Search Term: " Fire "
5 Reasons to Look Forward to Cooler Weather with Cocoa Lovers™ Organic Hot Cocoa
January 19, 2023 04:43 PM
As the weather starts to cool down, there’s no better way to warm up than with a cup of hot cocoa. Cocoa Lovers™ Organic Hot Cocoa is the perfect treat for those crisp fall and winter days. Here are five reasons why you’ll look forward to the cooler months with Cocoa Lovers™ in your cupboard.
1. Crafted for Quality – Cocoa Lovers™, we believe that quality always comes first. That’s why our organic hot cocoa is made from only the best ingredients available, including premium organic Dutch-processed cocoa powder, organic sugar and natural flavors like vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Everything is blended together until it forms a rich and creamy concoction that will have you coming back for more!
2. Natural Goodness – If you’re looking for something to indulge in without having to worry about putting your health at risk, then our organic hot cocoa is perfect for you. Not only is it free of artificial preservatives, colors and flavors but it also contains no added trans fats or hydrogenated oils so you can feel good about what you put into your body.
3. Versatility – Our hot cocoa mix isn't just good for making hot chocolate — it can also be used in baking recipes such as cakes, cookies and brownies! And if you're feeling adventurous, why not try adding some spices like chili powder or cardamom for a unique twist? The possibilities are endless!
4. Convenience – No need to spend hours slaving away over a stove because our organic hot cocoa mixes come ready-to-go that make preparing your drink quick and easy, you can mix it thick or thin, it tastes good both ways! Just add water (or milk!) and heat until desired temperature is reached — it's that simple!
5. Great Taste – But of course, all of this would be meaningless if our product didn't taste great — which thankfully it does! Our customers rave about the sweet yet complex flavor profile that's sure to please even the pickiest palates out there; plus, each packet makes two servings so you can share with friends or family members who may not like their drinks as sweet as yours.
So if you’re looking for an easy way to warm up during these cooler months while also indulging in something delicious without compromising on quality or nutrition value, then Cocoa Lovers'™ Organic Hot Cocoa should definitely be on your list! Whether enjoyed alone or with friends and family around the Fireplace; whether stirred into cakes or cookies; whether served with marshmallows or topped with whipped cream—enjoying some hot cocoa during these chilly days has never been easier (or tastier)!
Nighttime Tea – The perfect way to relax and unwind
November 03, 2022 05:30 PM
After a long day, sometimes it can be hard to just let go and relax. If you're finding it difficult to wind down before bed, we have the perfect solution – Nighttime Tea. night-time is a soothing, calming blend of botanicals that are known for their relaxing properties. So Dim the lights, grab a cup of Nighttime Tea, and let mother nature do her thing. Sweet dreams...
How Nighttime Tea Works
Nighttime Tea contains a blend of botanicals including chamomile, lavender, and passionflower. These herbs have been used for centuries to promote relaxation and sleep. Chamomile is especially effective in reducing anxiety and promoting sleep. A study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that chamomile tea significantly improved sleep quality in participants who drank it for four weeks.
Lavender is another herb with calming effects. Inhaling lavender oil has been shown to decrease blood pressure and heart rate, while a study in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology found that lavender oil can improve sleep quality. Passionflower is also effective in reducing anxiety and promoting sleep. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics found that passionflower was as effective as oxazepam, a common anti-anxiety medication, in treating generalized anxiety disorder.
If you're looking for a natural way to relax and improve your sleep quality, look no further than Nighttime Tea! This soothing tea contains a blend of herbs with calming effects that will help you wind down at the end of the day. So Dim the lights, grab a cup of Nighttime Tea, and let mother nature do her thing. Sweet dreams...
Get Your Hot Chocolate Fix and Smash Chronic Inflammation at theSame Time
January 16, 2019 01:51 PM
Hot chocolate is something that is very ingrained with the holiday season. Sitting around with the family drinking some hot cocoa is something that is so aligned with Christmas and all of the holidays that take place in December. For the people that love hot chocolate, they love this time period. However, if you, or people you know, are suffering from chronic inflammation, then you should be careful with the things that you drink. However, studies show that hot cocoa in moderation could be good for this!
"Tis the season for crackling fires, snowball fights, and warm and delicious hot chocolate. But, how do you make yours? Do you rip open a package and pour hot water over something that claims to be hot chocolate?"
Read more: https://www.thealternativedaily.com/hot-chocolate-fix-smash-chronic-inflammation/
Horsetail: The Herb that Supports Skin, Nail, Hair & Joint Health
August 07, 2018 06:53 PM
Horsetail refers to the Equisetum family of herbs (especially common horsetail) which is found in temperate zones of North America and Europe and is known both for spreading like wildfire and for being highly nutritious. Horsetail provides a great source of vitamins and minerals, especially organic silica, which makes horsetail great for hair and nail health. When applied directly to minor wounds and burns, it can promote faster healing. Horsetail also helps remedy edema, and is great for joint health as well. It also has some natural antimicrobial potential.
"Horsetail is a perennial plant belonging to the genus Equisetum. There are at least 15 different species of Equisetum around the world, and “horsetail” is often used to describe the entire group."
Read more: https://draxe.com/horsetail/
9 Foods Diabetics Should Never Eat
October 14, 2017 12:14 PM
There are nine foods that diabetics should never eat in life. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes can both be horrible things that make life bad for the people that have it. Diabetes is caused by high blood sugar levels in the blood when the pancreas cannot do its job the right way. If you eat right and exercise right, then you can do a lot of good for your body. It is important to avoid store bought fruit juices.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOChghumqiE&rel=0
"Fatty cuts of pork or red meats like beef and lamb are harmful to those with blood sugar issues."
Why you should NEVER hit the snooze button on your alarm clock - and always get 8 hours of sleep!
September 20, 2017 12:14 PM
Getting enough sleep is important. That is when your body recharges. It is good for your physical and mental health to get enough. This will keep you from having to hit your snooze button a lot in the mornings as well, and this will help you get places on time. Not getting enough sleep can hurt your schooling or job since you can't get up and there on time. This is not good for you. You could even be fired over it.
"Professor Michael Irwin, a sleep scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, has performed landmark studies revealing just how quickly and comprehensively a brief dose of short sleep can affect cancer-fighting immune cells."
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4874174/Why-never-hit-snooze-button.html
Can CBD Dog Treats Help Ease your Dog's Pain and Anxiety?
September 08, 2017 12:14 PM
All of our pets eventually age and with aging it comes pain and anxiety, there is a way though to help your pet alleviate these symptoms. Scientist have discovered that a CBD, a hemp based product, can ease symptoms of anxiety and joint pain in aging dogs. Dog treats made with CBD although derived from hemp, do not contain THC. Your dog can enjoy a delicious treat that helps with pain and anxiety without the side effects of getting high.
"Say goodbye to watching your dog suffer, and say hello to CBD!"
Read more: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/can-cbd-dog-treats-help-ease-your-dogs-pain-and-anxiety-300507682.html
Baking Soda And 3 Other Remedies For Acid Reflux
July 29, 2017 09:14 AM
Do you have acid reflux, more commonly known as heartburn? Almost everyone does at some time or another. It's caused by the acid in your stomach traveling up your esophagus. The burning sensation you feel is from that stomach acid attacking the lining of your esophagus.
The most common causes of acid reflux are eating too fast or too much in one sitting, a poor diet and chronic stress. If you're a heartburn sufferer, it's a good idea to work on these problems to eliminate the reflux. But in the meantime, if you want to knock out hearburn stat, here are some ideas:
A teaspoon of baking soda in a large glass of water, sipped until the reflux goes away is a sure-fire cure. Baking soda is alkaline so it offsets the acid in your esophagus. Other remedies include drinking ginger tea and apple cider vinegar.
"In this post, I’ll explore some of the most effective natural home remedies for acid reflux."
Read more: http://www.thealternativedaily.com/natural-remedies-for-acid-reflux/
Is Your Digestive System On Fire?
July 15, 2017 07:14 PM
Many people have health problems that can be related to issues with the gut. One lady had issues with weight gain and feeling tired, it turned out that she had many food allergies and a leaky gut. She needed to help the leaky gut or she would continue having issues with absorbing nutrients. Many people take a lot of medications like antibiotics, which cause harm to the gut. Many people also have a low level of B12 because of the gut not absorbing it .
Read more: Is Your Digestive System On Fire?
How To Use Activated Charcoal For Pink Eye
June 20, 2017 09:14 AM
There is a way to use activated charcoal for pink eye. Pink Eye impacts many people every year across the country. People might actually wonder if it is something to even worry about. One thing to remember is that Pink Eye is not a serious thing. People that get it do not have to seek emergency treatment and it will go away on its own. But, activated charcoal can get rid of it quickly and easily.
"Activated charcoal can be used to quickly and effectively treat pink eye, all without a visit to the doctor’s office."
Read more: http://www.thealternativedaily.com/how-to-use-activated-charcoal-for-pink-eye/
How To Make GINGER DRINK To Reduce Pain, Arthritis, Bad Cholesterol And High Blood Sugar!
March 26, 2017 04:44 AM
Diabetes is a very difficult disease that many people deal with on a daily basis. Additionally, diabetes requires those that are diagnosed with it to change their diets accordingly, so these unfortunate people often have to resort to very unfulfilling foods to satisfy the requirements to keep their diabetes at bay. However, one of the great foods for diabetes is mangoes, despite the fact that it has some sugar in it. In fact, many doctors and studies recommend that people with diabetes should eat mangoes everyday. As well as having the great taste and the general fact is it is a tasty item to add to any diet, albeit a diet designed to deal with diabetes, it also has a great source of vitamins and lowers cholesterol.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4vU9AsNTCU&rel=0
"Ginger is used true the centuries by holistic medicine ginger to treat many health disorders."
Is Your Fireplace Giving You Lung Cancer?
March 19, 2017 08:44 AM
Your Fireplace may actually give you lung cancer. A wood Fire can be a really relaxing thing. You can sit by the Fireplace and enjoy the night in comfort with a loved one. Although wood Fire smells very good, it is not worth the risk of getting cancer. You need to stay safe and make sure that you are not susceptible to cancer.
"According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you should never smell smoke in your home when using a wood burning Fireplace."
2 Ways to Boost Heart Health That Have Nothing to Do with Diet or Exercise
February 26, 2017 10:59 AM
Keeping your heart running healthy is one of the most important things you can do. While it is obvious that diet and exercise play a major role, there are other ways to protect your heart. Maintaining good posture may be one of the biggest ways to keep a heart healthy. Stand up straight today.
"But while maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine (and, apparently, eating cheese) are sureFire ways to keep your ticker healthy, there are two even easier ways to give it a boost in a matter of minutes: good posture and a better attitude."
fat burning foods
February 22, 2017 10:19 AM
If you want to burn fat stay away from pesticide laced vegetables and wheat. Because It’s true Certain foods have a very high thermogenic effect, so you literally scorch calories as you chew. Other eats contain nutrients and compounds that stoke your metabolic Fire. Make the right choices today and your body will thank you.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3SQHJ9H5G8
"This means that wheat-based foods such as breads, bagels, cereals, muffins, and other baked goods often cause MUCH higher blood sugar levels than most other carbohydrate sources."
This Man Used Hemp Oil On Live TV To Draw Attention To His Granddaughter's Health
February 01, 2017 10:59 AM
The United States is not the only place where marijuana plant products are under Fire. Even in Australia, it is nearly impossible to get CBD oil for treatment of medical conditions such as epilepsy. One particular case in Australia is gaining media attention. It is the case of 5-year-old Katelyn whose grandfather has been giving her CBD oil to help with her Dravet Syndrome seizures. Her grandfather is under threat of being arrested, but he says it is worth it if he gets his family better access to a drug that will greatly help with her condition.
"A millionaire philanthropist has taken hemp oil on national television to highlight his granddaughter's struggle to get treatment for her epilepsy, as the five-year-old-girl begs prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and state premiers to make medicinal cannabis more accessible."
3 Ways to Naturally Beat Wintertime Depression
January 14, 2017 10:59 AM
The winter weather got you down? Here are 3 sure Fire ways to help you get out of that funk. Featured in this article are 3 very easy ways to beat the wintertime blues. Even better news, they cost almost nothing. Very informative with real world examples from the author this post is a definite must read to trick our bodies from going into mental hibernation.
"If you suffer from wintertime depression, make sure you are eating two servings of vegetables and one fruit with each meal. Yes, this means two servings of vegetables even with your breakfast. If you can get your nine servings daily of vegetables and fruits hopefully you will be too full to even think about eating sugar or processed foods."
The Sky's Not Falling! Media Misreporting DEA on CBD “Illegality”
December 23, 2016 12:59 PM
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) recently created a new code for tracking of cannabis extracts, independent of the code that tracks cannabis itself. This minor tweak to their paperwork unfortunately set off an internet scare, with multiple news sources stating that the new code effectively reversed cannabis and hemp legality when dealing with extracts rather than plants. That was not the case: the DEA has made clear that their coding system has no legal implications, and those statements have been confirmed by industry and legal experts.
"Later, in a follow-up phone interview Baer reiterated to The Cannabist that the move allows the DEA to more accurately track elements such as scientific and medical studies, as researchers use the codes to identify which substance they’re examining."
5 Sure Fire Ways to Know if You Have Hashimoto’s
December 22, 2016 10:59 AM
Hashimoto’s disease is a hypothyroid disorder that is caused by an immune attack on your thyroid. This leads to a generally fatigued and weak feeling that persists longer than expected. It can also affect the health of your hair, your weight, and how you respond to cold environments. So, if you have been feeling rundown for a while and just generally down in the dumps with any of the other above symptoms, it may be time to talk to your doctor to get tested.
"Hashimoto’s is the most common autoimmune thyroid disorder. For a variety of reasons, your immune system sets out to attack your thyroid gland. Over time, the thyroid gland is slowly destroyed"
Do Food Cravings Actually Mean Anything?
October 29, 2016 01:52 AM
Food cravings are the surest way to ruin our best health intentions. Whether it be cravings for chocolate, cakes, fresh baked bread or other more exotic cravings, they impact nearly everyone that starts a new health program or diet. While cravings typically are at their worst in the first ten to fourteen days of a new, healthy lifestyle, don't be surprised to find them resurfacing any time you feel stressed, fatigued or anxious. Food is one of the quickest ways for the body to re-ground itself and the body will instinctively crave foods that through past habits have become associated with a pleasurable experience.Many people hold this opinion about food addiction and have heard it being spread around like wild Fire. Giving in to the craving fills us with guilt and sometimes self hatred for not having the ability to overcome this craving. Our self-esteem lowers and we hear that little voice in our heads tell us what failures we are. This further lowers our self-esteem and so we satisfy our cravings because that food make us "feel better."
Ways to Deal with Cravings
Wonders Of Elderberry
October 25, 2013 07:56 PM
The bushy like appearance, which characterizes this elderberry tree is what makes it noticeable in and around Britain. Its name means Fire, which is because of a certain goddess happened to consider this tree sacred and after she passed on, it was believed that her soul continued to reside in the tree.
With this belief, the residents used to grow the Elderberry around their homes and farms, as they believed that it had powers that could protect them from all kinds of evil things. For protection to be accorded to them, they had to offer sacrifices and prayers to it so as to be assured that they would be covered. Shrines were also made in regards to the tree, where all individuals would converge and offer thanksgiving prayers to it.
The Healthy Benefits of Elderberry
There are many health benefits associated with this wonderful tree and they go on to offer medicinal value as well as ensuring a general sense of well being in the body. It is seen as helping in the chest and nose congestion, which is evident in individuals who have all sorts of allergies. This is especially important for them because it enables them have temporary relief before getting medication from the doctors.
Common infections in women such as yeast are also catered for when it comes to the Elder tree as it constitutes the required substances that are responsible for taking care of the yeast infections.It also builds up the immune system, which helps the body to be able to fight against diseases that cause the body harm. Antioxidants are also present in the elder tree and they are at high levels, which allow the individual to choose whether to get the antioxidants from it or from modern medicine.
It is believed that every part of this tree has medicinal value, so embracing the many benefits of this tree is important because it is all rounded.
How Does GABA Help Brain Function?
May 16, 2012 08:43 AM
Gamma Amino Butyric Acid, GABA, is a neurotransmitter found in central nervous system. It has an inhibitory action on nerve transmission and helps in regulating brain activity and function.
Healthy functioning of brain is important to achieve optimal health. In today's fast paced lifestyle, work related stress and anxiety have taken a toll on man's health. Mental stress and anxiety can cause havoc on the internal systems of the body. According to American Psychological Association, stress can affect the physical as well as mental health of a person. It impairs the brain's ability to block certain toxins and can lead to certain aging conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Stress can affect brain's normal functioning and affect intellectual abilities and memory. GABA helps in calming the stress and thereby enhancing the functioning capacity of the brain. Let us understand how does GABA help in brain function?
Role of GABA in cerebral cortex:
The nervous system comprises of neurons, brain, spinal cord and neurotransmitters. The role of neurotransmitters is to transmit nerve signals from one neuron to another or from neuron to muscle or gland cell. The most abundant neurotransmitters in cerebral cortex, Glutamate and GABA, have opposite action on the neuron cells.
Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter, which results in neuron Fires and sends an electrical impulse down its length. On the other hand, GABA, made from glutamate, has inhibitory action on the nerve cells and does not allow the electrical impulse to pass through the neuron. In case of deficiency of GABA, nerve cells will Fire too often and too easily, resulting in wide number of anxiety disorders such as panic attacks, seizure disorders, headaches and other cognitive impairment disorders. Hence, GABA helps in stopping the transmission of nerve impulses from one neuron to another and thereby regulating brain activity. It has a calming effect on the brain.
Once the activity in the brain is regulated and cognitive abilities are restored by GABA, the person can think better and perform better. This natural tranquilizer allows your brain to function more efficiently. Studies have related many higher brain functions such as visual recognition and language comprehension with declining levels of GABA with advancing age. This results in easy firing of neurons by stimulus, slowing down processing of information in brain.
Health benefits of GABA:
According to studies, GABA plays an important role in healthy functioning of mind and body. It helps in:
1. Treating conditions like depression, anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and epilepsy. The result is due to the calming effect of GABA on brain activity. It helps in clear thinking and better reasoning.
2. Preventing age related conditions such as cardiovascular disorder, diabetes and cancer.
3. Inducing a sense of relaxation by providing tranquilizing effect. GABA increases dopamine hormone in the body and gives a sense of euphoria. You remain happy and of course this has a positive effect on sexual system.
4. Relieving pain.
5. Promoting body building and losing extra fat.
GABA can be purchased as a supplement in the form of pill, capsule or powder form. It is a natural alternative for relieving stress and improving brain function.
