Search Term: " Harmless "
The facts about candida overgrowth and how to overcome it
August 21, 2018 05:53 PM
Candida is a type of yeast found in the human body that is usually dairy harmless but which can cause digestive problems and a range of other symptoms of it. Candida overgrowth can damage the intestinal walls and also cause an increase in allergy symptoms, fatigue, problems with other fungal diseases, headaches, respiratory problems and cold symptoms. Candidates overgrowth can also impede mental clarity and cognition. A combination of overuse of antibiotics, poor diet and the resulting poor immunity make people more vulnerable to candida overgrowth.
"Although it is normal to have some of this fungus in the body, candida can also invade the body beyond what is acceptable"
Read more: https://www.healthnutnews.com/the-facts-about-candida-overgrowth-and-how-to-overcome-it/
Worse than sugar, this alternative boosts your risk of obesity and diabetes
July 26, 2018 09:03 AM
Nearly 40 percent of American adults are obese, and although the food industry often presents artificial sweeteners as a solution, they are even worse for your health than the real thing. Artificial sweeteners may raise your risk of obesity and diabetes even more than real sugar, and may cause worse damage to the lining of the blood vessels. Over the long term, artificial sweeteners can change or wear down the cellular “machinery” your body uses to make energy, or even trick your body into breaking down muscle.
"If you’re still holding out hope that science will eventually prove artificial sweeteners to be beneficial, or at the very least harmless, you’re likely to be disappointed."
Read more: https://www.healthnutnews.com/worse-than-sugar-this-alternative-boosts-your-risk-of-obesity-and-diabetes/
Ask Well: Should We Be Buying Iodized Salt?
July 25, 2017 04:14 PM
The question has been raised and it asks if we should be buying iodized salt. There have been tests done that have come to the conclusion that were are sufficient in the United States, when it comes to our iodine consumption. Most people from America get enough iodine, even if they do not use any iodized salt in their meals. They have a very small risk for having an iodine deficiency, which can lead to them getting goiters.
"Most Americans who eat a varied diet get enough iodine even if they don’t use iodized salt. They are at little risk of iodine deficiency, which can lead to goiters (swollen thyroid glands in the neck) and dwarfism and is a leading cause of mental impairment worldwide."
Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/well/eat/should-we-be-buying-iodized-salt.html?partner=rss&emc=rss
6 ways to reduce the risk of muscle cramps
July 05, 2017 04:14 PM
The most common type of muscle cramp is a charley horse. If someone has a charley horse, it is a sign that the body may be lacking something. You can get rid muscle cramps many different ways. Hydrating, stretching, and eating more fruits and vegetables are three easy ways to prevent or end muscle cramps. If that does not work you should check the medicines that you are taking to see if they are depleting your body of things like magnesium.
"For the most part, muscle spasms are harmless and can be resolved with simple remedies that can be done at home."
Read more: http://www.springfieldnewssun.com/lifestyles/ways-reduce-the-risk-muscle-cramps/f89RyIGEvCrphi23ihb0qK/
Can CBD Oil Get Rid Of Moles On Your Skin? - The Alternative Daily - The Alternative Daily (blog)
May 19, 2017 06:44 AM
Moles can be small and harmless but larger ones can cause appearance anxiety and even catch on clothes. Insurance doesn't usually cover non-cancerous mole removal and can be very expensive to pay for. CBD oil is rich in vitamins that can be good for your skin , but can also be used for mole removal. Vitamin A, found in CBD oil can treat a variety of skin conditions when applied directly to the skin, it can possible help remove moles as well.
Read more: Can CBD Oil Get Rid Of Moles On Your Skin? - The Alternative Daily - The Alternative Daily (blog)
Scientists Call for Restrictions on Ibuprofen & other OTC Painkillers After Deadly Risks Discovered
April 09, 2017 03:44 PM
Generally people know that medications can have negative side effects. But when it comes to over the counter pain medications it is often thought that they are safe to take. There are studies however that show that stuff like Ibuprofen actually have some pretty terrible side effects when taken to often, when taken with other drugs, or if you take too many at one time. If you take over the counter medications often you should see what you can do to wean yourself off of them.
"A recent study from Denmark that was published in the European Heart Journal has found that taking Ibuprofen, the popular over-the counter painkiller is linked to a 31% increased risk of cardiac arrest, among other things."
Read more: http://www.healthnutnews.com/scientists-call-restrictions-ibuprofen-otc-painkillers-deadly-risks-discovered/
Why Americans remain vulnerable to infectious diseases
December 08, 2016 02:59 PM
There is uncertainty in the impact of vector-borne diseases in the US. The effect of changing climate may alter which geographic areas are at risk from vector-transmitted infections. Drug resistance is a growing problem and requires urgent action to tackle it. Antibiotics are a key weapon in the battle against bacterial infections, but we must use those tools carefully to make sure they stay effective.
"By analyzing trends in US mortality between 1980 and 2014, scientists found that infections were responsible for 5.4% of all deaths, with the majority caused by influenza and pneumonia."
Exploring the evolution of spider venom to improve human health
November 02, 2016 02:09 PM
There are millions of venom compounds that could potentially serve to increase our working knowledge of how spider venom works and how it could work for us. These scientists are studying the proteins in the spider venom to acquire a greater understanding of anti-venom potential, as well as other medicines and insecticides.
"Both of these researchers analyze the protein structures of various venom chemicals in search of clues that can explain why some are lethal, while the vast majority are thought to be relatively Harmless."
Eye Inflammation and one Herb To Prevent It!
What is eye inflammation?
The one single most important herb anybody can take to reduce inflammation, in the eye as well as systemic inflammation is "curcumin." Curcumin is the most powerful substance discovered so far in nature which naturally lowers inflammation with zero side effects. If you have followed the above list of ways to help reduce inflammation and you still struggle with eye inflammation, consider taking curcumin daily to eliminate inflammation throughout the body!
For more information visit: //www.webmd.com/first-aid/eyelid-inflammation-blepharitis-treatment
Does Melatonin Decline As We Age?
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal glands. The circadian production of melatonin is tied to the day/night cycle. Light through the retina signals the pineal glands to suppress its production. Lack of light stimulation (at night) results to increased production of melatonin. The increased hormone production at night is associated with a good night’s sleep. According to a study, melatonin significantly reduces sleep latency and increases sleep efficiency. It has thus been used to treat insomnia.
Aging and Insomnia
Insomnia is commonplace among the elderly. As we age, sleep problems which include difficulty in falling asleep and maintaining the sleep are so rampant. This is so because melatonin production declines with age. With age comes the disruption of the circadian rhythms associated with the production of melatonin. To this end, melatonin supplements come handy to the elderly in maintaining a good night’s sleep.
Aging and Alzheimer's Disease
There is more to this hormone than a good night’s sleep and normal aging. There are evidences that melatonin suppresses Alzheimer’s disease. AD is the leading cause of dementia among individuals older than 65 years. Lack of sleep is a common symptom among AD patients and feels bad but sundowning (worsening of symptoms during evening hours) is worse. According to Netherlands Institute of Brain Research, the declining production of melatonin among the elderly not only affects the circadian rhythms but also enhances the development of Alzheimer.
Melatonin as an Antioxidant
Melatonin production starts to decline at age 60. This is the onset of diseases like AD which leads to increased production of free radicals in the brain. According to a review paper written in 2000, there is a lot of pathological changes among AD patients’ autopsied brains as a result of free radical activity. Melatonin carries antioxidant properties which fight the free radicals and protect the brain neurons.
Melatonin is a powerful hormone. Its function in sustaining optimal human health is crucial. New discoveries are being made on this versatile hormone. The fact that its production starts to decline at 60 only means that you need to use supplements and not fret over the onset of AD or insomnia. It is clear that besides being Harmless and natural in treating insomnia, Melatonin is the most effective way of averting deleterious aging effects.
How Do Probiotics Boost Your Immune System?
An average person carries thousands of microorganisms. Among these microorganisms are bacteria. For most of us, the word bacteria usually comes with a negative connotation. It's no wonder that for many years, we have looked for ways to kill bugs.
While some of the bacteria we carry can cause diseases, some are “good” and useful. "Good" bacteria helps us break down the nutrients in food, educate the body's immune system to recognize enemies, fight off food poisoning, metabolize drugs and produce moods' determining chemicals.
Unfortunately, some of our activities can significantly reduce the number of healthy bacteria. To replenish the lost bacteria, you can take Harmless live bacteria and yeasts commonly called probiotics. Probiotics occur naturally in our bodies, but you can also get them in certain foods and supplements.
How Probiotics Work
Probiotics are essential in food digestion and absorption process. They help move food through the gut. It's for this reason that probiotics can help manage conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, infectious diarrhea, and antibiotic-related diarrhea. The absorption of adequate nutrients leads to a stronger immune system.
Good bacteria are essential for gut health. Modern medicine has found a great link between gut health and the body's immune system. Unfortunately, necessary antibiotics kill bacteria indiscriminately. Probiotics can boost our disease fighting capabilities by replacing lost helpful bacteria.
Probiotics can also boost the body's immunity by offering us protection from “bad” bacteria. They protect us by lowering the number of disease-causing bacteria in the system.
Probiotics also help balance "good" and "bad" bacteria. Balance is essential for optimal body performance. Numerous medical studies have for instance shown that cesarean babies are more prone to allergies and eczema because they have lower levels of helpful bacteria and chemical imbalances in their immune systems.
Beneficial bacteria are not created equal. Our personal gut bacteria depends on the food and supplements we take. Research has shown that some species can produce immune-boosting chemicals. Some bacteria, for instance, can produce chemicals that are great for heart and gut lining health.
Xanthan Gum Recipes
December 18, 2012 11:29 AM
Natural Healthy Thickener
Anyone who has wielded a ladle knows exactly what it means to get the right consistency in sauces and soups. Generally a flour, either cornstarch or arrowroot powder based additive, which is carbohydrate rich, make our soups and sauces thick, using conventional cooking methods. However, with growing concerns over carb -rich diets being linked to obesity and the recurring need for thickening required in cooking, has necessitated a switch without compromising on health.
Synthetic thickeners are not recommended though sometimes used commercially . Xanthun gum is a naturally derived form of a thickener made through the fermentation of glucose or sucrose using the Harmless bacteria Xanthomonas campestris. Marketed from the 1960's, this Harmless bacteria forms one of the most useful thickening agents that has been used commercially in the food industry. It has been used as an anti-settling agent, thickener and emulsifier for ice creams, smoothies, gums and confectioneries and even as a binding agent in creams ,lotions as well as other cosmetics including lipsticks.
Xanthan Gum Powder-Here are some benefits that one could look forward to:
This polysaccharide needs to be used in small quantities thus it is not only affordable but can get easily amalgamated into home cooked food recipes with absolute ease ending up providing the most mouth watering of recipes the respite from censure .
Can Quercetin And Bromelain Be Used As An Antihistamine?
December 22, 2011 07:59 AM
Bromelain and Quercetin
One of the most discomforting things that anyone can experience is allergic reactions. In more severe cases it is a big concern health wise and can easily be a cause of death but in less severe cases it can be a cause of so much annoyance. Severe cases can shut your throat in a matter of minutes and keep you from breathing and the more annoying once are the ones sometimes that are caused by dust or cat hairs as a couple of examples and it will cause you to sneeze all day long or trigger a running nose or something of that sort.
Simply put, it is a type of drug that is used to fight allergic reactions and it covers the minor to the more life threatening conditions. Each type of reaction also has a matching type of antihistamine however the bottom line is that it does one thing and that is to do what its name suggests, to counteract the chemical in our body known as histamine. This is the chemical which is released by our immune system when an allergen which is defined as a Harmless external chemical, is exposed to the body. In a way an allergic reaction is our immune systems way of protecting us the problem is, in this case it is a false response. Histamine is a very powerful stimulant and has the ability to cause so much irritation within the body. The symptoms depends on the severity of the reaction, it ranges from itching, watery eyes, skin rashes, runny nose and the most life threatening one is closure of airways.
It is a pigment from plants which are found mainly in onions, berries, apples and grapes. It is considered a flavonoid. Quercetin has been used in many countries for many years to improve blood vessel health naturally and has been part of natural medicine for years now. It also has been shown in some studies to have good potency as an antioxidant and has been shown to have the ability to reduce the risk of oxidative DNA damage which is a precursor to cancer.
This refers to the plant extract which is obtained from pineapples to put it in simple terms. This substance is known to be protease enzymes as they initiate the digestion of protein which is its main function. It also has been shown on various studies that it has antiviral capabilities. However its best known medical use is for treatment of arthritis and other inflammation based illness.
Both as antihistamines
Quercetin, aside from the health benefits mentioned above has been shown to be able to fight against allergic reactions and bromelain helps with its absorption so if put together it could be a potent one two punch against the common cold or flu but for severe cases against severe allergic reactions further research needs to be done to cement the idea that these substance can take the place of antihistamines.
Can Nettle Leaves Help with Allergies?
July 12, 2011 12:48 PM
Nettle And Allergies
Nettle leaf is a traditional medication for excessive inflammation in many European countries. It is valued for its hollow hairs called trichomes, which work as a counter-irritant. In addition to its putative effect on allergic rhinitis or hay fever, it remains extensively used as a treatment for joint pain, muscle spasms, back ache, osteoarthritis, atopic eczema, gout, and other disorders induced by inflammation.
Urtica dioica is the plant species referred to as the common nettle or stinging nettle, from which nettle leaf is harvested from in general. It is an herbaceous shrub that grows up to 2 meters in height. It is botanically noted for its trichomes, which inject list of inflammatory agents into the skin upon contact. In alternative medicine, these organic compounds are processed to combat excessive inflammation.
Nettles enjoy a wide distribution in almost all continents, with the exception of Antarctica and South America. In particular, stinging nettle has been successfully naturalized in all regions outside the Frigid Zone. It prefers soils that retain moisture and receive high rainfall. Hence, it thrives well in tropical and subtropical regions. In temperate zones, it is often found in the wild and abandoned settlements.
Nettle leaf has had a centuries-old association with folk medicine of England, Germany, Sweden, and much of Northern Europe. It is mentioned in the Old English poem called Nine Herbs Charm, which describes the common nettle as a treatment for poison and infection. In Germany, herbal preparations that contain nettle extracts are among the leading adjuvant remedies for allergic rhinitis and joint pain.
Hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system in the form of allergies is a reaction to otherwise Harmless substances called allergens. These reactions include eczema, hives, hay fever, asthma, anaphylaxis, insect bites, and even systemic allergic reactions. Modern herbalists have long employed nettle leaf for the prevention, amelioration, and cure of hay fever and related allergic reactions.
The hollow stinging hairs of nettle leaf are a natural source of organic compounds that are similar to the chemicals released by the body during allergic reactions, such as histamine and acetylcholine. It produces optimum results when applied directly, as is the case with topical creams and alcoholic tinctures. Allergies subside when these compounds are introduced to local tissues underneath the skin.
Extracts of nettle leaf contain phytochemicals that display anti-inflammatory activities when ingested. The exact mechanism of action is still under investigation. Based on initial results, researchers are positive that nettle leaf exerts an inhibitory effect on pro-inflammatory cell-signaling protein molecules known as cytokines, which are directly involved in hypersensitivity disorder, especially hay fever.
More importantly, nettle leaf has been observed to inhibit the transcription of tumor necrosis factor alpha, which is responsible for a diverse variety of inflammatory responses of cells and tissues. As a results, it downregulates the production of cytokines and interleukins incriminated in excessive inflammation during joint pain, back ache, food allergies, asthma attacks, and allergic rhinitis.
How does Malic Acid help with Fibromyalgia?
February 09, 2011 01:18 PM
Malic Acid And Fibromyalgia
If you feel sensitized to pain by otherwise Harmless stimuli, then you may be experiencing symptoms of fibromyalgia, which has been recorded to affect up to 4 per cent of the population worldwide. It is characterized by a feeling of weakness in the muscles of the limbs, conscious awareness of abnormal heartbeat, problems concerning bowel movement, and disturbances to sleep patterns. All of these are complaints reported to have been addressed by supplementation of malic acid.
The medical community remains inconclusive as to what causes fibromyalgia, some claiming it’s not a disease at all. While symptoms may not be necessarily medical signs, there are innumerable cases that describe complaints we collectively refer to as fibromyalgia. Throughout the past few decades, medical professionals around the world have considered these symptoms as one musculoskeletal disease whereas most neurologists have contended that fibromyalgia is attributable to the abnormalities within the nervous system. Today the American College of Rheumatology has charted nine paired tender points in an effort to describe the symptoms for this condition better.
Known Causes in Scrutiny
The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia more often than not appear simultaneously with stress-induced medical conditions such as chronic fatigue, anxiety disorders, and depression, but they are known to develop independently. A tissue in the brain responsible for long-term memory and spatial navigation called hippocampus have shown abnormalities among patients of fibromyalgia, thereby affecting sleep patterns, perception of pain, and related cognitive functions.
In the latter half of the 20th century it is postulated that serotonin leads to fibromyalgia. Serotonin being a neurotransmitter that governs mood, attention, and pain were found to be significantly decreased in the blood plasma and cerebrospinal fluid among patients who reported to experience this condition. That being said, the introduction of serotonin inhibitors used in treatment of depression has also shown alleviations of pain-related symptoms across the tender point index.
Malic Acid and Prognosis
Malic acid was discovered as a constituent of apple juice as early as the 18th century. Reduced levels of malic acid contribute to the maturity of fruits. In human beings it plays a fundamental role as an intermediate in a metabolic pathway that influences the chemical conversion of bioactive compounds like carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into carbon dioxide and water, which in turn convert the molecules contained in the cytoplasmic fluid of cells into energy generated in the mitochondria.
The availability of malic acid inside the human body modulates functional activities at the cellular level by speeding up the metabolism of bioactive compounds and consequently the production of energy in use by the cells. That being said, malic acid provides vitality to muscle cells, raising their endurance against stress. In addition, there have been reports that intake of malic acid help elevate levels of serotonin, leading to improved response to pain and better management of fibromyalgia.
