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What Cellular Mitochondria Does in the Body
April 28, 2022 04:19 PM
If you want to stay healthy, it's important that you know what cellular mitochondria does in the body. Mitochondria are organelles found in the cytoplasm of cells. They are responsible for producing energy for the cell. Without them, the cell would not be able to function properly. We will discuss the role of mitochondria in the body, and how they impact our health.
What are mitochondria and what do they do in the body
Mitochondria are organelles that play an important role in the energy metabolism of cells. Most of the oxygen we breathe is used by mitochondria to convert glucose from the food we eat into ATP, the energy molecule used by our cells. Therefore, mitochondria are often referred to as the "powerhouses" of the cell. In addition to producing ATP, mitochondria also have other important functions, such as regulating cell growth and death, as well as calcium homeostasis. Mitochondria are unique in that they have their own DNA separate from the DNA in the cell nucleus. This mitochondrial DNA is passed down from mother to child, which is why defects in mitochondrial function can lead to diseases that are inherited in a maternal lineage. Although most of our cells contain only a single nucleus, they may contain hundreds or even thousands of mitochondria. This allows them to produce enough ATP to meet the energy needs of the cell.
How mitochondrial dysfunction can lead to health problems
Mitochondria are integral to many essential physiological processes in the body. Not only do they produce energy for cells, but they also play a key role in maintaining cellular structures and initiating cell division. Therefore, any disruption of normal mitochondrial function can have far-reaching consequences for overall health and well-being. Maladaptive responses to environmental stressors, such as chemical exposure or radiation, are among the most common causes of mitochondrial dysfunction. These stressors result in damage to mitochondrial DNA and can cause problems with cell division and abnormal growth patterns, which can lead to a range of disorders and chronic diseases. For example, mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked to conditions like Alzheimer's disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Therefore, it is important to understand the role that mitochondria play in maintaining healthy functioning bodies and take proactive steps to prevent or reverse damage from maladaptive responses to environmental stressors.
Mitochondria and Longevity
Mitochondria are specialized organelles found within our cells that perform many critical functions, including generating energy to support cellular processes and maintaining healthy cell function. These organelles are the site of many important chemical reactions, often referred to as oxidative phosphorylation or metabolism. Studies have shown that Proper functioning of these organelles is essential for healthy aging, and may be a key factor in determining how long we live. By promoting mitochondria health and making lifestyle changes that help to promote healthy mitochondria, we can take an important step towards optimizing our longevity potential. This includes eating a nutrient-rich diet with a focus on foods high in antioxidants, managing stress levels through regular exercise and relaxation techniques, and avoiding environmental toxins that can damage mitochondria health. Through such strategies, we can give ourselves the best chance at living a long, full life.
Ways to protect your mitochondria and keep them healthy with PQQ
PQQ, or pyrroloquinoline quinone, is an important molecule for the functioning of mitochondria in the human body. This compound plays a crucial role in adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis, the fundamental energy currency of biological systems. By driving cellular processes that release energy for metabolic use, PQQ plays a key role in maintaining mitochondrial health and efficiency. Additionally, PQQ has been shown to exhibit powerful antioxidant properties, which help to mitigate the effects of oxidative stress on mitochondria and other critical cells in the body. Overall, PQQ is an essential component of healthy mitochondrial function and a crucial nutrient for energy production and overall metabolic health.
D-ribose, the Mitochondria, and Energy
D-ribose is a naturally occurring sugar that plays an important role in cellular metabolism and energy production. This nutrient is especially important for cells that rely on a lot of energy, such as those found in the heart and muscles. D-ribose helps these cells to generate adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, which is the main energy currency used by cells to drive chemical reactions. Additionally, research has suggested that d-ribose can help to improve physical endurance and reduce the pain and stiffness associated with exercise, making it an important part of a healthy, active lifestyle.
Also, D-ribose is a simple sugar that plays an important role in the structure and function of mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell. In addition to supplying energy to the cells, mitochondria also help to regulate cell growth and death. D-ribose is essential for the proper function of mitochondria, and it plays a key role in energy production. Studies have shown that D-ribose can help to improve mitochondrial function and reduce fatigue. In addition, D-ribose supplements have been shown to improve exercise performance and increase energy levels. These effects are likely due to the ability of D-ribose to help the body produce more ATP, the energy currency of the cell. For these reasons, D-ribose is an important nutrient for maintaining healthy mitochondria and supporting cellular energy production.
Another important nutrient for the mitochondria is CoQ10
The process of producing energy is called oxidative phosphorylation, and it involves the transfer of electrons from nutrients to oxygen. This reaction creates a proton gradient across the mitochondrial membrane, which is used to generate ATP, the energy currency of the cell. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an important component of this process. It acts as an electron carrier, shuttling electrons between enzymes in the respiratory chain. It also helps to maintain the proton gradient, allowing the mitochondria to continue generating ATP. Without CoQ10, oxidative phosphorylation would grind to a halt, and cells would quickly run out of energy. Consequently, CoQ10 plays a vital role in energy production and cellular metabolism.
The bottom line is that both D-ribose and CoQ10 are important nutrients the body needs to maintain optimal energy levels. If you’re feeling run down, low on energy, or just generally not your best, consider taking a supplement containing these two nutrients. You may be surprised at how much better you feel once you start including them in your diet. What’s stopping you from giving them a try?
Gut bacteria may hold key to treating autoimmune disease
December 29, 2016 07:59 AM
Inflammation and autoimmunity are caused by inappropriate activity of the body's own regulatory T immune cells. A mutation in a gene called Foxp3 causes a fatal disease, IPEX syndrome, where these cells run amok. But new research shows an unexpected link to the gut: Foxp3 mutant mice end up missing a particular type of bacteria from their intestines. By replacing the missing bacterial species in the gut microbiome, many of the T cell-mediated inflammatory symptoms could be improved.
"The study, published online in The Journal of Experimental Medicine, suggests that replacing the missing gut bacteria."
It's not all in the genes: Clean living can cut heart risks
December 02, 2016 10:59 AM
Moderate physical activity lowers your chances of getting a heart attack by 30% to 50%. If you stick to a healthy diet you could lower your odds of getting heart disease by 25%. Fill your plate with different kinds of fruits, veggies, whole grains, fish, and lean meats. Stay away from processed or prepared foods that often are high in salt and filled with preservatives.
"The study was discussed Sunday at an American Heart Association conference in New Orleans and published online in the New England Journal of Medicine."
Inherited taste perceptions may explain why some people eat too much salt
November 30, 2016 10:59 AM
We all inherit genes of our family line, some of them are not ideal, but we deal with it. Many people have associated taste buds as being inherited, at least the this research studies believes so. We all have a different pallet some us like salt a bit more than others. But what if it was proved that you have inherited your taste perceptions, leading you to add more salt than recommended to your food, which would cause other medical complications.
"Genetic differences might help explain why some people like to use a lot of salt on their food."
What Is Fibromyagia Sydrome ?
The scientific reseacher has not come up with the exact cause of Fibromyagia. Fibromyagia is believed to be related to unusual levels of certain chemicals in the brain which interferes with the way brain, spinal cord and nerves (central nervous system) processes ache messages carried around the entire body and poor diets.
Magnesium can help relax and sooth the nervous system. It is important to eat well balanced meals and consider trying fibromyalgia supplements formulated to ease the symptoms.
