Search Term: " Hardening "
A need for bananas? Dietary potassium regulates calcification of arteries
October 11, 2017 01:14 PM
Having potassium in your diet regulates calcification of your arteries. Bananas have a lot of potassium, so people should eat plenty of those. Dietary potassium can help to prevent heart issues. Both bananas and avocados can protect against heart disease. They are both foods that are very high in potassium. This is something that the nation needs to pay attention to because a lot of deaths in this country are from heart disease. Potassium matters a lot.
"Bananas and avocados -- foods that are rich in potassium -- may help protect against pathogenic vascular calcification"
Read more: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171005102712.htm
Can EDTA help my cardiovascular system
EDTA, also referred to as Calcium Disodimum Edathamil, is a synthetic amino acid used to treat a host of conditions including cardiovascular diseases. It can be administered intravenously, intramuscularly or orally.
Primary use: Detox Metals and Clean Veins
The Hardening that occurs in our arteries, commonly known as atherosclerosis, contributes massively to poor cardiovascular health. This plaque buildup blocks your arteries causing diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and heart attacks.
EDTA chelation therapy has been proven to effectively dissolve the plaque restoring the arteries to their previously clear state. The healthy arteries allow good blood flow eliminating cardiovascular diseases.
EDTA is also beneficial in lead poisoning treatment. It has the ability to bind itself to heavy metals like lead, arsenic and mercury in the bloodstream. EDTA treats heavy metal toxicity. It is also used in dentistry during root canals, as well as to remove excess digoxin (the drug used for abnormal heart rhythms) in the body.
Everybody should take EDTA once a year to maintain a health cardiovascular system.
Mother Nature’s Best Secret is Grape Seed Extract
December 25, 2014 08:08 PM
Benefits of Grape Seed
Grape seed extract is a powerful antioxidant, the benefits resemble a type of fountain of youth that invigorated individuals and improved cardiovascular health and improved weakened collagen levels. Research indicated that individuals who resided in France and consumed red wine enjoyed a longer lifespan due to consuming wine that possessed a high content of a type of flavonoid called proanthocyanidin.
High blood sugar damages the heart and hardens it resulting in heart attacks and heart disease. Researches uncovered a secret of grape seed extract; it activated a blocker at the gene level stopping the body from heart Hardening. Turning on this element at the cellular level deep inside of the mitochondrial DNA of a human being has assisted diabetic cardiomyopathy. French grape seed extract has an amazing impact on the body with blood sugar levels.
Germ managing elements have been identified inside of grape seed extract; it is a powerful anti-candida, reducing harmful bacteria keeping it in a healthy balance. People that are overweight who take the extract find that they reduce their calorie intake naturally. Persons who suffer with Alzheimer’s disease, if they are given the extract improve and maintain a higher mental function. This extract is excellent for all parts of your body, boosting the immune function at all levels.
Is Beta Carotene The Safe Vitamin A?
March 21, 2014 02:29 AM
What is beta carotene
Beta Carotene is a capable pwerful antioxidant that is useful for the heart and circulatory. In the constitution, it is changed into Vitamin A for the support of solid skin, great vision, and a strong immune system. Vitamin An is fundamental for ordinary structure of epithelial cells that ensures the form from ecological defilement.
The Benefits of White Tea!!
November 23, 2012 01:25 PM
White tea is a special variety of lightly oxidized tea which has undergone very little processing. It is originally native to China and in recent times it has been cultivated in Nepal, Thailand and Taiwan. White tea has been popular in China for over a thousand years and was the preferred drink of the rich elite of the nation. It came into prominence during the reign of the Soong dynasty. It was considered precious and was presented as tribute to the Emperor.
According to legend Emperor Hui Zong lost most of his kingdom in his pursuit for the perfect white tea. White tea is an integral part of Chinese history and was a part of many of their traditional ceremonies. The rest of the world has only recently adopted this exotic beverage.
How Is It Produced?
White tea is derived from the Cammelia senensis plant and takes lot of time and effort to produce properly. The leaves and buds of the plant are carefully steamed and subsequently dried. It is not processed or rolled extensively like black or green tea. This makes white tea lightly oxidized and this unprocessed quality may be the reason for its numerous health benefits. We look at some of the health benefits associated with white tea.
An Antioxidant And More!
White tea contains antioxidants which help in protecting the body from harmful free radicals. These free radicals accelerate aging and damage DNA. White tea has substances which are effective against malignant cells and can help treat stomach, colon and prostate cancers. Flavonoids are a special variety of antioxidants which restrict the growth and development of cancerous cells. White tea has been shown to help in lowering blood pressure and promoting arterial functioning. It causes a reduction in the consistency of the blood and promotes smooth blood circulation. It protects against stroke by promoting a healthy circulatory system.
Active Ingredient Catechins:
Catechins are another group of antioxidants, which can help regulate cholesterol levels in the body. These antioxidants reduce bad cholesterol and prevent the arteries from Hardening. White tea drinkers are reported to have greater strength and bone density. Also drinking white tea has shown positive effects for people suffering from bone related disorders like osteoporosis and arthritis.
This tea provides natural defensive against viruses and bacteria. It is conducive for the health of the immune system and provides protection against a variety of immune disorders. White tea contains small amounts of fluoride compounds which help keep your teeth healthy and clean. It eliminates the bacteria responsible for bad breath, tooth decay and plaque. It removes free radicals from the tissue and reverses the effects of weather, stress and poor dietary preferences to give you healthy glowing skin. White tea has many other health benefits to offer.
Its consumption is linked to increase in metabolism, weight loss and reduction in the symptoms associated with type-2 diabetes. White tea is a natural product free from excessive processing and harmful chemicals. It offers many health benefits and does not cause any harmful side effects. It is slowly gaining popularity as a health supplement among the global population.
Niacin And Niacinamide?
November 18, 2012 10:32 AM
Niacin Vs Niacinamide
Niacin also known as nicotinic acid is an organic compound and it is one of the essential human nutrients. Niacin deficiency can result to pellagra. It is also used for reducing cardiovascular issues. A chemist called Hugo Weidel first described niacin in 1873 in his studies of nicotine in the oxidation of nicotine using nitric acid. The name niacin was derived from nicotinic acid + vitamin.
Niacinamide is also known as nicotinamide or nicotinic acid amide. It is the amide of niacin. Niacianamide is part of B-vitamin and it is water soluble. Niacinamide is derived from niacin. These two are components of B3-vitamin and they are often used as supplements interchangeably. However, there are some critical differences between these two vitamin B3 components. Niacinamide is derived from niacin and the body is able to convert niacin into niacinamide.
Niacinamide can also be made by our body from an amino acid known as trytophan which is usually present in animal foods. A chemical compound known as an amide is what makes niacinamide. Amide is defined by a nitrogen atom which is combined with a carbonyl group or C=O. Therefore, the main distinction between these two components is that niacinamide is a derivative of niacin.
Different Pharmacological Properties
Although the two are used interchangeably, they have different pharmacological properties. Their physical effects on the body also differ and people who are sensitive to their effects may prefer to use one over the other. Their usefulness in treating different conditions for instance high cholesterol, circulatory problem and osteoarthritis can also differ. Because of the pharmacological properties difference in niacin and niacinamide, different people can have different physical reactions when they take one as opposed to the other.
High niacin doses can cause flushing a condition that causes blood vessels to widen. This makes the capillaries under the skin to expand to allow more blood to flow making the skin to become red and itchy. Niacinamide does not have the effect of skin flushing and that is why it is preferred over niacin in the treatment of pellagra, a condition that results due to lack of vitamin B3. The only affect that niacinamide may cause is excessive sweating.
Niacin And Cholesterol
Niacin on the other hand it is preferred in the treatment of high cholesterol levels while niacinamide is not preferred in this treatment. This is because since niacinamide is a derivative of niacin, the cholesterol lowering properties in niacinamide are inhibited. Niacin is also preferred in treating circulatory problems because of its effects on the blood vessels and the role it plays in lowering high cholesterol levels hence preventing Hardening of the arteries.
This in addition reduces the risk of heart attacks. On the other hand, Niacinamide may also be preferred for treating osteoarthritis and diabetes. The two can be used in treating physical and emotional stress. Either niacin or niacinamide may be used for treating anxiety and depression. For these two components of Vitamin B3 to be effective, doctors recommend that they ought to be taken in combination with Vitamin B1, B2 and C.
What Are The Health Benefits Of The Grain Quinoa?
February 13, 2012 01:57 AM
Quinoa is a gluten free seed rich in dietary fibers with creamy, fluffy and slightly crunchy texture. Its taste is somewhat nutty when cooked. It belongs to the family of spinach, beets, swiss chard and lamb's quarter.It is a complete protein grain with all the essential amino acids. There are nine essential amino acids known as the building blocks of protein. Amino acids help in building strong muscles and nourish the nerves.It is also rich in essential minerals such as manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and iron.
Quinoa is technically a seed, not a grain of a goose foot plant. The name quinoa came from Greek words chen which means goose and pou which means foot. This is because the leaves of the plant of quinoa seeds resemble the webbed foot of a goose.
Quinoa has been cultivated as early as the 12th century by the Incans, the ancient people of South America. They referred to quinoa as the "mother seed",considered as a sacred grain and gold of the Incans.They believed that it is a gift from gods that possesses enhancing properties.The emperor ritually planted and sowed the first quinoa seed of the season using his golden taquiza, a shovel like planting stick. Quinoa gives energy and increases oxygen to the relay teams of bare footed running messengers who lived in the mountains with an altitude considered high enough where oxygen level is reduced.This is because they were holding ash from quinoa plant and cocoa leaves. This combination increases oxygen in their body to sustain the runners increasing need for oxygen. In can armies also used quinoa to energize their body from frequent marching for days. Quinoa is part of the native Indian diet to increase their resistance to prevail over harsh living condition in the high mountains.
Today quinoa is making its name popular in the industry of wonder foods.It is so high in protein that builds and nourishes muscle tissues. It is used to treat people with migraine, diabetes and atherosclerosis. It is a good source of magnesium that relaxes the blood vessels. Magnesium reduces attack of migraine by improving blood and oxygen distribution to the brain.
Magnesium combined with high dietary fiber found in quinoa helps in maintaining healthy blood pressure and prevents cardiovascular diseases. Fibers absorb and eliminate bad cholesterol.It prevents plaque that blocks the arteries and enhances blood circulation.This process prevents atherosclerosis, the Hardening of the arteries due to fat deposits and plaque buildup that narrows the arteries.
Quinoa is rich in anti oxidants that shields each cells from getting damaged caused by free radicals, pollution, alcohol and medication. It boosts the immunity and increases resistance from stress. Anti oxidants and fibers prevent risks of cancer and diabetes.Obesity and overweight are the most common risk factor of diabetes. Fibers remove toxins and excess fats, improve digestion and maintain healthy body weight to prevent diabetes.While antioxidants enhances cell regeneration and repair. This process lowers risks of cancer.
Quinoa is highin insoluble fiber thatprevents gallstones and helps in cleansing the liver. Whole grains like quinoa reduce asthma, allergic cough and wheezing in children. The protein in quinoa strengthens the muscle tissues of the air passage, thus prevents inflammation that narrows the airways of asthma patients.
Guggul, Cholesterol and Your Health!
February 11, 2012 07:53 AM
Guggul is a secretion substance, usually a yellowish rein, of the mukul myrrh tree botanically known as Commiphora mukul. It has been used for centuries now in the Indian Ayurvedic medicine as a remedy for conditions such as osteoarthritis, obesity as well as some skin conditions. Recent studies have also indicated that guggul can also be used to lower the levels of cholesterol mostly by inhibiting cholesterol synthesis and accelerating the removal of the LDL and triglycerides cholesterol. Besides lowering cholesterol and blood fats, guggulipid extracts have been observed to raise the level of HDL cholesterol ,which are good cholesterols, and thus enhancing the health of your heart by shielding it against artherosclerosis vascular disease.
The guggul extract contain a compound that inhibits the functioning of a receptor in the cell known as FXR. This receptor is responsible for regulating the cholesterol in our body by varying the amount of the bile acids in our bodies. Usually, cholesterol in our body is either from synthesis in the liver or from diet. Cholesterol is contained in the bile acids which are made in the liver before being passed to the gall bladder and then to the small intestines. They help in the metabolism of fat in the small intestines before reprocessing and returning to the liver. By preventing the functioning of the FXR receptor implies that more cholesterol becomes excreted. In so doing 14 to 27 percent of LDL cholesterol and 22 to 30 percent of triglycerides cholesterol levels are reduced with use of guggul without need for exercise or diet.
Since guggul is instrumental in Hardening of the arteries (artherosclerosis) and maintaining gigh levels of HDL (High-density lipoprotein) it has been seen to be a remedy for male erectile dysfunction and impotence. Further, guggul enhances the function of thyroid gland which is responsible in production of hormones that regulate metabolism. This therefore aids in weight loss by altering the thyroid function to increase production of thyroxine metabolite, triiodothyroxine and T3 which enhances the general body metabolism and by extension enhance burning of fats.
The action of guggul thus creates a balance between low and high cholesterol which may be in our bodies owing to diet, chronic stress, genetic propensity and also lack of exercise. A number of studies have reported that it is a safe and effective remedy to improving and maintaining a ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterols. In addition to maintaining normal ranges of cholesterol levels, it shields you against heart disease and inflammation.
In research, guggul extracts has been observed to clash with CYP3A4 enzyme whose responsibility is to metabolise numerous chemicals in the body. CYP3A4 is also responsible for metabolism of medications and thus guggul use tends to reduce the effectiveness of a number of medications such as diltiazem, propanolol and birth control pills. However, it has been reported that it in fact increases the levels of certain drugs such as statins in the body resulting in an improved effectiveness. Another problem of guggul use is its ability to raise the effectiveness of blood thinners and hence blood clotting becomes a challenge and it results to excessive bleeding. Therefore guggul should be administered only in the event that one is not under medication or the interaction between guggul and the medication is in fact not detrimental.
Have your tried Guggul Today?
Does Eating Too Much Fiber Put On A Lot Of Flab?
September 02, 2011 11:33 AM
Fiber and Flab Overview
Many of us today has looked into fiber and its role in health and weight regulation, many researches also has backed up the claims of many companies that manufactures fiber supplements that fiber has benefits in both those areas. So whether you are someone who is an avid user of fiber or just someone who uses it occasionally, the question "Does too much fiber help me put on more flab?" might have come to mind a couple of times. I know it did for me, my reason was because I just simply felt heavier, for some they feel like they have a bigger pant size and these are just a few of the examples. Whatever the reason may be, for us to be able to answer that question with more accuracy, we need to examine two things. One is how fiber works in our body and two is how we gain weight in the first place and find out what the correlation is between the two.
Fiber and how it works
Many people use fiber for digestive purposes, more commonly for cleansing purposes and rightfully so because one of the main functions of fiber is to help alleviate the digestive tract through helping stool move along as long as there is ample amounts of water together with it. That is the catch because fiber works in such a way that when ingested into the intestines it absorbs the substances around it and it can do so as much as five times of its original weight. So with this, it can work both ways, if there is no water around to absorb, it absorbs solids therefore causing Hardening of stool and move toward constipation for more severe instances. However with water around, it will absorb the liquid and create a flushing effect in our digestive tract aiding in the cleansing of toxins and other bacteria which could lead to more beneficial effects.
Weight Gain or Flab Gain
The formula for gaining weight is pretty simple. If you have worked out for any reason you might have come across the idea, calories equal energy and unused energy equals calories stored and calories stored equals weight gain. So when you gain weight it simply means you are taking in more calories that you can burn. That it is the only way you will gain weight and how does this relate to fiber intake?
Fiber and weight gain
According to researches too much fiber can cause weight gain and it does so because of its sponge like properties. Going back to what we talked about above, it can cause stool Hardening and constipation and that can cause some temporary weight gain and bloating making you feel like you have gained weight and your stomach bigger. That is one way. The other is when trying to increase fiber intake through fruits and vegetables or by other means, the additional calories that come along with it may cause the actual weight gain and the additional flab so fiber may be part of it but is not the direct culprit of the flab gain.
How Does Lycopene Help Improve Prostate Health?
August 18, 2011 10:16 AM
Lycopene is a bright red carotenoid pigment and phytochemical found in tomatoes and other red fruits and veggies, like red carrots, watermelons and papayas however not strawberries. Although most chemical carotenes has vitamin A activity, lycopene does not. Lycopene is an essential intermediate in the biosynthesis of many carotenoids and in algae, plants, and other photosynthetic organisms.
A term that describes a large range of more about 600 pigments which give plants their red, orange or yellow colouring is carotenoid. Some of the most commonly known in a regular Western region diets are alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene.
Attention has been paid most to alpha-carotene and beta-carotene since these are the ones that can be synthesized by our body to form vitamin A, one of the body’s very powerful antioxidants.
Lycopene, in particular, is has even been credited with some of the many anti-oxidant functions previously credited to beta-carotene.
Prostate cancer is most common among men over the age of 50. The cause of this type of cancer, like almost all other cancers, is unknown, but some studies indicate alteration in testosterone metabolism possibly plays a role in its development. Prostate cancer generally grows slowly and can be undetected until late in the stage of the decease since it does not show any symptoms in the early stages. Symptoms can include painful urination, a feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder, or blood showing with the urine. According to some studies prostate cancer patients that supplement with lycopene in addition to surgical procedures to remove the testicles may experience, less bone pain, and live longer than those who does not supplement.
