Search Term: " Germs "
These Essential Oils Beat Commercial Products Hands Down
May 08, 2019 01:35 PM
Mixtures of plant essential oils can be surprisingly powerful cleaning agents that will keep your dwelling pristine without harsh chemicals. Lemon oil excels at cutting grease. Tea tree oil is a powerful antimicrobial that can handle the toughest bathroom germs, and can be mixed with thyme oil to create a superb all-purpose cleaner and disinfectant. Lavender oil can be added into laundry to make it smell fresh and pleasant. Clove essential oil can be mixed with water and rubbing alcohol to make a sprayable air freshener.
"Essential oils are compounds that are extracted from plants. These oils engulf the plant oil and flavor, which is also called the “essence.” Each oil contains special aromatic compounds that give it a unique essence."
Read more: https://www.thealternativedaily.com/essential-oils-beat-commercial-products-hands-down/
Can You Prevent Picking Up Germs on the Subway?
September 23, 2017 11:14 AM
Many people think that measures such as wearing gloves will prevent illness when doing such activities as subway riding. However, germs are on many surfaces and wearing gloves won't prevent the person next to you from sneezing in your direction. Good old fashioned hand washing seems to be about as effective as anything else. And, a word to the wise- you are more likely to pick up an illness while at your doctor's office than a subway or your workplace!
Read more: Can You Prevent Picking Up Germs on the Subway?
Could Germs in the Gut Give Rise to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
May 01, 2017 10:59 AM
New research has uncovered a possible link between chronic fatigue syndrome and an out-of-balance gut microbiome. Chronic fatigue syndrome, which affects about 1 million Americans, leads to joint and muscle aches, clouded thinking, and sleep problems. However, most people suffering from it are never diagnosed. The new research attempts to link the types and quantity of bacteria present in the gut to symptoms of chronic fatigue. More research is needed to draw a more conclusive link, but physicians have made an important first step.
Read more: Could Germs in the Gut Give Rise to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Immune system suppression may be related to problem drinking
February 06, 2017 04:59 PM
Excessive alcohol intake can harm the body’s immune system in two ways. First, it produces an overall nutritional deficiency, depriving the body of valuable immune boosting nutrients. Second, alcohol, like sugar, consumed in excess can reduce the ability of white cells to kill Germs. High doses of alcohol suppress the ability of the white blood cells to multiply, inhibit the action of killer white cells on cancer cells, and lessen the ability of macrophages to produce tumor necrosis factors.
Short Stretches of Exercise May Have Anti-Inflammatory Effect
January 28, 2017 02:59 PM
Exercise does more than just strengthen muscles. Studies show that it also helps stave off inflammation in the body. After walking at a moderate pace for just 20 minutes, patients were shown to have lower levels of immune cells circulating in their blood. Scientists are not yet sure what this means for a patient’s health, but they know that heart disease and diabetes are linked to prolonged inflammation.
"Studies have suggested that exercise lowers inflammation, especially when you're active on a regular basis. However, "what is less known is how that is happening," Hong added."
The 7 best supplements to boost your immunity
January 08, 2017 07:59 AM
Having a high immunity can protect you from sicknesses or disease. Having a high immune system is very important, especially as you get older. Importantly there are many supplements to boost the immune system. Probiotics are just one example of a supplement to boost immune function. Read on for more supplements.
"Arm yourself with tried-and-true options—proven cold busters effective in clobbering Germs that might otherwise turn you into a sniveling, sneezing mess—and check out some newly emerging star players that have been drawing attention lately for their potential cold- and flu-fighting cred."
Fight your sickness by making your own DIY all-natural cough syrup
December 29, 2016 02:59 PM
Most people get sick during the winter months although it's not the cold weather that actually makes you sick. People don't go out as much during the winter and are around others more which makes it easier for the bacteria and viruses to spread. Eating healthy, drinking enough filtered water and getting enough exercise are among some of the things you can do to keep your body healthy.
"Most Germs that cause the common cold spread more quickly in cold, dry air. Furthermore, during the winter months, people spend more time indoors and closer to each other, which makes it easier for the bacteria and viruses to spread."
Five ways to avoid germs while traveling
December 06, 2016 07:59 AM
Different areas of the world have different Germs and it is easy to pick up a germ you are not resistant to already. No one wants to get sick when they travel and ruin their vacation or business trip. This article will explain five different ways to avoid picking up new Germs while you travel.
"Gendreau studies germiness while traveling, and he knows just how infectious travel can be."
ESSENTIAL OIL THAT CAN RELIEVE TOOTHACHE AND MOUTH PAIN
A toothache is such a dreadful thing that causes a lot of discomfort.Many people run to see a dentist the moment that nagging toothache strikes.But what if it is in the middle of the night and the dentist clinic is closed?or probably you cant make it to the dentist?. A relatively inexpensive remedy for tooth ache is the clove.
The Four Health Benefits Of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is a herb prevalently found in India. Its roots have restorative qualities and are utilized broadly as a part of Ayurveda to treat various conditions. Beneath is a portion of the benefits of this amazing herb:
Ashwagandha extract can improve the immune system's function. This will empower your body to battle disease causing Germs and microbes.
4. Support muscle recovery
This herb can also help the body recover from a stressful workout. It may even reduce the time of recovery from a hard workout.
Learn how iodide can fix hemorrhoids over night
Hemorrhoids, also popularly known as piles, is a condition characterized by enlarged veins in the lower rectum. This condition is majorly caused by blood blockage in the hemorrhoidal complex veins. The hemorrhoidal veins is located just above the internal opening of the anus and can enlarge enough to protrude and give subsequent disturbance and squeezing while setting causes pain.
Constipation and hardened stools due to lack of diet or fluids is the primary cause of hemorrhoids. People who are experiencing constipation have little or no peristalsis process (the process that cause wave-like motion in their bowel through their intestines), and when the bowel strain to have such movement, the result is hemorrhoids. Other causes of hemorrhoids include diarrhea, pregnancy, heavy lifting, and long periods of standing or sitting.
The standard conventional treatment includes lubrication of the surface of the veins with medication that reduce pain and help to shrink the hemorrhoid. Sitz baths and cold or hot packs are also used to soothe the irritated area. In conventional allopathic treatment, surgeons can operate the hemorrhoids and successfully remove it or may be even hardened through injection.
Iodine is popular for eliminating hemorrhoids. Iodine is used in a form called SSKI (Saturated Solution of Potassium Iodide). It should be clear that SSKI can easily cause burning sensation and should be used with a carrier such as flaxseed or olive. A mix of 20 drops of SSKI should be mixed with carrier oil and applied on the affected area at night just before going to bed. Note that iodine stains and it is recommended that you wear bedclothes that you don’t worry about.
How Iodide can fix Hemorrhoids over Night
Saturated solution of potassium iodine is close to 100 in inhibiting and killing bacteria, fungi, and viruses before causing serious infections. So when you apply a few drops of this product with carrier oil, you are sure of preventing any microorganism from affecting the protruded rectum. Taking an ounce of water with about 10 drops of water also results in rapid accumulation of SSKI in all secretions parts of the body and highly assists to eliminate hemorrhoids.
Applying SSKI on the hemorrhoids affected area ensure that it is soft and protected from all kind of Germs and this alone enough to solve the problem overnight. A research done show that 6 to 8 drops of SSKI taken daily significantly reduce fibrocystic breast disease to insignificance within 3 to 6 months and when victims of hemorrhoids use apply SSKI or take some drops of the same with water, they get healed within a few weeks.
While using SSKI for treatment, it is vital to monitor the thyroid functions since there sometimes side effects of this treatment. One of the side effect although minimal is peyronie’s disease that results when the tissue along the shaft of the penis thickens and results in erections that increasingly curve and even painful.
Applying SSKI to thicken tissue twice a day over some weeks helps to soften it considerably and assist to prevent any micro-organism from investing in the affected area and eventually allow normal functioning. In fact, hemorrhoids, disappears sometimes literally overnight when a mixture of 20 drops of SSKI and an ounce of flaxseed oil is applied to them at night.
What Is Atlas Cedar Oil And What Are The Health Benefits?
February 09, 2014 09:18 AM
What is atlas cedar oil
Atlas cedar oil is one of the oldest embalming oils. The oil was initially extracted in Egypt and used by spiritualists as an embalming component. In the contemporary world, this oil has been widely acknowledged and accepted as an aromatherapy product. This oil is processed through steam chemical distillation from pieces of cedar wood.
Health benefits of atlas cedar oil
Medically, the oil has an antiseptic capacity. It has been widely used as a form of antiseptic for wounds to prevent infection of the wounds and prevent them from becoming septic. It helps keep tetanus Germs at bay.
Atlas cedar oil has been globally used in the treatment of arthritis particularly among the old. This oil has an anti inflammatory benefit and has been used largely on patients living with the arthritis condition.
It is also a antispasmodic. This oil is used in massaging the legs and the hands and has a known effect of reducing the profound effects of arthritis. Similarly, this oil has been widely applied to control dandruff and combat acne. It has proven very helpful in relieving spasms which occur in the body such as the intestines and the nerves.
Further, this oil is used as an astringent. It has been clinically adopted for dental use to firm the gums and prevents falling of teeth. It is also used as cure for toothaches.
Lastly, this oil can be used as an expectorant. Patients suffering from severe coughs can use this oil to combat irritate coughs. This cough gets rid of phlegm from the lungs and the air pipe and controls the cough.
This oil has been accepted as to have the effects of calming negative emotions and control anger. It comes in handy when one is faced with stressful situations and helps in calming the nerves especially during mediation time.Further, the atlas cedar oil is the attractive aroma it produces. With this effect it has been used in the preparation of perfumes and other scented beauty products. Due to this strong aroma this oil has been globally used as a aphrodisiac.
What is Xylitol?
February 09, 2014 08:50 AM
What is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a 5-carbon Sugar alcoholic recognized even more particularly like a polyalcohol (polyol) and it has already been getting used because the 60's. You can find this within nourishments with regard to unique nutritional reasons as well as a number of without having Sugar goodies, candy, mints as well as biting down hard gums.
Erythritol - The Healthy Sugar
February 07, 2014 05:00 PM
What is erythritol
Erythritol is a naturally occurring sugar found in tree grown foods, for instance melons and grapes. Simply because Monk Fresh fruit is almost two hundred occasions sweeter compared to Sugar, all of us very carefully blend this along with Erythritol to let you make use of Norbu like a tea spoon with regard to tea spoon replacement for Sugar.
Erythritol is among the organic Sugar alcohols. This occurs normally inside a couple of items from the dirt nourishments. The idea whenever industrially ready it's made from sugar through fermentation having a candida called Moniliella pollinis.
Sugar alcohols aren't because fairly sweet because desk Sugar (sucrose) as well as include less calories from fat compared to sucrose. Additionally they do not metabolize through dental Germs, henceforth trigger absolutely no teeth rot. There are many Sugar alcohols as well as a number of them are used because sweeteners, for example xylitol as well as sorbitol, within Sugar free of charge nourishments.
What Is Monolaurin And What Are Its Health Benefits?
December 29, 2012 10:38 AM
Get An Immune Boost:
Man has made a big leap as far as science and pharmacology are concerned, but there are still a lot of substances useful to human health that are waiting to be discovered. There are also those substances naturally occurring but whose pharmacological properties have not yet been explored. Monolaurin, for instance, is a naturally occurring substance whose use in human health has only been lately discovered.
Monolaurin, also called glycerol monolaurate and glyceryl laurate, is a 12-carbon fatty acid as well as a monoglyceride. Although it is a derivative of coconut oil, it is most commonly prepared as a lauric acid mono-ester. Aside from coconut milk, it is also present in human breast milk, which is known to function as an immune protection passed on from mother to child after childbirth. The potency of breast milk as an immune barrier is evidenced by the stunted growth and frequency of infections seen in infants deprived of breast milk. But, all this is old information.
What's new about monolaurin?
Known Uses of Monolaurin:
Before we get to new information, it's important to look into the discovery of monolaurin. Way back in the 1960's, then University of Detroit professor Jon Kabara made an important discovery - that the combination of lauric acid and glycerol can be used in fighting Germs. First marketed as a dietary supplement called Lauricidin, it was soon marketed by other pharmaceutical companies, but Lauricidin remains its most potent and purest form.
Since its discovery, it has been used as symptomatic treatment (and prevention) for the common colds, flu, herpes, and many other infections.
Working similarly to breast milk, it helps protect the immune system from infections and other ailments. Some Lauricidin users also claim that the substance is useful against Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and even autism. As for viruses, it has proven to be a useful supplement against HIV, Measles, Herpes Simplex, Epstein-Barr Virus, and Cytomegalovirus, to name a few.
Recent studies have shown its in vitro antibacterial and antimicrobial activity, at least as far as superficial skin infections are concerned. Carpo, Verallo-Rowell and Kabara (2007) demonstrated the effectiveness of monolaurin versus common antibiotics in battling both gram positive and gram negative infections such as Staphylococcus and Enterococcus. Older studies have explained Monolaurin's mechanism of action - it inserts itself into the cell membrane, disturbs the cell membrane integrity of Gram positive bacteria, and therefore blocks cell replication.
Aside from medicinal uses, it is also used for other purposes as well. It is a common ingredient in many deodorants, thanks to its antimicrobial activity; body odor, as you may know, is caused by the presence of certain bacteria. It is also present in other products such as shampoo, detergents, soap, and even in certain foods such as ice cream and margarine.
Side Effects and Drug Interactions
As far as side effects are concerned, there is still a lot to be known. Some users may experience the Herxheimer Reaction, a complicated term that indicates the presence of fatigue, body ache, irritability and fever that may worsen before the medication takes effect. Use during pregnancy and breast feeding is contraindicated, given that not enough is known about its potential effects during this period. Dosage ranges from 0.75 to 3 grams, 2 or 3 times a day, and is taken after meals.
Acidophilus: The magic substance
November 21, 2012 04:43 PM
Goat's milk can be considered as the king of lactic drinks. The acidophilus in goat's milk is a magic substance which has umpteen numbers of nutritional values. This naturally occurring probiotc is also available in capsule and powdered form. Acidophilic milk is basically a drinkable yogurt and is widely used a health supplement for various conditions. The health benefits of acidophilus ranges from digestive benefits to vaginal cleansing.
