooms are grown on Purple Kculli Corn extract, the Purple Kculli Corn becomes a super-substrate, producing medicinal mushrooms with incredible amounts of the immune-boosting compounds. And when Purple Kculli Corn extract is added to medicinal mushroom formulas the antioxidant power increases, too.
Q. How do the medicinal mushroom compounds fight disease?
A. When bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens are present in the body, white blood cells, or leukocytes, swing into action. Leukocytes work together to defend the body against infections, like colds or the flu, as well as diseases that start within us, like cancer. These disease fighting cells are the backbone of the body’s defense system. And each type of cell works in different ways.
The macrophage, a name that means “big eater,” is a first-strike leukocyte that protects us from disease by, quit literally, devouring invading pathogens. Natural Killer (NK) cells act like sentries – constantly prowling for cancer cells, killing them quickly when they’re discovered. B-cells are the immune system’s military intelligence, seeking out targets and communicating their coordinates, while T-cells are the foot soldiers, destroying the invaders that the intelligence system has identified.
Scientists have long known that medicinal mushrooms help make white blood cells more deadly. But until recently, they weren’t sure how. Research has now shown that macrophages and NK cells have receptor sites specifically for beta-glucans 1-3 and beta-glucans 1-6. When the beta-glucans bind to the macrophages and NK cells, they make the lymphocytes stronger and more lethal. By increasing the lymphocytes’ strength, beta-glucans help them churn out more of the specialized chemical messengers, too.
Arabinogalactins and arabinoxylans, powerful polysaccharides found in medicinal mushrooms, are potent stimulators of the immune system. These compounds increase the activity of interleukins, interferons, and a tumor necrosis factor, all key components in a healthy immune system. When medicinal mushroom extracts with high amounts of Arabinogalactins and arabinoxylans are taken, diseases are dramatically reduced.
Researchers found that complex polysaccharides in four varieties of medicinal mushrooms – Agaricus blazei (Agaricus), Grifola frondosa (Maitake), Coriolus versicolor (Coriolus or Turkey Tail), and Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) – are serious cancer fighters. The chart below explains how:
Mushroom Health Benefit
Agaricus (Agaricus Blazei)
Agaricus not only contains the greatest number of medicinal compounds, it also contains a powerful anti-tumor polysaccharide that all other medicinal mushrooms are lacking. Recently, 100 women who were receiving carboplatin, a chemotherapy drug used to treat ovarian cancer, volunteered for an important study. Half of the women were given an extract of Agaricus mushrooms, while the other half were given a placebo or dummy pill. The researchers discovered that NK cell activity was significantly higher in the Agaricus group. The women in this group were also less nauseated, fatigued, and wear than the women taking the placebo, an important consideration for people with cancer.
Maitake (Grifola Frondosa)
Maitake is one of the most researched of all medicinal mushrooms. In one clinical study, the effect of Maitake mushroom compounds were studied in ten patients with cancer who were not currently taking any chemotherapeutic drugs. The researchers found that the Maitake not only significantly stimulated NK cell activity, it also repressed the cancer’s growth, and stopped the tumors’ ability to metastasize, or spread to other parts of the body. And in another clinical study, 165 patients with various types of advanced cancer were given Maitake mushroom compounds alone or with chemotherapy. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was observed in 58% of liver cancer patients, 69% of breast cancer patients, and 62% of lung cancer patients. Plus, when Maitake was taken in addition to chemotherapy, the immune cell activities were enhanced 1.2 to 1.4 times, compared with chemotherapy alone.
Versicolor compounds show great promise as cancer immunotherapy agents in all cancer stages. In one clinical trial, 34 patients with advanced terminal lung cancer were given Coriolus versicolor polysaccharides or a placebo (dummy pill) for 28 days. While the group getting the Versicolor felt less fatigued and sick, very important considerations at the end-of-life, there were no changes in the placebo group.
Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum)
Reishi mushrooms are too tough to eat, but they’ve been used medicinally for centuries and have been extensively researched. In a safety study to determine Reishi’s effect on blood thinning mechanisms, healthy volunteers received 1.5 gm Reishi or placebo daily for 4 weeks. There were no significant changes in either group and all blood clotting measurements remained within the normal range, demonstrating its safety. In a recent clinical study, researchers determined that Reishi increased the number of cancer killing white blood cells and made them more deadly to cancer cells.
Not only do Agaricus, Maitake, Coriolus, and Reishi have incredible amounts of immune boosting polysaccharides, when they are grown on Purple Kculli Corn, they also have a much higher ORAC value than mushrooms grown on other substrates.
Q. What are ORAC values?
A. ORAC, or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, is a measurement of the antioxidant power in fruits and vegetables. The higher the power, or ORAC value, the stronger the antioxidant is against free radicals. While free radicals are made by breathing oxygen and digesting food, and are simply the consequences of being alive, the older we get the more free radicals we make. And the more free radicals we make the more destructive they can be. Free radicals will rip membranes, wreck cells, cripple mitochondria, and ruin DNA. As this damage accumulates, even more free radicals are made. And if not stopped or slowed, this might lead to heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, dementia, and cancer.
Q. How does Purple Kculli Corn increase the ORAC value of medicinal mushrooms?
A. All brightly colored fruits and vegetables have very high ORAC values; and the higher the ORAC value – the greater the antioxidant power. Not only can we measure the ORAC values of fruits and vegetables, we can also measure the ORAC values of mushroom substrate extracts. Purple Kculli Corn extract has an ORAC value of 1789 (measured in umolesTE/gram). Now, remember that mushrooms are fungi, not fruits and vegetables, and they gain most of their nutrients from the ground (or substrate) they are grown on. When mushrooms are cultivated or “farmed” on substrates with a high ORAC value, they will absorb compounds from the substrate giving them a higher ORAC value, too. So growing mushrooms on antioxidant rich, high ORAC value, Purple Kculli Corn yields medicinal mushrooms with high ORAC values as well.
Q. Some mushroom supplements have more than four medicinal mushrooms. Wouldn’t a mushroom supplement with seven mushrooms or more have a higher ORAC value than a supplement with only four?
A. Well, more is not always better – especially when it comes to medicinal mushrooms. Some supplements have a “kitchen sink” selection of mushrooms. The makers of these supplements hope that by adding modest amounts of many mushrooms, they will end up with a product that just might have some health benefits.
Clearly, it’s not how many or how exotic the mushrooms are in a medicinal mushroom supplement, it’s the substrate that mushrooms are grown on that makes the difference.
Q. How can I make sure the medicinal mushroom supplement I buy contains natural and organic mushrooms grown on Purple Kculli Corn substrate?
A. Become a label reader! Medicinal mushroom formulas have a statement showing accreditation from a certifying agency, such as the American Food Safety Institute, International; California Organic Farmer Association, Minnesota; or Crop Improvement Association, on the label, and have met certain criteria. They must be grown without chemicals or pesticides. The growers must be certified as organic mushroom produces by an accredited third party. And the growers must keep a record of their production and handling practices.
Of the nearly 38,000 varieties of mushrooms, Agaricus blazei, Grifola frondosa, Coriolus versicolor, and Ganoderma lucidum have impressive medicinal properties. With a little help from Purple Kculli Corn, these mushrooms can provide even more potent and powerful cancer preventing properties for superior mushroom supplements.
CalmaLax - CalmaLax - Regularity Support Tonic
May 06, 2006 01:27 PM
CalmaLax - Regularity Support Tonic
Ingredients: Flax (seed), Agar (stem), Chinese rhubarb (root), artichoke (leaf), chamomile (flower), gentian (root), peppermint (leaf), anise (seed), licorice (root), radish (root), bitter fennel (fruit), marshmallow (root), lemon balm (leaf), juniper (bark).
Super Cortisol Support Fact Sheet
December 08, 2005 07:04 PM
Super Cortisol Support Fact SheetNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 10/1/05
LIKELY USERS: People under a lot of stress; People who suffer from stress-related eating; People who may have metabolic syndrome (Syndrome X);
KEY INGREDIENTS: Relora®13, Rhodiola14-20, Reishi 21-24, Green Tea Extract25-32, Holy Basil, Ashwaganda, Banaba, Pantothenic Acid, Calcium Ascorbate, Magnesium, Lecithin, Chromium
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: NOW® Super Cortisol Support is an herbal and nutritional formula designed to support healthy adrenal function and maintain healthy cortisol levels. The adrenal glands help the body respond and adjust to stress generated from both internal and external forces. Under chronic stress, cortisol can be overproduced, resulting in weight gain and difficulty in managing healthy blood sugar levels. Super Cortisol Support combines adaptogenic herbs with Chromium, Corosolic Acid and Relora® to help the body manage the negative effects of stress such as abdominal obesity, overeating and low energy levels.
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT USE INFORMATION & QUALITY ISSUES:
Reishi, Rhodiola, Ashwaganda, and Holy Basil support healthy energy levels throughout the day1-6. Reishi, Rhodiola, Ashwaganda, and Holy Basil support healthy immunity1-9. Along with Chromium, and Corosolic Acid, these herbs also help to support healthy serum glucose levels1-12. Relora® has been included in this formula to alleviate symptoms associated with stress such as irritability and nervous tension13.
This formula is recommended by Hyla Cass, MD.
This is the first Cortisol formula to use Relora®, a natural proprietary blend of a patented (U.S. Patent No. US 6,582,735) extract of Magnolia officinalis and a patent-pending extract from Phellodendron amurense. Relora® was developed as an ingredient for dietary supplements and functional foods that could be used in stress management and for stress-related appetite control. This patented blend of plant extracts is the result of screening more than fifty plant fractions from traditional plant medicines used around the world. Relora® has excellent stress management properties without causing sedation. Overweight adults may have excessive abdominal fat due to stress-related overeating. Relora® appears to maintain healthy hormone levels in stressed individuals and act as an aid in controlling weight and stress-related eating.33
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: One capsule, two to three times a day.
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: Holy Basil, Green Tea, L-Theanine, Licorice Root, Vitamin C, Eleuthero Root, Pantothenic acid
SPECIFIC: Some of these ingredients may support the body’s blood sugar controls, so people taking blood sugar medications should inform their physician before using Super Cortisol Support, and their glucose should be monitored when taking this formula so their medication strength can be modulated appropriately to avoid an overdose of medication. No side effects have been noted for this dosage of Relora®.
GENERAL: Pregnant and lactating women, children and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. This information is based on my own knowledge and references, and should not be used as diagnosis, prescription or as a specific product claim. This document has not been reviewed by the FDA or by the company posting it. Information given here may vary from what is shown on the product label because this represents my own professional experience and understanding of the science underlying the formula and ingredients. When taking any new formula, use common sense and cautiously increase to the full dose over time.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1. Spasov AA, Wikman GK, Mandrikov VB, Mironova IA, Neumoin VV (2000) Phytomedicine 7(2):85-89.