Ribose is a type of sugar which is produced in the body and is of medicinal value. This organic compound is very essential in our day-to-day lives because it boosts our energy levels. Apart from energy boost, ribose is also used to relieve manifestations of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, and coronary artery disease. It also prevents other symptoms like pain following a workout in individuals with a genetic condition known as myoadenylate deaminase deficiency (MAD). This vital body chemical can help boost exercise ability in individuals with another inherited disorder known as McArdle's disease.
How Does D-ribose Work to Boost Energy in the Body?
The manner in which d-ribose works to deliver results is very simple and elaborate. It promotes the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the primary source of energy for the body's cells. Healthy, active cells constantly top up their supply of ATP to get adequate cellular energy. Through increasing levels of adenosine triphosphate, the supplement can help speed up energy recovery, increase energy reserves and
As you can see, your body needs to keep its production of (ATP) at its highest possible level for maximum energy production as well as physical performance. But sometimes the supply of actual ATP molecules may be reduced due to a number of factors including physical activity and health condition. This is where D-ribose, a natural ingredient for boosting ATP levels comes in.
Food allergies and pancreatin
May 21, 2013 10:59 AM
Food allergy is a condition where the body's immune system reacts to some substances in the food that you have eaten resulting in an allergic reaction. It is important to note that children are more prone to food allergy when compared to adults. Some of the common foods that may cause allergy are peanut, milk, eggs, fish, tree nuts and so on. Food allergies may be exhibited in different ways for example atopic allergic reactions occur to people who have inherited the allergic traits. Others will be highly sensitive to certain foods for example people who are oversensitive to peanuts. There is also the celiac disease which results in allergy to proteins found in grain such as wheat.
How exactly does food cause allergic reactions?
The particles in your food that will cause allergy are referred to as allergens. Allergens are protein in nature and they are resistant to heat during cooking, stomach acid during digestion and also digestive enzymes. When these enzymes find their way to the blood stream, they will reach their target organs where they will result in allergic reactions. It is important to note that an allergic reaction is a hypersensitive reaction and therefore for this reaction to occur, the body must have been exposed to that particular food substance before. The first time the allergen is introduced in the body, the lymphocytes are stimulated to produce antibodies against that particular antibody. The next time that allergen finds its way into the blood stream, the mast cells will be stimulated to release different chemicals such as histamine which results in different symptoms of food allergy.
Digestive enzymes may play a very crucial role in alleviating symptoms of food allergies. The enzymes will break down fats, proteins and starch thereby aiding in digestion. Pancreatin which has a number of digestive enzymes will alleviate allergic symptoms such as gastroenteritis, indigestion, stomach discomfort and so on. Sometimes with age, the production of pancreatin in the body might reduce and in such circumstances, one can take specially made pancreatin tablets which serve the same purpose.
Pancreatin is a word that is used to describe a mixture of digestive enzymes produced by exocrine cells in the pancreas. The enzymes contained in pancreatin include amylase, protease, trypsin and lipase. Sometimes, pancreatin will be referred to as pancreatic acid. Apart from treating food allergies, pancreatin will also help to reduce symptoms for weight loss, cancer, autoimmune disease, celiac disease and food allergies.
Each of the enzymes in pancreatin plays a very important role in the digestion process. Trypsin works by hydrolyzing proteins to form oligopeptites, amylase will work to hydrolyze starch to form disaccharides and oligosaccharides, and lipase will hydrolyze triglycerides into glycerol and fatty acids.
Food allergy is a common thing among very many people in the world. Sometimes, many people will find it hard to determine the exact food which they are allergic to. The easiest way to find out the exact type of food that you are allergic to is through trial and error method. Other times diagnosing the food intolerance may be complicated especially in cases where one not allergic to the food itself but the ingredients used in its preparation.
If you are experiencing food allergies, consider trying pancreatic enzymes like pancreatin for a month with every meal and feel the difference.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Nattokinase?
May 12, 2012 07:41 AM
Did you know that nattokinase was first found in traditional Japanese cuisine? And that it has been proven to be very helpful in fighting heart related complications among other health problems? Well, heart attacks and heart related complications are ranked among the top killer diseases in the country today. Around 700,000 people are believed to die as a result of strokes annually. Concern has been increasing over the ever falling heath condition of the population. Some of the major causes of heart related complications are:
Taking foods that have a very high content of fat and bad cholesterol
Taking food with high levels of salt
Inherited heart related complications
Among the three, the first two are the most common causes. But it is possible that the source of the problem is also the solution. Most health professionals are nowadays recommending the inclusion of nattokinase in the daily diet to combat heart disease.
So what exactly is nattokinase?
This is a very powerful enzyme that is extracted from fermented soy bean food products. It is believed to have the benefit of reducing clotting of blood in the vessels. It also promotes the creation of healthy fibrin. It is also known to provide relief for joint inflammation. If you consume huge amounts of food that is high in cholesterol, it forms a substance called plaque in your arteries. This is what causes clots, leading to heart attacks. Nattokinase works by breaking down the plaque and also dissolving any clots. Thus, it actively prevents heart attacks.
The health benefits associated with nattokinase
It is believed to actively improve the digestive system.
This is because it breaks down unwanted proteins in the gut, leaving your digestive system very healthy. It also breaks down unwanted toxins in the blood. Such toxins include cellular debris found in the blood. When the blood is cleansed, absorption and metabolism improve, and the result is a healthy person.
It helps normalize blood pressure.
High blood pressure is often caused by clogged arteries and veins. It can also be as a result of high levels of toxins in the blood. As said earlier, this enzyme breaks down the plaque that clogs arteries. As a result, blood flows more freely in the vessels and the pressure goes down. It also cleanses any toxins in the blood, normalizing the blood pressure. It has been proven to lower systolic blood pressure by up to 10.9%.
It aids the increased production of plasmin.
This is the body's natural mechanism of fighting clots. Studies have shown that nattokinase is four times more active in preventing clots than plasmin. Animals with clots are observed to heal four times faster when injected with the enzyme than when given plasmin.
It helps in the prevention of varicose veins, muscle spasms and pains.
Varicose veins are caused by weak or damaged valves in the blood vessels. Valves get destroyed when too much pressure is applied on them. This enzyme works by removing clots and thus lowering blood pressure. As a result, valves are not overworked to the point of getting destroyed.
If you are interested in staying healthy, then it is wise to have this enzyme in your diet. Nattokinase will help you fight heart related complications. As a result, you will enjoy a longer healthier life.
February 19, 2009 05:14 PM
Hay fever, which is an allergy to proteins in the pollen of trees, grasses, some plants, or mold, affects the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes, and air passages. Symptoms of hay fever include itchy, red eyes; watery discharge from the nose and eyes; sneezing; fatigue; and nervous irritability. Many of the symptoms of hay fever can be confused with those symptoms of the common cold. However, allergies cause a distinctive clear, thin nasal discharge, whereas secretions that come from colds are usually thick and yellow-greenish as the illness progresses. Colds are also associated with mild fever and are usually gone within a week. On the other hand, allergy sufferers often feel wiped out for many weeks.
At least 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal sneezes, runny nose, and itchy eyes that come with hay fever. There happen to be three seasons of hay fever which are distinguished by the different pollen present at these different times of the year. Tree pollen appears first, usually between February and May, depending on the climate. When trees, weeds, grass pollens, and people are out at the same time, the biggest problems arise. This usually occurs later in spring and in summer. The fall is the season for ragweed pollen. Depending on which pollen or pollens an individual is allergic to, hay fever may be present at any or all of these times.
