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Fight Gout and Arthritis with Solaray Tart Cherry
November 04, 2022 10:33 AM
Tart cherry is a type of cherry that is known for its sour taste. However, recent research has lead to increased interest in the cherry for its health-promoting benefits. Cherries contain anthocyanins, which are responsible for the red color of the fruit. Anthocyanins are considered antioxidants, which have free radical neutralizing properties.
Gout and Arthritis
One of the most well-known benefits of tart cherry is its ability to help the body fight gout and arthritis. Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects approximately 8.3 million people in the United States. symptoms include severe pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints. Tart cherry has been shown to reduce these symptoms by reducing inflammation.
Tart cherries are also good for heart health. Several studies have shown that tart cherry intake can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Additionally, tart cherries can help reduce inflammation markers in the blood, which is important for overall heart health.
Tart cherries are also being studied for their potential role in brain health. One study found that people who consumed tart cherry powder daily for 12 weeks had improved cognitive function and memory compared to those who did not consume the powder. Additionally, tart cherry intake has been shown to increase levels of melatonin, which is a hormone that helps regulate sleep Cycles.
Overall, tart cherry is a nutritional powerhouse with many potential health benefits. If you're looking for a natural way to improve your gout or arthritis symptoms, lower your blood pressure or cholesterol levels, or memory and cognitive function, incorporating tart cherry into your diet is a great place to start.
L-Histidine: Support Immunity, Brain Function And Cardiovascular Health
October 21, 2022 12:12 PM
L-Histidine is an essential amino acid that plays a role in a variety of important bodily functions. Histidine is best known for its role in the production of histamine, an important mediator of immune system responses. However, histidine is also critical for normal brain function and for the maintenance of a healthy skin barrier. In addition, histidine plays important roles in muscle function, cardiovascular health, protection against free radicals, and the elimination of heavy metals from the body. Let's take a closer look at some of these benefits.
The Role of Histamine in the Immune System Response
As we mentioned before, histamine is an important mediator of immune system responses. When your body comes into contact with a foreign invader, such as a virus or bacteria, mast cells release histamine into the bloodstream. This leads to the dilation of blood vessels and increased permeability of capillaries, which allows white blood cells and other immune cells to more easily reach the site of infection. In addition, histamine release triggers sneezing and increased mucus production, which helps to expel foreign invaders from the body.*
Histamine and Brain Function
Histamine is also involved in regulating wakefulness and sleep Cycles.* In fact, l-histidine deficiency has been linked to insomnia.* Histamine regulates serotonin levels in the brain and has been shown to improve cognitive function.* Additionally, histamine plays a role in memory formation and has even been shown to protect against age-related cognitive decline.*
L-Histidine and Cardiovascular Health
L-histidine has also been shown to have protective effects on the cardiovascular system.* Histamine promotes vasodilation—the widening of blood vessels—which can help to lower blood pressure.* L-histidine also inhibits platelet aggregation—the clumping together of blood cells—which can help to prevent blood clots from forming.* These effects can help to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.*
As you can see, l-histidine is involved in a variety of important bodily functions. From its role in immunity and brain function to its protective effects on the cardiovascular system, l-histidine is an amino acid that offers many benefits. If you are looking for a way to boost your health and well-being, consider adding l-histidine to your diet!
The Consequences of Not Getting Enough Sleep
September 14, 2022 04:03 PM
Most people know they should be getting around eight hours of sleep per night, but according to the National Sleep Foundation, between 50 and 70 million U.S. adults havea sleep disorder*. That means many of us are not getting the quality sleep we need on a nightly basis. But what does that mean for our health? Let’s take a look.
Short-Term Effects of Sleep Deprivation
There are many short-term effects of not getting enough sleep, including:
* Difficulty concentrating or making decisions * Increased forgetfulness * Moodiness or irritability * Slow reflexes * Increased anxiety * Decreased sex drive * Weight gain or weight loss * Heightened senses * Increased susceptibility to colds and flus
Long-Term Effects of Sleep Deprivation
The long-term effects of sleep deprivation are even more concerning. Some of the long-term effects of not getting enough sleep include:
* High blood pressure * Diabetes * Heart disease * Mood disorders such as depression or anxiety * Memory problems * weakened immune system * Increased pain perception Conclusion: As you can see, there are many short-term and long-term effects of not getting enough sleep. If you think you might have a sleep disorder, talk to your doctor about treatment options. In the meantime, practice good sleep hygiene by avoiding caffeine before bedtime, establish a regular sleep schedule, and create a calming bedtime routine. Do your best to get seven to eight hours of quality sleep every night so you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day!
Need more sleep try melatonin!
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate our sleep-wake Cycles. It's produced naturally by our bodies in response to darkness and starts to increase in the evening as we prepare for bed.
How Does Melatonin Work?
Many people take melatonin supplements in an effort to improve their sleep quality. And there is some evidence to suggest that it can be helpful. One small study found that melatonin supplements helped people fall asleep faster than placebo pills did. However, the effects were only temporary, lasting for just three days.
Another study looked at the effects of melatonin on people with insomnia due to jet lag. This research found that melatonin supplements shortened the time it took for participants to fall asleep by about an hour on average.
It's important to note that these studies looked at short-term usage of melatonin supplements. There's not much research available on the long-term effects of taking this supplement.
If you're struggling to get enough sleep, you might be wondering if supplements could help. One popular option is melatonin. But what is it, and does it really work? Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate our sleep-wake Cycles which is produced naturally by our bodies in response to darkness.. Many people take melatonin supplements in an effort to improve their sleep quality and there is some evidence to suggest that it can be helpful such as one small study found that melatonin supplements helped people fall asleep faster than placebo pills did.. however the effects were only temporary lasting three days or another study which looked at the effects of melatonin on people with insomnia due to jet lag and found that it shortened the time it took participants to fall asleep by an hour on average...
Give Melatonin a try and sleep better!
Is celery the powerful anti-cancer weapon we have all been waitingfor?
April 27, 2019 09:53 AM
Celery is known for being a low calorie vegetable that is also a good source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. However, the biggest (and perhaps most overlooked) health benefit of celery lies in its cancer-fighting properties. Two important antioxidants found in celery - apigenin and luteolin - are the key. Among other benefits, Apigenin has been shown to inhibit the growth of tumors, while Luteolin interferes with cancer cells' replication cycles. Whether you eat it raw or incorporate it into smoothies, soups or stews, celery doesn't just taste good, it can extend your life.
"Research has shown that celery contains two important antioxidants, called apigenin and luteolin, which have exhibited some potent chemopreventive effects."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-06-is-celery-the-powerful-anti-cancer-weapon-we-have-all-been-waiting-for.html
What Happens to Your Brain When You Go on a Diet
September 27, 2017 12:14 PM
People often go on diets because they want to lose weight. A good way to diet is by just substituting what you eat with healthier things. It's not good to eat much less, though, because your body needs certain nutrients and a certain amount of calories. This tells you what can happen to your brain if you do choose to diet. It might make you think a bit before doing so or at least before choosing an extreme one.
"In fact, though the risks of yo-yo dieting have been contested, one 2016 study found that repeatedly going through these starvation cycles prompts your body to gain more weight."
Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/what-happens-your-brain-when-you-go-diet-ncna802626?cid=public-rss_20170920
These 6 Essential Oils Work Like Valium For Your Anxiety
August 29, 2017 04:14 PM
There are 6 essential oils that work like Valium for your anxiety. Bergamot is one of these essential oils that people can use. Bergamot is a very sweet fruit and it is a part of the citrus family. It makes for a very good and calming oil. It has soothing and moos boosting properties. There have been studies done on this that have shown its healing properties. Orange is another essential oil that will work great for healing anxiety.
"Geranium essential oil has been found to have both calming and refreshing properties, and it may especially help to soothe anxiety in women during those especially trying times in our monthly cycles."
Read more: http://www.thealternativedaily.com/essential-oils-that-work-like-valium-for-anxiety/
TAKE THIS and you will sleep almost instantly and wake up refreshed. Amazing!
May 25, 2017 12:14 PM
For those millions of people that have trouble sleeping, there is a natural remedy that is only comprised of three ingredients and can make you fall asleep quickly and safely as it relaxes your body. This recipe contains the natural ingredients of one tablespoon of coconut oil, one eight of a teaspoon of salt, and a quarter teaspoon of raw honey. This mixture is best taken before bedtime and can be taken two different ways. First, you can combine all ingredients and then consume a glass of water. Or, you can consume the honey and oil separately and then consume water with salt. All three ingredients help play a separate role in helping you sleep as they help secrete hormones to hep you sleep and make you wake up feeling better the next day.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKmpLC4Vr5c&rel=0
"There is a completely natural remedy that will restore your sleep and will help you wake up fresh and in a good mood."
Diabetes management: How lifestyle, daily routine affect blood sugar
May 17, 2017 08:45 AM
If you have diabetes, you'll need to learn about and control several factors in your life if you want to control your blod sugar. Eat low carb, small portion meals timed around when you need your medicine. Stay hydrated and avoid sugary drinks. Develop an exercise plan with your doctor, then make an exercise schedule to incorporate it into your life. Frequently check your blood sugar, store your insulin propertly, and keep your doctor updated on any changes. Don't make changes to your diet or your insulin intake when you are ill. Talk to your doctor before drinking alcohol. Watch for cycles of erratic blood sugar during menstruation or if you have menopause. Lastly, log your stress level every time you take your insulin.
"As much as possible, plan for every meal to have a good mix of starches, fruits and vegetables, proteins and fats."
Read more: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/in-depth/diabetes-management/art-20047963
Heart health: Dates can boost it while lowering bad cholesterol
December 10, 2016 06:59 AM
Dates have some amazing health benefits which make it a must to eat them daily. Even consuming three dates a day, can improve your health drastically, and also boost your immune system, while keeping health disorders and ailments at bay. Know health benefits of dragon fruit Dates help in increasing the iron levels in your blood which aids in curbing anemia. Next time you feel completely exhausted, you know what to have to regain your energy.
"Dates are fibrous; the fibres it got are soluble which aids in grasping more water in the digestive tract which combats constipation."
How to Boost the Female Egg Health with these Rich Vitamin Foods
November 25, 2016 12:59 PM
A healthy diet can heighten chances of conception. Alcohol and junk food can reduce fertility health, but healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables can actually increase your chances. For example, avocados contain monounsaturated fat which produces healthier eggs. Beans and lentils contain iron (among other vitamins) which promotes ovulation. Even cinnamon can improve ovary function.
"A healthy lifestyle can improve your chances of conceiving by protecting your fertility."
Gut bacteria unleash anti-aging power of pomegranates
November 21, 2016 01:09 PM
Pomegranates may hold a more significant role than just tasting delicious. There are studies underway that aim to prove the anti-aging benefits of the fruit. It is believed that the breakdown of pomegranate in the gut causes a release of urolithin A, which in turn boosts the cells’ ability to clean up after itself. Without the buildup of mitochondrial matter that happens without urolithin A, the body doesn’t age as quickly.
"As we age, an important process that our cells rely on for energy slows down and begins to malfunction."
What is the Krebs cycle and why is it important?
The Krebs cycle is a series of chemical response that helps in the production of Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and carbon dioxide, a compound that is rich in energy. This cycle happens with the combination of two carbon coenzymes and carbon complexes and goes through a series of changes to produce the required energy that is needed for the smooth functioning of living organism. This cycle occurs in all the cells that use oxygen for their respiration process. Carbon dioxide has an important role since it fuels breathing and the ATP also plays a vital role as it provides cells with a required energy for synthesis of proteins from amino acid and the reproduction of deoxyribonucleic acid. These are considered essential for energy supply and for the continuation of any kind of life including human.
The Krebs cycle is known as the second phase of the aerobic respiration. Aerobic respiration is composed of three phases, Glycosis is the first phase, followed by the Krebs Cycle, and last is the Electron phase. These three stages are a series of a cycle that all living cells must experience to produce the required energy for the smooth functioning of the mechanism of life.
Why Krebs cycle is important?
Poor digestion, fatigue and lack of proper nutrition are the common complaints among the people of all ages all over the world. This complaint comes when the body does not get proper nutrition or is unable to digest food even if it's available. It leads to a chronic problem and makes most of the people suffer. But what makes them suffer? This is the listless metabolism that ultimately leads to slow Krebs cycle function. When Krebs cycle does not function properly, after a period of time it causes the accretion of undigested food remains in the blood vessels and also creates some other health complications such as constipation, fatigue and smoggy brain. In the long run, it can create some other health complication that is severe and sometimes life-threatening. So to avoid this situation people usually prefer to take the Krebs cycle supplement. This supplement resolves all these issues and also makes you feel energetic.
Why your body is reliant on Krebs Cycles?
Krebs Cycles are important since it helps to generate energy from the food, particularly from the carbohydrate. And you can get carbohydrate from grains, cereals, fats and also from vegetable and animal sources. You can also get carbohydrates from the proteins.
By definition, carbohydrates are the combination of three important things, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and these things can be changed to glucose inside your body. Initially your body uses the carbohydrate as the foundation of glucose and then through a series of processing, the body gets the required amount of carbohydrates from the diet. And here Krebs cycle plays an important role to generate energy from the carbohydrate.
The Krebs cycle is considered important for producing energy, it does not help you to run fast and to be active only, and it also enables your metabolic process to work efficiently.
Can 5-HTP Help with Sleep?
May 26, 2014 12:57 PM
What is 5-HTP
5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a compound which is produced naturally in the body via the means of the amino acid tryptophan. Even though this compound is already present in the body, researchers have found that we can benefit by having more of it. This has resulted in several supplement companies producing this compound from the seeds of an African plant known as Griffonia simplicifolia; 5-HTP can now be found in many health food and drug stores.
Benefits of 5-HTP
Even though there still hasn't been much research done regarding this supplement, we can still see that there are many uses for it. However, there is sufficient evidence out that shows 5-HTP is effective in treating depression and fibromyalgia, which means improved mood, reduced pain, better joint health, and better quality of sleep. To elaborate on the sleep benefits, 5-HTP increases serotonin levels which are converted into melatonin (a hormone which helps keep sleep Cycles under control) through the body. There is also some evidence to suggest that this supplement can reduce anxiety as well as help promote weight loss in obese people.
So there is some great evidence to suggest that this supplement can help to improve our mood, quality of sleep, health and much more. However there is a slight downside, because of the limited amount of research done on this compound it is currently considered possibly unsafe to use. Potential side effects of 5-HTP include muscle ache/pain, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, stomach pain, and also a serious condition known as eosinophilia myalgia syndrome – a rare flu-like condition. Drug interactions can take place also; you should stay away from 5-HTP especially if you are taking any anti-depressant medication as these often increase serotonin levels which may result in too much serotonin in the body.
This supplement has many benefits and there has been research done to prove that it is effective in treating many problems such as insomnia, depression, fibromyalgia, anxiety, weight loss and more. However, it is recommended that you stay away from supplementing with 5-HTP because of the limited research done.
Melatonin CAn Help You Sleep Better in a natural way
December 22, 2013 04:58 PM
If you find that you are not able to sleep on any particular day, then you are not alone who experienced this problem because many other people are also there that face this problem on regular basis. In most of the cases this problem appears due to lack of melatonin hormone that plays an important role in regulation of sleep Cycles.
In case you disturbed your natural sleep cycle because you traveled to some other time zone or you are in work that requires you to work in night, then it can reduce the natural production of melatonin in your body and you may find trouble in sleeping. However, melatonin supplements are available there that can help you sleep naturally. All you have to do is you need to consume it 30 minute before you go to bed.
The best thing about melatonin
Is that it works on almost every individual and within 30 minute of its consumption you start feeling drowsy and you find it impossible to stay awake. After that it take you in some deep sleep where you can see some vivid dream and when you wake up you find yourself completely fresh and energetic. Another great thing about melatonin is that it does not introduce any external chemical in your body to make you feel sleepy, but it does it in a natural way and that’s why you don’t even need a prescription for using it.
However, it is very important that if you have any particular health problem or if you are pregnant, then it is suggested that you should consult with doctor before consuming melatonin. Other than this, it is also very important that you should consume it with guidelines only because if you take it more than suggested quantity you may feel sleepy and tired for rest of your day as well.
Benefits of wild yam to women
December 21, 2012 11:17 AM
Wild yam which is also known as Dioscorea villosa has been used for a very long time to help women deal with various health issues especially those associated with menstrual Cycles. There are various forms in which this herb can be taken for example capsules and creams. Wild yam is so popular among women due to the progesterone properties that it carries. This herb contains an ingredient diosgenin which is converted in the body to produce progesterone.
Progesterone plays a very crucial role in a woman's body. Some of the roles include;
This hormone is known to produce mucus which protects the vaginal area from infections. When there are higher levels of progesterone in the blood, women will experience a spike in their libido. Supplementing with progesterone is mostly beneficial after menopause when most women experience reduced intimate desires. Progesterone plays a major role during menstruation. It prepares the endothelium for fertilization. If fertilization does not happen, the levels of progesterone will fall down resulting in menstrual periods.
Wild yam can help easy PMS
Women who experience painful cramps after menstruation could really benefit from progesterone supplements. With its antispasmotic properties, the progesterone may help to relax the muscles hence reducing the amount of pain experienced. Progesterone may also help to ease labor pains.
