Search Term: " Macular "
Study shows lutein can boost heart health
March 27, 2019 02:24 PM
Many people consume lutein, either as a supplement in in vegetables containing lutein, because it can provide protection from diseases of the eye. A recent study has shown that lutein can protect the heart as well. Researchers found some correlation between higher levels of lutein in the bloodstream and a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a medical term for a group of conditions including abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, and high triglycerides. Lutein, a carotenoid, is found in dark, leafy green vegetables.
"Dr. Elizabeth Leermakers decided to look into “lutein’s positive effects against inflammation and oxidative stresses in the eyes,” and together with a team of researchers, she searched for links between the presence of lutein (or a lack of the carotenoid) and diseases caused by stressors like heart attack, metabolic syndrome, and stroke."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-27-lutein-can-boost-heart-health.html
Prevent vision loss by protecting your heart with a healthy diet
May 03, 2018 09:17 AM
The amount of those suffering from eyesight across our nation is expected to reach over a staggering 22 million by the year 2050. Many physicians are now recommending that their patients adhere to healthier diets in order for the odds to be in their favor when it comes to keeping their eyesight long-term. It is important to eat healthy foods due to them being high in antioxidants which can help fight harmful bacteria in our body that can lead to disorders that cause vision loss.
"Joshi’s colleague, Dr. Nancy Kunjukunju, M.D. gets even more specific. She states that a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle are essential for those who are afraid of getting AMD because the disease runs in the family."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-05-01-prevent-vision-loss-by-protecting-your-heart-with-a-healthy-diet.html
4 Fat Soluble Vitamins
April 19, 2017 11:44 AM
Do you know your fat soluble vitamins? There are several of them out there, including the four that are listed here. These vitamins play an important role in your good health. It is important that you are aware of both the benefits that is offered with this vitamin, as well as the various types of fat soluble vitamins. The knowledge of this information may very well help you protect yourself and your health for a long time to come.
"Fruit and vegetables belonging to red, yellow and orange color are all good sources to get your vitamin-A."
Read more: http://fitmaintenance.com/2017/04/11/4-fat-soluble-vitamins/
How antioxidants aid in healthy living: Vitamins C, E and beta carotene can help ward off a ...
March 04, 2017 02:59 PM
When it comes to boosting antioxidant intake, recent research indicates there's little benefit from taking diet supplements. A better way, according to a report in the September issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter, is eating a diet rich in antioxidant-containing foods. Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, carotene, lycopene, lutein and many other substances may play a role in helping to prevent diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease and Macular degeneration.
"Antioxidants are everywhere. Energy drinks, skin treatments, vitamin supplements, and cold remedies, and all extol the virtues of their special combination of health giving ingredients."
Which vitamins are good for dry eyes?
February 27, 2017 12:59 PM
Cases of dry eyes have become increasingly prevalent. There are many prescription and over-the-counter medicines out there that can help with the condition, but can simply supplementing certain vitamins help? Vitamins A, C, E, and thiamine have all been shown to help prevent cataracts and Macular degeneration, but not much research has been done on something as simple as dry eyes. While there is no proof that any particular vitamin can prevent dry eyes, vitamins A, D, and omega-3 fatty acids may help. You should always talk to your doctor before starting any supplementation.
"People should be skeptical about any vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements that claim to treat dry eye syndrome."
Which Vitamins are Good for Dry Eyes?
January 28, 2017 12:59 PM
If you suffer from dry eyes, you know how annoying and painful it can be. There are many medications out there that cater to this all too common condition, but what if your diet can help with the problem? While vitamins A, C, E, and zinc are all good for eye health, there is currently debate on whether or not vitamins can help with dry eyes. Vitamin A, vitamin D, and omega-3 have been linked with dry eyes in patients, but more research needs to be done to see if increasing doses will help with symptoms.
"Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that occurs when the eyes do not make enough tears, or if the tears vanish too quickly. There are many treatments for dry eyes. Can vitamins help prevent or treat dry eyes? We find out. If an individual has a healthy balanced diet, they should be able to get all the vitamins and minerals they need from their diet. However, some people may need to take a supplement if advised by their doctor."
Microbes in your gut influence age-related macular degeneration
November 29, 2016 02:59 PM
Age-related Macular degeneration affects over 10 million people in North America. A study performed in Montreal has recently discovered that bacteria in our guts may be the culprit behind a specific form of the disease called blinding wet age-related Macular degeneration. The bacteria cause inflammation that leads to deposits of fat debris in the back of the eyes and destruction of nerve cells. It is suggested that diets with high fat intake alter the stomach bacteria and make it possible for this scenario to occur.
"Among the series of experiments conducted as part of this study, the group performed fecal transfers from mice receiving regular fat diets, compared to those receiving a high fat diet, and found a significant amelioration of wet AMD"
five anti-aging food found in the grocery store
November 13, 2016 06:46 AM
The choices we make at meal time affect how we age. By choosing healthy options, some of the common symptoms of old age can be reversed, removed, or masked. Many vitamins and nutrients prevent diseases that are mostly diagnosed during old age and maintain a healthy body. Eating correctly is essential to preserving our youth.
"Tomatoes, eggplants, blueberries, blackberries, and other colorful fruits are packed with antioxidants. These help combat free radicals that damage healthy cells and suppress the immune system."
Health Benefits of Calendula
Calendula is an annual flower usually found in the northern Mediterranean countries. It’s got its name because it blooms with the calendar, once a month.
Health benefits of calendula
1. Healing nature- it has antioxidant compounds which is the cause of its healing nature. It can heal your scrapes, cuts, insect bites etc.
