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Date Sugar - A Raw Food Enthusiast's Delight
October 08, 2022 10:35 AM
For raw food enthusiasts, you can't get much better than date sugar. Unlike typical refined sugar from cane or beets, date sugar is actually finely chopped dry dates. There's no processing whatsoever, so you get an unrefined sweetener that's uniquely suited to certain culinary applications.
In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at date sugar and some of its key benefits. We'll also explore how to use date sugar in the kitchen to create raw food masterpieces!
The Benefits of Date Sugar
Date sugar is an excellent alternative to refined cane or beet sugar for a number of reasons. First, date sugar is unrefined, meaning that it retains all of the natural nutrients found in dates. These include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Second, because date sugar is made from 100% dried dates, it contains no added sugars or artificial sweeteners. This makes it a great choice for those looking to avoid processed foods. Finally, date sugar has a lower glycemic index than refined sugars, which means it won't cause spikes in blood sugar levels.
How to Use Date Sugar in the Kitchen
Date sugar can be used in any recipe that Calls for cane or beet sugar. However, because it is less processed and has a higher moisture content than refined sugars, date sugar is best suited for baked goods such as cakes, cookies, muffins, and quick breads. When using date sugar in place of refined sugars, you may need to make adjustments to your recipe. For instance, you may need to add more liquid to your batter or dough since date sugar will absorb moisture from the ingredients around it.
If you're looking for araw food-friendly alternative to refined cane or beet sugar, date sugar is a great option. This unrefined sweetener is made from 100% dried dates and contains no added sugars or artificial sweeteners. Plus, date sugar has a lower glycemic index than refined sugars—making it a healthier choice overall. So next time you're baking up a batch of raw food goodies, reach for date sugar instead of refined cane or beet sugar—your tastebuds (and waistline!) will thank you!
What are the best clove substitutes?
May 09, 2019 04:31 PM
Cloves are a spice that can be added to soups, stews and other dishes to add flavor. However, if a recipe calls for cloves and you do not have any on hand there are other substitutes that you can use. Allspice is an easy substitute because both spices come from the same family. Cardamom is another substitute but does not taste quite as sweet. Use cardamom in conjunction with cinnamon as a substitute for clove, but use less than the cardamom than cloves.
"Allspice can be used to treat bloating, cramping, diarrhea, excessive flatulence, nausea, and vomiting."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-02-what-are-the-best-clove-substitutes.html
Are you stressed or anxious? Try this simple and effective recipe!
September 09, 2017 12:14 PM
This video speaks about Magnesium chloride and how it is used to treat bone disease and osteoporosis. If someone is lacking magnesium chloride, there are many diseases that a person could encounter or affected by. Magnesium chloride is also able to balance the body's chemicals and nerves. A magnesium chloride recipe is discussed, which helps to decrease anxiety. The instructions make it easy for anyone to make. The recipe Calls for lemon, water, ice, honey and 10 grams of magnesium chloride.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NByqb8hzvM&rel=0
"Recently, some studies have pointed out that the regular consumption of Magnesium Chloride lessens the risk of rectal cancer."
Magnesium found to treat DEPRESSION better than antidepressant drugs: New science
August 02, 2017 12:14 PM
A natural health website has put out an article reporting on the benefits of magnesium. The article points out a recent study conducted by the University of Vermont's medical school. The study stated that magnesium alone could treat depression better than conventional drugs. The article contains a You Tube video with the writer, in which he claims taking only 248 milligrams of magnesium a day was effective. The writer claims politicians have ignored his calls to use natural substances instead of more expensive drugs to combat depression and other maladies.
"What’s really astonishing about all this is that while dangerous pharmaceuticals are bankrupting our nation and causing our health care system to collapse under the weight of out-of-control costs, magnesium can treat and prevent depression for mere pennies a day."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-07-20-magnesium-treats-depression-better-than-antidepressant-drugs-science.html
Drink It With A Single Blow And Your Liver Will Look Like The One You Had At 20!!
June 26, 2017 12:14 PM
The liver is the organ that suffers most from a poor diet, which is the organ that does most of the work in cleaning the bodies blood. By boiling a handful of peppermint in two liters of water, letting stand, and then straining, it can be combined with the juice from a lemon, orange, and a half tablespoon of lemon zest to create a drink that will cleanse the body and liver. If the taste is too acidic a teaspoon of honey can be added. This cleanse should be taken for a week at a cup per day. It is also recommended that the person taking this cleanse take care of their body by avoiding tobacco and alcohol while drinking two liters of water a day and eating carrots, nuts, and foods rich in fiber as well as whole grains. They should also get about eight hours of sleep to maintain a healthy system.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpBH4b1Ms5w&rel=0
"While people are becoming more interested in feeling good, it is also true that we are still interested in seeing each other well."
Expert calls for government to stop lying about cannabis
May 21, 2017 11:44 AM
Good grammar is extremely important. The rules are not just stuffy constructs from the past. They are a way to help you to sound educated and professional which can get you ahead in life. This is especially true if you write professionally. These writings can make or break your job prospects. Having a reviewer go over what you wrote can help because they can catch the mistakes you might otherwise miss. It could save you hassle and embarrassment.
"The drug war has been an abysmal failure at an awful cost to the taxpayer and even greater cost to human life. And as a physician I would say — to human health.""
Read more: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/92674696/expert-calls-for-government-to-stop-lying-about-cannabis
How Do I Know If I Have a Vitamin B12 Deficiency?
May 08, 2017 11:59 AM
There are specific symptoms one might experience if they are low on vitamin b12. One such symptom is a numbness or tingling sensation in the extremities, also known as peripheral neuropathy. This happens when someone is low on B12 in that the insulation on one's nerves, called myelin, wears thin and basically short circuits, causing pain and a burning sensation. This condition is seen commonly in diabetics who take the medication metformin, also known as Glucophage. Metformin blocks the absorption in the stomach of B12. Other symptoms include fatigue, memory issues, and depression.
"As B12 is important for helping to produce red blood cells, anemia and fatigue can commonly happen in the setting of deficiency."
Read more: http://www.courierjournal.net/columnists/house_calls/article_0c0f1ee4-2ede-11e7-ad8a-1f61cbbb744d.html
Treading carefully on medical marijuana
March 24, 2017 11:44 AM
Medical marijuana has long been a controversial topic and countries all over the world are slow to make cannabis available for medical reasons. Many people swear by marijuana as an effective treatment for a variety of conditions. Unfortunately, there is limited scientific evidence to support some of these medical claims and proponents of the plant should be cautious when making such claims. This article provides an in-depth explanation of what has been proven in scientific research and what studies some countries are undertaking.
"The calls for legalisation of medicinal cannabis have been shrill and perhaps based on misunderstanding."
Read more: http://www.independent.ie/life/health-wellbeing/health-features/treading-carefully-on-medical-marijuana-35539393.html
Diabetes: The Silent Killer
March 11, 2017 12:59 PM
Diabetes is the silent killer. Experts say that one in three people have pre diabetes and have blood sugar levels that are very high. If blood sugar levels are not checked regularly and controlled, then it could lead to the disease. March 28th is Alert Day, which Calls for people to take care of this issue.
"Experts say that one in three Americans have “Pre-Diabetes” and have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal."
Anti-inflammatory diet can help many issues
February 28, 2017 06:19 AM
Many people suffer from pain and discomfort in their everyday lives. Adopting a diet that fights these nuisances could be just what is needed. An anti-inflammatory diet helps with so many issues in the body. Basically, it Calls for getting back to foods that are natural. We eat so much sugar and so many processed foods, that our bodies revolt and cause many of these aches and pains that we feel. Make sure to get lots of fruits and vegetables and stay away from the bad things - especially sugar. You will feel better for it.
"Processed foods with added sugar, salt, preservatives, artificial colors, flavors, hydrogenated oils and sundry chemicals contribute to inflammation in the body and therefore pain and discomfort."
Anti-inflammatory diet can help many issues
February 28, 2017 05:59 AM
Many people suffer from pain and discomfort in their everyday lives. Adopting a diet that fights these nuisances could be just what is needed. An anti-inflammatory diet helps with so many issues in the body. Basically, it Calls for getting back to foods that are natural. We eat so much sugar and so many processed foods, that our bodies revolt and cause many of these aches and pains that we feel. Make sure to get lots of fruits and vegetables and stay away from the bad things - especially sugar. You will feel better for it.
"Processed foods with added sugar, salt, preservatives, artificial colors, flavors, hydrogenated oils and sundry chemicals contribute to inflammation in the body and therefore pain and discomfort."
How Much Should You Push Yourself with Depression?
November 23, 2016 12:59 PM
Depression is a reality that affects all too many. One of the toughest decisions is knowing when to push and when to cut yourself some slack. The key to making this decision above all is to know yourself. Find out what it is about yourself that can help you identify your triggers for stress and learn to combat them with the perspective and experience of Therese J. Borchard.
"Do you typically push yourself too much or do you need to be pushed? That will help you know what to do when you get depressed. If you constantly beat yourself up for not doing everything perfectly in recovery, or in life, maybe you should throttle back to part-time (if you can afford it) and try to allow yourself to heal. If you typically need other people to inspire you to change, then maybe pushing yourself is the right thing to do."
The Dangers of Vegetable Oil
July 21, 2015 05:23 AM
More often than not, when we see the words vegetable oil, we assume that it is good for us since vegetables are essentially beneficial for the body. The truth of the matter is that this kind of oil is mostly derived from seeds such as sunflower, soybean and corn, not from any kind of vegetable at all. Aside from this, their extraction requires a process that uses up a lot of energy and is not good for the environment.
Unsaturated fats, otherwise known as trans fats, are fats that are usually solid at room temperature but processed in such a way that they are not when they come in the form of oils derived from seeds. These contribute to diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity. The sad part is that although there are so many Calls to action regarding minimizing the presence of trans fats in food; there is very little that has been done regarding their presence in vegetable oils. How trans fats were developed or discovered will show how scary it actually is. It was discovered while looking for an alternative to tallow which is an ingredient for candle wax. It was cheap and convenient to harness and use. The reason why it is widely used is because of its extended shelf life. It can also be reused several dozen times for frying without changing flavor or adding a rancid taste to the food fried in it.
The process of extracting the oils from their sources requires a lot of heating and, for some, even exposure to acids and metals which contribute to the "mutation" that these oils undergo. Hydrogenated vegetable oil confuses our bodies into thinking that they are good for us. This is mainly due to the processes that changes their form. HVO alters the structure of our cells, making them weak and lowering the good cholesterol as well as raising the bad. Our bodies welcome these fats and do not treat them as a danger although their presence does, in fact, increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other diseases.
Vegetable oils can also cause imbalances in the composition of our fatty acids. Omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are not produced by our bodies. Therefore, we need to supplement these from our diets and daily consumption in pretty much the same amounts to balance their presence in the body. Polyunsaturated fats from HVO that causes the mutation in our cell membranes can lead to oxidative chain reactions which are harmful to our cells. In essence, our cells are made weak and the chances of alterations to our DNA are increased. Omega 6 is abundant in HVO because it helps to slow the deterioration of the vegetable oil. It can cause an imbalance to the cell membrane causing inflammation in various parts of the body. One component of Omega 6 that is highly dangerous is linoleic acid. It has been linked to obesity, high levels of bad cholesterol and even damage to the brain's hypothalamus.
These are just a few of the dangers that come with using so called vegetable oils. These dangers are kept under wraps because of the massive income that the food industry will lose if it changes the oils used for cooking and preparing food.
Can Pancreatic Enzymes Help Reduce Pancreatic Stress?
May 22, 2013 10:43 AM
Pancreatic enzymes are crucial for the purpose of breaking down fats, carbohydrates and proteins. A healthy pancreas will produce about 8 cups of pancreatic juice daily. This is released into the duodenum helping neutralize any acid. This potion of the stomach is at the entrance of the small intestines. The lack of these fluids could cause a myriad of problems depending on the functions that are carries out.
The question however is; can pancreatic enzymes help reduce pancreatic stress?
One of the best ways to answer this is to find out what these enzymes are and do exactly.
Lipase is a pancreatic enzyme that breaks down fats. The lack of this enzyme causes a shortage of fat soluble vitamins and diarrhea evident by fatty stools.
Protease breaks down proteins in the body. It is also crucial in keeping the system clear of protozoa and yeast among many other parasites. The lack of the same will cause a rise on toxicity in the stomach due to faulty digestion. The individual will also be at risk due to infections.
Amylase will break down carbohydrates and is commonly found in the saliva. The lack of the same will cause diarrhea due to the presence of starch that is undigested in the colon.
This is common in patients that have developed pancreatic cancer. The lack of pancreatic juice in the body will cause pancreatic stress. This Calls for doctors to find a way to help induce the functionality of this juice into the body. This is the reason why pancreatic enzymes are used to help along with the breaking down of these body substances.
This partly answers the question, can pancreatic enzymes help increase pancreatic stress?
Some other effects that could come with the lack of these enzymes include cystic fibrosis, pancreatitis, duodenal tumors and Whipple procedure. Some of the symptoms of these conditions brought by the lack of the enzymes include cramps, gas, indigestion, weight loss and diarrhea.
These enzymes given by doctors may also be given along some acid reducing medication. These enzymes should be taken carefully to ensure that they work optimally.
Added enzymes will ease pancreatic stress by balancing the digestive system. The body in turn will not think it needs more enzymes and reduce its demands on the pancreas.
Some of the things to keep in mind when using these are;
The most common side effect of these enzymes is constipation. They are however the best way to deal with indigestion due to the lack of the pancreatic fluid in the body. Have you had your pancreatin today to boost digestion and eliminate food allergies?
How Does The White Kidney Bean Block Carbohydrates?
February 08, 2012 08:23 PM
The White Kidney Bean is referred scientifically as Phaseolus vulgar. It is bean plant that is native to the Indies, Europe and Peru. The major advantage of using this bean plant is because it has been proven scientifically proven as a good inhibitor of the digestion of some selected dietary carbohydrates. Its carbohydrate blocking ability has seen it being adopted in the manufacture of most weight loss and diet pills.
When you consume starch, normally referred to as the complex carbohydrates, the body then has the responsibility of breaking these food substances into smaller digestible units that are referred to as dextrins. This is usually done through a chemical process catalyzed by the enzyme amylase. The dextrins are later broken down to form glucose. This is then the product that is useful to the body. Glucose is required for body energy requirements. The glucose before being used by the body system is first stored in the muscle tissue or the liver in the form of glycogen.
The settling of glycogen in the liver is used for conversion to lipids and later their storage in fat form. White Kidney Bean is essentially used to block the digestive ability of alpha-amylase which is used in the breakdown of carbohydrates into dextrins and later into glucose which is then used up by the body system. The result of this means that all the carbohydrates pass through the digestive tract undigested. This therefore translates to a lower intake of energy and. This subsequently lowers the amount of body fat that is usually introduced into the body by the consumption of such foods. This is why this bean is an essential element for those seeking to lose weight.
The White Kidney Bean can be able to block the digestion of carbohydrates but is not capable of inhibiting the digestion of fats and simple sugars. This therefore Calls for more adoption of dietary controls because the bean might not achieve the level of effect required. Even through the bean is able to inhibit the functioning of alpha-amylase, there still is another starch digestive enzyme called glucoamylase that can still be digesting the starch during the inhibition of the other enzyme. The White Kidney Bean is a good option for weight loss and weight management. The users are however still advised to ensure that they properly limit their intake of carbohydrates so as to get better results.
