Search Term: " ISOFLAVONE "
This hemp variety from Finland exhibits significant antioxidant properties thanks to its high flavonoid content
May 07, 2019 04:15 PM
According to a study published in Phytotherapy Research, Cannabis sativa L., otherwise known as the hemp plant, has a wide variety of health benefits. Because it is high in antioxidants, it offers significant protection from heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Furthermore, the hempseed is very high in omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, which make it beneficial for the skin, heart, and joints. Hemp is often mistakenly confused with marijuana. While both plants contain Cannabis sativa, hemp does not have any THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that causes a "high". Hemp is also packed with beneficial nutrients and supports optimal brain and GI health.
"In the study, the researchers attribute this biological effect to the presence of flavonoid compounds in hempseed oil, which include flavanones, flavonols, flavanols, and isoflavones."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-14-hemp-from-finland-has-antioxidant-properties-high-flavonoid-content.html
Fight menopausal symptoms with fermented red clover extract
October 14, 2018 01:38 PM
According to a recent Danish study, fermented red clover is an herbaceous plant that can effectively be used to treat mood swings and hot flashes associated with menopause. Furthermore, the red clover extract can help to prevent osteoporosis that may occur for some menopausal women. Researcher Dr. Lambert claims that the key to the beneficial properties of red clover extract is the fact that it’s fermented, which helps support the bioavailability of the plant’s estrogen-like compounds, otherwise known as isoflavones. This research on fermented red clover is important given that the unpleasant symptoms of menopause affect one in three women over age 50.
"The fermented extract is a remedy of great efficacy. In addition, the extract prevents osteoporosis or bone loss that is accelerated by menopause, which affects one in three women over the age of 50."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-09-24-fight-menopausal-symptoms-with-fermented-red-clover-extract.html
The Benefits of Phytoestrogen for Hot Flashes
April 16, 2012 07:38 AM
How Does Phytoestrogen Help With Hot Flash?
Phytoestrogen is a natural compound found in several plants. It has many benefits. Therefore, it sometimes is made into a supplement by deriving it from those plants. The compound consists of three categories; lignans, coumestans, and ISOFLAVONEs.
Phytoestrogen can be used to prevent Alzheimer and breast cancer. A published journal called “Neurotoxicology and Teratology” found that a diet program with this compound can improve visual-spatial memory. And as for the breast cancer, it is because of the ISOFLAVONEs and lignans which are effective in protecting the breast against the cancer cell development in adult.
Phytoestrogen: Reproductive System
On the other side, phytoestrogen has the similar structure with estrogen, a hormone found in a female body that influences the function of reproductive system. Therefore, it can be used as a natural solution for female reproductive system such as menopause symptoms.
The most common disturbing symptom in menopause is hot flash. Hot flash is a warm feeling that spreads all over the body. It usually starts from the area around the head and neck. It is cause by drastic hormonal changes that cause the body temperature to drop. To stabilize the body temperature, the brain sends a signal to the entire body to warm it all up. And then, the warmth is sent to all over the body through the blood vessel. When your whole body has warmed up, the blood will return its temperature to its regular level.
As mentioned above, phytoestrogen can be a natural solution to mend hot flashes in menopause. This theory has been proved by a research done by Mayo Clinic where the fifteen menopausal women are given a phytoestrogen diet while the other fifteen women were not. The result shows that the first fifteen women with the diet suffer from hot flashes 57% less than the women with no diet.
Besides hot flashes, another problem may occur to menopausal women is the loss of bone mineral density. This problem can also be avoided with the benefits of phytoestrogen. The compound can also decrease the cholesterol level of menopausal women. Consume 30-60 milligrams of this compound per day can be effective to lower the cholesterol during the menopause.
For those benefits, it is recommended for menopausal women to consume foods that are rich in phytoestrogen, such as;
The bean that contains most of this compound is soy. Soy contains the most phytoestrogen than any other food. It mainly contains ISOFLAVONEs. Consuming 100 g of soybeans per day is enough for a menopausal remedy. Other beans are lentil, yellow peas, navy, fava beans, etc.
The vegetable that contains most this compound is flaxseed, alfalfa sprout and red clover. Flaxseed also contains omega-3 and fiber which are beneficial for body. Other vegetables are broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, potatoes, carrots, and zucchini.
The fruit that contains most of this compound is dried prunes. Other fruits are peaches, strawberries, and raspberries.
Many kinds of grains are rich in phytoestrogen, such as brown rice, wheat, oats, and barleys.
Consuming fresh foods as your menopausal diet is very healthy and low in risk. However, if it is difficult for you to eat them in a structured schedule, you can simply get the phytoestrogen supplements from a drug store.
Phytoestrogen - Plant Estrogen
September 25, 2008 05:57 PM
Phytoestrogens mainly belong to a group of phenolic compounds known as flavonoids: the coumestans, prenylated and ISOFLAVONEs are three of the most active in estrogenic effects. Phytoestrogens are not considered as nutrients because the lack of in the diet will not produce any characteristic deficiency syndromes nor do they participate in any essential biological function. Phytoestrogens are considered archi-estrogens (naturally occurring) and as dietary phytochemicals they are considered as safe and effective in its estrogenic activity.
Phytoestrogen content varies in different foods, and may vary significantly within the same group of foods due to the way these foods are grown such as soil content. Phytoestrogen when consumed as a treatment for menopause was well tolerated and caused no changes in liver enzymes, creatinine levels, body mass index, or blood pressure. Phytoestrogen is found in a wide variety of edible plants and generally display both estrogenic and anti-estrogenic properties.
Canadian researchers examined the content of nine common phytoestrogens foods in a Western diet, foods with the highest relative phytoestrogen content were nuts and oilseeds, followed by soy products, cereals and breads, legumes, meat products, and processed foods that may contain soy, vegetables, fruits, alcoholic, and nonalcoholic beverages. Researchers are also studying if phytoestrogens can prevent prostate cancer, preliminary results are promising. Researchers focused primarily on the compound ISOFLAVONEs because of its greater abundance in soy plus it exhibit estrogenic properties in the same strength as the other phytoestrogens compounds..
ISOFLAVONEs are structurally similar to the estrogen in human body’s, and thus have been shown to possess both estrogenic and anti-estrogenic activity. ISOFLAVONEs may directly inhibit bone re-sorption and prevent the onset of osteoporosis. The weak estrogenic effects of ISOFLAVONEs have been postulated as being protective against various forms of cancer as well. Being that ISOFLAVONEs are chemically similar to estrogen, one can take ISOFLAVONEs as an estrogenic replacement with little to no side effects.
Two other clinical trials suggest that over the short term, soy ISOFLAVONEs may reduce lumbar spine bone loss in peri- and postmenopausal women. Red Clover contains all four estrogenic ISOFLAVONEs: biochanin formonoetin daidzein Genistein. Much research has been performed on soy and red clover based phytoestrogens sources. We do not eat much red clover and so we will focus more on soy sources.
Soybeans contain large amounts of ISOFLAVONEs or phytoestrogens such as genistein, daidzein, glycitein, and ISOFLAVONEs. Soybeans display a biological effect when ingested by humans and animals. Soybean oil is the most commonly used vegetable oil in the United States and Europe. Soybean oil contains approximately 61 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids making it a healthy alternative to other oils currently available on the market for cooking.
Soybeans contain high levels of phytoestrogens and are the most widely used oil in the United States, and is sold as either pure soybean oil or as a main ingredient in vegetable oil. Most of the supplements on the natural foods market contain ISOFLAVONEs derived from soybeans or red clover and some contain botanicals such as black cohosh.
Phytoestrogen flavonoids and lignan exhibit significant antioxidant activity which is great for those anti-aging minded individuals. The antioxidant activity in flavonoid and lignan helps support breast, heart and bone health. Antioxidants can reduce free radical damage in the body as well as reduce oxidative stress which causes aging. We all know that over time we age, phytoestrogens might help one age more gracefully.
Finally, phytoestrogens, sometimes called "natural estrogens", are a diverse group of naturally occurring non steroidal plant compounds that, because of their structural similarity with estradiol (estrogen), have the ability to cause estrogenic or/and anti-estrogenic effects in the body. ISOFLAVONEs are found in high concentration in soy bean and soy bean products changing ones diet to more soy based foods or taking a phytoestrogens supplement can help reduce estrogen related cancers and maybe even prostate cancer.
September 02, 2008 10:10 AM
An ISOFLAVONE from soy has been evaluated for its effect on various female functions such as the menopause and some effects on estrogens. Soy products have been part of the diet in the Far East for thousands of years, and it is a known fact that these people suffer fewer incidences of conditions such as breast cancer, menopausal problems, rectal cancer and diseases of the heart and joints.
The benefits that such a diet appeared to confer on those taking it initiated many studies into the active constituents of soy, and how the biochemistry involved imparted these benefits. A result of this was an intensification of investigations into many so-called -women's functions' or 'women's problems' that hitherto had been accepted as a part of life. Now, however, they are better understood, just as many other components of the Oriental diet are being found to have wider implications in terms of disease prevention and increasing life expectancy. So back to soy and its ISOFLAVONE content.
Soy contains a number of ISOFLAVONEs, commonly known as phyto-estrogens - plant estrogens - because their chemical formula is similar to that of estrogen, a female hormone. ISOFLAVONEs possess some properties that support the beneficial properties of estrogens, and others that suppress some of the risk factors possessed by estrogen. We shall discuss here how these ISOFLAVONEs are related chemically to estrogens, and how they can be used to support some specific female functions.
In order to understand how ISOFLAVONEs work we go back to the 1980s, when alpha and beta estrogen receptors were discovered. Until then, the biochemistry of estrogen was not fully understood, and problems connected with estrogen had not been fully investigated.
Like all hormones, estrogen works by finding receptors that are located on cells. With regard to estrogen there are two types of receptor. The beta receptors are connected with the beneficial properties of estrogen, while the alpha receptors tend to lead to the unfavorable effects such as cancers related to estrogen. Each of your different tissue types possesses different ratios of these two receptor types.
The unfavorable alpha receptors predominate in tissues such as the breast, ovaries and uterus. The favorable beta receptors predominate in the blood cells, bladder, prostate gland, thymus and bones. Studies have indicated that ISOFLAVONEs appear to attack to the beta receptors and simulate the beneficial effect of estrogen when the levels of estrogen in the body are low, and allow the proper functioning of these cells in the body.
The alpha cells are also populated by ISOFLAVONEs, which then protect these areas of your body against cancers that can be stimulated by estrogen, such as cancers of the breast, ovaries and uterus. It appears that cancers that can develop when the alpha receptors are populated by estrogen do not occur when ISOFLAVONEs have captured them
ISOFLAVONEs are present in the form of glucosides. These are composed of sugar and non-sugar components, the latter known as aglycones, and the main ISOFLAVONEs in soybean are based on the three aglycones genistein, daizein and glycetein. The glucosides are water soluble and are broken down into enzymes known as B-glucosidases in the intestine. This releases the aglycones that can be further metabolized into other substances.
Current studies are examining the possibility that a diet rich in ISOFLAVONEs taken early in life up to teenage years can reduce the incidence of breast cancer in later years. ISOFLAVONEs have been used in the laboratory to reduce the growth of prostate cancer cells, and animal studies have reinforced this finding. The fact that Japanese men suffer less from prostate cancer than those eating diets low in ISOFLAVONEs also tend to reinforce this connection.
The same mechanism can be used to in prostate cancer by binding to testosterone receptors. Genistein, in particular, can help treat certain types of cancer by inhibiting enzymes such as tyrosine kinase that can become hyperactive and overstimulate the growth of potentially cancerous cells.
It is probable that the estrogen binding facility of ISOFLAVONEs complements the activity of estrogen in women with low levels of hormone. When the female estrogen level is low, ISOFLAVONEs can reduce the effects of the menopause and symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats become less severe. While not all women benefit, it has been found that women with these symptoms tend to suffer less when taking a diet rich in soy foods containing ISOFLAVONEs.
In addition to its moderating effect on these cancers, and its effect on the menopausal symptoms on many women, soy ISOFLAVONEs possess a few other beneficial health properties. They are strong antioxidants, and help to support the immune system by mopping up free radicals. They also help to protect from atherosclerosis by preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and depositing it as plaque in the arteries.
There is evidence that ISOFLAVONEs in the diet can help to maintain strong healthy bones. This is largely through the fact that Chinese women taking a diet rich in soya suffer fewer fractures than those on a low soy diet, but studies are continuing into potential reasons for this. Estrogen receptors in bones regulate bone growth and density. ISOFLAVONEs can modulate these receptors and promote greater bone density just like estrogen hormones with out estrogen side effects.
ISOFLAVONEs have few dietary sources, the richest being soybeans and other soy products. These are very low in the non-Asian diet, so few people, other than Asians, receive the benefit of these phytochemicals. This is believed to be the major reason for Asians suffering significantly lower rates of certain cancers than non-Asians.
Soy milk and tofu are the richest sources, although there is no standardization of ISOFLAVONEs in soy-based foodstuffs. This is because the ISOFLAVONE content varies according to growing conditions, although a diet containing the recommended quantities of soy foods, such as soy milk or soy beans, together with a low cholesterol diet, should help women to overcome many of the problems associated with excess estrogen, or a lack of it especially when taking in conjunction with essential fatty acids.
Any supplement containing soy will be beneficial to most women, particularly during the menopausal stages, although the effect of ISOFLAVONEs on certain cancers to which women are susceptible cannot be ignored. Such supplements should therefore be used by all women from at the teens onwards, studies having indicating that an ISOFLAVONE-rich diet should be beneficial over the longer term.
ISOFLAVONEs from soy is effective in helping to support female functions, although the normal Western diet is traditionally very short in these forms of phytoestrogen. ISOFLAVONEs can modulate estrogen receptor sites through out the body helping the body regulate its functions and easy the symptoms related to a estrogen deficient body.
Alfalfa Is One of Nature’s Most Nutrient-Rich Foods
February 14, 2008 12:29 PM
Most people have likely heard of alfalfa in relation to its use as an important animal feedstuff without understanding that it is one of nature’s most nutrient-rich foods. It appears to be a trait with most people, that what is used for animal feed cannot possibly be healthy to humans.
This completely ignores the fact that humans are themselves mammals, and what is good for the biochemistry of one mammal is likely (though not necessarily) good for most. A look at alfalfa and why it has been used to feed livestock is a good place to start a discussion on its merits as a nutritional supplement for human beings.
Alfalfa is a legume, or member of the pea and bean family, that has long been used as animal food and has been given the nickname “Queen of Forages”. It is behind only corn, wheat and soybeans as the fourth largest crop grown in the USA, and the vast majority is for animal forage. In fact there is twice as much alfalfa grown in the USA as cotton. Its nutritional value is not only from its high protein content of around 20%, but also from its exceptional vitamin and mineral content.
Although grown predominantly for animals, humans also eat alfalfa sprouts, although by far its greatest nutritional use is in supplement form. Before discussing specific claimed benefits such as its use in lowering blood glucose and cholesterol, alleviating the symptoms of arthritis and helping with digestive problems among only dozens of other traditional uses, it would be useful to review the nutritional content of the legume in terms of vitamins, minerals and any other biochemical content that could provide more general health benefits.
The vitamin and mineral content is not disputed, being determined by chemical analysis. It is not so much what is present in terms of variety that is impressive, but how much of each that alfalfa contains. Natural protein that is easily assimilated by the body has already been touched on, ranging from around 15% to over 20%. Many people also stress the rich chlorophyll content, but apart from the magnesium, chlorophyll has no nutritional benefit to humans. However, now for the impressive facts:
Alfalfa contains a high concentration of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, E and K and also Niacin, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin and Folic Acid. It is also rich in the following minerals: Boron, Calcium, Chlorine, Cobalt, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulfur and also some trace minerals. When you purchase alfalfa supplements you also get eight essential amino acids, necessary for the biosynthesis of proteins, enzymes and DNA.
Little wonder then that alfalfa has a long history of medicinal uses, and is also used as a feed for animals, providing practically all of their protein, vitamin and mineral dietary needs. The same could also be said of humans, and alfalfa is not classed as a ‘superfood’ without good reason.
However, it is easy to determine the fact that this plant is of high nutritional value, but when or why should you take alfalfa supplements, especially if you have a good dietary regime? In fact several facts are known through studies of the plant and also by traditional and established usage for certain ailments. Although not all claims can be scientifically verified beyond all doubt, it has been generally agreed that alfalfa is instrumental in reducing the uric acid content of your system, and is hence useful in the treatment of certain types of arthritis, and also perhaps gout.
Although the latter has not been unconditionally proven it has been traditionally used to treat gout that is caused by deposition of uric acid crystals in the joints, and further, alfalfa also contains many of the minerals recommended for its treatment. It is not, therefore, an unreasonable assumption that it should be an effective treatment. There are a few medical applications of alfalfa that have been carried out under controlled conditions, and while the official line is that more testing is required to firmly establish any benefits gained by taking the supplement, many people claim that it has been effective in the treatment of their own medical conditions.
Atherosclerosis, which is caused by excessive deposition of cholesterol in the arteries, has been reported to be reduced in animal studies, and while many people also claim that their condition has improved, more evidence is necessary before their claims can be scientifically supported. This, however, could be connected with the greater body of evidence suggesting that alfalfa supplements can help to reduce your LDL cholesterol levels.
It is free radical oxidation of low density lipoproteins that render the cholesterol attached to them more liable to be deposited excessively in your arteries, thereby causing the aforementioned atherosclerosis. The evidence of the effect of alfalfa in reducing LDL cholesterol is very promising, and if substantiated could well provide the proof needed that the supplement does indeed reduce the incidences of cholesterol plaques inside your arteries.
The same is true with regard to the reduction in blood glucose claimed to occur after taking an alfalfa supplement. Recorded human data is scarce, although once again some people claim that the supplement has improved their condition. However, in this case it is clear that more evidence is required before any claims can be made with any degree of confidence.
It is probably wise not to regard alfalfa as being a panacea for any of the above conditions, but it is also fair to regard it as being very rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins. Perhaps this is why it is believed to help with some common digestive complaints, and also help to control high blood pressure and improve your mental function. Whatever your belief in the health benefits of alfalfa supplements, you should consult a physician before relying on it as a definitive treatment for any condition. This is particularly true if you are also being treated for another condition.
Alfalfa might not specifically interact with any other drug, but you should always check up with your doctor when using any natural remedy in association with a prescription medicine. It contains a number of other vitamins which might interact with specific medications. Vitamin K, for example, can interfere with the action of blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin. This is not specific to alfalfa, and any foodstuff rich in a specific nutrient could equally interact with prescription medicines.
However, widespread homeopathic use over a long period of time has indicated that alfalfa has few if any side effects. It is effectively used in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of kidney problems and its name is derived from the Arabic for ‘father of all foods’. With over 300 nutrients and phytochemicals, alfalfa is one of nature’s most nutrient-rich foods, and its saponin and ISOFLAVONE content alone is sufficient to warrant many of the health claims made for it.
Bioflavonoids: Boost Your Brain and Circulatory Health
January 17, 2008 01:16 PM
Bioflavonoids are most commonly praised for their antioxidant properties. They were first identified in the 1930’s by Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Ph.D., a Nobel laureate. They are thought to prevent the breakdown of vitamin C in the body, and they also boast their own antioxidant capabilities. Over 5000 different bioflavonoids have been identified in nature. They are classified into categories including flavones, anthocyanidins, flavones, flavonols, ISOFLAVONEs and flavans. Science is still discovering new types and their healing properties every day. The best part about them is that they are all natural and very powerful.
For example, scientists have been promoting the amazing benefits of the antioxidant found in dark chocolate. It is called epicatechin, and it is an excellent bioflavonoid for heart health. Studies show that it helps maintain healthy blood vessels. Antioxidants in dark chocolate are also believed to lower high blood pressure, according to a study published in the Aug. 27, 2003 edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association.
Rutin and quecertin, both found in red grapes, are also linked with a healthier circulatory system. A study conducted at the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1995 found that “the antioxidant and platelet inhibitory properties of other naturally occurring compounds in the wine the consumption of flavonoid-containing foods and beverages may retard atherogenesis and prevent thrombosis on a daily basis.” Translated into common terms, the researchers concluded that bioflavonoid may slow artery and vein degeneration and prevent blood clotting.
The American Heart Association feels that this area of research is very promising. Their website states, “Phytochemicals are chemicals found in plants. Plant sterols, flavonoids and sulfur-containing compounds are three classes of micronutrients found in fruits and vegetables. These compounds may be important in reducing the risk of atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of fatty deposits in artery walls.”
As far as healthy brain function is concerned, bioflavonoid is thought to help with microcirculation in small vessels throughout the body. You might recall seeing ginkgo biloba in the news. It has been shown to improve memory with its powerful bioflavonoid in numerous studies. What makes ginkgo especially significant is that its bioflavonoids have a stronger potency than many other bioflavonoids, and it seems to have specific benefits in the capillary beds of the brain.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information recently reported the following on their website: “Flavonoids were shown to activate key enzymes in mitochondrial respiration and to protect neuronal cells by acting as antioxidants, thus breaking the vicious cycle of oxidative stress and tissue damage. Furthermore, recent data indicate a favorable effect of flavonoids on neuro-inflammatory events.” In other words, bioflavonoid is thought to help protect your brain cells from degeneration, and recent data shows that they may also reduce swelling.
Researchers are eager to discover all the healing properties bioflavonoids possess. Modern medicine is now faced with an all natural group of chemicals found in plant pigments that may prove to be effective in preserving brain function and promoting cardiovascular health. This is fantastic news for people that prefer natural supplements over expensive prescription pills. Current research shows that these chemicals have significant powers for enhancing overall health. In fact, many researchers advocate including bioflavonoid supplements in your daily health maintenance plan.
Natural Hormone Balance for Women
December 25, 2007 11:18 AM
The majority of women are affected by moderate-to-severe menopausal symptoms and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) at some point in their life. PMS that is clinically diagnosed consists of symptoms that are so severe and pervasive that careers, social interactions, and family lives are negatively affected. This occurs in eight to twenty percent of women in the Western world. Menopause and PMS are both characterized by a severe fluctuation or major falling of the female hormones estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin. Since many examples of women who are barely affected by natural changes exist, it can be logically inferred that female hormones are capable of remaining close to balanced, while others experience hormones that swing abruptly from one extreme to the next, causing severe mood swings. Although changes in hormone levels are the reason menopause and PMS occur, women do have some control over the severity of their symptoms.