2. Enhances skin appearance- Calendula oil can boost your skin appearance. It provides antioxidant protection to your skin, reducing wrinkles, aging and improving blood flow to the skin.
3. Improves dental health- It has antibacterial properties which provides good oral health. It is one of the main ingredients in natural mouthwashes, toothpastes etc. because of its ability to kill cavities and gingivitis causing bacteria.
4. Improves vision- Beta-carotene in calendula can directly impact your vision. This will prevent development of cataract and Macular degeneration.
5. Fights inflammation- Irrespective of where you have inflammation, calendula can reduce your discomfort. Calendula tea can reduce your congestion and cough. Skin balm containing this ingredient can reduce pain if you have arthritis or gout.
The Health Benefits of Bilberry Extract
Bilberry supports better vision.
The main benefit of bilberry extract is for reducing the risk of Macular generation and the other age-related eye diseases; glaucoma, cataracts and poor night vision. These advantages are due to the antioxidants phytonutrients the berries contain.
In other third world countries, the most essential vitamin needed is vitamin A. Lack of vitamin A during childhood can lead to blindness. In fact, hundreds of thousands of malnourished children go blind each year due to a lack of vitamin A in the diet.
Unfortunately, bilberry extract is not a source of beta-carotene. It is a source of another antioxidant called anthocyanin.
Bilberry extract has the highest eye supporting anthocyanins, of all the berries. If you want to support good eye sight, consider taking bilberry daily!
A Simple Thing As Taking A Breath Causes Us To Age
We are often told that stress level accelerates the process of aging. But, is there any kind of scientific evidence to prove this perception? Some of the results of scientific studies have already suggested that, oxidative stress has a negative impact on both physical and emotional health.
Breathing oxygen leads to the formation of ROS or reactive oxygen species within the body, which is essential for the cellular signaling process. Aerobic metabolism results in the generation of small amounts of ROS and free radicals. This is necessary for the normal functioning of the human body. But, there is a specific reason for which the ROS carry negative connotations. Whenever our body’s antioxidant defense mechanism malfunctions, the balance between oxidant and antioxidant gets spoiled. The circulative level of ROS moves out of control and causes a disturbance in the redox signaling and control and further damages the macromolecules, cells and tissues. The DNA damage response is a hierarchical procedure.
It has been widely recognized that, oxidative stress is one of the primary factors, which makes the aging process faster.
Best Anti-Aging Diet
What you eat has a great impact on how you are feeling and how you are aging. If you eat right, it will contribute to a great extent to keep your skin young and healthy. Antioxidants help stop unstable molecules from damaging healthy cells. You will get antioxidants in colorful fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, blueberries, leafy greens, dark red tomatoes, etc. So, your goal is to consume at least half plates of fruits and vegetables in each of your meals.
Vitamin C, zinc and beta carotene are three main antioxidants, which protects the eyes from Macular degeneration and poor vision. Dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, mustard greens, spinach and collard are great sources of these nutrients. Foods like oranges, corns and pepper also help to keep your eye healthy. Vitamin C is also beneficial for the skin. Some studies have also suggested that, daily consumption of yellow and green vegetables helps lessen the wrinkles of the skin.
Resveratrol is another powerful antioxidant, which is highly present in grapes and red wine. It not only lowers the aging process, but, also lowers the chances of cancer and heart disease. Studies have also revealed that, nuts are rich sources of unsaturated fats. They are also great sources of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals like antioxidants. Thus, it helps to keep the skin healthy and young.
Beans and lentils are great sources of fiber and plant-based protein. They are very beneficial for protecting you from early aging. So, you can easily consume them instead of red meat, which have saturated fat and are not great for your heart.
Dairy products like low-fat milk, yogurt, etc. are also great options for slowing down your aging process. If you do not eat dairy, you can replace them with soya milk, almond milk or cereals.
Try out these antioxidant rich foods and stay young for many years to come. Antioxidant Supplements are also available in the market.
What Are The Benefits Of Vitamin E?
April 17, 2014 05:01 AM
Vitamin E is composed of eight fat soluble vitamins and it’s available in four different forms. The fat soluble antioxidant can only be obtained in food as a supplement. They help in prevention of oxidative stress in the body and other vitamins.
There are different varieties of foods rich in vitamin E in terms of nutrients density with examples such as:
1. Tofu light, silken with a 25% daily value in every 5.3 mg.
Health benefits of vitamin E.
The health benefits come from the vitamins antioxidant property which remove free radicals that damage the cell structure due to its unstable compounds. It improves immunity and reduces cholesterol thereby reducing the risk associated with developing cancer.
Vitamin E prevents the blood platelets from clumping. Heart diseases, sunstroke and coronary artery disorders are prevented through consumption of high levels of vitamin E.
Vitamin E owing to its properties of antioxidant, promotes blood circulation to the scalp which help in reducing fatigue and make capillary walls more stronger for nourished cells.
Vitamin E oil facilitates the healing process and since it’s extremely versatile, the vitamin E absorbed in the epidermis layer is used in treating and preventing sunburns.
Since vitamin E speeds up cell generation, it’s used to treat acne, scars, and wrinkles which makes the skin to appear more younger due to its anti-aging effect.
Vitamin E helps the skin to maintain its natural moist and appear to be more fresh. It’s also used to treat nails and cuticles by applying a few drops of vitamin E on them.
Vitamin E is believed to promote eye health and reduces the risk of eye damage associated with old age by 20%. i.e Macular degeneration.
Is Beta Carotene The Safe Vitamin A?
March 21, 2014 02:29 AM
What is beta carotene
Beta Carotene is a capable pwerful antioxidant that is useful for the heart and circulatory. In the constitution, it is changed into Vitamin A for the support of solid skin, great vision, and a strong immune system. Vitamin An is fundamental for ordinary structure of epithelial cells that ensures the form from ecological defilement.