This bean is safe to take and does not have any health complications associated with it. The use of this bean is of much importance in losing that extra pound. The White Kidney Bean is especially helpful to those people who cannot get the proper time for preparing healthy meals. It is always important to keep in mind the fact that this bean is only useful in inhibiting the digestion of carbohydrates. This is why people are always advised to try as much as possible to limit their carb consumption. Some side effects like heartburn might be witnessed but in most cases they might not be very much pronounced.
Using Cherries to Deal with Arthritis
May 25, 2011 03:41 PM
Call it what you will: arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or gout - cherries can deal with it and enable you live and sleep more comfortably than without them. When the bones and lubrication systems of your joints become worn you begin to feel pain - not because your bones are grinding against each other but because of the inflammatory response of your immune system.
Your cartilage begins to wear and your body reacts to the damage first by activating cells already close by - macrophages, mastocytes, dendritic cells and so on, and then Calls on the release of leukocytes such as neutrophils. Your blood vessels dilate to enable the large cells to get to the general area of the problem, and then leak to enable fluids to get right to the exact spot where they are needed.
With arthritis, the joint swells because of the above actions, and the synovial fluid can become infected and inflamed. The temperature around the joint increases in temperature to render it less attractive to invading cells and pathogens, and you feel pain because of the pressure on your nerve endings. Then you should take some cherry extract.
The activity of the cytokines and prostaglandins that are creating this situation is suppressed, and the temperature starts to drop. The blood vessels are contracted and the situation begins to return to normal. One more bout of inflammation successfully dealt with, and now that you understand what has caused it you will be better placed to get the cherry extract down your throat next time.
Buy It And Try It Today!
D-Ribose supplied by Bioenergy Life Science
April 19, 2007 02:44 PM
A UNIQUE SUGAR MAY BE KEY TO ENERGIZING THE FAILING HEART Bioenergy Life Science's D-ribose offers promising options for energy-deprived hearts
MINNEAPOLIS, MN, APRIL 18, 2007-Following the recent publication in the New England Journal of Medicine that the failing heart is an "engine out of fuel" (N ENGL J MED 356;11, March 15, 2007), Bioenergy Life Science reports that D-ribose, a simple, five-carbon sugar, is a plausible option for addressing the nation's heart disease epidemic.
"When heart failure develops, many factors are involved, but energy deprivation is among the most important," said John St. Cyr, MD, PhD, the medical director of Bioenergy Life Science. "We've learned recently that patients with heart disease may have a deficient supply of high energy compounds. Past studies have demonstrated that D-ribose supplementation enhances the return of ATP levels with an associated improvement in diastolic function."
D-Ribose, unlike glucose, is a five-carbon sugar important for DNA, RNA, and most importantly, ATP, the "energy currency" of the cells. ATP is crucial in maintaining the integrity and function of every cell, which is necessary for day- to-day health. Ribose is one of the essential components of the ATP molecule.
D-Ribose, as a supplement, has repeatedly shown to improve functional capacity, quality of life, and everyday activities for patients afflicted with congestive heart failure.
Dr. Neubauer's article, "The Failing Heart - An Engine Out of Fuel," Calls attention to the important underlying metabolic problem in patients with heart failure. "D-ribose could aid in this metabolic deficiency," said Dr. St. Cyr. "The number of heart failure patients continues to grow every year. By replenishing ATP to an energy-deficient heart we can significantly improve a patient's quality of life."
Testamonial by Wayne. On March 25, 2006
September 19, 2006 05:49 PM
My name is Wayne. On March 25, 2006, I was working in may shop when a 3-foot crowbar fell from a 10 foot step ladder on top of my head. It didn’t knock me out, which was good because no one was home but me. I had a black and blue spot there for a couple weeks.
Two days later, on a Saturday, I started seeing double. My left eye wouldn’t follow to the left, so I was cross-eyed. My wife, who edits this newsletter, called our Glyconutrition doctor. He asked if I’d had an MRI? So first thing Monday morning she Calls the family doctor who cant see me until Thursday. They said to go ahead to the emergency room and get that done. The attending physician said it could have been a surge of high blood pressure or high sugar. The MRI showed no damage.
We then went to the eye doctor. He said I had 20/20 in both eyes. He crossed his fingers and said he thought it would come back, but It would take a long time. Two other doctors said it would come back in maybe 6 months.
My wife put me on the amounts of Glyconutrients the Doctor recommended. I’ve been a skeptic, but did as I was told. For a month I wore a patch on my eye or on my glasses and it wasn’t fun. I went back to see the eye doctor and asked if he could put a prism on my lens to help the vision. My brother-in-law suggested that since he had the same problem several years ago. That really made a difference.
You should have heard my wife the day she saw that eye beginning to move in about 7 weeks! It kept improving and the first time I looked to the left and it didn’t bother me was july 25, 2006.
There’s a good reason to have a hard head, and God got my attention.
ABC News Calls for Input on Children and Supplements
April 26, 2006 04:39 PM
April 26th 2006,
ABC News Calls for Input on Children and Supplements
For a future report, ABC News has issued a call for “Stories” from parents whose children have taken dietary supplements. Queries like these, posted on the ABC News website, are used to identify potential participants for upcoming news programs, such as “World News Tonight” and “20/20.”
To help ensure that ABC News hears from consumers who have had positive experiences, NNFA urges retailers to pass this information onto customers who purchase supplements for their children.
“This is a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a news story while it is still developing,” Said David Seckman, NNFA’s executive director and CEO, “Retailers especially should know of consumers who have a personal story about how dietary supplements have positively impacted the health of their children.”
The text of the query, which is in the business section of the ABC News Web Site, is as follows:
“Do you give your children Echinacea, melatonin or other supplements? Have you tried nonprescription treatments for your child’s ADHD or other aliments? Maybe you’re found that your teenager buys creatine of muscle building or has experimented with with herbal mood enhancers. If this sounds like you and you’d like to share your story, please fill out the form below and let us know whether an AFC News producer may contact you to possibly include you in one of our reports. Make sure to include a phone number where you can be reached, and we may give you a call.”
Those wishing to answer the query, which is located in the “Money” section of the ABC News Web site, can go to the following link: //abcnews.go.com/business/story?id=1884324 and complete and submit the web form. While anyone can submit their information, news organizations typically give preference to those without a connection to the industry about which they are reporting. NNFA will also be contacting ABC News directly to help ensure this story is accurate and balanced.
Staying on Your Diet throughout the Holidays
January 18, 2006 12:22 PM
The temptations of the holiday season don't have to mean a bigger waistline in the new year and yet another resolution to get in shape. With just a few tricks and tips, you can keep your weight in check and still celebrate with everyone.
While you might be invited to more parties than usual, you can do a lot before you even arrive to keep yourself from eating too much.
One way of keeping your food consumption down is to eat before you go out. An apple or a large glass of water before leaving home will keep you away from the dessert cart at the party.
At-the-Party! Dos and Don'ts
Now that you have lined your stomach, all you have to do is to take care of your calories, maintaining them at a sensible level. Do keep away from the high calorie sips. Alcohol, for instance, has a high calorie content that will easily build up to shatter your calorie allowance. It's a good idea to talk about anything but food, and try avoiding holding a plate! it helps to do something else with your hands, so they are occupied.
If you really must eat, you'll find that the vegetable and fruit trays can be the best places to fill up your plate. If you put these items on your plate first and then put smaller servings of other higher fat items, you'll be able to have everything without the caloric damage.
During the main course, you can balance your calories by eating only half of what is on your plate. You can easily explain it away by complementing your host on the meal, while pleading you couldn't possibly eat more. Or you could tell them the truth, one that most people readily accept! that you are being careful about your diet.
When you're at home
If you're doing the cooking during a holiday, you are more in control of your eating. Why not make items that are low in calories so you don't have to avoid anything?
When cooking, ask a family member to do the tasting. They will be only too thrilled to do this and you can save yourself from consuming added calories.
You might also want to freeze any cookies or other tempting items until you will be eating them for a meal or a gathering. It's a lot harder to eat something that's frozen.
At the end of it all, these dos and don'ts may even take a couple of inches off your waistline at the New Year. But if they don't, and you still weigh the same, you accomplished what you set out to do! now that Calls for a party!
Tania Makevey operates the website and writes for R You Diet which a site dedicated to researching diet related topics and contains all the very latest diet news and views. For more details please visit //www.ryoudiet.com
December 30, 2005 08:53 AM
Every human being is at the mercy of their diet to provide them with a solid foundation of nutrients. This is especially true in the case of endurance athletes, bodybuilders and other adrenaline-seeking competitors. During intense physical training, the body Calls upon its reserve of electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium to provide the spark needed for increased respiration, muscle contractions, nerve impulses and countless other functions.
A well-stocked cellular arsenal of these nutrients can ultimately lead to greater levels of sustained endurance, muscular strength and mental clarity. Deprivation, on the other hand, is an invitation for disaster. When the body is pushed to extremes, but unable to locate what it needs, it becomes prone to fatigue, cramping, nausea and headaches. Not to mention, last place. Products such as Carbo Gain and ZMA can provide a solid base of nutrients. (See reverse for detailed specifi cations).
Now Foods -QUALITY- High Standards and Attention to Detail
December 27, 2005 09:00 AM
QUALITY “High Standards and Attention to Detail”
As you shop for dietary supplements you’re faced with an almost dizzying array of choices. Naturally, every product claims to be this, that and the other. But you’ve heard the stories in the media of products that don’t live up to their claims. So how do you know who’s telling the truth? Perhaps a better gauge of a product’s quality is the manufacturer and their history. Do they have a legacy of producing quality goods? How long have they been in business? Is their track record good or do they have a history of product reCalls and bad press? If you’re responsible for your family’s health and well-being, it pays to do your homework when it comes to the products you purchase for them. NOW® Foods has been manufacturing dietary supplements and whole foods for 35 years.
Companies that thrive and continue to grow for this long don’t do so because they produce poor quality products. They do so by maintaining extremely high standards and paying special attention to every detail, which is the secret to product quality. At NOW® Foods, these high standards and attention to detail are evident in every aspect of our operations, from receiving to production to finished goods, just as they have been for 35 years. You’re committed to buying only the best for your family, and we’re committed to supplying only the best for our customers.
Quality products are made using the highest quality ingredients. NOW Foods purchases raw materials from only the most reputable vendors, who are required to provide detailed specification sheets and lot-specific certificates of analysis for every shipment we receive. These documents provide information on the quality of the raw material and the various analyses used to verify that quality. Shipments that do not meet our quality standards are sent back to the manufacturer with a point by point report card of why the shipment was refused. We simply don’t just accept every shipment that’s delivered to our dock – no ingredient gets a free pass into our production facility. In addition, we also perform random vendor audits throughout each year to ensure that they’re meeting our stringent quality standards. NOW ® Foods is always vigilant when it comes to quality, just as you are. Another way we maintain high quality standards is by choosing to buy and incorporate registered and/or trademarked ingredients into our products. Each of these ingredients are exclusively produced by a company that owns proprietary manufacturing rights and licenses selected companies like NOW® to use these top quality ingredients in their products.
These registered/trademarked ingredients must undergo even more rigorous analysis and controls than other ingredients, and so offer additional assurance that products containing them are properly manufactured and labeled. Additionally, to maintain the integrity of their ingredient’s reputation, the trademark owner will independently test finished products from manufacturers to verify the quality meets their standards and the label claim of the company licensed to use it. You may be familiar with some of the trademarked ingredient NOW® uses such as, Ester-C® vitamin C, Chromemate® Chromium and L-Carnipure® Carnitine.
Scientific analysis of ingredients is extremely important to ensure the integrity of any dietary supplement. NOW Foods has made substantial investments in the development, construction and staffing of numerous inhouse laboratories, including an advanced instrumental analysis laboratory, a “wet lab” and a state-of-the-art microbiology lab. This saves us the time and expense of having to send samples out to commercial labs for analysis. While we use independent labs to verify our in-house test results, our capabilities allow us greater control over product quality and quicker approval of raw material shipments for production, which means fresher products for consumers. Our investment ensures that NOW® will be able to meet ever-increasing demands for accurate product analysis and outstanding product quality. NOW® is unique in the industry in that we annually spend more on Quality Assurance & Control than we do on Marketing and Advertising combined. What good is a lab without qualified people? NOW® employs an expert team of highly qualified scientists and technicians, including four Ph.D.’s. They’re constantly working to develop new and improved analytical methods, and their efforts contribute not only to our product quality but that of the entire industry as well.
This is all great, you say, but what about your facility and the equipment you use to manufacture products? Our 203,000 square foot facility is designed and built to standards that exceed food-packaging guidelines. It supports pharmaceutical-grade operations, which greatly enhances our ability to produce the highest quality products quickly. All this means fresher, more effective products on store shelves for consumers. NOW® Foods is an ‘A’ rated GMP-certified manufacturer, one of the first companies in the industry to attain GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certification. We’re also certified by QAI (Quality Assurance International) as an organic manufacturer. As consumers become increasingly demanding of supplement quality and safety, NOW® is ready to meet this demand with sound science and state-of-the-art research, manufacturing, and packaging capabilities. We are certain that our efforts to consistently maintain the highest product quality will help make your natural product purchasing decisions easier.
Energizing Intimacy - The foundation of a loving relationship is built on communication
July 27, 2005 04:17 PM
The foundation of a loving relationship is built on communication.
Mars/Venus. He said/she said. Action movies/chick flicks. However you choose to characterize differences between the sexes, one this is clear: We tend to see men and women as irreconcilable opposites, people who need each other deeply yet who often don’t know how to live with one another. The stress that ensues when the love connection breaks down aches not only our hearts but the rest of our bodies as well…to say nothing of what it teaches our children about the nature of relationships.
This issue of Energy Times is primarily devoted to offering advice and guidance on how to rebuild that love connection; how committed, loving couples can energize intimacy in their relationships. You can find valuable information in stories on the incredible herbs around the world that aid and enhance libido; tips on how women can use natural cosmetics to rev up a partner’s sexual engine; and how couples can create passion in the kitchen, through mutual back massage and after menopause.
But those articles offer little help if the foundation of your relationship is not primarily built on communicating your needs and desires- whether inside or outside of the bedroom- and listening, really listening, to the other person in your life. Communication is the holistic way to view sexual health and healing because having a clear understanding with your partner about love and life is the way your relationship can truly be whole.
With our national divorce rate hovering around the 50% mark, it is clear that American adults still have an immense learning curve when it comes to talking about sex and intimacy. Sensual images and situations bombard us from books, television, films and Internet sites, yet we seem to be as clueless as ever, not knowing how to talk intelligently about intimate relationships to each other or to our children.
Part of the problem stems from the constant barrage of verbal and visual messages- whether from our parents, friends or corporate advertising- that make us incredibly self-conscious about sensuality and our bodies. Many women fight to come to terms with self-images of their bodies as not thin or beautiful enough, while a lot of men struggle to overcome fear and insecurity over their sexual prowess. Carrying such baggage around can’t help but negatively affect the way people relate in a relationship. After all, before you can share love with your partner, you must learn to love yourself.
We also have to overcome the energy flows that start getting blocked during childhood, when we learn to restrain our emotional energy for the sake of fitting in. Like water behind a crumbling dam, though, repressed energy leaks out in all sorts of extremely unhealthy ways: Anger, depression, irritability, stress- and sexual dysfunction.
Learning to Talk
According to Chris Frey, a Missouri-based psychotherapist and pet who has studies sexual relationships, our culture does a great job reaching people about the mechanics and “how-to” of intimacy and the dangers of unprotected sex, but few families or institutions talk about healthy sexuality with a partner.
