Search Term: " Decline "
Powerful antioxidant helps us burn fat, lose weight and avoid premature aging
April 27, 2019 11:30 AM
Milk thistle is known for being good for the liver, but researchers are finding more and more evidence that points to an antioxidant called glutathione being a key component as well. The powerful antioxidant called glutathione allows our bodies to kick up their natural fat burning abilities which helps trigger weight loss in an almost effortless manner. Studies have also shown that a deficiency in glutathione can cause weight gain through a reduction in mitochondrial fat burning.
"Glutathione is synthesized from the amino acids cysteine, glycine and glutamate. But, as we age, two of these “building blocks” – cysteine and glycine – decline, causing shortfalls in glutathione production."
Read more: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/antioxidant-lose-weight-2793.html
Daily consumption of tea may protect the elderly from cognitive decline, study suggests
March 23, 2017 06:44 AM
A recent study of almost a thousand Chinese seniors aged 55 and over strongly suggests that drinking tea daily can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline by at least fifty percent, and as much as eighty-six percent in some. Starting in 2003, the seniors' tea drinking habits were tracked for two full years. Then their cognitive function was assessed every two years, ending in 2010. Possible confounding factors were controlled carefully. At this point in time, scientists believe this finding is due the bioactive compounds in tea.
Read more: Daily consumption of tea may protect the elderly from cognitive decline, study suggests
Antioxidants to Protect Against Memory Loss and Cognitive Decline, Part 2 of 2
February 22, 2017 04:59 PM
In this article, author Mark Becker highlights in part 2 of his segment about how antioxidants are used to protect against memory loss and cognitive Decline and support brain health. Scientists studied the effects on mice in a 2012 University of Illinois study showing that mice exposed to caffeine were able to form new memories 33% faster than non-caffeinated mice.
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young: Study
January 13, 2017 10:59 AM
When it comes to keeping your brain young and healthy one of the ways to do so in general is by exercising. The results of a new recent study show that exercise in general can combat cognitive Decline. The recent study has shown that older adults that engage in high amounts of moderate to vigorous physical activity are thirty six percent less likely to have cognitive impairments overall.
"Three years later, the people who did moderate-to-vigorous levels of physical activity were significantly less likely to experience cognitive problems than those who were sedentary or did light physical activity."
6 Vitamins And Minerals That Boost Brain Power - Medical Daily
November 28, 2016 06:59 AM
Every day, we understand more and more about how the human body works. No other organ has required more research than the brain. It is a highly complex organ that uses a balance of essential vitamins and minerals to function properly. If you want your body to perform at its best and help prevent neurological disorders, consuming the proper amount of vitamins such as thiamine, folic acid, and vitamin C is very important. Calcium, magnesium, and zinc are the main minerals that are very important for brain function.
"Nutritional deficiencies have been shown to contribute to the development of psychiatric disorders, age-related cognitive Decline, and developmental disorders."
Boost testosterone with free radical fighting fruits
As we age, hormone levels tend to Decline, more so in women than men. The Decline in testosterone in men is call andropause. This Decline in testosterone is generally slower and can go un-noticed by most men. With the Decline in testosterone, comes less energy and loss of sex drive.
Testes in men produce testosterone and can come under attach by free radicals, called oxidative stress. Excessive free radical activity threatens the testes' ability to make testosterone. It is vital to get plenty of fruits and veggies loaded with polyphenols which fight free radical damage.
Apples and grapes have been praised in traditional lore as wellsprings of health. Modern research has found that these fruits contain polyphenols which are strong antioxidants. Getting plenty of fruits can help lower blood pressure, reduce arterial plaque and fight free radical damage.
Like your mom always said, eat your fruits and veggies, she knew best. Sometimes it is hard to get adequate amounts of fruits and veggies in both adults and children. I suggest that everybody take a fruit and veggie supplement daily to offset poor diets.
DHA Food Sources?
October 31, 2012 11:58 AM
DHA, or Docosahexaenoic acid, plays an important role in the structure of the retina, cerebral cortex, sperm, and testicles. When levels of this substance Decline, it has negative effects on cognitive function. Low levels are also suspect in the onset of Alzheimer's disease.
The best ways to get this omega-3 fatty acid are from natural sources. Babies can get their needs taken care of through breast milk and enriched formula. Adults need to find food sources for their needs.
Food Sources Of DHA
Cold-water varieties of fish are often excellent sources. These include salmon, bluefin tuna, albacore tuna, swordfish, anchovies, herring, sardines, caviar, and fish roe. Other types of seafood are also good sources for DHA, including crab, shrimp, lobster, clams, mussel, octopus, and scallops. Eggs and some organ meats are other sources for this essential fatty acid. For most vegetarians, eating seafood is not an option. An alternative vegetarian source is algae and seaweed. Supplements are another way to get DHA when fish, seafood, seaweed, and algae are not an option.
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 05, 2008 04:15 PM
Positioning purpose: As the body’s biological workforce, enzymes are fundamental to healthy digestion and metabolism, energy production, and immune system balance. Unfortunately, very few people actually consume an adequate amount of enzymes from their day-to-day modern diets. As the body ages, it produces fewer enzymes with each passing year. Over time, the system-wide effects of insufficient enzymes can manifest in a number of unsuspected ways. Hormone and neurotransmitter production can Decline, wounds may not heal as fast, fatigue can become a more regular occurrence, digestion may suffer, and the body may become more susceptible to infection.
Product Description: ChewyZymes™ utilizes National Enzyme’s BioCore system, a broad spectrum digestive enzyme formulation in a natural berry-flavored, vegetarian chewable tablet that is perfectly suitable for both adults and children. It is designed to support improved digestion of meals. Digestive enzymes are essential to the body’s absorption and full use of food. The enzymes in this product are non-GMO. They have been proven in a controlled laboratory study by TNO Nutrition and Foods Research to have efficacy throughout the entire pH range of the digestive system and to not be degraded by acid in the stomach.* Each serving (2 lozenges) is equal to 1 capsule of our popular Optimal Digestive System.
Ideal Users: Ideal for healthy adults and children who may benefit from additional enzymes in their diet.
Complementary Products: Consider taking this product with NOW® BerryDophilus, Kid Vits, or Chewable C.
Recommended Use: Adults: Chew 2 lozenges before a meal. Children: Chew 1 lozenge before a meal. Supporting Science
* These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any disease.
Msm Is Good For More Thank Just Joint Health
March 27, 2008 11:07 AM
When asked to think of essential minerals, sulfur is probably not the first item that comes to your mind. But organic forms of this element shine brightly within every cell. No type of sulfur shines more brightly than methylsulfonylmethane, which is commonly known as MSM. MSM helps to form a vital connective tissue component and is best known as a joint supplement. However, skin is made of the same basic stuff, a strong protein called collagen, so it isn’t surprising that MSM also provides cosmetic benefits.
Collagen, which is a mesh of protein fibers that supports all the other skin cells, is what actually holds the skin together. These fibers are extremely flexible, yet very tough, with collagen actually having a greater tensile strength than steel. There are different varieties of collagen: type I through type XII. One of the main reasons that a child’s skin is so soft and smooth is that it is filled with type III collagen, which is the kind found in fast-growing tissue. As the child ages, this type is replaced with the tougher type I collagen. However, as the skin continues to age, the amount of collagen in the body begins to Decline, causing wrinkles, discoloration, and other signs of skin aging.
The protein that is found within collagen is actually loaded with sulfur, which explains why MSM has been shown to restore a softer look to those people who use it. Users of MSM report that hair grows faster and thicker with the use of MSM and nails are also stronger. Some practitioners even found that scleroderma, which is a condition marked by thick, hard skin, actually is improved by the use of MSM.
Joints also contain collagen and MSM delivers sulfur to these tissues, which is what made it a great supplement in the first place. Among people ages 40 to 76 with arthritic knees, MSM improved the symptoms of pain and physical function. MSM is even more effective when taken in conjunction with other joint aids including glucosamine and chondroitin. One study showed that glucosamine and MSM reduced pain and swelling more quickly when they were taken together than when taken separately.
MSM also seems to help ease pain by directly stopping pain signals as they travel along the nerves. This ability has led to its use in treating conditions like back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and tendonitis. Along with younger looking skin, MSM users have reported another use: reductions in allergy miseries. Scientists have discovered that MSM seems to block histamine, which is the chemical that is responsible for allergic reactions, from reaching tissues such as the mucous membranes lining the nose.
Results from studies have been promising, as seasonal allergy sufferers report significant symptom relief and increased energy levels. For pain relief, fewer allergy attacks, and softer smoother skin, MSM is the best choice to provide your body with a healthy boost of sulfur. More information about MSM and its abilities can be found at your local health food store.
Hyaluronic Acid Double Strength 100mg – w/ Proline, Alpha Lipoic Acid & GrapeSeed extract.
April 04, 2007 09:38 AM
Hyaluronic Acid has emerged as one of the most significant anti-aging supplements in the natural products industry. As a mucopolysaccharide that occurs naturally within the human body, the highest concentrations of Hyaluronic Acid are found in the skin, eyes, and articular cartilage. Hyaluronic acid works by absorbing water within the body, which in turn supports the formation of effectiveness of the gel-like matrix that protects healthy cell structures from dehydration and free radical damage. Ongoing studies continue to suggest that it may help support some of the body’s most vital functions.*
Strong, Healthy Joints
At birth and well into our youth, the human body produces ample amounts of Hyaluronic acid. These levels Decline, however, based on our physical activity levels, dietary habits, and other hereditary and environmental factors. Hyaluronic acid is a key component of synovial fluid and cartilage, and serves as one of the body’s most vital natural lubricants. Joint structures lack blood vessels, and there for relay on Hyaluronic acid to transport fluids and nutrients. Many structural and articular challenges have been traced back to insufficient Hyaluronic levels.
Wrinkles and Fine Lines
Healthy, wrinkle-free skin requires a constant supply of water. Without enough, dermal cells located deep below the skin’s surface can becomes deprived of the compounds they need, thus leaving the skin dry and dehydrated. Hyaluronic acid attracts and binds large amounts of water at the cellular level to ensure that the skin has everything it needs to remain smooth, elastic, and youthful-looking.
