Search Term: " Blindness "
The evidence is undeniable: Green leafy vegetables take the prizewhen it comes to protecting eye health
May 17, 2019 04:28 PM
One consequence of glaucoma is vision loss or blindness. It is estimated that leafy green vegetables like kale, broccoli and other vegetables are full of minerals and vitamins that prevent diseases like diabetes and heart disease. The question the author wants to answer is whether these leafy vegetables can help in preventing glaucoma. The conclusion of the author is that there is a link between leafy green vegetables and prevention of glaucoma. In fact, it can help prevent the disease. This conclusion was based on a recent study that was conducted by researchers at the Harvard Medical school. Glaucoma is a eye disease that can affect one’s vision leading to vision loss progressively. The common glaucoma is primary open-angle glaucoma. It leads to vision loss without any symptoms or sign. It is estimated that three million Americans are affected with glaucoma and 120,000 people will lose their sight due to having glaucoma. But why is glaucoma produced? This is due to an imbalance in the drainage of the aqueous humor. The researchers analyzed people’s diet and came to the conclusion that leafy green vegetables should be used as a treatment option.
"The study was published in the Journal of American Medical Association Ophthalmology, and it was conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-17-green-leafy-vegetables-improve-eye-health.html
The potential antidiabetic benefits of moringa
November 19, 2018 10:56 AM
Estimates from the World Health Organization place the possible tally of worldwide diabetics at over 400 million. That figure was established almost 5 years ago. Truly, diabetes is on the rise and rightfully considered an epidemic. All of which explains why scientists around the world are always on the lookout for natural, effective, low-cost treatment modalities that afford minimal to no side effects for the user. This is especially crucial because diabetes is a leading cause of Blindness and loss of limbs. The most prevalent form, type 2 diabetes, is manageable with diet and drugs, but many drugs come with the cost of potentially dangerous side effects. Moringa, a native of India and a popular Asian vegetable, is gaining buzz as a superfood. One Cambodian study used obese rodent subjects and garnered some compelling evidence that the superfood could be used to benefit diabetics. For example, the mice used, that were also moringa recipients, had lower fasting glucose levels. The moringa recipients also had lower triglyceride levels and lessened renal impairment. Study suggests that moringa protects the human body from oxidative stress, from inflammation, and even from arsenic. It also acts to reduce cholesterol.
"Researchers from different parts of the world are setting their sights on moringa (Moringa oleifera), a plant native to India and widely cultivated in different parts of Asia, and its potential health benefits, with many being focused on its antidiabetic effects."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-11-11-antidiabetic-benefits-of-moringa.html
These vitamins can help improve eyesight
November 06, 2018 03:51 PM
Did you know that taking certain vitamins can help eyesight issues, sleep problems and nutrition levels? Vitamin A helps with maintaining vision. Vitamin E maintains your muscles flexibility and elasticity. Vitamin C can treat glaucoma and help to prevent cataracts. Meanwhile, vitamin B1 can lower your risk of getting glaucoma. Vitamin B2 offers relief with eye fatigue.Vitamin B3 helps blood flow to the eyes. Vitamin B5 is good for your eyesight in general. Finally, vitamin D helps combat night blindness, myopia, and optic nerve atrophy
"If you eat at least 200 g of carrot and a little vegetable oil, that can be good to maintain the vision."
Read more: http://micetimes.asia/these-vitamins-can-help-improve-eyesight/
How can I protect my eyes from diabetes?
November 16, 2017 03:59 PM
With the rising in numbers of the disease diabetes, there are more people at risk for becoming blind. Diabetes causes a high risk for blindness, but there are preventative ways in which people can protect themselves from this risk. They need to maintain blood sugar levels, talk to their doctor about overall well-being such as diets, physical activity, and medications. They should not miss appointments with the doctor! A missed appointment could mean missed information. They should refrain from using any kinds of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco, as the chemicals can increase risk for damage to the eye. As long as the diabetic person lives a healthy lifestyle and maintains it, they can help prevent or reduce the risk of becoming blind in the future.
"When a person is diagnosed with diabetes, it becomes imperative that one has annual vision tests and eye fundus examination."
Read more: http://www.thehealthsite.com/diseases-conditions/diabetes/how-can-i-protect-my-eyes-from-diabetes-b1117/
Are you secretly part of a medical experiment?
March 19, 2017 06:44 AM
According to a news article by natural news, which is a highly suspicious source, a study was performed that essentially tested oxygen levels on premature babies. Too much oxygen in premature babies can cause blindness and other effects. The researchers apparently altered the monitors so that they would not reflect the actual oxygen levels in the babies, and then they tested optimal oxygen levels without parents consent. This is highly suspicious, and should be verified by a credible source.
Read more: Are you secretly part of a medical experiment?
five anti-aging food found in the grocery store
November 13, 2016 06:46 AM
The choices we make at meal time affect how we age. By choosing healthy options, some of the common symptoms of old age can be reversed, removed, or masked. Many vitamins and nutrients prevent diseases that are mostly diagnosed during old age and maintain a healthy body. Eating correctly is essential to preserving our youth.
"Tomatoes, eggplants, blueberries, blackberries, and other colorful fruits are packed with antioxidants. These help combat free radicals that damage healthy cells and suppress the immune system."
The Health Benefits of Bilberry Extract
September 06, 2016 10:02 AM
Bilberry supports better vision.
The main benefit of bilberry extract is for reducing the risk of macular generation and the other age-related eye diseases; glaucoma, cataracts and poor night vision. These advantages are due to the antioxidants phytonutrients the berries contain.
In other third world countries, the most essential vitamin needed is vitamin A. Lack of vitamin A during childhood can lead to Blindness. In fact, hundreds of thousands of malnourished children go blind each year due to a lack of vitamin A in the diet.
Unfortunately, bilberry extract is not a source of beta-carotene. It is a source of another antioxidant called anthocyanin.
Bilberry extract has the highest eye supporting anthocyanins, of all the berries. If you want to support good eye sight, consider taking bilberry daily!
Vitamin A -- Where It Comes from and What It Does.
March 22, 2014 08:50 AM
Vitamin A helps battle off contamination. It likewise serves to keep your skin smooth and supple. You can get a great deal of vitamin A from your sustenance - with liver meats being the best source. A few vegetables - carrots, broccoli leaves (the leaves, not the stems), sweet potatoes and kale, run a far off second, alongside spread.
Dietary vitamin A hails from two sorts of sustenance:
* Animal sustenance sources give "dynamic" manifestations of vitamin A - the form can use the vitamin promptly. They are called 'retinoid'. Retinoid are frequently utilized within skin creams and dermatological pharmaceuticals, as vitamin A is well known for its skin revival properties.
* Plants give carotenoids (to illustration beta-carotene). Carotenoids are changed over by the constitution into vitamin A. Beta-carotene is the most widely recognized of the carotenoids. A brilliantly colored intensifies; this is the thing that gives carrots and sweet potatoes their orange shade.
"Collaboration" is the point at which two or more substances join to make an impact more terrific than either could perform on its own. All supplements in the constitution have a synergistic impact, and vitamin A is no special case. Assuming that you as of recently have an iron inadequacy that brings about frailty - insufficient oxygen-transporting red platelets that abandons you ceaselessly tired a vitamin A insufficiency too will exacerbate it. Iron and vitamin A supplements taken together for frailty are more viable than either of these taken separately. When you don't have enough zinc in your eating methodology, the figure has a harder time proficiently utilizing vitamin A.
The main sign of a vitamin A inadequacy is debilitated vision especially 'night Blindness the powerlessness to see well in faint light. Vitamin An is utilized to structure the shades required in the retina for vision, and without enough A, your eyes can't do their employment. Keep in mind when your mother used to let you know to consume carrots so you could see well? There's truth in that old home cure.
Why Is Date Sugar A Healthier Choice Than White Refined Sugar?
February 07, 2014 04:50 PM
Date sugar is a magnificent sugar substitute that is healthy for children and it tastes extraordinary. Date sugar is not transformed or refined and it is stacked with strand, vitamins, and minerals. Date sugar is a light tan, really shade and has an exceptionally glorious taste.
How date sugar is made
Date sugar is a common sugar made by grinding up dates. It is exceptionally solid for you and tastes exceptional.
• 1 mug of refined prepared sugar could be swapped by 2/3 mug of date sugar, to 1 mug of sugar depending on the taste you are going for.
Health profits of dates and date sugar
1. Date sugar is packed with vitamins and minerals
Date sugar is stacked with vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, copper, manganese, and selenium; where white sugar does not. What a heavenly thing to have the capacity to make solid muffins, healthy treats, flapjacks, waffles, bread and solid sweets with a sugar substitute like date sugar that has vitamins and minerals it.
2. Dates make you feel full longer
Date sugar is packed with filament, protein and carbs, which make you, feel full any longer. This can help to check craving and help anticipate weight gain.
3. Assistance with circulation
Date sugar is stacked with potassium and really has more potassium for every serving size than bananas do. Potassium has numerous health profits including helping to anticipate issues in children, as they develop greater.
4. Date sugar is low in calories
Date sugar is low in calories at 288 calories for a 1/2 of container of date sugar; contrasted with white refined sugar, which has 387 calories for every 1/2 mug.
Refined white sugar is to a substantial degree to be faulted for a few manifestations of diabetes, whose exploited people confront the risk of Blindness and different genuine weaknesses, also coronary illness, stroke, schizophrenia, alcoholism, and conceivably a few kinds of growth
The extraordinary indictment against refined white sugar is its high dissolvability in the figure. It hurries through the stomach divider without being processed, animates abundance discharge of insulin by the pancreas to encourage its entry through unit layers of the tissues, where it is utilized as fuel and reasons metabolic irregularity, which allows microscopic organisms, infections, and savage germ
Various health benefits of Sea Buckthorn
December 03, 2013 01:48 AM
What is Sea Buckthorn
We all know that there are so many natural herbs, fruits and plants are there that have amazing health benefits and Sea buckthorn is one of those fruits. It is also known as most balanced fruit of nature and here are few benefits of Sea buckthorn that are applicable for almost every individual.
It helps you to lose your weight:
Obesity is one of the biggest health problems around the world and Sea buckthorn can help you to your weight in a completely natural manner. In order to reduce your weight it prevent the storage of excess fat on your body and as a result of this you not only lose your body weight, but you stay aware from various health problems as well.
Work as a best anti-inflammatory medicine:
Sea buckthorn contain high amount of all highly beneficial omega fatty acid including omega acid 3, omega acid 6, omega acid 9 and the very rare omega acid 7 as well. However, all the benefits of these omega acids are still unknown to us, but it has best anti-inflammatory property that helps you in various pain inflammatory problems as well.
Make your skin glowing:
Along with consuming it as a dietary supplement you can apply it on your skin as well. Sea buckthorn contain high amount of Vitamin C and you can apply it as a cream on your skin as well. Its Vitamin C helps you to get a firm and wrinkle free skin with natural glow on it.
Keep you away from various diseases:
As said above it can help you to control your weight and with the help of controlled weight you can easily reduce risk of various health problems including diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases including heart attack. Other than this it can protect you from various other diseases including asthma, cancer, and various stomach diseases. In addition to this it is a strong source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Mineral acids and various other minerals as well so many experts use it for treatment of night Blindness, dry eye and other problems.
Soothe your skin:
Many people use Sea Buckthorn as a medicine for sunburn and other similar skin condition and if you got any problem on your skin due to sunburn, laser exposure, rashes, burn, cut or any similar issue you can easily apply it on affected part of your skin for its resolution. In addition to this, it can also help you in some serious skin condition such as eczema, dry skin and skin ulcers.
Can Bilberry Extract Improve Eye Site?
November 05, 2013 10:11 PM
Can Bilberry Extract Improve Eye Site?
Do you problems with your eyes? Maybe your night vision is poor and you have been wondering where you can get natural drugs to improve or rectify this condition. Worry no more as this article presents you with the ultimate solution. Research has shown that Bilberry extract works well to improve eye site.
What is Bilberry
Bilberry, an herbal supplement, also known as Vaccinium myrtillus or myrtille, is a shrub found in European countries similar to the huckleberry or the blueberry. This extract has a long history since it was used as early as 16 century. However, it was not until Second World War II when its use was modernized. The first people to use it were the US and British pilots who ate it as part of their diet. Surprisingly, they realized a tremendous improvement in their night vision when they were at work during the night.
This extract is known to be rich in flavorings, also known as polyphenols, a substance that improves eye’s circulatory system and improves the overall eye health. Thus, when supplemented with diet, night vision will be improved.
Uses of Bilberry
In addition, this extract has been known to treat a variety of retinopathy conditions. A condition that damages nerves and blood vessels of the retina. In some countries like France, this extract has been used since 1945 to treat diabetic retinopathy, a condition that causes Blindness in diabetics.
Various studies have shown that this extract is a useful medical herb. One of them stated that Bilberry extract could be used with vitamin E to prevent the progression of cataracts. This studies was conducted among 50 patients suffering from cataracts, and only of them did not recover.
Benefits of Bilberry
In conclusion, this extract has many benefits; support for glaucoma, reduce eye fatigue, and improve poor night vision. Therefore, wait no more, get yourself this extract and your eye problems will be something of the past.
October 27, 2012 11:25 AM
The use of bilberry extracts dates back to 1000 years ago where many people attest success when they are applied to the eye. Bilberry is considered a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant used to treat the eye problems such as cataracts, muscular degeneration, and neuropathy.
As one ages, there is tendency that the eye blood vessels thickens due to consumptions of fats. Bilberry application helps to reduce the inflammation and strengthen then artery walls of the vessels within the eye area, and therefore improves the vision. Clinical studies suggest that proper blood circulation within the eye also reduces the chances of Blindness in the early ages.
Moreover, thick arteries contribute to the swelling of the eyes. In extreme circumstances, swollen eyes hamper vision and make it difficult for an individual to walk without help of a friend. If this condition is untreated, atherosclerosis develops thereby worsening the eye health. To avert this, bilberry is eaten in extract form or as a fruit. It will eventually reduce the thickness of the arteries within the body circulatory system. During the Second World War, the fruit extract was eaten the soldiers who fought throughout the nights. Pilots also ate them as it was regarded to enhance the night vision. It was until recently that publicity of the extract was recognized worldwide and it has been commercialized as an eye supplement.
