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Here's what research shows about the mental health benefits ofginger
March 29, 2019 01:14 PM
Taking in a consistent amount of ginger throughout the week is showing to have several positive benefits in terms of both physical and mental health. Not only can ginger help patients who deal with chronic pain such as arthritic discomfort by treating inflammation, but it can also help improve cognitive function as well. Our brains are continuously faced with pollutants found in the air and food we consume, which can directly decrease our brain's functionality. The dopamine levels replaced by ginger can help aid in protecting our brains from these potential threats.
"Ginger is often used as an anti-inflammatory, making it a popular natural remedy for arthritis. The plant’s anti-inflammatory property can also help people with brain disorders like ADHD, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, brain fog, and depression, which are often associated with chronic inflammation of the brain."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-27-mental-health-benefits-of-ginger.html
CBD may help smokers quit cigarettes, finds new study
June 20, 2018 04:44 PM
Humans have what is called a electrochemical system that can be directly impacted by substances referred to as endocannabinoids. One of these is cannabidiol (CBD). CBD oil was given to 30 participants in a 2013 study, and it showed that it helped them successfully reduce the amount of cigarettes that they smoked by 40%. More studies have to be done to determine a direct correlation, but this is good news for those who are continuously struggling to find natural ways to quit.
"In 2013, a study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors found that smokers who were given a CBD inhaler reduced their cigarette consumption by around 40% compared to those given a placebo."
Read more: https://www.healthnutnews.com/cbd-may-help-smokers-quit-cigarettes-finds-new-study/
5 Things You Should Know Before You Take NSAIDs To Relieve Workout Pain
July 11, 2017 07:14 AM
Although taking ibuprofen for every ache and pain, especially after exercising, seems safe, it's actually a pretty bad idea. Too much can lead to high blood pressure and A-fib to name a few which can cause blood clots. It can also cause kidney and muscle damage from fluid retention and too much sodium caused by the fluid buildup. Try massages to help sore muscles instead. A hot bath maybe. Try to think about how much you have had to drink that day since dehydration can cause muscle soreness. Be sure to stretch as well. For continuous pain consider physical therapy.
Read more: 5 Things You Should Know Before You Take NSAIDs To Relieve Workout Pain
Do You Need a Probiotic? Here's How to Find Out
May 10, 2017 08:44 AM
The idea of taking a probiotic might seem off-putting at first, after all, you are going against your common knowledge of wanting to keep bacteria out of your body by putting it in. However, scientists are continuously finding more reasons why you should take probiotics and symptoms that can be treated by them. Gas and lactose intolerance are just two of the internal problems that probiotics can fix. Probiotics can also be helpful in other arenas: they can be good for your dry skin, be a safeguard against unsanitary drinking water and can help fight the nasty side effects of antibiotics. While the mere thought of putting bacteria in your body might make your skin crawl, keep in mind that it can also be good for it!
"Some studies have suggested possible linkage of lactobacillus supplementation and the treatment and prevention of yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, urinary tract infections."
Read more: http://www.rd.com/health/wellness/do-i-need-a-probiotic/
Powerful Health Benefits of Pomegranate
The abundant skinned seedy fruit, Pomegranate offers a variety of health, beauty and clinical benefits. Apart from eating the food raw, people even use pomegranate juice that helps both skin and health in some ways. Pomegranate is one of the healthy foods and should be included in the regular diet. The peel of the fruit contains the highest amount of antioxidants that are released when Pomegranate is squeezed. Drinking the juice of the fruit helps assimilate all the nutrients by the body. Experts say that one glass of pomegranate juice offers forty percent of the routine requirement of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and folic acids as well. However, one should not sweeten the juice as sugar is inflammatory and counteract the health benefits of the juice.
Pomegranate juice is recommended for pregnant women because it enables the healthy flow of blood. It is even crucial for the overall development of the fetus as well. The content of potassium in pomegranate juice prevents leg cramps. The highlight is pomegranate benefits health in many ways. The juice is considered to be a secret of vibrant skin. The juice helps reduce wrinkles on the face that are a result of Continuous exposure to the sun. The juice works wonder for all types of skin and penetrates easily. The fruit helps in cell regeneration and quickens the course of wound healing. Pomegranate is known to improve the texture of skin by offering strength to the skin. Drinking a glass of pomegranate juice daily helps not just the skin but most of the organs of the body.
Moderate exercise can boost fertility in men
December 18, 2016 10:59 AM
For all the men out there that don't think its possible to increase their sperm count and fertility, this study will prove you wrong. According to recent research, moderate exercise can very much help out in the struggle to maintain fertility even for men who might be increasing a bit in age.
"Sperm samples were evaluated before, during and after the exercise period, and were compared with the results from the control group, who did not exercise. While all exercising men showed improvements in their semen quality – probably because of weight loss – moderate but Continuous training, which included running on a treadmill for 25 to 30 minutes three to four days per week, showed the best results regarding semen quality."
MSG: Here is why you should stay far away from it.
MSG is a neurotransmitter that stimulates nerves, which makes food that would normally be bland taste great. Because MSG is often used to compensate for low-sodium or low-fat contents, many food manufacturers try to downplay its toxicity in order to promote their products as healthy. As a result, people who believe they are buying healthy foods are actually putting their health at risk by consuming large amounts of MSG.
The following are the health risks of MSG:
MSG is widely used in the food industry, which makes finding MSG-free foods a challenge. It is often hidden on ingredient lists under different names to mislead consumers.
If you are experiencing inflammation issues, take Curcumin to eliminate all forms of inflammation.
First Day of School and your Child Comes Home Sick? Fight Back With This Remedy
It is quite disheartening when your beloved child comes home sick on his first day of school. And that is most likely due to bacteria back in their school. How do you deal with it? How do you ensure your child is healthy again and cushion him from such sicknesses in the future?
Digestive health is essential when fighting back against bacteria at school.
One way to boost digestive health is through soluble fiber. Acacia fiber is a kind of soluble fiber extracted from Acacia Senegal tree sap. It grows in Pakistan, India and some Parts of Africa. It is also known as the acacia gum or gum Arabic.
The Acacia Fiber is also a prebiotic fibers essential for the strengthening of the good bacteria in the gut. Your child's first line of defense is in the digestive tract. Keeping their friendly bacteria healthy can block the spread of bacteria in the digestive tract.
Acacia fiber is odorless, flavorless and doesn’t cause bloating and gas (because it slows down what is known as colonic fermentation). The substance is very safe for Continuous and even lifelong use. It has been labeled as safe for use in the treatment of children.
Fight back against school born bacteria by strengthening your child's own friendly bacteria with either a soluble fiber like acacia or by giving them a probiotic daily.
What Causes Candida?
A yeast infection is brought about due to yeast overgrowth. Candidiasis is the most common kind of yeast infection. Usually, there are more than twenty species of candida with the most common or popular being Candida albicans. Under suitable conditions, particularly in moist and warm areas these fungi become numerous and cause infections. Some of these infections like vaginal yeast infections.
What causes candida?
Unhealthy feeding habits leads to candida overgrowth. Consumption of foods high in sugar contents raises the risk of developing candida. Some of these common foods include juice, honey, ice cream, maple syrup, soda and chocolates among others.
These class of drugs upsets the inner bowel ecology and affects body immune system since they are unnatural, artificial and man-made. Usually, antibiotics are designed for short time use. Using antibiotics for longer periods leads to accumulation of their negative side effects that bring about life threatening diseases including candida.
Stress affects the bowel movement and body immune system resulting in candida overgrowth. Mental stress and emotional nervousness cause nausea, chronic fatigue, diarrhea, ulcers, high blood pressure and many related health problems.
Excessive alcohol consumption kills off friendly bacteria which increases liver toxicity and promotes candida overgrowth dysbiosis. Usually, alcohol is a by-product of yeast escalating the possible hazard.
For instance, mercury weakens body immune system causing candida among other health problems. Silver amalgam fillings comprises more than 50% mercury which is Continuously released in vapor and particle form during grinding, chewing and brushing teeth.
Diabetes, especially among women, causes a yeast infection. An increased blood sugar level nourishes the candida yeast, boosting its growth and dominance of the other microorganisms in the gut.
Conditions that weaken the body immune system like cancer, aids, hepatitis, herpes and others causes fungal infections. According to scientific research, most individuals suffering from serious illness are victims of Candida Albicans/ yeast infections.
What Are Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) And What Herbs Contain Them?
Glycosaminoglycans refers to a linear unbranched polysacharide chain molecule composed of disaccharides repeats with a high negative charge due to the presence of Uronic acid components and sulfate esters with some hydoxyl (OH) groups as part of its structural components. They have varying molecular size and sulfation depending on the tissue they are located on and their state. They function to attract cations and maintain the hydration of the extracellular membrane (E.C.M).
Glycoaminoglycans are classified into different groups based on different categories which include; glycosidic linkages in their structure, type of the sugar moiety, sulphate groups numbers and the location of the sulfate groups. Based on this various classification categories six major groups of GAGs exists, namely; heparin, hyaluronan, dermatan sulfate, heparin sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, and keratan sulfate.
GAGs have a high solvation degree and and are as well highly viscous. This is beneficial to the body in that it helps to cushion and lubricate various connective tissues and body joints respectively. It therefore protects an individual from joint pains due to poor lubrication of the joints causing the bone to slide over each other. They also form the building blocks of proteoglycans which are the major building blocks of the extracellular matrix. Due to this property they are vital in determining the cellular activities such as cell division because the cell division machinery has to attach itself to the extracellular matrix before the division process is initiated. Some body tissues such as the nerve cells and the muscle cells require Continuous cell division to replace worn out cells for the normal functioning. This means that structural deformities in the extracellular matrix will hinder the division process to occur and is most likely to lead to some neurodegenerative complexions.
Recent studies have linked GAGs to play a role in the cell biology of cancer.They have been established as the key macromolecules affecting cell properties and functions through interaction with key growth factors or by acting directly as receptor molecules. Through this it has been findings they play a vital role in the cell signaling process thus playing a role in the cancer disease progression.Heparin and heparin sulfate have been indicated through studies to have anti-tumor effects by preventing the process of angiogenesis which is the first step in cancer metastasis.Some have been associated with anti-coagulant properties.
Therefore GAGs are important molecules which play a vital role in protection against various forms of cancers. GAGs aremostly obtained from animal sources. The animal sources include shark fish and ray skeletons. Plants are also sources of GAGs, however their digestion by the human system is not possible. Seaweed is one herb that is rich in GAGs. However as earlier explain the digestion of the sea weed by the animal digestive system is quite a challenge. It is therefore recommended that we eat foods rich in proteins, and carbohydrates which can be used to synthesize GAGs in the body.
In summary, GAGs are heteropolymers which acts as the building blocks of the extracellular matrix in animals. The body has the ability to synthesize GAGs naturally hence nutritional supplement is required for the body to obtain key components necessary for the synthesis.
BENEFITS OF TURMERIC
Turmeric or also known as "the golden spice of life", is an important culinary ingredient around the world. Turmeric is a tropical perennial herb that is domestically cultivated in India since the ancient times. It has been used for thousands of years as the main ingredient for curry. It gave the golden color to Indian food and dishes. Additionally, other than being used as a curry in most Indian cooking, turmeric is also known for its medicinal value. It was used by ancient Indians to treat a multitude of conditions.
Adding turmeric in your everyday diet, effortlessly turns your kitchen and dish into a good resource of health and healing. Turmeric has gained popularity in the recent days for its potential in lowering cholesterol, reducing blood sugar in diabetics, reducing colon inflammation, healing wounds, and fighting cancer as well as preventing Alzheimer’s disease. It is known to contain anti-inflammatory antiseptic and antioxidant qualities. Without much explanation, it means Continuous use of turmeric in our dishes improves our chances to be protected from major illnesses.
"Turmeric" is made from turmeric roots that are dried and powdered making it easy to put in food as curry. This root powder contains the healing compound, curcumin. Other parts of the plant also have healing abilities. Here are other benefits of turmeric:
Turmeric is not only used as a culinary ingredient but also as a good resource of healing. This article covers only a few of the benefits of using turmeric, there are more uses and a number of researches to discover the wonders of "the golden spice of life."
Dental Benefits of Xylitol; Protect your teeth against decay.
October 07, 2014 08:34 PM
Different Types of Royal Jelly
June 12, 2014 08:54 PM
What is a royal jelly?
Royal jelly is a gelatin-held substance, which is normally emitted from the cephalic organs of the working drones for the expansion of the ruler honeybee. The hugeness of this white substance for ruler honeybee could be comprehended with a truth that without it, the monarch bumblebee and other working drones will not prosper.
Benefits of royal jelly
The concoction component of illustrious jam is that it is a water-based emulsion of lipids, proteins, sugars and assortments of elements. Further, there are sure parts of it that work against diverse sorts of bacterial executors. It is additionally paramount that the sugar synthesis of bumblebee jam is indistinguishable to those found in glucose and nectar fructose.
The counterfeit detailing of illustrious jam is carried out through distinctive conversion stages, for example, transforming it into different structures like cases, mixture, chewable tablets and fluid. The readiness of the substance is of two sorts, specifically - stop dried and new.
A few producers make offers of crisp jam straightforwardly to clients. In the end, the clients get profits as far as benefitting bumblebee items holding well being profits and sturdiness. Naturally, with such strong item, the expense of purchasing a new one is unreasonable purchase for the clients.
One of the wonderful sorts is stop-dried substance. This is a direct result of the reason that the stop-dried sort holds complete well being support profits alongside providing for your long lifespan of the item. That intends to say, different sorts of it cannot provide for you a life span ensure as stop dried jam provides for you. Those results of diverse sorts of regal jam are effectively perishable and at a certain stage, their possibility lessens Continuously in this way, providing for you no wellbeing profits and the items get valuable for you. You ought to realize that it can additionally be stop dried into powder and therefore pressed into containers.
Xylitol, a Healthy and Safe Sweetener.
March 12, 2014 09:05 PM
What is xylitol
Xylitol is a comprehensively utilized regular sweetening operator that was initially uncovered by a German Chemist in the nineteenth century. The primary crude materials utilized for its assembling are birch trees and corn, however can moreover be processed from plums and berries. It is worth specifying that it is in addition commonly handled in little amounts by the human form. Xylitol is without a doubt not the most well known sugar substitute or nourishment added substance yet that doesn't imply that it isn't an essential one since it pushes various health profits. Researchers began investigating these profits once again a large portion of a century prior and more conceivable solid profits are Continuously investigated today. Artificially it is a sugar liquor that has five carbon iotas in its compound structure and this structure is answerable for a large portion of its properties that make it gainful.
As we specified, xylitol has various profits, yet the particular case that is best thought about is the way that it can avoid dental caries. Research discoveries are strong to the point, that this profit is undeniable. There are numerous instruments that are answerable for this valuable impact. One of them is that dissimilar to sugar and starchy sustenances it doesn't result in an abatement of the ph in the mouth, despite what might be expected it can help kill it. Acidic conditions in the oral pit are valuable for microorganisms like S. Mutans that are the primary driver of dental caries. Moreover, the acids processed can bring about harms to the tooth veneer that ensures our teeth. Other than securing tooth veneer, there are proof that propose it can additionally help restore it. Notwithstanding that, these microorganisms can't age xylitol to handle vitality so as to duplicate, then again sugar is their favored vitality source. At long last, xylitol can extraordinarily diminish the adherence of the organisms on the tooth surface and as a result their capacity to manufacture plaque. All the reasons above help xylitol's tooth day battling profits.
It has been made clear that xylitol has various vital profits. On the other hand, it is paramount to note that it has several minor reactions also. The two fundamental symptoms that could be created by the utilization of xylitol are bloating and looseness of the bowels. These symptoms are created on the grounds that xylitol is ingested by inactive dispersion and happen assuming that somebody expends it above his laxation limit. It is likewise worth noting that the laxation limit can expand over the long run as the physique adjusts to the routine ingestion of xylitol. A couple of extra symptoms like unfavorable susceptibilities have been accounted for however they are not decently archived or affirmed via research information. At long last, most official associations, including the FDA have sanction it as a safe nourishment added substance for people.
Why Take An L-Arginine And L-Citrulline Amino Acid Complex?
January 18, 2014 11:52 PM
Arginine and citrulline
Are popular amino acids among individuals who are enthusiastic about athletic performance and muscle development. L-Arginine and L-Citrulline are marketed as amino acid supplements that are especially useful for athletes who need an additional biochemical support for enhanced muscular energy and growth of muscle fibers. Bodybuilders and weightlifters are especially passionate about amino acid supplements because it helps them break through muscle development stagnation and reach more difficult goals in terms of muscle size or weight lifting potential.
Magnesium Is An Important Mineral For The Cardiovascular System
November 25, 2013 06:32 PM
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is an earth metal that is alkaline. It is the 8th most abundant mineral on the earth’s crust. Magnesium is soluble in water thus it’s commonly found in sea water. In human body it is the 11th most abundant element by mass. Most of the magnesium contained in our bodies resides in the teeth and skeleton - about sixty to sixty five percent. Almost all the remaining amount is found in muscle cells and tissues and only 1 percent is found in the human blood.
Magnesium is a very important mineral in human body and is needed for more than three hundred biochemical reactions. Some of its health benefits include formation of healthy teeth and bones, body temperature regulation, energy production and nerve impulses transmission.
Magnesium acts as a calcium channel blocker and it’s responsible for relaxation. Magnesium is very essential to the smooth functioning of the parasympathetic nervous system. A human body operates well in a relaxed and calm parasympathetic state as opposed to the heart pounding and adrenaline driven state of sympathetic nervous system.
Physical and mental stress related to the flow of adrenaline, consumes large quantities of magnesium. This is because adrenaline affects blood pressure, muscle contraction, vascular contraction and heart rate - actions that all require Continuous supply of magnesium for healthy functioning. The nervous system relies on adequate magnesium for the calming effects including a restful sleep.
Magnesium lowers the risk of suffering from coronary heart diseases. Many dietary surveys have found out that sufficient intake of magnesium may lower the risk of a stroke. Magnesium deficiency increases the chance of experiencing abnormal heart rhythms that increases the chance of having complications after heart attack.Thus,taking the correct amount of magnesium is beneficial to cardiovascular system.
November 14, 2013 09:18 PM
Vitamin D is a nutrient used to regulate phosphorous and calcium needed for formation and growth of strong bones. The body through a chemical reaction acquires this vitamin when one is exposed to direct sunlight for about five to fifteen minutes. This vitamin is rarely found in foods, and therefore, if you fail to get direct sunlight, you can supplements that are used to boost vitamin D levels. Therefore, if you stay indoors most of your time, you may lack this important nutrient and you are at risks of suffering from osteoporosis, hearth diseases, multiple sclerosis, and rickets due to vitamin D deficiency. In addition, vitamin D has been known to improve the body immune system and prevents autoimmune and cancer diseases.
What does Sun Can Do
Vitamin D3, also known as sunshine vitamin, is stored in the body when sunlight is exposed to the skin for about 15 minutes. Sun has Ultraviolet B (UVB) light, which when it strike the skin, a natural chemical reaction is initiated which converts cholesterol under the skin to yield vitamin D3. When exposure is done Continuously for 6 days, the body can get enough of this vitamin for the next 49 sunlight-free days. However, you are warned against long periods of time sunlight exposure, as this has been known to cause skin cancer.
What are the Benefits on the Sun
As stated earlier, there are various benefits of this vitamin. The following are the major:
Since this vitamin is acquired at no cost, it is advisable to spare a few minutes of your busy daily schedule to get this valuable body vitamin that will improve your health and keep your body fit at all times. Thanks.
Astaxanthin Protects The Eye And More!
November 13, 2013 02:52 PM
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid that is commonly found in the marine environment. It is naturally found in salmon, krill, trout, crayfish, shrimp, crustaceans and yeast. It is the chemical that is responsible for the red color in cooked shellfish and salmon meat. The algae Haematoccus has the richest natural source of astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin can also be produced synthetically, but due to the synthetic product consisting of different steriosmers it is not preferred to be used in some cases.
Unlike beta-carotene it has two more oxygenated groups on each of its ring structure, these additional functional groups make it a highly potent antioxidant and give it a configuration that is more polar than that of other carotenoids. Vitamin E has been known as the strongest antioxidant both in topical use in cosmetics and in internal use, but research has shown that astaxanthin has a greater antioxidant strength than Vitamin E. For example in the quenching of singlet oxygen it has an antioxidant strength five hundred times stronger than Vitamin E.
Unlike many other antioxidants it has the ability of crossing the blood-brain barrier and enter into the eyes, brain and central nervous system (CNS). Most diseases of the CNS and eye are caused by increased generation of free radicals or by a decrease in the ability to remove free radicals from the body. Some of the diseases that are caused by problems with inflammation and oxidation include Glaucoma, Cataracts, and Huntington’s disease. These can be prevented by taking astaxanthin.
It has anti-inflammatory properties that are related to its strong antioxidants properties. It suppresses some of the inflammatory mediators such as, prostaglandin E-2 (PGE-2), tumor necrosis factor –alpha (TNF-a), and nitric oxide. Unlike other anti-inflammatory drugs like acetaminophen that can damage the liver and aspirin that may cause stomach bleeding, astaxanthin doesn’t have any side effects.
In people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome it has the ability of reducing pain. Studies have shown that it is able to reduce pain in rheumatoid arthritis by 40% after 8 weeks of Continuous use.
It prevents Ultra Violet induces oxidative stress of the skin and prevents the photo aging of the skin. It prevents UV induced formation of wrinkles and collagen degradation in the skin. It may be applied on the skin or taken orally.
In people participating in sports it eliminates the soreness of joints after exercise, and reduces the pain caused by inflammation. This enables athletes to train harder and as a result increase their endurance, skill, and strength. This is through its ant-inflammatory and ant-oxidant effects in the mitochondria (energy producing organelle).
It strengthens the immune system, research by scientists has shown that it causes increase in production of T cells, stimulates the proliferation of lymphocytes, amplify the cytotoxicity of natural killer cells, decrease damage of DNA, and increases significantly delayed type hypersensitivity syndrome.
It prevents heart disease and reduces the risk of people already suffering from heart disease form getting a stroke or heart attack. It improves the blood lipid profiles by increasing HDL (high density lipoprotein) and decreasing LDL (low density lipoprotein).