“Culturally, the prevalent myth still is that loves means intuitively knowing what my partner wants,” Frey said in an interview posted on the website of the Missouri Lawyer Assistance Program (MOLAP). “People think if they have to talk, or worse yet, ask about it, then there must be something wrong with them. That’s incorrect. Instead of open communication, people often turn to innuendo, humor and guesswork. When couples break through that, the sensitivity and intimacy built as two uncertain people begin to communicate about sex builds an amazing amount of trust, and most likely, a much more pleasurable relationship.”
In fact, trust is a key part of a model of healthy sexuality developed by social worker, marriage and family therapist and author Wendy Maltz. Called CERTS, Maltz’s model requires that five basic conditions be met for a healthy sexual relationship: Consent, Equality, Respect, Trust and Safety.
-Steven Hanks and Lisa James
HAWAIIAN NONI (Morinda citrifolia)
July 11, 2005 08:50 PM
In a time when we are more concerned than ever with issues of health, a tried and true tropical herb called noni needs t o be added t o our list of the best natural remedies. It susage over hundreds of years supports it s description as a veritable panacea of therapeutic actions. At this writing, noni continues to accrue impressive medicinal credentials, and its emergence as an effective nat ural healing agent is a timely one. Amidst rising cancer rates, the high incidence of degenerative diseases like diabetes, and the evolution of ant ibiotic resist ant bacteria and new viral strains, herbs like noni are sought after for their natural pharmaceutical properties. Unquest ionably, all of us want to know how to:
Indian Mulberry (India), Noni (Hawaii), Nono (Tahiti and Raratonga), Polynesian Bush Fruit, Painkiller Tree (Caribbean islands), Lada (Guam), Mengkudo (Malaysia), Nhau (Southeast Asia), Grand Morinda (Vietnam), Cheesefruit (Australia), Kura (Fiji), Bumbo (Africa) Note: This is only a small sampling of vernacular names for Morinda citrifolia. Almost every island nation of the South Pacific and Caribbean has a term for this particular plant . This booklet will refer to the herb mainly as “ noni” or M. citrifolia, and is referring primarily to Hawaiin noni.
The parts of the noni plant most used for their medicinal and nutritional purposes are the fruit, seeds, bark, leaves, and flowers. Virtually every part of the noni plant is utilized for its individual medicinal properties; however, it is the fruit portion that is regarded as its most valuable. The seeds have a purgative action, the leaves are used to treat external inflammations and relieve pain, the bark has strong astringent properties and can treat malaria, the root extracts lower blood pressure, the flower essences relieve eye inflammations and the f ruit has a number of medicinal actions.
Morinda citrifolia is technically an evergreen shrub or bush, which can grow to heights of fifteen to twenty feet . It has rigid, coarse branches which bear dark, oval, glossy leaves. Small white fragrant flowers bloom out of cluster-like pods which bear creamy-white colored fruit. The fruit is fleshy and gel-like when ripened, resembling a small breadf ruit . The flesh of the fruit is characterist ically bitter, and when completely ripe produces a rancid and very dist inctive odor. Noni has buoyant seeds that can float formont hs in ocean bodies. The wood of the inflammatory, astringent, emollient, emmenagogue, laxative, sedative, hypotensive (lowers blood pressure) , blood purif ier, and tonic.
Noni has various chemical constituents. First, it has an impressive array of terpene compounds, three of which—L. Asperuloside, aucubin, and glucose— have been identified by their actyl derivatives. Both caproic and caprylic acids have been isolated.1 Second, bushfruits, a category of which noni fruit is a member, are also considered a good source of vit - amin C.2 Third, Hawaiin noni has been linked to the synthesis of xeronine in the body which has significant and widespread health implications. Last , the alkaloid cont ent of the noni fruit is thought to be responsible for its therapeutic actions. Alkaloids exhibit a wide range of pharmacological and biological act ivitiesin the human body. They are nitrogencontaining organic compounds which can react with acids to form salts and which are the basis of many medicines. The following is an in-depth chemical analysis of each plant part and it s chemical constituents.
discovered an alkaloid in the Hawaiin noni fruit which he Calls proxeronine and which he believes has appreciable physiological actions by acting as a precursor to xeronine, a very crucial compound (see later sections) . In addition, a compound found in the fruit called damnacanthol is believed to help inhibit cert ain viruses and cellular mutations involved in cancer.
ROOT AND ROOT BARK
Recent surveys have suggested that noni fruit exerts antibiotic action. In fact, a variety of compounds which have antibacterial properties (such as aucubin) have been identified in the fruit.5 The 6-Dglucopyranose pentaacet ate of the fruit extract is not considered bacteriostatic.6 Constituents found in the fruit portion have exhibited ant imicrobial action against Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi (and other types) , Shigella paradysenteriae, and Staphylococcus aureaus. Compounds found in the root have the ability to reduce swollen mucous membrane and lower blood pressure in animal studies. Proxeronine is an alkaloid constituent found in Hawaiin noni fruit which may prompt the production of xeronine in the body. It is considered a xeronine precursor and was discovered in noni fruit by Dr. Ralph M. Heinicke. He has theorized that this proenzyme can be effective in initiating a series of beneficial cellular reactions through its involvement with the integrity of specific proteins. He points out that tissues contain cells which possess certain recept or sites for xeronine. Because the reactions that can occur are so varied, many different therapeutic actions can result when xeronine production escalates, explaining why Hawaiin noni is good for so many seemingly unrelated disorders. Damnacanthol is another compound contained in the fruit of the Hawaiin noni plant which has shown the ability to block or inhibit the cellular function of RAS cells, considered pre-cancerous cells.
Body Systems Targeted
The following body systems have all been effec-freeze-dried capsules, dehydrated powder or fruit, and oil. Noni plant constituents are sometimes offered in combination with other herbs. Some products contain a percent age of the fruit, bark, root and seeds for their individual therapeutic properties.
Extracts of M. citrifolia are considered safe if used as directed; however, pregnant or nursing mothers should consult their physicians before taking any supplement . High doses of root extracts may cause constipation. Taking noni supplements with coffee, alcohol or nicotine is not recommended.
Ideally, noni extracts should be taken on an empty stomach prior to meals. The process of digesting food can interfere with the medicinal value of the alkaloid compounds found in Hawaiin noni, especially in its fruit . Apparently, stomach acids and enzymes destroy the specific enzyme which frees up the xeronine compound. Take noni supplements without food, coffee, nicotine or alcohol. Using supplements that have been made from the semi-ripe or light - green fruit is also considered preferable to the ripe, whit ish fruit .
NONI: ITS USE AND HISTORY
Noni is a tropical wandering plant indigenous to areas of Australia, Malaysia and Polynesia. It is considered native to Southeast Asia although it grows from India to the eastern region of Polynesia. Morinda citrifolia has a long history of medicinal use throughout these areas. It is thought to be the “most widely and commonly used medicinal plant prior to the European era.” 7 Centuries ago, the bushfruit was introduced to native Hawaiians, who subsequently called it “noni” and considered its fruit and root as prized medicinal agents. Among all Polynesian botanical agents of the 19th and 20th centuries, Hawaiin noni has the widest array of medical applications. Samoan and Hawaiian medical practitioners used noni for bowel disorders (especially infant diarrhea, constipation, or intestinal parasites) , indigestion, skin inflammation, infection, mouth sores, fever, contusions and sprains. Hawaiians commonly prepared noni tonics designed to treat diabetes, stings, burns and fish poisoning.8 The herb’s remarkable ability to purge the intestinal tract and promote colon health was well known among older Hawaiian and Tahitian natives and folk healers. Interestingly, field observations regarding its repu-remarkable healing agent .
Wonder Herb of Island Folk Healers
Common to t he thickets and forests of Malaysia and Polynesia, and the low hilly regions of the Philippine islands, noni has been cultivated throughout communities in the South Pacific for hundreds of years. Its Hawaiian use is thought to originate from inter-island canoe travel and settlement dating to before Christ . Its hardy seeds have the ability to float which has also contributed to its distribution among various seacoasts in the South Pacific region. Historical investigation has established the fact that some of Hawaii’s earliest settlers probably came viaTahiti. For this reason, Tahitian herbal practices have specific bearing on the herbal therapeutics of islands to the nort h. The very obvious similarities between the Hawaiian vernacular for herbal plants like noni and Tahitian names strongly suggests the theory of Polynesian migrations to Hawaii. Cultures native to these regions favored using Morinda citrifolia for treating major diseases and ut ilized it as a source of nourishment in times of famine.9 Noni fruit has been recognized for centuries as an excellent source of nutrition. The peoples of Fiji, Samoa and Rarat onga use the fruit in both its raw and cooked forms.10 Traditionally, the fruit was propicked before it was fully ripe and placed in the sunlight . After being allowed to ripen, it was typically mashed and its juice extracted through a cloth. Noni leaves provided a veget able dish and their resiliency made them desirable as a fish wrap for cooking.
Noni’s Medical Reputation
Elaborate traditionalrituals and praying rites usually accompanied the administration of noni. Int erestingly, cultures indigenous to the Polynesian islands had a significant understanding of their flora. For example, native Hawaiians maint ained a folkmedicine taxonomy t hat was considered second to none.11 Noni was not only used for medicinal purposes but for its food value, for clot hing and for cloth dyes as well. Research indicates that noni was among the few herbal remedies that islanders considered “ tried and true.” In Hawaii, trained herbal practitioners reserved the right to prescribe plant therapies.12 Records indicate that Hawaiian medical practices were based on extensive and very meticulous descriptions of symptoms and their prescribed herbal treatments. Dosages were controlled and the collection and administration of plant extracts was carefully monitored.13 In addition to Morinda, it was not uncommon for these herbal doctors to also recommend using In regard to its application for common ailments, Hawaiians and other island communities traditionally prescribed noni to purge the bowel, reduce fever, cure respiratory infections such as asthma, ease skin inflammations, and heal bruises and sprains. In other words, noni was widely used and highly regarded as a botanical medicine.
A Timely Reemer gence
Today, the natural pharmaceutical actions of the chemical constituents contained in noni are scientif-ically emerging as valuable bot anical medicines. Tahitian “nono” intrigued medical practitioners decades ago; however, due to the eventual emergence of synthetic drugs, interest in this island botanical diminished until recent years. Ethnobot anists are once again rediscovering why Hawaiian people havet reasured and cultivat ed Morinda citrifolia for generations. Noni is now finding its way into western therapeutics and is referred to as “ the queen” of the genus Rubiaceae. Its ability to reduce joint inflammation and target the immune system have made it the focus of the modern scientific inquiry. Dr. Ralph Heinicke has conducted some fascinating studies on the chemical constituents of the Hawaiin noni fruit. His research centers on the proxeronine content of the fruit juice and how it profoundly influences human physiology. In addition, scientific studies investigating noni as an anti-cancer agent have been encouraging. It s conspicuous attributes and varied uses have elevat edits status to one of the best of the healing herbs. Today Morinda citrifolia is available in liquid, juice, freezedried capsules, or oil forms, and is considered one of nature’s most precious botanicals.
TRADITIONAL USES OF NONI
Throughout tropical regions, virtually every part of Morinda citrifolia was used to treat disease or injury. Its curative properties were well known and commonly employed. PatoaTama Benioni, a member of the Maoritribe from the Cook Islands and a lecturer on island plants explains: Traditionally Polynesians use noni for basically everything in the treatment of illness. Noni is a part of our lives. Any Polynesian boy will tell you he’s had exper ience with it . We use juice from its roots, its flowers, and its fruit... my grandmother taught me to use noni from the roots and the leaves to make medicine for external as well as internal use, and for all kinds of ailments, such as coughs, boils, diseases of the skin, and cuts.15
decoctions to stimulate delayed menst ruation.
XERONINE: THE SECRET OF NONI?
One informed professional on the subject of noni is Dr. Ralph Heinicke, a biochemist who has researched the active compounds of noni fruit for a number of years. He discovered that the Hawaiin noni fruit contains an alkaloid precursor to a very vital compound called xeronine. Wit hout xeronine, life would cease. In Dr. Heinicke’s view, noni fruit provides a safe and effective way to increase xeronine levels, which exert a crucial influence on cell health and protction. His research suggests that the juice from the M. citrifolia fruit contains what could technically be considered a precursor of xeronine—proxeronine. This compound initiates the release of xeronine in the intestinal tract after it comes in contact with a specific enzyme which is also contained in the fruit .
Because proteins and enzymes have so many varied roles within cell processes, the normalization of these proteins with noni supplemenation could initiate avery wide variety of body responses and treat many disease condit ions. Proteins are the most important catalysts found in the body. The beauty of obtaining a precursor to xeronine from the noni fruit is that the body naturally decides how much of this precursor to convert to xeronine. Disease, stress, anger, trauma and injury can lower xeronine levels in the body, thus creat ing a xeronine deficit . Supplementing the body with noni fruit is considered an excellent way to safely and naturally raise xeronine levels. It is the research and theories of Dr. Heinicke which have made the juice of the Hawaiin noni fruit a viable medicinal substance. He writes: Xeronine is analkaloid, a substance the body produces in order to activate enzymes so they can function properly. It also energizes and regulates the body. This par-ticular alkaloid has never been found because the body makes it, immediately uses it, and then breaks it down. At no time is there an appreciable, isolable amount in the blood. But xeronine is so basic to the functioning of proteins, we would die without it . Its absence can cause many kinds of illness.17 Because so many diseases result from an enzyme malfunction, Dr. Heinicke believes that using the noni fruit can result in an impressive array of curative applications. Interestingly, he believes that we manufacture proxeronine while we are sleeping. He proposes t hat if we could constantly supply our bodies wit h proxeronine from other sources, our need to sleep would diminish.18
How an herb is processed is crucial to how beneficial it is: this is especially true of noni, with its unique enzymes and alkaloids. Morinda citrifolia should be picked when the fruit is turning from its dark green immature color to its lighter green color, and certainly before it ripens to its white, almost translucent color. Once picked, noni, like aloe, will denature extremely quickly due to its very active enzymes. After harvesting, it should swiftly be flash frozen. This is similar to what is done to fish caught at sea to keep them f esh. This stops it from losing its potency while not damaging any of its constituents. To process noni, freeze-drying is recommended. This removes only the water without damaging any of this miracle plant’s vital enzymes and other phytonutrients like xeronine and proxeronine. This pure high-quality noni fruit juice powder is then encapsu-has a very harsh taste and an extremely foul smell, similar to the fruit it self . Other methods of processing include thermal processing, dehydrat ion and air drying. Thermal processing is generally found in liquids, while the dehydrat ed noni is then milled and encapsulated. Unfortunately both methods utilize high heat (110+°F) , which can deactivate many of the vital compounds that make noni so import ant . Air-drying is effect ive without using damaging heat but has serious quality control problems for commercial production.
MODERN APPLICATIONS OF NONI
Noni possesses a wide variety of medicinal properties which originat e from its differing plant component s. The fruit and leaves of the shrub exert antibacterial activities. Its roots promote the expulsion of mucus and the shrinkage of swollen membranes making it an ideal therapeutic for nasal congest ion, lung infect ions, and hemorrhoids. Noni root compounds have also shown natural sedative properties as well as the ability to lower blood pressure.