Looking for weight management Results. Frustrated with yo-yo dieting.
May 06, 2011 01:34 PM
1. Decrease caloric consumption 2. Increase exercise 3. Take inflama-Trim
Frustrated with yo-yo dieting
You may not know that inflammation is a factor in weight retention. Inflama-trim is a completely new approach to healthy weight management. It uses a powerful array of nutrients to break the cycle of metabolic inflammation, a biochemical process that may influence inappropriate storage of glucose and fats. Other products deal with thermogenesis and increasing metabolism. Inflama-Trim goes beyond thermogenesis and metabolism to take on inflammation as a significant factor in healthy weight management.
Inflammation – Inflama-trim addresses metabolic inflammation by inhibiting inflammatory chemical messengers. Help “cool down” metabolic inflammation, which can alter body chemistry and is a factor in weight retention.
Metabolism – Revving up metabolism with carefully formulated ingredients can help support cellular metabolism and thermogenesis. Light the Fire and “heat up” your body’s ability to burn calories and stored fat.
Stress support – Stress does more than wear you out. Cortisol, a hormone that increases in the body in response to stress, helps regulate metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Nutrients and herbs in Inflama-Trim help support relaxation and help balance the body’s stress response.
Energy – Increased metabolism combined with feeling calmer and more balanced can result in higher energy levels without the jitters that come with just taking pure stimulants.
**Because inflama-trim addresses the fundamental, biochemical sources of weight retention, when combined with the maximum metabolism diet and exercise plan included in every bottle, it is an effective tool to achieve results. Change your chemistry and change your life with inflama-trim!
How can I Tell if I am Magnesium Deficient?
February 09, 2011 01:25 PM
Magnesium The Essential Mineral
Magnesium is a dietary mineral that has established nutritional values in most countries. The presence of magnesium inside the human body involves many different chemical reactions, assisting more than 300 enzymes in their functional roles. That’s why we need to meet the daily recommended allowances for this dietary element, which has been calculated by the scientific community to supply the body with amounts adequate to support body functions.
An Essential Mineral
Not all enzymes are capable of producing the effects that they are programmed for on their own, and enzymes identified to rely on the presence of magnesium can be traced in almost all metabolic pathways. Molecules that comprise the structural units of RNA and DNA are extensively used as a source of energy of all cells, such as adenosine triphosphate or ATP. When enzymes utilize ATP for energy, they require another molecule that secures their binding to ATP, which is magnesium. In addition, ATP being the main source of energy that powers the functional roles of cells more often than not necessitates that it be bound to a magnesium ion to be fully activated.
Magnesium is ubiquitous in nature, and green leafy vegetables are ideal sources of this dietary element as well as nuts, wheat, seafood, and meat. In spite of that, it has been reported that in the US alone more than 60 per cent of the population does not meet the recommended daily intake for magnesium. The availability of magnesium in our diet does not ensure absorption of this essential mineral, and a significant fraction is in fact excreted along with other waste products in the urine or feces. Interestingly, diet high in protein or fat actually interferes with the absorption of magnesium.
A general feeling of malaise must not be taken lightly, for it is key indicator of magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is indispensable at the cellular level, and insufficient amounts of this element will certainly affect the way you feel, bringing about the perception of fatigue. If you feel weak all the time for no known reason, then it is recommendable to visit your doctor and find out if you have an alarming case of magnesium deficiency.
Keep in mind that high concentrations of protein and fat in the foods that you eat contribute to malabsorption of magnesium, and subsequently malnutrition. Certain medical conditions are known to deplete your reserves of elemental magnesium present in your body, notably diabetes mellitus. Drugs and medications also washes away the magnesium found in your diet and your body especially osmotic diuretics, cisplatin, ciclosporin, amphetamines, and possibly proton pump inhibitors.
Continued exposure to stress and excessive intake of alcohol both result in the unhealthy drop of magnesium levels in the blood. While there are environmental settings that we may not be able to alter, we can certainly control what we ingest. Supplementation is the only sureFire remedy for magnesium deficiency, but the best way to combat whatever symptoms you are experiencing is to seek medical advice.
It is Essential You Get Your Magnesium Daily!
Hoodia For Weight Loss
September 18, 2009 10:20 AM
The hoodia plant is a leafless, spiny plant. It is a succulent in the milkweed family. Hoodia can be found growing in South Africa and Namibia. The plant thrives in very high temperatures, taking years to mature. Bushmen from the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa have used hoodia for centuries to help fight off hunger during long treks in the desert. This ancient band of nomadic hunter-gatherers eats bite-size chunks to stave off thirst and curb their appetites on long hunting trips in the wilderness.
In early 2004, the first supplements containing a hoodia compound were introduced in the United States. These supplements were intended to be an aid for obesity and weight loss. Hoodia contains an appetite-suppressing component that is similar in molecular structure to glucose, only stronger. This component is known as P57. It is responsible for sensing a signal to the hypothalamus which tricks the body into thinking it is no longer hungry. The P57 compound seems to increase the amount of ATP in nerve cells of the hypothalamus, which is the brain’s control center for regulating thirst, hunger, and temperature. ATP is an energy-producing molecule that is created from glucose. When ATP levels are increased in hypothalamic nerve cells, those nerve cells Fire as if you had just eaten, even if you haven’t.
Some people claim that hoodia works immediately for them, within twenty to thirty minutes of taking the capsules. However, more often, people require up to two weeks of taking regular doses before they start noticing significant results. These results include a reduced interest in food, a prolonging of time after a meal before being hungry again, feeling full more quickly, and a general sense of well-being.
Studies that have been done on the effects and safety of hoodia are continuing in the United States and abroad. The prospects for the future development of this herb look very promising.
Don’t make the mistake of believing that all you have to do is take a supplement of hoodia everyday and the fat will just disappear. While some claim that has been the case for them, the majority of dieters need more help than solely diet pills. It should be remembered that the only thing the hoodia does is suppress appetite. It does not improve a bad diet or address problems of overeating. It you have a terrible diet and ten to overeat even when you are not hungry, you will not receive any benefits from hoodia. If these things describe you, you first need to tackle those issues before considering hoodia. This herb will not build muscle or burn fat. Your muscles are fat burning machines and responsible for burning fat all day long, even when you are resting. The more you have the more fat you’ll burn. Your metabolism also plays a huge role in burning fat. The only way to build muscle and speed up your metabolism is to exercise.
The stem of the hoodia plant is used to provide anorectic, aphrodisiac, and mood enhancer properties. Primarily, this herb is extremely helpful in treating diabetes, obesity, and weight loss. For more information on the many beneficial effects of hoodia, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
Vitamins Herbs And Antioxidants
October 17, 2008 09:48 AM
Grilling meat over an open Fire is something our ancestors have been doing for thousands of years. But people today who are indulging in chicken and cheeseburgers face a lot of concerns that our ancestors never even dreamed of. These include air pollutants and cancer-causing compounds. Research has proven that grilling meats creates two types of compounds that can lead to cancer. More so, both briquettes and lump charcoal spew hydrocarbons and soot particles as they burn, which encourage global warming contribute to many health problems. However, the majority of us cannot resist barbeque. So instead of dodging barbequed food, learn to grill without the guilt and fewer health risks.
Barbeque emissions are well below those from motor vehicles and the industry in rank, but its environmental effects are just as harmful given that burning charcoal contributes to smog and global warming. Lump charcoal is actually made from charred wood, which is a factor in deforestation. It can be compared to fuels that we use in furnaces and water heaters, such as oil, gas, and wood. Like these other fuels, charcoal produces soot when it is burned. These particles in soot are air pollutants and microscopic solids which are inhaled and deposited in the lungs. Particle pollution is associated with asthma, strokes, heart attacks, lung cancer, and reduced life expectancy. Once animal fat drips onto the flame of a charcoal or gas grill, carcinogenic compounds rise with the smoke and are deposited on the meat. Other harmful chemicals are then formed on the food as it continues to char. The more time the meat spends on the grill, the more harmful chemicals that are created. These compounds do not form on vegetables, as it is a reaction with animal-based foods that generates the harmful effects. However, any food that is over-charred contains other types of cancer-causing substances.
Grilling is a method of cooking that adds to the formation and deposit of cancer-causing substances on meat, as both substances deposited are undesirable and carcinogenic. The high heat of grill cooking produces more harmful chemicals than oven roasting or baking a lower temperature, but beef and chicken must both be cooked at temperatures high enough to destroy E. coli and other harmful bugs.
Because cancer risk is influenced much more by long-term patterns than occasional patterns, the goal is to have a diet that balances calories you take in with calories you put out, and to eat a diet containing many fruits and vegetables. Grilling less meat and more vegetables can reduce pollution on many levels. Also, vegetarian sources of protein, such as veggie burgers, contain few or no harmful chemicals when grilled. So for those summer days when a barbecue is irresistible, be sure to use natural charcoal, which is made from environmentally friendly wood sources and low-emission plant wastes.
Thankfully, all natural charcoals are chemical-free. In order to minimize cancerous compounds on the grill, cook at lower temperatures and flip meat every one to two minutes. Marinating meat or precooking it in a microwave for two minutes will also reduce hazardous compounds and carcinogenic compounds can be reduced by grilling lower-fat meats with fewer fat drippings.
By simply limiting the animal protein portion and making vegetables and grains a larger part of the meal, you can minimize the carcinogens and maximize your intake of cancer-protective vitamins and natural compounds. For most eliminating meat is undesirable, so supplementing with herbs and vitamins that help boost the immune system and act as antioxidants such as grape seed extract, vitamin c, and bioflavonoids can help the body fight off those nasty carcinogens produced from grilling.
Hoodia Extract And Appetite
September 26, 2008 11:36 AM
Hoodia is a plant that belongs to the milkweed family and consists of about twenty different species. It is a leafless, spiny plant, with fleshy finger-like stems. Along the stems, there are rows of thorns, while the plant bears flesh-colored flowers. Flies are attracted to the flowers by the strong smell of decaying meat, causing the flies to lay their eggs and pollinate the flowers. Sometimes spelled hootia, hodia, hoodie, and hudia, hoodia has recently gained a great amount of attention in the United Kingdom and America after being featured on BCC and CBS. Often growing in summer rainfall areas in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, along with winter rainfall areas in Nambia, hoodia gordonii is the only species that contains the chemical component that suppresses appetite.
Hoodia has been used for thousands of years by San Bushmen, as it populates the arid territories of South Africa and Namibia. Because San Bushmen needed to remain active in order to survive, they had little need for dieting, but this plant provided them with stamina and a curbed appetite during long periods without food. Along with reducing or eliminating the desire for food, many people believe that hoodia also increases energy and can act as an aphrodisiac on the user.
The appetite-suppressing ingredient found in hoodia is a molecule that is similar to, but stronger than glucose. The active compound that was isolated to be responsible for appetite suppression is P57, which works by sending a signal to the hypothalamus of the brain, tricking the body into thinking that it is no longer hungry, and resulting in a complete lack of appetite. P57 is a steroid like molecule that is chemically bonded to a chain of three sugar molecules. The appetite-suppressing and mood-enhancing properties of P57 go directly to the mid-brain, where it causes neuron cells to Fire as if you were full.
The hypothalamus is the region of the brain that contains several important centers which control body temperature, thirst, hunger, water balance, and sexual function. Additionally, the hypothalamus is closely connected with emotional activity and sleep and also functions as a center for the integration of hormonal and autonomic nervous activity through the control of pituitary secretions. In short, the hypothalamus links the nervous system to the endocrine system. The pituitary gland is often thought of as the mater gland in our bodies, as the anterior and posterior pituitary secrete a variety of hormones that influence all cells and affect almost all physiological processes.
The pituitary gland is powered by the hypothalamus, as some of the neurons in the hypothalamus secrete the hormones that are responsible for controlling the secretion of hormones from the anterior pituitary. The inhibiting and releasing hormones of the hypothalamus are carried directly to the anterior pituitary where hypothalamic hormones bind to receptors on anterior pituitary cells.
The P57 hormone that is found in hoodia works by increasing the amount of ATP in nerve cells found in the hypothalamus. ATP is an energy-producing molecule that is formed from glucose. When there are increased levels of ATP in hypothalamic nerve cells, those nerve cells Fire as if you had just eaten, even when you haven’t. Hoodia is a safe herb taken for hundreds of years, have you tried Hoodia lately?
August 09, 2008 11:37 AM
Recent studies have found the importance of magnesium as a nutrient and its impact on general and heart health. Nutritional magnesium is deeply involved in the production of energy, the uptake of oxygen, the function of the central nervous system, the balance of electrolytes, the metabolism of glucose, and the activity of muscles, including the heart. When magnesium’s importance in the heart muscle is closely examine, the microscope is necessary, as it gets right down to the cellular and molecular levels.
Magnesium has an essential role in many of the functions of energy production and is an integral part of the energy and protein molecules, without which the heart would not have the proper energy to contract and relax. Magnesium is also essential in the construction of the cell membrane, as the heart is composed of cells and the magnesium plays a role in the strength of the heart muscle itself.
When magnesium levels begin to get too low the body will try to adapt, but the basic functions of energy production and cell structure are affected. Without enough magnesium, the cell is unable to keep the proper number of high-energy molecules that is needed to function properly. It doesn’t just end there though, as just about everything starts to go once magnesium falls below a certain level, and then cellular damage can result. Sodium balance and electrolyte balance also start to change, while the cell is unable to have a fully integrated membrane system due to magnesium deficiency, calcium and sodium start to rush into abnormal areas for the muscle cells which can cause cellular damage.
If a person is not getting adequate magnesium, they may go into a marginal state, which can be taken to a depleted state with a certain trauma or excessive physical, emotional, or mental stress. This depleted state can manifest as hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, and possibly even a heart attack. Magnesium requirements increase during times of stress which include exercise, mental and emotional issues, high noise, chemical toxins, and others. Requirements for magnesium also rise during healing from a bodily trauma such as an injury or operation. A low magnesium condition can be worsened by a high intake of calcium, as calcium can not be optimally utilized without the proper balance of magnesium, and a high calcium intake without magnesium will cause further drainage of any magnesium reserves. Although calcium is necessary at the cellular level for muscles to contract, nerves to Fire, and hormones to be produced and released, too much calcium and too little magnesium is a disaster. Another problem related to heart health is cholesterol, a fatty substance found in many areas of the body. Since cholesterol has gotten such a bad name, many people do not know that it is actually produced in all cells naturally and is important for proper bodily functions.
Finally, one of the reactions that are involved in cholesterol production is called rate-limiting reaction, as it keeps control of the amount of cholesterol manufactured. The rate-limiting reaction requires magnesium, which can cause cholesterol to continue to be manufactured beyond the cells control if magnesium is unavailable, resulting in cholesterol buildup. As you can see, magnesium is vital to the body and if not obtained from your diet, should be supplemented through a vitamin supplement from a health food store. For more information on magnesium and its healthful effects on the body, feel free to contact your local health food store.
April 29, 2008 10:49 AM
Butterbur extract is taken mainly from the rhizome, root and leaves of the butterbur, a member of the daisy family. They are very hardy and have creeping underground rhizomes and large leaves like those of rhubarb. Another name given to it is the sweet Coltsfoot, and they generally grow in the temperate climates of Europe, North Africa and South west Asia. They like damp conditions, specifically marshes and ditches, and also riverbanks where there are always plentiful supplies of moisture.
It has been used by Native Americans for headaches and inflammation, and has been shown to be an effective remedy for hay fever and to provide relief from painful menstrual cramps. Butterbur has also been used throughout the middle Ages to treat fever and the plague, and has been recorded in the seventeenth century as being used for asthma, wounds and coughs. However, one of its most important applications is in restore bladder function in the incontinent and semi-incontinent.
Urinary incontinence is typified by an unusually high frequency of urination – more than 8 times a day, an immediate strong urge to pass water or leaking and involuntary urination. Any two of these three indicates urinary incontinence. As people age their bladders become smaller, and by definition the periods between urination will reduce. This does not, however, suggest that bladder size is the cause of urinary incontinence.
Urination is caused by the contraction of the smooth layered muscle that surrounds the bladder, called the detrusor, a contraction in turn caused by neurons both in the brain and in the detrusor itself. This naturally contracts and expands according to the volume of urine in the bladder, and once the bladder is about half full the brain will tell you that the detrusor is ready to contract to expel the urine. However, if the time is not convenient, the cortex will suppress this desire until a more convenient time.
In incontinence, the desire is suppressed but the neurons still Fire to contract the detrusor, expelling urine at inconvenient moments. Butterbur contains the sesquiterpenes petasin and isopetasin, which are known to reduce spasms in smooth muscle tissue and in vascular walls. It can therefore be used to control the involuntary spasms that cause urine leakage or expulsion against the patient’s wishes. These sesquiterpenes are at highest concentration in the roots of the plant.
The effect that the sesquiterpenes have in inhibiting the synthesis of leukotriene in leukocytes tends to support this effect, since leukotrienes can cause contraction of vascular and smooth muscle tissue. Not only this, but the spasmolytic effect could also be explained by the inhibition of cellular calcium caused by the petasin isomers.
Many studies have indicated that the effectiveness of butterbur extract is also useful in the prevention of migraines. There has been a lot of research carried out on the use of butterbur extract on migraine sufferers, and the effective dose appears to about 75 mg twice daily. There is little evidence of it being a cure but as a prophylactic there appears no doubt of its efficacy: there have been too many positive results against placebos for its effect to be deniable.
It is significant that leukotriene can cause constriction of the small blood vessels in the veins, and so affect the flow of blood. Butterbur, in inhibiting its biochemical production, helps to keep these blood vessels open. Lekotrienes are also important components of inflammation, and altogether it appears that whatever the real cause of migraine, the petasin isomers in butterbur have an effect in inhibiting its initiation. Add to that the potential reduction in calcium content that can cause blood vessels to become less flexible, and the argument for its effectiveness is both irrefutable and well explained.
In one example of such a double blind study that is representative of many, a group of patients given 50 mg butterbur extract twice a day for twelve weeks experienced a 60% reduction in the frequency of attacks, a reduction in the severity of the attacks they did have, and a reduction in the length of the attacks. Although the vascular theory of the cause of migraine is no longer supported, maintenance of the vascular system appears to at least reduce the likelihood of attacks.
The effect of butterbur on asthma and other allergic reactions is also well documented. This again is due to its anti-spasmodic properties and inhibitory effect on the inflammatory immune response through the inhibition of leukotriene synthesis and the consequent positive effect on the metabolism of prostaglandin. Prostaglandins also constrict vascular smooth muscle cells, regulate the mediation of the inflammatory response and constrict general smooth muscle cells. All of these can lead a to a variety of disorders cause by smooth muscle spasms in additional to urinary incontinence, such as menstrual cramps, liver and gastrointestinal disorders and asthmatic conditions.
