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Herbal additives such as cumin oil found to increase shelf life offresh fish fillets Darrell Miller 11/26/18
At least one major company has admitted to adding flavoring chemicals to its farmed fish to make it taste more like the wild-caught varieties that consumers prefer Darrell Miller 12/11/16
What is Red Marine Algae And What Are Its Health Benefits? Darrell Miller 6/1/11
Agave Nectar Darrell Miller 4/8/10
DHA Darrell Miller 7/22/08
Bacopa Extract Darrell Miller 5/30/08
Blue Green Algae a Super Food that is Foods Packed With Nutrients. Vegetarian Friendly Darrell Miller 4/11/08
Astaxanthin - PHYTONUTRIENT ANTIOXIDANT Darrell Miller 12/28/05
SPA: Satisfying Personal Attention Darrell Miller 6/14/05
Acupuncture nutrient Connection Darrell Miller 6/12/05



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Herbal additives such as cumin oil found to increase shelf life offresh fish fillets
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Date: November 26, 2018 02:52 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Herbal additives such as cumin oil found to increase shelf life offresh fish fillets





Fish is a popular edible. In fact the Food and Agricultural Organization estimates that fish eaters consume up to 163 million tons of the aquatic protein every year. That's a lot of fish to freeze. And, unfortunately, more so than is the case with other popular proteins, fish spoils easily, even when kept on ice. Adding a natural antimicrobial agent, such as the common kitchen spice, black cumin, could be an inexpensive and economy-boosting way to extend the shelf life of vulnerable fish. This premise has actually been tested and proven by researchers at the Firat University in Turkey, where a study that utilized black cumin oil to extend the life of fish fillets proved entirely successful. The study showed that no negative side effects endured from the process. In addition to improving the safety of fish, the researchers noted that the process was environmentally sound as well, as it required less energy.

Key Takeaways:

  • Researchers from the Turkish University, Firat University, have uncovered a use for the common kitchen spice, black cumin, that does not involve direct human consumption.
  • The Food and Agricultural Organization has noted that up to 163 tons of fish are consumed per year, even though the protein is very prone to spoilage, even when refrigerated.
  • The use of a natural antimicrobial agent, such as black cumin, promotes food safety, lowers energy cost and ups the value of the fish.

"The use of natural antimicrobials such as organic acids, essential oils, plant extracts, and bacteriocins could be good alternatives to ensure food safety."

Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-11-06-cumin-oil-increases-shelf-life-of-fresh-fish-fillets.html

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At least one major company has admitted to adding flavoring chemicals to its farmed fish to make it taste more like the wild-caught varieties that consumers prefer
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Date: December 11, 2016 07:59 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: At least one major company has admitted to adding flavoring chemicals to its farmed fish to make it taste more like the wild-caught varieties that consumers prefer





An Aquaculture company has used artificial flavorings to give its farmed fish the taste of wild-caught pollock. HQSM has signed a joint development agreement with the Beijing division of Newly Weds Foods Inc. to market the "sea flavor" tilapia, which is processed to give it both the texture and flavor of wild-caught Alaska pollock, a northern Pacific whitefish that is the favored ingredient in fish sticks, fish fillets and similar products, as well as imitation crab meat.

Key Takeaways:

  • Company officials have admitted, however, that TiLoveYa tilapia contains flavoring chemicals designed to make it taste more like wild-caught fish. It's unclear how that makes the fish in any way "natural."
  • The artificially flavored fish is widespread and hard to avoid; TiLoveYa products are available in a wide variety of retail stores, and the company also aggressively markets them to restaurants.
  • And if one company is adding artificial flavors to its fish, you can bet that others are doing it too.

"Company officials have admitted, however, that TiLoveYa tilapia contains flavoring chemicals designed to make it taste more like wild-caught fish. It's unclear how that makes the fish in any way "natural.""



Reference:

//www.naturalnews.com/056186_farmed_fish_flavoring_chemicals_consumer_preference.html

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What is Red Marine Algae And What Are Its Health Benefits?
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Date: June 01, 2011 04:21 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: What is Red Marine Algae And What Are Its Health Benefits?

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.

Scientific Classification

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.

Historical Uses

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.

Industrial Applications

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.

Medicinal Value

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!

(https://vitanetonline.com:443/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=1&Message_ID=2316)


Agave Nectar
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Date: April 08, 2010 04:31 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Agave Nectar

Agave Nectar Light Certified Organic 17 oz from NOWComments by Craig Gerbore, CEO of Madhava:

Reading through the attack articles and blogs that have surfaced recently one could think that using agave is bad for one's health. These claims are utterly false and misleading. They are extreme views drawn from extreme examples and applied way out of context. They are propagandizing and clearly designed to frighten, not educate. All of the fears and concerns associated with the overconsumption of sugars and calories in general have been unfairly cast on agave.

What is a "healthy" sweetener? One that you use moderately and sensibly.

Health concerns related to fructose and caloric sweeteners are all dependant on the overconsumption of them. All foods have calories and it is the overall consumption of calories that lead to obesity and related issues, not any one food source.

Agave's caloric value is comparable to the other sweeteners in the category. Due to its greater sweetness though, less agave is used compared to the others, so agave actually can reduce caloric consumption per serving. This is due to a higher fructose content. The higher content does not mean higher consumption though, due to the smaller portion used. But, it is not the single serving that matters, it is the number of servings which lead to the overconsumption issues which may result in health concerns.Agave Nectar Amber Certified Organic 17 oz from NOW

As a reference point, 9-10 teaspoon servings of agave would be the approximate caloric equivalent of one 16 oz soft drink. With this perspective, is agave really being overconsumed as a choice of sweetener for home use?

Every single health issue which the attackers have tried to associate with agave is really the result of a caloric overconsumption issue. There are no documented issues with normal, moderate consumption of agave or sweeteners in general as part of our everyday diet. For reasons unknown, some have attempted to isolate agave from the real world and real world conditions with the goal of inhibiting agave's use. They play on people's fears, reference false information and fail to address health issues in any meaningful way.

The purpose of this article is to debunk the controversial misinformation surrounding agave. All information debunking the myths and misinformation is based on current science and facts. It is our goal to provide you with useful information so that you can make your personal nutritional choices in a well-informed, science-based manner.

