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Cannabis extract fights â??incurable formâ?? of Leukemia
June 20, 2018 04:44 PM
More and more researching is emerging surrounding the benefits of cannabis when it comes to its medicinal properties. A study was shown that involved a 14-year-old girl who was diagnosed with cancer. She had undergone several aggressive treatments such as chemotherapy, and her family wanted to seek out another alternative route. They started seeing a doctor who overlooked her consumption of cannabis for medicinal purposes, and it was shown to have quite a positive impact on her recovery. She ended up passing of causes unrelated to the cannabis use, but it doesn't take away from the success that medicinal marijuana helped her and her family achieve.
"There are plenty of anecdotal reports of the successful use of cannabis in treating cancer, but few cases occur under conventional medical supervision, and virtually none make it into a peer-reviewed biomedical journal as a case report."
Read more: https://www.healthnutnews.com/cannabis-extract-fights-incurable-form-of-leukemia/
Australian father treats his daughters' Chron's disease by juicing cannabis... then gets raided by the government
April 22, 2018 05:17 PM
As a parent, what would one not do to prevent a beloved child from suffering? One Australian father chose to break the law. Stephen Taylor is the father of two daughters, both afflicted with a very serious and chronic gastrointestinal disease that routinely causes fatigue, cramping, diarrhea, and even hemorrhaging.
The girls, Ariel and Morgan, had both failed to thrive while under conventional treatment options, even acquiring horrible side effects. So, Taylor took matters into his own hands. He tried and was unable to obtain legal permission to administer medical marijuana to his daughters. So, Taylor placed the girls on a regimen of home-grown cannabis juice on his own. The regimen proved efficacious, with both girls obtaining stellar results. Unfortunately, however, the authorities caught on, impounding the marijuana and charging Taylor.
"Even though medical marijuana use has been legal in Australia since 2016, it is very difficult to obtain. Though experts estimate that around 100,000 Australians are self-medicating with cannabis for a variety of health problems, only 500 patients have official government authorization to do so."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-04-20-australian-father-treats-his-daughters-chrons-disease-by-juicing-cannabis.html
What is Saccharomyces boulardii used to treat?
August 03, 2017 12:14 PM
Saccharomyces boulardii is a prescription for people that suffer from diarrhea. One girl was prescribed this instead of antibiotics for her stomach issues. A doctor has given advice to not use any yeast while using this medication. It is a probiotic. But, it is not like all of the other probiotics that are on the market. This one uses yeast. It is now that doctors are telling patients to use yeast for their stomach issues.
"In simple terms, Saccharomyces boulardii is a probiotic. However, unlike the commonly available probiotics, which are loaded with beneficial bacteria, it is a yeast that functions just like a probiotic."
Read more: http://www.thehealthsite.com/diseases-conditions/diarrhoea/what-is-saccharomyces-boulardii-used-to-treat-b0817/
Amazing Recovery After Sick Girl Drinks Raw Cannabis (Marijuana) Juice.
March 16, 2017 06:59 AM
Cannabis is the same as marijuana. It has a lot of properties which are conducive to healing. Many people swear by it. This is an example of it healing. If you believe this you might think about trying cannabis for yourself. Many people use it for pain and for other problems as well.
"In raw form, marijuana leaves and buds are actually loaded with a non-psychoactive, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer nutrient compound known as cannabidiol (CBD) that is proving to be a miracle “superfood” capable of preventing and reversing a host of chronic illnesses."
Alabama dad shares cannabidiol oil's positive impact on daughter's seizures
March 11, 2017 05:59 AM
Evidence is mounting that marijuana provides several medical benefits and more states are legalizing it for medical use. Tennessee lawmakers are currently debating legislation called Carly's Law which was named after a young girl named Carly Chandler who was treated with Cannabidiol (CBD) oil for seizures to great success. Dustin Chandler, Carly's father, speaks out about how CBD oil dramatically decreased his daughter's seizures and why the legislation is so important to patients like Carly.
Read more: Alabama dad shares cannabidiol oil's positive impact on daughter's seizures
Families hopeful CBD oil bill will finally pass
February 21, 2017 10:59 AM
A lot of families are hopeful that a CBD oil bill will pass, because it is very important for them. People cannot legally get it and it is something that can help ease seizures. One Girl died before she was able to use it, so it is of vital importance to people who are in a similar situation. CBD oil helps people with seizures, so it should definitely be allowed for them.
"Big changes have been made to the bill that would make it legal to possess a marijuana extract in Wisconsin."
Tammy Woodke: Please make access to CBD oil easier for children with seizures
February 07, 2017 04:59 PM
CBD oil needs to be easier for kids with seizures. One Girl only has her vision left and one procedure could make her lose her eyesight. it is important to make the oil easier to get and lawmakers need to hurry ans pass the law allowing anyone to use it. The oil will make it so the family does not have to resort to something that could damage their daughter.
This Man Used Hemp Oil On Live TV To Draw Attention To His Granddaughter's Health
February 01, 2017 10:59 AM
The United States is not the only place where marijuana plant products are under fire. Even in Australia, it is nearly impossible to get CBD oil for treatment of medical conditions such as epilepsy. One particular case in Australia is gaining media attention. It is the case of 5-year-old Katelyn whose grandfather has been giving her CBD oil to help with her Dravet Syndrome seizures. Her grandfather is under threat of being arrested, but he says it is worth it if he gets his family better access to a drug that will greatly help with her condition.
"A millionaire philanthropist has taken hemp oil on national television to highlight his granddaughter's struggle to get treatment for her epilepsy, as the five-year-old-Girl begs prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and state premiers to make medicinal cannabis more accessible."
Many Kids Still Eating Too Much Salt
November 18, 2016 03:04 PM
are you monitoring the foods that your children are eating? Chances are the foods they're consuming contain too much salt. New reports indicate that depsite the warnings, kids are eating too much salt. It is time to take a stand against sodium on your kid's plate and this information is a great place to start.
"Foods bought at grocery stores provided 58 percent of children's daily salt intake. Fast-food and pizza contributed 16 percent, and school cafeterias 10 percent, according to the study."
Do you need to regulate hormones ? Experience Chaste Berries Powerful Effects
Would you believe that a simple berry could be the solution to hormone normalization and regulation? The Chaste berry has been shown to treat suffering from symptoms of menopause, menstrual irregularities, pre-menstral syndrome, and infertility. However, Chaste berries benefits do not end with women as the berry has also seen use as a natural way to balance hormones in men and may actually prevent prostate cancer.
Chaste berry, also known as vitex, has the ability to regulate and stimulate anterior pituitary functions and has been shown to restore normal estrogen to progesterone levels in women. This is accomplished by attaching to dopamine receptors and decreasing output of prolactin. It is this process that allows Chaste berry to treat the multitude of different hormonal issues that it does and ultimately regulate and normalize hormone levels.
