Search Term: " Borage "
Essential Oils: How to Choose the Right Carrier Oils for Them
September 05, 2018 05:52 PM
Carrier oils make it easier and safer to apply essential oils for therapeutic purposes, and some have their own beneficial qualities. For example, apricot kernel, borage seed, coconut, flaxseed and avocado oil all have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce pain and improve joint and skin health. Others are full of vitamins and nutrients that benefit your skin, including argan, jojoba, and sesame oil. Yet others can be beneficial to your hair’s health and appearance, including castor and coconut oils.
"Essential oils have powerful effects on our bodies, but you need to use a carrier oil to ensure safe topical application."
Read more: https://acedmagazine.com/essential-oils-how-to-choose-the-right-carrier-oils-for-them/
Borage seed oil found to mitigate effects of radiation therapy on the liver
August 19, 2018 09:53 AM
Borage seed oil is typically used to treat the following health problems, rheumatoid arthritis, chest congestion, cough, depression, premenstrual syndrome, and menopausal symptoms. It is often used for hair and skin conditions such as hair loss, eczema, and Acne. borage oil contains a powerful anti-inflammatory compound known as gamma-linolenic acid however, borage oil is unique in that its GLA content is remarkably high.Also known as starflower, borage (Borago officinalis) is an herbaceous flowering plant.As a common herbal treatment in traditional medicine practices for hundreds of years, borage oil has numerous uses ranging from treating skin flare-ups to lowering pain.The most beneficial aspect of using borage oil either topically on the skin or internally in capsule form is it has strong anti-inflammatory effects.Borage oil is becoming increasingly popular as a natural anti-inflammatory supplement because it has one of the highest amounts of GLA of all seed oils.GLA is one type of omega-6 “essential” fatty acid that the body cannot make on its own, so we must get it from outside sources.The mechanisms of [borage oil] that provide protection against gamma-irradiation-induced toxicity may be explained by its antioxidant activity, inhibition of MDA, and prevention against GSH depletion due to its high content of GLA. Therefore, [borage oil] may be used as a beneficial supplement for patients during radiotherapy treatment.Borage can be helpful for treating a wide range of both short- and long-term illnesses like Bone loss and osteoporosis,skin disorders,Rheumatoid arthritis pain,managing diabetes,Dealing with stress, Hormonal imbalances, including adrenal insufficiency,respitory distress like bronchitis, colds, coughs and fevers,Alcoholism,preventing heart diseases and Inflammation causing pain and swelling. Borage oil is often used along with evening primrose oil supplements to further increase the anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing effects.
"Also known as starflower, borage (Borago officinalis) is an herbaceous flowering plant most known for being the source of borage oil."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-08-17-borage-seed-oil-found-to-mitigate-effects-of-cancer-treatment-the-supplements-antioxidant-activity-reduces-damage-to-liver-from-chemicals-according-to-study.html
What Are the Health Benefits of Borage?
Borage or Borago officinalis also known as Starflower is a beautiful blue flower that can be found in the wilderness of the Mediterranea.You can recognize it after the edible flowers that have a cucumber taste.
1.Very good source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)
Borage oil extracted from seeds is a strong inflammatory remedy. If you suffer from obesity, eczema, alcoholism, PMS or high blood pressure this oil can help reduce inflammation.
2.Important source of nutrients
If you decide to take Borage as a herbal supplement you have to know it contains high amounts of iron and vitamin C.
3.Great cooking ingredient
Borage is a very strong tasting ingredient and a low calorie one, also. If added while cooking, can change the flavor, so be careful to add just a few sprinkles over.
4.Wonderful calming effects
Combined with Echinacea can be great as a tea. Borage can "calm down" your adrenal glands and make you feel relaxed.
Most people consume Borage oil for its GLA content, GLA regulates hormones and can be converted into anti-inflammatory compounds in the body.
Does Black Currant Have Healing Properties?
March 28, 2014 10:26 PM
Truly, the leaves of black currant and Borage plants have been used for different rheumatic and provocative conditions, and as natural diuretics. Black currant has likewise been utilized to loose bowels, while Borage has additionally been utilized as an antipyretic, expectorant, and general tonic. Right now, both plant oils are utilized as rich wellsprings of gamma-linolenic corrosive (GLA). Alongside, night primrose oil, these GLA-holding oils are utilized for interminable provocative and other conditions, for example, dermatitis, rheumatic issue, nostalgia, premenstrual syndrome, and diabetic neuropathy.1-4 Patients with these issues are thought to be unable to sufficiently change over their dietary vital greasy acids to GLA, an antecedent of mitigating eicosanoids 5; in this manner, supplementation with GLA-rich plant oils is viewed as advantageous.
Benefits of black currant
The Health Benefits and therapeutic employments of black currants incorporate it being utilized for the medicine of different cardiovascular ailments because of vitamin C. Likewise, black currants are additionally used to anticipate heart inadequacy as they have a tendency to enhance the safety of the energetic vessels that are known to be delicate and likewise minimize blood vessel hypertension.
Black currants are additionally valuable for those miseries of menopause as they have a tendency to escalate the feeble fringe flow and likewise dispose of the cholesterol, waste and poisons from the blood. Black currants likewise help women experiencing menopause.
Some of the other medicinal employments of black currants might be it being exceptionally beneficial in the common medication of gout, stiffness and joint pain.
The homegrown cure arranged using the buds of the black currant plant is utilized within the medication of urticaris and the products of the soil of the black currant are utilized as a common solution for treating skin conditions, for example, bug stings, dermatosis, and abscess and skin inflammations.
Black currants are a brilliant soil grown foods for ladies particularly, by virtue of their various benefits, for example, treating the indications of premenstrual syndrome, menopause, bosom delicacy and excruciating periods. Black currants are additionally useful in upgrading one's general unsusceptibility.
Health benefits and therapeutic employments of the black currant likewise make it an amazing common cure for kidney related issues in a distinctive as the dried leaves of the black currant plant are known to advertise stream of urine, work against the shaping of bladder stones and additionally sterilize the urine particularly when expended on a customary groundwork as a cleansing tea.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Borage Seed Oil?
December 29, 2013 05:21 PM
What is Borage
The Borage also known as starflower plant generates seeds enriched with essential fatty acid known as Gamma-linolenic acid. In ancient times, Borage plant was mainly used to prepare salad and soups due to its relaxing effect on people. However, in modern times people are more interested in Borage seeds. This is due to its health benefits offered by gamma-linolenci acid (GLA). GLA has anti-inflammatory effects useful to both men and women. Borage oil comprises about 24% of GLA which is the highest known energy for naturally occurring GLA. After consumption, much of the GLA found in Borage oil turns into dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid. GLA and DGLA prevent inflammation just like omega-3-fatty acids from fish oil or flaxseed. However, GLA and DGLA are categorized as omega-6-fatty acids.
According to recent studies, Borage oil can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. This is an autoimmune ailment which results to joint lining inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic and painful ailment that requires use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as, NSAIDS that can have side effects. Borage oil is used to reduce tenderness and swelling for rheumatoid arthritis patients.
If you plan to use Borage oil for treating any health problem, ensure that you consult your doctor before you begin using your supplement treatment.
How Does Borage Oil Boost Your Health?
October 06, 2011 12:05 PM
Borage Seed Oil
Borage, also known as starflower, is a medicinal herb that is native in Syria. The plant could approximately grow up to two to three feet in height having a hairy appearance all over its leaves and stems. The leaves of the plant are about half feet in length. Its flowers resemble five narrow and triangular petals that are blue in color. However, there are few instances that Borage flowers are pink in color. One distinct characteristic of the Borage plant is that it follows an indeterminate growth habit that could lead to a fruitful spreading. In places where climate is mild and good, the plant grows all year round.
In ancient years, the plant was used as a flavoring for wines which ancient Celtic warriors drink before engaging themselves into battle. It has been a tradition because they believe that the wine could boost both their strength, and courage. As time pass by, people discover new uses of Borage leaves and flowers. During the middle ages, the people utilized the plant as a relief for melancholy. As a matter of fact, the renowned scholar named Pliny believed that the herb is very effectual in curing depression and boosting mood. During the 16th century, John Gerard was able to discover the herb’s potential in making the heart healthier.
To add, Borage is also utilized as a cure for bronchitis because of its soothing effect and capacity to lessen inflammation. Aside from that, Borage is also noted for its capability to protect the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat as well as ensuring that the kidneys and adrenal glands are well functioning.
Borage is helpful in rejuvenating the body during recuperation from a disease. This herb is also useful for curing and correcting problems of in the digestive tract. Research would also show that the herb is effectual in increasing the quantity and quality of mother’s milk.
The seed oil of Borage contains liberal amounts of GLA which is highly beneficial for the human body. as a matter of fact, virgin Borage oil contains vital components such as essential fatty acids, gamma-linolenic acid that will aid the body in times of stress.
There are a lot of preparations which will allow you to grasp the benefits of Borage plant. And two of the most common is to use it as a vegetable or as a dried herb. People enjoy eating Borage because it tastes like cucumber hence it is perfect for salads or as a garnish. Borage flower is also palatable. Its taste is similar to that of honey hence, it is also good to incorporate in desserts.
Among the many health benefits of Borage leaves would include the following: purgative properties, blood purifier, diaphoretic, galactoagogue, and febrifuge. Vital nutrients such as potassium and calcium are also abundant in the herb. Because of these potent and vital components that the herb contains, various conditions can be corrected and prevented by Borage just like inflammation of the eyes, excessive mucus, and a lot more.
You too should grab some Borage oil to help improve your health and wellness.
The Benefits of GLA to Women
June 15, 2011 11:10 AM
GLA, otherwise known as gamma linolenic acid or Omega-6 fatty acid, has been found to benefit women's health in a number of ways. For example, supplements of GLA have been found to reduce many symptoms of PMS, such as irritability, depression and breast pain. The reason for this may be due to the fact that at this time the metabolism of women is less able to convert dietary linoleic acid to GLA, the normal biochemical pathway for its production.
GLA is also of benefit to menopausal women, for whom it has been found to reduce the number of night flushes. GLA also helps to maintain fetal development in terms of new tissue grown and organ development, and in fact fetus development involves fairly high essential fatty acid consumption. Many women take one or two capsules of evening primrose oil intravaginally to soften the cervix in preparation for childbirth.
However, a small number of sources state that taking GLA in the latter stages of pregnancy should be avoided, so you should seek the advice of your doctor or physician on this question.
Essential fatty acids are essential for proper hormone production in women and men.
Make sure you are getting enough essential fatty acids daily!
Borage Seed Oil (GLA)
June 10, 2009 11:34 AM
Borage, often referred to as starflower, is an annual herb that originated in Syria. However, it was naturalized throughout the Mediterranean region and in Asia Minor, Europe, North Africa, and South America. The plant grows to a height of two to three feet, having a bristly hair all over the stems and leaves. The leaves are alternate, simple, and ranging from two to six inches in length, while the flower are complete with five narrow, triangular-pointed petals. The Borage flower is most often blue in color, but occasionally pink flowers are observed. White flowers can also be cultivated. The Borage plant has an indeterminate growth habit, which may lead to prolific spreading. In milder climates, Borage will bloom for most of the year continuously.