Health benefits of acidophilus: Acidophilus intake will help you in many ways.
The prominent health benefits are:
1) Digestive well being:
Our digestive tract is filled with both good and bad bacteria. Acidophilus intake will increase the count of good bacteria in the intestinal tract. It will also hinder the growth of antagonistic bacteria like E Coli and Staphylococcus which are the major culprits behind diarrhea and food poisoning.
2) Vaginal well being:
This is another health benefit you can attain by acidophilus intake. Acidophilus prevents the growth of antagonistic bacteria in the vagina and the cervix. This will prevent the occurrence of bacterial vaginosis and other vaginal infections. Acidophilus intake also cleanses the lining of vagina and cervix, and the walls will remain free from pathogenic Germs.
3) Nutritional Value:
Milk products containing acidophilus gives you awesome nutritional benefits. Acidophilus is rich in Vitamin K and lactase, and it improves the overall immunity of your body. Regular acidophilus intake will prevent bacterial attacks and infections.
4) Respiratory benefits:
Some recent studies proved that acidophilus can act as an allergic buster. Regular intake of acidophilus reduces the risk of an asthma attack. Certain experts believes that acidophilus reduces the chance of an allergic trigger. Acidophilus is a magic substance which plays a vital role in your overall well being. You can obtain acidophilus from fermented milk products (goat's milk) and from other supplements. 'Take acidophilus regularly and lead a healthy life'.
Chronic fatigue syndrom and your life styles
September 01, 2010 07:55 PM
Fight Chronic Fatigue SyndromChronic fatigue syndrome strikes more than two million people in the United States, with eighty-five percent of these people being women between the ages of thirty and fifty. The symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome often resemble many other viral infections, making it very hard to pinpoint the real problem. This condition is possibly caused by stress as well as by mercury poisoning from amalgam fillings, hypoglycemia, anemia, hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, food and chemical allergies, weak adrenal function, parasitic infections, amino acid deficiencies, and Candida albicans infections. With all of this in mind, there are a couple of herbal combinations and healthful suggestions that can be followed to help prevent or deal with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Cordyceps sinensis is a natural Chinese supplement that contains high amounts of L-tryptophan. It provides nutrients that are necessary for relieving fatigue and improving endurance. It also helps to increase blood supply to the heart and brain. This herb increases the production of superoxide dismutase in the body. In China, this herb has been traditionally used to treat the nervous system. Additionally, it is used to help strengthen the kidneys and liver.
An herbal combination containing bee pollen, licorice, kelp, barley grass, schizandra, gotu kola, eleuthero, yellow dock, rose hips, and capsicum has been shown to help restore energy to the system. This combination is an excellent combination of herbs to feed and nourish the entire system. It provides nourishment for the adrenals, in the form of licorice, and also for the thyroid, in the form of kelp. The bee pollen in this combination helps to nourish and supply energy to the body. Barley grass nourishes and cleans the body, while schizandra, which is an adaptogen herb, increases the energy supply of cells in the brain, muscles, liver, kidneys, glands, nerves, and in the entire body. The combination of herbs will rebuild the blood, liver, and digestive system.
The following are a few suggestions that can be followed to help deal with and prevent chronic fatigue syndrome. Exercise is very helpful, with even mild exercise helping to increase stamina and oxygenate cells. Exercise also helps to improve sleep. Allergies can be involved in chronic fatigue syndrome, so it is important to look into food allergies, chemicals, and heavy metals, and eliminate them. Anytime there is inflammation in the body that is accompanied by pain, swelling, heat, and redness, allergies are likely the culprits. When the immune system is weak, candida is usually involved.
Candida and Chronic Fatigue Syndrom
A candida diet would help to restore natural flora to the system. Candida can prevent the body from using sugars properly, which blocks the body’s energy production and causes extreme fatigue. To restore the friendly bacteria, use acidophilus on an empty stomach and eat unsweetened yogurt. If candida is involved, it is important to eliminate sugar, alcohol, mushrooms and all fungi, molds, and yeast in any form. It is also important to eliminate fermented foods. Look into leaky gut syndrome, which typically allows Germs, viruses, bacteria, worms, and parasites to flourish. When they flourish, the immune and nervous system become weak, causing diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome to weaken the body.
Trying natural remedies like Fatigue to fantastic herbal supplements may help ease chronic fatigue.
May 31, 2008 10:15 AM
The immune system protects the body from disease, illness, parasites and other abnormalities. The immune system is a delicate balance of things working together to keep the body well. When something is out of line, the body is more susceptible to colds, viruses and more serious diseases. That's why it is so important to take care of your body and strengthen your immune system with astragalus.
Boost your immune system to strengthen the heart and lungs, protect the eyes, heal the skin and improve the body's functions. You can enhance your immune system with an herbal boost of astragalus, also known as huang-qi. Astragalus is an herb from the legume family. It has been used for many years in Chinese medicine and made its debut in the U.S. in the 1980s. It is used to enhance the immune system, for chronic hepatitis, in cancer therapy, to prevent colds, help fight upper respiratory infections and prevent heart disease.
Astragalus contains powerful antioxidants that strengthen the body in many ways. It acts as an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and diuretic. It increases the production of immune cells to heal the body.
Poor eating habits, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, drugs, alcohol, environmental toxins, stress and lack of sleep chip away at the effectiveness of your immune system to fight disease. Each of these things takes away from your overall health and well-being. They break down the healthy functioning of your immune system. When this happens, you can expect to feel weak and run down, to be susceptible to colds and the flu and more likely to be affected by disease. When your immune system is not functioning well, Germs can easily penetrate the body and wreak havoc on your organs.
Protecting the Immune System
Choosing a healthy lifestyle is the single most important factor in protecting your immune system. You can cause serious damage to your body by filling it with toxins. This includes inhaling cigarette smoke, consuming alcohol, drinking sodas and other sugary drinks, and eating too many pre-packaged foods. By eliminating these things, you will be able to better protect your health. Make healthy lifestyle changes to boost your immune system. Get plenty of sleep, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, stop smoking and get more exercise on a daily basis. Stop and think about everything before you put it in your body. Consider the damage you may be doing to yourself by breaking down your immune system.
Astragalus Helps Strengthen Your Immune System
Lifestyle changes are important for your total health. There are some other things you can do to enhance your immune system though. Taking the herb astragalus is one example. It helps the body adapt to its surroundings and cope with the bacteria and Germs you frequently come in contact with. When your defenses are low, it's easy for bacteria and Germs to invade your body and make it a toxic environment.
You know your immune system isn't working properly if you catch cold after cold. Your body is more susceptible to illness. Your goal should be to make your defenses strong and keep illness at bay. The astragalus herb can help.
May 12, 2008 11:10 AM
All female mammals, including humans, produce colostrum soon after giving birth, and before proper milk is produced. It is a milk-like substance that provides newly born infants with a boost to their immune system and gives immediate protection against the Germs with which they are about to come into contact.
It also, incidentally, promotes the child’s first bowel movement to rid it of the large amount of dead blood cells created when it’s blood supply was drastically reduced after the severing of the umbilical supply.
It is now believed that colostrum will help not only newly born infants, but also grown adults. If your immune system is weak or you are suffering from a condition that could be helped by a boost to your immune system, colostrum might be what you need to help you fight off what is ailing you. This has become clear after the way that colostrum works has been established.
Transfer factors were discovered in 1949 by Dr. H. Sherwood Lawrence of the New York University School of Medicine. He found that when he injected an extract of the leukocytes of somebody that had previously been infected with tuberculosis, the natural immunity was transferred from the donor to the recipient. He called this extract the ‘transfer factor’, and a means of transferring immune response factors between people was born.
However, the sharing of transfer factors between people suffering from serious conditions such as the HIV virus or hepatitis is a high risk action, and fifty years later, in 1999, bovine colostrum was discussed at a transfer factor conference in Mexico. Bovine colostrum contains large quantities of transfer factors such as IgG type immunoglobulins and hydrogen peroxide. The latter is commonly produced by our body cells to fight off invading pathogens, and immunoglobulins are very effective in fighting some diseases that can be fatal to AIDs patients. Take Cryptosporidium parvum, for instance. This microorganism causes a form of diarrhea that AIDs patients have no defense against but that colostrum can be particularly effective against, and it is also effective against rotavirus that is the main cause of diarrhea in young children.
Before discussing this further, let’s go back a step and examine how bovine milk came to be included in the equation. At one time it was believed that a baby received its immunity from the mother while in the womb and that this was extended via the mother’s milk. However, it was discovered that the milk contained no antibodies as such, only the colostrum, and these antibodies had somehow been transferred to the baby.
This was explained by the concept of the transfer factor. It is not the antibodies that are being transferred from mother to child, but the transfer factor. This modulates the immune system of the recipient and teaches it how to create antibodies against the specific antigens that the donor’s antibodies protect against and to inform the recipient’s immune system when these antigens are present.
The next step was to test the theory that the transfer factor should be able to be passed between species, and the cow was the obvious initial choice since not only are cattle exposed to many of the same antigens as humans, but we already use cow’s milk as a food source – particularly for babies and children. It worked! It was found that when humans were fed cow’s colostrum the specific antibodies were later found in the blood of the person given the treatment.
The next step was to determine the form in which this substance could be used, and injections of various types were tried without success. It was established that the only means of administering colostrum was by drinking it, or supplying it in capsule form. It can be drunk fresh or freeze dried to kill of living organisms and then fats and sugars removed and the resultant dried product encapsulated. It is even possible to remove all large molecules, antibodies, proteins, etc, and still retain the transfer factor. It is absorbed by the gut, and the resultant message passed to the recipient.
It is important to understand that it is not the immunoglobulins from the cow that are passed on, because these are species specific, and are in fact the source of most cow’s milk allergies. There is no transfer of antibodies or any other specific parts of the immune system. What are passed on are the messengers, particularly the transfer factors that are not species specific. A cow’s transfer factors would work just as well in a cat as in humans, only cats don’t get the same diseases as cows and people.
The types of disease that colostrum can help to protect us from include viral and bacterial diseases, fungal diseases and parasites, and neurological and autoimmune diseases. If you have cancer, colostrum can help significantly since cancer and immune deficiency are related. Cancer cells are being formed all the time in your body, but your immune system generally disposes of them. However, if it fails to do this, then the cells can proliferate and lead to cancer as we know it. Colostrum can help your body to prevent cancer occurring, and if you have it, can help to reduce its spread.
Freelance journalist Sam Wainaina studied the effects of Ebola virus in Uganda after the 2002 outbreak, and concluded that had transfer factors been available during the outbreak to transfer immunity it might perhaps have been contained sooner than it was, and saved many, many lives. Although transfer factors have been known of for 60 years, there is still a lot to be done in their application and studies on colostrum could help to accelerate this. Transfer factors alert immune cells to danger, train the system to generate the right type of immunoglobulins and boost NK cell activity to defeat the invaders. They can also moderate an over-active immune system that can be as much a danger to the body as an invading pathogen.
Colostrum can also be used to burn fat and create muscle tissue, and is popular with bodybuilders but it is for its healing and immunity-boosting properties that it is most used. Biotechnology companies are now boosting the colostrum’s transfer factors by injecting cows with vaccines that create pathogens. Known as Ultra Colostrum this is an advance on the natural material.
10 Top Winter Cold & Flu Supplements
January 14, 2008 10:01 AM
As the winter weather continues to keep people close together indoors, viruses causing influenza and the common cold are able to more easily multiply. However, there are ways to prevent these unwanted Germs from invading your body. Here is a list of the top ten dietary supplements that help the immune system fight and repel cold and flu bugs.
Andrographis has long been used in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine to boost the immune system. Actually, andrographis was first used during the Indian flu epidemic of 1919, where it was credited with stalling the spread of the disease. According to research, andrographis works better than a placebo for reducing the symptoms of respiratory infections and it may even prevent the infection in the first place. These studies used a proprietary andrographis product which combines the herb with a Siberian ginseng.
Beta glucan is a fiber-like complex sugar that can be found in oats, barley, and the cell walls of mushrooms. It provides a boost to the immune system which enhancing resistance to viruses and bacteria. In fact, beta glucan has been shown to boost the activity of phagocytes, special immune system cells which engulf and destroy Germs.
Echinacea has a long history of traditional use; with it actually being one of the most widely used herbs in Native American medicine. Instead of having a direct germ-killing effect, Echinacea stimulates the body’s own immune defenses. Many studies go back as far as 1970 have shown that Echinacea boosts the immune system so that it can protect against infections invaders. A new study has found that Echinacea can reduce the odds of developing a cold by 58 percent and shortens the length of a cold to 1.4 days.
Elderberry was considered in Roman times to be a flu remedy. Recently, elderberry extract has been researched for its role in treating influenza infections, especially when it is taken with in the first 24 hours of developing symptoms. One recent study proved that individuals who were taking elderberry recovered four days sooner from influenza than those taking a placebo. Additionally, the use of other medications was less for those who used elderberry.
Garlic improves resistance to disease by boosting immune function. Many studies have found that garlic stimulates immunity because it increases the number of white blood cells and other immune system team members. A recent study proved that a group of individuals taking garlic caught significantly fewer colds and recovered more quickly from the colds they did come down with than the other group which was taking a placebo.
Ginseng boosts immune function in all of its forms. A study of adults who were taking American ginseng daily during the winter months found that those people, compared to those taking a placebo, caught fewer colds and needed less sick days. Additionally, Siberian ginseng and Asian ginseng can also build defenses against winter Germs.
Propolis is created by bees when resins from plants are mixed with wax. This propolis coats the inside of the beehive with an antiseptic layer and it can have similar benefits when taken by humans. Propolis stimulates the body’s immune system. It has been proven in studies that taking propolis extract can protect against colds and other upper respiratory infections. Children who take propolis daily for three winter months have been proven to catch fewer colds than those kids who are taking a placebo.
Zinc lozenges, when they are taken within 24 hours of the first cold symptom, can keep cold viruses from taking ground in the respiratory tract. The use of a zinc lozenge every couple of hours also causes colds to resolve more quickly and symptoms to be less severe.