There are many natural approaches to hormone balance along with other medical interventions that can be used either separate or together. However, one must remember that women are biologically programmed to have multiple children, which therefore, would limit the number of menstrual cycles in a lifetime. Additionally, women are now living thirty years past menopause, an experience that is relatively new. Also, a lot of the pain and anguish that is associated with menopause and PMS is actually related to obesity, high-calorie eating habits, and inactivity. Normal body weight and regular exercise often leads to mild or inconsequential PMS.
In 2002, estrogen and progesterone hormone replacement therapy, which is the standard treatment for menopausal symptoms, came under scrutiny after the publication of research that found that supplementation of estrogen significantly increases the risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Supplementing estrogen also does not protect against cardiovascular disease. As a result, US-dispensed prescriptions for estrogen declined from ninety-one million in 2001 to fifty-seven million in 2003. It has been found that a lot of the excess risk for breast and ovarian cancer was due to prescriptions being refilled indefinitely instead of hormone replacement therapy only being used at the onset of menopause. Additionally, supplemental estrogen was not paired and balanced with progesterone, causing a greater risk. Either way, the door to natural alternatives was opened wide, especially for those patients who have a family history of reproductive cancer. Natural therapy for menopause and PMS is based upon phytoestrogens.
Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that contain chemical structures which resemble estrogen. These plant compounds can exert weak estrogenic or antiestrogenic effects. ISOFLAVONEs from legumes such as soybean, red clover, licorice, as well as lignans like flaxseed and milk thistle are the most common and familiar phytoestrogens. Black cohosh has been shown to have antiestrogenic effects only. Phytoestrogens have been proven to reduce the risk for estrogen-dependent breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers as well as hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep disturbances. Although phytoestrogens do a good job at protecting women from symptoms of excess estrogen, phytoestrogens cannot replace estrogen when there isn’t enough. They don’t help with vaginal wall atrophy and dryness, thinning hair, lack of sexual desire, menopause-related urogenital itching, or infertility. For the best results, supplements of soy and red clover ISOFLAVONE should be taken 2-3 times daily. Although there are no herbal alternatives that actually raise levels of estrogen, natural medicine such as dong quai, licorice, milk thistle, ginseng, pycnogenol, and pollen for menopause and calcium, magnesium, B6, chastre tree, dong quai, and ginseng for PMS can balance existing female hormones and provide relief from symptoms.
Addiction Recovery With Chinese Herbs Like Kudzu
November 28, 2007 12:04 PM
Kudzu is Chinese herb that has been identified for the treatment of alcoholism. Anybody who has even had an addiction will tell you that addiction recovery is one of the most difficult of the tasks that life throws at us. Whether it is an addiction to tobacco or to heroin or anything in between is not easy, and those that join the ‘self-afflicted’ lobby do not help, but for the Grace of God...
Alcohol addiction is now potentially the most prevalent addiction in the world. There are now more that drink alcohol than smoke, and alcohol related problems are more than just a social problem, but cause the deaths of over 100,000 annually in the USA. One shudders at the thought of the world-wide death toll. It has been suggested that chemical addictions, as opposed to physical habits, can have chemical cures. Although the jury is still out on this one, there have been some positive results achieved in the treatment of addicts with natural remedies.
One of these natural remedies is the Chinese herb, kudzu. Kudzu is a climbing vine that can grow just about anywhere: in fields, lightly forested land and mountains. It is found throughout China, and also in the south eastern states of the USA. The reason for this strange distribution is that the plant was introduced to the USA by Japan at the 1876 Centennial Expo in Philadelphia.
The large blooms attracted gardeners who propagated them, and when it was discovered that the plant made good forage for animals, Florida nurserymen grew it as animal feed. Its effect in preventing ground erosion rendered it popular during the 1930s and 40s when farmers were paid up to $8 an acre for growing kudzu. Fodder and groundcover were the original uses of this vine in the USA irrespective of its medicinal uses on the other side of the Pacific.
Prior to it being recognized as a useful treatment for alcoholism, the vine had been used in China for generations for the treatment of such conditions as headaches, flu, high blood pressure symptoms, dysentery, muscular aches and pains and the common cold. It is still used to treat digestive complaints and allergies, and find use in modern medicine in the treatment of angina.
It is the root that is mainly used, which at up to six feet tall provides a plentiful supply of its active ingredients. These include ISOFLAVONEs including daidzein and ISOFLAVONE glycosides, mainly puerarin and also daidzin. However, it is in its application in the treatment of alcohol addiction that the root is currently creating interest.
Studies in the 1960s on animals bred with an alcohol craving indicated that daidzein and daidzin reduced their consumption of alcohol when offered it, and further studies have indicated that the mechanism of this was by inhibition of enzymes necessary for metabolizing alcohols. This has not yet been successfully repeated in humans, but the effects on animals cannot be just coincidental. Or can it? That question can only be answered by those for whom kudzu has been found effective, although many laboratory studies have shown that it certainly reduces the alcohol consumption of those with a habitual heavy intake of the substance.
Of all the other substances that have been used in an attempt to reduce the extent of alcoholism in the Western world, none have been found truly effective. The three recognized treatments of Campral (Acamprosate Calcium), approved by the FDA in July, 2004, Naltrexone (Revia) and Antabuse work in three different ways. Campral is useful only once you have stopped drinking and have detoxed, Naltrexone interferes with the pathway in the brain that ‘rewards’ the drinker and Antabuse gives unpleasant side effects that are meant to put the drinker off drinking.
Although all have side effects of one type or another, they have been approved by the FDA, and must therefore be assumed safe if used as recommended. However, none are natural, and kudzu has been found to have no known side effects. It is a type of pea, and did you know that it grows about one foot a day? Luckily it only grows to about 20 feet!
It is kudzu’s lack of side effects that renders it so attractive as a treatment for alcoholism, although more tests are needed before the evidence for its effectiveness can be declared cast iron. Most of the tests to date have been carried out on heavy drinkers rather than true alcoholics, but they have all found the plant effective in reducing the amount that each member of the study drank, even though no limitations were placed on them.
Future studies should probably be designed to determine if the treatment is safe for such groups as pregnant women, young people and those with specific medical complaints such as liver problems. Naltrexone should not be used by anybody with serious liver problems, and even campral is only suitable if you have no more than a moderate liver problem. Since alcoholics can reasonable be expected to also suffer from liver disease, then a treatment that is safe for such people would be very welcome.
A 2002 meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism in San Francisco named kudzu and St. John’s Wort as being the two most promising treatments for alcoholism. The mention of St. John’s Wort raises an interesting point, and one that must be discussed. That is the question of standardized doses, and what can happen if doses of natural products are not standardized with respect to the identified active constituent.
The reason for the importance of this is that not all sources of a particular herb are equally well endowed with active constituents. Although, for example, a dose of 2.5 grams daily of kudzu root might be recommended, how does the percent content of ISOFLAVONEs in different roots vary. That variation will mean that the amount of active ingredient taken in one 2.5g dose will differ from that in another, unless there is standardization.
The reason St. John’s Wort brought this to mind is that with this herb, used for some psychological problems such as depression, the active ingredient content was standardized. It was standardized to 0.3% hypericin, a napthodianthrone that causes an increase in dopamine levels. However, standard doses of St. John’s Wort gave inconsistent results and the reason for this could not be identified. It now has been. The active ingredient is now known to be not hypericin, but hypeforin, what is known as a prenylated phloroglucinol. The herb is now standardized on this substance.
This is a demonstration of the importance of identifying the active ingredients in a herbal treatment accurately, and also of standardizing doses. Kudzu doses must be standardized if their effect is to be consistent. There is now little doubt that addiction recovery is possible with Chinese herbs like kudzu, and who knows what else the ancient civilizations such as the Chinese have to offer us.
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.
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.
New Dynamic Health Laboratories
August 10, 2006 02:39 PM
A line of dietary supplement liquids featuring some of the most exciting nutritional products available in today’s market place. Dynamic Health has been supplying the industry with the highest quality natural liquid health products for more than a decade. Dynamic Health is a New York State Corporation established in 1994. it is licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and all product satisfy FDA labeling requirements. All Dynamic Health products are certified Kosher and some are certified organic.
Following are just a few of the 40+ Dynamic Health items available from VitaNet:
Goji Juice blend. The delicate berries of the Goji plant have been treasured for centuries by the Himalayan people. Formerly a Tibetan secret, goji juice was used in ancient recipes as a delicious elixir. Goji is rich in minerals, amino acids, antioxidant vitamins, polysaccharides and phytonutrients compounds.
Mangosteen Juice Blend. For centuries, the people of Southeast Asia have treasured the Mangosteen fruit for its many life-sustaining benefits. Recent scientific inquiry has revealed the extraordinary benefits of the Mangosteen and its rich supply of powerful antioxidants called xanthones.
Acai Juice. Acai palm tree flourish in the lush rainforests that are fed by the Amazon river. The dark purple Acai berries contain up to 33 times the antioxidant content of red wine grapes. These amazing berries have traditionally been used to increase energy, stamina, vitality, and to promote overall healthy living.
Organic Noni Menopause formula. Designed especially for premenopausal, peri-menopausal, and post-menopausal women, this unique formula provides 12,000 mg of certified organic Tahitian Noni per 1 oz serving! In addition, the formula is enriched with soy ISOFLAVONEs, dandelion, pomegranate juice, chaste tree berry, red clover, black cohosh and calcium.
HDL Booster - Boost your good cholesterol
March 16, 2006 12:51 PM
(Product No. 02922)
HDL Booster is a physician-developed dietary supplement that has been clinically shown to increase good cholesterol levels, particularly HDL-2, the best form of cholesterol.* The formula combines essential vitamins and minerals, at levels recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA), with key amino acids, powerful antioxidants, and traditional herbal extracts to provide superior support for cardiovascular health.*
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Formulated by Dr. Dennis Goodman, Chief of Cardiology at
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Clinically studied to increase good cholesterol levels up to 23%*1
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>All-inclusive formula; includes ingredients recommended in accordance with the American Heart Association
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Replaces the CoQ10 depleted by cholesterol lowering (statin) drugs.*2
HDL Booster has been clinically shown to increase HDL cholesterol levels.* HDL Booster also supports healthy cholesterol and healthy triglyceride levels already within the normal ranges.* By reducing C-reactive protein levels, HDL Booster helps support the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response.*
Two tablets (one serving) contain:
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 148 mg
Vitamin E (as natural mixed tocopherols) 35 IU
Niacin (as niacinamide) 21 mg
Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine HCl) 3 mg
Folic Acid 301 mcg
Vitamin B12 (as cyanocobalamin) 20 mcg
Magnesium (from magnesium amino acid chelate) 10 mg
Selenium (as L-selenomethionine) 49 mcg
Proprietary Blend 388 mg
hawthorn (Crategus oxyacantha) berry extract,
taurine, garlic (Allium sativum) bulb, grape seed (Vitis
vinifera) extract, grape skin (Vitis vinifera) extract,
N-acetyl-L-cysteine, alpha-lipoic acid, soy (Glycine
max) ISOFLAVONEs, tocotrienols
L-Arginine (as L-arginine HCl) 153 mg
L-Carnitine (as L-carnitine L-tartrate) 51 mg
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)(ubiquinone 10) 25 mg
Policosanol 7 mg
Other ingredients: See label for most current information.
Contains no: sugar, salt, yeast, wheat, gluten, corn, dairy products, artificial coloring, artificial flavoring, or preservatives. This product contains natural ingredients; color variations are normal.
Cholesterol, the soft, waxy substance present among the lipids (fats) in the bloodstream and in all cells, is important for wide variety of physiological functions. It is essential for the formation of cellular membranes, necessary for the production of bile salts, and also plays a role in the synthesis of certain hormones.3-5
Cholesterol is both produced by the body and obtained from food. Endogenous cholesterol is formed by human cells, particularly liver cells, whereas exogenous cholesterol is absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract from food.3,4
Because cholesterol can not be metabolized for energy, it must be removed from the body once it has served its function. The major route of removal is through the liver, where it is processed and subsequently excreted from the body.3,4
Types of Cholesterol
Cholesterol is lipophilic (“fat loving” or water insoluble) by nature. It can not be dissolved in the blood, and must, therefore, be transported by carriers known as lipoproteins. These carriers are classified by density, with LDL (low density lipoproteins) and HDL (high density lipoproteins) being the most common.4,5
LDL is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol. LDLs carry cholesterol throughout the body. Conversely, HDL, or “good” cholesterol, is responsible for carrying cholesterol away from the arteries to the liver where it is eventually processed and eliminated from the body.3,4,6
Scientific studies have shown that both types of cholesterol are important indicators of cardiovascular health. But recent research, focusing on the beneficial subtypes of HDL, has found that certain fractions of HDL may be more supportive of cardiovascular health than others. The two most notably supportive HDL fractions are HDL-2 and HDL-3.7
The smaller HDL-3 is synthesized by the liver and intestines. This form, which is known as “free cholesterol-rich” HDL, scavenges or “scoops up” free cholesterol. The cholesterol is then chemically altered by the addition of an ester group. When sufficient cholesterol is esterified, HDL-3 becomes HDL-2, which is therefore referred to as “cholesterol ester-rich” HDL. HDL-2 is larger in size and has been shown to be more cardiosupportive than HDL-3.*7
HOW IT WORKS:
HDL is known to possess antioxidant activity and to help balance the body’s natural anti-inflammatory response, both of which are important for cardiovascular health, but its most important function is the role it plays in cholesterol transport.6,8 High levels of HDL cholesterol are also associated with reduced platelet activity, another key indicator of arterial and venous health.9
Both HDL and LDL levels are important indicators of healthy cardiovascular function.* Therefore, supplements that increase the level of good cholesterol can profoundly impact heart health.* In 2002, an open label pilot study was conducted at
The following chart summarizes the benefits of each of the ingredients in HDL Booster:
October 08, 2005 12:07 PM
Daidzein - is an ISOFLAVONE found in soybeans, legumes, and peas. Soy ISOFLAVONE are free radical scavengers (Potent Antioxidants) and are antiangiogenic (interfere with unwanted blood vessel growth in disease states). They have been shown to have a beneficial effect on various types of cancer.
In countries like Japan where soy consumption is high, there is approximately 80 Percent lower incidence of prostate cancer than in the west. In a study that followed Japanese men who immigrated to the United States and abandoned their traditional diets, it was found that within on generation, there was a four to nine-fold increase of prostate cancer among them. But, unfortunately, the main ISOFLAVONE in soy, genistein, actually seems to have undesirable toxic effects. Only now is pure daidzein, the other ISOFLAVONE in soy, available as a supplement.
Daidzein doesn’t share genistein’s toxic properties, and was demonstrated to be very protective against prostate cancer in a study showing that peas dramatically reduce risk of prostate cancer. Peas contain a lot of daidzein, but not genistein.
10 key nutrients and herbal extracts provide Prostate Support
October 04, 2005 10:54 AM
The prevention of prostate cancer has been shown to be related to dietary intakes of some key nutrients, and several herbal extracts also can strongly influence prostate problems. It is important that herbal extracts and nutrients have the highest quality available and meet European pharmaceutical standards.
We looked hard and selected the following 10 items based on the following criteria:
The Essential Woman Formula
August 15, 2005 12:11 PM
The Essential Woman Formula
-Organic Unrefined Flaxseed Oil
The primary ingredient in The Essential Woman is unrefined organic flaxseed oil, the world’s richest source of essential fatty acids. These important nutrients, alpha linolenic acid (omega 3) and linoleic acid (omega 6) have been shown in scientific studies to benefit over 60 health conditions. Since these vital nutrients are classified as essential, they are absolutely necessary to maintain good health. Several of the most important benefits of essential fatty acid rich flaxseed oil include normalizing cholesterol and triglyceride levels, suppressing inflammation and allergies, alleviating depression, combating fatigue and beautification and healing of the skin. When it comes to these vital nutrients The Essential Woman is exactly that, essential!
-Evening Primrose Oil
Evening Primrose Oil is an integral part of The Essential Woman product for a very important reason. This proven and popular nutritional oil provides a source of specialized nutrient known as gamma linolenic acid or GLA. Volumes of scientific studies support the use of GLA for a woman’s unique requirements. GLA helps balance hormone like substances which, when out of balance, can lead to distressing symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. The Essential Woman was carefully formulated to provide optimal levels of GLA while working in concert with the other nutrient actives in the product.
Lignans are a class of plant phytonutrients that are concentrated in the solid portion of the flaxseed. These amazing compounds have shown such extraordinary potential that they have been studied by the National Cancer Institute for their cancer preventative properties. Lignans act as estrogen modulators, balancing human estrogen with both weak estrogenic and anti-estrogenic activity. This helps maintain a regulating activity on human estrogen which has been implicated as a factor in both breast and colon cancers. This is a particular concern for women as estrogen levels rise just prior to and during menopause. Lignans are yet another nutritional ally found in The Essential Woman necessary to meet the special demands of today’s woman.
The simple soybean is a power house of nutritional factors. The much researched ISOFLAVONEs in soy belong to a family of compounds known as bioflavonoids. The ISOFLAVONEs in The Essential Woman are concentrated to provide optimal levels in every tablespoon. Scientific studies on ISOFLAVONEs reveal an astounding array of nutritional benefits for women. Most notably are its effects on bone health and menopause. Researchers have found ISOFLAVONEs effective in the prevention of bone loss and conclude that ISOFLAVONEs are an effective natural means to help prevent osteoporosis and provide bone strengthening support. Soy ISOFLAVONEs area also classified as plant phytoestrogens which are more delicate in their actions than the actual human estrogen, but target human cells in the same manner. In this way, ISOFLAVONEs are believed to be able to block the overstimulation of human estrogens much like the plant lignans discussed earlier. This is good news for women entering their menopausal phase of life. ISOFLAVONEs of phytoestrogens can help alleviate the annoying symptoms of menopause and PMS as well as help reduce the risk of fragile bones, heart disease, breast and other cancers. As more and more women take charge of their personal health and well being, the need for a comprehensive nutritional support system is vital. The Essential Woman provides a formula for success designed for the special needs of a woman’s body.
Diet and supplements can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer development.
July 27, 2005 03:27 PM
5. Diet and supplements can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer development.
“To reduce prostate cancer risk, the American Cancer Society recommends limiting intake of foods from animal sources, especially saturated fats and red meats,” says Colleen Doyle, MS, RD, director of nutrition and physical activity for the ACS. The ACA also advocates a diet high in fruits, vegetables, grains and beans. In addition, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight and crucial in keeping prostate troubles at bay.
Nutritional supplements may also be a strategic weapon in the war against prostate cancer, and the National Cancer Institute is banking on the ability of selenium and vitamin E to fight off the disease. Previous studies indicate that both nutrients help control cell damage that can lead to prostate cancer, and the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) will assess the effects of these supplements on prostate cancer risk. More than 32,000 men from the US, Puerto Rico and Canada are taking part in the long-term study. In addition to SELECT, smaller trials are being conducted on a variety of nutrients and their impact on prostate cancer, including vitamin D, lycopene, licorice root and soy ISOFLAVONEs.
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July 08, 2005 09:27 AM
New & Improved Formula!
4 tablets contain:
Suggested Use: Take 4 tablets each night or as recommended by your health care professional.
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Progesterone Cream - Supports Hormonal Balance
June 28, 2005 09:40 AM
Recent medical reports have profoundly shaken popular beliefs about the safety of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for women in menopause. You may be one of the six million women who are searching for alternatives. Source Naturals PROGESTERONE CREAM and PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM can help address normal menopausal discomforts, when used as part of a care for their own health needs. Source Naturals is committed to joining with your health food retailer to help insure that right.
Menopause and Hormonal Balance
Public confidence in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) suffered a major blow when the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health halted a large clinical trial out of concern for the safety of participants. Women are looking for natural alternatives to risky HRT.
Source Naturals Progesterone CREAM and PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM address the hormonal fluctuations that bring on the first disturbing hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. Used together or separately, these creams address declining levels of progesterone and estrogen.
Progesterone Cream from Woman-Friendly Soy
Progesterone is a steroid hormone made by the corpus luteum of the ovary at ovulation, and in smaller amounts by the adrenal glands. It is a precursor to most other steroid hormones, including cortisol, androstenedione, estrogen and testosterone. Because it is the precursor to so many hormones, progesterone is crucial for overall hormone balance. Yet progesterone levels can drop to near zero during menopause. Source Naturals PROGESTERONE CREAM supplies natural progesterone from soy.
Unlike creams which don’t divulge their progesterone content, Source Naturals PROGESTERONE CREAM is guaranteed to contain 500 mg of progesterone per ounce! This pure white cream softens and smoothes skin. Along with natural progesterone, it contains aloe vera, wild yam extract, natural vitamin E, lecithin phospholipid, jojoba oil, and extracts of ginseng root and grapefruit seed. Natural rosemary oil is added as a fragrance. Available in both tubes and jars for your convenience.
Phyto-Estrogen Cream: Plant Compounds Renowned for Menopause Estrogen levels drop 40-60% at menopause. Phytoestrogens—estrogens from plants—have been shown to bind to the same receptor sites as estrogen, helping maintain normal menstrual cycles and menopausal transitions. When there is too little estrogen (the situation during menopause), phytoestrogens substitute for the lack of human estrogen. Conversely, when estrogen levels are high (as in some women who experience PMS), phytoestrogens compete with human estrogen for binding to receptors and decrease overall estrogenic activity.
Source Naturals PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM is an almond-colored cream that can be massaged into smooth skin areas to add oil-rich, moisture-binding protection. PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM offers some of the finest phytoestrogens in the botanical world, including 60 mg of soy ISOFLAVONEs per ounce. PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM also contains pomegranate seed juice (a natural source of estrone), red clover tops extract, black cohosh root extract, and dong quai root extract, along with aloe vera gel, natural vitamin E, cocoa butter, grapefruit seed extract, rosemary oil, and natural cherry almond fragrance.