The Agave Controversy: Exposing the fraudulent article by Rami Nagel

By Dr. Susan Kleiner, PhD, RD, FACN, CNS, FISSN

And Craig Gerbore, CEO Madhava

The controversy about agave syrup was manufactured by the publication of a single article on the internet, which has been reproduced and adapted for virtually every other article produced on the internet and other media venues. That article, written by Rami Nagel and published on Naturalnews.com, was highly biased and full of inaccuracies, half-truths and misinformation about agave. Since the Naturalnews.com article has been the sole source of nearly all other popular articles in public media, we want to set the record straight with science-based, reliable information to offer a more balanced resource to those interested in learning more about agave syrup. Organic Blue Agave Nectar 16 Liq from FunFresh Foods Who is the author, Rami Nagel?

According to the description on the Naturalnews.com website, Rami Nagel is a "citizen journalist". This means that Mr. Nagel is self-employed, and not employed as an in-house journalist by the website. He wrote and published the article without any editorial or content oversight, and the editor of the website, Mike Adams, makes it clear that the article was not checked for incorrect or inaccurate information or facts. The introduction to the article, written by Mr. Adams, states that readers had written to comment that Mr. Nagel's resources were biased with conflicts of interest due to their financial interests in competing sweeteners, such as brown rice syrup. So even the website editor himself states that the article is not fact-checked, and it is biased and unbalanced.

Who is Russ Bianchi?

The sole resource interviewed for the article is Russ Bianchi, identified by the author as Managing Director and CEO of Adept Solutions, Inc. Mr. Bianchi has clear conflict of interest ties to the sweetener industry. We have documentation of the fact that Mr Bianchi had plans to market a product named Replace. It was to be touted as a low calorie alternative sweetener composed of natural and artificial ingredients! Mr Bianchi was prevented from marketing this sweetener as the result of a lawsuit against him by the owner of the formula.

Mr Bianchi is quoted by Nagel extensively and exclusively. Many, if not all, of his statements are blatantly false or misrepresentations of fact. He is clearly propagandizing against agave nectar.

Was anyone else interviewed for this article?

Yes. Craig Gerbore, president and owner of Madhava Agave Syrup, was extensively interviewed by the author but no parts of that interview were included in the article. Organic Maple Agave Nectar 16 Liq from FunFresh Foods

It is important to note that neither Mr Nagel or Mr Bianchi have not made themselves available for questions on their statements since the articles appearance. They remain out of sight and have entirely avoided the controversy their statements created.

What is agave nectar?

The opening line of this paragraph in the article by Mr. Nagel states:

"The principal constituent of the agave is starch, such as what is found in corn or rice."

This is absolutely false. There is no starch in agave. The source of carbohydrate in agave syrup is inulin, a polysaccharide made up primarily of strings of fructose units. Starch is a polysaccharide made up of strings of glucose molecules. They are significantly different, and this difference is why agave syrup is naturally sweet.

The very basis of the argument presented by Mr. Nagel is false.

The Process

The agave plant is a succulent, similar to a cactus. The agave sweetener comes from both the Salmiana agave plant and the agave Tequilana (Blue Agave) which are both organically farmed in Mexico and certified organic by USDA approved certifiers. As the salmiana plant grows it produces a stalk called the "quiote" and when this is removed, a natural liquid called "Aquamiel". The liquid is collected from the plant, while Blue agave pinons are harvested and shredded to remove the similar juice. Either can be naturally processed thermally or by enzymes into agave nectar.

The juice of the plant is not naturally sweet. The string of connected fructose units that makes up the major proportion of inulin does not have a sweet taste, but when the fructose units are separated (the process is called hydrolysis) by the addition of an enzyme, similar to digestion, or thermally for most blue agave, the syrup becomes quite sweet. That is the entire processing chain for agave nectar. There are no additives, other ingredients or chemicals in Madhava agave nectar. It is absolutely pure and organic and GMO free.

? Mr. Nagel claims that agave syrup is a "refined corn fructose" similar to high fructose corn syrup. This is absolutely false. There is no relationship between agave syrup and high fructose corn syrup in any way, including the source of the product, or the manufacturing process.

? Mr. Nagel refers to a "confidential FDA letter" from Mr. Martin Stutsman, claiming that agave is fraudulently labeled. We contacted Mr. Stutsman at the United States Food and Drug Administration, and his response made it clear that there was never a "confidential FDA letter". He did publish a public letter referenced in an FDA document as "FDA letter from Martin Stutsman to Dr. Eric

Wilhelmsen (Wilhelmsen Consulting), May 8, 2000", regarding evaporated cane juice, a topic wholly unrelated to agave syrup.

? He continued in his response to us that the paragraph in Mr. Nagel's article inaccurately reflected the substance of his comments in the document.

This link will take you to the original document in which the letter was referenced (reference #2):

//www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/GuidanceDocuments/FoodLabelingNutrition/ucm181491.htm

In fact, Mr. Nagel fabricated the entire story of the letter. Mr. Stutsman is a lawyer, not a doctor. The quotes were completely taken out of context from the document, and the quotes never referred to agave syrup at any time. Nagel goes on to further misrepresent Mr. Stutsman's intent in the published document by weaving in other inaccurate information that is thoroughly unrelated to the original document. Mr Bianchi's subsequent statements on labeling issues are false and without merit.

Mr. Nagel is clearly caught red-handed. He has misrepresented the words of a government official, lied about the facts, and twisted the information to achieve his own agenda. This strategy is repeated throughout the article.

? Mr. Nagel continues his deceptive writing by referring to a quote by the late Dr. Varro Tyler in his book, The Honest Herbal. The first line of the paragraph is a direct quote from the book. Nothing else in that paragraph remotely resembles anything else found in Dr. Tyler's book. Mr. Nagel is trying to claim that agave syrup contains large quantities of saponins, and that they can be harmful to health. Here is the debunking of that paragraph:

1. Dr. Tyler does not include the variety of agave plant used for agave syrup.

2. The entire discussion is about the use of the sword-shaped leaves and the stem. Agave syrup is produced from the natural liquid in the plant. The saponins are isolated from the leaves of the plant.

3. There is no documented evidence to suggest agave syrup contains worrisome levels of saponins and the entire rest of the discussion about health dangers is fabricated and false.

Sugars

People are going to continue to consume sweet food and drink. There are only three categories of choice to sweeten food. Those are artificial sweeteners, stevia, or caloric sweeteners from natural sources, sugars.

Most people will not choose artificial. Many will not choose stevia. That only leaves the category of sugars. In this group, agave is a good choice due to its organic quality, ease of

use, neutral flavor, low glycemic index and the fact that less is used to equal the sweetness of the others in the category.