Our immune system is out first line of defense against the cold and flu, as well as the diseases we may come down with. Keeping our immune system in tip top shape is key to a happier and healthier life. The above herbs can help boost the immune system along with a dietary change and exercise plan one can reduce the length of or prevent sickness over a life time.
Back to School with Colloidal silver
December 02, 2007 06:11 PM
Although the basic school supplies and a nutritious lunch are necessities that most parents know children need, other tools for a good immune system are often overlooked. With so many supplements on the market, ranging from herbal immune boosters to vitamin and mineral regimens, it is hard for a parent to decide what to choose when it comes to helping their children stay healthy during the school year. There is one supplement, however, that stands above the rest when it comes to keeping children healthy: colloidal silver. This supplement is the one supplement that is capable of meeting all your child’s needs. Not only is it at the head of its class in immunity support, but it also works as an antimicrobial and has regenerative properties to aid the body in recuperating after an illness has already set in. In addition, it can be used as a health support aid along with other antimicrobials or pain relievers. The best part is that colloidal silver is a clear liquid that looks, tastes, feels, and smells like water, so it is an easy supplement to give your children.
The difference between those children who never seem to get sick and those who are constantly ill has to do with more than a matter of avoiding Germs. All the preventative measures in the world can be taken to protect a child from illness, but if he or she does not have a strong immune system, the parent will be fighting a continuous battle to keep the child healthy. Unlike other immune supplements that are only geared for use at the beginning of a cold or flu, colloidal silver can be used every day to continuously support the immune system.
It was observed as far back as 1907 that silver increases the production of white blood cells. This observation has been recently confirmed in many studies. Researchers have also found that silver may help white blood cells to intercept immune threats effectively by increasing their ability to track, recognize, and survey incoming threats. All of these things cumulatively enhance the immune system, a factor that is very important in keeping children healthy for the long run. It has also been accepted for a long time that silver is effective in fighting a range of microbes such as bacteria, viruses, and fungus. This is contributed to silver ions rupturing the outer membrane of the infectious agent, thereby exposing the internal components to the immune system. When colloidal silver is applied to vulnerable areas such as the eyes, throat, and nose, it can act as a first line of defense in eliminating microbes before they can enter the body. By applying this in the morning before school, microbes that may come into contact with those areas can be eliminated. Silver can also be applied on cuts and scrapes to provide a healthy antiseptic support, as well as faster healing.
In order to decide which silver is right for your children, you must keep in mind that not all silver preparations are the same. A good colloidal silver should have small silver particles that are sub-nanometer in size. Remember that colloidal silver is a dietary supplement to support your health, not to cure diseases. If serious issues are occurring, be sure to contact your health care professional first.
Here’s How to Minimize Your Childs Sick Days
November 22, 2007 02:21 PM
A healthy diet is critical in keeping your children healthy especially one filled with power foods such as organic yogurt and whole grain cereals; cooking with spices; drinking organic orange juice and elderberry; including omega-3 fatty acids from wild salmon; consuming lots of colored fruits and vegetables; and avoiding sugary drinks, artificial sweeteners and sweet candy. Make sure to also add in adequate amounts of rest, as you do not want to drive children too hard or overload them. Additionally, try not to pressure your doctors into making antibiotics their first choice. Although there are times when they are needed overuse of antibiotics can actually weaken your child’s immune system.
Many recent studies have found that a healthy population of beneficial bacteria in our children’s stomach is extremely good to their health as these good bacterial strains help to keep our children resistant to Germs carried by their school friends. One of these studies shows that special strains of probiotics can reduce daycare-related illnesses. Probiotic milk may also slightly reduce respiratory infections in these children. In one study which took place over a seven month winter period, 571 children attending daycare centers in Finland were given milk with or without a specific probiotic blend. During this study, parents recorded any respiratory symptoms such as fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, chest wheezes, and earache, or gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and stomachache. The actual number of days where these symptoms occurred was much lower in the group of children who received probiotics, causing fewer absences from school and a smaller requirement for antibiotic treatment.
Many pediatricians are now recommending the use of age-specific probiotics to give your children the support they need in fighting off Germs. It seems as if pediatricians are increasingly recommending giving probiotics to children instead of prescribing antibiotics. This is partly because 20 percent of children develop antibiotic associated diarrhea (AAD), which is a severe diarrhea that can cause them to miss even more school days. Studies show that children given probiotics even during antibiotic treatment experienced reduced AAD incidence. Giving your child or teen probiotics is one of the safest and most beneficial things you can do to support their overall health. These probiotics safeguard your body from a buildup of harmful bacteria, yeast, and fungi, while enhancing immune function, improving gastrointestinal health, and helping to support colon health.
One amazing fact that most probiotic companies have ignored is which probiotics you should take depends entirely on how old you are and your condition. Unfortunately, most companies only offer a one-size-fits-all probiotic. Babies and toddlers should have a predominance of Bifidobacteria such as B. infantis, B. bididum, and B. breve. Adults, on the other hand, should naturally contain high concentrations of lactobacilli, such as L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, and L. plantarum. Those probiotics that are right for adults are not right for a teen or child, and once you’re over 55, your needs change again. Researchers have discovered that after age 55 is reached, the populations of helpful Bifidobacteria start decreasing steadily. Therefore, adults in their later years will need higher potencies of Bifidobacteria strains once again.
Supplements for Children
June 26, 2007 09:51 PM
Supplements for Children
While most parents try hard to make nutritious meals for their family, most children find the appeal of refined, fast, and junk food simply overwhelming. And, sadly, increasingly easy to buy and consume, as well. From kindergarten through 12th grade, in both grade schools and high schools, vending machines offer calorie laden candy bars, sugar-filled soft drinks, and snack foods loaded with fat and salt. Many school cafeterias actually sell fast-food to children for lunch every day. In fact, it seems almost everywhere children go and gather, visually enticing but nutritionally lacking snacks and soft drinks are sure to be available.
Determined to counteract this disturbing trend, parents everywhere are urgently seeking solutions to help their children get the nutrition they need. One answer is supplemental multivitamins. There are certainly plenty of multivitamins formulated for children currently on the market. However, these products vary considerably in quality and content. Some lack certain vital nutrients. Some taste terrible. Still others are loaded with sugar and artificial flavorings. The good news is that there are superior multivitamins and exceptional immune boosting products formulated specifically for children that actually taste great. In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will discuss childhood nutrition and how to help ensure your children’s health with high quality, 100% natural flavored nutritional supplements.
Q. Do children really benefit from vitamin supplements? Can’t I make sure they get the vitamins and minerals they need from meals?
A. Even the most nutritionally vigilant parent cannot be 100% certain what nutrients are in the food they serve their children. That’s because there’s so much variability in the food we prepare. For instance, fat-soluble vitamins can withstand normal cooking, but vitamins A and E are gradually destroyed by exposure to air. Water-soluble vitamins such as B1, B6, folic acid, and pantothenic acid are destroyed by heat. Vitamin B2 is destroyed by light and heat, while light and air destroy vitamin C. Certain food preservatives and preparation methods also destroy the vitamins in food. To further complicate matters, some fruit and vegetables are grown and harvested in such a way that does not promote nutrient content – so even raw foods may be lacking.
Then there are those crazy food phases all children seemingly go through. While these phases are generally harmless in the long run, a recent alarming exception was in the news. A five-year old boy ate nothing but cheese pizza, Pop-tarts, biscuits, and water, refusing fruits, vegetables, juices and vitamins. He slowly developed limp, swollen gums, and small purple spots appeared on his skin. After five months of this extremely deficient diet, he was unable to walk or get out of bed because the pain was so severe. Doctors diagnosed the boy as having a severe vitamin C deficiency after ruling out other ailments such as leukemia. Within a week of getting vitamin C supplements, the boy’s pain and other symptoms were completely resolved. Obviously, this little boy’s story is unusual. However, even mild food phases (such as “If It’s Green It Must Be Yucky” or “The Only Good Crust Is A Cut-Off Crust”) can result in awfully lop-sided nutrition.
Q. Can multivitamins help my child’s performance in school?
A. Most teachers firmly believe that nutrition and learning go hand in hand. They are convinced that children who are well nourished possess the mental stamina that’s needed to learn and retain even difficult concepts. But can multivitamins help children become better students?
Two independent research teams recently conducted randomized trials to find the answer. The researchers followed 245 school-children aged 6 to 12 years for three months. They gave half of the children multivitamin tablets every day, and half of the children placebos. When the children were tested, the children in the multivitamins group showed an increase in their nonverbal intelligence scores. Nonverbal intelligence is closely associated with academic performance.
Q. I can’t get my children to take 100% natural flavored multivitamins because they don’t taste very appealing. Isn’t there some way to make a 100% natural multivitamin taste good enough for my children to willingly take?
A. Yes, there is! Because most children need chewable multivitamins, manufacturers need to contend with the truly terrible taste of certain minerals. Magnesium, iodine, copper, and iron are probably the worst tasting. Some solve this dilemma by skimping on the amounts of these minerals in their children’s formulas. Others cover up the bad taste with either massive amounts of sugar or artificial flavors, or both.
However, a select few multivitamin makers have discovered how to offer a natural flavored, great tasting children’s multivitamin that contains these vital minerals. The best children’s vitamins are prepared in a base of natural fruit that provides both antioxidants and other healthy phytonutrients. Children’s multivitamins made in such a fruit base have very low sugar content, as well, providing as little as four calories a day. Fructose – fruit sugar – is the preferred sweetening agent, in addition to the fruit content.
Q. What vitamins should be in a multivitamin for children?
A. There are several vitamins and minerals that children need to take each and every day. They include biotin, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamins B12, B1, A, B6, C, D, E, and K. Let’s review a few. We’ll start with folate, one of the B vitamins. This vital vitamin helps the body use protein, helps make DNA, helps cells grow and divide, and keeps the nervous system healthy. In fact, folate is so important to children that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated that folate must be added to many foods most children eat daily. Since 1998, cereal, enriched bread, flour corn meal, rice, and pasta have been folate-fortified with this B vitamin.
One of folate’s vital actions is the reduction of homocysteine levels in the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid (the building block of protein) that is normally produced in the human body. Research has shown that high levels of homocysteine can irritate blood vessels, make blood clot more easily than it should, and cause blockages in arteries increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes .
However, study after study has proven that taking folate reduces harmful homocysteine levels. While most of this research has been in adults, a recent study looked at children’s homocysteine levels. Researchers examined over 3500 children and discovered that high homocysteine levels increased the risk for heart disease in these children, especially as they grow. The researchers leading this study reinforced how critical folate is for all children.
Other critical vitamins for children are the vitamins C and E. The rates of childhood asthma have increased significantly here in the
Q. Which minerals do children need?
A. It is absolutely crucial that children get calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc, and phosphorus every day. Sadly, however, the majority of our children are not getting the recommended amounts of many of these vital minerals. Children in
According to statistics from the National Institutes of Health, only 13.5 percent of girls and 36.3 percent of boys age 12 to 19 in the
Lack of adequate calcium has immediate consequences for children, as well. The number of fractures among children and young adults has increased as a direct result of poor calcium intake. Pediatricians are also seeing children with rickets, a bone disease caused by low levels of vitamin D. Rickets became almost nonexistent after vitamin D was added to milk in the 1950s, but, due to lower milk consumption, is now appearing at greater rates around the country. And milk itself can be problematic for some children. Aside from alarming reports of hormones and herbicides in commercial dairy factory milk, even organic milk is not tolerated by all because of lactose intolerance and allergies.
Zinc is another mineral that’s vital for children. Because zinc is critical for normal growth and development, children need to take it every day. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, however, found more than half of US children ages two to 10 years fail to get the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for zinc. What’s even more troubling is that zinc is vitally connected to children’s ability to process information, pay attention, as well as remember and retain new information
Zinc does a lot to keep children healthy. More than 200 enzymes in our bodies rely on zinc. However, it’s zinc’s ability to connect with our immune systems to help fight infections that is crucial for children. While researchers are not certain how zinc precisely boosts a child’s immunity, they think that zinc might fight pneumonia and other infections by either enhancing the body’s immune status, preventing the infection from establishing itself, or improving the immune system’s ability to rid itself of the infecting organism. It’s possible that zinc does all three.
Q. No matter what I do, my children seem to come down with bad colds each year. Besides giving them a multivitamin, are there other nutritional supplements that can keep my children healthy?
A. Absolutely! In fact, there are 100% natural flavored children’s immune formula nutritional supplements that contain their good buddy zinc, vitamins B6, C, and A (as beta carotene), plus elderberry extract. Elderberry extract has been used as a traditional medicine for hundreds of years to treat colds and flu. And as it so often happens, scientific research has validated this use. In fact, scientists have discovered that elderberry keeps viruses from invading other cells and replicating. It also spurs important immune cells into action to fight invading Germs.
While we previously discussed vitamin C’s ability to help children with asthma breathe easier, it also provides powerful immune protection. It speeds up the healing of wounds, such as those knee and elbow scrapes so common in childhood. However, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and can’t be stored in the body. It must be replenished every day. When children are under increased stress (like when they get sick with a cold or flu), their vitamin C levels are more rapidly depleted.
Vitamin B6 is also water-soluble and can only work in children’s bodies for eight hours. Then more B6 must be obtained. Vitamin B6 strengthens the immune system by helping white blood cells make antibodies. Vitamin A helps make lysozymes, important anti-infectious agents found in tears, saliva, and sweat. It also stimulates the thymus gland, an important immune organ, especially in children, to work better.
Q. Should children take an immune formula every day or only when they are sick?
A. It can be taken several ways. Some parents may want to give the formula when school first starts or other times that their children are exposed to lots of Germs. For a child who suffers from asthma or seasonal allergies or just seems to get sick frequently, parents could provide the immune formula every day, increasing the dose when needed. And still others might feel it’s best to give their children the immune formula only whey they do catch a cold or have the flu.
No matter how it is given, the 100% all natural flavored, immune boosting nutritional supplement can provide powerful protection against all those disease-causing Germs your children are exposed to every day.
The nutritional choices we make for our children today will have a profound effect on their health tomorrow. Recent research has revealed that diabetes, heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis, and cancer in adults often result form nutritional deficiencies that occurred in childhood.
