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Sweet dreams: Eating honey before you go to bed can help you sleepbetter
May 14, 2019 05:01 PM
It is noted that when one eats sweets before going to bed this could have a negative impact on his sleep. If one does not sleep well, the next day would be a dreadful one. But for those who want to indulge themselves at night with something sweet, there is a natural alternative they can go for which can also help them to sleep better at night. That alternative is honey. Honey is a potent superfood and effective for relaxation, and can serve as a sleep remedy. The use of honey is not new. For centuries, various cultures have used it for food and medicine. Honey is a good source of nutrition because it has lots of antioxidants and nutrients. It is also rich in natural compounds. Honey is recommended as a daily food and its does not have negative drawbacks no matter how often one takes it. Honey possesses many properties which include being an important alternative to sugar, for the treatment of insomnia, for the promotion of deep sleep, and for the relaxation of the body. Therefore, honey is recommended by health practitioners to be taken daily.
"Eating honey at night can kick-start a whole chain of events throughout your body. Raw honey naturally contains high levels of fructose and glucose. Glucose can immediately boost your energy levels, whereas fructose gets stored in your liver as glycogen to serve as an energy source while you sleep."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-18-eat-honey-to-help-you-sleep-better.html
Cooking with the "stinking rose": The 7 health benefits of garlic
May 07, 2019 04:22 PM
Garlic has a wide range of both culinary and health benefits. It can reduce multiple different risk factors for cardiac disease, including the speed of atherosclerotic plaque formation in the arteries, blood pressure, triglycerides and plasma viscosity. Cumulatively, garlic can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke by close to 50 percent. Garlic also has formidable antimicrobial properties against a wide range of pathogens, and may help control colds. It also helps remove lead from the body, too.
"Moreover, the aforementioned four-year German study revealed that consumption of garlic powder every day reduced the volume of arteriosclerotic plaque by as much as 18 percent."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-23-cooking-with-the-stinking-rose-health-benefits-of-garlic.html
Powerful antioxidant helps us burn fat, lose weight and avoid premature aging
April 27, 2019 11:30 AM
Milk thistle is known for being good for the liver, but researchers are finding more and more evidence that points to an antioxidant called glutathione being a key component as well. The powerful antioxidant called glutathione allows our bodies to kick up their natural fat burning abilities which helps trigger weight loss in an almost effortless manner. Studies have also shown that a deficiency in glutathione can cause weight gain through a reduction in mitochondrial fat burning.
"Glutathione is synthesized from the amino acids cysteine, glycine and glutamate. But, as we age, two of these “building blocks” – cysteine and glycine – decline, causing shortfalls in glutathione production."
Read more: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/antioxidant-lose-weight-2793.html
Is vitamin C the key to fighting pneumonia?
February 14, 2019 09:49 AM
As a whole, most individuals in society know that once those cold feels start kicking in, it is time to reach for your Vitamin C, juice, powder, pill, it doesn’t matter. This article, however, highlights the use of Vitamin C to fight pneumonia as well. It provides basic education on what the vitamin does and also lists a few fruits and vegetables the vitamin can be often found in. This general informational blurb will be just the thing you need to learn more about vitamin C and pneumonia.
"Pneumonia, an infection of the lungs caused by either a virus or bacteria, is the leading cause of death from infection in the U.S."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-10-is-vitamin-c-the-key-to-fighting-pneumonia.html
Five health benefits of eating beetroots
October 25, 2018 01:51 PM
The bottom line is that your diet is so important if you want to remain healthy. Many people do not realize how important diet is and what it can do for the physical nature of your body. You are in charge of putting the right fuel into your body and this can lead to some great health benefits. If you are looking to eat healthy, try some beetroots as they have been proven to be excellent for your health.
"Researchers found that people who drank 8 ounces of beetroot juice daily lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure."
Read more: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/evewoman/article/2001299375/five-health-benefits-of-eating-beetroots
Science confirms the anti-inflammatory effects of a compound found in dandelions
August 10, 2018 09:53 AM
Inflammation is a natural response that the body exhibits in order to heal the body from pathogens that are present within our system. Dandelion extract contains an important acid that has the ability to activate an important vascular event that triggered the decrease of the surrounding inflammation. The research was performed on animals experiencing high levels of inflammation, and the consumption of dandelion extract showed to directly induce the stimulation of this important vascular activity.
"Inflammation is the first and natural response of the human body to irritation or infection. It kick-starts the healing process and eliminates pathogens."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-06-28-science-confirms-the-anti-inflammatory-effects-of-a-compound-found-in-dandelions-commonly-thought-of-as-a-weed-in-modern-society-it-has-long-been-considered-essential-in-both-tcm-and-folk-medicine-a.html
CBD for Fibromyalgia and Opioid Withdrawal
November 12, 2017 07:59 AM
CBD is an alternative to the THC seen in marijuana plants, coming with all of the pain relief but with none of the psychoactive properties. It has been shown that this can help with opioid withdrawal. The author is a 70+ woman who used it daily as a tincture in olive oil to combat her dependence on opioids. It allowed her to kick that habit and develop healthier habits through the use of CBD and her pain management techniques.
"I hope the efficacy of CBD in aiding opiate withdrawal becomes more commonly known. It’s truly incredible."
Read more: https://www.projectcbd.org/science/patient-experience-surveys/cbd-fibromyalgia-and-opioid-withdrawal
Annatto: Is This Natural Food Dye Safe?
October 06, 2017 10:14 AM
Annato is something that has been used for a very long time. It has a very distinct peppery taste. It gives dishes the extra kick they need to be something very worthwhile. Food coloring has gotten a very bad reputation over the years because of the effects it can create, but Annato does not have any added chemicals in it. It is safe to add to food and just gives it a better look and taste.
"A case study published in the Annals of Allergy reported on a patient who suffered from symptoms like hives, swelling and low blood pressure just 20 minutes after eating a type of cereal that contained annatto dye."
Read more: https://draxe.com/annatto/
Health Benefits Of Mushrooms and Soaked Almonds
August 25, 2017 05:14 AM
Mushrooms and soaked almonds have a lot of different health benefits. Mushrooms are packed with many different nutrients. Mushrooms in particular are very good for your bladder and they produce vitamin D when they are hit by sunlight. They increase your vitamin D. There are good antioxidants found in this food as well. It helps to boost your immune system. They help your body in many different ways. They help the body metabolize fats as well.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-Faeg_VJPc&rel=0
"Almonds can do a world of good when it comes to your health."
9 Things You Should Be Eating If You Want to Lose Weight
August 18, 2017 12:14 PM
While different dieting fads forever come and go, there are certain staples of healthy eating that will always be relevant to a successful weight loss journey. For example, while it may sound counterintuitive at first, fats are an important part of a balanced diet—so long as they are healthy fats like the kind found in avocados. In place of carbohydrates, there are many creative substitutes available like zucchini noodles and spaghetti squash. Foods with few ingredients are also reliable safe bets for healthy eating.
"Low-cal condiments like salsa, hot sauce, and mustard are an easy way to add a kick to many dishes."
Read more: http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/nutrition/g3141/what-to-eat-to-lose-weight/
Immunity Bomb – Homemade Remedy For Viruses And Colds!!
May 28, 2017 05:14 AM
Immunity Bomb is a drink to help get you through that time of year when colds and other viruses run rampant through our immune systems. A simple concoction you can make at home, Immunity Bomb contains ingredients such as lemon, honey, ginger, and chili powder among others, giving it a powerful Kick that will Kick that cold right out of you. Immunity Bomb is just what you need to keep your body feeling good and going strong all year round.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPJ5uV4g6BQ&rel=0
"If you want to strengthen your body in a natural and healthy way and cure colds and viruses, prepare this simple and delicious drink!"
High Dose Vitamin C Can Reduce a Cold’s Duration by 20 Percent
May 01, 2017 09:59 AM
When you have a cold, it can be hard to talk, walk, breath, or even crawl out of the bed. They say that a cold must simply run its course, and all that can be done is treat the symptoms. But, there is new evidence that begs to differ. With high doses of Vitamin C, you may be able to kick the cold where it hurts, and reduce the time that you are sick by an average of 20%!
"A huge amount of data has found significant effects for vitamin C in the prevention and alleviation of symptoms of infections, including the common cold."
Read more: http://www.healthnutnews.com/high-dose-vitamin-c-can-reduce-colds-duration-20-percent/
The 8 Healthiest Foods You Should Start Your Day With
April 30, 2017 08:44 AM
By now most people realize that it's important to eat breakfast but many of the foods marketed toward that end are pretty unhealthy. The cereals and pastries are full of sugar and carbs for example. This gives good examples of breakfast foods. There are eight to choose from. Any are good. These will help you to have a delicious, healthy breakfast so your day starts out right. You'll have more energy over all and will feel better.
"Eating a healthy breakfast is essential but it may not be best to start your day with a full meal. Your body, internal organs and various process need time to wake up and kick-start their function after long hours of rest."
Read more: http://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/the-8-healthiest-foods-you-should-start-your-day-with-1685229
Keep your gut healthy with this amazing "super spice"
April 03, 2017 11:44 AM
There is a new super spice in town, and when you use it, your gut will stop growling and may even say thank you. This super spice keep your digestive health at the top while also providing a nice kick to many of your favorite foods. This is a spice that you might already have in your cabinet, but if you do not, the time to make the purchase is here. Learn more about this spice and its benefits now!
"Various studies have linked turmeric to a plethora of health benefits, especially when it comes to the digestive system."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-03-28-keep-your-gut-healthy-with-this-amazing-super-spice.html
Study: Turmeric can Slash your Heart Attack Risk by 56%
March 16, 2017 02:44 PM
Tumeric is a colorful herb that is used in many dishes, particularly Asian foods. It adds awesome flavor to a dish, which hints at a kick of spice. What makes a dish better? New evidence suggests that consumption of tumeric has an array of health benefits for you to enjoy. One of the best is a reduction in your risk of heart attack. Studies show that you decrease heart attack risk considerably when you consume Tumeric. What are you waiting for?
"This incredible ability of curcumin has been particularly helpful for postmenopausal women who reach the age where heart problems can arise and become a health concern."
Read more: http://www.healthnutnews.com/study-turmeric-can-slash-heart-attack-risk-56/
Marijuana could help treat drug addiction, mental health, study suggests
February 19, 2017 10:59 AM
Marijuana may become legal in Canada as early as next year. With that in mind, researchers are trying to determine if the drug might have more implications than just for recreation. They have been reviewing all studies available on marijuana to see if there is a link between the use of cannabis and health. What they found is that the substance may be helpful in getting addicts off of alcohol and opioids. It may also reduce symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety. More research needs to be done, but the possibilities are promising.
"Research suggests that people may be using cannabis as an exit drug to reduce use of substances that are potentially more harmful, such as opioid pain medication"
Four foods you need to stop eating before bed if you're trying to lose weight
February 09, 2017 02:59 PM
There are 4 foods you need to stop eating before bed if your goal is to lose weight. Baked goods are among the worst possible things you could eat before going to bed. You should also avoid red wine because it will not be good before going to sleep. Salsa and dark chocolate are two others that you will want to avoid.
"If you like a bit of chip and dip before you hit the sack, salsa or any food with a spicy Kick can result in heartburn and a bad sleep."
Could Obesity Undermine Memory Training in Older Adults?
February 01, 2017 02:59 PM
According to a new study by Daniel Clark, obesity can alter your memory intake, especially in elderly people. They conducted a study of elderly people around 74 years old and watched them for 10 years, their results show that people with obesity have a lower memory function. The Kicker is they can not find a direct correlation between the weight gain and the brain function activity. Looks as if their next study will be about how to keep weight off while losing weight and the effects.
"Clark suggested that researchers need to focus on effective ways to prevent weight gain, as well as to lose weight."
I Tried To Quit Sugar, But Failed Without Realizing Why
January 07, 2017 02:59 PM
There's a right way and a wrong way to give up sugar in your diet. While giving up added sugars can have health benefits, doing so requires diligence. It's not enough to simply give up white sugar and corn syrup. Honey, maple syrup, and other sugars added to common foods such as ketchup can sabotage your plan to Kick your sugar addiction. And coming off sugar -- like quitting any addiction -- requires a period of adjustment that can sometimes be uncomfortable. But starting with a plan and knowing what to expect can help you be successful in licking your sugar habit.
"I told myself I would stop eating refined sugar, which I loosely defined as corn syrup and the grainy, white stuff we add to cookies and cakes."
Getting a Good Night's Sleep w/o Rx Drugs
December 15, 2016 06:59 AM
Want to get an amazing night’s sleep without aby sort of sleep drug? Well the key may be Kicking your sugar addiction. This is important to really sleep well and end your dependency on drugs and start sleeping like you are supposed to. It is possible to beat your addiction; it will just take some work.
"Sleep deprivation significantly affects our daily routine, and can signaficantly impair performance, health, even safety."
There’s no sugar-coating it: All calories are not created equal
November 20, 2016 07:09 AM
There is even more reason to start watching the calories that you consume. Did you know that not all calories are created the same? Sugar-laden calories are worse than others, according to new evidence. This article explains the important information that you should know about calories and how they differ.
"These results Kick-started the country’s decades-long consumption of added sugar. With fat removed, food lost taste and appeal, so manufacturers added sugar to combat this."
Kick Out Candida Naturally
November 13, 2016 05:09 PM
All of us have a good amount of yeast in our systems, but when there is an overgrowth of it in the body, it can cause lots of trouble for men and women and can even lead to serious medical conditions if left unchecked for too long. Use of concentrated plant oils like Thyme, Eucalyptus and Clove can really help get our yeast counts back under control.
"When you hear about a yeast infection, the first thought might be that it is a woman’s problem, usually causing vaginal itching and discomfort."
What Is the Malibu Miracle Weight Loss Program?
If you want to shed some pounds quickly and easily, then Malibu Miracle weight loss program is what you need. The exotic berry Malibu Miracle formula produces amazing noticeable results that will get you slimming sooner than you thought. Malibu Miracle contains a blend of highly effective and concentrated blend of succulent fruits including Gogi, Noni, Mangosteen, Pomegranate and Acai. With this, you can have a wholesome nutrition that will support your body cleansing as well as experience an exhilarated state of well-being. Malibu Miracle juice is delicious and is charged with metabolism-supporting botanicals which include L-Carnitine, Super Citimax, Green Tea, Red wine, prebiotic fructooligosaccharides and Grape seed extract.
How Does The Malibu Miracle Weight Loss Program Work?
The Malibu Miracle formula contains oxygen-enhanced revitalized water that has vitality-enhancing, rehydrating and energizing properties that work naturally. That way, you can experience superior hydration, cellular health as well as an improved body health. However, when managing your weight, don’t expect miracles to happen from nowhere. It will take your hard work, determination, healthy diet and exercise program for you to realize the desired results. Malibu Miracle only serves as a supplement for a comprehensive diet and exercise program. Malibu Miracle’s line has cutting-edge formulas that will produce lightning-fast results for better living. It is amazing how you can be on your way to an improved body size and shape in as little as 48 hours. The products contain exotic natural ingredients that are combined with the latest advancements in weight nutrition. In addition to that, the Malibu Miracle juice is incredibly sweet so you have every reason to buy one for your weight loss program.
Where Malibu Miracle 48-hour juice didn’t do better, the Exotic Oxyjuice introduced Ultra Malibu Miracle. The breakthrough juice fast program comes in 6,000 mg each of real antioxidant-rich red super fruit juices ranging from Mangosteen, Noni, Goji, Pomegranate and Acai. These combination of juices Kick-start the rapid weight loss in your body and also deliver nutrients which catalyze cascading full-body cleansing. On top of that, the Ultra Malibu Miracle contains Slendesta - a potato protein extract with ultimate appetite control properties- which helps you feel full and completely satisfied all day long.
All other competing juice fasting products can’t match Malibu Miracle and Ultra Malibu’s ability to deliver excellent results. These two products work great in suppressing appetite, providing anti-oxidant protection, supplying health-supporting nutrients and cutting weight within the shortest time. All that is contained in the lusciously delicious and mixed-berry juice concentrates.
Does Malibu Miracle Have Any Side Effects?
Malibu Miracle contains no artificial colors nor sweeteners. All the ingredients are naturally sourced and so you should expect minimal or no side effects while on your weight loss program. It is always advisable that during juice fasting diet, you abstain from food, alcohol, caffeine and smoking. Juice fasting is not recommended for pregnant women, lactating mothers or people with medical conditions or those that are on medication of any kind.
As with all diets, results might vary with each individual. It also depends on how much you exercise so you need to balance things out to get the desired results. However, it is important to remember that juice fasting for consecutive 48-hour periods is not recommended.
What Health Benefits Can Alfalfa Provide?
November 13, 2013 01:05 PM
Alfalfa plant commonly used in Asia and India, Alfalfa is an amazing plant that is packed with tons of essential vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin A, D, E and K. C. Millions of people consume alfalfa on a daily basis to take advantages of all the health benefits that it provides. Here are of the most prominent health benefits of alfalfa.
As you can see, the health benefits of alfalfa are plentiful. Incorporating this super plant into your diet is a great way to Kick your health into high gear.
Ginger And Its Use To Help In Stomach Upset
June 29, 2012 01:39 PM
Ginger is the root of an herbal plant that is usually consumed as medicine or used in food as a spice to help in digestion system in your stomach. The rhizomes are usually very juicy, fleshy and with mild taste when young. These can be pickled in vinegar as a snack or sometimes be cooked as an ingredient in a variety of food. It can also be added to boiling water to come up with ginger flavored tea. The same is also used to make candy. When it matures, it appears dry and its juice is extremely potent. It is still used as a spice in most foods. The uses are unlimited but in this article, we are going to discuss how it helps with stomach upset.
History of Ginger
Throughout history, ginger has been used for stomach upset in many places around the world. After a very heavy feast, ancient Romans would consume it to help soothe their full stomachs. Chinese and other ancient mariners used it to sustain seasickness. Indians used it as a universal medicine as they believed it treated everything.