The sweeteners in this category are composed of three primary sugars used to sweeten foods: glucose, fructose and sucrose. These sugars belong to a class of compounds known as carbohydrates. "Saccharide" is a term that denotes sugar, or substances derived from sugar. Monosaccharides are simple or single sugars; disaccharides are derived from two joined monosaccharides and when they are hydrolyzed, or separated, they yield two molecules of simple sugar. Strings of more than two sugar molecules are called polysaccharides. This category includes compounds such as starches, cellulose and inulin.

Glucose and fructose are monosaccharides. Glucose and fructose are found abundantly in nature in fruits and plants. Sucrose is the disaccharide formed by the joining of glucose and fructose, also known as table sugar. When comparing their relative sweetness, glucose is the least sweet tasting, sucrose is next, and fructose is the sweetest of the three sugars, measured as 1.4 times sweeter than table sugar. Because it is so sweet, people typically use less fructose when sweetening foods compared to sucrose.

? In the article by Mr. Nagel he states , "fructose is not what is found in fruit. Commonly, fructose is compared with its opposite and truly naturally occurring sweetener, known as ‘levulose' (made by nature)..."

Another fabrication. In fact, levulose is just another name for fructose. There are various nomenclatures used in the scientific naming of compounds. Fructose and levulose are exactly the same thing; the names are interchangeable. It is no different than if you called your father, "dad", and your sibling called your father, "father". He would still be the exact same person. Fructose and levulose are different names for the exact same thing: a sugar found in nature.

Mr. Bianchi also is quoted to say that the body does not recognize the fructose in agave. This is another false piece of propaganda which demonstrates just how far he is reaching. If this were true, it would have no impact on us. He immediately contradicts himself with the claims of detrimental effects caused by the overconsumption of fructose.

Using Sugars

Sugars can be compared to each other in their ability to raise blood sugar levels by using the Glycemic Index. The scale is set from zero to 100, where low numbers do not have much impact on blood sugar levels, and high numbers raise blood sugar levels quickly. Fructose is very low on the scale. Because agave syrup is high in fructose, it has a rating of 32 or lower. Honey, which has a higher proportion of glucose to fructose, has a Glycemic Index of 58. Sucrose has a Glycemic Index of 68, and glucose, serving as the index standard, is 100.

All sugars, whether fructose, glucose, sucrose or others, contribute 4 calories per gram to our total diet. 1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams = 16 calories

In addition to calories, sugars sweeten our foods offering a desirable taste and adding enjoyment and pleasure to our dining. During cooking and baking, sugars allow for browning and the unique consistencies of syrups, candies, frostings and frozen desserts. The varieties of sugars, such as crystallized table sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, molasses, honey and agave nectar, among others, contribute different properties and flavors to foods.

When you add your own sugar to foods you are in control of how much sugar you use. Most people would never add as much sugar as do the food manufacturers. Moderate amounts of sugar can certainly be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet for an active individual. Natural sugars are easily metabolized and utilized by the body, offering a very efficient source of fuel for physical and mental activity.

Of course, sugars should be used in moderation in the diet. This can control calories and help create a diet that is dense in nutrients.

Impact of sugar on health and disease

? The remainder of Mr. Nagel's article works to link agave syrup with the increased incidence of obesity, diabetes, metabolic disease, and the general rise of morbidity and mortality in the population. This is an overconsumption issue involving far more than the occasional use of agave. Here are the facts:

• Rats that are fed a high fructose diet become obese and will develop the chronic diseases associated with obesity: insulin resistance, diabetes and metabolic disease.

• No one should eat a diet that reflects this type of experimental diet.

• Too much sugar in the diet, whether from fructose, glucose or sucrose, can be unhealthy. Diets high in sugar promote tooth decay and periodontal disease; create an overabundance of calories and a deficit of nutrients. This scenario typically leads to weight gain and the development of chronic disease.

• Active individuals can include a moderate amount of added sugar in their diet without negative health consequences. When calorie intake is balanced with physical activity, sugar serves as an efficient source of fuel for muscles, the brain and the central nervous system.

• According to the World Health Organization (2003), individuals can healthfully include 10% of their daily calories from added sugars. This translates into 200 calories for a 2000 calorie diet, or 12½ teaspoons of added sugar daily. Clearly, one can safely add a couple of teaspoons of sweetener to a cup of tea or coffee, or have a little sweetened food without worrying about their risk of developing disease.

• Agave syrup, which is sweeter than other sugars and low on the Glycemic Index scale, is a good choice to include as one of the added sugars in your diet because you will use less sugar (and therefore fewer calories) and minimally raise blood sugar levels.

Just a teaspoon of agave: the healthy use of sweeteners in your diet

We all want to live healthier and longer lives. Diet and nutrition plays a key role, impacting our health and our ability to perform physically and mentally now and into the future. Food offers us not only sustenance, but also pleasure and enjoyment. Food is present in so many parts of our lives: at celebrations, business events, family events, religious and spiritual occasions, sports outings, the focus of our family meals, intimate dinners, and sometimes just the excuse to socialize.

Sweet foods make us feel good. Sugar allows for the elevation of serotonin in our brains, the "feel good" neurotransmitter that elevates mood, helps us focus, and in the evening, helps us relax and sleep.

Sugar is a source of energy for our muscles, brain and central nervous system. Without sugar our bodies will not function at peak capacity.

Too much sugar, however, is not good. In small amounts sugar energizes us, but in large doses, repeated throughout the day, day in and day out, sugar puts stress on the body. The extra calories can lead to weight gain and obesity, which in time can lead to chronic disease. In the short term, high sugar intakes can lead to a nutritionally deficient diet and a sense of being on an emotional roller coaster.

So be selective about your use of sugars and use them in moderation in your diet. Just like all foods, a variety will enhance the nutritional content of your diet and the flavor and tastes that you can enjoy. Since sugars come in different forms and have different flavors, they can be used most effectively in specific foods and beverages. For instance, agave syrup is liquid and less viscous than honey, making it easy to mix into cold liquids like iced tea and coffee, and is great to add to cold unsweetened cereals for a little sweet taste. Agave's mild flavor allows chefs and bakers to sweeten foods lightly, without overpowering the taste of the dish.

Pay attention to how much sugar is added to your diet every day. Read labels so that you know when sugar is added to manufactured foods. Keep the consumption of added sugars in your diet to no more than 10% of your total daily calorie intake so that you have plenty of room for nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, protein-rich foods, nuts, seeds and healthy oils.

Remember that nutrition is a science based on facts. We are making great advances in our understanding of the science of foods and nutrition. Beware of people with hidden agendas using fear tactics to influence your choices. Don't take their opinion at face value. What are their credentials? What conflicts of interest do they have? If they do not disclose conflicts, then assume that they are manipulating the truth.