In more detail, the following is a summary of the types of plants according to the times of year they are most likely to cause problems. Alder, hazelnut, and elm trees cause the most problems in February through May, while birch, maple, and oak trees are problematic in March through June. Beech and spruce trees bring about issues in April through June, while horse chestnut trees are responsible for causing problems in April through August. In April through September, Asters, pine trees, plantain, sorrel, stinging nettle, and various grasses are responsible for bringing about allergies. Buttercups are problematic in May through July and Goosefoot is an issue in June through September. In July through September, mugwort seems to pose a problem.
Those people who suffer from hay fever also often suffer from other atopic disorders like asthma and dermatitis. Those people who suffer from hay fever symptoms throughout the year are said to have perennial rhinitis, which can be caused by animal hair, dust, feathers, fungus spores, molds, and/or some other environmental agent. It should be noted that a susceptibility to hay fever tends to be an inherited condition. Those people who are most prone to allergies are often aware of the time of year and conditions under which they are most sensitive. A RAST test can easily be done and provide reliable results for a definitive diagnosis.
The following nutrients are beneficial for hay fever: bromelain, coenzyme Q10, Quercetin, raw thymus, vitamin A, vitamin B complex, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, proteolytic enzymes, zinc, calcium, magnesium, garlic, kelp, manganese, Pycnogenol, SOD, and vitamin E. Additionally, the following herbs have been noted to be helpful: alfalfa, chlorophyll, vitamin K, eucalyptus oil, eyebright, lady’s mantle, goldenseal extract, horehound, mullein leaf, stinging nettle, wild cherry bark, turmeric, nettle leaf, and noni juice.
In conclusion, discovering your allergic substance is the first step to recovery. When you can narrow down what is the cause then you can combat the problem with vitamins, herbs, and dietary changes. Your local or internet health food store has a large selection of herbal and homeopathic remedies for hay fever symptoms.
August 03, 2008 07:49 AM
Feverfew is often used in the treatment of migraines and fever, but it has also long been used as an anti-inflammatory agent. It is thought to be similar to aspirin in the way it reduces inflammation. Aspirin works by blocking the production of prostaglandins, which cause inflammation in the body, among many other functions. Similar to aspiring and other anti-inflammatory drugs, feverfew works to inhibit the production of prostaglandins, which reduces inflammatory reactions that occur in the body. Not only may feverfew help with inflammation in cases of pain, but it also helps in cases of arthritis.
One of the oldest diseases known to man, arthritis involves one or more of the movable joints in the body. Arthritis is a general name for a variety of diseases that are characterized by joint pain and inflammation. Striking both the young and old, it is an extremely debilitating condition with symptoms ranging from mild aching to severe pain and deformity. Inflammation can often be found along with the pain, as well as morning stiffness, swelling, and tenderness being common in most cases. Arthritis has been shown to either appear suddenly, or come on slowly over an extended period of time. Diet has been found to be a primary factor in most cases, although some types of arthritis may be inherited or the result of a viral infection.
Conventional treatment of arthritis has involved the use of NSAIDs to help with inflammation and pain, but they do nothing to heal the problem. They may also inhibit the body’s own natural immune function as they temporarily eliminate symptoms. Some evidence has even shown that the use of anti-inflammatory medication for a long time may lead to further joint damage and serious side effects such as gastrointestinal, kidney, and liver problems. Because of this, many people are finding relief with natural healing. Although there are a variety of types of arthritis, the three most common forms are osteoarthritis, in which the joints wear out because of injury or normal wear and tear; rheumatoid arthritis, which is a condition that results from the immune system attacking the body tissue; and gout, which is painful inflammation that results because of excess uric acid in the blood. Rheumatoid arthritis has been found to benefit the most from the use of feverfew. Feverfew may be useful due to its ability to inhibit the formation of inflammation-promoting compounds, with properties similar to NSAIDs but with less potential complications and side effects.
Along with the treatment of arthritis, feverfew has many other possible uses. Included in these uses are: fever, high blood pressure, insect repellent, psoriasis and eczema, menstrual cramps, allergies, digestion, as a sedative to relax and induce sleep, and for its antimicrobial properties to inhibit the growth of staphylococcus aureus and other bacteria.
Because the parthenolide content of feverfew plants vary dramatically depending on the soil and location of cultivation, it is necessary to buy commercial products from reputable companies who have high quality control measures in place. The best preparations are ones using as little heat as possible, since parthenolide is highly unstable when in contact with high heat, such as freeze-drying. Freeze-dried capsules are extremely easy to use and can easily be found in many health food stores.
Active Coenzyme Q10
July 07, 2007 01:30 PM
The benefits of Coenzyme Q10 have become increasingly well-known. This important nutrient has been shown in clinical trials to improve heart function, reduce the side effects of certain drugs used to treat cancer, and slow the progression of serious brain diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. Now research has opened a new chapter in the CoQ10 story, highlighting the benefits of ubiquinol, the active form of CoQ10, to increase energy and stamina, and reduce some of he physical signs of aging.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor we will review the benefits of Coenzyme Q10, and discuss the differences between CoQ10 and its active form –ubiquinol.
Q. What is CoQ10?
A. CoQ10 is a natural, fat-soluble nutrient present in virtually all cells. CoQ10 also is known as ubiquinone. That’s because CoQ10 is ubiquitious and exists everywhere there is life. CoQ10 is vital to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. ATP is the energy-rich compound used for all processes requiring energy in the body. Although CoQ10 is produced by the body and exists in some limited dietary sources, these levels may be insufficient to meet the body’s requirements. CoQ10 levels diminish with age and as a result of dietary inadequacies and various disease states. Also, some drugs, especially a group of cholesterol lowering prescription drugs known as “statins,” (Pravachol, Zocor, Lipitor, etc.) significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body.
Q. What is ubiquinol? Is it the same or different from CoQ10?
A. Ubiquinol and CoQ10 are very closely related. Ubiquinone, or CoQ10, is the oxidized form of the molecule. This means it has to be converted to a non-oxidized form before it can perform its work. Ubiquinol is the active form of this nutrient. Our bodies convert CoQ10 to ubiquinol – which is the form needed to produce cellular energy. Until recently, it was not possible to use ubiquinol as a supplement because it is very unstable outside the human body. But research has now found a way to keep this molecule stable so it can be successfully taken in supplement form.
Q. If CoQ10 gets converted to ubiquinol anyway, can’t I just take CoQ10?
A. While it is true that our bodies can convert CoQ10 to ubiquinol, it isn’t true that we all do this equally well. In fact, as we age, our ability to convert CoQ10 to ubiquinol declines. And some people even have a gene that makes them less effective at this conversion than the majority of the population. IN fact, several common health issues have been associated with less than optimal ratios of CoQ10 to QH. For healthy people the ideal ratio is approximately 97% Ubiquinol to 3% CoQ10. But in people with diabetes, for example, the ratios have been found to range from 43% ubiquinol to 47% CoQ10 in mild diabetes, to only 24% ubiquinol to 76% CoQ10 in severe diabetes. These numbers are for men; the numbers for women vary by 2 to 5 percentage points.
So for older folks, the 30-50% of people who have the gene that impairs CoQ10 conversion, or for people who have serious health concerns, supplementing with ubiquinol instead of CoQ10 might be the smart choice.
