Search Term: " Depressed "
Pregnenolone: A ‘Prohormone’ t=?UTF-8?Q?hat_May_Help_Relieve_Depression?=
December 04, 2018 12:51 PM
Relieving depression is not something that comes easy for anyone. Mental health issues are real and there are millions of people around the world that are suffering from these issues. It makes it really hard to diagnose these issues as depression is something that is unique to each person. If you have experience a form of it, then you know what it is. Now, studies are showing that the taking of some pro hormones can help combat depression.
"Maybe you are looking to boost your cognitive health and want to use natural sources to stay mentally sharp. Aside from brain foods that boost focus and memory, a steroid called pregnenolone is gaining attention for its potential neuroprotective effects."
Read more: https://draxe.com/pregnenolone/
Higher omega-3s status linked to less depression in population withheart failure
September 20, 2018 05:11 PM
A recent American College of Cardiology study of 108 chronic heart failure patients noted that patients with higher omega-3 index levels as a result of oral supplementation appear to suffer less from depression than the control group. Roughly 20 percent of chronic heart failure patients become clinically depressed. The promising results suggest that increased omega-3 index levels may result in better social functioning and reduced cognitive symptoms of depression as measured by the widely-used Hamilton Depression Scale. More research is needed, however, to better understand the impact of omega-3 indexes on depression.
"A recent pilot study has linked a higher Omega 3 Index with lessened symptoms of depression in a cohort of subjects suffering from chronic heart failure."
Read more: https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2018/08/22/Higher-omega-3s-status-linked-to-less-depression-in-population-with-heart-failure
12 signs you're not getting enough calcium
September 14, 2017 12:14 PM
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body and is essential for many of our important body functions. The problem is, most of us are not getting enough of it in our diets. Calcium deficiency can lead to many problems including heart disease and obesity. Here are some signs that you are deficient in calcium. These signs range from broken bones to altered mental states. If you suspect that you were not getting enough calcium you may want to check out this list to see if you have any of the signs.
"Calcium is needed for the mineralisation of bones to keep them strong, so low calcium levels increase the likelihood of broken bones, and osteoporosis in later life."
Read more: http://home.bt.com/lifestyle/health/healthy-eating/12-signs-youre-not-getting-enough-calcium-11364210197295
Natural Ways to Combat Depression
July 19, 2017 12:14 PM
19 million Americans suffer from depression, most of these people are women. Serotonin is the main chemical when it comes to how happy or depressed a person is. Exercise increases your level of serotonin, this is one way to raise the level. Changing your diet and watching how many carbs you eat may also help, as carbs raise insulin levels, which can cause weight gain. Sometimes people need SSRI's / medications like Prozac because diet and exercise are not enough.
"Find something, anything, that you enjoy, that will elevate your heart rate, and make it a weekly habit. This will benefit both your body and your brain."
Read more: http://fitcommerce.com/2017/07/14/natural-ways-to-combat-depression/
Depressed? You may be at risk for this…
April 18, 2017 10:44 AM
Depression affects millions of people every single year. While more women are apt to experience depression, men are also at risk for the condition. When you are depressed, the condition causes a number of life altering affects and health consequences important to know. Here are a few of the things that might occur if you are depressed, giving you even more reason for you to get the help that you need as quickly as possible.
Read more: Depressed? You may be at risk for this…
The Eat Whatever You Want Diet
April 12, 2017 06:44 PM
People are always looking for the magic element that can make you lose weight quickly. It is easy to feel depressed when the latest magic pill doesn't work. Just remember, this isn't a failure on your part. There are no magic potions, diets or pills that can make you lose weight quickly and with little effort. This article touts a different way to lose weight. It's not a magic cure and it requires a different way of looking at dieting. It's called the Eat Whatever the Fork you Want Diet. Read on for more details.
Read more: The Eat Whatever You Want Diet
How what you eat may affect mental health
March 15, 2017 10:59 AM
You are what you eat, as the old saying has been told over and over again for centuries now. Now, new evidence suggests that the foods you consume also have an impact on your mental health. If you are feeling depressed, anxious, or that your mental health is otherwise draining, maybe it is time to revamp your menu and change the foods that you are putting on your plate. It could be the best thing that you do.
Read more: How what you eat may affect mental health
New Research Shows Depression Linked with Inflammation
January 21, 2017 07:59 AM
Does your struggle with depression have you on the verge of exploding? Inflammation could be the reason why. Researchers study the connection between inflammation and depression. Backed by science, take charge of your inflammation and manage your Depression. Also, check out some inexpensive and easy ways to reduce your inflammation.
"But growing evidence supports that at least some forms of depression may also be linked to ongoing low-grade inflammation in the body."
Are we thinking about depression all wrong?
November 30, 2016 08:59 AM
Depression has become an open topic all across the world. More people than ever are open to discussing their depression and seeking help. We have all been led to believe that depression is a chemical imbalance that occurs in our brain. But what if this was misleading and their are other possible reason why a person becomes Depressed. A research study has been conducted to find out how inflammation has an effect on our body and could it be responsible for more than just aches and pains.
"One in ten of us will experience depression at some point. Just what causes this highly debilitating disease, and the best way to treat it remains controversial"
How Much Should You Push Yourself with Depression?
November 23, 2016 12:59 PM
Depression is a reality that affects all too many. One of the toughest decisions is knowing when to push and when to cut yourself some slack. The key to making this decision above all is to know yourself. Find out what it is about yourself that can help you identify your triggers for stress and learn to combat them with the perspective and experience of Therese J. Borchard.
"Do you typically push yourself too much or do you need to be pushed? That will help you know what to do when you get Depressed. If you constantly beat yourself up for not doing everything perfectly in recovery, or in life, maybe you should throttle back to part-time (if you can afford it) and try to allow yourself to heal. If you typically need other people to inspire you to change, then maybe pushing yourself is the right thing to do."
Combat Depression With Fish Oil
January 21, 2015 05:19 PM
What is a depression?
Depression can occur at any age and is a disorder of affective state, which leads to a state of sadness or hopelessness for a period. Depression is thought to be disease of the century as more and more researchers are trying to find an effective remedy to combat this disease. Lately, several studies are trying to prove that fish oil can affect a person’s mood and is an effective remedy for preventing and treating depression.
According to a Japanese study published in September in the journal Pediatrics, fish oil especially that obtained from sardines and salmon helps male teens feel less Depressed.
Omega-3 fatty acids, especially eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are found mainly in fish oil. Because these nutrients play an important role in brain function, many researchers wanted to find out if a higher consumption of EPA and DHA leads to a decrease in the risk of depression. The results showed that an increased consumption of EPA and DHA influences positively the mental state and mood of adolescents.
According to Japanese researchers, fish oil has not the same effect in the case of adolescent girls. The different effect of fish oil in boys and girls is difficult to explain, a possible cause being that women show a genetic risk of depression significantly higher than men do.
Source of Omega 3 fatty acid
Omega 3 fatty acids improve the functionality of the brain in children, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke and prevent cancer. This fatty acid are found in fish such as trout, salmon and mackerel, in nuts, linseed oil and rapeseed oil. Fish oil is the best source of omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Since our body is unable to synthesize EPA and DHA, in order to prevent depression, is necessary to supplement our diet with supplements rich in these acids. Experts recommend a daily intake of 0.5 grams of omega-3- the equivalent of four meals of fish consumed over a week.
Recently, doctors have put on the list of antidepressants, the fish oil. Their argument is that the human brain is almost entirely made from fat - about 60%, especially DHA and phospholipids. Fish oil has in its composition the precious DHA and for this reason, many doctors recommend it as an antidepressant. The arguments of doctors are strengthened by studies, which show that people who consume omega 3 fatty acids are more optimistic and cheerful.References:
The benefit of Amino Acid L-Tyrosin for our brains
January 21, 2014 09:47 AM
L-Tyrosine is a nonessential amino acid because it can be made from phenylalanine, the another amino acid by our body. But from some researchers the body cannot make tyrosine from phenylalanine if stressed. In otherhand, L-Tyrosine is definitely present in many kinds of foods, such as milk, meats, eggs, nuts, cheese, bananas, beans and some seafood like fish.
Benefits of L-Tyrosine
By using this food stuff can increased the amount of L-Tyrosine in our body. And Also L-Tyrosine can we get from some suplement. L-Tyrosine has benefits for our brains. L-Tyrosine need for creating the neurotransmitters such as dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. It can called stress hormone. This compounds that transmit chemical signals in our brains. The neurotransmitters that was produced by L-Tyrosine have effect significant for your mood, memory, concentration, focus and alertness. The neurotransmitter dopamine can affects the incentive mechanism in our brain which indicates it involved in feeling of happiness. Dopamine is also helps we keep motivated and handle problem that can make streesed. But too much stress can make our dopamine level decreased. It can make our brain less active and weak. The neurotransmitter epinephrine ability to increases our energy, heart rate and breathing. It because epinephrine produces oxygen with rich blood that travels to our brain. Moreover the neurotransmitter epinephrine can boosting our memory, enhance cognitive performance, polishing our senses and reducing pain level of sensitivity. And the third compound of neurotransmitters is norepinephrine. It can helps increase our concentrate and to develop new memories. Norepinephrine is also travels through our blood and can stimulate our brains. The effect of our body does not produce enough neurotransmitters, we will become Depressed, fatigued, confused and also develop memory loss. So if you want to enhance your memories and don’t let your body has less L-tyrosine to products stressed hormone that you need. Food supplements have shown good results in improving the amount L-tyrosine in our body.
5-HTP and how it can help promote natural sleep patterns.
November 27, 2013 07:47 AM
What is 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)?
5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is a substance derived from Griffonia simplicifolia’s seed pods. In the human body, 5-hydroxytryptophan is an immediate nutrient precursor to neurotransmitter serotonin. This implies that 5-HTP directly converts into serotonin in human brain. Serotonin plays very many essential functions such as; a role in appetite, learning, sleep, memory, temperature regulation, cardiovascular function, endocrine regulation, sexual behavior, mood and muscle contraction.
The production of serotonin declines with age, however it’s also important to note that, at any age serotonin production can be further compromised by stress. Low serotonin levels are commonly manifested by insomnia, Depressed mood and anxiety.
It is known that insomnia is an age-related condition. Sleep disorders are associated with very significant psychological, medical and social disturbances. Sleep deprivation can cause depression, stress and anxiety, it can also lead to fatigue, impairment of memory, immune function and mood. Nutritional supplements that contain 5-HTP, choline, melatonin and valerian root helps one to get a good sleep hence alleviating these problems. Recent research has indicated that increased serotonin levels can assist individuals suffering from chronic sleep disturbances restore healthy sleep patterns.
Pathways of serotonin
One of the metabolic pathways of serotonin leads to melatonin a hormone widely acknowledged for being responsible for the sleep-wake cycle. By increasing serotonin’s level with 5-HTP, you are also increasing the melatonin levels. Melatonin is also known to improve the immune function and assist improve immunodepressions that are stress-induced.
Valerian root is a Eurasian herb that has been for long known for enhancing sleep. Valerian helps one to fall asleep and also improves the quality of sleep thus allowing one to wake up feeling refreshed. A study showed that people who used valerian were more active and alert .
Choline is a nutrient precursor to neurotransmitter acetylcholine, that assists to protect your sound sleep so that you are not woken up by every little murmur or cleak.Supplementing the diet with these natural substances will assist eradicate or diminish sleep disturbances and also assist reestablish healthy sleep patterns.
Can Melatonin Be Used For Fibromyalgia?
December 28, 2012 04:19 PM
Fibromyalgia is a condition that may be very frustrating and has no known cure currently. Due to its complexity and also the number of symptoms that occur during an infection with fibromyalgia, one may be moody, anxious, Depressed or irritable. Melatonin, a natural hormone which controls sleep patterns, can help relieve some symptoms of fibromyalgia and promote one's feelings of well-being.
Melatonin hormone is produced by the brain's pineal gland. It is majorly responsible for controlling the sleep-wake cycle; called the circadian rhythm. The secretion of melatonin is influenced by exposure to light. Whenever it gets dark, melatonin production rises. Conversely, during exposure to sunlight, the production of melatonin is lowered. Several people employ the use of melatonin supplements to promote symptoms of insomnia, since it can aid to reset one's body clock and even make it easier to fall and stay asleep.
How melanin treats Fibromyalgia
Disturbances of sleep and the frequent disruption of circadian rhythms occur during fibromyalgia. Melatonin has always been proven to synchronize the circadian rhythms and promote the quality of sleep. Excess damage by free-radicals is quite common in fibromyalgia patients. Melatonin as well as its metabolites have been discovered to be potent scavengers of free radicals and indirect antioxidants.
Elevated Nitric Oxide In Patients
Some studies have shown that synthesis of nitric oxide is elevated in fibromyalgia patients. Melatonin acts as a potent inhibitor of a rate-limiting enzyme in the production of nitric oxide. Depression is at times a symptom or maybe an overlapping fibromyalgia condition.
Melatonin As An Antidepressant:
Melatonin has also been proven to be an antidepressant. There is a component of melatonin that has been synthesized in the pharmaceutical industry and is now being enhanced as an antidepressant. Lyrica, antiepileptic drugs, have been proven to be effective in the treatment of fibromyalgia. Melatonin has been found to work as an antiepileptic too.
How does 5-HTP Help the Brain?
May 28, 2012 08:17 AM
5-HTP is the abbreviation of 5-Hydroxytryptophan, an amino acid that converts tryptophan into serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps with the regulation of sleep, mood and appetite, and it is found in the stomach or the CNS. 5-HTP is mainly obtained from animal products especially red meats and eggs. Fish and dairy products are also rich in this amino acid. Vegetarians get this compound from pumpkin seeds, oats, potatoes, peanuts and dried dates. Due to its ability to regulate the amount of serotonin and melatonin in your body, 5-HTP regulates the functioning of your brain.
The following are the health benefits of this compound:
It fixes anxiety
Anxiety and panic disorders are some of the most popular mental disorders that can be cured using 5-HTP. These two illnesses occur when your body experiences a deficiency of serotonin. Therefore, taking supplements of this amino acid reduces your chances of developing any or both of these conditions.
It treats insomnia
Insomnia is a problem that affects the quality of your sleep. Sleep is normally regulated by your brain. Every night, your brain releases receptors that lead to the five stages of a sleep cycle. If your brain fails to release the appropriate receptors, you cannot enjoy a complete sleep cycle. In addition, Melatonin is the hormone that induces sleep and therefore its absence leads to poor sleep quality. The production of sufficient melatonin therefore boosts the quality of your sleep and helps with the treatment of insomnia.
It helps relieve the symptoms of depression
Your mood is controlled by the neurotransmitter serotonin. The absence of this neurotransmitter leads to the development of a Depressed mood. However, the availability of 5-HTP in your body leads to the production of sufficient serotonin thus restoring your happiness.
It also treats eating disorders especially among young children Your brain controls your levels of appetite. Serotonin is specifically in charge of this function, and therefore its deficiency in your body leads to a disruption in your appetite mechanism. Most people who have this problem often tend to eat lots of sweet foods that are rich in empty calories, high carb and junk food. This often leads to obesity and overweight. However, taking 5-HTP supplements restores your appetite mechanism thus protecting you from eating disorders and subsequent complications such as obesity.
It is a natural pain killer
5-HTP enhances the production of endorphins, thus helping your body overcome pain and migraines. Chronic headache is often associated with low levels of serotonin, and this can be reversed by taking sufficient 5-HTP. Serotonin has a calming and soothing effect on the central nervous system, and therefore the sufficient release of this neurotransmitter helps ease pain on the head.
5-HTP helps relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is often accompanied by chronic pains and aches that can be relieved by taking sufficient supply of 5-HTP. This is because this amino acid helps with the secretion of serotonin, which helps ease such pains and aches.
It is therefore important for you to ensure that you have sufficient supply of 5-HTP in order to enhance the functioning of your brain.
Can Avena Sativa Be Used For Menstrual Problems?
September 07, 2011 02:13 PM
Avena Sativa in a way is just a common oat plant and is considered a cereal grain that is derived from seeds and its most common form in our diets is as rolled oats and oatmeal. A lot of us these days feel stressed and tired. Some may feel a little Depressed or even fed up and this can lead to a lack of sexual desire. Many of us would think that supplementation might help with this since our fast-paced life often times is the culprit of this and we would like to have an easy fix for more energy. Most of the time we look at supplementation to help us with that and for the past decade Avena Sativa is one of those herbs that have shown a lot of promise in the area of health and other benefits which in this specific case is more on Menstrual Problems. Like in most cases for herbs, it starts out to be a simple research about how it could help us with energy and overall wellness then we would discover that it can do a lot more.
Avena Sativa and how it works
Also known as Oats Milky, Avena Sativa in the past decade has shown promise in benefiting a number of bloodstream functions and this was made evident as researchers have shown that it could help in various sexual functions mainly in men. It is able to help with erection and improve sexual appetites. The consensus of the users of this herb is that it is a great alternative to pharmaceutical erection enhancers and what's great about it is it doesn't have the side-effects. In the same way that it is beneficial for men it also has shown promise in women. The same sedative effects to the nervous system seems to be what allows the women to have a more relaxed body which is the reason that researchers have found as the stimulants to increase desire in women.
Menstrual Cycles and Avena Sativa
Menstruation disorders are most common in a woman's teenage years. It causes a lot of anxiety not only to the people suffering it because it also affects the family. Some factors that come into play are physical and psychological and in order to have a better understanding of how Avena Sativa can help let’s try to understand a regular menstrual cycle just in the general sense. Commonly a menstrual cycle happens during 21 to 35 days with about 3 to 10 days of bleeding and blood loss, this excessive blood loss during those days is what creates a lot of problems for a female’s well being. Studies have shown a distinct link between these disorders and a deficiency in magnesium in the body. This is where Avena Sativa come into play with its ability to influence the nervous system and regulate blood flow it can have positive effects both psychologically and physically. Furthermore, it also is magnesium rich which can aid in the relief of some symptoms, if not most of it, of menstrual disorders.
Herbs For Depression
December 13, 2010 12:34 PM
Fight Depression with Natural Herbs
Before discussing treating depression with natural herbs we should first consider depression itself: what is it and what causes people to become Depressed? Psychiatrists and psychologists will suggest a number of definitions although most experts agree that there are two forms of depression.
Causes of Depression
Exogenous depression comes about as a result of external factors such as bereavement, heavy debt, job loss, etc, while endogenous depression comes from within and is believed to be due to biochemical problems, including food allergies, hormonal changes, thyroid problems, nutritional deficiencies, particularly Vitamin B deficiency, and addictions. There are many other reasons for people becoming Depressed, some of which can be established by the particular symptoms of the individual.
In many cases of depression the external factors are often easier to treat than those due to internal factors. Many exogenous causes of depression such as bereavement are alleviated through time, while causes such as job loss and debt can be resolved once the cause has been rectified: thus, if the patient is no longer in debt or is re-employed, the depression tends to disappear with the cause.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression is not diagnosed from a single symptom, but from a number of symptoms that can point to a person being clinically Depressed and requiring treatment. Among the symptoms of depression are:
Prolonged periods of sadness or despair
Forms of Depression
Many normal people can suffer one or two of the above systems, and would not be diagnosed as Depressed because of it. We can all get mood swings, feel a bit worthless now and again or be unable to concentrate or focus at times, but that does not mean we are clinically Depressed.
Depression would not be diagnosed in a patient with just one of these symptoms but five or more likely would be. In fact, the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders deem the patient suffering clinical depression if displaying 5 or more of the bottom 8 symptoms above for a month or more. This is believed to be the case with around 17 million Americans so it is a significant problem.
Manic depression is otherwise known as bipolar disorder, where patients have large mood swings from high and extreme hyperactivity and excitability to very low deeply depressive moods and is a clinical condition generally treated using drugs.
Treatment of Depression With Natural Herbs
The usual treatments are drugs that often have undesirable side effects; so many people are trying natural remedies instead. There are a number of herbs that can be used to treat depression, one of the most familiar being St. John's Wort. However, there are others, and here is a synopsis of each.
St. John's Wort
St. John's wort (hypericum perforatum) is likely the best known herbal treatment for depression. In fact, in Germany it is prescribed by doctors to children and adolescents for the treatment of mild depression and is available over the counter in many countries.
However, it can also be used in cases of severe depression, and a report in the Cochrane Database Review[8(4)] by K. Linde, M.M. Berner and L. Kriston in 2008 stated that of 29 separate tests carried out on a total of over 5,000 patients, the conclusion was that St. John's wort extracts were at least as good in treating severe depression with 5 times lower side-effects as tricyclic antidepressants and twice lower than the new selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI).
It should be stated, however, that one trial on 340 subjects indicated no improvement over a placebo. However, the anti-depressive drug sertraline (Zoloft) was also shown to be no better than the placebo in this test, so some doubts must lie regarding its accuracy. Of all the herbal treatments, St. John's wort has had most testing carried out and it seems to be effective in treating mild to severe depression although not all experts are yet agreed.
Kava Kava Root
Kava kava can be used to treat depression and anxiety, largely due its content of kavalactones that are believed to increase the amount of a number of neurotransmitters in the blood, including the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. Kava kava root is mildly intoxicating, having much the same effect as alcohol, and can also reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
However, it is doubtful if its effects are permanent and so it may be less of a depression cure as a short-medium term treatment. Its effects are also variable on different people, some describing it as making them feel relaxed and 'dreamy', while others find it therapeutic and making them feel better in themselves.
Kava kava should not be taken without your doctor knowing about because there have been concerns about its effect on the liver if taken in excess. A European-wide ban was lifted about two years ago after testing found the risks of taking it to be very low. It has been used for centuries as an intoxicating drink on islands such as Fiji.
Passion flower has been used for centuries to treat anxiety, stress and depression, its active ingredients believed to be maltol and ethylmaltol that help to increase the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is one of the brain's key neurotransmitters and has been described by some as the brain's own 'Valium' supply.
Through the intervention of GABA, passion flower extract helps in reducing anxiety levels and makes you feel a lot calmer. If you suffer forms of depression that make you hyper or excitable, passion flower will help to reduce this and also helps to cure insomnia. It is a component of many natural sleeping pills.
These are just three natural substances that can be used to treat depression. However, you must inform your doctor or physician if you decide to take them since they may interfere with or change the effect of any antidepressant drug you are currently taking.
Call today for natural remedies for depression
Good Colon Health Is Essential To Feeling Good
July 21, 2010 02:55 PM
There was once a case of a young man who had felt sick for years. Although it was nothing intense, it was just enough to make him feel listless, tired, and Depressed. His medical doctors prescribed him a list of medications, but nothing seemed to help. Eventually, he went to a chiropractor who was also trained in nutrition. After a few urine tests and an examination of his diet, the chiropractor was able to diagnose the man’s problem as auto-intoxication. This meant that his body was actually being poisoned by his intestinal tract.
Auto-intoxication, also known as intestinal toxemia, is a condition that is brought on by eating the wrong types and amounts of food that certain bacteria can thrive upon and produce toxins from. These toxins permeate into the bloodstream and are carried into the rest of the body. Symptoms of auto-intoxication include fatigue, nervousness, gastrointestinal conditions, skin diseases, headaches, endocrine and circulatory disturbances, and others.
The chiropractor placed the young man on a regime of low-protein, high complex-carbohydrate, low-fat foods, with the main emphasis being on raw fruits and vegetables. The young man felt great within a month. His symptoms had gradually disappeared. He states that it was frustrating to suffer for so long when the answer to his problem was a change in diet. The diet changes were not hard for him. After so long being sick, he was willing to try almost anything. He claims that the relief he feels today has made the diet changes worthwhile. The toxins which are formed and sent into the bloodstream are sent to the liver first, where some, but not all, of them are filtered out. They are then sent back into the bloodstream where they poison various cells. Finally, they are excreted by the kidneys into urine, making their presence able to be detected through a urinalysis.
A lot of medical literature has been published that supports the link between illness and intestinal toxemia. The following are just a few examples of this literature. One doctor studied 472 cases of allergies, with allergies clearing up when intestinal toxemia was eliminated. After 23 years of observation, another doctor stated that toxemia is the underlying cause of asthma. About 50% of all cases of inflammatory arthritis can be greatly helped by removing the toxins that are formed in the intestine. Similarly, about 25% of all cases of irregular heartbeats seem to respond well to the elimination of toxemia. Several hundred cases of ear, nose, and throat diseases were from auto-intoxications. A high protein diet that is combined with intestinal stagnation has been shown to cause toxemia of pregnancy.
It was found that many cases of eye disease respond well when the intestinal toxins are eliminated from the picture. Both mental and physical nervous system diseases may result form auto-intoxication. One paper reported that 517 cases of mental symptoms that ranged from mental sluggishness to hallucinations were relieved by eliminating intestinal toxemia. Recent research has actually found that toxemia is related to schizophrenia.
The process of aging is even sped up by toxins in the body. Low back pain and sciatica can be caused by nerves that are irritated by intestinal toxins. One doctor reported that intestinal toxemia is an important causative factor in the production of a variety of skin diseases. Breast diseases have self-healed when auto-intoxication has been removed from the picture. It seems that the answer to many health problems is building up the immune system with a healthy diet that is high in complex-carbohydrates, low in fats, and contains an abundance of fruits and vegetables.
Increasing fiber in the diet can help colon function and eliminate the compounds that cause auto-intoxication. Acidophilus can help restore the intestinal balance once the colon has been cleansed boosting digestion and immune health. Look to your local or internet health food store for quality colon support supplements.
June 26, 2009 12:15 PM
Depression affects 22 percent of Americans between the ages of eighteen and older each year. It is one of the most common medical problems in the United States. Depression affects both young and old, and women twice as much as men. Depression is an illness of the whole body. It affects the nervous system, moods, thoughts, and behavior. It also affects the way you eat and sleep, the way you feel about yourself, and the way you react to and think about the people and things around you. Symptoms of depression can last for weeks, months, or years. There are various types of depression, which vary in the number of symptoms, the severity, and persistence.
People with depression generally withdraw and hide from society, losing interest in things around them and becoming incapable of experiencing pleasure. Symptoms of depression include chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, headaches, backaches, digestive disorders, restlessness, irritability, quickness to anger, loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies, and feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy. Many people who are Depressed think about death and consider suicide. Things appear bleak and time seems to pass slowly. Someone with depression can be chronically angry and irritable, sad and despairing, or display little or no emotion at all. Some people try to sleep off depression, while others do nothing but sit or lie around.