It has also shown that groups of patient that were tested with lycopene supplementation has a higher survival rate after a time frame of two years and no adverse side effects were observed in these men as well. This is achieved through lycopenes proven role in keeping the pathways open between cells which is vital in allowing the immune system to hold off cancer cells in its early stages. Although more research is still required to iron out what exact amount of lycopene will be most effective, the current results are already encouraging. However eating a moderately sized tomato a day can approximately provide 4 mg of lycopene and other tomato products, like an 8-ounce tomato juice or tomato paste provides up to 15 mg of lycopene just to give all the men out there an estimate. These are small portions of the diet that could easily be added without any major adverse effect to weight or health and seems too small to ignore given the possible benefits and minimal negative effects if any.
Additional Lycopene Benefits
It also has been found that lycopene can possibly as important as beta-carotene in protecting against the process of oxidation of Low Density Lipids (LDLs), also known as the “bad cholesterol”, which is now held to be the main cause of atherosclerosis, or Hardening of the arteries which leads to cardio-vascular diseases like stroke or heart attack.
Grab Some Lycopene today and experience the benefits for yourself!
Myth: Agave Nectar may have adverse side effects such as mineral depletion, liver inflamma
April 08, 2010 04:09 PM
Myth: Agave Nectar may have adverse side effects such as mineral depletion, liver inflammation, Hardening of the arteries, insulin resistance leading to diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity and more.
This is an unfounded scare tactic. Moderate use of Agave Nectar will not directly lead to the above mentioned consequences. The issue is overconsumption and poor dietary choices.
“Inaccurate information from ostensibly reliable sources and selective presentation of research under extreme experimental conditions, representing neither the human diet nor HFCS have misled the uninformed and created an atmosphere of distrust and avoidance for what, by all rights, should be considered a safe and innocuous sweetener.” – White, John S. The Journal of Nutrition. We believe this applies to agave as well.
Supporting data has been misused. The studies that have been conducted have measured metabolic upsets under extreme conditions. They have used pure 100% fructose versus pure glucose at very high concentrations. These conditions do not reflect the American diet or the composition of fructose containing sweeteners. The methods have been inappropriate for assessing the safety of these dietary macronutrients. Even pure water triggers adverse health effects at these high repeat doses. The Journal of Nutrition (2009). Supplement: The State of Science on Dietary Sweeteners Containing Fructose.
Milk Thistle And Silymarin
August 12, 2009 12:44 PM
In Europe, milk thistle was used as a well-known remedy for liver problems and also as a digestive aid. Pliny the Elder, the early Roman writer, explained how the juice of milk thistle mixed with honey was used for carrying off bile. Gerard, an herbalist, said in 1597 that milk thistle was one of the best remedies for liver-related diseases. Milk thistle was also given to nursing mothers to improve milk production.
The liver is an extremely important organ that is found in the body. It is responsible for filtering toxic material from the body, which prevents accumulation that can lead to disease and death. Often, the vital functions of the liver are overlooked. Nevertheless, they are extremely important. It is essential to keep the liver working properly. Milk thistle has been proven to be very beneficial for liver function. Milk thistle extract has been shown in observations to help reverse both acute and chronic liver problems, including cirrhosis and viral hepatitis. The antioxidant properties may be due to the bioflavonoid content. Milk thistle has also been found to help heal the liver from damage that occurs from alcohol toxicity. It has been used to treat many different liver ailments. Among these are fatty liver disorders, chronic hepatitis, inflammation of the bile duct, Hardening of the liver, and cirrhosis. Milk thistle is also thought to actually help liver regeneration when part of the liver is removed.
Milk thistle possesses a variety of compounds which are known as Silymarin. This includes silybin, silydianin, and silychristin. All of these substances are known to protect the liver against some toxins, which helps to increase the function of this important organ. Silybin is used as an antidote to the deathcape mushroom, which is known to destroy liver cells. The deathcap species is one of the most toxic of liver poisons and has a death rate of up to fifty percent. A study with sixty patients suffering from deathcap poisoning treated with silybin produced incredible results. None of the participants died. Silymarin is an effective remedy if it is administered within forty-eight hours of ingestion. This compound seems to occupy the receptor sites to protect the cell membranes. Not only does it work to treat serious liver conditions, but it also prevents damage from occurring. Silymarin contains amines which are known to help stimulate the production and flow of bile. This compound has been found in studies to work exclusively on the kidneys and liver. Milk thistle has also been shown to stimulate the synthesis of protein.
The seeds of the milk thistle plant are used to provide alterative, antioxidant, galactagogue, hepatic, and stimulant properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are bioflavonoids. Primarily, milk thistle is extremely beneficial in treating cirrhosis, hepatitis, jaundice, kidney problems, and liver disorders. Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with alcoholism, appetite loss, high blood pressure, boils, chemotherapy, depression, epilepsy, fatty deposits, gas, heartburn, heart problems, hemorrhages, hypoglycemia, indigestion, absent lactation, menstrual symptoms, effects of radiation, skin diseases, varicose veins, and the effects of toxins.
January 03, 2009 12:27 PM
Calcium is the most damaging mineral that is involved in the calcification of the blood vessel system. Ionic calcium, which is a floating form of calcium, is used by the body in daily functions like muscle contraction and relaxation, nerve impulse transmission, blood coagulation, and others. Calcium is a mineral that is capable of forming complexes with other components, such as proteins. These complexes can eventually lead to the formation of lesions, plaque, and the overall Hardening of the blood vessels.
There are four different components that are found mainly in arterial walls which often combine with calcium. Elastin, a type of protein that makes up a good amount of the blood vessel wall, is the substance that allows the arterial wall to be elastic. During the process leading to atherosclerosis, elastin often forms complexes with ionic calcium, which results in a loss of elasticity.
Collagen, another type of protein that works with elastin to make up the bulk of arterial walls, forms complexes with ionic calcium, which leads to Hardening of the blood vessel. MPCs, which are carbohydrates that contain a number of agents including amino acids, uronic acids, and chondroitin sulfate, are found within the arterial wall where they form complexics with ionic calcium to promote the formation of atherosclerosis. Beta lipoproteins and pre-beta lipoproteins transport a fatty acid and glycerol combination for storage in the liver, muscles, and other areas of the body.
Although beta and pre-beta lipoproteins form ionic calcium complexes and initiate the onset of arteriosclerosis, there are lipoproteins that do not form complexes with calcium, but interferes with the formation of ionic calcium complexes instead. It is clear that ionic calcium plays a huge role in the formation of arterial plaque and the actual Hardening of arteries, due to the complexes it forms with components of the arterial wall. Because EDTA effectively ties up calcium complexes so that it can be eliminated through the urine, it is also clear why EDTA chelation therapy is a successful way to reduce the levels of atherosclerotic plaque and reverse the hardened condition that so often occurs in the artery walls.
EDTA chelation therapy was patented in Germany in 1930 and first used in medicine in 1941 to help with lead poisoning. It wasn’t patented in the United States until 1949, with several papers being published on its therapeutic effects following in the early 1950s. EDTA chelation therapy has been used in the U.S. to treat atherosclerosis since 1952, but was also used for lead poisoning and heavy metal toxicity before that. After its initial use for lead and heavy metal poising, it was noted that EDTA resulted in the reduction of severe pressure and pain in and around the chest, which led to the discovery of its abilities to treat atherosclerosis.
Since then, thousands of scientific articles have been written concerning the many aspects of EDTA chelation therapies as well as its safety, which has been proven by its use on thousands of patients in over three million intravenous treatments by over one thousand doctors in the last fifty years. Not one fatality has been documented when established protocol has been followed, while the FDA approved the new drug application for EDTA without requiring any additional safety studies to determine its safe use. Have you tried oral EDTA?
Green Tea Extract
October 23, 2008 01:43 PM
Green tea is a form of tea made from the leaves of the Carmellia Sinensis, a shrub that is native to China and has spread to other areas of Asia including Japan and the Middle East. Drinking it is believed to impart many health benefits, including the prevention of obesity, heart disease and some forms of cancer and it has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 400 years.
Tea is known to have been consumed in China for around 5,000 years, and used, not only in Chinese medicine, but also in that of Japan, Thailand and India for a number of ailments including regulating blood sugar, treating wounds and digestive problems. The drinking of green tea to benefit the heart and other vital organs is described in the Kissa Yojoki (Book of Tea), written in 1191 by Eisai, a Japanese Zen priest.
This two-part book talks about the various medicinal benefits of green tea, such as preventing fatigue, curing beriberi, quenching thirst, clearing the thoughts, maintaining health of the urinary tract and improving digestive problems. It also explains how to grow tea and how to prepare and use the leaves. The methods of treatment of various ailments and medical conditions are described in the second part of the book.
The active ingredients in green tea are catechins, polyphenols with strong anti-oxidant properties. Antioxidants are important components of your diet due to their effect on free radicals. These are small molecules, generally oxygenated, such the superoxide cation and hydrogen peroxide that are generated during normal metabolic processes and also ingested in pollutants such as traffic and factory fumes and insecticides. Free radicals are also formed by the effect of the ultra-violet component of sunlight on your skin and other tissues.
The effect of free radicals on your body can be devastating, and they not only destroy cell membranes but also oxidize such molecules as the low density lipids (LDL) that carry cholesterol around your bloodstream. This allows the LDLs to be absorbed by the white blood cells and then deposited as fatty plaques in the walls of your arteries. The end result is a thickening and Hardening of the arteries that leads to a condition known as atherosclerosis, where the blood supply to the brain and heart muscle is restricted, which can in turn lead to strokes and heart disease.
Their effect on your cells is to cause cancer and premature aging, among others, and free radicals are also believed to play a part in conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and also inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and diabetes. They can also cause damage to your DNA.
It is essential, therefore, that these free radicals are destroyed as quickly as they are generated, and that is what antioxidants do. You might be more familiar with the antioxidants Vitamins A, C and E, and phytochemicals such as flavonoids and carotenoids, but there are many substances available to you that are even more powerful such as the polyphenols found in green tea.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the most powerful of these with antioxidant properties at least twenty five times that of Vitamin E, and 100 times that of Vitamin C. EGCG comprises around 10-50% of the total catechin content of the tea and studies indicate that it likely helps to protect against DNA damage by free radicals, to protect against oxidation of LDL, provide protection against the damage of ultra-violet radiation and to protect you from the free radicals that are generated by smoking tobacco and general airborne pollution.
There are suggestions that the bioavailability of EGCG can be increased by consuming black pepper when drinking green tea, possibly due to the presence of piperine in the pepper. The piperine appears to retard the intestinal glucuronidation of EGCG and so allow more of it to be absorbed as opposed to excreted. So if you are using green tea for health reasons, spice up your food with a small amount of black pepper - that's all it needs. You don't have to smother your food in it! It should be stressed that these tests were carried out on animals, although the biochemistry involved is much the same.
The oxidation of fat by your metabolism to provide energy is a very important factor in weight control. If the contribution of the fats you ingest to the energy generated by your metabolism is low, then the fats can go on to be deposited in your body. This is not only unsightly, in that it can basically make you look 'fat', but is also dangerous to your health. Fat deposits around your midriff and round the major organs of your body can be extremely damaging and a severe risk to your health.
It has been shown by a recent study in the UK (Birmingham University) that those taking green tree extract displayed a 17% increase in fat oxidation over those given a placebo. Not only that, but the ratio of fat oxidation to the overall energy expenditure showed a similar differential between the study and the control group. This provides evidence of green tea extract being able to control your weight by burning fat, and also to improve the tolerance to glucose and sensitivity to insulin of healthy people.
Many other health claims have been made for green tea extract, although many of these have little, if any, scientific basis. Among these are the claims that it can treat multiple sclerosis and be used to treat cancer, although claims that it can prevent the destruction of cell membranes due to its oxidative effect are supported by the biochemistry, if not the medical proof. There are cases where theoretical biochemistry can explain many of the applications of ancient remedies without needing modern day studies to support it.
Some of the research supporting the green tea theories include:
1. In 2006, a study was announced that had followed over 40,500 Japanese men and women, aged between 40 and 79, that had no history of coronary heart disease, stroke or cancer starting in 1994. It was found that those who drank at least 5 cups of tea per day had a 16% lower risk of dying from any cause and a 26% less risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than those that drank less than one cup of tea each day. Since cardiovascular disease and cancer are the major causes of death world-wide, these are significant results.
2. Again in 2006, it was reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that studies indicated that a higher consumption of green tea was associated with a reduction in human mental impairment when compared to the average.
3. Yale University School of Medicine reported later that year that, in spite of smoking more than their western counterparts, Asians suffered lower rates of cancer and heart disease, and put that down to them drinking over 4 pints of green tea daily. It was the polyphenol content of green tea and its antioxidant effect that was proposed for this result, known commonly as the 'Asian paradox'. A specific reason given for this was the antioxidant effect preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, and its subsequent deposition in the artery walls.
4. Another component of green tea is the amino acid L-Theanine that promotes relaxation, and it is believed that this could help to fight stress by inhibiting the excitation of cortical neurons.
There is a lot more evidence for the health benefits of green tea, and once again it appears that the ancients have been proved correct. Perhaps we should pay more attention to ancient remedies, although without the proper evidence much of it is ignored - for the time being at least. Green tea, however, has generally been accepted due to the research and studies carried out on ECGC (Epigallocatechin gallate) and in additional to the traditional form, is also available as a dietary supplement.
Green Coffee Bean Extract
October 22, 2008 04:59 PM
It is known that aging is largely a result of the effect of free radicals on our body cells, and that green coffee bean extract can be used to fight against these. While we intuitively understand what the term ‘aging’ means, very few people can actually describe it in words, although there are several theories of why it occurs.
The most viable of these include the Error Catastrophe Theory, related to faulty molecular transcription and errors in cellular function, the Crosslinkage Theory, in which progressively increasing cross-linking between proteins slows the body functions down, and the Neuroendocrine Theory, in which changes in homeostasis and hormone levels occur through time due to an increasing loss of sensitivity of receptors to feedback inhibition.
However, by far the most acceptable and best understood theory is the Free Radical Theory of Aging, which green coffee beans have been found to help fight, and it is on that which we shall focus here.
The Free Radical Theory of Aging
Free radicals are oxidants created by unpaired electrons. Electrons generally go around in pairs, but occasionally molecules lose one of these electrons, creating a situation where it possesses an unpaired electron. In this condition, that molecule has only one purpose in life and that is to oxidize other molecules by stealing an electron from them.
Oxidation can cause untold damage to cell membranes, and also to other molecules that are vital to life, such as DNA. The end result is aging, and the onset of many diseases and conditions connected with aging. Free radicals are believed to be behind inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and Crohn’s disease, strokes, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer among many others. Each of these is associated with aging.
Free radicals are generated in the body in four different ways:
1. Energy is generated by the intercellular mitochondria by the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). By-products of the mechanism by which this is done include hydrogen peroxide, the superoxide anion, and a hydroxyl radical. Over 20 billion molecules of antioxidant are produced in each individual cell daily, and every one of these has the capability to do damage to your body. The figure for inefficient cell metabolism is significantly higher.
2. Peroxisomes are eukaryotic cell components that contain oxidative enzymes, whose function is to produce hydrogen peroxide that is then used by another enzyme, catalase, to oxidize other toxic substances. It is used by the liver, for example, to oxidize about a quarter of all the alcohol we drink to acetaldehyde, and also to remove other toxins from the body. The down side is that the hydrogen peroxide can escape and degrade the cell membranes.
3. Chronic infections give rise to a high activity of white blood cells, which utilize oxidants of various kinds to destroy viruses, bacteria and parasites. These include hydrogen peroxide, superoxide and nitric oxide which can also destroy the cells they are protecting.
4. Cytochrome P450 is an enzyme used to clear the body of toxic chemicals in our food such as pesticides and drugs. They also give rise to oxidative by-products.
In addition to these, free radicals are also produced by air pollution consisting of smoking, factory emissions and traffic fumes. Trace metals such as lead, iron and copper, are rich free radical sources, as is the ultraviolet component of sunlight, and caffeine, from tea and coffee, can also contribute to the store of free radicals in your body.
So where does green coffee extract come into this, and how should it be used. Free radicals tend to react very rapidly to accelerate aging, and in order to counter them, and hold the effects of aging at bay, it is necessary to destroy them almost as quickly as they are produced. This is carried out by antioxidants, of which there must be a plentiful supply available in each body cell.
Antioxidants donate electrons to free radicals, and so effectively neutralize them before they can attack the membranes of the cells in your body, or any of the other tissues that they can degrade. Many of the vitamins have a powerful antioxidant effect, among them vitamins A, C and E. Other antioxidants available in our diet include beta carotene and other carotenoids, flavonoids and glutathione, and also cofactors such as lipoic acid. All of these can destroy free radicals by the donation of an electron.
Green coffee beans have also been found to possess a strong antioxidant effect, due largely to the plant phenols, such as caffeic acid that forms chlorogenic acid with quinic acid, both cholorgenic and caffeic acid being string antioxidants. Green coffee bean extract is standardized to 99% chlorogenic acid. This substances not only reacts rapidly with free oxygen radicals but also helps to prevent to formation of hydroxyl radicals.
It has been established that green coffee bean reacts twice as fast as green tea or grape seed extracts, and speed of reaction is critical in the destruction of free radicals that have to be destroyed before they do damage. Other antioxidants found in extracts of green coffee beans include heterocyclic compounds such as pyrroles, furans and maltol.
The extract is made from beans of Coffea Arabica, this containing higher concentrations of chlorogenic and caffeic acids than the Arabica plant. The extract is also produced to be naturally low in caffeine, thus avoiding the negative effects of drinking coffee for its stimulating properties. When the green coffee bean is roasted, the antioxidant effect is found to decrease, and after roasting and brewing both the Arabica and the Robusta beans have reduced in activity to much the same level.
