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NEW study reveals how MORE turmeric will improve gut health
April 24, 2019 02:28 PM
Gut health plays a critical role in determining your overall mental and physical wellbeing. New research indicates that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, can have an impressive impact on the biodiversity of your gut bacteria. Curcumin is also very good for combatting arthritis symptoms, mitigating the risk of cardiac problems and reducing symptoms of depression. If you’re not fond of the curry dishes usually associated with turmeric, you can try sprinkling it over food or even blending it into a latte.
"The spice contains compounds called curcuminoids – the most potent and medicinal of which is an antioxidant known as curcumin."
Read more: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/gut-health-turmeric-2787.html
Golden Milk: This Turmeric Beverage Packs A Serious Ayurvedic Punch
April 16, 2019 03:09 PM
Golden milk is often referred to as turmeric tea or turmeric lattes, and it consists of turmeric spice or root being infused into your favorite type of milk. The tasty beverage has become more and more mainstream, and it can be spotted in almost any cafe across the globe. Golden milk has the ability to help several different ailments, one of them being conditions that bring on chronic pain. Since turmeric has high levels of curcumin, its anti-inflammatory benefits naturally activate after consumption.
"Here, we dive into what actually lies within golden milk, why adding it to your daily diet could have lasting positive effects, and how to make your own at home on the cheap."
Read more: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/golden-milk-recipes-and-benefits
Turmeric is so hot RN! This is why you should stock up on the spice everyone is loving
September 16, 2017 09:14 AM
The popularity of the spice turmeric is growing and for good reason. For one, turmeric is rich in antioxidants, which are beneficial for overall cardiac health. The orange colored root is also helpful in controlling blood sugar, which is helpful in preventing and managing diabetes. Furthermore, turmeric has antidepressant properties, which can boost your mood. A common way to incorporate turmeric into your diet is via ‘Golden Milk’, which is a combination of milk, turmeric powder, cinnamon, and black pepper.
"Turmeric's antioxidant effect on blood vessels can help prevent blood clots, improve blood circulation and reduce cholesterol – all extremely beneficial to the body's overall cardiac function."
Read more: http://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/article/turmeric-benefits-and-uses
5 reasons you might wanna switch from iced coffee to iced tea
September 04, 2017 12:14 PM
There are five reasons you may want to switch from iced coffee to iced tea. One reason is all the antioxidants that are present in iced tea. The antioxidants that are found in iced tea will help to fight inflammation and it also helps the development of plaque in coronary arteries. There are so many different health benefits that iced tea offers. The people who drink tea regularly have less of a chance of having a stroke.
"Glatter says, “People who drink tea regularly have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.” He adds, “Tea is also known to improve brain health."
Read more: http://hellogiggles.com/lifestyle/food-drink/reasons-switch-iced-coffee-iced-tea/
Move over turmeric, mushroom lattes are the new wellness order
August 13, 2017 04:14 PM
It is time for turmeric to move over and let mushroom lattes take their place as the new wellness order. Mushroom lattes are the new wellness beverage. Mushrooms have been on the healthy eating menu for many years and they have even been used in Eastern medicine. They pack an incredible health punch. The different types of mushrooms all have their own set of unique benefits. They are all chock full of vitamins. Some have been used int treating cancer.
"Mushroom lattes. That's right the humble 'shroom is the new wellness beverage add."
Read more: http://www.buro247.com.au/culture-lifestyle/health-and-fitness/move-over-turmeric-mushroom-lattes-are-the-new-wel.html
30 surprising food swaps that will immediately improve the health of every organ in your body
July 27, 2017 09:14 AM
All of us have favorite foods, dishes, go-to condiments, that appear invariably on our plate. Whether it’s the easy-to-make no-fuss nature of the choice, the it’s ‘what my store carries appeal,’ or it just boils down to how our taste buds feel about it, we can get in nutrition rut.
Fortunately, it’s not that hard to start swapping items we use daily for other easy-to-use items that taste good, even often having a similar taste and texture to those items we already use. The plus is that the swapped in items are better for us. Better, because they’re higher, in things that matter, like protein, amino acids, fiber, vitamins and minerals, besides being lower in things we should want to avoid, like empty calories, trans fat, excess carbs, and more.
By swapping some things daily, such as trying cinnamon, or organic honey, over sugar, substituting plain, organic coffee for that latte, a veggie wrap, for that bread and meat sandwich, could have big overall benefits in reduced pounds, renewed energy and a better overall nutritional profile, making for a healthier you.
"Coffee often gets a bad rap when in fact, quality coffee consumed in moderation can have some great benefits."
Read more: https://www.healthnutnews.com/30-surprising-food-swaps-that-will-immediately-improve-the-health-of-every-organ-in-your-body/
From golden lattes to wonder drug – is turmeric really such a super spice?
June 05, 2017 12:14 PM
People attribute all kinds of health benefits to turmeric. It is becoming popular because of these. Everyone wants a natural remedy. It is better than taking drugs which often have unpleasant side effects. This gives the scoop on whether or not turmeric is all it's cracked up to be. It's good info because some of these remedies aren't but some really do help a lot. It also helps that turmeric has a great flavor and many enjoy it just for that.
"Is turmeric the magic bullet it’s been claimed to be? Of course not. Might it be beneficial in some way to our health? Very probably"
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/may/31/golden-latte-turmeric-culinary-trends-ingredients-golden-spice
TWO CUPS OF THIS DRINK DAILY AND THESE 9 EXERCISES IS ALL YOU NEED TO GET A FLAT STOMACH!!
April 29, 2017 02:14 PM
So many people want to fLatten their stomach, but soon find that it is harder than they ever imagined it could be. It is true that it is difficult to lose fat from the stomach, but it is not impossible. If you know the right remedy, you can get a flat stomach that you love in no time. This drink and exercises are all that you need to make great strides in your desire for a flat stomach.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=665qdTOzvgg&rel=0
"A flat stomach is everyone’s desire, and it is not simple to achieve, as you need to exercise regularly, but you should also change the food you consume. Today, we are going to reveal the recipe of a remedy which will burn the abdominal fat accumulated in the abdominal area, and prevent gain weight again. It cleanses the body from all harmful toxins and waste, removes retained fluids, and boosts the function of the brain."
Take This Vitamin to Repel Mosquitoes All Summer Long
April 17, 2017 11:44 AM
Summer is a time when mosquitos are at their worst. Many people can deal with mosquitos by using repellent, but others are worried about the DEET and dislike smelling like the spray. For the latter, Vitamin B1 could be a solution. Vitamin B1 can change the way a person smells to mosquitos and makes the person unappealing to bite. However, the Vitamin B1 does not change a person's smell to other humans. The research is not definitive, but Vitamin B1 causes no adverse effects so it could be worth a try if you want to avoid repellent this summer.
"But, if you’re like me at all and you not only want to stop smelling like the burnt remains of a chemical plant after using repellent, but also are scared of the adverse effects of DEET in sprays and are more prone to getting bit (seriously though, mosquitoes seemed to love me and only me at parties), then taking Vitamin B1 could be your saving grace."
Read more: http://www.healthnutnews.com/take-vitamin-repel-mosquitoes-summer-long-2/
6 Fruits That Are Even Healthier Than You Think
December 28, 2016 02:59 PM
While apples and oranges are the usual go-to fruits for healthy eating, the wider variety of healthy fruits should not be ignored. Don't forget that avocados and black berries are choc full of vitamins! Vitamin C is plentiful across those and many other fruits: papyas, grapes, kiwis, and dragon fruits. The Latter is also a good source of calcium, and some of these fruits can aid sleep or offer relief from cramps.
"They are also rich in fiber and antioxidants, and this together makes the papaya an effective fighter of cholesterol build-up in the arteries, which again works to prevent heart disease."
Maternal B12 deficiency may increase child's risk of type-2 diabetes
November 30, 2016 06:59 AM
A study presented at the Society for Endocrinology’s annual conference has shown that pregnant women who do not consume enough vitamin B12 may be putting their children at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It is believed that these women have higher BMI’s due to a poor diet and deliver babies with lower birth weight and higher cholesterol. The babies also have a higher chance of having a higher insulin resistance.
"Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs and milk, meaning deficiency is more likely in those following a vegan diet."
How calcium can Help Prevent Bone Loss
November 08, 2013 09:59 AM
What is bone loss?
Intake a lot of calcium too, as there are two sources of calcium in your body: via your diet and from your bones. It is the Latter that is dangerous. Your body will absorb calcium from the bones if there isn't enough in the body. This calcium is really difficult to replace.Intake a diet with magnesium too. It helps in absorption of calcium. If there is excess calcium in the body, one could suffer from arthritis as it will collect in the soft tissues.
Benefits of magnesium chelate
June 23, 2012 02:31 PM
According to various authority websites on the internet magnesium chelate usage can result in positive effects for the human body. The fact is that people will need to balance its use and not take too much, because otherwise, like with any overdose, they will be in for some side effects.
The way it works
There are basically two types of magnesium out there and they number the insoluble and the soluble version. The Latter gets absorbed by the human body very well, but when it comes to the former, it will take some time until the body manages to dissolve and absorb it. One of the benefits of using the soluble version is that the body can absorb it very easily and after that supplement the entire system, maintain a healthy level of magnesium and improve the immune system. For adults it's recommended they would take four hundred milligrams of magnesium on a daily basis, depending on their size and gender.
The truth is that magnesium chelate is an amino acid that occurs naturally in the human body. Some of its positive side effects number improving the normal functioning of the heart, of the muscles, of the bones and also an improvement in the bloodstream of magnesium deficient individuals. There are also many people who choose to take magnesium in order to improve the quality of their sleep by calming down their entire nervous system.
On top of that, magnesium also showed positive effects in helping the body absorb potassium, calcium, decrease the risk of heart attacks, maintaining a low blood pressure and reducing high blood pressure.
Diabetes is a lifelong disease, but studies and experiments have shown that taking magnesium people will be able to defer it. Those who have a deficiency in this element will oftentimes feel weak, deal with nauseas and experience fatigue. In some cases it can lead to an impaired cardiovascular function and even seizures.
For a healthy cardiovascular function and strong bones, calcium is a must for everyone. More to that, if an individual has a low magnesium level this can be mainly because of a low blood calcium.
Guidelines for taking magnesium chelate
Many health institutes recommend that adults (women) who are between nineteen to thirty years old will take three hundred and ten milligrams of magnesium on a daily basis. After the age of 30, they should take three hundred and twenty mg per day. In regards to men between 19 and 30 years old and even beyond that, they should take four hundred mg per day and four hundred and twenty mg respectively. In case of an overdose (even though it's very rare) people will experience gastrointestinal distress and to avoid it, they should strictly follow the recommended dosage.
As people can see, taking magnesium can be quite beneficial for the overall healthy functioning of their body, yet as with any type of drug out there, taking too much of it can have a few undesired side effects.
What Is The Difference Between American Ginseng And Korean Ginseng?
December 28, 2011 07:52 AM
Ginseng is a perennial plant which belongs to the genus of Panax, specifically in the family of Araliaceae. It is native in many places such as in North America and East Asia. It can also be abundantly found in other areas of the world which have a cool climate. Ginseng is a broad genus of plant. It has many subtypes in which plant description as well as health benefits may have similarities and differences. Despite their variations, all ginseng plant contains the active ingredient which is called ginsenosides.
One type of ginseng is the Panax quinquefolius or commonly called American ginseng. Despite its name, this kind of ginseng is widely used in the Chinese traditional medicine. This kind of ginseng originated in Northern America. However, cultivation is more abundant in China. Like many other ginseng plant, this is a perennial herb which contains ginsenosides.
Another type of ginseng which is popularly used in many alternative medicines is the Korean ginseng, also known as Asian ginseng. This kind of ginseng has a similar chemical structure with American ginseng. Like the American ginseng, this kind of ginseng also has many health benefits to human body because of its ginsenosides content. The scientific name for Korean ginseng is Panax ginseng.
Clinical studies have revealed that American ginseng has been found to have an effect more on the immune system of the person. It effectively boosts the immune system thus protecting the body from harmful microorganisms which can cause diseases and infections. Other studies have shown that American ginseng can potentially have a therapeutic effect against inflammatory diseases. On the other hand, Korean ginseng is more on as a tonic herb. It significantly helps the nervous system relax and stabilize mood and behavior. In fact, ongoing studies are being conducted to help develop the brain and the other parts of the nervous system to its maximum.
Other differences of the two beneficial ginseng plants are that American ginseng has a cooling effect therefore; it is best used during humid weather conditions. On the other hand, Korean ginseng is a little bit warm in nature. Hence, the Latter is great in times of cool climates. Also, American ginseng is found to have a tranquilizing and sedative effect, while Korean ginseng has revitalizing and energizing properties.
Another difference is that, American ginseng is rich in a type of ginsenosides called Rb1 while Korean ginseng is abundant in Rg1 type of ginsenosides. The former is great for increasing the yin energy while the Latter is effective in boosting the level of yang energy.
Ginseng herbs can be taken fresh. Many people prefer the roots while some like the leaves more. Nowadays, supplements are already formulated. It is available in the form of tablets, teas or extracts. Topical use is also common therefore ointments and creams are also manufactured. If you are planning to have ginseng supplements, it would be best that you should consult your doctor first. This would greatly help in the prevention of untoward effects of the supplement. Though ginseng is relatively safe, side effects may still occur. However, these effects are non – life threatening.
What Are The Cruciferous Vegetables With Indoles?
October 18, 2011 02:19 PM
A cruciferous vegetable is a common category of vegetables. The term cruciferous is used to refer to vegetables which have a cross - shaped pattern that can be found under the core of the plant's stalk. This classification of vegetables includes:
1. CABBAGE. This vegetable is a common leafy green vegetable of the specie Brassica oleracea. It is an herb - like, biennial flowering plant which has a short stem with a jam - packed mass of leaves. The leaves are generally green to light green but variety comes in red or purple color. An immature cabbage has a characteristic compact and circular cluster of young leaves.
2. BROCCOLI. A kind of vegetable which is categorized in the Italica cultivar plant cluster. This is different from cabbage because it has large flower heads which is usually dark green in color. It is arranged in a small tree – like manner on branches which is sprouting from a solid edible stalk. This vegetable is similar to cauliflower, another cruciferous vegetable.
3. CAULIFLOWER. Like cabbage and broccoli, cauliflower is also a member of the species Brassica oleracea. Unlike cabbage, this cruciferous vegetable is an annual plant which is reproduced by seeds. The appearance of this plant is like that of a broccoli. The floral meristems are usually eaten only while the stalk and leaves are utilized in vegetable broths.
4. BRUSSEL SPROUTS. This is a cultivar of cabbage family which is cultivated because of it edible buds. It is named after the city in Belgium which is believed to be the origin of the vegetable.
Cruciferous has many health benefits. Aside from its fiber – rich content, cruciferous vegetables has a promising benefit of lowering the risk of cancers specifically with that of the colon, breast and prostate. The special chemical compound in cruciferous vegetables is called “Indoles”. Indoles are considered as a phytonutrient which can benefit the body in many ways.
Since the ancient times, Indoles have been used for many medicinal purposes. In fact, most Roman health practitioners during the olden times have utilized Indoles as treatment for ulcerated breasts. Therefore, without a surprise Indoles found in cruciferous vegetables are widely used for the prevention of breast cancer. Clinical studies have revealed that the mechanism of action of Indoles in relation with decreased risk of cancer is that Indoles can effectively decrease the so – called C16 estrogen and increase C2 estrogen. The Latter is helpful in preventing the development of abnormal breast tissue growth or cancer.
Furthermore, Indoles have also been found out to have important benefit in detoxifying the body from free radicals, thus preventing the body from free radical damage and promoting a healthy cellular production and growth. Other theories have stated that Indoles in cruciferous vegetables can block carcinogenic chemical compounds from mutating the cell’s DNA and neutralize the effects of estrogen associated with cancer development.
Other vegetables which contain Indoles are onions and garlic. The Indoles component of these vegetables effectively works hand in hand with antioxidants in protecting the body from harmful substances and toxins.
Aside from these natural vegetables, Indoles chemical compound can also be made available to the body in the form cruciferous vegetable extracts. This supplement has adequate amount of balanced Indoles compound which can equate with the body’s daily recommended intake of Indoles necessary to fight against free radical damage and cancer. However, extra caution must be observed to prevent untoward side effects and unnecessary drug interactions.
Cut the calories, try Indoles in supplement form!
What can you get from Too Much Fiber?
October 11, 2011 12:57 PM
Dietary fibers are plant food particles which cannot be digested and absorbed by the body. Fiber only adds roughage or bulk to the stool making it easier to pass out. It cannot be broken down into simpler compounds then absorbed by the body for cellular consumption. Therefore, dietary fiber is generally intact inside and outside the body. However, despite this fact, certain fiber may be dissolved in certain kinds of solvent such as water.
Fiber is categorized into two, insoluble and soluble fiber. The former is a fiber which does not dissolve in water while the Latter is a fiber which dissolves in water. Insoluble fiber significantly promotes the movement of digestive contents by increasing its bulk. This normal intestinal peristalsis then promotes regular bowel movement, thereby, lowering the risk of constipation or irregular bowel movement. Great sources of this kind of fiber include whole wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts and leafy vegetables. On the other hand, soluble fiber dissolves in water but is not absorbed by the body. After being dissolved, the fiber forms into a gel – like substance which alters the absorption of cholesterol and excess sugar thus regulating the blood levels of cholesterol and glucose. Popular sources of soluble fiber include oats, beans, apples, carrots, oranges and barley.