Leaf extracts are able to inhibit excessive blood flow or to inhibit the formation of blood clots. Noni is particularly useful for its ability to treat painful joint conditions and to resolve skin inflammations. Many people drink noni fruit extracts in juice form for hypert ension, painful menstruation, arthritis, gastric ulcers, diabetes, and depression. Recent studies suggest that its anticancer activit y should also be considered. Concerning the therapeutic potential of the Hawaiin noni fruit, Dr. Heinicke writes: I have seen the compound found in noni work wonders. When I was still investigating its possibilities, I had a friend who was a medical research scientist administer the proxeronine to a woman who had been comatose for three months. Two hour safter receiving the compound, she sat up in bed and asked where she was. . . . Noni is probably the best source of proxeronine that we have today.19 Studies and surveys combined support the ability of noni to act as an immunost imulant, inhibit the growth of certain tumors, enhance and normalize cellular function and boost tissue regeneration. It is considered a powerful blood purifier and contributor to overall homeostasis.
xeronine, which appears to be able to regulate the shape and integrity of cert in proteins that individually contribute to specific cellular activities. Interestingly, this effect seems to occur after ingestion, inferring that the most active compound of noni may not be present in uneaten forms of the fruit or other plant parts. Some practitioners believe that xeronine is best obtained from a noni fruit juice precursor compound. The enzymatic reactions that occur with taking the juice on an empty stomach are what Dr. Heinicke believes set cellular repair intomotion.
A study conducted in 1994 cited the anticancer activity of Morinda citrifolia against lung cancer. A team of scientists from the University of Hawaii used live laboratory mice to test the medicinal properties of the fruit against Lewis lung carcinomas which were artificially transferred to lung tissue. The mice that were left untreated died in nine to twelve days. However, giving noni juice in consistent daily doses significantly prolonged their life span. Almost half of these mice lived for more than fifty days.20 Research conclusions state that the chemical constituents of the juice acted indirectly by enhancing the ability of the immune system to deal with the invading malig-nancy by boosting macrophage or lymphocyte activit y. Furt her evaluation theorizes that the unique chemical constituents of Morinda citrifolia initiate enhanced T-cell activity, a reaction that may explain noni’s ability to treat a variety of infectious diseases. 21
In Japan, similar studies on tropical plant extracts found that damnacanthol, a compound found in Morinda citrifolia, is able to inhibit the function of KRAS- NRK cells, which are considered precursors to certain types of malignancies.22 The experiment involved adding noni plant extract to RAS cells and incubating them for a number of days. Observation disclosed that noni was able to significantly inhibit RAS cellular function. Among 500 plant extracts, Morinda citrifolia was determined to contain the most effective compounds against RAS cells. Its damnacanthol content was clinically described in 1993 as “a new inhibit or of RAS function.” 2 3 The xeronine fact or is also involved in that xeronine helps to normalize the way malignant cells behave. While they are still technically cancer cells, they no longer function as cells with unchecked growth. In time, the body’s immune system may be able to eradicate these cells.
with arthritic disease. One link to arthritic pain may be the inability to properly or completely digest proteins which can then form crystal-like deposits in the joints. The ability of noni fruit to enhance protein digestion through enhanced enzymatic function may help to eliminate this particular phenomenon. In addition, the alkaloid compounds and plant met abolites of noni may be linked to its apparent anti-inflammatory action. Plant sterols can assist in inhibiting the inflammatory response which causes swelling and pain. In addition, the antioxidant effect of noni may help to decrease free radical damage in joint cells, which can exacerbate discomfort and degeneration.
The alkaloid and other chemical compounds found in noni have proven themselves to effectively control or kill over six types of infectious bacterial strains including: Escherichia coli, salmonellatyphi (and other types) , shigella paradysenteriae, and staphylo - coccus aureaus.25 In addition, damnacanthol, was able to inhibitt he early antigen stage of the Epstein- Barr virus.
The bioactive components of the whole plant, combined or in separate portions, have demonst rat - ed the ability to inhibit several different strains of bacteria. Anecdotal reports support this action in that noni seems particularly effective in shortening the duration of certain types of infection. This may explain why noni is commonly used to treat colds and flu. The chemical constituents found in noni and the possibility that they stimulate xeronine production— as well as initiate alkaloid therapy—may explain noni’s reputation for having immuno-stimulatory properties. Alkaloids have been able to boost phagocytosis which is the process in which certain white blood cells called macrophages attack and literally digest infectious organisms. Interestingly, the ant it umoraction of noni has been ascribed to an immune system response which involves stimulating T-cells. tropical regions during World War II learned of the fruit’s ability to boost endurance and stamina. Native cultures in Samoa, Tahiti, Raratonga and Australia used the fruit in cooked and raw forms. M. citrifolia is considered a tonic and is especially recommended for debilitated conditions.
The process of aging bombards the body with free radicals which can cause all kinds of degenerative diseases. The xeronine theory promoted by Dr. Heinicke submit s t hat as our bodies age, we lose our ability to synthesize xeronine. To make matters worse, the presence of many environment altoxins actually blocks the production of xeronine as well. He believes that the proxeronine content of Hawaiin noni fruit juice can help to block these actions, thereby working as an antiaging compound.26 The phytonutrients found in noni assist in promot - ing cell nourishment and prot ect ion from free radicals created by exposure to pollution and other potentially damaging agents. In addition, Morinda citrifolia contains selenium, which is considered one of the best antioxidant compounds available.
While scientific studies are lacking in this particular application of noni, Hawaiians used various parts of the plant and its fruit to treat blood sugar disorders. Anecdotal surveys have found t hat noni is current ly recommended for anyone with diabetes.
A 1990 study found that extracts derived from the Morinda citrifolia root have the ability to kill pain in animal experiments.27 Interest ingly, it was during this study that the natural sedative action of the root was also noted. This study involved a French team of scientists who noted a significant central analgesic activity in laboratory mice.28 Dr. Heinicke has stated, “Xeronine also acts as a pain reliever. A man wit h very advanced int est inal cancer was given three months to live. He began taking the proxeronine and lived for a whole year, pain-free.” 29
Skin Healing Agent
One of the most prevalent hist rical uses of noni was in poultice form for cuts, wounds, abrasions, burns and bruises. Using its fruit extract for very serious burns has resulted in some extraordinary healing. Because skin is comprised of protein, it immediately responds to the presence of xeronine.
burn site throught he direct application of a noni poultice is considered quite effective by Dr. Heinicke and his colleagues, who have studied enzymatic therapy. Concerning burns, he has written: I believe that each tissue has cells which contain proteins which have receptor sites for the absorption of xeronine. Certain of these proteins are the inert for ms of enzymes which require absorbed xeronine to become active. This xeronine, by converting the body’s procol- langenase system into a specific protease, quickly and safely removes the dead tissue from burns.30
The xeronine link to treat ing drug addiction is based on the notion that flooding t he brain with extra xeronine can reverse the neurochemical basis for addiction. This natural alkaloid is thought to normalize brain receptors which subsequent ly results in the cessation of physiological dependence on a certain chemical like nicotine.3 1 The potential of Hawaiin noni as a natural stimulat or for t he production of xeronine may have profound implications in treating various types of addictions.
Complementary Agents of Noni
PrimaryApplications of Noni
Pep Up and Go!
June 14, 2005 05:45 PM
Pep Up and Go!
by Harris Parker Energy Times, February 2, 2000
Feel your energy flagging?
You've lost count of the number of phone Calls you fielded all afternoon-the last was from your son, who missed the late bus home from school-and colleagues needing your decision are lined up outside your office. Your husband has invited clients home for dinner. You wilt like a new hairdo on a damp August day and pray for a miracle to jump-start your engine.
Your pep quotient depends on three essential ingredients: nutrients you consume through your diet and supplements, how much you exercise and your sleep schedule.(Of course, if you're troubled by any kind of disabling, ceaseless fatigue accompanied by mental fuzziness, joint pain, sore throat, swollen glands, headaches and other chronic distress, consult your health practitioner.)
Vitamins and Energy
Certain nutrients are called vitamins because scientists consider them to be crucial for vitality. They generally function as coenzymes, partnering with the enzymes that are catalysts for the chemical reactions constantly taking place in our bodies. Our need to replenish our store of vitamins, which may merge with cell, muscle, enzyme, hormone, blood and bone structure once they have been absorbed, depends on their rate of utilization, according to The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book (Avery) by Shari Lieberman, PhD, and Nancy Bruning.
While a low-fat diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables helps supply important nutrients, a B complex supplement and a balanced multivitamin can guarantee daily vitamin levels.
Be Energetic with B Vitamins
Vitamins, especially the B vitamins, play extremely important roles in producing cellular energy. The chart on page 39 lists the key vitamins and describes their effects as well as the consequences of not getting enough of them. Their benefit is felt most profoundly in the energy producing process known as the Krebs cycle (which we'll explain in a moment).
Vitamins B2 and B3, for example, supply the major building blocks for substances that are called flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD and FADH) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD and NADH), which are critical elements of energy production in the Krebs cycle as well as a process called oxidative phosphorylation.
Hundreds of Reactions
Even though you may never have heard of NAD and NADH, these molecules are found in very many places throughout your body; they play a role in hundreds of biochemical reactions in all kinds of cells. B vitamins also combine with other materials to build coenzymes, chemicals which help form other chemicals necessary for cellular energy. B vitamins are crucial: miss out on one or more and you may break these metabolic chains necessary for peak energy.
Energy to Spend
The main energy currency of every cell single cell is ATP: a chemical called adenosine triphosphate. This material is used by cells for every imaginable task including reproduction, growth, movement and metabolism. Specialized metabolic cycles within the cell are designed to generate ATP.
Consequently, the more ATP our cells create, the more energy can be generated. The raw materials used to make cellular energy are glucose (blood sugar) and "free" fatty acids. The best way to supply your cells with the sugar they need is to consume complex carbohydrates which also supply fiber and other nutrients. When you eat carbohydrates, they are made into glucose which is stored as a starch called glycogen in muscles and the liver. Your body can rapidly turn glycogen into glucose for extra energy. (The process of making energy from glycogen yields carbon dioxide and water as well as ATP.)
The first step in making glucose into energy is called glycolysis. This complicated process requires nine different steps. During these steps, glucose is made into a substance called pyruvate. The process of glycolysis requires ATP, but yields twice as much ATP as is present when it starts.
From here, the process gets a little more complicated as pyruvate enters into a complex chain of events in tiny cellular structures called mitochondria. (Many metabolic events take place in the mitochondria.) The pyruvate molecules are converted to a molecule known as acetyl coenzyme A and eventually made into carbon dioxide, water and more ATP.
This process is known as the Krebs cycle or citric acid cycle. It also involves a series of events known as oxidative phosphorylation in which NADH formed during the Krebs cycle is oxidized to form ATP.
Why is fat such a concentrated source of energy? Free fatty acids enter the Krebs cycle to help generate ATP much more efficiently than glucose - producing roughly six times more energy per gram than glucose.
And Don't Overlook. . . . . .other supplements that may aid energy production: • Alpha Lipoic Acid, an antioxidant that works in the fatty tissues of cell membranes and in cells' watery interiors • Coenzyme Q10, also known as ubiquinone as it exists everywhere in the body, acts like a vitamin because it stimulates some reactions. CoQ10 protects cell membranes, especially of the heart, against oxidation and toxins.
Ginsengs: Energy Generators
With their legendary and slightly mysterious characteristics, the ginsengs are greatly respected natural energy boosters. " Perhaps no herb has excited so much interest in medical circles as ginseng, and yet, strangely, it does not actually 'cure' any one particular ailment," reports Michael Hallowell, the author of Herbal Healing (Avery) and a frequent lecturer on botanic medicine. "Rather, its virtue lies in its tremendous power as a tonic and invigorator. Russian athletes are prescribed large amounts of ginseng because researchers in Moscow have shown that it not only improves stamina, but also increases the efficiency with which blood is pumped to the muscles."
What are the physiological mechanisms that allow ginseng to bolster your get up and go? In order to unravel the legend and lore of ginseng, the first step is understanding the intricacies of the three types: • Asian (Panax ginseng), which produces the strongest and most profound stimulation; • American (Panax quinquefolium), which soothes at a more subtle level; • Siberian (Eleutherococcus senticosus), a stamina booster embraced by a wide range of athletes. All three varieties are treasured for their ability to help people adjust to stress.
The ginsengs are adaptogens, "biologically active substances found in certain herbs and plants that help the body and mind adapt to the changes and stress of life," says Stephen Fulder, MD, author of The Book of Ginseng and Other Chinese Herbs for Vitality (Inner Traditions). "Stress is not an illness in itself. Stress is change, our ability to adapt to all the changes that occur in life, emotional or physical, from exercise, work, chemicals, drugs, food, radiation, bacteria, disease, temperature, or simply too many late nights or too much fun."
The body reacts to stress by producing the hormone adrenaline, which throws the whole body into a state of alert. Metabolism, blood pressure and circulation accelerate; immunity and resistance drastically decline; performance suffers.
Enter the ginsengs, with their varied, subtle tonic qualities. The Greek name for this herb, "panax," means "panacea" or cure-all. But the Chinese, who first referred to it 2,000 years ago, more literally called it "ren shen" or "person root," in reference to its physical resemblance to a miniature human form.
" Most exhibit medicinal properties, but each species has a different chemical makeup and has a unique application in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)," says Kim Derek Pritts, author of Ginseng: How to Find, Grow and Use America's Forest Gold (Stackpole). "In general, all true ginseng contains biologically active saponins (chemicals similar to human hormones), essential oils, carbohydrates, sugars, organic acids, nitrogenous substances, amino acids, peptides, vitamins and minerals."
Building Vital Energy
All the ginsengs strengthen, nourish and build Qi, the TCM concept describing basic vital energy circulating through our bodies. Every physical and mental function, from breathing, thinking, nutrition and circulation, is regulated by Qi. Although many of the Native American tribes used the abundant, indigenous Panax quinquefolium ginseng extensively, particularly to increase mental acuity and boost fertility, the herb never has been as popular in North America as it is in Asia. American ginseng traditionally has been a lucrative export crop to China, where the wild native variety suffers from overharvesting. Even today, according to Paul Bergner in The Healing Power of Ginseng & the Tonic Herbs (Prima), 95% of the American ginseng crop is exported to China, where XiYang Shen, or "western sea root," as it is called, is immensely valued and costs double what it does here.
Jacques MoraMarco, author of The Complete Ginseng Handbook: A Practical Guide for Energy, Health and Longevity (Contemporary), as well as a licensed acupuncturist and doctor of Eastern medicine, suggests American ginseng for a slight energy boost. The moderate effect of American ginseng is considered a more appropriate tonic to the intensity of our pace and diet.
Variations on a Theme
In TCM terms, American ginseng cools and moistens, as well as lubricates and strengthens the body. It is reputed to reduce fevers and night sweats and alleviate hot, dry lung problems like smoker's cough. With its emollient qualities, American ginseng is considered to treat dry, wrinkled skin effectively.
The Bolder Energizer
Asian ginseng, which includes red Korean panax, is a bolder energizer taken by those who feel depleted from anemia, blood loss, cardiovascular weakness, injury, shock or trauma, as well as the disabling effects of age. In general, Asian ginseng is warming and stimulating, urging the body to run faster.
Siberian ginseng, though botanically not a true ginseng, still acts similarly to Asian ginseng in its reputed power to control stress, boost energy, support the immune system, enhance performance and increase longevity. Called Wu Cha Seng in Chinese, Siberian ginseng is perceived by natural practitioners as an ideal herb for the healthy who want to lift both stamina and endurance. Experts believe it counteracts the effects of cortisol, the stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to injury, pain or emotional turmoil.
