Search Term: " Glucan "
8 health benefits of oatmeal
November 08, 2018 08:51 AM
Oatmeal is known as a great breakfast food but it can also help one's health as well. It is very high in fiber and contains a specific fiber called beta-glucan which help lower cholesterol, blood sugar, and even makes you feel "full." It also ease inflammation in the stomach and boosts one's metabolism. Oatmeal is beneficial for skin and is very rich in antioxidants and immensely help's ones immune system. It also supports weight lose, lowers blood pressure and blood sugar.
"Oatmeal is packed with nutrients—including five grams of protein—but it only has about 150 calories per serving."
Read more: https://www.wellandgood.com/good-food/benefits-of-oatmeal/
5 reasons why you should start eating mushrooms
August 16, 2018 09:53 AM
The consumption of mushrooms leads to several health benefits, many of which are fast-acting and highly prominent. For instance, one serving of mushrooms contains over three grams of fiber which leads to the production of insulin. For those who are insulin resistant or diabetic, this may be a good way to naturally aid in increasing the presence of insulin as long as their doctor approves it. The Vitamin C and potassium within mushrooms also helps promote optimal heart health.
"Mushrooms also contain selenium which has also been found to improve immune response to infection by stimulating the production of killer T-cells. The beta-glucan fibres found in the cell walls of mushrooms stimulate the immune system to fight diseases."
Read more: https://www.pulse.ng/lifestyle/food-travel-arts-culture/5-reasons-why-you-should-start-eating-mushrooms-id8577207.html
Why medicinal mushrooms should be considered a staple in every household across America
October 30, 2017 10:14 AM
In a time when stress among people is at an all time high, many are trying to find new ways to reduce it. Medicinal mushroooms are being shown to be a remarkable healing plant that possess a wide array of nutrients that can help improve your daily life. They come in a variety of forms and can be consumed many different ways, including as a pill or poweder or in your tea or a smoothie. They promote almost all of your bodies systems like the immune system and digestive system working in a healthy way. Be wary of some from unknown sources, such as China, which can have heavy metal contamination that could wipe out all the health benefits.
"With unprecedented support for all the key functions of the body, it’s no surprise how medicinal mushrooms can have such an obvious impact"
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2017-10-23-why-medicinal-mushrooms-should-be-considered-a-staple-in-every-household-across-america.html
Beta Glucan for Wounds, Dry Skin, Cancer & More
July 22, 2017 04:14 PM
A website devoted to alternative health news has published an article on Beta Glucan. This is form of fiber. The writer states that Beta Glucan is routinely used in Asia to combat cancer. The writer quotes a doctor who believes this fiber is effective in reducing tumors. The writer also states that Beta Glucan can be used to soften hard and dried skin. He says this fiber can be used to treat eczema. The writer has included several embedded links.
"To this day, I consider topical Beta Glucan to be one of the most important anti-aging ingredients in the skin care world"
Read more: http://criticalhealthnews.com/health-news/25-ben-fuchs-articles/285-beta-glucan-for-wounds-dry-skin-cancer-more
Health benefits of mushrooms: 10 interesting health benefits of mushrooms nobody told you about
April 16, 2017 01:44 AM
If you don't eat mushrooms, you may be missing on the many health benefits they provide. Mushrooms contain copious amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and protein. They can help prevent prostate and breast cancer, maintain bone health, gives the immune system a boost, gets rid of anemia, fights free radicals, lowers cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, strengthens hair and teeth, and lowers blood pressure. Read this article for further details into this wondrous plant and then go eat some mushrooms!
"Mushrooms are fungi that do not contain chlorophyll and extract nutrients from decaying animal and plant matter."
Read more: https://in.news.yahoo.com/health-benefits-mushrooms-10-interesting-104312300.html
Lion's Mane Mushroom; The Ultimate Natural Memory Enhancer
Lion’s Mane Mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) also bearded tooth mushroom, bearded hedgehog mushroom, or satyr's beard is an edible and medicinal mushroom indigenous to Europe, Asia, and North America.
Lion’s Mane for neuroprotection, brain function, and enhanced memory
Nootropic effect is perhaps the biggest draw of Lion’s Mane mushroom. Scientifically, the mushroom has been proven to have neuroprotective abilities as well as boost cognitive function such as enhancing memory. It’s also associated with the manufacture of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) which is a natural antidepressant. All these gives it the ability to help in maintaining attention and focus. It's therefore, a natural supplement for general brain function.
Other health benefits
Digestion aid - Lion’s mane contains Glucan polysaccharides which improve stomach mucosa functioning that enhances digestion as well as protect the skin against aging. In addition, it contains cythan that aide in the treatment of esophagus cancer and peptic ulcers.
Enhances Immune System – the mushroom is rich in antioxidants, polysaccharides, beta-Glucan and beta-glucoxylan that strengthens the immune system, by exhibiting immune-modulating features that decrease arthritis.
Lowers High Cholesterol – research carried on an animal indicated that the mushroom reduced 45% bad cholesterol and added 31% good cholesterol making it a substantial ingredient in cholesterol-free diets.
Myelin sheaths Repairs- Lion’s mane does not show any toxicity when consumed. It also enhances myelin sheath growth. This explains why it’s used to treat multiple sclerosis and other conditions related to the central nervous system.
Lion's Main is a great supplement for older individuals looking to improve mental function.
What are the Health Benefits of Beta-Glucans
December 22, 2014 04:54 PM
What are Beta-Glucans?
Benefits of beta-Glucan
Beta-Glucans are use for cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and high cholesterol. Beta-Glucans are also use for boosting the immune system in people whose body defenses have been weakens by emotional or physical stress, chronic fatigue syndrome or by treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation. Beta-Glucans are also used for ulcerative colitis, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, aging, H1N1 flu, Lyme disease, allergies, fibromyalgia, ear infections, rheumatoid, asthma and crohn's disease.
What Is Beta Glucan 1.3/1.6 And How Does It Improve Your Health?
December 16, 2013 11:58 PM
What is Beta Glucan
Beta Glucan, precisely 1-3, 1-6-beta-Glucan or Beta 1, 3/1, 6 Glucan is defined as sugar (glucose) or a naturally occurring polysaccharide that is extracted from bacteria, fungi, yeast and mushroom cell walls, the fiber of oats, rye, wheat as well as barley and cellulose from plants. It can well be described as an immunostimulant or immunomodulator agent which stimulates the body microphages to produce cytokines and fight disease causing pathogens in order to boost the immune system of the body.
Beta Gluan Source
Since beta Glucan is got from natural food sources such as shiitake mushrooms, it is a natural way to enhance the performance of the white blood cells in fighting diseases. It helps in the reduction of the cholesterol level from the body and it is the key to a Low Density Lipoprotein, which is essential in boosting the immune system of the body. For individuals whose immune systems have been greatly lowered by HIV/AIDS, stress or other conditions, this supplement is the way to go in restoration of their immune systems
In addition, beta Glucan acts as an anti-carcinogenic substance which reduces the risk of suffering from the much dreaded cancer disease. It is also essential in keeping diabetes, hepatitis and cardiovascular diseases at bay. Beta Glucan also inhibits tumor growth and proliferation and Lyme disease
What are some Benefits of Beta Glucan
Broadly speaking, beta Glucan improves the overall ability of the body to resist various infections such as burns, common cold, asthma, allergies, ear infections and multiple sclerosis, to mention but a few. It is also an effective weight loss dietary supplement, and given that weight loss is the current health and fitness mantra, the use for beta Glucan has is rampant in the contemporary world. To add color to the already good package, it is has mild or no side effects depending on the user.
Beta Glucan can Boost your Immune System in a great way
November 18, 2013 07:43 AM
What is Beta Glucan
If you are one of those people that always remain ill or if your body cannot adopt easily with weather then it’s a sign of poor immunity and you need to improve the immunity system of your body. In order to do this you can take help of some medicines or you can consume some foods that naturally contain the Beta Glucan, which is a soluble fiber and it plays a key role in improvement of immunity system of your body.
Effects of Beta Glucan
If we talk about the effect of Beta Glucan on your immunity system it work on both the component of your immunity system that are acquired immune response and innate immune response system. In order to improve the immunity system f your body beta Glucan activate both of these component and as a result of this you get better immunity system.
How is Beta Glucan Works
In this process of immunity system improvement, First Beta Glucan combines itself with a specific type of white blood cell that is commonly known as Macrophage and as a result of this particular bonding, these white blood cells can detect and eliminate harmful foreign bodies in much better way. For this action of immunity system improvement innate immunity system is responsible.
Once your body gets the information about any kind external harmful bodies such as bacteria, virus or any other infection, acquired immune response system get activated and this is the system that fights with all these external bodies. Beta Glucan improve this system as well so your body can communicate about these intruders and can defense the body in much better manner.
Other than improvement of immunity system of your body, Beta Glucan, can help you to fight variety of other problems as well including high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer and a lot of other diseases as well.
Maitake Mushrooms - Eating your Way to Health
October 25, 2013 07:36 PM
In a world full of processed drugs and foods, the possibilities of getting a viable natural remedy for an ailment have decreased exponentially. As the society as a whole becomes more concerned with the safety and nutritional value of the foods they eat, the need for a food that kills more than two birds with a single stone is one that cannot be outdueled. Currently, one of the best foods of choice out there is the Maitake mushroom.
Where is maitake mushroom came from
The Maitake is an edible mushroom native to the northeastern Japan Mountains. This mushroom contains the maitake D-fraction, a compound that exists in our bodies in a form referred to as beta-Glucan. Since this component plays a vital role in maintaining the body’s homeostatic levels and hindering the development of some detrimental medical conditions, increasing its concentrations in our bodies increases our chances of living a longer and healthier life.
Components of maitake
Research has proven that the active component in the Maitake mushroom inhibits the growth of cancerous cells. It also boosts our immune system by stimulating the production of neutrophils, T-cells and white blood cells. This is achieved by the catalytic effect of the polysaccharide fibers it contains hence increasing the rate at which your immunity system regenerates and how strong it can stand in time of an infection.
Benefits of maitake mushroom
Other uses of the maitake extract include treating high blood sugar levels, combating hypertension, accelerating weight loss, lowering cholesterol levels in the body and supplying us with the trace elements our bodies need to function optimally.
Even though most of these research results are from tests that have not yet been rigorously verified on human beings to prove their effectiveness, there is nothing to be afraid of since eating this mushroom will leave you with no negative side effects.
Currently, we can reap of this mushroom’s healing and health boost powers by either directly eating it or by taking the maitake D-fraction as a dietary supplement. The last option is more viable to people who do not have access to the mushroom in its original form.
What Are The Health Benefits Of A Mushroom Formula?
December 29, 2012 11:39 AM
Three Important Mushrooms And Their Benefits:
You've probably heard of the health benefits of a mushroom formula, but do not know much in details. Well, Medicinal mushrooms are known to possess healing and life-giving properties. However, there are different types of mushrooms and each of them has its benefits. Let us look at three important mushrooms and how they can benefit you.
Turkey Tail Mushroom
The turkey tail mushroom has shown great promise as a powerful immune system booster. If this is your first time of hearing about this mushroom, you will want to pay keen attention to its benefits. The Turkey Tail Mush room has the power to fight off foreign invaders due to its anti-vital and microbial properties. The world we live in is full of toxins, bacteria and viruses, but when our body's immune system is working effectively, it can protect you from dangerous invasions. Furthermore, the turkey tail mushroom is can help your body to fight off the growth of cancerous tumor cells. It is therefore, a weapon against sickness and cancer.
This is an edible species that is commonly found in form of extract today. It contains beta-Glucane, which helps to strengthen the immune system as well. When you take this extract regularly, it will boost your immune system and prevent the entrance of foreign bodies that causes infection. Also, Maitake mushroom helps to regulate blood sugar levels in the body. Therefore, it is good for people with diabetes and also helps to prevent similar illnesses.
Today, the Reishi mushroom is now available as a dietary supplement. It can be added to coffee and tea. Like other mushrooms, it helps to boost the immune system and promote good health. The Reishi mushroom also act as an antioxidant by eliminating hydroxyl free radicals and improving your ability to use oxygen. More so, it is effective at lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Solaray Avena Sativa?
December 28, 2012 12:52 PM
Avena Sativa is a botanical that is used for food and as medicine. Commonly known as groats or oats, the plant is available as tea or as a liquid extract. Over the years, Avena Sativa has been used as medicine for improving the functions of certain body organs. This plant is beneficial in so many ways. Let us look at some of its benefits.
Calms the Nerves
Avena serves as a remedy for anxiety, stress and depression. It helps to calm the nerves and may be taken by an individual who finds it difficult to concentrate. It can also be used to relieve insomnia associated with stress and nervous irritation.
Improves heart health
Medical experts have revealed that Avena Sativa can help to lower the “bad” low density lipoprotein and cholesterol level. It contains ingredients such as beta Glucan, a soluble fiber which is very beneficial to the body. Further more, Avena sativa helps to treat palpitation and various heart problems. Such benefits help to strengthen the heart and make it healthy at all times.
Avena Sativa helps to fight inflammation, thanks to a molecule called avenanthramides. This molecule helps to reduce the levels of inflammatory cytokines. When the levels of cytokines are high they raise the risk of chronic illnesses like heart diseases and diabetes.
Natural Sex Booster
Dr. Ray Sahelian, the author of “natural sex boosters, identified avena sativa as a mild sex enhancer. Hence, its impact on the libido cannot be pushed aside. As you can see, Avena Sativa has lots of benefits. It can boost hormone levels and stimulate cell growth. Since it is rich in minerals, it may help an individual who is suffering with the thyroid glands.
Meanwhile, you can opt for the Solaray avena sativa available at VitaNet (R), LLC
Fight Inflammation With Herbs from Planetary Herbals
June 02, 2010 04:39 PM
Our modern lives have untold benefits, as well as challenges. Our dependence on man-made toxic chemicals, junk food, nutrient imbalanced diets, and our stressful, sedentary lifestyles can alter our biochemical metabolism and affect our health.
These lifestyles and environmental change can challenge immune health, so that the various components of the immune system are not able to carry out their protective functions. Or our immune systems can go into overdrive, often leading to a state called metabolic inflammation.
A Powerful Herbal Blend
Inflamma-Care is a potent, herbal response to the metabolic inflammation that can result from inappropriate immune response. The main component of inflama-care is the rhizome of the curcuma spicies, long used as a spice in India. Known worldwide as turmeric (curcuma longa), it acts as an anti-inflammatory by inhibiting the activities of cytokines – inflammation messengers.
This world-renowned spice is supported by boswellia, which inhibits pro-inflammatory enzymes, and ginger an antioxidant that inhibits prostaglandin and leukotriene biosynthesis. Other herbs in the formula that inhibit inflammatory action include willow bark, Chinese skullcap, corydalis, holy basil, and hops.
Inflama-care also contains systemic enzymes to clear and protect the arteries and circulatory system. Systemic enzymes like bromelain and papain cleanse the bloodstream and enable the blood to flow smoothly. A free-flowing bloodstream helps the body by circulating important nutrients to the cells while clearing the body of wastes.
Immune Activating Mushroom
Planetary Herbals also offers you new Full Spectrum Chaga in 1000mg tablets and a 1:4 liquid extract. Preliminary studies suggest that chaga triggers immune responses and protects the cells with antioxidant activity.
Chaga is a mushroom that is found attached to trees like birch, alder, beach, and other hardwoods, throughout the northern latitudes. A polyphore, the mushroom looks somewhat like coal – a brownish black mass often seen in tree trunks. In China, Siberia, Finland, Japan, Poland and North America, ancient and native peoples have long known the benefits of chaga. In an acient treaties, the Chinese monk shen nog declared in 100 BC that chaga is “a precious gift of nature.”
In modern research, chaga has been shown to have 215 phytonutrients, including 29 beta-Glucans. Chaga also absorbs a nutrient from the outer birch tree bark: betulin, a natural anti-inflammatory. Among the components in chaga are triterpenes, sterols, beta-Glucans, flavonoids, melanins, polyphenols, saponins, lignin, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. This fascinating combination of nutrients is being studied worldwide.
The PhytoDynamic Difference
Both inflama-care and full spectrum chaga are formulated with a profound understanding of the ways in which plant compounds interact with human physiology. Planetary Herbals phytodynamic principles draw on herbal tradition, scientific research, and a level of clinical expertise unmatched in the natural products industry. The result: herbal products unsurpassed for quality and consumer satisfaction.
September 10, 2008 09:23 AM
Found growing on trunks or stumps of trees in deciduous forests in temperate climates, the maitake mushroom is native to Eastern Canada and the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. Maitake also can be found thriving in northeastern Japan and parts of Europe. With fan-shaped caps on stalks that may be fused together in masses, the mature maitake plant can weight up to twenty pounds. Also called dancing mushroom because of people dancing for joy when they found the maitake mushroom, one legend explains that the name refers to the fact that maitake overlaps other forms of fungi and has the appearance of butterfly wings flapping in a dance.
Only thirty years ago this type of mushroom had yet to become cultivated or well-known. Before 1979 maitake could only be found in the wild. However, now cultivation techniques have made it possible for maitake to be enjoyed all over the world, with some Japanese research finding that it is useful for the healing of a variety of ailments. Maitake is quickly becoming more and more important in the field of natural health. Like other mushrooms, maitake is rich in polysaccharides, which are complex natural sugars that have great benefits in healing as they work to strengthen the immune system to help it fight disease. Beta D-Glucan is the powerful polysaccharide that is found in maitake, a compound that helps to stimulate the immune response.
Studies have found that maitake mushroom has the ability to reduce blood pressure in laboratory experiments that took place on animals. A study that was conducted in 1994 at the Ayurvedic Medical Center of New York found that maitake can also be of great value for humans too. This study, which involved individuals who had mild to moderate hypertension, was performed on eleven volunteers. Each volunteer was given three 500 mg doses of maitake twice a day for one month.
The results showed that blood pressure was reduced by 5 to 20 percent. Maitake may also be able to help lower blood cholesterol levels, which is a major factor in fighting and preventing heart disease. Several studies on humans have found impressive results, with three out of four patients with hypertension showing reduction in blood pressure after taking three to five grams of maitake each day.
Maitake also contains properties that are able to protect the liver from damage and even potentially reverse the damage that has already occurred. Demonstrating a hepato-protective effect, maitake works against toxins and potential liver damage. It has also been found to help protect the liver from harmful effects of hepatitis, as a group of thirty-two chronic hepatitis-B patients were studied. Each patient was give maitake extract, with the results showing that 72 percent recovered while only 57 percent of the group the used traditional therapy recovered.
As cancer continues to be leading cause of death in the western world, Human studies are beginning to find that D-fraction polysaccharides in maitake mushroom can help to treat various types of cancer. D-fraction seems to inhibit carcinogenesis and metastatis. Maitake also seems to help to lessen the severity of treatments that are hard on the body and produce debilitating side effects.
Finally, maitake was also the first mushroom that was found to inhibit the activity of HIV in laboratory studies, as it possesses the ability to kill the HIV virus. It stimulates T-cell action and prevents T-cells from being destroyed by HIV cells. Maitake is valuable for increasing the lifespan of individuals who are infected with HIV, but also there quality of life as it may help to slow the development of AIDS symptoms.
May 24, 2008 12:12 PM
Medical practices treat the symptoms of disease. They do not prevent the illness itself. Alternative medicine offers a complement to the traditional methods. More and more physicians are realizing this and responding to it in their own practices.
It is becoming more common for physicians to enlist the aid of the natural world in treating their patients. Often, along with traditional medicine, doctors will suggest using a natural product in conjunction with a prescription. One such natural healer is the mushroom.
The Maitake and Other Mushrooms
Mushrooms come in many different varieties and species. They contain a large number of compounds that offer potent healing properties. One of the most useful species of healing mushrooms being recognized for its effectiveness is the maitake mushroom. This mushroom is being tested for its ability to enhance the production of infection-fighting cells in the human body.
Mushrooms are found in wooded areas all over the world and cultivated by both professionals and amateur collectors. If you wish to harvest your own mushrooms, it is vital to your health and safety that you research what each species looks like. Some mushrooms are poisonous to the point of being life-threatening.