Some published reports suggest that a child’s ability to produce abundant amounts of Hyaluronic acid may explain why they heal so quickly, often without permanent scarring. Because of the many roles it plays within the body’s connective and epidermal tissues, Hyaluronic acid is becoming more and more accepted as a way to help encourage the body’s natural wound-healing processes.
Vision and Eye Health
In addition to cartilage and synovial fluid, the eyes contain some of the body’s highest concentrations of Hyaluronic acid. In fact, the vitreous humor (the Eye’s Core) is made up almost entirely of Hyaluronic acid. This gel-like structure absorbs shock, supports vision, and protects the retina from being damaged. It is believed that many common vision and ocular problems may be a result of poor Hyaluronic acid production during adulthood.*
Each Vcap contains 100mg of Hyaluronic acid, along with Alpha Lipoic Acid, standardized Grape Seed Extract, and pharmaceutical grade L-Proline for support. Compare Now’s 100mg formula to some 50mg formulas that do not include supporting antioxidants for the same price, and the choice is clear!
Fruit and Vegetable Lightning drink mixes from Natures Plus
February 06, 2007 02:41 PM
Enjoy the Rainbow – the Color Wheel of Fruits and Vegetables
We’ve all heard the statistics, and have probably seen the signs in the produce section of our favorite grocery store: eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day is important,
Chances are also pretty good that we’ve also seen the newest food pyramid, encouraging Americans to “eat a rainbow of frits and vegetables.” That is, choose from the rich variety of colors for the best all-around health benefits.
In this Ask the Doctor, we’re going to look at the unique health components of different colored fruits and vegetables, and why they’re so important. Plus, we’ll learn about supplemental options, like fruit and vegetable drink mixes, for those days when our diets just aren’t that great.
Q. What’s the big deal about fruits and vegetables?
A. Well, for the main reason that they are whole foods – created by nature (or at least generations of farming) and are rich in a variety of nutrients. Processed foods can’t match the health benefits of strawberries or broccoli – items that have fiber, vitamins, and enzymes built right in.
Q. What does “eating a rainbow” of fruits and vegetables really mean?
A. This is simply an easy way of remembering to get as much color variety in your diet as possible to maximize your intake of a broad range of nutrients. The colors of fruits and vegetables are often a tangible clue to the unique vitamins and other healthy substances they contain. Getting a variety of colors, therefore, means getting a variety of the essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and strong.
Enjoying the Rainbow: Fruit and Vegetable Benefits:
Q. Can you tell me a little more about the healthy components of fruits and vegetables?
Let’s take a look at some of the most well-studied and important nutrients:
Quercetin is found in apples, onions and citrus fruits (also is hawthorn and other berries and apple-related fruits usually used in traditional herbal remedies and modern supplements). It prevents LSL cholesterol oxidation and helps the body cope with allergens and other lung and breathing problems.
Clinical studies show that quercetin’s main points of absorption in the body appear to be in the small intestine – about 50%. The rest – at least 47% is metabolized by the colonic micro flora – the beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum. You may consider adding these beneficial bacteria (found in yogurt) either through the diet or a supplemental form.
Ellagic Acid is a component of ellagitannins – dietary polyphenols with antioxidant (and possibly anticancer) properties. Polyphenols are the basic building blocks of many plant-based antioxidants. More complex phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids are created from these molecules.
Ellagic acid is found in many fruits and foods, namely raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates, and walnuts. Clinical studies suggest that ellagitannins and ellagic acid act as antioxidants and anticarcinogens in the gastrointestinal tract.
Ellagitannins are durable antioxidants, and happily, they do not appear to be diminished by processing, like freezing. This means the benefits are still strong, even in frozen packs of raspberries or strawberries, or some of the better multi-ingredient supplement drink mixes.
In scientific studies, ellagic acid also showed an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells, decreasing their ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production. ATP is the molecule that provides the primary energy source for the cells in our bodies. In a sense, ellagic acid seems to deprive cancer cells of their fuel.
Beta-Carotene: Probably the best-known of the carotenoids, beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A. Many vegetables, especially orange and yellow varieties, are rich in this nutrient. Think summer squash, yams and of course, carrots.
Beta-carotene has long been associated with better eyesight, but it has other benefits, too. In a scientific study, beta-carotene decreased cholesterol levels in the liver by 44% and reduces liver triglycerides by 40%.
Lycopene is a carotenoid mostly found in tomatoes, but also in smaller amounts in watermelon and other fruits. Clinical studies have shown that lycopene consumption may decrease the risk of prostate cancer. In fact, high intakes of lycopene are associated with a 30% to 40% reduced risk. And, as good as beta-carotene is, its cousin, lycopene, seems to be an even stronger nutrient, protecting not just against prostate cancer, but heart disease as well.
Lutein is found in many fruits and vegetables, including blueberries and members of the squash family. Lutein is important for healthy eyes, and in fact it is found in high concentrations naturally in the macular region of the retina – where we see fine detail. It is one of the only carotenoids, along with its close sibling zeaxanthin, that is found in the macula and lens of the eye.
Lutein also supports your heart, too. In a scientific study, lutein reduced atherosclerotic lesion size by 43%. In other words, high intakes of lutein may actually help prevent coronary artery disease!
Interestingly, as is the case with lycopene, cooking or processing foods with lutein may actually make it more easily absorbed.
In clinical studies, men with high intakes of lutein (and its close cousin, zeaxanthin, found in broccoli and spinach) had a 19% lower risk of cataract, and women had a 22% decreased risk, compared to those whose lutein intakes were much lower.
Vitamin C: One of the best-known nutrients out there, vitamin C keeps our immune system strong; speeds wound healing, and promote strong muscles and joints. A free-radical fighter, vitamin C prevents oxidative damage to tissues, builds strength in collagen and connective tissue, and even reduces joint pain.
Sources of vitamin C are scattered throughout the spectrum of fruits and vegetables.
Potassium: Most Americans are deficient in potassium. For the most part, it’s hard to get too much of this valuable mineral. Potassium does great things for our hearts. Higher intakes of dietary potassium from fruits and vegetables have been found in clinical research to lower blood pressure in only 4 weeks.
Many researchers believe that the typical American diet has led to a state of chronic, low-grade acidosis – too much acid in the body. Potassium helps change pH balance to a more alkaline environment in the body and increases bone density.
This was proven in the long-running Framingham Heart Study which showed that dietary potassium, (along with magnesium and fruit and vegetable intake) provided greater bone density in older individuals.
Fiber is another food component many just don’t get enough of – especially if they’re eating a “typical American diet.” Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber. However, fiber from a good fruits and vegetable drink mix should be derived from inulin and chicory root. This soluble fiber source not only adds to the overall amount of fiber you need (25 to 38 grams a day), but also provides a nice “nesting ground” for the beneficial bacteria that populate the intestines. And, even though some fiber has a bad rap for inhibiting mineral absorption, inulin and chicory root are “bone building” fibers – they actually help the body absorb calcium.
Flavonoids are an overarching term that encompasses flavonols, anthocyanidins, and flavones, isoflavones, proanthocyanidins, Quercetin and more. They are almost everywhere: in fruits, vegetables, grains, herbs, nuts and seeds – even in the coffee, wine and tea we drink. Flavonoids are responsible for the colors in the skins of fruits and the leaves of trees and other plants.
Flavonoids have many health benefits. They can help stop the growth of tumor cells and are potent antioxidants. Additionally, flavonoids have also been studied for their ability to reduce inflammation.
Anthocyanins: High on the list of important “visible” nutrients are anthocyanins. They color fruits and vegetables blue and red.
Anthocyanins are members of this extended family of nutmeats, the flavonoids. Typically found in high amounts in berries, anthocyanins are readily absorbed in the stomach and small intestine.
As antioxidants, anthocyanins dive deep into cell membranes, protecting them from damage. IT may be one reason why the anthocyanins from blueberries are considered such an important component in battling neuronal Decline, like Alzheimer’s. Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are also excellent sources of this flavonoids group.
SDG lignans, (short for secoisolariciresinol diglucoside) are polyphenolic components of flaxseed, pumpkin and other herbal sources. Much of the recent research surrounding lignans has focused on flaxseed. In scientific and clinical studies, lignans from flaxseed support hormonal balance and may have cancer-preventing abilities. In fact, in one study, flaxseed lignans reduced metastatic lung tumor by 82% compared to controls.
The lignans in pumpkin seed, also considered a major source, target 5-alpha reductase activity.
This enzyme catalyzes the conversion of testosterone into the more potent dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT, like testosterone, is a steroid hormone or androgen. Androgens are responsible for the development and maintenance of masculine sex characteristics in both men and women. Excess levels of DHT can cause serious problems with prostate or bladder health. That’s why modulation of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme is so important – it helps maintain healthy testosterone and DHT levels. By balancing the levels of these key hormones, pumpkin seed lignans provide protection for prostate and bladder cells.
In addition, pumpkin seed has been shown to modulate the enzyme aromatase. Aromatase is present in the estrogen-producing cells of the adrenal glands, ovaries, testicles, adipose tissue, and brain. Aromatase converts testosterone, an androgen, into estradiol, and estrogen.
Inhibition of the aromatase conversion can help maintain a balance of healthy testosterone levels in women, which has been shown to strengthen pelvic muscles and reduce incidence of incontinence.
In fact, a clinical study, involving a pumpkin extract in conjunction with soy, resulted in significant support for bladder health. After two weeks of supplementation, 23 of the 39 postmenopausal women enrolled in the study showed great improvement in urinary frequency and sleep. By the end of the six week study, 74.4 percent of participants found pumpkin extract safely and significantly improved “nocturnia,” that is, the need to urinate frequently at night. For individuals with 2 to 4 episodes of nocturnia prior to the stud, and 81.8% improvement was seen – also showing great improvement in sleep quality. After all, if you don’t have to wake up every couple of hours to go to the bathroom you’re bound to get better sleep.
Beta glucan: Mushrooms are intense immune-boosting powerhouses due to their beta-glucan content. Three well-studied power-house mushrooms that contribute beta glucan to the diet include maitake, reishi and shiitake.
The most significant constituents of mushrooms are long chain polysaccharides (molecules formed from many sugar units) known as beta-glucan. These huge molecules act as immunoregualtors in the human body, helping to stabilize and balance the immune system.