Q. What are the health benefits of CoQ10 and Ubiquinol?
A. There have been many studies showing that CoQ10 is beneficial in treating and preventing heart disease and conditions such as high blood pressure atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), angina, and congestive heart failure (CHF). It’s been shown that heart attacks tend to occur when CoQ10 levels are low in the body. Exciting new research has found that CoQ10 in a unique delivery system supplementation may slow the progression of symptoms associated with neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, ALS, Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition, CoQ10 is beneficial for diabetes, immune dysfunction, cancer, periodontal disease, prostate cancer, and neurological disease. While the research on ubiquinol is still very new, it is reasonable to expect that its benefits will be equal to or perhaps even better than CoQ10, because it is the more active form.
Q. Why is CoQ10 especially important for preventing and treating heart disease, and for neurological diseases like Parkinson’s disease?
A. The heart and brain are some of the most metabolically active tissues in the body. Both require large amounts of uninterrupted energy, which means these tissues also need increased amounts of ubiquinol. Research has shown that many people with heart of brain diseases have serum CoQ10 levels that are lower than those of healthy people. Correcting such deficiencies often can produce significant results. However, these diseases become more common as we age – right at the time our ability to convert CoQ10 to its active form, ubiquinol, declines.
Q. How might ubiquinol be important for the heart?
A. Heart Health: A study on patients admitted to the hospital with an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) found that CoQ10 can provide rapid protective effects in patients with a heart attack if administered within three days of the onset of symptoms. Seventy-three patients received CoQ10 (120 mg/d). The study’s control group consisted of 71 similarly matched patients with acute AMI. After treatment, angina pectoris (severe chest pain signifying interrupted blood flow to the heart), total arrhythmias (dangerously irregular heartbeats), and poor function in the left ventricle (the essential chamber of the heart) were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared to the placebo group. Total deaths due to sudden cardiac failure and nonfatal heart attacks also were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared with the placebo group.
In another study, CoQ10 was studied in 109 patients with high blood pressure (hypertension). The patients were given varying doses of supplemental CoQ10 with the goal of attaining a certain blood level (greater than 2.0 mcg/l). Most patients were on medications to treat hypertension. Half the patients were able to stop taking some or all of their prescription drugs at an average of 4.4 months after starting CoQ10. The 9.4% of patients who had echocardiograms, performed both before and during treatment, experienced a highly significant improvement in heart wall thickness and function. This improvement was directly attributed to CoQ10 supplementation.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a debilitating disease that affects 5 million people in the
And Neurological Health?: A study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health showed that supplementing with CoQ10 in a unique delivery system was associated with a slowing of the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Participants were divided into 4 groups and their physical skills (coordination, walking, etc) and mental skills were evaluated. Each group then received 300 mg, 600 mg, or 1200 mg of a special form of chewable CoQ10, or a placebo. The researchers evaluated the participants after 1, 4,8, 12, and 16 months of treatment. Each participant was again scored on motor, mental, and activities of daily living skills.
The results of the study showed that the people who took the highest dosage of CoQ10-1200 mg-experienced the least decline in their physical abilities. The results were so encouraging that the researchers will be continuing with new studies, suing higher dosages to see if the results can get even better.
Huntington’s disease (HD) is a devastating and degenerative inherited disease that is always fatal. In fact, no other medication, drug, or nutritional supplement has ever been shown to cause a decline in the progression of this terrible disease. A study compared CoQ10 against remacemide (an investigational HD drug made by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals), in 347 HD patients who were in the early stages of the disease. Remacemide blocks glutamate, the neurotransmitter scientists think may cause the death of brain cells that occurs in Huntington’s disease. While remacemide had no effect on the progression of HD, CoQ10 showed a trend toward slowing the disease by an average of 15%. This meant the HD group taking CoQ10 was able to handle every day activities of life a little longer than the patients taking remacemide or a placebo. They also were able to focus their attention better, were less depressed, and less irritable.
The 15% slowing of decline can result in about one more year of independence of HD patients. Needless to say, the gift of an additional year of health in the lives of HD patients is incredibly significant.
Because of these impressive results, researchers are hopeful that supplemental CoQ10 will have beneficial effects for people with other neurological diseases such as ALS and Alzheimer’s disease, too. Studies are under way to confirm these effects.
Using the active form of CoQ10 helps to assure that, regardless of age or illness, the CoQ10 can have the greatest impact.
Q. What have been the results of research studies with Ubiquinol?
A. One of the most interesting effects of Ubiquinol that has been reported so far is its ability to slow the physical signs of aging. In laboratory studies, administration of stable ubiquinol to mice forestalled the changes associated with aging – rounded spine, patchy fur and irritated eyes. While the mice who received ubiquinol did not necessarily live longer than the mice that didn’t, they lived better. But it is important to note that these mice were bred to die at a young age. Human studies are needed to determined true impact on longevity.
Additionally, supplemental, stable ubiquinol has been shown to increase physical energy and stamina. In an animal study, the length of time rats were able to run on a treadmill before getting tired was measured. The same rats were then given ubiquinol and the treadmill test was repeated. The length of time the rats were able to run before tiring increased 150 times.
Q. How can one supplement have applications for neurological diseases, heart health, and even the immune system?
A. Supplements often have more than one function, especially when it’s a substance like CoQ10, which is present in all parts of the body. All nucleated cells (most cells other than red blood cells) have mitochondria and all cells require energy to function. CoQ10 is vital to ATP production. Thus, CoQ10 has applications not only in neurological (neurons or nervous system cells) and cardiac health (myocardium or heart tissue), but also for the immune system.
Q. Should I take CoQ10 or ubiquinol? How much should I take?
A. While everyone can benefit from CoQ10 or ubiquinol supplementation, it appears that ubiquinol should be the first choice for older adults, people with known genetic inefficiencies in converting CoQ10 to ubiquinol, and for people with serious heart disease or neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, who are otherwise supplementing with high levels of CoQ10. For people in overall good health, a high quality CoQ10 supplement with proven absorption is a good choice.
Take 200 to 300 mg of CoQ10 or 100 mg ubiquinol daily, depending on your health history. The safety of both forms has been tested, and no significant side effects reported. Occasional mild stomach upset may occur. Taking your CoQ10 or ubiquinol with meals usually alleviates this rare effect.
Degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)
August 24, 2006 03:55 PM
Degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) damages or destroys cartilage and its supportive collagen structure. As many as 40 million Americans, including the majority of people over age fifty, are thought to suffer from some form of this disease. Primary osteoarthritis, the “wear and tear” form, is due to normal use and age-related causes. Secondary osteoarthritis results from repeated joint trauma, inherited predisposition, or previous inflammatory conditions. While non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) treat symptoms only, a natural, holistic approach strives to improve the environment of the cartilage and joint as a whole by providing protective and restorative nourishment, increased circulation, decreased inflammation and reduced free radical damage.
High levels of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate
Widely regarded as the first defense in protecting joints, glucosamine and Chondroitin sulfate have been shown to effectively control joint pain and slow down or reverse the progression of cartilage deterioration. The integrity of joint gliding surfaces as well as the health of tendons, ligaments, joint fluids, skin, bones, heart valves and virtually all structural elements in the body is dependent upon the proper synthesis and availability of proteoglycans, integral components of joint cartilage.
Glucosamine provides two components critical to the synthesis of proteoglycans: hyaluronic acid and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs).
Chondroitin sulfate represents an important group of GAGs. It is not a single compound, but rather a class of compounds with different molecular weights that each have specialized functions within the body.
Numerous studies have shown that long-term safety, reduction in pain and protection of cartilage with body chondroitin and glucosamine are comparable or superior to results obtained with NSAIDs.
MSM. (Methylsulfonylmethane) MSM is a rich source of sulfur, a mineral required for GAG synthesis. A preliminary study suggests that MSM may help reduce pain in persons with degenerative arthritis.