These spongy fungal foods are used to make certain immune system enhancing extracts, either alone or in combination with other members of the healing mushroom family.
Mushrooms contain compounds known as alpha and beta Glucans. These Glucan phytonutrients are actually long-chain polysaccharide molecules. They consist of millions of glucose molecules that are chemically bound to each other.
The beta-Glucan compound has been found to have great abilities to enhance the function of the human immune system. Lab studies are finding that the beta-Glucans activate production of T-cells and NK (natural killer) cells. These are the cells that fight viral and bacterial infection and, in some cases, even cancer.
A healthy immune system is the only sure way for a human being to remain disease free. When the body’s immune system is not in optimal shape, infections attacking the body are much more serious and can even be life threatening.
The Different Healing Mushrooms
There are many different mushrooms that are studied and used for their medicinal properties. Of the many species of mushrooms, the most common and most used by alternative medicinal healers are:
* Maitake. The maitake mushroom can be found growing on oak trees all over the world. The maitake mushroom is best known for its ability to stimulate the production of T-cells in the blood.
* Shitake. The shitake mushroom is the best known and most widely used as an immune system booster.
* Cordyceps. The extract from the cordyceps mushroom has proven to be effective in fighting various forms of bacteria. It is also known to increase physical stamina. The sports world took notice of the possible benefits of cordyceps mushrooms in 1993 when nine women who were taking cordyceps reportedly broke world records at the Chinese National Games.
* Reishi. This mushroom has been used by the Chinese for thousands of years as an immune system enhancer.
Safety and Effectiveness
A consumer warning states that consumers should be aware of false advertising of mushroom extracts. Many beta-Glucan products on the market are not 100% pure. A large number of them only contain about 1% beta-Glucan. It is wise to always speak with a trained and knowledgeable store employee before purchasing any product you are unfamiliar with. It is also important that you read the labels of any product you are considering purchasing.
Although not widely recognized yet, the maitake mushroom is fast becoming a leader in the mushroom world for its immune boosting properties. Physicians and consumers are becoming more open to and educated about the medicinal uses of mushrooms. They are in abundant supply all over the world and are waiting to be discovered.
Give Your Health A Boost With Beta Glucan
February 19, 2008 04:54 PM
Beta Glucan is a little-known component of many common foods we eat on a daily basis. Cereal, mushrooms, and even baker's yeast contain beta Glucan. The substance is most common found in such grains as barely and oats. Beta Glucan is often used in soluble fiber supplements. The FDA has given baker's yeast the rating for being generally safe (G.R.A.S.).
Beta Glucan has been studied in Japan for its anti-tumor and anti-malignancy properties. It is commonly known worldwide to have a significant impact on improving the human immune system. The clinical applications have been many for this substance. Beta Glucan has been studied for preventing infection in post-operative patients. Likewise, it has been attributed with slightly faster, more efficient healing of wounds. Beta Glucan has helped patients with septic shock.
This substance has also been studied for its effects on individuals suffering from arthritis. Beta Glucan has been attributed with slowing the disease's progress and preventing further damage to tissues. Beta Glucan has been studied for decades, however was too expensive for the general public until recent times. It has no known reactions with prescription medications and beta Glucan supplements derived from baker's yeast isn't know to contain enough to cause a reaction in those with yeast allergies.
There are also on-going studies regarding beta Glucan and it's usefulness with radiation and radiation exposure. There is a great deal of interest that this can perhaps lessen the severity of symptoms from radiation in chemotherapy and help those experiencing nuclear therapy or who are involved in a nuclear emergency.
Beta Glucan is one of the few nutrients that are recommended for both humans and animals. It is also advised for those who have poor daily nutrition, athletes, those regularly exposed to radiation, individuals under stress, or anyone who wants to stay healthy. In truth, studies indicate that consumption of oats, cereal grains, and other beta Glucan containing products can lower cholesterol, can aid in overcoming intestinal problems, and can benefit those diagnosed with AIDS and multiple sclerosis.
Beta Glucan strengthens the cells responsible for fighting foreign invaders in the body such as viruses, bacteria and even parasites. It helps these cells be more responsive and stronger when free radials enter the body. One study in Canada evaluated the response of beta Glucan to Anthrax. As a result, the beta Glucan proved to be a very effective supplement to the antibiotics used in treating this disease.
Higher dosages do not equal effectiveness. Beta Glucan is not measured by the size or milligram of the supplement. The determining factors for the effectiveness of beta Glucan involve how the substance is processed and if the particular pill re-aggregates during the digestive process. If your supplement re-aggregates, it will not have the same effective nature as those that do not.
Be sure to evaluate the labels and inspect the image the company is portraying. If a product is "too good to be true," it is. As always, consult with your physician before starting this or any other long-term supplement.
Six Foods that Boost Heart Health
January 21, 2008 01:57 PM
The majorities of baby boomers are looking for a way to loose weight and lower their cholesterol. Both of these are two important factors in heart disease, which still remains the number one killer in the United States. The good news is that you can dodge heart disease through your food choices. Below are six foods that can help boost your heart health.
Many studies have proven the variety of health benefits given by fish, ranging from joint inflammation in arthritis sufferers to brain development in babies. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish support circulation and improve blood vessel function. Researchers have also determined that omega-3s can prevent heart-attack deaths as they stop the electrical disturbance that causes death and half of all heart attacks are due to these arrhythmias. Each week, you should eat one to two 3-ounce servings of fatty fish such as an Alaskan salmon, anchovies, herring or mackerel. By baking or poaching these fish at low heart you can help to preserve the omega-3s. For vegetarians, omega-3 rich flaxseeds can be added to oatmeal, smoothies, or salads. For those who don’t care for fish there are omega-3 oil supplements available as well.
Have you ever wondered why oatmeal is so good for you? In your body, this gluey beta-Glucan, which is soluble fiber, binds to bile acids found in the intestines and stomach and excretes them as waste. In order to make more bile acids, the liver needs cholesterol and takes it from the blood. This results in lower blood cholesterol levels. You need 3 grams of soluble fiber each day to reduce your cholesterol by five percent. A cup and a half of cooked oatmeal is a good size serving that can be jazzed up in flavor with frozen berries, non-fat plain yogurt, almonds and much more.
High-glycemic foods like potatoes, white bread, and white rice should be avoided because you get a harmful burst of glucose and insulin that’s harmful immediately after eating them. These bursts tire out the pancreas in the long run and increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Research also shows that having high-glycemic foods at one meal will make you even hungrier and eat more at the next, which is why these foods are associated with weight gain. People with excess fat are much more likely to develop heart disease and stroke even if there are no other risk factors. Because of this, focusing on true grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and barley and choosing them over refined grains as much as possible.
Nuts are important for their unsaturated fats and their ability to help lower cholesterol. Walnuts actually contain omega-3 fatty acids, while almonds boost calcium, helping the heart muscle to contract, and Brazil nuts have selenium, which is a heart-protective antioxidant. About one ounce each day of nuts is good for you, but they do have a lot of calories so make sure to go easy on them. If you have a nut allergy, topping you salad with olives is a good alternative, as they contain unsaturated fats.
Beans also contain soluble fiber like oatmeal which helps to reduce cholesterol and keep arteries clear. By choosing the protein from beans instead of meat, you can cut back on saturated fats which raise cholesterol. Eating beans four to five times a week is recommended, as they can be added to a lot of meals. If you don’t tolerate beans well, try adding kombu, a sea vegetable, to them to help break down the components that cause gas. Your body also does adapt to beans over time, so try building up your bean servings slowly. Food enzymes can help reduce gas as well so don’t forget to take your enzymes.
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and other berries all have strong antioxidant properties that can help fight heart disease and are also low in calories and high in fiber. Eating two cups of fruit each day for general health is recommended, but you should eat as many berries as you can tolerate. Free radicals can break down cholesterol that is flowing in your blood and make them sticky so to deposit on the arterial walls of your blood vessels. Fight this with antioxidant rich foods to reduce cholesterol build up.
Eating healthy is one step in boosting heart health and overall cardiovascular health. Exercise is also important in keeping your body strong and vibrant so one can live a healthier longer life.
10 Top Winter Cold & Flu Supplements
January 14, 2008 10:01 AM
As the winter weather continues to keep people close together indoors, viruses causing influenza and the common cold are able to more easily multiply. However, there are ways to prevent these unwanted germs from invading your body. Here is a list of the top ten dietary supplements that help the immune system fight and repel cold and flu bugs.
Andrographis has long been used in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine to boost the immune system. Actually, andrographis was first used during the Indian flu epidemic of 1919, where it was credited with stalling the spread of the disease. According to research, andrographis works better than a placebo for reducing the symptoms of respiratory infections and it may even prevent the infection in the first place. These studies used a proprietary andrographis product which combines the herb with a Siberian ginseng.
Beta Glucan is a fiber-like complex sugar that can be found in oats, barley, and the cell walls of mushrooms. It provides a boost to the immune system which enhancing resistance to viruses and bacteria. In fact, beta Glucan has been shown to boost the activity of phagocytes, special immune system cells which engulf and destroy germs.
Echinacea has a long history of traditional use; with it actually being one of the most widely used herbs in Native American medicine. Instead of having a direct germ-killing effect, Echinacea stimulates the body’s own immune defenses. Many studies go back as far as 1970 have shown that Echinacea boosts the immune system so that it can protect against infections invaders. A new study has found that Echinacea can reduce the odds of developing a cold by 58 percent and shortens the length of a cold to 1.4 days.
Elderberry was considered in Roman times to be a flu remedy. Recently, elderberry extract has been researched for its role in treating influenza infections, especially when it is taken with in the first 24 hours of developing symptoms. One recent study proved that individuals who were taking elderberry recovered four days sooner from influenza than those taking a placebo. Additionally, the use of other medications was less for those who used elderberry.
Garlic improves resistance to disease by boosting immune function. Many studies have found that garlic stimulates immunity because it increases the number of white blood cells and other immune system team members. A recent study proved that a group of individuals taking garlic caught significantly fewer colds and recovered more quickly from the colds they did come down with than the other group which was taking a placebo.
Ginseng boosts immune function in all of its forms. A study of adults who were taking American ginseng daily during the winter months found that those people, compared to those taking a placebo, caught fewer colds and needed less sick days. Additionally, Siberian ginseng and Asian ginseng can also build defenses against winter germs.
Propolis is created by bees when resins from plants are mixed with wax. This propolis coats the inside of the beehive with an antiseptic layer and it can have similar benefits when taken by humans. Propolis stimulates the body’s immune system. It has been proven in studies that taking propolis extract can protect against colds and other upper respiratory infections. Children who take propolis daily for three winter months have been proven to catch fewer colds than those kids who are taking a placebo.
Zinc lozenges, when they are taken within 24 hours of the first cold symptom, can keep cold viruses from taking ground in the respiratory tract. The use of a zinc lozenge every couple of hours also causes colds to resolve more quickly and symptoms to be less severe.
Our immune system is out first line of defense against the cold and flu, as well as the diseases we may come down with. Keeping our immune system in tip top shape is key to a happier and healthier life. The above herbs can help boost the immune system along with a dietary change and exercise plan one can reduce the length of or prevent sickness over a life time.
Beyond Bran Fiber
December 25, 2007 08:35 AM
At one point in time, when you went to the health food store you usually only had choice of wheat bran, which is a good source of the insoluble fiber that helps your digestive system stay on track, or oat bran, which contains the soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol. Although both of these bran’s are still popular, as they have good reason to be, remaining excellent sources of dietary fiber, these days store shelves are gathering more and more fiber supplements ranging from encapsulated forms to powders and specialized to deal with a variety of health concerns.
Insoluble fiber has the ability to draw water into the intestines, preventing constipation and keeping waste matter from decaying within the body. However, it is the many types of soluble fiber that science has recently started investigating for health benefits. Part of soluble fiber’s value is closely related to its mechanical action, as it forms a thick gel within the digestive track that moves slowly to stop sugar from entering the body too quickly, therefore, helping to keep glucose levels down and carrying some fat and sugar out of the body completely. Additionally, when soluble fibers gel up it helps to reduce blood level cholesterol by trapping bile preventing the bile from doing its action (breaking down fats in the digestive tract so the body can absorb it). Unlike insoluble fiber, soluble fiber undergoes fermentation inside the colon to produce fatty acids that do a little bit of everything, including: helping the body digest food, protecting against polyps, stimulating immunity, increasing mineral absorption, and helping to keep cholesterol and glucose levels in check.
Soluble fiber is getting large amounts of research reviews. One study concluded that people who ate the least fiber are 63% more likely to have high levels of CRP (C-reactive protein). CRP is an inflammation marker that is associated with cardiovascular risk. Another study proved that flax seed improved glucose control. Another fiber source, psyllium, has been shown to bring relief to people with Chron’s disease, an inflammatory intestinal disorder.
Flax seed and psyllium are two of the best known types of soluble fiber available, but there are other types that aren’t as well known. Others including arabinogalactan (AG) have been shown to have a special affinity for natural killer cells. Beta-Glucans are another form of fiber that can help boost immunity. Lignans, which are found in flax, have been shown to cause lower breast-cancer rates. Fenugreek is a spice that is rich in galactomannan, a heart-healthy fiber. Some fiber formulations pair up different kinds of fiber with complementary herbs. An example of this is Garcinia cambogia and Gymnema sylvestre, which can be used for glucose control; or astragalus, Echinacea, olive leaf, and shiitake to assist the immune system. Some supplements even provide natural enzymes which help prevent bloating.
It is, of course, important to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. However, thanks to supplementation that is designed specifically for certain health concerns, it has become much easier to find the additional fiber that is needed by your body, no matter what kind of fiber that is. A large selection of fiber bran supplements can be found at your local or internet health food store.
September 15, 2007 02:48 PM
For decades, researchers have known about the correlation between polysaccharides and immune system activity. Extensive research has shown that, once successfully absorbed by the bloodstream, these large polysaccharide molecules can potentially support the immune system by increasing the body’s natural production of cytokines—a group of specialized peptide proteins that serve as signaling mechanisms for cells and their target receptors.
Cytokines, such as lymphokines, monokines, interleukins, interferons, and TNF (tumor nectrosis factor) work within the body and encourage the activity of NK cells, T, cells, and B cells. Although specialized polysaccharides are derived from indigestible plant fibers, those same fibers may actually prevent them from entering the bloodstream, thereby minimizing their benefit to the immune system.
More recent scientific advances have determined that, by breaking these long polysaccharides into smaller components called hemicelluloses, these compounds could have a great effect on immune system support. Now Mushroom Glyconutrients was scientifically formulated to support optimal immune system function. It contains RBAC (Rice Bran Arabinoxylan Compound), a specialized type of glyconutrient that is formed when rice bran fibers are broken down using enzymes from select shiitake mushrooms. RBAC has been clinically shown to support the body’s overall immune system.
For added support, NOW Mushroom Glyconutrients also contains a blend of shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms—an excellent source of innate and adaptive immune supporting 1,3 beta-Glucans.
Complete Liver Cleanse
April 19, 2007 04:17 PM
Complete Liver Cleanse
Technical Data Sheet
The liver performs over 500 functions, including metabolizing carbohydrates and proteins, synthesizing and storing vitamins, and regulating hormones – naming just a few. To do this job, the liver is also required to be exposed to potentially harmful toxins and chemicals, every day.
One way to support the liver is through periodic supplementation with the proper balance of herbal ingredients, phytosterols, and fiber. Complete Liver Cleanse is a convenient, multi-ingredient formula that supports overall liver health and detoxification.
Complete Liver Cleanse:
Includes ingredients for various aspects of liver and gallbladder support:
-Herbal ingredients that support liver and gallbladder health
-Detoxifying ingredients that keep bound toxins from being reabsorbed
-Phytosterols to block cholesterol absorption in the intestines
-Fiber that moves cholesterol and toxins out of the body
-Oat beta-Glucan fiber with up to 4 times higher viscosity than other beta-Glucan
-Simple, two week liver cleanse program
Each 3 capsules contain:
Calcium (as calcium D-glucarate) 13 mg
Proprietary PuraFiber Blend: 1 mg
Viscofiber Oat B-Gucan Concentrate, phytosterols
(beta sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, brassicasterol,
and other plant sterols), and glucomannan
Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) Fruit Phytosome 220 mg
One part Milk Thistle Extract, standardized to contain 80%
Silymarin bound to two parts phosphatidylcholine (soy) using
a patented process
Burdock (Arctium lappa) Root Extract 4:1 100 mg
Calcium D-Glucarate 100 mg
Boldo (Peumus boldus) Leaf Extract 2:1 75 mg
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) Rhizome Extract 50 mg
Standardized to contain 90% curcuminoids
Dandelion (Taraxacum offinale) Root Extract 4:1 50 mg
Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) Leaf Extract 30 mg
Standardized to contain 13-18% caffeylquinic
Acids calculated as chlorogenic acid
Contains no: sugar, salt, yeast, wheat, dairy products, artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, ingredients of animal origin, or preservatives. This product contains natural ingredients; color variations are normal.
Other ingredients: See label for most current information
Viscofiber is a registered trademark of Cebena Bioproducts, Inc. The use and composition of the Viscofiber proprietary formula is protected by patients and patent applications filed in the
This product contains calcium D-glucarate, the use of which is licensed from Applied Food Sciences, LLC, and protected by
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Every day, the liver must process an almost unbelievable amount of blood – at a rate of three pints every minute. All the while, the liver performs over 500 physiologic functions, including protein and glucose synthesis, carbohydrate metabolism, vitamin and mineral storage, synthesis of clotting factors, urea formation, metabolism of medications, and the production of bile. The liver also assists in hormonal regulation, blood glucose control, and other regulatory functions.
Harmful substances that have been neutralized by the liver are carried to the intestines and kidneys for excretion. They are transported by bile, a greenish, watery solution that is synthesized, and continuously being excreted, by the liver. Stored in the gallbladder, a small sac cupped in the under surface of the liver, bile is also required for the digestion of dietary fats. However, in the case of toxins, bile is primarily an early transporter of the toxic compounds to the intestines, where they can be bound to fiber that helps transport them out of the body. Environmental toxins, including lipid (fat) soluble toxins, are broken into water-soluble components by bile to be excreted through the kidneys or colon.
Detoxification refers to the process of excreting potentially harmful compounds that are both generated by the body and acquired through exposure to the environment. In the body, toxins are generated as by-products of cellular metabolic processes. Examples include dead and digested bacteria, hydrogen peroxide, cellular debris, and carbon dioxide.
The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that the amount of environmental toxins in the air, groundwater, and soil has increased significantly in the last 40 years. In fact, the use of pesticides has doubled every ten years since 1945. Americans are increasingly exposed to heavy metals, pesticides, fossil fuel emissions, sulfur oxides, hydrocarbons, and other harmful chemicals. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that traces of toxic chemicals can now be found in nearly every American.
Herbal Liver Support
One of the major components in Complete Liver Cleanse is its milk thistle extract, standardized to contain 80% silymarin, the plant’s most bioactive compound. Milk Thistle provides support, at a cellular level, for healthy liver function. A patented delivery system, known as the Phytosome process, provides superior absorption of the milk thistle extract.
Silymarin, a key compound found in milk thistle, is a mixture of flavonoids with a long history of liver support. Silymarin supports the health of Kupffer cells, specialized liver cells responsible for removing bacteria, old blood cells, and other foreign matter from the liver’s blood supply. Silymarin scavenges free radicals (superoxide anion radical and nitric oxide) produced by activated Kupffer cells, supports healthy leukotriene levels, and supports glutathione production that is used in detoxification.
Silymarin also supports the health of hepatocytes, highly versatile liver cells with unique physiologic functions. Studies of silymarin have demonstrated that it supports the health of the hepatocyte outer membrane, which is crucial to the liver’s detoxification processes. Silymarin also supports the healthy regenerative ability of the liver through support of protein synthesis in the hepatocytes.
A special, patented proves known as Phytosome enhances the absorption of milk thistle in Complete Liver Cleanse. The Phytosome process pairs herbal ingredients with phosphatidylcholine molecules. Phosphatidylcholine is a naturally occurring substance found in soybeans, egg yolks, and some vegetables. In the body, phosphatidylcholine is an important building block of cell membranes.