This includes specific support of white blood cells, or lymphocytes, the primary cells of the immune system. Lymphocytes fall broadly into three categories: T cells, B cells, and natural killer (NK) cells.
In one clinical study, 165 patients with various types of advanced cancer were given maitake mushroom compounds alone or with chemotherapy. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was observed in 58% of liver cancer patients, and 62% of lung cancer patients. Plus, when maitake was taken in addition to chemotherapy, the immune cell activities were enhanced 1.2 to 1.4 times, compared with chemotherapy alone.
In another clinical study, researchers determined that Reishi increased the number of cancer killing white blood cells and made them more deadly to cancer cells.
And, in a scientific study of human breast cancer and myeloma cancer and myeloma cancer cell lines, shiitake compounds provided a 51% antiproliferative effect on the cells – inducing “apoptosis’ – the programmed cell death that should occur naturally.
While beta-glucan are distributed throughout the mushroom body, the beta-glucan concentrations are significantly higher in the mycelium – the interwoven fibers or filaments that make up the “feeding structure” of the mushroom.
Bioflavonoids are commonly found in bright yellow citrus fruits, including lemons, limes and oranges. They are responsible for the bright pigment found in the skin of the fruit, and are considered a “companion” to vitamin C, seeming to extend the value of the nutrient within the body.
Hesperidin is just one of the valuable bioflavonoids found in citrus. Hesperidin appears to lower cholesterol levels, as well as support joint collagen in examples of rheumatoid arthritis.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG):
Polyphenols, most notably EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, are well-studied and powerful components of tea. EGCG has been shown to reduce colon and breast cancer risk. Green tea also boosts the immune system and encourages T-cell formation – part of the front-line defense of our bodies against sickness and disease.
Q. I’ve been seeing articles about fruits, vegetables and supplements touting “high ORAC value.” What does this mean?
ORAC is an acronym for Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity, and is simply a measurement of antioxidant activity of nutrients. Oxygen radicals, or free radicals, are unstable molecules. They grab electrons from other cells to use for themselves, and in the process can damage them. It is believed that free radical activity plays a role in the development of many diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and also plays a role in aging.
Antioxidants help prevent this damage by “loaning out” extra electrons to stabilize free radicals/ Consider any fruit or vegetable with a high ORAC rating as having a lot of “antioxidant power.”
I know I should eat more fruits and vegetables, but it just seems so hard to get five servings a day.
The number one excuse I hear for not buying frits and veggies is that “fruits and vegetables are too expensive.” But are they really? Certainly, fresh foods that aren’t in season and have to be shipped a distance can be a bit pricey. If anyone added up how much spend on fast food, or prepackaged or processed snacks, it would probably be shocking.
Luckily, there are many ways to get your “Daily 5”. For instance, frozen fruits and veggies retain much of their nutrient profile. They can be an excellent alternative when certain foods are out of season. So too, are fruit and vegetable drink mixes – excellent supplemental sources of some of the nutrients our bodies need most.
More recently, the American
Of course, for people not accustomed to the fiber in fruits and veggies, there is some reason to think it’ll increase gas. When cell walls break down, and fiber passes through the system, it can create flatulence. Folks who eat fruits and vegetables every day generally don’t have this problem. Their systems are already accustomed to it.
For those just starting out on a better diet, however, start slowly – it helps your body adapt. Cooking vegetables can help, too, because it begins breaking down the cell walls early on.
One thing is certain, however. The “Typical American Diet” and good health are mutually exclusive. The increase in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension all point to the abuse our bodies suffer by eating diets high in fatty meats, processed sugars, and refined grains.
Q. Can I just drink fruit and vegetables drinks in place of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables?
Green drinks and fruit and vegetable drink mixes aren’t meant to replace whole foods, but they can be an excellent substitute when you’re rushed or traveling or just trying to fill everyday nutritional gaps. Their whole food ingredients absorb very easily and gently in the gut, and many of these drink mixes contain healthy doses of fiber, too.
Green drink mixes and food-based drink mixes combine many colorful fruits and vegetables and sometimes grasses in a healthy, mixable supplement assortment. While there have been many advancements in the field of green drinks, there are only a few that take the primary reason we eat into consideration: taste!
Happily, there are some companies out there with great-tasting drink mixes that also formulate based on the color concept, ensuring you get the broadest assortment of nutrients from a full range of fruit and vegetable colors to promote optimal health.
High-quality fruit and vegetable drink mixes offer the best from nature’s color wheel in a convenient and great-tasting supplement. So, the next tie you feel like taking a coffee break – try a fruit and veggie break instead. Your body and spirit will thank you.
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number
June 13, 2005 07:43 PM
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number by Carl Lowe Energy Times, March 10, 2004
As women age, their physical needs shift. The health challenges that face a woman in her thirties do not match those of a woman in her fifties.
At the same time, some basic health needs stay constant: At any age, every woman requires a wealth of vitamins, minerals and the other natural chemicals that fruits, vegetables and supplements supply. She also constantly needs families and friends to support her spiritual health.
As the internal workings of your body alter, your lifestyle must stay abreast of those adjustments. Peak health demands a finely tuned health program designed with your individual needs-and your stage of life-in mind.
Ages 30 to 45
When it comes to maintaining health, younger women might seem to have it easier than older women. If they exercise and stay in shape, they maintain more stamina than women 10 to 20 years their senior.
Unfortunately, many women in this age group mistakenly think they don't have to be as careful about their lifestyle habits and their eating habits as they will in later decades. But even if your health doesn't seem to suffer from poor eating choices or a sedentary lifestyle right away, your foundation for health in later life suffers if you don't care for yourself now.
By age 45 you should have established the good habits that will carry you successfully through the aging process. As an added bonus, good lifestyle habits pay immediate dividends. If you pay attention to your nutrients and get plenty of physical activity when younger, you'll feel more energetic and probably enjoy better emotional health.
Set Health Goals
According to Gayle Reichler, MS, RD, CDN, in her book Active Wellness (Avery/Penguin), good health at any age doesn't just come to you-you have to plan for it. In order to stick to good habits, she says, "living a healthy lifestyle needs to be satisfying." Reichler believes that you need to picture your health goals to achieve them: "Every successful endeavor first begins in the mind as an idea, a thought, a dream, a conviction." Good health at this age and in later years requires a concrete strategy and visualization of how your body can improve with a healthy lifestyle.
Your long-term health goals at this age should include an exercise program that will allow you to reach a physically fit old age with a lowered risk of disability. In addition, your short-term plans should encompass losing weight, staying optimistic, living life with more vim and vigor, increasing your capacity for exercise and lowering your stress.
As Reichler points out, "Your long-term goal and your ideal vision establish what you want to achieve....[You should do] something good...for yourself every day and every week that makes your life easier and more consistent with your goals."
Develop an Eating Plan
Today, the average American gains about two pounds annually. As a result, every year a greater portion of the US population is obese and overweight. By controlling your food intake earlier in life, you may be able to avoid this weight gain. In his book Prolonging Health (Hampton Roads), James Williams, OMD, recommends basic changes to your diet that can provide long-term support of your health:
Get Supplemental Help
If you're in your thirties or forties and you don't take at least a multivitamin, start taking one today! A large body of research shows that taking vitamin and mineral supplements over a long period of time significantly supports better health.
Calcium and vitamin D are two of the most important supplemental nutrients, helping to build stronger bones now that can withstand the bone-loss effects of aging.
Calcium can also help keep your weight down. One study of younger women found that for every extra 300 milligrams of calcium a day they consumed, they weighed about two pounds less (Experimental Biology 2003 meeting, San Diego).
In the same way, taking vitamin D supplements not only helps strengthen your bones, it can also lower your risk of multiple sclerosis (Neurology 1/13/04). In this study, which looked at the health records of more than 180,000 women for up to 20 years, taking D supplements dropped the chances of multiple sclerosis (although eating vitamin D-rich foods did not have the same benefit). And if you're thinking about having children at this age, a multivitamin is crucial for lowering your baby's risk of birth defects and other health problems. A study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that women who take multivitamins during pregnancy lower their children's risk of nervous system cancer by up to 40% (Epidemiology 9/02).
" Our finding, combined with previous work on reducing several birth defects with vitamin supplementation and other childhood cancers, supports the recommendation that mothers' vitamin use before and during pregnancy may benefit their babies' health," says Andrew F. Olshan, MD, professor of epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health. "We believe physicians and other health care providers should continue to educate women about these benefits and recommend appropriate dietary habits and daily dietary supplements."
In particular, Dr. Olshan feels that folic acid (one of the B vitamins), and vitamins C and A, are particularly important for lowering the risk of childhood cancers and birth defects.
Ages 45 to 55
When you reach this in-between age-the time when most women have moved past childbearing age but haven't usually fully moved into the post-menopausal stage-you enjoy a propitious opportunity to take stock of your health and plan for an even healthier future. One thing that may need adjustment is your sleep habits, as sleeplessness is a common problem for women in this age group. Even if you haven't been exercising or watching your diet until now, it's not too late to start. Making lifestyle changes at this age can still improve your chances for aging successfully.
For instance, it is at these ages that women should have their heart health checked. Research published in the journal Stroke (5/01) shows that having your cholesterol and blood pressure checked at this time more accurately shows your future chances of heart disease than having it checked at a later date after menopause, in your late fifties.
" The premenopausal risk factors may be a stronger predictor of carotid atherosclerosis [artery blockages] because they represent cumulative risk factor exposure during the premenopausal years, whereas the risk factors...during the early postmenopausal years have a shorter time for influence," says Karen A. Matthews, PhD, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In other words, Dr. Matthews' research shows that if you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol before menopause, you are at serious risk for a stroke or heart attack soon after menopause: These are important reasons that you need to start improving your health habits immediately.
Increase in Heart Disease
Before menopause, a woman's hormones and other physiological characteristics usually hold down her chance of heart disease. After menopause, when hormones and other bodily changes occur, the risk of heart attacks and stroke in women rises significantly. (Heart disease is the leading killer of women.) At least part of this increased risk is linked to the postmenopausal decrease in estrogen production.
Dr. Matthews studied about 370 women in their late forties, measuring their weight, their BMI (body mass index, an indication of body fat compared to height), blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Ten years later, after the women had entered menopause, she and her fellow scientists used ultrasound to measure blockages in these women's neck arteries (a sign of heart disease).