What Is Pine Oil?
February 23, 2014 08:07 AM
What is pine
Human beings have used the bark and roots of pine for many years for medicinal purposes. Pines also could be used for religious purposes in some communities. Most pine trees are found in Europe and Asia. There are approximately eighty species of pine trees and Norwegian and Scottish pine produces the greatest amount of pine oil.
The following are major benefits of pine oil.
Injuries: One of the characteristics of pine oil is being antiseptic. This makes it to be commonly used in treating boils, injuries and cuts. It is not only because of its antiseptic characteristics but also anti-fungal properties. The fungal infections are very difficult and dangerous conditions to treat especially when they become internal. Pine helps in clearing all these problems.Respiratory Problems: Pine oil can help greatly in curing respiratory problems and medical experts use it in making coughing and cold drugs. Pine oil is an expectorant and this enables it to loosen mucus and phlegm from respiratory tracts. When your body has little deposition, it becomes very easy and faster in fighting infections reducing the recovery period.
Reduce inflammation: pine oil reduces inflammation of the gall bladder and gallstones. Apart from medicinal purposes, pine oil has pleasant aroma and this makes it widely used when making most household products.
Eye Health: Pine oil has the ability to neutralize free radicals and has a positive health effect on human eye. Free radicals often cause cataracts, Macular degeneration and many other vision related problems. Free radicals cause degradation of eye cells.
Pain: Pine oil has analgesic properties therefore making it the best in treating people suffering from rheumatic, joint pain and arthritis conditions. Apart from being analgesic, pine oil is also an anti-inflammatory agent. This means that it can as well reduce inflammation and some redness on areas affected, hence pain reduction.
Advantages of taking Multiple Vitamin and Mineral Pills
January 16, 2014 06:19 AM
Multiple Vitamin and Mineral pills
Multiple vitamins, also known as multivitamins are dietary supplements containing vitamins and dietary minerals, among other important elements. These supplements often are in the form of capsules, tablets, injections and syrup. They are normally provided in conjunction with dietary minerals. The minerals provided by these supplements fulfill various roles in the body. Research findings have indicated that taking multiple vitamins does not protect you from diabetics, heart attacks, cancer, among other lifestyle diseases. Nonetheless, some categories of people like malnourished people and people with an increased chance of Macular deterioration. Overally, the benefits of taking a multivitamin daily exceed the probable risks associated with them.
Enhancing nutrient intake
For people who cannot get the recommended nutrient amounts, these people are urged to take supplements so as to boost their diet. Processed and inorganically grown food have been depleted of their vitamins and essential minerals. It is for this reason that it is suggested to take multivitamins and minerals daily to supplement your dietary intake. People essentially take dietary supplements to back up their food intake.
Improving your health and suppression of recurrent diseases
Specific supplements can be very helpful for individuals with particular diseases. Increasing your daily dose of vitamins and minerals is likely to slow down loss of vision. Studies have also indicated that taking multivitamins lowers the risk of developing growth in the large intestines. The folate in multivitamins is thought to be responsible for this protection.
In as much as multivitamins cannot take the place of real food, it is imperative to get extra vitamins and nutrients for people taking incomplete diets. One advantage of these supplements is that they offer higher nutrient returns with low calories unlike regular food. They are also recommended for pregnant, breastfeeding and post-menopausal women.
What Is The Difference Between flaxseed oil and fish oil
January 01, 2014 07:03 PM
Before you can compare flaxseed oil and fish oil
It is first important to understand the differences between the two oils. Extracted from the dried seeds of the plant rips linen, flax seed oil is clean and almost yellow. The oil is obtained by a cold method or by solvent extraction. Flaxseed oil contains acid lineolic, a particular form of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish Oil is extracted from the tissues of fatty fish containing EPA, Docohsahexanoic acid (DHA) and eicosanoids.
Benefits of compare flaxseed oil and fish oil
Some of the health benefits are reducing inflammation. For comparison, it is essential to analyze the benefits of both oils. Two omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA in this oil and are a great help in creating hormone-like substance that reduces inflammation and blood pressure. They have also been shown to reduce triglycerides and the accumulation of plaque in the arteries.Omega-3 oils promote the secretion of serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical anti-depressant produced by the body and thus reduces or mitigates the effects of depression. Fish oil is often used in the treatment of patients with HIV / AIDS, and has proven to be helpful in lowering triglyceride levels in the body that build up after prolonged use of antiretroviral drugs. This is extremely useful because it can reduce the risk of a patient for coronary artery disease. In addition to providing relief from chronic inflammation, they is also useful for those suffering from joint pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis. The EPA has also found that fish oil helps protect the skin from photo damage. Photo damage is known to cause permanent skin wrinkles and skin damage. In addition, some studies have shown that they may prevent schizophrenia, with minimal side effects. Mothers who take fish oil during pregnancy often bear children with enhanced brain function as well as children with higher IQs. They are also less prone to cognitive problems. And the effects of postpartum depression seem to lessen with the regular intake of fish oil.The fish oil supplements have even more benefits, including lower risk of Macular degeneration in the aging process. And studies have shown that with weight training significant reduced pain is present in the bodybuilders who regularly consumed fish oil. Other benefits are providing relief for digestive diseases..
October 22, 2013 11:51 PM
Lutein is referred to as an antioxidant carotenoid which is simply a pigmented nutrient that is. How does Lutein helps the eyes. Lutein is responsible for the yellow colours found in fruits and vegetables. It is present in high quantities in leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, corn, orange juice, grapes, broccoli and yellow carrots and is dark in colour. Lutein is obtained by animals either directly or indirectly from plants and employed by them as an antioxidant and also for absorption of blue light. Each and every individual was born with a certain amount of lutein in your eye but it is not produced in the body.