In one study of allergic rhinitis, administration of butterbur extract appeared to result in a reduction in the histamine and leukotriene content of nasal fluids and no difference was noticed between this treatment and histamine treatment. This was a useful study because histamines causes drowsiness and butterbur can be used as a substitute for histamine without the sedative effect. A study in Germany in 1993 has shown that the stomach ulceration caused by the anti-inflammatory medications for arthritis was reduced by the administration of butterbur extract
Cetirizine is a commonly prescribed prescription treatment for allergic conditions, and studies comparing that with butterbur demonstrated them to be equally effecting in reducing the symptoms typical of allergic reactions such as sneezing, runny nose and nasal congestion. 50% of the patients in the group took each and there was no difference in results. Again it was explained by the petasin limiting the production of leukotriene and histamine, both of which are produced by the immune response and promote mucous secretions and inflammation. They also constrict airways that can be serious to asthma sufferers
These studies are simply providing scientific evidence and explanations for the tradition use of this plant for such conditions. Butterbur has been used for centuries to treat such conditions all over Western Europe, and once again the use of traditional medicine has been supported by modern investigative techniques.
Fight Stress With Magnesium Supplements
April 17, 2008 04:16 PM
When stress hormones are released into the body due to a stressful situation, several things may happen. Your metabolic rate can increase, heart rate jumps, blood vessels contract and get tighter, the rate at which one breaths gets more frequent and shorter, muscles contract in response to stress among other things.
At the cellular level a significant inflow of calcium decrease cellular magnesium to calcium ratios which stimulates cellular function such as secrete fluids, contract, go into active mode. The muscles prepare to contract this includes the lungs, heart, and blood vessels. Nerves start to Fire more frequent, the blood gets ready to clot, and secondary stress hormones are released. Normally when the stress crisis is over, magnesium moves back into the cells at the cellular level forcing calcium out relaxing the cells, this allows the body to slow down and relax, the nerves calm down and blood flow slows.
Magnesium plays a vital role to relax the body, once the stressful situation is over. The demand for magnesium goes up with stress. If there are inadequate amounts of magnesium in the body, this magnesium deficiency can in itself sustain a stress response. A magnesium deficiency itself can initiate and maintain a stress response without a trigger to cause the stress in the first place. Low magnesium states can prevent the body from relaxing and cause muscle cramping. After a stressful situation, adequate magnesium is needed to help the body shift over to a relaxed state.
Boarder-line magnesium individuals can have a mental, emotional, environmental or physical state of continuous stress where their bodies never come down out of the stress state. This can be detrimental to health and wellness. Drinking coffee, alcohol, and eating lots of sugary foods will cause the body to become depleted. Today’s diets high in over processed foods are lacking magnesium; one should supplement by either changing ones diet or adding magnesium to their diet in mineral supplement form.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include signs such as, muscle cramps or twitches, insomnia, irritability, sensitivity to loud noises, anxiety, nervousness, autism, ADHD, heart palpitations, angina, constipation, spasms in the muscles, headaches, migraines, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, asthma and kidney stones (typically caused by a calcium-magnesium imbalance), diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, menstrual cramps, irritable bladder, irritable bowel, acid reflux, and premenstrual syndrome, depression, low energy, weakness in the muscles, weakening bones (bone density loss), and calcification of organs.
Women who consume high amounts of calcium can actually create a greater deficiency in magnesium leading to greater bone mineral density lost then if no calcium was consumed at all. Foods today that are being fortified with calcium are actually helping women loose more bone density because magnesium is not in the right proportions.
To word off the negative effects of a prolonged or over-reaction to stress including a shortened lifespan, one needs to balance out their magnesium to calcium ratios by adding adequate amounts of both magnesium and calcium to their diet. Supplementing with 400 mgs to 800 mgs of elemental magnesium is critical for one looking to live a healthier longer life that is free from stress.
Keywords: Magnesium Deficiency, Fight Stress, Magnesium, Calcium, Fight High Blood Pressure
Description: Are you feeling tired, sick or maybe you feel like something is wrong but not quite sure what it is? Would you know if you had a magnesium deficiency? Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic functions in the body; learn how it can help you!
Cayenne for your aches and pains!
December 22, 2007 11:15 AM
Cayenne is the spicy pepper that is found in the same family as bell peppers and jalapenos. It is responsible for putting the kick into a lot of different spicy dishes, but it also helps to promote better health. Cayenne creams have capsaicin, an active compound which has proven to ease the pain of arthritic joints, along with the discomfort from shingles, muscular aches and spasms, bursitis, diabetic neuropathy, and phantom pains that follow amputation. By rubbing capsaicin on the skin, one can get rid of the chemical messengers that usually send pain signals. Even though the source of pain will still be there, using capsaicin will cause relief from the pain. However, this effect won’t last, so you will need to keep applying the cream to continue to deplete messengers that send pain signals. To use capsaicin, start by applying it four times a day for the first four days, then cut back to twice daily. You can tell a cayenne cream is working because there is a definite tingle, sometimes even a sting when you first apply them. Be careful not to put too much of this potent stuff on irritated or broken skin and be sure to wash your hands after applying so that you do not get the cream into sensitive areas such as your eyes and mouth.
By consuming cayenne in foods or in a capsule, one can ease the pain of stomachache, cramps, gas, or indigestion. One can also benefit the cardiovascular system by lowering LDL cholesterol and can also protect the body from free radical damage. Even more promising research on cayenne has found that cayenne cranks up thermogenesis and also suppresses appetite, assisting in weight loss. This means that while your mouth is burning from the spicy food, you are also burning calories. This spicy herb has also shown promising results in its ability to protect the stomach lining from damaging effects of aspirin. If you know that you have an ulcer or gastritis, make sure to use cayenne cautiously as it could worsen those conditions.
If you are looking for a great way to cleanse your system, an effect detox drink can be made from cayenne. By simply squeezing the juice of one lemon into a pint of warm water and adding a pinch of cayenne and one tablespoon of maple syrup, an effective drink can be created. Drinking one or more cups daily will produce great effects. If you’ve decided to eat mostly raw fruits and veggies during your cleansing diet, you might find that the raw foods can be tough to digest. A lot of people have found that when their digestive Fire is weak, the raw fruit and vegetables are not easily digested. By sprinkling a little cayenne on your foods, you can build up the inner digestive Fire, making raw foods much more easily digested. To get all of these great and helpful benefits, you can find cayenne at any local health food store or pharmacy. Cayenne can enhance absorption of the vitamins and prescription drugs you are currently taking; always first, be sure to consult your health care practitioner to make sure that cayenne is right for you.
Triphala: A Traditional Ayurvedic Herb to Help Cleanse the Body
November 01, 2007 01:44 PM
Triphala is a traditional Indian ayurvedic remedy, that, as the name suggests, is actually composed of three different herbs or fruits. However, before describing the constituents, first an explanation of what ayurveda is and what it does.
Ayurveda is a science that is centuries old, and has been in use for at least five thousand years. Originating in prehistoric India, it is based upon the approach it takes in that all ills are caused by anomalies of the digestive system. All that exists on earth is believed to be composed of five elements (the pancha mahabhooota): earth (prithyi), Fire (agni), water (jal), air (yayu) and ether (akash). The latter can be approximately described as space
Ayurveda combines these into three main doshas: Vata, a combination of the ether are air elements, Pitta, which is the same as the Fire element, and Kapha that is a combination of the earth and water elements). Each of these has specific effects on the body, and when in equilibrium then the body is also in equilibrium.
Vata governs what is loosely described as movement in both the mind and body. An excess of vata leads to worries, anxiety, constipation and cramps of the stomach. It is responsible for waste elimination, flow of the blood, breathing and even movement of thought. Everything connected with movement in the body. It is believed to be expressed visibly and audibly as creativity and art and is believed also to be the initial cause of all disease and illness.
Pitta, the Fire dosha, governs the metabolism and body heat. It is responsible for the way we digest our food and how we know right from wrong. An excess of pitta causes anger, ulcers, dyspepsia and criticism. If your pitta is balanced you are a good friend and warm personality.
Kapha provides and maintains the physical elements of the body, such as good joints, healing of wounds and strength. It maintains a strong heart and lungs, and everything physical. It promotes love and forgiveness, but also envy and greed. Too much in an individual causes lethargy, allergies, congestion and weight gain. It is also called the mucus humor.
The three fruits of triphala are amalaki, bhibitaki and haritaki, and together maintain these three doshas in balance. Amalaki, or amla, is used to treat an imbalance in the pitta, or Fire humor. It is sour and is exceptionally rich in vitamin C and is therefore a strong anti-oxidant. It is the highest natural source of this vitamin. It is used as a tonic, for boosting the immune system and for its anti-aging properties. It is also a good adaptogen and has strong stomach acid neutralizing effects. It is therefore effective in reducing dyspepsia and in the treatment of gastric ulcers, and also possesses cholesterol-reducing properties. Amalaki provides the body with strength and is used in the treatment of disorders of the respiratory tract and any illness that creates burning sensations.
Bhibitaki, or bihara, is also useful in the treatment of respiratory disorders, and has a number of effects that are useful in treating digestive disorder. It deals with problems associated with the kapha or mucus humor. Thus, it possesses anti-mucal, laxative, astringent, digestive and anti-spasmodic properties, and is also a tonic and an expectorant and helps deal with allergies.
Haritaki, or haradaha, deals with diseases of the vata humor. It is very bitter with a strong antimicrobial and laxative effect on the digestive system, and is a rejuvenator that promotes long life and boosts the immune system of the body (though the scientific effect was unknown to the ancient exponents of ayurveda). It also possesses an astringent and lubricant effect and used to treat constipation, anxiety and stress.
When combined into triphala, the products are a popular treatment for all digestive disorders and is popularly used to cleanse the colon. It aids digestion, improves the metabolic processes involved and also aids abdominal pains, flatulence and eases conditions of the liver. It is useful in the treatment of what today are termed ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. The ancient Indians were able to treat these conditions of the digestive systems without understanding what they were and what caused them.
Triphala is also widely used in the treatment of conjunctivitis and prevention of atherosclerosis. This is likely due to its antioxidant effect and the high level of ascorbic acid it contains. Its anti-inflammatory properties are also likely derived from the same source. These properties, and its effects as a tonic and cleanser, render it a popular treatment for many skin conditions. It is a multi-purpose treatment for a multitude of illnesses and conditions and has been used effectively for thousands of years.
Modern science has provided an explanation for most of these effects. Many of the conditions that triphala is effective in treating have been shown to be caused by excessive blood cholesterol and lipid levels. Many can be attributed to circulatory disorders caused by cholesterol build up in the arteries, or atherosclerosis. Some of the benefits of the three fruits are associated with the lowering of cholesterol and of blood pressure that benefits circulation.
Cholesterol build up and internal stress is associated with the consumption of hot spicy foods, the use of excessive stimulants and repression of the natural emotions. The way the body handles these is to produce corticosteroids that can contribute to cholesterol build up in the blood. Triphala can be used to reduce blood LDL cholesterol and increase the HDL lipoprotein that eliminates cholesterol from the body. Amla fruit has been shown to reduce serum and aortic cholesterol, and also increase cardiac glycogen that provides an energy source for the heart that can help prevent cardiac disease.
Bihara contains 35% oil of which 31% is linoleic that increases the good HDL cholesterol and reduces the bad LDL cholesterol. Harada has been found to reduce blood pressure and intestinal spasms, thus backing up its use for treating heart and intestinal conditions.
Triphala is a traditional ayurvedic herb that has many uses in cleansing the body that have been investigated and backed up by modern medical science. The mixture of the three fruits have strong anti-oxidant, anti-spasmodic and cholesterol reducing effects, and also possess laxative properties that can ease a large number of different physical and psychological health problems.
FDA proposes to allow irradiated foods to go label-free
July 30, 2007 10:05 AM
Since 1986, any food sold in the United States that has been irradiated must, by law, disclose that fact to the consumer, by bearing the international radura symbol as well as the words “treated by irradiation” or “Treated with radiation.” However, if the FDA has its way, all that could change. The agency put forth a proposal in April which would require that packaging only reveal a food has been irradiated if the process created a “material change” in the food, such as a change in color, texture, or taste outside of the normal variances for the food. Additionally, the FDA is proposing allowing food manufacturers to substitute the word “pasteurization” for irradiation,” which has a decidedly negative association in the American consumer’s mind.
Does irradiation = pasteurization?
The bit about swapping the term “pasteurization” for “irradiation” is not actually new. Food manufacturers have been allowed to do that since the passage of the 2002 farm bill, which broadened the legal definition of pasteurization to include “any safe process that is at least as protective as pasteurization and is reasonably certain to kill the most resistant pathogens likely to occur in food.” The California Almond Board, apparently inspired by that legislation, recently announced its decision to irradiate raw almonds and label them “pasteurized.” However, most people still understand the old definitions, whereby pasteurization means using heat to destroy pathogens and irradiation means using ionizing radiation to do so.
Consumers want to know
What is new about the current proposal is the suggestion to lift the requirement that irradiated foods be labeled as such. And that won’t go over so well among consumers. According to a 1997 poll commissioned by the American Association of Retired Persons and Center for Science in the Public Interest, 88.6 percent of Americans want irradiated foods to be labeled. Indeed, the last time the FDA made a move to allow irradiated foods to go label free, the agency received more than 5,000 comments on the issue.
What’s at stake?
According to the consumer group Center for Food Safety, irradiation can create potentially dangerous chemical byproducts, such as benzene and toluene; cause stunted growth in lab animals fed irradiated foods; and reduces foods’ nutrition value.
Noting irradiation’s unpopularity, the FDA stated that if foods treated with irradiation were not required to be labeled, more manufacturers would probably opt to use it. The agency is particularly concerned given the E.coli outbreak last November in fresh spinach.
Fortunately, even if the proposal becomes law, there will still be one sureFire way to avoid irradiated foods: buying Organic.
References used in this article.
Civic leaders and public citizen tell wal-mart “Nebraskans won’t buy meat treated with irradiation” ! public citizen. May 27, 2007. //www.tradewatch.org/pressroom/release.cfm?ID=201
FDA may loosen labeling rules for irradiated foods. Center for infectious disease research & policy (CIDRAP). //www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/fs/irradiation/news/apr1007irradiation.html
FDA proposes softening irradiated food labels. April 4, 2004. USA today. //www.usatoday.com/news/health/2007-04-05-food-irradiation_N.htm
Food irradiation. The center for food safety. //www.centerforfoodsafety.org/food_irrad.cfm
Supplements for Sexual health!
April 17, 2007 02:35 PM
Improving Sexual Performance Naturally
Sex. It’s everywhere. It’s on TV (a lot!). It’s in the books we read and the movies we watch. Even the radio seems a veritable hot bed of sex. (what would hard rock, soft jazz, or Motown classics be without songs about sex?) Magazines are full of sex and it’s not just the “naughty” ones with glossy centerfolds. From Sports Illustrated to Good Housekeeping, sex makes for titillating headlines and cover stories. In fact, 21st Century
No one really knows for sure how many of the 113 million married Americans are living as couples with DINS (dual income, no sex). Estimates range from 15 to 50 percent. Even couples who have sex fairly often feel like they’re not having enough sex or that it’s not as enjoyable as it was in the past, or both. And while women are stereotyped as the sex refusers and avoiders, surveys show that both women and men decline spousal advances fairly equally.
What’s really interesting about this lack of sexual activity in
As a medicine hunter, I have discovered effective plants and herbs al over the planet that really do improve orgasms in women and erections in men. Now it’s your turn. I’m going to teach you how to enhance your sexuality and introduce you to an entire arsenal of libido lifting plants to help make sex fun, vibrant, and satisfying for both you and your partner.
Q. These plants sound too good to be true. Do they really work?
A. Yes, they do. Part of their success is their ability to work with your body’s innate mechanisms for healthy sex. Good sex is much more than just stimulated body parts. But it’s a good place to start!
A man needs an erect penis that remains firm past foreplay and on into intercourse. He also needs to sustain that erection and experience forceful and pleasurable ejaculation when he and his partner are both ready for his orgasm. A woman needs to feel desire and feel desired for her nipples to be aroused, her clitoris stimulated, and her vagina lubricated – the basics leading to her orgasm.
Plants that enhance sex can help men and women obtain these bare necessities of sex. And unlike other supplements, you’ll know if the medicinal plant you’ve purchased is actually doing what it promised to do. You can’t really tell if the calcium supplement you take each day is making your bones stronger. But you will be able to tell pretty soon if Catuaba, for example, is increasing your sexual desire.
Q. Night after night, my husband falls asleep on the sofa. And the honest to goodness truth is that I’m too tired for sex, too. I love my husband and once upon a time I loved sex. But my job, the kids, those never-ending errands, and trying to keep up with the laundry are too exhausting. Is there a plant that can rev us up?
A. Many women are in the same sexless boat you’re sailing around in and they don’t like it any more than you do. In fact, women all over the world put their family’s needs before their own, leading to some very tired moms and wives.
Life’s demands can also impair sexual performance in men. Work stressors, family demands, and home maintenance result in fatigue and lack of energy. Men find that they have no energy left to devote to to sex at the end of the day.
But, over 80 percent of married couples in the world have at their disposal a health care system that integrates sex into their personal health and well being. For centuries, millennia actually, practitioners of traditional medicine have prescribed Maca and Rhodiola to reduce “sexual fatigue” in women and men who are just too tired to make love.
Q. Since I had a baby four months ago, I have no desire for sex. This is making my husband pretty frustrated and me too, actually. I’d love to want sex again.
A. A married woman with a baby and a toddler or two can feel that her body isn’t really hers. So much for feeling sexy! While this fact can be a source of great pride and joy, it can also drain desire.
As women enter perimenopause – those years when they are still menstruating despite fluctuating estrogen levels – they often have no desire for sex. Since estrogen is the engine that drives women’s reproductive function, when it starts to go, sex goes too. Women who have reached menopause may find their minds wandering during sex. Pondering the car’s need for an oil change or if the milk in the refrigerator has reached its expiration date makes for pretty blah sex. It also makes it nearly impossible to achieve orgasm.
Once more, traditional medicine has some answers:
Q. My husband has a desire for sex, but sometimes it’s not enough. Even if we’re both in the mood, he can’t maintain his erection very long. It’s very frustrating for us both.
A. For men it’s often their equipment that lets them down. As men age, they find they can’t get an erection hard enough or keep an erection long enough to satisfy their partners and themselves.