For now, the tender point index is the primary diagnostic tool for evaluating fibromyalgia, and the use of malic acid has been recorded to reduce pain in these points.
Have you had your Malic Acid today?
Herbs And The Immune System
July 30, 2010 10:07 AM
When looking for an herb to help with the immune system, look for herbs containing sulphur, which helps to dissolve acids in the system. Additionally, sulphur acts as an antiseptic and strengthens the tissues and the body. The following herbs range in amounts of sulphur, but are all good for helping to protect the immune system.
Burdock root, one of the best blood purifiers, can reduce swelling and help to rid the body of calcification deposits. This is because it promotes kidneys function, helping to clear the blood of harmful acids. Burdock contains high amounts of vitamin C and iron. It also contains protein, carbohydrates, some vitamin A, P, and B-complex, vitamin E, PABA, and small amounts of sulphur, silicon, copper, iodine, and zinc.
Capsicum, which is also called as cayenne, is known to be the best for warding off diseases and equalizing blood circulation. It has been called a supreme and Harmless internal disinfectant. This herb is extremely important for quick action against flu and colds. Capsicum is high in vitamins A, C, iron, and calcium. Additionally, it contains vitamin G, magnesium, phosphorus, sulphur, B-complex, and potassium.
Catnip helps in fatigue and improves circulation. It helps in aches and pain, upset stomach, and diarrhea that are associated with flu. Catnip is high in vitamins A, C, B-complex, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, sodium, and a small trace of sulphur.
Chaparral, which has the ability to cleanse deep into the muscle and tissue walls, is a potent healer to the urethral tract and lymphatics. It tones up the system and rebuilds the tissues. One of the best herbal antibiotics, chaparral has been said to be able to rid the body of LSD residue. Chaparral is high in protein, potassium, and sodium, and contains silicon, tin, aluminum, sulphur, chlorine, and barium.
Comfrey is one of the most valuable herbs known to botanic medicine, as it has beneficial effects on all parts of the body. It is one of the finest healers for the respiratory system, being able to be used both internally and externally for the healing of fractures, wounds, sores, and ulcers. Echinacea, which stimulates the immune response, increases the body’s ability to resist infections. It improves lymphatic filtration and drainage and also helps to remove toxins from the blood. Fennel helps to stabilize the nervous system and moves waste material out of the body. This herb is known for improving digestion and possesses a diuretic effect.
Garlic, nature’s antibiotic, has a rejuvenative effect on all body functions, building health and preventing diseases, as well as dissolving cholesterol in the bloodstream. Garlic stimulates the lymphatic system to throw off waste materials. It is full of antibiotics like substances that are effective against bacteria.
Juniper berries are used in cases where uric acid is being retained in the system. It is an excellent disease preventative, being high in natural insulin. Juniper has the ability to restore the pancreas where there has been no permanent damage and is excellent for infections.
Kelp, a good promoter of glandular health, has a beneficial effect on many disorders of the body. It is called a sustainer to the brain and nervous system, as it helps the brain to function normally. Kelp is essential during pregnancy.
Along with the above herbs, other beneficial herbs for the immune system are lobelia, mullein, plantain, parsley, sarsaparilla, shepherd’s purse, stinging nettle, and watercress. Look to your local or internet health food store for quality herbs to help boost the immune system.
OralBiotic for Ear, Nose, and Throat Health
May 28, 2010 01:29 PM
OralBiotic™ For Ear, Nose & Throat Health
NEW IN JUNE 2010
Many people, even some of the most nutritionally well-versed health enthusiasts, are unaware that the body’s immune system activity actually begins in the mouth. In addition to Amylase, saliva contains an important enzyme, called lysozyme, which functions as a first line of defense against potentially harmful constituents. This simple aspect of human health speaks volumes about what’s happening inside our mouths. The short version is that the mouth offers a near perfect environment for the growth and fortitude of various bacteria; some good, and some clearly not so good. No one is immune to this, including those who are meticulous in their oral care practices.
The food we eat, the environmental particles we inadvertently inhale, and a wide range of additional factors can all contribute to the residual presence of undesirable oral bacteria. For the most part, these particles are Harmless and can be washed away by saliva or enzyme activity. Some bacterium, however, can lead to acute halitosis (bad breath) when left behind, as well as a potentially-increased affinity towards various infections resulting from bacterial imbalance. For individuals striving to support on a head-to-toe good health, it is important to take this into consideration when developing or augmenting one’s nutritional program. NOW® Foods new OralBiotic™ is a completely innovative natural supplement developed specifically to help promote healthy oral bacteria, and therefore, a desirable state of overall health and wellness.
OralBiotic™ contains the naturally-occurring probiotic organism Streptococcus salivarius BLIS K12®, which has been shown in clinical studies to support both oral and throat health. OralBiotic™ BLIS K12® is not an antibiotic, but it can successfully colonize the oral cavity at the expense of other bacteria, thereby encouraging oral health.1 For greater support, we’ve included Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), a prebiotic that provides nutritional support for the growth and preservation of S. salivarius. OralBiotic™ can also promote fresh breath when used in conjunction with proper oral hygiene, such as NOW® XyliWhite™ products. To help your customers get the most out of this exciting new formula, we recommend taking it in conjunction with one of
NOW® Foods’ various high-potency natural Probiotic supplements.*
BLIS K12® Advantages:
• The strength of the scientific and clinical data behind BLIS K12®
• A unique probiotic clinically-demonstrated to benefit the mouth and throat*
• Strong IP position (13 patents granted worldwide and 15 patent applications pending)
• Stability/shelf life (Two years shelf life at ambient temperatures)
• Demonstrated efficacy of various delivery formats
• An extensive safety record and comprehensive safety data
† Used with permission from the BLIS K12® website
May 15, 2008 01:21 PM
Copper is an essential trace mineral necessary for life, and it is necessary for the proper function of certain enzymes that allow certain biochemical functions of the body to take place. Without copper neither plant nor animal life would be possible.
Dietary sources include nuts, grains, seeds, beans and other vegetable protein sources. Although it is also obtained from animal sources, these tend to be rich in zinc, and for reasons that will be discussed shortly, the presence of zinc can deplete copper absorption. Other common sources are copper cooking utensils and drinking water from copper pipes. After digestion, copper is absorbed into the body through the stomach and the small intestine. It is also possible for copper to be absorbed through the skin from copper bracelets.
Once absorbed, copper is bound to albumin and taken by the blood to the liver, where it is bound to a plasma protein known as ceruloplasmin. Among the enzymes with which copper is associated as a ‘helper’ are Cytochrome C oxidase, used in the conversion of glucose to energy, Dopamine hydroxylase, an essential component in the biochemical production of adrenaline, and superoxidase dismutase, that protects against the oxidative damage of cell tissue. Of particular benefit are its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and its role in energy production. Because of its antioxidant effect, copper could well play a very important role in protecting against atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease, the ravaging effects of free radicals on body cells and also certain forms of cancer.
Copper is also important in electron transport, and is responsible for the blue coloration of the blood of most molluscs and many arthropods. This is because rather than hemoglobin, these animals use the copper-based hemocyanin for oxygen transport in the blood. Rather than the iron-containing hemoglobin making the blood of these creatures red as it is with mammals, theirs is blue due to the hemocyanin. Copper salts are generally green and blue, as are the blue copper proteins plastocyanin and azurin.
So how is copper used by the body? It is, after all, fairly toxic, as little as 30 grams being fatal to humans, bringing on similar symptoms to those of arsenic poisoning. It is in fact the reason for its toxicity that also renders it so useful to the body. The toxicity is largely due to the ability of copper to accept and donate electrons as it changes between oxidation states. This results in the generation of very reactive radicals that can cause severe oxidative stress. The complete reason for its toxicity has yet to be determined, but the stress caused to body cells by free radical oxidation is a very serious condition.
It is this rapid change in its oxidation state that is valuable to the enzymes with which it is associated. The ceruloplasmin is responsible for most of the transport of bivalent copper around the body, in the tissues of which it helps to form the bivalent copper enzymes previously mentioned, such as Cytochrome C oxidase and Lysyl oxidase. In doing so the copper is converted to the monovalent state.
It also helps to aid in the production of the strong antioxidant Superoxide dismutase (SOD). What this enzyme does is to catalyze the formation of oxygen and hydrogen peroxide by the dismutation of superoxide, a negative ion consisting of two oxygen atoms and a free electron, and hence a very powerful free radical. Dismutation is the simultaneous oxidation and reduction of the species, rendering the free radical relatively Harmless. This type of action on free radicals is a very powerful one, and essential in the body’s fight against such free radical species that are so dangerous to animal cells.
SOD exists in more than one form, and can also contain zinc, manganese and nickel in addition to copper. The internal fluid (cytosol) of practically all eukaryotic cells (cells containing a nucleus) contain a form of Superoxide dismutase dependent on copper and zinc, while most mitochondria contain an SOD with manganese.
Another of the important uses that your body can find for copper lies in the production of hemoglobin. This is because copper is needed for the storage and release of iron to produce hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells. It is believed that ceruloplasmin is involved in the catalytic formation of ferric iron by the oxidation of ferrous iron, so allowing the iron to be attached to a protein that transfers it round the body to enable its use in the biosynthesis of various ferrous compounds, especially of hemoglobin.
Copper bracelets are commonly worn by arthritis sufferers, and there is a scientific explanation for that. As previously inferred, it is believed to be possible to absorb copper through the skin and copper is known to be involved in the formation of collagen and is a commonly used treatment for arthritis and osteoporosis. Part of its effect on arthritis is likely due to the antioxidant effect of the SOD that helps to reduce the inflammation at arthritis sites.
Although a deficiency in copper can lead to serious health problems, an excess is also harmful. Potential conditions include neurological problems, liver damage and bone abnormalities, although deficiency is far more common because of the competition between copper and zinc. Zinc is a copper antagonist, as is iron and manganese, and copper imbalances can be moderated by the use of these as supplements.
The symptoms of a copper deficiency include fatigue, hair loss, stunted growth, anorexia and a host of other conditions. Luckily, however, a deficiency is rare and most people receive a sufficient amount of copper in their diet. Supplements are available to ensure an adequate intake.
There is still much to be learned about the interaction between copper and enzymes, and there is also a great deal still to be learned of its role in human metabolism and biochemistry than is currently known. However, sufficient is known already for us to be certain that copper is a very important trace element and that we should be certain that our intake is sufficient, given that zinc iron and manganese compete to prevent copper being absorbed by the body.
Activated Charcoal - Highly absorbent material to combat poisoning
April 24, 2008 02:44 PM
Activated charcoal has been treated by heat to open up millions of small spaces between the carbon atoms and turn it literally into an atomic sponge that adsorbs both organic and organic impurities.
This heat treatment is carried out in the absence of oxygen, so the charcoal cannot burn. Instead, what oxygen it did contain is driven off leaving behind all of these interstitial gaps that multiply the effective surface area by factors of ten. Since it is the surface area of the charcoal that determines its potency, then the greater this is the better.
Activated charcoal has a massive surface area, and just ten grams has the same surface area as nine American football pitches or 77 tennis courts. Ten grams is just marginally more than a third of an ounce. The term adsorb has a different meaning to absorb, and while a real sponge absorbs water by mopping it up through capillary action and suction, activation carbon adsorbs substances through a form of chemical attraction. You get rid of water from the sponge by squeezing it, but that doesn’t work with activated charcoal, since the substances are bound to it, not just physically constrained.
This huge surface area provides activated charcoal with innumerable bonding sites, and when chemicals that are attracted to carbon pass by they are attached to the surface. They cannot get free again, as water in a sponge can, but are bound to the surface of the carbon. Because the digestive system has no effect on charcoal then whatever is bound to it passes naturally through the body.
It is most effective at binding other carbon-based materials, and other substances with the right electronic arrangement, but others will just pass straight through. Because it is a chemical process, once all of the empty bonding sites have been taken up, the charcoal loses its effectiveness and has to be replaced. It is possible to regenerate it, but hardly worthwhile for you to do so because of the small quantities you use.
Because of the way it works, activated charcoal can help people to recover from some forms of food poisoning. It can adsorb gases in the intestine and help to relieve the pain of excessive gas in the gut. It has many additional uses that will be touched on later, but for now we will look at its effect on poisons because that is where activated charcoal is of greatest benefit to us.
It does not adsorb and neutralize all poisons, but is very effective with those that it can be sued for. Professor Touery proved a point when he drank a lethal dose of strychnine in front of colleagues at the French Academy of Medicine in 1831 and came through unscathed. He had mixed the strychnine with activated charcoal, and the fact that he lived after drinking a dose that would certainly have led to a very painful death within minutes testifies to the powerful effect of activated charcoal as an potential antidote for poisoning.
Ever medicine cabinet should have an emergency supply of activated carbon, especially those with young children in the household. However, this is not good news for the pharmaceutical companies who have reacted by refuting some of the claims made in its favor: they have claimed that it is not effective against arsenic. If that is so, then how did Michel Bertrand survive after swallowing 5 grams of arsenic trioxide – 150 times what is regarded as the lethal dose? He did this is 1813 after mixing it with activated charcoal, just as Professor Touery was to do 18 years later with ten times the lethal dose of strychnine.
It is true, however, that it does not have this degree of activity with all poisons, and it has no effect on cyanide, alcohols, antifreeze (glycols) and lithium. It also has no effect on corrosive poisons such as the strong alkalis used in oven clearers, or hydrocarbons such as kerosene. The way it works is adsorb the poison and prevent it being released into the body. For that to happen, the poison must have an affinity for carbon, and its adsorption site, and not all substances possess that property. Those that do however are permanently bound and therefore safe.
For charcoal to be effective in neutralizing a poison, it must be swallowed within an hour of taking the poison, or the poison will be too far advanced ion the digestive process for the charcoal to do any good. Keep in mind, though, that it is not selective, and activated charcoal can adsorb nutrients and other beneficial constituents of your body’s chemistry. It is important therefore that you take in only when necessary: you might need several doses if the poison was severe, but once it has done its job it is not meant to be used as a maintenance material to take ‘just in case’. Used like that, it can do harm.
If charcoal can adsorb poisons then it makes sense to believe that it can also adsorb some of the harmful agents that cause food poisoning. Not all food poisoning of course, but certainly those organisms that emit toxins that are attracted to carbon. And this is, in fact, the case. Food poisoning is caused by bacteria rather than viruses, and is not the presence of the bacteria that make you vomit and feel very ill.
As bacteria grow in your body they release toxins, or poisons, into your digestive system. These poisons are what make you ill. They can seriously affect the complete gastro-intestinal tract, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and inflammation and swelling of the small and large intestine. The latter can cause abdominal cramps and severe colic, and the severity of the symptoms depends very much upon the type of bacteria and the number of them in your body.
Many of these toxins are attracted to carbon since they are frequently organic based, and activated charcoal can be used to adsorb them. Once adsorbed they lose their potency, and since carbon is not digested by the body, they are passed Harmlessly through the colon and eliminated in the faeces. It can also be used to eliminate many other foreign bodies from your gut, including viruses and fungi and might possibly reduce the concentration of uric acid, which can bring relief to gout sufferers.
Activated charcoal has many uses, and is normally available in capsule form. It can be dangerous to take too much, particularly if you suffer from intestinal problems that cause constipation, because the charcoal itself can have that effect. However, there is no better emergency treatment for accidental poisoning in the home, although, since it is not suitable for all poisons, you must still regard poisoning as an emergency and contact the emergency services.
Activated charcoal, or activated carbon as it is sometimes called, is also a good emergency treatment for vomiting and the other unpleasant effects of food poisoning. It deals with bacterial toxins in the same way as any other, though once again you must refer to your physician before or after using it – preferably the former.
L-Glutathione Can Eliminate Toxins in the Liver
December 07, 2007 11:54 AM
L-glutathione is the reduced form of glutathione, and is a tripeptide synthesized in the animal and plant tissues from glycine, cysteine and glutamate. Commonly known as GSH, it contains thiol groups that are maintained in a reduced state, and is a very powerful antioxidant, considered to be the key antioxidant and protective substance in the body.
Glutathione can reduce any disulfide groups in the cytoplasm within the body of the cell, and ensures that the cytoplasm is a strongly reducing medium protecting against oxidation. It has a synergistic effect with other antioxidants to protect the body against free radicals and oxidizing agents that cause so much damage to the body through what is commonly referred to as ‘oxidative stress’. However, there is more to it than that and it attaches itself to toxic chemicals and drugs in the liver and renders them into a state suitable for elimination from the body.
These toxic materials include poisonous pesticides, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and chromium and many other substances that we come into contact with due to present day pollution of our atmosphere and foodstuffs. Glutathione can also help protect the body from the effects of chemotherapy and evidence is suggesting possible links with the control of some cancers, diabetes, atherosclerosis and many other degenerative conditions caused by free radical attack and the effects of pollutants.
The way that GSH acts in the cells is that the redox state of the glutathione-glutathione disulfide couple is critical to the health of the intercellular and intracellular fluid. GSH in the reduced state of glutathione reacts with an oxidative agent such as hydrogen peroxide to form the oxidized form, glutathione disulfide and water. It hence mops up oxidizers such as peroxides and free radicals within the cytoplasm of the body’s cells, and also in between the cells. The disulfide is then converted back to GSH by the combined action of the enzyme glutathione reductase and NADPH (the reducing agent nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate).
The cycle then repeats so that two molecules of glutathione continue to reduce damaging oxidizing agents without themselves being consumed. In so doing, the NADPH becomes oxidized. A continuous supply of NADPH is needed to allow GSH to undergo these biochemical reactions, and up to 10% of our blood glucose is used by the pentose phosphate pathway by which NADPH is synthesized.