Where is lutein found in the body
The region of the retina responsible for central vision is called the macula. This area is sensitive to blue light and upon exposure to too much light can cause damage to the eyes. Lutein helps to protect this damage by filtering blue light before it can cause damage to the macula.
Also it is evident that lutein in food protects against cataracts as well as Macular degeneration that are the common eye disorders. Lutein together with another carotenoid called zeaxanthin form the yellow pigment found in the retina and absorbs blue light that is a harmful component of the sunlight. Lutein is also may help protect carotid arteries found on the neck from clogging which is an indication of atherosclerosis that is a disease that leads to heart attacks.
If you do not eat properly, the amount of lutein in the eyes may deplete as you age. Your body doesn’t make lutein therefore it is recommended that you replace this through eating fruits and vegetables that are good sources of lutein. You can also get zeaxanthin in oranges, orange bell peppers, honeydew melon and also corn. Lutein and zeaxanthin works together and can also be found in egg yolks. Therefore to maintain that good vision always eat lots of fruits and vegetables and they will boost your vision.
//www.bausch.com/en/reference/lutein for eyes/
What Is Glutathione Good For?
April 14, 2012 08:03 AM
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione (GSH)is a tripeptide derived from non-proteinaceous amino acids. Contains apeptide bond between the group unusual amino of the cysteine group and the carboxylside chain of glutamate. Glutathione, an antioxidant, helps protect cells from reactive species of oxygen such as free radicals and peroxides. Glutathione is nucleophilic at sulfuracceptors and conjugated electrophilic attack poisonous. Groups thiolare maintained in a reduced state to a concentration of about ~ 5 mM in animal cells. Indeed, glutathione reduces any link disulfideformed with in proteins cytoplasmic cysteines by acting as a donor of electrons.In the process, glutathione is converted to its oxidized form glutathione disulfide (GSSG). Glutathione is found almost exclusively in its reduced form, since the enzyme that turns its oxidized form, glutathione reductase,is constitutively active and inducible to oxidative stress.In fact, the ratio of reduced glutathione to oxidized glutathione in cells is often used scientifically as a measure of cellular toxicity. H2O2+ GSSG + 2 ------- 2GSH H2O.
Advantages of the Glutathione
Before discussing the benefits of L-Glutathione, let's first talk a little about the nutrient. Glutathione is an antioxidant enzyme dominant which is soluble in water.It is absorbed mainly in the liver.It helps fight against free radical damage.The free radical damage is harmful relatives. Glutathione is involved in a variety of other functions in the body.
The function of Glutathione - Benefits of Glutathione
Glutathione works in DNA synthesis and repair, protein and prostaglandin synthesis, and amino acid transport.It helps in the metabolism of carcinogens and toxins.Immune system is improved through the use of Glutathione, and contributes to the prevention of cellular oxidative damage, and activation of enzymes. Glutathione also helps and maintains the functions of other antioxidants.
There is the possibility of a deficiency of glutathione. It usually occurs during aging.For example, it is seen in Macular degeneration related to age, diabetes, and lung and gastrointestinal diseases. It may be the cause of pre-eclampsia, Parkinson's, AIDS and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Where to get Glutathione
Some sources of glutathione include fruits such as tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruit, oranges, peaches and cantaloupe.It is found in vegetables such as avocados, potatoes, spinach, okra, acorn squash, and asparagus.It is found in most meats as well. Other sources of vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, parsley, and not only provide GSH - glutathione peroxidase, but it also stimulates the body to make more BA.Since cooking destroys much of glutathione, you will get more to eat raw or steamed vegetables for the best benefits of Glutathione.
Reduced glutathione is in a supplementation that we personally use a company called source naturals a Natural Product meeting the above requirements.The nutrient content in their signature product - Total Balance.
What Makes A Good Vision Formula?
April 09, 2012 07:27 AM
Although there are many types of vision formula products in the market, a good number of them are not what you really need for your healthy eyes. This is because although they may contain various good nutrients, they might also lack some components that are vital to your general health. Many people forget that the eye is in fact only one organ of the body, and it cannot function on it's own. Problems in someone's vision are often an indication of the general unhealthy state of the body. A good vision formula, therefore, has to be blended in such a way that it contains all the required nutrients for the eye. while being free of any ingredients that can be harmful to the eye or any part of the body.
A Good Eye Formula Contains:
For any vision formula, vitamin A is a must-have. This is arguably the most important nutrient for the eyes. In fact, there is hardly such a time that the eyes have enough vitamin A from the foods we eat.Carrots have a reputation for being good for the eyes simply because they are rich in vitamin A. Along with vitamins E and C, it acts as an antioxidant which help to promote a clear vision.
Bilberry is another very important ingredient. It helps to enhance better night-vision, and helps people to see more clearly when there is very little light.It does this by enabling the pupils of the eyes to open wider thus allowing more light to enter the eye.Bilberry is so effective that during the second world war, it is said that British pilots used to eat them every time they fly.The black carrent is another nutrient that also helps in improving night vision.
Lutein makes another vital nutrient that a good vision formula should contain.It is one of the best natural antioxidants known to man. Among it's roles is protecting the eye from dangerous blue light, which can badly damage a person's vision. It also reduces the possibility of Macular degeneration -a condition which is associated with aging. Lutein is not just important to the eyes alone, but also to the skin.The fact that it helps to filter out the blue light rays, means that it is needed by the skin too, because the skin also needs protection from these dangerous rays.It is known also to redeem the free radicals, which are very important to the eyes and need protection from damage.
