Search Term: " Collected "
Treat psoriasis naturally with vitamin D and zinc
March 28, 2019 05:13 PM
Over 7.5 million Americans suffer from Psoriasis, and researchers in Iraq have taken it upon themselves to spot any potential nutrient deficiencies associated with the condition. Physicians took blood samples from Iranian participants, and they surprisingly found that those who had a psoriasis diagnosis were shown to have insufficient levels of vitamin D. These levels were so insufficient, that they were actually 60% less than that of an individual with healthy levels of vitamin B.
"The team found that vitamin D levels in those with psoriasis were at least 60 percent lower than healthy individuals. Similarly, zinc levels of people with psoriasis were lower by a third, compared to those who do not have the condition."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-27-treat-psoriasis-naturally-with-vitamin-d-and-zinc.html
Another benefit of aloe vera: It reduces fasting blood glucose
February 04, 2019 09:52 AM
Blood sugar regulation is imperative for all individuals, but especially those who are living with conditions such as diabetes. While many patients opt for pharmaceutical interventions to help maintain their glucose levels, natural alternatives such as aloe vera are showing to have a positive impact on sugar regulation. Aloe vera through oral consumption was able to reduce the glucose levels of diabetic patients by 46.6 milligrams while fasting. These results show that aloe vera could be exceptionally beneficial to those dealing with endocrine issues.
"Researchers at David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base in California aimed to verify the effectiveness of oral consumption of aloe vera on reducing fasting blood sugar and HbA1c."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-23-aloe-vera-reduces-fasting-blood-glucose-2.html
Velvet antler may prevent acute lung injury
September 19, 2018 08:52 AM
Taiwanese researchers recently published a study indicating that velvet antler, the immature, soft antlers found on certain deer and harvested before they harden and mature, may help protect the lungs against damaging inflammation caused by acute lung injury (ALI). ALI involves the concentration of inflammatory substances and cells inside the lungs, and can deprive the lungs of oxygen. Velvet antler supplements have been used in Asian countries for many years, and the new Taiwanese study suggests that it has substantial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
"Taking velvet antler as a dietary supplement can protect your lungs from sustaining acute injuries, reported Taiwanese researchers in a NutraIngredients-USA article."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-08-23-velvet-antler-may-prevent-acute-lung-injury.html
How being anti-social keeps you slim: Women are MOST likely to ditch their diets when dining out ...
March 14, 2017 04:59 AM
I learned that eating out or around groups of people make it very hard to lose weight. This information presented was accurate to what I have experienced, and other friends of mine have. Social situations like eating out and at friends houses, bring the greatest risk of not sticking to your diet. According to the data collected from University of Philadelphia and my experience eating at home usually has the best chance at being successful. However, long turn maintenance is usually the hardest part.
"Women on a diet face the greatest temptation to ditch healthy eating when dining with friends, experts have found."
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4293240/Women-likely-ditch-diets-dining-out.html
Resveratrol Is Good For Diabetic People
March 11, 2017 02:59 PM
Resveratrol is really good for diabetic people. It can be a part of treating diabetes. In one study, it was found that resveratrol helps with controlling blood sugar levels. There were other experiments done as well to see what the effects were. It was found in the end that the drugs used to treat diabetes can now be used to treat Alzheimer's disease.
"The medications or drugs that are used to control levels of glucose and regulate diabetes can be used to halt the onset of dementia as the two diseases are very much alike."
Look Younger With This Natural Facial Exfoliator
Diatomaceous Earth (also called diatomite) is a siliceous sedimentary rock. The rock is naturally occurring, soft and can be crushed into a fine powder. Like the name suggests, it is extracted from fossilized remnants of diatoms. Diatoms were tiny, hard shelled algae that lived in water. The diatoms skeletons comprise of silica, a natural substance. Over a long time, the diatoms Collected on river, lakes and oceans sediments. Because of its fineness, DE acts as a great facial exfoliant. Besides silica, Diatomaceous Earth contains calcium, zinc, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and selenium. These minerals can be absorbed through the skin to complement your diet.
Diatomaceous Earth for Facial Exfoliation
The use of DE as a facial exfoliant is becoming very popular. Today, more than 150 products contain DE as the main ingredient. For facial exfoliation, make sure you use food grade DE. Food Grade DE differs from the DE used in the pool filter. Food grade DE is finer (less abrasive and has been purified) than non-food grade DE.
It is easy to make a facial scrub. Simply mix the powder with enough water to make a paste. Be sure to apply the paste on your face immediately after preparing it. To increase its effectiveness as a facial exfoliator, rub the paste on your face with mild, circular motions. DE has abrasive properties which make it perfect for facial exfoliation.
You can use DE and water alone but for greater results mix DE with 1 tablespoon water, diluted honey or aloe vera juice and coconut oil. This way, not only do you remove microscopic dirt and oil deposits and dead skin but you also leave the skin moisturized. When massaging the paste to your face, refrain from applying it on the area around your eyes. The skin around the eyes is gentle and is often affected by powerful exfoliators and could lead to irritation. Leave the paste for a couple of minutes and use lukewarm water to rinse it off.
Diatomaceous earth looks cylindrical under a microscope. It is also known to carry a negative ionic charge that scientists claim to be the reason why pathogens are attracted to it and carried out of the body.
Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth as a Facial Exfoliator
DE is a naturally occurring ingredient. This means there are no side effects associated with its use. Food grade diatomaceous earth has anti-fungal properties. It acts as a detoxification agent and leaves the skin refreshed and clean. It is a nourishing, lightening and brightening facial exfoliator. It increases the elasticity of the skin and leaves the skin radiant. Diatomaceous earth has been tailored to boost skin immunity and act as an anti-oxidant to fight free radicals. Not only does DE rid your face of dead skin cells but also helps the skin fight premature signs of aging.
Salt and sugar scrubs are effective in facial exfoliation but they are too abrasive to be used every day. Diatomaceous earth is finer and thus a great alternative. You may choose to make a DE paste at home or a buy a product that contains DE (among other natural products).
Does Coral Calcium Alkalize The Body?
March 19, 2014 07:59 PM
What is coral calcium
Coral Calcium is a salt of calcium inferred from fossilized coral reefs. Coral Calcium is discovered commonly installed in the dirt in Japan. Coral calcium is made principally out of the shells and skeletons of reef-building coral and tiny ocean life, for example, star sand that occupy the zone.
Benefits of coral calcium
Calcium is a mineral we essentially need to have consistently, to keep our bones, teeth and nails solid, and avoid osteoporosis as we get more established. Notwithstanding upholding solid bones, calcium is fundamental in the sound working of the circulatory and sensory systems. Calcium is likewise crucial for fitting blood thickening. Calcium is 35% of our physique's mineral cosmetics and our first mineral. Incorporate these key minerals to your eating methodology today. What's more not at all like other calcium supplements, coral calcium does have exceptional properties that make it worth determinedly acknowledging as a supplement to your day by day diet.
What Makes Tupelo Honey The Best Form Of Honey To Consume?
January 02, 2013 11:48 AM
The Reason Why Tupelo Honey Is The Best!
The delicious sweet honey brings water to everyone's mouth. It is available in various forms to the honey lovers in different tastes. Often the classification is on different criteria. One such classification is based on the sources from which the honey is Collected and another type of classification is based on the way in which the honey is processed and packaged.
Tupelo honey forms a part of the first type of classification.
There are many other types apart from this, all of which differ in tastes besides producing various benefits. However tupelo honey has better edge over others which can be substantiated with the following explanation. Tupelo honey is made from Nyssa Ogecha, the white tupelo tree. This is found mainly in the south eastern region of the United States. The basin of the Apalachicola River is the main source for this honey. The basins of other rivers such as Ochlocknee, Chipola and Choctahatchee also contain some trees that produce tupelo honey.
Tupelo Honey Nutrient Rich!
Often it is considered as the best form of honey because of its high ratio of the level of fructose to that of glucose. This indicates that it is capable of generating energy for the body for a longer duration than other forms of honey, besides containing all the antibacterial and antimicrobial properties like other forms of honey. Tupelo honey is rich in nutritional composition with dextrose accounting for 25.29 percent, fructose for 43.25 percent, sucrose for 1.21 percent, maltose for 7.97 and other the higher sugars for 1.1 percent.
In addition to these, it also contains riboflavin, thiamine, nicotinic acid, ascorbic acid, sodium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, iron, phosphorous and calcium. Hence this is used for curing cough problems, treating sore throats and burns. Also because of its low level of dextrose and high level of fructose, its usage is often recommended for diabetics patients.
April 08, 2010 04:31 PM
Comments by Craig Gerbore, CEO of Madhava:
Reading through the attack articles and blogs that have surfaced recently one could think that using agave is bad for one's health. These claims are utterly false and misleading. They are extreme views drawn from extreme examples and applied way out of context. They are propagandizing and clearly designed to frighten, not educate. All of the fears and concerns associated with the overconsumption of sugars and calories in general have been unfairly cast on agave.
What is a "healthy" sweetener? One that you use moderately and sensibly.
Health concerns related to fructose and caloric sweeteners are all dependant on the overconsumption of them. All foods have calories and it is the overall consumption of calories that lead to obesity and related issues, not any one food source.
Agave's caloric value is comparable to the other sweeteners in the category. Due to its greater sweetness though, less agave is used compared to the others, so agave actually can reduce caloric consumption per serving. This is due to a higher fructose content. The higher content does not mean higher consumption though, due to the smaller portion used. But, it is not the single serving that matters, it is the number of servings which lead to the overconsumption issues which may result in health concerns.
As a reference point, 9-10 teaspoon servings of agave would be the approximate caloric equivalent of one 16 oz soft drink. With this perspective, is agave really being overconsumed as a choice of sweetener for home use?
Every single health issue which the attackers have tried to associate with agave is really the result of a caloric overconsumption issue. There are no documented issues with normal, moderate consumption of agave or sweeteners in general as part of our everyday diet. For reasons unknown, some have attempted to isolate agave from the real world and real world conditions with the goal of inhibiting agave's use. They play on people's fears, reference false information and fail to address health issues in any meaningful way.
The purpose of this article is to debunk the controversial misinformation surrounding agave. All information debunking the myths and misinformation is based on current science and facts. It is our goal to provide you with useful information so that you can make your personal nutritional choices in a well-informed, science-based manner.
The Agave Controversy: Exposing the fraudulent article by Rami Nagel
By Dr. Susan Kleiner, PhD, RD, FACN, CNS, FISSN
And Craig Gerbore, CEO Madhava
The controversy about agave syrup was manufactured by the publication of a single article on the internet, which has been reproduced and adapted for virtually every other article produced on the internet and other media venues. That article, written by Rami Nagel and published on Naturalnews.com, was highly biased and full of inaccuracies, half-truths and misinformation about agave. Since the Naturalnews.com article has been the sole source of nearly all other popular articles in public media, we want to set the record straight with science-based, reliable information to offer a more balanced resource to those interested in learning more about agave syrup. Who is the author, Rami Nagel?
According to the description on the Naturalnews.com website, Rami Nagel is a "citizen journalist". This means that Mr. Nagel is self-employed, and not employed as an in-house journalist by the website. He wrote and published the article without any editorial or content oversight, and the editor of the website, Mike Adams, makes it clear that the article was not checked for incorrect or inaccurate information or facts. The introduction to the article, written by Mr. Adams, states that readers had written to comment that Mr. Nagel's resources were biased with conflicts of interest due to their financial interests in competing sweeteners, such as brown rice syrup. So even the website editor himself states that the article is not fact-checked, and it is biased and unbalanced.
Who is Russ Bianchi?
The sole resource interviewed for the article is Russ Bianchi, identified by the author as Managing Director and CEO of Adept Solutions, Inc. Mr. Bianchi has clear conflict of interest ties to the sweetener industry. We have documentation of the fact that Mr Bianchi had plans to market a product named Replace. It was to be touted as a low calorie alternative sweetener composed of natural and artificial ingredients! Mr Bianchi was prevented from marketing this sweetener as the result of a lawsuit against him by the owner of the formula.
Mr Bianchi is quoted by Nagel extensively and exclusively. Many, if not all, of his statements are blatantly false or misrepresentations of fact. He is clearly propagandizing against agave nectar.
Was anyone else interviewed for this article?
Yes. Craig Gerbore, president and owner of Madhava Agave Syrup, was extensively interviewed by the author but no parts of that interview were included in the article.
It is important to note that neither Mr Nagel or Mr Bianchi have not made themselves available for questions on their statements since the articles appearance. They remain out of sight and have entirely avoided the controversy their statements created.
What is agave nectar?
The opening line of this paragraph in the article by Mr. Nagel states:
"The principal constituent of the agave is starch, such as what is found in corn or rice."
This is absolutely false. There is no starch in agave. The source of carbohydrate in agave syrup is inulin, a polysaccharide made up primarily of strings of fructose units. Starch is a polysaccharide made up of strings of glucose molecules. They are significantly different, and this difference is why agave syrup is naturally sweet.
The very basis of the argument presented by Mr. Nagel is false.
The agave plant is a succulent, similar to a cactus. The agave sweetener comes from both the Salmiana agave plant and the agave Tequilana (Blue Agave) which are both organically farmed in Mexico and certified organic by USDA approved certifiers. As the salmiana plant grows it produces a stalk called the "quiote" and when this is removed, a natural liquid called "aquamiel". The liquid is Collected from the plant, while Blue agave pinons are harvested and shredded to remove the similar juice. Either can be naturally processed thermally or by enzymes into agave nectar.
The juice of the plant is not naturally sweet. The string of connected fructose units that makes up the major proportion of inulin does not have a sweet taste, but when the fructose units are separated (the process is called hydrolysis) by the addition of an enzyme, similar to digestion, or thermally for most blue agave, the syrup becomes quite sweet. That is the entire processing chain for agave nectar. There are no additives, other ingredients or chemicals in Madhava agave nectar. It is absolutely pure and organic and GMO free.
? Mr. Nagel claims that agave syrup is a "refined corn fructose" similar to high fructose corn syrup. This is absolutely false. There is no relationship between agave syrup and high fructose corn syrup in any way, including the source of the product, or the manufacturing process.
? Mr. Nagel refers to a "confidential FDA letter" from Mr. Martin Stutsman, claiming that agave is fraudulently labeled. We contacted Mr. Stutsman at the United States Food and Drug Administration, and his response made it clear that there was never a "confidential FDA letter". He did publish a public letter referenced in an FDA document as "FDA letter from Martin Stutsman to Dr. Eric
Wilhelmsen (Wilhelmsen Consulting), May 8, 2000", regarding evaporated cane juice, a topic wholly unrelated to agave syrup.
? He continued in his response to us that the paragraph in Mr. Nagel's article inaccurately reflected the substance of his comments in the document.
This link will take you to the original document in which the letter was referenced (reference #2):
In fact, Mr. Nagel fabricated the entire story of the letter. Mr. Stutsman is a lawyer, not a doctor. The quotes were completely taken out of context from the document, and the quotes never referred to agave syrup at any time. Nagel goes on to further misrepresent Mr. Stutsman's intent in the published document by weaving in other inaccurate information that is thoroughly unrelated to the original document. Mr Bianchi's subsequent statements on labeling issues are false and without merit.
Mr. Nagel is clearly caught red-handed. He has misrepresented the words of a government official, lied about the facts, and twisted the information to achieve his own agenda. This strategy is repeated throughout the article.
? Mr. Nagel continues his deceptive writing by referring to a quote by the late Dr. Varro Tyler in his book, The Honest Herbal. The first line of the paragraph is a direct quote from the book. Nothing else in that paragraph remotely resembles anything else found in Dr. Tyler's book. Mr. Nagel is trying to claim that agave syrup contains large quantities of saponins, and that they can be harmful to health. Here is the debunking of that paragraph:
1. Dr. Tyler does not include the variety of agave plant used for agave syrup.
2. The entire discussion is about the use of the sword-shaped leaves and the stem. Agave syrup is produced from the natural liquid in the plant. The saponins are isolated from the leaves of the plant.
3. There is no documented evidence to suggest agave syrup contains worrisome levels of saponins and the entire rest of the discussion about health dangers is fabricated and false.
People are going to continue to consume sweet food and drink. There are only three categories of choice to sweeten food. Those are artificial sweeteners, stevia, or caloric sweeteners from natural sources, sugars.
Most people will not choose artificial. Many will not choose stevia. That only leaves the category of sugars. In this group, agave is a good choice due to its organic quality, ease of
use, neutral flavor, low glycemic index and the fact that less is used to equal the sweetness of the others in the category.
The sweeteners in this category are composed of three primary sugars used to sweeten foods: glucose, fructose and sucrose. These sugars belong to a class of compounds known as carbohydrates. "Saccharide" is a term that denotes sugar, or substances derived from sugar. Monosaccharides are simple or single sugars; disaccharides are derived from two joined monosaccharides and when they are hydrolyzed, or separated, they yield two molecules of simple sugar. Strings of more than two sugar molecules are called polysaccharides. This category includes compounds such as starches, cellulose and inulin.
