Search Term: " Hearts "
NOW Pets Cardiovascular Support - Keeping Your Pet's Heart Healthy
September 26, 2022 11:34 AM
Just like humans, our pets' Hearts need extra care and attention as they age. NOW Pets Cardiovascular Support is a unique pet supplement made with carnitine, taurine, antioxidants, and botanicals to support normal circulation and cardiovascular function. For more flavor, we added chicken bone broth, sourced from the USA, that is growth hormone and steroid free. Formulated by renowned veterinarian Dr. Barbara Royal, DVM, CVA, founder of the Royal Treatment Veterinary Center.
The Importance of cardiovascular health in pets
As our furry friends age, it becomes increasingly important to pay attention to their cardiovascular health. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), over half of all adults in the United States have some form of cardiovascular disease. Just like humans, our pets' Hearts need extra care and attention as they age.
NOW Pets Cardiovascular Support is a unique pet supplement made with carnitine, taurine, antioxidants, and botanicals to support normal circulation and cardiovascular function. For more flavor, we added chicken bone broth, sourced from the USA, that is growth hormone and steroid free. Formulated by renowned veterinarian Dr. Barbara Royal, DVM, CVA, founder of the Royal Treatment Veterinary Center.
What are the benefits of NOW Pets Cardiovascular Support?
As our pets age, it's important to pay attention to their cardiovascular health and provide them with supplements like NOW Pets Cardiovascular Support that will help maintain their health. With its unique blend of ingredients, NOW Pets Cardiovascular Support is formulated to support normal circulation and cardiovascular function in your pet. So you can rest assured knowing that you're doing everything you can to keep your furry friend's heart healthy!
Vitamin D Linked to Heart Health: Study Shows Promise in Preventing Cardiovascular Disease
April 26, 2022 10:18 AM
A recent study has shown that Vitamin D may play a role in preventing cardiovascular disease. The study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Edinburgh, looked at data from over 10,000 adults. They found that those who had the highest levels of Vitamin D were less likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. This is great news for those looking to improve their heart health!
What is Vitamin D and why is it important for heart health?
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that plays various important roles in the body, including helping to maintain healthy bones and supporting immune function. In recent years, scientists have also begun to uncover the critical role that Vitamin D can play in promoting cardiovascular health. Vitamin D is involved in the regulation of several important cardiovascular processes, including blood pressure and lipid metabolism. Studies have shown that individuals with lower levels of Vitamin D are at increased risk for heart disease and stroke. Therefore, ensuring adequate vitamin D levels through diet, sun exposure, or supplementation may help to protect against heart conditions and improve overall cardiovascular health.
The study on Vitamin D and heart health
Researchers at the University of South Australia have recently conducted a study exploring the link between vitamin D and heart health. They found that individuals with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood were less likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks, than those with lower levels. The results suggest that vitamin D plays an important role in protecting the heart and maintaining efficient cardiovascular function. This is important not only for preventing or mitigating the effects of heart disease, but also for overall health and well-being. Overall, the results of this study highlight the importance of ensuring adequate levels of vitamin D to safeguard our Hearts and keep us healthy.
How to get more Vitamin D in your diet
While vitamin D-3 is essential for good health, many people struggle to get enough of this important nutrient through their diet alone. With so many factors affecting our ability to absorb nutrients from food, it can be difficult to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D through regular meals. However, research suggests that we may be able to get enough of this vital nutrient by taking supplements or getting outside on sunny days. For example, studies show that simply spending time in sunlight for a few minutes each day can go a long way toward maintaining adequate vitamin D levels in the body. Additionally, many foods are fortified with vitamin D-3, including dairy products and some types of bread and cereal. Ultimately, the best way to ensure adequate vitamin D-3 levels is through a combination of dietary sources and appropriate supplementation. So don't be afraid to take that extra step or buying a supplement – your health will thank you!
Bottom line: Vitamin D is a promising nutrient for heart health
Vitamin D-3 is a nutrient that is continually been getting attention for its potential benefits to heart health. This nutrient can be obtained through certain foods, such as oily fish and eggs, but many individuals also supplement with vitamin D-3 on a regular basis. Preliminary research suggests that this nutrient may help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation in the arteries, two important contributors to cardiovascular disease. Additionally, studies have shown that vitamin D-3 can help to strengthen the immune system, which further enhances overall heart health by keeping the body healthy and strong. Overall, when it comes to promoting heart health, vitamin D-3 seems like a promising nutrient that deserves further scientific study and exploration.
Assist Mineral absorption
Vitamin D is an important nutrient that helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus. It also plays a role in maintaining strong bones and muscles. Unfortunately, foods are a relatively poor source of vitamin D. The best way to get this nutrient is through exposure to sunlight. However, too much sun exposure can lead to skin damage, so many people choose to take a supplement instead. Vitamin D supplements are available in both liquid and pill form. They are typically taken once a day, and they can help people maintain adequate levels of vitamin D without exposing themselves to the harmful effects of the sun.
Vitamin D-3 is involved in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body
As we already know, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in bone health and calcium absorption. Vitamin D-3, the form of vitamin D found in supplements, is involved in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body. These processes include cell proliferation, immunomodulation, and regulation of gene expression. Vitamin D-3 has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. Supplementation with vitamin D-3 has been shown to improve bone density and reduce the risk of fractures, particularly in older adults. In addition, vitamin D-3 supplementation has been shown to improve muscular strength and reduce the risk of falls in older adults. While most people can get adequate amounts of vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, those who don't get enough sun exposure or have dark skin are at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Supplementation with vitamin D-3 is an effective way to ensure adequate intake of this important nutrient.
Pumpkin Seeds: The Antioxidant Seeds that Combat Diabetes, HeartDisease & Cancer Cells
December 11, 2018 11:22 AM
Pumpkins don't get the attention of other vegetables. Even during their season, it's the pies made from the meat of the pumpkin that get most of the table time. However, pumpkin seeds should not be relegated to the trash. Like sunflower, and other seeds, they make good snacking. And they have a lot of health benefits for users. For example, they're full of antioxidants, like many veggies, which makes them useful for warding off many unwanted conditions. They're good for hearts and for leveling blood sugar. Study has shown that the seeds benefit the heart in an array of ways. Nitric oxide is enhanced, while blood pressure and cholesterol are lowered. The seeds are protein-packed and fiber-rich, which means that sugar is absorbed more slowly. The seeds are also rich in tryptophan and magnesium, known to promote optimal sleep. Study has also shown that sperm count was enhanced and abnormalities were improved when rodent subjects were given pumpkin seeds. Certain seed properties may have anti-cancer effects as well, even the ability to help with overactive bladder syndrome.
"However, there are many benefits of pumpkin seeds that make them a worthy addition to your diet, both during the holidays and all year round."
Read more: https://draxe.com/pumpkin-seeds/
Vitamin K essential to a healthy heart; deficiency found to contribute to unhealthy enlargement in adolescents
December 30, 2017 11:59 AM
Vitamin K is good for the heart. If you don't get enough of it and are an adolescent you are at risk of an enlargement of the heart. This is a matter for concern. This is not a good condition for the heart to be in. It then has to work too hard. There are foods which contain vitamin K so it wouldn't be hard to get it into your diet if you need more. There are also supplements you could take. You could ask your doctor to help you find a good one.
"They discovered that those who ate the smallest amount of vitamin K-rich foods, such as spinach, cabbage, iceberg lettuce, broccoli, and olive oil, had a 3.3 percent higher risk of having an unhealthy enlargement of the left ventricle."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2017-10-19-vitamin-k-essential-to-a-healthy-heart-deficiency-found-to-contribute-to-unhealthy-enlargement-in-adolescents.html
July 21, 2017 05:14 AM
There are some essential oils for university students. Coffee is always going to be number one in our Hearts, but essential oils have become a very popular thing. They are very useful to easing anxiety in people. There are so many different oils and they all have health benefits that will help you in your life. Each oil has its own unique benefit to people. They have all been studies for their effects and they all have positive benefits.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlXmB4yYk5s&rel=0
"While we often think as essential oils as simply nice aromas, they also contain some pretty beneficial properties that can help boost focus and mental alertness"
Why a group of scientists grew human heart tissue on spinach
March 30, 2017 06:59 PM
Heart attacks often damages heart tissue. When creating new tissue for those hearts, doctors are often unable to get blood and oxygen to the tissue. Some Massachusetts scientists discovered that by growing human tissue on vegetables such as spinach, they can overcome this problem, since the veins on leaves would work similarly to the veins in the human body. To do this, they stripped the leaves of its cells, so that it became more compatible with the heart tissue. This research is in its beginning stages. Much more work is necessary to determine how it would actually work. Furthermore, it has to stand the test of scientific scrutiny such as peer review as well as be shown to be repeatable in order to firmly establish viability.
Read more: Why a group of scientists grew human heart tissue on spinach
7 Foods That Can Help Prevent Heart Disease
March 22, 2017 08:44 AM
Eating healthy has been shown to not only manage weight but also reduce heart disease. There are seven super foods that are especially beneficial to people's hearts. These super foods are: oatmeal, blueberries, nuts (especially pecans, walnuts and almonds,) fruits, vegetables, garlic and oily fish. Studies have shown that these super foods do wonders for heart health. Aged garlic, for example, can reduce hypertension without the use of prescription medicines. Most of these foods are easy to eat and keep on hand for snacking.
"We all know we need to eat a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise but some foods, in particular, can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease."
Read more: http://rescu.com.au/foods-that-prevent-heart-disease/
7 Reasons You Need CBD Oil in Your Kitchen (and Medicine Cabinet)
February 17, 2017 10:59 AM
With marijuana now legal in 26 states and the District of Columbia, the cry for more research on cannabis oil has spread. Many are pushing for the use of cannabis oil, which is a potent form of the plant, to treat cancer and seizures. Though the use of the oil to treat symptoms of diseases is not currently supported by the FDA, some cases have shown success in relieving pain, preventing seizures, and slowing down cancer tumors. It’s important to get use a trustworthy source and start with small doses until you know how you will react.
"Nausea is one of the most common reasons people turn to medical marijuana; synthetic THC has been administered to battle nausea in the UK since the early 80s, and many cancer patients choose to smoke marijuana to battle the effects of chemotherapy treatments."
7 Reasons You Need CBD Oil in Your Kitchen (and Medicine Cabinet)
January 23, 2017 10:59 AM
As Marijuana becomes more and more legal across the states, its plant leaves are becoming more popular tool. Oil from the leaves ,CBD oil, also has many great properties. It an affect the way you sleep helping you get a better nights rest. It also been known to change our mood and relieve your pain without any psychoactive properties. One of the most noteworthy reason to incoroporate this oil into daily life because it can help with cancer. It inhibits cell growth and manage seizures. The oil can be found all over as it is legal.
"First off, don’t confuse CBD oil with hemp oil — a nutritional oil more properly known as hempseed oil. Made from crushing hempseed or hemp Hearts, hemp oil is very rich in linoleic and alpha-linoleic acids and antioxidants, and it has an optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids."
Always Stick with name brand CBD like Leaf Therapeutics
Is CBD Crystalline the Most Effective Cannabis Medicine?
January 03, 2017 02:59 PM
Information regarding the use of medicinal marijuana has been in high demand over the past few years. This article discusses the positive impacts and benefits of CBD. There are several conditions that cannabinoids have been shown to benefit. Check out the article for those conditions and the progress researchers have been making
"CBD provides no psychoactive effects when ingested, but being that it is derived from cannabis, the potential life-saving compound is still considered a Schedule 1 substance with “no medicinal value.” This obstacle blocks many professional research facilities from conducting experiments with CBD to truly put its healing abilities to the test, at least in the United States."
Too much heat in the kitchen may increase your risk of heart disease
November 14, 2016 04:54 PM
The high temperatures you are cooking your food at may actually lead to heart disease. Cooking food at very high temperatures can actually create new compounds that are harmful to us. Specifically, the oils and how hot they get may actually be the culprits. By just heating and frying alone you could be turning those healthy vegetables into deadly bites full of extra chemicals instead.
"If you're a fan of a well-seared steak or a crisp fried samosa, you may need to pace yourself, as a new study has found that you could be increasing your risk of heart disease."
The Holiday Sugar Trap; All There is to Know
October 04, 2015 10:02 PM
The festive season can be a tempting affair to any healthy eater. Hopping from one party and family gathering to another might easily see you indulging in unhealthy dishes and drinks. It is quite difficult to hold back on the wide varieties of delicious treats unless your will is exceptional. Counting the calories in the food you eat when in the middle of a conversation with a long lost friend or family members isn't easy. What you regard as 'just a once off affair' might ruin the rest of the year for you. There is a lot of hidden sugar in holiday treats such as; syrup, cakes, flavored pop corn, cookies, soda, juices, lemonades and ice cream.
Reasons to Avoid Sugar During the Festive Season
Sugar plays a harmful role in tooth decay. Plaque, a harmful bacteria responsible for tooth decay, uses sugar as a form of energy. This way, the plaque multiplies and becomes thick hence making it difficult for it to be washed away by saliva. Sugar is also used as a form of glue for the bacteria to firmly stick to the teeth.
Added sugar for instance fructose corn syrup contains a lot of empty calories with zero nutrients.These calories do not contain any protein, minerals, vitamins nor any essential fats. It is purely energy which is converted into fats in the body hence weight gain.
Did you know that indulging in all that sweetness at the Christmas table might be the beginning of your sugar addiction? Sugar shuttles tryptophan in the brain which further converts to serotonin hence having a physiological addictive effect.
When the refined sugar intake is high, the body might be forced to produce more leptin and insulin. This is due to the high carbohydrate and processed food diet. When these two rise, blood pressure might go up leading to leptin and insulin resistance. Insulin is responsible for the storage of magnesium meant for the relaxation of muscles in the body. When the insulin is interfered with, the lack of magnesium in the cells may lead to the inability of your your Hearts' vessels to fully relax hence narrowing them. This overworks your heart hence increased blood pressure.
Refined sugar has been proven to cause diabetes, obesity as well as other conditions that put your heart at risk. New studies have linked sugar with unhealthy cholesterol and increased triglyceride levels. When you consume a lot of refined sugar, the excess is stored in the liver as tryglecirides (a form of fat that sticks to your arteries). This fat travels through the blood stream and may clog it up.
That extra can of soda might leave you struggling with life altering health conditions. It is important to consider healthy alternatives to refined sugars. A perfect example in this case would be unsweetened or stevia calorie free sweetners. Sweet leaf and Truvia are made of stevia which is a natural herbs that are commonly found in South and Central America. Stevia is 40 times sweeter than sugar yet contains no empty calories which makes it a suitable alternative. These sweeteners are easily available in local stores and can be used in almost anything; tea, coffee, cereal, yogurt and even fruit.
Why Is Capsicum Cayenne Good For The Heart?
December 27, 2011 07:48 AM
Cayenne and Heart Health
The heart is something that is vital to any one of us and that is a fact. Recent numbers have revealed that over a million Americans die each year of a heart attack. So all the more reason for us to be careful with our Hearts, make sure we keep it in good health and make sure we do everything we can to keep it working like it should because I am pretty sure that you do not want to be part of that next million next year.
Our heart is one of those organs in the body that truly plays an integral role and the none functioning of it will cause your expiration in just a matter of minutes unlike other organs when damaged there is still a possibility for you to survive it, but no, not the heart, once you are done, you are done and that is why its health should be one of our main concerns. The heart’s main function is to supply blood to other parts of the body and it is literally our pumping station. It does not stop at any time in our entire life, I am sure no one will contend with that. So I feel that it is our obligation to find out how we can keep the heart healthy. Well, the usual will always be there like exercise and proper diet but if you want to look at other ways aside from that and aside from medication then the way to go is the natural way and what can be more natural than supplementing with something which is derived from an everyday vegetable like peppers.
This refers to the wide variety of tropical pepper plants and as such is also known by other names like cayenne pepper, chilli pepper, red pepper, paprika, Hungarian pepper and Mexican pepper. It is unclear as to what exactly is its geographical origin but it is commonly agreed upon that it is a native of tropical regions such as China, Philippines, Tonga, Samoa, Iraq, Haiti, Hawaii and Mexico. One of its benefits is its ability to regulate blood circulation and alter temperature regulation because of the substance found in it which is known as capsaicin. Its seed has been proven in various studies to have antibiotic properties and if applied topically can even desensitize nerves and can be used as an anesthetic. When used as a liniment it is able to help with the stimulation of circulation as well and aid in the removal of waste (detox) products therefore allowing an increase in nutrient flow to the different tissues in the body which is why it is effective in relieving muscle spasms, bursitis and shingles.
Good for the Heart
One of the reasons why it is good for the heart is because it has the ability to stimulate blood vessels dilation and help relieve chronic congestions which in turn will improve blood circulation. It also has the ability to lower blood cholesterol levels and increase metabolism which are both vital to maintaining heart health.
Buckthorn Of The Sea
August 05, 2009 04:05 PM
Sea buckthorn is also known as sea berry or Siberian pineapple. It is a small shrub that can be found growing natively in a wild swath across Europe and Asia. This plant has been used by southeast Asians to treat various diseases for hundreds of years. The ancient Greeks are believed to have used the berries of the sea buckthorn plant in order to promote weight gain and shiny fur in horses.
After analyzing the orange berries of sea buckthorn, an abundance of vitamins C and E, carotenoids, flavonoids, glucose, fructose, several amino acids, and fatty acids have been found. The berries of this herb are used in order to produce juices, jams, liquors, and lotions. The oil that comes from the berries of sea buckthorn has been used to treat ailments that are related to inflammation. Included in these ailments are canker sores, esophagitis, cervicitis, peptic ulcers, and ulcerative colitis. Horticulturalists from the Soviet Union and East Germany came up with new varieties of sea buckthorn during the Cold War years that produce bigger berries and better nutrition.
Traditional Chinese medicine uses sea buckthorn to boost energy. Olympic athletes in the country have recently used sea-buckthorn-based sports drinks as part of their training. This herb is used in Russia in ointments to help shield cosmonauts from radiation damage while in orbit. The oil found in sea buckthorn contains high amounts of palmitoleic acid, which is a rare fatty acid that is found in skin fat. This fatty acid aids cell tissue and wound healing. Some U.S. cosmetic firms put this herb into their skin creams in order to provide protectant and anti-aging properties.
Sea buckthorn is recommended by herbalists in order to boost energy levels, promote wound healing, and shield the skin from the damage caused by ultraviolet rays. Some research on the wound-healing and tissue-protecting properties of this herb has provided positive results. The extract was shown to strengthen cardiac pump function and myocardial contractility in animal studies where dogs with heart failure were tested. The herb also seems to improve oxygen use in the Hearts of dogs and animal heart cells in test tubes.
Generally, sea buckthorn oils are used externally for burns and other skin damage. They are also used internally for stomach and duodenal ulcers. Anecdotal reports of sea buckthorn extract have shown it being used to fight tumor growth, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
The berries of the sea buckthorn plant are used to provide anti-inflammatory properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are amino acids, carotenoids, fatty acids, flavonoids, fructose, glucose, and vitamins C and E. Primarily, sea buckthorn is extremely beneficial in treating burns, canker sores, cervicitis, colitis, lack of energy, esophagitis, skin protection, ulcers, and wounds. In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen while on medications. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by sea buckthorn, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
August 28, 2008 09:33 AM
Garcinia Cambogia is found naturally in India and parts of Asia, and also on the Pacific coast of South and Central America all the way from Peru up to Mexico, and likes a humid forested environment. Also known as Brindall berries, garcinia is believed to act as an appetite suppressant and allows you to lose weight by diminishing your desire for food.
The Malabar tamarind, as it is also known, is about the size of an orange resembling a small pumpkin, and an extract from the fruit and rind is used in several weight loss products. The health risks presented by synthetic diet pills render a natural product extremely attractive were it to be effective. So can Garcia curb your appetite? What is the scientific evidence for it, and what biochemical route would it take?
Although tests on animals have been very positive, human results have been inconsistent. In some double blind tests using a placebo, weight loss was up to three times that of the control, but in others there was no apparent difference between those taking garcinia, and those given a placebo. However, doubts have been raised of the validity of some of the negative tests, so what does science tell us?
The active ingredient in the cambogia extract is hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which is a powerful inhibitor of ATP citrate lyase, an enzyme that catalyzes the reaction between citrate and Coenzyme A to Acetyl CoA and oxaloacetate. Since the acetyl CoA is necessary in the synthesis of fatty acids and lipogenesis (the conversion of glucose to fatty acids), then anything that inhibits the biosynthesis of acetyl CoA must help to reduce the amount of fat stored in your body.
By inhibiting this reaction, that occurs outside the mitochondria so is not a direct part of the Citric Acid Cycle, HCA should theoretically suppress the formation of fats from carbohydrates, reduce food intake and thereby induce weight loss. But that is not the only mechanism.
A study at Georgetown University in Washington found that after 8 weeks of taking the garcinia extract, there was a 5.4% reduction in body weight and body mass index, and a significant reduction in low density lipoproteins (LDL) and triglycerides with an associated rise in high density lipoproteins (HDL). This is good news for those suffering from high cholesterol levels, since the LDL lipoproteins are those that carry cholesterol to the major blood vessels, and which when oxidized by free radicals deposit fatty plaques on the artery walls. These plaques constrict the arteries and the resultant atherosclerosis can lead to cardiac problems and strokes. HDL lipoproteins carry cholesterol back to the liver for destruction, and is known popularly as ‘good cholesterol’.
The studies also indicated modifications to certain indicators of the status of fat deposits in the body and of appetite modifiers in the brain. In this respect they found 38% decreases in serum leptin and increases in serotonin levels of 44%, and the excretion of fat metabolites in the urine increased from between 32% and 104%.
These are significant findings, and further research has indicated that HCA helps to suppress appetite. Serum leptin is an indicator of the level of fat stores in the body, and as the leptin levels in the blood reduces, the hypothalamus is given an instruction to increase the appetite so as to increase the fat levels again. However, it is believed that HCA possesses leptin-like properties, and this signal is either not generated or is modulated.