Gota Kola. (Centella asiatica) known to support collagen synthesis and stimulate GAG’s, Gota Kola has been used for many years in Europe to promote wound healing and blood vessel integrity. It also has been shown to improve circulation in small vessels.
Turmeric. (Curcuma longa) this saffron-colored root offers a wide range of benefits. It naturally inhibits the inflammatory COX-2 enzyme, reduces pain and is a potent antioxidant that protects the liver and other cells. High antioxidant diets may inhibit joint deterioration.
Bromelain. Derived from pineapple cores, Bromelain is most commonly used for healing soft tissue injuries and inflammation. It contains potent selective proteases (protein-digesting enzymes) and other substances which serve to block destruction of GAGs.
Trace Minerals. Micronutrients play many distinct roles in support of healthy joint connective tissue and joint cartilage matrix.
Black Pepper Extract. Bioperine is a highly concentrated extract (95% - 98% piperine) of black pepper. Used as a bioavailability enhancer, it has been shown to increase the absorption of vitamins, minerals and herbs.
Zeaxanthin with Lutein - The clearly-seen benefits of advanced eye protection
August 03, 2005 06:27 PM
Zeaxanthin with Lutein
The clearly-seen benefits of advanced eye protection
In the U.S. and other developed nations, the worst enemy of eyesight is not disease, it is the natural aging process. But even if the advance of years is unstoppable, new research shows that eyesight can be protected as we age. Two little-known carotenoids have been found to protect eyesight and combat the effects of aging upon the retina. Zeaxanthin and lutein, naturally found in many fruits and vegetables, form a natural filter on the retina, protecting the delicate photoreceptor cells from the damaging effects of blue-wave light and the UV radiation of sunlight. The two nutrients have also been found to be a natural antioxidant, further protecting the retina from the oxidation that arises from normal body functions as well as exposure to cigarette smoke, air pollutants, radiation, and environmental toxins.
Source Naturals unites the benefits of both of these nutrients in ZEAXANTHIN WITH LUTEIN, offering one of the most advanced approaches to eye protection available.
Key to Healthy Vision
A Harvard-led study found that eating lutein-rich foods five days per week meant subjects were eight times more likely to have healthy macular pigment density than those who consumed the same foods just once a month. Another study at the University of Florida found that diets rich in lutein and zeaxanthin could substantially (82%) protect the macula. A number of companies offer either lutein or zeaxanthin, Source Naturals combines the benefits of both, just as both are used in the eye.
Part of Your Wellness Program
Bone, RA, et al. (2003). Journal of Nutrition. 133:992-998. Gail, C, et al. (2003).Investigative Opthalmology & Vis. Sci. 44:2461-246. Krinsky N, et al (2003). Annual Review of Nutrition. 23:171-201.
Source Naturals Strategies for Wellness sm
The above information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Nothing to Sneeze At
June 18, 2005 08:41 AM
Nothing to Sneeze At by Carole Poole Energy Times, August 14, 2004
To many, nothing is more annoying than a persistent allergy. Runny nose, itchy eyes, hives, sneezing, coughing...Frequently, allergies seem to represent suffering with no end.
When you are sensitive to something in your environment, often your only hope for relief appears to be to flee to an elsewhere that eludes the problematic, trouble-making allergen.
Complementary measures are available that can lower your risk of allergic reactions. Heading off allergic reactions before they strike can help you enter a comfort zone that leaves nothing to sneeze at.
Limit Your Antibiotics
While people have always suffered allergies, today, many experts agree, allergies are on the rise. One possible explanation: antibiotics. For instance, research at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit demonstrates that kids who get antibiotics within six months of being born run an increased risk of being allergic to dust mites, ragweed, grass and animals. At the same time, if two or more cats or dogs live with them, they reduce their chances of allergies (Eur Respir Soc ann conf, 2003).
" I'm not suggesting children shouldn't receive antibiotics. But I believe we need to be more prudent in prescribing them for children at such an early age," Christine Cole Johnson, PhD, says. "In the past, many of them were prescribed unnecessarily, especially for viral infections like colds and the flu when they would have no effect anyway."
Dr. Cole's investigators found that by age 7, kids who got one or more rounds of antibiotics were:
When antibiotics are necessary, they are crucial to quelling bacterial infections. However, if you or your children suffer colds or flus, diseases caused by viruses, antibiotics have no effect on your illness but could increase your chance of developing allergies.
" Over the past four decades there has been an explosive increase in allergy and asthma in westernized countries, which correlates with widespread use of antibiotics and alterations in gastrointestinal (GI) microflora," says Mairi Noverr, a researcher on a study linking allergies to antibiotic use (104th Gen Meet Amer Soc Microbiol, 2004). "We propose that the link between antibiotic use and dysregulated pulmonary immunity is through antibiotic-induced long-term alterations in the bacterial and fungal GI microflora." While a lot of research needs to be done, it may help to fortify the probiotic, or good, microbes in your intestines with probiotic supplements. One study has shown that giving probiotics to pregnant women helped their children avoid allergic eczema, a skin condition (Lancet 2001; 357:1076-9).
Green Tea Relief
Research has demonstrated that various types of tea can produce a range of health benefits. Tea drinkers can add allergy relief to that list.
Research in Japan demonstrates that for the allergy-oppressed, green tea may help them have nothing to sneeze at. In laboratory tests, scientist found that green tea contains a substance that blocks one of the immune cell receptors which is often a part of the allergic response. The substance, methylated epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), is believed to have a similar effect in the real world (J Agr Food Chem 10/9/02).
" Green tea appears to be a promising source for effective anti-allergenic agents," notes Hirofumi Tachibana, PhD, the study's chief investigator and an associate professor at Kyushu University in Fukuoka. "If you have allergies, you should consider drinking it." Traditionally, many people have consumed tea as part of their effort to suppress sneezes, coughs and itchy eyes caused by allergies. This experiment supports the evidence that green tea, in particular, has a reliable effect.
According to Dr. Tachibana, green tea's anti-allergenic benefits have not been completely established, but tea apparently has the potential to be effective against allergens like dust, chemicals, pet dander and pollen.
EGCG has also been shown to be a very active antioxidant, helping to quell the destructive effects of the caustic molecules known as free radicals. Green tea is richer in EGCG than black tea or oolong tea (a type that falls between black and green).
Although other research has demonstrated that EGCG offsets allergic responses in lab animals fed this substance, scientists don't completely understand why it works for allergies. Researchers theorize that EGCG restricts the production of histamine and immunoglobulin E (IgE), two substances secreted in the body as part of the chain of chemical reactions that lead to an allergic reaction, says Dr. Tachibana.
This study shows, for the first time, that a methylated form of EGCG can block the IgE receptor, which is a key receptor involved in an allergic response. The effect was demonstrated using human basophils, which are blood cells that release histamine. As of now, nobody knows how much green tea you need to guzzle to have the best protection against allergies and, of the several varieties available, nobody knows which green tea is best.
Outside of the US, green tea is the second most popular beverage in the world, right behind water. In the US, however, black tea is more popular than green. But the allergy sensitive should think and drink green.
Stay Away from Diesels
Those who are allergic to ragweed or pet dander usually know they should avoid the source of their allergies. But now scientists have found that, for many allergy sufferers, diesel exhaust can also worsen sneezes and wheezes.