Borage was often used to flavor wine drank by ancient Celtic warriors before going into battle because it held the reputation of enhancing both courage and strength. During the middle Ages, the leaves and flowers of the Borage plant were combined with wine to relieve melancholy. The Roman scholar Pliny believed that this herb was useful for treating depression and lifting the spirits. John Gerard, a sixteenth-century herbalist, thought of Borage as an herb to comfort the heart and increase joy.
In addition to its mood-boosting properties, Borage is often used to treat bronchitis. This is because of its soothing effect and its ability to reduce inflammation and detoxify the body. Borage is known to help heal the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat and to stimulate activity in the kidneys and adrenal glands to rid the body of catarrh.
Also, Borage is useful for restoring vitality during recovery from an illness. This herb is helpful for treating problems of the digestive system and has been used to increase quantity and quality of mother’s milk. Borage was traditionally cultivated for culinary and medicinal uses, but today it is commercially cultivated as an oilseed. The seed oil provides a desired source of GLA, for which Borage is the highest known plant-based source. Virgin Borage oil contains essential fatty acids, especially when they are in concentrations with gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). This fatty acid can account for as much as 26 percent of the oil’s content. It is best known for its source of concentrated GLA. The Borage plant is known to stimulate the adrenal glands to help the body during stressful times.
Borage includes use as either a fresh vegetable or a dried herb. As a fresh vegetable, Borage has a cucumber-like taste and is often used in salads or as a garnish. The flower has a sweet honey-like taste and is one of the few truly blue-colored things that are edible, making it popular for the decoration of dessert.
The leaves of the Borage plant are used to provide blood purifier, diaphoretic, febrifuge, galactoagogue, and purgative properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb include calcium and potassium. Primarily, Borage is most beneficial in dealing with bronchitis, congestion, inflammation of the eyes, fevers, heart problems, absence of lactation, excessive mucus, PMS and rashes. Additionally, this herb is extremely helpful in treating blood impurities, colds, gastric disorders, insomnia, jaundice, lung disorders, nervous disorders, pleurisy, ringworm, and urinary problems.
Borage oil is available in softgel or bulk liquid forms at your local or internet health food store. Always purchase name brands to ensure quality and purity of the product you purchase. For more information on the beneficial effects of Borage, please contact a representative from your local health food store.
March 03, 2009 12:14 PM
The nails are responsible for protecting the nerve-rich fingertips and tips of the toes from injury. Nails are part of the epidermis, which is the outer layer of skin. They are mainly composed of keratin, which is a type of protein. The nail bed is the skin on top of which the nails grow, as they grow from 0.05 to 1.2 millimeters each week. If a nail is lost, it takes approximately seven months for it to grow out fully.
Those nail beds that are healthy are pink, which indicates a rich blood supply. Changes or abnormalities in the nails are often a result of nutritional deficiencies or other underlying conditions. The nails are able to reveal a great deal about the body’s internal health. Nail abnormalities on either the fingers or the toes can give evidence to an underlying disorder.
There are many changes that nutritional deficiencies can produce in the nails. A lack of protein, folic acid, and vitamin C are responsible for hang nails, while white bands across the nails are an indicator for protein deficiency. Dryness and brittleness indicates a lack of vitamin A and calcium. Horizontal and vertical ridges in the nails means that there is a deficiency of the B vitamins, while an insufficient intake of vitamin B12 can lead to excessive dryness, very rounded and curved nail ends, and darkened nails. Iron deficiency can lead to nails that develop a concave shape and/or vertical ridges. White spots on the nails can be caused by a deficiency of zinc. Inadequate amounts of friendly bacteria in the body can result in the growth of fungus under and around the nails, while a lack of hydrochloric acid contributes to the splitting of nails.
The following supplements are essential in promoting healthy nail growth. Unless otherwise specified, the dosages given are for adults. For children between the ages of twelve and seventeen, the dose should be reduced to three-quarters of the recommended amount. For children between six and twelve, one-half of the recommended dose should be used, while one-quarter of the amount should be used for children under the age of six.
Acidophilus should be taken as directed on the label, as it inhibits the harmful bacteria that cause fungal infection. A free-form amino acid complex can also be taken as directed on the label, on an empty stomach, to provide the building materials for new nails. Silica supplies silicon, which is needed for hair, bones, and strong nails. It should be taken as directed on the label. Vitamin A emulsion should be taken in dosages of 50,000 IU daily, as the body cannot utilize protein without vitamin A. Black currant seed oil is helpful for weak, brittle nails and should be taken in dosages of 500 mg twice daily. Calcium and magnesium should be taken as directed on the label, as they are necessary for nail growth.
Iron should be taken as directed by a physician, as deficiency produces spoon nails and/or vertical ridges. A vitamin B complex should be taken as directed on the label, as deficiencies result in fragile nails. To prevent hangnails and inflammation of the tissue surrounding the nail, 3,000 to 6,000 mg daily of vitamin C with bioflavonoids should be taken. 50 mg daily of zinc is beneficial for affecting absorption and action of vitamins and enzymes.
Additionally, the following herbs are helpful: alfalfa, black cohosh, burdock root, dandelion, gotu kola, yellow dock, horsetail, oat straw, Borage seed, flaxseed, lemongrass, parsley, primrose, pumpkin seed, sage, butcher’s broom, chamomile, ginkgo biloba, rosemary, sassafras, and turmeric.
Healthy looking nails can tell you if your body is getting the right nutrients from your diet. When you find your nails are not looking well, consider the above vitamins, minerals and herbs to help restore healthy looking finger and toe nails. The vitamins and herbs listed can be found at your local or internet health food store.
Is Wild Yam Natures Progesterone?
November 15, 2007 07:20 AM
Dioscorea villosa, commonly known as wild yam, is a tuberous vine native to North America and parts of Central America. It was used by the Mayan and Aztec civilizations for pain relief and birth control and has also been given the names colic root and rheumatism root, demonstrating this early use of the plant. However, whether it is nature’s progesterone or not is another question that requires close analysis.
These Central American civilizations, of course, did not understand the reason why they were effective. Some of the symptoms treated can be caused by the menopause, and the wild yam is believed to contain natural forms of progesterone that can alleviate some of the adverse effects of the menopause on the body. Like most plants, they also likely act as anti-inflammatories, so relieving the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
Like any natural remedy, wild yam had its adherents and its detractors, though in recent years the plant has been used as the raw material for the production of cortisone and a form of progesterone: or at least so it is claimed, so let’s have a closer look at these claims and determine whether or not wild yam is indeed nature’s progesterone.
The human body uses organic compounds called hormones to regulate many of the chemical activities of the body. The hormones catalyze the chemical reactions and changes needed for the proper functioning of our bodies. Hormones are produced in small chemical factories dotted throughout our body called glands. Each gland is devoted to producing a specific hormone, or a range of them, and each hormone is designed for a specific purpose.
Each has an associated hormone ‘receptor’ at their targeted destination that fits the hormone like a jigsaw piece. When it turns up, the hormone attaches to the receptor and the reaction proceeds. That might be the initiation of energy production in cells, the activation of certain genes or even the stimulation of hair growth by the follicles or of the libido and the natural desire to procreate.
Hormones are manufactured from only three constituents: proteins, amino acids and cholesterol, and the steroidal sex hormones are created from cholesterol. Therefore, don’t reduce your cholesterol level too much!
Prior to puberty, all of the sex hormones are manufactured by the adrenal glands, and after puberty by the ovaries in women and the testes in men. Progesterone is produced initially, and is then used as the building block for all the other sex hormones (hence the prefix ‘pro’). In women these are the estrogens and in males the androgens. Progesterone is made from the start of the menstrual cycle, and after day 12 they have reached a high enough level to halt ovulation. Progesterone levels continue to rise for about 8 days, and then if fertilization has not occurred, the progesterone levels trigger menstruation, and the lining of the womb is detached and expelled.
During certain phases of the menstrual cycle, the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone drop off, although the exact reason for the many and varied symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) are still unknown to a large extend. There appear to be several contributing factors, though estrogen and progesterone certainly appear to be two of the major ones. We shall concentrate here on the progesterone factor because that is what wild yam is claimed to address.
Although the main function of progesterone is to generate estrogen and testosterone, to restore the libido after menstruation, and maintain the integrity of the lining of the uterus and aid in gestation, it has many other purposes such as in thermogenesis (burning of body fats), protection against osteoporosis and is also believed to have a natural anti-depressant action. These are all supported by the symptoms that appear when the body is low in progesterone levels: depression, sudden increase in body fat, mood swings, loss of sex drive and a susceptibility to weak bones if the deficiency is long-term.
In other words, women that usually suffer from PMS, also generally suffer low progesterone levels. It is believed in some quarters that a progesterone deficiency causes an excess of estrogen that leads to these symptoms in addition to heart disease. No one really knows for sure, but a deficiency of progesterone seems to be the determining factor.
Women with menstrual problems continue to be issued with prescribed synthetic progesterone even though they do not have the same effect as natural progesterone. They can also lead to some unpleasant side effects such as fluid retention, strokes, jaundice, blood clots and depression: some of the symptoms it is intended to alleviate. Some take Borage or evening primrose oil for the GLA that helps some of the effects, but this is taken to counter the over-production of the hormone prolactin in some women prior to menstruation, not a deficiency of progesterone.
Wild yam does not cause these symptoms, and is claimed by many to be very effective in alleviating the symptoms of PMS. The problem with the artificial forms of progesterone is that the liver’s job is to destroy foreign hormones, and send them to the digestive tract for expulsion. Natural hormones are not affected in this way, even if they come from a non-human source.
The chemical diosgenin in wild yam is very similar in structure to progesterone, and is believed to be the active principle. It is claimed that it can be used to produce not only progesterone but also other related hormones. However, some medical authorities and practitioners dispute this claim, and there is still a question as to how wild yam works. Because it does work, many people swear by it and claim that they could not live without it.
This is especially true of those that suffer from the more severe effects of PMS, and since wild yam does not work for everybody, it could be connected with the severity of the condition and the symptoms. Whichever is true, there appears to be little doubt in the eyes of those that use it as a cream that wild yam is indeed nature’s progesterone.
The Healing Power Of Borage Oil’s GLA
November 13, 2007 10:22 AM
Borage is otherwise called the starflower, and the Borage oil extracted from its seeds is very rich in GLA, gamma linolenic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid also obtainable from evening primrose oil. Borage, however, is richer in GLA, and is therefore a more economical source that the evening primrose.
A shrub, frequently seen in gardens, Borage has historically been used as a salad food, and also in soups, and Borage honey is prized in many quarters. Now, however, its main use is for the GLA extracted from the seed, which provides a higher yield of GLA than any other source. Borage seed oil contains up to 25% GLA, compared to the 17% from blackcurrant oil and 9% from evening primrose oil.