When milk thistle (or other herbs) are bound with phosphatidylcholine, the phosphatidylcholine molecule facilitates absorption through the intestines into the bloodstream. Research has shown increased blood and serum levels for phytosome herbs in comparison to the individual herb alone.
To test whether binding an herb with phosphatidylcholine increased its bioavailability, researchers gave volunteers identical amounts of either milk thistle alone, or milk thistle phytosome. The researchers then took blood sample from the participants and measured the level of silybin (a key compound in milk thistle). The measurements showed that silybin levels in participants taking the phytosome form of milk thistle were higher, and that silybin was detected for a longer time, than those who took milk thistle without the phytosome delivery system.
Other Herbal Liver Supportive Ingredients
Herbal extracts are often at their best when they are working synergistically – that is, when different constituents of each plant work together and support each other. Complete Liver Cleanse contains a variety of herbal extracts that have noted benefits for supporting the body’s healthy bile flow and free-radical scavenging effects. These ingredients provide a wide spectrum of liver supportive benefits.
For instance, dandelion root extract supports healthy bile flow from the gallbladder.
Burdock is originally native to Europe and Asia, but was introduced to
Burdock root (Arctium lappa) supports the natural physiologic processes of organs involved in detoxification and elimination: notably, the liver, kidneys, and intestines.
Bolodo (pemus boldus) is a small evergreen native to South America, but naturalized to southern
In scientific studies, boldo appears to have strong free-radical scavenging ability, mostly attributed to the catechin and flavonoids content of its leaves. In a clinical study, boldo also appears to relax smooth muscle and support intestinal transit time.
Artichoke Leaf extract specifically supports healthy bile production in the liver and healthy gastrointestinal function in general. Research into artichoke’s gastrointestinal supportive properties has included at least three clinical trials. Artichoke’s role in supporting healthy cholesterol levels within normal limits has also been investigated.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a perennial shrub native to southern
More recently, turmeric has been investigated for its support of healthy bile secretion, and pancreatic and gastric function.
In a scientific study, dietary curcuminoids derived from turmeric supported healthy lipid metabolism and cholesterol levels already within normal limits.
Curcumin has also been shown in scientific studies to enhance the activity of glutathione S-transferase - an enzyme responsible for linking glutathione (one of the body’s natural antioxidants) with toxins to help remove them from the body. In this way, it provides additional support for healthy liver function.
The process of detoxification is the breakdown and excretion of substances that are no longer needed or may be harmful to the body. One of the ways in which the body excretes hormones and toxins is by binding them to glucuronic acid in the liver, and then excreting this compound in the bile.
However, this process can be disrupted by B-glucuronidase, an enzyme that is produced by intestinal bacteria. This enzyme has the ability to break (uncouple) the chemical bond established by glucuronic acid. This action releases the bound toxins, which are then reabsorbed into the body instead of being excreted.
Calcium D-Glucarate is the calcium salt of d-glucaric acid. It is found in both the human body, and in some plant sources, including broccoli and oranges.
Calcium d0glucarate enhances the body’s detoxification systems by inhibiting the actions of beta-glucuronidase. This helps decrease the portion of active compounds that could be hazardous to the body.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is vital to fat digestion, cell structure, nerve insulation and hormone production. Cholesterol comes from two sources: dietary or “exogenous” cholesterol absorbed in the intestine, and “endogenous” cholesterol formed mostly by the liver and stored in the gallbladder.
Cholesterol occurs in two forms known as lipoproteins. Lipoproteins act as transports that carry fat s to and from the cells.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) carries low lipid density cholesterol (LDL) away from arterial walls and returns it to the bloodstream. LDL then travels back to the liver, which processes and eliminates it. While high levels of HDL cholesterol is desirable, high amounts of LDL cholesterol is not supportive of optimal health.
LDL-cholesterol is both synthesized in the body, or absorbed into the bloodstream through receptor sites in the intestines. Think of these receptors as “parking spaces” for cholesterol. As it happens, the liver can receive up to 500 mg per day of cholesterol from intestinal absorption. (It can also produce as much as 1000 mg per day).
One way to help reduce the absorption of LDL cholesterol molecules it to occupy their “parking places” in the intestines. Phytosterols in Liver Cleanse are essentially the “fat” of plants. They’re found in nuts, corn and rice and are some of the “good” fats associated with the benefits of olive oil, flaxseed oil and other healthy oils.
The structure of phytosterols is so similar to cholesterol that they fit perfectly in the specially-shaped intestinal parking spaces that LDL-cholesterol would normally occupy.
Taken with, or just before meals, phytosterols block the cholesterol receptor sites so that cholesterol is excreted from the body rather than absorbed. Phytosterols also have the additional role of helping promote healthy bile salt excretion in the intestines.
The phytosterol blend in Complete Liver Cleanse can help minimize the absorption of cholesterol from high-protein food sources, help retain healthy cholesterol levels that are within normal limits, and move bile sat through the digestive system.
Fiber and detoxification
Fiber plays a key role in the removal and excretion of intestinal toxins in detoxification. Only fibers that can effectively bind toxins will be successful in eliminating these harmful substances. Due to the unique benefits of individual fibers, the best binding, removal, and elimination effects are noted when combining different fiber types. Complete Liver Cleanse contains a combination of oat beta-Glucan and konjac fiber that has been shown in scientific studies to bind to bile salts.
Dietary fibers are complex mixtures of cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, mucilage, and gums, which are resistant to digestive fluids or enzymes – that is, they aren’t absorbed into the bloodstream. So, while fiber itself doesn’t necessarily provide nutrients, it does promote laxation and modulate gastric and intestinal physiology. Intestinal flora that normally reside within the colon utilize fiber as a medium for microbial fermentation, resulting in the synthesis of the vitamins, vitamin K and biotin, and the formation of short chain fatty acids, or SCFA.
SCFA have a simple, but important job: to be absorbed by the colon mucosa, increasing fecal matter bulk and providing energy. Fiber has been demonstrated in numerous clinical studies to provide support of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, immune, and endocrine function health.
Complete Liver Cleanse also features two unique fibers to promote detoxification – konjac and oat beta-Glucan.
Konjac, (Amorphophallus Konjac) is a tuber native to
As a fiber, konjac has shown positive results maintaining healthy cholesterol levels within normal limits in clinical studies. This beneficial effect is due to konjac’s ability to boost excretion of bile acid.
Oat beta-Glucan has been a widely studied fiber source for supporting healthy cholesterol levels within normal limits.
In a randomized clinical study, oat beta-Glucan showed support of healthy HDL/LDL ratios already within normal limits in individuals over a three week trial.
Closely linked to cholesterol, oat beta-Glucan has also been studied for its support of healthy bile excretion.
Fiber has benefits beyond maintaining healthy cholesterol levels already within normal limits. It also contributes to healthy blood sugar levels already within normal limits. In a double-blind, clinical study, the oat beta-Glucan fiber used in Liver Cleanse was shown to have 4 times higher viscosity than another high concentrate beta-Glucan fiber.
Viscosity – the resistance to flow – is an important factor in beta-Glucan, and all fiber. Water, for instance, would have a low viscosity, because it provides very little resistance to movement. Fiber, on the other hand, should have a higher viscosity in order to maximize its transit time through the GI tract, providing a gentle “scrubbing” on the intestinal walls. Therefore, the higher the viscosity, the greater the potential benefit.
Three capsules in the morning and three capsules at bedtime for 14 days.
Warnings: Do not use if you know or suspect you have an obstructed bile duct or problematic gallstones. If pregnant, nursing or taking prescription drugs, consult your healthcare practitioner prior to use. Keep out of reach of children.
April 09, 2007 05:02 PM
EpiCor® is a unique and novel dietary supplement used for support of immune health, with a fascinating history of discovery. In 1943, a company in
Interestingly, when the company became self-insured, they became aware of unusually low rates of illness in employees that worked in the manufacturing plant for this animal product. This led to very low increases in their insurance premiums over the years compared to other companies, saving them quite a lot of money. Hence they began to investigate what might be the cause of the “healthfulness” of the employees at the fermentation plant. This investigation and subsequent research studies led to the formation of a new company called Embria Health Sciences, which now produces EpiCor® as a supplement for humans to support immune system health.1 Doctor’s Best® is proud to now offer the benefits of EpiCor® to its customers.
Beneficial Support of the Immune System and Activation of Natural Killer (NK) Cells in vitro*
A comparison study was performed on blood from 10 fermentation plant workers compared to that from 10 age and gender matched controls. The fermentation plant workers had several immune cell parameters that appeared superior to the control group. These included decreased levels of CD8 cells resulting in significantly increased CD4 to CD8 ratios, significantly improved cytotoxic natural killer (NK) cell activity even though total NK cells were decreased in number, higher killing efficiency of NK cells, significantly increased levels of secretory IgA, increased numbers of EpiCor™ specific antibodies, higher levels of red blood cell intracellular glutathione, and significantly lower levels of immune complexes. These results represent benefits on various cellular players of both the specific and innate parts of the immune system.1,3,4
NK cells are one of the first lines of defense used by the immune system. An in vitro study performed on human cells showed that NK cells were activated after incubation with EpiCor®, as evaluated by expression of the CD69 activation marker. The CD25 marker (IL-2 receptor) was also induced in the NK cells, although to a lesser degree.1,2 B cell activation was also noted through increased expression of CD80 and CD86 markers.2 Immediate increases in calcium levels were evident in peripheral blood mononuclear cells after exposure to EpiCor®, suggesting increased activation through calcium regulation.2
High Metabolite Immunogen*: Nutrient Make-up
Production of EpiCor® utilizes the common and harmless bakers or brewers yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae in a patented process called MetaGen4™, a multi-stage fermentation and drying process. It differs from other yeast products in that it contains both the yeast itself as well as the metabolites or “nutrilites” formed by the fermentation process, which are present in the media.1 Together the media containing the metabolites and the yeast are dried to form EpiCor®. Analysis of EpiCor® reveals that it contains a mixture of natural polyphenols, phytosterols, beta-Glucans, mannan oligosaccharides, fiber, trace amounts of B vitamins and minerals, as well as a host of other nutritional compounds.1,2
Beneficial Antioxidant Activity*
EpiCor® was tested for antioxidant activity in an in vitro assay called the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity assay (ORAC). In this assay, EpiCor® was shown to have a total ORAC antioxidant level of 610 micromol TE (tocopherol (vitamin E) equivalents) units (ORAC units) per gram dry weight, which soared above other high antioxidant level foods such as cranberries (93 ORAC units per gram dry weight) and blueberries (62 ORAC units per gram dry weight).1,3,5
In another study, freshly isolated human neutrophils were treated with EpiCor® followed by the free radical generator hydrogen peroxide. Cells were treated with a dye that fluoresces when attacked by free radicals. Those cells treated with EpiCor® showed decreased fluorescence intensity compared to control cells not treated with EpiCor®, verifying antioxidant activity in vitro.2
Numerous safety tests have been conducted on EpiCor®, revealing an extremely safe profile. Animal studies performed by a leading toxicology laboratory showed no indication of any toxic effects of EpiCor®. An acute oral toxicity study on 20 rats showed that the product was safe when given to rats at a single oral dose of 2000 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (equivalent to a human ingesting 280 capsules at once). After 2 weeks the rats showed no clinical symptoms, no deaths, no abnormalities in body weight, and no gross pathological changes. The same safety results were found in a subchronic toxicity study where rats were given up to 1500 milligrams daily for 90 days (equivalent to a human ingesting up to 210 capsules daily for 1.5 years). Again, absolutely no signs or symptoms of toxicity were noted in these animals.1,3
In addition, a standard bacterial reverse mutagenicity test (AMES test) as well as a mammalian cell mutation assay using mouse lymphoma cells revealed no evidence of any increase in mutation rates after exposure to EpiCor®. EpiCor® also showed no evidence of mitogenicity (inducing increased cell division) in a human lymphocyte proliferation assay. This suggests that EpiCor® does not cause over-reactivity of cells1,3.
The effect of EpiCor® on specific liver enzymes CYP1A2 and CYP3A4 (enzymes involved in metabolizing certain drugs and other compounds) was assessed. Immortalized hepatocytes (liver cells) were treated with various concentrations of EpiCor® and compared to both positive and negative controls. EpiCor® did not increase the expression or activity of the liver enzymes, suggesting that it may not affect the metabolism of other substances or medications metabolized by these enzymes if they are taken simultaneously. It also did not appear to be toxic to the cells as measured by lactate dehydrogenase assays and microscopic analysis.1
Lastly, EpiCor® was tested for safety in humans in an open label study on 15 adult men and women given a single 500 milligram dose for 30 days. On various days throughout the study vital signs were monitored, and blood and urine samples were analyzed. No clinically relevant abnormal effects on the participants were found1.
EpiCor® also currently has received self-affirmed Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) status by an expert panel that included eminent toxicologists1.
EpiCor® is a novel compound with an incredibly unique composition that has been shown to enhance immune system function.*
Suggested Adult Use: Take one capsule daily with or without food.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
1. Embria Health Sciences
2. Hart et al. A new Saccharomyces cerevisiae based product has anti-inflammatory effects while specifically activating human NK and B lymphocyte subsets. Unpublished study, personal communication.
3. Schauss AG, Jensen G, Vojdani A, Financsek I. After decades of ingestion by farm animals, the discovery of a yeast fermentate with unexpected significant immune modulatory activity when consumed by humans. [abstract] Journal of the
4. Schauss AG, Vodjani A. Discovery of an edible fermentation product with unusual immune enhancing properties in humans. [abstract] FASEB J, 2006; 20(4):A143.
5. Wu X, Beecher GR, Holden JM, Haytowitz DB, Gebhardt SE, Prior RL. Lipophilic and hydrophilic antioxidant capacities of common foods in the
Fruit and Vegetable Lightning drink mixes from Natures Plus
February 06, 2007 02:41 PM
Enjoy the Rainbow – the Color Wheel of Fruits and Vegetables
We’ve all heard the statistics, and have probably seen the signs in the produce section of our favorite grocery store: eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day is important,
Chances are also pretty good that we’ve also seen the newest food pyramid, encouraging Americans to “eat a rainbow of frits and vegetables.” That is, choose from the rich variety of colors for the best all-around health benefits.
In this Ask the Doctor, we’re going to look at the unique health components of different colored fruits and vegetables, and why they’re so important. Plus, we’ll learn about supplemental options, like fruit and vegetable drink mixes, for those days when our diets just aren’t that great.
Q. What’s the big deal about fruits and vegetables?
A. Well, for the main reason that they are whole foods – created by nature (or at least generations of farming) and are rich in a variety of nutrients. Processed foods can’t match the health benefits of strawberries or broccoli – items that have fiber, vitamins, and enzymes built right in.
Q. What does “eating a rainbow” of fruits and vegetables really mean?
A. This is simply an easy way of remembering to get as much color variety in your diet as possible to maximize your intake of a broad range of nutrients. The colors of fruits and vegetables are often a tangible clue to the unique vitamins and other healthy substances they contain. Getting a variety of colors, therefore, means getting a variety of the essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and strong.
Enjoying the Rainbow: Fruit and Vegetable Benefits:
Q. Can you tell me a little more about the healthy components of fruits and vegetables?
Let’s take a look at some of the most well-studied and important nutrients:
Quercetin is found in apples, onions and citrus fruits (also is hawthorn and other berries and apple-related fruits usually used in traditional herbal remedies and modern supplements). It prevents LSL cholesterol oxidation and helps the body cope with allergens and other lung and breathing problems.
Clinical studies show that quercetin’s main points of absorption in the body appear to be in the small intestine – about 50%. The rest – at least 47% is metabolized by the colonic micro flora – the beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum. You may consider adding these beneficial bacteria (found in yogurt) either through the diet or a supplemental form.
Ellagic Acid is a component of ellagitannins – dietary polyphenols with antioxidant (and possibly anticancer) properties. Polyphenols are the basic building blocks of many plant-based antioxidants. More complex phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids are created from these molecules.
Ellagic acid is found in many fruits and foods, namely raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates, and walnuts. Clinical studies suggest that ellagitannins and ellagic acid act as antioxidants and anticarcinogens in the gastrointestinal tract.
Ellagitannins are durable antioxidants, and happily, they do not appear to be diminished by processing, like freezing. This means the benefits are still strong, even in frozen packs of raspberries or strawberries, or some of the better multi-ingredient supplement drink mixes.
In scientific studies, ellagic acid also showed an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells, decreasing their ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production. ATP is the molecule that provides the primary energy source for the cells in our bodies. In a sense, ellagic acid seems to deprive cancer cells of their fuel.
Beta-Carotene: Probably the best-known of the carotenoids, beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A. Many vegetables, especially orange and yellow varieties, are rich in this nutrient. Think summer squash, yams and of course, carrots.
Beta-carotene has long been associated with better eyesight, but it has other benefits, too. In a scientific study, beta-carotene decreased cholesterol levels in the liver by 44% and reduces liver triglycerides by 40%.
Lycopene is a carotenoid mostly found in tomatoes, but also in smaller amounts in watermelon and other fruits. Clinical studies have shown that lycopene consumption may decrease the risk of prostate cancer. In fact, high intakes of lycopene are associated with a 30% to 40% reduced risk. And, as good as beta-carotene is, its cousin, lycopene, seems to be an even stronger nutrient, protecting not just against prostate cancer, but heart disease as well.
Lutein is found in many fruits and vegetables, including blueberries and members of the squash family. Lutein is important for healthy eyes, and in fact it is found in high concentrations naturally in the macular region of the retina – where we see fine detail. It is one of the only carotenoids, along with its close sibling zeaxanthin, that is found in the macula and lens of the eye.
Lutein also supports your heart, too. In a scientific study, lutein reduced atherosclerotic lesion size by 43%. In other words, high intakes of lutein may actually help prevent coronary artery disease!
Interestingly, as is the case with lycopene, cooking or processing foods with lutein may actually make it more easily absorbed.
In clinical studies, men with high intakes of lutein (and its close cousin, zeaxanthin, found in broccoli and spinach) had a 19% lower risk of cataract, and women had a 22% decreased risk, compared to those whose lutein intakes were much lower.
Vitamin C: One of the best-known nutrients out there, vitamin C keeps our immune system strong; speeds wound healing, and promote strong muscles and joints. A free-radical fighter, vitamin C prevents oxidative damage to tissues, builds strength in collagen and connective tissue, and even reduces joint pain.
Sources of vitamin C are scattered throughout the spectrum of fruits and vegetables.
Potassium: Most Americans are deficient in potassium. For the most part, it’s hard to get too much of this valuable mineral. Potassium does great things for our hearts. Higher intakes of dietary potassium from fruits and vegetables have been found in clinical research to lower blood pressure in only 4 weeks.
Many researchers believe that the typical American diet has led to a state of chronic, low-grade acidosis – too much acid in the body. Potassium helps change pH balance to a more alkaline environment in the body and increases bone density.
This was proven in the long-running Framingham Heart Study which showed that dietary potassium, (along with magnesium and fruit and vegetable intake) provided greater bone density in older individuals.
Fiber is another food component many just don’t get enough of – especially if they’re eating a “typical American diet.” Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber. However, fiber from a good fruits and vegetable drink mix should be derived from inulin and chicory root. This soluble fiber source not only adds to the overall amount of fiber you need (25 to 38 grams a day), but also provides a nice “nesting ground” for the beneficial bacteria that populate the intestines. And, even though some fiber has a bad rap for inhibiting mineral absorption, inulin and chicory root are “bone building” fibers – they actually help the body absorb calcium.
Flavonoids are an overarching term that encompasses flavonols, anthocyanidins, and flavones, isoflavones, proanthocyanidins, Quercetin and more. They are almost everywhere: in fruits, vegetables, grains, herbs, nuts and seeds – even in the coffee, wine and tea we drink. Flavonoids are responsible for the colors in the skins of fruits and the leaves of trees and other plants.
Flavonoids have many health benefits. They can help stop the growth of tumor cells and are potent antioxidants. Additionally, flavonoids have also been studied for their ability to reduce inflammation.