The researchers found that indications of potential heart problems (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight) when women were in their forties did indeed forecast future difficulties.
" Women who had elevated cholesterol, higher blood pressures and increased body weight before menopause had increased blood vessel thickening and atherosclerotic plaque formation in the neck arteries after menopause. Such changes in the carotid arteries are associated with an increased heart attack and stroke risk," says Dr. Matthews.
Heart Health Factors
The four main lifestyle factors you should adjust at this age to support better heart function are diet, stress, exercise and weight. According to Dr. James Williams, "[M]ore than any other cause, dietary factors are the most critical factor in cardiovascular disease." He recommends eliminating "dietary saturated fatty acids as found in flame-broiled and fried meats." He also urges women to eat more fish and poultry, consume organic fruits and vegetables and cut back on refined sugar.
Stress becomes an ever more important heart disease factor at this age as estrogen begins to drop.
" Our study [in the lab] indicates that stress affects estrogen levels and can lead to the development of heart disease-even before menopause," says Jay Kaplan, PhD, of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (The Green Journal 3/02).
Dr. Kaplan's research shows that stress in women ages 45 to 55 may reduce estrogen earlier in life and make women more susceptible to the arterial blockages that lead to heart disease. "We know from [lab] studies that stress can lower estrogen levels to the point that health is affected," he says.
Stress can also hurt bone health: In a study of 66 women with normal-length menstrual periods, estrogen levels were low enough in half of the women to cause bone loss, making the women susceptible to osteoporosis.
Exercise and Weight
Although exercise used to be considered to be mainly a young woman's activity, the thrust of recent research suggests that physical activity actually becomes more important to health as you get older.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that exercising and keeping your weight down is probably the most important thing you can do to lower your risk of heart disease as you enter your forties and fifties (Am J Prev Med 11/03).
Of the people who took part in this study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who performed the most exercise were thinner and had a 50% chance less of dying of heart disease than overweight nonexercisers.
" The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, a researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.
An added benefit of exercise: If you burn up calories exercising, you can eat more and not have to worry as much about being overweight.
Supplements and Diet
If you're a woman at midlife, a multivitamin and mineral is still good nutritional insurance. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables are also important for getting enough phytochemicals, the health substances in plants that convey a wealth of health benefits.
As you enter this age group, your immune system gradually slows down. To help support immune function, eating produce rich in antioxidant nutrients, and supplementing with antioxidants like vitamins C and E as well as carotenoids, can be especially important. For example, a study of people with ulcers found that people with less vitamin C in their stomachs are more likely to be infected with Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that can cause peptic ulcers and is linked to stomach cancer (J Amer Coll Nutr 8/1/03).
This research, which looked at the health of about 7,000 people, found that vitamin C probably helps the immune system fend off this bacterial infection.
" Current public health recommendations for Americans are to eat five or more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day to help prevent heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases," says Joel A. Simon, MD, MPH, professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.
Calcium and Bones
At midlife, calcium continues to be a vital mineral for supporting bone health.
According to Gameil T. Fouad, PhD, "It has been routinely shown that a woman's calcium status and level of physical activity (specifically, the degree to which she participates in weight-bearing exercise) are positively associated with bone mineral density. It is less well appreciated that this is a process which takes place over the course of a lifetime."
Dr. Fouad adds that calcium works in concert with other vitamins and minerals to keep bones healthy: "Research in the United Kingdom involving nearly 1,000 premenopausal women over age 40 illustrates those women with the highest bone density tended to have the highest intake of calcium. Surprisingly, this study also demonstrated that calcium does not act alone: those women with the best bone health also had the highest intakes of zinc, magnesium and potassium."
Dr. Fouad stresses that supplements should go together with a lifestyle that includes enough sleep and exercise to help the body stay in top shape.
" As a general guideline," he says, "a woman concerned with her mineral intake should take concrete steps to make sure she is getting adequate rest, is eating a well-balanced diet focused on fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein as well as getting adequate exercise....A multi-mineral containing bio-available forms of zinc, magnesium, copper and selenium is probably a safe addition to anyone's routine. Taking these proactive steps dramatically reduces the chances that deficiencies will arise."
Ages 55 and Beyond
Entering the post-menopausal phase of life can present challenging opportunities for a new perspective on life and health. While some signs of aging are inevitable, experts who have looked at how the human body changes with age are now convinced that healthy lifestyle habits can improve how well you can think, move and enjoy life well past age 55.
As Dr. Williams notes, "In your fifties, the force of aging is undeniably present: Your body shape changes and organ function Declines, both men and women have a tendency to gain weight....Heart disease becomes more common, energy and endurance are considerably reduced and your memory begins to slip."
But Dr. Williams also points out that you don't have to age as rapidly as other people do. He believes you should employ a "natural longevity program...[that starts] to reverse the course of aging as early as possible."
One key to staying vital as you age is your outlook on life, an aspect of life that's greatly enhanced by strong social ties.
Avoiding the Aging Slowdown The latest research shows that one of the most crucial ways to slow the effects of aging is to exercise and keep your weight down. It won't necessarily be easy, though. The change in hormonal balance at this age makes the body more prone to extra pounds (Society for Neuroscience Meeting, 11/12/03).
" In women, it has been demonstrated that major weight increases often occur during menopause, the time in a woman's life in which cyclic ovarian function ends and the ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone Decline," says Judy Cameron, PhD, a scientist in the divisions of reproductive sciences and neuroscience at the Oregon Health & Science University.
In Dr. Cameron's lab trials, she has found that the decrease in estrogen after menopause "resulted in a 67% jump in food intake and a 5% jump in weight in a matter of weeks."
In other words, the hormonal changes you undergo as enter your late fifties causes your appetite to grow as well as your waistline: Developments that increase your chances of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and joint problems.
Vigilance against this weight gain is necessary to save your health: Start walking and exercising. Research on exercise in people aged 58 to 78 found that getting off the couch for a walk or other physical activity not only helps control weight but also helps sharpen your thinking and helps you become more decisive (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2/16-20/04, online edition). This recent study, done at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, found that performing aerobic exercise improved mental functioning by 11% (on a computer test).
" We continue to find a number of cognitive benefits in the aerobic group," says Arthur F. Kramer, PhD, a professor of psychology at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois. "The brain circuits that underlie our ability to think-in this case to attend selectively to information in the environment-can change in a way that is conducive to better performance on tasks as a result of fitness." In simple terms, that means that walking at least 45 minutes a day boosts brain power as well as protecting your heart.
An Herb for Menopause
The physical changes that accompan> y menopause can be uncomfortable. But traditional herbal help is available: Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), an herb used for eons by aging women, has been shown in recent studies to be both safe and effective (Menopause 6/15/03).
" This [research] should reassure health professionals that they can safely recommend black cohosh to their menopausal patients who cannot or choose not to take HRT [hormone replacement therapy]," says researcher Tieraona Low Dog, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico Department of Family and Community Medicine.
While HRT has been used to help women cope with menopause, a flurry of studies in the past few years have shown that HRT increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. Instead, black cohosh, which alleviates such menopausal discomforts as hot flashes, has been shown to be much safer.
Keeping Track of Crucial Vitamins
While continuing to take multivitamins and minerals at this age is important, some experts believe that as we grow older, vitamin D supplementation, as well as taking antioxidant nutrients, is particularly vital. Arthritis is a common affliction of aging, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one particularly destructive form of this joint problem. But taking vitamin D can significantly lower your risk of this condition.
When scientists analyzed the diets of 30,000 middle-aged women in Iowa over 11 years, they found that women who consumed vitamin D supplements were 34% less likely to suffer RA (Arth Rheu 1/03).
Other vitamins are equally important to an older woman's well-being. For example, vitamins C and natural E have been found to lower the risk of stroke in those over the age of 55 (Neurology 11/11/03). In this study, smokers who consumed the most vitamin C and natural vitamin E were 70% were much less likely to suffer strokes than smokers whose diets were missing out on these vitamins.
Rich sources of vitamin C in food include oranges and other citrus fruits, strawberries, red and green peppers, broccoli and brussels sprouts. Sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils such as sunflower seed, cottonseed, safflower, palm and wheat germ oils, margarine and nuts.
Saving Your Sight
After age 55, your eyes are particularly vulnerable. Eight million Americans of this age are at risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that destroys structures in the back of the eye necessary for vision (Arch Ophthal 11/03). But you can drop your risk of AMD by taking supplements of antioxidant vitamins and zinc, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute.
Their research shows that a dietary supplement of vitamins C, natural vitamin E and beta carotene, along with zinc, lowers the chances of progressing to advanced AMD in certain at-risk people by about 25%. Daily supplements also reduced the risk of vision loss by about 19%.
The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin also help protect aging eyes. When scientists compared healthy eyes with eyes suffering from AMD, they found that AMD eyes contained lower levels of these vital nutrients (Ophthalmology 2003; 109:1780). Furthermore, they found that levels of these chemicals generally Decline as you grow older.
Healthy at All Ages
When it comes to designing a healthy lifestyle, general rules like these can be followed, but you should individualize your plan to fit your needs. No matter which type of exercises you pick out or what healthy foods you choose, look for a strategy and a plan you can stick to. If you think a selection of foods are good for you but you absolutely hate their taste, chances are you won't be able to stick to a diet that includes them.
The same goes for exercise: Pick out activities that you enjoy and that you can perform consistently. That increases your chance of sticking to an exercise program.
Staying healthy is enjoyable and it helps you get more out of life every day, no matter what stage of life you're in.
The Natural Man
June 10, 2005 03:31 PM
The Natural Man
by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, July 14, 2003
Men face significant health challenges as they age. "When men go through andropause in their late 40s (like women go through menopause) and testosterone drops, these hormonal changes are associated with heart attacks, high cholesterol and diabetes," says Jacob E. Teitelbaum, MD, Director of the Annapolis Research Center for Effective Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Therapy in Maryland.
And although cardiovascular disease and cancer account for about two-thirds of men's deaths, says Michael Castleman, author of Blended Medicine (Rodale), men are also plagued by chronic pain (arthritis, especially from old athletic injuries), sexual problems and mental Decline.