Scientists at two southern California schools have shown that about half of us have inherited a sensitivity to diesel pollution that can make our allergies significantly worse (Lancet 1/10/04). "[T]his study suggests a direct way that pollution could be triggering allergies and asthma in a large number of susceptible individuals...," says Frank D. Gilliland, MD, PhD, the study's lead author. Diesel exhaust particles are thought to act as destructive free radicals in the lungs, forming caustic molecules that damage lung tissue. This irritation can cause your immune system to create larger amounts of compounds that make you sneeze and wheeze more.
The Antioxidant Advantage
Antioxidants, scientists believe, can help defuse this damage and ease the body's allergic responses. The California scientists looked at two antioxidant enzymes the body makes to protect the lungs called glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1) and glutathione S-transferase P1 (GSTP1). Only about five of ten people's immune systems can make all the effective forms of these enzymes. The rest of us lack this protection to some degree, and the immune system in about one in five people can't make any effective form of these enzymes.
The research team found that people allergic to ragweed who lacked these antioxidant enzymes suffered more when they took in both ragweed pollen and particles from diesel pollution.
Breathe Easier With C
This research may help explain why many health practitioners recommend vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, to allergy sufferers. Vitamin C "prevents the secretion of histamine by the white blood cells, increases the detoxification of histamine and lowers the blood-histamine levels," says Sylvia Goldfarb, PhD, author of Allergy Relief (Avery/Penguin).
Scientists continue to study the allergy conundrum. Meanwhile, sip a cup of green tea and shut the window before the next truck comes by.
Energy Cycles - Stress and lack of energy don't just frazzle your nerves
June 12, 2005 02:09 PM
Energy Cycles by Sylvia Whitefeather Energy Times, August 2, 2003
Feeling stressed out and exhausted from an overburdened schedule? Regenerating your personal energy necessitates defusing stress. Stress and lack of energy don't just frazzle your nerves; they can leave you depressed, anxious and vulnerable to a long list of health problems.
According to J. Douglas Bremner, MD, a psychiatrist at Emory University, Atlanta, when your brain overcharges on prolonged stress, your body pays a heavy, tiring price.
"If stress has effects on the brain and neurological function, then stress has effects on all parts of the body, including the heart, blood vessels, immune system and digestive system," says Dr. Bremner, author of Does Stress Damage the Brain? (Norton). "The long list of damaging effects can include heart disease, memory impairment, depression and even increased susceptibility to stroke and cancer."
A Good Night's Sleep
Although getting a good night's sleep is a basic part of lowering stress and boosting energy, many of us seem to be tossing and turning through an epidemic of insomnia. The fact that so many people appear to suffer from disturbed and unsatisfying sleep may signal not only a personal energy lack, but also a deeper health crisis developing on the horizon. Lack of sleep, along with stress, not only contributes to those lackluster afternoons of the blahs, but it can also derail your basic body rhythms, weaken your immune system and make you age quicker.
Researchers at the University of Chicago report that lack of sleep may deplete your get-up-and-go by upsetting basic metabolic functions and interfering with hormones. Pretty serious stuff: When people in this experiment cut back their sleep time to about four hours each night, their bodies behaved as if they were twenty years older and they started showing signs of developing diabetes. These effects happened in only a week of missing sleep (The Lancet, October 23, 1999).
The drastically reduced sleep schedule slowed the thyroid gland, reducing the production and action of thyroid hormones. As a result, metabolism slowed and the non-sleepers developed that awful sluggish feeling too many of us know and hate.
Stress from lack of sleep also coaxed the adrenal glands into releasing extra amounts of cortisol, a stress hormone whose purpose is to force the body into providing short-lived energy boosts. But after a while the body flames out, its ability to cope with daily demands drained even further.
"We found that the metabolic and endocrine changes resulting from a significant sleep debt mimic many of the hallmarks of aging," says Eve Van Couter, PhD, professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and director of the study. "We suspect that chronic sleep loss may not only hasten the onset but could also increase the severity of age-related ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and memory loss."
And when are you are constantly short-changed of sleep, it builds up an accumulative effect. Particularly susceptible are busy parents, shift workers, menopausal women and college students.
One way to take back your energy from this metabolic madness is to get twelve hours of sleep a night for a week. But aside from hitting the snooze button a few hundred times, a possible antidote to this cortisol nightmare may be vitamin C.
Fight and Flight
The human body, which evolved before the advent of split-level houses and SUVs, was built to survive life-threatening, physical danger. When it encounters modern-day stress, such as traffic jams and credit card bills, it releases extra cortisol, heightening the body's immediate ability to run or fight. As a result of cortisol release, senses go on high alert, heart rate speeds up, blood flow to muscles increases, and the immune system mobilizes to deal with what it thinks is an imminent crisis.
However, unlike physical danger that rapidly resolves (either you get away from what's trying to harm you or it does you in), today's stress drags on and on (at least till the next exit on the expressway), and the cortisol in the body continues to circulate.
The long-range result of persistent cortisol is a drop in energy, rampant fatigue and lowered immunity. You feel constantly tired and you get sick more often. You may also gain weight.
But researchers at the University of Alabama at Huntsville have found that large doses of vitamin C "reduce...the levels of stress hormones in the blood and also reduce...other typical indicators of physical and emotional stress, such as loss in body weight, enlargement of the adrenal glands, and reduction in the size of the thymus gland and the spleen," according to P. Samuel Campbell, PhD (American Chemical Society, 1999). Dr. Campbell believes that our prehistoric ancestors probably consumed large amounts of vitamin C in a tropical diet rich in fruits. "If so, the physiological constitution we have inherited may require doses far larger than the present RDA (the amount the government recommends) to keep us healthy under varying environmental conditions, including stress."
Iron Out the Fatigue
If you are a premenopausal woman, a lack of iron may also be draining your body of energy. According to experts, as many as one of every five women who menstruate may suffer anemia caused by a lack of iron. This type of problem is also frequent in teenagers and during pregnancy. (But before you take iron supplements, talk to your health practitioner to make sure this is the source of your fatigue.)
"Women with heavy menstrual flow have the greatest risk (of anemia)," points out Susan Lark, MD, in Healing with Vitamins (Rodale). Dr. Lark recommends eating more iron-rich foods (like organic red meat) even if you are not anemic, since a mild iron deficiency can drag you down into the doldrums.
Vegetarians necessarily eat fewer iron-rich foods than do meat eaters. But if you take a vitamin C supplement when you consume such iron-rich vegetables as lima beans, pinto beans and spinach, your body can absorb more of the iron in these foods.
The Krebs Cycle: Keep the Wheel Turning
All of your cells make the energy that keeps you going. This process, a complicated chemical reaction called the Krebs cycle, transforms fatty acids and carbohydrates into ATP (adenosine triphosphate) for cellular energy. Mitochondria, small structures in each cell, are the centers of this energy production.
Energy production requires oxygen. The more oxygen available to the cells, the more energy is produced. Deep breathing and moderate exercise are simple, quick ways to oxygenate the body and boost energy. That is why walking, jogging and other physical activity wakes up your brain and restores pep.
If you've been looking for ways to feel more energetic, take a deep breath and go for a long walk before you sit down to your rejuvenating lima beans and vitamin C. And another thing...take a pass on those late-night TV shows. Sleep is more important.
May 09, 2005 06:10 PM
It's in the BloodNatural alternatives abound for managing cholesterol levels, backed by a growing body of research ©VR By Paul Bubny
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) last July lowered the threshold for considering the use of statin drugs—a move which some say was motivated more by profits than scientific evidence. For example, the Center for Science in the Public Interest pointed out that eight of the nine authors behind the new recommendations had financial ties to statin manufacturers, which stand to reap billions of dollars more from a category that grossed $14 billion in the U.S. last year. And though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January decided against authorizing over-the-counter (OTC) sales of statin drugs, drug companies would still like to see this happen.