Current Uses of the herb
Currently, research has shown that ginger truly does help ease an upset stomach. There are many ways through which it can be used to relieve an upset stomach. A good example is by taking it before meals. It enhances a good environment for digestion before the food gets to the stomach. This will ensure that digestion Kicks off immediately after the food is consumed and hence prevents stomach upset. People with motion sickness can take ginger to help suppress the symptoms.
How it works
Ginger has two component; gingerol and shogaol. These are the components that enhance the function of digestive juices like saliva, bile and other gastric secretions. When these juices are stimulated to work efficiently, they enhance digestion in an individual starting from as early as when the food is still in the mouth. This ensures that all digestion steps are undergone effectively without skipping. When whole and dry food get to the stomach, it becomes hard to digest as the stomach has no teeth to help break it down and lubricate it for swift movement. Ginger is also known to help the stomach muscles in effective movement of food. If the tract muscles do not give enough room for movement, indigestion may occur. That is what leads to nausea in an individual. The herb curbs the serotonin receptors to ensure there is no vomit message sent to the brain. Ginger also helps in the immediate emptying of the stomach contents to the small intestine.
Ginger works to help reduce stomach upset which can arise as a result of operation, overeating, sea and motion sickness. The effectiveness of this medicinal herb should not be undermined as it has helped many to get the desired relief from the uncomfortable feeling of stomach upset. Use it when you feel nauseas or even to help relieve you of gas from the stomach.
Free Radicals And Cancer, How Do I Combat Free Radicals?
October 12, 2011 01:09 PM
Free Radicals Overview
Free radicals, just the very sound of those words are so dreaded in so many consultation clinics around the country today, this substance has mainly been linked to cancer and its proliferation but what else is there to know about free radicals and cancer. This is what we will be looking at as we go along this article. These free radicals are organic molecules which are primarily the cause for aging, damaged tissues, and a variety of diseases. The main property that causes them to bind with other molecules in the body there by causing damage is because it is unstable. This is the non-stop process that these molecules will do, destroy cells, takes away its vigor and initiate this pro aging process. In a way it is the natural order of things, our world is filled with so many unstable molecules and just like us, there survival instincts Kick in and they have to keep stable. Outside the body, that’s all good, no harm for us, but when the same process occurs inside that’s where our own survival instincts come in and helps us think of ways to stop this process of degeneration. With this degeneration process of cells being damaged, it is not far fetch to see these free radicals as the cause of some disease most especially Cancer.
Cancer has been a close second as the top killing disease in America for the past few years now, 2011 is not over yet so there is no ranking out but my guess is, the top 2 will most likely be the same with number one still being heart disease. Cancer is basically characterized by out of control cell growth. There are many classifications of cancer and one thing remains constant, it is characterized or named based on what type of cells it began to damage to cause the eventual cancer. For many of us out there what we do not want to here are malignant tumors in the body and this can occur based on 2 things, when cancerous cells spreads around the body through the bloodstream which is often referred to as an invasion process and the second is when the cancerous cells divide and grow leaving tissues metastasized in a process called mestastasis. Tumors grow and uncontrollably which are lumps of masses that interfere with our normal bodily functions and causes systems to crash like our digestive and nervous systems just to name a few.
Antioxidants has been well known to be one of the best ways to fight cancer, present in many foods, these molecules does its handy work against cancer by going to the source. More research needs to be done in its healing effects but as an effective treatment it has been proven to be an integral part in minimizing further proliferation of damaged cells. Antioxidants have been shown to have an amazing characteristic against free radicals and that it plays an integral role in killing these cell damaging molecules in the body.
List of antioxidants:
This by far a complete list, but it will get you get started with an antioxidant program to help prevent disease caused by free radical damage.
Fight Hypoglycemia With Fiber
July 17, 2009 03:46 PM
Symptoms of hypoglycemia can be very subtle and difficult to recognize. Many people with hypoglycemia have become so used to their symptoms that often, they don’t even recognize their own abnormality. This is especially true when it comes to behavioral changes.
There is a whole variety of symptoms that can be caused when the body cells are deprived of sugar or when blood sugar drops too quickly. The most common symptom of hypoglycemia is fatigue. When referring to fatigue, the normal kind of fatigue that occurs after hard work or exercise is not what is being discussed. Hypoglycemic fatigue affects the muscles and nerves and usually can’t be relieved with rest or sleep. The brain is extremely dependent on glucose for its energy source. Once blood sugar levels have dropped, hormones Kick into action. The release of adrenaline can cause sweating, tremors, hunger, and weakness. It should also be kept in mind that if your blood sugar levels drop at a more gradual pace, the patient may not even recognize the symptoms as those of hypoglycemia. Those experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia may feel dizzy, confused, clouded, and emotionally unstable without any visible tremors. Symptoms such as anxiety or panic attacks can become a part of hypoglycemic mood swings.
Other mental symptoms of hypoglycemia include melancholy, irritability, hostility, confusion, and paranoia.
Along with the above, there are many other symptoms that can result from hypoglycemia. These symptoms include amnesia, anxiety, antisocial behavior, breathing difficulties, confusion, constant worry, crying jags, depression, digestive disorders, drowsiness, emotional instability, exhaustion, headaches, heart palpitations, impatience, inability to cope, insomnia, intense hunger, internal trembling, irritability, lack of concentration, nervousness, dizziness, seizures, severe sweating, fainting, tingling, and tremors.
Nocturnal hypoglycemia is when blood sugar levels are low at night time, causing insomnia. Eating a whole grain snack or small piece of cheese 30 minutes before going to bed can help to reduce occurrences of this scenario.
There are, unfortunately, hundreds of people that struggle with low-blood sugar symptoms and are unaware as to why. By simply switching for a diet that is high in refined carbohydrates to one that is comprised of protein and complex carbohydrates, one can bridge the gap between a dysfunctional life and a rich one. In order to determine whether you have hypoglycemia, you must first examine your eating habits. Simple facts like what and when you eat can directly affect how you feel. Anyone who has unexplained fatigue, depression, crying spells, anxiety, or apprehension should investigate low blood sugar levels as a potential culprit. You should also look into your family history, as hypoglycemia tends to run within families.
Those people who are chronically stressed and often find themselves on a roller coaster of blood sugar going up and down are especially prone to dips in energy at certain times of the day. These people have adrenals that are not functioning optimally, causing them to want sugar when they hit a real low point. Usually, in the mid-afternoon, adrenal glands are at their lowest level of functioning. If you do, in fact, suffer from hypoglycemia, you will feel good right after you eat and then your mood and physical status will deteriorate from two to six hours after eating.
Keeping your glucose levels stable is important to maintaining good health. Snacking on complex carbohydrate foods can help regulate the amount of sugar that is released into your blood system. Consuming large quantities of fiber can also slow down the absorption of sugar in the digestive tract and level out blood sugar.
Look for great advice and fiber supplements at your local or internet health food store. When purchasing products, always buy name brands to ensure quality and purity of the supplements you buy. Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Lycopene is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
October 11, 2008 10:26 AM
The non-essential amino acid glycine is needed to generate muscle tissue and also for the conversion of blood glucose into energy. It is referred to as being ‘non-essential’ because the body can manufacture its own glycine, and is therefore not an essential component of your diet. Other uses to which glycine is put by the body includes the maintenance of a healthy nervous system, and is necessary for the proper functioning of the digestive system.
Amino acids play three essential roles in the human body:
1. They are the building blocks of proteins: proteins comprise about half of the dry weight of the majority of your body cells, and without them there would be no life. They are produced using monomers known as amino acids, and there are about 20 different amino acids used to make the vast variety of proteins that make up the human body. Proteins are needed to form enzymes, the catalysts that permit the majority of chemical reactions within our bodies, and also genes, the building blocks of DNA.
2. More relevant here, amino acids play an important role in the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) from ADP (adenosine diphosphate) by phosphorylation with creatine phosphate. The more creatine phosphate available, the more ATP can be produced. Since ATP is the molecule responsible for the generation of energy, then the more ATP available the more energy is generated. Although creatine is available from many food sources, it is destroyed by cooking, and over half of what you use is made from the three amino acids, glycine, arginine and methionine. The energy produced in this way is very short-lived, and last only a few seconds - more on that later.
3. Glycine is heavily involved in the production of collagen, which is the substance that maintains the flexibility of your skin and other connective tissues while still maintaining their strength and firmness. Without glycine your skin would become slack due to the degrading effect of sunlight, free radicals and oxidation.
The non essential amino acid, glycine, is believed to offer other benefits to the human body, but it is the second of those above, the production of ATP, which interests us here. ATP is an extremely important nanomolecule, second in importance to the body only to DNA, and possibly also RNA since the two are linked. RNA makes copies of your DNA structure for use in cell division and growth.
When a cell expends energy for whatever reason, such as when I am typing this, or when your heart beats, or even when your liver synthesizes a protein, one of the phosphate groups is removed from the adenosine triphosphate molecule, and converts it to adenosine diphosphate (ADP). The ATP is then said to be 'spent', just as your energy is spent when you are tired and can exercise no more.
The ADP is then immediately reconverted to ATP in the mitochondria, a part of every cell in your body. A cell can contain hundreds, or even thousands, of mitochondria, the number depending upon that particular cell's need for energy. Hence, cells in your muscles, or in your liver where most of the body's chemistry takes place, contain thousands of mitochondria whereas those in your scalp contain a lot less. Once changed to ATP, a phosphate is again lost when energy is expended, and so the cycle continues.
Glucose is needed allow the ADP to be converted to ATP, hence the need for sugars, or the carbohydrates from which they are manufactured in your body. Each cell can contain up to a billion molecules of ATP, although the couch potatoes among you probably have a lot less! Your store of ATP molecules last about 2 to 5 seconds before being changed to ADP although more rapidly for athletes that expend a lot of energy. Then the energy stored in the form of glycogen in the liver Kicks in for another 4 - 6 seconds.
Additionally, you cannot expend more energy that the (eventual) sugars that you take in your diet, which can be in the form of ordinary 'sugar' (sucrose), fruit (fructose), glucose, carbohydrates that are metabolized into sugars, or any other member of the sugar family (e.g. lactose, maltose, etc.).
Glycine is one of what are called glucogenic amino acids, which refers to their ability to provide glucose to the blood. Because it helps to maintain proper blood glucose levels, it is often prescribed for conditions that are caused by low glucose levels, such as hypoglycemia that shows symptoms of fatigue and tiredness, and also anemia and what is known as CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome).
The one activity of the human body, in fact that of any mammal, for which ATP is essential, is the heartbeat. Without that no mammal could survive, or any other creature that relies on a circulation system for life. The only reason you heart has to beat is to pump your blood around your body, and it is your blood that contains the oxygen and nutrients needed to sustain life. Your cardiovascular health relies on lots of ATP being available to power each and every heartbeat.
Analysis of the heart during the final stages of heart failure has revealed that there is a general decrease in the myocardial arginine: glycine amidinotraferase (AGAT) gene expression, which is indicative of the necessity of this enzyme for proper heart function. The enzyme is responsible for the first stage in the biosynthesis of creatine from glycine.
Creatine is well known to athletes, and while it is available naturally from some food sources, it can be destroyed during cooking, and at least 50% of the creatine needed by the body is produced in the liver, pancreas and kidneys. It is creatine phosphate that is broken down into creatine and phosphate, the latter of which is used by the mitochondria to regenerate ATP from ADP.
The study carried out on the reduced AGAT levels found in heart failure patients indicates the importance of glycine to heart health. Without a good supply of glycine, there will insufficient creatine produced biochemically to generate the phosphate needed to for the ATP to produce the energy required to keep the heart pumping with the required strength. The energy provided by the mitochondria is used locally by the cells in which it is produced, and within a few seconds of that production. As explained earlier, ATP stores are used up within 2 - 5 seconds, and glycogen stores within another 4 - 6 seconds.
That is why sprinters cannot keep running at maximum speed for more than around 10 seconds or so, because the immediate availability of glycine, and hence creatine, are insufficient to last longer than that. That is one reason why they have to finish those 100 meters as fast as possible, because otherwise they would run out of energy. Other than trying to win, of course!
However, when it comes to the heart, ATP stores are essential, and the cells in your heart require a constant supply of ATP from creatine, which itself depends upon your intake or biosynthesis of glycine. Since dietary sources are insufficient to meet all your needs, and destroyed by cooking, a glycine supplement is the only way to ensure a sufficient intake. You cannot undernourish your heart and remain healthy.
ATP biosynthesis is essential if that of glycine theoretically is not, but the fact that 50% of your glycine requirement has to be produced by your body and the other 50% is sensitive to heat during cooking, a supplement of glycine could be essential to many people.
Cayenne for your aches and pains!
December 22, 2007 11:15 AM
Cayenne is the spicy pepper that is found in the same family as bell peppers and jalapenos. It is responsible for putting the Kick into a lot of different spicy dishes, but it also helps to promote better health. Cayenne creams have capsaicin, an active compound which has proven to ease the pain of arthritic joints, along with the discomfort from shingles, muscular aches and spasms, bursitis, diabetic neuropathy, and phantom pains that follow amputation. By rubbing capsaicin on the skin, one can get rid of the chemical messengers that usually send pain signals. Even though the source of pain will still be there, using capsaicin will cause relief from the pain. However, this effect won’t last, so you will need to keep applying the cream to continue to deplete messengers that send pain signals. To use capsaicin, start by applying it four times a day for the first four days, then cut back to twice daily. You can tell a cayenne cream is working because there is a definite tingle, sometimes even a sting when you first apply them. Be careful not to put too much of this potent stuff on irritated or broken skin and be sure to wash your hands after applying so that you do not get the cream into sensitive areas such as your eyes and mouth.
By consuming cayenne in foods or in a capsule, one can ease the pain of stomachache, cramps, gas, or indigestion. One can also benefit the cardiovascular system by lowering LDL cholesterol and can also protect the body from free radical damage. Even more promising research on cayenne has found that cayenne cranks up thermogenesis and also suppresses appetite, assisting in weight loss. This means that while your mouth is burning from the spicy food, you are also burning calories. This spicy herb has also shown promising results in its ability to protect the stomach lining from damaging effects of aspirin. If you know that you have an ulcer or gastritis, make sure to use cayenne cautiously as it could worsen those conditions.
If you are looking for a great way to cleanse your system, an effect detox drink can be made from cayenne. By simply squeezing the juice of one lemon into a pint of warm water and adding a pinch of cayenne and one tablespoon of maple syrup, an effective drink can be created. Drinking one or more cups daily will produce great effects. If you’ve decided to eat mostly raw fruits and veggies during your cleansing diet, you might find that the raw foods can be tough to digest. A lot of people have found that when their digestive fire is weak, the raw fruit and vegetables are not easily digested. By sprinkling a little cayenne on your foods, you can build up the inner digestive fire, making raw foods much more easily digested. To get all of these great and helpful benefits, you can find cayenne at any local health food store or pharmacy. Cayenne can enhance absorption of the vitamins and prescription drugs you are currently taking; always first, be sure to consult your health care practitioner to make sure that cayenne is right for you.
Elderberry Can Boost The Immune System In The Winter
December 03, 2007 09:44 PM
The immune system is frequently overworked when the days get shorter and the temperature starts to drop, and elderberry can boost the immune system in winter for those that find themselves susceptible to all the colds, flu and other viral infections that seem to come out of the woodwork at that time.
Elderberry is the fruit of the elder tree that is native to Asia, Europe and North America. They are found just about anywhere due to their tolerance for a wide range of climates and soil types, and are frequently found by river banks. There are a number of different types of elder, in both small tree and shrub form, and it is those with the black and blue berries that are useful medicinally, not those with red berries. It is not only the berries that are used, but also the elder flowers. Elderflower wine has long been a favorite country wine, and the berries are used to make jam, pies and also drunk as juice.
Elder has been used for countless years for treating viral diseases such as influenza and colds, and it has also been found by some to be effective for the treatment of cold sores (herpes simplex). Its effect on flu is thought to be that it prevents the virus from entering and infecting the body cells, but more on this later. Historically, it has been used to promote the excretion of waste products through urination and sweating, which might be another reason why it is effective against colds and flu and some general respiratory problems.
The juice contains anthocyanins in the form of anthocyanidin-3-glycosides that appear to be very bioavailable to the body. The anthocyanins are more easily absorbed than those of blackcurrant juice, and are very strong antioxidants. The antioxidant effect is reinforced by the presence of large quantities of vitamin C. This difference in bioavailability has been proved though the administration of both blackcurrant and elderberry juice to volunteers, and testing the presence of the anthocyanins in the urine. This is a measure of their bioavailability, or how easily they are absorbed by the body, and the greater this bioavailability, then the more effective is their antioxidant effect.
Separate studies have indicated that anthocyanins derived from berries in general, not just elderberry, can reduce oxidative stress due to age, and also to help brain function. An improvement in the memory of the elderly has been seen to have improved after a course of berry juices rich in these powerful antioxidants. Elderberry antioxidants also improve the stability of LDL cholesterol by protecting against free radical oxidation, and thus helping to reduce the incidence of atherosclerosis that is promoted by the deposition of the oxidized LDL cholesterol on artery walls. This in turn helps to reduce the possibility of cardiovascular disease.
However, it is its effect on the immune system for which elderberry is generally studied by the medical professions. Elderberry helps to boost the immune system predominantly through the production of cytokines. To explain how these work, a quick summary of how part of the immune system works will first be necessary.
When intrusion into the body by an antigen (foreign body) is detected, the initial response is the inflammatory response. Chemical messengers called cytokines are released into the blood to inform the other parts of the immune system that an invader has been spotted.