The importance of GLA to the body’s biochemistry is inestimable, and cannot be overstated. It is not so much the GLA that is so important, but the prostaglandin to which it is converted in the body. Prostaglandin E1 is a hormone-like substance that plays a part in many of the biochemical and metabolic processes of the body. Examples include the control of the immune system and inflammatory response, some kidney functions, and the tone of the arterial muscles, so important in the health of the cardiovascular system.
A good fatty acid metabolism benefits some very important aspects of our health such as maintaining a good blood pressure, low cholesterol levels, preventing inflammatory and immune system conditions such as arthritis, allergies and some skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis, and also improving the strength of the keratin-dependent tissues such as our nails and hair.
A deficiency in essential fatty acids also seems to stimulate the overproduction of a hormone in women called prolactin that can lead to the severe mood changes commonly referred to as pre-menstrual syndrome, or PMS. GLA appears to have a beneficial effect in the treatment of PMS, and some other conditions such as breast discomfort.
Gamma linolenic acid is created in the body from linoleic acid, of which there is a plentiful supply in margarine, vegetable oils and many processed foods, but there is a problem. Fatty acid molecules come in different isomeric forms, in which although the chemical is the same, the geometry or ‘stereochemistry’ is different. The healthy form is the ‘cis’ formation, and the other is the ‘trans’ stereoisomer. The trans fatty acids are formed by hydrogenation of oils to make them semi-solid, and more suitable for spreading. This hydrogenation process causes an irreversible change in the geometry of the fatty acid that can block the conversion of linoleic acid to GLA in the body.
Hence, although most of the western population has more than sufficient linoleic acid in their diets, many who eat an excess of trans fats have a deficiency of GLA. Some B vitamin deficiencies and a deficiency in certain minerals exacerbate this situation, and a gamma linolenic acid supplement is needed. Additional to this, the enzyme responsible for the conversion, delta-6-desaturase (D6D) can be affected by many modern environmental factors such as smoking, stress, alcohol, excessive animal fat consumption and even excessive linoleic acid consumption. The solution to all of this is GLA which does not require any enzymes for its creation, and supplemental GLA from any source can immediately take part in the biochemical pathway to the creation of the prostaglandin eicosanoids.
GLA provides the means and the resultant prostaglandins carry out the job of regulating the hormonal activity within human biochemistry. Prostaglandins help to regulate the function of many of the cells in the body, such as the smooth muscle cells of the arteries and veins that cause constriction or dilation, and on the stickiness of blood platelets causing their aggregation. They are important in the regulation of such functions as blood clotting, fluid balance and the production and balance of hormones. The anti-inflammatory properties of prostaglandin E1 are very important to the way that the body reacts to breaches by foreign invaders, and it is also thought to act to thin the blood and cause dilation of blood vessels, hence its effect in lowering the blood pressure.
So what does this mean to you, apart from the effects of the fatty acid on PMS? Borage oil can be used to treat a large number of different symptoms associated with a shortage of GLA and prostaglandin E1, and here are a few of the conditions for which a GLA supplement has been found beneficial.
A deficiency in GLA and other essential fatty acids can lead to loss of bone mass and subsequent osteoporosis and it is thought that fatty acids help the absorption of calcium by the digestive system, and to increase its deposit in bones. It can be used to increase bone mass and density and therefore strengthen the bones of those affected by osteoporosis. This is partially due to the hormone regulatory effect GLA has on the body.
Allergies appear to be very personal responses by the immune system to specific substances, and while Borage oil has proved beneficial in a few allergies, and prostaglandins are known to regulate the activity of the immune response, the effectiveness of GLA treatment for allergies has been mixed. There is evidence that it can affect some cases, but not most.
GLA from Borage oil can reduce the swelling and pain of rheumatoid arthritis, and helps to ease morning stiffness. Its effectiveness seems mixed, and you should try it for two or three months to determine if it helps you personally. Be careful, however, since some believe that it might react with some of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) used to treat this condition. Ibuprofen is one, so check with your physician before trying it.
If you suffer from high blood pressure, Borage oil used in conjunction with Omega-3 fish oils might lower it, though more research is needed. There is a belief that the GLA is not the active agent here since Omega-3 oils are known to help to reduce hypertension, though the effect of prostaglandins on the factors that can reduce blood pressure is inarguable.
The healing power of Borage oil should not be underestimated, and it has been used for centuries in folk medicine to treat many conditions, especially those that science has found to be caused by the immune system and the inflammatory response. Borage oil can be found at any Health Food Store.
The Skinny on Fats - Omega-3, Omega-6, Omega-7, Omega-9
October 04, 2006 04:53 PM
Health experts keep changing the storey on fats. First we were told that polyunsaturated fats were better than saturated fats. Then it was discovered that refined polyunsaturates were favorite targets for free radical attack. Next, monounsaturated fats took center stage and have remained in the spotlight ever since. The Mediterranean Diet, with its high intake of olive and other oils high in monounsaturates, offers several important safeguards against cardiovascular disease, cancer and overall mortality. (Laino, de Largeril, Kokkinos, Trichopoulou). While monounsaturated fats are important for maintaining optimum health and smooth supple skin, it’s the kind of fatty acids and antioxidants they contain that make up the real story.
Dark green unrefined “extra Virgin” olive oil has a delightful full bodied flavor due to its natural antioxidants. Not only are the oils of various olive cultivars distinctive, they all help fight arterial plaque buildup. (Visioli) Olive oil has a long history in Europe as both food and medicine, and carbon dating of seeds found in spain have shown that the use of olive oil dates back 8,000 years. Gourmet chefs usually prefer particular oils for various uses in making dressing, marinades, and sauces for dipping. Olive orchards have now achieved a status second only to that of vineyards.
Macadamia nut oil is another designer oil that is fast gaining a reputation among chefs and health experts. The nuts originated in Australia where they were staples in the diets of the Aborigines. In 1881, they were introduced in Hawaii and in the 20th century, made their way to California where several cultivars are now grown. Like olive oil, macadamia nut oil is rich in antioxidants and contains the highest levels, greater than 80 percent monounsaturates, primarily polmitoleic (omega-7) than other oils. (Hiraoka-Yamamoto)
Macadamia nut oil products found in mass market are typically refined, with many of the antioxidants removed. The highest levels of antioxidants in macadamia nuts are found in the shells. During cold processing, some of these antioxidants leech into the oil, increasing its antioxidant potential. (Quinn) unrefined and organic oils have a golden color, pleasing nutty aroma and buttery flavor. Scientists have found that macadamia nut oil lowers, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and may help prevent stroke. (Yamori, Colquhoun) It is delightful on vegetables, in soups, on popcorn, and as a replacement for butter in baking.
The essential oils (Fish oils, flaxseed, GLA, DHA), which are available as liquid and packaged in black bottles, must be stored in the Refrigerator even when they have not been opened. You cannot heat or cook with them. Essential fatty acid supplements are convenient to take and have specific therapeutic value.
Cardiovascular and Nerves – Consumers have been advised to eat more fish rich in Omega-3 to reduce their risk of cardiobascular disease. However, experts worry that eating several servings of fish each week may not be safe especially during pregnancy, dursing or trying to conceive. Instead they recommend fish oil supplements such as Omega-3 from Algae , Fish oil, and Omega-6 Evening Primrose and Borage oils.
Pain Relief – A blend of cetylated fatty acids including myristate, myristoleate, laurate, oleate, palmitate and palmitoleate appear to be effective in reducing inflammation and pain in arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. (Vanderhaeghe) In a San Diego California study of sixty-four patients with osteoarthritis, an oral preparation of cetylated fatty acids known as celadrin significantly improved range of motion and flexibility. (Hesslink)
Two other studies of osteoarthritis patients at the University of Connecticut, using a topical preparation of Celadrin, showed significantly greater knee stability, improvement in stair climbing ability, balance and strength, and reduction of pain. (Kraemer)
Animal studies at the University of Minnesota have shown that cetylated fatty acids administered either topically or orally are well tolerated and rapidly dispersed throughout the body. (Gallaher) Doses for the oral form are 1500mg three times a day. The topical cream is applied two to four times a day.
July 06, 2006 02:15 PM
Every muscle, organ, bone and tissue in the body is dependent on the kidneys. Each 30 minutes, the kidneys filter the blood, removing about two quarts of waste products and excess water a day, which become urine.
In addition to removing wastes, the kidneys release three important hormones that stimulate the body to produce more red blood cells, regulate blood pressure and help maintain calcium for bones and normal chemical balance in the body.
The kidneys regulate the body’s level of many substances necessary for life. Healthy kidneys return the right amount of chemicals such as sodium, phosphorus and potassium back to the bloodstream fro use by the body.
Because of their vital role, it is important that one’s kidneys be in good health and not stressed or impeded in their function by a buildup of toxins. Low-back pain, joint stiffness and painful menstrual cramps may all be symptoms of poor kidney health.
Kidney Rejuvenator is a proprietary blend of powerful herbs that support the kidneys’ vital functions. These herbs include:
Cinnamon Bark – reinforces circulation in the kidneys, liver spleen and stomach, and increases blood circulation and immunity. Excellent for poor kidney function. Helps balance the menstrual cycle.
Litchi fruit – contributes to healthy kidneys and liver by promoting regeneration of cells. Helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Excellent for a week sex drive, strengthens weak knees and joints, and improves vision.
Borage leaves – helps to heal and regenerate damaged adrenal glands and kidneys. Excellent for cardiovascular function. Contribute to healthy skin and nails. Soothe sore joints and strengthen the liver.
Damiana leaf – balance both male and female hormones, which increases energy as well as oxygenating the reproductive organs.
Cedar leaves – boost the immune system and increase blood flow; also cleanse the lymphatic system and urinary tract.
Red Raspberry leaf – support kidneys, liver, spleen, reproductive system and bladder, and promotes healthy skin.
Wild Rose Root – excellent for bladder problems, soothes the liver, strengthens the immune system and reduces pain.
Fenugreek – energizes the kidneys and of all herbs; good for the heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, stomach and spleen.
Benefits reported for users
Here are some of the benefits reported by users of Kidney Rejuvenator: reduction of period cramps, reduction of muscle soreness and stiffness, improved kidney / bladder function, fewer general aches and pains, greater flexibility, less joint discomfort, diminished swelling in joints, sense of well-being, and increased energy.
The healing power of borage oil
June 19, 2006 01:27 PM
Borage oil, extracted from the seed of the blue, star shaped Borage flower, is gaining much attention by alternative health practitioners and main stream medicine alike for its profound medicinal properties. Whereas the oil is getting all the redit, it is actually the oil’s active component, gamma linoleic acid (GLA), which has drawn the interest of researchers. The majority of the early studies done on GLA, dating back to the late 1940’s, were conducted with the oil of evening primrose. For rezones cited in the title, more bank for the buck, Borage seed oil is now thought to be s superior source of GLA compared to evening primrose oil. Other plants forms and food concentrates that contain appreciable amounts of GLA include black currant seed oil and spirulina.