“The medical establishment’s pushing of these drugs to becoming the number one category of prescribed drugs in the world has led them to keep lowering the total cholesterol number that triggers the drug recommendation,” said Neil E. Levin, C.C.N., D.A.N.L.A., nutrition educator, product formulator, and “Truth Advocate” for NOW Foods (Bloomingdale, IL), which produces a number of supplements for addressing cholesterol. “This is despite the lack of evidence that total cholesterol means much as regards cardiovascular risks.
“Other tests are much more important in terms of predicting risks, including CRP (C-reactive protein), the balance of different cholesterol fractions, and homocysteine,” he continued. “Add adult-onset diabetes to the risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD).”
At the same time, the allegation that enormous sales potential lay behind the lower threshold for prescribing statin drugs illustrates how widespread the problem of hypercholesterolemia (elevated total cholesterol) is. More than 100 million Americans have elevated cholesterol (total cholesterol values of 200 mg/dl and higher), and of these, more than a third have high cholesterol (levels of 240 mg/dl and higher), according to the American Heart Association. Those numbers have unfavorable implications for the incidence of CVD, as high cholesterol is considered a risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke.
While statin drugs haven’t garnered the same degree of negative publicity that COX-2 inhibitors have suffered lately, safety concerns have arisen nonetheless. For one thing, these drugs lower the liver’s production of coenzyme Q10 (coQ10) along with its production of cholesterol. “CoQ10 is related to energy production and immune functions, is an antioxidant, and [is] an important cardiovascular nutrient,” Levin said. “It is not good to lower one’s coQ10 levels by half!”
Moreover, said Levin, statins increase the tendency of muscle tissues to break down. “Combined with inactivity or certain drugs, this can stimulate muscle wasting,” he said. “Muscle is where a good deal of calories are burned, so a loss of muscle could affect mobility and energy production, potentially adding to obesity problems. These muscle changes occurred in patients and persisted for years after treatment was discontinued, as shown by muscle biopsies, even if no obvious muscle problems were observed by the patients.”
And the last word on the subject may not have been spoken. Predicted Dr. Frank King, Jr. president of King Bio Natural Medicine (Asheville, NC), “Once the appropriate studies are finished, these drugs, along with hypertensives, will hit the fan bigger than the COX-2 inhibitors.”
Also looking toward the future, Levin said that of the 20 million Americans who will be “targeted” for statin drug prescriptions under the new NCEP guidelines, “Some of these will want to try natural methods first. Others will rebel at the side effects of the drugs and experiment with alternative products.”
King and Levin both saw opportunity for natural products in the fallout from drug safety concerns, with King projecting that sales of his company’s cholesterol-related homeopathic remedies will double in 2005. “The reports of deaths from drugs will always overshadow the trumped-up studies and news reports blasting dietary supplements,” said Levin. “Vioxx knocked vitamin E off the media’s radar screens pretty rapidly, though we still see ignorant reporters citing that [Johns Hopkins] vitamin E analysis as if it were true. But the comparable safety of supplements means that open-minded people will want to at least try natural therapies before signing in to a lifetime of drug therapies. Meanwhile, the studies on natural products will continue to build our credibility.”
Those studies keep coming in, with at least four major findings published in the past few months, plus a heart-health claim on walnuts authorized by FDA. They join a raft of earlier findings that link natural products—branded and otherwise—to healthy cholesterol levels.
"Blur of Products"
With so many natural alternatives to cholesterol drugs available, it can be hard to keep track. “As with any other category, the blur of products as they cascade over several shelves means that the retailer needs to have a good sense of what works and what they want to recommend to their customers,” Levin said. “Really, each person needs a protocol that would include antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, herbs, and oils. The pre-mixed cholesterol support formulas are a good starting place.”
To help retailers get a sense of “what works,” here is an alphabetical discussion of several nutrients that have demonstrated benefits in serum cholesterol levels. They include the following:
Barley may help lower cholesterol, according to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2004, vol.80, no.5: 1185-1193). Twenty-five adults with mild hypercholesterolemia consumed a controlled diet low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol for 19 weeks. They then added whole-grain products containing barley to their diets that contained low (0 g), medium (3 g), or high (6 g) amount of beta-glucan per day for five weeks. Total cholesterol was reduced by 4 percent 9 percent, and 10 percent, respectively. The diet with the highest amount of beta-glucan led to a decrease in LDL cholesterol of 17 percent.
Chromium. There’s evidence, Levin said, that chromium in doses of 500 mg a day may decrease levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the so-called “bad” cholesterol) and total cholesterol while raising levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good” cholesterol). At the annual meeting of the American College of Nutrition last October, a poster presentation on the safety of Benicia, CA-based InterHealth Nutraceuticals’ ChromeMate niacin-bound chromium won first prize; among other things, the presentation cited chromium’s role in maintaining healthy blood lipid levels.
Fatty Acids. The latest in a long line of studies demonstrating the benefits of fatty acids in heart health is a study published in The International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics in December 2004. It showed that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid, can restore normal blood vessel function in children with inherited high cholesterol. The study, which used Martek DHA produced from microalgae, concluded that restoration of normal blood vessel function has the “potential for preventing the progression of early coronary heart disease in high-risk children.”
“The evidence continues to accumulate on the cardiovascular benefits of DHA for people of all ages,” said Henry “Pete” Linsert, Jr., chairman and CEO of Martek Biosciences, an ingredient supplier based in Columbia, MD. “This study clearly indicates that DHA played an important role in healthy blood vessel function in the children in this study.”
On the Omega-Research.com Website maintained by fish oil manufacturer Nordic Naturals (Watsonville, CA) can be found summaries of several earlier studies linking omega-3 fatty acids to maintaining healthy blood lipid levels, as well as related benefits such as elasticity of the arteries. In a 2003 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that women receiving a mixture of 4 g eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA along with 2 g of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) had lower levels of LDL cholesterol after 28 days compared to those who received either the EPA/DHA supplements without DHA, EPA/DHA with a smaller dose of GLA, or GLA alone.
Flax is another source of omega-3s, and Arkopharma/Health From The Sun (Bedford, MA) offers FiProFLAX in a variety of forms. Marketing director Hugues P. Mas said the flax is “QAI [Quality Assurance International] certified organic and guaranteed GMO [genetically modified organism]-free.” On its Website, the company offers a cholesterol quiz geared to consumers, discussing the importance of omega-3s as well as other nutrients.
Garlic. Adding to an already considerable body of research demonstrating that garlic can lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides while increasing HDL cholesterol, researchers at UCLA in 2003 reported that Kyolic aged garlic extract reduced or inhibited plaque formation in the arteries of 19 cardiac patients taking statin drugs.
Lead researcher Matthew Budoff, Ph.D. commented at the time that the study “suggests that aged garlic extract may be a useful and beneficial dietary addition for the people who have high cardiovascular risk or who have undergone heart surgery.” Budoff has since presented several trade show seminars sponsored by Los Angeles-based Wakunaga of America, the makers of Kyolic.
Guggul. In use for centuries as a component of Ayurvedic medicine, guggul—a gummy resin tapped from the Commiphora mukul tree, which is native to India—has been studied since the early 1960s for its hypolidemic (blood-lipid lowering) properties. Sabinsa Corp. (Piscataway, NJ), an ingredient supplier which produces a standardized extract under the brand name Gugulipid, says the studies on guggul indicate that its hypolipidemic activity can be attributed to more than one mechanism of action.