The liver main function of the liver and kidney is the detoxification and removal of harmful substances in the body. These activities lead to the formation of free radicals. Astaxanthin being a strong antioxidant helps by destroying these free radicals hence it eliminates their oxidative effects.
As a result of its immune benefits Astaxanthin also has anti-tumor properties and as a result it prevents the development of cancer. Its prevention of cancer is also caused by its antioxidant properties and by it regulating gene expression.
November 08, 2012 03:15 PM
Guggul Extract is a resin that is extracted from the mukul myrrh tree. This tree is originally from India and has been known to be used in many traditional healing remedies.
Western herbal supplements are beginning to use this extract because of the various healing qualities that it shows. Among the various healing qualities that Guggul Extract has include, The stimulation of the thyroid functions in your body, which increases your metabolism. This means that you can reduce the amount of fat you have (help to check obesity). It can have an impact on the level of cholesterol in the body. This is after Continuous use of the extract.
For those who might have hardened arteries they stand a great risk of getting heart attacks. Guggul can help to soften these arteries. The cleaning of the arteries thanks to this extract means improved blood circulation. Improved circulation reduces blood clots and even risk of having a heart attack.
The anti-inflammatory properties of the Guggul Extract make it very helpful to arthritis sufferers. Even those suffering from bowel issues can get relief using this extract. Bloating and gas symptoms and ailments can be dealt with using the extract. The extract has pain relief qualities for those suffering from chronic pain caused by various injuries. Acne sufferers can turn to Guggul to ease skin irritation and acne breakouts.
Women have found that by using the extract they are able to have monthly menstrual periods that are regular in nature. Infections of the mouth can be adequately dealt with when using the extract. Those who suffer from things like tonsillitis can turn to this supplement for some much-needed relief.
give guggul a try.
The Benefits of the Amazing Duo of CoQ10 and Red Yeast Rice
March 11, 2012 03:08 PM
What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a substance produced by the liver that provides a number of benefits to the body. A problem occurs when the level of blood LDL or bad cholesterol goes beyond a normal level. High level of bad cholesterol in the body can inflict damage to the arteries during the process of oxidation which can lead to the heavy accumulation of stiffened fats and deposits in the walls of the arteries. This can constrict the arteries that eventually lead to a minimal flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart and brain. Inadequate supply of blood to the heart and brain can trigger heart attack and stroke. When the kidney perceives an inadequacy in the supply of blood to the brain and heart, it produces substances that help in increasing the supply of blood to these organs. However, in effect, it also increases blood pressure.
Many serious health complications emanate from abnormally high levels of bad cholesterol or low density lipoprotein (LDL) in the body. As people get older, their awareness about maintaining an optimum level of cholesterol should increase significantly. Undeniably, cardiovascular diseases that are triggered by high levels of cholesterol in the body have been one of the major causes of death worldwide.
Red Yeast Rice
Intake of red yeast rice is considered to be one of the most effective alternative ways to lower the level of cholesterol in the body. It is produced by fermenting a certain type of red yeast that is poured over the rice. Researchers believed that red yeast rice contains high levels of substance lovastatin that inhibits the production of enzyme HMG-CoA reductase which is responsible in regulating the production of cholesterol in the body. Red yeast rice actually contains sufficient amount of monacolin K and 8 more monacolin substances that are work like statin drugs in reducing the level of cholesterol. Basically, the substances prevent the liver from producing alarming level of bad cholesterol.
Lowering Effects of LDL
Red yeast rice is a great alternative choice for patients who are searching for non-prescription ways of lowering their cholesterol. A clinical study shows that red yeast rice can significantly lower the level of cholesterol in the body by as much as 20% without exposing the victim to the risk of suffering from muscle pain. Another study reveals that after taking 1800mg of RYR daily for 12 weeks, the users' bad cholesterol level have significantly drop by 27%.
Red yeast rice is actually an FDA-recognized dietary supplement. It is renowned for its capacity to work similar to a statin drug that effectively drives the body to achieve an optimum level of cholesterol. A number of scientific studies revealed that intake of red yeast rice can significantly lower the levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the body. Furthermore, studies show that Continuous intake of red yeast rice can contribute a lot in improving the amount of total cholesterol.
Together with red yeast rice, CoQ10 make an amazing duo in lowering the level of bad cholesterol in the body and promote overall cardiovascular health. Intake of CoQ10 is highly recommended to people who take red yeast rice because CoQ10 provides energy and strength to the heart when pumping blood to other organs. When used together, CoQ10 and red yeast rice can increase the transfer of oxygen and energy between the cells and the blood which leads to a significant reduction in the level of cholesterol produced.
What is Shea Butter Good for?
February 24, 2012 08:12 AM
Shea butter is an all natural creamy fatty substance with exceptional moisturizing properties. It is made from the nuts of karite or shea tree that grows in the savannah regions of East and West Africa. Shea nuts are cracked, grilled, pound and boiled in water to extract the butter. Africans called it the women's gold because most of young women in Africa make a living in shea butter production.
Shea butter is so rich in antioxidants that it has the ability to heal skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and skin rashes. It gives relief from skin itch and flaking. It is rich in Vitamins A and E that hastens the healing process of such skin diseases. Vitamins A and E are powerful antioxidants that eliminate skin toxicity and shield the skin from irritants. They also prevent the skin from getting damaged. Vitamin A prevents pimples and other skin blemishes. While vitamin E keeps the skin radiantly glowing and repairs damaged skin cells.
She butter is an excellent anti stretch mark cream. The human skin is naturally elastic. However, pregnancy and weight gain cause the skin to rapidly stretched. This process affects collagen production and causes stretch marks. Collagen is glue like substance that firmly holds the cells together to prevent skin to sag. Shea butter aids in increasing collagen production to cope up with rapidly stretching skin during pregnancy and weight gain. This keeps the skin's elasticity and prevents stretch marks. Its ability to increase collagen production erases, if not reduces the appearance of stretch marks and scars. Increased collagen production firms and tones the skin and prevents it from sagging.
Shea butter and Skin Health
Shea butter is an intensive moisturizer for severe dry, flaky, rough and sunburned skin. It softens rough knees and elbows, cracked heel and calloused hands and feet.
Shea butter delays skin aging. As people age, fine lines and wrinkles start to develop. Shea butter deeply moisturizes and rejuvenates the skin thus, prevents wrinkles and early signs of aging. It is easily absorbed by the skin as it penetrates deep into the skin making it more hydrated from the inside. It hastens skin cell regeneration and allows new skin cells to grow. This process peels away old skin, revealing younger looking skin. Skin cell regeneration repairs damaged skin caused by ultra violet rays, radiation, wind and pollution. It also aids in fast healing of wounds, insect bites and burns without leaving scar or marks. It evens out skin tone, removes dark spots and other skin blemishes by Continuously renewing skin cells.
Shea butter soothes skin from irritation and stress caused by hair removal. Razor shaving, waxing and plucking leave the skin stressed and irritated. They also leave red bumps that lead to roughness and dark spots. The conditioning effect of shea butter calms red bumps and skin irritation when used as shaving cream.
Shea butter and Hair / Scalp
Shea butter works amazingly on hair and scalp, too. Dry scalp causes the it to flake. Shea butter conditions the scalp and hair follicles thus, prevents flaking and dandruf. It brings back hair's lost moisture due to frequent washing, hair styling and blow drying.
Shea butter is an excellent massage cream that treats arthritis, stiff joints and inflamed muscles. It has an anti inflammatory property relaxes swollen and stiff joints and aching muscles. It also relieves nasal congestion and inflammation when applied topically.
Red Yeast Rice for Reducing Cholesterol
February 16, 2012 08:06 AM
How does Red Yeast Rice Reduce Cholesterol?
Maybe you have heard about it that some people said that red yeast rice is very effective for decreasing the cholesterol level on our body. Some people have tried putting it on their diet program to see how it works, while some others just stick to the medicines. But mostly, people does not even know what cholesterol is and why should they control the amount of it on their body.
Cholesterol is a fat substance produced by the liver and is important to allow your body to work properly. It helps the conversion process of vitamin D. It creates and controls cell membranes. It is also essential for many productions of hormones. And there are still much more benefits your body can get from cholesterol.
As long as the amount is perfect, cholesterol is a beneficial substance for your body. But having too much of it on your body is really not healthy. It can stick to your arteries and narrow it down. Therefore, your blood could not flow smoothly. It can lead you to a heart attack, coronary heart, stroke and other life-endangering diseases. That is why it is important to control the amount of cholesterol inside your body.
Red yeast rice is a kind of rice that was fermented by red yeast. Since about a thousand years ago, red yeast has been commonly used in Chine as a natural food colorant and the main ingredients of rice wines. They also used it as a traditional medication for improving blood circulation and helping many kinds of digestion problems.
Red Yeast Rice
Even so, there are still many scientist and doctors who does not believe if red yeast rice is safe enough for human to consume. Therefore, they did some trials. Firstly, they tried it to animal. They fed it the several kinds of animal Continuously. The result shows that no damage is shown on the lungs, livers, kidneys, or any other organs. After that, they tried it to human where some people are volunteering. He result shows almost the same. There were some side effect such as heartburn and indigestions, but the number is very negligible and level is low.
Some other researches had been done to measure how effective is it in reducing cholesterol level. The results show that red yeast rice contains Cholestin that is effective to remove bad cholesterol (LDL) but not affecting good cholesterol (HDL) at all. The results also show that people who consume 1.8 grams of it per day can lower their cholesterol for about 27% in twelve weeks only.
Although it is effective in lowering the cholesterol, pregnant or breastfeeding women are not recommended to consume it. It is also not recommended for people who have a severe heart disease or high cholesterol. Those people are usually consuming statin given by their doctor. Statin is a lot better in reducing cholesterol and it is not wise to replace it with any other supplement.
Controlling your cholesterol level is very important in order to live a healthy life for as long as possible. Besides putting red yeast rice on your diet program, you also need to have a healthy lifestyle by consuming nutritional foods, avoiding alcohols, and doing exercise regularly.
Benefits Of Zeaxanthin
February 07, 2012 08:14 AM
With aging, our eyes and the associated muscles weaken. They can degenerate and lose our ability to see properly. Eyes enable us with vision to see the world, and losing the eyesight will halt affect our daily activities and movements. People are frequently worried about losing their sight, and try to find supplements that can prevent the loss of vision. However, this debility can be prevented.
Supplements should be ideally be all natural, healthy, and with no side effects. Zeaxanthin is an important nutrient for eye health. This is found in found in green leafy vegetables, and also in other foods like eggs. Zeaxanthin fulfills most of the requirements that most people look in a supplement.
WHAT IS ZEAXANTHIN
Zeaxanthin and lutein are carotenoids that filter out the harmful high-energy wavelengths of light, and also act as antioxidants in the eye. This helps to maintain and protect healthy eye cells. Out of the six hundred carotenoids found in nature, only these two, Zeaxanthin and Lutein are deposited in high quantities in the retina (macula) of the eye. Unfortunately, our body does not synthesize the zeaxanthin and lutein it requires.
This is the reason why green vegetables, eggs and other sources of these carotenoids are essential to proper nutrition. Daily intake of zeaxanthin and lutein through diet, beverages, fortified foods or nutritional supplements and is very important for the protection and continuation of good eye health.
Studies have indicated that zeaxanthin and lutein can help to lessen the chance of chronic eye illnesses, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Zeaxanthin, is also a bioflavonoid, that besides its benefits to ocular health, has been linked to providing many health benefits, including its anti-inflammatory property. Because of zeaxanthin being a carotenoid category bioflavonoid, its main action is over the blood vessels; it works by supporting the blood vessels around the retina area with their proper function.
Zeaxanthin is both an anti-inflammatory phytochemical and an antioxidant; hence this has been used as a preventative measure for macular degeneration and cataracts. Its antioxidant properties keep eyes from being damaged from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sunlight. Overall, zeaxanthin keeps the eye healthier, and looking younger.
ZEAXANTHIN AGAINST CATARACT: Our natural eye collects and focuses light on the retina, and to properly provide this function Continuously, the lens must remain clear throughout life. A major cause of cataracts is oxidation of the lens, which clouds it. Antioxidant nutrients, like zeaxanthin and lutein neutralize the free radicals or the unstable molecules associated with this oxidative stress associated with retinal damage. Thus, these phytochemicals play a role in cataract prevention. Higher dietary intakes of vitamin E, zeaxanthin and lutein can considerably reduce the risk of cataract formation.
ZEAXANTHIN AGAINST AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION (AMD): Zeaxanthin and lutein reduces the risk of AMD. In fact, studies like AREDS2 (Age-Related Eye Disease Study) are being conducted with supplements containing ten mg lutein along with two mg zeaxanthin each day, how it affects or lowers the chance of developing this degeneration.
FOOD SOURCES OF ZEAXANTHIN
Zeaxanthin is naturally found in some green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach. Other sources of zeaxanthin include egg yolk, yellow squash and bell-peppers. This makes zeaxanthin available as a completely natural nutrient, with no side effects.
Secrets of Papaya Revealed
February 06, 2012 08:00 AM
The benefits, an individual can derive from eating papaya should never be compared with that of consuming health pills or supplements. Papaya is not only good to eat but it also has a number of beneficial qualities.
Benefits of Papaya
Prevents heart attacks
Papaya is rich in anti-oxidants. It helps to prevent cholesterol from getting oxidized and helps in preventing heart attacks. It also has ample amounts of vitamin B, folate acid and pantothenic acid, and also minerals, potassium, fiber and magnesium. Such high quantities of minerals in papaya help in the prevention of colon cancer and also in promoting good health of the heart.
Papain, a digestive enzyme found in papaya, is very similar to bromelain. It is helpful in the treatment of injuries due to sporty activities and also in the treatment of trauma and allergies. Papain also aids in relieving an individual from constipation problems. Papaya is a great cleansing agent for an individual’s stomach. Recent research has shown that individuals who have consumed papaya daily for three to four days have had a highly beneficial effect on their stomachs and intestines.
Promotes healthy immune system
Beta-carotene, which is present abundantly in papaya, helps in the making of vitamin A and vitamin C. These vitamins help in the maintaining a healthy immunity system.
Helps prevent menstrual irregularity
Papaya taken in its raw form helps in the reducing of menstrual irregularities in women. It eases the condition by helping in the smooth flow of the menses.
Helps in making your skin healthy
Papaya is highly beneficial for the skin. It helps in getting rid of acne for individuals who have acne-prone skin. When one uses papaya as a face pack, the pores of the skin get opened and thus prevent further formation of acne. Papaya helps in giving a glow to an individual’s skin. Papain, the enzyme found abundantly in papaya helps in dissolving the dead cells of the skin. Therefore it helps in giving an individual a fresh and clean look. Consuming papaya helps in allaying pre-mature aging. The anti-oxidants present in papaya help in preventing the skin from developing fine lines and wrinkles.
Other benefits of Papaya
Arginine, an enzyme found in papaya is extremely essential for the fertility of males. Another enzyme Carpain is considered healthy for the heart. Daily consumption of papaya helps many individuals suffering from nausea and morning sickness and hence gives them relief. Ear infections, which may trouble an individual Continuously, can be allayed by the consumption of papaya. Even cold and flu can also be prevented by consuming papaya. Papaya is rich in nutrition and low on calories. Therefore, it is an excellent food for those individuals who are on a diet. Papaya is good for the hair and helps in dandruff prevention. Shampoos with papaya extracts are now readily available at medical stores. Papaya possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous qualities. Individuals suffering from pain from arthritis, edema or osteoporosis can reduce their pain by the intake of papaya.
What is Wild Yam Root And How Does It Help PMS And More?
July 25, 2011 02:44 PM
Wild Yam And Your Health
Wild yam root refers to a group of tubers related to the common yam. While the common yam is consumed as a vegetable, wild yam root is known for its medicinal properties. It has been linked to many studies in the past few decades. It is a source of the plant steroid diosgenin, which is converted to progesterone in the laboratory. It has also shown to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Dioscorea villosa is the plant species often referred to as wild yam root, inasmuch as most products and supplements that are marketed as wild yam obtain extracts from this plant. Its positive effects on health are attributed to steroid-like organic compounds called saponins. Nevertheless, these saponins and other active ingredients of the root can also be derived in other closely related wild yam species.
Rebalances Female Hormones
Wild yam root is one of the most recognized plant species in the nutraceutical industry, especially in niches concerning the alleviation of hot flashes, night sweats, and other vasomotor symptoms. It is rich in compounds that precursors to human sex hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone.
Whether modified or not, the compounds extracted from wild yam root display estrogenic activities inside the female body, and they can be administered through the mouth or skin. They work normalize fluctuating levels of hormones, as is the case during menopause.
Counteracts Pain Chemicals
The phytochemical content of wild yam room is anti-inflammatory in nature. Not surprisingly, it has been used in the treatment of inflammation-induced disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, renal colic, ulcerative colitis, muscle cramps, abdominal pain, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Wild yam root suppresses the releases of endogenous compounds responsible for the perception of pain in certain body parts. In addition, it also inhibits the excessive productions of immune cells that trigger hypersensitivity and immune disorders, such as bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis.
Boosts Bone Mineral Density
Extracts of wild yam root are commercially touted to prevent bone loss characteristic of osteoporosis. Since the human bones are the primary reserves of calcium and other minerals, they undergo a Continuous cycle of demineralization to meet the mineral demands of other parts of the body.
The process of demineralization that alters bone density throughout life is called bone resorption. It is influenced by other factors, such as sedentary lifestyle and mineral deficiencies. With a balanced diet, regular consumption of wild yam root has been reported to easily reverse bone loss.
Reduces Overall Lipid Levels
There is a growing body of literature devoted to the effects of wild yam root on overall lipid levels in the blood. Wild yam root supplements are believed to lower utilization of triglycerides in the liver, limiting the releases of cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins, and free fatty acids into the bloodstream.
In addition, regular intake of wild yam root extracts appears to interfere with the breakdown of fats into easily digestible fatty acids and their subsequent absorption in the small intestines. This results in lower fat intake and healthier levels of cholesterol.
What is stopping you from trying it?
Can Vitamin B12 Boost Mental Alertness?
July 18, 2011 12:01 PM
The body needs various nutrients in order to make vital biological reactions possible. These bodily reactions are necessary for energy production, immune system enhancement and health improvement. These nutrients are classified into two, macro and micronutrients. In addition, these micronutrients are further divided into vitamins and minerals. These vitamins are needed by individuals to help the body grow normally. Vitamins can be supplied by the food we eat. However, the body can make certain vitamins such as vitamin D and K. Individuals who are in strict vegetable diet usually need vitamin B12 supplement. In this article, we will be focusing on Vitamin B 12 or also known as cyanocobalamin.
Vitamin B 12 is also a water– soluble vitamin. It is considered as essential because it is not produced by the body. Excellent sources of this vitamin include fish, shellfish, meat, milk and milk products. Vitamin B 12 is also available in supplements in combination with other vitamin B complex. Like the other B vitamins, vitamin B 12 is also necessary in maintaining healthy brain cells and in the normal production of red blood cells. Riboflavin is also a component of DNA which is the cells’ genetic material. Vitamin B 12 in the stomach combines with a substance called intrinsic factor so that it can be absorbed into the blood stream.
Vitamin B 12 boosts mental alertness because it facilitates normal formation of body cells most especially the nerve cells. Vitamin B 12 is also an important component of the myelin sheath. Myelin sheath is necessary for the proper functioning of the nerves. Myelin sheath functions by increasing the speed of the movement of the impulse. With the presence of myelin sheath, the impulse hops from one sheath to another instead of just moving Continuously along the nerve fiber. This is the reason why vitamin B 12 is commonly employed for boosting mental alertness and concentration. In fact, it is also commonly employed for treatment of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.
Vitamin B 12 can also help lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases by decreasing the concentration of homocysteine in the blood stream. Studies show that high levels of homocysteine can greatly lead to atherosclerosis which is the narrowing of arterial walls. It can also increase the tendency of abnormal blood clotting thus increasing the risk of clotting – related disorders. These factors can precipitate heart attacks and cerebrovascular accidents or commonly known as stroke.
Another function of vitamin B 12 is its involvement with energy metabolism in every cell of the body. Therefore, vitamin B 12 is not only good for enhancing mental alertness but also increasing energy levels. It is also required by the body so that other nutrients from the diet can be absorbed and readily utilized by the cells.
Vitamin B 12 is relatively safe. It usually comes in combination with other B vitamins in the form of tablets, capsules, or liquid which can be bought over –the – counter.
Potassium: Cardiovascular Health, Muscle Function, Cellular Activity, And Blood pH
May 11, 2011 12:58 PM
Potassium is a dietary mineral required in relatively large quantities in comparison with other minerals found in the human diet. It is the most abundant positively charged ion, or cation, in the cytosol, the liquid cytoplasmic matrix found inside all cells of the human body. It has a special relationship with sodium, the major cation outside animal cells. Together they facilitate cellular reformations and intercellular activities, greatly influencing the development of muscles, the brain, and the heart.
Electrolytes are solutions of bases or acids that help maintain a healthy pH inside the body. Potassium is an electrolyte absolutely necessary for the upkeep of cells. They enable organic compounds to move charges, which is central to neuronal activities, muscle contraction, and endocrine functions. The presence of potassium is also required to activate the catalytic functions of several enzymes. Some of these enzymes are indispensable in the metabolism of carbohydrates.
Powers Cellular Activities
A cellular phenomenon described as membrane potential affects several types of cells throughout the human body, such as neurons, muscle cells, and endocrine cells. Potassium is involved in this phenomenon, powering countless molecular devices found in the cell membrane much like a battery. It also participates in transmitting signals between cellular organelles, creating an electric current that flows between different parts of the cell.
Intercellular communication that induces the release of neurotransmitters, hormones, and other related organic compounds throughout the body rely on healthy levels of potassium. For example, it allows the beta cells of the pancreas to respond to levels of carbohydrates that get in and out of the systemic circulation, releasing insulin when needed. It fuels a chain of cellular events that lead to many bodily functions.
Promotes Muscle Function
It is not a coincidence that unhealthy levels of potassium lead to bouts of muscle cramps. While involuntary contractions of the skeletal muscles are often associated to older populations, they may afflict people of all ages at any time of the day. More often than not, the underlying cause is malnutrition, especially deficiency in dietary minerals like potassium.