There are many great sources of dietary fiber. However, there are misconceptions on what fruit or vegetable contains rich amount of fiber. Among the commonly mistaken food items are lettuce, tomatoes and celery in the forms of fresh salads. Chemically, these fruit and vegetable contains little amount of fiber only. Another mistaken belief is that a food may be high in dietary fiber just because of its tag which states wheat, multi – grain, natural and enriched. Like for example, oat – bran doughnuts, cookies and grain chips are commonly low in oat bran fiber but instead high in fat and sugar. Therefore, be careful of commercial labels.
Great sources of dietary fiber mainly include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes. Dietary fiber is important to the body because it can significantly normalize the individual’s bowel movement. Aside from such primary purpose, fiber can also greatly help in lowering the risk of certain diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Indeed, fiber is beneficial and important to the body. However, many questions have come out whether consuming more fiber can be good or bad to the body.
Certain clinical studies have revealed that consuming greater than 35 grams of fiber everyday can significantly influence the digestion and absorption of several vitamins and minerals. This may be technically valid. However, that certain amount of fiber is rarely eaten since most people eat only a small amount of dietary fiber. Therefore, this is not a significant threat to the health of an individual. The benefits of dietary fiber far outweigh the little possibility of adversely altering nutrient absorption and assimilation.
Also, rarely in certain individuals, consumption of more than 50 grams per day of fiber may cause intestinal obstruction. However, this chance is only very little since in most individuals this amount of fiber can improve instead bargain the health of the intestines.
Where And What Sources Can I Get Probiotics From?
October 11, 2011 12:37 PM
Where Can I Get Probiotics From?
Probiotics are not uncommon to the ear ordinary individuals. You may have heard this term on TV and radio or have read this on a newspaper or internet article. Probiotics are considered to be live microorganisms which pose many benefits to human health especially to the digestive system. According to the World Health Organization, Probiotics: "live microorganisms which when consummed in adequate amounts have a health benefit to the host." Probiotics is a general term. The widely used types of Probiotics include Lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria and their different species and strains.
Another good Probiotic is not a bacteria but yeast called Saccharomyces boulardii. Though it may be a different microorganism, but still it offers positive health effects. These beneficial microorganisms are commonly supplied to the body by eating fermented food items such as yogurt and soy yogurt. There are also some fermented products which are specially added with live active good bacteria to improve the health of the gastric environment.
Probiotics are found to be beneficial to the body because of its ability to significantly improve the intestinal microbial balance. It acts by inhibiting harmful microorganisms and toxin - producing bacteria inside the gastrointestinal system from causing harm to the body. These microorganisms also aid the good bacteria which are naturally found inside the gastrointestinal system of the human body.
Probiotics can be acquired from food or dietary supplements. The food items which are considered to be great sources of Probiotics are yogurt, fermented milk, miso, tempeh, soy and soy products as well as certain juices. Other great sources of Probiotics include Aged cheese, Cottage cheese, beer, kefir, pickled ginger, brine– cured pickles, Sauerkraut and certain kinds of wine. Dairy products aside from fermented milk which are rich in Probiotics include acidophilus milk and buttermilk. These dairy products are also fermented and cultured with the potent Probiotics Lactobacillus acidophilus and Streptococcus lactis, respectively. Dietary supplements of Probiotics may come in the form of capsules, tablets or powders. The good bacteria may have been naturally present from the raw material used or added during the formulation of such probiotic dietary supplement.
Keep in mind that Probiotics are different from Prebiotics (Inulin). The Latter are indigestible food ingredients which can relatively stimulate the growth and activity of the normal bacterial flora of the intestines. When these two are combined, they form a symbiotic effect by working hand in hand with each other.
Good bacteria are normally present inside our gut system. However, with the effect of certain health conditions and poor lifestyle, these friendly and beneficial microorganisms may be depleted and not reinforced with new healthy ones immediately. This normal bacterial flora of the digestive system is important for maintaining the health of the digestive system thereby improving the general health of the person. These good bacteria are also helpful in inhibiting and regulating the growth of harmful microorganisms found in the digestive system. Instances which can significantly decrease the number of good bacteria in the gut include antibiotic therapy, food poisoning, alcohol intake, stress and poor diet.
Can Alpha GPC Really Help With Memory And Growth ?
September 29, 2011 11:52 AM
What Are The Benefits Of Alpha GPC?
L-Alpha Glycerylphosphorylcholine, or abbreviated as Alpha GPC, is a natural compound which is choline in nature. It is considered to be an acetylcholine precursor which is now being studied as a treatment for the degenerative disease called Alzheimer’s disease. This chemical compound also has a parasympathomimetic property and is widely used as a nutritional supplement for enhancing memory and concentration. The other name of Alpha GPC is Choline Alfoscerate. Alpha GPC has the capacity to rapidly transport choline to the central nervous system by passing through the blood - brain barrier. Alpha GPC can be extracted from highly distilled soy phospholipids such as lecithin. Inside the body, this chemical compound can be found in high quantity in neuronal membranes. Some of its benefits are:
1. IMPROVES ACETYLCHOLINE LEVEL. As mentioned earlier, Alpha GPC can cross the blood – brain barrier. Once inside the brain, it positively influences brain activity by enhancing the production of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter which is responsible for improving the individual’s learning process. Acetylcholine acts on both the peripheral and central nervous system. In the former, this neurotransmitter functions as the main neurotransmitter in the autonomic nervous system. It is also involved in the contraction of body muscles. In the Latter, acetylcholine acts as an anti – excitatory chemical in the cholinergic system.
2. MEMBRANE COMPONENT. Another health benefit of Alpha GPC is that it can effectively protect nerve cells thus improving the transmission of impulse. Aside from maintaining the integrity of the nerves and nerve cells, Alpha GPC also serves as a precursor of the phospholipids found on membranes.
3. INCREASE HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE. Studies on Alpha GPC have revealed that it can relatively influence the action of the body’s Growth Hormone – Releasing Hormone (GHrH), thus improving the release of growth hormones. In addition, it can also enhance the effects of human growth hormone especially among young individuals.
4. A MODALITY FOR DEMENTIA. Alpha GPC has been long studied for the treatment of senile dementia. Initial result of such studies revealed that patients supplemented with Alpha GPC showed improvement but on a smaller extent. Further studies are still being conducted so that efficacy and safety as well as the appropriate dosage will be determined.
5. INFLUENCES GABA. Studies reveal that Alpha GPC significantly increase the synthesis and release of Gamma Amino – Butyric Acid or GABA. Increased synthesis of GABA is also potentiated by atropine. GABA is considered as the principal inhibitory brain chemical among mammals. It has a significant role in controlling neuronal excitation all over the nervous system. Like acetylcholine, GABA is also one of the primary responsible chemicals for the control of muscle tone.
Alpha GPC is formulated as supplement. It is available in 300 to 1,200 milligram oral supplements. Though it is generally safe, it is important that you should consult your doctor first before using this supplement. This would significantly avoid the occurrence of adverse effects and drug interactions. Appropriate dosage will also be determined by your doctor. Remember, any medication or supplement varies from person to person on its therapeutic and adverse effects.
Your Diet May Be What's Causing Your Acne
September 19, 2011 06:05 PM
Although dieticians and physicians maintain that diet does not cause acne, this is not strictly true. Even dermatologists argue the point, but while it is generally agreed that eating fatty foods or excessive quantities of chocolate will not in itself lead to acne, there are certain valid arguments that diet has a role to play. Recent research has shed new light on dietary factors that can help to promote acne symptoms, if not being the sole cause of them.
Before discussing that, it is important to understand why acne gives rise to the symptoms that it does: lesions in the form of whiteheads and blackheads, pustules and cysts. While not necessary to discuss the biochemical details, the part that your diet has to play will not be understood without considering the effect of hormones on acne.
The reason that teenagers in particular appear to be more prone to acne is that an increased production of hormones has an effect on the condition that causes the symptoms of acne. Fundamentally, acne is characterized by the infection and inflammation of a mass of oil and dead skin cells within the pores of the skin, particularly on the face, neck, chest buttocks and back. If we discuss each of these elements first, and how they are created, then the relationship between diet and acne will become clear.
At a certain time in their lives, people experience a spurt of growth and develop sexually. This is initiated by the secretion of hormones, particularly of male sex hormones collectively known as androgens, and by various hormonal 'Growth Factors'. This stage of human development is known as puberty, although there is also an increase in androgen secretion by the adrenal glands just before menstruation and during pregnancy and menopause. Androgens such as testosterone are reserved not only for the male of the species!
An effect of androgens is to increase the rate of secretion of sebum from the sebaceous glands in the skin. The reason for this is unknown, though it has been hypothesized that its purpose is to waterproof the additional hair that is grown on the body at this time. Another suggested reason is as an olfactory warning to others to deter from sexual activity, in teenagers until their sexual development is complete, and in pre-menstrual, pregnant and menopausal women for obvious reasons. There is no substantial proof for any of these hypotheses, though the Latter appears to make more sense than the former.
Irrespective of this, androgens also interfere with desquamation, and the dead skin cells within the pores tend to fall off irregularly and in clumps. This mix of dead skin cells and excess sebum clogs up the pores of the sebaceous follicles. Once this plug becomes infected with bacteria, the immune system is activated, inflammation occurs, and leukocyte action leads to pus formation. That is what is known as acne.
In order to determine how diet and acne are connected, it would be necessary to determine what components of our diet can either stimulate sebum production, or stimulate androgen secretion. If no such link could be found, then it would be fair to descry any connection between acne and the food you eat. However, there is a connection, and it is a positive one.
In addition to their main function, insulin and a hormone known as IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 that helps promote growth in children) promote the secretion of testosterone, a male hormone or androgen. Knowing, as we now do, that androgens promote the secretion of sebum, then anything that increases the levels of insulin or IGF-1 within the body will also lead to sebum production and hence to acne. What that infers is that any foodstuffs that increase the insulin levels in the blood can also lead to acne.
This inference is supported in many ways. For example, it has been found that while drinking milk promotes a greater risk of acne, eating yoghurt does not. Why is this? It is known that milk can increase insulin levels because of its high sugar content. The effect of bacterial activity to produce yoghurt reduces the amount of sugars in the milk it is made from because the bacteria live on the lactose. The same argument applies to cheese, which promotes lower insulin levels than milk, if not as low as yoghurt.
This being the case, then a diet low in sugars and carbohydrates should reduce the incidence of acne generally. Recent research has indicated that a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar increases both IGF-1 and insulin levels in the blood. This then creates a surge in male hormones which in turn leads to excessive sebum secretion and intermittent shedding of skin cells and so on to the growth of bacteria and acne. It is a logical progression, supported both by theory and by observation.
So how should a person with a propensity for acne change their diet? Switch to fruits, vegetables and grains. Non-fatty meats are also acceptable, and .lots of fish and other seafood. Studies have concluded that diets rich in seafood lead to very low acne rates. The Japanese and coastal Chinese suffer very little acne in comparison with those taking a Western diet, particularly an American diet.
One of the reasons for this is that omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce both inflammation and sebum production. The same is true of green tea that contains antioxidants that reduce the blood levels of dihydotetosterone and hence of sebum secretion by the sebaceous glands. We could go on, and list supplement after supplement that contain antioxidants and other substances that can reduce the production of sebum and hence of the symptoms of acne.
Vegetable oils, on the other hand, with their high omega-6 fatty acid content, can drive up sebum production and the activity of the immune system and the inflammatory response. There are few doubts left that, while acne is not specifically caused by what you eat, diet can contribute to it and that acne and its severity can be eased by eating a diet low in carbohydrates and other sugar-promoting foods.
What are the Essential Amino Acids we must get from our Diet to Survive?
August 17, 2011 12:13 PM
Amino acids or the building blocks of protein are very important in overall functioning of the body. Proteins, to mention, are responsible for the build up of most of our body parts specifically our muscles, ligaments, tendons, organs, tissues, glands, nails and hair. Moreover, the repair and preservation of those parts still rely on proteins. Amino acids can be of two different forms which are the non-essential and essential. On this selection, we will be focusing more on the Latter.
Essential amino acids are those which cannot be produced by the body therefore it has to be supplied through our diet. This category of amino acids includes tryptophan, lysine, methionine, valine, leucine, isoleucine, threonine and phenylalanine.
Tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin and melatonin, can be acquired from peanuts, meat, turkey, fish, milk, dried dates, cottage cheese, banana, oats and chocolates. A deficiency of this can bring up serious neurological problems, depression, anxiety and sleeping difficulties.
Another essential amino acid is methionine. The production of sulfur and other compound needed for a healthy growth and metabolism depends on the presence of this amino acid. Fish, whole grains and dairy are its sources.
Lysine, which is effective in the treatment and prevention of herpes, is present in soybeans, green beans, lentils, spinach and amaranth. Low levels of lysine can also compromise the levels of niacin and this leads to pellagra.
Tissue healing, muscle metabolism and keeping the equilibrium of nitrogen levels in our body are the functions of valine. It has proven to be efficient in the treatment of liver and gallbladder disorders. Deficiencies that results from drug addiction are can also be reversed by this amino acid. Its sources are peanuts, soy proteins, dietary products, grains, meat and mushrooms.
Leucine can be obtained from chicken, fish, cottage cheese, lentils, peanuts and sesame seeds. It functions in muscle protein build up and is the main medium in tissue building process. Inability to acquire such makes a person prone to protein wasting since leucine, together with valine and isoleucine, serves as energy and protein reservoirs.
In boosting energy levels, blood sugar regulation, muscle build - up and repair as well as hemoglobin development, isoleucine has shown its relevance. Its dietary sources are fish, poultry, beef, dairy, eggs, lentils, seeds, soy, almonds and wheat. Isoleucine deficiencies may result into neurological disturbances such as confusion, depression, irritability, fatigue, headache and dizziness.
Threonine is significant in synthesis of antibodies. Beans, nuts, seeds, dairy, poultry, eggs and beef are rich in threonine. A low level of this amino acid causes disorders of the skin and weakness.
Adrenaline and noradrenalin which are stimulates the central and peripheral nervous system requires phenylalanine to perform their function. Phenylalanine can be acquired from peanuts, seeds, almonds, lima beans and dairy. Liver damage, weakness, skin lesions, lethargy and slowed growth are results of its deficiencies.
In summary, our body needs networks of essential amino acids for its proper functioning. Eating healthy foods and living a healthy lifestyle is the secret towards maintaining your optimum general health.
How Does Lithium Help with Memory and Mental Disorders?
July 04, 2011 08:42 AM
Lithium And The Brain
Lithium is a chemical element whose ions have been observed to display pharmacological effects. It is best known as a treatment for mania and remains to this day an approved drug for mood disorders in several countries, including the US. It has been associated with countless scientific studies since the Latter half of the 19th century. It is one of the most extensively studied of all drugs that alter mood.
Depression is an ancient disease of the mind that was referred to as melancholia in the ancient world. It has been noted in religious writings over the centuries. High energy levels and mental hyperactivity characteristic of bipolar disorder were once associated with supernatural causes. Religious beliefs have historically considered mental disorders as the work of the devil, and melancholia is not an exception.
Melancholia and mania were two separate mental conditions. The former was always tied to evil forces whereas the Latter were thought to be triggered by other supernatural causes. Early Greek and Roman physicians noted that active behavior deemed to be pathological could be cured by drinking spring waters. Research have studied and reported that these spring waters actually contained lithium salts.
Manic depression was first posited in the 1950s to be a mental illness distinct from both melancholia and mania. It was in France when two psychiatrists independently observed the type of insanity that oscillates from between bouts of depression and mania. It was later categorized as a specific type of psychosis in that the condition was acute, and thus the patient functions normally after recovery.
Lithium was introduced as a treatment for manic depressive disorder in the form of lithium carbonate in the first half of the 20th century. Its use was discovered when lithium urate produced tranquilizing effects on animal subjects. Lithium salts were used as tranquilizers shortly after. Human experiments have proven to be effective in controlling patients chronically suffering from bouts of manic disorders.
Bipolar disorder is now the widely used term in psychiatry, though manic depression is still preferred by many medical professionals. It was first used in the 1950s to describe oscillations between two polar behaviors: mania and depression. It is a subtype of depression, the other one being major depression or unipolar depression. Lithium remains a drug for mania amid its changing descriptions.
Medicinal concentrations of lithium are generally considered safe in that they produce no apparent psychoactive effects. Instead, they work as a therapeutic treatment. It has been widely established that lithium possesses properties that stabilize mood, though its mechanism of action is still a matter of controversy. It is believed that lithium rebalances brain chemicals and alters gene expression.
Lithium appears to have an impact on several neurotransmitters present in the central nervous system, such as glutamate and serotonin Inasmuch as these neurotransmitters are noted for their role in mood and memory, some sources have ascribed nootropic effects to regular intake of lithium supplements.
Lithium is a wonderful supplement available over the counter. Try some Lithium today and feel the difference!
How Does Progesterone Cream Help Ease Hot Flash Symptoms?
June 21, 2011 11:01 AM
Progesterone And Hot Flashes
Progesterone cream is an all natural remedy for hormonal imbalances in the female body. It has grown in popularity in the past few years largely owing to very strong anecdotal evidence. Its use in the management of hot flashes has produced very encouraging results, and thus has become a mainstay of alternative treatment for vasomotor symptoms of menopause and premenstrual syndrome.
