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NBC: Doctor researching cancer says common plant may hold cancer cure
December 25, 2017 07:59 AM
A researcher at Stephen F. Austin State University has found a new link between giant salvinia, a pest in Texas waterways, and a reduction in lung and pancreatic cancer. There are no details on what exactly in the plant is causing this decrease but the numbers are clear and hope is out there. This is part of a vanguard of disease and immunological studies to find cures from common plants and this looks to be promising
"Dr. Li says they found eight new compounds, with one of them showing anti-tumor activity."
Read more: https://www.healthnutnews.com/doctor-researching-cancer-says-common-plant-may-hold-cancer-cure/
Sunflower seeds pack a nutritional punch. Here's how to include them in your daily diet
November 18, 2017 07:59 AM
Sunflowers are not only beautiful, apparently they are nutritious as well. These giant yellow flowers that attract birds to their budding seeds are hiding a secret. They are jammed packed with healthy fats, vitamins and even minerals. By adding a handful of these tiny seeds one can reap wonderful health benefits. Sunflower seeds are versatile in the ways they can be eaten. If you powder them they can be used as a flour substitute. This sunflower powder can be cooked with, and added to smoothies and sauces. Eaten raw, powdered, or roasted, sunflower seeds pack a punch of nutrition value.
"Sunflowers seeds offer amazing health benefits because of their nutritional value. The seeds have essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals which are vital for our body ."
Read more: http://www.hindustantimes.com/fitness/sunflower-seeds-pack-a-nutritional-punch-here-s-how-to-include-them-in-your-daily-diet/story-JguVaFESCym9Hk6Yveh4sO.html
Natural Allopathic medicine: the power to heal and cure cancer
January 04, 2017 10:59 AM
With health care costs and the price of prescription drug costs on the rise many people are looking for alternative treatments, including natural remedies. While big pharmaceutical companies try to discount the benefits of natural remedies, proponents provide interesting information about the benefits. Check out the article for some recent news regarding natural approaches to medicine
"Today’s allopathic system oftentimes seems like a cult, heavily influenced by pharmaceutical companies."
Effectiveness of echinacea tea
March 14, 2014 06:44 PM
What is echinecea tea
Echinacea tea is Associate in Nursing flavoring remedy that several realize to be quite effective in fighting off colds, cough and respiratory disease. Plenty of individuals take asterid dicot genus tea as they believe it helps stop and even stop these ailments. After all, the herb has long been called Associate in Nursing immunostimulant that helps strengthen the system and beat back infections.
But area unit there enough scientific bases for this belief?
The asterid dicot genus may be a genus of nonwoody flowering plants that belong to the flower family. The genus has 9 completely different species and these area unit ordinarily referred to as purple coneflowers. The plants area unit generally found in jap and central components of North America, wherever they're seen growing in rolling prairies and open scrubby areas. they need Giant, showy heads of composite flowers, and area unit fully bloom throughout the summer.
Various components of the asterid dicot genus plant, most notably the roots, leaves, flowers and stems, area unit dried and so created into teas, juices, tonics, tinctures, extracts, tablets and capsules.
The early Americans swore by the ability and strength of asterid dicot genus tea in fighting off infections. They even used it within the treatment of toxic snake bites and bug bites. within the 1800s, asterid dicot genus was a crucial player in us collection wherever it had been thought-about a potent antibiotic. later, asterid dicot genus was additionally employed by the Germans for several medical functions. Its use then born off over the years as new antibiotics were discovered. However, it looks to own encountered a renaissance in recent years as interest in natural health grew by leaps and bounds.
There are variety of scientific studies on asterid dicot genus, most of them examining the active constituents of the plant and the way these act on the human system.
Phytoestrogen, fish oil, and other Supplements may help With estrogen related diseases
July 27, 2010 12:19 PM
Many women fear breast cancer, as it seems out of control. In actuality, a woman’s diet is something within her control and it can be the most powerful force in significantly deterring breast cancer. One out of every eight American women experience breast cancer. Foods, natural herbs, and exercise can significantly reduce your risk, with just one change cutting your risk in half. The more estrogen a woman is exposed to over her lifetime, the higher her risk of breast cancer. There are both good and bad estrogens. Daily, we are bombarded with bad estrogens through cosmetics, plastics, metals, and toxins in the air. Good estrogens come from foods, especially plants.
Choosing organic foods and starting young women on organic dairy in particular is a great way to make preventative dietary changes. A diet full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant compounds supports the detoxification pathways and protects cells. This alone is a Giant step on the path of disease prevention. Following are ten foods that can inspire you to make small, tasty changes to your diet and help you to feel in control of your breast cancer prevention.
Flaxseeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and plant lignans and are the most powerful food you can eat to fight breast cancer. Try adding 2 to 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds to a blueberry-yogurt smoothie, or sprinkling on cereal, oatmeal, or wholesome muffins.