Natural Energy Boosters
The herbal pharmacopeia includes several other natural energy boosters available in various forms-shakes and bars for those on the run-loaded with nutrition absent from commercial snacks. Some choices: • Ginkgo biloba-used in Chinese medicine to heat the body and increase sexual energy. Ginkgo enthusiasts take this herb to increase the supply of oxygen to the brain and generally increase circulation. • Gotu kola-may stimulate the central nervous system and help eliminate excess fluid, thereby reducing fatigue. • Astragalus-a Chinese herb that enhances energy and builds the immune system. It is credited with strengthening digestion, improving metabolism, increasing appetite, combating diarrhea and healing sores. • Schisandra-also a Chinese herb, treats respiratory illness, insomnia and irritability and rejuvenates sexual energy. Its mild adaptogens help the body to handle stress. • Licorice-is a favored endocrine toner in Chinese medicine. It is reputed to support the adrenals, the pair of small glands directly above the kidneys that secrete steroidal hormones, norepinephrine and epinephrine, the "fight or flight" hormones. People with high blood pressure or edema, or pregnant women, should avoid it. • Ashwagandha-an Ayurvedic herb used for thousands of years in the traditional healing of India as a potent strength builder for men and women.
Experienced herbal practitioners acquire an impressive and fascinating store of knowledge and experience-you'll find it helpful to visit one as you begin your course of ginseng or other energy-boosting herbs.
When you visit a TCM practitioner, you'll notice that she evaluates your body's condition through an extremely careful examination of all the different systems: Several pulse points are felt in order to ferret out and detect troubling abnormalities. The condition and color of the tongue is observed to decipher digestive disorders. In addition, your urine may be examined to determine other imbalances and specific health problems.
In many cases, your TCM practitioner will recommend ginseng as an adaptogen that can give you an overall boost. When taking ginseng, follow the directions on the package. Note: in some cases, you may want to consume a little bit less if you suffer headaches, insomnia or high blood pressure. Consult your health practitioner if you are afflicted with either acute inflammatory disease or bronchitis.
Then take comfort in the eternal soothing wisdom of Chinese Traditional Medicine. In the first century A.D., the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (The Divine Husbandman's Classic of the Materia Medica) effusively described ginseng and the tonic herbs in this beguiling and intriguing manner: "The first class of drugs...are considered to perform the work of sovereigns. They support human life and they resemble heaven. They are not poisonous regardless of the quality and duration of administration."
Cleanse That Body!
June 14, 2005 11:59 AM
Cleanse That Body! by Lisa James Energy Times, January 6, 2005
When toxins accumulate in your tissues, you can become fuzzy and sluggish. Here's how a New Year's internal cleansing can make you feel fresh and energized.
What's your New Year's resolution? Losing weight? Getting fit? Kicking the [fill-in-the-blank] habit? Whatever the shape of your dreams for 2005, it won't be easy launching a self-improvement program unless you give your body a fresh start. Where to begin? Detoxification-an internal cleansing that can supply the energy you need to succeed in achieving your goals.
No one can avoid toxins in our contaminated world, so many of us suffer from toxic overload, which can lead to fatigue, digestive problems and reduced immune function. " When we get out of balance, we get congested and toxic," says Elson Haas, MD, founder of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, California (www.elsonhaas.com), and author of The New Detox Diet (Celestial Arts), "and our bodies' regular elimination systems cannot keep up with it. We have problems with our skin, our intestines, our sinuses. We also become deficient in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Most people have both congestion and deficiency, and they would benefit greatly from detoxification."
Toxins Within, Toxins Without
Life's fundamental activities-breathing, eating, walking around-generate waste in the form of free radicals, the unstable molecules that can ravage cells and tissues. What's more, Dr. Haas says that just "being under stress, being afraid, being anxious all produce more free radicals in the body" (like when a work deadline hits on the same day your car dies). When you add to your internal toxins all the noxious items coming from the outside, including the dietary ones, the recipe is very unhealthy.
" People are making poor choices in what they're putting in their mouths," says Dr. Haas. "They're taking in too much refined flour and sugar. There's a common problem in our country I call 'obese malnutrition'-people eating too many calories and not getting enough nutrition. People do a lot of junky fats and have a deficiency in the essential fatty acids that help protect cells."
Our bodies are also awash in manmade poisons such as food preservatives and additives, and residues from pesticides and herbicides. "The amount of toxic chemicals we are exposed to in our environment is staggering," says Susan Lark, MD, clinical nutrition expert and author of The Chemistry of Success (Bay Books). She notes that the average American is exposed to 14 pounds of such assorted chemical junk each year.
The body, however, does do its own housekeeping-and all of our cells detoxify every second of every day. "It's always a balance of garbage in, garbage out," says Dr. Haas, who has 30 years of experience in helping people detoxify. "Some of the toxins we break down into smaller components, some we just dump into the intestines for elimination."
Problems arise when there's more dirt than the internal maid service can sweep away. Dr. Lark notes that toxins wind up being stored in cells, especially fat cells, where they can hang out for years. When they are finally released "during times of low food intake, exercise or stress" complaints can range from tiredness to dizziness (sound familiar?).
That's where detoxification comes in, says Dr. Haas: "I think detoxification is a vital health care tool, particularly in this day and age when people are exposed to too many chemicals."
The process of detoxification starts with cleansing the intestinal system. Alternative health practitioners observe that discombobulated bowels can become overly permeable (a condition called leaky gut syndrome) and allow in all sorts of things that they shouldn't, such as semi-digested food particles, leading to inflammation and complaints that include rashes and joint pain.
Cleansing can be as simple as cutting down on what Dr. Haas Calls the SNACCs-Sugar, Nicotine, Alcohol, Caffeine and Chemicals-or as thorough as a complete diet-and-supplement program with colonic irrigation (a sort of super-enema, professionally administered; if you're interested, contact the International Association of Colon Hydrotherapy at 210-366-2888 or www.i-act.org). The more powerful the program, though, the more likely you are to experience toxicity reactions such as nausea and headaches because of the volume of material being released. As Dr. Haas puts it:
" If you did water and green salads for a week, you'd detoxify more intensely than if you just gave up sugar and white flour." If you're feeling extremely rundown, take a gentle approach at first or consult a nutritionally aware practitioner, especially if you have a preexisting medical condition.
Getting more fiber is essential. Laurel Vukovic, a natural health teacher and author of 14-Day Herbal Cleansing (Prentice Hall), suggests following this daily regimen for two weeks: a teaspoon of psyllium (a fiber supplement); at least seven daily servings of fruits and vegetables, especially fiber-rich ones like apples, cabbage and carrots; and six glasses of water, along with daily exercise. Extra fiber "supports the intestines in eliminating the larger amounts of toxins that are released," says Vukovic, "prevent[ing] their reabsorption into the bloodstream." Some people find premixed cleansing formulas convenient; check your health food store shelves.
Fasting is a more intense detox approach that, according to Dr. Haas, "promotes relaxation and energization of the body, mind and emotions, and supports a greater spiritual awareness." He especially recommends fasting in the spring and autumn, which are times of transition. Some people do water-only fasts, but fresh vegetable juices are probably a better option, particularly if you haven't fasted before. Juices and plenty of fresh water also help cleanse the kidneys, another vital detox route.
Instead of juices you can use a special cleansing formula, such as the Spring Master Cleanser: 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup and 1/10 teaspoon cayenne pepper in 8 ounces of spring water. Dr. Haas recommends drinking eight to 12 glasses daily (and rinsing your mouth after each glass to protect your teeth from lemon's acids), augmented by water, laxative herb tea, and peppermint or chamomile tea.
Try fasting for a day to see how you feel. Dr. Haas suggests starting out by fasting from early evening through the night, and eating a light breakfast the following day. Subsequent fasts can gradually increase in length-experienced fasters may go up to two weeks without food.
Break your fast properly; for juice or cleansing formula fasts, eat a raw or cooked low-starch vegetable, such as spinach or other greens. "Go slowly, chew well and do not overeat or mix too many foods at any meal," says Dr. Haas.
Don't forget your liver, the organ that transforms noxious chemicals into substances your body can eliminate. The herb milk thistle, used since ancient times as a liver tonic, contains silymarin, which protects the liver from pollutants and helps it renew itself after toxic damage. Dandelion not only promotes the flow of bile from the liver, which helps clean out the junk, but also acts as a diuretic, helping the kidneys do their job. Green-food supplements, such as spirulina and cereal grasses, help neutralize toxins.
To maintain your cleansing gains, eat a healthy diet after detoxing. Focus on fresh organic foods, especially produce, beans and peas, whole grains and seeds (add organic poultry if you eat meat). Organic yogurt provides healthful probiotics, while fresh fish and ground flaxseeds provide omega-3 fats.
Clean Living Pays
The body's largest organ-the skin-provides a valuable contaminant exit path. Sitting in a hot tub or sauna "benefits the internal organs of detoxification," according to Dr. Lark, "by lessening the amount of toxins they must process." When sweatin' out the bad stuff, drink plenty of water and replace the calcium, magnesium and potassium lost through perspiration.
Another way to stimulate skin circulation is dry brushing, which also removes dead skin cells for a healthy glow (and is easier to fit into a daily routine). Using "a moderately soft, natural vegetable-fiber bristle brush" (Dr. Lark's suggestion), work in from the hands and up from the feet with light, short strokes that always move towards the heart. Vukovic says that a hot towel scrub is another option; put three drops of lavender essential oil in a basin of very hot water, dip in a rough terry washcloth and wring out, and then rub the skin briskly, starting with your feet and working your way up.
Once you've detoxified your body, you can start in on your immediate surroundings. Dr. Haas warns against using plastic food storage containers: "When food is heated in plastics some of the plastic material ends up in the food, especially if the food contains acids." Use glass containers instead. He also recommends avoiding aluminum pots and pans, and using stainless steel as an alternative.
Dr. Haas has seen what a good detox program can do: "It's amazing the kind of results people get-looking and feeling younger, more vital and healthy. They say, 'I'm sleeping like a baby,' they have fewer aches and pains. They have more peace in their bodies. I think detoxification is one of the keys to preventive medicine." So cleanse that body and let detoxification bring balance and renewal to your life.
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.
Centering Your Heart
June 13, 2005 10:15 AM
Centering Your Heart by Lisa James Energy Times, January 4, 2004
The romantic view of the human heart conjures up vivid images: The gallant lover, the committed enthusiast, the wise sage. When the romantic philosophy speaks of the heart, it speaks of things that lie at the very center of what it means to be human.
Western medical science, though, views the heart as a biomechanical pump-marvelously engineered to be sure, but a physical device amenable to surgical and pharmaceutical tinkering.
Between romance and technology lies the Eastern path. Eastern medical traditions, including Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and India's Ayurveda, see the heart as a seat of energy that must be kept in right relationship with the rest of the body.
TCM: Yin, Yang and Qi
The two great polarities of yin and yang are always shifting and rebalancing, according to Chinese philosophy, in our bodies as in everything else. Yin is dark, inward, cold, passive and downward; yang is light, outward, warm, active and upward.
The energy that keeps us alive is called qi, or life force. Organs, including the heart, are seen as places where qi resides. Organs supply and restrain each other's qi, which flows along carefully mapped meridians, or channels. Disease occurs when disturbances in qi interrupt the flow of energy so that an organ experiences either a deficiency or excess of yin/yang.
According to Chinese precepts, disturbances in the heart affect the whole body. "The movement of the blood throughout the body, TCM circulation, is managed by multiple organs, which in turn interact with one another. A failure in any one part of this system can result in pathology," says Jonathan Simon, LAc, an acupuncture expert in private practice and at the Mind-Body Digestive Center, in New York.
"If there's a circulation issue, all the organ systems are going to be deprived of the nourishment supplied by the blood. The heart seems to have a dramatic effect on everything else in the body," says Ross Rosen, JD, LAc, CA, MSTOM, Dipl AC & CH (NCCAOM), of The Center for Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine P.A. in Westfield, New Jersey.
Connecting the Dots
While Western medicine probes the heart's physical functioning, TCM searches for energy imbalances by looking for patterns in a person's complaints.
"The wrong approach, in my opinion, is to try to relieve a Western ailment before you have established the proper pattern," Simon notes. "For example, I once had a 20-year-old, slim patient who came to me complaining of hypertension. She had seen several other acupuncturists before she got to my clinic, all of whom had prescribed the number-one formula for hypertension in TCM. When I interviewed her, I discerned a very different pattern from the classic one for hypertension. I gave her the formula associated with her pattern, not her symptom, and she had great relief over the next three weeks. After consultation with her Western physician, she began to cut back on her medication, and is now off of her meds."
TCM emphasizes taking a thorough medical history and using a sophisticated pulse-taking technique called the shen hammer method. Rosen Calls pulse "the blueprint of one's health."
As in conventional Western medicine, TCM sees diet as a major culprit in heart disease. "Poor diet will cause problems depending upon on the constitution of the person," explains Simon. "For example, if one eats an excess of greasy and spicy food, that may build up and generate excess heat in the body. That may manifest itself as someone with a quick temper, red face and high blood pressure. On the other hand, a vegetarian who eats only salads may have low energy, a sallow complexion and low blood pressure. I try to tell my patients to keep balance in their diets, but to avoid cold, raw and greasy foods."
TCM also sees unsettled emotions as a source of illness. Stress "creates stagnation in qi and in the blood, eventually," Rosen says. "When stagnation is long or severe, heat starts being produced. We say that heat goes into the blood and steams the body, and heat starts to dry out the vessels. This process winds up turning into atherosclerosis-it kind of vulcanizes the vessel wall. It deprives the vessel of its moisture, which deprives it of its elasticity. Blood pressure starts to increase."
Managing one's emotions and not overworking body or mind is key, says Rosen: "The heart houses the spirit, the shen. When we see people with imbalances in emotion, the spirit starts to become agitated; once the spirit becomes agitated, the whole heart system goes out of balance."
Signs of agitation include insomnia, anxiety and an inability to feel joy, along with chest pain and heart palpitations. TCM uses nutrition, herbs and acupuncture to bring the body back into balance.
Ayurveda: Constitutional Energies
Like TCM, Ayurveda sees health as a matter of balancing the subtle energies that power our bodies. In Ayurveda, these energies exist as three doshas, or basic constitutions:
* Vata is cold, dry, light, clear and astringent. The skin of vata individuals is generally dry, thin, dark and cool, with hair that's curly, dark and coarse. Vatas change their minds readily and crave warmth.
* Pitta is sharp, light, hot, oily and pungent. Pitta people tend to have skin that's soft, fair, warm and freckled, along with fine, fair hair. Quick-witted, pittas hold strong convictions. They prefer coolness, since they tend to perspire profusely.
* Kapha is cold, heavy, oily, slow and soft. Kapha skin is pale, cold and thick, and kapha hair, which is usually brown, is thick and lustrous. Stable and compassionate, kaphas don't like the cold.
Few people are one, pure dosha. Most contain varying levels of vata, pitta and kapha (abbreviated VPK), generally with one predominating.
Ayurveda views the heart as "governing emotions and circulating blood," according to Sophia Simon, MS, LAc, of the Karma Healing Center in Newtown, Pennsylvania. In Ayurveda "heart problems arise mainly due to improper diet and stressful lifestyles," which causes a "derangement of vata dosha. This leads to thickening of the arteries, resulting in angio-obstruction."
"Stress reduction is very important in heart disease," says Simon. "Meditation helps a lot with stress reduction, especially simple breathing exercises, yoga, etc." Some of Simon's recommendations have a familiar ring: Don't smoke, do exercise, eat a plant-based, low-fat diet. In addition, she says you should:
* Avoid coffee and other beverages that contain caffeine.
* Be loving and compassionate to all mankind.