Why GLA Supplementation?
A body with healthy biochemistry has the ability to produce GLA from the most essential fat linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is found most abundantly in the omega 6 family of oils, including safflower, sunflower, and corn oil. While it has been estimated that a majority of Americans and Europeans consume far to many omega 6 fatty acids in proportion to the beneficial omega 3 fatty acids (by approximately 10:1). Most biochemists agree optimal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids should be approximately 1:1. Despite the obvious over consumption of omega 6 oils rich in linoleic acid, some individuals lack the ability to convert linoleic acid to the much needed GLA.
As is the example with many of our modern day nutrient deficiencies, the adulteration of our food supply by today’s processing methods has much to do with the faulty fat metabolism suffered by many. A prime example is the hydrogenation process utilized to convert liquid polyunsaturated oils into semi-solid, altered saturated fats for use as margarine and commercially processed foods. Hydrogenation is accomplished by subjecting the oils to temperatures in excess of 250 C, and bombarding them with hydrogen ions in the presence of the heavy metal nickel, which irreversibly changes the chemical structure of the fatty acid molecule from a healthful “cis” configuration to a dangerous “trans” configuration. When these products are eaten in excess they are known, in some cases, to block the enzymatic conversion of linoleic acid to GLA. In addition to the damaging effects of hydrogenation, certain essential fatty acid nutrient cofactor deficiencies may exist to further complicate the conversion. Vitamins pro-A, A, C, E, B-2, B-3, B-6, pantothenic acid, B-12 biotin and the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, sulfur and zinc are all involved in essential fatty acid (EFA) metabolism.
Particular interest should be given to those afflicted with diabetes, cystic fibrosis, asthma, alcoholism, multiple sclerosis. For a myriad of reasons, including cofactor deficiencies, these individuals lack the enzymatic ability to convert linoleic acid to GLA and must obtain a direct source of GLA for proper hormonal regulation. In addition, excessive consumption of animal fats containing acachidonic acid competes for the same metabolic pathways occupied by GLA, thus minimizing its biological action.
These potential negating effects can simply be diverted to consuming a food source or supplement containing GLA which bypasses any previously necessary enzymatic conversion and floods the metabolic pathways with beneficial GLA. Nutrient deficiency should also be addressed. Here lies the true power of GLA.
Prostaglandins, biochemical regulators
Whereas GLA is the power, the prostaglandins deliver the punch in this biological equation. Just as linoleic acid is normally converted to GLA, GLA is further converted into the prostaglandin E1 (PGE1). Many of the benefits derived from GLA supplementation are a result of the hormonal regulatory action of the prostaglandins. Just like the “parent” precursors they are made from, the hormone-like prostaglandins orchestrate a host of important biochemical activities. Their general regulatory effects include the control of arterial muscle tone, sodium excretion through the kidneys, blood platelet “Stickiness,” inflammatory response and the immune function, just to name a few. The list may be endless as scientists continue to discover the regulating effects of prostaglandins. One way in which GLA has shown to decrease the probability of allergic and inflammatory conditions is by competing with arachidomic acid, which when left unchecked may potentiate a hyperimmune response.
As a result of the powerful regulating effects derived from the conversion of GLA to healthful prostaglandins, Borage oil and other GLA supplements have shown to be beneficial in the treatment and relief of many classic and modern day health problems. The disease of diabetes, cystic fibrosis, asthma, multiple sclerosis are thought to be helped by bringing about a balance in an otherwise faulty fatty acid metabolism. According to a study released in the journal diabetes care, supplementation with GLA has shown promise in the reversal of diabetic neuropathy (a condition where the nerves degenerate and symptoms of pain and numbness follow). The study concluded that all diabetics should be considered for dietary protocol of GLA. Other conditions shown to benefit include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, skin conditions, arthritis, allergies, weight loss, improved behavior of hyperactive children and increased strength of hair and nails. Cited in the book, Super Nutrition For Menopause, written by the renowned nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman, is one of the most popular applications of GLA supplementation in the relief of menstrual pain. Sufferers use a maintenance does up to the seventh day prior to menstruation, then double the dose for the duration of their menstruation. Dietary restrictions of meat, dairy and eggs during this time has also shown to compliment this regiment. Many would agree with Ms. Gittleman’s credo in allowing mother nature to cure our ails before relying on synthetic drugs which often come with side effects.
More Bang for the Buck
Now comes the challenge of acquiring a GLA supplement suited to meet your needs. With the help of the information below you may maximize your desired result while at the same time stretching your dollars. Lets take a look at the facts. We will limit out narrative to the tree most popular forms of GLA supplementation: 1) Borage oil, 2) evening primrose oil and 3) black current seed oil. Potency is an important factor, as the higher the GLA content per gram, the more likelihood of greater biological activity. Borage oil contains 24% GLA, or 240mg per 1000 mg capsules. Black current seed oil contains 18%, or 180mg per 1000 mg capsule and evening primrose oil contains 10% GLA, or 100mg per 1000 mg capsule. While black currant seed may appear to run a close second to Borage and have a slight edge on evening primrose, it contains a potent GLA inhibitor and should be considered last on the list. equally, if not more important than potency, is purity. Make it a practice not to purchase any oil product unless full disclosure of the method of extraction is printed on the label. If it is not, you may assume that the oil has been extracted in one of the following ways. Unfortunately, the popular use of the chemical hexane to extract oils is not required for disclosure. This method employs submerging cracked seed in a gasoline like substance (Hexane) and then slowly allowing it to evaporate off yielding 90% oil recovery. This is the most common method used to extract evening primrose oil because of the incredibly small, hard seed and low oil content. The second creative ploy is the claim that the oil has simply been extracted by a new high-tech method called supercritical fluid extraction (SCFE). This process “pregrinds” the seeds then subjects them to pressures of 6000 – 10000 psi in the presence of the gas CO-2. Under such intense pressure CO-2 gas becomes a liquid in which the seeds are submerged, ultimately yielding a 95% oil recovery. Look for oils that are labeled as “expeller pressed” without the damaging effects of light, heat and oxygen. The products should be contained in opaque (light resistant) bottles to protect them from the damaging effects of light. Optimally, you should find them in the refrigerated section of your local health food store. Due to the higher percentage of oil contained in the Borage seed, as compared to evening primrose and black current, Borage is typically priced well below the others making it the most potent and economical choice. All things considered an expeller pressed Borage oil, contained in an opaque plastic bottle, may provide you the absolute best source of unadulterated GLA supplementation.
One company that provides such a product and always fulfills the quality requirements listed is Barlean’s Organic Oils. Their organic flax oil and Borage oils are available at VitaNet.
Kids will Absolutely Love DinoEFA ...
September 10, 2005 12:33 PM
Have a smart Year with Kal Dinosaurs Supplements for Kids
Sources of Essential Fatty Acids
June 25, 2005 08:38 PM
Sources of Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids are found in both plant and animal sources, although primarily in plants. The EFA family is composed of two main forms, Omega-3 and Omega-6. The following explains exactly what these forms are.
OMEGA-3: The most common forms of Omega-3 are eicosapentaenioic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and alpha-linolenic acid, which comes from plants and helps create EPA and DHA. Omega-3 is usually derived from fish oils. Dr. Roger Illingworth, associate professor of medicine and biochemistry at Oregon Health Sciences University, explains that Omega-3 fatty acids are “long-chained metabolic products from linolenic acid. . . When animals consume and metabolize plants rich in linolenic acid, they produce Omega-3.” EPA and DHA are liquid and remain that way, even at room temperature. It is said that they protect fish by providing a body fat that stays fluid even in cold temperatures. OMEGA-6: The most common form of Omega-6 is is gammalinolenic acid (GLA). GLA is known to provide the following benefits, among many others:
Omega-6 is usually found in plant sources. The oils of coldwater fish such as salmon, bluefish, herring, tuna, mackerel and similar fish are known as Omega-3 fatty acids. The freshpressed oils of many raw seeds and nuts contain Omega-6 fatty acids. The most popular sources of Omega-3 and Omega-6 include:
BLACK CURRANT SEED OIL: This oil is rich in linoleic acid (44%) and provides almost twice as much gamma-linolenic acid as evening primrose oil. Black currant seed oil also is an excellent source of an Omega-3 precursor known as stearidonic acid. Borage OIL: This oil comes from Borago officinalis, a plant with blue flowers. It is widely recommended in Europe to strengthen the adrenal glands, alleviate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and relieve inflammation. Besides possibly helping with heart and joint function, it may also assist the growth of nails and hair. Borage oil is also an excellent source of GLA. In The Complete Medicinal Herbal, herbalist Penelope Ody asserts that it is “helpful in some cases of menstrual irregularity, for irritable bowel syndrome, or as emergency first aid for hangovers.” SALMON OIL: This oil is high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids. These types of EFAs are known to thin the blood, prevent clotting, regulate cholesterol production and strengthen cell walls, making them less susceptible to viral and bacterial invasion. Salmon oil has a natural ability to help the body relieve inflammation. In the ground-breaking book The Omega-3 Breakthrough: The Revolutionary, Medically Proven Fish Oil Diet, professor Roger Illingworth writes that Linolenic acid is a fatty acid with 18 carbons and 3 double bonds.
It is manufactured exclusively by plants. When animals consume and metabolize plants rich in linolenic acid, they produce Omega- 3. Plankton, a minute form of marine life, is part plant and part animal. Its plant component manufactures linolenic acid. Fish eat the plankton, and the linolenic acid breaks down in their bodies in two types of Omega-3 fatty acids: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) . . . The liquidity of EPA and DHA serves a vital function in fish, who require body fat that remains fluid even in very cold water. Fish oils, besides containing Omega-3 fatty acids, have shown to benefit those suffering from migraine headaches, arthritis, and high cholesterol levels.
FLAX: Flax is a plant said to date back as far as 5000 B.C. It has been used since approximately 5000 B.C., making it one of the oldest cultivated crops. It is exported from several countries, including Argentina, Canada, India, Russia and the United States. The flowers are usually blue, although they are sometimes white or pink. The mucilaginous seed is, of course, called flaxseed. The oil primarily provides Omega-3/linolenic acid, and provides an average of 57 percent Omega-3, 16 percent Omega-6, and 18 percent of the non-essential Omega-9. Flaxseed oil is said to contain rich amounts of beta carotene (about 4,300 IU per tablespoon) and vitamin E (about 15 IU per tablespoon). In the October 1995 issue of Let’s Live, the history and uses of flax were highlighted by herbalist Carla Cassata. She writes, . . . It’s no wonder the Cherokee Indians highly valued the flax plant. They mixed flaxseed oil with either goat or moose milk, honey and cooked pumpkin to nourish pregnant and nursing mothers, providing them with the needed nutrients for creating strong and healthy children. It was also given to people who had skin diseases, arthritis, malnutrition as well as men wishing to increase virility. They believed flax captured energies from the sun that could then be released and used in the body’s metabolic process.