The increase in serotonin has the same effect. It is known that serotonin controls the appetite, although the exact mechanism has not yet been established. What is known is that serotonin activates certain neurons and melanocortin-4 receptors (MC4R) in the brain, that not only curb appetite but also block the effect of other neurons that would normally increase appetite by blocking the effect of MC4Rs.
This is how the banned anti-obesity and serotonin inciting drug Fen-Phen operated, and it appears that the hydroxycitric acid in garcinia cambogia extract acts in a similar, but safer, way. The problem with drugs such as Feb-Phen was that they created cardiac problems which could be dangerous to obese people whose Hearts might have been weakened.
However, now that the biological pathway by which serotonin controls weight is believed to be known, if not fully understood, the way is becoming clearer as to how safer weight loss pills, acting through appetite suppression, might be developed. It also provides a valid scientific explanation for the effect of garcinia cambogia extract which might in itself prove to be that safer way.
The biochemistry supports the evidence of its effect on those wanting to lose weight, and also bolsters the claims that those tests and trials found to be negative were in some way flawed. Until the full chemical pathway is understood, the factors that can lead to flawed tests are unknown, although one could be the use of excessive fiber in some trials that could reduce the effect of the extract.
One of the effects of HCA is to limit the ability of your body to convert carbohydrates into fat (the Acetyl CoA inhibition mentioned above). That, combined with suppression of your appetite and a higher rate of thermogenesis, prevents the body from storing excess carbohydrates as fat. Instead you will have increased energy levels, so you should exercise to use this up while taking garcinia extract. For this reason it is popular with athletes and bodybuilders seeking an energy source that has not yet been banned from sport.
Although diet pills based on the same principle had side-effects and could make the user feel on edge, there are none known with garcinia. However, it is possible to reduce the absorption of some essential nutrients due to appetite suppression, so do not exceed the recommended dose. An excessive amount can also led to gastric discomfort, but none of these effects have been noted when the recommended doses have been adhered to.
However, if you are diabetic, pregnant or a nursing mother, you should consult with your physician or health professional before taking the extract. Garcinia Cambogia presents no specific risk to such people, and this warning should be given for all non-prescriptive treatments that your physician might be unaware of you taking.
Reduce Your Cholesterol With Natural Vitamins
July 12, 2007 08:58 AM
Thanks to the excellent efforts of health education organizations like the American Heart Association, we’ve learned a lot about cholesterol and how it affects our health.
We know: high cholesterol levels increase our risk for heart attacks and strokes: lowering our cholesterol levels will reduce this risk and keep our Hearts and blood vessels healthy; and that diet, weight loss, and exercise will all help us in our quest to lower our cholesterol levels. We also know at times, despite these good efforts, some people’s cholesterol levels are still too high.
Prescription drugs to lower cholesterol are now available and they are heavily advertised by the pharmaceutical companies that make them. What the commercials neglect to say is these medications, collectively called statin drugs, have some serious side effects. Statin drugs can cause elevations in liver enzymes, an indication of liver irritation. They are associated with myopathy, a painful disorder of muscle inflammation and muscle degeneration. Ironically, statin drugs significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body, a deficit that can lead to heart disease.
Statin drugs have also been linked to a rare and at times, fatal condition called rhabdomyolysis. Because of this alarming link, the makers of cerivistatin, a popular stain drug, recalled this medication from the market on August 8, 2001. The Food and Drug Administration a greed with the recall and supported the decision.
Thankfully, there is a safe solution to the dangers of high cholesterol levels. A natural dietary supplement is now available that can lower cholesterol very effectively without any harmful side effects. Backed by many years of scientific research and clinical study, pantethine and plant sterols, also known as phytosterols, are nature’s answer to dangerous prescription cholesterol lowering medications.
To understand how pantethine and plant sterols work to lower cholesterol levels, we need to first review what we know about cholesterol and heart disease.
Q. What exactly is cholesterol?
A. Cholesterol is a soft, waxy, fat-like substance found in every cell of the body. We need cholesterol to help digest fats, strengthen cell membranes, insulate nerves, and make hormones. Cholesterol is made primarily in the liver but also by cells lining the small intestine and by individual cells in the body. While our body makes all of the cholesterol we actually need (about 1,000 milligrams a day), we also get additional cholesterol from foods we eat.
The highest source of cholesterol are egg yolks and organ meats such a liver and kidney. No plant-derived food contains cholesterol, not even peanut butter or avocado, even though these foods are high in fat. However, all foods from animal sources such as meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products contain cholesterol.
Q. How does cholesterol cause heart disease?
A. Although cholesterol serves many important functions in the body, too much cholesterol in the bloodstream can be dangerous. When blood cholesterol reaches high levels, it builds up on artery walls, increasing the risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke.
The heart is a muscle, and like all muscles, needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients. The bloodstream transports these nutrients to the heart through the coronary arteries. If the coronary arteries became narrowed or clogged by cholesterol and fat deposits (artherosclerosis) and cannot supply enough blood to the heart, the result is coronary heart disease (CHD). IF not enough oxygen-carrying blood reaches the heart muscle, a sharp, sudden chest pain (angina) may occur. If the blood supply to a portion of the heart is completely cut off by total blockage of a coronary artery, the result is a heart attack. This is most often caused from a blood clot forming on top of an already narrowed artery.
Q. What is LDL and HDL cholesterol?
A. Cholesterol and other fats can’t dissolve in the blood and, therefore, can’t travel on their own. They have to be transported to and from the cells by special carriers called lipoproteins. The two major lipoproteins are low density lipoproteins (LDL) and high density lipoproteins (HDL). LDL is most often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol whereas HDL is known as the “good” cholesterol.
LDLs carry cholesterol throughout the body to the cells. LDLs cause artherosclerosis by clogging up our arteries with the continual buildup of fat. HDL, on the other hand, prevents this fat buildup within arterial walls, by carrying it away from the arteries, to the liver where it is eventually processed and eliminated.
Q. What are triglycerides?
A. Triglycerides are fats used as fuel by the body and as an energy source for metabolism. Triglyceride levels fluctuate easily, changing after every meal. Increased levels are almost always a sign of too much carbohydrate and sugar intake. Triglycerides in high amounts make the blood more sluggish and less capable of transporting oxygen, particularly through the small blood vessels. High triglycerides, along with high LDL “bad” cholesterol, are considered strong and independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease, leading to a heart attack or stroke.
There are several medications physicians can prescribe for people with elevated triglyceride levels. Some of the most effective (as well as the most harmful) are the statins. The powerful, all-natural combination of pantethine and plant sterols can safely and, just as effectively, lower both triglycerides and LDL “bad” cholesterol and increase HDL “good” cholesterol.
Q. What is pantethine and how does it lower cholesterol?
A. Pantethine, a form of pantothenic acid (also known as vitamin B5) is found in foods such as liver, salmon, and yeast. Pantethine lowers cholesterol by blocking its production.
Cholesterol synthesis, or the production of cholesterol in the human body, is an incredibly complex process. It involves many biochemical reactions and enzymes activity requiring several steps.
Studies have shown that pantethine inhibits several of these enzymes and coenzymes. It blocks the activity of one coenzyme involved in cholesterol synthesis, HMG-CoA, by about 50%. This results in significantly lower cholesterol production. But, that’s not all. To compensate for the lowered cholesterol production, the liver pulls LDL out of the bloodstream. The end results? Studies have shown that on average, pantethine can lower total cholesterol levels by 16%, LDL cholesterol levels by 14%, serum triglycerides by 38%, and can raise HDL cholesterol by 10%.
Q. What are plant sterols and how do they lower cholesterol levels?
A. Plant sterols are the fats of plants. They are found in nuts, vegetable oils, corn, and rice. Plant sterols are structurally similar to cholesterol and are able to act as a stand-in for cholesterol and block its absorption.
The liver receives about 800 mg of cholesterol every day from intestinal absorption. Cholesterol is absorbed from the intestines through receptor sites – special channels that are shaped exactly like cholesterol molecules. The cholesterol enters these channels and is then absorbed into the bloodstream. Because plant sterols look like cholesterol, they fit perfectly into these channels. The cholesterol, being blocked from absorption, remains in our intestines where it is eventually excreted.
If we eat enough plant sterols, the amount of cholesterol transported from the intestinal tract to the liver is greatly reduced. And, just like pantethine’s effect on the liver, this cholesterol reduction causes the liver to pull LDL cholesterol out of the blood, reducing both total and LDL cholesterol levels.
Q. Can’t we get the benefit of plant sterols and pantethine just by eating those foods that contain them?
A. These amounts of plant sterol and pantethine found in food just aren’t enough to have much of an effect on our health. In order to lower cholesterol levels, we need to take a concentrated combination of pantethine and plant sterols in just the right ratio.
Plant sterols are bound in fibers in the plants. Even if we ate lots of raw fruits and vegetables, we wouldn’t be getting many of these beneficial plant fats. There are also several forms of plant sterols. Some ratios of these plant sterols are more beneficial than others. On the average, we eat 160 to 360 mg of plant sterols a day.
While pantethine is found in several food sources, it is difficult to get beneficial amounts from our food. There are about 12 mg of pantethine in 3 ounces of brewer’s yeast and 8 mg in an average serving of liver.
Q. How much pantethine and plant sterol combination should I take?
A. Many studies have examined the effects of pantethine and plant sterols on cholesterol levels resulting in the determination of the most effective amounts to take of these heart healthy nutrients.
Manufacturers of high quality nutritional supplements offer pantethine combined with plant sterols in the most beneficial ratio as determined by the research. The best results are obtained by taking a combination of 400 mg of plant sterols and 200 mg of pantethine three times a day.
Q. Should only people with actual heart disease or those with high cholesterol levels be concerned about cholesterol?
A. No, recent studies have shown that cholesterol lowering in people without heart disease greatly reduces their risk for ever developing CHD, including heart attacks and artherosclerosis. This is true for those with high cholesterol levels and for those with average cholesterol levels.
Most physicians would never consider prescribing statin drugs to people without actual heart disease or high cholesterol levels because of the many health risks of the drugs. But the combination of pantethine and plant sterols can naturally and very effectively help those people with heart disease, high cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels (or all three!) as well as those of us just wanting added “health insurance” for our Hearts.
Q. Are pantethine and plant sterols safe?
A. Yes, both pantethine and plant sterols are very safe. Some people may experience some mild stomach upset when they first take pantethine. Taking the combination of pantethine and plant sterols with meals generally solves this problem.
Americans have listened, learned, and most importantly, taken to heart the vast and vital information on the need to keep our cholesterol levels under control. The result? More and more Americans are lucky enough to die of old age. The Centers for Disease Control recently released a report stating that the average American life expectancy has reached a new high of 76.9 years, thanks in no small measure to fewer people who are dying from heart disease,
The authors of this report stated that we could push our life expectancy even higher. We can attain healthy, old age by eating right, exercising regularly, and taking other simple steps to promote good health and prevent serious illness and heart disease. Taking the all-natural combination of pantethine and plant sterols is one simple, yet powerful step, to keep our Hearts and blood vessels healthy for a long, long time.
Active Coenzyme Q10
July 07, 2007 01:30 PM
The benefits of Coenzyme Q10 have become increasingly well-known. This important nutrient has been shown in clinical trials to improve heart function, reduce the side effects of certain drugs used to treat cancer, and slow the progression of serious brain diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. Now research has opened a new chapter in the CoQ10 story, highlighting the benefits of ubiquinol, the active form of CoQ10, to increase energy and stamina, and reduce some of he physical signs of aging.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor we will review the benefits of Coenzyme Q10, and discuss the differences between CoQ10 and its active form –ubiquinol.
Q. What is CoQ10?
A. CoQ10 is a natural, fat-soluble nutrient present in virtually all cells. CoQ10 also is known as ubiquinone. That’s because CoQ10 is ubiquitious and exists everywhere there is life. CoQ10 is vital to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. ATP is the energy-rich compound used for all processes requiring energy in the body. Although CoQ10 is produced by the body and exists in some limited dietary sources, these levels may be insufficient to meet the body’s requirements. CoQ10 levels diminish with age and as a result of dietary inadequacies and various disease states. Also, some drugs, especially a group of cholesterol lowering prescription drugs known as “statins,” (Pravachol, Zocor, Lipitor, etc.) significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body.
Q. What is ubiquinol? Is it the same or different from CoQ10?
A. Ubiquinol and CoQ10 are very closely related. Ubiquinone, or CoQ10, is the oxidized form of the molecule. This means it has to be converted to a non-oxidized form before it can perform its work. Ubiquinol is the active form of this nutrient. Our bodies convert CoQ10 to ubiquinol – which is the form needed to produce cellular energy. Until recently, it was not possible to use ubiquinol as a supplement because it is very unstable outside the human body. But research has now found a way to keep this molecule stable so it can be successfully taken in supplement form.
Q. If CoQ10 gets converted to ubiquinol anyway, can’t I just take CoQ10?
A. While it is true that our bodies can convert CoQ10 to ubiquinol, it isn’t true that we all do this equally well. In fact, as we age, our ability to convert CoQ10 to ubiquinol declines. And some people even have a gene that makes them less effective at this conversion than the majority of the population. IN fact, several common health issues have been associated with less than optimal ratios of CoQ10 to QH. For healthy people the ideal ratio is approximately 97% Ubiquinol to 3% CoQ10. But in people with diabetes, for example, the ratios have been found to range from 43% ubiquinol to 47% CoQ10 in mild diabetes, to only 24% ubiquinol to 76% CoQ10 in severe diabetes. These numbers are for men; the numbers for women vary by 2 to 5 percentage points.
So for older folks, the 30-50% of people who have the gene that impairs CoQ10 conversion, or for people who have serious health concerns, supplementing with ubiquinol instead of CoQ10 might be the smart choice.
Q. What are the health benefits of CoQ10 and Ubiquinol?
A. There have been many studies showing that CoQ10 is beneficial in treating and preventing heart disease and conditions such as high blood pressure atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), angina, and congestive heart failure (CHF). It’s been shown that heart attacks tend to occur when CoQ10 levels are low in the body. Exciting new research has found that CoQ10 in a unique delivery system supplementation may slow the progression of symptoms associated with neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, ALS, Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition, CoQ10 is beneficial for diabetes, immune dysfunction, cancer, periodontal disease, prostate cancer, and neurological disease. While the research on ubiquinol is still very new, it is reasonable to expect that its benefits will be equal to or perhaps even better than CoQ10, because it is the more active form.
Q. Why is CoQ10 especially important for preventing and treating heart disease, and for neurological diseases like Parkinson’s disease?
A. The heart and brain are some of the most metabolically active tissues in the body. Both require large amounts of uninterrupted energy, which means these tissues also need increased amounts of ubiquinol. Research has shown that many people with heart of brain diseases have serum CoQ10 levels that are lower than those of healthy people. Correcting such deficiencies often can produce significant results. However, these diseases become more common as we age – right at the time our ability to convert CoQ10 to its active form, ubiquinol, declines.
Q. How might ubiquinol be important for the heart?
A. Heart Health: A study on patients admitted to the hospital with an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) found that CoQ10 can provide rapid protective effects in patients with a heart attack if administered within three days of the onset of symptoms. Seventy-three patients received CoQ10 (120 mg/d). The study’s control group consisted of 71 similarly matched patients with acute AMI. After treatment, angina pectoris (severe chest pain signifying interrupted blood flow to the heart), total arrhythmias (dangerously irregular heartbeats), and poor function in the left ventricle (the essential chamber of the heart) were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared to the placebo group. Total deaths due to sudden cardiac failure and nonfatal heart attacks also were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared with the placebo group.
In another study, CoQ10 was studied in 109 patients with high blood pressure (hypertension). The patients were given varying doses of supplemental CoQ10 with the goal of attaining a certain blood level (greater than 2.0 mcg/l). Most patients were on medications to treat hypertension. Half the patients were able to stop taking some or all of their prescription drugs at an average of 4.4 months after starting CoQ10. The 9.4% of patients who had echocardiograms, performed both before and during treatment, experienced a highly significant improvement in heart wall thickness and function. This improvement was directly attributed to CoQ10 supplementation.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a debilitating disease that affects 5 million people in the
And Neurological Health?: A study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health showed that supplementing with CoQ10 in a unique delivery system was associated with a slowing of the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Participants were divided into 4 groups and their physical skills (coordination, walking, etc) and mental skills were evaluated. Each group then received 300 mg, 600 mg, or 1200 mg of a special form of chewable CoQ10, or a placebo. The researchers evaluated the participants after 1, 4,8, 12, and 16 months of treatment. Each participant was again scored on motor, mental, and activities of daily living skills.
The results of the study showed that the people who took the highest dosage of CoQ10-1200 mg-experienced the least decline in their physical abilities. The results were so encouraging that the researchers will be continuing with new studies, suing higher dosages to see if the results can get even better.
Huntington’s disease (HD) is a devastating and degenerative inherited disease that is always fatal. In fact, no other medication, drug, or nutritional supplement has ever been shown to cause a decline in the progression of this terrible disease. A study compared CoQ10 against remacemide (an investigational HD drug made by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals), in 347 HD patients who were in the early stages of the disease. Remacemide blocks glutamate, the neurotransmitter scientists think may cause the death of brain cells that occurs in Huntington’s disease. While remacemide had no effect on the progression of HD, CoQ10 showed a trend toward slowing the disease by an average of 15%. This meant the HD group taking CoQ10 was able to handle every day activities of life a little longer than the patients taking remacemide or a placebo. They also were able to focus their attention better, were less depressed, and less irritable.
The 15% slowing of decline can result in about one more year of independence of HD patients. Needless to say, the gift of an additional year of health in the lives of HD patients is incredibly significant.
Because of these impressive results, researchers are hopeful that supplemental CoQ10 will have beneficial effects for people with other neurological diseases such as ALS and Alzheimer’s disease, too. Studies are under way to confirm these effects.
Using the active form of CoQ10 helps to assure that, regardless of age or illness, the CoQ10 can have the greatest impact.
Q. What have been the results of research studies with Ubiquinol?
A. One of the most interesting effects of Ubiquinol that has been reported so far is its ability to slow the physical signs of aging. In laboratory studies, administration of stable ubiquinol to mice forestalled the changes associated with aging – rounded spine, patchy fur and irritated eyes. While the mice who received ubiquinol did not necessarily live longer than the mice that didn’t, they lived better. But it is important to note that these mice were bred to die at a young age. Human studies are needed to determined true impact on longevity.
Additionally, supplemental, stable ubiquinol has been shown to increase physical energy and stamina. In an animal study, the length of time rats were able to run on a treadmill before getting tired was measured. The same rats were then given ubiquinol and the treadmill test was repeated. The length of time the rats were able to run before tiring increased 150 times.
Q. How can one supplement have applications for neurological diseases, heart health, and even the immune system?
A. Supplements often have more than one function, especially when it’s a substance like CoQ10, which is present in all parts of the body. All nucleated cells (most cells other than red blood cells) have mitochondria and all cells require energy to function. CoQ10 is vital to ATP production. Thus, CoQ10 has applications not only in neurological (neurons or nervous system cells) and cardiac health (myocardium or heart tissue), but also for the immune system.
Q. Should I take CoQ10 or ubiquinol? How much should I take?
A. While everyone can benefit from CoQ10 or ubiquinol supplementation, it appears that ubiquinol should be the first choice for older adults, people with known genetic inefficiencies in converting CoQ10 to ubiquinol, and for people with serious heart disease or neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, who are otherwise supplementing with high levels of CoQ10. For people in overall good health, a high quality CoQ10 supplement with proven absorption is a good choice.
Take 200 to 300 mg of CoQ10 or 100 mg ubiquinol daily, depending on your health history. The safety of both forms has been tested, and no significant side effects reported. Occasional mild stomach upset may occur. Taking your CoQ10 or ubiquinol with meals usually alleviates this rare effect.
The Awesome Foursome: Coenzyme Q10, D-Ribose, L-Carnitine, and Magnesium
May 18, 2007 01:06 PM
The Awesome Foursome: Coenzyme Q10, L-Carnitine,
The “Awesome Foursome” of Coenzyme Q10, L-Carnitine, D-Ribose, and magnesium helps our Hearts metabolize energy more efficiently and protects them from the stress of cardiovascular disease. This powerful combination of nutrients goes directly to the basic biochemistry of cellular energy metabolism. Now let’s take a closer look at how Coenzyme Q10, L-Carnitine, D-Ribose, and magnesium work in synergy to promote cardiovascular health.
Energy Recycling through the Electron Transport Chain
Coenzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the mitochondrial membrane, mitochondrial DNA, and cell walls from free-radical attack. But its most important function in the body is its central role in energy metabolism.
Most – about 90 percent – of the ATP used by cells is recycled as food (fuel) and oxidized in the mitochondria. Fatty acids, carbohydrates, and, occasionally, proteins are carried across the mitochondrial membrane and enter the Krebs’ cycle, moving from step to step and spinning off electrons. These electrons are then handed off to the electron transport chain, where, in the presence of oxygen, the energy from the electrons is captured as a phosphate group is added to ADP to form ATP. This recycling of ATP is called oxidative phosphorylation, and the by-products of these pathways are CO2 and water.
In this fashion, Coenzyme Q10 acts as a gatekeeper of electrons, making sure they are carried to just the right place to pass on their life-giving energy.
What is critical, however, is the simple fact that without Coenzyme Q10 the electron transport chain would totally break down. And since the electron transport chain is (by far!) the largest contributor to cellular energy turnover, its loss would be catastrophic. It is also important to know that there has to be an excess of Coenzyme Q10 in the mitochondria to be maximally effective. Having just enough isn’t sufficient to do the job properly, and having a deficiency seriously affects the mitochondria’s ability to supply the cell with energy.
Cellular stress can cause Coenzyme Q10 deficiency, which places a severe strain on Coenzyme Q10 availability. People with heart disease, hypertension, gingival disease, Parkinson’s disease, and the other disorders we’ve discussed are known to be deficient in Coenzyme Q10. Whether these deficiencies are the cause or the effect of these varied medical problems, the end result is that they sap the life out of their mitochondria and reduce their energy supplies. You see, Coenzyme Q10 cannot function properly if electrons are not coming out of the Krebs’ cycle, and the Krebs’ cycle won’t work without the fuel that’s transported into the mitochondria by L-Carnitine.