The immediate effect is to increase the flow of blood to the affected part of the body by dilation of the blood vessels. The spaces between the cells in the vessel walls increase to allow the larger components of the immune system, such as the phagocytes that consume and destroy bacteria. Proteins also congregate and the temperature at the site rises to promote the reactions that the body uses to eject the invaders. The tissue therefore swells due to all the extra fluid and gets hot. The area becomes painful due to the accumulation of material aggravating the nerves, and if there is an infection, pus will eventually be formed from the dead neutrophils used to kill the bacteria or virus.
There are many different types of cytokine, including those that initiate the inflammatory response and others that stop the immune response once the invader has been killed off. Other cytokines, such as the interferons, stop viruses from multiplying, and others take part in the response only to specific types of antigen. Each cytokine has a specific message to pass to the relevant components of the immune system in order that the immune response is appropriate to the invasion concerned and does not overreact. Hence, a grain of pollen in the nose will elicit a lesser response than a varicella antigen that leads to those horrible chickenpox pustules.
In general terms, cytokines give the immune system a Kick start once an antigen is spotted. The elderberry anthocyanins produce predominantly inflammatory cytokines, but also one anti-inflammatory cytokine, and so helping to boost the inflammatory response.
Some viruses use what are known as spike proteins that mimic the molecules of their host in order to gain access to cells by binding to the target cell receptors. However, these spikes are easily recognized by the immune system, and the elderberry anthocyanins are active in promoting this recognition. For that reason, viruses vigorously continue to change and mutate to overcome this, one manifestation of their success in achieving this being in the annual infections of influenza that have overcome last year’s antibodies by means of this mutation.
The influenza virus contains what are known as hemagglutinin spikes on its surface which, when deactivated, cannot break through your cell walls, enter the cell and replicate, thus leading to influenza. That is the mechanism by which the constituents of elderberries help to control influenza and reduce its effect on your body. If not deactivated, the spikes allow the virus to invade the cell and provoke the immune response that you know as the flu.
Many such winter ailments have a similar mechanism, which is why, apart from its general health benefits through its high antioxidant content, that elderberry can boost the immune system in winter.
Increase Absorption Of Your Discount Vitamins With Bioperine
November 02, 2007 04:54 PM
In order to understand how you increase absorption of your discount vitamins with Bioperine, it is necessary to understand the metabolic process of thermogenesis. First, however, let’s have a look at what Bioperine is and where it comes from.
Bioperine is obtained from the fruit of Piper nigrum L (black pepper) or Piper longum L (long pepper) of which it is a patented standardized extract. These peppers contain the alkaloid piperine, and the extract contains 95% piperine. The plants are grown in the ideal damp soil in regions of Southern India where the earth is rich in nutrients. The barriers are harvested just before ripening, and then dried in the hot sun before the extraction process is started. Piperine has many uses from flavoring to fly killer, but people have been using it for centuries to heal wounds though this is apparently unconnected with the use to which the extract is put.
It has recently been found to help increase the absorption of a number of discount vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin B, beta-carotene, and selenium, by increasing the thermogenic activity of the body. Thermogenesis is one of the metabolic processes of the body that takes place within our cells whereby glucose is converted to energy, but at an accelerated metabolic rate. It is the rise in the metabolic rate that is referred to as thermogenesis.
When you eat food, or take supplements, the metabolism increases above the normal rate, the amount of increase depending upon the type on nutrient taken. Fats will increase your metabolism at a lower rate than proteins will, for example, since more energy is needed to break down proteins than for fats. Another substance that stimulates thermogenesis is piperine. It does so by utilizing the biochemistry of the body so that the chemicals needed for thermogenesis are made available.
Piperine triggers the release of compounds known as catecholamines, hormones that in turn stimulate the thermogenetic process. However, this occurs over a short period of time, so the nutrients that are needed should be present in the gut as well since the window of absorption is very narrow. The substance also modifies the epithelial cell wall of the intestine to make it easier for the nutrients to be absorbed into the bloodstream, and it also gives amino acids a Kick to get moving to the cells in which they are required.
Bioperine, then, not only sets off the metabolic changes that demand vitamins and other nutrients and enzymes, but also improves the conditions in your intestines so that these nutrients can more easily get to where they are needed. Basically, what Bioperine does is to cause the intestinal wall to become more permeable to nutrients, so that vitamins and drugs are not degraded when passing through the intestinal wall to the bloodstream. This improves digestion and absorption of minerals and vitamins, in addition to protein supplements frequently used in weight loss diets.
Bioperine starts by generating a need for nutrition and then increase the bioavailability of the nutrients provided to meet that need. However, due to the short window of absorption that piperine generates, the vitamins and minerals you want absorbed should be co-administered with the Bioperine so that they are in place ready to be absorbed at exactly the right time.
There have been several studies carried on the efficiency with which piperine achieves this. The absorption of three different types of nutrients has been measured with and without Bioperine. These were beta-carotene, a fat soluble vitamin, vitamin B-6, a water soluble vitamin, and also a mineral, selenium which was provided as selenomethionine. The absorption of these by the digestive system was measured by detecting them before and after in the blood, and were found to increase considerably when taken along with Bioperine, but not so with the control group without it.
Measured increases were a 60% increase in beta-carotene, similar to that of vitamin B-6, and was 30% in selenium. The tests used a 5 mg dose of the Bioperine. Other studies have indicated an increase in the absorption of Coenzyme Q-10 of between 30% - 200%. This is the only piperine based product that has been patented for its effect in increasing the absorption of nutrients into the body, and also the only piperine based product to undergo such tests in the U.S. to substantiate its claims and prove its safety for use.
The black pepper itself is a common household spice, and has been used in India for its medicinal properties for centuries. It is mentioned in the practice of Ayurveda and its concentration on the function of the digestive tract in human health. Many of its formulas contain black pepper amongst their ingredients. The bioavailability of nutrients is a significant factor in the health of any specific population, and the exponents of Ayurveda overcame this problem, by chance or design, six millennia ago. It has been demonstrated time and time again that diet is not the factor of importance in nutrition, but how much of that diet is absorbed through the intestines.
This is yet another example of the medicines of our ancestors being shown to have a solid scientific basis, and perhaps we should pay more attention to those others that are disregarded by modern science. It could be that we have only scratched the surface of understanding human metabolism and biochemistry, and that there is much left to learn. Ancient wisdom should never be disregarded.
Bioperine is also available in many supplement mixtures so that it is taken at the same time as the relevant vitamins and minerals. The recommended dosage is from 1 mg – 5 mg from 2 – 3 times daily. It takes around 2 – 5 mg of Bioperine to provide sufficient enhancement of absorption of the nutrients that are taken with it. Keep in mind that the nutrients are best taken at the same time, and that taking the extract itself will simple increase the absorption of any nutrients that are in the intestine at that time. Bioperine can be purchased at your local or internet vitamin store.
Growing Older, Feeling Better
March 28, 2007 02:15 PM
Growing Older, Feeling Better
Not long ago, when a man turned sixty-five, he became officially old – the best years of his life far behind him. The milestone meant his working days were done and if he was lucky, he might get four or five years to spend as he wished before illness and infirmity set in. It was simply expected and accepted that the older a man got, the sicker he got.
Well, not anymore. Today, a man age 65 is just as likely to be found hiking in the hills, running in a marathon, or even dancing in the streets than rocking in that proverbial front porch rocker. Because it’s becoming more and more evident that the older a man gets, the healthier that man has been.
Eating healthy, exercising, and Kicking harmful habits (like smoking) can add years to a man’s life. Aging research is proving over and over again, that we can prevent and delay heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease – the major causes of disability and death in men over 50.
Now, it’s very true that good clean living from early on is preferable to sixty five years of bad habits and five years of good. But it’s also true that it’s never too late for men to make changes and vow to take better care of themselves. And one of the easiest and most effective ways men can improve their health is the addition of high quality nutritional supplements.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we’ll talk about specific dietary supplements that have been scientifically shown to improve the health of men over fifty, prevent the diseases that often strike at this crucial time in men’s lives, and actually slow the aging process.
Q. I just turned 50 and I’d like to begin taking nutritional supplements, but they seem so confusing. Where should I begin?
A. Many men feel the same way. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of nutritional supplements on health food store shelves. Figuring out which supplements provide the best health benefits for a 50+ man can be overwhelming.
The best foundation supplement is a high quality multivitamin. Research is repeatedly finding that even very healthy men who take daily multivitamins can significantly improve their health. In fact, an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recommends that all adult Americans take a vitamin supplement. Look for solid doses of vitamin supplement. Look for sol doses of vitamins and especially minerals. Multivitamins designed to be taken once a day are often woefully deficient in calcium, magnesium, and potassium. The only mineral a man should avoid is supplemental iron. Iron should only be in formulas for women prior to menopause. Men over 50 get all the iron they need from food and too much iron can cause health problems.
Look for men’s multivitamins that contain lycopene in the formula. Lycopene is the pigment that makes tomatoes red. The redder the tomato, the more lycopene is present. Numerous studies have shown that when men have high lycopene levels in their blood, they have a much lower risk of heart disease, age-related macular degeneration (a leading cause of vision loss) and prostate cancer.
Other important considerations are antioxidant blends, especially fruit- and tea-derived extracts; ginseng for energy and stamina; and digestive enzymes to aid in absorption and compensate for age-related decreased enzyme levels.
In fact, years of research has shown the foods a man chooses to eat (or not to eat) can have a profound impact on the health of his prostate gland. Because of this close nutritional link, prostate cancer may be the most preventable type of non-smoking related cancers.
Q. Aside from taking a quality multivitamin for general health, what nutritional supplements prevent and treat prostate cancer?
A. Six vital and all-natural nutrients can prevent prostate cancer from developing and even help fight the disease.
When men are exposed to excess levels of hormones, their risk of prostate cancer increases. A natural substance found in fruits and vegetables called calcium D-glucarate (or CDG), helps men’s built-in detoxification systems get rid of these harmful excess hormones.
This antioxidant has powerful effects on the prostate gland. In a recent study, researchers recruited 974 men to take part in a large clinical trial to determine if selenium could prevent cancer. The researchers found that selenium cut the rate of prostate cancer by 63%!
Green tea is the most widely consumed liquid in the world, after water. Men in
For many years, maitake mushrooms, or dancing mushrooms, have been linked to good health in those who eat them. That’s because maitakes contain an important compound called D-fraction. A recent study showed that maitake D-fraction destroyed 95% of human prostate cancer cells in lab experiments.
Promising preliminary reports demonstrate that lycopene can actually kill prostate cancer cells, so there has been an explosion of lycopene and prostate cancer research.
Q. What exactly happens to men’s hormones as they get older?
A. Just as women experience significant hormonal changes as they age, so do men. In fact, the term andropause has been used to describe men’s mid-life changes. Similar to menopause in women (where the decline of estrogen causes a myriad of symptoms), andropause in men signals the slow decline of testosterone, the chief sex hormone in men. While estrogen levels decline faster and more abruptly in women than testosterone levels do in men, testosterone decline can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms. These include abdominal weight gain, hair loss, reduced energy and sex drive, heart disease, and prostate enlargement. Whether a man labels these age-related changes as andropause or just the consequences of aging, most men will unfortunately experience some or all of them as their birthdays mount.
Q. So, is there a supplement that can give me the hormone level of a 20 year old?
A. Sadly, no, at least not yet! But there is a nutrient that can help the testosterone in a man over fifty “behave” more like a younger man’s testosterone.
A study that took place at the
The secret of DIM’s prostate cancer prevention is its ability to metabolize estrogen. While estrogen is generally thought of as a “female” hormone, a precise ratio of testosterone-to-estrogen is needed to maintain a man’s healthy sexual response, effective sexual function (erection of the penis and intercourse), strong bones and muscles, viable sperm, and a well-functioning prostate gland. As men enter their fifties, this ratio begins to change.
When men take DIM, however, their estrogen metabolism improves, testosterone metabolism accelerates, and the unwanted conversion of testosterone into estrogen is eliminated. This results in higher testosterone levels, similar to those seen in young men. As a result, DIM may speed weight loss, reduce prostate gland enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH), and help men over 50 feel stronger and leaner.
Some supplements on the market today contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a precursor to DIM. However, I3C is unstable and requires activation in the stomach to be converted into DIM. This means I3C must be taken at a much higher amount and can undergo unpredictable and undesirable chemical reactions in your stomach and colon. DIM is by far the preferred supplement.
Q. What is saw palmetto? Does it reduce symptoms of Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH)?
A. Yes it does and very effectively too. Saw palmetto is a small palm tree native to
The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut and is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It wraps around the upper part of the urethra and its primary job is the production and storage of semen, the milky fluid that nourishes sperm. BPH is one of the most common health conditions in older men. Half of all men aged 40-60 and more than 90 percent in men over 80 have BPH. BPH causes the prostate gland to enlarge, putting pressure on the urethra.
Men have trouble starting or maintaining a stream of urine, find they can’t completely empty their bladders, and have to urinate frequently, even during the night. They may also have episodes of uncontrollable dribbling or complete loss of urine. BPH is caused by the conversion of estrogen to a very potent form of testosterone called, dihydrotestosterone (or DHT). When prostate cells are exposed to DHT, they multiply in number and get much larger.
BPH rarely improves. It most often remains the same for years or gets gradually worse. The need to continually urinate, interrupted sleep, dribbling, and loss of urine can significantly interfere with a man’s quality of life. Prescription medications that have been developed to treat BPH are only partially effective. And surgical removal of the prostate gland may result in even more persistent urinary incontinence and the inability to achieve an erection (ED).
However, saw palmetto berry extract relieves the symptoms of BPH by inhibiting the production of DHT. And, in study after study after study, saw palmetto caused none of the side effects that happen with prostate surgery or medications.
Q. There seem to be plenty of ads for supplements that claim they make men into Sexual Superheroes. Is there an “honest” nutritional supplement to help me sexually?
A. That’s a very good observation. And yes, there are honest nutritional supplements for men’s sexual health.
Sexual intimacy is an important, complex, and lifelong need. It makes us feel better physically and mentally and adds to our sense of security, belonging, and self-esteem. But just like other changes that happen to men as they get older, men’s sexual response most often changes, too. Declining testosterone levels, changes in blood flow to the penis, certain medications that older men are prescribed, and the presence of diabetes or heart disease can all affect men’s ability to engage in sexual activity.
When men have a chronic inability in obtaining and/or maintaining an erection, it’s called erectile dysfunction (ED). While ED is not an inevitable part of getting older, it does occur more frequently as men age. About 5% of 40-year-old men have ED, but more than 23% of 65-year-old men have difficulty maintaining erections.
The development of prescription medication Viagra (sildenafil citrate) has revolutionized ED treatment. When a man is sexually stimulated, Viagra helps the penis fill with enough blood to cause an erection.
Like all medicines, Viagra can cause some side effects, including headache, flushing of the face, and upset stomach. But because Viagra is a prescription medication, it requires a visit to a licensed healthcare practitioner. For many men, telling anyone (even a professional) that they are having trouble getting or keeping an erection is simply too embarrassing. Viagra is also fairly expensive and many older men do not have prescription drug health insurance.
These reasons may explain that while an estimated 30 million men in the United States – 10% of the male population – experience chronic ED, as few as 5% of men with chronic ED seek treatment.
Not every man can take Viagra, either. Men who use nitrate drugs, often used to control chest pain (also known as angina), must not take Viagra. This combination can cause their blood pressure to drop to an unsafe or life-threatening level. Men with serious liver and kidney problems who take Viagra must be monitored closely for possible serious side effects.
The good news is there is a nutritional supplement that’s formulated with vitamins, herbs, and glandular products that targets male sexual organs. The formula contains vitamin E, liver fractions, wheat germ, beta-sitosterol, and herbal extracts of muira puama, Mexican damiana, saw palmetto, cola nut, ginseng, and ginkgo biloba.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and men’s testicles, adrenal glands, and pituitary glands need high levels of this fat-soluble vitamin for proper functioning. Extracts of Muira puama, Mexican damiana, and cola nut have been studied for their beneficial effects on male hormones.
Study of ginkgo in sexual response came about when a patient in a nursing home who was taking the herb for memory enhancement noted that his erections were improved. Since then, study of ginkgo has shown it helps blood flow to the penis. Sexual response research in one ginkgo study showed that 76% of men taking ginkgo experienced improved sexual desire, erections, and orgasms.
While other nutritional supplements sold to improve sexual stamina often make outrageous claims, reputable manufacturers rely on science and results to sell their products.
An important note
Most often sexual problems are simply part of the aging process. They can also be signs of serious health problems. If the use of nutritional supplements for two months does not improve your erections, you do need to see your healthcare practitioner. Almost all practitioners understand how difficult this problem is for men to discuss and are experienced in getting the information as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
No man has the power to stop the passage of time. But every man has the power to make aging more healthy and less harmful. Research conducted on men who live to be 100 and beyond, has determined that those who reach extreme old age do so by avoiding ill health, rather than by enduring it. As I like to remind my patients, “Age is not determined by years, but by function.” And it’s never too late for men to detour around the major illnesses of getting older. With good nutrition, healthy habits, and high quality nutritional supplements, the best years of a man’s life can absolutely and positively be those he spends in his 70s, 80s and even his 90s.
Nutritional Supplements Could Save U.S. $6.5 Billion.
January 07, 2006 12:26 PM
Health Care Crisis Bankrupting U.S. Budget
Nutritional Supplements Could Save U.S. $6.5 Billion.
You probably never heard about it on the radio, nor saw its actions reported on CNN. Others can’t guess what its acronym stands for. The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an investigative arm of Congress examining the receipt and payment of public funds. This government office exists for the sole purpose of communicating to Congress those facts and figures which we, as a society, can’t afford to overlook.
And they are saying that the healthcare system is going to bankrupt us. The agency recently issued a special report called 21st Century Challenges, which concludes that current U.S. fiscal policies are unsustainable and, unless radical changes are initiated relatively soon, will “result in large, escalating, and persistent deficits.