There are three main types of clinical depression: major depressive disorder, dysthmyic disorder, and bipolar depression. There are variations in the number of associated mental symptoms, severity, and persistence within these types. Dysthmic disorder is a chronic, but less severe type of depresses ion. It is characterized by milder, persistent symptoms that may last for years. It usually doesn’t interfere with everyday tasks. Bipolar disorders usually begin as depression but progress into alternating episodes of depression and mania, characterized by abnormally and persistently elevated mood, energy, restlessness, or irritability. Bipolar depression is commonly known as manic depression. It has other symptoms including inflated self-esteem, a decreased need for sleep, and increased talkativeness, racing thoughts, distractibility, physical agitation, and excessive risk-taking.
The causes of depression are not fully understood. However, it is assumed that there are most likely many and they are varied. Depression may be triggered by tension, stress, a traumatic life event, a hyper-stimulated immune system, chemical imbalances in the brain, thyroid disorders, nutritional deficiencies, poor diet, the consumption of sugar, mononucleosis, lack of exercise, endometriosis, any serious physical disorder, or even allergies. Whatever the factors that trigger it, depression starts with a disturbance in the part of the brain that governs moods. Most people can handle everyday stresses, with their bodies simply readjusting to these pressures. When stress is too great for a person and his or her adjustment mechanism is unresponsive, depression may be triggered.
The following vitamin nutrients are helpful for those who are suffering from depression: essential fatty acids, 5-HTP, L-tyrosine, SAMe, taurine, omega-3, vitamin B complex, zinc, choline, calcium, magnesium, chromium, GABA, lithium, NADH, and vitamin C with bioflavonoids. Additionally, the following herbs may be beneficial: lemon balm, ginger, ginkgo biloba, licorice root, oat straw, peppermint, Siberian ginseng, kava kava, and St. John’s wort.
Great vitamin supplements like the ones listed above are available at your local or internet health food store. When looking for natural vitamin supplements, always look for name brands to ensure that you receive a high quality and pure product.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins, minerals, and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Inositol And Choline
December 11, 2008 12:19 PM
Inositol is a member of the vitamin B complex family, being referred to as vitamin B8, but is not strictly a vitamin because it is biosynthesized in your body. Vitamins are essential substances that are not manufactured by your natural biochemistry, and must be taken in your diet. However, to all intents and purposes it works like a member of the vitamin B family.
The main function of myo-inositol (the commonest isomer of inositol) is in the health of cell membranes, particularly those that comprise the marrow, eyes, intestines and the brain. Without proper regulation of the cell membrane, the cell cannot function effectively. Some of its effects include healthy hair and controlling estrogen levels. It is also believed to help to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.
A deficiency will result in hair loss, eczema, increased blood cholesterol levels and eye abnormalities. You might also suffer constipation, although this is not as serious a condition as those preceding. It is present at highest levels in the heart and brain, which indicates where it is mostly used, although it also helps the liver to break down fats and enables the nerves and muscles to operate as they should.
Those that are Depressed are frequently found to have low inositol levels in their spinal fluid, so it is believed to play a part in that condition. It is known that the substance takes part in the function of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is known to play a part in depression, and initial signs are that its use in the treatment of depression could be effective. Neurotransmitters are responsible for passing messages across the gap (synapses) between nerve cells, their messages being decoded by the neuroreceptors. A healthy nervous system depends on healthy neurotransmitters.
For these reasons, inositol has also been tried on other conditions of the nervous system. These include bipolar disorder, bulimia, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit disorder. So far, results have been inconclusive as to its effectiveness, but it is early days yet and field tests are continuing.
A test carried out in Beersheva, Israel, in 1997, found that treatment with inositol produced significant improvement in the depression of 28 patients after four weeks on the Hamilton Depression Scale1, and 21 patients tested with panic disorder (with and without agoraphobia) showed significant improvements in their condition, including agoraphobia. Results on 13 patients with obsessive compulsive disorder also showed significant improvement. These were all double-blind tests.
However, not all tests have been so conclusive, and a study on 42 people with sever depression who did not respond to conventional antidepressant, also failed to respond when inositol was added to their medication.2 Results are therefore not conclusive.
Four hundred people took part in a double-blind test that indicated a possible improvement in the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome when treated with inositol 3,4 and another that inositol treatment on patients taking lithium could help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis, a skin condition believed to be caused by a reaction of the immune system and nerves.5
The supplement has also been found to be just as effective as Luvox (fluvoxamine – similar to Prozac) after four weeks treatment. Although these results are good, they are inconclusive, and more data is need before any indisputable conclusions can be drawn. However, treatment with inositol might be worth considering if conventional treatment for these conditions has been unsuccessful.
The most common natural form of inositol is myo-inositol, an isomer of cyclohehexanehexol, a carbocyclic polyol that form the structural basis for secondary messengers in the cells of eukaryotes.
A secondary messenger system is one whereby a signaling molecule is released in response to a signal from a primary messenger such as a neuroreceptor, which then activates certain intracellular proteins known as effector proteins that exert a response from the cell. An example is cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate) that is a secondary messenger that activates protein kinases and allows them to phosphorylated proteins.
Eukaryotes are organisms that contain cells composed of complex components contained within a cellular membrane, and that also contain a nucleus. Examples are fungi, plants and all animals. Examples of non eukaryotes include the bacteria family.
It is frequently recommended that inositol is most effective when taken with an equal amount of choline, although this might be due to the fact that when inositol deficiency is detected, choline is also frequently deficient. Both are vitamin B family like, and both are lipotropic, in that they aid the breakdown of fats in the body. It is not clear whether this is true or not, but taking both would certainly not harm you, and might be of great benefit.
Inositol is not essential, because it can be obtained from beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, cantaloupe, brewer’s yeast, liver and vegetables. Bacteria in the gut also act on the phytic acid (inositol hexaphosphate) contained in citrus fruits to form inositol.
However, be careful if you drink a lot of coffee. It destroys inositol, and if you are taking the supplement medicinally, steer clear of coffee during your period of treatment because it will lose its effect. Excessive coffee drinking can also result in a general depletion of inositol from your diet, and hence a deficiency. In such a case you are advised to take a supplement, preferably along with choline that might also be deficient.
Although there have been no adverse side effects reported, no specific longer term safety studies have been carried out on inositol. Because of the way it works, inositol should be avoided by people with liver or kidney disease, and also by expectant or nursing women. It should be avoided by young children until safety tests have been carried out, and it is believed that it can cause manic effects in those suffering bipolar disorder.
Other than for these specific cases, trials with many times the average daily intake of the substance, it currently appears safe to take inositol as a long-term supplement. However, as with all such supplements intended for specific disorders, you should seek the advice of your physician.
References: 1. Levine J: Ministry of Health Mental Health Center, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev,Beersheva, Israel ur Neuropsychopharmacol, 1997 May, 7:2, 147-55
2. Nemets B, Mishory A, Levine J, et al. Inositol addition does not improve depression in SSRI treatment failures. J Neural Transm. 1999;106:795-798.
3. Gerli S, Mignosa M, Di Renzo GC. Effects of inositol on ovarian function and metabolic factors in women with PCOS: a randomized double blind placebo-controlled trial. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2003;7:151-9.
4. Gerli S, Papaleo E, Ferrari A, et al. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial: effects of myo-inositol on ovarian function and metabolic factors in women with PCOS. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2007;11:347-354.
5. Allan SJ, Kavanagh GM, Herd RM, et al. The effect of inositol supplements on the psoriasis of patients taking lithium: arandomized, placebo-controlled trial. Br J Dermatol. 2004;150:966-969.
August 12, 2008 01:34 PM
Similar to everyone else, you probably have an occasional period where you’re down in the dumps. But don’t fret; feeling a little bit down every now and then is normal. But when these low feelings persist, you may be in trouble. If they deepen over time no matter what you’re doing to change them, then chances are that you are truly Depressed. True depression occurs as a result of a loss of interest in nearly everything that once gave you pleasure. These pleasure feelings are replaced by an all-consuming feeling of emptiness and numbness which may be related to clinical depression.
Clinical depression is another matter, this form of depression is an intense feeling of sadness that lasts for long periods of time and prevents people from leading a normal life. It is a treatable medical condition and is characterized by persistent and sometimes severe feelings of worthlessness, guilt, sadness, helplessness, and hopelessness. There may also be disturbance in sleeping or eating patterns, anxiety, regret, shame, grief, diminished ability to concentrate, and repetitive suicidal thoughts.
Having five or more of these symptoms for a span of two weeks or longer is categorized as clinical depression. However, there are shades of gray when it comes to being emotionally down, from low moods all the way to major depressive episodes. Dysthymia is a lot less severe than depression, but it lingers sometimes for years, allowing people to function adequately but consistently feeling unhappy. Bipolar disorder also causes people to have severe high and low mood swings, while seasonal depression is another form that rounds out the category.
According to a global study, depression may be the most disabling disease in the world. Researchers found that depression can worsen health more than angina, arthritis, asthma, and diabetes. Those who have depression and one or more chronic diseases are in the worst health of all. It is estimated that 19 million American adults are living with major depression, with up to 25 percent experiencing an episode of major depression at some point during their lifetime and women suffering twice as much as men do from major depression.
Suicide is strongly connected to depression and is the third-leading cause of death in 10 to 24 year olds, with most Depressed people never seeking treatment. Those who are undiagnosed and untreated allow depression to worsen and last for years of untold suffering. About 15 percent of people with major depression die from committing suicide. Major depression is a life-threatening illness that should be treated by medical experts. There is no test that can diagnose major depression. However, it is important to rule out other medical problems that have similar symptoms as those of depression.
Depression is usually treated with medications and counseling. Natural remedies may also be effective in the treatment of depression, especially in those cases that are mild to moderate. Additionally, many nutritional, environmental, and lifestyle factors are involved and it is important to recognize that these factors are not only important for depression, but also for our total health. Getting people healthy gets them less Depressed, generally speaking, and there are three supplements that can help ease the symptoms of depression naturally.
Lithium, which is a prescription drug for bipolar disorder, is a simple mineral with benefits for the nervous system to improve mood and cognition. Since patients with depression often have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids and DHA, proper DHA levels are essential for proper functioning of the neurotransmitters. Supplementing with essential fatty acids can help with depression symptoms.
Finally there is SAM-e, a molecule that naturally occurs in the cells of plants and animals, works well as an antidepressant without causing side effects for most people. Always consult your doctor if you suspect you may have clinical depression or when you start any new vitamin supplements with medication and never exceed the recommended doses on the bottle with out a doctors help.
Depression and Vitamins
April 17, 2008 11:20 AM
Most men dealing with depression have stories that are very similar, waking with a heavy head even in the happiest of times. A bad day is described as one in which you can’t get out of bed and it feels as if there is a dark cloud hanging over your head. Today, as the NFL season moves towards playoffs, many athletes are living with depression related to multiple concussions. A study of over 2,500 retired NFL players concluded that three concussions triple the chance of experiencing depression. This is extremely important in a sport in which brain trauma is so often and easily dismissed.
Just like helmets cover the faces of men playing a violent game, the angry aggression that is so commonly associated with normal guy behavior may actually be a mask for depression and physical injury is not needed to suffer its effects. It has actually been discovered that depression is more common in men than anyone ever knew, as male depression has often been under-diagnosed because the standard diagnostic manual portrays the depression symptoms more commonly associated with women. About six million men will be diagnosed with depression in 2008, not counting the one million more that will go undiagnosed.
The sad weepiness that is commonly associated with depression is much more commonly found in women, while a man is more likely to be short-tempered, fatigued, and uninterested in sex, work, or hobbies. However, it is work that provides Depressed men a distraction to their painful inner feelings. Men are more likely to try downing their pain in alcohol or drugs instead of getting treatment. Untreated depression explains why the male suicide rate is more than four times the rate of female suicide. Although there are hormonal differences in depression of the different genders, the common factor is stress.
Although some men are open to being told they are Depressed, most only act out with more anger. An effective, but not exactly subtle approach to telling a man he may have depression is leaving and article or book around the house for him to pick up. Severe depression requires immediate attention by a trained practitioner, along with various medical interventions. Once the worst is over, it is important to try to maintain a depression-free lifestyle. This can be done by reduction stress and finding social support as well as dietary changes.
This is a difficult step for men who are used to conversations which revolve around scores and transactions, but good places to start are men’s groups at houses of worship (church) or those groups such as AA if substance abuse is part of the problem. By fortifying the brain with depression-fighting nutrients, including a B vitamin complex, one can maintain and promote normal mental functioning. Many Depressed people are extremely deficient in folic acid as well as dietary essential fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids are needed to build healthy brain cells, along with phosphatidyl serine. Other herbs, including eleuthero, rhodiola, and ginseng, can help the body to adapt to stress, while St. John’s wort and SAMe work as natural antidepressants.
The most severe mistake that can be made is to play down depression, which applies to raging men just as much as it does to weeping women. Both genders need to seek help if feeling this way. If you feel you are experiencing depression, seek professional help as well as look into dietary changes, exercise, and the support of family can be a good start to a healthier outlook on life.
Biotin For Better Health!
April 14, 2008 12:42 PM
Biotin is one of the B vitamins, known as vitamin B7 and also, for some reason, vitamin H. If you have a deficiency of this vitamin you will know about it because it makes you bald. So keep up your vitamin B7 intake girls!
However, this should not be difficult since it is contained in cooked egg white (not raw), tomatoes, chard, onions, cabbage, strawberries, walnuts, halibut, carrots, liver, brewers yeast and cucumber to name but a few of the many sources. It makes sense that it has so many sources because biotin is essential for many of the biochemical reactions that take place continuously in your body.
It is contained in raw eggs, but is bound too tightly to the protein to be available to your body. It has to be cooked before the bond is broken sufficiently to render it bioavailable.
Included in these is the all-important Krebs cycle that releases energy from food. It is necessary for the growth of your body cells, for the metabolism of the fats you consume and for the biosynthesis of the fatty acids that are eventually converted to proteins and then the DNA that is essential for life. In other words, without biotin we would not be here.
However, do not get overly worried about the necessity of biotin in your diet, since the same applies to all of the other vitamins you consume. That is what vitamins are chemicals that have been identified ages ago as being essential to life. Without vitamins we could not survive which is why the vitamin supplement industry is so strong and healthy.
So, what does biotin do specifically, other than being necessary for some of the essential biochemical processes in your body? These tend to look after themselves, so what are the physical attributes that biotin provides for you? The name should give you a clue. In fact it should be familiar since it is one of the more commonly mentioned ingredients of hair care products: “Biotin for Healthy Hair” - ring a bell?
Although a deficiency of biotin is rare with a healthy balanced diet, it can happen, and when it does your first sign might be your skin drying out, your cholesterol levels will increase, you will feel continually tired and Depressed with a poor appetite and you will be nauseous. You will also frequently vomit, which puts the icing on the cake of a set of very undesirable symptoms. It is important, then, that you do not suffer from a deficiency of biotin, vitamin B7 or vitamin H, whatever you want to call it, and is why many people take a supplement just to make sure.
This is normally taken as part of a general B complex supplement or even a general multivitamin supplement, since almost everybody has no idea what this vitamin is and why it is so necessary for your continued health. So let's have a look at why biotin is so important, with specific reference to your hair, skin and nails. However, we shall also examine its deeper biochemical uses and explain why it is such an essential vitamin.
With regard to biotin supplements in hair preparations, it benefit’s by helping one grow thicker hair, symptoms of a deficiency is brittle hair. If you are deficient, you will lose your eyelashes and eyebrows in addition to your hair, depending on the severity of your deficiency. As stated, however, that is particularly rare. The biotin content of shampoos is likely useless since it is not absorbed through the skin.
What it does in the diet, however, is to thicken the nails and also the hair fiber giving it a fuller appearance, so that you appear to have more hair than you actually have. It also increases the flexibility of the hair, skin and nails rendering them less brittle and less liable to breaking and scaling. However, as previously stated if you eat a good balanced diet you should avoid these problems, although a vitamin B complex supplement will do the job just as well.
So what else does vitamin B7 do for you? Lots in fact, so let's have a look at the more important of them starting with the function of your body cells in the production of energy. Biotin takes part in the Citric Acid Cycle, otherwise known as the Krebs Cycle, whereby energy is created by the conversion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins into carbon dioxide and water. It is one of the essential metabolic pathways of life, and biotin is needed to recharge the Krebs cycle with metabolites when mitochondria become deficient in these essential components.
Without them you would begin to feel tired and lack energy, and this would get increasingly worse without a biotin supplement. It is amazing that your energy is created in the mitochondria which are a part of the tiny cells that make up the tissue of your body, and equally amazing that it depends upon, among other substances, a vitamin of which very few people are even aware of.
In spite of any other effect biotin has on your body, including providing healthy hair, skin and nails, its primary role in your body is in the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates into a form that can be used by your body for the production of energy. Biochemically, it functions as a coenzyme, which is a molecule needed to help an enzyme do its work. In fact an alternative name give to biotin is Coenzyme R.
It helps in the biochemical conversion of sugars to energy, and is a component of enzymes such as pyruvate carboxylase. That enzyme is protein contained within the mitochondria that contains a biotin prosthetic group, without which it could not function to help the body to generate energy during exercise. Suffice it to say that without biotin you would find it difficult to generate energy, especially when the demand for it is at its highest.
Biotin's biochemical role is not restricted to energy production however, and it is involved in the biochemical synthesis of amino acids and also of glucose from other sugars. Glucose is the main blood sugar that is manufactured in the body from the other saccharides that you eat, such as fructose.
A reasonable level of supplementation to ensure that you do not suffer from a deficiency is around 100 micrograms daily, although up to 5 milligrams (5000 mcg) are safe for the treatment of brittle nails or hair loss. Much depends on age and it is best taken as a vitamin B complex supplement, since the B vitamins appear to give best results as a team!
So, while you can have healthy hair, skin and nails with biotin, without it you will have no energy and likely have no need for your hair, skin and nails!
Big Pharma Plays God, Stealing and Altering Pant Compounds making Synthetic Drugs
January 02, 2008 02:24 PM
It has been claimed by the Nutritional Health Alliance (NHA) that the pharmaceutical companies are formulating their pharma drugs using natural plant-derived substances. This is not totally groundbreaking news, of course, since the whole pharmaceutical industry was based on natural products such as aspirin, derived from willow bark, and antibiotics derived from the penicillin mold.
While there is nothing wrong with them doing this, there are signs of their increasing lobbying to limit the supply of supplements so that Big Pharma can monopolize the production and supply of all supplements and remedies, natural or synthetic. What is disturbing is that bills such as the Adverse Event Reporting Bill, passed by Congress in February 2007 as the Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act, could conceivably place greater powers into the hands of the large pharmaceutical companies to restrict the sales of natural products that are not part of their ‘approved’ prescription range.
This Act requires users and distributors of over the counter and non-prescriptive natural remedies to report any adverse effects that they believe have been caused by the remedy they are using. What this does is to require untrained people to make medical decisions as to what is causing their adverse reaction.
A patient taking several prescription drugs and a vitamin supplement might naturally assume that it is the vitamin that is causing their reaction, since they will believe the drugs to be safe. Hence they will report the vitamin supplement as being the cause. Since the act does not oblige them to report reactions from prescription drugs, then this opens the door for Big Pharma to hijack plant compounds, and then alter them to make synthetic drugs.
The position of the FDA in all of this is dubious since that body has already made many decisions that favor the large pharma companies rather than the consumer, or producers of herbal remedies.
However, there is also the opposite view that the supplement industry is unregulated, and some degree of control is long overdue. While it is difficult to argue against this, it is the form of control that is in question and also the reasons behind it.
The pharmaceutical companies have long gained through America’s ill health, and it is to their advantage for Americans to become ill or suffer from the chronic diseases that come with a sedentary lifestyle and a diet of fast foods. The industry’s short-sighted approach has been to wait until people become ill and then treated them with expensive drug, rather than prevention that would ultimate lose them customers for their products.
A happy and healthy community, regularly taking supplements that keep them fit and well, is not to the advantage of pharmaceutical companies that prefer a Depressed, unfit and sick American population to which they can sell their products. Hence the smear campaigns in the press regarding ‘uncontrolled’ natural remedies, untold bills in Congress, and what could end up as the ultimate revocation of our freedom to consume the natural products of our choice.
If we are taking two or three prescription drugs for a heart condition or to reduce the cholesterol levels in our body, and also an Omega-3 fatty acids capsule, we are urged to report the capsule if we have any side effects from the cocktail. Presumably on the basis that the drugs have been approved by the FDA, and so cannot possibly cause any side effects in us. A fish oil capsule is hardly likely to cause a heart attack, but many prescription drugs can if badly prescribed. However, it is the capsule that is likely to be fingered, banned and then included in a pharmaceutical product that is cleared by the FDA.
Those that take over the counter supplements, vitamins and herbal remedies are a threat and it is difficult not to become cynical about the intentions of such Acts of Congress and the people behind them. True, the supplement and herbal industry probably does require some form of regulation, but to phrase this in such a way as to require medically untrained people to report what they perceive as being the adverse effects of supplements rings of an intention to regulate by restriction or even banning.
When that occurs, Big Pharma will take these products and fashion them into expensive prescriptive drugs that are then approved for use by the FDA. What we were at one time able to purchase from our local health store we would now have to purchase at several times the price through prescription.
The health benefits of natural nutritional supplements are well documented, and the industry are now using methods to ensure standardization of the active ingredients where possible. However, this is not always possible with foodstuffs that do not always grow in standardized ways.
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) was passed by Congress in 1994 to protect and preserve our rights to healthy supplementation of our diets with natural products of our choice. The FDA has systematically failed to enforce this and prosecute synthetic manufacturers who have not kept to the law. The FDA does not need new powers, but the funding to implement those already in existence.
Lobbying in Congress by interested parties should not be allowed to undermine the rights of all Americans of the freedom to consume the products that will provide them with a healthier lifestyle. The DHSEA is all that is needed to preserve this and to protect consumers from Big Pharma and their need to create conditions conducive to an increasing need for their products.
Yes, the health supplements industry likely needs some form of regulation to ensure standardization of products as far as is possible, but the way to do this is not to place medical decisions into the hands of the untrained. Do not forget that these are natural products, available freely from nature in fruit, vegetable and animal products, and are not synthesized in a laboratory as many of today’s drugs are.
However, give them a free rein, and Big Pharma will hijack these natural products, change them and then sell them to us at highly inflated prices to do the job that already do for us: keep us healthy.
Omega-3 Relieves Depression in Some Individuals
November 02, 2007 03:27 PM
Omega-3 oils contain fatty acids that are known as essential fatty acids because they cannot be manufactured in your body but have to be taken in your diet. They provide many benefits to your body, and are also believed to relieve depression in some individuals. First, however, an overview of the more conventional benefits of omega-3 oils.
Obtainable in your diet from oily fish such as mackerel, herring, salmon and the like, omega-3 fatty acids play an important part in your normal growth and development, and are also crucial to normal brain function. They can reduce inflammation and protect you from heart disease and some cancers. Studies have shown the fatty acids to be particularly concentrated in the brain and to be important for cognitive processes and memory.
The effects of omega 3 fish oils on the brain are well documented, and they are known to be effective treatments in some cases of bipolar and schizophrenia. It is believed that they could also be used as a treatment in other disorders such as attention deficit disorder and dyslexia, but there is as yet no evidence that this is the case.
Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the so-called ‘bad’ low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels and increase the high density lipoproteins (HDL) that take the cholesterol back to the liver for destruction. The end result is a reduction in the cholesterol content of the blood that can be deposited on the artery walls and promote atherosclerosis. Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids appear to lower blood pressure in those suffering from hypertension, and so reduce their chances of heart attacks and strokes.
Omega 3 oils are also natural inflammatories, and help prevent conditions involving inflammation such as arthritis, asthma and menstrual cramps. They appear to help the immune system to fight these conditions and reduce the inflammation and its causes.
They are also important in the formation of prostaglandins that are responsible for the regulation of important functions such as blood pressure, blood clotting and immune response. They are hormone-like substances and also control the synthesis in the body of other hormones. If the balance of fatty acids in the diet is not right, then the subsequent imbalance in prostaglandin and hormone production can lead to disease.
It is in its effect on depression and mood, however, that has surprised many in the medical, profession. Ethyl-eicosapentaenoate, known as ethyl EPA, is a constituent of omega-3 fish oil and many studies have demonstrated that this substance helps cases of depression and related disorders. However, are people justified in turning to ethyl EPA to help them be cured of this condition?
In one study involving 20 people, six out of ten people given the supplement displayed significantly reduced symptoms of depression after four weeks. The effects were noticed as early as two weeks and many of the depression symptoms, such as worthlessness and insomnia, had improved after three weeks. This conformed with the results of many other studies that have been carried out world wide. In Scotland, a number of patients were studied who had failed to respond to traditional antidepressant drugs. Of the seventy patients involved in the trial, all of the patients who were treated with EPA displayed significant improvements in all the symptoms of their depression after four weeks whereas those with the placebo showed no improvement.
Of the two main components of omega-3 fish oil, EPA and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), only the EPA has this property, and the EPA works best alone when the DHA has been extracted. Studies and tests have indicated that the DHA appears to be important for the brain’s structure, but the EPA for its function, hence the reason for the ineffectiveness of the former in relieving depression which is a function of the brain rather connected to its structure. In fact, Depressed people have been found to be deficient in EPA in comparison to those not suffering from the condition. The original idea for this originated with the late Dr. Horribin who was pioneer in researching the effects of lipids on the biochemistry of the brain as far back as the 1970s. Since then the world-wide research has confirmed his theory. However, the reason why this theory works in practice is not yet understood. It has been established that a diet rich in trans fats can unfavorably affect the hormones in the brain that stabilize mood, possibly due to the fats slowing down the system of messaging within the brain. This kind of effect can cause depression.
This is likely due to the slowing down of the messages passing between the synapses. Brain cells communicate by means of chemicals that cross the synapses, or small gaps between the individual cells. They are not directly connected like normal electrical circuits. It has been theorized that the EPA speeds up the passage of these messages between neurotransmitters and neuroreceptors. Other theories have also been promoted, such as that the EPA has properties of its own that cure depression by another route altogether.
A possible clue could be in the findings of one study on a man aged 21 years old whose brain was scanned before and after EPA treatment. The result showed in increase in the mass of brain cells after the treatment. This was contrary to the belief that brain cells could neither be generated nor grown once a person reaches maturity.
An individual suffering depression who would like to treat themselves with EPA would have to buy a lot of oily fish since high doses are needed for this level of therapy. However, it is found in high concentrations in a few supplements available on the market, and when choosing you must use the highest grade of EPA you can get, with as low a DHA content as you can find.
There is little doubt now; however, that the EPA content of omega-3 relieves depression in some individuals, although more work is needed to prove without doubt that it is effective with all forms of depression.