Bilberry also improves the vision at night. Many studies have indicated that consumption of bilberry jam helps to increase vision during the night. Bilberry extract contains anthocyanins which is a useful ingredient for the production of rhodopsin. Rhodopsin is known to enhance the night vision by aiding the eye to adjust to insufficient light during night and therefore enhances vision.
Preventive Measures for Metabolic Syndrome/ Diabetes
February 10, 2012 07:55 AM
Metabolic syndrome is a serious health problem associated with cluster of conditions like high cholesterol level, high blood pressure, high sugar level and excessive fats in the abdomen. It increases risks of diabetes, heart attack and stroke. Having one of these conditions doesn't mean that you have metabolic syndrome. However, frequent occurrence of any of these symptoms can increase risk.
Knowing your family's medical history can prevent metabolic syndrome that can lead to diabetes. If it runs in the family, consult your doctor to have your blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure checked.
Avoid high carb diet to prevent metabolic syndrome and diabetes. During digestion, carbohydrate rich foods are broken down into sugar or glucose. Glucose gives energy to the body while calorie is the measure of burned energy. When high amount of carbohydrate is digested, it increases sugar level in the blood. The brain prompts the pancreas release insulin to neutralize blood sugar level. Diabetes happens when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin.
Replace high carb diet with more nutritious foods like oats, whole wheat, rye, red rice, sweet potatoes and buckwheat. They are energy giving food rich in dietary fibers. Fibers keep a healthy digestive system by improving digestion and eliminating body wastes. It maintains sexy abs by flushing out excess belly fats.
Stay physically active by engaging into sports and exercises. Inactive body does not use much energy. Unused energy is stored in the body in form of fats. Fat cells are resistant to insulin thus, increase blood sugar and cholesterol level. Fat cells slow down metabolism and increase weight gain. While lean muscles hastens metabolism even when the body is at rest. Lean muscle protects the body against insulin resistance.
Maintain a well balanced diet to reverse diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Raw fruits like oranges, berries, pineapple, grapes and other citrus fruits are good alternative for desserts like cakes. They are rich in Vitamin C that lowers cholesterol and burns fats. It is also rich in antioxidants that shield the body against harmful toxins.
Add green leafy vegetables to your diet to increase immunity from sickness like diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Green leafy vegetables are rich in Vitamin E that repairs and regenerates damaged cells.
Develop a healthy sleeping pattern. Sleep disturbances and staying up late at night prompt the pancreas to continually release insulin. This creates stress on the pancreas that leads to insufficient production of insulin. A well rested mind and body keep metabolic syndrome and diabetes away.
Try natural remedies like cinnamon, pine bark, and blueberry leaf extract. Cinnamon prevents diabetes and metabolic syndrome by lowering cholesterol and blood sugar level. Pine bark, when extracted produces pycnogenol that absorbs glucose in the blood. It also protects the eyes from Blindness and blurred vision caused by diabetes. Blueberry leaf extract regulates blood sugar level by increasing the body's sensitivity to insulin.
Health supplements like chromium and alpha lipoic acid have shown great results in preventing and managing diabetes. Chromium is a mineral that metabolizes carbohydrates to prevent weight gain. It stabilizes blood sugar and prevents hypertension.
Taurine - Essential or Non-Essential Amino Acid - You Decide?
February 17, 2011 10:56 AM
Amino Acid Taurine Is Essential For More Than You Think
Taurine is an organic compound with acidic properties, which is synthesized in the pancreas in adults, but an essential amino acid in infants. Many neutraceutical products for infants are fortified with taurine, inasmuch as some newborns do not have the enzymes required to synthesize taurine. Taurine deficiency in adults results from deficiencies in other organic compounds, notably methionine and cysteine, which are its immediate precursors within the body.
Helps in Brain Development
It has long been postulated that taurine plays an important role in the human brain, especially in infants, protecting the nerve cells from possible neonatal damages. Taurine continues to affect the nervous system as we age, acting on gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, and consequently enhances inhibitory synaptic transmissions. In addition, taurine is alleged to stimulate continuous activation of synapses characteristic of long-term potentiation, which memory and learning ability stem from.
Stabilizes Glucose Levels
Taurine is a powerful inhibitor of glycation, a process by which sugar molecules attach themselves to other biomolecules without the aid of enzymes, and thus subsequently impair the functions of these biomolecules. This process may take place inside or outside the body, but the substances that result from this process, which are referred to as advanced glycation end-products or AGEs, contribute to the formation of a number of major disorders in later life such as cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, age-related deafness and Blindness, and cancer. Taurine keeps the cells from taking up AGEs from the blood, which is slowly excreted in the urine.
Regulates Adipose Tissues
It has also been observed that dietary taurine influences the metabolic pathways that give rise to the formation of adipose tissues, the fat reserves of the human body. These fat depot appear anywhere in the body, but are commonly tied to the subcutaneous fats, those that we see on the belly, chest, arms, and thighs. Moreover, body fat percentage has been an indicator of obesity, which is central to the use of taurine in regulating adipose tissues.
Influences Lipid Absorption
Taurine is a major component of bile, the fluid produced by the liver, stored in the gallbladder, and secreted in the small intestines to aid in the digestion of triglycerides, cholesterol, and other lipids. Also, several studies point to the effect of taurine on the binding of proteins to lipids to form lipoproteins, compounds that have been notoriously labeled as bad cholesterol. Not surprisingly, taurine has been suggested to maintain healthy levels of blood cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular diseases.
Fights Oxidative Stress
Sodas have become a part of our daily diet today, but little did we know that they are risk factors for oxidative stress, the continued peroxidation of cellular structures. Fructose in sodas and other sweetened beverages is the most dangerous of all sugars, inasmuch as it releases by-products called AGEs, which are highly reactive to oxidation. AGEs do not get excreted right away and are instead absorbed by cells, leading to irreversible damages to neuronal and vascular tissues in later life. Intake of taurine removes this problem.
Have you had your Taurine Today?
If You Are Having Trouble With Night Driving, Bilberry Extract Could Help
February 02, 2011 10:06 PM
Night Blindness is very common nowadays. According to statistics, a lack of vitamin A is the primary cause of night Blindness or inability to see at night or in dim light. The treatment of this eye condition will depend upon the cause. Treatment may be as simple as getting a new eye glasses prescription. But invasive procedures may also be required most especially those that are caused by cataracts. Fortunately, Bilberry extracts may help night Blindness.
Bilberry is a low – growing perrenial shrub growing approximately 15 to 20 inches in height. It is a member of the family Ericaceae in the genus Vaccinium. Its branches are green with sharp edges. It bears edible berr that is seemingly wrinkled and black. Bilberry is a comparative to the common berries known as blueberry and cranberry. The active compounds in bilberry fruit are known as anthocyanosides. Bilberry extract has a deep bluish purple tone which contains the majority of the active substance of the fruit known as anthocyanidin. Anthocyanidin is a component of anthocyanosides. It can help increase the formation of rhodopsin. According to studies, rhodopsin is formed from an aldehyde form of vitamin A called retinaldehyde, or retinal as commonly used. It is then bound to the protein opsin. This compound consisting of retinal and opsin is stored in photoreceptors of the retina of the eye known as rods and cones. Rhodopsin is the compound in the eye that is responsible for adjusting eye perception to light variations.
This plant extract is also commonly used for treating eye problems like cataracts and retinal disorders particularly retinopathy. Scientists found out that anthocyanosides help protect the retina. Since bilberry improves the formation of rhodopsin, adequate levels of rhodopsin can significantly improve night vision and reduce visual fatigue. This eye pigment could help those individuals who are having trouble driving at night because of its rhodopsin regenerating property.
Aside from supporting a healthy eye function, bilberry has many other health benefits. It has an antioxidant, anti – inflammatory, collagen stabilizing and vasoprotective properties. Generally, anthocyanosides are considerably beneficial to the overall health of the body. It can improve circulation by preventing blood clumping by reducing platelet aggregation. It can also prevent or reduce the amount and extent of damage to cells caused by free radicals.
Further clinical studies are being done to be able to get concrete evidence on the fruit’s benefits especially to the eyes. Preliminary results show that bilberry decreases eyestrain after an excessive use of computers, protects against glaucoma by improving blood vessel integrity in the eyes, reduces the occurrence of cataracts by maintaining the integrity of connective tissues in the eyes and lessens the risk of retinopathy among diabetic patients. Preparations of bilberry extracts include teas, capsules or tablets.
Natural Remedies To Control Blood Sugar
June 17, 2010 01:32 PM
Diabetes has now been found to be the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and Canada. It is a chronic disorder of carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. The disease starts off as a variety of metabolic changes that are associated with hyperinsulinemenia and hyperglycemia. When this happens, Insulin Resistance Syndrome results, which is a precursor to actual, full-blown, diabetes. If left untreated, insulin resistance will develop into full-blown diabetes, which includes greatly magnified risks of heart disease, stroke, eye and kidney disease, and loss of nerve function. It should be noted that diabetes is the principal cause of adult Blindness and limb amputation.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In this type of diabetes, the body either does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is crucial for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. The body breaks down all of the sugars and starches that you consume into glucose, while insulin takes the glucose from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into the cells, the cells may be starved for energy immediately, and high blood sugar glucose levels over time can cause damage to your eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart. Diabetes occurs in people of all ages and races, with some groups having a higher risk for developing it than others. Diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans, as well as the older aged population.
Non-insulin-dependent diabetes, also known as type 2 diabetes, is a disease that is strongly associated with a sedentary lifestyle and the modern western diet. Inadequate physical activity, along with a diet that is high in refined sugars, saturated fats, and proteins, and simultaneously low in dietary fiber has resulted in an obesity epidemic throughout the United States and Canada. With this epidemic has risen the prevalence of type 2 diabetes. In fact, obesity is a main factor in type 2 diabetes, with almost 90% of those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes being obese at the time of diagnosis. Although there is still a disagreement as to whether obesity actually causes type 2 diabetes or whether diabetes causes obesity, there is one thing that is clear: the disease involves a huge disturbance to the metabolic balance of the body and weight is a major factor in blood sugar management. This disturbance leads to dramatic consequences for the individual.
In order to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, it is crucial that one prevents the onset of insulin resistance. Unfortunately, millions of North Americans unknowingly suffer from this syndrome. This places them at an increased risk for cardiovascular and neurological dysfunctions. Research has shown that complications that are associated with the development of insulin resistance may be mitigated effectively by conscientious dietary and lifestyle changes along with weight loss.
Vitamins B3, B6, B12, C, E, biotin, coenzyme Q10, and the trace elements chromium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc are all crucial for proper blood sugar defense and metabolic support, as well as the regulation of glucose metabolism. Supplementation with these nutrients at levels that are determined to be suitable for optimal nutritional health by cited nutritional authorities is an important part of product-rating criteria. Nutritional experts ask themselves whether the product in question contains vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, biotin, coenzyme Q10, chromium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc at potencies that are up to 100% of the potencies for these nutrients in the Blended Standard.
Excess weight seems to be a key factor in type 2 diabetes so it seems to reason that reducing body fat can help one improve insulin sensitivity. Losing weight is no easy task but is possible with consistent work. Fortunately, heath food stores have vitamin formulas that may help improve insulin sensitivity, but this is no substitute for good clean eating and exercise. For additional information on these supplements, please contact your local health food retailer.
Boost Absorption With Natural Vitamins
April 17, 2009 11:20 AM
Malabsorption occurs when the body fails to properly absorb vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from food. Even though a person’s diet is adequate, an individual with malabsorption develops various nutritional deficiencies. This problem is often the result of impaired digestion, impaired absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream from the digestive tract, or both.
Common symptoms of malabsorption syndrome include constipation or diarrhea, dry skin, fatigue, gas, mental difficulties such as depression or an inability to concentrate, muscle cramps and/or weakness, premenstrual syndrome, steatorrhea, a tendency to bruise easily, failure to grow normally, thinning hair, unexplained weight loss, and visual difficulties especially with night vision. Abdominal comfort may also be present and a combination of anemia, diarrhea, and weight loss is typical. However, in some individuals, obesity may result if fats are deposited in the tissues rather than being utilized properly by the body. Additionally, the body may begin to crave more and more food, which often leads to the consumption of many empty and/or fat calories.
Factors that can contribute to a malfunction of the absorption mechanism include digestive problems, poor diet, excess mucus covering the intestinal lining, an imbalance in intestinal bacterial flora, the use of certain medications, food allergies, and illnesses such as cancer and AIDS.
No matter how good your diet is or how many supplements you take, you will have nutritional deficiencies if you suffer from malabsorption syndrome. These deficiencies lead to other problems. The impaired absorption of protein can cause edema, while a lack of potassium can cause muscle weakness and cardiovascular problems. Anemia results for a lack of iron and folic acid, while bone loss and tetany can be caused by a lack of calcium and vitamin D. Bruising easily results from a lack of vitamin K, while night Blindness comes from a deficiency of vitamin A. The failure to absorb B vitamins and to transfer amino acids across the intestinal lining interferes with the production of needed digestive enzymes and causes further malabsorption, as these nutrients are essential in the absorption process itself. This causes a vicious cycle to be produced.
Malabsorption is a factor in other medical and physical problems, along with being a serious condition in itself. The body needs all nutrients in balance because they have to be able to work together. If there is a deficiency in even a single nutrient, the body no longer functions as it should, allowing all things to go awry. This results in disease. Malabsorption is a common contributing factor to a wide range of disorders, including cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and all types of infection.
People with malabsorption syndrome must take in more nutrients than the average person to compensate, and to treat and correct the problem. It is best to bypass the intestinal tract as much as possible when supplying these nutrients. As a result, choosing supplements that are sustained-release and large in size should be avoided. Many people with malabsorption problems can not break down supplements taken in hard pill form. Therefore, injections, powders, liquids, and lozenges provide nutrients in forms that are more easily assimilated.