But men, and the women who love them, need not accept Decline as an inevitable sign of aging. A natural man lifestyle makeover can make a difference. "Prostate problems can be significant [for men as they age]," says Jamey Wallace, ND, clinic medical director at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle. "As men get older there can be an enlargement of the prostate that can cause urinary problems, with increased frequency and discomfort. There's a correlation between inactivity and weight gain and perhaps prostate problems as well." Besides lack of exercise, other contributing factors to health problems include a diet loaded with pesticide residues and chemicals, a lack of fiber and an excessive amount of unhealthy fats.
The Stronger Sex?
Women, on average, live five years longer than men. "At every age, American males have poorer health and a higher risk of mortality than females," says David Williams of the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research. The gap in life expectancy between men and women may have both genetic and lifestyle origins. More men smoke than women, and men are twice as likely to be heavy drinkers. A recent study Williams led, published in the American Journal of Public Health, confirms that men's behavior is indeed a contributing factor to longevity or lack thereof. "Men take more risks than women," says Castleman. "Men ride motorcycles, go skydiving and do 'death-defying' things. Sometimes, death wins." A macho attitude can prompt men to practice risky behavior by, say, driving without a seat belt. Men also typically engage in more dangerous occupations like construction or fire fighting.
Get Him to the Health Practitioner
Being macho may also mean men postpone visits to their health practitioners. Women are twice as likely to schedule an annual checkup.
"Men postpone admitting and getting help for problems," says Shoshana Zimmerman, ND, author of My Doctor Says I'm Fine...So Why Do I Feel So Bad? (Blue Dolphin). "They may want to prove they are tough or are preoccupied with their jobs and responsibilities." "Starting in adolescence men feel they can take care of themselves," says Dr. Wallace. Unfortunately, this means that it may take a health crisis like severe pain to prompt a man's visit to a health practitioner. "Men care less about their health, so they don't take care of themselves as well as women do," says Castleman.
Get Him to Take the Long View
"Health problems are a result of decades of poor diet and not enough exercise," says Dr. Wallace.
Dr. Teitelbaum, author of From Fatigued to Fantastic (Avery/Penguin) says, as a rule of thumb, "Things that make you feel good are generally good for you." But there is a difference between a craving, say for sugar, and what makes you feel good. The difference is how you feel an hour after you've eaten something. Sugar may make you feel fatigued; a high-protein diet may make you feel energized. "If you have low energy, that's the time to add eggs and meat. Others need to be vegans. It's really individualized. Listen to your body."
Zinc is an important nutrient for men's health, particularly for the prostate, and can be found in pumpkin seeds. "Sprinkling a small handful on salads on a daily basis or bringing a small bag to the office and nibbling on those can be a helpful adjunct," says Dr. Wallace. Don't overdo zinc supplementation because high levels can lowers HDL-the good cholesterol-levels. If you do use supplements, follow package directions.
By eating different whole foods, you get optimal daily doses of vitamin A (in the form of mixed carotenoids); flavonoids; B vitamins; vitamins C, D, E and K; and important minerals like calcium, boron, manganese and magnesium, the single most critical nutrient. "It's also the one most Americans are deficient in," says Dr. Teitelbaum. "It promotes heart health, improves mental function and mood, helps you relax and sleep better." When sleep is elusive, herbs that can help include wild lettuce, Jamaican dogwood, hops, passionflower and valerian.
For many men, an enlarged prostate is part of aging. Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) may reduce the frequent urge to urinate that can result.
"After age 40, men's levels of testosterone Decline, while levels of other hormones, notably prolactin, increase," says Castleman. "This results in an elevation of the male sex hormone dihydrotestosterone, which is responsible for the overgrowth of prostate tissue that is characteristic of benign prostate enlargement. Many studies have shown that saw palmetto shrinks enlarged prostates and relieves symptoms." It takes about six weeks to work. (Since urinary difficulties can signal several health problems, it's important to consult a trained practitioner first.)
Give Him a Multivitamin
Add a good multivitamin with essential nutrients from a natural food store, says Dr. Wallace. "You'll find vitamins there with bioavailability. You can take something but it may be in a form that you can't assimilate. You need a multivitamin that your body can actually use."
Powdered vitamin formulas can be a good choice, says Dr. Teitelbaum, since they don't have binders or fillers. "You can just put it into a glass of say orange juice or mix it into a smoothie."
In addition, omega-3 oil offers antioxidant protection and anti-inflammatory action, says Dr. Zimmerman: "Especially on the arteries, which protects against plaque buildup."
Get Him Eating Better and Exercising
To help your spouse or significant other improve his health and vitality, start by setting a good example both in nutrition and activity.
"Eat a whole-food diet yourself, include foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains like quinoa, teff and kamut (find them at your local natural food store) full of fiber and B vitamins, instead of refined bread and pasta," says Dr. Wallace. "Choose foods you both like. Go to a natural food store and look through whole food cookbooks, find recipes that use ingredients that you know your spouse likes and try those."
"Spend your time in the produce section, have salads and fruit salads in the fridge at all times, and serve them at all meals," says Castleman.
Make gradual, healthy substitutions, steps you both can live with. For example, replace one meat lunch and dinner a week with a vegetarian alternative, says Castleman. "Make a big pot of hearty bean and vegetable soup a week, and just keep it in the fridge for an easy heat-and-eat meal." You can also broil fish instead of frying it. Use olive or canola oil when cooking.
To get your four to five servings of vegetables each day, eat a five-color salad. "You'll get a variety of nutrients so the body can select what it needs from the different vegetables," says Dr. Wallace.
"Serve more vegetables, at least two with dinner and add fruit into your man's (and your own) diet," says Dr. Zimmerman. "Eating three each of protein, vegetables and fruits per day goes a very long way to improving health." So does drinking plenty of water, eight to ten glasses a day.
Besides providing a good example by eating healthy foods, a woman can do the same thing with exercise. "If a woman wants to start walking she can invite her husband to go along. Thirty minutes of walking every day can be very helpful," says Dr. Wallace. Walking, like sex, keeps the pelvic area active and improves prostate health by stimulating blood flow. Remember, in both diet and exercise, nagging doesn't work-while setting an example and trying to be inclusive, and not demanding, often makes a big difference for better health.
Improove Memory ...
June 09, 2005 05:49 PM
Mesmerizing Memory by Cal Orey Energy Times, January 1, 1999
In the 60s, the same rock 'n' rollers who belted out "One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small," often espoused the belief that certain pills could expand the mind. While counter-culture pill purveyors were pilloried for their pill-popping claims, 90s nutritional research has uncovered a stash of supplements that may amplify mental improvement.
Like a blues singer bending a high note, researchers are now humming with dramatic assertions that certain nutritional supplements can sustain and enhance concentration and memory function. For instance, studies reveal possible benefits for cognitive powers from vitamin C, magnesium and Ginkgo biloba. A recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA 278:1327-1332) said that an extract of Ginkgo biloba "can stabilize and, in some cases, improve the cognitive function and social behavior of demented patients."
A researcher in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences noted that a daily dose of vitamin E may "help protect the brain and its memories from the ravages of time." And the beat goes on: other evidence indicates that zinc, iron and boron may pump up short-term memory attention span and cut the time it takes to perform mental tasks.
Lester Packer, PhD, professor of molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley, told a joint 1996 United Nations-World Health Organization conference on Aging that "there is a growing body of evidence indicating that the free radical theory of aging and aging-related disease is valid," and that dietary and supplemental antioxidants can help fight illness and mental deterioration.
Vitamin E and other memory aids are believed to protect brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, "the ferrymen of the brain's communication system," that influence concentration and memory. Experts say that sustaining the level of these nerve chemicals in the brain can potentially improve all mental processes.
Too much alcohol, for example, commonly causes progressive mental Decline, according to Secrets of the Superyoung (Villard) by David Weeks and Jamie James. The authors also point out that "the memory tends to worsen noticeably after 15 years of alcohol drinking, and much sooner in people who go on massive binges."
"The effects of cigarette smoke are subtler because the poisonous effects of carbon monoxide in each puff are temporarily offset by the alerting effects of the nicotine," they add. Can't remember the name of that singer cavorting in a music video? Tests have shown that smokers are worse at connecting peoples' names to their faces than nonsmokers.
n Learn something new: A second language, musical instrument, or unique puzzles and games keep neurons working like new.
n Turn off the TV: Read. Studies show that passively watching TV requires less concentration than eating cereal. Mental rejuvenation also requires physical activity. Exercise increases oxygen flow to the brain, which supports memory, concentration and cognition. One study has shown that exercise significantly brightened the moods of middle-aged and older women, regardless of whether they were pre- or post-menopausal, with or without hormone replacement therapy.
Supplemental Brain Help
Antioxidants, including the previously mentioned vitamin E (You haven't forgotten vitamin E already, have you?), provide crucial help for vigorous cerebral function. The free radicals created by tobacco smoke, air pollution, ultraviolet light and certain carcinogenic chemicals deconstruct cell membranes and may foster microscopic brain cell havoc. Antioxidant enzymes convert free radicals to more neutral, benign substances and nutritional antioxidants can neutralize free radicals by linking up with them.
Vitamin C, a brainy antioxidant all star, performs so well that, according to Dr. Khalsa, its levels in the brain are almost 15 times higher than in other parts of the body. This nutrient, he asserts, aids mental and physical longevity. In a UCLA study, people who ingested at least 300 mg of vitamin C daily lived more than six years longer than those who ingested less.
Added to this mix, magnesium also scavenges free-radicals, according to Dr. Khalsa. Plus, experts recommend grape seed extract (phytochemicals that protect a wide range of cellular structures) to safeguard nerve cells and mental capacity.
B Vitamins for the Mind
Boron plays a crucial part in mental function. Scientists at the USDA's Human Nutrition Research Center have linked boron deficiencies to chronic lethargy and fatigue. In brain studies, they found that the electrical activity of the gray matter in the boron deficient indicated increased drowsiness and mental sluggishness.
HupA basically protects the brain from free radical damage (due to low levels of antioxidant defenses) and maintains or enhances crucial neurotransmitter action. More specifically, HupA helps reduce the breakdown of acetylcholine, the vital neurotransmitter, and makes this substance more bioavailable. In addition, HupA helps make choline accessible to the brain for the synthesis of acetylcholine, according to a study in Neuropharmacology (30, 1991: 763-768).