Plants contain fats and oils that can be modified in the laboratory to partially synthesize progesterone. The active ingredient of most progesterone creams in the market is diosgenin, which is a plant sapogenin that occurs naturally in wild yams. Diosgenin has long been noted for its steroidal activity inside the human body, but it has been successfully converted to progesterone only recently.
Reverses Estrogen Dominance
The concept of estrogen dominance is central to the appearance of hot flashes. A group of medical professionals believe that vasomotor symptoms are brought on by fluctuations in hormonal levels, among other factors. While both groups of female sex hormones experience changes, progesterone is thought to approach near depletion in comparison with estrogen. Hence, the Latter dominates.
Progesterone creams work on the principle of reversing estrogen dominance. They are formulated to facilitate optimum absorption into the body. While their active ingredients, such as diosgenin, have been noted to produce estrogen-like activities when unmodified, progesterone creams function exactly in the same manner as endogenous secretions of progesterone.
Increases Progesterone Levels
Hot flashes are often linked to changes in body temperature. It has long been postulated that hormonal imbalances have an effect on the hypothalamus, which regulates body temperature. It is believed that depleting levels of progesterone lead to a series of chemical reactions that confuse the biological thermostat, resulting in vasodilation of blood vessels close to body surfaces.
Progesterone creams effectively relieve hot flashes because the active ingredients are capable of penetrating the part of the skin that leads to the blood vessels. There is very good evidence that topical applications of progesterone are readily absorbed. Since fats and oils from plants have high absorption rates, progesterone creams are certain to increase progesterone levels in no time.
Normalizes Hormonal Changes
There has not been any contraindication associated with the regular use of progesterone creams as most of them are formulated in concentrations suitable for use at any time of the day. In fact, it can be applied to the skin even in the absence of hot flashes to prevent any vasomotor symptoms. A growing of body of literature has noted its efficacy in managing hormone-related imbalances.
More importantly, progesterone creams have shown great promise in stabilizing hormone levels in the long run, making it an ideal remedy for women suffering from premenstrual syndrome. Also, it is very likely to help women who are surgically menopausal as they experience very intense episodes of hot flashes that last until the natural age of menopause.
Grab some progesterone today and feel the relief it can bring!
Why Is The Amino Acid Tyrosine So Good for the Brain?
June 18, 2011 12:20 PM
Tyrosine is an amino acid that serves as an immediate precursor to several organic compounds found in the brain and the central nervous system. It is one of the 20 amino acids utilized by cells in protein synthesis. As such, it is an important component of the human diet, albeit not classified as an essential nutrient. Mental infirmities not related to age has been linked to tyrosine deficiency.
There is no daily value for tyrosine, but it is an integral part of proteins obtained from both animals and plants. Also, supplementation of tyrosine has not shown any adverse effects. That being said, deficiency in tyrosine is not unheard of. In fact, there is a rare autosomal recessive disorder called phenylketonuria that interferes with the synthesis of tyrosine and leads to brain damage and seizures.
Prevents Brain Damage
Tyrosine is one of the amino acids necessary for the manufacture of neurotransmitters and proteins that display vital functions in the nervous system. In phenylketonuria, the synthesis of tyrosine from phenylalanine is impaired, causing the build-up of the Latter. High concentrations of phenylalanine deprive the brain of other amino acids, such as tyrosine. This results in progressive mental retardation.
The presence of tyrosine in the central nervous system is very important in mental development. It works as nutrient for nerve cells that powers neuronal activities. Not surprisingly, regular intake of tyrosine has been observed to display cerebroprotective properties. It has also been linked to the prevention of headaches following an intense physical activity.
Improves Stress Tolerance
It has long been suggested that supplementation of tyrosine may improve stress tolerance, but studies that support this claim have surfaced only recently. High levels of tyrosine in the brain appear to improve physiological responses to stress in both animal and human studies. Many researchers believe that depleting levels of tyrosine in times of stress contribute to mental fatigue.
Tyrosine is a precursor to catecholamines, organic compounds that function as neurotransmitters and hormones. It is converted to epinephrine, or adrenaline, which is responsible for the activities in the peripheral nervous system during stress. It is also converted to norepinephrine, which sends signals to both sides of the brain and forms a neurotransmitter system within the brain and the spinal cord.
Promotes Mental Clarity
Tyrosine plays a role in sustaining mental clarity, the reason why it is thought to produce nootropic effects. For one, the availability of tyrosine in the brain improves mental function, especially under psychological stress. It is utilized by the brain in the manufacture of brain chemicals involved in cognitive function and even motor skills.
More importantly, tyrosine provides a ready pool of levodopa, which increases dopamine levels. Both tyrosine and dopamine levels have been observed to be low in individuals suffering from clinical depression, suggesting that tyrosine may provide mood-altering effects. Since there is no harm in regular intake of tyrosine, it has been promoted as an alternative to other mood enhancers.
The Benefits of GLA to Women
June 15, 2011 11:10 AM
GLA, otherwise known as gamma linolenic acid or Omega-6 fatty acid, has been found to benefit women's health in a number of ways. For example, supplements of GLA have been found to reduce many symptoms of PMS, such as irritability, depression and breast pain. The reason for this may be due to the fact that at this time the metabolism of women is less able to convert dietary linoleic acid to GLA, the normal biochemical pathway for its production.
GLA is also of benefit to menopausal women, for whom it has been found to reduce the number of night flushes. GLA also helps to maintain fetal development in terms of new tissue grown and organ development, and in fact fetus development involves fairly high essential fatty acid consumption. Many women take one or two capsules of evening primrose oil intravaginally to soften the cervix in preparation for childbirth.
However, a small number of sources state that taking GLA in the Latter stages of pregnancy should be avoided, so you should seek the advice of your doctor or physician on this question.
Essential fatty acids are essential for proper hormone production in women and men.
Make sure you are getting enough essential fatty acids daily!
Boost Brain Chemistry, Lower Bad Cholesterol, And More
May 12, 2011 01:27 PM
What is Inositol Good for?
Inositol is an organic compound present in many plant-based foods. Popular nutritional sources of inositol include brown rice, wheat bran, whole grains, beans, nuts, and other foods rich in fiber. It is a polyphosphorylated carbohydrate that was once classified as an essential nutrient together with B-complex group of vitamins. It is an important component of signal transduction of cells, amplifying the strength of signals from the receptors on the cell surface to target molecules within the cytoplasm.
Cancer research on inositol is one of the most publicized. Fruits and vegetables that are known for their high fiber content also contain large amounts of inositol, which is believed to prevent the inactivation of DNA repair gene and protect the cells from mutation that lead to carcinogenesis. In laboratory studies it has shown great medicinal potential as a therapeutic remedy for various cancers. In addition, it has been extensively utilized in the treatment of psychiatric disorders.
Rebalances Brain Chemicals
Supplementation of high dose inositol has been observed to be beneficial to sufferers of mental illnesses. There have been numerous clinical trials focused on its effects on the chemical compounds found in the central nervous system, and early studies recorded that its mechanisms of action are similar to a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.
A growing body of scientific literature is devoted to its purported role in the amelioration of anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, clinical depression, and bipolar disorder. It has been favored over some SSRIs because of its desirable results and absence of side effects. It has particularly benefited individuals diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder, with testimonies being largely positive. Also, it has been reported to also reduce frequency of panic attacks.
Lowers Bad Cholesterol
High-fiber diet has always been recommended to manage high cholesterol levels. It emphasizes the intake of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. The same group of foods is rich in the carbohydrate inositol. In the Latter half of the 20th century, it was discovered that inositol in fact contributes to the breakdown of fatty molecules, such as triglycerides, in the gastrointestinal tract and interferes with their absorption. More importantly, regular consumptions of inositol appear to reduce overall lipid levels in the blood. It is postulated that it blocks the metabolic pathway that integrates triglycerides in very-low-density lipoproteins, the immediate precursors of low-density lipoproteins, also known as bad cholesterol. By so doing, it not only lowers cholesterol and free fatty acids found in systemic circulation but also prevents cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis.
Many nutraceutical products that contain inositol are commercially touted to aid weight loss. Inositol has also been associated with the alleviation of digestive problems, most notably constipation. It is believed to soften the stool by attracting water as it works its way into the alimentary canal, and regular intake promotes regularity. Furthermore, it has been linked to hair growth as low levels of inositol have often been tied to hair loss.
Taking a inositol supplement can help you obtain all the inositol you need for your daily needs!
Liver Protection With Lipoic Acid and R-Lipoic Acid
May 05, 2011 03:42 PM
Early biochemistry studies pioneered by Linus Pauling associated R-Lipoic acid with orthomolecular medicine in that proponents argued that it biological roles provide protection against diseases. Succeeding research in the Latter half of the 20th century supported its status as an essential nutrient, but more recent studies proved that all it is produced in vivo by almost all mammals, including human beings. In the past few years Lipoic acid has been strongly linked to glutathione as its supplementation appears to raise levels of endogenous glutathione.
Strengthens Antioxidant Defense
Lipoic acid is believed to raise the antioxidant capacity of the human body. Its biological roles benefits all cells, most notably hepatocytes, the cells that make up a significant fraction of the liver. For one, it affects productions of glutathione throughout the body. Glutathione is tripeptide that protects cells from the damage caused by reactive oxygen species, such as free radicals. Furthermore, it is a major transport of toxins found in the systemic circulation, facilitating their excretion through the urine.
R-Lipoic acid has been observed to be the form of Lipoic acid that is capable of activating nuclear factor erythroid-derived-2-like 2, commonly abbreviated as NFE2L2, the protein that binds to DNA sequences responsible for regulating the antioxidant defense of the human body. Proponents believe that oral intake of R-Lipoic acid produces more visible results than its racemic counterparts.
Displays Higher Bioavailability
Research on Lipoic acid is one of the most advanced, starting in the 20th century and spanning over 5 decades. It is widely accepted that the forms available in the market are not bioequivalent. Most of the studies in the 1950’s utilize the enantiomer S-Lipoic acid and R/S-Lipoic acid race mixture because they were cheaper to produce. Recent developments in chiral chemistry have increasing allowed for large-scale productions of R-lipoic acid.
Many scientists today believe that R-Lipoic acid is superior to racemic forms. Its rate and extent in availability after oral administration has been noted to be far better, and thus its efficacy is expected to be more remarkable. It is postulated that its higher bioavailability allows it to effective fill the roles of endogenous lipoic acid, not to mention manage to influence the master regulator of antioxidants.
Shows Vitamin-like Properties
The popularity of R-Lipoic acid lies in vitamin-like properties. Researchers are particularly enthusiastic about its purported benefits on human health, though more studies are needed. It is one of the organic compounds needed for enzyme function just like vitamins, and supplementation is believed to produce preventative benefits against diseases. Its pervasive roles at the cellular level enable it to affect energy metabolism, leading to healthy weight loss.
What is Myrrh and How Does it Boost My Health
April 25, 2011 04:22 PM
Myrrh And Your Health
Myrrh is one of the oldest herbal remedies in the East and the West. It had a strong presence in many religious traditions of the ancient world. It was even compared to gold in value at some time in history. Early physicians noted its antibacterial properties and added it to poultices and health tonics. Modern medicine has started to look into its medicinal potential in lowering cholesterol and blood sugar.
Inhibits Pain Chemicals
Myrrh is obtained from the plant species Commiphora myrrha, though there are other related species that produce the same resinous gum. It is native to the Levant and the surrounding regions. As its use were quite common during the ancient times, it spread to eastern countries, eventually reaching India and China, where it remains an important part of folk medicine practices to this day.
In addition to its pleasant aroma, myrrh was prized for its antiseptic and analgesic properties in the old days. It was one of the ingredients used by ancient Egyptians in the mummification of their dead. Throughout the centuries, myrrh has been used primarily as a perfume or wound salve. It has a soothing effect on lesions of body surfaces that seem to remove the perception of pain.
Improves Insulin Resistance
Earlier studies have noted the benefits of myrrh to patients suffering from diabetes, drawing on its uses in Ayurvedic and Unani medicine. In India, physicians that practice both conventional and Ayurvedic medicine have ascribed certain species of myrrh with properties that remove disorders of the circulatory system, notably high blood sugar. Myrrh decoctions are the usual herbal preparations, but it is also available as liniments, balms, salves, tinctures, and incense.
In one laboratory study, myrrh extracts appear to lower serum glucose levels. It is postulated that it ameliorates symptoms of metabolic syndrome by enhancing the effects of the hormone insulin. It increases the sensitivity of cells to insulin, even promoting faster glucose metabolism. In the Middle East, it is one of the mainstays of treatment for diabetes type 2.
Reduces Total Lipid Levels
Myrrh has been the subject of decades-long research on its role in the management of cholesterol. In the Latter half of the 20th century, it was discovered that low-density lipoproteins play a major role in many cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis. The dichotomy of bad and good cholesterol hit the mainstream media to promote awareness of the lifestyle factors tied to cardiovascular diseases.
High-density lipoproteins are dubbed good cholesterol in contrast to low-density lipoproteins, or bad cholesterol. Low-density lipoproteins are actually involved in the formation of plaques within the blood vessel walls that leads to many complications. It has been observed that myrrh reduces total lipid levels in the blood by raising high-density lipoproteins and lowering low-density lipoproteins.
Give myrrh a try and experience its health beneficial properties for yourself!
The Amino Acid Glycine Is A Component Of Collagen And Essential For Good Health?
March 23, 2011 03:45 PM
What Is The Amino Acid Glycine And How does it Work In the Body
Glycine is the smallest amino acid found in the human body. It is present not only in water-based environments but also in fatty tissues. Being one of the earliest amino acids to be discovered, it has been a subject of numerous studies in the last century. The abundance of data points to its indispensable role in maintaining the overall health of the body since it is quite ubiquitous at the cellular level.
Supplies Amino Acid Requirement of Proteins in Cells
It is a widely accepted fact that glycine is an amino acid necessitated for the production of proteins that the human body uses and accounts for more than 30 per cent of the protein group called collagen. Human cells in particular utilize glycine in manufacturing fibrous and muscle tissues, the reason why it has been in use in treatment of degenerative diseases. The total absence of glycine in the human body is impossible, given the role it plays in protein synthesis, but low levels of glycine can be harmful.
Converts into Glucose and Helps Regulate Blood Sugar
Glucogenic amino acids are a number of amino acids that can be converted into glucose. First on the list is glycine, which does not only aid against a sudden drop in blood sugar but also provides the body with enough glucose to support cellular functions. Feelings of weakness characteristic of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue are often attributable to an impaired capacity to produce enough energy. The process of gluconeogenesis converts non-carbohydrate compounds into glucose as a response.
Displays Inhibitory and Excitatory Neuronal Activities
While GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in human beings, glycine is also known to display inhibitory activities in the central nervous system. The spinal cord, brainstem, and the forebrain have all been identified to employ this amino acid in gylcinergic neurotransmission, which may be inhibitory or excitatory. It is postulated that glycine plays a major role in various mental disorders, and several studies concerning its psychoactive potential are well underway.
Scavenges Free Radicals and Reactive Oxygen Species
Although it is not considered an essential amino acid, which means the body produces quantities adequate to support physiological functions, depleting levels of glycine is not uncommon especially in individuals suffering from malnutrition and malabsorption. Glycine supplements have seen a surge in popularity in the Latter half of the century as they are also known for their antioxidant activities. Enzymes responsible for antioxidant defenses necessitate glycine, which is an antioxidant in itself.
Supplementation of glycine has risen in the past few years especially when studies associating this amino acid to degenerative diseases have started to surface. A number of scientists believed that age-related and other degenerative diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis may be classified as deficiency diseases in that these diseases can easily be prevented or reversed with diet modifications. The incorporation of glycine in food products has also been reported to contribute to the upkeep of protein complexes needed by joints, muscles, and other parts of the body.
Did You Know without Magnesium, You Could not Survive?
February 16, 2011 02:04 PM
Magnesium and your Health
Magnesium is vital to life on all levels. All types of cells in all organisms must maintain a balance of magnesium to support life as we know it, and its presence in human beings is ubiquitous at a cellular level. Low levels of magnesium have been tied to a number of medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and osteoporosis whereas excesses are known to impair functions of tissues and organs, notably nerves cells and the kidneys.
Supplies the Human Body with Energy
Glucose is best known as the primary source of energy of most multicellular organisms, including of course human beings, while adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, is the form of energy yielded by the utilization of glucose within the cells. All forms of carbohydrates and fats from our diet must be broken down into simpler compounds to be able to be converted into ATP that powers cellular activities.
That being said, ATP requires magnesium in its participation in a number of physiological functions. What we refer to as ATP in fact contains ions of magnesium, for the former must be chemically bound to the Latter to perform its role in interactions with protein kinases. In fact, it is a common observation that magnesium almost always acts as the functional regulator in the binding of proteins with ATP.
Participates in Enzymatic Reactions
More or less 300 hundred enzymes in the body are dependent on ATP, which we refer to as coenzyme, a kind of chemical compound that binds to protein. Magnesium acts as glue that keeps the enzymes and ATP together, aiding in the catalytic activities brought about by the enzymes and their utilization of ATP. Thus, the metabolic pathways that employ these enzymes rely on the presence of magnesium.
One example of the interaction of ATP with proteins that necessitate magnesium as a divalent cation, in other words functional regulator, is in enzymes that modify the molecular structure of other proteins. These enzymes are transcribed in more than 500 protein genes and affect up to 30 per cent of all proteins in the human body. Moreover, magnesium plays a role in ribosome, the cellular component responsible for creation of RNA copies and the manufacture of proteins.