Warning: Phyto-Estrogen Cream is not for use by women of childbearing age. DO NOT USE if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you may become pregnant.
Source Naturals offers you the first progesterone and phytoestrogen creams to utilize unique liposomal delivery of key ingredients. Liposomes are micro-penetrating lipid spheres made from lecithin, which pass through skin layers more easily than non-liposomal creams—for highest possible penetration of skin cells. Both creams are available in 2 and 4 oz jars. PROGESTERONE CREAM is also available in 2 and 4 oz tubes.
Lifestyle Tips for Menopause: A Strategy for Wellness
Eat Well: In certain cultures, hot flashes are practically unknown. It is generally true that women in these cultures eat foods rich in phytoestrogens. For example, in Southeast Asia, where soy proteins comprise 20% to 60% of daily protein intake, epidemiological studies suggest an association between a positive, trouble-free menopause and soy consumption.
Lignans—phytoestrogens found in flaxseed oil and unprocessed olive oil—may also have a protective effect. You should eat fresh, organic vegetables, fruits, cereals, beans, whole grains and small portions of fish or hormone-free chicken. Increase fluids and eat low-fat dairy foods. Avoid fatty meats, sugar, processed foods, fried foods, and chemicals. Adequate calcium intake— 1,500 mg per day—is crucial.
Use Supplements: Source Naturals HOT FLASH is an excellent complement to PROGESTERONE and PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAMS. A recent comprehensive scientific review of natural menopause products (Annals of Internal Medicine 11/19/02) singled out soy ISOFLAVONEs and black cohosh for their benefits in addressing hot flashes. Unlike most products, HOT FLASH contains clinical potencies of both soy ISOFLAVONEs and standardized black cohosh extract. In addition, HOT FLASH contains additional herbs, renowned for use in menopause: vitex, licorice root and dong quai. To be sure you are covering all your nutritional bases, take a good daily multiple like MENOPAUSE MULTIPLE, especially designed for women 40+ years old.
Maintain a Healthy Weight: Women who are overweight have an increased risk of heart disease, while those who are thin or underweight are more susceptible to osteoporosis and hot flashes.
Rest and Relax: It is important to get adequate sleep, take naps if you feel tired, and avoid stress. Meditation and yoga can be helpful in reaching a state of calm. Take Care of Your Skin: A 1997 study of 3,875 postmenopausal women documented the relationship between low estrogen levels and skin dryness and loss of elasticity. Research has associated wrinkling with consumption of full-fat dairy products, butter, margarine, fatty meats and sugar. Drink lots of water—at least 1.5 liters daily. Water flushes out wastes, and acts as an internal moisturizer, keeping skin hydrated and supple. Spring water is beneficial since it contains trace minerals vital to healthy skin. For radiant skin, you should also try the Source Naturals SKIN ETERNAL™ family of creams and serums. This advanced cosmetic system recharges and revitalizes all skin types. Keep Cool. Avoid triggers such as spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, overheated rooms, hot beverages and stress. Wear layered clothing, and choose natural fabrics, such as cotton or wool.
Stay Active: Exercise benefits the heart and bones, helps regulate weight and contributes to overall well-being. Weight-bearing exercises are especially important for increasing bone mass. Kegel exercises (tightening and relaxing of the pelvic muscles) can improve bladder control, and may enhance sexual pleasure. Try Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM): Alternative therapies— herbal remedies, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, naturopathic medicine and much more—can help you cope with the physical and emotional changes of menopause.
America's Most Wanted
June 14, 2005 05:23 PM
America's Most Wanted
by Brian Amherst Energy Times, January 6, 2000
The United States eats well, a little too well, according to experts. Amply supplied with a large supply of high-calorie food, our diets might seem to be chock full of every conceivable nutrient. Well, to the question "Getting all the right vitamins, minerals and other nutrients?" the most appropriate answer seems to be "Not exactly." Eating a lot doesn't equal eating a lot of the most important vitamins and minerals. So, which vitamins and minerals are likely to show up in short supply in the typical American diet? Calcium certainly sits at the top of list. According to the most recent Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals, which is conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), women and girls age 12 and up are not consuming adequate calcium from their diet. Research reveals that about 1200 mg. day suffices for those over age 50 and 1000 mg a day should be adequate if you're between the ages of 19 and 50. Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Stanford University, ". . .osteoporosis is a pediatric disease." For long-range protection against that bone-weakening disease, kids should eat calcium-rich, low-fat dairy products and plenty of leafy greens (broccoli, cabbage, kale) as well as salmon (with bones), seafood and soy. But the calcium campaign does not end in early adulthood. Bone mass begins to deteriorate at about age 30. Menopausal hormonal changes can exacerbate bone brittleness. Medical conditions, including cancer, liver disease and intestinal disorders; prescription drugs; tobacco and alcohol indulgence; or a decline in activity, especially the weight-bearing kind, also jeopardize bone strength. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about one in every two American women will break a bone after age 50 due to osteoporosis. That translates into about half a million fractured vertebrae and more than 300,000 shattered hips. Frequently, those breaks are life-threatening.
The critical role of calcium in many body functions is perhaps the most extensively clinically documented among nutrients. Researchers in the Department of Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, reviewed epidemiological and clinical studies conducted over the past two years on the relationship between dietary calcium and blood pressure (J Am Coll Nutr October 1999: 398S-405S). "Nearly 20 years of investigation in this area has culminated in remarkable and compelling agreement in the data," the researchers report, "confirming the need for and benefit of regular consumption of the recommended daily levels of dietary calcium." Investigators at the State University of New York, Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, presented results of their studies of calcium and vitamin C and gum disease at the June 26, 1998 meeting of the International Association for Dental Research. Two separate inquiries revealed that people who consumed too little calcium as young adults, and those with low levels of vitamin C in their diets, appear to have nearly twice the risk of developing periodontal disease later in life than folks with higher dietary levels of either nutrient.
Calcium: Much Documented Researchers offer extensive evidence of calcium's benefits on many fronts: n Osteoporosis poses a threat to older men as well as women, according to Randi L. Wolf, PhD, research associate at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Dr. Wolf presented her award-winning study to an October 3, 1999 meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Dr. Wolf suggests that men increase their consumption of calcium, particularly after age 80, to avoid age-related declines in the amount of calcium absorbed. According to Dr. Wolf, "It appears that the hormonal form of vitamin D, which is the main regulator of intestinal calcium absorption, may have an important role. We are conducting more research to better understand the reasons for why calcium absorption declines with age in men." n Scientists at Tufts University in Boston did some earlier work on the calcium-vitamin D connection and reported it in the September 4, 1997 New England Journal of Medicine. Using the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) increased recommended daily intake of 1200 milligrams of calcium and 400 to 600 international units of vitamin D for people over 50, the Tufts researchers found that with supplementation of the nutrients, men and women 65 and older lost significantly less body bone and, in some cases, gained bone mineral density. n Two studies published in American Heart Association journals show that atherosclerosis and osteoporosis may be linked by a common problem in the way the body uses calcium. The September 1997 Stroke revealed that, in a group of 30 postmenopausal women 67 to 85 years old, bone mineral density declined as atherosclerotic plaque increased. Researchers reporting in Circulation (September 15, 1997) advanced the theory that the osteoporosis-atherosclerosis connection may be related to a problem in handling calcium. n For people who had colon polyps removed, taking calcium supplements decreased the number of new polyps by 24% and cut the risk of recurrence by 19%, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, School of Medicine. The study, published in the January 14, 1999 New England Journal of Medicine, was a first in crediting calcium with anti-cancer properties.
The D Factor
Without adequate vitamin D, your absorption of calcium slips and bone loss can accelerate, increasing the risk for fractures. Fifty percent of women with osteoporosis hospitalized for hip fractures at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston had a previously undetected vitamin D deficiency (Journal of the American Medical Association, April 28, 1999). University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers told participants at the April 14, 1997 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research that vitamin D "significantly inhibits highly metastatic, or widespread, prostate cancer in animals," suggesting its potential for treating men with similar conditions. Few foods that Americans eat, except dairy, contain much vitamin D, but we can usually synthesize sufficient amounts from as few as five minutes' exposure to the sun. But as skin ages, its ability to act as a vitamin D factory decreases. According to Michael F. Holick, the director of the Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center, upwards of 40% of the adult population over age 50 that he sees in his clinic are deficient in vitamin D. Recently, the National Academy of Sciences (the official body that decrees the required amounts of necessary nutrients) increased the daily recommendations of vitamin D to 600 IU for people over 71, 400 IU for those aged 51 to 70 and 200 IU for people under 50. The best dietary sources, apart from dependable supplements, are dairy and fatty fish like salmon. Four ounces of salmon provide about 300 IU.
The Facts About Fats
The American lust for low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets filled with sugary foods has exploded into nothing short of "obsession," according to experts at the General Research Center at Stanford University Medical Center (Am J Clin Nutr 70, 1999: 512S-5S). That mania oftens robs us of the crucial balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids typical of the Mediterranean diet that protect us from heart disease by controlling cholesterol and making blood less likely to form clots. These fatty acids cannot be made by the body but are critical for health: n Omega-3 fatty acid (linolenic acid) comes from fresh, deepwater fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) and vegetable oils such as canola, flaxseed and walnut. n Omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid) found primarily in raw nuts, seeds and legumes and in saturated vegetable oils such as borage, grape seed, primrose, sesame and soybean. The American Heart Association recommends limiting total fat consumption to 30% of daily calories. Saturated fats like those in dairy and meat products as well as vegetable oil should comprise 10% of total calories; total unsaturated fat (fish oils, soybean, safflower nuts and nut oils) should be restricted to 20 to 22% of daily calories.
Be Sure About B12
Vitamin B12 presents a particular problem for the elderly because older digestive systems often don't secrete enough stomach acid to liberate this nutrient from food. (The elderly have no problem absorbing B12 from supplements, because it's not bound to food.) Vitamins generally moderate the aging process but, ironically, that process and the diseases that frequently accompany it affect vitamin metabolism (Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax 83, 1994: 262-6). And because of those changes, we need more of certain vitamins. This is the case for vitamins D, B6, riboflavin and B12. Crucial for health, B12 is necessary to prevent anemia, and, according to recent studies, needed (along with folate and B6) to help stave off heart disease. B12, with thiamine and niacin, boosts cognition (Adv Nutr Res 7, 1985: 71-100). Screening for vitamin B12 deficiency and thyroid disease is cheap and easy and can prevent conditions such as dementia, depression or irreversible tissue damage (Lakartidningen 94, 1997: 4329-32). In the January 5-12, 1999 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the AHA urged doctors to screen levels of homocysteine (the amino acid byproduct of protein digestion that damages arteries, causes heart disease and, possibly, strokes) in patients at high risk for heart disease. They also recommended all Americans to up their daily levels of vitamins B6 and B12, as well as folic acid. Since fruits, vegetables or grains lack B12, vegetarians need B12 supplements. And they're a good idea for the rest of us, too.
Folic Acid Benefits
Folic acid made headlines in the early 1990s when the U.S. Public Health Service declared that "to reduce the frequency of neural tube defects [spina bifida, or open spine, and anencephaly, a lethal defect of the brain and skull] and their resulting disability, all women of childbearing age in the United States who are capable of becoming pregnant should consume .4 milligrams (400 micrograms) of folic acid per day." This recommendation followed voluminous research that showed taking folic acid was associated with a significantly reduced risk of birth defects. (The advisory is based on the fact that nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned. If you think you are pregnant, consult your health practitioner for supplementary advice.)
A Team Player
Folic acid's efficacy intensifies when it works with other nutrients. Among many studies on the preventive powers of folic acid on birth defects, one published in The New England Journal of Medicine (327, Dec. 24, 1992: 1,832-1,835), disclosed an even greater decrease in neural tube defects when supplements of folic acid contained copper, manganese, zinc and vitamin C. As a warrior against homocysteine, folic acid joins the battalion of B12 and B6 in detoxifying this harmful protein. At the University of Washington's Northwest Prevention Effectiveness Center, researchers recently analyzed 38 published studies of the relationship between folic acid, homocysteine and cardiovascular disease and, according to associate professor Shirley A. Beresford, MD, folic acid and vitamin B12 and B6 deficiencies can lead to a buildup of homocysteine.
Canadian researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (275, 1996: 1893-1896) that men and women with low folic acid have a 69% increase in the risk of fatal coronary heart disease. This 15-year study of more than 5,000 people stressed the need for dietary supplementation of folic acid. Folic acid also has been credited with the potential to protect against cancers of the lungs, colon and cervix. It appears to help reverse cervical dysplasia, the precursor cells to cervical cancer, especially for women taking oral contraceptives, which may cause a localized deficiency of folic acid in the cells of the cervix. According to Shari Lieberman, PhD, and Nancy Bruning, authors of The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book (Avery), folic acid derivatives work with neurotransmitters, the chemicals that permit signals to be sent from nerve fiber to nerve fiber. A lack of folic acid can cause some nervous-system disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia and dementia; it also may be related to some forms of mental retardation. Other supporting roles of folic acid, according to researchers: the formation of normal red blood cells, important for preventing the type of anemia characterized by oversized red blood cells; strengthening and improving white blood cell action against disease; limiting production of uric acid, the cause of gout.
The Best Sources
Many foods are rich in folic acid: beef, lamb, pork and chicken liver, spinach, kale and beet greens, asparagus, broccoli, whole wheat and brewer's yeast. But experts believe that only 25 to 50% of the folic acid in food is bioavailable. Processing also reduces an estimated 50 to 90% of its content. Folic acid supplementation overcomes these obstacles with little risk, as it has no known toxicity. Women taking folic acid who are current or former users of oral contraceptives may require additional zinc. And be sure to augment your folic acid supplement with its synergistic counterpart, vitamin B12.
Focus on Fiber
The American Heart Association came out squarely behind fiber in a June 16, 1997 issue of its journal Circulation: Double your daily intake to lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. The American diet is consistently low in fiber, notes Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, author of the article. Twenty-five to 30 grams a day from foods (or supplements) are not only heart healthy but seem to aid weight control.
Getting enough iron? An estimated 25% of adolescent girls in the United States are iron deficient, according to an October 12, 1996 issue of the British medical journal The Lancet, which reported that girls who took iron supplements performed significantly better on verbal tests than those who took a placebo. "Teenage girls should be regularly tested for iron deficiency because rapid growth and the onset of menstruation during puberty increase the body's need for iron," says Ann Bruner, MD, of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and a lead author of the study.USDA data reveal that women up to age 50 also tend to get much less than recommended levels of iron, a lack of which leads to anemia, a deficiency of red blood cells, hemoglobin or volume of blood. For kids, deficiency is more common from six months to four years and during the rapid growth spurts of adolescence when the body is growing so quickly that the body's iron stores may sink to dangerous levels. Vegetarian women run the greatest risk for deficiency, as meat is iron-rich; foods like beans, grains and vegetables also contain some iron. Supplements, of course, supply easily absorbable iron. And to absorb iron from vegetarian sources, take vitamin C with your meals. That boosts the amount of this mineral you will take in. Bear in mind, however, that certain folks-older men and post-menopausal women-generally have adequate dietary supplies of iron. Of greater concern, in fact, is excessive iron, and for these folks iron-free multivitamin and mineral supplements are available.
Ante Up the Antioxidants
Antioxidant nutrients help protect the body from oxygen-scavenging molecules called free radicals. The products of pollution, the body's own metabolic processes and other sources, free radicals are linked to heart disease, cancer and other chronic health problems. The most important antioxidants, which include vitamin C, E, beta carotene, and selenium, are often lacking in the American diet. Plus, optimal amounts of vitamin E cannot be consumed from food. You need supplements. The bottom line: even though we live in a land of plenty, you can still miss vital nutrients. So make sure to consume these vital substances.
Source of Missing Nutrients In the search for the nutrients missing from America's diet, one big help is the sprout. The sprout is truly one of nature's heavyweights: fresh, tiny and moist, its power punch of vitamins, minerals, protein, chlorophyll and disease-busting phytochemicals land it in a weight class far beyond that of its full-grown competitors. Size does NOT matter to this nutritional giant. A championship belt currently wraps around the miniscule broccoli sprout, catapulted into the ring by Paul Talalay, MD, professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Talalay discovered that the seedlings contain substantially more of the cancer-fighting substance sulforaphane than mature plants (Proc. Natnl. Acad. Sci. USA, 94, 10367-10372). Sprouts, the quintessential health food of the Sixties, provide a wonderfully varied and versatile way to get your daily greens. Raw or cooked, strong or mild, vegetable and grass sprouts and their algae cousins add low-calorie texture to recipes and a rich, diverse complement of nutrients and fiber.
Ancient Asia to the Modern Lab
Asians stir-fried sprouts as one of the earliest fast foods as long as 5,000 years ago. The ancient Chinese relied on sprouts for year-round vegetables in colder regions of their vast country. Today, researchers studying sprouts and adult plants have identified their important chemoprotective and other health-bolstering substances. In Paul Talalay's research project at Johns Hopkins, scientists found that three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain up to 50 times more sulforaphane than mature plants, which prompts the body to produce an enzyme that prevents cancer tumors from forming. Uniform levels of the compound saturate the shoots, unlike the chemically uneven adult plants. The Brassica family of broccoli and cabbage is richly endowed with phytochemicals that also help reduce estrogen levels associated with breast cancer. Other phytochemical compounds in the Brassica family are associated with the prevention of stomach and lung cancers. Most of the initial landmark work on phytochemicals' cancer-fighting powers has taken place since 1989 under the aegis of the National Cancer Institute's "Designer Food Program," which isolated, for example, the ISOFLAVONEs in beans that seem to neutralize cancer-gene enzymes.
Strong Suit: Soy and Spirulina
The ISOFLAVONEs and phytosterols in soy produce an estrogenic effect that appears to relieve menopausal symptoms and help prevent breast cancer. Soy foods expert Mark Messina, PhD, has done extensive work on the subject, some of which has been published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-6. Researchers also have synthesized a bone-strengthening form of soy ISOFLAVONEs called ipriflavone, following impressive clinical trials in the treatment of osteoporosis (American Journal of Medicine, 95 [Suppl. 5A] (1993): 69S-74S). Spirulina and other micro-algae are fascinating organisms that inhabit a niche between the plant and animals kingdoms. Named for its tiny spirals, spirulina, a blue-green algae, grows in saline lakes but is cultured for maximum nutritional content. In her book Whole Foods Companion (Chelsea Green), Dianne Onstad notes that spirulina contains "the highest sources of protein, beta carotene and nucleic acids of any animal or plant food." Its nucleic acids, she says, benefit cellular regeneration; its fatty acids, especially GLA and omega-3 acids, make it one of the most complete foods. Sprouts, like any other produce, should be rinsed thoroughly before serving. People at high risk for bacterial illness-young children, the very elderly or folks with weakened immune systems-should limit their consumption of raw sprouts. But no matter how you eat them, you may find more spring in your step from these tiny, sprouting nutritional wonders.
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
June 13, 2005 03:44 PM
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
by Mary Ann Mayo & Joseph L. Mayo, MD Energy Times, September 4, 1999
It's front-page news. It's politically correct and socially acceptable. Talking about menopause is in. Suddenly it's cool to have hot flashes. Millions of women turning 50 in the next few years have catapulted the subject of menopause into high-definition prominence.
It's about time. Rarely discussed openly by women (what did your mother ever advise you?), meno-pause until recently was dismissed as "a shutting down experience characterized by hot flashes and the end of periods." Disparaging and depressing words like shrivel, atrophy, mood swings and melancholia peppered the scant scientific menopausal literature.
What a difference a few years and a very vocal, informed and assertive group of Baby Boomers make. Staggered by the burgeoning numbers of newly confrontational women who will not accept a scribbled prescription and a pat on the head as adequate treatment, health practitioners and researchers have been challenged to unravel, explain and deal with the challenges of menopause.
Not An Overnight Sensation
Menopause, researchers have discovered, is no simple, clear cut event in a woman's life. The "change of life" does not occur overnight. A woman's body may begin the transition toward menopause in her early 40s, even though her last period typically occurs around age 51. This evolutionary time before the final egg is released is called the perimenopause. Erratic monthly hormone levels produce unexpected and sometimes annoying sensations.
Even as their bodies adjust to lower levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, some women don't experience typical signs of menopause until after the final period. A fortunate one-third have few or no discomforts.
According to What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause (Warner Books) by John R. Lee, MD, Jesse Hanley, MD, and Virginia Hopkins, "The steroid hormones are intimately related to each other, each one being made from another or turned back into another depending on the needs of the body...But the hormones themselves are just part of the picture. It takes very specific combinations of vitamins, minerals and enzymes to cause the transformation of one hormone into another and then help the cell carry out the hormone's message. If you are deficient in one of the important hormone-transforming substances such as vitamin B6 or magnesium, for example, that too can throw your hormones out of balance. Thyroid and insulin problems, toxins, bad food and environmental factors, medication and liver function affect nutrient and hormone balance."
The most important reproductive hormones include:
Estrogen: the female hormone produced by the ovaries from puberty through menopause to regulate the menstrual cycle and prepare the uterus for pregnancy. Manufacture drops significantly during menopause. Estradiol is a chemically active and efficient form of estrogen that binds to many tissues including the uterus, breasts, ovaries, brain and heart through specific estrogen receptors that allow it to enter those cells, stimulating many chemical reactions. Estriol and estrone are additional forms of estrogen.
Progesterone: also produced by the ovaries, it causes tissues to grow and thicken, particularly during pregnancy, when it protects and nurtures the fetus. Secretion ceases during menopause.
Testosterone: Women produce about one-twentieth of what men do, but require it to support sex drive. About half of all women quit secreting testosterone during menopause.
Estrogen's Wide Reach
Since estrogen alone influences more than 400 actions on the body, chiefly stimulating cell growth, the effects of its fluctuations can be far-reaching and extremely varied: hot (and cold) flashes, erratic periods, dry skin (including the vaginal area), unpredictable moods, fuzzy thinking, forgetfulness, fatigue, low libido, insomnia and joint and muscle pain.