Glucose and fructose are monosaccharides. Glucose and fructose are found abundantly in nature in fruits and plants. Sucrose is the disaccharide formed by the joining of glucose and fructose, also known as table sugar. When comparing their relative sweetness, glucose is the least sweet tasting, sucrose is next, and fructose is the sweetest of the three sugars, measured as 1.4 times sweeter than table sugar. Because it is so sweet, people typically use less fructose when sweetening foods compared to sucrose.
? In the article by Mr. Nagel he states , "fructose is not what is found in fruit. Commonly, fructose is compared with its opposite and truly naturally occurring sweetener, known as ‘levulose' (made by nature)..."
Another fabrication. In fact, levulose is just another name for fructose. There are various nomenclatures used in the scientific naming of compounds. Fructose and levulose are exactly the same thing; the names are interchangeable. It is no different than if you called your father, "dad", and your sibling called your father, "father". He would still be the exact same person. Fructose and levulose are different names for the exact same thing: a sugar found in nature.
Mr. Bianchi also is quoted to say that the body does not recognize the fructose in agave. This is another false piece of propaganda which demonstrates just how far he is reaching. If this were true, it would have no impact on us. He immediately contradicts himself with the claims of detrimental effects caused by the overconsumption of fructose.
Sugars can be compared to each other in their ability to raise blood sugar levels by using the Glycemic Index. The scale is set from zero to 100, where low numbers do not have much impact on blood sugar levels, and high numbers raise blood sugar levels quickly. Fructose is very low on the scale. Because agave syrup is high in fructose, it has a rating of 32 or lower. Honey, which has a higher proportion of glucose to fructose, has a Glycemic Index of 58. Sucrose has a Glycemic Index of 68, and glucose, serving as the index standard, is 100.
All sugars, whether fructose, glucose, sucrose or others, contribute 4 calories per gram to our total diet. 1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams = 16 calories
In addition to calories, sugars sweeten our foods offering a desirable taste and adding enjoyment and pleasure to our dining. During cooking and baking, sugars allow for browning and the unique consistencies of syrups, candies, frostings and frozen desserts. The varieties of sugars, such as crystallized table sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, molasses, honey and agave nectar, among others, contribute different properties and flavors to foods.
When you add your own sugar to foods you are in control of how much sugar you use. Most people would never add as much sugar as do the food manufacturers. Moderate amounts of sugar can certainly be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet for an active individual. Natural sugars are easily metabolized and utilized by the body, offering a very efficient source of fuel for physical and mental activity.
Of course, sugars should be used in moderation in the diet. This can control calories and help create a diet that is dense in nutrients.
Impact of sugar on health and disease
? The remainder of Mr. Nagel's article works to link agave syrup with the increased incidence of obesity, diabetes, metabolic disease, and the general rise of morbidity and mortality in the population. This is an overconsumption issue involving far more than the occasional use of agave. Here are the facts:
• Rats that are fed a high fructose diet become obese and will develop the chronic diseases associated with obesity: insulin resistance, diabetes and metabolic disease.
• No one should eat a diet that reflects this type of experimental diet.
• Too much sugar in the diet, whether from fructose, glucose or sucrose, can be unhealthy. Diets high in sugar promote tooth decay and periodontal disease; create an overabundance of calories and a deficit of nutrients. This scenario typically leads to weight gain and the development of chronic disease.
• Active individuals can include a moderate amount of added sugar in their diet without negative health consequences. When calorie intake is balanced with physical activity, sugar serves as an efficient source of fuel for muscles, the brain and the central nervous system.
• According to the World Health Organization (2003), individuals can healthfully include 10% of their daily calories from added sugars. This translates into 200 calories for a 2000 calorie diet, or 12½ teaspoons of added sugar daily. Clearly, one can safely add a couple of teaspoons of sweetener to a cup of tea or coffee, or have a little sweetened food without worrying about their risk of developing disease.
• Agave syrup, which is sweeter than other sugars and low on the Glycemic Index scale, is a good choice to include as one of the added sugars in your diet because you will use less sugar (and therefore fewer calories) and minimally raise blood sugar levels.
Just a teaspoon of agave: the healthy use of sweeteners in your diet
We all want to live healthier and longer lives. Diet and nutrition plays a key role, impacting our health and our ability to perform physically and mentally now and into the future. Food offers us not only sustenance, but also pleasure and enjoyment. Food is present in so many parts of our lives: at celebrations, business events, family events, religious and spiritual occasions, sports outings, the focus of our family meals, intimate dinners, and sometimes just the excuse to socialize.
Sweet foods make us feel good. Sugar allows for the elevation of serotonin in our brains, the "feel good" neurotransmitter that elevates mood, helps us focus, and in the evening, helps us relax and sleep.
Sugar is a source of energy for our muscles, brain and central nervous system. Without sugar our bodies will not function at peak capacity.
Too much sugar, however, is not good. In small amounts sugar energizes us, but in large doses, repeated throughout the day, day in and day out, sugar puts stress on the body. The extra calories can lead to weight gain and obesity, which in time can lead to chronic disease. In the short term, high sugar intakes can lead to a nutritionally deficient diet and a sense of being on an emotional roller coaster.
So be selective about your use of sugars and use them in moderation in your diet. Just like all foods, a variety will enhance the nutritional content of your diet and the flavor and tastes that you can enjoy. Since sugars come in different forms and have different flavors, they can be used most effectively in specific foods and beverages. For instance, agave syrup is liquid and less viscous than honey, making it easy to mix into cold liquids like iced tea and coffee, and is great to add to cold unsweetened cereals for a little sweet taste. Agave's mild flavor allows chefs and bakers to sweeten foods lightly, without overpowering the taste of the dish.
Pay attention to how much sugar is added to your diet every day. Read labels so that you know when sugar is added to manufactured foods. Keep the consumption of added sugars in your diet to no more than 10% of your total daily calorie intake so that you have plenty of room for nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, protein-rich foods, nuts, seeds and healthy oils.
Remember that nutrition is a science based on facts. We are making great advances in our understanding of the science of foods and nutrition. Beware of people with hidden agendas using fear tactics to influence your choices. Don't take their opinion at face value. What are their credentials? What conflicts of interest do they have? If they do not disclose conflicts, then assume that they are manipulating the truth.
Most of all enjoy food. Think about what you need to eat to promote whole health. Don't overindulge, but don't deprive yourself of the bounty of wonderful tastes, either. Use celebrations as occasions to enjoy your favorite foods and try new ones. A teaspoon or two of sugar easily fits into the diet of an active, healthy person. Agave syrup offers an organic low-glycemic choice for those looking for that option.
Resources for this article:
Charley H. Food Science, 2nd Edition. John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY, 1982.
Figlewicz DP et al. Effect of moderate intake of sweeteners on metabolic health in the rat. Physiology and Behavior 98:618-624, 2009
Johnson RK et al. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, 2009
Tyler VE. The Honest Herbal, Third Edition. Pharmaceutical Products Press, New York, NY, 1993.
October 16, 2009 03:57 PM
Cornsilk is an herbal remedy that is made from stigmas, which are the yellowish thread-like strands, found inside the husks of corn. Stigmas are found on the female flower of corn and are a member of the grass family. This part of the corn plant measurers four to eight inches long and is Collected for medicinal use before the plant is pollinated. Cornsilk can also be removed from corn cobs for use as a remedy. If fertilized, the stigmas will become dry and brown, with yellow corn kernels develop. Native to North America, corn now grows around the world in warm climates. Cornsilk is also known as mother’s hair, Indian corn, maize jagnog, Turkish corn, yu mi xu, and stigmata maydis.
Once used by the Inca tribe, cornsilk is thought to have originated in Central America. Traditionally, this herb was used to treat urogenital infections. Cornsilk is also used for bladder complaints, as it has a great cleansing effect on the urea as it circulates. This herb is also extremely valuable for the treatment of renal and cystic inflammation. Cornsilk helps with kidney problems, inflamed bladder, and prostate gland problems. This herb may be helpful for bed-wetting that is caused by an inflamed bladder. Additionally, it works to rid the body of morbid deposits by using the antiseptic properties that it is equipped with. Cornsilk has been used by physicians as a diuretic for conditions of cystitis.
Some herbalists believe that cornsilk is best when it is used fresh. However, it also can be found in dried forms. Although cornsilk is typically Collected from the female flower or from corn cobs, cornsilk is available commercially in powdered and capsule form and as an extract. Cornsilk is often brewed as a tea and is considered to be very soothing as a beverage. This tea or infusion can be made by pouring one cup of boiling water over two teaspoons of dried cornsilk. Then, the mixture is covered and steeped for ten to fifteen minutes. It is recommended that this tea be consumed three times each day. Additionally, a tincture of one teaspoon of cornsilk can be taken three times each day. This tincture can be purchased over the counter or made at home. At home, it is made by mixing the herb with water or alcohol at a ratio of 1:5 or 1:10. Cornsilk can also be purchased in capsule form with the usual dosage for 400-mg capsules being two capsules with meals three times daily.
The silk of cornsilk is used to provide alterative, antilithic, antiseptic, cholagogue, diuretic, demulcent, lithotriptic, mucilant, and mild stimulant properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are silicon, PABA, and vitamins K and B. Primarily, this herb is extremely beneficial in dealing with heart conditions, kidney problems, urinary incontinence, and urinary problems.
Additionally, this cornsilk has been proven to be extremely helpful in treating arteriosclerosis, bed-wetting, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cystic irritations, gonorrhea, obesity, and prostate problems. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by cornsilk, please contact a representative from your local health food store.
August 22, 2009 11:54 AM
Buckthorn is a bitter herb that is used for expelling impurities. It has been used in Europe for hundreds of years as a potent laxative for purging the body. The Cherokee Indians used this herb as a cathartic. It was also used for skin problems. Nicholas Culpeper, a seventeenth-century herbalist, recommended using bruised buckthorn leaves to stop bleeding when it was applied directly to the wound.
The buckthorn plant is a genus of about one hundred species of shrubs or small trees that range from one to ten meters tall. These plants are native throughout the temperate and subtropical Northern Hemisphere. They are also found more locally in the subtropical Southern Hemisphere in parts of Africa and South America. Some species of this plant are invasive outside of their natural ranges. This species has both deciduous and evergreen plants with simple leaves that are three to fifteen centimeters long. The plant bears fruits which are dark blue berries. The name for this plant comes from the woody spine on the end of each twig in many of the species.
The berries of the buckthorn plant are the part used medicinally. They are Collected when ripe. From them, a nauseous, bitter juice is obtained. From this juice, with the addition of sugar and aromatics, buckthorn syrup is prepared. When they are freshly gathered in autumn, the berries are about one third of an inch in diameter. A series of rich but fugitive colors is obtained from the dried berries. The berries were originally sold under the name “French berries.” If they were gathered before they were ripe, the berries would create a yellow dye that was formerly used for staining maps or paper.
This herb is a well-known and extremely powerful laxative. It is also helpful for cleansing the liver and gallbladder. Buckhorn works by stimulating the flow of bile from both the liver and gallbladder. If one takes buckthorn hot, it will produce perspiration and also lower a fever. When made into an ointment, this herb will help relieve itching. Some evidence of antitumor effects of buckthorn has been found. However, there is no recent research to prove the information. Many believe that future studies will prove that it is beneficial.
This herb should not be abuse. Be sure to follow directions in order to avoid gastrointestinal cramping. It is important to consult a health care professional before taking this, or any herb, in order to obtain optimum effects.
The bark, berries, and root of the buckthorn plant can be used to provide alterative, anthelmintic, antineoplastic, antirheumatic, bitter, blood purifier, diuretic, emetic, febrifuge, and mild purgative properties. The primary nutrient found in this herb is vitamin C. Primarily, buckthorn is extremely helpful in treating bleeding, chronic constipation, fevers, gallstone, gastric disorders, liver disorders, and lead poisoning.
Additionally, this herb is very beneficial in dealing with appendicitis, edema, gout, hemorrhoids, itching, parasites, rheumatism, skin diseases, and external warts. In order to obtain additional information on the many beneficial effects provided by buckthorn, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store.
June 22, 2009 11:43 AM
Even though bee pollen has received a good deal of attention over the last few decades, a lot of people still do not know exactly what it is. Pollen is technically the male seed of flowers and can be viewed as the male cells of a flowering plant. It is necessary for the plant to be fertilized. Every kind of flower on his plant produces pollen, which is created in the stamen of the blossom itself. Bee pollen is the pollen which is Collected and stored by honey bees in their hives. While honey bees perform this activity, they actually pollinate more than 80 percent of green growing plants. Obviously, they are a vital component of plant propagation. Universally, bee pollen is praised for its notable nutrient content and extraordinary ability to provide energy.
Used for centuries, bee pollen has been considered a powerful healing agent, a source of regenerative power, and the secret to eternal youth for some ancients. As far back as 2735 B.C., the Chinese emperor compiled an impressive medical collection containing many beehive products. This compilation is still referred to today, with ongoing research continuing to support many of its claims. For millions of years, humans have made good use of beehive products. Before paper was even invented, ancient people commemorated their respect of the honeybee and beehive products. Honeybees were considered to be sacred at this time, with Egyptian papyri referring to bee pollen as life-giving dust and its use as a sacred offering to the gods. Roman legions use to carry bee pollen for sustenance, with ancient Romans even making Virgil the official poet laureate of the honeybee.
Even Hippocrates recommended bee pollen for several ailments, while the Hindus taught that eating honey and pollen could produce health, vigor, happiness, and wisdom. Honey and pollen were routinely used by orientals for medicinal purposes, while Ancient Greeks referred to honey and pollen as the food of kings, as they believed the food would give them youth and vitality. Bee pollen was also looked upon as a dietary staple by the Anglo-Saxons. People drank combinations of wine, honey, and pollen because they believed that it was a life-sustaining elixir.
In the following centuries, Charlemagne recorded that his subjects used pollen and honey on a daily basis. He even required that his people take an annual inventory of their honey and pollen supplies. Taxes were often paid in the form of honey and pollen and gifts of honey and pollen were looked upon with respect. Almost every recorded religious or historical record praises the honeybee and its products such as bee pollen. These books refer to the beneficial healing and nutritive properties that bee pollen possesses. Aztec and Mayans even worshiped the honeybee, which can be proved through numerous images of honeycombs and pollen. Early American settlers even became actively involved in honey production, so that it could be used at the table.
Because American scientists have shown little to no amounts of interest in European documentation that supports the therapeutic value of bee pollen, most modern day scientific investigation has taken place in Europe. Other researchers have already discovered that this wonderful food contains concentrations of just about every known nutrient, with reports from areas of Europe and Russia confirming the belief that this substance has infinite value for health maintenance and diseases treatment.
Bee pollen is available in capsule, tablet, and bulk powder forms at VitaNet ®, LLC. Always purchase a name brand bee pollen product to ensure quality and purity of the product you purchase.
June 18, 2009 10:54 AM
After going through puberty, our bodies gradually decrease in the production of immune and growth factors that generally combat disease. After losing these vital components, we are much more susceptible to the aging process, which shortens our life expectancy. Colostrum and its other components have the ability to fight off bacterial and viral invaders as well as stimulate tissue repair, which is something that becomes increasingly vulnerable as we age by boosting the immune system. For all of these reasons, it is important for an adult to supplement with colostrum.
Colostrum should be Collected during the first 24 hours after birth. Also, a colostrum supplement should be processed in a USDA licensed facility. This insures the consumer that USDA guidelines are being followed. Additionally, consumers should make sure that products labeled Colostrum are actually 100% colostrum, not colostrum or concentrates of milk whey. Lastly, colostrum that is mixed with other supplements or herbs and additives may have a diluted colostrum concentration, which means the benefits you could obtain from this supplement may be compromised.
Even though colostrum has no interactions with drugs, side effects may be experienced from a cleansing or healing crisis, which is a necessary but somewhat inconvenient and adverse result. Fortunately, once the healing crisis is complete, you will feel substantially better and in good terms of health. Mediations may need to be re-evaluated by your medical profession for dose and need.
Although colostrum is generally believed to be very safe for those mothers who are pregnant and nursing, one should probably ask their medical professional prior to taking colostrum or its specific agents while they are pregnant. Just like any other supplement or drug, it is better to be overly safe and check with a healthcare provider before jeopardizing a pregnancy.
Colostrum is recommended specifically for children who have not already received the mother’s breast milk, as breast milk would have already provided the benefits that would be obtained through colostrum supplementation. Those children with flu, colds, bacterial or viral infections, or children who have been on long or short-term antibiotics or other drugs are good candidates for colostrum supplementation. Therefore, colostrum supplementation is safe and may be recommended for these types of children.
Many people wonder if colostrum products can pass on mad cow disease. At this time, no case of mad cow disease has been reported in the United States. With awareness of the disease being so high, it is extremely unlikely that one would contract mad cow disease from a colostrum product.