Contractions produced by skeletal muscles are a classic example of physiological functions that necessitate the presence of potassium. When electrical impulses of cell membranes rise and fall at a very fast rate, it results in a cellular event called action potential, igniting a chain of events that lead to muscle contraction. This is the reason why potassium is important in the maintenance of healthy muscles.
Maintains Cardiovascular Health
Potassium is particularly good for the heart. The cardiac muscle is engaged in Continuous coordinated contractions that propel blood out of the atria and ventricles to the rest of the cardiovascular system. A condition called hypokalemia, in which the level of potassium in the blood is low, has been linked to abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure. Not surprisingly, potassium supplements are used as a therapeutic remedy in the treatment of these diseases.
Potassium has a pH of 14. Taking potassium daily can help you regulate your pH so you can maintain a pH of 7 throughout the day. By maintaining a pH of 7, you can improve your health and reduce the instance of illness.
Improve Your Memory Naturall, How Does Huperzine A Help Improve Memory?
March 26, 2011 10:47 AM
Huperzine A and The Brain
Huperzine A is an organic compound naturally occurring in a plant species believed to be one of the oldest vascular plants still in existence. It is derived entirely from the firmoss Huperzia serrata, which is reputed for its memory-enhancing effects in China for the most part of its history. It has gained the attention of researchers and health professionals in the West owing to its purported role as a cholinesterase inhibitor, which delays cognitive decline and brain shrinkage tied to Alzheimer’s disease. It has become popular to people seeking other forms of cholinesterase inhibitors apart from those commonly available in the market, and anecdotal evidence points to its noticeable effects on symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Increases Quantities of Neurotransmitters
Cholinergic neurotransmission makes use of a system of nerve cells that participate in anti-excitatory activities in the central nervous system. These neurons rely on an endogenous compound called acetylcholine, which acts as the primary neurotransmitter in the brain, the brain stem, and the spinal cord. Acetylcholine as a neurotransmitter is synthesized from esterified acetic acid and choline, but its lifespan is cut short by the enzyme cholinesterase.
This enzyme induces the hydrolysis of this neurotransmitter back into choline and acetic acid. Huperzine A works on the principle of inhibiting the enzyme cholinesterase, resulting in a longer acetylcholine lifespan especially those in the brain. By doing so, it also raises the levels of other neurotransmitters that are in the employ of nerve cells.
Affects Chemical Compounds in the Brain
Nerve cells constantly respond to many chemical brains that may induce more neuronal activities that affect cognitive function. The busier nerve cells become, the sooner the brain is able to sustain concentration. An increase in neurotransmitters has been tied to greater neuronal activities. Also, there are exogenous chemical compounds that when ingested pass the blood-brain barrier and act as stimulants to nerve cells, such as caffeine.
It has been postulated that Huperzine A provides a nootropic effects by influencing endogenous brain chemicals and consequently stimulating neuronal activities in a similar way caffeine does. However, unlike caffeine, it is not considered a psychoactive drug. More importantly, a more recent study points to its effects on nerve growth factor, or NGF, a protein responsible for the growth and upkeep of nerve cells. This means Huperzine A not only influences brain chemicals, but also makes sure that nerve cells survive.
Creates Positive Effects on Neuroplasticity
In contrary to former claims that the brain does not change after early developments during infancy, recent studies point to changes in both chemical makeup and cellular structure as we age. These changes are a response to both physiological stimulus and learning experience. New nerve cells are created as we spend more time sharpening our mental skills, much like how the muscles respond to Continuous exercise and body toning. This process of change in the brain is called neuroplasticity, which Huperzine A supports by acting as a vitamin-like nutrient to nerve cells and neurotransmitters.
If you want to improve brain function and memory, give Huperzine A a try today!
Taurine - Essential or Non-Essential Amino Acid - You Decide?
February 17, 2011 10:56 AM
Amino Acid Taurine Is Essential For More Than You Think
Taurine is an organic compound with acidic properties, which is synthesized in the pancreas in adults, but an essential amino acid in infants. Many neutraceutical products for infants are fortified with taurine, inasmuch as some newborns do not have the enzymes required to synthesize taurine. Taurine deficiency in adults results from deficiencies in other organic compounds, notably methionine and cysteine, which are its immediate precursors within the body.
Helps in Brain Development
It has long been postulated that taurine plays an important role in the human brain, especially in infants, protecting the nerve cells from possible neonatal damages. Taurine continues to affect the nervous system as we age, acting on gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, and consequently enhances inhibitory synaptic transmissions. In addition, taurine is alleged to stimulate Continuous activation of synapses characteristic of long-term potentiation, which memory and learning ability stem from.
Stabilizes Glucose Levels
Taurine is a powerful inhibitor of glycation, a process by which sugar molecules attach themselves to other biomolecules without the aid of enzymes, and thus subsequently impair the functions of these biomolecules. This process may take place inside or outside the body, but the substances that result from this process, which are referred to as advanced glycation end-products or AGEs, contribute to the formation of a number of major disorders in later life such as cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, age-related deafness and blindness, and cancer. Taurine keeps the cells from taking up AGEs from the blood, which is slowly excreted in the urine.
Regulates Adipose Tissues
It has also been observed that dietary taurine influences the metabolic pathways that give rise to the formation of adipose tissues, the fat reserves of the human body. These fat depot appear anywhere in the body, but are commonly tied to the subcutaneous fats, those that we see on the belly, chest, arms, and thighs. Moreover, body fat percentage has been an indicator of obesity, which is central to the use of taurine in regulating adipose tissues.
Influences Lipid Absorption
Taurine is a major component of bile, the fluid produced by the liver, stored in the gallbladder, and secreted in the small intestines to aid in the digestion of triglycerides, cholesterol, and other lipids. Also, several studies point to the effect of taurine on the binding of proteins to lipids to form lipoproteins, compounds that have been notoriously labeled as bad cholesterol. Not surprisingly, taurine has been suggested to maintain healthy levels of blood cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular diseases.
Fights Oxidative Stress
Sodas have become a part of our daily diet today, but little did we know that they are risk factors for oxidative stress, the continued peroxidation of cellular structures. Fructose in sodas and other sweetened beverages is the most dangerous of all sugars, inasmuch as it releases by-products called AGEs, which are highly reactive to oxidation. AGEs do not get excreted right away and are instead absorbed by cells, leading to irreversible damages to neuronal and vascular tissues in later life. Intake of taurine removes this problem.
Have you had your Taurine Today?
Can L-Arginine Really Help with Circulation Blood Flow?
February 05, 2011 01:43 PM
The incorporation of nutrients from our diet to the parts of the human body is taken care of by the network of blood vessels that make up the circulatory system, including the distribution of oxygen. Blood flow in effect largely contributes to the effective utilization of bioactive substances from digested foods. The muscles that line the inner walls of blood vessels are responsible for healthy circulation with the aid of a substance that is catalyzed from L-arginine.
Arteries, capillaries, and veins are the three primary members of the vascular highway that forms the systematic circulation. The arteries from the heart branch out in smaller vascular tubes called capillaries, which are connected to the system of veins leading back to the heart. Blood Continuously flows inside this complex loop of tubes and brings nutrition to the tissues at the end of capillaries.
Endothelium and Smooth Muscle Cells
Circulation is a vascular function regulated by the smooth muscle cells within the blood vessel walls that promote streamline flow to avoid turbulence. In a lifetime the flow may result in chaos, depending on the health of blood vessels. A special class of tissues exposed to the blood plasma known as endothelium stimulates the smooth muscle cells that make up most of the systematic circulation to perform its function. However, factors associated with aging interfere with the proper functioning of both the smooth muscle cells and the endothelium.
The human body possesses a gene responsible for the encoding of a group of enzymes that aid healthy blood flow in the circulatory system. This gene identified as Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS), as the name suggests, has something to do with the endothelium and the chemical compound nitric oxide. While chronic expression of nitric oxide in the body may lead to inflammatory diseases, this gas actually serves a focal role in preventing damage to all tissues in the human body resulting from the deprivation of blood supply.
Nitric Oxide and L-Arginine
How? Nitric oxide is produced at the right amounts by all mammals for use as a signaling agent at the cellular level. In the circulatory system, nitric oxide is known to display vasodilator properties, that is, it brings about the relaxation of smooth muscle cells that line the blood vessel walls. Vasodilation is central to circulation and blood flow inasmuch as the widening of vascular walls leads to the flow of blood. Since nitric oxide must be manufactured at healthy levels, it is regulated by Endothelial NOS.
However, its production depends on the availability of Arginine in the human body. The amino acid L-arginine is not synthesized at sufficient amounts at all times, and thus it must be derived from our diet. No one can really tell what conditions govern the biosynthesis of L-arginine, and for individuals who have poor nutrition, levels of L-arginine are significantly low. This is the reason why medical professionals advocate the use of L-arginine to counter vascular diseases. Supplementation of L-arginine has in fact been associated to healthy circulation.
Borage Seed Oil (GLA)
June 10, 2009 11:34 AM
Borage, often referred to as starflower, is an annual herb that originated in Syria. However, it was naturalized throughout the Mediterranean region and in Asia Minor, Europe, North Africa, and South America. The plant grows to a height of two to three feet, having a bristly hair all over the stems and leaves. The leaves are alternate, simple, and ranging from two to six inches in length, while the flower are complete with five narrow, triangular-pointed petals. The borage flower is most often blue in color, but occasionally pink flowers are observed. White flowers can also be cultivated. The borage plant has an indeterminate growth habit, which may lead to prolific spreading. In milder climates, borage will bloom for most of the year Continuously.
Borage was often used to flavor wine drank by ancient Celtic warriors before going into battle because it held the reputation of enhancing both courage and strength. During the middle Ages, the leaves and flowers of the borage plant were combined with wine to relieve melancholy. The Roman scholar Pliny believed that this herb was useful for treating depression and lifting the spirits. John Gerard, a sixteenth-century herbalist, thought of borage as an herb to comfort the heart and increase joy.
In addition to its mood-boosting properties, borage is often used to treat bronchitis. This is because of its soothing effect and its ability to reduce inflammation and detoxify the body. Borage is known to help heal the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat and to stimulate activity in the kidneys and adrenal glands to rid the body of catarrh.
Also, borage is useful for restoring vitality during recovery from an illness. This herb is helpful for treating problems of the digestive system and has been used to increase quantity and quality of mother’s milk. Borage was traditionally cultivated for culinary and medicinal uses, but today it is commercially cultivated as an oilseed. The seed oil provides a desired source of GLA, for which borage is the highest known plant-based source. Virgin borage oil contains essential fatty acids, especially when they are in concentrations with gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). This fatty acid can account for as much as 26 percent of the oil’s content. It is best known for its source of concentrated GLA. The borage plant is known to stimulate the adrenal glands to help the body during stressful times.
Borage includes use as either a fresh vegetable or a dried herb. As a fresh vegetable, borage has a cucumber-like taste and is often used in salads or as a garnish. The flower has a sweet honey-like taste and is one of the few truly blue-colored things that are edible, making it popular for the decoration of dessert.
The leaves of the borage plant are used to provide blood purifier, diaphoretic, febrifuge, galactoagogue, and purgative properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb include calcium and potassium. Primarily, borage is most beneficial in dealing with bronchitis, congestion, inflammation of the eyes, fevers, heart problems, absence of lactation, excessive mucus, PMS and rashes. Additionally, this herb is extremely helpful in treating blood impurities, colds, gastric disorders, insomnia, jaundice, lung disorders, nervous disorders, pleurisy, ringworm, and urinary problems.
Borage oil is available in softgel or bulk liquid forms at your local or internet health food store. Always purchase name brands to ensure quality and purity of the product you purchase. For more information on the beneficial effects of borage, please contact a representative from your local health food store.
May 07, 2009 05:45 PM
L-carnitine is amino acid essential for the metabolism of fats into a form of energy necessary for extended aerobic activity. Originally discovered in Russia, and Germany a year later, the structural formulation of carnitine, as it is correctly known, was determined in 1927, although it is physiological and biochemical activity was not understood until the 1960s.
The amino acid is biosynthesized in the liver and kidneys from lysine and methionine. The vitamins niacin, B6, C and iron are essential for this reaction to take place. However, the supply of L-carnitine has to be supplemented by the diet, good sources being dairy products, red meat, nuts and seeds, pulses and fruits such as apricots, bananas and avocado. Most of the L-carnitine supply of the body is stored within the muscle tissue. However, it is not unusual for conditions to arise making it difficult for the body to obtain all the carnitine required.
L-carnitine enables fatty acids to be transported into the mitochondria, where cell metabolism occurs. The biochemistry is discussed below, although in simple terms the amino acid allows body fats, in the form of triglycerides, to be made more readily available for the generation of energy required for extended exertion. In this way, body fats can be used for energy and the supplies of glycogen stored by the liver can be retained for emergency use.
By providing the energy for endurance and stamina in this way, carnitine makes use of an otherwise unavailable energy source, and has the added benefit of reducing body fat stores and reducing strain on the heart.
Although there is generally a plentiful supply of L-carnitine available in a healthy diet, supplementation can ensure that a deficiency does not occur. Supplements are available in the form of L-carnitine or its acetylated derivative, acetyl L-carnitine.
In order for fatty acids to be used in the production of energy, their long-chain acetyl groups have to get inside the mitochondria where they are oxidized to the acetate to be used for the production of energy via the Citric Acid or Krebs cycle.
In order for the biochemistry to take place, fatty acids must be rendered suitable for binding to the carnitine molecule. The chemical grouping with a good affinity for L-carnitine is the acetyl or acetyl group, available in the molecule acetyl coenzyme A (CoA). The free fatty acid, therefore, is attached to coenzyme-A by means of a thioester bond, catalyzed by means of the enzyme fatty acetyl-CoA synthetase. The reaction is then completed by means of in organic pyrophosphatase.
In this way, the fatty acid in the form of an acetyL-carnitine derivative can be transported through the mitochondrial wall. This transportation takes place by means of several steps. These are:
1. As explained, the acetyl-CoA is attached to L-carnitine by means of the enzyme carnitine acetyltransferase I. This enzyme is conveniently located on the outer mitochondrial membrane.
2. The enzyme carnitine-acetylcarnitine translocase helps the acetyL-carnitine through the membrane.
3. Another enzyme, carnitine acetyltransferase II, located on the inner mitochondrial membrane, converts the acetyL-carnitine to acetyl-CoA, liberating the carnitine which returns to the muscle mass.
L-carnitine is the only known substance that allows fatty acids to cross the mitochondrial membrane, and therefore deficiencies must be avoided.
Another way in which carnitine is used in energy production is in the Krebs cycle itself. Part of this cycle involves the conversion of guanine diphosphate to the higher energy form guanine triphosphate. In this way energy can be stored in much the same way as it is in the conversion of ADP to ATP. Succinyl CoA is involved in this conversion, and one of the by-products of it is a corresponding succinate, that is then converted to a fumarate by the action of L-carnitine fumarate. Carnitine, therefore, has two parts to play in the production of long-term energy from the fatty acids contained in body fats.
Since the fatty acid triglycerides contained in body fats are a major source of energy in the heart and skeletal muscles, it is easy to understand how L-carnitine is believed to lead to the increased energy levels required for stamina and staying power. A major reason for its effect on longer-term or extended energy requirements is that in enabling stored body fats to be used for immediate and longer-term energy requirements, L-carnitine allows emergency glycogen stores to be retained for use once immediate fatty acid supplies or those of carnitine have been depleted, and so allows the energy supply to be extended even farther. Research has also suggested that the amino acid can possibly be used to treat liver and kidney disease, diabetes and chronic fatigue syndrome.
As with many supplements, the question is often asked how does L-carnitine work in practice as opposed to the claims made for it by the supplement providers? Recent research indicates mixed results, but sufficient to justify its use. It is generally accepted that a supplement is necessary when there is a deficiency, but once that deficiency has been corrected further intake is unnecessary. However, it is also believed that during long and extended periods of exercise a carnitine deficiency does occur as L-carnitine is used up, and the supplement is necessary to ensure sufficient energy supply throughout the period of exercise.
There has also been a case reported in the Journal of Clinical Neurology (Negoro, Tsuda, Kato & Morimatsu, 1995) where a deficiency, caused by anorexia nervosa damaging the liver to the extent that it was unable to synthesize L-carnitine, was remedied by means of an oral supplement. Studies on endurance athletes have been mixed, ranging from no effect to L-carnitine being found to promote weight loss.
Carnitine has no unknown harmful side effects, and has been studied for medical applications other than as an energy supplement. For example it possesses extensive antioxidant properties, and can be used as a supplement against oxidative stress and the prevention of the lipid peroxidation that is a precursor to atherosclerosis.
Its use in osteoporosis and reducing bone mass is also being studied. The concentration of L-carnitine diminishes with age, and affects fatty acid metabolism in a number of tissues. Bones are particularly affected since they require Continuous reconstruction. Without detailing the biochemistry involved in this, administration of carnitine helps to reduce the speed by which this occurs. Trials are so far been carried out only on animals.
In studies on both healthy volunteers and patients with type II diabetes, L-carnitine was found to improve storage of glucose in both groups, although its oxidation increased only in the group with diabetes. Other studies carried out include improving the function of neurotransmitters in the brains of elderly patients and in the treatment of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, and other neurological disorders.
In conclusion then, although the jury is out on the use of L-carnitine is an energy-giving or weight-loss supplement, it appears to be effective where the body's stores of carnitine could be depleted such as with long-term exercise, natural deficiencies or deficiencies caused through age. It is also under study in the treatment of various medical conditions. On balance, it would appear that the prospective benefits of L-carnitine render it worthy of use.
EFA's - Essential Fatty Acids
September 15, 2008 09:42 AM
Many recent studies have found that EFAs may be extremely helpful for many chronic, stubborn conditions. Their Continuously growing range of applications includes overcoming diseases such as alcoholism, breast cancer, and cardiovascular disease; strengthening the immune system; helping eliminate yeast infection; reducing symptoms of premenstrual syndrome; minimizing inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis; and assisting in the proper management of weight.
Alcohol dependence is an extremely serious condition that often results in decreased life expectancy, suicide, degeneration of the brain and liver, osteoporosis, and many other conditions. For each person, the rate at which alcohol is metabolized in the body is different, as a lot of it has to do with the person's nutritional status, the concentration and activity of liver enzymes, and the rate at which alcohol is consumed.
Alcoholics tend not to eat because the calories from alcohol, although nutrient-poor, diminish the appetite, causing many alcoholics to become extremely malnourished. An overall nutritional program should be employed to those people who are dependant on alcohol, which should include vitamins A, C, and B, complex, along with zinc, magnesium, selenium, amino acids, milk thistle, acidophilus, antioxidants, L-carnitine, and essential fatty acids. EFAs, especially those that are high in GLA, keep blood lipid levels from going out of control.
The body's immune system has a vital role in protecting us against cancer, as it recognizes and annihilates any abnormal cells before they have the chance to multiply and do damage. When the immune system is overwhelmed or not functioning properly, abnormal cells will reproduce without having anything to stop them. Because of the rapidly growing tumors which have a huge appetite for nutrition to keep them going, cancer patients often become malnourished and lose weight. A diet that is rich in cruciferous vegetables, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins A, C, and E, minerals, and essential fatty acids can help prevent breast cancer. Research shows that EFAs, especially GLA, have anti-tumor properties.
All of the cells in the body have a dependence on nutrients that are transported through the circulatory network. When blood vessels become clogged with fats and cholesterol, nutrition distribution is hindered and blood flow can be stopped in some areas, causing the heart to die. Exercise is a good for increasing circulation and keeping the blood from getting stuck. A diet that is high fruits, vegetables, natural fiber, and low in saturated fats, meats, and homogenized dairy products is also a good idea. Additionally, antioxidants, hawthorn berry, ginkgo biloba, vitamin E, Co Q-10, L-carnitine, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and EFAs will also be of benefit to the cardiovascular system.
Essential fatty acids have been shown to stop the growth of yeast organisms in the body. They do so by helping the oxygen to flow to cells. Since yeast is anaerobic, it cannot thrive in the presence of oxygen. Yeast overgrowth can cause a variety of symptoms that are often diagnosed as another condition, ranging from joint swelling to memory loss.
PMS is a collection of symptoms that occurs one to two weeks before menstruation, affects about one-third of women who are younger than forty. It is caused by hormone imbalances, which result in anxiety, irritability, and mental sluggishness. Research has found that women with PMS usually eat more refined carbohydrates, dairy products, and sodium, and less iron and other minerals than those women who do not experience this condition. Vitamin B complex, beta carotene, vitamin E, magnesium, milk thistle, acidophilus, and essential fatty acids are very helpful for PMS. Essential fatty acids, especially GLA, are helpful in balancing the body's hormone levels.
Reducing symptoms of disease like arthritis or PMS is important to all those who suffer from them. EFA's can help reduce the symptoms of these diseases. American diets are low in EFA's and one should consume them either in the foods they eat or supplement form to help the body strengthen its self and fight off disease.
How Important Is It To Have Proper Digestion
July 09, 2008 11:46 AM
The part played by food in the health of your body is to furnish it with the nutrients needed for the biochemistry that keeps you alive. The digestive process breaks the food that you eat down into a form that can be absorbed by your bloodstream, and from there to your liver which is your body’s chemical plant. That is where most of the biochemical reactions of your body take place, such as the manufacture of bile needed to break down fats during digestion.
Most people do not take this into account when eating, and in today’s hectic world nourishment is the last thing on their minds, yet the one aspect of their lives that can provide them with the energy to carry on as they do. They eat to get rid of the feeling of hunger, and any old thing will do: a burger or a pizza, but rarely an orange or some cheese on wholegrain bread.
Poor eating habits lead to poor digestion, which in turn leads to poor extraction of the nutrients from what we do eat, and therefore malnutrition. Yes, malnutrition! It is possible to suffer from that even though you fill your belly every day. It’s not the filling that matters, it’s what does the filling and how well it is digested. Proper digestion is very important to every living creature on this planet. The first step in ensuring that have a proper digestion function is to assess the quality of the food that you eat:
a) What nutrients does your food contain, and
b) Have you sufficient of the proper enzymes needed to break it down so that these nutrients can be extracted?
Nourishing meals are just as easy to find and eat as junk foods, and it is just as easy to a breakfast containing a high protein and fat content as it is to eat a chocolate biscuit. A hard boiled egg with whole meal toast and yoghurt isn’t difficult to prepare for breakfast, and some tuna, or cheese and whole meal crackers make a nutritious lunch. These foods are easier to digest than the greasy high-fat foods that most people eat at lunchtime.