There are other very important ingredients of a good vision formula, including Blueberry, Taurine and copper, which are important in facilitating a clear vision as well as enhancing the general good health of the eye.It is important that you take note of the fact that not all eye problems can be remedied by a vision formula. While a vision formula can be of great help in enhancing the way you see, some problems may require the attention of a specialist. It is therefore advised that you seek help from such specialists who can understand your problem better and help you solve them accordingly.
What Is L-Carnosine And What Does It Do?
March 30, 2012 08:28 AM
What Is L-Carnosine
L-Carnosine is basically a combination of 2 vital amino acids-L-histidine and beta-alanine. It is naturally present in the body, mainly in the muscle, and in many animals too. Carnosine can be broken down easily into the two amino acids, but it is good to know that these amino acids work much better when combined to form L-Carnosine. L-Carnosine has the remarkable ability to revitalize, that is, to make older cells younger and lengthen their life cycle. This compound is commercially available and is the only one that has the rare and distinctive ability to rejuvenate cells.
What does L-Carnosine do?
In simple language, L-carnosine is able to transform itself into so many compounds with each performing or enhancing a number of crucial body functions such as:
May bind to dangerous metal compounds to make them inactive.
Turning the resultant metal compound/carnosine into useful antioxidants which in turn can be anti-ulcer agents
Protecting and stabilizing cell membranes, keeping cells safe from dangerous free radicals
Protecting healthy cells from damage caused by radiation
Enhances blood flow to the brain
Acts like a neurotransmitter, helping messages move from one nerve to the other. This helps fight dementia, as in Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, and boost memory.
Blocks guanylate cyclase activation, an enzyme associated with cancer, migraine, asthma, and septic shock.
Special derivatives of carnosine can help get rid of the accumulation of sugar compounds and abnormal protein in the eye. A variety of these compounds may cause glaucoma, cataracts, and Macular degeneration.
Carnosine works like a catalyst to boost the work of so many other compounds and nutrients.
Benefits of using L-carnosine
Although L-carnosine benefits haven't been extensively researched, according to initial studies it may help in:
Dealing with complications related to cataracts, diabetes, neuropathy, and kidney failure.
It may also help in slowing down aging in skin, minimizing wrinkles as well as breakdown of elasticity in skin.
It can help to prevent joint inflammation, atherosclerosis, and formation of cataract.
Carnosine has been known to prevent and reduce cell damage occasioned by beta amyloid-the substance found in Alzheimer's patent's brain.
Additionally, carnosine appears able to help get rid of the helicobacter pylori bacterium, the organism associated with stomach cancer and peptic cancer. Therefore, it can significantly help protect and heal both peptic and gastric ulcers.
Other possible L-carnosine benefits
Increase muscle endurance and strength
Improves heart function
Speeds healing of wound
A powerful antioxidant that can deal with even the worst free radicals
Reduces inflammation and boosts immunity
It helps pull out or chelate some heavy metals from your body
May help autistic children
Act as anti-cancer agent in the body
Stabilizes cell membranes and slows down lipid peroxidation to protect the process of aging of the brain
L-carnosine can help in preventing or even treating age-related conditions like:
Cell aging/cellular senescence
Cross-linking of eye lens
Build up of damaged proteins
Brain circulatory deficit
Cross-linking of collagen in the skin
DNA chromosome damage
LDL cholesterol oxidation
Formation of AGEs i.e. advanced glycation end-products.
What is stopping you from taking L-Carnosine today?
What Are The Health Benefits Of Saffron Extract?
March 26, 2012 08:01 AM
HEALTH BENEFITS OF SAFFRON EXTRACT
Saffron is one of the rarest and exotic spices found on the earth. Golden spice is the other name given to saffron, attributing to its reddish-golden color. It is the most common spice used in many Indian,Mediterranean and Italian cuisine. This culinary and exotic spice grows on a flowering plant- Crocus Sativa. It is grown in various countries around the world including many Asian and European countries. Areas with hot dry summers and wet springs are the most suitable areas for growing Saffron. While saffron is popular for its flavor, color and fragrance, this rare spice also, has many medicinal and health benefits. Saffron is a very expensive spice and this is mainly because of the fact, that for making 1gram of Saffron strands 150 flowers are required.
Mineral present in Saffron extract -
Saffron extract contains high amounts of copper, magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium, iron, and selenium. It is also a rich source of various vitamins like- vitamin A, B2 and C, niacin and folic acid. Apart from these Saffron also contains carotenoid compounds - crocetin, lycopeneand, safranel and crocin.
The various health benefits of Saffron are -
1) Cancer Treatment- Because of the presence of crocetin and carotenoid in Saffron, it has anti-mutagenic and anti-tumor properties. Several studies on Saffron extract have proved that Saffron extract delays papilloma carcinogenisis and tumor growth. Because of all these properties, Saffron extract can be used for treating and preventing skin cancer, liver cancer and sarcoma.
2) Anti-inflammatory properties- Saffron have anti-inflammatory properties and therefore it can be used in treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. It is capable of controlling inflammation and healing cuts and burns faster.
3) Potent aphrodisiac- For last many centuries, Saffron has been used as a “POTENT APHRODISIAC” inPersiaand many other Arabian countries. It can increase libido and improve erectile dysfunction by increasing the flow of blood in the pelvic region.
4) Eye Care- Several studies have proved that Saffron extract can treat certain eye problems like- Macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. Saffron also protects the eyes from the harmful effects UV rays.
5) Anti-Depressants- Saffron extract can also be used in the treatment of patients suffering from depression. Researches have shown that Saffron gives equal results as given by therapeutic drugs like imipramine and fluoxetine.