Transporting the Cellular Energy Fuel
Fatty acids are the preferred energy fuel for Hearts and most other cells in the body. L-Carnitine facilitates the beta oxidation of fatty acids as energy fuel. And since fatty acids are the preferred fuel for energy recycling in cells, this action is critical to cell and tissue function. Unfortunately, L-carnitine is deficient in people with heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, lipid metabolic disorders, mitochondrial disorders, and many other disease syndromes we reviewed earlier. This L-carnitine deficiency disrupts the normal metabolism of fatty acids, reducing available energy supplies and leading to the accumulation of toxic by-products of fatty acid metabolism. L-carnitine supplementation revives fatty acid metabolism and restore normal mitochondrial function. But even this powerful improvement in cellular energy metabolism cannot up for the energy drain that comes from the loss of energy substrates caused by low oxygen delivery to the tissue. Only D-Ribose can do that.
Rebuilding the Cellular Energy Pool
As long as cells and tissues have plenty of oxygen, the pool of energy substrates in the cell remains high. And as long as there is enough L-carnitine and Coenzyme Q10 available, the process of energy utilization and supply can proceed unimpeded. However, the cellular supply of oxygen can be restricted by acute or chronic heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, any number of skeletal – or neuromuscular diseases, or even high-intensity exercise.
When cells are deprived of oxygen the mitochondrial energy turnover becomes inefficient. Remember, oxygen is required to let the oxidative pathway of energy recycling work properly. If the mitochondria are not able to recycle energy efficiently, cellular energy supply cannot keep pace with demand. But the cell has a continuing need for energy so it will use all its ATP stores and then break down the by-product, adenosine diphosphate (ADP), to pull the remaining energy out of this compound as well. What’s left is adenosine menophosphate (AMP). Since a growing concentration of AMP is incompatible with sustained cellular function it’s quickly broken apart and the by-products are washed out of the cell. The net result of this process is a depletion of the cellular pool of energy substrates. When the by-products of AMP catabolism are washed out of the cell, they are lost forever. It takes a long time to replace these lost energy substrates even if the cell is fully perfused with oxygen again.
Ribose is the only compound used by the body to refill this energy pool. Every cell in the body has the capacity to make ribose, but Hearts, muscles, and most other tissues lack the metabolic machinery to make ribose quickly when the cells are stressed by oxygen depletion or metabolic insufficiency. Ribose is made naturally in the cells from glucose. In stressed cells, however, glucose is preferentially metabolized for the energy turnover and is not available for ribose synthesis. So when energy pools are drained from stressed cells, the cells must first wait for the slow process of ribose synthesis before they can begin to replace their lost energy stores.
Acute ischemia, like that which takes place during a heart attack, heart surgery, or angioplasty, drains the cell of energy. Even when oxygenated blood flow returns, refilling the energy pool may take ten or more days. But when oxygen deprivation is chronic, or when energy metabolism is disrupted by disease, there may be so much continual strain on the energy supply that the pool can ever refill without the assistance of supplemental ribose. Conditions like ischemic heart disease or congestive heart failure fall into this category. In these situations, supplementing the tissue with exogenous ribose is the only way the cell can keep up with the energy drain.
Switching on the Energy Enzymes
Magnesium is an essential mineral that's critical for energy requiring processes, in protein synthesis, membrane integrity, nervous tissue conduction, neuromuscular excitation, muscle contraction, hormone secretion, maintenance of vascular tone, and in intermediary metabolism. Deficiency may lead to changes in neuromuscular, cardiovascular, immune, and hormonal function; Impaired energy metabolism; and reduced capacity for physical work. Magnesium deficiency is now considered to contribute to many diseases, and the role for magnesium as a therapeutic agent is expanding.
Magnesium deficiency reduces the activity of important enzymes used in energy metabolism. Unless we have adequate levels of magnesium in our cells, the cellular processes of energy metabolism cannot function. Small changes in magnesium levels can have a substantial effect on heart and blood vessel function. While magnesium is found in most foods - particularly vegetables - deficiencies are increasing. Softened water and a trend toward lower vegetable consumption are the culprits contributing to these rising deficiencies.
Supporting the Links in The Energy Cycle Chain – the Synergy
Clearly, each membrane of the “Awesome Foursome” is fundamental to cellular energy metabolism in its own right. Each plays a unique and vital role in supplying the heart with the energy it needs to preserve its contractile force. Each is independently effective in helping Hearts work through the stress of disease. And while each contributes immeasurable to the energy health of the cell, in combination they are unbeatable. Allow me to reiterate the step-by-step, complicated cellular processes involved to be sure that you really understand the rationale for using these nutrients.
The cell needs a large, sustained, and healthy pool of energy to fuel all its metabolic functions. Contraction, relaxation, maintenance of cellular ion balance, and synthesis of macromolecules, like proteins, all require a high energy charge to carry their reactions to completion. The energy pool must be preserved, or these fundamental cellular functions will become inefficient or will cease to operate altogether. To keep the pool vibrant and healthy, the cell needs ribose. But even with supplemental ribose, the cell needs the efficient turnover of its energy stores to balance ongoing energy utilization with supply. That’s where CoQ10 and L-carnitine come into play.
The converse is also true. Even if the cell is fully charged with energy, cellular energy supply will not keep pace with demand if the mitochondria are not functioning properly. CoQ10 and L-carnitine work to keep mitochondrial operations running at peak efficiency, and one side cannot work effectively without the other. Even though CoQ10 and L-carnitine can make the energy turnover mechanisms work more efficiently, they cannot increase the cell’s chemical driving force, and their action will be only partially effective. Ribose on the other hand, can keep the energy pool supplied with substrate, but the value of energy pool repletion cannot be fully realized if the substrate cannot be maximally utilized and recycled. Ribose fills the tank; CoQ10 an L-carnitine help the engine run properly.
Magnesium is the glue that holds energy metabolism together. By turning on the enzymes that drive the metabolic reactions, magnesium allows it all to happen.
These four nutrients must be utilized by cardiologists and other physicians as they treat patients day-to-day. On my own journey, using Coenzymes Q10 for two decades, L-carnitine for more than ten years, D-Ribose for two years, and magnesium equally as long, I’ve seen this “Awesome Foursome” reduce suffering and improve the quality of life for thousands of patients.
The future of nutrition in conventional medicine is very bright, although the integration of nutritional supplements has been a slow and, at times, lonely process.
L-carnitine and Coenzyme Q10 are finally gaining the recognition they deserve. D-Ribose is emerging as a new player in the complex understanding of metabolic cardiology, and doctors are beginning to discuss the important role of magnesium deficiency in heart patients. As a practicing cardiologist for over thirty years, I see metabolic cardiology as the future for the treatment of heart disease and other complex disease conditions, as well.
D-Ribose supplied by Bioenergy Life Science
April 19, 2007 02:44 PM
A UNIQUE SUGAR MAY BE KEY TO ENERGIZING THE FAILING HEART Bioenergy Life Science's D-ribose offers promising options for energy-deprived Hearts
MINNEAPOLIS, MN, APRIL 18, 2007-Following the recent publication in the New England Journal of Medicine that the failing heart is an "engine out of fuel" (N ENGL J MED 356;11, March 15, 2007), Bioenergy Life Science reports that D-ribose, a simple, five-carbon sugar, is a plausible option for addressing the nation's heart disease epidemic.
"When heart failure develops, many factors are involved, but energy deprivation is among the most important," said John St. Cyr, MD, PhD, the medical director of Bioenergy Life Science. "We've learned recently that patients with heart disease may have a deficient supply of high energy compounds. Past studies have demonstrated that D-ribose supplementation enhances the return of ATP levels with an associated improvement in diastolic function."
D-Ribose, unlike glucose, is a five-carbon sugar important for DNA, RNA, and most importantly, ATP, the "energy currency" of the cells. ATP is crucial in maintaining the integrity and function of every cell, which is necessary for day- to-day health. Ribose is one of the essential components of the ATP molecule.
D-Ribose, as a supplement, has repeatedly shown to improve functional capacity, quality of life, and everyday activities for patients afflicted with congestive heart failure.
Dr. Neubauer's article, "The Failing Heart - An Engine Out of Fuel," calls attention to the important underlying metabolic problem in patients with heart failure. "D-ribose could aid in this metabolic deficiency," said Dr. St. Cyr. "The number of heart failure patients continues to grow every year. By replenishing ATP to an energy-deficient heart we can significantly improve a patient's quality of life."
D-Ribose Powder Benefits!
April 10, 2007 11:57 AM
Supports normal heart function*
A significant amount of in vitro, animal and human research suggests benefits of ribose on heart function.* Studies have shown that ribose supplementation can enhance cardiac energy levels and support cardiovascular metabolism.* Ribose has been shown in clinical trials to enhance the recovery of heart muscle ATP levels and improve myocardial function following exercise.
Studies suggest that ribose supplementation can increase the tolerability of the cardiovascular system to exercise-induced fatigue.1 In one study, twenty men underwent treadmill exercise tests on two consecutive days to confirm the onset of fatigue secondary to exercise. The participants were then randomized to the treatment group or a placebo group. The groups received either four doses of 15 grams of D-ribose (60 grams/day total) or the same amount of placebo each day. After three days of treatment, another treadmill test was performed. The time it took to reach the specified level of fatigue was significantly greater in the ribose group than in the placebo group.
Another study investigated the ability of ribose to support healthy heart function and quality of life.2 In a randomized, crossover design study, fifteen individuals were given 5 grams three times a day of either D-ribose or placebo. Each treatment period lasted three weeks. In patients receiving ribose, echocardiography demonstrated enhancement of heart function, reflecting a “more efficient relaxation phase of the heart”. Participants also had a significant improvement in their subjective quality of life scores compared to placebo.
Scientists suggest that suboptimal heart function is a result of the heart requiring more energy to function properly. Ribose supports the heart’s enhanced energy requirements, promoting optimal heart function. It does so by enhancing the stores of high-energy phosphates in heart tissue. These intermediates are necessary for the production and resynthesis of ATP. A double-blind crossover study in which 12 individuals were randomized to receive either ribose or dextrose (both administered as 5 grams three times daily for three weeks, followed by a 1-week washout period and crossover of treatments for three additional weeks) suggested significant enhancements in normal cardiac function during the period of ribose supplementation.3
Perhaps one of the more useful illustrations of the potential for ribose to support heart function comes from a study in which 20 rats received a continuous infusion of ribose for 24 hours (control rats received an infusion of saline). The Hearts were then explanted (as they would be for heart transplants) and placed in preservation solution that was enriched with ribose for 4 hours. ATP levels were measured from tissue biopsies and revealed that 10 of the ribose-treated Hearts had ATP levels higher than 12.3 micromoles per gram whereas saline-treated Hearts (controls) had lower ATP levels, with 20% showing levels below 10 micromoles per gram of tissue. This provides support for the hypothesis that ribose may enhance the preservation of ATP levels in cardiac tissue, promoting normal heart function.4
Further animal studies have shown that ribose significantly enhances heart function after experimentally induced cardiac depression. Rats were injected with isoproterenol (a drug that stimulates sympathetic nervous system function) and had their abdominal aorta constricted to induce depression of heart function and reduce cardiac ATP levels. The decrease in ATP was primarily responsible for the depression of heart function. Continuous infusion of ribose for 24 hours replenished ATP concentrations to normal levels and normalized heart function in these animals.5
Ribose may strengthen and support the body’s crucial antioxidant defenses*
Ribose may support the body’s innate antioxidant mechanisms while promoting an antioxidant effect of its own. Intense exercise and other strenuous activity can induce the production of free radicals. Preliminary studies suggest that ribose can attenuate some of the effects of oxidation seen after performance of intensive exercise.
One small human study indicated that ribose administered at a dose of seven grams before and after a bout of cycling exercise may reduce free radical production.6 Seven volunteers ingested either ribose or placebo both before and after intense exercise. Markers of lipid peroxidation, including malondialdehyde, significantly decreased in the ribose-supplemented group, while increasing in the control group. The results of this study indicate a possible effect of ribose in supporting antioxidant activity.
Supports healthy energy levels in heart and muscle tissue*
After bouts of intense exercise, ATP levels have been shown to decrease by an average of 15 to 20%.7 The amount of ATP stored in the muscle is limited and so the body must have the potential to rebuild ATP stores. ATP is the fuel necessary for the integrity and function of a cell. In addition, several studies have found correlations between ATP content and heart function.1 Research that was also alluded to above suggests that ribose stimulates ATP synthesis and supports heart and muscle function by enhancing ATP levels in cardiac and muscle tissue. D-ribose is an essential building block for the synthesis of ATP through the pentose phosphate pathway.
The results of ribose supplementation enhancing ATP levels in muscle are evidenced by studies suggesting beneficial effects on anaerobic performance. In a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study assessing the effects of acute ribose supplementation, participants receiving the ribose supplement had increases in mean power (a measure of average overall muscular strength output during the sprint) and peak power (a measure of the highest muscular strength output during the sprint) when undergoing a series of cycle sprints.8 While this effect was not noted in all of the six short cycling sprints that the participants underwent, the study does illustrate the potential benefits of ribose on ATP production and, secondarily, on enhancing exercise performance.
A second placebo-controlled trial investigated the effects of four weeks of ribose-supplementation (10 grams /day) on male bodybuilders. Of the 20 participants who were recruited, twelve completed the study. Each subject participated in a heavy-resistance training program designed to increase skeletal muscle mass. The effects of ribose on body composition (body weight, body fat, lean body mass, fat mass, and bone mineral content) were also assessed. The results suggested that ribose increased total work capacity and bench press strength compared to placebo, without altering body composition.9
Supports energy recovery after exercise*
Animal studies have suggested that the administration of ribose after exercise increases the rate of adenine salvage by five to seven-fold in muscle tissue7, supporting energy recovery after exercise. When ATP is utilized by muscle tissue, the degradation products include adenine nucleotides (Adenine is one of two purine bases that is a component of DNA). Adenine is recycled to synthesize DNA, and the salvage of adenine within the muscle tissue is crucial to energy recovery. Studies have shown that the presence of adequate ribose concentrations is the rate-limiting step in the purine salvage pathway. Therefore, increased adenine salvage could potentially help in the recovery and regeneration of ATP after intense bouts of activity.
A study investigated the effect of oral intake of ribose on the synthesis of AMP, a precursor to ATP.10 Participants performed intense cycle training for seven days. They then received either ribose (at a concentration of 200 mg/kg body weight, which is equivalent to 14 grams per day for an average 70 kilogram male) or placebo three times a day for the following three days. Exercise tests were performed again on day 4. Muscle biopsy samples were taken before the first training session, immediately after, and again five hours, 24 hours, and 72 hours after the last training session. No differences were seen in exercise performance between the groups. The intense exercise caused the ATP levels in muscle to decrease in both groups. However, at 72 hours post-exercise, the ribose group exhibited a much higher ATP level than the placebo group. The muscle levels of critical building blocks for ATP, including total adenine nucleotides (TAN) and inosine 5’-monophosphate (IMP), were also significantly higher in the ribose group compared to the placebo group at 24 hours after exercise. Ribose-supplementation was shown to enhance the resynthesis of ATP after intense exercise.
*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.
Caution: Insulin-dependent diabetics and pregnant women should consult their physician before use.
Suggested Adult Use: Take 1 or 2 scoops mixed in water, juice or other beverage two times per day. May be taken with or without food.
1) Pliml, W., von Arnim, T., Stablein, A., Hofmann, H., Zimmer, H., Erdmann, E. Effects of ribose on exercise-induced ischaemia in stable coronary artery disease. The Lancet. 1992;340:507-510.
2) Omran, H., Illien, S., MacCarter, D., St. Cyr, J.A., Luderitz, B. D-Ribose improves diastolic function and quality of life in congestive heart failure patients: a prospective feasibility study. The European Journal of Heart Failure. 2003;5:615-619.
3) Illien, S., Omran, H., MacCarter, D., St. Cyr, J.A. Ribose improves myocardial function in congestive heart failure. FASEB Journal 2001;15(5): A1142
4) Muller C., Zimmer H., Gross M., Gresser U., Brotsack I., Wehling M., Pliml W. Effect of ribose on cardiac adenine nucleotides in a donor model for heart transplantation. Eur J Med Res. 1998 Dec 16;3(12):554-8.
5) Zimmer H.G. Normalization of depressed heart function in rats by ribose. Science. 1983 Apr 1;220(4592):81-2.
6) Seifert, J.G., Subudhi, A., Fu, M., Riska, J.J. The effects of ribose ingestion on indices of free radical production during hypoxic exercise. Free Rad Biol Med 2002; 33(Suppl 1) S269.
7) Zarzeczny, R., Brault, J.J., Abraham, K.A., Hancock, C.R., Terjung, R. Influence of ribose on adenine salvage after intense muscle contractions. J Applied Physiology. 2001;91:1775-1781.
8) Berardi J.M., Ziegenfuss T.N. Effects of ribose supplementation on repeated sprint performance in men. J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Feb;17(1):47-52.
9) Van Gammeren, D.V., Falk, D., Antonio, J. The effects of four weeks of ribose supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in healthy, young, male recreational bodybuilders: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Current Ther Research. 2002;63(8):486-495.
10) Hellsten, Y., Skadhauge, L., Bangsbo, J. Effect of ribose supplementation on resynthesis of adenine nucleotides after intense intermittent training in humans. American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. 2004;286:R182-R188.
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CoQ10 for Heart Health
March 28, 2007 12:39 PM
CoQ10 for Heart Health
More than 40% of all deaths in the
One of the most – if not the most – important things people can do to improve their overall health and life expectancy is to improve their heart health. Diet, exercise, and the wise use of dietary supplements can improve heart health dramatically. One dietary supplement that’s extremely beneficial to heart health is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).
Q. What is CoQ10?
A. CoQ10 is a natural, fat-soluble nutrient present in virtually all cells. CoQ10 also is known as ubiquinone. That’s because CoQ10 is ubiquitous and exists everywhere there is life. CoQ10 is vital to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. ATP is the energy-rich compound used for all energy-requiring processes in the body. Although COQ10 is produced by the body and exists in some dietary sources, these levels may be insufficient to meet the body’s requirements. CoQ10 levels diminish with age and as a result of dietary inadequacies and various disease states. Also, some drugs, especially a group of cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs known as “statin,” (Pravachol, Zocor, Lipitor, etc.) significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body.
Q. For what health conditions is CoQ10 used?
A. CoQ10 is beneficial in treating and preventing CVD and conditions such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), angina, and congestive heart failure (CHF). It’s been shown that heart attacks tend to occur when CoQ10 levels are low in the body. In addition, CoQ10 is beneficial for diabetes, immune dysfunction, cancer, periodontal disease, prostate cancer, and neurological disease.
Q. Why is CoQ10 especially important to heart health?
A. The heart is one of the most metabolically active tissues in the body. In the average person, the heart propels 2,000 gallons of blood through 65,000 miles of blood vessls by beating 100,000 times each day. Thus, it requires large amounts of uninterrupted energy. Heart cells have a greater number of mitochondria, and subsequently, more CoQ10 than any other type of cell. Each heart cell can have thousands of mitochondria to meet these energy demands.
Mitochondria are highly specialized structures within each cell and are often referred to as cell powerhouses. These tiny energy-produces produce 95% of the energy the body requires. The number of mitochondria in a cell depends on its function and energy needs. A cell’s ATP production is dependent on adequate amounts of CoQ10.
Heart disease patients are commonly CoQ10 deficient. Correcting such deficiencies often can produce amazing results. The presence of supplemental CoQ10 is a key to the heart’s optimum performance.
In people who have had a heart attack (myocardial infarction), CoQ10 assists in repairing the heart muscle and restoring heart function. This is due to increased ATP production.
Q. What studies support this fact?
A. A 1998 study found CoQ10 can provide rapid protective effects in patients with a heart attack if administered within three days of the onset of symptoms. The study focused on patients admitted to the hospital with an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) diagnosis. Seventy-three patients received CoQ10 (120 mg/d). The study’s control group consisted of 71 similarly matched patients with acute AMI. After treatment, angina pectoris (severe chest pain signifying interrupted blood flow to the heart), total arrhythmias (dangerously irregular heartbeats), and poor function in the left ventricle (the essential chamber of the heart) were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared to the placebo group. Total deaths due to sudden cardiac failure and nonfatal heart attacks also were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared with the placebo group.
In another study, CoQ10 was studied in 109 patients with high blood pressure (hypertension). The patients were given varying doses of supplemental CoQ10 with the goal of attaining a certain blood level (greater than 2.0 mcg/l). Most patients were on medications to treat hypertension. Half the patients were able to stop taking one to three antihypertensive drugs at an average of 4.4 months after starting CoQ10. Only 3% of patients required the addition of one antihypertensive drug. The 9.4% of patients who have echo cardiograms, performed both before and during treatment, experienced a highly significant improvement in heart wall thickness and function. This improvement was directly attributed to CoQ10 supplementation.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a debilitating disease that affects 5 million people in the
Q. I’ve heard that CoQ10 can also help people who have neurological diseases. Is this true?
A. Yes, it is. CoQ10 has been studied for its ability to improve the health of individuals with amotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. A recently completed study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health showed that CoQ10 caused a slowing of the progression of Huntington’s disease, a devastating and degenerative disease that is always fatal. In fact, no other medication, drug, or nutritional supplemental has ever been shown to cause a decline in the progression of this terrible disease.
The study compared CoQ10 against remacemide (an investigational HD drug made by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals), in 347 HD patients who were in the early stages of the disease. Remacemide blocks glutamate, the neurotransmitter scientists think may cause the death of brain cells that occurs in Huntington’s disease. While remacemide had no effect on the progression of HD, CoQ10 showed a trend toward slowing the disease by an average of 15%. This meant the HD group taking CoQ10 was able to handle every day activities of life a little longer than the patients taking remacemide or a placebo. They also were able to focus their attention better, were less depressed, and less irritable. The 15% slowing of decline means that CoQ10 can result in about one more year of independence for HD patients. Needless to say, the gift of an additional year of health in the lives of HD patients is incredibly significant.