This belief has merit. Flaxseed oil, rich in electrons, strongly attracts photons from sunlight. To be effective, EFAs must be combined with protein at the same meal. This flaxseed oil/protein/ sunlight combination releases energy and enhances the body’s electrical system. Also, this combination, along with vitamin E, can be beneficial for infertile couples and women suffering from premenstrual syndrome . . . Flaxseed oil, having an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, can benefit the 40 million Americans suffering from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. To achieve optimum results, however, substances that activate the sympathetic nervous system—like refined sugar, soda, coffee, fluoride— must be eliminated. Stress must also be reduced, because it too, activates the sympathetic nervous system, promoting inflammation.
EVENING PRIMROSE: This flower is indigenous to North America, although the oil is particularly popular throughout Europe for therapeutic purposes. It is also known as night wil - low and evening star. It is an excellent source of both linolenic and linoleic acids. Both of these nutrients must be obtained from the diet, as the body cannot synthesize them. The seeds contain gamma linolenic acid. This polyunsaturated EFA helps with the production of energy and is a structural component of the brain, bone marrow, muscles and cell membranes. Evening primrose oil has also benefited those with multiple sclerosis, PMS, hyperactivity and obesity. It is estimated that it takes about 5,000 seeds to produce the oil for one 500 mg capsule.
America's Most Wanted
June 14, 2005 05:23 PM
America's Most Wanted
by Brian Amherst Energy Times, January 6, 2000
The United States eats well, a little too well, according to experts. Amply supplied with a large supply of high-calorie food, our diets might seem to be chock full of every conceivable nutrient. Well, to the question "Getting all the right vitamins, minerals and other nutrients?" the most appropriate answer seems to be "Not exactly." Eating a lot doesn't equal eating a lot of the most important vitamins and minerals. So, which vitamins and minerals are likely to show up in short supply in the typical American diet? Calcium certainly sits at the top of list. According to the most recent Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals, which is conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), women and girls age 12 and up are not consuming adequate calcium from their diet. Research reveals that about 1200 mg. day suffices for those over age 50 and 1000 mg a day should be adequate if you're between the ages of 19 and 50. Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Stanford University, ". . .osteoporosis is a pediatric disease." For long-range protection against that bone-weakening disease, kids should eat calcium-rich, low-fat dairy products and plenty of leafy greens (broccoli, cabbage, kale) as well as salmon (with bones), seafood and soy. But the calcium campaign does not end in early adulthood. Bone mass begins to deteriorate at about age 30. Menopausal hormonal changes can exacerbate bone brittleness. Medical conditions, including cancer, liver disease and intestinal disorders; prescription drugs; tobacco and alcohol indulgence; or a decline in activity, especially the weight-bearing kind, also jeopardize bone strength. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about one in every two American women will break a bone after age 50 due to osteoporosis. That translates into about half a million fractured vertebrae and more than 300,000 shattered hips. Frequently, those breaks are life-threatening.
The critical role of calcium in many body functions is perhaps the most extensively clinically documented among nutrients. Researchers in the Department of Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, reviewed epidemiological and clinical studies conducted over the past two years on the relationship between dietary calcium and blood pressure (J Am Coll Nutr October 1999: 398S-405S). "Nearly 20 years of investigation in this area has culminated in remarkable and compelling agreement in the data," the researchers report, "confirming the need for and benefit of regular consumption of the recommended daily levels of dietary calcium." Investigators at the State University of New York, Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, presented results of their studies of calcium and vitamin C and gum disease at the June 26, 1998 meeting of the International Association for Dental Research. Two separate inquiries revealed that people who consumed too little calcium as young adults, and those with low levels of vitamin C in their diets, appear to have nearly twice the risk of developing periodontal disease later in life than folks with higher dietary levels of either nutrient.
Calcium: Much Documented Researchers offer extensive evidence of calcium's benefits on many fronts: n Osteoporosis poses a threat to older men as well as women, according to Randi L. Wolf, PhD, research associate at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Dr. Wolf presented her award-winning study to an October 3, 1999 meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Dr. Wolf suggests that men increase their consumption of calcium, particularly after age 80, to avoid age-related declines in the amount of calcium absorbed. According to Dr. Wolf, "It appears that the hormonal form of vitamin D, which is the main regulator of intestinal calcium absorption, may have an important role. We are conducting more research to better understand the reasons for why calcium absorption declines with age in men." n Scientists at Tufts University in Boston did some earlier work on the calcium-vitamin D connection and reported it in the September 4, 1997 New England Journal of Medicine. Using the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) increased recommended daily intake of 1200 milligrams of calcium and 400 to 600 international units of vitamin D for people over 50, the Tufts researchers found that with supplementation of the nutrients, men and women 65 and older lost significantly less body bone and, in some cases, gained bone mineral density. n Two studies published in American Heart Association journals show that atherosclerosis and osteoporosis may be linked by a common problem in the way the body uses calcium. The September 1997 Stroke revealed that, in a group of 30 postmenopausal women 67 to 85 years old, bone mineral density declined as atherosclerotic plaque increased. Researchers reporting in Circulation (September 15, 1997) advanced the theory that the osteoporosis-atherosclerosis connection may be related to a problem in handling calcium. n For people who had colon polyps removed, taking calcium supplements decreased the number of new polyps by 24% and cut the risk of recurrence by 19%, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, School of Medicine. The study, published in the January 14, 1999 New England Journal of Medicine, was a first in crediting calcium with anti-cancer properties.
The D Factor
Without adequate vitamin D, your absorption of calcium slips and bone loss can accelerate, increasing the risk for fractures. Fifty percent of women with osteoporosis hospitalized for hip fractures at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston had a previously undetected vitamin D deficiency (Journal of the American Medical Association, April 28, 1999). University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers told participants at the April 14, 1997 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research that vitamin D "significantly inhibits highly metastatic, or widespread, prostate cancer in animals," suggesting its potential for treating men with similar conditions. Few foods that Americans eat, except dairy, contain much vitamin D, but we can usually synthesize sufficient amounts from as few as five minutes' exposure to the sun. But as skin ages, its ability to act as a vitamin D factory decreases. According to Michael F. Holick, the director of the Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center, upwards of 40% of the adult population over age 50 that he sees in his clinic are deficient in vitamin D. Recently, the National Academy of Sciences (the official body that decrees the required amounts of necessary nutrients) increased the daily recommendations of vitamin D to 600 IU for people over 71, 400 IU for those aged 51 to 70 and 200 IU for people under 50. The best dietary sources, apart from dependable supplements, are dairy and fatty fish like salmon. Four ounces of salmon provide about 300 IU.
The Facts About Fats
The American lust for low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets filled with sugary foods has exploded into nothing short of "obsession," according to experts at the General Research Center at Stanford University Medical Center (Am J Clin Nutr 70, 1999: 512S-5S). That mania oftens robs us of the crucial balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids typical of the Mediterranean diet that protect us from heart disease by controlling cholesterol and making blood less likely to form clots. These fatty acids cannot be made by the body but are critical for health: n Omega-3 fatty acid (linolenic acid) comes from fresh, deepwater fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) and vegetable oils such as canola, flaxseed and walnut. n Omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid) found primarily in raw nuts, seeds and legumes and in saturated vegetable oils such as Borage, grape seed, primrose, sesame and soybean. The American Heart Association recommends limiting total fat consumption to 30% of daily calories. Saturated fats like those in dairy and meat products as well as vegetable oil should comprise 10% of total calories; total unsaturated fat (fish oils, soybean, safflower nuts and nut oils) should be restricted to 20 to 22% of daily calories.
Be Sure About B12
Vitamin B12 presents a particular problem for the elderly because older digestive systems often don't secrete enough stomach acid to liberate this nutrient from food. (The elderly have no problem absorbing B12 from supplements, because it's not bound to food.) Vitamins generally moderate the aging process but, ironically, that process and the diseases that frequently accompany it affect vitamin metabolism (Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax 83, 1994: 262-6). And because of those changes, we need more of certain vitamins. This is the case for vitamins D, B6, riboflavin and B12. Crucial for health, B12 is necessary to prevent anemia, and, according to recent studies, needed (along with folate and B6) to help stave off heart disease. B12, with thiamine and niacin, boosts cognition (Adv Nutr Res 7, 1985: 71-100). Screening for vitamin B12 deficiency and thyroid disease is cheap and easy and can prevent conditions such as dementia, depression or irreversible tissue damage (Lakartidningen 94, 1997: 4329-32). In the January 5-12, 1999 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the AHA urged doctors to screen levels of homocysteine (the amino acid byproduct of protein digestion that damages arteries, causes heart disease and, possibly, strokes) in patients at high risk for heart disease. They also recommended all Americans to up their daily levels of vitamins B6 and B12, as well as folic acid. Since fruits, vegetables or grains lack B12, vegetarians need B12 supplements. And they're a good idea for the rest of us, too.
Folic Acid Benefits
Folic acid made headlines in the early 1990s when the U.S. Public Health Service declared that "to reduce the frequency of neural tube defects [spina bifida, or open spine, and anencephaly, a lethal defect of the brain and skull] and their resulting disability, all women of childbearing age in the United States who are capable of becoming pregnant should consume .4 milligrams (400 micrograms) of folic acid per day." This recommendation followed voluminous research that showed taking folic acid was associated with a significantly reduced risk of birth defects. (The advisory is based on the fact that nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned. If you think you are pregnant, consult your health practitioner for supplementary advice.)
A Team Player
Folic acid's efficacy intensifies when it works with other nutrients. Among many studies on the preventive powers of folic acid on birth defects, one published in The New England Journal of Medicine (327, Dec. 24, 1992: 1,832-1,835), disclosed an even greater decrease in neural tube defects when supplements of folic acid contained copper, manganese, zinc and vitamin C. As a warrior against homocysteine, folic acid joins the battalion of B12 and B6 in detoxifying this harmful protein. At the University of Washington's Northwest Prevention Effectiveness Center, researchers recently analyzed 38 published studies of the relationship between folic acid, homocysteine and cardiovascular disease and, according to associate professor Shirley A. Beresford, MD, folic acid and vitamin B12 and B6 deficiencies can lead to a buildup of homocysteine.
Canadian researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (275, 1996: 1893-1896) that men and women with low folic acid have a 69% increase in the risk of fatal coronary heart disease. This 15-year study of more than 5,000 people stressed the need for dietary supplementation of folic acid. Folic acid also has been credited with the potential to protect against cancers of the lungs, colon and cervix. It appears to help reverse cervical dysplasia, the precursor cells to cervical cancer, especially for women taking oral contraceptives, which may cause a localized deficiency of folic acid in the cells of the cervix. According to Shari Lieberman, PhD, and Nancy Bruning, authors of The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book (Avery), folic acid derivatives work with neurotransmitters, the chemicals that permit signals to be sent from nerve fiber to nerve fiber. A lack of folic acid can cause some nervous-system disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia and dementia; it also may be related to some forms of mental retardation. Other supporting roles of folic acid, according to researchers: the formation of normal red blood cells, important for preventing the type of anemia characterized by oversized red blood cells; strengthening and improving white blood cell action against disease; limiting production of uric acid, the cause of gout.
