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  Messages 1-13 from 13 matching the search criteria.
Bitter Orange Extract Darrell Miller 11/22/12
Supreme Court Refused Ephedra Appeal… Darrell Miller 5/17/07
Ban against ephedra supplements at any does upheld. Darrell Miller 8/22/06
herbal ephedra the court ruling... Darrell Miller 10/26/05
CRN Steps Up Efforts Against Calif. High School Sports Supplement Bill Darrell Miller 9/26/05
Fight Hay Fever - Help Your Sinus... Darrell Miller 7/11/05
MECHANISMS OF CHITOSAN FAT- BINDING Darrell Miller 6/25/05
Breathe Easy Darrell Miller 6/14/05
Move it and Lose it! Burn off body fat! Darrell Miller 6/14/05
Breathe Easy - Don't underestimate the danger of asthma. Darrell Miller 6/12/05
Allergy Alleviation Darrell Miller 6/10/05
Federal Court Overturns FDA Ban on Ephedra at Low Doses Darrell Miller 6/9/05
Its not about Ehpedra -- its about DSHEA ... Darrell Miller 5/24/05



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Bitter Orange Extract
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Date: November 22, 2012 10:46 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Bitter Orange Extract

History

Indigenous to the Meditteranean region today, but brought to their shores by Arab tradesmen in 1200 , bitter orange or citrus aurantium was highly popular among herbalists all over the southern parts of Europe is mainly France, Greece, Spain and Italy. A botanical species commonly termed as seville orange and bigarade orange, this bitter citrus fruit is known for its oil extract, flavoring and use in the perfume industry.

However , the ancient Chinese used it for treating dyspepsia , abdominal distention and diarrhea. These uses also drew from its roots in ancient Greek experiments in aromatherapy, phyto-therapy and cosmetology. Its arrival in America can be credited to the Spaniards and the Portuguese who for very long had been using the fruit for its medical component. Bitter orange trees grew in abundance in the states of Florida, Louisiana and California way back in the middle of the nineteenth century.There have been numerous pharmacological indicators in the study of C aurantium actions and it has been termed as an anti spasmodic, anti fungal , anti bacterial, anti-inflammatory, sedative, tranquilizer and also a vascular stimulant.

Studies, Benefits

Recent studies about its effect on cancer cells is underway. A Closer Look At Its Health Benefits Bitter orange peel, flower and seed are known to have varying effects on the human body and its studies date back centuries. Quite simply it has the ability to squeeze blood vessels, affect the heart rate and also change the level of metabolism. A closer look at its components would help focus on their particular impact on health.

  • * A Source Of Flavonoids: Useful in indications such as inflammations and bacterial or fungal infections.
  • * Intense source of Vitamin C which is an immunity booster. Drinking its juice, which is rather bitter, does help in aiding digestive health, ridding the body of waste and in cases of gastrointestinal constrictions.
  • * Regulation of fat cells in the blood and lowering of sugar levels in diabetics.
  • *Blood purification by aiding the function of liver, kidney, bladder and the gall bladder; its use as a detoxifying agent has been proved beyond doubt.
  • *Bitter orange peel powder is known to improve appetite by toning the intestines while on the other hand it is known to act as an appetite suppressant.
  • * Treating of shock and Insomnia-the tincture made with its peel is useful in thee symptoms as well as to cure chronic headache and bodyache.
  • *Presence of synephrine which is an active compound in bitter orange is a stimulant in body activities.

It results in faster metabolism, increase in heart rate by affecting the adrenaline system, and in turn aid in weight loss. What needs to be seen is whether this metabolism booster is in any way a retardant with any other medication that you may be taking.

Many have reverted to bitter orange extracts to tackle their weight problem after the ban on Ephedra by the US drug administration . what is needed is prudence as most consider bitter orange as a health supplement forgetting its rather potent effect on the body .

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Supreme Court Refused Ephedra Appeal…
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Date: May 17, 2007 01:39 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Supreme Court Refused Ephedra Appeal…

Supreme Court Refused Ephedra Appeal…The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider an appeal by Nutraceutical International Corporation, which sought to overturn a federal ban on the dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids. The court’s decision, issued without comment, lets stand a 2005 ruling by a federal appeals court that upheld the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) 2004 ban. David Seckman, executive director and CEO of the Natural Products Association commented on the refusal. “Obviously we were concerned about the consequences of the circuit court’s ruling on the risk benefit standard the FDA used in removing Ephedra from the market, which is why we filed our amicus brief. As we clearly stated in the brief, we believe congress did not intend for such a standard to be used. But, since the Supreme Court decides to take up only between five and ten percent of cases brought to it, it is not a shock that they’ve decided not to hear it. We should note, however, that the denial of the Nutraceutical petition is not an affirmation by the Supreme Court that they agree with the lower court’s decision,” Seckman said. In April, the Natural Products Association had filed a “friend of the court” or amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court that challenged the lower court ruling on the standard used by the FDA to impose a 2004 ban on ephedrine alkaloids in dietary supplements.

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Ban against ephedra supplements at any does upheld.
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Date: August 22, 2006 11:48 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Ban against Ephedra supplements at any does upheld.

A three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver late last week overturned a 2005 ruling by a Utah district court that had allowed the sale of low-dosage Ephedra dietary supplements containing 10 milligrams or less of ephedrine alkaloids.

The appellate decision, which is effective immediately, supports FDA’s original determination that no dosage of Ephedra is safe for consumption and means that it is unlawful to manufacture and sell any supplements containing Ephedra, even products containing low doses of the herb.

The original ban was challenged in a May 2004 lawsuit by Nutraceutical Corp, and its subsidiary Solaray Inc., which said dried whole-herb Ephedra sinica - the type of supplement in their products – had been safely used for thousands of years.

The U.S. district judge in Utah blocked any enforcement action against Nutraceutical for selling supplements containing 10 milligrams or less of Ephedra per daily dose. The Utah District Judge said FDA’s process in banning Ephedra improperly shifted the burden of proving product safety from the government to supplement manufacturers.

While noting that the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) categorized dietary supplements as foods and are not, therefore, subject to premarket approval by FDA, the appellate panel found that the Utah district court had interpreted this basic provision to narrowly.

The panel said that the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), of which DSHEA is a part, should not be interpreted “too restrictively” but should instead be read in a manner “consistent with the statute’s overwhelming purpose to protect public health.”

Nutraceutical’s attorney has indicated that the company would appeal the ruling to the full appeals court.



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herbal ephedra the court ruling...
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Date: October 26, 2005 05:18 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: herbal Ephedra the court ruling...

Ephedra


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CRN Steps Up Efforts Against Calif. High School Sports Supplement Bill
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Date: September 26, 2005 09:16 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: CRN Steps Up Efforts Against Calif. High School Sports Supplement Bill

Washington - The council for Responsible nutrition (CRN) has stepped up its efforts to amend Calif. S.B. 37, an oft-amended bill that originally sought to protect high school athletes from performance-enhancing substances, but has been recently changed to focus on two supplements—Ephedra and DHEA—already illegal to California minors, As well as synephrine, which is on the U.S. Anti-doping Agency (USADA) watch list. In addition to its regular opposition efforts, including a position statement, CRN gave each legislator a poster, detailing concerns about the narrow focus on the bill and the possible motives behind the bill’s current focus on dietary supplements.

“We are not opposed to preventing young athletes from abusing harmful products”, said Judy Blatman of CRN. “We are suggesting a simple amendment—change the words ‘dietary supplements’ to ‘performance enhancing substances.’ Broadening the language to include steroids, growth hormones and illegal drugs would encourage athletes to avoid use of harmful substances.”

The bill, created by Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough), was introduced last year but was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for being to “broad, vague and unfocused,” according to Blatman. Schwarzenegger then drew fire for his connections to supplement marketers and several sports nutrition-based magazines.



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Fight Hay Fever - Help Your Sinus...
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Date: July 11, 2005 09:15 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Fight Hay Fever - Help Your Sinus...