Magnesium Facilitates Absorption of Calcium
Over 60 per cent of magnesium in the body is stored in the bones, and this fact has become the basis of the recent trend of dietary supplements that utilize magnesium to induce healthy bone density. Indeed low levels of magnesium has been reported to contribute to the degeneration of bones as we age, resulting in porous bone particles in a medical condition called osteoporosis.
Prevents Ailments of the Circulatory System
Since magnesium is essentially everywhere in the body, it significantly impacts the overall health of the circulatory system, notably in the prevention of heart diseases. Not surprisingly, insufficient levels of magnesium have been documented to cause cardiovascular problems, including hypertension and congestive heart failure, and supplementation of magnesium has been noted to cut complications of preexisting circulatory conditions.
Have you had your magnesium today?
How does Malic Acid help with Fibromyalgia?
February 09, 2011 01:18 PM
Malic Acid And Fibromyalgia
If you feel sensitized to pain by otherwise harmless stimuli, then you may be experiencing symptoms of fibromyalgia, which has been recorded to affect up to 4 per cent of the population worldwide. It is characterized by a feeling of weakness in the muscles of the limbs, conscious awareness of abnormal heartbeat, problems concerning bowel movement, and disturbances to sleep patterns. All of these are complaints reported to have been addressed by supplementation of malic acid.
The medical community remains inconclusive as to what causes fibromyalgia, some claiming it’s not a disease at all. While symptoms may not be necessarily medical signs, there are innumerable cases that describe complaints we collectively refer to as fibromyalgia. Throughout the past few decades, medical professionals around the world have considered these symptoms as one musculoskeletal disease whereas most neurologists have contended that fibromyalgia is attributable to the abnormalities within the nervous system. Today the American College of Rheumatology has charted nine paired tender points in an effort to describe the symptoms for this condition better.
Known Causes in Scrutiny
The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia more often than not appear simultaneously with stress-induced medical conditions such as chronic fatigue, anxiety disorders, and depression, but they are known to develop independently. A tissue in the brain responsible for long-term memory and spatial navigation called hippocampus have shown abnormalities among patients of fibromyalgia, thereby affecting sleep patterns, perception of pain, and related cognitive functions.
In the Latter half of the 20th century it is postulated that serotonin leads to fibromyalgia. Serotonin being a neurotransmitter that governs mood, attention, and pain were found to be significantly decreased in the blood plasma and cerebrospinal fluid among patients who reported to experience this condition. That being said, the introduction of serotonin inhibitors used in treatment of depression has also shown alleviations of pain-related symptoms across the tender point index.
Malic Acid and Prognosis
Malic acid was discovered as a constituent of apple juice as early as the 18th century. Reduced levels of malic acid contribute to the maturity of fruits. In human beings it plays a fundamental role as an intermediate in a metabolic pathway that influences the chemical conversion of bioactive compounds like carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into carbon dioxide and water, which in turn convert the molecules contained in the cytoplasmic fluid of cells into energy generated in the mitochondria.
The availability of malic acid inside the human body modulates functional activities at the cellular level by speeding up the metabolism of bioactive compounds and consequently the production of energy in use by the cells. That being said, malic acid provides vitality to muscle cells, raising their endurance against stress. In addition, there have been reports that intake of malic acid help elevate levels of serotonin, leading to improved response to pain and better management of fibromyalgia.
For now, the tender point index is the primary diagnostic tool for evaluating fibromyalgia, and the use of malic acid has been recorded to reduce pain in these points.
Have you had your Malic Acid today?
Do you Suffer from Varicose Veins? There Is A Remedy!
February 03, 2011 01:10 PM
Over 12 million people suffer from varicose veins in the US alone, and leg veins in particular are expected to appear by the time women turn 50. There is nothing pleasant about having varicose veins, and complications are not uncommon, giving rise to venous ulcers and even cancerous tissues. The good news is that a treatment proven to be safe and effective has been around for years with the use of horse chestnut seed extract or HCSE as made available by pharmaceutical companies.
Veins may develop conditions leading to the impairment of its functions. Unlike arteries, veins pump blood back to the heart, and acting against gravity bear the weight of the blood coming from the lower extremities. This seems to be a real burden to the veins in the legs, but the vascular walls of all veins have special valves to accomplish this feat. To avoid blood flow moving against the programmed current inside the veins, leaflets of the valves fold and close up as blood passes.
A medical condition called chronic venous insufficiency explains the appearance of varicose veins. Veins anywhere in the body can get inflicted with the same symptoms made evident by varicose veins, but the Latter is more noticeable because it lies close to the surface of the skin. The valves inside the venous system must be able to act against the turbulence that may occur inside the tube, and when they don’t, blood flow literally descends into chaos, putting an added pressure on the vascular walls.
The resulting dilated veins are what we refer to as varicose veins, which is just one symptom of chronic venous insufficiency. Age is one major factor in the development of this medical condition. It is a fact that the valves inside the leg veins are more susceptible to decreasing elasticity as we age due to daily wear and tear the veins in the legs has to endure over the years. Since female hormones contribute to the relaxing of the vascular walls, varicose veins are more likely to afflict women.
For most women, varicose veins must be remedied to avoid the social implications they bring. However, there are a number of patients that are plagued with a variety of complications. Some women practically lose the ability to stand or walk for otherwise short stretches of time, significantly affecting their productivity at work. More severe cases include the formation of skin ulcers close to the area of varicose veins, which may worsen into necrosis or skin loss.
All the debilitating effects of varicose veins can be countered by intake of horse chestnut seed extract, including of course the removal of ugly leg veins. Standardized dosage of horse chestnut is among the best remedies for chronic venous insufficiency, accounting for innumerable positive results that have been documented in recent years minus the side effects commonly associated with other medications. In fact, medical professionals in Europe largely rely on the use of horse chestnut to correct varicose veins.
Free Radicals and how to Combat Them!
November 30, 2010 02:41 PM
Vitamin C and E
Chances are you have heard about antioxidants. They’re everywhere: in the news, on the internet, and, of course, in our body. The first group of antioxidants that spurred the war against free radicals are Vitamin C and Vitamin E. As early as the 15th century, seafarers knowingly consumed citrus fruits in treatment of scurvy, which today we refer to as a disease caused by a deficiency of Vitamin C. On the other hand, intake of green leafy vegetables results in healthy cells in the body, touted lately as one of the benefits of Vitamin E. Since the Latter half of the 20th century the term antioxidants have come into wide use, sparking a series of studies that led scientists and health professionals to a much more well-informed understanding of how important these vitamins are to human life.
Antioxidants and Free Radicals
Two things about biochemistry that have been a part of our growing concern about eating right are antioxidants and free radicals, which you might have learned outside the classroom. The human body deploy free radicals for the purpose of killing harmful microorganisms, but somehow these chemical entities get out of control. It should be noted that most known free radicals are short-lived, explaining how we survive as they are toxic to the body. When not properly disposed of, free radicals are one of the reactive oxygen species that create a chain reaction damaging everything, including DNA. The problem arises when the body fails to detoxify these reactive oxygen species, and then the Latter run amok inside the body. This is when antioxidants come into the picture.
Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Peroxyl Radicals
Vitamin C and Vitamin E are lipids that protect the interior of cells from the outside environment and play a role in storing energy for use by the human body. Different groups of lipids encompass several major chemical reactions in the body, including securing the proper functions of physiological communication lines. In a process called lipid peroxidation, peroxyl radicals go on a killing spree by depriving the lipids of electrons, which continues as they bring in more radicals. The human body make use of Vitamin C and Vitamin E to police the proliferation of lipid radicals in time to deactivate lipid radicals and avoid unwanted effects on cell membranes.
Ascorbate and Tocopherol as Co-Antioxidants
In chemical reactions, the body utilizes forms of tocopherol in Vitamin E and ascorbate ions in Vitamin C. These antioxidants work on the principle of pairing with peroxyl radicals, taking on radical forms, ascorbate and tocopherol, to stop the oxidation process initiated by free radicals. At the molecular level, ascorbate makes an ideal antioxidant as it does not react with oxygen and terminates harmful peroxyl radicals that continue to oxidize. Studies say that Vitamin C and Vitamin E are co-antioxidants in that ascorbate works with tocopherol. For example, when continuing oxidation damage lipids, tocopherol, Vitamin E, removes the harmful radicals, and ascorbate recycles Vitamin E back to its usable tocopherol form.
The Perfect Match
Alpha Lipoic Acid recycles both Vitamin C and Vitamin E because alpha lipoic acid is both water and fat soluble.
September 25, 2009 10:56 AM
The eyebright plant is elegant and small, growing between two and eight inches high. This plant is an annual, commonly growing on heaths and other dry pastures, especially on chalky soil. The plant flowers from July to September and has deeply cut leaves and small, white or purplish flowers. The stem is erect and wiry. It comes in either unbranched, small specimines, or with many opposite branches. The leaves are tiny, about 1/6 to ½ inches in length and opposite to one another on the lower portion of the stem. The flowers, which are white or lilac, have purple veins and terminal spikes. The structure of the flower places the plant in the Scrophulariaceae family. The seeds in this flower are produced in tiny, fLattened capsules, and are numerous and ribbed.
When a bee visitor comes in search of the honey lying around the ovary at the bottom the petal tube, it knocks against the anther spurs, setting the pollen free so that it falls on the insect’s head. When visiting the next flower, the bee will then rub its head against the outstanding stigma, in which cross-fertilization takes place.
The eyebright plant has white petals that have a red or purple tinge, resembling bloodshot eyes. It is this appearance that is thought to be the reason for the use of eyebright in treating eye irritations as far back as the Middle Ages. Topical applications of this herb were prescribed by Dioscorides and Theophrastus for eye infections.
The eyebright plant will not grow readily in a garden if it is transplanted unless it is protected by grass. The reason for this is that it is a semi-parasite and relies on its nourishment on the roots of other plants. Above ground, the plant appears to be a perfectly normal plant, with flowers and bright green leaves. But below the surface, suckers from its roots spread around and lie on the rootlets of the grass plants surrounding it. The grass preyed upon does not suffer very much. The eyebright plant, being an annual, renews itself each year. For centuries, eyebright has been the herb of choice for treating eye irritations. It is extremely helpful in conditions that involve the mucous membranes. This herb can help to relieve eye irritations or eyestrain when used as eyewash. The herb’s antiseptic properties allow it to help fight eye infections. Traditional uses of eyebright include eye problems such as failing vision, eye inflammation, eye ulcers, conjunctivitis, and eyestrain. This herb is able to strengthen all parts of the eye and provide elasticity to the nerves and optic devices that are essential for sight. Additionally, eyebright is stimulating to the liver, as it helps cleanse the blood.
The entire eyebright plant is used to provide alterative, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, bitter, and stimulant properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are copper, iodine, iron, silicon, vitamins A, B, B-complex, C, D, and E, and zinc. Primarily, eyebright is extremely beneficial in dealing with blood impurities, cataracts, colds, conjunctivitis, eye disorders and infections, eyestrain, and glaucoma.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in treating black eyes, sinus congestion, coughs, hay fever, headaches, hoarseness, memory loss, and sties. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by this herb, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
May 08, 2009 10:00 AM
L-Cysteine is what is known as a non-essential amino acid, meaning that it can be biosynthesized by the body and hence not an essential part of your diet. Due to its possessing a thiol side chain, it is termed a hydrophilic amino acid with an affinity for aqueous systems. Because of this it is relatively highly reactive, and is therefore an important component of a large number of enzymes and proteins.
Although, after all, it is not an essential amino acid, deficiencies can occur in the young and in the old, and also in those suffering certain metabolic diseases. Dietary sources include high-protein foods such as chicken, turkey, pork, dairy products and vegetables such as cereals, broccoli, garlic and onions.
The biochemistry of this amino acid begins with another amino acid known as serine, and also methionine. The Latter is fist converted to homocysteine, which is then combined with serine to form cystathionine. This is then converted into cysteine and alpha- ketobutyrate. The thiol group is highly reactive and gives cysteine its biological properties.
L-Cysteine possesses strong antioxidant properties due to the thiol group which easily undergoes redox reactions. However, it is for its detoxification effect on the body that the amino acid is mainly taken as a supplement. It is, therefore, these properties that we shall discuss first.
Cysteine can reduce the toxic effects of alcohol, such as a hangover or the more serious liver damage. The by-product of alcohol metabolism that does most damage and is responsible for the majority of the negative after-effects of excessive alcohol consumption is acetaldehyde. L-Cysteine converts acetaldehyde into the more acceptable acetic acid, and so prevents the aldehyde from having too much of a negative effect on your health and well-being. However, the results obtained from such studies have been from animals only, and the therapeutic effects of cysteine have not yet been tested on humans.
What has been tested and is known is that L-cysteine is effective in the detoxification of heavy metals in the body. A common source of heavy metal toxicity is mercury from amalgam fillings in the teeth. Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared in 1989 that dental amalgams are a hazardous substance under the Superfund law, many people still have them in their mouths.
The thiol group and L-cysteine has a high affinity for mercury and other heavy metals, as previously stated, and a supplement can be used to remove from the body any mercury leached from mercury-based tooth fillings. It can also be used to bind to copper, lead and cadmium. Lead and cadmium are particularly toxic to the human body, and even though lead is no longer used in plumbing or paints, and cadmium in toys or paints, there are still many sources of these two heavy metals available that can lead to human toxification.
An L-cysteine supplement can be used to remove these heavy metals from the body. Any proteins containing cysteine will tightly bind heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, molybdenum, cobalt and mercury, and allow them to be excreted by the body in the usual fashion. This direct involvement in heavy metal detoxification is a very useful property of this amino acid.
Another detoxification application of L-cysteine is in direct involvement in protecting cellular glutathione levels, and also the prevention of the death of liver cells by acetaminophen poisoning. The Latter is of particular interest to many people since acetaminophen is better known as paracetamol, and since this is a freely available over-the-counter drug, overdoses are not unknown. The result of an overdose is the necrosis of liver cells, with eventual liver failure and death.
The treatment of choice is N-acetylcysteine. If used within 10 hours of the overdose it is extremely effective, and even from 16 to 24 hours it is better than other controls. It is believed that the acetylcysteine liberates cysteine which, when available to the liver, enables the biosynthesis of glutathione. Glutathione can then maintain the production of the fifth metabolite required for the specific detoxification of the paracetamol/acetaminophen.
L-Cysteine is also an essential component in the biosynthesis of coenzyme A, an enzyme essential for the production of energy from fats and carbohydrates. It is also a very important component of hair, from which it is commercially produced. Without an adequate intake of L-cysteine the growth of healthy hair would not be possible.
There are several supplemental uses of L-cysteine including the treatment of bronchial conditions for which the amino acid can help to liquefy and clear mucus from the airways and lungs. It is also used to protect against side effects of chemotherapy treatment of cancers and for medical treatments for excessive exposure to radiation.
However, there are certain situations in which L-cysteine should be avoided when at all possible. Diabetics should not use it, and neither should those suffering from cystinuria, whereby large quantities of amino acids, including cystine, are excreted in their urine. L-cystine, incidentally, is formed by oxidation of L-cysteine.
Paradoxically the amino acid is one of the several hundred additives made to tobacco by the cigarette companies. Although, as with the majority of tobacco additives, its purpose is unknown there are two possible reasons for its inclusion. L-Cysteine is a known expectorant, so it could be added to promote the expectoration of mucus in the lungs which is promoted by smoking, and it also increases the production off the antioxidant glutathione that is depleted in smokers.
There are several other non-medical uses for the amino acid, but it is for is its detoxification properties that it is most used as a supplement. However, because it is largely derived from human hair or duck feathers, it may not be classed as kosher or halal in spite of many claims made to that effect, though the more expensive source of microbial fermentation from corn sugar can be.
The substance is recognized as safe by the FDA, and must be labeled as L-cysteine when it is present in a preparation intended for its therapeutic effects. Keep in mind however, that it should be avoided by diabetics.
Fight Acne Naturally
May 06, 2009 12:13 PM
Acne treatment therapies focus upon two aspects of acne: its prevention and management, and the removal of its more lasting effects.
Looking at the Latter first, acne scars can be unsightly, and there are several methods currently used either to remove them or to hide them. Some of the more radical are surgical, while others involve modifications the surface of the skin by means of techniques akin to sandpapering, and also cosmetic techniques.
However, such therapies are needed only if the condition is permitted to have a significant effect on your skin. There are therapies that can be used to mitigate the condition if not remove it altogether. Before discussing these it will be necessary to consider what causes acne, because without that knowledge there can be no effective treatment.
Acne is cause by blockage of the sebaceous pores in the skin. That blockage is generally caused by a mixture of dead skin cells and skin oil, otherwise known as sebum. Why should this occur with acne sufferers and nobody else, when all of us have the ingredients of acne as normal components of our skin? The answer lies in our hormones.
The reason that acne is most prevalent in teenagers is that the generation of sebum is promoted by our hormones: specifically the male hormones known as androgens that both males and females begin to create in quantity during puberty. These cause the sebaceous pores to enlarge, and sebum to be produced in larger than normal quantities.
The hormones also tend to disrupt the usual desquamation rate, or shedding of dead skin cells. What happens is that the skin cells within the pores begin to shed in clumps, rather than singly, and when mixed with the excess skin oil form a plug that clogs up the pores. This plug of oils and skin cells then gets contaminated with bacteria that in time initiate the immune reaction, resulting in pus being formed through the action of macrophages on the bacteria.