While women can fake an orgasm if they’re tired, men have to perform every single time they have sex. Luckily, Mother Nature can help:
Q. There are hundreds of supplements that claim to make men hard and women weak with desire. I’ve tried some of these, and they don’t do anything. When should I believe that the herbs and plan medicines you have discovered are nay better?
A. There are a lot of “snake oil” companies out there pitching products that promise to improve our sex lives but do absolutely nothing. One reason for this glut of useless supplements is simple demand. Men and women trying to make their sex lives better, are willing to give most products the benefit of the doubt and buy one or two. Sex sells – and even products that are purchased one time only will make big profits.
To get the most for your money, make sure the sexual supplement you are considering is from a well-respected manufacturer. Ask store staff, surf the Internet, and do some searching for the best nutraceutical companies. Make sure the herbs are standardized and that the extracts are concentrated fro optimal benefit.
Q. Are these sex-enhancing plants safe?
A. Despite years of use by practitioners of traditional medicine, significant adverse effects have not been reported for most sex-enhancing plants. However, men who have already been diagnosed with certain health conditions such as high blood pressure, thyroid disease, prostate problems, or other illnesses should use caution when selecting any health supplement. The same advice applies to women, especially women who are pregnant or nursing. And always remember to keep your doctor informed about the supplements you are using, especially if you are also taking prescription drugs. But the sex-enhancing plants have been traveling on planet Earth for a long, long time. And hopefully they’ll be here for lot longer, continuing to work effectively and go about their business of safely improving orgasms and erections and making sex great for men and women all over the world.
Q. OK, exactly how did early native healers figure out which plants improve sex? Was it just simple trial and error?
A. It does seem pretty remarkable that tribal peoples have discovered the right plants to treat diseases and improve health without modern day scientific advances.
From my many years as a “medicine hunter” in rainforests and grasslands and marshes and mountains, I’ve learned that healing plants exist for virtually every health need. It’s up to the medicine man or women to put the plant into practice. These healers have been able to do this successfully for thousands of people, by intensively studying and working with the plants. By putting themselves into the plant’s world, becoming part of the world around them, native healers have intuitively discovered which plant helps which disease. It wasn’t mere luck that brought all those plants and all those healers together. It was the natural and spiritual connection existing between the two.
Q. Are there other “natural” remedies we can use to improve our sex lives?
A. The easiest way to naturally enhance your sex life is to practice, practice, practice! Because if you don’t use it, you might lose it. Studies have shown that couples in the Amazon rainforest as well as couples in the concrete jungle of New York City have better sex lives if thy make sex a priority. All the sex-enhancing plants in the world are useless if the men and women taking them don’t put them to the test.
Men who smoke need to quit. Research has shown that cigarettes send men’s sex lives up in smoke. Men who smoke more than 20 cigarettes daily have a 60 percent higher risk of erectile dysfunction compared to men who never smoked. That’s because smoking decreases blood flow making it difficult for men to obtain an erection.
And finally, since sex is a visual and tactile endeavor, there are quite natural and creative ways to give it a boost. Visually stimulating images can arouse even the tiredest of the tired. Premiere Magazine recently compiled a list of the most erotic movie sex scenes ever. You don’t have to feel embarrassed when renting these movies (as you might with pornography) at the video store and they are guaranteed to light up your life:
<![if !supportLists]>1. <![endif]>
<![if !supportLists]>2. <![endif]>Hilary Swank pleasuring Chloe Sevigny in BOYS DON’T CRY (1999)
<![if !supportLists]>3. <![endif]>Brad Pitt and Claire Forlani making love in MEET JOE BLACK (1998)
<![if !supportLists]>4. <![endif]>Leonardo DiCaprio drawing Kate Winslet in the nude in TITANIC (1997)
<![if !supportLists]>5. <![endif]>Sharon Stone uncrossing her legs while she is being interrogated in a room full of en in BASIC INSTINCT (1992)
<![if !supportLists]>6. <![endif]>Patrick Swazye and Demi Moore in the pottery secene early on in GHOST (1990)
<![if !supportLists]>7. <![endif]>Michael Douglas and Glenn Close having sex in an elevator in FATAL A TTRACTION (1987)
<![if !supportLists]>8. <![endif]>Mickey Rourke caressing Kim Basinger’s body with an ice cube in 9 1.2 WEEKS (1986)
<![if !supportLists]>9. <![endif]>William Hurt and Kathleen Turner having sex in BODY HET (1981)
<![if !supportLists]>10. <![endif]>Julie Christine and Donald Sutherland making love in DON’T LOOK NOW (1973)
<![if !supportLists]>11. <![endif]>Rita Hayworth flipping back her hair and singing “Put The Blame on Mame” in FILDA (1946)
One Important Last Point
Sex always has consequences. And improving your sex life does not eliminate the requirement to practice it responsibly. Sexually transmitted diseases, hepatitis, and HIV/AIDS must be prevented, pregnancy must be considered and consent between partners must exist.
Sexual activity keeps us connected – both tangibly and spiritually to our heart’s desire. It helps us feel secure and well loved and adds to our self esteem. In other words, good sex is important to good life.
But all of us need a little help now and then. Sex-enhancing plants that have been used for thousands of years by millions of people provide that help. You can have actual sexual healing with effective sexual supplements and maybe find out what you’ve been missing.
After all, 80 percent of the world’s married couples can’t be wrong!
Safe Solutions for Chronic Pain
March 30, 2007 12:09 PM
Safe Solutions for Chronic Pain
One of the biggest challenged in healthcare today is the problem of pain. There are simply too many people living each and every day with ongoing, unremitting chronic pain. And there are far too many healthcare providers who – for a variety of reasons – are failing to adequately address this serious problem.
Recently, 368 doctors who routinely care for patients with chronic pain agreed to take part in a unique study. The doctors were surveyed about the pain medicines hey prescribe, what kind of treatment goals they hope to achieve, and how they felt about their ability to help their patients. They were also presented with four chronic pain vignettes or mock case studies and asked to select the best treatment for each scenario from multiple choice answers.
Sadly, many doctors chose the worst treatment options in the case studies. The medications they reported using in their practices did not reflect current pain treatment standards. They tended to set low treatment goals 0 instead of aiming for a least a 75% reduction of pain for their patients, they settled for 10% to 20% reductions. And many of the doctors admitted they lacked confidence in their ability to relieve their patients’ pain and suffering.
Adding to the challenge are the almost daily news announcements about dangerous side effects in certain pain medications. Synthetic prescription COX-2 inhibitors, once hailed as the safest of drugs, have been linked to heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and intestinal bleeding. The over-the counter (OTC) drugs aspirin and ibuprofen kill over 16,000 people each year. And acetaminophen, the most widely used pain reducer in the
As a doctor specializing in chronic pain disorders, I know that optimal pain management can be a real challenge. However, I also know:
-You do not have to live in chronic pain.
-Your chronic pain, no matter what the cause, can be reduced, and usually
-Chronic pain can be relived both effectively and safely with powerful all-natural
Q. What is chronic pain?
A. Sudden, or acute, pain occurs when pain signals immediately Fire in your nervous system alerting you to an injury, like a broken ankle, or an illness, such as appendicitis. Once the injury heals or the illness is cured, the transmission of pain signals stop.
Ongoing – or chronic pain – is much different. Chronic pain persists. Pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years. There may have been an initial injury, such as sprained back muscles, or an initial illness, such as a serious infection. There might be an ongoing cause of pain, such as arthritis, cancer, or fibromyalgia. Chronic pain also occurs without any past injury or evidence of body damage.
The most common kinds of chronic pain are headache, low back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, and neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to nerves or to the nervous system itself). While chronic pain differs in its origin and where it occurs, it is generally your body’s way of saying that something urgently needs attention, and will not o away unless its underlying causes are addressed.
These causes can usually be determined if you remember the acronym “SHIN”. This stands for Sleep, Hormonal deficiencies, Infections/Inflammation/Impingement, and Nutritional deficiencies. When these are treated, pain often resolves.
Q. Why is it so hard to effectively reduce chronic pain?
A. Unfortunately, many physicians’ entire education in pain management consists of “giving nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (pronounced en-sayds), COX-2 inhibitors, or acetaminophen and considering narcotics if the patient has cancer.
Some NSAIDs, like aspirin and ibuprofen, are available over-the-counter, while others, like the synthetic COX-2 inhibitors are only available with a doctor’s prescription. These mediations are usually inadequate and often toxic when used for chronic pain. And they do not address the problem(s) that the pain is trying to alert you to.
Q. What exactly are COX-2 inhibitors?
A. COX-2 inhibitors do pretty much what their name implies – they inhibit a natural enzyme in our body called the clclooxygenase-2, or COX-2, enzyme. There are two COX enzymes – COX-1 and COX-2 and both complete several actions in our bodies. One very important action that both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes share is the speeding up of our body’s production of prostaglandins. These hormone-like substances are made by the cells of the body and have several important functions.
Some of the most powerful prostaglandins cause inflammation, pain, and fever when we are sick or injured. Prostaglandins also protect the lining of the stomach from the damaging effects of acid. Other prostaglandins make sure our platelets (important blood cells) make blood clots when needed. Still others help our kidneys get rid of unwanted salt and water. And researchers have just recently recognized the importance of still another prostaglandin that protects our heart and blood vessels.
The NSAIDs reduce pain by reducing prostaglandin production by blocking or inhibiting the COX enzymes. In theory – less prostaglandins, less pain and welling seems reasonable. But if you really stop and think about it, it’s pretty easy to understand why this method of pain relief might result in significant consequences.
Pain and inflammation are often needed for healing. And just as needed is the protection of our stomach lining, blood clotting ability, assisting kidney function, and keeping our blood vessels healthy. And scientists are beginning to understand if you interfere with one natural response, you may be disrupting the body’s ability to prevent extremes and imbalances.
That’s why using aspirin and ibuprofen can result in stomach ulcers, kidney problems, and internal bleeding. And that’s why using synthetic COX-2 inhibitors can result in high blood pressure, blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes.
Q. Why are we just now learning about the dangers of COX-2 inhibitors and other NSAIDs?
A. That’s a good question!
Many people over the age of 65 have chronic pain conditions and are frequent users of OTC and prescription NSAIDs. This age group also experiences heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease in greater numbers. So, if a 70 year old woman who’s been using Celebrex for the past two years for arthritis in her knees suddenly has a heart attack one morning, it would not be entirely unexpected.
For the past five or six years, researchers have been studying the possibility that NSAIDs may prevent certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, and other health problems. The ongoing, close scrutiny of large group of people taking these medications by scientists who were conducting these studies has resulted in the discovery of these dangers.
Q. What kind of natural compounds relieve chronic pain?
A. There are many – glucosamine, Omega-3 fatty acids, the B vitamins – the list goes on and on. Instead of disrupting normal bodily responses, these natural compounds work in harmony with our body to eliminate chronic pain. Three very powerful and very effective all natural plant compound pain and inflammation relievers are Sweet Cherry, Boswellia serrata, and White Willow Bark.
For many years there have been anecdotal or personal reports that claimed eating Sweet Cherries, specifically Prunus avium, wipes out back pain, arthritis, and gout. While anecdotal reports generally don’t account for much in the world of science, he sheer numbers of testimonials proclaiming the Sweet Cherry’s amazing ability to reduce pain made researchers sit up and take notice.
When Sweet Cherries were examined in the lab, it was easy for scientists to understand how this natural fruit is able to relieve pain. It seems Sweet Cherry’s bright red color is the key. Like many deeply colored fruits, Sweet Cherries are full of flavonoids called anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins.
These powerful plant compounds scavenge and destroy altered oxygen compounds called free radicals. Many degenerative, chronic diseases have been associated with the tissue damage caused by free radicals, including arthritis, heart disease, peripheral artery disease, and cancer. Cherry fruit extract is a natural anti-inflammatory compound, making it an excellent treatment for arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other chronic pain and inflammation diseases.
A pain relieving plant compound that comes from the bark of a tree, Boswellia serrata has been used by Indian healers for hundreds of years to reduce painful inflammation. When 20th century researchers looked at extracts of Boswellia Gum Resin in the laboratory they discovered the presence of powerful plant compounds, called boswellic acids.
Researchers found Boswellic Acids reduce inflammation in several ways. They open constricted blood vessels, improving blood flow to joints. They balance levels of leukotrienes – specific chemicals in the body that cause inflammation. And Boswellic Acids block two inflammatory chemicals that increase in asthma and inflammation of the colon. In addition to being helpful in treating these 2 illnesses, Boswellia has also been clinically studied and found to be quite effective in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis without any evidence of ulcers or stomach irritation.
Another bark extract, White Willow Bark is one of the oldest and most effective pain relievers. For over 2,000 years extracts from the bark of the White Willow tree have been used to ease aches and pains and reduce fevers. It is the original source of aspirin, but when used as the entire plant medicine, White Willow Bark is much safer than aspirin and quite effective.
White Willow Bark’s active ingredient is salicin and the combination of other compounds in the bark significantly enhances its pain killing power. In two large clinical trials of patients with chronic low back pain. White Willow Bark was found to be not only safer and much more effective than standard prescription therapies, it was also 40 percent more cost effective.
Salicylic acid from White Willow Bark lowers the body’s levels of prostaglandins, easing both acute and chronic pain. White Willow Bark reduces the pain and swelling of arthritis, headache, back and neck pain, muscle aches, and menstrual cramps. But, unlike aspirin, it doesn’t cause stomach bleeding or other known adverse effects.
Q. Do Sweet Cherry, Boswellic Acids, and White
A. They do indeed. Because they reduce both pain and inflammation by a broad combination of actions, these natural extracts have been proven to be excellent against arthritis, back pain, and pain from inflammatory intestinal diseases (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), and would be expected to be helpful in most kinds of pain.
Sweet Cherry, Boswellic Acids, and White Willow Bark relieve inflammation without causing stomach irritation, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, blood clots, heart attacks, or strokes. That’s because these natural pain killers don’t disrupt the balance of enzymes or interfere with the body’s ability to prevent extremes and imbalances.
However, as with any pain therapy, Sweet Cherry, Boswellic Acids, and White Willow Bark work best when they are used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan to relieve the most common underlying causes of chronic pain or SHIN.
In addition, although these excellent natural remedies can often offer quick pain relief, natural remedies for severe chronic pains work best when they are given at maximum allowed doses and given 6 weeks to show their full effectiveness in combination with treating the pain’s underlying causes. The best chronic pain relief results when doctors and patients work together to meet the goals of treatment.
Some important last notes: Many causes of chronic pain are serious and life threatening. Everyone who is living with chronic pain must consult their doctor or other healthcare practitioner to determine the reason for their ongoing discomfort. In other words – make sure you know why you are having chronic pain and what’s causing the pain you want to relieve.
There are some types of chronic pain that only respond to opioids, or narcotic pain relievers. Morphine sulfate is an excellent pain medication and is used to relieve surgical pain, the pain of heart attacks, and pain from serious injuries. Morphine is also the very best drug for chronic cancer pain and non-malignant chronic pain. While many people fear opioids, these powerful pain killers can dramatically improve quality of life. If you are suffering with chronic cancer pain and you are hesitant to use morphine or another opioid, I urge you to discuss your concerns with your doctor other healthcare provider. No one with cancer should live with untreated or under-treated pain.
Even chronic pain can often be eliminated when SHIN is in combination with powerfully effective natural pain relievers. But, because some people may need to take pain relievers the rest of their lives, the medications they use must be safe as well as effective. The very safest come from natural plant compounds that have been studied for their ability to relieve chronic pain. You can become pain free and Sweet Cherries, Boswellic Acids, and White Willow Bark can help.
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
March 28, 2007 10:29 AM
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) affects about 65 million Americans, or about 1 in 3 adults. There are many potential causes of hypertension, but not necessarily any symptoms. In fact, 30% of the people who have high blood pressure don’t even realize it.
In other words, just because you don’t have symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have high blood pressure. That’s why it’s called “The Silent Killer.” And, make no mistake about it: high blood pressure is dangerous. It is the number one modifiable cause of stroke. Just lowering blood pressure reduces the chance of stroke by 35 to 40 percent. Other conditions, including heart attack and heart failure can be reduced from 25 to 50 percent, respectively.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we’re going to talk about high blood pressure and an exciting natural treatment for lowering blood pressure safely and effectively.
Of course, changing blood pressure numbers depends, in a large part, on the choices we make every day – how much we exercise, the foods we eat, and our lifestyle overall. But, for those times we need extra help, there is a new, scientifically-studied supplement to help us along our path to better health and lower blood pressure.
Blood pressure guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Q. What exactly is blood pressure?
A. Blood pressure is divided into two parts, systolic and diastolic. Systolic is the pressure of the heart beating. Diastolic is the pressure of the heart and vessels filling. When blood pressure numbers are written out, like “120/80,” 120 is the systolic pressure and 80 is the diastolic pressure. The unit of measurement for blood pressure is millimeters of mercury, written as “mm/Hg.”
Q. What is considered high blood pressure?
A. A person’s blood pressure can naturally vary throughout the day – even between heartbeats.
However, if the numbers are consistently high (over 120 systolic and 80 diastolic), after multiple visits to your healthcare practitioner, you may have either pre-hypertension or high blood pressure.
Young arteries and arteries that are kept young through healthy diet and exercise are typically more elastic and unclogged. Blood flows through them easily and without much effort. However, as we age, our arteries become more prone to plaque buildup (due to diets high in saturated fat and sedentary lifestyles) and don’t “flex” as well under pressure. The result is faster blood flow, all the time. Over the long term, it damages heart tissue, arteries, kidney and other major organs.
To get a better idea of high blood pressure, compare your arteries to a garden hose. When unblocked, a garden hose allows water to flow through it quickly and easily – without any real rush or stress. However, if you block the end of the hose with your thumb, closing it off even a little, water rushes out much more quickly.
For many years, high diastolic pressure was considered even more of a threat than high systolic pressure. That thinking has changed somewhat but high diastolic numbers could still mean organ damage in your body – especially for individuals under 50.
Q. What courses high blood pressure?
A. The reasons for hypertension aren’t always clear. However, there are lifestyle factors that contribute to high blood pressure that you can change:
Body type: Weight isn’t always a reliable indicator of whether or not you’ll have high blood pressure – but the type of weight is. Lean body mass – muscle – doesn’t increase blood pressure levels the way that fat can. However, fat body mass, especially fat around your middle, can contribute to high blood pressure.
Sedentary lifestyle: Too often, many of us sit down all day at work, and then sit down all night at home. Over time, this inactivity usually leads to weight gain, making the heart work harder to pump blood through the body. In a way, it almost seems contradictory, but inactivity usually leads to higher heart rates.