Young women may experience premature menopause, which can occur gradually, as a matter of course, or abruptly with hysterectomy (even when the ovaries remain) or as a result of chemotherapy. Under such conditions symptoms can be severe.
In the 1940s doctors reasoned that if most discomforts were caused by diminishing estrogen (its interactive role with progesterone and testosterone were underestimated), replacing it would provide relief. When unchecked estrogen use resulted in high rates of uterine cancer, physicians quickly began adding progesterone to their estrogen regimens and the problem appeared solved.
For the average woman, however, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) became suspect and controversial, especially when a link appeared between extended use of HRT (from five to 10 years) and an increase in breast and endometrial cancers (Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 37, 1997). The result: Women have drawn a line in the sand between themselves and their doctors.
Resolving The Impasse
Since hormone replacement reduces the risk of major maladies like heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, colon cancer and diabetes that would otherwise significantly rise as reproductive hormone levels decrease, most doctors recommend hormone replacement shortly before or as soon as periods stop. Hormone replacement also alleviates the discomforts of menopause.
But only half of all women fill their HRT prescriptions and, of those who do, half quit within a year. Some are simply indifferent to their heightened medical risks. Some are indeed aware but remain unconvinced of the safety of HRT. Others complain of side effects such as bloating, headaches or drowsiness.
Women's resistance to wholesale HRT has challenged researchers to provide more secure protection from the diseases to which they become vulnerable during menopause, as well as its discomforts. If the conventional medical practitioners do not hear exactly what modern women want, the complementary medicine community does. Turning to centuries-old botanicals, they have validated and compounded them with new technology. Their effectiveness depends on various factors including the synergistic interaction of several herbs, specific preparation, the correct plant part and dosage, harvesting and manufacturing techniques.
Research demonstrates that plant hormones (phytoestrogens) protect against stronger potentially carcinogenic forms of estrogen while safely providing a hormone effect. Other herbs act more like tonics, zipping up the body's overall function.
Help From Herbs
Clinical trials and scientific processing techniques have resulted in plant-based supplements like soy and other botanicals that replicate the form and function of a woman's own estrogen.
The complementary community also can take credit for pushing the conventional medical community to look beyond estrogen to progesterone in postmenopausal health.
Natural soy or Mexican yam derived progesterone is formulated by pharmacologists in creams or gels that prevent estrogen-induced overgrowth of the uterine lining (a factor in uterine cancer), protect against heart disease and osteoporosis and reduce hot flashes (Fertility and Sterility 69, 1998: 96-101).
A quarter of the women who take the popularly prescribed synthetic progesterone report increased tension, fatigue and anxiety; natural versions have fewer side effects.
These "quasi-medicines," as Tori Hudson, a leading naturopathic doctor and professor at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, Oregon, calls them, are considered "stronger than a botanical but weaker than a medicine." (Hudson is author of Gynecology and Naturopathic Medicine: A Treatment Manual.)
According to Hudson, the amount of estrogen and progesterone in these supplements is much less than medical hormone replacement but equally efficacious in relieving menopausal problems and protecting the heart and bones.
According to a study led by Harry K. Genant, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, "low-dose" plant estrogen derived from soy and yam, supplemented with calcium, prevents bone loss without such side effects as increased vaginal bleeding and endometrial hypoplasia, abnormal uterine cell growth that could be a precursor to endometrial cancer (Archives of Internal Medicine 157, 1997: 2609-2615).
These herbal products, including natural progesterone and estrogen in the form of the weaker estriol or estrone, may block the effect of the stronger and potentially DNA-damaging estradiol.
Soy in its myriad dietary and supplemental forms provides a rich source of ISOFLAVONEs and phytosterols, both known to supply a mild estrogenic effect that can stimulate repair of the vaginal walls (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-46).
To enhance vaginal moisture, try the herb cimicifuga racemosa, the extract of black cohosh that, in capsule form, builds up vaginal mucosa (Therapeuticum 1, 1987: 23-31). Traditional Chinese herbal formulas containing roots of rehmannia and dong quai have long been reputed to promote vaginal moisture.
Clinical research in Germany also confirms the usefulness of black cohosh in preventing hot flashes and sweating, as well as relieving nervousness, achiness and depressed moods caused by suppressed hormone levels. It works on the hypothalamus (the body's thermostat, appetite and blood pressure monitor), pituitary gland and estrogen receptors. Green tea is steeped with polyphenols, mainly flavonoids, that exert a massive antioxidant influence against allergens, viruses and carcinogens. The risks of estrogen-related cancers such as breast cancer are particularly lowered by these flavonoids, as these substances head directly to the breast's estrogen receptors. About three cups a day exert an impressive anti-inflammatory, antiallergenic, antiviral and anticarcinogenic effect.
Other phytoestrogen-rich botanicals, according to Susun Weed's Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way (Ash Tree Publishing), include motherwort and lactobacillus acidophilus to combat vaginal dryness; hops and nettles for sleep disturbances; witch hazel and shepherd's purse for heavy bleeding; motherwort and chasteberry for mood swings; dandelion and red clover for hot flashes.
Our Need For Supplements
Adding micronutrients at midlife to correct and counter a lifetime of poor diet and other habits is a step toward preventing the further development of the degenerative diseases to which we become vulnerable. At the very minimum, you should take:
a multivitamin/mineral supplement vitamin E calcium
Your multivitamin/mineral should contain vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Look for a wide variety of antioxidants that safeguard you from free radical damage, believed to promote heart disease and cancer, as well as contribute to the aging process.
Also on the list: mixed carotenoids such as lycopene, alpha carotene and vitamin C; and folic acid to help regulate cell division and support the health of gums, red blood cells, the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system.
Studies indicate a deficiency of folic acid (folate) in 30% of coronary heart disease, blood vessel disease and strokes; lack of folate is thought to be a serious risk factor for heart disease (OB.GYN News, July 15, 1997, page 28).
Extra vitamin E is believed to protect against breast cancer and bolster immune strength in people 65 and older (Journal of the American Medical Association 277, 1997: 1380-86). It helps relieve vaginal dryness, breast cysts and thyroid problems and, more recently, hit the headlines as an aid in reducing the effects of Alzheimer's and heart disease. It is suspected to reduce the thickening of the carotid arterial walls and may prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which contributes to the formation of plaque in arteries.
Selenium also has been identified as an assistant in halting cancer (JAMA 276, 1996: 1957-63).
The Omegas To The Rescue
Essential fatty acids found in cold water fish, flaxseed, primrose and borage oils and many nuts and seeds are essential for the body's production of prostaglandin, biochemicals which regulate hormone synthesis, and numerous physiological responses including muscle contraction, vascular dilation and the shedding of the uterine lining. They influence hormonal balance, reduce dryness and relieve hot flashes.
In addition, the lignans in whole flaxseed behave like estrogen and act aggressively against breast cancer, according to rat and human studies at the University of Toronto (Nutr Cancer 26, 1996: 159-65).
Research has demonstrated that these omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can reverse the cancer-causing effects of radiation and other carcinogens (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 74, 1985: 1145-50). Deficiencies may cause swelling, increased blood clotting, breast pain, hot flashes, uterine and menstrual cramps and constipation. Fatigue, lack of endurance dry skin and hair and frequent colds may signal EFA shortage. Plus, fatty fish oils, along with vitamin D and lactose, help absorption of calcium, so vital for maintaining bone mass.
In addition, studies show that the natural substance Coenzyme A may help menopausal women reduce cholesterol and increase fat utilization (Med Hyp 1995; 44, 403, 405). Some researchers belive Coenzyme A plays a major role in helping women deal with stress while strengthening immunity.
Can't shake those menopausal woes? Menopause imposters may be imposing on you: The risk of thyroid disease, unrelenting stress, PMS, adrenal burnout, poor gastrointestinal health and hypoglycemia all increase at midlife. Menopause is a handy hook on which to hang every misery, ache and pain but it may only mimic the distress of other ailments. For this reason every midlife woman should have a good medical exam with appropriate tests to determine her baseline state of health. Only with proper analysis can you and your health practitioner hit on an accurate diagnosis and satisfying course of therapy.
And if menopause is truly the issue, you have plenty of company. No woman escapes it. No woman dies from it. It is not a disease but a reminder that one-third of life remains to be lived. Menopausal Baby Boomers can anticipate tapping into creative energy apart from procreation. If not new careers, new interests await. An altered internal balance empowers a menopausal woman to direct, perhaps for the first time, her experience of life. She has come of age-yet again. Gone is the confusion, uncertainty, or dictates of a hormone driven life: This time wisdom and experience direct her. There is no need to yearn for youth or cower at the conventional covenant of old age. Menopause is the clarion call to reframe, reevaluate and reclaim.
Mary Ann Mayo and Joseph L. Mayo, MD, are authors of The Menopause Manager (Revell) and executive editors of Health Opportunities for Women (HOW). Telephone number 877-547-5499 for more information.
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.
Hearty Soy - Soy will cater to your cardiovascular well-being...
June 13, 2005 10:19 AM
Hearty Soy by Joyce Dewon Energy Times, January 5, 2004
It's a diet food, it's a health food. Any way you look at it or eat it, soy's combination of benefits and its versatility as a component of a heart-healthy diet have led to a widespread popularity that continues to grow.
No matter what your taste preference, a soy food is available to satisfy your picky palate and cater to your cardiovascular well-being.
Annual sales of soy in the US continue to grow more than 10% a year, edging toward the $4 billion mark. Today, the average American consumes about 10 mg of soy protein a day, even though the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends taking in at least 25 mg of soy to benefit your heart. Even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has signaled its approval of the soy bandwagon, allowing claims that daily soy can help lower the risk of cardiovascular complications.
As Good as a Drug
Researchers who have investigated how soy can help lower cholesterol and shrink the risk of heart disease have concluded that soy, in a diet with fruits and vegetables, can be as effective as cholesterol-reducing drugs (JAMA 7/22/03).
Researchers at the University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital compared the cholesterol-lowering power of soy and other vegetarian foods with that of lovastatin, a standard pharmaceutical used to reduce cholesterol.
In the study, scientists fed people a diet that, along with soy, had large amounts of nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, and high-fiber foods like oats and barley plus margarine made with plant sterols (natural substances derived from leafy greens and vegetable oils). Researcher David Jenkins, PhD, a nutrition science professor, thinks these foods may be good at dropping cholesterol because human evolution makes us well-adapted for an "ape diet," one high in fiber, vegetable protein, nuts and plant sterols.
According to Dr. Jenkins, "As we age, we tend to get raised cholesterol, which in turn increases our risk of heart disease. This study shows that people now have a dietary alternative to drugs to control their cholesterol, at least initially." Dr. Jenkins also thinks that soy and a vegetarian diet can be used to maintain normal cholesterol levels.
Dr. Jenkins' heart-healthy diet, designed to be easily prepared and consumed, includes oat bran bread and cereal, soy drinks, fruit and soy deli slices. For instance, in his study, a typical dinner consisted of tofu baked with eggplant, onions and sweet peppers, pearled barley and vegetables.
Dr. Jenkins adds, "The Food and Drug Administration has approved these cholesterol-lowering foods as having legitimate health claims for heart disease risk reduction. They're also being recommended by the American Heart Association and the National Cholesterol Education Program as foods that should be incorporated into the diet. And we have now proven that these foods have an almost identical effect on lowering cholesterol as the original cholesterol-reducing drugs."
Dr. Jenkins regrets that health practitioners often give drugs to people with high cholesterol instead of trying to control the problem with soy and other vegetarian foods.
Soy Safety Affirmed
Recently, some doctors have spread the story that soy may increase the risk of cancer because natural chemicals in soy act like estrogens, hormones that may contribute to breast and other cancers. However, research has failed to support this supposition.
As Dr. Jenkins points out, "the concerns have been whether soy estrogen might lead to hormone-dependent breast cancer or abnormal sexual development in children, yet we found no evidence to support this."
In another of Dr. Jenkins' studies, people were put on diets high in soy to see how their estrogen levels were affected. Then, the researchers measured estrogen byproducts in their urine. Since estrogen stimulates breast cancer cells to produce a special protein, the researchers measured the amount of this protein produced by each urine sample to calculate how much estrogen was present.
The total estrogenic activity in the urine of women on soy dropped to lower levels than it had been before they ate soy. "This finding suggests that soy may not have the estrogenic effects that were thought to alleviate menopausal symptoms but it refutes claims about its purported hormone risks," Dr. Jenkins says.
The study also demonstrated that soy can reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering levels of oxidized cholesterol, which is thought to stick to coronary artery walls and form dangerous plaques. Dr. Jenkins' other research demonstrates that soy consumption reduces cholesterol in general while also decreasing the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the body and maintaining the HDL (good) cholesterol. According to Dr. Jenkins, this confirms that soy should be promoted for its important role in preventing heart disease without fear that it will promote cancer.
In another study in China, researchers compared the dietary habits of more than 350 women with breast cancer to the foods eaten by more than 1,000 women who did not have cancer (Amer Assoc Canc Res Second Annual Intl Conf Fron Can Prev Res 10/27/03, Abst 1274). They found that eating large amounts of soy did not raise the risk of breast cancer.
Of course, anyone can develop allergies to almost any food, soy included. If eating soy causes you discomfort, find another source of healthy protein (see box on whey protein above).
ISOFLAVONEs, soy's plant estrogens, are believed to create some of the most significant heart-healthy soy benefits. Consequently, researchers urge those concerned about their cardiovascular health to combine a diet high in soy, fruits and vegetables with exercise for the highest level of heart protection. Cheaper than cholesterol drugs, tastier than many other healthy foods and available in so many forms, soy's popularity will certainly continue to explode. Soy burgers, soy drinks and soy just-about-everything will continue to be a big part of our lives.
Acupuncture nutrient Connection
June 12, 2005 05:53 PM
Acupuncture nutrient Connection by Robert Gluck Energy Times, November 1, 1998
The theory behind the practice of acupuncture confounds western science. This therapy, originating in Asia, is based on the concept that currents of energy called meridians flow through your body. However, no one has ever been able to conclusively demonstrate the existence of these meridians.
Despite the evasiveness of these energy streams, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) holds that alterations in these energy flows can disrupt health and cause pain. Consequently, an acupuncturist punctures your skin with specialized needles to redirect the body's vital energy.
Despite the fact that western scientists have not been able to find satisfactory evidence of the existence of these energetic meridians, studies show that acupuncture works and is especially effective at relieving pain. This therapy has been used to alleviate a variety of conditions including chronic pain, nausea and even mental illness. In addition, some practitioners apply it to those trying to shake off the chains of drug addiction. (More recently, many practitioners now also successfully use acupuncture to relieve physical problems in animals.)
Of course, no matter what your perspective on this therapy, acupuncture's no panacea. While you might use acupuncture to relieve the discomforts of chemotherapy, you wouldn't use this technique as your primary weapon against a dangerous disease like cancer. Still, this reliable therapy occupies a welcome spot as an adjunct to many mainstream therapies. Consequently, many mainstream practitioners accept the validity of using acupuncture and many managed care companies reimburse this therapy. Some HMOs even keep a list of approved acupuncturists that they make available to enrollees.
Acupuncture East and West
The practice of acupuncture dates back at least 2200 years ago in Asia. Only during the last forty years has it become well-known and widely available in the United States. Today, 29 accredited acupuncture schools train practitioners in North America. In addition, traditional healers in Belize (south of Mexico) have been found to use a form of acupuncture derived from traditional Mayan medicine.
Is the use of acupuncture by Mayan shamans coincidence? Or further evidence that acupuncture meridians really exist? No one knows for sure, although some experts believe the Mayan use of this therapy supports the notion that the original ancestors of the Mayans migrated from Asia.
Acupuncturists insert needles into the body to relieve pain or enhance bodily functions. TCM holds that acupuncture, and the manipulation of these tiny needles, moves and manipulates qi (pronounced chee), the body's energy force.
"Acupuncture is a method of balancing the body's energy," says Carol Alexander, an acupuncturist at the North Jersey Health and Pain Relief Center in Hackettstown, New Jersey. "Disease occurs because of an imbalance...Insertion of the acupuncture needles into meridians will bring about the balance of qi." Alexander has practiced acupuncture for 10 years and studied at the Tri-State School of Traditional Acupuncture in Stanford Connecticut.
Alexander says patients sometimes suffer a blockage of qi or display too much or too little qi. The manipulation and placement of the acupuncture needles vary according to the need for adjusting meridian energy flow.
Acupuncture can be used to prevent disease and, if disease is already rampant, it can be used to help the body correct the problem.
In conjunction with her use of acupuncture needles, Alexander rarely prescribes single herbs but uses combinations of whole herbs that are very specific for different diseases and disease patterns. "Certain herbs, such as ginseng, are very prized in Chinese medicine," Alexander notes.
"Astragalus is an herb used in China and around the world to tonify the qi and increase qi energy as well as stimulate the immune system."
Alexander uses licorice root for assisting digestion and for helping women with menopausal discomforts. On the other hand, she recommends whole food concentrates like bee pollen granules for enhancing the immune system, peppermint for treating gastro-intestinal problems plus fiber supplements as well as the antioxidant/antihistamine quercetin, coenzyme Q10 and melatonin.
"In terms of classes of nutrients, I use a lot of whole food concentrates: the green concentrates like barley greens, wheat grass powder, spirulina and blue-green algae," Alexander says. "These are high in minerals, antioxidants, nutrients and fatty acids. I also use some soy products because the ISOFLAVONE concentrates are very much anti-cancer."
The Fine Points of Acupuncture
Acupuncture needles are very fine, as thin as hairs. They are available in a variety of diameters and lengths. When an acupuncturist inserts these needles, the sensation is that of mild pinpricks. (The needles enter the body at depths of only 1/8th inch to two inches.) In many cases people experience mild pleasure during needle manipulation.
"From a Western point of view it's important to explain that there is a distinct function of acupuncture treatment and that is to increase circulation," Alexander says. "We do stimulate nerves and we know that with the stimulation of nerves many neurochemicals and neurotransmitters are released. They move through the nerves and find receptor sights, some in the brain, some in other parts of the body."
By stimulating nerves, acupuncturists can calm inflammation and deaden pain. These effects are believed to be linked to the release of endorphins and dinorphins, powerful painkillers and anti-inflammatories that the body produces for itself. Most acupuncturists use this therapy as part of an overall, multi-faceted treatment plan.
"Qi is what makes you different from a sack of chemicals," points out David Molony, an acupuncturist at the Lehigh Valley Acupuncture Center in Catasaqua, Pennsylvania who studied at the Nanjing Traditional Medicine Hospital in China and has lectured at Cornell University.
What You Need
"You can manipulate qi with acupuncture, herbs and diet. Because people's bodies work differently, there are different approaches. When you ask the question what nutrients and herbs are effective at enhancing acupuncture, it depends on what the person needs, according to an Oriental Medicine diagnosis."
An Oriental Medical examination, Molony says, begins with a long list of health questions designed to reveal factors that contribute to disease. A practitioner measures your pulse in several different places along your arm, inspects your tongue, may press on your stomach, sniff your general odor and closely examine your nails and skin for signs of problems.
"You take in everything you can," adds Molony, a board member of the Acupuncture Society of Pennsylvania and former board member of the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. "This gives you clues that you need in order to make your diagnosis."
Acupuncturists use nutrients and herbs that complement the treatment, as well as dietary and lifestyle counseling. Some acupuncturists don't specialize in herbal remedies, so these practitioners might go to a specialist like David Winston for advice. Winston, an herb expert skilled in Cherokee, Chinese and Western eclectic herbal medicine, works as an instructor, lecturer and consultant.
"In China, acupuncture is considered a complementary therapy; you generally don't go for treatment and get purely acupuncture," says Winston who is working on a book about saw palmetto. "Herbal medicine, diet and qi gong are important therapies in their own right and acupuncture is one of those therapies. Qi gong is a form of martial arts that focuses on unique breathing and visualization methods. Qi is not exactly energy, it's energy in movement; it's what makes the blood move."
Acupuncture is used to open blockages that sometimes build up in what TCM practitioners characterize as excessive heat or cold. These hot and cold spots do not always literally refer to the temperature of the body but are meant to depict changes in the character of the body's vital energy.
Chinese acupuncturists don't necessarily treat diseases, but target clusters of physical discomforts. Winston says, "Herbal formulas change depending on the 'symptom pictures.' Somebody could have acute appendicitis but the symptom picture could vary. Usually Chinese acupuncturists use herbs like isatis (a very cold, drying herb that's a powerful anti-bacterial agent) and coptis (a powerful anti-bacterial herb)."
Americans often visit acupuncturists complaining of back pain or some type of musculoskeletal problem-a wrenched knee, a ligament that hasn't healed properly or perhaps a torn rotator cuff. "If the injury is hot to the touch, it's red, it's inflammatory-that's a condition where there's excessive heat and in that condition the acupuncturist would give herbs that are cooling and anti-inflammatory such as the root of large leaf gentian."
Pain that Moves
If someone suffers pain that moves, pain that is sometimes exacerbated by damp or humid conditions, acupuncturists often prescribe clematis root, a wild variety of the garden plant that is an anti-spasmodic, or acanthopanax, a relative of Siberian ginseng used for damp pain.
"If there's pain with excessive dampness," Winston says, "acupuncturists might use duhuo, a drying herb that opens the meridians."
Molony agrees with Winston that when it comes to choosing herbs to enhance acupuncture, accurate analysis of the root cause of the health problem is paramount to making the right decisions. For example, if a person is qi deficient and her tongue is thickly coated, she may not be processing her energy properly. Phlegm builds up, decreasing energy. "What you want to do is give them herbs that move phlegm, like citrus peel, and combine that with acupuncture points that move phlegm also," Molony says.
For stimulating metabolism, Molony uses lactoferin-processed colostrum from cows. He uses ginseng and atractylodes as qi tonics and he adds herbs like magnolia bark or atractylodes alba.
He believes antioxidants are helpful too, as preventive medicines, including vitamins C and E. These valuable nutrients disarm the harm that reactive molecules can wreak within the body.