Most of all enjoy food. Think about what you need to eat to promote whole health. Don't overindulge, but don't deprive yourself of the bounty of wonderful tastes, either. Use celebrations as occasions to enjoy your favorite foods and try new ones. A teaspoon or two of sugar easily fits into the diet of an active, healthy person. Agave syrup offers an organic low-glycemic choice for those looking for that option.

Resources for this article:

Charley H. Food Science, 2nd Edition. John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY, 1982.

Figlewicz DP et al. Effect of moderate intake of sweeteners on metabolic health in the rat. Physiology and Behavior 98:618-624, 2009

Johnson RK et al. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, 2009

Tyler VE. The Honest Herbal, Third Edition. Pharmaceutical Products Press, New York, NY, 1993.

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DHA
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Date: July 22, 2008 01:51 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: DHA

DHA is a fatty acid that is essential for many body processes and structures. Fatty acids are the building blocks that create lipids, which are important nutrients that make up 25 to 45 percent of total body energy for most of those who are living in industrialized countries. The majority of dietary fatty acids are made from dairy products, meat, margarine, and vegetable oils.

Lipids are important because they store and transport energy from one part of the body to another and they also insulate and mechanically protect certain parts of the body. Any fat that is eaten is converted by the body into fatty acids, where it is then burned for energy, stored, or synthesized into other acids which are called prostaglandins. Some fatty acids are also vital structural components of cell membranes. DHA is part of a special class of highly concentrated, long-chained, polyunsaturated fatty acids called omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are looked at as one of the most fundamental molecules in the structure and activity of the membranes of all cells. They have a huge influence on the production of cellular regulatory compounds which are known as eicosanoids. They also are highly specialized in their function in neurological tissues, especially the retina of the eye. It is also very likely that omega-3s have specific and beneficial effects on the heart muscle, while they also influence the production of substances that control immune responses.

Fatty acids are short-chained, medium-chained, or long chained. Short-chain fatty acids are water-soluble and absorbed directly from the intestine into the bloodstream. They are generally used for immediate energy and can be found most abundantly in dairy products. Long-chained fatty acids are more emphasized when it comes to health concerns as they are stored in cell membranes and have a huge affect on membrane protein function. Their behavior in tissue membrane is what makes them greatly influential in health.

Besides the length of the chain, fatty acids are also described by their saturation. Saturation means how many hydrogen atoms the fatty acid carries. Fatty acids that carry as many hydrogen atoms as they can are called saturated fatty acids, while those that lose a pair of hydrogen atoms become unsaturated. This loss of hydrogen atoms creates a double bond between the two carbon atoms on either side of the missing hydrogen atoms. Those fatty acids that have one double bond are called monounsaturated fatty acids, while those with two or more double bonds are called polyunsaturated fatty acids. Most omega-3 fatty acids are highly unsaturated and have five or more double bonds.

EPA and alpha-linolenic acid are most commonly found in plant sources. DHA and EPA are made in phytoplankton, which is consumed by fish, mollusks, and crustaceans. The above reason is why these two essential fatty acids are found mainly in the Aquatic food chain. LNA and EPA cannot substitute for DHA in all metabolic functions, even though DHA and EPA are more able to cover for each other in certain metabolic functions. It has been found that LNA is less effective than EPA which is less effective than DHA in enriching tissues, meaning that food sources such as vegetables and seed oils are not as good of sources than sea foods or other foods that are enriched with DHA and EPA. DHA in itself provides most of the health benefits displayed in research, to take essential oils that contain no DHA would limit the health benefits discussed above and from other sources. Have you had your DHA today?

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Bacopa Extract
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Date: May 30, 2008 02:43 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Bacopa Extract

You're ready to leave the house, you're already running late and you can't remember where you put the keys. You try retracing your steps, check all of your coat pockets and start to panic. You can't remember where you put them or where you last saw them. Does this sound familiar? Do you have trouble focusing clearly? Our thinking process slows as we age. It is as if a cloud lingers over our brains, making it impossible to think clearly.

Improve Your Mind with Bacopa Extract

There is help for people who can't learn or think as fast as they once could. An all-natural product, bacopa extract, has been used for thousands of years as a "brain tonic" in India. It has been used to enhance memory, learning and concentration. This Aquatic plant has strong antioxidant powers. It helps people retain new information by stimulating the brain's neurotransmitters.

Bacopa extract can be used for:

* Relieving anxiety
* Lessening depression
* Improving memory and learning
* Activating the brain
* Neutralizing free radicals
* Relieving stress
* Lessening the effects of ADHD in children
* Helping students learn
* Increasing mental alertness
* Producing a calming effect on the brain
* Learning new information quickly
* Retaining information longer
* Improving concentration and focus
* Treating Alzheimer's disease

It also has antispasmodic and anti-allergic properties.

Clinical Study Proves Benefits of Bacopa Extract

A study reported in the August 2002 issue of Neuropsychopharmocolgy, "Chronic Effects of Brahmi (Bacopa) on Human Memory," stated positive results. The study found that "Brahmi decreased the rate of forgetting of newly acquired information."

This means you can learn faster and think more clearly when taking a bacopa extract. Consider, for example, a situation in which you are meeting people for the first time and being introduced to them by name. Will you be able to remember any of their names when you see them across the room in 10 minutes? How about if you run into them a few weeks later?

What if you couldn't remember their name, or worse, called them by the wrong name? That doesn't send a very good first impression. Or maybe you have been on the receiving end of this and have been repeatedly called the wrong name by someone. You know how irritating it can be. Bacopa extract can help in this type of situation. Taken daily over an extended period of time, you will see a difference in the amount of information you can retain. You won't have to struggle so much to recall where you left your keys or the name of the person you just met.

Studies have shown that bacopa extract is effective for mental acuity. It helps by smoothing neurotransmitters and relaxing the brain. It has no known side effects and is deemed safe for children, as well.

Pair Bacopa Extract with a Healthy Lifestyle for Best Results

As with any natural supplement, bacopa will not improve your mental health unless it is accompanies by healthy lifestyle choices. Make sure you get the proper rest your body needs, daily exercise and good nutrition. Furthermore, it is important to exercise your brain. Find ways to challenge your mental alertness on a daily basis. Combine this with a daily dose of bacopa extract and you will see improvement in the clarity of your thinking.



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Blue Green Algae a Super Food that is Foods Packed With Nutrients. Vegetarian Friendly
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Date: April 11, 2008 11:24 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Blue Green Algae a Super Food that is Foods Packed With Nutrients. Vegetarian Friendly


Blue green algae are not only an excellent source of amino acids and protein, but are generally considered to be the king of superfoods. It contains just about every nutrient you could think of, and has the added advantage of being completely natural and easily assimilated into the body.

