Search Term: " Finland "
This hemp variety from Finland exhibits significant antioxidant properties thanks to its high flavonoid content
May 07, 2019 04:15 PM
According to a study published in Phytotherapy Research, Cannabis sativa L., otherwise known as the hemp plant, has a wide variety of health benefits. Because it is high in antioxidants, it offers significant protection from heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Furthermore, the hempseed is very high in omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, which make it beneficial for the skin, heart, and joints. Hemp is often mistakenly confused with marijuana. While both plants contain Cannabis sativa, hemp does not have any THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that causes a "high". Hemp is also packed with beneficial nutrients and supports optimal brain and GI health.
"In the study, the researchers attribute this biological effect to the presence of flavonoid compounds in hempseed oil, which include flavanones, flavonols, flavanols, and isoflavones."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-14-hemp-from-finland-has-antioxidant-properties-high-flavonoid-content.html
Plant proteins found to help prevent Type 2 diabetes
April 22, 2019 04:18 PM
A recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition analyzed the diets of more than 2,000 men. It specifically sought to find a correlation between protein sources and diabetes. It found that, in general, men with a higher intake of protein from plants were less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. Conversely, men who got most of their protein from processed or unprocessed meats were more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. Several other studies from Harvard have reached parallel conclusions.
"According to the study, men who had the highest intake of plant proteins were 35 percent less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes compared with those who had the lowest consumption."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-17-plant-proteins-found-to-help-prevent-type-2-diabetes.html
colostral can help boost immunity
December 17, 2013 12:14 AM
What is Colustrum
Colostrum is the milk produced by mammary glands in female mammals at the late stages of pregnancy and shortly after birth. It is yellowish in color and sticky. It has all the nutrients necessary to keep your child healthy and strong. Above all, it contains antibodies and living cells capable of protecting your child from infections. It is a key source of immunity. It is less in volume but highly concentrated with nutrients and antibodies. It has a laxative effect hence helps the child in the excretion process and elimination of bilirubin.
A newly born child should be breast fed at least 8 to 12 times a day. This enables the child to rip the maximum out of the colostrums in the milk. It contains secretory immunoglobulin that protects the mucus membrane of the infant. The membrane in the throat, intestines and the throat is fragile and needs such protection. The leucocytes in the colostrums is responsible for shielding the new born from viruses and bacteria. Colostrums contain beneficial bacteria. These bacteria are ingested in the digest tract boosting the intestinal activities.
Bovine colostrums developers depended upon this knowledge.
The Agrifood Research Finland established that bovine could help boost your immunity. They established that the colostrums could not cure an ailment but can prevent infection in a healthy rat. It also promoted the removal of coli bacteria in the bloodstream of a Calve. The study established that the bovine colostrums could control gastrointestinal diseases.
It takes about two weeks after birth for colostrum to mature into milk. The volume of antibodies in the milk drastically goes down and the milk volume increases. The immunity component in the milk does not varnish either. The milk is still capable to supply the child with immunological protection. What changes is the degree of protection. Remember as the child grows, he/she builds an independent immune system. The colostrums taken at early stages stimulates the process.
History And Uses Of Xylitol
February 07, 2012 07:50 AM
Xylitol is the 5-carbon sugar which is found within the birch tree sap and it's naturally found in the fibers of various vegetables and fruits. This is a sugar-alcohol sweetener commonly used as the sugar substitute.
History of xylitol
Although discovered in the 19th century during the Second World War, Xylitol has been recognized ever since the tardy 1800s. The researchers from Germany and France were the first individuals to try to produce this product approximately 100 years ago, but ended up creating syrup-like consistency mixture. This product became commercially available in the 1960s and the commercial process is still the same as it was during the 1960s.
Before 1943, the scientists' categorized this sugar with various sugary carbohydrates (polyols) and it lingered so till the beginning of the war-associated deficiency of sugar which initiated the call for an alternate sugar. This initiated further research in to the xylitols insulin-independent properties, this resulted in discovery of its other biological benefits. In 1962 this chemical was introduced in the infusion therapy demonstrating that it can be introduced to ill individuals.