The Best Sources
Many foods are rich in folic acid: beef, lamb, pork and chicken liver, spinach, kale and beet greens, asparagus, broccoli, whole wheat and brewer's yeast. But experts believe that only 25 to 50% of the folic acid in food is bioavailable. Processing also reduces an estimated 50 to 90% of its content. Folic acid supplementation overcomes these obstacles with little risk, as it has no known toxicity. Women taking folic acid who are current or former users of oral contraceptives may require additional zinc. And be sure to augment your folic acid supplement with its synergistic counterpart, vitamin B12.
Focus on Fiber
The American Heart Association came out squarely behind fiber in a June 16, 1997 issue of its journal Circulation: Double your daily intake to lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. The American diet is consistently low in fiber, notes Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, author of the article. Twenty-five to 30 grams a day from foods (or supplements) are not only heart healthy but seem to aid weight control.
Getting enough iron? An estimated 25% of adolescent girls in the United States are iron deficient, according to an October 12, 1996 issue of the British medical journal The Lancet, which reported that girls who took iron supplements performed significantly better on verbal tests than those who took a placebo. "Teenage girls should be regularly tested for iron deficiency because rapid growth and the onset of menstruation during puberty increase the body's need for iron," says Ann Bruner, MD, of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and a lead author of the study.USDA data reveal that women up to age 50 also tend to get much less than recommended levels of iron, a lack of which leads to anemia, a deficiency of red blood cells, hemoglobin or volume of blood. For kids, deficiency is more common from six months to four years and during the rapid growth spurts of adolescence when the body is growing so quickly that the body's iron stores may sink to dangerous levels. Vegetarian women run the greatest risk for deficiency, as meat is iron-rich; foods like beans, grains and vegetables also contain some iron. Supplements, of course, supply easily absorbable iron. And to absorb iron from vegetarian sources, take vitamin C with your meals. That boosts the amount of this mineral you will take in. Bear in mind, however, that certain folks-older men and post-menopausal women-generally have adequate dietary supplies of iron. Of greater concern, in fact, is excessive iron, and for these folks iron-free multivitamin and mineral supplements are available.
Ante Up the Antioxidants
Antioxidant nutrients help protect the body from oxygen-scavenging molecules called free radicals. The products of pollution, the body's own metabolic processes and other sources, free radicals are linked to heart disease, cancer and other chronic health problems. The most important antioxidants, which include vitamin C, E, beta carotene, and selenium, are often lacking in the American diet. Plus, optimal amounts of vitamin E cannot be consumed from food. You need supplements. The bottom line: even though we live in a land of plenty, you can still miss vital nutrients. So make sure to consume these vital substances.
Source of Missing Nutrients In the search for the nutrients missing from America's diet, one big help is the sprout. The sprout is truly one of nature's heavyweights: fresh, tiny and moist, its power punch of vitamins, minerals, protein, chlorophyll and disease-busting phytochemicals land it in a weight class far beyond that of its full-grown competitors. Size does NOT matter to this nutritional giant. A championship belt currently wraps around the miniscule broccoli sprout, catapulted into the ring by Paul Talalay, MD, professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Talalay discovered that the seedlings contain substantially more of the cancer-fighting substance sulforaphane than mature plants (Proc. Natnl. Acad. Sci. USA, 94, 10367-10372). Sprouts, the quintessential health food of the Sixties, provide a wonderfully varied and versatile way to get your daily greens. Raw or cooked, strong or mild, vegetable and grass sprouts and their algae cousins add low-calorie texture to recipes and a rich, diverse complement of nutrients and fiber.
Ancient Asia to the Modern Lab
Asians stir-fried sprouts as one of the earliest fast foods as long as 5,000 years ago. The ancient Chinese relied on sprouts for year-round vegetables in colder regions of their vast country. Today, researchers studying sprouts and adult plants have identified their important chemoprotective and other health-bolstering substances. In Paul Talalay's research project at Johns Hopkins, scientists found that three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain up to 50 times more sulforaphane than mature plants, which prompts the body to produce an enzyme that prevents cancer tumors from forming. Uniform levels of the compound saturate the shoots, unlike the chemically uneven adult plants. The Brassica family of broccoli and cabbage is richly endowed with phytochemicals that also help reduce estrogen levels associated with breast cancer. Other phytochemical compounds in the Brassica family are associated with the prevention of stomach and lung cancers. Most of the initial landmark work on phytochemicals' cancer-fighting powers has taken place since 1989 under the aegis of the National Cancer Institute's "Designer Food Program," which isolated, for example, the isoflavones in beans that seem to neutralize cancer-gene enzymes.
Strong Suit: Soy and Spirulina
The isoflavones and phytosterols in soy produce an estrogenic effect that appears to relieve menopausal symptoms and help prevent breast cancer. Soy foods expert Mark Messina, PhD, has done extensive work on the subject, some of which has been published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-6. Researchers also have synthesized a bone-strengthening form of soy isoflavones called ipriflavone, following impressive clinical trials in the treatment of osteoporosis (American Journal of Medicine, 95 [Suppl. 5A] (1993): 69S-74S). Spirulina and other micro-algae are fascinating organisms that inhabit a niche between the plant and animals kingdoms. Named for its tiny spirals, spirulina, a blue-green algae, grows in saline lakes but is cultured for maximum nutritional content. In her book Whole Foods Companion (Chelsea Green), Dianne Onstad notes that spirulina contains "the highest sources of protein, beta carotene and nucleic acids of any animal or plant food." Its nucleic acids, she says, benefit cellular regeneration; its fatty acids, especially GLA and omega-3 acids, make it one of the most complete foods. Sprouts, like any other produce, should be rinsed thoroughly before serving. People at high risk for bacterial illness-young children, the very elderly or folks with weakened immune systems-should limit their consumption of raw sprouts. But no matter how you eat them, you may find more spring in your step from these tiny, sprouting nutritional wonders.
SPA: Satisfying Personal Attention
June 14, 2005 10:32 AM
SPA: Satisfying Personal Attention by Sylvia Whitefeather Energy Times, October 12, 2004
Feeling stressed out? Looking for some time to relax and cool off, but just too busy to get away? Give yourself a spa treatment at home.
Creating your own home spa experience is easy and the benefits are many. With some common household items and a few essential oils, you can luxuriate in your own special spa experience while recharging and renewing mind, body and spirit. Indulge with a few close friends for a unique, shared experience.
Using concentrated plant oils derived from flowers and plants, aromatherapy offers an ancient healing art that has gained newfound respect in the modern world. Aroma chemicals transfer quickly into the body, and researchers are finding unique ways to employ this ancient technique, including medical applications.
Studies find that lemon balm or lavender oil reduces behavioral problems in older people with dementia (BMJ 2002; 325:1312-3). Rosemary has been found to improve memory and enhance mental functioning (Int J Neurosci 2003 Jan; 113(1):15-38).
Only a drop or two of an essential oil is needed to receive their unique healing benefits. (Always dilute essential oils; never use or apply them directly to your skin without watering them down.) Essential oils can help you relax, rejuvenate, improve your memory and increase your energy.
Some essential oils are reputed to reduce pain, kill bacteria, speed healing of injuries and help fight inflammation and infection (Natl Meeting, Amer Chem Soc, 8/02).
When you feel like you're ready to spa, take the phone off the hook, unplug the TV and set aside a special, unbothered time and day for your at-home spa experience. Next, turn your bathroom into your special place. Light fragrant candles, put on your favorite soft music and fill the tub.
When running the water you should select a water temperature that fits the effect you desire, according to Valerie Gennari Cooksley, RN, author of Healing Home Spa (Penguin). Water temperature that approximates your normal body temperature produces a sedative effect. On the other hand, hotter water-that which hovers around 100 degrees-induces sweating and helps cleanse and detoxify. In any case, limit your time in hot water to about 20 minutes. If you use cold water, only stay immersed for a few short minutes to rejuvenate and close the skin's pores.
Try adding about 10 drops of either lavender or ylang-ylang oil to a warm bath to aid in relaxation and to release tight muscles. Don't rush; soak for at least 20 minutes and let the fragrant water vaporize your cares. Dry off with a fluffy towel and wrap yourself in your favorite bathrobe.
Other bath enhancers you can add to your soak include oatmeal to soften the skin, seaweed for deep cleansing, Epsom salts to relieve aches, and baking soda to alkalize the body. Herbal sachets can be made by placing dried herbs in a muslin bag and dropping the bag into the water to release fragrances and healing chemicals.
The facial is a standard spa procedure. Hold your face over a steaming bowl of hot water that contains lemon juice or a few drops of lemon essential oil for about 15 minutes. Use a towel over your head to hold in the steam.
When your face is well moisturized, apply a facial mask. On dry skin, use either puréed, ripe avocado or a mask of honey and kelp. If your face is oily, apply either puréed, ripe bananas or a mask of peppermint oil and honey. If you are not sure of your skin type or have mixed skin, green clay can be used for a balanced facial. Green clay is rich in minerals while being antiseptic and healing, notes Valerie Ann Worwood, author of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy (New World Library). With the addition of warm water, it creates an instant facial mask. (You can also use prepared facial masks; ask about them at your health food store.)
To apply the mask, begin at the forehead using upward strokes. Go easy around the eyes. Afterwards, put cucumber slices over your eyes and relax. Keep the mask on for about 15 minutes. Wash your face with warm water and then apply a moisturizer. Your skin should feel supple and look radiant.
Worwood recommends a few drops of rosemary oil and one tablespoon of baking soda in a basin of warm water to soothe your feet. Soaking your feet for about ten minutes softens the skin and nourishes the nails. After drying off, combine one-half cup sea salt with one-half cup of cooking oil, preferably olive, canola or sesame. Gently massage into each foot to stimulate reflex points and remove dead skin. Rinse and pat dry. Finish with a pedicure.
This salt scrub can be used on any part of the body to eliminate toxins, increase circulation, improve lymphatic movement and cleanse the pores. A popular European treatment, it is especially helpful for parts of the body that store water, such as the tummy and thighs. Rinse completely after the scrub and apply moisturizer to dry areas.
Since hands can age quickly, Worwood suggests using oils of rose, sandalwood and geranium for dry or neglected hands. You can also mix one-half cup of sugar with one-half cup cooking oil and a few drops of one of the above essential oils. Massage into each hand to moisturize and pamper your overworked hands. Rinse and apply your favorite lotion to seal in moisture. A gentle manicure adds the finishing touch.