Anthocyanins: High on the list of important “visible” nutrients are anthocyanins. They color fruits and vegetables blue and red.
Anthocyanins are members of this extended family of nutmeats, the flavonoids. Typically found in high amounts in berries, anthocyanins are readily absorbed in the stomach and small intestine.
As antioxidants, anthocyanins dive deep into cell membranes, protecting them from damage. IT may be one reason why the anthocyanins from blueberries are considered such an important component in battling neuronal decline, like Alzheimer’s. Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are also excellent sources of this flavonoids group.
SDG lignans, (short for secoisolariciresinol diglucoside) are polyphenolic components of flaxseed, pumpkin and other herbal sources. Much of the recent research surrounding lignans has focused on flaxseed. In scientific and clinical studies, lignans from flaxseed support hormonal balance and may have cancer-preventing abilities. In fact, in one study, flaxseed lignans reduced metastatic lung tumor by 82% compared to controls.
The lignans in pumpkin seed, also considered a major source, target 5-alpha reductase activity.
This enzyme catalyzes the conversion of testosterone into the more potent dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT, like testosterone, is a steroid hormone or androgen. Androgens are responsible for the development and maintenance of masculine sex characteristics in both men and women. Excess levels of DHT can cause serious problems with prostate or bladder health. That’s why modulation of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme is so important – it helps maintain healthy testosterone and DHT levels. By balancing the levels of these key hormones, pumpkin seed lignans provide protection for prostate and bladder cells.
In addition, pumpkin seed has been shown to modulate the enzyme aromatase. Aromatase is present in the estrogen-producing cells of the adrenal glands, ovaries, testicles, adipose tissue, and brain. Aromatase converts testosterone, an androgen, into estradiol, and estrogen.
Inhibition of the aromatase conversion can help maintain a balance of healthy testosterone levels in women, which has been shown to strengthen pelvic muscles and reduce incidence of incontinence.
In fact, a clinical study, involving a pumpkin extract in conjunction with soy, resulted in significant support for bladder health. After two weeks of supplementation, 23 of the 39 postmenopausal women enrolled in the study showed great improvement in urinary frequency and sleep. By the end of the six week study, 74.4 percent of participants found pumpkin extract safely and significantly improved “nocturnia,” that is, the need to urinate frequently at night. For individuals with 2 to 4 episodes of nocturnia prior to the stud, and 81.8% improvement was seen – also showing great improvement in sleep quality. After all, if you don’t have to wake up every couple of hours to go to the bathroom you’re bound to get better sleep.
Beta Glucan: Mushrooms are intense immune-boosting powerhouses due to their beta-Glucan content. Three well-studied power-house mushrooms that contribute beta Glucan to the diet include maitake, reishi and shiitake.
The most significant constituents of mushrooms are long chain polysaccharides (molecules formed from many sugar units) known as beta-Glucan. These huge molecules act as immunoregualtors in the human body, helping to stabilize and balance the immune system.
This includes specific support of white blood cells, or lymphocytes, the primary cells of the immune system. Lymphocytes fall broadly into three categories: T cells, B cells, and natural killer (NK) cells.
In one clinical study, 165 patients with various types of advanced cancer were given maitake mushroom compounds alone or with chemotherapy. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was observed in 58% of liver cancer patients, and 62% of lung cancer patients. Plus, when maitake was taken in addition to chemotherapy, the immune cell activities were enhanced 1.2 to 1.4 times, compared with chemotherapy alone.
In another clinical study, researchers determined that Reishi increased the number of cancer killing white blood cells and made them more deadly to cancer cells.
And, in a scientific study of human breast cancer and myeloma cancer and myeloma cancer cell lines, shiitake compounds provided a 51% antiproliferative effect on the cells – inducing “apoptosis’ – the programmed cell death that should occur naturally.
While beta-Glucan are distributed throughout the mushroom body, the beta-Glucan concentrations are significantly higher in the mycelium – the interwoven fibers or filaments that make up the “feeding structure” of the mushroom.
Bioflavonoids are commonly found in bright yellow citrus fruits, including lemons, limes and oranges. They are responsible for the bright pigment found in the skin of the fruit, and are considered a “companion” to vitamin C, seeming to extend the value of the nutrient within the body.
Hesperidin is just one of the valuable bioflavonoids found in citrus. Hesperidin appears to lower cholesterol levels, as well as support joint collagen in examples of rheumatoid arthritis.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG):
Polyphenols, most notably EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, are well-studied and powerful components of tea. EGCG has been shown to reduce colon and breast cancer risk. Green tea also boosts the immune system and encourages T-cell formation – part of the front-line defense of our bodies against sickness and disease.
Q. I’ve been seeing articles about fruits, vegetables and supplements touting “high ORAC value.” What does this mean?
ORAC is an acronym for Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity, and is simply a measurement of antioxidant activity of nutrients. Oxygen radicals, or free radicals, are unstable molecules. They grab electrons from other cells to use for themselves, and in the process can damage them. It is believed that free radical activity plays a role in the development of many diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and also plays a role in aging.
Antioxidants help prevent this damage by “loaning out” extra electrons to stabilize free radicals/ Consider any fruit or vegetable with a high ORAC rating as having a lot of “antioxidant power.”
I know I should eat more fruits and vegetables, but it just seems so hard to get five servings a day.
The number one excuse I hear for not buying frits and veggies is that “fruits and vegetables are too expensive.” But are they really? Certainly, fresh foods that aren’t in season and have to be shipped a distance can be a bit pricey. If anyone added up how much spend on fast food, or prepackaged or processed snacks, it would probably be shocking.
Luckily, there are many ways to get your “Daily 5”. For instance, frozen fruits and veggies retain much of their nutrient profile. They can be an excellent alternative when certain foods are out of season. So too, are fruit and vegetable drink mixes – excellent supplemental sources of some of the nutrients our bodies need most.
More recently, the American
Of course, for people not accustomed to the fiber in fruits and veggies, there is some reason to think it’ll increase gas. When cell walls break down, and fiber passes through the system, it can create flatulence. Folks who eat fruits and vegetables every day generally don’t have this problem. Their systems are already accustomed to it.
For those just starting out on a better diet, however, start slowly – it helps your body adapt. Cooking vegetables can help, too, because it begins breaking down the cell walls early on.
One thing is certain, however. The “Typical American Diet” and good health are mutually exclusive. The increase in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension all point to the abuse our bodies suffer by eating diets high in fatty meats, processed sugars, and refined grains.
Q. Can I just drink fruit and vegetables drinks in place of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables?
Green drinks and fruit and vegetable drink mixes aren’t meant to replace whole foods, but they can be an excellent substitute when you’re rushed or traveling or just trying to fill everyday nutritional gaps. Their whole food ingredients absorb very easily and gently in the gut, and many of these drink mixes contain healthy doses of fiber, too.
Green drink mixes and food-based drink mixes combine many colorful fruits and vegetables and sometimes grasses in a healthy, mixable supplement assortment. While there have been many advancements in the field of green drinks, there are only a few that take the primary reason we eat into consideration: taste!
Happily, there are some companies out there with great-tasting drink mixes that also formulate based on the color concept, ensuring you get the broadest assortment of nutrients from a full range of fruit and vegetable colors to promote optimal health.
High-quality fruit and vegetable drink mixes offer the best from nature’s color wheel in a convenient and great-tasting supplement. So, the next tie you feel like taking a coffee break – try a fruit and veggie break instead. Your body and spirit will thank you.
Mushrooms are good for the Immune System
January 26, 2007 06:12 PM
Medicinal Mushrooms Grown on Purple Kculli Corn Yield Life Changing Results
Even though we treat them like vegetables, mushrooms aren’t really plants. They’re fungi and fungi grow much differently than fruits and vegetables. Most food plants, like strawberries, broccoli, and red bell peppers make chlorophyll from sunlight to gain the nutrients they need to grow. Mushrooms don’t make chlorophyll; to get the nutrients they need to grow, mushrooms release enzymes into the forest floor or flora they’re living on to break down the organic matter into a form the mushroom can absorb.
Because most mushrooms that we eat or use today are raised as crops, or cultivated, they are grown on a variety of substrates. Similar to the commercial potting soils you can buy at nurseries and garden stores, mushroom substrates vary widely in quality and the kinds of nutrients within. Mushrooms are really unique in that they can grow on almost anything, such as sawdust, shredded newspaper, and straw.
However, mushrooms are only as nutritious as the substrate they were grown on-even those unique varieties called medicinal mushrooms. While the simple button mushrooms found on pizza are most often eaten for their woodsy taste and texture, the use of medicinal mushrooms is much more complex. These mushrooms are valued because they contain numerous compounds that have been extensively studies by researchers for their ability to activate cells of the immune system.
Researchers have recently discovered that when medicinal mushrooms are grown on a Purple Kculli (pronounced ka-coo-lee) Corn substrate, the resulting mushrooms are jam-packed with powerful and potent disease-fighting compounds. Beautiful Purple Kculli Corn has long been used by the people of the Peruvian Andes as a tasty vegetable, natural food color, and powerful functional food-keeping them healthy and free of disease.
In this issue of Ask the Medicine Hunter, we’re going to talk about four powerful medicinal mushrooms that, when grown on Purple Kculli Corn, have even more potent compounds to prevent and treat cancer and other serious health problems.
Q. How exactly do medicinal mushrooms prevent and treat cancer?
A. Medicinal mushrooms are very complex. They contain numerous compounds that have been extensively studied for their ability to activate cells of the immune system. Some of the most amazing immune boosting compounds in medicinal mushrooms are beta-Glucans 1-3, beta Glucans 1-6, arabinogalactins, and arabinoxylans – compounds that work “hand-in-hand” with certain cells of the immune system. But to get abundant amounts of these compounds, medicinal mushrooms must be grown on substrates with high levels of nutrients. And the most nutrient dense substrate of all comes from Purple Kculli Corn.
Q. Why is Purple Kculli Corn extract good for growing medicinal mushrooms?
A. You’ve probably heard that brightly colored fruits and vegetables (like beets, broccoli, and blueberries), have more antioxidant power than paler fruits and vegetables (like iceberg lettuce, onions, and garlic). In fact, the deeper the color, the better. And there is no deeper color in nature than the deep purple of Purple Kculli Corn grown in the lush coastal plains of Peru. The kernels from Purple Kculli Corn are not only naturally beautiful, the pigment itself is extremely healthy and have been used by the people of the Peruvian Andes for centuries as both food and food coloring.
Once harvested, the Purple Kculli Corn is naturally processed into an antioxidant-rich extract. When certain medicinal mushrooms are grown on Purple Kculli Corn extract, the Purple Kculli Corn becomes a super-substrate, producing medicinal mushrooms with incredible amounts of the immune-boosting compounds. And when Purple Kculli Corn extract is added to medicinal mushroom formulas the antioxidant power increases, too.
Q. How do the medicinal mushroom compounds fight disease?
A. When bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens are present in the body, white blood cells, or leukocytes, swing into action. Leukocytes work together to defend the body against infections, like colds or the flu, as well as diseases that start within us, like cancer. These disease fighting cells are the backbone of the body’s defense system. And each type of cell works in different ways.
The macrophage, a name that means “big eater,” is a first-strike leukocyte that protects us from disease by, quit literally, devouring invading pathogens. Natural Killer (NK) cells act like sentries – constantly prowling for cancer cells, killing them quickly when they’re discovered. B-cells are the immune system’s military intelligence, seeking out targets and communicating their coordinates, while T-cells are the foot soldiers, destroying the invaders that the intelligence system has identified.
Scientists have long known that medicinal mushrooms help make white blood cells more deadly. But until recently, they weren’t sure how. Research has now shown that macrophages and NK cells have receptor sites specifically for beta-Glucans 1-3 and beta-Glucans 1-6. When the beta-Glucans bind to the macrophages and NK cells, they make the lymphocytes stronger and more lethal. By increasing the lymphocytes’ strength, beta-Glucans help them churn out more of the specialized chemical messengers, too.
Arabinogalactins and arabinoxylans, powerful polysaccharides found in medicinal mushrooms, are potent stimulators of the immune system. These compounds increase the activity of interleukins, interferons, and a tumor necrosis factor, all key components in a healthy immune system. When medicinal mushroom extracts with high amounts of Arabinogalactins and arabinoxylans are taken, diseases are dramatically reduced.
Researchers found that complex polysaccharides in four varieties of medicinal mushrooms – Agaricus blazei (Agaricus), Grifola frondosa (Maitake), Coriolus versicolor (Coriolus or Turkey Tail), and Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) – are serious cancer fighters. The chart below explains how:
Mushroom Health Benefit
Agaricus (Agaricus Blazei)
Agaricus not only contains the greatest number of medicinal compounds, it also contains a powerful anti-tumor polysaccharide that all other medicinal mushrooms are lacking. Recently, 100 women who were receiving carboplatin, a chemotherapy drug used to treat ovarian cancer, volunteered for an important study. Half of the women were given an extract of Agaricus mushrooms, while the other half were given a placebo or dummy pill. The researchers discovered that NK cell activity was significantly higher in the Agaricus group. The women in this group were also less nauseated, fatigued, and wear than the women taking the placebo, an important consideration for people with cancer.
Maitake (Grifola Frondosa)
Maitake is one of the most researched of all medicinal mushrooms. In one clinical study, the effect of Maitake mushroom compounds were studied in ten patients with cancer who were not currently taking any chemotherapeutic drugs. The researchers found that the Maitake not only significantly stimulated NK cell activity, it also repressed the cancer’s growth, and stopped the tumors’ ability to metastasize, or spread to other parts of the body. And in another clinical study, 165 patients with various types of advanced cancer were given Maitake mushroom compounds alone or with chemotherapy. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was observed in 58% of liver cancer patients, 69% of breast cancer patients, and 62% of lung cancer patients. Plus, when Maitake was taken in addition to chemotherapy, the immune cell activities were enhanced 1.2 to 1.4 times, compared with chemotherapy alone.
Versicolor compounds show great promise as cancer immunotherapy agents in all cancer stages. In one clinical trial, 34 patients with advanced terminal lung cancer were given Coriolus versicolor polysaccharides or a placebo (dummy pill) for 28 days. While the group getting the Versicolor felt less fatigued and sick, very important considerations at the end-of-life, there were no changes in the placebo group.
Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum)
Reishi mushrooms are too tough to eat, but they’ve been used medicinally for centuries and have been extensively researched. In a safety study to determine Reishi’s effect on blood thinning mechanisms, healthy volunteers received 1.5 gm Reishi or placebo daily for 4 weeks. There were no significant changes in either group and all blood clotting measurements remained within the normal range, demonstrating its safety. In a recent clinical study, researchers determined that Reishi increased the number of cancer killing white blood cells and made them more deadly to cancer cells.
Not only do Agaricus, Maitake, Coriolus, and Reishi have incredible amounts of immune boosting polysaccharides, when they are grown on Purple Kculli Corn, they also have a much higher ORAC value than mushrooms grown on other substrates.
Q. What are ORAC values?
A. ORAC, or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, is a measurement of the antioxidant power in fruits and vegetables. The higher the power, or ORAC value, the stronger the antioxidant is against free radicals. While free radicals are made by breathing oxygen and digesting food, and are simply the consequences of being alive, the older we get the more free radicals we make. And the more free radicals we make the more destructive they can be. Free radicals will rip membranes, wreck cells, cripple mitochondria, and ruin DNA. As this damage accumulates, even more free radicals are made. And if not stopped or slowed, this might lead to heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, dementia, and cancer.
Q. How does Purple Kculli Corn increase the ORAC value of medicinal mushrooms?
A. All brightly colored fruits and vegetables have very high ORAC values; and the higher the ORAC value – the greater the antioxidant power. Not only can we measure the ORAC values of fruits and vegetables, we can also measure the ORAC values of mushroom substrate extracts. Purple Kculli Corn extract has an ORAC value of 1789 (measured in umolesTE/gram). Now, remember that mushrooms are fungi, not fruits and vegetables, and they gain most of their nutrients from the ground (or substrate) they are grown on. When mushrooms are cultivated or “farmed” on substrates with a high ORAC value, they will absorb compounds from the substrate giving them a higher ORAC value, too. So growing mushrooms on antioxidant rich, high ORAC value, Purple Kculli Corn yields medicinal mushrooms with high ORAC values as well.
Q. Some mushroom supplements have more than four medicinal mushrooms. Wouldn’t a mushroom supplement with seven mushrooms or more have a higher ORAC value than a supplement with only four?
A. Well, more is not always better – especially when it comes to medicinal mushrooms. Some supplements have a “kitchen sink” selection of mushrooms. The makers of these supplements hope that by adding modest amounts of many mushrooms, they will end up with a product that just might have some health benefits.
Clearly, it’s not how many or how exotic the mushrooms are in a medicinal mushroom supplement, it’s the substrate that mushrooms are grown on that makes the difference.
Q. How can I make sure the medicinal mushroom supplement I buy contains natural and organic mushrooms grown on Purple Kculli Corn substrate?
A. Become a label reader! Medicinal mushroom formulas have a statement showing accreditation from a certifying agency, such as the American Food Safety Institute, International; California Organic Farmer Association, Minnesota; or Crop Improvement Association, on the label, and have met certain criteria. They must be grown without chemicals or pesticides. The growers must be certified as organic mushroom produces by an accredited third party. And the growers must keep a record of their production and handling practices.
Of the nearly 38,000 varieties of mushrooms, Agaricus blazei, Grifola frondosa, Coriolus versicolor, and Ganoderma lucidum have impressive medicinal properties. With a little help from Purple Kculli Corn, these mushrooms can provide even more potent and powerful cancer preventing properties for superior mushroom supplements.
ImmPower AHCC - Japan’s best selling immune enhancing supplement now available in the USA.
August 09, 2006 01:00 PM
In 1984, Japanese scientists discovered that by hybridizing several mushrooms used in traditional healing they could develop a natural compound that would give the body what it needs to maintain “super immunity.” Named active hexose correlated compound (AHCC), it has a unique alpha-1,4 Glucan structure and low molecular weight that research shows provides unsurpassed support for the immune system’s front line defenses.
Based on over 20 published studies and the clinical experience of hundreds of hospitals and tens of thousands of consumers, AHCC has become Japan’s best selling immune enhancing supplement. Now its available in America as Immpower AHCC, where its gaining the endorsement of leading experts in nutritional medicine.
Barley Rides on the Coattails of Oats.
January 31, 2006 01:32 PM
The health claim that oats may reduce the risk of heart disease, familiar to Americans since the Food and Drug Administration approved it in 1997, has been expanded. In December, the FDA ruled that barley also contains high levels of beta-Glucan soluble fiber, and therefore products containing barley may also display the health claim. Barley products must contain at least 0.75 grams of soluble fiber to qualify for the claim. The interim Final rule took effect Dec. 23.
HERBAL EXTRACTS FOR IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPORT
December 23, 2005 12:27 PM
For years, Nature’s Apothecary’s reputation for producing high quality natural products, specifically multi-herb and single herb extracts and aromatherapy products, has been unparalleled. This family-owned, environmentally-conscious herbal extract company has laid deep roots on the front range of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, and in the natural products industry as well. NOW® is proud to continue their tradition of excellence in providing only the highest quality natural herbal extracts with the purchase of this premier liquid herbal extract supplier. We’re committed to using the same processes and procedures that have made the Nature’s Apothecary line one of quality and longevity.
Nature’s Apothecary herbal extracts are created with pure herbs grown on small organic farms, or herbs that have been ethically hand-harvested with respect for the earth, just as herbalists have done for thousands of years. While the various herbs used in these formulations offer a broad range of health benefits, two of the most important are immune system enhancement and detoxification. Herbs have a long history of usefulness in these categories. There is evidence of the use of herbs by Stone Age humans, who either cultivated or gathered hundreds of herbs and plants for a variety of uses. The histories of various cultures are filled with references to the use of herbs. Ancient Sumerians, Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Chinese, Europeans, and American Indians – all used herbs to heal and to nourish. Herbs that support the immune system and provide detoxification benefits were, and still are, very popular. Two of the most effective are Astragalus and Shiitake Mushroom.