Since this cycle consumes no glutathione, it would appear that a supplement is unnecessary. However, this is not the case since the molecule takes part in other reactions in the body, particularly in the elimination of toxic heavy metals from the body. Mercury is highly reactive with the thiol that GSH is, and so will bind to form a stable Hg-sulfydryl bond in the liver. This mercury-glutathione chelate is unable to bind to other proteins or gain access to the body cells, and is eventually Harmlessly secreted. The same is true of many other heavy metals that are reactive with thiol’s.
In this way the body is protected from the harmful effects of these heavy metals. However, it results in the loss of the glutathione, and the pollution of modern day living can take a heavy toll of the GSH content of our bodies. For this reason a glutathione supplement is recommended, especially for city dwellers that may be exposed to more heavy metals than those residing in rural areas.
However, the form in which this supplement is taken is very important, because the human digestive tract contains a significant amount of gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase. That is an enzyme which apparently destroys glutathione before it can be absorbed. However, it can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream by dissolving the pill between the teeth and inner cheek. It has also been suggestion that the supplement could be administered by injection.
Others have suggested that rather than administer a supplement, individuals could take other supplements that contain the materials needed to stimulate the formation of GSH. Substances such as vitamin C, selenium (important in GSH biochemistry), methionine, alpha-lipoic acid and glutamine could all help to increase the body’s production of glutathione. A supplement of the constituent parts of cysteine, glycine and glutamic acid should also help. The dosage ranges recommended vary widely from 50mg to 500mg daily, and the effects of supplementation are not yet well know.
Some specific conditions that this wonder antioxidant is useful in treating include liver disease such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and so on. Patients suffering from these diseases show a massive reduction in their GSH content and prior GSH treatment appeared to offer a significant degree of protection in controlled clinical investigations. Patients suffering from chronic hepatitis C have been found to be associated with reduced GSH levels, particularly if also HIV positive.
Similar deficiencies have been noted in some lung conditions such as asthma and other pulmonary conditions. In such cases it has been demonstrated that administration of GSH supplements sufficient to restore normal levels of the substance improved the patients’ conditions by a significant amount. Its effect on atherosclerosis appears to be significant since a decreased level of GSH peroxidase has been recorded in such patients in addition to an increase in lipid peroxides, indicating that oxidation of the arterial wall had been occurring.
Anti-viral therapies that rely on GSH biochemistry for their action have been found to be less effective in those with low GSH levels, and other studies have confirmed that supplementing with GSH improves the response to interferon treatment. These results indicate the activity of oxidizing agents and free radicals in liver conditions, and in fact this has been demonstrated by tests carried out in New York and Philadelphia in the 1990s.
This suggests that the liver is prone to damage by oxidative stress, and that GSH levels may be able to be used as an indication of potential liver disease. What is evident is that a strong case can be made for glutathione supplementation as protection against potential liver, pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases, especially by those exposed to specific polluting agents such as primary or secondary tobacco smoke, auto and diesel fumes and chemicals and pesticides.
L-glutathione is useful, not only for the elimination of toxins in the liver, but also in protecting this large and vital organ from the oxidative stress that modern living brings. L-Glutathione and its precursors are sold over the counter at your local or internet health food store.
Supplements for Children
June 26, 2007 09:51 PM
Supplements for Children
While most parents try hard to make nutritious meals for their family, most children find the appeal of refined, fast, and junk food simply overwhelming. And, sadly, increasingly easy to buy and consume, as well. From kindergarten through 12th grade, in both grade schools and high schools, vending machines offer calorie laden candy bars, sugar-filled soft drinks, and snack foods loaded with fat and salt. Many school cafeterias actually sell fast-food to children for lunch every day. In fact, it seems almost everywhere children go and gather, visually enticing but nutritionally lacking snacks and soft drinks are sure to be available.
Determined to counteract this disturbing trend, parents everywhere are urgently seeking solutions to help their children get the nutrition they need. One answer is supplemental multivitamins. There are certainly plenty of multivitamins formulated for children currently on the market. However, these products vary considerably in quality and content. Some lack certain vital nutrients. Some taste terrible. Still others are loaded with sugar and artificial flavorings. The good news is that there are superior multivitamins and exceptional immune boosting products formulated specifically for children that actually taste great. In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will discuss childhood nutrition and how to help ensure your children’s health with high quality, 100% natural flavored nutritional supplements.
Q. Do children really benefit from vitamin supplements? Can’t I make sure they get the vitamins and minerals they need from meals?
A. Even the most nutritionally vigilant parent cannot be 100% certain what nutrients are in the food they serve their children. That’s because there’s so much variability in the food we prepare. For instance, fat-soluble vitamins can withstand normal cooking, but vitamins A and E are gradually destroyed by exposure to air. Water-soluble vitamins such as B1, B6, folic acid, and pantothenic acid are destroyed by heat. Vitamin B2 is destroyed by light and heat, while light and air destroy vitamin C. Certain food preservatives and preparation methods also destroy the vitamins in food. To further complicate matters, some fruit and vegetables are grown and harvested in such a way that does not promote nutrient content – so even raw foods may be lacking.
Then there are those crazy food phases all children seemingly go through. While these phases are generally Harmless in the long run, a recent alarming exception was in the news. A five-year old boy ate nothing but cheese pizza, Pop-tarts, biscuits, and water, refusing fruits, vegetables, juices and vitamins. He slowly developed limp, swollen gums, and small purple spots appeared on his skin. After five months of this extremely deficient diet, he was unable to walk or get out of bed because the pain was so severe. Doctors diagnosed the boy as having a severe vitamin C deficiency after ruling out other ailments such as leukemia. Within a week of getting vitamin C supplements, the boy’s pain and other symptoms were completely resolved. Obviously, this little boy’s story is unusual. However, even mild food phases (such as “If It’s Green It Must Be Yucky” or “The Only Good Crust Is A Cut-Off Crust”) can result in awfully lop-sided nutrition.
Q. Can multivitamins help my child’s performance in school?
A. Most teachers firmly believe that nutrition and learning go hand in hand. They are convinced that children who are well nourished possess the mental stamina that’s needed to learn and retain even difficult concepts. But can multivitamins help children become better students?
Two independent research teams recently conducted randomized trials to find the answer. The researchers followed 245 school-children aged 6 to 12 years for three months. They gave half of the children multivitamin tablets every day, and half of the children placebos. When the children were tested, the children in the multivitamins group showed an increase in their nonverbal intelligence scores. Nonverbal intelligence is closely associated with academic performance.
Q. I can’t get my children to take 100% natural flavored multivitamins because they don’t taste very appealing. Isn’t there some way to make a 100% natural multivitamin taste good enough for my children to willingly take?
A. Yes, there is! Because most children need chewable multivitamins, manufacturers need to contend with the truly terrible taste of certain minerals. Magnesium, iodine, copper, and iron are probably the worst tasting. Some solve this dilemma by skimping on the amounts of these minerals in their children’s formulas. Others cover up the bad taste with either massive amounts of sugar or artificial flavors, or both.
However, a select few multivitamin makers have discovered how to offer a natural flavored, great tasting children’s multivitamin that contains these vital minerals. The best children’s vitamins are prepared in a base of natural fruit that provides both antioxidants and other healthy phytonutrients. Children’s multivitamins made in such a fruit base have very low sugar content, as well, providing as little as four calories a day. Fructose – fruit sugar – is the preferred sweetening agent, in addition to the fruit content.
Q. What vitamins should be in a multivitamin for children?
A. There are several vitamins and minerals that children need to take each and every day. They include biotin, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamins B12, B1, A, B6, C, D, E, and K. Let’s review a few. We’ll start with folate, one of the B vitamins. This vital vitamin helps the body use protein, helps make DNA, helps cells grow and divide, and keeps the nervous system healthy. In fact, folate is so important to children that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated that folate must be added to many foods most children eat daily. Since 1998, cereal, enriched bread, flour corn meal, rice, and pasta have been folate-fortified with this B vitamin.
One of folate’s vital actions is the reduction of homocysteine levels in the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid (the building block of protein) that is normally produced in the human body. Research has shown that high levels of homocysteine can irritate blood vessels, make blood clot more easily than it should, and cause blockages in arteries increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes .
However, study after study has proven that taking folate reduces harmful homocysteine levels. While most of this research has been in adults, a recent study looked at children’s homocysteine levels. Researchers examined over 3500 children and discovered that high homocysteine levels increased the risk for heart disease in these children, especially as they grow. The researchers leading this study reinforced how critical folate is for all children.
Other critical vitamins for children are the vitamins C and E. The rates of childhood asthma have increased significantly here in the
Q. Which minerals do children need?
A. It is absolutely crucial that children get calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc, and phosphorus every day. Sadly, however, the majority of our children are not getting the recommended amounts of many of these vital minerals. Children in
According to statistics from the National Institutes of Health, only 13.5 percent of girls and 36.3 percent of boys age 12 to 19 in the
Lack of adequate calcium has immediate consequences for children, as well. The number of fractures among children and young adults has increased as a direct result of poor calcium intake. Pediatricians are also seeing children with rickets, a bone disease caused by low levels of vitamin D. Rickets became almost nonexistent after vitamin D was added to milk in the 1950s, but, due to lower milk consumption, is now appearing at greater rates around the country. And milk itself can be problematic for some children. Aside from alarming reports of hormones and herbicides in commercial dairy factory milk, even organic milk is not tolerated by all because of lactose intolerance and allergies.
Zinc is another mineral that’s vital for children. Because zinc is critical for normal growth and development, children need to take it every day. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, however, found more than half of US children ages two to 10 years fail to get the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for zinc. What’s even more troubling is that zinc is vitally connected to children’s ability to process information, pay attention, as well as remember and retain new information
Zinc does a lot to keep children healthy. More than 200 enzymes in our bodies rely on zinc. However, it’s zinc’s ability to connect with our immune systems to help fight infections that is crucial for children. While researchers are not certain how zinc precisely boosts a child’s immunity, they think that zinc might fight pneumonia and other infections by either enhancing the body’s immune status, preventing the infection from establishing itself, or improving the immune system’s ability to rid itself of the infecting organism. It’s possible that zinc does all three.
Q. No matter what I do, my children seem to come down with bad colds each year. Besides giving them a multivitamin, are there other nutritional supplements that can keep my children healthy?
A. Absolutely! In fact, there are 100% natural flavored children’s immune formula nutritional supplements that contain their good buddy zinc, vitamins B6, C, and A (as beta carotene), plus elderberry extract. Elderberry extract has been used as a traditional medicine for hundreds of years to treat colds and flu. And as it so often happens, scientific research has validated this use. In fact, scientists have discovered that elderberry keeps viruses from invading other cells and replicating. It also spurs important immune cells into action to fight invading germs.
While we previously discussed vitamin C’s ability to help children with asthma breathe easier, it also provides powerful immune protection. It speeds up the healing of wounds, such as those knee and elbow scrapes so common in childhood. However, vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and can’t be stored in the body. It must be replenished every day. When children are under increased stress (like when they get sick with a cold or flu), their vitamin C levels are more rapidly depleted.
Vitamin B6 is also water-soluble and can only work in children’s bodies for eight hours. Then more B6 must be obtained. Vitamin B6 strengthens the immune system by helping white blood cells make antibodies. Vitamin A helps make lysozymes, important anti-infectious agents found in tears, saliva, and sweat. It also stimulates the thymus gland, an important immune organ, especially in children, to work better.
Q. Should children take an immune formula every day or only when they are sick?
A. It can be taken several ways. Some parents may want to give the formula when school first starts or other times that their children are exposed to lots of germs. For a child who suffers from asthma or seasonal allergies or just seems to get sick frequently, parents could provide the immune formula every day, increasing the dose when needed. And still others might feel it’s best to give their children the immune formula only whey they do catch a cold or have the flu.
No matter how it is given, the 100% all natural flavored, immune boosting nutritional supplement can provide powerful protection against all those disease-causing germs your children are exposed to every day.
The nutritional choices we make for our children today will have a profound effect on their health tomorrow. Recent research has revealed that diabetes, heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis, and cancer in adults often result form nutritional deficiencies that occurred in childhood.
Thankfully, the reverse is just as true. This means that children who are well nourished with an optimal intake of minerals, vitamins, and helpful herbs can grow into healthy and happy adults. Providing high quality multivitamins and immune boosting nutritional supplements for our children can be an important part of that process.
April 09, 2007 05:02 PM
EpiCor® is a unique and novel dietary supplement used for support of immune health, with a fascinating history of discovery. In 1943, a company in
Interestingly, when the company became self-insured, they became aware of unusually low rates of illness in employees that worked in the manufacturing plant for this animal product. This led to very low increases in their insurance premiums over the years compared to other companies, saving them quite a lot of money. Hence they began to investigate what might be the cause of the “healthfulness” of the employees at the fermentation plant. This investigation and subsequent research studies led to the formation of a new company called Embria Health Sciences, which now produces EpiCor® as a supplement for humans to support immune system health.1 Doctor’s Best® is proud to now offer the benefits of EpiCor® to its customers.
Beneficial Support of the Immune System and Activation of Natural Killer (NK) Cells in vitro*
A comparison study was performed on blood from 10 fermentation plant workers compared to that from 10 age and gender matched controls. The fermentation plant workers had several immune cell parameters that appeared superior to the control group. These included decreased levels of CD8 cells resulting in significantly increased CD4 to CD8 ratios, significantly improved cytotoxic natural killer (NK) cell activity even though total NK cells were decreased in number, higher killing efficiency of NK cells, significantly increased levels of secretory IgA, increased numbers of EpiCor™ specific antibodies, higher levels of red blood cell intracellular glutathione, and significantly lower levels of immune complexes. These results represent benefits on various cellular players of both the specific and innate parts of the immune system.1,3,4
NK cells are one of the first lines of defense used by the immune system. An in vitro study performed on human cells showed that NK cells were activated after incubation with EpiCor®, as evaluated by expression of the CD69 activation marker. The CD25 marker (IL-2 receptor) was also induced in the NK cells, although to a lesser degree.1,2 B cell activation was also noted through increased expression of CD80 and CD86 markers.2 Immediate increases in calcium levels were evident in peripheral blood mononuclear cells after exposure to EpiCor®, suggesting increased activation through calcium regulation.2
High Metabolite Immunogen*: Nutrient Make-up
Production of EpiCor® utilizes the common and Harmless bakers or brewers yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae in a patented process called MetaGen4™, a multi-stage fermentation and drying process. It differs from other yeast products in that it contains both the yeast itself as well as the metabolites or “nutrilites” formed by the fermentation process, which are present in the media.1 Together the media containing the metabolites and the yeast are dried to form EpiCor®. Analysis of EpiCor® reveals that it contains a mixture of natural polyphenols, phytosterols, beta-glucans, mannan oligosaccharides, fiber, trace amounts of B vitamins and minerals, as well as a host of other nutritional compounds.1,2
Beneficial Antioxidant Activity*
EpiCor® was tested for antioxidant activity in an in vitro assay called the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity assay (ORAC). In this assay, EpiCor® was shown to have a total ORAC antioxidant level of 610 micromol TE (tocopherol (vitamin E) equivalents) units (ORAC units) per gram dry weight, which soared above other high antioxidant level foods such as cranberries (93 ORAC units per gram dry weight) and blueberries (62 ORAC units per gram dry weight).1,3,5
In another study, freshly isolated human neutrophils were treated with EpiCor® followed by the free radical generator hydrogen peroxide. Cells were treated with a dye that fluoresces when attacked by free radicals. Those cells treated with EpiCor® showed decreased fluorescence intensity compared to control cells not treated with EpiCor®, verifying antioxidant activity in vitro.2
Numerous safety tests have been conducted on EpiCor®, revealing an extremely safe profile. Animal studies performed by a leading toxicology laboratory showed no indication of any toxic effects of EpiCor®. An acute oral toxicity study on 20 rats showed that the product was safe when given to rats at a single oral dose of 2000 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (equivalent to a human ingesting 280 capsules at once). After 2 weeks the rats showed no clinical symptoms, no deaths, no abnormalities in body weight, and no gross pathological changes. The same safety results were found in a subchronic toxicity study where rats were given up to 1500 milligrams daily for 90 days (equivalent to a human ingesting up to 210 capsules daily for 1.5 years). Again, absolutely no signs or symptoms of toxicity were noted in these animals.1,3
In addition, a standard bacterial reverse mutagenicity test (AMES test) as well as a mammalian cell mutation assay using mouse lymphoma cells revealed no evidence of any increase in mutation rates after exposure to EpiCor®. EpiCor® also showed no evidence of mitogenicity (inducing increased cell division) in a human lymphocyte proliferation assay. This suggests that EpiCor® does not cause over-reactivity of cells1,3.
The effect of EpiCor® on specific liver enzymes CYP1A2 and CYP3A4 (enzymes involved in metabolizing certain drugs and other compounds) was assessed. Immortalized hepatocytes (liver cells) were treated with various concentrations of EpiCor® and compared to both positive and negative controls. EpiCor® did not increase the expression or activity of the liver enzymes, suggesting that it may not affect the metabolism of other substances or medications metabolized by these enzymes if they are taken simultaneously. It also did not appear to be toxic to the cells as measured by lactate dehydrogenase assays and microscopic analysis.1
Lastly, EpiCor® was tested for safety in humans in an open label study on 15 adult men and women given a single 500 milligram dose for 30 days. On various days throughout the study vital signs were monitored, and blood and urine samples were analyzed. No clinically relevant abnormal effects on the participants were found1.
EpiCor® also currently has received self-affirmed Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) status by an expert panel that included eminent toxicologists1.
EpiCor® is a novel compound with an incredibly unique composition that has been shown to enhance immune system function.*
Suggested Adult Use: Take one capsule daily with or without food.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
1. Embria Health Sciences
2. Hart et al. A new Saccharomyces cerevisiae based product has anti-inflammatory effects while specifically activating human NK and B lymphocyte subsets. Unpublished study, personal communication.
3. Schauss AG, Jensen G, Vojdani A, Financsek I. After decades of ingestion by farm animals, the discovery of a yeast fermentate with unexpected significant immune modulatory activity when consumed by humans. [abstract] Journal of the
4. Schauss AG, Vodjani A. Discovery of an edible fermentation product with unusual immune enhancing properties in humans. [abstract] FASEB J, 2006; 20(4):A143.