Your special spa day wouldn't be complete without pampering your hair. Noted dermatologist David Bank, MD, suggests looking for shampoos that contain such gentle cleansers as avocado, Borage oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil and wheat germ oil. Your shampoo should also contain moisturizing substances, such as aloe vera, to help give your locks shine and bounce.
Check your hair's condition. Oily hair-that which feels greasy within a day of washing-responds best to frequent washing with minimal conditioning. A bad case of the frizzy tangles is a sign of dry hair, which needs a moisturizer-rich shampoo.
Revive From the Inside With Green Drinks
During your spa day, sip green drinks. Green drinks made from aquatic plants such as spirulina, seaweed and kelp contain needed minerals to nourish skin, hair and nails; these plants have been used for centuries to promote health and longevity. In addition to being high in minerals, they are also low in fat, high in fiber and rich in protein.
The marine vegetables found in green drinks help detoxify the body, support the lymphatic system, alkalize the blood and tissues, and support a healthy thyroid. Many natural food stores carry green drink powders that can be added to juice or water. Sipping on a green drink can enhance the cleansing action of your home spa treatment, balance blood sugar levels and maintain your energy level during the day.
Throughout your home spa experience, drinking spring water with a touch of lemon or lime can facilitate the elimination of toxins and keep you hydrated. Indulge in plenty of high-fiber fruits and vegetables, and avoid processed sugars and high-fat foods. Eating lightly allows your body to eliminate toxins from the inside out while you work on the outside.
As Valerie Cooksley says, "...sound health occurs when the mind, body and spirit are in perfect harmony and balance." A home spa experience takes you a step closer to that harmony.
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
June 13, 2005 03:44 PM
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
by Mary Ann Mayo & Joseph L. Mayo, MD Energy Times, September 4, 1999
It's front-page news. It's politically correct and socially acceptable. Talking about menopause is in. Suddenly it's cool to have hot flashes. Millions of women turning 50 in the next few years have catapulted the subject of menopause into high-definition prominence.
It's about time. Rarely discussed openly by women (what did your mother ever advise you?), meno-pause until recently was dismissed as "a shutting down experience characterized by hot flashes and the end of periods." Disparaging and depressing words like shrivel, atrophy, mood swings and melancholia peppered the scant scientific menopausal literature.
What a difference a few years and a very vocal, informed and assertive group of Baby Boomers make. Staggered by the burgeoning numbers of newly confrontational women who will not accept a scribbled prescription and a pat on the head as adequate treatment, health practitioners and researchers have been challenged to unravel, explain and deal with the challenges of menopause.
Not An Overnight Sensation
Menopause, researchers have discovered, is no simple, clear cut event in a woman's life. The "change of life" does not occur overnight. A woman's body may begin the transition toward menopause in her early 40s, even though her last period typically occurs around age 51. This evolutionary time before the final egg is released is called the perimenopause. Erratic monthly hormone levels produce unexpected and sometimes annoying sensations.
Even as their bodies adjust to lower levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, some women don't experience typical signs of menopause until after the final period. A fortunate one-third have few or no discomforts.
According to What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause (Warner Books) by John R. Lee, MD, Jesse Hanley, MD, and Virginia Hopkins, "The steroid hormones are intimately related to each other, each one being made from another or turned back into another depending on the needs of the body...But the hormones themselves are just part of the picture. It takes very specific combinations of vitamins, minerals and enzymes to cause the transformation of one hormone into another and then help the cell carry out the hormone's message. If you are deficient in one of the important hormone-transforming substances such as vitamin B6 or magnesium, for example, that too can throw your hormones out of balance. Thyroid and insulin problems, toxins, bad food and environmental factors, medication and liver function affect nutrient and hormone balance."
The most important reproductive hormones include:
Estrogen: the female hormone produced by the ovaries from puberty through menopause to regulate the menstrual cycle and prepare the uterus for pregnancy. Manufacture drops significantly during menopause. Estradiol is a chemically active and efficient form of estrogen that binds to many tissues including the uterus, breasts, ovaries, brain and heart through specific estrogen receptors that allow it to enter those cells, stimulating many chemical reactions. Estriol and estrone are additional forms of estrogen.
Progesterone: also produced by the ovaries, it causes tissues to grow and thicken, particularly during pregnancy, when it protects and nurtures the fetus. Secretion ceases during menopause.
Testosterone: Women produce about one-twentieth of what men do, but require it to support sex drive. About half of all women quit secreting testosterone during menopause.
Estrogen's Wide Reach
Since estrogen alone influences more than 400 actions on the body, chiefly stimulating cell growth, the effects of its fluctuations can be far-reaching and extremely varied: hot (and cold) flashes, erratic periods, dry skin (including the vaginal area), unpredictable moods, fuzzy thinking, forgetfulness, fatigue, low libido, insomnia and joint and muscle pain.
Young women may experience premature menopause, which can occur gradually, as a matter of course, or abruptly with hysterectomy (even when the ovaries remain) or as a result of chemotherapy. Under such conditions symptoms can be severe.
In the 1940s doctors reasoned that if most discomforts were caused by diminishing estrogen (its interactive role with progesterone and testosterone were underestimated), replacing it would provide relief. When unchecked estrogen use resulted in high rates of uterine cancer, physicians quickly began adding progesterone to their estrogen regimens and the problem appeared solved.
For the average woman, however, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) became suspect and controversial, especially when a link appeared between extended use of HRT (from five to 10 years) and an increase in breast and endometrial cancers (Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 37, 1997). The result: Women have drawn a line in the sand between themselves and their doctors.
Resolving The Impasse
Since hormone replacement reduces the risk of major maladies like heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, colon cancer and diabetes that would otherwise significantly rise as reproductive hormone levels decrease, most doctors recommend hormone replacement shortly before or as soon as periods stop. Hormone replacement also alleviates the discomforts of menopause.
But only half of all women fill their HRT prescriptions and, of those who do, half quit within a year. Some are simply indifferent to their heightened medical risks. Some are indeed aware but remain unconvinced of the safety of HRT. Others complain of side effects such as bloating, headaches or drowsiness.
Women's resistance to wholesale HRT has challenged researchers to provide more secure protection from the diseases to which they become vulnerable during menopause, as well as its discomforts. If the conventional medical practitioners do not hear exactly what modern women want, the complementary medicine community does. Turning to centuries-old botanicals, they have validated and compounded them with new technology. Their effectiveness depends on various factors including the synergistic interaction of several herbs, specific preparation, the correct plant part and dosage, harvesting and manufacturing techniques.
Research demonstrates that plant hormones (phytoestrogens) protect against stronger potentially carcinogenic forms of estrogen while safely providing a hormone effect. Other herbs act more like tonics, zipping up the body's overall function.
Help From Herbs
Clinical trials and scientific processing techniques have resulted in plant-based supplements like soy and other botanicals that replicate the form and function of a woman's own estrogen.
The complementary community also can take credit for pushing the conventional medical community to look beyond estrogen to progesterone in postmenopausal health.
Natural soy or Mexican yam derived progesterone is formulated by pharmacologists in creams or gels that prevent estrogen-induced overgrowth of the uterine lining (a factor in uterine cancer), protect against heart disease and osteoporosis and reduce hot flashes (Fertility and Sterility 69, 1998: 96-101).
A quarter of the women who take the popularly prescribed synthetic progesterone report increased tension, fatigue and anxiety; natural versions have fewer side effects.
These "quasi-medicines," as Tori Hudson, a leading naturopathic doctor and professor at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, Oregon, calls them, are considered "stronger than a botanical but weaker than a medicine." (Hudson is author of Gynecology and Naturopathic Medicine: A Treatment Manual.)
According to Hudson, the amount of estrogen and progesterone in these supplements is much less than medical hormone replacement but equally efficacious in relieving menopausal problems and protecting the heart and bones.
According to a study led by Harry K. Genant, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, "low-dose" plant estrogen derived from soy and yam, supplemented with calcium, prevents bone loss without such side effects as increased vaginal bleeding and endometrial hypoplasia, abnormal uterine cell growth that could be a precursor to endometrial cancer (Archives of Internal Medicine 157, 1997: 2609-2615).
These herbal products, including natural progesterone and estrogen in the form of the weaker estriol or estrone, may block the effect of the stronger and potentially DNA-damaging estradiol.
Soy in its myriad dietary and supplemental forms provides a rich source of isoflavones and phytosterols, both known to supply a mild estrogenic effect that can stimulate repair of the vaginal walls (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-46).
To enhance vaginal moisture, try the herb cimicifuga racemosa, the extract of black cohosh that, in capsule form, builds up vaginal mucosa (Therapeuticum 1, 1987: 23-31). Traditional Chinese herbal formulas containing roots of rehmannia and dong quai have long been reputed to promote vaginal moisture.
Clinical research in Germany also confirms the usefulness of black cohosh in preventing hot flashes and sweating, as well as relieving nervousness, achiness and depressed moods caused by suppressed hormone levels. It works on the hypothalamus (the body's thermostat, appetite and blood pressure monitor), pituitary gland and estrogen receptors. Green tea is steeped with polyphenols, mainly flavonoids, that exert a massive antioxidant influence against allergens, viruses and carcinogens. The risks of estrogen-related cancers such as breast cancer are particularly lowered by these flavonoids, as these substances head directly to the breast's estrogen receptors. About three cups a day exert an impressive anti-inflammatory, antiallergenic, antiviral and anticarcinogenic effect.
Other phytoestrogen-rich botanicals, according to Susun Weed's Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way (Ash Tree Publishing), include motherwort and lactobacillus acidophilus to combat vaginal dryness; hops and nettles for sleep disturbances; witch hazel and shepherd's purse for heavy bleeding; motherwort and chasteberry for mood swings; dandelion and red clover for hot flashes.
Our Need For Supplements
Adding micronutrients at midlife to correct and counter a lifetime of poor diet and other habits is a step toward preventing the further development of the degenerative diseases to which we become vulnerable. At the very minimum, you should take:
a multivitamin/mineral supplement vitamin E calcium
Your multivitamin/mineral should contain vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Look for a wide variety of antioxidants that safeguard you from free radical damage, believed to promote heart disease and cancer, as well as contribute to the aging process.
Also on the list: mixed carotenoids such as lycopene, alpha carotene and vitamin C; and folic acid to help regulate cell division and support the health of gums, red blood cells, the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system.
Studies indicate a deficiency of folic acid (folate) in 30% of coronary heart disease, blood vessel disease and strokes; lack of folate is thought to be a serious risk factor for heart disease (OB.GYN News, July 15, 1997, page 28).
Extra vitamin E is believed to protect against breast cancer and bolster immune strength in people 65 and older (Journal of the American Medical Association 277, 1997: 1380-86). It helps relieve vaginal dryness, breast cysts and thyroid problems and, more recently, hit the headlines as an aid in reducing the effects of Alzheimer's and heart disease. It is suspected to reduce the thickening of the carotid arterial walls and may prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which contributes to the formation of plaque in arteries.