HANDLING SPRING(HAY)

The National Institute of Health’s branch of Allergy and Infectious Diseases re p o rt that 40 to 50 million Americans suffer from allergies in one form or another. Many experience food allergies that a re treated somewhat diff e rently from hay fever allergies. Hay fever comes from airborne allergens, generally from pollen or pollutants.

The symptoms of allergy occur when an immune system is overactive. The immune system often recognizes something as foreign and treats it as foreign by attacking it, when in fact it really isn’t a substance the body should be concern e d with. This over-activity of the immune system leads to the release of substances including histamine that cause the symptoms of hay fever.

The most common symptoms include a runny nose and itching eyes and scratchy throat. Sometimes, an allergy will precede a sinus infection by causing swelling in the nasal membranes preventing fluids f rom exiting the sinus passages. An infection then ensues. However, most people who feel pressure over their sinuses, never develop an infection and so can be adequately treated with the supplements mentioned here. Many people experience a tickle or a shallow cough that comes from the throat rather than the lungs. They may also experience a change in emotions, becoming quite irritable or moody.

These airborne allergies can often be g rouped by season. Those people sensitive to tree pollens usually have more severe allergies in the springtime. Those sensitive to grasses are often worse in mid-summer. Those allergic to weeds have their symptoms peak in the fall. There are some unfortunate people who have allergies all summer long who may be allergic to a few plants in each group. Those who have symptoms of allerg i e s all winter long probably are allergic to molds and mildew or household animals and dust mites. On occasion, it takes a real detective to determine from where the allergies come.

There are several methods used to diagnose a cause of an allergy. In a scratch test, drops of an allergen are put on small scratches on the arm or the back. Are action is considered positive if swelling or redness occur around the scratch. A blood sample can also be used to meas ure antibody response to certain allergens. It is often helpful to determine the allergen which cause the hayfever to reduce the symptoms. There are also practitioners who use kinesiology or electronic devices to determine the cause of allergies.

The most common treatment of allergies is with antihistamines. Their side effects include drowsiness and drying of the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth. Many of the newer prescription antihistamines don’t cause drying but often have serious drug interactions and the consumer must be very careful in combining the prescription antihistamines with antifungal drugs, and blood thinning as well as asthma medication. There are some natural products that can be taken to decrease allergy symptoms. They are often equally effective without the side effects of antihistamines.

QUERCETIN

One of the more popular is quercetin. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in red apples, red onions, brussels sprouts, kale, peas, bell peppers, pears and asparagus. It is also found in bee pollen and propolis, two plant materials found in the beehive. It is possible to consume a fair amount of quercetin through your diet. If you have allergies, however, diet is often not enough and you may need a supplement to get enough quercetin to ontrol your symptoms. It appears quercetin decreases allergic symptoms by stopping the release of histamine. If you start taking quercetin and other nutritional supplements I will mention below before an allergy attack, they are likely to be more effective. However, don’t let that discourage you from taking them even after the symptoms have started. A common dose is 300mg to 600mg per day.

BROMELAIN

Bromelain is a nutrient often extracted f rom pineapple. Found in many digestive formulas, it is an enzyme that helps absorption. If it is found in a combination formula, chances are, it is there to help with the absorption of the other nutrients such as quercetin. Bromelain also has an anti-inflammatory effect. When someone develops allergy symptoms, part of the reason is due to the inflammatory response to substances such as histamine that are released as the allergy takes hold. This causes inflammation in the tissues which then manifests with redness and swelling.

VITAMIN C

Vitamin C is useful in many conditions including hay fever. Higher doses are often required in the treatment of allergies: 2,000mg is beneficial and you can take up to 4,000mg or more during acute symptoms. It also stabilizes capillaries, reducing the swelling in the throat, nasal passages and around the eyes. If you are taking a multi-vitamin or a combination product that contains Vitamin C, I still recommend additional supplementation.

NETTLE (URTICA DIOICA)

Stinging nettle is probably a plant many a re familiar with, especially if it has come into contact with your skin, but it also has an historical use in the treatment of allergy. In fact, in double blind studies it was shown to decrease the symptoms of allergy, specifically runny nose.

Ephedra (MA HUANG)

The active component of the Ephedra herb is ephedrine, an alkaloid. It is used in OTC asthma medication. As a natural herb, Ephedra in small doses can be v e ry useful in decreasing the symptoms of colds, asthma, cough and in this case, hay fever. It is in many Chinese and American formulas that I use and I feel v e ry comfortable using 100mg to 200mg of Ephedra that contain small doses of 2.5mg to 8mg of Ephedra alkaloids per day. I feel comfortable using dosages of up to 15mg of Ephedra alkaloids .

FEVERFEW

Feverfew is another herb with a variety of uses. You will find it in headache formulas, in fever reducing formulas, and many hay fever formulas. Like bromelain, it has an anti-inflammatory effect and reduces the swelling that occurs during a hay fever attack.

Homeopathic formulas can also be useful to reduce hay fever. There is no re ason why the herbs I’ve mentioned cannot be combined with homeopathic formulas. You may want to take them at separate times of the day.

So, if you suffer from hay fever, don’t give up. You can use these nutrients singly or in combination. You can take a formula that contains all of them and then add to that additional vitamin C for instance, or additional nettle. It may require trial and error to find the right amounts in combination that will work for you.



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MECHANISMS OF CHITOSAN FAT- BINDING
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Date: June 25, 2005 08:02 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: MECHANISMS OF CHITOSAN FAT- BINDING

MECHANISMS OF CHITOSAN FAT- BINDING

The exact way(s) that Chitosan prevents fat absorbtion is not fully understood but a number of experimental observations support two basic mechanisms. The first mechanism involves the attraction of opposite charges which can be compared to the attraction of opposite magnetic poles. The second entrapment mechanism can be compared to the effect of a net. In the first mechanism the positive charges on chitosan attract the negatively charged fatty acids and bile acids binding them to the indigestible chitosan fiber. This mechanism can explain why chitosan reduces LDL cholesterol levels.

Our bodies make bile acids in the liver using the cholesterol from LDL. When chitosan binds bile acids it increases the rate of LDL loss thus improving the LDL to HDL ratio. If enough bile acids are bound, the fats are not solublized, which prevents their digestion and absorption. The second mechanism (figure 2) describes a netting effect of chitosan fiber.

In this model the Chitosan wraps around fat droplets and prevents their being attacked and digested by lipid enzymes. Fats unprotected by Chitosan are digested and absorbed. The “netting” mechanism has been seen to operate in vivo. 108

Substances that Enhance the Action of Chitosan

Fibers can be likened to a tangled-up chain. Fibers must “unravel” in order for them to be of maximum benefit to us. “Unraveling” is especially critical for chitosan because each link has a hook on which to attach lipids. Chitosan can absorb an average of 4 to 5 times its weight in lipids. Reports of numbers above and below this range have also been reported and may well reflect the rate or extent of unraveling that had taken place. Fiber formulations can be prepared that unravel rapidly and swell quickly. These highly effective formulations are called superabsorbants. When certain substances are added to chitosan, its remarkable fat-binding ability can be significantly enhanced.

Ascorbic Acid

D-Ascorbic acid (erythorbic acid) and L-ascorbic acid are C-vitamins which enhance chitosan’s ability to bind lipids. Combining chitosan with ascorbic acid results in even less fat absorption and greater fecal fat losses.77,108 In one study the addition of ascorbic acid to a chitosan enriched diet increased fecal fat losses by 87 percent and decreased fat absorption by over 50 percent.77

Cholesterol oxides cause lesions in artery walls which predispose blood vessels to collect plaque. These dietary cholesterol oxides profoundly influence the initiation of heart disease.Free radicals can also contribute to the formation of cholesterol oxides which are even more likely to damage the heart. Cholesterol oxides have been found in deep-fried foods, powdered eggs, processed meats and in human blood itself. Consequently, taking antioxidants like ascorbic acid is vital to protect against the cellular damage this type of free radical causes.112

Citric Acid

In feeding experiments with animals, adding citric acid to a chitosan enriched diet resulted in a decreased feed consumption.77 The most likely explanation for this effect is that the citric acid may be enhancing the swelling action of chitosan leading to a sense of fullness, producing satiety and appetite suppression.