5. Wu X, Beecher GR, Holden JM, Haytowitz DB, Gebhardt SE, Prior RL. Lipophilic and hydrophilic antioxidant capacities of common foods in the
Barking Up The Wrong Tree – Dietary Supplements are targeted while foods sicken millions.
November 09, 2006 11:54 AM
The FDA and our enemies in Congress want you to believe that non-causal Adverse Event Reporting (AER, as presented in the S.3546 bill in Senate and the HR.6168 now in the House of Representatives) for supplements should be implemented to protect our health. The latest nationwide E.coli outbreak casts a shadow of doubt on S.3546/HR.6168 supporters’ motives, however-because these bills are treating safe, natural supplements as dangerous threats while foods wreak havoc on our nation’s health.
By the time this issue went to press, 187 people had been sickened and as many as three people had died from toxic E.coli bacteria found in contaminated bags of spinach. Tragically, this is nothing new; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that food borne disease cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths in the United Stages each year. More than 200 known diseases are transmitted through bad food.
Despite these staggering figures, there is no adverse event reporting system in place for foods. So if our enemies in Congress truly want to protect us, why are they pursuing non causal AER for safe, natural dietary supplements and not foods? The unfortunate answer is that non-causal AER supporters are either ignorant or in pursuit to non-disclosed political agendas. The latter is extremely disturbing especially when these self serving political agendas, promoted in the name of “protecting health,” will actually harm public health by taking away our supplements.
Not only are AER supporters barking up the wrong tree, but the AER bills that they have constructed are totally destructive. S.3546/HR.6168 is based on association and not causation. That’s right—S.3546/HR.6168 disregard what actually caused an adverse event, and instead use “guilt by association.” These poorly constructed bills are impotent when it comes to protecting people, but nonetheless are poised to devastate the nutritional supplements industry. If passed, S.3546/HR.6168 will unleash a barrage of frivolous lawsuits that will make trial lawyers rich while bankrupting the entire nutritional supplement industry and taking away our vitamins forever.
It is hard to imagine why some elected officials, the FDA and certain nutritional supplement industry groups are channeling so much money and energy into AER for Harmless supplements while potentially deadly pathogens are tainting our food supply and sickening millions. If our elected officials truly wish to help the American people and protect public health, they should leave safe, natural dietary supplements alone and focus their AER efforts on foods—but only if they take the time to draft an intelligent, functional AER bill that is based causality.
Don’t Give Up the Fight
Adverse events with supplements are practically nonexistent. Adverse events with food are abundant. Elected officials who support S.3546/HR.6168 and the non-causal AER they espouse are clearly misguided, with an imbecile’s grasp on prioritization. If you agree that non-causal AER for supplements is an unwarranted waste of time and will destroy the industry by guilt by association, then please voice your opinion, before it’s too late!
Please call and fax Joe Barton, Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and other key AER players at the following numbers (fax numbers second): Barton at 202-225-2002, 202-225-3052; Chairman of the Judiciary Committee F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. at 202-225-5101,202-225-3190; House Majority Leader John Boehner at 202-225-6205, 202-225-0704; Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert at 202-225-2976,202-225-0697; and Congressman Nathan Deal a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, at 202-225-5211, 202-225-8272.
Don’t let self-serving political skullduggery take your vitamins and supplements away from you! Visit www.NHA2006.com and take advantage of online tools that allow you to easily send faxes to Congress. Please do not delay—without swift and decisive action, we may all lose our health freedom forever!
*This editorial is a public service announcement sponsored by the Nutritional Health Alliance (NHA).
Fight for supplements now—it’s a matter of life and death.
May 20, 2006 01:15 PM
More than 100,000 people a year die from obesity. More than 100,000 people a year die from synthetic drugs’ side effects. These staggering numbers are a direct result of food and drugs. Isn’t there a governmental agency that monitors our food and drugs? Oh yes—it’s called the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Judging by the numbers, the FDA needs to immediately start improving the quality of our food supply and imposing stricter safety regulations on the pharmaceutical industry. It’s a matter of life and death.
The mortality numbers associated with obesity and drugs are conservative, the tip of a massive iceberg. All signs indicate that the US, like the Titanic, is on a course for a disastrous collision with an unhealthy food supply and increasingly ubiquitous drugs. At the helm is the FDA, navigating like a dangerously distracted captain. The iceberg looms but instead of steering away, captain FDA scrutinizes a Harmless ice cube in his glass—the nutritional supplement industry.
As the Iceberg draws closer, the captain is joined by his crew: Senators Dick Durbin, Tom Harkin and Orrin Hatch. Oblivious to the threat they gather around the captain’s ice cube: “this ice cube could be dangerous. How can we minimize the treat? Ice cubes should probably be controlled by the FDA. Let’s draft legislation that treats this ice cube like a iceberg, just in case.” Meanwhile, we are about to crash full speed into the real danger.
Headed for Disaster
This analogy reflects reality: Durbin, Harkin, and Hatch are drafting non-causal Adverse Event Reporting (AER) legislation that could destroy our health freedom. Under AER, supplements will be associated with adverse events like heart attacks and strokes—even if they had nothing to do with, and did not cause, those events. Treating safe, natural supplements as if they are drugs makes about as much sense as treating an ice cube like an iceberg.
While these senators target natural supplements, American citizens continue to die at alarming rates because of deadly pharmaceutical drugs and an unhealthy food supply. Where are the priorities of these misguided senators and the FDA? Dietary supplements are part of the solution to this problem, helping to support health and ensure proper nutrition.
AER is a health emergency! Durbin’s legislation could be introduced any day now. We the people, the passengers on this poorly navigated ship , must mutiny, storm the helm, fight against non-causal AER and steer towards health freedom.
We must Take Control!
If we want safe, beneficial nutritional supplements, we must exercise democratic power of the people. AER is poised to implementation. We must rise up together and tell our elected officials that we demand the right to take vitamins! Send Fax today, and send another fax tomorrow to make your voice heard! Fax vitamin adversary Senator Dick Durbin at 202-228-0400, and let him know you will never vote for an enemy of health freedom. Fax key vitamin players in Congress, Senators Tom Harkin at 202-224-9369 and Orrin at 202-224-6331. Let these senators know that their support of non-causal AER will forever tarnish their legacies. Fax Senator Michael Enzi, Chairman of the senate Subcommittee on health, Education, Labor and Pensions, at 202-228-0359. Tell Senator Enzi in no uncertain terms that dietary supplements help keep you and your family healthy, and it is your right to take them.
Visit //www.NHA2006.com/ and use revolutionary technology to enable visitors to rapidly and easily compose letters and faxes to Congress. For health, freedom and liberty, join the NHA.
Ginsengs - Energy Tonics For Today's Hectic Lifestyles
June 30, 2005 09:34 AM
Ginsengs By Ellen J. Kamhi, Ph. D. with Dorie Greenblatt
What's the difference between Chinese (white root), Chinese (red root), Eleuthero and American Ginsengs? Which one is best for me? There are actually many different "ginsengs." We will discuss those mentioned above since they are the most widely available. All of these Ginsengs are considered to be potent adaptogens, which means that they are: 1) Harmless to the body 2) non-specific in their actions 3) have balancing or normalizing effects. An adaptogen helps the body adapt to stress - both mental and physical. It is in this area that ginseng excels.
Chinese Ginseng (Panax ginseng) is what most of us think of when Ginseng is mentioned. It is indigenous to the forests of northeast China, Manchuria and Korea. Red Ginseng is often referred to as "Korean" Ginseng. In traditional Chinese Medicine Ginseng is used to tonify the "Chi" (vital energy or life energy force). Modern scientific studies indicate Panax Ginseng stimulates the immune system, has antifatigue, antistress, antitumor, anticancer and anti-aging properties, balances blood sugar levels, enhances mental performance and memory, lowers cholesterol, strengthens the heart muscle and protects against radiation damage. Panax ginseng has had a notorious reputation as a sexual rejuvenator which studies give some credence to; albeit not to the degree of its reputation. Ginseng "overuse syndrome", although rare, is characterized by irritability, insomnia and rapid heart beat, and is associated with using too much Chinese Ginseng, especially by healthy, active men.
American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) is indigenous to the eastern woodlands ranging from Georgia to Quebec and was used by many Native Americans. Jesuit Priests were reported to be trading American Ginseng to the Chinese as early as 1718. Ironically, American Ginseng is highly sought after in China, while Americans chase after Chinese ginseng. While having much the same adaptogenic qualities of Chinese Ginseng, American Ginseng is believed to have a more "yin" or cooler nature. What this means is that American Ginseng is excellent for the high-paced, stressed, not enough time culture that we live in. While still energizing the body, American Ginseng calms the central nervous system, quiets the brain and lowers blood pressure. Also, because of its more "yin" nature, it is generally better to use on a day-to-day, long term basis than Chinese Ginseng. American Ginseng is one of the best tonics for all-around health and vitality, particularly well suited for the hectic world we've created.
Eleutherococcus senticosus (known as Siberian Ginseng in Herbs of Commerce) is native to Siberia, Japan, Korea and China. Although not a "true ginseng", this variety is most highly prized. Eleuthero was traditionally used to promote longevity and general health. Many herbalists prefer Eluthero for helping with women's health issues. It is particularly useful with depression associated with PMS and menopause. Research, mostly from Russia, confirms this herb's ability to increase mental and physical performance, stimulate the immune system, increase phagocytosis (movement of white blood cells) promote circulation and enhance the benefits of medical radiation treatments while lessening its negative side-effects. (The dosage used in one Russian study was 4 milliliters in the morning and 2 milliliters at night.)
Which Ginseng is Right For Me Here's a simple guide for deciding which Ginseng to use. Chinese Ginseng is best suited as a tonic 1)for the fragile and weak 2) during convalescence, and/or 3) to support the immune system. American Ginseng is for regular daily use, specially suited for energetic personality types. Eleuthero is excellent for endurance and stamina, and well suited for athletes as well as for women's issues. If you're still confused, try Balanced Ginseng™ (alcohol-free) a high-powered liquid herbal extract supplement that blends several varieties of Ginsengs together to assure balanced tonic action.
It is important in purchasing Ginseng products to buy from a company you trust and one that has the technical capabilities to test and guarantee quality and activity. Unfortunately, the Ginseng market is prone to both adulteration and poor activity levels. Nature's Answer®, with its full pharmaceutical level in-house laboratory and years of experience, is proud to offer a variety of the finest quality of Ginseng formulations available in either liquid (alcohol-free or organic alcohol) or encapsulated (standardized or single) forms. The company also offers the herb in unique, proprietary blends. All products are Unconditionally Guaranteed.
BLOOD SUGAR AND GARLIC
June 25, 2005 10:18 AM
BLOOD SUGAR AND GARLIC
The allicin compounds of garlic have been found to possess a significant blood sugar lowering action. Clinical studies have suggested that these compounds lower glucose levels by competing with insulin sites in the liver which results in an increase of free insulin.43 Research has found that animals and humans with diabetes experienced a decline in blood sugar while taking garlic. Interestingly, if blood sugar is normal, the garlic did not promote this lowering effect.
Several animal and human studies have shown that garlic may be a very valuable therapeutic agent for diabetes. Diabetics routinely struggle with high blood sugar readings. Studies in India conducted by medical doctors revealed that garlic is one of the few completely natural and Harmless substances which is effective in the treatment of diabetes. Onion and garlic juice were given to rabbits who had been turned into artificial diabetics. Immediately, their blood sugar levels decreased. Some diabetics who find it difficult to stabilize their blood sugars with insulin injections, may want to experiment with garlic.
Apparently, some of the sulfur-containing compounds of garlic have special sugar metabolism regulating capabilities. As mentioned earlier, these factors are desireable in cases of both low and high blood sugar disorders.
June 22, 2005 09:40 PM
Next time someone you know puts a burger on a charcoal grill, notice how the fat drops, sizzling, onto the briquettes beneath. As the drippings burn, the chemical content changes. This really is what burning is, a chemical change from a complex form of the substance to a more simple form. As it changes, many chemicals emerge—some Harmless, others less so. One of those chemicals, benzopyrene, can cause mutation of bacteria in the test tube, and that led some scientists to believe it might cause cancer.1 Benzopyrene becomes part of the smoke that rises from the charcoal to settle back on the surface of a cooking burger. This was known as far back as the 1970s, and, for those interested in good health, it became another reason to cut meats from the diet and replace them with healthy grains and vegetable products. Many left it at that. Thankfully, scientists began digging more deeply into this phenomenon, measuring other chemicals and other methods of cooking. One such scientist was Michael Pariza. In 1978, Pariza studied heterocyclic amines to see if they were “mutagenic,” that is, if they would cause bacteria to mutate in the test tube. He found that burgers can be quite safely cooked with care.2 But what changed the direction of his research was an entirely original discovery, separate from what his paper set out to find. This discovery has shaped his career since and may well, in the years to come, help thousands, indeed millions, of people improve their health. What he discovered was that something in hamburger has a “mutagenic inhibitory” effect. That is, something in meat seemed to counteract the bad effects of these mutagens, indeed was an anti-mutagen. In his research, Pariza used a popular scientific test called the Ames Test, named for a scientist at the University of California at Berkeley. This test is still used today for its simplicity by numerous scientists. The test requires enzymes form rat livers stimulated with certain chemicals. Scientists put these enzymes and the possible mutagen onto bacteria. They observe the bacteria in a microscope to see if they have mutated. Pariza changed the experiment slightly. Instead of stimulating rat livers, he used enzymes from normal rat livers. The results showed this anti-mutagenic effect, but just what substance caused it was still a question. For nearly another decade, Pariza and others tried to isolate this substance. Finally, they managed to do so in 1987.3 Call it a previously undiscovered nutrient, one, by the best research now available, that seems essentially vital for optimal health. The substance is CLA— conjugated linoleic acid. Laboratory studies using animals show:
Caffeine - a nervous system stimulant
June 21, 2005 12:14 PM
Caffeine when used in moderation, acts as a mild stimulant to the nervous system and is Harmless but potentially addictive to most persons. Caffeine increases the heart rate and rhythm, affects the central nervous system, and increases urination. It also stimulates secretion of stomach acids and is therefore harmful to individuals with ulcers.
Caffeine helps restore mental alertness or wakefulness when experiencing fatigue or drowsiness. The recommended dose of this product contains about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. Limit the use of caffeine-containing medications, foods, or beverages while taking this product because too much caffeine may cause nervousness, irritability, sleeplessness and occasionally rapid heartbeat.
Do not give to children under 12 years of age. For occasional use only. Not intended for use as a substitute for sleep. If fatigue or drowsiness persist or continues to occur, consult a physician. Do not use if you are diabetic.
The A Team
June 14, 2005 06:04 PM
The A Team
by Gregory Meade Energy Times, October 11, 2004
Want the A Team playing to improve your health? When you accumulate enough antioxidants to help you attack the molecular marauders out to mar your well-being, you improve your chances of avoiding illness.
Nowadays you hear plenty of talk about the benefits of antioxidant nutrients. Antioxidants are the ammunition the body uses to fight off internal damage. They offer the body the means to fight against disease but, at the same time, your body must be in the position to use them optimally. That means getting enough sleep, consistently exercising and avoiding overly processed foods. Those lifestyle habits allow your body to garner its resources and effectively implement antioxidants in its quest for well-being.
Your body has a love-hate relationship with oxidation: Can't live without it, often has trouble living with it. For instance, the production of energy in your cells requires oxidation. But the byproducts of that process, problematic molecules called free radicals, have to be chemically changed or eliminated to avoid the damage that results when they interact with other parts of the cell. Left unchecked, these molecular troublemakers can wreak havoc, oxidizing and punching holes in cell membranes and damaging other structures they contact. Antioxidant nutrients are used to defend against oxidation, quell these harmful destroyers and limit the potential harm they can cause.
For a quick glimpse of one of your basic antioxidant defenses, look in the mirror. The color in your eyes represents antioxidant protection against oxidative injury from the ultraviolet rays in sunlight. Sunlight's energy sets loose free radicals every time it enters the lenses in your eyes. Pigments absorb this radiation and, in most cases, render it Harmless.
As part of your vision's defenses, two of the antioxidant pigments in your food, lutein and zeaxanthin, are deposited by your body in certain areas of your eyes-in a section called the macula as well as the lens (BJ Opthalmol 1998; 82:907-10).
Lutein and zeaxanthin are classified as carotenoids, chemical relatives of beta carotene, the antioxidant pigment that makes carrots orange, and lycopene, the anticancer red coloring found in tomatoes. These fat-soluble nutrients are also present in algae. In both your eyes and plants, these nutrients absorb the destructive ultraviolet rays that give birth to free radicals.
Studies show that consuming large amounts of these pigments lowers your risk of a common form of blindness called age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) and drops your chances of age-related cataracts. (More than 30 million people worldwide suffer from ARMD, and cataracts is the leading cause of blindness across the globe.)
When the sun's rays enter the eye, lutein and zeaxanthin absorb and filter out dangerous radiation before it can injure the macula. The macula is the central part of the retina that allows us to see very fine detail. Otherwise, over time, as the macula deteriorates, our vision worsens. In addition, some researchers believe these nutrients help lower your chances of cancer.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in spinach, Brussels sprouts, corn, collard greens, green beans, egg yolks, broccoli, cabbage, kale, lettuce, kiwi and honeydew melons. The petals of yellow flowers like marigolds and nettles are also rich in these antioxidant nutrients.
You can also increase your chances of better sight as you age by consuming sulphoraphane, an antioxidant found in broccoli. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have found that sulphoraphane takes part in the body's efforts to shield eye cells from free radicals generated by ultraviolet light (Proc Natl Acad Sci 2004; 101(28):10446-51).