The commercial production process involves extraction of Polysaccharides rich in Xylose from various agricultural by-products and hardwoods. These are hydrolyzed with various intense acidic treatments and then it is purified before hydrogenation is done. This process needs a lot of harsh chemicals and is quite expensive and inefficient.
It was until 1970 that the odontological benefit of xylitol was ascertained in Finland, Turku. The initial study of the effects of this sugar on the dental plaque began during the same year. This resulted in large scale production of xylitol, in 1974 by the Finnish sugar company. Sugar-free dental product was first launched in Finland which was a xylitol chewing-gum.
How xylitol works
This sugar can prevent cavity in various ways by actually blocking the tooth decaying process. The bacteria causing decay cannot ferment this sugar into acids as it does with other sugars including dextrose, fructose, glucose and sucrose. This results in production of less acidic by-product thus interfering with the dental plaque environment which favors decaying. This results in prevention of tooth demineralization.
The high pH condition caused by xylitol sugar is not favorable for the cariogenic bacteria which are responsible for decaying. This results in fewer bacteria in the plaques and long-term exposure has an effect on which type of bacteria will prevail within the plaque. This also inhibits the growth of specific xylitol-sensitive bacteria strain. Since they cannot breakdown this sugar, they end up not reproducing and growing in population. The lack of fermentable sugars results in creation of anti-cavity effect.
The starvation effect created by this sugar prevents accumulation of cariogenic bacteria in the plaques. Long term xylitol exposure results in change of predominant cariogenic bacteria to xylitol-resistant strains from xylitol-sensitive. This xylitol-sensitive strain of bacteria cannot colonize the plaque since they have less adhering capabilities.
The less acidic condition in the dental plaque interface created by this sugar can initiate demineralization. Demineralization occurs when the plaque interface is at a pH of 5.5 or below since fewer bacteria live in the plaques. Studies have showed that demineralized tooth samples immersed in a solution containing 20% xylitol experienced a great remineralization degree. This is noted in the deep and middle tooth layers.
Fight Inflammation With Herbs from Planetary Herbals
June 02, 2010 04:39 PM
Our modern lives have untold benefits, as well as challenges. Our dependence on man-made toxic chemicals, junk food, nutrient imbalanced diets, and our stressful, sedentary lifestyles can alter our biochemical metabolism and affect our health.
These lifestyles and environmental change can challenge immune health, so that the various components of the immune system are not able to carry out their protective functions. Or our immune systems can go into overdrive, often leading to a state called metabolic inflammation.
A Powerful Herbal Blend
Inflamma-Care is a potent, herbal response to the metabolic inflammation that can result from inappropriate immune response. The main component of inflama-care is the rhizome of the curcuma spicies, long used as a spice in India. Known worldwide as turmeric (curcuma longa), it acts as an anti-inflammatory by inhibiting the activities of cytokines – inflammation messengers.
This world-renowned spice is supported by boswellia, which inhibits pro-inflammatory enzymes, and ginger an antioxidant that inhibits prostaglandin and leukotriene biosynthesis. Other herbs in the formula that inhibit inflammatory action include willow bark, Chinese skullcap, corydalis, holy basil, and hops.
Inflama-care also contains systemic enzymes to clear and protect the arteries and circulatory system. Systemic enzymes like bromelain and papain cleanse the bloodstream and enable the blood to flow smoothly. A free-flowing bloodstream helps the body by circulating important nutrients to the cells while clearing the body of wastes.
Immune Activating Mushroom
Planetary Herbals also offers you new Full Spectrum Chaga in 1000mg tablets and a 1:4 liquid extract. Preliminary studies suggest that chaga triggers immune responses and protects the cells with antioxidant activity.
Chaga is a mushroom that is found attached to trees like birch, alder, beach, and other hardwoods, throughout the northern latitudes. A polyphore, the mushroom looks somewhat like coal – a brownish black mass often seen in tree trunks. In China, Siberia, Finland, Japan, Poland and North America, ancient and native peoples have long known the benefits of chaga. In an acient treaties, the Chinese monk shen nog declared in 100 BC that chaga is “a precious gift of nature.”