Wild Yam Is A Natural Progesterone
Women who are undergoing menopause may also want to use wild yam. This herb helps to restore hormonal balance thus ensuring that a woman does not face the usual hot flashes and sweating at night. Having hormonal imbalances could really deny you the comfort in life. Hormones such as progesterone which are very crucial for a woman's body processes should always be checked. Progesterone supplements are most appropriate when you are experiencing progesterone deficit. Wild yam supplement comes in the form of capsules or creams. If it comes combined with other ingredients, ensure that all the ingredients are safe for your body.
How Do I Use Phytoestrogen And Progesterone Creams For PMS?
September 22, 2011 11:04 AM
If you are a guy who had encountered women you probably would have heard about PMS. It is something that we as men are familiar with because often times, about once a month our female acquaintances would let us know that they should be allowed to act silly and have their way for the next few days all because they are experiencing PMS but is there truth to it? Let’s try to take a more scientific approach because my guess is, it is more serious than we know.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is defined by strong and consistent mood swings, tender breasts, fatigue, depressions, food cravings and irritability just to name some of the more common symptoms. Commonly this peaks around the late 20’s and early 30’s for females and it is a serious issue. It is not the kind of juvenile reason for tantrums that young female kids might lightly throw around. These symptoms can cause serious discomfort and many changes in the sufferer’s lives and at times in certain months it will be pretty intense and unnoticeable in some. It also happens in a predictable pattern which is one upside to allow the patient to prepare for it and can figure out certain ways to counter the effects so as to not allow PMS to take control of your life.
Phytoestrogen And Progesterone Creams
First off let look at some details about these substances. Phytoestrogen are chemicals that are derived from plants and have the primary property of having the ability to mimic estrogen in the human body which is the primary sex hormone in women. Estrogen on the other hand is the real thing and is a hormone manufactured primarily in the ovaries with an essential responsibility of initiating and maintaining proper menstrual Cycles in women.
Although this hormone can also be found in the male’s body we produce it at a lesser degree. Studies have shown that estrogen is an important factor in women’s reproductive Cycles unlike men which does not really have much use for it and aims to keep the levels of this hormone down as it may cause more feminine bodily changes in men. With women however, supplementation with estrogen has been used to treat reproductive cycle issues so it is no surprise that these hormones are being incorporated into cream products to aid in PMS relief and how you use it depends on your specific cycle.
Some common guidelines is to use of about 100 to 200mg a day and it terms of when, it shall depend on the length of a female’s cycle. As a general rule though it should be taken 14 days prior to ovulation if the specific ovulation date is not known as ovulation starts fourteen days before bleeding starts. If no ovulation happens or you don’t have a period, use a 28 day cycle as a guide and choose any day to start. It is important that this is done before ovulation so it does not interrupt the body’s natural process of ovulation and hormone production.
Can Avena Sativa Be Used For Menstrual Problems?
September 07, 2011 02:13 PM
Avena Sativa in a way is just a common oat plant and is considered a cereal grain that is derived from seeds and its most common form in our diets is as rolled oats and oatmeal. A lot of us these days feel stressed and tired. Some may feel a little depressed or even fed up and this can lead to a lack of sexual desire. Many of us would think that supplementation might help with this since our fast-paced life often times is the culprit of this and we would like to have an easy fix for more energy. Most of the time we look at supplementation to help us with that and for the past decade Avena Sativa is one of those herbs that have shown a lot of promise in the area of health and other benefits which in this specific case is more on Menstrual Problems. Like in most cases for herbs, it starts out to be a simple research about how it could help us with energy and overall wellness then we would discover that it can do a lot more.
Avena Sativa and how it works
Also known as Oats Milky, Avena Sativa in the past decade has shown promise in benefiting a number of bloodstream functions and this was made evident as researchers have shown that it could help in various sexual functions mainly in men. It is able to help with erection and improve sexual appetites. The consensus of the users of this herb is that it is a great alternative to pharmaceutical erection enhancers and what's great about it is it doesn't have the side-effects. In the same way that it is beneficial for men it also has shown promise in women. The same sedative effects to the nervous system seems to be what allows the women to have a more relaxed body which is the reason that researchers have found as the stimulants to increase desire in women.
Menstrual Cycles and Avena Sativa
Menstruation disorders are most common in a woman's teenage years. It causes a lot of anxiety not only to the people suffering it because it also affects the family. Some factors that come into play are physical and psychological and in order to have a better understanding of how Avena Sativa can help let’s try to understand a regular menstrual cycle just in the general sense. Commonly a menstrual cycle happens during 21 to 35 days with about 3 to 10 days of bleeding and blood loss, this excessive blood loss during those days is what creates a lot of problems for a female’s well being. Studies have shown a distinct link between these disorders and a deficiency in magnesium in the body. This is where Avena Sativa come into play with its ability to influence the nervous system and regulate blood flow it can have positive effects both psychologically and physically. Furthermore, it also is magnesium rich which can aid in the relief of some symptoms, if not most of it, of menstrual disorders.
How Does Malic Acid Help With Fibromyalgia?
August 22, 2011 12:37 PM
Fibromyalgia(FM) is a condition affecting primarily middle-aged women and is often misdiagnosed and misunderstood as an ailment which has a diverse set of symptoms, in which none are pleasant. It basically is a medical disorder defined by chronic and widespread pain, a heightened response to pressure and often time painful as well. No one really knows what the exact causes are. There are a number of studies taking place and done by reputable medical organisations (such as the Nation Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases - NIAMS) which are geared towards the establishment, once and for all, of the route cause of Fibromyalgia. A part of the current scientific theories is the inherent genetic factor, but even in this it seems that geneticists are not clear as to which genes exactly may be the culprit. What has been concretely established and clarified though is that not just because your mom or dad has it you’ll have it. Stress in some studies has also been found as a contributor but may not be the main cause though.
Malic acid is an organic compound and also a carboxylic diacid and is an active ingredient in many sour or tart foods. It is mostly in unripe fruits and it has two stereoisomeric forms (L- and D-enantiomers), though only the L-isomer exists naturally. The salts and esters of this diacid are called malates. The malate anion is an intermediate in the citric acid cycle. However it was not until 1785 that Carl Wilhelm Scheele first isolated it from apple juice. It is formed in metabolic Cycles within the cells of plants animals and humans. A somewhat large amount of Malic Acid is produced and broken down in the body each day. Malic acid also provides stamina and endurance within the muscle cells. It is particularly useful in the blocking of aluminum toxics, which has been found to possibly be one contributing factors to fibromyalgia.
Compelling evidence has surfaced that malic acid may plays a central role in energy production, especially during hypoxic conditions. In some experiments that have been done, the improvement that came about when malic acid was administered to the subject was gone after discontinuing for 48 hours. The theory behind this is in the relative association of hypoxia to FM, if it will improve hypoxic conditions then it will be beneficial for FM sufferers as well just as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has also been associated with FM. Additionally, many hypoxia related conditions, like respiratory and circulatory insufficiency, are related to deficiency in energy production as well. Therefore, malic acid may be of benefit in these conditions.
The mitochondria are the energy furnaces in cells which metabolize food for energy. Some findings suggest that this structure does not operate efficiently in those with FM. So, for the mitochondria to produce ample amounts of ATP, several nutrients are essential and Malic Acid is one of them. Imbalances in the mitochondria’s process can cause the body to switch from oxygen-based metabolism to the less efficient anaerobic metabolism and this would contribute to an abnormal buildup of lactic acid following even light exertion. This lactic acid buildup results in fatigue, weakness, pain and muscle spasms.
The Krebs Cycle - Our Lifes Blood!
January 13, 2011 05:00 PM
The Krebs Cycle, also known as the Citric Acid Cycle, is an important series of biochemical reactions that are intrinsic to cellular respiration and the generation of energy from oxygen and glucose in aerobic organisms. Although humans can generate energy anaerobically, they cannot do so for long periods and oxygen is essential for life because it fuels the Krebs Cycle. Without this cycle, there would be no available energy to maintain our vital processes.
What is The Krebs Cycle
We shall first discuss exactly what the Krebs Cycle is and then its importance in the body. The process takes place within the mitochondria of the body cells.
A. The cycle begins with the ten-step pathway of glycolysis, during which glucose is converted to two molecules of pyruvate: no oxygen is required for this step. Basically:
Glucose + 2NAD+ + 2P + 2ADP = 2Pyruvate + 2NADH + 2H+ + 2ATP
The pyruvate can then undergo aerobic or anaerobic respiration to generate energy. The Krebs Cycle is the aerobic route, and significantly more efficient that the alternative fermentation.
B. The two pyruvate molecules are then oxidized to two of Acetyl CoA with the release of carbon dioxide. The two acetyl groups of the Acetyl CoA are donated to Oxaloacetate in the presence of water to form Citrate.
C. Citrate then undergoes a number of chemical reactions to arrive back at Oxaloacetate again and the cycle starts all over again by reacting with more Acetyl CoA from Pyruvate and oxygen to form Citrate again. During the cycle more ATP is produced and electrons and other species are sent into the Electron Transfer Chain where most energy is generated.
During this cycle three major events occur:
1. During the various transformations of Citrate, specifically when Succinyl-CoA is converted to Succinate, one Guanosine Triphosphate group (GTP) is generated, which then donates a phosphate to Adenosine Diphosphate (ADP) to create the energy molecule Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP).
2. Over the whole cycle, three molecules of Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD) are reduced to NADH that donates its electrons to the electron transport chain that is responsible for the generation of large quantities of ATP.
3. A molecule of Flavine Adenosine Dinucleotide (FAD) is reduced to FADH2, again donating its electrons to the electron transport system and the generation of energy.
Factor 2 and 3 are of more significance to energy generation than factor 1, and are the major means by which the Krebs Cycle generates energy.
Electron Transport Chain
The Krebs Cycle takes place within the mitochondria, structures that are contained in each of your body cells. Also within these mitochondria are a series of membranes that are very important in the generation of energy.
The major energy produced in your body cells comes from the Electron Transport Chain, a series of chemical reactions between an electron donor and an electron acceptor. Such reactions drive the transport of hydrogen ions (H+) across the membranes in the mitochondria.
The electron donors are species such as NADH, FADH2 and succinate and the electron acceptors are oxygen molecules. Hence the importance of oxygen in the process of aerobic respiration. The H+ ions are driven across the membranes and result in the conversion of ADP to ATP energy. In essence, the hydrogen atoms and electrons take part in a progressive chain of redox reactions, and at the end react with oxygen molecules and change it to water.
The Ultimate Products
Ultimately, through the whole chain and Cycles of:
Glucose to pyruvate (glycolysis) Pyruvate to Acetyl CoA + CO2 (oxidation) Acetyl CoA to Citrate and the entire Krebs Cycle (reduction and oxidation) Krebs Cycle products to the Electron Transfer Chain Electron Transfer Chain to Water and ATP (redox) Final oxidation of hydrogen atoms to water
Basically: Glucose + Oxygen + 30ADP = Carbon Dioxide + Water + 30ATP
This is not balanced of course, and the ATP could be anything from 29 to 38, though 29.85 is the most accurate calculation to date. The entire process of glycolysis, oxidation, Krebs Cycle and Electron Transport Chain is powered by a series of enzymes and a small amount of ATP energy.
Glucose and oxygen are used up as the raw materials and ATP energy molecules are the product. It has been calculated that the total ATP yield obtained from one molecule of glucose lies between 29.5 and 30 molecules of ATP.
The Importance of the Krebs Cycle to Your Body
Were it not for the Krebs Cycle you would not be able to generate energy efficiently from your food. In particular, the carbohydrate content of your food. Carbohydrates are available in your diet from two sources: simple and complex carbohydrate foodstuffs such as cereals and grains, and fats and oils from animal and vegetable sources. They are also available from proteins, which are composed of amino acids at the head of the molecule with a carbohydrate tail.
Carbohydrates by definition contain only carbon, hydrogen and oxygen molecules, and can be converted to glucose within your body. Proteins can be deaminated and then the carbohydrate portion again converted to glucose. In fact, your body will initially use the carbohydrates in your diet as a source of glucose for its glycolysis to pyruvate, then the fatty tissue in your body, then the proteins will be deaminated so your body can get to the carbohydrate they contain.
Were it not for the Krebs Cycle, your body could not use the glucose as described above to generate energy. The only option open to it would be anaerobic respiration, or energy production in the absence of oxygen. ATP is still generated, but much less efficiently.
Anaerobic respiration is basically respiration without oxygen. If there was no Krebs Cycle, then this is the only way your body would have to create energy.
Because no oxygen is actually needed for glycolysis or the Krebs Cycle, anaerobic respiration can proceed right to the end of the Electron Transport Chain. Then instead of oxygen being used as the terminal electron donor, it has to be another species such as nitrate or sulfate. Because the Reduction Potential of these species is much lower than that of oxygen, the amount of ATP energy produced is also much lower.
Your body tries to compensate by producing even more pyruvate and the excess is removed through lactic acid fermentation. Although this also generates ATP energy enough for short-term use, it leads ultimately to lactic acidosis and a reduction in pH, causing pain and vomiting.
Ultimately, if oxygen is not forthcoming, the brain runs short of the energy needed for it to work and you die. There is insufficient ATP generated from anaerobic respiration to maintain human life.
The Krebs Cycle is of critical importance for the production of energy: not just the energy to enable you to run fast, but to enable your metabolic processes to continue. It is needed for both aerobic and anaerobic respiration, and while lactic acid fermentation can be used by your muscle cells as a brief but effective means of generating short-term energy, it is insufficient to maintain the needs of your metabolism.
Without the Krebs Cycle, mammalian and most other animal life would not be viable and the world would be populated by anaerobic bacteria.
Free Radicals and how to Combat Them!
November 30, 2010 02:41 PM
Vitamin C and E
Chances are you have heard about antioxidants. They’re everywhere: in the news, on the internet, and, of course, in our body. The first group of antioxidants that spurred the war against free radicals are Vitamin C and Vitamin E. As early as the 15th century, seafarers knowingly consumed citrus fruits in treatment of scurvy, which today we refer to as a disease caused by a deficiency of Vitamin C. On the other hand, intake of green leafy vegetables results in healthy cells in the body, touted lately as one of the benefits of Vitamin E. Since the latter half of the 20th century the term antioxidants have come into wide use, sparking a series of studies that led scientists and health professionals to a much more well-informed understanding of how important these vitamins are to human life.
Antioxidants and Free Radicals
Two things about biochemistry that have been a part of our growing concern about eating right are antioxidants and free radicals, which you might have learned outside the classroom. The human body deploy free radicals for the purpose of killing harmful microorganisms, but somehow these chemical entities get out of control. It should be noted that most known free radicals are short-lived, explaining how we survive as they are toxic to the body. When not properly disposed of, free radicals are one of the reactive oxygen species that create a chain reaction damaging everything, including DNA. The problem arises when the body fails to detoxify these reactive oxygen species, and then the latter run amok inside the body. This is when antioxidants come into the picture.
Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Peroxyl Radicals
Vitamin C and Vitamin E are lipids that protect the interior of cells from the outside environment and play a role in storing energy for use by the human body. Different groups of lipids encompass several major chemical reactions in the body, including securing the proper functions of physiological communication lines. In a process called lipid peroxidation, peroxyl radicals go on a killing spree by depriving the lipids of electrons, which continues as they bring in more radicals. The human body make use of Vitamin C and Vitamin E to police the proliferation of lipid radicals in time to deactivate lipid radicals and avoid unwanted effects on cell membranes.
Ascorbate and Tocopherol as Co-Antioxidants
In chemical reactions, the body utilizes forms of tocopherol in Vitamin E and ascorbate ions in Vitamin C. These antioxidants work on the principle of pairing with peroxyl radicals, taking on radical forms, ascorbate and tocopherol, to stop the oxidation process initiated by free radicals. At the molecular level, ascorbate makes an ideal antioxidant as it does not react with oxygen and terminates harmful peroxyl radicals that continue to oxidize. Studies say that Vitamin C and Vitamin E are co-antioxidants in that ascorbate works with tocopherol. For example, when continuing oxidation damage lipids, tocopherol, Vitamin E, removes the harmful radicals, and ascorbate reCycles Vitamin E back to its usable tocopherol form.
The Perfect Match
Alpha Lipoic Acid reCycles both Vitamin C and Vitamin E because alpha lipoic acid is both water and fat soluble.
NADH 10 mg And 20 mg Enhanced with Bioenergy RIBOSE
December 10, 2009 04:23 PM
NADH 10 mg And 20 mg Enhanced with Bioenergy RIBOSE™
NADH is the biologically-active form of vitamin B-3 (niacin), and is involved in a wide range of functions throughout the body. An easier way to understand it, is to think of NADH as a biological spark plug that makes it possible for us to become and remain energetic, active, and functioning at our best. Remove the “spark” and some of the most basic human functions will inevitably suffer. This is not speculation. It is the result of decades of scientific investigation that has examined the link between nutrition and chronic conditions; notably those related to cellular life Cycles and apoptosis, excessive fatigue, enzyme decline, free radical expansion, cognitive disparity, intracellular balance, normalized aging, and many more important aspects of human health.*
Based on a wealth of ongoing studies, we have a great understanding of the benefits of NADH. Not only is it an effective source of cellular energy, it is also one the body’s versatile electron donors—the molecule most frequently degraded during oxidation. Because of these characteristics NADH is, however, also very unstable with regard to light and oxygen, which leads to a very rapid loss of overall effectiveness. Additionally, poor lifestyle choices, such as the use of tobacco, excessive consumption of alcohol, drugs, and prescription medications, sleep deprivation, genetically-engineered foods, and a host of others can all inhibit the activity of NADH within the body. Hope is not lost, however.