Turmeric, which is extremely popular in Indian cuisine, is an anti-inflammatory that’s 300 times more potent than vitamins E and C. This food can help to cut your risk of breast cancer in half. It also stimulates liver enzymes, which helps to clear the body of bad estrogen toxins. Adding ¼ teaspoon of turmeric to a curried chicken stir-fry or plain basmati rice is a great way to get more in your diet.
Women who eat diets high in fiber have a 54% lower risk of breast cancer. Insoluble fiber binds to estrogen in the colon, eliminating it from the body. Fiber also slows the absorption of carbohydrates and bad fats. Try starting your day with oatmeal that is topped with fresh blueberries and slivered almonds. A low-fat bran muffin and apple is also a great way to get more fiber in your diet.
Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts put up a good fight against breast cancer. Their indole-3-carbinols block estrogen receptors, which slows bad estrogen from causing breast cells to grow and divide faster, which increases the risk of breast cancer. Cruciferous veggies also contain a compound called DIM, which helps detoxify estrogen in the body. Women who eat the most cruciferous vegetables have a 40 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those who eat few if any. Try steaming veggies, sprinkling them with sea salt, and drizzling with olive oil.
Fish, which is known for its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, is also a great way to prevent breast cancer. However, vegetarians who prefer vegetable sources can stick with flaxseeds and occasionally eating wild salmon is recommended. To get more, bake a 4-ounce salmon fillet and serve it over a bed of quinoa and steamed broccoli drizzled with olive oil. If you’re not into the fishy taste, try purified fish oil supplements.
Other foods that can help to prevent breast cancer include green tea, soy, olive oil, mushrooms, and seaweeds. Green tea inhibits the growth of cancers and also help decrease the body’s estrogen production. An adequate amount of soy in your diet can reduce chances of breast cancer by 30 to 50 percent, as it contains genistein, a plant estrogen that has been proven to stop tumor growth, prevent metastasis, and shut off blood flow to growing tumors. Olive oil has the ability to suppress a gene in our DNA that is involved in tumor growth, while mushrooms boost the immune system. Seaweeds is rich in iodine, which is toxic to breast cancer cells.
Eating a healthy diet low in red meat and high in fruits and vegetables along with vitamin supplements can go a long way in the fight against cancer. Look to your local or internet vitamin store for additional information on vitamin supplements.
August 31, 2009 01:36 PM
Horsetail has been used for healing in both Chinese and Asian cultures. During times of famine, the Romans ate horsetail shoots, while Native Americans used horsetail as a diuretic for kidney problems, cancer, and dropsy to increase blood circulation. The Hopi tribe in New Mexico mixed horsetail and cornmeal as a mush and in their bread. One of the oldest plants on the earth, horsetail is approximately two hundred million years old. It used to be a Giant fernlike plant. However, there are now around twenty species of the original plant living today. These species are small in comparison to the original plant and are usually considered to be a nuisance. The species Equisetum arvense is a small perennial fern plant that is most common in North America.
The horsetail plant is a descendent of huge tree-like plants that thrived 400 million years ago during the Paleozoic era. The plant is a non-flowering weed that can be found throughout parts of Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North America. This plant returns each year with hollow stems and shoots that resemble asparagus. As the plant dries, silica crystals, which form in the stems and branches, give the plant the scratching effect that made it historically useful for polishing metal.
Horsetail is believed to aid the immune system and the nervous system because of its silica content. The nerves contain almost the same amount of silica as does the albumin in the blood. The pancreas is especially rich in silica. Silica is found combined with fluorine in the enamel of the teeth. Additionally, hair needs silica to grow, and it is needed as a protection for the skin and cell walls. This herb helps in treating urinary tract problems. It contains silicic acid, which is responsible for helping with circulation of the blood. This herb is also credited with helping coagulate the blood and decreasing blood flow. An externally-applied decoction has the ability to stop bleeding of wounds and help with healing. Horsetail can also be used as a mouthwash for mouth infections. Often found in calcium combinations, horsetail is helpful in building the skeletal system and improving bone structure. The silica that is found in horsetail also helps in healing bones, keeping the arteries clean, and facilitating the absorption of calcium in the body.
This herb is known for its antibiotic properties and its contribution to the overall healing process. Horsetail is also thought to help with bleeding, urinary and prostate disorders, bed-wetting, skin problems, and lung disease. Horsetail also possesses a weak diuretic effect, which is most notably due to the equisetonin and the flavone glycosides.
In short, the entire horsetail herb is used to provide alterative, antilithic, antineoplastic, astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, lithotriptic, nephritic, nutritive, and vulnerary properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are flavonoids, iodine, iron, manganese, PABA, pantothenic acid, silicon, sodium, and vitamin E. Primarily, this herb is extremely beneficial in treating arthritis, poor circulation, diabetes, glandular problems, weak hair, kidney stones, weak nails, nervousness, osteoporosis, parasites, rheumatism, and urinary problems.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with edema, eyestrain, gas, gout, heart problems, hemorrhage, incontinence, liver disorders, membrane irritations, neuralgia, palsy, skin disorders, tumors, and water retention. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by horsetail, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
August 14, 2009 11:49 AM
Mustard is also referred to as mustard greens, Indian mustard, and leaf mustard. This herb is a species of the mustard plant. One of its sub-varieties includes Southern Giant Curled Mustard, which is very similar in appearance to headless cabbage such as Kale. However, it has a distinct horseradish-mustard flavor. It is also known as green mustard cabbage.