Active Coenzyme Q10
July 07, 2007 01:30 PM
The benefits of Coenzyme Q10 have become increasingly well-known. This important nutrient has been shown in clinical trials to improve heart function, reduce the side effects of certain drugs used to treat cancer, and slow the progression of serious brain diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. Now research has opened a new chapter in the CoQ10 story, highlighting the benefits of ubiquinol, the active form of CoQ10, to increase energy and stamina, and reduce some of he physical signs of aging.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor we will review the benefits of Coenzyme Q10, and discuss the differences between CoQ10 and its active form –ubiquinol.
Q. What is CoQ10?
A. CoQ10 is a natural, fat-soluble nutrient present in virtually all cells. CoQ10 also is known as ubiquinone. That’s because CoQ10 is ubiquitious and exists everywhere there is life. CoQ10 is vital to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. ATP is the energy-rich compound used for all processes requiring energy in the body. Although CoQ10 is produced by the body and exists in some limited dietary sources, these levels may be insufficient to meet the body’s requirements. CoQ10 levels diminish with age and as a result of dietary inadequacies and various disease states. Also, some drugs, especially a group of cholesterol lowering prescription drugs known as “statins,” (Pravachol, Zocor, Lipitor, etc.) significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body.
Q. What is ubiquinol? Is it the same or different from CoQ10?
A. Ubiquinol and CoQ10 are very closely related. Ubiquinone, or CoQ10, is the oxidized form of the molecule. This means it has to be converted to a non-oxidized form before it can perform its work. Ubiquinol is the active form of this nutrient. Our bodies convert CoQ10 to ubiquinol – which is the form needed to produce cellular energy. Until recently, it was not possible to use ubiquinol as a supplement because it is very unstable outside the human body. But research has now found a way to keep this molecule stable so it can be successfully taken in supplement form.
Q. If CoQ10 gets converted to ubiquinol anyway, can’t I just take CoQ10?
A. While it is true that our bodies can convert CoQ10 to ubiquinol, it isn’t true that we all do this equally well. In fact, as we age, our ability to convert CoQ10 to ubiquinol declines. And some people even have a gene that makes them less effective at this conversion than the majority of the population. IN fact, several common health issues have been associated with less than optimal ratios of CoQ10 to QH. For healthy people the ideal ratio is approximately 97% Ubiquinol to 3% CoQ10. But in people with diabetes, for example, the ratios have been found to range from 43% ubiquinol to 47% CoQ10 in mild diabetes, to only 24% ubiquinol to 76% CoQ10 in severe diabetes. These numbers are for men; the numbers for women vary by 2 to 5 percentage points.
So for older folks, the 30-50% of people who have the gene that impairs CoQ10 conversion, or for people who have serious health concerns, supplementing with ubiquinol instead of CoQ10 might be the smart choice.
Q. What are the health benefits of CoQ10 and Ubiquinol?
A. There have been many studies showing that CoQ10 is beneficial in treating and preventing heart disease and conditions such as high blood pressure atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), angina, and congestive heart failure (CHF). It’s been shown that heart attacks tend to occur when CoQ10 levels are low in the body. Exciting new research has found that CoQ10 in a unique delivery system supplementation may slow the progression of symptoms associated with neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, ALS, Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition, CoQ10 is beneficial for diabetes, immune dysfunction, cancer, periodontal disease, prostate cancer, and neurological disease. While the research on ubiquinol is still very new, it is reasonable to expect that its benefits will be equal to or perhaps even better than CoQ10, because it is the more active form.
Q. Why is CoQ10 especially important for preventing and treating heart disease, and for neurological diseases like Parkinson’s disease?
A. The heart and brain are some of the most metabolically active tissues in the body. Both require large amounts of uninterrupted energy, which means these tissues also need increased amounts of ubiquinol. Research has shown that many people with heart of brain diseases have serum CoQ10 levels that are lower than those of healthy people. Correcting such deficiencies often can produce significant results. However, these diseases become more common as we age – right at the time our ability to convert CoQ10 to its active form, ubiquinol, declines.
Q. How might ubiquinol be important for the heart?
A. Heart Health: A study on patients admitted to the hospital with an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) found that CoQ10 can provide rapid protective effects in patients with a heart attack if administered within three days of the onset of symptoms. Seventy-three patients received CoQ10 (120 mg/d). The study’s control group consisted of 71 similarly matched patients with acute AMI. After treatment, angina pectoris (severe chest pain signifying interrupted blood flow to the heart), total arrhythmias (dangerously irregular heartbeats), and poor function in the left ventricle (the essential chamber of the heart) were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared to the placebo group. Total deaths due to sudden cardiac failure and nonfatal heart attacks also were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared with the placebo group.
In another study, CoQ10 was studied in 109 patients with high blood pressure (hypertension). The patients were given varying doses of supplemental CoQ10 with the goal of attaining a certain blood level (greater than 2.0 mcg/l). Most patients were on medications to treat hypertension. Half the patients were able to stop taking some or all of their prescription drugs at an average of 4.4 months after starting CoQ10. The 9.4% of patients who had echocardiograms, performed both before and during treatment, experienced a highly significant improvement in heart wall thickness and function. This improvement was directly attributed to CoQ10 supplementation.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a debilitating disease that affects 5 million people in the
And Neurological Health?: A study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health showed that supplementing with CoQ10 in a unique delivery system was associated with a slowing of the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Participants were divided into 4 groups and their physical skills (coordination, walking, etc) and mental skills were evaluated. Each group then received 300 mg, 600 mg, or 1200 mg of a special form of chewable CoQ10, or a placebo. The researchers evaluated the participants after 1, 4,8, 12, and 16 months of treatment. Each participant was again scored on motor, mental, and activities of daily living skills.
The results of the study showed that the people who took the highest dosage of CoQ10-1200 mg-experienced the least decline in their physical abilities. The results were so encouraging that the researchers will be continuing with new studies, suing higher dosages to see if the results can get even better.
Huntington’s disease (HD) is a devastating and degenerative inherited disease that is always fatal. In fact, no other medication, drug, or nutritional supplement has ever been shown to cause a decline in the progression of this terrible disease. A study compared CoQ10 against remacemide (an investigational HD drug made by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals), in 347 HD patients who were in the early stages of the disease. Remacemide blocks glutamate, the neurotransmitter scientists think may cause the death of brain cells that occurs in Huntington’s disease. While remacemide had no effect on the progression of HD, CoQ10 showed a trend toward slowing the disease by an average of 15%. This meant the HD group taking CoQ10 was able to handle every day activities of life a little longer than the patients taking remacemide or a placebo. They also were able to focus their attention better, were less Depressed, and less irritable.
The 15% slowing of decline can result in about one more year of independence of HD patients. Needless to say, the gift of an additional year of health in the lives of HD patients is incredibly significant.
Because of these impressive results, researchers are hopeful that supplemental CoQ10 will have beneficial effects for people with other neurological diseases such as ALS and Alzheimer’s disease, too. Studies are under way to confirm these effects.
Using the active form of CoQ10 helps to assure that, regardless of age or illness, the CoQ10 can have the greatest impact.
Q. What have been the results of research studies with Ubiquinol?
A. One of the most interesting effects of Ubiquinol that has been reported so far is its ability to slow the physical signs of aging. In laboratory studies, administration of stable ubiquinol to mice forestalled the changes associated with aging – rounded spine, patchy fur and irritated eyes. While the mice who received ubiquinol did not necessarily live longer than the mice that didn’t, they lived better. But it is important to note that these mice were bred to die at a young age. Human studies are needed to determined true impact on longevity.
Additionally, supplemental, stable ubiquinol has been shown to increase physical energy and stamina. In an animal study, the length of time rats were able to run on a treadmill before getting tired was measured. The same rats were then given ubiquinol and the treadmill test was repeated. The length of time the rats were able to run before tiring increased 150 times.
Q. How can one supplement have applications for neurological diseases, heart health, and even the immune system?
A. Supplements often have more than one function, especially when it’s a substance like CoQ10, which is present in all parts of the body. All nucleated cells (most cells other than red blood cells) have mitochondria and all cells require energy to function. CoQ10 is vital to ATP production. Thus, CoQ10 has applications not only in neurological (neurons or nervous system cells) and cardiac health (myocardium or heart tissue), but also for the immune system.
Q. Should I take CoQ10 or ubiquinol? How much should I take?
A. While everyone can benefit from CoQ10 or ubiquinol supplementation, it appears that ubiquinol should be the first choice for older adults, people with known genetic inefficiencies in converting CoQ10 to ubiquinol, and for people with serious heart disease or neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, who are otherwise supplementing with high levels of CoQ10. For people in overall good health, a high quality CoQ10 supplement with proven absorption is a good choice.
Take 200 to 300 mg of CoQ10 or 100 mg ubiquinol daily, depending on your health history. The safety of both forms has been tested, and no significant side effects reported. Occasional mild stomach upset may occur. Taking your CoQ10 or ubiquinol with meals usually alleviates this rare effect.
Can Cod Liver Oil Help Depression?
June 19, 2007 01:20 PM
Can Cod Liver Oil Help Depression…In a study of almost 22,000 Norwegians aged over 40, those who regularly took cod liver oil were less likely to suffer depression than those who did not. The oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are linked to various benefits. Scientists said a spoonful of cod liver oil could reduce the risk of depression by as much as 30 percent. Prevalence of depression symptoms among cod liver oil users was 2.5 percent, compared to 3.8 percent in the rest of the population. The study also suggests that the longer the subjects took the oil, the less Depressed they became. (Journal of Affective Disorders, volume 101, Issue 1-3, August 2007, pages 245-249)
Papaya- May Be A Fountain of Youth
May 31, 2007 02:09 PM
Papaya- May Be A Fountain of Youth
Seventy years ago, when the Social Security Administration was developed during the Great Depression, age 62 was recognized as average life expectancy. These days, getting older is a whole different ball game. Not only are people living well into their 80s and 90s, they’re living better, too. People well into retirement are mountain biking, kayaking, jogging and hiking, as well as gardening, golfing and attending concerts – sometimes for their first time. Everybody, it seems, is on the go, from ages of 22 to 92.
Of course, you don’t have to wait until retirement to start planning for a longer more vibrant life. The best way to ensure happier and longer years ahead is to start young.
Nobody wants to spend retirement in the doctor’s waiting room or have their golden years intruded upon with illnesses or infirmities. And, most importantly, we don’t want to feel 80 years old even though our driver’s license says we are.
These desires and demands are not just wishful thinking. Huge advances in the understanding of how men and women age are being made almost daily. These findings are helping to improve our chances of living long, healthy lives. And, some of the most impressive findings have shown that using nutritional supplements can help – in particular, a specially formulated papaya preparation is able to fight two of the primary reasons we get old – oxidative stress and immune system decline.
This issue of Ask the Doctor is going to share the anti-aging secrets hidden in the papaya and how this tropical fruit may hold the key to a long, vibrant life.
Q. Why papaya? What does papaya have that other fruits and vegetables don’t?
A. Not many American moms put a papaya in their kids’ lunch boxes and papaya pie has yet to gain a following. But this tangy tasting fruit is now appearing fairly frequently in the produce departments of most grocery stores and its popularity seems to steadily increase each year.
The papaya’s bright orange flesh is fairly fibrous and very slippery – slicing a peeled papaya is a little like slicing a bar of wet soap. The core is filled with little black seeds that look a lot like caviar. And while eating a papaya will give you a day’s worth of vitamins A and C as well as potassium taking Fermented Papaya Preparation (or FPP) might just give you an additional 30 years of healthy vibrant life.
Q. What exactly is Fermented Papaya Preparation (FPP)?
A. It’s a specialized nutritional supplement. Backed by more than 30 studies to date, FPP has been used in
Q. How was FPP developed?
A. Japanese scientists noticed that individuals with higher amounts of papaya in their diets experienced certain health benefits.
Researchers who study aging decided to look at the papaya’s chemistry to see if it might have properties that could contribute to longevity. Several plant chemicals in the papaya showed promise. And when they combined papaya with specific yeasts and traditional Japanese fermentation techniques, FPP was born. This unique substance was then subjected to scientific studies to see its health impact; they determined that FPP is a superior antioxidant, a powerful immune-booster, and one of
Q. How does FPP help people live longer and healthier?
A. While getting older is an indisputable fact of life, aging, per se, is not. We can’t do much about our annual birthdays and we really shouldn’t even if we could. Every age is a cause for celebration and every life experience, both the difficult and the sublime, should be treasured.
However, we don’t have to accept the consequences of aging that can make a mockery of the “Golden Years” - heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, and cancer. Our parents and grandparents and the generations that preceded them might have had little say in how they aged. But we can. We can slow down the harmful effects of aging and FPP can help by reducing oxidative stress and immune system decline.
Additionally, fighting oxidative stress helps people retain their youthful appearance longer. Oxidative damage is the number one factor in facial aging.
Q. What exactly does oxidative stress mean and what does it have to do with aging?
A. One theory of aging is that harmful molecules called free radicals wreak havoc in our cells. Many of our body’s normal metabolic processes produce free radicals. For example, free radicals are a normal by-product in the production of ATP (the energy molecule) from glucose. Certain types of white blood cells destroy invading microbes by the production of free radicals. Free radicals are also formed by the many normal enzymatic actions that take place every minute every day.
However, outside sources can also cause free radical formation, as well. If we are exposed to pollutants in the environment, chemicals, additives and preservatives in the food we eat, or even direct sunlight, excess production of free radicals can occur, causing profound damage. This free radical frenzy is called oxidative stress, and is linked to almost every disease of aging including arthritis, heart disease, cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer. In fact, the reason why these are called diseases of aging is because the longer we are alive, the longer we are subjected to these free radical assaults.
Q. How does FPP affect the decline of our immune systems as we age?
A. Our immune systems consist of specialized tissues, organs, and cells, including several different kinds of white blood cells. Each type of white blood cell works in specific ways to keep us healthy and free of disease. They not only stand guard – on the alert for invaders – they can fight and eradicate microbes, too.
However, as we age, our white blood cells become less efficient in keeping viruses and bacteria from infecting us. They often mistake invaders for good guys, like nutrients. As they age, white blood cells may recognize foreign invaders, but be too tired to fight and let them in. This age-associated immune decline also results in single cancer cells being able to “take hold” and grow into tumors. By the time the white blood cells realize their mistake, the cancer is a widespread disease.
That’s why older members of society have more urinary tract infections, more pneumonia, more cases of bacterial meningitis, tuberculosis, herpes zoster, and much more cancer than younger adults do. Moreover, mortality rates for these diseases are often 2-3 times higher among adults than younger people with the same disease.
FPP steps in and takes charge. One kind of white blood cells, the macrophage “eats” and digests bacteria, viral particles, and free radical fragments. Research has shown that FPP helps macrophages work faster and ingest more disease-causing microbes. Scientists have also discovered that FPP increases the production of a chemical protein called interleukin that’s secreted by macrophages. Interleukin plays an important part in wound healing and keeping minor infections from becoming major infections.
Another important immune system cell is the natural killer (NK) cell, a white blood cell that is continually on the prowl for cancer cells. As the immune system ages, NK cells have trouble “seeing” cancer cells. Researchers have discovered that FPP boosts the activity of NK cells. Increased NK cell activity can result in the increased killing of cancer cells as well as cells infected by viruses.
Q. How does FPP help protect us from free radical damage?
A. FPP contains unique and powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize free radical damage. Antioxidants do this by donating an extra electron to the free radical without becoming frenzied or worked up into a free radical themselves. Although the antioxidant has donated an electron, it has a more stable “personality” and is less reactive. This action stops the domino effect and ongoing free-radical damage.
If you consider your body a temple, think of free radicals as stealing bricks from your temple’s foundation. FPP acts not only as policeman, but as a builder as well. It doesn’t just stop the theft of bricks; it helps create new ones, keeping the foundation strong and young.
FPP does this by affecting super oxide dimutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPX), the very genetic pathways that eliminate free radicals from the system. FPP is more than an antioxidant – it doesn’t turn into a pro-oxidant if you happen to take a large dose the way standard antioxidants can. Consider it an “antioxidant plus.”
Since aging is largely determined by how well our bodies can fight oxidative damage, using FPP can slow down the clock as it bolsters natural abilities with its own potent neutralizing activities.
Q. What else does science say about FPP?
A. As the subject of over 30 clinical studies, FPP has been shown to inhibit dangerous hydroxyl free radicals. In addition, it is also being considered for its immuno-protective effects.
Researchers and medical professionals have been studying FPP for years, tracking its effect on the immune system and aging. In fact, no less a personage then Dr. Luc Montagnier, co-discover of HIV 1 & 2 virus, has been conducting research on this natural immune booster.
Dr. Montagnier recommends using FPP as part of a tri-therapy (including antibiotics) that reduces the proliferation of the virus and stimulates the immune system. Since FPP has antioxidant and immuno-stimulative properties, it seems like an obvious choice for a combined approach to combating AIDS. Because of the higher free radical production in stage II of HIV infection, Montagnier believes that reducing this oxidative stress at the earliest stage of HIV infection may be a key factor.
In HIV-infected patients, the glutathione system is Depressed even at the early stages. As part of a combination treatment, FPP increased the numbers of CF4 lymphocytes helped with weight gain and increased hemoglobin levels.
One scientific study showed the ability of FPP to inhibit dangerous hydroxyl and hydroxyl-like free radicals, while enhancing the production of protective super oxide. Other research by Dr. Lester Packer, a professor of Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology at the
And, in one randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, patients with cirrhosis of the liver were given FPP or a placebo. The results showed that 81.2% of the patients survived in the FPP group compared to 38.5% of participants in the placebo group.
These studies and many others like it, show that FPP can neutralize the effects of oxidative stress on disease states as well as slowing the normal aging process.
Q. So if we can prevent oxidative damage to our cells AND prevent decline in our immune systems, how much longer can we expect to live?
A. Most theories of aging and almost all researchers who study aging claim there IS a limit to how long the human body can remain viable. However, the oldest age achieved so far was 128 by a woman named Ma Pampo who lived in the
Right now, Japanese women have the longest life span of any country in the world, with an average life expectancy of 85.93 years. Japanese men live an average 78.87 years.
Q. Is FPP safe?
A. Yes, it is. Many health-conscious people in
Q. What is the recommended dosage level of FPP?
A. Dosages of FPP vary depending on individual needs and usage. For basic anti-aging support, 3 grams per day is fine. For additional support, up to 9 grams per day is recommended. To add a boost to your immune system when you need it, start out with 6-9 grams a day for the first 2-3 days (at the beginning of a cold, for example) and then move back down to 3 grams per day.
For individuals looking for optimum immune support, Dr. Montagnier advises morning and evening doses, preferably on an empty stomach.
D-Ribose Powder Benefits!
April 10, 2007 11:57 AM
Supports normal heart function*
A significant amount of in vitro, animal and human research suggests benefits of ribose on heart function.* Studies have shown that ribose supplementation can enhance cardiac energy levels and support cardiovascular metabolism.* Ribose has been shown in clinical trials to enhance the recovery of heart muscle ATP levels and improve myocardial function following exercise.
Studies suggest that ribose supplementation can increase the tolerability of the cardiovascular system to exercise-induced fatigue.1 In one study, twenty men underwent treadmill exercise tests on two consecutive days to confirm the onset of fatigue secondary to exercise. The participants were then randomized to the treatment group or a placebo group. The groups received either four doses of 15 grams of D-ribose (60 grams/day total) or the same amount of placebo each day. After three days of treatment, another treadmill test was performed. The time it took to reach the specified level of fatigue was significantly greater in the ribose group than in the placebo group.
Another study investigated the ability of ribose to support healthy heart function and quality of life.2 In a randomized, crossover design study, fifteen individuals were given 5 grams three times a day of either D-ribose or placebo. Each treatment period lasted three weeks. In patients receiving ribose, echocardiography demonstrated enhancement of heart function, reflecting a “more efficient relaxation phase of the heart”. Participants also had a significant improvement in their subjective quality of life scores compared to placebo.
Scientists suggest that suboptimal heart function is a result of the heart requiring more energy to function properly. Ribose supports the heart’s enhanced energy requirements, promoting optimal heart function. It does so by enhancing the stores of high-energy phosphates in heart tissue. These intermediates are necessary for the production and resynthesis of ATP. A double-blind crossover study in which 12 individuals were randomized to receive either ribose or dextrose (both administered as 5 grams three times daily for three weeks, followed by a 1-week washout period and crossover of treatments for three additional weeks) suggested significant enhancements in normal cardiac function during the period of ribose supplementation.3
Perhaps one of the more useful illustrations of the potential for ribose to support heart function comes from a study in which 20 rats received a continuous infusion of ribose for 24 hours (control rats received an infusion of saline). The hearts were then explanted (as they would be for heart transplants) and placed in preservation solution that was enriched with ribose for 4 hours. ATP levels were measured from tissue biopsies and revealed that 10 of the ribose-treated hearts had ATP levels higher than 12.3 micromoles per gram whereas saline-treated hearts (controls) had lower ATP levels, with 20% showing levels below 10 micromoles per gram of tissue. This provides support for the hypothesis that ribose may enhance the preservation of ATP levels in cardiac tissue, promoting normal heart function.4
Further animal studies have shown that ribose significantly enhances heart function after experimentally induced cardiac depression. Rats were injected with isoproterenol (a drug that stimulates sympathetic nervous system function) and had their abdominal aorta constricted to induce depression of heart function and reduce cardiac ATP levels. The decrease in ATP was primarily responsible for the depression of heart function. Continuous infusion of ribose for 24 hours replenished ATP concentrations to normal levels and normalized heart function in these animals.5
Ribose may strengthen and support the body’s crucial antioxidant defenses*
Ribose may support the body’s innate antioxidant mechanisms while promoting an antioxidant effect of its own. Intense exercise and other strenuous activity can induce the production of free radicals. Preliminary studies suggest that ribose can attenuate some of the effects of oxidation seen after performance of intensive exercise.
One small human study indicated that ribose administered at a dose of seven grams before and after a bout of cycling exercise may reduce free radical production.6 Seven volunteers ingested either ribose or placebo both before and after intense exercise. Markers of lipid peroxidation, including malondialdehyde, significantly decreased in the ribose-supplemented group, while increasing in the control group. The results of this study indicate a possible effect of ribose in supporting antioxidant activity.
Supports healthy energy levels in heart and muscle tissue*
After bouts of intense exercise, ATP levels have been shown to decrease by an average of 15 to 20%.7 The amount of ATP stored in the muscle is limited and so the body must have the potential to rebuild ATP stores. ATP is the fuel necessary for the integrity and function of a cell. In addition, several studies have found correlations between ATP content and heart function.1 Research that was also alluded to above suggests that ribose stimulates ATP synthesis and supports heart and muscle function by enhancing ATP levels in cardiac and muscle tissue. D-ribose is an essential building block for the synthesis of ATP through the pentose phosphate pathway.
The results of ribose supplementation enhancing ATP levels in muscle are evidenced by studies suggesting beneficial effects on anaerobic performance. In a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study assessing the effects of acute ribose supplementation, participants receiving the ribose supplement had increases in mean power (a measure of average overall muscular strength output during the sprint) and peak power (a measure of the highest muscular strength output during the sprint) when undergoing a series of cycle sprints.8 While this effect was not noted in all of the six short cycling sprints that the participants underwent, the study does illustrate the potential benefits of ribose on ATP production and, secondarily, on enhancing exercise performance.
A second placebo-controlled trial investigated the effects of four weeks of ribose-supplementation (10 grams /day) on male bodybuilders. Of the 20 participants who were recruited, twelve completed the study. Each subject participated in a heavy-resistance training program designed to increase skeletal muscle mass. The effects of ribose on body composition (body weight, body fat, lean body mass, fat mass, and bone mineral content) were also assessed. The results suggested that ribose increased total work capacity and bench press strength compared to placebo, without altering body composition.9
Supports energy recovery after exercise*
Animal studies have suggested that the administration of ribose after exercise increases the rate of adenine salvage by five to seven-fold in muscle tissue7, supporting energy recovery after exercise. When ATP is utilized by muscle tissue, the degradation products include adenine nucleotides (Adenine is one of two purine bases that is a component of DNA). Adenine is recycled to synthesize DNA, and the salvage of adenine within the muscle tissue is crucial to energy recovery. Studies have shown that the presence of adequate ribose concentrations is the rate-limiting step in the purine salvage pathway. Therefore, increased adenine salvage could potentially help in the recovery and regeneration of ATP after intense bouts of activity.
A study investigated the effect of oral intake of ribose on the synthesis of AMP, a precursor to ATP.10 Participants performed intense cycle training for seven days. They then received either ribose (at a concentration of 200 mg/kg body weight, which is equivalent to 14 grams per day for an average 70 kilogram male) or placebo three times a day for the following three days. Exercise tests were performed again on day 4. Muscle biopsy samples were taken before the first training session, immediately after, and again five hours, 24 hours, and 72 hours after the last training session. No differences were seen in exercise performance between the groups. The intense exercise caused the ATP levels in muscle to decrease in both groups. However, at 72 hours post-exercise, the ribose group exhibited a much higher ATP level than the placebo group. The muscle levels of critical building blocks for ATP, including total adenine nucleotides (TAN) and inosine 5’-monophosphate (IMP), were also significantly higher in the ribose group compared to the placebo group at 24 hours after exercise. Ribose-supplementation was shown to enhance the resynthesis of ATP after intense exercise.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Caution: Insulin-dependent diabetics and pregnant women should consult their physician before use.
Suggested Adult Use: Take 1 or 2 scoops mixed in water, juice or other beverage two times per day. May be taken with or without food.
1) Pliml, W., von Arnim, T., Stablein, A., Hofmann, H., Zimmer, H., Erdmann, E. Effects of ribose on exercise-induced ischaemia in stable coronary artery disease. The Lancet. 1992;340:507-510.
2) Omran, H., Illien, S., MacCarter, D., St. Cyr, J.A., Luderitz, B. D-Ribose improves diastolic function and quality of life in congestive heart failure patients: a prospective feasibility study. The European Journal of Heart Failure. 2003;5:615-619.
3) Illien, S., Omran, H., MacCarter, D., St. Cyr, J.A. Ribose improves myocardial function in congestive heart failure. FASEB Journal 2001;15(5): A1142
4) Muller C., Zimmer H., Gross M., Gresser U., Brotsack I., Wehling M., Pliml W. Effect of ribose on cardiac adenine nucleotides in a donor model for heart transplantation. Eur J Med Res. 1998 Dec 16;3(12):554-8.
5) Zimmer H.G. Normalization of Depressed heart function in rats by ribose. Science. 1983 Apr 1;220(4592):81-2.
6) Seifert, J.G., Subudhi, A., Fu, M., Riska, J.J. The effects of ribose ingestion on indices of free radical production during hypoxic exercise. Free Rad Biol Med 2002; 33(Suppl 1) S269.
