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Insights on the link between kidney damage and cognitive impairment Darrell Miller 12/4/16
Reducing salt intake may help protect kidney patients’ heart and kidney health Darrell Miller 12/3/16
What is Monk Fruit And Why Is It Healthy? Darrell Miller 7/24/13
Supremacy of Pea Protein Over The Other Protein Sources Darrell Miller 3/1/12
Fight Pain Improve Blood Sugar And Heart Health with OPC Pine Bark Extract Darrell Miller 6/7/11
Horsetail Darrell Miller 8/31/09
Copper Darrell Miller 5/15/08
Essential Oil Quality Darrell Miller 12/7/05
BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS Darrell Miller 7/15/05
Immunity - The Big Picture Darrell Miller 6/10/05



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Insights on the link between kidney damage and cognitive impairment
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Date: December 04, 2016 08:59 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Insights on the link between kidney damage and cognitive impairment





A recent study has found that patients with kidney disease are at a higher risk of having impaired cognitive function. The reason for the connection is unknown. The main indicators of cognitive impairment were increased Albuminuria and lowered glomerular filtration rate. When these values got worse in patients, their brain function was found to be more impaired.

Key Takeaways:

  • People with kidney disease are at high risk of cognitive impairment, but the nature of this relationship remains uncertain.
  • After adjusting for various demographic and clinical characteristics, higher Albumin in the urine, which is indicative of poor kidney function, was linked with worse performance on tests of global cognitive function, executive function, memory, and attention.
  • Lower estimated glomerular filtration rate, another indicator of poor kidney function, was linked with worse performance on tests of global cognitive function and memory.

"The findings cement the association between kidney damage and cognitive functioning, suggesting that Albumin in the urine and changes in brain structure are likely both representations of the same vascular process, just in different organs,"



Reference:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161117204911.htm

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Reducing salt intake may help protect kidney patients’ heart and kidney health
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Date: December 03, 2016 02:59 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Reducing salt intake may help protect kidney patients’ heart and kidney health





Chronic kidney disease is a serious condition. One of the most detrimental effects of the disease is Albuminuria. In most patients, this effect can be controlled by kidney medications. In some, however, Albuminuria cannot be reduced. A recent study in which 45 patients were asked to reduce their sodium intake, take paricalcitrol, or both showed promising results in significantly reducing Albuminuria. Reducing salt intake alone helped, but combining both salt reduction and paricalcitrol provided the best results.

Key Takeaways:

  • New research indicates that reducing sodium intake may provide kidney and heart benefits for patients with chronic kidney disease.
  • Investigators found that dietary sodium restriction led to a significant reduction of residual Albuminuria and blood pressure.
  • Even a moderate reduction in sodium intake may provide serious health benefits.

"The investigators found that dietary sodium restriction led to a significant reduction of residual Albuminuria and blood pressure, whereas paricalcitol had no significant effect on these measures. The combination of paricalcitol and a low sodium diet, however, resulted in the lowest Albuminuria levels."



Reference:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161117204914.htm

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What is Monk Fruit And Why Is It Healthy?
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Date: July 24, 2013 10:24 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: What is Monk Fruit And Why Is It Healthy?

monk

Monk fruit also known as luo han guo is a green melon cultivated in central Asia. It has been cultivated for many years by the Buddhist monks. The fruit contains an intensely sweet compound known as mogroside. It is a healthy, natural alternative to sugars and artificial sweeteners. The fruit is extracted in order to get mogroside which is many times sweeter than sugar. Monk fruit is crushed, combined with water, filtered and spray-dried to produce a sweet-zero-calorie powder known as fruit-sweetness. This sugar is used in several foods and beverages.

Health benefits

Ancient Chinese and Buddhist used monk fruit as treatment for various ailments, such as constipation, sunstroke and coughing. Modern research shows that mogroside can be used to treat diabetes since it contains a low glycemic index and can stimulate insulin secretion. In china, monk fruit was also used for many years to treat obesity and diabetes. The fruit contains antioxidants with anti- inflammatory benefits.