The therapy needed to reduce the incidence of acne, then, can be either proactive or retroactive. Proactively, they can reduce the production of the sebum/skin cell plug. Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) as found in Omega-6 oil can block androgen receptors and so decrease the amount of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) produced. The less the amount of DHT, then the less will be the severity of your acne.
Evening primrose oil contains large quantities of GLA, and even applying this topically on your skin will dilute the sebum and reduce the likelihood of sebum and skin cells blocking your pores. This is an extreme simplification of what GLA does, but it does accurately represent the end result of its use. There are also medications you can take to reduce the rate of shedding of your skin cells, so that your pores have less chance of being blocked.
Retroactively, you can apply antibiotics to kill off the bacterial that act on the plug and that initiate the immune response responsible for the lesions. You can also give your skin a good wash with an effective skin cleanser, including a mild antibiotic to enhance the cleansing of the bacterial plug. However, there are alternative treatments, such as the proactive diet control, and the use of vitamins and appropriate herbs to control or even prevent the condition.
When you think of diet, don't think chocolate. Acne is not caused by eating too much chocolate, or even by fatty foods. We have already discussed the causes of acne, and if we can find any components in our diet that can create these conditions, then by eliminating them we should be able to avoid the condition. As a corollary, if we can identify any substances that could prevent androgens from creating excess sebum, or even control the androgens themselves, or that could help the skin cells to shed more evenly, then we could include these in our diet.
In fact such substances do exist. By going deep into the science, we will find that the secretion of testosterone is promoted by a hormone known as IGF-1 and also by insulin. IGF-1 stands for Insulin-like Growth Factor 1, and is important in the growth of children. It also promotes acne! Insulin does the same, and what that infers that anything in the diet that promotes the production of insulin will also promote acne.
What promotes insulin? Sugars and carbohydrates! Therefore, if you eat a diet low in sugars and carbs then you should have less production of sebum, and hence less acne. What this is leading to is that if you have a tendency to get acne; then switch your diet from carbohydrates and sugary foods to vegetables, grains and seafood. The Japanese get very little acne, which supports this theory.
You should also take foods rich in zinc, since a zinc deficiency has been found to lead to acne. Nobody knows why yet, but use the information and either take a zinc supplement or eat zinc rich foods such as shellfish. Strangely, it is a deficiency of zinc that causes an increase in testosterone, not the surplus of zinc provided by eating oysters! These have another effect.
There are also herbal treatments that can be effectively used for acne. Most are topical, and tea tree oil is one the more recent such treatments used to treat acne. Among the chemical constituents of tea tree oil is terpinen-4-ol, with powerful antimicrobial properties. Little wonder then that it is effective in preventing the bacterial infection of the sebaceous gland pores. The oil helps to dry out the skin, again creating conditions alien to bacteria.
You could use tea tree oil by itself, though many people simply mix it with the acne creams they are currently using. That makes them much more effective. Another option goes back to the zinc again, but rather than take it as a supplement, use it topically. Chamomile and lavender are useful in calming skin that has been inflamed both by over-zealous use of skin scrubs and also the immune system's inflammatory response to the infection of the pores.
There are many healthy options to the severe pharmaceutical treatments offered by your physician. These can be used in place of, but preferably as supplements to, the treatment recommended by your doctor. Each of the natural treatments has a sound scientific basis, and if you suffer from acne can be well worth trying.
May 02, 2009 11:41 AM
Methionine is an essential amino acid, meaning that it is not synthesized by the body, and so has to be taken as part of your diet. It also contains sulfur, one of two sulfur-containing amino acids that can form proteins, the other being cysteine. It is a precursor for taurine, which is an aminosulphonic acid, and not strictly an amino acid, which together with cysteine supports the health of your cardiovascular system and helps to eliminate toxins from the body.
Maintenance of Cell Membranes
It is also an important intermediary in the maintenance of cell membranes. Phospholipids are fat-soluble components of the cell membrane, phosphatidylcholine being a very important example. Also known as lecithin, this substance is derived from choline, itself biosynthesized in a chemical pathway involving S-adenosylmethionine.
This substance is made in the body from ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and methionine with the help of the enzyme methionine adensosyltransferase. Known as SAM (or SAM-e), S-adenosylmethionine employs a number of metabolic pathways in its reaction, though generally aminopropylation, transmethylation and transsulfuration. These add aminopropyl, sulfo and methyl groups to a number of substances, the most common being the methylation of proteins, nucleic acids and lipids.
Phosphatidylcholine is produced by the enzyme-catalyzed sequential methylation of phosphatidylethanolamine, SAM donating the methyl groups. The maintenance of the integrity of the cellular membrane by phosphatidylcholine is critical to all of the basic processes in human biology, including communication between cells, flow of information and bioenergetics.
A by-product of this reaction is homocysteine, formed in the liver from the S-adenosylhomocysteine that SAM is changed to after donating methyl groups. Excess homocysteine in the blood can create the risk of myocardial infarction and cardiovascular disease. SAM is also of use in the treatment of depression and of arthritis.
Creatine is a substance well known to athletes as being useful in provide short-term energy for high-intensity training. Although available in the diet, about 50% creatine used by the body is biosynthesized from methionine and two other amino acids, glycine and arginine. It allows a burst of energy lasting about 10 seconds, carried out without the use of glycogen reserves or fatty tissue.
Glycine and arginine combine to release ornithine as a by-product, and form guanidino acetate. SAM donates a methyl group to the Latter to form creatine, about 95% of which is then stored in the skeletal muscle tissue. The stored creatine phosphate has the effect of allowing the muscle cells to hold more water, which also enables an enhanced level of protein synthesis, and hence an increase in muscle bulk, which also results from the increased blood flow resulting from the short-term high-intensity exercise that creatine allows.
Creatine can also increase the levels of MRF4 (myogenic transcription factor), resulting in an increasing in the myonuclei provided by satellite cells to damaged muscle tissue, that not only repair damaged muscle fibers, but also increase their ability to grow.
Detoxification of the Liver
Substances that help the liver to process fats, or lipids, are known as lipotropic, and the important lipotropics in human biochemistry are imositol, betaine, choline and methionine. They prevent fat from accumulating in the liver, and methionine is also useful in its effect of glutathione. This is a substance that helps the liver to neutralize toxins, such as excessive doses of acetaminophen, and its supplies are regulated by methionine.
Methionine and Autism
Research into autism is closely studying the Methionine/Glutathione Transsulfuration Pathway. This pathway is a very important biochemical means of detoxification, whereby toxins are methylated and then excreted. This pathway seems to be disrupted in autistic individuals.
Not only that, but disruption can lead to oxidative stress which results in many health problems. An example of this is the build-up of the oxidant homocysteine when there is insufficient Vitamin B6 to convert it into cysteine. This has been discussed previously, and is discussed again below.
Although research is in its infancy, it appears that AIDS sufferers also have decreased levels of methionine in their blood. It is believed that the process of AIDS could be linked to this, particularly the dementia that can occur as a result of the deterioration of the nervous system.
It is also hoped that it can help with some symptoms of Parkinson's disease, and pancreatitis. Initial research into this use of methionine has been very promising, as are studies into its use for urinary tract infections. It appears to operate like cranberry in this respect, preventing bacteria from attaching to the cell walls and multiplying in the urinary tract.
Methionine is believed to be essential for the formation of collagen, and for healthy pliable skin, hair, nails and other forms of connective tissue. For this reason it is often used as a supplement for the treatment of arthritis, although an excess should be avoided for reasons discussed above. S-Adenosylmethionine generates homocysteine during the biosynthesis of phosphatidylcholine, and this can cause cardiovascular problems.
So stick to the recommended doses when you use methionine as a supplement. Used properly, and according to instructions, it offers many health benefits, and can also be used to bulk up your muscle tissue and give increased energy when you need it most.
Dietary sources include fish, eggs, lentils, onions, garlic, meat, seeds, spinach and yoghurt. A good supplement would be from 800mg - 1000mg per day, and is best taken along with a B vitamin complex, or at least folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12, in order to prevent the increased generation of homocysteine.
Methionine also promotes the excretion of estrogen, so is a possible supplement for women on oral contraceptives that lower the production of this hormone. The elderly might also benefit from a supplement although, if taken for any specific condition, your health professional should be consulted first, as they should be for any supplement.
Nevertheless, methionine is a very useful supplement, and can be taken to prevent a large number of conditions. Research is continuing on its effect on AIDS patients, and Parkinson's, and it is hopeful that it will one day be recommended to help people suffering from these conditions.
Fight Cold Sores And Build Collagen
April 29, 2009 10:18 AM
Lysine is an essential alpha-amino acid, in that it cannot be biosynthesized by the human body, and therefore must be taken in your diet or as a supplement. It is synthesized in plants from aspartic acid, and metabolized in the body to produce acetyl-Coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA).
Before discussing its action on herpes, we shall first have look at how Lysine helps with the formation of collagen. Collagen is a protein that is produced in the body from lysine and proline, another amino acid. In fact the primary role of amino acids in your diet is as building blocks to form the much larger protein molecules.
Collagen is fibrous, and forms the connective tissue such as cartilage, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and skin. Even the external parts of the ears. It literally holds our skeletons together, and wraps the whole body up in skin, so if we had no collagen we would literally fall apart! Collagen is also used by body cells to form the matrix that the body cells use to attach to each other and is one of the most important types of tissue in your body.
It is so ubiquitous that over 30% of the protein contained in your body is collagen, and it is designed for its structural strength as opposed to its ability to take part in chemical reactions as other proteins are. Lysine and Vitamin C are essential for the maintenance and formation of collagen.
There is not a lot of lysine in collagen - only about 4%, but it is very active in the cross-linking that forms the fibrils of collagen. Fibrils are the hair-like structures formed in a triple helix arrangement by three protein chains twisting round one another. The fibrils are bundled together in a straight line that has amazing tensile strength. The tensile strength of collagen is, weight for weight, stronger than steel!
In order for lysine to take part in this process effectively, some molecules have to be hydroxylated and others oxidized, forming aldehydes. Things can go wrong here, and deficiencies in the metabolic process can lead to some heritable conditions, or diseases of connective tissue. Among these are lathyrism, Cutis-Laxa and the Menkes kinky hair syndrome.
However, lysine is a very versatile amino acid, and not only is it necessary for the biosynthesis of all proteins, but is also heavily involved in the production of enzymes, hormones and antibodies. It is an important component of the calcium absorption process, and also, as previously stated, can be used in the treatment of herpes simplex.
This form of herpes is known commonly as 'cold sores', and is a result of the activity of the herpes virus. Viruses do not reproduce in order to ensure the 'continuation of the species', but replicate. In order to achieve this it requires the help of another amino acid, arginine. This is a common amino acid whose sources include grains, seeds, peanuts, raisins and chocolate.
Lysine and arginine competes for the absorption and entry of tissue cells, and reduces the strength of arginine, so preventing the growth of herpes. For this reason a supplement of lysine can be used to reduce the effects of the herpes simplex virus, and lessen the symptoms of the cold sore.
However, it is not only cold sores but other forms of herpes that lysine can help to relieve. Herpes zoster is a virus that causes shingles. This virus is generated by the reactivation of the dormant varicella-zoster virus left in the tissues after chickenpox. It is a recurrent condition, and lycine can help to reduce recurrences as well as its severity. Apart from being an effective defense against herpes, and forming collagen, the amino acid imparts several other benefits to the human body.
Among these is osteoporosis. L-lysine is involved in calcium absorption in the intestine, and also helps to reduce the loss of calcium in the urine. In osteoporosis we have to try to make every calcium molecule ingested in the diet to be incorporated in the bone structure. L-arginine can work with lysine to enhance the activity of the body cells that produce bone.
Canker sores are often mistaken for cold sores, but they are actually quite different. They are small sores inside the mouth, and appear in the form of very painful ulcers. The cause is unknown, but is believed to be a virus, and lysine appears to help the condition. Although there have been no proper clinical tests carried out on its use as a remedy for canker sores, lysine appears to help, and a supplement is recommended as a treatment by many doctors. It will do no harm, and anybody suffering from these tiny but painful sores will try anything.
Although lysine deficiency is rare, it can occur, particularly amongst those observing a vegetarian macrobiotic diet, and also in athletes who frequently undertake vigorous exercise, especially with too little recovery time. The effects of a deficiency are fatigue, nausea, appetite loss, anemia, slow growth and kidney stones. The Latter is likely due to a failure to absorb calcium, that L-lysine promotes, and the formation of calcium oxalate and other insoluble salts in the kidney.
Dietary sources include beans and other legumes, and although it should be available in cereals, baked foods and doughnuts, for example, the carmelization of sugars binds the lysine to the sugar, and so reducing its bioavailability. However, you can also get it in cheese, eggs, tofu and red meats.
If you are taking an arginine supplement, you should consult your physician prior to taking lysine. The reason for this is that lysine and arginine share biochemical pathways, and arginine can reduce the effective concentration of lysine.
However, it has not been tested by the FDA, nor approved, and any use is at your own risk. This risk appears to be very small, although its manufacture is not regulated. However, do not let this bother you: the proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say.
Many have found lysine to be effective with collagen or herpes problems, and a supplement of between 3,000 and 9,000 mg per day is recommended for those with herpes viral infections. It is not recommended for children under two years old. Lysine is available at your local or internet health food store at discount prices. Look for name brands to ensure purity and quality of the product you purchase.
Another Great Cold Sore Remedy is Red Marine Algae!
December 10, 2008 10:48 AM
Hoodia Gordonii is a South African succulent plant of the family Apocynaceae. They are remarkable similar in appearance to cacti, although they are totally unrelated to them and grow predominantly in the region of Central Namibia in the south west of Africa, up to the southern regions of Angola. They are most commonly found in rocky ground and on the plains.
There are several species of hoodia, some of them grown domestically, and it is Hoodia gordonii that is used as an appetite suppressant in hoodia weight loss pills. Although the plant has historically found use in the treatment of infections and gastric problems, most interest is displayed in its use by the bushmen of the Kalahari Desert to suppress their appetite during long hunting trips when food and water are scarce.
The active ingredient was isolated in 1977, and given the name P57: the product is therefore often referred to as Hoodia P57. It was patented by its discoverers, the CSIR (South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) and a license granted to UK company Phytopram, who worked together with Pfizer to isolate the active ingredients and manufacture them synthetically. This was found to be very difficult, if not impossible, since any synthetic form of the extract failed to display any hunger-suppressant properties.
Finally, the rights to the main ingredient were released by Pfizer in 2002, thus indicating that it was of no commercial benefit to them. The main problem they admitted with synthesizing P57 was not only the difficulty in doing so, but also that there were side effects of the extract on the liver caused by other components that could not be removed. No synthetic form of hoodia is therefore available, and only the natural plant is used in current Hoodia 57 preparations.
The rights of the San Bushmen to the plant were recognized by the CSIR in 2002, and not only do they receive a proportion of the profits of marketing hoodia, but also the plant is protected with wild-harvesting licenses provided to only certain individuals and companies. Due to the rising popularity of the hoodia weight loss industry, the plant has been named as an endangered species in the wild.
It is believed that the active ingredients are steroidal saponins that can fool the body into believing it is full. This theory is based upon the effect on appetite of glucose concentrations in the blood. Your appetite is controlled by the amount of unconverted glucose in your blood, and glycogen in the liver. When you eat carbohydrates, they are digested and converted into glucose which is absorbed into the bloodstream.
Under normal conditions your blood glucose levels increase to a level where a signal from hypothalamus stops you feeling hungry. Insulin is then secreted from the pancreas to prepare your cells to use that glucose in the mitochondria to create energy by means of the Kreb's Cycle, or Citric Acid Cycle as it is also known. This reduces the concentration of glucose in the blood, and once it reaches a certain level the body begins to use its emergency energy supply, glycogen, that is stored in the liver.
A signal then informs the brain that more glucose is needed. You then feel hungry again, and this cycle is repeated several times a day in a normally healthy person. This cycle is controlled by certain hormones in the brain, specifically in the ventromedial center of the hypothalamus, where it is believed that the ATP (adenosine triphosphate) availability controls the release of the hormones involved.
ATP is the molecule of energy, and as the concentration of blood glucose and of glycogen drop, then the amount of ATP produced also drops and this is detected in the hypothalamus, which reacts by releasing ghrelin. Increased leptin increases the feeling of satiety and ghrelin increases the feeling of hunger. Serotonin acts on the brain to increase the effect of leptin in the hypothalamus, and therefore make us feel less hungry, or more satiated.
It is believed that hoodia gordonii, or the Hoodia P57 component of it, fools the brain into believing that your blood glucose or glycogen levels have reached the point at which it should trigger a satiated response, so that you stop eating even though your ATP levels might be low. The steroidal saponins that it contains is believed to be ten thousand times more effective than glucose in stimulated the secretion of serotonin.
Hoodia has also been found to contain a number of glycosides, including pregnane glycosides that some studies have indicated to help control appetite of the subjects tested. Most of these tests have been carried out on animals, although Hoodia weight loss preparations are offered in a form standardized on both steroidal saponins and pregnane glycosides.
Hoodia gordonii is becoming so popular as a weight loss product that its export is being monitored by the South African government. It has become so endangered that, since 2005, only hoodia grown on commercial farms is permitted an export license, and exporters must obtain a license from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Importers also require a permit from the US department of Agriculture, and a CITES certificate is also needed to re-export the finished product.
Because of this, more hoodia weight loss pills are being sold than there is hoodia gordonii to produce them. It is not uncommon for cacti such as the prickly pear cactus from Mexico, to be used, or for low concentrations of hoodia to be bulked up with fillers. Neither of these is of any use as an appetite suppressant, the former having no active ingredients whatsoever and the Latter containing only traces.