Studies on some of the conditions exacerbated by free radicals have indicated the effectiveness of green coffee beans as an antioxidant. It is believed to help reduce atherosclerosis caused by the oxidation of low density lipids (LDL). Oxidized LDLs tend to be easily absorbed by phagocytes to form plaques and foam cells in artery walls, thus narrowing and Hardening the arteries, causing a deprivation of oxygen and nutrients to the heart and also increased blood pressure. Antioxidants from the green coffee bean prevent this from happening, and so help to reduce this serious effect of aging.
A good supply of antioxidants will also prevent the cell membranes from being destroyed, one effect of which is to age the skin. Antioxidants in the form of green coffee bean extract can help to maintain a youthful appearance while also aiding in the prevention of the more serious effects of free radicals that can shorten life.
There are no doubts that free radicals contribute significantly to accelerated aging, and that the antioxidants contained in green coffee beans can help hold back the physical signs of aging, while also helping to destroy those free radicals that threaten life by promoting cancer, atherosclerosis, and other similar conditions.
Ginkgo Biloba Extract
September 19, 2008 09:25 AM
Ginkgo biloba, also known as the maidenhair tree, grows naturally in two small areas of Eastern China. It is believed that even these sources are artificial, and planted and maintained by monks over many centuries, and that there are no true natural sources of the tree left. Other than these, all living ginkgo trees are now artificially farmed.
The ginkgo seeds contain nuts that are a traditional food in China, served at Chinese New Year, and on other special occasions such as weddings, and is also used in traditional Chinese medicine. The seeds have been used in the treatment of coughs and asthma, and during the late 1970s and 80s, the uses of ginkgo biloba in medicine was extensively investigated with a view to determine the range of conditions that the tree could be used to treat. Given that many ancient Chinese remedies have found to be effective, and with a relevant scientific basis, this was a logical step.
It has been established that ginkgo biloba could have three possible effects on the body. These are:
* Improvement in circulation including that in the small capillaries.
The last of these has been responsible for many cardiovascular conditions, and disorders of the kidneys, lungs and central nervous system, and is due to the effect of the platelet-activating factor (PAF) that ginkgo appears to inhibit.
Before delving deeper into the possible beneficial effects of Ginkgo, let us first examine the active ingredients believed to be involved in the perceived beneficial effects.
Ginkgo leaf extract contains terpenoids (bilobalides and ginkgolides) and flavonoid glycosides. Flavones can reduce the fragility of capillaries, and protect the body from blood loss through damaged capillaries, particularly in the brain. The Ginkgolides, particularly ginkgolide B, inhibit the platelet-activating factor and so increase the fluidity of the blood that improves circulation, again particularly in the micro-capillaries of the brain. This is also why it is believed to reduce the incidence of cerebral thrombosis and resultant strokes.
The antioxidant effect of ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) has been widely studied, and by scavenging free radicals the extract can help to prevent cell membrane damage, and so prevent cells from being destroyed. It has been established that pretreatment of cells with GBE can prevent such damage in rats.
The anti-inflammatory properties of ginkgo biloba, as seen in some asthma patients for example, is thought to be due to the inhibition of the platelet-activating factor (PAF) by ginkgolide B, PAF playing a significant part in the inflammatory response to allergens, and PAF is now believed to be responsible for conditions such as asthma, renal diseases, central nervous system disorders and ischemia, a restriction in the blood supply, particularly to the brain.
It follows, therefore, that the effect of GBE on these conditions is likely to be due to PAF inhibition, and a reduction in the inflammatory response to a number of conditions. What evidence is there for this? In fact, results of the trials carried out have been inconclusive one way or the other.
Hence, a trial published by the Journal of the American Medical Association reported no effects after a 6 week trial of Ginkgo on Alzheimer’s and memory disorders. However, other trials have indicated positive effects after 6 weeks, and it could be that the GBE has to be taken for more than 6 weeks for any effects to be noticed. It is certainly believed to be a longer term treatment rather than have instant results, although some tests have shown improvement in concentration for up to 2.5 hours after treatment. The bulk of the evidence is favorable on the effect of GBE on memory disorders.
Test on rats, in which the blood flow to the brain was mechanically blocked by carotid compression, indicated that ginkgo biloba promoted an increase in the glucose and ATP levels in the brain neurons. Other trials have indicated that neurological damage in mice subjected to neurotoxins was reduced by the administration of GBE, and while not conclusive with respect to humans, the effect of GBE on the brain appears to be more than just opinion.
To sum up, ginkgo biloba is believed to be effective in treating the following disorders by virtue of its effect in improving the fluidity of the blood, protecting fragile capillaries from damage, exerting an antioxidant effect on free radices, and so prevent damage to cell membranes, and its inhibiting effect on platelet-activating factor:
Circulation problems in the arteries can lead to blood clots that in turn cause strokes and cardiac problems. By preventing blood clots through the inhibition of PAF, ginkgolide B can help to maintain a healthy circulation system that also help to maintain circulation in the very small capillaries that feed the brain.
This is caused by Hardening and blockage of the arteries, and one of the effects of ginkgo biloba is to soften the arteries, help to unblock them and to prevent plaque formation by its antioxidant effect on the free radicals that cause the plaque by oxidation of LDL lipids. This is particularly true of the cerebral arteries.
The increased blood flow to the brain that GBE promotes can help to improve memory, although test are indicating that treatment has to continue for 6 weeks or more for it to be effective. Reduced blood flow to the brain is a common cause of memory impairment.
Ginkgo biloba has been used in the treatment of the symptoms of this condition, although it cannot be cured. It is thought that the improved circulation in the brain makes best use of the unaffected brain cells, improving memory and cognitive thought.
This is a condition where the extremities fail to warm up after being exposed to cold, and is caused by poor circulation in the small capillaries in which the blood pressure is very low. They symptoms are numbness and pins and needles, and GBE helps to overcome this condition due to improvement in the circulation and protection of the capillaries by rendering them less fragile.
GBE can help to reduce the symptoms of vertigo such as nausea and dizziness. This is believed, once again, to be due to an improvement in blood circulation.
There are few doubts that ginkgo biloba extract improves the circulation, particularly in the micro-capillaries in the brain and extremities of the body, and also possesses antioxidant properties, both of which help to maintain and improve the memory, and that combined with its effect on the platelet-activating factor, most of the properties of GBE is due to its capacity to maintain and improve circulation, particularly through those blood vessels closest to the blood-brain barrier.
Bilberry Extract Is A Powerful Antioxidant That Strengthens Veins
April 12, 2008 11:06 AM
Bilberry extract is taken from the Vaccinium myrtillus, or bilberry, a small blue berry that has been used traditionally for the treatment of conditions now known to be due to inflammation and the action of free radicals on the body.
Among these is atherosclerosis, or Hardening of the arteries, caused by the free radical oxidation of the low density lipids that carry cholesterol around the bloodstream, and that cause deposition of fatty plaques on the arterial walls and eventually constricts them to a stage that can cause heart failure or a stroke, depending on whether the arteries are close to the heart or in the brain.
However, additional to treating this condition, bilberry has also traditionally been used for the treatment of varicose veins and also for certain eye conditions. In fact it was during the Second World war that the Royal Air Force in Britain received reports from pilots that their night vision improved after eating bilberries. Not only their vision, but the restoration of night vision after exposure to glare.
This was extremely important to war-time pilots who had to be able to rapidly adapt their vision to fly their plane after exposure to searchlights and explosive detonations. That is the reason for anything that appeared to promote this essential adaptation to be reported.
The pharmacology of these effects have been found to be due to the anthocyanosides in which bilberries are particularly rich. Anthocyanosides consist of an anthocyanaidin backbone, to which one of either arabinose, galactose or glucose can be bound. Since bilberry contains five of these anthocyanadins, then there are fifteen different anthocyanosides in the fruit concentrate.
The area of the retina that appears to control night vision, and the transition from day to night sight, is called the epithelium which is connected with purple vision. Anthocyanosides seem to have an affinity for this part of the retina, and in so doing plays an important part in this type of vision, specifically night vision although it is also beneficial in improving day vision.
Although bilberry also contains vitamins A and C, hydroquinone and tannins, it is the anthocyanosides that provide it with its unique antioxidant properties, and also its effect upon collagen fibers. It can cross-link collagen fibers to help overcome weaknesses in the connective tissues such as cartilage, tendons and the walls of blood vessels.
Its effect as an antioxidant is to prevent the cleavage of collagen by the cyzymes that are secreted by leukocytes generated by the immune system. By preventing histamine release, and release of prostaglandins and other proteins and cells mobilized during the immune inflammatory response to the detection of foreign invasion into human tissue, anthocyanosides can help to reduce inflammation and to protect against other extreme reactions of the immune system that can harm the organism it evolved to protect.
The most powerful property of anthocyanosides are their antioxidant properties: perhaps even its only property once all of the conditions it helps to protect against are fully understood. An antioxidant combines with free radicals and destroys them. Free radicals are particularly vile chemical entities that require an electron to make them stable, and they take this electron from the nearest source. This can result in oxidation and destruction of many bodily tissues leading to premature aging, atherosclerosis, eye damage and many other problems that result from the destruction of body cells and tissue.
The various constituents that make up bilberry act in concert to scavenge the free radicals and increase the supply of oxygen to the eye. The benefits of this are in helping to prevent cataracts and glaucoma, the latter due to the effect of the anthocyanoside cross-linking effect on the structure of the collagen in the eye. It can also help in cases of macular degeneration that affects the central area of the retina which might be due to the same property of there glucoside.
Moving away from the eyes and back to the vascular system, the collagen cross-linking properties of the flavonoids, which is what anthocyanosides basically are, can help to repair damaged vein tissue by strengthening the vein walls themselves, and also by providing support for the cell membranes, or outer layers of the cells.
This in turn builds up more strength in the vein tissue below the outside walls and contributes to an overall reduction in the weakness of the vein. This in turn enables it better to withstand the internal pressure put upon it by the failure of the valve that created the problem. In this way bilberries can be used to help repair the damage done by varicose veins and improve the function of the vein in returning blood to the heart from the extremities of the legs and also to help reduce the pain and swelling of varicose veins.
In addition to these beneficial effects on the vascular system and the eyes, bilberry can also help to decrease the permeability of the blood-brain barrier to pollutants, drugs and other undesirable chemicals by improving the resistance of the capillaries in the brain to the transfer of such substances through their walls. It does so by preventing the collagen of the capillaries in the brain being degraded either by enzymes or other agents, Also, by helping to strengthen that collagen structure so that it becomes more impermeable to the larger molecules that form the pollutants.
A lesser known constituent of bilberry is myrtillin, an anthocyanoside monoglucoside that is also available in all green plants, that possesses anti-glycemic properties. What this means is that it can reduce hyperglycemia and glycosurea, and so reduce blood sugar without reducing the blood sugar level to dangerously low levels. In other words it is an ideal insulin substitute.
Native Americans used green plants for teas for centuries and were free from diabetes until the came into contact with Europeans and adopted their dietary habits. Although the case has to be proved, it appears highly likely that it was the myrtillin that kept them free from a condition that affects so many other races.
Irrespective of that, however, it is for its powerful antioxidant effect that bilberry finds its best use, and also its effects on varicose veins. However, all of the above health benefits that bilberry provides, can likely be laid at the door of the combined antioxidant effect of its vitamin C content and the anthocyanosides – including the glucoside myrtillin.
Eighty Seven Percent of All Type 2 Diabetes Can Be Prevented Naturally
January 24, 2008 05:06 PM
It is a fact that almost 90% of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by attention to diet and the use of specific supplements. However, before having a look at these possibilities, we shall first have a look at what type 2 diabetes is so that the means of prevention can be better understood.
Diabetes is a condition, not a disease. It cannot be passed from one person to another, and there is evidence that it is hereditary since it tends to run in families. In the past it tended to develop later in life, although the modern lifestyle appears to have made it more common now in children and young adults.
Diabetes occurs when the level of glucose in your blood becomes higher than it should be. The reason for this is twofold: either the body produces no or insufficient insulin or it cannot use the insulin that is produced. Sugars and other carbohydrates are metabolized to glucose that is the body’s source of energy. The parts of your body that do this are the mitochondria that are contained within your body cells, and the hormone insulin is essential in allowing this to happen.
When the concentration of glucose in your blood reaches a certain level, the pancreas secretes insulin into your blood. The insulin is synthesized in special cells called the islets of Langerhans, after the person who discovered them. Also produced is glucagon which is also secreted into your bloodstream, and the glucagons and the insulin work together to ensure that your blood glucose levels remain stable (when everything is working correctly).
Glucagon is secreted when your glucose levels are low, and its presence in the bloodstream stimulates the conversion of the emergency energy store in the liver (glycogen) to glucose in order to maintain this stability. Insulin, on the other hand, is released after you have consumed a meal, and your glucose levels are high. What insulin does is to stimulate the cells of your body to convert glucose to energy and either use it immediately, or store it as glycogen for use later. By means of these two substances, the level of glucose in your blood is maintained at safe levels – normally.
If something happens to the supply of insulin, then the blood sugar level will continue to rise until the bloodstreams contains too much glucose, a condition known as hyperglycemia. The symptoms are excessive thirst, a frequent desire to urinate, fungal infections or thrush around the genital area (due to yeasts and sugar fermentation), and various others such as mood swings, cramps, dizziness and a feeling of tiredness and weakness.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body produces no insulin, and the only possible treatment is continual insulin injections. Type 2 diabetes is defined in two ways. Either your body does not make enough insulin for your needs, or the cells in your body cannot use the insulin produced properly. It is Type 2 diabetes we are concerned with here, and that we shall be exclusively discussing. With Type 2 diabetes, insulin shots can be provided, but there are other factors that can also help to resolve the problem.
Before discussion treatment or prevention, you should be aware of the complications that Type 2 diabetes can lead to. Hyperglycemia is not common with this type of diabetes, but it can develop. If it does then it can be a life-threatening condition needing a rapid injection of insulin into the bloodstream Symptoms prior to the critical stage are drowsiness and dehydration, although as stated, this is more commonly associated with Type 1 diabetes where regular insulin injections is the normal treatment.
Longer term complications of Type 2 include kidney damage, Hardening of the arteries, eye problems, impotence and problems with your circulation. Nerve damage can also occur, and it is important that you avoid these by changing your diet and lifestyle. These problems occur if you have had high blood glucose levels over a long period of time, and you therefore have time to take the steps necessary to avoid them if you start now. The same steps will also help you to avoid the condition from occurring. So what are these steps you should take?
The first is to look carefully at your diet. A healthy balanced diet is essential if you are to beat your condition naturally and avoid the potential longer term side effects. Diabetes is associated with the overweight and obese. That is not to say that only these people become diabetic, but the majority are. Most people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight, and although around 65% of Americans are overweight or obese, a considerably higher proportion of those with Type 2 diabetes are overweight.
The first and obvious action to take to avoid this type of diabetes would therefore be to lose weight, and adopt a healthy diet that is free from junk food, trans fats and alcohol, all of which contribute to obesity. The next is to look to your blood pressure and keep it normal, and also to keep your low density lipoproteins (LDL) low. These affect the propensity for your blood cholesterol to deposit in your arteries, especially if they are oxidized by free radicals. A good antioxidant content is therefore recommended in your diet. Although blood pressure and high LDL levels do not directly contribute to diabetes, they are risk factors that could increase the risk to your health if you are diabetic.
You should eat a diet that is high in whole grains and fiber, and eat lean meats and fish rather than fatty foods. Stick to complex carbohydrates that metabolize to glucose slowly and steadily, rather than starchy foods that produce a sudden sugar rush that will give you problems and could promote Type 2 diabetes in those that are prone to it.
Specific supplements that you could take include chromium picolinate that can not only be used to treat existing diabetes patients but also to reduce your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. Studies involving the use of chromium picolinate on patients with this type of diabetes have been very positive, resulting in reduced blood sugar, lipid and insulin levels. The optimum dosage is around 500 micrograms twice daily. Such treatment has been shown to both prevent and reverse Type 2 diabetes.
Magnesium is another specific supplement that studies have suggested can lower the risk of developing this type of diabetes. Magnesium rich foods have also been found to be effective, and the fact that a magnesium deficiency can lead to diabetes supports the findings that its use can help to prevent it. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, and beans nuts and seeds are generally rich in magnesium.
Vitamin D can also help protect against the development of diabetes. Although the research is relatively new, it has been established that the cells that produce insulin are affected by a lack of vitamin D in the blood, and low levels of vitamin D can also led to insulin resistance. If you spend more time out in the sun, you should have less chance of contracting Type 2 diabetes, although you could also take a supplement.
Although Type 2 diabetes is not as serious as Type 1, no form of diabetes is desirable to have, and ultimately both types can be extremely serious. You should do what you can to avoid diabetes, and Type 2 is easier to avoid then Type 1. Diet, weight and supplementation as described above will all help to avoid contracting this condition, so follow the advice, especially if you are overweight and have a sweet tooth.
Active Coenzyme Q10
July 07, 2007 01:30 PM
The benefits of Coenzyme Q10 have become increasingly well-known. This important nutrient has been shown in clinical trials to improve heart function, reduce the side effects of certain drugs used to treat cancer, and slow the progression of serious brain diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. Now research has opened a new chapter in the CoQ10 story, highlighting the benefits of ubiquinol, the active form of CoQ10, to increase energy and stamina, and reduce some of he physical signs of aging.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor we will review the benefits of Coenzyme Q10, and discuss the differences between CoQ10 and its active form –ubiquinol.