British Journal of Nutrition reported that use of monk fruit by animals showed a reduction in lipid peroxidation or cell damage as well as urinary Albumin levels. This shows that it protects kidneys from diabetic damage.

Monk fruit strengthens the immune system, digestive tract, respiratory system as well as glands. This fruit is capable of eliminating and defending people against various health-related issues. The fruit reduces cholesterol, triglycerides and improve liver function. Furthermore, it increases good cholesterol while protecting the liver. It prevents cholesterol oxidization (due to its antioxidant potential) this results to reduced risk of heart diseases and strokes.

Monk fruit extract has an antihistamine effect. The extract tends to counter an allergic response by soothing the mast cells that produces chemicals such as histamine. This chemical is related to both allergies and asthma. It is considered one of the best non-sugar sweeteners. It is combined with supplements used to promote and maintain a healthy weight.


Reference

  1. //www.thekitchen.com
  2. //thescienceofeating.com
  3. //www.tateandlyle.com/ingredientsandservices/chooseaningredientorservice/americas/pages/purefruit%E2%84%A2monkfruitextract.aspx

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Supremacy of Pea Protein Over The Other Protein Sources
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Date: March 01, 2012 08:53 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Supremacy of Pea Protein Over The Other Protein Sources

Supremacy of Pea Protein Over The Other Protein Sources

Protein is essential for your overall health and it is considered as the valuable source of energy. You can meet your daily protein requirements by eating various animal products such as meat and milk. It can also be obtained by consuming some dietary supplements. Pea protein is a new alternative protein powder, which is manufactured by using yellow peas. This is allergen free, easily absorbable and coming with great taste.

Pea protein is ideal for people who are intolerant to lactose. You can also use it if you cannot digest milk and meat properly. Due to the high digestion rate, this protein is used to complement non dairy foods, pastas, beverages, and a number of meal replacement shakes. You can also regulate your appetite effectively and can reduce weight significantly by using pea protein.

If you consume pea protein before and after your weight training session, you can achieve your body building goal very easily. This protein contains chain amino acids, which is helpful for restoring your muscle. It is also beneficial for treating some chronic diseases like kidney problems.

Benefits of Pea Protein over Other Protein Sources

Pea Protein Vs Whey Protein

Compared to other protein supplements, whey protein is very popular because of high biological values and chain amino acids. Your body can also absorb it very quickly. However, it is also very allergic due to the presence of lactose or casein. Though whey protein is coming either without or very less content of these two products, bovine serum Albumin, alpha-lactAlbumin, and beta-lactoglobulin in whey protein are highly allergenic. The cholesterol content in whey protein is also very high.

Pea Protein Vs Soy Protein

Soy protein cannot be considered as an effective alternative and it also contains high allergens. If you eat more soy protein, chances of developing allergies will also be very high. If the phytates content is not removed, soy protein prevents the absorption of major minerals like calcium. If soy protein has not been fermented, it can contain potent enzyme inhibitors, which leads to the blockage of the activities of trypsin and the other enzymes needed for the digestion of protein. This leads to the formation of gas and the promotion of pathological conditions in pancreas. Once, soy oil industry considered soy protein as a waste product and it was used as cattle feed.

Pea Protein Vs Milk Protein

Milk is the primary source of protein but the milk protein supplements create problems such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, gas, etc. You may also develop lactose intolerance due to the consumption of milk protein. A large number of food allergies, such as fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, etc, are caused by milk products. It can also cause asthma and sinus infections.

Pea is a member of plant family and there is no need of using complicated methods for extracting protein. These are also grown in environmentally friendly way. The defenses of your body can be broken down due to exercise, aging and stress. When you become old, you will be more vulnerable to diseases, infections, oxidative damages, and tissue degeneration. These problems can be solved by using pea protein powder.

(https://vitanetonline.com:443/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=1&Message_ID=2598)


Fight Pain Improve Blood Sugar And Heart Health with OPC Pine Bark Extract
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Date: June 07, 2011 11:36 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Fight Pain Improve Blood Sugar And Heart Health with OPC Pine Bark Extract

How Does OPC Pine Bark Boost Your Health?