The leaves, seeds, and stems of the mustard plant are edible. The plant can be found in some forms of African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Soul food cuisine. The leaves are used in African cooking, and the leaves, seeds, and stems are used in Indian cuisine. The plant has a particularly thick stem, it is used to make the Indian pickle and the Chinese pickle. The mustard made from the seeds of this plant is called brown mustard. The leaves are also used in many Indian dishes.
This species of mustard plant is more pungent than closely-related greens like kale, cabbage, and collard greens. It is often mixed with these milder greens in a dish of mixed greens, which may even include wild greens like dandelion. Mustard greens are high in both vitamin A and K. Mustard greens are often used in Chinese and Japanese cuisines. Asian mustard greens are typically stir-fried or pickled.
The ancient Greeks used mustard for its medicinal value. Additionally, it was used for its flavoring. The Romans also used this herb. They added crushed seeds to wine for a spicy flavor. John Parkinson and Nicholas Culpeper, English herbalists, both recommended mustard for ailments like epileptic seizures and toothaches. The herb was used by Native Americans and early colonists for rheumatism and muscle pain.
Mustard is a strong stimulating herb. It is responsible for promoting the appetite and stimulating the gastric mucous membranes to aid in digestion. An infusion of the mustard seed stimulates urine and helps to promote menstruation. Additionally, it is a valuable emetic for narcotic poisoning, as it empties the stomach without depression of the system. Mustard is often used externally as a plaster or poultice for sore, stiff muscles. A plaster of mustard can also be used to treat congestion, warm the skin, and clear the lungs.
The seeds of the mustard plant are used to provide alterative, analgesic, blood purifier, caminative, digestive, diuretic, emetic, expectorant, irritant, rubefacient, and stimulant properties. The primary nutrients found in mustard are calcium, cobalt, iodine, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B12, and C. Primarily, mustard is extremely beneficial in dealing with indigestion, liver disorders, and lung disorders.
Additionally, the herb is very helpful in treating appetite loss, arthritis, blood impurities, breath odor, bronchitis, emphysema, sore feet, fevers, gas, hiccups, kidney problems, pleurisy, pneumonia, snakebites, sprains, and sore throat. Before supplementing with this, or any other nutrient, it is important to consult your health care provider. In doing so, you will ensure yourself optimum health benefits. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by mustard, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
July 14, 2009 02:23 PM
Kava kava has been traditionally in ceremonial drinks as a mild sedative and relaxant used by many island communities in the Pacific such as Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia. Today it is still used to relax the body and mind and promote a restful sleep. Kava kava is now generally considered an important herb for insomnia and other nervous conditions, as well as a beneficial reliever of pain. Drinking 100 to 150 ml of kava tea is enough to put most people into a deep sleep within thirty minutes. Unlike alcohol and other sedatives, the use of kava does not actually result in any morning hangover. The kava drinker usually awakens having fully recovered normal physical and mental capacities. Those people who drink smaller amounts of kava kava have been shown to express a sense of tranquility, sociability, and contentment.
Kava kava has the ability to function as an anesthetic, analgesic, anticonvulsive, antifungal, and sleep inducer. Studies preformed on animals have shown that kava kava possesses anti-convulsant and muscle-relaxing properties. The key components of kava kava, kavalactones, seem to act primarily on the limbic system, an ancient part of the brain that affects all other brain activities and is the main contributor to emotions. Kava seems to promote sleep and relaxation by altering the way the limbic system influences emotional processes.
Due to its amazing abilities, kava kava is considered to be one of the most powerful of the herbal muscle relaxants. It is often recommended to treat rheumatism, insomnia, and to relax the body. Additionally, it possesses antiseptic properties that can help with bladder infections. Kava kava can also be applied directly to wounds.
A Giant benefit of kava kava is that it does not seem to lose effectiveness over time, unlike other synthetic drugs that are often prescribed for anxiety and insomnia. Due to its ability to induce sleep, recent studies have showed kava kava to be a huge benefit for people that are suffering from anxiety. Another study looked into the effects of kava kava on women who are suffering from menopause. Forty women who had menopause-related symptoms were split into two groups of twenty women. These women were treated for eight weeks. One group was given kava kava three times daily, while the other group was given a placebo. After only one week into the study, the women who were taking kava kava demonstrated significant improvement. Stress and anxiety were reduces, along with the general mood of women being better and symptoms of menopause were much less notable. No side effects from this study were noted.