In modern research, chaga has been shown to have 215 phytonutrients, including 29 beta-glucans. Chaga also absorbs a nutrient from the outer birch tree bark: betulin, a natural anti-inflammatory. Among the components in chaga are triterpenes, sterols, beta-glucans, flavonoids, melanins, polyphenols, saponins, lignin, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. This fascinating combination of nutrients is being studied worldwide.
The PhytoDynamic Difference
Both inflama-care and full spectrum chaga are formulated with a profound understanding of the ways in which plant compounds interact with human physiology. Planetary Herbals phytodynamic principles draw on herbal tradition, scientific research, and a level of clinical expertise unmatched in the natural products industry. The result: herbal products unsurpassed for quality and consumer satisfaction.
Here’s How to Minimize Your Childs Sick Days
November 22, 2007 02:21 PM
A healthy diet is critical in keeping your children healthy especially one filled with power foods such as organic yogurt and whole grain cereals; cooking with spices; drinking organic orange juice and elderberry; including omega-3 fatty acids from wild salmon; consuming lots of colored fruits and vegetables; and avoiding sugary drinks, artificial sweeteners and sweet candy. Make sure to also add in adequate amounts of rest, as you do not want to drive children too hard or overload them. Additionally, try not to pressure your doctors into making antibiotics their first choice. Although there are times when they are needed overuse of antibiotics can actually weaken your child’s immune system.
Many recent studies have found that a healthy population of beneficial bacteria in our children’s stomach is extremely good to their health as these good bacterial strains help to keep our children resistant to germs carried by their school friends. One of these studies shows that special strains of probiotics can reduce daycare-related illnesses. Probiotic milk may also slightly reduce respiratory infections in these children. In one study which took place over a seven month winter period, 571 children attending daycare centers in Finland were given milk with or without a specific probiotic blend. During this study, parents recorded any respiratory symptoms such as fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, chest wheezes, and earache, or gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and stomachache. The actual number of days where these symptoms occurred was much lower in the group of children who received probiotics, causing fewer absences from school and a smaller requirement for antibiotic treatment.
Many pediatricians are now recommending the use of age-specific probiotics to give your children the support they need in fighting off germs. It seems as if pediatricians are increasingly recommending giving probiotics to children instead of prescribing antibiotics. This is partly because 20 percent of children develop antibiotic associated diarrhea (AAD), which is a severe diarrhea that can cause them to miss even more school days. Studies show that children given probiotics even during antibiotic treatment experienced reduced AAD incidence. Giving your child or teen probiotics is one of the safest and most beneficial things you can do to support their overall health. These probiotics safeguard your body from a buildup of harmful bacteria, yeast, and fungi, while enhancing immune function, improving gastrointestinal health, and helping to support colon health.
One amazing fact that most probiotic companies have ignored is which probiotics you should take depends entirely on how old you are and your condition. Unfortunately, most companies only offer a one-size-fits-all probiotic. Babies and toddlers should have a predominance of Bifidobacteria such as B. infantis, B. bididum, and B. breve. Adults, on the other hand, should naturally contain high concentrations of lactobacilli, such as L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, and L. plantarum. Those probiotics that are right for adults are not right for a teen or child, and once you’re over 55, your needs change again. Researchers have discovered that after age 55 is reached, the populations of helpful Bifidobacteria start decreasing steadily. Therefore, adults in their later years will need higher potencies of Bifidobacteria strains once again.
Cancer at the Millenium - the war on cancer entering its third decade...
June 13, 2005 10:23 AM
Cancer at the Millenium by Harriet Brown Energy Times, May 1, 1999
With the war on cancer entering its third decade, the necessity grows clearer for medical science to engage the enemy on several fronts. Until recently, high-tech medical weapons like vaccines and gene therapy, inspired by a flood of insights into the molecular basis of cancer, garnered most of the hope, hype, headlines and research money. The science was sexy and the prospect of a "cure" dramatic. But, today, advocates of prevention receive equal, if not greater, attention.
Improving our diets and prudently supplementing with vitamins and minerals, can deliver a major preventive impact. Contentious experts concede that at least a third (and probably more) of all cancers can be blamed on a combination of eating too much of the wrong foods and not enough of the right ones.