The overall supplementation of colostrum and other products that contain derivatives of colostrum has been shown to extremely safe. Additionally, it has been shown that colostrum is equally effective, whether it be taken by injection or by mouth. It has also been shown that the long-term administration of colostrum preparation is very safe to the human body. Because infants and the elderly are the two main groups that are especially at risk for infections, many people may wonder just how safe colostrum products are for these two groups of people. Not only is oral administration safe, it is also very effective and easily accepted by both of these groups.
Colostrum is available in capsule of tablet forms at your local or internet health food store. Look for name brands like Kal and Source Naturals to ensure quality and purity of the product you purchase.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Colostrum is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
May 20, 2009 12:00 PM
Bee pollen is made up of the fine powder that is found in the male seed of a flower blossom. Bees transport this powder and mix it with nectar to create their own form of nourishment. The pollen grains are Collected and eaten by the bees, but they are also used to pollinate the flowers. Since the beginning of time, bee pollen and honey have been recognized for their astounding healing benefits. Egyptian records going back thousands of years have references to honey and the potential for healing that it holds. Marathon runners of ancient Greece recognized the value that bee pollen held to increase their strength and endurance. Bee pollen was also revered by European nations and Asian countries for its medicinal value.
Bee pollen is considered to be a complete food due to the fact that it contains every chemical substance that is needed to maintain life. This makes it a great supplement to help build the immune system and provide the body with energy. Recent scientific research has found that bee pollen contains properties which are beneficial to healing, revitalizing, and protecting against radiation therapy. Bee pollen is also a rich source of protein and carbohydrates. This nutrient can not only be used as a food supplement, but also to correct body chemistry and normalize weight.
Scientists at the Institute of Bee Culture in Buressur-Yvette near Paris, in addition to other researchers throughout Europe, have studied the effects of honeybee pollen consumption on human beings. The study concluded that there are exceptional antibiotic properties in bee pollen. It was also found that bee pollen is helpful in treating conditions like chronic fatigue, hay fever, allergies, bronchitis, sinusitis, asthma, colds, balancing the endocrine system, and menopausal symptoms. Additionally, bee pollen can be helpful in treating other conditions such as prostate problems including prostates, infertility, indigestion, constipation, colitis, anemia, high blood pressure, premature aging, depression, and hair loss.
Bee pollen has also been shown to improve one’s concentration and mental function. A study found that a group of students’ mental performance improved drastically when supplementing with bee pollen. This nutrient also reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It does this by preventing plaque buildup in the arteries. This supplement is often used by athletes to increase strength, endurance, and speed.
The pollen of bees is used to provide both alterative and nutritive properties. The primary nutrients found in bee pollen are twenty-one amino acids, enzymes, essential fatty acids, and variable vitamins and minerals. These vitamins and minerals depend on the region that the bee pollen is harvested in. Primarily, bee pollen is extremely beneficial in dealing with aging, allergies, hay fever, loss of appetite, lack of endurance, exhaustion, fatigue, a weak immune system, infection, multiple sclerosis, and pregnancy problems.
Additionally, bee pollen can be extremely helpful in treating asthma, high blood pressure, cancer, depression, hypoglycemia, indigestion, liver diseases, prostate disorders, and radiation. Bee pollen is available in capsules, tablets, and bulk powder forms for easy consumption. Always look for name brands to ensure quality and purity of the bee pollen product you purchase. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by bee pollen, please contact a representative from your local health food store.
Lutein 20mg (FloraGlo)
September 26, 2008 03:49 PM
Maintains Healthy Visual Function*
It has been well established that lutein is present in high concentrations in the retinal tissue of the human eye. However, a study was conducted in human volunteers to determine whether taking lutein in supplement form actually increased the density of the carotenoid pigments present in the macula. In this study of eight individuals, researchers estimated the density of the macular pigments prior to having each individual take 10 mg of lutein daily in supplement form for 12 weeks. Plasma lutein concentrations were measured at 4-week intervals. During the first four weeks of the study, plasma levels increased five-fold from pre-supplement measures, and then remained at this level for the duration of the study. It was also shown that, due to increased deposition of lutein in optical tissues, macular pigment density increased by an average of 5.3% at the 4-week mark, and continued to increase until the duration of the study.1
A study was also conducted to investigate the possible role of specific nutrients in protecting the lens of the eye against aging, a risk factor for compromised visual function. The study was comprised of 376 individuals aged from 18 to 75. Of the nutrients measured, it was found that the lenses of individuals with higher concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin showed less of an effect from the aging process. The investigators concluded that these carotenoids might play a protective role in supporting the maintenance of healthy vision.2
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) was a landmark study of the effects of diet and antioxidant supplementation on eye health. The study enrolled over 3500 subjects aged 55 to 80 years who were followed for approximately 6 years. Among the data Collected in this multi-faceted study was a self-administered Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ). The AREDS Report No. 22 examined the data from the FFQs and determined that, of the nutrients evaluated, only lutein and zeaxanthin were directly related to maintaining eye health with statistical significance3. These findings corroborated similar results of an earlier multi-center study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that also found that those with a higher intake of lutein and zeaxanthin maintained healthier eye function.4 These promising results have spurred the design of a second major clinical trial (AREDS2), which is currently enrolling participants to study the impact of supplemental xanthophylls (FloraGLO® Lutein and zeaxanthin) and other nutrients on age-related eye health.5
In addition, a double-blind placebo controlled trial was performed in ninety individuals who had signs of compromised visual function. Individuals were divided into three groups and received either 10 mg FloraGLO® lutein, 10 mg FloraGLO® lutein plus a multivitamin/multimineral formulation, or placebo for 12 months. In both the FloraGLO® lutein and FloraGLO® lutein plus other nutrients groups, improvements were seen in mean eye macular pigment optical density, visual acuity and contrast sensitivity. No improvements were noted in the placebo group.6 These results demonstrate FloraGLO® lutein’s beneficial effect on maintaining healthy visual function.
Newly published research has demonstrated that lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation may enhance visual performance under glare conditions. Forty healthy subjects took daily doses of 10 mg FloraGLO® Lutein plus 2 mg zeaxanthin for six months. They were evaluated for changes in macular pigment, glare disability and photostress recovery at the onset of the study, and at 1, 2, 4 and six months. After six months, subjects experienced an average increase in macular pigment optical density (MPOD) of 39% compared to baseline, and all but two participants experienced some increase in MPOD. This increase in MPOD was also directly related to measured improvements in visual performance after exposure to bright light, as well as photostress recovery.7 This study suggests another way in which lutein and zeaxanthin can help support optimal visual function in healthy individuals.
Potent Antioxidant Protection*
Most of the beneficial effects of lutein are ascribed to its potent free radical scavenging abilities. It is well-known that lutein is a carotenoid related to beta-carotene and possesses antioxidant activity against a number of reactive oxygen species.8
More direct evidence for the free radical scavenging activity of lutein is found in studies of its effects on human lens epithelial cells. Cell cultures were exposed to ultraviolet light after pretreatment with lutein or alpha-tocopherol. Both nutrients were found to reduce ultraviolet-induced damage to lens epithelial cells. However, lutein was shown to have significantly higher photoprotective activity than alpha-tocopherol9 demonstrating its potential as a high-powered antioxidant.
A further review of the mechanisms of lutein in conferring a protective role reveals evidence for its antioxidant activity in various body tissues. Lutein has been shown to be an effective antioxidant in vitro as well as in experimental models of a number of body systems.10
Supports Healthy Skin*
A recent randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study has demonstrated the positive effects of oral and topical administration of lutein on skin health parameters (surface lipids, hydration, photoprotective activity, skin elasticity and skin lipid peroxidation). Forty female subjects were divided into four treatment groups. Treatment options included oral administration of 5 mg of FloraGLO® Lutein twice daily or placebo and topical administration of 50 ppm FloraGLO® Lutein twice daily or placebo. Each treatment group received either an active oral treatment with a placebo topical treatment, a placebo oral treatment with an active topical treatment, both active treatments, or both placebo treatments. Statistically significant improvements were seen in all five parameters tested in all treatment groups compared to the group receiving only placebos. The greatest overall improvements were seen in the group receiving both active oral and topical treatments, while lesser but still significant improvement was seen in both the active oral only and the active topical only groups. Additionally, oral administration of lutein conferred superior photoprotective activity (as measured by skin surface redness after exposure to ultraviolet light) and prevention of lipid peroxidation (as indicated by levels of malondialdehyde in skin lipids after exposure to ultraviolet light) than either topical lutein or placebo.11
Diverse Cinical Benefits*
Evidence from various experimental trials suggests that lutein may play a protective role on the circulatory and cardiovascular systems. Its antioxidant activity may also extend to the heart, skin, lungs and blood vessels, making it a nutrient with diverse clinical benefits. Lutein possesses the ability to promote the health of many body tissues.12
Suggested Adult Use: One softgel daily with food, or as directed by a health care professional.
Does Not Contain: milk, egg, wheat, sugar, sweeteners, starch, salt, or preservatives.
1. Berendschot TT, et al. Influence of lutein supplementation on macular pigment, assessed with two objective techniques. Invest Opthalmol Vis Sci. 2000 Oct; 41(11): 3322-6.
2. Berendschot TT, et al. Lens aging in relation to nutritional determinants and possible risk factors for age-related cataract. Arch Opthalmol. 2002 Dec; 120(12): 1732-7.
3. Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. The relationship of dietary carotenoid and vitamin A, E, and C intake with age-related macular degeneration in a case-control study: AREDS Report No. 22. Arch Ophthalmol. 2007 Sep; 125(9): 1225-32.
4. Seddon JM, et al. Dietary Carotenoids, Vitamins A, C, and E, and Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration. JAMA. 1994 Nov; 272(18):1413-1420.
5. www.nei.nih.gov/neitrials/viewStudyWeb.aspx?id=120. Clinical Studies Database. Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2). Last Updated 2/28/2008. Viewed 5/15/2008.
6. Richer S, et al. Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-related macular degeneration: the Veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry. 2004 Apr; 75(4): 216-230.
7. Stringham JM and Hammond BR. Macular pigment and visual performance under glare conditions. Optom Vis Sci. 2008 Feb; 85(2):82-8.
8. “Lutein and Zeaxanthin”. PDR Health. www.gettingwell.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/nutsupdrugs/lut_0164.shtml
9. Chitchumroonchokchai C, et al. Xanthophylls and alpha-tocopherol decrease UVB-induced lipid peroxidation and stress signaling in human lens epithelial cells. J Nutr. 2004 Dec; 134(12): 3225-32.
10. Krinsky NI. Possible biologic mechanisms for a protective role of xanthophylls. J Nutr. 2002; 132: 540S-542S.
11. Palombo P, et al. Beneficial Long-Term Effects of Combined Oral/Topical Antioxidant Treatment with the Carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin on Human Skin: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2007; 20: 199-210.
12. Mares-Perlman JA, et al. The body of evidence to support a protective role for lutein and zeaxanthin in delaying chronic disease. Overview. J Nutr. 2002; 132: 518S-524S.
Hyper-immune Egg Vs Colostrum
September 23, 2008 03:36 PM
When a hen lays her eggs she is virtually an antibody-producing factory, as she passively transfers her antibodies and immunoregulatory factors into the egg in order to protect her offspring. These eggs are made up of a concentrated source of antibodies and helpful immune-supporting biomolecules. However, there are significant differences in the way a cow passes immune protection to a calf and the way a mother hen passes protection to a chick.
A newborn calf will nurse for several months, acquiring immune support over the entire period of time. Since a mother hen cannot nurse her chick, it is essential for the egg to provide all the immune support a chick will need until its own immune system is functioning properly. Because of this, an egg is much more concentrated in antibodies and immunoregulatory molecules than is colostrums. This is an advantage for using hyperimmune egg over supplements that are made from bovine colostrums as an immune system support. It has been found that chickens produce almost twenty times more antibody per unit of weight than cows are able to secret in their milk. Additionally, certain egg antibodies are compared to milk antibodies, and it has been found that egg antibodies seem to be more effective in binding antigens.
In order to produce a hyperimmune egg supplement, the following procedure must be followed. First, eggs are Collected from the specially designated chicken flocks after they are specifically stimulated. They are then washed and broken. The yoke of the egg white is then removed and dried to produce a find proteinous powder. There have been various processes developed to minimize the amount of heat damage to antibodies and immunoregualtory factors during the spray-drying procedure. The immune eggs are required to be processed under good manufacturing practices in USDA-inspected and monitored facilities. After processing occurs, the powders are combined with other vitamins, minerals, and possibly other ingredients in order to form a formula that possesses a high nutritive value.
Unlike the conventional methodologies, hyperimmune eggs seems to team up with our immune system instead of boosting or suppressing its function. The immune products in hyperimmune egg are a resource for the body. The body is then able to select those immune elements that it needs in order to up or down-regulate the autoimmune and inflammatory pathways.
Because our immune systems are under constant attack, immune disorders are increasing at an alarming rate. Recent research has found that immune malfunction is an important contributing factor to conditions including heart disease, arthritis, and auto immune disorders. By fine-turning and supporting our immune system in order to prevent disease, we can make one of the best investments possible for our health and longevity.
The potential value of using hyperimmune egg for various health conditions has been shown by new research. Some of the most well-known doctors using alternative and complementary health treatments have found that hyperimmune egg supplements are extremely helpful in reversing a wide array of health problems. As research continues and understanding of how hyperimmune egg works increases, the application of hyperimmune egg can be expected to increase. Impressive properties found in hyperimmune eggs make them an excellent supplement for immune support. When we have a balanced and well-functioning immune system, our lives will be much healthier and happier.
September 03, 2008 09:17 AM
Over the past several decades there have been many shifts in the research that concerns the immune system of the body. Recent discoveries have found that colostrum carries agents that can positively affect immune function in humans.
An impressive body of research has found that colostrum is responsible for the first transmission of immune signals in a newborn, which are valuable in shaping the knowledge of the newborn’s defense systems. When an infant is born, the immune system is somewhat naive to the various invaders that try to break down its defense systems and take over the body.
Since colostrum is the first food that the body traditionally takes in, the information that the mother has Collected over her life of how to fight microbial invaders, cancerous cells, and other toxins effectively is immediately transferred to her newborn. At a time when the infant is vulnerable to thousands of invaders, nature provides a way to help the infant in the process of building his or her immune system in a quick and effective way. Colostrum is an essential part to this complex and timely process.
As soon as an infant is born, it is generally fed, with the first portion of fluid that comes from the mother being colostrum. It was thought by experts for decades that colostrum contained only vital nutrients in a nutritional sense, but many now believe that breast-feeding a child is much more beneficial than simply bottle-feeding a child with formula. It has now been discovered that colostrum is much more than a nutrient-rich fluid, it is a combination of immune agents.
This mix of nutrients contains agents that are not species-specific in their function, so they do not produce an allergic reaction when introduced to a foreign species. Some of the more prominent and devastating conditions that could be effectively prevented by the use of colostrum and its properties include viral and bacterial infections, parasitic infections, autoimmune disorders, neurological conditions, fungal infections, tissue damage, as well as many others.
The body uses an assortment of processes, mechanisms, and agents in order to defend itself. All of these make up what is known as the immune system. The body uses three interrelated functions making its defense mechanism effective. First, it recognizes foreign agents within the body, followed by enlisting a variety of cells and molecules to eliminate or neutralize the invader. Last, the body is able to remember the exact foreign substance so that next time it comes around; it can deal with it quickly and effectively.
If the invading organism is able to get through the physical barriers of the skin and mucous membranes in the nose and throat, there are several immune barriers that are ready to defend the body including the body’s temperature, hydrochloric acid found in the stomach, and interferon. Hydrochloric acid, along with the low pH of the stomach, defeats a large majority of viruses that make it past the mucous membranes of the nose and throat.
Interferon is derived from the virus of infected cells and binds and neutralizes nearby virus cells. If there is enough interferons present, this substance can neutralize large quantities of invading viruses. Colostrum helps the body manufacture interferons that can fight viruses and protect the body for a lifetime.
Can the Fatty Acid CLA Help me Lose Weight ?
July 14, 2008 03:28 PM
CLA is conjugated linoleic acid, a compound known as a trans fatty acid due to its stereochemistry, and while trans fatty acids are generally regarded as harmful, CLA is not because it is conjugated. This means that it has alternate single and double bonds in the backbone carbon chain, and the overall energy of the molecule is therefore reduced.
Linoleic acid itself is one of the omega-6 fatty acids, the 6 referring to the double bond at the sixth carbon from the omega and of the carbon backbone chain. It is believed to be the cause of heart disease and obesity due to its increasing use in the diet at the expense of omega-3 fatty acids. When the molecule is conjugated, however, the fatty acid has different chemical properties to the standard isomer, and natural CLA is mainly found in cattle products, such as beef and dairy products.
Conjugated linoleic acid is present in cattle because it is formed when linoleic acid is converted to oleic acid by rumen bacteria, that are responsible for the microbial fermentation of the feed of ruminant animals such as sheep and cattle. When oleic acid is formed, so too is CLA. However, the form used in supplements is manufactured from vegetable oils, and therefore suitable for use by vegetarians. The usual vegetable oils used are safflower oil and sunflower oil.