Q. What is CoQ10?
A. CoQ10 is a natural, fat-soluble nutrient present in virtually all cells. CoQ10 also is known as ubiquinone. That’s because CoQ10 is ubiquitious and exists everywhere there is life. CoQ10 is vital to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. ATP is the energy-rich compound used for all processes requiring energy in the body. Although CoQ10 is produced by the body and exists in some limited dietary sources, these levels may be insufficient to meet the body’s requirements. CoQ10 levels diminish with age and as a result of dietary inadequacies and various disease states. Also, some drugs, especially a group of cholesterol lowering prescription drugs known as “statins,” (Pravachol, Zocor, Lipitor, etc.) significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body.
Q. What is ubiquinol? Is it the same or different from CoQ10?
A. Ubiquinol and CoQ10 are very closely related. Ubiquinone, or CoQ10, is the oxidized form of the molecule. This means it has to be converted to a non-oxidized form before it can perform its work. Ubiquinol is the active form of this nutrient. Our bodies convert CoQ10 to ubiquinol – which is the form needed to produce cellular energy. Until recently, it was not possible to use ubiquinol as a supplement because it is very unstable outside the human body. But research has now found a way to keep this molecule stable so it can be successfully taken in supplement form.
Q. If CoQ10 gets converted to ubiquinol anyway, can’t I just take CoQ10?
A. While it is true that our bodies can convert CoQ10 to ubiquinol, it isn’t true that we all do this equally well. In fact, as we age, our ability to convert CoQ10 to ubiquinol declines. And some people even have a gene that makes them less effective at this conversion than the majority of the population. IN fact, several common health issues have been associated with less than optimal ratios of CoQ10 to QH. For healthy people the ideal ratio is approximately 97% Ubiquinol to 3% CoQ10. But in people with diabetes, for example, the ratios have been found to range from 43% ubiquinol to 47% CoQ10 in mild diabetes, to only 24% ubiquinol to 76% CoQ10 in severe diabetes. These numbers are for men; the numbers for women vary by 2 to 5 percentage points.
So for older folks, the 30-50% of people who have the gene that impairs CoQ10 conversion, or for people who have serious health concerns, supplementing with ubiquinol instead of CoQ10 might be the smart choice.
Q. What are the health benefits of CoQ10 and Ubiquinol?
A. There have been many studies showing that CoQ10 is beneficial in treating and preventing heart disease and conditions such as high blood pressure atherosclerosis (Hardening of the arteries), angina, and congestive heart failure (CHF). It’s been shown that heart attacks tend to occur when CoQ10 levels are low in the body. Exciting new research has found that CoQ10 in a unique delivery system supplementation may slow the progression of symptoms associated with neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, ALS, Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition, CoQ10 is beneficial for diabetes, immune dysfunction, cancer, periodontal disease, prostate cancer, and neurological disease. While the research on ubiquinol is still very new, it is reasonable to expect that its benefits will be equal to or perhaps even better than CoQ10, because it is the more active form.
Q. Why is CoQ10 especially important for preventing and treating heart disease, and for neurological diseases like Parkinson’s disease?
A. The heart and brain are some of the most metabolically active tissues in the body. Both require large amounts of uninterrupted energy, which means these tissues also need increased amounts of ubiquinol. Research has shown that many people with heart of brain diseases have serum CoQ10 levels that are lower than those of healthy people. Correcting such deficiencies often can produce significant results. However, these diseases become more common as we age – right at the time our ability to convert CoQ10 to its active form, ubiquinol, declines.
Q. How might ubiquinol be important for the heart?
A. Heart Health: A study on patients admitted to the hospital with an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) found that CoQ10 can provide rapid protective effects in patients with a heart attack if administered within three days of the onset of symptoms. Seventy-three patients received CoQ10 (120 mg/d). The study’s control group consisted of 71 similarly matched patients with acute AMI. After treatment, angina pectoris (severe chest pain signifying interrupted blood flow to the heart), total arrhythmias (dangerously irregular heartbeats), and poor function in the left ventricle (the essential chamber of the heart) were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared to the placebo group. Total deaths due to sudden cardiac failure and nonfatal heart attacks also were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared with the placebo group.
In another study, CoQ10 was studied in 109 patients with high blood pressure (hypertension). The patients were given varying doses of supplemental CoQ10 with the goal of attaining a certain blood level (greater than 2.0 mcg/l). Most patients were on medications to treat hypertension. Half the patients were able to stop taking some or all of their prescription drugs at an average of 4.4 months after starting CoQ10. The 9.4% of patients who had echocardiograms, performed both before and during treatment, experienced a highly significant improvement in heart wall thickness and function. This improvement was directly attributed to CoQ10 supplementation.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a debilitating disease that affects 5 million people in the
And Neurological Health?: A study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health showed that supplementing with CoQ10 in a unique delivery system was associated with a slowing of the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Participants were divided into 4 groups and their physical skills (coordination, walking, etc) and mental skills were evaluated. Each group then received 300 mg, 600 mg, or 1200 mg of a special form of chewable CoQ10, or a placebo. The researchers evaluated the participants after 1, 4,8, 12, and 16 months of treatment. Each participant was again scored on motor, mental, and activities of daily living skills.
The results of the study showed that the people who took the highest dosage of CoQ10-1200 mg-experienced the least decline in their physical abilities. The results were so encouraging that the researchers will be continuing with new studies, suing higher dosages to see if the results can get even better.
Huntington’s disease (HD) is a devastating and degenerative inherited disease that is always fatal. In fact, no other medication, drug, or nutritional supplement has ever been shown to cause a decline in the progression of this terrible disease. A study compared CoQ10 against remacemide (an investigational HD drug made by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals), in 347 HD patients who were in the early stages of the disease. Remacemide blocks glutamate, the neurotransmitter scientists think may cause the death of brain cells that occurs in Huntington’s disease. While remacemide had no effect on the progression of HD, CoQ10 showed a trend toward slowing the disease by an average of 15%. This meant the HD group taking CoQ10 was able to handle every day activities of life a little longer than the patients taking remacemide or a placebo. They also were able to focus their attention better, were less depressed, and less irritable.
The 15% slowing of decline can result in about one more year of independence of HD patients. Needless to say, the gift of an additional year of health in the lives of HD patients is incredibly significant.
Because of these impressive results, researchers are hopeful that supplemental CoQ10 will have beneficial effects for people with other neurological diseases such as ALS and Alzheimer’s disease, too. Studies are under way to confirm these effects.
Using the active form of CoQ10 helps to assure that, regardless of age or illness, the CoQ10 can have the greatest impact.
Q. What have been the results of research studies with Ubiquinol?
A. One of the most interesting effects of Ubiquinol that has been reported so far is its ability to slow the physical signs of aging. In laboratory studies, administration of stable ubiquinol to mice forestalled the changes associated with aging – rounded spine, patchy fur and irritated eyes. While the mice who received ubiquinol did not necessarily live longer than the mice that didn’t, they lived better. But it is important to note that these mice were bred to die at a young age. Human studies are needed to determined true impact on longevity.
Additionally, supplemental, stable ubiquinol has been shown to increase physical energy and stamina. In an animal study, the length of time rats were able to run on a treadmill before getting tired was measured. The same rats were then given ubiquinol and the treadmill test was repeated. The length of time the rats were able to run before tiring increased 150 times.
Q. How can one supplement have applications for neurological diseases, heart health, and even the immune system?
A. Supplements often have more than one function, especially when it’s a substance like CoQ10, which is present in all parts of the body. All nucleated cells (most cells other than red blood cells) have mitochondria and all cells require energy to function. CoQ10 is vital to ATP production. Thus, CoQ10 has applications not only in neurological (neurons or nervous system cells) and cardiac health (myocardium or heart tissue), but also for the immune system.
Q. Should I take CoQ10 or ubiquinol? How much should I take?
A. While everyone can benefit from CoQ10 or ubiquinol supplementation, it appears that ubiquinol should be the first choice for older adults, people with known genetic inefficiencies in converting CoQ10 to ubiquinol, and for people with serious heart disease or neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, who are otherwise supplementing with high levels of CoQ10. For people in overall good health, a high quality CoQ10 supplement with proven absorption is a good choice.
Take 200 to 300 mg of CoQ10 or 100 mg ubiquinol daily, depending on your health history. The safety of both forms has been tested, and no significant side effects reported. Occasional mild stomach upset may occur. Taking your CoQ10 or ubiquinol with meals usually alleviates this rare effect.
Memory And Focus
May 08, 2007 02:05 PM
Memory & Focus
Some people think getting older often means getting slower. It’s true that as we age, we may find we can’t walk quite as fast, climb as many flights of stairs, or play sports as hard as we could when we were twenty. However, we k now that a healthy diet, regular exercise, and the right dietary supplements can make a huge difference in our health, strength, and mobility as we age.
This is true for our mental abilities as well. We may not think as quickly as we used to, might misplace our keys more often, and experience more “tip-of-my-tongue” word searches. These so-called “middle-aged moments” most often have minor consequences: a missed appointment or the forgotten name of an acquaintance. However, in a small number of cases, these mental slips can also be the first sign of serious diseases of aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease of other dementias.
The good news is, just like our physical health, we can improve how we function mentally. Eating healthy foods, taking the right supplements, and participating in regular mental exercise can significantly increase our mental endurance, improve our memory, and optimize our ability to focus.
In fact, groundbreaking and ongoing research has discovered that specific herbs and vitamins, particularly Ginkgo Biloba, Bacopa monnieri, folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12, and the important co-enzyme and antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid, all have powerful effects on memory and focus. These nutritional supplements have been scientifically shown to quickly reduce mild age-related memory chances, as well as greatly reducing the risk of developing more serious problems like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or other brain diseases later on in life.
Q. What is the difference between age related memory decline and dementia?
A. As we get older, our nerve cells need more time to spark and connect, slowing the process of bringing memories and events to mind. Another theory is that, as we age, we accumulate more knowledge and memories. The mind then has to sort through much more data to reference a memory. Almost everyone middle-aged and older notices this slowdown. Memory decline and problems with mental focus are a normal part of aging.
While it’s true that the older we get, our chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease increase, this illness is not a normal part of aging. Alzheimer’s is an irreversible, progressive dementia that slowly kills nerve cells in areas of the brain where memory, learning, though, and language take place. Often first appearing as people begin retirement, Alzheimer’s disease makes the “golden years” a time of loss and devastation. Memories vanish, relationships are erased, and independence is gradually lost.
After Alzheimer’s disease, the second most common cause of dementia in older people is multi-infarct dementia. Caused by a series of mini-strokes that damage or destroy brain tissue over time, multi-infarct dementia usually affects people between the ages of 60 and 75. Men are slightly more at risk. High blood pressure is the most significant risk factor for multi-infarct dementia.
Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, strokes, Huntington’s disease, Creutzfelt-Jakob disease, and alcoholism can also cause progressive and irreversible dementia.
While normal age-related memory and focus loss may mean we can’t remember where we put our car keys, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia may mean we can’t remember what our car keys are used for.
Q. Are any types of memory and focus loss reversible?
A. Yes. As women enter menopause, they frequently experience trouble remembering. This memory interference is caused by hormone fluctuations and can affect speech, thinking, and attention. Symptoms of menopause-related memory loss and poor focus include recognizing faces less well than in the past, missing scheduled appointments, and misplacing articles. Once a woman passes through menopause, her ability to remember and focus most often improves.
Certain medications, such as the heavily prescribed cholesterol lowering drugs called stains, can temporarily interfere with memory. Low vitamin B levels, artherosclerosis (Hardening of the arteries), and thyroid disease can cause disruption of mental focus and memory loss. These problems usually resolve with treatment of the underlying disorder.
A certain type of stoke, called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) can cause memory loss that may be reversible. A TIA is a brief episode of stroke symptoms that come on quickly. Sometimes referred to as a “mini-stroke” or “warning stroke,” a TIA is caused by a temporary interruption in the blood supply to the brain. But, unlike a stroke, a TIA does not lead to permanent brain damage. While a TIA is usually short-lived, it is likely to occur again if not properly managed and can be a warning of future stroke.
Q. I seem to forget a lot of things. How can I be sure I don’t have Alzheimer’s disease or some other dementia?
A. If you, or other around you, are concerned about your memory, you should be examined by your health care practitioner. Once the cause of your memory and focus problem is diagnosed, treatment can begin. All causes of memory loss and mental focus disruption can be treated, even Alzheimer’s disease. While presently irreversible dementias cannot be cured, the progression of the disease may be slowed, and in some cases, stopped..
Research on memory loss and mental focus disruption has increased dramatically in the past few years. Discoveries regarding Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as well as age-related loss of memory and focus have recently been made. Most importantly, many new treatment options, including the use of nutritional supplements, have been developed.
Q. How can nutritional supplements improve memory and focus?
A. Several herbs and vitamins have been demonstrated to improve memory and mental focus. While some nutritional supplements work now to improve memory and focus, others work to prevent problems we might develop later.
One of the most researched herbs, Ginkgo biloba, has been found to be effective in improving currently experienced memory and focus loss; in other words, problems we are having now. Ginkgo has been studied in individuals who have age-related memory loss, as well as in those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. It seems that ginkgo can improve many brain functions, such as speeding up memory recall, protecting brain cells from chemical changes and free radical damage, improving blood flow to the brain, and helping nerve cells communicate with each other better.
Several studies examined ginkgo’s effect in healthy people who were experiencing normal age-related memory and focus problems. They determined that ginkgo improved memory, attention, and clarity of thinking. Ginkgo can also help restore memories that may be lost in TIAs, those mini-strokes that were discussed earlier.
In studies of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, the results showed that ginkgo slowed down the disease in those severely afflicted and actually improved those with very mild or moderate disease. In one of these studies, ginkgo was compared to four prescription cholinesterase inhibitors, medications commonly used to treat individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Using written mental tests, the researchers found that ginkgo worked just as effectively as the prescription drugs. While those taking one of the cholinesterase inhibitors dropped out of the study because of disturbing side effects, ginkgo had no side effects and improved symptoms equally as well.
Q. Hoe does Bacopa monnieri help memory and focus?
A. Like ginkgo, bacopa works on the memory and focus problems we are experiencing now. Bacopa grows in
Q. How does alpha lipoic acid help memory and focus?
A. Alpha lipoic acid (
Researchers have discovered unmistakable free radical damage in Alzheimer’s disease. Accordingly,
In a recent study, people with Alzheimer’s disease were given tests that measured through and memory. They were then given
Q. How do vitamins B12 and B6 help memory and focus?
A. Vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient in the regulation of nerve transmissions. It is required by the nervous system for normal brain function, and it may also help with mood.
Researchers have learned that people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias (including Parkinson’s disease) have elevated homocysteine levels. IN fact, t he amount of homocysteine in the blood corresponds to the severity of the disease. Most people with a high homocysteine level don’t have enough folate, vitamin B5 or vitamin B12 in their diet. Replacing these vitamins helps return the homocysteine level to normal.
Reducing homocysteine levels may prevent the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease, or other brain diseases, and improve the symptoms of those already afflicted.
Q. What about folic acid?
A. Folic acid has long been recognized as a vital nutrient for the brain and spinal cord. Recent research has demonstrated that folic acid has significant importance in Alzheimer’s disease.
An ongoing study of Alzheimer’s disease that began in 1986 has been studying 678 members of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in the hopes of learning how the disease develops, how it might be prevented, and how to treat it. Data collected in the study includes biographies the sisters wrote upon entrance to the order, blood samples from the sisters while they are living, and information gained from the voluntary donation of their brains after death.
Aptly named the “Nun Study,” ground breaking discoveries have already been made. It seems that diet and nutrition have a dramatic influence in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Sisters who had high levels of folic acid showed little evidence of Alzheimer’s-type damage in their brains after death. And, those nuns who had Alzheimer’s disease in spite of high folic acid levels had profoundly less brain damage from the disease. In fact, some sisters who had no outward evidence of Alzheimer’s disease while they were living had surprisingly extensive damage in their brains after death.
Q. Besides taking ginkgo, bacopa, B vitamins, folic acid, and ALA, is there other things I can do to prevent Alzheimer’s disease?
A. You may not know if you have a serious B-vitamin deficiency. Routine lab work does not measure the amount of B vitamins in your blood. You might want to ask your health care practitioner to have your B vitamin level in your blood measured, especially if you are having memory and focus problems. Keep in mind that this type of lab work is fairly expensive, however.
Supplements do not replace the need for a healthy diet, especially a diet with high levels of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and omega-3 fatty acids. Keeping your body healthy helps keep your brain healthy as well.
It also seems that the use-it-or-lose-it theory applies to our brain as well as our body. Research has shown that people who seek opportunities to keep mentally active, such as reading books, newspapers, and magazines, solving crossword puzzles, playing card games, and visiting museums, lower their risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dealing with age-related memory loss may be both frustrating and frightening. As the population of
In fact, more and more research shows prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is a reality. And age-related memory loss can successfully be improved as well. Taking the scientifically validated nutritional supplements ginkgo, bacopa, vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, and
CoQ10 for Heart Health
March 28, 2007 12:39 PM
CoQ10 for Heart Health
More than 40% of all deaths in the
One of the most – if not the most – important things people can do to improve their overall health and life expectancy is to improve their heart health. Diet, exercise, and the wise use of dietary supplements can improve heart health dramatically. One dietary supplement that’s extremely beneficial to heart health is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).
Q. What is CoQ10?
A. CoQ10 is a natural, fat-soluble nutrient present in virtually all cells. CoQ10 also is known as ubiquinone. That’s because CoQ10 is ubiquitous and exists everywhere there is life. CoQ10 is vital to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. ATP is the energy-rich compound used for all energy-requiring processes in the body. Although COQ10 is produced by the body and exists in some dietary sources, these levels may be insufficient to meet the body’s requirements. CoQ10 levels diminish with age and as a result of dietary inadequacies and various disease states. Also, some drugs, especially a group of cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs known as “statin,” (Pravachol, Zocor, Lipitor, etc.) significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body.