Proper digestion requires relaxation, and eating when stressed or in a hurry creates the wrong pH conditions in your stomach, with hydrochloric acid production being suppressed and the production enzymes by the liver inhibited. Enzymes are essential to your health, and are types of protein that enable most biochemical reactions to take place. Without the proper production of enzymes, your food will pass through your body largely unchanged, and this indigestion can not only give you stomach pains but also weaken you because the nutritional value of your food is not being realized.
You should take the time to eat, and not try to eat on the job: that is why so many high fliers end up with ulcers. Take time to chew, and mix your food with saliva which itself contains the enzymes amylase and lysozyme. Amylase breaks down starch into sugars, while lysozyme inhibits the growth of oral bacteria. The digestive system therefore begins in the mouth when you chew your food. The breakdown of food into smaller particles also produces more surface area from which the nutrients can be absorbed.
Enzymes are very important to proper digestion, and your diet should include enzyme-rich food such as tropical fruits (pineapple and bananas), honey, and many vegetables. Yoghurt and lacto-fermented foods are also rich in enzymes, and many cooked foods also contain enzymes. An enzyme supplement can also be taken to top-up what you eat, and make up for any enzyme deficiency in your diet. Processed foods are fairly empty of good nutritional value, particularly enzymes, which is why so many people are so overweight: their food is a nutritional desert and their body keeps craving for food that leads to eating binges.
For your food to be properly digested your stomach acid has to be at a certain pH. If you drink too much liquid when eating then the acid will be diluted, and you will not properly digest your food. A glass of water is fine but two or three pints of beer, or a gallon of fruit juice, will dilute the hydrochloric acid concentration in your stomach, and it will not be able to break down your food. Consequently, your digestive system loses much of the nutritional content of what you eat. Restrict heavy drinking of liquid to about two hours before and two hours after eating each meal for maximum efficiency. Many people find that they have to take not only vitamin and mineral supplements to replace those which are lost through inefficient digestion, but also other supplements such as enzymes and extra proteins.
When food is processed or cooked, the process destroys enzymes. Since the body stores only a limited supply of enzymes, eating well cooked or highly processed foods Continuously, places great strains on the enzyme reserves, and ultimately the metabolic enzyme reserves have to be used in order to digest your food. This diverts them from their proper purpose, and many of the functions of your body are disrupted.
For example, your lose energy and your immune systems begins to weaken, making you feel tired and more susceptible to illness and disease. You should therefore try to eat foods rich in enzymes, or use an enzyme supplement. Natural raw foods are an excellent addition to your diet, and salads and fruit should be regular components of your meals. Obviously you must eat some cooked foods, but that does not mean that you should avoid eating fresh raw fruits and vegetables altogether. That is a recipe for a dietary disaster.
Enzymes are extremely important components of your digestive system, as is dietary fiber. In fact if you eat a diet containing dietary fiber, some raw fruit and vegetables, and protein, either cooked or uncooked, you will be giving your digestive system a boost. If you are unable to maintain that, then enzyme supplementation, together with general multi-vitamin and mineral supplement daily, should help you to maintain a healthy digestive system. However, fiber is essential since without it you will become constipated, especially if you consume a lot of pulpy foods that mainly consist of water.
It is extremely important that you have proper digestion of the food that you eat, and that your body makes the best use of the nutrients that it contains. To achieve this, you have to maintain the correct pH of stomach acid, and eat foods with the nutritional content required by the human body. This means not overcooking a balanced diet containing protein, fiber, enzymes and other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (plant-based chemicals).
Fight Stress With Magnesium Supplements
April 17, 2008 04:16 PM
When stress hormones are released into the body due to a stressful situation, several things may happen. Your metabolic rate can increase, heart rate jumps, blood vessels contract and get tighter, the rate at which one breaths gets more frequent and shorter, muscles contract in response to stress among other things.
At the cellular level a significant inflow of calcium decrease cellular magnesium to calcium ratios which stimulates cellular function such as secrete fluids, contract, go into active mode. The muscles prepare to contract this includes the lungs, heart, and blood vessels. Nerves start to fire more frequent, the blood gets ready to clot, and secondary stress hormones are released. Normally when the stress crisis is over, magnesium moves back into the cells at the cellular level forcing calcium out relaxing the cells, this allows the body to slow down and relax, the nerves calm down and blood flow slows.
Magnesium plays a vital role to relax the body, once the stressful situation is over. The demand for magnesium goes up with stress. If there are inadequate amounts of magnesium in the body, this magnesium deficiency can in itself sustain a stress response. A magnesium deficiency itself can initiate and maintain a stress response without a trigger to cause the stress in the first place. Low magnesium states can prevent the body from relaxing and cause muscle cramping. After a stressful situation, adequate magnesium is needed to help the body shift over to a relaxed state.
Boarder-line magnesium individuals can have a mental, emotional, environmental or physical state of Continuous stress where their bodies never come down out of the stress state. This can be detrimental to health and wellness. Drinking coffee, alcohol, and eating lots of sugary foods will cause the body to become depleted. Today’s diets high in over processed foods are lacking magnesium; one should supplement by either changing ones diet or adding magnesium to their diet in mineral supplement form.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include signs such as, muscle cramps or twitches, insomnia, irritability, sensitivity to loud noises, anxiety, nervousness, autism, ADHD, heart palpitations, angina, constipation, spasms in the muscles, headaches, migraines, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, asthma and kidney stones (typically caused by a calcium-magnesium imbalance), diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, menstrual cramps, irritable bladder, irritable bowel, acid reflux, and premenstrual syndrome, depression, low energy, weakness in the muscles, weakening bones (bone density loss), and calcification of organs.
Women who consume high amounts of calcium can actually create a greater deficiency in magnesium leading to greater bone mineral density lost then if no calcium was consumed at all. Foods today that are being fortified with calcium are actually helping women loose more bone density because magnesium is not in the right proportions.
To word off the negative effects of a prolonged or over-reaction to stress including a shortened lifespan, one needs to balance out their magnesium to calcium ratios by adding adequate amounts of both magnesium and calcium to their diet. Supplementing with 400 mgs to 800 mgs of elemental magnesium is critical for one looking to live a healthier longer life that is free from stress.
Keywords: Magnesium Deficiency, Fight Stress, Magnesium, Calcium, Fight High Blood Pressure
Description: Are you feeling tired, sick or maybe you feel like something is wrong but not quite sure what it is? Would you know if you had a magnesium deficiency? Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic functions in the body; learn how it can help you!
Biotin For Better Health!
April 14, 2008 12:42 PM
Biotin is one of the B vitamins, known as vitamin B7 and also, for some reason, vitamin H. If you have a deficiency of this vitamin you will know about it because it makes you bald. So keep up your vitamin B7 intake girls!
However, this should not be difficult since it is contained in cooked egg white (not raw), tomatoes, chard, onions, cabbage, strawberries, walnuts, halibut, carrots, liver, brewers yeast and cucumber to name but a few of the many sources. It makes sense that it has so many sources because biotin is essential for many of the biochemical reactions that take place Continuously in your body.
It is contained in raw eggs, but is bound too tightly to the protein to be available to your body. It has to be cooked before the bond is broken sufficiently to render it bioavailable.
Included in these is the all-important Krebs cycle that releases energy from food. It is necessary for the growth of your body cells, for the metabolism of the fats you consume and for the biosynthesis of the fatty acids that are eventually converted to proteins and then the DNA that is essential for life. In other words, without biotin we would not be here.
However, do not get overly worried about the necessity of biotin in your diet, since the same applies to all of the other vitamins you consume. That is what vitamins are chemicals that have been identified ages ago as being essential to life. Without vitamins we could not survive which is why the vitamin supplement industry is so strong and healthy.
So, what does biotin do specifically, other than being necessary for some of the essential biochemical processes in your body? These tend to look after themselves, so what are the physical attributes that biotin provides for you? The name should give you a clue. In fact it should be familiar since it is one of the more commonly mentioned ingredients of hair care products: “Biotin for Healthy Hair” - ring a bell?
Although a deficiency of biotin is rare with a healthy balanced diet, it can happen, and when it does your first sign might be your skin drying out, your cholesterol levels will increase, you will feel continually tired and depressed with a poor appetite and you will be nauseous. You will also frequently vomit, which puts the icing on the cake of a set of very undesirable symptoms. It is important, then, that you do not suffer from a deficiency of biotin, vitamin B7 or vitamin H, whatever you want to call it, and is why many people take a supplement just to make sure.
This is normally taken as part of a general B complex supplement or even a general multivitamin supplement, since almost everybody has no idea what this vitamin is and why it is so necessary for your continued health. So let's have a look at why biotin is so important, with specific reference to your hair, skin and nails. However, we shall also examine its deeper biochemical uses and explain why it is such an essential vitamin.
With regard to biotin supplements in hair preparations, it benefit’s by helping one grow thicker hair, symptoms of a deficiency is brittle hair. If you are deficient, you will lose your eyelashes and eyebrows in addition to your hair, depending on the severity of your deficiency. As stated, however, that is particularly rare. The biotin content of shampoos is likely useless since it is not absorbed through the skin.
What it does in the diet, however, is to thicken the nails and also the hair fiber giving it a fuller appearance, so that you appear to have more hair than you actually have. It also increases the flexibility of the hair, skin and nails rendering them less brittle and less liable to breaking and scaling. However, as previously stated if you eat a good balanced diet you should avoid these problems, although a vitamin B complex supplement will do the job just as well.
So what else does vitamin B7 do for you? Lots in fact, so let's have a look at the more important of them starting with the function of your body cells in the production of energy. Biotin takes part in the Citric Acid Cycle, otherwise known as the Krebs Cycle, whereby energy is created by the conversion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins into carbon dioxide and water. It is one of the essential metabolic pathways of life, and biotin is needed to recharge the Krebs cycle with metabolites when mitochondria become deficient in these essential components.
Without them you would begin to feel tired and lack energy, and this would get increasingly worse without a biotin supplement. It is amazing that your energy is created in the mitochondria which are a part of the tiny cells that make up the tissue of your body, and equally amazing that it depends upon, among other substances, a vitamin of which very few people are even aware of.
In spite of any other effect biotin has on your body, including providing healthy hair, skin and nails, its primary role in your body is in the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates into a form that can be used by your body for the production of energy. Biochemically, it functions as a coenzyme, which is a molecule needed to help an enzyme do its work. In fact an alternative name give to biotin is Coenzyme R.
It helps in the biochemical conversion of sugars to energy, and is a component of enzymes such as pyruvate carboxylase. That enzyme is protein contained within the mitochondria that contains a biotin prosthetic group, without which it could not function to help the body to generate energy during exercise. Suffice it to say that without biotin you would find it difficult to generate energy, especially when the demand for it is at its highest.
Biotin's biochemical role is not restricted to energy production however, and it is involved in the biochemical synthesis of amino acids and also of glucose from other sugars. Glucose is the main blood sugar that is manufactured in the body from the other saccharides that you eat, such as fructose.
A reasonable level of supplementation to ensure that you do not suffer from a deficiency is around 100 micrograms daily, although up to 5 milligrams (5000 mcg) are safe for the treatment of brittle nails or hair loss. Much depends on age and it is best taken as a vitamin B complex supplement, since the B vitamins appear to give best results as a team!
So, while you can have healthy hair, skin and nails with biotin, without it you will have no energy and likely have no need for your hair, skin and nails!
The Benefits of Ascorbyl Palmitate A Fat-Soluble Form of Ascorbic Acid
February 09, 2008 10:43 AM
The benefits of ascorbyl palmitate are due to the substance being a fat-soluble form of ascorbic acid which is otherwise known as vitamin C. Before discussing why being fat-soluble should be of benefit, let us first have a look at what vitamin C does for us and what its limitations are.
Most people know vitamin C as the vitamin that prevents us from getting scurvy, and that limes and other citrus fruits were given to sailors to prevent them from contracting this often fatal disease on long journeys. However, important though the protection it provides against scurvy is, there are many more important uses for this important vitamin. In fact some of them are closely connected to the symptoms of scurvy.
Among these are pains and swelling in the joints, and the loosening of teeth and hair loss. Scurvy is also associated with easy bruising and bleeding. All of these can be associated with loss of collagen, which is contained in connective tissues, bone and blood vessels. Collagen repairs and maintains cartilage, heals wounds and is essential for proper skin formation and the structure of ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, bones, hair and teeth. When we consider that one of the most important properties of vitamin C is the part it plays in the production of collagen in the body, then its effectiveness in alleviating the symptoms of scurvy is not difficult to understand.
Vitamin C is also a strong antioxidant that destroys free radicals that kill and severely damage body cells, and cause a large variety of undesirable conditions such as atherosclerosis and cancers, and also debilitating and painful inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. Many free radicals are formed in the body as by-products of our metabolism: the generation of energy from fats and blood glucose. Others are ingested in the form of cigarette smoke and other toxins, while yet other free radicals are caused by the effect of sunlight on our skins. Natural antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E help to keep these free radicals under control and minimize their effect.
Another interesting property of vitamin C is in the synthesis of carnetine, a deficiency of which is also thought to contribute to scurvy. Carnetine is needed by the body to transport fat to the cellular mitochondria so that it can be converted to energy. Vitamin C is also believed to take part in the biochemistry that converts cholesterol to bile acids and so helps to maintain a healthy level of cholesterol in the blood.
The vitamin is therefore a very useful one for the body, but it has one fault. It is water soluble, and hence cannot be stored in the body but is expelled in the urine. Had it been fat soluble it could have been able to be stored in the body fats, in the same way that vitamins A and E are, and be available for use when required. Instead any excess that is not immediately used is lost, and a fresh intake of ascorbic acid necessary on a Continuous basis.
Not only that, but it is only of use in areas of the body that the blood can reach. Fatty tissue is practically devoid of vitamin C, and many areas of the brain cannot be reached by substances that are insoluble in oils and fats. It also finds it difficult to penetrate the skin and the walls of body cells. This is where the benefits of ascorbyl palmitate are useful.
Ascorbyl palmitate is a fat-soluble form of vitamin C and possesses all of the attributes of ascorbic acid. It is more easily absorbed by the body and can be stored in the membranes of the cells until needed. It is also a powerful antioxidant, the same as vitamin C, and is frequently used to prevent the oxidation of vegetables oils, such as on potato chips and other oily snacks. It also takes part in the biochemistry of the production of collagen and connective tissues.
The usefulness of this substance comes from not only from its amphoteric nature, whereby it has one end that is water soluble and another that is fat soluble, but also by the fact that it is also amphipathic, meaning that it prefers neither one medium nor the other, and tends to collect at phase boundaries, between oil and water phases. It is particularly effective in topical uses on the skin, because it is easily absorbed into the skin tissue, and more stable than some of the other forms of vitamin C. It is also believed to protect other fat soluble antioxidants such as vitamin E from oxidation, and also to help to protect blood cell membranes from free radical attack.
Although vitamin C is a very powerful vitamin, carrying out a multitude of tasks, ascorbyl palmitate has some advantages over it apart from the solubility difference. Its antioxidant properties are stronger than those of regular ascorbic acid and in fact rival those even of vitamin E, which it also helps to regenerate after its reaction with free radicals, and help to maintain a Continuous supply of this powerful antioxidant.
It is also a chemically neutral form of the vitamin, and unlike regular ascorbic acid, does not cause inflammation of the tissues it comes into contact with. It can also reduce sunburn due to excessive exposure to UVB when applied to the skin, and is a very stable form of the vitamin. Ascorbyl palmitate also acts as an anti-inflammatory with certain conditions, such as psoriasis where topical application helped to reduce the extent of the lesions. In fact it appears to do most of what vitamin C does, but faster and with smaller doses.
So why is ascorbyl palmitate not used as the main form of vitamin C in supplements? The answer is money. Ascorbyl palmitate is considerably more expensive than regular vitamin C, and also normal ascorbic acid has some properties that the fat-soluble form does not have, such as its ability to rapidly pass through the body in the bloodstream.
However, it would make sense to take a supplement consisting of both forms of vitamin C, and so combine the best properties of each. Any vitamin C supplement that is designed for maximum effect on the body should contain at least 25% of ascorbyl palmitate, the balance being ascorbic acid. That is what to look for if you are to receive the combined benefits of both water and fat soluble vitamin C.
L-Glutathione Can Eliminate Toxins in the Liver
December 07, 2007 11:54 AM
L-glutathione is the reduced form of glutathione, and is a tripeptide synthesized in the animal and plant tissues from glycine, cysteine and glutamate. Commonly known as GSH, it contains thiol groups that are maintained in a reduced state, and is a very powerful antioxidant, considered to be the key antioxidant and protective substance in the body.
Glutathione can reduce any disulfide groups in the cytoplasm within the body of the cell, and ensures that the cytoplasm is a strongly reducing medium protecting against oxidation. It has a synergistic effect with other antioxidants to protect the body against free radicals and oxidizing agents that cause so much damage to the body through what is commonly referred to as ‘oxidative stress’. However, there is more to it than that and it attaches itself to toxic chemicals and drugs in the liver and renders them into a state suitable for elimination from the body.
These toxic materials include poisonous pesticides, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and chromium and many other substances that we come into contact with due to present day pollution of our atmosphere and foodstuffs. Glutathione can also help protect the body from the effects of chemotherapy and evidence is suggesting possible links with the control of some cancers, diabetes, atherosclerosis and many other degenerative conditions caused by free radical attack and the effects of pollutants.
The way that GSH acts in the cells is that the redox state of the glutathione-glutathione disulfide couple is critical to the health of the intercellular and intracellular fluid. GSH in the reduced state of glutathione reacts with an oxidative agent such as hydrogen peroxide to form the oxidized form, glutathione disulfide and water. It hence mops up oxidizers such as peroxides and free radicals within the cytoplasm of the body’s cells, and also in between the cells. The disulfide is then converted back to GSH by the combined action of the enzyme glutathione reductase and NADPH (the reducing agent nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate).
The cycle then repeats so that two molecules of glutathione continue to reduce damaging oxidizing agents without themselves being consumed. In so doing, the NADPH becomes oxidized. A Continuous supply of NADPH is needed to allow GSH to undergo these biochemical reactions, and up to 10% of our blood glucose is used by the pentose phosphate pathway by which NADPH is synthesized.
Since this cycle consumes no glutathione, it would appear that a supplement is unnecessary. However, this is not the case since the molecule takes part in other reactions in the body, particularly in the elimination of toxic heavy metals from the body. Mercury is highly reactive with the thiol that GSH is, and so will bind to form a stable Hg-sulfydryl bond in the liver. This mercury-glutathione chelate is unable to bind to other proteins or gain access to the body cells, and is eventually harmlessly secreted. The same is true of many other heavy metals that are reactive with thiol’s.
In this way the body is protected from the harmful effects of these heavy metals. However, it results in the loss of the glutathione, and the pollution of modern day living can take a heavy toll of the GSH content of our bodies. For this reason a glutathione supplement is recommended, especially for city dwellers that may be exposed to more heavy metals than those residing in rural areas.
However, the form in which this supplement is taken is very important, because the human digestive tract contains a significant amount of gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase. That is an enzyme which apparently destroys glutathione before it can be absorbed. However, it can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream by dissolving the pill between the teeth and inner cheek. It has also been suggestion that the supplement could be administered by injection.
Others have suggested that rather than administer a supplement, individuals could take other supplements that contain the materials needed to stimulate the formation of GSH. Substances such as vitamin C, selenium (important in GSH biochemistry), methionine, alpha-lipoic acid and glutamine could all help to increase the body’s production of glutathione. A supplement of the constituent parts of cysteine, glycine and glutamic acid should also help. The dosage ranges recommended vary widely from 50mg to 500mg daily, and the effects of supplementation are not yet well know.
Some specific conditions that this wonder antioxidant is useful in treating include liver disease such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and so on. Patients suffering from these diseases show a massive reduction in their GSH content and prior GSH treatment appeared to offer a significant degree of protection in controlled clinical investigations. Patients suffering from chronic hepatitis C have been found to be associated with reduced GSH levels, particularly if also HIV positive.
Similar deficiencies have been noted in some lung conditions such as asthma and other pulmonary conditions. In such cases it has been demonstrated that administration of GSH supplements sufficient to restore normal levels of the substance improved the patients’ conditions by a significant amount. Its effect on atherosclerosis appears to be significant since a decreased level of GSH peroxidase has been recorded in such patients in addition to an increase in lipid peroxides, indicating that oxidation of the arterial wall had been occurring.
Anti-viral therapies that rely on GSH biochemistry for their action have been found to be less effective in those with low GSH levels, and other studies have confirmed that supplementing with GSH improves the response to interferon treatment. These results indicate the activity of oxidizing agents and free radicals in liver conditions, and in fact this has been demonstrated by tests carried out in New York and Philadelphia in the 1990s.
This suggests that the liver is prone to damage by oxidative stress, and that GSH levels may be able to be used as an indication of potential liver disease. What is evident is that a strong case can be made for glutathione supplementation as protection against potential liver, pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases, especially by those exposed to specific polluting agents such as primary or secondary tobacco smoke, auto and diesel fumes and chemicals and pesticides.
L-glutathione is useful, not only for the elimination of toxins in the liver, but also in protecting this large and vital organ from the oxidative stress that modern living brings. L-Glutathione and its precursors are sold over the counter at your local or internet health food store.
Back to School with Colloidal silver
December 02, 2007 06:11 PM
Although the basic school supplies and a nutritious lunch are necessities that most parents know children need, other tools for a good immune system are often overlooked. With so many supplements on the market, ranging from herbal immune boosters to vitamin and mineral regimens, it is hard for a parent to decide what to choose when it comes to helping their children stay healthy during the school year. There is one supplement, however, that stands above the rest when it comes to keeping children healthy: colloidal silver. This supplement is the one supplement that is capable of meeting all your child’s needs. Not only is it at the head of its class in immunity support, but it also works as an antimicrobial and has regenerative properties to aid the body in recuperating after an illness has already set in. In addition, it can be used as a health support aid along with other antimicrobials or pain relievers. The best part is that colloidal silver is a clear liquid that looks, tastes, feels, and smells like water, so it is an easy supplement to give your children.