Vitaberry Plus + Super Fruit Antioxidant
December 07, 2005 05:43 PM
Vitaberry Plus +™ Super Fruit AntioxidantBy Nilesh Patel, NOW Quality Assurance, April 20, 2005 Why are FRUITS AND VEGETABLES important? “Diets rich in FRUITS AND VEGETABLES may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases.”- National Cancer Institute. OXYGEN AND ANTIOXIDANTS As we all know, “Oxygen is critical to life,” but is itself a double-edged sword. While oxygen is necessary to sustain life and for natural defense against microbes, too much oxygen in our cells can lead to the production of “free radicals” (mitochondrial respiratory chain) or ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species). Free radicals come in many forms - singlet oxygen, hydrogen peroxide, superoxideperoxynitrite, to name a few - but all have one commonality. Each has an unpaired (unbalanced) electron, a situation it remedies by stealing an electron from a stable molecule. This sets off a domino effect of oxidation, a chain reaction that usually ends up damaging cellular integrity and compromising overall health. Nature has a defense system in place to protect these processes in the form of antioxidants. Whether endogenous (produced by the body, such as liver enzymes, SOD, coenzymes and sulfur-containing compounds) or exogenous (obtained through the diet, such as vitamins C & E, bioflavonoids, carotenes, etc.), antioxidants “quench” free radicals by donating an electron to stabilize a molecule, thus controling the chain reaction and stopping the oxidation “domino effect”. ANTIOXIDANT-RICH FOODS Research suggests that eating plenty of foods high in antioxidants helps to slow the processes associated with aging and protect against many chronic diseases. Maximizing one’s antioxidant power will enhance overall health. Fruit and vegetables contain both nutritive and non-nutritive factors that can affect oxidative damage and enzymatic defense and might contribute to redox (antioxidant and prooxidant) actions. A new “6-a-day” study looked into the effects of fruits and vegetables on markers of oxidative stress and antioxidative defense in healthy nonsmokers by The Danish Institute for Food and Veterinary Research in Denmark. The study found that fruits and vegetables increase erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase activity and resistance of plasma lipoproteins to oxidation more efficiently than do the nutritive factors (vitamins and minerals) that the fruits and vegetables are also known to contain. Certain berries, such as blackberries, also contain salicylates, which are also linked to heart health and prevention of atherosclerosis. The protective effects of fruits and vegetables intake on both heart disease death and deaths in general have previously been demonstrated but researchers at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston. Quercetin is an anti-oxidizing flavonoid found in many berries (such as cranberries, bilberries, blueberries, strawberries, etc.) and can prevent CVDs (coronary vascular diseases), according to a recent Finnish study. All these natural plant polyphenols are responsible for the colors of many red and purple berries, fruits, vegetables and flowers. GOVERNMENT GUIDELINES The new federal guidelines released earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommend eating more fruits and vegetables, combined, than any other food group -- five cups or about 10 servings a day for most adults. The amount of fruits and vegetables recommended has increased for men and women of every age. “Fruits and vegetables are the "good news" story of the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans for food-loving consumers, the industry and America's public health”, stated the Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH). Eating a variety of colorful phytochemical-rich fruits and vegetables has been associated with lower risk of some chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Many authoritative organizations such as the National Cancer Institute and The American Heart Association recommend getting phytochemicals from whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than from individual component supplements. The Scottish government is promoting healthy eating through a scheme designed to increase purchasing of fruit and nutritional foods. Scottish health minister Andy Kerr said, "This initiative shows that healthy eating can be good for customers and good for business." Scottish women are said to have the highest rates of death from lung cancer in the world as well as the highest rates in Europe for coronary heart disease. They also have low consumption of fruits and vegetables, shown in studies to help protect against some cancers and benefit heart health. ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) Free radicals and oxygen free radicals play an important role in the development and progression of many brain disorders such as brain injury, neurodegenerative disease, and Down syndrome. Oxidative stress is an important factor in the etiology and pathogenesis of diabetes & is also linked to other host of degenerative health conditions. Fortunately, antioxidants are available to support the body’s defense and fight disease and aging. Examples of “Fast acting antioxidants” in the body (serum) are: uric acid (polyphenols), ascorbate, bilirubin, vitamin E (the later two are lipid soluble). Examples of “Slow acting antioxidants” are glucose, urea nitrogen etc. In short, free radicals, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) are generated as by-products of normal cellular metabolism. Their deleterious effects are minimized in vivo (in the body) by the presence of antioxidant systems. How do Antioxidants work? Antioxidants are substances in plants that help maintain health. Antioxidants protect against damage to cells caused by too many “free oxygen radicals,” which form because of the effects of oxidation. Smoking, sunlight, heavy exercise, and pollution all increase oxidation in the body. Most people would benefit by eating more (five to nine or more servings) fruits and vegetables & colorful plant foods, such as purple, dark green, yellow, orange, blue, and red ones, each day. These have healthful pigments along with antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin C, carotenoids, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E, selenium, flavonoids, and other beneficial substances. There are numerous ways in which these antioxidants affect, but can be explained in two groups: Alpha (a) Effects: This refers to the scavenging or neutralizing of free radicals. These effects do not change the way humans (or animals) feel. There are also no noticeable health, psychological or emotional benefits. While there are no obvious changes, increased total antioxidant intakes are associated with decreased tumor rates, prevention of heart attacks and increased longevity. Beta (ß) Effects: These are the changes on health, psychological or emotional state that you or others will notice. In this case, the antioxidant is affecting metabolic processes (enzymes) with consequent changes in the physical (improvement in joint movements, improved skin condition, tissue damage recovery), emotional (better ability to cope with stress) or psychological state (increased alertness). The ORAC value Because most of the active nutritional components in fruits and vegetables are antioxidants, accurate measurement of antioxidant activity serves as a good indicator of potential health benefit. Scientific opinion runs high that ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) will eventually become a government standard of reference for overall daily fruits and vegetables intake. ORAC units are a measurement of the ability of food to stop oxidation. It is most generally expressed in terms of Trolox equivalent per gram (µmole Trolox equivalents (TE)/g). POPULATION DATA A survey done by the National Research Council indicates that only 10% of the US population consumes the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. The equivalent to eating 5 mixed servings of fruits and vegetables per day is about 1,670 ORAC units. Based on scientific evidence it is suggested that daily antioxidant intake should be increased to between 3,000 and 5,000 ORAC units per day, per human subject, in order to reach a significant antioxidant capacity in blood plasma and other tissues. WHAT IS NOW DOING TO HELP? In accord with our mission, “To provide value in products and services that empower people to lead healthier lives,” NOW® Foods is introducing an ALL-FRUIT-DERIVED antioxidant product called VitaBerry Plus +™ Super Fruit Antioxidant Vcaps (vegetarian capsules) (product number #3336). At time of manufacture this product provides an ORAC value of at least 2,500 units per serving from a full-spectrum antioxidant blend of fruits containing phytochemicals and phenolic compounds such as anthocyanins, proanthocyanins, chlorogenic acid, ellagic acid, quinic acid, resveratrol , many organic acids, resveratrol and vitamin C. VitaBerry Plus +™ is formulated with VitaBerry™ Hi-ORAC Fruit Blend [a proprietary blend of fruit extracts & concentrated powders containing Wild Blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) extract, Grape (Vitis vinifera) & Grape seed extract, Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) & Raspberry seed extract, Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), Prune (Prunus domestica), Tart Cherry (Prunus cerasus), Wild Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) extract & Strawberry (FrAgaria virginia)], Hi-Active™ Orange (Citrus sinensis) and Pomegranate (Punica granatum) min. 40% ellagic acid fruit extract. One gram of VitaBerry™ Hi-ORAC Fruit Blend provides at least 6,000 ORAC units (i.e., µmole Trolox equivalents (TE)/g). (Also watch for an upcoming antioxidant product from NOW called Enzogenol® (Pinus radiata bark extract from New Zealand) with Rutin (a flavonoid from South American fruit of Dimorphandra mollis) and Grapeseed extract. IS IT EFFECTIVE? Total ORAC value includes both lipophilic and hydrophilic components. VitaBerry Plus +™ contains only water/hydroethanol based extracts and concentrated (100:1 to 125:1) freeze-dried fresh fruit blends, so the lipophilic ORAC value is mere 2-4% of the total ORAC value. Glutathione peroxidase is a selenium-containing enzyme that decreases cell death from brain injuries. It also acts as a critical first-line antioxidant defense on the airway (respiratory) epithelial surface against ROS and RNS (reactive nitrogen species. Genetics research has found that the glutathione S-transferase gene controls the onset of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease etc. Taking glutathione (GSH) itself as a supplement does not boost cellular glutathione levels, since it breaks down in the digestive tract before it reaches the cells. So glutathione precursor dietary supplements (such as NAC and GliSODin), along with fruits and vegetables, are effective in boosting intracellular levels of GSH. The lungs have a defense system against the ROS oxidants consisting of low molecular weight antioxidants such as GSH and intracellular enzymes such as SOD, catalase and glutathione peroxidase to protect against the toxic effects of oxidants generated within the cells. Some of the primary effects of VitaBerry Plus +™ against the common reactive free-radical species or ROS are as follows: - Superoxide dismutase-SOD (destroys Superoxide radicals),
- Catalase (neutralizes peroxides),
- Functions similar to reduced Glutathione (GSH),
- Glutathione peroxidase enzyme (detoxifies peroxides, using GSH as a reducing agent),
- Functions similar to Glutathione S-transferase (GST),
- Nullifies Superoxide-generating NADH/NADPH oxidase system In conclusion More concentrated than fresh berries, with over 6000 ORAC units per gram, VitaBerry Plus +™ provides consumers with the antioxidant power of almost 15 servings per day of FRUITS AND VEGETABLES ina convenient vegetarian capsule form! VitaBerry™ PLUS +™ (# 3336) provides a powerful, convenient way to supplement diets that do not include sufficient fruit and vegetable antioxidants Selected References: USDA/HHS guidelines report at: etaryguidelines/dga2005/document/
ls.com/proprietary/pdf/VitaberryBrochure.pdf g Kaplan M., Hayek T. , Raz A., Coleman R. and Aviram M. Pomegranate juice supplementation to apolipoprotein E deficient mice with extensive atherosclerosis reduces macrophages lipid peroxidation, cellular cholesterol accumulation and development of atherosclerosis. J. Nutr. 131: 2082-2089 (2001) Lars O Dragsted et. al., The 6-a-day study:effects if fruit and vegetables on markers of oxidative stress and antioxidative defense in healthy nonsmokers. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 79, No. 6, 1060-1072, June 2004 Fuhrman B. and Aviram M. Polyphenols and flavaonoids protects LDL against atherogenic modifications.In: Handbook of Antioxidants Biochemical, Nutritional and Clinical Aspects, 2nd Edition. Cadenas E & Packer L (Eds.) Marcel Dekker, NY(Pub.). 16:303-336 (2001) Wood, Jacqueline, et al. Antioxidant activity of procyanidin-containing plant extracts at different pHs. Food Chemistry 77 (2002) 155-161 Aviram M. Pomegranate juice as a major source for polyphenolic flavonoids and it is most potent antioxidant against LDL oxidation and atherosclerosis. Free Radical Research 36 (Supplement 1): 71-72 (2002) Jennifer Schraag, Antioxidants: Nature’s Way of Balancing Life. HSR Health Supplement Retailer, Vol. 11, No. 2, 24-27, February 2005 com/news/printNewsBis.asp?id=58665 com/news/printNewsBis.asp?id=58697
CHITOSAN: The Fiber that Binds Fat
June 25, 2005 07:55 PM
Chitosan is a natural product that inhibits fat absorption. It has the potential to revolutionize the process of losing weight and by so doing, reduce the incidence of some of the most devastating Western diseases we face today. Chitosan is indigestable and non-absorbable. Fats bound to chitosan become nonabsorbable thereby negating their caloric value. Chitosan-bound fat leaves the intestinal tract having never entered the bloodstream. Chitosan is remarkable in that it has the abilty to absorb an average of 4 to 5 times its weight in fat.60
The same features that allow chitosan to bind fats endow it with many other valuable properties that work to promote health and prevent disease. Chitosan is a remarkable substance whose time has come.