Because of these impressive results with HD, researchers are hopeful that the studies of CoQ10 in those with ALS and Parkinson’s disease will similarly have a positive effect on the symptoms and/or progression of these neurological disorders, too.
Q. Why is it crucial for a CoQ10 supplement to cross the blood-brain barrier?
A. The brains’ blood vessels are composed of cells with extremely tight junctions. These junctions form the blood-brain barrier, which restricts what can pass from the bloodstream into the brain. While this barrier protects the brain, it can be a significant obstacle to central nervous system therapy. To leave the bloodstream and reach the brain cells, a substance must pass through the tightly connected cells of the capillary walls. Only substances with unique solubilities or those with a transport system can cross the blood-brain barrier to a significant degree. As a result, crossing the blood-brain barrier presents a significant challenge to supporting neurological health.
While most CoQ10 supplements enter the bloodstream and increase blood serum levels, only special forms of CoQ10 have been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier. For CoQ10 to enter the mitochondria within the brain, CoQ10 must first cross the blood-brain barrier to produce significant neurosupportive clinical results.
Q. How can one supplement have applications for neurological diseases, heart health, and even the immune system?
A. Supplements often have more than one function, especially when it’s a substance like CoQ10, which is present in all parts of the body. All nucleated cells (most cells other than red blood cells) have mitochondria and all cells require energy to function. CoQ10 is vital to ATP production. Thus, CoQ10 has applications not only in neurological (neurons or nervous system cells) and cardiac health (myocardium or heart tissue), but also for the immune system.
Q. Are all CoQ10 supplements created equal? Doesn’t CoQ10 just have to get into the bloodstream to be effective?
A. There are some important distinctions among CoQ10 products, as they vary greatly in quality and absorbability. It’s crucial to find a CoQ10 product that’s:
1. Scientifically shown to absorb through the digestive tract, cross cellular membranes, and increase mitochondrial levels of CoQ10. Chewable forms of CoQ10 provide rapid bioavailability and absorption. Serum level determination of CoQ10 in the bloodstream is not necessarily the most important measure of efficacy. For a CoQ10 supplement to be fully effective, it must cross the cellular barrier and raise intracellular CoQ10 levels. A key indicator of effective CoQ10 supplementation is its presence in cell mitochondria.
2. The natural form of CoQ10. The natural process uses living organisms. CoQ10 also can be synthesized by a chemical process, which produces a distinctly different product that contains chemical compounds not found in the natural form.
3. Formulated with ingredients that provide the transport system CoQ10 needs to cross cellular membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Not all forms of CoQ10 have been scientifically proven to cross cell membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Some prestigious groups that have investigated this issue include researchers at
4. Studied by respected organizations, with research published in peer-reviewed journals by reputable scientists.
Q. How much CoQ10 should I take?
A. Take 100 to 200 mg of CoQ10 daily, depending on your family history of heart disease and personal heart disease experience.
CoQ10’s safety has been evaluated. Dosages in studies have ranged from 100 mg to 1,200 mg per day. To date, no toxicities have been reported. Occasional mild stomach upset may occur. Taking CoQ10 with meals usually alleviates this rare effect.
Q. What are some other heart-friendly supplements?
A. CoQ10 is an excellent supplement for overall cardiovascular health, as in L-carnitine. L-carnitine is the naturally occurring form of carnitine that’s found in food and synthesized in the body. Much of the body’s L-carnitine is found in the heart and skeletal muscle, tissues that rely on fatty acid oxidation for most of their energy. Nearly 70% of the energy needed for heart function is derived from fatty acid breakdown. Proper L-carnitine supplementation transports fatty acids into cell mitochondria, where it’s burned for energy. L-carnitine is an excellent addition to CoQ10, especially for people with heart disease, and has been shown to improve many symptoms associated with CVD. In one study, people who had experienced one heart attack received either L-carnitine or placebo. The L-carnitine group had a statistically significant reduction in second heart attacks, and improved overall survival.
Q. What supplements support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol?
A. In addition to maintaining overall cardiovascular health, it’s also important to address your essential fats/lipids levels and healthy circulation/blood pressure. Fish oil supplements can significantly reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and homocysteine levels. Choose a supplement that’s a rich source of EPA and DHA, omega-3 fatty acids naturally obtainable in fish oil. Find a product that’s been clinically studied and purified to ensure it contains the beneficial active constituents of the whole oil, while removing any dioxins, DDT, PCBs, or heavy metals, toxins present in some commercial fish oil preparations. An enteric-coated garlic product that provides a minimum of 5,000 mcg of beneficial allicin supports healthy blood pressure and circulation. And magnesium, niacin, vitamin E, folic acid, hawthorn extract, and L-cysteine provide overall nutritional support to the heart and vascular system.
CoQ10 is not the only answer to the complex issues of heart disease, neurological disease, or immune dysfunction; however, research indicates that it’s a bigger piece of the puzzle than physicians and scientists ever imagined. The more we study this naturally occurring compound, the more benefits we find.
The key to this supplement is the manufacturing quality. For safety and overall effectiveness, use a CoQ10 product that’s supported by product-specific research from reputable institutions. Choose tested products from a well-respected company to increase your potential to achieve and maintain heart and blood vessel health.
Supplementation with clinically studied products can have a major impact on your heart’s health and strength. However, no supplement replaces the need to eat a healthful diet low in refined foods (especially sugar), and saturated fats, and to exercise your most important muscle – your heart – on a regular basis.
Fruit and Vegetable Lightning drink mixes from Natures Plus
February 06, 2007 02:41 PM
Enjoy the Rainbow – the Color Wheel of Fruits and Vegetables
We’ve all heard the statistics, and have probably seen the signs in the produce section of our favorite grocery store: eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day is important,
Chances are also pretty good that we’ve also seen the newest food pyramid, encouraging Americans to “eat a rainbow of frits and vegetables.” That is, choose from the rich variety of colors for the best all-around health benefits.
In this Ask the Doctor, we’re going to look at the unique health components of different colored fruits and vegetables, and why they’re so important. Plus, we’ll learn about supplemental options, like fruit and vegetable drink mixes, for those days when our diets just aren’t that great.
Q. What’s the big deal about fruits and vegetables?
A. Well, for the main reason that they are whole foods – created by nature (or at least generations of farming) and are rich in a variety of nutrients. Processed foods can’t match the health benefits of strawberries or broccoli – items that have fiber, vitamins, and enzymes built right in.
Q. What does “eating a rainbow” of fruits and vegetables really mean?
A. This is simply an easy way of remembering to get as much color variety in your diet as possible to maximize your intake of a broad range of nutrients. The colors of fruits and vegetables are often a tangible clue to the unique vitamins and other healthy substances they contain. Getting a variety of colors, therefore, means getting a variety of the essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and strong.
Enjoying the Rainbow: Fruit and Vegetable Benefits:
Q. Can you tell me a little more about the healthy components of fruits and vegetables?
Let’s take a look at some of the most well-studied and important nutrients:
Quercetin is found in apples, onions and citrus fruits (also is hawthorn and other berries and apple-related fruits usually used in traditional herbal remedies and modern supplements). It prevents LSL cholesterol oxidation and helps the body cope with allergens and other lung and breathing problems.
Clinical studies show that quercetin’s main points of absorption in the body appear to be in the small intestine – about 50%. The rest – at least 47% is metabolized by the colonic micro flora – the beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum. You may consider adding these beneficial bacteria (found in yogurt) either through the diet or a supplemental form.
Ellagic Acid is a component of ellagitannins – dietary polyphenols with antioxidant (and possibly anticancer) properties. Polyphenols are the basic building blocks of many plant-based antioxidants. More complex phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids are created from these molecules.
Ellagic acid is found in many fruits and foods, namely raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates, and walnuts. Clinical studies suggest that ellagitannins and ellagic acid act as antioxidants and anticarcinogens in the gastrointestinal tract.
Ellagitannins are durable antioxidants, and happily, they do not appear to be diminished by processing, like freezing. This means the benefits are still strong, even in frozen packs of raspberries or strawberries, or some of the better multi-ingredient supplement drink mixes.
In scientific studies, ellagic acid also showed an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells, decreasing their ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production. ATP is the molecule that provides the primary energy source for the cells in our bodies. In a sense, ellagic acid seems to deprive cancer cells of their fuel.
Beta-Carotene: Probably the best-known of the carotenoids, beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A. Many vegetables, especially orange and yellow varieties, are rich in this nutrient. Think summer squash, yams and of course, carrots.
Beta-carotene has long been associated with better eyesight, but it has other benefits, too. In a scientific study, beta-carotene decreased cholesterol levels in the liver by 44% and reduces liver triglycerides by 40%.
Lycopene is a carotenoid mostly found in tomatoes, but also in smaller amounts in watermelon and other fruits. Clinical studies have shown that lycopene consumption may decrease the risk of prostate cancer. In fact, high intakes of lycopene are associated with a 30% to 40% reduced risk. And, as good as beta-carotene is, its cousin, lycopene, seems to be an even stronger nutrient, protecting not just against prostate cancer, but heart disease as well.
Lutein is found in many fruits and vegetables, including blueberries and members of the squash family. Lutein is important for healthy eyes, and in fact it is found in high concentrations naturally in the macular region of the retina – where we see fine detail. It is one of the only carotenoids, along with its close sibling zeaxanthin, that is found in the macula and lens of the eye.
Lutein also supports your heart, too. In a scientific study, lutein reduced atherosclerotic lesion size by 43%. In other words, high intakes of lutein may actually help prevent coronary artery disease!
Interestingly, as is the case with lycopene, cooking or processing foods with lutein may actually make it more easily absorbed.
In clinical studies, men with high intakes of lutein (and its close cousin, zeaxanthin, found in broccoli and spinach) had a 19% lower risk of cataract, and women had a 22% decreased risk, compared to those whose lutein intakes were much lower.
Vitamin C: One of the best-known nutrients out there, vitamin C keeps our immune system strong; speeds wound healing, and promote strong muscles and joints. A free-radical fighter, vitamin C prevents oxidative damage to tissues, builds strength in collagen and connective tissue, and even reduces joint pain.
Sources of vitamin C are scattered throughout the spectrum of fruits and vegetables.
Potassium: Most Americans are deficient in potassium. For the most part, it’s hard to get too much of this valuable mineral. Potassium does great things for our Hearts. Higher intakes of dietary potassium from fruits and vegetables have been found in clinical research to lower blood pressure in only 4 weeks.
Many researchers believe that the typical American diet has led to a state of chronic, low-grade acidosis – too much acid in the body. Potassium helps change pH balance to a more alkaline environment in the body and increases bone density.
This was proven in the long-running Framingham Heart Study which showed that dietary potassium, (along with magnesium and fruit and vegetable intake) provided greater bone density in older individuals.
Fiber is another food component many just don’t get enough of – especially if they’re eating a “typical American diet.” Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber. However, fiber from a good fruits and vegetable drink mix should be derived from inulin and chicory root. This soluble fiber source not only adds to the overall amount of fiber you need (25 to 38 grams a day), but also provides a nice “nesting ground” for the beneficial bacteria that populate the intestines. And, even though some fiber has a bad rap for inhibiting mineral absorption, inulin and chicory root are “bone building” fibers – they actually help the body absorb calcium.
Flavonoids are an overarching term that encompasses flavonols, anthocyanidins, and flavones, isoflavones, proanthocyanidins, Quercetin and more. They are almost everywhere: in fruits, vegetables, grains, herbs, nuts and seeds – even in the coffee, wine and tea we drink. Flavonoids are responsible for the colors in the skins of fruits and the leaves of trees and other plants.
Flavonoids have many health benefits. They can help stop the growth of tumor cells and are potent antioxidants. Additionally, flavonoids have also been studied for their ability to reduce inflammation.
Anthocyanins: High on the list of important “visible” nutrients are anthocyanins. They color fruits and vegetables blue and red.
Anthocyanins are members of this extended family of nutmeats, the flavonoids. Typically found in high amounts in berries, anthocyanins are readily absorbed in the stomach and small intestine.
As antioxidants, anthocyanins dive deep into cell membranes, protecting them from damage. IT may be one reason why the anthocyanins from blueberries are considered such an important component in battling neuronal decline, like Alzheimer’s. Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are also excellent sources of this flavonoids group.
SDG lignans, (short for secoisolariciresinol diglucoside) are polyphenolic components of flaxseed, pumpkin and other herbal sources. Much of the recent research surrounding lignans has focused on flaxseed. In scientific and clinical studies, lignans from flaxseed support hormonal balance and may have cancer-preventing abilities. In fact, in one study, flaxseed lignans reduced metastatic lung tumor by 82% compared to controls.
The lignans in pumpkin seed, also considered a major source, target 5-alpha reductase activity.
This enzyme catalyzes the conversion of testosterone into the more potent dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT, like testosterone, is a steroid hormone or androgen. Androgens are responsible for the development and maintenance of masculine sex characteristics in both men and women. Excess levels of DHT can cause serious problems with prostate or bladder health. That’s why modulation of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme is so important – it helps maintain healthy testosterone and DHT levels. By balancing the levels of these key hormones, pumpkin seed lignans provide protection for prostate and bladder cells.
In addition, pumpkin seed has been shown to modulate the enzyme aromatase. Aromatase is present in the estrogen-producing cells of the adrenal glands, ovaries, testicles, adipose tissue, and brain. Aromatase converts testosterone, an androgen, into estradiol, and estrogen.
Inhibition of the aromatase conversion can help maintain a balance of healthy testosterone levels in women, which has been shown to strengthen pelvic muscles and reduce incidence of incontinence.
In fact, a clinical study, involving a pumpkin extract in conjunction with soy, resulted in significant support for bladder health. After two weeks of supplementation, 23 of the 39 postmenopausal women enrolled in the study showed great improvement in urinary frequency and sleep. By the end of the six week study, 74.4 percent of participants found pumpkin extract safely and significantly improved “nocturnia,” that is, the need to urinate frequently at night. For individuals with 2 to 4 episodes of nocturnia prior to the stud, and 81.8% improvement was seen – also showing great improvement in sleep quality. After all, if you don’t have to wake up every couple of hours to go to the bathroom you’re bound to get better sleep.
Beta glucan: Mushrooms are intense immune-boosting powerhouses due to their beta-glucan content. Three well-studied power-house mushrooms that contribute beta glucan to the diet include maitake, reishi and shiitake.
The most significant constituents of mushrooms are long chain polysaccharides (molecules formed from many sugar units) known as beta-glucan. These huge molecules act as immunoregualtors in the human body, helping to stabilize and balance the immune system.
This includes specific support of white blood cells, or lymphocytes, the primary cells of the immune system. Lymphocytes fall broadly into three categories: T cells, B cells, and natural killer (NK) cells.
In one clinical study, 165 patients with various types of advanced cancer were given maitake mushroom compounds alone or with chemotherapy. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was observed in 58% of liver cancer patients, and 62% of lung cancer patients. Plus, when maitake was taken in addition to chemotherapy, the immune cell activities were enhanced 1.2 to 1.4 times, compared with chemotherapy alone.
In another clinical study, researchers determined that Reishi increased the number of cancer killing white blood cells and made them more deadly to cancer cells.
And, in a scientific study of human breast cancer and myeloma cancer and myeloma cancer cell lines, shiitake compounds provided a 51% antiproliferative effect on the cells – inducing “apoptosis’ – the programmed cell death that should occur naturally.
While beta-glucan are distributed throughout the mushroom body, the beta-glucan concentrations are significantly higher in the mycelium – the interwoven fibers or filaments that make up the “feeding structure” of the mushroom.
Bioflavonoids are commonly found in bright yellow citrus fruits, including lemons, limes and oranges. They are responsible for the bright pigment found in the skin of the fruit, and are considered a “companion” to vitamin C, seeming to extend the value of the nutrient within the body.
Hesperidin is just one of the valuable bioflavonoids found in citrus. Hesperidin appears to lower cholesterol levels, as well as support joint collagen in examples of rheumatoid arthritis.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG):
Polyphenols, most notably EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, are well-studied and powerful components of tea. EGCG has been shown to reduce colon and breast cancer risk. Green tea also boosts the immune system and encourages T-cell formation – part of the front-line defense of our bodies against sickness and disease.
Q. I’ve been seeing articles about fruits, vegetables and supplements touting “high ORAC value.” What does this mean?
ORAC is an acronym for Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity, and is simply a measurement of antioxidant activity of nutrients. Oxygen radicals, or free radicals, are unstable molecules. They grab electrons from other cells to use for themselves, and in the process can damage them. It is believed that free radical activity plays a role in the development of many diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and also plays a role in aging.
Antioxidants help prevent this damage by “loaning out” extra electrons to stabilize free radicals/ Consider any fruit or vegetable with a high ORAC rating as having a lot of “antioxidant power.”
I know I should eat more fruits and vegetables, but it just seems so hard to get five servings a day.
The number one excuse I hear for not buying frits and veggies is that “fruits and vegetables are too expensive.” But are they really? Certainly, fresh foods that aren’t in season and have to be shipped a distance can be a bit pricey. If anyone added up how much spend on fast food, or prepackaged or processed snacks, it would probably be shocking.
Luckily, there are many ways to get your “Daily 5”. For instance, frozen fruits and veggies retain much of their nutrient profile. They can be an excellent alternative when certain foods are out of season. So too, are fruit and vegetable drink mixes – excellent supplemental sources of some of the nutrients our bodies need most.
More recently, the American
Of course, for people not accustomed to the fiber in fruits and veggies, there is some reason to think it’ll increase gas. When cell walls break down, and fiber passes through the system, it can create flatulence. Folks who eat fruits and vegetables every day generally don’t have this problem. Their systems are already accustomed to it.
For those just starting out on a better diet, however, start slowly – it helps your body adapt. Cooking vegetables can help, too, because it begins breaking down the cell walls early on.
One thing is certain, however. The “Typical American Diet” and good health are mutually exclusive. The increase in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension all point to the abuse our bodies suffer by eating diets high in fatty meats, processed sugars, and refined grains.
Q. Can I just drink fruit and vegetables drinks in place of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables?
Green drinks and fruit and vegetable drink mixes aren’t meant to replace whole foods, but they can be an excellent substitute when you’re rushed or traveling or just trying to fill everyday nutritional gaps. Their whole food ingredients absorb very easily and gently in the gut, and many of these drink mixes contain healthy doses of fiber, too.
Green drink mixes and food-based drink mixes combine many colorful fruits and vegetables and sometimes grasses in a healthy, mixable supplement assortment. While there have been many advancements in the field of green drinks, there are only a few that take the primary reason we eat into consideration: taste!
Happily, there are some companies out there with great-tasting drink mixes that also formulate based on the color concept, ensuring you get the broadest assortment of nutrients from a full range of fruit and vegetable colors to promote optimal health.
High-quality fruit and vegetable drink mixes offer the best from nature’s color wheel in a convenient and great-tasting supplement. So, the next tie you feel like taking a coffee break – try a fruit and veggie break instead. Your body and spirit will thank you.
For Better Heart Health ...
February 06, 2007 12:57 PM
Nutrients Every Heart Needs
High blood pressure. High cholesterol levels. Ever increasing stress. All are factors related to the development of heart disease – the leading cause of death for both men and women. In fact, 1 in 2 women in the
Fortunately, heart disease is a problem you can do something about. Proven ways to prevent or mitigate the effects of heart disease include taking targeted nutritional supplements, making changes in the foods we eat, exercising most days of the week, drinking in moderation, eliminating tobacco use and adapting a positive attitude. Research shows that those of us who are often angry and depressed have more heart disease than people that live their lives with a more positive outlook.
In this Ask the Doctor, we’ll talk about specific nutritional supplements that are heart healthy, whether your goal is to prevent heart disease or reduce the effects of heart disease if you currently have it.
Q. I am trying hard to live a healthier life. But it all seems so overwhelming. How do I start?
A. It may help to know that you’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed. Lots of people feel this way. This is why the Centers for Disease Control and the American Heart Association are both urging people to prevent heart disease by identifying their individual health risk factors.
A risk factor is an indicator of whether or not you may develop a certain health condition. In heart disease prevention, there are two kinds of risk factors. There are risk factor you can control – such as diet, exercise, and the supplements you take. There are also risk factors you can’t change or control –your age, race, and gender, as well as your family’s history of heart disease.
Examples can be really helpful. Let’s follow three adults – Fred, Jane, and Earl – and determine their risk factors.
Fred is 32, single, has a job he loves, has an optimistic attitude about his life, and works out 5 days a week. Most days Fred’s diet is fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat. Occasionally Fred will eat a cheeseburger and fries when he watches the game with his buddies. Fred’s risk factors are his male gender and the occasional high fat content in his diet.
Jane is 55, a lawyer, married, and has a very stressful job. Jane eats lots of salads, fruits, and whole grains. However, her job requires her to work long hours which leaves little time to exercise. Jane is for the most part happy with her life, but her work stress had led to times of negativity. Her father had a heart attack when he was 56. Jane’s risk factors include her age (greater than 50), negativity from job stress, lack of regular exercise, and a family history of heart disease.
Earl is 65, married, and has just retired from a job he hated. He spends most of his day watching TV and eating potato chips and other high fat, salty snacks. Earl has told his friends and family since he worked so hard for so long, he is sure to drop dead soon after retiring. He has high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Earl’s father had a heart attack and died when he was 73. Earl’s risk is his male gender, age (greater than 50), sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, negative outlook on life, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and a family history of heart disease.
Q. OK, it’s pretty easy to see that Fred needs to watch his diet, Jane needs to exercise more, and Earl needs lots of help. But, which supplements should they take?
A. The Whole Heart Nutrition chart is an easy way to determine the supplements each risk level needs. As you can see, everyone wanting to prevent heart disease – Fred, Jane, Earl, you, and I – need to take quality heart formula multivitamin, garlic, and a fish oil supplement providing Omega-3 fatty acids. CoQ10 is also a smart choice for complete heart heath support.
Q. Why do we all need to take a “heart multivitamin”? Why can’t we take a regular multivitamin to prevent heart disease?
A. Since the human heart simply cannot function without adequate amounts of certain vitamins and minerals, it seems logical that a multivitamin would be the foundation of good nutrition for your heart. Heart-health formulated multivitamins provide the exact nutrients needed to prevent heart disease.