The following nutrients are recommended for dealing with malabsorption syndrome: acidophilus, vitamin B complex, bioperine, calcium, free-form amino acid complex, garlic, magnesium, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, vitamin E, essential fatty acids, a multi-vitamin and mineral complex, proteolytic enzymes, and zinc lozenges. Additionally, the following herbs may be beneficial: alfalfa, dandelion root, fennel seed, ginger, nettle, aloe vera, peppermint, black pepper, buchu, goldenseal, irish moss, rhubarb, and yellow dock.
Glaucoma (loose your eye sight)
February 16, 2009 01:18 PM
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that affect the optic nerve and can lead to irreversible vision loss. It is usually associated with elevated fluid pressure within the eye. All forms of glaucoma can cause damage to the optic nerve and lead to vision loss, even Blindness, if left untreated. About 2.2 million Americans have been diagnosed with glaucoma and as many as 2 million more could have it and not yet know. It is one of the lading causes of Blindness and is expected to become more prevalent in years to come due to the growing population of older adults.
Those people who are at greatest risk for developing glaucoma are people over the age of sixty, people of African ancestry, and people with diabetes, high blood pressure, severe myopia, or a family history of glaucoma. Smokers also have an elevated risk, as do those who have sustained eye injuries or who have used steroids for an extended period of time.
About 3 percent of Americans are believed to have open-angle glaucoma, which is the most common form of this disease. Because this disorder causes no symptoms until it is quite advanced, only about half of those who have it are actually aware of it. In open-angle glaucoma, there is no physical blockage and the structure of the eye appear to be normal. However, the drainage of fluid is inadequate to keep the intraocular pressure at a normal level.
The most pronounced symptoms of open-angle glaucoma are the gradual loss or darkening of peripheral vision and a marked decrease in night vision or the ability of the eye to adjust to darkness. Other possible symptoms include chronic low-grade headaches, the need for frequent changes in eyeglass prescription, and/or seeing halos around electric lights.
A far less common, yet more serious, form of glaucoma is closed-angle glaucoma. Closed-angle glaucoma is much more dangerous than open-angle forms because it almost never manifests any symptoms until very late in the condition. By that time, vision may be irreversibly damaged.
Glaucoma probably has many causes, with many scientists believing it may be closely linked to stress and nutritional problems or disorders like diabetes and high blood pressure. Some think that excessive amounts of glutamic acid, which is a nonessential amino acid, may be involved. Glaucoma has also been linked to deficiency in nitric oxide, which is a molecule that is critical for healthy blood vessels. Problems with collagen, the most abundant protein in the human body, have been linked to glaucoma as well. Collagen increases the strength and elasticity of tissues in the body, especially those of the eye. Collagen and tissue abnormalities at the back of the eye contribute to the clogging of the tissues through which the intraocular fluid normally drains. This results in elevated inner eye pressure, leading to glaucoma and related vision loss.
The following nutrients are considered to be very important when dealing with and preventing glaucoma: choline, essential fatty acids, glutathione, rutin, vitamin A, vitamin B complex, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, vitamin E, alpha-lipoic acid, magnesium, a multivitamin and mineral complex, and zinc. Additionally, the following herbs are helpful: bilberry, chickweed, eyebright, coleus forskohli, fennel tea, chamomile, ginkgo biloba, zinc sulfate, jaborandi, and rose hips.
To resolve issues with the eyes, one must change their diet, exercise, and take supplements and herbs like what are listed above. Medical doctors are at a loss as to how glaucoma happens but they can help stop the progression of this disease if detected early on. Always consult your doctor before adding vitamins and herbs to your diet, vitamins and herbs are available at your local or internet health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Antioxidants For The Body
June 10, 2008 11:27 AM
Eating the fruits and vegetables that naturally contain antioxidants is the best way to get them into your system. Mixing them into a well-balanced and healthy diet is the best method of all. This way you reap the benefits of all of the antioxidants in a natural combination.
The benefit of dietary antioxidants is that they slow the chemical process of oxidation. This oxidation is what causes narrowing of the arteries and heart-related health problems due to cholesterol deposits. Eating a regular variety of herbs, vegetables and fruits that contain antioxidants is the best way to maintain good health. Some foods that contain antioxidants include:
Antioxidant supplements are available, lab testing have shown that they are just as effective as their natural counterparts. Natural foods contain ranges of antioxidants that work together synergistically. These combinations of antioxidants are much more effective.
Antioxidants and other nutrients are needed by the body to protect against cell damage. They also may reduce the risks of certain forms of cancer.
It has been discovered that the mitochondria (cell power plants) are a major source of oxidant production. They are also a target for the damaging effects of the very oxidants that they produce. This is a major cause in the advancement of cellular aging, called apoptosis.
It is believed that in apoptosis, each cell has a fixed number of cell divisions that it is capable of. After the cell has used its allotted number of divisions, it ceases to function. Oxidative damage is also a contributing factor of DNA mutation, which causes further malfunction of the cells.
Most Common Antioxidants:
The following is a list of the most common antioxidants, what benefits they offer and where to find them:
*Beta-carotene keeps the skin healthy and promotes growth and development of bones. It also helps to prevent night Blindness and fight infection. Beta-carotene is found in vegetables and fruits: carrots, cantaloupe, apricots, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes and pumpkin.
* Vitamin C destroys free radicals inside and outside cells. It helps in the healing of wounds, preventing bruising, formation of connective tissue, iron absorption and keeping gums healthy. Vitamin C is being studied for its beneficial effects in reducing cataracts, cancer and heart disease. Foods high in vitamin C include tomatoes, citrus fruits and juices, berries, mango, papaya, peppers, cabbage, spinach, broccoli and potatoes.
* Vitamin E acts as the essential fat protector in cell membranes and red blood cells. It reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer and other diseases associated with age. Vitamin E is found in peanut butter, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, margarine, whole grains, wheat germ, salad dressings and avocado.
* Selenium helps the body maintain healthy hair and nails. It also enhances immunity and, along with Vitamin E, prevents cell damage. Vitamin E reduces the risk of cancers, especially prostate, lung and colorectal. The best sources of Selenium include brazil nuts, garlic, meat, eggs, poultry, seeds, seafood and whole grains. The amount of selenium found in plants depends on the soil content in which they are grown.
Antioxidants benefit the body by providing a layer of protection for the tissues and cells. They are the front line of the body's protection against free radicals. Free radicals are unstable by-products of oxygen that cause premature aging and degenerative diseases. They also come from environmental sources, such as pollution, UV rays and other toxins. Foods rich in antioxidants help to clean free radicals from the body. They also help to prevent various age-related diseases, cancers and heart disease.
Maintaining a healthy, nutritionally balanced body that has the ability to fight disease and infection is a prime way to live a long, disease free and happy life. Regular ingestion of antioxidant rich foods or supplements is the best method to achieve this.
June 07, 2008 09:40 AM
Vitamin E is a known natural supplement and antioxidant that helps support the immune and cardiovascular systems. It is created by a natural process so that you can receive the purest form available. It is formed when natural d-alpha tocopherol is combined with a phosphate molecule. This combination protects the potency of Vitamin E until your body needs it the most.
Ester E is processed so that its natural benefits are preserved to give the body the most optimal benefit possible. This is why Ester E is the best form of Vitamin E available. Vitamin E is known to aid in the following actions:
* Preventing Alzheimer’s disease
Vitamin E Food Sources:
How Vitamin E Works:
Manufacturers suggest that Ester E be taken along with a meal that includes some form of fat. This is because when fat is combined with Vitamin E, it is more readily absorbed. Since the supplement is fat soluble, this aids in delivery to the cells of the body.
Vitamin E is an essential nutrient because the body cannot produce it on its own. If you are not ingesting the proper amounts of it in your daily diet, you need to take a supplement. It is important to remember that improper preparation, cooking and storage can result in the loss of Vitamin E from the food.
Vitamin E is actually a combination of antioxidants, tocopherols and tocotrienols. Unfortunately, only alpha-tocopherol is actively maintained in the body. Therefore a supplement is needed to be sure the body is getting enough of the other ingredients that make up the complete Vitamin E.
Why do we need Vitamin E?
Part of its job is to protect Vitamin A and essential fatty acids from oxidation. When oxidation occurs in the cells, it breaks down body tissues.
Vitamin E Benefits:
Vitamin E has been found to aid in the prevention of heart disease. The oxidation of LDL cholesterol causes blockages in the coronary arteries. This often leads to atherosclerosis and heart attack. Vitamin E helps to prevent or at least delay these effects by limiting this oxidation. This has reduced the mortality rate due to coronary disease.
In its complete form, Vitamin E may be effective in reducing the risk of breast cancer in women who are genetically predisposed. It is being tested for its effectiveness in not only reducing the incidence of breast cancer, but also in inhibiting breast cancer cell growth.
Vitamin E is thought to protect the body against many forms of cancer due to its ability to increase immune system function. As an antioxidant, Vitamin E protects the body against the damaging effects of free radicals. These are believed to contribute to cancer cell production and the development of other chronic diseases. Vitamin E may also block formation of nitrosamines. These are carcinogens that form in the stomach from nitrites consumed through diet.
Another possible benefit to optimal amounts of Vitamin E in the diet is the prevention of cataracts. The clarity of the lens of the eye contributes to the formation of cataracts, Blindness and eye disease. Vitamin E is being found to aid in the prevention of eye problems in people of all ages.
Vitamin E Warnings:
Vitamin E can produce harmful side effects if it is combined with certain medications. Consult your doctor before taking any dietary supplement to be sure it is safe for your use.
When taken as a supplement in its complete form, Vitamin E is nutritive and helpful in maintaining good health. Be sure when purchasing Vitamin E supplements that you are using Ester E for optimal benefits.
Fat Controls our hunger centers in the brain!
April 04, 2008 11:28 AM
The main cause of any chronic disease of aging including Type II diabetes, CV disease, obesity, osteoporosis, and cancer are all caused by miss communication between signals that tell your body how to turn energy into life and the brain. The two most important signals that we know of today are given by the hormones insulin and leptin.
Leptin is an extremely powerful and influential hormone that is produced by fat cells. It has totally changed the way scientific researchers look at fat, nutrition, and metabolism in general. Before leptin’s discovery in 1994, fat was regarded as strictly an ugly energy store that most everyone was trying to get rid of. However, after it was discovered that leptin is actually produced by fat, fat became an endocrine organ similar to the ovaries, pancreas, and pituitary, as it influences the rest of the body, especially the brain.
Leptin is the most powerful regulator known to date of eating and reproduction. Your fat tells your brain whether you should be hungry or eat and make more fat, whether you should reproduce and make babies, or whether to maintain and repair yourself. It can then be stated that instead of your brain being in control of your body, your body, especially its fat and leptin, controls your brain.
Throughout history, it has been in ones best interest to store some fat to call upon during times of famine. However, it is also just as bad to be too fat. For most of our history, it was necessary to run, hunt, and avoid being prey. Therefore, fat storage had to be highly regulated and it still is. When a person typically tries to lose weight, the body tries to gain it back, resulting in what is commonly known as yo-yo dieting. Because of this, it has long been theorized that there is a “set point” and there must be a hormone that determines this.
Science now believes that leptin is that hormone. So in order to break the yo-yo cycle, one must control leptin. If a person is getting too fat, the extra fat produces more leptin that is suppose to tell the brain there is too much fat stored and the excess should be burned. Signals are then sent to the hypothalamus to stop being hungry, stop eating, stop storing fat, and start burning off some extra fat. Controlling hunger is a major way that leptin controls energy storage. Hunger is a very powerful drive that will make you do all you can to eat if it is stimulated long enough.
The only way to eat less in the long-term is to not be hungry and the only way to do this is to control the hormones that regulate hunger. The primary hormone that does this is leptin. It has recently been found that leptin not only changes brain chemistry, but can also rewire the neurons in areas of the brain that control hunger and metabolism to do its bidding. The inability of the body to hear leptin’s signals plays significant and even primary roles in heart disease, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, reproductive disorders, cancer, and even the rate of aging itself.
In a process called glycation, glucose reacts with protein which results in sticky, sugar-damaged proteins called advanced glycated end products, or AGEs for short. When protein is damaged, it can’t function or communicate properly. AGEs promote excessive inflammation and free radical damage. AGEs and free radicals from oxidation are two of the major molecular mechanisms that cause damage which leads to aging. AGEs cause skin and the lining of arteries to wrinkle and inflame, which contributes to plaque and heart attacks. They can also promote the formation of cataracts and macular degeneration leading eventually to Blindness.
The glycation process has also been connected with the destruction of proteins and nerve cells that may lead to Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, and a variety of neuropathies. Glycation and oxidation are two of the major molecular mechanisms where damage accrues, disease occurs, and death results. High blood sugar can suppress your immune system, making you more vulnerable to infection and cancer. Highly aggressive cancers outpace the availability of oxygen and therefore must use an anaerobic fuel, in the form of glucose. By consuming glucose (sugar), we feed cancer. Lastly, high blood levels of sugar form non-fiber carbohydrates and excess protein send leptin and insulin levels upward.
If there is a known marker for long life, it is low insulin levels. Insulin’s purpose is not only to regulate blood sugar, but to store excess energy for future times of need. Insulin also lowers blood glucose levels as a side effect from storing it away, not regulating it. Today, high glucose is quite normal, as our insulin levels are typically much higher than they were among our ancestors. When you are constantly bombarding your cells with insulin, they become insulin resistant. This causes insulin levels to rise, creating a hormonal derangement that has a catastrophic effect on the metabolism.
High insulin contributes to making you fat because it tells your cells to store nutrients as fat rather than to burn it. Repeated high levels of insulin cause insulin resistance. The more fat the body accumulates the more leptin the body can produce so fat works against to slow down insulin production causing insulin resistance..