Indoles

Indoles are remarkable phytochemicals which have the ability to selectively activate certain Mixed Function Oxidases (MFOs).113 These MFO’s help balance estrogen metabolism and prepare dietary toxins for elimination before they are absorbed. The presence of fiber in the intestines provides a bulk agent to carry the metabolized toxins out of the body. Chelat ed Minerals The very best approach to weight loss is to nutritionally augment food choices with nutrient supplementation. Certain biochemical compounds are essential to promoting vigor during the process of thermogenesis. Chelated minerals act to bolster, support and protect the organ systems of the body.114,115

For example, when fat is burned, heat and energy are released. If a lack of certain minerals exists, energy levels will drop. Minerals help to transport needed nutrients to depleted areas of the body, thereby stemming off the fatigue we so often experience after eating a fatty meal. Even more importantly, free radicals are released whenever fat is consumed and burned and the presence of chelated minerals helps to expedite the removal of these metabolites and facilitate the availability of fuel for energy.

Essential Fatty Acids

Prostaglandins control and balance many body functions. The dietary building blocks for making prostaglandins are the essential fatty acids (EFAs). The role of prostaglandins in weight loss has been extensively discussed in a recent review.116 EFAs exert profound lipid-lowering effects.They reduce the synthesis of triglycerides and very low density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) in the liver. EFA supplementation coupled with a low-cholesterol, low-saturated fat in diet produces a complementary effect in lowering serum lipid levels.117 Garcinia Cambogia ( Hydroxy Cit ric Acid) Garcinia Cambogia contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA). This form of citric acid inhibits the liver’s ability to make fats out of carbohydrates.118

Carbohydrates are converted to glycogen stores, not fat stores, giving the body a better energy reserve and an increase in stamina.119 Ephedra And Thermogenisis Thermogenesis means “creating heat.” This is one of the ways our bodies have of burning off excess calories and maintaining a constant weight.120 This is an area of weight management research that is being intensely studied. When we repeatedly yo-yo diet or abuse ourselves by eating too much, our thermogenic ability may be reduced. Numerous animal and human studies have confirmed the benefits of Ephedra and methylxanthines in inducing weight loss and restoring thermogenic responsiveness.43,44,121

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Breathe Easy
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Date: June 14, 2005 06:19 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Breathe Easy

Breathe Easy

by Edward Bullard, III Energy Times, March 1, 1998

Don't underestimate the danger of asthma. When an asthmatic attack chokes the passageways to your lungs, cutting off your air supply, the consequences can prove frightening and disastrous.

Although asthma is the leading chronic illness among children, most sufferers are adults. The condition ranks as the 7th most common chronic affliction nationwide affecting 14 to 20 million people; about 11 million of these are over the age of 18.

The American Lung Association estimates that between 1982 and 1992 the total number of asthma cases jumped by more than 57%. Researchers can't pinpoint the reasons for this rise, but they have found that urban dwellers suffer a higher asthma risk.

Despite the gloomy statistics, those who suffer asthma can take reassurance from the progressive development of complementary and conventional treatments that control this condition. Anyone who suffers asthma should consult with a knowledgeable health practitioner.

How does asthma start? This airway problem may originate with allergies and sinus or bronchial infections (the bronchi are the tubes leading to the lungs). Some experts believe that air pollution, dust mites, cockroach remains and other environmental toxins may exacerbate the condition.

A family history of allergies and asthma also increases your asthmatic vulnerability since your genes may make you more prone to the airway inflammation that leads to breathing constraints.

Allergic reactions to food have been implicated in causing restricted breathing. Food found to most frequently instigate immediate lung difficulties include nuts, peanuts (which are, technically, legumes not nuts), eggs, shellfish and fish. Foods that do not cause immediate wheezing but may produce a delayed respiratory effect include artificial food colorings, wheat, citrus fruits, milk, chocolate and wheat products.

Since an allergic reaction to particular foods can apparently play a role in asthma, some people find relief by systematically eliminating foods from their diets, identifying troublesome items and then permanently avoiding those foods.

Asthma's Nutrition Gap

According to Richard N. Firshein, D.O., director of the Firshein Center for Comprehensive Medicine in New York City, asthma stems from cells' "disordered metabolism." In these circumstances, the body's immune system often mistakes allergens (normally benign substances) for infectious agents. In strenuously defending itself against allergens, the body goes on "red alert," says Dr. Firshein in his book Reversing Asthma (Warner), "exhausting itself in the process." This creates a need for extra vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Too often, he believes, this nutritional need is not met and asthma ensues.

In the presence of asthma, magnesium can help restore free breathing. Dr. Firshein reports that about 50 years ago, medical researchers discovered that treating asthma victims with magnesium sulfate opened up breathing passageways. Although magnesium by itself does not completely alleviate asthma attacks, many emergency room doctors still use it in conjunction with other treatments to restore breathing.

In explaining magnesium's usefulness in alleviating asthma, Dr. Firshein notes that magnesium competes with calcium in each cell to influence asthmatic reactions. For instance, calcium stimulates mast cells (reactive immune cells) to release histamine, a chemical that foments allergic reactions that hinder breathing. Conversely, magnesium "stabilizes" mast cells, quieting their activity so that they retain their histamine instead of flooding breathing passages.

In addition, calcium takes part in muscle contractions that can constrict breathing tube muscles. Magnesium can help relax those same muscles.

Although intravenous treatment with magnesium for acute asthma attacks must be carried out by a trained health professional, taking magnesium supplements over a period of time, may gradually help assuage asthma's wheezes.

How do you tell if you're short of magnesium? Standard blood tests of magnesium levels may be inadequate. As Dr. Firshein points out, normal blood tests only examine the amount of magnesium floating in the blood's plasma. That level can apparently appear sufficient even if red blood cells are magnesium-deficient. (Dr. Firshein recommends asking your health practitioner for a special red blood cell test.)

Ephedra for Asthma

Ever since about 3,000 BC, Chinese health practitioners have been giving the herb ma huang (Ephedra sinica) to asthma sufferers. In the 1920s, western medical researchers extracted a chemical called ephedrine from ma huang and soon synthesized this substance for use as a pharmaceutical. However, herbal experts believe that there are other beneficial substances in ma huang besides ephedrine that can ease breathing.

Although Ephedra has been used successfully to ward off the allergies of hayfever as well as mild asthma, when this herb is taken over a long period its benefits may lessen. The reason: eventually the herb's ephedrine weakens the adrenal glands, according to Michael Murray, ND, and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima). To offset this effect, they recommend supporting the use of Ephedra with licorice (Glycerrhiza glabra) as well as ginseng (Panax ginseng) which support the adrenals. In addition, vitamins C and B6 and zinc and magnesium plus pantothenic acid also boost adrenal function.

Licking Asthma with Licorice

Since much of asthma's deleterious effects on health stem from the fact it inflames breathing passageways, licorice root, which acts to squelch inflammation and which calms allergies, can be helpful in restoring normal breathing. Licorice, according to Drs. Murray and Pizzorno, promulgates the persistence of cortisol in our body, a hormone that acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

As an extra benefit, licorice can also forestall the side effects of cortisone, one of the most widely prescribed medicines for asthma. Licorice also boosts cortisone's desirable anti-inflammatory action while inhibiting the action of enzymes that would otherwise increase unwanted inflammation.

Onions + Garlic = Better Breath

Despite their reputation for giving you bad breath, both onion and garlic can improve the breath of those afflicted with asthma. The reason: both of these plants restrict the action of an enzyme with the tongue twisting name of lipoxygenase, a chemical that helps produce inflammation.