6) Painkiller- Saffron extract can be used for treating many severe painful conditions like- stomach pain, menstrual pain, and kidney pain.
7) Weight loss- Researches have shown that Saffron can suppress the feeling of hunger, by controlling the percentage of serotonin content in the blood. Therefore, Saffron is used in many weight loss programs, as it can reduce the compulsion to eat and feelings of hunger.
8) Skin- Saffron contains antioxidants, and therefore it is used in many beauty and anti-aging treatments.
9) Saffron during Pregnancy- During pregnancy, women are advised to drink Saffron milk, in order to enhance their pelvic blood flow. Also, due to its Carminative properties it helps in suppressing cramps.
Gas and bloating are very common problems during pregnancy and just one glass of Saffron milk can reduce flatulence and ease digestion.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Saffron Extract?
February 23, 2012 07:08 AM
Saffron is an expensive spice that is commonly used to add color and flavor to food. It is used in many cuisine especially Mediterraean, Italian and Indian. The high cost of saffron is due to the fact that 150 flowers are required to make 1 g of saffron strands. This culinary spice grows on aflowering plant, Crocus Sativa. It is grown in Southwest Asia, especially in areas with wet springs and hot dry summers.It contains high amounts of minerals such as copper, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron and selenium. It is a rich source of vitamins such as vitamins A, C and B2, folic acid and niacin. Saffron contains carotenoidcompounds- crocin, crocetin, lycopeneand safranel, which are known to possess many health benefits. This expensive herb not only adds flavor to food but also offers variety of health benefits.
Spices have been used as medicines for centuries because of their anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-oxidant properties. Therapeutic usage of saffron is 3000 years ago when it was used as an natural aphrodisiac. Some of the health benefits of saffron extract are:
1. Saffron contains anti-tumour and anti-mutagenicproperties due to the presence of carotenoid, crocetin. Studies on mice indicated that saffron extract delays tumor growth and delays papilloma carcinogenisis and inhibits squamous cell carcinoma. It helps in treating and preventing certain types of cancer such as skin cancer, sarcoma and liver cancer.
2. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, saffron can control inflammation in the body and speed up the healing of burns and cuts. It helps in treating arthritis and other inflammatory joint diseases.
3. For thousands of years in Persian and other Arabian countries, saffron was used as a potent aphrodisiac. It was used to increase libido and erectile dysfuntionby improving the blood flow to the pelvic region. It was also used to treat many female health conditions.
4. Studies have shown the effects of saffron on several eye conditions. Saffron extract helps to slow down retinitis pigmentosa and Macular degenration. It alsoprotects the eye from direct effect of bright light.
5. Saffron has been proved to be effective in treating mild to moderate depression. According to studies, saffron has shown equivalent results as given by therapeutic doses of fluoxetine and imipramine., anti-depressants.
6. Saffron acts as a painkiller in treating many painful conditions such as kidney pain, stomach pain and menstrual pain.
7. According to French researchers, saffron extract can reduce the hunger in between meals. It does that by controlling the levels of serotonin in the blood, which is responsible for signaling hunger pangs. Studies have found the effects of saffron on weight loss by reducing feelings of hunger and compulsion to eat between meals.
8. Some animal studies on saffron indicate cognitive enhancement and improved memory . However human trials are still to be conducted to find out the potential effects of saffron on memory. It is believed that regular use of saffron can delay demetia and prevent Alzheimer's disease.
9. It is used in many cosmetics such as skin lightening agents.
A sprinkle of Saffron extract not just adds spice to your food, but also prevents many health conditions.
Benefits Of Zeaxanthin
February 07, 2012 08:14 AM
With aging, our eyes and the associated muscles weaken. They can degenerate and lose our ability to see properly. Eyes enable us with vision to see the world, and losing the eyesight will halt affect our daily activities and movements. People are frequently worried about losing their sight, and try to find supplements that can prevent the loss of vision. However, this debility can be prevented.
Supplements should be ideally be all natural, healthy, and with no side effects. Zeaxanthin is an important nutrient for eye health. This is found in found in green leafy vegetables, and also in other foods like eggs. Zeaxanthin fulfills most of the requirements that most people look in a supplement.
WHAT IS ZEAXANTHIN
Zeaxanthin and lutein are carotenoids that filter out the harmful high-energy wavelengths of light, and also act as antioxidants in the eye. This helps to maintain and protect healthy eye cells. Out of the six hundred carotenoids found in nature, only these two, Zeaxanthin and Lutein are deposited in high quantities in the retina (macula) of the eye. Unfortunately, our body does not synthesize the zeaxanthin and lutein it requires.
This is the reason why green vegetables, eggs and other sources of these carotenoids are essential to proper nutrition. Daily intake of zeaxanthin and lutein through diet, beverages, fortified foods or nutritional supplements and is very important for the protection and continuation of good eye health.
Studies have indicated that zeaxanthin and lutein can help to lessen the chance of chronic eye illnesses, including cataracts and age-related Macular degeneration (AMD).
Zeaxanthin, is also a bioflavonoid, that besides its benefits to ocular health, has been linked to providing many health benefits, including its anti-inflammatory property. Because of zeaxanthin being a carotenoid category bioflavonoid, its main action is over the blood vessels; it works by supporting the blood vessels around the retina area with their proper function.
Zeaxanthin is both an anti-inflammatory phytochemical and an antioxidant; hence this has been used as a preventative measure for Macular degeneration and cataracts. Its antioxidant properties keep eyes from being damaged from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sunlight. Overall, zeaxanthin keeps the eye healthier, and looking younger.