Chitin, the precursor to Chitosan, was first discovered in mushrooms by the French professor Henri Braconnot in 1811.61 In the 1820’s chitin was also isolated from insects.62 Chitin is an extremely long chain of N-acetyl-D-glucoseamine
glucoseamine units. Chitin is the most abundant natural fiber next to cellulose and is similar to cellulose in many respects. The most abundant source of chitin is in the shells of shellfish such as crab and shrimp. The worldwide shellfish harvest is estimated to be able to supply 50,000 tons of chitin annually.63 The harvest in the United States alone could produce over 15,000 tons of chitin each year.64
Chitin has a wide range of uses but that is the subject of another book. Chitosan was discovered in 1859 by Professor C. Rouget.65 It is made by cooking chitin in alkali, much like the process for making natural soaps. After it
is cooked the links of the chitosan chain are made up of glucosamine units. Each glucosamine unit contains a free amino group. These groups can take on a positive charge which gives chitosan its amazing properties. The stucture of chitosan is represented schematically in Figure 2. Research on the uses of chitin and Chitosan flourished in the 1930s and early 1940s but the rise of synthetic fibers, like the rise of synthetic medicines, overshadowed the interest in natural products. Interest in natural products, including chitin and chitosan, gained a resurgence in the 1970s and has continued to expand ever since. Uses of Chit osan Some of Chitosan's major uses—both Industrial and Health and Nutritional—are listed in Tables 5 and 6.
Chitosan has been used for about three decades in water purification processes. 67 When chitosan is spread over oil spills it holds the oil mass together making it easier to clean up the spill. Water purification plants throughout the world use chitosan to remove oils, grease, heavy metals, and fine particulate matter that cause turbidity in waste water streams.
Fat Binding/ Weight Loss
Like some plant fibers, chitosan is not digestible; therefore it has no caloric value. No matter how much chitosan you ingest, its calorie count remains at
fibers, chitosan’s unique properties give it the ability to significantly bind fat, acting like a “fat sponge” in the digestive tract. Table 7 shows a comparison of chitosan and other natural fibers and their ability to inhibit fat absorption. Under optimal conditions, Chitosan can bind an average of 4 to 5 times its weight with all the lipid aggregates tested.60 (NOTE: This assessment was made without the addition of ascorbic acid which potentiates this action even further.77 Studies in Helsinki have shown that individuals taking chitosan lost an average of 8 percent of their body weight in a 4-week period.76 Chitosan has increased oil-holding capacity over other fibers.108 Among the abundant natural fibers, chitosan is unique. This uniqueness is a result of chitosan’s amino groups which make it an acid absorbing (basic) fiber. Most natural fibers are neutral or acidic. Table 7 summarizes the in vivo effects in animals of various fibers on fecal lipid excretion. As can be seen from the results listed, ingestion of chitosan resulted in 5-10 times more fat excretion than any other fiber tested. D-Glucosamine, the building block of chitosan, is not able to increase fecal fat excretion. This is due to the fact that glucosamine is about 97 percent absorbed while chitosan is nonabsorbable. Fats bound to glucosamine would likely be readily absorbed along with the glucosamine. Chitosan, on the other hand, is not absorbed and therefore fats bound to chitosan can not be absorbed.
Chitosan has the very unique ability to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) while boosting HDL cholesterol (the good kind).78 Laboratory tests performed on rats showed that “chitosan depresses serum and liver cholesterol levels in cholesterol- fed rats without affecting performance, organ weight or the nature of the feces.”79 Japanese researchers have concluded that Chitosan “appears to be an effective hypocholesterolemic agent.”80 In other words, it can effectively lower blood serum cholesterol levels with no apparent side effects. A study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that Chitosan is as effective in mammals as cholestryramine (a cholesterol lowering drug) in controlling blood serum cholesterol without the deleterious side effects typical of cholestryramine. 81 Chitosan decreased blood cholesterol levels by 66.2 percent.82 It effectively lowered cholesterol absorption more than guar gum or cellulose.83 Laboratory test results indicated that a 7.5% chitosan formula maintained adequate cholesterol levels in rats, despite a dramatic increase in the intake of cholesterol. 84
June 10, 2005 10:16 PM
Mushrooms by Frank Sturges Energy Times, December 7, 1999
The interest in mushrooms as health enhancers has... mushroomed. Mushrooms, researchers have found, are filled with a long list of substances that may help us fight disease. Some of these natural chemicals boost immunity. Others may be effective against cancer and heart disease.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the research into mushrooms stems from the vast number of mushrooms that dot the landscape. At least 1.5 million types of fungi populate forests, fields, nooks and crannies, but studies have detailed the properties of less than 3,000.
Mushrooms produce so many beneficial compounds because they constantly fight off other fungi and microbes to survive. These substances, which mushrooms utilize for defense, can apparently help humans.
One of the most important of these classes of compounds are the polysaccharides. Scientists believe these long starch molecules spark immune action that can protect us against invading germs or cancer. They may do this by persuading the body to create what are called killer T-cells. These immune warriors destroy microscopic invaders and may help stop tumors.
According to Paul Stamets, author of Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms (Ten Speed), use of polysaccharides... "will synergistically, in combination with the individual's immune system, result in dramatic recoveries...Right now we don't clearly understand all the elements in those formulas to be able to predict downstream what will happen. But clearly with some people, it is tremendously effective" (Townsend Ltr, 6/98).
In addition, mushrooms also make biologically active chemicals called steroids and terpenes, says Christopher Hobbs, author of Medicinal Mushrooms (Interweave). These substances are thought to help fight off the formation of cancerous tumors.
Maitake: Useful Fungus
Maitake (Grifola frondosa) mushrooms, also known as "Hen of the woods," contain chemicals called beta glucans that can enhance immunity. Scientists are particularly fascinated by substances called the "D-fraction." Studies show these can spur immunity (Biol. Pharm. Bull. 17(12), Dec. 1994: 1554-60).
Researchers are also looking into the possibility that Maitake can help people with AIDS regain weight. And scientists are examining their effect on high blood pressure and diabetes.
In Tibet, the Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) has long been used to battle altitude sickness in the Himalayan mountains. Reishi is also reputed to soothe frayed nerves.
Scientific studies have supported these traditional uses, finding that people who consumed Reishi functioned better in low oxygen (Proceedings Contrib Symp 59 AB, 5th Intl Cong, 8/14-21, 101-104). Other research finds Reishi may help ease arthritis (Proc 1st Intl Symp on Ganoderma l. 11/17-18, 99-103, Tokyo).
Lion's Mane (Heri-cium erinaceus), also called "Monkey's head," has traditionally been a treatment for stomach problems in China. But researchers have found that chemicals in this mushroom help fight tumors (Biosci Biotech Biochem 56(2), Feb. 1992: 347-8).
During the past few years, scientific investigators have also begun to extract chemicals called erinacines from lion's mane. These substances, (known as Nerve Growth Stimulant factor) appear to encourage neuron regeneration. The potential uses: boosting nerve performance, fixing neurological damage and treating Alzheimer's disease (Tetrahedron Ltrs 35(10), 1994: 1569-1572).
Known as Cogmelo de Deus (Mushroom of God) in Brazil, the Royal Agaricus (Agaricus blazei) has been grown in Japan since the '70s where it enjoys widespread popularity. Researchers find that it provokes powerful anti-tumor effects. This fungus harbors more beta-glucans, immunity enhancers, than other mushrooms.
Can a fungus make athletes faster? A few researchers think so, pointing to Chinese Olympians who use Cordyceps sinensis. This fungus, traditionally grown on caterpillars, is another native of the Himalayas.
Traditionally, Cordyceps has been used to foster stamina, better breathing and immunity.
At least one study shows this fungus may help blood vessels dilate during exercise. By supplying extra blood to working muscles, Cordyceps may help fight off fatigue and boost performance (Abstracts from 5th Mycological Cong, Vancouver, 8/14-21).
The mushroom called Shiitake has been the subject of an extravagant amount of research since the '60s. Called the "elixir of life," it boosts immunity. Stamets reports that people with cancer who take Shiitake do significantly better in coping with their disease (Abstract 2nd Meeting Soc of Natl Immunity, Italy, 5/25/94).
Another characteristic of Shiitake mushrooms: a celebrated taste. The tongue and the palate take great pleasure in this health enhancer!
June 10, 2005 04:01 PM
Real Solutions by Susan Risoli Energy Times, November 1, 1997
The alarm sounds, you stumble out of bed and head to the bathroom. Suddenly, a burning sting wakes you with a jolt as you begin to urinate. One doctor visit later, you're on a strict antibiotic regimen to treat your urinary problem.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) affect 8 million to 10 million Americans, mostly women, each year. The culprit: the bacteria E. coli. Neglect may allow a UTI to spread to the bladder (where it causes cystitis), or kidneys: possibly life-threatening.