It is believed to possess several beneficial properties, including antioxidant and anti-cancer properties, but it is for its ability to reduce body fat that it is best known to most people. A growing amount of information is being Collected on the use of CLA as a supplement in the weight loss industry, although there are as yet no definitive mechanisms that explain its action. However, recent studies have indicated it possess properties that can help to reduce the levels of low density lipoproteins in the blood, and reduce the possibility of atherosclerosis due to LDL oxidation by free radicals.
It is also theorized that CLA in some way regulates the prostaglandin biosynthesis that controls the level of hormones in the body that can regulate growth. An increase in growth hormones is one way in which athletes promote an increase in muscle bulk, while reducing their fatty tissue mass. CLA is also purported to increase thermogenesis, and so promote the loss of body fat and overall weight.
Although most studies on the effect of conjugated linoleic acid in reducing body weight have been carried out on animals, recent animal studies have indicated that might not so much reduce weight, as to increase muscle bulk while reducing that of body fat. The end result, therefore, is not a loss of weight, but a leaner body that has more muscle and less fat. All it needs is the results on animals to be transferred to humans, and this, of course, is frequently the case. However, initial studies on the use of CLA in the human diet have been very positive, so the signs are good.
Most scientific progress in human biochemistry has been obtained by virtue of prior studies on animals. These studies, of course, have been beneficial to the animals, making them leaner and much fitter than they otherwise would have been. It is believed that the same will be true of humans taking CLA as a supplement. In fact, recent studies are split about 50/50 with regard to the effects on humans.
While some studies have shown no benefit, about an equal number have shown a positive benefit in the reduction in the mass of fat in the body. Some of the negative studies may have been flawed in measuring total body weight, and not the relative amounts of muscle and fat, and also basing their results on people already with a low level of fat in their body. In that respect, then, the results look very favorable, and taking CLA as a supplement is likely to help you to reduce fat and increase muscle, if not altogether lose total body weight. However, is that not the end result that most people want? They might not want to be lighter in weight, just to have more muscle mass and less fat tissue.
In a study shown at a 2002 Experimental Biology meeting, it was shown that is was possible to substantially reduce body fat mass by taking CLA alone, and when it was taken in association with guarana, both the size and the number of fats cells in the body were reduced by 50%. However it has also been shown that CLA can be oxidized by free radicals shortly after ingestion, and that sesame lignans help to prevent this. Since sesame lignans can also be used in conjunction with CLA to reduce fat by increasing the level of fatty acid oxidation in the liver, than the benefit of CLA seems obvious.
The antioxidant effect of CLA is one possible explanation for its anti-cancer properties, though there are others. Its antioxidant properties also have an anti-catabolic effect, in that it can help to prevent the wastage of muscle tissue. The FDA has published studies that attest to these anti-cancer properties. Diabetics, however, should consult with their physician before taking CLA as a supplement, since there is a body of thought that it reduces sensitivity to insulin. Others believe the opposite, so more studies might be needed in this aspect of the substance before it can be said to be safe for use by diabetics.
Over recent years, the American diet has increased significantly in its content of the undesirable linoleic acid, due to its ubiquitous presence in margarines, and has reduced in CLA due to modern farming methods. Cattle feeding techniques have resulting in a reduction of CLA in meat products and milk, although eggs are still a rich source, and the CLA in eggs can resist temperatures used in normal cooking methods such as frying, boiling, etc.
It is this CLA deficiency in the diet that has been proposed as one of the reasons for the current obesity problem in the USA. The European diet contains more beneficial fatty acids in general than the American diet.
However, there is an increasing body of evidence being accumulated that collectively that suggests almost unequivocally that CLA can help you lose body fat. Unless you are diabetic, there are few if any contra-indications and an increasing number of people are finding it effective not only to lose body fat, but to replace it with hard lean muscle.
May 16, 2008 02:12 PM
The health benefits of coral calcium were discovered in 1979, when a British journalist representing the Guinness Book of records traveled to Okinawa to talk to Shigechiyo Izumi, who at 115 years old was at the time the world’s oldest documented living human being. Not only was the journalist impressed and surprised at how healthy such an old man was, but he also found that good health to be shared by the majority of Okinawa’s aged residents.
After his report was filed on his return to England, a team of researchers were sent to the island to make further investigations in the phenomenon. They found that the key to their longevity was the water they were drinking. The water of Okinawa appeared unique, and coral calcium was discovered.
It was not only the calcium, of course, that made such as difference but the whole mineral balance of the water. Okinawa is formed of coral reefs built up over millennia, and rainwater filters down through the coral collecting minerals and other nutrients on its way. This water is both alkaline, with a pH of 8.6, and closely resembles the natural mineral composition, not only of the human skeleton but also of body fluids such as blood plasma and amniotic fluid. It seemed the ideal stuff to bottle, and there are now over 4 million users of coral calcium in Japan alone.
The commercial use of Sango coral, as it is called, is controlled by the Japanese government, and living coral is left untouched: only the dead coral sand lying on the ocean bed is used. The sand is Collected and cleaned, and then pulverized and the calcium and all the rest of the minerals it contains are easily absorbed by the body.
It is this ease of absorption that renders coral calcium so useful. Most minerals find it difficult to pass from the intestine to the bloodstream, but this is not a problem for the minerals in Sango coral. Because they do not come from inorganic mined minerals, but from natural organic sources, they are present in a very bio-available form and are readily absorbed into the bloodstream. It not only contains the common minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and so on, but also many trace elements that are essential for life. Not only that, however, but they also contain antioxidants to help prevent the oxidative stress caused by free radicals, and also at a pH that allows the minerals to become naturally ionic very readily.
It is this ionic form of each mineral that permits it to be so readily available to your system. This was a major discovery at the time, since the form that inorganic minerals generally come in had been a problem prior to this to the extent that only 10% was absorbed by the body. In comparison, 95% of the coral calcium and other minerals are able to be easily absorbed since they are in an ionized form – an even higher absorbency than colloidal minerals allow.
Why are minerals so important and how can they possible lead to such an effect on the elderly of Okinawa? In fact minerals are very important components of human metabolism and biochemistry. Most believe vitamins to be significantly more important to human health than minerals, but this is not the case. Many vitamins are useless without the synergistic effect of minerals, and the reverse is also the same.
For example, calcium needs vitamin D to be present before it can be used by the body to strengthen bone structure. There are many other such interactions involving vitamins and minerals, and without chelation (the rendering of large organic molecules to a soluble form by combining them with metal ions) many of the essential biochemical processes of life would be impossible. Coral calcium contains all the minerals found in your body, and in very similar proportions, so that you are able to use it to maintain that all important synergism and not throw the mineral balance of your body out of balance. This is very easy to do if you take individual mineral supplements.
However, there is still more to come from this remarkable substance. It is also rich in antioxidants that spell death for free radicals. Free radicals can’t really die, because they are not living entities but molecules that have a free electron, and free electrons like to pair up with other electrons. Free radicals are therefore very aggressive when near any body cell from which they can rob an electron, and that, unfortunately, destroys the cell.
Not only that but they also oxidize molecules from which they take the electron, and if that is a low density lipoprotein, or LDL, that happens to be carrying some cholesterol to one of your arteries that needs a bit of repair work, then it will cause the LDL to deposit the cholesterol immediately and form plaques that constrict and narrow your arteries. That is called atherosclerosis and it can kill you or give you a stroke. Cholesterol is essential for good health, but once the free radicals get to work you are better without it.
However, Sango coral contains substances that prevent the free radicals from oxidizing other substances, and in so doing destroy them. That’s what antioxidants do. They prevent free radicals from oxidizing other molecules and creating all sorts of havoc with your health. Excessive amounts of free radicals have been associated with over 80 different conditions, and one of the benefits of coral calcium is that it is one of the most powerful antioxidants known.
It is not only the mineral content and antioxidant properties of coral calcium that are of benefit to the human body, but also its pH. The various fluids of your body are maintained at a specific pH, which is a measurement of the acidity or alkalinity of a fluid. This should be slightly alkaline without being caustic. If your body fluids are too acidic it becomes difficult for you to absorb minerals and vitamins, and it is essential for you maintain a balance of from around 6.4 to 7.0 Any lower than that and you will find it difficult to sleep and you will feel listless with no energy.
You can measure the pH of your body by testing your urine with pH strips available at any pharmacy. Coral calcium can be used to maintain a good pH level that allows your body to absorb the nutrients it needs, and keep you feeling not only well, but young and sprightly just like Shigechiyo Izumi did at 115 years old.
Butcher's Broom Extract
May 02, 2008 11:04 AM
Butcher’s broom (Ruscus aculeatus) is a member of the lily family, and looks a bit like a holly bush with barbed evergreen leaves and bright red berries in the fall. At one time they were Collected, tied together and sold to butchers as brooms to sweep out their shops.
The stiff leaves were particularly suitable for cleaning out offal and other waste products from butchered animals and also for scrubbing butcher’s blocks. It was also used as a deterrent to rodents with their eyes on the meat! Alternative names are sweet broom, kneeholy and Jew’s myrtle, so named because it was used during the Feast of the Tabernacles as one of the ‘four species’ used in the lulav.
The herb was commonly used in Ancient Greece and Rome, the Greeks using it to reduce swellings of various kinds and the Romans using it to treat varicose veins. It has the same uses today, only the mechanisms are understood better. It has been used for centuries in the Mediterranean area for the treatment of inflammations and problems with the circulation, and the Romans used to mash up the leaves and berries to add to wine, and they also used the roots and rhizome as a medicine by soaking them in wine. Today, it is illegal to use holly as a decoration in Italy, so butcher’s broom is used instead.
All parts of the plant are used, including the rhizome, and although it is used as a diuretic, and to control a loss of blood pressure experience by some people on standing up, it is its effect on blood vessels where its main medical benefits lie. Butcher’s Broom can strengthen certain portions of blood vessels, and change the flexibility properties of the cell walls.
The result of this is that the vessels are tightened up, which helps to maintain the flow of blood throughout the body, but also renders the cell walls less likely to leak or crack under stress. The result is a reduction in blood leakage from stretched and weakened blood vessels such as those that result in hemorrhoids, and also of conditions caused by weakened valves in the veins such as varicose veins and spider veins.
The blood pressure in the veins is very weak since they are so far away from the heart, the blood having passed through the arteries, through the capillaries and into the veins on its way back to the heart before being pumped to the lungs. When the valves become weakened, particularly in the large veins in the leg, there is little to prevent the blood from coming under the influence of gravity and pooling back down the vein, causing distention and occasional ruptures.
A ruptured varicose vein can be very serious and cause significant blood loss. Weakened valves can also lead to the formation of blood clots, which is itself a very serious condition that eventually blocks the heart or causes a stroke. Not only can butcher’s broom strengthen the vein walls and prevent leakage, and also enable them to more easily resist the pressure that can cause them to rupture, but it can also be used to break down blood clots. In fact the herb is used in many European hospitals to prevent the formation of blood clots after surgery.
The active ingredients in the rhizome are saponins that contain the aglycones ruscogenin and neuroscogenin and the associated spirostanol and furostanol glycosides. The receptors that cause vasocontraction are known as adrenoreceptors, these receptors can be selectively stimulated by butcher’s broom extract to tighten the veins and improve the return of blood. When introduced intravenously, butcher’s broom was noted to constrict venules (small veins that feed the main veins but not arterioles (the small arteries than feed the capillaries). Hence blood vessels can be selectively treated, and the effect on isolated blood vessels was enhanced by heating. Many supplements include calcium that helps to strengthen the blood vessel walls.
It is possible, therefore, to target the blood vessels that require constrictive treatment in order that they are strong enough to return blood to the heart rather than leak or distend. However, that is not the only health benefit that butcher’s broom provides. It can also be used as a diuretic. It is not a strong diuretic, but is used to relief the swelling of bruises and PMS, the reason given being that since leakage from the blood vessels is lessened, then more fluid is available to pass through the kidneys. There might be other reasons.
It is also use for the treatment of ortho static hypotension, the reduction in blood pressure that some people experience. It is believed that butcher’s broom can control this condition without increasing blood pressure, as most other remedies do, and which is almost as undesirable as the condition they are treating.
There are few problems associated with the herb, although few studies have been carried out its use by pregnant women. Although the one test that was carried indicated no effect, it would be wise for pregnant or nursing women not to use it until further studies have been carried out. Due to its effect in tightening blood vessels, its use is not recommended by anybody suffering from high blood pressure (hypertension). Many hypertension treatments are designed to render the blood vessels more elastic rather than constrict them.
In one very small study of pregnant women who used a topical cream containing butcher's broom, no side effects were seen for either the mother or the baby. However, very little information is available on how oral butcher's broom might affect a developing fetus, an infant, or a small child. Therefore, its use is not recommended during pregnancy, while breast-feeding, or during early childhood.
Because it tightens blood vessels, butcher's broom may worsen high blood pressure or benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). Individuals with either of these conditions should not use any form of butcher's broom without first consulting a doctor. The known side effects have already been stated, and they are fairly mild, but few studies have been made on the herb other than in Europe, and the side effects have not been fully explored. It is unlikely; however, that there are any as yet unknown serious side effects since butcher’s broom has been used now for a long time, particularly in Europe.
The term ‘ruscogenin’ is used for the collective mixture of active saponins in butcher’s broom, and many of the supplements are formulated to include from 5 to 15 mg of these. However, check the label, since standardization is not yet required in the USA, and in theory a preparation can include much more or much less ruscogenin. It is frequently supplied with other active ingredients, such as vitamin C or calcium, and perhaps even horse chestnut that affect blood vessels in a similar way. Always follow the instructions on the package, since these are designed for the specific strength of supplement you are using.
Artichoke Leaves Provide Stimulating Digestion Benefits
February 22, 2008 10:46 AM
The leaves from the plant of this familiar food are found to be beneficial to our digestion and metabolism, potentially reducing cholesterol. The artichoke has long been eaten as a vegetable, and has been ascribed many beneficial attributes. Artichokes were cultivated in the ancient Mediterranean and enjoyed great popularity in the thriving Roman Empire. From then until its mid-16th century reemergence, the artichoke hovered in sporadic obscurity.
Greek philosopher Theophrastus, a recognized naturalist, wrote of artichoke cultivation in Sicily and Italy around 300 B.C. Several centuries later, physicians and naturalists in Greece and Rome Collected and recorded information on the health remedies resulting from intake of the artichoke and its preparations. The artichoke was also considered an aphrodisiac and a delicacy; to this day that estimation still remains.
Along with possessing a pleasantly robust and slightly bitter flavor, the fleshy lobes of the artichoke contain vitamins A and C, dietary magnesium, folic acid, fiber, as well as potassium and manganese, among other essential nutrients.
But the story doesn’t end there. The oft-thrown away serrated leaves of the artichoke plant, a member of the thistle family, contain even more health benefits than their edible counterpart. What most people are familiar with is actually the edible flower bud of the artichoke plant.
The plant’s leaves contain two key substances with health-giving attributes, the main one being cynarin. What is fascinating about this compound is that fresh artichoke leaves only contain trace amounts of cynarin. During the extraction and drying process, the levels rise due to chemical changes that occur during the process. Artichoke leaf extract contains beneficial levels of this compound that provides maximum benefit when ingested. Before more potent pharmaceuticals were developed by drug companies, synthetic cynarin preparations were prescribed to patients with high cholesterol.
Cynarin stimulates bile secretion in the liver and gallbladder; working as a digestive aid to break down fats and cholesterol. Additionally, increased bile production assists the digestive track in eliminating toxins from the liver.
Bile is formed in the liver, created by the combination of cholesterol and triglycerides. Often times these two terms are considered negative, but not all cholesterol is bad cholesterol. Some forms are necessary for normal body function. Once the bile is formed in the liver, it is stored in the gallbladder. Bile not only works to eliminate toxins, it also emulsifies fats to allow them to be digested and metabolized. Without bile the digestive track would be a disaster, and the body would be unable to absorb fat soluble vitamins.
The process by which artichoke leaf extract is thought to lower cholesterol levels is made up of two parts. More bile means the liver has more power and efficiency in breaking down and eliminating cholesterol. In addition to the increased ability to get rid cholesterol, artichoke leaf extract has been shown to inhibit cholesterol production in the liver. This second attribute is thought to come from the levels of luteolin in the extract.
Luteolin, a flavonoid, is an antioxidant efficient at fighting free radicals and reinforcing the functions of the immune system. Additionally, luteolin has been shown in studies to increase carbohydrate metabolism and prevent LDL-cholesterol oxidation.
Medical science is only beginning to reveal the details of how artichoke leaf extract works to improve cardiovascular and digestive health, while ancient physicians and traditional healers had a hunch all along.
Coconut Oil May Help Promote Healthy Thyroid and Digestive Function
November 01, 2007 09:49 AM
Coconut is extracted from coconuts, the coconut palm often being called the tree of life and for good reason. However, its benefits were lost to America for many years due to the politics of the vegetable oil industry claiming that all saturated fats are bad. This is not based on scientific or medical fact, and coconut oil was recently rediscovered in the USA, and the health benefits enjoyed by the rest of the world are once again available to Americans.