NOW® NADH contains a patented form of NADH from Panmol® - the first natural stabilized, stomach acidresistant form of this unique vitamin B3 supplement. Panmol® uses a patented process to naturally preserve its effectiveness. The end result is a highly stable, and bioavailable NADH which can easily withstand the harsh, acidic environment of the stomach and digestive tract; a breakthrough in the battle against many of todays’ most chronic conditions. NOW® NADH is available in both 10 and 20 mg potencies. Both varieties have been further enhanced with 200 mg of Bioenergy RIBOSE™ to support its cellular energy support properties.*
Who Stands to Benefit from NADH
With a proper supply of amino acids and/or B3 vitamins (niacin) the human body is, in fact, capable of producing a limited reserve of NADH. Under chronic strain however, the body’s need for NADH increases. As we age, the body’s ability to manufacture NADH becomes increasingly limited. With this in mind, the following groups stand to benefit the most from incorporating NOW® NADH into their supplement regimen.
• Those who work in stressful, cognitively-demanding professions
June 07, 2009 04:16 PM
Blue cohosh is one of the oldest indigenous plants that can be found in America. Blue cohosh is a woodland herb that is slowly becoming endangered because of over harvesting. A small plant that rarely grows more than two and a half feet in height, it can be found blooming in early April on wooded slopes. It was used by Native Americans to treat rheumatism, colic, cramps, epilepsy, and fevers. This herb also aided in childbirth and acted as a contraceptive. Blue cohosh was adopted by early settlers for both delivery and to help reduce fevers. The dried root was considered to be an official herb, found in the United States Pharmacopoeia from 1882 to 1905, where it was recognized for its abilities to induce labor and menstruation.
Blue cohosh is also known as Caulophyllum thalictroides, blue ginseng, papoose root, yellow ginseng, blueberry root, and beech drops. This herb has been used to stimulate menstrual flow, induce labor, and for rheumatism, cramps, and epilepsy.
The chemical caulosaponin is found in blue cohosh. It is this chemical that induces uterine contractions and should be used only under medical supervision. Additionally, a study that was published in the Journal of Reproduction and Fertility found that blue cohosh is responsible for inhibiting ovulation in animals.
Blue cohosh is recommended by herbalists for irregular menstrual Cycles, inflammation of the uterus, and to stop false labor pains. This herb has also been used as an antispasmodic and to relieve muscle cramps. Scientific studies have validated these uses, especially the herb’s estrogenic and antispasmodic properties. The hormone and menses-regulating powers have been shown to work best when the herb is combined with pennyroyal. Some studies have found that blue cohosh may also stimulate the immune system. This herb helps with cases of toxemia and has also been found useful in reducing emotional and nervous tension.
In short, the rhizome of blue cohosh is used to provide alterative, anthelmintic, antispasmodid, diuretic, emmenagogue, estrogenic, expectorant, and oxytocic properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, chlorine, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, sodium, vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and E, and zinc. Primarily, blue cohosh is very beneficial in dealing with pain in childbirth, cramps, epilepsy, and estrogen deficiency, absence of menstruation, urinary problems, and uterine problems. Additionally, this herb has been shown to be extremely helpful in treating high blood pressure, bronchitis, colic, convulsions, cystitis, diabetes, edema, heart palpitations, excessive mucus, neuralgia, spasms, vaginitis, vaginal discharge, and whooping cough. For more information on the many beneficial effects of blue cohosh, please contact a representative from your local health food store.
Blue cohosh’s use in cultural and traditional settings is somewhat different from the concepts that are accepted by current Western medicine. It is advisable to consult with a primary health care professional when considering the use of herbal supplements. It may also be advantageous to consult with a practitioner that is trained in the uses of herbal supplements. It is important to note that one should always purchase herbal supplements from a reliable source in order to guarantee safety and efficiency.
Blue Cohosh is available in capsule or tablet forms at your local or internet health food store. Look for blue Cohosh in name brands like Natures Answer and Solaray to ensure that you receive a quality product that is pure.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Blue Cohosh is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
November 03, 2008 09:47 AM
Nowadays, it is so in to be thin and being anything but that carries a stigma, along with increased risks of serious illnesses. If that isn’t enough, recent research has found that infertility, which experts define as twelve months of unprotected intercourse that doesn’t result in a pregnancy, is also related to obesity. For women, the main obstacle is lack of ovulation, which is when the body refuses to release an egg every month. Too much abdominal fat stores an excess of estrogen, the hormone that needs to fluctuate in order for ovulation to occur. At the same time, male hormone levels rise, with all that estrogen and testosterone sending the women’s brain the wrong message.
When a couple is having trouble conceiving, evaluation by a fertility specialist is often a very good idea. Because it is pretty easy to count and evaluate sperm, it is easy to rule out any male problems, first. A woman who has irregular menstrual Cycles should look for signs of hormonal imbalances like abnormal body hair, which indicates an excess in testosterone. Testing may reveal polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is marked by many cysts on the ovaries, hormonal imbalances, and/or ovulation problems. But if the male’s sperm and both partners’ hormone levels are normal, and if the woman doesn’t have blocked fallopian tubes or poor thyroid function, then the problem could very well be caused by too much weight.
Obese people usually have some medical problems already; infertility seems to be just another hit. Studies have proven that even just a 5% to 10% loss of your current weight can get your ovaries working again on their own. It is impractical to suggest normal weight, as it’ll take too long, while meanwhile, the ovaries are aging. You shouldn’t wait until you reach your ideal weight before you try to conceive, but rather, keep dropping pounds for the sake of your overall well-being. Your partner may even want to get fit with you, as one study has found that conception can be difficult when both partners are overweight or obese. Since obese men have problems with poor sperm counts or quality, along with weight-related hormonal imbalances, they’re twice as likely to be infertile than men of normal weight. Fathers-to-be may also want to take folate, as low folate levels are linked with increased risk of defective sperm.
If you’re obese, herbs and supplements may help you get pregnant, but weight loss is the critical component. To encourage ovulation, whether you are obese or not, one doctor suggests a weight-loss or weight-maintenance program, along with beta-carotene, a nutrient for ovarian function, and chaste tree berry, for its hormonal effects to optimize ovulation. This plan has proven a fifty percent success rate. Even though fertility aids such as in vitro fertilization result in a live-birth rate of more than 82%, it has been found that only 55% of those births are single babies.
If women trying for children begin eating well and exercising daily, not only will they be able to conceive more easily, but they will be physically fit and able to play with their kids all through their lives. Diet and nutrition as well as natural prenatal supplements and extra folic acid are needed to support the birth of a healthy baby boy or girl. Stop into your local health food store and see what is available for fertility for both men and women.
August 26, 2008 04:58 PM
GABA is gama amino butyric acid, and is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is essential for the proper function of your brain and the central nervous system, and has the effect of reducing excessive brain activity and promoting a state of calm.
For many people, the rush of daily life, with its problems, worries and external stimuli, can over-stimulate the brain to the extent that it can all seem too much for them. They feel anxious and overwhelmed, and wish that they could just go into a quiet corner to get away from it all. Most people have felt like that at some time, but the demands of life do not allow them that luxury. They just have to bear it and get on with life.
That is where GABA can come in. It can be used to bring your nervous system back to base, and make you feel more relaxed, calmer and more able to meet these challenges that life often throws at you. When you feel that you just can’t relax or concentrate on what you are doing, GABA can help you. If you look around you and everybody else seems OK, without apparently feeling the stress and irritability that you feel, and then perhaps your problem is due to a GABA deficiency. GABA is the principal inhibitory neurotransmitter in your brain, and a deficiency would certainly give you the symptoms that you are feeling. Let me explain why.
As your brain becomes excited, it can run out of control and needs some form of modification or inhibition to keep it acting as normal. Without this you would become increasingly more restless and irritable, and ultimately have seizures. GABA is not only the main inhibitor in your brain, but also helps in the production of endorphins that provide you with a sense of well being. That sense of calm you feel when endorphins are produced, for example during exercise or sexual intercourse, is commonly referred to as the ‘endorphin effect’.
GABA is at its highest concentration in specific areas of the brain, including the hypothalamus, the hippocampus and the central brain area, and is present in up to 40% of all synapses, the small gaps between neurons across which brain cells can communicate with each other.
It is produced during the Krebs or Citric Acid Cycle that is responsible for cell respiration or the production of energy from carbohydrates. It is synthesized from alpha-keto glutarate, which is produced just before the Succinyl Co-A stage of the Krebs Cycle in the brain. Vitamin B6 in involved in its metabolism, and a Vitamin B6 deficiency can lead to a deficiency in GABA that might result in seizures.
Basically GABA works by inhibiting the firing of neurons in your brain, and thus reducing general brain activity. The GABA receptor allows more chloride ion to enter the brain cell, thus helping to maintain the electrical charge within the cells. Bezodiazepines (e.g. diazepam) work by increasing the effectiveness of GABA in opening the chloride ion cells to allow more chloride ion to enter the neurons, and caffeine does the opposite, and inhibits this property of GABA. Thus diazepam works as a minor tranquilizer and caffeine as a stimulant.
Alcohol has a similar effect to the benzodiazepines, increasing the release of chloride into the neurons, and is the major way in which alcohol affects the brain. In fact, tolerance to drugs and withdrawal symptoms can be explained by the receptors adapting to the drug. They may increase in number, which means that more of the drug is needed to work on them, and they can become hypoactive in the event of the drug being withdrawn, that enhances the symptoms that the drug was intended to treat.
So basically, that is the way that GABA works. In simple terms it increases the flow of chloride electrolyte to the brain, and in so doing affects our mood. This effect is enhanced by prescription drugs such as Valium and Ativan, which are used by those that suffer the effects of a GABA deficiency. However, these drugs have side effects, not the least of which is dependency due to the GABA receptors becoming modified to suit the drug. There is a more natural way to overcome many stress problems and symptoms of mood swings.
Knowing what causes these symptoms, it makes sense to eat foods that stimulate the creation of neurotransmitters to replace those that are deficient. Since GABA is produced in the Krebs Cycle and complex carbohydrates produce glutamine that is an important part of that Cycle, and is also the precursor to GABA, then the consumption of such foods should in theory produce more GABA. In this case the theory works, and you should eat foods rich in complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, brown rice and oats as part of your diet.
Other foods that are high in glutamine or its precursors, glutamic acid and glutamate, include citrus fruits, beef liver, broccoli, halibut and lentils. A useful supplement to take is L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, and available in supplement form. L-theanine can calm your nerves while maintaining clarity of thought. In other words it calms you down, but doesn’t make you drowsy and allows you to enjoy your day with anxiety.
Your doctor can determine whether or not you have a neurotransmitter deficiency through a simple urine test, and might also test your saliva for hormone content. A GABA supplement might be indicated, and if so it other beneficial effects on your body other than its effect on your brain cells.
It improves your sleep Cycles and promotes vivid dreaming, and can also have a positive effect on your blood pressure. It is also an effective pain killer, and can provide relief from such conditions as back pain and arthritis. Its stimulating effect on the anterior pituitary gland to secrete Human Growth Hormone might also be regarded as a benefit by many. Increasing the level of HGH in your blood can lead to fat loss and improved anabolic activity (increase in muscle tissue). This can be of benefit to older people whose level of HGH secretion has dropped off, and who find it more difficult to lose fat.
GABA is a substance that has many known benefits and no known side effects other than a slight tingling and increase in heart rate when the supplement is first used. It has a definite benefit for people to whom the world seems too hectic and overwhelming.
Ubiquinol Reduced CoQ10
April 07, 2008 01:05 PM
Ubiquinol, which is the reduced from of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), has been recently added to the supplement offerings of many companies and has generated a lot of confusion along with its excitement. As a supplement, ubiquinol is somewhat new, but as a critical part of human metabolism, our knowledge of ubiquinol goes back to the discovery of CoQ10. Although CoQ10 is often thought of as a “static” nutrient in the context of nutrition, it actually interchanges between two useful states: the oxidized ubiquinone, and the reduced ubiquinol.
Coenzyme Q10 is a member of a family of important biological compounds which are referred to as ubiquinones. It is a lipophilic, water-insoluble substance, which takes part in a large array of biochemical oxidation and reduction reactions. It was first identified in 1957 as an essential component of the energy production system in cells. CoQ10 and other members of the ubiquinone family have, since then, been identified as critical metabolic compounds in a range of aerobic organisms. Because of its crucial role in metabolism, humans have the ability to make their own CoQ10, although small amounts can be obtained through diet and as supplements.
In humans, CoQ10 is found in each cell in the body, but is particularly abundant in tissues which have large energy requirements such as the heart, liver, kidneys, and skeletal muscles. Smaller amounts can be found in the brain, lungs, and intestines. There are also substantial amounts that can be found in circulation, which are most often associated with lipoprotein particles. In total, CoQ10 in a normal adult has been estimated to be between 0.5 and 1.5 grams. Inside cells, about half of the CoQ10 is found within the mitochondria, where the final steps of CoQ10 production occur.
CoQ10 which is not located in areas of the cell and are not charge with producing cellular energy can amount to about 50-60 percent of the total CoQ10 pool. CoQ10 can be found throughout cell membranes and in other cellular structures such as the nucleus, cytoplasm, and endoplasmic reticulum. Some experimentation has also concluded that, while the final steps of CoQ10 production occur in the mitochondria, it can be exported to other sub-cellular locations.
While participating in various oxidation and reduction reactions, CoQ10 is cycled between two stable states: a fully oxidized form referred to as ubiquinone, and a fully reduced form called ubiquinol. CoQ10 Cycles through these oxidated/reduced forms in order to achieve its metabolic goals. The cycle of CoQ10 is simple. Ubiquinone picks up electrons and then becomes ubiquinol. Ubiquinol then release its electrons and becomes ubiquinone again. Therefore, it would seem that CoQ10 has a very simple function of moving electrons, as the transfer of electrons is a fundamental step in the production of energy, the regeneration of antioxidants in cell membranes, and the construction of other important biological molecules. Each cell that is in the body needs a source of energy in order to survive. Therefore, sugars, fats, and amino acids are broken down in order to make energy.
In the mitochondria, CoQ10 is abundant, as it carries electrons to aid in the chemical reactions that burn cellular fuel and produce chemical energy to form ATP. Since substantial amounts of ATP are needed to power our cells, the importance of CoQ10 in human metabolism is easily understood. Both forms of CoQ10 are needed to transfer electrons between energy-producing reactions. Outside of the mitochondria, CoQ10 performs a slightly different role as a membrane and antioxidant. About half of the human body’s total CoQ10 pool may be functioning in this capacity. CoQ10 is one of the major antioxidant elements of the LDL particles and is also one of the first to be depleted when LDL is subjected to oxidation.
A discussion of CoQ10 would not be complete without mentioning its documented health benefits. Supplemental CoQ10 has been the subject of a lot of studies over the last half century, especially in applications for cardiovascular health. Many studies have shown benefits of CoQ10 in patients who are diagnosed with chronic heart failure, exercise-induced angina, hypertension, or those who have recently experienced infarction. There is also early evidence showing that CoQ10 may protect the heart from damage during chemotherapy, bypass surgery, or in diabetes. Aside from its cardiovascular uses, CoQ10 has been studied for its benefits in other conditions involving dysfunctions in cellular energetics, neurological degeneration, or oxidative stress damage. Although the clinical evidence for the potential benefit of CoQ10 in many of these applications shows promise, the variability in study outcomes proves it necessary to further research these areas for a more definite answer.
As we have previously seen, CoQ10 functions by cycling between two stable forms, ubiquinol and ubiquinone. This cycle results in the generation of cellular energy and the protection of membranes and lipids from oxidation. Dietary or supplemental CoQ10 also takes part in this cycle. Supplemental ubiquinol may have a distinct advantage over ubiquinone in its facility of absorption. Like many fats and lipophilic nutrients, CoQ10 is usually taken up by the intestinal electrolytes, packaged into lipid particles, and then released into the lymphatic system. From there, these particles are transferred into circulation where they are free to be transported throughout the body as needed.
The absorption of dietary CoQ10 is actually quite poor since it has limited solubility in lipids and depends on other contents of the gut. Some studies have measured that absorption is as low as 2-3 percent of the total dosage. One of the most thrilling consequences of the development of a stabilized dosage form of ubiquinol is its ability to be absorbed more efficiently than ubiquinone. There is evidence that CoQ10 must be reduced in intestinal enterocytes before the release into the lymphatic system. This, paired with absorption/reduction, may be a rate-limiting step of CoQ10 assimilation.
Dietary ubiquinol avoids this reduction reaction, and is directly available for absorption, which explains why ubiquinol-based CoQ10 supplements exhibit enhanced bioavailability over ubiquinone supplements. Preliminary studies in humans have shown that absorption of ubiquinol is at least double the absorption of ubiquinone. Comparisons of blood levels between trials also estimate the improvement in absorption to be significantly higher. Future studies are necessary to more accurately determine ubiquinol’s enhanced absorption, and what effect the patient age or medical condition may have on these results.
Gently Narrow Your "Estrogen Window" With Lignan's
January 25, 2008 12:23 PM
Although many people think that breast cancer is a genetically transferred disease, the truth is that it is rarely genetically transferred, as only one in every ten cases are linked to genes for this cancer. Strong evidence points to environmental causes being the main reason for breast cancer. By avoiding synthetic chemicals that mimic estrogens, a substantial fraction of these cancers can be prevented. These synthetic chemicals are called xenoestrogens. These xenoestrogens are manmade chemicals that either imitate or enhance the effects of estrogens in the body's cells and tell these cells to grow.