Q. For what health conditions is CoQ10 used?
A. CoQ10 is beneficial in treating and preventing CVD and conditions such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (Hardening of the arteries), angina, and congestive heart failure (CHF). It’s been shown that heart attacks tend to occur when CoQ10 levels are low in the body. In addition, CoQ10 is beneficial for diabetes, immune dysfunction, cancer, periodontal disease, prostate cancer, and neurological disease.
Q. Why is CoQ10 especially important to heart health?
A. The heart is one of the most metabolically active tissues in the body. In the average person, the heart propels 2,000 gallons of blood through 65,000 miles of blood vessls by beating 100,000 times each day. Thus, it requires large amounts of uninterrupted energy. Heart cells have a greater number of mitochondria, and subsequently, more CoQ10 than any other type of cell. Each heart cell can have thousands of mitochondria to meet these energy demands.
Mitochondria are highly specialized structures within each cell and are often referred to as cell powerhouses. These tiny energy-produces produce 95% of the energy the body requires. The number of mitochondria in a cell depends on its function and energy needs. A cell’s ATP production is dependent on adequate amounts of CoQ10.
Heart disease patients are commonly CoQ10 deficient. Correcting such deficiencies often can produce amazing results. The presence of supplemental CoQ10 is a key to the heart’s optimum performance.
In people who have had a heart attack (myocardial infarction), CoQ10 assists in repairing the heart muscle and restoring heart function. This is due to increased ATP production.
Q. What studies support this fact?
A. A 1998 study found CoQ10 can provide rapid protective effects in patients with a heart attack if administered within three days of the onset of symptoms. The study focused on patients admitted to the hospital with an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) diagnosis. Seventy-three patients received CoQ10 (120 mg/d). The study’s control group consisted of 71 similarly matched patients with acute AMI. After treatment, angina pectoris (severe chest pain signifying interrupted blood flow to the heart), total arrhythmias (dangerously irregular heartbeats), and poor function in the left ventricle (the essential chamber of the heart) were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared to the placebo group. Total deaths due to sudden cardiac failure and nonfatal heart attacks also were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared with the placebo group.
In another study, CoQ10 was studied in 109 patients with high blood pressure (hypertension). The patients were given varying doses of supplemental CoQ10 with the goal of attaining a certain blood level (greater than 2.0 mcg/l). Most patients were on medications to treat hypertension. Half the patients were able to stop taking one to three antihypertensive drugs at an average of 4.4 months after starting CoQ10. Only 3% of patients required the addition of one antihypertensive drug. The 9.4% of patients who have echo cardiograms, performed both before and during treatment, experienced a highly significant improvement in heart wall thickness and function. This improvement was directly attributed to CoQ10 supplementation.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a debilitating disease that affects 5 million people in the
Q. I’ve heard that CoQ10 can also help people who have neurological diseases. Is this true?
A. Yes, it is. CoQ10 has been studied for its ability to improve the health of individuals with amotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. A recently completed study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health showed that CoQ10 caused a slowing of the progression of Huntington’s disease, a devastating and degenerative disease that is always fatal. In fact, no other medication, drug, or nutritional supplemental has ever been shown to cause a decline in the progression of this terrible disease.
The study compared CoQ10 against remacemide (an investigational HD drug made by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals), in 347 HD patients who were in the early stages of the disease. Remacemide blocks glutamate, the neurotransmitter scientists think may cause the death of brain cells that occurs in Huntington’s disease. While remacemide had no effect on the progression of HD, CoQ10 showed a trend toward slowing the disease by an average of 15%. This meant the HD group taking CoQ10 was able to handle every day activities of life a little longer than the patients taking remacemide or a placebo. They also were able to focus their attention better, were less depressed, and less irritable. The 15% slowing of decline means that CoQ10 can result in about one more year of independence for HD patients. Needless to say, the gift of an additional year of health in the lives of HD patients is incredibly significant.
Because of these impressive results with HD, researchers are hopeful that the studies of CoQ10 in those with ALS and Parkinson’s disease will similarly have a positive effect on the symptoms and/or progression of these neurological disorders, too.
Q. Why is it crucial for a CoQ10 supplement to cross the blood-brain barrier?
A. The brains’ blood vessels are composed of cells with extremely tight junctions. These junctions form the blood-brain barrier, which restricts what can pass from the bloodstream into the brain. While this barrier protects the brain, it can be a significant obstacle to central nervous system therapy. To leave the bloodstream and reach the brain cells, a substance must pass through the tightly connected cells of the capillary walls. Only substances with unique solubilities or those with a transport system can cross the blood-brain barrier to a significant degree. As a result, crossing the blood-brain barrier presents a significant challenge to supporting neurological health.
While most CoQ10 supplements enter the bloodstream and increase blood serum levels, only special forms of CoQ10 have been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier. For CoQ10 to enter the mitochondria within the brain, CoQ10 must first cross the blood-brain barrier to produce significant neurosupportive clinical results.
Q. How can one supplement have applications for neurological diseases, heart health, and even the immune system?
A. Supplements often have more than one function, especially when it’s a substance like CoQ10, which is present in all parts of the body. All nucleated cells (most cells other than red blood cells) have mitochondria and all cells require energy to function. CoQ10 is vital to ATP production. Thus, CoQ10 has applications not only in neurological (neurons or nervous system cells) and cardiac health (myocardium or heart tissue), but also for the immune system.
Q. Are all CoQ10 supplements created equal? Doesn’t CoQ10 just have to get into the bloodstream to be effective?
A. There are some important distinctions among CoQ10 products, as they vary greatly in quality and absorbability. It’s crucial to find a CoQ10 product that’s:
1. Scientifically shown to absorb through the digestive tract, cross cellular membranes, and increase mitochondrial levels of CoQ10. Chewable forms of CoQ10 provide rapid bioavailability and absorption. Serum level determination of CoQ10 in the bloodstream is not necessarily the most important measure of efficacy. For a CoQ10 supplement to be fully effective, it must cross the cellular barrier and raise intracellular CoQ10 levels. A key indicator of effective CoQ10 supplementation is its presence in cell mitochondria.
2. The natural form of CoQ10. The natural process uses living organisms. CoQ10 also can be synthesized by a chemical process, which produces a distinctly different product that contains chemical compounds not found in the natural form.
3. Formulated with ingredients that provide the transport system CoQ10 needs to cross cellular membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Not all forms of CoQ10 have been scientifically proven to cross cell membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Some prestigious groups that have investigated this issue include researchers at
4. Studied by respected organizations, with research published in peer-reviewed journals by reputable scientists.
Q. How much CoQ10 should I take?
A. Take 100 to 200 mg of CoQ10 daily, depending on your family history of heart disease and personal heart disease experience.
CoQ10’s safety has been evaluated. Dosages in studies have ranged from 100 mg to 1,200 mg per day. To date, no toxicities have been reported. Occasional mild stomach upset may occur. Taking CoQ10 with meals usually alleviates this rare effect.
Q. What are some other heart-friendly supplements?
A. CoQ10 is an excellent supplement for overall cardiovascular health, as in L-carnitine. L-carnitine is the naturally occurring form of carnitine that’s found in food and synthesized in the body. Much of the body’s L-carnitine is found in the heart and skeletal muscle, tissues that rely on fatty acid oxidation for most of their energy. Nearly 70% of the energy needed for heart function is derived from fatty acid breakdown. Proper L-carnitine supplementation transports fatty acids into cell mitochondria, where it’s burned for energy. L-carnitine is an excellent addition to CoQ10, especially for people with heart disease, and has been shown to improve many symptoms associated with CVD. In one study, people who had experienced one heart attack received either L-carnitine or placebo. The L-carnitine group had a statistically significant reduction in second heart attacks, and improved overall survival.
Q. What supplements support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol?
A. In addition to maintaining overall cardiovascular health, it’s also important to address your essential fats/lipids levels and healthy circulation/blood pressure. Fish oil supplements can significantly reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and homocysteine levels. Choose a supplement that’s a rich source of EPA and DHA, omega-3 fatty acids naturally obtainable in fish oil. Find a product that’s been clinically studied and purified to ensure it contains the beneficial active constituents of the whole oil, while removing any dioxins, DDT, PCBs, or heavy metals, toxins present in some commercial fish oil preparations. An enteric-coated garlic product that provides a minimum of 5,000 mcg of beneficial allicin supports healthy blood pressure and circulation. And magnesium, niacin, vitamin E, folic acid, hawthorn extract, and L-cysteine provide overall nutritional support to the heart and vascular system.
CoQ10 is not the only answer to the complex issues of heart disease, neurological disease, or immune dysfunction; however, research indicates that it’s a bigger piece of the puzzle than physicians and scientists ever imagined. The more we study this naturally occurring compound, the more benefits we find.
The key to this supplement is the manufacturing quality. For safety and overall effectiveness, use a CoQ10 product that’s supported by product-specific research from reputable institutions. Choose tested products from a well-respected company to increase your potential to achieve and maintain heart and blood vessel health.
Supplementation with clinically studied products can have a major impact on your heart’s health and strength. However, no supplement replaces the need to eat a healthful diet low in refined foods (especially sugar), and saturated fats, and to exercise your most important muscle – your heart – on a regular basis.
Gugulipid: Controlling cholesterol levels
July 27, 2005 03:49 PM
Gugulipid: Controlling cholesterol levels
An ancient Indian plant contains a compound that can help reduce cholesterol as effectively as drugs, but without side effects.
By Michael T. Murray, N.D.
An ancient medicinal plant from India shows promise in the fight against heart disease. The mukul myrrh tree (Commiphora mukul) secretes a resinous material called gum guggul. The classic ayurvedic medical text, the “Suchruttasamhita,” describes guggul’s role in the treatment of obesity and other lipid (fat) disorders.
Comprehensive scientific studies have investigated the clinical effectiveness of gum guggul in disorders of lipid (fat) metabolism. Specifically, researchers have studies this extract’s ability to support healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels and promote weight loss. As a result of this research, scientists have developed a natural substance-gugulipid-that appears to be safer than many other cholesterol-lowering agents, including niacin.
What is gugulipid?
Gugulipid is the purified standardized extract of crude gum guggul (oleoresin). The active components of gugulipid are Z-guggulsterone and E-guggulsterone. Other components of gugulipid include various diterpenes, sterols, steroids, esters, and fatty alcohols.
Gugulipid is preferred to crude gum guggul because it is safer and more effective. In early studies, gum guggul was linked with mild side effects such as skin rashes, gastrointestinal irritation and diarrhea. In contrast, no side effects have been reported with gugulipid. Apparently, the insoluble irritants of gum guggul are removed in the production of the soluble gugulipid.
This just one example of how science is advancing in the efficacy of herbal therapy. Through careful scientific study, researchers developed a safer and superior form of natural plant medicine.
Numerous scientific studies have shown gugulipid effectively supports healthy levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Gugulipid supports low levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and high levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol. HDL cholesterol has been shown to protect against heart disease caused by atherosclerosis or Hardening of the arteries. Research indicated gugulipid itself appears to help reduce atherosclerotic plaques.
Gugulipid has been shown to improve the heart’s metabolism and act as an antioxidant, protecting the heart against free radicals. Gugulipid appears to help inhibit platelet aggregation (clumping of red blood cells), an important factor in preventing stroke or embolism.
According to research findings, gugulipid promotes the liver’s uptake of LDL cholesterol from the blood, thus increasing the liver’s metabolism of LDL cholesterol. This function accounts for gugulipid’s ability to support healthy cholesterol levels.
Because of gugulipid’s effects on heart function and cholesterol, this natural compound appears to be especially useful for individuals with cardiovascular disease. In addition, guggulsterone appears to stimulate thyroid function. This steroid stimulating effect may account for some of gugulipid’s impact on lipid levels and weight loss.
Gugulipid’s impact on cholesterol and triglycerides is quite startling. When the diet is supplemented with gugulipid, cholesterol levels typically drop 14 to 27 percent in four to twelve weeks, while triglyceride levels drop 22 to 30 percent. Those are extremely significant reductions.
The effect of gugulipid on serum cholesterol and triglycerides compares favorably to that of lipid-lowering drugs. Clofibrate and cholestyramine lower cholesterol levels from six to 12 percent and 20 to 27 percent respectively, but are associated with some degree of toxicity. In contrast, no side effects have been reported with gugulipid. IN addition to the excellent safety demonstrated in human studies, gugulipid has been shown to be nontoxic in safety studies on laboratory animals.
Appropriate dosage of gugulipid depends on its guggulsterone content. Clinical studies indicate that 500 mg of gugulipid with a guggulsterone content of 25 mg taken three times per day effectively supports healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
WHAT IS A FREE RADICAL?
July 13, 2005 09:57 AM
WHAT IS A FREE RADICAL?
Free radicals are unstable, unpredictable structures that pose a potential threat to healthy molecules on a cellular level. In their atte mpt to become stable, they assault and randomly impact healthy molecules, altering their functions in the process.
TO COMPLETLEY ELIMINATE FREE RADICALS, YOU MUST STOP BREATHING
The very act of breathing oxygen activates these reactive chemical structures. To make matte rs wo rse, because our generation, more than any other, is exposed to a number of potentially harmful environmental substances, free radical formation can reach epidemic proportions. Some of the more dangerous of these include:
EVEN EXERCISE HAS ITS PERILS
Exercising, as beneficial as it is, can initiate the release of free radicals within our cellular systems. Aerobic exercising produces oxidation products. Many of these compounds are not neutralized by our internal safety mechanisms and an overload can occur. Supplementing the diet with efficient antioxidants is highly recommended for eve ryone, but especially for those who exercise on a regular basis.
WHY ARE FREE RADICALS SO DANGEROUS
A free radical can destroy a protein, an enzyme or even a complete cell. To make matte rs wo rse, free radicals can multiply through a chain reaction mechanism resulting in the release of thousands of cellular oxidants. When this happens, cells can become so badly damaged that DNA codes can be altered and immunity can be compromised.
Contact with a free radical or oxidant on this scale can create cellular deterioration, resulting in cancer and heart disease. Tissue breakdown from this oxidative stress can also occur which can contribute to aging, arthritis and whole host of other degenerative conditions. “Through free radical reactions in our body, it’s as though we’re being irradiated at low levels all the time. They grind us down.”3
PREMATURE AGING AND FREE RADICALS:
Frequently, the oxidative stress caused by free radicals results in what we refer to as the aging process. While aging is inevitable, many of us hasten its outcome by not protecting ourselves, hence, we age prematurely. The early onset of wrinkling, arthritis, circulatory disorders, diabetes, heart disease and Hardening of the arteries can result from free radical damage that could have been minimized by consistently taking strong antioxidants like Pycnogenol. More and more research suggests that it is a lack of certain protective nutrients, like the bioflavonoid compounds contained in Pycnogenol, which increases our risk of cancer and other degenerative diseases.4
WHY A NUTRITIOUS DIET DOES NOT AFFORD US ENOUGH PROTECTION
“They (antioxidants) may be much more important that doctors thought in warding off cancer, heart disease and the ravages of aging—and, no, you may not be getting enough of these nutrients in your diet.”5
Clearly, while diet modifications are invaluable, diet alone cannot provide the kind of physiological defense the body requires to inhibit free radicals before they cause biological harm. While there is no way to escape our exposure to free radicals, we can minimize potential cellular destruction by reducing their numbers.
Natural Health for a Healthy Heart
July 13, 2005 09:17 AM
Natural Health for a Healthy Heart
Cardiovascular disease is on the rise. Heart disease, stroke, and related disorders kill more Americans than any other ailments combined. In 1990 approximately one million Americans died form cardiovascular disease. Arteriosclerosis (Hardening of the arteries) is the leading cause of heart attacks and strokes. Fat and cholesterol accumulate around the heart and inner walls of the arteries. This causes blood flow to slow and blood pressure to rise. Blood clotting is also a problem when the arteries are clogged which, if a clot breaks loose, can cause strokes or heart attacks according to where they end up. Heart disease is usually advanced before a problem arises. Prevention should be the first goal.
Heart disease is much less common in “primitive” societies. This is due in part to the lifestyle and diet choices of Americans. Diet is viewed as the most important factor in heart related disorders. An increased intake of sugar, refined flour and simple carbohydrates may also be contributing factors. Other risk factors include a family history of heart disease, cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, type A personality, stress, diabetes, obesity, high blood cholesterol levels, physical inactivity and coronary artery disease. Changes must be made in diet and life-style in order to prevent heart disease.
Following a diet low in animal fat and refined sugars but high in fiber is highly recommended. Whole grains, almonds, fresh fruits and vegetables, a variety of legumes, skinless turkey, chicken and fish should be the main dietary elements. Brown rice, garlic, onions, olive oil, raw fruits and vegetables, sprouts, asparagus, apples, bananas, beans, buckwheat, seeds, whey powder, and yogurt are especially good for the heart. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, red meat, refined carbohydrates, and white flour. Limit intake of dairy products which contain high amounts of fat. Homogenized dairy products contain an enzyme called xanthine oxidase which is believed to cause artery damage and could lead to arteriosclerosis. Use olive oil and canola oil when using fat. Avoid palm oil, coconut oil, peanut oil and cottonseed oil.
Choline, inositol and lecithin: These act as fat emulsifiers in the bloodstream and can help prevent plaque buildup.
Chromium: Chromium is known for recent studies linking it to a reduced risk of heart disease. It may help prevent plaque buildup in the arteries. Low levels of chromium are thought to be a risk factor for developing heart disease. It also may help increase the beneficial HDL cholesterol and aid in lowering the LDL cholesterol.