In the USA it is harvested in Oregon, in the upper regions of the Upper Klamath Lake, although it is also available in many other parts of the world. Blue green algae are about the best source of vegetable protein and amino acids available to the human diet, although are now generally used as a supplement rather than as a primary food source.

However, in spite of its name, it is not an alga at all: it is a bacterium: Aphanizomenon flos-Aquae (AFA), known as cyanobacteria, after the Greek for blue. Nevertheless, bacteria or not, blue green algae offer exceptional nutritional benefits and also health benefits to people suffering from certain conditions. Here are the best of its benefits:

1. It is natural and therefore easily assimilated and digested. You get a very high useful yield from its nutrient content, unlike other foods where a large proportion can be passed through the gut unchanged. In fact a large proportion of the food you eat passes through your body unchanged, although that is mainly due to a lack of chewing!

2. It is very high in protein, and helps to maintain healthy hair, nails and skin. If you are on a vegetation diet this is an ideal source of non-animal protein (unless you class bacteria as animals!). If you want numbers, at least 60% of the solid content of this material is vegetable protein human-ready for use.

3. It is packed full of enzymes that aid digestion, and so ensures that not only is it itself fully digested, but also that you get the most nutritional benefit from any other foods you eat. A lack of enzymes is very common in the western diet, especially the North American diet, and if you take a regular supply of blue green algae, then you need not also take enzyme capsules.

4. It possesses cleansing and detoxifying properties, and so helps to reduce the incidence of headaches and allow you better and more restful sleep. Toxins can act on your body to cause pain, and is associated with the free radicals discussed below.

5. It is very high in antioxidants that destroy the free radicals in your blood and tissues. Free radicals destroy body cells and can seriously damage your health. Among the health benefits that blue green algae provide due to its antioxidant properties are:

a) It supports the immune system and helps to prevent inflammation in your joints. It also enables you to fight off bacterial and viral infections quicker. b) It maintains the integrity of your body and skin cells, and reduces cell damage by free radicals. This has an anti-aging effect and preserves the youthful appearance of your skin, resisting wrinkling and maintaining its firmness. c) Blue green algae help to prevent the free radical oxidation of the LDL lipids that transport cholesterol that cause the atherosclerosis that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

6. It provides you with energy through its effect on your body’s metabolic conversion of blood glucose to energy within the mitochondria. This is partially due to its antioxidant effect and partially to the nutritional content of the bacteria. The bacteria are also a rich source of glycogen that is your body’s store of emergency energy. Your liver can use the bacteria to biosynthesize its own store of glycogen that your body can use if called upon for a sudden burst of energy.

7. The amino acids it contains are of low molecular size, and can cross the blood-brain barrier. It provides nutrition to the brain, and its high chlorophyll content helps to purify the blood. Its high content of trace minerals and naturally chelated minerals renders them extremely bioavailable, and able to provide a high degree of nutrition to the brain and other organs of the body. Blue green algae contain rhamnose that helps nutrients to cross from the blood to the brain, and then to the brain cells that need it.

8. Blue green algae have been shown to help memory and mood. This is likely due at least in part to its fatty acid content, and its effect on serotonin levels.

These eight benefits are more than any other individual food source can provide, and in themselves justify the claim that blue green algae is the best individual food source there is. However, when we have a look at the active ingredients, and nutritional content of the bacteria, then it seems even more impressive. There is more to blue green algae than just a few vitamins and minerals. You can get these in any multivitamin supplement: this stuff is completely natural and all of its ingredients are completely compatible with the human digestive system.

Many of the synthetic vitamins you find in boxes and tubs are only partially absorbed due to the form they are in. Either that or they need the presence of other substances before they can be assimilated. An example is calcium, which is next to useless without magnesium and vitamin C also being present to allow it to be incorporated in the structure of the bones and teeth. With blue green algae, every combination of substances that nature needs for them to work properly is there. Everything gets used and everything has a role to play.

The amino acids and proteins have already been mentioned, and these unusual bacteria contain all of the trace minerals that are necessary for the amino acids and proteins to be properly used. It also contains a large quantity of beta-carotene (a natural Vitamin A precursor and strong anti-oxidant), and is also rich in Vitamin B-12 that most vegetarians are deficient in. It is therefore the perfect food for vegetarians and vegans.

If you understand the health benefits of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which blue green algae are also rich in, then you will understand how a foodstuff containing these fatty acids and all of the other nutritional substances listed above could be regarded as a ‘Superfood’.

Blue green algae is probably the richest food available commercially to humans, but before you use it you should ensure that the content of blue algae in the supplement you purchase is clear and that you are purchasing a standardized amount in what you are purchasing.

Otherwise, it is difficult to see how anybody could go wrong with blue green algae, since it is indisputably an excellent source of protein, amino acids, vitamins and much, much more.



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Astaxanthin - PHYTONUTRIENT ANTIOXIDANT
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Date: December 28, 2005 10:20 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Astaxanthin - PHYTONUTRIENT ANTIOXIDANT

"PHYTONUTRIENT ANTIOXIDANT" Astaxanthin

  • Potent Natural Antioxidant
  • More Powerful Than Vitamin E And Other Carotenoids
  • Supports Healthy Immune and Cardiovascular Function
  • Well-Researched With Documented Results
  • High Quality BioAstin® Astaxanthin

Carotenoids are a class of lipid-soluble natural pigments found in plants, as well as in phytoplankton and certain fungi and bacteria. The red, orange and yellow colors seen in fruits and vegetables are from carotenoids. When various Aquatic animals such as salmon and shrimp eat plants containing some of the over 700 compounds that make up the carotenoid class, those animals are also decorated with the same brilliant colors. However, carotenoids do more than provide color - they’re powerful phytonutrient antioxidants. Beta carotene, lutein, and lycopene are some of the more well-known carotenoids, but the most powerful found to date is astaxanthin.

Astaxanthin is a fat-soluble carotenoid with a unique molecular structure that makes it an extremely effective antioxidant. The PDR® Medical Dictionary 2nd Edition defines an antioxidant as, “An agent that inhibits oxidation; any of numerous chemical substances, including certain natural body products and nutrients, that can neutralize the oxidant effect of free radicals and other substances.” Not only is astaxanthin a potent free radical scavenger, but it also can protect against oxidation, which limits the number of free radicals produced. Additionally, it’s very effective at quenching a molecule called singlet oxygen, a harmful reactive oxygen species formed through normal biological processes. Singlet oxygen possesses a high amount of excess energy that must be released to keep it from damaging other cells. Astaxanthin absorbs this energy and dissipates it as heat, and in the process returns the singlet oxygen to a grounded state.