During puberty, this growth message is important to a woman's body and during pregnancy and the preparation for that. At this time period, estrogens are in full force, but if estrogen stimulation is increased by chemicals, cell growth is increased even more. Uncontrolled cell growth provides the foundation for cancer. As cells rapidly multiply, which is what happens when exposed to estrogens, the chance of DNA mutation is enhanced, which causes the creation of cancerous cells. A lot of women today also deal with increased estrogen stimulation over their lifetimes due to an early onset of menstruation, late menopause, and less time spent breastfeeding. The use of estrogen-containing oral contraceptives and post-menopausal hormone replacement also add to the estrogen burden, along with obesity and being overweight.
Estrogens affect cells by binding to receptor sites. However, there are tools that help to reduce the impact of areas that have a lot of receptor sites, such as the breasts. One of the main tools is lignans, which are a group or naturally occurring plant chemicals that are found in flaxseeds. Interest in lignans began with observational studies, which found a link between high intake and reduced risk of breast and colon cancers. Studies have reinforced those results, finding that lignans inhibit the growth of breast and colon cancer and also reduce the spread of skin cancer. The real benefit of lignans starts when they reach your intestines, where friendly bacteria convert them into phytoestrogens.
Phytoestrogens are a gentler estrogen, which bind to the same receptors that other estrogens bind, but don't have the growth-accelerating effects. While they are occupying these receptors, the less kind and gentle estrogens are unable to bind to them, resulting in both an estrogenic and estrogen-blocking effect. This explains why lignans are effective both for fighting against breast cancer and reducing the effect of hot flashes other symptoms during menopause. When estrogens are low, lignans act as weak estrogens, but when they are high, lignans act as estrogen blockers.
The risk for breast cancer is strongly affected by a woman's "estrogen window", or overall estrogen exposure that has been experienced over her reproductive years. The early onset of menstruation, no pregnancies, being pregnant after age 30, limited or no breastfeeding, short menstrual Cycles, and late menopause all expand the estrogen window, increasing lifetime estrogen exposure along with the risk for breast cancer. By adding lignans to the diet, women can reduce the size of the estrogen window, and therefore, block the excess estrogen stimulation in estrogen-sensitive tissues like the breasts. Additionally, lignans are also believed to reduce the risk of colon and prostate cancers. When they are delivered along with omega-3-rich flaxseed oil, they promote better cholesterol balance, heart health, joint health, better bone density, greater endurance, better blood sugar balance, and healthy skin, hair, and nails.
Natural Hormone Balance for Women
December 25, 2007 11:18 AM
The majority of women are affected by moderate-to-severe menopausal symptoms and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) at some point in their life. PMS that is clinically diagnosed consists of symptoms that are so severe and pervasive that careers, social interactions, and family lives are negatively affected. This occurs in eight to twenty percent of women in the Western world. Menopause and PMS are both characterized by a severe fluctuation or major falling of the female hormones estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin. Since many examples of women who are barely affected by natural changes exist, it can be logically inferred that female hormones are capable of remaining close to balanced, while others experience hormones that swing abruptly from one extreme to the next, causing severe mood swings. Although changes in hormone levels are the reason menopause and PMS occur, women do have some control over the severity of their symptoms.
There are many natural approaches to hormone balance along with other medical interventions that can be used either separate or together. However, one must remember that women are biologically programmed to have multiple children, which therefore, would limit the number of menstrual Cycles in a lifetime. Additionally, women are now living thirty years past menopause, an experience that is relatively new. Also, a lot of the pain and anguish that is associated with menopause and PMS is actually related to obesity, high-calorie eating habits, and inactivity. Normal body weight and regular exercise often leads to mild or inconsequential PMS.
In 2002, estrogen and progesterone hormone replacement therapy, which is the standard treatment for menopausal symptoms, came under scrutiny after the publication of research that found that supplementation of estrogen significantly increases the risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Supplementing estrogen also does not protect against cardiovascular disease. As a result, US-dispensed prescriptions for estrogen declined from ninety-one million in 2001 to fifty-seven million in 2003. It has been found that a lot of the excess risk for breast and ovarian cancer was due to prescriptions being refilled indefinitely instead of hormone replacement therapy only being used at the onset of menopause. Additionally, supplemental estrogen was not paired and balanced with progesterone, causing a greater risk. Either way, the door to natural alternatives was opened wide, especially for those patients who have a family history of reproductive cancer. Natural therapy for menopause and PMS is based upon phytoestrogens.
Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that contain chemical structures which resemble estrogen. These plant compounds can exert weak estrogenic or antiestrogenic effects. Isoflavones from legumes such as soybean, red clover, licorice, as well as lignans like flaxseed and milk thistle are the most common and familiar phytoestrogens. Black cohosh has been shown to have antiestrogenic effects only. Phytoestrogens have been proven to reduce the risk for estrogen-dependent breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers as well as hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep disturbances. Although phytoestrogens do a good job at protecting women from symptoms of excess estrogen, phytoestrogens cannot replace estrogen when there isn’t enough. They don’t help with vaginal wall atrophy and dryness, thinning hair, lack of sexual desire, menopause-related urogenital itching, or infertility. For the best results, supplements of soy and red clover isoflavone should be taken 2-3 times daily. Although there are no herbal alternatives that actually raise levels of estrogen, natural medicine such as dong quai, licorice, milk thistle, ginseng, pycnogenol, and pollen for menopause and calcium, magnesium, B6, chastre tree, dong quai, and ginseng for PMS can balance existing female hormones and provide relief from symptoms.
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.
The Power Plant of the Amazon
March 02, 2007 11:34 AM
It may surprise most Americans to know that rainforest plants are the original source for one-fourth of the chemotherapy medications used today. Plants offer a plethora of beneficial compounds, and rainforests contain a superabundance of beneficial plants.
In fact, plant medicines are the most widely used medicines of all types in the world. Over eighty-five percent of the world’s population uses plant and herbal medicines as their primary medicines. That’s 5.1 billion (5,100,000,000) people worldwide! While Americans overwhelmingly use synthetically manufactured pharmaceuticals to cure their ills, the vast majority of Earth’s inhabitants use healing plant medicines instead.
One of the most powerful healing rainforest plant medicines is cat’s claw, or Uncaria tomentosa. This high climbing woody vine grows at the base of tall trees in the Peruvian rainforest. The plant’s claw-shaped thorns latch onto the trees and spiral further upward, nourished by the lush rainforest environment. For over 2,000 years, the Ashaninka, a tribal people of the Peruvian rainforest, have used the root of U. tomentosa to treat illnesses in the tribe, including asthma, bladder infections, infected wounds, arthritis, bone pain, bowel inflammation, and cancer.
Q. I’ve heard about cat’s claw, but what does it do and how do I know which one is right for me?
Cat’s claw might be one of the most confusing (and most effective!) nutritional supplements available in health food stores today. One reason that it’s so confusing is there are so many kinds of cat’s claw supplements-there are cat’s claw leaves, cat’s claw bark, and even cat’s claw twigs. While each of these supplements claim to help the immune system, it is the root of Uncaria tomentosa that is proven to impart the true cat’s claw health benefits.
Scientists, who have extensively studied every part of the plant, discovered that extracts made from selected cat’s claw roots possess the healing power to treat and prevent diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcers and degenerative diseases. In addition, it demonstrates anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-microbial benefits.
Adding to the confusion is the fact that not all Uncaria tomentosa roots actually contain healing properties.
Healers in the Ashaninka tribe attribute the healing properties in cat’s claw to the “good spirits” that live in the plant’s roots. The Ashaninka healers, or sancoshi, are able to actually “see” the good spirits hidden inside the root of the plant before they harvest them.
Some cat’s claw plant roots have the good spirits. Some don’t. If the good spirits are mixed with any cat’s claw root without good spirits, the healing power is lost. While there are no apparent differences in the plants or the roots to the untrained eye, only certain cat’s claw roots possess the power to heal. And, for a very long time, only the Ashaninka tribal healer seemed to be able to identify them. They call the good spirit cat’s claw Saventaro, or “powerful plant”.
However, scientists who were given cat’s claw roots by the Ashaninka to study in the laboratory discovered that they could “see” the good spirits, too! Using high performance liquid chromatography, or HPLC, a laboratory process that identifies various chemical compounds, the good spirits of cat’s claw roots were revealed to be important medicinal compounds called pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids (POAs). Research has learned that POAs provide powerful benefits for the human immune response.
Q. Why are good spirits, or POA’s, good for the immune system?
Cat’s claw POAs work to keep us healthy by directly interacting with white blood cells, the backbone of our immune system. Our white blood cells are the disease fighting cells of the human body. These highly specialized cells fight diseases we catch, such as colds and flu, as well as diseases that start within our own cells, such as cancer and autoimmune diseases. There are many kinds of white blood cells; each has a specific job to do in fighting diseases.
Certain POAs help white blood cells called macrophages work faster. The macrophages’ job is to engulf and digest foreign material. This means that macrophages can ingest m ore bacteria and disease causing microbes when they are exposed to POAs. The scientists also discovered that POA cat’s claw extract increases the production of a chemical protein called interleukin that is secreted by macrophages. This macrophage-secreted interleukin (IL-1) has important immune enhancing properties. IL-1 alerts resting white blood cells and spurs them into action. It also helps make other biochemicals that are essential to an activated immune system.
POAs also help B cells. B cells are white blood cells that make antibodies that kill germs. Each B cell is programmed to make one specific antibody that is effective against one specific germ (such as a bacteria, virus, or fungus). When scientists looked at the number of B cells after they were exposed to POA cat’s claw root extract, they found that the B cells had increased significantly, resulting in an increased supply of antibodies. And perhaps most importantly as they relate to cancer, the POAs in cat’s claw root extract help increase the number of T cells, the true soldiers of the immune system. There are many different kinds of these white blood cells, including Helper T cells, Suppressor T cells, and Killer T cells. Increased Helper, Suppressor, and Killer T-cells can more effectively destroy cancer cells. Increasing the number of circulating T-cells is very important in a disease like AIDS as well.
Q. Can cat’s claw and other plants in the rainforest really cure diseases? Isn’t that just folklore?
It’s folk use and modern science combined-plants have long been known for their ability to kill cancer cells. In fact, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has identified over 3000 plant extracts that can kill cancer cells. More than 70 percent of these plants are found only in the rainforest.
Q. What is it about the rainforest that gives plants like cat’s claw these cancer killing compounds?
Most of the time when we talk about rainforests, we’re talking about the tropical rainforests. While other forests, like the old-growth temperate forests of the Pacific Northwest, also have high rainfalls and tall trees, the tropical rainforests located near the equator are where most plant medicines come from.
The Amazon rainforest in South America is the world’s largest, covering an area about two-thirds the size of the continental United States. Depending on the elevation and distance to the equator the Amazon rainforest receives between 160 and 400 inches of rain per year. The rain is spread pretty evenly from January to December-it’s always the rainy season-and the temperatures remain between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit all year.
This fertile environment continually reCycles itself. When leaves fall from the trees, flowers wilt, and animals die in the rainforest-all of the nutrients are recycled back into the roots of the trees and plants. Because the rainforest reuses almost everything that falls to the ground, the plant growth is amazingly rich in alkaloids and other medicinal compounds. Researchers think these compounds and alkaloids, like POAs, protect the plants from illness and insect attacks. These are the very same compounds that protect us from disease.
Q. When the Ashaninka harvest the cat’s claw roots, does it impact the rest of the plant?
No. The Ashaninka work intelligently to keep rainforest cat’s claw plants perpetually healthy. The Ashaninka employ responsible and innovative harvesting techniques to keep the plants alive and tribal members healthy. Individual cat’s claw plants are never completely harvested. Only one third of the lateral roots are collected at any one time to allow re-growth by the remaining root. Once a plant’s lateral roots have been partially harvested, that plant is left to regenerate, and no more root is harvested from it for 10 years.
Q. Why are the Ashaninka willing to share their cat’s claw?
They are generous people. The Ashaninka see no benefit in hoarding cat’s claw for themselves alone. They also want to make sure that the plant’s healing properties continue on. As their homelands continue to be destroyed by deforestation, rainforest peoples are also disappearing. There were an estimated ten million tribal and indigenous peoples living in the Amazonian Rainforest in 1510. Today there are less than 200,000.
Since the 1900’s more than 90 indigenous tribes have died out and disappeared. Each time a rainforest medicine man or woman dies without passing their arts on to the next generation, the tribe and the world loses thousands of years of irreplaceable knowledge about medicinal plants. With them, centuries of accumulated knowledge of the medicinal value of rainforest species have been lost.
A good example of the impact of this loss can be seen in cat’s claw. When European explorers began venturing into the Amazon River basin, t hey were skeptical of the stories the Ashaninka people told them of U. tomentosa’s amazing healing powers. But when the explorers became sick with colds, flu, or other illnesses, they harvested cat’s claw root for themselves and gave the plant a try. Sometimes the explorers got better when they used the cat’s claw root, sometimes they stayed the same.
Q. Why didn’t the cat’s claw root help all the explorers?
Because some cat’s claw plant roots have good spirits-POAs-and some cat’s claw plant roots have tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids, or TOAs. While the POAs have very powerful effects in the immune system, the TOAs have different effects in the body, none of which help the immune system cells at all. All U. tomentosa plants look virtually identical, so it’s hard to tell if they have the healing POAs or non-helpful TOAs.
What makes cat’s claw identification even more challenging is the fact that plants with POAs one year will have TOAs the next. Cat’s claw plants seem to change their alkaloid chemotypes at will, an incredibly powerful accomplishment for a plant to possess. Harvesting of cat’s claw roots that contain POAs is very tricky. Unless the person gathering the root extract is an Ashaninka sancoshi. These medicine men know which cat’s claw to use; they can actually “see” the good spirits hidden inside the root. When scientists studying cat’s claw discovered they could “see” presence of TOAs using HPLC technology, they were able to harvest cat’s claw root extracts with POAs that consistently helps people get and stay healthy.
Q. Do some cat’s claw root extract supplements contain TOAs?
Yes they do. And buying those products will only benefit the cat’s claw distributor; they won’t help you stay healthy. When cat’s claw root is harvested from the rainforest, responsible supplement maker examine the root with HPLC to make sure that only POA roots are collected. But, this identification of the chemotypes takes significant time and costs money. For these reasons, many cat’s claw distributors don’t include this important process in their harvesting. The POAs and TOAs are simply just mixed together and sold as a cat’s claw product with no mention of any alkaloid content on the label.
Q. Why should I avoid TOAs?
While the POAs in cat’s claw root extracts have numerous benefits to the immune system, the TOAs have different effects in the body, none helping the immune system cells. Most importantly, however, when POAs and TOAs are mixed together, the TOAs actually work against the POAs. TOAs reduce the capacity of POAs to beneficially modulate the immune system.
Q. How can I be sure the cat’s claw I buy is POA cat’s claw?
Read the label of the cat’s claw root extract product you are considering buying. If it does not clearly state that it is the high POA cat’s claw, then chances are that it’s not.
Q. What do the Ashaninka receive in return for the cat’s claw harvesting?
The Ashaninka and reputable distributors of cat’s claw root extract have established a mutual and ethical relationship. Both groups benefit from the sale of the plant material. Maintaining this relationship is important for both the tribe and the distributors.
The distributors are paying a fair price for the raw material directly to the tribe. No intermediary is involved. This payment covers the raw material itself, a license-fee for the k knowledge of the plant, and a guarantee (from both sides) of a lasting relationship. Payment is also made for the protection of the rainforest. No deforestation is allowed. The area where the cat’s claw materials are processed is also leased and payment is made for this, as well.
This arrangement allows the Ashaninka to make independent decisions in how to spend this income from sale of their cat’s claw plants. They have been able to make improvements in the tribe’s water supply and in their living areas. They are also able to obtain outside medical aid as needed and provide for education of their children.
The partnership with cat’s claw distributors has created a sustainable resource for the Ashaninka. The tribe has been able to not only preserve their rainforest, but also compete financially with unsustainable income sources offered by timber and agricultural firms.
Q. Why is it important to preserve the rainforest?
The most amazing fact about these impressive medicinal plants is the vast number that5 has yet to be discovered. In fact, the rainforest’s abundance is one reason it is home to so many healing plants. Within a four square mile patch of rainforest, you could see 1500 species of flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 125 mammal species, 400 species of birds, 100 reptile species, 60 amphibian species, and 150 different species of butterflies.
Unfortunately, not everyone looks to the rainforest for the same reasons. Many consider its real value in board feet and cultivated acreage. The forces pushing industrial development move quickly; experts estimate that we’re losing over 130 plant, animal, and insect species every day/ That amount to almost 50,000 species a year.
A combination of logging, petroleum interests, cattle grazing operations, and, of course, our own consumer appetites are putting pressure on rainforest resources. The consequences are sobering:
By leaving the rainforest intact, however, and harvesting its many nuts, fruits, oil-producing, and medicinal plants, the rainforest has more economic value than if it was cut down for timber or to make grazing land for cattle. If managed properly, the rainforest can provide the world’s need for sustainably harvested natural resources on a perpetual basis. That’s what the Ashaninka are doing with their cat’s claw harvesting.
The discovery of medicinal plants is dependent upon healthy rainforests. When an acre of tropical rainforest is lost due to deforestation, the impact on the number of plant and animal species lost and their possible uses is staggering.