7) Zarzeczny, R., Brault, J.J., Abraham, K.A., Hancock, C.R., Terjung, R. Influence of ribose on adenine salvage after intense muscle contractions. J Applied Physiology. 2001;91:1775-1781.
8) Berardi J.M., Ziegenfuss T.N. Effects of ribose supplementation on repeated sprint performance in men. J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Feb;17(1):47-52.
9) Van Gammeren, D.V., Falk, D., Antonio, J. The effects of four weeks of ribose supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in healthy, young, male recreational bodybuilders: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Current Ther Research. 2002;63(8):486-495.
10) Hellsten, Y., Skadhauge, L., Bangsbo, J. Effect of ribose supplementation on resynthesis of adenine nucleotides after intense intermittent training in humans. American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. 2004;286:R182-R188.
Buy Ribose at Vitanet at a Discount
CoQ10 for Heart Health
March 28, 2007 12:39 PM
CoQ10 for Heart Health
More than 40% of all deaths in the
One of the most – if not the most – important things people can do to improve their overall health and life expectancy is to improve their heart health. Diet, exercise, and the wise use of dietary supplements can improve heart health dramatically. One dietary supplement that’s extremely beneficial to heart health is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).
Q. What is CoQ10?
A. CoQ10 is a natural, fat-soluble nutrient present in virtually all cells. CoQ10 also is known as ubiquinone. That’s because CoQ10 is ubiquitous and exists everywhere there is life. CoQ10 is vital to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. ATP is the energy-rich compound used for all energy-requiring processes in the body. Although COQ10 is produced by the body and exists in some dietary sources, these levels may be insufficient to meet the body’s requirements. CoQ10 levels diminish with age and as a result of dietary inadequacies and various disease states. Also, some drugs, especially a group of cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs known as “statin,” (Pravachol, Zocor, Lipitor, etc.) significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body.
Q. For what health conditions is CoQ10 used?
A. CoQ10 is beneficial in treating and preventing CVD and conditions such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), angina, and congestive heart failure (CHF). It’s been shown that heart attacks tend to occur when CoQ10 levels are low in the body. In addition, CoQ10 is beneficial for diabetes, immune dysfunction, cancer, periodontal disease, prostate cancer, and neurological disease.
Q. Why is CoQ10 especially important to heart health?
A. The heart is one of the most metabolically active tissues in the body. In the average person, the heart propels 2,000 gallons of blood through 65,000 miles of blood vessls by beating 100,000 times each day. Thus, it requires large amounts of uninterrupted energy. Heart cells have a greater number of mitochondria, and subsequently, more CoQ10 than any other type of cell. Each heart cell can have thousands of mitochondria to meet these energy demands.
Mitochondria are highly specialized structures within each cell and are often referred to as cell powerhouses. These tiny energy-produces produce 95% of the energy the body requires. The number of mitochondria in a cell depends on its function and energy needs. A cell’s ATP production is dependent on adequate amounts of CoQ10.
Heart disease patients are commonly CoQ10 deficient. Correcting such deficiencies often can produce amazing results. The presence of supplemental CoQ10 is a key to the heart’s optimum performance.
In people who have had a heart attack (myocardial infarction), CoQ10 assists in repairing the heart muscle and restoring heart function. This is due to increased ATP production.
Q. What studies support this fact?
A. A 1998 study found CoQ10 can provide rapid protective effects in patients with a heart attack if administered within three days of the onset of symptoms. The study focused on patients admitted to the hospital with an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) diagnosis. Seventy-three patients received CoQ10 (120 mg/d). The study’s control group consisted of 71 similarly matched patients with acute AMI. After treatment, angina pectoris (severe chest pain signifying interrupted blood flow to the heart), total arrhythmias (dangerously irregular heartbeats), and poor function in the left ventricle (the essential chamber of the heart) were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared to the placebo group. Total deaths due to sudden cardiac failure and nonfatal heart attacks also were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared with the placebo group.
In another study, CoQ10 was studied in 109 patients with high blood pressure (hypertension). The patients were given varying doses of supplemental CoQ10 with the goal of attaining a certain blood level (greater than 2.0 mcg/l). Most patients were on medications to treat hypertension. Half the patients were able to stop taking one to three antihypertensive drugs at an average of 4.4 months after starting CoQ10. Only 3% of patients required the addition of one antihypertensive drug. The 9.4% of patients who have echo cardiograms, performed both before and during treatment, experienced a highly significant improvement in heart wall thickness and function. This improvement was directly attributed to CoQ10 supplementation.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a debilitating disease that affects 5 million people in the
Q. I’ve heard that CoQ10 can also help people who have neurological diseases. Is this true?
A. Yes, it is. CoQ10 has been studied for its ability to improve the health of individuals with amotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. A recently completed study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health showed that CoQ10 caused a slowing of the progression of Huntington’s disease, a devastating and degenerative disease that is always fatal. In fact, no other medication, drug, or nutritional supplemental has ever been shown to cause a decline in the progression of this terrible disease.
The study compared CoQ10 against remacemide (an investigational HD drug made by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals), in 347 HD patients who were in the early stages of the disease. Remacemide blocks glutamate, the neurotransmitter scientists think may cause the death of brain cells that occurs in Huntington’s disease. While remacemide had no effect on the progression of HD, CoQ10 showed a trend toward slowing the disease by an average of 15%. This meant the HD group taking CoQ10 was able to handle every day activities of life a little longer than the patients taking remacemide or a placebo. They also were able to focus their attention better, were less Depressed, and less irritable. The 15% slowing of decline means that CoQ10 can result in about one more year of independence for HD patients. Needless to say, the gift of an additional year of health in the lives of HD patients is incredibly significant.
Because of these impressive results with HD, researchers are hopeful that the studies of CoQ10 in those with ALS and Parkinson’s disease will similarly have a positive effect on the symptoms and/or progression of these neurological disorders, too.
Q. Why is it crucial for a CoQ10 supplement to cross the blood-brain barrier?
A. The brains’ blood vessels are composed of cells with extremely tight junctions. These junctions form the blood-brain barrier, which restricts what can pass from the bloodstream into the brain. While this barrier protects the brain, it can be a significant obstacle to central nervous system therapy. To leave the bloodstream and reach the brain cells, a substance must pass through the tightly connected cells of the capillary walls. Only substances with unique solubilities or those with a transport system can cross the blood-brain barrier to a significant degree. As a result, crossing the blood-brain barrier presents a significant challenge to supporting neurological health.
While most CoQ10 supplements enter the bloodstream and increase blood serum levels, only special forms of CoQ10 have been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier. For CoQ10 to enter the mitochondria within the brain, CoQ10 must first cross the blood-brain barrier to produce significant neurosupportive clinical results.
Q. How can one supplement have applications for neurological diseases, heart health, and even the immune system?
A. Supplements often have more than one function, especially when it’s a substance like CoQ10, which is present in all parts of the body. All nucleated cells (most cells other than red blood cells) have mitochondria and all cells require energy to function. CoQ10 is vital to ATP production. Thus, CoQ10 has applications not only in neurological (neurons or nervous system cells) and cardiac health (myocardium or heart tissue), but also for the immune system.
Q. Are all CoQ10 supplements created equal? Doesn’t CoQ10 just have to get into the bloodstream to be effective?
A. There are some important distinctions among CoQ10 products, as they vary greatly in quality and absorbability. It’s crucial to find a CoQ10 product that’s:
1. Scientifically shown to absorb through the digestive tract, cross cellular membranes, and increase mitochondrial levels of CoQ10. Chewable forms of CoQ10 provide rapid bioavailability and absorption. Serum level determination of CoQ10 in the bloodstream is not necessarily the most important measure of efficacy. For a CoQ10 supplement to be fully effective, it must cross the cellular barrier and raise intracellular CoQ10 levels. A key indicator of effective CoQ10 supplementation is its presence in cell mitochondria.
2. The natural form of CoQ10. The natural process uses living organisms. CoQ10 also can be synthesized by a chemical process, which produces a distinctly different product that contains chemical compounds not found in the natural form.
3. Formulated with ingredients that provide the transport system CoQ10 needs to cross cellular membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Not all forms of CoQ10 have been scientifically proven to cross cell membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Some prestigious groups that have investigated this issue include researchers at
4. Studied by respected organizations, with research published in peer-reviewed journals by reputable scientists.
Q. How much CoQ10 should I take?
A. Take 100 to 200 mg of CoQ10 daily, depending on your family history of heart disease and personal heart disease experience.
CoQ10’s safety has been evaluated. Dosages in studies have ranged from 100 mg to 1,200 mg per day. To date, no toxicities have been reported. Occasional mild stomach upset may occur. Taking CoQ10 with meals usually alleviates this rare effect.
Q. What are some other heart-friendly supplements?
A. CoQ10 is an excellent supplement for overall cardiovascular health, as in L-carnitine. L-carnitine is the naturally occurring form of carnitine that’s found in food and synthesized in the body. Much of the body’s L-carnitine is found in the heart and skeletal muscle, tissues that rely on fatty acid oxidation for most of their energy. Nearly 70% of the energy needed for heart function is derived from fatty acid breakdown. Proper L-carnitine supplementation transports fatty acids into cell mitochondria, where it’s burned for energy. L-carnitine is an excellent addition to CoQ10, especially for people with heart disease, and has been shown to improve many symptoms associated with CVD. In one study, people who had experienced one heart attack received either L-carnitine or placebo. The L-carnitine group had a statistically significant reduction in second heart attacks, and improved overall survival.
Q. What supplements support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol?
A. In addition to maintaining overall cardiovascular health, it’s also important to address your essential fats/lipids levels and healthy circulation/blood pressure. Fish oil supplements can significantly reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and homocysteine levels. Choose a supplement that’s a rich source of EPA and DHA, omega-3 fatty acids naturally obtainable in fish oil. Find a product that’s been clinically studied and purified to ensure it contains the beneficial active constituents of the whole oil, while removing any dioxins, DDT, PCBs, or heavy metals, toxins present in some commercial fish oil preparations. An enteric-coated garlic product that provides a minimum of 5,000 mcg of beneficial allicin supports healthy blood pressure and circulation. And magnesium, niacin, vitamin E, folic acid, hawthorn extract, and L-cysteine provide overall nutritional support to the heart and vascular system.
CoQ10 is not the only answer to the complex issues of heart disease, neurological disease, or immune dysfunction; however, research indicates that it’s a bigger piece of the puzzle than physicians and scientists ever imagined. The more we study this naturally occurring compound, the more benefits we find.
The key to this supplement is the manufacturing quality. For safety and overall effectiveness, use a CoQ10 product that’s supported by product-specific research from reputable institutions. Choose tested products from a well-respected company to increase your potential to achieve and maintain heart and blood vessel health.
Supplementation with clinically studied products can have a major impact on your heart’s health and strength. However, no supplement replaces the need to eat a healthful diet low in refined foods (especially sugar), and saturated fats, and to exercise your most important muscle – your heart – on a regular basis.
Peppermint Oil for IBS
March 24, 2007 11:01 AM
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a painful and frequently frustrating disorder of the intestines that’s often difficult to treat. Fortunately, there are scientifically studied natural products that effectively reduce the distressing symptoms of IBS.
Q. What is IBS?
A. IBS causes crampy pain, gassiness, bloating, and alterations in bowel habits. IBS is termed a functional disorder, because when the colon is examined, there is no visible sign of disease. While IBS causes significant pain and distress, no actual damage is occurring in the intestines.
There is a wide variability in IBS. Symptoms may be mild and fairly well tolerated. Or, the pain, discomfort, and bowel dysfunction may be disabling, limiting social interactions, employment, or travel.
While some individuals with IBS have diarrhea (frequent, loose stools with an urgent need to move the bowels), others have constipation (hard, infrequent stools that are difficult to pass). And, still others may experience both. Individuals with IBS also may have painful abdominal cramps and feel an urgent need to move the bowels, but are unable to do so.
A. The small intestine receives digestive material from the stomach and delivers it to the large intestine (colon). About two quarts (2,000 ml) of digestive material enter the colon from the small intestine every day. The colon absorbs water and salts from the material, which is progressively moved through the colon. This progressive movement continues until most of the fluid and salts are absorbed into the body and stool is formed. The stool passes to the left side of the colon, where it is stored until a bowel movement occurs.
Because researchers haven’t been able to find actual damage in the colon, it once was suggested that individuals with IBS have emotional problems or are overly susceptible to stress. While stress may cause symptoms of IBS to intensify, it doesn’t cause the condition.
Recent study has determined the colon muscle of an individual with IBS spasms after only mild stimulation. It’s thought the symptoms of IBS are produced by hyperactivity of the intestines. In other words, the intestines of individuals with IBS are more reactive to stressors and diet than usual. Almost everyone has experienced abdominal queasiness in response to everyday stress or certain foods. This may result in a brief bout of diarrhea or an upset stomach. However, this response is exaggerated in individuals with IBS.
Q. How prevalent is IBS?
A. IBS is very common. In fact, it’s one of the most frequent problems seen by family physicians. It’s the most common disorder diagnosed by gastroenterologists (physicians specializing in the treatment of digestive disorders). The overall prevalence rates range from 10% to 20% of the general population in most industrialized countries. As a result, the pain and disabling symptoms associated with IBS result in significant socioeconomic costs, as wall as reduction in quality of life for many individuals.
A. Normal bowel function varies from person to person. Some people move their bowels daily, while others may only have two to three stools a week. A normal bowel movement is soft, formed, and is easily passed without cramping or pain.
IBS, however, causes abdominal cramps and pain, which are often severe and disabling. Bowel movements may be irregular and alternate between diarrhea and constipation. The diarrhea may be quite loose and watery. Mucous may be passed. There is often much straining, urgency, and feeling of incomplete evacuation (emptying). Abdominal bloating and passing of gas is common. Nausea, lack of appetite, heartburn, and belching may also be present. Sleep may be disrupted resulting in fatigue and lack of energy. Understandably, persons with IBS often feel anxious and Depressed.
Diagnosis of IBS is usually based on the continuous presence or recurrence of these symptoms for at least three months. Other intestinal conditions must be ruled out. These include Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, inflammatory conditions of the stomach or pancreas, ulcers, infectious disease, or gastroesphageal reflux disease.
Q. Are there clinically demonstrated natural alternatives to the over-the-counter drugs prescribed by my doctor?
A. Yes, both enteric-coated peppermint oil and clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs) have significant scientific research behind them. Both have been demonstrated to benefit individuals with IBS.
Q. What is clown’s mustard and what does it do?
A. The scientific name for clown’s mustard is Iberis amara. Other names for this herb are wild candytuft and bitter candytuft. Clown’s mustard is a white-flowering plant from Spain, where it grows in dry soil on hillsides and in cornfields. It is also grown in Britain, France, and the United States. Iberis amara is a member of the Brassicaceae family. Iberis refers to its place of origin, the Iberian Peninsula. Amara means bitter. The key components of clown’s mustard are glycosides and flavonoids that have specific actions on gastrointestinal tract tone.
Q. Is there scientific evidence that clown’s mustard benefits people with IBS?
A. There has been very impressive research on clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs). And, it has been used with great success in Germany for many years to treat IBS and other gastrointestinal diseases.
In a study of an herbal combination containing clown’s mustard, 20 patients were given the herbal combination for three to 32 days. They all had been diagnosed with chronic functional disorders for at least one to 20 years. The symptoms the patients experienced included pressure and pain in the abdomen, belching, heartburn, vomiting, nausea, fullness, lack of appetite, constipation, and diarrhea. The patients have been treated for their problems with a variety of antacids, anti-spasmodic agents, and motility-inducing substances. For the purposes of the study, the patients stopped taking these medications and received treatment only with the herbal combination.
Abdominal pressure and pain in the abdomen was the most common of all the experienced symptoms, with 11 of the patients rating it as severe. After six days of treatment, only sic of the patients continued to rate their abdominal pain and pressure as severe. After two weeks, this symptom had completely resolved for 16 of the patients. Diarrhea had been rated as severe in five of the patients. By day 14, only one patient continued to have moderate diarrhea.
Medications prescribed and taken for cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases often cause gastrointestinal problems. Because these conditions are chronic, these medications must be taken for a long time, often for life. With long-term use, these medications can cause erosion of the stomach lining and actual ulcers. Many of these medication-caused symptoms are similar to IBS symptoms: pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Most, if not all, of the individuals who have gastrointestinal problems caused from medications experience two or more of these IBS symptoms.
Forty patients who were taking medications for various types of cardiovascular disease and arthritis, and who are experiencing gastrointestinal problems related to their medications, were enrolled in a study. These symptoms included pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Twenty patients received clown’s mustard combined with other herbs that support gastrointestinal motility. Three days after the trial started, a significant improvement of all s symptoms was noted in those taking this combination. By day 14, abdominal pressure and pain, nausea, and heartburn were completely eliminated in the herbal combination group. Several other clinical trials that were conducted in Germany report similar results.
Q. How does this herb compare to prescription drugs?
A. A study compared clown’s mustard (combined with other herbs) to Reglan (metoclopramide), which is frequently prescribed to reduce the symptoms of IBS. While metoclopramide is a very effective medication, it also has numerous side effects. Metoclopramide can cause fatigue, anxiety, agitation, jitteriness, insomnia, yellowing of the skin or eyes, changes in vision, hallucinations, and seizures. Because of these serious side effects, metoclopramide must not be taken longer than 12 weeks.
In comparison study, 77 subjects were randomized to receive treatment of either clown’s mustard in a combination with other herbs, or metoclopramide. All subjects had pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. The subjects took 20 drops of their assigned treatment after meals three times daily. The duration of treatment was one to two weeks.
In both groups, a parallel improvement of all symptoms was observed. At no point in the study was a statistically significant difference in symptoms found. Both treatments significantly reduced pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. In short, both metoclopramide and the clown’s mustard herbal combination worked well at reducing the symptoms of IBS.
However, side effects occurred more frequently and severely in the metoclopramide group. Given the lack of differences noted between the products at reducing symptoms of IBS, it would seem sensible to choose the treatment with the fewest reported side effects and no limits on duration of use.
A. Peppermint oil has been shown to relax intestinal smooth muscle. In Great Britain, peppermint oil is currently being prescribed for IBS by physicians and it has been used as a digestive aid and to soothe upset stomachs for generations.
Peppermint oil has also been studied for use in an important examination of the colon. A colonoscopy is a procedure of viewing the interior lining of the large intestine (colon) using a colonoscope, a slender, flexible, hollow, lighted tube about the thickness of a finger. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine supports the idea that even people who are not at risk for colon cancer should have this test. The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women at average risk of colon cancer should have a colonoscopy every 10 years, beginning at age 50.
During a colonoscopy, individuals are sedated and almost no discomfort is experienced. The insertion of the colonoscope into the rectum and up through the colon causes some spasming. This is a natural and expected event and the physician performing the exam administers medications that effectively reduce the spasms.
A recent study compared the use of peppermint oil and commonly used medications to reduce the colonic spasming in colonoscopy. The peppermint oil was introduced directly into the colon. Effective reduction of colon spasming was observed in 88% of the patients.
In a critical review and meta-analysis of peppermint oil for irritable bowel syndrome published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, eight randomized controlled trials were identified. The studies collectively showed peppermint oil is superior to placebo in improvement of the symptoms of IBS. Because of the good results of these trials, the authors of the review urged additional study of peppermint oil in IBS.
However, straight peppermint oil is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream from the stomach. In recent studies comparing enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules and non-enteric coated oil, both preparations provided effective symptom relief. However, the studies concluded the enteric-coated capsules delivered the benefit of the peppermint oil directly to the intestines. In the treatment of IBS, enteric-coated supplemental peppermint is most definitely preferred.
In fact, an enteric-coated peppermint oil capsule containing rosemary and thyme is extremely effective in the treatment of IBS. All three of these oils are classified as volatile oils, derivatives found in plants that impart taste and aroma. The combination of peppermint, thyme, and rosemary oils in enteric-coated capsules provides significant relief in IBS-related pain.
Q. Can clown’s mustard and other herbs be taken with enteric-coated peppermint oil?
A. Yes, peppermint oil capsules and clown’s mustard can be used together. However, depending on the symptoms, individuals with IBS may want to start with one supplement and then add the other if needed.
Q. How do consumers find these formulas?
A. Fortunately, herbal combinations containing clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are both available at health food stores, natural product supermarkets, pharmacies, and from health professionals. Most knowledgeable sales personnel and health professionals can direct consumers to the most effective products.
Q. What should customers look for when purchasing peppermint oil?
A. As mentioned before, enteric coating of the peppermint oil is extremely important. The coating prevents the oil from being absorbed in the stomach. The enteric coated-capsule moves through the stomach to the small intestine and eventually to the colon, where it is released for maximum benefit.
Q. What is the dosage for peppermint oil?
A. The German Commission E approved peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable colon. In enteric-coated form, the Commission E recommends 0.6 ml per day. Enteric-coated peppermint capsules are available.
Q. Are there side effects or other contraindications?
A. Sometimes, the enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules may cause a transient burning sensation in the rectum when moving bowls. Reducing the dose will correct this.
Individuals who must refrain from alcohol should not take clown’s mustard in an herbal tincture, which may contain alcohol.
Q. What else can IBS patients do to feel better?
A. Food allergies or food intolerance may be associated with IBS. Dairy products and certain grains may trigger a painful episode of IBS. Determining those foods that initiate the problems and eliminating them from your diet can be very helpful.
Many people report their symptoms occur after a meal. Hyperactivity of the intestine of IBS is the response. Often, the strength of this response after a meal is in direct relation to the number of calories and he amount of fat in the meal. Reducing saturated fat, limiting calories, and increasing fiber intake may be helpful.
Stress also stimulates the intestinal hyperactivity. Relaxation training may reduce some IBS symptoms. Listening to therapeutic audiotapes, hypnosis, counseling, and biofeedback all have been shown to improve the healing response in persons with IBS.
IBS can be painful and frustrating, capable of causing much distress. While currently there is no cure for IBS, the symptoms can be managed. The pain, abdominal discomfort, and bowel problems of IBS all respond well to treatment with the use of key herbs, including clown’s mustard, and enteric-coated peppermint oil. These herbal combinations can be both effective and safe in treating IBS. Clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil are both effective front-line natural alternatives for IBS treatment.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia
February 28, 2007 12:02 PM
This is a fast paced world. We are all busy; living our full lives, burning the candle at both ends. We all get tired. We all get sick from time to time and maybe even Depressed. But the illness called chronic fatigue syndrome is not like the normal ups and downs that we experience in everyday life. People with chronic fatigue syndrome feel overwhelming fatigue, and often pain as well. This is an illness that does not go away with a few good nights’ sleep. It drags on and on and doesn’t resolve itself. It steals vigor and energy over months, and sometimes even years.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will talk about powerful vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs combined in scientifically validated formulas that people with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia can use every day. These nutrients help address some root problems of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia by restoring energy and health to sufferers.
Q. What is chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) also known as chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS), or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a group of symptoms associated with unrelenting and debilitating fatigue. The profound weakness of CFS causes a persistent and substantial reduction in activity level. You feel too tired to do normal activities or are easily exhausted for no apparent reason.
Besides extreme fatigue, symptoms of CFS include general pain, mental fogginess, flu-like symptoms, and gastrointestinal problems. A list of symptoms includes:
The number of symptoms and the severity of these symptoms can vary among people. The symptoms of CFS hand on or reoccur frequently for more than six months.
Q. Are chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia considered being the same illness?
A. Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a painful shortening of muscles throughout the body. FMS is basically a sleep disorder characterized by many tender knots in the muscles. These tender knots, called tender or trigger points, are a major cause of the achiness that people with fibromyalgia and CFS feel.
Approximately 80 percent of chronic fatigue syndrome patients have received and overlapping diagnosis of fibromyalgia syndrome. For most people, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are the same illness.
Q. What causes chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. There are many causes that can trigger CFS. Current research is looking at the roles of neuroendocrine dysfunction, viruses, environmental toxins, genetic predisposition, food sensitivities, yeast overgrowth, faulty digestion, or a combination of these factors.
For many people, CFS is triggered by a bout with a viral illness (like a cold or the flu), or even a stressful event. CFS is usually a mix of underlying causes. It is like a domino effect in that each problem can trigger another problem, and so on. For example, fatigue and poor sleep can trigger a weakened immune system, which can, in turn, trigger yeast or bacterial infections.
Q. Who gets chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. CFS is more common than you might expect. It strikes people of all ages, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. Approximately 800,000 people nationwide have CFS and over six million have fibromyalgia at any given time.
It is important to stress that CFS is a real illness; it is not “just in your head.” Unfortunately, sufferers of CFS may find that many healthcare practitioners discount the symptoms of this illness or misdiagnose it as another disease. This can lead to additional emotional suffering.
Q. How long does chronic fatigue syndrome last?
A. The illness varies greatly in its duration. Some people recover after a year or two. More often, those who recover are more likely to do so three to five years after onset. Yet for some people, the illness seems to simply persist. There are rare cases of spontaneous improvement after five years without undergoing any treatment. However, this is very unusual.
Q. What are the complications of chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. The patterns of CFS vary from individual to individual. However, many common patterns of symptoms are seen in CFS sufferers. These symptoms and problems interact and create new symptoms and problems. For example, infections and disrupted sleep can lead to digestive, hormone, and immune problems.
The most notorious pattern seen in CFS is the one in which a person suddenly comes down with a flu-like illness that doesn’t go away. These viral or bacterial infections can suppress the body’s master gland, the hypothalamus. Since the hypothalamus controls the other glands, including the adrenals, ovaries, testes, and thyroid, suppression of this gland will lead to a subtle but debilitating decrease in the functioning of all glands and their hormones. Suppressed hypothalamic function from chronic infections can then trigger sleep dysfunction.
The suppression of the hypothalamus gland can lead to poor sleep because the body confuses its day/night cycles. Because of this, people with CFS have trouble staying in the deep, restorative stages of sleep that “recharge their batteries.”
Poor sleep can cause immune suppression, which may lead to secondary bowel infections. The bowel infections seen in people with CFS can cause decreased absorption of nutrients, which can lead to chronic vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Q. Is there a cure for chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. Treating chronic fatigue syndrome presents a significant challenge to people with CFS and their healthcare practitioners. Recently, a published placebo-controlled study ( of which I was the lead investigator) showed that when using an integrated treatment approach, over 85 percent of CFS and fibromyalgia patients can improve, often dramatically. The full text of this study can be seen at ‘www.endfatigue.com’. An editorial in the April 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Pain Management noted that this treatment, which I developed, is now a highly effective and excellent part of the standard of practice for treatment of fibromyalgia. Since this treatment addresses many different problems associated with CFS/FMS, it needs to be individualized to each patient.