A growing body of research is showing that astaxanthin is the creme de la creme of phytonutrient antioxidants. Studies comparing astaxanthin to other carotenoids have shown it to possess antioxidant activity up to 10 times stronger than that of beta carotene, canthaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin.4 A study published in 1990 conducted by Kurashige and associates compared the effectiveness of vitamin E and astaxanthin for the prevention of lipid peroxidation. The results showed that astaxanthin is 100-500 times more effective in preventing lipid peroxidation in vivo than vitamin E.5

Astaxanthin in algae provides protection against the effects of ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, and studies are showing that this protective effect is also imparted with dietary astaxanthin. Scientists believe that astaxanthin effectively scavenges the oxygen radicals produced through photo-oxidation caused by UV exposure. A 1995 study by Savoure and associates studied the protective effects of astaxanthin, beta carotene and retinol against UVinduced photo-oxidative stress. The results showed that astaxanthin is extremely effective in preventing increases of certain polyamines created through photo-oxidation, which damages skin. A particular polyamine was found to increase only 1.5-fold in subjects fed astaxanthin, whereas subjects in the control group experienced a significant 4.1- fold increase. It was concluded that astaxanthin works through a particular enzyme, increasing this enzyme’s consumption of polyamines in response to irradiation.

Research has shown that astaxanthin also offers cardioprotective effects through its ability to decrease oxidation of HDL (“good” cholesterol), which is a cholesterol transporter in the blood. It‘s well established that high levels of HDL and low levels of LDL (“bad” cholesterol) are desirable for healthy cardiovascular function, so protecting HDL from oxidation means there’s more circulating in the bloodstream. In a 1992 study by Murillo, subjects were fed dietary astaxanthin for 30 days. HDL cholesterol increased 57mg/dL, compared to the control diet (42.4 mg/dL). LDL cholesterol decreased from 12.5 mg/dL to 9.6 mg/dL. Clearly, astaxanthin exhibited an influence on the ratio of these two lipoproteins.

We can thank the lobster for the discovery of astaxanthin. Researchers working with an extract of the lobster Homarus astacus first characterized astaxanthin in 1938. It was soon discovered that astaxanthin is abundant in nature, although mostly in very low concentrations. The greatest source found is in green algae called Haematococcus pluvialis, which also contains other carotenoids such as beta carotene and lutein. NOW® Foods Astaxanthin supplies 4mg of this effective phytonutrient antioxidant and is an excellent source of this outstanding member of the carotenoid family. The astaxanthin used for our product is BioAstin® supplied by the Cyanotech Corporation, one of the premier suppliers of highquality astaxanthin taken from Haematococcus pluvialis, the richest natural source discovered. In addition to Astaxanthin, NOW® offers other carotenoids, including Lutein, Beta Carotene and Lycopene. Research continues to support the inclusion of carotenoids in the diet to support overall health. This is even truer for those with less than perfect diets and for those who smoke or spend any time with someone who does.

References
1) Hawkins, E.B.; Astaxanthin and Oxidative Stress; Natural Pharmacy, October 2003, pp. 20-21
2) Lorenz, R.T.; Astaxanthin, Nature’s Super Carotenoid; Bioastin® Technical Bulletin #062, Cyanotech Corporation, October 2000, pp.1-19
3) Lorenz, R.T.; Bioastin®, Nature’s Premier Astaxanthin Source; NatuRose™ Technical Bulletin #078; Cyanotech Corporation, October 2000, pp. 1-13
4) Naguib, Y.M.A.; Antioxidant Activities of Astaxanthin and Related Carotenoids, Journal of Agricultural Chemicals, 2000, 48, pp. 1150-1154
5) Kurashige, M. et. al.; Inhibition of oxidative injury of biological membranes by astaxanthin, Physiological Chemistry and Physics and Medical NMR, 1990, 22 (1), pp.27-38



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SPA: Satisfying Personal Attention
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Date: June 14, 2005 10:32 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: SPA: Satisfying Personal Attention

SPA: Satisfying Personal Attention by Sylvia Whitefeather Energy Times, October 12, 2004

Feeling stressed out? Looking for some time to relax and cool off, but just too busy to get away? Give yourself a spa treatment at home.

Creating your own home spa experience is easy and the benefits are many. With some common household items and a few essential oils, you can luxuriate in your own special spa experience while recharging and renewing mind, body and spirit. Indulge with a few close friends for a unique, shared experience.

Aromatherapy Adventures

Using concentrated plant oils derived from flowers and plants, aromatherapy offers an ancient healing art that has gained newfound respect in the modern world. Aroma chemicals transfer quickly into the body, and researchers are finding unique ways to employ this ancient technique, including medical applications.

Studies find that lemon balm or lavender oil reduces behavioral problems in older people with dementia (BMJ 2002; 325:1312-3). Rosemary has been found to improve memory and enhance mental functioning (Int J Neurosci 2003 Jan; 113(1):15-38).

Only a drop or two of an essential oil is needed to receive their unique healing benefits. (Always dilute essential oils; never use or apply them directly to your skin without watering them down.) Essential oils can help you relax, rejuvenate, improve your memory and increase your energy.

Some essential oils are reputed to reduce pain, kill bacteria, speed healing of injuries and help fight inflammation and infection (Natl Meeting, Amer Chem Soc, 8/02).

Bathing Beauties

When you feel like you're ready to spa, take the phone off the hook, unplug the TV and set aside a special, unbothered time and day for your at-home spa experience. Next, turn your bathroom into your special place. Light fragrant candles, put on your favorite soft music and fill the tub.

When running the water you should select a water temperature that fits the effect you desire, according to Valerie Gennari Cooksley, RN, author of Healing Home Spa (Penguin). Water temperature that approximates your normal body temperature produces a sedative effect. On the other hand, hotter water-that which hovers around 100 degrees-induces sweating and helps cleanse and detoxify. In any case, limit your time in hot water to about 20 minutes. If you use cold water, only stay immersed for a few short minutes to rejuvenate and close the skin's pores.

Try adding about 10 drops of either lavender or ylang-ylang oil to a warm bath to aid in relaxation and to release tight muscles. Don't rush; soak for at least 20 minutes and let the fragrant water vaporize your cares. Dry off with a fluffy towel and wrap yourself in your favorite bathrobe.