OPC pine bark has become increasingly popular in the supplement industry due to obvious reasons. It is one of the best antioxidant formulas available today. There has been so much research involved in its development, and the studies that followed have published largely positive results. In the past few years it has received a lot of good press, which has significantly contributed to its commercial success.

OPC stands for oligomeric proanthocyanidin, a class of flavonoids. OPC has been in use as a nutritional supplement since the 1980s. To this day, it remains an important source of polyphenolic antioxidants. Moreover, it has been linked to a diverse variety of health benefits, and laboratory studies concerning its effects on human health are well publicized. Pine bark extracts are one of its best known sources.

Promotes Heart Health

OPC pine bark has long been associated with heart health. For one, it has shown to help lower lipid levels in the blood, including cholesterol, triglycerides, and lipoproteins. It interferes with the productions of bad cholesterol into the blood and protects the blood vessels from lipid peroxidation.

In addition, it facilitates normal flow of blood and combats chronic venous insufficiency. It contributes to the upkeep of blood vessel walls and keeps the veins and arteries in prime working condition. By so doing, it promotes proper circulation to the deepest reaches of the body and back to the heart.

Improves Kidney Function

OPC pine bark is particularly good for the kidney as it appears to improve renal function, especially in the context of metabolic syndrome. Central obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus, and high blood pressure are all symptoms of metabolic syndrome, which takes its toll on the kidneys.

Kidney problems have been observed in people with elevated levels of Albumin in the urine. When filters of the kidney are damaged, proteins from the blood such as Albumin leak into the urine. OPC pine bark restores health to the capillaries in the kidneys that filters waste materials from the blood.

Counteracts Pain Chemicals

Sufferers of joint pain are likely to benefit from OPC pine bark. Joint pain is often tied to osteoarthritis, the most common form arthritis. It is often accompanied by stiffness and reduced mobility. OPC pine bark has been used as a therapeutic treatment for osteoarthritis and other causes of joint pain.

There is good evidence that OPC pine bark is effective in counteracting pain chemicals and relieving inflammatory pain. In several randomized, double blind, placebo controlled studies, regular intake of OPC improved joint pain and stiffness, reduced reliance on analgesics, enhanced physical function.

Prevents Oxidative Stress

OPC pine bark is free radical scavenger, first and foremost. It is arguably the most researched plant polyphenol largely owing to its potent antioxidant capacity. As an antioxidant, it prevents radical damage from progressing to oxidative stress and promotes cellular longevity.

OPC Pine bark may also help manage blood sugar. What is stopping you from taking OPC pine back daily?

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Horsetail
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Date: August 31, 2009 01:36 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Horsetail

Horsetail has been used for healing in both Chinese and Asian cultures. During times of famine, the Romans ate horsetail shoots, while Native Americans used horsetail as a diuretic for kidney problems, cancer, and dropsy to increase blood circulation. The Hopi tribe in New Mexico mixed horsetail and cornmeal as a mush and in their bread. One of the oldest plants on the earth, horsetail is approximately two hundred million years old. It used to be a giant fernlike plant. However, there are now around twenty species of the original plant living today. These species are small in comparison to the original plant and are usually considered to be a nuisance. The species Equisetum arvense is a small perennial fern plant that is most common in North America.

The horsetail plant is a descendent of huge tree-like plants that thrived 400 million years ago during the Paleozoic era. The plant is a non-flowering weed that can be found throughout parts of Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North America. This plant returns each year with hollow stems and shoots that resemble asparagus. As the plant dries, silica crystals, which form in the stems and branches, give the plant the scratching effect that made it historically useful for polishing metal.