That’s why we need to take a specially formulated heart-focused multi-vitamin. The cells and the tissues that make up the heart must have vitamins C, A, and E, as well as B1, B6, and B12 to function. Folic acid, the little B vitamin that is so crucial in preventing spina bifida (a birth defect), breast cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease is also needed to keep heart muscles strong. The B vitamins and folic acid are very important to heart health because they help lower homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a potential and emerging cardiac risk factor,
Magnesium is a mighty mineral and healthy Hearts need it every day. Aloha lipoic acid, a fatty acid, provides protection against heart cholesterol and high blood pressure. Lutein and lycopene are all-natural nutrients and keep our arteries free from the buildup of plaque, a condition linked to heart attacks and strokes.
Multivitamins formulated with these exact vitamins, minerals, and nutrients will work with medications often prescribed to treat heart disease and provide the nutrition our Hearts need.
Q. Don’t all multivitamins work with medications prescribed to treat heart disease?
A. Many multivitamin formulas contain herbs and other nutrients that can interfere with prescription medications, especially mediations prescribed to treat heart disease. One multivitamin does not fit all.
The more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing heart disease.
Q. What can garlic supplements do for Fred, Jane and Earl or other people with low to high risk factors?
A. Garlic supplements have a very long and very successful history of preventing premature death from heart attacks. Lately, however, there have been some conflicting news stories about supplemental garlic’s ability to lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure – the causes of heart disease and death. That’s because many different garlic supplements have been used in these studies – garlic oil, garlic powder, aged garlic extract, and supplements made from fresh garlic. They have all been studied clinically for their effects in heart disease.
The best garlic supplements (and the ones that showed the best effects in garlic studies) contain alliin, which is then converted to allicin. Allicin is the compound that lowers harmfully high cholesterol levels and dangerous blood pressure readings. Allicin is also responsible for garlic’s characteristic odor. Because alliin is very stable when dry, properly prepared and enteric coated fresh garlic preparations preserve the allicin-producing action until the garlic mixes with the fluids of the intestinal tract. Fresh garlic extract’s enteric coating also prevents garlic breath. In contrast, aged garlic contains absolutely no allicin or allicin potential. This fact is probably responsible for the poor results noted in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure from aged garlic preparations.
The most effective garlic supplements are made from fresh garlic, enteric coated, and provide a daily dose of at least 10 milligrams (mg) alliin or a total allicin potential of 4,000 micrograms (mcg). Taking a once-daily garlic supplement that delivers 4,000 mcg of allicin will lower Jane’s and Earl’s high blood pressure and Earl’s high cholesterol, naturally and effectively.
Whole Heart Nutrition
Each additional risk factor requires additional supplements or increased doses for protection from heart disease.
Q. What about fish oil supplements? I know they can prevent heart disease but I’ve also heard they contain harmful substances, too.
A. You’re right on both counts. But, there are excellent fish oil supplements naturally loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, powerful nutrients that prevent heart disease, that are also certified free of harmful contaminants.
In the 1980s, researchers first began noticing the native Inuit (Eskimo) populations of Greenland and
Research has shown that the Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil supplements can:
-Reduce the risk of arrhythmias, lethal heartbeat rhythms that cause sudden death.
-Lower the levels of triglycerides, fats in the blood that can increase a person’s
risk of dying from a heart attack, even if a person’s cholesterol levels are normal.
-Slow atherosclerosis – the growth of harmful plaque on artery walls.
Atherosclerosis develops over many years. If the plaque growth is slow and
stable, chances are low that a heart attack will result. However, rapidly growing
or unstable plaques can rupture. The body responds with inflammation, which
causes blood clots to form. These blood clots block the artery and cause a heart
-Keep blood pressure levels low. Many people have high blood pressure for years
without knowing it. That’s because it has no symptoms. Uncontrolled high
blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney failure.
While 25% of Americans have high blood pressure, nearly one-third of these
people don’t know they have it. This is why high blood pressure is often called
the “silent killer.”
You can get all of this heart disease preventive protection from just 600-1800 mg of fish oil. It’s pretty simple to see why Fred, Jane, Earl, and you and I need to take fish oil supplements every day.
However, it is absolutely critical that the fish oil supplement you take is free of contaminants and guaranteed fresh! Make sure that the manufacturer of the fish oil supplement you buy is able to provide documentation of purity in their product. Supplements should contain no detectable dioxin (a widely used toxic preservative), DDT (a toxic insecticide), PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) or heavy metals such as mercury and lead.
Before you buy any fish oil supplement, ask the clerk if you can open the bottle or jar and smell the contents. A fishy smelling fish oil supplementation means it is rancid. Rancid fish oil is not going to help your heart at all and may actually hurt it.
Q. That leaves CoQ10. Why is it important for Jane and Earl?
A. CoQ10, also known as ubiquinone, is the premier heart supplement! CoQ10 is part of our energy producing system. It works directly in the mitochondria of each cell. Mitochondria are highly specialized structures within each cell and are often referred to as powerhouses. These tiny energy producers generate 95% of the energy the body requires. The number of mitochondria in a cell depends on its function and energy needs. The heart has very important functions and requires a vast amount of energy. Thus, the heart has a lot of mitochondria or little powerhouses.
CoQ10 is incredibly crucial to the health of our Hearts. Especially to Hearts that are pumping blood with too much cholesterol. But, in a dangerous paradox, CoQ10 levels can become dangerously depleted when physicians treat high cholesterol in their patients with certain medications. The so-called “statin” drugs (Mevacor/lovastatin and Crestor/rosubastatin are two examples) are powerful and medications prescribed to lower harmful cholesterol levels. However, one very harmful side effect they share is that they deprive cells of CoQ10. While some physicians are aware of this serious side effect and tell their patients to take at least 400 mg of CoQ10 each day, most are not. The result? Any good the statin drugs may be doing is actually negated by their depletion of CoQ10.
Q. How does CoQ10 actually work? Has it been studied in heart disease?
A. Yes, it has! CoQ10 has been extensively studied in heart disease. This natural nutrient is present in every nucleated cell in our body (the only cells that don’t contain CoQ10 are red blood cells). Heart cells, however, are absolutely loaded with CoQ10. Its job is fairly simply – CoQ10 is vital to the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the compound our body uses for 95% of its energy needs.
In 1998, 144 patients who had been admitted to the hospital after a heart attack, participated in a CoQ10 study. Half of the patients received 120 mg of CoQ10 a day in addition to the usual treatments given to heart attack patients. The other half, the control group, received the usual treatments and a placebo, but no CoQ10.
The results showed that the group taking CoQ10 had less irregular heartbeat, experienced less angina (a type of heart pain), and had much better function in the left ventricle (the most essential chamber of the heart), compared to the placebo group. Total deaths due to sudden heart failure or another heart attack were also reduced in the CoQ10 group.
Q. What if I have already been diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure? Will CoQ10 still help me?
A. CoQ10 has been proven in study after study to help slow down the destruction that occurs in congestive heart failure (CHF), a serious heart disease, and heal the heart muscles damaged by heart attacks. In fact, heart attacks often occur when the body’s CoQ10 levels are low.
In a CHF study, patients received 100 mg of CoQ10 or a placebo twice daily for 12 weeks. Before and after the treatment period, the researchers introduced a catheter into the right ventricle of the patients’ Hearts to determine the degree of muscle damage CHF had caused. In the group who took CoQ10, the pumping ability of the heart improved significantly. The placebo group’s Hearts did not. The researchers conducting the study recommended that people with CHF add CoQ10 to the other medications they need to take to stay alive and well.
Q. Are some types of CoQ10 better than others?
A. Indeed they are. CoQ10 products are not created equally. The key to this natural medicine is the quality of the manufacturing. Take a CoQ10 supplement that’s been used in research conducted by prestigious universities (it will tell you this right on the label). Researchers want the best CoQ10 for their studies. You want the best CoQ10 for yourself and your loved ones.
The best CoQ10 has to meet the following criteria:
1. Must be easily absorbed during the digestion process so that it can get into the
2. Must reach the mitochondria in the cell.
3. Must be proven effective in studies.
4. Must be safe and free of impurities.
Q. It sounds as if CoQ10 is only for people with moderate or high risk factors. Can others benefit from this supplement?
A. Many people, including those like Fred with low risk factors or no risk of heart disease take CoQ10 every day. CoQ10 supplements may reduce your risk of cancer, prevent gum disease, and help certain nerve cells work more effectively.
Understanding your personal risk factors, making it better lifestyle choices, taking a multivitamin formulated for your heart, an enteric-coated fresh garlic supplement, fish oil supplement with Omega-3 fatty acids, and CoQ10 – the heart’s super-nutrient – can help keep your heart healthy and strong.
Helen Keller, the famous lecturer and author, who was both blind and deaf wrote, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot e seen or even touched. They must be felt with the human heart.”
Healthy Hearts have the most opportunities to “feel” the best and are the most beautiful thing our world has to offer.
Controlling Diabetes with Nutritional Supplements
December 15, 2006 04:07 PM
Controlling Diabetes with Nutritional Supplements
Perhaps no other disease is as closely linked to nutrition as diabetes. Not only doe nutrition play a role in its development, nutrition is also one of the disease’s most powerful treatments.
Because of this strong and critical connection to nutrition, researchers have carefully studied the use of nutritional supplements in the treatment of the disease. They found that many vitamins, such as vitamin C and the B vitamins, minerals such as chromium, as well as herbs like Gymnema sylvestre, can safely, effectively, and naturally lower blood sugars and help prevent diabetic complications.
What is even more important, however, is that these vitamins, minerals, and herbs can be combined together in a scientifically validated diabetic formula to work synergistically. That means their combined effectiveness is even more powerful. Like a group of good friends, these vitamins, minerals, and herbs do their best work when they are all together.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will talk about powerful vitamins, minerals, and herbs combined in a scientifically validated formula that people with diabetes can use every day.
But before we get into the specific formula, we need to first talk about diabetes.
Q. What exactly is diabetes?
A. When we eat, the process of digestion breaks down our food into nutrients. Most of the food we eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose). The sugar enters the bloodstream for delivery throughout the body and is then called blood sugar.
Insulin, a hormone that helps metabolize blood sugar, is made in the pancreas-a long, skinny gland located behind the stomach. Insulin takes blood sugar from the bloodstream and delivers it into the cells that make up the various organs in our body, such as our heart, lungs, and kidneys. The sugar provides energy to the cells to keep our Hearts beating, our lungs breathing, and our kidneys excreting.
Type 1 diabetes, sometimes called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, most often starts in childhood. In this type of diabetes, the pancreas no longer makes insulin. The sugar stays in the blood instead of going into the cells where it is needed. Because of this, all people with Type 1 diabetes have to take at least one shot of insulin every day just to stay alive.
Type 2 diabetes most often starts in adults and is also the most common kind. About 90 to 95 percent of all people with diabetes have Type 2. In Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas is usually producing enough insulin. However, the body does not use it effectively. The condition known as “insulin resistance” occurs when the cells do not respond to (resist) insulin’s attempt to enter with glucose. The pancreas responds by producing more and more insulin. When the cells do not respond, high levels of glucose build up in the blood, leading to Type 2 diabetes. Almost everyone with Type 2 diabetes also is insulin resistant. Because the insulin is left unused, the pancreas thinks it isn’t needed and may eventually stop making it. People with Type 2 diabetes often need to take prescription drugs to lower blood sugar levels if dietary and lifestyle changes are not enough to control the problem.
In both types of diabetes, the sugar stays in the bloodstream instead of going into the cells where it is needed and belongs. When blood sugar builds up in the blood, it causes two problems. First, the cells become starved for energy. And, over a period of time, high blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels, nerves, eyes, and kidneys.
Q. What causes diabetes?
A. While scientists aren’t exactly sure why Type 1 diabetes happens, they do know the immune system is involved. A healthy immune system protects us from diseases caused by infections, such as colds or the flu, as well as diseases that start in our own cells, such as cancer. For some reasons, in certain people, the immune system becomes confused and begins attacking and destroying the cells in the pancreas that makes insulin.
Scientists aren’t exactly sure why Type 2 diabetes happens either; however, they have identified that it occurs most often in certain individuals. About 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, have high blood pressure, and have high cholesterol levels in their blood.
Q. What are the symptoms of diabetes?
A. Type 1 diabetes develops very quickly. The classic signs of diabetes include:
-Frequent urination, because the body is trying to get rid of the excess sugar in the blood
-Intense thirst, because the body needs to replace the fluid lost through the urine
-Increased hunger, because the cells need nutrients
-Weight loss, because without insulin, the body begins to starve
The onset of Type 2 diabetes is often very gradual and may develop without any symptoms at all. Sadly, the diagnosis most often is made only after a complication of the disease happens.
Q. What are the complications of diabetes?
A. The complications of diabetes happen in both types of the disease. All diabetic complications are caused by chronically high blood sugars. The longer your blood sugar levels are elevated, the greater your chances are of having complications.
High blood sugar damages blood vessels. When high levels of sugar are continuously in the blood, the blood vessels become thicker and less flexible, causing poor circulation. Poor circulation can impair healing, especially on the feet and lower legs. High blood sugar also causes higher levels of fat in the bloodstream. The fat clogs and narrows the blood vessels. Partial blockages deprive the heart of some necessary nutrients. A complete blockage can result in a heart attack, heart pain (called angina), or stroke.
Nerve damage makes it hard for your nerves to send messages to the brain and other parts of the body. It may cause you to lose feeling in parts of your body or have a painful pins-and-needles-like feeling. While nerve damage most often affects the feet and legs, it can also affect other parts of the body.
Diabetes can damage and weaken the small blood vessels in the retina, the part of the eye that is sensitive to light and helps you see. When the blood vessels are weak, they can leak fluid, which causes swelling in the eye. The swelling blurs your vision. If the eye damage gets worse, your eye attempts to fix this damage by making new blood vessels over the retina. But because these blood vessels are fragile, they can break open easily and bleed into the eye. Scar tissue can then form. This may cause the retina to break away from the back of the eye, which can lead to visual impairment-even blindness.
Diabetes can also damage the blood vessels in the kidney so it can’t filter out the body’s waste. High blood pressure is also associated with kidney damage. If you have diabetes and high blood pressure, it is important to keep them both under control as much as possible. The longer blood sugar levels are left uncontrolled, the greater the amount of kidney damage that can occur. If the kidney damage isn’t stopped, some individuals may progress to needing kidney transplants or dialysis machines.
All of these complications, however, can almost always be prevented.
Q. How can the complications of diabetes be prevented?
A. Vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements can provide powerful tools for preventing serious complications and keeping people with diabetes healthy. The best nutritional supplement contains powerful vitamins, minerals, and herbs in a synergistic formula that can effectively lower blood sugars and provide the specialized nutrients people with diabetes need.
Q. Which vitamins, minerals, and herbs should be included in a nutritional supplement for people with diabetes?
A. The vitamins, minerals, and herbs in a diabetic formula should work synergistically and be clinically demonstrated to help prevent the known complications of diabetes. To get the best results, it is very important that the right ingredients are in the diabetic formula you buy.
Q. How often should I take a diabetic formula supplement?
A. Read the label of the diabetic formula you are considering buying. Most quality products need to be taken twice a day. Keep in mind that you will still need to take a high quality multivitamin in addition to the diabetic formula supplement. A diabetic formula is complementary. That means that it is designed to be and addition to your multivitamin routine, not a replacement.
Q. Could the diabetic formula lower my blood sugar level too much?
A. In general, too low blood sugar levels should not be a problem. A high quality diabetic formula containing synergistic vitamins, minerals and herbs, most often lowers blood sugars to normal levels. However, these vitamins, minerals, and herbs will not excessively lower blood sugar levels that are already normal.
Q. Do I need to continue monitoring my blood sugar when taking a diabetic formula supplement?
A. Diabetes is a disease that requires active participation from you. You need to be aware of your problem and be in control of it as much as possible. If you use a home glucose monitor to check your blood sugars, you may feel more comfortable by checking your levels more frequently when you first take a diabetic formula supplement. You should always follow the recommendation of your doctor or a licensed health care practitioner regarding how often you should check your blood sugar levels.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) (as well as most licensed health care practitioners), a good blood sugar range for most people with diabetes (before a meal) is from about 70 to 150. An ideal range is 70-120.
Taking a nutritional supplement formulated especially for diabetics that contain vitamins, minerals, and herbs that work synergistically in a scientifically valid formula will help you keep your blood sugars right where the
Q. Can’t I just take the diabetic formula supplement and not worry about my diet?
A. Unfortunately, you cannot. Successful diabetes management means doing lost of positive things. First, you need to see your licensed health care practitioner often. You need to choose foods wisely and stay active to have a positive influence on your blood sugar levels and your health. And, taking a diabetic formula supplement every day can really help. However, the diabetic formula supplement is meant to be an addition to your healthy diet, not a substitute.
Having diabetes might make you feel overwhelmed. Restrictions on what you may and may not eat might make you feel deprived and unfairly burdened. The possibility of disease complications may make you feel anxious and scared-even angry. It is only natural to ask “Why me?” Taking control of your diabetes, instead of letting it control you, can help with these feelings. Eating wisely and exercising every day are two important ways to improve your health. And, taking a nutritional supplement formulated specifically for people with diabetes every day can give you the critical control you need to direct your health for years to come. Many healthy years to come.
Lower Cholesterol Naturally!
October 06, 2006 09:41 AM
Because of organizations like the American Heart Association (AHA), we’ve learned a lot about cholesterol and how it affects our health. Thanks to these educational organizations, we know that high cholesterol levels can increase our risk for heart attacks and strokes and, by lowering these levels, we reduce these risks as well as keep our Hearts and blood vessels healthy. We also know that our cholesterol levels can be improved through exercise, diet, and weight loss.
Although we’ve learned a lot through these educational organizations, there are still a few misconceptions about cholesterol. One of these being that not all cholesterol is harmful. There are both “good” and “bad” forms of cholesterol and a good balance between the two is what is needed for a healthy heart. Because so much emphasis is placed on lowering “bad” cholesterol levels, not enough attention is paid to the benefit of raising “good” cholesterol levels (HDL). Research states that raising HDL levels can provide even greater protection against cardiovascular disease than just simply lowering “bad” cholesterol levels. By raising HDL levels by simply 1%, the risk of heart disease can be lowered by 2% in men and 3% in women. Many studies have shown that low HDL cholesterol levels are an independent risk factor in heart disease. This is extremely important because we’ve learned that despite efforts to change a person’s diet and exercise habits, some people’s cholesterol levels are still unhealthy.
Prescription drugs to lower cholesterol are now available and have been proven by multiple studies to be very successful. The statins’ effectiveness in reducing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol has produced highly significant reductions in heart attacks and strokes. Although these medications do lower cholesterol levels, their side effects must be considered. Statin drugs can cause liver irritation, reduce CoQ10 levels in the body, are associated with myopathy, and are even linked to a rare and sometimes fatal condition called rhabdomyolysis. These drugs also have a relatively small effect on good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Thankfully, there are safe and effective solutions available that can help you manage your cholesterol levels naturally. However, first we must review what we know about cholesterol and heart disease.
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance needed to help digest fats, strengthen cell membranes, make hormones and insulate nerves. Although it is found in every cell of the body, cholesterol is mainly made in the liver, as well as cells lining the small intestine. Even though our bodies make all the cholesterol we need, we also get cholesterol from the foods we eat, such as egg yolks and organ meats. All foods from animal sources contain cholesterol, while plant derived food, including peanut butter and avocado, contains no cholesterol at all.
Cholesterol is important to many functions of the body. However, too much cholesterol in the bloodstream is extremely dangerous. After blood cholesterol reaches high levels, it builds up on the artery walls, and thus increasing the risk for blood clots, heart attack, and stroke. If the cholesterol clogs any of the coronary arteries, the heart’s supply of oxygen and nutrients will diminish, resulting in coronary heart disease, angina, or even heart attack.
Because cholesterol and other fats can’t dissolve in the blood and thereby can’t travel on their own, they have to be transported to and from the cells by lipoproteins. The two major lipoproteins are low density lipoproteins (LDL or “bad cholesterol) and high density lipoproteins (HDL or “good cholesterol”) LDLs carry cholesterol throughout the body to the cells and cause artherosclerosis by clogging up our arteries with fat. On the other hand, HDL prevents the fat buildup by carrying it away from the arteries and to the liver where it can be eliminated. Although high levels of LDL are associated with cardiovascular disease, high HDL can drastically reduce your risk of heart disease. As a result, the AHA has established three guidelines to keep your heart healthy: HDL levels about 40 for men and above 50 for women, LDL levels between 100 and 159, and a total cholesterol (HDL and LDL) of under 200.
Triglycerides are fats used as fuel by the body and a source for metabolism. These levels can fluctuate easily but increased levels are almost always a sign of too much carbohydrate and sugar intake. High amounts of triglycerides make the blood less capable of transporting oxygen and are another factor for cardiovascular disease. Thankfully, the HDL and LDL blend mentioned earlier can safely and effectively lower triglyceride levels.
It has been shown that high levels of HDL cholesterol are inversely related to coronary artery disease risk. However, what people do not know is that there are different subtypes of HDl, including HDL-2 and HDL-3. HDL-3 is produced by the liver and intestines and is responsible for scooping up free cholesterol from the blood vessel walls. The cholesterol carried by HDL-3 is chemically modified, forming a larger-sized subtype, known as HDL-2, or “mature HDL.” HDL-2 transports cholesterol to the liver for processing and elimination, and its molecules are then recirculated in the blood stream. Research has shown that HDL-2 provides more heart-protection because it moves the cholesterol away from arterial walls, and holds a greater number of receptor sites which allows it to carry a larger amount of cholesterol to the liver.