The Money Pit
According to the GAO report, the United States spends more than 15% of our gross domestic product on health care, and that figures growing fast. We spend a larger percentage than is spent by any other industrialized country. What’s even more suprising is how little we get for the money. An estimated 45million Americans are uninsured. The United States continues to compare abysmally to the other industrialized nations in critical areas like infant mortality, life expectancy, and premature and preventable deaths.
Medicare and Medicaid together devour 20% of the federal budget. With the baby boomers—individuals born between the end of WWII 1960—hitting retirement age this year, those figures will only grow larger with each passing year. Unless, as the GAO report says, something is done quickly.
A report released just weeks ago by the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA) demonstrates that the government can save at least 6.5 billion in health care cost reductions if nutritional supplements are integerated into the healthcare system.
The Lewin Group, a market research firm, developed a report, entitled: Increasing Quality of Life While Minimizing Costs. It focused in on just two supplements, both of which concern reduction in disease prevention for people over age 65. Omega-3 oil, popular for its reduction in coronary heart disease, is projected to save 3.1 billion dollars. Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which supports healthy vision, will save 2.5 billion dollars if this supplement is added to health care plans, according to the study. Savings would come from reduced hospitalizations and doctor’s fees, as well as reduced nursing home use for those who in good health, could remain independent rather than needing to transfer to live-in care facilities.
Early last month, a bipartisan caucus on dietary supplements Kicked off. It will be co-chaired by Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah), and Rep. Fran Pallone (D-N.J.), and its goal will be to examine the manner in which nutritional supplements may become a component of healthcare reform, such as part of an individual flexible Spending Account or health Saving account. As the GAO report indicates, the government interest is reaching critical mass and nutritional supplements are on the verge of entering a new era. As Congressman Cannon said during a November 2nd press conference, government needs to develop a sound policy supporting nutritional supplements “As more and more Americans start taking responsibility for their own health.”
Sources/Links for Further Reading:
Visit the website of the United States Government Accountability Office. //www.gao.gov/
House Government Reform Subcommittee on Human Rights Wellness. //reform.house.gov/
For more information about the Lewin Group’s Health Impact Study, please visit: //www.supplementinfo.org/
The Immune System - with Kyolic Garlic
July 11, 2005 05:23 PM
The immune system is our body's natural defense system that keeps us healthy. Without it, invading organisms, which we come into contact with constantly, would cause illness and disease. There are many components of the immune system, including natural killer cells, T&B cells, macrophages and many others. Collectively, this network mainly functions against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.
It is possible for the immune system to be suppressed. Things like stress, unhealthy habits, lack of nutrition, genetics, and other factors damage the immune system, which leaves us vulnerable to disease.
The immune system can benefit from proper, and constant care. A healthy immune system can mean the difference between getting mildly sick versus something much worse. If you are looking for ways to boost your immune system via nutritional supplements, here are a few that might interest you:
Aged Garlic ExtractTM (AGE): Numerous scientific studies have been conducted on AGE in relation to its effect on the immune system. Studies suggest that Aged Garlic Extract may support various immune factors,1-5 such as the ability of immune cells to engulf foreign organisms, T-lymphocyte activity,3 natural killer cell activity1,2 and antibody generation.6 Anti-fungal (Candida albicans-yeast) properties have been shown, and antiviral (herpes1,7, influenza8,9) properties have also been noted. Aged Garlic Extract has also been shown to modify, directly or indirectly, the function of immune cells, which play a leading role in allergic reactions including inflammation.10 In addition, Aged Garlic Extract has been shown to improve age-related deterioration of the immune response.
For your convenience AGE is available as a liquid, and in a capsule, such as the Reserve, FORMULA 100 (tablet or capsule), or as the One Per Day (caplet).
AGE also comes in combination with other herbs and nutrients that may further enhance the immune system. We have formulated a couple of products containing Aged Garlic Extract, specifically for the immune system due to the additional ingredients added that work as an extra boost in this area. Firstly, FORMULA 103 (brown/orange label) in addition to Aged Garlic Extract contains Astragalus, a potent herb demonstrating immune stimulating properties12-17 and vitamin C as Ester-C® (a unique form of Vitamin C) which may support healthy immune function.18 Another product, FORMULA 105 (pink/purple label), contains Vitamins A, C, E, selenium and green tea extract, which are very potent antioxidants. Antioxidants attack free radicals that cause damage to our body, leading to illness and aging. Please keep in mind that the various antioxidant functions attributed to AGE may also help to boost the immune system.
Kyo-Green® is another one of our superb products. Mixing Kyo-Green in a juice or beverage may help to provide extra nutritional support since it is a source of vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, superoxide dismutase (a very potent anti-oxidant enzyme) and other nutrients. A test tube study by Dr. Lau from Loma Linda University showed that Kyo-Green may provide nutritional support for the immune system by enhancing the activity of macrophages (immune cells that engulf foreign agents).19 Two teaspoons of Kyo-Green also provide the nutrients in a serving of vegetables so this product may function as an easy way to provide extra nutrition for the whole body.
For those who may be interested in a more potent immune boosting formula, please try our Kyo-Green Harvest Blend The Harvest BlendTM contains all of the ingredients in the Kyo-Green, except for the kelp. However, in addition to these ingredients, other active ingredients are added to make forty-four ingredients in total, which may give the immune system a powerful Kick. To help support your health there are many different greens, an immune-boosting herbal blend, antioxidant fruits and veggies, immune-enhancing mushrooms, an enzyme active sprout blend, a super energizing blend, special phytonutrients important to immune health, and a nutritious fiber blend. Please read the specifics on each of these constituents, available from the technical information available on this website.
Finally, Kyo-Dophilus® is a probiotic supplement made of a combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacteria bifidum, and Bifidobacteria longum, which help to maintain a healthy balance of the intestinal microflora and increase our first line of devense in the guy by enhancing macrophages and other immune factors by releasing immune boosting materials. This potent supplement of beneficial bacteria is also ideal for those taking antibiotics, those who are traveling or for those who just want to insure a plethora of beneficial bacteria in their intestinal tracts. Antibiotics are not selective in the bacteria that they kill off. When our friendly bacteria are wiped out, the bad guys have a window of opportunity to take over, as they grow much quicker than our friendly bacteria, and cause us problems. The lactic acid (friendly) bacteria have been shown to produce vitamins, enzymes and antimicrobial compounds that may improve the environment in the intestinal tract. Studies also suggest that friendly bacteria may help to increase resistance to some microbial infections.20-21 Kyo-Dophilus has demonstrated incredible stability at room temperature maintaining more than one billion live cells per capsule through its three-year shelf life. A minimum of one billion live cells per day is considered to be necessary to obtain desired effectiveness from a probiotic supplement. Kyo-Dophilus also comes in tablet form, in a nine-strain formation known as Kyo-Dophilus® 9, and in a smaller form for children, Kid's Kyo-Dophilus®.
Supplying your immune system with adequate nutrition may promote health and ward of illness. If you give the body the tools it needs to heal it-self, it is amazing what it is capable of.
Life Force - The Energy Activator
June 29, 2005 10:35 AM
Don’t Be Confused About Multiples – Get the Top-Ranked Multiple That Scores 100%
We can help you decide how to pick the most advanced daily multiple for your wellness. Listen to the experts. Source Naturals LIFE FORCE MULTIPLE was honored as a leading formula in an independent scientific analysis of 500 multiples, ranking higher than any other national brand. Lyle MacWilliam, author of the Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements (ide.com) ranked multiples based on criteria developed from the published recommendations of the most renowned nutritional authorities: Phyllis Balch, C.N.C.; Michael Colgan, Ph.D.; Earl Mindell, Ph.D.; Michael Murray, N.D.; Richard Passwater, Ph.D.; Ray Strand, M.D.; and Julian Whitaker, M.D. Source Naturals’ success in this rigorous scientific analysis reflects our Bio-Aligned™ formulation method. LIFE FORCE goes deep to the underlying cause of health imbalances by supporting multiple body systems. And now, based on the latest scientific research, we have improved the formula by adding even more antioxidants and other cutting-edge ingredients. According to Lyle MacWilliam, “Source Naturals made a top ranked multiple even better!” And based on Lyle’s analysis of the new formula, LIFE FORCE is now the highest rated multiple of any evaluated in the current edition of this guide, scoring a 100% rating.
Bio-Align™ Yourself with Life Force
LIFE FORCE MULTIPLE was chosen as one of America’s most elite and comprehensive multiples, as reported in the Comparative Guide to Dietary Supplements by Lyle MacWilliam, 3rd ed. LIFE FORCE received this acknowledgement by nutrition experts because it is uniquely effective. This Bio-Aligned Formula™ goes beyond ordinary multiples that simply replace nutrients missing from the diet. LIFE FORCE provides key organ-specific nutrients to support your body’s energy generation, heart, brain, immune system, musculoskeletal system, skin, liver, eyes, and more. When all your body systems function in harmony, everything in life comes together. Your mood is positive, your mind is clear, you’ve got energy in your step—that’s your LIFE FORCE working for you.
Get Ahead with Activated Energy and a Healthy Metabolism
Your metabolism determines how much you weigh, how energetic you feel, and the effective functioning of all your systems. LIFE FORCE is a rarity – a unique multiple containing an incredible number of nutrients at the potency levels that truly support your healthy metabolic function. For example, it contains coenzyme Q10, which plays a crucial role in cellular energy production. CoQ10 is a vital intermediate in the electron transport chain, one of the body’s energy production cycles, which converts glucose, or blood sugar, into ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), a high energy molecule that is the body’s “energy currency.” LIFE FORCE also supplies alpha-lipoic acid and the potent R-lipoic acid form of lipoic acid, which are both referred to as the universal antioxidants and important intermediaries in the Krebs cycle, another energy production cycle.
LIFE FORCE also contains tyrosine and iodine, both precursors to thyroid hormones. These hormones regulate key metabolic functions like heart rate, digestive function, weight management and energy levels. No discussion of metabolism would be complete without mentioning the B vitamins and their coenzymated forms, such as thiamin cocarboxylase, riboflavin mononucleotide, and the methylcobalamin form of vitamin B- 12. These critical vitamins and their immediately bioavailable coenzymated forms are formulated to play critical roles in thousands of enzyme reactions that promote carbohydrate metabolism, energy production, and the mental functions that invigorate and activate you as you move through your busy days. And now green tea extract with EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate) has been added to the formula for added metabolic support.
Protect Your Heart and Circulatory System
The amazing muscular organ that is your heart beats more than 100,000 times a day, 365 days a year, promoting vitality and alertness by constantly oxygenating our tissues. LIFE FORCE supports your cardiovascular system with antioxidant coenzyme Q10, which helps support heart muscle metabolism. LIFE FORCE also contains the minerals potassium and magnesium, electrolytes vital for healthy heartbeat and heart function, and the herb hawthorn, a rich source of antioxidant flavonoids, which has traditionally been used as a heart tonic. LIFE FORCE also supplies vitamins B-6, B-12 and folic acid to help maintain healthy homocysteine levels and vitamin K to support healthy circulation. Unlike common multiples, it supports cholesterol wellness, circulatory health and antioxidant cardiovascular protection, with both the typical d-alpha form of vitamin E but and the more potent and effective gamma-tocopherol and similarly structured tocotrienols.
Skin and Musculoskeletal Support
LIFE FORCE furnishes nutrients to build healthy bones, muscles and skin. We all know that calcium and magnesium are crucial for bone health, but many people don't know that there are a variety of nutritional cofactors that help build bone, such as vitamin D (which enhances calcium absorption and utilization), boron, manganese and copper. LIFE FORCE also supplies vitamin C and copper, necessary nutrients for collagen production (collagen is a key constituent of connective tissue in joints, skin and other areas), and the cutting-edge nutrient methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), an assimilable form of the mineral sulfur, used by the body to build and maintain connective tissues, including joint cartilage, hair, skin and nails. Additional nutraceuticals to support healthy skin include DMAE bitartrate, CoQ10, and alpha lipoic acid. LIFE FORCE also now includes rutin, quercetin, green tea extract and 65% more turmeric extract for your joint comfort.
Brain and Nerves Nutrition
The hectic pace and constant demands of life can keep our pulse racing, our nerves jangling and our temples throbbing. Our nervous systems are crying out, “Help!” LIFE FORCE provides that help. LIFE FORCE supplies the most highly bioavailable and bioactive forms of the amino acid tyrosine – the N-acetyl form and the acetyl-L form. Tyrosine is an important precursor to epinephrine and norepinephrine (collectively known as the catecholamines), which helps you respond to stress. It also contains high doses of vitamins C and B-6, required by the adrenal glands to produce the catecholamines. In addition, LIFE FORCE delivers the full spectrum of B vitamins, all important for healthy nervous system function. Now LIFE FORCE also contains a more bio-available form of tyrosine, acetyl-L-Tyrosine. And LIFE FORCE contains Neuroceutical® nutrients that support healthy brain function by furnishing DMAE and choline. Both are precursors to the important neurotransmitter acetylcholine and are important for memory focus and muscular movement. Choline is also a precursor to phosphatidylcholine, an important constituent of the cellular membranes that surround and protect our brain cells. In addition, LIFE FORCE contains the renowned herb Ginkgo biloba and now even more grape seed extract, both effective antioxidants that can prevent lipid peroxidation, which is critically important for the high amounts of fatty tissue in the brain. LIFE FORCE—good food for the brain.
LIFE FORCE MULTIPLE supports your immune system, so you can feel your best through the seasons. LIFE FORCE contains the immunosupportive nutrient vitamin A, which fosters cell-mediated immunity and protects the epithelial linings of the respiratory and digestive tracts. Two forms of vitamin A are supplied: preformed vitamin A and its precursor, the potent antioxidant betacarotene. Other immuno-supportive nutrients in LIFE FORCE include vitamin B-6, vitamin C and zinc, which is fundamental for proper functioning of our T-cells, the “seek and destroy” cells of our immune system. LIFE FORCE also now includes 40% more lipoic acid, including the highly bioavailable alpha and R-isomer forms. Lipoic acid along with the B vitamins and CoQ10 promote building the energy reserves needed when the immune system needs to Kick into high gear.
Powerful Liver Support
Your liver is responsible for converting many nutrients into their metabolically active forms before your body can use them. After activation, these nutrients travel through the blood stream to target organs where they perform their metabolic functions. Not only does the liver activate nutrients, but it also plays a crucial role in a variety of other metabolic functions, from fat digestion and cholesterol production to blood sugar regulation to the processing and elimination of toxins, an important role in today’s increasingly polluted world. For all these reasons, nourishing the liver is crucial. And LIFE FORCE does just that. LIFE FORCE contains alpha-lipoic acid, turmeric, silymarin and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) – all potent antioxidants that support healthy liver function. NAC and alpha-lipoic acid both help produce glutathione, one of the liver’s primary detoxifying molecules. Silymarin, the active flavonoid complex of the herb milk thistle, as well as coenzyme Q10, have been shown in vitro to inhibit lipid peroxidation of cell membranes. Turmeric extract promotes bile flow and is a rich source of the antioxidant, curcumin. LIFE FORCE also contains choline and inositol, vitamin- like molecules which act as lipotropics, unique substances that prevent the deposition of fat in the liver. Since the liver is naturally high in fats, LIFE FORCE is one of the only multiples that contains the fat-soluble form of vitamin C, ascorbyl palmitate, for antioxidant protection.
Complete Antioxidant Defense
Oxidative stress is the primary cause of accelerated aging. This and other forms of free radical damage are constantly threatening your body. Whether it is from pollution, ultraviolet light, food additives, or from other sources, it is more critical than ever to protect your body with antioxidants. LIFE FORCE contains 24 of the most powerful antioxidants known to science, including eight new antioxidants based on the latest research. It contains antioxidants that are water soluble, such as quercetin and rutin, and ones that are fat soluble, such as alpha-lipoic acid and lycopene. There are antioxidants that are especially protective of specific body systems, such as lutein to protect the macula in your eye, lycopene to protect your prostate gland, and tocotrienols to protect your arteries.
Cutting-Edge Vision Nutrition
The structure and functions of your eyes are very complex. LIFE FORCE contains nutrients to help support and maintain healthy eye tissue, which is particularly susceptible to oxidative stress from free radicals. To support your healthy macula, aqueous tissue and optical nerve signals, LIFE FORCE includes ingredients such as lutein, astaxanthin, beta carotene, bilberry, zinc, lipoic acid and quercetin.
Life Force Replenishes Essential Nutrients to Support Your Low Carb Lifestyle
LIFE FORCE contains optimal levels of many nutrients that might be deficient in low carb meals. Counting carbs can lead to restrictions of nutrient-dense foods, such as dairy products, grains, fruits and vegetables. LIFE FORCE contains many of the same protective antioxidants, vitamins and minerals as fruits and vegetables, including betacarotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, flavinols, magnesium and selenium. It also contains high levels of the same vitamins found in grains, including all of the B vitamins, to support your body’s healthy energy metabolism. And it contains nutrients found in dairy products, such as calcium, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin D.
Support Healthy Fat and Protein Consumption with Life Force
Low carb lifestyles mean higher consumption of proteins and fats. Unfortunately, there are artery, heart, colon and many other health concerns associated with meals that are high in fat and protein and low in fiber and produce. However, the nutrients in LIFE FORCE can help you better process these foods when eating this way. LIFE FORCE contains high levels of protective fat-soluble antioxidants such as alpha lipoic acid, ascorbyl palmitate (vitamin C ester) and vitamin E to protect your body from the free radicals generated by consuming more fats. It also contains many nutrients for liver health, such as silymarin, CoQ10, NAcetyl Cysteine and turmeric to help support the fat metabolism your liver is responsible for. LIFE FORCE also contains a high level of the B vitamin biotin, which aids in fat, protein and energy metabolism.