In conclusion, there are many different uses for Chaste berry when it comes to hormonal health. For women the berry has shown successful use as a treatment for PMS pains, fertility challenges, and abnormal menses. In men, Chaste berry has been used to prevent prostate cancer and balance hormones. Chaste berry has also been indicated to effectively treat acne in both male and females. Who would’ve thought you could get all that from one little berry?
Magnesium and Your Kids Health
Did you know that magnesium is essential for the health and development of growing Girls and boys? Unfortunately, most American children are borderline deficient in magnesium.
Magnesium is required in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body, children need it for health bones and teeth. This mineral is essential for muscular relaxation, as well as proper nervous system function. Magnesium is a relaxing mineral and can help your child fall a sleep faster and keep him or her asleep longer.
Your Kids will lover the great taste of Magnesium Kidz by Natures Plus. see below:
Combat Depression With Fish Oil
January 21, 2015 05:19 PM
What is a depression?
Depression can occur at any age and is a disorder of affective state, which leads to a state of sadness or hopelessness for a period. Depression is thought to be disease of the century as more and more researchers are trying to find an effective remedy to combat this disease. Lately, several studies are trying to prove that fish oil can affect a person’s mood and is an effective remedy for preventing and treating depression.
According to a Japanese study published in September in the journal Pediatrics, fish oil especially that obtained from sardines and salmon helps male teens feel less depressed.
Omega-3 fatty acids, especially eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are found mainly in fish oil. Because these nutrients play an important role in brain function, many researchers wanted to find out if a higher consumption of EPA and DHA leads to a decrease in the risk of depression. The results showed that an increased consumption of EPA and DHA influences positively the mental state and mood of adolescents.
According to Japanese researchers, fish oil has not the same effect in the case of adolescent Girls. The different effect of fish oil in boys and Girls is difficult to explain, a possible cause being that women show a genetic risk of depression significantly higher than men do.
Source of Omega 3 fatty acid
Omega 3 fatty acids improve the functionality of the brain in children, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke and prevent cancer. This fatty acid are found in fish such as trout, salmon and mackerel, in nuts, linseed oil and rapeseed oil. Fish oil is the best source of omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Since our body is unable to synthesize EPA and DHA, in order to prevent depression, is necessary to supplement our diet with supplements rich in these acids. Experts recommend a daily intake of 0.5 grams of omega-3- the equivalent of four meals of fish consumed over a week.
Recently, doctors have put on the list of antidepressants, the fish oil. Their argument is that the human brain is almost entirely made from fat - about 60%, especially DHA and phospholipids. Fish oil has in its composition the precious DHA and for this reason, many doctors recommend it as an antidepressant. The arguments of doctors are strengthened by studies, which show that people who consume omega 3 fatty acids are more optimistic and cheerful.References:
Myrrh oil health benefits
February 21, 2014 05:04 PM
Know what Myrrh essential oil is
As you have probably read somewhere else, Myrrh oil is an aromatic resin that comes from trees belonging to the genus commiphora. It has a unique sweet and smoky aroma. Myrrha, hirabol myrrh and bola are other alternative names that people use frequently when referring to myrrh oil. Known to contain cadinene, cuminaldehyde, a-pinene, acetic acid, m-cresol, eugenol and formic acid, this pale yellow oil has been the source of debate due to its many benefits which go back to the time of ancient Egyptians.
Why take myrrh oil?
Modern scientific research has found evidence suggesting that myrrh has a wide range of uses that are beneficial to boost the health condition of an individual. Myrrh is an amazing extract that can be used in aromatherapy to effectively treat colds, coughs, insomnia and sore throat. In the digestive system, the oil is widely used for indigestion and ulcers treatment. Women and young Girls find it necessary to increase their menstrual flow using normal remedies but have failed. However, this sap-like oil does not only increase the menstrual flow but it also relieve painful periods and ease difficult labor in childbirth.
For all medical dental infections, the oil is included when mixing a mouthwash. On the skin, it has great success when wiping out bedsores, boils, cracked skin, skin ulcers, athlete's foot and eczema. As a matter of fact, it is sometimes used as an ingredient in many skincare products, creams and lotions.
Myrrh is also purported to treat certain cancers and tumors. The extract from Commiphora trees is highly effective against the gynecologic cancer cells. When used as an anti-oxidant, amazing results are achieved in protecting against lead induced hepatotoxicity.
When can you start taking myrrh resin?
It is recommended to take myrrh essential oil three times in a day or as needed. Pregnant and nursing women should start using it after consulting a qualified practitioner. It can be used as a dietary supplement for children when they reach the age of six years.
Holding Back the Years with DHEA
September 20, 2011 01:58 PM
Once you reach an average of around 25 years of age your body begins to cut back on its production of the sex hormone precursor DHEA, responsible for the biosynthesis of testosterone, estrogen and other sex hormones. Your body reckons you are past it at 25, so hard luck - no more sex hormones. You must find a way to overcome that, or you might as well give up the ghost now - but luckily there is a solution: DHEA supplements.
Imagine of you were over the hill, with around 60 years still to go as a guy, but no hormones! In fact, the same is true of the Girls, so that's another worry for you. You take DHEA but none of them do, and what then? Use your own imagination, but it won't be a whole heap of laughs, that's for sure!
There is an answer - simply take a DHEA supplement, and make sure your Girl does too, then you will both be on the same wavelength and your lack of hormones will be solved. In reality what happens is that you will go to your doctor and ask for help, when all you need do is to take a DHEA supplement. Don't come crying if your doctor can't help you!
Seriously though, you should keep your doctor informed about what you are doing, although DHEA is relatively benign and unlikely to cause you serious problems. Nevertheless, never use it if you are pregnant or nursing a baby, and never give it to your children unless cleared by your family physician.
April 05, 2009 01:40 PM
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the newest name that has been given to a group of disorders of the central nervous system. With the long list of names this disorder has been given over the years, it is often confusing as to which criteria are for a diagnosis of ADHD or ADD. It is estimated that between 3 and 5 percent of children in the United States have ADHD, meaning that at least one child in a classroom of twenty-five to thirty children will have ADHD. There are three times as many boys diagnosed with ADHD, but the condition is increasingly being diagnosed in Girls as well.
Although ADHD was primarily thought of as a childhood disorder, it can be found in adults as well. Experts have estimated that as many as 8 million adults may be affected, but 80 percent of them do not realize it. Some studies show that there is significant decline in ADHD symptoms as a person ages, while others estimate that between 30 and 70 percent of children with ADHD will carry some symptoms into adulthood. ADHD is a more complex disorder in adults, but it manifests itself into a problem with self-regulation. Without this self-control, an adult’s ability to do tasks is impaired. This condition can lead to marital conflicts, substance abuse, and financial problems. Infidelity is common because ADHD adults easily become bored with things, including spouses.