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is a member of the legume family and is considered an adaptogenic herb in traditional Chinese medicine, where it has been safely used for centuries. Native to central and western Asia, specifically China, Korea and Taiwan, Astragalus offers a unique benefit found in very few herbs - it seems to selectively support immune system function by stimulating certain immune functions and depressing others. One reason is that Astragalus has a high selenium content, a trace element with documented immune system benefits. It also contains polysaccharides and flavonoids, which support healthy immune system function as well as minimizing the effects of free radicals on various membranes. The mechanisms of action through which Astragalus supports immune system function are varied. It has shown promise as a means to stimulate “resting” immune system cells, increasing their activity. Research shows that Astragalus supports the body’s production of immunoglobulins, macrophages, T cells and natural killer (NK) cells, the grunts of the immune system’s army. Astragalus has been shown to support healthy cardiovascular function by protecting membranes from oxidative stress as a result of free radical damage.
Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinula edodes) is a culinary delight with some serious health benefits. The name Shiitake is from a combination of shiia, the Japanese word for a variety of chestnut tree, and take, the Japanese name for mushrooms.
Shiitake is also referred to as the Forest Mushroom and the Black Forest Mushroom. Indigenous to Eastern Asia, primarily Japan and China, Shiitake is Japan’s leading agricultural export, accounting for about eighty percent of the world’s Shiitake production. While it’s culinary reputation is well-known, Shiitake is also a medicinal herb with a long history of use. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Shiitake is well-regarded and has been used to treat a variety of ailments. Modern research has shown that Shiitake supports healthy immune system function and cardiovascular health, primarily due to the naturally-occurring nutrients found in Shiitake. It contains an excellent B vitamin profile, as well as amino acids, protein, iron, and beta Glucan, a major structural component in the cell walls of most fungi, including Shiitake. Beta Glucan has been shown to support healthy immune system function by stimulating the activity of phagocytes, white blood cells and NK (natural killer) cells, vital components of the body’s immune system defenses. Astragalus and Shiitake Mushroom are just a few of the immune supporting herbal extracts to be found in the Nature’s Apothecary line. With over 250 SKU’s, Nature’s Apothecary is your best source for high-quality, effective herbal extracts.
Your Cells Supercharge Your Cells
December 20, 2005 11:30 AM
Your Cells Supercharge Your Cells
The differences between aging and growing old are poles apart. Sure, they may sound similar in nature. But when you think about it, the two are as different as night and day. Growing old is about retirement and travel and enjoying what you’ve worked an entire life for. Aging, on the other hand, summons images of wrinkled skin, brittle joints, cloudy minds and medicine cabinets full of prescriptions. It’s safe to assume that the majority of us want to look, live, and feel better as we grow old. Not the opposite. Many of us are on the right track - committed to a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a well-balanced diet. And yes, these do serve as a solid foundation for good health during our golden years. It is our cells, however, that ultimately determine who grows old, and who just ages.
Still, slowing the proverbial hands of time is not all about health clubs and organic produce. If you want to grow old gracefully, you must nurture the ten trillion cells that defi ne you physically. Why? Because these cells are constantly under attack by free radicals - unstable molecules that either lack, or have an unpaired number of electrons. They scour the body in search of stable cells, and do whatever they can to rob them of their electrons, a process more formally known as oxidation. Considering that it’s environmentally impossible to completely avoid contact with the billions of airborne toxins that cause free radicals, the only other option is to safeguard your healthy cells. Making the commitment to a healthy lifestyle is the fi rst step in the process, and can be accomplished by eating healthier foods, exercising on a regular basis, and paying close attention to what you are exposed to environmentally.
The next step is to nourish and protect your cells. The best way to do this is to consume foods that are rich in antioxidants and other cell-friendly nutrients. Unfortunately, this task is often much easier said than done. Today’s average adult is busier than ever, making it far more diffi cult to consume fresh, unprocessed meals 100% of the time. This does not, however, imply that all hope is lost. Over the years, the nutritional sciences have made stunning advances that afford you the opportunity to live your life while still safeguarding the integrity of your most basic building blocks. Here are a few of the best.
Antioxidants work at the cellular level to paralyze the free radicals that cause oxidation throughout the body. Some of today’s most popular nutrients and dietary supplements fall into this category. They include vitamins A, E, and C, Selenium, Zinc, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Lycopene, Lutein, CoQ10, in addition to a host of others. And though similar in function, each of these free radical fi ghters has a unique role within the body.
Take CoQ10 for example. It’s present in every cell of the body, and is especially important for cardiovascular support. Lutein has been used extensively to prevent oxidation in the macular regions of the eyes. Zinc is a powerful immune system booster that has become extremely popular during cold and fl u season. Alpha Lipoic Acid is both fat and water soluble, and is commonly referred to as the “universal” antioxidant based on its ability to quench free radicals anywhere in the body.
Immune Boosting Herbs
Herbs such as Astragalus, Olive Leaf, Rhodiola, Echinacea, Panax Ginseng and Ashwaganda have been used for centuries to help support healthy cells and strong, responsive immune systems. They’ve also been shown to exhibit natural synergistic effects when used together. Today, they remain one of the most popular ways to naturally promote all-around wellbeing. When it comes to supporting healthy cells, NOW is pleased to offer one of the best selections of antioxidants, herbs and immune support formulas. Be sure to look for these and other great products at fi ne health food retailers, nationwide.*
OPCs (proanthocyanidins) are high-powered polyphenol antioxidants that belong to the fl avonoid family. Grape seed extract, pine bark extracts such as pycnogenol and enzogenol, bilberry, gingko biloba, resveratrol and others all fall into this category. Research continues to suggest that OPCs work in the same manner that traditional antioxidants do, however their ability to eradicate free radicals is much greater and more versatile. Equally appealing, OPCs can easily cross the blood barrier of the brain to help protect brain and neural tissues from the damage caused by oxidative stress.
Throughout history, many civilizations have relied on organic mushroom extracts to encourage wellness. What we know now is that mushrooms such as Shiitake, Maitake, Reishi and others are rich in 1,3 Beta-Glucans - soluble fi ber compounds that help support both innate and adaptive immunity. In addition, the active compounds in some mushrooms have been shown to stimulate the production of microphages, T cells, and other natural killer cells. These biological warriors serve at the front line when it comes to responding to bacterial attacks. They are of immeasurable value to the immune system, though drastically lacking in today’s average diet. In just the past few years, more and more healthconscious individuals have learned fi rst-hand how benefi cial they can be in the preservation of healthy cells.
AHCC® Fact Sheet - from Now Foods.
December 08, 2005 10:20 AM
AHCC® Fact SheetNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 6/30/05
LIKELY USERS: People needing increased activity of their Natural Killer cells; People seeking improved immune system response; People with a need for tissue repair; People with oxidative challenges; People seeking to increase liver function People defying aging or with a need to improve cellular integrity.
KEY INGREDIENTS: AHCC® (Active Hexose Correlated Compound)
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: AHCC® is a proprietary extract produced from specially cultivated and hybridized mushrooms. According to extensive research in humans, as well as numerous non-clinical studies, AHCC®supports immune system function through its effects on macrophages and NK (Natural Killer) Cells. NK cells and the intercellular mediators they produce are critical for the maintenance of healthy cell cycle function. AHCCR® has also been shown possess antioxidant properties, and supports healthy liver function.
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT USE INFORMATION & QUALITY ISSUES: AHCC® (Active Hexose Correlated Compound) is a patented ingredient that has been the subject of research studies. It is supported by the scientific staff in the laboratories of both NOW Foods and the raw material supplier, both of which have a mutual interest in protecting the integrity and efficacy of this product.
AHCC® is a rich source of polysaccharides such as beta Glucan 1,3 and activated hemicellulose produced by enzymatic modification of organic medicinal mushrooms, including shiitake. It also has been shown to support normal levels of macrophages and cytokines, further strengthening the immune system.
This formula is suitable for vegetarians and is offered in Vcaps.
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: As a dietary supplement, take 2 Vcaps® 3 times daily, preferably on an empty stomach.
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: Antioxidants, Astragalus, Colostrum, Dr. Verghese Liver Formula, Immune Renew, Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C), Inositol Hexaphosphate (IP-6),
PRODUCT SPECIFIC: None
GENERAL: Pregnant and lactating women and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. When taking any new supplement, use common sense and cautiously increase to the full dose over time to avoid any potential problems. Packages may contain moisture or oxygen controlling packets or canisters that are not intended for consumption. In order to maintain maximum freshness, please do not remove these from your bottle (until the bottle is empty). Please recycle your container.
DISCLAIMER: Information given here may vary from what is shown on the product label because this represents my own professional knowledge and understanding of the science underlying the formula and ingredients. The information in this review should not be used as diagnosis, prescription or as a specific product claim.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Aviles H, Belay T, Fountain K, Vance M, Sun B, Sonnenfeld G. (2003) Active hexose correlated compound enhances resistance to Klebsiella pneumoniae infectin in mice in the hindlimb-unloading model of spaceflight conditions. J Appl Physiol 95:491-496.
Burikhanov RB, Wakame K, Igarashi Y, Wang S, Matsuzaki S (2000) Suppressive Effect of Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC®) on Thymic Apoptosis Induced by Dexamethasone in the Rat. Endocrine Regulations 34:181-188. Matsui Y, et al. (2002) Improved prognosis of postoperative hepatocellular carcinoma patients when treated with functional foods: a prospective cohort study. J Hepatol. 2002 Jul;37(1):78-86. PMID: 12076865 Matsushita K, et al. (1998) Combination therapy of active hexose correlated compound plus UFT significantly reduces the metastasis of rat mammary adenocarcinoma. Anti-Cancer Drugs 9:343-350. Sun B, Wakame K, Mukoda T, Toyoshima A. Kanazawa T, Kosuna K (1997) Preventive Effects of AHCC® on Carbon Tetrachloride Induced Liver Injury in Mice. Nat Med 51(4):310-315.
Ye SF, Ichimura K, Wakame K, Ohe M. Suppressive effects of Active Hexose Correlated Compound on the increased activity of hepatic and renal ornithine decarboxylase induced by oxidative stress. Life Sci. 2003 Dec 19;74(5):593-602. PMID: 14623030 Ye SF, Wakame K, Ichura K, Matsuzaki S (2004) Amelioration by active hexose correlated compound of endocrine disturbances induced by oxidative stress in the rat. Endocr Regul 38(1):7-13.
Immune Renew Fact Sheet
December 07, 2005 01:07 PM
Immune Renew Fact Sheet Neil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 02/10/05
LIKELY USERS: Everyone seeking a healthy immune system; People on low carb diets or non-whole grain diets that are lacking dietary beta-Glucans
KEY INGREDIENTS: Astragalus Root Extract Powder 70% polysaccharides (200 mg). Proprietary blend of 8 organically grown “medicinal mushrooms” (200 mg)
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: Vegetarian formula. Polysaccharides in these US-grown mushrooms grown on organic brown rice include 1,3 Beta-Glucans and terpenoids. Beta-Glucans may stimulate the immune system in different ways. Triterpenoids may act as mild anticoagulants. Each mushroom may have a different effect; for example, one may stimulate T-cells and another Natural Killer cells, aiding in immune defense. Mushrooms have reported beneficial effects on liver health and promoting normal cell growth.
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT INFORMATION: Some extracts from these kinds of mushrooms have been used medicinally in Japan and China. The mushrooms include Turkey Tail, Sun Mushrooms, Maitake, Cordyceps, Phellinus, Lion’s Mane, Reishi and Shiitake. The astragalus extract also contains naturally occurring astragalosides. Mushrooms may help maintain normal cholesterol and triglyceride levels
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: For everyday use take one or two caps per day, either with meals or on an empty stomach.
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: Vitamin C to break down beta-Glucan structures for better absorption, Inositol Hexaphosphate (IP-6), I3C, Pometrol, mixed carotenoids and antioxidants
CAUTIONS: Pregnant and lactating women and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. Do not take with AIDS drugs or if you have an autoimmune disease. Use with caution if using anticoagulants or blood pressure medication, as these mushrooms may have mildly synergistic effects to those drugs. Do not use if you have mold or mushroom allergies (or any sensitivities to mushrooms, cheese, etc.), which can potentially result in hives, rashes, breathing difficulties (including dry mouth or throat), stomach distress, diarrhea, or any other unusual side effect.
This information is based on my own knowledge and these references, but should not be used as diagnosis, prescription or as specific product claims.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1. Hobbs C. Medicinal Mushrooms. Santa Cruz, CA: Botanica Press, 1995
Immune Health - Herbs to Maintain A Healthy Immune System
July 01, 2005 04:21 PM
Immune Health By Ellen J. Kamhi, Ph. D. with Dorie Greenblatt The immune system has been receiving a lot of media attention, especially since the rise in recognized immune system deficiency diseases. The efficient functioning of the immune system is of paramount importance to everyone, adults and children alike, since it controls our ability to fend off illness, whether it is a common cold or more deadly disease. The immune system is made up of a combination of specialized cells, chemicals, tissues and organs. These include the lymph nodes, thymus gland, spleen, bone marrow and tonsils, as well as specialized white blood cells, which recognize and engulf invading microorganisms and cellular debris.
The ability of the immune system to function optimally is influenced by many factors. These include inherent genetic makeup, environmental influences (such as pollution, pesticides, hormones, artificial flavoring/colorings in food), obesity, stress levels, exposure to infective agents, etc. Specific research suggests that consuming excessive amounts of sugar interferes with immune function. We can aid our immune system by eating a high amount of organic green vegetables, whole grains and nuts, while cutting down on 'junk food' consumption. Stress reduction, through prayer, meditation, yoga and moderate exercise can also help.
Herbs may be used in two different ways to help the immune system. Tonics strengthen the immune system over time, while strong immune system stimulants have a more immediate action, and are used during an acute infection.
Herbal tonics work to help maintain a dynamic balance in the body and usually need to be taken long-term. Astragalus is said to build "Wei chi". "Chi" is the Chinese concept of life energy force. "Wei chi" is thought of as 'protection'. Current scientific studies confirm the positive benefits of Astragalus on the immune system. One study by the National Cancer Institute demonstrated Astragalus' ability to help strengthen resistance of the immune system, especially to viral infections. Reishi, called the "mushroom of immortality", has been used for centuries as an overall tonic. Chinese physicians have used Ligustrum berries specifically for their immune-enhancing activities. They are often combined with Astragalus for a synergistic effect. Coptis is another Chinese herb that contains the bitter yellow compound, berberine. This herb helps the immune system prevent infections. Many of these herbs can be found in the unique combination formula called Immunotonic™ (alcohol-free). Immunotonic™ offers the ideal way to experience the benefits of many herbs in one convenient supplement.
Other immune system tonic herbs include Siberian Ginseng and Schisandra. Siberian Ginseng is an adaptogen that helps to balance the immune system. It gives strength and fortitude, especially when dealing with environmental stress. Schisandra has been shown to build non-specific resistance, improve brain function, increase work capacity and build strength.
Osha Root has been used traditionally by both Chinese and Native Americans (who called it Chuchupate) for colds and flues, sore throats and other health ailments requiring a higher level of immune support. Echinacea is a well-researched and respected immune system stimulant. (Refer to our Echinacea article for further information). It helps increase the activity of white blood cells, which engulf invading microorganisms. Thuja is an herbal extract from the Northern White Cedar tree. It is a strong immune stimulant that Native Americans used for colds, coughs, bronchitis and other respiratory infections. Possibly the mushroom with the greatest capability of stimulating the immune system is the Maitake. It is known as the "dancing mushroom" because it was so highly prized that whoever found some would dance for joy. Maitake contains specific chemical components that have been scientifically studied for their strong immune enhancing effects; (refer to Maitake Bio-Beta-Glucan™ article for further information). Nature's Answer® combines these herbs in Immune Boost™, a combination formula for use during acute illness and infections. Try it along with the combination formula Echinacea & Goldenseal. Nature’s Answer® offers a selection of all these herbs in liquid and/or capsule forms. Check with your local health food store, or visit www.naturesanswer.com, for more information.
Children can often use a boost to their immune system to help ward off colds and flues. Nature's Answer® comes to the rescue with three alcohol-free formulas specifically designed for their special needs - E-KID-nacea™, E-KID-nacea Plus™, and NatChoo™. All of these outstanding formulas help promote a healthy immune system.
Elder Berry - For Natural Respiratory Health
June 30, 2005 09:30 AM
Elder Berry By Ellen J. Kamhi, Ph. D. with Dorie Greenblatt The plant known as Elder Berry occurs as several different species and grows throughout Europe and North America. It can be a tall tree or smaller bush, earning it the knickname "Dwarf Elder". The berries that appear as the ripe fruits can range in color from red to black. Only the blue/black berries are medicinal. The genus and species name for this variety is Sambucus nigra. This plant has a long history of use as both a food and medicine in many countries. In England, for example, it was a common belief that Elder-Berry was a favorite tree of witches who enjoyed residing among its branches. To disturb such a tree was thought to incur a witch's wrath. To this day, many British still refuse to cut an Elder Tree down or burn its branches. In Denmark, the tree was said to house Hylde-Moer, "The Elder Tree Mother", who would haunt anyone found harming the tree. In addition, many believed that an Elder Tree was a symbol of "good luck" if found growing on one's property.
As a food source Elder Berries are commonly made into jams, jellies, chutneys and wine. As a medicinal, the fruit is often prepared as a syrup. For example, the "Duke of Monmouth's Recipe" was made with Elder syrup and other herbs, and was used for sciatica. Native Americans used different parts of the plant for infections, coughs and skin conditions. Today Elder can be found listed as an "official medicine" in the Holland pharmacopeia, and was listed in the past in the pharmacopeias of both England and the United States.
The most common medicinal uses for Elder Berry are:
Elder Berries contain vitamins A, B and C plus various flavonoids including quercetin. However, these substances alone cannot account for its remarkable effect of disarming the symptoms of a cold or flu. An Israeli scientist, Dr. Madeleine Mumcuouglu, Ph.D., performed research that uncovered the mechanism of activity of Elder Berry's anti-cold and flu activity. The flu is triggered by a virus, which must invade living cells in order to reproduce and spread. The virus enters the cell by puncturing the cell's outer membrane with tiny spikes known as hemagglutinin. Dr. Mumcuoglu discovered that the active ingre- dients in Elder Berry bind onto the hemagglutin, deactivating it and ultimately preventing the piercing of the cellular membranes.
Scientific investigations collaborate the effectiveness of Elder berry. One scientific study tracked a reduction of flu symptoms during an outbreak of influenza. (Zakay-Rones Z, Varsano N, Zlotnik M, et al. Inhibition of several strains of influenza virus in vitro and reduction of symptoms by an elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L.) during an outbreak of influenza B Panama. J Alt Compl Med 1995; 1:361-9.) An added advantage to the use of Elder Berry is its record of safety. There are no known adverse reactions to the use of Elder Berry, although the possibi-lity of an individual allergic reaction can never be discounted.
Nature's Answer® offers Elder Berry in an alcohol-free, tangy-tasting 4oz. liquid herbal extract form. This concentrated (1:1) maximum strength fluid extract contains 5,000mg of Elder Berry in each 1 teaspoonful dose. Nature’s Answer® also supplies Elderberry in two encapsulated products, Sambucus & Ester-C®, and Sambucus & Maitake Bio-Beta Glucan™.
A great companion product is Nature's Answer®'s Elder Flower (organic alcohol). Flowers from the Elder tree contain tannins that have been shown to help dry up excess mucous, and can act as an expectorant.
One final note...when deciding on an Elder berry liquid, remember to check the kind of sweetener it contains. Many brands add sugar or sorbitol, while Nature's Answer's® Elder berry contains only pure coconut glycerine.
Ester-C® is a licensed trademark of InterCal Corporation and manufactured under U.S. patent #4,822,816 and other patent applications.
June 18, 2005 09:11 AM
Mushroom Miracles by Bert Hoffman Energy Times, April 12, 2004
Mention mushrooms and few people immediately recognize these humble fungi as important tools that can be used to boost well-being. More often, folks identify mushrooms as food with a peculiar appeal. But mushrooms' potential impact on health far surpasses their culinary reputation.
You don't have to stretch your imagination too far to understand why mushrooms have been much neglected in the modern, Western medical search for plants that can boost health.