Complete Energizing Nutrition
LIFE FORCE is the only multiple to target organ systems with specific nutrients and bio-botanicals, antioxidants and Neuroceuticals® for total body harmony and energy activation, system by system. Only this dedication to going deep to the cellular root of system imbalances can produce a multiple so effective that it is acknowledged in a prestigious scientific review, the Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements. A nutritional program with LIFE FORCE at its center can be an easy first step in joining the Wellness Revolution. The goal of this revolution is a long, healthy and fulfilling life. Allow yourself to feel your best, to achieve mental and physical harmony, to radiate energy and vitality. Feel your LIFE FORCE!
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
June 25, 2005 08:10 PM
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
1 . Chit osan Provides a Realist ic Approach t o Fat and Fiber Int ake.
Low-fat, high-fiber advocates have recommended a diet that is calorically fueled between 10 and 20 percent fat and includes 35 to 45 grams of fiber. Unfortunately, most of us, no matter how good our intentions are, will not be able to sustain this type of diet. Therefore, if we are going to face facts, a diet that reduces fat to 20-30 percent of the total caloric value and increases fiber to 20-30 grams/day is much more realistic and will help significantly in controlling weight, avoiding artery disease and promoting good colon health. Taking Chitosan prior to eating a meal can make dietary fat goals much more attainable while promoting a number of desirable health benefits. Because obesity ranks among the top ten diseases (which, by the way, are almost all related to obesity), the availability of a safe, health-promoting fat binder is desirable.
Weight control needs to be realistic and effective. Workable weight loss programs are few and far between and usually involve a life style that many of us can never incorporate. While Chitosan is not a panacea for maintaining our youthful figures, it could be a very powerful dietary complement, facilitating what might otherwise be unattainable. Lowering the amount of dietary fats we eat, exercising more, and making sure we get enough fiber seems to be the winning combination for health and longevity. Chitosan is a valuable tool to use in attaining optimal nutrition and robust health.
2 . Chitosan Is an Effective Fat Binder.
While all the previously mentioned properties of Chitosan are notable, its extraordinary ability to bind fats promises to be its most valuable asset. To reiterate, getting rid of fat after it has been stored as adipose tissue is much more difficult than neutralizing its effects before it enters the blood stream. Chitosan accomplishes this formidable task by converting fat into a form that the body does not absorb and subsequently expels.
Any of us who occasionally eat southern fried chicken, a Big Mac, or a slice of cheesecake every once in a while can profoundly benefit from the fat binding action of Chitosan. As a fat binder, Chitosan can significantly reduce the amount of fat that enters our blood stream. Consider the possibilities. The foods mentioned above are full of excess fat grams. If you take four capsules (1 gram) of Chitosan with ascorbic acid, which is generally recommended, the fat content of that food is dramatically lowered.
Remember the discussion on how the liver has to deal with excess fat?
Chitosan decreases the liver’s work load which lightens the stress put on other body organs by the presence of excess fat. In other words, Chitosan eases the metabolic processes that Kick in after we eat excess fat. As far as our metabolic processes know, those fat grams may as well never have existed. 4 . Why Chit osan Is Called t he Fiber of t he Fut ure. After years of fiber “hyping” most of us are well aware of the profound benefits that fiber has for human health and longevity. Fiber is considered a dieter’s best friend. It has also been linked to slower rises in blood glucose which also profoundly affects how we store excess calories and when we feel hungry. Most fibers are hydrophilic which means they repel fat and attract water. Psyllium, for example, is used for its bulk forming action. This type of fiber absorbs water and is easily passed through the intestine, helping to maintain a normal bowel function.
Chitosan is different. While it possesses many of the same benefits as plant fibers like psyllium, Chitosan is “lipophilic” meaning that it “loves fat” It is a positively charged fiber that binds to negatively charged fatty acids. A fiber that attracts fat is unique to say the least.
Cancer and Echinacea
June 24, 2005 03:45 PM
Cancer and Echinacea
Some experts believe that over the last 40 years, science has lost its battle with cancer. Progress has been slow and cancer mortality rates continue to rise despite the enormous amount of money spent on research. While most of us are aware of potential carcinogens which surround us at every turn, most of us do not take a preventative approach.
In other words, even if we eat nutritiously and try to protect ourselves from toxin exposure, cancers still develop. The role of the immune system in cancer pre vention is significant to say the least. Why some people develop cancerous tumors and others do not may be linked to immune function.
We’re all aware of the new emphasis on antioxidants today. Likewise, stimulating and strengthening the immune system may also provide significant protection against certain types of malignancy. It’s time to concentrate on why some of us don’t get cancer instead of focusing all our attention on why some of us do.
In addition to boosting the immune system, echinacea has been shown to increase pro p e rdin levels in the body which may be responsible for its anti-cancer activity. By increasing the production and secretion of interferon, echinacea may help enable the body to neutralize carcinogens.15
USDA researchers have found that echinacea contains a tumor inhibiting compound. This compound is an oncolytic lipid-soluble hydrocarbon. This particular substance which is found in the essential oil of echinacea, has shown its ability to inhibit lymphocytic leukemia and other types of cancers.
One theory concerning this activity is that it probably does not involve creating a cytotoxic effect directly on cancer cells, but rather stimulates the action of anti-cancer cells such as natrual killer cells already present in the body.
The fact that echinacea inhibits the enzyme, hyaluronidase may also be a factor. The same type of mechanism that breaks down the protective barrier around cells so that disease microbes can enter is thought to occur in the initial stages of tumor formation. Because echinacea prevents the formation of hyaluronidase, it may play a role in preventing the development of certain types of cancer.16
Allergies and Echinacea
German research has demonstrated echinacea’s ability to treat certain allergic reactions.17 It may be the cortisone-like activity of echinacea which accounts for its anti-inflammatory action. In the case of allergic reactions, the immuno-suppressive action of echinacea Kicks in.
An allergy occurs when the immune system becomes overly stimulated by the presence of an allergen. Each time that the allergen enters the body an allergic response is initiated. Echinacea can temper this cascade of symptoms by stabilizing mast cells, which are responsible for the histamine release which creates havoc with our bodies. This action results in a substantial reduction of allergy symptoms.
The fact that echinacea actually suppresses the immune system is nothing less than remarkable. This herb might be referred to as “the botanical with a brain.” In other words, it can either stimulate or inhibit immune response as determined by the status of the body. Synthetic drugs do not have this ability.
Healing Stimulation by Echinacea
Because echinacea has antiseptic pro p e rties, it can be used both internally and externally to heal conditions such as bed sores, boils, burns, ulcers and wounds of any kind. The inulin Echinacin B content of echinacea extracted from the rhizome gives echinacea its wound healing pro p e rties. It also accelerates the production of granulomatous tissue which is necessary for tissue healing in the body. 18
Russian studies have shown that echinacea also helps to stimulate healing in wounds and prevents blood clotting.19
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Echinacea
Because echinacea contains the polysaccharides inulin and echinacin it may be helpful in fighting stubborn viral infections such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Anytime the immune system becomes c o m p romised due to exhaustion, allergies, or depression, viral and bacterial invasion can occur. The chemical compounds contained in echinacea promote improved resistance to all septic or infectious conditions.20
Prostate Disorders and Echinacea
Echinacea is believed to be one of the best herbs in the treatment of enlarged prostate glands or other prostate disorders .21 Its anti-inflammatory properties are believed to help decrease swelling and irritation. Tests on mice have shown that using echinacea to control inflammatory responses has resulted in a decrease in edema or swelling.
Weight Loss and Echinacea
When combined with chickweed, echinacea has been used to promote weight loss.22 Scientifically, there is a lack of data to explain this particular effect.
Echinacea and Skin Damage
Any type of skin damage, whether caused by injury or infection can be treated with echinacea. One of the major actions of this herb is its ability to inhibit a specific enzyme that weakens connective tissue cells when they are exposed to certain microorganisms. This enzyme is called hyaluronidase .23 Whenever skin cells have been compromised by infectious organisms, echinacea can help prevent the spread of infection and speed the healing of the skin by preventing the break down of skin tissue at the cellular level. The anti-hyaluronidase action of echinacea, especially when applied as a poultice, can significantly prevent infection and enhance healing in burns, cuts, and abrasions.
In addition, topical applications of echinacea are valuable in treating snake and insect bites. German research suggests that echinacea extracts and salves can benefit a variety of inflammatory skin conditions including: psoriasis, eczema, and herpes.24
Yeast Inf ect ions and Echinacea
Yeast infections are caused by an fungus called Candida albicans. This particular organism has been the subject of intense interest, research and controversy over the last several years. Standard medical therapies for yeast infections usually involve the use of antibiotics and antifungal drugs which can, in themselves, compromise the immune system. In laboratory tests using control groups, subjects who received echinacea we re compared to those who took standard antifungal treatments. In these cases, better results we re obtained with the echinacea.25 It is the polysaccharides contained in echinacea which seem to enhance the resistance of the immune system against the Candida fungus. This finding again stresses that echinacea may have important therapeutic applications for anyone who is in a weakened state and susceptible to opportunistic infections.26 Echinacea in both external and internal forms can be used to treat yeast infections. It has been suggested that anyone who has recurring yeast infections should consider adding echinacea extract to their repertoire of health supplements.
Inflammation, Arthrit is and Echinacea
Some laboratory tests have demonstrated that echinacea has certain anti-inflammatory pro p e rties which can help prevent or decrease the inflammation and swelling typically found in arthritis sufferers. Unlike the inflammatory response of the body to infections, the chronic inflammation of joint diseases such as arthritis is not desireable. In these cases, echinacea can help to inhibit chronic inflammation. Its effect is considered equal to approximately half of that resulting from steroid drugs like cortisone in arthritic patients.27
Apparently, echinacea contains a specific factor which prevents inflammation and swelling when observed in certain laboratory tests. This particular tonic action may be quite helpful for people who suffer from chronic arthritis. Arthritis symptoms result from an immune response which creates inflammation in the joints. As is the case with allergies, when arthritis is present, echinacea inhibits the inflammatory action of the immune system.
It is interesting to note that another component of echinacea actually boosts the inflammatory response when it is appropriate. For this reason, wounds respond well to echinacea.
Steroids are commonly prescribed for inflammatory diseases such as arthritis. Because steroid drugs have so many negative side-effects, echinacea may prove to be an invaluable treatment for improper immune system reactions that cause conditions like arthritis.
HIV and Echinacea
At this writing, the possible role of echinacea on HIV has not been established. While some preliminary studies look promising, much more research is needed to determine whether or not echinacea’s stimulation of immune function will benefit AIDS patients.
June 23, 2005 10:49 AM
How many of us give the red hot chile pepper the respect it d e s e rves? Mo re often than not, most of us re g a rd red pepper or Capsicum as nothing more than the spice added to give Cajun and Mexican cuisine its piquant Kick. Technically speaking, caye n n e pepper is the strongest red pepper variety of the Capsicum family, with paprika being the mildest.
Throughout this discussion, the terms capsicum and cayenne pepper will be used interchangeably. For our purposes, it’s important to know that herbalists have designated both of these terms for the same botanical agent. Health practitioners have known for centuries that Capsicum is much more than a culinary spice. Because they considered it a “ h o t” plant, Chinese physicians utilized it for physiologic conditions that needed stimulation. Capsicum or Cayenne Pepper is one of the few herbs that can be measured by its BTU or thermal units. In other words, it is a hot and stimulating pepper plant that can generate heat.
Recently, new and very valuable medicinal uses for Capsicum h a ve emerged through scientific inquiry. The red chile pepper is experiencing a rediscovery among health care practitioners, who have only just begun to uncover its marvelous therapeutic actions. It has been referred to as the purest and most effective natural stimulating botanical in the herbal medicine chest. The most recent clinical findings re g a rding Capsicum will be explored in our discussion with special emphasis on Capsicum’s ability to heal ulcers, protect stomach mucosa and alleviate peripheral pain. Unquestionably, Capsicum exe rts potent physiological and pharmacological effects without the side-effects commonly associated with powerful medicinal drugs. Ironically, in the past, Capsicum’s classification as a hot and spicy substance has done it a disservice. Because Capsicum is fiery and pungent, it is frequently regarded as dangerous and unpalatable. To the contrary, if it is used properly, Capsicum can be perfectly safe and impressively effective against a wide variety of physical disorders ranging from indigestion to ulcers to migraines. It s ability to lower blood cholesterol, boost circulation and even step up metabolism are worth serious consideration. In addition, its value for mental afflictions like depression must also be assessed. In a time when the notion of treating disease after the fact is more the rule than the exception, Capsicum offers protection from infectious invaders by boosting the effectiveness of the immune system. Today, amidst the over prescription of antibiotic drugs, Capsicum emerges as a potent immune fortifier, antioxidant and infection fighter.
A powerful compound called capsaicin is what gives Capsicum its bite and is also responsible for most of its beneficial effects on human physiology.1 The hotter the pepper, the higher its content of capsaicin.2 The re m a rkable pro p e rties of capsaicin will be discussed and documented clinical evidence supporting the use of capsaicin will be delineated. It is important to realize in evaluating this herb that while it can be used alone, Capsicum is frequently added to herbal combinations to potentiate their overall action. This fact alone attests to the powerful but safe stimulant action of Capsicum. Stimulation is thought to be one of the keys to swift and complete healing. Capsicum is ascending in prestige and is regarded as a modernday botanical which is accruing new and impressive credentials. The fruit of this particular pepper plant is a valuable herbal treasure. It is vital to our health that we inform ourselves about its many medicinal uses.
CAPSICUM (CAPSICUM ANNUUM)
Common Names: Cayenne Pepper, Red Pepper, African Bird Pepper, Bird Pepper, Spanish Pepper, American Red Pepper Plant Parts: Fruit Active Compounds: alkaloids (capsaicin), fatty acids, flavonoids, volatile oil, carotene pigment Nutritional Components: Capsicum is rich in Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and Zinc, two nutrients which are vital for a strong and healthy immune system. It is also high in vitamins, A, C, rutin (a bioflavonoid), beta carotene, iron, calcium and potassium. Capsicum also contains magnesium, phosphorus, sulphur, B-complex vitamins, sodium and selenium. The nutritional breakdown of Capsicum is as follows:
Pharmacology : Capsaicin (active component) contains over 100 distinct volatile compounds.3 It also contains capsacutin, capsaicin, capsantine, and capsico. Character: analgesic, antibacterial, antioxidant, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aromatic, astringent, blood thinner, cardiovascular tonic, carminative, circulatory stimulant, diaphoretic, hemostatic, herbal accentuator, nerve stimulant, stomachic and tonic (general) Body Systems Targeted : cardiovascular, circulatory, gastrointestinal, nervous, integumentary, skeletal, metabolic Herbal Forms: loose dried powder, capsulized, tincture, infused oil, ointment or cream Usage : Capsicum can be used liberally in a variety of forms. Capsulized dried Capsicum is probably the easiest and most practical way to take the herb. Commercial ointments can be purchased which contain from 0.025 to 0.075 percent capsaicin for the treatment of pain and psoriasis. Dried Capsicum can be mixed in hot water or can be used in tincture form, which can be added to water or juice. Safety: Capsicum is generally recognized as safe in the United Sates and has been approved as an over-the-counter drug. A four week feeding study of Capsicum concluded, “It appears that red chile is relatively non-toxic at the doses tested in male mice.”4 The seeds of the fresh Capsicum plant should not be ingested. Doses of Capsicum should be followed precisely as prescribed to avoid gast rointestinal upset. Pregnant women or breast feeding mothers should avoid using Capsicum. Initial use of topical Capsicum can result in some skin irritation or burning; howe ve r, clinical tests have found that this diminishes with continued application. Avoid direct contact with eyes or other mucous membranes in general.
CLA and the Catabolic Cascade
June 22, 2005 09:49 PM
CLA and the Catabolic Cascade
Next fall, when you or a friend goes to the doctor to get a flu shot, notice how a low-grade fever starts. Notice how rundown you or your friend begin to feel for a day or so after the shot. It is as if you are dealing with a small portion of the disease. In some respects you are, but, in reality, the icky, yucky feelings we associate with sickness come from our body’s own response to an invasion. When the immune system goes on the o f f e n s i ve, it puts out hormones called cytokines. T h o s e cytokines cause fever and pain.
Doctors call this process the catabolic cascade. It is our body that produces it. An extreme example might have been when Jim Henson, the wonderful creator of Kermit the Frog, got an extreme bacterial infection. He died within about 12 hours. Although the bacteria caused some severe reactions, it was his body’s intense catabolic response that may have been the direct cause of death.
Cytokines are involved in more than just stimulating the immune system, they are involved in how the body accumulates fat, in how veins accumulate deposits and in how our body during disease can sometimes cause dangerous, rapid weight loss. CLA changes how cytokines work, but how it does it is not certain.
Here’s an example of why this is important: When young animals get sick, their immune systems Kick into action. Besides contracting a feve r, the animals’ growth slow s . Furthermore, weight and muscle mass can be lost, not just because of loss of appetite, but because of degradation of muscle tissue. For a poultry farmer, this can be significant. In organized farms, bacteria can abound and young chicks often face sickness. Because their immune systems are firing, the cytokines can stunt growth and, accordingly, stunt the farmer’s profits.
Dr. Mark Cook was working on this dilemma in 1990 and jogging at the campus of the Un i versity of Wi s c o n s i n - Madison. During one of his regular exercise sessions, he began chatting with Dr. Pariza. As researchers do, they began talking about their work. They decided to collaborate, seeing if CLA had an effect on this problem.
In 1993, the scientists at the University of Wisconsin-- Madison injected rat pups with endotoxin, the substances bacteria produce to do their damage.40 This injection activated their immune systems. They also did the same thing in two studies using chicks. In all three studies, the weight-loss was about half what it was during the other studies.