Thankfully, the reverse is just as true. This means that children who are well nourished with an optimal intake of minerals, vitamins, and helpful herbs can grow into healthy and happy adults. Providing high quality multivitamins and immune boosting nutritional supplements for our children can be an important part of that process.
The Power Plant of the Amazon
March 02, 2007 11:34 AM
It may surprise most Americans to know that rainforest plants are the original source for one-fourth of the chemotherapy medications used today. Plants offer a plethora of beneficial compounds, and rainforests contain a superabundance of beneficial plants.
In fact, plant medicines are the most widely used medicines of all types in the world. Over eighty-five percent of the world’s population uses plant and herbal medicines as their primary medicines. That’s 5.1 billion (5,100,000,000) people worldwide! While Americans overwhelmingly use synthetically manufactured pharmaceuticals to cure their ills, the vast majority of Earth’s inhabitants use healing plant medicines instead.
One of the most powerful healing rainforest plant medicines is cat’s claw, or Uncaria tomentosa. This high climbing woody vine grows at the base of tall trees in the Peruvian rainforest. The plant’s claw-shaped thorns latch onto the trees and spiral further upward, nourished by the lush rainforest environment. For over 2,000 years, the Ashaninka, a tribal people of the Peruvian rainforest, have used the root of U. tomentosa to treat illnesses in the tribe, including asthma, bladder infections, infected wounds, arthritis, bone pain, bowel inflammation, and cancer.
Q. I’ve heard about cat’s claw, but what does it do and how do I know which one is right for me?
Cat’s claw might be one of the most confusing (and most effective!) nutritional supplements available in health food stores today. One reason that it’s so confusing is there are so many kinds of cat’s claw supplements-there are cat’s claw leaves, cat’s claw bark, and even cat’s claw twigs. While each of these supplements claim to help the immune system, it is the root of Uncaria tomentosa that is proven to impart the true cat’s claw health benefits.
Scientists, who have extensively studied every part of the plant, discovered that extracts made from selected cat’s claw roots possess the healing power to treat and prevent diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcers and degenerative diseases. In addition, it demonstrates anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-microbial benefits.
Adding to the confusion is the fact that not all Uncaria tomentosa roots actually contain healing properties.
Healers in the Ashaninka tribe attribute the healing properties in cat’s claw to the “good spirits” that live in the plant’s roots. The Ashaninka healers, or sancoshi, are able to actually “see” the good spirits hidden inside the root of the plant before they harvest them.
Some cat’s claw plant roots have the good spirits. Some don’t. If the good spirits are mixed with any cat’s claw root without good spirits, the healing power is lost. While there are no apparent differences in the plants or the roots to the untrained eye, only certain cat’s claw roots possess the power to heal. And, for a very long time, only the Ashaninka tribal healer seemed to be able to identify them. They call the good spirit cat’s claw Saventaro, or “powerful plant”.
However, scientists who were given cat’s claw roots by the Ashaninka to study in the laboratory discovered that they could “see” the good spirits, too! Using high performance liquid chromatography, or HPLC, a laboratory process that identifies various chemical compounds, the good spirits of cat’s claw roots were revealed to be important medicinal compounds called pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids (POAs). Research has learned that POAs provide powerful benefits for the human immune response.
Q. Why are good spirits, or POA’s, good for the immune system?
Cat’s claw POAs work to keep us healthy by directly interacting with white blood cells, the backbone of our immune system. Our white blood cells are the disease fighting cells of the human body. These highly specialized cells fight diseases we catch, such as colds and flu, as well as diseases that start within our own cells, such as cancer and autoimmune diseases. There are many kinds of white blood cells; each has a specific job to do in fighting diseases.
Certain POAs help white blood cells called macrophages work faster. The macrophages’ job is to engulf and digest foreign material. This means that macrophages can ingest m ore bacteria and disease causing microbes when they are exposed to POAs. The scientists also discovered that POA cat’s claw extract increases the production of a chemical protein called interleukin that is secreted by macrophages. This macrophage-secreted interleukin (IL-1) has important immune enhancing properties. IL-1 alerts resting white blood cells and spurs them into action. It also helps make other biochemicals that are essential to an activated immune system.
POAs also help B cells. B cells are white blood cells that make antibodies that kill Germs. Each B cell is programmed to make one specific antibody that is effective against one specific germ (such as a bacteria, virus, or fungus). When scientists looked at the number of B cells after they were exposed to POA cat’s claw root extract, they found that the B cells had increased significantly, resulting in an increased supply of antibodies. And perhaps most importantly as they relate to cancer, the POAs in cat’s claw root extract help increase the number of T cells, the true soldiers of the immune system. There are many different kinds of these white blood cells, including Helper T cells, Suppressor T cells, and Killer T cells. Increased Helper, Suppressor, and Killer T-cells can more effectively destroy cancer cells. Increasing the number of circulating T-cells is very important in a disease like AIDS as well.
Q. Can cat’s claw and other plants in the rainforest really cure diseases? Isn’t that just folklore?
It’s folk use and modern science combined-plants have long been known for their ability to kill cancer cells. In fact, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has identified over 3000 plant extracts that can kill cancer cells. More than 70 percent of these plants are found only in the rainforest.
Q. What is it about the rainforest that gives plants like cat’s claw these cancer killing compounds?
Most of the time when we talk about rainforests, we’re talking about the tropical rainforests. While other forests, like the old-growth temperate forests of the Pacific Northwest, also have high rainfalls and tall trees, the tropical rainforests located near the equator are where most plant medicines come from.
The Amazon rainforest in South America is the world’s largest, covering an area about two-thirds the size of the continental United States. Depending on the elevation and distance to the equator the Amazon rainforest receives between 160 and 400 inches of rain per year. The rain is spread pretty evenly from January to December-it’s always the rainy season-and the temperatures remain between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit all year.
This fertile environment continually recycles itself. When leaves fall from the trees, flowers wilt, and animals die in the rainforest-all of the nutrients are recycled back into the roots of the trees and plants. Because the rainforest reuses almost everything that falls to the ground, the plant growth is amazingly rich in alkaloids and other medicinal compounds. Researchers think these compounds and alkaloids, like POAs, protect the plants from illness and insect attacks. These are the very same compounds that protect us from disease.
Q. When the Ashaninka harvest the cat’s claw roots, does it impact the rest of the plant?
No. The Ashaninka work intelligently to keep rainforest cat’s claw plants perpetually healthy. The Ashaninka employ responsible and innovative harvesting techniques to keep the plants alive and tribal members healthy. Individual cat’s claw plants are never completely harvested. Only one third of the lateral roots are collected at any one time to allow re-growth by the remaining root. Once a plant’s lateral roots have been partially harvested, that plant is left to regenerate, and no more root is harvested from it for 10 years.
Q. Why are the Ashaninka willing to share their cat’s claw?
They are generous people. The Ashaninka see no benefit in hoarding cat’s claw for themselves alone. They also want to make sure that the plant’s healing properties continue on. As their homelands continue to be destroyed by deforestation, rainforest peoples are also disappearing. There were an estimated ten million tribal and indigenous peoples living in the Amazonian Rainforest in 1510. Today there are less than 200,000.
Since the 1900’s more than 90 indigenous tribes have died out and disappeared. Each time a rainforest medicine man or woman dies without passing their arts on to the next generation, the tribe and the world loses thousands of years of irreplaceable knowledge about medicinal plants. With them, centuries of accumulated knowledge of the medicinal value of rainforest species have been lost.
A good example of the impact of this loss can be seen in cat’s claw. When European explorers began venturing into the Amazon River basin, t hey were skeptical of the stories the Ashaninka people told them of U. tomentosa’s amazing healing powers. But when the explorers became sick with colds, flu, or other illnesses, they harvested cat’s claw root for themselves and gave the plant a try. Sometimes the explorers got better when they used the cat’s claw root, sometimes they stayed the same.
Q. Why didn’t the cat’s claw root help all the explorers?
Because some cat’s claw plant roots have good spirits-POAs-and some cat’s claw plant roots have tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids, or TOAs. While the POAs have very powerful effects in the immune system, the TOAs have different effects in the body, none of which help the immune system cells at all. All U. tomentosa plants look virtually identical, so it’s hard to tell if they have the healing POAs or non-helpful TOAs.
What makes cat’s claw identification even more challenging is the fact that plants with POAs one year will have TOAs the next. Cat’s claw plants seem to change their alkaloid chemotypes at will, an incredibly powerful accomplishment for a plant to possess. Harvesting of cat’s claw roots that contain POAs is very tricky. Unless the person gathering the root extract is an Ashaninka sancoshi. These medicine men know which cat’s claw to use; they can actually “see” the good spirits hidden inside the root. When scientists studying cat’s claw discovered they could “see” presence of TOAs using HPLC technology, they were able to harvest cat’s claw root extracts with POAs that consistently helps people get and stay healthy.
Q. Do some cat’s claw root extract supplements contain TOAs?
Yes they do. And buying those products will only benefit the cat’s claw distributor; they won’t help you stay healthy. When cat’s claw root is harvested from the rainforest, responsible supplement maker examine the root with HPLC to make sure that only POA roots are collected. But, this identification of the chemotypes takes significant time and costs money. For these reasons, many cat’s claw distributors don’t include this important process in their harvesting. The POAs and TOAs are simply just mixed together and sold as a cat’s claw product with no mention of any alkaloid content on the label.
Q. Why should I avoid TOAs?
While the POAs in cat’s claw root extracts have numerous benefits to the immune system, the TOAs have different effects in the body, none helping the immune system cells. Most importantly, however, when POAs and TOAs are mixed together, the TOAs actually work against the POAs. TOAs reduce the capacity of POAs to beneficially modulate the immune system.
Q. How can I be sure the cat’s claw I buy is POA cat’s claw?
Read the label of the cat’s claw root extract product you are considering buying. If it does not clearly state that it is the high POA cat’s claw, then chances are that it’s not.
Q. What do the Ashaninka receive in return for the cat’s claw harvesting?
The Ashaninka and reputable distributors of cat’s claw root extract have established a mutual and ethical relationship. Both groups benefit from the sale of the plant material. Maintaining this relationship is important for both the tribe and the distributors.
The distributors are paying a fair price for the raw material directly to the tribe. No intermediary is involved. This payment covers the raw material itself, a license-fee for the k knowledge of the plant, and a guarantee (from both sides) of a lasting relationship. Payment is also made for the protection of the rainforest. No deforestation is allowed. The area where the cat’s claw materials are processed is also leased and payment is made for this, as well.
This arrangement allows the Ashaninka to make independent decisions in how to spend this income from sale of their cat’s claw plants. They have been able to make improvements in the tribe’s water supply and in their living areas. They are also able to obtain outside medical aid as needed and provide for education of their children.
The partnership with cat’s claw distributors has created a sustainable resource for the Ashaninka. The tribe has been able to not only preserve their rainforest, but also compete financially with unsustainable income sources offered by timber and agricultural firms.
Q. Why is it important to preserve the rainforest?
The most amazing fact about these impressive medicinal plants is the vast number that5 has yet to be discovered. In fact, the rainforest’s abundance is one reason it is home to so many healing plants. Within a four square mile patch of rainforest, you could see 1500 species of flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 125 mammal species, 400 species of birds, 100 reptile species, 60 amphibian species, and 150 different species of butterflies.
Unfortunately, not everyone looks to the rainforest for the same reasons. Many consider its real value in board feet and cultivated acreage. The forces pushing industrial development move quickly; experts estimate that we’re losing over 130 plant, animal, and insect species every day/ That amount to almost 50,000 species a year.
A combination of logging, petroleum interests, cattle grazing operations, and, of course, our own consumer appetites are putting pressure on rainforest resources. The consequences are sobering:
By leaving the rainforest intact, however, and harvesting its many nuts, fruits, oil-producing, and medicinal plants, the rainforest has more economic value than if it was cut down for timber or to make grazing land for cattle. If managed properly, the rainforest can provide the world’s need for sustainably harvested natural resources on a perpetual basis. That’s what the Ashaninka are doing with their cat’s claw harvesting.
The discovery of medicinal plants is dependent upon healthy rainforests. When an acre of tropical rainforest is lost due to deforestation, the impact on the number of plant and animal species lost and their possible uses is staggering.
We can all help the development of sustainable rainforest industries. By purchasing renewable and sustainable rainforest products, like POA type cat’s claw root extract, we are keeping rainforests alive and well. By benefiting from the innate wisdom of the Ashaninka people we are keeping ourselves just as alive and well. By honoring the science and the sacred of the world’s rainforests, like my friend the oncology nurse, the massive wealth and diversity will be there for generations to come.
Q. What effect do the POAs from cat’s claw root have on our immune system?
November 22, 2006 01:38 PM
A. Cat’s claw POAs work to keep us healthy by directly interacting with white blood cells, the backbone of our immune system. Our white blood cells are the disease fighting cells of the human body. These highly specialized cells fight diseases we catch, such as cold and flu, as well as diseases that start within our own cells, such as cancer and autoimmune diseases. There are many kinds of white blood cells; each has a specific job to do in fighting diseases.
Certain POAs help white blood cells called macrophages work faster. The macrophages’ job is to engulf and digest foreign material. This means that macrophages can ingest more bacteria and disease causing microbes when they are exposed to POAs. The scientists also discovered that POA cat’s claw extract increases the production of a chemical protein called interleukin, that is secreted by macrophages. Interleukin (IL-1) has important immune enhancing properties. IL-1 alerts resting white blood cells and spurs them into action. It also helps make other biochemicals essential to an activated immune system. (90% of white blood cells are in reserve)
POAs also help B cells. B cells are white blood cells that make antibodies that kill Germs. Each B cell is programmed to make one specific antibody that is effective against one specific germ (such as a bacteria, virus, or fungus). When scientists looked at the number of B cells after they were exposed to POA cat’s claw root extract, they found that the B cells had increased significantly, resulting in an increased supply of antibodies.
And perhaps most importantly as they relate to cancer, the POAs in cat’s claw root extract help increase the number of T-cells, the true soldiers of the immune system. There are many different kinds of these white blood cells, including Helper T-cells, Suppressor T-cells, and Killer T-cells. Increased Helper, Suppressor, and Killer T-cells can more effectively destroy cancer cells. Increasing the number of circulating T-cells is very important in a disease like AIDS as well.