Unable to make chlorophyll, often dependent on the kindness of other nutrient-producing organisms for their survival, these humble fungal denizens of dark, damp spaces seem to prefer an anonymous existence that is out of sight and out of the consciousness of the scientific mind.
However, mushrooms have now assumed a spot in the center of the research spotlight. Because of their potent content of natural chemicals that appear to have a strong influence on human health and well-being, during the past decade mushrooms have been the subjects of intensive studies on how they can be used to reduce the risk of cancer and to treat these diseases.
Appropriately, this recent round of research began in a place that has long revered these diminutive organisms: Japan. Japan and other Oriental countries have traditionally recognized the immense value of mushrooms as both food and medicine.
Food and Medicine
As an ancient Chinese saying notes, "food and medicine share a common origin." And one of the very earliest Chinese medical books, Shen Noug's Herbal (Shen Noug Pen Ts'ao Jing), first noted the extraordinary beneficial effects of eating mushrooms 2,000 years ago, back in the first century.
More recently, but still well ahead of Western medical experts, in 1575, Pen Ts'ao Kang Mu (a Chinese compendium of medicinal therapies), written by Li Shi Zhen, outlined the medical benefits of about 20 mushrooms.
Nowadays, modern researchers believe mushrooms' usefulness stems from the fact they contain a wealth of antioxidants. But these aren't just any antioxidants. Scientists think that some of these chemicals can potentially drop your risk of cancer, significantly lower blood pressure, help the body fight diabetes, offer protection for the liver, alleviate some of the ill effects of inflammation, lessen the chance of blood clots and help the body's immune system fend off viruses and other microbes. Quite a collection of benefits for these lowly beings!
The 10,000-Year Mushroom
Through the ages, the reishi mushroom (also known variously as the Mannetake, or 10,000-year mushroom, and the Immortality Mushroom) has been the most popular mushroom in Chinese, Korean and Japanese cultures. The reishi mushroom is frequently depicted in a wide variety of traditional Oriental artwork and even puts in an appearance in Chinese royal tapestries.
To some, reishi's power goes beyond the natural and include the supernatural. Originally grown on aging plum trees, reishi is also sufficiently well regarded to be employed by the Japanese as a good luck charm. But you don't have to believe in the supernatural to be superbly impressed with reishi. The beneficial natural substances in reishi include steroids, lactones, alkaloids, triterpenes and polysaccharides.
Of these chemicals, polysaccharides (complex chains of sugars) in particular have intrigued researchers looking into the way mushrooms help health. These polysaccharide macromolecules are very large (for molecules) and complex, a complexity that leads researchers to believe they are capable of conveying a huge amount of biological information that help the immune system stop cancer in its early stages. The differences in the benefits of various polysaccharides stems from their intriguing geometrical shapes.
Even though two distinctive polysaccharides may contain the same number of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms, their three-dimensional differences-the way they are structured and branch off in different directions-can endow them with very different health benefits.
Though they all share a basic structure (usually, these molecules consist of a main chain of atoms with various side chains), the slight variations of the side chains changes their effects.
By deciphering the microscopic structures of these molecules, scientists think they are beginning to uncover which ones are most effective against cancer. For instance, in isolating a particularly useful polysaccharide called beta-D-Glucan from reishi, researchers have found that this substance fights tumors in lab experiments (Chem Pharm Bull 1981; 29: 3611).
Meanwhile, beta-D-Glucan and other extracts taken from the maitake mushroom have also been shown to possess powerful anti-cancer effects in lab experiments (Immunopharm Immunotox; 19:175).
In one instance, researchers in the laboratory who were trying out various substances on prostate cancer cells found that applying extracts of maitake results in a kind of programmed self-destruction (apoptosis) of these undesirable cancer cells (Molec Urol; 4:7). In addition, another substance known as maitake d-fraction has been shown to strongly fight cancer in lab animals-in one study, their liver cancer growths were reduced by up to 90% (Ann NY Acad of Sci; 833:204).
At the same time, research in China on people has demonstrated that maitake may help reduce tumors and alleviate the effects of leukemia (Alter Comp Ther 12/98; 420).
According to A.S. Daba and O.U. Ezeronye (Afr Jrnl Bio 12/03; 672), "Mushroom polysaccharides offer a lot of hope for cancer patients and sufferers of many devastating diseases.
" [These substances support]...a fundamental principle in Oriental medicine...[they help] regulate homeostasis of the whole body and... bring the diseased person [back] to his or her normal state."
The Activity of Active Hexose Correlated Compound Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC), an extract taken from shiitake and other mushrooms, is a relatively new substance that is also being researched for its anti-cancer benefits.
Studies on AHCC began in Japan in the 1990s when scientists looked at how it could potentially help people recovering from liver cancer. In those tests, researchers found that giving people AHCC apparently helped them survive longer.
In the future, scientists feel certain that they will uncover even more anticancer uses for mushrooms and the chemicals they contain. A key advantage to these natural substances is their lack of side effects. For instance, in research on an anti-cancer chemical called lentinan, taken from shiitakes, investigators have found that less than one percent of people experience the kind of discomfort that make them discontinue treatment. (This chemical has been used to treat stomach cancer.)
But a long list of beneficial mushroom substances are probably still waiting to be discovered. More evidence of mushrooms' benefits: A study of mushroom workers in a part of Japan called the Nagano Prefecture found that these farmers enjoyed a significantly lower cancer rate than other inhabitants of that part of the country.
In the rest of Japan, about one in six hundred people dies of cancer. But that rate death rate drops to about one in a thousand for mushroom raisers who eat a diet heavy in mushrooms.
John Smith, PhD, from the University of Strath-Clyde, notes that "...increasing evidence [shows] mushrooms offer a remarkable array of medicinally important compounds that have yet to be evaluated by Western medical scientists." Mushrooms offer the best of both worlds: good health that tastes great.
Botanical Arsenal - Plants can help our bodies fight off cancer's deadly ...
June 13, 2005 10:31 AM
Botanical Arsenal by Fred Thomas Energy Times, May 3, 1999
The complexities surrounding the various types of cancer stem from the variety of ways in which these diseases can wreak their havoc. Luckily, the equally complex world of plants contains novel compounds that can help our bodies fight off cancer's deadly progress.
Research into these botanical compounds is mushrooming. An example: The mighty maitake, a fungus with flair, alternately known as the king (it can grow as large as a basketball, worth its weight in silver to the ancient Japanese); the prince; the Hen of the Woods (it sticks out of from trees when it grows in the wild); and the dancing mushroom to those who leaped for joy when they found one growing in its native northeastern Japan.
Researchers today dub it with a new moniker: Herbal Heavyweight.
Mushroom with Potential
The maitake, with such other medicinal mushrooms as shiitake and reishi, historically has been eaten to promote general well-being and vitality. In the modern lab, however, scientists focus on the potent immune enhancing powers of maitake, which spotlight its cancer fighting potential.
Twenty years ago, maitake, Grifola frondosa, was an obscure, largely unavailable mushroom. A series of significant Japanese studies then catapulted it into prominence-and popularity.
Hiroaki Nanba, PhD, of the department of immunology at Kobe Women's College of Pharmacy on Kobe, Japan, and a leading international researcher on maitake, conducted the preliminary tests on the mushroom, demonstrating that it stimulates immune function and inhibits tumor growth.
In 1986, Dr. Nanba fed powdered maitake to mice injected with tumor cells; 86.3% displayed inhibited tumor growth.
Dr. Nanba and his colleagues went on to run additional mouse tests, finally reporting that this potent mushroom "directly activates various effector cells (macrophages, natural killer cells, killer T-cells, etc.) to attack tumor cells."
From then, maitake mushrooms were headed to fame as cancer ninjas.
Stoking The Immune Engine
Like other mushrooms, maitake is rich in complex polysaccharides, immunomodulators that successive tests after Dr. Nanba's have shown to be effective in cancer and AIDS treatment.
The polysaccharides in maitake have a unique structure, rendering them some of the most powerful to be studied (Chem Pharm Bull 1987:35:1162-8).
What makes maitake a particularly hot property is beta-D-Glucan, its primary polysaccharide. Studies show that the body absorbs it readily, at which point it effectively stimulates interleukin-1, natural killer cells and macrophages, anti-tumor warriors that battle solid cancers (Chemotherapy 1990;38:790-6; also International Conference on AIDS, Amsterdam, 1992).
Effective And Safe
In addition to lab tests, trials on people have shown that maitake may offer powerful therapy against liver and stomach cancer (studies in China), breast and colon cancer (US research) and Kaposi's Sarcoma, the virulent cancer attacking AIDS sufferers.
Importantly, studies show that no side effects or interactions accompany maitake's efficacy.
Maitake fortunately has won the interest and enthusiasm of the scientific community. Currently, researchers at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, headed by Denis Miller, MD, are completing an exhaustive test of the anticancer and immunostimulatory actions of maitake on folks with advanced colorectal cancer. These investigators hypothesize that the polysaccharide beta-Glucans derived from the fruitbody of maitake fight tumors and boost immune function. "Though it cannot be said that maitake ...[is] the cancer cure," said Dr. Nanba in his closing remarks at the Adjuvant Nutrition in Cancer Treatment Symposium in Tampa, Florida, in October 1995, "one can safely say that they do maintain the quality of life of patients and improve the immune system, resulting in the possible remission of cancer cells with no side effects."
More Bodily Benefits
Maitake maven Dr. Nanba also has tested-with strongly positive results-the effect of maitake on blood glucose, insulin and triglycerides in mice, whose levels of all three substances declined when they were fed the mushroom (H. Nanba working paper, Anti-Diabetic Activity by Maitake Mushroom, 1994).
With colleagues, Dr. Nanba showed that maitake lowered blood pressure in hypertensive rats (Chem. Phann. Bu//36:1000-1006,1988). Other studies suggest it may accelerate weight loss.
This admirable adaptogen (meaning it helps the body adapt to stress and normalize its functions) is water soluble and may be eaten in food or taken as a supplement. Vitamin C is believed to intensify maitake's beta-Glucans and enhance their absorption.
It's not just what you eat that may help protect against cancer, but what you drink as well. Research from China and Japan, where tea is the everyday drink and rates of several cancers like breast and prostate are lower, may persuade you to turn over a new leaf in your own beverage choice. One of the first studies to spark interest in tea came from Shanghai (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, June 1, 1994), where people who drank two to three cups a day were found to have about a 60% reduction in the risk of cancer of the esophagus. The reason: tea leaves contain compounds called polyphenols, potent antioxidants.
In fact, in tests at the University of Kansas, three of these, known as catechins, far outshone the common antioxidant vitamins C and E. Clinical trials are just starting, but early results are encouraging. A team of Chinese scientists reported that in a third of people with precancerous mouth sores who drank three cups of a mixture of green and black tea the lesions shrank significantly.
Researchers at the Saitama Cancer Center in Japan found that green tea seems to improve the prognosis of breast cancer. They followed a group of women with early-stage tumors for seven years. Those who drank more than five cups of green tea a day were only half as likely to suffer a recurrence as patients who consumed fewer than four cups a day.
And at the University of Indiana, toxicologist James Klaunig found that the lungs of cigarette smokers who drank the equivalent of six cups of tea a day suffered 40 to 50 percent less damage from the toxins in smoke, potentially lowering their risk of lung cancer and other pulmonary problems. Simultaneously, research from Purdue University suggests tea's cancer-discouraging powers go beyond being an antioxidant. Scientists Dorothy and D. James Morre showed that a tea catechin dubbed EGCG inhibits a growth-promoting enzyme on the surface of many cancer cells-happily without affecting normal cells. And researchers at the Ohio State University College of Medicine found that EGCG counteracted another enzyme, urokinase, that helps cancer cells spread. To top it off, Mayo Clinic scientists recently showed that EGCG prompted prostate cancer cells to commit suicide (Cancer Letters, Aug. 14, 1998).
So far, most tea research has focused on green tea, and investigators agree it's more potent than the black tea most Americans favor. But because both kinds come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis (it's the processing that makes the difference as black tea is fermented, green tea isn't) both contain cancer-fighting polyphenols, just in different quantities. As long as the tea you drink (even decaffeinated) is fresh brewed, it's likely to provide some benefit; powdered and prepared teas probably don't. And adding milk may dilute the effect.
Astragalus Against Tumors
Astragalus, an herb commonly used in Asia to boost stamina, has impressed western doctors for its potential for helping people cope with chemotherapy. As John Diamon, MD, W. Lee Cowden, MD and Burton Goldberg point out in the Definitive Guide to Cancer (Future Medicine), "Astragalus appears to protect the liver against the harmful toxic effects of chemotherapy and may be effective in treating terminally ill liver cancer patients." (They cite a study in the Jrnl of Ethnopharmacology 1990, 30:145-149.) In addition, they point out, research in Japan supports using a ginseng-astragalus combination to improve the function of natural killer (NK) cells which can boost immunity (Japanese Jrnl of Allergy, 37:2, 1998, 107-114).
Other studies confirm astragalus' potential in fighting off cancer. Research at the General Hospital of PLA, Beijing, showed that flavonoids (pigments) in astragalus could help protect cell membranes from oxidative damage caused by ultraviolet exposure (Chung Kuo Chung Yao Tsa Chih, 21(12):746-8; 1996 Dec).
A study of laboratory animals at Cunma University in Maebashi, Japan, found that Astragalus could help preserve immune function against the harmful side effects of chemotherapy (Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih, 15(2):101-3, 1995 Feb).
Like a flame attracting moths, garlic bulbs have irresistibly drawn the attention of medical researchers. A study at Aarhus University, Denmark, found that skin cells in laboratory dishes treated with garlic supplements lived longer, healthier lives than untreated cells (Jrnl Ethnopharm, 1994. 43:125-133).
Meanwhile, a long list of research demonstrates that garlic's phytochemicals may fight tumors and reduce the carcinogenicity of the pollutants and chemicals that assault us daily. A study in China reported in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine showed that garlic helped slow tumors in lab animals (1983, 11:69-73). Another study in the Journal of Nutrition found that compounds in garlic could "suppress the growth of human colon tumor cells" (126, 1355-1361).
Added to those benefits, Robert A. Nagourney, MD, reports in the Journal of Medicinal Food (1:1, 1998, 13-28), garlic may "modify the carcinogenicity of foodstuffs." In other words, studies show that garlic can make chemicals in foods like pork less likely to cause your cells to become cancerous. (Ind J Physiol Pharmacol, 39:347-353).
DNA, the stuff that genes are made of, face constant threats from free radicals, caustic molecules that can alter cellular structure and possibly cause genetic mutations that lead to cancer. But research into what are called oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC), flavonoids (pigments) derived from fruits vegetables, grape seed extract and the bark of maritime pine trees shows that OPC may be able to shield DNA from injury.
In particular, studies of a grape seed extract called Activin have demonstrated this substance can help liver cell DNA escape a destructive process called peroxidation (FASEB, 11:3, 2/28/97).
In these experiments, Activin demonstrated the ability to inhibit the growth of tumor cells as well as slow the replication enzymes of HIV viruses. This protective ability proved to be more potent than that of vitamin C, beta carotene and vitamin E.
What does the future promise to reveal? Scientists believe that many unexamined plants probably contain undiscovered phytochemicals that hold great potential for helping us fight the cancer epidemic.
Certainly, if the next few years produce as many results as the past decade, the next millennium will witness a long line of cancer-prevention discoveries. Before long, you should be able to take advantage of these potent substances.
As you gulp your garlic, tip your tea cup, mull your maitake, acquire Activin and await your astragalus, you may meditate on what may soon be added to our growing anti-cancer arsenal. Undoubtedly, scientists with a botanical bent will be uncovering more coveted anti-cancer secrets before too long.
June 10, 2005 10:16 PM
Mushrooms by Frank Sturges Energy Times, December 7, 1999
The interest in mushrooms as health enhancers has... mushroomed. Mushrooms, researchers have found, are filled with a long list of substances that may help us fight disease. Some of these natural chemicals boost immunity. Others may be effective against cancer and heart disease.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the research into mushrooms stems from the vast number of mushrooms that dot the landscape. At least 1.5 million types of fungi populate forests, fields, nooks and crannies, but studies have detailed the properties of less than 3,000.
Mushrooms produce so many beneficial compounds because they constantly fight off other fungi and microbes to survive. These substances, which mushrooms utilize for defense, can apparently help humans.
One of the most important of these classes of compounds are the polysaccharides. Scientists believe these long starch molecules spark immune action that can protect us against invading germs or cancer. They may do this by persuading the body to create what are called killer T-cells. These immune warriors destroy microscopic invaders and may help stop tumors.
According to Paul Stamets, author of Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms (Ten Speed), use of polysaccharides... "will synergistically, in combination with the individual's immune system, result in dramatic recoveries...Right now we don't clearly understand all the elements in those formulas to be able to predict downstream what will happen. But clearly with some people, it is tremendously effective" (Townsend Ltr, 6/98).
In addition, mushrooms also make biologically active chemicals called steroids and terpenes, says Christopher Hobbs, author of Medicinal Mushrooms (Interweave). These substances are thought to help fight off the formation of cancerous tumors.
Maitake: Useful Fungus
Maitake (Grifola frondosa) mushrooms, also known as "Hen of the woods," contain chemicals called beta Glucans that can enhance immunity. Scientists are particularly fascinated by substances called the "D-fraction." Studies show these can spur immunity (Biol. Pharm. Bull. 17(12), Dec. 1994: 1554-60).
Researchers are also looking into the possibility that Maitake can help people with AIDS regain weight. And scientists are examining their effect on high blood pressure and diabetes.
In Tibet, the Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) has long been used to battle altitude sickness in the Himalayan mountains. Reishi is also reputed to soothe frayed nerves.
Scientific studies have supported these traditional uses, finding that people who consumed Reishi functioned better in low oxygen (Proceedings Contrib Symp 59 AB, 5th Intl Cong, 8/14-21, 101-104). Other research finds Reishi may help ease arthritis (Proc 1st Intl Symp on Ganoderma l. 11/17-18, 99-103, Tokyo).
Lion's Mane (Heri-cium erinaceus), also called "Monkey's head," has traditionally been a treatment for stomach problems in China. But researchers have found that chemicals in this mushroom help fight tumors (Biosci Biotech Biochem 56(2), Feb. 1992: 347-8).
During the past few years, scientific investigators have also begun to extract chemicals called erinacines from lion's mane. These substances, (known as Nerve Growth Stimulant factor) appear to encourage neuron regeneration. The potential uses: boosting nerve performance, fixing neurological damage and treating Alzheimer's disease (Tetrahedron Ltrs 35(10), 1994: 1569-1572).
Known as Cogmelo de Deus (Mushroom of God) in Brazil, the Royal Agaricus (Agaricus blazei) has been grown in Japan since the '70s where it enjoys widespread popularity. Researchers find that it provokes powerful anti-tumor effects. This fungus harbors more beta-Glucans, immunity enhancers, than other mushrooms.
Can a fungus make athletes faster? A few researchers think so, pointing to Chinese Olympians who use Cordyceps sinensis. This fungus, traditionally grown on caterpillars, is another native of the Himalayas.
Traditionally, Cordyceps has been used to foster stamina, better breathing and immunity.
At least one study shows this fungus may help blood vessels dilate during exercise. By supplying extra blood to working muscles, Cordyceps may help fight off fatigue and boost performance (Abstracts from 5th Mycological Cong, Vancouver, 8/14-21).
The mushroom called Shiitake has been the subject of an extravagant amount of research since the '60s. Called the "elixir of life," it boosts immunity. Stamets reports that people with cancer who take Shiitake do significantly better in coping with their disease (Abstract 2nd Meeting Soc of Natl Immunity, Italy, 5/25/94).
Another characteristic of Shiitake mushrooms: a celebrated taste. The tongue and the palate take great pleasure in this health enhancer!
Immunity - The Big Picture
June 10, 2005 09:51 PM
Immunity: The Big Picture by Brian Amherst Energy Times, August 3, 1999
Your body wants to be well. Outfitted with a battalion of defenses for strategic deployment, your immune system explodes with resistant force at the first sign of infective invasion.