In a study published in 1994, re s e a rchers also injected endot oxin into mice. To some, they gave CLA, to others they didn’t After three days, the scientists weighed the mice and discove re d that those who also re c e i ved CLA in their diets lost much less weight. Indeed, after three days they weighed as much as the c o n t rol gro u p, which re c e i ved no endotoxin at all. The CLA - f e d g roup also had a much better appetite than those that re c e i ve d no CLA with endotoxin. They also had a higher muscle mass.41 Let’s repeat that. CLA gives a higher muscle mass in rats. Stop and think about the implications. Other studies have shown, and, we will get to them, that CLA also cuts the amount of food converted to fat. In an era of increasing battles with the bulge, CLA seems to show great promise. (That weight gain seems to be involved somehow with the immune system and cytokines indicates that working with cytokines may be how CLA affects body fat accumulation.) Yes, CLA can help cut the effects of immune stimulation, but does it do that at the expense of making our immune systems less effective? Does CLA affect how the body battles disease? Not from any evidence in any study. The 1993 studies measured several immune functions, and, if anything, the immune system worked better.42
Again, these are animal studies, not necessarily involved with how humans work. However, these studies involve more than one kind of animal, making it, again, more likely to be useful in humans.
Let’s speculate for a minute. When CLA cuts the catabolic cascade, doesn’t it make sense that the body would feel better, if only because the appetite is better? When CLA cuts weight loss, couldn’t that have immense benefits for patients suffering from long-term illnesses—including those illnesses that affect the immune system—who grow weak from a loss of muscle tone and from a loss of weight?
For the animal industry, of course, this nutrient clearly means better production methods and healthier animals. For those same animals, it seems possible to speculate that CLA may actually work as a growth factor for their young.43 For humans, this nutrient could mean feeling better and feeling stronger while the body fights off disease.
At the beginning of this booklet, we learned that CLA may be one of the most important nutrients discovered in recent years. The support for that statement should be clear. CLA, if the human studies hold true, could cut your risk for cancer, could lower your risk of heart disease, could help you feel better when you are ill, and improve muscle tone while decreasing body fat.
This research has one other interesting side effect. Cook says that during much of the research, graduate students helping in the work would continually report that animals were eating less. Indeed, the animals ate up to 30 percent less while gaining weight or helping the immune system.
If all animals in the world were fed CLA, and it cut feed intake by 30 percent, this would have strong implications on world starvation and feed efficiency. Especially in a world w h e re meat consumption may be growing. Cutting the amount of animal feed necessary to produce the same number of animals is vital. This, too, is a possible result of CLA.44
Vision Quest - help fight eye problems.
June 18, 2005 08:34 AM
Vision Quest by Phyllis D. Light, RH Energy Times, February 11, 2004
Since your eyes are in constant use every day, exposed to the damaging energy of sunlight and pollutants that waft through the air, these delicate orbs are often in danger of wearing out.
To keep this vital part of your anatomy functioning as you age, you have to feed and care for your eyes properly. Otherwise, you are in real danger of losing your vision and independence.
Your vision may be in danger. Experts estimate that 8 million Americans over the age of 55 are at serious risk of blindness linked to a condition called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD can wipe out your central vision and is the primary cause of blindness in Western society.
While AMD causes no pain, it blurs the sharp, central vision necessary for driving, reading and other activities where you need to see either up close or straight ahead. During AMD, the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to pick out fine detail, is destroyed. The macula sits at the center of your retina, the nerve center at the back of your eye that senses light and sends optic signals to the brain.
Age is not the only risk factor for AMD. Scientists have isolated a genetic defect that can lead to some forms of macular degeneration (Nature Genetics 2001; 27:89-93). Smoking and excessive exposure to sunlight are other hazards best avoided if you want to save your sight.
In many cases, AMD progresses so slowly that victims of this condition don't even notice that their vision is deteriorating until much of it is irrevocably gone.
Dry and Wet AMD
Wet AMD occurs when blood vessels in back of the retina start to overgrow and leak blood. As this occurs, blood and other fluids push on the macula and quickly damage its sensitive nerve endings. When wet AMD occurs, you lose your central vision rapidly. If straight lines appear wavy to you, you may be suffering from wet AMD. If you notice this or other unusual vision changes, contact an eye care specialist as soon as possible. You need what is called a comprehensive dilated eye exam that can uncover signs of AMD.
Dry AMD strikes the eye when light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly deteriorate, gradually blurring central vision in the affected eye. As dry AMD progresses, a blurry spot in the center of your vision may appear. Eventually, as more of the macula becomes dysfunctional, the central vision in the eye can gradually disappear.
The most common sign of dry AMD is slightly blurry vision. This can make it hard to recognize faces and also make it harder to read without very bright light. Dry AMD generally attacks both eyes, but vision can be lost in one eye while the other eye stays normal. In the early stages of dry AMD, drusen, yellow deposits that gather under the retina, may form. Dry AMD progresses in three stages:
Vitamins and Minerals for AMD
Fortunately, scientists have found ways to combat AMD: An analysis of a study called the national Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) shows that more than 300,000 Americans could avoid losing their sight to AMD if they took daily supplements of antioxidant nutrients and zinc.
This conclusion, reached by scientists at Johns Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute, is based on research involving more than 4,500 adults suffering various stages of AMD. The study demonstrated that people who already had some AMD could lower their risk of the more advanced form of this condition by 25% when they took vitamin C, natural vitamin E and beta carotene along with zinc. Those suffering from advanced AMD lowered their chances of losing vision by about 19%. (Supplements did not affect the risk of cataracts or the chances of some vision loss for people in the early stages of AMD.)
" Without treatment to reduce their risk, we estimate that 1.3 million adults would develop the advanced stage of AMD," says Neil M. Bressler, MD, professor of ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins and author of the current study, published in Archives of Ophthalmology (11/03).
According to Dr. Bressler and the other researchers, people who now have intermediate AMD (some vision loss) in one eye have about a 1 in 16 chance of having their vision deteriorate until they have advanced AMD. They also calculate that about 1 in 4 of those with intermediate AMD in both eyes and 43% of those with advanced AMD in one eye will develop advanced AMD in five years without treatment.
In their view, older people at risk of AMD blindness should take daily supplements of 500 milligrams of vitamin C, 400 milligrams of natural vitamin E, 15 milligrams of beta carotene, 80 milligrams of zinc as zinc oxide and 2 milligrams of copper as cupric oxide. Evidence also exists that a diet which is high in fat can cause AMD to progress to an advanced stage. The exceptions: The healthy fats found in fish and nuts (Archives of Ophthalmology 2003; 121:1728-37).
Oddly enough, some of the same pigments that color vegetables and other foods also color your eyes. And scientists believe that those pigments, which are classified as carotenoids, help protect the eyes by helping them fight off the negative effects of caustic molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are formed when the energy from sunlight strikes the eyes and disrupts the composition of natural chemicals found there.
When scientists compared healthy eyes with eyes suffering from AMD, they found that AMD eyes contained lower levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoid pigments contained in egg yolk, spinach, broccoli and other dark green vegetables (Ophthalmology 2003; 109:1780). Furthermore, they found that levels of these chemicals generally decline as you grow older.
" This research is a major step toward large-scale clinical studies to prove the extent to which lutein and zeaxanthin protect against age-related macular degeneration," says Paul S. Bernstein, MD, PhD, at the University of Utah School of Medicine at Salt Lake. "We know that these carotenoids are specifically concentrated in the macula of the human eye."
Dr. Bernstein adds that, as you age, taking supplements containing lutein and other antioxidants may lower your AMD risk. In his investigation, people with AMD who did not take lutein had one-third less lutein in their eyes than older people whose vision was normal.
Another eyesight hazard is cataracts, in which the eye's lens-the part that focuses incoming light onto the retina-becomes cloudy. Cataracts form when the proteins found in the normally clear lens become damaged; signs include progressively blurred vision (especially outdoors), focusing problems, seeing streaks of light from headlights and stoplights, and colors that look faded.
Cataract is the leading cause of blindness worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. One of every six Americans 40 and older suffers from some degree of cataract; it affects half of all Americans who reach age 80. Nuclear cataracts, the most common form of this disorder, develop in the center of the lens and tend to grow slowly. Cataracts may also develop at the back of the lens; this form is linked to eye trauma and long-term use of certain medications, including steroids.
Like AMD, cataracts become more common as people age. Up to 40% of individuals between the ages of 75 and 85 have them, compared with only 5% to 10% of those folks under the age of 65. And like AMD, sunlight exposure and smoking increase the risk of developing cataracts, as does the presence of diabetes.
Lutein and zeaxanthin, the carotenoids that are so plentiful in the macula, are also found in the lens (although in lower concentrations), leading many researchers to believe that these nutrients may help drop your risk of cataract development. Early studies indicate that an increased intake of lutein and zeaxanthin reduces one's chances of needing cataract surgery, the most common surgery in the United States (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1999; 70(4):509-16; 517-24).
Antioxidants and the Lens
Scientists believe that free-radical damage is a leading cause of cataracts, and so it isn't surprising that antioxidants have proved useful in preventing this problem.
Almost 500 women filled out diet questionnaires as part of a very large research effort called the Nurses' Health Study; those who had taken vitamin C supplements for 10 years or longer enjoyed the lowest rates of nuclear cataracts (Archives of Ophthalmology 2001; 119:1009-19).
So the answer to lowering your risk of eye problems is clear, whether you are already in your mature years or plan to be someday: Lead a healthy, eye-friendly lifestyle, eating a diet filled with colorful fruits and vegetables. Take frequent walks and jogs around the block.
And yes, when you Kick back and take your just-as-frequent doses of antioxidant supplements, you're allowed to take your sunglasses off and see the world clearly.
June 14, 2005 06:26 PM
by Catherine Heusel Energy Times, October 1, 1998
Quitting a bad habit presents quite a challenge. Just ask anyone who's ever tried to give up cigarettes. Or alcohol. Or even coffee. You start out with the best of intentions but cravings can push you off the straight and narrow. The result: giving up a nasty habit often means regenerating your resolve and trying again. And again. And again. While some blame an inability to give up a bad habit on poor will power, in actuality, the tenacious chains of these habits may derive from the body as well as the mind. "People don't seem to realize the effects these substances have on the body," says Joan Mathews-Larson, Ph.D., director of the Health Recovery Center, in Minneapolis, and author of Seven Weeks to Sobriety. Dr. Mathews-Larson is one of a growing number of addiction professionals who stress physical recovery when giving up a drug, whether it's caffeine or cocaine. "You can't disrupt your internal chemistry for months or years on end and then expect your body to automatically bounce back," she says. "You have to give it some help."
Breaking Off is Hard to Do
The substances we love to overdo all share a common characteristic: they mimic or enhance the body's chemical messengers. Opiate drugs such as heroin, for example, are virtually identical to substances called endorphins, neurochemicals that the body produces to mask feelings of pain. (When an injured Kerri Strug performed her final Olympic vault, her endorphins enabled her to push past her protesting nerve endings.) Stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine can provide a "rush" similar to that produced by adrenaline and noradrenaline, the neurochemicals that provide the quick and excited feeling that swells down your spine during frightened or thrilling moments. On the other hand, some drugs (notably alcohol and cocaine) boost the activity of several different neurochemicals, including those that control sensations of pleasure. From a biological perspective, then, none of the drugs that people take are totally unfamiliar to the body. Your body makes similar chemicals all the time, in response to specific events and needs. "The main advantage of drugs is that they act powerfully and immediately," explains Andrew Weil, M.D., in his book, From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know About Mind Altering Drugs. "Their main disadvantage is that they reinforce the notion that the state we desire comes from something outside us."
Another serious disadvantage of drugs resides in their impact on the body's everyday neurochemical balance. Under normal circumstances, the body maintains its internal chemical environment on a fairly even keel. It may pump out oodles of adrenaline in response to a specific threat, like a near miss on the highway, but for every such scary "high" a corresponding low sets in: that rubbery-kneed sense of relief you feel when things calm down.
Over time, the body mistakes the introduction of mind-altering, foreign chemicals as an excess of its own production of neurochemicals. As a result it slows down its own manufacture of these vital substances. So when you stop drinking caffeine or other stimulating drugs, the body finds its neurochemical receptors begging for relief: Cravings raise their ugly heads while so-called withdrawal symptoms raise your discomfort level. A general sense of ill health sets in until the body's natural production of neurotransmitter production reaches an acceptable level.
Breaking a bad habit may be complicated by a lack of regenerative health habits. "A proper diet is pretty low on an addict's list of priorities," says Mathews-Larson. "Most of the people we see live on fast food and junk food." Many people trying to give up bad habits are attacked by the chemical and physical problems resulting from eating fatty foods and not exercising: their bodies are chemically and physically challenged from a poor lifestyle.
Fortunately, recovery from a bad habit can be enhanced by balancing your diet, exercising and using nutritional supplements to straighten out your interior biochemical environment.
"We target substances that are essential for maintaining optimal brain chemistry," points out Mathews-Larson. Foremost among these substances are a variety of amino acids that the body needs to rebuild its supply of neurotransmitters. In addition, nutrients such as B vitamins and vitamin C are often in short supply among those who indulge in addictive drugs and alcohol.
Exercise and meditation are equally important to recovery, since both activities naturally prompt production of mood-enhancing neurochemicals. (The so-called "runner's high" is believed to result from endorphins and other neurochemicals stimulated by jogging.) More importantly, natural stimulation that pushes the body to create its own, endogenous supply of feel-good chemicals produces a longer sense of well-being than the transitory high induced by drugs and alcohol. "The potential for highs is always there, and many techniques exist for eliciting them," declares Dr. Weil. "Drug highs differ from other highs only in superficial ways."
To experienced treatment professionals such as Mathews-Larson, Kicking a long-standing habit depends on learning to appreciate the natural high of good health, through an overall healthy lifestyle. "It's not enough to just stop using the substance you abused," she contends. "You have to build a high quality of life for yourself, so you can fully enjoy every day."
Recommended Reading: Seven Weeks to Sobriety, by Joan Mathews-Larson (Fawcett Books, 1997) Healing Anxiety With Herbs by Harold H. Bloomfield. (Harper Collins, 1998.)
Move it and Lose it! Burn off body fat!
June 14, 2005 12:04 PM
Move it and Lose it! Burn off body fat! by Mimi Facher Energy Times, June 1, 1997
So you're feeling a little blah, a little overweight, and you're looking to drop a few of those winter pounds gained during the colder months. Maybe you've dabbled with diets and jogged around the neighborhood a few times but you're still packing unsightly bulges. If so, you may be considering the idea of turning to supplements to help you drop those pounds. Well, two types of diet supplements now generally available, combined with a diet and exercise program, may be able to help you trim those stubborn pounds.
The first type of supplement, called metabolic optimizers, which include ephedra, caffeine and salicin (derived from willow bark), boost your metabolic rate, causing your body to burn calories faster. The second class, lipotropic substances, aid the body in fat mobilization, causing greater utilization of stored fat. These products include chromium, carnitine and hydroxycitric acid (HCA). Both classes of supplements have been around in various forms for quite a while but are now enjoying greater popularity among dieters.
Trying to cope with a weight problem is a dilemma expanding throughout modern society. According to a 1995 Harris poll, nearly 75% of Americans are overweight. Although it's well known that the way to lose weight is to expend more calories than you take in, supplements may be able to help you burn off extra calories.
Thermogenesis and You
Metabolic optimizers are supposed to aid weight loss through a process called thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is a natural process in which fat is burned to produce body heat. Fat that isn't burned is stored on the hips, thighs, stomach, etc. Thermogenic agents are designed to counteract your body's fat storage mechanisms by causing your body to maintain a higher metabolic rate-turning your internal thermostat up to burn fat faster. The thermogenic process can be jump-started by a number of factors including cold, exercise, certain dietary nutrients and metabolic optimizers.
The ephedra herb, also known as ma huang is one of nature's earliest medicines, known for over 5000 years to the Chinese, who used it to relieve allergies, coughing, wheezing and cold and flu symptoms. In the US, ephedra has been available since the 1800s.
The ingredients in ephedra include the alkaloids ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and norephedrine. Concentrated forms of these substances are used in today's over-the-counter cold, allergy and asthma relief formulas.
Ma huang's effectiveness as a weight loss aid is tied to its appetite suppressant and stimulant properties. By speeding up action of the thyroid gland, the ephedrine found in the herb acts a thermogenic agent, boosting the rate at which the body metabolizes fat and promoting weight loss. According to Mark Blumenthal, Executive Director of the American Botanical Council, "When used as part of a total package that includes diet modification and exercise, ma huang can be highly effective in the short run because it increases the speed of the body's metabolism and suppresses appetite."
Because of their strong stimulant effect, ephedra and its derivatives have engendered some controversy. However, in its long history, billions of doses of ephedra have been consumed without problem. But ephedra supplements should only be used as directed on product labels. People with cardiovascular problems, diabetes, thyroid or prostate dysfunction, high blood pressure and those taking MAO inhibitors, pregnant or nursing should avoid this herb.
Salicin Burns Fat
Salicin, a substance derived from willow bark-which is also the original source for aspirin, a related compound-can boost the burning of fat when combined with ephedra. An animal study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that while ephedra boosted calorie burning by almost 10%, when ephedra was combined with aspirin, extra calorie burning just about doubled. Another study in the Internatioanl Journal of Obesity showed that when overweight women took aspirin and ephedrine during a meal, their bodies burned off more calories than normal. (Eating a meal produces a thermogenic effect as your body expends energy in digestion. That's why dieters are told not to skip meals. Skipping meals lowers your metabolic rate, decreasing your calorie expenditure.)
Similar studies also show that caffeine, the stimulant that gives coffee its eye-opening Kick, can also boost ephedra's thermogenic properties. But before using these combinations check with a health practitioner knowledgeable about nutrition. Aspirin or salicin may cause stomach upset in some people (although salicin is generally tolerated well.)
Carnitine: Lipotropic Amino Acid
To get carnitine into your system, you don't have to take it as a supplement. Your body already makes this vitamin-like substance. However, your body doesn't make that much. And it is said to be especially low in people with heart disease.