Factors that have been linked to the development of ADHD include heredity, anxiety, allergies, smoking during pregnancy, hyperinsulinemia, oxygen deprivation at birth, environmental stress or pollutants, artificial food additives, injury, infection, lead poisoning, and prenatal trauma. More emphasis has been placed on the role of diet in ADHD in recent years. Many people with these conditions react to certain preservatives, dyes, and salicylates in foods. These problems can cause the balance of chemistry in the brain to be thrown off, which produces undesirable changes in behavior. A low-protein diet may also be a contributing factor. Although a hotly debated topic for decades, studies have definitely shown that food additives do play a major role in hyperactivity.
Many researchers feel that ADHD is being over-diagnosed nowadays. It is difficult to accurately diagnose this condition because many of the symptoms appear in the normal, healthy children at many times during childhood. In fact, more than 60 percent of parents suspect that their child has ADHD at some point in their upbringing. What may merely be creativity or a high energy level can be diagnosed as ADHD. A diagnosis of ADHD should be made by a team of specialists who are experts in the disorder and it is wise to get a second opinion.
One should considered nutritional deficiencies and dietary measures for treating ADHD. The following nutrients are recommended: calcium, magnesium, GABA, a multivitamin and mineral complex, Omega-3 fish oil, Pycnogenol, Quercetin, SAMe, acetylcholine, DMAE, l-cysteine, phosphatidyl serine, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, and zinc. Additionally, the following herbs may be beneficial: ginkgo biloba, ginseng, mullein oil, valerian root, catnip, chamomile, gotu kola, hops, kava kava, lemon balm, licorice, lobelia, oats, passionflower, skullcap, St. John’s wort, thyme, and wood betony.
Creating a nutritionally sound diet for children and adults can go a long way to controlling ADHD and ADD in general. Reducing sugar intake and adding good quality food that hasn’t been over processed which removes the needed vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients we all need to live healthy lives. The above vitamins, minerals and herbs are suggested to be helpful for those suffering as well as those who aren’t, but always consult your health care provider before adding dietary supplements to ones diet while on prescription drugs. Quality vitamins can be found at your local or internet health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins, minerals, and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
February 04, 2009 09:17 AM
It has been announced that it pays to take your vitamins, as the American Medical Association has completely reversed its previous anti-vitamin stance after twenty years and is now encouraging all adults to supplement daily with a multiple vitamin. After this decision, a review of 38 years of scientific evidence has convinced the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) to rewrite its policy guidelines regarding the use of vitamin supplements.
It is common knowledge that today's diet is not providing sufficient nutritional value to keep chronic diseases at bay. Although nutrient intakes in North American are generally sufficient to avoid overt vitamin deficiencies, sub-clinical deficiencies are extremely common. Most vitamins and minerals come mainly from fruits and vegetables, causing us to need at least five daily servings of each. Studies have found that the number of servings of fresh fruits and vegetables is well below the recommended fiver servings per day, with the intake of dietary iron, folic acid, and calcium being significantly below recommended levels for adolescent Girls.
Not many people know that cardiovascular disease is a problem that has been cultivated by modern society, with the first report on cardiovascular disease in America being published in 1912. At that time, the disease was so rare that it took years to find. In less than 100 years, the changes to our lifestyle, environment, and to the food we eat have made cardiovascular disease the number one killer in North America.
A groundbreaking report on July 13, 2000 tied the development of most cancers to lifestyle and the exposure to environmental and occupational risk factors. Although a genetic influence was not negated, as it appears to account for about 30% of total cancer risk, the findings placed the blame on poor dietary habits, smoking, alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, and exposure to environmental toxins. It has been recommended that a diet made up of plant-based foods which include vegetables, fruits, and grains is essential.
Stroke, the third-leading cause of death in the most developed countries for decades, occurs when blood flow to the brain is cut off due to a thrombotic event in one of the major arteries feeding the brain. A major cause of disability among adults and a principal factor in late-life dementia, small strokes can often go unnoticed. Because hypertension is the major cause of stroke, potassium and its blood pressure-lowering abilities are often helpful. Additionally, nutrients such as folic acid, bioflavonoids, polyphenols, and assorted antioxidants play an important role. The consumption of citrus fruit juices that contain high levels of vitamin C, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and cauliflower give protection against stroke.
Not only are we not eating enough of the proper food groups, the foods we do eat are often short in vital nutrients and high in calories. Nothing can replace the value of a diet that is carefully balanced. However, in today's high-stress world, we often face a absence of physical activity and a surplus of meals on the run, consisting of fast-food and processed foods that lack nutritional value. We should never neglect the importance of a well-balanced diet that is high in fruits and vegetables and we should make every opportunity to eat as close to the earth as possible.
Unfortunately, in today's fast-food world, it is hard to get away from the high-calorie, low-nutrition, over-processed, corporate food culture. If you value your health, it makes sense to take the extra step and start supplementing your diet with nutritional supplementation, as it is your personal health insurance to help you age gracefully. Stop into your local or internet health food store and look for a good multiple vitamin supplement to help boost your current diet.
November 03, 2008 09:47 AM
Nowadays, it is so in to be thin and being anything but that carries a stigma, along with increased risks of serious illnesses. If that isn’t enough, recent research has found that infertility, which experts define as twelve months of unprotected intercourse that doesn’t result in a pregnancy, is also related to obesity. For women, the main obstacle is lack of ovulation, which is when the body refuses to release an egg every month. Too much abdominal fat stores an excess of estrogen, the hormone that needs to fluctuate in order for ovulation to occur. At the same time, male hormone levels rise, with all that estrogen and testosterone sending the women’s brain the wrong message.
When a couple is having trouble conceiving, evaluation by a fertility specialist is often a very good idea. Because it is pretty easy to count and evaluate sperm, it is easy to rule out any male problems, first. A woman who has irregular menstrual cycles should look for signs of hormonal imbalances like abnormal body hair, which indicates an excess in testosterone. Testing may reveal polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is marked by many cysts on the ovaries, hormonal imbalances, and/or ovulation problems. But if the male’s sperm and both partners’ hormone levels are normal, and if the woman doesn’t have blocked fallopian tubes or poor thyroid function, then the problem could very well be caused by too much weight.
Obese people usually have some medical problems already; infertility seems to be just another hit. Studies have proven that even just a 5% to 10% loss of your current weight can get your ovaries working again on their own. It is impractical to suggest normal weight, as it’ll take too long, while meanwhile, the ovaries are aging. You shouldn’t wait until you reach your ideal weight before you try to conceive, but rather, keep dropping pounds for the sake of your overall well-being. Your partner may even want to get fit with you, as one study has found that conception can be difficult when both partners are overweight or obese. Since obese men have problems with poor sperm counts or quality, along with weight-related hormonal imbalances, they’re twice as likely to be infertile than men of normal weight. Fathers-to-be may also want to take folate, as low folate levels are linked with increased risk of defective sperm.