So how important are herbs and nutrition to enhance acupuncture's effectiveness? Acupuncturists seem to agree that healthy doses of antioxidants (such as vitamins C and E plus antioxidants from grapeseed extract) as well as specialized herbs, turn this therapy into a highly effective healing tool. Those wanting to benefit from this penetrating technique should stock up on nutrients. Then sit back, relax, kick off your shoes and let the acupuncturist do her stuff.
Bone Power - Natures Plus
June 11, 2005 04:41 PM
Bone Power by no author Energy Times, May 1, 1997
Patricia Q. stopped smoking 20 years ago. At 61, she is active, tries to exercise regularly, eats properly and takes a multivitamin. Most would consider Patricia's lifestyle a sufficient safeguard against the diseases of aging. But one debilitating possibility still concerns her: Osteoporosis-bone thinning. She worries that her bones may have begun weakening almost a decade ago. Although her good health habits can slow the demineralization of her bones, osteoporosis may still take its toll. And as her neck and back begin to obviously round, a possible sign of bone weakness, Patricia frets about her future.
The weakening of bones brought on by age makes them more prone to fracture. One of every two women older than age 50 suffers an osteoporosis-related fracture during her lifetime. Osteoporosis literally means "porous bones," bones that deteriorate and particularly increase the risk of damage to the hip, spine and wrist. In extreme cases, everyday activities assume danger: fractures can result from simply lifting a bag of groceries or from what would otherwise be a minor fall. Some women, fearful of fractures, eliminate many seemingly innocuous activities from their daily lives. Their fear is well founded. Complications from these fractures are a major killer of women.
As women grow older, the risk grows, too. Ten million individuals already have the disease, and 18 million have low bone mass, placing them at risk for osteoporosis.
But research shows that osteoporosis may be preventable and controllable. Regardless of age, eating right, getting enough calcium and performing weight-bearing exercises, can lower your risk for this disease.
Understanding Your Bones
Bones are not static structures but living tissue constantly reformed in a process called remodeling. Every day old bone is removed and replaced with new bone tissue. When more bone is broken down than is replaced (demineralization), bones weaken. When the structure loses sufficient density, you face eminent danger of a fracture.
Generally speaking, bones continue to increase their density and calcium content until you reach your 30s, at which point you probably have attained your peak bone mass. Afterward you may either maintain this mass or begin to lose calcium yearly, but you rarely can increase bone density. The loss of bone density can increase at menopause, when your body ceases producing estrogen, a hormone required to improve bone strength. In addition, some medications, used for a long period, compromise bone density.
Stop Calcium Loss
Eating a diet rich in nutrients that help your bones stay strong should be the first step in stopping or slowing the process of osteoporosis. Calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, phosphorus, soy-based foods and fluoride compose the major nutrients that strengthen bone.
At this moment, 98 percent of your body's calcium resides in your bones, the rest circulates in the blood, taking part in metabolic functions. Because the body cannot manufacture calcium, you must eat calcium in your daily diet to replace the amounts that are constantly lost. When the diet lacks sufficient calcium to replace the amount that is excreted, the body begins to break down bone for the calcium necessary for life-preserving metabolic processes.
Calcium in the diet can generally slow calcium loss from bones, but it usually doesn't seem to replace calcium already gone. The National Institutes of Health recommend 1000-1200 milligrams of dietary calcium per day for premenopausal women and 1200-1500 milligrams for menopausal and postmenopausal women
Good sources of calcium include milk and milk products, yogurt, ricotta, cheese, oysters, salmon, collard greens, spinach, ice cream, cottage cheese, kale, broccoli and oranges.
If you cannot tolerate dairy products, calcium supplements are an easy way to consume calcium. Take supplements with a meal to aid absorption of calcium from the stomach.
In Total Health for Women, Dr. Kendra Kale, clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, urges women to read supplement labels. Scrutinize the fine print to see how many grams are considered "elemental"or "bioavailable"-the form of calcium your body will absorb. If you're taking a 750 milligram supplement, chances are only 300 milligrams are elemental. You should also check that the pill will dissolve within 30 minutes and meets the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) standards. If tablets do not break down within 30 minutes, they may pass through you unabsorbed and you won't digest the calcium from them that you need.
Absorbing calcium from your digestive tract also requires the presence of vitamin D. Ten to 15 minutes of sun exposure daily usually satisfies vitamin D requirements since most people's bodies can use sunlight to manufacture this substance. So walking to work, or going outside for lunch should supply sufficient ultraviolet light to facilitate calcium absorption.
As we age, however, our body's ability to produce vitamin D gradually diminishes. Our diets can make up the difference: Good dietary sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, liver and fish or nutritional supplements. Many foods, like milk, are supplemented with vitamin D.
Magnesium is another mineral that helps to build bones. Found in leafy, green vegetables, nuts, soybeans, seeds and whole grains, your daily requirement of magnesium should be about half of your calcium intake.
Absorbing calcium for bone health also requires phosphorus, but be careful not to get too much of a good thing: excess phosphorus can actually increase your body's need for calcium. This can present a problem for people who drink bottle after bottle of cola soft drinks or who eat an abundance of processed foods which are often high in phosphorus.
New Soy Research
New research suggests that soy foods, like tofu or soy milk may be vital for preserving bones. A study of more than 60 postmenopausal women who consumed either diets rich in soy's ISOFLAVONEs or milk protein found that eating soy restored calcium to some of the women's bones. Even though the researchers didn't think such a replacement due to soy was even possible!
The researchers at the University of Illinois believe that ISOFLAVONEs behave in the body in some of the same ways that estrogen does. The study measured bone density at the lumbar spine, a part of the body at the small of the back that is liable to fractures due to osteoporosis.
Fluoride: Not Just For Teeth
Although most people associate the mineral fluoride with strong teeth, fluoride is just as important for bone strength. Surveys report that osteoporosis is reportedly less common in communities that drink fluoridated water. Fluoride combines with calcium in the bones to slow mineral loss after mid-life. Good sources of this mineral include fish, tea and most animal foods.
Cut Back on Alcohol and Coffee
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, consuming lots of caffeine is thought to increase the calcium excreted in your urine. In addition, high levels of protein and sodium in your diet are also believed to increase calcium excretion. And although more studies of protein and sodium are needed to precisely determine how these substances influence calcium loss you should limit the caffeine, protein and salt you take in.
On top of those findings, researchers say that the diuretic action of alcohol and caffeine speed skeletal calcium loss. They believe alcohol may interfere with intestinal absorption of calcium.
Along with a bone-friendly diet, your exercise program should also be designed to preserve bone. Weight-bearing exercise-exercise that places stress on the bones-strengthens bone density and wards off osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercises include weight lifting, walking, jogging and jumping rope.
Exercise possesses many benefits for preserving bone, according to Miriam Nelson, Ph.D., author of Strong Women Stay Young. Among them: exercise can help you retain the balance necessary to resist falls and strengthen the muscles that keep you erect. Studies performed on women of all ages found that by doing strength training exercises two times a week for a year, without use of estrogen or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), women, on average, added three pounds of muscle and lost three pounds of fat. They were also 75 percent stronger with improved balance and bone density.
Although strength training can be performed by anyone at any age, Nelson recommends that if you have an unstable medical condition or if you have recently undergone surgery, wait until you recover and speak with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. If you have not exercised in a long time, consult a health practitioner knowledgeable in sports medicine before beginning an exercise program.
Drug therapies are now available to combat osteoporosis. One of the most popular is HRT, which supplies estrogen to women undergoing menopause. However, medical experts are still arguing over HRT 's possible role in increasing your risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer.
According to Jan Rattner-Heilman, co-author of Estrogen, the Facts Can Change Your Life, the conflicting studies that balance the benefits and risk of HRT are bound to confuse the average consumer. Estrogen is recommended to prevent bone loss and forestall heart disease and possibly Alzheimer's disease. Most women take estrogen to ease the discomforts of menopause such as hot flashes, and many experts do not believe that it unduly increases the risk of breast cancer for those at low risk.
Heilman warns, however, that estrogen probably should not be taken by women especially at risk for breast cancer risk or those who are already suffer the disease.
Patricia Q. is reluctant to try HRT. "I'm at risk for breast cancer-my mother had it-so I won't take estrogen. I'd rather do what I can without medications. My preference is to watch my diet and exercise as much as I can. That gives me my best chance to avoid osteoporosis."
Doctor Nelson agrees with this perspective She believes that exercise possesses enough benefits to make it the treatment of choice. "The difference between estrogen and strength training is that strength training has a huge spillover effect; you aren't just decreasing one type of disease. You become stronger with more muscles and less fat, and you become more fit. This decreases your chances for many types of diseases, not just osteoporosis. It can decrease risks for heart disease, diabetes, sleep disturbances, hypertension and more."
If you believe you are at risk for osteoporosis, ask your doctor about the benefits of bone mineral density screening. DEXA scan (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) measures the bone density in a 15-minute test. But the test is expensive: the cost of this test ranges from $75-200 or more and may not be covered by your health insurance. But financial help may be on the way. A Bone Mass Standardization Act has been introduced in Congress to ensure that the cost of bone mass measurement is covered under Medicare and that standards for coverage are clear and consistent for anyone with medical insurance.
Fighting Osteoporosis at Different Ages
Childbearing years (30-40): These years are particularly important for preserving bone through exercise and good nutrition. Eat plenty of low-fat dairy products, vegetables and soy. Perform weight-bearing exercise such as walking, jogging and weight lifting to attain the greatest amount of bone and muscle possible. Being active reduces risk of injury and makes you stronger. If you smoke, now's the time to stop.
Menopausal years (late 40s-50s): During this time, muscle, bone and estrogen decreases. Minimize loss through diet, walking and weight lifting. Your exercise intensity may have to be decreased but you should not stop being physically active.
Post Menopause (over 60): Focus on reducing your risk of falling. Minimize balance problems and increase muscle strength through exercise.
Immunity - The Big Picture
June 10, 2005 09:51 PM
Immunity: The Big Picture by Brian Amherst Energy Times, August 3, 1999
Your body wants to be well. Outfitted with a battalion of defenses for strategic deployment, your immune system explodes with resistant force at the first sign of infective invasion.
Think of the time a tiny splinter embedded itself in your thumb. By bedtime, the spot rose and reddened; by morning, white blood cells had launched their campaign, building a hot, throbbing fortification. By day's end, the bit of wood was propelled to the surface and ejected by the immune system warriors. Once again, a foreign assailant was summarily ousted.
The Protective Force
"Supporting the immune system is critical to good health. Conversely, good health is critical to supporting the immune system." So write naturopathic doctors Michael T. Murray and Joseph E. Pizzorno in their Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima).
Maintaining the immune system requires a comprehensive program of wholesome diet, resilient attitude, fitness enhancing activity and nutrients keyed to the clear and specific needs of this energetic machine.
The all-star lineup for immune sustenance: a high-potency multiple vitamin/mineral formula, vitamins C and A, bioflavonoids, ISOFLAVONEs, zinc and selenium, antioxidants like ActiVin (grape seed extract) and pycnogenol (French maritime pine bark), as well as the botanicals echinacea and astragalus.
But optimal partnering with your immune system also benefits from understanding its workings.
Lymph, a milky fluid consisting of water protein and immune cells, is the essence of the immune system. Powered by muscle movement (an important reason why exercise boosts immunity), the lymphatic system collects and transports lymph to the lymph nodes. These nodes contain certain immune cells and filter out invading antigens, as well as produce antibodies, before siphoning the lymph out into the bloodstream.
If you've ever had "swollen glands," that means your lymph nodes have been in overdrive.
Macrophages are the immune cells that filter lymph, consuming bacteria and cellular debris while protecting the lymph system from invasion and damage.
The White Blood Cell Album
In Monocytes collect cellular trash after infections and can trigger immune responses; eosinophils can eliminate foreign particles and, with basophils, are involved in immune response.
In Lymphocytes include varieties of T cells, which work with other white blood cells or attack and destroy foreign tissue, cancer cells or virus-infected cells; B cells that produce antibodies that bind to bacteria, viruses or tumors; and natural killer cells (NKCs) that destroy cancerous or virally-infected cells.
(Based on information in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine; The Road to Immunity: How to Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) by Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin; and the Johns Hopkins Family Health Book (Harper Resource).
Keep the System Sound
"But you must always be sure to maintain the mind-body-spirit link," he told Energy Times. "For the mind, it could be exercise, yoga or meditation. Evidence shows improved immune system responses from these therapies. And in any case, you never read in the headlines that somebody has been admitted to the emergency room overdosing on meditation.
"Intentionality also is an important part of the mind link: believing you are going to fare well. For your spirit, you must ask yourself such questions as, Do I feel connected to others?
"For the body, a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement. Much depends on your community: I live on Long Island, where there is a high incidence of breast cancer, so I would recommend green tea and ISOFLAVONEs from soy products for women."
Dr. Benjamin stresses moderation in the use of immune-intensifying supplements, among which he cites mixed carotenoids, zinc and vitamin E.
The Soy Solution
In a study conducted by the University of Southern California at Norris and published in the March 4, 1998 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers reported that genistein, an active component of soy products, short-circuits the ability of tumor cells to elude destruction by the immune system due to an excess of defensive stress proteins.
Genistein seems to make cancer cells vulnerable to the immune response. Researchers at Wake Forest University told participants at the January 1999 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that dietary or supplemental soy fed to monkeys counteracted cell proliferation that is a cancer precursor.
That Championship C
Immune cells are known to accumulate and retain high levels of vitamin C. Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York now understand how that happens: Proteins called growth factors (which control growth and production of immune cells) also increase those cells' ability to take up vitamin C.
These researchers, reporting in the April 1998 issue of the journal Blood, explain that the additional glucose that the growth factors pump into immune cells (for enhanced energy), plus extra vitamin C, intensify immune response.
And folks with higher levels of vitamin C in their blood serum experience less cell damage from free radicals that leads to cancer, heart and pulmonary disease and other chronic conditions.
Scientists at the University of Buffalo (addressing the June 13, 1997 meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research) deduced from studying population groups that high levels of vitamin C are associated with low oxidative stress and lower risk of cell damage.
From A to Zinc
In Colostrum, the pre-milk liquid produced by mammals during the first 24 to 48 hours after birth, took the spotlight recently as a supplement imbued with multiple immune factors and natural antibiotics that augment body's immune response. A 1992 study showed that bovine colostrum might be able to reduce and prevente infections in immune deficient folks, especially those with AIDS.
In University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers found for the first time (on laboratory animals) that vitamin D appreciably inhibits widespread prostate cancer by binding to cancer cells and triggering cell death or their transformation to benign cells.
In Vitamin E exerts formidable immune-enhancing influence on both antibody and cell-mediated immunity. One fundamental study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (245, 1981: 53-58) established conclusively that vitamin E deficiency results in significant impairment of immune function. Later studies demonstrated that it reduces prostate cancer by up to one-third.
In Coenzyme A, described as a metabolic enzyme, takes part in starting numerous body processes that provide energy for the immune system. If you ever run short of this enzyme, fat processing within your body would grind to a halt.
in Researchers looking at a substance with the tongue twisting name 3-acetyl-7-oxo-Dehydroepiandro-sterone, believe it aids immunity by quelling stress hormones.
in Mushrooms contain natural substances called polysaccharides, believed to enhance immunity. In particular, maitake mushroom, which conveys the immune booster beta-D-glucans, is reputed to help fight infections and drop blood pressure.
in Men and women taking selenium supplements for 10 years had 41% less total cancer than those taking a dummy, according to a January 1997 study by Cornell University and the University of Arizona. Other studies have shown it to reduce the risk for colon cancer by about 60%. n Zinc may provide immediate protection against the all too common cold. Scientists at the University of Florida were the first to apply genetic fingerprinting methods like those used in criminal and paternity investigations to understand how nutrients directly affect human immune cells.
The study, in the April 1998 Journal of Nutrition, demonstrates that zinc signals cells to make the protein metallothionein, which protects against infections, toxins and other stressors.
Phytochemicals a la Carte
n ISOFLAVONEs from soy, fight angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels form to supply nutrients to cancerous growths. n Sulforaphane in broccoli, kale and cabbage activates anticancer enzymes.
n Omega-3 fatty acids in cold water fish block the synthesis of prostaglandins, natural compounds in the body that promote tumor growth.
n Ginger contains antioxidant compounds, each more potent than vitamin E. Recent studies on mice show ginger can prevent skin tumors. n Rosemary contains carnosol which deactivates carcinogens and helps limit the effects of prostaglandins.
Sometimes the world can look like a dangerous place, especially when you're sick and tired much of the time. But in the search for immunity, menus of health help like this ensure that no matter what your immunity needs, a boost can be yours with the proper nutrient selection.
June 10, 2005 09:44 PM
Breast Cancer by Joseph L. Mayo,MD Mary Ann Mayo, MA Energy Times, May 2, 1999
What do you fear most? Bankruptcy? Floods? Heart disease? If you're like many women, breast cancer stands near the top of that dreaded list.
But that fear doesn't permeate other cultures the way it does ours.
A woman like Mariko Mori, for instance, 52 years old, Japanese, worries about intense pressures beginning to burden her toddler grandson. But worry about breast cancer? Hardly.
In Indiana, Mary Lou Marks, 50, has similar family frets, mulling over her 28-year-old daughter's career choice.
But on top of that, when Mary Lou tabulates her other worries, she recoils at the thought of breast cancer. She's heard about her lifetime risk: 1 in 8. Meanwhile, Mariko's is merely 1 in 40, according to Bob Arnot's Breast Cancer Prevention Diet (Little, Brown).
New studies have found the effect of carrying the gene linked to breast cancer, which is responsible for only 5 to 10% of breast cancer incidence, is not as great as first suspected. Earlier estimates that the gene reflects an 80% chance of incurring breast cancer by age 70 has been recalculated to be only 37% (The Lancet, 1998;352:1337-1339).
Complex Causesbr> Researchers agree: No one factor is solely responsible for breast cancer. Risk depends on many factors, including diet, weight, smoking, alcohol consumption, activity level and, of course, those genes.
Regardless of their actual chance of getting breast cancer, women worry. Mary Lou faces no factors that would place her in particular jeopardy. But her anxieties about radical therapies and medical expenses paralyze her: She forgets to visit her health care provider and skips her annual mammogram appointments. Mary Lou's daughter, perhaps in reaction to her mother's gripping fears, campaigns ardently for cancer prevention, educating herself and mobilizing against the cumulative effects of known cancer risks. Smart young woman: A malignancy, after all, can take years to develop. A tumor must swell to one billion cells before it is detectable by a mammogram.
The soy-rich regimen of Japanese women like Mariko Mori, for example, helps to explain the low breast cancer rates in Asian countries (see box at center of the page).
Tomatoes, because of their high quotient of the carotenoid lycopene, have been found to protect cells from the corrosive clutches of oxidants that have been linked with cancer in 57 out of 72 studies (The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, February 17, 1999, page A6, reporting on a Harvard Medical School study). For more on tomatoes see page 16.
But there's no one magic anti-cancer food or diet. Eating to prevent breast cancer requires a balanced menu with fiber, healthy fats, phytoestrogens and antioxidants, all fresh and free of chemical additives.
Modifying the balance and type of estrogen, the female sex hormone produced by the ovaries, offers an important breast cancer safeguard. Fat cells, adrenal glands and, before menopause, the ovaries, produce three "flavors" of estrogen, the strongest of which, estradiol, is believed to be carcinogenic when too plentiful or persistent in the body.
Estrogen does its work by attaching to estrogen receptors. Receptors are particularly numerous in the epithelial cells that line milk sacs and ducts in the breasts.
A receptor site is like a designated parking spot: Once estrogen is parked there it triggers one of its 400 functions in the body, from preparation of the uterus for pregnancy to intensifying nerve synapses in the brain.
The food we eat can be a source of estrogen; plant estrogens, called phytoestrogens, are much weaker than the body's estrogens, but they fit the same receptors. Phytoestrogens exert a milder estrogenic effect than bodily estrogen and are capable of blocking the more potent, damaging versions.
Soy also contains genistein, an "ISOFLAVONE" very similar in molecular form to estrogen but only 1/100,000 as potent. Because of its structure, genistein can attach to cells just as estrogen does; it also helps build carriers needed for binding estrogen and removing it from the body (Journal of Nutrition 125, no.3 :757S-770S). It acts as an antioxidant to counteract free radicals.
Soy is most protective for younger women. Postmenopausal women benefit from soy's ability to diminish hot flashes and for cardiovascular protection, especially in combination with vitamin E, fiber and carotene (Contemporary OB/GYN, September 1998, p57-58).
Experts don't know that much about the cumulative effect of combining hormone replacement with soy, herbs and a diet high in phytoestrogens. Menopausal women who boost their estrogen this way should work with their health care providers and monitor their hormonal levels every six to 12 months with salivary testing.
The Vegetable Cart
Fiber from fruits, vegetables and whole grains reduces insulin levels and suppresses the appetite by making make us feel full, thus helping with weight control, so important to resisting cancer. Fiber also helps build estrogen carriers that keep unbound estrogen from being recirculated and reattached to the breast receptors.
Cellulose, the fruit and vegetable fiber most binding with estrogen, also rounds up free radicals that damage DNA within cells.,p> Feeding the Immune System Despite heightened public awareness and efforts to stick to wholesome, healthful diets, experts increasingly link poor nutrition to depressed immune systems. Many Americans are at least marginally deficient in trace elements and vitamins despite their best attempts to eat well; that's why a good multivitamin/mineral is wise, even mandatory. Vitamins given to people undergoing cancer treatment stimulate greater response, fewer side effects, and increased survival (International Journal of Integrative Medicine, vol. 1, no. 1, January/February 1999).
Nutrients tend to work synergistically on the immune system. They should be taken in balanced proportions, and in consultation with your health care provider.
n Riboflavin (B2), pyridoxine (B6), pantothenic acid (B5), zinc and folate strengthen immunity. Selenium, in lab culture and animal studies, has helped kill tumors and protect normal tissues.
n Beta-carotene and vitamins A, E and C are antioxidants. Vitamin C enhances vitamin E's effects, boosting immunity and protecting against cell damage. The antioxidant ISOFLAVONEs in green tea, with soy, convey the anticancer effects of the Asian diet. Research shows actions that discourage tumors and gene mutations.