Horsetail is believed to aid the immune system and the nervous system because of its silica content. The nerves contain almost the same amount of silica as does the Albumin in the blood. The pancreas is especially rich in silica. Silica is found combined with fluorine in the enamel of the teeth. Additionally, hair needs silica to grow, and it is needed as a protection for the skin and cell walls. This herb helps in treating urinary tract problems. It contains silicic acid, which is responsible for helping with circulation of the blood. This herb is also credited with helping coagulate the blood and decreasing blood flow. An externally-applied decoction has the ability to stop bleeding of wounds and help with healing. Horsetail can also be used as a mouthwash for mouth infections. Often found in calcium combinations, horsetail is helpful in building the skeletal system and improving bone structure. The silica that is found in horsetail also helps in healing bones, keeping the arteries clean, and facilitating the absorption of calcium in the body.

This herb is known for its antibiotic properties and its contribution to the overall healing process. Horsetail is also thought to help with bleeding, urinary and prostate disorders, bed-wetting, skin problems, and lung disease. Horsetail also possesses a weak diuretic effect, which is most notably due to the equisetonin and the flavone glycosides.

In short, the entire horsetail herb is used to provide alterative, antilithic, antineoplastic, astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, lithotriptic, nephritic, nutritive, and vulnerary properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are flavonoids, iodine, iron, manganese, PABA, pantothenic acid, silicon, sodium, and vitamin E. Primarily, this herb is extremely beneficial in treating arthritis, poor circulation, diabetes, glandular problems, weak hair, kidney stones, weak nails, nervousness, osteoporosis, parasites, rheumatism, and urinary problems.

Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with edema, eyestrain, gas, gout, heart problems, hemorrhage, incontinence, liver disorders, membrane irritations, neuralgia, palsy, skin disorders, tumors, and water retention. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by horsetail, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.

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Copper
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Date: May 15, 2008 01:21 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Copper

Copper is an essential trace mineral necessary for life, and it is necessary for the proper function of certain enzymes that allow certain biochemical functions of the body to take place. Without copper neither plant nor animal life would be possible.

Dietary sources include nuts, grains, seeds, beans and other vegetable protein sources. Although it is also obtained from animal sources, these tend to be rich in zinc, and for reasons that will be discussed shortly, the presence of zinc can deplete copper absorption. Other common sources are copper cooking utensils and drinking water from copper pipes. After digestion, copper is absorbed into the body through the stomach and the small intestine. It is also possible for copper to be absorbed through the skin from copper bracelets.

Once absorbed, copper is bound to Albumin and taken by the blood to the liver, where it is bound to a plasma protein known as ceruloplasmin. Among the enzymes with which copper is associated as a ‘helper’ are Cytochrome C oxidase, used in the conversion of glucose to energy, Dopamine hydroxylase, an essential component in the biochemical production of adrenaline, and superoxidase dismutase, that protects against the oxidative damage of cell tissue. Of particular benefit are its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and its role in energy production. Because of its antioxidant effect, copper could well play a very important role in protecting against atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease, the ravaging effects of free radicals on body cells and also certain forms of cancer.

Copper is also important in electron transport, and is responsible for the blue coloration of the blood of most molluscs and many arthropods. This is because rather than hemoglobin, these animals use the copper-based hemocyanin for oxygen transport in the blood. Rather than the iron-containing hemoglobin making the blood of these creatures red as it is with mammals, theirs is blue due to the hemocyanin. Copper salts are generally green and blue, as are the blue copper proteins plastocyanin and azurin.

So how is copper used by the body? It is, after all, fairly toxic, as little as 30 grams being fatal to humans, bringing on similar symptoms to those of arsenic poisoning. It is in fact the reason for its toxicity that also renders it so useful to the body. The toxicity is largely due to the ability of copper to accept and donate electrons as it changes between oxidation states. This results in the generation of very reactive radicals that can cause severe oxidative stress. The complete reason for its toxicity has yet to be determined, but the stress caused to body cells by free radical oxidation is a very serious condition.

It is this rapid change in its oxidation state that is valuable to the enzymes with which it is associated. The ceruloplasmin is responsible for most of the transport of bivalent copper around the body, in the tissues of which it helps to form the bivalent copper enzymes previously mentioned, such as Cytochrome C oxidase and Lysyl oxidase. In doing so the copper is converted to the monovalent state.