High insulin causes the retention of sodium, fluid retention, excretion of magnesium, elevated blood pressure, cognitive heart failure, blood clotting, and arterial plaque formation. Heart attacks are much more likely to happen after a meal that is high in carbohydrates than after one that is high in fat. This triggers a stress response which can cause arterial spasm, constriction of arteries, elevated blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and sudden death. Insulin resistance along with low magnesium keeps you from metabolizing important fatty acids that are vital to your heart health in general.
As critical as insulin is in your health, leptin may even be more so. Leptin plays a significant role in obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. But there are clues as to how to live a long and healthy life which brings us back to fat and leptin and our need to control it. One can control their insulin production and fat by dietary changes and blood sugar supplements.
Eggs: An Excellent Source of Omega-3 Oils for Better Health
December 18, 2007 11:43 AM
Eggs have many health benefits, among them being the fact they can be an excellent source of omega-3 oils that can promote better health in those that take it as a supplement. Hens fed on flax seeds are particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids, although eggs have many health benefits other than omega-3.
Most of the health benefits of Omega fatty acids are well known, although many more are being continually discovered as scientists research the uses to which the substances can be put in our bodies. Omega-3 fatty acids have long carbon chains that are polyunsaturated, i.e. contain multiple double bonds in the hydrocarbon chain. As opposed to saturated fatty acids with no double bonds. They are important components of our neurological systems and help to build up cell membranes, but are probably best known for their effect in protecting us from cardiovascular diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids can help us to maintain a healthy heart, and so enable us to live longer.
The current western diet has been changing to reduce cholesterol intake and improve our lifestyle. However, this has not all been well advised, and the resultant diet is rich in vegetable oils as opposite to animal fats, the relative levels of omega fatty acids having changed in favor of omega-6 fatty acids. These omega-6 fats are not as healthy for us as omega-3, and can lead to a thrombogenic state that more easily leads to cardiovascular diseases and blood clots. Rather than a normal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of around 2:1, this ‘improved’ diet has increased it to anything up to 50:1.
The American Heart Association has been advocating a diet richer in omega-3 fatty acids since 1996, yet while research continues to favor omega-3, the increase in consumption of vegetable oils has continued to increase, and with it a reduction in the overall health of a nation.
Omega-3 enriched eggs have been introduced as one means of redressing the balance. Hens fed on flax seeds lay eggs with a much higher proportion of omega-3 fatty acids than normal: up to and over 150mg per egg. Such eggs also have reduced cholesterol – over 15% less, and also are higher in vitamin E, a strong antioxidant, by up to 300%.
Two of the components of omega-3 oils, linoleic acid and linolenic acid, are what are known as ‘essential’ fatty acids. The term means that they cannot be manufactured in your body, so must essentially be introduced through your diet. When the human body developed to what it is now, the consumption of fish and other oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids was a significant part of our diets, and allowed our bodies to develop the biochemistry and metabolism that it uses today.
If we now upset that biochemistry by cutting our intake of unsaturated fatty acids, our metabolism will suffer and our general health decline. This is one reason why humans should interfere with their natural eating habits as little as possible, or if we do so excessively we should use supplements to replace what we are excluding from diets that have been natural to us for countless millennia. It is dangerous now for the human race to suddenly switch to a significantly different diet without suitable supplementation, because we do not know the long terms effects of doing so.
One way to maintain a steady intake of the fatty acids our metabolism needs in order to ensure our survival is to eat eggs, and especially omega-3 enriched eggs. Of course, eggs have a lot more beneficial health effects than just omega-3. Take choline for example. This is a trimethylated compound that is important in the metabolism of fats. It is the newest official B vitamin, and is an essential component of cell membranes. It is particularly important for the maintenance of the health of your brain, and preventing many brain disorders.
It is also important in methylation, an important biochemical process, and also in the biochemical synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This substance is used to pass messages between nerve cells and from nerve cells to muscles, and a deficiency can cause many health problems, including heart disease and diseases of the vascular system. Methylation is a very important biochemical reaction, being used particularly in messages between body cells and is used to switch genes on and off.
Up to 90% of Americans are deficient in choline, and subject to many diseases because of it. Symptoms include insomnia, fatigue, excess fat concentrations in the blood and problems with your nerves and muscular control. It can cause liver problems and heart problems, and cause a number of brain disorders.
Choline is available in the diet from lecithin and egg yolks, and also soya beans, flax seeds, peanuts and potatoes. The typical American diet is not conducive to an adequate choline intake, and increased egg consumption can help to redress this. This is particularly true of eggs from hens fed with flax seeds, or linseed, from which the triple benefits of choline, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E are obtained. Just two eggs will provide you with almost 50% of your daily requirement of choline.
Some are wary about the cholesterol content of eggs, but studies have indicated that it not so much the amount of dietary cholesterol that is eaten, but saturated fats that cause the excess deposition of cholesterol in the arteries. Cholesterol is an essential part of human biochemistry, and without any we could not survive. In fact, studies have shown that eating two eggs daily can improve your cholesterol levels
Eggs are also rich in lutein, and contain more than vegetables such as spinach. Lutein is an important carotenoid that is believed to prevent age related macular degeneration, which can lead to Blindness, and also prevents the development of cataracts. Eggs also appear to have anti-clotting properties on the blood, and so help to reduce the thrombogenesis of omega-6 fatty acids.
Without a doubt, eating eggs is very good for your health, and especially so if they are rich is omega-3 fatty acids. They contain a wide variety of nutrients and truly are a complete food packaged by nature. Some may prefer to stay away from eggs and miss the omega-3 benefits so there is an alternative for diets that exclude eggs. Omega-3 is available in a supplement form that one can take on a daily basis to reap the benefits omega-3 presents.
Prevent Disease With Discount Vitamins
October 24, 2007 09:33 AM
You can prevent disease with discount vitamin just as easy as with those you pay top dollar for on the High Street. Vitamins are vitamins, and they do not lose quality for price as long as you know what to look for and stick with name brands. They are the most purchased supplement in the western world, and there are ways of getting them for less than the normal price.
First, though, a definition of what a vitamin is since an astounding number of people have no idea of what actually constitutes a vitamin even though they can recite all the letters. In fact, a vitamin is a molecule, obtained from an organic animal or vegetable source that is essential for life. Without it there can be no animal life and vitamins generally catalyze or act as coenzymes in the biochemistry that makes up all of the chemical reactions of the body. A catalyst allows a reaction to occur without changing itself, and a coenzyme allows enzymes to do their jobs.
Let’s have a look at one or two vitamins to provide examples of these statements. In bygone days when sailors used sail to cross the oceans in open boats powered only by sail and oar, a trip that takes us a week in a cruise liner these days could take sailors several months. It was not only the fact that they relied on favorable winds, but also that they did not always know where they were going, and were frequently unable to store up for a whole voyage. They depended on landing at islands on the way to replenish supplies. Disease due to lack of nutrition was common and one of these was scurvy.
This condition is not strictly a disease and is due to a lack of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. In fact the name ‘ascorbic’ comes from the Latin for ‘without scurvy’. The symptoms are liverish spots over the body, spongy gums that cause the teeth to fall out and bleeding from the mucus membranes. Healed scars will open up, and cured and knitted bone fractures will separate. Ultimately it causes death. The first person is used since scurvy still exists.
It is due to a breakdown in the synthesis of collagen which heals scars, keeps joints held together, and forms the outside part of cells, and also some inner cell structures. Collagen synthesis is dependent on the amino acids proline and lysine that are hydroxylated by the enzymes lysyl and prolyl hydroxylase. The problem is that these enzymes need ascorbic acid (vitamin C) to do their work. Without it, collagen cannot be made.
Although the chemistry was unknown, early sailors soon found that citrus fruits such as lemons and limes prevented this horrible condition. The English used to stock up their ships with fresh limes at any port of call that had them, and this is why the English are frequently referred to a ‘Limeys’. It got them a nickname, but it saved their lives. Scurvy is now rare, but it is not a disease as such that can be eradicated. It occurs now and again in teenagers with poor diets that do not include fresh fruit and vegetables.
Vitamin C supplements are now available, and it is one of the most common of the discount vitamins on the market. The same is true of vitamin A that is essential for good eyesight. It has many other uses, as has vitamin C, but without it we could not survive. Without it we will eventually become blind, although the first symptom is night Blindness. However, an excess can lead to hypovitaminosis A, a condition common in the developed world. Its absence can kill us, and vitamin A deficiency is one of the more common conditions of the developing world. Vitamins are contrary creatures, and can do us harm as well as good.
How about vitamin D, the sunlight vitamin? We don’t think of it, yet it is responsible for the strength of your skeleton and the regulation of calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood. Without it our bones become soft, our children get rickets and we eventually die – frequently through cancer.
1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol is the chemical name for calcitriol, which is the form of vitamin D found in the body, known as vitamin D3. This has been found to kill some cancer cells in the laboratory, and it is thought that supplements of vitamin D might help to prevent some types of cancer. The reults of a four year cancer study were released in June, 2007, that showed a reduction of 60% in cancers where patients were given a aupplement of 1100 inernational units daily. This rose to 77% where the cancers had been diagnosed in their first year.
The effect of vitamin D was emphasized by the reults of a study of more than 4 million cancer patients that showed a marked difference in the risk of cancer according to whether they lived in sunny or less sunny climates.
So these are the benefits of some discount vitamin supplements. How, then, do you find vitamins at discount prices? The easiest way is to purchase in bulk. There are those that form online clubs for vitamins and pay a weekly or monthly fee to join. When offers come online for specific supplements at low prices, they are purchased by the groups and distributed. You could do the same yourself with some friends, since it is generally cheaper to purchase 5 Kg of a vitamin that 500g. Your local health food store could also help you out since they are likely to be able to procure discount bulk prices from their supplier.
Another way is to wait until your local store makes special offers, or seek offers in the press. These can often be found, but if you are concerned mainly with the common vitamins A, B complex, C, D and E then a large proportion of the population are interested in these and you should not find it difficult to sell several kilos of these. You will not only get yours free, but will a sizeable profit into the bargain.
Anything between that and the normal price is an advantage for chemicals that are essential for life. One thing to always remember, buy reputable name brand vitamins because if the vitamins seem to cheap than you’re probably right. Name brand vitamins have quality and can be purchased at discount prices if you look long enough.
Lutein: A Plant Pigment That Provides Protection From The Sun
October 23, 2007 10:00 AM
Lutein is a plant pigment, and protects protection from the sun needed to prevent damage to the skin and eyes from its strong ultra violet (UVB) radiation. Lutein is a carotenoid and strong antioxidant that is found in red, yellow, orange and dark green fruit and vegetables such as broccoli, curly and sea kale, spinach, carrots peppers and squashes. It is also available from egg yolks, corn and some fruits such as pomegranates. It is the colored pigments, especially the reds, yellows and oranges, in which lutein is most found.
Lutein can also prevent cataracts and provide benefits for age related macular degeneration. However, before discussing the benefits, it is necessary to discuss exactly what these conditions are and what causes them. Let’s have a heads up on cataracts first.
A cataract takes the form of a clouding of the lens of the eye that leads to blurred vision and eventual virtual Blindness when the cloudiness is extreme. It is not Blindness due to problems with the nerves of the eye, but due to the lens become cloudy, and scattering light entering the eye. It is not a film over the eye as many people believe, but a cloudiness of the lens, and cataracts can normally be treated by removing the whole lens and replacing it with a lens implant – or a synthetic lens.
It is not fully understood how lutein can help cataracts, but studies have shown that those take a large quantity of lutein in there diet have up to 50% less chance of getting cataracts that those that do not. It has also been demonstrated that men who ate broccoli and spinach regularly had a 25% less chance of getting cataracts. The same is true of those that include a lutein supplement of around 6 mg daily, although up to 20 mg is considered an effective dose.
However, it not only through its properties in protecting against cataracts that lutein can help to preserve the health of your eyes. It is also through its effect on macular degeneration. The macula is small part in the center of the retina that allows you to see central vision in high detail, especially close up when you use the center of your eye. Age-related macular degeneration, known as MD, affects your macula so that you can see fine round the edges, but your central vision is blurred. It is therefore difficult to drive, read or carry out tasks that need good central focus. You will find it next to impossible to thread a needle for example. It can come on very slowly, in fact so slowly that you never notice it because the change from day to day, or even week to week, is so small.
It is not coincidence that lutein is concentrated in the macula, and that a lutein supplement can help to prevent macular degeneration. Lutein is believed to filter out some of the blue wavelengths of light, and it is the blue wavelengths that are though to cause free radical damage and oxidative stress to various organs of the body exposed to light, but specifically the eyes. That is why it is believed that lutein helps to prevent macular degeneration, and studies have indicated a good supplement to consist of up to 30 mg each day.
It can also protect the skin from damage by UV radiation, and also prevents free radical damage to skin cells causing premature aging of the skin. The latter occurs through its antioxidant properties, while the former is because if its light filtering properties. It can not only filter out the blue light that can cause macular degeneration but also ultra-violet radiation that affects the skin and can cause skin cancer. There is a fine line between the blue and ultra violet wavelengths from sunlight, and both can contribute to certain medical conditions. However, the absorptive properties of lutein are such that it can absorb the more harmful of these.
The antioxidant properties of lutein are important in their own right, and can help to reduce cholesterol deposition in arties and help to maintain a healthy arterial wall thickness. The same is true of any carotenoids that reduce heart problems, some cancers, especially of the cervix, stomach and lungs, and others that can be caused by free radical action and narrowed arteries such as strokes and brain hemorrhages.
Although it is not one of those supplements considered essential, lutein is biologically essential in that it cannot be produced by the body. It has to be taken through the diet. There is no specific recommended daily allowance (RDA) because life can go on without it, but it does play a role in your everyday health.
However, the average person has a lutein intake less than that needed to take advantage of its UV protection or antioxidant effect. As previously stated, the effective dose is considered to be 30 mg daily, and the average American intake is about 2 mg. That’s an awful lot of egg yolks or tomatoes you are going to have to eat! If you do intend to take your lutein from the natural source, then it much more easily assimilated into your body if not overcooked. Lightly steaming is the best way to prepare your vegetables for maximum nutritional effect.