Although many prescription medications have been developed to lower bad cholesterol, there are very few medications that target good cholesterol. Therefore, patients with naturally low HDL cholesterol, who can not alter these levels through diet and exercise, have limited medical options to reduce their risk of heart disease. Multiple nutrients have been clinically shown to favorably alter good cholesterol levels including: vitamins C, E, B6, B12, niacin, folic acid, magnesium and selenium, with protein-building amino acids, powerful antioxidants such as coenzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid, N-acetyle cysteine, and policosanol, and extracts of hawthorn, garlic, grape seed, and soy isoflavones. Although this HDL-boosting combination does not result in a significant reduction in LDL, antioxidants found in this formulation can help stabilize LDL and prevent build up in the arterial wall.
This formula combines essential vitamins and minerals, at levels recommended by the American Heart Association. It contains amino acids, antioxidants, and botanicals that have all been used safely for years. No serious adverse effects have been found following supplementation and the combination is safe to use with statin drugs.
Plant sterols, found in nuts, vegetable oils, corn, and rice are structurally similar to cholesterol and are able to block its absorption. Each day the liver receives about 800 mg of cholesterol from intestinal absorption through receptor sites. After entering these channels, the cholesterol is absorbed into the bloodstream. Since plant sterols look similar to cholesterol, they fit perfectly into these receptor sites and block the absorption, which allows the cholesterol to remain in our intestines where it can eventually be excreted. A large amount of plant sterols reduces the amount of cholesterol transported from the intestinal tract to the liver. This cholesterol reduction causes a decrease in LDL levels.
Even if a person does not have high cholesterol levels, reducing bad and raising good cholesterol greatly reduces their risk for ever developing chronic heart disease. Due to side effects, physicians do not normally prescribe statin drugs to people without actual heart disease of high LDL cholesterol levels. Instead, they recommend dietary changes. The HDL-boosting combination and LDL-lowering pantethine and plant sterols blend can effectively help people with heart disease, uncontrolled cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels, or people who just want to improve their heart health.
The Important Role of Nutritional Magnesium & Calcium Balance in Humans Living with Stress
August 23, 2006 03:14 PM
Part I. The Stress Response
The stress reaction is a host of responses necessary for any animal to live in the world. Commonly called the fight-or-flight reation, we as humans often experience it in rapid heartbeat and increased breathing rate. It comes when we exercise more vigorously than usual, or when we are suddenly and unexpectedly frightened.
We are all different. We show a range in how strongly we experience the stress response. Most of us are usually calm and experience the stress response when an unexpected noise frightens us to alertness, or we run to first base as fast as we can in a benefit baseball game that is not on our usual playtime schedule. We breathe harder for a while and notice our Hearts beating faster and harder then usual, but after a while these responses all calm down, and we are again in our usual state—out or the stress response. Others of us are very low key, and it takes a lot to disturb our physiological calm. Still others of us are very sensitive to triggers of the stress response and go into it “at the drop of a hat” and to a greater degree than do calmer people. For some, parts of the stress response are almost always engaged—never really calming down all the way—giving one a hyper-vigilant or anxious demeanor.
When a stress trigger occurs, the body puts out stress hormones, magnesium and calcium, among other things, into the bloodstream. At the same time, nerve cells begin to “fire,” telling heart and muscles to “speed up. NOW!!!” These blood, nerve and organ changes make possible the instantaneous and collective rise in the body’s heart rate, blood pressure, and other necessities for the fight-or-flight reaction.
Much research has been done on the stress response, especially on the effects of stress hormones, such as adrenaline (also called epinephrine) on body, organ and cell. You can get an idea of how widespread the stress response is-affecting every aspect of physiology—by noting some of the reactions to adrenaline, one of the major stress hormones. See Table 1.
Much study as the cellular, biochemical and physiological levels has shown that the stress response vitally involves the influx of calcium into cells, resulting in a drastic change in the cells’ internal magnesium-to-calcium ratio (Mg:Ca).
In simple solutions, such as salt water, all ions are evenly dispersed. Not so in living cells. Ions are carefully and meticulously separated in living cells, and this ion “packaging” is vital to life processes and health. Calcium ions, for the most part, are kept outside cells while magnesium ions are kept mainly inside cells. The stress response changes this. During stress response, calcium ions rush inside the cell, and this alters the internal Mg:Ca ratio. This change in ratio exhibits wide effects because, while magnesium and calcium are very similar in their chemistry, biologically these two elements function and react very differently. Magnesium and calcium are two sides of a physiological coin: they are antagonistic to one another yet comes as a team. For example:
Scientific study shows more and more that the underlying cellular change enabling the stress response is a low Mg:Ca ratio caused by a large and sudden influx of calcium into cells. This stress response subsides when the cell’s magnesium returns to its dominant presence inside cells, moving extra calcium back outside cells to its “normal” Mg:Ca ratio. This underlying principle is present in studies of nerve cell-stress hormone response, organs such as Hearts, the high blood pressure response to stress, and the blood-clotting reaction during stress, among many others. See Table 2.
In the normal healthy state, the stress response occurs when necessary, and subsides when the crisis or trigger is over. Since magnesium and calcium—two essential nutrients that must be obtained by the body from its dietary environment—are so essential to this important response, it is not surprising that nutritional magnesium and calcium status can affect the response.
Let’s see how.
In the normal unstressed state, cellular Mg:Ca ratio is high. If this cannot be maintained due to lack of adequate body magnesium or an overwhelming amount of body calcium, the ratio may not be able to maintain or return itself to its healthy nonstressed ratio. In such a case, the stress response, in the absence of an appropriate trigger, can occur. This can be seen when nutritional magnesium deficits cause high blood pressure or increase blood stickiness (platelet aggregation). Additionally, since a low Mg:Ca ratio can increase adrenaline secretion as well as cells’ response to adrenaline, a too low magnesium state can keep the stress response from subsiding in a timely way. Even worse, when body magnesium becomes drastically low, this becomes a stress trigger in itself, alarming the body into further stress response with out enough magnesium to back it up, resulting in a low magnesium-high stress crisis that can end in sudden death.
In the industrialized world, we live in a state of chronic, on-going stress. This environmental reality increases our daily need for magnesium in order to maintain a healthy stress response that can calm when not necessary.
Part II. Heart Disease Is Often a Magnesium Deficiency
Clearly, an adequate amount of nutritional magnesium—in proper balance with adequate nutritional calcium—is key to a healthy stress response. And yet today we have diets dangerously low in magnesium. Add the recent additions of nutritional calcium via supplements and food fortifications meant to stave off osteoporosis, and many of us are getting inadequate magnesium plus too much calcium. This results in a large occurrence of heart disease.
Not all, but much of the heart disease in the industrialized world can be explained by the low magnesium state of these societies. People with heart disease—for the most part—are people who are in a state of magnesium that is borderline or deficient. Many studies on heart disease patients exist due to medicine’s effort to understand and treat this widespread malady. Although not intended as such, this body of research shows us what stress can do to a person in a magnesium deficient state.
Part III. Mental and Emotional Stress Deplete Magnesium
It is commonly accepted that certain traditional risk factors for heart disease exist. This include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history of heart disease, and other factors, all of which can be linked to a shortage of nutritional magnesium. Recent studies tell us that stresses—both sudden and chronic—with their high magnesium requirements, are also strong risk factors for heart disease.
The sudden stress of the
Emotional stress and phobic anxiety cause heart problems in patients with heart disease—a population we know to be mostly low in their nutritional magnesium status. Chronic states of emotional stress, including a history of childhood abuse, neglect or family dysfunction, depression, and panic disorder, must now be added to the list of traditional risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Depression can be a symptom of low magnesium status. So can anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, hyperactivity, and over-sensitivity to loud noises. Do these newly found risk factors cause heart disease, or are they risk factors because the, as well as heart disease, can all be aspects of low magnesium status? These chronic sources of stress can increase the human need for magnesium as well as be caused by its deficit.
Emotional stress triggers in susceptible people can even bring a sudden death due to heart attack, presumably by initiating a stress/low-magnesium crisis. Such emotional “triggers” include work stress, high-pressure deadlines, social isolation and loneliness, low socioeconomic status, anxiety, war, fear of war, anger and rage. Identical stress triggers cause more human heart attacks regardless of age, race, gender, or geographic location, including continent.
Mental stress, such as working out a math problem, can be shown to have impact upon the magnesium-stress response connection, since it can bring on heart attacks in people with heart disease.
Part IV. Stress, Magnesium and Aging
We are hearing a lot about stress in the health media, and rightly so as this constant companion to our lives brings on the fight-or-flight syndrome, a stress response that, when activated, has been shown to shorten lifespan. When we realize that the stress response is exacerbated when we are low in magnesium, that we are living on low-magnesium foods for the most part, and that our lifestyles are more and more filled with chronic stresses and stressful events, we are not surprised to see that several aspects of magnesium deficiency are remarkably like aspects of the aging process.
When faced with out stressful lifestyles, coupled with a society presenting a chronically low-magnesium/high-calcium diet, what is our best defense? For many of us, magnesium supplements can help to preserve or restore a healthy Mg:Ca balance, so important to our health in these stressful times.
Peter Gillham's Natural Calm
This Amino Acid may help your heart… and your heart’s desire.
May 24, 2006 05:45 PM
Give all to love, obey thy heart,” cries the poet, and most of us have felt the link between our Hearts and our passionate feelings. In the more reasoned language of science, what connects the heart with the heat of amore is blood flowing freely through relaxed, wide-open arteries.
That’s where Arginine comes in. This amino acid (protein building block) has stirred excitement because of its ability to improve blood flow. Scientists now think that one reason nuts promote heart health, in addition to their high omega-3 content, is because they provide plenty of Arginine (as do other high-protein foods such as meat, cheese and eggs), and supplemental Arginine has been linked to improvements in cardiovascular function. This nutrient is also under the microscope as a way to promote healthy sexual functioning in both men and women.
As often as we’ve heart the heart described as a pump and the blood vessels as pipes, the plumbing analogy doesn’t entirely hold. For one thing, arteries—those vessels that carry oxygen and nutrient rich blood from the heart to the body are dynamic creations, with muscular walls that can narrow or widen as needed. One of the chemicals that control this process is called nitric oxide, and Arginine plays a crucial role in nitric oxide production.
Because the body can create its own stores, Arginine is classified as a non-essential amino-acid. However, scientists now think that getting a supplemental supply (in the form of L-Arginine) may be best for optimal well-being. In a well-designed multinational study, for example, men with high cholesterol who took l-Arginine experienced drops in both blood pressure and homocysteine, a substance associated with heart attack and stroke (Journal of nutrition 2/05). And a research team at UCLA believes that combining l-Arginine with such antioxidants as vitamin C and E may reduce inflammation that can lead to blocked coronary blood vessels.
Arginine’s ability to stimulate bountiful blood flow supports enhanced intimacy, which is both genders depends on a fully activated circulatory system. In fact, Arginine’s effects on nitric oxide are similar to those of Viagra and comparable drugs except that Arginine “is much less dangerous,” according to nationally noted herbalist Ellen Kamhi.
Men and women experiencing sexual dysfunction enjoyed greater levels of satisfaction after taking an Arginine based supplement, and the ladies reported having better relationships with their partners. What’s more, Arginine has helped infertile men by making sperm stronger and healthier.
Arginine may also help keep things pumping smoothly as the gym. It promotes the release of human growth hormone, which helps muscles grow bigger, and boosts the production of creatine, which serves as a power pack for high-intensity sports. What’s more, Arginine helps the body rid itself of ammonia, a toxic byproduct of physical activity. The amino acid’s ability to enable protein creation aids not only athletes but also people recovering from wounds, including those associated with surgery and burns. (note: the herpes virus that causes cold sores thrives on Arginine; avoid supplements if your having an outbreak.)
When the mind is willing but the body falls short, let Arginine unleash your potential. –Lisa James, Energy Times.
Rutozym - Systemic Enzyme Supplement with Nattokinase
February 22, 2006 05:08 PM
Benefits of L-Carnitine
February 12, 2006 03:24 PM
January 03, 2006 09:00 AM
In the mid 70’s, a team of European researchers ventured off to Greenland to study the unique lifestyle of native Inuit Eskimos. They couldn’t have possibly imagined how signifi cant their findings would be. The Inuits’ diet was simple and consisted primarily of fatty fi sh – whale, salmon, sardine, seal, and mackerel. No surprise there. What did surprise researchers was how unexplainably healthy these natives were. Strong Hearts. Clear skin. Powerful joints. All this from a diet that contained towering amounts of fat. This fat-fueled lifestyle bewildered researchers. Then the connection was made. These fatty foods were loaded with substances that the body must have in order to remain healthy – omega-3 essential fatty acids. Fast forwarding 30 years, fish oil supplements aren’t just popular, they’re they’re popular nutritional threads that help weave the fabric of human wellness.
In the fall of 2004, after reviewing years of convincing studies, the FDA approved the use of a qualified claim for omega-3 EFA. It states that “supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease”. When you consider how selective the FDA is in qualifying health claims, this becomes even more impressive. The benefi ts of fi sh oils don’t stop at the cardiovascular system, however. A wealth of studies have been conducted examining their role in depression, mood, vision, skin, immune system function, pregnancy, joint health and migraines just to name a few.
EFA for a Healthy Heart
Omega-3 and Healthy Mood
Say Goodbye to Inflammation
Choosing a quality formula
Benefits of Total Daily Formula
October 13, 2005 04:45 PM
Benefits of Total Daily Formula
All fruits and vegetables contain carotenes, the plant pigments responsible for the rich variety of colors we enjoy in the natural world. Beta carotene is the most familiar member of the carotene family. But beta carotene never exists by itself; it is always found with other carotenes in foods. We need more than just beta carotene alone. Carotenes are powerful antioxidants, which means they help reduce the body's free radical burden. Research suggests that carotenes work as a team to keep us healthy.5 Total Daily Formula provides beta carotene, alpha carotene, lutein, lycopene, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin from natural sources such as algal extracts, carrot oil, marigold and tomatoes (Caromix®).
Total Daily Formula uses only corn-free vitamin C (ascorbic acid). The full daily intake of 6 tablets provides an exceptionally generous 800 mg of vitamin C.
Total Daily Formula supplies ample amounts of all essential B vitamins. Vitamin B3 is given as niacin plus an extra helping of niacinamide, the non-flush form of this important vitamin. The body uses pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) to deal with stress, so the formula provides 150 mg, which is 15 times the RDA. Vitamin B6 is another B vitamin people may run short of, so 60 mg -- 30 times the RDA -- is supplied. The formula contains 800 mcg of folic acid, the vitamin now recognized by the FDA as essential for prevention of neural tube defects in unborn babies. Folic acid also helps prevent accumulation in the body of homocysteine, a metabolite of the amino acid methionine.6 A high blood homocysteine level is now considered to be a risk factor for heart disease.7
Flavonoids, also known as "bioflavonoids." are plant pigments widely distributed throughout the plant kingdom.8 Previously known as "Vitamin P," because they help reduce capillary permeability (leakiness) flavonoids are now regarded as "semi-essential" non-vitamin nutrients that benefit health in a variety of ways.9 In addition to maintaining the structure of blood vessels, flavonoids function as versatile antioxidants. Flavonoids protect vitamin C from destruction by free-radicals, helping to preserve the body's vitamin C supply.10 Total Daily Formula provides 100 mg of pure flavonoids from 112 mg of citrus extract.
Three superior sources of Calcium
Total Daily Formula contains three of the best absorbed and most effective forms of calcium available. MCHC (microcrystalline hydroxyapatite concentrate) is a naturally-derived compound composed of calcium, plus all the minerals and organic factors in living bone tissue. MCHC has been clinically shown to benefit bone health.11 Calcium citrate malate is a very well-absorbed form of supplemental calcium shown in recent research to be helpful for postmenopausal women.12,13 Calcium glycinate is chelated with the amino acid glycine, one of the most efficient mineral carriers for effective absorption.14,15
Magnesium is essential for strong bones and healthy Hearts. This versatile mineral also regulates nerve function, keeps muscles relaxed and coordinates activity of over 300 enzymes in the body.16 Total Daily Formula contains 100 percent magnesium glycinate for exceptional absorption and gentleness on the intestinal tract.17 Magnesium glycinate has been clinically tested on people with severe malabsorption with excellent results.18
Total Daily Formula provides - in addition to zinc, chromium, selenium and iodine - vanadium and molybdenum. Vanadium helps maintain normal blood sugar.19 Molybdenum works as a co-factor for enzymes that help detoxify and eliminate foreign substances from the body.20
Bioperine® for Enhanced Absorption
Bioperine® is a natural extract derived from black pepper that enhances nutrient absorption. Preliminary trials on humans have shown significant increases in the absorption of nutrients consumed along with Bioperine®. 21 Betaine HCL - supplies HCL (hydrochloric acid) to assist digestion. All natural tablet coating made of vegetable concentrate and beta carotene.
2. Morgan, K.J. et. al. Magnesium and calcium dietary intakes of the U.S. population. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 1985;4:195-206.
3. Lakschmanan, F.L., Rao, R.B., Kim, W.W., Kelsay, J.L. Magnesium intakes, balances and blood levels of adults consuming self-selected diets. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1984;40:1380-89.
4. Mertz, W. The Essential Trace Elements. Fed. Proc. 1970;29:1482.
5. Perry, G. Byers, T. Dietary carotenes, vitamin C and vitamin E as protective antioxidants in human cancers. Annu. Rev. Nutr. 1992;12:139-59.
6. Landgren, F., et. al. Plasma homocysteine in acute myocardial infarction: Homocysteine-lowering effect of folic acid. J Int Med 1995;237:381-88.
7. Clarke, R., et. al. Hyperhomocysteinemia: an independent risk factor for vascular disease. New Eng J Med 1991;324:1149-55. 8. Havsteen, B. Flavonoids, a class of natural compounds of high pharmacological potency. Biochemical Pharmacology 32(7):1141-48.
9. Middleton, E. The flavonoids. TIPS 1984; 5:335-38.
10. Roger, C.R. The nutritional incidence of flavonoids: some physiological and metabolic considerations. Experientia 44(9):725-804.
11. Dixon, A. St. J. Non-hormonal treatment of osteoporosis. British Medical Journal 1983;286(6370):999-1000.
12. Smith, K.T. et. al. Calcium Absorption from a new calcium delivery system (CCM). Calcif Tissue Int 1987;41:351-352.
13. Dawson-Hughes, B. et. al. A controlled trial of the effect of calcium supplementation on bone density in postmenopausal women. New England Journal of Medicine 1990 Sep 27;323(13):878-883.
14. Albion Research Notes Vol. 4, No. 1, ©Albion Laboratories Jan,1995.
15. Ashmead, H.D. Intestinal Absorption of Metal Ions and Chelate, Springfield: Charles C Thomas, ©1985.
16. Wester, P.O., Dyckner, T. The importance of the magnesium ion. Magnesium deficiency-symptomatology and occurrence. Acta Med Scand 1992; (Suppl) 661:3-4.
17. Albion Research Notes Vol. 3, No. 1, ©Albion Laboratories, Feb 1994.
18. Schutte, S., et. al. Bioavailability of Mg diglycinate vs MgO in patients with ileal resections. Abstract 115, AJCN 1992;56(4).
19. Cohen, N. et. al. Oral vanadyl sulfate improves hepatic and peripheral insulin sensitivity in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. J. Clin Invest 1995; 95:2501-09.
20. Sardesi, V.M. Molybdenum: An essential trace mineral element. Nutr Clin Pract 1993; 8:277-81.
21. Bioperine® - Nature's Bioavailability Enhancing Thermo-nutrient. Executive Summary' 1996; Sabinsa Corporation, Piscataway, N.J.
Energizing Intimacy - The foundation of a loving relationship is built on communication
July 27, 2005 04:17 PM
The foundation of a loving relationship is built on communication.
Mars/Venus. He said/she said. Action movies/chick flicks. However you choose to characterize differences between the sexes, one this is clear: We tend to see men and women as irreconcilable opposites, people who need each other deeply yet who often don’t know how to live with one another. The stress that ensues when the love connection breaks down aches not only our Hearts but the rest of our bodies as well…to say nothing of what it teaches our children about the nature of relationships.
This issue of Energy Times is primarily devoted to offering advice and guidance on how to rebuild that love connection; how committed, loving couples can energize intimacy in their relationships. You can find valuable information in stories on the incredible herbs around the world that aid and enhance libido; tips on how women can use natural cosmetics to rev up a partner’s sexual engine; and how couples can create passion in the kitchen, through mutual back massage and after menopause.
But those articles offer little help if the foundation of your relationship is not primarily built on communicating your needs and desires- whether inside or outside of the bedroom- and listening, really listening, to the other person in your life. Communication is the holistic way to view sexual health and healing because having a clear understanding with your partner about love and life is the way your relationship can truly be whole.
With our national divorce rate hovering around the 50% mark, it is clear that American adults still have an immense learning curve when it comes to talking about sex and intimacy. Sensual images and situations bombard us from books, television, films and Internet sites, yet we seem to be as clueless as ever, not knowing how to talk intelligently about intimate relationships to each other or to our children.
Part of the problem stems from the constant barrage of verbal and visual messages- whether from our parents, friends or corporate advertising- that make us incredibly self-conscious about sensuality and our bodies. Many women fight to come to terms with self-images of their bodies as not thin or beautiful enough, while a lot of men struggle to overcome fear and insecurity over their sexual prowess. Carrying such baggage around can’t help but negatively affect the way people relate in a relationship. After all, before you can share love with your partner, you must learn to love yourself.
We also have to overcome the energy flows that start getting blocked during childhood, when we learn to restrain our emotional energy for the sake of fitting in. Like water behind a crumbling dam, though, repressed energy leaks out in all sorts of extremely unhealthy ways: Anger, depression, irritability, stress- and sexual dysfunction.
Learning to Talk
According to Chris Frey, a Missouri-based psychotherapist and pet who has studies sexual relationships, our culture does a great job reaching people about the mechanics and “how-to” of intimacy and the dangers of unprotected sex, but few families or institutions talk about healthy sexuality with a partner.
“Culturally, the prevalent myth still is that loves means intuitively knowing what my partner wants,” Frey said in an interview posted on the website of the Missouri Lawyer Assistance Program (MOLAP). “People think if they have to talk, or worse yet, ask about it, then there must be something wrong with them. That’s incorrect. Instead of open communication, people often turn to innuendo, humor and guesswork. When couples break through that, the sensitivity and intimacy built as two uncertain people begin to communicate about sex builds an amazing amount of trust, and most likely, a much more pleasurable relationship.”