The good news: medical experts recognize that a diet change and avoiding certain risk factors may help fight off UTIs.
According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, about 20% of women experience UTI at least once, and many suffer recurrences. Sexually active women tend to incur more UTIs because of anatomical vAgaries: the bladder sits just above the vagina, while the urethra, a structure from the bladder to the outside, protrudes in a tubelike ridge down the top part of the vagina to just above the vaginal opening. This structure allows sexual intercourse to push infecting bacteria into the urethra. Women's vulnerability to UTI also derives from their short urethras which are located near the rectum, a main source of UTI germs. These tubes provide an easy path to a bacterial home in the bladder.
Another risk booster: pelvic exams which may increase chances of UTI. A 1996 study conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago and reported in the Archives of Family Medicine (1996;5:357-360) found that 43% of women with UTIs had received a pelvic examination within the two months preceding infection. Only 16% of the uninfected had been examined.
Bladder infections can occur frequently in postmenopausal women due to thinning and drying of the vaginal lining. And mid-life women are not immune. "With the loss of estrogen support, the urethra becomes less flexible and elastic and, like the vagina, it can become easily irritated after sexual intercourse and, thus, much more prone to infection," reports Susan Lark, MD, in her book, Women's Health Companion: Self Help Nutrition Guide and Cookbook (Celestial Arts). "As women age, the lower urinary tract also stops manufacturing anti-adherence factors, which help to prevent bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall."
Every woman should keep her own "female" botanicals on hand to help boost her immune system when she is at high risk of developing a bladder infection. These include:
Cranberry: This immune-boosting, vitamin C-rich berry prevents germs from invading the lining of the urinary tract. A 1994 study of 153 elderly women conducted by researchers at the Harvard Medical School and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (1994:271: 751-4) showed that cranberry juice may keep harmful bacteria at reduced levels. More recently, a study by Amy B. Howell, PhD, and a team at Rutgers University found that cranberries contain a type of condensed tannin, a chemical compound called proanthocyanidins, that seemed to stunt the growth of E. coli, preventing it from adhering to the walls of the bladder and kidneys.
"However, once you have an infection, cranberry juice cannot eradicate the bacteria. So drinking cranberry juice may be helpful in preventing an infection, but not in treating an existing one," according to Larrian Gillespie, MD, in her book You Don't have to Live with Cystitis (Avon Books).
Drinking two glasses of juice a day can help if you're UTI-prone. To avoid the sugar added to cranberry juice, concentrated cranberries are available in a gel-cap form.
Echinacea: This North American herb bolsters immune function and is believed to possess antiseptic and antiviral properties which may rev up the white blood cells that fight infection, reports John Cammarta, MD, in his book A Physician's Guide To Herbal Wellness (Chicago Review Press).
While cranberry is most commonly recommended for prevention, other herbs can also kill bacteria and are diuretic. These include:
Barberry: "The chemical berberine found in this herb is an impressive infection fighter. Studies show it kills the bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections," says author Jim O'Brien in his book Herbal Cures for Common Ailments (Globe).
O'Brien recommends making a tea with one half teaspoon of powdered root bark, then put it on low boil for 30 minutes. "The taste is unpleasant, so you may wish to add natural sweeteners and flavorings."
Uva-ursi: contains the ingredient arbutin, which fights germs in the urinary tract. "In addition," adds O'Brien, "the herb contains several diuretics that help flush the urinary tract, leading to faster healing. It also has several tannins, which act as powerful astringents drying out swollen, infected tissue. A third property of uva-ursi is allantoin, which promotes the growth of new cells."
"For this herb to be effective you must not eat or drink anything of acidic nature, such as citrus fruits or juices. Don't even take vitamin C supplements while using it," cautions O'Brien.
Coping With Pain
In her book Herbal Remedies for Women (Prima), medical herbalist Amanda McQuade Crawford offers an herbal recipe to help restore the urinary tract's normal pH. Herbal Formula I calls for 4 ounces of uva-ursi leaf, three ounces of marshmallow leaf, two ounces of yarrow flower (omit during pregnancy) and one ounce (or to taste) cinnamon bark. Steep the herbs for 10 to 20 minutes, then strain through bamboo or wire mesh. Drink 2 to 5 cups daily for 10 days. Crawford advocates drinking one to two cups per day for a week to 10 days after all symptoms have disappeared.
Urologist Gillespie has found that women with cystitis may notice certain foods and beverages (such as alcohol and acidic foods) exacerbate problems of pain and burning. Gillespie recommends cystitis sufferers avoid foods like apple juice, apples, apricots, melon, carbonated drinks, spicy foods, citrus fruits, coffee, ginger, grapes, guava, lemon juice, peaches, pineapple, plums, rhubarb, strawberries, tea, tomatoes and vinegar.
Limit refined sugar: this nutrient may stunt immune reactions. Most importantly, you can lower the risk of UTIs by drinking liquids. Water helps flush bacteria from the body so drink at least 6 to 8 eight-ounce glasses of filtered water daily.
Mushroom Immune Defense - Scientific Immunity Formula
June 04, 2005 10:08 AM
The immune system is a fascinating and complex group of cells and biochemical processes. Its many components work to protect you from environmental threats—but your immune system requires nutritional support to function optimally. Scientific research is proving that some of the most powerful immune-supportive nutrients are found in mushrooms. People who realize the critical importance of optimizing immune function should seriously consider adding an advanced mushroom complex to their daily regimen. No other mushroom formula offers the high-potency, broad-spectrum benefits of Source Naturals MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE. MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE features 16 of the best-studied species of health-supportive mushrooms, including shiitake, reishi, and maitake. These mushrooms contain compounds, including beta-glucans, glycoproteins and polysaccharides, that support a wide range of immune defenses: natural killer cell, T-cell and macrophage activity, and cytokine production. By combining a wide variety of mushrooms and fortifying them with extracts to ensure high potency, MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE offers a biochemically diverse formula that provides optimum immune assistance.
How Do Mushrooms Work?
Mushrooms are a treasure trove of bioactive compounds, but most of their immunomodulating activities have been attributed to polysaccharides (long-chain, simple sugars) and glycoproteins (polysaccharides naturally associated with proteins). These compounds activate a variety of immune responses.
MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE contains mycelia (networks of fibrous filaments) and extracts from the widest variety of mushroom species available. Included are the following mushrooms, which have demonstrated the most evidence for immune defense. Shiitake (Lentinula edodes): Lentinan, the beta glucan from shiitake, has been studied more extensively than similar substances and may be one of the most effective immunomodulators. Numerous studies have shown its ability to stimulate natural killer cell, T-cell, and macrophage-dependent responses.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum): Reishi’s polysaccharides may stimulate macrophages and enhance T-cell proliferation, according to in vitro studies.
Maitake (Grifola frondosa): Maitake enhances the activities of natural killer cells, T-cells and macrophages, according to animal studies. MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE contains MaitakeGold 404™, a highly specialized maitake product, rich in beta-glucans, which is the only maitake betaglucan fraction endorsed by the world’s premier maitake researcher, Dr. Hiroaki Nanba, Ph.D. Turkey Tails (Trametes versicolor): These mushrooms have a long history of traditional use in Asia. One in vitro study suggests that its polysaccharides stimulate macrophages.
Almond portabella (Agaricus blazei): This mushroom may stimulate the immune system by increasing T-cell activity, according to animal studies.
Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis): Cordyceps came to international attention during National Games in China when, in one week, three women’s track and field world records were broken. The coach partially credited a cordyceps elixir. Cordyceps was found to augment antibody and other immune responses in one animal study, and a cordyceps polysaccharide was found to elevate cytokines in vitro.
MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE contains 10 additional mushrooms, including enoke, oyster, Polyporus umbellatus, and Poria cocos. Vitamin C is added to enhance absorption and activity.
Unparalleled Immune Support
A focus on immune support can pay tremendous dividends for your entire life. If you are dedicated to good health, you want a powerful formula on your side. Source Naturals is proud to join forces with your natural foods retailer to bring you an unparalleled immune formula: MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE.
Help stop Migraines with Feverfew and other herbs.
May 17, 2005 11:52 AM
A key component in Migra defense formulas is Feverfew extract. FeverFew extract has been shown in human cell culture studies to inhibit the synthesis of prostaglandins known to cause physical discomfort. Prolonged use of Feverfew shows promising results to help lower migraine intensity. Consistant use is required daily to see results.
MigraDefense from Kal
MigrAgard 30ct from Solaray
MigrAgard 60ct from Solaray
MigraActin - Migra Actin 60ct from Natures Plus
Under-Reported (and Underappreciated) Cholesterol control.
May 12, 2005 10:00 AM
Under-Reported (and Underappreciated) Solutions for Cholesterol and Triglyceride Controlby Richard Conant, L.Ac., C.N.
Fat and human existence are inseparable. Setting aside the fear and loathing over fat in the body that pervades our culture, we understand that fat is our friend. We cannot live without fat.
The human body contains many different kinds of fats and fat-like molecules. Collectively known as "lipids" these fatty substances include fatty acids, lipoproteins, phospholipids, glycolipids, triglycerides, steroid hormones and the infamous, dreaded cholesterol.
Lipids (fats) are found everywhere in the body, performing a variety of vital functions. The brain is a fat-rich organ. Brain neurons and all other nerve cells are protected by a myelin sheath, made largely out of fatty material. Cell membranes consist almost entirely of phospholipids (lipids that contain phosphorus) arranged in a sandwich-like double layer embedded with proteins. Sex hormones are lipids, belonging to the group of complex lipid molecules known as "steroids." Vitamin D is a lipid.
The body stores and transports fatty acids in the form of triglycerides. A triglyceride contains three fatty acid molecules, which have a chain-like structure, linked to glycerol. (There are also mono- and di-glycerides, which have one and two fatty acid chains, respectively, attached to glycerol.)
Like many other things necessary to life, fat is a two-edged sword. Fat insulates us from the cold, cushions and protects our vital organs and serves as a storehouse for energy. Yet, when present in excess to the point of obesity, fat threatens health, happiness, self-esteem, social standing and longevity. The same is true of other lipids, most notably triglycerides and cholesterol. Transported throughout the body in the bloodstream, these essential lipids become a health liability when the blood contains too much of them.
Keeping fat in it its proper place, not eliminating or drastically reducing it, is the goal we should seek. In the blood, lipids must be maintained at healthy levels and ratios. When they are, an important foundation of good health is established.