Sodium intake: Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much salt there is in processed foods. However, salt intake in itself is not necessarily bad. For people with a history of congestive heart failure, ischemia, and high blood pressure, sodium is definitely out. For those individuals, it leads to more water retention, which increases blood pressure. (Salt’s effect on water retention is one reason that so many sports drinks have fairly high sodium content – the sodium in the drink prevents your body from sweating out too much water.) But, for healthy individuals, moderate salt intake, especially a mixed mineral salt like sea salt or Celtic salt (good salt should never be white) is fine.
Low potassium intake: Unlike sodium, potassium is a mineral which most Americans get too little of. Potassium helps regulate the amount of sodium in our cells, expelling excess amounts through the kidneys. Low levels of this mineral can allow too much sodium to build up in the body.
Heavy alcohol intake: Having three or more alcoholic drinks a day (two or more for women) nearly doubles an individual’s chance of developing high blood pressure. Over time, heavy drinking puts a lot of stress on the organs, including the heart, liver, pancreas and brain.
Unhealthy eating: Eating a lot of processed or fatty foods contributes to high blood pressure. Adapting a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, fish, nuts and magnesium and potassium (like the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, known as the “DASH” diet) can bring it back down.
Smoking: If you smoke, stop. Smoking damages the heart and arteries – period. Nicotine constricts blood vessels, increases heart rate, and raises blood pressure. This in turn, increases hormone production and adrenaline levels, further stressing the body.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces the oxygen in the blood, making the heart work even harder to make up the difference. Since the effect of a single cigarette can last for an hour, smoking throughout the day leads to continuously revved-up blood pressure.
Some of these factors might sound like a lot to overcome. The important thing to remember is that all of these behaviors are changeable. If you have high blood pressure, modifying any of these can significantly lower blood pressure as part of an overall plan.
Q. What are the blood pressure numbers I should see?
A. Experts consider healthy blood pressure numbers to be 115/75 mm/Hg. The reason? They found that the risk of cardiovascular disease doubles at each increment of 20/10 mmHg over 115/75 mm/Hg. Even small jumps in blood pressure numbers increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Q. Okay, so other than diet, exercise and lifestyle changes are there other natural ways or supplements I can use to lower my blood pressure?
A. Yes, in fact, you hear about some of them in the news all the time – fish oil, CoQ10, and garlic. As effective as these symptoms are, they typically lower systolic pressure much more than diastolic pressure.
However, there is a blend of scientifically and clinically studied natural ingredients that lower high blood pressure separately, and work even better when they’re combined. This combination blend contains: dandelion leaf extract, lycopene, stevia extract, olive leaf extract and hawthorn extract.
Every one of these ingredients has been studied and recommended for years. But now, a scientific study on a supplement that combines them in one synergistic formula shows encouraging results for lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Let’s take a look at each:
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) originated in
The leaf of stevia is considered the medicinal part of the plant. Research shows that extracts of the leaf relax arteries and help prevent the buildup of calcium on artery walls – keeping them healthy and reducing blood pressure.
In a long-term, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. On average, participants’ blood pressure reduced from baseline 150 mm/Hg to 140 mm/Hg systolic and 95 mm/Hg to 89 mm/Hg diastolic.
And, in another double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia lowered blood pressure quite significantly – by an average of 14 millimeters of mercury in both systolic and diastolic readings. Those are impressive numbers!
Despite its role as a sweetener, stevia may have a side benefit to for those with hypertension – blood sugar regulation. Scientific studies show that extracts of stevia regulated blood sugar and reduced blood pressure.
A clinical study showed that stevia extract actually improved glucose tolerance by decreasing plasma glucose levels during the test and after overnight fasting in all participants. Regulating blood sugar is very important for those with high blood pressure. When blood sugar levels are high, blood vessels are inflamed. Many people with diabetes have high blood pressure as well. In a paired, cross-over clinical study, stevioside (one of the compounds in stevia) reduced glucose levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. It shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. Its shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes as well as hypertension.
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp. Oxycantha) has been used since ancient ties as a medicinal herb – even being mentioned by the Greek herbalist Dioscorides, in the first century AD. Traditionally, it has generally been used for support of the heart. Modern research points to bioflavonoid-like complexes in hawthorn leaf and flower that seem to be most responsible for its benefits on cardiac health, like blood vessel elasticity.
The bioflavonoids found in hawthorn include oligomeric procyanidins, vitexin, quercetin, and hyperoside. They have numerous benefits on the cardiovascular system. Hawthorn can improve coronary artery blood flow and the contractions of the heart muscle. Scientific studies show that the procyanidins in hawthorn are responsible for its ability to make the aorta and other blood vessels more flexible and relaxed, so that blood pumps more slowly and with less effort – sparing the cardiovascular system such a hard workout.
The procyanidins in hawthorn also have antioxidant properties – protecting against free radical cellular damage.
And, hawthorn may also inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme. Angiotensin-converting enzyme is responsible for retaining sodium and water, and may have roots in our evolutionary development. It influences blood vessel contraction and dilation, sodium and water balance and heart cell development – just about everything that has to do with blood pressure. This may have developed as a way of dealing with periods of drought and stress. By narrowing the blood vessels, the body could guarantee an adequate supply of blood and focus on repairing tissue.
Unfortunately, that can lead to real problems these days. Since many of us live in an industrialized society, and frequently have pretty sedentary lifestyles, conserving sodium just makes the conditions for high blood pressure that much worse.
Like the other ingredients in this combination, hawthorn showed benefits on other body systems, too. In clinical and scientific studies, it not only lowered blood pressure, but also showed anti-anxiety properties and regulated blood sugar.
Olive leaf extract:
Olive leaf (Olea europaea) comes up again and again in scientific and clinical studies as having beneficial effects on hypertension. One of olive leaf’s most beneficial compounds is oleuropein – the same compound that makes olive oil so helpful in reducing blood pressure. Here again, we have to look at the traditional Mediterranean diet, which features voluminous use of olives and olive oil. Not surprisingly, blood pressure is generally much lower in Greek and Italian populations.
But it’s not just the diet – scientific studies showed that oleuropein lowered blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels and prevented buildup of plaque in arteries. Plus, whether in olive leaf extract or in olive oil, oleuropein works as an antioxidant, too.
Dandelion leaf extract:
Dandelion (Taraxacum offinale) leaves provide a healthy supply of vitamins, much like spinach. In fact, although it has become the bane of North American gardeners and lawn owners, dandelion greens are a component of many gourmet salads.
Medicinally, dandelion has been used for centuries, dating back to ancient
They are a very rich source of vitamin A, and contain vitamin D, vitamin C, carious B vitamins, iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc and manganese, too. Dandelion leaves produce a diuretic effect in the body, similar to a prescription drug. Since one of dandelion leaf’s traditional uses was the treatment of water retention, it’s really not too surprising. Dandelion leaf is also rich in potassium – one of the vital minerals many Americans lack in their diet. So, even though it may act as a diuretic, it replaces more potassium than the body expels.
The diuretic effect of dandelion can relieve hypertension by drawing excess water and sodium from the body and releasing it through the kidneys as urine. Getting rid of extra water and sodium allows the blood vessels to relax – lowering blood pressure.
If a nutrient can be called exciting, lycopene is it. Lycopene is found mostly in tomatoes and processed tomato products, like pasta and pizza sauce. Related to beta-carotene lycopene shows great antioxidant abilities among its many talents. In fact, it shows even greater free-radical scavenging properties than beta-carotene, its more famous cousin. Healthy intakes of lycopene can guard against a variety of chronic conditions, including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, lowering homocysteine levels and reducing blood platelet stickiness that can lead to clogged arteries. It’s even being studied for its protective effect against prostate cancer.
And, for proof, you don’t have to look too far to see the amazing effect lycopene intake can have on health. The Mediterranean diet provides an excellent example. Its high intakes of vegetables, (tomatoes, of course, playing a central role) fish, and whole grains improve cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. The research on lycopene as a stand-alone nutrient has been compelling. A randomized clinical trial found that not having enough lycopene was associated with early thickening of the arteries.
So, it makes sense that other clinical trials, showed that higher intakes of lycopene frequently meant less thickening of arteries, and a reduced risk of heart attack. In one study, the risk of heart attack was 60% lower in individuals with the highest levels of lycopene. In a multicenter study, similar results were found – men with the highest levels of lycopene had a 48% lower risk of heart attack.
Q. What can I expect taking this herbal combination?
A. You should notice both systolic and diastolic numbers lowering in about two weeks. The scientific study showed that for pre-hypertensive and stage I, (early hypertensive individuals) this combination for ingredients lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
When you’re taking herbs to support your blood pressure, it’s important to keep it monitored so you have an accurate reading (and record) of your numbers. If you need to, you can pick up a home blood pressure monitoring device. These can retail for anywhere from $30 all the way up to $200, but buying one in the $30 to $50 range is a good idea and money well spent. Consider taking the machine to your local doctor’s office or Fire department to have it tested for accuracy against a professional blood pressure monitor. See the chart below for tips on getting an accurate reading from a home monitor.
Tips for Accurate Blood Pressure Monitoring:
-Relax for about 5 to 10 minutes before measurement.
-If you have just come inside from cold outdoors allow yourself to warm up.
-Remove tight-fitting clothing and jewelry.
-Unless your physician recommends otherwise, use left arm to measure pressure.
-Sit, don’t stand.
-Remain still and do not talk while using the monitor.
Q. Are there any side effects?
A. There were no side effects noted in the study. However, because of the mild diuretic effect of dandelion leaf extract, you may notice an increase in trips to the bathroom. It’s always important to make sure you don’t get dehydrated, so you may want to drink more water during the day.
High blood pressure doesn’t happen overnight. As we get older, the likelihood of developing hypertension increases. And, stressful, fast-forward lifestyles, bad diets and no exercise conspire to raise our blood pressure.
In my own practice I have helped patients move toward a healthier lifestyle, including diet, exercise, and blood-pressure reducing supplements. They live better, more vibrant lives as a result, and their blood pressure normalizes. It really can happen – you can bring your blood pressure back to normal, and this combination of scientifically and clinically validated ingredients can help.
Mangoni - Complete SuperFruit Food 1oz equals 3 servings of Vegetables
December 27, 2006 12:26 PM
The Important Role of Nutritional Magnesium & Calcium Balance in Humans Living with Stress
August 23, 2006 03:14 PM
Part I. The Stress Response
The stress reaction is a host of responses necessary for any animal to live in the world. Commonly called the fight-or-flight reation, we as humans often experience it in rapid heartbeat and increased breathing rate. It comes when we exercise more vigorously than usual, or when we are suddenly and unexpectedly frightened.
We are all different. We show a range in how strongly we experience the stress response. Most of us are usually calm and experience the stress response when an unexpected noise frightens us to alertness, or we run to first base as fast as we can in a benefit baseball game that is not on our usual playtime schedule. We breathe harder for a while and notice our hearts beating faster and harder then usual, but after a while these responses all calm down, and we are again in our usual state—out or the stress response. Others of us are very low key, and it takes a lot to disturb our physiological calm. Still others of us are very sensitive to triggers of the stress response and go into it “at the drop of a hat” and to a greater degree than do calmer people. For some, parts of the stress response are almost always engaged—never really calming down all the way—giving one a hyper-vigilant or anxious demeanor.
When a stress trigger occurs, the body puts out stress hormones, magnesium and calcium, among other things, into the bloodstream. At the same time, nerve cells begin to “Fire,” telling heart and muscles to “speed up. NOW!!!” These blood, nerve and organ changes make possible the instantaneous and collective rise in the body’s heart rate, blood pressure, and other necessities for the fight-or-flight reaction.
Much research has been done on the stress response, especially on the effects of stress hormones, such as adrenaline (also called epinephrine) on body, organ and cell. You can get an idea of how widespread the stress response is-affecting every aspect of physiology—by noting some of the reactions to adrenaline, one of the major stress hormones. See Table 1.
Much study as the cellular, biochemical and physiological levels has shown that the stress response vitally involves the influx of calcium into cells, resulting in a drastic change in the cells’ internal magnesium-to-calcium ratio (Mg:Ca).
In simple solutions, such as salt water, all ions are evenly dispersed. Not so in living cells. Ions are carefully and meticulously separated in living cells, and this ion “packaging” is vital to life processes and health. Calcium ions, for the most part, are kept outside cells while magnesium ions are kept mainly inside cells. The stress response changes this. During stress response, calcium ions rush inside the cell, and this alters the internal Mg:Ca ratio. This change in ratio exhibits wide effects because, while magnesium and calcium are very similar in their chemistry, biologically these two elements function and react very differently. Magnesium and calcium are two sides of a physiological coin: they are antagonistic to one another yet comes as a team. For example:
Scientific study shows more and more that the underlying cellular change enabling the stress response is a low Mg:Ca ratio caused by a large and sudden influx of calcium into cells. This stress response subsides when the cell’s magnesium returns to its dominant presence inside cells, moving extra calcium back outside cells to its “normal” Mg:Ca ratio. This underlying principle is present in studies of nerve cell-stress hormone response, organs such as hearts, the high blood pressure response to stress, and the blood-clotting reaction during stress, among many others. See Table 2.
In the normal healthy state, the stress response occurs when necessary, and subsides when the crisis or trigger is over. Since magnesium and calcium—two essential nutrients that must be obtained by the body from its dietary environment—are so essential to this important response, it is not surprising that nutritional magnesium and calcium status can affect the response.
Let’s see how.
In the normal unstressed state, cellular Mg:Ca ratio is high. If this cannot be maintained due to lack of adequate body magnesium or an overwhelming amount of body calcium, the ratio may not be able to maintain or return itself to its healthy nonstressed ratio. In such a case, the stress response, in the absence of an appropriate trigger, can occur. This can be seen when nutritional magnesium deficits cause high blood pressure or increase blood stickiness (platelet aggregation). Additionally, since a low Mg:Ca ratio can increase adrenaline secretion as well as cells’ response to adrenaline, a too low magnesium state can keep the stress response from subsiding in a timely way. Even worse, when body magnesium becomes drastically low, this becomes a stress trigger in itself, alarming the body into further stress response with out enough magnesium to back it up, resulting in a low magnesium-high stress crisis that can end in sudden death.
In the industrialized world, we live in a state of chronic, on-going stress. This environmental reality increases our daily need for magnesium in order to maintain a healthy stress response that can calm when not necessary.
Part II. Heart Disease Is Often a Magnesium Deficiency
Clearly, an adequate amount of nutritional magnesium—in proper balance with adequate nutritional calcium—is key to a healthy stress response. And yet today we have diets dangerously low in magnesium. Add the recent additions of nutritional calcium via supplements and food fortifications meant to stave off osteoporosis, and many of us are getting inadequate magnesium plus too much calcium. This results in a large occurrence of heart disease.
Not all, but much of the heart disease in the industrialized world can be explained by the low magnesium state of these societies. People with heart disease—for the most part—are people who are in a state of magnesium that is borderline or deficient. Many studies on heart disease patients exist due to medicine’s effort to understand and treat this widespread malady. Although not intended as such, this body of research shows us what stress can do to a person in a magnesium deficient state.
Part III. Mental and Emotional Stress Deplete Magnesium
It is commonly accepted that certain traditional risk factors for heart disease exist. This include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history of heart disease, and other factors, all of which can be linked to a shortage of nutritional magnesium. Recent studies tell us that stresses—both sudden and chronic—with their high magnesium requirements, are also strong risk factors for heart disease.
The sudden stress of the
Emotional stress and phobic anxiety cause heart problems in patients with heart disease—a population we know to be mostly low in their nutritional magnesium status. Chronic states of emotional stress, including a history of childhood abuse, neglect or family dysfunction, depression, and panic disorder, must now be added to the list of traditional risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Depression can be a symptom of low magnesium status. So can anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, hyperactivity, and over-sensitivity to loud noises. Do these newly found risk factors cause heart disease, or are they risk factors because the, as well as heart disease, can all be aspects of low magnesium status? These chronic sources of stress can increase the human need for magnesium as well as be caused by its deficit.
Emotional stress triggers in susceptible people can even bring a sudden death due to heart attack, presumably by initiating a stress/low-magnesium crisis. Such emotional “triggers” include work stress, high-pressure deadlines, social isolation and loneliness, low socioeconomic status, anxiety, war, fear of war, anger and rage. Identical stress triggers cause more human heart attacks regardless of age, race, gender, or geographic location, including continent.
Mental stress, such as working out a math problem, can be shown to have impact upon the magnesium-stress response connection, since it can bring on heart attacks in people with heart disease.
Part IV. Stress, Magnesium and Aging
We are hearing a lot about stress in the health media, and rightly so as this constant companion to our lives brings on the fight-or-flight syndrome, a stress response that, when activated, has been shown to shorten lifespan. When we realize that the stress response is exacerbated when we are low in magnesium, that we are living on low-magnesium foods for the most part, and that our lifestyles are more and more filled with chronic stresses and stressful events, we are not surprised to see that several aspects of magnesium deficiency are remarkably like aspects of the aging process.
When faced with out stressful lifestyles, coupled with a society presenting a chronically low-magnesium/high-calcium diet, what is our best defense? For many of us, magnesium supplements can help to preserve or restore a healthy Mg:Ca balance, so important to our health in these stressful times.
Peter Gillham's Natural Calm
Wasabi Rhizome Cleanse - Supports Phase II Liver Detoxification - Wasabi Health Benefits
August 01, 2006 10:41 AM
Most people know of it as a pale-green lump on the side of their plates in Japanese restaurants—a hot, spicy accompaniment to sushi or sashimi. The fiery yet sweet taste perfectly compliments the saltiness of soy sauce and the cool delicacy of raw fish. But wasabi is much more than a burst of culinary flavor, it has been used by traditional herbalists of Japan since the 10th century and is now being rediscovered by modern health practitioners for its stunning health benefits.
Wasabi has powerful detoxification properties, in particular, it supports the immune system and cleanses the liver. Wasabi contains precursors to phytochemicals called isothiocyanates that help remove toxic substances that are stored in the liver’s fatty tissues.
The rare wasabi plant is a natural, potent support to a healthy, cleansed liver that in turn affects the detoxification and cleansing of the entire body. Source Naturals is pleased to bring you this convenient, effective addition to your wellness program.
Wasabia Japonica - Rooted In Health
The wasabi plant (Wasabia japonica) grows naturally in the mountains of Japan in the gravel and sandbars of coldwater streams and rivers. Rare and difficult to grow, it takes three years for a wasabi root or rhizome to reach maturity. Because of its popularity, wasabi is now cultivated hydroponically and in cold, wet environments outside of Japan, such as in New Zealand and Oregon. Traditionally, the rhizome was freshly grated at the table with a sharkskin grater, popular with dishes such as seafood or udon noodles. Now wasabi is usually dried into powder form and made into the pale green paste familiar to most westerners. Often, however, restaurants do not serve real wasabi; since it is so rare and expensive, a dyed horseradish paste is served in most American restaurants.