Selenium also has been identified as an assistant in halting cancer (JAMA 276, 1996: 1957-63).
The Omegas To The Rescue
Essential fatty acids found in cold water fish, flaxseed, primrose and Borage oils and many nuts and seeds are essential for the body's production of prostaglandin, biochemicals which regulate hormone synthesis, and numerous physiological responses including muscle contraction, vascular dilation and the shedding of the uterine lining. They influence hormonal balance, reduce dryness and relieve hot flashes.
In addition, the lignans in whole flaxseed behave like estrogen and act aggressively against breast cancer, according to rat and human studies at the University of Toronto (Nutr Cancer 26, 1996: 159-65).
Research has demonstrated that these omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can reverse the cancer-causing effects of radiation and other carcinogens (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 74, 1985: 1145-50). Deficiencies may cause swelling, increased blood clotting, breast pain, hot flashes, uterine and menstrual cramps and constipation. Fatigue, lack of endurance dry skin and hair and frequent colds may signal EFA shortage. Plus, fatty fish oils, along with vitamin D and lactose, help absorption of calcium, so vital for maintaining bone mass.
In addition, studies show that the natural substance Coenzyme A may help menopausal women reduce cholesterol and increase fat utilization (Med Hyp 1995; 44, 403, 405). Some researchers belive Coenzyme A plays a major role in helping women deal with stress while strengthening immunity.
Can't shake those menopausal woes? Menopause imposters may be imposing on you: The risk of thyroid disease, unrelenting stress, PMS, adrenal burnout, poor gastrointestinal health and hypoglycemia all increase at midlife. Menopause is a handy hook on which to hang every misery, ache and pain but it may only mimic the distress of other ailments. For this reason every midlife woman should have a good medical exam with appropriate tests to determine her baseline state of health. Only with proper analysis can you and your health practitioner hit on an accurate diagnosis and satisfying course of therapy.
And if menopause is truly the issue, you have plenty of company. No woman escapes it. No woman dies from it. It is not a disease but a reminder that one-third of life remains to be lived. Menopausal Baby Boomers can anticipate tapping into creative energy apart from procreation. If not new careers, new interests await. An altered internal balance empowers a menopausal woman to direct, perhaps for the first time, her experience of life. She has come of age-yet again. Gone is the confusion, uncertainty, or dictates of a hormone driven life: This time wisdom and experience direct her. There is no need to yearn for youth or cower at the conventional covenant of old age. Menopause is the clarion call to reframe, reevaluate and reclaim.
Mary Ann Mayo and Joseph L. Mayo, MD, are authors of The Menopause Manager (Revell) and executive editors of Health Opportunities for Women (HOW). Telephone number 877-547-5499 for more information.
Home Spa Secrets
June 12, 2005 01:55 PM
Home Spa Secrets by Carol Perkins Energy Times, July 12, 2003
The luxurious feeling that comes over you in a pampering spa atmosphere can be yours at home without having to venture out to an exclusive resort. Lock the door, put on relaxing music and fill the air with luscious scents. Rejuvenation, regeneration and health-promoting sensations await!
If you decide to indulge in a home spa, cleansing, detoxifying and kicking back in an unstressed atmosphere, you can prepare yourself for your spa activities by sipping what Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, calls a "Living Beauty Elixir," a blend of eight ounces of unsweetened cranberry juice with two teaspoons of a green superfood mixture "rich in purifying chlorophyll and detoxifying antioxidants and nutrients."
This drink, as Dr. Gittleman points out in The Living Beauty Detox Program (Harper), "helps the liver... open up the detoxification pathways....It's a marvelous cleanser for the lymphatic system...removing wastes from the cells via the connective tissue." The green food mixture that Dr. Gittleman recommends includes nutritious items available from your local natural food store that contain chlorophyll-rich foods such as chlorella and spirulina.
Dim the Lights, Light the Candles
Setting a relaxed, soothing atmosphere is a vital part of the total home spa experience. For the right kind of luxurious ambiance, Aloha Bay's Bright Bouquets candle offers three fragrances in one vase for a selection of tantalizing aromas. Improving the experience, these 100% pure natural wax blends offer about 100 hours of clean burning for an seemingly endless at-home spa getaway (1-800-994-3267, www.alohabay.com). Once you have your candles lit and your bathtub running, you can boost your bathing experience with botanicals from the sea.
According to Linda Page, ND, PhD, author of Healthy Healing (Healthy Healing Publications), "Beauty treatments from the sea are one of nature's most ancient beauty therapies. In Greece, Aphrodite's beautiful skin, hair and sparkling eyes were attributed to plants from the sea. The collagen in sea plants is great for relieving wrinkles and brown spots."
Dr. Page suggests making a seaweed mask by mixing 1/2 tablespoon of ground kelp flakes with a tablespoon of aloe vera gel, leaving this mixture on your face and neck for 10 minutes. "This can help heal scars from facial surgery and is also good for the thyroid. Over 15 million people may have a low thyroid."
Another great mask can be made from derma e's deliciously soothing Papaya and Soy Milk Clarifying Facial Mask. Designed especially for sensitive skin, this soothing mask helps exfoliate dead skin cells and clean pores of pollution and debris while conditioning and nourishing for silky skin (1-800-521-3342, www.dermae.net).
Dr. Page also recommends filling your tub with seaweed, which will turn the water a refreshing green. She says that "packaged seaweed soaks can be put right into the tub, or they can be used in a muslin bag which is placed in the water. That makes for an easier clean-up.
"Fill the tub about two-thirds full with very hot water, put in the seaweed (dried or fresh), which will make the water look like a green sea garden. Keep the water filling the tub slowly to maintain a warm temperature and stay in it for about 20 to 25 minutes. It's great for detoxification, and you can enhance the experience with a few drops of lavender and chamomile."
The gel from the seaweed will coat your skin. When the gel comes off, the bath is over and you have received the full regenerative effects of the plants. When you use this bath as part of your home spa, Dr. Page says that about 45 minutes should be longest you stay in the tub, and if you're using stimulating botanicals like cayenne or ginger, take these after the bath, not before.
After you climb out of the bath, you can give yourself a complete manicure with Baywood's all-in-one hand and nail formula made of dead sea salts, herbs and essential oils. Appropriately named, Baywood's Complete Manicure cream exfoliates and replenishes your skin with nutrients making it feel soft and silky in minutes (1-800-481-7169, www.bywd.com). Then you can apply soothing, nourishing creams to your hands with DreamTime's Hand Cozys that soothe away aches and arthritic pain, and comfort overworked hands. Designed like large oven mitts, these fashionable gloves make a perfect at-home spa treatment when used with your favorite nourishing hand lotion. The warmth of the Hand Cozys help your skin absorb lotion more readily, making your hands soft and supple (1-877-464-6702, www.Dreamtimeinc.com).
Relax to the Max
You should further enhance your spa experience with soothers like Intensive Care Capsules from Annemarie Borlind. These Intensive Care Caps are a weekly replenishment treatment designed to repair damage from sun and wind, offering significant relief from dry skin. Each capsule contains a high concentration of Borage seed oil and natural ceramide to deliver new moisture, vitality and elasticity, while being gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin (1-800-447-7024: request a free beauty newsletter; www.borlind.com).
And you can reward your skin with Zia's Body Butter. This dream cream combines mango and shea butters to actually heal the skin while moisturizing it (1-800-334-7546, www.zianatural.com).
An indulgent highlight of your home spa experience can be treating your feet to relaxing rubs and aromatherapy.
As Frazesca Watson points out in Aromatherapy Blends & Therapies (Thorsons), a drop or two of lavender and chamomile added "to a bowl of warm water and soak(ing) the feet for approximately 10 minutes... (can) help colds, varicose veins, athlete's foot, sore and painful feet, and swollen ankles."
The most important element of your foot soak, like everything in your home spa treatment, is the calming and relaxing effect. Healing and soothing, these treatments can keep you on an even temperament in a hectic world.
So shut the light, close the shades, light the candles and get ready to spa.
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.
Arcticpure EFA and EPA Fish Oil supplement ...
May 31, 2005 05:05 PM
Essential fatty acids are crucial for health—as much so as daily vitamins and minerals. And fish oil is one of the best sources of these nutrients. Now Source Naturals offers you three premium fish oil concentrates. ARCTICPURE DHA supplies the essential brain nutrient DHA. ARCTICPURE EPA is ideal for cardiovascular support and joint mobility. ARCTICPURE EFA contains a blend of healthful fatty acids. All ARCTICPURE products contain fish oils from the cleanest and coldest body of water, the Arctic Sea. A series of distillation processes concentrates and extracts beneficial fatty acids, while guaranteeing the absence of heavy metals and PCB’s.
EFA’s: Healthy Fats
Essential fatty acids (EFA’s) support an amazing variety of cellular processes. They maintain cell wall and membrane integrity, generate energy, produce hormones and support brain, nerve, and eye function. Yet too many people today eat diets that are high in saturated or hydrogenated fats, but low in healthy fats—essential fatty acids. ARCTICPURE softgels are an excellent source of EFA’s, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), gamma linolenic acid (GLA), and alpha linolenic acid (ALA). ArcticPure DHA™ DHA is an omega-3 long chain fatty acid that is the primary building block of the brain and retina of the eye. The brain is 60% fat, and DHA is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain, comprising 25-35%. DHA is found in even greater concentrations—50-60%—in the retina. DHA is critical for infant development, especially the rapid cerebral and eye development that occurs during pregnancy and in the first few months after birth. It is therefore an important nutrient for pregnant women and nursing mothers. DHA also has been associated with optimal memory function, visual acuity, and maintaining a positive mental state. It is an integral component of all membranes with electrical activity, including the cells in our brain and nervous system. ARCTICPURE DHA contains 50% DHA, or 250 mg, in each softgel.
EPA is another omega-3 fatty acid, which has been associated with many potential health benefits. Epidemiological and animal studies have shown that EPA can support a healthy cardiovascular system. It is important for healthy skin and is a precursor of prostaglandins, thromboxanes and leukotrienes. These chemical mediators help regulate a variety of physiological processes, including blood pressure and blood clotting. ARCTICPURE EPA supplies 45% (450 mg) of EPA—one of the highest concentrations available.
ARCTICPURE EFA is a source of EPA, DHA, and also GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) from Borage oil, and additional omega-3 fatty acids including ALA. GLA is an essential polyunsaturated fatty acid. It is used by most cells to produce the soothing, intracellular, hormonelike messengers known as series 1 prostaglandins (PGE1), which help maintain the balance of many functions in the body. GLA supports the immune system and helps maintain healthy skin and circulation. This essential nutrient is incorporated into our cell membranes, where it helps to maintain fluidity and permeability.
Stabilized for Freshness
ARCTICPURE oils are enhanced with antioxidants such as lecithin, ascorbyl palmitate, vitamin E and rosemary oil, for extended shelf life. They also contain natural fruit flavors, so there is no fishy taste! ARCTICPURE softgels are pleasing to both children and adults.