Among the possible mechanisms are: inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis, enhancing the rate of excretion of cholesterol, promoting rapid degradation of cholesterol, thyroid stimulation, alteration of biogenic amines, and “high affinity binding and anion exchange.”
Homeopathy. “Homeopathy activates the body’s own control system to work properly,” said King. “This is the safest and most curative approach to take.
“Forcing the body into biochemical change even naturally doesn’t actually have the curative action of homeopathy,” King continued. “Homeopathy can even correct the genetic predispositions to disease we may have inherited from as deep as a thousand years into our family chain.” King Bio makes Artery/Cholesterol/BP, a homeopathic formula intended to help tone heart muscles and blood vessels.
Low glycemic index foods. In a study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that high glycemic load is negatively correlated to serum levels of HDL cholesterol. Assessing the relationship between blood levels of lipids and diet in a test population of 32 healthy males and females ages 11 to 25, the researchers found that glycemic load accounted for 21.1 percent of the variation in HDL cholesterol. They concluded that glycemic load appears to be an important independent predictor of HDL cholesterol in youth and noted that dietary restrictions without attention to glycemic load could unfavorably influence blood lipids.
Medicinal Mushrooms. Although its product SX-Fraction is intended primarily to address high blood sugar, Maitake Products, Inc. (MPI, Ridgefield Park, NJ) found in a clinical study that LDL cholesterol in diabetic patients declined modestly (from 142 mg/dl to 133 mg/dl) over a two-month period. Those taking SX-Fraction also lost about 7 lbs. in the same time period.
“The more impressive lowering of cholesterol, however, comes from the dietary fiber that is found in all medicinal mushrooms,” said Ellen Shnidman, manager of scientific affairs at MPI. She cited animal studies which documented the cholesterol-lowering properties of four different mushrooms: maitake, shiitake, agaricus, and enokitake.
For example, a study reported in the September 1996 issue of Alternative Therapies showed “a 44 percent reduction in total cholesterol in rats consuming maitake mushroom in their diet,” said Shnidman. “This cholesterol reduction is accompanied by weight loss, relative to rats eating a similar high-choelsterol diet without mushrooms. Apparently, cholesterol is excreted by the rats in sufficient quantity to aid in weight loss.”
Oat bran. A 2004 consumer study conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI, Harleysville, PA) for Nurture, Inc. (Devon, PA), which produces the ingredient OatVantage, found that 63 percent of consumers managing their cholesterol levels prefer oat-based ingredients.
Oat bran is the subject of a health claim authorized by FDA in 1999, and NMI research found that 69 percent of respondents preferred the FDA-permitted health claim, “Helps Lower Cholesterol,” over the model structure-function claim, “Helps Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels.” “This is significant for food, beverage, and dietary supplement manufacturers who want to increase sales by using a more consumer-desired claim on the product label,” said Griff Parker, Nurture CEO.
Plant sterols. Also the subject of an FDA-approved claim for heart health, plant sterols (structurally similar to cholesterol in humans) can block the absorption of cholesterol, according to a number of studies. In an “Ask the Doctor” publication (available online at www.atdonline.org), Decker Weiss, N.M.D. noted that sterols enter the same receptor sites that cholesterol enters on its way to the bloodstream. “The cholesterol, being blocked from absorption, remains in our intestines where it is eventually excreted,” Weiss wrote. General Mills has just introduced Yoplait Healthy Heart, a yogurt high in plant sterols.
Policosanol. A mixture of fatty alcohols derived from sugar cane or beeswax, policosanol has been favorably compared in clinical studies to several types of prescription drugs for managing cholesterol. On its own, policosanol was found in a 1999 study to reduce LDL cholesterol while raising levels of HDL cholesterol.
Probiotics. “Several studies have indicated that consumption of certain cultured dairy products resulted in reduction of serum cholesterol, as well as triglycerides,” wrote Dr. S.K. Dash, president of probiotic manufacturer UAS Laboratories (Eden Prairie, MN), in his Consumer Guide to Probiotics. Among other studies, Dash cited two controlled clinical studies from the VA Medical Center at the University of Kentucky.
“In the first study, fermented milk containing [Lactobacillus] acidophilus was accompanied by a 2.4 percent reduction of serum cholesterol concentration,” he wrote. “In the second study, a different L. acidophilus strain reduced serum cholesterol concentration by 3.2 percent. Since every 1 percent reduction in serum cholesterol concentration is associated with an estimated 2 to 3 percent reduction in risk for coronary heart disease [CHD], regular intake of fermented milk containing an appropriate strain of L. acidophilus has the potential of reducing risk for [CHD] by 6 to 10 percent.”
Dash said his company’s DDS Probiotics contain DDS-1 L. acidophilus, “which has been researched and demonstrated to show cholesterol-lowering effect.”
Psyllium. “Internal cleansing is very important” in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, “especially if you do it with a lot of fiber,” said Sunil Kohli, vice president of Chino, CA-based Health Plus, Inc. The cholesterol-managing ability of fiber in general and psyllium in particular is “very well-established,” he said.
However, Kohli said, “It will probably do you no good if it’s random. It should be done on a regular basis, and it should be supervised. Consulting the doctor or pharmacist is important.”
Soy. The protein in soy “has evidence of lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, based on reviews of studies using over 20 g of soy protein per day,” said Levin. “Soy isoflavones are considered only partly responsible for this effect.”
Sytrinol. A patented proprietary formula derived from natural citrus and palm fruit extracts and containing citrus polymethoxylated flavones and palm tocotrienols, Sytrinol has been shown in clinical trials to improve total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides by up to 30 percent, 27 percent, and 33 percent, respectively. Having just wrapped up Phase III of a long-term trial of Sytrinol, Chicago-based SourceOne Global Partners, which owns the exclusive worldwide license for intellectual property associated with the ingredient, is commencing a study that combines Sytrinol with plant sterols.
Tocotrienols. On its Website discussing the science and benefits of tocotrienols (www.tocotrienol.org), ingredient supplier Carotech Inc. (Edison, NJ) identifies several benefits for blood lipid levels. Tocotrienols, according to the Website, have been shown to “inhibit cholesterol production in the liver, thereby lowering total blood cholesterol;” “[suppress] hepatic HMG-CoA reductase activity [and result in] the lowering of LDL cholesterol levels;” and “inhibit cholesterogenesis by suppressing HMG-CoA reductase.”
With all of this, Levin said, it’s important for retailers to remember that “they are not allowed to discuss diseases and remedies unless there is an approved FDA health claim allowed on the label, as with soy protein and plant sterols. What is allowed are structure-function claims such as ‘cholesterol support,’ ‘promoting normal, healthy circulation,’ ‘homocysteine regulators,’ etc.”
Supplementation is only one tool for managing cholesterol levels, manufacturers pointed out. “Besides nutrition, lifestyle is a key to controlling cholesterol,” Levin said. “Eating a variety of antioxidant-rich foods will prevent the liver from churning out cholesterol as a ‘cheap’ antioxidant. The body uses oxidized cholesterol to patch leaky and damaged blood vessels, so the ability to build healthy collagen is a must, using nutrients like vitamin C, Pycnogenol, rutin, hyaluronic acid, and MSM.
“Don’t forget exercise and stress reduction,” he added. “Stress results in high cortisol levels—usually accompanied by poor blood lipid levels—and a lack of good sleep to produce unhealthy people.” VR
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