What makes wasabi so special? It comes from a good family; the brassica vegetables in the cruciferae family include such health giants as broccoli, horseradish, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale. All of these are well-known detoxifying plants, and wasabi appears to be the most amazing of them all, with detox capacities far beyond the others in the family because it is loaded with isothiocyanate precursors. This chemical not only gives wasabi its famous “Fire,” it is likewise a Fireball of detoxification properties.
Phase II Detox
The liver detoxifies the by-products of digestion and other harmful substances through a complex series of chemical reactions often referred to as Phase I and Phase II Detoxification. Phase I enzymes begin the process by taking the toxic molecule and changing it into a bioactive form. This process breaks down toxins. A second set of enzymes, Phase II, then neutralizes the toxin and makes it water soluble for elimination. Wasabi, with its long-chain isothiocyanate precursors, induces the Phase II enzymes. Simply stated, it is the sparkplug that starts Phase II enzymes on their work. This process, all done in the liver, supports the body’s ability to clean itself of impurities.
Part of a Complete Wellness Program
In the modern world, with so many pollutants, it is critical to your health and longevity that you cleanse these toxic compounds from your body. Wasabi, along with a whole food, high-fiber diet and reduction of alcohol consumption, supports the liver— the largest of the vital organs and the key to the digestion and elimination systems and most particularly, the body’s ability to cleanse itself. Source Naturals is pleased to bring you this exceptional product as part of your wellness program.
Depree, JA (1999) Flavour and pharmaceutical properties of the volatile sulphur compounds of Wasabia japonica. Food Research International: 31(5):329-337.
Morimitsu Y, et al. (2002) A sulforaphane analogue that potently activates the Nrf2-dependent detoxification pathway. J Biol Chem: 277:3456-3463.
Munday, R (2002) Selective induction of phase II enzymes in the urinary bladder of rats by allyl isothiocyanate, a compound derived from Brassica vegetables.
Nutrition and Cancer: 44(1):52-59.
Watanabe, M (2003) Identification of 6-methylsulfinylhexyl isothiocyanate as an apoptosis-inducing component in wasabi. Phytochemistry: 62(5):733-739.
Rose, P (2000) 7-methylsulfinylheptyl and 8- methylsulfinyloctyl isothiocyanates from watercress are potent inducers of phase II enzymes. Carcinogenesis: 21(11):1983-1988.
Echinacea: why does it work in real life but not in trials?
February 04, 2006 09:54 AM
The Wellness Revolution
Why clinical trials must take into account real dosage amounts!
You took it, and it worked. You’re one of legions of people all over the world who have found the little purple coneflower called Echinacea to be wonderfully effective in fighting colds. Echinacea is among the most popular herbal supplements in North America, accounting for 10% of herbal sales in the U.S.
So why are some in the scientific community saying it doesn’t work?
How Controversy Over a Little Flower
It was a July 2005 study done at the University of Edmonton in Canada, published in the pages of the New England Journal of Medicine, that fueled the Fire of controversy. On one side, there’s the community of people who take Echinacea to ward off colds and other respiratory tract infections (staying well or getting better quickly tends to make enthusiastic and loyal followers). On the other side is a spate of studies, culminating in the July 2005, giving the thumbs down to the flower’s healing powers.
The much-touted study was a placebo-controlled trial and was double-blinded (neither test group knew what they were taking). Healthy college students were given a dose of a rhinovirus infection, and were then sent to individual dorm rooms to take either an extract of Echinacea or a placebo. The results were disappointing to those of us expecting the scientific community’s “proof” to match ours—based on what our bodies and senses tell us. The study found no statistically significant difference between severity of symptoms or duration of the rhinovirus between the Echinacea and the control group. Why didn’t the study results match those of so many individuals?
What went wrong?
Noted herbalist and author Roy Upton states, [“The studies which found] positive results had dosages which were consistent with herbalist recommendations.”]
The University of Edmonton study didn’t.
Two oft-cited clinical trials in which positive results were found in the use of Echinacea for the common cold, both in vivo and in human volunteers, have been conducted by researchers Vinti Goel.
Tiny Doses, Minuscule Amounts of Active Herb
It is widely agreed among herbalists that the trial—also conducted by the team at the University of Alberta, Canada—published in the New England Journal of Medicine in July 2005 used radically smaller doses than those traditionally taken, doses so small they couldn’t possibly have worked. In the Turner trial, Echinacea extracts were given in doses of 1.5 ml tid, equivalent to 900mg daily, if the conductors of trial had consulted the real-life herbalist, say the natural health care community, they could have run a test that would have, well, tested something. The usual prescription dose for Echinacea taken by mouth ranges from 500 to 1,000 milligrams per day, and is taken three to five times a day, for seven days. This creates a range of 1500 to 5,000 mg per day. Most studies have shown Echinacea to have the greatest effectiveness when one starts taking it immediately upon feeling the early symptoms of coming down with a cold or virus.
Importantly, Echinacea has been proven in many tests, including those by Bauer and Wagner, Foster, and Hobbs, to have a supportive effect upon the immune system. That Echinacea stimulates macrophages and killer cells is proven.
Turner RB et al. New England Journal of Medicine, 2005 jul 28;353(4):341-8.
Upton R et al. Echinacea purpurea root: standards of analysis, Quality control, and therapeutics, American herbal pharmacopoeia, 2004
Goel v et al. Efficacy of standardized Echinacea preparation (echinilin) for the treatment of common cold: a randomized, double-blind, placebo- controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Pharmaceutical Therapy 2004: Feb,29(1):75-83.
January 05, 2006 10:29 AM
Fact: Millions of Americans trying to lose weight are horrified to see their bathroom scales inching uncontrollably upwards.
And these numbers increase every single year. Making matters worse, many of these same people are shocked to find their energy levels slipping inexorably downwards. I guess I’ve just got a slow metabolism…” “You can’t get as much done when you start getting older…” “Why am I always so cold?” Sound a little too familiar? What if there was a safe and natural way to energize your metabolism and keep it operating at its youthful, maximum efficiency? While it is true that metabolism slows somewhat with age, its not inevitable that every one of us is destined to end up with more weight to move around and less energy to get there. There are people in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond with all the vibrant energy they need. There are people who end every day with a list of important accomplishments completed. So what’s their secret? It may well be a healthy, fully functioning thyroid.The human thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck that wraps around the trachea. It has but one job - to produce the two critical thyroid hormones we need to keep our metabolism efficient. In fact, these hormones are indispensable for our bodies to convert calories into energy – and that’s the crux of metabolism. These two hormones, triiodothyronine and thyroxine, or T3 and T4 respectively, are produced in the thyroid when the iodine in our system teams up with the amino acid L-tyrosine. Sounds simple, right?
Think again. Human metabolism is a highly intricate process that can be adversely affected by a wealth of variables. One important variable that we can control, is the nutrient mix our thyroid keeps on hand to operate. In order for metabolism to occur with any respectable level of effectiveness, the body must have a full supply of thyroid supporting nutrients on hand at all times. If you aren’t willing to deliver the nutrients it needs to function properly, chances are, it won’t be able to do what it’s supposed to (which is to keep your metabolism Fired up and your energy resources fully charged).Don’t despair. There is good news. Encouraging and maintaining healthy thyroid function may be easier than you might imagine. This master gland of metabolism is often very responsive to the right combination of thyroid supporting nutrients.
Yes, a healthy diet will promote a healthy thyroid, but some of the nutrients that are especially helpful in supporting healthy thyroid function are not likely to be found in your local market. That is, unless you happen to be shopping in India or Ireland. So just what are the critical nutrients for a healthy, energized thyroid? L-Tyrosine. This amino acid plays an essential role in the production of thyroid hormones, in addition to hormones that affect mood including epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. And while our body can naturally produce some Tyrosine from other amino acids, as we age, our bodies may not be able to keep up with the needs of a demanding thyroid. During metabolism, tyrosine joins forces with iodine in order to produce the thyroid hormones needed to efficiently convert (metabolize) the calories from our diet into expendable energy. A weak reserve of tyrosine can leave us feeling sluggish. As a result, our body reacts by storing more calories as fat for energy.
Iodine. Another key player in the metabolism game. Without it, metabolism simply can not take place. The thyroid is the only gland in the human body capable of absorbing this trace element. Typically found in shellfish and iodized salts, iodine is stored in the thyroid gland until needed for the production of the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine and thyroxine. When combined with L-tyrosine and other nutrients these two work synergistically to produce T3 and T4 thyroid hormone. Moreover, iodine deficiencies have been linked to the formation of goiters, decreased energy and lack of concentration.
Irish Moss. A natural vegetarian source of many thyroid-supporting nutrients, including Iodine, a key component in healthy metabolism. Irish moss has been consumed for thousands of years, and many herbalists encourage its use to contribute to sound glandular health.
Selenium. This naturally occuring trace mineral is well known for its strong antioxidant properties and natural synergism with other vitamins. Supplementing with selenium is essential for anyone concerned with sluggish thyroid performance.
Guggul. Technically known as Guggulsterone, the Gug¬gul tree is native to India, and emits a resinous sap that has been used for centuries as part of India’s traditional medicine known as Ayurveda. Studies have shown that the purified plant sterol extract from Guggulsterone can promote healthy thyroid function, and assist the body in maintaining normal production of thyroxine and triiodo¬thyronine.
Simply put, the thyroid gland relies heavily on a host supporting nutrients to produce the hormones needed to ensure that metabolism goes off without a hitch. Without these vital nutrients, our ability to metabolize food may slow down. Here’s an easy way to remember how this process works. The less thyroid supporting nutrients we have, the less thyroid hormone (T3 and T4) we produce.
The less thyroid hormone we produce, the less efficient our metabolic process becomes. The less effective our metabolic process becomes, the less energy we produce. The less energy we produce, the more prone we are to weight gain and fatigue.
NOW® Thyroid Energy was scientifically formulated to help maintain healthy thyroid function by incorporating a powerful blend of thyroid sup¬porting nutrients. With a full gram of L-Tyrosine (the direct precursor to thyroid hormone production) in addition to Iodine from Kelp, Selenium, Guggul, Zinc, Copper and a perfectly balanced blend of B vitamins, NOW® Thyroid energy just may be the boost you’ve been looking for.
Tasty, spicy chile peppers also pack a pain-relieving punch.
October 25, 2005 11:24 AM
hile peppers have a pretty fiery reputation, but you won’t get burned health-wise if you indulge regularly.
That’s because chilies contain capsaicin, a substance that acts as a potent inflammation inhibitor. Researches are studying capsaicin as an effective pain remedy for arthritis, psoriasis and diabetic neuropathy when taken internally (topical capsaicin is being used to treat osteoarthritis pain).
You can thank capsaicin for the characteristic spiciness of chiles, so the hotter the pepper the more capsaicin (and pain-relieving power) it contains. Among the hundreds of varieties of peppers, habanero ranks the highest on the thermometer, followed by jalpenos; milder types include pimentos and cherry peppers.
Capsaicin has also been reported to help clear congestion, reduce blood cholesterol, prevent stomach ulcers, boost immunity and help you lose weight. Need more of a reason to eat chiles? According to Coyote Joe, author of On the Chile Trail: 100 Great Recipes from Across America, they cause the brain to produce endorphins, those happy little feel-good chemicals. That’s why you reach for another chip with burning-hot salsa when your mouth feels like it’s on Fire.
Chiles were first “discovered” by Christopher Columbus when he landed in the new world about 500 years ago, bringing them back to Europe as a treasure for the queen of Spain; native peoples of Central and South America had been eating and cultivating chiles for thousands of years.
Here in the US, chiles are a staple of popular cuisines like Cajun and Tex-Mex, but they can liven up pretty much anything- from squash to salad to salmon. If variety is the spice of life, chiles can also spice up any variety of food you choose.
CRN Steps Up Efforts Against Calif. High School Sports Supplement Bill
September 26, 2005 09:16 AM
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.
Cuddlin’ in the Kitchen
July 27, 2005 03:44 PM
Cuddlin’ in the Kitchen
You and your sweetie can turn up the heat by cooking together.
Since the beginning of time, the pleasures of the table have been intertwined with those of the boudoir. (Remember the scene in the film Tom Jomes in which Tom and his amorata-of-the-moment wolf down a meal while staring lustily into each other’s eyes?) But when most of your kitchen time is spent trying to get everyone fed and out of the house in time for the night’s soccer game/ PTA meeting/ballet lesson, it can be tough keeping the pilot light lit on your love.
That’s why one of the best ways to spice up your sex life is to prepare a sensuous meal together sans offspring (thank heavens for doting grandparents with spare rooms!). A little fourhanded cooking- preferably while sharing some suggestive banter- can create chemistry that allows your playful, non-parenting side s to emerge, enhancing intimacy and setting the stage for the seductive feast to follow.
Just as the frenzied pace of modern living can often foster a sense of separation, cooking together as a couple can promote a sense of union. “Eventually you get a feel for your partner’s rhythms and adjust yours accordingly,” says food TV personality Jacqui Malouf, author of Booty Food (Bloomsbury). “Before you know it you’re passing the coriander, peeling the potatoes and stirring the risotto at precisely the right moments.”
With time, you can learn what each of you does best: Who has a flair for combining spices in just the right proportions? Who can chop carrots into perfect little matchsticks without taking all night? Since nothing kills the mood more than arguing over who misplaced the baker’s chocolate or the pasta platter, buy your ingredients earlier in the day and have all the necessary utensils out and at the ready. (Safety note: while two in a tiny kitchen can be steamily cozy, do be careful with hot pots and sharp knives.)
Four hands can also be better than two, so why not make the most of it? Malouf suggests approaching your combined efforts with a sense of adventure: “Use more than three ingredients in a salad dressing! Be daring with your desserts! Try concocting something with squab or squid or quince or quail- the sky’s the limit.”
One advantage of using exotic ingredients (or at least foods not normally found on your weekly shopping list) is that they can help you and your partner break through the limits of everyday experience by reawakening long-dormant senses. Go ahead- run your fingertips over the rough rind of a pomegranate before feeling the smooth, full seeds within. Inhale the sweet, perfumed scent of a dead-ripe apricot, and appreciate its downy skin. Admire the cool green beauty of a cut avocado, and share a spoonful with your sweetie.
Avocado, in fact, is one of the foods known for inflaming passion based on its suggestive shape, along with artichoke and asparagus- and that’s just the AS! (Chocoholics rejoice: Chocolate, full of the same feel-good chemical released by the brain when one falls in love, also makes the ecstasy encouraging grade, even when obtained in standard shapes.) “coincidentally, many foods long considered aphrodisiacs are low in fat (avocado and chocolate are delectably healthy exceptions) and are high in vitamins and minerals,” write Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockridge in Intercourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook (Terrace Publishing). “A diet heavy in these foods, then, yields a healthy blood healthy body with the energy, blood flow and nutrients needed for a peak sexual experience.” (The way these foods feed the imagination- the ultimate smorgasbord of pleasure- is a bountiful bonus.) Other foods, such as honey, have been treasured for supplying the energy needed to fan love’s flames far into the night; no wonder the sweet, sticky stuff shows up in a number of naughty-night concoctions.
Just as Venus, the Roman goddess of love, emerged fully formed from the sea, so do the foods that best encourage those under her spell. In addition to being chockfull of healthy protein, “seafood is elegant, clean and light enough to keep your sleek loving machine fully fueled but never weighed down,” says Jacqui Malouf. Oysters are famous- or infamous- for their amorous effects (Cassanova was fond of them) but aren’t for everyone; other romantic dining favorites include shrimp or scallops.
Time to Eat
Once you’ve worked your kitchen magic together, it’s time to move the action into the dining room. Again, a little preparation can keep the evening at a slow, sensuous boil. Use the best china you have, along with matching silverware, cloth napkins and nice glasses (sippy cups don’t count). The warm glow of candlelight can both set off your tantalizing table and set your hearts aflame, along with a rose or two in the most decorative vase you own. Music (from Mozart to Motown, depending on your taste) is another sureFire mojo mover. But please guys- catch up with CNN or ESPN some other time.
When you do finally sit down to dinner don’t rush, even (especially) if fast-forward eating is the norm in your house. “Treat the food as if you are making love for the first time,” advises Kerry McCloskey in The Ultimate Sex Diet (True Courage Press). “Before putting any in your mouth, inhale its aroma to get your digestive juices flowing…Cut your food into small, bite-sized pieces, (which) will ensure that you enjoy each bite.” The idea is to enhance all of your senses, which will come in handy later on in the evening.
You can make your couple dining experience even more intimate by feeding each other; some foods. Like asparagus spears and shrimp, beg for finger-feeding. McCloskey recommends also trying chopsticks: “Because it will take longer to maneuver your food when using them, you will feel full sooner with less food.” That’s important since you don’t want to overeat- passing out right after dessert is not the way to impress your partner (they’ve seen you snoring away on the couch a hundred times before).
In the wee hours, happily exhausted, you can ponder this: No matter how hectic your lives get, you should always make time for each other. You already share a mortgage and kids. Cooking together is a great way to share sensuality, too.
ALPHA GPC - Improves Mental Performance
June 28, 2005 06:21 PM
The quality of our life experience—and our ability to live life to the fullest—is a direct result of optimal brain function. Only a few years ago, nothing could be done to stem the tide of poor circulation, forgetfulness and “mental fog.” But neurological science exploration has identified a fundamental brain compound critical to attention, learning, memory, and even the higher cognitive functions of reasoning and intuition. Research confirms that L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine (called Alpha-GPC for convenience) is crucial to neuronal function and structure. Derived from purified soy lecithin, Source Naturals ALPHA-GPC readily converts to acetylcholine in the brain, helping to maintain neuronal structure integrity. Source Naturals provides an easy and convenient means to profoundly impact the very nexus of our body and mind.
GPC Is Unique
No other nutritional compound comes close to GPC in its ability to boost critically important acetylcholine levels. Found in both the brain and the peripheral nervous system (including the nerve-muscle junctions), acetylcholine is a key nerve messenger molecule, or neurotransmitter. Aging brains are characterized by functional deficiencies in both acetylcholine and its cholinergic receptors. GPC is a highly bioavailable supplement that boosts acetylcholine levels to improve cognitive function. It is also a major choline reservoir, helping to protect the brain against damage from poor circulation and potentially toxic metabolites.