The beneficial effects of kava kava make it to be an excellent herb for the nervous system. In order to naturally promote a sense of well-being and contentment naturally, kava kava should be looked into. This ability is something that shouldn’t go unappreciated in the busy and stressful world that we live in today. In order to obtain more information on the beneficial effects of kava kava extract, try speaking with your local health food retailer.
Wasabi Rhizome Cleanse - Supports Phase II Liver Detoxification - Wasabi Health Benefits
August 01, 2006 10:41 AM
Most people know of it as a pale-green lump on the side of their plates in Japanese restaurants—a hot, spicy accompaniment to sushi or sashimi. The fiery yet sweet taste perfectly compliments the saltiness of soy sauce and the cool delicacy of raw fish. But wasabi is much more than a burst of culinary flavor, it has been used by traditional herbalists of Japan since the 10th century and is now being rediscovered by modern health practitioners for its stunning health benefits.
Wasabi has powerful detoxification properties, in particular, it supports the immune system and cleanses the liver. Wasabi contains precursors to phytochemicals called isothiocyanates that help remove toxic substances that are stored in the liver’s fatty tissues.
The rare wasabi plant is a natural, potent support to a healthy, cleansed liver that in turn affects the detoxification and cleansing of the entire body. Source Naturals is pleased to bring you this convenient, effective addition to your wellness program.
Wasabia Japonica - Rooted In Health
The wasabi plant (Wasabia japonica) grows naturally in the mountains of Japan in the gravel and sandbars of coldwater streams and rivers. Rare and difficult to grow, it takes three years for a wasabi root or rhizome to reach maturity. Because of its popularity, wasabi is now cultivated hydroponically and in cold, wet environments outside of Japan, such as in New Zealand and Oregon. Traditionally, the rhizome was freshly grated at the table with a sharkskin grater, popular with dishes such as seafood or udon noodles. Now wasabi is usually dried into powder form and made into the pale green paste familiar to most westerners. Often, however, restaurants do not serve real wasabi; since it is so rare and expensive, a dyed horseradish paste is served in most American restaurants.
What makes wasabi so special? It comes from a good family; the brassica vegetables in the cruciferae family include such health Giants as broccoli, horseradish, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale. All of these are well-known detoxifying plants, and wasabi appears to be the most amazing of them all, with detox capacities far beyond the others in the family because it is loaded with isothiocyanate precursors. This chemical not only gives wasabi its famous “fire,” it is likewise a fireball of detoxification properties.
Phase II Detox
The liver detoxifies the by-products of digestion and other harmful substances through a complex series of chemical reactions often referred to as Phase I and Phase II Detoxification. Phase I enzymes begin the process by taking the toxic molecule and changing it into a bioactive form. This process breaks down toxins. A second set of enzymes, Phase II, then neutralizes the toxin and makes it water soluble for elimination. Wasabi, with its long-chain isothiocyanate precursors, induces the Phase II enzymes. Simply stated, it is the sparkplug that starts Phase II enzymes on their work. This process, all done in the liver, supports the body’s ability to clean itself of impurities.
Part of a Complete Wellness Program
In the modern world, with so many pollutants, it is critical to your health and longevity that you cleanse these toxic compounds from your body. Wasabi, along with a whole food, high-fiber diet and reduction of alcohol consumption, supports the liver— the largest of the vital organs and the key to the digestion and elimination systems and most particularly, the body’s ability to cleanse itself. Source Naturals is pleased to bring you this exceptional product as part of your wellness program.
Depree, JA (1999) Flavour and pharmaceutical properties of the volatile sulphur compounds of Wasabia japonica. Food Research International: 31(5):329-337.
Morimitsu Y, et al. (2002) A sulforaphane analogue that potently activates the Nrf2-dependent detoxification pathway. J Biol Chem: 277:3456-3463.
Munday, R (2002) Selective induction of phase II enzymes in the urinary bladder of rats by allyl isothiocyanate, a compound derived from Brassica vegetables.
Nutrition and Cancer: 44(1):52-59.
Watanabe, M (2003) Identification of 6-methylsulfinylhexyl isothiocyanate as an apoptosis-inducing component in wasabi. Phytochemistry: 62(5):733-739.
Rose, P (2000) 7-methylsulfinylheptyl and 8- methylsulfinyloctyl isothiocyanates from watercress are potent inducers of phase II enzymes. Carcinogenesis: 21(11):1983-1988.
Gentle Giant Glycinate - Calcium / Magnesium Glycinate 1:1 ratio
July 11, 2005 01:06 PM
Gental Giant Glycinate
as you know, minerals come in many forms. Glycinate is the body-friendly gental Giant you've been searching for. Calcium and Magnesium Glycinate are fully reacted chelates of calcium and magnesium with the amino acid glycine. Cal Mag Glycinate 1:1 provides 500mg of each mineral in an ActiSorb Base of enhanced absorption.