How do we keep the blood lipids we need——triglycerides and the various forms of cholesterol——balanced at healthy levels? Diet and exercise are indispensable, these basics must come first. Along with the recommended dietary practices, a number of nutritional approaches offer help for maintaining healthy blood lipids. We will now give several of these a closer look.
In 1990, an herb used for centuries in the Far East was introduced to U.S. consumers. This herb, called "gum guggul," is proving to be one of the most effective natural cholesterol-lowering agents ever discovered. It also brings triglycerides down and raises HDL, the "good" cholesterol. The changes are substantial; gum guggul single-handedly normalizes the entire blood lipid profile, even in people with high starting levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
Gum guggul, also called simply "guggul," is a gummy resin tapped from the Commiphora tree. A cousin of myrrh gum, guggul has been used by Ayurvedic herbalists of India for at least 3,000 years; texts dating from around 1,000 B.C. mention the herb. Guggul was traditionally given for rheumatism and poor health caused by excess consumption of fatty foods. One ancient Sanskrit text describes in detail what happens in the body when blood fats are out of balance, due to sedentary lifestyle and overeating. The name of this condition has been translated as "coating and obstruction of channels."
Intrigued by the obvious similarity between "coating and obstruction of channels" and arteries clogged by fatty plaque, Indian researchers initiated a series of experimental and clinical studies in the 1960's to see if gum guggul would lower excess blood lipids.1 Both human and animal studies consistently showed cholesterol and triglyceride reductions.
Detailed pharmacological studies showed that guggul's lipid-lowering effects are produced by compounds in the resin called "guggulsterones."2 An Indian pharmaceutical firm then patented a standardized extract of gum guggul under the trade name "Gugulipid." The product contains a uniform 2.5 percent guggulsterones, which is higher than guggul resin in its natural state.
Because Gugulipid guarantees the necessary intake of guggulsterones needed for blood fat reduction, it has become the product used in clinical research. Phase I efficacy safety trials and Phase II efficacy trials have yielded more positive data.3,4,5 Most of the studies on gum guggul have used relatively small numbers of subjects; this tends to make mainstream medical scientists reluctant about natural remedies. A large, well-publicized double-blind Gugulipid trial on 400 to 500 people would go a long way toward giving this herb the credibility it deserves.
Another effective natural solution for blood fat control that should be better known is a relative of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). Pantethine is the active form of pantothenic acid in the body. Pantethine forms CoA, an essential co-enzyme for utilization of fat. CoA transports "active acetate," an important byproduct of fat metabolism that provides fuel for generating cellular energy. By promoting the burning of fats for energy, pantethine helps keep triglyceride levels down.6 Pantethine also helps regulate cholesterol production, by facilitating the conversion of fat into other lipid-based molecules needed in the body.6
Japanese researchers began studying the effect of pantethine on blood fats nearly twenty years ago. They reported their promising results at the Seventh International Symposium on Drugs Affecting Lipid Metabolism, held in Milan, Italy in 1980.7 Few in the medical or scientific communities took notice. Italian researchers followed up with several small clinical trials that confirmed the preliminary reports.6,8,9 An excellent cholesterol and triglyceride lowering agent that is safe and free of side-effects, pantethine remains, for the most part, ignored by mainstream science, although its usage is growing in alternative medicine circles. Pantethine it will no doubt prove to be one of the most important supplements for maintaining healthy blood fat levels.
When taken in high enough doses, niacin (vitamin B3) substantially lowers cholesterol. This has been known to medical science for many years.10 studies on niacin as a cholesterol-lowering agent go back to the 1950's. There was a fair amount of initial enthusiasm for niacin because it improves, unlike most lipid-lowering drugs, all parameters of the blood lipid profile. Niacin reduces total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. It also raises HDL cholesterol quite well. Interest in niacin has faded, in part because the necessary dose, 1200 milligrams a day or more, can cause flushing and gastrointestinal disturbances. Very high doses may be harmful to the liver if taken for too long.
There is a solution to the side-effect problem with niacin which, again, has failed to gain widespread attention. Inositol hexanicotinate is a flush-free form of niacin composed of six niacin molecules bonded to one molecule of inositol, another B-complex nutrient. Absorbed as an intact structure, inositol hexanicotinate is metabolized slowly, releasing free niacin into the bloodstream over a period of hours following ingestion.11 Inositol hexanicotinate has all the benefits of niacin for controlling blood fats. The flushing effect of ordinary niacin, which metabolizes much more rapidly, does not occur. Taking as much as four grams per day has not been reported to raise liver enzymes or cause other side-effects, but prudence dictates that people with liver problems should avoid very high doses of inositol hexanicotinate, or any form of niacin.12
We often think of vitamin E as synonymous with d-alpha tocopherol. Vitamin E is actually a whole family of compounds that includes various tocopherols and a group of lesser known but highly beneficial substances called "tocotrienols." All have vitamin E activity. Tocotrienols are similar in chemical structure to tocopherols, but they have important differences which give them unique and highly beneficial properties for human health.
Vitamin E is one of the most recognized antioxidants, nutrients that deactivate potentially toxic byproducts of oxygen metabolism known as free radicals. Vitamin E neutralizes peroxides, which result from the free radical oxidation of lipids, making it a key antioxidant in cell membranes. While d-alpha tocopherol has generally been regarded as the form of vitamin E with the strongest antioxidant activity, tocotrienols are even stronger.
The tocotrienol story is another example of a natural product slow to gain recognition. A Univeristy of California research team discovered that d-alpha tocotrienol is over six times more effective than d-alpha tocopherol at protecting cell membranes against free radical damage.13 In the presence of vitamin C, which recycles vitamin E-like compounds, its antioxidant activity is 40 to 60 times higher than d-alpha tocopherol. This study was published in 1991. Its safe to say few cardiac physicians know about tocotrienols, and we have yet to see 60 Minutes do a piece on "the powerful new form of vitamin E."
It would be a tremendous service to public health if they did, because the benefits of tocotrienols go far beyond their stellar antioxidant ability. Tocotrienols also lower total cholesterol and LDL, by impressive percentages. In one double-blind controlled study, tocotrienols reduced total cholesterol by 16 percent and LDL by 21 percent after twelve weeks. Another study recorded drops of 15 to 22 percent in total cholesterol along with 10 to 20 percent decreases in LDL levels.14 Now appearing on health food store shelves, tocotrienols are a health-protecting nutrients whose long overdue time has come. Derived from food oils such as palm oil and rice bran oil, tocotrienols have the same lack of toxicity as ordinary vitamin E.
1. Satyavati, G. Gugulipid: a promising hypolipidaemic agent from gum guggul (Commiphora wightii). Economic and Medicinal Plant Research 1991;5:47-82.
2. Dev, S. A modern look at an age-old Ayurvedic drug—guggulu. Science Age July 1987:13-18.
3. Nityanand, S., Srivastava, J.S., Asthana, O.P. Clinical trials with gugulipid. J. Ass. Physicians of India 1989;37(5):323-28.
4. Agarwal, R.C. et. al. Clinical trial of gugulipid—a new hypolipidemic agent of plant origin in primary hyperlipidemia. Indian J Med Res 1986;84:626-34.
5. 'Gugulipid' Drugs of the Future 1988;13(7):618-619.
6. Maggi, G.C., Donati, C., Criscuoli, G. Pantethine: A physiological lipomodulating agent, in the treatment of hyperlipidemias. Current Therapeutic Research 1982;32(3):380-86.
7. Kimura, S., Furukawa, Y., Wakasugi, J. Effects of pantethine on the serum lipoprotiens in rats fed a high cholesterol diet (Abstract) Seventh International Symposium on Drugs Affecting Lipid Metabolism, Milan, Italy, 1980.
8. Arsenio, L. Bodria, P. Effectiveness of long-term treatment with pantethine in patients with dyslipidemia. Clinical Therapeutics 1986;8(5):537-45.
9. Avogaro, P. Bittolo Bon, G. Fusello, M. Effect of pantethine on lipids, lipoproteins and apolipoproteins in man. Current Therapeutic Research 1983;33(3):488-93.
10. Crouse, J.R. New developments in the use of niacin for treatment of hyperlipidemia: new considerations in the use of an old drug. Coronary Artery Disease 1996;7(4):321-26.
11. Welsh, A.L. Ede, M. Inositol hexanicotinate for improved nicotinic acid therapy. International Record of Food Medicine 1961;174(1):9-15.
12. "Inositol hexaniacinate" (Monograph). Alternative Medicine Review 1998;3(3):222-3.
13. Serbinova, E., et. al. Free radical recycling and intramembrane mobility in the antioxidant properties of alpha-tocopherol and alpha tocotrienol. Free Radical Biology and Medicine 1991;10:263-275.
14. Qureshi, N. Qureshi, A.A. Tocotrienols: Novel Hypercholesterolemic Agents with Antioxidant Properties. in 'Vitamin E in Health and Disease' Lester Packer and Jürgen Fuchs, Editors. 1993; New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc.
Control Cholesterol with the following Supplements
May 12, 2005 09:33 AM
Keeping the Intestines Healthy"Friendly Bacteria" Therapy Breakthrough
by Richard Conant, L.Ac., C.N.
Ninety percent of the cells found in the human body are not of human origin.
No, this does not mean we are all products of some sinister alien experiment.
The human body is made up of about 10 trillion cells. This huge number is dwarfed by the bacteria we all carry around in our intestinal tracts. The lower bowel is a campground for roughly 100 trillion bacteria, single-celled plant organisms that can be seen only through a microscope.
When we enjoy good intestinal health, the bulk of these bacteria are beneficial. Known as "friendly flora," these tiny guests help digest our food by breaking down undigested proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The friendliest of the friendly bacteria are the "lactobacilli," so named because they produce lactic acid in the bowel, by fermenting carbohydrates. This lactic acid production is profoundly important for keep the intestines healthy. And good intestinal health is the foundation of overall health.
How do we maintain a thriving population of lactic acid-producing bacteria in the gut? First introduced into the human body through mother's milk, lactobacilli are somewhat fragile. Stress, poor diets, and antibiotics can kill them off. They should be replanted fairly regularly throughout life. One way to do this is through consumption of cultured milk products such as sour milk, kefir and yogurt, which contain live lactobacilli. They can also be consumed in dietary supplements, but this may or may not be a reliable route. Bacterial products do not keep very well on the shelf, they require refrigeration, and are largely destroyed on the trip from the mouth to the gut by our own digestive juices.
Introducing Lactobacillus sporogenes- a revolutionary new friendly bacteria supplement.