The difference between those children who never seem to get sick and those who are constantly ill has to do with more than a matter of avoiding germs. All the preventative measures in the world can be taken to protect a child from illness, but if he or she does not have a strong immune system, the parent will be fighting a Continuous battle to keep the child healthy. Unlike other immune supplements that are only geared for use at the beginning of a cold or flu, colloidal silver can be used every day to Continuously support the immune system.
It was observed as far back as 1907 that silver increases the production of white blood cells. This observation has been recently confirmed in many studies. Researchers have also found that silver may help white blood cells to intercept immune threats effectively by increasing their ability to track, recognize, and survey incoming threats. All of these things cumulatively enhance the immune system, a factor that is very important in keeping children healthy for the long run. It has also been accepted for a long time that silver is effective in fighting a range of microbes such as bacteria, viruses, and fungus. This is contributed to silver ions rupturing the outer membrane of the infectious agent, thereby exposing the internal components to the immune system. When colloidal silver is applied to vulnerable areas such as the eyes, throat, and nose, it can act as a first line of defense in eliminating microbes before they can enter the body. By applying this in the morning before school, microbes that may come into contact with those areas can be eliminated. Silver can also be applied on cuts and scrapes to provide a healthy antiseptic support, as well as faster healing.
In order to decide which silver is right for your children, you must keep in mind that not all silver preparations are the same. A good colloidal silver should have small silver particles that are sub-nanometer in size. Remember that colloidal silver is a dietary supplement to support your health, not to cure diseases. If serious issues are occurring, be sure to contact your health care professional first.
Supplements to Fight Prostate Cancer
July 29, 2007 11:41 AM
Prostate Cancer and Nutritional Supplements
Years of research have discovered that the foods a man chooses to eat (or doesn’t eat) can have a profound impact on the health of his prostate gland. Because of this close nutritional link, prostate cancer may be the most preventable type of cancer (after smoking-related lung cancers).
Recently, there has been an incredible amount of research and investigation of prostate cancer. Many of these studies have explored the use of certain nutrients to prevent and actually treat prostate cancer. These nutrients, calcium D-glucarate selenium, broccoli, green tea, maitake, and lycopene are powerful prostate cancer fighters. All are available as nutritional supplements that men can take every day as an important part of a healthy diet.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will discuss prostate cancer and how men can actually prevent it with the use of these six nutrients. Plus, if men already have prostate cancer, these nutrients can be an important part of their treatment regimen in fighting their disease.
Q. What does the prostate gland do?
A. The prostate is a gland in a man’s reproductive system. It makes and stores seminal fluid, the milky fluid that nourishes sperm. This fluid is released to form part of the semen. The prostate is about the size of a walnut and it is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate actually wraps around the upper part of the urethra, the tube that empties urine from the bladder through the penis.
Q. What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
A. Early prostate cancer often does not cause any symptoms. However, many symptoms of prostate cancer are also symptoms of other problems with the prostate, such as an infection or benign prostatic hyperplasia, a prostate enlargement associated with age-related changes.
A man who has any of these symptoms should see his health care practitioner for evaluation:
-A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
-Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
-Inability to urinate
-Painful or burning urination
-Difficulty in having an erection
-Blood in urine or semen
-Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs.
Q. Are certain men more prone to get prostate cancer?
A. Age is the biggest risk factor: most prostate cancers occur in men over 65 years of age. A man’s risk for developing prostate cancer is higher if his father or brother has had the disease. African-Americans are at higher risk for the disease. Mechanics, farmers, sheet metal workers, and workers exposed to cadmium have also had high rates of prostate cancer.
Q. How is prostate cancer diagnosed?
A. A man who has any of these risk factors may want to ask his health care professional whether to begin screening for prostate cancer (even though he does not have any symptoms), what tests to have, and how often to have them.
The usual prostate tests include: Digital rectal exam: the doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum and feels the prostate through the rectal wall to check for hard or lumpy areas.
Blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA): a lab measures the levels of PSA in a blood sample. The level of PSA may rise in men who have prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia (a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland), or an infection in the prostate.
These tests will only determine if there is a problem with a man’s prostate gland. They cannot determine if the problem is cancer. Only a biopsy of a sample of prostate tissue can reveal the presence of actual prostate cancer.
Q. What nutrients help prevent or treat prostate cancer?
A. The prostate health nutrients, calcium D-glucarate, selenium, broccoli, green tea, maitake, and lycopene, each work in unique ways. Some help men’s bodies’ work more effectively some keep cancer cells from growing, while others actually kill prostate cancer cells. Let’s discuss each nutrient and how it works.
It is 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. There are also “natural” toxins that are produced in our bodies. Excess hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone, can cause cancer when they are no longer needed. Cancer causing chemicals not only initiate cancer, but exposure to them can also cause existing cancers to grow bigger, stronger, and more deadly.
Our bodies do a fairly good job of eliminating some of these toxins before they can cause us harm. In the liver, the toxin is bound or attached to a chemical called glucuronic acid. The bound toxin is then excreted in bile and eventually eliminated as a waste product in the stool. However, yet another chemical, an enzyme called glucoronidase, can break this bond between the toxin and glucuronic acid. When this happens, the hormone or toxin is released back into our bodies, capable of causing us harm once more. The longer the toxins and excess hormones are in our bodies, the greater the chances they can make us seriously sick. Scientists have discovered that increased glucuronidase activity in the body is strongly associated with prostate cancer.
Fortunately, scientists have also discovered that a natural substance found in foods, calcium D-glucarate, can greatly reduce the activity of glucuronidase. Calcium D-glucarate helps our bodies keep the harmful toxins and chemicals bound to glucuronic acid. 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 many experimental studies to significantly stop prostate cancer growth. Studies have shown that by taking calcium D-glucarate, our bodies and get rid of the toxic chemicals and excess hormones that might stimulate cancer formation.
Selenium is an essential trace mineral fund in the soil. Both plant foods like oatmeal and meats that we eat, such as chicken and beef, contain selenium. How much selenium, however, is difficult to determine. This is because the amount of selenium in soil, which varies by region, determines the amount of selenium in the plant foods that are grown in that soil. Animals, too, will have varying levels of selenium in their muscle, depending on the amount of selenium in their feed. The actual selenium level in the grasses and grains that make up animal feed reflect the amount of the selenium in the soil where they grew.
A major antioxidant, selenium slows down aging, keeps our skin supple, and helps prevent dandruff. Selenium also keeps our blood vessels healthy and protects us from heart disease. However, some of selenium’s most powerful effects are on the prostate gland.
In a recent study, researchers recruited 974 men to take part in a large clinical trial to determine if selenium could prevent cancer. Half of the men were given selenium supplements and half were given a placebo. Researchers, who did know which group got the placebo, watched and recorded the men’s progress. The researchers were amazed to learn that selenium cut the rate of prostate cancer by 63%!
The results of this study were so impressive that it has led to many other studies of selenium and prostate cancer. In fact, researchers at the
Scientists have observed over for a long period of time, that men who eat lots of broccoli have a lower risk of getting prostate cancer. It seems that sulforaphane, a compound abundant in broccoli, is the secret ingredient responsible for this connection. Sulforaphane increases certain enzymes in the body, called phase 2 enzymes, which deactivate cancer-causing chemicals. In lab experiments, prostate cancer cells that were exposed to sulforaphane, the compound inhibited the growth of the cancer cells up to 80 percent.
There is a potent plant substance in green tea that is a very effective killer of prostate cancer cells. A recent study tested four common components of green tea and determined that one of these compounds, epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG, has a special affinity for prostate cancer cells. Scientists discovered that EGCG can stop the growth of prostate cancer dead in its tracks. The chemical structure of EGCG is very similar to substances in red wine and cruciferous vegetables, known cancer killers.
For many 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.
A recent study at
Some of the most exciting nutritional news in relation to prostate health involves lycopene. This carotenoid is found primarily in tomatoes, and men who eat lots of cooked tomatoes have very low rates of prostate cancer. Because promising preliminary reports demonstrate that lycopene can actually kill prostate cancer cells, there has been an explosion of lycopene and prostate cancer studies.
In one of these studies, 32 prostate cancer patients ate a pasta meal covered with three-fourths cup of tomato sauce every day for three weeks. Results showed their PSA levels dropped two points. Even signs of DNA damage dropped sharply. The ability of lycopene to drop these levels in just three weeks has impressed researchers and scientists worldwide.
Q. Do I have to take each nutrient separately?
A. While you can purchase each one of these nutrients and take them separately, all of these nutrients are available in prostate health formulas. Make sure the formula you buy contains calcium d-glucarate, lycopene, and selenium, broccoli standardized to contain a minimum of 125 mcg sulforaphane, green tea, and maitake mushroom extract. Standardized ingredients provide consistently effective nutrients.
Q. What else can men do to prevent prostate cancer?
A. Adopting a healthy diet, including eating 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, eating several servings of whole grain cereals and bread, and reducing red meat consumption to 2 or 3 servings per week has been shown to reduce the risk of all kinds of cancer. In addition, the recent lycopene studies suggest that a diet that regularly includes tomato-based foods may help protect men from prostate cancer.
Men 50 years and older should have a digital rectal exam (DRE) and PSA test each year. African-Americans and those at higher risk should begin at age 40. Talk with your health care professional to determine how frequently the test should be done.
This year doctors expect to find 180,000 new cases of prostate cancer is the
More cancers are caught early and new treatments might help make it possible for men to live long and healthy lives following their diagnosis. By taking a few simple steps, men diagnosed with prostate cancer can take charge of their lives and overcome much of the fear and anxiety that accompany a cancer diagnosis.
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.
Do you experience muscle pain and inflammation?
April 25, 2007 03:30 PM
Everyone experiences muscle pain and inflammation due to overuse and exertion. We’ve all had those softball games, weekend camping trips or chore-intensive days when our body lets us know we’ve overdone it.
So, what can you do about it? Well, fortunately, there is a proprietary formula with clinically studied ingredients that provides a natural solution: FlexAgility MAX.
FlexAgility MAX is designed to reduce pain and inflammation due to overuse. Its clinically studied ingredients have been shown to help balance the body’s own inflammatory response. Let’s take a look at FlexAgility MAX and answer a few questions you may have about it.
Q. What is inflammation? Why does it happen?
A. Inflammation is actually an essential part of your body’s natural healing process. When some form of physical stress affects the body, the immune system responds by supplying defensive compounds to the stressed site. This is what causes the fluid build-up, pain and redness we typically associate with inflammation. And until the situation is resolved those symptoms will stick around. So, why is that good? Because without these signals – pain and inflammation – we’d probably do even more damage. In a sense, pain and inflammation are very effective stop signs.
The problem is, if our bodies are Continuously bombarded by factors that trigger inflammation, these defenders (and their symptoms) are always around. This can mean unnecessary pain and inflammation following overuse and exertion.
Q. What does FlexAgility MAX have to do with inflammation?
A. FlexAgility MAX provides triple-action activity against occasional pain and inflammation, with powerful antioxidant free-radical scavengers, the enzyme bromelain, and a natural COX-2 inhibitor.
Q. So what is COX-2 and why should I inhibit it?
A. We’ve all been hearing a lot in the news about COX-2 inhibition and may have wondered about its connection to pain and inflammation. Let’s take a look:
Cyclooxygenase is an enzyme that comes in two main types, abbreviated for convenience: COX-1 and COX-2. The COX enzymes regulate compounds involved with inflammation, including prostaglandins. COX-1 is found throughout the body, and maintains the integrity of the stomach lining, circulation and kidneys.
COX-2 on the other hand, cruises along the central nervous system – it’s much more attuned to our brain’s sense of “what hurts.” Primarily activated by inflammatory stress, COX-2 generates prostaglandins – the hormone-like defensive compounds that cause the responses we associate with pain and inflammation due to overuse.
You can understand why so much research has focused on COX-2 inhibition. Decreasing its activity means short-circuiting the “inflammation cascade” that follows occasional overuse.
Because COX-1 is associated with a healthy stomach lining, it is not an enzyme you want to inhibit. Unfortunately, many products don’t know the difference between COX-1 and COX-2 – filing both with one blast.
Fortunately, there are ingredients in FlexAgility MAX that can tell them apart. One of them is IsoOxygene.
IsoOxygene is a patented hops extract shown in scientific studies to significantly inhibit COX-2, while leaving COX-1 alone. And, it is a 20 times more potent COX-2 inhibitor than other tested popular botanic products, including curcumin and grape seed.
Q. How do antioxidants support the body during times of inflammation due to overuse?
A. Overall, the body ahs a pretty darn good repair system. However, oxidative stress due to free radical damage can take its toll, especially during times of occasional physical stress. Free radicals and reactive oxygen species can damage cells, because they are hungry, unstable molecules in search of electrons. To find them, they attack other cells. These pillaged cells then become free radicals themselves, setting off a chain reaction of oxidative stress.
Free radicals are formed during the body’s normal functions, and can have benefits, such as neutralizing viruses and bacteria. However, in doing do, they erode the body’s own antioxidant defenses, too. And, free radicals typically become very active during times of inflammation due to overuse or other stressors.
The good news is that the herbal and antioxidant elements in FlexAgility MAX help support the body’s own natural anti-inflammatory defenses.
Take vitamin C, for instance. This extremely well-known antioxidant has been scientifically studied for its beneficial effects on muscle, collagen and connective tissue health. Collagen and connective tissue is what helps hold us together – literally.
And famous antioxidant, green tea, has been well-studied for the benefits of a polyphenol called epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or simply EGCG. In scientific and clinical studies, EGCG from green tea works as an overall antioxidant, scavenging free radicals, and supporting healthy collagen. In fact, one study showed that green tea polyphenols supported collagen health by 50% versus only 16% in controls.
The green tea extract in FlexAgility MAX is especially focused on these beneficial polyphenols. It’s standardized to contain 70% polyphenols – half from EGCG. The green tea acts in concert with elderberry and ginger in the formula to help prevent oxidative stress to the body due to occasional overuse.
Anthocyanins are natural antioxidants found in berries and vegetables. Black elderberry extract, one of the herbal ingredients in FlexAgility MAX, was shown in scientific studies to be more bioavailable – that is, more readily used by the body – than the natural bioflavonoids of other plants. Again, antioxidants help keep the body in optimum health- especially during times of physical stress.
Ginger, used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, provides strong, natural antioxidant activity. In fact, a recent scientific study found more than 50 separate antioxidants in ginger root.
Of course, there are many components of plants that show strong antioxidant properties. A scientific study comparing flavonoid antioxidant activity and inflammation have shown that rutin was the most effective in reducing the inflammation cascade.
Boswellia serrata is a tree found growing in the dry, hilly regions of
Another antioxidant ingredient in FlexAgility MAX, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), even helps the body produce more of its own antioxidants, cysteine and glutathione. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, N-acetylcysteine inhibited occasional pain and inflammation due to overuse and attenuated fatigue by 26% compared to controls!
N-acetylcysteine has also been shown in scientific tests to act as an antioxidant, supporting healthy collagen and synovial fluid.
The last ingredient, bromelain, provides the enzymatic pathway used by FlexAgility MAX. Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme derived from pineapple. Clinical and scientific studies showed benefits from bromelain in reducing pain and inflammation from occasional overuse.
So, there you have it- the triple action of FlexAgility MAX: COX-2 inhibition (and COX-1 sparing), antioxidant benefits, and enzyme support.
Q. Is there another product you’d recommend that I use with FlexAgility MAX?
A. One other product I recommend without hesitation is GS-500, a glucosamine sulfate supplement that has been shown to help build and support cartilage. The body’s connective tissue and cartilage include a natural compound called glucosamine. Supplemental glucosamine sulfate is up to 98% absorbable, so more glucosamine reaches the target structures. It has been clinically studied on its effect in building cartilage.
About Enzymatic Therapy:
Like Chris, Enzymatic Therapy is a trailblazer. Since our founding in 1981, we’ve been leading the industry with innovative natural products. After all, in 1993, Enzymatic Therapy introduced glucosamine sulfate, shown to help build and support cartilage, to the
In the intervening years, Enzymatic Therapy has been at the frontline of innovation and invention. Many revolutionary precuts, including Saventaro, Cell Forte, Heartburn Free, Petadolex Patented Brain Support, Whole Body Cleanse, Earth’s Promise, Hot Plants for Him and Hot Plants for Her have been introduced by Enzymatic Therapy.
One of the newest products, (and the reason you’re reading this) is FlexAgility MAX. FlexAgility MAX works with the body’s own natural anti-inflammatory pathways to relieve pain and reduce inflammation due to occasional overuse. Our proprietary FlexBend of ingredients, combined with antioxidants and the proteolytic enzyme, bromelain, is unique among natural products.
Complete Liver Cleanse
April 19, 2007 04:17 PM
Complete Liver Cleanse
Technical Data Sheet
The liver performs over 500 functions, including metabolizing carbohydrates and proteins, synthesizing and storing vitamins, and regulating hormones – naming just a few. To do this job, the liver is also required to be exposed to potentially harmful toxins and chemicals, every day.
One way to support the liver is through periodic supplementation with the proper balance of herbal ingredients, phytosterols, and fiber. Complete Liver Cleanse is a convenient, multi-ingredient formula that supports overall liver health and detoxification.
Complete Liver Cleanse:
Includes ingredients for various aspects of liver and gallbladder support:
-Herbal ingredients that support liver and gallbladder health
-Detoxifying ingredients that keep bound toxins from being reabsorbed
-Phytosterols to block cholesterol absorption in the intestines
-Fiber that moves cholesterol and toxins out of the body
-Oat beta-glucan fiber with up to 4 times higher viscosity than other beta-glucan
-Simple, two week liver cleanse program
Each 3 capsules contain:
Calcium (as calcium D-glucarate) 13 mg
Proprietary PuraFiber Blend: 1 mg
Viscofiber Oat B-Gucan Concentrate, phytosterols
(beta sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, brassicasterol,
and other plant sterols), and glucomannan
Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) Fruit Phytosome 220 mg
One part Milk Thistle Extract, standardized to contain 80%
Silymarin bound to two parts phosphatidylcholine (soy) using
a patented process
Burdock (Arctium lappa) Root Extract 4:1 100 mg
Calcium D-Glucarate 100 mg
Boldo (Peumus boldus) Leaf Extract 2:1 75 mg
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) Rhizome Extract 50 mg
Standardized to contain 90% curcuminoids
Dandelion (Taraxacum offinale) Root Extract 4:1 50 mg
Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) Leaf Extract 30 mg
Standardized to contain 13-18% caffeylquinic
Acids calculated as chlorogenic acid
Contains no: sugar, salt, yeast, wheat, dairy products, artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, ingredients of animal origin, or preservatives. This product contains natural ingredients; color variations are normal.
Other ingredients: See label for most current information
Viscofiber is a registered trademark of Cebena Bioproducts, Inc. The use and composition of the Viscofiber proprietary formula is protected by patients and patent applications filed in the
This product contains calcium D-glucarate, the use of which is licensed from Applied Food Sciences, LLC, and protected by
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Every day, the liver must process an almost unbelievable amount of blood – at a rate of three pints every minute. All the while, the liver performs over 500 physiologic functions, including protein and glucose synthesis, carbohydrate metabolism, vitamin and mineral storage, synthesis of clotting factors, urea formation, metabolism of medications, and the production of bile. The liver also assists in hormonal regulation, blood glucose control, and other regulatory functions.
Harmful substances that have been neutralized by the liver are carried to the intestines and kidneys for excretion. They are transported by bile, a greenish, watery solution that is synthesized, and Continuously being excreted, by the liver. Stored in the gallbladder, a small sac cupped in the under surface of the liver, bile is also required for the digestion of dietary fats. However, in the case of toxins, bile is primarily an early transporter of the toxic compounds to the intestines, where they can be bound to fiber that helps transport them out of the body. Environmental toxins, including lipid (fat) soluble toxins, are broken into water-soluble components by bile to be excreted through the kidneys or colon.
Detoxification refers to the process of excreting potentially harmful compounds that are both generated by the body and acquired through exposure to the environment. In the body, toxins are generated as by-products of cellular metabolic processes. Examples include dead and digested bacteria, hydrogen peroxide, cellular debris, and carbon dioxide.
The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that the amount of environmental toxins in the air, groundwater, and soil has increased significantly in the last 40 years. In fact, the use of pesticides has doubled every ten years since 1945. Americans are increasingly exposed to heavy metals, pesticides, fossil fuel emissions, sulfur oxides, hydrocarbons, and other harmful chemicals. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that traces of toxic chemicals can now be found in nearly every American.
Herbal Liver Support
One of the major components in Complete Liver Cleanse is its milk thistle extract, standardized to contain 80% silymarin, the plant’s most bioactive compound. Milk Thistle provides support, at a cellular level, for healthy liver function. A patented delivery system, known as the Phytosome process, provides superior absorption of the milk thistle extract.
Silymarin, a key compound found in milk thistle, is a mixture of flavonoids with a long history of liver support. Silymarin supports the health of Kupffer cells, specialized liver cells responsible for removing bacteria, old blood cells, and other foreign matter from the liver’s blood supply. Silymarin scavenges free radicals (superoxide anion radical and nitric oxide) produced by activated Kupffer cells, supports healthy leukotriene levels, and supports glutathione production that is used in detoxification.
Silymarin also supports the health of hepatocytes, highly versatile liver cells with unique physiologic functions. Studies of silymarin have demonstrated that it supports the health of the hepatocyte outer membrane, which is crucial to the liver’s detoxification processes. Silymarin also supports the healthy regenerative ability of the liver through support of protein synthesis in the hepatocytes.
A special, patented proves known as Phytosome enhances the absorption of milk thistle in Complete Liver Cleanse. The Phytosome process pairs herbal ingredients with phosphatidylcholine molecules. Phosphatidylcholine is a naturally occurring substance found in soybeans, egg yolks, and some vegetables. In the body, phosphatidylcholine is an important building block of cell membranes.
When milk thistle (or other herbs) are bound with phosphatidylcholine, the phosphatidylcholine molecule facilitates absorption through the intestines into the bloodstream. Research has shown increased blood and serum levels for phytosome herbs in comparison to the individual herb alone.
To test whether binding an herb with phosphatidylcholine increased its bioavailability, researchers gave volunteers identical amounts of either milk thistle alone, or milk thistle phytosome. The researchers then took blood sample from the participants and measured the level of silybin (a key compound in milk thistle). The measurements showed that silybin levels in participants taking the phytosome form of milk thistle were higher, and that silybin was detected for a longer time, than those who took milk thistle without the phytosome delivery system.