We can all help the development of sustainable rainforest industries. By purchasing renewable and sustainable rainforest products, like POA type cat’s claw root extract, we are keeping rainforests alive and well. By benefiting from the innate wisdom of the Ashaninka people we are keeping ourselves just as alive and well. By honoring the science and the sacred of the world’s rainforests, like my friend the oncology nurse, the massive wealth and diversity will be there for generations to come.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia
February 28, 2007 12:02 PM
This is a fast paced world. We are all busy; living our full lives, burning the candle at both ends. We all get tired. We all get sick from time to time and maybe even depressed. But the illness called chronic fatigue syndrome is not like the normal ups and downs that we experience in everyday life. People with chronic fatigue syndrome feel overwhelming fatigue, and often pain as well. This is an illness that does not go away with a few good nights’ sleep. It drags on and on and doesn’t resolve itself. It steals vigor and energy over months, and sometimes even years.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will talk about powerful vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs combined in scientifically validated formulas that people with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia can use every day. These nutrients help address some root problems of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia by restoring energy and health to sufferers.
Q. What is chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) also known as chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS), or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a group of symptoms associated with unrelenting and debilitating fatigue. The profound weakness of CFS causes a persistent and substantial reduction in activity level. You feel too tired to do normal activities or are easily exhausted for no apparent reason.
Besides extreme fatigue, symptoms of CFS include general pain, mental fogginess, flu-like symptoms, and gastrointestinal problems. A list of symptoms includes:
The number of symptoms and the severity of these symptoms can vary among people. The symptoms of CFS hand on or reoccur frequently for more than six months.
Q. Are chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia considered being the same illness?
A. Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a painful shortening of muscles throughout the body. FMS is basically a sleep disorder characterized by many tender knots in the muscles. These tender knots, called tender or trigger points, are a major cause of the achiness that people with fibromyalgia and CFS feel.
Approximately 80 percent of chronic fatigue syndrome patients have received and overlapping diagnosis of fibromyalgia syndrome. For most people, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are the same illness.
Q. What causes chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. There are many causes that can trigger CFS. Current research is looking at the roles of neuroendocrine dysfunction, viruses, environmental toxins, genetic predisposition, food sensitivities, yeast overgrowth, faulty digestion, or a combination of these factors.
For many people, CFS is triggered by a bout with a viral illness (like a cold or the flu), or even a stressful event. CFS is usually a mix of underlying causes. It is like a domino effect in that each problem can trigger another problem, and so on. For example, fatigue and poor sleep can trigger a weakened immune system, which can, in turn, trigger yeast or bacterial infections.
Q. Who gets chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. CFS is more common than you might expect. It strikes people of all ages, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. Approximately 800,000 people nationwide have CFS and over six million have fibromyalgia at any given time.
It is important to stress that CFS is a real illness; it is not “just in your head.” Unfortunately, sufferers of CFS may find that many healthcare practitioners discount the symptoms of this illness or misdiagnose it as another disease. This can lead to additional emotional suffering.
Q. How long does chronic fatigue syndrome last?
A. The illness varies greatly in its duration. Some people recover after a year or two. More often, those who recover are more likely to do so three to five years after onset. Yet for some people, the illness seems to simply persist. There are rare cases of spontaneous improvement after five years without undergoing any treatment. However, this is very unusual.
Q. What are the complications of chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. The patterns of CFS vary from individual to individual. However, many common patterns of symptoms are seen in CFS sufferers. These symptoms and problems interact and create new symptoms and problems. For example, infections and disrupted sleep can lead to digestive, hormone, and immune problems.
The most notorious pattern seen in CFS is the one in which a person suddenly comes down with a flu-like illness that doesn’t go away. These viral or bacterial infections can suppress the body’s master gland, the hypothalamus. Since the hypothalamus controls the other glands, including the adrenals, ovaries, testes, and thyroid, suppression of this gland will lead to a subtle but debilitating decrease in the functioning of all glands and their hormones. Suppressed hypothalamic function from chronic infections can then trigger sleep dysfunction.
The suppression of the hypothalamus gland can lead to poor sleep because the body confuses its day/night Cycles. Because of this, people with CFS have trouble staying in the deep, restorative stages of sleep that “recharge their batteries.”
Poor sleep can cause immune suppression, which may lead to secondary bowel infections. The bowel infections seen in people with CFS can cause decreased absorption of nutrients, which can lead to chronic vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Q. Is there a cure for chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. Treating chronic fatigue syndrome presents a significant challenge to people with CFS and their healthcare practitioners. Recently, a published placebo-controlled study ( of which I was the lead investigator) showed that when using an integrated treatment approach, over 85 percent of CFS and fibromyalgia patients can improve, often dramatically. The full text of this study can be seen at ‘www.endfatigue.com’. An editorial in the April 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Pain Management noted that this treatment, which I developed, is now a highly effective and excellent part of the standard of practice for treatment of fibromyalgia. Since this treatment addresses many different problems associated with CFS/FMS, it needs to be individualized to each patient.
Medications that provide symptom relief are frequently the first line of treatment chosen by healthcare practitioners for the person with CFS. These include medications for pain, sleep disturbances; digestive problems such as nausea, depression and anxiety, and flu-like symptoms.
However, medications have not been universally successful because they tent to put a bandage on symptoms instead of addressing the root problems. Because of this, medications may need to be supplemented by the other supportive therapies that can address the root problems.
People with CFS/FMS may be depressed, given the catastrophic lifestyle disruption these diseases may cause. They may also feel guilt and frustration because their symptoms were not taken seriously for such a long time. Fear can be a factor as employment and family relationships may be jeopardized by this illness.
Therapies that help people to relax and improve coping skills may be helpful and include counseling for emotional and mental health, cognitive behavioral therapy, sleep management therapy, and massage.
Daily Nutritional Supplementation for Energy
Good overall nutrition is important for everyone, of course. However, there are several vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that can have powerful nutritional effects for a person with CFS. All of the vitamins and minerals in a chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia formula should work together synergistically to help improve energy levels and overall health. Here are some key nutrients to look for in an energy formula:
Vitamins, Minerals & Other Key Ingredients
Vitamin A: Essential for healthy skin and mucous membrane integrity, healthy immune system responses and healthy bone growth and healthy reproductive processes. Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene is an antioxidant and free radical fighter. Vitamin E: Helps to relieve pain in CFS patients. Can also improve night leg cramps, which interferes with sleep.
Vitamin C: Enhances immune function by increasing natural killer cells, B and T cells. Can prevent chronic bladder infections by acidifying urine.
Vitamin D: Regulates immune functions of monocytes and neutrophils. Neutraphils are white blood cells that ingest invasive bacteria, and act as the first line of defense once bacteria makes it past the skin barrier.
Magnesium: Involved with immune support. Working with malic acid, enhances immune function by increasing natural killer cells. Magnesium is also critical for the relief of muscle pain.
Inositol: Enhances immune function by increasing natural killer cells.
Malic Acid: Working with magnesium, improves energy levels by improving cellular functions. Especially important in muscle metabolism.
Betaine: Works with B vitamins to synthesize amino acids, and acts as a precursor to SAM-e. SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine) is a naturally-occurring molecule in the body, and may have an effect on overall mood elevation.
Amino Acids: Glycine, Serine, Taurine, Tyrosine are essential for the production of energy in the body. Also essential for brain function.
Zinc: Supports the immune system by enhancing neutrophils activity and supporting healthy antigen-antibody binding.
Selenium: Supports immune function by enhancing antibody production.
Fructooligosaccharides: Provides nutrition for good bacteria in the intestinal tract, improving digestion and healthy microflora.
All of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional supplements on the list are important to ensure recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome. To ensure that your nutritional supplement regimen contains all of these ingredients, look for a powdered supplement formulated specifically for CFS/FMS sufferers that can be reconstituted in a beverage of your choice. A powdered drink mix is a pleasant, easy way to ensure that you are taking all of the needed vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that will give you the needed energy to recover from your illness.
B Vitamin Complex for Energy
In addition to the powdered energy drink mix, it is important that you also take a vitamin B-complex supplement specifically formulated for people with CFS/FMS. The B vitamin formula, which should include niacinamide, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, and choline, is especially important to restore the energy production needs of your body, as well as for mental function. It is also important to make sure that the dosages are high enough CFS/FMS needs. The chart in the next column lists the B vitamins that are critical for people suffering from CFS/FMS.
B Vitamins Effect on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Studies have demonstrated that people with CFS/FMS are often deficient in many of the B vitamins, which tends to worsen their symptoms of fatigue and mental “fogginess” and ultimately lead to a weakened immune system.
B vitamins - Effect on Energy
Thiamine (B1) - Essential in the process of energy production. This vitamin also removes lactic acid from muscles, which causes them to be sore in fibromyalgia patients.
Riboflavin (B2) - Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is crucial in the production of body energy. Supports healthy gluthathione reductase activity, which helps maintain gluthathione, a major protector against free radical damage. Vitamin B2 itself also has antioxidant qualities.
Niacinamide(B3) - Essential vitamin that is a component of the body’s energy furnace, helping to improve fatigue and “brain fog”.
Pantothenic Acid (B5) - This vitamin improves adrenal gland function, which will boost energy levels. It can also aid in weight loss by decreasing appetite.
Vitamin B6 - Working along with thiamine, this vitamin is critical in the process of energy production.
Vitamin B12 - Important for brain function and nerve repair. Aids in relieving fatigue symptoms in CFS patients. Folic Acid - Aids in strengthening the immune system, and aids in mental clarity and concentration.
Q. What other supplements can help me with CFS?
A. Many people with CFS/FMS are suffering from adrenal burnout. Adrenal burnout occurs when the adrenal glands are constantly producing cortisol in response to chronic stress like that seen in cases of CFS. Over time, this exhausts the adrenal reserve, meaning the adrenal gland can no longer increase cortisol production in response to stress.
The good news is that changes in our hormone levels can return to normal when stress is decreased. However, in cases of CFS that return to normal can be made much simpler by using a glandular therapy regimen to ensure healthy cortisol levels and adrenal function.
Glandular therapy uses the concentrated forms of bovine (cow) or porcine (pig) glands to improve the health of our glands. Pioneers in the field of endocrinology (the study of hormones) hypothesized that glandular extracts work by providing nutrients the body lacks and thus repairing the malfunctioning gland.
If CFS has left your adrenal glands in a stressed-out state, you should see great results by taking adrenal supplements. Be sure to buy an adrenal extract supplement that contains both whole adrenal and adrenal cortex extracts.
The best adrenal supplement should also contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, L-tyrosine, betaine, pantothenic acid and licorice. Licorice contains glycyrrhizin, which is broken down into glycyrrhizic or glycyrrhetinic acid. This compound inhibits the activity of an enzyme that turns active cortisol into inactive cortisol. While in high amounts (greater than 100 mg of glycyrrhizic acid/day), licorice administration causes hypertension, no such effects have been observed at lower doses. Experts have speculated that inhibition of the cortisol-converting enzyme may reduce cortisol-related symptoms associated with adrenal insufficiency. The adrenal glands use these nutrients to manufacture cortisone and other compounds. It just makes sense to purchase an adrenal supplement with these supportive ingredients.
The Road to Recovery-Adequate Sleep
Disordered sleep is the underlying process that drives many of the symptoms of CFS/FMS. The most effective way to eliminate pain in CFS/FMS is to get seven to nine hours of deep sleep each night.
However, getting adequate sleep is easier said than done for CFS sufferers with underlying fibromyalgia symptoms. The muscle knots of fibromyalgia make it uncomfortable to lie in one position for an extended time, causing difficulty in returning to deep sleep. Because of this, people with CFS/FMS do not stay in deep stages of sleep to recharge their “batteries.” In addition, poor sleep can cause and be caused by the suppression of the hypothalamus gland, which causes the brain to think it is daytime instead of night time.
It may be helpful to use herbal products to promote good quality sleep. There are many natural supplements that are marketed as sleep formulas. To get the best results, it is very important that the right ingredients are in the sleep formula you buy. Therefore, it is important to look for an herbal sleep formula that is especially formulated for people with CFS/FMS. The combination of herbs is important as each herb addresses a different aspect of sleeplessness and muscle tension.
Ingredients - Effect on Sleep
Wild Lettuce - Has been found to have sedative effects.
Hops - Acts as mild sedative and has a sleep-inducing effect. Jamaica Dogwood Has been found to be mildly sedative and is often used for anxiousness.
L-Theanine - Causes significant increases of neurotransimitter concentrations in the brain, which promotes muscle relaxion and improves sleep.
Valerian - This herb has been clinically studied for its ability to improve sleep quality.
Passionflower - This herb eases nervousness and insomnia.
Putting It All Together
After a good night’s rest, a powdered energy drink mix formulated for people with CFS/FMS should be drunk along with a well-balanced breakfast as discussed earlier. In addition to the nutritional beverage mix, a vitamin B complex supplement designed specifically for CFS sufferers, also discussed earlier, containing niacinamide, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, and choline, should be taken every morning. The nutritional drink mix and the vitamin B complex supplement will ensure that your body has all the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients, to combat your overwhelming fatigue, pain, and “brain fog.” Taking a daily adrenal supplement, like the one discussed earlier, will provide the much-needed (and often depleted) nutrients your body may be lacking, and help you recover lost energy.
Together, these four interventions: sleep formula; morning energy drink; energy B complex supplement; and an adrenal complex- can make an incredible difference that you should begin to notice within 2-3 weeks of starting this program.
Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are complex physical diseases with physical causes. The unrelenting symptoms of fatigue, pain, and mental fogginess can be overwhelming and frightening. Partnering with a healthcare practitioner specializing in CFS and utilizing different medical treatments, supportive therapies, and lifestyle changes are healthy ways to combat chronic fatigue syndrome. And taking nutritional supplements formulated specifically for people with CMS/FMS that help boost energy or help you get a good night’s sleep can give you critical control over the outcome of your illness and set you on the road to recovery.
Mother's Calming Embrace - New Motherwort from Solaray
August 07, 2006 12:12 PM
Wake up! This is National Sleep Awareness Week!
March 28, 2006 04:51 PM
We live in stressful times. Maybe that’s why more than 70 million Americans suffer from occasional sleeplessness, according to the National Institutes of health. Job related worries, marital and relation ship problems, even excitement about happy occasions—vacations or holidays—can all make it hard to fall asleep. Sleeplessness can also occur with jet lag, shift work, major schedule changes, even digestive problems.
Just turn on the TV and it’s obvious there are millions of customers looking for products to help them get a good nights sleep. And Source Naturals has an array of natural, effective sleep support supplements.
NightRest: This bio-aligned formula combines the powerful properties of melatonin and GABA with additional amino acids and herbs.
Melatonin: A neurohormone used as a restorative for occational sleeplessness.
Nutrasleep: a Unique herbal-nutrient blend, including skullcap, passion flower, valerian and chamomile.
Theanine Serene: Features L-Theanine, derived from Green tea, Plus Gaba, Taurine, magnesium, and holy basil.
GABA: the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, associated with mental states of calm and serenity.
L-Tryptophan: an essential amino acid, which helps support relaxation, restful sleep, and a positive outlook.
5-Htp: An intermediate to the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin, shown in clinical studies to support normal sleep Cycles.
Benefits of Best Alpha Lipoic 35!
February 12, 2006 03:11 PM
December 19, 2005 09:06 AM
Pomeratrol™ - NOW® Pomeratrol™ gets its anti-aging properties from two cell protecting agents, pomegranate and trans-Resveratrol. Fueled by powerful antioxidant compounds that include polyphenols (standardized to 80%) and anthocyanidins, pomegranate is also high in ellagic acid (standardized to 40%) that helps support healthy cellular function. In addition, the trans- Resveratrol in Pomeratrol™ is a hard-working antioxidant that helps sustain healthy cell Cycles while protecting against DNA damage. This combination encourages normal cellular growth and renewal – a key factor in healthy aging.
What are the complications of chronic fatigue syndrome?
December 10, 2005 03:14 PM
A. The patterns of CFS vary from individual to individual. However, many common patterns of symptoms are seen in CFS suffers. These symptoms and problems interact and create new symptoms and problems. For example, infections and disrupted sleep can lead to digestive, hormone, and immune problems.
The most notorious pattern seen in CFS is the one in which a person suddenly comes down with a flu-like illness that doesn’t go away. These viral or bacterial infections can suppress the body’s master gland, the hypothalamus. Since the hypothalamus controls the other glands, including the adrenals, ovaries, testes, and thyroid, suppression of this gland will lead to a subtle but debilitating decrease in the functioning of all glands and their hormones. Suppressed hypothalamic function from chronic infections can then trigger sleep dysfunction.
The suppression of the hypothalamus gland can lead to poor sleep because the body confuses its day/night Cycles. Because of this, people with CFS have trouble staying in the deep, restorative stages of sleep that “recharge their batteries.”
Poor sleep can cause immune suppression, which may lead to secondary bowel infections. The bowel infections seen in people with CFS can cause decreased absorption of nutrients, which can lead to chronic vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid
October 13, 2005 05:08 PM
Benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha-lipoic Acid––the "Ideal Antioxidant"
The antioxidant potential of a substance is based on a number of criteria, including:
The "ideal antioxidant" would meet all the above criteria. Very few antioxidants do, yet a particular antioxidant with but a few of the characteristics is still valuable and effective. Vitamin E, for example, is one of the most important dietary antioxidants, yet it only works in fatty environments such as cell membranes.