In fact, trust is a key part of a model of healthy sexuality developed by social worker, marriage and family therapist and author Wendy Maltz. Called CERTS, Maltz’s model requires that five basic conditions be met for a healthy sexual relationship: Consent, Equality, Respect, Trust and Safety.
-Steven Hanks and Lisa James
Cuddlin’ in the Kitchen
July 27, 2005 03:44 PM
Cuddlin’ in the Kitchen
You and your sweetie can turn up the heat by cooking together.
Since the beginning of time, the pleasures of the table have been intertwined with those of the boudoir. (Remember the scene in the film Tom Jomes in which Tom and his amorata-of-the-moment wolf down a meal while staring lustily into each other’s eyes?) But when most of your kitchen time is spent trying to get everyone fed and out of the house in time for the night’s soccer game/ PTA meeting/ballet lesson, it can be tough keeping the pilot light lit on your love.
That’s why one of the best ways to spice up your sex life is to prepare a sensuous meal together sans offspring (thank heavens for doting grandparents with spare rooms!). A little fourhanded cooking- preferably while sharing some suggestive banter- can create chemistry that allows your playful, non-parenting side s to emerge, enhancing intimacy and setting the stage for the seductive feast to follow.
Just as the frenzied pace of modern living can often foster a sense of separation, cooking together as a couple can promote a sense of union. “Eventually you get a feel for your partner’s rhythms and adjust yours accordingly,” says food TV personality Jacqui Malouf, author of Booty Food (Bloomsbury). “Before you know it you’re passing the coriander, peeling the potatoes and stirring the risotto at precisely the right moments.”
With time, you can learn what each of you does best: Who has a flair for combining spices in just the right proportions? Who can chop carrots into perfect little matchsticks without taking all night? Since nothing kills the mood more than arguing over who misplaced the baker’s chocolate or the pasta platter, buy your ingredients earlier in the day and have all the necessary utensils out and at the ready. (Safety note: while two in a tiny kitchen can be steamily cozy, do be careful with hot pots and sharp knives.)
Four hands can also be better than two, so why not make the most of it? Malouf suggests approaching your combined efforts with a sense of adventure: “Use more than three ingredients in a salad dressing! Be daring with your desserts! Try concocting something with squab or squid or quince or quail- the sky’s the limit.”
One advantage of using exotic ingredients (or at least foods not normally found on your weekly shopping list) is that they can help you and your partner break through the limits of everyday experience by reawakening long-dormant senses. Go ahead- run your fingertips over the rough rind of a pomegranate before feeling the smooth, full seeds within. Inhale the sweet, perfumed scent of a dead-ripe apricot, and appreciate its downy skin. Admire the cool green beauty of a cut avocado, and share a spoonful with your sweetie.
Avocado, in fact, is one of the foods known for inflaming passion based on its suggestive shape, along with artichoke and asparagus- and that’s just the AS! (Chocoholics rejoice: Chocolate, full of the same feel-good chemical released by the brain when one falls in love, also makes the ecstasy encouraging grade, even when obtained in standard shapes.) “coincidentally, many foods long considered aphrodisiacs are low in fat (avocado and chocolate are delectably healthy exceptions) and are high in vitamins and minerals,” write Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockridge in Intercourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook (Terrace Publishing). “A diet heavy in these foods, then, yields a healthy blood healthy body with the energy, blood flow and nutrients needed for a peak sexual experience.” (The way these foods feed the imagination- the ultimate smorgasbord of pleasure- is a bountiful bonus.) Other foods, such as honey, have been treasured for supplying the energy needed to fan love’s flames far into the night; no wonder the sweet, sticky stuff shows up in a number of naughty-night concoctions.
Just as Venus, the Roman goddess of love, emerged fully formed from the sea, so do the foods that best encourage those under her spell. In addition to being chockfull of healthy protein, “seafood is elegant, clean and light enough to keep your sleek loving machine fully fueled but never weighed down,” says Jacqui Malouf. Oysters are famous- or infamous- for their amorous effects (Cassanova was fond of them) but aren’t for everyone; other romantic dining favorites include shrimp or scallops.
Time to Eat
Once you’ve worked your kitchen magic together, it’s time to move the action into the dining room. Again, a little preparation can keep the evening at a slow, sensuous boil. Use the best china you have, along with matching silverware, cloth napkins and nice glasses (sippy cups don’t count). The warm glow of candlelight can both set off your tantalizing table and set your Hearts aflame, along with a rose or two in the most decorative vase you own. Music (from Mozart to Motown, depending on your taste) is another surefire mojo mover. But please guys- catch up with CNN or ESPN some other time.
When you do finally sit down to dinner don’t rush, even (especially) if fast-forward eating is the norm in your house. “Treat the food as if you are making love for the first time,” advises Kerry McCloskey in The Ultimate Sex Diet (True Courage Press). “Before putting any in your mouth, inhale its aroma to get your digestive juices flowing…Cut your food into small, bite-sized pieces, (which) will ensure that you enjoy each bite.” The idea is to enhance all of your senses, which will come in handy later on in the evening.
You can make your couple dining experience even more intimate by feeding each other; some foods. Like asparagus spears and shrimp, beg for finger-feeding. McCloskey recommends also trying chopsticks: “Because it will take longer to maneuver your food when using them, you will feel full sooner with less food.” That’s important since you don’t want to overeat- passing out right after dessert is not the way to impress your partner (they’ve seen you snoring away on the couch a hundred times before).
In the wee hours, happily exhausted, you can ponder this: No matter how hectic your lives get, you should always make time for each other. You already share a mortgage and kids. Cooking together is a great way to share sensuality, too.
The Heart Disease - Pollution Connection
July 07, 2005 05:04 PM
Heart disease isn't the illness we usually associate with the health hazard known as pollution, but perhaps it should be. While pollution is strongly (and rightly) linked to cancer in the public mind, officials now realize that airborne junk can gum up the circulatory system. They've even coined a term for it: environmental cardiology.
The main villain is fine particulate matter, present in factory and vehicle emissions. These particals are so small they sift right through the lungs and into the bloodstream. There, fine particulate ignites inflammation, accelerates arterial narrowing, thickens blood and disrupts the heart's pacemaking mechanism. Other airborne pollutants hazardous to the heart include carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide.
As young as it is, environmental cardiology has already taken some interesting turns. At least 17 of 87 government-monitored water contaminants have been linked to cardiovascular disease. Even more intriguing is the theory that pollution may wreak heart disease during adulthood.
After years on the research fringe, environmental cardiology moved to center stage with the publication of its own American Heart Association Scientific Statement, which concluded the air pollution poses as "Serious public health problem" in terms of heart disease. A pronouncement from such a mainline health group has translated into big bucks for studies. The biggest so far: a $30 Million, 10-year effort, led by the University of Washington, that will evaluate roughly 8700 people for signs of pollution sparked cardiovascular illness.
No one is discounting such traditional heart risk factors as poor diet and insufficient exercise. But the air we breathe is making many of our Hearts sick and it's about time big medicine started sitting up and taking notice. --Lisa James....
Cancer at the Millenium - the war on cancer entering its third decade...
June 13, 2005 10:23 AM
Cancer at the Millenium by Harriet Brown Energy Times, May 1, 1999
With the war on cancer entering its third decade, the necessity grows clearer for medical science to engage the enemy on several fronts. Until recently, high-tech medical weapons like vaccines and gene therapy, inspired by a flood of insights into the molecular basis of cancer, garnered most of the hope, hype, headlines and research money. The science was sexy and the prospect of a "cure" dramatic. But, today, advocates of prevention receive equal, if not greater, attention.
Improving our diets and prudently supplementing with vitamins and minerals, can deliver a major preventive impact. Contentious experts concede that at least a third (and probably more) of all cancers can be blamed on a combination of eating too much of the wrong foods and not enough of the right ones.
The Dietary Difference
Though cancer can progress rapidly once it leaps past its inception, it develops over many years and in several stages. Beneficial compounds in food and supplements may intervene along a line that runs from initial exposure to carcinogens to the final step into outright malignancy. Nutrients may: - counteract environmental poisons and the toxic byproducts of liver metabolism
The Big Picture The dietary guidelines advocated by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute (which generally coincide with those of most health organizations) may sound familiar: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Get lots of fiber. Limit fat, especially animal fat. Go easy on meat and avoid the cured variety (they contain nitrites). If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation. Watch your total calories, and your weight. Pretty straightforward stuff.
Carotenoids, as their name suggests, are orange and red pigments in fruits and vegetables, most notably carrots and tomatoes, although they're also in everything from sweet potatoes to spinach and brussels sprouts (in the latter their distinctive color is masked by green chlorophyll).
Lycopene, a carotenoid found primarily in tomatoes, displays double the free radical-fighting activity of beta carotene, the most widely studied carotenoid. Of 72 studies looking at consumption of tomatoes or tomato-based products reviewed in the February 1999 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, almost half showed a significant reduction in one or more of a variety of cancers.
Research shows that lycopene may be best at lowering a man's risk of prostate cancer. A 1995 Harvard Medical School study (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995; 87: 1767-76) queried nearly 48,000 male health-care professionals about their consumption of fruits and vegetables. The only foods that reduced their risk of prostate cancer were, apparently, tomato sauce, tomatoes, pizza (tomato paste). For those who ate ten servings a week, risk dropped 45 percent; with four to seven servings, 20 percent. In animal studies lycopene decreased the number and size of mammary tumors (Eleventh International Symposium on Carotenoids, 1996).
Tomatoes are one of the richest sources of lycopene. Cooking tomatoes helps by releasing the lycopene from the plant cell walls. Also, the oil in tomato sauce enhances absorption in the stomach. Lycopene is also available in supplements.
Wine drinkers rejoiced when resveratrol, a constituent of the skin of red grapes, was found to protect their Hearts (by blocking oxidation of LDL cholesterol and discouraging blood clotting). Now they have another reason to toast this potent antioxidant. When researcher John Pezzuto at the University of Illinois at Chicago screened about 1,000 plants for anticancer activity, he came up with one whose active ingredient turned out to be resveratrol. In lab tests it squelched both free radicals and inflammation, two well-known cancer inducers (Science, 6/10/97). In a study with mice, resveratrol reduced the number of skin tumors by up to 98 percent compared to control animals. Because the effective doses were high (Pezzuto estimates a person would have to quaff about five gallons of wine a day to get the equivalent) and because more than a drink or two a day may raise the risk of breast cancer, researchers don't recommend nondrinkers take up wine. But supplements of synthesized resveratrol (as well as grape juice) may help.
Saturated fat is an authentic dietary villain. Aside from clogging arteries, it's a suspected contributor to several cancers, though the evidence is greater for some cancers (prostate) than for others (breast cancer)
Of the two other main categories of fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, mono seems benign, if not positively protective. For example, in a study of the influence of diet on breast cancer, Greek researchers discovered that women who consumed higher amounts of olive oil (which is mostly mono) were less likely to be afflicted with breast cancer (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995: 87; 110-116).
When it comes to polyunsaturated fats, however, things get complicated. The fat that predominates in corn, sunflower and other vegetable oils, called omega-6, has long been associated with cancer risk in animal experiments. Likewise the type found in margarines, trans fats, which are partially saturated vegetable oils. On the other hand, the omega-3 fats called EPA and DHA, which are found primarily in deep- and cold-water fish like cod, mackerel, and halibut, protect against both heart disease and cancer. In an epidemiological study covering 24 European countries, British researchers established that mortality rates for colon and breast cancers declined as fish and fish oil consumption rose (British Journal of Cancer 1996: 74; 159-64). And Finnish scientists discovered that the breast tissue of women who had breast cancer contained significantly less DHA and EPA than the breasts of healthy women (Nutrition and Cancer 1995: 24; 151-160).
Experts believe the omega-3s' anticancer effect derives from its ability to tamp down the prostaglandins that stimulate inflammation. Chronic inflammation unleashes a steady stream of free radicals, which can damage DNA and thereby trigger cancer. Omega-3s also help the liver detoxify potentially harmful substances.
Fortunately for the fish-phobic, nonmarine sources of omega-3 fats include flaxseed and hemp oils.
Minerals to Lower Cancer Risk
n Calcium: possibly protective against colon cancer. In a recent trial (New England Journal of Medicine, 1/14/99) researchers gave people with a history of precancerous colon polyps either two 600 mg calcium tablets a day or a placebo for nine months and found fewer polyps. n Selenium: powerful antioxidant and supporter of immunity. Researchers find that cancer rates in various regions is lowered when soil and vegetables contain more selenium
In a selenium-depleted area in China afflicted with one of the highest incidences of stomach and esophageal cancer mortality in the world, scientists asked different groups to take various combinations of nutrients. After five years they found a significant reduction in the cancer rate among those who had gotten supplements of selenium, vitamin E and beta carotene (Biological Trace Element Research 1985; 7: 21-29). In the U.S. researchers studying the potential effectiveness of selenium supplementation for preventing nonmelanoma skin cancers came up with a surprise. The 200 mcg a day the subjects received for an average of 4.5 years had no impact on skin cancer but did significantly cut the rates of lung, colorectal and prostate cancers (Journal of the American Medical Association, 12/25/96).
More recently Harvard researchers determined that men with prostate cancer had much lower levels of selenium in their toenails (a measure of consumption) than healthy men (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 8/119/98).
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kale, have long been singled out for their association with protection against cancer. In a 1996 survey of 94 population studies and clinical trials focusing on consumption of cruciferous vegetables, 67 percent showed a reduced risk, the strongest link being with lung, stomach, colon and rectal cancers (Cancer Epidemiological Biomarkers 1996; 5: 733-748).
Scientists at Johns Hopkins showed that sulforaphane, from these plants, stimulates enzymes that help detoxify carcinogens generated in the liver. When they injected rats with a cancer-causing chemical, only 26 percent of the rodents pretreated with sulforaphane developed mammary cancer, compared to 68 percent of controls. Even animals who did come down with cancer had tumors that appeared later and smaller.
Other researchers have focused on a cruciferous-vegetable compound called indole-3-carbinol, which has proved especially effective against breast cancer cells. Recently, scientists at the University of California at Berkeley found that indole-3-carbinol, rather than acting as an anti-estrogen, (as had been thought), actually stops breast cancer cells by turning off a protein critical to their replication (Jrnal of Bio Chem, 2/13/98). Consequently, when treating certain forms of cancer, some doctors have paired indole-3-carbinol with the chemotherapy drug tamoxifen - which counteracts estrogen - and found that the combination has proven more potent than either separately.
Several decades ago British physician Denis Burkitt proposed that the low incidence of colon cancer among native peoples in South Africa was attributable to the fact that their diet was rich in fiber. The fiber, it was hypothesized, bulked up the stool, speeding its passage through the bowel and reducing the time carcinogens contact its lining; it also helped neutralize cancer-promoting bile acids.
This concept has been backed up by numerous studies. Recently, Harvard researchers sprinkled cold water on this idea, finding that an examination of the eating habits of more than 80,000 female nurses, could find no protective effect against colon cancer or precancerous polyps from consuming fiber (NEJM, January 21, 1999). Most experts' take on this apparent refutation: Maybe the "high fiber" intake in this case wasn't high enough, and this is just one study among many.
Fighting Breast Cancer
Fiber has also been linked to reduced rates of breast cancer. At first it was thought that if fat was a breast-cancer culprit, fiber might just be a marker for a low-fat diet. But a look at Finland undermined that idea: Finnish women eat both a lot of fat and a lot of fiber, and their breast cancer rate ranks much below that in the U.S., (where we eat gobs of fat and little roughage).
Fiber helps take estrogen out of circulation as it passes through the liver, while the isoflavones in many high-fiber plants and vegetables are themselves weak estrogens, which compete for slots on breast tissue's estrogen receptors. The special fiber in flaxseed oil called lignans act against estrogen in two ways: by binding its receptors and by inhibiting the enzyme that converts other hormones into estrogen.
Fiber comes in two basic forms, insoluble (e.g., wheat bran, celery, the skins of fruits and vegetables) and soluble (e.g., oat bran, citrus fruits, beans). Until a few years ago, scientists believed that cancer protection came mainly from insoluble fiber, but that thinking has turned around.
A soluble fiber called citrus pectin has been shown to halt the tendency of prostate, lung, breast and skin cancers to metastasize, or spread (e.g., Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995; 87: 3448-353). Typically cancer turns deadly only when it gets into the bloodstream and invades new territory. Modified citrus pectin appears to stop this aggression by preventing cancer cells from attaching to healthy tissue.
While the name inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) sounds like a mouthful, many of us consume mouthfuls of this natural substance every day - in foods like corn, rice, whole-grain cereals, oats and wheat.
But now scientists have isolated IP-6 and found that this powerful antioxidant can slow the destructive cellular processes that lead to tumors. In a study published in Anti-Cancer Research (Nov/Dec 1998), scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine demonstrated that IP-6 could shrink liver tumors in laboratory animals.
The researchers believe that IP-6 can help prevent cancer and also be useful in lowering the risk of health problems like kidney stones and heart disease. Research like this continues to expand our knowledge of how to lower the risk of cancer. In the next millennium, with more and more information making its way into the media and onto websites, our power and the responsibility to reduce our risk of cancer will continue to grow and offer new possibilities.
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart
June 13, 2005 10:06 AM
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart by Louis McKinley Energy Times, January 2, 2004
From time immemorial, people have tuned into life's lessons that come from the heart. Sadly, times are changing: If you're like most inhabitants of today's harried world, you may be too distracted to detect important clues about your cardiovascular circumstances.
And while heart lessons may be more complicated than simply connecting the physiological dots, understanding those heart messages are imperative for improving and maintaining your heart health.
Every cell in your body relies on heart-powered blood flow to keep it supplied with nutrients, oxygen, hormones and other natural chemicals necessary for survival. Without that supply of life-giving substances, few cells in the body-including those within the heart itself-can survive very long.
And just as damage to a major roadway can cause mayhem with traffic patterns, damage to blood vessels and the heart can wreak a lumpy cardiovascular havoc that blocks the passage of blood and endangers your heart's well-being.
Your Heart Disease Chances
Within the last ten years, scientific research performed by investigators around the world has focused on the specific factors that most strongly influence your chances of developing heart disease and suffering either a heart attack or a stroke.
While much of your risk depends on your genetic inheritance and family history, several factors that determine your heart health are within your control.
The most important factors you can do something about include:
* Smoking: free radicals generated by burning tobacco causes significant damage to blood vessels and other cells
* Lack of exercise: the human body is designed for consistent, moderate physical activity; without exercise, the body slacks off in creating antioxidant protection for arteries
* Diabetes: when excess blood sugar persists, physiological processes begin that endanger the heart and arteries
* Cholesterol: when oxidized (a chemical process that has been compared to a kind of internal rusting), cholesterol can form artery-blocking plaque; antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and natural vitamin E may help the body limit this process
* High blood pressure: excessive pressure within the blood vessels raises the risk of damage to the heart and arteries; a program of weight loss and exercise can help control blood pressure
* Being overweight: the extra body fat carried around your middle is linked to a greater risk of heart problems
Heart Attack Signs
Do you think you know what a heart attack feels like? Well, if you think it feels like a dramatic pain somewhere in your chest that knocks you to the floor, you're probably wrong. "Most heart attacks do not look at all like what one of my colleagues calls the 'Hollywood' attack-the heart attack you see on television or in the movies," warns Julie Zerwic, MD, professor of surgical nursing who has studied what happens when people develop heart disease and suffer damage to their Hearts.
"The symptoms [of heart problems] are not necessarily dramatic. People don't fall down on the floor. They don't always experience a knife-like, very sharp pain. In fact, many people describe the sensation as heaviness and tightness in the chest rather than pain," she says. And, if you're a woman experiencing a heart attack, you may not even feel discomfort specifically in your chest. Instead you may experience a severe shortness of breath. The apparent ambiguity of the discomforts caused by a heart attack lead many people to either ignore them or take hours to realize they need to go to the emergency room at the hospital.
Consequently, much fewer than half of all individuals undergoing a heart attack actually go to a hospital within an hour of the start of the attack. That delay can be a fatal mistake.
"Timing is absolutely critical," laments Dr. Zerwic. "If treatment starts within a hour after the onset of symptoms, drugs that reestablish blood flow through the blocked coronary artery can reduce mortality by as much as 50%. That number drops to 23% if treatment begins three hours later. The goal is to introduce therapy within two hours."
However, in Dr. Zerwic's research, only 35% of non-Hispanic whites go to the hospital within an hour of the start of a heart attack. And among African-Americans, the number of people going to the hospital right away drops to a frighteningly low 13%.
Often, people will lie down or use a heating pad to relieve the tightness they feel in the chest," says Dr. Zerwic. "They may take some medicine and wait to see if that works. All these steps postpone needed treatment."
Signs of a possible heart attack include:
* Chest discomfort: Heart attacks most frequently cause discomfort in the center of the chest that can either go away after a couple of minutes (and come back) or persist. The discomfort may feel like strong pressure, fullness or pain.
* Upper body discomfort: An attack may set off pain or discomfort in either or both arms, and/or the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
* Shortness of breath: Chest discomfort is frequently accompanied by shortness of breath. But it's important to note that shortness of breath can take place even in the absence of chest discomfort.
* Other signs: You can also break out in a cold sweat, or feel nauseated or light-headed.
A Woman's Sleep Signs
If you are a woman who suddenly experiences a marked increase in insomnia and puzzling, intense fatigue, you may be in danger of an imminent heart attack.
In an attempt to understand how women's symptoms of heart problems differ from those of men, researchers talked to more than 500 women in Arkansas, North Carolina and Ohio who had suffered heart attacks. (Technically, what they had experienced is referred to as acute myocardial infarction.)
They found that chest pain prior to a heart attack was only reported by about 30% of the women surveyed.
More common were unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances and shortness of breath (Circulation Rapid Access, 11/3/01).