Other Herbal Liver Supportive Ingredients
Herbal extracts are often at their best when they are working synergistically – that is, when different constituents of each plant work together and support each other. Complete Liver Cleanse contains a variety of herbal extracts that have noted benefits for supporting the body’s healthy bile flow and free-radical scavenging effects. These ingredients provide a wide spectrum of liver supportive benefits.
For instance, dandelion root extract supports healthy bile flow from the gallbladder.
Burdock is originally native to Europe and Asia, but was introduced to
Burdock root (Arctium lappa) supports the natural physiologic processes of organs involved in detoxification and elimination: notably, the liver, kidneys, and intestines.
Bolodo (pemus boldus) is a small evergreen native to South America, but naturalized to southern
In scientific studies, boldo appears to have strong free-radical scavenging ability, mostly attributed to the catechin and flavonoids content of its leaves. In a clinical study, boldo also appears to relax smooth muscle and support intestinal transit time.
Artichoke Leaf extract specifically supports healthy bile production in the liver and healthy gastrointestinal function in general. Research into artichoke’s gastrointestinal supportive properties has included at least three clinical trials. Artichoke’s role in supporting healthy cholesterol levels within normal limits has also been investigated.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a perennial shrub native to southern
More recently, turmeric has been investigated for its support of healthy bile secretion, and pancreatic and gastric function.
In a scientific study, dietary curcuminoids derived from turmeric supported healthy lipid metabolism and cholesterol levels already within normal limits.
Curcumin has also been shown in scientific studies to enhance the activity of glutathione S-transferase - an enzyme responsible for linking glutathione (one of the body’s natural antioxidants) with toxins to help remove them from the body. In this way, it provides additional support for healthy liver function.
The process of detoxification is the breakdown and excretion of substances that are no longer needed or may be harmful to the body. One of the ways in which the body excretes hormones and toxins is by binding them to glucuronic acid in the liver, and then excreting this compound in the bile.
However, this process can be disrupted by B-glucuronidase, an enzyme that is produced by intestinal bacteria. This enzyme has the ability to break (uncouple) the chemical bond established by glucuronic acid. This action releases the bound toxins, which are then reabsorbed into the body instead of being excreted.
Calcium D-Glucarate is the calcium salt of d-glucaric acid. It is found in both the human body, and in some plant sources, including broccoli and oranges.
Calcium d0glucarate enhances the body’s detoxification systems by inhibiting the actions of beta-glucuronidase. This helps decrease the portion of active compounds that could be hazardous to the body.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is vital to fat digestion, cell structure, nerve insulation and hormone production. Cholesterol comes from two sources: dietary or “exogenous” cholesterol absorbed in the intestine, and “endogenous” cholesterol formed mostly by the liver and stored in the gallbladder.
Cholesterol occurs in two forms known as lipoproteins. Lipoproteins act as transports that carry fat s to and from the cells.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) carries low lipid density cholesterol (LDL) away from arterial walls and returns it to the bloodstream. LDL then travels back to the liver, which processes and eliminates it. While high levels of HDL cholesterol is desirable, high amounts of LDL cholesterol is not supportive of optimal health.
LDL-cholesterol is both synthesized in the body, or absorbed into the bloodstream through receptor sites in the intestines. Think of these receptors as “parking spaces” for cholesterol. As it happens, the liver can receive up to 500 mg per day of cholesterol from intestinal absorption. (It can also produce as much as 1000 mg per day).
One way to help reduce the absorption of LDL cholesterol molecules it to occupy their “parking places” in the intestines. Phytosterols in Liver Cleanse are essentially the “fat” of plants. They’re found in nuts, corn and rice and are some of the “good” fats associated with the benefits of olive oil, flaxseed oil and other healthy oils.
The structure of phytosterols is so similar to cholesterol that they fit perfectly in the specially-shaped intestinal parking spaces that LDL-cholesterol would normally occupy.
Taken with, or just before meals, phytosterols block the cholesterol receptor sites so that cholesterol is excreted from the body rather than absorbed. Phytosterols also have the additional role of helping promote healthy bile salt excretion in the intestines.
The phytosterol blend in Complete Liver Cleanse can help minimize the absorption of cholesterol from high-protein food sources, help retain healthy cholesterol levels that are within normal limits, and move bile sat through the digestive system.
Fiber and detoxification
Fiber plays a key role in the removal and excretion of intestinal toxins in detoxification. Only fibers that can effectively bind toxins will be successful in eliminating these harmful substances. Due to the unique benefits of individual fibers, the best binding, removal, and elimination effects are noted when combining different fiber types. Complete Liver Cleanse contains a combination of oat beta-glucan and konjac fiber that has been shown in scientific studies to bind to bile salts.
Dietary fibers are complex mixtures of cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, mucilage, and gums, which are resistant to digestive fluids or enzymes – that is, they aren’t absorbed into the bloodstream. So, while fiber itself doesn’t necessarily provide nutrients, it does promote laxation and modulate gastric and intestinal physiology. Intestinal flora that normally reside within the colon utilize fiber as a medium for microbial fermentation, resulting in the synthesis of the vitamins, vitamin K and biotin, and the formation of short chain fatty acids, or SCFA.
SCFA have a simple, but important job: to be absorbed by the colon mucosa, increasing fecal matter bulk and providing energy. Fiber has been demonstrated in numerous clinical studies to provide support of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, immune, and endocrine function health.
Complete Liver Cleanse also features two unique fibers to promote detoxification – konjac and oat beta-glucan.
Konjac, (Amorphophallus Konjac) is a tuber native to
As a fiber, konjac has shown positive results maintaining healthy cholesterol levels within normal limits in clinical studies. This beneficial effect is due to konjac’s ability to boost excretion of bile acid.
Oat beta-glucan has been a widely studied fiber source for supporting healthy cholesterol levels within normal limits.
In a randomized clinical study, oat beta-glucan showed support of healthy HDL/LDL ratios already within normal limits in individuals over a three week trial.
Closely linked to cholesterol, oat beta-glucan has also been studied for its support of healthy bile excretion.
Fiber has benefits beyond maintaining healthy cholesterol levels already within normal limits. It also contributes to healthy blood sugar levels already within normal limits. In a double-blind, clinical study, the oat beta-glucan fiber used in Liver Cleanse was shown to have 4 times higher viscosity than another high concentrate beta-glucan fiber.
Viscosity – the resistance to flow – is an important factor in beta-glucan, and all fiber. Water, for instance, would have a low viscosity, because it provides very little resistance to movement. Fiber, on the other hand, should have a higher viscosity in order to maximize its transit time through the GI tract, providing a gentle “scrubbing” on the intestinal walls. Therefore, the higher the viscosity, the greater the potential benefit.
Three capsules in the morning and three capsules at bedtime for 14 days.
Warnings: Do not use if you know or suspect you have an obstructed bile duct or problematic gallstones. If pregnant, nursing or taking prescription drugs, consult your healthcare practitioner prior to use. Keep out of reach of children.
D-Ribose Powder Benefits!
April 10, 2007 11:57 AM
Supports normal heart function*
A significant amount of in vitro, animal and human research suggests benefits of ribose on heart function.* Studies have shown that ribose supplementation can enhance cardiac energy levels and support cardiovascular metabolism.* Ribose has been shown in clinical trials to enhance the recovery of heart muscle ATP levels and improve myocardial function following exercise.
Studies suggest that ribose supplementation can increase the tolerability of the cardiovascular system to exercise-induced fatigue.1 In one study, twenty men underwent treadmill exercise tests on two consecutive days to confirm the onset of fatigue secondary to exercise. The participants were then randomized to the treatment group or a placebo group. The groups received either four doses of 15 grams of D-ribose (60 grams/day total) or the same amount of placebo each day. After three days of treatment, another treadmill test was performed. The time it took to reach the specified level of fatigue was significantly greater in the ribose group than in the placebo group.
Another study investigated the ability of ribose to support healthy heart function and quality of life.2 In a randomized, crossover design study, fifteen individuals were given 5 grams three times a day of either D-ribose or placebo. Each treatment period lasted three weeks. In patients receiving ribose, echocardiography demonstrated enhancement of heart function, reflecting a “more efficient relaxation phase of the heart”. Participants also had a significant improvement in their subjective quality of life scores compared to placebo.
Scientists suggest that suboptimal heart function is a result of the heart requiring more energy to function properly. Ribose supports the heart’s enhanced energy requirements, promoting optimal heart function. It does so by enhancing the stores of high-energy phosphates in heart tissue. These intermediates are necessary for the production and resynthesis of ATP. A double-blind crossover study in which 12 individuals were randomized to receive either ribose or dextrose (both administered as 5 grams three times daily for three weeks, followed by a 1-week washout period and crossover of treatments for three additional weeks) suggested significant enhancements in normal cardiac function during the period of ribose supplementation.3
Perhaps one of the more useful illustrations of the potential for ribose to support heart function comes from a study in which 20 rats received a Continuous infusion of ribose for 24 hours (control rats received an infusion of saline). The hearts were then explanted (as they would be for heart transplants) and placed in preservation solution that was enriched with ribose for 4 hours. ATP levels were measured from tissue biopsies and revealed that 10 of the ribose-treated hearts had ATP levels higher than 12.3 micromoles per gram whereas saline-treated hearts (controls) had lower ATP levels, with 20% showing levels below 10 micromoles per gram of tissue. This provides support for the hypothesis that ribose may enhance the preservation of ATP levels in cardiac tissue, promoting normal heart function.4
Further animal studies have shown that ribose significantly enhances heart function after experimentally induced cardiac depression. Rats were injected with isoproterenol (a drug that stimulates sympathetic nervous system function) and had their abdominal aorta constricted to induce depression of heart function and reduce cardiac ATP levels. The decrease in ATP was primarily responsible for the depression of heart function. Continuous infusion of ribose for 24 hours replenished ATP concentrations to normal levels and normalized heart function in these animals.5
Ribose may strengthen and support the body’s crucial antioxidant defenses*
Ribose may support the body’s innate antioxidant mechanisms while promoting an antioxidant effect of its own. Intense exercise and other strenuous activity can induce the production of free radicals. Preliminary studies suggest that ribose can attenuate some of the effects of oxidation seen after performance of intensive exercise.
One small human study indicated that ribose administered at a dose of seven grams before and after a bout of cycling exercise may reduce free radical production.6 Seven volunteers ingested either ribose or placebo both before and after intense exercise. Markers of lipid peroxidation, including malondialdehyde, significantly decreased in the ribose-supplemented group, while increasing in the control group. The results of this study indicate a possible effect of ribose in supporting antioxidant activity.
Supports healthy energy levels in heart and muscle tissue*
After bouts of intense exercise, ATP levels have been shown to decrease by an average of 15 to 20%.7 The amount of ATP stored in the muscle is limited and so the body must have the potential to rebuild ATP stores. ATP is the fuel necessary for the integrity and function of a cell. In addition, several studies have found correlations between ATP content and heart function.1 Research that was also alluded to above suggests that ribose stimulates ATP synthesis and supports heart and muscle function by enhancing ATP levels in cardiac and muscle tissue. D-ribose is an essential building block for the synthesis of ATP through the pentose phosphate pathway.
The results of ribose supplementation enhancing ATP levels in muscle are evidenced by studies suggesting beneficial effects on anaerobic performance. In a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study assessing the effects of acute ribose supplementation, participants receiving the ribose supplement had increases in mean power (a measure of average overall muscular strength output during the sprint) and peak power (a measure of the highest muscular strength output during the sprint) when undergoing a series of cycle sprints.8 While this effect was not noted in all of the six short cycling sprints that the participants underwent, the study does illustrate the potential benefits of ribose on ATP production and, secondarily, on enhancing exercise performance.
A second placebo-controlled trial investigated the effects of four weeks of ribose-supplementation (10 grams /day) on male bodybuilders. Of the 20 participants who were recruited, twelve completed the study. Each subject participated in a heavy-resistance training program designed to increase skeletal muscle mass. The effects of ribose on body composition (body weight, body fat, lean body mass, fat mass, and bone mineral content) were also assessed. The results suggested that ribose increased total work capacity and bench press strength compared to placebo, without altering body composition.9
Supports energy recovery after exercise*
Animal studies have suggested that the administration of ribose after exercise increases the rate of adenine salvage by five to seven-fold in muscle tissue7, supporting energy recovery after exercise. When ATP is utilized by muscle tissue, the degradation products include adenine nucleotides (Adenine is one of two purine bases that is a component of DNA). Adenine is recycled to synthesize DNA, and the salvage of adenine within the muscle tissue is crucial to energy recovery. Studies have shown that the presence of adequate ribose concentrations is the rate-limiting step in the purine salvage pathway. Therefore, increased adenine salvage could potentially help in the recovery and regeneration of ATP after intense bouts of activity.
A study investigated the effect of oral intake of ribose on the synthesis of AMP, a precursor to ATP.10 Participants performed intense cycle training for seven days. They then received either ribose (at a concentration of 200 mg/kg body weight, which is equivalent to 14 grams per day for an average 70 kilogram male) or placebo three times a day for the following three days. Exercise tests were performed again on day 4. Muscle biopsy samples were taken before the first training session, immediately after, and again five hours, 24 hours, and 72 hours after the last training session. No differences were seen in exercise performance between the groups. The intense exercise caused the ATP levels in muscle to decrease in both groups. However, at 72 hours post-exercise, the ribose group exhibited a much higher ATP level than the placebo group. The muscle levels of critical building blocks for ATP, including total adenine nucleotides (TAN) and inosine 5’-monophosphate (IMP), were also significantly higher in the ribose group compared to the placebo group at 24 hours after exercise. Ribose-supplementation was shown to enhance the resynthesis of ATP after intense exercise.
*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.
Caution: Insulin-dependent diabetics and pregnant women should consult their physician before use.
Suggested Adult Use: Take 1 or 2 scoops mixed in water, juice or other beverage two times per day. May be taken with or without food.
1) Pliml, W., von Arnim, T., Stablein, A., Hofmann, H., Zimmer, H., Erdmann, E. Effects of ribose on exercise-induced ischaemia in stable coronary artery disease. The Lancet. 1992;340:507-510.
2) Omran, H., Illien, S., MacCarter, D., St. Cyr, J.A., Luderitz, B. D-Ribose improves diastolic function and quality of life in congestive heart failure patients: a prospective feasibility study. The European Journal of Heart Failure. 2003;5:615-619.
3) Illien, S., Omran, H., MacCarter, D., St. Cyr, J.A. Ribose improves myocardial function in congestive heart failure. FASEB Journal 2001;15(5): A1142
4) Muller C., Zimmer H., Gross M., Gresser U., Brotsack I., Wehling M., Pliml W. Effect of ribose on cardiac adenine nucleotides in a donor model for heart transplantation. Eur J Med Res. 1998 Dec 16;3(12):554-8.
5) Zimmer H.G. Normalization of depressed heart function in rats by ribose. Science. 1983 Apr 1;220(4592):81-2.
6) Seifert, J.G., Subudhi, A., Fu, M., Riska, J.J. The effects of ribose ingestion on indices of free radical production during hypoxic exercise. Free Rad Biol Med 2002; 33(Suppl 1) S269.
7) Zarzeczny, R., Brault, J.J., Abraham, K.A., Hancock, C.R., Terjung, R. Influence of ribose on adenine salvage after intense muscle contractions. J Applied Physiology. 2001;91:1775-1781.
8) Berardi J.M., Ziegenfuss T.N. Effects of ribose supplementation on repeated sprint performance in men. J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Feb;17(1):47-52.
9) Van Gammeren, D.V., Falk, D., Antonio, J. The effects of four weeks of ribose supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in healthy, young, male recreational bodybuilders: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Current Ther Research. 2002;63(8):486-495.
10) Hellsten, Y., Skadhauge, L., Bangsbo, J. Effect of ribose supplementation on resynthesis of adenine nucleotides after intense intermittent training in humans. American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. 2004;286:R182-R188.
Buy Ribose at Vitanet at a Discount
Glucosamine Sulfate and Chondroitin Sulfate
March 28, 2007 11:10 AM
Glucosamine Sulfate and Chondroitin Sulfate
Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis in the U.S., according to the Arthritis Foundation. One-third of all American adults have X-ray evidence of osteoarthritis of the hand, foot, knee, or hip. Osteoarthritis is responsible for more than 7 million physician visits per year and is second only to cardiovascular disease as the cause of chronic disability in adults. As Baby Boomers age, the number of people suffering from osteoarthritis is expected to rapidly increase in the next 10 years.
While osteoarthritis research ahs led to the development of promising new prescription and over-the-counter medications aimed at reducing pain, none has created the excitement of glucosamine sulfate (GS), which actually addresses the underlying joint destruction.
Q. What is osteoarthritis?
A. Osteoarthritis is a complex, metabolic disorder of the cartilage and bones of certain joints. However, to fully understand how osteoarthritis develops, we need to understand how joints work.
A joint is formed when two or more bones are brought together and held in place by muscles and tendons. Some joints have very little range of movement, such as the joints of the ribs, while others have much more range of movement. Hips, knees, elbows, writs, and thumbs are termed synovial joints, and have the greatest range of movement and mobility of human joints. To allow such mobility, synovial joints have a unique structure.
The bones that form synovial joints are covered with cartilage. Tough fibrous tissue encloses the area between the bone ends and is called the joint capsule. The joint cavity within the capsule is lined with an inner membrane, called synovial membrane. The membrane secretes synovial fluid, a thick, slippery fluid that fills the small space around and between the two bones. This fluid contains many substances that lubricate the joint and ease movement.
The cartilage of synovial joints serves two very important functions. First, it provides a remarkably smooth weight-bearing surface; synovial joints move easily. Secondly, synovial cartilage serves as a shock absorber, providing a soft, flexible foundation. Healthy cartilage absorbs the force of the energy, transmits the load to the bone, and distributes the mechanical stress created by joint movement.
Synovial joints function under almost continual mechanical stress. A joint’s ability to withstand or resist this stress is a reflection of its health. When the mechanical stress is too great or the joint’s ability to resist this stress is compromised, physical changes occur in the cartilage covering the bones.
Cartilage is a tough, elastic tissue, comprised mostly of water, collagen, and complex proteins called proteoglycans. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage starts to weaken, becomes frayed, and eventually breaks down. This exposes the bones of the joint, which then rub together. A gritty feeling and grinding sound may occur when an osteoarthritic joint is bent and flexed. As osteoarthritis progresses, bits of bone and cartilage often break off and float inside the joint space. The bones may enlarge, causing the joint to lose its normal shape. Tiny bone spurs may grow on the joints’ sides and edges. These physical changes in the diseased joint are responsible for progressive damage and continual pain.
People with osteoarthritis most frequently describe their pain as deep and aching. The pain not only is felt in the affected joint but may also be present in the surrounding and supporting muscles. Joint inflammation also may occur, increasing the already considerable discomfort. Joint stiffness is another unfortunate component of osteoarthritis. Exercising the joint most often results in increased pain; however, stiffness tends to follow periods of inactivity. Humid weather often makes all osteoarthritis symptoms worse. As the disease progresses, the pain may occur even when the joint is at rest, creating sleepless nights and miserable days.
Q. What causes osteoarthritis?
A. Osteoarthritis’ exact cause remains unknown. Researchers know aging doesn’t appear to cause osteoarthritis. Cartilage in people with the disease show many destructive changes not seen in older persons without the disease. However, certain conditions do seem to trigger osteoarthritis or make it worse.
Some families seem to have a lot of osteoarthritis, pointing to a genetic factor. This is most commonly seen in people who have osteoarthritis of the hands. Repeated trauma can contribute to osteoarthritis, too. Athletes, extremely active people, and individuals who have physically demanding jobs often develop the disease. Persons who have certain bone disorders are more prone to osteoarthritis due to the Continuous, uneven stress in their hips and knees.
Obesity also is a risk factor for the disease. In overweight women, osteoarthritis of the knee is fairly common. Excess pounds also may have a direct metabolic effect on cartilage beyond the effects of increased joint stress. Obese people also often have m ore dense bones. Research has shown dense bones may provide less shock-absorbing function than thinner bones, allowing more direct trauma to the cartilage.
Q. Can osteoarthritis be prevented?
A. While there is currently no sure way to prevent osteoarthritis or slow its progression, some lifestyle changes may reduce or delay symptoms. The Arthritis Foundation states that maintaining a healthy weight, losing weight if needed, and regular exercise are effective osteoarthritis prevention measures.
Optimal calcium intake in younger years is vital to ensure a healthy aging skeletal system. Vitamins A, C, D, and E have been studied for their role in osteoarthritis prevention. These vitamins also have shown benefit in individuals who have osteoarthritis.
Q. What treatments are available for osteoarthritis?
A. The goal of treatment is to reduce or relieve pain, maintain or improve movement, and minimize any potential permanent disability. Typically, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (pronounced “n-sayds”) such as aspirin and ibuprofen are used for pain and inflammation relief. These medications are effective in treating only the pain of osteoarthritis.
These medications have many side effects, some of which are serious. NSAID-induced gastrointestinal complications cause more than 100,000 hospitalizations and nearly 16,500 deaths annually in the U.S. Aspirin can cause an extremely annoying and continual ringing in the ears. NSAIDs frequently cause damage to the stomach lining, which can produce uncomfortable heartburn and abdominal pain. Continued NSAID use may lead to the development of stomach ulcers. NSAID-related ulcers can perforate the stomach lining and cause life-threatening bleeding. Most NSAIDs also interfere with blood clotting and may cause kidney damage. When older persons take NSAIDs, dizziness, drowsiness, memory loss, and decreased attention span may occur.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol and similar medications) is similar to aspirin and other NSAIDs in its pain-relief abilities. However, acetaminophen doesn’t reduce inflammation. And while acetaminophen doesn’t have the same side effects of aspirin and other NSAIDs, if large doses are taken, liver damage can occur.
Newer medications called COX-2 inhibitors provide both pain relief and reduce inflammation without the many side effects of acetaminophen, aspirin, and other NSAIDs. More recent research has indicated that, in certain situations. COX02 inhibitors also can cause stomach lining damage and bleeding. While aspirin, NSAIDs, and COX-2 inhibitors may reduce osteoarthritis pain, they do nothing to stop or slow down cartilage deterioration. In other words, these medications have no effect on the disease itself.