Medications that provide symptom relief are frequently the first line of treatment chosen by healthcare practitioners for the person with CFS. These include medications for pain, sleep disturbances; digestive problems such as nausea, depression and anxiety, and flu-like symptoms.
However, medications have not been universally successful because they tent to put a bandage on symptoms instead of addressing the root problems. Because of this, medications may need to be supplemented by the other supportive therapies that can address the root problems.
People with CFS/FMS may be Depressed, given the catastrophic lifestyle disruption these diseases may cause. They may also feel guilt and frustration because their symptoms were not taken seriously for such a long time. Fear can be a factor as employment and family relationships may be jeopardized by this illness.
Therapies that help people to relax and improve coping skills may be helpful and include counseling for emotional and mental health, cognitive behavioral therapy, sleep management therapy, and massage.
Daily Nutritional Supplementation for Energy
Good overall nutrition is important for everyone, of course. However, there are several vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that can have powerful nutritional effects for a person with CFS. All of the vitamins and minerals in a chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia formula should work together synergistically to help improve energy levels and overall health. Here are some key nutrients to look for in an energy formula:
Vitamins, Minerals & Other Key Ingredients
Vitamin A: Essential for healthy skin and mucous membrane integrity, healthy immune system responses and healthy bone growth and healthy reproductive processes. Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene is an antioxidant and free radical fighter. Vitamin E: Helps to relieve pain in CFS patients. Can also improve night leg cramps, which interferes with sleep.
Vitamin C: Enhances immune function by increasing natural killer cells, B and T cells. Can prevent chronic bladder infections by acidifying urine.
Vitamin D: Regulates immune functions of monocytes and neutrophils. Neutraphils are white blood cells that ingest invasive bacteria, and act as the first line of defense once bacteria makes it past the skin barrier.
Magnesium: Involved with immune support. Working with malic acid, enhances immune function by increasing natural killer cells. Magnesium is also critical for the relief of muscle pain.
Inositol: Enhances immune function by increasing natural killer cells.
Malic Acid: Working with magnesium, improves energy levels by improving cellular functions. Especially important in muscle metabolism.
Betaine: Works with B vitamins to synthesize amino acids, and acts as a precursor to SAM-e. SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine) is a naturally-occurring molecule in the body, and may have an effect on overall mood elevation.
Amino Acids: Glycine, Serine, Taurine, Tyrosine are essential for the production of energy in the body. Also essential for brain function.
Zinc: Supports the immune system by enhancing neutrophils activity and supporting healthy antigen-antibody binding.
Selenium: Supports immune function by enhancing antibody production.
Fructooligosaccharides: Provides nutrition for good bacteria in the intestinal tract, improving digestion and healthy microflora.
All of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional supplements on the list are important to ensure recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome. To ensure that your nutritional supplement regimen contains all of these ingredients, look for a powdered supplement formulated specifically for CFS/FMS sufferers that can be reconstituted in a beverage of your choice. A powdered drink mix is a pleasant, easy way to ensure that you are taking all of the needed vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that will give you the needed energy to recover from your illness.
B Vitamin Complex for Energy
In addition to the powdered energy drink mix, it is important that you also take a vitamin B-complex supplement specifically formulated for people with CFS/FMS. The B vitamin formula, which should include niacinamide, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, and choline, is especially important to restore the energy production needs of your body, as well as for mental function. It is also important to make sure that the dosages are high enough CFS/FMS needs. The chart in the next column lists the B vitamins that are critical for people suffering from CFS/FMS.
B Vitamins Effect on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Studies have demonstrated that people with CFS/FMS are often deficient in many of the B vitamins, which tends to worsen their symptoms of fatigue and mental “fogginess” and ultimately lead to a weakened immune system.
B vitamins - Effect on Energy
Thiamine (B1) - Essential in the process of energy production. This vitamin also removes lactic acid from muscles, which causes them to be sore in fibromyalgia patients.
Riboflavin (B2) - Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is crucial in the production of body energy. Supports healthy gluthathione reductase activity, which helps maintain gluthathione, a major protector against free radical damage. Vitamin B2 itself also has antioxidant qualities.
Niacinamide(B3) - Essential vitamin that is a component of the body’s energy furnace, helping to improve fatigue and “brain fog”.
Pantothenic Acid (B5) - This vitamin improves adrenal gland function, which will boost energy levels. It can also aid in weight loss by decreasing appetite.
Vitamin B6 - Working along with thiamine, this vitamin is critical in the process of energy production.
Vitamin B12 - Important for brain function and nerve repair. Aids in relieving fatigue symptoms in CFS patients. Folic Acid - Aids in strengthening the immune system, and aids in mental clarity and concentration.
Q. What other supplements can help me with CFS?
A. Many people with CFS/FMS are suffering from adrenal burnout. Adrenal burnout occurs when the adrenal glands are constantly producing cortisol in response to chronic stress like that seen in cases of CFS. Over time, this exhausts the adrenal reserve, meaning the adrenal gland can no longer increase cortisol production in response to stress.
The good news is that changes in our hormone levels can return to normal when stress is decreased. However, in cases of CFS that return to normal can be made much simpler by using a glandular therapy regimen to ensure healthy cortisol levels and adrenal function.
Glandular therapy uses the concentrated forms of bovine (cow) or porcine (pig) glands to improve the health of our glands. Pioneers in the field of endocrinology (the study of hormones) hypothesized that glandular extracts work by providing nutrients the body lacks and thus repairing the malfunctioning gland.
If CFS has left your adrenal glands in a stressed-out state, you should see great results by taking adrenal supplements. Be sure to buy an adrenal extract supplement that contains both whole adrenal and adrenal cortex extracts.
The best adrenal supplement should also contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, L-tyrosine, betaine, pantothenic acid and licorice. Licorice contains glycyrrhizin, which is broken down into glycyrrhizic or glycyrrhetinic acid. This compound inhibits the activity of an enzyme that turns active cortisol into inactive cortisol. While in high amounts (greater than 100 mg of glycyrrhizic acid/day), licorice administration causes hypertension, no such effects have been observed at lower doses. Experts have speculated that inhibition of the cortisol-converting enzyme may reduce cortisol-related symptoms associated with adrenal insufficiency. The adrenal glands use these nutrients to manufacture cortisone and other compounds. It just makes sense to purchase an adrenal supplement with these supportive ingredients.
The Road to Recovery-Adequate Sleep
Disordered sleep is the underlying process that drives many of the symptoms of CFS/FMS. The most effective way to eliminate pain in CFS/FMS is to get seven to nine hours of deep sleep each night.
However, getting adequate sleep is easier said than done for CFS sufferers with underlying fibromyalgia symptoms. The muscle knots of fibromyalgia make it uncomfortable to lie in one position for an extended time, causing difficulty in returning to deep sleep. Because of this, people with CFS/FMS do not stay in deep stages of sleep to recharge their “batteries.” In addition, poor sleep can cause and be caused by the suppression of the hypothalamus gland, which causes the brain to think it is daytime instead of night time.
It may be helpful to use herbal products to promote good quality sleep. There are many natural supplements that are marketed as sleep formulas. To get the best results, it is very important that the right ingredients are in the sleep formula you buy. Therefore, it is important to look for an herbal sleep formula that is especially formulated for people with CFS/FMS. The combination of herbs is important as each herb addresses a different aspect of sleeplessness and muscle tension.
Ingredients - Effect on Sleep
Wild Lettuce - Has been found to have sedative effects.
Hops - Acts as mild sedative and has a sleep-inducing effect. Jamaica Dogwood Has been found to be mildly sedative and is often used for anxiousness.
L-Theanine - Causes significant increases of neurotransimitter concentrations in the brain, which promotes muscle relaxion and improves sleep.
Valerian - This herb has been clinically studied for its ability to improve sleep quality.
Passionflower - This herb eases nervousness and insomnia.
Putting It All Together
After a good night’s rest, a powdered energy drink mix formulated for people with CFS/FMS should be drunk along with a well-balanced breakfast as discussed earlier. In addition to the nutritional beverage mix, a vitamin B complex supplement designed specifically for CFS sufferers, also discussed earlier, containing niacinamide, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, and choline, should be taken every morning. The nutritional drink mix and the vitamin B complex supplement will ensure that your body has all the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients, to combat your overwhelming fatigue, pain, and “brain fog.” Taking a daily adrenal supplement, like the one discussed earlier, will provide the much-needed (and often depleted) nutrients your body may be lacking, and help you recover lost energy.
Together, these four interventions: sleep formula; morning energy drink; energy B complex supplement; and an adrenal complex- can make an incredible difference that you should begin to notice within 2-3 weeks of starting this program.
Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are complex physical diseases with physical causes. The unrelenting symptoms of fatigue, pain, and mental fogginess can be overwhelming and frightening. Partnering with a healthcare practitioner specializing in CFS and utilizing different medical treatments, supportive therapies, and lifestyle changes are healthy ways to combat chronic fatigue syndrome. And taking nutritional supplements formulated specifically for people with CMS/FMS that help boost energy or help you get a good night’s sleep can give you critical control over the outcome of your illness and set you on the road to recovery.
Neurological Health and CoQ10
February 25, 2007 12:06 PM
Between 1946 and 1965, 78 million Americans were born, creating the largest number of children in U.S. history. This Baby Boom generation has greatly influenced the makeup of American society and undoubtedly w ill continue to do so. Thanks to good nutrition and health care, Baby Boomers are aging well and have an excellent life expectancy. For the first time in history, we have more people turning 60 every day, and record numbers of adults reaching their seventh decade. As a result, neurological diseases associated with aging, such as Parkinson’s disease, are becoming major health care concerns. The good news is CoQ10 has applications for neurological diseases, in addition to its better known use for cardiovascular diseases.
Q. What is CoQ10?
A. CoQ10 is a natural, fat-soluble nutrient present in virtually all cells. CoQ10 also is known as ubiquinone (existing everywhere there is human life). CoQ10 is vital to the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the energy-rich compound used for all energy-requiring processes in the body.
Q. Isn’t CoQ10 a supplement for heart health?
A. Yes, it is. Because the heart requires lots of ATP to meet its high energy needs, CoQ10’s function in heart health is well understood. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that when individuals with heart disease take CoQ10, their symptoms improve, sometimes quite dramatically. Supplemental CoQ10 improves the heart’s pumping ability, improves blood circulation, increases tolerance to exercise, and improves the heart’s muscle tone. CoQ10 also is a powerful antioxidant and protects heart tissue from free-radical damage.
Q. How does CoQ10 affect brain health?
A. CoQ10 works in the brain the same way it works elsewhere in the body: it’s essential to ATP production. Nearly all human cells contain tiny structures called mitochondria. Mitochondria are referred to as cell powerhouses because they produce cellular energy. Depending on what each cell’s job is. There can be several thousand mitochondria in one cell. If a cell needs a lot of energy, it will have more mitochondria. This explains why heart cells contain so many mitochondria; the continual pumping of blood requires continual ATP production.
The brain also requires huge amounts of uninterrupted energy to regulate, integrate, and coordinate ongoing nervous system transmissions. To meet this need, ATP production within the mitochondria of brain cells is vital. Since CoQ10 exerts such a powerful influence on heart cells in ATP production, it was a natural progression for scientists to wonder how it affects brain cells. Brain and nervous system research led to the conclusion that the same intracellular principles apply. CoQ10 is produced in the body to assist in ATP production. Without it, ATP cannot be produced.
The most important discovery regarding CoQ10 and the brain is that CoQ10, when formulated with certain ingredients, can cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain’s mitochondria. If large amounts of CoQ10 can get into the brain cell’s mitochondria, its ability to make ATP is greatly enhanced.
Q. What is the blood-brain barrier and why is it important?
A. The blood-brain barrier is a unique anatomical structure. The cells that make up the blood vessels that provide blood to the brain are extremely close together. This greatly restricts what can leave the bloodstream and enter the brain. While the blood-brain barrier protects the brain and spinal cord from potentially toxic substances, it also can be a significant obstacle to therapy of central nervous system disorders. Only substances with certain solubilities or those that have a transport system can cross the blood-brain barrier to a significant degree.
Obtaining optimal absorption of CoQ10 is difficult. The CoQ10 molecule is large and inflexible. The easiest and least expensive way to increase absorption levels is with the use of harsh solvents such as propylene glycol. However, at higher doses, these types of chemicals are considered dangerous (neurotoxic) to the person with a serious neurodegenerative disease. It is more difficult, as well as more expensive (considering raw materials, research, and proper manufacturing methods) to promote absorption with less harmful alternatives. However, reputable companies ensure that their products are safe for all their customers. Look for CoQ10 products formulated with vitamin E and other safe ingredients such as Micosolle.
Nearly all CoQ10 supplements enter the bloodstream. But, only CoQ10 supplements with special formulations have been scientifically shown to enter the mitochondria and cross the blood-brain barrier.
Q. If CoQ10 is made in the body, why take supplements?
A. While CoQ10 is synthesized in the body, these levels may be insufficient to meet the body’s requirements. Researchers have discovered CoQ10 levels diminish with age and as a result of dietary inadequacies and various disease states. They also have determined some medications significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body.
Although CoQ10 exists in some dietary sources, it may not be realistic to obtain CoQ10 through food alone. For example, it would take approximately 3 pounds of sardines, 7 pounds of beef, or 8 pounds of peanuts to equal 100 mg of supplemental CoQ10.
Q. How does CoQ10 help people with Parkinson’s disease?
A. CoQ10 seems to have several beneficial actions in the illness. Researchers have looked at mitochondria in brain cells and determined people with Parkinson’s disease have reduced activity of Complex I in the electron transport chain. Recent research has proposed the reduced activity of Complex I interferes with the brain-signaling chemical dopamine. Stored and newly synthesized dopamine is depleted. The dopamine depletion causes nerve cell degeneration.
A recent clinical study involved 80 patients with Parkinson’s disease (both men and women). The researchers first evaluated all the participants to establish scores for basic motor skills (measuring the ability to control physical movements such as walking), mental status (whether the person was Depressed or experiencing memory loss) and the activities of daily living (whether the person was experiencing difficulty with handwriting, dressing themselves, using utensils such as knives and forks, and so on). This scale is known as the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). This process is known as establishing “baseline values,” that is, the condition of the patient before receiving any treatment.
Participants were divided into 4 groups. Each group received either 300 mg, 600 mg, or 1200 mg of the special form of CoQ10, or a placebo. The researchers observed the participants for 16 months.
The results of the study showed that all the participants who received CoQ10 had smaller declines in function compared to the placebo group, but the smallest decline was experienced by the group taking the highest amount of the special form of CoQ10.
The most significant results were noted specifically in the activities of daily living scores by the people taking 1200 mg of CoQ10 daily. These people retained better ability to feed and dress themselves, speak, walk, and bathe or shower by themselves. They maintained greater independence for a longer time. Parkinson’s disease, as with other neurodegenerative diseases, robs the sufferer of their ability to control the movements of their own body and care for themselves. Supplementation with CoQ10, while not a cure, is the first intervention that showed a slowing in the progressive deterioration of the function associated with this disease.
Q. What were the results of clinical research on Huntington’s Disease?
A. A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study respected type of study, was conducted at the University of Rochester. All of the 347 Huntington’s disease (HD) patients were experiencing some HD symptoms, but were still in the early stages of the disease. The patients (who did not know which drug they were receiving) were randomly assigned to four different treatment groups: 25 percent received Remacemide, 25 percent received CoQ10, 25 percent received both, and 25 percent received a placebo, or sugar pill. The researchers, who also did not know which patients got which drug, watched and recorded their progress for two and one-half years. Remacemide is a new drug made by Astra Seneca that blocks the neurotransmitter glutamate in the brain, that has long been suspected of contributing to the death of brain cells in Huntington’s disease.
Unfortunately, in the CARE-HD study, Remacemide had no effect on the progression of the disease in patients in the early stages. However, the individuals who received 600 mg of CoQ10 per day experienced some slowing of the disease progression. They were able to manage daily activities, such as meal preparation, housekeeping tasks, and personal care longer than those not on CoQ10. They were also able to focus their attention better and were less Depressed and irritable. The portion of the studied patients receiving 600 mg of CoQ10 per day experienced a 15 percent decline in the progression of HD. According to the researchers conducting the study, a 15 percent decline in the progression of HD would roughly translate into approximately one more year of independence for patients. This is the very first study from more than a dozen Huntington’s disease patient trails that showed any modification of the course of the illness.
Of note, the effects of the CoQ10 had not abated at the end of the research study. That is, the benefit of using CoQ10, 600 mg per day, was still increasing; this suggests that the longer a patient supplements with CoQ10, the greater the decline in the progression of HD. The next phase of the CARE-HD research will test a higher dose of CoQ10 (1200 mg or more per day), with more patients (over 1000), for a longer period of time (approximately 5 years). This study should improve our understanding of the optimal dose and the total achievable decline in the progression of HD. The CoQ10 product used in the CARE-HD study was designated an Orphan Drug by the FDA. The product utilizes a proprietary, patent-pending delivery mechanism, which is proven to be safe and tolerable at high doses for people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, substantially improving brain tissue levels of CoQ10.
Q. What other diseases could benefit from CoQ10 supplementation?
A. Studies show CoQ10 levels are greatly reduced in Alzheimer’s patients. Mitochondrial abnormalities also are noted; however, research has yet to determine how or why this occurs. Some scientists believe damage to mitochondria is an early feature of the disease. Free-radical damage also is a feature of Alzheimer’s.
In a study of 27 Alzheimer’s patients, subjects were given 60 mg of CoQ10, 150 mg of iron, and 180 mg of vitamin B6 daily. Each patient’s mitochondria activity was effectively activated. All patients continued to experience gradual decline. However, researchers believed that with this combination, the progression was much slower and allowed the patients to experience 1 to 2 years of extended good health.
ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a progressive, fatal, neurological disease. It occurs when the nerve cells in the brain that control voluntary movement gradually degenerate. Investigation of CoQ10 in individuals with ALS is just beginning. Researchers at the Eleanor and Lou Gehrig ALS Center at Columbia University recently conducted a small clinical pilot trial of CoQ10 in ALS. The study was an open label study, which meant that everyone enrolled received CoQ10, 400 mg three times per day. Of the 16 patients originally enrolled, nine patients completed the study. Six of these nine patients experienced some benefits. The patients declined from 0 – 25 percent in functional scores, 6 percent in strength, and 10 percent in breathing ability. These scores reflect a positive trend compared to the 50 percent decline that is seen in the natural history of ALS over the same period of time (5 to 9 months). Citing the need to conduct more studies of the effectiveness of CoQ10 for people with ALS is rapidly and efficiently as possible to get answers to patients and clinicians, another clinical trial is currently underway at the Gehrig ALS Center. This is a pilot study to determine if CoQ10 has short-term effects on motor nerves in the brain using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). The researchers are going to try to “see” if CoQ10 can change the chemical sin the brain’s upper motor nerves of people with ALS, an important next step of the investigation.
Q. Can taking CoQ10 prevent neurodegenerative disease?
A. To date, there have been no studies or research examining whether CoQ10 can prevent these diseases.
Alzheimer’s disease prevention is being clinically investigated. Researchers have determined that people who take certain anti-inflammatory medications seem less likely to develop the illness. A large, multi-centered trial is studying this connection.
Q. How much CoQ10 should I take?
A. Depending on your family history of neurological disease and your disease experience, studies show benefits at doses of 100 to 200 mg of CoQ10 daily. Some studies used doses of up to 1,200 mg per day.
CoQ10’s safety has been evaluated. To date, no toxicities have been reported. Mild stomach upset may occur. Taking CoQ10 with meals usually alleviates this rare effect.
Q. What should I look for in a CoQ10 supplement?
A. Use products which have a strong clinical research track record, supported by product-specific research from reputable institutions, and have been proven to be safe, tolerable and effective in treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. The CoQ10 product you choose should be proven to: be absorbed, enter the blood stream, cross the blood brain barrier and increase mitochondrial levels of CoQ10. If the product you are considering does not have evidence to support these points, keep looking. Once you have found a candidate, examine the product’s safety and efficacy record for neurodegenerative diseases- if the product has not been proven to be safe and effective, keep looking. Good products exist; however, caveat emptor.
CoQ10 supplementation for people with neurodegenerative diseases is supported by contemporary clinical research. CoQ10 is certainly not the only answer to the complex issues of management and treatment of these types of diseases. However, research indicates that it is a bigger piece of the puzzle than physicians and scientists ever imagined. As we continue to study this naturally occurring compound, we are finding more and more benefits to the body.
All CoQ10 is not created equal. For safety and overall effectiveness, use a CoQ10 product that is supported by product-specific research from reputable institution, which is proven to be safe, tolerable and effective at high doses; deviating from this set of criteria may do more harm than good for people with these serious illnesses. Choose clinically tested products from a well-respected company and increase the potential to achieve and maintain brain and neurological health.
For Better Heart Health ...
February 06, 2007 12:57 PM
Nutrients Every Heart Needs
High blood pressure. High cholesterol levels. Ever increasing stress. All are factors related to the development of heart disease – the leading cause of death for both men and women. In fact, 1 in 2 women in the
Fortunately, heart disease is a problem you can do something about. Proven ways to prevent or mitigate the effects of heart disease include taking targeted nutritional supplements, making changes in the foods we eat, exercising most days of the week, drinking in moderation, eliminating tobacco use and adapting a positive attitude. Research shows that those of us who are often angry and Depressed have more heart disease than people that live their lives with a more positive outlook.
In this Ask the Doctor, we’ll talk about specific nutritional supplements that are heart healthy, whether your goal is to prevent heart disease or reduce the effects of heart disease if you currently have it.
Q. I am trying hard to live a healthier life. But it all seems so overwhelming. How do I start?
A. It may help to know that you’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed. Lots of people feel this way. This is why the Centers for Disease Control and the American Heart Association are both urging people to prevent heart disease by identifying their individual health risk factors.
A risk factor is an indicator of whether or not you may develop a certain health condition. In heart disease prevention, there are two kinds of risk factors. There are risk factor you can control – such as diet, exercise, and the supplements you take. There are also risk factors you can’t change or control –your age, race, and gender, as well as your family’s history of heart disease.
Examples can be really helpful. Let’s follow three adults – Fred, Jane, and Earl – and determine their risk factors.
Fred is 32, single, has a job he loves, has an optimistic attitude about his life, and works out 5 days a week. Most days Fred’s diet is fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat. Occasionally Fred will eat a cheeseburger and fries when he watches the game with his buddies. Fred’s risk factors are his male gender and the occasional high fat content in his diet.
Jane is 55, a lawyer, married, and has a very stressful job. Jane eats lots of salads, fruits, and whole grains. However, her job requires her to work long hours which leaves little time to exercise. Jane is for the most part happy with her life, but her work stress had led to times of negativity. Her father had a heart attack when he was 56. Jane’s risk factors include her age (greater than 50), negativity from job stress, lack of regular exercise, and a family history of heart disease.
Earl is 65, married, and has just retired from a job he hated. He spends most of his day watching TV and eating potato chips and other high fat, salty snacks. Earl has told his friends and family since he worked so hard for so long, he is sure to drop dead soon after retiring. He has high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Earl’s father had a heart attack and died when he was 73. Earl’s risk is his male gender, age (greater than 50), sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, negative outlook on life, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and a family history of heart disease.
Q. OK, it’s pretty easy to see that Fred needs to watch his diet, Jane needs to exercise more, and Earl needs lots of help. But, which supplements should they take?
A. The Whole Heart Nutrition chart is an easy way to determine the supplements each risk level needs. As you can see, everyone wanting to prevent heart disease – Fred, Jane, Earl, you, and I – need to take quality heart formula multivitamin, garlic, and a fish oil supplement providing Omega-3 fatty acids. CoQ10 is also a smart choice for complete heart heath support.
Q. Why do we all need to take a “heart multivitamin”? Why can’t we take a regular multivitamin to prevent heart disease?
A. Since the human heart simply cannot function without adequate amounts of certain vitamins and minerals, it seems logical that a multivitamin would be the foundation of good nutrition for your heart. Heart-health formulated multivitamins provide the exact nutrients needed to prevent heart disease.
That’s why we need to take a specially formulated heart-focused multi-vitamin. The cells and the tissues that make up the heart must have vitamins C, A, and E, as well as B1, B6, and B12 to function. Folic acid, the little B vitamin that is so crucial in preventing spina bifida (a birth defect), breast cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease is also needed to keep heart muscles strong. The B vitamins and folic acid are very important to heart health because they help lower homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a potential and emerging cardiac risk factor,
Magnesium is a mighty mineral and healthy hearts need it every day. Aloha lipoic acid, a fatty acid, provides protection against heart cholesterol and high blood pressure. Lutein and lycopene are all-natural nutrients and keep our arteries free from the buildup of plaque, a condition linked to heart attacks and strokes.
Multivitamins formulated with these exact vitamins, minerals, and nutrients will work with medications often prescribed to treat heart disease and provide the nutrition our hearts need.
Q. Don’t all multivitamins work with medications prescribed to treat heart disease?
A. Many multivitamin formulas contain herbs and other nutrients that can interfere with prescription medications, especially mediations prescribed to treat heart disease. One multivitamin does not fit all.
The more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing heart disease.
Q. What can garlic supplements do for Fred, Jane and Earl or other people with low to high risk factors?
A. Garlic supplements have a very long and very successful history of preventing premature death from heart attacks. Lately, however, there have been some conflicting news stories about supplemental garlic’s ability to lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure – the causes of heart disease and death. That’s because many different garlic supplements have been used in these studies – garlic oil, garlic powder, aged garlic extract, and supplements made from fresh garlic. They have all been studied clinically for their effects in heart disease.
The best garlic supplements (and the ones that showed the best effects in garlic studies) contain alliin, which is then converted to allicin. Allicin is the compound that lowers harmfully high cholesterol levels and dangerous blood pressure readings. Allicin is also responsible for garlic’s characteristic odor. Because alliin is very stable when dry, properly prepared and enteric coated fresh garlic preparations preserve the allicin-producing action until the garlic mixes with the fluids of the intestinal tract. Fresh garlic extract’s enteric coating also prevents garlic breath. In contrast, aged garlic contains absolutely no allicin or allicin potential. This fact is probably responsible for the poor results noted in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure from aged garlic preparations.
The most effective garlic supplements are made from fresh garlic, enteric coated, and provide a daily dose of at least 10 milligrams (mg) alliin or a total allicin potential of 4,000 micrograms (mcg). Taking a once-daily garlic supplement that delivers 4,000 mcg of allicin will lower Jane’s and Earl’s high blood pressure and Earl’s high cholesterol, naturally and effectively.
Whole Heart Nutrition
Each additional risk factor requires additional supplements or increased doses for protection from heart disease.