You can also take lutein as a supplement in the form of tablets, creams and drinks, and can also be found in other supplements that contain carotenoids such as lycopene and beta-carotene. Although not consider essential to life, do not underestimate the health benefits to be gained from a diet high in lutein, especially if you value the health of your eyes.
All strong antioxidants provide you with health benefits due to their ability to destroy the free radicals that in turn destroy the DNA in your body cells, and disrupt the cells themselves. Combine that with their action as filters to the damaging rays of the sun and you have in lutein a plant product that is far reaching in the health benefits that it can provide you with. If you are looking for a lutein supplement, stop into your local or internet health food store for lutein is an over the counter supplement.
Consume Bright Colored Foods for Better Health
October 22, 2007 10:06 AM
A plate of colored food is not only very pleasing to our eyes, but also very healthy. What looks good to eat is also very healthy for us and if you are finding it difficult to persuade your children to eat those boring old tired looking vegetables, then try brightening up their plates with some nice bright colors.
Kids love brightly colored pop and candy so it should not be a difficult thing to persuade them to eat some brightly colored vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, quashes and even thinly sliced carrots with a nice dip. The more intense the color the better for you they appear to be. Colored foods are normally packed full of anti-oxidants that help to prevent diseases of the cardiovascular system and to mop up free radicals present in our bodies. These antioxidants are all chemicals, and many of the naturally occurring antioxidants are highly colored. They are very good at destroying free radicals.
Free radicals are a form of chemical that destroy body cells, and not only accelerate the effects of aging, but also harm our heart. A free radical is a molecule with an unpaired electron. Electrons like to go around in pairs. Every atom has pairs of electrons, and one atom has an odd number then it pairs up with another atom with an odd number, so the two form a compound with an even number of electrons.
However, now and again, the body’s metabolism throws up a molecule with an unpaired electron. That electron’s first thought is to find a partner, and it does so by stealing one from a cell in your body. The result is the disruption and destruction of the cell. Free radicals can also be formed by environmental pollution, cigarette smoke, pesticides and so on.
Anti-oxidants destroy free radicals, and generally keep us healthier for longer. They do so by mopping up the extra electron, and there are many different types of antioxidant that form part of our normal diet. Among them are vitamins A, C and E, but there are others that are complex highly colored organic compounds. Among these are the anthocyanins, known to paint and ink manufacturers as strong red pigments.
Anthocyanins are the pigments or dyes that color red grapes, egg plant, plums and blueberries and they are very powerful antioxidants. However, it is not only for antioxidants that we should eat colorful foods. Some dark green foods, such as spinach, green peppers, peas, celery and dark leafy vegetables, contain what are known as lutein. Lutein works in combination with zeaxanthin to protect our eyes from cataracts and a condition known as macular degeneration, which can lead to Blindness. Zeaxanthin is available from red peppers, oranges, egg yolk and corn.
Many people take folic acid supplements help maintain a healthy heart, and especially women to help prevent birth defects. However, the natural form of folic acid, folate is available from green foods such as lettuce, green beans, broccoli, peas, green grapes, and many other green foods. Broccoli and cabbage also contain indoles also known as indol-3-carbinol are believed to protect your from some cancers. So green is good!
Yellow is also good, and foods such as grapefruit, pineapple and melon help to boost the immune system and keep infections at bay, and also to provide energy and help maintain healthy eyes. Many antioxidants are yellow, although yellow might not a color that you would associate as being attractive to children, unless very bright. However, the yellow foods tend to be fruits rather than vegetables, and it is much easier to persuade a child to eat a pineapple than a squash.
Lycopene is another very powerful antioxidant that prevents the oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol that can damage the cardiovascular system through atherosclerosis. Lycopene is a red pigment very common in tomatoes, and is fat soluble. It is a member of the carotenoid family of antioxidants that are common in brightly colored foods such as carrots, red peppers and many yellow fruits and vegetables as described above. Lutein is also a carotenoid.
A diet rich in carotenoids is very good for keeping the effects of aging at bay and protecting you from heart problems. Lycopene is contained in the liver, colon, skin and prostate gland, and can occur at higher concentrations than most other carotenoids. People that suffer from HIV infections, high cholesterol diseases and inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis, are generally found to have low levels of lycopene in their blood.
Many of the so-called ‘superfoods’ are also brightly colored, and useful not just for their antioxidant properties. Take cranberries for example. These bright red berries contain proanthocyanadins that prevent some bacteria such as e-coli from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract and cause urinary tract infections such as cystitis, and also from adhering to the gums. Cranberries can therefore be used in the treatment of some gum diseases. However, they also possess strong antioxidant properties that help to protect the body against some cancers and also heart disease.
Blueberries are high in vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants with strong anti-inflammatory properties. Pomegranates have exceptionally high antioxidant content and are excellent for a healthy cardiovascular system while strong green broccoli contains not only vitamin C and antioxidants but also folate (the natural form of folic acid) and the phytochemical sulforafane that is believed to protect against certain cancers.
The color of your food, therefore, not only makes it look pretty on your plate and attractive to children, but also indicates the presence of strong antioxidants and other chemicals that help to protect you from specific medical conditions. It is no coincidence that the vast majority of the so-called superfoods is vegetable in origin rather than animal, and also tastes good. You should eat as many of them as you can, and certainly at least five portions every day.
Some can also be used as a remedy for specific conditions in addition to being used for their preventative properties, such as cranberries are used in the treatment of diseases of the urinary tract, and specific diets can help to reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol in the body. Eating with your eyes is not always a bad thing. Some may find it hard to consume enough colorful fruits and vegetables to be beneficial so what is a person to do? Your local health food store has available powdered vegetable and fruit concentrates that supply all the needed nutrients in one simple drink.
Controlling Diabetes with Nutritional Supplements
December 15, 2006 04:07 PM
Controlling Diabetes with Nutritional Supplements
Perhaps no other disease is as closely linked to nutrition as diabetes. Not only doe nutrition play a role in its development, nutrition is also one of the disease’s most powerful treatments.
Because of this strong and critical connection to nutrition, researchers have carefully studied the use of nutritional supplements in the treatment of the disease. They found that many vitamins, such as vitamin C and the B vitamins, minerals such as chromium, as well as herbs like Gymnema sylvestre, can safely, effectively, and naturally lower blood sugars and help prevent diabetic complications.
What is even more important, however, is that these vitamins, minerals, and herbs can be combined together in a scientifically validated diabetic formula to work synergistically. That means their combined effectiveness is even more powerful. Like a group of good friends, these vitamins, minerals, and herbs do their best work when they are all together.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will talk about powerful vitamins, minerals, and herbs combined in a scientifically validated formula that people with diabetes can use every day.
But before we get into the specific formula, we need to first talk about diabetes.
Q. What exactly is diabetes?
A. When we eat, the process of digestion breaks down our food into nutrients. Most of the food we eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose). The sugar enters the bloodstream for delivery throughout the body and is then called blood sugar.
Insulin, a hormone that helps metabolize blood sugar, is made in the pancreas-a long, skinny gland located behind the stomach. Insulin takes blood sugar from the bloodstream and delivers it into the cells that make up the various organs in our body, such as our heart, lungs, and kidneys. The sugar provides energy to the cells to keep our hearts beating, our lungs breathing, and our kidneys excreting.
Type 1 diabetes, sometimes called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, most often starts in childhood. In this type of diabetes, the pancreas no longer makes insulin. The sugar stays in the blood instead of going into the cells where it is needed. Because of this, all people with Type 1 diabetes have to take at least one shot of insulin every day just to stay alive.
Type 2 diabetes most often starts in adults and is also the most common kind. About 90 to 95 percent of all people with diabetes have Type 2. In Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas is usually producing enough insulin. However, the body does not use it effectively. The condition known as “insulin resistance” occurs when the cells do not respond to (resist) insulin’s attempt to enter with glucose. The pancreas responds by producing more and more insulin. When the cells do not respond, high levels of glucose build up in the blood, leading to Type 2 diabetes. Almost everyone with Type 2 diabetes also is insulin resistant. Because the insulin is left unused, the pancreas thinks it isn’t needed and may eventually stop making it. People with Type 2 diabetes often need to take prescription drugs to lower blood sugar levels if dietary and lifestyle changes are not enough to control the problem.
In both types of diabetes, the sugar stays in the bloodstream instead of going into the cells where it is needed and belongs. When blood sugar builds up in the blood, it causes two problems. First, the cells become starved for energy. And, over a period of time, high blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels, nerves, eyes, and kidneys.
Q. What causes diabetes?
A. While scientists aren’t exactly sure why Type 1 diabetes happens, they do know the immune system is involved. A healthy immune system protects us from diseases caused by infections, such as colds or the flu, as well as diseases that start in our own cells, such as cancer. For some reasons, in certain people, the immune system becomes confused and begins attacking and destroying the cells in the pancreas that makes insulin.
Scientists aren’t exactly sure why Type 2 diabetes happens either; however, they have identified that it occurs most often in certain individuals. About 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, have high blood pressure, and have high cholesterol levels in their blood.
Q. What are the symptoms of diabetes?
A. Type 1 diabetes develops very quickly. The classic signs of diabetes include:
-Frequent urination, because the body is trying to get rid of the excess sugar in the blood
-Intense thirst, because the body needs to replace the fluid lost through the urine
-Increased hunger, because the cells need nutrients
-Weight loss, because without insulin, the body begins to starve
The onset of Type 2 diabetes is often very gradual and may develop without any symptoms at all. Sadly, the diagnosis most often is made only after a complication of the disease happens.
Q. What are the complications of diabetes?
A. The complications of diabetes happen in both types of the disease. All diabetic complications are caused by chronically high blood sugars. The longer your blood sugar levels are elevated, the greater your chances are of having complications.
High blood sugar damages blood vessels. When high levels of sugar are continuously in the blood, the blood vessels become thicker and less flexible, causing poor circulation. Poor circulation can impair healing, especially on the feet and lower legs. High blood sugar also causes higher levels of fat in the bloodstream. The fat clogs and narrows the blood vessels. Partial blockages deprive the heart of some necessary nutrients. A complete blockage can result in a heart attack, heart pain (called angina), or stroke.
Nerve damage makes it hard for your nerves to send messages to the brain and other parts of the body. It may cause you to lose feeling in parts of your body or have a painful pins-and-needles-like feeling. While nerve damage most often affects the feet and legs, it can also affect other parts of the body.
Diabetes can damage and weaken the small blood vessels in the retina, the part of the eye that is sensitive to light and helps you see. When the blood vessels are weak, they can leak fluid, which causes swelling in the eye. The swelling blurs your vision. If the eye damage gets worse, your eye attempts to fix this damage by making new blood vessels over the retina. But because these blood vessels are fragile, they can break open easily and bleed into the eye. Scar tissue can then form. This may cause the retina to break away from the back of the eye, which can lead to visual impairment-even Blindness.
Diabetes can also damage the blood vessels in the kidney so it can’t filter out the body’s waste. High blood pressure is also associated with kidney damage. If you have diabetes and high blood pressure, it is important to keep them both under control as much as possible. The longer blood sugar levels are left uncontrolled, the greater the amount of kidney damage that can occur. If the kidney damage isn’t stopped, some individuals may progress to needing kidney transplants or dialysis machines.
All of these complications, however, can almost always be prevented.
Q. How can the complications of diabetes be prevented?
A. Vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements can provide powerful tools for preventing serious complications and keeping people with diabetes healthy. The best nutritional supplement contains powerful vitamins, minerals, and herbs in a synergistic formula that can effectively lower blood sugars and provide the specialized nutrients people with diabetes need.
Q. Which vitamins, minerals, and herbs should be included in a nutritional supplement for people with diabetes?
A. The vitamins, minerals, and herbs in a diabetic formula should work synergistically and be clinically demonstrated to help prevent the known complications of diabetes. To get the best results, it is very important that the right ingredients are in the diabetic formula you buy.
Q. How often should I take a diabetic formula supplement?
A. Read the label of the diabetic formula you are considering buying. Most quality products need to be taken twice a day. Keep in mind that you will still need to take a high quality multivitamin in addition to the diabetic formula supplement. A diabetic formula is complementary. That means that it is designed to be and addition to your multivitamin routine, not a replacement.
Q. Could the diabetic formula lower my blood sugar level too much?
A. In general, too low blood sugar levels should not be a problem. A high quality diabetic formula containing synergistic vitamins, minerals and herbs, most often lowers blood sugars to normal levels. However, these vitamins, minerals, and herbs will not excessively lower blood sugar levels that are already normal.
Q. Do I need to continue monitoring my blood sugar when taking a diabetic formula supplement?
A. Diabetes is a disease that requires active participation from you. You need to be aware of your problem and be in control of it as much as possible. If you use a home glucose monitor to check your blood sugars, you may feel more comfortable by checking your levels more frequently when you first take a diabetic formula supplement. You should always follow the recommendation of your doctor or a licensed health care practitioner regarding how often you should check your blood sugar levels.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) (as well as most licensed health care practitioners), a good blood sugar range for most people with diabetes (before a meal) is from about 70 to 150. An ideal range is 70-120.
Taking a nutritional supplement formulated especially for diabetics that contain vitamins, minerals, and herbs that work synergistically in a scientifically valid formula will help you keep your blood sugars right where the
Q. Can’t I just take the diabetic formula supplement and not worry about my diet?
A. Unfortunately, you cannot. Successful diabetes management means doing lost of positive things. First, you need to see your licensed health care practitioner often. You need to choose foods wisely and stay active to have a positive influence on your blood sugar levels and your health. And, taking a diabetic formula supplement every day can really help. However, the diabetic formula supplement is meant to be an addition to your healthy diet, not a substitute.
Having diabetes might make you feel overwhelmed. Restrictions on what you may and may not eat might make you feel deprived and unfairly burdened. The possibility of disease complications may make you feel anxious and scared-even angry. It is only natural to ask “Why me?” Taking control of your diabetes, instead of letting it control you, can help with these feelings. Eating wisely and exercising every day are two important ways to improve your health. And, taking a nutritional supplement formulated specifically for people with diabetes every day can give you the critical control you need to direct your health for years to come. Many healthy years to come.