Normally, the brain manufactures sufficient levels of the chemical phosphatidylserine, a lecithin-derivative that helps boost neurotransmitter release, but deficiencies of vitamin B12 and folic acid, or of essential fatty acids, may retard that production. Low levels of phosphatidylserine in the brain are related to impaired mental function and depression in the elderly. Scientists reporting in Aging (5, 1993; 123-33) describe "good results" using phosphatidylserine in the treatment of age-related cognitive ills.
Ginkgo Brain Power
Another ingredient in what seems like an alphabet-soup of brain nourishment is DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an omega-3 fat essential for normal brain function. Researchers met recently at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center's Nutrition Information Center to discuss "Keeping Your Brain in Shape: New Insights into DHA." Their findings revealed links between low levels of DHA and Alzheimer's, depression, memory loss, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and certain behavioral traits including aggression and hostility.
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health point out, however, that fish is an excellent dietary source of DHA. In their studies, they discovered that depression rates in Japan and Taiwan, where fish ranks a top spot on the menu, are significantly lower than in North America and Europe.
DHA also is crucial to the neurological development of children, according to findings published in Pediatrics (vol. 101, no. 1, January 1998). Researchers suggest that DHA-rich breast milk should be the model for infant formulas that enhance babies' neurological development. Scientists also have correlated some behavioral problems in children-ADHD, for example-to DHA deficiencies.
If you are a vegetarian, or have other cause for concern about a potential lack of DHA in your diet, you can rely on dietary supplementation of DHA. Bruce J. Holub, PhD, of the University of Guelph in Canada provided vegetarians in his research project with DHA supplements over a 42-day period and substantially increased their DHA blood levels.
The bottom line to enhanced mental performance is to take a balanced approach, says Robert Snider, MD, who specializes in preventive medicine in Massena, New York. "Maintaining brain power includes exercise, stress reduction and good nutrition." The message to keep in mind: Don't lose your nutritional balance or you could lose a piece of your peace of mind.
Recommended Reading: & Brain Builders (Reward Books, 1995), by Richard Leviton.
Brain Longevity (Warner Books, 1997), by Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD.
Omega 3 Oils to Improve Mental Health, Fight Degenerative Diseases and Extend Life (Avery, 1996), by Donald Rudin, MD, and Clara Felix.
Successful Aging (Pantheon, 1998), by John W. Rowe, MD, and Robert L. Kahn, PhD.
Higher Mind - Smart Nutrients for the Performance of a Lifetime...
June 02, 2005 12:18 PM
Our adult years are the time to reap the fruit of an active, meaningful life – appreciated by family and friends who value our experience and knowledge. For some, however, their later years are clouded by a mental Decline that erodes their capacity to enjoy life. More of us are becoming apprehensive about the future health of our minds. Will we still be able to communicate our needs as well as our wisdom? As science focuses its investigative might on the workings of the human brain, new findings suggest that it is possible to enjoy a vital, healthy brain and mind – well into old age. Based on compelling research, Source Naturals formulated HIGHER MIND. It contains the most important Neuroceuticals™ now recognized by nutrition scientists – including phosphatidyl serine, a natural nutrient that promotes cognitive function. The connection is clear: nourish your brain; enrich your life.
To have a healthy, well-functioning brain and nervous system, we need the correct nutrients. Our diets must provide the necessary raw materials for nerve cells to grow, for the synthesis of neurochemicals, and for the maintenance of nerve cell membranes. Nutritional deficiencies can alter the brain’s metabolism, which is expressed by changes in perception and thinking, behavior and mood.
Brain Cells – Issued at Birth
Before birth, neurons (nerve cells) are created at the amazing rate of 15 million per hour. As infants, we have over 100 billion neurons, but this is the most we will ever have because – unlike most other cells in our body – nerve cells do not reproduce. A different strategy is used to replace the neurons that are naturally lost throughout life: nerve cells repair themselves and grow by extending branches of nerve fibers called dendrites (from the Latin word for tree). These are the communication links with other neurons that form the circuitry of the brain. A single neuron may be in contact with up to a hundred thousand others! When the density of this fragile organic communication network decreases, we experience a corresponding Decline in mental acuity.
Brain Cell Membranes
The membrane is the working surface of a cell. It needs to be strong yet flexible, so the cell can maintain its integrity and be able to move and change shape. The membrane regulates the flow of nutrients into the cell and the removal of waste, plus controls the passage of molecular messages from outside the cell to its interior. Membrane ion pumps use a third of the cell’s energy just to maintain the correct ratio of sodium to potassium. In neurons, a rapid exchange of sodium and potassium ions across the nerve membrane is responsible for their unique ability to generate the electrical impulses that are the basis of all communication in the nervous system. As cells age, their membranes become less fluid and more rigid. Key membrane molecules called phospholipids are crucial to the health of neuron membranes, allowing the brain to maintain its youthful quality. The phospholipids in HIGHER MIND – especially phosphatidyl serine and phosphatidyl choline – are essential nutritional supplements for the aging brain.
Phosphatidyl Serine – Key to Cognition
For the past decade, researchers have been investigating the role in brain health of a remarkable neuroceutical, phosphatidyl serine (PS). This key structural molecule is integral to the matrix of fats and proteins that compose cell membranes. Although PS is found in all the cells of the body, its highest concentration is in nerve cell membranes. PS is rarely found in the foods we eat, so the body has to synthesize it, but the process is energy- intensive and becomes less efficient with age. Consequently, our levels of PS tend to Decline as we get older. PS taken as a dietary supplement is well-absorbed, readily reaching the brain, where it helps create more effective, well-structured nerve cell membranes. The positive effects of PS supplementation have been demonstrated by 23 clinical studies with over 1200 human subjects, ages 43 to 90. Consistent and statistically significant results have confirmed the value of PS in improving age-related cognitive Decline, as well as in improving behavioral aspects such as apathy and withdrawal.1 A major study concluded that for one particular measurable parameter of higher mental functions, PS recipients achieved scores of persons roughly 12 years younger.2 Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) is one of the most important proteins the body makes. It enables neurons to extend dendrites out to other neurons, allowing the brain to maintain an effective communication network. In experiments, PS enhanced the production and reception of NGF, which tend to drop off radically with age.3 The effects of PS at the cellular level are manifest in the performance of the brain as a whole. Subjects taking PS showed increased levels of brain energy metabolism. This enhancement corresponded to higher performances on cognitive tests.4
The Chemistry of Thought
Science now understands the role of neurotransmitters in regulating the body’s complex network of behavior. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals used by neurons to communicate with each other. Activated by a neuron’s electrical impulse, neurotransmitters travel between nerve cells, where they excite or inhibit (in various degrees) the electrical impulse in neighboring cells. One of HIGHER MIND’S key strategies is to improve the brain’s ability to produce and use acetylcholine, a key excitatory neurotransmitter. Acetylcholine is essential for both the storage and recall of memory, and partly responsible for concentration and focus. It also plays a significant role in muscular coordination. Patients showing cognitive Decline may exhibit reduced ability to synthesize and utilize acetylcholine.5 The chemical building blocks of acetylcholine and other neurotransmitters are called precursors. The most important one for acetylcholine is DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol). This natural substance is found in various fish, such as anchovies and sardines. Supplements of DMAE (and phosphatidyl choline) promote increased levels of choline in the brain. Acetylcholine is created when an acetyl group is attached to the choline molecule, with the help of choline acetyl transferase (CAT), a key brain enzyme. Acetyl L-carnitine is an amino acid that activates this enzyme. Acetyl L-carnitine may also help reduce lipofuscin deposits in the brain because of its involvement in the metabolism of fatty acids.6 Lipofuscin is composed of oxidized fats and proteins; the brown “age spots” on the back of an elderly person’s hand are made of lipofuscin. The amino acid L-pyroglutamic acid sensitizes the acetylcholine receptor sites on a neuron membrane. A given amount of acetylcholine will then have a larger, more powerful effect. Studies have shown that supplements of L-pyroglutamic acid seem to enhance the ability to focus, remember, and learn.
Total Nutrition for the Brain
The neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenalin are critical to motor coordination, motivation, concentration, and alertness. Like acetylcholine, their production tends to Decline with age. The precursors and activators of dopamine and noradrenalin included in HIGHER MIND are the amino acids N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine and DL-phenylalanine (DLPA), plus folic acid, vitamins B-3, B-6, and C. DLPA is also a precursor to PEA, a neuroamine that has a stimulating effect on the brain. Glutamine is an amino acid precursor to glutamic acid, a major excitatory neurotransmitter involved in mental activity and learning. Glutamine acts as an alternative fuel source for the brain when blood sugar levels are low. It also helps the brain dispose of waste ammonia, which is a natural result of protein breakdown but is irritating to neurons even at low levels. GABA is a dietary amino acid which is also an inhibitory neurotransmitter. GABA works to calm and balance the mind, enhancing mental focus. Along with taurine, these two relaxing neurotransmitters provide a balancing influence to the other, excitatory neurotransmitters. Taurine is found in brain tissue more than anywhere else in the body. It has antioxidant properties and serves as a nerve cell membrane stabilizer, preventing excessive or erratic electrical activity in the brain.
The Importance of Magnesium
Magnesium must be present in adequate amounts in the synaptic gaps between neurons or the neurons become hyper-reactive: causing noises to sound excessively loud and emotional reactions to be extreme. Magnesium also activates a key enzyme responsible for maintaining cellular sodium- potassium balance, which is absolutely essential to the electrical activity of nerve cells, as well as to the existence of the cell itself. (Cells would burst if the sodium-potassium ratio were wrong.) Magnesium also helps relax cerebral blood vessels and is important to the manufacture of ATP, the chief energy molecule of the brain. A buildup of aluminum has been found in the brains of some elderly. In 1989, the British medical journal Lancet published a study showing that drinking water with aluminum can increase the risk of damage by up to 50%. An abundant natural element, aluminum is now a common feature in our culture. It’s found in tap water, cookware, deodorants, beverage containers, baked goods, and of course as aluminum foil. In the brain, aluminum breaks down the structure of neurons – causing them to starve – by displacing magnesium from tubulin, a glycoprotein responsible for making microtubules. These tiny pipe-like structures within a neuron provide needed rigidity, as well as transport nutrients from the nucleus down the dendrites to the ends of the nerve cell. Magnesium malate is an excellent form of magnesium that ensures neurons receive this vital mineral.