Q. What about fish oil supplements? I know they can prevent heart disease but I’ve also heard they contain harmful substances, too.
A. You’re right on both counts. But, there are excellent fish oil supplements naturally loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, powerful nutrients that prevent heart disease, that are also certified free of harmful contaminants.
In the 1980s, researchers first began noticing the native Inuit (Eskimo) populations of Greenland and
Research has shown that the Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements can:
-Reduce the risk of arrhythmias, lethal heartbeat rhythms that cause sudden death.
-Lower the levels of triglycerides, fats in the blood that can increase a person’s
risk of dying from a heart attack, even if a person’s cholesterol levels are normal.
-Slow atherosclerosis – the growth of harmful plaque on artery walls.
Atherosclerosis develops over many years. If the plaque growth is slow and
stable, chances are low that a heart attack will result. However, rapidly growing
or unstable plaques can rupture. The body responds with inflammation, which
causes blood clots to form. These blood clots block the artery and cause a heart
-Keep blood pressure levels low. Many people have high blood pressure for years
without knowing it. That’s because it has no symptoms. Uncontrolled high
blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney failure.
While 25% of Americans have high blood pressure, nearly one-third of these
people don’t know they have it. This is why high blood pressure is often called
the “silent killer.”
You can get all of this heart disease preventive protection from just 600-1800 mg of fish oil. It’s pretty simple to see why Fred, Jane, Earl, and you and I need to take fish oil supplements every day.
However, it is absolutely critical that the fish oil supplement you take is free of contaminants and guaranteed fresh! Make sure that the manufacturer of the fish oil supplement you buy is able to provide documentation of purity in their product. Supplements should contain no detectable dioxin (a widely used toxic preservative), DDT (a toxic insecticide), PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) or heavy metals such as mercury and lead.
Before you buy any fish oil supplement, ask the clerk if you can open the bottle or jar and smell the contents. A fishy smelling fish oil supplementation means it is rancid. Rancid fish oil is not going to help your heart at all and may actually hurt it.
Q. That leaves CoQ10. Why is it important for Jane and Earl?
A. CoQ10, also known as ubiquinone, is the premier heart supplement! CoQ10 is part of our energy producing system. It works directly in the mitochondria of each cell. Mitochondria are highly specialized structures within each cell and are often referred to as powerhouses. These tiny energy producers generate 95% of the energy the body requires. The number of mitochondria in a cell depends on its function and energy needs. The heart has very important functions and requires a vast amount of energy. Thus, the heart has a lot of mitochondria or little powerhouses.
CoQ10 is incredibly crucial to the health of our hearts. Especially to hearts that are pumping blood with too much cholesterol. But, in a dangerous paradox, CoQ10 levels can become dangerously depleted when physicians treat high cholesterol in their patients with certain medications. The so-called “statin” drugs (Mevacor/lovastatin and Crestor/rosubastatin are two examples) are powerful and medications prescribed to lower harmful cholesterol levels. However, one very harmful side effect they share is that they deprive cells of CoQ10. While some physicians are aware of this serious side effect and tell their patients to take at least 400 mg of CoQ10 each day, most are not. The result? Any good the statin drugs may be doing is actually negated by their depletion of CoQ10.
Q. How does CoQ10 actually work? Has it been studied in heart disease?
A. Yes, it has! CoQ10 has been extensively studied in heart disease. This natural nutrient is present in every nucleated cell in our body (the only cells that don’t contain CoQ10 are red blood cells). Heart cells, however, are absolutely loaded with CoQ10. Its job is fairly simply – CoQ10 is vital to the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the compound our body uses for 95% of its energy needs.
In 1998, 144 patients who had been admitted to the hospital after a heart attack, participated in a CoQ10 study. Half of the patients received 120 mg of CoQ10 a day in addition to the usual treatments given to heart attack patients. The other half, the control group, received the usual treatments and a placebo, but no CoQ10.
The results showed that the group taking CoQ10 had less irregular heartbeat, experienced less angina (a type of heart pain), and had much better function in the left ventricle (the most essential chamber of the heart), compared to the placebo group. Total deaths due to sudden heart failure or another heart attack were also reduced in the CoQ10 group.
Q. What if I have already been diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure? Will CoQ10 still help me?
A. CoQ10 has been proven in study after study to help slow down the destruction that occurs in congestive heart failure (CHF), a serious heart disease, and heal the heart muscles damaged by heart attacks. In fact, heart attacks often occur when the body’s CoQ10 levels are low.
In a CHF study, patients received 100 mg of CoQ10 or a placebo twice daily for 12 weeks. Before and after the treatment period, the researchers introduced a catheter into the right ventricle of the patients’ hearts to determine the degree of muscle damage CHF had caused. In the group who took CoQ10, the pumping ability of the heart improved significantly. The placebo group’s hearts did not. The researchers conducting the study recommended that people with CHF add CoQ10 to the other medications they need to take to stay alive and well.
Q. Are some types of CoQ10 better than others?
A. Indeed they are. CoQ10 products are not created equally. The key to this natural medicine is the quality of the manufacturing. Take a CoQ10 supplement that’s been used in research conducted by prestigious universities (it will tell you this right on the label). Researchers want the best CoQ10 for their studies. You want the best CoQ10 for yourself and your loved ones.
The best CoQ10 has to meet the following criteria:
1. Must be easily absorbed during the digestion process so that it can get into the
2. Must reach the mitochondria in the cell.
3. Must be proven effective in studies.
4. Must be safe and free of impurities.
Q. It sounds as if CoQ10 is only for people with moderate or high risk factors. Can others benefit from this supplement?
A. Many people, including those like Fred with low risk factors or no risk of heart disease take CoQ10 every day. CoQ10 supplements may reduce your risk of cancer, prevent gum disease, and help certain nerve cells work more effectively.
Understanding your personal risk factors, making it better lifestyle choices, taking a multivitamin formulated for your heart, an enteric-coated fresh garlic supplement, fish oil supplement with Omega-3 fatty acids, and CoQ10 – the heart’s super-nutrient – can help keep your heart healthy and strong.
Helen Keller, the famous lecturer and author, who was both blind and deaf wrote, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot e seen or even touched. They must be felt with the human heart.”
Healthy hearts have the most opportunities to “feel” the best and are the most beautiful thing our world has to offer.
Doctor’s Corner - Relora: Minimizes Stress-Induced Eating
August 09, 2006 01:56 PM
Relora is a proprietary all-natural botanical product developed by Next Pharmaceuticals, Inc. it contains ingredients extracted from two plant species that have been used in traditional Chinese herbalism for over 1500 years. These are patented extract from Magnolia officinalis (US Patent No: US 6,582,735) and a patent-pending extract from Phellodendron amurense.
Relora helps relieve stress, anxiety and minimize stress-induced eating, which in turn may help to produce weight loss when used as part of a healthy diet and exercise plan. The research and development of Relora involved sophisticated testing and screening for ingredients that have anti-anxiety properties, but no daytime sedative effects. Initially, investigators tested the Magnoliaceae plant family as a lead source of new anti-anxiety products. Scientists first focused on two phytochemicals on constituents in the plant that have “bio-activity” (work positively on the body)—magnolol and honokiol. Through a series of studies, it became clear that Relora was a safe and effective formulation.
Relora works with the body’s natural chemistry to maintain normal levels of stress hormones. These hormones not only affect emotional well-being, but can also have a major impact on appetite and how the body stores and metabolizes fat. By working to re-establish a stable balance of these hormones, relora can help break the stress/weight cycle and restore optimum health to the mind and body.
In addition to normalizing stress hormones, Relora has been shown to control anxiety and the symptoms associated with it: irritability, emotional ups and downs, restlessness, tense muscles, poor sleep, fatigue and difficulty concentrating. Daytime sedation often occurs with products that induce relaxation. Not with Relora! This breakthrough botanical provides all the anti-anxiety benefits without inducing daytime sedation. In central nervous system receptor binding assays, the plant extracts in Relora bind to several important targets associated with anxiety. Also if interested, the bark of magnolia officinalis has been used in traditional Chinese herbalism for centuries for stress induced muscular tension.
Relora, Stress and Weight Loss
Stress is reported to play a significant role in a wide variety of health conditions. Recent work with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other major research centers has demonstrated that stress is a significant contributor to immune dysfunction, cardiovascular challenges, other age-related imbalances, and excess body fat. This type of fat is related to stress-induced hormone imbalances, especially imbalances of the hormones cortisol and DHEA. Until now, the only course of action for losing this fat has been stress reduction with exercise and diet, and anyone who has attempted diet and exercise alone often encounters a long, troublesome road. Relora may help the body normalize cortisol and DHEA levels in stressed individuals while inducing relaxation, and act as an aid in controlling weight and stress-related eating.
The increase in cortisol levels signals the brain that the body is in stress, causing food cravings, especially for high-fat, high-sugar foods. These foods, in turn, cause additional stress, thereby fueling the stress-cortisol cycle. Eventually, more fat is stored than the body needs unless sufficient exercise is in place to compensate, or the stress is reduced.
The ingredients in Relora are key supplements that help the adrenal glands to “come back to life” by reducing the excessive stress hormone response in the body and reducing carbohydrate craving behavior.
Results from Human Trials with Relora
Relora was tested at the Living Longer Institute in Cincinnati, OH and found to be safe, effective, rapid acting, non-sedating dietary supplement that helps control occasional mild anxiety. Three hundred forty five female subjects were administered Relora for 2 weeks. The dosage was 200mg of Relora three times daily. Eighty nine percent of the subjects reported that Relora helped them relax, while 78% found Relora to help prevent stress-related eating.
A second trial was undertaken at the Living Longer Institute to measure cortisol and DHEA levels in patients with mild to moderate stress. Elevated cortisol levels and Depressed DHEA levels are associated with chronic stress. A two week regimen of Relora produced a significant increase in salivary DHEA (227%) and a significant decrease in morning salivary cortisol levels (37%). These findings support Relora’s ability to relieve stress and its potential role in weight control and stress-related eating behavior.
A third study was completed in late 2002 that evaluated Relora on its ability to improve snacking habits in people who snack on sweets or eat salty snacks when they are under excessive stress. Forty nine subjects were evaluated and it was found that Relora cur sweet snacking in the sweet cravers by 75%! It cut snacking on salty snacks by 50%. Seventy three percent of all individuals in the study reported feeling less stressed while taking Relora.
A double-blind placebo-controlled study was completed in January, 2004. forty premenopausal women were evaluated for stress, anxiety, food intake and weight management. Relora significantly reduced anxiety and prevented weight gain. A significant weight gain occurred in the placebo group while either now weight gain or weight loss occurred in the Relora group.
Suggested Use and Safety
Relora is designed for adults. The suggested daily dose is 1 capsule (250mg) 2 – 3 times per day. Relora is not recommended for persons under the age of 18. if you are pregnant, nursing or taking a prescription drug, consult a health practitioner prior to use.
Dr. James B. LaValle, R.Ph., N.M.D., C.C.N. is a licensed pharmacist (University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy), certified clinical nutritionist (International & American Associations of Clinical Nutritionists), and doctor of naturopathic medicine (Central States College of Health Sciences, IAACN), with more than 18 years clinical practice experience in the field of natural therapeutics and functional medicine. Dr. LaValle is in clinical practice at the Living Longer Institute, a comprehensive wellness, prevention, and early detection program he co-founded. He sits on various scientific advisory boards within the dietary supplement industry. LaValle is also an adjunct professor in the college of pharmacy at The University of Cincinnati and serves as a preceptor in the Department of family Medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
Benefits of Acetyl-L-Carnitine
February 12, 2006 01:55 PM
December 19, 2005 09:19 AM
Phosphatidyl Serine - As we age, our natural production of Phosphatidyl Serine (PS) slows. As a result, our ability to learn, concentrate and recall memories inevitably declines. This multi-tasking phospholipid is a major component of neural membranes, and aids in the transition of impulses as well as the absorption of cognitive nutrients. PS has also been shown to inhibit the secretion of cortisol, a hormone often found elevated in individuals who are frequently stressed and Depressed.*
Is there a cure for chronic fatigue syndrome?
December 10, 2005 03:19 PM
A. Treating chronic fatigue syndrome presents a significant challenge to people with CFS and their healthcare practitioners. Recently, a published placebo-controlled study (of which I was the lead investigator) showed that when using an integrated treatment approach, over 85 percent of CFS and fibromyalgia patients can improve, often dramatically. The full text of this study can be seen at ‘www.endfatigue.com’.
An editorial in the April 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Pain Management noted that this treatment, which I developed, is now a highly effective and excellent part of the standard of practice for treatment of fibromyalgia. Since this treatment addresses many different problems associated with CFS/FMS, it needs to be individualized to each patient.
Medications that provide symptom relief are frequently the first line of treatment chosen by healthcare practitioners for the person with CFS. These include medications for the pain, sleep disturbances’ digestive problems such as nausea, depression and anxiety, and flu-like symptoms.
However, medications have not been universally successful because they tend to put a bandage on symptoms instead of addressing the root problems. Because of this, medications may need to be supplemented by the other supportive therapies that can address the root problems.
People with CFS? FMS may be Depressed, given the catastrophic lifestyle disruption these diseases may cause. They may also feel guilt and frustration because their symptoms were not taken seriously for such a long time. Fear can be a factor as employment and family relationships may be jeopardized by this illness.
Therapies that help people to relax and improve coping skills may be helpful and include counseling for emotional and mental health, cognitive behavioral therapy, sleep management therapy, and massage.
Daily Nutritional Supplementation for Energy Good overall nutrition is important for everyone, of course. However, there are several vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that can have powerful nutritional effects for a person with CFS. All of the vitamins and minerals in a chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia formula should work together synergistically to help improve energy levels and overall health. Here are some key nutrients to look for in an energy formula:
Vitamins, Minerals & Other Key Ingredients Vitamin A: Essentail for healthy skin and mucous membrane integrity, healthy immune system responses and healthy bone grown and healthy reproductive processes. Vitamin A in the form of beta-catotene is an antioxidant and free radical fighter.
Vitamin E: Helps to relieve pain in CFS patients. Can also improve night leg cramps, which interferes with sleep.
Vitamin C: Enhances immune function by increasing natural killer cells, B and T cells. Can prevent chronic bladder infections by acidifying urine.
Vitamin D: Regulates immune functions of monocytes and neutrophils. Neutrophils are white blood cells that ingest invasive bacteria, and act as the first line of defense once bacteria makes it past the skin barrier.
Magnesium: Involved with immune support. Working with malic acid, enhances immune function by increasing natural killer cells. Magnesium is also critical for the relief of muscle pain.
Inositol: Enhances immune function by increasing natural killer cells.
Malic Acid: Working with magnesium, improves energy levels by improving cellular functions. Especially important in muscle metabolism.
Betaine: Works with B vitamins to synthesize amino acids, and acts as a precursor to SAM-e. SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine) is a naturally-occurring molecule in the body, and may have an effect on overall mood elevation.
Amino Acids: Glycine, Serine, Taurine, Tyrosine are essential for production of energy in the body. Also essential for brain function.
Zinc: Supports the immune system by enhancing neutrophil activity and supporting healthy antigen-antibody binding.
Selenium: Supports immune function by enhancing antibody production.
Fructooligosaccharides: Provides nutrition for good bacteria in the intestinal tract, improving digestion and healthy microflora. All of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional supplements on the list are important to ensure recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome. To ensure that your nutritional supplement regimen contains all of these ingredients, look for a powdered supplement formulated specifically for CFS/FMS sufferers that can be reconstituted in a beverage of your choice. A powdered drink mix is a pleasant, easy way to ensure that you are taking all of the needed vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that will give you the needed energy to recover from your illness.
B Vitamin Complex for Energy
In addition to the powdered energy drink mix, it is important that you also take a vitamin B-complex supplement specifically formulated for people with CFS/FMS. The B vitamin formula, which should include niacinamide, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B^, folic acid, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, and choline, is especially important to restore the energy production needs of your body, as well as for mental function. IT is also important to make sure that the dosages are high enough for CFS/FMS needs.
B Vitamins Effect on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Studies have demonstrated that people with CFS/FMS are often deficient in many of the B vitamins, which tends to worsen their symptoms of fatigue and mental “fogginess” and ultimately lead to a weakened immune system.
Research on SAMe....
October 26, 2005 12:49 PM
Two groups of researchers have conducted analyses of trials that utilized SAM-e for mood enhancement. One meta-analysis was published in 1994. The researchers analyzed the efficacy of SAM-e in oral or injection forms based on published trials dated between 1973 and 1992. The authors concluded that there was a significant improvement of 17 to 38% seen in trials of SAM-e compared to placebo response. They state that the efficacy of SAM-e was superior to placebo and its administration caused few side effects.5 A second review was published in 2002. The authors analyzed studies in which SAM-e doses ranged from 200 to 1600 mg daily. They also found a significant effect of SAM-e in comparison to placebo, with an evident rapid onset of effect at enhancing mood.6
Promotes Joint Comfort and Mobility*
As a sulfur donor to connective tissue, SAM-e plays a major role in protecting the integrity of cartilage tissue. An in vitro trial assessed the actions of SAM-e in cultured human articular chondrocytes. At a concentration of 10 micrograms/ml, proteoglycan synthesis and sulfate residue incorporation in chondrocytes was shown to be 60% higher than control levels. Based on these results, it was shown that SAM-e has a positive influence on the growth and health of cartilaginous connective tissue.7
In a double-blind trial with 734 individuals with compromised joint health. SAM-e given orally at a dose of 1200 mg daily for 30 days was shown to significantly promote joint comfort compared to placebo, with a high level of tolerability and low incidence of side effects. The researchers concluded that SAM-e is a highly effective supplement for enhancing joint comfort.8
Another trial evaluated the response of individuals experiencing discomfort in the joints to a regimen of 1200 mg SAM-e for 1 week followed by 800 mg for the second week, and then 400 mg for weeks 3 through 8. This open trial of 20, 641 people showed a strong ability of SAM-e to enhance feelings of comfort within the joints. The treatment was rated as “very good” or “good” in 71% of the participants, with an additional 21% rating the treatment effect as “moderate”.9
In a long-term trial lasting 24 months, SAM-e was given to 108 participants with compromised joint function. Individuals were given 600 mg orally per day for the first two weeks followed by 400 mg daily for the remainder of the trial. Individuals experienced significant enhancements in joint comfort, with dramatic improvements noted after 2-4 weeks of treatment. Improvements continued to 6 months and beyond.10
In addition to the above studies, a review was conducted in 1987 to assess the results of SAM-e supplementation in clinical trials for enhancing joint mobility and function. Over 22,000 individuals had participated in the clinical trials that were the subject of this review. The author concluded from his analysis that SAM-e was shown to be highly efficacious, rivaling or surpassing the effectiveness of other treatments, and also possessing a high level of safety.11 Because of this, SAM-e may be the treatment of choice for enhancing joint function.
Supports Liver Health and Detoxification*
SAM-e supplementation can have profound benefits on liver function. These benefits center around its function as the major methyl donor in the liver, as well as its lipotropic activity. SAM-e also enhances the production of the antioxidant glutathione.
A number of trials have been conducted showing the ability of SAM-e to support liver detoxification functions and enhance liver health in individuals susceptible to toxin-induced liver compromise. SAM-e has the ability to normalize liver function by increasing the activity of enzymes needed to upregulate liver detoxification. These effects are comprehensive and rapid. Dosages used in these studies range from 600 mg to 1600 mg daily for 2 months to two years.12,13,14 In these trials, significant benefits of SAM-e supplementation were seen over placebo.
SAM-e has an excellent safety profile and is considered well-suited for long term use based on multiple clinical trials. Individuals diagnosed with manic depression should avoid SAM-e supplementation, as it may aggravate the manic phase *This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1. Agnoli A, Andreoli V, Casacchia M, Cerbo R. Effect of s-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAMe) upon depressive symptoms. J Psychiatr Res. 1976;13(1):43-54.
2. De Leo D. S-adenosylmethionine as an antidepressant. Curr Ther Research. 1987;41(6):865-70.
3. Kagan BL, Sultzer DL, Rosenlicht N,Gerner RH. Oral S-adenosylmethionine in depression: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Am J Psychiatry. 1990 May;147(5):591-5.
4.Salmaggi P,Bressa GM,Nicchia G,Coniglio M,La Greca P,Le Grazie C.Doubleblind, placebo-controlled study of S-adenosyl-L-methionine in Depressed postmenopausal women. Psychother Psychosom. 1993;59(1):34-40.
5. Bressa GM. S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAMe) as antidepressant: metaanalysis of clinical studies. Acta Neurol Scand Suppl. 1994;154:7-14. 6.Mischoulon D, Fava M. Role of S-adenosyl-L-methionine in the treatment of depression: a review of the evidence. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Nov;76(5):1158S-61S.
7. Harmand MF, Vilamitjana J,Maloche E, Duphil R, Ducassou D. Effects of Sadenosylmethionine on human articular chondrocyte differentiation. An in vitro study. Am J Med. 1987 Nov 20;83(5A):48-54.
8. Caruso I, . Italian double-blind multicenter study comparing S-adenosylmethionine, naproxen, and placebo in the treatment of degenerative joint disease. Am J Med. 1987 Nov 20;83(5A):66-71.
9. Berger R, Nowak H. A new medical approach to the treatment of osteoarthritis. Report of an open phase IV study with ademetionine (Gumbaral). Am J Med. 1987 Nov 20;83(5A):84-8.
10. Konig B. A long-term (two years) clinical trial with S-adenosylmethionine for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Am J Med. 1987 Nov 20;83(5A):89-94.
11. di Padova C. S-adenosylmethionine in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Review of the clinical studies. Am J Med. 1987 Nov 20;83(5A):60-5.
12. Frezza M, et al. S-adenosylmethionine counteracts oral contraceptive hepatotoxicity in women. Am J Med Sci. 1987; 293(4):234-238.
13. Frezza M, Surrenti C, Manzillo G, Fiaccadori F, Bortolini M, Di Padova C. Oral S-adenosylmethionine in the symptomatic treatment of intrahepatic cholestasis. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Gastroenterology. 1990 Jul;99(1):211-5.
14. Mato JM, et al. S-adenosylmethionine in alcoholic liver cirrhosis: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter clinical trial. J Hepatol. 1999 Jun;30(6):1081-9.
Depressed? Try these “super 5” supplements
August 09, 2005 03:25 PM
Depressed? Try these “super 5” supplements
While we must first address basic health issues and tackle them individually, nature has provided us with a number of compounds capable of treatment depression by safely raising serotonin levels and by boosting oxygen supplies to brain cells.
1. 5-HTP, a metabolite of the amino acid tryptophan, has the ability to boost serotonin production without the negative side effects of drugs like Prozac. It has been successfully used in clinical trials with people suffering from depression that were resistant to traditional therapies. Because it can boost serotonin without the negative side effects of antidepressant drugs, it is one of nature’s best choices as a natural remedy for depression, anxiety and sleep disorders.
2. St. John’s worth as received considerable attention for its ability to successfully treat mild to moderate depression. Numerous studies have concluded that many patients respond as well or better to St. John’s wort than standard drugs. Not surprisingly, German doctors prescribe St. John’s wort four times as often as Prozac for depression.
3. Ginkgo has enjoyed tremendous popularity as an herb capable of boosting memory function. Because depression is viewed by some experts as a condition of brain under-stimulation, ginkgo may be valuable in that it can boost brain cell oxygenation by enhancing blood flow. A French study found that 166 patients with mental disorders significantly improved with ginkgo therapy.
4. Phenylalanine and Tyr osine are two amino acids which elevate serotonin levels and curb excess carbohydrate cravings. Dr. Oscar Janifer, M.D. in his book A Different Kind of Healing, comments: “I’ve had great results with tyrosine. It’s like a natural antidepressant and is a precursor to the neurotransmitter norepinephrine.” Phenylalanine acts as precursor to the amines that comprise neurotransmitters (serotonin) in the brain.
5 . NADH, a form of niacin, plays a vital role in the energy production of all cells and is thought to boost brain cell metabolism. It is currently used for Alzheimer’s disease and seems well suited to older individuals suffering fro m depression. NADH levels significantly decline with age.
Virtually any physical stressor can disrupt delicate chemical balances in the brain causing us to feel unexplainably sad for prolonged periods of time. Take a moment to evaluate your life, and look into natural means for assistance.
THE FDA AND STEVIA
July 15, 2005 12:45 PM
THE FDA AND STEVIA
While stevia in no way qualifies as an “artificial sweetener,” it has been subject to rigorous inquiry and unprecedented restraints. In 1986, FDA officials began to investigate herb companies selling stevia and suddenly banned its sale, calling it “an unapproved food additive.” Then in 1991, the FDA unexpectedly announced that all importation of stevia leaves and products must cease, with the exception of certain liquid extracts which are designed for skin care only. They also issued formal warnings to companies and claimed that the herb was illegal. The FDA was unusually aggressive in its goal to eliminate stevia from American markets, utilizing search and seizure tactics, embargoes and import bans. Speculation as to why the FDA intervened in stevia commerce points to the politics of influential sugar marketers and the artificial-sweetener industry.
During the same year, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) began their defense of the herb with the goal of convincing the FDA that stevia is completely safe. They gathered documented literature and research on both stevia and other non-caloric sweeteners. The overwhelming consensus was that stevia is indeed safe, and the AHPA petitioned the FDA to exempt stevia from food additive regulations.
Food Additive vs. Dietary Supplement
FDA regulations of stevia were based on its designation as a food additive. The claim was that scientific study on stevia as a food additive was inadequate. Ironically, extensive Japanese testing of stevia was disregarde—regardless of the fact that this body of documented evidence more than sufficiently supported its safe use. Many experts who have studied stevia and its FDA requirements have commented that the FDA wants far more proof that stevia is safe than they would demand from chemical additives like aspartame.
Stevia advocates point out that stevia not a food additive, but rather, a food. Apparently, foods that have traditionally been consumed do not require laborious and expensive testing for safety under FDA regulations. The fact that so many toxicology studies have been conducted in Japan, coupled with the herb’s long history of safe consumption, makes a strong case for stevia being accepted by the FDA as a safe dietary substance. Still, it was denied the official GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status and designated a food additive by the FDA.
The FDA Reverses Its Position
As a result of the Health Freedom Act passed in September of 1995, stevia leaves, stevia extract, and stevioside can be imported to the United States. However, ingredient labels of products that contain stevia must qualify as dietary supplements.
Stevia had been redesignated as a dietary supplement by the FDA and consequently can be legally sold in the United States solely as a supplement. Its addition to teas or other packaged foods is still banned. Moreover, stevia cannot, under any circumstances, be marketed as a sweetener or flavor enhancer.