If you are purchasing hoodia, therefore, be aware of this. Request sight of the CITES certificate and USDA permit, and also the analysis results by an authorized laboratory to confirm that the product is what it purports to be. Otherwise, there is some evidence that Hoodia gordonii can help you reduce weight, although to date there are only four recognized analytical laboratories registered to analyze the active content of hoodia weight loss products.
Finally, check for the analysis certificates. All Hoodia weight loss products should be analyzed by each of three methods: Microscopy, High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography (HPTLC) and High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) - all there are needed. The four authorized laboratories are: the University of Mississippi, Chromadex labs in Irvine California, Alkemist Pharmaceuticals and Advanced Laboratories, Smithfield, NC.
No others will do, so if your Hoodia weight loss preparation has not been analyzed using the three methods by one of these laboratories, don't buy it, even if it can show the CITES and USDA documentation.
Huperzine And Memory
December 04, 2008 01:20 PM
Chinese club moss goes by the name Huperzia serrata, and gives its name to the sesquiterpene alkaloid it contains: huperzine A. This alkaloid has been found to be a superstar in the arena of brain-saving treatments for conditions such as Alzheimer's and age-related senility. Studies in China have found up to 60% improvements in the cognitive functions of such patients, and its potential has been recorded in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This is no mere folk remedy, and is the subject of serious study.
Known as Qian Ceng Ta, Chinese club moss has been a part of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries for the treatment of fever and inflammation, which is not surprising considering that most plants contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. However, what is unusual is the fact that it has also been found effective in treating some forms of dementia and depression, and also helps to reduce the incidence of panic attacks in those susceptible to them.
Not only that, but the plant has been found to possess diuretic properties, and a reduction in the swelling associated with water retention could also help to reduce the pain and other effects of swelling and inflammation. However, for now it is its effect on the brain that we are concerned, and research has indicated the likely mechanism by which huperzine A works.
Huperzine is an enzyme inhibitor - specifically inhibiting the enzyme acetylcholinesterase that breaks down acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in the processes of memory, learning and mood. Outside the brain, it is involved in the movement of skeletal muscle tissue as well as in the regulation of cardiac and other smooth muscles such as those of the blood vessels.
When acetylcholinesterase (AChE) attacks acetylcholine (ACh), the Latter attaches to a chemical site on the enzyme where it is then destroyed. It is a deliberate function of the body, designed to terminate a synaptic transmission. The purpose of a neurotransmitter is to allow the transmission of an electrical impulse form one nerve cell to another over a gap between them known as a synapse. Once the transmission has been completed, the enzyme can destroy the neurotransmitter, and then another takes its place. In fact one molecule of AChE can destroy around 5,000 molecules of ACh.
However, with age and for other reasons, these neurotransmitters can become depleted so that it becomes increasingly more difficult for brain cells to communicate with each other, and their destruction becomes undesirable. There are drugs available to help prevent this happening (e.g. donepezil, galantamine and tacrine), and so help to improve the memory and mental function of people as they grow older or contract conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.
Huperzine A has been found to take up the site in the acetylcholinesterase molecule that would normally have been used by the acetylcholine, and so save it from destruction. The more Huperzine A molecules present, the more acetylcholine available to pass messages between brain cells, and the stronger the cognitive function of the subject or patient. The pharmaceutical drugs mentioned in the previous paragraph work in exactly the same way.
This is a very specific reaction, one molecule adopting exactly the same space as the other, and has been proved scientifically by comparing the physical shapes of the two molecules. It's just like a jigsaw puzzle, where only one piece can fit into each position. Except here there are two: Huperzine A and acetylcholine both fit into the exact same place in the chemical structure of the acetylcholinesterase molecule.
The biochemistry of the reactions involved is very complex, and shall not be discussed here, but the upshot is that Huperzine A can do exactly the same job as modern drugs to avoid this hydroxylation of the ACh needed for the proper functioning of your brain.
In fact, clinical trials have indicated Huperzine A not only to be comparable in effect to the drugs current used, but also likely safer with respect to the possible side effects. This has still to be confirmed, but the National Institute on Aging is currently carrying out a trial to evaluate this claim in tandem with its effect on Alzheimer's disease. It has also been examined at Harvard University for its effect on epilepsy on patients with whom alternative pharmaceutical treatments have been unsuccessful.
Another suggested benefit of Huperzine A is that it is an NMDA (N-methyl D-aspartate) receptor antagonist that provides protection against damage to the brain by an excess of glutamates, and that it can also help to protect nerve cells from damage. Since NDMA is responsible for the transmission of some types of pain, the antagonist can also act as an analgesic.
There are other benefits that Chinese club moss can provide, and myasthenia gravis is one of them. Although relatively rare, this is a serious condition in which acetylcholine receptors are deactivated on muscle cells. This is achieved through the autoimmune system malfunctioning and creating antibodies against the receptors, and the end result is paralysis and respiratory failure.
Huperzine A reduces the AChE available and so might possibly enable the acetylcholine to work more effectively and delay or even stop the deterioration of muscle function. When people hear of muscle paralysis they frequently forget that breathing requires muscle function, as indeed does your heartbeat. This is currently surmise, and studies are being carried out to determine whether or not this usage of Huperzine A is viable.
Another promising application of Chinese club moss extract is in preventing organophosphate poisoning. These pesticides permanently suppress acetylcholine. This results in seizures due to a lack of interruption of the signals from nerves to muscles. The seizures can result in rapid death from uncontrollable seizures, or from permanent contraction of the diaphragm muscle that allows breathing. Although no human studies have yet been carried out, animals given Huperzine A prior to organophosphate exposure have survived without seizures.
There are no doubts that Chinese club moss and the Huperzine A extracted from it are effective in preventing the suppression of acetylcholine, and in permitting the proper activity of this important neurotransmitter. It is finding an increasing number of potential uses beneficial to the human body, not the least of which would be a partial remedy for some of the effects of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
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.
September 02, 2008 10:10 AM
An isoflavone from soy has been evaluated for its effect on various female functions such as the menopause and some effects on estrogens. Soy products have been part of the diet in the Far East for thousands of years, and it is a known fact that these people suffer fewer incidences of conditions such as breast cancer, menopausal problems, rectal cancer and diseases of the heart and joints.
The benefits that such a diet appeared to confer on those taking it initiated many studies into the active constituents of soy, and how the biochemistry involved imparted these benefits. A result of this was an intensification of investigations into many so-called -women's functions' or 'women's problems' that hitherto had been accepted as a part of life. Now, however, they are better understood, just as many other components of the Oriental diet are being found to have wider implications in terms of disease prevention and increasing life expectancy. So back to soy and its isoflavone content.
Soy contains a number of isoflavones, commonly known as phyto-estrogens - plant estrogens - because their chemical formula is similar to that of estrogen, a female hormone. Isoflavones possess some properties that support the beneficial properties of estrogens, and others that suppress some of the risk factors possessed by estrogen. We shall discuss here how these isoflavones are related chemically to estrogens, and how they can be used to support some specific female functions.
In order to understand how isoflavones work we go back to the 1980s, when alpha and beta estrogen receptors were discovered. Until then, the biochemistry of estrogen was not fully understood, and problems connected with estrogen had not been fully investigated.
Like all hormones, estrogen works by finding receptors that are located on cells. With regard to estrogen there are two types of receptor. The beta receptors are connected with the beneficial properties of estrogen, while the alpha receptors tend to lead to the unfavorable effects such as cancers related to estrogen. Each of your different tissue types possesses different ratios of these two receptor types.
The unfavorable alpha receptors predominate in tissues such as the breast, ovaries and uterus. The favorable beta receptors predominate in the blood cells, bladder, prostate gland, thymus and bones. Studies have indicated that isoflavones appear to attack to the beta receptors and simulate the beneficial effect of estrogen when the levels of estrogen in the body are low, and allow the proper functioning of these cells in the body.
The alpha cells are also populated by isoflavones, which then protect these areas of your body against cancers that can be stimulated by estrogen, such as cancers of the breast, ovaries and uterus. It appears that cancers that can develop when the alpha receptors are populated by estrogen do not occur when isoflavones have captured them
Isoflavones are present in the form of glucosides. These are composed of sugar and non-sugar components, the Latter known as aglycones, and the main isoflavones in soybean are based on the three aglycones genistein, daizein and glycetein. The glucosides are water soluble and are broken down into enzymes known as B-glucosidases in the intestine. This releases the aglycones that can be further metabolized into other substances.
Current studies are examining the possibility that a diet rich in isoflavones taken early in life up to teenage years can reduce the incidence of breast cancer in later years. Isoflavones have been used in the laboratory to reduce the growth of prostate cancer cells, and animal studies have reinforced this finding. The fact that Japanese men suffer less from prostate cancer than those eating diets low in isoflavones also tend to reinforce this connection.
The same mechanism can be used to in prostate cancer by binding to testosterone receptors. Genistein, in particular, can help treat certain types of cancer by inhibiting enzymes such as tyrosine kinase that can become hyperactive and overstimulate the growth of potentially cancerous cells.
It is probable that the estrogen binding facility of isoflavones complements the activity of estrogen in women with low levels of hormone. When the female estrogen level is low, isoflavones can reduce the effects of the menopause and symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats become less severe. While not all women benefit, it has been found that women with these symptoms tend to suffer less when taking a diet rich in soy foods containing isoflavones.
In addition to its moderating effect on these cancers, and its effect on the menopausal symptoms on many women, soy isoflavones possess a few other beneficial health properties. They are strong antioxidants, and help to support the immune system by mopping up free radicals. They also help to protect from atherosclerosis by preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and depositing it as plaque in the arteries.
There is evidence that isoflavones in the diet can help to maintain strong healthy bones. This is largely through the fact that Chinese women taking a diet rich in soya suffer fewer fractures than those on a low soy diet, but studies are continuing into potential reasons for this. Estrogen receptors in bones regulate bone growth and density. Isoflavones can modulate these receptors and promote greater bone density just like estrogen hormones with out estrogen side effects.
Isoflavones have few dietary sources, the richest being soybeans and other soy products. These are very low in the non-Asian diet, so few people, other than Asians, receive the benefit of these phytochemicals. This is believed to be the major reason for Asians suffering significantly lower rates of certain cancers than non-Asians.
Soy milk and tofu are the richest sources, although there is no standardization of isoflavones in soy-based foodstuffs. This is because the isoflavone content varies according to growing conditions, although a diet containing the recommended quantities of soy foods, such as soy milk or soy beans, together with a low cholesterol diet, should help women to overcome many of the problems associated with excess estrogen, or a lack of it especially when taking in conjunction with essential fatty acids.
Any supplement containing soy will be beneficial to most women, particularly during the menopausal stages, although the effect of isoflavones on certain cancers to which women are susceptible cannot be ignored. Such supplements should therefore be used by all women from at the teens onwards, studies having indicating that an isoflavone-rich diet should be beneficial over the longer term.
Isoflavones from soy is effective in helping to support female functions, although the normal Western diet is traditionally very short in these forms of phytoestrogen. Isoflavones can modulate estrogen receptor sites through out the body helping the body regulate its functions and easy the symptoms related to a estrogen deficient body.
July 08, 2008 03:00 PM
Garcinia cambogia is a small tree bearing a small pumpkin-like fruit of the citrus family, and is steadily appearing in an increasing number of weight loss supplements. It is indigenous to parts of Africa and Asia, and the rind is commonly used in Indian cookery.
Although the fruit is particularly sour to the taste, it is used in form of an extract of the rind and claimed to act as an appetite suppressant and also to increase the body’s capacity to metabolize fat. Although there are conflicting claims being made about its efficacy, or lack of it, research shows that it definitely has promise as an agent to prevent and fight obesity and its use is steadily increasing in this respect.
The active ingredient is hydroxy citric acid, otherwise known as HCA, contained in the form of the potassium and calcium salts of the acid in the aqueous extract of the garcinia cambogia rind. It forms up to 30% by weight of the rind. It is tasteless and odorless, and so far found to have no toxic effects on humans. Animal studies have also been generally favorable.
HCA works in two specific ways both to reduce the desire to eat and to inhibit the storage of fat in the body. In each case, as with so many supplements that have an inhibitory effect on a physiological or psychological function or on a metabolic process, it involves an interaction with enzymes.
Citrate lysase is an enzyme in the body that helps to prevent lipogenesis and instead promotes the conversion of carbohydrates into fat. When this enzyme is inhibited from carrying out its intended part in the body’s metabolism, the process of carbohydrate oxidation is boosted, or, in other words, the excess carbohydrate is burned off, or changed into energy.
More fats could also be expelled unchanged from the body, but irrespective of that the end result is that less carbohydrate tends to be converted to fat. Garcinia cambogia, however, has not been found to reduce the body’s uptake of essential fatty acids which are necessary for health. Had this occurred, you would feel a raging hunger as opposed to the appetite suppressing properties the extract is claimed to have.
The oxidation of carbohydrates can also lead to thermogenesis, or the boosting of the metabolism by increasing your body temperature. An increase in the metabolic rate helps weight reduction through an increased calorie demand while your body is at rest. However, that is not the only way in which the HCA extract works to help reduce your weight, or at least help to maintain it at a healthy level. Let’s return to its specific appetite suppression properties.
Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) is a neuroreceptor found in the central nervous system. It has many regulatory effects on the body, one of which is appetite. Although it is by no means the only chemical in the body that has an effect on the appetite, serotonin is a significant factor. As you get hungry, serotonin is released in the hypothalamus, an area of the brain that regulates sleep and eating. The release of serotonin increases when you see and or smell food. It is the agent that starts canine salivation, and a ravenous hunger in those that have no immediate access to food.
It also causes you to snack, and, as you eat, the serotonin level in the hypothalamus continues to increase until it reaches a point where it provides the hypothalamus with a feeling of repletion or satisfaction. You then stop eating. So the more serotonin is produced, the quicker you stop feeling hungry.
Garcinia cambogia extract has the effect of stimulating the emission of serotonin into the hypothalamus, and so suppresses your hunger quicker. You don’t stop eating altogether, but attain that feeling of satisfaction much quicker and so tend to eat less with each meal. This can not only help you maintain your weight at a healthy level, but also to reduce weight in the obese.
Although the extract can work through each of these mechanisms, it does not have such a significant effect on a very fatty diet. It can help if you switch to a relatively healthy diet, lower in fats, but the effect might not be strong enough to compensate for a poor diet in terms of fat content.
Studies have indicated an anti-oxidant activity that likely comes from the xanthones and xanthone derivatives that are also contained in the fruit. In fact there are other recorded uses of garcinia cambogia, and it has been used in traditional Indian medicine to treat fevers, dysentery, open wounds, ulcers and tumors.
According to a study carried out for the National Cancer Institute there is no documented toxicity effects on humans, and there is no regulation regarding the use of garcinia cambogia. It has not been evaluated by the FDA.
However, there are contra-indications in the case of pregnant and lactating women, more as a safety measure than for any particularly known risk. Alzheimer patients should avoid taking HCA since there is a possibility of it promoting the synthesis of acetylcholine in the brain, and its glycemic action renders it unsuitable for diabetics.
Conversely, this same action is a positive benefit by reducing the craving of healthy adults for sweet foods. However, HCA is frequently taken in combination with chromium due to the Latter’s positive effect on the regulation of blood sugar levels. Nevertheless, diabetics should avoid any supplement containing chromium without professional medical advice.
The supplement should be standardized on the HCA content, and an average dose is around 500 mg – 1000 mg of 50% extract a day. However, this varies, and the most important aspect of such extracts is that when changing brands; be sure to compare the strength of the relative extracts and change your dosage accordingly.
Although the benefits of garcinia cambogia to those seeking to lose weight are debated, there is ample evidence to suggest that a regular intake of the extract is beneficial – and not only with respect to the maintenance of healthy weight.
Dandelion Root Tea
July 05, 2008 09:53 AM
Just about everybody knows what a dandelion is. In the western world it is a weed, but in many other societies it is an important herb that is used to treat many common diseases and conditions of the human body.
It is also a food, being used in salads and the roots are also used by some as a coffee substitute the same as chicory. It is also used to make a herbal tea, and most people have likely heard of dandelion tea. However, its medicinal properties are not so well known, even though it has been use for hundreds, if not thousands, of years for the treatment of many conditions including those associated with the gall bladder, liver and kidneys.
However, that is not all, and there are several more traditional uses of dandelion in the folk medicine of many different countries including conditions as diverse as water retention and eczema. So, taking all of this into consideration, what exactly are the main benefits of dandelion to the body and what is it that provides these benefits?
Dandelion contains its fair share of minerals and vitamins, and is rich in vitamin C of course, with its strong antioxidant properties. It also contains the antioxidant vitamin A together with several B vitamins and the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D, which is so important for the absorption of calcium by the kidneys and into the bone structure. The minerals it contains is like an encyclopedia entry of minerals important to the human body. It’s not so much what minerals dandelion contains, as what it doesn’t contain.
The list includes phosphorus, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, silicon, manganese and boron, and the organic nutrients include lecithin, carotenoids, terpenoids, tannins, sterols, choline, inulin, aspargine and so on. It would take a whole book to describe the health benefits of each of these, but an attempt will be made later to discuss the more important of them.
Suffice it to say that the list contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and substances that help to reduce blood cholesterol levels and also maintain the health of your blood and major organs. However, the effect of dandelion on the liver and the digestive system are due largely to substances known collectively as taraxacin. That is what gives dandelion its bitter taste.