Think of the time a tiny splinter embedded itself in your thumb. By bedtime, the spot rose and reddened; by morning, white blood cells had launched their campaign, building a hot, throbbing fortification. By day's end, the bit of wood was propelled to the surface and ejected by the immune system warriors. Once again, a foreign assailant was summarily ousted.
The Protective Force
"Supporting the immune system is critical to good health. Conversely, good health is critical to supporting the immune system." So write naturopathic doctors Michael T. Murray and Joseph E. Pizzorno in their Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima).
Maintaining the immune system requires a comprehensive program of wholesome diet, resilient attitude, fitness enhancing activity and nutrients keyed to the clear and specific needs of this energetic machine.
The all-star lineup for immune sustenance: a high-potency multiple vitamin/mineral formula, vitamins C and A, bioflavonoids, isoflavones, zinc and selenium, antioxidants like ActiVin (grape seed extract) and pycnogenol (French maritime pine bark), as well as the botanicals echinacea and astragalus.
But optimal partnering with your immune system also benefits from understanding its workings.
Lymph, a milky fluid consisting of water protein and immune cells, is the essence of the immune system. Powered by muscle movement (an important reason why exercise boosts immunity), the lymphatic system collects and transports lymph to the lymph nodes. These nodes contain certain immune cells and filter out invading antigens, as well as produce antibodies, before siphoning the lymph out into the bloodstream.
If you've ever had "swollen glands," that means your lymph nodes have been in overdrive.
Macrophages are the immune cells that filter lymph, consuming bacteria and cellular debris while protecting the lymph system from invasion and damage.
The White Blood Cell Album
In Monocytes collect cellular trash after infections and can trigger immune responses; eosinophils can eliminate foreign particles and, with basophils, are involved in immune response.
In Lymphocytes include varieties of T cells, which work with other white blood cells or attack and destroy foreign tissue, cancer cells or virus-infected cells; B cells that produce antibodies that bind to bacteria, viruses or tumors; and natural killer cells (NKCs) that destroy cancerous or virally-infected cells.
(Based on information in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine; The Road to Immunity: How to Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) by Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin; and the Johns Hopkins Family Health Book (Harper Resource).
Keep the System Sound
"But you must always be sure to maintain the mind-body-spirit link," he told Energy Times. "For the mind, it could be exercise, yoga or meditation. Evidence shows improved immune system responses from these therapies. And in any case, you never read in the headlines that somebody has been admitted to the emergency room overdosing on meditation.
"Intentionality also is an important part of the mind link: believing you are going to fare well. For your spirit, you must ask yourself such questions as, Do I feel connected to others?
"For the body, a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement. Much depends on your community: I live on Long Island, where there is a high incidence of breast cancer, so I would recommend green tea and isoflavones from soy products for women."
Dr. Benjamin stresses moderation in the use of immune-intensifying supplements, among which he cites mixed carotenoids, zinc and vitamin E.
The Soy Solution
In a study conducted by the University of Southern California at Norris and published in the March 4, 1998 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers reported that genistein, an active component of soy products, short-circuits the ability of tumor cells to elude destruction by the immune system due to an excess of defensive stress proteins.
Genistein seems to make cancer cells vulnerable to the immune response. Researchers at Wake Forest University told participants at the January 1999 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that dietary or supplemental soy fed to monkeys counteracted cell proliferation that is a cancer precursor.
That Championship C
Immune cells are known to accumulate and retain high levels of vitamin C. Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York now understand how that happens: Proteins called growth factors (which control growth and production of immune cells) also increase those cells' ability to take up vitamin C.
These researchers, reporting in the April 1998 issue of the journal Blood, explain that the additional glucose that the growth factors pump into immune cells (for enhanced energy), plus extra vitamin C, intensify immune response.
And folks with higher levels of vitamin C in their blood serum experience less cell damage from free radicals that leads to cancer, heart and pulmonary disease and other chronic conditions.
Scientists at the University of Buffalo (addressing the June 13, 1997 meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research) deduced from studying population groups that high levels of vitamin C are associated with low oxidative stress and lower risk of cell damage.
From A to Zinc
In Colostrum, the pre-milk liquid produced by mammals during the first 24 to 48 hours after birth, took the spotlight recently as a supplement imbued with multiple immune factors and natural antibiotics that augment body's immune response. A 1992 study showed that bovine colostrum might be able to reduce and prevente infections in immune deficient folks, especially those with AIDS.
In University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers found for the first time (on laboratory animals) that vitamin D appreciably inhibits widespread prostate cancer by binding to cancer cells and triggering cell death or their transformation to benign cells.
In Vitamin E exerts formidable immune-enhancing influence on both antibody and cell-mediated immunity. One fundamental study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (245, 1981: 53-58) established conclusively that vitamin E deficiency results in significant impairment of immune function. Later studies demonstrated that it reduces prostate cancer by up to one-third.
In Coenzyme A, described as a metabolic enzyme, takes part in starting numerous body processes that provide energy for the immune system. If you ever run short of this enzyme, fat processing within your body would grind to a halt.
in Researchers looking at a substance with the tongue twisting name 3-acetyl-7-oxo-Dehydroepiandro-sterone, believe it aids immunity by quelling stress hormones.
in Mushrooms contain natural substances called polysaccharides, believed to enhance immunity. In particular, maitake mushroom, which conveys the immune booster beta-D-Glucans, is reputed to help fight infections and drop blood pressure.
in Men and women taking selenium supplements for 10 years had 41% less total cancer than those taking a dummy, according to a January 1997 study by Cornell University and the University of Arizona. Other studies have shown it to reduce the risk for colon cancer by about 60%. n Zinc may provide immediate protection against the all too common cold. Scientists at the University of Florida were the first to apply genetic fingerprinting methods like those used in criminal and paternity investigations to understand how nutrients directly affect human immune cells.
The study, in the April 1998 Journal of Nutrition, demonstrates that zinc signals cells to make the protein metallothionein, which protects against infections, toxins and other stressors.
Phytochemicals a la Carte
n Isoflavones from soy, fight angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels form to supply nutrients to cancerous growths. n Sulforaphane in broccoli, kale and cabbage activates anticancer enzymes.
n Omega-3 fatty acids in cold water fish block the synthesis of prostaglandins, natural compounds in the body that promote tumor growth.
n Ginger contains antioxidant compounds, each more potent than vitamin E. Recent studies on mice show ginger can prevent skin tumors. n Rosemary contains carnosol which deactivates carcinogens and helps limit the effects of prostaglandins.
Sometimes the world can look like a dangerous place, especially when you're sick and tired much of the time. But in the search for immunity, menus of health help like this ensure that no matter what your immunity needs, a boost can be yours with the proper nutrient selection.
Basics of the Immune System
June 10, 2005 03:01 PM
Basics of the Immune System
by Leonid G. Ber, MD Energy Times, September 1, 1998
In a world filled with pathogens and microbes, good health and resistance to disease is no accident. It requires a vigorous and vigilant immune system. The immune system should be viewed as an internal security force that is constantly checking the identity of everything entering and already existing in the body. A cell or substance may be recognized as "non-self" and a potential enemy if it does not have the right molecular make-up. A cell displaying molecules produced according to a different blueprint than the body's own code may be recognized as foreign. To eliminate alien material that may harm the body, the immune system must take swift action.
Recognizing entities that originate outside the self forms the key to overall immune system response. This key is carried in the body by cells called macrophages (ma-kro-fajs), a name derived from a Greek term meaning "big eater." Macrophages eat or engulf foreign cells and molecules. When a macrophage encounters something that it distinguishes as being "non-self" or abnormal, it can attack the enemy with a series of assault weapons, including free-radicals (reactive substances) and enzymes, that dissolve and weaken the intruder. In fact, an enzyme produced by macrophages called lysozyme is recognized as one of nature's most powerful anti-infective agents. These chemical defenses, along with engulfment and complete digestion by macrophages, can effectively stymie invasion by disease-causing pathogens.
Harmful invasion can originate in the body's own cells as well as begin from outside sources. While we are constantly exposed to bacteria, viruses, fungal cells and parasites, destructive cancerous growths often start within the body.
Every day, thousands of the body's cells mutate into possible cancers. Under most circumstances, the immune system keeps these cells under control. But when the immune "security" system slips up, these harmful growths multiply unrecognized.
The initial immune response that recognizes invaders is called a "non-specific defense mechanism" since this immune response is generally the same toward all invaders. This counter-attack entails battling every invader pretty much identically: a macrophage can engage, dissolve, weaken, engulf, digest, eliminate. However, if, despite the initial immune efforts, the problem persists, a macrophage can tag an invader and "introduce" it to the rest of the immune system, thus recruiting more specialized types of immune cells to enter the battle. This tagging function endows macrophages with the name "antigen-presenting cells." (Antigens are substances that can provoke specific responses by the immune system.)
Most antigens are proteins. Proteins are relatively large molecules made of smaller units called amino acids. The specific geometric organization of amino acids is what conveys uniqueness to each protein. (Your genetic code forms a blueprint for the production of your own, individual proteins.) Protein molecules produced by one human being can act as an antigen for another human being. That's why organs transplanted from one person to another can be rejected by the immune system. Unless organs are transplanted from one identical twin to another (who share the genetic blueprint for protein creation), doctors must use immune-suppressing drugs to curtail organ rejection. At the same time as these medicines prevent transplant rejection, they also make people more susceptible to infectious diseases and cancer.
After one set of immune cells chemically tags antigens (invaders) for recognition, other highly specialized parts of the immune system go into action: Cells called T cells or T lymphocytes acknowledge the invaders and can take the further action (second line of defense) that is necessary to render them harmless.
T cells get their name from the thymus (an organ located behind the sternum) where they originate. The thymus, most active when we're young, usually shrinks and apparently slows or shuts down its activity about the age of forty.
A wide variety of T cells inhabit lymph nodes (soft, usually round, pea- or nut-sized organs) and other body areas. For instance, natural killer cells, as their name implies, are a particularly aggressive type of T cell. Another type of T cell is called T helper (a cell that supports development of immune response). T suppressors halt immune response when infection ends.
In order to make all these different cells work in concert, cytokines or messenger molecules are produced that facilitate constant communications between all the parts of the immune system.
The B Team
Other organs of the immune system include:
*bone marrow: a powerful cell producing organ where the majority of immune cells are born;
*spleen: an abdominal organ that forms a reservoir for the production of immune cells.
Lymph nodes oversee particular segments of the body where they collect and recycle tissue fluids. Like an early warning system, lymph nodes react when an invader is detected in the part of the body that it controls.
Yet another step in the so-called immune cascade entails action by lymphocytes, called B cells, which originate in the bone marrow. These cells produce antibodies which are immune proteins (immunglobulins) that attack specific antigens.
While traveling in the blood, an antibody can bind to an antigen, curtailing its harmful action. This bound up molecule forms a complex easily recognized by scavenging macrophages which make a quick meal out of the unlucky invader.
After enemy cells are removed from the body, knowledge of this victory resides in the immunological memory prolonging your resistance toward specific disease pathogens indefinitely. That's why someone who has recovered from a disease like the measles may be impervious to reinfection.
Rules for Optimum Immunity
Even though the immune system consists of a complex team of hard-working cells, enhancing your immunity is relatively easy:
Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Avoid continuous stress and negative emotions or cope with them through exercise or meditation. Consistent, moderate exercise can boost the immune system. Massage can also help although extreme care must be taken when inflammation or disease is already present.
Sleep 7-8 hours a day. Sleep allows the body to recover and rebuild. Protein synthesis, vital for a healthy immune system, increases during the night.
Stick to a healthy diet. Your immune system consists of trillions of cells. Consequently, nutrients important for cell health boost the immune system. A balanced low-calorie diet rich in complex carbohydrates, "good" fats (including fish oils, olive oil and flaxseed oil) along with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrient antioxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables can fortify immune cells. Plus, drinking plenty of water helps improve circulation of lymph fluid.
These recommendations are not hard to meet once they become a part of your daily routine. However, extra immune security may be necessary during flu season, while traveling long distances (airplanes are notorious sources of pathogens) or when working extensive hours in front of a computer screen. In addition, exposure to x-rays, immunosuppressive chemicals, ultraviolet radiation (the sun) or simply aging may give your immune cells extra burdens.
Your "specific" immune system does not respond immediately to the challenge of invasion by an infectious organism. Instead, it may require about 2 weeks for an effective reaction after antigen recognition and alerting T cells. During this period, the macrophages' non-specific defense assumes a crucial role in keeping infection in check.
Enhanced activity by macrophages is especially important for recognizing and destroying cancer cells. The most dangerous cancers are those that can mimic normal cells and avoid the immune system's wrath. Few substances can activate macrophage function in the body (aloe vera contains substances that contribute to this process). The most powerful macrophage activator recognized by the scientific community is a sugar-like substance called beta-1,3-D-Glucan. Beta-Glucan, extracted from the cell walls of common Baker's yeast, when taken in certain small amounts, can prevent infection by making macrophages more active in recognizing and attacking infectious bacteria, fungi and certain viruses.
This kind of activation can encourage macrophages to attack previously unrecognized tumor cells. As a result, tumors may be eradicated as the immune system mobilizes and produces what may be known as "spontaneous healing."
When a macrophage works overtime fighting disease, its demand for nutrients and energy increases dramatically. Vitamin C, known for its immune supporting function, seems to be especially important for maintaining fully active macrophages. Vitamin C collects in macrophages, often reaching forty times the concentration found in surrounding blood. What are conventionally considered normal amounts of vitamin C in the body may be insufficient to keep macrophages well supplied with this antioxidant. Therefore, extra amounts of vitamin C can keep the immune system in fighting trim.
Scientists are only now beginning to uncover the secrets of the highly organized immune system. One thing's certain: The immunity security team depends on proper lifestyle, nutrition and supplements to maintain the critical defenses necessary for good health.
Dr. Ber received his doctorate in internal medicine from the Yaroslavle, State Medical Institute in Yaroslavle, Russia.
Mushroom Immune Defense - Scientific Immunity Formula
June 04, 2005 10:08 AM
The immune system is a fascinating and complex group of cells and biochemical processes. Its many components work to protect you from environmental threats—but your immune system requires nutritional support to function optimally. Scientific research is proving that some of the most powerful immune-supportive nutrients are found in mushrooms. People who realize the critical importance of optimizing immune function should seriously consider adding an advanced mushroom complex to their daily regimen. No other mushroom formula offers the high-potency, broad-spectrum benefits of Source Naturals MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE. MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE features 16 of the best-studied species of health-supportive mushrooms, including shiitake, reishi, and maitake. These mushrooms contain compounds, including beta-Glucans, glycoproteins and polysaccharides, that support a wide range of immune defenses: natural killer cell, T-cell and macrophage activity, and cytokine production. By combining a wide variety of mushrooms and fortifying them with extracts to ensure high potency, MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE offers a biochemically diverse formula that provides optimum immune assistance.
How Do Mushrooms Work?
Mushrooms are a treasure trove of bioactive compounds, but most of their immunomodulating activities have been attributed to polysaccharides (long-chain, simple sugars) and glycoproteins (polysaccharides naturally associated with proteins). These compounds activate a variety of immune responses.
MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE contains mycelia (networks of fibrous filaments) and extracts from the widest variety of mushroom species available. Included are the following mushrooms, which have demonstrated the most evidence for immune defense. Shiitake (Lentinula edodes): Lentinan, the beta Glucan from shiitake, has been studied more extensively than similar substances and may be one of the most effective immunomodulators. Numerous studies have shown its ability to stimulate natural killer cell, T-cell, and macrophage-dependent responses.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum): Reishi’s polysaccharides may stimulate macrophages and enhance T-cell proliferation, according to in vitro studies.
Maitake (Grifola frondosa): Maitake enhances the activities of natural killer cells, T-cells and macrophages, according to animal studies. MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE contains MaitakeGold 404™, a highly specialized maitake product, rich in beta-Glucans, which is the only maitake betaGlucan fraction endorsed by the world’s premier maitake researcher, Dr. Hiroaki Nanba, Ph.D. Turkey Tails (Trametes versicolor): These mushrooms have a long history of traditional use in Asia. One in vitro study suggests that its polysaccharides stimulate macrophages.
Almond portabella (Agaricus blazei): This mushroom may stimulate the immune system by increasing T-cell activity, according to animal studies.
Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis): Cordyceps came to international attention during National Games in China when, in one week, three women’s track and field world records were broken. The coach partially credited a cordyceps elixir. Cordyceps was found to augment antibody and other immune responses in one animal study, and a cordyceps polysaccharide was found to elevate cytokines in vitro.
MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE contains 10 additional mushrooms, including enoke, oyster, Polyporus umbellatus, and Poria cocos. Vitamin C is added to enhance absorption and activity.
Unparalleled Immune Support
A focus on immune support can pay tremendous dividends for your entire life. If you are dedicated to good health, you want a powerful formula on your side. Source Naturals is proud to join forces with your natural foods retailer to bring you an unparalleled immune formula: MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE.
Beta Glucan 1,3/1,6 - Stimulates Immune Function!
May 31, 2005 05:18 PM
Today’s environment is filled with toxic challenges. A strong immune system is critical to protect you from this onslaught. There is perhaps no single compound more valuable for the immune system than BETA Glucan 1,3/1,6. This complex polysaccharide is found in cereals, yeast, mushrooms and other sources. Now Source Naturals offers you the only yeast beta Glucan shown in numerous studies to stimulate your immune system. Only Source Naturals offers beta Glucan in the form and potency that can fulfill its immense potential. Unlike products that consist of crude baker’s yeast, BETA Glucan 1,3/1,6 is purified: the outer cell wall layer and other residues that reduce effectiveness are removed. The few other purified beta Glucans on the market range from 5 to 20 mg per tablet—at very high prices. The purity and 250 mg potency of Source Naturals BETA Glucan 1,3/1,6 make this the only product that can deliver the immune-supportive power of beta Glucan.
Beta Glucan & the Immune System
Beta Glucans are non-digestible polysaccharides, which we obtain in our diet from oats, barley, yeast, and mushrooms. Beta Glucan supplements are taken to support immune function in individuals whose systems are compromised by physiological and emotional stress. Beta Glucan has been found in numerous studies to:
Beta Glucan & Cholesterol
Beta Glucan has also been found to help maintain cholesterol levels already in the normal range, possibly by forming a layer adjacent to intestinal mucosa that prevents cholesterol absorption. Beta Glucan may also promote bile acid excretion, an important method for eliminating excess cholesterol.
Highly Purified Beta Glucan Yeast is one of the most concentrated sources of beta Glucans—and Source Naturals BETA Glucan 1,3/1,6 is highly purified beta Glucan from baker’s yeast. Beta Glucans are derived from yeast cell walls, which consist of an outer shell coated with compounds called mannoproteins.
In addition, the cell wall contains a plasma membrane and a layer of small fibers. If these layers are not removed, they may interfere with recognition of beta Glucan by receptors on white blood cells. It’s not easy to remove the compounds that interfere with beta Glucan’s immune-supportive activity. As a result, many products contain beta Glucan that is not properly purified— and cannot match the activity of BETA Glucan 1,3/1,6.
Of the numerous nutrients that support immune function, beta Glucan is perhaps the most potent and efficacious. It is the central component for those who wisely embark on an immune enhancement regimen. Source Naturals BETA Glucan 1,3/1,6 is available in 250 mg tablets, making it one of the most potent products on the market.
Your Source for Advanced Nutrition
The development of BETA Glucan 1,3/1,6 represents Source Naturals’ commitment to manufacturing supplements on the cutting edge of nutritional science. We are proud to partner with your local health food store in bringing you nutritional resources that help you take charge of your health.
Abel, G. and J. Czop. 1992. Int J Immunopharmac 14(8): 1363-1373. Czop, J. 1986. Pathol Immunopathol 5:286-296. Nicolosi, R. et al. 1999. Amer J Clin Nutri 39(2): 189-202.