If you’re obese, herbs and supplements may help you get pregnant, but weight loss is the critical component. To encourage ovulation, whether you are obese or not, one doctor suggests a weight-loss or weight-maintenance program, along with beta-carotene, a nutrient for ovarian function, and chaste tree berry, for its hormonal effects to optimize ovulation. This plan has proven a fifty percent success rate. Even though fertility aids such as in vitro fertilization result in a live-birth rate of more than 82%, it has been found that only 55% of those births are single babies.
If women trying for children begin eating well and exercising daily, not only will they be able to conceive more easily, but they will be physically fit and able to play with their kids all through their lives. Diet and nutrition as well as natural prenatal supplements and extra folic acid are needed to support the birth of a healthy baby boy or Girl. Stop into your local health food store and see what is available for fertility for both men and women.
Biotin For Better Health!
April 14, 2008 12:42 PM
Biotin is one of the B vitamins, known as vitamin B7 and also, for some reason, vitamin H. If you have a deficiency of this vitamin you will know about it because it makes you bald. So keep up your vitamin B7 intake Girls!
However, this should not be difficult since it is contained in cooked egg white (not raw), tomatoes, chard, onions, cabbage, strawberries, walnuts, halibut, carrots, liver, brewers yeast and cucumber to name but a few of the many sources. It makes sense that it has so many sources because biotin is essential for many of the biochemical reactions that take place continuously in your body.
It is contained in raw eggs, but is bound too tightly to the protein to be available to your body. It has to be cooked before the bond is broken sufficiently to render it bioavailable.
Included in these is the all-important Krebs cycle that releases energy from food. It is necessary for the growth of your body cells, for the metabolism of the fats you consume and for the biosynthesis of the fatty acids that are eventually converted to proteins and then the DNA that is essential for life. In other words, without biotin we would not be here.
However, do not get overly worried about the necessity of biotin in your diet, since the same applies to all of the other vitamins you consume. That is what vitamins are chemicals that have been identified ages ago as being essential to life. Without vitamins we could not survive which is why the vitamin supplement industry is so strong and healthy.
So, what does biotin do specifically, other than being necessary for some of the essential biochemical processes in your body? These tend to look after themselves, so what are the physical attributes that biotin provides for you? The name should give you a clue. In fact it should be familiar since it is one of the more commonly mentioned ingredients of hair care products: “Biotin for Healthy Hair” - ring a bell?
Although a deficiency of biotin is rare with a healthy balanced diet, it can happen, and when it does your first sign might be your skin drying out, your cholesterol levels will increase, you will feel continually tired and depressed with a poor appetite and you will be nauseous. You will also frequently vomit, which puts the icing on the cake of a set of very undesirable symptoms. It is important, then, that you do not suffer from a deficiency of biotin, vitamin B7 or vitamin H, whatever you want to call it, and is why many people take a supplement just to make sure.
This is normally taken as part of a general B complex supplement or even a general multivitamin supplement, since almost everybody has no idea what this vitamin is and why it is so necessary for your continued health. So let's have a look at why biotin is so important, with specific reference to your hair, skin and nails. However, we shall also examine its deeper biochemical uses and explain why it is such an essential vitamin.
With regard to biotin supplements in hair preparations, it benefit’s by helping one grow thicker hair, symptoms of a deficiency is brittle hair. If you are deficient, you will lose your eyelashes and eyebrows in addition to your hair, depending on the severity of your deficiency. As stated, however, that is particularly rare. The biotin content of shampoos is likely useless since it is not absorbed through the skin.
What it does in the diet, however, is to thicken the nails and also the hair fiber giving it a fuller appearance, so that you appear to have more hair than you actually have. It also increases the flexibility of the hair, skin and nails rendering them less brittle and less liable to breaking and scaling. However, as previously stated if you eat a good balanced diet you should avoid these problems, although a vitamin B complex supplement will do the job just as well.
So what else does vitamin B7 do for you? Lots in fact, so let's have a look at the more important of them starting with the function of your body cells in the production of energy. Biotin takes part in the Citric Acid Cycle, otherwise known as the Krebs Cycle, whereby energy is created by the conversion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins into carbon dioxide and water. It is one of the essential metabolic pathways of life, and biotin is needed to recharge the Krebs cycle with metabolites when mitochondria become deficient in these essential components.
Without them you would begin to feel tired and lack energy, and this would get increasingly worse without a biotin supplement. It is amazing that your energy is created in the mitochondria which are a part of the tiny cells that make up the tissue of your body, and equally amazing that it depends upon, among other substances, a vitamin of which very few people are even aware of.
In spite of any other effect biotin has on your body, including providing healthy hair, skin and nails, its primary role in your body is in the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates into a form that can be used by your body for the production of energy. Biochemically, it functions as a coenzyme, which is a molecule needed to help an enzyme do its work. In fact an alternative name give to biotin is Coenzyme R.
It helps in the biochemical conversion of sugars to energy, and is a component of enzymes such as pyruvate carboxylase. That enzyme is protein contained within the mitochondria that contains a biotin prosthetic group, without which it could not function to help the body to generate energy during exercise. Suffice it to say that without biotin you would find it difficult to generate energy, especially when the demand for it is at its highest.
Biotin's biochemical role is not restricted to energy production however, and it is involved in the biochemical synthesis of amino acids and also of glucose from other sugars. Glucose is the main blood sugar that is manufactured in the body from the other saccharides that you eat, such as fructose.
A reasonable level of supplementation to ensure that you do not suffer from a deficiency is around 100 micrograms daily, although up to 5 milligrams (5000 mcg) are safe for the treatment of brittle nails or hair loss. Much depends on age and it is best taken as a vitamin B complex supplement, since the B vitamins appear to give best results as a team!
So, while you can have healthy hair, skin and nails with biotin, without it you will have no energy and likely have no need for your hair, skin and nails!
Fight Acne by Eating Right to Lower Blood Sugar Levels
December 24, 2007 02:11 PM
If you are a teenager a cure for acne will likely be first on your list after finding a boyfriend or Girlfriend, and most of us who have been teenagers can probably remember the misery that our perception of our looks gave us.
There have been many theories as to the cause of acne, and it is highly likely that there is more than one. The basic reason for the appearance of acne is that oils, dead skin cells and bacteria block the pores of the skin to form a variety of different types of pimples or spots, such as whiteheads, blackheads and pustules than can be irritating or painful. They can also be very unsightly, affecting the face, neck and sometimes the chest and back.