Deficiencies in acetylcholine can cause the body to break down phosphatidylcholine for its choline content, leading to the death of brain cells. Yet in controlled clinical trials of middle-aged subjects taking GPC, reaction time was enhanced and there was improved energy generation and electrical coordination in the brain. For older subjects, double-blind trials demonstrated that GPC had superior benefits over certain other brain nutrients for mental focus, recall, verbal fluency—a unique, marked overall enhancement of mental performance. GPC is an example of what the great Linus Pauling referred to as “orthomolecules,” that is, molecules that are “orthodox” or “correct” for the body. GPC excels as a protective nutraceutical for memory loss and mood enhancement. It protects cells of the brain (and other organs) from damage, shielding a range of important biomolecules against toxin build-up.
Extensive Clinical Testing
In clinical trials that involved more than 5,000 patients, GPC showed marked improvement in overall brain performance. Depending on the particular trial, 50-70 percent of the patients who received GPC had their mental functions improved to a degree “meaningful to life quality.” GPC has shown revitalizing effects on the declining brain, and preliminary evidence suggests GPC may act on the pituitary gland to partially restore its capacity to make vital for cell maintenance and longevity. Other unique brain features of GPC are its benefits for attention and recall in young healthy adults, and its superior bioavailability. GPC readily crosses the bloodbrain barrier to raise brain choline levels within a few hours following oral intake. GPC helps with body-mind integration by being a ready reservoir for acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter is ubiquitous in brain circuit maturation, expansion, renewal and repair, as well as in the “agility” or adjustments of the circuitry that occur during adult life. In addition, an animal study has shown that GPC increases the release of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), the most important and abundant inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. It acts as a “balancer” for the brain and helps induce relaxation and sleep. Without sufficient GABA, neurons Fire at random, unable to make sense of incoming signals. GABA helps minimize “neural noise,” making it easier to focus and concentrate.
Why you should take GPC:
June 24, 2005 01:13 PM
Because 20th century medical practices have routinely over - prescribed antibiotics, the notion of a natural antibiotic with virtually no side-effects is intriguing to say the least. Echinacea is one of several herbs which possesses antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. In a time when new life-threatening microbes are evolving and pose the threat of modern-day plagues, herbs such as echinacea are particularly valuable. More and more health practitioners are focusing on fortifying the immune system to fight off potential infections rather than just treating infection after it has developed.
Echinacea is enjoying a renaissance today. During the late 1980’s, echinacea re-emerged as a remarkable medicinal plant. In addition to its infection fighting properties, echinacea is known for its healing properties as well. As was the case with so many herbs, echinacea lost its prestige as a medicinal treatment with the advent of antibiotics. It has experienced a resurgence over the last two decades.
Echinacea has several other much more romantic names including Purple Coneflower, Black Sampson and Red Sunflower. It has also become the common name for a number of echinacea species like E. angustifolia, E. purpurea, and E. pallida. The genus derives its name from the Greek word echinos which refers to sea urchin. This particular association evolved from the prickly spiny scales of the seed head section of the flower. Historically, echinacea has sometimes become confused with Parthenium integrifolium.
The word echinacea is actually apart of the scientific latin term, echinacea angustifolia, which literally translated means a narrow - leafed sucker. The plant grows wild as a perennial exclusively in the midwestern plains states, but can be cultivated almost anywhere . Echinacea leaves are pale to dark green, coarse and pointy. Its florets are purple and its roots, black and long.
Echinacea has a strong Native American link in the Central Plains. Native Americans are credited with discovering the usefulness of this botanical without knowing its specific chemical properties. It was routinely used by Na t i ve Americans to treat toothaches, snakebite, fevers and old stubborn wounds.
Native Americans thought of echinacea as a versatile herb that not only helped to fight infection, but increased the appetite and s t rengthened the sexual organs as well. The juice of the plant was used to bathe burns and was sprinkled on hot coals during traditional “sweats” used for purification purposes. It is also believed that some Native Americans used echinacea juice to protect their hands, feet and mouths from the heat of hot coals and ceremonial Fires.1 According to Melvin Gilmore, An American anthropologist who studied Native American medicine in the early part of this century, Echinacea was used as a remedy by Native Americans more than any other plant in the central plains area.
In time, early white settlers learned of its healing powers and used the plant as a home remedy for colds, influenza, tumors, syphillis, hemorrhoids and wounds. Dr. John King, in his medical journal of 1887 mentioned that echinacea had value as a blood purifier and alterative. It was used in various blood tonics and gained the reputation of being good for almost every conceivable malady. It has been called the king of blood purifiers due to its ability to improve lymphatic filtration and drainage. In time, echinacea became popular with 19th century Eclectics, who were followers of a botanic system founded by Dr. Wooster Beech in the 1830’s. They used it as an anesthetic, deodorant, and stimulant.
By 1898, echinacea had become one of the top natural treatments in America. During these years, echinacea was used to treat fevers, malignant carbuncles, ulcerations, pyorrhea, snake bites and dermatitis. In the early twentieth century, echinacea had gained a formidable reputation for treating a long list of infectious disease ranging from the commonplace to the exotic. The Lloyd Brothers Pharmaceutical House developed more sophisticated versions of the herb in order to meet escalating demands for echinacea.
Ironically, it was medical doctors who considered echinacea more valuable than eclectic practitioners. Several articles on echinacea appeared from time to time in various publications. Its attributes we re re v i ewed and, at times, its curative abilities ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. In 1909, the Council on Pharmacy and Chemistry of the American Medical Association decided against recognizing echinacea as an official drug, claiming that it lacked scientific credibility. It was added to the National Formulary of the United States despite this type of negative reaction and remained on this list until 1950.
Over the past 50 years, echinacea has earned a formidable reputation achieving worldwide fame for its antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial actions. Consumer interest in echinacea has greatly increased, particularly in relation to its role in treating candida, chronic fatigue syndrome, AIDS and malignancies. Practitioners of natural medicine in Eu rope and America have long valued its attributes. In recent, years, German research has confirmed its ability to augment the human immune system. Extensive research on echinacea has occurred over the last twenty years. Test results have s h own that the herb has an antibiotic, cortisone-like activity.
Echinacea has the ability to boost cell membrane healing, protect collagen, and suppress tumor growth. Because of its immuno-enhancing activity, it has recently been used in AIDS therapy. Research has proven that echinacea may have p rofound value in stimulating immune function and may be particularly beneficial for colds and sore throats.3
Fats and Oils: Clearing the Confusion
June 21, 2005 05:31 PM
Fats and Oils: Clearing the Confusion
By Fred Pescatore, M.D.
Aside from tax forms, it's hard to find anything more confusing to consumers than fats and oils. Fat-free diehards still don't know that fat is essential for the brain, hormones, cellular membranes: life itself. The clueless still use shortening, margarine and damaged grocery store vegetable oils. But what worries me more is that supposedly educated consumers aren't even getting it right. Should we be surprised since their doctors probably don't know the truth?
Mistakes made by your customers. They:
Let's clear up these myths so consumers can get busy being confused about something else:
I hope this helps you educate consumers about the proper use of fats. Unfortunately, that still leaves a long list of other things they've been misled about.
Snack Attack - we munch on about 125,000 pounds of pretzels, chips, popcorn and nuts a min
June 12, 2005 02:33 PM
Snack Attack by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, August 5, 2003
Americans are snackers. For instance, during the Superbowl, we munch on about 125,000 pounds of pretzels, chips, popcorn and nuts a minute; 30 million pounds by the end of the game. At work about half of us snack two or three times a day. By the end of today, as a group, we'll have eaten $22 million worth of candy-almost a million dollars an hour for every hour of every day.
If you snack unwisely, these munchies can expand your waistline and sabotage your health. But if you snack wisely, you can keep your taste buds fulfilled, your brain working at top capacity and your body satisfied.
When searching for snack satisfaction, think protein. Protein bars and protein shakes keep you feeling fuller longer on fewer calories than sweets.
Second to protein, think fiber, as in fresh fruit, dried fruit, or whole grain breads and crackers.
Unlike carbohydrates that break down into sugars and may be quickly stored as body fat, protein-rich snacks release sugar into your bloodstream at a slow, steady and healthy pace. That keeps you satisfied longer on fewer calories.
"Protein is an important building block (for the body)," says Alicia Gonzalez, ND, a teaching fellow at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington. "It breaks down into amino acids as precursors to things like neurotransmitters, hormones and muscle."
Besides eating protein-rich snacks, eat protein with every meal and eat it first. "It will help your body absorb sugar at a slower rate."
"Protein and fiber are the best at helping the body absorb sugar at an optimal rate," says Jon Gordon, author of Become an Energy Addict (Longstreet Press).
"Protein bars release sugar at a slower rate, resulting in more balanced blood sugar levels and greater overall energy," Gordon says. "You'll crave sugar less and will have a more sustained source of energy all day long."
Protein Bars' Power
"The biggest advantage of protein bars, besides their convenience, is the fact that they do have considerably more protein, say 10 grams, than candy bars, which can contain as little as 2 grams," says Dr. Gonzalez. Total fat tends to be much less in a protein bar, too.
When choosing a protein bar, Dr. Gonzalez says, "Look for total protein content, say, between 10 and 12 grams and total fat, no more than 5 grams, and be careful with high sodium content."
"Choose a protein bar closest to nature," says Gordon. "Like one with almonds and cashews. Nuts are full of nutrients and minerals. Nuts are also a source of fiber."
If you exercise, protein bars with whey or soy protein make for quick replacement of necessary nutrients. "Eating a protein bar an hour before exercising helps to maintain that energy boost you need and replenishes minerals you lose when working out," says Dr. Gonzalez.
Some protein bars, though, do a bait n' switch with saturated fats and trans fatty acids, says Dawn Weatherwax, RD, author of The Official Snack Guide for Beleaguered Sports Parents (WellCentered Books). "If the label says hydrolyzed or hydrogenated palm oil, that's as bad as saturated fat. People think they're doing the healthy thing by eating a protein bar but they end up getting the wrong type of fat."
Besides protein bars, other healthy and healthful snacks include whole grain bread with peanut butter and cheese on whole grain, high-fiber crackers. "Mixing fiber and protein will help you sustain your energy," says Gordon. "Yogurt is also very good."
"Smoothies are also wonderful (snacks)," says Weatherwax. "Add protein powder, silken tofu and fruit to them and you can have them as a meal replacement."
"Nuts like cashews, almonds, seeds and dried berries are some of the best snacks that you can eat because you're not getting all that sugar," says Dr. Gonzalez. "Nuts have a good balance of good fat versus bad fat, including essential fatty acids, which are really important for cellular health and overall well-being. A combination of nuts, seeds and dried berries provides you with a good mix of all the vitamins and minerals along with the good fats that you need to be healthy."
When snacking, think about variety. "Mix it up, have a protein bar one day, a protein shake the next," says Gordon. "Combine protein with a healthy carbohydrate and you'll have much more sustained energy throughout the day."
Fuel for Your Fire
"We're like a train, we need to keep the furnace stoked," says Weatherwax, a consulting dietitian for the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. "The goal is to eat every three or four hours. You have breakfast and lunch and you need an afternoon snack. That's the hardest one to get. Most people don't want to eat another sandwich; they want snack food. So a protein bar with a carb like a piece of fruit, an apple, orange or banana...is a great combination." "Studies show if you have moderate-size meals plus small between-meal snacks you increase your levels of energy and alertness," says Gordon. "It also optimizes your memory and performance and gives you a steady flow of energy rather than the rises and falls. Without healthy snacks your blood sugar falls and you experience fatigue and tension. Just as we need to constantly feed a Fire with moderate-sized pieces of wood, we also need to continually supply our internal furnace with food that can be turned into fuel. This keeps our metabolism going strong and steady."
"You want to stay between one-third and two-thirds full," adds Weatherwax.
"Eating less in an effort to lose weight is actually deleterious in the long run," says Dr. Gonzalez. "When we don't eat our body gets mixed signals; it isn't sure when it's going to get its next meal. This makes the body want to store fat and sugar to save it just in case. On the other hand, if your body becomes accustomed to eating more often, the cells will be more inclined to use the fat up, knowing there is more food on the way."
To program your body this way, don't skip meals. Have protein-filled breakfast like a protein smoothie and eggs. Follow up with healthy snacks like a protein bar or shake and regular meals.
"Ideally, it's best to combine the macronutrients, the protein, carbs and healthy fats," says Weatherwax. "By mixing all three you actually burn more energy. One study shows that you burn an extra 35 calories."
Nibbling on refined sweets can give you the snack blues. So let smart-snack strategies. Shift your mental outlook into high gear and use snacks wisely.
Snacking and Exercising
When you incorporate snacks into a consistent exercise program, you boost your chances of maintaining a healthy weight.
To make a big difference in your day, Gordon says, get up a half an hour early to exercise. Next, eat a breakfast that includes protein and fiber, have a mid-morning snack, a healthy lunch, an afternoon snack and good dinner. Take a walk within 30 minutes of eating dinner and you'll give your body a double dose of get-up-and-go.
"It exponentially increases your energy production and fat burning," says Gordon. Do all these things and watch your energy soar. "You'll fuel your life with real sustained power sources rather than the quick fix like coffee that's going to give you the rise in energy and then fall."
You don't need to be told to keep on snacking. Just keep to the protein and fiber side of the snack street.
Summer Sports Nutrition Guide
June 11, 2005 03:54 PM
Summer Sports Nutrition Guide by Joyce Dewon Energy Times, June 18, 2004
If you're hooked on exercise you're probably just as hooked on using top-notch equipment when you work out. Those who are serious about staying in shape buy the best running shoes, carefully pick out the best bikes and tread on durable treadmills. But do you pay just as much attention to your nutrition?
Scientists who have studied exercise have found that what you eat before, during and after workouts is crucial to maintaining your health, getting into shape and staying fit. To achieve your best athletic performance without getting injured or sick depends on optimum nutrition. When you carefully plan what to feed your exercised body, it rewards you by feeling and looking better.
Short 'n Sweet
If you thought long exercise sessions were the only ways to get decent exercise benefits, take notice: small doses of exercise during the week can go a long way. " The important thing, apparently, is just do it," says Howard D. Sesso, ScD, author of an American Heart Association study on exercise and heart disease. In his study, exercisers demonstrated that several short sessions of exercise were as good for the body as a single long session (Circ 8/00; 102:975-80). " Short sessions lasting 15 minutes long appear to be helpful,"Dr. Sesso explains. Even walking about three miles per week, which is a moderate level of exercise, lowers your risk of heart disease by 10%.
Some people glorify in working up a sweat; others curse the dampness. But putting in extra effort in even short bursts of activity pays off: experts have found that intense exercise burns more calories than more relaxed sessions, more effectively reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and helps stabilize blood sugar levels. In addition, it stimulates production of human growth hormone, which offsets some of the effects of aging (Exp Biol Med 2004 Mar; 229(3):240-6).
But don't go crazy if you haven't worked out in a long time. The intensity of the workout should match your physical fitness. According to the American Heart Association, when people exercise at a comfortable pace, their heart rate and level of exertion stay within a safe range, but still high enough to benefit their health. Strenuous activities, for those who can handle them, produce the most physiological bang for the jog. But brisk walking within your own level of fitness still offers significant benefits.
Feeding Your Muscles
When you exercise, you work and develop your muscles, which are made primarily out of protein. Despite this fact, many exercise experts have advocated high-carb diets for athletes. But, as John Ivy, PhD, and Robert Portman, PhD, point out in their book The Performance Zone (Basic Health), "[While] there is no doubt that aerobic athletes require more carbohydrate than strength athletes...we are now discovering that the addition of protein to a carbohydrate supplement offers significant benefits to aerobic athletes."
That is why researchers believe that consuming plenty of protein along with carbohydrates offers the best fitness benefits. Protein helps fuel activity more efficiently and aids in recovery after a session at the gym, allowing your body to repair muscle damage and build up muscle fibers.
During exercise, you break down muscle tissue. It is during recovery, after your exercise session ends, that muscles are rebuilt. At the same time, other cellular processes take place that adapt the body to working out.
According to Ivy and Portman, timing your intake of nutrients after exercise is crucial: "The ability of the muscle machinery to regenerate itself decreases very rapidly after a workout, so that the nutrients consumed more than 45 minutes after exercise will have far less impact in helping the muscles regenerate than nutrients consumed earlier."
Stresses and Tears
Engaging in athletics can cause microscopic muscle tears. These tears can cause a range of problems that, when you exercise excessively, can cause pain and injury.
Inflammation is the body's response to cellular damage. The damaged area can swell as the body sends white blood cells and other cells to repair the injured area. Unfortunately, the swelling can further damage the muscle cells.
Since inflammation can take 24 hours or more to cause the collection of cells in the injured area, it can be a day or two before the resulting muscle soreness reaches its peak painfulness and then starts to subside.
Cortisol, a hormone produced when you exercise strenuously, which can result in muscle fiber damage. Cortisol boosts protein breakdown, so it can be used to fuel muscle movement. But the more protein breaks down, the more potential exists for muscle fiber injury. Free radicals are caustic molecules that are created when the mitochondria (small structures in cells) create energy; these marauders can also cause microscopic shredding of muscle strands. As you increase your use of energy during exercise, you simultaneously increase the production of free radicals. This collection of free radicals can outstrip the body's antioxidant defenses, leading to extensive muscle damage and dampening of the immune system.
All of these cellular events can make you sore. They are also the reasons that athletes who overdo it day after day are liable to come down with nagging colds and a variety of infections.
Your muscles use different substances for fuel depending on what you ask them to do. Lift a heavy weight and muscles recruit two processes called the creatine phosphate system and glycolysis to generate a large amount of quick energy. These are known as anaerobic types of energy production.
But if you jog, swim, bike or perform any other aerobic activity, the cells use oxygen in what is called cellular respiration to supply energy to working muscles.
When you exercise aerobically for extended periods of time, the energy available is generally limited by how much oxygen your body is capable of taking in and supplying to the muscles, where it takes part in energy production. In athletic circles, this upper limit is known as your VO2max.
The carbohydrates your body burns for energy during aerobic activity are taken from blood sugar and carbohydrate reserves called glycogen. (The muscles store glycogen, as does the liver.) During a workout session, your glycogen supply is limited to what is stored with your muscles. But blood glucose can be boosted by carbohydrate drinks, energy gels or bars.
Most people who work out have enough glycogen and blood sugar to fuel moderate aerobic activity for about two hours. After that, the body turns mostly to fat and protein stores to fuel exercise.
Fat Into the Fire
In contrast to the body's quickly diminishing supply of glycogen and blood sugar, fat can last for hours and hours of exercise. According to Portman and Ivy, a 200-pound man with 15% body fat has, theoretically, enough fat energy to run from Washington DC down to Miami Beach-and still has enough energy left over to jump into the ocean.