The researchers who performed this study believe that unlike the antioxidant nutrients vitamin C and natural vitamin E, sulphoraphane acts as an "indirect" antioxidant. That means that while those two vitamins are used by the body to directly defuse the harmful oxidative force of free radicals (and then must be replaced or regenerated in the cells), sulphoraphane acts indirectly, boosting the body's immunity defenses. Because of that indirect action, researchers point out, sulphoraphane lasts longer in the body and may produce a more profound, long-term antioxidant effect.
In other laboratory tests, researchers have discovered that sulphoraphane can kill Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium recognized 20 years ago as the cause of debilitating stomach ulcers and often-fatal stomach cancers (Proc Natl Acad of Sci 5/28/02). This research shows that sulphoraphane is even effective against antibiotic-resistant Helicobacter. Adding to its benefits, sulphoraphane can help kill bacteria both inside and outside stomach cells; when this bacteria hides inside of cells it is particularly difficult to fight.
" We've known for some time that sulforaphane had modest antibiotic activity," says Jed Fahey, a plant physiologist at Hopkins. "However, its potency against Helicobacter, even those strains resistant to conventional antibiotics, was a pleasant surprise."
Looking for Mr. Good Diet
For the biggest bang for your antioxidant buck, combine antioxidants with good lifestyle habits. A laboratory study of the heart-healthy effects of taking supplements of the antioxidant vitamins C and natural E along with L-arginine (an amino acid) found that exercise magnifies benefits (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 5/24/04, online). The scientists who performed this study recommend exercise along with antioxidants to boost your nutritional advantage.
The box score shows that when playing with the A Team you've got the best chance of hitting an antioxidant home run.
Clearing the Air
June 13, 2005 10:34 AM
Clearing the Air by Robert Gluck Energy Times, August 1, 1999
One crisp winter morning in Vermont, Alan hoisted his skis over his shoulder and tracked through the dazzling snowpack to the lift about a quarter-mile away. He had trekked this gently uphill route many times and valued it as an invigorating warmup for a day on the ski trails. The path seemed to grow steeper, however, and the winter sun more blazing as Alan struggled for breath, sweat dampening his woolen cap. Weak and wheezing, he paused for what seemed like an eternity and finally turned back, plodding arduously through the ice.
Fit and athletic, the 42-year-old Alan heard the alarming news from his health care practitioner: asthma. The therapy: inhaled steroids.
The incidence of asthma-a chronic condition characterized by narrowing of the bronchial tubes, swelling of the bronchial tube lining and mucus secretion that can block the airway, making breathing difficult-has ballooned to alarming rates.
In the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of people reported to suffer from asthma increased from 10.4 million in 1990 to 15 million in 1995. In 1998, the epidemic cost about $11.3 billion.
Worldwide, experts estimate that the prevalence of asthma increased approximately 50% over the last 10 to 15 years. Nations with the highest rates are the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia; lowest are Indonesia, Albania, Romania and Georgia.
Deaths from asthma have doubled in the last decade and, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, asthma is the seventh most common chronic health condition in the United States. Children constitute the most disturbingly burgeoning segment of the asthma explosion, its sufferers numbering five to six million. The rate of asthma among children five to 14 years old increased 74% between 1980 and 1994; the rate for preschool kids skyrocketed 160%. Asthma is the number one chronic childhood illness and the third leading cause of hospitalization for children under age 15. More than 5000 Americans die from asthma annually; the fatality rate among children five to 14 years old more than doubled from 1979 to 1995, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation.
Waging War on the Wheeze
Asthma is indeed chronic, but it can be prevented and controlled and its effects reversed. Mainstream MDs command an arsenal of pharmaceuticals, some of which are essential for severe or urgent conditions. Consult your health care practitioner about any breathing difficulties.
Because of its complexity, however, asthma requires a balanced therapeutic approach: careful attention to diet, exercise and stress reduction while taking supplemental nutrients and botanicals can help ease asthma's discomforts. Antioxidant nutrients like vitamins C and E, fruits and vegetables rich in phytochemicals plus herbs like echinacea and garlic, all possess the potential for helping the body fight asthma.
Induced by an array of inherent physiological vulnerabilities, some of which may not manifest until adulthood, as well as environmental factors, asthma benefits from extra sleuthing into its causes and planning for relief.
Triggers and Therapies
Asthma is derived from the Greek word meaning panting or breathing hard, which pretty much sums up the malady: Wheezing and shortness of breath typify the attack.
In bronchial asthma, the commonest variety, the passages that carry air from the throat to the lungs narrow as a result of muscle contraction, local inflammation or production of excess mucus. Breathing becomes difficult and wheezy as air is expelled.
"Asthma symptoms are triggered by various factors such as allergens, irritants, infections, pollutants, medications, and emotions," says Anthony Rooklin, author of Living with Asthma: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Controlling Asthma While Enjoying Your Life (Penguin). "Triggers are substances or situations that would be quite Harmless to people with ordinary airways, but that bring on asthma symptoms in susceptible individuals."
According to Ellen W. Cutler, nutritionist, enzyme therapist, chiropractor and author of Winning the War Against Asthma & Allergies: A Drug-Free Cure For Asthma and Allergy Sufferers" (Delmar), asthma is an allergic disease that is always triggered by allergens. "These allergens include not only foods, pollens and environmental factors such as perfume, animal dander and chemicals but also bacteria, climactic conditions and emotions," says Cutler.
"When these allergies are active from birth, asthma can be diagnosed early in life, even in infancy," she adds.
Cutler believes every individual with asthma should be able to lead a normal, drug-free life.
"Most asthmatics have been told that asthma is a chronic problem they will have to contend with for the rest of their lives. Asthma can be cured, not miraculously and instantaneously, but inevitably and permanently, once the allergies that cause it have been eliminated," she adds.
Dilating on Nutrients
Although it is vitally important for folks with asthma to develop a treatment plan with a trusted health care provider, that plan, according to experts, may lend itself to a rich variety of complementary options, especially nutrients, phytochemicals, minerals and enzymes.
According to Ruth Winter, author of A Consumer's Guide to Medicines in Food: Nutraceuticals That Help Prevent and Treat Physical and Emotional Illnesses (Crown), researchers in Nottingham, England, linked magnesium and lung function.
"Magnesium is involved in a wide range of biological activities, including some that may protect against the development of asthma and chronic airflow obstruction," Winter says. "Dr. John Britton and his colleagues at Nottingham University measured the magnesium in the diets of 2,633 adults aged 18 to 70 and they found that low magnesium was associated with reduced lung function and wheezing" (The Lancet 344, 1994: 357-62).
Magnesium actually boasts a long history as a bronchial relaxant, first demonstrated in 1912 on cows. Its potential was eclipsed, however, by pharmaceutical antihistamines and bronchodilators until its recent rediscovery.
Defending the Lungs
Antioxidants, with their ability to bolster the lungs' defense mechanisms by battling oxidizing free radicals that constrict bronchial tissue, wield tremendous force in the anti-asthma offensive. Michael T. Murray, ND, and Joseph E. Pizzorno, ND, in their Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), connect the steady decrease in dietary intake of antioxidants to the burgeoning incidence of asthma.
Among the top asthma-busting antioxidants:
Vitamin C. Murray and Pizzorno note that C is the major antioxidant present in the lining of the airway and cite generous evidence that when vitamin C is low, asthma incidence is high (Annals Allergy 73, 1994: 89-96). Vitamin C, taken over time, effectively suppresses histamine secretion by white blood cells.
Flavonoids. Also credited with reducing histamine production, flavonoids, notably quercetin and the extracts from grape seed, pine bark and ginkgo biloba, are key asthma-fighting antioxidants (J Allergy Clin Immunol 73, 1984; 769-74).
Carotenes. They limit production of allergy-related compounds (called leukotrienes) and bolster the lining of the respiratory tract (Biochem Biophys Acta 575, 1979: 439-45).
Vitamin E and selenium. Both reduce secretion of leukotrienes (Clinical Exp Allergy 26, 1996: 838-47).
Vitamin B12. Murray and Pizzorno cite the work of Jonathan Wright, MD, whose clinical trials with supplemental vitamin B12 proved strongly effective, especially for children with asthma.
A Bundle of Botanicals
Herbal remedies for asthma date back more than 5000 years to the Chinese emperor Shen-nung. The ancient Egyptians treated respiratory ailments with herbs as well; the Greeks favored mint, garlic, cloves and myrrh for pulmonary problems.
Today, the power of plants has been validated by clinical research and standardized for predictability. (Always consult a health care practitioner when seeking complementary therapies, and read the package labels carefully for dosages and cautions.)
In their book, Asthma: An Alternative Approach (Keats), Ron Roberts and Judy Sammut provide a concise guide to asthma-easing botanicals: Garlic: acts as antiviral, antibacterial and antihistamine; enhances immune response; contains the antioxidant selenium. Garlic also is an expectorant.
Echinacea: a traditional treatment for immune disorders and infections of the upper respiratory tract, known to shorten the duration of colds, coughs and flus.
Ginkgo biloba: inhibits the chemical responses that induce asthma discomfort (Br J Clin Pharmacol 29, 1990: 85-91).
Ginseng: stimulates immunity and the production of steroid-like hormones; helps chronic coughs.
Licorice: an expectorant, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic that also inhibits leukotriene production (Acta Med Okayama 37, 1983: 385-91).
Tylophora asthmatica: an Ayurvedic treatment that many respected experts believe can act both as an antihistamine and antispasmodic (Planta Med 57, 1991: 409-13).
In the Clear - Skin is always in danger of acne and inflammations
June 12, 2005 02:13 PM
In the Clear by Dianne Drucker Energy Times, August 3, 2003
Your skin needs protection even as it offers itself as your body's first line of defense against the outside world. Skin is always in danger of acne and inflammations during its daily encounters with stray microorganisms, streams of ultraviolet light and a barrage of pollutants.
Tending to your skin, keeping a clear complexion while safeguarding your well-being, requires proper feeding, watering and tender, loving care.
Your skin not only has to protect you, it has to look good while doing it. Unfortunately, much can go wrong with skin. One of the most common skin irregularities is the acne that often arises when pores clog and inflammation creates unsightly blemishes.
While conventional medicine has long insisted that your chances of developing pimples are unrelated to what you feed your body and your skin, recent studies are calling that accepted wisdom into question.
Research in the Archives of Dermatology (12/02) argues that today's pimples are linked to what you ate yesterday. Skin scientists now suspect that the typical American diet, filled with refined foods, sugars and simple starches, causes the exaggerated release of insulin and related secretions that foment pimples and blemishes.
The evidence: When researchers spent two years combing through the rainforests of New Guinea and trekking to remote parts of Paraguay, they took a close look at indigenous people's faces and couldn't find a single pimple. The inhabitants of these isolated areas eat homegrown food and wild game. They've never eaten crackers or cookies from a box or slurped a milkshake through a straw. And they've never had to cope with embarrassing acne.
The researchers concluded that no refined foods meant no blemishes.
Refining the Pimple Process
According to this latest theory, pimples can start when your digestive tract quickly absorbs refined, starchy carbohydrates from white bread or potatoes or sugary soft drinks. These foods are ranked at or near the top of the so-called glycemic index. That means that these foodstuffs cause your blood sugar to climb rapidly, the process that the glycemic index measures.
That rise in blood sugar causes the release of insulin from your pancreas into your bloodstream. Insulin, a hormone-like substance, helps cells soak up the excess sugar circulating in your blood. However, along with insulin, another substance, is also released. These two chemicals boost the production of testosterone, the male hormone that, in turn, can cause the skin to overproduce sebum, an oily goo that plugs up pores and gives birth to acne. (Previous research has already established the causal relationship of testosterone to pimples.)
Lorain Cordain, PhD, a health professor at Colorado State University and lead researcher in this study, points out that more than 80% of the grains we eat are highly refined and cause significant blood sugar increases, a factor that makes skin break out. In addition, he says, teens are especially susceptible to pimples because they are growing rapidly and, as a result, tend to be insulin resistant. Insulin resistance means it takes more insulin to persuade cells to take sugar out of the blood. This condition consequently results in even larger amounts of insulin being released and more skin blemishes being created.
According to Dr. Cordain, eating low-glycemic foods like whole grains, vegetables, fish and lean meat should lower your risk of acne. These foods don't bump up blood sugar as much, to be released and, as a result, are kinder to your skin.
Aside from improving your skin condition by improving the food you eat, taking supplements to help the bacteria in your lower digestive tract may also clear up your undesirable dermatological developments. Eczema, a discomforting and embarrassing skin inflammation, is now believed to depend on the interaction between intestinal bacteria and your immune system.
According to research in Finland (The Lancet 2001; 357:1076), eczema may appear on your skin when your immune system, influenced by the gut's bacteria, misbehaves, using unnecessary inflammation to defend against a non-existent infection that it mistakenly believes threatens the skin.
Atopic eczema, a variety of eczema that often runs in families, has long been known to be linked to allergies and immune overreactions.
In looking into the fact that more and more people have been suffering eczema, scientists came to the disturbing conclusion that this increase may be at least partly attributed to our obsession with cleanliness.
When we are young, our immune systems learn the proper ways to fight off germs by interacting with the bacteria and viruses they encounter. But during the past ten years, so many of us (and our parents) have kept our houses so neurotically spic-and-span, according to the latest theory, that our immune systems are failing to develop the proper responses. So, like a bored, inexperienced security guard who imagines a threat when there is none, our immune defenses are going slightly haywire, causing the defensive inflammation of eczema even in the absence of real bacteriological invasions. The possible solution: Probiotic supplements of Harmless bacteria like Lactobacillus GG. This bacteria, similar to the friendly bacteria that live in our large intestines, seems to calm immunity so that it is less likely to panic and start an unnecessary inflammation.
These supplements are so safe, medical researchers are now giving them to pregnant women and newborn babies. In the research in Finland, giving these probiotics to mothers and newborns cut the rate of infant atopic eczema in half. (Similar, live bacteria are also found in yogurt, although yogurt should not be fed to newborns.)
The skin on these children is benefiting for long periods of time. "Our findings show that the preventive effect of Lactobacillus GG on atopic eczema in at-risk children extends to the age of 4 years," notes Marko Kalliomäki, MD, author of the study.
Tea Tree Help
Further natural skin help can be had from Australia in the form of tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia). Long revered by the aborigines of this continent, tea tree oil was allegedly given its English name by British sea captain James Cook, who used the plant to make a tea that improved the flavor of beer.
But Australians have long used tea tree oil as an antiseptic. Its popularity increased during World War II, when, after it was used as a lubricant on heavy machinery, mechanics who got the oil on their hands noticed it fought skin infections. As pointed out in The Chopra Center Herbal Handbook (Three Rivers Press), "The essential oil of tea tree...contains a number of terpenes, of which terpinen-4-ol is believed to be responsible for its beneficial anti-infective activity." Terpenes are special, beneficial types of protein found in essential oils.
Tea tree is especially useful against skin outbreaks caused by fungus infections. Research in Australia shows that it can help quell athlete's foot (Austr Jrnl Derm 1992; 33:145) as effectively as some pharmaceutical preparations. Other research confirms that it can help quiet many different fungi that cause unsightly skin outbreaks (Skin Pharm 1996; 9:388). The Chopra Center Herbal Handbook recommends that "every household should keep some tea tree oil close at hand. It can be applied directly to skin irritations."
Revered by the pharaohs' healers in Egypt during the ancient age of the pyramids, and depended upon for centuries by the Greeks for a variety of medicinal purposes, chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is still employed for a range of skin problems. This botanical helps ease abscesses, bruises or sunburn, and is included in many massage oils. (But never apply chamomile's undiluted essential oil to the skin.)
In addition, creams and sprays with chamomile are used to calm the nerves and nourish the skin. As an element in aromatherapy, chamomile, whose odor has been compared to apples, is well-known for soothing and rejuvenating the spirit. Explaining exactly how chamomile heals and calms has not been easy for scientists. Essential oils like chamomile contain so many different natural chemicals that exploring their holistic effect on the human body requires detailed analysis. As an aromatherapeutic agent, researchers believe chamomile and other essential oils may interact with the brain, activating glands that stimulate healing systems within the body. But that has yet to be proven.
What has been proven is that herbs like chamomile and tea tree, and natural treatments like probiotics, can make a big difference in keeping your skin healthy and clear. With their help, you can present your best face to the world.
June 10, 2005 05:32 PM
Allergy Alleviation by Cal Orey , February 2, 2002
Allergy Alleviation By Cal Orey
Welcome to the stuffed up world of seasonal allergic rhinitis: the wheezing, sneezing "inhalant allergies" that torment 35 million Americans. Adding insult to sinus pain, other allergens attack year-round. Air pollution, dust mites (microscopic gremlins that infest bedding, upholstery and rugs) and animal dander trigger allergies-or other respiratory ailments-in any season. Urban air is full of rubber tire particles, a true blowout for those with latex sensitivity. Altogether, roughly 50 million Americans-about one in five-suffer from some form of allergy, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). Tired of cross-pollinating with plants or being bowled over by dust balls? Vitamins, herbs and other nutrients can help you nip allergy discomfort in the bud.
The Allergy Response
Your immune system triggers an allergic response when it overreacts to otherwise Harmless substances or antigens (we're talking dust, pollen and mold).The alarmed immune system then launches a defensive chemical reaction, releasing potent chemicals (antibodies) supposed to destroy the "invaders." The antibodies, called IgE, carry the invading substances to special cells, which zap them with more biochemicals. Among these protective cells are mast cells: they release histamine, the substance that causes swelling and inflammation to the linings of the nose, sinuses and eyelids, resulting in sneezing, upper respiratory congestion and itchy, watery eyes.