Cal Mag Glycinate 1:1 Your Body will thank you,
Actisorb ® Base: (Bioperine [black pepper extract], Ginger root extract, Rosemary Leaf extract, Turmeric root extract, cayenne extract)
Hyaluronic Joint Complex - w/Glucosa, Chondr, & MSM - The Next Generation in Joint Formula
June 29, 2005 11:45 AM
Hyaluronic Joint Complex™ with Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and MSM The Next Generation in Joint Formulas
Every movement you make requires your joints to help your body flex, bend and twist into that next position. But with time and use, your joints can begin to break down, resulting in discomfort. Source Naturals understands how difficult it is to live with joint discomfort. That’s why we developed HYALURONIC JOINT COMPLEX. This powerful formula combines the most popular, scientifically researched ingredients for joint health—hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM. Together, these ingredients promote joint, tendon and ligament flexibility and easy joint movement. Joints are cushions made of flexible and protective cartilage—containing outer layers that surround a lubricating fluid. It is this design of your joint and other connective tissues that gives your body structure, height and the ability to move without damaging the bones and muscles that hold you up. HYALURONIC JOINT COMPLEX provides the key nutrients needed to support this complex structure.
BioCell Collagen II®—Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is a polysaccharide chain found throughout the body. It is a major component of joint tissue that helps to hold lubricating moisture in joints and cartilage, affecting their resilience, elasticity, and strength. BioCell Collagen II® is a patented hyaluronic acid, which has undergone an absorption enhancing hydrolyzation process that yields low molecular weight hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate, and Collagen Type II peptides, unlike other preparations that have not been hydrolized. The low weight allows these compounds to deliver greater support for your joints.
Glucosamine—An Amino Sugar
Glucosamine is an amino sugar—a molecule made from an amino acid and a simple sugar. Amino sugars are the basis of virtually all connective tissues and lubricating fluids in the body. Just as amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, amino sugars are the building blocks of Giant molecules called glycosaminoglycans (GAG’s), also known as proteoglycans and mucopolysaccharides. GAG’s are large, spongy, water-holding molecules that form the glue that holds us together. This substance is found in all connective tissue and mucous membranes. Numerous double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have examined the positive effects of oral administration of 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulfate-the amount in one daily use of HYALURONIC JOINT COMPLEX. To ensure optimal absorption, this formula contains glucosamine sulfate, N-acetyl glucosamine and glucosamine HCl.
Chondroitin sulfate is the most abundant GAG in the body. Its main role is in keeping cartilage fluid and elastic. It is found naturally in the body, where it is one of the critical compounds that makes up connective tissue. Connective tissue is responsible for building and supporting cartilage found in the joints and elsewhere.
Dietary Sulfur for Joint Lubrication
Both glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate provide an additional source of sulfur, a mineral that is important for healthy connective tissue. HYALURONIC JOINT COMPLEX also features MSM, or methylsulfonylmethane, a naturally occurring form of organic sulfur found in body fluids and tissue, cow’s milk, plants and most natural foods. Sulfur may promote joint flexibility due to its role in supporting joint lubrication and movement. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluated the effects of MSM with promising results.
Supporting Ingredients for Joint Health:
Manganese Ascorbate and Vitamin C Manganese is involved in the production of a wide variety of enzymes. These enzymes influence such biological processes as the production of collagen and the metabolism of protein and cholesterol. Manganese is also necessary for the growth and maintenance of tissues, cartilage and bones.
The manganese ascorbate used in this formula also provides 55% vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for the production and stability of collagen, the major protein in cartilage and connective tissue. It also protects cells from harmful free radicals.
Innovative natural products, such as HYALURONIC JOINT COMPLEX, are an integral part of the Wellness Revolution. Taking personal responsibility for your health is at the heart of this revolution. Your local health food outlet is your source for nutritional education and advanced natural products. Source Naturals is pleased to partner with these outlets to bring you HYALURONIC JOINT COMPLEX—the next generation in joint formulas.
America's Most Wanted
June 14, 2005 05:23 PM
America's Most Wanted
by Brian Amherst Energy Times, January 6, 2000
The United States eats well, a little too well, according to experts. Amply supplied with a large supply of high-calorie food, our diets might seem to be chock full of every conceivable nutrient. Well, to the question "Getting all the right vitamins, minerals and other nutrients?" the most appropriate answer seems to be "Not exactly." Eating a lot doesn't equal eating a lot of the most important vitamins and minerals. So, which vitamins and minerals are likely to show up in short supply in the typical American diet? Calcium certainly sits at the top of list. According to the most recent Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals, which is conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), women and girls age 12 and up are not consuming adequate calcium from their diet. Research reveals that about 1200 mg. day suffices for those over age 50 and 1000 mg a day should be adequate if you're between the ages of 19 and 50. Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Stanford University, ". . .osteoporosis is a pediatric disease." For long-range protection against that bone-weakening disease, kids should eat calcium-rich, low-fat dairy products and plenty of leafy greens (broccoli, cabbage, kale) as well as salmon (with bones), seafood and soy. But the calcium campaign does not end in early adulthood. Bone mass begins to deteriorate at about age 30. Menopausal hormonal changes can exacerbate bone brittleness. Medical conditions, including cancer, liver disease and intestinal disorders; prescription drugs; tobacco and alcohol indulgence; or a decline in activity, especially the weight-bearing kind, also jeopardize bone strength. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about one in every two American women will break a bone after age 50 due to osteoporosis. That translates into about half a million fractured vertebrae and more than 300,000 shattered hips. Frequently, those breaks are life-threatening.