That is why many believe glucosamine sulfate (GS) and chondroitin sulfate (CS) are preferable to pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications in osteoarthritis treatment: they actually improve synovial joint health. And they do this without potentially life-threatening side effects.
Q. How do GS and CS work?
A. GS improves the health of joints affected by osteoarthritis. This supplement is so effective that even physicians who mostly rely on conventional medications routinely recommend it to their patients with osteoarthritis. In fact, GS is so good at treating osteoarthritis, many physicians use it for their own osteoarthritis joints.
There is even more good news. When glucosamine sulfate is combined with low-molecular weight CS, even greater benefits can be achieved. GS and CS are naturally occurring compounds found in human joints. The right GS/CS combination actually reverses damage in joints affected by osteoarthritis, in turn significantly reducing pain and stiffness.
Glucosamine occurs naturally in the body and is found in synovial fluid. Glucosamine is a basic building block for proteoglycans, is a basic building block for proteoglycans, one of the important compounds of synovial cartilage. It also is required for the formation of lubricants and protective agents for the joints.
In Europe, GS and CS have been used to treat osteoarthritis for more than 10 years. While persons with arthritis felt much better when they took GS and CS, no one really knew how these compounds worked. When European and American researchers first started to study glucosamine, they discovered GS can reduce synovial joint inflammation. This explains why people felt better after taking it.
Q. What has additional study of GS and CS revealed?
A. As the scientific study of GS progressed, researchers determined it can stimulate the growth of cartilage cells, inhibit proteoglycans breakdown, and rebuild cartilage damaged from osteoarthritis. In other words, GS does not simply make persons with osteoarthritis feel better; GS actually makes persons with osteoarthritis get better.
GS is the form of glucosamine used in research. It’s the sulfate salt of glucosamine and breaks down into glucosamine and sulfate ions in the body. The sulfate part of GS plays an important role in proteoglycans synthesis.
CS also provides cartilage strength and resilience. CS is an important component of the cartilage proteoglycans of synovial joints. Because CS helps the production of proteoglycans, researchers believe CS works in a similar nature to GS.
Q. Couldn’t GS and CS be taken on their own? Is there any benefit in taking them together?
A. Research has discovered GS and CS act synergistically (work well together) in improving joint health. Several studies have investigated this action and it’s recommended that GS and CD be taken together. However, there may be times when your healthcare practitioner may recommend using one or the other, but not both GS and CS together. Please follow their recommendations to obtain the best results for your own unique health concerns. Low-molecular weight chondroitin sulfate (CS) is the preferred CS form, and the form that has shown the most promise in studies.
Q. Why is it important to take low-molecular weight CS?
A. When CS was first studied, it was given to six healthy volunteers, six patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and six patients with osteoarthritis. Researchers then measured the levels of CS in all study subjects. They found no evidence of CS in any of the subjects. This single study led many physicians and scientists to believe CS can’t be absorbed, and was not an effective natural treatment.
However, several other studies in healthy volunteers have reported CS can be absorbed. The distinct difference for these findings is thought to be associated with the types of CS used in the studies. Some forms are much more absorbable that others. This was demonstrated in a recent study using CS with lower molecular weight. A higher absorption is observed for low-molecular weight CS.
This means CS products with a low molecular weight may be better absorbed, allowing the CS to get into the bloodstream and the synovial fluid of joints where it’s needed.
Q. Are there other supplements that can help osteoarthritis?
A. Several vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and natural supplements have benefits for individuals with osteoarthritis. Proteolytic enzymes effectively offer relief of the pain, stiffness, and swelling of osteoarthritis.
Folic acid and vitamin B can reduce the number of tender joints and increase joint mobility. Vitamins C, D, and E not only may prevent osteoarthritis, but inhibit the disease’s progression. Niacinamide improves joint function, range of motion, and muscle strength. Clinical studies using the herb Boswellia serrata have yielded good results in osteoarthritis.
Application of ointments on osteoarthritic joints may be helpful in reducing pain and stiffness. Menthol-based preparations can provide soothing relief to painful joints. Capsaicin ointments and gel made for cayenne pepper also are very beneficial. When applied to the skin, capsaicin first stimulates, then blocks, nerve fibers that transmit pain messages. Capsaicin depletes nerve fibers of a neurotransmitter called substance P. This neurotransmitter transmits pain messages and activates inflammation in osteoarthritis. Capsaicin ointment is very effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain in many individuals.
Q. Is there anything else I can do for joint pain and stiffness?
A. When osteoarthritis occurs in the hands, use of a paraffin dip can be very comforting. A licensed health care practitioner can provide information about how to safely use paraffin dips at home.
Exercise is an excellent way to keep joints mobile, decrease pain, and increase body strength, too. Water aerobics also can reduce the pressure and stress on joints.
The Arthritis Foundation strongly suggests making movement an integral part of your life. When you’re in less pain and have more energy, more range-of-motion, and a better outlook on life, you’ll reduce stress and be a much healthier person despite your osteoarthritis.
One important last thought
When we don’t feel well, we sometimes have a tendency to self-diagnose. If you haven’t been evaluated by a licensed health care practitioner for your joint pain and stiffness, you need to do so. These symptoms may be caused by other illnesses and may require much different treatment. Only licensed health care practitioner can provide a certain diagnosis of osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis may be a part of life for many of us as we age; however, constant pain and stiffness need not be. GS combined with absorbable CS can actually improve damage in joints affected by osteoarthritis and significantly reduce pain and stiffness. And it can be an empowering way to improve your health.
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
March 28, 2007 10:29 AM
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) affects about 65 million Americans, or about 1 in 3 adults. There are many potential causes of hypertension, but not necessarily any symptoms. In fact, 30% of the people who have high blood pressure don’t even realize it.
In other words, just because you don’t have symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have high blood pressure. That’s why it’s called “The Silent Killer.” And, make no mistake about it: high blood pressure is dangerous. It is the number one modifiable cause of stroke. Just lowering blood pressure reduces the chance of stroke by 35 to 40 percent. Other conditions, including heart attack and heart failure can be reduced from 25 to 50 percent, respectively.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we’re going to talk about high blood pressure and an exciting natural treatment for lowering blood pressure safely and effectively.
Of course, changing blood pressure numbers depends, in a large part, on the choices we make every day – how much we exercise, the foods we eat, and our lifestyle overall. But, for those times we need extra help, there is a new, scientifically-studied supplement to help us along our path to better health and lower blood pressure.
Blood pressure guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Q. What exactly is blood pressure?
A. Blood pressure is divided into two parts, systolic and diastolic. Systolic is the pressure of the heart beating. Diastolic is the pressure of the heart and vessels filling. When blood pressure numbers are written out, like “120/80,” 120 is the systolic pressure and 80 is the diastolic pressure. The unit of measurement for blood pressure is millimeters of mercury, written as “mm/Hg.”
Q. What is considered high blood pressure?
A. A person’s blood pressure can naturally vary throughout the day – even between heartbeats.
However, if the numbers are consistently high (over 120 systolic and 80 diastolic), after multiple visits to your healthcare practitioner, you may have either pre-hypertension or high blood pressure.
Young arteries and arteries that are kept young through healthy diet and exercise are typically more elastic and unclogged. Blood flows through them easily and without much effort. However, as we age, our arteries become more prone to plaque buildup (due to diets high in saturated fat and sedentary lifestyles) and don’t “flex” as well under pressure. The result is faster blood flow, all the time. Over the long term, it damages heart tissue, arteries, kidney and other major organs.
To get a better idea of high blood pressure, compare your arteries to a garden hose. When unblocked, a garden hose allows water to flow through it quickly and easily – without any real rush or stress. However, if you block the end of the hose with your thumb, closing it off even a little, water rushes out much more quickly.
For many years, high diastolic pressure was considered even more of a threat than high systolic pressure. That thinking has changed somewhat but high diastolic numbers could still mean organ damage in your body – especially for individuals under 50.
Q. What courses high blood pressure?
A. The reasons for hypertension aren’t always clear. However, there are lifestyle factors that contribute to high blood pressure that you can change:
Body type: Weight isn’t always a reliable indicator of whether or not you’ll have high blood pressure – but the type of weight is. Lean body mass – muscle – doesn’t increase blood pressure levels the way that fat can. However, fat body mass, especially fat around your middle, can contribute to high blood pressure.
Sedentary lifestyle: Too often, many of us sit down all day at work, and then sit down all night at home. Over time, this inactivity usually leads to weight gain, making the heart work harder to pump blood through the body. In a way, it almost seems contradictory, but inactivity usually leads to higher heart rates.
Sodium intake: Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much salt there is in processed foods. However, salt intake in itself is not necessarily bad. For people with a history of congestive heart failure, ischemia, and high blood pressure, sodium is definitely out. For those individuals, it leads to more water retention, which increases blood pressure. (Salt’s effect on water retention is one reason that so many sports drinks have fairly high sodium content – the sodium in the drink prevents your body from sweating out too much water.) But, for healthy individuals, moderate salt intake, especially a mixed mineral salt like sea salt or Celtic salt (good salt should never be white) is fine.
Low potassium intake: Unlike sodium, potassium is a mineral which most Americans get too little of. Potassium helps regulate the amount of sodium in our cells, expelling excess amounts through the kidneys. Low levels of this mineral can allow too much sodium to build up in the body.
Heavy alcohol intake: Having three or more alcoholic drinks a day (two or more for women) nearly doubles an individual’s chance of developing high blood pressure. Over time, heavy drinking puts a lot of stress on the organs, including the heart, liver, pancreas and brain.
Unhealthy eating: Eating a lot of processed or fatty foods contributes to high blood pressure. Adapting a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, fish, nuts and magnesium and potassium (like the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, known as the “DASH” diet) can bring it back down.
Smoking: If you smoke, stop. Smoking damages the heart and arteries – period. Nicotine constricts blood vessels, increases heart rate, and raises blood pressure. This in turn, increases hormone production and adrenaline levels, further stressing the body.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces the oxygen in the blood, making the heart work even harder to make up the difference. Since the effect of a single cigarette can last for an hour, smoking throughout the day leads to Continuously revved-up blood pressure.
Some of these factors might sound like a lot to overcome. The important thing to remember is that all of these behaviors are changeable. If you have high blood pressure, modifying any of these can significantly lower blood pressure as part of an overall plan.
Q. What are the blood pressure numbers I should see?
A. Experts consider healthy blood pressure numbers to be 115/75 mm/Hg. The reason? They found that the risk of cardiovascular disease doubles at each increment of 20/10 mmHg over 115/75 mm/Hg. Even small jumps in blood pressure numbers increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Q. Okay, so other than diet, exercise and lifestyle changes are there other natural ways or supplements I can use to lower my blood pressure?
A. Yes, in fact, you hear about some of them in the news all the time – fish oil, CoQ10, and garlic. As effective as these symptoms are, they typically lower systolic pressure much more than diastolic pressure.
However, there is a blend of scientifically and clinically studied natural ingredients that lower high blood pressure separately, and work even better when they’re combined. This combination blend contains: dandelion leaf extract, lycopene, stevia extract, olive leaf extract and hawthorn extract.
Every one of these ingredients has been studied and recommended for years. But now, a scientific study on a supplement that combines them in one synergistic formula shows encouraging results for lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Let’s take a look at each:
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) originated in
The leaf of stevia is considered the medicinal part of the plant. Research shows that extracts of the leaf relax arteries and help prevent the buildup of calcium on artery walls – keeping them healthy and reducing blood pressure.
In a long-term, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. On average, participants’ blood pressure reduced from baseline 150 mm/Hg to 140 mm/Hg systolic and 95 mm/Hg to 89 mm/Hg diastolic.
And, in another double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia lowered blood pressure quite significantly – by an average of 14 millimeters of mercury in both systolic and diastolic readings. Those are impressive numbers!
Despite its role as a sweetener, stevia may have a side benefit to for those with hypertension – blood sugar regulation. Scientific studies show that extracts of stevia regulated blood sugar and reduced blood pressure.
A clinical study showed that stevia extract actually improved glucose tolerance by decreasing plasma glucose levels during the test and after overnight fasting in all participants. Regulating blood sugar is very important for those with high blood pressure. When blood sugar levels are high, blood vessels are inflamed. Many people with diabetes have high blood pressure as well. In a paired, cross-over clinical study, stevioside (one of the compounds in stevia) reduced glucose levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. It shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. Its shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes as well as hypertension.
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp. Oxycantha) has been used since ancient ties as a medicinal herb – even being mentioned by the Greek herbalist Dioscorides, in the first century AD. Traditionally, it has generally been used for support of the heart. Modern research points to bioflavonoid-like complexes in hawthorn leaf and flower that seem to be most responsible for its benefits on cardiac health, like blood vessel elasticity.
The bioflavonoids found in hawthorn include oligomeric procyanidins, vitexin, quercetin, and hyperoside. They have numerous benefits on the cardiovascular system. Hawthorn can improve coronary artery blood flow and the contractions of the heart muscle. Scientific studies show that the procyanidins in hawthorn are responsible for its ability to make the aorta and other blood vessels more flexible and relaxed, so that blood pumps more slowly and with less effort – sparing the cardiovascular system such a hard workout.
The procyanidins in hawthorn also have antioxidant properties – protecting against free radical cellular damage.
And, hawthorn may also inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme. Angiotensin-converting enzyme is responsible for retaining sodium and water, and may have roots in our evolutionary development. It influences blood vessel contraction and dilation, sodium and water balance and heart cell development – just about everything that has to do with blood pressure. This may have developed as a way of dealing with periods of drought and stress. By narrowing the blood vessels, the body could guarantee an adequate supply of blood and focus on repairing tissue.
Unfortunately, that can lead to real problems these days. Since many of us live in an industrialized society, and frequently have pretty sedentary lifestyles, conserving sodium just makes the conditions for high blood pressure that much worse.
Like the other ingredients in this combination, hawthorn showed benefits on other body systems, too. In clinical and scientific studies, it not only lowered blood pressure, but also showed anti-anxiety properties and regulated blood sugar.
Olive leaf extract:
Olive leaf (Olea europaea) comes up again and again in scientific and clinical studies as having beneficial effects on hypertension. One of olive leaf’s most beneficial compounds is oleuropein – the same compound that makes olive oil so helpful in reducing blood pressure. Here again, we have to look at the traditional Mediterranean diet, which features voluminous use of olives and olive oil. Not surprisingly, blood pressure is generally much lower in Greek and Italian populations.
But it’s not just the diet – scientific studies showed that oleuropein lowered blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels and prevented buildup of plaque in arteries. Plus, whether in olive leaf extract or in olive oil, oleuropein works as an antioxidant, too.
Dandelion leaf extract:
Dandelion (Taraxacum offinale) leaves provide a healthy supply of vitamins, much like spinach. In fact, although it has become the bane of North American gardeners and lawn owners, dandelion greens are a component of many gourmet salads.
Medicinally, dandelion has been used for centuries, dating back to ancient
They are a very rich source of vitamin A, and contain vitamin D, vitamin C, carious B vitamins, iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc and manganese, too. Dandelion leaves produce a diuretic effect in the body, similar to a prescription drug. Since one of dandelion leaf’s traditional uses was the treatment of water retention, it’s really not too surprising. Dandelion leaf is also rich in potassium – one of the vital minerals many Americans lack in their diet. So, even though it may act as a diuretic, it replaces more potassium than the body expels.
The diuretic effect of dandelion can relieve hypertension by drawing excess water and sodium from the body and releasing it through the kidneys as urine. Getting rid of extra water and sodium allows the blood vessels to relax – lowering blood pressure.
If a nutrient can be called exciting, lycopene is it. Lycopene is found mostly in tomatoes and processed tomato products, like pasta and pizza sauce. Related to beta-carotene lycopene shows great antioxidant abilities among its many talents. In fact, it shows even greater free-radical scavenging properties than beta-carotene, its more famous cousin. Healthy intakes of lycopene can guard against a variety of chronic conditions, including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, lowering homocysteine levels and reducing blood platelet stickiness that can lead to clogged arteries. It’s even being studied for its protective effect against prostate cancer.
And, for proof, you don’t have to look too far to see the amazing effect lycopene intake can have on health. The Mediterranean diet provides an excellent example. Its high intakes of vegetables, (tomatoes, of course, playing a central role) fish, and whole grains improve cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. The research on lycopene as a stand-alone nutrient has been compelling. A randomized clinical trial found that not having enough lycopene was associated with early thickening of the arteries.
So, it makes sense that other clinical trials, showed that higher intakes of lycopene frequently meant less thickening of arteries, and a reduced risk of heart attack. In one study, the risk of heart attack was 60% lower in individuals with the highest levels of lycopene. In a multicenter study, similar results were found – men with the highest levels of lycopene had a 48% lower risk of heart attack.
Q. What can I expect taking this herbal combination?
A. You should notice both systolic and diastolic numbers lowering in about two weeks. The scientific study showed that for pre-hypertensive and stage I, (early hypertensive individuals) this combination for ingredients lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
When you’re taking herbs to support your blood pressure, it’s important to keep it monitored so you have an accurate reading (and record) of your numbers. If you need to, you can pick up a home blood pressure monitoring device. These can retail for anywhere from $30 all the way up to $200, but buying one in the $30 to $50 range is a good idea and money well spent. Consider taking the machine to your local doctor’s office or fire department to have it tested for accuracy against a professional blood pressure monitor. See the chart below for tips on getting an accurate reading from a home monitor.
Tips for Accurate Blood Pressure Monitoring:
-Relax for about 5 to 10 minutes before measurement.
-If you have just come inside from cold outdoors allow yourself to warm up.
-Remove tight-fitting clothing and jewelry.
-Unless your physician recommends otherwise, use left arm to measure pressure.
-Sit, don’t stand.
-Remain still and do not talk while using the monitor.
Q. Are there any side effects?
A. There were no side effects noted in the study. However, because of the mild diuretic effect of dandelion leaf extract, you may notice an increase in trips to the bathroom. It’s always important to make sure you don’t get dehydrated, so you may want to drink more water during the day.
High blood pressure doesn’t happen overnight. As we get older, the likelihood of developing hypertension increases. And, stressful, fast-forward lifestyles, bad diets and no exercise conspire to raise our blood pressure.
In my own practice I have helped patients move toward a healthier lifestyle, including diet, exercise, and blood-pressure reducing supplements. They live better, more vibrant lives as a result, and their blood pressure normalizes. It really can happen – you can bring your blood pressure back to normal, and this combination of scientifically and clinically validated ingredients can help.
Peppermint Oil for IBS
March 24, 2007 11:01 AM
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a painful and frequently frustrating disorder of the intestines that’s often difficult to treat. Fortunately, there are scientifically studied natural products that effectively reduce the distressing symptoms of IBS.
Q. What is IBS?
A. IBS causes crampy pain, gassiness, bloating, and alterations in bowel habits. IBS is termed a functional disorder, because when the colon is examined, there is no visible sign of disease. While IBS causes significant pain and distress, no actual damage is occurring in the intestines.
There is a wide variability in IBS. Symptoms may be mild and fairly well tolerated. Or, the pain, discomfort, and bowel dysfunction may be disabling, limiting social interactions, employment, or travel.
While some individuals with IBS have diarrhea (frequent, loose stools with an urgent need to move the bowels), others have constipation (hard, infrequent stools that are difficult to pass). And, still others may experience both. Individuals with IBS also may have painful abdominal cramps and feel an urgent need to move the bowels, but are unable to do so.
A. The small intestine receives digestive material from the stomach and delivers it to the large intestine (colon). About two quarts (2,000 ml) of digestive material enter the colon from the small intestine every day. The colon absorbs water and salts from the material, which is progressively moved through the colon. This progressive movement continues until most of the fluid and salts are absorbed into the body and stool is formed. The stool passes to the left side of the colon, where it is stored until a bowel movement occurs.
Because researchers haven’t been able to find actual damage in the colon, it once was suggested that individuals with IBS have emotional problems or are overly susceptible to stress. While stress may cause symptoms of IBS to intensify, it doesn’t cause the condition.
Recent study has determined the colon muscle of an individual with IBS spasms after only mild stimulation. It’s thought the symptoms of IBS are produced by hyperactivity of the intestines. In other words, the intestines of individuals with IBS are more reactive to stressors and diet than usual. Almost everyone has experienced abdominal queasiness in response to everyday stress or certain foods. This may result in a brief bout of diarrhea or an upset stomach. However, this response is exaggerated in individuals with IBS.
Q. How prevalent is IBS?
A. IBS is very common. In fact, it’s one of the most frequent problems seen by family physicians. It’s the most common disorder diagnosed by gastroenterologists (physicians specializing in the treatment of digestive disorders). The overall prevalence rates range from 10% to 20% of the general population in most industrialized countries. As a result, the pain and disabling symptoms associated with IBS result in significant socioeconomic costs, as wall as reduction in quality of life for many individuals.
A. Normal bowel function varies from person to person. Some people move their bowels daily, while others may only have two to three stools a week. A normal bowel movement is soft, formed, and is easily passed without cramping or pain.
IBS, however, causes abdominal cramps and pain, which are often severe and disabling. Bowel movements may be irregular and alternate between diarrhea and constipation. The diarrhea may be quite loose and watery. Mucous may be passed. There is often much straining, urgency, and feeling of incomplete evacuation (emptying). Abdominal bloating and passing of gas is common. Nausea, lack of appetite, heartburn, and belching may also be present. Sleep may be disrupted resulting in fatigue and lack of energy. Understandably, persons with IBS often feel anxious and depressed.
Diagnosis of IBS is usually based on the Continuous presence or recurrence of these symptoms for at least three months. Other intestinal conditions must be ruled out. These include Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, inflammatory conditions of the stomach or pancreas, ulcers, infectious disease, or gastroesphageal reflux disease.
Q. Are there clinically demonstrated natural alternatives to the over-the-counter drugs prescribed by my doctor?
A. Yes, both enteric-coated peppermint oil and clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs) have significant scientific research behind them. Both have been demonstrated to benefit individuals with IBS.
Q. What is clown’s mustard and what does it do?
A. The scientific name for clown’s mustard is Iberis amara. Other names for this herb are wild candytuft and bitter candytuft. Clown’s mustard is a white-flowering plant from Spain, where it grows in dry soil on hillsides and in cornfields. It is also grown in Britain, France, and the United States. Iberis amara is a member of the Brassicaceae family. Iberis refers to its place of origin, the Iberian Peninsula. Amara means bitter. The key components of clown’s mustard are glycosides and flavonoids that have specific actions on gastrointestinal tract tone.