Just Blame The Folks
Most allergies are determined by your genes. If your Mom or Dad sneeze and scratch, there's a good chance you will, too. "That is not to say that we directly inherit an allergy to any specific substance. Rather, it seems as if we might inherit some kind of immune system defect or weakness that leaves us more vulnerable to allergies," explain co-authors Glenn S. Rothfeld, MD, and Suzanne LeVert in their book Natural Medicine for Allergies: The Best Alternative Methods for Quick Relief (Rodale). For some people, allergies lurk in food, throwing the immune system into overdrive. "Many natural medicine practitioners believe that a diet high in animal fats will contribute to the development of allergy and asthma, as does a diet high in food additives, such as preservatives and dyes," says Gary McLain, PhD, in his book The Natural Way of Healing: Asthma and Allergies (Dell). Worse, allergies can up the risk of asthma, which afflicts 15 million Americans. Most people afflicted with asthma also suffer allergies: the two are linked, according to the AAAAI. Allergy triggers of asthma include pollen, mold spores and house dust mites. Remember Helen Hunt's asthmatic son in the movie As Good As It Gets? His character endured allergies to dust, and living in New York (and watching his mom date Jack Nicholson) didn't help his immune system. Coughs, ear infections, fevers and visits to hospital emergency rooms curtailed his social life (and limited his close-ups as well). That kind of routine happens in real life, too. (Well, maybe close encounters with Jack N. are not included for most.) But when we breathe substances such as molds, they can induce swelling and inflammation of the bronchial airways which narrow and restrict air flow. This, in turn, causes wheezing and shortness of breath and can trigger an asthma "attack," according to Andrew Engler, MD, who specializes in allergy and asthma in San Mateo, California.
The Nose Knows: Chemical Sensitivities
Imagine a picture-perfect, crisp, clear Saturday morning. You make a final stop on your weekly errand run to the dry cleaner, where you drop off your laundry and spend a moment chatting up the owner. Back in your car, your eyes tear and you feel a bit woozy. Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin, writing in The Road to Immunity: How To Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) sense that your reaction could be chemical sensitivity, a difficult to diagnose but, in their opinion, very real malady. (Of course, a clinician can test you for immune responses to certain chemicals.) Reactions to chemicals produce the typical allergic responses: puffy or red-rimmed eyes; swelling; aching or stiff joints and muscles; irritability or dizziness; respiratory inflammations; headaches and the like. Villains include aerosol sprays, tobacco smoke, glues, insecticides and herbicides, household chemicals and fragrances. Identification and avoidance are key, say the authors. Vitamin C, which binds with chemicals, is one of the best nutritional defenses.
Breathing Problems Expand
Americans now freely take lifesaving medicines such as antibiotics and insulin but, in some people, "they have the potential to alter the immune system, which is where allergies begin," says Dr. McLain. (Consult your pharmacist if you have questions about your prescription medication.) We, as a nation, are also eating more chemicals, from the pesticides drenched on plants to the preservatives poured on prepared foods. We're breathing polluted air, which can lead to or exacerbate asthma, and then we choke on recycled air in sealed buildings. And while a century ago you were likely to have spent much of your time close to home, you can now hop on a supersonic plane and be taken to the other side of the globe within a matter of hours. With travel comes exposure to even more exotic allergens that can drive your immune system to distraction.
The All-Natural Gesundheit
Certain allergy-relief nutrients and herbs can help make life more bearable. Here's how they work: n Vitamin C for the lungs. According to experts, when vitamin C is low, asthma is high. Vitamin C carries the major antioxidant load in the airways and therefore contributes mightily to the health of the lungs. A study in the Annals of Allergy (73(1994):89-96) reported that in seven of 11 clinical trials since 1973, vitamin C supplementation provided "significant improvements" in respiratory function and asthma symptoms. n Vitamin E and carotene to suppress allergic reactions. These antioxidants may also help protect the respiratory tract from caustic pollutants. Vitamin E is reputed to be one of the most important nutrients for antioxidant protection in the lungs. In addition, these two substances decrease production of allergy-related compounds called leukotrienes. n Zinc for the immune system. Research shows that a deficiency in this trace mineral can weaken your immune system, setting you up as a target for allergies and infections. (Some vegetarians may not store sufficient amounts of this mineral and should take supplements.) Zinc comes to the body's rescue by taking part in the production of IgA, the gastrointestinal antibody that lines the digestive tract. "When IgA binds to an allergen, it keeps it from being absorbed into the bloodstream and thus from causing an allergic reaction," report Rothfeld and Levert. Also, zinc protects mucous membranes and helps convert beta carotene to vitamin A, another anti-allergy, immune-boosting nutrient. In a study of 100 participants at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, half took a zinc-based lozenge, while the other half received a dummy preparation. The participants taking zinc experienced a 42% reduction in the duration and severity of their common colds (Annals of Internal Medicine, 7/96). n Quercetin as an antihistamine. A valuable, anti-allergic flavonoid (plant coloring agent that is a powerful antioxidant), quercetin shines as a potent weapon against allergies and asthma. Believed to inhibit histamine release from mast cells and slow the production of other allergy-related compounds, it stabilizes mast cell membranes. Other flavonoid-rich extracts include grape seed, pine bark, green tea and Ginkgo biloba. n Additional helpful nutrients: Vitamin B-12, particularly to combat sensitivity to sulfites (The Nutrition Desk Reference [Keats]); selenium, an antioxidant that breaks down leukotrienes (Clinical Science 77, 1989: 495-500); and magnesium to relax bronchial tissues (Journal of the American Medical Association, 262 : 1210-3).
Herbal Remedies To The Rescue
n Nettles for hay fever relief. Research at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, showed that 40 of 69 folks suffering from hay fever found moderate to extreme relief from taking freeze-dried stinging nettles (Planta Medica,  44-47). "It is nontoxic, cheap and preferable to antihistamines, which I think are significantly toxic," reports Andrew Weil, MD, in his book Natural Health, Natural Medicine: A Comprehensive Manual for Wellness and Self-Care (Houghton Mifflin). n Cayenne to reduce inflammation. Cayenne, known as hot red pepper, is rich in capsaicin, a potent flavonoid "counter-irritant" that dilates and soothes inflamed nasal and bronchial tissues, according to experts. A bonus: Cayenne also contains a rich amount of antioxidant vitamin C, which can help enhance your immune system. n Echinacea for allergy prevention. This popular Native American herb provides cold and allergy protection, particularly when you take it before encountering allergens. Studies reveal that echinacea aids your body's tissues and protects you from germs and allergens. In fact, German studies have found it possesses valuable antiviral, antibacterial and immunity-boosting properties.
Make Your World Allergy-Free
For the most effective allergy relief, make sure you stay clear of allergens that wreak allergy havoc. Visit an allergy-savvy health practitioner and get tested to find out which substances rock your respiratory world. Plus, allergy experts recommend: n Banish dust mites: sweep out clutter and have your house power-vacuumed, if necessary; wash bedding and linens in very hot water. n De-pollinate your environment: flip on the air conditioner to sift out pollen (keep its filter and any forced air registers clean); exercise indoors; machine dry, rather than line dry, your clothes. n Buy a home air filter, especially if you experience dust, pollen or pet dander allergies. n Avoid allergy triggers that dog your days: cats and canines (or consider the hairless or shed-less breeds), mold and tobacco smoke. No matter what you do or actions you take, allergies may always remain an annoyance in your life. But attention to the foods you eat, the places where you exercise and the right combination of anti-allergy nutrients can limit your discomfort.
Leveling The Leukotrine Playing Field
On a microscopic level, a series of biochemicals implicated in allergic reactions are leukotrienes, substances that may constrict the bronchial tubes (breathing passages). In some people, consuming the food additive tartrazine can cause severe asthmatic breathing difficulties by boosting leukotrine release. In turn, this can interfere with the body's use of vitamin B-6. The process in which lack of B-6 or "errors" in how your body uses B-6 causes allergic reactions and is complex. According to Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND in the revised edition of the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), breathing problems may begin when the metabolism of tryptophan (an amino acid) goes awry: "Tryptophan is converted to serotonin, a compound that, among other things, can cause the airways of asthmatics to constrict...Vitamin B-6 is required for the proper metabolism of tryptophan." Accordingly, a study of vitamin B-6, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that people with compromised breathing may possess less B-6 in their blood than others who breathe normally. When people with asthma were given B-6, their wheezing and asthmatic attacks dropped.
Fat Fix For Allergies
The fat in your diet or supplements can also influence your susceptibility to allergies and asthma linked to allergies. Epidemiologists have found that countries where children eat fish at least four times a month cut their risk of asthma by 67% compared to other parts of the world where they consume fewer fish. Research on omega-3 fatty acids, the kind of fat found in fish, flax and hemp oil, demonstrates that some of these substances can improve breathing. In particular, fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can help open up bronchial tubes. Studies in the American Review of Respiratory Disease and the International Archives of Allergy and Applied Immunology show that breathing passageways may not react so negatively to the presence of allergens when you eat more fish or take supplements containing these types of fats. Many of the scientists who study the kinds of fats we eat believe that the increase in allergies and asthma in the US during the twentieth century may be due to both increasing air pollution (which irritates our lungs) plus a simultaneous increase in our consumption of what are called omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 oils are contained in most of the vegetable oils Americans eat, including sunflower and peanut oils. While experts believe that we would be better off consuming a diet containing about five times as many omega-6 fatty acids as omega-3s, today we eat about 40 times as much omega-6s. The chemistry of how these fats influence our allergy susceptibility is complex. It begins in our cell membranes which consist mostly of fat. When we consume omega-3 fatty acids, in our diet or in supplements, and these fats enter cell membranes, the change in structure cuts the availability of arachidonic acid, a fatty acid your body can make and which is found in meat, eggs and dairy products. Eventually, it is thought that this change in cellular metabolism and reduction in arachidonic acid forces the body to make less 4-series leukotrienes, substances which are quite prone to provoking allergic inflammation and, instead, produce 5-series leukotrienes, leukotrienes which don't cause nearly as much trouble. This process requires patience. According to Pizzorno and Murray. "It may take as long as one year before the benefits are apparent, as it appears to take time to turn over cellular membranes in favor of the omega-3 fatty acids."
Chinese Medicine Versus Allergies
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views allergies as an imbalance of the liver, says Jason Elias, co-author with Katherine Ketcham of The Five Elements of Self-Healing (Harmony Books). "The average American's (liver) deals with about fourteen pounds of chemicals a year. What would normally be a minor irritant becomes major because the liver can't process them anymore," explains Elias. Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has traditionally been used to fight allergies since this herb battles inflammation as evidenced by Japanese research and a study published in the journal Allergy. Much of this anti-allergy action is thought to proceed from licorice's interaction with a biochemical called cortisol, a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. Cortisol (along with epinephrine, another adrenal hormone) relaxes the muscles controlling airways. By slowing the liver's breakdown of cortisol, licorice prolongs circulation of this hormone which, in turn, can help breathing passages stay clear. In addition, glycyrrhetinic acid, a compound in licorice, slows the body's manufacture of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, substances which exacerbate allergic inflammatory reactions. Ma Huang (Ephedra sinica) has been employed for thousands of years to aid breathing since chemicals in this plant widen breathing passages.
Homeopathic Remedies for Allergy
Homeopathic treatments consist of highly diluted substances designed to coax the body into healing itself. The effectiveness of homeopathy for hayfever has been demonstrated by research published in Lancet performed at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. There, scientists showed that homeopathically-prepared medicines produced statistically significant improvements in allergy sufferers. The appropriate homeopathic remedy for any illness depends on the personality type of the person suffering an allergy. These treatments are among those recommended by Dana Ullman: n Allium cepa: appropriate for burning nasal discharge that grows worse in warm rooms and improves outdoors. Relieves non-burning tearing from eyes, raw feeling in the nose with tingling sensation and violent sneezing. n Nux vomica: used when feeling irritable and chilled, with daytime fluent nasal discharge and night congestion that grows worse indoors. Also for those sensitive to cold and to being uncovered. n Pulsatilla: best for women and children with daytime nasal discharge and night congestion who are gentle, yielding, mild, impressionable and emotional. Used when congestion is worse in warm rooms, hot weather or while lying down.
Food Allergy Conundrum Food allergies can prove to be the toughest allergies to identify and eliminate. Jason Elias believes that people may develop food sensitivities from eating the same foods too often. "If someone has an allergy, I might say 'Let's get you off dairy for three weeks,'" he says, noting that some people have limited their hay fever problems by ceasing to consume dairy products. Many have also found relief by maintaining a food diary, keeping track of which foods are associated with allergy attacks and then eliminating those foods. So the next time you sneeze, don't just reach for your hanky, think back to the meal that you just ate. Your allergy problem may be sitting in your stomach as well as making you sneeze and stuffing your sinuses. Taking these kinds of anti-allergy preventive measures can provide life-enhancing relief that feels like a godsend. That lets you attain your healthy best.
This article included reporting by Judy Pokras.
June 10, 2005 03:52 PM
by Lisa James Energy Times, January 3, 2002
An American suffers a heart attack every 20 seconds. That adds up to 180 heart attacks every hour. Many of these life-threatening events don't have to happen: heart-healthy nutrients, weight control and exercise could ease this epidemic.
More evidence of how to protect your heart piles up every day, amounting to a stack of research thicker than the juiciest, most heart-threatening cheeseburger on a big, fat bun. To protect your heart, you've got to protect your arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart and also feed the heart muscle oxygen and nutrients.
Arteries are essentially three-layered tubes: the inner endothelium, a middle muscle layer which allows the artery to widen and contract, and an outer layer that encloses and supports the other two. When the lining, which is normally smooth, is damaged, the resulting rough patch develops plaque from LDL cholesterol, and the artery narrows and hardens.
When LDL cholesterol is oxidized into plaque, the resulting damage attracts large immune cells called macrophages which consume the oxidized LDL and get trapped in the developing plaque. Oxidized LDL is also associated with the death of muscle cells in the artery's middle layer (Circulation 2000; 102:2680). Plaque slows blood flow to the heart and can result in angina, chest pain often brought about by exertion. Heart attacks strike when unstable plaque ruptures, triggering blood clotting that blocks blood flow and may kill sections of the heart muscle as it's cut off from oxygen and nutrients.
Foods, like fatty meats, filled with saturated fat, are believed to start this heart-threatening process. Even by age 15, your arteries may be narrowing.
Antioxidants can help keep your arteries functioning smoothly by counteracting LDL oxidation. Lab research has shown that cells in the lining can be protected by natural vitamin E. Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains is an important step in stocking your antioxidant arsenal. But many heart experts recommend supplementation, a strategy that's been shown to bolster the body's defenses (J Nutr Biochem 2001; 12:388-95).
Vitamins C and E: The Dynamic Duo
Antioxidant allies abound, but two of the most important are vitamin C and natural vitamin E. They work particularly well together because C is effective in the fluid that bathes all cells, while E defangs free radicals in the fatty areas, such as cell membranes. And vitamin C actually recharges vitamin E, increasing E's antioxidant effectiveness. Each vitamin provides protective benefits on its own. People with Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes who took vitamin E in one study saw drops in cholesterol and glucose and increases in antioxidants, such as superoxide peroxidase, produced by the body itself (Endocr Res 2001; 27:377-86). For its part, vitamin C has prevented free radical damage in individuals who inhale secondhand cigarette smoke and has improved artery lining function in persons with coronary artery disease (Free Radic Biol Med 2000; 28:428-36; Circulation 1999; 99:3234-40). When used together, this vitamin dynamic duo provides powerful protection against both LDL oxidation and high blood pressure (Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2000; 20:2087-93; Hypertension 2000; 36:142-6). They also help keep immune cells from sticking to arterial linings (Circ Res 2000; 87:349).
Vitamins C and E also seem to prove effective against inflammation that researchers think contributes to heart health. Research in this area continues, but scientists now believe that inflammation from infections with herpes simplex one, the cold sore virus, and Chlamydia pneumoniae, a respiratory tract bug, can foment heart trouble. Inflammation may slow blood flow to the heart and make clots more likely. Among persons with peripheral arterial disease, blockages in arms and legs, not getting enough vitamin C levels may increase inflammation (Circulation 2001; 103:1863). Vitamin E apparently soothes inflammation by decreasing the release of immune chemicals and calming the immune cells involved in atherosclerosis (Diet and Optimum Health Conference, 5/01, Portland OR). Clot Busters Vitamin E also reduces the risk of clots and lowers the chance of a clot sticking in a vessel. It keeps platelets, cells that cause clotting, from becoming too gooey and breaks up fibrin, a clot-forming protein. Garlic (Allium sativa) also discourages inappropriate clotting. Used medicinally since the beginning of recorded time, the Greek physician Dioscorides thought it could clean the arteries. The ancient faith in garlic's circulatory benefits are supported by modern research. Recent studies have found substances in garlic that keep platelets from clumping together and lower cholesterol. In one study, men with high cholesterol who took garlic extract for five months saw their total cholesterol drop an average of 7% and their LDL drop 10% (J Nutr 2001; 131:989S-93S).
Hunting Down Homocysteine
Homocysteine, an amino acid found in the blood, may also be linked to artery problems. Scientists believe that when too much homocysteine accumulates in the bloodstream, arteries stiffen and plaque forms. The causes of this buildup remain murky but it appears that perpetually angry folks have higher homocysteine levels. Estimates vary on how much of a risk factor homocysteine represents; between 10% and 40% of people who suffer heart attacks may have high levels. Excessive homocysteine also seems to be linked to other risk factors, such as insulin resistance, a diabetes precursor (Diabetes Care 2001; 24:1403-10). The good news: the so-called DASH diet-featuring fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, nuts and fish-may reduce homocysteine and drop your heart disease risk by 7% to 9% (Circulation 2000; 102:852-7). More benefits: simple B vitamins can control homocysteine. Folic acid (folate), along with vitamins B6 and B12, may help break it down and render it Harmless. Taking these vitamins in supplement form has been shown to reduce homocysteine (Lancet 2000; 355:517-22). What's more, natural vitamin E may be able to restore artery lining function when homocysteine levels are high (Am J Cardiol 2001; 88:285-90). If you really want your ticker to tick stronger and longer, go long on your ready supply of heart healthy nutrients.