The critical role of calcium in many body functions is perhaps the most extensively clinically documented among nutrients. Researchers in the Department of Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, reviewed epidemiological and clinical studies conducted over the past two years on the relationship between dietary calcium and blood pressure (J Am Coll Nutr October 1999: 398S-405S). "Nearly 20 years of investigation in this area has culminated in remarkable and compelling agreement in the data," the researchers report, "confirming the need for and benefit of regular consumption of the recommended daily levels of dietary calcium." Investigators at the State University of New York, Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, presented results of their studies of calcium and vitamin C and gum disease at the June 26, 1998 meeting of the International Association for Dental Research. Two separate inquiries revealed that people who consumed too little calcium as young adults, and those with low levels of vitamin C in their diets, appear to have nearly twice the risk of developing periodontal disease later in life than folks with higher dietary levels of either nutrient.
Calcium: Much Documented Researchers offer extensive evidence of calcium's benefits on many fronts: n Osteoporosis poses a threat to older men as well as women, according to Randi L. Wolf, PhD, research associate at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Dr. Wolf presented her award-winning study to an October 3, 1999 meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Dr. Wolf suggests that men increase their consumption of calcium, particularly after age 80, to avoid age-related declines in the amount of calcium absorbed. According to Dr. Wolf, "It appears that the hormonal form of vitamin D, which is the main regulator of intestinal calcium absorption, may have an important role. We are conducting more research to better understand the reasons for why calcium absorption declines with age in men." n Scientists at Tufts University in Boston did some earlier work on the calcium-vitamin D connection and reported it in the September 4, 1997 New England Journal of Medicine. Using the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) increased recommended daily intake of 1200 milligrams of calcium and 400 to 600 international units of vitamin D for people over 50, the Tufts researchers found that with supplementation of the nutrients, men and women 65 and older lost significantly less body bone and, in some cases, gained bone mineral density. n Two studies published in American Heart Association journals show that atherosclerosis and osteoporosis may be linked by a common problem in the way the body uses calcium. The September 1997 Stroke revealed that, in a group of 30 postmenopausal women 67 to 85 years old, bone mineral density declined as atherosclerotic plaque increased. Researchers reporting in Circulation (September 15, 1997) advanced the theory that the osteoporosis-atherosclerosis connection may be related to a problem in handling calcium. n For people who had colon polyps removed, taking calcium supplements decreased the number of new polyps by 24% and cut the risk of recurrence by 19%, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, School of Medicine. The study, published in the January 14, 1999 New England Journal of Medicine, was a first in crediting calcium with anti-cancer properties.
The D Factor
Without adequate vitamin D, your absorption of calcium slips and bone loss can accelerate, increasing the risk for fractures. Fifty percent of women with osteoporosis hospitalized for hip fractures at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston had a previously undetected vitamin D deficiency (Journal of the American Medical Association, April 28, 1999). University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers told participants at the April 14, 1997 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research that vitamin D "significantly inhibits highly metastatic, or widespread, prostate cancer in animals," suggesting its potential for treating men with similar conditions. Few foods that Americans eat, except dairy, contain much vitamin D, but we can usually synthesize sufficient amounts from as few as five minutes' exposure to the sun. But as skin ages, its ability to act as a vitamin D factory decreases. According to Michael F. Holick, the director of the Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center, upwards of 40% of the adult population over age 50 that he sees in his clinic are deficient in vitamin D. Recently, the National Academy of Sciences (the official body that decrees the required amounts of necessary nutrients) increased the daily recommendations of vitamin D to 600 IU for people over 71, 400 IU for those aged 51 to 70 and 200 IU for people under 50. The best dietary sources, apart from dependable supplements, are dairy and fatty fish like salmon. Four ounces of salmon provide about 300 IU.
The Facts About Fats
The American lust for low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets filled with sugary foods has exploded into nothing short of "obsession," according to experts at the General Research Center at Stanford University Medical Center (Am J Clin Nutr 70, 1999: 512S-5S). That mania oftens robs us of the crucial balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids typical of the Mediterranean diet that protect us from heart disease by controlling cholesterol and making blood less likely to form clots. These fatty acids cannot be made by the body but are critical for health: n Omega-3 fatty acid (linolenic acid) comes from fresh, deepwater fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) and vegetable oils such as canola, flaxseed and walnut. n Omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid) found primarily in raw nuts, seeds and legumes and in saturated vegetable oils such as borage, grape seed, primrose, sesame and soybean. The American Heart Association recommends limiting total fat consumption to 30% of daily calories. Saturated fats like those in dairy and meat products as well as vegetable oil should comprise 10% of total calories; total unsaturated fat (fish oils, soybean, safflower nuts and nut oils) should be restricted to 20 to 22% of daily calories.