The food you eat influences hormones. Excess sugar raises insulin, which acts as a growth factor for cancer and interferes with vitamin C's stimulation of white blood cells. It may contribute to obesity.
Alcohol is converted to acetaldehyde, which causes cancer in laboratory animals. It affects gene regulation by decreasing the body's ability to use folic acid. It increases estrogen and the amount of free estradiol in the blood. The liver damage that accompanies high alcohol consumption frequently reduces its capacity to filter carcinogenic products, regulate hormones and break down estrogen. Studies of alcohol consumption have caused experts to estimate that drinking more than two alcoholic beverages a day increases breast cancer risk by 63% (OB-GYN News, November 1, 1998, p. 12).
Fat Can be Phat
Fat cells produce estrogen. Excess fat stores carcinogens and limits carriers that can move estrogen out of your system.
Once estrogen has attached itself to a receptor, the health result depends on the type of fat in the breast. Saturated fat, transfatty acids and omega-6 fat from polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as safflower oil, peanut, soybean oil, corn oil and in margarine can increase the estrogen effect and trigger a powerful signal to the breast cell to replicate.
Breast tissue is protected by omega-3 fat chiefly from fish and flaxseed and by omega-9 from olive oil. Salmon once a week or water packed tuna three times a week are particularly beneficial. Fish oil supplements processed to reduce contaminates are available. Cod liver oil isn't recommended: its vitamin A and D levels are too high.
Flaxseed is the richest known plant source of omega-3. Use a coffee grinder to benefit from the seed and oil for the full estrogen effect; sprinkle ground flaxseed over cereal or fold into baked goods. Drizzle flaxseed oil, found in the refrigerator section of your health food store, over salads or cereal. (Store the oil in the refrigerator.)
Olive oil, especially in the context of the so-called Mediterranean diet of vegetables, omega-3-rich fish and fresh fruit (Menopause Management, January-February 1999, p. 16-19), lowers the risk of breast cancer (The Lancet, May 18, 1996;347:1351-1356).
Selecting Organic Food
Buy or grow fresh, organic foods whenever you can. When grilling meat, fish or poultry, reduce the area where carcinogens may accumulate by trimming fat. Charred, well-done meat is known to be carcinogenic. When grilling, marinate meat first and reduce the cooking time on the grill by slightly precooking.
Cancer prevention is an interlocking puzzle requiring the limitation of fat consumption, weight control, exercise, stress reduction and care for psychological and spiritual balance. Possessing more cancer fighting pieces makes you more likely to be able to complete the prevention picture.
Joseph L. Mayo, MD, FACOG and Mary Ann Mayo, MA, are the authors of The Menopause manager: A Safe Path for a Natural Change, an individualized program for managing menopause. The book's advice, in easy-to-understand portions, isolates in-depth explanations with unbiased reviews of conventional and alternative choices. A unique perspective for mid-life women who want to know all their options.
Also from the Mayos - The HOW Health Opportunities For Women quarterly newsletter to help women learn HOW to make informed health choices. Learn HOW to: - Choose nutritional supplements
June 10, 2005 04:05 PM
by John Olan Energy Times, January 7, 2002
Water keeps you alive. About 50% to 70% of your cells are made of water. So when you talk about drinks, you're talking about water plus... But, oh, what a plus!
While water is crucial for survival, those pluses can add a waterfall of desirable ingredients to your diet, health and beverage indulgence. Even though water is the basic ingredient when you need a drink, healthy drinking has come to mean much more than H2O. The drink scene has bubbled up to include a new universe of usual and unusual liquids. When your thirst bursts upon the scene, you now have a tremendous choice of ways to quench.
The soy revolution in American nutrition has convincingly attacked the drink world. No matter what your age, nutritional requirements or taste preferences, it seems as though someone, somewhere, has designed a soy drink with you in mind. The most convincing health benefit of soy and soy drinks is its boost to heart health. Since 1999, the Food and Drug Administration has allowed soy drinks (and other soy products) to list soy's heart benefits. In so doing, the FDA reviewed 27 studies that demonstrated soy protein could help lower total cholesterol and LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol that can significantly raise heart disease risk. To be allowed the heart disease benefit on their labels, drinks, or other foods, must contain at least 6.25 grams of soy protein per serving, contain less than 3 grams of fat, less than a gram of saturated fat, less than 20 mg of cholesterol and not much salt. According to the FDA, if you consume four daily servings of soy, you can drop your LDL by up to 10%. That's great for heart health: each 1% reduction in total cholesterol can mean about a 2% drop in your risk of heart disease. The key research the FDA looked at included a two month study at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center that showed soy can help reduce your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol without lowering your HDL. HDL, the so-called "good" cholesterol, protects heart health and keeps your heart disease risk down (Arch Int Med, 9/27/99). Meanwhile, another study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (8/3/95) found that soy produces "significant reductions" in cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides, blood fats that can otherwise put your cardiovascular sysem at risk. ISOFLAVONEs, natural chemicals found in soy, are phytoestrogens, a weak form of estrogen that is believed by many researchers to produce health benefits. Some studies show that by producing what's called a "weak estrogenic effect," these chemicals may prevent the body's own estrogen from initiating cancer. While studies exist supporting these effects, this claim for cancer prevention is still controversial. A study of Asian women who moved to the United States found that the more soy they ate, the less their risk of breast cancer (Second Intl Symp on Soy and Tr Chron Dis 9/15/96). In any case, soy protein provides complete protein: all the amino acids, or protein building blocks, that the body needs to form its own proteins are found in soy. All of this good soy news has sent sales of soy drinks and other soy foods soaring. While sales of soy foods reached a little more $850 million in 1992, by next year they are expected to climb to well over $3.7 billion. Multivitamin Water For vitamin takers on the run, water is now available fortified with a wide collection of micronutrients. The key benefit: possible health enhancement by supplying vitamins your diet may omit. As Walter Willet, MD, points out in Eat, Drink and Be Healthy (Simon & Schuster), "research is pointing ever more strongly to the fact that several ingredients in a standard multivitamin.... are essential players in preventing heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and other chronic disease... It's the best nutritional bang for your buck." In a Russian study, a group of children, aged four to 14, with gastrointestinal diseases were fed multivitamin-infused drinks and beta carotene. The children experienced vast improvements, leading researchers to suggest fortifying the diets of folks suffering from gastrointestinal diseases with vitamin-containing drinks.
Green with Health
Everyone from mom to the US surgeon general tells you to eat dark green vegetables every day. The truth is, many of us just don't do it. Spirulina, wheat grass, barley grass and chlorella are often referred to as "green foods." Spirulina, a popular food supplement in Japan, is a vitamin and mineral powerhouse available in the US in powder and ready-to-drink shakes. Rich in protein, spirulina contains chlorophyll, carotenoids, minerals, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and unique pigments called phycobilins (PDR For Nutritional Supplements, Medical Economics). It's these same healthful pigments that give spirulina its blue/green color. In studies, spirulina has been shown to possess antiviral, antioxidant, anti-allergic and immune-boosting properties (Free Rad Biol Med. 2000; 28:1051-1055; Biochem Pharmacol 1998; 55:1071-1076; Inflamm Res 1998; 47:36-41; Spirulina platensis 1996; 59:83-87). Evidence exists that spirulina may favorably affect immune functions, inhibit some allergic reactions and lower cholesterol. Blended into shakes and drinks, spirulina can add a healthful boost to your day. Now, when Aunt May asks if you've had your green vegetables, just lift your glass, look her in the eye, tell her yes and mean it.
Prosta Response - Supports Prostate Function and Healthy Urine Flow
June 04, 2005 01:56 PM
Bookstores are filled with it, news magazines are reporting on it. From the revelations of politicians to disturbing statistical reports, prostate health issues that formerly received little notice are now in the headlines. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located under the bladder and surrounding the urinary tract in men. Many factors affect prostate wellness, including aging and individual genetic history, but today’s chemicalized environment poses unprecedented challenges to the health of the prostate gland. Source Naturals is helping to meet this challenge with PROSTA-RESPONSE, a Bio-Aligned Formula™ designed to support multiple, interdependent body systems. It is the only prostate formula that addresses six body systems involved with healthy prostate function.
More than Symptoms*, Systems PROSTA-RESPONSE is a unique formula that combines clinically tested potencies of saw palmetto extract and beta sitosterol with standardized Swedish flower pollen extract, quercetin, lyopene, soy and additional herbs and nutrients. PROSTA-RESPONSE goes beyond formulas that simply address nutritional symptoms and instead deals with underlying causes. PROSTARESPONSE supports healthy prostate function and urine flow by addressing the following body systems:
1. Hormone regulation: Hormones have a direct role in prostate functioning and have been closely linked to prostate health. PROSTA-RESPONSE contains specific plant extracts and nutrients shown in research to inhibit the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and the subsequent binding to receptors within the prostate.
2. Prostate cell regeneration: Swedish flower pollen extract, used extensively in Europe and Asia for more than 40 years, has demonstrated significant effects in maintaining proper prostate cell regeneration.
3. Soothing mechanisms: Certain plant compounds, such as flavonoids from soy and sterols from pollen extract, inhibit the metabolism of arachidonic acid. This in turn influences prostaglandin synthesis, which may be associated with comfort levels.
4. Bladder and urinary tract health: A healthy environment within the bladder and urinary tract is vital for prostate health and normal urine flow. PROSTARESPONSE contains botanicals that support the bladder and urinary tract health.
5. Prostate health: Studies show that dietary factors influence the overall health of the prostate. The body naturally concentrates certain compounds in higher amounts in the prostate. These include zinc, vitamin E and soy ISOFLAVONEs.
6. Antioxidant defense: Antioxidants play an important role in maintaining prostate function and cell membrane integrity. Oxidative stress, or the action of free radicals, is confirmed as a significant factor that can trigger a host of destructive processes.
Developing a Prostate-Friendly Lifestyle
Supplementation is only one part of an individual’s Strategy for WellnessSM. That’s why Source Naturals® is committed to providing public education about the many aspects of a prostate-healthy lifestyle.
Less Fat, More Fiber, Lots of Veggies
Studies suggest a direct relationship between dietary fat and prostate health, with men whose diets consist of 30%-40% or more fat at highest risk. Saturated fats, especially from animal sources, are most problematic. Some research has attributed this relationship to the effect animal fats have on excess levels of circulating sex hormones. Prostate health is also associated with high fiber intake. This may be because dietary fiber binds testosterone, estradiol and other sex steroids and helps eliminate excess hormones, Five to nine servings of high-fiber fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains (35 g) are recommended daily for prostate health. Tomato-based foods are rich in the carotenoid, lycopene, which is a potent antioxidant, helping to protect our cells and fatty tissues from free radical damage. A long-term study at Harvard School of Medicine found beneficial effects from 10 servings of tomato products weekly, while recent clinical research points to an intake of 15 mg of lycopene twice per day. Also helpful are green and yellow-orange vegetables, which contain compounds that are converted to vitamin A; citrus fruits that contain vitamin C; nuts and seeds that contain vitamin E; zinc-containing seafood, legumes and eggs; and selenium-rich whole grains, seafood and organ meats. Studies show a correlation between prostate health and diets that contain large amounts of soy. Soybeans contain prostate-healthy phytoestrogens, including the ISOFLAVONE, genistein. Some experts suggest eating seven servings of soy protein per week (providing 10 g of soy protein and 20 mg of ISOFLAVONEs daily) for general good health, and three times that amount for more targeted protection.
Dehydration stresses the prostate gland. It is important to consume plenty of water—about eight glasses per day. Plain water is best, but you can also drink highly diluted fruit juice, herbal tea or lightly flavored sparkling water. Green tea is beneficial for prostate health, due to certain antioxidant compounds called polyphenols. You can reduce the frequency of nighttime trips to the bathroom by eliminating fluids a few hours before you go to sleep. You may find it more comfortable to spread out your intake, taking small sips of fluids over the course of the day.
Good circulation is important for prostate health. Regular walking is excellent in this regard. “Kegel” exercises— a series of contractions of the muscles around the prostate—are helpful for improving circulation and tonicity of the genital area.
Supplementation tailored to prostate wellness would focus on the vitamins and minerals described above—in addition to nourishing our body systems, many are also antioxidants, helping to counter the free radical damage that is rampant in our chemicalized environment. The program would also include specific herbs found to support prostate function, especially saw palmetto, pygeum, and pumpkin seeds.
First Bio-Aligned Formula for the Prostate Gland!
PROSTA-RESPONSE is the first prostate support formula designed to work holistically, by addressing the multiple systems that affect prostate higher amounts in the prostate. health. Try Source Naturals PROSTA-RESPONSE, available in bottles of 45 and 90 tablets.
PROSTA-RESPONSE™: A Bio-Aligned Formula™ Multi-System Support for the Prostate Gland
Hormonal Regulation: Nettle, Pygeum, Red Clover, Saw Palmetto, Soy, Swedish Flower Pollen Extract, Zinc, Vitamin D-3
Prostate Cellular Regeneration: Lycopene, Nettle, Quercetin, Red Clover, Swedish Flower Pollen Extract, Vitamin D-3
Soothing Mechanisms: Prostaglandin Synthesis Beta Sitosterol, Pygeum, Quercetin, Red Clover Saw Palmetto, Soy, Swedish Flower Pollen Extract
Bladder & Urinary Tract Health: Alanine, Glutamic Acid, Glycine, Goldenseal, Gravel Root, Marshmallow Root, Pumpkin Seed, Pygeum, Swedish Flower Pollen Extract, Uva Ursi
Prostate Health: Red Clover, Soy, Zinc, Vitamin E
Antioxidant Defense: Ginkgo Biloba, Grape Seed, Green Tea, Lycopene, Pygeum, Quercetin, Red Clover, Soy, Swedish Flower Pollen Extract, Selenium, Zinc, Vitamin E
Natural Progesterone Cream - For Woman of All ages
June 04, 2005 01:45 PM
Source Naturals® Eternal Woman™ PROGESTERONE CREAM is the first progesterone cream to utilize unique liposomal delivery of key ingredients. Liposomes are micro-penetrating lipid spheres made from lecithin, which pass through skin layers more easily than non-liposomal creams. Source Naturals PROGESTERONE CREAM features natural progesterone from healthful soy. Unlike creams which don’t divulge their progesterone content, Source Naturals PROGESTERONE CREAM is guaranteed to contain 500 mg of progesterone per ounce! This pure white cream softens and smoothes the skin. Along with natural progesterone, it features aloe vera, Mexican wild yam extract, natural vitamin E, lecithin phospholipid, jojoba oil, and extracts of sage, black cohosh root, ginseng, marigold and grapefruit seed. Rosemary oil is added as a fragrance. Source Naturals PROGESTERONE CREAM is available in 2 and 4 oz jars. It is part of the Eternal Woman line of products and is suitable for women of all ages.
Source Naturals® Eternal Woman™ PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM offers some of the finest phytoestrogens in the botanical world, including 60 mg of soy ISOFLAVONEs per ounce. For the first time ever, soy phytoestrogens are included in a liposomal delivery system. Liposome delivery is ideal for this product because the soy actually becomes part of the liposome membrane—for highest possible penetration of skin cells. Source Naturals PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM is an almond-colored cream which can be massaged into smooth skin areas to add oil-rich, moisture-binding protection. In addition to soy ISOFLAVONEs, every ounce of Source Naturals PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM contains 150 mg of pomegranate seed juice (a natural source of estrone), 100 mg of red clover tops extract, 80 mg of black cohosh root extract, and 25 mg of dong quai root extract, along with aloe vera gel, natural vitamin E, grapefruit seed extract, rosemary oil and a natural cherry almond fragrance. Source Naturals PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM is available in 2 and 4 oz jars. It is part of the Eternal Woman line of products: for the Freedom to Change ™ naturally.
Menopause Multiple - Eternal Woman
June 03, 2005 05:54 PM
Menopause happens to all women, but affects each woman uniquely. For some, the end of fertility (and the end of concerns about contraception) brings a sense of freedom. For others, it is a time of troublesome symptoms or perhaps the need for certain lifestyle adjustments. Menopause is a bridge to a point in life when many women report feeling more confident, empowered and energized than in their younger years. MENOPAUSE MULTIPLE is a Bio-Aligned Formula™ that helps bring alignment to a range of interrelated body systems: hormonal regulation, bone metabolism, cardiovascular health, energy generation and circulation.
After menopause, the ovaries no longer secrete two critical steroid hormones in the amount or pattern characteristic of a regular menstrual cycle. These two hormones are estrogen and progesterone. The transition from regular ovarian function to its absence is often called the perimenopause or perimenopausal transition. The time involved can range from one to 10 years. More than one third of the women in the United States, about 36 million, have been through menopause. With a life expectancy of 81 years, a 50-year-old woman can expect to live more than one third of her life after menopause. Low estrogen levels are linked to some uncomfortable symptoms in many women. The most common and easy to recognize symptom is hot flashes -- sudden intense waves of heat and sweating. Some women find that these hot flashes disrupt their sleep, and others report mood changes. Other symptoms may include irregular periods, vaginal or urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence (leakage of urine or inability to control urine flow), and inflammation of the vagina. Because of the changes in the urinary tract and vagina, some women may have discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse. Many women also notice changes in their skin, digestive tract, and hair during menopause. Because the menopausal years place unique nutritional demands on a woman’s body, Source Naturals created MENOPAUSEMULTIPLE. This comprehensive formula brings together optimal amounts of the finest phytonutrients and herbs--including genistein, black cohosh, and chaste berry--plus vitamins and minerals known to support the biochemistry of mature women.
MENOPAUSE MULTIPLE is a comprehensive herbal-nutrient formula that supports the multiple, interconnected systems involved with female hormone function.
Hot flashes are related to hormone levels. As estrogen declines, FSH and LH (folliclestimulating and luteinizing hormones) increase, causing blood capillaries to dilate. This brings more blood and higher temperatures to the skin. Soy ISOFLAVONEs and other herbs can mimic the effects of estrogen. Support for the adrenal glands is important since they account for most estrogen production after menopause.
During and after menopause, a woman’s hormonal balance and biochemistry change. Lower estrogen levels may affect bone density. Phytonutrients and calcium are important to maintain healthy bones in postmenopausal women. Calcium and magnesium work together in the metabolism of bone.
Heart & Circulation
Menopause increases concern for the health of the heart and circulatory system. Soy ISOFLAVONEs and other ingredients may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. To regulate homocysteine levels for cardiovascular health, vitamins B-6, B-12, and folic acid are critical.
Among its many functions, the liver has the important job of promoting hormonal balance by processing excess levels of hormones. The powerful antioxidant, N-acetyl cysteine, helps the liver detoxify chemicals and milk thistle is a liver protectant.
The fatigue that is common during menopause makes nutritional support for energy and metabolism especially important. Metabolism can influence weight, energy levels, and mood. MENOPAUSE MULTIPLE contains ingredients that support energy generation, including the advanced nutrients CoQ10 and lipoic acid and ginkgo biloba.
Antioxidants help protect the circulatory system, which is important as estrogen declines. Antioxidants also defend tissues and cell membranes in all your body systems from free radicals, which are formed during normal cellular metabolism. Some important antioxidants: vitamin E, vitamin C, selenium, zinc, and manganese all have strong antioxidant powers.
Lifestyle Tips for a Healthy Transition
Get Moving. Exercise is a powerful remedy for many menopause complaints and may help prevent future menopause-related diseases. It promotes better, more restorative sleep, and it stimulates production of endorphins, or “feel good” brain chemistry. Some women report having fewer hot flashes when they exercise regularly. Eat Well. A balanced diet low in saturated fat and high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, with adequate water, vitamins and minerals contributes to good health. Women at perimenopause and beyond have special dietary concerns, because both heart disease and osteoporosis are greatly affected by diet. A balanced diet is also important for bone development and maintaining bone strength. Some women – especially those who are elderly and have reduced appetites, who diet frequently, who don’t consume diary products, or who have eating disorders – may not consume adequate vitamins and minerals to maintain optimal bone mass. There is evidence that the natural, estrogenlike compounds in soybeans and many other plant foods used in MENOPAUSE MULTIPLE may reduce hot flashes and vaginal dryness and increase bone density in women after menopause. Studies suggest that body cells respond to plant estrogens as if they were weaker versions of the human hormone. So consuming more of these estrogen-mimicking compounds may help compensate for the loss of estrogen naturally as women age. Prevent Bone Loss. Osteoporosis is one of the most preventable of bone diseases. Exercise maintains the strength of bones through aerobics, stair climbing, hiking, or walking. Prevention focuses on nutrition for bones, including a sufficient calcium intake of 1000 to 1500 mg/day.
Musculoskeletal System: Black Cohosh, Dong Quai, Licorice, Soy ISOFLAVONEs, Boron, Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Vitamins A, B-6, B-12, C, D & E, Folic Acid
Heart and Circulation: Black Cohosh, Coenzyme Q10, Dong Quai, Licorice, Soy ISOFLAVONEs, Magnesium, Vitamins B-6, B-12, & E, Folic Acid
Hormonal Regulation: Black Cohosh, Dong Quai, Licorice, Soy ISOFLAVONEs, Vitex, Vitamins B-5 & C
Liver Support: Coenzyme Q10, N-Acetyl Cysteine, Dandelion, alpha-Lipoic Acid, Silymarin, Selenium, Vitamin C, Biotin
Antioxidant Defense: Coenzyme Q10, N-Acetyl Cysteine, alpha-Lipoic Acid, Silymarin, Selenium, Zinc, Vitamins A, C & E
Energy Generation: alpha-Lipoic Acid, Coenzyme Q10, Magnesium, Manganese, Zinc, Vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5, & B-6, Niacinamide
Hot Flash - Eternal Woman - Help put a stop to menopause pains.
June 02, 2005 12:27 PM
MENOPAUSE. FOR MANY WOMEN THIS MILESTONE is often preceded by uncomfortable, if not alarming, physical upsets. Its debut marks a transition period that can actually begin at age 40. Called pre-menopause, it is characterized by powerful hormonal changes with wide-ranging effects on a woman’s bodily systems. Pre-menopause usually lasts 3 to 6 years – and hot flashes are the number one complaint. Source Naturals Eternal Woman™ Menopause Line is answering this need with Hot Flash™. This safe, natural phytoestrogen formulation was created specifically to help reduce the frequency of hot flashes and night sweats.