SUGAR, SUGAR EVERYWHERE
Ralph Nader once said, “If God meant us to eat sugar, he wouldn’t have invented dentists.” The average American eats over 125 pounds of white sugar every year. It has been estimated that sugar makes up 25 percent of our daily caloric intake, with soda pop supplying the majority of our sugar ingestion. Desserts and sugar-laden snacks continually tempt us, resulting in an escalated taste for sweets.
The amount of sugar we consume has a profound effect on both our physical and mental well-being. Sugar is a powerful substance which can have drug-like effects and is considered addictive by some nutritional experts. William Duffy, the author of Sugar Blues, states,“The difference between sugar addiction and narcotic addition is largely one of degree.” In excess, sugar can be toxic. Sufficient amounts of B-vitamins are actually required to metabolize and detoxify sugar in our bodies. When the body experiences a sugar overload, the assimilation of nutrients from other foods can be inhibited. In other words, our bodies were not designed to cope with the enormous quantity of sugar we routinely ingest. Eating too much sugar can generate a type of nutrient malnutrition, not to mention its contribution to obesity, diabetes, hyperactivity, and other disorders. Sugar can also predispose the body to yeast infections, aggravate some types of arthritis and asthma, cause tooth decay, and may even elevate our blood lipid levels. Eating excess sugar can also contribute to amino acid depletion, which has been linked with depression and other mood disorders. To make matters worse, eating too much sugar can actually compromise our immune systems by lowering white blood cells counts. This makes us more susceptible to colds and other infections. Sugar consumption has also been linked to PMS, osteoporosis and coronary heart disease.
Why Do We Crave Sweets?
Considering the sobering effects of a high sugar diet, why do we eat so much of it? One reason is that sugar gives us a quick infusion of energy. It can also help to raise the level of certain brain neurotransmitters which may temporarily elevate our mood. Sugar cravings stem from a complex mix of physiological and psychological components. Even the most brilliant scientists fail to totally comprehend this intriguing chemical dependence which, for the most part, hurts our overall health.
What we do know is that when sugary foods are consumed, the pancreas must secrete insulin, a hormone which serves to bring blood glucose levels down. This allows sugar to enter our cells where it is either burned off or stored. The constant ups and downs of blood sugar levels can become exaggerated in some individuals and cause all kinds of health problems. Have you ever been around someone who is prone to sudden mood swings characterized by violent verbal attacks or irritability? This type of volatile behavior is typical of people who crave sugar, eat it and then experience sugar highs and lows. Erratic mood swings can be linked to dramatic drops in blood sugar levels.
Hypoglycemia: Sign of Hard Times?
It is rather disturbing to learn that statisticians estimate that almost 20 million Americans suffer from some type of faulty glucose tolerance. Hypoglycemia and diabetes are the two major forms of blood sugar disorders and can deservedly be called modern day plagues. Hypoglycemia is an actual disorder that can cause of number of seemingly unrelated symptoms. More and more studies are pointing to physiological as well as psychological disorders linked to disturbed glucose utilization in brain cells. One study, in particular, showed that Depressed people have overall lower glucose metabolism (Slagle, 22). Hypoglycemia occurs when too much insulin is secreted in order to compensate for high blood sugar levels resulting from eating sugary or high carbohydrate foods. To deal with the excess insulin, glucagon, cortisol and adrenalin pour into the system to help raise the blood sugar back to acceptable levels. This can inadvertently result in the secretion of more insulin and the vicious cycle repeats itself.
A hypoglycemic reaction can cause mood swings, fatigue, drowsiness, tremors, headaches, dizziness, panic attacks, indigestion, cold sweats, and fainting. When blood sugar drops too low, an overwhelming craving for carbohydrates results. To satisfy the craving and compensate for feelings of weakness and abnormal hunger, sugary foods are once again consumed in excess.
Unfortunately, great numbers of people suffer from hypoglycemic symptoms. Ironically, a simple switch from a high sugar diet to one that emphasizes protein can help. In addition, because sugar cravings are so hard to control, a product like stevia can be of enormous value in preventing roller coaster blood sugar levels. One Colorado internist states: People who are chronically stressed and are on a roller coaster of blood sugar going up and down are especially prone to dips in energy at certain times of day. Their adrenals are not functioning optimally, and when they hit a real low point, they want sugar. It usually happens in mid-afternoon when the adrenal glands are at their lowest level of functioning. (Janiger, 71) Our craving for sweets in not intrinsically a bad thing; however, what we reach for to satisfy that craving can dramatically determine how we feel. Stevia can help to satisfy the urge to eat something sweet without changing blood sugar levels in a perfectly natural way and without any of the risks associated with other non-nutritive sweeteners.
Diabetes: Pancreas Overload?
Diabetes is a disease typical of western cultures and is evidence of the influence that diet has on the human body. Perhaps more than any other disease, diabetes shuts down the mechanisms which permit proper carbohydrate/sugar metabolism. When the pancreas no longer secretes adequate amounts of insulin to metabolize sugar, that sugar continues to circulate in the bloodstream causing all kinds of health problems. The type of diabetes that comes in later years is almost always related to obesity and involves the inability of sugar to enter cells, even when insulin is present. Diabetes can cause blindness, atherosclerosis, kidney disease, the loss of nerve function, recurring infections, and the inability to heal. Heredity plays a profound role in the incidence of diabetes, but a diet high in white sugar and empty carbohydrates unquestionably contributes to the onset of the disease. It is estimated that over five million Americans are currently undergoing medical treatment for diabetes and studies suggest that there are at least four million Americans with undetected forms of adult onset diabetes. Diabetes is the third cause of death in this country and reflects the devastating results of a diet low in fiber and high in simple carbohydrates. Most of us start our children on diets filled with candy, pop, chips, cookies, doughnuts, sugary juice, etc. Studies have found that diabetes is a disease which usually plagues societies that eat highly refined foods. Because we live in a culture that worships sweets, the availability of a safe sweetener like stevia, which does not cause stress on the pancreas is extremely valuable. If sugar consumption was cut in half by using stevia to
SLEEP DISORDERS AND ST.JOHN'S WORT
July 15, 2005 09:28 AM
Among the many ailments that often accompany middle and old age are various sleep disorders: insomnia, intermittent waking, sleep duration, and an overall poor sleep quality. The medical world has produced numerous synthetic drugs to deal with these disorders; however, most aren’t completely effective and produce undesirable side effects as well. Recent research suggests that St. John’s wort may be able to improve one’s sleep, especially that of older persons. A 1994 double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology showed that Hypericum extracts gave the benefit of increased deep sleep during the total sleeping period of the patients. It explains, A hypostatic influence of the REM sleep phases, which is typical for tricyclic antidepressants and MAO inhibitors, could not be shown for this phytopharmacon [Hypericum]. Instead, LI 160 [Hypericum] induced an increase of deep sleep during the total sleeping period. This could be shown consistently in the visual analysis of the sleeping phases 3 and 4, as well as in the automatic analysis of slow-wave EEG activities. The study also makes an interesting connection between sleep and depression; that being many standard antidepressants and MAO inhibitors used to treat people who suffer from depression cause a decrease in deep sleep. As discussed earlier, St. John’s wort has shown great promise in treating Depressed persons. So, besides helping people with sleep disorders, when used as an antidepressant, it gives antidepressant properties without the side effect of decreased deep sleep.21 This is certainly another valuable quality St. John’s wort has shown to possess.
THERAPEUTIC APPLICATIONS OF ST. JOHN’S WORT DEPRESSION—AN OVERVIEW
July 15, 2005 09:12 AM
THERAPEUTIC APPLICATIONS OF ST. JOHN’S WORT DEPRESSION—AN OVERVIEW
Depression is a disorder that affects millions of people, both Americans and worldwide. It takes many forms, but is usually marked by sadness, inactivity and heightened selfdepreciation. Hopelessness and pessimism are often common symptoms, as are lowered self-esteem, reduced energy and vitality, and loss of the overall capability to enjoy one’s existence.
Depression is probably the most common psychiatric complaint offered to doctors, and has been described by physicians from at least the time of Hippocrates, who called it “melancholia.” The course the disorder runs varies widely from person to person. Depression may be short-term, or may occur repeatedly at short intervals. It may be somewhat permanent, mild or sever, acute or chronic. And who does depression most affect? Rates of incidence are higher among women than men (for varying reasons, some not totally understood). And men are more at risk of suffering from depression as they age, while a woman’s peak age for experi-encing depression is usually between the ages of 35-45.
Depression is caused by many things—it could come about because of childhood traumas, or because of stressful life events—but more and more, doctors and scientists are pointing to biochemical processes as a main culprit in the onset of depression. Defective regulation of the release of one or more naturally occurring monoamines in the brain—particularly norepinephrine—leads to reduced quantities or reduced activity of these chemicals in the brain, bringing on the Depressed mood for most sufferers. Accompanying the increase in depression cases and the emerging knowledge of its causes has been the rise of drug and other therapies in treating the disorder. The two most important are drug therapy and psychotherapy. Psychotherapy aims to resolve any underlying psychic conflicts that may be causing the Depressed state, while giving emotional support to the patient. This usually involves seeing a psychiatrist and/or psychologist at regular intervals. This also may be accompanied by participation in support groups.
Antidepressant drugs, on the other hand, directly affect the chemistry of the brain and its chemicals, such as the monoamines that are thought to have the most effect on Depressed emotional states and moods. The tricyclic antidepressant drugs are thought to work by inhibiting the body’s physiological inactivation of the monoamine transmitters. This results in the buildup or accumulation of these neurotransmitters in the brain and allows them to remain in contact with nerve cell receptors longer, thus aiding in elevating the mood of the patient. There are other drugs, called oxidase inhibitors, which interfere with the activity of monoamine oxidase, an enzyme known to be involved in the breakdown of norepinephrine and serotonin.5
While drug therapy is something more favorable than continuing suffering from depression, for many persons who take these medications it brings on very undesirable side effects. Uncomfortable physical side effects are among the biggest complaints. Many drug users suffer from sensations of nausea, bloating, indigestion, abdominal cramping and diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal discomforts. Dizziness is often a common complaint, and there are many others. For decades, St. John’s wort has been utilized as a mood elevator, antidepressant and overall mental stimulant. As mentioned before, since times as far back as the Crusades do we have record of St. John’s wort being used in this and other capacities. Wounds were treated with the herb’s extracted oil, the insane were given the herb for its effect on both the nervous system and brain, and it was even used to cast out evil spirits (which often is linked to hallucinations and other mental instability).
More recent uses in “folk” or nonstandard medicine point to St. John’s wort’s effective use not only as an antidepressant and nervous system tonic, but also for neuralgia, wounds, kidney problems, its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and of very recent interest, its use as an AIDS virus inhibitor. Michael Murray, in his book Natural Alternatives to Over-the-Counter Drugs, points to St. John’s wort’s uses for the previously listed uses, and the results of several recent clinical studies. Rebecca Flynn and Mark Roest also outline very well the benefits of the herb as shown in medical and other tests.6 The information coming from both the folk medicine and the clinical medicine worlds indicates that St. John’s wort possesses effective and safe healing properties for several disorders and ailments, and potentially many more.
Ginko: A Natural Antidepressant?
June 25, 2005 11:34 AM
Ginko: A Natural Antidepressant?
Several health practitioners are looking at ginkgo as a possible natural substitute for some pharmaceutical antidepressants. Be cause ginkgo stimulates the brain through increased oxygen availability, it may have therapeutic value in some cases of depression. Depression is viewed by some doctors as a condition of brain “sleepiness.” By increasing mental alertness, ginkgo may help to snap a Depressed brain out of its mental patterns by stimulating biochemical reactions at the cellular level. Ginkgo may inadvertently work the same way that exercise does for people suffering from depression. Exercise helps to oxygenate the blood and by so doing, elevates mood. Ginkgo accomplishes a similar action by boosting brain blood flow. Ginkgo has also been recommended in combination with antidepressant drugs such as tricyclics and tetracyclics. It should be noted that tests using ginkgo to treat depression used higher than normal dosages of ginkgo. Learning disabilities may also benefit from the neuro-stimulation ginkgo provides, however, no one has studied its effects in this area.
The Colds & Flu Report
June 18, 2005 08:38 AM
The Colds & Flu Report by Sherrill Williams Energy Times, October 13, 2004
The nose knows the misery of a cold: stuffiness, watery eyes, sore throat and nagging cough. These annoyances are especially frustrating when there's not enough time in your busy schedule to be sick.
Traditional remedies help: Slurping a cup of Grandma's chicken soup. Sweating in a hot bath. Climbing under the covers until further notice.
While no one can guarantee you won't catch a cold this year, a few simple measures can limit your sick days and give you the best chance to dodge upper respiratory distress. The common cold is a frequent and expensive problem, causing about 15 million lost work days for Americans each year. Some people seem just about immune to the group of viruses that cause colds. But others may endure as many as 12 colds per year. For the lucky ones, a cold's irritations last a couple of days. For the unfortunate, a cold can drag on for a couple of weeks.
Influenza (commonly known as the flu) has many of the same discomforts as a cold, and both disorders originate in the upper respiratory tract. But while a cold usually stays on tract, the flu is often accompanied by fever, prominent headaches and severe aches and pains around the body. Fatigue from the flu can last as long as two to three weeks during recovery. All this distress demonstrates that your body is fighting off the invaders.
Traditional healers advocate the use of the herb echinacea at the first sign of getting sick. Echinacea, commonly known as purple coneflower, is native to North America and was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia until the 1950s.
Rosemary Gladstar, a Vermont herbalist and author of Family Herbal (Storey Books), suggests taking echinacea (Echinacea ssp.) in frequent small amounts in tincture or tea form at the first sign of cold or flu.
" Most of the compounds in echinacea are water soluble, so it makes a fine tea," says Gladstar. She also encourages echinacea tea as a gargle or spray to relieve sore throats.
Research at Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts validates what traditional healers such as Rosemary Gladstar have known: echinacea works best if taken at the onset of colds or flu. In an animal study, scientists found that echinacea triggered a humoral immune response, an immune reaction that spurs the production of special proteins that latch onto and destroy viruses (Immunopharmacology & Immunotoxicology 2003 Nov; 25(4):551-60).
In another study, researchers found that echinacea enhances immune actions called T cell subsets or helper cell activity (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 2004 Jul; 27(7):1004-9). Helper cells are lymphocytes that take part in the destruction of viruses. In the quest for the kind of immunity that makes you less vulnerable to infection by troublesome viruses, Gladstar says that "echinacea is safe for children, the elderly and everyone in between."
C Is for Colds-And So Is E
The reputation of vitamin C as the anti-cold nutrient has been batted back and forth in the media for decades. Your body can't store up much of this antioxidant water-soluble vitamin, so you have to consume it every day on a regular basis. And while vitamin C may not prevent the common cold, research does demonstrate that it can help reduce a cold's severity and make it go away faster (Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics 1999 Oct; 22(8):530-3).
Adequate vitamin C is crucial for a healthy immune system. Even a marginal deficiency of this nutrient can leave you more vulnerable to the viruses that cause cold and flu. Plus, if you get a runny nose, researchers believe vitamin C can act as a mild antihistamine, slowing that runny nose to a walk.
In a University of Texas study reported at the 60th Anniversary meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in 2003, daily doses of vitamin C were shown to significantly aid immunity.
After two weeks of taking vitamin C, the people in this study had their blood examined. Researchers found increased numbers of NK (natural killer) cells, immune warriors that destroy infected cells. In addition, vitamin C activated T cells, a class of immune cells that also fight viruses.
And now a newsbreak: you can add vitamin E, vitamin C's antioxidant companion, to your cold prevention shopping list, at least if you're a senior citizen. According to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2004; 292(7):828-36), nursing home residents aged 65 and older who took vitamin E enjoyed a 20% risk reduction when it came to developing upper respiratory infections.
Don't Be Sick, Stay Happy
" When you smile, the whole world smiles with you" is a melody that is music to immunity. Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have found that folks who are relaxed, happy and maintain positive emotions are less likely to catch colds. In addition, people who are Depressed, nervous or angry are more likely to complain of cold symptoms whether or not they actually have a cold (Psycho Med 2003 Jul; 65:652-7). According to Sheldon Cohen, PhD, "Study participants who had a positive emotional style weren't infected as often and experienced fewer symptoms compared to people with a negative emotional style."
So you don't have to be a passive cold victim this winter. When viruses threaten you, according to Mary L. Hardy, MD, you can also try:
" The first caution I give people is to get a good diagnosis," says Dr. Hardy. "If your cold is not acting like a normal cold, or if it has lasted more than a short amount of time, make sure you don't have a more serious condition, such as pneumonia." In that case, seek professional help.
But if you've contracted a run-of-the-mill winter cold, keep your spirits and immunity up! Even if you've been impulsively singing and dancing in the rain, the chill and wet won't result in a cold if you let a smile be your immune umbrella!
Women and Depression!
June 13, 2005 07:48 PM
Women and Depression by Lisa James Energy Times, March 11, 2004
Just as fog veils a beautiful landscape, so depression veils life itself: rendering existence dark and dreary, narrowing the scope of one's dreams. And women are particularly prone to this lingering sadness.
The good news: Depression doesn't have to linger forever. With proper nutrition, lifestyle changes and a revived outlook, you can break through that fog into a sunnier emotional clime. Women are more likely than men to fall prey to depression throughout their lifetimes, with women being twice as likely as men to experience major depression.
While the greatest risk for both sexes falls at midlife, the gender difference appears early; one in ten teenage girls was found to suffer from major depression in one study (International Journal of Behavioral Development 2004; 28:16-25). What's more, childhood depression leaves a person more susceptible to mood problems in adulthood.
One reason for the gender difference in depression, according to researchers, is that women tend to dwell on Depressed feelings to a greater degree than men. Some scientists believe a family history of depression carries greater weight for women. Others theorize that the inner fluctuations of a woman's monthly cycle can leave her susceptible to stresses emanating from the outer world. Studies indicate that almost three-quarters of all premenstrual women experience some level of mood difficulties (Summit on Women and Depression, APA, April 02), and a woman's hormonal ebb and flow may even make her more vulnerable to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the kind of depression linked to a lack of natural light.
Warning Signs Not surprisingly, many Depressed folks feel sad and lethargic, down on themselves and the world. But in some people, depression is marked by agitation and concentration difficulties, or is accompanied by anxiety. Sleep disturbances-either insomnia or excessive sleepiness-often ensue, and activities that used to provide pleasure lose their appeal.
Breaking depression's grip can do more than just lighten your mood-it may help safeguard your health. Studies suggest depression dampens the immune response and may increase the risks of coronary heart disease and diabetes (Archives of General Psychiatry 2003; 60:1009-14; Circulation 2000; 102:1773; Diabetes Care 2004; 27:129-33).
Origins of Depression
The reasons some people are pulled down by depression's undertow while others are able to stay afloat emotionally are complex, but researchers believe common factors link them all.
One factor that can't be ignored is genetics. "If you are Depressed, there is a 25% chance that a first-degree relative-a parent, child or sibling-is also Depressed," says Hyla Cass, MD, author of St. John's Wort: Nature's Blues Buster (Avery). Other factors are physical problems and medication side effects. That's why your first step should be a consultation with your health care practitioner (if your moods are especially dark, seek professional assistance as soon as possible).
Life's worries and cares also weigh more heavily on some people than on others. " [N]ot only will certain stressors [adverse events] cause depression as a direct response," notes Dr. Cass, "but they may predispose an individual to future episodes of depression." For example, the end of a relationship when you feel you've lost a lover and been humiliated (and been cheated on) raises your risk of depression (Archives of General Psychiatry 2003; 60:789-96).
The Depressed Brain
When depression hits, brain chemistry shifts. As a result, chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which relay messages between brain cells, go awry. For instance, a neurotransmitter called serotonin-critical to mood control-may decrease, leaving you feeling Depressed, anxious, craving certain foods and unable to sleep.
Conversely, "high levels of serotonin are associated with emotional and social stability," according to Dr. Cass. She adds that, in addition, sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone "affect brain cells directly."
Lifting the Fog
Because the causes of depression are so complex, leaving the darkness behind generally requires opening up several pathways. Part of feeling better simply lies in believing that you can. Researchers have found that Depressed people who feel they have a sense of control over their troubles, do, in fact, have a better chance of recovery (General Hospital Psychiatry 2000; 22(4):242-50). Finding a community of like-minded folks bolsters your capacity to deal with mood problems. In some cases, time spent with a therapist can be a valuable aid in figuring out what's bothering you.
On the physical side, losing weight can lift your spirits. Among women with severe obesity-itself a depression risk factor-losing weight has led to depression relief (Archives of Internal Medicine 2003; 163:2058-65). Research also indicates that exercise helps brighten dark moods.
A change in diet, along with certain supplements, can also help dispel depression. The first step on the road to emotional recovery: eat a lot of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, and stay away from overly refined foods with high levels of sugar.
Omega-3 fatty acids, the kinds found in flax seed and fish, are essential to proper brain function. In several studies, people who took supplemental omega-3s found significant relief from depression.
Key amino acids-the basic units of which proteins are built-serve as starting points for the production of mood-lifting neurotransmitters. In one trial, people who took an amino-acid mix that included tyrosine enjoyed better moods and were happier than people who took amino acids without it (Psychopharmacology (Berlin) Sept 4 2003).
Along with amino acids, the body needs the right vitamins-especially members of the all-important B family-to create depression-fighting brain chemicals. In one study, people with depression who took vitamin B12 improved their chances of recovery (BMC Psychiatry 2003; 3:17).
Another interesting observation: Vitamin B12 and its partners vitamin B6 and folate are essential to keep a protein called homocysteine (known primarily as a cardiovascular hazard) from reaching excessive levels, and people with high homocysteine are twice as likely to be Depressed. This has led some researchers to speculate that folate may help keep depression under control (Archives of General Psychiatry 2003; 60:618-26).
Herbs that may help beat back the blues include two that help the body deal with stress, eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) and schisandra (S. chinensis).
A new diet, a new outlook: With the help of the right nutrients and the right support, you can break the bonds of depression.
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
June 13, 2005 03:44 PM
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
by Mary Ann Mayo & Joseph L. Mayo, MD Energy Times, September 4, 1999
It's front-page news. It's politically correct and socially acceptable. Talking about menopause is in. Suddenly it's cool to have hot flashes. Millions of women turning 50 in the next few years have catapulted the subject of menopause into high-definition prominence.
It's about time. Rarely discussed openly by women (what did your mother ever advise you?), meno-pause until recently was dismissed as "a shutting down experience characterized by hot flashes and the end of periods." Disparaging and depressing words like shrivel, atrophy, mood swings and melancholia peppered the scant scientific menopausal literature.
What a difference a few years and a very vocal, informed and assertive group of Baby Boomers make. Staggered by the burgeoning numbers of newly confrontational women who will not accept a scribbled prescription and a pat on the head as adequate treatment, health practitioners and researchers have been challenged to unravel, explain and deal with the challenges of menopause.
Not An Overnight Sensation
Menopause, researchers have discovered, is no simple, clear cut event in a woman's life. The "change of life" does not occur overnight. A woman's body may begin the transition toward menopause in her early 40s, even though her last period typically occurs around age 51. This evolutionary time before the final egg is released is called the perimenopause. Erratic monthly hormone levels produce unexpected and sometimes annoying sensations.
Even as their bodies adjust to lower levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, some women don't experience typical signs of menopause until after the final period. A fortunate one-third have few or no discomforts.
According to What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause (Warner Books) by John R. Lee, MD, Jesse Hanley, MD, and Virginia Hopkins, "The steroid hormones are intimately related to each other, each one being made from another or turned back into another depending on the needs of the body...But the hormones themselves are just part of the picture. It takes very specific combinations of vitamins, minerals and enzymes to cause the transformation of one hormone into another and then help the cell carry out the hormone's message. If you are deficient in one of the important hormone-transforming substances such as vitamin B6 or magnesium, for example, that too can throw your hormones out of balance. Thyroid and insulin problems, toxins, bad food and environmental factors, medication and liver function affect nutrient and hormone balance."
The most important reproductive hormones include:
Estrogen: the female hormone produced by the ovaries from puberty through menopause to regulate the menstrual cycle and prepare the uterus for pregnancy. Manufacture drops significantly during menopause. Estradiol is a chemically active and efficient form of estrogen that binds to many tissues including the uterus, breasts, ovaries, brain and heart through specific estrogen receptors that allow it to enter those cells, stimulating many chemical reactions. Estriol and estrone are additional forms of estrogen.
Progesterone: also produced by the ovaries, it causes tissues to grow and thicken, particularly during pregnancy, when it protects and nurtures the fetus. Secretion ceases during menopause.
Testosterone: Women produce about one-twentieth of what men do, but require it to support sex drive. About half of all women quit secreting testosterone during menopause.
Estrogen's Wide Reach
Since estrogen alone influences more than 400 actions on the body, chiefly stimulating cell growth, the effects of its fluctuations can be far-reaching and extremely varied: hot (and cold) flashes, erratic periods, dry skin (including the vaginal area), unpredictable moods, fuzzy thinking, forgetfulness, fatigue, low libido, insomnia and joint and muscle pain.
Young women may experience premature menopause, which can occur gradually, as a matter of course, or abruptly with hysterectomy (even when the ovaries remain) or as a result of chemotherapy. Under such conditions symptoms can be severe.
In the 1940s doctors reasoned that if most discomforts were caused by diminishing estrogen (its interactive role with progesterone and testosterone were underestimated), replacing it would provide relief. When unchecked estrogen use resulted in high rates of uterine cancer, physicians quickly began adding progesterone to their estrogen regimens and the problem appeared solved.
For the average woman, however, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) became suspect and controversial, especially when a link appeared between extended use of HRT (from five to 10 years) and an increase in breast and endometrial cancers (Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 37, 1997). The result: Women have drawn a line in the sand between themselves and their doctors.
Resolving The Impasse
Since hormone replacement reduces the risk of major maladies like heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, colon cancer and diabetes that would otherwise significantly rise as reproductive hormone levels decrease, most doctors recommend hormone replacement shortly before or as soon as periods stop. Hormone replacement also alleviates the discomforts of menopause.
But only half of all women fill their HRT prescriptions and, of those who do, half quit within a year. Some are simply indifferent to their heightened medical risks. Some are indeed aware but remain unconvinced of the safety of HRT. Others complain of side effects such as bloating, headaches or drowsiness.
Women's resistance to wholesale HRT has challenged researchers to provide more secure protection from the diseases to which they become vulnerable during menopause, as well as its discomforts. If the conventional medical practitioners do not hear exactly what modern women want, the complementary medicine community does. Turning to centuries-old botanicals, they have validated and compounded them with new technology. Their effectiveness depends on various factors including the synergistic interaction of several herbs, specific preparation, the correct plant part and dosage, harvesting and manufacturing techniques.