What are the complications of diabetes?
April 01, 2006 02:16 PM
The complications of diabetes happens in both types of the disease. All diabetics complications are caused by chronically high blood sugars. The longer your blood sugar levels are elevated, the greater your chances are of having complications.
High blood sugar damages blood vessels. When high levels of sugar are continuously in the blood, the blood vessels become thicker and less flexible, causing poor circulation. Poor circulation can impair healing, especially on the feet and lower legs. High blood sugar also causes higher levels of fat in the blood stream. The fat clogs and narrows the blood vessels. Partial blockages deprive the heart and some necessary nutrients. A complete blockage can result in a heart attack, heart pain (called angina), or stroke.
Nerve damage makes it hard for your nerves to send messages to the brain and other parts of the body. It may cause you to lose feeling in parts of your body or have a painful pins-and-needles-like feeling. While nerve damage most often affects the feet and legs, it can also affect other parts of the body.
Diabetes can damage and weaken the small blood vessels in the retina, the part of the eye that is sensitive to light and help you see. When the blood vessels are weak, they can leak fluid, which causes swelling in the eye. The swelling blurs your vision. If the eye damage gets worse, your eye attempts to fix this damage by making new blood vessels are fragile, they can break open easily and bleed into the eye. Scar tissue can then form. This may cause the retina to break away from the back of the eye, which lead to visual impairment-even Blindness.
Diabetes can also damage the blood vessels in the kidney so it cant filter out the body’s waste. High blood pressure is also associated with kidney damage. If you have diabetes and high blood pressure, it is important to keep them both under control as much as possible. The longer blood sugar levels are left uncontrolled, the greater the amount of kidney damage that can occur. If the kidney damage isn’t stopped, some individuals may progress to needing kidney transplants or dialysis machines.
All of these complications however can almost always be prevented.
Lutein to fight age-related macular degeneration!
February 27, 2006 05:53 PM
Lutein: The Antiordinary Antioxidant
Lutein belongs to a class of compounds known as carotenoids. Carotenoids in general are yellow, orange, or red pigments responsible for many of the colors of the foods we consume each day. To date, over 600 carotenoids have been identified in nature, but are only produced by plants, algae and bacteria leaving humans and animals to consume carotenoids in the diet. Forty to fifty carotenoids are consumed in the typical US diet, but only 14 have been detected in the blood, indicating a selective use of specific carotenoids by the body. Lutein is one of these carotenoids found in the blood and has been increasingly associated with eye health over the last decade.
Lutein’s role in eye health
In the human eye, lutein is concentrated in the center of the retina in an area known as the macula. Lutein is deposited in the macula through the lutein we consume in out diet or through supplements. This area is responsible for human central vision and is colored intensely yellow due to high concentrations of lutein. Lutein is thought to be beneficial for eye health by reducing damage in the eye in two ways: 1) by absorbing blue light (blue light is thought to increase free radical formation in the eye) and 2) by acting as an antioxidant, reducing damage in the eye caused by free radicals. Leading carotenoid researchers believe these functions may lead to a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
Age-related macular degeneration
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of Blindness in the USA in those over 65. twenty-five and thirty million people are afflicted worldwide and currently there are no effective treatments for the disease. The disease has two forms known as dry and wet AMD.
Ninety percent of AMD cases diagnosed are the dry form. In dry AMD, also referred to as early AMD, debris deposits under the center of the retina (known as the macula) interfering with its normal function. Parts of the macula atrophy, causing the central vision to slowly become dimmer or more blurry. Wet age-related macular degeneration, also known as late AMD, often develops in areas where dry AMD exists. Abnormal blood vessels grow and leak blood and fluid under the macula, causing scarring, which leads to rapid loss of central vision.
Dr. Joanna Seddon published one of the first studies demonstrating a link between lutein intake and AMD risk in 1994 (1). This epidemiological study compared the risk of developing AMD to nutrient intake and showed a significant reduction in risk for developing AMD as lutein intake reached 6mg per day (57% reduction in risk). Since the Seddon study, researchers have shown that increasing dietary lutein intake raises blood levels of lutein as well as levels of lutein in the eye (2). Bone et al. demonstrated that eyes with higher levels of lutein were less likely to be afflicted with AMD (3).
The latest clinical trial that investigated lutein’s role in AMD is known as the lutein antioxidant supplementation trial (L.A.S.T) (4). This study evaluated the effects of lutein supplementation for one year in 90 veterans diagnosed with dry AMD. Supplementation with lutein in these subjects significantly increased the concentration of lutein in the macula. Improvements in visual function were also detected with lutein supplementation. Glare recovery, visual acuity, and contrast sensitivity were all improved. This study continues to build on clinical evidence that the dry form of AMD may be responsive to changes in nutrition.
A cataract is a natural clouding of the lens, the area of the eye responsible for focusing light and producing clear, sharp images. For most people, cataracts are a natural result of aging. Currently in the US, cataracts are the second leading cause of Blindness in the elderly behind AMD.
Lutein is the major carotenoid that has been identified in the human lens asn is thought to provide similar benefits to the leans that are seen in the retina. Two large epidemiological studies consisting of >70,000 women (age 45-71) and >30,000 men (age 45-75) compared the risk of cataract extraction to nutrient intake (5,6). Similar to AMD, a significant reduction in risk of cataract extraction was associated with lutein intakes of 6mg per day (20% reduction in risk). Besides cataract extraction, higher levels of lutein consumption have been associated with a decreased risk of cataract development and improvements in visual acuity and glare sensitivity in people with age-related cataracts.
The richest source of free lutein in the typical US diet are dark green leafy vegetables, with the highest concentration found in kale followed by spinach.
The average daily lutein intake is low, average between 1-2 mg/day. Currently there is no recommendations of the dietary guidelines for Americans 2005 (9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day) you would consume between 4 and 8 mg of lutein a day (7). Epidemiological evidence, animal models, and clinical data have indicated levels of 6-10 mg a day may be necessary to realize the health benefits associated with lutein consumption. By continuing to increase our intake of lutein, we begin to ensure the optimal health of our eyes.
Seddon et al. (1994) dietary carotenoids, vitamin a, c, and e, and advanced age-related macular degeneration. Eye disease case-control study group. JAMA. 272: 1413-20.
Bone et al. (2000) Lutein and zeaxanthin in the eyes, serum and diet of human subjects. Exp. Eye Res. 71: 239-45.
Bone et al. (2001) Macular pigment in donor eyes with and without AMD: a case-control study. Invest. Ophthalmal. Vis Sci. 42: 235-40.
Richer et al. (2004) Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-relaged macular degeneration: the veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry. 75: 216-30.
Brown et al. (1999) A prospective study of carotenoid intake and risk of cataract extraction in the US men. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 70: 517-24.
Chasen-Taber et al. (1999) A prospective study of carotenoid and vitamin A intakes and risk of cataract extraction in US women. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 70: 509-16
HHS/USDA. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. //www.healthierus.Gov/dietaryguidelines/CDC. National health and nutrition examination survey data 2001-2002. //www.cdc.gov/nchs/about/major/nhanes/nhanes01-02.html
Brandon lewis, Ph.D. is the applied research and Technical services manager at kemin health, L.C. in des moines, iowa. His responsibilities include the initiation and management of laboratory projects pertaining to the inclusion and analysis of kemin ingredients in vitamins and dietary supplements, as well as developing new applications and prototypes that include kemin ingredients. Prior to joining kemin, Brandon was enrolled at the university of Florida where he received his Ph.D. in Nutritional Science from the department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
THE FDA AND STEVIA
July 15, 2005 12:45 PM
THE FDA AND STEVIA
While stevia in no way qualifies as an “artificial sweetener,” it has been subject to rigorous inquiry and unprecedented restraints. In 1986, FDA officials began to investigate herb companies selling stevia and suddenly banned its sale, calling it “an unapproved food additive.” Then in 1991, the FDA unexpectedly announced that all importation of stevia leaves and products must cease, with the exception of certain liquid extracts which are designed for skin care only. They also issued formal warnings to companies and claimed that the herb was illegal. The FDA was unusually aggressive in its goal to eliminate stevia from American markets, utilizing search and seizure tactics, embargoes and import bans. Speculation as to why the FDA intervened in stevia commerce points to the politics of influential sugar marketers and the artificial-sweetener industry.
During the same year, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) began their defense of the herb with the goal of convincing the FDA that stevia is completely safe. They gathered documented literature and research on both stevia and other non-caloric sweeteners. The overwhelming consensus was that stevia is indeed safe, and the AHPA petitioned the FDA to exempt stevia from food additive regulations.
Food Additive vs. Dietary Supplement
FDA regulations of stevia were based on its designation as a food additive. The claim was that scientific study on stevia as a food additive was inadequate. Ironically, extensive Japanese testing of stevia was disregarde—regardless of the fact that this body of documented evidence more than sufficiently supported its safe use. Many experts who have studied stevia and its FDA requirements have commented that the FDA wants far more proof that stevia is safe than they would demand from chemical additives like aspartame.
Stevia advocates point out that stevia not a food additive, but rather, a food. Apparently, foods that have traditionally been consumed do not require laborious and expensive testing for safety under FDA regulations. The fact that so many toxicology studies have been conducted in Japan, coupled with the herb’s long history of safe consumption, makes a strong case for stevia being accepted by the FDA as a safe dietary substance. Still, it was denied the official GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status and designated a food additive by the FDA.
The FDA Reverses Its Position
As a result of the Health Freedom Act passed in September of 1995, stevia leaves, stevia extract, and stevioside can be imported to the United States. However, ingredient labels of products that contain stevia must qualify as dietary supplements.
Stevia had been redesignated as a dietary supplement by the FDA and consequently can be legally sold in the United States solely as a supplement. Its addition to teas or other packaged foods is still banned. Moreover, stevia cannot, under any circumstances, be marketed as a sweetener or flavor enhancer.
SUGAR, SUGAR EVERYWHERE
Ralph Nader once said, “If God meant us to eat sugar, he wouldn’t have invented dentists.” The average American eats over 125 pounds of white sugar every year. It has been estimated that sugar makes up 25 percent of our daily caloric intake, with soda pop supplying the majority of our sugar ingestion. Desserts and sugar-laden snacks continually tempt us, resulting in an escalated taste for sweets.
The amount of sugar we consume has a profound effect on both our physical and mental well-being. Sugar is a powerful substance which can have drug-like effects and is considered addictive by some nutritional experts. William Duffy, the author of Sugar Blues, states,“The difference between sugar addiction and narcotic addition is largely one of degree.” In excess, sugar can be toxic. Sufficient amounts of B-vitamins are actually required to metabolize and detoxify sugar in our bodies. When the body experiences a sugar overload, the assimilation of nutrients from other foods can be inhibited. In other words, our bodies were not designed to cope with the enormous quantity of sugar we routinely ingest. Eating too much sugar can generate a type of nutrient malnutrition, not to mention its contribution to obesity, diabetes, hyperactivity, and other disorders. Sugar can also predispose the body to yeast infections, aggravate some types of arthritis and asthma, cause tooth decay, and may even elevate our blood lipid levels. Eating excess sugar can also contribute to amino acid depletion, which has been linked with depression and other mood disorders. To make matters worse, eating too much sugar can actually compromise our immune systems by lowering white blood cells counts. This makes us more susceptible to colds and other infections. Sugar consumption has also been linked to PMS, osteoporosis and coronary heart disease.
Why Do We Crave Sweets?
Considering the sobering effects of a high sugar diet, why do we eat so much of it? One reason is that sugar gives us a quick infusion of energy. It can also help to raise the level of certain brain neurotransmitters which may temporarily elevate our mood. Sugar cravings stem from a complex mix of physiological and psychological components. Even the most brilliant scientists fail to totally comprehend this intriguing chemical dependence which, for the most part, hurts our overall health.
What we do know is that when sugary foods are consumed, the pancreas must secrete insulin, a hormone which serves to bring blood glucose levels down. This allows sugar to enter our cells where it is either burned off or stored. The constant ups and downs of blood sugar levels can become exaggerated in some individuals and cause all kinds of health problems. Have you ever been around someone who is prone to sudden mood swings characterized by violent verbal attacks or irritability? This type of volatile behavior is typical of people who crave sugar, eat it and then experience sugar highs and lows. Erratic mood swings can be linked to dramatic drops in blood sugar levels.
Hypoglycemia: Sign of Hard Times?
It is rather disturbing to learn that statisticians estimate that almost 20 million Americans suffer from some type of faulty glucose tolerance. Hypoglycemia and diabetes are the two major forms of blood sugar disorders and can deservedly be called modern day plagues. Hypoglycemia is an actual disorder that can cause of number of seemingly unrelated symptoms. More and more studies are pointing to physiological as well as psychological disorders linked to disturbed glucose utilization in brain cells. One study, in particular, showed that depressed people have overall lower glucose metabolism (Slagle, 22). Hypoglycemia occurs when too much insulin is secreted in order to compensate for high blood sugar levels resulting from eating sugary or high carbohydrate foods. To deal with the excess insulin, glucagon, cortisol and adrenalin pour into the system to help raise the blood sugar back to acceptable levels. This can inadvertently result in the secretion of more insulin and the vicious cycle repeats itself.
A hypoglycemic reaction can cause mood swings, fatigue, drowsiness, tremors, headaches, dizziness, panic attacks, indigestion, cold sweats, and fainting. When blood sugar drops too low, an overwhelming craving for carbohydrates results. To satisfy the craving and compensate for feelings of weakness and abnormal hunger, sugary foods are once again consumed in excess.