What was once known as taraxin, is now known to consist of sesquiterpene lactones known as eudesmanolide and germacranolide, which although claimed to be unique to the dandelion, are very similar to other sesquiterpenes found in chicory. In fact, dicaffeolquinic acid and chicoric acid (dicaffeoyltartaric acid) have been found to comprise a significant proportion of the extract from dandelion roots, together with a number of phenolic acids and flavanoids. Each of these, of course, is important and effective antioxidants, responsible for many positive health effects in the body.
Among the more important of these is the stimulation of the circulation of the blood throughout the body. The sesquiterpenes are also believed to support the activity of the pancreas, and the presence of so many strong antioxidant species within the leaves and roots of the dandelion explains the traditional use of dandelion for the treatment of inflammatory diseases.
Antioxidants support the immune system that causes inflammation when it is under stress. Studies of rats have indicated that dandelion is effective in reducing acute pancreatis, which is itself an inflammatory condition. The large querticin glycoside and flavanoid content of dandelion root extract posses anti-inflammatory properties, and suddenly dandelion is beginning to take on the appearance of a ‘wonder plant’.
However, let’s get away from the technical stuff for a while, and check out exactly what you can use dandelion for. Pregnant and post-menopausal women can gain the benefit of all these nutrients detailed above by taking dandelion extract, and it also has a diuretic effect. Although mild, this can help to remove excess water from the body, and helps to reduce blood pressure and the effects of heart problems. LDL cholesterol levels can be reduced by virtue of its anti-oxidant properties, and can help to resolve minor digestive complaints.
Traditionally it is claimed to have been used as a laxative and a cure for rheumatism. The Latter can be explained by its antioxidant effects, and the way the sesquiterpenes reduce the inflammation associated with rheumatism. It is this inflammation of the tissues that causes so much of the swelling and pain of rheumatism and arthritis. Anti-inflammatories help to reduce this effect.
Dandelion is also believed to stimulate the flow of bile from the gall bladder to the duodenum, and help promote the digestion of fats and oils, thus alleviating many of the digestive problems associated with a fatty diet. This also appears to have the effect of stimulating the appetite, and dandelion juice is frequently drunk before a meal for these reasons. It is believed to help bladder and kidney stones, and also helps to alleviate infections of the urinary tract.
Although dandelion is normally safe to take, those with problems associated with the bile ducts should not take it, and if you are already on diuretic drugs, or any medicines designed to lower your blood pressure, you should stay clear of dandelion extract. The same is true if you are taking lithium for manic depression since some of the components of dandelion juice can exaggerate the side effects. It is also recommended that diabetics do not use dandelion extract, and neither should anyone on blood thinning drugs such as Coumadin, or any other form of warfarin.
Although dandelion can be a very effective natural remedy for many conditions, you should always refer to your physician before taking it, since it could interfere with any medications you are currently taking. Your doctor might also be aware of certain medical conditions you have that, while you are not being treated for, could deteriorate in the presence of one of the constituents of dandelion extract.
Although all of this could suggest that dandelion is dangerous to take, in fact what it indicates is that it is very effective against many conditions, and that taking it could lead to the effects of an overdose of the treatment you are already on. Had it not so many contra-indications, dandelion wouldn’t be as effective at doing what it does.
May 17, 2008 10:07 AM
Discovered by Phoebus Levene in 1905, D-ribose is a monosaccharide, and is a component of RNA that is needed for genetic transcription. It is a stereoisomer of ribose, and although not regarded as an essential nutrient since it is synthesized in the body, it is essential for life. It also takes part in human metabolism, helping to generate energy from food, and is a component of all living cells – animal or vegetable. It is contained in ATP and NADH and we could not live without it.
Because it is contained in all living organisms, D-ribose is a common component of the human diet, and required as a supplement only for specific needs. It for this reason that the human species developed and survived: the chemicals needed for life are either commonly found in nature or are manufactured by the body itself from other raw materials which themselves are common in our diet. The other stereoisomer is L-ribose, and this plays no part in human metabolism.
Energy is needed not only to enable us to walk and to run, but also to drive every part of human physiological activity, and all of the physical and chemical processes of life. Because of its nature energy cannot travel round the body in our bloodstream as if were a chemical entity, but must be released or generated where and when it is needed. For that reason every cell in our body contains an area called the mitochondria in which energy is generated. The molecule of energy, if there is such a thing, is called ATP, or adenosine triphosphate.
ATP controls the production of energy everywhere in the body, and allows muscles to contract and relax. This muscular activity is responsible for all movement, including the circulation of our blood through heart contractions, the diaphragm movement that creates the vacuum that allows us to breathe, and the operation of the digestive system by means of the peristaltic motion of the esophagus and the intestines. Each of the two ways in which ATP is generated involves D-ribose.
One is by means of D-ribose being used to produce new ATP, and the other is the recycling of used ATP. In the Latter, D-ribose and ATP react to form ADP (adenosine diphosphate and D-ribose-5-phosphate with the release of energy. This diphosphate then reacts again with the ADP to produce new ATP and D-ribose. The reaction is catalyzed by an enzyme known as a ribokinase, a phosphotransferase that specifically catalyzes reactions involving phosphorus groups with an alcohol receptor group.
The heart muscle is operated by means of the calcium pump that depends upon both calcium and ATP for its operation. When ADP and phosphate are created by the effect of calcium and ATP coming together, then energy is provided to the muscle fibers of the heart. ADP then reacts with the phosphate and D-ribose in the presence of magnesium to reform the ATP. ATP is therefore essential for the continuation of the pumping action of the heart that maintains life in all mammals.
D-ribose is also part of the base of RNA and DNA, without which there could be no life. Because the cardiac muscle is easily depleted of ATP, the presence of D-ribose is of extreme importance and it has been proved that cardiac failure begins with the reduction in energy levels of the heart muscle that can be brought about by a lack of ATP in the muscle cells.
An important property of D-ribose is that it is unchanged by the liver, which is the chemical plant of your body in which a large part of the biochemistry needed for life takes place. This means that D-ribose can be taken in the diet and pass through the liver virtually unchanged, and then be transported in the bloodstream to where it is needed for the maintenance of ATP levels. That is why D-ribose is frequently given to treat heart attacks: because it can rapidly replace lost ATP and enable the calcium pump to get to work and keep the heart beating at its normal strength. Maintenance levels of this important sugar would not go amiss.
However, there are other uses to which the body can put this marvelous substance. Among these is the body’s ability to form Coenzyme A from it. This coenzyme is needed in the body for the breakdown of fatty acids, and many other chemical reactions, and also provides the raw material for many other necessary substances in human biochemistry.
Patients with low energy levels can frequently fail to be able to recover from illness. This is because that when illness stresses your body, your mitochondria become overwhelmed with work and begin to fail to produce sufficient ATP to keep the body going. Naturally, as your energy level drops, and your body cells are unable to respond to this, then the condition you are suffering from gets worse, and become stronger leading ultimately to possible death. Your immune system is put under a great deal of stress that uses up what little ATP you have left.
That is why when people start to get really ill, they tend to fade very rapidly: not because of the spread of the disease, but through a reduction in the ATP needed to provide the energy required for the body to fight the disease. Without an adequate supply of energy, your body would rapidly fade.
By taking a D-ribose supplement that passes unchanged right into your bloodstream and taken to where it is needed most, you body can rapidly generate sufficient ATP to keep up the fight against the agent that is making you ill. Your immune system is given a massive energy boost, and more importantly, your heart is kept beating. D-ribose is the answer to the prayer of many sick people, and also to athletes and bodybuilders needing quick bursts of energy. But what did they use before D-ribose was discovered to have the properties that it has?
At one time, it was adenosine monophosphate (that’s right, not ATP or ADP, but AMP) that was administered intravenously to those suffering from chronic fatigue, this substance being synthesized to ATP in the body over a period of time. However, it take a lot of time to be effective, and the injections had to be made daily into the muscle tissue, so it fell out of favor.
Then came an ATP supplement that could be taken orally, but the side effects were unpleasant, and that too went out of favor. However, towards the end of the 1990’s D-ribose was found to overcome all of these disadvantages, and not only be able to be taken orally, but also to work almost immediately by providing the mitochondria with a direct source of the sugar they need to generate energy.
It is now one of the most popular energy providing supplements on the market, and also a remedy for chronic fatigue that helps the patient to overcome energy-sapping medical conditions both directly and by providing the immune system with the energy needed to keep it operating effectively against masses of invading bacteria and viruses. There is nothing better than D-ribose for providing you with the energy boost that you need, whenever you require it, either to provide energy for your sport or to help you overcome illness.
May 12, 2008 11:10 AM
All female mammals, including humans, produce colostrum soon after giving birth, and before proper milk is produced. It is a milk-like substance that provides newly born infants with a boost to their immune system and gives immediate protection against the germs with which they are about to come into contact.
It also, incidentally, promotes the child’s first bowel movement to rid it of the large amount of dead blood cells created when it’s blood supply was drastically reduced after the severing of the umbilical supply.
It is now believed that colostrum will help not only newly born infants, but also grown adults. If your immune system is weak or you are suffering from a condition that could be helped by a boost to your immune system, colostrum might be what you need to help you fight off what is ailing you. This has become clear after the way that colostrum works has been established.
Transfer factors were discovered in 1949 by Dr. H. Sherwood Lawrence of the New York University School of Medicine. He found that when he injected an extract of the leukocytes of somebody that had previously been infected with tuberculosis, the natural immunity was transferred from the donor to the recipient. He called this extract the ‘transfer factor’, and a means of transferring immune response factors between people was born.
However, the sharing of transfer factors between people suffering from serious conditions such as the HIV virus or hepatitis is a high risk action, and fifty years later, in 1999, bovine colostrum was discussed at a transfer factor conference in Mexico. Bovine colostrum contains large quantities of transfer factors such as IgG type immunoglobulins and hydrogen peroxide. The Latter is commonly produced by our body cells to fight off invading pathogens, and immunoglobulins are very effective in fighting some diseases that can be fatal to AIDs patients. Take Cryptosporidium parvum, for instance. This microorganism causes a form of diarrhea that AIDs patients have no defense against but that colostrum can be particularly effective against, and it is also effective against rotavirus that is the main cause of diarrhea in young children.
Before discussing this further, let’s go back a step and examine how bovine milk came to be included in the equation. At one time it was believed that a baby received its immunity from the mother while in the womb and that this was extended via the mother’s milk. However, it was discovered that the milk contained no antibodies as such, only the colostrum, and these antibodies had somehow been transferred to the baby.
This was explained by the concept of the transfer factor. It is not the antibodies that are being transferred from mother to child, but the transfer factor. This modulates the immune system of the recipient and teaches it how to create antibodies against the specific antigens that the donor’s antibodies protect against and to inform the recipient’s immune system when these antigens are present.
The next step was to test the theory that the transfer factor should be able to be passed between species, and the cow was the obvious initial choice since not only are cattle exposed to many of the same antigens as humans, but we already use cow’s milk as a food source – particularly for babies and children. It worked! It was found that when humans were fed cow’s colostrum the specific antibodies were later found in the blood of the person given the treatment.
The next step was to determine the form in which this substance could be used, and injections of various types were tried without success. It was established that the only means of administering colostrum was by drinking it, or supplying it in capsule form. It can be drunk fresh or freeze dried to kill of living organisms and then fats and sugars removed and the resultant dried product encapsulated. It is even possible to remove all large molecules, antibodies, proteins, etc, and still retain the transfer factor. It is absorbed by the gut, and the resultant message passed to the recipient.
It is important to understand that it is not the immunoglobulins from the cow that are passed on, because these are species specific, and are in fact the source of most cow’s milk allergies. There is no transfer of antibodies or any other specific parts of the immune system. What are passed on are the messengers, particularly the transfer factors that are not species specific. A cow’s transfer factors would work just as well in a cat as in humans, only cats don’t get the same diseases as cows and people.
The types of disease that colostrum can help to protect us from include viral and bacterial diseases, fungal diseases and parasites, and neurological and autoimmune diseases. If you have cancer, colostrum can help significantly since cancer and immune deficiency are related. Cancer cells are being formed all the time in your body, but your immune system generally disposes of them. However, if it fails to do this, then the cells can proliferate and lead to cancer as we know it. Colostrum can help your body to prevent cancer occurring, and if you have it, can help to reduce its spread.
Freelance journalist Sam Wainaina studied the effects of Ebola virus in Uganda after the 2002 outbreak, and concluded that had transfer factors been available during the outbreak to transfer immunity it might perhaps have been contained sooner than it was, and saved many, many lives. Although transfer factors have been known of for 60 years, there is still a lot to be done in their application and studies on colostrum could help to accelerate this. Transfer factors alert immune cells to danger, train the system to generate the right type of immunoglobulins and boost NK cell activity to defeat the invaders. They can also moderate an over-active immune system that can be as much a danger to the body as an invading pathogen.
Colostrum can also be used to burn fat and create muscle tissue, and is popular with bodybuilders but it is for its healing and immunity-boosting properties that it is most used. Biotechnology companies are now boosting the colostrum’s transfer factors by injecting cows with vaccines that create pathogens. Known as Ultra Colostrum this is an advance on the natural material.
B Vitamin Supplements
May 07, 2008 03:18 PM
The fact that B vitamins have had to be coenzymated before they can be used by your body has been known for some time, but it is only over the past few years that they have been made commercially available in that form. Before we discuss the B vitamins in their coenzyme form it might be appropriate to discuss what coenzymes are and how they differ from ordinary enzymes.
An enzyme is like an organic catalyst: it takes part in biochemical reactions by allowing such reactions to take place, but itself remaining unchanged. All enzymes are proteins formed in your body from amino acids and other protein material. A coenzyme, on the other hand, is somewhat like an enzyme for the enzymes, in that it is needed for the enzyme to do its job. Without a coenzyme, many enzymes could not promote the biochemical reaction it is responsible for.
The B vitamins are all water soluble, which means that they are readily excreted and it is not impossible that if you take a B vitamin supplement, the whole lot will be immediately excreted in your urine if not used by your body. Whether they are or not it is a fact that your body can quickly become depleted of the B vitamin group, especially if you drink a lot. Alcoholics in particular are frequently vitamin B deficient. Although the liver can store unused vitamin B, they are only very small quantities and insufficient to prevent a deficiency.
A deficiency in the B vitamins can cause a wide range of unpleasant conditions that are rapidly remedied with supplements. Pellagra is due largely to a deficiency in Vitamin B3, and causes hair loss, horrible skin lesions and many other side effects that you don’t want to know about. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause loss of memory, and is common in alcoholics and some vegetarians (vitamin B12 is animal derived). Other symptoms of a general B vitamin deficiency include exhaustion, heart palpitations, fibrillation, anxiety, restlessness, attention deficit disorder and many, many more.
It is not pleasant so you make sure that take enough vitamin B in your diet: dietary sources are far superior to pills although supplements will help you get over the symptoms of the deficiency until your diet takes over. Supplementation is also a good way to maintain a regular supply of vitamin B complex irrespective of your diet. The effects of a deficiency are so bad that a regular supplement is well worth taking.
However, back to coenzymes and why they are needed for the metabolism of B vitamins in your body. Most B vitamins are, in fact, coenzymes themselves. Keep in mind that the definition of a vitamin is an organic substance that is essential for the normal health of your body. If you lack even one vitamin, your health with suffer and eventually you will be likely to die. That describes all of the B vitamins perfectly, and they also just happen to be coenzymes. This is not coincidence, of course, and their biochemistry must have been recognized before the concept of coenzymes was formulated.
The B vitamins proper consist of eight distinct proteins: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), B12 (cyanocobalamin), and biotin and pantothenic acid. They are all essential components in human and animal metabolism, and most are also coenzymes.
Every cell in your body depends on B vitamins for its existence, which is why pregnant women should include a good supply of them in their diet, especially folic acid (B9). They are essential for the cellular development of the fetus. Folic acid is necessary for the synthesis of nucleic acids that allow cell growth and the production of red blood cells. However, not one can be placed in importance above any other since they are all essential.
With respect to the coenzyme factor, the vitamin B coenzymes are responsible for many of the biochemical reactions upon which life depends. Coenzyme B-12 for example is essential for two types of reaction that it catalyzes, one being a hydrogen atom exchange with alcohol and amine functional groups, the other being connected with methyl group transfer between molecules.
In humans, the first of these is responsible for an essential step that results in energy being metabolized from fats and proteins in the mitochondria and the second for DNA production in cells that is indirectly responsible for growth. Each of these is why a vitamin B-12 deficiency leads to excessive fatigue and also a lack of fetal growth (although folic acid can make up for the Latter deficiency).
Thiamine (Vitamin B1) is a coenzyme for the metabolism of carbohydrates to energy. In the body it is present in the form of thiamine diphosphate, a coenzyme that assists in the decarboxylation of pyruvate as part of the citric acid cycle, otherwise known as the Krebs Cycle, that takes place in the mitochondria and is responsible for the generation of energy through aerobic respiration.
Another coenzyme that is involved in the Krebs Cycle is formed in the body from Vitamin B3, or niacin. This coenzyme, nicotinamine adenine dinucleotide, has a redox potential and can store energy for use later on. Vitamin B5 can be converted in the body to Coenzyme A that not only breaks proteins down into individual amino acids, but also takes part in the first part of the Krebs Cycle. There is a common pattern emerging here where the B vitamins have an important part to play in the generation of energy from fats and carbohydrates.