* Do things in a casual way. Speak softly. Avoid anger, especially holding anger for a long time.
* Indulge in healthy, whole-hearted laughter.
In addition, Simon notes that garlic is an Ayurvedic herb "most useful for heart problems.
Keep your balance: In the great Eastern healing traditions, it is the key to keeping your heart healthy.
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart
June 13, 2005 10:06 AM
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart by Louis McKinley Energy Times, January 2, 2004
From time immemorial, people have tuned into life's lessons that come from the heart. Sadly, times are changing: If you're like most inhabitants of today's harried world, you may be too distracted to detect important clues about your cardiovascular circumstances.
And while heart lessons may be more complicated than simply connecting the physiological dots, understanding those heart messages are imperative for improving and maintaining your heart health.
Every cell in your body relies on heart-powered blood flow to keep it supplied with nutrients, oxygen, hormones and other natural chemicals necessary for survival. Without that supply of life-giving substances, few cells in the body-including those within the heart itself-can survive very long.
And just as damage to a major roadway can cause mayhem with traffic patterns, damage to blood vessels and the heart can wreak a lumpy cardiovascular havoc that blocks the passage of blood and endangers your heart's well-being.
Your Heart Disease Chances
Within the last ten years, scientific research performed by investigators around the world has focused on the specific factors that most strongly influence your chances of developing heart disease and suffering either a heart attack or a stroke.
While much of your risk depends on your genetic inheritance and family history, several factors that determine your heart health are within your control.
The most important factors you can do something about include:
* Smoking: free radicals generated by burning tobacco causes significant damage to blood vessels and other cells
* Lack of exercise: the human body is designed for consistent, moderate physical activity; without exercise, the body slacks off in creating antioxidant protection for arteries
* Diabetes: when excess blood sugar persists, physiological processes begin that endanger the heart and arteries
* Cholesterol: when oxidized (a chemical process that has been compared to a kind of internal rusting), cholesterol can form artery-blocking plaque; antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and natural vitamin E may help the body limit this process
* High blood pressure: excessive pressure within the blood vessels raises the risk of damage to the heart and arteries; a program of weight loss and exercise can help control blood pressure
* Being overweight: the extra body fat carried around your middle is linked to a greater risk of heart problems
Heart Attack Signs
Do you think you know what a heart attack feels like? Well, if you think it feels like a dramatic pain somewhere in your chest that knocks you to the floor, you're probably wrong. "Most heart attacks do not look at all like what one of my colleagues Calls the 'Hollywood' attack-the heart attack you see on television or in the movies," warns Julie Zerwic, MD, professor of surgical nursing who has studied what happens when people develop heart disease and suffer damage to their hearts.
"The symptoms [of heart problems] are not necessarily dramatic. People don't fall down on the floor. They don't always experience a knife-like, very sharp pain. In fact, many people describe the sensation as heaviness and tightness in the chest rather than pain," she says. And, if you're a woman experiencing a heart attack, you may not even feel discomfort specifically in your chest. Instead you may experience a severe shortness of breath. The apparent ambiguity of the discomforts caused by a heart attack lead many people to either ignore them or take hours to realize they need to go to the emergency room at the hospital.
Consequently, much fewer than half of all individuals undergoing a heart attack actually go to a hospital within an hour of the start of the attack. That delay can be a fatal mistake.
"Timing is absolutely critical," laments Dr. Zerwic. "If treatment starts within a hour after the onset of symptoms, drugs that reestablish blood flow through the blocked coronary artery can reduce mortality by as much as 50%. That number drops to 23% if treatment begins three hours later. The goal is to introduce therapy within two hours."
However, in Dr. Zerwic's research, only 35% of non-Hispanic whites go to the hospital within an hour of the start of a heart attack. And among African-Americans, the number of people going to the hospital right away drops to a frighteningly low 13%.
Often, people will lie down or use a heating pad to relieve the tightness they feel in the chest," says Dr. Zerwic. "They may take some medicine and wait to see if that works. All these steps postpone needed treatment."
Signs of a possible heart attack include:
* Chest discomfort: Heart attacks most frequently cause discomfort in the center of the chest that can either go away after a couple of minutes (and come back) or persist. The discomfort may feel like strong pressure, fullness or pain.
* Upper body discomfort: An attack may set off pain or discomfort in either or both arms, and/or the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
* Shortness of breath: Chest discomfort is frequently accompanied by shortness of breath. But it's important to note that shortness of breath can take place even in the absence of chest discomfort.
* Other signs: You can also break out in a cold sweat, or feel nauseated or light-headed.
A Woman's Sleep Signs
If you are a woman who suddenly experiences a marked increase in insomnia and puzzling, intense fatigue, you may be in danger of an imminent heart attack.
In an attempt to understand how women's symptoms of heart problems differ from those of men, researchers talked to more than 500 women in Arkansas, North Carolina and Ohio who had suffered heart attacks. (Technically, what they had experienced is referred to as acute myocardial infarction.)
They found that chest pain prior to a heart attack was only reported by about 30% of the women surveyed.
More common were unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances and shortness of breath (Circulation Rapid Access, 11/3/01).
"Since women reported experiencing early warning signs more than a month prior to the heart attack, this [fatigue and sleep problems] could allow time to treat these symptoms and to possibly delay or prevent the heart attack," says researcher Jean C. McSweeney, PhD, RN, nursing professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. In Dr. McSweeney's study, more than nine out of ten women who had heart attacks reported that they had had new, disturbing physical problems more than a month before they had infarctions.
Almost three in four suffered from unusual fatigue, about half had sleep disturbances, while two in five found themselves short of breath.
Other common signs included indigestion and anxiety.
"Women need to be educated that the appearance of new symptoms may be associated with heart disease and that they need to seek medical care to determine the cause of the symptoms, especially if they have known cardiovascular risks such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, overweight or a family history of heart diseases," says Dr. McSweeney.
Dr. McSweeney warns that, until now, little has been known about signs that women are having heart trouble or heart attacks. The fact that most of Western medicine's past attention has been on heart problems in men has obscured the warning signs in women. As part of Dr. McSweeney's studies, she and her fellow researchers have discovered that more than 40% of all women who suffer a heart attack never feel any chest discomfort before or during the attack.
"Lack of significant chest pain may be a major reason why women have more unrecognized heart attacks than men or are mistakenly diagnosed and discharged from emergency departments," she notes. "Many clinicians still consider chest pain as the primary symptom of a heart attack."
Vitamins for Diabetes and Heart Disease
Having diabetes significantly raises your chance of heart disease, which means that keeping your blood sugar levels under control can reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack.
Today, 17 million Americans have diabetes and, as the country's population in general gains weight and fails to exercise, the number of people suffering this problem continues to grow.
The first line of defense against diabetes consists of exercise and weight control. All you have to do is take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day to drop your chances of diabetes (American Journal of Epidemiology 10/1/03).
"We have found that men and women who incorporate activity into their lifestyles are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who are sedentary. This finding holds no matter what their initial weight," said Andrea Kriska, PhD, professor of epidemiology at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
To help your body fight the development of diabetes, researchers also recommend vitamin C and natural vitamin E.
Researchers working with lab animals at the University of California at Irvine have found that these antioxidant vitamins can help insulin (the hormone-like substance secreted by the pancreas) reduce harmful blood sugar. In addition, these vitamins shrink the chances of organ damage that can be caused by diabetes (Kidney International 1/03).
In this investigation, these vitamins also helped reduce blood pressure, another risk factor that raises heart disease risk.
"Blood pressure was lowered to normal, and free radicals were not in sufficient numbers to degrade the sugars, proteins and nitric oxide," notes Nick Vaziri, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California. "We think this shows that a diet rich in antioxidants may help diabetics prevent the devastating cardiovascular, kidney, neurological and other damage that are common complications of diabetes."
Free Radical Blues
Dr. Vaziri and his group of researchers found that untreated diabetes raised blood pressure and increased the production of free radicals, caustic molecules that can damage arteries and the heart. Free radicals can change blood sugar and other proteins into harmful substances, boosting tissue and heart destruction.
In Dr. Vaziri's work with lab animals, he found that treating diabetes with insulin lowered blood pressure and helped keep sugar and protein from changing into dangerous chemicals, but allowed the free radicals to subvert nitric oxide, a chemical the body uses to protect itself from free radicals.
In this investigation, adding vitamins C and E to insulin insulated the body's sugars, proteins and nitric oxide from oxidative assault. This produces a double advantage: Lowering the risk of heart disease and other damage to the body from diabetes.
Maitake, an Oriental mushroom that has been shown to have many health benefits, can also be useful for people with diabetes who are trying to avoid cardiovascular complications. Laboratory studies in Japan demonstrate that maitake may help lower blood pressure while reducing cholesterol (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 1997; 20(7):781-5). In producing these effects, the mushroom may also help the body reduce blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of tissue damage.
Tobacco smoke is one of the most notorious causes of heart problems. In the same way a hard frost exerts a death grip on a highway, the smoke from cigarettes can freeze up arteries and hamper their proper function. A healthy artery must stay flexible to comfortably allow adequate circulation.
But "...when blood vessels are exposed to cigarette smoke it causes the vessels to behave like a rigid pipe rather than a flexible tube, thus the vessels can't dilate in response to increased blood flow," says David J. Bouchier-Hayes, MD, professor of surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who has studied the deleterious effects of tobacco.
This rigidity is called endothelial dysfunction. When arteries are rigid, blockages gum up vessels, clots and other impediments to blood flow appear, and your risk of heart attack and stroke increases (Circulation 2001 Nov 27; 104(22):2673).
This condition can also cause chest pain (angina) similar to that caused by a heart attack, and should be evaluated by a knowledgeable health practitioner.
Although all experts recommend you stop smoking to lower your heart disease risk, some studies have found that Pycnogenol(r), a pine bark extract that helps the body fight inflammation, may ease some of smoking's ill effects.
In a study of platelets, special cells in the blood that can form dangerous blood clots, researchers found that Pycnogenol(r) discouraged platelets from sticking together (American Society for Biochemical and Molecular Biology 5/19/98). By keeping platelets flowing freely, this supplement may alleviate some of the heart-threatening clots that tobacco smoke can cause.
In Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional therapy from India, an herb called guggul has also been used to lower the risk of blockages in arteries. This herb, derived from the resin of the mukul tree, has been shown to reduce cholesterol by about 25%. People taking this herb have also reduced their triglycerides (harmful blood fats) by the same amount (Journal Postgraduate Medicine 1991 37(3):132).
The Female Version of Heart Disease
For one thing, women often don't suffer from the crushing chest pain that for most people characterizes a heart attack; instead, many women experience back pain, sweating, extreme fatigue, lightheadedness, anxiety or indigestion, signs that can be easily misread as digestive troubles, menopausal symptoms or indicators of aging.
The genders also differ in how heart disease poses a threat. While men seem most endangered by the buildup of blockages in arteries, women apparently are more at risk from endothelial dysfunction. But more study needs to be done since, in many cases, researchers have been unable to pin down the precise mechanism that causes many women to die of heart disease.
Scientists have found that the number of women in their 30s and 40s who are dying from sudden cardiac arrest is growing much faster than the number of men of the same age who die of this cause. But research by the Oregon Health & Sciences University and Jesse E. Edwards Cardiovascular Registry in St. Paul, Minnesota, shows that while doctors can pinpoint the coronary blockages that kill men, they can't find specific blockages in half of the female fatalities they have studied (American Heart Journal 10/03).
"This was an unexpected finding. However, the study underscores the need to focus on what is causing these younger women to die unexpectedly because the number of deaths continues to increase," says Sumeet Chugh, MD, a medical professor at Oregon.
Since the failure of arteries to relax probably contributes to heart disease in many women, eating red berries, or consuming supplements from berries such as chokeberry, bilberry or elderberry, may be important in lowering women's heart disease risk. These fruits help arteries expand and allow blood to flow freely.
Red berries are rich sources of flavonoids, polyphenols and anthocynanins. The anthocyanins are strong antioxidants that give the berries their color. Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that these chemicals can interact with nitrous oxide, a chemical produced by the body, to relax blood vessels (Experimental Biology conference 5/20/02).
As researchers work to devise lifestyle roadmaps that can steer you around the perils of heart disease, they are finding that exercise is a key path to avoiding cardiovascular complications.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that those who exercised and kept their weight down (or took weight off and kept it off) experienced a significantly lower risk of heart problems (Preventive Medicine 11/03).
"The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. Burning calories in physical activity may be the secret to reducing heart disease risk and living longer, she says.
Dr. Fang's research used information collected from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 1975 and then computed how much people exercised, how their body mass indices varied and which of these folks died of heart disease during the next two decades.
In the study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who worked out and consumed more calories cut their risk of heart disease death in half.
Exercise Is Essential
"Subjects with the lowest caloric intake, least physical activity, and who were overweight or obese had significantly higher cardiovascular mortality rates than those with high caloric intake, most physical activity, and normal weight," Dr. Fang notes. The individuals in the study who were overweight and didn't exercise had a bigger risk of heart disease even if they tried (and succeeded) at eating less.
"This suggests that heart disease outcome was not determined by a single factor, but rather by a compound of behavioral, socioeconomic, genetic and clinical characteristics," according to Dr. Fang.
According to researchers, if your job requires a great deal of physical activity, your health will be better if you get another job. Exercise on the job not only doesn't decrease your risk of heart disease, it may actually raise it. The reason: On-the-job activity is linked to heart-endangering increases in job stress.
Research into this subject, performed at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, found that while recreational exercise slowed hardening of the arteries, workers who had to exert themselves during the workday had arteries that were blocked at a younger age (American Journal of Medicine 7/03).
In this study, researchers examined about 500 middle-aged employees as part of what is called the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study.
"We found that atherosclerosis progressed significantly faster in people with greater stress, and people who were under more stress also were the ones who exercised more in their jobs," says James Dwyer, PhD, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School. According to Dr. Dwyer, "This suggests that the apparent harmful effect of physical activity at work on atherosclerosis-and heart disease risk-may be due to the tendency of high-activity jobs to be more stressful in modern workplaces.
"It appears from our findings that the psychological stresses associated with physically active jobs overcomes any biological benefit of the activity itself."
On the other hand, the scientists found that heart disease drops dramatically among those who exercise the most in their spare time. In the study, people who vigorously worked out at least three times a week had the lowest risk. But even those who just took walks enjoyed better heart health than people whose most strenuous activity was working the TV remote. Dr. Dwyer says, "These results are important because they demonstrate the very substantial and almost immediate-within one or two years-cardiovascular benefit of greater physical activity."
Lowering your risk of heart disease is substantially up to you. Listen to what your heart tells you it needs; then, exercise your right to fetch some cardiovascular necessities.
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 11, 2005 05:13 PM
Homeopathic Essentials by Jane Lane Energy Times, February 1, 2000
The principles of homeopathy are elegantly basic and, to some, maddeningly elusive. This system of medical treatment employs The Law of Similars or "like cures like," and Calls on natural plant, animal and mineral substances that induce the body to heal itself.
That homeopathy works is virtually incontrovertible. With its ancient roots and European practice spanning hundreds of years, homeopathy employs minute doses of diluted extracts to replicate symptoms of a malady, which then vanishes. But the very fact that it works puzzles many experts who have researched the phenomenon.