ZEAXANTHIN AGAINST CATARACT: Our natural eye collects and focuses light on the retina, and to properly provide this function continuously, the lens must remain clear throughout life. A major cause of cataracts is oxidation of the lens, which clouds it. Antioxidant nutrients, like zeaxanthin and lutein neutralize the free radicals or the unstable molecules associated with this oxidative stress associated with retinal damage. Thus, these phytochemicals play a role in cataract prevention. Higher dietary intakes of vitamin E, zeaxanthin and lutein can considerably reduce the risk of cataract formation.
ZEAXANTHIN AGAINST AGE-RELATED Macular DEGENERATION (AMD): Zeaxanthin and lutein reduces the risk of AMD. In fact, studies like AREDS2 (Age-Related Eye Disease Study) are being conducted with supplements containing ten mg lutein along with two mg zeaxanthin each day, how it affects or lowers the chance of developing this degeneration.
FOOD SOURCES OF ZEAXANTHIN
Zeaxanthin is naturally found in some green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach. Other sources of zeaxanthin include egg yolk, yellow squash and bell-peppers. This makes zeaxanthin available as a completely natural nutrient, with no side effects.
How Does Lutein Help Fight Against Macular Degeneration?
August 19, 2011 01:11 PM
Macular degeneration is a medical condition that affects older adults in most cases which results in a loss of sight or vision just in the center of the visual field due to damage of the retina. This is a very serious condition of the eye and it progresses over the years and in case left untreated may lead to further loss of sight. It has been found to be a major cause of older adults being visually impaired and usually age range is 50 years or older. Macular degeneration makes it hard or impossible to read or recognize faces, even though enough peripheral vision remains to make daily life activities remain doable.
Lutein from the Latin meaning of yellow, luteus, is a xanthophyll and is a naturally-occurring carotenoid. It is abundant in leafy vegetables which are green in color like spinach and kale. Lutein can also be found in egg yolks and is also present in plants as a fatty-acid tester and most of all, it can be found in the retina and concentrated in the macula, which is a small area of the retina mainly responsible for central vision. This helps the eyes to be protected from oxidative stress and blue light photons with high energy.
Several studies have found that an increase in macula pigmentation helps decreases the risk for eye diseases and one of them is Age-related Macular Degeneration(AMD). Some concluded that visual activity is improved with lutein supplementation alone or lutein together with other nutrients. Other studies also show that AMD seemed to be directly related to having low carotenoids in the body. It does follow in this case that increased green leafy vegetable consumption does help prevent the risk of AMD. Sufficient lutein intake indicates risk reduction for Macular degeneration and this can be obtained from a proper diet, but considering that the daily focus of attention is for the lutein.
It commonly follows that this daily attention to the diet to get all the required lutein for our body is where supplementation suggestion comes in since many are not able to do so especially for people around the age group of 70 and up where the attention needed is just too taxing. And since failure to have sufficient lutein is not acceptable for these people with a high risk of AMD or those already with AMD but hopes to slow it down or even stop the progression of the decease, supplementation is a viable and reliable way to assure sufficient lutein intake. This would eventually lead to increases in blood serum levels that would be equal to a diet sufficient of high lutein foods.
However it’s worthy to note that risk reduction does not equate to a cure because once Macular degeneration has started there is no way to reverse it. But reduction of risk may be an implication of prevention for some people. Further research needs to be done. However in terms of prevention before the decease starts, results have been promising.
Gooseberry Benefits Vision, Blood Sugar, Cholesterol And More
April 09, 2011 11:17 AM
Gooseberry And Your Health.
Gooseberry is a group of fruit-bearing plant species that belong to the same family as currants. They are easily recognizable by their round berries that are either bright green or deep purple in color. While most of the cultivars produce fruits that are bitter in taste, gooseberries are often added to desserts and preserved as jam or pickle. They are an excellent source of many nutrients, such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B complex, phosphorous, calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium, among others. Herbalists believe that the vitamin and mineral content of gooseberries do not significantly change after washing, heating, and other cooking preparations.
Different varieties of gooseberries are widely distributed across the Old World, with species native to Europe, Africa, and Asia. The American species are also considered indigenous to North America although many dispute this claim. Each species have been linked to varying herbal remedies, but they all have similar genetic traits and nutrient contents. European and American cultivars are known for the following uses:
Counters Visual Decline
Gooseberry is often associated with the improvement of eyesight. There have been numerous articles about its medicinal potential in the treatment of cataracts, myopia or nearsightedness, and Macular degeneration. The fruits are indeed a good source of biological precursors of vitamin A, and the juice extracted from the fruits are believed to contain phytochemicals that contribute to the upkeep of healthy cells found in the human eye.
Reduces Blood Sugar
Almost all varieties of gooseberry are believed to lower blood glucose levels. Proponents of its use as a therapeutic remedy for hyperglycemia point to the modulating effects of its organic compounds and metabolites on the hormone insulin. Gooseberry appears to increase production of insulin and improve glucose sensitivity of cells, the reason why it is also in use in conjunction with other common treatments for type 2 diabetes.
Promotes Cardiovascular Health
The organic compounds naturally occurring in gooseberry have been observed to show cardioprotective properties. First, they help lower serum cholesterol by interfering with the release of low-density lipoproteins, or bad cholesterol, from the liver. Second, they relax the smooth muscle cells within blood vessel walls, resulting in increased blood flow. Third, they strengthen heart muscles, promoting heart health.
Improves Hair Loss
The buzz around the ability of gooseberry products to control hair is supported by very encouraging results. It is believed that topical applications containing gooseberry extracts act on hair follicles, or hair roots, the part of the scalp that grow hair. Practitioners of folk medicine in Europe and Asia usually boil gooseberries, add the pulp to other ingredients to make paste, and apply the paste to the scalp.