This article will focus on one particular species of lactobacilli, a relatively unknown member of the family called Lactobacillus sporogenes. This lactic-acid producing bacteria may prove to be one of the most practical forms for use in supplements, thanks to a unique property not shared by the more well-known friendly flora such as acidophillus. L. Sporogenes is a spore-forming bacteria. Safely enclosed within a spore coat that protects it from the environment, L. sporogenes is resistant to heat, oxygen and digestive acids. Once L. sporogenes reaches the intestines, its spore coat dissolves, freeing the bacteria to multiply and churn out the beneficial lactic acid. (The spore coat, made up of a calcium-protein-carbohydrate complex, is harmless).1
The difficulty of keeping friendly bacteria supplements alive is an ongoing problem for manufacturers of these products. Studies have analyzed various commerical products claiming to contain acidophilus and found they often contain few live bacteria.2,3 L. Sporogenes is naturally microencapsulated; this insulates it from the gauntlet through which friendly bacteria in dietary supplements must pass.1 Autointoxication-Poisoning by Bacterial Toxins The intestinal tract may also play host to pathogenic, or disease-causing bacteria. These "unfriendly flora" cause putrefaction and release injurious toxins into the lower bowel. This healthy picture is all too common, and has long been concern of wholistic health practitioners.
The concept of "autointoxication," poisoning of the body by intestinal toxins, was popular among doctors in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. An editorial on the dangers of autointoxication which appeared in the June 3, 1893 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) declared that "most likely a large majority of chronic diseases take their origin from this cause."4 The famous Russian physician Eli Metchnikoff pioneered the use of lactobacteria for preventing autointoxication and restoring bowel health. His landmark work 'Prolongation of Life' sparked interest in lactobacilli as a food supplement.5,6
Naturopathy, widely practiced during the early twentieth century, has always stressed the fundamental importance of bowel cleansing. With the advent of so-called "scientific medicine," naturopathy slipped into decline, and the concept of autointoxication was discredited. Over the last thirty years or so, this has changed. Naturopathic medicine has rebounded, and the importance of bowel health is once again recognized. A paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1964, while opining that autointoxication "was exploited by quacks and faddists" in the early 1900's concedes that "the concept of autointoxication must now receive serious consideration."7
Leaders in the rebirth of natural medicine such as Dr. Bernard Jensen have helped educate the public about the importance of keeping the bowels healthy through regular use of lactobacilli. Jensen is well-known for his extensive studies of regions such as the Hunza Valley in Pakistan where people commonly live well over one hundred years. Jensen and others have noted that the consumption of fermented dairy products containing lactobacilli is a common dietary practice in these areas. Their observations have contributed to the popularity of friendly bacteria supplements. At the same time, clinical research has provided ample evidence of the beneficial effects of lactobacteria supplementation.5,9<.sup>
Eubiosis-Keeping a Healthy Bacteria Population in the Intestinal Tract
In his book 'Tissue Cleansing Through Bowel Management, which contains a wealth of valuable wisdom on intestinal health, Dr. Jensen writes, "Where health and vitality are found, we invariably find the friendly and beneficial microbes ... To a large extent the flora in the bowel determines the state of health in an individual."8 In a healthy bowel the friendly flora make up the bulk of the bacteria population. The unfriendly, disease-causing organisms are in the minority. The good bacteria keep them firmly under control. This healthy microbial balance in the gut is called "eubiosis."
Life in our modern industrial society is hardly favorable to eubiosis. Residents of the Hunza Valley lead unhurried lives in a pristine, pollution-free environment. They grow their own food in fertile, nutrient-rich soil, work close to the landÐand consume lactic-acid producing bacteria on a daily basis. For the rest of us who cannot hope to enjoy this enviable lifestyle, eubiosis is something we should never take for granted. This means taking proactive steps to plant the seeds of health in our intestinal garden, by using a viable friendly bacteria supplement.
Supplements which help to populate the intestinal tract with friendly bacteria are known as "probiotics." The term "probiotic" literally means "for life.' (In contrast, "antibiotic" means "against life.") Probiotics restore the natural state of "eubiosis" that is so very important for health and longevity.
L. Sporogenes-an ideal probiotic
Not every species of lactobacilli qualifies as an effective probiotic. As noted above, many do not survive processing, storage and passage through the digestive system very well. The following attributes make L. Sporogenes an ideal probiotic supplement:1,10,11
1) Naturally microencapsulatedÐstable at room temperature and can be stored unrefrigerated for long periods without loss of viable organisms.
2) Tolerates heat, stomach acid and bile, allowing it to successfully travel into the lower bowel.
3) Non-pathogenic, has only beneficial effects on its host. Has similar characteristics as acidophilus: prefers a mild acid environment; produces lactic acid, digestive enzymes, etc.
4) Readily multiplies in the human gut. In the stomach, the spore coat absorbs moisture and begins to swell. Upon reaching the small intestine, the bacteria cells germinate and begin to multiply, doubling in number every 30 minutes.
5) Produces enzymes which help digest protein, fats and carbohydrates. These enzymes include lactose, the enzyme that digests milk sugar.12
6) Creates a favorable environment (mildly acidic) in the gut for other friendly bacteria to thrive. Prevents overgrowth of pathogenic organisms.
7) Produces lactic acid in the form of L- lactic acid only.
The last point is especially important. Lactic acid occurs in the form of three isomers (substances with identical molecular structures that have different shapes): L-lactic acid, D-lactic acid and DL-lactic acid. The D form is metabolized slowly, and can produce acidosis in the system. (Infants have a particularly difficult time metabolizing D-lactic acid.)11,13 DL-Lactic acid, the kind acidophilus makes, may be converted to either D or L.
The L form is the one we want. L. sporogenes is a "homofermenter," it makes L-lactic acid exclusively. Lactic acid keeps the gut mildly acidic. This acidity is essential for the gut to be a hospitable home for friendly bacteria, and stops the growth of the unwelcome disease-causing bacteria.
L. sporogenes has only one drawback. It is a transient visitor that does not permanently colonize in the digestive tract. A study on the retention of L. sporogenes found no bacteria in the feces six days after consumption was discontinued.14
L. Sporogenes-Results from Clinical Studies
L. Sporogenes is used extensively in Japan and approved by the Japanese equivalent of the FDA. L. sporogenes has been given to hospital patients suffering from intestinal complaints such as gas and bloating due to abnormal fermentation, constipation, diarrhea and indigestion. (These problems often occur after surgery or chemotherapy.) A total of 16 clinical reports are on record in Japanese hospitals, documenting 293 case of digestive complaints treated with L. sporogenes.15 The overall improvement rate is an impressive 86 percent. Results are typically seen within four to five days. L. sporogenes has also been used with success to clear up diarrhea in newborns.16 Like other lactobacilli, L. sporogenes lowers blood cholesterol. (Lactobacilli break down cholesterol and bile salts in the intestinal tract.) Researchers at a hospital in New Delhi, India gave L. sporogenes tablets to 20 patients with high cholesterol for twelve weeks.17 Total cholesterol levels were substantially reduced, along with LDL cholesterol, and the beneficial HDL rose slightly.
The popularity of L. sporogenes in other countries as an ideal friendly bacteria supplement will no doubt be soon matched in the U.S. This microscopic helper for intestinal health is now sold in probiotic products under the name "Lactospore®."
1. Gandhi, A.B., NAgarathnam, T. Probiotics in veterinary use. Poultry Guide 1990;27(3):43-47.
2. Brennan, M., Wanismail, B., Ray, B. Prevalence of viable Lactobacillus acidophilus in dried commercial products. Journal of Food Protection 1983;46(10):887-92.
3. Gilliland, S.E., Speck, M.L. Enumeration and identity of lactobacilli in dietary products. Journal of Food Protection 1977;40(11):760-62.
4. Dalton, R.H. The limit of human Life, and how to live long. JAMA 1893;20:599-600.
5. Shahani, K.M., Ayebo, A.D. Role of dietary lactobacilli in gastrointestinal microecology. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1980;33:2448-57.
6. Metchnikoff, E.. Prolongation of Life. New York: G.P. Putnam Sons;1908.
7. Donaldson, R.M. Normal Bacterial populations of the intestine and their relation to intestinal function. New Eng. J. Med. 1964;270(18):938-45.
8. Jensen, B. Tissue Cleansing Through Bowel Management. Escondido, CA: publ. by Bernard Jensen, D.C.;1980.
9. Schauss, A.G. Lactobacillus acidophilus: method of action, clinical application, and toxicity data. Journal of Advancement in Medicine 1990;3(3):163-78.
10. 'General InformationÐLactospore®' 1996; Sabinsa Corporation: Piscataway, NJ.
11. Gandhi, A.B. Lactobacillus sporogenes, An Advancement in Lactobacillus Therapy. The Eastern Pharmacist August 1998:41-44.
12. Kim, Y.M., Lee, J.C., Choi, Y.J., Yang, H.C. Studies on the production of beta galactosidase by lactobacillus sporogenes. Properties and application of beta galactosidase. Korean J. Appl. Microbiol. Bioeng. 1985;13(4):355-60.
13. Oh, MS. D-Lactic acidosis in a man with short bowel syndrome. New Eng J Med 1979;31(5):249-52.
14. Hashimo, K. et. al. New Drugs and Clinics 1964;13(9):53-66.
15. 'Abstracts of papers on the clinical studies of Lacbon' Unpublished data.
16. Dhongade, R.K., Anjaneyule, R. Lactobacillus sporogenes (Sporlac) in neonatal diarrhea. Unpublished data.
17. Mohan, J.C., Arora, R., Khaliullah, M. Preliminary observations on effect of Lactobacillus sporogenes on serum lipid levels in hypercholesterolemic patients. Indian J. Med. Res. 1990;92(B):431-32.
VitaNet ® Staff
Guggul – New Benefits for Heart Health
May 11, 2005 09:00 PM
Gum Guggul–New Benefits for Heart Health from an Age-Old Herbby Richard Conant, L.Ac., C.N.
The 1990's have seen a growing interest in herbs from India's ancient Ayurvedic tradition. One Ayurvedic herb in particular, "gum guggul," stands at the forefront, thanks to its rather remarkable benefits for the heart and cardiovascular health. A relative of myrrh and frankincense, gum guggul is a resin tapped from India's Commiphora mukul tree. Known more commonly in the Far East as simply "guggul," the herb has proven to be one of the most effective natural cholesterol-lowering agents ever discovered. Cholesterol reductions with guggul can be twenty percent or higher, and the herb also raises HDL, the more beneficial form of cholesterol. Studies also show guggul may help prevent atherosclerosis, by retarding the formation of fatty, cholesterol-laden deposits in blood vessel tissues.