The Dietary Difference
Though cancer can progress rapidly once it leaps past its inception, it develops over many years and in several stages. Beneficial compounds in food and supplements may intervene along a line that runs from initial exposure to carcinogens to the final step into outright malignancy. Nutrients may: - counteract environmental poisons and the toxic byproducts of liver metabolism
The Big Picture The dietary guidelines advocated by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute (which generally coincide with those of most health organizations) may sound familiar: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Get lots of fiber. Limit fat, especially animal fat. Go easy on meat and avoid the cured variety (they contain nitrites). If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation. Watch your total calories, and your weight. Pretty straightforward stuff.
Carotenoids, as their name suggests, are orange and red pigments in fruits and vegetables, most notably carrots and tomatoes, although they're also in everything from sweet potatoes to spinach and brussels sprouts (in the latter their distinctive color is masked by green chlorophyll).
Lycopene, a carotenoid found primarily in tomatoes, displays double the free radical-fighting activity of beta carotene, the most widely studied carotenoid. Of 72 studies looking at consumption of tomatoes or tomato-based products reviewed in the February 1999 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, almost half showed a significant reduction in one or more of a variety of cancers.
Research shows that lycopene may be best at lowering a man's risk of prostate cancer. A 1995 Harvard Medical School study (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995; 87: 1767-76) queried nearly 48,000 male health-care professionals about their consumption of fruits and vegetables. The only foods that reduced their risk of prostate cancer were, apparently, tomato sauce, tomatoes, pizza (tomato paste). For those who ate ten servings a week, risk dropped 45 percent; with four to seven servings, 20 percent. In animal studies lycopene decreased the number and size of mammary tumors (Eleventh International Symposium on Carotenoids, 1996).
Tomatoes are one of the richest sources of lycopene. Cooking tomatoes helps by releasing the lycopene from the plant cell walls. Also, the oil in tomato sauce enhances absorption in the stomach. Lycopene is also available in supplements.
Wine drinkers rejoiced when resveratrol, a constituent of the skin of red grapes, was found to protect their hearts (by blocking oxidation of LDL cholesterol and discouraging blood clotting). Now they have another reason to toast this potent antioxidant. When researcher John Pezzuto at the University of Illinois at Chicago screened about 1,000 plants for anticancer activity, he came up with one whose active ingredient turned out to be resveratrol. In lab tests it squelched both free radicals and inflammation, two well-known cancer inducers (Science, 6/10/97). In a study with mice, resveratrol reduced the number of skin tumors by up to 98 percent compared to control animals. Because the effective doses were high (Pezzuto estimates a person would have to quaff about five gallons of wine a day to get the equivalent) and because more than a drink or two a day may raise the risk of breast cancer, researchers don't recommend nondrinkers take up wine. But supplements of synthesized resveratrol (as well as grape juice) may help.
Saturated fat is an authentic dietary villain. Aside from clogging arteries, it's a suspected contributor to several cancers, though the evidence is greater for some cancers (prostate) than for others (breast cancer)
Of the two other main categories of fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, mono seems benign, if not positively protective. For example, in a study of the influence of diet on breast cancer, Greek researchers discovered that women who consumed higher amounts of olive oil (which is mostly mono) were less likely to be afflicted with breast cancer (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995: 87; 110-116).
When it comes to polyunsaturated fats, however, things get complicated. The fat that predominates in corn, sunflower and other vegetable oils, called omega-6, has long been associated with cancer risk in animal experiments. Likewise the type found in margarines, trans fats, which are partially saturated vegetable oils. On the other hand, the omega-3 fats called EPA and DHA, which are found primarily in deep- and cold-water fish like cod, mackerel, and halibut, protect against both heart disease and cancer. In an epidemiological study covering 24 European countries, British researchers established that mortality rates for colon and breast cancers declined as fish and fish oil consumption rose (British Journal of Cancer 1996: 74; 159-64). And Finnish scientists discovered that the breast tissue of women who had breast cancer contained significantly less DHA and EPA than the breasts of healthy women (Nutrition and Cancer 1995: 24; 151-160).
Experts believe the omega-3s' anticancer effect derives from its ability to tamp down the prostaglandins that stimulate inflammation. Chronic inflammation unleashes a steady stream of free radicals, which can damage DNA and thereby trigger cancer. Omega-3s also help the liver detoxify potentially harmful substances.