Basics of the Immune System
June 10, 2005 03:01 PM
Basics of the Immune System
by Leonid G. Ber, MD Energy Times, September 1, 1998
In a world filled with pathogens and microbes, good health and resistance to disease is no accident. It requires a vigorous and vigilant immune system. The immune system should be viewed as an internal security force that is constantly checking the identity of everything entering and already existing in the body. A cell or substance may be recognized as "non-self" and a potential enemy if it does not have the right molecular make-up. A cell displaying molecules produced according to a different blueprint than the body's own code may be recognized as foreign. To eliminate alien material that may harm the body, the immune system must take swift action.
Recognizing entities that originate outside the self forms the key to overall immune system response. This key is carried in the body by cells called macrophages (ma-kro-fajs), a name derived from a Greek term meaning "big eater." Macrophages eat or engulf foreign cells and molecules. When a macrophage encounters something that it distinguishes as being "non-self" or abnormal, it can attack the enemy with a series of assault weapons, including free-radicals (reactive substances) and enzymes, that dissolve and weaken the intruder. In fact, an enzyme produced by macrophages called lysozyme is recognized as one of nature's most powerful anti-infective agents. These chemical defenses, along with engulfment and complete digestion by macrophages, can effectively stymie invasion by disease-causing pathogens.
Harmful invasion can originate in the body's own cells as well as begin from outside sources. While we are constantly exposed to bacteria, viruses, fungal cells and parasites, destructive cancerous growths often start within the body.
Every day, thousands of the body's cells mutate into possible cancers. Under most circumstances, the immune system keeps these cells under control. But when the immune "security" system slips up, these harmful growths multiply unrecognized.
The initial immune response that recognizes invaders is called a "non-specific defense mechanism" since this immune response is generally the same toward all invaders. This counter-attack entails battling every invader pretty much identically: a macrophage can engage, dissolve, weaken, engulf, digest, eliminate. However, if, despite the initial immune efforts, the problem persists, a macrophage can tag an invader and "introduce" it to the rest of the immune system, thus recruiting more specialized types of immune cells to enter the battle. This tagging function endows macrophages with the name "antigen-presenting cells." (Antigens are substances that can provoke specific responses by the immune system.)
Most antigens are proteins. Proteins are relatively large molecules made of smaller units called amino acids. The specific geometric organization of amino acids is what conveys uniqueness to each protein. (Your genetic code forms a blueprint for the production of your own, individual proteins.) Protein molecules produced by one human being can act as an antigen for another human being. That's why organs transplanted from one person to another can be rejected by the immune system. Unless organs are transplanted from one identical twin to another (who share the genetic blueprint for protein creation), doctors must use immune-suppressing drugs to curtail organ rejection. At the same time as these medicines prevent transplant rejection, they also make people more susceptible to infectious diseases and cancer.
After one set of immune cells chemically tags antigens (invaders) for recognition, other highly specialized parts of the immune system go into action: Cells called T cells or T lymphocytes acknowledge the invaders and can take the further action (second line of defense) that is necessary to render them Harmless.
T cells get their name from the thymus (an organ located behind the sternum) where they originate. The thymus, most active when we're young, usually shrinks and apparently slows or shuts down its activity about the age of forty.
A wide variety of T cells inhabit lymph nodes (soft, usually round, pea- or nut-sized organs) and other body areas. For instance, natural killer cells, as their name implies, are a particularly aggressive type of T cell. Another type of T cell is called T helper (a cell that supports development of immune response). T suppressors halt immune response when infection ends.
In order to make all these different cells work in concert, cytokines or messenger molecules are produced that facilitate constant communications between all the parts of the immune system.
The B Team
Other organs of the immune system include:
*bone marrow: a powerful cell producing organ where the majority of immune cells are born;
*spleen: an abdominal organ that forms a reservoir for the production of immune cells.
Lymph nodes oversee particular segments of the body where they collect and recycle tissue fluids. Like an early warning system, lymph nodes react when an invader is detected in the part of the body that it controls.
Yet another step in the so-called immune cascade entails action by lymphocytes, called B cells, which originate in the bone marrow. These cells produce antibodies which are immune proteins (immunglobulins) that attack specific antigens.
While traveling in the blood, an antibody can bind to an antigen, curtailing its harmful action. This bound up molecule forms a complex easily recognized by scavenging macrophages which make a quick meal out of the unlucky invader.
After enemy cells are removed from the body, knowledge of this victory resides in the immunological memory prolonging your resistance toward specific disease pathogens indefinitely. That's why someone who has recovered from a disease like the measles may be impervious to reinfection.
Rules for Optimum Immunity
Even though the immune system consists of a complex team of hard-working cells, enhancing your immunity is relatively easy:
Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Avoid continuous stress and negative emotions or cope with them through exercise or meditation. Consistent, moderate exercise can boost the immune system. Massage can also help although extreme care must be taken when inflammation or disease is already present.
Sleep 7-8 hours a day. Sleep allows the body to recover and rebuild. Protein synthesis, vital for a healthy immune system, increases during the night.
Stick to a healthy diet. Your immune system consists of trillions of cells. Consequently, nutrients important for cell health boost the immune system. A balanced low-calorie diet rich in complex carbohydrates, "good" fats (including fish oils, olive oil and flaxseed oil) along with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrient antioxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables can fortify immune cells. Plus, drinking plenty of water helps improve circulation of lymph fluid.
These recommendations are not hard to meet once they become a part of your daily routine. However, extra immune security may be necessary during flu season, while traveling long distances (airplanes are notorious sources of pathogens) or when working extensive hours in front of a computer screen. In addition, exposure to x-rays, immunosuppressive chemicals, ultraviolet radiation (the sun) or simply aging may give your immune cells extra burdens.
Your "specific" immune system does not respond immediately to the challenge of invasion by an infectious organism. Instead, it may require about 2 weeks for an effective reaction after antigen recognition and alerting T cells. During this period, the macrophages' non-specific defense assumes a crucial role in keeping infection in check.
Enhanced activity by macrophages is especially important for recognizing and destroying cancer cells. The most dangerous cancers are those that can mimic normal cells and avoid the immune system's wrath. Few substances can activate macrophage function in the body (aloe vera contains substances that contribute to this process). The most powerful macrophage activator recognized by the scientific community is a sugar-like substance called beta-1,3-D-glucan. Beta-glucan, extracted from the cell walls of common Baker's yeast, when taken in certain small amounts, can prevent infection by making macrophages more active in recognizing and attacking infectious bacteria, fungi and certain viruses.
This kind of activation can encourage macrophages to attack previously unrecognized tumor cells. As a result, tumors may be eradicated as the immune system mobilizes and produces what may be known as "spontaneous healing."
When a macrophage works overtime fighting disease, its demand for nutrients and energy increases dramatically. Vitamin C, known for its immune supporting function, seems to be especially important for maintaining fully active macrophages. Vitamin C collects in macrophages, often reaching forty times the concentration found in surrounding blood. What are conventionally considered normal amounts of vitamin C in the body may be insufficient to keep macrophages well supplied with this antioxidant. Therefore, extra amounts of vitamin C can keep the immune system in fighting trim.
Scientists are only now beginning to uncover the secrets of the highly organized immune system. One thing's certain: The immunity security team depends on proper lifestyle, nutrition and supplements to maintain the critical defenses necessary for good health.
Dr. Ber received his doctorate in internal medicine from the Yaroslavle, State Medical Institute in Yaroslavle, Russia.
Allergy & Sinus Season: Healthy Lifestyle Tips
June 09, 2005 09:12 AM
Allergies are a growing health problem in the United States, according to a recent report issued by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAI). Every year more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. They are the sixth leading cause of chronic disease and affect more than 20% of the population. Hay fever alone accounts for more than eight million doctor visits annually, at a cost of $3.4 billion!
Source Naturals, as part of its commitment to Strategies for Wellness offers you these healthy lifestyle tips for allergy and sinus support.
Allergy & Sinus Season: Healthy Lifestyle Tips
Allergies are adverse reactions of the immune system to normally Harmless substances?allergens. Some common allergens are pollen, weeds, molds, dust mites, animal dander, and latex particles.
Allergens can enter the body through inhalation, ingestion, skin contact, or injection (either intentionally as in the case of certain medications or through insect stings). Although there is a strong genetic component to allergies, there are also lifestyle factors we can control to prevent or minimize allergic reactions. Allergies are actually 'mistakes' or overreactions by the immune system. They are learned responses, which can be unlearned.
Allergy Proof Your Home
Cut down your exposure to dust mites and other indoor allergens by dust proofing your bedroom. Eliminate wall-to-wall carpets, down-filled blankets, feather pillows, and other dust catchers. Use window shades instead of venetian blinds, which can trap dust. Wash curtains and bedding regularly in hot water. Encase your mattress and pillows in airtight, dust-proof plastic covers. Dust and vacuum regularly.
If you have pets, especially cats, you should try to keep them out of your bedroom. Frequent brushing and bathing of pets can help get rid of excess hair.
Consider using a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter system if you have allergies to pollen, dust, or other particles -- or if you live with a smoker, or in a smoggy urban area. Dehumidifiers can help cut down on molds.
Avoid Outdoor Allergens
You may need to limit your time outdoors when pollen or mold spore counts are high. Walking through uncut fields or raking leaves can increase exposure to molds and fungi. Avoid tobacco smoke and polluted air. Keep windows and doors closed, and dry clothes in a vented dryer instead of outside.
Watch Your Diet
Sometimes 'avoidance therapy' to control allergies is impractical or undesirable. Diet is easier to work with and can have a significant influence on immune reactions. Excess or undigested dietary proteins may worsen an overresponsive immune system?cows' milk and wheat are frequent offenders. Cut down on protein, especially animal protein, avoid dairy products, and eat more fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates. You should also avoid nutritionless foods such as simple sugars.
Maintain Healthy Mucous Membranes
The mucosal cells that line the nasal passages, throat and lungs are our first line of defense against airborne substances. One of the primary means of maintaining healthy mucous linings is to drink lots of pure water (6 to 8 glasses daily). This keeps mucus fluid thin and cleanses membranes. Nasal cleansing is helpful when sinuses are clogged. You can rinse the nasal passages with a warm solution consisting of a quarter-teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water, about the same sodium concentration found in your blood and tissue fluids. This practice washes away pollen grains and soothes irritated mucous membranes. Nasal cleansing can be done using a rubber suction bulb or a neti pot?a ceramic container used in Ayurveda that allows you to pour water directly into the nose. Inhaling steam with a little oil of eucalyptus in it may also ease clogged sinuses. Many people find acupuncture to be very effective for promoting sinus drainage.
Nutrients and herbs offer you safe, natural alternatives for supporting seasonal health. The bioflavonoid quercetin has been found in human cell culture studies to inhibit the release of histamines from immune cells. Ginkgo has been found in human cell culture studies to inhibit platelet-activating factor, a substance that stimulates the release of histamines. (Research is needed to determine if these effects occur in humans.) Stinging nettle is another herb that has been used traditionally to support a healthy respiratory system and sinuses. Vitamin A enhances macrophage function, is specifically needed for a healthy lung lining, and is beneficial for increasing the health of tissue cell membranes.
May 13, 2005 08:38 AM
Sulforaphane Stimulates the Body's Cancer-Fighting EnzymesSecret Weapon Against Cancer Found in Broccoli Sprouts
by Richard Conant, L.Ac, C.N.
The health benefits of vegetables were known historically, long before researchers began seeing a connection between vegetable consumption and cancer prevention. Over the last twenty years, evidence concerning this connection has steadily accumulated. The latest and most promising findings reveal that specific vegetable constituents—"phytochemicals" to use current scientific parlance— enhance the body's defenses against cancer.
This article will focus on one phytochemical in particular, a sulfur-containing compound called "sulforaphane." Found in Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, sulforaphane may prove to be one of our most powerful cancer prevention allies. Recent studies have shown that sulforaphane stimulates, or "induces," "Phase two enzymes." These enzymes are an integral part of the body's elaborate detoxification system that renders carcinogens inactive. This detoxification system turns carcinogens and other toxic substances into Harmless molecules that are excreted from the body.
We need not fear carcinogens—the body is equipped to deal with them.
These findings, coupled with an appreciation of the body's ability to defend itself against carcinogens, have the potential to dramatically change the way we look at cancer and substances in the environment that "cause" cancer. We need to minimize unnecessary exposure to carcinogens, and the staggering quantity of hazardous chemicals in the environment remains an urgent health concern, for cancer and many other health problems. But, knowing the body is equipped with the means to defend itself against toxins, we do not need to fear carcinogens as perhaps we have in the past.
The natural world is full of carcinogens.
What's more, even if you eat 100 percent organic food and live in a environment free of toxic man-made chemicals, you are still being exposed to carcinogens every day of your life. Food is the primary route of this exposure. Plants, for their own defense, produce over 99% of all the pesticides in agricultural products.1 Almost all foods—in their natural state—contain tiny amounts of naturally-occurring, potentially carcinogenic chemicals.
The point is not to trivialize the concern over environmental toxins. The point is that the natural world is full of toxins that are not man-made. These substances have been around since before we appeared, which is why we have evolved with a highly efficient system for neutralizing them before they can damage our cells and initiate the complex process that produces cancer.
Broccoli sprouts are a concentrated source of cancer-fighting sulforaphane.
We cannot avoid carcinogens. What we can do is support our internal detoxification system. Sulforaphane is a powerful tool in this effort. We can start by following the often-repeated advice to eat a variety of vegetables every day, and include broccoli in our menu.
There is an even richer source of sulforaphane than broccoli itself. In September 1997, a group of scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine made a breakthrough discovery— broccoli sprouts contain ten to one hundred times more sulforaphane than mature broccoli.2 Vegetable sprouts are generally regarded as exceptionally healthy foods. Broccoli sprouts now look like a shining star, especially when it comes to cancer prevention.
For those lacking the time or inclination to keep a fresh supply of broccoli sprouts on hand, broccoli spouts have been processed into an extract that is even more concentrated in sulforaphane. More on this later.
What have researchers learned about broccoli consumption and cancer rates?
More than 200 epidemiological studies—studies which track groups of people over time to uncover realtionships between variables such as diet and the incidence of disease—have invesitgated the connections between vegetable consumption and various forms of cancer.1 It should be understood that findings from epidemiological research are generally not regarded as conclusive; these studies are not controlled, and often use data gleaned from questionnaires, which are an imprecise method of gathering information. (In the case of diet questionnaires, for example, the study subjects may or may not record their food intakes with 100 percent accuracy.)
Epidemiological studies look for trends. To be credible, these trends need to show up consistently, in different population groups. Findings from the vegetable intake/cancer studies easily meet these criteria; the number of studies is large and the trend is consistent—vegetable consumption is strongly associated with a lower risk of developing cancer.
What about broccoli in particular? A paper published in the September 1996 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention analyzes epidemiological data gathered from 94 studies concerning the cancer preventive effect of brassica vegetables.3 (The Brassica genus, part of the Cruciferae family, includes broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower and brussels sprouts.) The data suggest that broccoli consumption reduces the risk of some of the most feared forms of cancer, including stomach and lung cancer.
Now, to put these data into a balanced perspective, the researchers point out that in most of the studies reviewed, brassica vegetable consumption was reported as part of the total vegetable intake. "In hardly any epidemiological studies was the effect of brassica vegetables separated from the effect of total vegetables or other vegetables by adjusting for consumption of these variables. Therefore, it is difficult to sort out whether the observed observation was attributable to brassica vegetables, to vegetables as a whole, or to other vegetables," they noted.
This uncertainty is a good example of why epidemiological studies alone do not give us open and shut conclusions. But the paper also adds that the apparent anti-cancer effect of brassica vegetables agrees with "the results of experimental studies in which brassica vegetables reduced mammary tumor incidence, hepatic tumor size, numbers of tumors per liver, tumor frequency, and the number of pulmonary metastases when given to rodents before or after a carcinogen insult."3
When you put together a plausible trend from epidemiological research with results of experimental studies that agree with the trend, and then add additional research that reveals the underlying mechanism for these observations, a clear picture begins to take shape. And, indeed, we now have a fairly good idea as to just how brassica vegetables, especially broccoli, help prevent cancer.
How sulforaphane helps prevent cancer from developing.
To see how sulforaphane works, let's look at a brief overview of the body's detoxification system.
The detoxification of carcinogens and other toxic substances takes place in the liver, and involves two distinct enzyme-driven processes or "phases". Phase one enzymes neutralize toxins by various routes. Some of these convert toxins into substances that are immediately eliminated. However, other Phase one steps convert toxins into intermediate products which are carcinogenic themselves, and require further treatment before they can be excreted. Phase two enzymes do this vital job. Phase two enzymes deactivate these carcinogenic metabolites of Phase one, and the final breakdown product is then eliminated once and for all. (For an excellent review of this subject, see Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, by Drs. Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno.4)
Phase two is critical. If Phase one is in good working order, but Phase two is not, the potential threat from carcinogens increases. It is vitally important to keep Phase two operating well. This is where sulforaphane plays its cancer preventive role. Sulforaphane is a powerful inducer of Phase two enzymes.5,6
Broccoli sprouts-the ideal source of sulforaphane
Sulforaphane is one among a group of phytochemicals called "isothiocyanates." (These occur in brassica vegetables largely as "glucosinolates," which are precursors for isothiocyanates2,12 When the plant is crushed, glucosinolates are converted to isothiocyanates.) Sulforaphane induces Phase two enzymes exclusively, leaving Phase one enzymes alone. This means it helps reduce the load of carcinogenic Phase one intermediates without adding to the load by stimulating Phase one.8,9
As reported by the Johns Hopkins University research group, broccoli sprouts are an "exceptionally" rich source of sulforaphane (in the form of "glucoraphanin, sulforaphane's glucosinolate precursor). And broccoli sprouts have another advantage over mature broccoli. They contain almost no indole glucosinolates, phytochemicals present in mature broccoli that "can enhance tumorogenesis."2
Broccoli sprouts as an extract, now available as a dietary supplement, takes the concentration of sulforaphane to the next level. This recently developed nutraceutical product contains a potent 20 to 1 extract of three-day old fresh broccoli sprouts.