Coenzyme Q10: This can help oxygenate the heart muscle helping to prevent additional heart damage. Coenzyme Q10 can help the body break down fatty acids converting them to energy. This is often lacking in individuals with heart problems. Essential Fatty Acids: These can help prevent Hardening of the arteries by preventing the blood cells from clumping together and forming clots. They also help with the assimilation of fat soluble vitamins.
Germanium: Germanium has been found to lower high blood pressure and improve circulation in the body. Calcium and Magnesium: Both of these minerals contribute to the muscular contraction and relaxation of the heart. They are essential for the proper function of the heart muscle and maintaining normal heart rhythm and blood pressure. Low levels of calcium have been linked to high blood pressure.
L-Carnitine: This is an amino acid that can help the heart by reducing fat levels in the blood. Vitamin C with bioflavonoids: Vitamin C helps prevent blood clots and strengthens the capillary and blood vessel walls. It may help prevent high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, lower cholesterol, repair arterial walls, and contribute to reversing heart disease.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E is well known for its beneficial effect on the heart. Selenium: Low levels of selenium have been associated with heart disease.
Hawthorn: This herb is great for cardiovascular health. Garlic: Garlic is one of the most studied herbs for cardiovascular health. Several recent studies link garlic to lower incidence of cardiovascular disease.
Cayenne: This is also known as capsicum and is beneficial on circulation and cleaning and nourishing the blood vessels.
Ginkgo: Ginkgo relaxes the blood vessels and improves the flow of blood even in constricted arteries. Rosemary Tea: This is a traditional heart tonic that helps to promote circulation and lower blood pressure. Chinese Mushroom (auricularia polytricha): This is a natural blood thinner.
It is important to include exercise in the daily routine. Aerobic exercise is known to help improve the heart1s pumping ability, reduce serum cholesterol levels, decrease the risk of heart disease, and reduce the risk of high blood pressure as well as many other ailments. Exercising an average of three to five days a week for thirty minutes will benefit the body. Actually any amount of exercise is beneficial for the body, so try and do something each day.
Include relaxation techniques to reduce stress. Stress can increase the risk of heart disease. Stress releases adrenaline which causes the heart to work harder. If you feel resentment, fear or anger, find ways to deal with these in a positive way. Pursuit serenity and peace in life. Exercise, self hypnosis, biofeedback, meditation, yoga and prayer can all help develop inner peace.
GARLIC AND CHOLESTEROL LEVELS
June 25, 2005 10:00 AM
GARLIC AND CHOLESTEROL LEVELS
Several controlled studies have conclusively proven Garlic’s ability to lower blood serum cholesterol levels.6 Dozens of these studies conducted throughout the world have compared high fat diets with garlic and without and their resulting cholesterol counts. When Garlic is consistently consumed, the lowest cholesterol levels are obtained.7
Apparently, the allicin compounds in garlic help to block the creation of cholesterol. Consequently, serum-triglycerides and betalipoprotein levels were lowered while HDL levels (good cholesterol) were raised. The way in which garlic accomplished this specific action is not totally understood. What is known is that the presence of Garlic provides a simple restriction in the rise of blood cholesterol and lipid levels.
For anyone with a tendency to develop atherosclerosis, these findings are highly significant. When administered in therapeutic dosages, garlic protected the arteries against atherosclerotic lesions. The implications of studies such as this one are that ingesting garlic on a regular basis may have significant value for anyone suffering from heart disease due to Hardening of the arteries. Garlic clearly suppresses cholesterol synthesis in the liver by lowering total serum cholesterol. It appears to accomplish this by inhibiting the synthesis of harmful LDL cholesterol which boosts the amount of beneficial HDL cholesterol in the blood. An added bonus of garlic is that some of its chemical components also keep the liver from producing its own cholesterol.8 Laboratory rats whose diets were supple-mented with garlic not only had fewer lipids in their blood and tissue samples, but less cholesterol and triglycerides in their livers as well. Interestingly, the sugar factor plays a role in cholesterol production and garlic can also be of benefit here. Excess sugar is metabolized into materials which are required for the making of cholesterol and other fats. If the diet is high in sugar, triglycerides levels can rise.
Tests have shown that when diets high in fat and sugar were supplemented with garlic, the expected rise in blood lipids did not occur.9 Apparently, in some of these tests, aged Garlic extract was the most effective form. Interestingly, in some studies, blood lipids initially rose after taking garlic and then declined. It is believed that because garlic removed fats that were deposited in the tissues into the bloodstream, lipid levels rose temporarily, however, the garlic also helped to metabolize those fats and excrete them from the body.10 Extensive data strongly suggests that garlic is of great value in both the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease which is a result of arterial fatty deposits. Using garlic can decrease the phospholipid content of the blood even when the diet is high in saturated fat. This particular action is nothing less than extraordinary. Garlic’s ability to affect a significant reduction in cholesterol appears to be dose-dependent. In other words, the more garlic consumed, the greater the results. Epidemiological studies support this fact and have shown an inverse correlation between cardiovascular disease and garlic consumption in various populations worldwide.11
GARLIC AND CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
June 25, 2005 09:59 AM
GARLIC AND CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH
Recent research has supported the fact that garlic shows excellent potential in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Disorders of the heart and the circulatory system claim more lives than any other disease. It is the obstruction or clogging of the coronary arteries which causes more deaths that any other factor. The arteries, which supply the heart with blood and oxygen, become increasingly narrower as plaque builds up over time. When blood supply becomes so restricted that a certain portion of the heart is deprived of oxygen, a heart attack occurs.
The two greatest predictors of heart disease are high blood pressure and high blood serum cholesterol levels. Both of these determinants are directly impacted by the therapeutic action of Garlic. What is particularly relevant about the role of Garlic in coronary heart disease is that several studies done on rabbits found that even pre-existing atherosclerotic deposits and lesions could actually be reversed if garlic was consistently consumed.4
Granted, the above study has not been performed on humans, however, its implications are extremely significant. It is important to remember that it is not always what we are eating that causes heart disease, but what we are not eating. Studies like the one just described suggest that even if our diets were high in cholesterol, adding chemical compounds like the ones found in garlic may keep us from developing cardiovascular disease. This might explain why some cultural groups which consume high fat diets do not suffer the coronary consequences so typical of our population.
What is particularly exciting about the potential of garlic for anyone suffering from heart disease is that it can help reverse the disease and substantially reduce the risk of a second heart attack. The longer garlic is used, the better its results are. For example; people who have heart disease showed more improvement after the third year of garlic therapy than before. A possible explanation for this is that using garlic consistently over time progressively reverses Hardening of the arteries, therefore the longer the garlic usage, the less the risk of heart attack.5 The New York Times ran an article on garlic in their September 4, 1990 edition. Concerning heart disease and garlic, it stated:
“...most exciting to those attending the conference, which was co-sponsored by Pennsylvania State and the Federal Department of Agriculture, were the results of a three year study in India among 432 coronary patients who had already suffered one heart attack. The patients were randomly divid ed into two groups, with one group receiving daily supple ments of garlic juice in milk. Those who took the garlic sup plements suffered fewer additional heart attacks, had lower blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels and were less likely to die during the study. After three years, nearly twice as many patients had died in the group not taking garlic . . . Patients who drank the garlic supplement were more likely to report such subjective benefits as an increase in vigor, energy and sexual desire, improvements in exercise tolerance, and a decrease in joint pains and asthmatic tendencies.”
June 25, 2005 09:56 AM
Fresh Rub: A fresh clove of garlic can be used directly on warts and verrucae. When added to the diet, it works as a prophylactic against infection, helps to reduce high blood cholesterol and improves the cardiovascular system. Eating garlic regularly can also help to lower blood sugar levels.
Juice: Garlic juice can be taken for digestive disorders, infectious diseases and for atherosclerosis (Hardening of the arteries). Capsules: Powdered garlic can be taken in capsules and can be purchased in deodorized form. Garlic capsules are a convenient way to supplement the diet with garlic and are good for heart disease, high blood pressure and to fight infections of any kind. Pearls: Pearls are capsulized garlic oil which have been deodorized and are sometimes used as an alternative to the capsules.
(Note: Garlic pearls which have been deodorized are sometimes less potent in their biochemical action. Garlic’s strong, pungent odor compounds are excreted through the lungs and the skin. Eating fresh parsley and lemon juice can help to neutralize garlic odor on the breath.)
Maceration: Garlic cloves can be steeped in water overnight and taken as a treatment for intestinal parasites. Aged Oil: Considered by some to be a superior form of garlic. Storage: Fresh garlic can be stored in a cool, dry, dark place. Garlic extracts and oils should be kept in dark bottles and can be refrigerated.
Recommended Usage: Garlic pills and extracts should be taken as recommend on their labels. If using garlic in cooked form, it can be eaten abundantly. Raw garlic is stronger and should not be eaten indiscriminately as gastric upset might occur. Capsules and pills are best taken with meals.
Safety: Garlic is considered safe when taken in reasonable amounts however it is very heating and when ingested in excess can irritate the stomach. Taken in therapeutic doses during pregnancy or while nursing may cause some gastric upset. Placing fresh, raw garlic or garlic oil directly on the skin may also cause irritation or contact dermatitis. When using garlic externally, apply a layer of olive oil to the skin first.
Very high dosages of garlic tincture have been known to cause leukocytosis. Garlic does not have to be consumed raw to be effective. Moreover, the typical odor of garlic does not always have to be present in order for it to still posses health benefits. If you experience side effects such as a burning sensation when urinating, heartburn, flatulence or belching, you may want to use a processed garlic extract. To avoid garlic breath, deodorized forms of garlic are available. If taken properly, the safety and efficacy of garlic has been well established.
CLINICAL APPLICATIONS OF CAPSICUM
June 23, 2005 11:20 AM
CLINICAL APPLICATIONS OF CAPSICUM
Capsicum is a remarkable whole body stimulant that can boost blood flow, tone the nervous system, relieve indigestion, promote sweating, help to cauterize and heal ulcers, ease persistent pain and fight off infection. One very authoritative work on African plants suggests that Capsicum’s “regular ingestion is highly beneficial in hemorrhoids, varicose veins, anorexia, liver congestion and vascular conditions . . .the indigenous inhabitants of Africa and of the Antilles are remarkably free form all of these conditions as they use Capsicum fruit in their diet.”10 Most of the therapeutic actions of Capsicum are attributed to the alkaloid or glucoside content of the herb.11 The latest scientific studies conducted with Capsicum will be discussed in subsequent sections.
Because Capsicum boosts peripheral circulation and stimulates organ secretion, it expedites the therapeutic delivery and action of other herbs. In other words, the medicinal benefits of these herbs reach infected or inflamed tissue more rapidly due to enhanced blood flow.12 Consider the following statement: “Cayenne will insure the rapid and even distribution of the active principles of the rest of the herbs to critical function - al centers of the body, including those involved in cellular respiration, metabolism, data transmission, and neural-hormonal activation. Cayenne is included in several other blends for this reason. In extremely small quantities it can dramatically increase the efficiency of most other herbs.”13 Many health practitioners believe that the key to healing is CAPSICUM stimulation. Capsicum stimulates eve rything from blood flow to peristaltic action in the stomach, to intestinal transit time. The re m a rkable ability of Capsicum to stimulate organ secretion and even heart action makes it one of the strongest natural stimulants known. Se veral different kinds of herbal blends targeting various body systems will utilize Capsicum to boost the formula’s efficacy.
Capsicum is said to be unequaled for its ability to boost circulation and increase heart action. Interestingly, cultures who consume significant amounts of cayenne pepper in their diet have much lower rates of cardiovascular disease.14 Capsicum exerts a variety of desirable actions on the entire card i ovascular system. It has the extraordinary ability to enhance cardiovascular performance while actually lowering blood pressure.15 A quote taken from a card i ovascular publication re a d s , “Capsaicin has also been shown to prolong cardiac action potential in atrial muscle . . .”16 Michael T. Murray, N.D., has stated, “ Cayenne pepper [Capsicum] should be recommended as a food for its beneficial antioxidant and cardiovascular effects.”17 Herbalists have considered Capsicum as a superior “f o o d” for the heart. In fact, in cases where a heart attack is suspected administering capsicum in hot water has been thought to help lessen the severity of the attack. Capsicum can also be placed on or under the tongue in emergencies involving heart attack, stroke or hemorrhaging. 18 Note: Using Capsicum for any heart-related problem, especially a suspected heart attack should never take the place of medical attention or a physician’s care.
CAPSICUM Blood Cholesterol Reducer
Various studies have conclusively demonstrated that Capsicum reduces the risk of developing atherosclerosis (Hardening of the a rteries) by reducing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels .19 Additional clinical studies conducted in India found that when cayenne was ingested along with dietary cholesterol, the typical rise in liver and blood serum cholesterol levels was significantly inhibited. In addition, bile acids and free cholesterol were subsequently eliminated from the body through the stool.20 Interestingly, these tests revealed that using Capsicum was actually more effective in reducing cholesterol that capsaicin alone.2 1 Daniel Mowrey, Ph.D., emphatically points out that this is just one of many examples of the superiority of whole botanicals as opposed to their isolated components.22 Note: Using Capsicum in combination with Hawthorn is a particularly good cardiovascular tonic.
Blood Pressure Equalizer
While an added bonus of Capsicum’s capability to lower blood serum cholesterol is a decrease in blood pressure, additional evidence strongly suggests that the herb initiates other mechanisms that fight hypertension .23 “Cayenne, according to another study, also reduces the blood pressure in an even more direct manner: a number of years ago, a team of researchers discove red that capsaicin acts in a reflexive manner to reduce systemic blood pressure, a kind of coronary chemoreflex.”24 Adding Garlic to Capsicum creates an even better therapeutic blend for treating hypertension.
Blood Detoxification CAPSICUM
“Cayenne is a kind of catalyst in the blood purification process . . . it acts as a diaphoretic, stimulating the excretion of wastes in the swe a t . ”25 Because Capsicum stimulates organ secretion and boosts peripheral blood flow, it would only stand to reason that it would also facilitate the faster removal of toxins from the bloodstream and lymphatic system. You may have already noticed that Capsicum is frequently added to blood-purifying herbal combinations. Circulatory Booster Researchers have found that the simulating action of Capsicum on surface capillaries can help to pre vent cold hands and feet.2 6 For this reason, it may be helpful for Reynaud’s Syndrome. Old remedies using Capsicum have even recommended placing it in socks to warm the feet and to help prevent frostbite. An old folk cure for a chilled body was a steaming hot cup of Capsicum tea. Free Radical Scavenger The rich flavonoid content of Capsicum gives it significant antioxidant capabilities. A recent study conducted in 1995 showed that Capsicum has a higher ascorbic acid content than chiles from the jalapeno or serrano varieties .27 Vitamin C and bioflavonoids can scavenge for dangerous free radicals which cause tissue damage and can predispose organs to degenerative diseases. Free radicals are found everywhere and are created as by-products of metabolic p rocesses including the act of breathing itself. Pollutants can expose the body to free radicals. An interesting study done in Mexico City and published in 1993 found that Capsicum extract was able to modulate the mutagenic activity of urban air samples.28 In other words, these potentially dangerous nitro - a romatic compounds found in polluted air were kept from mutating by red chile extract.29 Chemical breakdowns of Capsicum have also found that CAPSICUM the pepper is high in Provitamin A, which significantly contributes to its healing ability and immune fortification.30 Anti-Carcinogenic Compound Anti-cancer research recently tested Capsicum on laboratory rats and found that it does indeed demonstrate anti-cancer properties by inhibiting certain enzymes which can initiate the mutation of cells.31 What this implies is that taking Capsicum can afford the body some protection against the cellular mutation which occurs in malignant growths. Capsicum actually inhibited the formation of dangerous metabolites under laboratory conditions where they should have normally been activa t e d .3 2 This study implies that Capsicum may have many more sophisticated bio-chemical actions than previously thought.
An Impressive Pain Killer
Capsaicin has recently emerged as a remarkably effective pain reliever and has become the subject of recent clinical research . Applying capsaicin in cream or ointment form to painful joints, scar tissue or other painful conditions involving peripheral nerves confuses pain transmitters. In other worlds, capsaicin temporarily disrupts sensory nerve cell biochemistry there by impeding the relay of pain sensations from the skin surface. It does this by inhibiting a neurotransmitter called substance P. This specific compound is thought to be the main mediator of pain impulses from peripheral nerve endings.33 Substance P has also demonstrated its ability to inhibit inflammatory pain generated in arthritic joints in much the same way.34 Today, several over-the-counter topical preparations utilize capsaicin for the pain of arthritic joints. The ability of Capsicum to control severe and unresponsive pain is significant, to say the least. Modern clinical utilization of topical capsaicin may offer signifi-cant relief for a number of painful conditions including: diabetic neuropathy, cluster headaches, post-amputation pain, post-mastectomy pain, shingles and painful scar tissue.35
In the early spring of 1996, prime time national news show s reported that scientists had found that individuals who had suffered from chronic pain in post-surgical scars (heart bypass, arterial grafts, etc.) were successfully treated with topical preparations containing capsaicin. While this may have been news to many of us, clinical studies had been already published for several years that capsaicin held profound value for various kinds of pain which did not respond to established medical treatments. Typically surgical scars and regions around them can produce persistent pain or can be very sensitive to the touch even when completely healed. This type of pain phenomenon seems to respond well to capsaicin ointments and creams.