Other bath enhancers you can add to your soak include oatmeal to soften the skin, seaweed for deep cleansing, Epsom salts to relieve aches, and baking soda to alkalize the body. Herbal sachets can be made by placing dried herbs in a muslin bag and dropping the bag into the water to release fragrances and healing chemicals.

Fantastic Facial

The facial is a standard spa procedure. Hold your face over a steaming bowl of hot water that contains lemon juice or a few drops of lemon essential oil for about 15 minutes. Use a towel over your head to hold in the steam.

When your face is well moisturized, apply a facial mask. On dry skin, use either puréed, ripe avocado or a mask of honey and kelp. If your face is oily, apply either puréed, ripe bananas or a mask of peppermint oil and honey. If you are not sure of your skin type or have mixed skin, green clay can be used for a balanced facial. Green clay is rich in minerals while being antiseptic and healing, notes Valerie Ann Worwood, author of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy (New World Library). With the addition of warm water, it creates an instant facial mask. (You can also use prepared facial masks; ask about them at your health food store.)

To apply the mask, begin at the forehead using upward strokes. Go easy around the eyes. Afterwards, put cucumber slices over your eyes and relax. Keep the mask on for about 15 minutes. Wash your face with warm water and then apply a moisturizer. Your skin should feel supple and look radiant.

Pleasant Pampering

Worwood recommends a few drops of rosemary oil and one tablespoon of baking soda in a basin of warm water to soothe your feet. Soaking your feet for about ten minutes softens the skin and nourishes the nails. After drying off, combine one-half cup sea salt with one-half cup of cooking oil, preferably olive, canola or sesame. Gently massage into each foot to stimulate reflex points and remove dead skin. Rinse and pat dry. Finish with a pedicure.

This salt scrub can be used on any part of the body to eliminate toxins, increase circulation, improve lymphatic movement and cleanse the pores. A popular European treatment, it is especially helpful for parts of the body that store water, such as the tummy and thighs. Rinse completely after the scrub and apply moisturizer to dry areas.

Since hands can age quickly, Worwood suggests using oils of rose, sandalwood and geranium for dry or neglected hands. You can also mix one-half cup of sugar with one-half cup cooking oil and a few drops of one of the above essential oils. Massage into each hand to moisturize and pamper your overworked hands. Rinse and apply your favorite lotion to seal in moisture. A gentle manicure adds the finishing touch.

Healthy Hair

Your special spa day wouldn't be complete without pampering your hair. Noted dermatologist David Bank, MD, suggests looking for shampoos that contain such gentle cleansers as avocado, borage oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil and wheat germ oil. Your shampoo should also contain moisturizing substances, such as aloe vera, to help give your locks shine and bounce.

Check your hair's condition. Oily hair-that which feels greasy within a day of washing-responds best to frequent washing with minimal conditioning. A bad case of the frizzy tangles is a sign of dry hair, which needs a moisturizer-rich shampoo.

Revive From the Inside With Green Drinks

During your spa day, sip green drinks. Green drinks made from Aquatic plants such as spirulina, seaweed and kelp contain needed minerals to nourish skin, hair and nails; these plants have been used for centuries to promote health and longevity. In addition to being high in minerals, they are also low in fat, high in fiber and rich in protein.

The marine vegetables found in green drinks help detoxify the body, support the lymphatic system, alkalize the blood and tissues, and support a healthy thyroid. Many natural food stores carry green drink powders that can be added to juice or water. Sipping on a green drink can enhance the cleansing action of your home spa treatment, balance blood sugar levels and maintain your energy level during the day.

Throughout your home spa experience, drinking spring water with a touch of lemon or lime can facilitate the elimination of toxins and keep you hydrated. Indulge in plenty of high-fiber fruits and vegetables, and avoid processed sugars and high-fat foods. Eating lightly allows your body to eliminate toxins from the inside out while you work on the outside.

As Valerie Cooksley says, "...sound health occurs when the mind, body and spirit are in perfect harmony and balance." A home spa experience takes you a step closer to that harmony.



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Acupuncture nutrient Connection
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Date: June 12, 2005 05:53 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Acupuncture nutrient Connection

Acupuncture nutrient Connection by Robert Gluck Energy Times, November 1, 1998

The theory behind the practice of acupuncture confounds western science. This therapy, originating in Asia, is based on the concept that currents of energy called meridians flow through your body. However, no one has ever been able to conclusively demonstrate the existence of these meridians.

Despite the evasiveness of these energy streams, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) holds that alterations in these energy flows can disrupt health and cause pain. Consequently, an acupuncturist punctures your skin with specialized needles to redirect the body's vital energy.

Alleviating Illness

Despite the fact that western scientists have not been able to find satisfactory evidence of the existence of these energetic meridians, studies show that acupuncture works and is especially effective at relieving pain. This therapy has been used to alleviate a variety of conditions including chronic pain, nausea and even mental illness. In addition, some practitioners apply it to those trying to shake off the chains of drug addiction. (More recently, many practitioners now also successfully use acupuncture to relieve physical problems in animals.)

Of course, no matter what your perspective on this therapy, acupuncture's no panacea. While you might use acupuncture to relieve the discomforts of chemotherapy, you wouldn't use this technique as your primary weapon against a dangerous disease like cancer. Still, this reliable therapy occupies a welcome spot as an adjunct to many mainstream therapies. Consequently, many mainstream practitioners accept the validity of using acupuncture and many managed care companies reimburse this therapy. Some HMOs even keep a list of approved acupuncturists that they make available to enrollees.

Acupuncture East and West

The practice of acupuncture dates back at least 2200 years ago in Asia. Only during the last forty years has it become well-known and widely available in the United States. Today, 29 accredited acupuncture schools train practitioners in North America. In addition, traditional healers in Belize (south of Mexico) have been found to use a form of acupuncture derived from traditional Mayan medicine.

Is the use of acupuncture by Mayan shamans coincidence? Or further evidence that acupuncture meridians really exist? No one knows for sure, although some experts believe the Mayan use of this therapy supports the notion that the original ancestors of the Mayans migrated from Asia.

Needle Relief

Acupuncturists insert needles into the body to relieve pain or enhance bodily functions. TCM holds that acupuncture, and the manipulation of these tiny needles, moves and manipulates qi (pronounced chee), the body's energy force.

"Acupuncture is a method of balancing the body's energy," says Carol Alexander, an acupuncturist at the North Jersey Health and Pain Relief Center in Hackettstown, New Jersey. "Disease occurs because of an imbalance...Insertion of the acupuncture needles into meridians will bring about the balance of qi." Alexander has practiced acupuncture for 10 years and studied at the Tri-State School of Traditional Acupuncture in Stanford Connecticut.