Studies with animals showed that when they were fed onion extract, their induced asthmatic problems decreased. Part of onion's benefit may be due to its quercetin content. (Quercetin is a bioflavonoid available as a supplement.) Onion also contains mustard oils, which are believed to slow the body's production of leukotrienes (substances that also increase inflammation).

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, the most abundant antioxidant nutrient in the lungs' inner lining, apparently protects against respiratory problems. Studies of people with asthma show that they possess less vitamin C both in their circulating blood and in white blood cells. When researchers induced bronchial constriction in people who volunteered for respiratory studies, they found that those given vitamin C didn't have as hard a time breathing. Experts recommend healthy doses of vitamin C plus other antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin E, carotenoids and selenium to lower the risk of allergic reactions and ease breathing. Antioxidant nutrients restrict the action of free radicals, molecules that attack the lungs and other parts of the cardiovascular system.

Chinese skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) also effectively fights inflammation without causing serious side effects. Experts believe its bioflavonoids stop the body from making biochemicals that inflame tissues. Aside from restricting inflammation, these bioflavonoids also act as antioxidants.

Strength in Numbers

Asthma support organizations can provide vital information: Organizations American Lung Association 1740 Broadway, New York, NY 10019-43741 (800) LUNG-USA llergy & Asthma Network/Mothers of Asthmatics Inc., 3554 Chain Bridge Road, Suite 200, Fairfax, VA 22030 (703) 385-4403, (800) 878-4403 th/aanma Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America,1125 15th Street, N.W., Suite 502 Washington, DC 20005 (800) 727-8462

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Move it and Lose it! Burn off body fat!
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Date: June 14, 2005 12:04 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Move it and Lose it! Burn off body fat!

Move it and Lose it! Burn off body fat! by Mimi Facher Energy Times, June 1, 1997

So you're feeling a little blah, a little overweight, and you're looking to drop a few of those winter pounds gained during the colder months. Maybe you've dabbled with diets and jogged around the neighborhood a few times but you're still packing unsightly bulges. If so, you may be considering the idea of turning to supplements to help you drop those pounds. Well, two types of diet supplements now generally available, combined with a diet and exercise program, may be able to help you trim those stubborn pounds.

The first type of supplement, called metabolic optimizers, which include Ephedra, caffeine and salicin (derived from willow bark), boost your metabolic rate, causing your body to burn calories faster. The second class, lipotropic substances, aid the body in fat mobilization, causing greater utilization of stored fat. These products include chromium, carnitine and hydroxycitric acid (HCA). Both classes of supplements have been around in various forms for quite a while but are now enjoying greater popularity among dieters.

Trying to cope with a weight problem is a dilemma expanding throughout modern society. According to a 1995 Harris poll, nearly 75% of Americans are overweight. Although it's well known that the way to lose weight is to expend more calories than you take in, supplements may be able to help you burn off extra calories.

Thermogenesis and You

Metabolic optimizers are supposed to aid weight loss through a process called thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is a natural process in which fat is burned to produce body heat. Fat that isn't burned is stored on the hips, thighs, stomach, etc. Thermogenic agents are designed to counteract your body's fat storage mechanisms by causing your body to maintain a higher metabolic rate-turning your internal thermostat up to burn fat faster. The thermogenic process can be jump-started by a number of factors including cold, exercise, certain dietary nutrients and metabolic optimizers.

Ephedra

The Ephedra herb, also known as ma huang is one of nature's earliest medicines, known for over 5000 years to the Chinese, who used it to relieve allergies, coughing, wheezing and cold and flu symptoms. In the US, Ephedra has been available since the 1800s.

The ingredients in Ephedra include the alkaloids ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and norephedrine. Concentrated forms of these substances are used in today's over-the-counter cold, allergy and asthma relief formulas.

Ma huang's effectiveness as a weight loss aid is tied to its appetite suppressant and stimulant properties. By speeding up action of the thyroid gland, the ephedrine found in the herb acts a thermogenic agent, boosting the rate at which the body metabolizes fat and promoting weight loss. According to Mark Blumenthal, Executive Director of the American Botanical Council, "When used as part of a total package that includes diet modification and exercise, ma huang can be highly effective in the short run because it increases the speed of the body's metabolism and suppresses appetite."

Because of their strong stimulant effect, Ephedra and its derivatives have engendered some controversy. However, in its long history, billions of doses of Ephedra have been consumed without problem. But Ephedra supplements should only be used as directed on product labels. People with cardiovascular problems, diabetes, thyroid or prostate dysfunction, high blood pressure and those taking MAO inhibitors, pregnant or nursing should avoid this herb.

Salicin Burns Fat

Salicin, a substance derived from willow bark-which is also the original source for aspirin, a related compound-can boost the burning of fat when combined with Ephedra. An animal study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that while Ephedra boosted calorie burning by almost 10%, when Ephedra was combined with aspirin, extra calorie burning just about doubled. Another study in the Internatioanl Journal of Obesity showed that when overweight women took aspirin and ephedrine during a meal, their bodies burned off more calories than normal. (Eating a meal produces a thermogenic effect as your body expends energy in digestion. That's why dieters are told not to skip meals. Skipping meals lowers your metabolic rate, decreasing your calorie expenditure.)

Similar studies also show that caffeine, the stimulant that gives coffee its eye-opening kick, can also boost Ephedra's thermogenic properties. But before using these combinations check with a health practitioner knowledgeable about nutrition. Aspirin or salicin may cause stomach upset in some people (although salicin is generally tolerated well.)

Carnitine: Lipotropic Amino Acid

To get carnitine into your system, you don't have to take it as a supplement. Your body already makes this vitamin-like substance. However, your body doesn't make that much. And it is said to be especially low in people with heart disease.

This non-essential amino acid (said to be non-essential because human bodies produce it) is a key ingredient in the formation of mitochondria membranes. Mitochondria are tiny structures in your cells that burn fats for energy. Consequently, sufficient carnitine is necessary for the movement of fat into the mitochondria where it is consumed. When not enough carnitine is present, the breakdown of long chain fatty acids slows down.

Said to improve the recovery rate for athletes (it may limit the production of lactic acid, a waste product in muscle tissue), carnitine can also lower cholesterol levels, boost levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) and decrease serum triglycerides (blood fats linked to heart disease). Not bad for a nutrient that coaxes fat into those teeny, ceullular, mitochondrial furnaces.

Go for the Chrome

Chromium-based supplements work as lipotropic agents by aiding insulin use in the body. This essential trace mineral is required for normal protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism. According to Dr. Michael Janson, author of The Vitamin Revolution in Healthcare and President of the American Preventive Medical Association (APMA), "Chromium is important for proper insulin activity. Insulin moves sugar into the muscle cells, where it is burned off as energy. Chromium improves the activity of insulin, and since insulin causes fat deposition, less of it means less fat deposition." Chromium has also been shown to build muscle tissue and to reduce LDL cholesterol, which has been linked to heart disease.

Although the body's minimum requirement is low, the American diet tends to be deficient in chromium, in part because the mineral can be difficult for the body to absorb. The fact that, in nature, chromium is most powerfully concentrated in brewer's yeast, wheat germ and liver-items most Americans rarely eat-probably hasn't helped either. Other natural sources of chromium include whole grains, molasses and beef. But it is estimated that 50% of Americans are chromium deficient. An early study found that overweight adults taking a chromium supplement lost an average of 22% body fat, while maintaining or gaining lean body mass. In another study, athletes consuming 200 mcg. of chromium a day showed an average loss of 7.5 lbs. of body fat after six weeks, without a corresponding loss of muscle tisue. Overall, although some studies question chromium's precise effects, many experts are optimistic about this substance because of its relationship to insulin in the body's metabolism.

Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA)

Another possible addition to the dieter's arsenal is HCA. In nature, HCA appears chiefly in a fruit called garcinia cambogia (sometimes also called Malabar tamarind or brindall berry), a citrus plant found primarily in Asia, where the rind is often used as a flavoring agent. HCA works by inhibiting the enzyme in the body responsible for converting carbohydrates into fat. HCA causes calories to be burned in an energy cycle similar to thermogenesis and acts as somewhat of an appetite suppressant. HCA is also said to have a role in reducing triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels.

Several animal studies have shown that HCA caused significant weight loss without a reduction in lean body mass. In other words, the pounds that came off came out of fat stores, and not out of energy or muscle reserves. This means that HCA takes off not just weight but body fat, making it a potentially effective tool against weight regain.

Dr. Elson Haas, director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, CA, and author of Staying Healthy With Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine, believes that HCA can be a helpful aid for dieters when used in combination with eating habit changes and exercise. He recommends an HCA and chromium blend for optimum appetite suppression. "This combination can keep the appetite down and reduce sugar cravings," he says.

Although human research data on HCA is still in the preliminary stages, the animal study results are positive, and the supplement seems to have minimal side effects in most people.

Some Overall Recommendations

You are likely to lose weight faster if you eat sensibly. This means avoiding foods high in fat or sugar (which are the most likely to add to stored body fat), but it doesn't mean starving yourself. A sensible balanced diet, along with moderate exercise, is still the best prescription for weight loss. As Dr. Haas puts it, "I'm a firm believer in diet and exercise. Using supplements responsibly can help you to lose weight provided they're combined with dietary changes and exercise. They won't work if you don't change anything." No one is suggesting that dietary supplements are a miracle cure for being overweight-as always in self-health care, there are no magic wands. But, used as directed and combined with a good diet and exercise plan, you could find that these supplements might help you work your way to a slimmer you.

Mimi Facher is a freelance writer who has contributed to Prevention, Cosmopolitan and Self.



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Breathe Easy - Don't underestimate the danger of asthma.
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Date: June 12, 2005 05:57 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Breathe Easy - Don't underestimate the danger of asthma.

Breathe Easy by Edward Bullard, III Energy Times, March 1, 1998

Don't underestimate the danger of asthma. When an asthmatic attack chokes the passageways to your lungs, cutting off your air supply, the consequences can prove frightening and disastrous.

Although asthma is the leading chronic illness among children, most sufferers are adults. The condition ranks as the 7th most common chronic affliction nationwide affecting 14 to 20 million people; about 11 million of these are over the age of 18.

The American Lung Association estimates that between 1982 and 1992 the total number of asthma cases jumped by more than 57%. Researchers can't pinpoint the reasons for this rise, but they have found that urban dwellers suffer a higher asthma risk.

Despite the gloomy statistics, those who suffer asthma can take reassurance from the progressive development of complementary and conventional treatments that control this condition. Anyone who suffers asthma should consult with a knowledgeable health practitioner.

How does asthma start? This airway problem may originate with allergies and sinus or bronchial infections (the bronchi are the tubes leading to the lungs). Some experts believe that air pollution, dust mites, cockroach remains and other environmental toxins may exacerbate the condition.

A family history of allergies and asthma also increases your asthmatic vulnerability since your genes may make you more prone to the airway inflammation that leads to breathing constraints.

Allergic reactions to food have been implicated in causing restricted breathing. Food found to most frequently instigate immediate lung difficulties include nuts, peanuts (which are, technically, legumes not nuts), eggs, shellfish and fish. Foods that do not cause immediate wheezing but may produce a delayed respiratory effect include artificial food colorings, wheat, citrus fruits, milk, chocolate and wheat products.

Since an allergic reaction to particular foods can apparently play a role in asthma, some people find relief by systematically eliminating foods from their diets, identifying troublesome items and then permanently avoiding those foods.

Asthma's Nutrition Gap

According to Richard N. Firshein, D.O., director of the Firshein Center for Comprehensive Medicine in New York City, asthma stems from cells' "disordered metabolism." In these circumstances, the body's immune system often mistakes allergens (normally benign substances) for infectious agents. In strenuously defending itself against allergens, the body goes on "red alert," says Dr. Firshein in his book Reversing Asthma (Warner), "exhausting itself in the process." This creates a need for extra vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Too often, he believes, this nutritional need is not met and asthma ensues.

In the presence of asthma, magnesium can help restore free breathing. Dr. Firshein reports that about 50 years ago, medical researchers discovered that treating asthma victims with magnesium sulfate opened up breathing passageways. Although magnesium by itself does not completely alleviate asthma attacks, many emergency room doctors still use it in conjunction with other treatments to restore breathing.

In explaining magnesium's usefulness in alleviating asthma, Dr. Firshein notes that magnesium competes with calcium in each cell to influence asthmatic reactions. For instance, calcium stimulates mast cells (reactive immune cells) to release histamine, a chemical that foments allergic reactions that hinder breathing. Conversely, magnesium "stabilizes" mast cells, quieting their activity so that they retain their histamine instead of flooding breathing passages.

In addition, calcium takes part in muscle contractions that can constrict breathing tube muscles. Magnesium can help relax those same muscles.

Although intravenous treatment with magnesium for acute asthma attacks must be carried out by a trained health professional, taking magnesium supplements over a period of time, may gradually help assuage asthma's wheezes.

How do you tell if you're short of magnesium? Standard blood tests of magnesium levels may be inadequate. As Dr. Firshein points out, normal blood tests only examine the amount of magnesium floating in the blood's plasma. That level can apparently appear sufficient even if red blood cells are magnesium-deficient. (Dr. Firshein recommends asking your health practitioner for a special red blood cell test.)

Ephedra for Asthma

Ever since about 3,000 BC, Chinese health practitioners have been giving the herb ma huang (Ephedra sinica) to asthma sufferers. In the 1920s, western medical researchers extracted a chemical called ephedrine from ma huang and soon synthesized this substance for use as a pharmaceutical. However, herbal experts believe that there are other beneficial substances in ma huang besides ephedrine that can ease breathing.

Although Ephedra has been used successfully to ward off the allergies of hayfever as well as mild asthma, when this herb is taken over a long period its benefits may lessen. The reason: eventually the herb's ephedrine weakens the adrenal glands, according to Michael Murray, ND, and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima). To offset this effect, they recommend supporting the use of Ephedra with licorice (Glycerrhiza glabra) as well as ginseng (Panax ginseng) which support the adrenals. In addition, vitamins C and B6 and zinc and magnesium plus pantothenic acid also boost adrenal function.

Licking Asthma with Licorice

Since much of asthma's deleterious effects on health stem from the fact it inflames breathing passageways, licorice root, which acts to squelch inflammation and which calms allergies, can be helpful in restoring normal breathing. Licorice, according to Drs. Murray and Pizzorno, promulgates the persistence of cortisol in our body, a hormone that acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

As an extra benefit, licorice can also forestall the side effects of cortisone, one of the most widely prescribed medicines for asthma. Licorice also boosts cortisone's desirable anti-inflammatory action while inhibiting the action of enzymes that would otherwise increase unwanted inflammation.

Onions + Garlic = Better Breath

Despite their reputation for giving you bad breath, both onion and garlic can improve the breath of those afflicted with asthma. The reason: both of these plants restrict the action of an enzyme with the tongue twisting name of lipoxygenase, a chemical that helps produce inflammation.

Studies with animals showed that when they were fed onion extract, their induced asthmatic problems decreased. Part of onion's benefit may be due to its quercetin content. (Quercetin is a bioflavonoid available as a supplement.) Onion also contains mustard oils, which are believed to slow the body's production of leukotrienes (substances that also increase inflammation).

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, the most abundant antioxidant nutrient in the lungs' inner lining, apparently protects against respiratory problems. Studies of people with asthma show that they possess less vitamin C both in their circulating blood and in white blood cells. When researchers induced bronchial constriction in people who volunteered for respiratory studies, they found that those given vitamin C didn't have as hard a time breathing. Experts recommend healthy doses of vitamin C plus other antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin E, carotenoids and selenium to lower the risk of allergic reactions and ease breathing. Antioxidant nutrients restrict the action of free radicals, molecules that attack the lungs and other parts of the cardiovascular system.