Q. Is there scientific evidence that clown’s mustard benefits people with IBS?
A. There has been very impressive research on clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs). And, it has been used with great success in Germany for many years to treat IBS and other gastrointestinal diseases.
In a study of an herbal combination containing clown’s mustard, 20 patients were given the herbal combination for three to 32 days. They all had been diagnosed with chronic functional disorders for at least one to 20 years. The symptoms the patients experienced included pressure and pain in the abdomen, belching, heartburn, vomiting, nausea, fullness, lack of appetite, constipation, and diarrhea. The patients have been treated for their problems with a variety of antacids, anti-spasmodic agents, and motility-inducing substances. For the purposes of the study, the patients stopped taking these medications and received treatment only with the herbal combination.
Abdominal pressure and pain in the abdomen was the most common of all the experienced symptoms, with 11 of the patients rating it as severe. After six days of treatment, only sic of the patients continued to rate their abdominal pain and pressure as severe. After two weeks, this symptom had completely resolved for 16 of the patients. Diarrhea had been rated as severe in five of the patients. By day 14, only one patient continued to have moderate diarrhea.
Medications prescribed and taken for cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases often cause gastrointestinal problems. Because these conditions are chronic, these medications must be taken for a long time, often for life. With long-term use, these medications can cause erosion of the stomach lining and actual ulcers. Many of these medication-caused symptoms are similar to IBS symptoms: pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Most, if not all, of the individuals who have gastrointestinal problems caused from medications experience two or more of these IBS symptoms.
Forty patients who were taking medications for various types of cardiovascular disease and arthritis, and who are experiencing gastrointestinal problems related to their medications, were enrolled in a study. These symptoms included pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Twenty patients received clown’s mustard combined with other herbs that support gastrointestinal motility. Three days after the trial started, a significant improvement of all s symptoms was noted in those taking this combination. By day 14, abdominal pressure and pain, nausea, and heartburn were completely eliminated in the herbal combination group. Several other clinical trials that were conducted in Germany report similar results.
Q. How does this herb compare to prescription drugs?
A. A study compared clown’s mustard (combined with other herbs) to Reglan (metoclopramide), which is frequently prescribed to reduce the symptoms of IBS. While metoclopramide is a very effective medication, it also has numerous side effects. Metoclopramide can cause fatigue, anxiety, agitation, jitteriness, insomnia, yellowing of the skin or eyes, changes in vision, hallucinations, and seizures. Because of these serious side effects, metoclopramide must not be taken longer than 12 weeks.
In comparison study, 77 subjects were randomized to receive treatment of either clown’s mustard in a combination with other herbs, or metoclopramide. All subjects had pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. The subjects took 20 drops of their assigned treatment after meals three times daily. The duration of treatment was one to two weeks.
In both groups, a parallel improvement of all symptoms was observed. At no point in the study was a statistically significant difference in symptoms found. Both treatments significantly reduced pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. In short, both metoclopramide and the clown’s mustard herbal combination worked well at reducing the symptoms of IBS.
However, side effects occurred more frequently and severely in the metoclopramide group. Given the lack of differences noted between the products at reducing symptoms of IBS, it would seem sensible to choose the treatment with the fewest reported side effects and no limits on duration of use.
A. Peppermint oil has been shown to relax intestinal smooth muscle. In Great Britain, peppermint oil is currently being prescribed for IBS by physicians and it has been used as a digestive aid and to soothe upset stomachs for generations.
Peppermint oil has also been studied for use in an important examination of the colon. A colonoscopy is a procedure of viewing the interior lining of the large intestine (colon) using a colonoscope, a slender, flexible, hollow, lighted tube about the thickness of a finger. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine supports the idea that even people who are not at risk for colon cancer should have this test. The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women at average risk of colon cancer should have a colonoscopy every 10 years, beginning at age 50.
During a colonoscopy, individuals are sedated and almost no discomfort is experienced. The insertion of the colonoscope into the rectum and up through the colon causes some spasming. This is a natural and expected event and the physician performing the exam administers medications that effectively reduce the spasms.
A recent study compared the use of peppermint oil and commonly used medications to reduce the colonic spasming in colonoscopy. The peppermint oil was introduced directly into the colon. Effective reduction of colon spasming was observed in 88% of the patients.
In a critical review and meta-analysis of peppermint oil for irritable bowel syndrome published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, eight randomized controlled trials were identified. The studies collectively showed peppermint oil is superior to placebo in improvement of the symptoms of IBS. Because of the good results of these trials, the authors of the review urged additional study of peppermint oil in IBS.
However, straight peppermint oil is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream from the stomach. In recent studies comparing enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules and non-enteric coated oil, both preparations provided effective symptom relief. However, the studies concluded the enteric-coated capsules delivered the benefit of the peppermint oil directly to the intestines. In the treatment of IBS, enteric-coated supplemental peppermint is most definitely preferred.
In fact, an enteric-coated peppermint oil capsule containing rosemary and thyme is extremely effective in the treatment of IBS. All three of these oils are classified as volatile oils, derivatives found in plants that impart taste and aroma. The combination of peppermint, thyme, and rosemary oils in enteric-coated capsules provides significant relief in IBS-related pain.
Q. Can clown’s mustard and other herbs be taken with enteric-coated peppermint oil?
A. Yes, peppermint oil capsules and clown’s mustard can be used together. However, depending on the symptoms, individuals with IBS may want to start with one supplement and then add the other if needed.
Q. How do consumers find these formulas?
A. Fortunately, herbal combinations containing clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are both available at health food stores, natural product supermarkets, pharmacies, and from health professionals. Most knowledgeable sales personnel and health professionals can direct consumers to the most effective products.
Q. What should customers look for when purchasing peppermint oil?
A. As mentioned before, enteric coating of the peppermint oil is extremely important. The coating prevents the oil from being absorbed in the stomach. The enteric coated-capsule moves through the stomach to the small intestine and eventually to the colon, where it is released for maximum benefit.
Q. What is the dosage for peppermint oil?
A. The German Commission E approved peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable colon. In enteric-coated form, the Commission E recommends 0.6 ml per day. Enteric-coated peppermint capsules are available.
Q. Are there side effects or other contraindications?
A. Sometimes, the enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules may cause a transient burning sensation in the rectum when moving bowls. Reducing the dose will correct this.
Individuals who must refrain from alcohol should not take clown’s mustard in an herbal tincture, which may contain alcohol.
Q. What else can IBS patients do to feel better?
A. Food allergies or food intolerance may be associated with IBS. Dairy products and certain grains may trigger a painful episode of IBS. Determining those foods that initiate the problems and eliminating them from your diet can be very helpful.
Many people report their symptoms occur after a meal. Hyperactivity of the intestine of IBS is the response. Often, the strength of this response after a meal is in direct relation to the number of calories and he amount of fat in the meal. Reducing saturated fat, limiting calories, and increasing fiber intake may be helpful.
Stress also stimulates the intestinal hyperactivity. Relaxation training may reduce some IBS symptoms. Listening to therapeutic audiotapes, hypnosis, counseling, and biofeedback all have been shown to improve the healing response in persons with IBS.
IBS can be painful and frustrating, capable of causing much distress. While currently there is no cure for IBS, the symptoms can be managed. The pain, abdominal discomfort, and bowel problems of IBS all respond well to treatment with the use of key herbs, including clown’s mustard, and enteric-coated peppermint oil. These herbal combinations can be both effective and safe in treating IBS. Clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil are both effective front-line natural alternatives for IBS treatment.
Controlling Diabetes with Nutritional Supplements
December 15, 2006 04:07 PM
Controlling Diabetes with Nutritional Supplements
Perhaps no other disease is as closely linked to nutrition as diabetes. Not only doe nutrition play a role in its development, nutrition is also one of the disease’s most powerful treatments.
Because of this strong and critical connection to nutrition, researchers have carefully studied the use of nutritional supplements in the treatment of the disease. They found that many vitamins, such as vitamin C and the B vitamins, minerals such as chromium, as well as herbs like Gymnema sylvestre, can safely, effectively, and naturally lower blood sugars and help prevent diabetic complications.
What is even more important, however, is that these vitamins, minerals, and herbs can be combined together in a scientifically validated diabetic formula to work synergistically. That means their combined effectiveness is even more powerful. Like a group of good friends, these vitamins, minerals, and herbs do their best work when they are all together.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will talk about powerful vitamins, minerals, and herbs combined in a scientifically validated formula that people with diabetes can use every day.
But before we get into the specific formula, we need to first talk about diabetes.
Q. What exactly is diabetes?
A. When we eat, the process of digestion breaks down our food into nutrients. Most of the food we eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose). The sugar enters the bloodstream for delivery throughout the body and is then called blood sugar.
Insulin, a hormone that helps metabolize blood sugar, is made in the pancreas-a long, skinny gland located behind the stomach. Insulin takes blood sugar from the bloodstream and delivers it into the cells that make up the various organs in our body, such as our heart, lungs, and kidneys. The sugar provides energy to the cells to keep our hearts beating, our lungs breathing, and our kidneys excreting.
Type 1 diabetes, sometimes called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, most often starts in childhood. In this type of diabetes, the pancreas no longer makes insulin. The sugar stays in the blood instead of going into the cells where it is needed. Because of this, all people with Type 1 diabetes have to take at least one shot of insulin every day just to stay alive.
Type 2 diabetes most often starts in adults and is also the most common kind. About 90 to 95 percent of all people with diabetes have Type 2. In Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas is usually producing enough insulin. However, the body does not use it effectively. The condition known as “insulin resistance” occurs when the cells do not respond to (resist) insulin’s attempt to enter with glucose. The pancreas responds by producing more and more insulin. When the cells do not respond, high levels of glucose build up in the blood, leading to Type 2 diabetes. Almost everyone with Type 2 diabetes also is insulin resistant. Because the insulin is left unused, the pancreas thinks it isn’t needed and may eventually stop making it. People with Type 2 diabetes often need to take prescription drugs to lower blood sugar levels if dietary and lifestyle changes are not enough to control the problem.
In both types of diabetes, the sugar stays in the bloodstream instead of going into the cells where it is needed and belongs. When blood sugar builds up in the blood, it causes two problems. First, the cells become starved for energy. And, over a period of time, high blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels, nerves, eyes, and kidneys.
Q. What causes diabetes?
A. While scientists aren’t exactly sure why Type 1 diabetes happens, they do know the immune system is involved. A healthy immune system protects us from diseases caused by infections, such as colds or the flu, as well as diseases that start in our own cells, such as cancer. For some reasons, in certain people, the immune system becomes confused and begins attacking and destroying the cells in the pancreas that makes insulin.
Scientists aren’t exactly sure why Type 2 diabetes happens either; however, they have identified that it occurs most often in certain individuals. About 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, have high blood pressure, and have high cholesterol levels in their blood.
Q. What are the symptoms of diabetes?
A. Type 1 diabetes develops very quickly. The classic signs of diabetes include:
-Frequent urination, because the body is trying to get rid of the excess sugar in the blood
-Intense thirst, because the body needs to replace the fluid lost through the urine
-Increased hunger, because the cells need nutrients
-Weight loss, because without insulin, the body begins to starve
The onset of Type 2 diabetes is often very gradual and may develop without any symptoms at all. Sadly, the diagnosis most often is made only after a complication of the disease happens.
Q. What are the complications of diabetes?
A. The complications of diabetes happen in both types of the disease. All diabetic complications are caused by chronically high blood sugars. The longer your blood sugar levels are elevated, the greater your chances are of having complications.
High blood sugar damages blood vessels. When high levels of sugar are Continuously in the blood, the blood vessels become thicker and less flexible, causing poor circulation. Poor circulation can impair healing, especially on the feet and lower legs. High blood sugar also causes higher levels of fat in the bloodstream. The fat clogs and narrows the blood vessels. Partial blockages deprive the heart of some necessary nutrients. A complete blockage can result in a heart attack, heart pain (called angina), or stroke.
Nerve damage makes it hard for your nerves to send messages to the brain and other parts of the body. It may cause you to lose feeling in parts of your body or have a painful pins-and-needles-like feeling. While nerve damage most often affects the feet and legs, it can also affect other parts of the body.
Diabetes can damage and weaken the small blood vessels in the retina, the part of the eye that is sensitive to light and helps you see. When the blood vessels are weak, they can leak fluid, which causes swelling in the eye. The swelling blurs your vision. If the eye damage gets worse, your eye attempts to fix this damage by making new blood vessels over the retina. But because these blood vessels are fragile, they can break open easily and bleed into the eye. Scar tissue can then form. This may cause the retina to break away from the back of the eye, which can lead to visual impairment-even blindness.
Diabetes can also damage the blood vessels in the kidney so it can’t filter out the body’s waste. High blood pressure is also associated with kidney damage. If you have diabetes and high blood pressure, it is important to keep them both under control as much as possible. The longer blood sugar levels are left uncontrolled, the greater the amount of kidney damage that can occur. If the kidney damage isn’t stopped, some individuals may progress to needing kidney transplants or dialysis machines.
All of these complications, however, can almost always be prevented.
Q. How can the complications of diabetes be prevented?
A. Vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements can provide powerful tools for preventing serious complications and keeping people with diabetes healthy. The best nutritional supplement contains powerful vitamins, minerals, and herbs in a synergistic formula that can effectively lower blood sugars and provide the specialized nutrients people with diabetes need.
Q. Which vitamins, minerals, and herbs should be included in a nutritional supplement for people with diabetes?
A. The vitamins, minerals, and herbs in a diabetic formula should work synergistically and be clinically demonstrated to help prevent the known complications of diabetes. To get the best results, it is very important that the right ingredients are in the diabetic formula you buy.
Q. How often should I take a diabetic formula supplement?
A. Read the label of the diabetic formula you are considering buying. Most quality products need to be taken twice a day. Keep in mind that you will still need to take a high quality multivitamin in addition to the diabetic formula supplement. A diabetic formula is complementary. That means that it is designed to be and addition to your multivitamin routine, not a replacement.
Q. Could the diabetic formula lower my blood sugar level too much?
A. In general, too low blood sugar levels should not be a problem. A high quality diabetic formula containing synergistic vitamins, minerals and herbs, most often lowers blood sugars to normal levels. However, these vitamins, minerals, and herbs will not excessively lower blood sugar levels that are already normal.
Q. Do I need to continue monitoring my blood sugar when taking a diabetic formula supplement?
A. Diabetes is a disease that requires active participation from you. You need to be aware of your problem and be in control of it as much as possible. If you use a home glucose monitor to check your blood sugars, you may feel more comfortable by checking your levels more frequently when you first take a diabetic formula supplement. You should always follow the recommendation of your doctor or a licensed health care practitioner regarding how often you should check your blood sugar levels.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) (as well as most licensed health care practitioners), a good blood sugar range for most people with diabetes (before a meal) is from about 70 to 150. An ideal range is 70-120.
Taking a nutritional supplement formulated especially for diabetics that contain vitamins, minerals, and herbs that work synergistically in a scientifically valid formula will help you keep your blood sugars right where the
Q. Can’t I just take the diabetic formula supplement and not worry about my diet?
A. Unfortunately, you cannot. Successful diabetes management means doing lost of positive things. First, you need to see your licensed health care practitioner often. You need to choose foods wisely and stay active to have a positive influence on your blood sugar levels and your health. And, taking a diabetic formula supplement every day can really help. However, the diabetic formula supplement is meant to be an addition to your healthy diet, not a substitute.
Having diabetes might make you feel overwhelmed. Restrictions on what you may and may not eat might make you feel deprived and unfairly burdened. The possibility of disease complications may make you feel anxious and scared-even angry. It is only natural to ask “Why me?” Taking control of your diabetes, instead of letting it control you, can help with these feelings. Eating wisely and exercising every day are two important ways to improve your health. And, taking a nutritional supplement formulated specifically for people with diabetes every day can give you the critical control you need to direct your health for years to come. Many healthy years to come.
November 22, 2006 01:45 PM
These three natural discoveries may be some of the most important health discoveries to date. From the mountains of Japan, the rainforests of Peru, and the learned halls of a prestigious university we have been given powerful allies in healthy immunity and cancer prevention. Thankfully, there are formulas available at health food stores that contain all three natural discovery dietary supplements in one convenient product.
Our immune systems are Continuously assaulted from pollutants in the environment, toxic additives in our food, and common chemicals we use and depend on everyday. These assaults can leave us vulnerable to so-called simple diseases, like colds and the flu, as well as serious problems, such as cancer and autoimmune diseases. Staving off these threats means our white blood cells must stand ready to mount incredibly intricate defenses. Cat’s claw root extract, maitake D-fraction, and IP-6 with inositol provide powerful protection from disease and an all natural boost to our immune system.
Pycnogenol: Heart, Blood Sugar and Cellular Health
November 03, 2006 12:16 PM
Pycnogenol (pronounced pic-nojen-all) is a natural plant extract originating from the bark of the maritime pine that grows along the coast of southwest France. Pycnogenol® consists of particularly bioactive flavonoid species and its purity is in strict accordance with the United States Pharmacopoeia. Pycnogenol® was initially developed 35 years ago in Europe. During the past years it evolved as one of the most thoroughly researched nutritional supplements, with over 200 studies published in peer-reviewed journals. Seventy of these studies were clinical with in total more than 4,000 patients. Pycnogenol® taken in dosages from 25mg to 300mg is well tolerated and Pycnogenol® was attributed “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the FDA.
Pycnogenol® supports healthy capillaries
The “Career” of Pycnogenol® began in Europe, where it was first used to maintain vein and capillary health. Pycnogenol® has been shown to strengthen blood vessel walls, with 15 clinical trials showing fast relief from ankle and foot discomfort. A recent study with 200 passengers on long-haul flights showed that Pycnogenol® taken before departure and again during the flight supports foot comfort and healthy circulation. Travelers typically comment that with Pycnogenol® it is much easier to put shoes on again upon arrival. Clinicians in Germany discovered that Pycnogenol® also supports healthy capillaries in the eyes. Retinal capillaries may be affected by imbalanced blood sugar levels. In a multi-center field study with 1169 subjects Pycnogenol® supported healthy capillaries in the retina and improved visual acuity to some extent.
Pycnogenol® benefits the cardiovascular system
More detailed investigation of the interaction of Pycnogenol® with blood vessel walls at the University of Florida, Tampa led to an amazing discovery. Pycnogenol® stimulates an enzyme in blood vessel walls that is responsible for generating the most important vascular mediator, known as “nitric oxide” (NO). NO triggers relaxation of the arteries and supports clear blood flow. Hence, NO is the body’s mediator for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and circulation. NO plays such an important function for cardiovascular health that Dr. Louis Ignarro (UCLA) and his co-workers received the Nobel Prize for this discovery in 1987.
A number of factors, including aging, can interfere with the body’s efficient production of NO. Supplementation with Pycnogenol® for four weeks was shown to restore NO production and improve blood supply to the fingertips of elderly people in a Japanese study. Microscopic evaluation of blood vessel diameter at the root of fingernails showed an increased diameter of capillaries allowing better blood perfusion. Specific sensors applied to the legs showed increased oxygen and decreased carbon dioxide presence. Better blood, nutrient and oxygen supply with Pycnogenol® benefits everybody. Italian researchers were able to show that regular intake of Pycnogenol® helps defy muscle cramps and minor pain in athletes.
The relaxation of arteries has a favorable effect on blood pressure. In two clinical studies Pycnogenol® taken for at least eight weeks was found to significantly support normal blood pressure.
Pycnogenol® stimulated NO generation directly translates into clear blood flow. This was first demonstrated at the University of Arizona, Tucson in smokers. Pycnogenol® dose-dependently, starting at a single dose of 25mg, countered the typical effects of cigarette smoking on the blood. Also, Italian vascular specialists found that Pycnogenol® supported the circulation of individuals on flights between New York and London.
Pycnogenol® supports healthy blood sugar levels
Pycnogenol® can support normal glucose levels when taken as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle plan. A clinical investigation has confirmed the significant glucose-lowering effect of Pycnogenol®. It was noted that Pycnogenol® did not affect insulin levels. Pycnogenol® appears to facilitate previously insulin-resistant cells to uptake sugar from the blood stream by yet unknown mechanisms.
Pycnogenol® limits cellular irritation
Two clinical studies carried out in Germany this year with student volunteers demonstrated that Pycnogenol® has a potent effect in preventing cellular irritation. Pycnogenol® inhibits a molecular “main-switch” in immune cells that triggers the onset of cellular irritation in any part of the body. Moreover, Pycnogenol® was found to inhibit so-called COX enzymes, which are involved with minor pain-sensation related to cellular irritation.
Pycnogenol® sooths menstrual pain
Japanese gynecologists discovered in 1999 that regular supplementation with Pycnogenol® soothes the normal discomfort of menstrual pain, particularly during cramping. Another clinical investigation of 47 women in year 2004 confirmed the effect of Pycnogenol® in addressing menstrual pain. This year a double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center field study with 116 women again confirmed these results. Pycnogenol® is not suitable for on-demand relief during menstruation. The studies show that Pycnogenol® reached highest efficacy when taken regularly for months.
Pycnogenol® helps to support respiratory health
Challenges to normal respiratory function may result from incidents the immune system perceives as harmful. Pycnogenol® offers valuable help in supporting respiration due to its immune-modulating effect and its ability to limit cellular irritation. A study at the University of Arizona found that Pycnogenol® supports clear breathing and lowers mediators of cellular irritation in the blood stream. More recently, a placebo-controlled clinical study at the University of California, Loma Linda described how Pycnogenol® supported healthy respiration in 60 children aged 6-18 years. Pycnogenol® needs to be taken Continuously for prolonged periods of time for maximum benefit to the respiratory system.
Pycnogenol® is investigated in clinical trials all over the world. New findings are posted on the website www.pycnogenol.com.
Frank Schonlau Ph.D. is a biochemist who has spent nine years in medical research at the University Clinic of Munster Germany. His area of expertise covers vascular disorders, inflammation and dermatology. He has published more than 20 studies and review articles in the medical literature. Since entering the dietary field in 1999 he was involved in numerous studies on Pycnogenol® and communication of new health discoveries.