Alexander says patients sometimes suffer a blockage of qi or display too much or too little qi. The manipulation and placement of the acupuncture needles vary according to the need for adjusting meridian energy flow.

Acupuncture can be used to prevent disease and, if disease is already rampant, it can be used to help the body correct the problem.

In conjunction with her use of acupuncture needles, Alexander rarely prescribes single herbs but uses combinations of whole herbs that are very specific for different diseases and disease patterns. "Certain herbs, such as ginseng, are very prized in Chinese medicine," Alexander notes.

"Astragalus is an herb used in China and around the world to tonify the qi and increase qi energy as well as stimulate the immune system."

Licorice Root

Alexander uses licorice root for assisting digestion and for helping women with menopausal discomforts. On the other hand, she recommends whole food concentrates like bee pollen granules for enhancing the immune system, peppermint for treating gastro-intestinal problems plus fiber supplements as well as the antioxidant/antihistamine quercetin, coenzyme Q10 and melatonin.

"In terms of classes of nutrients, I use a lot of whole food concentrates: the green concentrates like barley greens, wheat grass powder, spirulina and blue-green algae," Alexander says. "These are high in minerals, antioxidants, nutrients and fatty acids. I also use some soy products because the isoflavone concentrates are very much anti-cancer."

The Fine Points of Acupuncture

Acupuncture needles are very fine, as thin as hairs. They are available in a variety of diameters and lengths. When an acupuncturist inserts these needles, the sensation is that of mild pinpricks. (The needles enter the body at depths of only 1/8th inch to two inches.) In many cases people experience mild pleasure during needle manipulation.

"From a Western point of view it's important to explain that there is a distinct function of acupuncture treatment and that is to increase circulation," Alexander says. "We do stimulate nerves and we know that with the stimulation of nerves many neurochemicals and neurotransmitters are released. They move through the nerves and find receptor sights, some in the brain, some in other parts of the body."

By stimulating nerves, acupuncturists can calm inflammation and deaden pain. These effects are believed to be linked to the release of endorphins and dinorphins, powerful painkillers and anti-inflammatories that the body produces for itself. Most acupuncturists use this therapy as part of an overall, multi-faceted treatment plan.

Unique Energy

"Qi is what makes you different from a sack of chemicals," points out David Molony, an acupuncturist at the Lehigh Valley Acupuncture Center in CatasAqua, Pennsylvania who studied at the Nanjing Traditional Medicine Hospital in China and has lectured at Cornell University.

What You Need

"You can manipulate qi with acupuncture, herbs and diet. Because people's bodies work differently, there are different approaches. When you ask the question what nutrients and herbs are effective at enhancing acupuncture, it depends on what the person needs, according to an Oriental Medicine diagnosis."

An Oriental Medical examination, Molony says, begins with a long list of health questions designed to reveal factors that contribute to disease. A practitioner measures your pulse in several different places along your arm, inspects your tongue, may press on your stomach, sniff your general odor and closely examine your nails and skin for signs of problems.

"You take in everything you can," adds Molony, a board member of the Acupuncture Society of Pennsylvania and former board member of the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. "This gives you clues that you need in order to make your diagnosis."

Acupuncturists use nutrients and herbs that complement the treatment, as well as dietary and lifestyle counseling. Some acupuncturists don't specialize in herbal remedies, so these practitioners might go to a specialist like David Winston for advice. Winston, an herb expert skilled in Cherokee, Chinese and Western eclectic herbal medicine, works as an instructor, lecturer and consultant.

"In China, acupuncture is considered a complementary therapy; you generally don't go for treatment and get purely acupuncture," says Winston who is working on a book about saw palmetto. "Herbal medicine, diet and qi gong are important therapies in their own right and acupuncture is one of those therapies. Qi gong is a form of martial arts that focuses on unique breathing and visualization methods. Qi is not exactly energy, it's energy in movement; it's what makes the blood move."

Open Blockages

Acupuncture is used to open blockages that sometimes build up in what TCM practitioners characterize as excessive heat or cold. These hot and cold spots do not always literally refer to the temperature of the body but are meant to depict changes in the character of the body's vital energy.

Chinese acupuncturists don't necessarily treat diseases, but target clusters of physical discomforts. Winston says, "Herbal formulas change depending on the 'symptom pictures.' Somebody could have acute appendicitis but the symptom picture could vary. Usually Chinese acupuncturists use herbs like isatis (a very cold, drying herb that's a powerful anti-bacterial agent) and coptis (a powerful anti-bacterial herb)."

Americans often visit acupuncturists complaining of back pain or some type of musculoskeletal problem-a wrenched knee, a ligament that hasn't healed properly or perhaps a torn rotator cuff. "If the injury is hot to the touch, it's red, it's inflammatory-that's a condition where there's excessive heat and in that condition the acupuncturist would give herbs that are cooling and anti-inflammatory such as the root of large leaf gentian."

Pain that Moves

If someone suffers pain that moves, pain that is sometimes exacerbated by damp or humid conditions, acupuncturists often prescribe clematis root, a wild variety of the garden plant that is an anti-spasmodic, or acanthopanax, a relative of Siberian ginseng used for damp pain.

"If there's pain with excessive dampness," Winston says, "acupuncturists might use duhuo, a drying herb that opens the meridians."

Molony agrees with Winston that when it comes to choosing herbs to enhance acupuncture, accurate analysis of the root cause of the health problem is paramount to making the right decisions. For example, if a person is qi deficient and her tongue is thickly coated, she may not be processing her energy properly. Phlegm builds up, decreasing energy. "What you want to do is give them herbs that move phlegm, like citrus peel, and combine that with acupuncture points that move phlegm also," Molony says.

For stimulating metabolism, Molony uses lactoferin-processed colostrum from cows. He uses ginseng and atractylodes as qi tonics and he adds herbs like magnolia bark or atractylodes alba.

Helpful Antioxidants

He believes antioxidants are helpful too, as preventive medicines, including vitamins C and E. These valuable nutrients disarm the harm that reactive molecules can wreak within the body.

So how important are herbs and nutrition to enhance acupuncture's effectiveness? Acupuncturists seem to agree that healthy doses of antioxidants (such as vitamins C and E plus antioxidants from grapeseed extract) as well as specialized herbs, turn this therapy into a highly effective healing tool. Those wanting to benefit from this penetrating technique should stock up on nutrients. Then sit back, relax, kick off your shoes and let the acupuncturist do her stuff.



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