Coconut palms grow in most tropical climates such as Southern California and Florida, the Philippines and the Caribbean. Refined coconuts oils are mass produced and much of the beneficial nutrients are lost by the refining process. Virgin coconut oil is by far the better form, though is a slower process. It is generally obtained by shredding and dry milling the meat, and then cold pressing to produce the milk. The milk is fermented for a day or so and the separated oil Collected.
Such oils are analyzed to contain over 50% lauric acid and high levels of phenolic antioxidants. Much higher than from refined oils. It is said to be the healthiest oil on earth. So why did the American authorities legislate against its use? It is because of the bad press received by saturated fats and oils.
You can have saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The majority of the fats and oils in our diet are composed of long chain fats and oils. The chain length refers to the length of the hydrocarbon chain, whether saturated or unsaturated. It is long chain saturated acids that are bad for your cardiovascular system, and that should be avoided. However, there are also short chain and medium chain fatty acids that are more easily metabolized by the body. Coconut oil consists predominantly of medium chain fatty acids that help to protect against heart disease and cholesterol rather than promote it.
The highest levels of medium chain fatty acids are found in coconut oils and palm kernel oils, and these are far more nutritious than the saturated long chain fatty acids found in animal fats and just about all vegetable fats. The main MCFA in coconut oil is lauric acid.
Lauric acid is generally regarded as being responsible for the vast majority of the health benefits of coconut oil. The only other source of this fatty acid other than coconut oil is in human breast milk. After absorption, lauric acid is metabolized into monolaurin that is the monoglyceride used by the human body to destroy viruses and microbes, and attack the fat coated viruses that cause such diseases as HIV. It destroys flu viruses, a number of dangerous bacteria and protozoa such as giardia lamblia.
However, let’s have a look at some of the lesser known effects of coconut oil, such as its effects on the thyroid. Anything that blocks the efficient operation of the thyroid and secretion of the thyroid hormones can lead to excess estrogen in the body that can contribute to excessive blood cholesterol. There is a body of evidence that polyunsaturated fats and oils, such as soy, can have this effect is many people. When coconut oil is used instead, the medium chain fatty acids do not have the same effect, and those that are affected frequently find that their thyroid problem is cured and their blood cholesterol reduces.
This is not to infer that all hypothyroidism can be cured through the use of coconut oil, only those cases caused by consumption of excessive amounts of polyunsaturated fats. Although this is refuted by some medical practitioners that are against the use of supplements in general, it has been supported by medical evidence.
Coconut oil is also good for the digestion, and helps the cure of many digestive problems including Crohn’s Disease. It helps to build lipoproteins, fats and bile in the liver, the latter being essential for digestion. It helps to create a much healthier digestive tract that makes for generally better digestion and more efficient use of the foods you eat. Absorption of the nutrients is maximized and you feel altogether better in yourself when you take a small amount of coconut oil daily.
You can have sugar cravings for a number of reasons, and taking coconut oil can reduce these quickly and effectively, irrespective of their cause. The medium chain fatty acid breaks down and is rapidly metabolized to glucose thus providing a source of the energy your craving is telling you that you lack. It is very useful in reducing sugar cravings without you having to eat excess sugar that can create yeast problems.
If you replace the fats you are currently eating with coconut oil, it will not only act as an appetite suppressant but can also help you to lose weight. The fatty acids in coconut are absorbed immediately and converted to energy thus reducing your immediate need for food and hence your appetite. If you eat the saturated fat in coconut oil rather than the polyunsaturated fats in vegetable oils, then you can lose weight.
Many of the benefits of coconut oil are due to the speed with which the lauric acid is absorbed and metabolized in comparison to the long chain polyunsaturated fats. It is the chain length of the hydrocarbon tail that is important here rather than the number of double bonds in that chain that determines the degree of unsaturation.
Make sure that it is virgin coconut that you use since that is the most nutritious form. Do not be misled by labels claiming the contents to be extra virgin oil, since that is a term borrowed from the olive oil industry, and there is no such thing as extra virgin in relation to coconut oil. Never use refined coconut oil since that will just as bad for you as other saturated oils. Not even ‘Extra Virgin Refined Coconut Oil’ in the mistaken belief that such a label must indicate that the oil is extra good. It does not – it simply indicates that the supplier is a charlatan deliberately trying to mislead you into paying a premium price for a useless product.
Coconut oil may promote a healthy thyroid and digestive function, and all the medical tests indicate that it does. People that use it regularly swear by it and if you have a problem that virgin coconut oil might help, then one thing is sure: it will certainly do you no harm, and all indications are that it will do you a lot of good.
Breast Cancer and Natural Supplements
May 11, 2007 10:47 AM
Breast Cancer and Nutritional Supplements
There is probably nothing more frightening for a woman than the discovery of a lump in her breast. Cancer and all its consequences quickly come to mind. This quick association may materialize, in part, because no woman is immune. Most have a friend, a sister, a mother, or a coworker who has been diagnosed with the disease. And they know how difficult dealing with this disease can be. Fortunately, 80% of all breast lumps are not cancerous. Most are cysts or a benign clump of tissue.
Over her lifetime, a woman’s breasts undergo many, many changes. From before puberty and on, breast tissue is continually evolving. Breasts often feel different before menstrual cycle, returning to normal a few days after. Pregnancy certainly causes changes in a woman’s breasts, as does breastfeeding. And as women age, breast tissue becomes less dense.
Because of these continual changes, breast tissue especially requires adequate nutrition. While everyone benefits from a healthy diet, there are additional nutrients from which women can specifically benefit.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will discuss breast cancer and the vast amount of research that has explored the role nutrition plays in this serious and still deadly disease. Specifically, we will discuss how two B vitamins, calcium D-glucarate, broccoli extract, green tea, maitake mushrooms, and iodine can all help prevent breast cancer.
Q. How can these nutrients prevent breast cancer?
A. Scientists learn a lot about disease from simply observing what is happening around them. One observation that has been recognized for many years is that certain cultures have very low incidence of breast cancer. Women n
Moms (and dads) have also learned a lot about diseases simply by observing what is happening in their families. They have notices that certain vegetables play a large role in the prevention of all types of diseases, including cancer. And, accordingly, they have been urging their offspring to eat their vegetables for several generations.
Building on these observations, scientists have designed and carried out many studies to determine what it is about these nutrients that can prevent breast cancer. What they have discovered, so far, follows. Let’s start with the B vitamins.
Deficiencies of this vitamin can result in a serious type of anemia. Nerve damage can also occur if B12 levels are too low. Researchers are now investigating whether breast cancer may, in part, be caused by a B12 deficiency as well.
Another study, this one taking place in a laboratory setting, discovered that vitamin B12, applied directly against experimental breast cancer cells, actually stopped the cancer cells from growing. The researchers conducting the experiment believe that giving vitamin B12 to women with breast cancer as part of a chemotherapy regime, might help keep the cancer in check.
Low folic acid intake is linked to the development of all cancers. This is because folic acid is crucial to the making and continual repair of DNA, the molecule that carries our genetic code. A recent study discovered that high intakes of folic acid might actually reduce the risk of breast cancer. The researchers looked at the diets of over 2600 women. During interviews with the researchers, the women reported what they usually ate. Once the data was Collected, the results showed that women, who ate lots of foods that contained folic acid, had much lower rates of breast cancer.
There is no clear-cut, single cause of breast cancer. Many factors are required for the disease to appear. One such factor is estrogen. A recent study showed that women who developed breast cancer tended to have higher levels of estrogen circulating in their bodies than women without breast cancer. This means that women who got their periods before age eleven or entered menopause after age fifty-five have a higher risk of breast cancer. This also supports the theory that the number of menstrual cycles a woman has affects her risk for breast cancer.
Another factor is drinking alcohol. Because alcohol raises estrogen levels, if a woman consumes even moderate amounts of alcohol her risk of breast cancer also is increased. The link between alcohol and breast cancer may even be stronger than other dietary links. However, an important study has discovered that folic acid may uncouple this link.
A very large study of over 34,000 women recently studied the effect of folic acid on the risk of breast cancer. This project was part of the Nurses’ Health Study, an ongoing, long-term study that looks at nutrition’s role in the development of disease. The women in the folic acid and breast cancer study were followed for 12 years. The participants completed detailed food questionnaires that provided the researchers with important data.
The women were divided into four groups:
1. Women with low folic acid levels and drink alcohol
2. Women with high folic acid levels and rink alcohol
3. Women with low folic acid levels and don’t drink alcohol
4. Women with high folic acid levels and don’t drink alcohol
Within these four groups the women were further divided into subgroups according to the amount of alcohol they consumed each day and their specific folic acid intake.
The researchers found that women who consumed the lowest amounts of folic acid and drank at least one alcoholic beverage a day had the highest rate of breast cancer. In contrast, women who had high intakes of folic acid and also drank at least one alcoholic beverage a day, had the same rate of breast cancer as the women with high folic acid intakes who did not drink. In other words, women who had high levels of folic acid in their diet erased their alcohol-related increase in breast cancer risk.
It seems estrogen can be both friend and foe. While women need the hormone to soften skin, thicken hair, and fill out hips and breasts, estrogen can also nourish breast tumors, helping them grow bigger, stronger, and more deadly. Thanks, in part, to good nutrition, American women get their periods early and go through menopause alter in life. Women today also have fewer pregnancies; families with one or two children are quite common.
All of these factors increase the time women’s bodies are exposed to estrogen. As we discussed before, longer exposure means increased opportunities for estrogen to cause trouble. It is also a troubling fact of modern life that we are continuously exposed to cancer-causing chemicals and toxins. These toxins come in part from contaminants in the food we eat and pollutants in the air we breathe.
The body does have a system that eliminates some of the excess estrogen and toxic chemicals before they can cause harm. In the liver, they are bound or attached to a chemical called glucuronic acid. The bound toxin or estrogen is then excreted in bile and eventually eliminated as a waste product in the stool.
However, an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase can break this bond between estrogen and glucuronic acid. When this happens, the hormone or toxin is released from its bone, capable of causing harm once more. Increased beta-glucuronidase activity is associated with an increased risk for various cancers, particularly hormone-dependant cancers like breast cancer.
Fortunately, scientists have discovered that a natural substance found in foods calcium D-glucarate (CDG) can stop the activity of beta-glucuonidase. CDG keeps the harmful estrogen bound to glucuronidase. While CDG is found in fruits and vegetables, the amounts may not be sufficient to maintain effective levels to stop beta-glucuronidase.
CDG has been shown in experimental studies to significantly stop beast cancer growth. And several human trials are currently underway with CDG to determine its capability to decrease the breast cancer risk in women at high risk for the disease.
There are some very interesting connections between breast tissue and thyroid tissue. Iodine is an essential trace element present in a hormone of the thyroid gland and is involved in several metabolic functions. One iodine function is the protection of breast tissue from cancerous cells.
In a laboratory study, researchers exposed breast cancer cells and breast tissue without any cancer to a type of seaweed that contains high levels of iodine. The seaweed killed all of the cancerous cells, yet did not harm the normal breast cells. Japanese women frequently eat this type of seaweed and have very low rates of breast cancer. The study’s researchers believe one reason for this low incidence of breast cancer may be the iodine in the seaweed.
And, for some as yet unknown reasons, women who have thyroid cancer are at higher risk of developing breast cancer. While they are unsure why this happens, researchers are continuing to study this link, and support of healthy thyroid function remains an important consideration.
For quite some time, scientists have observed that cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, significantly reduce the risk of disease, including cancer. It seems a phytochemical in broccoli sulforaphane, is one of the chemicals responsible for this beneficial activity. Sulforaphane increases certain enzymes in the body called phase 2 enzymes that deactivate cancer-causing chemicals.
Breast cancer cells exposed to sulforaphane in several lab experiments showed that the compound inhibited the growth of the cancer cells up to 80 percent. Researchers are in the process of setting up clinical trials to study sulforaphane’s effect in women who have breast cancer.
There is a tall amount of research, including finding from the Nurses’ Health Study, that suggest green tea beverage consumption is associated with a lower incidence of breast cancer. In fact, researchers have long noted the low rates of breast cancer in
The active compound in green tea responsible for breast cancer inhibition is epigallocatechin-3 gallate or EGCG. When breast cancer cells are exposed to EGCG in lab experiments, the cells stop growing, lose their ability to replicate, and die.
In a recent study, researchers discovered that drinking green tea prevented the recurrence of breast cancer in women who have previously been diagnosed and treated for the disease. This study involved over 1100 Japanese women. The women who drank green tea every day had very low rates of their breast cancer returning.
For thousands of years, maitake mushrooms have been linked to good health in those who eat them. Called “dancing mushrooms” (possibly due to their wavy, rippling appearance or possibly due to the little dance of joy mushroom hunters perform when they find them in the woods), maitakes contain an important compound called D-fraction.
Not only does the D-fraction in maitake mushrooms stop the growth of cancerous tumors, it also alerts and stimulates immune cells (including macrophages and natural killer cells) to fight the disease. Maitake also inhibits some of the mechanism that promotes metastasis, or spread, of cancer cells in the lymph and bloodstream.
Because of this success, maitake is now being used in clinical trials of women with breast cancer. One study reported significant improvement of symptoms, including reduction of the tumor. The maitake was given to breast cancer patients in addition to standard chemotherapy.
Q. Should these nutrients be used in place of traditional treatment for breast cancer?
A. Absolutely not. None of these nutrients can cure breast cancer. However, they can be a part of a validated plan of treatment. If you have breast cancer, talk to your health care practitioner about these nutrients. Remember, nutritional supplements are just that: supplements to food, medication, and treatment. They are intended to enhance and prevent, not replace.
Despite apprehension in performing self-breast exams, women are very proactive in their health. Yearly mammograms and pap tests have been an important part of their lives for many years, and newer and more accurate diagnoses are emerging. The prevention of health problems in themselves and their families has always been a high priority for women. And for women, nutrition has played an important part of health problem prevention.
Nutritionally speaking, what benefits your breasts benefit your whole body. However, as we have learned, there are specific links between nutrition and developing breast cancer that seem to be fairly strong.
Making a few changes may reduce the risk of developing the disease. The nutrients listed here, vitamin B12, folic acid, calcium d-glucarate, iodine, broccoli, green tea, and maitake mushrooms can be an important part of a woman’s preventative health regimen.
Turmeric and Alzheimer’s Disease
May 10, 2007 12:38 PM
Turmeric and Alzheimer’s Disease
Compare these findings to people over the age of 65 living in the
So what are people who are living in
Q. How can curry prevent these changes in the brain? Isn’t that a lot to expect from a spice?
A. Evidently, it’s not too much to expect from this spice. Curry comes from the turmeric plant – Curcuma longa is the plant’s official name. Curcumin, a plant compound in turmeric, is the source of curry’s instantly recognizable bright yellow pigment. When it comes to the scientific research of Curcuma longa, the terms curcumin and turmeric are both used. Both refer to the same thing- tumeric extract.
There have been more than 1300 studies on tumeric and its health benefits for humans. Research has shown tumeric is able to help the body get rid of cancer-causing toxins. Turmeric also blocks estrogen receptors and enzymes that promote cancer. And it’s been found to stop the growth of new blood vessels in cancerous tumors – an important factor in keeping cancer from getting larger and spreading throughout the body.
But one of turmeric’s most exciting health benefits is its ability to reduce, prevent, and stop inflammation. While inflammation is a normal and needed response to injury or disease, chronic inflammation can cause damage to tissues. And researchers are now finding inflammation plays a huge role in Alzheimer’s disease.
Q. I’ve always heard that Alzheimer’s disease was caused by complex growths in the brain called plaques and tangles. How can simple inflammation cause such a devastating disease?
A. You are right. Plaques and tangles are indeed the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. But researchers looking at the brain damage caused by Alzheimer’s have always noted the presence of inflammation wherever plaques and tangles form. In the past, this inflammation was thought to be simply a consequence of Alzheimer’s disease. Now scientists believe the inflammation itself starts a chain reaction ultimately contributing to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
` When cells in the brain are disrupted by inflammation, amyloid, and a protein normally found in the brain, beings to act chaotically. This chaos results in the creation of beta-amyloid, protein that is toxic to cells in the brain. Sticky deposits of beta0amyloid build up and collect around the cells, making dense clumps or plaques. Because the brain can’t break the plaques down and get rid of them, they stay right where they are and slowly accumulate.
Tangles result when long protein fibers that act like scaffolding for brain cells begin to twist and tangle. The cell is damaged and eventually dies. But the tangled proteins remain in the brain even after the dead neuron has been cleared away. And inflammation might be the culprit causing the long protein fibers to start tangling.
The consequence of these abnormalities of protein in the brain is more than the cell death they cause. They also act as roadblocks interfering with electrochemical messengers being shot from cell to cell. Therefore, the remaining healthy cells’ activity is diminished as well.