Chinese skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) also effectively fights inflammation without causing serious side effects. Experts believe its bioflavonoids stop the body from making biochemicals that inflame tissues. Aside from restricting inflammation, these bioflavonoids also act as antioxidants.



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Allergy Alleviation
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Date: June 10, 2005 05:32 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Allergy Alleviation

Allergy Alleviation by Cal Orey , February 2, 2002

Allergy Alleviation By Cal Orey

Welcome to the stuffed up world of seasonal allergic rhinitis: the wheezing, sneezing "inhalant allergies" that torment 35 million Americans. Adding insult to sinus pain, other allergens attack year-round. Air pollution, dust mites (microscopic gremlins that infest bedding, upholstery and rugs) and animal dander trigger allergies-or other respiratory ailments-in any season. Urban air is full of rubber tire particles, a true blowout for those with latex sensitivity. Altogether, roughly 50 million Americans-about one in five-suffer from some form of allergy, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). Tired of cross-pollinating with plants or being bowled over by dust balls? Vitamins, herbs and other nutrients can help you nip allergy discomfort in the bud.

The Allergy Response

Your immune system triggers an allergic response when it overreacts to otherwise harmless substances or antigens (we're talking dust, pollen and mold).The alarmed immune system then launches a defensive chemical reaction, releasing potent chemicals (antibodies) supposed to destroy the "invaders." The antibodies, called IgE, carry the invading substances to special cells, which zap them with more biochemicals. Among these protective cells are mast cells: they release histamine, the substance that causes swelling and inflammation to the linings of the nose, sinuses and eyelids, resulting in sneezing, upper respiratory congestion and itchy, watery eyes.

Just Blame The Folks

Most allergies are determined by your genes. If your Mom or Dad sneeze and scratch, there's a good chance you will, too. "That is not to say that we directly inherit an allergy to any specific substance. Rather, it seems as if we might inherit some kind of immune system defect or weakness that leaves us more vulnerable to allergies," explain co-authors Glenn S. Rothfeld, MD, and Suzanne LeVert in their book Natural Medicine for Allergies: The Best Alternative Methods for Quick Relief (Rodale). For some people, allergies lurk in food, throwing the immune system into overdrive. "Many natural medicine practitioners believe that a diet high in animal fats will contribute to the development of allergy and asthma, as does a diet high in food additives, such as preservatives and dyes," says Gary McLain, PhD, in his book The Natural Way of Healing: Asthma and Allergies (Dell). Worse, allergies can up the risk of asthma, which afflicts 15 million Americans. Most people afflicted with asthma also suffer allergies: the two are linked, according to the AAAAI. Allergy triggers of asthma include pollen, mold spores and house dust mites. Remember Helen Hunt's asthmatic son in the movie As Good As It Gets? His character endured allergies to dust, and living in New York (and watching his mom date Jack Nicholson) didn't help his immune system. Coughs, ear infections, fevers and visits to hospital emergency rooms curtailed his social life (and limited his close-ups as well). That kind of routine happens in real life, too. (Well, maybe close encounters with Jack N. are not included for most.) But when we breathe substances such as molds, they can induce swelling and inflammation of the bronchial airways which narrow and restrict air flow. This, in turn, causes wheezing and shortness of breath and can trigger an asthma "attack," according to Andrew Engler, MD, who specializes in allergy and asthma in San Mateo, California.

The Nose Knows: Chemical Sensitivities

Imagine a picture-perfect, crisp, clear Saturday morning. You make a final stop on your weekly errand run to the dry cleaner, where you drop off your laundry and spend a moment chatting up the owner. Back in your car, your eyes tear and you feel a bit woozy. Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin, writing in The Road to Immunity: How To Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) sense that your reaction could be chemical sensitivity, a difficult to diagnose but, in their opinion, very real malady. (Of course, a clinician can test you for immune responses to certain chemicals.) Reactions to chemicals produce the typical allergic responses: puffy or red-rimmed eyes; swelling; aching or stiff joints and muscles; irritability or dizziness; respiratory inflammations; headaches and the like. Villains include aerosol sprays, tobacco smoke, glues, insecticides and herbicides, household chemicals and fragrances. Identification and avoidance are key, say the authors. Vitamin C, which binds with chemicals, is one of the best nutritional defenses.

Breathing Problems Expand

Americans now freely take lifesaving medicines such as antibiotics and insulin but, in some people, "they have the potential to alter the immune system, which is where allergies begin," says Dr. McLain. (Consult your pharmacist if you have questions about your prescription medication.) We, as a nation, are also eating more chemicals, from the pesticides drenched on plants to the preservatives poured on prepared foods. We're breathing polluted air, which can lead to or exacerbate asthma, and then we choke on recycled air in sealed buildings. And while a century ago you were likely to have spent much of your time close to home, you can now hop on a supersonic plane and be taken to the other side of the globe within a matter of hours. With travel comes exposure to even more exotic allergens that can drive your immune system to distraction.

The All-Natural Gesundheit

Certain allergy-relief nutrients and herbs can help make life more bearable. Here's how they work: n Vitamin C for the lungs. According to experts, when vitamin C is low, asthma is high. Vitamin C carries the major antioxidant load in the airways and therefore contributes mightily to the health of the lungs. A study in the Annals of Allergy (73(1994):89-96) reported that in seven of 11 clinical trials since 1973, vitamin C supplementation provided "significant improvements" in respiratory function and asthma symptoms. n Vitamin E and carotene to suppress allergic reactions. These antioxidants may also help protect the respiratory tract from caustic pollutants. Vitamin E is reputed to be one of the most important nutrients for antioxidant protection in the lungs. In addition, these two substances decrease production of allergy-related compounds called leukotrienes. n Zinc for the immune system. Research shows that a deficiency in this trace mineral can weaken your immune system, setting you up as a target for allergies and infections. (Some vegetarians may not store sufficient amounts of this mineral and should take supplements.) Zinc comes to the body's rescue by taking part in the production of IgA, the gastrointestinal antibody that lines the digestive tract. "When IgA binds to an allergen, it keeps it from being absorbed into the bloodstream and thus from causing an allergic reaction," report Rothfeld and Levert. Also, zinc protects mucous membranes and helps convert beta carotene to vitamin A, another anti-allergy, immune-boosting nutrient. In a study of 100 participants at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, half took a zinc-based lozenge, while the other half received a dummy preparation. The participants taking zinc experienced a 42% reduction in the duration and severity of their common colds (Annals of Internal Medicine, 7/96). n Quercetin as an antihistamine. A valuable, anti-allergic flavonoid (plant coloring agent that is a powerful antioxidant), quercetin shines as a potent weapon against allergies and asthma. Believed to inhibit histamine release from mast cells and slow the production of other allergy-related compounds, it stabilizes mast cell membranes. Other flavonoid-rich extracts include grape seed, pine bark, green tea and Ginkgo biloba. n Additional helpful nutrients: Vitamin B-12, particularly to combat sensitivity to sulfites (The Nutrition Desk Reference [Keats]); selenium, an antioxidant that breaks down leukotrienes (Clinical Science 77, 1989: 495-500); and magnesium to relax bronchial tissues (Journal of the American Medical Association, 262 [1989]: 1210-3).

Herbal Remedies To The Rescue

n Nettles for hay fever relief. Research at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, showed that 40 of 69 folks suffering from hay fever found moderate to extreme relief from taking freeze-dried stinging nettles (Planta Medica, [1990] 44-47). "It is nontoxic, cheap and preferable to antihistamines, which I think are significantly toxic," reports Andrew Weil, MD, in his book Natural Health, Natural Medicine: A Comprehensive Manual for Wellness and Self-Care (Houghton Mifflin). n Cayenne to reduce inflammation. Cayenne, known as hot red pepper, is rich in capsaicin, a potent flavonoid "counter-irritant" that dilates and soothes inflamed nasal and bronchial tissues, according to experts. A bonus: Cayenne also contains a rich amount of antioxidant vitamin C, which can help enhance your immune system. n Echinacea for allergy prevention. This popular Native American herb provides cold and allergy protection, particularly when you take it before encountering allergens. Studies reveal that echinacea aids your body's tissues and protects you from germs and allergens. In fact, German studies have found it possesses valuable antiviral, antibacterial and immunity-boosting properties.