Recent research on guggul has revealed that guggul also blocks the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, by acting as an antioxidant. LDL, which carries cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body, is generally regarded as a key element in the development of atherosclerosis. But only when it is oxidized by free radicals does LDL accumulate in arteries. It its unoxidized or "native" state, LDL is more or less benign. Checking LDL oxidation is vital to keeping blood vessels free of plaque.1 (This is one of the major reasons why antioxidants are so important.) Guggul, by both lowering blood cholesterol and acting against LDL oxidation, now stands out as one of the world's most valuable herbs for heart health.
Guggul first caught the attention of the scientific world in1966, thanks to an Indian medical researcher who submitted a doctoral thesis on gum guggul.2 Her interest had been kindled by references to the herb in a centuries-old Ayurvedic text. Apparently, poor cardiovascular health and atherosclerosis were a problem back then just as they are today. Translated from Sanskrit, this text describes, in elegant detail, a condition called "coating and obstruction of channels." The cause, according to the ancient writers? Faulty metabolism due to overeating of fatty foods and lack of exercise. Death was said to be the end result of leaving this condition uncorrected. The recommended treatment plan emphasized diet and herbs, chiefly gum guggul.3
References to guggul in ancient literature actually go back even farther. The herb is mentioned in the Vedas, the holy scriptures of India believed to be anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 years old. One stanza is translated as follows: "Disease (consumption) does not afflict and the curse never affects whom the delicious odor of the healing Guggul penetrates (spreads). The diseases also flee away in all directions from him like horses and deer, O Gugulu! Either born from Sindhu or from the sea. I chant your name for the removal of diseases."3
Struck by the obvious similarity between "coating and obstruction of channels" and atherosclerosis, the Indian researcher decided to study gum guggul's effect on blood fats in rabbits. Over a two-year period, the animals were fed hydrogenated vegetable oil to artificially raise their cholesterol levels. Guggul was administered to one group of rabbits, while the rest served as controls. At the end of the study the rabbits given guggul had normal cholesterol and blood lipid levels. Their arteries showed no fatty streaks or plague deposits. This caught the attention of the Indian scientific community, and numerous clinical trials ensued, both on animals and humans. In study after study, guggul consistently produced substantial reductions in cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while raising HDL.
The active ingredients in guggul are a group of natural plant sterols. Among these, substances called "guggulsterones" are the most important ingredients for the cholesterol and blood fat lowering properties of guggul, with the other sterols acting as a synergistic supporting cast.4 A number of mechanisms are suggested, although not definitely proven, for how the herb works; these include reducing the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver, enhancing cholesterol removal from the gut, stimulating thyroid function and increasing the number of receptors in the liver for uptake of LDL.3,5
Guggul extracts are now standardized for guggulsterone content. The herb naturally contains about 2 percent guggulsterones. Quality extracts contain a minimum of 2.5 percent, which assures the user is getting a product potent enough to produce results. Since the late 1980's clinical trials have used the standardized extract.6,7,8 The product is readily available in the U.S.
The ability of guggulsterones to prevent oxidation of LDL was discovered in a 1997 study done by scientists at the Central Drug Research Institute in Lucknow, India.9 This study sheds light on how guggul works against "coating and obstruction of channels." Remember that oxidized LDL forms the plaque that coats and eventually obstructs blood vessels. The researchers mixed LDL from human blood with a free radical promoting agent, either alone or in combination with guggulsterones. Samples were then analyzed for the presence LDL oxidation byproducts. The results showed that guggulsterones strongly protect LDL from being oxidized. Guggulsterones block the formation of hydroxyl radicals, a potent type of free-radical that attacks cell membranes.
Guggulsterones may also help keep the heart muscle itself healthy. When the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen, a condition known as "myocardial ischemia," it can be severely damaged by free radicals. The body tries to counter this with SOD, a key enzyme present in cells that neutralizes free radicals. SOD levels are significantly reduced in damaged heart tissues. Guggulsterones have been found to reverse this decrease by more than two-fold.10
Like the writer of that age-old verse found in the Vedas, contemporary herbalists hold gum guggul in the highest regard. Backed as it is by scientific research linked to centuries of traditional use, gum guggul has a bright future as a natural resource for maintaining normal cholesterol and blood fats, and for protecting heart health.
1. Heinecke, J.W. Free radical modification of low density lipoprotein: mechanisms and biological consequences. Free Radical Biology & Medicine 1987;3:65-73.
2. Satyavati, G.V. Effect of an indigenous drug on disorders of lipid metabolism with special reference to atherosclerosis and obesity (Medoroga) M.D. thesis (Doctor of Ayurvedic Medicine). Banaras Hindu University, varanasi, 1966.
3. Satyavati, G. Gugulipid: a promising hypolipidaemic agent from gum guggul (Commiphora wightii). Economic and Medicinal Plant Research 1991;5:47-82.
4. Dev, S. A modern look at an age-old Ayurvedic drug-guggulu. Science Age July 1987:13-18.
5. Singh, V. et. al. Stimulation of low density lipoprotein receptor activity in liver membrane of guggulsterone treated rats. Pharmacological Research 1990;22(1):37-44.
6. Nityanand, S., Srivastava, J.S., Asthana, O.P. Clinical trials with gugulipid. J. Ass. Physicians of India 1989;37(5):323-28.
7. Agarwal, R.C. et. al. Clinical trial of gugulipid-a new hypolipidemic agent of plant origin in primary hyperlipidemia. Indian J Med Res 1986;84:626-34.
8. 'Gugulipid' Drugs of the Future 1988;13(7):618-619.
9. Singh, K., Chandler, R. Kapoor, N.K. Guggulsterone, a potent hypolipidaemic, prevents oxidation of low density lipoprotein. Phytotherapy Research 1997;11:291-94.
10. Kaul, S. Kapoor, N.K. Reversal of chnages of lipid peroxide, xanthine oxidase and superoxide dismutase by cardio-protective drugs in isoproterenol induced myocardial necrosis in rats. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology 1989;27:625-627.
May 09, 2005 06:10 PM
It's in the BloodNatural alternatives abound for managing cholesterol levels, backed by a growing body of research ©VR By Paul Bubny
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) last July lowered the threshold for considering the use of statin drugs—a move which some say was motivated more by profits than scientific evidence. For example, the Center for Science in the Public Interest pointed out that eight of the nine authors behind the new recommendations had financial ties to statin manufacturers, which stand to reap billions of dollars more from a category that grossed $14 billion in the U.S. last year. And though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January decided against authorizing over-the-counter (OTC) sales of statin drugs, drug companies would still like to see this happen.
“The medical establishment’s pushing of these drugs to becoming the number one category of prescribed drugs in the world has led them to keep lowering the total cholesterol number that triggers the drug recommendation,” said Neil E. Levin, C.C.N., D.A.N.L.A., nutrition educator, product formulator, and “Truth Advocate” for NOW Foods (Bloomingdale, IL), which produces a number of supplements for addressing cholesterol. “This is despite the lack of evidence that total cholesterol means much as regards cardiovascular risks.
“Other tests are much more important in terms of predicting risks, including CRP (C-reactive protein), the balance of different cholesterol fractions, and homocysteine,” he continued. “Add adult-onset diabetes to the risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD).”
At the same time, the allegation that enormous sales potential lay behind the lower threshold for prescribing statin drugs illustrates how widespread the problem of hypercholesterolemia (elevated total cholesterol) is. More than 100 million Americans have elevated cholesterol (total cholesterol values of 200 mg/dl and higher), and of these, more than a third have high cholesterol (levels of 240 mg/dl and higher), according to the American Heart Association. Those numbers have unfavorable implications for the incidence of CVD, as high cholesterol is considered a risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke.
While statin drugs haven’t garnered the same degree of negative publicity that COX-2 inhibitors have suffered lately, safety concerns have arisen nonetheless. For one thing, these drugs lower the liver’s production of coenzyme Q10 (coQ10) along with its production of cholesterol. “CoQ10 is related to energy production and immune functions, is an antioxidant, and [is] an important cardiovascular nutrient,” Levin said. “It is not good to lower one’s coQ10 levels by half!”
Moreover, said Levin, statins increase the tendency of muscle tissues to break down. “Combined with inactivity or certain drugs, this can stimulate muscle wasting,” he said. “Muscle is where a good deal of calories are burned, so a loss of muscle could affect mobility and energy production, potentially adding to obesity problems. These muscle changes occurred in patients and persisted for years after treatment was discontinued, as shown by muscle biopsies, even if no obvious muscle problems were observed by the patients.”
And the last word on the subject may not have been spoken. Predicted Dr. Frank King, Jr. president of King Bio Natural Medicine (Asheville, NC), “Once the appropriate studies are finished, these drugs, along with hypertensives, will hit the fan bigger than the COX-2 inhibitors.”
Also looking toward the future, Levin said that of the 20 million Americans who will be “targeted” for statin drug prescriptions under the new NCEP guidelines, “Some of these will want to try natural methods first. Others will rebel at the side effects of the drugs and experiment with alternative products.”
King and Levin both saw opportunity for natural products in the fallout from drug safety concerns, with King projecting that sales of his company’s cholesterol-related homeopathic remedies will double in 2005. “The reports of deaths from drugs will always overshadow the trumped-up studies and news reports blasting dietary supplements,” said Levin. “Vioxx knocked vitamin E off the media’s radar screens pretty rapidly, though we still see ignorant reporters citing that [Johns Hopkins] vitamin E analysis as if it were true. But the comparable safety of supplements means that open-minded people will want to at least try natural therapies before signing in to a lifetime of drug therapies. Meanwhile, the studies on natural products will continue to build our credibility.”
Those studies keep coming in, with at least four major findings published in the past few months, plus a heart-health claim on walnuts authorized by FDA. They join a raft of earlier findings that link natural products—branded and otherwise—to healthy cholesterol levels.
"Blur of Products"
With so many natural alternatives to cholesterol drugs available, it can be hard to keep track. “As with any other category, the blur of products as they cascade over several shelves means that the retailer needs to have a good sense of what works and what they want to recommend to their customers,” Levin said. “Really, each person needs a protocol that would include antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, herbs, and oils. The pre-mixed cholesterol support formulas are a good starting place.”
To help retailers get a sense of “what works,” here is an alphabetical discussion of several nutrients that have demonstrated benefits in serum cholesterol levels. They include the following:
Barley may help lower cholesterol, according to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2004, vol.80, no.5: 1185-1193). Twenty-five adults with mild hypercholesterolemia consumed a controlled diet low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol for 19 weeks. They then added whole-grain products containing barley to their diets that contained low (0 g), medium (3 g), or high (6 g) amount of beta-glucan per day for five weeks. Total cholesterol was reduced by 4 percent 9 percent, and 10 percent, respectively. The diet with the highest amount of beta-glucan led to a decrease in LDL cholesterol of 17 percent.