Research of identical twins has repeatedly shown that if one twin has Alzheimer’s disease, the other has a 60% chance of developing the disease, too. Scientists from the Karolinska Institute in
In fact, the inflammatory process might occur years before the onset of Alzheimer’s, and be the result of any number of infections people can contract. That’s why current research is searching for ways to protect brain cells from inflammation. And why some countries have low rates of Alzheimer’s disease, like
Q. Why curry? Couldn’t other lifestyle difference account for the low rates of Alzheimer’s disease in
A. That’s a good question. When researchers begin studying a disease, like Alzheimer’s, they look for trends to help them determine how and why the disease occurs. For example, we all now know the connection between cigarettes smoking and long cancer. But, it wasn’t until the 1930’s that doctors noticed the trend fro cigarette smokers to have more lung cancer than people who didn’t smoke.
So it has been with researchers studying Alzheimer’s disease. They know Alzheimer’s disease has an important connection to inflammation. They also know turmeric reduces inflammation. And when researchers noticed these trends – that people in India eat high amounts of curry from turmeric and have very little Alzheimer’s disease – they began to theorize that turmeric might be able to prevent or even treat the illness. And the research they designed around these trends has unequivocally found turmeric to be on common denominator.
Q. What have the turmeric studies shown so far?
A. Simply amazing findings are coming from curry research. Not only does turmeric slow down cancer growth, it’s also been found to correct the cystic fibrosis defect in mice, help prevent the onset of alcoholic liver disease, and may slow down other serious brain diseases like multiple sclerosis.
Researchers from the
And now the UCLA Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) is using turmeric in clinical trials and studying the effect of this powerful spice in patients diagnosed with this devastating disease. Clinical trials are the gold standard of medical research. But it’s rare in Alzheimer’s disease. And it’s even more rare when all-natural herbs and spices like turmeric are used in hopes the positive benefits will be discovered. The head of the UCLA’s research team was recently interviewed and stated that setting out to hopefully prove turmeric’s ability to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease was “tremendously exciting.”
Q. I recently read that one of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) was found to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Is this true?
A. Scientists recently studied ibuprofen, one of the NSAIDs investigated for Alzheimer’s disease Prevention. Ibuprofen belongs to a family of drugs that includes naproxen, indomethacin, nabumetone, and several others. These drugs are used most often to get rid of headaches, mild arthritis, and other kinds of pain and inflammation.
In the studies, the average dose of ibuprofen was 800mg a day. Patients took the product for two years. While the results suggested that ibuprofen might reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, ibuprofen’s side effects are too harmful to be a valid lifelong prevent aid treatment. Ibuprofen, like other NSAIDs, can cause gastrointestinal bleeding when used at high dosages over a long period of time. Long term use of ibuprofen can also lead to analgesic nephropathy, a kind of kidney damage caused by NSAIDs.
As we discussed earlier, turmeric appears to block and break up brain plaques that cause the disease and helps reverse some of the damage already present. Ibuprofen does not provide any protection against free radical damage. No anti-inflammatory medicine can do this.
Q. If I eat curry will I be protected against Alzheimer’s disease? There aren’t many foods or recipes I make that require curry, do I need to eat it every day? And how much do I need?
A. If you enjoy Indian cuisine, by all means, enjoy these delicious foods. You’ll benefit your brain and your appetite. But you make a good point, American meals rarely contain curry. That’s why supplements that contain extracts are suddenly quite popular. In fact, there are numerous turmeric/curcumin supplements on the market today.
But like all nutritional supplements, some turmeric supplements are superior to others. You need to read their labels to make sure the turmeric extract you are buying will provide the protection you need. Look for high-potency turmeric extract from turmeric (Curcuma longa) rhizome. And make sure the extract is standardized to contain 90% curcuminoids, the active ingredient in turmeric responsible for the positive research findings.
Researchers once thought that preventing for Alzheimer’s disease would elude them for decades. In fact, several scientists privately speculated the disease might never be ameliorated. They thought the origin of the disease was too complex and the symptoms of the disease were too profound.
That’s why ongoing research on turmeric is so exciting. A safe, natural, and effective way to protect against Alzheimer’s disease almost seems too good to be true. But, the nation of
Memory And Focus
May 08, 2007 02:05 PM
Memory & Focus
Some people think getting older often means getting slower. It’s true that as we age, we may find we can’t walk quite as fast, climb as many flights of stairs, or play sports as hard as we could when we were twenty. However, we k now that a healthy diet, regular exercise, and the right dietary supplements can make a huge difference in our health, strength, and mobility as we age.
This is true for our mental abilities as well. We may not think as quickly as we used to, might misplace our keys more often, and experience more “tip-of-my-tongue” word searches. These so-called “middle-aged moments” most often have minor consequences: a missed appointment or the forgotten name of an acquaintance. However, in a small number of cases, these mental slips can also be the first sign of serious diseases of aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease of other dementias.
The good news is, just like our physical health, we can improve how we function mentally. Eating healthy foods, taking the right supplements, and participating in regular mental exercise can significantly increase our mental endurance, improve our memory, and optimize our ability to focus.
In fact, groundbreaking and ongoing research has discovered that specific herbs and vitamins, particularly Ginkgo Biloba, Bacopa monnieri, folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12, and the important co-enzyme and antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid, all have powerful effects on memory and focus. These nutritional supplements have been scientifically shown to quickly reduce mild age-related memory chances, as well as greatly reducing the risk of developing more serious problems like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or other brain diseases later on in life.
Q. What is the difference between age related memory decline and dementia?
A. As we get older, our nerve cells need more time to spark and connect, slowing the process of bringing memories and events to mind. Another theory is that, as we age, we accumulate more knowledge and memories. The mind then has to sort through much more data to reference a memory. Almost everyone middle-aged and older notices this slowdown. Memory decline and problems with mental focus are a normal part of aging.
While it’s true that the older we get, our chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease increase, this illness is not a normal part of aging. Alzheimer’s is an irreversible, progressive dementia that slowly kills nerve cells in areas of the brain where memory, learning, though, and language take place. Often first appearing as people begin retirement, Alzheimer’s disease makes the “golden years” a time of loss and devastation. Memories vanish, relationships are erased, and independence is gradually lost.
After Alzheimer’s disease, the second most common cause of dementia in older people is multi-infarct dementia. Caused by a series of mini-strokes that damage or destroy brain tissue over time, multi-infarct dementia usually affects people between the ages of 60 and 75. Men are slightly more at risk. High blood pressure is the most significant risk factor for multi-infarct dementia.
Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, strokes, Huntington’s disease, Creutzfelt-Jakob disease, and alcoholism can also cause progressive and irreversible dementia.
While normal age-related memory and focus loss may mean we can’t remember where we put our car keys, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia may mean we can’t remember what our car keys are used for.
Q. Are any types of memory and focus loss reversible?
A. Yes. As women enter menopause, they frequently experience trouble remembering. This memory interference is caused by hormone fluctuations and can affect speech, thinking, and attention. Symptoms of menopause-related memory loss and poor focus include recognizing faces less well than in the past, missing scheduled appointments, and misplacing articles. Once a woman passes through menopause, her ability to remember and focus most often improves.
Certain medications, such as the heavily prescribed cholesterol lowering drugs called stains, can temporarily interfere with memory. Low vitamin B levels, artherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and thyroid disease can cause disruption of mental focus and memory loss. These problems usually resolve with treatment of the underlying disorder.
A certain type of stoke, called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) can cause memory loss that may be reversible. A TIA is a brief episode of stroke symptoms that come on quickly. Sometimes referred to as a “mini-stroke” or “warning stroke,” a TIA is caused by a temporary interruption in the blood supply to the brain. But, unlike a stroke, a TIA does not lead to permanent brain damage. While a TIA is usually short-lived, it is likely to occur again if not properly managed and can be a warning of future stroke.
Q. I seem to forget a lot of things. How can I be sure I don’t have Alzheimer’s disease or some other dementia?
A. If you, or other around you, are concerned about your memory, you should be examined by your health care practitioner. Once the cause of your memory and focus problem is diagnosed, treatment can begin. All causes of memory loss and mental focus disruption can be treated, even Alzheimer’s disease. While presently irreversible dementias cannot be cured, the progression of the disease may be slowed, and in some cases, stopped..
Research on memory loss and mental focus disruption has increased dramatically in the past few years. Discoveries regarding Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as well as age-related loss of memory and focus have recently been made. Most importantly, many new treatment options, including the use of nutritional supplements, have been developed.
Q. How can nutritional supplements improve memory and focus?
A. Several herbs and vitamins have been demonstrated to improve memory and mental focus. While some nutritional supplements work now to improve memory and focus, others work to prevent problems we might develop later.
One of the most researched herbs, Ginkgo biloba, has been found to be effective in improving currently experienced memory and focus loss; in other words, problems we are having now. Ginkgo has been studied in individuals who have age-related memory loss, as well as in those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. It seems that ginkgo can improve many brain functions, such as speeding up memory recall, protecting brain cells from chemical changes and free radical damage, improving blood flow to the brain, and helping nerve cells communicate with each other better.
Several studies examined ginkgo’s effect in healthy people who were experiencing normal age-related memory and focus problems. They determined that ginkgo improved memory, attention, and clarity of thinking. Ginkgo can also help restore memories that may be lost in TIAs, those mini-strokes that were discussed earlier.
In studies of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, the results showed that ginkgo slowed down the disease in those severely afflicted and actually improved those with very mild or moderate disease. In one of these studies, ginkgo was compared to four prescription cholinesterase inhibitors, medications commonly used to treat individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Using written mental tests, the researchers found that ginkgo worked just as effectively as the prescription drugs. While those taking one of the cholinesterase inhibitors dropped out of the study because of disturbing side effects, ginkgo had no side effects and improved symptoms equally as well.
Q. Hoe does Bacopa monnieri help memory and focus?
A. Like ginkgo, bacopa works on the memory and focus problems we are experiencing now. Bacopa grows in
Q. How does alpha lipoic acid help memory and focus?
A. Alpha lipoic acid (
Researchers have discovered unmistakable free radical damage in Alzheimer’s disease. Accordingly,
In a recent study, people with Alzheimer’s disease were given tests that measured through and memory. They were then given
Q. How do vitamins B12 and B6 help memory and focus?
A. Vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient in the regulation of nerve transmissions. It is required by the nervous system for normal brain function, and it may also help with mood.
Researchers have learned that people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias (including Parkinson’s disease) have elevated homocysteine levels. IN fact, t he amount of homocysteine in the blood corresponds to the severity of the disease. Most people with a high homocysteine level don’t have enough folate, vitamin B5 or vitamin B12 in their diet. Replacing these vitamins helps return the homocysteine level to normal.
Reducing homocysteine levels may prevent the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease, or other brain diseases, and improve the symptoms of those already afflicted.
Q. What about folic acid?
A. Folic acid has long been recognized as a vital nutrient for the brain and spinal cord. Recent research has demonstrated that folic acid has significant importance in Alzheimer’s disease.
An ongoing study of Alzheimer’s disease that began in 1986 has been studying 678 members of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in the hopes of learning how the disease develops, how it might be prevented, and how to treat it. Data Collected in the study includes biographies the sisters wrote upon entrance to the order, blood samples from the sisters while they are living, and information gained from the voluntary donation of their brains after death.
Aptly named the “Nun Study,” ground breaking discoveries have already been made. It seems that diet and nutrition have a dramatic influence in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Sisters who had high levels of folic acid showed little evidence of Alzheimer’s-type damage in their brains after death. And, those nuns who had Alzheimer’s disease in spite of high folic acid levels had profoundly less brain damage from the disease. In fact, some sisters who had no outward evidence of Alzheimer’s disease while they were living had surprisingly extensive damage in their brains after death.
Q. Besides taking ginkgo, bacopa, B vitamins, folic acid, and ALA, is there other things I can do to prevent Alzheimer’s disease?
A. You may not know if you have a serious B-vitamin deficiency. Routine lab work does not measure the amount of B vitamins in your blood. You might want to ask your health care practitioner to have your B vitamin level in your blood measured, especially if you are having memory and focus problems. Keep in mind that this type of lab work is fairly expensive, however.
Supplements do not replace the need for a healthy diet, especially a diet with high levels of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and omega-3 fatty acids. Keeping your body healthy helps keep your brain healthy as well.
It also seems that the use-it-or-lose-it theory applies to our brain as well as our body. Research has shown that people who seek opportunities to keep mentally active, such as reading books, newspapers, and magazines, solving crossword puzzles, playing card games, and visiting museums, lower their risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dealing with age-related memory loss may be both frustrating and frightening. As the population of
In fact, more and more research shows prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is a reality. And age-related memory loss can successfully be improved as well. Taking the scientifically validated nutritional supplements ginkgo, bacopa, vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, and
The Power Plant of the Amazon
March 02, 2007 11:34 AM
It may surprise most Americans to know that rainforest plants are the original source for one-fourth of the chemotherapy medications used today. Plants offer a plethora of beneficial compounds, and rainforests contain a superabundance of beneficial plants.
In fact, plant medicines are the most widely used medicines of all types in the world. Over eighty-five percent of the world’s population uses plant and herbal medicines as their primary medicines. That’s 5.1 billion (5,100,000,000) people worldwide! While Americans overwhelmingly use synthetically manufactured pharmaceuticals to cure their ills, the vast majority of Earth’s inhabitants use healing plant medicines instead.
One of the most powerful healing rainforest plant medicines is cat’s claw, or Uncaria tomentosa. This high climbing woody vine grows at the base of tall trees in the Peruvian rainforest. The plant’s claw-shaped thorns latch onto the trees and spiral further upward, nourished by the lush rainforest environment. For over 2,000 years, the Ashaninka, a tribal people of the Peruvian rainforest, have used the root of U. tomentosa to treat illnesses in the tribe, including asthma, bladder infections, infected wounds, arthritis, bone pain, bowel inflammation, and cancer.
Q. I’ve heard about cat’s claw, but what does it do and how do I know which one is right for me?
Cat’s claw might be one of the most confusing (and most effective!) nutritional supplements available in health food stores today. One reason that it’s so confusing is there are so many kinds of cat’s claw supplements-there are cat’s claw leaves, cat’s claw bark, and even cat’s claw twigs. While each of these supplements claim to help the immune system, it is the root of Uncaria tomentosa that is proven to impart the true cat’s claw health benefits.
Scientists, who have extensively studied every part of the plant, discovered that extracts made from selected cat’s claw roots possess the healing power to treat and prevent diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcers and degenerative diseases. In addition, it demonstrates anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-microbial benefits.
Adding to the confusion is the fact that not all Uncaria tomentosa roots actually contain healing properties.
Healers in the Ashaninka tribe attribute the healing properties in cat’s claw to the “good spirits” that live in the plant’s roots. The Ashaninka healers, or sancoshi, are able to actually “see” the good spirits hidden inside the root of the plant before they harvest them.
Some cat’s claw plant roots have the good spirits. Some don’t. If the good spirits are mixed with any cat’s claw root without good spirits, the healing power is lost. While there are no apparent differences in the plants or the roots to the untrained eye, only certain cat’s claw roots possess the power to heal. And, for a very long time, only the Ashaninka tribal healer seemed to be able to identify them. They call the good spirit cat’s claw Saventaro, or “powerful plant”.
However, scientists who were given cat’s claw roots by the Ashaninka to study in the laboratory discovered that they could “see” the good spirits, too! Using high performance liquid chromatography, or HPLC, a laboratory process that identifies various chemical compounds, the good spirits of cat’s claw roots were revealed to be important medicinal compounds called pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids (POAs). Research has learned that POAs provide powerful benefits for the human immune response.
Q. Why are good spirits, or POA’s, good for the immune system?
Cat’s claw POAs work to keep us healthy by directly interacting with white blood cells, the backbone of our immune system. Our white blood cells are the disease fighting cells of the human body. These highly specialized cells fight diseases we catch, such as colds and flu, as well as diseases that start within our own cells, such as cancer and autoimmune diseases. There are many kinds of white blood cells; each has a specific job to do in fighting diseases.
Certain POAs help white blood cells called macrophages work faster. The macrophages’ job is to engulf and digest foreign material. This means that macrophages can ingest m ore bacteria and disease causing microbes when they are exposed to POAs. The scientists also discovered that POA cat’s claw extract increases the production of a chemical protein called interleukin that is secreted by macrophages. This macrophage-secreted interleukin (IL-1) has important immune enhancing properties. IL-1 alerts resting white blood cells and spurs them into action. It also helps make other biochemicals that are essential to an activated immune system.
POAs also help B cells. B cells are white blood cells that make antibodies that kill germs. Each B cell is programmed to make one specific antibody that is effective against one specific germ (such as a bacteria, virus, or fungus). When scientists looked at the number of B cells after they were exposed to POA cat’s claw root extract, they found that the B cells had increased significantly, resulting in an increased supply of antibodies. And perhaps most importantly as they relate to cancer, the POAs in cat’s claw root extract help increase the number of T cells, the true soldiers of the immune system. There are many different kinds of these white blood cells, including Helper T cells, Suppressor T cells, and Killer T cells. Increased Helper, Suppressor, and Killer T-cells can more effectively destroy cancer cells. Increasing the number of circulating T-cells is very important in a disease like AIDS as well.