B is for Brain Vitamins
HIGHER MIND also contains a high profile of B vitamins and other key nutrients that are often N A T U R A L S S O U R C E Strategies for Wellness SM ¤ lacking in older individuals. A deficiency in any of the B vitamins can alter nerve function and psychological well-being. Thiamine (B-1), known as the “nerve vitamin,” was first recognized because its deficiency caused beriberi, a degenerative nerve disease. Thiamine is part of the structure of nerve cell membranes and is important to the reparative process that neurons need to offset the stress of continual firing of the electrical impulse. Low amounts of thiamine can cause cell malnutrition in the hypothalamus, the brain’s memory center. 7 NAD and NADH, two coenzyme forms of Niacin (B-3), are the most plentiful coenzymes in the brain. They are essential to hundreds of enzymatic reactions, including ones that produce energy. NADH can stimulate the synthesis of key mood-elevating neurotransmitters. It is also one of the body’s most potent antioxidants. Pantothenic acid (B-5), cyanocobalamin (B-12), and folic acid are required to form the myelin sheath – the insulating covering of nerve fibers. A diet low in pantothenic acid has been shown to make test subjects emotionally upset, irritable, and depressed.7 A lack of B-12 can result in poor concentration and, in severe deficiencies, hallucinations. Pyridoxine (B-6) is precursor to over 60 enzymatic reactions and is involved in the synthesis of several neurotransmitters.
Brain cells almost exclusively burn glucose for their energy (other cells can also burn fat), and typically require 50% of all the glucose in the blood. Two B-like vitamins help in the utilization of glucose: PAK (pyridoxine alpha-ketoglutarate) may potentiate the effects of insulin and improve glucose utilization to the cells;8 Biotin is important for the transformation of glucose into energy in the brain. Lipoic acid and coenzyme Q10 are metabolic energizers that help produce ATP, the primary energy molecule in the body. Since the brain uses 20% of the body’s total energy supply, efficient ATP production is vital. Lipoic acid and CoQ10 are also powerful antioxidants that help regenerate other antioxidants in the body. The blood vessels feeding the brain become less efficient as we pass middle age. Since the brain depends on the bloodstream to deliver nutrients and oxygen and to remove waste, the quality of this blood flow is paramount to proper brain nutrition. Ginkgo biloba leaf extract has been shown in scientific studies to increase blood flow to the brain by helping vessels to dilate. It also promotes the smoothness and healthy integrity of blood vessel linings.
For the Life of Your Mind Without proper nutrition, the brain will deteriorate; therefore strategies are needed to both enhance current brain function and protect it throughout life. Based on the latest scientific findings, Source Naturals HIGHER MIND is formulated with neuroceuticals that support the mental functions that tend to Decline with age. They give your brain the nourishment it needs to integrate perception, memory, and learning into a more comprehensive awareness – so you can excel for a lifetime.
Attentive Child - Enhances Mental Concentration ...
May 31, 2005 05:14 PM
Most children are creative, energetic and spontaneous, but sometimes they don’t focus on requested activities. Sometimes kids find it difficult to apply themselves to the task at hand. Your child’s brain also may work differently than most people’s brains— just like the 5% of the population that is left-handed. Most people think an ultra-active child means an active brain, but active children may actually need a boost in brain metabolism. Source Naturals ATTENTIVE CHILD is a Bio-Aligned Formula™ designed to address the multiple systems that affect children’s ability to focus: neurotransmitters and brain metabolism, nerve cell communication, antioxidant defense, and essential fatty acid metabolism.
Comprehensive Brain Support
Parents are looking for a safe and natural product to support their children’s ability to focus. Source Naturals studied the research and created an experiential formula, based on the latest breakthroughs in cerebral and nervous system biochemistry. Each ingredient in ATTENTIVE CHILD plays a role in brain and nervous system structure or functioning, or is involved in important biochemical pathways. DMAE, a substance normally found in the brain, boosts brain metabolism and has been shown to enhance concentration. L-Aspartate is an amino acid neurotransmitter that stimulates brain activity. Research has shown that some ultra-active children may have special dietary needs for magnesium, zinc and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Magnesium is necessary for the transmission of nerve signals, and, along with zinc, for the processing of essential fatty acids into other vital biochemicals. DHA is an essential fatty acid that is very important for cerebral development and effective communication between nerve cells in the brain. Lecithin contains four phospholipids—fatty acid building-block molecules in nerve cell membranes. Phosphatidylserine, in particular, is vital in nerve cell communication and the electrical activity of the brain. Grape seed extract is a plant-derived antioxidant that protects the integrity of fatty acids in nerve cell membranes.
ATTENTIVE DHA™ in Tiny Kid Caps™
The ATTENTIVE CHILD formula can be supplemented with additional DHA. ATTENTIVE DHA Kid Caps are available in easy-to-swallow, small oval softgels, each containing 100 mg of DHA. For children who can’t swallow caps, simply pierce the gel and mix the oil with food. Sweeteners with Low Impact on Blood Sugar The delicious sweetand- tart taste in ATTENTIVE CHILD wafers comes from natural flavors, specially manufactured without sugar for Source Naturals. Unless specified, most flavors in other products contain maltodextrin, a sugar with a high glycemic index. The ATTENTIVE CHILD wafer itself is sweetened with crystalline fructose (natural fruit sugar) and xylitol (a naturally occurring sweetening agent found in many fruits and vegetables). These select natural sweeteners have a very low glycemic index—so ATTENTIVE CHILD will taste great to your child, but have little effect on blood sugar levels. We recommend carefully reviewing the labels of other products. They may contain honey, glucose, sucrose, maltodextrin, and maltose—all of which have moderate-tohigh glycemic indexes. In addition, maple sugar, molasses, malt syrup, rice syrup, and beet sugar contain varying amounts of high-glycemic-index sugars, which can set off blood sugar fluctuations that may affect concentration. Beware of children’s nutritional bars designed to enhance focus and concentration. Most have over 20 grams of sugar per bar. In contrast, each serving of ATTENTIVE CHILD contains only two grams of crystalline fructose, which has little effect on blood sugar.
Glycemic Index of Various Sweeteners
The glycemic index is a ranking of foods based on their immediate effect on blood glucose levels. It measures how much your blood glucose increases over a period of two or three hours after intake. The higher the glycemic index (GI), the greater the fluctuations in blood sugar. Sweetener Glycemic Index†
*sweeteners used in ATTENTIVE CHILD ™ †based on rate of 100 for glucose ††for information, see website www.wcommerce.com
Lifestyle Strategies for Your Child
You can help your child concentrate on schoolwork, chores and other challenges. Start with ATTENTIVE CHILD and ATTENTIVE DHA, and then incorporate a healthy lifestyle and nutrition routine.
Have your child’s overall health checked by a welltrained holistic health care professional, such as a naturopathic physician. It is particularly important to examine the functioning of your child’s thyroid gland (the master regulator of the body’s metabolism, which influences mood and energy level), and blood sugar metabolism (the brain depends on a steady supply of glucose to function properly, particularly when you are trying to concentrate).
Nutritional Health: Feeding the Brain
Help your child maintain a steady supply of energy and brain fuel by providing a balanced diet. Small, frequent meals are preferable since they dispense a steady level of glucose to the brain. Include foods high in the amino acid tyrosine, a precursor to neurotransmitters that support an alert state. It is found in protein foods, such as meat, poultry, beans, tofu, lentils and seafood. Also include complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, which are metabolized slowly and yield a steady supply of glucose. The simple sugars found in candy, cookies, sodas and other processed foods can lead to a rapid rise in blood sugar levels, followed by an abrupt Decline, and should be discouraged. It is important to include essential fatty acids, especially omega-3 fatty acids, which are abundant in the brain and essential for its development and normal functioning. Supplement with ATTENTIVE DHA, and encourage your child to eat cold-water fish, such as salmon. Avoid the hydrogenated fats found in processed foods and margarine, as well as chemicals and food additives. A nutrition program consisting of fresh, unprocessed natural foods is the healthiest choice for everyone.
Some experts believe extended time watching TV and playing video games does not support optimal health or school performance. EEG studies have shown that these activities decrease brain activity rather than activating the brain. Encourage your child to spend time in outdoor physical recreation and in creative, challenging activities.
Supplement with ATTENTIVE CHILD and ATTENTIVE DHA
ATTENTIVE CHILD is available in bottles of 30 & 60 chewable wafers. ATTENTIVE DHA Kid Caps (algal-source Neuromins®) are available in 30- & 60-softgel bottles. References Amen, D. Windows into the....Mind. Fairfield, CA: MindWorks Press, 1997. Foster-Powell, K. & Miller, J.B. 1995, International tables of glycemic index. Am J Clin Nutr. 62:871S-93S. Natah, S.S. et al. 1997. Metabolic response to lactitol and xylitol in healthy men. Am J Clin Nutr. Apr; 65(4):947-50. Schmidt, Michael. Smart Fats. Berkeley: Frog, Ltd., 1997. Sears, William. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1998.
May 12, 2005 09:33 AM
Keeping the Intestines Healthy"Friendly Bacteria" Therapy Breakthrough
by Richard Conant, L.Ac., C.N.
Ninety percent of the cells found in the human body are not of human origin.
No, this does not mean we are all products of some sinister alien experiment.
The human body is made up of about 10 trillion cells. This huge number is dwarfed by the bacteria we all carry around in our intestinal tracts. The lower bowel is a campground for roughly 100 trillion bacteria, single-celled plant organisms that can be seen only through a microscope.
When we enjoy good intestinal health, the bulk of these bacteria are beneficial. Known as "friendly flora," these tiny guests help digest our food by breaking down undigested proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The friendliest of the friendly bacteria are the "lactobacilli," so named because they produce lactic acid in the bowel, by fermenting carbohydrates. This lactic acid production is profoundly important for keep the intestines healthy. And good intestinal health is the foundation of overall health.