When capsaicin preparations were applied following mastectomy or breast reconstruction, pain was significantly relieved. Se veral double blind studies found that using capsaicin creams four times daily for 4 to 6 weeks resulted in much less frequent occurrence of sharp, jabbing pain.3 6 All thirteen patients studied had a 50 percent or greater improve m e n t .3 7 Various unpleasant sensations other than pain also improved with topical applications of capsaicin creams.38
MOUTH SORES FROM RADIATION OR CHEMOTHERAPY
A fascinating study conducted at the Yale Pain Management Center discove red that capsaicin could ve ry significantly lessen pain caused by mouth sores which frequently develop after chemotherapy or radiation.39 Apparently delivering the capsaicin in the form of soft candy (taffy) enabled the substance to be retained in the mouth long enough to desensitize the nerve endings causing the pain. Each one of the eleven case studies re p o rted that their pain had decreased and in two patients, it stopped entirely.40
Diabetic neuropathy is a painful nerve condition which can develop in cases of prolonged diabetes. Several double-blind studies have supported the considerable value of capsaicin creams for relieving the pain associated with this disorder.41 The results of a controlled study using Capsicum for seve re cases of diabetic neuropathy which did not respond to conventional therapy were published in 1992. A cream containing Capsicum was applied to painful areas four time a day and pain was carefully e valuated for 8 weeks at two-week intervals. The results we re impressive, to say the least. In the 22 patients who used the Capsicum the following results we re re c o rded: “Capsaicin tre a tment was more beneficial than vehicle treatment in the overall clinical improvement of pain status, as measured by physician’s global evaluation and by a categorical pain severity scale . . . In a follow-up study, approximately 50 percent of the subjects reported improved pain control or were cured . . .”42 No t e : While there was a burning sensation when the Capsicum c ream was first applied, some subjects found that its magnitude and duration lessened with continued application.43
The FDA has approved capsaicin-based ointments for the treatment of pain that results from diseases like shingles. Again, numerous studies have documented the value of capsaicin for decreasing the miserable nerve-related pain associated with shingles. The general consensus derived from these tests were that approximately 50 p e rcent of people suffering from shingles responded well to capsaicin creams, some even after 10 to 12 months.44
Note: If blisters accompany a shingles outbreak, it is better to wait until they have healed before using any capsaicin-based ointments or creams.
RELIEF FOR BURNING FEET
Frequently an uncomfortable “burning” sensation in the feet will occur in many people, particularly in diabetics. As ironic as it may seem, using capsaicin creams may actually alleviate this burning. “In various studies, diabetics who treated their burning feet with capsaicin got greater improvement and we re able to walk more easily than those not using the cream.”45 In addition, using topical applications of capsaicin as opposed to strong, oral drugs is much more preferable.
Clinical tests have confirmed that topical capsaicin ointments substantially alleviate the miserable pain that characterizes osteoand rheumatoid arthritis.46 These studies revealed that using 0.075 capsaicin cream reduced tenderness and pain.47 Dr. Michael T. Murray writes: “ . . . seventy patients with osteoarthritis and thirty - one with rheumatoid arthritis received capsaicin or placebo for 4 weeks. The patients were instructed to apply 0.025 percent capsaicin cream or its placebo to painful knees four times daily. Significantly more relief of pain was reported by the capsaicin-treated patients than by the placebo patients throughout the study . . .”48 Anyone suffering from osteo or rheumatoid arthritis should evaluate the effectiveness of capsaicin ointments for joint pain. Ester Lipstein-Kresch, M.D., has studied the effectiveness of capsaicin creams for arthritis and has stated: “You need to apply it three or four times a day on the affected area for at least two weeks before you’ll see any improvement. An initial burning sensation at the site is not unusual for the first few days, but this goes away with continued application.”49 Note: Capsaicin is also useful for tennis elbow due to its ability to block the transmission of pain.
MIGRAINE HEADACHES (CLUSTER TYPE)
Topical applications of capsaicin ointments intranasally may also help to relieve the pain of a specific kind of migraine headache called cluster headaches. Cluster headaches are characterized by s e ve re pain which typically radiates around one eye. The term “cluster” refers to the fact that these headaches tend to occur in clusters of one to three per day and can recur at intervals. Headache pain and severity we re reducing in groups using intranasal capsaicin.5 0 This type of capsaicin treatment should be done under a physician’s care. There is some speculation that capsaicin may be more effective in pre venting migraines before they develop into a full blown attack.51
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart
June 13, 2005 10:06 AM
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart by Louis McKinley Energy Times, January 2, 2004
From time immemorial, people have tuned into life's lessons that come from the heart. Sadly, times are changing: If you're like most inhabitants of today's harried world, you may be too distracted to detect important clues about your cardiovascular circumstances.
And while heart lessons may be more complicated than simply connecting the physiological dots, understanding those heart messages are imperative for improving and maintaining your heart health.
Every cell in your body relies on heart-powered blood flow to keep it supplied with nutrients, oxygen, hormones and other natural chemicals necessary for survival. Without that supply of life-giving substances, few cells in the body-including those within the heart itself-can survive very long.
And just as damage to a major roadway can cause mayhem with traffic patterns, damage to blood vessels and the heart can wreak a lumpy cardiovascular havoc that blocks the passage of blood and endangers your heart's well-being.
Your Heart Disease Chances
Within the last ten years, scientific research performed by investigators around the world has focused on the specific factors that most strongly influence your chances of developing heart disease and suffering either a heart attack or a stroke.
While much of your risk depends on your genetic inheritance and family history, several factors that determine your heart health are within your control.
The most important factors you can do something about include:
* Smoking: free radicals generated by burning tobacco causes significant damage to blood vessels and other cells
* Lack of exercise: the human body is designed for consistent, moderate physical activity; without exercise, the body slacks off in creating antioxidant protection for arteries
* Diabetes: when excess blood sugar persists, physiological processes begin that endanger the heart and arteries
* Cholesterol: when oxidized (a chemical process that has been compared to a kind of internal rusting), cholesterol can form artery-blocking plaque; antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and natural vitamin E may help the body limit this process
* High blood pressure: excessive pressure within the blood vessels raises the risk of damage to the heart and arteries; a program of weight loss and exercise can help control blood pressure
* Being overweight: the extra body fat carried around your middle is linked to a greater risk of heart problems
Heart Attack Signs
Do you think you know what a heart attack feels like? Well, if you think it feels like a dramatic pain somewhere in your chest that knocks you to the floor, you're probably wrong. "Most heart attacks do not look at all like what one of my colleagues calls the 'Hollywood' attack-the heart attack you see on television or in the movies," warns Julie Zerwic, MD, professor of surgical nursing who has studied what happens when people develop heart disease and suffer damage to their hearts.
"The symptoms [of heart problems] are not necessarily dramatic. People don't fall down on the floor. They don't always experience a knife-like, very sharp pain. In fact, many people describe the sensation as heaviness and tightness in the chest rather than pain," she says. And, if you're a woman experiencing a heart attack, you may not even feel discomfort specifically in your chest. Instead you may experience a severe shortness of breath. The apparent ambiguity of the discomforts caused by a heart attack lead many people to either ignore them or take hours to realize they need to go to the emergency room at the hospital.
Consequently, much fewer than half of all individuals undergoing a heart attack actually go to a hospital within an hour of the start of the attack. That delay can be a fatal mistake.
"Timing is absolutely critical," laments Dr. Zerwic. "If treatment starts within a hour after the onset of symptoms, drugs that reestablish blood flow through the blocked coronary artery can reduce mortality by as much as 50%. That number drops to 23% if treatment begins three hours later. The goal is to introduce therapy within two hours."
However, in Dr. Zerwic's research, only 35% of non-Hispanic whites go to the hospital within an hour of the start of a heart attack. And among African-Americans, the number of people going to the hospital right away drops to a frighteningly low 13%.
Often, people will lie down or use a heating pad to relieve the tightness they feel in the chest," says Dr. Zerwic. "They may take some medicine and wait to see if that works. All these steps postpone needed treatment."
Signs of a possible heart attack include:
* Chest discomfort: Heart attacks most frequently cause discomfort in the center of the chest that can either go away after a couple of minutes (and come back) or persist. The discomfort may feel like strong pressure, fullness or pain.
* Upper body discomfort: An attack may set off pain or discomfort in either or both arms, and/or the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
* Shortness of breath: Chest discomfort is frequently accompanied by shortness of breath. But it's important to note that shortness of breath can take place even in the absence of chest discomfort.
* Other signs: You can also break out in a cold sweat, or feel nauseated or light-headed.
A Woman's Sleep Signs
If you are a woman who suddenly experiences a marked increase in insomnia and puzzling, intense fatigue, you may be in danger of an imminent heart attack.
In an attempt to understand how women's symptoms of heart problems differ from those of men, researchers talked to more than 500 women in Arkansas, North Carolina and Ohio who had suffered heart attacks. (Technically, what they had experienced is referred to as acute myocardial infarction.)
They found that chest pain prior to a heart attack was only reported by about 30% of the women surveyed.
More common were unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances and shortness of breath (Circulation Rapid Access, 11/3/01).
"Since women reported experiencing early warning signs more than a month prior to the heart attack, this [fatigue and sleep problems] could allow time to treat these symptoms and to possibly delay or prevent the heart attack," says researcher Jean C. McSweeney, PhD, RN, nursing professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. In Dr. McSweeney's study, more than nine out of ten women who had heart attacks reported that they had had new, disturbing physical problems more than a month before they had infarctions.
Almost three in four suffered from unusual fatigue, about half had sleep disturbances, while two in five found themselves short of breath.
Other common signs included indigestion and anxiety.
"Women need to be educated that the appearance of new symptoms may be associated with heart disease and that they need to seek medical care to determine the cause of the symptoms, especially if they have known cardiovascular risks such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, overweight or a family history of heart diseases," says Dr. McSweeney.
Dr. McSweeney warns that, until now, little has been known about signs that women are having heart trouble or heart attacks. The fact that most of Western medicine's past attention has been on heart problems in men has obscured the warning signs in women. As part of Dr. McSweeney's studies, she and her fellow researchers have discovered that more than 40% of all women who suffer a heart attack never feel any chest discomfort before or during the attack.
"Lack of significant chest pain may be a major reason why women have more unrecognized heart attacks than men or are mistakenly diagnosed and discharged from emergency departments," she notes. "Many clinicians still consider chest pain as the primary symptom of a heart attack."
Vitamins for Diabetes and Heart Disease
Having diabetes significantly raises your chance of heart disease, which means that keeping your blood sugar levels under control can reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack.
Today, 17 million Americans have diabetes and, as the country's population in general gains weight and fails to exercise, the number of people suffering this problem continues to grow.
The first line of defense against diabetes consists of exercise and weight control. All you have to do is take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day to drop your chances of diabetes (American Journal of Epidemiology 10/1/03).
"We have found that men and women who incorporate activity into their lifestyles are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who are sedentary. This finding holds no matter what their initial weight," said Andrea Kriska, PhD, professor of epidemiology at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
To help your body fight the development of diabetes, researchers also recommend vitamin C and natural vitamin E.
Researchers working with lab animals at the University of California at Irvine have found that these antioxidant vitamins can help insulin (the hormone-like substance secreted by the pancreas) reduce harmful blood sugar. In addition, these vitamins shrink the chances of organ damage that can be caused by diabetes (Kidney International 1/03).
In this investigation, these vitamins also helped reduce blood pressure, another risk factor that raises heart disease risk.
"Blood pressure was lowered to normal, and free radicals were not in sufficient numbers to degrade the sugars, proteins and nitric oxide," notes Nick Vaziri, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California. "We think this shows that a diet rich in antioxidants may help diabetics prevent the devastating cardiovascular, kidney, neurological and other damage that are common complications of diabetes."
Free Radical Blues
Dr. Vaziri and his group of researchers found that untreated diabetes raised blood pressure and increased the production of free radicals, caustic molecules that can damage arteries and the heart. Free radicals can change blood sugar and other proteins into harmful substances, boosting tissue and heart destruction.
In Dr. Vaziri's work with lab animals, he found that treating diabetes with insulin lowered blood pressure and helped keep sugar and protein from changing into dangerous chemicals, but allowed the free radicals to subvert nitric oxide, a chemical the body uses to protect itself from free radicals.
In this investigation, adding vitamins C and E to insulin insulated the body's sugars, proteins and nitric oxide from oxidative assault. This produces a double advantage: Lowering the risk of heart disease and other damage to the body from diabetes.
Maitake, an Oriental mushroom that has been shown to have many health benefits, can also be useful for people with diabetes who are trying to avoid cardiovascular complications. Laboratory studies in Japan demonstrate that maitake may help lower blood pressure while reducing cholesterol (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 1997; 20(7):781-5). In producing these effects, the mushroom may also help the body reduce blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of tissue damage.
Tobacco smoke is one of the most notorious causes of heart problems. In the same way a hard frost exerts a death grip on a highway, the smoke from cigarettes can freeze up arteries and hamper their proper function. A healthy artery must stay flexible to comfortably allow adequate circulation.
But "...when blood vessels are exposed to cigarette smoke it causes the vessels to behave like a rigid pipe rather than a flexible tube, thus the vessels can't dilate in response to increased blood flow," says David J. Bouchier-Hayes, MD, professor of surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who has studied the deleterious effects of tobacco.
This rigidity is called endothelial dysfunction. When arteries are rigid, blockages gum up vessels, clots and other impediments to blood flow appear, and your risk of heart attack and stroke increases (Circulation 2001 Nov 27; 104(22):2673).
This condition can also cause chest pain (angina) similar to that caused by a heart attack, and should be evaluated by a knowledgeable health practitioner.
Although all experts recommend you stop smoking to lower your heart disease risk, some studies have found that Pycnogenol(r), a pine bark extract that helps the body fight inflammation, may ease some of smoking's ill effects.
In a study of platelets, special cells in the blood that can form dangerous blood clots, researchers found that Pycnogenol(r) discouraged platelets from sticking together (American Society for Biochemical and Molecular Biology 5/19/98). By keeping platelets flowing freely, this supplement may alleviate some of the heart-threatening clots that tobacco smoke can cause.
In Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional therapy from India, an herb called guggul has also been used to lower the risk of blockages in arteries. This herb, derived from the resin of the mukul tree, has been shown to reduce cholesterol by about 25%. People taking this herb have also reduced their triglycerides (harmful blood fats) by the same amount (Journal Postgraduate Medicine 1991 37(3):132).
The Female Version of Heart Disease
For one thing, women often don't suffer from the crushing chest pain that for most people characterizes a heart attack; instead, many women experience back pain, sweating, extreme fatigue, lightheadedness, anxiety or indigestion, signs that can be easily misread as digestive troubles, menopausal symptoms or indicators of aging.
The genders also differ in how heart disease poses a threat. While men seem most endangered by the buildup of blockages in arteries, women apparently are more at risk from endothelial dysfunction. But more study needs to be done since, in many cases, researchers have been unable to pin down the precise mechanism that causes many women to die of heart disease.
Scientists have found that the number of women in their 30s and 40s who are dying from sudden cardiac arrest is growing much faster than the number of men of the same age who die of this cause. But research by the Oregon Health & Sciences University and Jesse E. Edwards Cardiovascular Registry in St. Paul, Minnesota, shows that while doctors can pinpoint the coronary blockages that kill men, they can't find specific blockages in half of the female fatalities they have studied (American Heart Journal 10/03).
"This was an unexpected finding. However, the study underscores the need to focus on what is causing these younger women to die unexpectedly because the number of deaths continues to increase," says Sumeet Chugh, MD, a medical professor at Oregon.
Since the failure of arteries to relax probably contributes to heart disease in many women, eating red berries, or consuming supplements from berries such as chokeberry, bilberry or elderberry, may be important in lowering women's heart disease risk. These fruits help arteries expand and allow blood to flow freely.
Red berries are rich sources of flavonoids, polyphenols and anthocynanins. The anthocyanins are strong antioxidants that give the berries their color. Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that these chemicals can interact with nitrous oxide, a chemical produced by the body, to relax blood vessels (Experimental Biology conference 5/20/02).
As researchers work to devise lifestyle roadmaps that can steer you around the perils of heart disease, they are finding that exercise is a key path to avoiding cardiovascular complications.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that those who exercised and kept their weight down (or took weight off and kept it off) experienced a significantly lower risk of heart problems (Preventive Medicine 11/03).
"The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. Burning calories in physical activity may be the secret to reducing heart disease risk and living longer, she says.
Dr. Fang's research used information collected from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 1975 and then computed how much people exercised, how their body mass indices varied and which of these folks died of heart disease during the next two decades.
In the study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who worked out and consumed more calories cut their risk of heart disease death in half.
Exercise Is Essential
"Subjects with the lowest caloric intake, least physical activity, and who were overweight or obese had significantly higher cardiovascular mortality rates than those with high caloric intake, most physical activity, and normal weight," Dr. Fang notes. The individuals in the study who were overweight and didn't exercise had a bigger risk of heart disease even if they tried (and succeeded) at eating less.
"This suggests that heart disease outcome was not determined by a single factor, but rather by a compound of behavioral, socioeconomic, genetic and clinical characteristics," according to Dr. Fang.
According to researchers, if your job requires a great deal of physical activity, your health will be better if you get another job. Exercise on the job not only doesn't decrease your risk of heart disease, it may actually raise it. The reason: On-the-job activity is linked to heart-endangering increases in job stress.
Research into this subject, performed at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, found that while recreational exercise slowed Hardening of the arteries, workers who had to exert themselves during the workday had arteries that were blocked at a younger age (American Journal of Medicine 7/03).
In this study, researchers examined about 500 middle-aged employees as part of what is called the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study.
"We found that atherosclerosis progressed significantly faster in people with greater stress, and people who were under more stress also were the ones who exercised more in their jobs," says James Dwyer, PhD, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School. According to Dr. Dwyer, "This suggests that the apparent harmful effect of physical activity at work on atherosclerosis-and heart disease risk-may be due to the tendency of high-activity jobs to be more stressful in modern workplaces.