Studies have indicated that acne is caused by the over-production of sebum, a fatty oily substance secreted by the sebaceous glands of the skin to keep it supple and lubricated. If this is excessive, the sebum can block the pores causing blackheads, and become infected causing acne. So what causes this excess production of sebum? There are theories that it could be due to high insulin levels in the blood.
High insulin levels are promoted by high blood glucose levels the more blood glucose in your blood then the more insulin your pancreas produces to help covert it into energy. Higher insulin levels are also associated with high levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). The result of this is an increase in androgens (male hormones), specifically dihydrotestosterone (DHT), metabolized from testosterone. This in turn causes an increased production of sebum leading to acne.
The complete chain, therefore, begins with increased levels of glucose in your blood and ends in acne. In order to prevent acne you would have to break this chain anywhere in its sequence, and the only viable place to do this is at the beginning reduce your blood glucose level. In order to achieve this you would have to determine what foods you are eating that could cause an excessively high level of glucose in your blood.
Glucose is metabolized from carbohydrates, ranging from complex carbohydrates to refined sugar. However, those that you should try to avoid are the refined carbohydrates such as pasta, white bread, rice and sugar. These are what are known as the high glycemic index foods that can cause a sharp rise in your blood glucose levels when consumed. The complex carbohydrates take longer to be metabolized and are not so prone to producing sudden increases in your sugar levels. These lead to more sustained and gradual increases in blood glucose that demand a steady insulin supply, rather than the sudden increase that can lead to acne. Such foods include high fiber whole grains, oats and the like.
Studies have indicated that twelve weeks on a diet of low glycemic index foods resulted in a significant reduction in acne symptoms when compared to a control that did not change their diet. It therefore seems likely that your nutrition can affect your acne, and that changes in your diet could lead to a significant long-term reduction in acne symptoms such as pimples, pustules and other types of lesion.
The same studies also proved a reduction in the androgen levels of those on the complex hydrocarbon diet compared to the controls, and also greater sensitivity to insulin. However, the test group also experienced a significant weight loss, and it was not conclusively proved whether the reduction in acne symptoms was due to the reduction in blood glucose levels or to the weight loss.
However, the result is in accordance with the insulin and androgen theory, and it is known that diabetes is connected with obesity, so the two might in any case be related. Acne, diabetes, and weight are all related to your blood sugar level, which is in turn related to diet and carbohydrate intake.
Although a low glycemic index diet is suggested, such a diet is not easy to apply properly, and a dietician could help you here. Persistence is the name of the game, and you will not see instant results. Note that the tests referred to above were over twelve weeks, and this is likely the minimum period you will need to stick to your diet. However, the minute you break it, and revert back to simple carbohydrates, your problem will return. There is no sudden cure, rather a continual dietary approach to the prevention of the condition. Acne is not a disease that you can catch and cure. It is a condition created by lifestyle and diet, and can only be controlled rather than cured until you grow out of it in your late teens or early twenties, although many people suffer from acne until later in life.
Your diet should include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and cereals, brown rice, fish, eggs and lean meats. You should avoid saturated and trans fats, and eat unsaturated fats and oils, with plenty of omega fatty acids, vitamins and minerals for a good skin and good health. Exercise will help by improving the blood flow to your skin.
You can also help your condition by taking some specific supplements. Saw palmetto and zinc will help to reduce the levels of testosterone in your blood, and vitamins E and B6 are also believed to help. Selenium, pantothenic acid and essential fatty acids are other supplements that can help with acne, but your best bet is to discuss your condition with a naturopath or somebody trained in the use of natural remedies and supplements with your condition.
Many swear by tea tree oil, although treatment has to be prolonged over a length period before it becomes effective, but you might prefer this to one of the chemical testosterone blockers that can be prescribed for acne in certain cases.
Overall, acne is not a serious condition but can be disfiguring. Although you can seek medical help in the event of serious attacks, your recommended treatment initially is to eat plenty of healthy foods low in simple carbohydrates, to take the appropriate supplements and nutrients to keep you healthy and to take plenty of exercise to maintain a good blood supply to your face.
In these ways you can reduce the number, depth and lasting effects of acne pustules, and in many cases clear the condition altogether.
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.
Osteoporosis, Calcium and Magnesium
April 20, 2007 12:06 PM
Consider the following: what country has the highest rate of pasteurized milk consumption? USA Today reports that more than 45 percent of Americans, aged four years and older, drink milk. Now, what country has the highest calcium supplement consumption? America. So, America must have the lowest occurrence of osteoporosis, calcium loss and bone fragility. Right? Wrong! We have the highest rate! Why? Excess calcium combined with low magnesium.
One research study concludes that neither milk nor a high calcium diet appears to reduce the risk of osteoporotic hip fractures in postmenopausal women. Another study concluded that findings “do not support the hypothesis that higher consumption of milk or other food sources of calcium by adult women protect against hip or forearm fractures.” On the other hand, a recent double-blind trial conducted by Yale University School of Medicine found that magnesium significantly increased bone mineral content of the hip bones of Girl’s ages 8 to 14 years.
It is magnesium that will handle a calcium deficiency as well as the lack of adequate magnesium, and it will dissolve excess calcium from the body while helping any needed calcium to assimilate. Today we have diets dangerously low in magnesium. Factor in the recent addition of nutritional calcium via supplements and food fortifications that are meant to stave osteoporosis, and many of us are getting inadequate magnesium plus too much calcium.
Magnesium is crucial to increasing bone mass, since it is magnesium that allows calcium to assimilate. People taking supplemental calcium should accompany their calcium with the magnesium necessary for absorption. Women taking calcium supplements to ward off osteoporosis, with out adequate magnesium nutrition, can further exacerbate the effects of a magnesium deficit. (Calcium supplements taken without sufficient magnesium can actually LOWER the bone mineralization process.) Magnesium is as important as calcium in the prevention of osteoporosis and is vital to increase bone mass.
Too Little Magnesium Can Cause Health Problems
April 20, 2007 12:04 PM
The Recommended Daily Allowance of magnesium (which is the minimum level needed to stave off deficiency symptoms not the maximum level) varies by age and gender:
Children 1 to 3 years: 80mg, Children 4 to 8 years: 130mg, Children 9 to 13 years: 240mg
Boys 14 to 18: 410mg, Girls 14 to 18: 360mg
Men 19 to 30: 400mg, Men 31 plus: 420mg
Women 19 to 30: 310mg, Women 31 plus: 320mg
Pregnant women 19 to 30: 350mg, pregnant women 31 plus: 360mg
A survey conducted by The Gallup Organization found that 72 percent of adult Americans fall short of the Recommended Dietary Allowance of magnesium.
Because magnesium is required for hundreds of enzymatic reactions (enzymes are protein molecules that stimulate every chemical reaction in the body), deficiency can cause a wide variety of symptoms, such as low energy, fatigue, weakness, PS and hormonal imbalance, inability to sleep, weakening bones, muscle tension, spasms and cramps, abnormal heart rhythms, headaches, anxiousness, nervousness and irritability.
Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of The Miracle of Magnesium states: “The recommended daily allowance (RDA) is about 350mg per day, but most researchers say you need two and three times that amount, partly because it’s not in foods. If it is in foods, if you cook and process the foods in any way, you lose magnesium.”
The Childhood Obesity Epidemic
August 09, 2006 04:57 PM
The Zimmerman File: Marcia Zimmerman, CN, is a respected author and educator in the field of health and nutrition.
Fighting Obesity – What do I put in my child’s Lunch?
We begin the 21st century with a startling setback in life expectancy for our youth. Some experts even fear that today’s kids may not live as long as their parents. That’s despite the recent advances in medicine that have been credited with extending life span.
The Childhood Obesity Epidemic
The obesity epidemic is occurring in boys and Girls in all 50 states. It’s happening in younger children as well as adolescents, across all socioeconomic strata, and among all ethnic groups. At a time when we have learned that excess weight has significant and troublesome health consequences, we see our children gaining weight to a dangerous degree and at an alarming rate. According to a 2004 report from the Centers for Disease Control, the number of over weight 6 to 11 year olds more than doubled in the past 20 years—going from 7 percent in 1980, to 18.8 percent in 2004. the rate among adolescents between 12 to 19 more than tripled, increasing from 5% to 17.1%.
An estimated 61% of overweight young people have at least one additional risk factor associated with becoming overweight. These include heart disease, high cholesterol or high blood pressure—factors that have been traditionally associated with much older adults. In addition, children who are overweight are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem. Overweight young people are more likely than their normal weight peers to become over weight of obese adults, adding additional risk factors such as stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.
The consensus among pediatricians, school administrators, parents, and government officials is that healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming overweight and developing related diseases. Associated problems with a growing overweight population are reduced productivity, increased disability, and a greater number of overweight individuals requiring nursing home care as they move into retirement. Clearly the centerpiece of reducing childhood obesity is to reduce its health related and economic costs.
Clearly, we must tackle this problem head-on in order to save our youth. It is beginning as a grass roots movement in the classroom and will involve nutritionists, enlightened teachers, pediatricians, natural food retailers, manufacturers and suppliers of healthy foods. Beginning in the opening weeks of school 2006-2007, a pilot program to teach 6th graders how to eat for better health will be instituted in Chico, California. As the program is perfected, it will be offered nationwide. This is how the plan unfolds.
Show kids how
Breakfast: Cereals, Whey Protein Powders, with Glutamine added, add Malted Milk Powder to any shake, for a change.
Lunchbox: Dried fruits (non-sulfite), Nuts, Seeds, and Organic Popcorn.
Health Snack Bars Nuts & Seeds, Organic Fruit Bars, Organic Virta Raw Sprouted Bars.
Dinner: Grains, Textured Soy Protein, Oils.
Vitamins: (very important to keep kids healthy and at the top of their game) Daily Multiple: Kid Vits berry Blast or Orange Splash, daily vits easy-to-swallow tabs for older kids, Effer-C Packets, Omega-3 Fish Oil; (for brain nutrition)
Oral Hygiene: (don’t forget the anti-caries power of xylitol)
XyliWhite Fluoride-Free Refreshmint Toothpaste XyliWhite Fluoride-Free Cinnafresh Toothpaste XyliWhite Fluoride-Free Refreshmint Mouthwash XyliWhite Fluoride-Free Cinnafresh Mouthwash
Mary Travis at Now Foods has been collecting amazing recipes that use Now Foods ingredients. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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.
Truth in Labeling
June 14, 2005 10:44 AM
Truth in Labeling by Diane Stanton Energy Times, June 14, 2004
Do you or don't you read food labels when you shop? If you don't, you're missing out on a prime source of information about your meals. If you want control of your health, focus on package labels and pick your foods carefully.
The large print on food labels focus on what are called macronutrients: carbohydrates, fat and protein. Some of the smaller categories convey information about vitamins, fiber, and minerals, as well as the totals of fat and saturated fat contained in food. So, you have no excuse for claiming ignorance about your diet: the truth is in the labels.
Food labels can be confusing to the uninitiated. Go into a big food store and you can be faced with what seems to be a forest of food information: more than 15,000 labels. Add to that fact that every year more than 30,000 new food products can be introduced to the marketplace, and what you're faced with is a jungle of food labels.
That overwhelming wealth of food label information doesn't mean you should throw up your hands in dismay and give up reading and deciphering labels. You should arm yourself against that sea of labels with knowledge and, by understanding them, end your confusion and build your health.
A hundred years or so ago, food labels were only required to list the name of the food contained inside the package. The contents, quality and processes used to make the food were often a mystery. Little or no disclosure to consumers was made about how their food was created.
By the early 1920s, the federal government, via the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), began requiring food companies to list the net weight of food on labels as well as the names and addresses of food processors and distributors. Finally, by the 1970s, listing basic nutritional information was mandated in a uniform way so that shoppers could have some basis for comparing foods. Then, in 1990, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act made major alterations to the kinds of labels that had to be included on food packages.
The FDA and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) required significant changes to food labels that were supposed to make it easier for consumers to eat healthier diets. The labels requirements of 1994 included five major changes:
Consumer questions regarding food labels have led researchers to look into ways to help shoppers comprehend what food labels tell them. These studies are designed to help consumers match up their nutrition requirements with the foods they buy.
For instance, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, scientists have devised a label tool called See It, Do It, Teach It to help people improve their diets through comprehension of food label information. " One of the goals of the project was to help...teenaged Girls and menopausal women understand how they can get the daily requirement for calcium into their diet in order to help prevent osteoporosis," says Karen Chapman-Novakofski, PhD, associate professor and nutritionist in the school's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.
According to the See It, Do It, Teach It program, you should think of food labels as consisting of two sections:
" Much more attention has been paid to what people should limit rather than the nutrients needed. The average consumer doesn't know, for instance, how much vitamin A 10% of the Daily Value is, or how much calcium 25% of the Daily Value is," Dr. Chapman-Novakofski says.
Upping Calcium Intake
In their eight-week study of people's calcium consumption (Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 4/04), the University of Illinois research team found that people didn't know how much calcium was in the food they ate.
After the initial part of the study, in which participants were shown how to look for calcium on labels, "the post-test revealed that the participants significantly increased their calcium intake to 821 mg per day, up from 372 mg per day," notes Dr. Chapman-Novakofski.
" That's a lot closer to the daily requirements of 1,200 mg per day for men and women over 50, 1,000 mg for men and women aged 19 through 50 and 1,300 mg per day for [youths aged] 9 to  years," she adds.