Similarly, Vitamin B6 is present in the body as the coenzyme Pyridoxal 5'-phosphate that helps to break down the body’s emergency energy store, glycogen, into energy when needed.
In these ways, and more, the coenzymes created in the body from the B vitamins help many of the reactions of life to take place, and without these coenzymes life could not exist. Hence the importance of the B vitamins themselves, and any deficiency could be disastrous to the metabolic processes that generate energy and keep you alive. It is not just the energy needed for exercise and normal human activity that will be compromised, but also that which keeps the heart beating and your diaphragm moving to allow you to breath.
Without a doubt, a Vitamin B supplement is one of the most valuable of all the vitamin supplements, and they are available in many forms. You might also find some of the B vitamins in their coenzyme form, though some of them may be unstable. However, whatever form they are taken in, Vitamin B complex should be one of the first on your vitamin supplement shopping list.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
May 06, 2008 05:14 PM
Grapefruit seed extract is regarded as being natural antibiotic that is effective against a broad range of bacterial infections. It has also been used to treat parasitic infections and a range of viral infections as well as having found uses for a wide variety of medical conditions.
So what is it about grapefruit seed that is so special? Most people are acquainted with grapefruit, which as a member of the citrus family of fruits, and not to be confused with grapes which are a totally different type of plant. Grape seed extract is also a useful natural medication, but used for totally different conditions.
Because of its efficacy against parasitic and viral infections, grapefruit seed extract is very useful in treating various forms of food poisoning. But, how was this remarkable property of the simple grapefruit seed noticed? The answer to that depends very much upon what version of the story of Einstein Laureate physicist and immunologist Dr. Jacob Harich you believe.
Dr. Harich was not only a scientist but a hobby gardener in Florida, and the two versions of his story tell either that he decided to investigate why grapefruit seeds tasted so bitter, or why the grapefruit seeds in his compost heap failed to compost, or rot. Whichever story is correct, and perhaps both are, the result was the discovery that grapefruit seeds appeared to be a very effective antibiotic.
In fact it has been shown to be effective against over 800 strains of bacteria and viruses and also effective against many fungi that lead to illness in humans. Because of this it is used in cased of food poisoning that involve bacterial infection of the gastrointestinal tract. In fact during the Latter part of the 1980s, grapefruit seed extract was tested against a number of known antibiotics and found to be as effective as any of them. Similar results obtained in a number of tests in the USA and elsewhere in the world, and it appears that it is an excellent treatment for the symptoms of food poisoning.
Not only that, but it has been found effective in the treatment of some immunodeficiency diseases, presumably because its antimicrobial properties does much of the work that the immune system would normally do, and so relieves it of much of its hard work. This allows the immune system to concentrate on conditions which are exacerbated by deficiencies in its operation.
Bifidobacteria and Loactobacilli are bacteria that are beneficial to the digestive system. The measure of a good broad spectrum antibiotic is that it does not affect the beneficial bacteria, and grapefruit seed extract has no effect on the former and only a mildly inhibiting effect on the Latter. It is also non toxic to humans, which is another measure of a good antibiotic. You would have to drink about two pints of the extract, around 4000 time the normal dose, for the treatment to be potentially fatal.
Among the many uses of the extract are not only in controlling gastrointestinal infections, but also general fungal conditions of the skin, vaginal infections and yeast infections, and also colds and sore throats. It is also believed to support the immune system, not only by its antimicrobial properties but through its effect on intestinal health upon which much of our immune system is dependent. It can also protect patients with symptoms of AIDs and other immunodeficiency conditions from infection.
Its effect on yeast infections around the nether regions of small children has been documented, and it has also been found to be very safe to young children. In fact many mothers have it as a permanent addition to their medicine cabinet.
It is not that long ago when doctors believed all diseases to be due to bacteria or viruses. It is now becoming clear that a large proportion is actually due to fungal infections and parasites. Many conditions such as allergies, circulatory disease and some forms of arthritis have been shown to be due to fungal infections that weaken the immune system. Grapefruit seed extract has been found to be effective in treating many types of fungal disease.
In using the extract in this way, and to treat bacterial infections, it is best to start with a low dose and gradually increase it. This is because when fungi and bacteria are destroyed they release toxins, and too high a dose could result in too much toxin being produced for your body to handle. If you take it gradually you will get the same result, but without the risk of the nausea and diarrhea which the toxins can cause.
Despite all of these benefits, grapefruit extract has not been given the credit it deserves, and much research has still to be done to establish the constituents of the seed that confer these properties. Among these are known to be proanthocyanadins, a class of flavanols with strong antioxidant properties, and a diphenol hydroxybenzene complex that destroys bacteria through the cytoplasmic membrane to prevent the uptake of amino acids and cause leakage of the cell contents. Other active components are Vitamins C and E, tocopherols, limonoids and sterols, in addition to a number of important minerals.
However, there is still much work to be done, although the extract will continue to be used by many devotees for the treatment, not only of food poisoning symptoms, but also of conditions such as acne, athlete’s foot, gingivitis, cold sores, sinusitis and parasitic infections. It appears to be practically a cure-all.
There appear to be no drug interactions, although some medications do react with grapefruit juice, such as some treatments for high blood pressure. If your treatment advises you not to take grapefruit juice, then do not take grapefruit seed extract. Another factor to be aware of is that since the extract is an effective bactericide, then it could deplete the digestive tract of friendly bacteria essential for digestion. You are advised, therefore, to take a supplement of acidophilus, which is easily taken in the form of yoghurt type drinks specifically formulated or dietary supplement for the purpose.
Activated Charcoal - Highly absorbent material to combat poisoning
April 24, 2008 02:44 PM
Activated charcoal has been treated by heat to open up millions of small spaces between the carbon atoms and turn it literally into an atomic sponge that adsorbs both organic and organic impurities.
This heat treatment is carried out in the absence of oxygen, so the charcoal cannot burn. Instead, what oxygen it did contain is driven off leaving behind all of these interstitial gaps that multiply the effective surface area by factors of ten. Since it is the surface area of the charcoal that determines its potency, then the greater this is the better.
Activated charcoal has a massive surface area, and just ten grams has the same surface area as nine American football pitches or 77 tennis courts. Ten grams is just marginally more than a third of an ounce. The term adsorb has a different meaning to absorb, and while a real sponge absorbs water by mopping it up through capillary action and suction, activation carbon adsorbs substances through a form of chemical attraction. You get rid of water from the sponge by squeezing it, but that doesn’t work with activated charcoal, since the substances are bound to it, not just physically constrained.
This huge surface area provides activated charcoal with innumerable bonding sites, and when chemicals that are attracted to carbon pass by they are attached to the surface. They cannot get free again, as water in a sponge can, but are bound to the surface of the carbon. Because the digestive system has no effect on charcoal then whatever is bound to it passes naturally through the body.
It is most effective at binding other carbon-based materials, and other substances with the right electronic arrangement, but others will just pass straight through. Because it is a chemical process, once all of the empty bonding sites have been taken up, the charcoal loses its effectiveness and has to be replaced. It is possible to regenerate it, but hardly worthwhile for you to do so because of the small quantities you use.
Because of the way it works, activated charcoal can help people to recover from some forms of food poisoning. It can adsorb gases in the intestine and help to relieve the pain of excessive gas in the gut. It has many additional uses that will be touched on later, but for now we will look at its effect on poisons because that is where activated charcoal is of greatest benefit to us.
It does not adsorb and neutralize all poisons, but is very effective with those that it can be sued for. Professor Touery proved a point when he drank a lethal dose of strychnine in front of colleagues at the French Academy of Medicine in 1831 and came through unscathed. He had mixed the strychnine with activated charcoal, and the fact that he lived after drinking a dose that would certainly have led to a very painful death within minutes testifies to the powerful effect of activated charcoal as an potential antidote for poisoning.
Ever medicine cabinet should have an emergency supply of activated carbon, especially those with young children in the household. However, this is not good news for the pharmaceutical companies who have reacted by refuting some of the claims made in its favor: they have claimed that it is not effective against arsenic. If that is so, then how did Michel Bertrand survive after swallowing 5 grams of arsenic trioxide – 150 times what is regarded as the lethal dose? He did this is 1813 after mixing it with activated charcoal, just as Professor Touery was to do 18 years later with ten times the lethal dose of strychnine.
It is true, however, that it does not have this degree of activity with all poisons, and it has no effect on cyanide, alcohols, antifreeze (glycols) and lithium. It also has no effect on corrosive poisons such as the strong alkalis used in oven clearers, or hydrocarbons such as kerosene. The way it works is adsorb the poison and prevent it being released into the body. For that to happen, the poison must have an affinity for carbon, and its adsorption site, and not all substances possess that property. Those that do however are permanently bound and therefore safe.
For charcoal to be effective in neutralizing a poison, it must be swallowed within an hour of taking the poison, or the poison will be too far advanced ion the digestive process for the charcoal to do any good. Keep in mind, though, that it is not selective, and activated charcoal can adsorb nutrients and other beneficial constituents of your body’s chemistry. It is important therefore that you take in only when necessary: you might need several doses if the poison was severe, but once it has done its job it is not meant to be used as a maintenance material to take ‘just in case’. Used like that, it can do harm.
If charcoal can adsorb poisons then it makes sense to believe that it can also adsorb some of the harmful agents that cause food poisoning. Not all food poisoning of course, but certainly those organisms that emit toxins that are attracted to carbon. And this is, in fact, the case. Food poisoning is caused by bacteria rather than viruses, and is not the presence of the bacteria that make you vomit and feel very ill.
As bacteria grow in your body they release toxins, or poisons, into your digestive system. These poisons are what make you ill. They can seriously affect the complete gastro-intestinal tract, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and inflammation and swelling of the small and large intestine. The Latter can cause abdominal cramps and severe colic, and the severity of the symptoms depends very much upon the type of bacteria and the number of them in your body.
Many of these toxins are attracted to carbon since they are frequently organic based, and activated charcoal can be used to adsorb them. Once adsorbed they lose their potency, and since carbon is not digested by the body, they are passed harmlessly through the colon and eliminated in the faeces. It can also be used to eliminate many other foreign bodies from your gut, including viruses and fungi and might possibly reduce the concentration of uric acid, which can bring relief to gout sufferers.
Activated charcoal has many uses, and is normally available in capsule form. It can be dangerous to take too much, particularly if you suffer from intestinal problems that cause constipation, because the charcoal itself can have that effect. However, there is no better emergency treatment for accidental poisoning in the home, although, since it is not suitable for all poisons, you must still regard poisoning as an emergency and contact the emergency services.
Activated charcoal, or activated carbon as it is sometimes called, is also a good emergency treatment for vomiting and the other unpleasant effects of food poisoning. It deals with bacterial toxins in the same way as any other, though once again you must refer to your physician before or after using it – preferably the former.
Bilberry Extract Is A Powerful Antioxidant That Strengthens Veins
April 12, 2008 11:06 AM
Bilberry extract is taken from the Vaccinium myrtillus, or bilberry, a small blue berry that has been used traditionally for the treatment of conditions now known to be due to inflammation and the action of free radicals on the body.
Among these is atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, caused by the free radical oxidation of the low density lipids that carry cholesterol around the bloodstream, and that cause deposition of fatty plaques on the arterial walls and eventually constricts them to a stage that can cause heart failure or a stroke, depending on whether the arteries are close to the heart or in the brain.
However, additional to treating this condition, bilberry has also traditionally been used for the treatment of varicose veins and also for certain eye conditions. In fact it was during the Second World war that the Royal Air Force in Britain received reports from pilots that their night vision improved after eating bilberries. Not only their vision, but the restoration of night vision after exposure to glare.
This was extremely important to war-time pilots who had to be able to rapidly adapt their vision to fly their plane after exposure to searchlights and explosive detonations. That is the reason for anything that appeared to promote this essential adaptation to be reported.
The pharmacology of these effects have been found to be due to the anthocyanosides in which bilberries are particularly rich. Anthocyanosides consist of an anthocyanaidin backbone, to which one of either arabinose, galactose or glucose can be bound. Since bilberry contains five of these anthocyanadins, then there are fifteen different anthocyanosides in the fruit concentrate.
The area of the retina that appears to control night vision, and the transition from day to night sight, is called the epithelium which is connected with purple vision. Anthocyanosides seem to have an affinity for this part of the retina, and in so doing plays an important part in this type of vision, specifically night vision although it is also beneficial in improving day vision.
Although bilberry also contains vitamins A and C, hydroquinone and tannins, it is the anthocyanosides that provide it with its unique antioxidant properties, and also its effect upon collagen fibers. It can cross-link collagen fibers to help overcome weaknesses in the connective tissues such as cartilage, tendons and the walls of blood vessels.
Its effect as an antioxidant is to prevent the cleavage of collagen by the cyzymes that are secreted by leukocytes generated by the immune system. By preventing histamine release, and release of prostaglandins and other proteins and cells mobilized during the immune inflammatory response to the detection of foreign invasion into human tissue, anthocyanosides can help to reduce inflammation and to protect against other extreme reactions of the immune system that can harm the organism it evolved to protect.
The most powerful property of anthocyanosides are their antioxidant properties: perhaps even its only property once all of the conditions it helps to protect against are fully understood. An antioxidant combines with free radicals and destroys them. Free radicals are particularly vile chemical entities that require an electron to make them stable, and they take this electron from the nearest source. This can result in oxidation and destruction of many bodily tissues leading to premature aging, atherosclerosis, eye damage and many other problems that result from the destruction of body cells and tissue.
The various constituents that make up bilberry act in concert to scavenge the free radicals and increase the supply of oxygen to the eye. The benefits of this are in helping to prevent cataracts and glaucoma, the Latter due to the effect of the anthocyanoside cross-linking effect on the structure of the collagen in the eye. It can also help in cases of macular degeneration that affects the central area of the retina which might be due to the same property of there glucoside.
Moving away from the eyes and back to the vascular system, the collagen cross-linking properties of the flavonoids, which is what anthocyanosides basically are, can help to repair damaged vein tissue by strengthening the vein walls themselves, and also by providing support for the cell membranes, or outer layers of the cells.
This in turn builds up more strength in the vein tissue below the outside walls and contributes to an overall reduction in the weakness of the vein. This in turn enables it better to withstand the internal pressure put upon it by the failure of the valve that created the problem. In this way bilberries can be used to help repair the damage done by varicose veins and improve the function of the vein in returning blood to the heart from the extremities of the legs and also to help reduce the pain and swelling of varicose veins.
In addition to these beneficial effects on the vascular system and the eyes, bilberry can also help to decrease the permeability of the blood-brain barrier to pollutants, drugs and other undesirable chemicals by improving the resistance of the capillaries in the brain to the transfer of such substances through their walls. It does so by preventing the collagen of the capillaries in the brain being degraded either by enzymes or other agents, Also, by helping to strengthen that collagen structure so that it becomes more impermeable to the larger molecules that form the pollutants.
A lesser known constituent of bilberry is myrtillin, an anthocyanoside monoglucoside that is also available in all green plants, that possesses anti-glycemic properties. What this means is that it can reduce hyperglycemia and glycosurea, and so reduce blood sugar without reducing the blood sugar level to dangerously low levels. In other words it is an ideal insulin substitute.
Native Americans used green plants for teas for centuries and were free from diabetes until the came into contact with Europeans and adopted their dietary habits. Although the case has to be proved, it appears highly likely that it was the myrtillin that kept them free from a condition that affects so many other races.
Irrespective of that, however, it is for its powerful antioxidant effect that bilberry finds its best use, and also its effects on varicose veins. However, all of the above health benefits that bilberry provides, can likely be laid at the door of the combined antioxidant effect of its vitamin C content and the anthocyanosides – including the glucoside myrtillin.
First, the Painful Inflammation
April 03, 2008 12:43 PM
Inflammation occurs because of the reaction of your immune system to what it perceives as being the presence in your tissues of dangerous foreign particles. Your immune system generally reacts to particles. Typical particles are bacteria and viruses, pollen, smoke, your own body cells that are not doing what they should, moulds and fungi, and various other things that can circulate in your blood.
There are several reasons for the immune system being activated, some of them historical due to your body having an imprinted memory of previous bacteria and viruses that it has dealt with, and others the reaction to new invaders that it has never met before, and for which your immune system creates antibodies to destroy. Another is the recognition of abnormal body cells that have to be destroyed before they can proliferate, and yet another is when the immune system gets confused and itself damages your own tissues such as in rheumatoid arthritis.
Whatever the cause, inflammation is a common result of the immune system going to work, and can be extremely painful. It can cause damage to our own joints, vascular system and major organs, although treatment of the inflammation does not reduce the effectiveness of the immune response. You can safely treat the inflammation with anti-inflammatories and painkillers without the condition getting worse.
Common physical manifestations of inflammation are the swollen and painful joints of rheumatoid arthritis (osteoarthritis is not an immune response), the swelling in the airway of asthma, the spots and swellings of measles and chickenpox, the lesions of psoriasis and the swelling and pain of abrasions and cuts that have gone ‘septic’ or ‘poisoned’. The Latter two are simply examples of the effect of phagocytes and leucocytes on bacterial infection – the white blood cells and their cohorts!
The reason that inflammation causes pain is that it affects nerve endings, and causes pressure against the damaged tissues that initiated the immune response. Although regular painkillers can control the pain of inflammation to an extent, they are generally not the ideal treatment. Herbal treatments are not necessarily always the ideal treatments either, but boswellia is one herb that has been proved to be effective in reducing the pain of inflammation.