"It appears from our findings that the psychological stresses associated with physically active jobs overcomes any biological benefit of the activity itself."
On the other hand, the scientists found that heart disease drops dramatically among those who exercise the most in their spare time. In the study, people who vigorously worked out at least three times a week had the lowest risk. But even those who just took walks enjoyed better heart health than people whose most strenuous activity was working the TV remote. Dr. Dwyer says, "These results are important because they demonstrate the very substantial and almost immediate-within one or two years-cardiovascular benefit of greater physical activity."
Lowering your risk of heart disease is substantially up to you. Listen to what your heart tells you it needs; then, exercise your right to fetch some cardiovascular necessities.
Down with Blood Pressure
June 12, 2005 08:03 AM
Down with Blood Pressure by Kim Erickson Energy Times, January 6, 2002
More than one of four Americans suffers from high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. This so-called silent killer is often the first step in developing long-term problems like heart disease and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure leads to about 45,000 deaths a year and contributes to another 210,000. Hypertension is more common in women beginning at age 50, particularly African-American women. And since high blood pressure rarely causes obvious physical distress, unless your health practitioner monitors your blood pressure on a regular basis, it's easy to miss. The famous study by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), known as the Framingham Heart Study, found that half of all people who suffered a first heart attack and two-thirds of first-time stroke victims also had moderate to high blood pressure. What's more, left untreated, high blood pressure can also increase the risk of atherosclerosis (Hardening of the arteries), aneurysms, loss of vision and kidney failure. Normal blood pressure is considered 120/80. When blood pressure reaches 140/90 or above on a consistent basis, you have high blood pressure. What do the numbers mean? The top number, systolic pressure, represents the peak pressure generated in your arteries when your heart beats. The bottom number, diastolic pressure, indicates the pressure when your heart is at rest between heartbeats. Among 95% of all people with high blood pressure, health practitioners can generally pinpoint no specific, single cause.
For decades, the most common recommendation for people with high blood pressure was to eat less salt. Experts have advocated reducing our salt intake to no more than three teaspoons a day: six grams (2400 mg), which is four grams less than the current national average. This recommendation was largely based on a study conducted by Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, Illinois, known as INTERSALT. The study tested more than 10,000 men and women from 32 countries. The researchers concluded that eating a lot of salt was linked to rises in blood pressure. Other scientists haven't always found the same results. One review of 56 clinical trials by the Integrative and Behavioral Cardiology Program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York found only a modest reduction in blood pressure when the salt shaker was left unshaken. And an analysis of 58 studies by academics at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark found that, overall, studies did not support a general recommendation to reduce the amount of salt we consume. Added to all this confusion, many people are salt sensitive: their bodies retain excess salt instead of flushing it out of their systems. Unfortunately, only medical tests can reveal this sensitivity. Consequently, experts still recommend that you eat fewer foods containing salt. That means going easy on processed foods, lunch meats and soft drinks. In addition, increasing your intake of potassium, calcium and magnesium may help your blood pressure.
Foods rich in potassium and magnesium not only help regulate blood pressure, but may boost overall cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of stroke. Vegetarian items such as bananas, baked potatoes and oranges are rich in these minerals. Research that looked at 30,000 doctors found that those who ate diets rich in fiber, potassium and magnesium had lower blood pressure than the men who ate few of these mineral-rich foods (Circ, 1992; vol 86:1475-1484). A study of 40,000 female nurses found that their pressure decreased when they consumed fibrous and magnesium-filled foods (Hypertension, 1996, vol 27:1065-1072).
The nutrient CoQ10 is a vitamin-like substance which acts as an antioxidant in the body, decreasing the harm caused by caustic substances known as free radicals. Found in every part of the body, CoQ10 is necessary for producing energy in every cell. But it is estimated that nearly 40% of people with high blood pressure are deficient in CoQ10. Tests of CoQ10 seem to show that it can often reduce blood pressure by almost 10% (Cur Ther Res 1990;47: 841-845). It also appears to reduce blood triglycerides, blood fats linked to heart disease, and insulin, while slightly increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.
Perhaps the biggest breakthrough in lowering blood pressure without the use of prescription medicine came with a study known as DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). Funded by NHLBI and the National Institutes of Health, the multicenter study examined more than 400 people with high blood pressure. These folks were divided into three groups. One ate the standard high-sodium, high-fat American diet, the second a diet high in fruits and vegetables, and the third a combination diet rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products (the DASH diet). While the group eating plenty of fruits and vegetables enjoyed a modest reduction in blood pressure, the study found that combining low-fat dairy with produce lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 11.4 and 5.5 points, respectively. And the benefits came quickly. Many of the people on the combination diet lowered their blood pressure within two weeks. The results were so impressive that researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts suggested that the DASH diet may offer an alternative to drug therapy for people with hypertension and may even serve to prevent high blood pressure altogether. The DASH diet is low in saturated fat and rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Similar to the diet found in Mediterranean cultures, DASH also includes nuts, seeds and legumes, and is supplemented by non- or low-fat dairy products. Moderate amounts of protein-in the form of fish, poultry and soy-are also eaten. Eating in the DASH may also spur weight loss. Since being overweight can increase your blood pressure, the NHLBI strongly recommends a low-calorie diet such as DASH to take off extra pounds. Exercise and stress relief play critical roles in most pressure-reducing plans. Working out not only helps shed weight, it can also lower your blood pressure. Low to moderate aerobic exercise four days a week may lower blood pressure just as effectively as a higher intensity workout. And learning how to manage stress has helped dropped pressures in people with hypertension (Arch Intern Med 2001; 161:1071-80). Nutrition and lifestyle: two vital relief valves for dropping your high blood pressure and increasing your chances of longer life.
Thanks for the Memory
June 11, 2005 03:49 PM
Thanks for the Memory by Estelle Sobel , February 6, 2002
Thanks for the Memory By Estelle Sobel
"I feel like every day, I lose my memory more and more. It started when I couldn't find my car keys, sometimes I forget directions. My mother has Alzheimer's so I'm concerned," says Jerry Solowitz, a 63 year old man.
Ellen Lerner, 37, sometimes worries that she can't keep track of everything in her job as a public relations executive. "I feel like stress can get to me easily, and I worry because I forget simple things like where I put a file."
Should these people be concerned?
"Yes," says Lynda Toth, Ph.D., co-author with Pavel Yutsis, M.D., of Why Can't I Remember? Reversing Memory Loss (Avery, 1999).
Jerry should start a specific program with a health practitioner who specializes in memory loss, due to lots of unsuspected new causes for memory dysfunction. Ellen needs to make lifestyle changes, as stress can definitely lead to memory loss.
"Cortisol, which is one of the stress hormones, can be harmful because it keeps calcium in the memory pathway too long and destroys the neurons, which is very damaging to the brain," notes Toth.
Why Does Memory Fail?
Memory fails for several reasons, says Augustine DiGiovanna, M.D., author of Human Aging: Biological Perspectives, (McGraw-Hill 2000), and Professor of Biology at Salisbury State University in Salisbury, MD.
Normal Aging: Much of diminished memory as we age is due to reduced blood flow to the brain from atherosclerosis, which is Hardening and narrowing of the arteries. Decreased blood flow causes neurons to shrink and function less effectively.
Also, as we age we lose neurons and neuron connections that can lead to memory loss. So the way people think, how much they remember, and the mental activities they do determine how many brain cells survive through the years.
Finally, as people live longer, the chance is greater that the body's immune system and other defense mechanisms won't be able to protect against certain diseases that affect the brain and memory (Parkinson's, strokes, Alzheimers, atherosclerosis).
A Starving Brain: The brain is not getting fed the nutrients it needs (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, glucose). Without the right "food" the brain's energy levels become lowered and stop powering the memory cells. Then, free radicals can do more dirty work and continue to rust memory cells.
Drink And Sink: Alcohol passes through the blood-brain barrier and slows down the processing of information between memory neurons. Memory loss increases over time, as memory tissues shrink.
Sad Stories: Depression can imbalance the neurotransmitters and electrical charges of neurons.
Tense and Tight: High blood pressure can constrict and narrow blood vessels, limiting blood and oxygen flow to the brain.
One way to boost brain power is to take the right supplements.
Ginkgo biloba: The powerful medicinal herb ginkgo biloba increases blood flow and circulation to the head by dilating blood vessels in the brain, allowing more oxygenated blood to get to the neurons. It also protects against free radical damage.
Research: Ginkgo biloba extract displayed a significant effect on helping the mental abilities of people 50-59 years old (Phytotherapy Research 13, 1999: 408-415).
Pregnenolone: This powerful hormone regulates the balance between excitation and inhibition in the nervous system and helps enhance memory and brain function, possibly by repairing a fatty substance that is part of the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve cells. Research: A St. Louis University School of Medicine study on mice showed that pregnenolone enhanced memory and helped mice to navigate mazes better.
Huperzine A: This herbal supplement is derived from club moss found in China; in purified form it inhibits the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that you need for memory.
Research: Studies conducted by Alan Mazurek, M.D., found that huperzine A in purified form improves memory, enhances focus and concentration and has been used to improve memory loss in Alzheimer's patients (Alt. Ther. in Health Med. 5 , March 1999: 97-98).
Another study in The Journal of Neuroscience Research showed that huperzine A is a potent inhibitor of cholinesterase, which penetrates the brain and produces a dose-dependent increase of the neurotransmitters acetylcholine, norepinephrine and dopamine in rat cortex (41, 1995: 828-835).
Phosphatidylserine (PS): This substance, which occurs naturally in nerve cell membranes, helps keep fatty substances soluble and cell membranes fluid and helps reduce levels of cortisone which are damaging to tissues.
Research: Phosphatidylserine encourages a sense of calm by raising the levels of alpha brain waves and increasing the production of acetylcholine (Neuropsychobiology 24, 1990-1991: 42-48).
Vitamin E: This potent antioxidant attaches to bad cholesterol and helps prevent free radical damage to cells.
Research: Age-related processes like memory function and problem solving can be affected by free radical damage. Several studies show that vitamin E might slow the effects of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease (JAMA 282, August 18, 1999: 621). Acetyl-l-carnitine: Increases cognitive performance because it rejuvenates cellular membranes of mitochondria, the storehouses of energy contained in every living cell.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid: Preserves memory tissue by increasing glutathione levels, which protect fat stores in neurons from being damaged.
Nine Ways to Remember
Dr. Lynda Toth suggests the following ways to make the most of what you've now got.
1) Power Up Your Smile. Remove dental fillings and replace them with porcelain or ceramic ones. The mercury in metal fillings may be harmful (some believe) and can affect the brain and nervous system, inflaming memory tissue and preventing the entry of nutrients into the cells.
2) Don't Be a Tin Man/Woman Avoid exposure to aluminum. Don't use aluminum pots to cook in. Aluminum accumulates in memory tissue, damaging cells. In fact, autopsies of Alzheimers patients show they have unusually huge amounts of aluminum in the brain. But no one knows where this aluminum comes from.
3) Eat Right. Eat organic and pesticide-free foods. Pesticides get into the cells and can damage DNA.
4) A Matter of Taste. Avoid foods with artificial coloring, monosodium glutamate (MSG, often called "natural flavors" or "natural seasoning"). Also avoid processed foods with taste enhancers called exito toxins such as l-cysteine and aspartic acid.
5) In the Raw. Make sure that your diet consists of enzyme-rich 50% raw foods (fruits and vegetables) to feed the brain. Eat less animal fats.
* Drink green juices to support levels of the brain's clean-up enzymes.
*Eat lots of fiber, which helps remove toxins from the body. Pick up psyllium fiber.
*Limit intake of processed sugar, caffeine and alcohol to lessen the load on the liver and pancreas.
6) Cut Bait. Watch the fish that you eat. Lots of ocean and inland-caught fish are contaminated with mercury. Go for deep, cold water fish such as cod. Avoid shark and swordfish.
7). Oil Up. Supplement your diet with omega-3 fatty acids, such as cod liver oil or flaxseed oil. These fats lubricate memory cells.
8) Work That Body. Stay fit and exercise. Exercise helps oxygenate the body, reduces cholesterol, and builds and energizes new memory cells which reduces wear and tear on the brain function.
9) Do Mind Games. Read, listen to music. Tune into different radio stations than the ones you normally listen to. Do crossword puzzles and a wide selection of word games which can stretch your brain and give it a tough workout.
Student of Life
You need to keep learning your whole life to keep your brain and memory in tip top shape. The brain is adaptable, and you are always building new neurons, says Dr. Toth, which means that there is no limit to how long it can develop. Anything that stimulates the brain will help it to grow. That's why as you get older it's even more important to take classes, start a new hobby, travel. In fact, the challenge of learning and doing new things (without stopping in a fit of frustration) causes your brain to grow, says Dr. Mazurek.
The Good News
As people get older, their brains may actually improve and repair themselves through a complicated process that is designed to eliminate faulty neurons that are prone to making mistakes. At the same time, brain activity goes on that results in the development of new and improved connections with neighboring neurons.
Research also shows that memory improves if you train people to have faith in themselves. (The brain helps those who help themselves.) Apparently, a confident perspective can encourage the brain to actually improve to the point where its new-found abilities may increase to the point where it fulfills expectations.
So keep your chin up and stay away from the artery-clogging saturated fat that can cut off the brain's blood supply. It's all in the attitude, says Dr. DiGiovanna. And, of course, the key to a long and happy life with your brain is also on the end of your fork and in that bottle of supplements.
Estelle Sobel, is the co-author of Beautiful Skin: Every Woman's Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age (Adams Media, May 2000).
Gluco Sciense - Take Control of your Blood Sugar ...
June 02, 2005 10:51 AM
Sedentary lifestyles, obesity, and sugar-rich diets are prevalent in our society. The result: challenges to your multiple, interdependent body systems involved with blood sugar levels and insulin activity. Now is the time to learn how a healthy diet and lifestyle can help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels. For further support, Source Naturals offers you GLUCO-SCIENCE™, a breakthrough formula. GLUCO-SCIENCE is uniquely effective because it is a Bio-Aligned Formula™. Source Naturals evaluates the underlying causes of system imbalances. Then we design formulas that provide targeted nutrition to bring your interrelated body systems back into balance. GLUCO-SCIENCE can help bring your body’s systems for carbohydrate metabolism back into alignment.
A Bio-Aligned Formula™
GLUCO-SCIENCE is a comprehensive herbal-nutrient formula, based on the newest clinical research into key herbs and special ingredients. Source Naturals studied the scientific research, and then designed GLUCO-SCIENCE. This Bio- Aligned Formula provides targeted nutrition to five different body systems involved with healthy blood sugar levels and insulin activity.
GLUCO-SCIENCE supports glucose/carbohydrate metabolism with a range of nutrients. B-vitamins are required for glycolysis and the Krebs cycle, the metabolic pathways by which the body converts glucose into cellular energy. Chromium is believed to work closely with insulin to facilitate the uptake of glucose into cells. Manganese is also involved in glucose uptake. The formula also features herbs from several traditions, such as Gymnema sylvestre.
Insulin is secreted by the pancreas in response to high blood glucose levels after meals. Without insulin, glucose cannot enter cells to provide fuel for cellular energy. Certain nutrients (see chart) support these vital metabolic processes, including mediation of insulin release and activity, and enhancing insulin sensitivity. N-acetyl cysteine protects pancreatic beta cells from oxidative damage in animal studies. In addition, vanadium, zinc, and selenium are notable for their insulin-like actions.
Heart and Circulatory System
Vitamin E supports a healthy lipid status, while myricetin has been shown in animal studies to influence triglyceride levels. Gymnema sylvestre and vitamin C are involved with lipid metabolism. Additional heart-healthy ingredients include CoQ10, garlic, fenugreek, and hawthorn.
Antioxidants are important for a healthy nervous system. Lipoic acid helps prevent lipid peroxidation, which can impact nerve function. Many B-vitamins are vital to the metabolic processes of the nerves or are present in the phospholipids of cell membranes. Methylcobalamin, an active form of vitamin B-12, supports the central nervous system. Other supportive ingredients are included (see chart).
GLUCO-SCIENCE provides antioxidants, nutrients and herbs with an affinity for eyes and the physiological processes involved in sight. Alpha-lipoic acid, quercetin, and vitamin C support healthy lens function. Bilberry, shown to support microcirculation in animal studies, is widely recognized for supporting vision.
Lifestyle Tips for Healthy Blood Sugar Levels: A Strategy for WellnessSM
Help Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar levels with Gluco-sciense.
Glucose/Carbohydrate Metabolism American Ginseng, Bitter Melon, Blueberry, Fenugreek, Gymnema sylvestre, Maitake, Myricetin, Pterocarpus marsupium, Chromium, Magnesium, Manganese, Vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5, B-6 & B-12, Biotin, Inositol, Niacinamide Insulin/Pancreatic Activity alpha-Lipoic Acid, Bitter Melon, Gymnema sylvestre, Maitake Fruit Body, Myricetin, N-acetyl-L-Cysteine, Pterocarpus marsupium, Taurine, Chromium, Manganese, Selenium, Vanadium, Zinc Heart and Circulatory System Bilberry, Blueberry, CoQ10, Fenugreek, Garlic, Grape Seed, Gymnema sylvestre, Hawthorn, Myricetin, Taurine, Siberian Ginseng, Magnesium, Selenium, Vitamins B-6, C & E, Folic Acid, Niacinamide Nervous System alpha-Lipoic acid, Glutamine, Magnesium, Taurine, Vitamins B-1 & B-6, Biotin, Choline, Inositol, Methylcobalamin Vision alpha-Lipoic Acid, Bilberry, Quercetin, Taurine, Zinc, Vitamins B-6, C & E