Q. Can cat’s claw and other plants in the rainforest really cure diseases? Isn’t that just folklore?
It’s folk use and modern science combined-plants have long been known for their ability to kill cancer cells. In fact, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has identified over 3000 plant extracts that can kill cancer cells. More than 70 percent of these plants are found only in the rainforest.
Q. What is it about the rainforest that gives plants like cat’s claw these cancer killing compounds?
Most of the time when we talk about rainforests, we’re talking about the tropical rainforests. While other forests, like the old-growth temperate forests of the Pacific Northwest, also have high rainfalls and tall trees, the tropical rainforests located near the equator are where most plant medicines come from.
The Amazon rainforest in South America is the world’s largest, covering an area about two-thirds the size of the continental United States. Depending on the elevation and distance to the equator the Amazon rainforest receives between 160 and 400 inches of rain per year. The rain is spread pretty evenly from January to December-it’s always the rainy season-and the temperatures remain between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit all year.
This fertile environment continually recycles itself. When leaves fall from the trees, flowers wilt, and animals die in the rainforest-all of the nutrients are recycled back into the roots of the trees and plants. Because the rainforest reuses almost everything that falls to the ground, the plant growth is amazingly rich in alkaloids and other medicinal compounds. Researchers think these compounds and alkaloids, like POAs, protect the plants from illness and insect attacks. These are the very same compounds that protect us from disease.
Q. When the Ashaninka harvest the cat’s claw roots, does it impact the rest of the plant?
No. The Ashaninka work intelligently to keep rainforest cat’s claw plants perpetually healthy. The Ashaninka employ responsible and innovative harvesting techniques to keep the plants alive and tribal members healthy. Individual cat’s claw plants are never completely harvested. Only one third of the lateral roots are Collected at any one time to allow re-growth by the remaining root. Once a plant’s lateral roots have been partially harvested, that plant is left to regenerate, and no more root is harvested from it for 10 years.
Q. Why are the Ashaninka willing to share their cat’s claw?
They are generous people. The Ashaninka see no benefit in hoarding cat’s claw for themselves alone. They also want to make sure that the plant’s healing properties continue on. As their homelands continue to be destroyed by deforestation, rainforest peoples are also disappearing. There were an estimated ten million tribal and indigenous peoples living in the Amazonian Rainforest in 1510. Today there are less than 200,000.
Since the 1900’s more than 90 indigenous tribes have died out and disappeared. Each time a rainforest medicine man or woman dies without passing their arts on to the next generation, the tribe and the world loses thousands of years of irreplaceable knowledge about medicinal plants. With them, centuries of accumulated knowledge of the medicinal value of rainforest species have been lost.
A good example of the impact of this loss can be seen in cat’s claw. When European explorers began venturing into the Amazon River basin, t hey were skeptical of the stories the Ashaninka people told them of U. tomentosa’s amazing healing powers. But when the explorers became sick with colds, flu, or other illnesses, they harvested cat’s claw root for themselves and gave the plant a try. Sometimes the explorers got better when they used the cat’s claw root, sometimes they stayed the same.
Q. Why didn’t the cat’s claw root help all the explorers?
Because some cat’s claw plant roots have good spirits-POAs-and some cat’s claw plant roots have tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids, or TOAs. While the POAs have very powerful effects in the immune system, the TOAs have different effects in the body, none of which help the immune system cells at all. All U. tomentosa plants look virtually identical, so it’s hard to tell if they have the healing POAs or non-helpful TOAs.
What makes cat’s claw identification even more challenging is the fact that plants with POAs one year will have TOAs the next. Cat’s claw plants seem to change their alkaloid chemotypes at will, an incredibly powerful accomplishment for a plant to possess. Harvesting of cat’s claw roots that contain POAs is very tricky. Unless the person gathering the root extract is an Ashaninka sancoshi. These medicine men know which cat’s claw to use; they can actually “see” the good spirits hidden inside the root. When scientists studying cat’s claw discovered they could “see” presence of TOAs using HPLC technology, they were able to harvest cat’s claw root extracts with POAs that consistently helps people get and stay healthy.
Q. Do some cat’s claw root extract supplements contain TOAs?
Yes they do. And buying those products will only benefit the cat’s claw distributor; they won’t help you stay healthy. When cat’s claw root is harvested from the rainforest, responsible supplement maker examine the root with HPLC to make sure that only POA roots are Collected. But, this identification of the chemotypes takes significant time and costs money. For these reasons, many cat’s claw distributors don’t include this important process in their harvesting. The POAs and TOAs are simply just mixed together and sold as a cat’s claw product with no mention of any alkaloid content on the label.
Q. Why should I avoid TOAs?
While the POAs in cat’s claw root extracts have numerous benefits to the immune system, the TOAs have different effects in the body, none helping the immune system cells. Most importantly, however, when POAs and TOAs are mixed together, the TOAs actually work against the POAs. TOAs reduce the capacity of POAs to beneficially modulate the immune system.
Q. How can I be sure the cat’s claw I buy is POA cat’s claw?
Read the label of the cat’s claw root extract product you are considering buying. If it does not clearly state that it is the high POA cat’s claw, then chances are that it’s not.
Q. What do the Ashaninka receive in return for the cat’s claw harvesting?
The Ashaninka and reputable distributors of cat’s claw root extract have established a mutual and ethical relationship. Both groups benefit from the sale of the plant material. Maintaining this relationship is important for both the tribe and the distributors.
The distributors are paying a fair price for the raw material directly to the tribe. No intermediary is involved. This payment covers the raw material itself, a license-fee for the k knowledge of the plant, and a guarantee (from both sides) of a lasting relationship. Payment is also made for the protection of the rainforest. No deforestation is allowed. The area where the cat’s claw materials are processed is also leased and payment is made for this, as well.
This arrangement allows the Ashaninka to make independent decisions in how to spend this income from sale of their cat’s claw plants. They have been able to make improvements in the tribe’s water supply and in their living areas. They are also able to obtain outside medical aid as needed and provide for education of their children.
The partnership with cat’s claw distributors has created a sustainable resource for the Ashaninka. The tribe has been able to not only preserve their rainforest, but also compete financially with unsustainable income sources offered by timber and agricultural firms.
Q. Why is it important to preserve the rainforest?
The most amazing fact about these impressive medicinal plants is the vast number that5 has yet to be discovered. In fact, the rainforest’s abundance is one reason it is home to so many healing plants. Within a four square mile patch of rainforest, you could see 1500 species of flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 125 mammal species, 400 species of birds, 100 reptile species, 60 amphibian species, and 150 different species of butterflies.
Unfortunately, not everyone looks to the rainforest for the same reasons. Many consider its real value in board feet and cultivated acreage. The forces pushing industrial development move quickly; experts estimate that we’re losing over 130 plant, animal, and insect species every day/ That amount to almost 50,000 species a year.
A combination of logging, petroleum interests, cattle grazing operations, and, of course, our own consumer appetites are putting pressure on rainforest resources. The consequences are sobering:
By leaving the rainforest intact, however, and harvesting its many nuts, fruits, oil-producing, and medicinal plants, the rainforest has more economic value than if it was cut down for timber or to make grazing land for cattle. If managed properly, the rainforest can provide the world’s need for sustainably harvested natural resources on a perpetual basis. That’s what the Ashaninka are doing with their cat’s claw harvesting.
The discovery of medicinal plants is dependent upon healthy rainforests. When an acre of tropical rainforest is lost due to deforestation, the impact on the number of plant and animal species lost and their possible uses is staggering.
We can all help the development of sustainable rainforest industries. By purchasing renewable and sustainable rainforest products, like POA type cat’s claw root extract, we are keeping rainforests alive and well. By benefiting from the innate wisdom of the Ashaninka people we are keeping ourselves just as alive and well. By honoring the science and the sacred of the world’s rainforests, like my friend the oncology nurse, the massive wealth and diversity will be there for generations to come.
The “Power” of trace Minerals…
October 08, 2005 11:56 AM
The “Power” of trace Minerals…
These articles piqued hartley’s interest with information about the amazing results people were receiving from drinking a little bit of sea water each day. This led him to research the great salt Lake, an inland sea located near his home. He found that the Great Salt Lake not only had the same minerals and balance discussed by George Crane, but that it was 6 to 10 times more concentrated than regular sea water without the pollution. Hartley knew there was a need for these minerals himself and had seen results from other people that the company was established with initial product sales.
Science was slow to provide answers as to why the minerals from this desert sea caused such a dramatic and varied results in people, but Hartley knew from his growing stack of testimonials that the company’s first product, Inland sea water, was effective. He and his wife, Gaye, founded Trace Minerals Research in 1968 and started selling pure Great Salt Lake water to the public and a short time later, they discovered how to use nature’s own processes to remove the sodium, thereby creating low-sodium, Concentrace TraceMineral Drops.
Hartley and Gaye founded their company on the principle that nutritional supplements should get results and that if a customer does not actually feel an improvement in their health, they should not have to pay for it. This same principle is still evident today in Trace Mineral Research.
Not a single bottle of product leaves our manufacturing facility unless we can confidently back it up with the guarantee of “Feel the Difference or your Money Back.” This guarantee is made possible because minerals and trace minerals needed by Americans today are found in rich abundance, a natural balance and a highly assimilable principle ionic form from the Great Salt Lake. Trace Mineral Research sent most of their products into development because of the spectacular results many people were already discovering from low sodium ConcenTrace and Trace Mineral Drops. The company then combined their formulas of vitamins, herbs, enzymes and other nutrients to enhance the specific benefits people were reporting.
Trace Minerals Research now has a complete line of highly effective nutritional supplements each backed by our guarantee of “Feel the Difference of Your Money Back”. These products are also backed by research and we are continually researching new information on our existing and new products.
Our Philosophy at Trace Mineral Research has always been that the Earth was created with the prefect balance of all the nutrients that humans need to be healthy and happy. The only problem is that over the years humans have become victims of the water cycle. Dr. U. Aswathanarayana states, “Soil erosion leads to the depletion of essential nutrients elements in crops grown in depleted soil. When people consume a diet derived from such crops, the intake of essential elements becomes inadequate. This leads to the impairment of the relevant physiological functions, and causes disease.” For millions of years, every sprouting seed and towering tree has dissolved minerals to ionic form and raised them from the depths of the soil where they could easily be washed away by water. To add to this problem, aggressive farming has further depleted the soils. Furthermore, many fertilizers and pesticides bind trace minerals in the soil so that fewer minerals are absorbed by fruits and vegetables. The importance of minerals in the soil and their effects on human health are not new concepts. Dr. Alexis Carrel, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1912, states, “Soil is the basis of all human life and our only hope for a healthy world… All of life will be either healthy or unhealthy according to the fertility of the soil. Minerals in the soil control the metabolism of cells in plants, animal and man … Diseases are created chiefly by destroying the harmony reigning among mineral substances present in infinitesimal amounts in air, water and food, but most importantly in the soil. Even the AMA recognized the importance of minerals in our diet. “Variations in the distribution of certain minerals in the environment are known to have an effect on health.
The Lack of minerals in our soil is evidenced through the need for constant fertilization. Plants need nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, chlorine, carbon, boron, sulfur, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and molybdenum, some of which are commonly replaced through fertilizers to provide maximum crops through minimum investment. However, humans are known to additionally need calcium, sodium, fluorine, bromine, chromium, iodine, silicon, selenium, beryllium, lithium, cobalt, vanadium and nickel, which would not necessarily be replaced through fertilization for plants.
This continual cycle of soil depletion and minor replacement of minerals through fertilization in conjunction with a diet of processed foods has left many Americans deficient in minerals and trace minerals. This does not need to follow the water cycle. As water goes through the constant cycle from evaporation to precipitation, minerals are transported through rivers and streams where it is then Collected in the seas thereby creating a natural equilibrium.
Today, Trace Minerals Research harvests minerals and trace minerals from the Great Salt Lake, a uniquely rich and pure desert sea. These minerals are the basis for each of their unique products and help provide a strong foundation for balanced supplementation.
October 06, 2005 10:08 PM
Magnesium is a dietary mineral with a wide array of biological activities in the body. Magnesium participates in numerous life-essential processes that occur both inside and outside cells. Magnesium deficiency impacts normal physiologic function on many levels. Adequate magnesium is a fundamental requirement for optimum function of the cardiovascular system, the nervous system and skeletal muscle, as well as the uterus and GI tract. Magnesium deficiency can affect health of the heart, bones and blood vessels and alter blood sugar balance .
Magnesium–Important for Everyone, Deficient in Many The average person living in a modern country today very likely consumes less than the optimum amount of magnesium . An abundance of data Collected over the last two decades shows a consistent pattern of low magnesium intake in the U.S. This pattern cuts a wide swath across various age-sex groups. The USDA’s Nationwide Food Consumption Survey found that a majority of Americans consumed less than the recommended daily magnesium intake . Twelve age-sex groups were studied and this low magnesium intake was true for all groups except 0 to 5 year olds.
An analysis of the nutrient content of the diets of 7,810 individuals age four and above included magnesium among several nutrients where the amounts supplied by the average diet "were not sufficient to meet recommended standards" . The FDA’s Total Diet study examined the intakes of eleven minerals, including magnesium, among eight age-sex groups. Data was Collected four times yearly from 1982 to 1984. Levels of magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and copper were low for most age-sex groups . Surveys conducted in Europe and in other parts of North America paint a similar picture. Loss of magnesium during food processing is one explanation for this global lack of adequate dietary magnesium .
In particular, the elderly may be susceptible to magnesium deficiency for a variety of reasons, including inadequate magnesium intake, poor absorption due to impaired gastrointestinal function and use of drugs such as diuretics that deplete magnesium from the body . It has recently been theorized that magnesium deficiency may contribute to accelerated aging, through effects on the cardiovascular and nervous systems, as well as muscles and the kidneys .
Women who take both synthetic estrogen and calcium supplements may be at risk for low blood levels of magnesium . Estrogen promotes the transfer of magnesium from blood to soft–tissues. Low blood magnesium may result if the ratio of calcium to magnesium intake exceeds 4 to 1. Magnesium supplementation is thus advisable for women taking estrogen and calcium.
Young adults are not immune to magnesium deficiency. The University of California’s Bogalusa Heart Study Collected nutritional data from a cross-sectional sample of 504 young adults between age 19 and 28 . The reported intake of magnesium, along with several other minerals and vitamins, was below the RDA.
Glycine is a highly effective mineral chelator. This is because it is a low-molecular-weight amino acid, hence is easily transported across the intestinal membrane. A study conducted at Weber State University found this particular magnesium glycinate was absorbed up to four times more effectively than typical magnesium supplements.
Magnesium-the Versatile Mineral
The average adult body contains anywhere from about 21 to 28 grams of magnesium. Approximately 60 percent of the body’s magnesium supply is stored in bone. Soft tissue, such as skeletal muscle, contains 38%, leaving only about 1 to 2% of the total body magnesium content in blood plasma and red blood cells. Magnesium in the body may be bound either to proteins or "anions" (negatively charged substances.) About 55% of the body’s magnesium content is in the "ionic" form, which means it carries an electrical charge. Magnesium ions are "cations," ions that carry a positive charge. In its charged state, magnesium functions as one of the mineral "electrolytes."
Magnesium works as a "co-factor" for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. Metabolism uses a phosphate containing molecule called "ATP" as its energy source. Magnesium is required for all reactions involving ATP . ATP supplies the energy for physical activity, by releasing energy stored in "phosphate bonds".
Skeletal and heart muscle use up large amounts of ATP. The energy for muscle contraction is released when one of ATP’s phosphate bonds is broken, in a reaction that produces ADP. Phosphate is added back to ADP, re-forming ATP. ATP also powers the cellular "calcium pump" which allows muscle cells to relax. Because it participates in these ATP-controlled processes, magnesium is vitally important for muscle contraction and relaxation. By controlling the flow of sodium, potassium and calcium in and out of cells, magnesium regulates the function of nerves as well as muscles .
Magnesium’s importance for heart health is widely recognized. The heart is the only muscle in the body that generates its own electrical impulses. Through its influence on the heart’s electrical conduction system, magnesium is essential for maintenance of a smooth, regular heartbeat . Magnesium appears to help the heart resist the effects of systemic stress. Magnesium deficiency aggravates cardiac damage due to acute systemic stress (such as caused by infection or trauma), while magnesium supplementation protects the heart against stress . This has been found true even in the absence of an actual magnesium deficit in the body.
Evidence suggests that magnesium may help support mineral bone density in elderly women. In a two-year open, controlled trial, 22 out of a group of 31 postmenopausal women who took daily magnesium supplements showed gains in bone density. A control group of 23 women who declined taking the supplements had decreases in bone density . The dietary intakes of magnesium, potassium, fruit and vegetables are associated with increased bone density in elderly women and men . In an interesting animal study, rats were fed diets with either high or low levels of magnesium. Compared to the high magnesium-fed rats, bone strength and magnesium content of bone decreased in the low-magnesium rats, even though these rats showed no visible signs of magnesium deficiency . While this finding may or may not apply to humans, it raises the possibility that diets supplying low magnesium intakes may contribute to weakening of bone in the elderly.