It also helps to aid in the production of the strong antioxidant Superoxide dismutase (SOD). What this enzyme does is to catalyze the formation of oxygen and hydrogen peroxide by the dismutation of superoxide, a negative ion consisting of two oxygen atoms and a free electron, and hence a very powerful free radical. Dismutation is the simultaneous oxidation and reduction of the species, rendering the free radical relatively harmless. This type of action on free radicals is a very powerful one, and essential in the body’s fight against such free radical species that are so dangerous to animal cells.

SOD exists in more than one form, and can also contain zinc, manganese and nickel in addition to copper. The internal fluid (cytosol) of practically all eukaryotic cells (cells containing a nucleus) contain a form of Superoxide dismutase dependent on copper and zinc, while most mitochondria contain an SOD with manganese.

Another of the important uses that your body can find for copper lies in the production of hemoglobin. This is because copper is needed for the storage and release of iron to produce hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells. It is believed that ceruloplasmin is involved in the catalytic formation of ferric iron by the oxidation of ferrous iron, so allowing the iron to be attached to a protein that transfers it round the body to enable its use in the biosynthesis of various ferrous compounds, especially of hemoglobin.

Copper bracelets are commonly worn by arthritis sufferers, and there is a scientific explanation for that. As previously inferred, it is believed to be possible to absorb copper through the skin and copper is known to be involved in the formation of collagen and is a commonly used treatment for arthritis and osteoporosis. Part of its effect on arthritis is likely due to the antioxidant effect of the SOD that helps to reduce the inflammation at arthritis sites.

Although a deficiency in copper can lead to serious health problems, an excess is also harmful. Potential conditions include neurological problems, liver damage and bone abnormalities, although deficiency is far more common because of the competition between copper and zinc. Zinc is a copper antagonist, as is iron and manganese, and copper imbalances can be moderated by the use of these as supplements.

The symptoms of a copper deficiency include fatigue, hair loss, stunted growth, anorexia and a host of other conditions. Luckily, however, a deficiency is rare and most people receive a sufficient amount of copper in their diet. Supplements are available to ensure an adequate intake.

There is still much to be learned about the interaction between copper and enzymes, and there is also a great deal still to be learned of its role in human metabolism and biochemistry than is currently known. However, sufficient is known already for us to be certain that copper is a very important trace element and that we should be certain that our intake is sufficient, given that zinc iron and manganese compete to prevent copper being absorbed by the body.

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Essential Oil Quality
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Date: December 07, 2005 04:19 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Essential Oil Quality

Essential Oil Quality

By Lou DeMers, Quality Assurance, January 7, 2005 The Importance of Species The quality of an essential oil, or the perception of this quality, involves many factors. One factor has much to do with the specific plant species used. When obtaining an essential oil, one must look past the common or trivial names and insist on the Latin binomial or scientific name. To do otherwise will result in the purchase and use of a material that is of lesser or no therapeutic value, and certainly of different aroma. Take, for example, Sandalwood essential oil. The highest quality oil is derived from the East Indian Sandalwood tree species Santalum Album. This essential oil has been vigorously analyzed to determine that it contains 16 major components, the chief being the alpha and beta Santalols at not less than 90% of the total content. There are 12 other sesquiterpene analogues of Santalol, which also lend to the overall characteristic aroma associated with this essential oil. Additionally, much of the therapeutic value is attributed to the two Santalol isomers and their high content. Another sandalwood essential oil is the West Australian Sandalwood derived from the tree species Eucarya spicata, also called Santalum spicatum. While this essential oil does contain alpha-Santalol, it also contains other sesquiterpene alcohols that are not analogues of Santalol. Interestingly enough a typical analysis will state the free alcohol content (calculated as Santalol) as not less than 90%. But this is deceiving in that the actual Santalol content is much less than this at around 60-65%, and only the alpha isomer and not the beta isomer is present. A third lesser-known sandalwood is another Western Australian sandalwood called Santalum lanceolatum. The essential oil from this species contains no Santalol whatsoever. In conclusion, the Santalol content of the three sandalwood essential oils accounts for their very different aroma and therapeutic values, and care should be exercised to ensure the desired product is obtained. You can be assured that the NOW Quality Assurance team is looking at these issues when deciding how to source our raw materials so you can be assured of the highest quality products in our label.