Be Sure About B12
Vitamin B12 presents a particular problem for the elderly because older digestive systems often don't secrete enough stomach acid to liberate this nutrient from food. (The elderly have no problem absorbing B12 from supplements, because it's not bound to food.) Vitamins generally moderate the aging process but, ironically, that process and the diseases that frequently accompany it affect vitamin metabolism (Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax 83, 1994: 262-6). And because of those changes, we need more of certain vitamins. This is the case for vitamins D, B6, riboflavin and B12. Crucial for health, B12 is necessary to prevent anemia, and, according to recent studies, needed (along with folate and B6) to help stave off heart disease. B12, with thiamine and niacin, boosts cognition (Adv Nutr Res 7, 1985: 71-100). Screening for vitamin B12 deficiency and thyroid disease is cheap and easy and can prevent conditions such as dementia, depression or irreversible tissue damage (Lakartidningen 94, 1997: 4329-32). In the January 5-12, 1999 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the AHA urged doctors to screen levels of homocysteine (the amino acid byproduct of protein digestion that damages arteries, causes heart disease and, possibly, strokes) in patients at high risk for heart disease. They also recommended all Americans to up their daily levels of vitamins B6 and B12, as well as folic acid. Since fruits, vegetables or grains lack B12, vegetarians need B12 supplements. And they're a good idea for the rest of us, too.
Folic Acid Benefits
Folic acid made headlines in the early 1990s when the U.S. Public Health Service declared that "to reduce the frequency of neural tube defects [spina bifida, or open spine, and anencephaly, a lethal defect of the brain and skull] and their resulting disability, all women of childbearing age in the United States who are capable of becoming pregnant should consume .4 milligrams (400 micrograms) of folic acid per day." This recommendation followed voluminous research that showed taking folic acid was associated with a significantly reduced risk of birth defects. (The advisory is based on the fact that nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned. If you think you are pregnant, consult your health practitioner for supplementary advice.)
A Team Player
Folic acid's efficacy intensifies when it works with other nutrients. Among many studies on the preventive powers of folic acid on birth defects, one published in The New England Journal of Medicine (327, Dec. 24, 1992: 1,832-1,835), disclosed an even greater decrease in neural tube defects when supplements of folic acid contained copper, manganese, zinc and vitamin C. As a warrior against homocysteine, folic acid joins the battalion of B12 and B6 in detoxifying this harmful protein. At the University of Washington's Northwest Prevention Effectiveness Center, researchers recently analyzed 38 published studies of the relationship between folic acid, homocysteine and cardiovascular disease and, according to associate professor Shirley A. Beresford, MD, folic acid and vitamin B12 and B6 deficiencies can lead to a buildup of homocysteine.
Canadian researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (275, 1996: 1893-1896) that men and women with low folic acid have a 69% increase in the risk of fatal coronary heart disease. This 15-year study of more than 5,000 people stressed the need for dietary supplementation of folic acid. Folic acid also has been credited with the potential to protect against cancers of the lungs, colon and cervix. It appears to help reverse cervical dysplasia, the precursor cells to cervical cancer, especially for women taking oral contraceptives, which may cause a localized deficiency of folic acid in the cells of the cervix. According to Shari Lieberman, PhD, and Nancy Bruning, authors of The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book (Avery), folic acid derivatives work with neurotransmitters, the chemicals that permit signals to be sent from nerve fiber to nerve fiber. A lack of folic acid can cause some nervous-system disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia and dementia; it also may be related to some forms of mental retardation. Other supporting roles of folic acid, according to researchers: the formation of normal red blood cells, important for preventing the type of anemia characterized by oversized red blood cells; strengthening and improving white blood cell action against disease; limiting production of uric acid, the cause of gout.
The Best Sources
Many foods are rich in folic acid: beef, lamb, pork and chicken liver, spinach, kale and beet greens, asparagus, broccoli, whole wheat and brewer's yeast. But experts believe that only 25 to 50% of the folic acid in food is bioavailable. Processing also reduces an estimated 50 to 90% of its content. Folic acid supplementation overcomes these obstacles with little risk, as it has no known toxicity. Women taking folic acid who are current or former users of oral contraceptives may require additional zinc. And be sure to augment your folic acid supplement with its synergistic counterpart, vitamin B12.
Focus on Fiber
The American Heart Association came out squarely behind fiber in a June 16, 1997 issue of its journal Circulation: Double your daily intake to lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. The American diet is consistently low in fiber, notes Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, author of the article. Twenty-five to 30 grams a day from foods (or supplements) are not only heart healthy but seem to aid weight control.