Estrogen stimulates, affects and balances hundreds of processes during a monthly cycle. When its level fluctuates, the body’s internal balancing act is profoundly influenced. During premenopause, the body vainly tries to compensate for estrogen loss by releasing luteinizing hormone in pulses from the pituitary gland. This causes wild changes in skin temperature, resulting in hot flushes and night sweats. Now there is a gentle way to lessen this bodily response to declining estrogen. The answer lies in specific botanicals. Certain plants contain substances called phytoestrogens that are structurally similar to estrogen. New research demonstrates these natural, estrogen-mimicking phytonutrients may help minimize the compensatory increase in luteinizing hormone. Source Naturals HOT FLASH may help minimize the reaction to estrogen loss. It is packed with key phytoestrogens found in soy and in herbal extracts of black cohosh, vitex, licorice root and dong quai.
Hot Flash supplies high potencies of phytoestrogens from soy (including the ISOFLAVONEs genistein, daidzein and glycitein), which have been shown to lessen the effects of luteinizing hormone and reduce the frequency of hot flashes in clinical studies. In addition, the black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) extract in HOT FLASH is standardized to 2.5% triterpene glycosides, including 27-deoxyactein. This family of beneficial compounds also may help reduce the occurrence of hot flashes. Eternal Woman HOT FLASH. This remarkable combination of safe, gentle and natural phytoestrogens helps reduce the frequency of hot flashes – the number one pre-menopausal complaint. For the FREEDOM TO CHANGE™ naturally... choose HOT FLASH by Source Naturals.
Genistein 1000mg Eternal Woman - Soy Supplement ...
June 02, 2005 10:30 AM
For most of human history, we existed in a world that was very different from the one today. Our endocrine systems evolved in an environment without synthetic chemicals. Unfortunately, today we’re surrounded by artificial hormone-mimicking compounds that disrupt the subtle biological processes that determine growth and reproduction. Receptors on our cells meant to receive natural bodily hormones can also accept molecules other than the ones they were intended to receive, placing our endocrine systems under considerable duress. Fortunately, certain plants contain estrogen-like compounds that are also accepted by hormone receptors in the human body – but with beneficial effects. Soybeans, which contain the ISOFLAVONE Genistein, can help regulate and maintain normal menstrual cycles and menopausal transitions. Source Naturals GENISTEIN is a concentrated form of the essence of the soybean.
The Secret of Soy
Not surprisingly, it was Ben Franklin who first introduced America to soybeans. Always on the lookout for beneficial imports, he was intrigued by the soybean cheese he saw in England. Today, tofu and other soy products are gaining popularity here in the West, in good part due to the reported benefits to populations that consume a considerable amount of soy products.
Some researchers have postulated that the high intake of soy foods by Asians may be a key factor in their low incidence of certain health problems that are common in the West. For example, epidemiological studies show that women in Asia have a higher occurrence of normal trouble-free menopause. There is no Japanese word for hot flashes. Soy foods contain high concentrations of phytonutrients including phytosterols and ISOFLAVONEs. ISOFLAVONEs are an important class of bioflavonoids whose properties have been well researched. Of the seven ISOFLAVONEs contained in soybeans, the most active are genistein and daidzein. Source Naturals GENISTEIN contains over 11 mg of genistein, 42 mg of daidzein, and 86 mg of total ISOFLAVONEs per four 1000 mg tablets.
Genistein and Estrogen
The subject of scientific studies since 1966, genistein research has been published in many journals including the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the Annals of the New York Academy of Science. Genistein has been shown to bind to the same receptor sites as estrogen. This helps to maintain normal menstrual cycles and menopausal transitions. By competing for human estrogen receptors, genistein causes excess estrogen to be sent to the liver for elimination. Conversely, when there is too little estrogen (the situation during menopause), phytoestrogens – genistein and daidzein – substitute for the lack of human estrogen, mitigating the effects of its absence.
Genistein and Cell Growth
One of genistein’s most promising functions is its ability to inhibit capillary proliferation. By neutralizing a growth factor called vascular endothelial (vegF), genistein protects cells. Genistein also shows pronounced inhibition of tyrosine kinase, the enzyme that interferes with normal cell growth. Soybeans are the only significant dietary source of genistein; however, the amount of soy foods necessary to meet the body’s needs can be difficult to incorporate into today’s diet. In Asia, the daily intake can be up to 20 times that of a Western diet. Source Naturals GENISTEIN is made from the germ of ISOFLAVONE-rich soybeans, using a chemical- free process that yields a consistent standardized ISOFLAVONE content. It requires approximately 400 pounds of soybeans to yield just one pound of finished product. With GENISTEIN, Source Naturals brings the remarkable properties of a time-honored food plant into your wellness program today.
CALCIUM D-GLUCARATE - Estrogen Detoxification
June 01, 2005 09:25 AM
From the womb to the tomb, we are subject to the effects of estrogen, the potent female hormone that shapes our lives. Variations in estrogen levels can have a dramatic effect on our cellular development. Source Naturals is proud to introduce a nutrient that may help the body remove excess estrogen, thereby giving relief to estrogen-sensitive tissues. Calcium D-glucarate is currently the subject of numerous clinical studies. It is proving to have great potential for addressing health concerns closest to our heart.
One of life’s most delicate balancing acts is found in the ebb and flow of hormones that is constantly taking place in the human body. These messenger chemicals are fundamental to the process of life. Produced by endocrine glands, hormones travel throughout the body, communicating with each other as they direct cellular activity. For example, the hypothalamus gland monitors hormone levels in the body. It signals the pituitary gland, advising it to send messages to the ovaries to either produce or stop producing estrogen.
Estrogen is an extremely powerful hormone whose activity can be measured in parts per trillion. Therefore, it doesn’t take much to create an imbalance. Like all hormones, estrogen communicates with a cell by docking to a particular receptor site on that cell’s membrane. If there is an excess of these estrogen-sensitive receptors, or an excess of circulating estrogen in the bloodstream, normal cellular metabolism can be altered. Another problem is that estrogen receptors are not very particular; they will accept many chemicals – both natural and synthetic – other than estrogen.
How the body removes excess estrogen
One of the processes by which estrogen and estrogenic compounds are metabolized and broken down is through glucuronidation. In the liver, they’re bound to glucuronic acid and then excreted in the urine or feces. This process can be disrupted by an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase, which is found in the gastro- intestinal tract. It frees the bound-up estrogen or estrogenic compound, releasing it to be reabsorbed back into the bloodstream – to again affect cells. Obviously estrogen is needed by the body; however, too much can lead to cellular disruption. Since it can be very difficult to avoid the estrogenic chemicals rampant in our environment, another strategy is needed, and that is to reduce their negative effects by supporting the body’s natural ability to remove excess estrogen and other hormones and toxins.
Calcium D-glucarate and hormone metabolism
The removal of excess estrogen can be increased by a natural substance called Calcium D-glucarate (CDG), because it inhibits beta-glucuronidase activity in the body. This means that estrogen bound for excretion stays bound, and the total estrogen load on the body is reduced. In clinical trials, tissues that are sensitive to excess hormones – such as breast, liver, and lung – have been shown to respond favorably to CDG. In addition to estrogen and estrogenic compounds, CDG helps promote excretion of other hormone metabolites as well as cellular toxins and steroids.
CDG is made naturally in small quantities in the body; it is also found in a variety of fruits and vegetables: oranges, broccoli, carrots, spinach, and apples. Vitamin A has been shown to have a synergistic effect with CDG. One 500 mg tablet of Source Naturals CALCIUM D-GLUCARATE is equivalent to the phytonutrient activity found in 82 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables. The suggested use for preventative health maintenance is 3 to 4.5 grams per day. No toxicity has been found with its usage.
Phytonutrients also help reduce estrogen exposure
Another strategy to reduce the effects of excess estrogen is to increase the intake of plant estrogens. This helps for two reasons. First, by occupying estrogen receptor sites, these natural estrogenic compounds block synthetic estrogens from attaching to these sites. Second, phytoestrogens only mildly activate receptors. One of the best phytoestrogens is genistein, the ISOFLAVONE in soybeans responsible for soy’s beneficial influence on the human body. Increased intake of genistein and/or soy is being recommended by many health professionals, especially for post-menopausal women. Please see Source Naturals product literature on GENISTEIN as well as MENOBALANCE, our nutritional menopause formula with genistein and black cohosh. Both are part of our advanced line of nutritional support for women As new research sheds light on the importance of proper hormone balance to our health, it’s vital to protect ourselves from the increased burden of estrogen that we are encountering today. Source Naturals CALCIUM D-GLUCARATE is a timely nutrient that can make a real difference in our lives.
Prosta Response - 45ct, 90ct, and 180ct --
May 20, 2005 07:36 PM
ookstores are filled with it, news magazines are reporting on it. From the revelations of politicians to disturbing statistical reports, prostate health issues that formerly received little notice are now in the headlines. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located under the bladder and surrounding the urinary tract in men. Many factors affect prostate wellness, including aging and individual genetic history, but today’s chemicalized environment poses unprecedented challenges to the health of the prostate gland. Source Naturals is helping to meet this challenge with PRO STA RESPONSE, a Bio-Aligned Formula™ designed to support multiple, interdependent body systems. It is the only prostate formula that addresses six body systems involved with healthy prostate function.
More than Symptoms*, Systems PRO STA-RE SPONSE is a unique formula that combines clinically tested potencies of saw palmetto extract and beta sitosterol with standardized Swedish flower pollen extract, quercetin, lyopene, soy and additional herbs and nutrients. PRO-STA- RESPONSE goes beyond formulas that simply address nutritional symptoms and instead deals with underlying causes. PROSTARESPONSE supports healthy prostate function and urine flow by addressing the following body systems: 1. Hormone regulation: Hormones have a direct role in prostate functioning and have been closely linked to prostate health. PRO STA RESP ONSE contains specific plant extracts and nutrients shown in research to inhibit the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and the subsequent binding to receptors within the prostate. 2. Prostate cell regeneration: Swedish flower pollen extract, used extensively in Europe and Asia for more than 40 years, has demonstrated significant effects in maintaining proper prostate cell regeneration. 3. Soothing mechanisms: Certain plant compounds, such as flavonoids from soy and sterols from pollen extract, inhibit the metabolism of arachidonic acid. This in turn influences prostaglandin synthesis, which may be associated with comfort levels. 4. Bladder and urinary tract health: A healthy environment within the bladder and urinary tract is vital for prostate health and normal urine flow. PROSTARESPONSE contains botanicals that support the bladder and urinary tract health. 5. Prostate health: Studies show that dietary factors influence the overall health of the prostate. The body naturally concentrates certain compounds in higher amounts in the prostate. These include zinc, vitamin E and soy ISOFLAVONEs. 6. Antioxidant defense: Antioxidants play an important role in maintaining prostate function and cell membrane integrity. Oxidative stress, or the action of free radicals, is confirmed as a significant factor that can trigger a host of destructive processes. Developing a Prostate-Friendly Lifestyle Supplementation is only one part of an individual’s Strategy for WellnessSM. That’s why Source Naturals® is committed to providing public education about the many aspects of a prostate-healthy lifestyle. Less Fat, More Fiber, Lots of Veggies Studies suggest a direct relationship between dietary fat and prostate health, with men whose diets consist of 30%-40% or more fat at highest risk. Saturated fats, especially from animal sources, are most problematic. Some research has attributed this relationship to the effect animal fats have on excess levels of circulating sex hormones. Prostate health is also associated with high fiber intake. This may be because dietary fiber binds testosterone, estradiol and other sex steroids and helps eliminate excess hormones,
Five to nine servings of high-fiber fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains (35 g) are recommended daily for prostate health. Tomato-based foods are rich in the carotenoid, lycopene, which is a potent antioxidant, helping to protect our cells and fatty tissues from free radical damage. A long-term study at Harvard School of Medicine found beneficial effects from 10 servings of tomato products weekly, while recent clinical research points to an intake of 15 mg of lycopene twice per day. Also helpful are green and yellow-orange vegetables, which contain compounds that are converted to vitamin A; citrus fruits that contain vitamin C; nuts and seeds that contain vitamin E; zinc-containing seafood, legumes and eggs; and selenium-rich whole grains, seafood and organ meats. Studies show a correlation between prostate health and diets that contain large amounts of soy. Soybeans contain prostate-healthy phytoestrogens, including the ISOFLAVONE, genistein. Some experts suggest eating seven servings of soy protein per week (providing 10 g of soy protein and 20 mg of ISOFLAVONEs daily) for general good health, and three times that amount for more targeted protection. Drink Healthy Dehydration stresses the prostate gland. It is important to consume plenty of water—about eight glasses per day. Plain water is best, but you can also drink highly diluted fruit juice, herbal tea or lightly flavored sparkling water. Green tea is beneficial for prostate health, due to certain antioxidant compounds called polyphenols.
You can reduce the frequency of nighttime trips to the bathroom by eliminating fluids a few hours before you go to sleep. You may find it more comfortable to spread out your intake, taking small sips of fluids over the course of the day. Exercise Good circulation is important for prostate health. Regular walking is excellent in this regard. “Kegel” exercises— a series of contractions of the muscles around the prostate—are helpful for improving circulation and tonicity of the genital area. Supplementation Supplementation tailored to prostate wellness would focus on the vitamins and minerals described above—in addition to nourishing our body systems, many are also antioxidants, helping to counter the free radical damage that is rampant in our chemicalized environment. The program would also include specific herbs found to support prostate function, especially saw palmetto, pygeum, and pumpkin seeds. First Bio-Aligned Formula for the Prostate Gland! PROSTA-RESPONSE is the first prostate support formula designed to work holistically, by addressing the multiple systems that affect prostate higher amounts in the prostate. health.
Try Source Naturals PRO STA-RE SPONSE, available in bottles of 45 and 90 tablets.
Hormonal Regulation Freeze Dried stinging Nettle, Pygeum, Red Clover, Saw Palmetto, Soy, Swedish Flower Pollen Extract, Zinc, Vitamin D-3 Prostate Cellular Regeneration Lycopene, Nettle, Quercetin, Red Clover, Swedish Flower Pollen Extract, Vitamin D-3 Soothing Mechanisms: Prostaglandin Synthesis Beta Sitosterol, Pygeum, Quercetin, Red Clover Saw Palmetto, Soy, Swedish Flower Pollen Extract Bladder & Urinary Tract Health Alanine, Glutamic Acid, Glycine, Goldenseal, Gravel Root, Marshmallow Root, Pumpkin Seed, Pygeum, Swedish Flower Pollen Extract, Uva Ursi Prostate Health Red Clover, Soy, Zinc, Vitamin E Antioxidant Defense Ginkgo Biloba, Grape Seed, Green Tea, Lycopene, Pygeum, Quercetin, Red Clover, Soy, Swedish Flower Pollen Extract, Selenium, Zinc, Vitamin E PROSTA-RESPONSE™: A Bio-Aligned Formula™ Multi-System Support for the Prostate Gland References Buck, A.C. 1996. Phytotherapy for the prostate. Brit J Urol 78:325-336. Morton, M.S. et al. Lignans and isoflavonoids in plasma and prostatic fluid in men: samples from Portugal, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom. Prostate 32:122-128. Morton, M.S. et al. 1996. The preventative role of diet in prostatic…Brit J Urol 77:481-493. Wilt, T.J. et al. 1998. Saw palmetto extracts…a systematic review. JAMA 280:1604-1609 Yasumoto, M.D. et al. Jan-Feb 1995. Clinical evaluation of long-term treatment using …pollen extract…Clin Ther 17(1):82-87. *The term symptom as used in this literature refers to the effects of nutrient imbalances and shortages, and is not related to the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any disease.
Prosta Response 45ct
Prosta Response 90ct
Prosta Response 180ct
VitaNet® VitaNet ® Staff
KudZu, Treatment of alcohol dependence or alcohol abuse
May 19, 2005 09:29 AM
For millennia, folk medicines have been used to treat ‘‘alcohol addiction’’ in China. A thorough literature search of the ancient Chinese pharmacopoeias revealed a long list of traditional remedies, including the 16 ‘‘stop-drinking’’ formulae of Sun Simiao (ca. 600 AD) and the ‘‘anti-alcohol addiction’’ formula of Li Dongyuan (ca. 1200 AD), 2 of the most reputed ‘‘medical doctors’’ in the history of Traditional Chinese Medicine. However, like those discovered by the ancient Romans,11 most of the ancient Chinese remedies for ‘‘alcohol addiction’’ were based on psychological aversion: to deter patients from further drinking by associating alcohol drinking with an unpleasant experience. Interestingly, as time went by, treatments based solely on psychological aversion were gradually eliminated from the ancient Chinese pharmacopoeias, presumably because of their ineffectiveness and/or undesirable side effects. The only remedies that have survived this historical trial-anderror scrutiny are those consisting the root (Radix puerariae, RP) or flower (Flos puerariae, FP) of Pueraria lobata (a medicinal plant known to the West as kudzu). It was on the basis of this historical backdrop, we initiated the search of safe and efficacious anti-dipsotropic (alcohol intake suppressive) agents from RP. This approach has led to the discovery of daidzin,12 an ISOFLAVONE that has since been shown to reduce alcohol drinking in all alcohol preferring animal models tested to date.
Alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence (i.e., alcoholism) are serious public health problems of modern society. In the United States alone, an estimated 13 million adults exhibit symptoms of alcohol dependence due to excessive alcohol intake, and an additional 7 million abuse alcohol without showing symptoms of dependence according to U.S. Government projections from studies conducted in the mid-1980s. Alcohol dependence and abuse are very expensive: in economic and medical terms, it will cost the U.S. well over $200 billion in 1991 with no prospect of falling or leveling off. The social and psychological damages inflicted on individuals as a consequence of alcohol abuse, e.g., children born with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and victims of alcohol-related accidental death, homicide, suicide, etc., are immense.
While it is generally accepted that alcoholism and alcohol abuse are afflictions with staggering international economic, social, medical, and psychological repercussions, success in preventing or otherwise ameliorating the consequences of these problems has been an elusive goal. Only very recently the public view that alcoholism and alcohol abuse are remediable solely by moral imperatives has been changed to include an awareness of alcoholism and alcohol abuse as physiological aberrations whose etiology may be understood and for which therapy may be found through scientific pursuits. Both alcohol abuse and dependence arise as a result of different, complex, and as yet incompletely understood processes. At present, alcohol research is in the mainstream of scientific efforts.
Our studies on alcohol (ethanol or ethyl alcohol) have been based on the hypothesis that its abuse can ultimately be understood and dealt with at the molecular level. Such a molecular understanding, if achieved, would provide a basis for the identification and development of appropriate therapeutic agents. Our view hypothesizes that the clinical manifestations of alcoholism and alcohol abuse are the consequence of aberrations or defects within one or more metabolic pathways, affected by the presence of ethyl alcohol. In order to test this hypothesis, our initial studies focused on physical, chemical, and enzymatic properties of human alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), the enzyme that catalyzes alcohol oxidation according to the following reaction formula:
CH.sub.3 CH.sub.2 OH+NAD.sup.+ .fwdarw.CH.sub.3 CHO+NADH
In addition, our studies more recently have focused on the aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDH) which catalyze the subsequent step in the major pathway of ethanol metabolism according to the following reaction formula:
CH.sub.3 CHO+NAD.sup.+ .fwdarw.CH.sub.3 COOH+NADH
Prior to our research (for example, see Blair and Vallee, 1966, Biochemistry 5:2026-2034), ADH in man was thought to exist in but one or two forms, primarily in the liver, where it was considered the exclusive enzyme for the metabolism of ethanol. Currently, four different classes of ADH encompassing over twenty ADH isozymes have been identified and isolated from human tissues. There is no reason to believe that all of these ADH isozymes are necessary to catalyze the metabolism of a single molecule, ethanol, even though all of them can interact with it. We have proposed that the normal function of these isozymes is to metabolize other types of alcohols that participate in critical, physiologically important processes, and that ethanol interferes with their function (Vallee, 1966, Therapeutic Notes 14:71-74). Further, we predicted that individual differences in alcohol tolerance might well be based on both qualitative and quantitative differences in isozyme endowment (Vallee, 1966, supra).
Our research has established the structures, properties, tissue distribution, and developmental changes for most of the ADH isozymes, which while structurally quite similar, and presumed to have evolved from a common precursor, are functionally remarkably varied. Of the more than 120 publications from our laboratory that relate to the above subjects, the following, arranged in six categories, are especially useful for instruction in the prior art.
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Bee Propolis may limit production of DHT...
May 17, 2005 05:00 PM
Chrysin controls aromatase activity, and thus the production of estradiol and estrone, and provides an alternative embodiment of this invention. This embodiment may further comprise a substance that controls 5-alpha-reductase and its production of DHT.
Other aromatase inhibitors include substituted androstenediones. There is also evidence that aromatase is involved in the production of DHT, which is well known for its negative effects on the prostate and male pattern baldness. An in vitro rat testis cell suspension model was used to investigate the metabolism of tritiated testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and androstenedione. In the presence of aromatase inhibitors and androstenedione, the metabolism was shifted towards 17-keto forms. This suggests that androstenedione and the derived aromatase inhibitors activate the 17 .beta.-hydroxysteroid-dehydrogenase in a product-activating manner. Thus, aromatase inhibitors may regulate the intratissular levels, not only of estrogens, but also of other hormonally active steroids like DHT and 5-androstenedione. Schroder et al., 31(4B) J. STEROID BIOCHEM. 685-90 (1988).