LIST

--
Vitanet ®

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BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS
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Date: July 15, 2005 09:33 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS

BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS

With the increasing rates of several blood-carried diseases (like AIDS), blood transfusion and blood donation rates are declining. Ensuring that donated blood is not “contaminated” by disease dictates that fewer people can donate blood, while fear of being contaminated by blood tainted by blood usually dissuades physicians from requiring blood transfusions unless absolutely necessary. Finding some sort of treatment of tainted blood would not only save money and time, but also calm fears about the possibility of being infected with a potentially serious disease through a blood transfusion. Hypericum is showing great promise in being able to treat blood contaminated by viruses. A recent Transfusion study states, Since hypericin is devoid of adverse action in most blood components and blood analyses, it is investigated as an additive with potential to inactivate infective viruses in blood components intended for transfusion. . . . Complete inactivation of 10 (6) tissue culture-infective doses of human immunodeficiency virus was obtained in whole blood and in diluted packed red cells after illumination with fluorescent light for 1 hour. Loss of viral infectivity to cultured CEM cells has been monitored by use of a detection assay for human immunodeficiency virus p55 in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and cytopathic assays. In physiologic media, hypericin interacts with Albumin and lipoproteins, retaining the virucidal activity in bound form. . . . The apparent transfusibility of hypericin, taken together with the efficacy of the virucidal activity, the broad range of enveloped viruses affected, and the absence of adverse effects on stored red cells, may render hypericin useful for inactivation of infectious viruses in red cells.24

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Immunity - The Big Picture
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Date: June 10, 2005 09:51 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Immunity - The Big Picture

Immunity: The Big Picture by Brian Amherst Energy Times, August 3, 1999

Your body wants to be well. Outfitted with a battalion of defenses for strategic deployment, your immune system explodes with resistant force at the first sign of infective invasion.

Think of the time a tiny splinter embedded itself in your thumb. By bedtime, the spot rose and reddened; by morning, white blood cells had launched their campaign, building a hot, throbbing fortification. By day's end, the bit of wood was propelled to the surface and ejected by the immune system warriors. Once again, a foreign assailant was summarily ousted.

The Protective Force
The immune system is a dazzlingly complex mechanism charged with guarding against infection, colds, flu and cancer. Laced with networks of couriers and transmitters, backed up by intricate fail safe devices and reinforced by memory units, immunity constantly adapts to highly specific and evolving needs.

"Supporting the immune system is critical to good health. Conversely, good health is critical to supporting the immune system." So write naturopathic doctors Michael T. Murray and Joseph E. Pizzorno in their Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima).

Maintaining the immune system requires a comprehensive program of wholesome diet, resilient attitude, fitness enhancing activity and nutrients keyed to the clear and specific needs of this energetic machine.

The all-star lineup for immune sustenance: a high-potency multiple vitamin/mineral formula, vitamins C and A, bioflavonoids, isoflavones, zinc and selenium, antioxidants like ActiVin (grape seed extract) and pycnogenol (French maritime pine bark), as well as the botanicals echinacea and astragalus.

But optimal partnering with your immune system also benefits from understanding its workings.

The Battlefronts
The immune system wages war on the organ, tissue and cellular fronts. It encompasses the lymphatic vessels and organs (lymph nodes, thymus, spleen and tonsils), white blood cells, specialized cells in particular tissues and customized chemicals.

Lymph, a milky fluid consisting of water protein and immune cells, is the essence of the immune system. Powered by muscle movement (an important reason why exercise boosts immunity), the lymphatic system collects and transports lymph to the lymph nodes. These nodes contain certain immune cells and filter out invading antigens, as well as produce antibodies, before siphoning the lymph out into the bloodstream.

If you've ever had "swollen glands," that means your lymph nodes have been in overdrive.