European health care providers are often very comfortable integrating the use of herbal and nutritional supplements as vital components of their patients’ cancer treatments. In Austria alone, cat’s claw extract is used together with conventional treatment (chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery), to treat hundreds of cancer patients every year!
A recent clinical observational study looked at POA cat’s claw extract in 78 people with very advanced brain cancer. All of the participants reported that the special POA cat’s claw helped them feel better, have more vitality, and reduced side effects (such as nausea) caused by their conventional cancer treatment. The researchers felt that POA cat’s claw extract may also prove to have benefit in extending the life span of people with these types of deadly brain cancers.
NaturalCare Virus Induced Nasal Decongestant – Super Strength SinuFix
October 06, 2006 02:34 PM
Super strength SinuFix Nasal Decongestant Mist 90 percent of Germs, Viruses and Pollutants May enter your body through the nose! All of us breath in through our nose and are inundated daily with thousands of foreign micro particles. Super Strength SinuFix Mist is an innovative formula specifically designed to fight the virus induced nasal allergy/sinus/cold/flu-like symptoms that may result from exposure to Germs and viruses in the air in any crowded, potentially germ-infested environment.
Germs in the Air Everywhere!
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An Interview with Congressman Sam Farr, Representing California’s Central Coast.
May 30, 2006 02:36 PM
Ambassador to Health Profile
An Interview with Congressman Sam Farr, Representing California’s Central Coast.
Congressman Sam Farr, a fifth-generation Californian, represents the state’s beautiful central coast. His district encompasses the length of the big Sur coastline in Monterey County, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the Salinas Valley “Salad bowl,” the redwoods, mountains and beaches of Santa Cruz County, and the majestic rural landscape of San Benito County. The health and wealth of this region has been strengthened by Rep. Farr’s focus on the environment, education and the economy. Rep. Farr was raised in Carmel, California and graduated from Willamette University with a BS in biology. He later attended the Monterey Institute of International Studies and the University of Santa Clara. He is fluent in Spanish. As a tough advocate for the health food industry, he has lobbied for strict federal organic standards.
Todd: Congressman Farr, thank you for taking the time to speak with us! Id also like to thank you for all the great things you’ve done for our community, form funding marine sanctuaries and authoring the Ocean’s Act to expanding Pinnacles national Monument. The League of Conservation Voters and others have recognized you as an “Environmental Hero”. And, you’ve worked hard to support the economic vitality of central coast’s $3 billion agriculture industry which includes a substantial organic segment. Our backyard here is also the home of a robust group of nutritional supplement manufacturers. An estimated 187 million Americans are currently taking dietary supplements as part of their daily healthy diet. In California, we’ve got 792 natural product manufacturers and distributors. Where do you stand on the state of our industry?
Congressman Farr: Well, thank you for the introduction and for asking to talk to me about nutritional supplement issues. I am very supportive of this industry and include myself in the 187 million Americans taking dietary supplements. I think supplements offer many safe and viable tools to maintain your health. The continued growth of this industry is an indication of both consumer confidence in the products and the products’ ability to fill the gaps where conventional medical care falls short.
Todd: It is estimated that by 2030, more than 70 million Americans will be over the age of 65 and the cost of health care could reach $16 Trillion per year. A recent study by the Lewin Group showed that by taking certain dietary supplements, seniors can lead healthier, more productive, independent lives while saving billions in reduced hospitalizations and physician services. Do you share our view that a Wellness Revolution is needed to counter the dilemma of an aging population versus shrinking health care support in the future?
Congressman Farr: Our health care system is definitely facing a challenge, especially as the Baby Boomers hit their 60’s and Americans are living longer than ever before. As a Baby Boomer myself, I am well aware of America’s aging population and the impact that will likely have not only on our social institutions but also our fiscal well-being. I agree that dietary supplements do play and will play an even larger role in the future as more seniors look for a way to augment their diets in order to stay healthy and active longer than past generations.
Todd: Our industry is regulated by DSHEA (the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act), which was passed unanimously by Congress in 1994 to create a reasonable regulatory framework for access to, information about, dietary supplements. But many say that the FDA and DSHEA weren’t adequately funded to do the job as tasked. “Supplements are unregulated” is a false argument we sometimes hear. To ensure that the FDA is able to carry out the law as Congress intended, Representatives Dan Burton (R-Ind.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) introduced H.R. 2485, the DSHEA Full Implementation and Enforcement Act of 2005. Did you support this bill and where does it stand today?
Congressman Farr: I think the DSHEA is a critical law and was proud to support it when Congress considered it in 1993 and 1994. I would certainly support H.R. 2485 if it came up for a vote in Congress. Unfortunately this bill has not moved since it was first introduced and referred to the Subcommittee on health in the house energy and commerce committee. Since this is an election year we have a tight schedule with only about 60 legislative days scheduled before we adjourn. That means it’s likely Congress will only finalize bills such as the appropriation bills that fund government before adjournment.
Todd: Our business climate has included some valid and rigorous challenges to improve our industry, from good manufacturing practices (GMP), to allergy labeling, to implications of Prop-65 in California. It’s disconcerting that a new bill, H.R. 3156 The Dietary Supplement Access and Awareness Act would try to capitalize on misconceptions about the industry. In an era of declining health care and declining insurance coverage, this bill would regulate supplements as prescription drugs. Among other things, it would also require adverse event reports to be turned over to the FDA, even though other foods, including those with identical ingredients, do not have the same requirements. This has the potential to be the next Prop-65-like Lawsuit mill. The result of H.R. 3156 would be chilling. It will knock smaller producers out of the market. It will result in higher prices for all supplements. It will decrease the availability of health-giving supplements to the public. What’s your feeling on this?
Congressman Farr: I am similarly concerned about H.R. 3156 and would oppose it if it came up for a vote in Congress. Like H.R. 2485, this legislation has been referred to a subcommittee on Health in the House Energy and Commerce Committee without any further action. The supplement industry has worked in good faith with the FDA since passage of DSHEA and H.R. 3156 would re-invent a wheel that isn’t needed. Instead, adequate funding as proposed in H.R. 2485 would provide ample oversight for the industry.
Todd: According to a recent study, 72% of the general population believe the government should fund more research on health benefits of nutritional supplements. Do you agreen and what can be done to meet this need?
Congressman Farr: I definitely agree that the federal government should play a bigger role in support of research regarding the health benefits of nutritional supplements. As a member of the House Appropriation Committee, I sit on the subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the FDA’s budget and I know the tight fiscal restraints the agency is under. I’ve worked with my colleagues to provide adequate funding, but it’s an uphill battle especially when we’re in a “robbing Peter to pay Paul” kind of situation. I recommend that people within the industry organize and use your consumer base to actively lobby Congress for additional funds. I’m fond of reminding people that the squeaky wheel gets grease – so let every Congress member and Senator know how much this issue matters to you.
Todd: When there is overwhelming scientific evidence that nutritional supplements provides relief for a disease condition, it currently takes a lawsuit to get the FDA to relent and allow the claim. Even then, the FDA strictly limits the claim and requires a disclaimer that does more harm than good in communicating this important information to the public. There is a new bill, H.R. 4282, The Health Freedom Protection Act that would end FDA and FTC censorship of health information. As an example, the 50% of all adult males who suffer from an enlarged prostate could receive relief from that condition by consuming a simple and safe ingredient, saw palmetto derived from the fruit of the dwarf American palm tree. The FDA censors that information. The public deserves a better opportunity to be informed about omega-3 EFA and heart disease, folic acid and birth defects, phosphatidylserine and cognitive impairment. Do you agree and do you support this bill?
Congressman Farr: I agree the public needs to access to the best information possible so they can make well informed choices about their health. I likely would support H.R. 4282 if it came up for a vote in Congress. Unfortunately this bill is in a similar situation as other we’ve mentioned in this interview – and again because of the tight schedule of an election year, it’s unlikely action will happen this year.
Todd: According to the barometer study, 85% of the US population is currently using some type of dietary supplement. Do you? Looking at your busy schedule from co-chairing the House Oceans Caucus to your seat on the Travel and Tourism Caucus, you are one busy congressman! Are you popping nutritional supplements please tell us!
Congressman Farr: I do take some nutritional supplements, though they vary and since Ginkgo Biloba isn’t among them I cant remember their names off-hand! One product I do use faithfully is Airborne to help me combat Germs and colds that I might get from sitting on an airplane. But, like many Americans my life is over-scheduled and combined with the amount of air-travel I do, I find nutritional supplements helpful as I try to stay healthy despite my hectic lifestyle.
Todd: Thank you Congressman Farr! Live long and prosper!
DSEA Release of Health/Cost Impact Study Conducted by the Lewin Group, Initial Results, Wash DC; Nov. 2, 2005
NNFA database. Adam.F on 3-15-06.
DSEA Nutritional Supplement Barometer Study, 2005 Report, Prepared by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI).
Todd Williams; Source Naturals Marketing Programs Manager.
GliSODin Anti-Aging and Antioxidant Protection
December 19, 2005 08:47 AM
GliSODin Anti-Aging and Antioxidant Protection
In the time it takes you to finish reading this article, you, your body and your cells will have aged. Some, more than others. Nevertheless, every second that ticks away should serve as a reminder that our time here is temporary. How much time we actually end up with depends on many things. Diet. Lifestyle. Environment. Superoxide Dismutase? I’ll explain. What some of the healthiest individuals fail to realize is that our bodies age from the inside out. Aging is not the result of passing time, but rather the result of what we’re exposed to environmentally, physically and chemically. It is the integrity of our cells, not our clocks, that determine how smooth the aging process fares.
Each day, we’re subjected to millions of elements that affect us in ways seldom seen, felt or noticed. From the moment we’re born, we rely on our cells to work around the clock - producing energy, fighting infections and sustaining life. These same cells eventually determine the rate at which we show (or hide) our age.
Taking into consideration that our planet has no shortage of toxins & Germs, the need to safeguard our cells becomes very real. Constant exposure to exhaust, secondhand smoke, heavy metals, lead, fluoride and uncountable other noxious compounds should ideally provide us with nothing more than a routine immune system workout. Unfortunately, over long periods they hinder our “resistance” abilities and become stepping stones to accelerated aging.
Antioxidants. We’ve all heard the term before, and may even have a general understanding of their role. But to better grasp just how vital they are, it helps to know what’s happening at the cellular level. Free radicals are unstable molecular thieves that often lack electrons. To compensate, they rob healthy cells - a process better known as oxidation. Antioxidants work with the immune system to prevent oxidation, and clean up the mess it leaves behind. Hence, the name.
There are two types. Exogenous antioxidants are derived from our diet and include vitamins A, E, and C along with others such as alpha lipoic acid, selenium, CoQ10, grape seed, pycnogenol and zinc. To date, we’ve been limited to exogenous antioxidants as a way to increase the rate at which our body wards off oxidation. They are not, however, our first line of defense. At birth, each and every one of us is equipped with three primary endogenous enzymatic antioxidants; SOD (Superoxide Dismutase), Glutathione Peroxidase (GPx) and Catalase.
While both types of antioxidants are beneficial, we’ve become reliant on those from the diet to compensate for our inability to boost the effectiveness of our 3 primary antioxidants. For years, researchers have been examining ways to enhance the activity of our built-in bodyguards. One in particular, Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) has been of foremost interest. SOD targets what many researchers regard as one of our greatest health threats and aging accelerators - Superoxide radicals. These highly reactive, merciless molecules incite enormous amounts of oxidative stress and are capable of wreaking havoc on healthy cells. When cells are left unprotected by SOD, the results can be disastrous - respiratory problems, premature aging, memory loss, cardiovascular challenges, vision failure and joint structure damage, among others.
Until now, we’ve been at the mercy of our natural SOD reserves to fight superoxides. Researchers have been working feverishly to produce an effective oral SOD supplement, but have continually encountered a frustrating hurdle - exposure to gastric acid denatures SOD, rendering it useless. As a result, the only effective way to supplement SOD was through injections. These, however, only yielded short-term spikes. And then something remarkable happened that changed everything. Nutrition scientists in France determined that by combining Cucumus melo (a melon high in SOD) with a wheat gliadin stabilizer, it would be possible to prevent SOD from deteriorating in the digestive tract, while preserving it in the blood for extended periods. Not only is this the answer to a puzzle that has plagued researchers, it’s a breakthrough that will impact the life of anyone seeking longevity and vitality.
As the first proven oral SOD supplement ever introduced to the public, GliSODin® has taken antioxidant protection, immune support and antiaging science to an entirely new level. The primary function of GliSODin® is to scour the body for superoxide radicals and reduce them to less reactive ions that can be swept away; a process known as dismutation. In addition, GliSODin® reduces the oxidation vulnerability of healthy cells, protects mitochondrial activity and safeguards DNA structure.
What’s most remarkable is that GliSODin® has actually been shown to stimulate the body’s own natural production of all three enzymatic antioxidants, including SOD. For the first time in history, we will have the ability to enhance the effectiveness of our body’s primary defense mechanism.
New GliSODin® from NOW® represents the ultimate in antioxidant protection. By increasing one’s level of SOD while stimulating the natural production of Glutathione Peroxidase and Catalase, GliSODin® delivers antioxidant protection unlike any previously released dietary supplement. Remember, the aging process begins at a level that we simply can not see, the cellular level. Shielding your cells from superoxide damage is one of the smartest steps you can take against aging before your due time. GliSODin® has made this a reality.
Effects of Cat's Claw on the immune system.
November 11, 2005 05:50 PM
Q. What effect do the POAs from cat’s claw root have on our immune system?
A. Cat’s claw POAs work to keep us healthy by directly interacting with white blood cells, the backbone of our immune system. Our white blood cells are the disease fighting cells of the human body. These highly specialized cells fight diseases we catch, such as colds and flu, as well as diseases that start within our own cells, such as cancer and autoimmune diseases. There are many kinds of white blood cells; each has a specific job to do in fighting diseases.