Fortunately for the fish-phobic, nonmarine sources of omega-3 fats include flaxseed and hemp oils.
Minerals to Lower Cancer Risk
n Calcium: possibly protective against colon cancer. In a recent trial (New England Journal of Medicine, 1/14/99) researchers gave people with a history of precancerous colon polyps either two 600 mg calcium tablets a day or a placebo for nine months and found fewer polyps. n Selenium: powerful antioxidant and supporter of immunity. Researchers find that cancer rates in various regions is lowered when soil and vegetables contain more selenium
In a selenium-depleted area in China afflicted with one of the highest incidences of stomach and esophageal cancer mortality in the world, scientists asked different groups to take various combinations of nutrients. After five years they found a significant reduction in the cancer rate among those who had gotten supplements of selenium, vitamin E and beta carotene (Biological Trace Element Research 1985; 7: 21-29). In the U.S. researchers studying the potential effectiveness of selenium supplementation for preventing nonmelanoma skin cancers came up with a surprise. The 200 mcg a day the subjects received for an average of 4.5 years had no impact on skin cancer but did significantly cut the rates of lung, colorectal and prostate cancers (Journal of the American Medical Association, 12/25/96).
More recently Harvard researchers determined that men with prostate cancer had much lower levels of selenium in their toenails (a measure of consumption) than healthy men (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 8/119/98).
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kale, have long been singled out for their association with protection against cancer. In a 1996 survey of 94 population studies and clinical trials focusing on consumption of cruciferous vegetables, 67 percent showed a reduced risk, the strongest link being with lung, stomach, colon and rectal cancers (Cancer Epidemiological Biomarkers 1996; 5: 733-748).
Scientists at Johns Hopkins showed that sulforaphane, from these plants, stimulates enzymes that help detoxify carcinogens generated in the liver. When they injected rats with a cancer-causing chemical, only 26 percent of the rodents pretreated with sulforaphane developed mammary cancer, compared to 68 percent of controls. Even animals who did come down with cancer had tumors that appeared later and smaller.
Other researchers have focused on a cruciferous-vegetable compound called indole-3-carbinol, which has proved especially effective against breast cancer cells. Recently, scientists at the University of California at Berkeley found that indole-3-carbinol, rather than acting as an anti-estrogen, (as had been thought), actually stops breast cancer cells by turning off a protein critical to their replication (Jrnal of Bio Chem, 2/13/98). Consequently, when treating certain forms of cancer, some doctors have paired indole-3-carbinol with the chemotherapy drug tamoxifen - which counteracts estrogen - and found that the combination has proven more potent than either separately.
Several decades ago British physician Denis Burkitt proposed that the low incidence of colon cancer among native peoples in South Africa was attributable to the fact that their diet was rich in fiber. The fiber, it was hypothesized, bulked up the stool, speeding its passage through the bowel and reducing the time carcinogens contact its lining; it also helped neutralize cancer-promoting bile acids.
This concept has been backed up by numerous studies. Recently, Harvard researchers sprinkled cold water on this idea, finding that an examination of the eating habits of more than 80,000 female nurses, could find no protective effect against colon cancer or precancerous polyps from consuming fiber (NEJM, January 21, 1999). Most experts' take on this apparent refutation: Maybe the "high fiber" intake in this case wasn't high enough, and this is just one study among many.
Fighting Breast Cancer
Fiber has also been linked to reduced rates of breast cancer. At first it was thought that if fat was a breast-cancer culprit, fiber might just be a marker for a low-fat diet. But a look at Finland undermined that idea: Finnish women eat both a lot of fat and a lot of fiber, and their breast cancer rate ranks much below that in the U.S., (where we eat gobs of fat and little roughage).
Fiber helps take estrogen out of circulation as it passes through the liver, while the isoflavones in many high-fiber plants and vegetables are themselves weak estrogens, which compete for slots on breast tissue's estrogen receptors. The special fiber in flaxseed oil called lignans act against estrogen in two ways: by binding its receptors and by inhibiting the enzyme that converts other hormones into estrogen.
Fiber comes in two basic forms, insoluble (e.g., wheat bran, celery, the skins of fruits and vegetables) and soluble (e.g., oat bran, citrus fruits, beans). Until a few years ago, scientists believed that cancer protection came mainly from insoluble fiber, but that thinking has turned around.