Understanding The Tradition
Homeopathy evolved from its earliest practice recorded by 10th-century BC Hindu sages to its codification by Hippocrates in 400 BC. " Through the like, disease is produced and through the application of the like, it is cured," he wrote, expressing the fundamental principle of homeopathy, according to Homeopathic Medicine at Home (Tarcher Perigee) by Maesimund B. Panos, MD, and Jane Heimlich. Samuel Christian Friedrich Hahnemann, the erudite and intellectually audacious German physician and chemist, seized upon the essentials of homeopathy in the early 1800s.
Through Hahnemann's work, homeopathy developed into an intricately systematized science, veering into the arcane for the contemporary individual seeking relief for everyday ailments.
Modern practitioners and manufacturers of homeopathic remedies benefit from Hahnemann's daring research (which included potentially lethal experiments on himself) and complex doctrines.
They've streamlined and modernized Hahnemann's concepts to provide more relevance to modern ills and sensibilities.
The Bold Experiments
Hahnemann denounced the medical practices of the 18th century, which involved cauterizing, bleeding, blistering and purging patients to expel the pernicious fluids or humors believed to cause disease.
He also reviled the kind of omnibus prescription drugs of the day, which loaded many substances into one compound. In 1790, Hahnemann conducted his groundbreaking experiment establishing the basis of homeopathy.
The customary treatment for malaria at the time was Cinchona officinalis or Peruvian bark-quinine. Medical wisdom attributed its efficacy to its bitterness and astringency. Hahnemann rejected this explanation, noting that other botanicals are far more bitter and astringent, yet are powerless against malaria.
To prove his theory, Hahnemann took some cinchona compound and promptly developed the symptoms of malaria. His deduction: Like cures like, or The Law of Similars. A substance that, in minute doses, induces certain symptoms in a healthy person cures a sick one.
The Set of Laws
A set of fairly complex laws developed from Hahnemann's initial Law of Similars.
The Law of Proving refers to the process of ascertaining the effectiveness of a homeopathic therapy by administering a substance to a healthy person to record in minute detail its effects. Practitioners also use the standard double-blind method using a placebo or unmedicated tablet against a homeopathic compound.
The first proving was performed in 1790 and the procedure endures today, using only humans, not laboratory animals, for greater accuracy. As homeopathic preparations are not toxic, proving has never produced lasting adverse reactions. Descriptions of provings are compiled into books called materia medicas, including Boericke's Materia Medica and Repertory and The Lectures of Homeopathic Materia by James Tyler Kent, used regularly in contemporary practice.
The books are highly indexed collections of symptoms and the remedies that cure them called repertories. The most extensively used repertory is Kent's Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.
In 1800, the third Law of Potentization was devised, regulating the processing of homeopathic remedies through successive dilutions and shaking.
This law represents perhaps the profoundest mystery of homeopathy and demands the boldest leap of faith: The higher the dilution, the more intense the potency of the medicine. Substances that are inert in their natural state act as medicine. And as they are so dilute, homeopathic remedies do not act directly on the tissues, accounting for their non-toxicity. Adding to the inherent safety of homeopathic therapies is the discipline's adherence to the single remedy. Centuries ago, homeopaths seemed to have been prescient about current drug interaction troubles.
(Historical information courtesy of Homeopathic Medicine at Home by Panos and Heimlich.)
How It Works: The Vital Force Homeopathy embraces a philosophy centered on the concept of "vital force," an intelligent, dynamic life force within each individual responsible for maintaining one's life and balance on all levels. The vital force creates a defense mechanism similar to the immune system, but incorporates protection against imbalances on the emotional and mental planes as well.
Homeopathy equates disease with imbalance. As the defense mechanism attempts to restore balance, symptoms appear: pain, swelling, rashes and fevers on the physical side; grief, jealousy, anxiety, anger, confusion and loss of memory on the emotional and mental end.
Homeopaths regards these symptoms as evidence of the vital force's curative exertions, not merely annoyances to be eliminated. Symptoms guide the homeopath in his or her attempts to harmoniously augment the efforts of the vital force.
Homeopathic remedies are prepared according to the standards of the United States Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia and are recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration. " Homeopathy respects the complexity and uniqueness of each individual," observes pharmacist and naturopathic doctor James LaValle (and his co-authors) in Smart Medicine for Healthier Living. "To identify the correct homeopathic remedy, you must carefully observe your unique-even quirky-behaviors and responses." Indeed the emphasis on the "unique, even quirky" may lead to the perception of homeopathy as a sketchy pseudo-science. Homeopathy simply does not fit the drug model of allopathic medicine.
Its ability to help people, however, has been repeatedly evaluated through rigorous scientific research. A comprehensive review in the British Medical Journal (302, 1991: 316-323) of more than 100 clinical studies of homeopathy published during the last 30 years revealed that 77% of those studies produced positive results for the people involved. A host of additional studies provides clinical evidence:
Battle Fatigue! Don't passively accept chronic exhaustion and weakness.
June 10, 2005 10:06 PM
Battle Fatigue! Don't passively accept chronic exhaustion and weakness. by Joanne Gallo Energy Times, December 6, 1999
Most folks wouldn't seek the distressing distinction of suffering chronic fatigue syndrome. Aside from a dizzying array of discomforts associated with the malady, the lack of a definitive cause, and few remedies offered by the medical establishment, scornful skeptics lob accusations of laziness or boredom or just plain moodiness. "Snap out of it!" they say, with little sympathy or understanding. "Just get moving!"
But if you're one of more than 3 million Americans affected by chronic fatigue, you know your problem is not all in your head. Your symptoms are real and they extend far beyond mere tiredness. In addition to a debilitating sense of fatigue that can make everyday existence feel like an overwhelming struggle, you may suffer from impaired concentration and memory, recurrent sore throats, nagging headaches, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes and fitful sleep. The persistence of any one of these effects alone could be debilitating, but the overall diminished capabilities of the chronic fatigue sufferer can become the most discouraging aspect of the disease.
But before you give up hope on kicking this energy-sucking ailment, look to natural ways to boost your immune system and regain your stamina for a more healthy and productive life. New research points to powerful, energy enhancing supplements which, combined with a nutritious diet and stress reducing techniques, can help you reclaim your body from a swamp of sluggishness.
Part of the public's misconceptions about chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) may stem from vague definitions of exactly what it is and its causes.
In the '80s, CFS was often mentioned in the same breath as the Epstein-Barr virus, which garnered much notoriety as the "yuppie flu": a state of chronic exhaustion that often plagued young, overworked professionals, as the media trumpeted. CFS was initially thought to be the result of the Epstein-Barr virus, and the two were often considered to be the same thing. Since the Epstein-Barr virus causes mononucleosis, the term "chronic mono" was also thrown around to refer to long-lasting states of fatigue.
Today, CFS is defined as a separate disorder from the Epstein-Barr syndrome. Researchers have found that CFS is not caused exclusively by the Epstein-Barr virus or any other single infectious disease agent. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, CFS may have multiple causes, in which viruses or other infectious agents might have a contributory role. Some of these additional possible culprits include herpes simplex viruses, candida albicans (yeast organisms), or parasites.
According to the CDC, a person can be definitively diagnosed with CFS when she or he experiences severe chronic fatigue for six months or longer that is not caused by other medical conditions, and must have four or more of the following problems recurrently for six consecutive months: tender lymph nodes, muscle pain, multi-joint pain without swelling or redness, substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration; sore throat, headaches, unrefreshing sleep and postexertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours.
Even if you are not diagnosed with CFS, you could still probably use some help in fending off fatigue. You may suffer from another poorly understood condition like fibromyalgia, which causes similar symptoms of exhaustion and pain with additional stomach discomfort. You may cope with another ailment like hypoglycemia or low thyroid function that zaps your energy. Or you could be like almost every stressed-out American adult trying to do it all at the expense of your well-being. Though researchers still search for a definitive cause for CFS, one thing is certain: Constant stress and poor nutritional habits weaken the immune system's ability to ward off a host of debilitating viruses and organisms. So before you run yourself down and succumb to a chronic condition, learn how you can build up your defenses now.
Some of the most exciting new research in CFS treatments focuses on NADH or Coenzyme 1, an energy-enhancing nutritional supplement. This naturally-occurring substance is present in all living cells including food, although cooking destroys most of it. Coenzymes help enzymes convert food and water into energy and NADH helps provide cellular fuel for energy production. It also plays a key role in cell regulation and DNA repair, acts as a potent antioxidant, and can reportedly improve mental focus and concentration by stimulating cellular production of the neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin.
A recent study conducted at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC, and reported in the February 1999 issue of The Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, showed that chronic fatigue sufferers improved their condition significantly by taking Enada, the stabilized, absorbable, oral form of NADH. The researchers found that 31% of those who took the supplement achieved significant improvement in relief of their symptoms, and a follow up study showed that 72% achieved positive results over a longer period of time.
Coenzyme-A and Coenzyme Q-10 (Co-Q10) are related coenzymes also necessary for energy production.
According to Erika Schwartz, M.D., and Carol Colman, authors of Natural Energy: From Tired to Terrific in 10 Days (G.P. Putnam's Sons) CoQ10 in combination with the nutrient carnitine enhances cellular energy production, thereby boosting energy levels. Coenzyme-A is required to initiate the chemical reactions that involve the utilization of CoQ10 and NADH for the production of energy at the cellular level.
Another important energy-enhancing nutrient is D-ribose, a simple sugar that is crucial to many processes in your body. D-ribose stimulates the body's production of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, an energy-rich chemical compound that provides the fuel for all body functions. D-ribose is essential to the manufacture of ATP and maintaining high levels of energy in the heart and skeletal muscles.
In addition to these new nutrients, a host of more familiar vitamins and minerals can help banish fatigue. According to Susan M. Lark, M.D., author of the Chronic Fatigue Self Help Book (Celestial Arts) nutritional supplements help stimulate your immune system, glands and digestive tract, promote proper circulation of blood and oxygen, and provide a calming effect. Some of Lark's recommended nutrients for building and regaining strength include:
Vitamin A: Helps protect the body against invasion by viruses that could trigger CFS, as well as bacteria, fungi and allergies. Supports the production and maintenance of healthy skin and mucous membranes, the body's first line of defense against invaders. Also supports the immune system by boosting T-cell activity and contributing to the health of the thymus, the immune-regulating gland.
Vitamin B Complex: Depression and fatigue can result from the body's depletion of B vitamins, which can occur from stress or drinking too many caffeinated beverages. Studies have provided preliminary evidence that CFS patients have reduced functional B vitamin status (J R Soc Med 92 , Apr. 1999: 183-5). The 11 factors of B complex are crucial to glucose metabolism, stabilization of brain chemistry and inactivation of estrogen, which regulate the body's levels of energy and vitality. n Vitamin C: Helps prevent fatigue linked to infections by stimulating the production of interferon, a chemical that can limit the spread of viruses. Helps fight bacterial and fungal infections by maintaining healthy antibody production and white blood cells. Also necessary for production of adrenal gland hormones which help prevent exhaustion in those under stress.
Bioflavonoids: Help guard against fatigue caused by allergic reactions; their anti-inflammatory properties prevent the production of histamine and leukotrienes that promote inflammation. Bioflavonoids like quercetin are powerfully antiviral.
Vitamin E: Has a significant immune stimulation effect and, at high levels, can enhance immune antibody response.
Zinc: Immune stimulant; improves muscle strength and endurance. Constituent of many enzymes involved in metabolism and digestion. n Magnesium and Malic Acid: Important for the production of ATP, the body's energy source. Magnesium is also important for women who may develop a deficiency from chronic yeast infections.
Potassium: Enhances energy and vitality; deficiency leads to fatigue and muscle weakness.
Calcium: Combats stress, nervous tension and anxiety.
Iodine: Necessary to prevent fatigue caused by low thyroid function, as it is crucial for the production of the thyroid hormone thyroxin.
In addition to nutrients to bolster your immunity, herbal remedies can also help suppress viral and candida infections. Garlic is a powerful, natural antibiotic, while echinacea and goldenseal have strong anti-infective abilities. Other botanicals help combat tiredness and depression: stimulating herbs such as ginger, ginkgo biloba, licorice root and Siberian ginseng can improve vitality and energy. For anxiety, moodiness and insomnia try passionflower or valerian root, which both have a calming effect on the central nervous system.
Eating For Energy
Supplements can only do their best if you eat a nutritious diet. Start by cutting out large quantities of sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy products, red meat and fat.
But what are the best foods when trying to restore energy or recover from illness? "High nutrient content foods with a good balance of proteins and carbohydrates," answers Jennifer Brett, ND, interim clinic director and chair of botanical medicine at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine.
"You want foods with high nutritional value-that's where vegetables end up looking better than fruit."
Brett enthusiastically pushes that "universal food," as she Calls it: chicken soup.
"In China," she says, laughing, "they do make chicken soup, and they do think of it as healing, because they add astragalus and shiitake mushrooms. Vegetable soups with chicken or fish have high nutritional value and are easy to digest."
The same principle applies to juices, Brett says. Juices are a good way to tastefully get more phytonutrients from fruits and vegetables into your diet. Toss in protein powder, and you can make a complete meal in your blender.
"You get more energy from juicing," she explains, "more accessible nutrients and carbohydrates that are not bound up in fiber." Brett's additional recommendation: oatmeal.
"It's got protein and carbohydrates combined with a lot of minerals, which you may not get from a sugary cereal," she says. "Sure, they spray some vitamins on them, but if you don't drink the milk in the bottom of the bowl, you'll miss out on them. You might as well take a multivitamin."
Look to fiber for superior energy enhancement. Natural Energy author Schwartz Calls it downright "miraculous": "In terms of conserving precious energy, fiber-rich foods are your cells' best friends," she writes. "It takes smaller quantities of them to give you a full, satisfied feeling. They release all their benefits slowly, which allows the cells to extract nutrients with much less effort. Then these fiber-rich foods graciously leave the body with ease and efficiency." Among these "slow burn" foods that Schwartz says raise blood sugar slowly and steadily and maintain energy evenly:
Alfalfa sprouts-high in fiber and low in cholesterol.
Apples-one medium unpeeled provides 10% of the recommended daily fiber dose; unlike sweeter fruits, which are rich in healthful fiber, they help regulate blood sugar.
Broccoli-along with such greens as cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collard greens and broccoli rabe, it's packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals n Brown rice, wild rice, other whole grains-fiber treasure troves, including barley, quinoa, millet and buckwheat.
Corn-excellent fiber source.
Lentils and other legumes-high in fiber, delicious beans are rich in culinary possibilities.
Oat bran and wheat bran-mix into yogurt or add to cereal for the best available access to fiber.
Popcorn-an excellent snack.
Citrus for More Energy
If constant colds and infections are draining your energy, healthy helpings of citrus fruit may be the pickup you need. According to Robert Heinerman, in Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing Juices (Parker), citrus fruit have been used for more than a thousand years as natural remedies for a wide variety of ailments:
Kumquat juice is supposed to help clear up bronchitis. Lemon juice with a pinch of table salt eases a sore throat. Lime juice in warm water soothes aches and cramps from the flu. Tangerine juice can break up mucous congestion in the lungs. Along with citrus' vitamin C, these fruits also supply carotenoids, antioxidants that provide disease-preventing benefits. Citrus also often contain calcium, potassium, folate (a B vitamin that fights against heart disease), iron and fiber.
Fruits are loaded with phytochemicals, naturally occurring chemicals that give fruit their vibrant colors. Yellow, red and orange fruits are also high in flavonoids, like quercetin, a substance which fights cancer. Quercetin also aids in prevention of cataracts and macular degeneration, according to author Stephanie Beling, MD, in her book Power Foods (Harper Collins).