Certain POAs help white blood cells called macrophages work faster. The macrophages’ job is to engulf and digest foreign material. This means that macrophages can ingest more bacteria and disease causing microbes when they are exposed to POAs. The scientists also discovered that POA cat’s claw extract increases the production of a chemical protein called interleukin, that is secreted by macrophages. Interleukin (IL-1) has important immune enhancing properties. IL-1 alerts resting white blood cells and spurs them into action. It also helps make other biochemicals essential to an activated immune system. (90% of white blood cells are in reserve) POAs also help B cells. B cells are white blood cells that make antibodies that kill Germs. Each B cell is programmed to make one specific antibody that is effective against one specific germ (such as a bacteria, virus, or fungus). When scientists look at the number of B cells after they were exposed to POA cat’s claw root extract, they found that the B cells had increased significantly, resulting in an increased supply of antibodies.
And perhaps most importantly as they relate to cancer, the POAs in cat’s claw root extract help increase the number of T-cells, the true soldiers of the immune system. There are many different kinds of these white blood cells, including Helper T-cells, Suppressor T-cells, and Killer T-cells. Increased Helper, Suppressor, and Killer T-cells can more effectively destroy cancer cells. Increasing the number of circulating T-cells is very important in a disease like AIDS as well.
European health care providers are often very comfortable integrating the use of herbal and nutritional supplements as vital components of their patients’ cancer treatments. In Austria alone, cat’s claw extract is used together with conventional treatment (chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery), to treat hundreds of cancer patients every year!
A recent clinical observational study looked at POA cat’s claw extract in 78 people with very advanced brain cancer. All of the participants reported that the special POA cat’s claw helped them feel better, have more vitality, and reduced side effects (such as nausea) caused by their conventional cancer treatment. The researchers felt the POA cat’s claw extract may also prove to have benefit in extending the life span of people with these types of deadly brain cancers.
New antibiotics expected for resistant pneumonia bugs
October 10, 2005 11:52 AM
New antibiotics expected for resistant pneumonia bugs
Scientists recently announced the expected arrival of a new family of bacteria-killers on the horizon for pneumonia and other diseases. These new antibiotics should offer an alternative to standard antibiotics, many of which have lost their punch against increasingly resistant Germs.
The standard treatment today for many bacterial infections that cause respiratory diseases are medicines called macrolides. These include well-known antiobiotics like penicillin and erythromycin. However, certain bacteria strains are growing resistant to them, as well as to the primary back-up medicines, known as quinolones.
The pharmaceutical industry's response to this problem is ketolides. Ketolides are derived from macrolides, but since they have a different chemical composition, they will kill bacteria that are resistant to macrolides. Researchers recently presented reports on two varieties of ketolides at an infectious diseases meeting sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology. Aventis Pharmaceuticals recently filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to gain permission to sell a new ketolide antibiotic, Ketek, or telithromycin. A similar drug made by Abbott Pharmaceuticals, code named ABT-773, is also in the early stages of human testing.
Researchers presented new Ketek studies involving 2,500 patients. These reports intended to show how the once-a-day Ketek is equally effective as other standard antibiotics in treating many bacterial diseases, including pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and sore throats. Scientist also say since the Ketek treatment lasts just five days, which is shorter than most antibiotic treatments, bacteria may be less likely to grow resistant to the new drug.
Protecting kids from Colds is a simple as Enhancing there immune system.
August 22, 2005 02:30 PM
Lax hygiene and parents who permit their children to attend school when they are sick are the main reasons that thousands of cases of colds and flu leapfrog from child to child each school year. Millions of school attendance days and adult work days are lost each year when schoolchildren get ill. In addition, schoolchildren can get and give a host of other illnesses, including strep throat, conjunctivitis (pinkeye), and impetigo. Sick children should stay home; a single child can easily infect 10 or more other children.
If a sick child sneezes on, drools on or touches an object, the Germs can be picked up by others who touch that object. The most proven way to reduce this problem is basic hygiene. In one day-care study, kids caught fewer colds after they were taught to wash their hands regularly and the toys were disinfected three times a week. It is vital to teach your child to cover his mouth and nose with a tissue while coughing or sneezing, and then to discard the tissue and wash his hands. Other ways to pick up Germs are by petting a dog or a cat, handling dirty underwear, and using public restrooms. In one study, investigators added a mixture of bacteria and a virus to everyday objects at home and found that telephone receivers and kitchen faucets transferred enough organisms to the hands and then to the mouth to cause infections such as colds and diarrhea.
Hand washing is an important prevention measure, in terms of keeping healthy. The problem in some schools is that they make it difficult for kids to wash their hands. They don’t always have paper towels or adequate soap available. With all the things that are important to learn in school, one of the most important is washing your hands before eating and after going to the toilet. The purpose of school is to learn. And what’s more important to learn than good hygiene? Since regular hand washing is one of the best defenses against the spread of colds and gastrointestinal infections, teach your children to lather the hands with soap for at least 15 seconds, scrubbing between fingers, under fingernails and around the tops and palms of the hands. Teach them to dry their hands with a clean towel and to use the towel to turn off the faucet, open door handles, etc. You may also provide your child with sanitizing lotion so they can protect against disease when a bathroom is not close by.
When eating out or at a mass-prepared school lunch, first wash the hands. Avoid any raw food that doesn’t look washed or any item that has been implicated in a current outbreak of food poisoning. Eating raw fruits and vegetables at home where you can wash them may be a better choice. If you are unsure about the drinks served, have your child carry their own bottled water. The best way to fight back against these Germs is to enhance your child’s immune system. Adequate nutrition is the backbone of health. Even marginal deficiencies of a single nutrient can profoundly impair the immune system. At least have your child take a multiple vitamin and mineral supplement every day. Eating sugar in the form of glucose, fructose, sucrose, honey, and orange juice all significantly reduced the body’s ability to have an effective immune system. These effects will start within less than 30 minutes and last for several hours. The white blood cells will not have the ability to gobble up those nasty bacteria the way they usually can.
Food is the largest challenge facing the immune system. When there is complete digestion, healthy bowel microflora, a healthy constitution, and minimal exposure to foods or elements that are toxic to the body, the immune system can do its job. Weaknesses in one or more of these areas can result in a weakened immune system. More than 50 percent of the immune system takes its signals from the digestive tract. It is one of the largest immune organs of the body that defends against the barrage of toxins ingested daily. Intestinal microflora also impact human health. The “friendly” bacteria living in us compete with the “not so friendly” Germs and help us stay healthy.
The new U.S. food pyramid suggests we consume 5 servings of fresh vegetables daily and 3–4 servings of fresh fruits daily. Sounds easy enough. Yet, only 20 percent of the populations does this. It is also important to get adequate protein and fat in the diet. Water intake is vital as well. It’s best if the 6–10 glasses (depends on the age of the child) does not contain chlorine or fluoride. Dehydration may be a big factor in whether they stay healthy. By making even simple changes in your child’s diet and lifestyle, you might be amazed at how few illnesses she has this school year.
Common Sense Guidelines for Avoiding the Flu and Colds
July 28, 2005 02:07 PM
Common Sense Guidelines for Avoiding the Flu and Colds
1. Eat a healthy diet. The most important way to prevent being infected is through a proper diet. Raw vegetables, fruits, sprouts, nuts, and seeds should be eaten in abundance. Fresh fruit juices such as apple and grape can help the body flush out toxins. Do not overeat. Avoid sugar, soft drinks, white flour products, chocolate, fried foods, alcohol and tobacco.
2. Exercise for health. Exercise at least three times per week to help strengthen the immune system. Regular exercise is known to help enhance the body’s resistance to disease. Exercise can improve the white blood cell count in the body, which fights Germs. It stimulates the lymphatic flow and blood circulation, which allows for the blood flow to increase to the brain and all areas of the body. It can help release hormones that actually help you to feel good. Exercise can help relieve anxiety and stress in the body. It can help increase energy and an overall sense of well being.
3. Get plenty of rest. A good night’s sleep helps the immune system fight off illness. This keeps your immune cells powered up, according to research done at the San Diego Veterans Affairs Medical Center. In the study, 42 healthy volunteers were allowed only four hours of shut-eye overnight, which resulted in 30 percent drop in natural killer cells (key players in the battle against viral infections). Sleep deprivation also decreased immune cells, such as T-lymphocytes.3
4. Wash hands regularly. Viruses are easily transmitted during casual contact like shaking hands or touching a doorknob. Wash hands after coming into contact with someone who is ill. Keep hands away from face and mouth.
5. Use paper cups in the bathroom. Viruses can often spread through the family. Using small, disposable paper cups in the bathroom may stop some of the transmission. Toothbrushes should also be replaced regularly to avoid recontamination.
6. Wash towels and linens often. If someone in the family becomes ill, wash towels daily. Hot water should be used in washing to kill the viruses involved.
An old Indian remedy gives your teeth a new gleam - NEEM
July 27, 2005 04:23 PM
Keen on Neem
An old Indian remedy gives your teeth a new gleam.
The search for clean teeth, healthy gums and fresh breath is not just a modern obsession, but an age-old fixation. Dental historians believe that ancient cavity rates ranged from 1% among Eskimos, with their highly carnivorous diet, to 80% among members of Egypt’s royalty, who feasted on dainties that included many high-carb delights. So it’s no surprise that most ancient cultures had their favorite oral hygiene therapies.
In Indian, the tooth scrubber of popular choice was twigs taken from the neem tree. Small wonder: This tropical evergreen’s therapeutic versatility sports and impressive 4,000-year-old track record, earning it the nickname of “village pharmacy.” Indians who went abroad carried neem with them, and they put the entire tree-bark, fruit, leaf, root, seed-to health-enhancing use. One famous Indian emigrant, Mahatma Gandhi, was a keen neem enthusiast; after returning to his native land, Gandhi held prayer meetings under a neem tree.
Today, neem’s beautiful branches grace a vast swath of the Southern Hemisphere, including Australia (which may become the biggest neem-producing nation over the coming decades), Fiji, sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South America and the Caribbean. This remarkable plant’s Sanskrit name, arista, says it all-“perfect, complete and imperishable.”
Keeping Teeth Intact
Your dentist is actually the second one to drill your pearly whites. The first drillers are the Germs that reside in your mouth-or, to be more accurate, the acids these wee beasties produce. Their handiwork: dental caries, or just plain cavities. These bacteria are also responsible for gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss if unchecked. What’s even worse, low-level inflammation caused by disordered gums may create the kind of blood-vessel havoc associated with heart problems.
Neem extracts act against a variety of detrimental microbes, which may explain its time-tested success in helping to keep teeth whole. Scientists at India’s Zydus Research Centre found that individuals who used a neem dental gel twice a day for six weeks enjoyed significant reductions in both plaque-the gummy, bacteria-harboring stuff that accumulates on teeth-and gum disease (International Dental Journal 8/04).
Neem’s fame is spreading among Northern Hemisphere consumers. It is becoming an herbally aware toothpaste ingredient valued for the fresh feeling its cool astringency imparts to the mouth. Neem is also a prized component of other health and beauty products, such as bath powders, lotions, shampoos and soaps.
In India, neem is a vital weapon in the arsenal of Ayurveda, that country’s system of traditional medicine. Practitioners there mash the leaves into a paste to alleviate chickenpox and warts, and brew them into tea to break malaria’s feverish grip. The leaves also make a soothing soak for fungus-infected feet.
Indian scientists are also hard at work studying neem. They’ve distilled the substances that account for neem’s ability to fight bacteria, fungi and parasites (including the pests that infest pets). Researchers have explored neem’s other traditional usages; in one study, a bark extract was able to ease ulcers (Life Sciences 10/29/04). What’s more, neem is esteemed for its contributions to Indian agriculture; the seedcake makes a nutritious feed supplement and bees that feed on neem are free of wax moths.
If you value keeping your teeth in gleaming condition, consider neem.
In the Clear - Skin is always in danger of acne and inflammations
June 12, 2005 02:13 PM
In the Clear by Dianne Drucker Energy Times, August 3, 2003
Your skin needs protection even as it offers itself as your body's first line of defense against the outside world. Skin is always in danger of acne and inflammations during its daily encounters with stray microorganisms, streams of ultraviolet light and a barrage of pollutants.
Tending to your skin, keeping a clear complexion while safeguarding your well-being, requires proper feeding, watering and tender, loving care.
Your skin not only has to protect you, it has to look good while doing it. Unfortunately, much can go wrong with skin. One of the most common skin irregularities is the acne that often arises when pores clog and inflammation creates unsightly blemishes.
While conventional medicine has long insisted that your chances of developing pimples are unrelated to what you feed your body and your skin, recent studies are calling that accepted wisdom into question.
Research in the Archives of Dermatology (12/02) argues that today's pimples are linked to what you ate yesterday. Skin scientists now suspect that the typical American diet, filled with refined foods, sugars and simple starches, causes the exaggerated release of insulin and related secretions that foment pimples and blemishes.
The evidence: When researchers spent two years combing through the rainforests of New Guinea and trekking to remote parts of Paraguay, they took a close look at indigenous people's faces and couldn't find a single pimple. The inhabitants of these isolated areas eat homegrown food and wild game. They've never eaten crackers or cookies from a box or slurped a milkshake through a straw. And they've never had to cope with embarrassing acne.
The researchers concluded that no refined foods meant no blemishes.
Refining the Pimple Process
According to this latest theory, pimples can start when your digestive tract quickly absorbs refined, starchy carbohydrates from white bread or potatoes or sugary soft drinks. These foods are ranked at or near the top of the so-called glycemic index. That means that these foodstuffs cause your blood sugar to climb rapidly, the process that the glycemic index measures.
That rise in blood sugar causes the release of insulin from your pancreas into your bloodstream. Insulin, a hormone-like substance, helps cells soak up the excess sugar circulating in your blood. However, along with insulin, another substance, is also released. These two chemicals boost the production of testosterone, the male hormone that, in turn, can cause the skin to overproduce sebum, an oily goo that plugs up pores and gives birth to acne. (Previous research has already established the causal relationship of testosterone to pimples.)
Lorain Cordain, PhD, a health professor at Colorado State University and lead researcher in this study, points out that more than 80% of the grains we eat are highly refined and cause significant blood sugar increases, a factor that makes skin break out. In addition, he says, teens are especially susceptible to pimples because they are growing rapidly and, as a result, tend to be insulin resistant. Insulin resistance means it takes more insulin to persuade cells to take sugar out of the blood. This condition consequently results in even larger amounts of insulin being released and more skin blemishes being created.