As a team, ALA and DHLA come close to the ideal, for the following reasons:1,2,3
DHLA-regenerates vitamin C, vitamin E and glutathione
Within the cell, antioxidants work as a team to keep free radicals from damaging cell structures. In order to neutralize a free radical, an antioxidant such as vitamin C must give up an electron, which mean it becomes oxidized. Before it can function as an antioxidant once again, it must be regenerated back to its "reduced" form, by gaining an electron to replace the donated electron. For this, it needs the help of other antioxidants. Vitamin C, vitamin E and glutathione are key antioxidants that can be generated by cycling between their oxidized and reduce forms. This is necessary to maintain the balance between oxidation and its reverse––the neutralization of free radicals by antioxidants.
DHLA is an essential component in the interaction between these antioxidants.4 Studies show that addition of alpha-lipoic acid to liver tissues results in increased vitamin C levels. It has been found that DHLA is responsible for regenerating vitamin C, which in turn regenerates vitamin E.3 DHLA also converts glutathione from its oxidized form back into its free radical scavenging reduced form.3,5 The ALA/DHLA pair is thus vital for prevention of "oxidative stress," which occurs which the balance is tipped in favor of oxidation in cells.4 DHLA helps preserve antioxidants in both the watery cell interior and the fatty structure of cell membranes.6 Evidence from animal studies suggests that DHLA protects the brain against free radical damage.7
Alpha-lipoic acid is a key factor in the cellular process that metabolizes glucose to produce energy for cellular functions. The importance of ALA’s role in blood sugar metabolism is evidenced in studies on ALA and type-2 diabetes. In a small pilot study, 13 people with type-2 diabetes showed improved utilization of glucose in muscle tissue in response to intravenous administration of ALA.8 In a four week controlled multicenter trial, 74 people with type-2 diabetes took ALA in oral doses of 600, 1200 or 1800 mg per day. After 4 weeks, the normal lowering of blood sugar levels in response to insulin improved.9 In vitro studies have shown that ALA has a positive effect on insulin-stimulated uptake of glucose by muscle cells.10
1. Packer, L.. Witt, E., Tritschler, H. Alpha-lipoic acid as a biological antioxidant. Free Radical Biology and Medicine 1995;19(2):227-50.
2. Suzuki, Y., et al. Thioctic acid and dihydrolipoic acid are novel antioxidants which interact with reactive oxygen species. Free Rad. Res. Comms. 15(5):255-63.
3. Biewenga, G., Haenen, G., Bast, A. The pharmacology of lipoic acid. Gen. Pharmac. 29(3):315-31.
4. Serbinova, E. Maitra, I., Packer, L. The synergy between vitamin E and alpha-lipoic acid--–possible relationship against oxidative stress in vivo. Life Chemistry Reports 1994;12:17-21.
5. Bast, A. Haenen, G. Interplay between lipoic acid and glutathione in the protection against microsomal lipid peroxidation. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1988; 963:558-561.
6. Kagan, V. et al. Dihydrolipoic acid––a universal antioxidant both in the membrane and in the aqueous phase. Reduction of peroxyl, ascorbyl and chromanoxyl radicals. Biochem Pharmacol 1992;44(8):1637.
7. Prehn, J. et al. Dihydrolipoate reduces neuronal injury after cerebral ischemia. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 1992;12(1):78-87.
8. Jacob, S. et al. Enhancement of glucose disposal in patients with type-2 diabetes by alpha-lipoic acid. Arzneimittelforschung 1995;45(8):872-4.
9. Jacob, S et al. Oral administration of RAC-alpha-lipoic acid modulates insulin sensitivity in patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus: a placebo-controlled pilot trial. Free Radical Biology & Medicine 1999;27(3/4):309-14.
10. Estrada, D. et al. Stimulation of glucose uptake by the natural coenzyme alpha-lipoic acid/thioctic acid: participation of elements of the insulin signaling pathway. Diabetes 1996;45(12):1798-804.
COENZYMATED B-6 100MG
September 28, 2005 11:13 AM
NEW PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT
One tablet contains:
THE CONNECTION OF PROGESTERONE TO WEIGHT LOSS
July 25, 2005 10:23 PM
THE CONNECTION OF PROGESTERONE TO WEIGHT LOSS
Interestingly estrogen promotes the storing of fat and is responsible for the female contouring of the body, whereas progesterone enhances thermogenesis or fat burning. In addition, using natural progesterone to balance out hormones can help to decrease carbohydrate cravings which are hormonally related. The hormonal flux typical of most female Cycles usually produces a premenstrual craving for sweets which is linked to fluctuating blood sugar and serotonin levels in the brain. Many women have found that taking natural progesterone has resulted in a marked decrease of “hormonal eating” which can result in unwanted weight gain. The desire to continually eat during periods of hormonal flux month after month certainly plays a significant role in female obesity.
Excessive hormonal appetite stimulation is not normal, neither is it healthy. Of additional interest is the fact that the more fat stores a woman carries, the more estrogen she makes, further compounding the problem. Fat cells contribute to estrogen dominance which in turn makes it harder to burn fat—a perfectly vicious little cycle. The estrogen factor for any overweight woman must be considered, however, it is rarely addressed. Clearing excess estrogen from the body is absolutely essential for effective weight loss. Again, supplementing the body with natural progesterone can help to accomplish this.
July 25, 2005 10:14 PM
An ovarian cyst usually forms when follicles in the ovary fail to normally develop and subsequent release from the ovary is impaired in some way. As a result of this abnormality, hormonal balance is disrupted with typical estrogen surges resulting in the formation of a growing cyst either from the follicle or from the corpus luteum. Consider the following quote concerning cysts: Natural progesterone, given from day 5 to day 26 of the menstrual month for 2-3 Cycles, will almost routinely cause the cyst to disappear by suppressing normal FSH, LH and estrogen production, giving the ovary time to heal. 19
UTERINE FIBROID TUMORS
July 25, 2005 10:13 PM
UTERINE FIBROID TUMORS
Fibroid tumors of the uterus can develop when estrogen remains unopposed by progesterone and can also result from repeated Cycles where ovulation fails to occur. Typically women will suffer from these fibroids approximately ten years prior to the onset of menopause. Dr. Lee’s work with treating uterine fibroids once again reiterates the need for natural progesterone supplementation. He writes, “If sufficient natural progesterone is supplemented from day 12 to day 26 of the menstrual cycle, further growth of fibroids is usually prevented (and often the fibroids regress).”18
Natural Progesterone and Other Menstrual Disorders
July 25, 2005 10:08 PM
Natural Progesterone and Other Menstrual Disorders
Natural progesterone can contribute to restoring normal menstrual cycling in certain cases. Many young women suffer from amenorrhea, which is the absence of the menstrual period due to an excess of strenuous exercise or a hormonal imbalance. Using natural progesterone can help to achieve the proper estrogen/progesterone ratios needed to initiate normal cycling. Frequently, supplementation needs to occur over several months before normal cycling will be achieved. In addition, women who suffer from irregular periods or prolonged periods can benefit from the action of natural progesterone. Remember, that initially, Cycles may become worse rather than better, but with continued use, the prospect for normalizing the menstrual cycle is good if no other contributing factors exist.
THE FERTILITY LINK
Natural progesterone supplementation may also be beneficial for infertility. Women who suffer from repeated miscarriages or have a difficult time conceiving should be checked for a progesterone deficiency. It is advisable to check your progesterone levels before taking potent fertility drugs or synthetic hormones. Using natural progesterone is suggested as an initial therapy.
WHY DO SO MANYWOMEN SUFFER FROM HORMONE IMBALANCES?
July 25, 2005 10:06 PM
WHY DO SO MANYWOMEN SUFFER FROM HORMONE IMBALANCES?
The question of why so many women, young and old, suffer from a hormonal imbalance persists. Today’s environment and life style are certainly significant causal factors and explain, to a great degree why even young, seemingly healthy women may experience a lack of progesterone.
Dr. Peter Elliston of the Harvard Anthropology Department found through one of his studies of 18 women who all had regular menstrual Cycles that seven of them did not experience a mid cycle increase in progesterone levels, suggesting that ovulation did not actually occur.12 Dr. Lee cites this as yet another example of the widespread incidence of anovulatory Cycles occurring in young women throughout this country, a fact which is undoubtedly linked to rising infertility rates in the United States. Eating disorders, poor nutrition, widespread use of birth control pills, stress, pollution, etc., contribute to hormonally-related disorders and most certainly affect progesterone production, the ability to conceive and menopausal transitions.
CAUSES OF HORMONE IMBALANCES
Dr. Lee believes that widespread use of the birth control pill has caused the ovaries to be compromised, possibly playing a role in the development of PMS that would normally not exist.13 Documented results from using natural progesterone have been impressive but remain relatively unknown by the majority of women. Progesterone therapy can help relieve the following PMS symptoms: breast engorgement, breast tenderness, irritability, headaches, depression, moodiness, fatigue, anxiety, bloating, water retention, cramps, and irregular periods.
Dr. Joel T. Hargrove of Vanderbilt University Medical Center has had some very impressive results using natural progesterone to treat his patients with PMS. He has had a 90 percent success rate using this form of progesterone.14 Interestingly, he used oral progesterone which had to be administered in a much heavier dose to achieve the same results Dr. Lee obtained with transdermal progesterone.15
SAFETY OF NATURAL PROGESTERONE
July 25, 2005 09:59 PM
SAFETY OF NATURAL PROGESTERONE
Natural progesterone is one of the safest supplements available. In contrast to synthetic progestins, this form of progesterone has little or no side effects. Some women may experience an initial reaction to introducing progesterone, a phenomenon which involves an estrogen response. In these cases, estrogen-related symptoms may temporarily become worse. If this occurs, natural progesterone should be continued or dosages adjusted until hormonal balance is achieved. Incidental spotting between periods may occur but is usually resolved within three to five Cycles. The use of natural progesterone has not been linked to any form of human cancer. Combining natural progesterone with other drugs has not resulted in any interference or alteration that is known of. No adverse effects of natural progesterone have been reported on the developing fetus of pregnant women, unlike its synthetic counterparts. Using natural progesterone creams during pregnancy appears to be perfectly safe and may even help to counteract the post-partum depression which so many women experience after their progesterone levels fall dramatically. (Note: When natural progesterone is first introduced into the body, an initial estrogen response may occur possibly making estrogen-related symptoms more intense. This reaction is perfectly normal and varies with each individual. It is a temporary phenomenon and continued use will eventually achieve hormonal balance. Experiencing longer periods, heavier flows, more cramping, tender breasts etc. may indicate that natural progesterone dosages may need to be adjusted in order to achieve hormonal balance.)
5-HTP - The Science of Sleep
June 29, 2005 02:22 PM
Sleep is especially important in today’s world. It’s the time when your body repairs, rebuilds and replenishes the tissues and compounds that have been damaged or depleted by the demands of your life. But when there is too much stress, imbalances occur that can keep you from getting enough sleep.
Source Naturals, the science company, introduces 5-HTP to help promote healthy sleep Cycles. 5-HTP, or L-5-Hydroxytryptophan, is created when the tryptophan in your body is converted into serotonin. 5-HTP can cross the blood-brain barrier and is associated with increasing active serotonin levels as well as serotonin production. And those increased serotonin levels are associated with healthy sleep regulation, increased melatonin production for 24-hour sleep cycle regulation, mood regulation, and appetite control. Source Natural’s 5-HTP capsules are safely and naturally derived from Griffonia simplicifolia seeds.
How 5-HTP Works
5-HTP works because it supports your body’s balanced production of two important sleep regulating hormones, serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep, moods and appetite. But you need adequate serotonin levels to maintain this balance. 5-HTP is the serotonin precursor that is formed when tryptophan is converted into serotonin in your body. In clinical research, 5-HTP increased the amount and availability of serotonin produced by the body. It is able to cross the blood brain–barrier to increase both serotonin levels and serotonin production in your brain so you can regain a healthy balance when you are sleeping, feeling emotions, or eating.
Eventually, the serotonin in your body is converted into melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate healthy 24-hour sleep Cycles known as circadian rhythms. Aging and various forms of physical or emotional stress can decrease your melatonin levels and disrupt your sleep cycle. Fortunately, that balance can be regained. When 5-HTP increases serotonin production, melatonin production is also increased, which can help you regain a healthy circadian rhythm.
Naturally Promoting Healthy Sleep
Source Naturals 5-HTP is safely derived from Griffonia simplicifolia seeds and is available in 50 and 100 mg potencies. Innovative natural products, such as 5-HTP, are part of a new paradigm in health care. You can join this revolution in preventive wellness, long before it becomes mainstream, by taking charge of your health with products that are only available at natural food and nutrition outlets. Support your healthy moods, eating habits and sleep Cycles with the science of Source Naturals 5-HTP today.
Three Tips for a Healthy Sleep Cycle
Life Force - The Energy Activator
June 29, 2005 10:35 AM
Don’t Be Confused About Multiples – Get the Top-Ranked Multiple That Scores 100%
We can help you decide how to pick the most advanced daily multiple for your wellness. Listen to the experts. Source Naturals LIFE FORCE MULTIPLE was honored as a leading formula in an independent scientific analysis of 500 multiples, ranking higher than any other national brand. Lyle MacWilliam, author of the Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements (ide.com) ranked multiples based on criteria developed from the published recommendations of the most renowned nutritional authorities: Phyllis Balch, C.N.C.; Michael Colgan, Ph.D.; Earl Mindell, Ph.D.; Michael Murray, N.D.; Richard Passwater, Ph.D.; Ray Strand, M.D.; and Julian Whitaker, M.D. Source Naturals’ success in this rigorous scientific analysis reflects our Bio-Aligned™ formulation method. LIFE FORCE goes deep to the underlying cause of health imbalances by supporting multiple body systems. And now, based on the latest scientific research, we have improved the formula by adding even more antioxidants and other cutting-edge ingredients. According to Lyle MacWilliam, “Source Naturals made a top ranked multiple even better!” And based on Lyle’s analysis of the new formula, LIFE FORCE is now the highest rated multiple of any evaluated in the current edition of this guide, scoring a 100% rating.
Bio-Align™ Yourself with Life Force
LIFE FORCE MULTIPLE was chosen as one of America’s most elite and comprehensive multiples, as reported in the Comparative Guide to Dietary Supplements by Lyle MacWilliam, 3rd ed. LIFE FORCE received this acknowledgement by nutrition experts because it is uniquely effective. This Bio-Aligned Formula™ goes beyond ordinary multiples that simply replace nutrients missing from the diet. LIFE FORCE provides key organ-specific nutrients to support your body’s energy generation, heart, brain, immune system, musculoskeletal system, skin, liver, eyes, and more. When all your body systems function in harmony, everything in life comes together. Your mood is positive, your mind is clear, you’ve got energy in your step—that’s your LIFE FORCE working for you.
Get Ahead with Activated Energy and a Healthy Metabolism
Your metabolism determines how much you weigh, how energetic you feel, and the effective functioning of all your systems. LIFE FORCE is a rarity – a unique multiple containing an incredible number of nutrients at the potency levels that truly support your healthy metabolic function. For example, it contains coenzyme Q10, which plays a crucial role in cellular energy production. CoQ10 is a vital intermediate in the electron transport chain, one of the body’s energy production Cycles, which converts glucose, or blood sugar, into ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), a high energy molecule that is the body’s “energy currency.” LIFE FORCE also supplies alpha-lipoic acid and the potent R-lipoic acid form of lipoic acid, which are both referred to as the universal antioxidants and important intermediaries in the Krebs cycle, another energy production cycle.
LIFE FORCE also contains tyrosine and iodine, both precursors to thyroid hormones. These hormones regulate key metabolic functions like heart rate, digestive function, weight management and energy levels. No discussion of metabolism would be complete without mentioning the B vitamins and their coenzymated forms, such as thiamin cocarboxylase, riboflavin mononucleotide, and the methylcobalamin form of vitamin B- 12. These critical vitamins and their immediately bioavailable coenzymated forms are formulated to play critical roles in thousands of enzyme reactions that promote carbohydrate metabolism, energy production, and the mental functions that invigorate and activate you as you move through your busy days. And now green tea extract with EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) has been added to the formula for added metabolic support.
Protect Your Heart and Circulatory System
The amazing muscular organ that is your heart beats more than 100,000 times a day, 365 days a year, promoting vitality and alertness by constantly oxygenating our tissues. LIFE FORCE supports your cardiovascular system with antioxidant coenzyme Q10, which helps support heart muscle metabolism. LIFE FORCE also contains the minerals potassium and magnesium, electrolytes vital for healthy heartbeat and heart function, and the herb hawthorn, a rich source of antioxidant flavonoids, which has traditionally been used as a heart tonic. LIFE FORCE also supplies vitamins B-6, B-12 and folic acid to help maintain healthy homocysteine levels and vitamin K to support healthy circulation. Unlike common multiples, it supports cholesterol wellness, circulatory health and antioxidant cardiovascular protection, with both the typical d-alpha form of vitamin E but and the more potent and effective gamma-tocopherol and similarly structured tocotrienols.
Skin and Musculoskeletal Support
LIFE FORCE furnishes nutrients to build healthy bones, muscles and skin. We all know that calcium and magnesium are crucial for bone health, but many people don't know that there are a variety of nutritional cofactors that help build bone, such as vitamin D (which enhances calcium absorption and utilization), boron, manganese and copper. LIFE FORCE also supplies vitamin C and copper, necessary nutrients for collagen production (collagen is a key constituent of connective tissue in joints, skin and other areas), and the cutting-edge nutrient methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), an assimilable form of the mineral sulfur, used by the body to build and maintain connective tissues, including joint cartilage, hair, skin and nails. Additional nutraceuticals to support healthy skin include DMAE bitartrate, CoQ10, and alpha lipoic acid. LIFE FORCE also now includes rutin, quercetin, green tea extract and 65% more turmeric extract for your joint comfort.