A soluble fiber called citrus pectin has been shown to halt the tendency of prostate, lung, breast and skin cancers to metastasize, or spread (e.g., Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995; 87: 3448-353). Typically cancer turns deadly only when it gets into the bloodstream and invades new territory. Modified citrus pectin appears to stop this aggression by preventing cancer cells from attaching to healthy tissue.
While the name inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) sounds like a mouthful, many of us consume mouthfuls of this natural substance every day - in foods like corn, rice, whole-grain cereals, oats and wheat.
But now scientists have isolated IP-6 and found that this powerful antioxidant can slow the destructive cellular processes that lead to tumors. In a study published in Anti-Cancer Research (Nov/Dec 1998), scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine demonstrated that IP-6 could shrink liver tumors in laboratory animals.
The researchers believe that IP-6 can help prevent cancer and also be useful in lowering the risk of health problems like kidney stones and heart disease. Research like this continues to expand our knowledge of how to lower the risk of cancer. In the next millennium, with more and more information making its way into the media and onto websites, our power and the responsibility to reduce our risk of cancer will continue to grow and offer new possibilities.
In the Clear - Skin is always in danger of acne and inflammations
June 12, 2005 02:13 PM
In the Clear by Dianne Drucker Energy Times, August 3, 2003
Your skin needs protection even as it offers itself as your body's first line of defense against the outside world. Skin is always in danger of acne and inflammations during its daily encounters with stray microorganisms, streams of ultraviolet light and a barrage of pollutants.
Tending to your skin, keeping a clear complexion while safeguarding your well-being, requires proper feeding, watering and tender, loving care.
Your skin not only has to protect you, it has to look good while doing it. Unfortunately, much can go wrong with skin. One of the most common skin irregularities is the acne that often arises when pores clog and inflammation creates unsightly blemishes.
While conventional medicine has long insisted that your chances of developing pimples are unrelated to what you feed your body and your skin, recent studies are calling that accepted wisdom into question.
Research in the Archives of Dermatology (12/02) argues that today's pimples are linked to what you ate yesterday. Skin scientists now suspect that the typical American diet, filled with refined foods, sugars and simple starches, causes the exaggerated release of insulin and related secretions that foment pimples and blemishes.
The evidence: When researchers spent two years combing through the rainforests of New Guinea and trekking to remote parts of Paraguay, they took a close look at indigenous people's faces and couldn't find a single pimple. The inhabitants of these isolated areas eat homegrown food and wild game. They've never eaten crackers or cookies from a box or slurped a milkshake through a straw. And they've never had to cope with embarrassing acne.
The researchers concluded that no refined foods meant no blemishes.
Refining the Pimple Process
According to this latest theory, pimples can start when your digestive tract quickly absorbs refined, starchy carbohydrates from white bread or potatoes or sugary soft drinks. These foods are ranked at or near the top of the so-called glycemic index. That means that these foodstuffs cause your blood sugar to climb rapidly, the process that the glycemic index measures.
That rise in blood sugar causes the release of insulin from your pancreas into your bloodstream. Insulin, a hormone-like substance, helps cells soak up the excess sugar circulating in your blood. However, along with insulin, another substance, is also released. These two chemicals boost the production of testosterone, the male hormone that, in turn, can cause the skin to overproduce sebum, an oily goo that plugs up pores and gives birth to acne. (Previous research has already established the causal relationship of testosterone to pimples.)
Lorain Cordain, PhD, a health professor at Colorado State University and lead researcher in this study, points out that more than 80% of the grains we eat are highly refined and cause significant blood sugar increases, a factor that makes skin break out. In addition, he says, teens are especially susceptible to pimples because they are growing rapidly and, as a result, tend to be insulin resistant. Insulin resistance means it takes more insulin to persuade cells to take sugar out of the blood. This condition consequently results in even larger amounts of insulin being released and more skin blemishes being created.
According to Dr. Cordain, eating low-glycemic foods like whole grains, vegetables, fish and lean meat should lower your risk of acne. These foods don't bump up blood sugar as much, to be released and, as a result, are kinder to your skin.