But using fat for energy is complicated; fat is stored in fat tissue and not readily available to working muscles. Plus, to burn fat for energy, the body needs carbohydrate-it cannot burn fat all by itself. What's more, the conversion of fat into energy doesn't go as quickly as carb conversion.
Protein is also used for energy when carbs run low. But the more you use protein for energy, the more you risk soreness as muscle fibers break down.
Prepare to Energize
To maximize your energy during exercise and minimize soreness, Portman and Ivy recommend some simple nutritional steps:
Taking protein and carbs while working out can limit muscle damage and curtail soreness. Carbs apparently drop your cortisol levels, and thereby limit muscle injuries linked to this hormone. While the mechanism that helps protein limit muscle soreness is not completely understood, it is possible that taking in protein while working out keeps the body from shredding muscle tissue in search of fuel.
Supplements that contain antioxidants such as natural vitamin E and vitamin C (Portman and Ivy think you should take these during exercise) may limit free radical damage to muscle fibers.
Muscle Reconstruction Plan
If you want to help your exercise plan make you stronger, you should focus your after-exercise sports nutrition plan on these steps:
The protein part of the equation is vital: don't merely indulge in only carbs after exercising. A recent study found that while carbs could help muscles rebuild, adding protein can make a big difference in improving your fitness (J App Phys 2/04).
This combination of nutrients stimulates the pancreas so that it releases insulin. The release of insulin is the key, initial step that sets off a cascade of physiological events that speeds muscle recovery. Although many people think of insulin as an undesirable hormone-if you never exercise, too much insulin may help drive your blood sugar down and cause other problems-for exercisers, this hormone plays a crucial function in benefiting from exercise.
By eating carbohydrate and protein soon after working out and stimulating insulin, according to Ivy and Portman, you help your body boost its synthesis of protein by:
Drinking for Exercise The most obvious nutrient you lose during intensive exercise is water in your perspiration. However, that perspiration also contains an array of minerals known as electrolytes. So, for optimal performance and health, experts recommend you replace both the water and its minerals.
Merely drinking water-instead of electrolyte-filled sports drinks-during prolonged aerobic activity can be dangerous. It leaves you vulnerable to a condition called hyponatremia, which can occur when your blood levels of sodium and other electrolytes drop, but your blood volume stays steady or increases because you drink lots of water.
According to Edmund Burke, PhD, in his book Optimal Muscle Performance and Recovery (Avery), one out of four athletes who seek medical attention after a long race are suffering hyponatremia.
" Typically," he says, "conscientious athletes get in trouble because they adhere too diligently to one recommendation: the need to drink lots of fluids. They tend to ignore another recommendation: The need to keep electrolytes up...for most endurance athletes the real problem is drinking too much water." Dr. Burke warns that you can possibly suffer hyponatremia even if you don't drink a lot of water.
Signs of hyponatremia can be similar to those of heat exhaustion. But, while resting and cooling down can help alleviate heat exhaustion, that doesn't help hyponatremia. " To protect yourself against hyponatremia, start by paying attention to how much you sweat," Dr. Burke says. If your sweat seems very salty, burns your eyes or leaves an evident, white residue on your skin, you may be losing a great deal of sodium and should be diligent about eating salty foods. " You can also make sure you're getting enough sodium by drinking sports drinks instead of plain water during long (exercise) events," Dr. Burke notes.
Of course, no matter what you decide to eat or drink while exercising, the most important factor for your well-being is to get out to the gym, onto the track, or just on to the sidewalk, and do something, even if you only want to go out for a walk. No matter how old you are or what kind of shape you're in, you'll benefit from exercise.
" It's solid evidence that across-the-board declines occur when people stop exercising," says Charles Emery, PhD, professor of psychology at Ohio State University (Health Psychology 3/04).
Don't decline or remain supine. Let your fitness climb.
The Natural Man
June 10, 2005 03:31 PM
The Natural Man
by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, July 14, 2003
Men face significant health challenges as they age. "When men go through andropause in their late 40s (like women go through menopause) and testosterone drops, these hormonal changes are associated with heart attacks, high cholesterol and diabetes," says Jacob E. Teitelbaum, MD, Director of the Annapolis Research Center for Effective Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Therapy in Maryland.
And although cardiovascular disease and cancer account for about two-thirds of men's deaths, says Michael Castleman, author of Blended Medicine (Rodale), men are also plagued by chronic pain (arthritis, especially from old athletic injuries), sexual problems and mental decline.
But men, and the women who love them, need not accept decline as an inevitable sign of aging. A natural man lifestyle makeover can make a difference. "Prostate problems can be significant [for men as they age]," says Jamey Wallace, ND, clinic medical director at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle. "As men get older there can be an enlargement of the prostate that can cause urinary problems, with increased frequency and discomfort. There's a correlation between inactivity and weight gain and perhaps prostate problems as well." Besides lack of exercise, other contributing factors to health problems include a diet loaded with pesticide residues and chemicals, a lack of fiber and an excessive amount of unhealthy fats.
The Stronger Sex?
Women, on average, live five years longer than men. "At every age, American males have poorer health and a higher risk of mortality than females," says David Williams of the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research. The gap in life expectancy between men and women may have both genetic and lifestyle origins. More men smoke than women, and men are twice as likely to be heavy drinkers. A recent study Williams led, published in the American Journal of Public Health, confirms that men's behavior is indeed a contributing factor to longevity or lack thereof. "Men take more risks than women," says Castleman. "Men ride motorcycles, go skydiving and do 'death-defying' things. Sometimes, death wins." A macho attitude can prompt men to practice risky behavior by, say, driving without a seat belt. Men also typically engage in more dangerous occupations like construction or Fire fighting.
Get Him to the Health Practitioner
Being macho may also mean men postpone visits to their health practitioners. Women are twice as likely to schedule an annual checkup.
"Men postpone admitting and getting help for problems," says Shoshana Zimmerman, ND, author of My Doctor Says I'm Fine...So Why Do I Feel So Bad? (Blue Dolphin). "They may want to prove they are tough or are preoccupied with their jobs and responsibilities." "Starting in adolescence men feel they can take care of themselves," says Dr. Wallace. Unfortunately, this means that it may take a health crisis like severe pain to prompt a man's visit to a health practitioner. "Men care less about their health, so they don't take care of themselves as well as women do," says Castleman.
Get Him to Take the Long View
"Health problems are a result of decades of poor diet and not enough exercise," says Dr. Wallace.
Dr. Teitelbaum, author of From Fatigued to Fantastic (Avery/Penguin) says, as a rule of thumb, "Things that make you feel good are generally good for you." But there is a difference between a craving, say for sugar, and what makes you feel good. The difference is how you feel an hour after you've eaten something. Sugar may make you feel fatigued; a high-protein diet may make you feel energized. "If you have low energy, that's the time to add eggs and meat. Others need to be vegans. It's really individualized. Listen to your body."
Zinc is an important nutrient for men's health, particularly for the prostate, and can be found in pumpkin seeds. "Sprinkling a small handful on salads on a daily basis or bringing a small bag to the office and nibbling on those can be a helpful adjunct," says Dr. Wallace. Don't overdo zinc supplementation because high levels can lowers HDL-the good cholesterol-levels. If you do use supplements, follow package directions.
By eating different whole foods, you get optimal daily doses of vitamin A (in the form of mixed carotenoids); flavonoids; B vitamins; vitamins C, D, E and K; and important minerals like calcium, boron, manganese and magnesium, the single most critical nutrient. "It's also the one most Americans are deficient in," says Dr. Teitelbaum. "It promotes heart health, improves mental function and mood, helps you relax and sleep better." When sleep is elusive, herbs that can help include wild lettuce, Jamaican dogwood, hops, passionflower and valerian.
For many men, an enlarged prostate is part of aging. Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) may reduce the frequent urge to urinate that can result.
"After age 40, men's levels of testosterone decline, while levels of other hormones, notably prolactin, increase," says Castleman. "This results in an elevation of the male sex hormone dihydrotestosterone, which is responsible for the overgrowth of prostate tissue that is characteristic of benign prostate enlargement. Many studies have shown that saw palmetto shrinks enlarged prostates and relieves symptoms." It takes about six weeks to work. (Since urinary difficulties can signal several health problems, it's important to consult a trained practitioner first.)
Give Him a Multivitamin
Add a good multivitamin with essential nutrients from a natural food store, says Dr. Wallace. "You'll find vitamins there with bioavailability. You can take something but it may be in a form that you can't assimilate. You need a multivitamin that your body can actually use."
Powdered vitamin formulas can be a good choice, says Dr. Teitelbaum, since they don't have binders or fillers. "You can just put it into a glass of say orange juice or mix it into a smoothie."
In addition, omega-3 oil offers antioxidant protection and anti-inflammatory action, says Dr. Zimmerman: "Especially on the arteries, which protects against plaque buildup."
Get Him Eating Better and Exercising
To help your spouse or significant other improve his health and vitality, start by setting a good example both in nutrition and activity.
"Eat a whole-food diet yourself, include foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains like quinoa, teff and kamut (find them at your local natural food store) full of fiber and B vitamins, instead of refined bread and pasta," says Dr. Wallace. "Choose foods you both like. Go to a natural food store and look through whole food cookbooks, find recipes that use ingredients that you know your spouse likes and try those."
"Spend your time in the produce section, have salads and fruit salads in the fridge at all times, and serve them at all meals," says Castleman.
Make gradual, healthy substitutions, steps you both can live with. For example, replace one meat lunch and dinner a week with a vegetarian alternative, says Castleman. "Make a big pot of hearty bean and vegetable soup a week, and just keep it in the fridge for an easy heat-and-eat meal." You can also broil fish instead of frying it. Use olive or canola oil when cooking.
To get your four to five servings of vegetables each day, eat a five-color salad. "You'll get a variety of nutrients so the body can select what it needs from the different vegetables," says Dr. Wallace.
"Serve more vegetables, at least two with dinner and add fruit into your man's (and your own) diet," says Dr. Zimmerman. "Eating three each of protein, vegetables and fruits per day goes a very long way to improving health." So does drinking plenty of water, eight to ten glasses a day.
Besides providing a good example by eating healthy foods, a woman can do the same thing with exercise. "If a woman wants to start walking she can invite her husband to go along. Thirty minutes of walking every day can be very helpful," says Dr. Wallace. Walking, like sex, keeps the pelvic area active and improves prostate health by stimulating blood flow. Remember, in both diet and exercise, nagging doesn't work-while setting an example and trying to be inclusive, and not demanding, often makes a big difference for better health.
Essential Fatty Acids - Lipids, Cell Memgranes & Eicosanoids
June 09, 2005 09:35 AM
Essential Fatty Acids and Phospholipids
Essential fatty acids & phospholipids are primary constituents of cell membranes, and as such they are vital to the makeup of the human body. Essential fatty acids are used to generate certain intra-cellular hormone-like substances, including prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which are responsible for regulating key bodily processes. Source Naturals essential fatty acid supplements are potent, effective and chemical-free.
LIPIDS, CELL MEMBRANES & EICOSANOIDS
Almost by definition, life is composed of cells, and cells are defined by membranes. One theory suggests that, around four billion years ago, self-replicating molecules, similar to the ribonucleic acid or RNA in our own cells, were synthesized from organic molecules. These self-replicating molecules adapted to changes in their environment to increase their potential for survival. Thus began the process of evolution that has led, over the eons, to us. One turning point was when these molecules developed membranes - envelopes which could help concentrate chemicals needed for the cell's survival. There existed in the "primordial soup" substances uniquely suited to this purpose: a class of organic compounds we call lipids . Lipids are more commonly called fats, and in this health and image-conscious age people often think of them as something to be avoided. However, the word fat refers to a variety of substances with a diverse range of chemical properties, which are essential for survival and well-being . The simplest lipids, fatty acids such as palmitic acid, consist of a hydrocarbon "tail" connected to a carboxyl group (COOH). The majority of lipids in food and in the human body occur in the form of triglycerides - a molecular configuration in which three fatty acid chains are attached to a 'backbone' of glycerol (an organic alcohol composed of a 3-carbon chain with an alcohol group attached to each carbon). The major roles of lipids can be described as energy and storage, structural, and metabolic.
Energy and Storage
Molecules can contain more or less chemical energy. In living systems most of the energy needed to drive chemical reactions is derived from oxidation. Oxygen, the ultimate electron acceptor, is a strong oxidant: it has a marked tendency to attract electrons, becoming reduced in the process. When a molecule undergoes a chemical reaction from a high-energy reduced state to a low-energy oxidized state, energy is released. This is what happens in a Fire: the high-energy carbohydrates in wood, such as glucose, react with oxygen, releasing heat and the low-energy molecules of carbon dioxide and water. This is similar to what happens in metabolism.
Most of the carbon in a fatty acid chain is highly reduced, which makes fats more energy-rich than the other organic molecules that can be burned as food. This is what we mean when we say fats are high in calories - a measure of the amount of energy released when a substance is oxidized. Fats contain more than twice as many calories as carbohydrates. This makes fats an important storage fuel for most of the body.
Another important class of lipids in the human body consists of the phospholipids. Like triglycerides, phospholipids contain fatty acid chains- in this case two, one saturated and one unsaturated, attached to a glycerol backbone. Unlike triglycerides, in phospholipids the third carbon of the glycerol molecule is attached to a phosphate (a molecular group that contains phosphorus and oxygen), which is in turn attached to either an amino acid or, in the case of phosphatidyl choline, a molecule of the B-vitamin - like substance, choline.
Their unique molecular structure makes phospholipids amphipathic, which means 'likes both':
Fats, being hydrophobic, tend to separate out from water. When fat is mixed with phospholipids in the presence of water, the phospholipid molecules attach themselves to the molecules of fat and bring them into the water solution, enabling the fats to dissolve in water.
Phospholipids form a structure called a lipid bilayer, a two-ply sheet of phospholipid molecules in which the hydrophilic head groups face outward and are in contact with the water, and the hydrophobic tails face each other on the inside of the bilayer. This structure is one of the key constituents of the cell membranes that surround every living cell.
The lipid bilayer of cell membranes is a fluid in which membrane-embedded proteins "float." These proteins serve a wide variety of different functions. Some are enzymes, serving to carry out chemical reactions in the adjacent solution. Some are involved in signaling, in which a biochemical action in a cell is 'commanded' by means of a hormone or some such other signaling molecule. Still others are involved in transporting substances across the membrane, into or out of the cell.
The functions of membrane-embedded proteins are dependent on a very precise balance of phospholipids for their function. Phosphatidyl serine, for instance, has a negatively-charged head group that associates preferentially with a class of membrane-bound proteins called ATPases. ATPases regulate, among other things, the balance of sodium and potassium in intra- and extracellular fluids, a balance that is necessary for the integrity of our cells and also for the electrochemical impulses that make up our thoughts and feelings. Without phosphatidyl serine, these vitally important membrane-embedded proteins could not function.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is essential to the structure of cell membranes, which depend for their function on a delicate balance between fluidity and solidity. Cholesterol provides a semifluid matrix, as well as enhancing membrane fluidity. About 80% of the cholesterol the body uses is manufactured by the liver; the other 20% is consumed in food. Elevated blood cholesterol levels are associated with heart disease. Saturated fats are converted into cholesterol more readily than unsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats usually depress blood cholesterol concentration to some degree. Researchers have thus recommended that people lower their consumption of saturated fats and increase their consumption of polyunsaturated fats. A process called hydrogenation , in which hydrogen molecules are added, is used to harden these unsaturated fats to create solid spreads, such as margarine. This process causes formation of altered fats called trans fatty acids. Although the results are not conclusive, human and animal studies have pointed to possible deleterious effects from consumption of trans - fatty acids, which are estimated to account for 5.5% of all fats consumed by Americans. These studies include one in men and women that showed harmful effects of trans - fatty acids on blood cholesterol ratios.
When each link of a fatty acid chain contains an atom of hydrogen, as in palmitic acid, that fatty acid is said to be saturated . If two carbon links are double bonded to each other, each has one less hydrogen atom, and the fatty acid chain is said to be unsaturated. If a fatty acid contains one double bond, it is said to be monounsaturated, and if it has two or more double bonds it is said to be polyunsaturated . Certain polyunsaturated fatty acids cannot be manufactured by the body and must be obtained from the diet. These nutrients are called essential fatty acids and are necessary for the normal function of all tissues. The essential fatty acids fall into two categories:
In addition to being phospholipid precursors, essential fatty acids can be converted to a class of hormone like intracellular messengers called eicosanoids. The physiologic effects of eicosanoids are potent in minute quantities. Their effects are so powerful that they need to be produced near the site of their action and are quickly inactivated. The important eicosanoids include the thromboxanes, leukotrienes and prostaglandins (PGs ). Prostaglandin molecules consist of a five-carbon ring with two side chains. They can be distinguished from each other by numbers that refer to the number of double bonds in their molecular side chains: 1-series PGs have one double bond, 2-series have two double bonds, and so on. Prostaglandins mediate a variety of bodily processes, including inflammatory reactions, blood vessel contraction and dilation, and platelet aggregation. The different PGs have different effects on the body, and different essential fatty acids act as precursors for different PGs.
Important essential fatty acids in humans are the omega-6 fatty acids, which include linoleic acid (LA), gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), and arachidonic acid (AA). 1-series PGs are derived from GLA and tend to cause blood vessels to dilate and reduce the stickiness of platelets (cell fragments in the blood that help initiate blood clotting). 2-series PGs are derived from arachidonic acid and tend to increase platelet stickiness and cause blood vessels to constrict. Meat and dairy products are dietary sources of the PG2 precursor, arachidonic acid; American diets tend to be rich in these foods. The rate-limiting step for production of GLA in the human body is an enzyme called delta-6-desaturase (D6D). The action of this important enzyme can be blocked by a number of different lifestyle factors, including a diet high in saturated or trans- fatty acids and chronic alcohol consumption. A modest increase in consumption of GLA will significantly increase the ratio of GLA to AA in the tissues, which may have a beneficial effect on the homeostasis of the cardiovascular system. Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids, such as flaxseed oil or fish oil, is beneficial for similar reasons. Omega-3 fatty acids are precursors for 3-series PGs, which reduce platelet stickiness. Series-3 PGs also tend to inhibit conversion of AA into its metabolites, the 2-series PGs.
The lipid composition of our diets has changed radically in the 20th century. Our intake of saturated fats has increased dramatically, and trans fatty acids, which did not exist before the advent of modern food processing technology, now form a major part of our diets. We eat less fish and green leafy vegetables, important sources of omega-3 fatty acids, than our ancestors did. Far from being an inert, homogeneous substance, fat is dynamic and varied - a subtle and interactive matrix for many of the biological processes taking place in our bodies, minute by minute.