Make Your World Allergy-Free

For the most effective allergy relief, make sure you stay clear of allergens that wreak allergy havoc. Visit an allergy-savvy health practitioner and get tested to find out which substances rock your respiratory world. Plus, allergy experts recommend: n Banish dust mites: sweep out clutter and have your house power-vacuumed, if necessary; wash bedding and linens in very hot water. n De-pollinate your environment: flip on the air conditioner to sift out pollen (keep its filter and any forced air registers clean); exercise indoors; machine dry, rather than line dry, your clothes. n Buy a home air filter, especially if you experience dust, pollen or pet dander allergies. n Avoid allergy triggers that dog your days: cats and canines (or consider the hairless or shed-less breeds), mold and tobacco smoke. No matter what you do or actions you take, allergies may always remain an annoyance in your life. But attention to the foods you eat, the places where you exercise and the right combination of anti-allergy nutrients can limit your discomfort.

Leveling The Leukotrine Playing Field

On a microscopic level, a series of biochemicals implicated in allergic reactions are leukotrienes, substances that may constrict the bronchial tubes (breathing passages). In some people, consuming the food additive tartrazine can cause severe asthmatic breathing difficulties by boosting leukotrine release. In turn, this can interfere with the body's use of vitamin B-6. The process in which lack of B-6 or "errors" in how your body uses B-6 causes allergic reactions and is complex. According to Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND in the revised edition of the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), breathing problems may begin when the metabolism of tryptophan (an amino acid) goes awry: "Tryptophan is converted to serotonin, a compound that, among other things, can cause the airways of asthmatics to constrict...Vitamin B-6 is required for the proper metabolism of tryptophan." Accordingly, a study of vitamin B-6, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that people with compromised breathing may possess less B-6 in their blood than others who breathe normally. When people with asthma were given B-6, their wheezing and asthmatic attacks dropped.

Fat Fix For Allergies

The fat in your diet or supplements can also influence your susceptibility to allergies and asthma linked to allergies. Epidemiologists have found that countries where children eat fish at least four times a month cut their risk of asthma by 67% compared to other parts of the world where they consume fewer fish. Research on omega-3 fatty acids, the kind of fat found in fish, flax and hemp oil, demonstrates that some of these substances can improve breathing. In particular, fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can help open up bronchial tubes. Studies in the American Review of Respiratory Disease and the International Archives of Allergy and Applied Immunology show that breathing passageways may not react so negatively to the presence of allergens when you eat more fish or take supplements containing these types of fats. Many of the scientists who study the kinds of fats we eat believe that the increase in allergies and asthma in the US during the twentieth century may be due to both increasing air pollution (which irritates our lungs) plus a simultaneous increase in our consumption of what are called omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 oils are contained in most of the vegetable oils Americans eat, including sunflower and peanut oils. While experts believe that we would be better off consuming a diet containing about five times as many omega-6 fatty acids as omega-3s, today we eat about 40 times as much omega-6s. The chemistry of how these fats influence our allergy susceptibility is complex. It begins in our cell membranes which consist mostly of fat. When we consume omega-3 fatty acids, in our diet or in supplements, and these fats enter cell membranes, the change in structure cuts the availability of arachidonic acid, a fatty acid your body can make and which is found in meat, eggs and dairy products. Eventually, it is thought that this change in cellular metabolism and reduction in arachidonic acid forces the body to make less 4-series leukotrienes, substances which are quite prone to provoking allergic inflammation and, instead, produce 5-series leukotrienes, leukotrienes which don't cause nearly as much trouble. This process requires patience. According to Pizzorno and Murray. "It may take as long as one year before the benefits are apparent, as it appears to take time to turn over cellular membranes in favor of the omega-3 fatty acids."

Chinese Medicine Versus Allergies

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views allergies as an imbalance of the liver, says Jason Elias, co-author with Katherine Ketcham of The Five Elements of Self-Healing (Harmony Books). "The average American's (liver) deals with about fourteen pounds of chemicals a year. What would normally be a minor irritant becomes major because the liver can't process them anymore," explains Elias. Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has traditionally been used to fight allergies since this herb battles inflammation as evidenced by Japanese research and a study published in the journal Allergy. Much of this anti-allergy action is thought to proceed from licorice's interaction with a biochemical called cortisol, a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. Cortisol (along with epinephrine, another adrenal hormone) relaxes the muscles controlling airways. By slowing the liver's breakdown of cortisol, licorice prolongs circulation of this hormone which, in turn, can help breathing passages stay clear. In addition, glycyrrhetinic acid, a compound in licorice, slows the body's manufacture of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, substances which exacerbate allergic inflammatory reactions. Ma Huang (Ephedra sinica) has been employed for thousands of years to aid breathing since chemicals in this plant widen breathing passages.

Homeopathic Remedies for Allergy

Homeopathic treatments consist of highly diluted substances designed to coax the body into healing itself. The effectiveness of homeopathy for hayfever has been demonstrated by research published in Lancet performed at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. There, scientists showed that homeopathically-prepared medicines produced statistically significant improvements in allergy sufferers. The appropriate homeopathic remedy for any illness depends on the personality type of the person suffering an allergy. These treatments are among those recommended by Dana Ullman: n Allium cepa: appropriate for burning nasal discharge that grows worse in warm rooms and improves outdoors. Relieves non-burning tearing from eyes, raw feeling in the nose with tingling sensation and violent sneezing. n Nux vomica: used when feeling irritable and chilled, with daytime fluent nasal discharge and night congestion that grows worse indoors. Also for those sensitive to cold and to being uncovered. n Pulsatilla: best for women and children with daytime nasal discharge and night congestion who are gentle, yielding, mild, impressionable and emotional. Used when congestion is worse in warm rooms, hot weather or while lying down.

Food Allergy Conundrum Food allergies can prove to be the toughest allergies to identify and eliminate. Jason Elias believes that people may develop food sensitivities from eating the same foods too often. "If someone has an allergy, I might say 'Let's get you off dairy for three weeks,'" he says, noting that some people have limited their hay fever problems by ceasing to consume dairy products. Many have also found relief by maintaining a food diary, keeping track of which foods are associated with allergy attacks and then eliminating those foods. So the next time you sneeze, don't just reach for your hanky, think back to the meal that you just ate. Your allergy problem may be sitting in your stomach as well as making you sneeze and stuffing your sinuses. Taking these kinds of anti-allergy preventive measures can provide life-enhancing relief that feels like a godsend. That lets you attain your healthy best.

This article included reporting by Judy Pokras.



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Federal Court Overturns FDA Ban on Ephedra at Low Doses
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Date: June 09, 2005 08:41 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Federal Court Overturns FDA Ban on Ephedra at Low Doses

Federal Court Overturns FDA Ban on Ephedra at Low Doses

by Rakesh M. Amin and Mark Blumenthal

A Utah Federal District Court recently limited the scope of a year old Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Final Rule1 banning the sale of all ephedrine-alkaloid dietary supplements.2 The Court’s ruling has a limited affect on the ability of companies to sell ephedrine nationally, but is important regarding FDA procedure for creating rules and enforcement powers. Ephedrine alkaloids are found primarily in the controversial herb Ephedra (Ephedra sincica Stapf., Ephedraceae).