Brain and Nerves Nutrition
The hectic pace and constant demands of life can keep our pulse racing, our nerves jangling and our temples throbbing. Our nervous systems are crying out, “Help!” LIFE FORCE provides that help. LIFE FORCE supplies the most highly bioavailable and bioactive forms of the amino acid tyrosine – the N-acetyl form and the acetyl-L form. Tyrosine is an important precursor to epinephrine and norepinephrine (collectively known as the catecholamines), which helps you respond to stress. It also contains high doses of vitamins C and B-6, required by the adrenal glands to produce the catecholamines. In addition, LIFE FORCE delivers the full spectrum of B vitamins, all important for healthy nervous system function. Now LIFE FORCE also contains a more bio-available form of tyrosine, acetyl-L-Tyrosine. And LIFE FORCE contains Neuroceutical® nutrients that support healthy brain function by furnishing DMAE and choline. Both are precursors to the important neurotransmitter acetylcholine and are important for memory focus and muscular movement. Choline is also a precursor to phosphatidylcholine, an important constituent of the cellular membranes that surround and protect our brain cells. In addition, LIFE FORCE contains the renowned herb Ginkgo biloba and now even more grape seed extract, both effective antioxidants that can prevent lipid peroxidation, which is critically important for the high amounts of fatty tissue in the brain. LIFE FORCE—good food for the brain.
LIFE FORCE MULTIPLE supports your immune system, so you can feel your best through the seasons. LIFE FORCE contains the immunosupportive nutrient vitamin A, which fosters cell-mediated immunity and protects the epithelial linings of the respiratory and digestive tracts. Two forms of vitamin A are supplied: preformed vitamin A and its precursor, the potent antioxidant betacarotene. Other immuno-supportive nutrients in LIFE FORCE include vitamin B-6, vitamin C and zinc, which is fundamental for proper functioning of our T-cells, the “seek and destroy” cells of our immune system. LIFE FORCE also now includes 40% more lipoic acid, including the highly bioavailable alpha and R-isomer forms. Lipoic acid along with the B vitamins and CoQ10 promote building the energy reserves needed when the immune system needs to kick into high gear.
Powerful Liver Support
Your liver is responsible for converting many nutrients into their metabolically active forms before your body can use them. After activation, these nutrients travel through the blood stream to target organs where they perform their metabolic functions. Not only does the liver activate nutrients, but it also plays a crucial role in a variety of other metabolic functions, from fat digestion and cholesterol production to blood sugar regulation to the processing and elimination of toxins, an important role in today’s increasingly polluted world. For all these reasons, nourishing the liver is crucial. And LIFE FORCE does just that. LIFE FORCE contains alpha-lipoic acid, turmeric, silymarin and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) – all potent antioxidants that support healthy liver function. NAC and alpha-lipoic acid both help produce glutathione, one of the liver’s primary detoxifying molecules. Silymarin, the active flavonoid complex of the herb milk thistle, as well as coenzyme Q10, have been shown in vitro to inhibit lipid peroxidation of cell membranes. Turmeric extract promotes bile flow and is a rich source of the antioxidant, curcumin. LIFE FORCE also contains choline and inositol, vitamin- like molecules which act as lipotropics, unique substances that prevent the deposition of fat in the liver. Since the liver is naturally high in fats, LIFE FORCE is one of the only multiples that contains the fat-soluble form of vitamin C, ascorbyl palmitate, for antioxidant protection.
Complete Antioxidant Defense
Oxidative stress is the primary cause of accelerated aging. This and other forms of free radical damage are constantly threatening your body. Whether it is from pollution, ultraviolet light, food additives, or from other sources, it is more critical than ever to protect your body with antioxidants. LIFE FORCE contains 24 of the most powerful antioxidants known to science, including eight new antioxidants based on the latest research. It contains antioxidants that are water soluble, such as quercetin and rutin, and ones that are fat soluble, such as alpha-lipoic acid and lycopene. There are antioxidants that are especially protective of specific body systems, such as lutein to protect the macula in your eye, lycopene to protect your prostate gland, and tocotrienols to protect your arteries.
Cutting-Edge Vision Nutrition
The structure and functions of your eyes are very complex. LIFE FORCE contains nutrients to help support and maintain healthy eye tissue, which is particularly susceptible to oxidative stress from free radicals. To support your healthy macula, aqueous tissue and optical nerve signals, LIFE FORCE includes ingredients such as lutein, astaxanthin, beta carotene, bilberry, zinc, lipoic acid and quercetin.
Life Force Replenishes Essential Nutrients to Support Your Low Carb Lifestyle
LIFE FORCE contains optimal levels of many nutrients that might be deficient in low carb meals. Counting carbs can lead to restrictions of nutrient-dense foods, such as dairy products, grains, fruits and vegetables. LIFE FORCE contains many of the same protective antioxidants, vitamins and minerals as fruits and vegetables, including betacarotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, flavinols, magnesium and selenium. It also contains high levels of the same vitamins found in grains, including all of the B vitamins, to support your body’s healthy energy metabolism. And it contains nutrients found in dairy products, such as calcium, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin D.
Support Healthy Fat and Protein Consumption with Life Force
Low carb lifestyles mean higher consumption of proteins and fats. Unfortunately, there are artery, heart, colon and many other health concerns associated with meals that are high in fat and protein and low in fiber and produce. However, the nutrients in LIFE FORCE can help you better process these foods when eating this way. LIFE FORCE contains high levels of protective fat-soluble antioxidants such as alpha lipoic acid, ascorbyl palmitate (vitamin C ester) and vitamin E to protect your body from the free radicals generated by consuming more fats. It also contains many nutrients for liver health, such as silymarin, CoQ10, NAcetyl Cysteine and turmeric to help support the fat metabolism your liver is responsible for. LIFE FORCE also contains a high level of the B vitamin biotin, which aids in fat, protein and energy metabolism.
Complete Energizing Nutrition
LIFE FORCE is the only multiple to target organ systems with specific nutrients and bio-botanicals, antioxidants and Neuroceuticals® for total body harmony and energy activation, system by system. Only this dedication to going deep to the cellular root of system imbalances can produce a multiple so effective that it is acknowledged in a prestigious scientific review, the Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements. A nutritional program with LIFE FORCE at its center can be an easy first step in joining the Wellness Revolution. The goal of this revolution is a long, healthy and fulfilling life. Allow yourself to feel your best, to achieve mental and physical harmony, to radiate energy and vitality. Feel your LIFE FORCE!
Progesterone Cream - Supports Hormonal Balance
June 28, 2005 09:40 AM
Recent medical reports have profoundly shaken popular beliefs about the safety of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for women in menopause. You may be one of the six million women who are searching for alternatives. Source Naturals PROGESTERONE CREAM and PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM can help address normal menopausal discomforts, when used as part of a care for their own health needs. Source Naturals is committed to joining with your health food retailer to help insure that right.
Menopause and Hormonal Balance
Public confidence in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) suffered a major blow when the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health halted a large clinical trial out of concern for the safety of participants. Women are looking for natural alternatives to risky HRT.
Source Naturals Progesterone CREAM and PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM address the hormonal fluctuations that bring on the first disturbing hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. Used together or separately, these creams address declining levels of progesterone and estrogen.
Progesterone Cream from Woman-Friendly Soy
Progesterone is a steroid hormone made by the corpus luteum of the ovary at ovulation, and in smaller amounts by the adrenal glands. It is a precursor to most other steroid hormones, including cortisol, androstenedione, estrogen and testosterone. Because it is the precursor to so many hormones, progesterone is crucial for overall hormone balance. Yet progesterone levels can drop to near zero during menopause. Source Naturals PROGESTERONE CREAM supplies natural progesterone from soy.
Unlike creams which don’t divulge their progesterone content, Source Naturals PROGESTERONE CREAM is guaranteed to contain 500 mg of progesterone per ounce! This pure white cream softens and smoothes skin. Along with natural progesterone, it contains aloe vera, wild yam extract, natural vitamin E, lecithin phospholipid, jojoba oil, and extracts of ginseng root and grapefruit seed. Natural rosemary oil is added as a fragrance. Available in both tubes and jars for your convenience.
Phyto-Estrogen Cream: Plant Compounds Renowned for Menopause Estrogen levels drop 40-60% at menopause. Phytoestrogens—estrogens from plants—have been shown to bind to the same receptor sites as estrogen, helping maintain normal menstrual Cycles and menopausal transitions. When there is too little estrogen (the situation during menopause), phytoestrogens substitute for the lack of human estrogen. Conversely, when estrogen levels are high (as in some women who experience PMS), phytoestrogens compete with human estrogen for binding to receptors and decrease overall estrogenic activity.
Source Naturals PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM is an almond-colored cream that can be massaged into smooth skin areas to add oil-rich, moisture-binding protection. PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM offers some of the finest phytoestrogens in the botanical world, including 60 mg of soy isoflavones per ounce. PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM also contains pomegranate seed juice (a natural source of estrone), red clover tops extract, black cohosh root extract, and dong quai root extract, along with aloe vera gel, natural vitamin E, cocoa butter, grapefruit seed extract, rosemary oil, and natural cherry almond fragrance.
Warning: Phyto-Estrogen Cream is not for use by women of childbearing age. DO NOT USE if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you may become pregnant.
Source Naturals offers you the first progesterone and phytoestrogen creams to utilize unique liposomal delivery of key ingredients. Liposomes are micro-penetrating lipid spheres made from lecithin, which pass through skin layers more easily than non-liposomal creams—for highest possible penetration of skin cells. Both creams are available in 2 and 4 oz jars. PROGESTERONE CREAM is also available in 2 and 4 oz tubes.
Lifestyle Tips for Menopause: A Strategy for Wellness
Eat Well: In certain cultures, hot flashes are practically unknown. It is generally true that women in these cultures eat foods rich in phytoestrogens. For example, in Southeast Asia, where soy proteins comprise 20% to 60% of daily protein intake, epidemiological studies suggest an association between a positive, trouble-free menopause and soy consumption.
Lignans—phytoestrogens found in flaxseed oil and unprocessed olive oil—may also have a protective effect. You should eat fresh, organic vegetables, fruits, cereals, beans, whole grains and small portions of fish or hormone-free chicken. Increase fluids and eat low-fat dairy foods. Avoid fatty meats, sugar, processed foods, fried foods, and chemicals. Adequate calcium intake— 1,500 mg per day—is crucial.
Use Supplements: Source Naturals HOT FLASH is an excellent complement to PROGESTERONE and PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAMS. A recent comprehensive scientific review of natural menopause products (Annals of Internal Medicine 11/19/02) singled out soy isoflavones and black cohosh for their benefits in addressing hot flashes. Unlike most products, HOT FLASH contains clinical potencies of both soy isoflavones and standardized black cohosh extract. In addition, HOT FLASH contains additional herbs, renowned for use in menopause: vitex, licorice root and dong quai. To be sure you are covering all your nutritional bases, take a good daily multiple like MENOPAUSE MULTIPLE, especially designed for women 40+ years old.
Maintain a Healthy Weight: Women who are overweight have an increased risk of heart disease, while those who are thin or underweight are more susceptible to osteoporosis and hot flashes.
Rest and Relax: It is important to get adequate sleep, take naps if you feel tired, and avoid stress. Meditation and yoga can be helpful in reaching a state of calm. Take Care of Your Skin: A 1997 study of 3,875 postmenopausal women documented the relationship between low estrogen levels and skin dryness and loss of elasticity. Research has associated wrinkling with consumption of full-fat dairy products, butter, margarine, fatty meats and sugar. Drink lots of water—at least 1.5 liters daily. Water flushes out wastes, and acts as an internal moisturizer, keeping skin hydrated and supple. Spring water is beneficial since it contains trace minerals vital to healthy skin. For radiant skin, you should also try the Source Naturals SKIN ETERNAL™ family of creams and serums. This advanced cosmetic system recharges and revitalizes all skin types. Keep Cool. Avoid triggers such as spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, overheated rooms, hot beverages and stress. Wear layered clothing, and choose natural fabrics, such as cotton or wool.
Stay Active: Exercise benefits the heart and bones, helps regulate weight and contributes to overall well-being. Weight-bearing exercises are especially important for increasing bone mass. Kegel exercises (tightening and relaxing of the pelvic muscles) can improve bladder control, and may enhance sexual pleasure. Try Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM): Alternative therapies— herbal remedies, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, naturopathic medicine and much more—can help you cope with the physical and emotional changes of menopause.
Benefits and Functions of Essential Fatty Acids
June 25, 2005 08:29 PM
Benefits and Functions of Essential Fatty Acids
The body takes combinations of different triglycerides and makes fats from them to help in various processes. The basic building blocks of any fats are the fatty acids. Fatty acids are either essential or nonessential. A fatty acid is considered essential if 1) the body is unable to synthesize it and 2) the only way it can be obtained is through the diet. In addition, it is considered essential if a deficiency will cause a disease. As far back as 1930 researchers discovered that if an animal did not get essential fatty acids in the diet, it could cause symptoms such as poor reproduction, lowered immunity, rough, dry skin, and slow growth, among others. There are basically three essential fatty acids. They are linoleic acid, linolenic acid, and arachidonic acid. Linoleic acid is the most vital. Linolenic and arachidonic acids can be converted from linoleic acid, but linoleic acid must be obtained from the diet. Most people are unaware of the many vital functions of essential fatty acids. The list includes:
Cholesterol is synthesized throughout the body. It is manufactured by cells, glands, the small intestine and the liver. Cholesterol is constructed from dietary by-products of proteins, sugars and fats. If the diet contains excessive fats, especially the saturated types, the body will convert them into cholesterol. People who eat high sugar or fat diets may therefore experience elevated cholesterol levels.
Prostaglandins are found in almost all body cells, and act as catalysts for many physiological processes. They help prevent abnormal blood clotting and nerve inflammation. Prostaglandins also help promote blood circulation by dilating the blood vessels and improve immune system function. The most beneficial type of prostaglandin is called PGE-1. PGE-1 balances cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and stimulates the body’s production of T-lymphocytes which strengthen the immune capabilities. Each cell keeps tiny amounts of EFAs and produces prostaglandins from them as they are needed. The name prostaglandins was coined because these substances were originally found in high amounts in the prostate gland. To date, there have been discovered at least thirty-six different prostaglandins with a wide range of roles in the body.
Acetyl L-Carnitine & Alpha Lipoic Acid - For Cellular Vitality
June 24, 2005 05:24 PM
You may not think that your good health is related to the vitality of your cells, but it is. Your body is comprised of billions and billions of cells that work together in complex systems to keep you healthy.
But each of these cells also has a unique life. A primary role of your body is to keep these cells healthy and vital in every part of your body throughout your life. And to stay healthy, each of these self-contained cells must produce its own energy – cells can’t borrow energy from each other. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to maintain these cells that are so critical to your good health.
Source Naturals, the science company, introduces ACETYL L-CARNITINE & ALPHA LIPOIC ACID for your cellular vitality. It contains alpha lipoic acid and acetyl L-carnitine, two compounds that can support your cellular vitality for your better overall health.
For Cellular Vitality
ACETYL L-CARNITINE & ALPHA LIPOIC ACID is a groundbreaking new combination of two amazing nutrients, alpha lipoic acid and acetyl L-carnitine, that support your body’s own system for maintenance of cell function as you age.
Alpha Lipoic Acid for Vitality
Alpha lipoic acid is a fat and water soluble compound that is naturally found in your body. It directly reCycles vitamin C and indirectly reCycles vitamin E to help your body maintain beneficial levels of these important and protective antioxidants. Alpha-lipoic acid also supports the immune system and healthy liver function.
One of the most important roles alpha lipoic acid plays in your body is its role in cellular energy production. Alpha-lipoic acid is a coenzyme that assists in the conversion of pyruvate to acetyl-coA. Acetyl-coA is the beginning point for the Krebs cycle, one of the body's main energy production Cycles, which produces the high-energy molecule ATP (adenosine triphosphate). By supporting the Krebs cycle, alpha lipoic acid supports your cellular vitality.
Acetyl L-Carnitine for Vitality
Acetyl L-carnitine is a nutrient for your mind and your body. Medical experts believe that this form of carnitine, derived from an amino acid, is the most bioavailable form available. It supports your body’s synthesis of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is critical for learning and memory. One of the most important functions that acetyl L-carnitine performs in your body is its role in supporting cellular energy. This critical biochemical compound transports longchain fatty acids into the mitochondria in your cells. Cellular mitochondria are where these fatty acids are used to generate ATP, the metabolic energy for your cellular vitality.
Join the Wellness Revolution
Your life can seem to move at a dizzying pace. You might not have a lot of time to focus on your good health, and mainstream medicine doesn’t always incorporate the scientific advances of recent decades into their health recommendations for you. But you can benefit from new information right now by shopping for products like ACETYL L-CARNITINE& ALPHA LIPOIC ACID at your local health food stores and outlets, the only places where you will find these groundbreaking products to support your lifelong vitality.
Packer L et al. (1995). Alpha-Lipoic Acid as a Biological Antioxidant. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 19(2): 227-250. Hagen T et al. (2002). Feeding acetyl-L-carnitine and lipoic acid to old rats significantly improves metabolic function while decreasing oxidative stress. PNAS. 99(4): 1870-1875. Kern M et al. (2003) Effects of Acetyl-LCarnitine and Lipoic Acid supplementation on physiologic and psychological factors in older men. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 35(5S): 267.