"Since women reported experiencing early warning signs more than a month prior to the heart attack, this [fatigue and sleep problems] could allow time to treat these symptoms and to possibly delay or prevent the heart attack," says researcher Jean C. McSweeney, PhD, RN, nursing professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. In Dr. McSweeney's study, more than nine out of ten women who had heart attacks reported that they had had new, disturbing physical problems more than a month before they had infarctions.
Almost three in four suffered from unusual fatigue, about half had sleep disturbances, while two in five found themselves short of breath.
Other common signs included indigestion and anxiety.
"Women need to be educated that the appearance of new symptoms may be associated with heart disease and that they need to seek medical care to determine the cause of the symptoms, especially if they have known cardiovascular risks such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, overweight or a family history of heart diseases," says Dr. McSweeney.
Dr. McSweeney warns that, until now, little has been known about signs that women are having heart trouble or heart attacks. The fact that most of Western medicine's past attention has been on heart problems in men has obscured the warning signs in women. As part of Dr. McSweeney's studies, she and her fellow researchers have discovered that more than 40% of all women who suffer a heart attack never feel any chest discomfort before or during the attack.
"Lack of significant chest pain may be a major reason why women have more unrecognized heart attacks than men or are mistakenly diagnosed and discharged from emergency departments," she notes. "Many clinicians still consider chest pain as the primary symptom of a heart attack."
Vitamins for Diabetes and Heart Disease
Having diabetes significantly raises your chance of heart disease, which means that keeping your blood sugar levels under control can reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack.
Today, 17 million Americans have diabetes and, as the country's population in general gains weight and fails to exercise, the number of people suffering this problem continues to grow.
The first line of defense against diabetes consists of exercise and weight control. All you have to do is take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day to drop your chances of diabetes (American Journal of Epidemiology 10/1/03).
"We have found that men and women who incorporate activity into their lifestyles are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who are sedentary. This finding holds no matter what their initial weight," said Andrea Kriska, PhD, professor of epidemiology at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
To help your body fight the development of diabetes, researchers also recommend vitamin C and natural vitamin E.
Researchers working with lab animals at the University of California at Irvine have found that these antioxidant vitamins can help insulin (the hormone-like substance secreted by the pancreas) reduce harmful blood sugar. In addition, these vitamins shrink the chances of organ damage that can be caused by diabetes (Kidney International 1/03).
In this investigation, these vitamins also helped reduce blood pressure, another risk factor that raises heart disease risk.
"Blood pressure was lowered to normal, and free radicals were not in sufficient numbers to degrade the sugars, proteins and nitric oxide," notes Nick Vaziri, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California. "We think this shows that a diet rich in antioxidants may help diabetics prevent the devastating cardiovascular, kidney, neurological and other damage that are common complications of diabetes."
Free Radical Blues
Dr. Vaziri and his group of researchers found that untreated diabetes raised blood pressure and increased the production of free radicals, caustic molecules that can damage arteries and the heart. Free radicals can change blood sugar and other proteins into harmful substances, boosting tissue and heart destruction.
In Dr. Vaziri's work with lab animals, he found that treating diabetes with insulin lowered blood pressure and helped keep sugar and protein from changing into dangerous chemicals, but allowed the free radicals to subvert nitric oxide, a chemical the body uses to protect itself from free radicals.
In this investigation, adding vitamins C and E to insulin insulated the body's sugars, proteins and nitric oxide from oxidative assault. This produces a double advantage: Lowering the risk of heart disease and other damage to the body from diabetes.
Maitake, an Oriental mushroom that has been shown to have many health benefits, can also be useful for people with diabetes who are trying to avoid cardiovascular complications. Laboratory studies in Japan demonstrate that maitake may help lower blood pressure while reducing cholesterol (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 1997; 20(7):781-5). In producing these effects, the mushroom may also help the body reduce blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of tissue damage.
Tobacco smoke is one of the most notorious causes of heart problems. In the same way a hard frost exerts a death grip on a highway, the smoke from cigarettes can freeze up arteries and hamper their proper function. A healthy artery must stay flexible to comfortably allow adequate circulation.
But "...when blood vessels are exposed to cigarette smoke it causes the vessels to behave like a rigid pipe rather than a flexible tube, thus the vessels can't dilate in response to increased blood flow," says David J. Bouchier-Hayes, MD, professor of surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who has studied the deleterious effects of tobacco.
This rigidity is called endothelial dysfunction. When arteries are rigid, blockages gum up vessels, clots and other impediments to blood flow appear, and your risk of heart attack and stroke increases (Circulation 2001 Nov 27; 104(22):2673).
This condition can also cause chest pain (angina) similar to that caused by a heart attack, and should be evaluated by a knowledgeable health practitioner.
Although all experts recommend you stop smoking to lower your heart disease risk, some studies have found that Pycnogenol(r), a pine bark extract that helps the body fight inflammation, may ease some of smoking's ill effects.
In a study of platelets, special cells in the blood that can form dangerous blood clots, researchers found that Pycnogenol(r) discouraged platelets from sticking together (American Society for Biochemical and Molecular Biology 5/19/98). By keeping platelets flowing freely, this supplement may alleviate some of the heart-threatening clots that tobacco smoke can cause.
In Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional therapy from India, an herb called guggul has also been used to lower the risk of blockages in arteries. This herb, derived from the resin of the mukul tree, has been shown to reduce cholesterol by about 25%. People taking this herb have also reduced their triglycerides (harmful blood fats) by the same amount (Journal Postgraduate Medicine 1991 37(3):132).
The Female Version of Heart Disease
For one thing, women often don't suffer from the crushing chest pain that for most people characterizes a heart attack; instead, many women experience back pain, sweating, extreme fatigue, lightheadedness, anxiety or indigestion, signs that can be easily misread as digestive troubles, menopausal symptoms or indicators of aging.
The genders also differ in how heart disease poses a threat. While men seem most endangered by the buildup of blockages in arteries, women apparently are more at risk from endothelial dysfunction. But more study needs to be done since, in many cases, researchers have been unable to pin down the precise mechanism that causes many women to die of heart disease.
Scientists have found that the number of women in their 30s and 40s who are dying from sudden cardiac arrest is growing much faster than the number of men of the same age who die of this cause. But research by the Oregon Health & Sciences University and Jesse E. Edwards Cardiovascular Registry in St. Paul, Minnesota, shows that while doctors can pinpoint the coronary blockages that kill men, they can't find specific blockages in half of the female fatalities they have studied (American Heart Journal 10/03).
"This was an unexpected finding. However, the study underscores the need to focus on what is causing these younger women to die unexpectedly because the number of deaths continues to increase," says Sumeet Chugh, MD, a medical professor at Oregon.
Since the failure of arteries to relax probably contributes to heart disease in many women, eating red berries, or consuming supplements from berries such as chokeberry, bilberry or elderberry, may be important in lowering women's heart disease risk. These fruits help arteries expand and allow blood to flow freely.
Red berries are rich sources of flavonoids, polyphenols and anthocynanins. The anthocyanins are strong antioxidants that give the berries their color. Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that these chemicals can interact with nitrous oxide, a chemical produced by the body, to relax blood vessels (Experimental Biology conference 5/20/02).
As researchers work to devise lifestyle roadmaps that can steer you around the perils of heart disease, they are finding that exercise is a key path to avoiding cardiovascular complications.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that those who exercised and kept their weight down (or took weight off and kept it off) experienced a significantly lower risk of heart problems (Preventive Medicine 11/03).
"The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. Burning calories in physical activity may be the secret to reducing heart disease risk and living longer, she says.
Dr. Fang's research used information collected from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 1975 and then computed how much people exercised, how their body mass indices varied and which of these folks died of heart disease during the next two decades.
In the study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who worked out and consumed more calories cut their risk of heart disease death in half.
Exercise Is Essential
"Subjects with the lowest caloric intake, least physical activity, and who were overweight or obese had significantly higher cardiovascular mortality rates than those with high caloric intake, most physical activity, and normal weight," Dr. Fang notes. The individuals in the study who were overweight and didn't exercise had a bigger risk of heart disease even if they tried (and succeeded) at eating less.
"This suggests that heart disease outcome was not determined by a single factor, but rather by a compound of behavioral, socioeconomic, genetic and clinical characteristics," according to Dr. Fang.
According to researchers, if your job requires a great deal of physical activity, your health will be better if you get another job. Exercise on the job not only doesn't decrease your risk of heart disease, it may actually raise it. The reason: On-the-job activity is linked to heart-endangering increases in job stress.
Research into this subject, performed at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, found that while recreational exercise slowed hardening of the arteries, workers who had to exert themselves during the workday had arteries that were blocked at a younger age (American Journal of Medicine 7/03).
In this study, researchers examined about 500 middle-aged employees as part of what is called the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study.
"We found that atherosclerosis progressed significantly faster in people with greater stress, and people who were under more stress also were the ones who exercised more in their jobs," says James Dwyer, PhD, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School. According to Dr. Dwyer, "This suggests that the apparent harmful effect of physical activity at work on atherosclerosis-and heart disease risk-may be due to the tendency of high-activity jobs to be more stressful in modern workplaces.
"It appears from our findings that the psychological stresses associated with physically active jobs overcomes any biological benefit of the activity itself."
On the other hand, the scientists found that heart disease drops dramatically among those who exercise the most in their spare time. In the study, people who vigorously worked out at least three times a week had the lowest risk. But even those who just took walks enjoyed better heart health than people whose most strenuous activity was working the TV remote. Dr. Dwyer says, "These results are important because they demonstrate the very substantial and almost immediate-within one or two years-cardiovascular benefit of greater physical activity."
Lowering your risk of heart disease is substantially up to you. Listen to what your heart tells you it needs; then, exercise your right to fetch some cardiovascular necessities.
Vitali-Tea - Tea fits a healthy lifestyle to a T...
June 13, 2005 09:45 AM
Vitali-Tea by Leah Brinks Energy Times, October 9, 2003
If the research is even only half right, tea fits a healthy lifestyle to a T. Whenever scientists look at a teapot's contents, they find striking health benefits: Heart protection. Reduced cancer risk. Better skin.
All of these are apparently in the bag when you choose to drink tea. Tea green, tea black: Which to choose? Actually, both types come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. Green tea is steamed and dried; black tea is fermented, which allows its darker color to develop. Some lesser-known types include white tea, which is actually green tea that undergoes the most minimal of handling. (Another rare white tea, white cantaloupe, is rich in antioxidants.) Oolong is a tea that falls between green and black in processing and flavor.
One increasingly popular tea color, red, is not tea at all, but an herbal brew called rooibos (technically, herbal teas are known as tisanes). This South African plant yields a citrus-flavored beverage high in vitamin C. Other herbs known for yielding flavorful infusions include chamomile, used to promote sound sleep; peppermint, a digestion easer; and rose hips, which, like rooibos, combines healthy vitamin C levels with a delightfully zesty taste.
The evidence for tea's health benefits has practically boiled over. For instance, researchers at the University of Rochester have found that green tea substances inhibit the action of a molecule irritated by tobacco smoke, a toxin central to tobacco's cancer-causing danger. This action, say the scientists, may be the reasons that smokers who drink tea suffer less cancer (Chem Res Tox 7/21/03).
The Rochester researchers found that tea helps protect a cellular molecule called the aryl hydrocarbon (AH) receptor. Ordinarily, AH is frequently disturbed by toxic substances that cause cancer and other illnesses. Tobacco smoke (as well as the pollutant dioxin) interacts with AH to initiate cancer and other problems.
But at least two chemicals in green tea-epigallocatechingallate (EGCG) and epigallocatechin (EGC)-interfere with AH's harmful activity. These substances, flavonoids similar to healthful chemicals found in grapes, wine and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, have been shown to lower cancer risk.
"It's likely that the compounds in green tea act through many different pathways," says Thomas Gasiewicz, professor and chair of Environmental Medicine and director of Rochester's Environmental Health Science Center.
In the Rochester study, Dr. Gasiewicz and his colleagues found that EGCG and EGC close down the AH receptor in cancerous animal cells and most likely produce the same benefit in human cells.
Still to be made clear is how tea is metabolized when the body digests tea, but the Rochester scientists are still peering through their microscopes and teapots to find out.
Scientists at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University have found that drinking green or white tea can significantly lower your risk of colon cancer as well the prescription drug sulindac, which has been shown effective for people at high tumor risk (Carcinogenesis 3/03).
"Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, and recent upswings in the sales of green tea in the United States can be attributed to reports of potential health benefits against cancer and other chronic diseases," says Gayle Orner, an OSU research associate. "Teas exert significant protective effects in experimental animal models of skin, lung, esophageal, gastric, hepatic, small intestinal, pancreatic, colon, bladder and mammary cancer."
While many people today take aspirin and similar drugs that have been shown to lower cancer risk, this study shows that drinking tea and taking low doses of these drugs, called NSAIDs, can reduce the risk even further. (High doses of NSAIDs, while protective against colon cancer, can cause internal bleeding.)
"These are pretty exciting results," Orner says. "What's especially significant is that as far as we can tell consumption of tea has none of the side effects of NSAIDs, which can be severe, including bleeding, ulcers and even death."
In this research on animals, use of tea dropped the risk of cancer by about two-thirds. According to the lab results, drinking about three large cups of tea a day should provide significant cancer protection. Based on research in Japan that looked at how green tea lowers the risk of stomach cancer, the Linus Pauling scientists urge plenty of tea drinking: "The more the better."
Studies show that nations of tea drinkers have less trouble with their Hearts than residents of places where tea is hardly ever brewed. And now research is starting to zero in on the substances in tea that benefit heart health.
A study of 240 Chinese men and women who have high cholesterol has found that chemicals in tea can significantly drop harmful cholesterol (Arch Int Med 6/23/03).
"Personally, I was very surprised," says David J. Maron, MD, professor at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, lead author of the study. "I expected, if anything, a very slight cholesterol-lowering effect. But what we saw was a 16% reduction in low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol."
LDL cholesterol is known as "bad" cholesterol because it can increase your risk of heart disease.
The researchers in this study gave people extracts of green and black tea enhanced with theaflavin, an antioxidant also found in green tea.
In the future, if past results are any indication, tea's rich supply of beneficial chemicals will continue to pleasantly surprise researchers with even more benefits.
VITAMIN A and CAROTENOIDS - What are they good for?
June 09, 2005 09:27 AM
In 1912, Casimir Funk coined the term 'vitamine' to refer to a 'vital factor' he proposed was an essential component present in foods. His conjecture dovetailed with other research, leading to the isolation in the 1930's and 40's of the compounds we now call vitamins.
Vitamins are chemical substances which play a variety of roles in the human body. They are core components of any nutritional supplementation program.
While many people are aware of vitamins as necessary substances for good nutrition, few have a grasp of the extraordinary complexity of the roles they play in our bodies. As you'll see below, vitamins are involved in trillions of biochemical interactions every minute to keep us alive and functioning. For example, B-vitamins are converted into coenzymes which are directly necessary for the production of ATP energy from food, a process that goes on continuously in every cell in the body and which in turn fuels myriad physiological events such as muscle contraction, brain activity or tissue repair.
Source Naturals offers a full line of vitamins in bioactive forms, allowing you to tailor a nutritional supplementation plan to your individual needs.
VITAMIN A and CAROTENOIDS
Vitamin A is a generic term for a class of fat-soluble substances called retinoids, which can either be consumed preformed or synthesized by the liver from plant pigments called carotenoids (see 'Carotenoids', below). An essential nutrient, vitamin A is perhaps best known for its role in vision.
The outer segments of the rods, a type of light-sensitive cell in the retina of the eye, contain a pigment called rhodopsin (or 'visual purple') that mediates vision in dim light. Cone cells mediate color vision via three additional pigments. Both rods and cones are surrounded by pigmented epithelial cells that store vitamin A. Rhodopsin is formed from a protein called opsin and a vitamin A-dependent compound called 11-cis retinal. As light strikes the rods and cones it is absorbed by the pigment molecules, and retinal is split off from opsin. This chemical change allows an electrical impulse to be sent to the optic nerve and thus to the brain. The pigment must then be regenerated from opsin and retinal. Repeated small losses of retinal during this process require a constant replenishment of vitamin A to the eyes.
Vitamin A also plays an extremely important role in epithelial cell differentiation. Cell differentiation is the process by which a cell undergoes a change to a specialized cell type, allowing it to perform particular functions in the body. It is not yet understood precisely how vitamin A is involved in this process. One hypothesis is that it directly affects gene expression through its interaction with chromatin, a complex of DNA, RNA and protein in the cell nucleus. These interactions affect the process of transcription of DNA to messenger RNA, leading to synthesis of a specific group of cellular proteins.
Each one of us carries in our DNA a unique genetic blueprint. This genetic material is the same in every cell of our bodies. It is only because of this mysterious and magical process of differentiation that we have specialized cell types - and therefore eyes, ears, lungs and Hearts.
Vitamin A is necessary, either directly or indirectly, for the healthy growth and functioning of many of our tissues and organ systems, including the eyes, the skin, the bones, the reproductive system, and the natural defenses. It is not yet known whether this requirement is due to the role of vitamin A in cell differentiation or whether there are other physiological processes for which vitamin A is essential.
Vitamin A is related to a class of nutrients called carotenoids, including alpha and beta carotene, lycopene and lutein. Carotenoids are botanical pigments whose colors range from red to orange to yellow. Some carotenoids, particularly beta carotene, can be converted into vitamin A predominantly in the intestinal mucosa and to some extent in the liver. Carotenoids are completely non-toxic; their conversion into vitamin A is well-regulated by the body, making them extremely safe sources of this essential nutrient.
In addition to their role as safe sources of vitamin A, carotenoids are powerful nutrients in their own right. Their primary claim to fame is their powerful antioxidant action, particularly against singlet oxygen. Singlet oxygen is an 'excited' ion of oxygen which, while not technically a free radical, is nonetheless highly reactive. It causes 'oxidative' reactions which can impair or destroy membranes, enzymes and DNA. It can also lead to the formation of free radicals which can cause additional damage.
Certain carotenoids such as beta carotene, because of their chemical structure, can neutralize singlet oxygen by absorbing its extra energy and dissipating it throughout the carotenoid molecule, releasing the energy as heat and converting the singlet oxygen back to 'normal' oxygen. One molecule of beta carotene can quench up to 1000 molecules of singlet oxygen.
In addition to their role as singlet oxygen quenchers, carotenes provide antioxidant protection against free radicals as well. In nature, they protect plants from photo-oxidative reactions; in humans, certain carotenoids, notably beta carotene, may help protect the skin from such reactions. Other carotenoids may provide more localized protection to particular organs. Lutein and zeaxanthin, for example, are selectively concentrated in the retina of the eye. Along with vitamins C and E, carotenes are among the most important nutrient antioxidants in the human body.
HEART RESPONSE - Comprehensive Support for a Healthy Heart!
June 02, 2005 11:51 AM
Today’s modern lifestyle, filled with stress, pollution, overprocessed and fatty foods, and lack of exercise, places great strains on the cardiovascular system. Source Naturals HEART RESPONSE is a broad-range formula that supports cardiovascular health, especially heart muscle contraction, healthy circulation and the generation of cellular energy.
HEART RESPONSE features clinical potencies of the renowned heart botanical, hawthorn, and significant amounts of the energy nutrients, coenzyme Q10 and carnitine, along with additional nutrients and herbs. Each daily use supplies 600 mg of hawthorn, the same amount used in recent research.
Supports Heart Health
HEART RESPONSE was formulated to include key nutrients and herbs known to support the cardiovascular system.
Hawthorn: Hawthorn, a rich source of flavonoids and procyanidins, has been used traditionally all over the world as a strengthening circulatory and heart tonic.
Modern research has documented that hawthorn increases coronary blood flow and strengthens the contraction of heart muscle. Hawthorn is also an antioxidant, which scavenges and neutralizes destructive free radicals. It is only when cholesterol is oxidized that it impacts the integrity of arteries.
Coenzyme Q10: HEART RESPONSE supplies 60 mg daily of CoQ10, a key enzyme in the Electron Transport Chain, the pathway that generates 90% of the ATP “energy currency” needed by the body. Heart muscle requires huge amounts of energy to perform efficiently—it beats more than 100,000 times each day, pumping more than 1,000 gallons of blood through the body. The heart utilizes ATP as an energy source for muscular contraction. CoQ10 also is a fat-soluble antioxidant.
L-Carnitine: Carnitine is an amino acid-derived substance that supports heart muscle metabolism. Carnitine is needed to carry long chain fatty acids into the cell mitochondria, where they undergo oxidation to generate energy. The heart utilizes fatty acids as a preferred energy source for its metabolism.
HEART RESPONSE delivers 300 mg per day of carntine. Taurine and Magnesium: Magnesium and taurine work closely together in the body to help maintain the normal electrical rhythm of the heart. Taurine comprises more than 50% of the free amino acid pool in our Hearts, and has many electrophysiological effects on cardiac muscle cells. Alterations in magnesium levels can have profound effects on the heart. Magnesium is involved in autonomic control of the heart through several mechanisms. Bromelain: Bromelain is an enzyme mixture prepared from pineapple stems. Pineapple has been used for its health benefits for more than 500 years.
Grape Seed Extract: Grape seed is a source of procyanidins. These plant constituents are strong antioxidants that inhibit lipid peroxidation and scavenge free radicals. In vitro studies have demonstrated that procyanidins support the integrity of connective tissue. Garlic: The use of garlic for its health benefits predates written history. Garlic’s volatile oil includes sulfur-containing compounds such as allicin, which are considered to be important biological constituents.
Selenium: Selenium is an essential trace mineral that is necessary for the activity of the important antioxidant glutathione. Antioxidants are crucial for protecting cholesterol from oxidation, which in turn helps to maintain healthy blood vessels. B-Vitamins: Preventing an undesirable buildup of homocysteine levels may help support the integrity of arteries. Vitamins B-6, B-12 and folic acid are critical to the regulation of homocysteine levels.
You can count on Source Naturals’ expert formulators to bring you a product based on the most up-to-date nutritional research. HEART RESPONSE combines traditional botanicals and cutting-edge nutrients, scientifically formulated to deal with many aspects of cardiovascular health. It is available in bottles of 30, 60 and 90 tablets.