Macrophages are the immune cells that filter lymph, consuming bacteria and cellular debris while protecting the lymph system from invasion and damage.

Gland Tidings
Two organs dominate immune function: n The thymus. The most influential, critical gland of the immune system, located just below the thyroid gland and above the heart; produces T lymphocytes, white blood cells responsible for cell-mediated immunity not controlled by antibodies. This immune response is tailored to specific antigens and is vital to resisting infection from mold-like bacteria including yeast, fungi, parasites and such viruses as Epstein-Barr, herpes simplex and hepatitis. It also protects against cancer, allergies and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. n The spleen. The largest mass (about seven ounces) of lymphatic tissue in the body, located in the upper left abdomen behind the lower ribs; it produces white blood cells, which engulf and destroy bacteria and cellular debris; recycles material from worn out red blood cells and platelets; produces immune system enhancing compounds, including the proteins tufsin and splenopentin, and spleen extracts.

The White Blood Cell Album
Although white blood cells (WBCs) are uniformly accountable for protecting the body against bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites, the different types of WBCs vary considerably in form and function. n Neutrophils phagocytize, that is, eat, viruses, bacteria and old or dead cells. They don't need any biochemical messengers for activation and their effectiveness is wide-ranging.

In Monocytes collect cellular trash after infections and can trigger immune responses; eosinophils can eliminate foreign particles and, with basophils, are involved in immune response.

In Lymphocytes include varieties of T cells, which work with other white blood cells or attack and destroy foreign tissue, cancer cells or virus-infected cells; B cells that produce antibodies that bind to bacteria, viruses or tumors; and natural killer cells (NKCs) that destroy cancerous or virally-infected cells.

(Based on information in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine; The Road to Immunity: How to Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) by Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin; and the Johns Hopkins Family Health Book (Harper Resource).

Keep the System Sound
Your immunity mechanism calls for special care and support. The dilemma: How to develop a balanced system of complementary and alternative therapies to build and sustain powerhouse immunity? "There is no question that, in terms of immune system response, certain supplements can reduce infections, asthma, autoimmune disease and risk factors for cancer," says Samuel D. Benjamin, MD, former project director of the Arizona Center for Health and Medicine and an ardent advocate for complementary medicine.

"But you must always be sure to maintain the mind-body-spirit link," he told Energy Times. "For the mind, it could be exercise, yoga or meditation. Evidence shows improved immune system responses from these therapies. And in any case, you never read in the headlines that somebody has been admitted to the emergency room overdosing on meditation.

"Intentionality also is an important part of the mind link: believing you are going to fare well. For your spirit, you must ask yourself such questions as, Do I feel connected to others?

"For the body, a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement. Much depends on your community: I live on Long Island, where there is a high incidence of breast cancer, so I would recommend green tea and isoflavones from soy products for women."

Dr. Benjamin stresses moderation in the use of immune-intensifying supplements, among which he cites mixed carotenoids, zinc and vitamin E.

The Soy Solution
Scientists who took the cue from the apparent link between high-soy Asian diets and low cancer incidence have developed a compelling case for soy as an immune-supportive anticancer agent.

In a study conducted by the University of Southern California at Norris and published in the March 4, 1998 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers reported that genistein, an active component of soy products, short-circuits the ability of tumor cells to elude destruction by the immune system due to an excess of defensive stress proteins.

Genistein seems to make cancer cells vulnerable to the immune response. Researchers at Wake Forest University told participants at the January 1999 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that dietary or supplemental soy fed to monkeys counteracted cell proliferation that is a cancer precursor.

That Championship C
Probably the most widely recognized immune accelerator is vitamin C, an honored warrior against scurvy and, in 1970, again celebrated by Linus Pauling for its preventive powers over the common cold.

Immune cells are known to accumulate and retain high levels of vitamin C. Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York now understand how that happens: Proteins called growth factors (which control growth and production of immune cells) also increase those cells' ability to take up vitamin C.

These researchers, reporting in the April 1998 issue of the journal Blood, explain that the additional glucose that the growth factors pump into immune cells (for enhanced energy), plus extra vitamin C, intensify immune response.