Aside from improving your skin condition by improving the food you eat, taking supplements to help the bacteria in your lower digestive tract may also clear up your undesirable dermatological developments. Eczema, a discomforting and embarrassing skin inflammation, is now believed to depend on the interaction between intestinal bacteria and your immune system.
According to research in Finland (The Lancet 2001; 357:1076), eczema may appear on your skin when your immune system, influenced by the gut's bacteria, misbehaves, using unnecessary inflammation to defend against a non-existent infection that it mistakenly believes threatens the skin.
Atopic eczema, a variety of eczema that often runs in families, has long been known to be linked to allergies and immune overreactions.
In looking into the fact that more and more people have been suffering eczema, scientists came to the disturbing conclusion that this increase may be at least partly attributed to our obsession with cleanliness.
When we are young, our immune systems learn the proper ways to fight off germs by interacting with the bacteria and viruses they encounter. But during the past ten years, so many of us (and our parents) have kept our houses so neurotically spic-and-span, according to the latest theory, that our immune systems are failing to develop the proper responses. So, like a bored, inexperienced security guard who imagines a threat when there is none, our immune defenses are going slightly haywire, causing the defensive inflammation of eczema even in the absence of real bacteriological invasions. The possible solution: Probiotic supplements of harmless bacteria like Lactobacillus GG. This bacteria, similar to the friendly bacteria that live in our large intestines, seems to calm immunity so that it is less likely to panic and start an unnecessary inflammation.
These supplements are so safe, medical researchers are now giving them to pregnant women and newborn babies. In the research in Finland, giving these probiotics to mothers and newborns cut the rate of infant atopic eczema in half. (Similar, live bacteria are also found in yogurt, although yogurt should not be fed to newborns.)
The skin on these children is benefiting for long periods of time. "Our findings show that the preventive effect of Lactobacillus GG on atopic eczema in at-risk children extends to the age of 4 years," notes Marko Kalliomäki, MD, author of the study.
Tea Tree Help
Further natural skin help can be had from Australia in the form of tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia). Long revered by the aborigines of this continent, tea tree oil was allegedly given its English name by British sea captain James Cook, who used the plant to make a tea that improved the flavor of beer.
But Australians have long used tea tree oil as an antiseptic. Its popularity increased during World War II, when, after it was used as a lubricant on heavy machinery, mechanics who got the oil on their hands noticed it fought skin infections. As pointed out in The Chopra Center Herbal Handbook (Three Rivers Press), "The essential oil of tea tree...contains a number of terpenes, of which terpinen-4-ol is believed to be responsible for its beneficial anti-infective activity." Terpenes are special, beneficial types of protein found in essential oils.
Tea tree is especially useful against skin outbreaks caused by fungus infections. Research in Australia shows that it can help quell athlete's foot (Austr Jrnl Derm 1992; 33:145) as effectively as some pharmaceutical preparations. Other research confirms that it can help quiet many different fungi that cause unsightly skin outbreaks (Skin Pharm 1996; 9:388). The Chopra Center Herbal Handbook recommends that "every household should keep some tea tree oil close at hand. It can be applied directly to skin irritations."
Revered by the pharaohs' healers in Egypt during the ancient age of the pyramids, and depended upon for centuries by the Greeks for a variety of medicinal purposes, chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is still employed for a range of skin problems. This botanical helps ease abscesses, bruises or sunburn, and is included in many massage oils. (But never apply chamomile's undiluted essential oil to the skin.)
In addition, creams and sprays with chamomile are used to calm the nerves and nourish the skin. As an element in aromatherapy, chamomile, whose odor has been compared to apples, is well-known for soothing and rejuvenating the spirit. Explaining exactly how chamomile heals and calms has not been easy for scientists. Essential oils like chamomile contain so many different natural chemicals that exploring their holistic effect on the human body requires detailed analysis. As an aromatherapeutic agent, researchers believe chamomile and other essential oils may interact with the brain, activating glands that stimulate healing systems within the body. But that has yet to be proven.
What has been proven is that herbs like chamomile and tea tree, and natural treatments like probiotics, can make a big difference in keeping your skin healthy and clear. With their help, you can present your best face to the world.