This non-essential amino acid (said to be non-essential because human bodies produce it) is a key ingredient in the formation of mitochondria membranes. Mitochondria are tiny structures in your cells that burn fats for energy. Consequently, sufficient carnitine is necessary for the movement of fat into the mitochondria where it is consumed. When not enough carnitine is present, the breakdown of long chain fatty acids slows down.
Said to improve the recovery rate for athletes (it may limit the production of lactic acid, a waste product in muscle tissue), carnitine can also lower cholesterol levels, boost levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) and decrease serum triglycerides (blood fats linked to heart disease). Not bad for a nutrient that coaxes fat into those teeny, ceullular, mitochondrial furnaces.
Go for the Chrome
Chromium-based supplements work as lipotropic agents by aiding insulin use in the body. This essential trace mineral is required for normal protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism. According to Dr. Michael Janson, author of The Vitamin Revolution in Healthcare and President of the American Preventive Medical Association (APMA), "Chromium is important for proper insulin activity. Insulin moves sugar into the muscle cells, where it is burned off as energy. Chromium improves the activity of insulin, and since insulin causes fat deposition, less of it means less fat deposition." Chromium has also been shown to build muscle tissue and to reduce LDL cholesterol, which has been linked to heart disease.
Although the body's minimum requirement is low, the American diet tends to be deficient in chromium, in part because the mineral can be difficult for the body to absorb. The fact that, in nature, chromium is most powerfully concentrated in brewer's yeast, wheat germ and liver-items most Americans rarely eat-probably hasn't helped either. Other natural sources of chromium include whole grains, molasses and beef. But it is estimated that 50% of Americans are chromium deficient. An early study found that overweight adults taking a chromium supplement lost an average of 22% body fat, while maintaining or gaining lean body mass. In another study, athletes consuming 200 mcg. of chromium a day showed an average loss of 7.5 lbs. of body fat after six weeks, without a corresponding loss of muscle tisue. Overall, although some studies question chromium's precise effects, many experts are optimistic about this substance because of its relationship to insulin in the body's metabolism.
Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA)
Another possible addition to the dieter's arsenal is HCA. In nature, HCA appears chiefly in a fruit called garcinia cambogia (sometimes also called Malabar tamarind or brindall berry), a citrus plant found primarily in Asia, where the rind is often used as a flavoring agent. HCA works by inhibiting the enzyme in the body responsible for converting carbohydrates into fat. HCA causes calories to be burned in an energy cycle similar to thermogenesis and acts as somewhat of an appetite suppressant. HCA is also said to have a role in reducing triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels.
Several animal studies have shown that HCA caused significant weight loss without a reduction in lean body mass. In other words, the pounds that came off came out of fat stores, and not out of energy or muscle reserves. This means that HCA takes off not just weight but body fat, making it a potentially effective tool against weight regain.
Dr. Elson Haas, director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, CA, and author of Staying Healthy With Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine, believes that HCA can be a helpful aid for dieters when used in combination with eating habit changes and exercise. He recommends an HCA and chromium blend for optimum appetite suppression. "This combination can keep the appetite down and reduce sugar cravings," he says.
Although human research data on HCA is still in the preliminary stages, the animal study results are positive, and the supplement seems to have minimal side effects in most people.
Some Overall Recommendations
You are likely to lose weight faster if you eat sensibly. This means avoiding foods high in fat or sugar (which are the most likely to add to stored body fat), but it doesn't mean starving yourself. A sensible balanced diet, along with moderate exercise, is still the best prescription for weight loss. As Dr. Haas puts it, "I'm a firm believer in diet and exercise. Using supplements responsibly can help you to lose weight provided they're combined with dietary changes and exercise. They won't work if you don't change anything." No one is suggesting that dietary supplements are a miracle cure for being overweight-as always in self-health care, there are no magic wands. But, used as directed and combined with a good diet and exercise plan, you could find that these supplements might help you work your way to a slimmer you.
Mimi Facher is a freelance writer who has contributed to Prevention, Cosmopolitan and Self.
Cleanse That Body!
June 14, 2005 11:59 AM
Cleanse That Body! by Lisa James Energy Times, January 6, 2005
When toxins accumulate in your tissues, you can become fuzzy and sluggish. Here's how a New Year's internal cleansing can make you feel fresh and energized.
What's your New Year's resolution? Losing weight? Getting fit? Kicking the [fill-in-the-blank] habit? Whatever the shape of your dreams for 2005, it won't be easy launching a self-improvement program unless you give your body a fresh start. Where to begin? Detoxification-an internal cleansing that can supply the energy you need to succeed in achieving your goals.
No one can avoid toxins in our contaminated world, so many of us suffer from toxic overload, which can lead to fatigue, digestive problems and reduced immune function. " When we get out of balance, we get congested and toxic," says Elson Haas, MD, founder of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, California (www.elsonhaas.com), and author of The New Detox Diet (Celestial Arts), "and our bodies' regular elimination systems cannot keep up with it. We have problems with our skin, our intestines, our sinuses. We also become deficient in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Most people have both congestion and deficiency, and they would benefit greatly from detoxification."
Toxins Within, Toxins Without
Life's fundamental activities-breathing, eating, walking around-generate waste in the form of free radicals, the unstable molecules that can ravage cells and tissues. What's more, Dr. Haas says that just "being under stress, being afraid, being anxious all produce more free radicals in the body" (like when a work deadline hits on the same day your car dies). When you add to your internal toxins all the noxious items coming from the outside, including the dietary ones, the recipe is very unhealthy.
" People are making poor choices in what they're putting in their mouths," says Dr. Haas. "They're taking in too much refined flour and sugar. There's a common problem in our country I call 'obese malnutrition'-people eating too many calories and not getting enough nutrition. People do a lot of junky fats and have a deficiency in the essential fatty acids that help protect cells."
Our bodies are also awash in manmade poisons such as food preservatives and additives, and residues from pesticides and herbicides. "The amount of toxic chemicals we are exposed to in our environment is staggering," says Susan Lark, MD, clinical nutrition expert and author of The Chemistry of Success (Bay Books). She notes that the average American is exposed to 14 pounds of such assorted chemical junk each year.
The body, however, does do its own housekeeping-and all of our cells detoxify every second of every day. "It's always a balance of garbage in, garbage out," says Dr. Haas, who has 30 years of experience in helping people detoxify. "Some of the toxins we break down into smaller components, some we just dump into the intestines for elimination."
Problems arise when there's more dirt than the internal maid service can sweep away. Dr. Lark notes that toxins wind up being stored in cells, especially fat cells, where they can hang out for years. When they are finally released "during times of low food intake, exercise or stress" complaints can range from tiredness to dizziness (sound familiar?).
That's where detoxification comes in, says Dr. Haas: "I think detoxification is a vital health care tool, particularly in this day and age when people are exposed to too many chemicals."
The process of detoxification starts with cleansing the intestinal system. Alternative health practitioners observe that discombobulated bowels can become overly permeable (a condition called leaky gut syndrome) and allow in all sorts of things that they shouldn't, such as semi-digested food particles, leading to inflammation and complaints that include rashes and joint pain.
Cleansing can be as simple as cutting down on what Dr. Haas calls the SNACCs-Sugar, Nicotine, Alcohol, Caffeine and Chemicals-or as thorough as a complete diet-and-supplement program with colonic irrigation (a sort of super-enema, professionally administered; if you're interested, contact the International Association of Colon Hydrotherapy at 210-366-2888 or www.i-act.org). The more powerful the program, though, the more likely you are to experience toxicity reactions such as nausea and headaches because of the volume of material being released. As Dr. Haas puts it:
" If you did water and green salads for a week, you'd detoxify more intensely than if you just gave up sugar and white flour." If you're feeling extremely rundown, take a gentle approach at first or consult a nutritionally aware practitioner, especially if you have a preexisting medical condition.
Getting more fiber is essential. Laurel Vukovic, a natural health teacher and author of 14-Day Herbal Cleansing (Prentice Hall), suggests following this daily regimen for two weeks: a teaspoon of psyllium (a fiber supplement); at least seven daily servings of fruits and vegetables, especially fiber-rich ones like apples, cabbage and carrots; and six glasses of water, along with daily exercise. Extra fiber "supports the intestines in eliminating the larger amounts of toxins that are released," says Vukovic, "prevent[ing] their reabsorption into the bloodstream." Some people find premixed cleansing formulas convenient; check your health food store shelves.
Fasting is a more intense detox approach that, according to Dr. Haas, "promotes relaxation and energization of the body, mind and emotions, and supports a greater spiritual awareness." He especially recommends fasting in the spring and autumn, which are times of transition. Some people do water-only fasts, but fresh vegetable juices are probably a better option, particularly if you haven't fasted before. Juices and plenty of fresh water also help cleanse the kidneys, another vital detox route.
Instead of juices you can use a special cleansing formula, such as the Spring Master Cleanser: 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup and 1/10 teaspoon cayenne pepper in 8 ounces of spring water. Dr. Haas recommends drinking eight to 12 glasses daily (and rinsing your mouth after each glass to protect your teeth from lemon's acids), augmented by water, laxative herb tea, and peppermint or chamomile tea.
Try fasting for a day to see how you feel. Dr. Haas suggests starting out by fasting from early evening through the night, and eating a light breakfast the following day. Subsequent fasts can gradually increase in length-experienced fasters may go up to two weeks without food.
Break your fast properly; for juice or cleansing formula fasts, eat a raw or cooked low-starch vegetable, such as spinach or other greens. "Go slowly, chew well and do not overeat or mix too many foods at any meal," says Dr. Haas.
Don't forget your liver, the organ that transforms noxious chemicals into substances your body can eliminate. The herb milk thistle, used since ancient times as a liver tonic, contains silymarin, which protects the liver from pollutants and helps it renew itself after toxic damage. Dandelion not only promotes the flow of bile from the liver, which helps clean out the junk, but also acts as a diuretic, helping the kidneys do their job. Green-food supplements, such as spirulina and cereal grasses, help neutralize toxins.
To maintain your cleansing gains, eat a healthy diet after detoxing. Focus on fresh organic foods, especially produce, beans and peas, whole grains and seeds (add organic poultry if you eat meat). Organic yogurt provides healthful probiotics, while fresh fish and ground flaxseeds provide omega-3 fats.
Clean Living Pays
The body's largest organ-the skin-provides a valuable contaminant exit path. Sitting in a hot tub or sauna "benefits the internal organs of detoxification," according to Dr. Lark, "by lessening the amount of toxins they must process." When sweatin' out the bad stuff, drink plenty of water and replace the calcium, magnesium and potassium lost through perspiration.
Another way to stimulate skin circulation is dry brushing, which also removes dead skin cells for a healthy glow (and is easier to fit into a daily routine). Using "a moderately soft, natural vegetable-fiber bristle brush" (Dr. Lark's suggestion), work in from the hands and up from the feet with light, short strokes that always move towards the heart. Vukovic says that a hot towel scrub is another option; put three drops of lavender essential oil in a basin of very hot water, dip in a rough terry washcloth and wring out, and then rub the skin briskly, starting with your feet and working your way up.
Once you've detoxified your body, you can start in on your immediate surroundings. Dr. Haas warns against using plastic food storage containers: "When food is heated in plastics some of the plastic material ends up in the food, especially if the food contains acids." Use glass containers instead. He also recommends avoiding aluminum pots and pans, and using stainless steel as an alternative.
Dr. Haas has seen what a good detox program can do: "It's amazing the kind of results people get-looking and feeling younger, more vital and healthy. They say, 'I'm sleeping like a baby,' they have fewer aches and pains. They have more peace in their bodies. I think detoxification is one of the keys to preventive medicine." So cleanse that body and let detoxification bring balance and renewal to your life.
Say Goodbye to Headaches
June 13, 2005 07:25 PM
Say Goodbye to Headaches by Susan Weiner Energy Times, December 8, 1999
What's in a name? A headache by any other name hurts just as much. But categorizing your headache can be as overwhelming as finding an obscure breakfast cereal at the supermarket. Medical folks pigeonhole headaches as tension headaches, allergy headaches, morning headaches and sinus headaches, plus the organic, migraine, cluster, trauma, TMJ, eyestrain, rebound, exertion, hormonal and muscle tension varieties. You may also suffer the self-induced hangover and toxicity headaches.
Americans are no strangers to self-medication, and as a society we battle these headaches by consuming nearly 80 billion tablets of aspirin each year, about 20 million aspirins a day, according to Burton Goldberg, co-author of An Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide to Headaches (Future Medicine Publishing). And while we drown ourselves in over-the-counter and powerful prescription products, our tolerance, just like a drug addict's, grows. So what begins as a twodose headache slowly evolves into three, four or five doses, until you realize that no dosage can make your headache go away.
Unless you're fond of medieval practices such as ritualistic healings and bloodletting, drugs seem the only answer to headache misery. But even modern medicine has been unable to solve headaches. Rather than a cure, medications provide only temporary relief, and even that isn't guaranteed. Additionally, over-reliance on medications can lead to chronic head pain. According to Goldberg, rebound headaches often result from the consumption and withdrawal of drugs.
Halt Your Headaches
Rather than strive to simply eliminate headache pain, why not identify the underlying cause and prevent the headache? Almost always, every type of headache results from a health or lifestyle-related activity. In an ideal world, the best approach would be to eliminate the tensions, stress, frustrations, anger, insufficient sleep, excessive drinking and poor diet that contribute to your headaches. For better or for worse, however, you can't always: a. quit your job; b. ask your spouse to leave; c. sit on the beach all day; or d. all of the above. But you can make appropriate lifestyle changes and learn to express suppressed feelings.
This approach, lifestyle modification, is a treatment program based on a Loma Linda University study, originally published in Medical Hypothesis and the Journal of Women's Health and Gender-Based Medicine and later explained in No More Headaches, No More Migraines: A Proven Approach to Preventing Headaches and Migraines by Zuzana Bic, DrPH and L. Francis Bic, PhD (Avery). The program, conducted on a group diagnosed with chronic migraines, dramatically decreased the frequency, intensity and duration of headaches in nine of 10 headache sufferers. Rather than demand radical life changes, the lifestyle modification program introduces gradual changes in three specific areas: nutrition, exercise and understanding stress. The study doesn't expect you to change your entire diet, join a gym and eliminate everything that triggers stress, but teaches techniques to make subtle lifestyle changes and reduce the impact of daily stress. These same techniques can also improve sleep patterns, a factor known to affect headaches. The lifestyle modification approach clarifies that while very few headaches directly result from existing acute conditions, recurring headaches often derive from a larger lifestyle factor. If these issues are ignored, the body's natural defense mechanisms may Kick into overdrive and become exhausted, leaving you susceptible to other chronic diseases. By finding and eliminating the cause of your headaches, you may be saving yourself from other eventual illnesses.
Willing to make some lifestyle changes and step away from medications? Try these remedies, courtesy of Nature's Pharmacy by Lynn Paige Walker, PharmD and Ellen Hodgson Brown, JD (Prentice-Hall).
For simple headaches, start with relaxation and neck stretches. Or try rubbing your forehead with peppermint oil, a natural antispasmodic and diuretic shown in German research to be as effective as acetaminophen in easing tension headaches.
Never underestimate the old-fashioned ice pack to the forehead as an effective treatment that works by constricting the swollen blood vessels that cause your head to ache. If the ice pack isn't enough, try putting your arms in icy water up to your elbows to constrict additional blood vessels. But if it's a sinus headache you're fighting, take the opposite approach and try hot compresses.
The herbal, and original, form of aspirin is white willow bark. Used by Chinese practitioners 2,500 years ago, it contains salicin, nearly the same pain reliever found in aspirin. Other herbal aspirins include meadowsweet tea, just as effective as aspirin with few side effects. For migraines, Walker and Brown recommend feverfew and magnesium supplements, which reduce nerve excitability and migraine susceptibility. In fact, individuals with frequent headaches have been found to have low brain and tissue magnesium, says Julian Whitaker, MD, author of Julian Whitaker's Guide to Natural Healing (Prima). For all headaches, Goldberg suggests essential fatty acid supplementation with evening primrose oil (EPO), which improves circulation, helps regulate inflammation and relieves pain.
The Curse of the Migraine
Migraines, a debilitating headache distinguished by a throbbing pain, may be humanity's oldest malady. The name is derived from the word the Greek physician Galen used to describe the disorder in 200 A.D. Six-thousand-year-old Sumerian writings refer to the ravages of migraines, and prehistoric skeletons bear testimony to a crude form of trephination-holes chiseled in skulls to allow the escape of pain-creating demons, according to Lifetime Encyclopedia of Natural Remedies by Myra Cameron (Parker Publishing).
In the common migraine, throbbing pain develops gradually from distended veins around the brain and may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light. These miseries can be preceded by 15 to 90 minutes of an "aura," which includes visual disturbances, distorted perception, hallucinations, flashes of light and temporary loss of sight or hearing. In fact, skeptical historians attribute some of the religious visions of the Middle Ages to the visual effects of migraine aura, according to Cameron.
Snacking on high fiber foods between three light meals each day helps stabilize blood sugar and prevent migraines. And while some doctors summarily attribute migraines to diet, other experts attribute at least half of all migraines to food sensitivities. The most common edible villains are aged cheeses, yeast breads, chocolate, cured meats, citrus fruits, eggs, fermented foods, wheat, milk, milk products, alcoholic drinks and food additives, including nitrates and MSG.
Suggested daily supplements for migraine-susceptible individuals include a multivitamin, one capsule of B complex to help maintain normal vascular control, 3,000 to 6,000 milligrams in divided doses of vitamin C with bioflavonoids to assist the production of anti-stress hormones, and 500 to 1,000 milligrams of magnesium to reduce nerve excitability and pain. At the onset of a migraine, says Cameron, try homeopathic remedies, dilutions of natural substances from plants, minerals and animals. For throbbing pain, take natrum muriaticum according to package directions. Other homeopathic options to explore include iris versicolar, lac defloratum and sanguinaria.