Unfortunately, great numbers of people suffer from hypoglycemic symptoms. Ironically, a simple switch from a high sugar diet to one that emphasizes protein can help. In addition, because sugar cravings are so hard to control, a product like stevia can be of enormous value in preventing roller coaster blood sugar levels. One Colorado internist states: People who are chronically stressed and are on a roller coaster of blood sugar going up and down are especially prone to dips in energy at certain times of day. Their adrenals are not functioning optimally, and when they hit a real low point, they want sugar. It usually happens in mid-afternoon when the adrenal glands are at their lowest level of functioning. (Janiger, 71) Our craving for sweets in not intrinsically a bad thing; however, what we reach for to satisfy that craving can dramatically determine how we feel. Stevia can help to satisfy the urge to eat something sweet without changing blood sugar levels in a perfectly natural way and without any of the risks associated with other non-nutritive sweeteners.
Diabetes: Pancreas Overload?
Diabetes is a disease typical of western cultures and is evidence of the influence that diet has on the human body. Perhaps more than any other disease, diabetes shuts down the mechanisms which permit proper carbohydrate/sugar metabolism. When the pancreas no longer secretes adequate amounts of insulin to metabolize sugar, that sugar continues to circulate in the bloodstream causing all kinds of health problems. The type of diabetes that comes in later years is almost always related to obesity and involves the inability of sugar to enter cells, even when insulin is present. Diabetes can cause Blindness, atherosclerosis, kidney disease, the loss of nerve function, recurring infections, and the inability to heal. Heredity plays a profound role in the incidence of diabetes, but a diet high in white sugar and empty carbohydrates unquestionably contributes to the onset of the disease. It is estimated that over five million Americans are currently undergoing medical treatment for diabetes and studies suggest that there are at least four million Americans with undetected forms of adult onset diabetes. Diabetes is the third cause of death in this country and reflects the devastating results of a diet low in fiber and high in simple carbohydrates. Most of us start our children on diets filled with candy, pop, chips, cookies, doughnuts, sugary juice, etc. Studies have found that diabetes is a disease which usually plagues societies that eat highly refined foods. Because we live in a culture that worships sweets, the availability of a safe sweetener like stevia, which does not cause stress on the pancreas is extremely valuable. If sugar consumption was cut in half by using stevia to
The 50 Year Service Check...
July 07, 2005 09:18 AM
Sad but true: Guys who wouldnt forget to give their cars an oil change will go years without having their own inner workings inspected. But a reluctance to have ones chassis checked at the practitioner's office can translate into serious body engine failure. While physical exams are always important, they become a nevessity with advancing age. We're not saying 50 is old, mind you--a couple at Energy Times staffers are starting the big five-oh right in the face--but it's a good time to start getting regular checkups if you haven't been in the habit. Here's some of the things to look for next time they pop your hood.
Get those choppers checked at least once a year--untreated gum disease can lead to the kind of low-level inflammation now thought to be a culprit in numerous illnesses, including heart disease.
Some experts recommend yearly testing for glaucoma, a condition in which increased pressure within the eyeball can cause Blindness if not treated. Presbyopia, the farsightedness that accompanies increasing age, generally starts in one's 40s; time to invest in a pair of reading glasses.
Have your blood pressure taken by a professional at least once a year. Checks for cholesterol and blood sugar are part of a metabolic panel (Standard blood work) to be done every three years; it should include total cholesterol, LDL "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides (blood fats). Discuss testing for CRP (C-reative Protein), a marker of chronic inflammation, with your practitioner.
The American Thyroid Association suggests an initial check of your thyroid, a gland in your neck that serves as the body's energy transformer, at age 35 with retests every five years afterwards. If you can't seem to lose weight and/or are sonstantly tired, ask about having your thyroid hormone levels assessed.
Your liver won't send out distress signals until it's pretty banged up. Since the standard metabolic panel includes the liver-enzyme check be sure to have it done every three years; that frequency may need to increase if you have a history of heavy alcohol or workplace exposure to toxins.
Having a yearly digital rectal examination (DRE) is recommended. Blood testing for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is more contraversial.
Colonoscopy, in which a lighted tube is used to view the entire colon, is the gold standard (although doctors are working on a less invasive virtual colonoscopy); once every 10 years starting at age 50 is recommended. A fecal occult blood test (FOBT) should be preformed every year, but keep in mind it can yeild false results, positive and negative.
Don't Forget to:
Screening frequencies are for healthy individuals with no known risk factors. If you have a pre-existing condition or are at risk for one, follow your practitioner's recommendations.
: Energy Times
Vision Quest - help fight eye problems.
June 18, 2005 08:34 AM
Vision Quest by Phyllis D. Light, RH Energy Times, February 11, 2004
Since your eyes are in constant use every day, exposed to the damaging energy of sunlight and pollutants that waft through the air, these delicate orbs are often in danger of wearing out.
To keep this vital part of your anatomy functioning as you age, you have to feed and care for your eyes properly. Otherwise, you are in real danger of losing your vision and independence.
Your vision may be in danger. Experts estimate that 8 million Americans over the age of 55 are at serious risk of Blindness linked to a condition called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD can wipe out your central vision and is the primary cause of Blindness in Western society.
While AMD causes no pain, it blurs the sharp, central vision necessary for driving, reading and other activities where you need to see either up close or straight ahead. During AMD, the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to pick out fine detail, is destroyed. The macula sits at the center of your retina, the nerve center at the back of your eye that senses light and sends optic signals to the brain.
Age is not the only risk factor for AMD. Scientists have isolated a genetic defect that can lead to some forms of macular degeneration (Nature Genetics 2001; 27:89-93). Smoking and excessive exposure to sunlight are other hazards best avoided if you want to save your sight.
In many cases, AMD progresses so slowly that victims of this condition don't even notice that their vision is deteriorating until much of it is irrevocably gone.
Dry and Wet AMD
Wet AMD occurs when blood vessels in back of the retina start to overgrow and leak blood. As this occurs, blood and other fluids push on the macula and quickly damage its sensitive nerve endings. When wet AMD occurs, you lose your central vision rapidly. If straight lines appear wavy to you, you may be suffering from wet AMD. If you notice this or other unusual vision changes, contact an eye care specialist as soon as possible. You need what is called a comprehensive dilated eye exam that can uncover signs of AMD.
Dry AMD strikes the eye when light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly deteriorate, gradually blurring central vision in the affected eye. As dry AMD progresses, a blurry spot in the center of your vision may appear. Eventually, as more of the macula becomes dysfunctional, the central vision in the eye can gradually disappear.
The most common sign of dry AMD is slightly blurry vision. This can make it hard to recognize faces and also make it harder to read without very bright light. Dry AMD generally attacks both eyes, but vision can be lost in one eye while the other eye stays normal. In the early stages of dry AMD, drusen, yellow deposits that gather under the retina, may form. Dry AMD progresses in three stages:
Vitamins and Minerals for AMD
Fortunately, scientists have found ways to combat AMD: An analysis of a study called the national Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) shows that more than 300,000 Americans could avoid losing their sight to AMD if they took daily supplements of antioxidant nutrients and zinc.
This conclusion, reached by scientists at Johns Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute, is based on research involving more than 4,500 adults suffering various stages of AMD. The study demonstrated that people who already had some AMD could lower their risk of the more advanced form of this condition by 25% when they took vitamin C, natural vitamin E and beta carotene along with zinc. Those suffering from advanced AMD lowered their chances of losing vision by about 19%. (Supplements did not affect the risk of cataracts or the chances of some vision loss for people in the early stages of AMD.)
" Without treatment to reduce their risk, we estimate that 1.3 million adults would develop the advanced stage of AMD," says Neil M. Bressler, MD, professor of ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins and author of the current study, published in Archives of Ophthalmology (11/03).
According to Dr. Bressler and the other researchers, people who now have intermediate AMD (some vision loss) in one eye have about a 1 in 16 chance of having their vision deteriorate until they have advanced AMD. They also calculate that about 1 in 4 of those with intermediate AMD in both eyes and 43% of those with advanced AMD in one eye will develop advanced AMD in five years without treatment.
In their view, older people at risk of AMD Blindness should take daily supplements of 500 milligrams of vitamin C, 400 milligrams of natural vitamin E, 15 milligrams of beta carotene, 80 milligrams of zinc as zinc oxide and 2 milligrams of copper as cupric oxide. Evidence also exists that a diet which is high in fat can cause AMD to progress to an advanced stage. The exceptions: The healthy fats found in fish and nuts (Archives of Ophthalmology 2003; 121:1728-37).
Oddly enough, some of the same pigments that color vegetables and other foods also color your eyes. And scientists believe that those pigments, which are classified as carotenoids, help protect the eyes by helping them fight off the negative effects of caustic molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are formed when the energy from sunlight strikes the eyes and disrupts the composition of natural chemicals found there.
When scientists compared healthy eyes with eyes suffering from AMD, they found that AMD eyes contained lower levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoid pigments contained in egg yolk, spinach, broccoli and other dark green vegetables (Ophthalmology 2003; 109:1780). Furthermore, they found that levels of these chemicals generally decline as you grow older.
" This research is a major step toward large-scale clinical studies to prove the extent to which lutein and zeaxanthin protect against age-related macular degeneration," says Paul S. Bernstein, MD, PhD, at the University of Utah School of Medicine at Salt Lake. "We know that these carotenoids are specifically concentrated in the macula of the human eye."
Dr. Bernstein adds that, as you age, taking supplements containing lutein and other antioxidants may lower your AMD risk. In his investigation, people with AMD who did not take lutein had one-third less lutein in their eyes than older people whose vision was normal.
Another eyesight hazard is cataracts, in which the eye's lens-the part that focuses incoming light onto the retina-becomes cloudy. Cataracts form when the proteins found in the normally clear lens become damaged; signs include progressively blurred vision (especially outdoors), focusing problems, seeing streaks of light from headlights and stoplights, and colors that look faded.
Cataract is the leading cause of Blindness worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. One of every six Americans 40 and older suffers from some degree of cataract; it affects half of all Americans who reach age 80. Nuclear cataracts, the most common form of this disorder, develop in the center of the lens and tend to grow slowly. Cataracts may also develop at the back of the lens; this form is linked to eye trauma and long-term use of certain medications, including steroids.
Like AMD, cataracts become more common as people age. Up to 40% of individuals between the ages of 75 and 85 have them, compared with only 5% to 10% of those folks under the age of 65. And like AMD, sunlight exposure and smoking increase the risk of developing cataracts, as does the presence of diabetes.
Lutein and zeaxanthin, the carotenoids that are so plentiful in the macula, are also found in the lens (although in lower concentrations), leading many researchers to believe that these nutrients may help drop your risk of cataract development. Early studies indicate that an increased intake of lutein and zeaxanthin reduces one's chances of needing cataract surgery, the most common surgery in the United States (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1999; 70(4):509-16; 517-24).
Antioxidants and the Lens
Scientists believe that free-radical damage is a leading cause of cataracts, and so it isn't surprising that antioxidants have proved useful in preventing this problem.
Almost 500 women filled out diet questionnaires as part of a very large research effort called the Nurses' Health Study; those who had taken vitamin C supplements for 10 years or longer enjoyed the lowest rates of nuclear cataracts (Archives of Ophthalmology 2001; 119:1009-19).
So the answer to lowering your risk of eye problems is clear, whether you are already in your mature years or plan to be someday: Lead a healthy, eye-friendly lifestyle, eating a diet filled with colorful fruits and vegetables. Take frequent walks and jogs around the block.
And yes, when you kick back and take your just-as-frequent doses of antioxidant supplements, you're allowed to take your sunglasses off and see the world clearly.
The A Team
June 14, 2005 06:04 PM
The A Team
by Gregory Meade Energy Times, October 11, 2004
Want the A Team playing to improve your health? When you accumulate enough antioxidants to help you attack the molecular marauders out to mar your well-being, you improve your chances of avoiding illness.
Nowadays you hear plenty of talk about the benefits of antioxidant nutrients. Antioxidants are the ammunition the body uses to fight off internal damage. They offer the body the means to fight against disease but, at the same time, your body must be in the position to use them optimally. That means getting enough sleep, consistently exercising and avoiding overly processed foods. Those lifestyle habits allow your body to garner its resources and effectively implement antioxidants in its quest for well-being.
Your body has a love-hate relationship with oxidation: Can't live without it, often has trouble living with it. For instance, the production of energy in your cells requires oxidation. But the byproducts of that process, problematic molecules called free radicals, have to be chemically changed or eliminated to avoid the damage that results when they interact with other parts of the cell. Left unchecked, these molecular troublemakers can wreak havoc, oxidizing and punching holes in cell membranes and damaging other structures they contact. Antioxidant nutrients are used to defend against oxidation, quell these harmful destroyers and limit the potential harm they can cause.
For a quick glimpse of one of your basic antioxidant defenses, look in the mirror. The color in your eyes represents antioxidant protection against oxidative injury from the ultraviolet rays in sunlight. Sunlight's energy sets loose free radicals every time it enters the lenses in your eyes. Pigments absorb this radiation and, in most cases, render it harmless.
As part of your vision's defenses, two of the antioxidant pigments in your food, lutein and zeaxanthin, are deposited by your body in certain areas of your eyes-in a section called the macula as well as the lens (BJ Opthalmol 1998; 82:907-10).
Lutein and zeaxanthin are classified as carotenoids, chemical relatives of beta carotene, the antioxidant pigment that makes carrots orange, and lycopene, the anticancer red coloring found in tomatoes. These fat-soluble nutrients are also present in algae. In both your eyes and plants, these nutrients absorb the destructive ultraviolet rays that give birth to free radicals.
Studies show that consuming large amounts of these pigments lowers your risk of a common form of Blindness called age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) and drops your chances of age-related cataracts. (More than 30 million people worldwide suffer from ARMD, and cataracts is the leading cause of Blindness across the globe.)
When the sun's rays enter the eye, lutein and zeaxanthin absorb and filter out dangerous radiation before it can injure the macula. The macula is the central part of the retina that allows us to see very fine detail. Otherwise, over time, as the macula deteriorates, our vision worsens. In addition, some researchers believe these nutrients help lower your chances of cancer.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in spinach, Brussels sprouts, corn, collard greens, green beans, egg yolks, broccoli, cabbage, kale, lettuce, kiwi and honeydew melons. The petals of yellow flowers like marigolds and nettles are also rich in these antioxidant nutrients.