How do we maintain a thriving population of lactic acid-producing bacteria in the gut? First introduced into the human body through mother's milk, lactobacilli are somewhat fragile. Stress, poor diets, and antibiotics can kill them off. They should be replanted fairly regularly throughout life. One way to do this is through consumption of cultured milk products such as sour milk, kefir and yogurt, which contain live lactobacilli. They can also be consumed in dietary supplements, but this may or may not be a reliable route. Bacterial products do not keep very well on the shelf, they require refrigeration, and are largely destroyed on the trip from the mouth to the gut by our own digestive juices.
Introducing Lactobacillus sporogenes- a revolutionary new friendly bacteria supplement.
This article will focus on one particular species of lactobacilli, a relatively unknown member of the family called Lactobacillus sporogenes. This lactic-acid producing bacteria may prove to be one of the most practical forms for use in supplements, thanks to a unique property not shared by the more well-known friendly flora such as acidophillus. L. Sporogenes is a spore-forming bacteria. Safely enclosed within a spore coat that protects it from the environment, L. sporogenes is resistant to heat, oxygen and digestive acids. Once L. sporogenes reaches the intestines, its spore coat dissolves, freeing the bacteria to multiply and churn out the beneficial lactic acid. (The spore coat, made up of a calcium-protein-carbohydrate complex, is harmless).1
The difficulty of keeping friendly bacteria supplements alive is an ongoing problem for manufacturers of these products. Studies have analyzed various commerical products claiming to contain acidophilus and found they often contain few live bacteria.2,3 L. Sporogenes is naturally microencapsulated; this insulates it from the gauntlet through which friendly bacteria in dietary supplements must pass.1 Autointoxication-Poisoning by Bacterial Toxins The intestinal tract may also play host to pathogenic, or disease-causing bacteria. These "unfriendly flora" cause putrefaction and release injurious toxins into the lower bowel. This healthy picture is all too common, and has long been concern of wholistic health practitioners.
The concept of "autointoxication," poisoning of the body by intestinal toxins, was popular among doctors in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. An editorial on the dangers of autointoxication which appeared in the June 3, 1893 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) declared that "most likely a large majority of chronic diseases take their origin from this cause."4 The famous Russian physician Eli Metchnikoff pioneered the use of lactobacteria for preventing autointoxication and restoring bowel health. His landmark work 'Prolongation of Life' sparked interest in lactobacilli as a food supplement.5,6
Naturopathy, widely practiced during the early twentieth century, has always stressed the fundamental importance of bowel cleansing. With the advent of so-called "scientific medicine," naturopathy slipped into Decline, and the concept of autointoxication was discredited. Over the last thirty years or so, this has changed. Naturopathic medicine has rebounded, and the importance of bowel health is once again recognized. A paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1964, while opining that autointoxication "was exploited by quacks and faddists" in the early 1900's concedes that "the concept of autointoxication must now receive serious consideration."7
Leaders in the rebirth of natural medicine such as Dr. Bernard Jensen have helped educate the public about the importance of keeping the bowels healthy through regular use of lactobacilli. Jensen is well-known for his extensive studies of regions such as the Hunza Valley in Pakistan where people commonly live well over one hundred years. Jensen and others have noted that the consumption of fermented dairy products containing lactobacilli is a common dietary practice in these areas. Their observations have contributed to the popularity of friendly bacteria supplements. At the same time, clinical research has provided ample evidence of the beneficial effects of lactobacteria supplementation.5,9<.sup>
Eubiosis-Keeping a Healthy Bacteria Population in the Intestinal Tract
In his book 'Tissue Cleansing Through Bowel Management, which contains a wealth of valuable wisdom on intestinal health, Dr. Jensen writes, "Where health and vitality are found, we invariably find the friendly and beneficial microbes ... To a large extent the flora in the bowel determines the state of health in an individual."8 In a healthy bowel the friendly flora make up the bulk of the bacteria population. The unfriendly, disease-causing organisms are in the minority. The good bacteria keep them firmly under control. This healthy microbial balance in the gut is called "eubiosis."
Life in our modern industrial society is hardly favorable to eubiosis. Residents of the Hunza Valley lead unhurried lives in a pristine, pollution-free environment. They grow their own food in fertile, nutrient-rich soil, work close to the landÐand consume lactic-acid producing bacteria on a daily basis. For the rest of us who cannot hope to enjoy this enviable lifestyle, eubiosis is something we should never take for granted. This means taking proactive steps to plant the seeds of health in our intestinal garden, by using a viable friendly bacteria supplement.
Supplements which help to populate the intestinal tract with friendly bacteria are known as "probiotics." The term "probiotic" literally means "for life.' (In contrast, "antibiotic" means "against life.") Probiotics restore the natural state of "eubiosis" that is so very important for health and longevity.
L. Sporogenes-an ideal probiotic
Not every species of lactobacilli qualifies as an effective probiotic. As noted above, many do not survive processing, storage and passage through the digestive system very well. The following attributes make L. Sporogenes an ideal probiotic supplement:1,10,11
1) Naturally microencapsulatedÐstable at room temperature and can be stored unrefrigerated for long periods without loss of viable organisms.
2) Tolerates heat, stomach acid and bile, allowing it to successfully travel into the lower bowel.
3) Non-pathogenic, has only beneficial effects on its host. Has similar characteristics as acidophilus: prefers a mild acid environment; produces lactic acid, digestive enzymes, etc.
4) Readily multiplies in the human gut. In the stomach, the spore coat absorbs moisture and begins to swell. Upon reaching the small intestine, the bacteria cells germinate and begin to multiply, doubling in number every 30 minutes.
5) Produces enzymes which help digest protein, fats and carbohydrates. These enzymes include lactose, the enzyme that digests milk sugar.12
6) Creates a favorable environment (mildly acidic) in the gut for other friendly bacteria to thrive. Prevents overgrowth of pathogenic organisms.
7) Produces lactic acid in the form of L- lactic acid only.
The last point is especially important. Lactic acid occurs in the form of three isomers (substances with identical molecular structures that have different shapes): L-lactic acid, D-lactic acid and DL-lactic acid. The D form is metabolized slowly, and can produce acidosis in the system. (Infants have a particularly difficult time metabolizing D-lactic acid.)11,13 DL-Lactic acid, the kind acidophilus makes, may be converted to either D or L.
The L form is the one we want. L. sporogenes is a "homofermenter," it makes L-lactic acid exclusively. Lactic acid keeps the gut mildly acidic. This acidity is essential for the gut to be a hospitable home for friendly bacteria, and stops the growth of the unwelcome disease-causing bacteria.
L. sporogenes has only one drawback. It is a transient visitor that does not permanently colonize in the digestive tract. A study on the retention of L. sporogenes found no bacteria in the feces six days after consumption was discontinued.14
L. Sporogenes-Results from Clinical Studies
L. Sporogenes is used extensively in Japan and approved by the Japanese equivalent of the FDA. L. sporogenes has been given to hospital patients suffering from intestinal complaints such as gas and bloating due to abnormal fermentation, constipation, diarrhea and indigestion. (These problems often occur after surgery or chemotherapy.) A total of 16 clinical reports are on record in Japanese hospitals, documenting 293 case of digestive complaints treated with L. sporogenes.15 The overall improvement rate is an impressive 86 percent. Results are typically seen within four to five days. L. sporogenes has also been used with success to clear up diarrhea in newborns.16 Like other lactobacilli, L. sporogenes lowers blood cholesterol. (Lactobacilli break down cholesterol and bile salts in the intestinal tract.) Researchers at a hospital in New Delhi, India gave L. sporogenes tablets to 20 patients with high cholesterol for twelve weeks.17 Total cholesterol levels were substantially reduced, along with LDL cholesterol, and the beneficial HDL rose slightly.
The popularity of L. sporogenes in other countries as an ideal friendly bacteria supplement will no doubt be soon matched in the U.S. This microscopic helper for intestinal health is now sold in probiotic products under the name "Lactospore®."
1. Gandhi, A.B., Nagarathnam, T. Probiotics in veterinary use. Poultry Guide 1990;27(3):43-47.
2. Brennan, M., Wanismail, B., Ray, B. Prevalence of viable Lactobacillus acidophilus in dried commercial products. Journal of Food Protection 1983;46(10):887-92.
3. Gilliland, S.E., Speck, M.L. Enumeration and identity of lactobacilli in dietary products. Journal of Food Protection 1977;40(11):760-62.
4. Dalton, R.H. The limit of human Life, and how to live long. JAMA 1893;20:599-600.
5. Shahani, K.M., Ayebo, A.D. Role of dietary lactobacilli in gastrointestinal microecology. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1980;33:2448-57.
6. Metchnikoff, E.. Prolongation of Life. New York: G.P. Putnam Sons;1908.
7. Donaldson, R.M. Normal Bacterial populations of the intestine and their relation to intestinal function. New Eng. J. Med. 1964;270(18):938-45.
8. Jensen, B. Tissue Cleansing Through Bowel Management. Escondido, CA: publ. by Bernard Jensen, D.C.;1980.
9. Schauss, A.G. Lactobacillus acidophilus: method of action, clinical application, and toxicity data. Journal of Advancement in Medicine 1990;3(3):163-78.
10. 'General InformationÐLactospore®' 1996; Sabinsa Corporation: Piscataway, NJ.
11. Gandhi, A.B. Lactobacillus sporogenes, An Advancement in Lactobacillus Therapy. The Eastern Pharmacist August 1998:41-44.
12. Kim, Y.M., Lee, J.C., Choi, Y.J., Yang, H.C. Studies on the production of beta galactosidase by lactobacillus sporogenes. Properties and application of beta galactosidase. Korean J. Appl. Microbiol. Bioeng. 1985;13(4):355-60.
13. Oh, MS. D-Lactic acidosis in a man with short bowel syndrome. New Eng J Med 1979;31(5):249-52.
14. Hashimo, K. et. al. New Drugs and Clinics 1964;13(9):53-66.
15. 'Abstracts of papers on the clinical studies of Lacbon' Unpublished data.
16. Dhongade, R.K., Anjaneyule, R. Lactobacillus sporogenes (Sporlac) in neonatal diarrhea. Unpublished data.
17. Mohan, J.C., Arora, R., Khaliullah, M. Preliminary observations on effect of Lactobacillus sporogenes on serum lipid levels in hypercholesterolemic patients. Indian J. Med. Res. 1990;92(B):431-32.
VitaNet ® Staff