Parts of the Label
The first item at the top of a nutrition food label tells you the portion size that the label measures. An important point to remember: these sizes are determined individually by each manufacturer. Consequently, all of the other values on the label are measured per portion.
So, if you are comparing foods made by two different companies that employ very different portion sizes in their nutritional calculations, your label comparisons may be complicated.
Another fact to be aware of: the listed portion size may be an odd division of the food within the container and not reflect a common-sense division. For instance, some food packages are labeled as containing 2.5 portions.
And, to make things even more interesting, small boxes of candy that you might think contain barely enough for one helping may be labeled by the manufacturer as having two or more portions. As a result, if you eat the whole box, you often have to at least double the number of indicated calories, etc. to figure out the nutrients and calories you are consuming.
The section of the label that notes calories, calories from fat and percent daily values is listed under the portion size. Here you are told how many calories you consume when you devour one portion and how many of those calories are derived from fat.
This label focus on fat originated when consumers and dietitians were very concerned about Americans' fat consumption and hadn't yet switched their focus to carbohydrate consumption as a prevalent dietary health priority.
Also included on the label: the daily value percentages aimed at showing you how much out of a total day's intake of various nutrients a portion bestows upon you.
These percentage numbers are based on a theoretical analysis of a diet that contains 2,000 or 2,500 calories a day. (A notation at the bottom of the label tells you whether the calculation is based on 2,000 or 2,500.)
If you've been eating a low-carb diet (or are planning this type of diet), the section of the label that lists carbohydrates may be especially useful. Under this heading, the label lists the totals for fiber and sugar.
No matter what diet you are on, dietary fiber is desirable, since it represents indigestible carbohydrates that both pass through you without conveying any calories and keep beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract healthy.
Most people want to limit their sugar totals, however, since this nutrient may raise your risk of being overweight and, when you eat a lot of it, may contribute to immune problems.
Interestingly enough, when food chemists compute what is in food, they perform lab tests known as assays to distinguish its ingredients. (The manner in which these tests are performed are very strictly regulated by the FDA.)
In fact, just about every nutrient listed on a food label is determined by laboratory test except for the carbohydrate content: the amount of water, fat, crude protein and ash are determined this way. But the total carbs are computed by simply subtracting the total of the other ingredients from the total amount of food, a kind of process of elimination.
So while fat and protein are measured with precise lab tests, carbohydrate totals are figured by the leftovers. (The water and ash, by the way, are not usually listed on food labels.)
Within the general carbohydrate group, are several categories of carbohydrates that produce very different effects in your body. These categories can be divided into sugar, sugar alcohols, dietary fiber and a collection of various chemicals that include organic acids, flavonoids, gums, lignans and others.
According to the FDA, the food label only has to list the total carbs, sugar and dietary fiber. But some food companies now list things like sugar alcohols.
Blood Sugar Effects
Not all of these types of carbohydrates behave the same way in your body. For example, when your body digests table sugar, it turns immediately into blood sugar. So sugar and most other carbohydrate is what we call "digestible carbohydrate." Other carbs, such as sugar alcohol or glycerine, can be digested but do not turn to blood sugar. Still others, such as dietary fiber, are indigestible and pass through your body without impacting your blood sugar level.
To date, the FDA has not focused on these important biochemical differences and treats all carbohydrates alike. This means that when you look at a food label, you do not see a number for the carbs that impact your blood sugar level. To do so, simply subtract the number of grams of fiber from the total number of carbohydrate grams.
Recently, the phrases "low carb," "net carb" and "impact carbs" have begun to appear on food labels. These are not defined by the FDA; they were put on labels by by companies to help consumers pick out foods that are acceptable on low-carb diets. To arrive at the total of net carbs, food companies subtract the total amount of fiber and sugar alcohol from the total carbohydrates.
Since the body cannot digest fiber, this nutrient (which is still important for good health) is not calculated into the total amount of carbohydrates. As for sugar alcohols, while-technically speaking-these are carbs and they do have calories, they have little effect on blood sugar and usually are not counted in total carbohydrates.
According to the American Dietetic Association, people with diabetes who are managing their blood sugars using the carbohydrate counting method should "count half of the grams of sugar alcohol as carbohydrates since half of the sugar alcohol on average is digested.
" Fiber is not digested, however. If the serving of food has more then 5 grams of fiber one should subtract the grams of fiber from the total carbohydrate grams." As you can see, when it comes to food, as in most things, knowledge is power. If you want power over your health, you need power over the food you eat. The road to that power is by reading food labels. What's in the food you're eating every day may surprise you.
Women and Depression!
June 13, 2005 07:48 PM
Women and Depression by Lisa James Energy Times, March 11, 2004
Just as fog veils a beautiful landscape, so depression veils life itself: rendering existence dark and dreary, narrowing the scope of one's dreams. And women are particularly prone to this lingering sadness.
The good news: Depression doesn't have to linger forever. With proper nutrition, lifestyle changes and a revived outlook, you can break through that fog into a sunnier emotional clime. Women are more likely than men to fall prey to depression throughout their lifetimes, with women being twice as likely as men to experience major depression.
While the greatest risk for both sexes falls at midlife, the gender difference appears early; one in ten teenage Girls was found to suffer from major depression in one study (International Journal of Behavioral Development 2004; 28:16-25). What's more, childhood depression leaves a person more susceptible to mood problems in adulthood.
One reason for the gender difference in depression, according to researchers, is that women tend to dwell on depressed feelings to a greater degree than men. Some scientists believe a family history of depression carries greater weight for women. Others theorize that the inner fluctuations of a woman's monthly cycle can leave her susceptible to stresses emanating from the outer world. Studies indicate that almost three-quarters of all premenstrual women experience some level of mood difficulties (Summit on Women and Depression, APA, April 02), and a woman's hormonal ebb and flow may even make her more vulnerable to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the kind of depression linked to a lack of natural light.
Warning Signs Not surprisingly, many depressed folks feel sad and lethargic, down on themselves and the world. But in some people, depression is marked by agitation and concentration difficulties, or is accompanied by anxiety. Sleep disturbances-either insomnia or excessive sleepiness-often ensue, and activities that used to provide pleasure lose their appeal.
Breaking depression's grip can do more than just lighten your mood-it may help safeguard your health. Studies suggest depression dampens the immune response and may increase the risks of coronary heart disease and diabetes (Archives of General Psychiatry 2003; 60:1009-14; Circulation 2000; 102:1773; Diabetes Care 2004; 27:129-33).
Origins of Depression
The reasons some people are pulled down by depression's undertow while others are able to stay afloat emotionally are complex, but researchers believe common factors link them all.
One factor that can't be ignored is genetics. "If you are depressed, there is a 25% chance that a first-degree relative-a parent, child or sibling-is also depressed," says Hyla Cass, MD, author of St. John's Wort: Nature's Blues Buster (Avery). Other factors are physical problems and medication side effects. That's why your first step should be a consultation with your health care practitioner (if your moods are especially dark, seek professional assistance as soon as possible).