Getting enough iron? An estimated 25% of adolescent girls in the United States are iron deficient, according to an October 12, 1996 issue of the British medical journal The Lancet, which reported that girls who took iron supplements performed significantly better on verbal tests than those who took a placebo. "Teenage girls should be regularly tested for iron deficiency because rapid growth and the onset of menstruation during puberty increase the body's need for iron," says Ann Bruner, MD, of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and a lead author of the study.USDA data reveal that women up to age 50 also tend to get much less than recommended levels of iron, a lack of which leads to anemia, a deficiency of red blood cells, hemoglobin or volume of blood. For kids, deficiency is more common from six months to four years and during the rapid growth spurts of adolescence when the body is growing so quickly that the body's iron stores may sink to dangerous levels. Vegetarian women run the greatest risk for deficiency, as meat is iron-rich; foods like beans, grains and vegetables also contain some iron. Supplements, of course, supply easily absorbable iron. And to absorb iron from vegetarian sources, take vitamin C with your meals. That boosts the amount of this mineral you will take in. Bear in mind, however, that certain folks-older men and post-menopausal women-generally have adequate dietary supplies of iron. Of greater concern, in fact, is excessive iron, and for these folks iron-free multivitamin and mineral supplements are available.
Ante Up the Antioxidants
Antioxidant nutrients help protect the body from oxygen-scavenging molecules called free radicals. The products of pollution, the body's own metabolic processes and other sources, free radicals are linked to heart disease, cancer and other chronic health problems. The most important antioxidants, which include vitamin C, E, beta carotene, and selenium, are often lacking in the American diet. Plus, optimal amounts of vitamin E cannot be consumed from food. You need supplements. The bottom line: even though we live in a land of plenty, you can still miss vital nutrients. So make sure to consume these vital substances.
Source of Missing Nutrients In the search for the nutrients missing from America's diet, one big help is the sprout. The sprout is truly one of nature's heavyweights: fresh, tiny and moist, its power punch of vitamins, minerals, protein, chlorophyll and disease-busting phytochemicals land it in a weight class far beyond that of its full-grown competitors. Size does NOT matter to this nutritional Giant. A championship belt currently wraps around the miniscule broccoli sprout, catapulted into the ring by Paul Talalay, MD, professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Talalay discovered that the seedlings contain substantially more of the cancer-fighting substance sulforaphane than mature plants (Proc. Natnl. Acad. Sci. USA, 94, 10367-10372). Sprouts, the quintessential health food of the Sixties, provide a wonderfully varied and versatile way to get your daily greens. Raw or cooked, strong or mild, vegetable and grass sprouts and their algae cousins add low-calorie texture to recipes and a rich, diverse complement of nutrients and fiber.
Ancient Asia to the Modern Lab
Asians stir-fried sprouts as one of the earliest fast foods as long as 5,000 years ago. The ancient Chinese relied on sprouts for year-round vegetables in colder regions of their vast country. Today, researchers studying sprouts and adult plants have identified their important chemoprotective and other health-bolstering substances. In Paul Talalay's research project at Johns Hopkins, scientists found that three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain up to 50 times more sulforaphane than mature plants, which prompts the body to produce an enzyme that prevents cancer tumors from forming. Uniform levels of the compound saturate the shoots, unlike the chemically uneven adult plants. The Brassica family of broccoli and cabbage is richly endowed with phytochemicals that also help reduce estrogen levels associated with breast cancer. Other phytochemical compounds in the Brassica family are associated with the prevention of stomach and lung cancers. Most of the initial landmark work on phytochemicals' cancer-fighting powers has taken place since 1989 under the aegis of the National Cancer Institute's "Designer Food Program," which isolated, for example, the isoflavones in beans that seem to neutralize cancer-gene enzymes.
Strong Suit: Soy and Spirulina
The isoflavones and phytosterols in soy produce an estrogenic effect that appears to relieve menopausal symptoms and help prevent breast cancer. Soy foods expert Mark Messina, PhD, has done extensive work on the subject, some of which has been published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-6. Researchers also have synthesized a bone-strengthening form of soy isoflavones called ipriflavone, following impressive clinical trials in the treatment of osteoporosis (American Journal of Medicine, 95 [Suppl. 5A] (1993): 69S-74S). Spirulina and other micro-algae are fascinating organisms that inhabit a niche between the plant and animals kingdoms. Named for its tiny spirals, spirulina, a blue-green algae, grows in saline lakes but is cultured for maximum nutritional content. In her book Whole Foods Companion (Chelsea Green), Dianne Onstad notes that spirulina contains "the highest sources of protein, beta carotene and nucleic acids of any animal or plant food." Its nucleic acids, she says, benefit cellular regeneration; its fatty acids, especially GLA and omega-3 acids, make it one of the most complete foods. Sprouts, like any other produce, should be rinsed thoroughly before serving. People at high risk for bacterial illness-young children, the very elderly or folks with weakened immune systems-should limit their consumption of raw sprouts. But no matter how you eat them, you may find more spring in your step from these tiny, sprouting nutritional wonders.