Even the US Department of Agriculture agrees on this flavonoid's benefits, noting in its phytochemical database that quercetin is an "antitumor promoter, antiasthmatic, anticarcinogenic, antiplaque, cancer-preventive, capillariprotective." (Quercetin is also available as a supplement.)
Don't Avoid Avocados
For a vitamin rich food, few items beat the avocado which holds vitamins E and C as well as some B vitamins (B6, niacin, riboflavin). A significant source of beta carotene, though not nearly as much as carrots or sweet potatoes, avocados also contain high amounts of the minerals potassium, magnesium, copper and zinc.
Just 15 grams of avocado delivers about 81 international units of vitamin A as beta carotene. Beta carotene, a carotenoid in fruits and vegetables, is converted to vitamin A in the body. This vitamin, aside from providing antioxidant protection from damaging free radicals, is necessary for good eyesight, healthy skin and healing.
In addition, the avocado, like all of these healthy foods, tastes great. Which means that you can pep up and not have to sacrifice taste for zest.
Healthy Mind, Healthy Body
Remember that the path to wellness begins in your mind. Stress-reducing activities like yoga, meditation and massage and aromatherapy can have a great rejuvenating effect on your body. If you can learn to handle stress effectively instead of letting it control you-and strengthen your system with the right nutrients and diet-you'll find that fatigue can be a sporadic visitor rather than a chronic companion.
Immunity - The Big Picture
June 10, 2005 09:51 PM
Immunity: The Big Picture by Brian Amherst Energy Times, August 3, 1999
Your body wants to be well. Outfitted with a battalion of defenses for strategic deployment, your immune system explodes with resistant force at the first sign of infective invasion.
Think of the time a tiny splinter embedded itself in your thumb. By bedtime, the spot rose and reddened; by morning, white blood cells had launched their campaign, building a hot, throbbing fortification. By day's end, the bit of wood was propelled to the surface and ejected by the immune system warriors. Once again, a foreign assailant was summarily ousted.
The Protective Force
"Supporting the immune system is critical to good health. Conversely, good health is critical to supporting the immune system." So write naturopathic doctors Michael T. Murray and Joseph E. Pizzorno in their Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima).
Maintaining the immune system requires a comprehensive program of wholesome diet, resilient attitude, fitness enhancing activity and nutrients keyed to the clear and specific needs of this energetic machine.
The all-star lineup for immune sustenance: a high-potency multiple vitamin/mineral formula, vitamins C and A, bioflavonoids, isoflavones, zinc and selenium, antioxidants like ActiVin (grape seed extract) and pycnogenol (French maritime pine bark), as well as the botanicals echinacea and astragalus.
But optimal partnering with your immune system also benefits from understanding its workings.
Lymph, a milky fluid consisting of water protein and immune cells, is the essence of the immune system. Powered by muscle movement (an important reason why exercise boosts immunity), the lymphatic system collects and transports lymph to the lymph nodes. These nodes contain certain immune cells and filter out invading antigens, as well as produce antibodies, before siphoning the lymph out into the bloodstream.
If you've ever had "swollen glands," that means your lymph nodes have been in overdrive.
Macrophages are the immune cells that filter lymph, consuming bacteria and cellular debris while protecting the lymph system from invasion and damage.
The White Blood Cell Album
In Monocytes collect cellular trash after infections and can trigger immune responses; eosinophils can eliminate foreign particles and, with basophils, are involved in immune response.
In Lymphocytes include varieties of T cells, which work with other white blood cells or attack and destroy foreign tissue, cancer cells or virus-infected cells; B cells that produce antibodies that bind to bacteria, viruses or tumors; and natural killer cells (NKCs) that destroy cancerous or virally-infected cells.
(Based on information in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine; The Road to Immunity: How to Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) by Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin; and the Johns Hopkins Family Health Book (Harper Resource).
Keep the System Sound
"But you must always be sure to maintain the mind-body-spirit link," he told Energy Times. "For the mind, it could be exercise, yoga or meditation. Evidence shows improved immune system responses from these therapies. And in any case, you never read in the headlines that somebody has been admitted to the emergency room overdosing on meditation.
"Intentionality also is an important part of the mind link: believing you are going to fare well. For your spirit, you must ask yourself such questions as, Do I feel connected to others?
"For the body, a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement. Much depends on your community: I live on Long Island, where there is a high incidence of breast cancer, so I would recommend green tea and isoflavones from soy products for women."
Dr. Benjamin stresses moderation in the use of immune-intensifying supplements, among which he cites mixed carotenoids, zinc and vitamin E.
The Soy Solution
In a study conducted by the University of Southern California at Norris and published in the March 4, 1998 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers reported that genistein, an active component of soy products, short-circuits the ability of tumor cells to elude destruction by the immune system due to an excess of defensive stress proteins.
Genistein seems to make cancer cells vulnerable to the immune response. Researchers at Wake Forest University told participants at the January 1999 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that dietary or supplemental soy fed to monkeys counteracted cell proliferation that is a cancer precursor.
That Championship C
Immune cells are known to accumulate and retain high levels of vitamin C. Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York now understand how that happens: Proteins called growth factors (which control growth and production of immune cells) also increase those cells' ability to take up vitamin C.
These researchers, reporting in the April 1998 issue of the journal Blood, explain that the additional glucose that the growth factors pump into immune cells (for enhanced energy), plus extra vitamin C, intensify immune response.
And folks with higher levels of vitamin C in their blood serum experience less cell damage from free radicals that leads to cancer, heart and pulmonary disease and other chronic conditions.
Scientists at the University of Buffalo (addressing the June 13, 1997 meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research) deduced from studying population groups that high levels of vitamin C are associated with low oxidative stress and lower risk of cell damage.
From A to Zinc
In Colostrum, the pre-milk liquid produced by mammals during the first 24 to 48 hours after birth, took the spotlight recently as a supplement imbued with multiple immune factors and natural antibiotics that augment body's immune response. A 1992 study showed that bovine colostrum might be able to reduce and prevente infections in immune deficient folks, especially those with AIDS.
In University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers found for the first time (on laboratory animals) that vitamin D appreciably inhibits widespread prostate cancer by binding to cancer cells and triggering cell death or their transformation to benign cells.
In Vitamin E exerts formidable immune-enhancing influence on both antibody and cell-mediated immunity. One fundamental study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (245, 1981: 53-58) established conclusively that vitamin E deficiency results in significant impairment of immune function. Later studies demonstrated that it reduces prostate cancer by up to one-third.
In Coenzyme A, described as a metabolic enzyme, takes part in starting numerous body processes that provide energy for the immune system. If you ever run short of this enzyme, fat processing within your body would grind to a halt.
in Researchers looking at a substance with the tongue twisting name 3-acetyl-7-oxo-Dehydroepiandro-sterone, believe it aids immunity by quelling stress hormones.
in Mushrooms contain natural substances called polysaccharides, believed to enhance immunity. In particular, maitake mushroom, which conveys the immune booster beta-D-glucans, is reputed to help fight infections and drop blood pressure.
in Men and women taking selenium supplements for 10 years had 41% less total cancer than those taking a dummy, according to a January 1997 study by Cornell University and the University of Arizona. Other studies have shown it to reduce the risk for colon cancer by about 60%. n Zinc may provide immediate protection against the all too common cold. Scientists at the University of Florida were the first to apply genetic fingerprinting methods like those used in criminal and paternity investigations to understand how nutrients directly affect human immune cells.
The study, in the April 1998 Journal of Nutrition, demonstrates that zinc signals cells to make the protein metallothionein, which protects against infections, toxins and other stressors.
Phytochemicals a la Carte
n Isoflavones from soy, fight angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels form to supply nutrients to cancerous growths. n Sulforaphane in broccoli, kale and cabbage activates anticancer enzymes.
n Omega-3 fatty acids in cold water fish block the synthesis of prostaglandins, natural compounds in the body that promote tumor growth.
n Ginger contains antioxidant compounds, each more potent than vitamin E. Recent studies on mice show ginger can prevent skin tumors. n Rosemary contains carnosol which deactivates carcinogens and helps limit the effects of prostaglandins.
Sometimes the world can look like a dangerous place, especially when you're sick and tired much of the time. But in the search for immunity, menus of health help like this ensure that no matter what your immunity needs, a boost can be yours with the proper nutrient selection.
June 10, 2005 04:01 PM
Real Solutions by Susan Risoli Energy Times, November 1, 1997
The alarm sounds, you stumble out of bed and head to the bathroom. Suddenly, a burning sting wakes you with a jolt as you begin to urinate. One doctor visit later, you're on a strict antibiotic regimen to treat your urinary problem.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) affect 8 million to 10 million Americans, mostly women, each year. The culprit: the bacteria E. coli. Neglect may allow a UTI to spread to the bladder (where it causes cystitis), or kidneys: possibly life-threatening.
The good news: medical experts recognize that a diet change and avoiding certain risk factors may help fight off UTIs.
According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, about 20% of women experience UTI at least once, and many suffer recurrences. Sexually active women tend to incur more UTIs because of anatomical vagaries: the bladder sits just above the vagina, while the urethra, a structure from the bladder to the outside, protrudes in a tubelike ridge down the top part of the vagina to just above the vaginal opening. This structure allows sexual intercourse to push infecting bacteria into the urethra. Women's vulnerability to UTI also derives from their short urethras which are located near the rectum, a main source of UTI germs. These tubes provide an easy path to a bacterial home in the bladder.
Another risk booster: pelvic exams which may increase chances of UTI. A 1996 study conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago and reported in the Archives of Family Medicine (1996;5:357-360) found that 43% of women with UTIs had received a pelvic examination within the two months preceding infection. Only 16% of the uninfected had been examined.
Bladder infections can occur frequently in postmenopausal women due to thinning and drying of the vaginal lining. And mid-life women are not immune. "With the loss of estrogen support, the urethra becomes less flexible and elastic and, like the vagina, it can become easily irritated after sexual intercourse and, thus, much more prone to infection," reports Susan Lark, MD, in her book, Women's Health Companion: Self Help Nutrition Guide and Cookbook (Celestial Arts). "As women age, the lower urinary tract also stops manufacturing anti-adherence factors, which help to prevent bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall."
Every woman should keep her own "female" botanicals on hand to help boost her immune system when she is at high risk of developing a bladder infection. These include:
Cranberry: This immune-boosting, vitamin C-rich berry prevents germs from invading the lining of the urinary tract. A 1994 study of 153 elderly women conducted by researchers at the Harvard Medical School and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (1994:271: 751-4) showed that cranberry juice may keep harmful bacteria at reduced levels. More recently, a study by Amy B. Howell, PhD, and a team at Rutgers University found that cranberries contain a type of condensed tannin, a chemical compound called proanthocyanidins, that seemed to stunt the growth of E. coli, preventing it from adhering to the walls of the bladder and kidneys.
"However, once you have an infection, cranberry juice cannot eradicate the bacteria. So drinking cranberry juice may be helpful in preventing an infection, but not in treating an existing one," according to Larrian Gillespie, MD, in her book You Don't have to Live with Cystitis (Avon Books).
Drinking two glasses of juice a day can help if you're UTI-prone. To avoid the sugar added to cranberry juice, concentrated cranberries are available in a gel-cap form.
Echinacea: This North American herb bolsters immune function and is believed to possess antiseptic and antiviral properties which may rev up the white blood cells that fight infection, reports John Cammarta, MD, in his book A Physician's Guide To Herbal Wellness (Chicago Review Press).
While cranberry is most commonly recommended for prevention, other herbs can also kill bacteria and are diuretic. These include:
Barberry: "The chemical berberine found in this herb is an impressive infection fighter. Studies show it kills the bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections," says author Jim O'Brien in his book Herbal Cures for Common Ailments (Globe).
O'Brien recommends making a tea with one half teaspoon of powdered root bark, then put it on low boil for 30 minutes. "The taste is unpleasant, so you may wish to add natural sweeteners and flavorings."
Uva-ursi: contains the ingredient arbutin, which fights germs in the urinary tract. "In addition," adds O'Brien, "the herb contains several diuretics that help flush the urinary tract, leading to faster healing. It also has several tannins, which act as powerful astringents drying out swollen, infected tissue. A third property of uva-ursi is allantoin, which promotes the growth of new cells."
"For this herb to be effective you must not eat or drink anything of acidic nature, such as citrus fruits or juices. Don't even take vitamin C supplements while using it," cautions O'Brien.
Coping With Pain
In her book Herbal Remedies for Women (Prima), medical herbalist Amanda McQuade Crawford offers an herbal recipe to help restore the urinary tract's normal pH. Herbal Formula I Calls for 4 ounces of uva-ursi leaf, three ounces of marshmallow leaf, two ounces of yarrow flower (omit during pregnancy) and one ounce (or to taste) cinnamon bark. Steep the herbs for 10 to 20 minutes, then strain through bamboo or wire mesh. Drink 2 to 5 cups daily for 10 days. Crawford advocates drinking one to two cups per day for a week to 10 days after all symptoms have disappeared.
Urologist Gillespie has found that women with cystitis may notice certain foods and beverages (such as alcohol and acidic foods) exacerbate problems of pain and burning. Gillespie recommends cystitis sufferers avoid foods like apple juice, apples, apricots, melon, carbonated drinks, spicy foods, citrus fruits, coffee, ginger, grapes, guava, lemon juice, peaches, pineapple, plums, rhubarb, strawberries, tea, tomatoes and vinegar.
Limit refined sugar: this nutrient may stunt immune reactions. Most importantly, you can lower the risk of UTIs by drinking liquids. Water helps flush bacteria from the body so drink at least 6 to 8 eight-ounce glasses of filtered water daily.
Acidophilus: Nature’s Antibiotic
May 18, 2005 05:51 PM
Acidophilus: Nature’s Antibiotic
Lactobacillus acidophilus has been found to contain antibiotic properties. According to Dr. Khem Shahani, a professor of food science at the Un i versity of Nebraska, milk fermented by Lactobacillus acidophilus contains an antibiotic he Calls “acidophilin.” It is a powerful antibiotic with similar abilities as penicillin, streptomycin and terramycin. He actually believes that it is more powerful than the antibiotics mentioned.7 Detrimental bacteria invade our bodies on a daily basis. Supplementing with either yogurt containing live cultures or a freeze dried capsule may be necessary to protect the body. Lactobacillus acidophilus can protect the digestive system from microorganisms causing infection and disease. It is a supplement that can help protect the body and work as “nature’s antibiotic.”
Plain yogurt is basically a combination of milk and Lactobacillus acidophilus, the friendly bacteria. This is the bacteria that produces lactase which aids in the process of curdling the milk and giving yogurt its tart flavor. Yogurt containing live cultures of Lactobacillus acidophilus have been found effective in treating vaginal yeast infections, infant diarrhea, food poisoning,and in preventing flu infections.8 Yogurt must contain the live, active cultures of Lactobacillus acidophilus to be beneficial. The intestinal flora can be disrupted by conditions such as antibiotic therapy, stress, a poor diet, excess sugar consumption, and oral contraceptives. This friendly bacteria is not destroyed by the acidic gastric juices in the stomach and protects the body by adhering to the intestinal wall. Yogurt is a great way to add the beneficial bacteria often needed in the body. Some physicians recommend plain yogurt to patients undergoing antibiotic therapy to counteract the negative effects of the antibiotic. Many of the commercial brands of yogurt found in the neighborhood grocery store do not contain live, active cultures. Check carefully to assure the best quality available. Most health food stores have specialty brands with live cultures.
Acidophilus Probiotic 4 - 250ct
Acidophilus Probiotic 4 - 100ct
Acidophilus Probiotic 5 - 60ct