Research demonstrates that plant hormones (phytoestrogens) protect against stronger potentially carcinogenic forms of estrogen while safely providing a hormone effect. Other herbs act more like tonics, zipping up the body's overall function.
Help From Herbs
Clinical trials and scientific processing techniques have resulted in plant-based supplements like soy and other botanicals that replicate the form and function of a woman's own estrogen.
The complementary community also can take credit for pushing the conventional medical community to look beyond estrogen to progesterone in postmenopausal health.
Natural soy or Mexican yam derived progesterone is formulated by pharmacologists in creams or gels that prevent estrogen-induced overgrowth of the uterine lining (a factor in uterine cancer), protect against heart disease and osteoporosis and reduce hot flashes (Fertility and Sterility 69, 1998: 96-101).
A quarter of the women who take the popularly prescribed synthetic progesterone report increased tension, fatigue and anxiety; natural versions have fewer side effects.
These "quasi-medicines," as Tori Hudson, a leading naturopathic doctor and professor at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, Oregon, calls them, are considered "stronger than a botanical but weaker than a medicine." (Hudson is author of Gynecology and Naturopathic Medicine: A Treatment Manual.)
According to Hudson, the amount of estrogen and progesterone in these supplements is much less than medical hormone replacement but equally efficacious in relieving menopausal problems and protecting the heart and bones.
According to a study led by Harry K. Genant, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, "low-dose" plant estrogen derived from soy and yam, supplemented with calcium, prevents bone loss without such side effects as increased vaginal bleeding and endometrial hypoplasia, abnormal uterine cell growth that could be a precursor to endometrial cancer (Archives of Internal Medicine 157, 1997: 2609-2615).
These herbal products, including natural progesterone and estrogen in the form of the weaker estriol or estrone, may block the effect of the stronger and potentially DNA-damaging estradiol.
Soy in its myriad dietary and supplemental forms provides a rich source of isoflavones and phytosterols, both known to supply a mild estrogenic effect that can stimulate repair of the vaginal walls (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-46).
To enhance vaginal moisture, try the herb cimicifuga racemosa, the extract of black cohosh that, in capsule form, builds up vaginal mucosa (Therapeuticum 1, 1987: 23-31). Traditional Chinese herbal formulas containing roots of rehmannia and dong quai have long been reputed to promote vaginal moisture.
Clinical research in Germany also confirms the usefulness of black cohosh in preventing hot flashes and sweating, as well as relieving nervousness, achiness and Depressed moods caused by suppressed hormone levels. It works on the hypothalamus (the body's thermostat, appetite and blood pressure monitor), pituitary gland and estrogen receptors. Green tea is steeped with polyphenols, mainly flavonoids, that exert a massive antioxidant influence against allergens, viruses and carcinogens. The risks of estrogen-related cancers such as breast cancer are particularly lowered by these flavonoids, as these substances head directly to the breast's estrogen receptors. About three cups a day exert an impressive anti-inflammatory, antiallergenic, antiviral and anticarcinogenic effect.
Other phytoestrogen-rich botanicals, according to Susun Weed's Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way (Ash Tree Publishing), include motherwort and lactobacillus acidophilus to combat vaginal dryness; hops and nettles for sleep disturbances; witch hazel and shepherd's purse for heavy bleeding; motherwort and chasteberry for mood swings; dandelion and red clover for hot flashes.
Our Need For Supplements
Adding micronutrients at midlife to correct and counter a lifetime of poor diet and other habits is a step toward preventing the further development of the degenerative diseases to which we become vulnerable. At the very minimum, you should take:
a multivitamin/mineral supplement vitamin E calcium
Your multivitamin/mineral should contain vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Look for a wide variety of antioxidants that safeguard you from free radical damage, believed to promote heart disease and cancer, as well as contribute to the aging process.
Also on the list: mixed carotenoids such as lycopene, alpha carotene and vitamin C; and folic acid to help regulate cell division and support the health of gums, red blood cells, the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system.
Studies indicate a deficiency of folic acid (folate) in 30% of coronary heart disease, blood vessel disease and strokes; lack of folate is thought to be a serious risk factor for heart disease (OB.GYN News, July 15, 1997, page 28).
Extra vitamin E is believed to protect against breast cancer and bolster immune strength in people 65 and older (Journal of the American Medical Association 277, 1997: 1380-86). It helps relieve vaginal dryness, breast cysts and thyroid problems and, more recently, hit the headlines as an aid in reducing the effects of Alzheimer's and heart disease. It is suspected to reduce the thickening of the carotid arterial walls and may prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which contributes to the formation of plaque in arteries.
Selenium also has been identified as an assistant in halting cancer (JAMA 276, 1996: 1957-63).
The Omegas To The Rescue
Essential fatty acids found in cold water fish, flaxseed, primrose and borage oils and many nuts and seeds are essential for the body's production of prostaglandin, biochemicals which regulate hormone synthesis, and numerous physiological responses including muscle contraction, vascular dilation and the shedding of the uterine lining. They influence hormonal balance, reduce dryness and relieve hot flashes.
In addition, the lignans in whole flaxseed behave like estrogen and act aggressively against breast cancer, according to rat and human studies at the University of Toronto (Nutr Cancer 26, 1996: 159-65).
Research has demonstrated that these omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can reverse the cancer-causing effects of radiation and other carcinogens (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 74, 1985: 1145-50). Deficiencies may cause swelling, increased blood clotting, breast pain, hot flashes, uterine and menstrual cramps and constipation. Fatigue, lack of endurance dry skin and hair and frequent colds may signal EFA shortage. Plus, fatty fish oils, along with vitamin D and lactose, help absorption of calcium, so vital for maintaining bone mass.
In addition, studies show that the natural substance Coenzyme A may help menopausal women reduce cholesterol and increase fat utilization (Med Hyp 1995; 44, 403, 405). Some researchers belive Coenzyme A plays a major role in helping women deal with stress while strengthening immunity.
Can't shake those menopausal woes? Menopause imposters may be imposing on you: The risk of thyroid disease, unrelenting stress, PMS, adrenal burnout, poor gastrointestinal health and hypoglycemia all increase at midlife. Menopause is a handy hook on which to hang every misery, ache and pain but it may only mimic the distress of other ailments. For this reason every midlife woman should have a good medical exam with appropriate tests to determine her baseline state of health. Only with proper analysis can you and your health practitioner hit on an accurate diagnosis and satisfying course of therapy.
And if menopause is truly the issue, you have plenty of company. No woman escapes it. No woman dies from it. It is not a disease but a reminder that one-third of life remains to be lived. Menopausal Baby Boomers can anticipate tapping into creative energy apart from procreation. If not new careers, new interests await. An altered internal balance empowers a menopausal woman to direct, perhaps for the first time, her experience of life. She has come of age-yet again. Gone is the confusion, uncertainty, or dictates of a hormone driven life: This time wisdom and experience direct her. There is no need to yearn for youth or cower at the conventional covenant of old age. Menopause is the clarion call to reframe, reevaluate and reclaim.
Mary Ann Mayo and Joseph L. Mayo, MD, are authors of The Menopause Manager (Revell) and executive editors of Health Opportunities for Women (HOW). Telephone number 877-547-5499 for more information.
June 13, 2005 01:18 PM
by Cal Orey Energy Times, August 2, 1999
Depression plagues the creative and the mundane. The disparate desperate driven to distress by depression include painters, poets, actors and musicians as well as truck drivers, clerks, electricians and physicists. The victim list encompasses Vincent van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Audrey Hepburn, Virginia Woolf and Ludwig von Beethoven, as well as millions of other sharers of melancholy misery.
More than 17 million American men and women experience depression in one form or another every year, according to the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) in Alexandria, Virginia. This includes the deeply destructive major, or clinical, depression, the wide mood swings of bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), and dysthymia, a milder, long-lasting form of emotional suffering.
Twice as Many Women In the depression scenario, women suffer twice as much: Two times as many women as men endure clinical depression, reports the NMHA. The mood-deteriorating effects of the hormonal disruptions women are heir to may be partly to blame.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about one of 10 Americans wades through at least one depressive swamp sometime during his or her life.
The good news: Research shows that diet and lifestyle can lower your risk of depression.
Birth of the Blues
Nowadays, mounting evidence suggests that depression may result more from physiological factors than psychological woes.
Some of the hidden reasons why you may be Depressed include: nutritional deficiencies, exacerbated by overdosing on too much caffeine, sugar, alcohol and high fat foods; allergies; anxiety and chronic stress; and a chemical imbalance in the brain's gray matter. According to the NMHA, people with depression often possess too little or too large a quantity of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. Changes in levels of these brain chemicals may cause, or contribute to, clinical depression.
The NMHA also reports that an imbalance of melatonin, a chemical made by the body's pineal gland (located at the base of the brain), contributes to a form of wintertime depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This hormone is made at increased levels in the dark. Therefore, the body may oversupply this hormone during winter's shortened daylight hours.
Since the B vitamins are often involved in the production of energy, and a large component of depression may encompass the inability to get out of bed and deal with the world, experts believe that at least some of the signs of depression are linked to B deficiencies. For instance, studies cited in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima) by Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, demonstrate that folate deficiency and lack of vitamin B12 can compromise mental health (Drugs 45, 1993: 623-36; Lancet 336, 1990: 392-5).
Inositol: This vitamin is also part of the B vitamin complex, and it, too, has shown its ability to lift spirits. Research work in Israel shows that daily inositol given to 28 Depressed patients for four weeks produced an overall positive effect. (Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 7:2, May 1997: 147-55). Inositol is found in whole, unprocessed grains, citrus fruits (except lemons) and brewer's yeast.
NADH: Allan Magaziner, DO, in his book The Idiot's Complete Guide To Living Longer & Healthier (Alpha), reports that brain energizing NADH, a metabolite of vitamin B3, enhances the production of the key neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin. "In a recent clinical trial," he claims, "nearly all patients given NADH for depression reported improvement in their symptoms and the absence of side effects or adverse reactions."
Another substance winning the spotlight for its effect on mood is SAM-e: S-adenosylmethionine. In New York on February 24, a symposium coordinated by the American Health Foundation met to hear researchers present information from studies of SAM-e's ability to possibly ease depression.
"SAM-e is a natural product. You and I have it but as people age it declines in production in the body. And that's why we believe supplementation in older people is a beneficial means of bringing that back up and helping people that have depression," said the lead symposium researcher, John H. Weisburger, PhD, MD, Director Emeritus, American Health Foundation in Valhalla, New York.
Another researcher, Teodoro Bottiglieri, PhD, Associate Professor of Biomedical Studies and Neurology, Director of Neuropharmacology at Baylor University reported: "SAM-e has been shown to enhance brain dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitter metabolism and receptor function. It may also aid in the repair of myelin that surrounds nerve cells. These mechanisms are likely to be responsible for the antidepressant effect of SAM-e."
(Bottiglieri is co-author with Richard Brown, MD, and Carol Colman of Stop Depression Now, a report on the powers of SAM-e just published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.)
SAM-e was first touted as an antidepressant in Italy in 1973. It's been reported that nearly 40 clinical trials demonstrate its beneficial effects as a natural antidepressant.
For instance, an analysis of more than 1000 people suffering depression showed that the effect of antidepressants in patients taking SAM-e was 17% to 38% better than dummy preparations. Conventional antidepressants show a 20% effectiveness rate (Bressa G. Acta Neurol Scand S154, 1994: 7-14).
5-HTP: Another popular supplement to boost mood and relieve depression is hydroxytryptophan. "This medication is actually a brain chemical that is metabolized from tryptophan into serotonin," says Magaziner. And since low serotonin levels have been linked with depression, and certain prescribed medications may up serotonin levels, 5-HTP is in demand.
"One of the more impressive studies supporting the efficacy of 5-HTP for depression evaluated 100 people who had previously found conventional antidepressant therapy to be inadequate. Forty-three of these folks reported a complete recovery, and eight showed significant improvement," reports Magaziner. Not only has 5-HTP been shown to work slightly better than drugs known as SSRIs (these include Prozac), he adds, it has fewer side effects than standard antidepressants, too. DHEA: Medical experts also believe that levels of the hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) may influence mood. Ray Sahelian, MD, in his book All About DHEA (Avery) reports an interesting study conducted by Dr. Owen Wolkowitz of the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco. A group of six Depressed middle-aged and elderly individuals who took DHEA found that within a month they had better memory and mood. (Biological Psychiatry 41, 1997: 311-18.) "In addition," adds Sahelian, "other studies have also found that DHEA increases energy levels and a sense of well being." But follow package directions: Some people complain of greater irritability and overstimulation with DHEA, when they take large amounts.
St. John's wort: still the most touted natural therapy for defeating depression. In Europe, 23 clinical studies, reviewed in the August 3, 1996 British Medical Journal, found that this herb, also known as Hypericum perforatum, can be helpful in alleviating cases of mild to moderate depression. The work, which included 757 patients, has shown that hypericum produced fewer side effects than conventional anti-depressants.
Although experts have never satisfactorily explained exactly how St. John's wort benefits the brain, some theorize that it boosts serotonin levels. And it can help SAD sufferers.
"In a recent study of 20 people with SAD, four weeks' worth of St. John's wort significantly alleviated feelings of depression. Those people who added full-spectrum lights to the treatment program gained an even greater benefit," notes Dr. Magaziner.
Valerian: Anxiety and stress, which can cause depression and insomnia, may be helped by this herb, says the prolific Dr. Sahelian in his book Kava: The Miracle Antianxiety Herb (St. Martin's). In 101 Medicinal Herbs (Interweave), Steven Foster reports that "Ten controlled clinical studies have been published on valerian...one of which suggests that valerian should be used for two to four weeks before daily mood and sleep patterns improve."
Amino Acid Help
Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, may also help improve mood. (For more on protein, see page 65.) These chemicals are used by the body to construct neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that facilitate mental activity.
For instance, the amino acid L-tyrosine is necessary for the formation of transmitters adrenaline and dopamine. This substance, therefore, is given to alleviate depression and anxiety.
The substance L-dopa which is given to victims of Parkinson's disease is concocted from tyrosine. And several antidepressants alleviate bad moods by boosting the interaction of brain chemicals related to tyrosine.
In addition, since tyrosine is used to make adrenaline, this amino acid may be helpful for folks trying to cope with the mood problems related to stress.
Another amino acid that experts believe useful for better moods, L-methionine, is used by the body to make choline, a crucial substance for brain function. (Choline goes into the formation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.)
Methionine has been given to people suffering from schizophrenia and depression as well as to those with Parkinson's. Methionine plays a number of crucial roles in the brain and body since it helps form other vital proteins.
For those concerned about preserving a positive mood, researchers are positive that smoking worsens depression. A study at the Department of Behavioral Services at the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan found that daily smokers run twice the risk for major depression compared to those who only smoked occasionally.
Unfortunately, the investigators found that not only did smoking seem to lead to depression, depression, in turn, led to more smoking (Archives of General Psychiatry, 2/99).
"Smokers who have depression tend to see their smoking become a daily habit and it may be because they use nicotine to medicate their Depressed mood," reported Naomi Breslau, PhD, who headed the research. Over a five year period, the researchers looked at about a thousand young people aged 21 to 30. They found that daily smokers generally start smoking in adolescence, and those who report early depression are three times as likely to eventually become daily smokers.
If you're feeling down, don't give up hope. Although depression can prove to be a depressingly complicated malady, daily, healthy habits can offset its effects. Getting consistent exercise, dousing your cigarettes and turning to herbal and nutritional help to treat mild depression may defeat those blues.
What the Medicine Men Knew
June 12, 2005 02:17 PM
What the Medicine Men Knew by Phyllis D. Light, RH, AHG Energy Times, August 4, 2003
When Europeans first landed on the shores of North America, they were greeted by Native Americans who were healthy and strong, tall and straight-boned, and who generally lived to a ripe old age. Curious and friendly, the Native Americans showed the newcomers how to harvest wild foods and grow suitable crops, and also demonstrated the medicinal use of herbs. The North American indigenous medical traditions evolved into an effective system during its long history, estimated at between 12,000 and 40,000 years. So, herbally, we owe a huge debt to the Native American willingness to share knowledge of North American plants. Many of the herbs sitting on the shelves of natural food stores today were originally found in the medicinal arsenal of Native Americans, including black cohosh, echinacea, goldenseal, pleurisy root, sarsaparilla, red root, black walnut, gravel root and American ginseng.
Unique Healing Traditions
The number of Native tribes in the United States is estimated at about 500, and each possesses a unique set of healing traditions. While the term "Native American medicine" does not describe a homogenous system of healing, common, underlying principles can be discerned in many of these tribal traditions. Most often, these healing traditions and practices have been handed down in a rich oral tradition from practitioner to practitioner, rarely finding their way into written descriptions.
For instance, according to David Winston, a Cherokee medicine priest and herbalist living in New Jersey, "Cherokee medicine is based on connection-body, mind, spirit, family, community and God/Spirit. The Cherokee word for medicine, Nvowti, means 'power.' Anything that has power-water, ceremony, songs, stories, herbs-is medicine."
On the other hand, Charles Alexander Eastman, PhD (Indian name: Ohiyesa), comments in his book, The Soul of an Indian, "The Sioux word for the healing art is wah-pee-yah, which literally means 'readjusting or making anew.' Pay-jee-hoo-tah, literally 'root,' means medicine, and wakan signifies 'spirit' or 'mystery.' Thus the three ideas, while sometimes associated, were carefully distinguished."
Native American healing philosophy advocates a customized treatment plan for each person's unique health problems.
Consequently, healing techniques focus on the individual, not the disease, although the overall treatment may incorporate well-known ways for relieving the specific discomforts, aches and pains associated with an illness. Native healers employ herbs, ceremony, song and prayer in a manner tailored to each person they treat.
A central tenet in many Native American healing traditions is the need to sweat. As a result, Inipi, or Lakota sweat lodges, are located in most areas of the country. Sweating produces many benefits. It opens pores, cleanses the skin, enhances circulation, discourages the growth of bacteria in the body and functions as a detoxification outlet.
The skin is well-suited for the elimination of toxins: Experts estimate that during everyday functioning, 30% of the body's wastes pass through the skin. For the Native American, the sweat lodge offers spiritual help as well as physical aid. And the use of sweating is generally not employed as the only treatment but is always accompanied by other therapies such as herbs.
Native Americans are not alone in their reverence for using sweating to treat disease. A technique for sweating is fundamental to most traditional medicines, including Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Native American Herbs
For native healers, herbs offer physical, emotional and spiritual support. In this tradition, herbs are consumed in teas, tablets or capsules, or are inhaled after being thrown onto the hot stones in a sweat lodge or otherwise burned to release their vapor. Smudging, a ritualized method for bathing a person or object with the smoke from sacred herbs such as sweet grass, sage or cedar, is a way of cleansing individuals, clearing a ritual space or sanctifying ceremonial tools. Each herb in the smudging process is used for a specific reason. Sweet grass grows the spirit, while sage and cedar dispel negativity. Frequently, herbs are taken as preparation for participation in rituals. "Sweet leaf is used as a tea before the sweat lodge ceremony in some Indian communities in South Dakota," notes Matthew Wood, RH, AHG, author of The Book of Herbal Wisdom (North Atlantic Books). "It promotes perspiration, relaxes the nerves, reduces tension and brings harmony and beauty to the participants."
The idea that everything in the universe, including people, is connected is a philosophy shared by many tribes.
When a medicine person assesses an illness, she not only observes physical problems but also analyzes family and community dynamics. A person's relationship with God is believed to influence health. In this vein, prayers like Mitakuye Oyasin, a Lakota blessing that means "all my relations," appeals to the interconnectedness of each of us with other people, with the Earth, and with God.
"Separation and isolation is one of the leading causes of illness," David Winston says. "There is a connection between everything-within ourselves and outside of ourselves. When we isolate and separate ourselves from our family, our community and from God/Spirit, then we suffer diseases of the spirit. Ultimately, we are responsible for our own spirits-to keep them healthy.
"In addition," adds Winston, "from the Cherokee viewpoint, the nuclear family is seen as too small. There are too many single parents working too hard and under too much stress." In a Native American clan-based society, much of this stress is defused with the support of an extended family.
Kinship philosophy is a basic part of the Native perspective, a kinship that extends beyond humans to all life, including animals, fish, and birds as well as the Earth itself. Consequently, care of the Earth is an integral part of kinship philosophy. Indigenous cultures have very specific knowledge of ecology and environmental ethics. In the kinship philosophy, damage done by man to the Earth is then reflected back in the body of man by diseases of the body and spirit. Man and his illnesses are seen as part of the ecology of the planet, not a separate, isolated force with the power to control.
Modern Ills, Ancient Treatments
Winston believes that Cherokee medicine offers the greatest aid to people with chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and some female reproductive complaints, as well as individuals with stress-related disorders. It can also offer aid to those who are Depressed and feel alienated or disconnected from society.
Native American medicine can offer balance and healing. It can be used in conjunction with Western medicine, providing a holistic and individualized treatments. To find a Native American healer, check with your local tribal community. Mitakuye Oyasin.
Energy Cycles - Stress and lack of energy don't just frazzle your nerves
June 12, 2005 02:09 PM
Energy Cycles by Sylvia Whitefeather Energy Times, August 2, 2003
Feeling stressed out and exhausted from an overburdened schedule? Regenerating your personal energy necessitates defusing stress. Stress and lack of energy don't just frazzle your nerves; they can leave you Depressed, anxious and vulnerable to a long list of health problems.
According to J. Douglas Bremner, MD, a psychiatrist at Emory University, Atlanta, when your brain overcharges on prolonged stress, your body pays a heavy, tiring price.
"If stress has effects on the brain and neurological function, then stress has effects on all parts of the body, including the heart, blood vessels, immune system and digestive system," says Dr. Bremner, author of Does Stress Damage the Brain? (Norton). "The long list of damaging effects can include heart disease, memory impairment, depression and even increased susceptibility to stroke and cancer."
A Good Night's Sleep
Although getting a good night's sleep is a basic part of lowering stress and boosting energy, many of us seem to be tossing and turning through an epidemic of insomnia. The fact that so many people appear to suffer from disturbed and unsatisfying sleep may signal not only a personal energy lack, but also a deeper health crisis developing on the horizon. Lack of sleep, along with stress, not only contributes to those lackluster afternoons of the blahs, but it can also derail your basic body rhythms, weaken your immune system and make you age quicker.
Researchers at the University of Chicago report that lack of sleep may deplete your get-up-and-go by upsetting basic metabolic functions and interfering with hormones. Pretty serious stuff: When people in this experiment cut back their sleep time to about four hours each night, their bodies behaved as if they were twenty years older and they started showing signs of developing diabetes. These effects happened in only a week of missing sleep (The Lancet, October 23, 1999).
The drastically reduced sleep schedule slowed the thyroid gland, reducing the production and action of thyroid hormones. As a result, metabolism slowed and the non-sleepers developed that awful sluggish feeling too many of us know and hate.
Stress from lack of sleep also coaxed the adrenal glands into releasing extra amounts of cortisol, a stress hormone whose purpose is to force the body into providing short-lived energy boosts. But after a while the body flames out, its ability to cope with daily demands drained even further.
"We found that the metabolic and endocrine changes resulting from a significant sleep debt mimic many of the hallmarks of aging," says Eve Van Couter, PhD, professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and director of the study. "We suspect that chronic sleep loss may not only hasten the onset but could also increase the severity of age-related ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and memory loss."
And when are you are constantly short-changed of sleep, it builds up an accumulative effect. Particularly susceptible are busy parents, shift workers, menopausal women and college students.
One way to take back your energy from this metabolic madness is to get twelve hours of sleep a night for a week. But aside from hitting the snooze button a few hundred times, a possible antidote to this cortisol nightmare may be vitamin C.
Fight and Flight
The human body, which evolved before the advent of split-level houses and SUVs, was built to survive life-threatening, physical danger. When it encounters modern-day stress, such as traffic jams and credit card bills, it releases extra cortisol, heightening the body's immediate ability to run or fight. As a result of cortisol release, senses go on high alert, heart rate speeds up, blood flow to muscles increases, and the immune system mobilizes to deal with what it thinks is an imminent crisis.
However, unlike physical danger that rapidly resolves (either you get away from what's trying to harm you or it does you in), today's stress drags on and on (at least till the next exit on the expressway), and the cortisol in the body continues to circulate.
The long-range result of persistent cortisol is a drop in energy, rampant fatigue and lowered immunity. You feel constantly tired and you get sick more often. You may also gain weight.
But researchers at the University of Alabama at Huntsville have found that large doses of vitamin C "reduce...the levels of stress hormones in the blood and also reduce...other typical indicators of physical and emotional stress, such as loss in body weight, enlargement of the adrenal glands, and reduction in the size of the thymus gland and the spleen," according to P. Samuel Campbell, PhD (American Chemical Society, 1999). Dr. Campbell believes that our prehistoric ancestors probably consumed large amounts of vitamin C in a tropical diet rich in fruits. "If so, the physiological constitution we have inherited may require doses far larger than the present RDA (the amount the government recommends) to keep us healthy under varying environmental conditions, including stress."
Iron Out the Fatigue
If you are a premenopausal woman, a lack of iron may also be draining your body of energy. According to experts, as many as one of every five women who menstruate may suffer anemia caused by a lack of iron. This type of problem is also frequent in teenagers and during pregnancy. (But before you take iron supplements, talk to your health practitioner to make sure this is the source of your fatigue.)
"Women with heavy menstrual flow have the greatest risk (of anemia)," points out Susan Lark, MD, in Healing with Vitamins (Rodale). Dr. Lark recommends eating more iron-rich foods (like organic red meat) even if you are not anemic, since a mild iron deficiency can drag you down into the doldrums.
Vegetarians necessarily eat fewer iron-rich foods than do meat eaters. But if you take a vitamin C supplement when you consume such iron-rich vegetables as lima beans, pinto beans and spinach, your body can absorb more of the iron in these foods.
The Krebs Cycle: Keep the Wheel Turning
All of your cells make the energy that keeps you going. This process, a complicated chemical reaction called the Krebs cycle, transforms fatty acids and carbohydrates into ATP (adenosine triphosphate) for cellular energy. Mitochondria, small structures in each cell, are the centers of this energy production.
Energy production requires oxygen. The more oxygen available to the cells, the more energy is produced. Deep breathing and moderate exercise are simple, quick ways to oxygenate the body and boost energy. That is why walking, jogging and other physical activity wakes up your brain and restores pep.
If you've been looking for ways to feel more energetic, take a deep breath and go for a long walk before you sit down to your rejuvenating lima beans and vitamin C. And another thing...take a pass on those late-night TV shows. Sleep is more important.