Life's worries and cares also weigh more heavily on some people than on others. " [N]ot only will certain stressors [adverse events] cause depression as a direct response," notes Dr. Cass, "but they may predispose an individual to future episodes of depression." For example, the end of a relationship when you feel you've lost a lover and been humiliated (and been cheated on) raises your risk of depression (Archives of General Psychiatry 2003; 60:789-96).
The Depressed Brain
When depression hits, brain chemistry shifts. As a result, chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which relay messages between brain cells, go awry. For instance, a neurotransmitter called serotonin-critical to mood control-may decrease, leaving you feeling depressed, anxious, craving certain foods and unable to sleep.
Conversely, "high levels of serotonin are associated with emotional and social stability," according to Dr. Cass. She adds that, in addition, sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone "affect brain cells directly."
Lifting the Fog
Because the causes of depression are so complex, leaving the darkness behind generally requires opening up several pathways. Part of feeling better simply lies in believing that you can. Researchers have found that depressed people who feel they have a sense of control over their troubles, do, in fact, have a better chance of recovery (General Hospital Psychiatry 2000; 22(4):242-50). Finding a community of like-minded folks bolsters your capacity to deal with mood problems. In some cases, time spent with a therapist can be a valuable aid in figuring out what's bothering you.
On the physical side, losing weight can lift your spirits. Among women with severe obesity-itself a depression risk factor-losing weight has led to depression relief (Archives of Internal Medicine 2003; 163:2058-65). Research also indicates that exercise helps brighten dark moods.
A change in diet, along with certain supplements, can also help dispel depression. The first step on the road to emotional recovery: eat a lot of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, and stay away from overly refined foods with high levels of sugar.
Omega-3 fatty acids, the kinds found in flax seed and fish, are essential to proper brain function. In several studies, people who took supplemental omega-3s found significant relief from depression.
Key amino acids-the basic units of which proteins are built-serve as starting points for the production of mood-lifting neurotransmitters. In one trial, people who took an amino-acid mix that included tyrosine enjoyed better moods and were happier than people who took amino acids without it (Psychopharmacology (Berlin) Sept 4 2003).
Along with amino acids, the body needs the right vitamins-especially members of the all-important B family-to create depression-fighting brain chemicals. In one study, people with depression who took vitamin B12 improved their chances of recovery (BMC Psychiatry 2003; 3:17).
Another interesting observation: Vitamin B12 and its partners vitamin B6 and folate are essential to keep a protein called homocysteine (known primarily as a cardiovascular hazard) from reaching excessive levels, and people with high homocysteine are twice as likely to be depressed. This has led some researchers to speculate that folate may help keep depression under control (Archives of General Psychiatry 2003; 60:618-26).
Herbs that may help beat back the blues include two that help the body deal with stress, eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) and schisandra (S. chinensis).
A new diet, a new outlook: With the help of the right nutrients and the right support, you can break the bonds of depression.
Like A Rock
June 11, 2005 05:08 PM
Like A Rock by Carl Lowe Energy Times, September 3, 1999
If you are over the age of 50, a quarter of your bone mass may have disappeared during the past two decades. And more of it may be exiting your body even as you read this.
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about one in every two women in the US will break a bone after age 50 due to osteoporosis (bone weakening). Every year that translates into about half a million fractured vertebrae and more than 300,000 shattered hips. Frequently, these breaks are life-threatening.
To avoid or minimize bone loss, and keep your skeleton's calcium from "resorbing" into your blood stream and eventually being excreted, your bones require constant nourishment and exercise. As Patrick Holford, author of the Optimum Nutrition Bible (Crossing Press), says, "...the bones, like every other part of the body, are continually being rebuilt. They form a structure of protein and collagen (a kind of intercellular glue) which collects mainly calcium, plus phosphorus and magnesium. Also necessary are a constellation of other nutrients including vitamins D and K."
When this structure begins to deteriorate, the gradual bone destruction proceeds without obvious warning signs. A broken bone, the result of a porous, weakened skeleton unable to endure the body's weight, often proves to be the first evidence of osteoporosis.
The most obvious recommendation for preserving bone is calcium, since that mineral makes bone hard. Your requirement is probably more than you consume in your food.
As Cheryl Hartsough, RD, Director of Wellness at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa in Farmington, PA, points out, "People don't take in enough calcium in their diets so we recommend supplements." Other factors besides calcium intake contribute to bone problems. As The Supplement Shopper (Future Medicine) by Gregory Pouls, DC and Maile Pouls, PhD with Burton Goldberg, points out, "A high caffeine intake, excessive consumption of carbonated soft drinks and a diet primarily of protein, salt, sugar and processed foods can all cause the body to excrete calcium. When the condition is chronic, it leads to loss of bone mass as the body pulls calcium from the bones to correct the imbalance."
While loss of calcium in your bones may accelerate at menopause, osteoporosis is a problem that starts young: Girls generally do not build up sufficient bone mass to withstand later losses.
Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Stanford University, "...osteoporosis is a pediatric disease." Consequently, youngsters should eat calcium rich, low-fat dairy products, plus plenty of leafy greens which also contain healthy amounts of calcium (as should older women to slow bone resorption).
At menopause, bone weakening may accelerate because of the hormonal shift that changes women's ratio of estrogen to progesterone. Estrogen generally retards the breakdown of bone while progesterone contributes to its reconstruction.
Those factors cause Ms. Hartsough to recommend a "combination of weight training and, of course, proper diet to build strong healthy bones as well as healthy muscle mass."
She adds that women should eat plenty of "broccoli and greens as well as sardines and salmon and soybeans. You should get some calcium and spread it out throughout the day."
Ipriflavone for Bones
A substance called ipriflavone, a natural chemical found in plants, has been found to help preserve bone strength. Although scientists are not sure how ipriflavone works to keep bone rock hard, they believe it interacts with hormones to keep calcium from being taken out (Osteo Int, 6 , 1996: 137).
In particular, studies that have given ipriflavone to post-menopausal women have found that it was especially effective at keeping these women from suffering weakened bones (Calcif Tiss Int 54, 1994: 377-80). A study in Italy of 250 post menopausal women aged 50 to 65 found that giving them ipriflavone, benefited their bones for at least two years (Osteoporosis Int 7, 1997: 119-125). The researchers' conclusion: "Ipriflavone may inhibit the progressive bone loss that occurs in women after menopause."
While many of us may picture our bones as an unchanging, static foundation for our bodies, the human skeleton is an ever-changing entity. Bones should carry a warning sign that says "Under Construction." If you neglect your skeleton until you're about to suffer a fracture, you invite debilitating deconstruction. But feed your bones the right stuff while challenging them with exercise and they will flourish.