One 125 mg capsule supplies the same amount of sulforaphane as 125 grams, or about 5 ounces, of mature broccoli. Taking just one capsule a day is like eating two pounds of broccoli per week, which equals the intake of cruciferous vegetables believed necessary to obtain their health benefits.
1. Steinmetz, K.A. Potter, J.D. Vegetables, fruit, and cancer prevention: A review. J Am Diet Assoc. 1996;96:1027-1039.
2. Fahey, J.W., Zhang, Y., Talalay, P. Broccoli sprouts: An exceptionally rich source of inducers of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogens. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 1997; 94:10367-10372.
3. Verhoeven, D.T.H., et. al. Epidemiological studies on brassica vegetables and cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 1996;5:733-48.
4. Murray, M. Pizzorno, J. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing;1998:110-120.
5. Zhang, Y. Talalay, P, Cho, C., Posner, G.H. A major inducer of anticarcinogenic protective enzymes from broccoli: Isolation and elucidation of structure. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 1992;89:2399-2403.
6. Gerhäuser, C. et. al. Cancer chemopreventive potential of sulforamate, a novel analogue of sulforaphane that induces phase 2 drug-metabolizing enzymes. Cancer Research 1997;57:272-78.
7. McDanell, R., McLean, A.E.M., Hanley, A.B., Heaney, R.K., Fenwick, G.R. Chemical and biological properties of indole glucosinolates (glucobrassicins): A review. Fd. Chem. Toxic. 1988;26(1):59-70.
8. Talalay, P. Mechanisms of induction of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogenesis. in Advances in Enzyme Regulation, Vol. 28, Weber, G., Ed., 1989: Pergamon Press.
9. Prochaska, H.J. Santamaria, A.B., Talalay, P. Rapid detection of enzymes that protect against carcinogens. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 1992;89:2394-98.
VitaNet ® Staff
May 12, 2005 09:33 AM
Keeping the Intestines Healthy"Friendly Bacteria" Therapy Breakthrough
by Richard Conant, L.Ac., C.N.
Ninety percent of the cells found in the human body are not of human origin.
No, this does not mean we are all products of some sinister alien experiment.
The human body is made up of about 10 trillion cells. This huge number is dwarfed by the bacteria we all carry around in our intestinal tracts. The lower bowel is a campground for roughly 100 trillion bacteria, single-celled plant organisms that can be seen only through a microscope.
When we enjoy good intestinal health, the bulk of these bacteria are beneficial. Known as "friendly flora," these tiny guests help digest our food by breaking down undigested proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The friendliest of the friendly bacteria are the "lactobacilli," so named because they produce lactic acid in the bowel, by fermenting carbohydrates. This lactic acid production is profoundly important for keep the intestines healthy. And good intestinal health is the foundation of overall health.
How do we maintain a thriving population of lactic acid-producing bacteria in the gut? First introduced into the human body through mother's milk, lactobacilli are somewhat fragile. Stress, poor diets, and antibiotics can kill them off. They should be replanted fairly regularly throughout life. One way to do this is through consumption of cultured milk products such as sour milk, kefir and yogurt, which contain live lactobacilli. They can also be consumed in dietary supplements, but this may or may not be a reliable route. Bacterial products do not keep very well on the shelf, they require refrigeration, and are largely destroyed on the trip from the mouth to the gut by our own digestive juices.
Introducing Lactobacillus sporogenes- a revolutionary new friendly bacteria supplement.
This article will focus on one particular species of lactobacilli, a relatively unknown member of the family called Lactobacillus sporogenes. This lactic-acid producing bacteria may prove to be one of the most practical forms for use in supplements, thanks to a unique property not shared by the more well-known friendly flora such as acidophillus. L. Sporogenes is a spore-forming bacteria. Safely enclosed within a spore coat that protects it from the environment, L. sporogenes is resistant to heat, oxygen and digestive acids. Once L. sporogenes reaches the intestines, its spore coat dissolves, freeing the bacteria to multiply and churn out the beneficial lactic acid. (The spore coat, made up of a calcium-protein-carbohydrate complex, is Harmless).1
The difficulty of keeping friendly bacteria supplements alive is an ongoing problem for manufacturers of these products. Studies have analyzed various commerical products claiming to contain acidophilus and found they often contain few live bacteria.2,3 L. Sporogenes is naturally microencapsulated; this insulates it from the gauntlet through which friendly bacteria in dietary supplements must pass.1 Autointoxication-Poisoning by Bacterial Toxins The intestinal tract may also play host to pathogenic, or disease-causing bacteria. These "unfriendly flora" cause putrefaction and release injurious toxins into the lower bowel. This healthy picture is all too common, and has long been concern of wholistic health practitioners.
The concept of "autointoxication," poisoning of the body by intestinal toxins, was popular among doctors in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. An editorial on the dangers of autointoxication which appeared in the June 3, 1893 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) declared that "most likely a large majority of chronic diseases take their origin from this cause."4 The famous Russian physician Eli Metchnikoff pioneered the use of lactobacteria for preventing autointoxication and restoring bowel health. His landmark work 'Prolongation of Life' sparked interest in lactobacilli as a food supplement.5,6
Naturopathy, widely practiced during the early twentieth century, has always stressed the fundamental importance of bowel cleansing. With the advent of so-called "scientific medicine," naturopathy slipped into decline, and the concept of autointoxication was discredited. Over the last thirty years or so, this has changed. Naturopathic medicine has rebounded, and the importance of bowel health is once again recognized. A paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1964, while opining that autointoxication "was exploited by quacks and faddists" in the early 1900's concedes that "the concept of autointoxication must now receive serious consideration."7
Leaders in the rebirth of natural medicine such as Dr. Bernard Jensen have helped educate the public about the importance of keeping the bowels healthy through regular use of lactobacilli. Jensen is well-known for his extensive studies of regions such as the Hunza Valley in Pakistan where people commonly live well over one hundred years. Jensen and others have noted that the consumption of fermented dairy products containing lactobacilli is a common dietary practice in these areas. Their observations have contributed to the popularity of friendly bacteria supplements. At the same time, clinical research has provided ample evidence of the beneficial effects of lactobacteria supplementation.5,9<.sup>
Eubiosis-Keeping a Healthy Bacteria Population in the Intestinal Tract
In his book 'Tissue Cleansing Through Bowel Management, which contains a wealth of valuable wisdom on intestinal health, Dr. Jensen writes, "Where health and vitality are found, we invariably find the friendly and beneficial microbes ... To a large extent the flora in the bowel determines the state of health in an individual."8 In a healthy bowel the friendly flora make up the bulk of the bacteria population. The unfriendly, disease-causing organisms are in the minority. The good bacteria keep them firmly under control. This healthy microbial balance in the gut is called "eubiosis."
Life in our modern industrial society is hardly favorable to eubiosis. Residents of the Hunza Valley lead unhurried lives in a pristine, pollution-free environment. They grow their own food in fertile, nutrient-rich soil, work close to the landÐand consume lactic-acid producing bacteria on a daily basis. For the rest of us who cannot hope to enjoy this enviable lifestyle, eubiosis is something we should never take for granted. This means taking proactive steps to plant the seeds of health in our intestinal garden, by using a viable friendly bacteria supplement.
Supplements which help to populate the intestinal tract with friendly bacteria are known as "probiotics." The term "probiotic" literally means "for life.' (In contrast, "antibiotic" means "against life.") Probiotics restore the natural state of "eubiosis" that is so very important for health and longevity.
L. Sporogenes-an ideal probiotic
Not every species of lactobacilli qualifies as an effective probiotic. As noted above, many do not survive processing, storage and passage through the digestive system very well. The following attributes make L. Sporogenes an ideal probiotic supplement:1,10,11
1) Naturally microencapsulatedÐstable at room temperature and can be stored unrefrigerated for long periods without loss of viable organisms.
2) Tolerates heat, stomach acid and bile, allowing it to successfully travel into the lower bowel.
3) Non-pathogenic, has only beneficial effects on its host. Has similar characteristics as acidophilus: prefers a mild acid environment; produces lactic acid, digestive enzymes, etc.
4) Readily multiplies in the human gut. In the stomach, the spore coat absorbs moisture and begins to swell. Upon reaching the small intestine, the bacteria cells germinate and begin to multiply, doubling in number every 30 minutes.
5) Produces enzymes which help digest protein, fats and carbohydrates. These enzymes include lactose, the enzyme that digests milk sugar.12
6) Creates a favorable environment (mildly acidic) in the gut for other friendly bacteria to thrive. Prevents overgrowth of pathogenic organisms.
7) Produces lactic acid in the form of L- lactic acid only.
The last point is especially important. Lactic acid occurs in the form of three isomers (substances with identical molecular structures that have different shapes): L-lactic acid, D-lactic acid and DL-lactic acid. The D form is metabolized slowly, and can produce acidosis in the system. (Infants have a particularly difficult time metabolizing D-lactic acid.)11,13 DL-Lactic acid, the kind acidophilus makes, may be converted to either D or L.
The L form is the one we want. L. sporogenes is a "homofermenter," it makes L-lactic acid exclusively. Lactic acid keeps the gut mildly acidic. This acidity is essential for the gut to be a hospitable home for friendly bacteria, and stops the growth of the unwelcome disease-causing bacteria.
L. sporogenes has only one drawback. It is a transient visitor that does not permanently colonize in the digestive tract. A study on the retention of L. sporogenes found no bacteria in the feces six days after consumption was discontinued.14
L. Sporogenes-Results from Clinical Studies
L. Sporogenes is used extensively in Japan and approved by the Japanese equivalent of the FDA. L. sporogenes has been given to hospital patients suffering from intestinal complaints such as gas and bloating due to abnormal fermentation, constipation, diarrhea and indigestion. (These problems often occur after surgery or chemotherapy.) A total of 16 clinical reports are on record in Japanese hospitals, documenting 293 case of digestive complaints treated with L. sporogenes.15 The overall improvement rate is an impressive 86 percent. Results are typically seen within four to five days. L. sporogenes has also been used with success to clear up diarrhea in newborns.16 Like other lactobacilli, L. sporogenes lowers blood cholesterol. (Lactobacilli break down cholesterol and bile salts in the intestinal tract.) Researchers at a hospital in New Delhi, India gave L. sporogenes tablets to 20 patients with high cholesterol for twelve weeks.17 Total cholesterol levels were substantially reduced, along with LDL cholesterol, and the beneficial HDL rose slightly.
The popularity of L. sporogenes in other countries as an ideal friendly bacteria supplement will no doubt be soon matched in the U.S. This microscopic helper for intestinal health is now sold in probiotic products under the name "Lactospore®."
1. Gandhi, A.B., Nagarathnam, T. Probiotics in veterinary use. Poultry Guide 1990;27(3):43-47.
2. Brennan, M., Wanismail, B., Ray, B. Prevalence of viable Lactobacillus acidophilus in dried commercial products. Journal of Food Protection 1983;46(10):887-92.
3. Gilliland, S.E., Speck, M.L. Enumeration and identity of lactobacilli in dietary products. Journal of Food Protection 1977;40(11):760-62.
4. Dalton, R.H. The limit of human Life, and how to live long. JAMA 1893;20:599-600.
5. Shahani, K.M., Ayebo, A.D. Role of dietary lactobacilli in gastrointestinal microecology. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1980;33:2448-57.
6. Metchnikoff, E.. Prolongation of Life. New York: G.P. Putnam Sons;1908.
7. Donaldson, R.M. Normal Bacterial populations of the intestine and their relation to intestinal function. New Eng. J. Med. 1964;270(18):938-45.
8. Jensen, B. Tissue Cleansing Through Bowel Management. Escondido, CA: publ. by Bernard Jensen, D.C.;1980.
9. Schauss, A.G. Lactobacillus acidophilus: method of action, clinical application, and toxicity data. Journal of Advancement in Medicine 1990;3(3):163-78.
10. 'General InformationÐLactospore®' 1996; Sabinsa Corporation: Piscataway, NJ.
11. Gandhi, A.B. Lactobacillus sporogenes, An Advancement in Lactobacillus Therapy. The Eastern Pharmacist August 1998:41-44.
12. Kim, Y.M., Lee, J.C., Choi, Y.J., Yang, H.C. Studies on the production of beta galactosidase by lactobacillus sporogenes. Properties and application of beta galactosidase. Korean J. Appl. Microbiol. Bioeng. 1985;13(4):355-60.
13. Oh, MS. D-Lactic acidosis in a man with short bowel syndrome. New Eng J Med 1979;31(5):249-52.
14. Hashimo, K. et. al. New Drugs and Clinics 1964;13(9):53-66.
15. 'Abstracts of papers on the clinical studies of Lacbon' Unpublished data.
16. Dhongade, R.K., Anjaneyule, R. Lactobacillus sporogenes (Sporlac) in neonatal diarrhea. Unpublished data.
17. Mohan, J.C., Arora, R., Khaliullah, M. Preliminary observations on effect of Lactobacillus sporogenes on serum lipid levels in hypercholesterolemic patients. Indian J. Med. Res. 1990;92(B):431-32.
VitaNet ® Staff
Nattokinase: Food For Cardiovascular Health
May 10, 2005 10:13 AM
Say it Ain't Soy!
Yes, but this soybean is different! What makes it different is simple. after hours of fermentation, the boiled soybean metamorphose to an ancient medicinal food called "Natto" pronounced "Nah'-Toe." Natto may just be the "perfect food," producing 18 valuable amino acids and an enxyme natokinase that may challenge the pharmaceutical industry's best "blood-clot busters." Natto, which has recently attracted attention throughout the world, is the third most popular type of fermented soybean in the japanese diet. Japan has the highest average longevity in the world, which may partly be attributed to a high consumption of natto.
When compared with ordinary soybeans, the natto produces more calories, protein, fiber, calium, potassium and vitamin B2. Its high protein and economical price in terms of protein per gram has earned it the sobriquet. "Hata-ke no niko," a meat of the field. This nickname appears well deserved, as in comparison with an equivalent amount of beef, natto has slighly less protein (16.5 grams to 21.2 grams),but contains more carbohydrates and fiber, and is also higher in calcium, phosphorous, iron and vitamin B2. Plus, it has nearly double the calcium and far more vitamin E to boot.
According to legend, the first person to originate traditional Japanese natto was the famous warrior Yoshiie Minamoto during the Heian era of Japanese history (794 - 1192 A.D.). The horse was extremely important to the Japanese samurai warrior of the period, and great care was given to provide suitable provisions for the horses when armies were on the move. Typically, boiled soybeans were cooled down, dried in teh sun and packed immediately in rice straw bags for transport with the army. If the army was on a rapid deployment, the boiled soybeans were packed hastely into the rice straw bags with out cooling or drying. The rice straw just happened to contain a Harmless and naturally occuring microorganism, Bacillus Subtilis that fermented the soybeans and producted natto with its characteristic sticky texture.
Initially, the soybeans were presumed to have spoiled until yashiie minamoto observed that his horses were "picky eaters" and demonstrated a preference for the "spoiled" Soybeans or natto. One day, Minamoto demonstrated tremendous courage and dipped his fingers into the seemingly rotten goo. To his astonishment, the fermented soybeans were not only edible but had a distinct umami flavor. Minamoto was responsible for introducing natto to northwestern Japan, where he ruled. To this day natto is especially popular in that region of Japan as a folk remedy for fatigue, beriberi, dysentery, heart and vascular deseases.
The most distinctive features of natto are the adheasive surrounding the soybeans and the strong flavor. The sticky material has been shown to consist of poly-g-glutamic Acid (D and L) and polysaccharides (Levan-form fructan), and the strong "cheese like" flavor is due to the presence of pyrazine. These features sometimes make it hard for some people, especially people from other countries, to accept natto; however, these are the main factors which give natto the outstanding properties. Natto, which has recently attracted attention throughout the world, is a familiar part of the Japanese diet.
Technical Aspects of Nattokinase:
Nattokinase produces a prolonged action in two ways: it prevents the formation of thrombi and it dissolves existing thrombus. Nattokinase orally administrated to twelve healthy adults indicated elevations in the breakdown products of the fibrin and the ability of the blood to break down fibrin called eugobulin fibrionlytic activity (EFA). These results suggest the ability of nattokinase to accelerate fibrinolysis in the blood for a prolonged period of time. FDP levels in the adults drastically increased 4 hours after the administration of the nattokinase, indicating that fibrin within the blood vessels is gradually being disolved with repeated intake of nattokinase. By measuring the EFA & FDP levels, the activity of nattokinase has been determined to last for 8 to 12 hours. An additional parameter for confirming the action of NATTOKINASE following oral administration is a rise in blood levels of tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) antigen, which indicates a release of TPA from the endothelial cells and/or the liver and the endogenous production of plasmin (The body's blood clotting buster).6,7
In 1995, researchers from Miyazki Medical College and Kurashiki Unerversity of science and arts in Japan studied the effects of nattokinase on the blood preasure in both animals and human subjects. In addition, the researchers confirmed the presence of inhibitors of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) within the test extract, which consisted of 80% ethanol extract of lyophilized viscous materials of natto. ACE causes blood vessels to narrow and blood pressure to rise - by inhibiting ACE; nattokinase has a lowering effect on blood pressure.1,2
The same natto extract was then tested on human volunteers with high blood pressure. Blood pressure levels were measured after 30 grams of lyophilized extract (Equivalent to 200 grams of natto food) was administered orally for 4 consecutive days. In 4 out of 5 volunteers, the systolic blood pressure (SBP) decreased on average from 173.8+- 20.5 mmHg to 154.8+-12.6 mmHg. Diastolic blood pressure (DBP) decreased on average from 101.0+- 11.3 mmHg to 91.2+- 6.6 mmHg. On average, this data representes a 10.9 percent drop in SBP and a 9.7 precent drop in DBP. 1,2,6
Disclaimer: The above artical is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat a particular illness. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of a holistically competen t licensed professional health care provider. The information in this artical has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any desease.