Because of the usefulness of inhibiting aromatase in breast cancer patients, several synthetic aromatase inhibitors have been developed. See, e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 4,954,446. There are natural substances, however, such as chrysin, that have similar activity. Chrysin is a bioflavonoid found in propolis (bee pollen) and honey that has been demonstrated to be as potent and effective in inhibiting aromatase as the popular pharmaceutical, aminoglutethimide (AG). In aromatase enzyme assays, chrysin, 7,8 benzo-flavone (ANG), AG, flavone and genistein 4'-methyl ether (5,7-dihydroxy-4'-methoxyISOFLAVONE, Biochanin A) were shown to inhibit aromatase. Chrysin and AG inhibited the enzyme by 50% at a concentration of 4.6 .mu.M and 7.4 .mu.M, respectfully, and only ANG had a high I.sub.50 of 0.5 .mu.M. Both Flavone and Biochanin A inhibited aromatase, but to a lesser degree. Campbell et al., 46(3) J. STEROID BIOCHEM. MOL. BIO. 381-88 (1993). In screening for potential chemopreventives against cancer, chrysin was one of the three of flavonoids with the greatest aromatase-inhibiting activity, with an inhibitory concentration (IC) of 1.1 .mu.g/mL. Jeong et al., 22(3) ARCHIVES PHARMA. RES. 309-12 (1999).
Nutritional Support for Prostate Health
May 11, 2005 10:19 AM
Nutritional Support for Prostate HealthBy Steve Lankford
Prostate problems are perhaps the most common problem that men will experience. As men age their hormonal production and metabolism changes and these changes can contribute to the prostate difficulties that men experience. The two major prostate problems are enlargement of the prostate gland known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer. These two problems are unrelated except that they both affect the prostate gland and the scope of this article will focus on BPH.
The prostate gland is a small gland located under the bladder. It is shaped like a donut and surrounds the neck of the bladder and a small portion of the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries the urine out of the body. When the prostate gland enlarges it can constrict the urethra and the flow of urine. This contributes to the variety of symptoms of BPH. BPH affects over half of all men aged 50 and older.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
BPH is related to the hormonal changes that men undergo as they age. Around age 40 men begin to produce more of the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. 5-alpha-reductase converts the hormone testosterone into the less desirable hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is an important hormone and is not a problem until the levels begins to increase around mid-life. The increase in DHT results in BPH.
The symptoms of BPH include hypersensitivity of the bladder to even small amount of urine. This results in an increase of both urgency and frequency. Men will often experience frequent nighttime urination. The urine stream may become weaker and include dribbling when men are unable to completely void the bladder. Serious BPH can cause a complete blockage of urine flow.
Three stages of support
There are three stages at which you may want or need to deal with BPH. The first stage is preventive. At this stage there are no symptoms and one may do something at this stage when trying to provide benefit and support to avoid or minimize future involvement. The ideal time to begin preventive support is between the ages of 40 and 50.
The second stage is when there are emerging symptoms. This is when men first begin to experience the symptoms of BPH. The symptoms are mild and no too difficult to tolerate. This is also the best time to reverse the trend and provide effective nutritional therapy.
The third stage is when the symptoms have progressed to the difficult and serious level. It often progresses to this point when men ignore the symptoms and treatments. Often men have tried traditional medical approaches with little satisfaction or results. Even at this stage of BPH, nutritional support is usually very effective.
The challenge of creating an effective prostate support program begins with an assessment of your current status and then making an informed choice of support options.
The most successful natural approach to prostate health should involve a multiple approach that addresses the various systems in the body related to prostate health. The various nutrients that may be use can be taken separately or in combination. This approach can be beneficial both as a preventative approach as well therapeutic. You will generally have better results when you use a comprehensive approach.
The Comprehensive Approach to BPH
Prostate Support – Studies have show that dietary factors influence the overall health of the prostate. There are some nutrients that are found in higher amounts in the prostate. Nutrients such as zinc, lycopene and vitamin E provide prostate support.
Hormonal Regulation – Hormones have a direct role in prostate function. Plant extracts inhibit testosterone uptake by the prostate as well as limiting its conversion into DHT and subsequent binding to receptor sites within the prostate. Herbs such as saw palmetto, pygeum, nettle, red clover and soy provide this benefit.
Cellular Regeneration – Certain nutrients such as Swedish Flower Pollen, Quercetin and lycopene have demonstrated significant effects in maintaining proper prostate cell regeneration.
Bladder and Urinary Tract Health – The integrity and health of the bladder and urinary tract supports the normal flow of urine and prostate function. Three amino acids alanine, glutamic acid, and glycine as well as the herbs goldenseal, marshmallow root, uva ursi and pumpkin seed are all beneficial to the health of the urinary tract.
Soothing mechanisms – Certain plant compounds such as sterols and Swedish flower pollen as well as saw palmetto and pygeum and the bioflavonoid quercetin inhibit the metabolism of arachidonic acid. This influences prostaglandin synthesis, which is associated with prostate comfort.
Antioxidant Defense - The final area that we look at is how to reduce oxidative stress (free radical damage) that can trigger a host of destructive processes. Antioxidants play an important role in prostate function including protection of cell membranes.
Natural Is Better
How good are natural alternatives for prostate health? There have been many studies on natural alternatives showing that the proper herbs in the proper form are at least as effective as prescription drugs with fewer side effects. The most common drug for BPH is Proscar (finasteride). Some of the adverse side effects associated with finasteride are decreased libido and erectile dysfunction. Natural saw palmetto extract is free of these unwanted effects and is equally effective.
Choosing an Effective Product
The effectiveness of a nutritional product has to do with several factors. The bottom line is that the most effective product is the one that works best for you. Be prepared to try several products to find the best potency and combination.
There are many nutrients that provide prostate support. Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs, Amino Acids and Nutraceuticals are all helpful and the most comprehensive products will provide supports in multiple ways.
Vitamins – Vitamin D, Vitamin E
Minerals – Zinc, Selenium, Copper
Herbs – Saw Palmetto, Nettle Root, Marshmallow Root, Pygeum Bark, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Red Clover, Goldenseal Root, Gravel Root, Green Tea
Amino Acids – Alanine, Glutamic Acid, Glycine
Nutraceuticals – Soy ISOFLAVONEs, Quercetin, Swedish Flower Pollen, Phytosterols, Lycopene
The first nutrient and herb to consider is saw palmetto extract. It is the phytosterols in saw palmetto (and other herbs) that are responsible for the beneficial results. It is important to make sure that the product that you use has the therapeutically effective dose. If you don’t know the proper dosage and how to calculate the proper concentration it is very easy to purchase a low potency formula that is less likely to be effective.
In the clinical studies with saw palmetto extract, potencies of 320 mg. per day were used. However this only tell part of the story. The saw palmetto extract was composed of 85-95% sterols resulting in approximately 288 mg. (320 mg. times 90% equals 288 mg.) of sterols daily. Make sure your saw palmetto contains the correct amount of sterols.
This process of analyzing herbal extracts will apply to any standardized herbal product. You want to know whether the product you are purchasing has the right amount of the right compounds.
Search for the best products by trying different formulas. The proper nutrients taken consistently over time will provide long-lasting benefits. Stick with good companies with a history of providing quality nutritional products.
The information provided is nutritional only and is intended to help you develop a nutritional program that can support the functions of the body. The information provided is not intended as medical advice. For medical advice always consult your physician.
May 09, 2005 06:10 PM
It's in the BloodNatural alternatives abound for managing cholesterol levels, backed by a growing body of research ©VR By Paul Bubny
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) last July lowered the threshold for considering the use of statin drugs—a move which some say was motivated more by profits than scientific evidence. For example, the Center for Science in the Public Interest pointed out that eight of the nine authors behind the new recommendations had financial ties to statin manufacturers, which stand to reap billions of dollars more from a category that grossed $14 billion in the U.S. last year. And though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January decided against authorizing over-the-counter (OTC) sales of statin drugs, drug companies would still like to see this happen.
“The medical establishment’s pushing of these drugs to becoming the number one category of prescribed drugs in the world has led them to keep lowering the total cholesterol number that triggers the drug recommendation,” said Neil E. Levin, C.C.N., D.A.N.L.A., nutrition educator, product formulator, and “Truth Advocate” for NOW Foods (Bloomingdale, IL), which produces a number of supplements for addressing cholesterol. “This is despite the lack of evidence that total cholesterol means much as regards cardiovascular risks.
“Other tests are much more important in terms of predicting risks, including CRP (C-reactive protein), the balance of different cholesterol fractions, and homocysteine,” he continued. “Add adult-onset diabetes to the risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD).”
At the same time, the allegation that enormous sales potential lay behind the lower threshold for prescribing statin drugs illustrates how widespread the problem of hypercholesterolemia (elevated total cholesterol) is. More than 100 million Americans have elevated cholesterol (total cholesterol values of 200 mg/dl and higher), and of these, more than a third have high cholesterol (levels of 240 mg/dl and higher), according to the American Heart Association. Those numbers have unfavorable implications for the incidence of CVD, as high cholesterol is considered a risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke.
While statin drugs haven’t garnered the same degree of negative publicity that COX-2 inhibitors have suffered lately, safety concerns have arisen nonetheless. For one thing, these drugs lower the liver’s production of coenzyme Q10 (coQ10) along with its production of cholesterol. “CoQ10 is related to energy production and immune functions, is an antioxidant, and [is] an important cardiovascular nutrient,” Levin said. “It is not good to lower one’s coQ10 levels by half!”
Moreover, said Levin, statins increase the tendency of muscle tissues to break down. “Combined with inactivity or certain drugs, this can stimulate muscle wasting,” he said. “Muscle is where a good deal of calories are burned, so a loss of muscle could affect mobility and energy production, potentially adding to obesity problems. These muscle changes occurred in patients and persisted for years after treatment was discontinued, as shown by muscle biopsies, even if no obvious muscle problems were observed by the patients.”
And the last word on the subject may not have been spoken. Predicted Dr. Frank King, Jr. president of King Bio Natural Medicine (Asheville, NC), “Once the appropriate studies are finished, these drugs, along with hypertensives, will hit the fan bigger than the COX-2 inhibitors.”
Also looking toward the future, Levin said that of the 20 million Americans who will be “targeted” for statin drug prescriptions under the new NCEP guidelines, “Some of these will want to try natural methods first. Others will rebel at the side effects of the drugs and experiment with alternative products.”
King and Levin both saw opportunity for natural products in the fallout from drug safety concerns, with King projecting that sales of his company’s cholesterol-related homeopathic remedies will double in 2005. “The reports of deaths from drugs will always overshadow the trumped-up studies and news reports blasting dietary supplements,” said Levin. “Vioxx knocked vitamin E off the media’s radar screens pretty rapidly, though we still see ignorant reporters citing that [Johns Hopkins] vitamin E analysis as if it were true. But the comparable safety of supplements means that open-minded people will want to at least try natural therapies before signing in to a lifetime of drug therapies. Meanwhile, the studies on natural products will continue to build our credibility.”
Those studies keep coming in, with at least four major findings published in the past few months, plus a heart-health claim on walnuts authorized by FDA. They join a raft of earlier findings that link natural products—branded and otherwise—to healthy cholesterol levels.
"Blur of Products"
With so many natural alternatives to cholesterol drugs available, it can be hard to keep track. “As with any other category, the blur of products as they cascade over several shelves means that the retailer needs to have a good sense of what works and what they want to recommend to their customers,” Levin said. “Really, each person needs a protocol that would include antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, herbs, and oils. The pre-mixed cholesterol support formulas are a good starting place.”
To help retailers get a sense of “what works,” here is an alphabetical discussion of several nutrients that have demonstrated benefits in serum cholesterol levels. They include the following:
Barley may help lower cholesterol, according to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2004, vol.80, no.5: 1185-1193). Twenty-five adults with mild hypercholesterolemia consumed a controlled diet low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol for 19 weeks. They then added whole-grain products containing barley to their diets that contained low (0 g), medium (3 g), or high (6 g) amount of beta-glucan per day for five weeks. Total cholesterol was reduced by 4 percent 9 percent, and 10 percent, respectively. The diet with the highest amount of beta-glucan led to a decrease in LDL cholesterol of 17 percent.
Chromium. There’s evidence, Levin said, that chromium in doses of 500 mg a day may decrease levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the so-called “bad” cholesterol) and total cholesterol while raising levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good” cholesterol). At the annual meeting of the American College of Nutrition last October, a poster presentation on the safety of Benicia, CA-based InterHealth Nutraceuticals’ ChromeMate niacin-bound chromium won first prize; among other things, the presentation cited chromium’s role in maintaining healthy blood lipid levels.
Fatty Acids. The latest in a long line of studies demonstrating the benefits of fatty acids in heart health is a study published in The International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics in December 2004. It showed that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid, can restore normal blood vessel function in children with inherited high cholesterol. The study, which used Martek DHA produced from microalgae, concluded that restoration of normal blood vessel function has the “potential for preventing the progression of early coronary heart disease in high-risk children.”
“The evidence continues to accumulate on the cardiovascular benefits of DHA for people of all ages,” said Henry “Pete” Linsert, Jr., chairman and CEO of Martek Biosciences, an ingredient supplier based in Columbia, MD. “This study clearly indicates that DHA played an important role in healthy blood vessel function in the children in this study.”
On the Omega-Research.com Website maintained by fish oil manufacturer Nordic Naturals (Watsonville, CA) can be found summaries of several earlier studies linking omega-3 fatty acids to maintaining healthy blood lipid levels, as well as related benefits such as elasticity of the arteries. In a 2003 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that women receiving a mixture of 4 g eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA along with 2 g of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) had lower levels of LDL cholesterol after 28 days compared to those who received either the EPA/DHA supplements without DHA, EPA/DHA with a smaller dose of GLA, or GLA alone.
Flax is another source of omega-3s, and Arkopharma/Health From The Sun (Bedford, MA) offers FiProFLAX in a variety of forms. Marketing director Hugues P. Mas said the flax is “QAI [Quality Assurance International] certified organic and guaranteed GMO [genetically modified organism]-free.” On its Website, the company offers a cholesterol quiz geared to consumers, discussing the importance of omega-3s as well as other nutrients.
Garlic. Adding to an already considerable body of research demonstrating that garlic can lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides while increasing HDL cholesterol, researchers at UCLA in 2003 reported that Kyolic aged garlic extract reduced or inhibited plaque formation in the arteries of 19 cardiac patients taking statin drugs.
Lead researcher Matthew Budoff, Ph.D. commented at the time that the study “suggests that aged garlic extract may be a useful and beneficial dietary addition for the people who have high cardiovascular risk or who have undergone heart surgery.” Budoff has since presented several trade show seminars sponsored by Los Angeles-based Wakunaga of America, the makers of Kyolic.
Guggul. In use for centuries as a component of Ayurvedic medicine, guggul—a gummy resin tapped from the Commiphora mukul tree, which is native to India—has been studied since the early 1960s for its hypolidemic (blood-lipid lowering) properties. Sabinsa Corp. (Piscataway, NJ), an ingredient supplier which produces a standardized extract under the brand name Gugulipid, says the studies on guggul indicate that its hypolipidemic activity can be attributed to more than one mechanism of action.
Among the possible mechanisms are: inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis, enhancing the rate of excretion of cholesterol, promoting rapid degradation of cholesterol, thyroid stimulation, alteration of biogenic amines, and “high affinity binding and anion exchange.”
Homeopathy. “Homeopathy activates the body’s own control system to work properly,” said King. “This is the safest and most curative approach to take.
“Forcing the body into biochemical change even naturally doesn’t actually have the curative action of homeopathy,” King continued. “Homeopathy can even correct the genetic predispositions to disease we may have inherited from as deep as a thousand years into our family chain.” King Bio makes Artery/Cholesterol/BP, a homeopathic formula intended to help tone heart muscles and blood vessels.
Low glycemic index foods. In a study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that high glycemic load is negatively correlated to serum levels of HDL cholesterol. Assessing the relationship between blood levels of lipids and diet in a test population of 32 healthy males and females ages 11 to 25, the researchers found that glycemic load accounted for 21.1 percent of the variation in HDL cholesterol. They concluded that glycemic load appears to be an important independent predictor of HDL cholesterol in youth and noted that dietary restrictions without attention to glycemic load could unfavorably influence blood lipids.
Medicinal Mushrooms. Although its product SX-Fraction is intended primarily to address high blood sugar, Maitake Products, Inc. (MPI, Ridgefield Park, NJ) found in a clinical study that LDL cholesterol in diabetic patients declined modestly (from 142 mg/dl to 133 mg/dl) over a two-month period. Those taking SX-Fraction also lost about 7 lbs. in the same time period.
“The more impressive lowering of cholesterol, however, comes from the dietary fiber that is found in all medicinal mushrooms,” said Ellen Shnidman, manager of scientific affairs at MPI. She cited animal studies which documented the cholesterol-lowering properties of four different mushrooms: maitake, shiitake, agaricus, and enokitake.
For example, a study reported in the September 1996 issue of Alternative Therapies showed “a 44 percent reduction in total cholesterol in rats consuming maitake mushroom in their diet,” said Shnidman. “This cholesterol reduction is accompanied by weight loss, relative to rats eating a similar high-choelsterol diet without mushrooms. Apparently, cholesterol is excreted by the rats in sufficient quantity to aid in weight loss.”
Oat bran. A 2004 consumer study conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI, Harleysville, PA) for Nurture, Inc. (Devon, PA), which produces the ingredient OatVantage, found that 63 percent of consumers managing their cholesterol levels prefer oat-based ingredients.
Oat bran is the subject of a health claim authorized by FDA in 1999, and NMI research found that 69 percent of respondents preferred the FDA-permitted health claim, “Helps Lower Cholesterol,” over the model structure-function claim, “Helps Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels.” “This is significant for food, beverage, and dietary supplement manufacturers who want to increase sales by using a more consumer-desired claim on the product label,” said Griff Parker, Nurture CEO.
Plant sterols. Also the subject of an FDA-approved claim for heart health, plant sterols (structurally similar to cholesterol in humans) can block the absorption of cholesterol, according to a number of studies. In an “Ask the Doctor” publication (available online at www.atdonline.org), Decker Weiss, N.M.D. noted that sterols enter the same receptor sites that cholesterol enters on its way to the bloodstream. “The cholesterol, being blocked from absorption, remains in our intestines where it is eventually excreted,” Weiss wrote. General Mills has just introduced Yoplait Healthy Heart, a yogurt high in plant sterols.
Policosanol. A mixture of fatty alcohols derived from sugar cane or beeswax, policosanol has been favorably compared in clinical studies to several types of prescription drugs for managing cholesterol. On its own, policosanol was found in a 1999 study to reduce LDL cholesterol while raising levels of HDL cholesterol.
Probiotics. “Several studies have indicated that consumption of certain cultured dairy products resulted in reduction of serum cholesterol, as well as triglycerides,” wrote Dr. S.K. Dash, president of probiotic manufacturer UAS Laboratories (Eden Prairie, MN), in his Consumer Guide to Probiotics. Among other studies, Dash cited two controlled clinical studies from the VA Medical Center at the University of Kentucky.
“In the first study, fermented milk containing [Lactobacillus] acidophilus was accompanied by a 2.4 percent reduction of serum cholesterol concentration,” he wrote. “In the second study, a different L. acidophilus strain reduced serum cholesterol concentration by 3.2 percent. Since every 1 percent reduction in serum cholesterol concentration is associated with an estimated 2 to 3 percent reduction in risk for coronary heart disease [CHD], regular intake of fermented milk containing an appropriate strain of L. acidophilus has the potential of reducing risk for [CHD] by 6 to 10 percent.”
Dash said his company’s DDS Probiotics contain DDS-1 L. acidophilus, “which has been researched and demonstrated to show cholesterol-lowering effect.”
Psyllium. “Internal cleansing is very important” in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, “especially if you do it with a lot of fiber,” said Sunil Kohli, vice president of Chino, CA-based Health Plus, Inc. The cholesterol-managing ability of fiber in general and psyllium in particular is “very well-established,” he said.
However, Kohli said, “It will probably do you no good if it’s random. It should be done on a regular basis, and it should be supervised. Consulting the doctor or pharmacist is important.”
Soy. The protein in soy “has evidence of lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, based on reviews of studies using over 20 g of soy protein per day,” said Levin. “Soy ISOFLAVONEs are considered only partly responsible for this effect.”
Sytrinol. A patented proprietary formula derived from natural citrus and palm fruit extracts and containing citrus polymethoxylated flavones and palm tocotrienols, Sytrinol has been shown in clinical trials to improve total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides by up to 30 percent, 27 percent, and 33 percent, respectively. Having just wrapped up Phase III of a long-term trial of Sytrinol, Chicago-based SourceOne Global Partners, which owns the exclusive worldwide license for intellectual property associated with the ingredient, is commencing a study that combines Sytrinol with plant sterols.
Tocotrienols. On its Website discussing the science and benefits of tocotrienols (www.tocotrienol.org), ingredient supplier Carotech Inc. (Edison, NJ) identifies several benefits for blood lipid levels. Tocotrienols, according to the Website, have been shown to “inhibit cholesterol production in the liver, thereby lowering total blood cholesterol;” “[suppress] hepatic HMG-CoA reductase activity [and result in] the lowering of LDL cholesterol levels;” and “inhibit cholesterogenesis by suppressing HMG-CoA reductase.”
There are also nutrients that are emerging as potential weapons in the fight against cholesterol. Levin cited rice bran oil, resveratrol, pantethine, l-carnitine, and niacin as showing promise.
With all of this, Levin said, it’s important for retailers to remember that “they are not allowed to discuss diseases and remedies unless there is an approved FDA health claim allowed on the label, as with soy protein and plant sterols. What is allowed are structure-function claims such as ‘cholesterol support,’ ‘promoting normal, healthy circulation,’ ‘homocysteine regulators,’ etc.”
Supplementation is only one tool for managing cholesterol levels, manufacturers pointed out. “Besides nutrition, lifestyle is a key to controlling cholesterol,” Levin said. “Eating a variety of antioxidant-rich foods will prevent the liver from churning out cholesterol as a ‘cheap’ antioxidant. The body uses oxidized cholesterol to patch leaky and damaged blood vessels, so the ability to build healthy collagen is a must, using nutrients like vitamin C, Pycnogenol, rutin, hyaluronic acid, and MSM.
“Don’t forget exercise and stress reduction,” he added. “Stress results in high cortisol levels—usually accompanied by poor blood lipid levels—and a lack of good sleep to produce unhealthy people.” VR
Vitamin Retailer Magazine, Inc., 431 Cranbury Road, East Brunswick, NJ 08816 //www.oprmagazine.com/
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