The District Court determined that the FDA’s use of a risk-benefit analysis was against the intent of Congress in passing the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act,3 which presumes all foods are safe and requires the FDA to prove the existence of a significant or unreasonable risk. The court held that to require food producers to establish a benefit before selling their product places an improper burden on them and was inconsistent with Congress’s intent when it passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) to clearly place the burden of proof of safety of a dietary ingredient on the FDA.4

Secondly, the court determined the FDA had to show by a preponderance of the evidence “a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury.”5 Therefore, in order to ban all sales of a given product, the FDA must first prove that the dosage amount in the product presents an unreasonable risk.6 Prior to this ruling, the FDA was not required to consider dosage size before banning a substance.

This ruling has limited effects at the moment since the FDA may appeal this decision. Additionally, the ruling has no effect on the laws of several states (including California, Illinois and New York) which have banned all sales of ephedrine alkaloids in dietary supplements. The ruling also only applies to products containing 10 mg or less of ephedrine alkaloids per daily dosage. Any product exceeding that amount is still banned and will continue to be enforced under the FDA rule.7

The court, in its ruling, specifically precluded the FDA from taking any enforcement action against Nutraceutical Corporation, the company that filed the lawsuit, for its sale of products containing 10mg or less of Ephedra and for the FDA to consider further rulemaking “consistent with this Order”.8 However, the court did not specifically instruct the FDA to refrain from taking enforcement action against other brands containing less than 10mg of ephedrine.9 As such, companies considering launching new products containing ephedrine alkaloids are advised to do so carefully.

Nutraceutical Corporation president Bruce Hough was cited in The New York Times as saying that the company’s reason for filing the suit was not based on Ephedra and that his company had no plans to begin marketing Ephedra supplements in the near future.10 Hough was quoted as saying, “We filed it [the lawsuit] because the FDA established rules that could cause problems to the rest of our business.” Hough was referring to the legal basis upon which the FDA banned the sale Ephedra. He told the American Botanical Council that the FDA was applying a drug standard of risk vs. benefit to herbs and dietary supplements – technically foods under the law. [Hough B. Personal communication to M. Blumenthal, Apr. 27, 2005.] His company filed the lawsuit in an attempt to deter FDA’s new procedure for creating what he considered arbitrary rules which contradict the plain meaning of existing federal law (DSHEA).

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) issued a statement on April 26 clarifying its policy on the sale of Ephedra in dietary supplements.11 AHPA has notified all its members that at this time it is the organization’s policy that none of its members should be selling low doses (10 mg or less) of Ephedra in dietary supplements until the FDA has clarified its position on the Court decision. At this time it is not clear whether FDA plans on appealing the decision or will implement the new policy set by the Court.

The court decision does not affect the sale of the herb Ephedra in traditional formulations intended for use that is consistent with traditional uses, e.g., pulmonary complaints, and are dispensed by licensed healthcare practitioners.

As might be expected, court’s decision has stimulated a new round of media and congressional criticism of the relative safety of herbs and dietary supplements as well as DSHEA. For example, a highly critical article by Chris Mooney was posted on the website of the American Prospect on April 25.12 The Prospect is relatively influential in Democratic and progressive political circles in Washington. The article uses language such as the court decision is a “scandal” and a “disturbing ruling”, refers to DSHEA as “a terrible law” and a “peculiar and misguided law” and the “wrongheaded standards encoded in the DSHEA”, and repeats the often-cited media mantra about “unregulated herbal supplements” and that the “FDA has been hamstrung and effectively rendered impotent.”

More information regarding the sale of ephedrine products or FDA regulations in general is available from the law offices of Rakesh M. Amin at (312) 327-3382 or rakesh@amin-law.com.

References

1 21 C.F.R. Pt. 119, Final Rule Declaring Dietary Supplements Containing Ephedrine Alkaloids Adulterated Because They Present an Unreasonable Risk (Published February 11, 2004) (Effective April 12, 2004) available at /dockets/98fr/1995n-0304-nfr0001.pdf

2 Nutraceutical Corporation and Solaray, Inc. v. Lester Crawford, D.V.M., Acting Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, et al., Case No. 2:04CV409TC, U.S. District Court for the Central District of Utah; available at gov/reports/204cv409-28.pdf

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Its not about Ehpedra -- its about DSHEA ...
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Date: May 24, 2005 08:58 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Its not about Ehpedra -- its about DSHEA ...

On april 14th 2005, a federal court in UTAH Ruled against the FDA's ban on low dose Ephedra products. The plaintiffs were Nutraceutical Corporation and its subsidiary Solaray. They sued not just to protect their Ephedra product, but to protect your access to other supplements. Why did they sue and what does this mean for you?

Media and Political Rhetoric Vs. Real Science

Protecting DSHEA and your access to dietary supplements

Why did Nutraceutical challenge FDA's actions?

  • We wanted to make sure the FDA followed DSHEA (The Dietary Supplement Health And Education Act) and uses sound science to stop the sale of ingredients at dose levels that cause harm.
  • We were concerned about a new concept -- a "Risk-benefit" test -- that caused all supplements to be treated like drugs and gave FDA the power to ban any dietary supplement at its discretion.
  • Dietary supplements should not be treated like drugs. Supplements are typically natural food products. Treating them like drugs -- with pre-market approval and clinical studies required -- would mean an end to consumer access to supplements.
  • We believed our low-dose Ephedra product was safe. It was not designed for weight loss, but for traditional uses, like respiratory support.
  • Why did FDA Ban Ephedra?

  • Over eighty years, FDA proposed, withdrew and re-proposed limits on dietary supplements with ephedrine alkaloids. Until the final rule, all the proposed rules exempted low-dose Ephedra products.
  • During those eighty years, FDA took few actions against manufacturers who sold high-dose ehpedra. The Result? Negative and often inaccurate publicity surrounding Ephedra supplements.
  • In the final Rule, FDA announced to ban all dietary supplements containing any ephedrine alkaloids, but did not ban them in foods like chinese herbal teas.
  • What did the court Decide?

  • Under DSHEA, dietary supplements are to be regulated as foods.
  • Like other foods, Dietary supplements are "presumed to be safe."
  • FDA's "risk-benefit" test is contrary to what Congress intended when they passed DSHEA in 1994.
  • To ban a dietary supplement, FDA must establish that the specific dose recommended in the label presents a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury. FDA didnt do that for low-dose Ephedra. FDA cant stop Nutraceutical and Solaray from selling their low-dose Ephedra product.
  • FDA has to rewrite its Ephedra rule.
  • How does the Decision affect me?

  • The courts rulling protects your access to dietary supplements. FDA cant arbitrarily ban them.
  • The ruling requires FDA to pay attention to dosage in determining if a supplement is dangerous.
  • The rulling prohibits FDA from Treating dietary supplements like drugs -- it must treat them like foods, as DSHEA specifies.
  • Does the ruling mean that Ephedra is safe?

  • Nutraceutical's case only involved Solaray® Ephedra, a low-dose whole food product.
  • The court said FDA did not have adiquate scientific evidence that low-dose Ephedra is unsafe.
  • Since low-dose Ephedra is a food, it is presumed to be safe.
  • The court did not analyze scientific evidence about the safety of Ephedra producs at higher doses.
  • What's Next for Ephedra?

  • FDA Must exempt low-dose Ephedra at 10mg or less of ephedrine alkaloids per day. FDA must reopen the rulemaking to establish the precise dose level above 10mg ephedrine alkaloids at which Ephedra presents a significant or unreasonable risk or illness or injury.
  • FDA can also choose to appeal the court's ruling.
  • We are evaluation the reintroduction of Solaray® Ephedra. We want to do it in a way that is consistent with our obligations to our customers and in compliance with the law and the recent court decision.
  • What can I do to protect my access to supplements?

    Let your congressman and Senators know that access to supplements is important to you. A useful website for contacting them is: www.saveoursupplements.org

    contact Nutraceutical by email at: Savesupplements@nutracorp.com

    Note: Solaray® Whole herb Ephedra was formulated to have 10mg or less ephedrine alkaloids per daily dose(two servings). © Nutraceutical corporation...



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