Maximizing Absorption––Chelated Minerals Explained Mineral absorption occurs mainly in the small intestine. Like any mineral, magnesium may be absorbed as an "ion," a mineral in its elemental state that carries an electric charge. Mineral ions cross the intestinal membrane either through "active transport" by a protein carrier imbedded in the cells lining the membrane inner wall, or by simple diffusion. The magnesium in mineral salts is absorbed in ionic form. However, absorption of ionic minerals can be compromised by any number of factors, including: 1) Low solubility of the starting salt, which inhibits release of the mineral ion, and 2) Binding of the released ion to naturally occurring dietary factors such as phytates, fats and other minerals that form indigestible mineral complexes .
A second absorption mechanism has been discovered for minerals. Experiments have shown that minerals chemically bonded to amino acids (building blocks of protein) are absorbed differently from mineral ions. This has given rise to the introduction of "chelated" minerals as dietary supplements. Mineral amino acid chelates consist of a single atom of elemental mineral that is surrounded by two or more amino acid molecules in a stable, ring-like structure.
Unlike mineral salts, which must be digested by stomach acid before the desired mineral portion can be released and absorbed, mineral chelates are not broken down in the stomach or intestines. Instead, chelates cross the intestinal wall intact, carrying the mineral tightly bound and hidden within the amino acid ring. The mineral is then released into the bloodstream for use by the body. Research by pioneers in the field of mineral chelation and human nutrition indicates that the best-absorbed chelates consist of one mineral atom chelated with two amino acids. This form of chelate is called a "di-peptide." Compared to other chelates, di-peptides have the ideal chemical attributes for optimum absorption . Dipeptide chelates demonstrate superior absorption compared to mineral salts. For example, a magnesium di-peptide chelate was shown to be four times better absorbed than magnesium oxide .
Consumer Alert! Not all "amino acid chelates" are true chelates. In order for a mineral supplement to qualify as a genuine chelate, it must be carefully processed to ensure the mineral is chemically bonded to the amino acids in a stable molecule with the right characteristics. The magnesium bis-glycinate/lysinate in High Absorption Magnesium is a genuine di-peptide chelate ("bis" means "two"). It has a molecular weight of 324 daltons, considerably lower than the upper limit of 800 daltons stated in the definition of "mineral amino acid chelates" adopted by the National Nutritional Foods Association in 1996 .
Bioperine® For Enhanced Absorption Bioperine® is a natural extract derived from black pepper that increases nutrient absorption.* Preliminary trials on humans have shown significant increases in the absorption of nutrients consumed along with Bioperine® .
Scientific References 1. Abbott, L.R., R., Clinical manifestations of magnesium deficiency. Miner electrolyte Metab, 1993. 19: p. 314-22. 2. Durlach, J., Recommended dietary amounts of magnesium: Mg RDA. Magnesium Research, 1989. 2(3): p. 195-202. 3. Morgan, K.e.a., Magnesium and calcium dietary intakes of the U.S. population. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 1985. 4: p. 195-206. 4. Windham, C., Wyse, B., Hurst, R. Hansen, R., Consistency of nutrient consumption patterns in the United States. J AM Diet Assoc, 1981. 78(6): p. 587-95. 5. Pennington, J., Mineral content of foods and total diets: the Selected Minerals in Food Survey, 1982 to 1984. J AM Diet Assoc, 1986. 86(7): p. 876-91. 6. Marier, J., Magnesium Content of the Food Supply in the Modern- Day World. Magnesium, 1986. 5: p. 1-8. 7. Costello, R., Moser-Veillon, P., A review of magnesium intake in the elderly. A cause for concern? Magnesium Research, 1992. 5(1): p. 61-67. 8. Durlach, J., et al., Magnesium status and aging: An update. Magnesium Research, 1997. 11(1): p. 25-42. 9. Seelig, M., Increased need for magnesium with the use of combined oestrogen and calcium for osteoporosis treatment. Magnesium Research, 1990. 3(3): p. 197-215. 10. Zive, M., et al., Marginal vitamin and mineral intakes of young adults: the Bogalusa Heart Study. J Adolesc, 1996. 19(1): p. 39-47. 11. McLean, R., Magnesium and its therapeutic uses: A review. American Journal of Medicine, 1994. 96: p. 63-76. 12. Graber, T., Role of magnesium in health and disease. Comprehensive Therapy, 1987. 13(1): p. 29-35. 13. Sueta, C., Patterson, J., Adams, K., Antiarrhythmic action of pharmacological administration of magnesium in heart failure: A critical review of new data. Magnesium Research, 1995. 8(4): p. 389- 401. 14. Classen, H.-G., Systemic stress, magnesium status and cardiovascular damage. Magnesium, 1986. 5: p. 105-110. 15. Stendig-Lindberg, G., Tepper, R., Leichter, I., Trabecular bone density in a two year controlled trial of peroral magnesium in osteoporosis. Magnesium Research, 1993. 6(2): p. 155-63. 16. Tucker, K., et al., Potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetable intakes are associated with greater bone mineral density in elderly men and women. Am J Clin Nutr, 1999. 69(4): p. 727-736. 17. Heroux, O., Peter, D., Tanner, A., Effect of a chronic suboptimal intake of magnesium on magnesium and calcium content of bone and bone strength of the rat. Can J. Physiol. Pharmacol., 1975. 53: p. 304-310. 18. Pineda, O., Ashmead, H.D., Effectiveness of treatment of irondeficiency anemia in infants and young children with ferrous bisglycinate chelate. Nutrition, 2001. 17: p. 381-84. 19. Adibi, A., Intestinal transport of dipetides in man: Relative importance of hydrolysis and intact absorption. J Clin Invest, 1971. 50: p. 2266-75. 20. Ashmead, H.D., Graff, D., Ashmead, H., Intestinal Absorption of Metal Ions and Chelates. 1985, Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas. 21. NNFA definition of mineral amino acid chlelates, in NNFA Today. 1996. p. 15. 22. Bioperine-Nature's Bioavailability Enhancing Thermonutrient. 1996, Sabinsa Corporation: Piscataway, N.J.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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Pesticide Report Shows Widespread Body Burden.
September 16, 2005 10:50 AM
Women and Children Especially Vulnerable
Most Americans carry toxic pesticides in their bodies, according to a recent report. Often, the so called “body Burden” of these chemicals is well above government-defined safety levels. Included are pesticides linked to cancer, birth defects, low birth weight, declining sperm counts, and infertility.
Chemical Trespass, by the Pesticide Action Network, analyzes data Collected by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) from blood and urine analyses of 9,282 people. Among the findings:
Pesticides residues and metabolites were found in every subject. The average person had 13 pesticides in his or her body. The Average 6 to 11 year old was exposed to certain organophosphorus (OP) pesticides at four times the levels deemed acceptable by the environmental protection agency. Children are especially susceptible to dietary pesticides since they eat more food on a body weight basis than adults.
Organochlorine (OC) pesticides were found as significantly higher levels in women. This probably reflects women’s higher body fat content; OC pesticides are stored in fatty tissue.
Mexican-Americans showed the highest pesticides exposure, probably due to their disproportionate employment in agriculture. However, the statistics did not include occupational information.
Many pesticides used widely in the past, such as DDT and chlordane, are still found in our bodies, even in children born years after they were banned.
Cause for Alarm?
The CDC, which tested for 116 environmental chemicals, stressed that presence of these chemicals in the body does not necessarily indicate disease and called for more study of the dosages that should cause concern. The Pesticide Action Network sharply criticized this approach as a “Failure to protect public health.” Much evidence links long-term, low-level exposure to chronic illnesses, the group said, and the problem is more acute when one considers the additive effects of combining chemicals.
Pesticides and the wellness Revolution
This study shows the need for a system that relies on organic agriculture and alternative pest controls. Meanwhile, individuals should take advantage of the organic products available in health food stores, and the herbs and nutrients that support detoxification and immunity—for example, silymarin, N-acetyl cysteine, Reishi and shiitake mushroom, turmeric, and much more.
Sources: Second National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, Center for Disease Control, available online at www.cdc.gov.exposurereport Chemical Trespass, Pesticide action network, available online at www.panna.org
HOW BIOAVAILABLE IS PYCNOGENOL?
July 13, 2005 12:30 PM
HOW BIOAVAILABLE IS PYCNOGENOL?
The results of isotopic testing confirmed that grape seed proanthocyanidins had a specific affinity for collagen, and demonstrated how long the bioflavonoid complex adhered to living tissue. Because this testing was not possible on pine bark sources of proanthocyanidins, data Collected from grape seed testing has been extrapolated or applied to pine bark. Pycnogenol is rapidly absorbed and transported throughout the cellular system due to the high water solubility of the proanthocyanidins. Within one hour of ingesting this bioflavonoid complex, proanthocyanidins can be detectedin human saliva. Pycnogenol uptake in the body is rapid and is quickly distributed.
The bot tom line is that Pycnogenol is a water-soluble bioflavonoid which is quickly assimilated after ingestion into the bloodstream. There, it acts to scavenge free radicals and to strengthen connective tissue. The proanthocyanidins found in Pycnogenol can not only scavenge and remove free radicals, but inhibit their propagation as well.
THE TOLERABILITY AND SAFETY OF PYCNOGENOL
It would certainly be pointless to find a substance that while seemingly beneficial, was not safe or could not be well tolerated by its users. Studies have shown that pure sources of Pycnogenol are practically devoid of any oral toxicity. Even extremely high dosages administered over sustained periods of time showed no toxicity or side-effects.14 Virtually no actual or potential risks were found with this compound. Pycnogenol has been shown to be safe for conception, pregnant women, and the unborn fetus. It is devoid of any perior postnatal toxicity. On the contrary, the compounds were found to not only benefit targeted disorders, but a variety of other conditions improved as well.
PYCNOGENOL AS A DIETARY SUPPLEMENT
July 13, 2005 10:01 AM
PYCNOGENOL AS A DIETARY SUPPLEMENT
While flavonoid concentrates were used in ancient times to treat a variety of human diseases, modern medicine has failed to utilize their enormous therapeutic potential. We assume RDA standards to provide us with all the vitamin C and bioflavonoids we need to be healthy. Even if these set quantities were accurate for maintaining optimal health, how many of us eat diets nutritious enough to maintain maximum health and protection? In other words, do we consume enough fruits and ve g etables to affo rd us adequate levels of vitamin C and bioflavonoids to provide the free radical protection we need?
“The USDA conducted a study in which they Collected dietary information over the course of the year for four independent days. In that study 20% of the adult women had no fruit or juice for four days, and about 45% had no citrus fruit or citrus fruit juice in four days.”6
MALNUTRITION IN THE MIDST OF PLENTY?
Only 9% of our population gets and eats enough fruits and vegetables on a consistent basis. Unquestionably, most of us are not getting enough vitamin C and flavonoid compounds from our diets.
In addition, it’s important to remember that modern farming techniques, pre m a t u re harve sting of fruits and vegetables, indefinite cold storage, freezing, canning and cooking may denature food of its vitamin C and bioflavonoid content. Because we know that diseases are often nothing more than nutritional deficiencies, we must make adequate supplementation a priority if we want to enhance our longevity.
As mentioned earlier, biofl avonoids must combine with vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in order to be effective. Mother nature was well aware of this synergistic relationship, as most plant biof l avonoids accomp a ny vitamin C compounds. In addition, the best, most bio-active and bioavailable flavonols must be chosen for their antioxidant properties. An overwhelming consensus exists that Pycnogenol may be the ideal choice.
June 25, 2005 12:57 PM
Ginseng is one of the oldest and most beneficial herbs in the world. It is probably the most popular adaptogenic herb used in traditional medicine. Shen- Nung’s Pharmacopoeia (A.D. 206-220) rated it the highest and most potent of herbs. People in northern China began using ginseng thousands of years ago. In fact, in 1904, it was suggested that all of the 400 million individuals who lived in China were familiar with and used ginseng to some degree.6 It was used to restore the “yang” quality in the body to heal disorders such as t u b e rculosis, coughs, diabetes, diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, kidney problems, rheumatism, gout, infected sores, insomnia, leprosy, and impotence. It was often used, and is still today, as a tonic to rejuvenate the body after an illness or prolonged stress.
Early herbalists recognized the shape of ginseng as resembling a human figure. They felt this was a sign that the root was valuable for healing the entire body.7 It is often referred to as the “man root” and is the subject of many legends and folk history. Proponents of the “Doctrine of Signatures” felt that because of the roots shape, it could heal any disorder in the body.8 The Chinese were so enthralled with the ginseng root that they even fought wars over the land used for growing it.
The Native Americans also enjoyed the healing, tonic benefits of the American ginseng plant. It was valued by the natives long before the arrival of the Europeans. Many tribes knew well the therapeutic powers of ginseng. They used it to relieve nausea, indigestion, vomiting, stomach problems, bronchitis, earaches, bleeding, asthma, headaches and as an aphrodisiac. The Cherokees referred to ginseng as “The Plant of Life” and used it to help relieve female problems such as menstrual cramps and excessive bleeding. The Mohawks were familiar with the value of ginseng and used it to help relieve fevers accompanying illness.9 The Seneca tribe was known to use ginseng to help elderly individuals prevent difficulties associated with the aging process.10 The Native Americans saw nature as a friend and looked for healing agents within the plant kingdom. American ginseng was used and valued for its medicinal properties. Folklore and customs are now being investigated in this world of modern medicine to rediscover the natural approach in healing and health.
Father Jurtoux has been credited with discovering the American ginseng. He was a French priest transferred from China to Canada around 1709. He Collected some of the root near Montreal because they resembled the Panax ginseng. He shipped some back to China where it had a favorable reception. The French soon began employing some of the Native Americans to collect and then exported the American ginseng to China. Word of this fabulous and profitable ginseng spread to the United States. Soon the American ginseng was gathered and exported to China by Americans. Ginseng was a popular item in the early frontier days. It was used not only for trade but for consumption locally. George Washington mentioned ginseng in his personal journal, and famous frontiersmen such as Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett were known to have been involved in the exporting of ginseng.
Ginko . . . A Cure for the Common Cold?
June 25, 2005 11:54 AM
Ginko . . . A Cure for the Common Cold?
In his book, Secrets of the Chinese Herbalists, Richard Lucas says, “According to a German newspaper, Dr. Joachim H. Volkner, a nose, ear and throat specialist is Berlin, announced the discovery of a lightning cure for the common cold. Dr. Volkner found that if a person inhales an essence prepared from the leaves of the ginkgo tree, his cold will improve.” Two hundred and twenty-four people tried the ginkgo treatment and the results were dramatic, to say the least.
The German reportstated, “The inflamed areas healed immediately.”9 Lucas goes on, “Dr. Volkner confesses that he hasn’t as yet identified the exact substance in the ginkgo leaves that produces the therapeutic effects, but he does explain how the treatment works. When a person catches a cold, the cells of the mucous membranes are damaged and are unable to store moisture . The efficiency of the cell walls becomes impaired because substances in the cell press against these walls. Apparently, the ginkgo essence forces these components of the cell back into its interior. Dr. Volkner explains that ‘the microbes which have Collected inside die off, and very shortly after inhalation of the ginkgo essence they completely disappear.’” 10
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.
Understanding Herbal Extracts
May 13, 2005 10:24 AM
Understanding Herbal Extracts
Herbalists have traditionally felt that herbs should be used in their whole form to get the benefits of the natural healing substances in them. Others point out that, since herbs do vary from batch to batch in the amounts of these substances they contain, you can never know exactly what you're getting when using an herb as it is picked in the wild or cultivated. Depending on where the herb is grown, and the time of year when it is Collected, it may contain widely varying amounts of its important active ingredients.
A new kind of herbal preparation called the 'standardized extract,' solves this problem. Standardized extracts, widely used in Europe, are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. The standardized extract gives a uniform, consistent amount of the key active ingredients contained in an herb, while still retaining the virtues of the whole plant.
The process used to make standardized extracts also allows the active herbal ingredients to be concentrated. Concentrating the active ingredients, for many herbs, gives a major advantage–you get significant benefits without having to consume large amounts of the crude herb. An example of this is Ginkgo biloba extract. Ginkgo extract is fifty-to-one concentrate, meaning fifty pounds of Ginkgo biloba leaves are required to produce just one pound of extract. Ginkgo biloba extract is standardized for a 24 percent content of flavonglycosides and 6 percent lactones. These active ingredients give Ginkgo biloba extract its clinically proven benefits for circulation and memory. Because of this high concentration, Ginkgo biloba extract costs more than crude Ginkgo leaf. But the benefits far outweigh the price difference.
Standardized extracts are "Guaranteed Potency" extracts-the consumer is guaranteed to receive a meaningful amount of the herb's active ingredients in each serving, along with the desired benefits.
VitaNet ® Staff