Chromium. There’s evidence, Levin said, that chromium in doses of 500 mg a day may decrease levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the so-called “bad” cholesterol) and total cholesterol while raising levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good” cholesterol). At the annual meeting of the American College of Nutrition last October, a poster presentation on the safety of Benicia, CA-based InterHealth Nutraceuticals’ ChromeMate niacin-bound chromium won first prize; among other things, the presentation cited chromium’s role in maintaining healthy blood lipid levels.
Fatty Acids. The latest in a long line of studies demonstrating the benefits of fatty acids in heart health is a study published in The International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics in December 2004. It showed that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid, can restore normal blood vessel function in children with inherited high cholesterol. The study, which used Martek DHA produced from microalgae, concluded that restoration of normal blood vessel function has the “potential for preventing the progression of early coronary heart disease in high-risk children.”
“The evidence continues to accumulate on the cardiovascular benefits of DHA for people of all ages,” said Henry “Pete” Linsert, Jr., chairman and CEO of Martek Biosciences, an ingredient supplier based in Columbia, MD. “This study clearly indicates that DHA played an important role in healthy blood vessel function in the children in this study.”
On the Omega-Research.com Website maintained by fish oil manufacturer Nordic Naturals (Watsonville, CA) can be found summaries of several earlier studies linking omega-3 fatty acids to maintaining healthy blood lipid levels, as well as related benefits such as elasticity of the arteries. In a 2003 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that women receiving a mixture of 4 g eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA along with 2 g of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) had lower levels of LDL cholesterol after 28 days compared to those who received either the EPA/DHA supplements without DHA, EPA/DHA with a smaller dose of GLA, or GLA alone.
Flax is another source of omega-3s, and Arkopharma/Health From The Sun (Bedford, MA) offers FiProFLAX in a variety of forms. Marketing director Hugues P. Mas said the flax is “QAI [Quality Assurance International] certified organic and guaranteed GMO [genetically modified organism]-free.” On its Website, the company offers a cholesterol quiz geared to consumers, discussing the importance of omega-3s as well as other nutrients.
Garlic. Adding to an already considerable body of research demonstrating that garlic can lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides while increasing HDL cholesterol, researchers at UCLA in 2003 reported that Kyolic aged garlic extract reduced or inhibited plaque formation in the arteries of 19 cardiac patients taking statin drugs.
Lead researcher Matthew Budoff, Ph.D. commented at the time that the study “suggests that aged garlic extract may be a useful and beneficial dietary addition for the people who have high cardiovascular risk or who have undergone heart surgery.” Budoff has since presented several trade show seminars sponsored by Los Angeles-based Wakunaga of America, the makers of Kyolic.
Guggul. In use for centuries as a component of Ayurvedic medicine, guggul—a gummy resin tapped from the Commiphora mukul tree, which is native to India—has been studied since the early 1960s for its hypolidemic (blood-lipid lowering) properties. Sabinsa Corp. (Piscataway, NJ), an ingredient supplier which produces a standardized extract under the brand name Gugulipid, says the studies on guggul indicate that its hypolipidemic activity can be attributed to more than one mechanism of action.
Among the possible mechanisms are: inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis, enhancing the rate of excretion of cholesterol, promoting rapid degradation of cholesterol, thyroid stimulation, alteration of biogenic amines, and “high affinity binding and anion exchange.”
Homeopathy. “Homeopathy activates the body’s own control system to work properly,” said King. “This is the safest and most curative approach to take.
“Forcing the body into biochemical change even naturally doesn’t actually have the curative action of homeopathy,” King continued. “Homeopathy can even correct the genetic predispositions to disease we may have inherited from as deep as a thousand years into our family chain.” King Bio makes Artery/Cholesterol/BP, a homeopathic formula intended to help tone heart muscles and blood vessels.
Low glycemic index foods. In a study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that high glycemic load is negatively correlated to serum levels of HDL cholesterol. Assessing the relationship between blood levels of lipids and diet in a test population of 32 healthy males and females ages 11 to 25, the researchers found that glycemic load accounted for 21.1 percent of the variation in HDL cholesterol. They concluded that glycemic load appears to be an important independent predictor of HDL cholesterol in youth and noted that dietary restrictions without attention to glycemic load could unfavorably influence blood lipids.
Medicinal Mushrooms. Although its product SX-Fraction is intended primarily to address high blood sugar, Maitake Products, Inc. (MPI, Ridgefield Park, NJ) found in a clinical study that LDL cholesterol in diabetic patients declined modestly (from 142 mg/dl to 133 mg/dl) over a two-month period. Those taking SX-Fraction also lost about 7 lbs. in the same time period.
“The more impressive lowering of cholesterol, however, comes from the dietary fiber that is found in all medicinal mushrooms,” said Ellen Shnidman, manager of scientific affairs at MPI. She cited animal studies which documented the cholesterol-lowering properties of four different mushrooms: maitake, shiitake, Agaricus, and enokitake.
For example, a study reported in the September 1996 issue of Alternative Therapies showed “a 44 percent reduction in total cholesterol in rats consuming maitake mushroom in their diet,” said Shnidman. “This cholesterol reduction is accompanied by weight loss, relative to rats eating a similar high-choelsterol diet without mushrooms. Apparently, cholesterol is excreted by the rats in sufficient quantity to aid in weight loss.”
Oat bran. A 2004 consumer study conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI, Harleysville, PA) for Nurture, Inc. (Devon, PA), which produces the ingredient OatVantage, found that 63 percent of consumers managing their cholesterol levels prefer oat-based ingredients.
Oat bran is the subject of a health claim authorized by FDA in 1999, and NMI research found that 69 percent of respondents preferred the FDA-permitted health claim, “Helps Lower Cholesterol,” over the model structure-function claim, “Helps Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels.” “This is significant for food, beverage, and dietary supplement manufacturers who want to increase sales by using a more consumer-desired claim on the product label,” said Griff Parker, Nurture CEO.
Plant sterols. Also the subject of an FDA-approved claim for heart health, plant sterols (structurally similar to cholesterol in humans) can block the absorption of cholesterol, according to a number of studies. In an “Ask the Doctor” publication (available online at www.atdonline.org), Decker Weiss, N.M.D. noted that sterols enter the same receptor sites that cholesterol enters on its way to the bloodstream. “The cholesterol, being blocked from absorption, remains in our intestines where it is eventually excreted,” Weiss wrote. General Mills has just introduced Yoplait Healthy Heart, a yogurt high in plant sterols.
Policosanol. A mixture of fatty alcohols derived from sugar cane or beeswax, policosanol has been favorably compared in clinical studies to several types of prescription drugs for managing cholesterol. On its own, policosanol was found in a 1999 study to reduce LDL cholesterol while raising levels of HDL cholesterol.
Probiotics. “Several studies have indicated that consumption of certain cultured dairy products resulted in reduction of serum cholesterol, as well as triglycerides,” wrote Dr. S.K. Dash, president of probiotic manufacturer UAS Laboratories (Eden Prairie, MN), in his Consumer Guide to Probiotics. Among other studies, Dash cited two controlled clinical studies from the VA Medical Center at the University of Kentucky.
“In the first study, fermented milk containing [Lactobacillus] acidophilus was accompanied by a 2.4 percent reduction of serum cholesterol concentration,” he wrote. “In the second study, a different L. acidophilus strain reduced serum cholesterol concentration by 3.2 percent. Since every 1 percent reduction in serum cholesterol concentration is associated with an estimated 2 to 3 percent reduction in risk for coronary heart disease [CHD], regular intake of fermented milk containing an appropriate strain of L. acidophilus has the potential of reducing risk for [CHD] by 6 to 10 percent.”
Dash said his company’s DDS Probiotics contain DDS-1 L. acidophilus, “which has been researched and demonstrated to show cholesterol-lowering effect.”
Psyllium. “Internal cleansing is very important” in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, “especially if you do it with a lot of fiber,” said Sunil Kohli, vice president of Chino, CA-based Health Plus, Inc. The cholesterol-managing ability of fiber in general and psyllium in particular is “very well-established,” he said.
However, Kohli said, “It will probably do you no good if it’s random. It should be done on a regular basis, and it should be supervised. Consulting the doctor or pharmacist is important.”
Soy. The protein in soy “has evidence of lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, based on reviews of studies using over 20 g of soy protein per day,” said Levin. “Soy isoflavones are considered only partly responsible for this effect.”
Sytrinol. A patented proprietary formula derived from natural citrus and palm fruit extracts and containing citrus polymethoxylated flavones and palm tocotrienols, Sytrinol has been shown in clinical trials to improve total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides by up to 30 percent, 27 percent, and 33 percent, respectively. Having just wrapped up Phase III of a long-term trial of Sytrinol, Chicago-based SourceOne Global Partners, which owns the exclusive worldwide license for intellectual property associated with the ingredient, is commencing a study that combines Sytrinol with plant sterols.
Tocotrienols. On its Website discussing the science and benefits of tocotrienols (www.tocotrienol.org), ingredient supplier Carotech Inc. (Edison, NJ) identifies several benefits for blood lipid levels. Tocotrienols, according to the Website, have been shown to “inhibit cholesterol production in the liver, thereby lowering total blood cholesterol;” “[suppress] hepatic HMG-CoA reductase activity [and result in] the lowering of LDL cholesterol levels;” and “inhibit cholesterogenesis by suppressing HMG-CoA reductase.”
With all of this, Levin said, it’s important for retailers to remember that “they are not allowed to discuss diseases and remedies unless there is an approved FDA health claim allowed on the label, as with soy protein and plant sterols. What is allowed are structure-function claims such as ‘cholesterol support,’ ‘promoting normal, healthy circulation,’ ‘homocysteine regulators,’ etc.”
Supplementation is only one tool for managing cholesterol levels, manufacturers pointed out. “Besides nutrition, lifestyle is a key to controlling cholesterol,” Levin said. “Eating a variety of antioxidant-rich foods will prevent the liver from churning out cholesterol as a ‘cheap’ antioxidant. The body uses oxidized cholesterol to patch leaky and damaged blood vessels, so the ability to build healthy collagen is a must, using nutrients like vitamin C, Pycnogenol, rutin, hyaluronic acid, and MSM.
“Don’t forget exercise and stress reduction,” he added. “Stress results in high cortisol levels—usually accompanied by poor blood lipid levels—and a lack of good sleep to produce unhealthy people.” VR
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