You can also increase your chances of better sight as you age by consuming sulphoraphane, an antioxidant found in broccoli. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have found that sulphoraphane takes part in the body's efforts to shield eye cells from free radicals generated by ultraviolet light (Proc Natl Acad Sci 2004; 101(28):10446-51).
The researchers who performed this study believe that unlike the antioxidant nutrients vitamin C and natural vitamin E, sulphoraphane acts as an "indirect" antioxidant. That means that while those two vitamins are used by the body to directly defuse the harmful oxidative force of free radicals (and then must be replaced or regenerated in the cells), sulphoraphane acts indirectly, boosting the body's immunity defenses. Because of that indirect action, researchers point out, sulphoraphane lasts longer in the body and may produce a more profound, long-term antioxidant effect.
In other laboratory tests, researchers have discovered that sulphoraphane can kill Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium recognized 20 years ago as the cause of debilitating stomach ulcers and often-fatal stomach cancers (Proc Natl Acad of Sci 5/28/02). This research shows that sulphoraphane is even effective against antibiotic-resistant Helicobacter. Adding to its benefits, sulphoraphane can help kill bacteria both inside and outside stomach cells; when this bacteria hides inside of cells it is particularly difficult to fight.
" We've known for some time that sulforaphane had modest antibiotic activity," says Jed Fahey, a plant physiologist at Hopkins. "However, its potency against Helicobacter, even those strains resistant to conventional antibiotics, was a pleasant surprise."
Looking for Mr. Good Diet
For the biggest bang for your antioxidant buck, combine antioxidants with good lifestyle habits. A laboratory study of the heart-healthy effects of taking supplements of the antioxidant vitamins C and natural E along with L-arginine (an amino acid) found that exercise magnifies benefits (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 5/24/04, online). The scientists who performed this study recommend exercise along with antioxidants to boost your nutritional advantage.
The box score shows that when playing with the A Team you've got the best chance of hitting an antioxidant home run.
Hidden In Plain Sight - The spreading epidemic: Diabetes.
June 12, 2005 06:02 PM
Hidden In Plain Sight by Carl Lowe Energy Times, October 7, 2003
Today, a devastating disease is striking millions of Americans. Sixteen million Americans already have this disease, and every day another 2,200 Americans learn they have it. The spreading epidemic: Diabetes.
The potential ramifications: Millions of people more susceptible to heart disease, dementia, infections, amputations and Blindness. Lowering your risk for diabetes is relatively simple and terribly important. Because dealing with some of its effects once you are its victim can be much more complicated.
Signs of Trouble
"Approximately one in four individuals over the age of 60 has type 2 diabetes, which is a remarkable statistic," says Gerald Shulman, MD, of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Yale University. "And, if you add impaired glucose tolerance [a condition that often leads to diabetes], you're talking about 40% of the population."
The economic burden of this epidemic is staggering, estimated at about $100 billion a year and growing.
If you never exercise, carry around a substantial amount of stomach fat and have seen your weight climb significantly over the years, you are among the people at higher risk for diabetes.
These lifestyle habits eventually render your body unable to efficiently process blood sugar. In technical terms, researchers investigating how the body uses and misuses blood sugar have identified what they have called "syndrome X" or "metabolic syndrome," a condition that puts you at high risk for both diabetes and heart disease.
If you have three or more of the following signs, you now have metabolic syndrome and, unless you change the way you live, may eventually suffer diabetes (Circulation 7/14/03):
* Fat around your middle
* High blood pressure
* High triglycerides (blood fats)
* Low level of HDL ("good" cholesterol)
* High fasting blood sugar
In a study of more than 6,000 men in Scotland, having three of these metabolic problems almost doubled the risk of heart disease and more than tripled the risk of diabetes. If you have four of these risk factors, your risk of heart disease just about quadruples, and your diabetes risk skyrockets almost 25 times.
The cells in your body get the energy they need to survive when they take sugar out of your blood and oxidize it along with fatty acids. Normally, insulin, a hormone-like substance released by the pancreas, speeds the absorption of blood sugar by the cells. When your pancreas cannot make insulin at all or makes too little, you suffer what is called type 1 or juvenile diabetes. This condition is usually treated by taking insulin.
But if your pancreas secretes what should be enough insulin for glucose absorption, and your cells are still unable to take sufficient sugar from your blood, you have what is called type 2 or adult-onset diabetes.
Understanding exactly why cells develop difficulties in taking sugar out of the blood and using it for energy has long troubled medical investigators. This condition, before it develops into full-blown diabetes, is called insulin resistance. Researchers have now linked it to malfunctioning mitochondria, the little structures in cells that make the energy that keeps cells functioning.
Scientists have long known that, as you age, you become more susceptible to diabetes. And when researchers compare the mitochondria in young people with those found in the cells of the elderly, they find that older mitochondria are more sluggish.
The mitochondria within the cells oxidize glucose and fatty acids to make energy. (They accomplish this in a complicated metabolic action called the Krebs cycle.) Difficulty with this process, or insulin resistance, can occur when fat and fatty acid waste products accumulate in your liver and muscle tissue.
"We hypothesized that there were two routes to this type of fat accumulation," says Dr. Shulman. "One is that the fat cells might release more fatty acids to be delivered to muscles and/or defects in mitochondrial oxidation might then lead to the accumulation of these fatty acids."
Research confirms that fatty molecules probably collect in muscle cells because the mitochondria's ability to burn fat breaks down over the years. On average, mitochondrial activity dips about 40% in older people.
Dr. Shulman thinks that the final coup de grace in the development of diabetes from insulin resistance takes place when the mitochondria malfunction in the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas.
Although Dr. Shulman says that more research is needed to understand why mitochondrial function slips with age, he recommends keeping your mitochondria from slacking off by exercising. Studies now show that regular physical activity can probably increase the mitochondria in your muscles by activating release of an enzyme called AMP kinase. "...an encouraging note in this study is that-since we've shown that exercise leads to more mitochondria by activation of [the enzyme] AMP kinase-by staying active, the elderly might...maintain mitochondrial content and head off such health problems," says Dr. Shulman. "This is yet another reason for seniors to maintain an active lifestyle," he adds.
Maitake for Metabolic Syndrome
Another natural way to fight the metabolic syndrome is with an extract of the maitake mushroom (Grifola frondosa). The extract, called sx-fraction, is attracting research investigating its ability to help the body manage blood sugar more efficiently. In one study, five people with diabetes improved their blood sugar levels with sx-fraction (Diab Med 2001; 18).
This research found that taking maitake sx-fraction is often accompanied by drops in blood glucose levels ranging from 30% to 63%. According to Mark Kaylor, PhD and Ken Babal, CN, in Syndrome X and SX-Fraction (Woodland), "...Studies have demonstrated that whole maitake or its fractions are potent agents for improving 'diabetic conditions.'"
Take the Whole Grains Home
Eating a daily dish of whole grains, like whole wheat and brown rice, can also reduce your risk of diabetes (AJCN 8/22/03). In a twelve-year study of more than 40,000 men between the ages of 40 and 75, researchers found that those who ate three servings of whole grains a day cut their risk in half.
The researchers found that even overweight people lowered their chances of diabetes by eating whole grains and exercising.
Consuming more magnesium also helped; whole grains contain amounts of this mineral missing in refined-grain foodstuffs. Magnesium improves insulin response.
In an age of junk food, our simple taste for sugar and refined grains may threaten our health. Yet, your defense against this scourge is no further away than simply eating more fibrous foods and going for a simple, everyday walk.
June 10, 2005 09:37 PM
Diabetes by , February 5, 2002
Lack of exercise and being overweight boosts your chances of developing diabetes. So, as America's epidemic of obesity grows, the number of people afflicted with the condition called type II diabetes is expected to soar. If you follow the typical US pattern of not getting enough exercise while indulging in a diet of too many calories from cookies, cakes, fast food and saturated fat as your waistline gradually expands, your chances of encountering this health menace grow every day. According to the most recent estimate by health researchers, "more than half of all US adults are considered overweight or obese"(JAMA, 10/27/99).
Those same researchers, who examined the health history and weights of more than 16,000 Americans, confirmed a fact well-understood by health practitioners who understand the chemistry of blood sugar: being overweight greatly increases your chances of not only diabetes but also high blood pressure, gall bladder disease, coronary heart disease, high cholesterol and arthritis. (If you suffer or think you suffer from diabetes, or any of these conditions, consult a knowledgeable health practitioner.)
While Type I diabetes is a relatively infrequent disease that often strikes kids, Type II diabetes is a much more widespread (and increasing) health problem experienced by 9 out of 10 adults with what is now called adult-onset diabetes.
The popular image of someone with diabetes is, ironically, often of someone who is suffering with Type I. In simplistic terms, Type I diabetes occurs when your pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone-like substance that, among its several tasks, helps deliver sugar from the bloodstream into the body's cells. When your body is functioning normally, insulin helps steady blood sugar levels and keeps tissues fed with nutrients.
People with Type I diabetes often have to inject themselves with insulin. Otherwise, a lack of insulin causes dangerously increased blood sugar levels, cellular damage to blood vessels and nerves plus a high risk of heart attack, Blindness, kidney failure and serious damage to your extremities that may, in the long-term, lead to amputation.
On the other hand, someone beginning to suffer Type II diabetes usually has plenty of insulin being produced by the pancreas, but may be insulin resistant: for a variety of physiological reasons, the hormone is unable to do its job. That allows blood glucose to reach levels where it can wreak metabolic havoc.
When you gain weight, drastically increase the amount of your bodyfat and lead a sedentary, couch potato existence without engaging in very much exercise, you boost your risk of becoming insulin resistant. Consequently you also boost the chances of eventually suffering Type II diabetes.
However, a consistent exercise program (and losing weight) can alleviate or moderate some of the blood sugar problems brought on by diabetes or insulin resistance. When you exercise, your working muscles may take in more glucose from the bloodstream and stabilize your blood sugar level. That is one reason physical exercise helps to modify your body's response to blood sugar. (Of course, if you have diabetes or have not exercised in a long time, be sure to consult your health practitioner before engaging in strenuous physical activity.)
One of the most useful supplements employed to help control diabetes is chromium, a mineral that plays an integral role in the body's metabolism of sugar.
In the Natural Health Bible, Steven Bratman, MD, and David Kroll, PhD, discuss a study in China of 180 people with Type II diabetes. In that study, those who took chromium enjoyed better blood sugar levels than the people who took no supplements (Diabetes 46(11): 1786-1791, 1997). In addition, a double-blind study of chromium found that the supplement could reduce the necessary oral medication by more than half in many cases (Harefuah 125(5-6): 142-145, 1993). In this study, women seemed to benefit from chromium more than men.
Relief with Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha lipoic acid, an antioxidant nutrient, helps defend nerve cells against painful damage-a condition called neuropathy-that can result from diabetes. Consequently, in Germany, doctors have been prescribing lipoic acid to people with diabetes for more than two decades.
According to Dr. Bratman and Dr. Kroll, studies show that lipoic acid may be particularly helpful when taken with gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a fatty acid found in evening primrose oil and borage oil. Studies of GLA have found that this fat can soothe numbness and pain and slow nerve injuries (Diabetes Care 16(1):8-15, 1993).
Taken together, GLA and lipoic acid may synergistically improve nerve function (Diabetologia 41(4): 390-399, 1998). Blood sugar control may also improve.
Two signs that you may be suffering diabetes are excessive thirst and a dry mouth. This missing liquid, especially in the mouth when the flow of saliva slows, can lead to a lack of lactoferrin, a naturally-occurring protein that fights infection in the mouth by binding iron (Jrnl of Diab Comp 7, 57-62).
Lactoferrin's iron-binding ability destroys harmful micro-organisms like bacteria. In addition, lactoferrin stimulates the body's production of a substance called secretory IgA, which keeps disease-causing organisms out of the body and helps stabilize blood sugar (colostrum also produces this effect).
Fenugreek, a spice, has had long use as a medicine and food ingredient in the Middle East and Asia. And now modern science has begun to accumulate evidence supporting its traditional use: Several studies have shown that this seed can benefit blood sugar levels and keep blood cholesterol down.
In laboratory animals, researchers found that fenugreek kept blood sugar levels under control and also increased HDL (good cholesterol) while dropping triglycerides, blood fats that increase the risk of heart disease (Eur Jrnl Clin Nut 44 (1990):301-306).
Fortuitously, studies on people have supported fenugreek's benefits. In people with Type I diabetes, studies show that fasting blood sugar levels were reduced and glucose tolerance tests (measures of how well the body handles sugar) were closer to normal (Eur Jrnl Clin Nut 42 (1988):51-54). Bilberry for Eye Health
Retinopathy, eye damage resulting from diabetes, is a serious complication of this disease and can cause Blindness. Bilberry, a botanical that has been used as a folk treatment for eye health for centuries, may be able to lower the risk of this kind of vision destruction.
Bilberry, a dark berry that grows in Europe, has been shown in a collection of laboratory tests to hold down blood sugar levels (Quart Jrnl Cr Drug Res 17(1979):139-196). Bilberry has traditionally been used to protect eyesight.
According to the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), natural substances called flavonoids, found in bilberry, "have been shown to increase intracellular vitamin C levels, decrease the leakiness and breakage of small blood vessels, prevent easy bruising and exert potent antioxidant effects."
Apparently, the body uses these flavonoids to protect the eyes' blood vessels and to keep the retina (central part of the eye crucial to preserving sight) functioning normally (Arch Med Int 37 (1985):29-35). Consequently, bilberry has been used by health practitioners in France to treat diabetic retinopathy ever since the 1940s.
As medical researchers look more closely into how insulin functions throughout the body, much more light will be thrown on how supplemental nutrients and your diet interact to promote the healthiest blood sugar levels.
But, today, what we already know about how the body functions can help you: a low-fat, high fiber diet, moderate, consistent exercise and healthy doses of insulin-friendly supplements may help keep your blood sugar under control.
And keep those pounds from accumulating around your waist. That way, you can keep from singing that nasty old, down and dirty, blood sugar, syncopated ragtime blues.