According to Dr. Cordain, eating low-glycemic foods like whole grains, vegetables, fish and lean meat should lower your risk of acne. These foods don't bump up blood sugar as much, to be released and, as a result, are kinder to your skin.
Aside from improving your skin condition by improving the food you eat, taking supplements to help the bacteria in your lower digestive tract may also clear up your undesirable dermatological developments. Eczema, a discomforting and embarrassing skin inflammation, is now believed to depend on the interaction between intestinal bacteria and your immune system.
According to research in Finland (The Lancet 2001; 357:1076), eczema may appear on your skin when your immune system, influenced by the gut's bacteria, misbehaves, using unnecessary inflammation to defend against a non-existent infection that it mistakenly believes threatens the skin.
Atopic eczema, a variety of eczema that often runs in families, has long been known to be linked to allergies and immune overreactions.
In looking into the fact that more and more people have been suffering eczema, scientists came to the disturbing conclusion that this increase may be at least partly attributed to our obsession with cleanliness.
When we are young, our immune systems learn the proper ways to fight off Germs by interacting with the bacteria and viruses they encounter. But during the past ten years, so many of us (and our parents) have kept our houses so neurotically spic-and-span, according to the latest theory, that our immune systems are failing to develop the proper responses. So, like a bored, inexperienced security guard who imagines a threat when there is none, our immune defenses are going slightly haywire, causing the defensive inflammation of eczema even in the absence of real bacteriological invasions. The possible solution: Probiotic supplements of harmless bacteria like Lactobacillus GG. This bacteria, similar to the friendly bacteria that live in our large intestines, seems to calm immunity so that it is less likely to panic and start an unnecessary inflammation.
These supplements are so safe, medical researchers are now giving them to pregnant women and newborn babies. In the research in Finland, giving these probiotics to mothers and newborns cut the rate of infant atopic eczema in half. (Similar, live bacteria are also found in yogurt, although yogurt should not be fed to newborns.)
The skin on these children is benefiting for long periods of time. "Our findings show that the preventive effect of Lactobacillus GG on atopic eczema in at-risk children extends to the age of 4 years," notes Marko Kalliomäki, MD, author of the study.
Tea Tree Help
Further natural skin help can be had from Australia in the form of tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia). Long revered by the aborigines of this continent, tea tree oil was allegedly given its English name by British sea captain James Cook, who used the plant to make a tea that improved the flavor of beer.
But Australians have long used tea tree oil as an antiseptic. Its popularity increased during World War II, when, after it was used as a lubricant on heavy machinery, mechanics who got the oil on their hands noticed it fought skin infections. As pointed out in The Chopra Center Herbal Handbook (Three Rivers Press), "The essential oil of tea tree...contains a number of terpenes, of which terpinen-4-ol is believed to be responsible for its beneficial anti-infective activity." Terpenes are special, beneficial types of protein found in essential oils.
Tea tree is especially useful against skin outbreaks caused by fungus infections. Research in Australia shows that it can help quell athlete's foot (Austr Jrnl Derm 1992; 33:145) as effectively as some pharmaceutical preparations. Other research confirms that it can help quiet many different fungi that cause unsightly skin outbreaks (Skin Pharm 1996; 9:388). The Chopra Center Herbal Handbook recommends that "every household should keep some tea tree oil close at hand. It can be applied directly to skin irritations."
Revered by the pharaohs' healers in Egypt during the ancient age of the pyramids, and depended upon for centuries by the Greeks for a variety of medicinal purposes, chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is still employed for a range of skin problems. This botanical helps ease abscesses, bruises or sunburn, and is included in many massage oils. (But never apply chamomile's undiluted essential oil to the skin.)
In addition, creams and sprays with chamomile are used to calm the nerves and nourish the skin. As an element in aromatherapy, chamomile, whose odor has been compared to apples, is well-known for soothing and rejuvenating the spirit. Explaining exactly how chamomile heals and calms has not been easy for scientists. Essential oils like chamomile contain so many different natural chemicals that exploring their holistic effect on the human body requires detailed analysis. As an aromatherapeutic agent, researchers believe chamomile and other essential oils may interact with the brain, activating glands that stimulate healing systems within the body. But that has yet to be proven.
What has been proven is that herbs like chamomile and tea tree, and natural treatments like probiotics, can make a big difference in keeping your skin healthy and clear. With their help, you can present your best face to the world.
June 10, 2005 10:16 PM
Mushrooms by Frank Sturges Energy Times, December 7, 1999
The interest in mushrooms as health enhancers has... mushroomed. Mushrooms, researchers have found, are filled with a long list of substances that may help us fight disease. Some of these natural chemicals boost immunity. Others may be effective against cancer and heart disease.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the research into mushrooms stems from the vast number of mushrooms that dot the landscape. At least 1.5 million types of fungi populate forests, fields, nooks and crannies, but studies have detailed the properties of less than 3,000.
Mushrooms produce so many beneficial compounds because they constantly fight off other fungi and microbes to survive. These substances, which mushrooms utilize for defense, can apparently help humans.
One of the most important of these classes of compounds are the polysaccharides. Scientists believe these long starch molecules spark immune action that can protect us against invading Germs or cancer. They may do this by persuading the body to create what are called killer T-cells. These immune warriors destroy microscopic invaders and may help stop tumors.
According to Paul Stamets, author of Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms (Ten Speed), use of polysaccharides... "will synergistically, in combination with the individual's immune system, result in dramatic recoveries...Right now we don't clearly understand all the elements in those formulas to be able to predict downstream what will happen. But clearly with some people, it is tremendously effective" (Townsend Ltr, 6/98).
In addition, mushrooms also make biologically active chemicals called steroids and terpenes, says Christopher Hobbs, author of Medicinal Mushrooms (Interweave). These substances are thought to help fight off the formation of cancerous tumors.
Maitake: Useful Fungus
Maitake (Grifola frondosa) mushrooms, also known as "Hen of the woods," contain chemicals called beta glucans that can enhance immunity. Scientists are particularly fascinated by substances called the "D-fraction." Studies show these can spur immunity (Biol. Pharm. Bull. 17(12), Dec. 1994: 1554-60).
Researchers are also looking into the possibility that Maitake can help people with AIDS regain weight. And scientists are examining their effect on high blood pressure and diabetes.
In Tibet, the Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) has long been used to battle altitude sickness in the Himalayan mountains. Reishi is also reputed to soothe frayed nerves.
Scientific studies have supported these traditional uses, finding that people who consumed Reishi functioned better in low oxygen (Proceedings Contrib Symp 59 AB, 5th Intl Cong, 8/14-21, 101-104). Other research finds Reishi may help ease arthritis (Proc 1st Intl Symp on Ganoderma l. 11/17-18, 99-103, Tokyo).
Lion's Mane (Heri-cium erinaceus), also called "Monkey's head," has traditionally been a treatment for stomach problems in China. But researchers have found that chemicals in this mushroom help fight tumors (Biosci Biotech Biochem 56(2), Feb. 1992: 347-8).
During the past few years, scientific investigators have also begun to extract chemicals called erinacines from lion's mane. These substances, (known as Nerve Growth Stimulant factor) appear to encourage neuron regeneration. The potential uses: boosting nerve performance, fixing neurological damage and treating Alzheimer's disease (Tetrahedron Ltrs 35(10), 1994: 1569-1572).
Known as Cogmelo de Deus (Mushroom of God) in Brazil, the Royal Agaricus (Agaricus blazei) has been grown in Japan since the '70s where it enjoys widespread popularity. Researchers find that it provokes powerful anti-tumor effects. This fungus harbors more beta-glucans, immunity enhancers, than other mushrooms.
Can a fungus make athletes faster? A few researchers think so, pointing to Chinese Olympians who use Cordyceps sinensis. This fungus, traditionally grown on caterpillars, is another native of the Himalayas.
Traditionally, Cordyceps has been used to foster stamina, better breathing and immunity.
At least one study shows this fungus may help blood vessels dilate during exercise. By supplying extra blood to working muscles, Cordyceps may help fight off fatigue and boost performance (Abstracts from 5th Mycological Cong, Vancouver, 8/14-21).
The mushroom called Shiitake has been the subject of an extravagant amount of research since the '60s. Called the "elixir of life," it boosts immunity. Stamets reports that people with cancer who take Shiitake do significantly better in coping with their disease (Abstract 2nd Meeting Soc of Natl Immunity, Italy, 5/25/94).
Another characteristic of Shiitake mushrooms: a celebrated taste. The tongue and the palate take great pleasure in this health enhancer!
June 10, 2005 05:32 PM
Allergy Alleviation by Cal Orey , February 2, 2002
Allergy Alleviation By Cal Orey
Welcome to the stuffed up world of seasonal allergic rhinitis: the wheezing, sneezing "inhalant allergies" that torment 35 million Americans. Adding insult to sinus pain, other allergens attack year-round. Air pollution, dust mites (microscopic gremlins that infest bedding, upholstery and rugs) and animal dander trigger allergies-or other respiratory ailments-in any season. Urban air is full of rubber tire particles, a true blowout for those with latex sensitivity. Altogether, roughly 50 million Americans-about one in five-suffer from some form of allergy, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). Tired of cross-pollinating with plants or being bowled over by dust balls? Vitamins, herbs and other nutrients can help you nip allergy discomfort in the bud.
The Allergy Response
Your immune system triggers an allergic response when it overreacts to otherwise harmless substances or antigens (we're talking dust, pollen and mold).The alarmed immune system then launches a defensive chemical reaction, releasing potent chemicals (antibodies) supposed to destroy the "invaders." The antibodies, called IgE, carry the invading substances to special cells, which zap them with more biochemicals. Among these protective cells are mast cells: they release histamine, the substance that causes swelling and inflammation to the linings of the nose, sinuses and eyelids, resulting in sneezing, upper respiratory congestion and itchy, watery eyes.
Just Blame The Folks
Most allergies are determined by your genes. If your Mom or Dad sneeze and scratch, there's a good chance you will, too. "That is not to say that we directly inherit an allergy to any specific substance. Rather, it seems as if we might inherit some kind of immune system defect or weakness that leaves us more vulnerable to allergies," explain co-authors Glenn S. Rothfeld, MD, and Suzanne LeVert in their book Natural Medicine for Allergies: The Best Alternative Methods for Quick Relief (Rodale). For some people, allergies lurk in food, throwing the immune system into overdrive. "Many natural medicine practitioners believe that a diet high in animal fats will contribute to the development of allergy and asthma, as does a diet high in food additives, such as preservatives and dyes," says Gary McLain, PhD, in his book The Natural Way of Healing: Asthma and Allergies (Dell). Worse, allergies can up the risk of asthma, which afflicts 15 million Americans. Most people afflicted with asthma also suffer allergies: the two are linked, according to the AAAAI. Allergy triggers of asthma include pollen, mold spores and house dust mites. Remember Helen Hunt's asthmatic son in the movie As Good As It Gets? His character endured allergies to dust, and living in New York (and watching his mom date Jack Nicholson) didn't help his immune system. Coughs, ear infections, fevers and visits to hospital emergency rooms curtailed his social life (and limited his close-ups as well). That kind of routine happens in real life, too. (Well, maybe close encounters with Jack N. are not included for most.) But when we breathe substances such as molds, they can induce swelling and inflammation of the bronchial airways which narrow and restrict air flow. This, in turn, causes wheezing and shortness of breath and can trigger an asthma "attack," according to Andrew Engler, MD, who specializes in allergy and asthma in San Mateo, California.
The Nose Knows: Chemical Sensitivities
Imagine a picture-perfect, crisp, clear Saturday morning. You make a final stop on your weekly errand run to the dry cleaner, where you drop off your laundry and spend a moment chatting up the owner. Back in your car, your eyes tear and you feel a bit woozy. Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin, writing in The Road to Immunity: How To Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) sense that your reaction could be chemical sensitivity, a difficult to diagnose but, in their opinion, very real malady. (Of course, a clinician can test you for immune responses to certain chemicals.) Reactions to chemicals produce the typical allergic responses: puffy or red-rimmed eyes; swelling; aching or stiff joints and muscles; irritability or dizziness; respiratory inflammations; headaches and the like. Villains include aerosol sprays, tobacco smoke, glues, insecticides and herbicides, household chemicals and fragrances. Identification and avoidance are key, say the authors. Vitamin C, which binds with chemicals, is one of the best nutritional defenses.
Breathing Problems Expand
Americans now freely take lifesaving medicines such as antibiotics and insulin but, in some people, "they have the potential to alter the immune system, which is where allergies begin," says Dr. McLain. (Consult your pharmacist if you have questions about your prescription medication.) We, as a nation, are also eating more chemicals, from the pesticides drenched on plants to the preservatives poured on prepared foods. We're breathing polluted air, which can lead to or exacerbate asthma, and then we choke on recycled air in sealed buildings. And while a century ago you were likely to have spent much of your time close to home, you can now hop on a supersonic plane and be taken to the other side of the globe within a matter of hours. With travel comes exposure to even more exotic allergens that can drive your immune system to distraction.