May 31, 2005 04:27 PM
The human immune system is the extraordinary biochemical network responsible for keeping us well. As our molecular interface with the environment, it has evolved complex interactions with the plant world. Mushrooms, which form one of the most primitive plant groups, have been valued for decades by progressive medical practitioners as immunopotentiators. Only recently, however, has science identified and tested the specific mushroom nutrients that augment natural defenses. AHCC® (active hexose correlated compound) is a proprietary mushroom compound. It is wellresearched in Japan for its immune-supportive properties, in particular the ability to increase natural killer cell and macrophage activity. Hundreds of Japanese hospitals and clinics recommend AHCC as part of an immune maintenance regimen, and its potent effects are so highly regarded that sales exceed $200 million dollars per year.
AHCC ®: A Unique Compound
AHCC, or “active hexose correlated compound,” is a rich source of polysaccharides (beta Glucan 1,3 and activated hemicellulose) and glycoproteins, plus amino acids and minerals. It is produced by enzymatic modification of several types of medicinal mushrooms, including shiitake. AHCC is derived from organically cultivated mushroom mycelia (the rich pre-mushroom stage, a network of fibrous filaments plus the medium it lives on and uses for fuel). The low molecular weight of AHCC makes it easier to absorb.
Natural Killer Cell and Macrophage Activity
Your trillions of cells are susceptible to damage by free radicals and toxins, so a healthy immune system uses its first line of defense—natural killer (NK) cells—to quickly identify and destroy threatening particles. The effectiveness of NK cells depends on their activity level, so boosting NK activity is a smart strategy for those committed to maintaining vibrant health and longevity. AHCC is a potent biological response modifier that may significantly increase activity of NK cells and macrophages, according to human and animal studies. Literally “large things that devour,” macrophages are white blood cells that engulf and aid in the removal of foreign particles.
Studies show AHCC also enhances production of cytokines, including interferons and interleukins. These intercellular chemical messengers trigger white blood cell production and activity. In one recent study, AHCC was shown to support normal basal levels of two cytokines, as well as NK activity. It is rare for a natural compound to have such a profound impact on strengthening the immune system.
Your liver is your body’s chemical manufacturing and detoxification factory. It must handle the full brunt of assault from environmental contaminants and pharmaceuticals. Stress further burdens this overworked organ. Human studies suggest AHCC supports healthy liver function.
Your Source for Scientifically Advanced Nutrition
Source Naturals AHCC is the original proprietary compound that is attracting worldwide attention. And with no adverse side effects reported in dozens of studies and abstracts, it is certainly a nutritional approach worth considering. At a time when our systems are challenged by an unprecedented array of toxins, research into the remarkable immune-supportive properties of the plant world is critical. Source Naturals is your connection to this research, dedicated to quickly bringing you the benefts of the latest emerging wellness strategies.
References Uno, K. et al. Biother 2000 14(3) 303-309. Matsiu, Y. et al. J Hepatol 37 (2002) 78-86.
MaitakeGold 404® and Certified immune-stimulative activity ...
May 26, 2005 10:49 AM
Dr. Nanba's Maitake Beta Factor & Dr. Nanba's Maitake-Pro Certified Immune-Stimulative Activity
By now, many people are aware of the numerous benefits of mushrooms, especially for immune health. But not all mushroom products are created equal. Planetary formulas offers Dr. Nanba's Maitake Beta Factor and Dr. Nanba's Maitake Pro. These products feature MaitakeGold 404®, a specialized beta Glucan fraction with important health promoting properties. And every lot comes with certified proof of immune bioactivity -- so customers can be assured they are getting the benefits they look for in a mushroom product.
Immune Active Certification programThe Tradeworks Group, Inc., supplier of MaitakeGold 400® and planetary formulas' exclusive supplier for dr. nanba's maitake beta factor an d Maitake pro, has introduced a new and unprecedented quality assurance program. The Immunactive Certification program provides MaitakeGold 404® licensees with proof of in vivo immune activity analysis for every lot of MaitakeGold 404®. Each lot is independently tested at the University of Louisville school of Medicine to validate its phagocytosis activity.
Phagocytosis is the process by which cells (White blood cells, for example) engulf and digest foreign organisms. As the body's first line of immune defense, phagocytosis is understoood to be one of the most important activities in immunology. For an immune support prodcut to be of benefit, it must be able to stimulate phagocytosis, thereby protecting the body against daily health chellenges.
Based on this testing, Maitake Gold 404® has been shown to be a consistent and potent immunostimulant.
Certification Exceeds Conventional Industry Standards
The biological assays provided under the ImmuneActive certification program offer customers a form of quality control that goes beyond the chemical analyses typically provided by companies, according to Roy Upton, herbalist and Planetary Formulas General Manager. "Most all comnpanies perform some type of quality control test," Upton said. "However, a biological assay measuring activity is often much better than chemical charaterization. Because of the important role maitake plays in support of healthy immune system, it is important that activity, not just chemistry be delivered. People depend on its immune system activity, not its chemistry."
Endorsed by world's Premier Maitake Researcher
MaitakeGold 404® is the only maitake extract endorsed by award-winning mushroom researcher, Dr. Hiroaki Nanba, PH.d. It was Dr. Nanba's research that led to the discovery of the beta Glucan fraction known as MaitakeGold 404®.
MAitakeGold 404® is a trademark of the Tradeworks Group, Inc., and is protected under U.S. Patent # 5,854,404
May 09, 2005 06:10 PM
It's in the BloodNatural alternatives abound for managing cholesterol levels, backed by a growing body of research ©VR By Paul Bubny
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) last July lowered the threshold for considering the use of statin drugs—a move which some say was motivated more by profits than scientific evidence. For example, the Center for Science in the Public Interest pointed out that eight of the nine authors behind the new recommendations had financial ties to statin manufacturers, which stand to reap billions of dollars more from a category that grossed $14 billion in the U.S. last year. And though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January decided against authorizing over-the-counter (OTC) sales of statin drugs, drug companies would still like to see this happen.
“The medical establishment’s pushing of these drugs to becoming the number one category of prescribed drugs in the world has led them to keep lowering the total cholesterol number that triggers the drug recommendation,” said Neil E. Levin, C.C.N., D.A.N.L.A., nutrition educator, product formulator, and “Truth Advocate” for NOW Foods (Bloomingdale, IL), which produces a number of supplements for addressing cholesterol. “This is despite the lack of evidence that total cholesterol means much as regards cardiovascular risks.
“Other tests are much more important in terms of predicting risks, including CRP (C-reactive protein), the balance of different cholesterol fractions, and homocysteine,” he continued. “Add adult-onset diabetes to the risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD).”
At the same time, the allegation that enormous sales potential lay behind the lower threshold for prescribing statin drugs illustrates how widespread the problem of hypercholesterolemia (elevated total cholesterol) is. More than 100 million Americans have elevated cholesterol (total cholesterol values of 200 mg/dl and higher), and of these, more than a third have high cholesterol (levels of 240 mg/dl and higher), according to the American Heart Association. Those numbers have unfavorable implications for the incidence of CVD, as high cholesterol is considered a risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke.
While statin drugs haven’t garnered the same degree of negative publicity that COX-2 inhibitors have suffered lately, safety concerns have arisen nonetheless. For one thing, these drugs lower the liver’s production of coenzyme Q10 (coQ10) along with its production of cholesterol. “CoQ10 is related to energy production and immune functions, is an antioxidant, and [is] an important cardiovascular nutrient,” Levin said. “It is not good to lower one’s coQ10 levels by half!”
Moreover, said Levin, statins increase the tendency of muscle tissues to break down. “Combined with inactivity or certain drugs, this can stimulate muscle wasting,” he said. “Muscle is where a good deal of calories are burned, so a loss of muscle could affect mobility and energy production, potentially adding to obesity problems. These muscle changes occurred in patients and persisted for years after treatment was discontinued, as shown by muscle biopsies, even if no obvious muscle problems were observed by the patients.”
And the last word on the subject may not have been spoken. Predicted Dr. Frank King, Jr. president of King Bio Natural Medicine (Asheville, NC), “Once the appropriate studies are finished, these drugs, along with hypertensives, will hit the fan bigger than the COX-2 inhibitors.”
Also looking toward the future, Levin said that of the 20 million Americans who will be “targeted” for statin drug prescriptions under the new NCEP guidelines, “Some of these will want to try natural methods first. Others will rebel at the side effects of the drugs and experiment with alternative products.”
King and Levin both saw opportunity for natural products in the fallout from drug safety concerns, with King projecting that sales of his company’s cholesterol-related homeopathic remedies will double in 2005. “The reports of deaths from drugs will always overshadow the trumped-up studies and news reports blasting dietary supplements,” said Levin. “Vioxx knocked vitamin E off the media’s radar screens pretty rapidly, though we still see ignorant reporters citing that [Johns Hopkins] vitamin E analysis as if it were true. But the comparable safety of supplements means that open-minded people will want to at least try natural therapies before signing in to a lifetime of drug therapies. Meanwhile, the studies on natural products will continue to build our credibility.”
Those studies keep coming in, with at least four major findings published in the past few months, plus a heart-health claim on walnuts authorized by FDA. They join a raft of earlier findings that link natural products—branded and otherwise—to healthy cholesterol levels.
"Blur of Products"
With so many natural alternatives to cholesterol drugs available, it can be hard to keep track. “As with any other category, the blur of products as they cascade over several shelves means that the retailer needs to have a good sense of what works and what they want to recommend to their customers,” Levin said. “Really, each person needs a protocol that would include antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, herbs, and oils. The pre-mixed cholesterol support formulas are a good starting place.”
To help retailers get a sense of “what works,” here is an alphabetical discussion of several nutrients that have demonstrated benefits in serum cholesterol levels. They include the following:
Barley may help lower cholesterol, according to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2004, vol.80, no.5: 1185-1193). Twenty-five adults with mild hypercholesterolemia consumed a controlled diet low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol for 19 weeks. They then added whole-grain products containing barley to their diets that contained low (0 g), medium (3 g), or high (6 g) amount of beta-Glucan per day for five weeks. Total cholesterol was reduced by 4 percent 9 percent, and 10 percent, respectively. The diet with the highest amount of beta-Glucan led to a decrease in LDL cholesterol of 17 percent.
Chromium. There’s evidence, Levin said, that chromium in doses of 500 mg a day may decrease levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the so-called “bad” cholesterol) and total cholesterol while raising levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good” cholesterol). At the annual meeting of the American College of Nutrition last October, a poster presentation on the safety of Benicia, CA-based InterHealth Nutraceuticals’ ChromeMate niacin-bound chromium won first prize; among other things, the presentation cited chromium’s role in maintaining healthy blood lipid levels.
Fatty Acids. The latest in a long line of studies demonstrating the benefits of fatty acids in heart health is a study published in The International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics in December 2004. It showed that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid, can restore normal blood vessel function in children with inherited high cholesterol. The study, which used Martek DHA produced from microalgae, concluded that restoration of normal blood vessel function has the “potential for preventing the progression of early coronary heart disease in high-risk children.”
“The evidence continues to accumulate on the cardiovascular benefits of DHA for people of all ages,” said Henry “Pete” Linsert, Jr., chairman and CEO of Martek Biosciences, an ingredient supplier based in Columbia, MD. “This study clearly indicates that DHA played an important role in healthy blood vessel function in the children in this study.”
On the Omega-Research.com Website maintained by fish oil manufacturer Nordic Naturals (Watsonville, CA) can be found summaries of several earlier studies linking omega-3 fatty acids to maintaining healthy blood lipid levels, as well as related benefits such as elasticity of the arteries. In a 2003 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that women receiving a mixture of 4 g eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA along with 2 g of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) had lower levels of LDL cholesterol after 28 days compared to those who received either the EPA/DHA supplements without DHA, EPA/DHA with a smaller dose of GLA, or GLA alone.
Flax is another source of omega-3s, and Arkopharma/Health From The Sun (Bedford, MA) offers FiProFLAX in a variety of forms. Marketing director Hugues P. Mas said the flax is “QAI [Quality Assurance International] certified organic and guaranteed GMO [genetically modified organism]-free.” On its Website, the company offers a cholesterol quiz geared to consumers, discussing the importance of omega-3s as well as other nutrients.
Garlic. Adding to an already considerable body of research demonstrating that garlic can lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides while increasing HDL cholesterol, researchers at UCLA in 2003 reported that Kyolic aged garlic extract reduced or inhibited plaque formation in the arteries of 19 cardiac patients taking statin drugs.
Lead researcher Matthew Budoff, Ph.D. commented at the time that the study “suggests that aged garlic extract may be a useful and beneficial dietary addition for the people who have high cardiovascular risk or who have undergone heart surgery.” Budoff has since presented several trade show seminars sponsored by Los Angeles-based Wakunaga of America, the makers of Kyolic.
Guggul. In use for centuries as a component of Ayurvedic medicine, guggul—a gummy resin tapped from the Commiphora mukul tree, which is native to India—has been studied since the early 1960s for its hypolidemic (blood-lipid lowering) properties. Sabinsa Corp. (Piscataway, NJ), an ingredient supplier which produces a standardized extract under the brand name Gugulipid, says the studies on guggul indicate that its hypolipidemic activity can be attributed to more than one mechanism of action.
Among the possible mechanisms are: inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis, enhancing the rate of excretion of cholesterol, promoting rapid degradation of cholesterol, thyroid stimulation, alteration of biogenic amines, and “high affinity binding and anion exchange.”
Homeopathy. “Homeopathy activates the body’s own control system to work properly,” said King. “This is the safest and most curative approach to take.
“Forcing the body into biochemical change even naturally doesn’t actually have the curative action of homeopathy,” King continued. “Homeopathy can even correct the genetic predispositions to disease we may have inherited from as deep as a thousand years into our family chain.” King Bio makes Artery/Cholesterol/BP, a homeopathic formula intended to help tone heart muscles and blood vessels.
Low glycemic index foods. In a study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that high glycemic load is negatively correlated to serum levels of HDL cholesterol. Assessing the relationship between blood levels of lipids and diet in a test population of 32 healthy males and females ages 11 to 25, the researchers found that glycemic load accounted for 21.1 percent of the variation in HDL cholesterol. They concluded that glycemic load appears to be an important independent predictor of HDL cholesterol in youth and noted that dietary restrictions without attention to glycemic load could unfavorably influence blood lipids.
Medicinal Mushrooms. Although its product SX-Fraction is intended primarily to address high blood sugar, Maitake Products, Inc. (MPI, Ridgefield Park, NJ) found in a clinical study that LDL cholesterol in diabetic patients declined modestly (from 142 mg/dl to 133 mg/dl) over a two-month period. Those taking SX-Fraction also lost about 7 lbs. in the same time period.
“The more impressive lowering of cholesterol, however, comes from the dietary fiber that is found in all medicinal mushrooms,” said Ellen Shnidman, manager of scientific affairs at MPI. She cited animal studies which documented the cholesterol-lowering properties of four different mushrooms: maitake, shiitake, agaricus, and enokitake.
For example, a study reported in the September 1996 issue of Alternative Therapies showed “a 44 percent reduction in total cholesterol in rats consuming maitake mushroom in their diet,” said Shnidman. “This cholesterol reduction is accompanied by weight loss, relative to rats eating a similar high-choelsterol diet without mushrooms. Apparently, cholesterol is excreted by the rats in sufficient quantity to aid in weight loss.”
Oat bran. A 2004 consumer study conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI, Harleysville, PA) for Nurture, Inc. (Devon, PA), which produces the ingredient OatVantage, found that 63 percent of consumers managing their cholesterol levels prefer oat-based ingredients.
Oat bran is the subject of a health claim authorized by FDA in 1999, and NMI research found that 69 percent of respondents preferred the FDA-permitted health claim, “Helps Lower Cholesterol,” over the model structure-function claim, “Helps Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels.” “This is significant for food, beverage, and dietary supplement manufacturers who want to increase sales by using a more consumer-desired claim on the product label,” said Griff Parker, Nurture CEO.
Plant sterols. Also the subject of an FDA-approved claim for heart health, plant sterols (structurally similar to cholesterol in humans) can block the absorption of cholesterol, according to a number of studies. In an “Ask the Doctor” publication (available online at www.atdonline.org), Decker Weiss, N.M.D. noted that sterols enter the same receptor sites that cholesterol enters on its way to the bloodstream. “The cholesterol, being blocked from absorption, remains in our intestines where it is eventually excreted,” Weiss wrote. General Mills has just introduced Yoplait Healthy Heart, a yogurt high in plant sterols.
Policosanol. A mixture of fatty alcohols derived from sugar cane or beeswax, policosanol has been favorably compared in clinical studies to several types of prescription drugs for managing cholesterol. On its own, policosanol was found in a 1999 study to reduce LDL cholesterol while raising levels of HDL cholesterol.
Probiotics. “Several studies have indicated that consumption of certain cultured dairy products resulted in reduction of serum cholesterol, as well as triglycerides,” wrote Dr. S.K. Dash, president of probiotic manufacturer UAS Laboratories (Eden Prairie, MN), in his Consumer Guide to Probiotics. Among other studies, Dash cited two controlled clinical studies from the VA Medical Center at the University of Kentucky.
“In the first study, fermented milk containing [Lactobacillus] acidophilus was accompanied by a 2.4 percent reduction of serum cholesterol concentration,” he wrote. “In the second study, a different L. acidophilus strain reduced serum cholesterol concentration by 3.2 percent. Since every 1 percent reduction in serum cholesterol concentration is associated with an estimated 2 to 3 percent reduction in risk for coronary heart disease [CHD], regular intake of fermented milk containing an appropriate strain of L. acidophilus has the potential of reducing risk for [CHD] by 6 to 10 percent.”
Dash said his company’s DDS Probiotics contain DDS-1 L. acidophilus, “which has been researched and demonstrated to show cholesterol-lowering effect.”
Psyllium. “Internal cleansing is very important” in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, “especially if you do it with a lot of fiber,” said Sunil Kohli, vice president of Chino, CA-based Health Plus, Inc. The cholesterol-managing ability of fiber in general and psyllium in particular is “very well-established,” he said.
However, Kohli said, “It will probably do you no good if it’s random. It should be done on a regular basis, and it should be supervised. Consulting the doctor or pharmacist is important.”
Soy. The protein in soy “has evidence of lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, based on reviews of studies using over 20 g of soy protein per day,” said Levin. “Soy isoflavones are considered only partly responsible for this effect.”
Sytrinol. A patented proprietary formula derived from natural citrus and palm fruit extracts and containing citrus polymethoxylated flavones and palm tocotrienols, Sytrinol has been shown in clinical trials to improve total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides by up to 30 percent, 27 percent, and 33 percent, respectively. Having just wrapped up Phase III of a long-term trial of Sytrinol, Chicago-based SourceOne Global Partners, which owns the exclusive worldwide license for intellectual property associated with the ingredient, is commencing a study that combines Sytrinol with plant sterols.
Tocotrienols. On its Website discussing the science and benefits of tocotrienols (www.tocotrienol.org), ingredient supplier Carotech Inc. (Edison, NJ) identifies several benefits for blood lipid levels. Tocotrienols, according to the Website, have been shown to “inhibit cholesterol production in the liver, thereby lowering total blood cholesterol;” “[suppress] hepatic HMG-CoA reductase activity [and result in] the lowering of LDL cholesterol levels;” and “inhibit cholesterogenesis by suppressing HMG-CoA reductase.”
With all of this, Levin said, it’s important for retailers to remember that “they are not allowed to discuss diseases and remedies unless there is an approved FDA health claim allowed on the label, as with soy protein and plant sterols. What is allowed are structure-function claims such as ‘cholesterol support,’ ‘promoting normal, healthy circulation,’ ‘homocysteine regulators,’ etc.”
Supplementation is only one tool for managing cholesterol levels, manufacturers pointed out. “Besides nutrition, lifestyle is a key to controlling cholesterol,” Levin said. “Eating a variety of antioxidant-rich foods will prevent the liver from churning out cholesterol as a ‘cheap’ antioxidant. The body uses oxidized cholesterol to patch leaky and damaged blood vessels, so the ability to build healthy collagen is a must, using nutrients like vitamin C, Pycnogenol, rutin, hyaluronic acid, and MSM.
“Don’t forget exercise and stress reduction,” he added. “Stress results in high cortisol levels—usually accompanied by poor blood lipid levels—and a lack of good sleep to produce unhealthy people.” VR
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