Take Charge of Your Headaches
Headache management involves managing your life. Practice relaxation techniques to reduce stress. Calmly discuss your feelings. Take a leisurely stroll at lunch. Walk your dog, or a neighbor's dog, after dinner. Keep a food diary. Sit and stand tall. Skip the fast food tonight. Join a yoga class. Take vitamins and supplements. Get a two-hour massage. Turn the television off earlier and sleep in a little later.
Taking the time to care may take effort, but it will soon become second nature. Invest in yourself. It's your most precious possession.
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.
Home Spa Secrets
June 12, 2005 01:55 PM
Home Spa Secrets by Carol Perkins Energy Times, July 12, 2003
The luxurious feeling that comes over you in a pampering spa atmosphere can be yours at home without having to venture out to an exclusive resort. Lock the door, put on relaxing music and fill the air with luscious scents. Rejuvenation, regeneration and health-promoting sensations await!
If you decide to indulge in a home spa, cleansing, detoxifying and Kicking back in an unstressed atmosphere, you can prepare yourself for your spa activities by sipping what Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, calls a "Living Beauty Elixir," a blend of eight ounces of unsweetened cranberry juice with two teaspoons of a green superfood mixture "rich in purifying chlorophyll and detoxifying antioxidants and nutrients."
This drink, as Dr. Gittleman points out in The Living Beauty Detox Program (Harper), "helps the liver... open up the detoxification pathways....It's a marvelous cleanser for the lymphatic system...removing wastes from the cells via the connective tissue." The green food mixture that Dr. Gittleman recommends includes nutritious items available from your local natural food store that contain chlorophyll-rich foods such as chlorella and spirulina.
Dim the Lights, Light the Candles
Setting a relaxed, soothing atmosphere is a vital part of the total home spa experience. For the right kind of luxurious ambiance, Aloha Bay's Bright Bouquets candle offers three fragrances in one vase for a selection of tantalizing aromas. Improving the experience, these 100% pure natural wax blends offer about 100 hours of clean burning for an seemingly endless at-home spa getaway (1-800-994-3267, www.alohabay.com). Once you have your candles lit and your bathtub running, you can boost your bathing experience with botanicals from the sea.
According to Linda Page, ND, PhD, author of Healthy Healing (Healthy Healing Publications), "Beauty treatments from the sea are one of nature's most ancient beauty therapies. In Greece, Aphrodite's beautiful skin, hair and sparkling eyes were attributed to plants from the sea. The collagen in sea plants is great for relieving wrinkles and brown spots."
Dr. Page suggests making a seaweed mask by mixing 1/2 tablespoon of ground kelp flakes with a tablespoon of aloe vera gel, leaving this mixture on your face and neck for 10 minutes. "This can help heal scars from facial surgery and is also good for the thyroid. Over 15 million people may have a low thyroid."
Another great mask can be made from derma e's deliciously soothing Papaya and Soy Milk Clarifying Facial Mask. Designed especially for sensitive skin, this soothing mask helps exfoliate dead skin cells and clean pores of pollution and debris while conditioning and nourishing for silky skin (1-800-521-3342, www.dermae.net).
Dr. Page also recommends filling your tub with seaweed, which will turn the water a refreshing green. She says that "packaged seaweed soaks can be put right into the tub, or they can be used in a muslin bag which is placed in the water. That makes for an easier clean-up.
"Fill the tub about two-thirds full with very hot water, put in the seaweed (dried or fresh), which will make the water look like a green sea garden. Keep the water filling the tub slowly to maintain a warm temperature and stay in it for about 20 to 25 minutes. It's great for detoxification, and you can enhance the experience with a few drops of lavender and chamomile."
The gel from the seaweed will coat your skin. When the gel comes off, the bath is over and you have received the full regenerative effects of the plants. When you use this bath as part of your home spa, Dr. Page says that about 45 minutes should be longest you stay in the tub, and if you're using stimulating botanicals like cayenne or ginger, take these after the bath, not before.
After you climb out of the bath, you can give yourself a complete manicure with Baywood's all-in-one hand and nail formula made of dead sea salts, herbs and essential oils. Appropriately named, Baywood's Complete Manicure cream exfoliates and replenishes your skin with nutrients making it feel soft and silky in minutes (1-800-481-7169, www.bywd.com). Then you can apply soothing, nourishing creams to your hands with DreamTime's Hand Cozys that soothe away aches and arthritic pain, and comfort overworked hands. Designed like large oven mitts, these fashionable gloves make a perfect at-home spa treatment when used with your favorite nourishing hand lotion. The warmth of the Hand Cozys help your skin absorb lotion more readily, making your hands soft and supple (1-877-464-6702, www.Dreamtimeinc.com).
Relax to the Max
You should further enhance your spa experience with soothers like Intensive Care Capsules from Annemarie Borlind. These Intensive Care Caps are a weekly replenishment treatment designed to repair damage from sun and wind, offering significant relief from dry skin. Each capsule contains a high concentration of borage seed oil and natural ceramide to deliver new moisture, vitality and elasticity, while being gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin (1-800-447-7024: request a free beauty newsletter; www.borlind.com).
And you can reward your skin with Zia's Body Butter. This dream cream combines mango and shea butters to actually heal the skin while moisturizing it (1-800-334-7546, www.zianatural.com).
An indulgent highlight of your home spa experience can be treating your feet to relaxing rubs and aromatherapy.
As Frazesca Watson points out in Aromatherapy Blends & Therapies (Thorsons), a drop or two of lavender and chamomile added "to a bowl of warm water and soak(ing) the feet for approximately 10 minutes... (can) help colds, varicose veins, athlete's foot, sore and painful feet, and swollen ankles."
The most important element of your foot soak, like everything in your home spa treatment, is the calming and relaxing effect. Healing and soothing, these treatments can keep you on an even temperament in a hectic world.
So shut the light, close the shades, light the candles and get ready to spa.
Battle Fatigue! Don't passively accept chronic exhaustion and weakness.
June 10, 2005 10:06 PM
Battle Fatigue! Don't passively accept chronic exhaustion and weakness. by Joanne Gallo Energy Times, December 6, 1999
Most folks wouldn't seek the distressing distinction of suffering chronic fatigue syndrome. Aside from a dizzying array of discomforts associated with the malady, the lack of a definitive cause, and few remedies offered by the medical establishment, scornful skeptics lob accusations of laziness or boredom or just plain moodiness. "Snap out of it!" they say, with little sympathy or understanding. "Just get moving!"
But if you're one of more than 3 million Americans affected by chronic fatigue, you know your problem is not all in your head. Your symptoms are real and they extend far beyond mere tiredness. In addition to a debilitating sense of fatigue that can make everyday existence feel like an overwhelming struggle, you may suffer from impaired concentration and memory, recurrent sore throats, nagging headaches, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes and fitful sleep. The persistence of any one of these effects alone could be debilitating, but the overall diminished capabilities of the chronic fatigue sufferer can become the most discouraging aspect of the disease.
But before you give up hope on Kicking this energy-sucking ailment, look to natural ways to boost your immune system and regain your stamina for a more healthy and productive life. New research points to powerful, energy enhancing supplements which, combined with a nutritious diet and stress reducing techniques, can help you reclaim your body from a swamp of sluggishness.
Part of the public's misconceptions about chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) may stem from vague definitions of exactly what it is and its causes.
In the '80s, CFS was often mentioned in the same breath as the Epstein-Barr virus, which garnered much notoriety as the "yuppie flu": a state of chronic exhaustion that often plagued young, overworked professionals, as the media trumpeted. CFS was initially thought to be the result of the Epstein-Barr virus, and the two were often considered to be the same thing. Since the Epstein-Barr virus causes mononucleosis, the term "chronic mono" was also thrown around to refer to long-lasting states of fatigue.
Today, CFS is defined as a separate disorder from the Epstein-Barr syndrome. Researchers have found that CFS is not caused exclusively by the Epstein-Barr virus or any other single infectious disease agent. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, CFS may have multiple causes, in which viruses or other infectious agents might have a contributory role. Some of these additional possible culprits include herpes simplex viruses, candida albicans (yeast organisms), or parasites.
According to the CDC, a person can be definitively diagnosed with CFS when she or he experiences severe chronic fatigue for six months or longer that is not caused by other medical conditions, and must have four or more of the following problems recurrently for six consecutive months: tender lymph nodes, muscle pain, multi-joint pain without swelling or redness, substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration; sore throat, headaches, unrefreshing sleep and postexertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours.
Even if you are not diagnosed with CFS, you could still probably use some help in fending off fatigue. You may suffer from another poorly understood condition like fibromyalgia, which causes similar symptoms of exhaustion and pain with additional stomach discomfort. You may cope with another ailment like hypoglycemia or low thyroid function that zaps your energy. Or you could be like almost every stressed-out American adult trying to do it all at the expense of your well-being. Though researchers still search for a definitive cause for CFS, one thing is certain: Constant stress and poor nutritional habits weaken the immune system's ability to ward off a host of debilitating viruses and organisms. So before you run yourself down and succumb to a chronic condition, learn how you can build up your defenses now.
Some of the most exciting new research in CFS treatments focuses on NADH or Coenzyme 1, an energy-enhancing nutritional supplement. This naturally-occurring substance is present in all living cells including food, although cooking destroys most of it. Coenzymes help enzymes convert food and water into energy and NADH helps provide cellular fuel for energy production. It also plays a key role in cell regulation and DNA repair, acts as a potent antioxidant, and can reportedly improve mental focus and concentration by stimulating cellular production of the neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin.
A recent study conducted at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC, and reported in the February 1999 issue of The Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, showed that chronic fatigue sufferers improved their condition significantly by taking Enada, the stabilized, absorbable, oral form of NADH. The researchers found that 31% of those who took the supplement achieved significant improvement in relief of their symptoms, and a follow up study showed that 72% achieved positive results over a longer period of time.
Coenzyme-A and Coenzyme Q-10 (Co-Q10) are related coenzymes also necessary for energy production.
According to Erika Schwartz, M.D., and Carol Colman, authors of Natural Energy: From Tired to Terrific in 10 Days (G.P. Putnam's Sons) CoQ10 in combination with the nutrient carnitine enhances cellular energy production, thereby boosting energy levels. Coenzyme-A is required to initiate the chemical reactions that involve the utilization of CoQ10 and NADH for the production of energy at the cellular level.
Another important energy-enhancing nutrient is D-ribose, a simple sugar that is crucial to many processes in your body. D-ribose stimulates the body's production of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, an energy-rich chemical compound that provides the fuel for all body functions. D-ribose is essential to the manufacture of ATP and maintaining high levels of energy in the heart and skeletal muscles.
In addition to these new nutrients, a host of more familiar vitamins and minerals can help banish fatigue. According to Susan M. Lark, M.D., author of the Chronic Fatigue Self Help Book (Celestial Arts) nutritional supplements help stimulate your immune system, glands and digestive tract, promote proper circulation of blood and oxygen, and provide a calming effect. Some of Lark's recommended nutrients for building and regaining strength include:
Vitamin A: Helps protect the body against invasion by viruses that could trigger CFS, as well as bacteria, fungi and allergies. Supports the production and maintenance of healthy skin and mucous membranes, the body's first line of defense against invaders. Also supports the immune system by boosting T-cell activity and contributing to the health of the thymus, the immune-regulating gland.
Vitamin B Complex: Depression and fatigue can result from the body's depletion of B vitamins, which can occur from stress or drinking too many caffeinated beverages. Studies have provided preliminary evidence that CFS patients have reduced functional B vitamin status (J R Soc Med 92 , Apr. 1999: 183-5). The 11 factors of B complex are crucial to glucose metabolism, stabilization of brain chemistry and inactivation of estrogen, which regulate the body's levels of energy and vitality. n Vitamin C: Helps prevent fatigue linked to infections by stimulating the production of interferon, a chemical that can limit the spread of viruses. Helps fight bacterial and fungal infections by maintaining healthy antibody production and white blood cells. Also necessary for production of adrenal gland hormones which help prevent exhaustion in those under stress.
Bioflavonoids: Help guard against fatigue caused by allergic reactions; their anti-inflammatory properties prevent the production of histamine and leukotrienes that promote inflammation. Bioflavonoids like quercetin are powerfully antiviral.
Vitamin E: Has a significant immune stimulation effect and, at high levels, can enhance immune antibody response.
Zinc: Immune stimulant; improves muscle strength and endurance. Constituent of many enzymes involved in metabolism and digestion. n Magnesium and Malic Acid: Important for the production of ATP, the body's energy source. Magnesium is also important for women who may develop a deficiency from chronic yeast infections.
Potassium: Enhances energy and vitality; deficiency leads to fatigue and muscle weakness.
Calcium: Combats stress, nervous tension and anxiety.
Iodine: Necessary to prevent fatigue caused by low thyroid function, as it is crucial for the production of the thyroid hormone thyroxin.
In addition to nutrients to bolster your immunity, herbal remedies can also help suppress viral and candida infections. Garlic is a powerful, natural antibiotic, while echinacea and goldenseal have strong anti-infective abilities. Other botanicals help combat tiredness and depression: stimulating herbs such as ginger, ginkgo biloba, licorice root and Siberian ginseng can improve vitality and energy. For anxiety, moodiness and insomnia try passionflower or valerian root, which both have a calming effect on the central nervous system.
Eating For Energy
Supplements can only do their best if you eat a nutritious diet. Start by cutting out large quantities of sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy products, red meat and fat.
But what are the best foods when trying to restore energy or recover from illness? "High nutrient content foods with a good balance of proteins and carbohydrates," answers Jennifer Brett, ND, interim clinic director and chair of botanical medicine at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine.
"You want foods with high nutritional value-that's where vegetables end up looking better than fruit."
Brett enthusiastically pushes that "universal food," as she calls it: chicken soup.
"In China," she says, laughing, "they do make chicken soup, and they do think of it as healing, because they add astragalus and shiitake mushrooms. Vegetable soups with chicken or fish have high nutritional value and are easy to digest."
The same principle applies to juices, Brett says. Juices are a good way to tastefully get more phytonutrients from fruits and vegetables into your diet. Toss in protein powder, and you can make a complete meal in your blender.
"You get more energy from juicing," she explains, "more accessible nutrients and carbohydrates that are not bound up in fiber." Brett's additional recommendation: oatmeal.
"It's got protein and carbohydrates combined with a lot of minerals, which you may not get from a sugary cereal," she says. "Sure, they spray some vitamins on them, but if you don't drink the milk in the bottom of the bowl, you'll miss out on them. You might as well take a multivitamin."
Look to fiber for superior energy enhancement. Natural Energy author Schwartz calls it downright "miraculous": "In terms of conserving precious energy, fiber-rich foods are your cells' best friends," she writes. "It takes smaller quantities of them to give you a full, satisfied feeling. They release all their benefits slowly, which allows the cells to extract nutrients with much less effort. Then these fiber-rich foods graciously leave the body with ease and efficiency." Among these "slow burn" foods that Schwartz says raise blood sugar slowly and steadily and maintain energy evenly:
Alfalfa sprouts-high in fiber and low in cholesterol.
Apples-one medium unpeeled provides 10% of the recommended daily fiber dose; unlike sweeter fruits, which are rich in healthful fiber, they help regulate blood sugar.
Broccoli-along with such greens as cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collard greens and broccoli rabe, it's packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals n Brown rice, wild rice, other whole grains-fiber treasure troves, including barley, quinoa, millet and buckwheat.
Corn-excellent fiber source.
Lentils and other legumes-high in fiber, delicious beans are rich in culinary possibilities.
Oat bran and wheat bran-mix into yogurt or add to cereal for the best available access to fiber.
Popcorn-an excellent snack.
Citrus for More Energy
If constant colds and infections are draining your energy, healthy helpings of citrus fruit may be the pickup you need. According to Robert Heinerman, in Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing Juices (Parker), citrus fruit have been used for more than a thousand years as natural remedies for a wide variety of ailments:
Kumquat juice is supposed to help clear up bronchitis. Lemon juice with a pinch of table salt eases a sore throat. Lime juice in warm water soothes aches and cramps from the flu. Tangerine juice can break up mucous congestion in the lungs. Along with citrus' vitamin C, these fruits also supply carotenoids, antioxidants that provide disease-preventing benefits. Citrus also often contain calcium, potassium, folate (a B vitamin that fights against heart disease), iron and fiber.
Fruits are loaded with phytochemicals, naturally occurring chemicals that give fruit their vibrant colors. Yellow, red and orange fruits are also high in flavonoids, like quercetin, a substance which fights cancer. Quercetin also aids in prevention of cataracts and macular degeneration, according to author Stephanie Beling, MD, in her book Power Foods (Harper Collins).
Even the US Department of Agriculture agrees on this flavonoid's benefits, noting in its phytochemical database that quercetin is an "antitumor promoter, antiasthmatic, anticarcinogenic, antiplaque, cancer-preventive, capillariprotective." (Quercetin is also available as a supplement.)
Don't Avoid Avocados
For a vitamin rich food, few items beat the avocado which holds vitamins E and C as well as some B vitamins (B6, niacin, riboflavin). A significant source of beta carotene, though not nearly as much as carrots or sweet potatoes, avocados also contain high amounts of the minerals potassium, magnesium, copper and zinc.
Just 15 grams of avocado delivers about 81 international units of vitamin A as beta carotene. Beta carotene, a carotenoid in fruits and vegetables, is converted to vitamin A in the body. This vitamin, aside from providing antioxidant protection from damaging free radicals, is necessary for good eyesight, healthy skin and healing.
In addition, the avocado, like all of these healthy foods, tastes great. Which means that you can pep up and not have to sacrifice taste for zest.
Healthy Mind, Healthy Body
Remember that the path to wellness begins in your mind. Stress-reducing activities like yoga, meditation and massage and aromatherapy can have a great rejuvenating effect on your body. If you can learn to handle stress effectively instead of letting it control you-and strengthen your system with the right nutrients and diet-you'll find that fatigue can be a sporadic visitor rather than a chronic companion.