Pep Up and Go!
June 14, 2005 05:45 PM
Pep Up and Go!
by Harris Parker Energy Times, February 2, 2000
Feel your energy flagging?
You've lost count of the number of phone calls you fielded all afternoon-the last was from your son, who missed the late bus home from school-and colleagues needing your decision are lined up outside your office. Your husband has invited clients home for dinner. You wilt like a new hairdo on a damp August day and pray for a miracle to jump-start your engine.
Your pep quotient depends on three essential ingredients: nutrients you consume through your diet and supplements, how much you exercise and your sleep schedule.(Of course, if you're troubled by any kind of disabling, ceaseless fatigue accompanied by mental fuzziness, joint pain, sore throat, swollen glands, headaches and other chronic distress, consult your health practitioner.)
Vitamins and Energy
Certain nutrients are called vitamins because scientists consider them to be crucial for vitality. They generally function as coenzymes, partnering with the enzymes that are catalysts for the chemical reactions constantly taking place in our bodies. Our need to replenish our store of vitamins, which may merge with cell, muscle, enzyme, hormone, blood and bone structure once they have been absorbed, depends on their rate of utilization, according to The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book (Avery) by Shari Lieberman, PhD, and Nancy Bruning.
While a low-fat diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables helps supply important nutrients, a B complex supplement and a balanced multivitamin can guarantee daily vitamin levels.
Be Energetic with B Vitamins
Vitamins, especially the B vitamins, play extremely important roles in producing cellular energy. The chart on page 39 lists the key vitamins and describes their effects as well as the consequences of not getting enough of them. Their benefit is felt most profoundly in the energy producing process known as the Krebs cycle (which we'll explain in a moment).
Vitamins B2 and B3, for example, supply the major building blocks for substances that are called flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD and FADH) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD and NADH), which are critical elements of energy production in the Krebs cycle as well as a process called oxidative phosphorylation.
Hundreds of Reactions
Even though you may never have heard of NAD and NADH, these molecules are found in very many places throughout your body; they play a role in hundreds of biochemical reactions in all kinds of cells. B vitamins also combine with other materials to build coenzymes, chemicals which help form other chemicals necessary for cellular energy. B vitamins are crucial: miss out on one or more and you may break these metabolic chains necessary for peak energy.
Energy to Spend
The main energy currency of every cell single cell is ATP: a chemical called adenosine triphosphate. This material is used by cells for every imaginable task including reproduction, growth, movement and metabolism. Specialized metabolic Cycles within the cell are designed to generate ATP.
Consequently, the more ATP our cells create, the more energy can be generated. The raw materials used to make cellular energy are glucose (blood sugar) and "free" fatty acids. The best way to supply your cells with the sugar they need is to consume complex carbohydrates which also supply fiber and other nutrients. When you eat carbohydrates, they are made into glucose which is stored as a starch called glycogen in muscles and the liver. Your body can rapidly turn glycogen into glucose for extra energy. (The process of making energy from glycogen yields carbon dioxide and water as well as ATP.)
The first step in making glucose into energy is called glycolysis. This complicated process requires nine different steps. During these steps, glucose is made into a substance called pyruvate. The process of glycolysis requires ATP, but yields twice as much ATP as is present when it starts.
From here, the process gets a little more complicated as pyruvate enters into a complex chain of events in tiny cellular structures called mitochondria. (Many metabolic events take place in the mitochondria.) The pyruvate molecules are converted to a molecule known as acetyl coenzyme A and eventually made into carbon dioxide, water and more ATP.
This process is known as the Krebs cycle or citric acid cycle. It also involves a series of events known as oxidative phosphorylation in which NADH formed during the Krebs cycle is oxidized to form ATP.
Why is fat such a concentrated source of energy? Free fatty acids enter the Krebs cycle to help generate ATP much more efficiently than glucose - producing roughly six times more energy per gram than glucose.
And Don't Overlook. . . . . .other supplements that may aid energy production: • Alpha Lipoic Acid, an antioxidant that works in the fatty tissues of cell membranes and in cells' watery interiors • Coenzyme Q10, also known as ubiquinone as it exists everywhere in the body, acts like a vitamin because it stimulates some reactions. CoQ10 protects cell membranes, especially of the heart, against oxidation and toxins.
Ginsengs: Energy Generators
With their legendary and slightly mysterious characteristics, the ginsengs are greatly respected natural energy boosters. " Perhaps no herb has excited so much interest in medical circles as ginseng, and yet, strangely, it does not actually 'cure' any one particular ailment," reports Michael Hallowell, the author of Herbal Healing (Avery) and a frequent lecturer on botanic medicine. "Rather, its virtue lies in its tremendous power as a tonic and invigorator. Russian athletes are prescribed large amounts of ginseng because researchers in Moscow have shown that it not only improves stamina, but also increases the efficiency with which blood is pumped to the muscles."
What are the physiological mechanisms that allow ginseng to bolster your get up and go? In order to unravel the legend and lore of ginseng, the first step is understanding the intricacies of the three types: • Asian (Panax ginseng), which produces the strongest and most profound stimulation; • American (Panax quinquefolium), which soothes at a more subtle level; • Siberian (Eleutherococcus senticosus), a stamina booster embraced by a wide range of athletes. All three varieties are treasured for their ability to help people adjust to stress.
The ginsengs are adaptogens, "biologically active substances found in certain herbs and plants that help the body and mind adapt to the changes and stress of life," says Stephen Fulder, MD, author of The Book of Ginseng and Other Chinese Herbs for Vitality (Inner Traditions). "Stress is not an illness in itself. Stress is change, our ability to adapt to all the changes that occur in life, emotional or physical, from exercise, work, chemicals, drugs, food, radiation, bacteria, disease, temperature, or simply too many late nights or too much fun."
The body reacts to stress by producing the hormone adrenaline, which throws the whole body into a state of alert. Metabolism, blood pressure and circulation accelerate; immunity and resistance drastically decline; performance suffers.
Enter the ginsengs, with their varied, subtle tonic qualities. The Greek name for this herb, "panax," means "panacea" or cure-all. But the Chinese, who first referred to it 2,000 years ago, more literally called it "ren shen" or "person root," in reference to its physical resemblance to a miniature human form.
" Most exhibit medicinal properties, but each species has a different chemical makeup and has a unique application in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)," says Kim Derek Pritts, author of Ginseng: How to Find, Grow and Use America's Forest Gold (Stackpole). "In general, all true ginseng contains biologically active saponins (chemicals similar to human hormones), essential oils, carbohydrates, sugars, organic acids, nitrogenous substances, amino acids, peptides, vitamins and minerals."
Building Vital Energy
All the ginsengs strengthen, nourish and build Qi, the TCM concept describing basic vital energy circulating through our bodies. Every physical and mental function, from breathing, thinking, nutrition and circulation, is regulated by Qi. Although many of the Native American tribes used the abundant, indigenous Panax quinquefolium ginseng extensively, particularly to increase mental acuity and boost fertility, the herb never has been as popular in North America as it is in Asia. American ginseng traditionally has been a lucrative export crop to China, where the wild native variety suffers from overharvesting. Even today, according to Paul Bergner in The Healing Power of Ginseng & the Tonic Herbs (Prima), 95% of the American ginseng crop is exported to China, where XiYang Shen, or "western sea root," as it is called, is immensely valued and costs double what it does here.
Jacques MoraMarco, author of The Complete Ginseng Handbook: A Practical Guide for Energy, Health and Longevity (Contemporary), as well as a licensed acupuncturist and doctor of Eastern medicine, suggests American ginseng for a slight energy boost. The moderate effect of American ginseng is considered a more appropriate tonic to the intensity of our pace and diet.
Variations on a Theme
In TCM terms, American ginseng cools and moistens, as well as lubricates and strengthens the body. It is reputed to reduce fevers and night sweats and alleviate hot, dry lung problems like smoker's cough. With its emollient qualities, American ginseng is considered to treat dry, wrinkled skin effectively.
The Bolder Energizer
Asian ginseng, which includes red Korean panax, is a bolder energizer taken by those who feel depleted from anemia, blood loss, cardiovascular weakness, injury, shock or trauma, as well as the disabling effects of age. In general, Asian ginseng is warming and stimulating, urging the body to run faster.
Siberian ginseng, though botanically not a true ginseng, still acts similarly to Asian ginseng in its reputed power to control stress, boost energy, support the immune system, enhance performance and increase longevity. Called Wu Cha Seng in Chinese, Siberian ginseng is perceived by natural practitioners as an ideal herb for the healthy who want to lift both stamina and endurance. Experts believe it counteracts the effects of cortisol, the stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to injury, pain or emotional turmoil.
Natural Energy Boosters
The herbal pharmacopeia includes several other natural energy boosters available in various forms-shakes and bars for those on the run-loaded with nutrition absent from commercial snacks. Some choices: • Ginkgo biloba-used in Chinese medicine to heat the body and increase sexual energy. Ginkgo enthusiasts take this herb to increase the supply of oxygen to the brain and generally increase circulation. • Gotu kola-may stimulate the central nervous system and help eliminate excess fluid, thereby reducing fatigue. • Astragalus-a Chinese herb that enhances energy and builds the immune system. It is credited with strengthening digestion, improving metabolism, increasing appetite, combating diarrhea and healing sores. • Schisandra-also a Chinese herb, treats respiratory illness, insomnia and irritability and rejuvenates sexual energy. Its mild adaptogens help the body to handle stress. • Licorice-is a favored endocrine toner in Chinese medicine. It is reputed to support the adrenals, the pair of small glands directly above the kidneys that secrete steroidal hormones, norepinephrine and epinephrine, the "fight or flight" hormones. People with high blood pressure or edema, or pregnant women, should avoid it. • Ashwagandha-an Ayurvedic herb used for thousands of years in the traditional healing of India as a potent strength builder for men and women.
Experienced herbal practitioners acquire an impressive and fascinating store of knowledge and experience-you'll find it helpful to visit one as you begin your course of ginseng or other energy-boosting herbs.
When you visit a TCM practitioner, you'll notice that she evaluates your body's condition through an extremely careful examination of all the different systems: Several pulse points are felt in order to ferret out and detect troubling abnormalities. The condition and color of the tongue is observed to decipher digestive disorders. In addition, your urine may be examined to determine other imbalances and specific health problems.
In many cases, your TCM practitioner will recommend ginseng as an adaptogen that can give you an overall boost. When taking ginseng, follow the directions on the package. Note: in some cases, you may want to consume a little bit less if you suffer headaches, insomnia or high blood pressure. Consult your health practitioner if you are afflicted with either acute inflammatory disease or bronchitis.
Then take comfort in the eternal soothing wisdom of Chinese Traditional Medicine. In the first century A.D., the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (The Divine Husbandman's Classic of the Materia Medica) effusively described ginseng and the tonic herbs in this beguiling and intriguing manner: "The first class of drugs...are considered to perform the work of sovereigns. They support human life and they resemble heaven. They are not poisonous regardless of the quality and duration of administration."
Home on the Range
June 13, 2005 03:52 PM
Home on the Range
by Janis Jibrin, RD Energy Times, September 5, 1999
Got chicken? Americans can't seem to get enough of this bird. Last year each of us ate, on average, just about 80 pounds of chicken, a whopping increase over the 49 pounds we each devoured in 1980 and an eight-pound increase from 1995. Part of this food's popularity comes from its lean image as a healthier, less fatty alternative to red meat (don't forget to take the fatty skin off). Chicken's also a cheap protein source: At many popular supermarkets you'll find weekly specials at about a dollar a pound.
But at health food markets, chicken can cost upwards of $1.69 a pound. These birds may be touted as raised in an organic, stress-free environment and on a vegetarian diet, free of antibiotics. For many people, this poultry is a better buy.
The Alternative Chicken
Most of the supermarket chicken you pick up in grocery refrigerated cases are broilers, birds bred to mature in about eight weeks. In comparison, in the '60s, chickens needed 14 weeks to become adult poultry. Conventionally-raised broilers eat grain mixed with whatever's cheapest on the market, such as recycled cooking oil that's been used to fry fast foods and animal parts.
These birds reside in chicken coops the size of football fields and don't see the light of day until transported to the slaughterhouse. On the other roost, alternatively raised chickens are brought up in a variety of ways (see box), but usually enjoy a more relaxed life and diet.
Chickens on the farm receive antibiotics for two reasons: To fight off the diseases that can run rampant through a crowded chicken coop and to encourage faster growth.
Antibiotics Stimulate Growth
Mark Cook, PhD, professor of animal science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, explains, "Gut bacteria trigger an immune system assault, which makes chickens a little feverish, suppresses appetite and slows growth. Antibiotics stimulate growth indirectly, by keeping bacteria levels down, and preventing the immune reaction." When birds get sick, they often get dosed with even more antibiotics.
This widespread antibiotic use has come home to roost and may contribute to the growth of bacteria that, frequently exposed to chemicals, have evolved ways to keep from being killed by pharmaceuticals.
This development threatens human health. Bacterial infections that people contract, once easily cured by penicillin or other drugs, are now tougher to eradicate. For instance, campylobactor, a common bacteria found in chicken, and responsible for some food poisonings, now demonstrates signs of resistance to drugs like floroquinolones. A powerful class of antibiotics, floroquinolones used to dependably conquer this infection.
"Floroquinolones are an extremely important class of antibiotics, used to treat many types of infections such as urinary tract infection, a wide variety of gastrointestinal illnesses, pneumonia, almost everything," says Kirt Smith, DVM, PhD, epidemiologist, acute disease epidemiology section, Minnesota Department of Health.
A study by Dr. Smith, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (340, 1999: 1525-32), showed that the percent of floroquinolone-resistant campylobactor appearing in infected people in his state-Minnesota-climbed from a little over 1% in infected people during 1992 to 10.2% in 1998. He and other scientists strongly suspect that the rise is a direct consequence of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) decision to allow floroquinolones in poultry feed beginning in 1995.
Although it was nearly impossible for Dr. Smith to trace the precise origin of campylobactor poisoning, he believes chicken was usually the source-and not just U.S. chicken. Many of the infected people had returned from Mexico and other countries.
"Sales of floroquinolones for poultry use in Mexico has increased dramatically," notes Dr. Smith.
Many alternative chicken producers do not use any antibiotic-laced feed at all. Other farmers adjust the feed to lower gut pH, making it more acidic and lowering chances of bacteria. At the U. of Wisconsin, Dr. Cook is developing antibodies to suppress the immune response to bacteria so chickens won't need antibiotics to spur growth. Buying and dining on chicken raised with little or no antibiotics could beneficially lower your risk of contracting a hardy bacterial infection. Better to catch campylobactor from an antibiotic-free chicken than a conventional chicken, speculates Dr. Cook. "There's less likelihood the bug will be resistant, and a better chance your problem can be cured with antibiotics," he explains.
And, looking beyond your own immediate health risk, buying antibiotic-free chicken makes a small contribution to stopping the spread of antibiotic resistant bugs. A Matter of Taste Conventionally raised chickens get little exercise and live only eight weeks, so they're tender but bland.
"There's not much taste in a modern chicken. Free range or organically grown, older birds usually have more taste," notes Dr. Cook.
The days of barnyard chickens happily clucking and strutting around in picturesque nature have disappeared with the family farm. Today, chickens lead a meager existence. After hatching, baby chicks are tossed into a gigantic hen house that is home to up to 30,000 birds. Their short lives are lived within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandated 3/4 square foot per chicken. In that squeeze, birds can catch "chicken influenza," especially in winter when it's too cold to let in much fresh air.
Laying hens don't experience much more of a peaceful existence. These birds live their years with about five other hens, so crowded they can't flap their wings. Cages, suspended in the air, let eggs roll into a holding area. So they don't peck each other, hens are often debeaked, a painful process that can cause infection.
Hens go through natural laying and "dry" Cycles. Growers manipulate this cycle by "forced molting," depriving hens of food for four to 14 days to keep them constantly laying. By the end of two years, hens are worn out. Their inactivity weakens their bones enough that electrical stunning, the usual method for knocking chickens out before slaughter, shatters their bones. So some wind up being plucked and boiled alive, according to Mary Finelli, program director for farm animals and public health at the Humane Society of the United States. The meat from these hens, tougher than other birds, was probably in your deli lunch sandwich. It's also used in the school lunch program or may end up in dog food.
"Generally, organically-grown broilers and hens have it better because room to move is part of the organic certification process," says Finelli. Finelli suggests visiting chicken suppliers to find out how chickens are treated. Or, she advocates a Humane Society book listing reliable firms. For a local producer call the society: 202-452-1100. According to a Consumer Report report, some growers force chickens out the last week of their lives to brand them "free range." So free range isn't a prime standard for choosing a decently raised chicken. However, turkeys thrive outdoors, so choosing free-range turkey is often a good idea for better tasting poultry.
In any case, organic is your best bet for chicken without pesticides. Make it your main choice for your 80 pound yearly consumption!
To fight cruel treatment of poultry:
• Forced Molting Ban. Forced molting is shocking hens for more eggs. To support petitions banning forced molting write: Docket Manage-ment Branch, FDA, Dept. Health & Human Serv-ices, 12420 Parklawn Drive, Room 1-23, Rock-ville, MD 20857. Include docket # 98P-0203/CP
• Downed Animal Protection Bill (House Bill 443, Senate Bill S515) spares some animals from the tortuous journey from chicken house to slaughterhouse. Mandates humane euthanization.