The All-Natural Gesundheit
Certain allergy-relief nutrients and herbs can help make life more bearable. Here's how they work: n Vitamin C for the lungs. According to experts, when vitamin C is low, asthma is high. Vitamin C carries the major antioxidant load in the airways and therefore contributes mightily to the health of the lungs. A study in the Annals of Allergy (73(1994):89-96) reported that in seven of 11 clinical trials since 1973, vitamin C supplementation provided "significant improvements" in respiratory function and asthma symptoms. n Vitamin E and carotene to suppress allergic reactions. These antioxidants may also help protect the respiratory tract from caustic pollutants. Vitamin E is reputed to be one of the most important nutrients for antioxidant protection in the lungs. In addition, these two substances decrease production of allergy-related compounds called leukotrienes. n Zinc for the immune system. Research shows that a deficiency in this trace mineral can weaken your immune system, setting you up as a target for allergies and infections. (Some vegetarians may not store sufficient amounts of this mineral and should take supplements.) Zinc comes to the body's rescue by taking part in the production of IgA, the gastrointestinal antibody that lines the digestive tract. "When IgA binds to an allergen, it keeps it from being absorbed into the bloodstream and thus from causing an allergic reaction," report Rothfeld and Levert. Also, zinc protects mucous membranes and helps convert beta carotene to vitamin A, another anti-allergy, immune-boosting nutrient. In a study of 100 participants at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, half took a zinc-based lozenge, while the other half received a dummy preparation. The participants taking zinc experienced a 42% reduction in the duration and severity of their common colds (Annals of Internal Medicine, 7/96). n Quercetin as an antihistamine. A valuable, anti-allergic flavonoid (plant coloring agent that is a powerful antioxidant), quercetin shines as a potent weapon against allergies and asthma. Believed to inhibit histamine release from mast cells and slow the production of other allergy-related compounds, it stabilizes mast cell membranes. Other flavonoid-rich extracts include grape seed, pine bark, green tea and Ginkgo biloba. n Additional helpful nutrients: Vitamin B-12, particularly to combat sensitivity to sulfites (The Nutrition Desk Reference [Keats]); selenium, an antioxidant that breaks down leukotrienes (Clinical Science 77, 1989: 495-500); and magnesium to relax bronchial tissues (Journal of the American Medical Association, 262 : 1210-3).
Herbal Remedies To The Rescue
n Nettles for hay fever relief. Research at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, showed that 40 of 69 folks suffering from hay fever found moderate to extreme relief from taking freeze-dried stinging nettles (Planta Medica,  44-47). "It is nontoxic, cheap and preferable to antihistamines, which I think are significantly toxic," reports Andrew Weil, MD, in his book Natural Health, Natural Medicine: A Comprehensive Manual for Wellness and Self-Care (Houghton Mifflin). n Cayenne to reduce inflammation. Cayenne, known as hot red pepper, is rich in capsaicin, a potent flavonoid "counter-irritant" that dilates and soothes inflamed nasal and bronchial tissues, according to experts. A bonus: Cayenne also contains a rich amount of antioxidant vitamin C, which can help enhance your immune system. n Echinacea for allergy prevention. This popular Native American herb provides cold and allergy protection, particularly when you take it before encountering allergens. Studies reveal that echinacea aids your body's tissues and protects you from Germs and allergens. In fact, German studies have found it possesses valuable antiviral, antibacterial and immunity-boosting properties.
Make Your World Allergy-Free
For the most effective allergy relief, make sure you stay clear of allergens that wreak allergy havoc. Visit an allergy-savvy health practitioner and get tested to find out which substances rock your respiratory world. Plus, allergy experts recommend: n Banish dust mites: sweep out clutter and have your house power-vacuumed, if necessary; wash bedding and linens in very hot water. n De-pollinate your environment: flip on the air conditioner to sift out pollen (keep its filter and any forced air registers clean); exercise indoors; machine dry, rather than line dry, your clothes. n Buy a home air filter, especially if you experience dust, pollen or pet dander allergies. n Avoid allergy triggers that dog your days: cats and canines (or consider the hairless or shed-less breeds), mold and tobacco smoke. No matter what you do or actions you take, allergies may always remain an annoyance in your life. But attention to the foods you eat, the places where you exercise and the right combination of anti-allergy nutrients can limit your discomfort.
Leveling The Leukotrine Playing Field
On a microscopic level, a series of biochemicals implicated in allergic reactions are leukotrienes, substances that may constrict the bronchial tubes (breathing passages). In some people, consuming the food additive tartrazine can cause severe asthmatic breathing difficulties by boosting leukotrine release. In turn, this can interfere with the body's use of vitamin B-6. The process in which lack of B-6 or "errors" in how your body uses B-6 causes allergic reactions and is complex. According to Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND in the revised edition of the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), breathing problems may begin when the metabolism of tryptophan (an amino acid) goes awry: "Tryptophan is converted to serotonin, a compound that, among other things, can cause the airways of asthmatics to constrict...Vitamin B-6 is required for the proper metabolism of tryptophan." Accordingly, a study of vitamin B-6, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that people with compromised breathing may possess less B-6 in their blood than others who breathe normally. When people with asthma were given B-6, their wheezing and asthmatic attacks dropped.
Fat Fix For Allergies
The fat in your diet or supplements can also influence your susceptibility to allergies and asthma linked to allergies. Epidemiologists have found that countries where children eat fish at least four times a month cut their risk of asthma by 67% compared to other parts of the world where they consume fewer fish. Research on omega-3 fatty acids, the kind of fat found in fish, flax and hemp oil, demonstrates that some of these substances can improve breathing. In particular, fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can help open up bronchial tubes. Studies in the American Review of Respiratory Disease and the International Archives of Allergy and Applied Immunology show that breathing passageways may not react so negatively to the presence of allergens when you eat more fish or take supplements containing these types of fats. Many of the scientists who study the kinds of fats we eat believe that the increase in allergies and asthma in the US during the twentieth century may be due to both increasing air pollution (which irritates our lungs) plus a simultaneous increase in our consumption of what are called omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 oils are contained in most of the vegetable oils Americans eat, including sunflower and peanut oils. While experts believe that we would be better off consuming a diet containing about five times as many omega-6 fatty acids as omega-3s, today we eat about 40 times as much omega-6s. The chemistry of how these fats influence our allergy susceptibility is complex. It begins in our cell membranes which consist mostly of fat. When we consume omega-3 fatty acids, in our diet or in supplements, and these fats enter cell membranes, the change in structure cuts the availability of arachidonic acid, a fatty acid your body can make and which is found in meat, eggs and dairy products. Eventually, it is thought that this change in cellular metabolism and reduction in arachidonic acid forces the body to make less 4-series leukotrienes, substances which are quite prone to provoking allergic inflammation and, instead, produce 5-series leukotrienes, leukotrienes which don't cause nearly as much trouble. This process requires patience. According to Pizzorno and Murray. "It may take as long as one year before the benefits are apparent, as it appears to take time to turn over cellular membranes in favor of the omega-3 fatty acids."
Chinese Medicine Versus Allergies
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views allergies as an imbalance of the liver, says Jason Elias, co-author with Katherine Ketcham of The Five Elements of Self-Healing (Harmony Books). "The average American's (liver) deals with about fourteen pounds of chemicals a year. What would normally be a minor irritant becomes major because the liver can't process them anymore," explains Elias. Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has traditionally been used to fight allergies since this herb battles inflammation as evidenced by Japanese research and a study published in the journal Allergy. Much of this anti-allergy action is thought to proceed from licorice's interaction with a biochemical called cortisol, a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. Cortisol (along with epinephrine, another adrenal hormone) relaxes the muscles controlling airways. By slowing the liver's breakdown of cortisol, licorice prolongs circulation of this hormone which, in turn, can help breathing passages stay clear. In addition, glycyrrhetinic acid, a compound in licorice, slows the body's manufacture of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, substances which exacerbate allergic inflammatory reactions. Ma Huang (Ephedra sinica) has been employed for thousands of years to aid breathing since chemicals in this plant widen breathing passages.
Homeopathic Remedies for Allergy
Homeopathic treatments consist of highly diluted substances designed to coax the body into healing itself. The effectiveness of homeopathy for hayfever has been demonstrated by research published in Lancet performed at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. There, scientists showed that homeopathically-prepared medicines produced statistically significant improvements in allergy sufferers. The appropriate homeopathic remedy for any illness depends on the personality type of the person suffering an allergy. These treatments are among those recommended by Dana Ullman: n Allium cepa: appropriate for burning nasal discharge that grows worse in warm rooms and improves outdoors. Relieves non-burning tearing from eyes, raw feeling in the nose with tingling sensation and violent sneezing. n Nux vomica: used when feeling irritable and chilled, with daytime fluent nasal discharge and night congestion that grows worse indoors. Also for those sensitive to cold and to being uncovered. n Pulsatilla: best for women and children with daytime nasal discharge and night congestion who are gentle, yielding, mild, impressionable and emotional. Used when congestion is worse in warm rooms, hot weather or while lying down.
Food Allergy Conundrum Food allergies can prove to be the toughest allergies to identify and eliminate. Jason Elias believes that people may develop food sensitivities from eating the same foods too often. "If someone has an allergy, I might say 'Let's get you off dairy for three weeks,'" he says, noting that some people have limited their hay fever problems by ceasing to consume dairy products. Many have also found relief by maintaining a food diary, keeping track of which foods are associated with allergy attacks and then eliminating those foods. So the next time you sneeze, don't just reach for your hanky, think back to the meal that you just ate. Your allergy problem may be sitting in your stomach as well as making you sneeze and stuffing your sinuses. Taking these kinds of anti-allergy preventive measures can provide life-enhancing relief that feels like a godsend. That lets you attain your healthy best.
This article included reporting by Judy Pokras.
June 10, 2005 04:01 PM
Real Solutions by Susan Risoli Energy Times, November 1, 1997
The alarm sounds, you stumble out of bed and head to the bathroom. Suddenly, a burning sting wakes you with a jolt as you begin to urinate. One doctor visit later, you're on a strict antibiotic regimen to treat your urinary problem.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) affect 8 million to 10 million Americans, mostly women, each year. The culprit: the bacteria E. coli. Neglect may allow a UTI to spread to the bladder (where it causes cystitis), or kidneys: possibly life-threatening.
The good news: medical experts recognize that a diet change and avoiding certain risk factors may help fight off UTIs.
According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, about 20% of women experience UTI at least once, and many suffer recurrences. Sexually active women tend to incur more UTIs because of anatomical vagaries: the bladder sits just above the vagina, while the urethra, a structure from the bladder to the outside, protrudes in a tubelike ridge down the top part of the vagina to just above the vaginal opening. This structure allows sexual intercourse to push infecting bacteria into the urethra. Women's vulnerability to UTI also derives from their short urethras which are located near the rectum, a main source of UTI Germs. These tubes provide an easy path to a bacterial home in the bladder.
Another risk booster: pelvic exams which may increase chances of UTI. A 1996 study conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago and reported in the Archives of Family Medicine (1996;5:357-360) found that 43% of women with UTIs had received a pelvic examination within the two months preceding infection. Only 16% of the uninfected had been examined.
Bladder infections can occur frequently in postmenopausal women due to thinning and drying of the vaginal lining. And mid-life women are not immune. "With the loss of estrogen support, the urethra becomes less flexible and elastic and, like the vagina, it can become easily irritated after sexual intercourse and, thus, much more prone to infection," reports Susan Lark, MD, in her book, Women's Health Companion: Self Help Nutrition Guide and Cookbook (Celestial Arts). "As women age, the lower urinary tract also stops manufacturing anti-adherence factors, which help to prevent bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall."
Every woman should keep her own "female" botanicals on hand to help boost her immune system when she is at high risk of developing a bladder infection. These include:
Cranberry: This immune-boosting, vitamin C-rich berry prevents Germs from invading the lining of the urinary tract. A 1994 study of 153 elderly women conducted by researchers at the Harvard Medical School and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (1994:271: 751-4) showed that cranberry juice may keep harmful bacteria at reduced levels. More recently, a study by Amy B. Howell, PhD, and a team at Rutgers University found that cranberries contain a type of condensed tannin, a chemical compound called proanthocyanidins, that seemed to stunt the growth of E. coli, preventing it from adhering to the walls of the bladder and kidneys.
"However, once you have an infection, cranberry juice cannot eradicate the bacteria. So drinking cranberry juice may be helpful in preventing an infection, but not in treating an existing one," according to Larrian Gillespie, MD, in her book You Don't have to Live with Cystitis (Avon Books).
Drinking two glasses of juice a day can help if you're UTI-prone. To avoid the sugar added to cranberry juice, concentrated cranberries are available in a gel-cap form.
Echinacea: This North American herb bolsters immune function and is believed to possess antiseptic and antiviral properties which may rev up the white blood cells that fight infection, reports John Cammarta, MD, in his book A Physician's Guide To Herbal Wellness (Chicago Review Press).
While cranberry is most commonly recommended for prevention, other herbs can also kill bacteria and are diuretic. These include:
Barberry: "The chemical berberine found in this herb is an impressive infection fighter. Studies show it kills the bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections," says author Jim O'Brien in his book Herbal Cures for Common Ailments (Globe).
O'Brien recommends making a tea with one half teaspoon of powdered root bark, then put it on low boil for 30 minutes. "The taste is unpleasant, so you may wish to add natural sweeteners and flavorings."
Uva-ursi: contains the ingredient arbutin, which fights Germs in the urinary tract. "In addition," adds O'Brien, "the herb contains several diuretics that help flush the urinary tract, leading to faster healing. It also has several tannins, which act as powerful astringents drying out swollen, infected tissue. A third property of uva-ursi is allantoin, which promotes the growth of new cells."
"For this herb to be effective you must not eat or drink anything of acidic nature, such as citrus fruits or juices. Don't even take vitamin C supplements while using it," cautions O'Brien.
Coping With Pain
In her book Herbal Remedies for Women (Prima), medical herbalist Amanda McQuade Crawford offers an herbal recipe to help restore the urinary tract's normal pH. Herbal Formula I calls for 4 ounces of uva-ursi leaf, three ounces of marshmallow leaf, two ounces of yarrow flower (omit during pregnancy) and one ounce (or to taste) cinnamon bark. Steep the herbs for 10 to 20 minutes, then strain through bamboo or wire mesh. Drink 2 to 5 cups daily for 10 days. Crawford advocates drinking one to two cups per day for a week to 10 days after all symptoms have disappeared.
Urologist Gillespie has found that women with cystitis may notice certain foods and beverages (such as alcohol and acidic foods) exacerbate problems of pain and burning. Gillespie recommends cystitis sufferers avoid foods like apple juice, apples, apricots, melon, carbonated drinks, spicy foods, citrus fruits, coffee, ginger, grapes, guava, lemon juice, peaches, pineapple, plums, rhubarb, strawberries, tea, tomatoes and vinegar.
Limit refined sugar: this nutrient may stunt immune reactions. Most importantly, you can lower the risk of UTIs by drinking liquids. Water helps flush bacteria from the body so drink at least 6 to 8 eight-ounce glasses of filtered water daily.