And folks with higher levels of vitamin C in their blood serum experience less cell damage from free radicals that leads to cancer, heart and pulmonary disease and other chronic conditions.

Scientists at the University of Buffalo (addressing the June 13, 1997 meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research) deduced from studying population groups that high levels of vitamin C are associated with low oxidative stress and lower risk of cell damage.

From A to Zinc
In Kids with neuroblastoma, a malignant tumor of embryonic nerve cells and the third most common form of childhood cancer, experienced significantly improved survival rates when their therapy included high doses of retinoic acid, a derivative of vitamin A, according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, and Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, who reported to the American Society for Clinical Oncology on May 18, 1998.

In Colostrum, the pre-milk liquid produced by mammals during the first 24 to 48 hours after birth, took the spotlight recently as a supplement imbued with multiple immune factors and natural antibiotics that augment body's immune response. A 1992 study showed that bovine colostrum might be able to reduce and prevente infections in immune deficient folks, especially those with AIDS.

In University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers found for the first time (on laboratory animals) that vitamin D appreciably inhibits widespread prostate cancer by binding to cancer cells and triggering cell death or their transformation to benign cells.

In Vitamin E exerts formidable immune-enhancing influence on both antibody and cell-mediated immunity. One fundamental study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (245, 1981: 53-58) established conclusively that vitamin E deficiency results in significant impairment of immune function. Later studies demonstrated that it reduces prostate cancer by up to one-third.

In Coenzyme A, described as a metabolic enzyme, takes part in starting numerous body processes that provide energy for the immune system. If you ever run short of this enzyme, fat processing within your body would grind to a halt.

in Researchers looking at a substance with the tongue twisting name 3-acetyl-7-oxo-Dehydroepiandro-sterone, believe it aids immunity by quelling stress hormones.

in Mushrooms contain natural substances called polysaccharides, believed to enhance immunity. In particular, maitake mushroom, which conveys the immune booster beta-D-glucans, is reputed to help fight infections and drop blood pressure.

in Men and women taking selenium supplements for 10 years had 41% less total cancer than those taking a dummy, according to a January 1997 study by Cornell University and the University of Arizona. Other studies have shown it to reduce the risk for colon cancer by about 60%. n Zinc may provide immediate protection against the all too common cold. Scientists at the University of Florida were the first to apply genetic fingerprinting methods like those used in criminal and paternity investigations to understand how nutrients directly affect human immune cells.

The study, in the April 1998 Journal of Nutrition, demonstrates that zinc signals cells to make the protein metallothionein, which protects against infections, toxins and other stressors.

Phytochemicals a la Carte
Researchers extol the powers of phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables available in dietary or supplement form as immune-igniting antioxidants. These compounds neutralize free radicals that oxidize cellular membranes, rendering them vulnerable to cancer.The Strang Cancer Prevention Center, an affiliate of New York Presbyterian Hospital, offers a menu of the top antioxidant phytochemicals. The center's director, Mitchell L. Gaynor, MD, is coauthor (with Jerry Hickey, RPh) of Dr. Gaynor's Cancer Prevention Program (Kensington): n Carotenoids, including beta-carotene from veggies and lycopene (the substance that lends the tomato is ruddy complexion), fight free radicals.

n Isoflavones from soy, fight angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels form to supply nutrients to cancerous growths. n Sulforaphane in broccoli, kale and cabbage activates anticancer enzymes.

n Omega-3 fatty acids in cold water fish block the synthesis of prostaglandins, natural compounds in the body that promote tumor growth.

n Ginger contains antioxidant compounds, each more potent than vitamin E. Recent studies on mice show ginger can prevent skin tumors. n Rosemary contains carnosol which deactivates carcinogens and helps limit the effects of prostaglandins.

Sometimes the world can look like a dangerous place, especially when you're sick and tired much of the time. But in the search for immunity, menus of health help like this ensure that no matter what your immunity needs, a boost can be yours with the proper nutrient selection.



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