Scavenges Free Radicals
Gooseberries are rich in polyphenols, with different species containing flavonoids, tannins, lignans, or their combination. Plant-based polyphenols are known for their antioxidant properties, which of course is important to neutralizing free radicals. Gooseberry is historically noted for its anti-aging effects, and modern research support this centuries-old with the discovery of its polyphenolic antioxidants.
Give Gooseberry A Try Today!
Lycopene - A Powerful antioxidant with great promise
December 10, 2010 06:11 PM
Lycopene is a tetraterpene carotene that is largely responsible for the red color of tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables such as carrots and papayas, although it is not a form of Vitamin A as other carotenes are. It is responsible for the production of the pigment beta-carotene which does have Vitamin A activity, and that is also found in carrots and similarly colored foodstuffs.
The health benefits of lycopene have been studied in relation to its possible antioxidant activity and its effect on atherosclerosis and other conditions of the cardiovascular system, and also in its potential anti-cancer properties. Although these properties are still under investigation, there is traditional and anecdotal evidence that is can be used to ward of cancer, heart disease and Macular degeneration, a degenerative condition of the retina that results in loss of central vision.
It can be taken as a supplement as a form of insurance, even though the firm medical evidence for its use has yet to be established. While not claiming this to be the case with lycopene, many such traditional uses have eventually been proved to have a firm foundation in science, and many of the initial results and studies with lycopene are tending that way.
The Antioxidant Properties of Lycopene
Carotenoids tend to possess antioxidant properties, and lycopene is as much a carotenoid as the powerfully antioxidant beta-carotene. The problem is that studies focusing specifically on lycopene are rare, and that while such properties can be assumed by association, they have not been conclusively proved for lycopene. Nevertheless, the health benefits of tomatoes are largely assumed to be due to their high lycopene content, particularly powerful when cooked.
Laboratory studies have indicated lycopene to possess strong antioxidant properties, as would also be assumed from its strongly conjugated chemical structure. This would account for its perceived effect upon age-related Macular degeneration, and also its possible anti-cancer properties. Several studies have also been carried out using tomato juice in treating atherosclerosis, an oxidative condition involving cholesterol deposition on the internal walls of the arteries.
These studies have been inconclusive, although everything is pointing toward lycopene being a powerful antioxidant displaying all the properties of Vitamin A and perhaps more. A lycopene supplement is believed to be safer than Vitamin A which can be toxic in large quantities (300,000UI +), and lycopene is used as an approved food coloring.
Have you had your Lycopene today?
October 01, 2009 11:57 AM
In the past decade, ginkgo has received much attention. It has been revered throughout China and other areas of Asia for thousands of years. However, its popularity increased in Western countries. An increase in sales can be attributed to interest in the benefits of ginkgo on conditions that are associated with aging like Alzheimer’s, memory loss, dementia, and circulatory disorders. Often, gingko is used to increase the blood flow to the brain, which improves memory problems like Alzheimer’s, to prevent strokes, and to increase blood circulation through vasodialation. The improved circulation is also thought to improve ear conditions, help blood flow to the retina, aid in preventing muscular degeneration, reduce frequency of asthma attacks, and help transplant recipients avoid rejection.
The ability of ginkgo to boost brain function has been studied extensively. Most importantly, ginkgo increases oxygen supply to brain cells, as the brain is the body’s most sensitive organ to oxygen deprivation. Additionally, ginkgo has been used to improve electrical transmission in nerves and supply more oxygen and nutrients to brain cells. The effect that ginkgo has on the brain and circulatory system disorders seems to be extremely promising for a variety of conditions. Ginkgo has also been found to be effective in treating migraine headaches. In one study that took place in 1975, ginkgo extract was given to individuals who were suffering from migraines. Results concluded that eighty percent of the patients showed improvement or were cured of the condition.
Ginkgo extract has also helped dementia that results from poor blood flow to the brain. Senile dementia is often recognized by depression, unusual fatigue, and memory problems. Ginkgo has the ability to help improve circulation to the brain tissue, which in turn improves brain function.
Blood platelet aggregation, or clotting, can cause serious problems in the body. Among these are strokes, heart attacks, and coronary thrombosis. It has been found that ginkgo can reduce the tendency for platelets to stick together and prevent them from forming clots in the arteries and veins.
The brain and nervous system are extremely sensitive to free-radical damage because of the high percentage of unsaturated fatty acids. It has been found that ginkgo’s antioxidant activity is particularly powerful in these areas, along with the eye and retina. This is extremely helpful in conditions like retinopathy, cataracts and Macular degeneration. The central nervous system possesses fat lipids in the cell membranes that are typically attracted by free radicals. Ginkgo can help protect these cell membranes and prevent condition which can occur in the brain and nervous system that are often associated with aging, like memory loss.
The leaves of the ginkgo plant are used to provide adaptogen, alterative, antioxidant, antiseptic, and stimulant properties. Primarily, ginkgo is extremely helpful in treating ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, lack of attention span, blood clots, cardiovascular disorders, poor circulation, dementia, dizziness, edema, impotence, inflammation, ischemia, memory loss, lack of mental clarity, multiple sclerosis, muscular degeneration, PMS, Raynaud’s disease, senility, stress, stroke, and tinnitus.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with allergies, angina, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, cancer, carpal tunnel syndrome, coughs, depression, lack of equilibrium, eye problems, hearing problems, hemorrhoids, lung disorders, migraines, mood swings, toxic shock syndrome, transplant rejection, varicose veins, vascular problems, and vertigo.
Lutein 20mg (FloraGlo)
September 26, 2008 03:49 PM
Maintains Healthy Visual Function*
It has been well established that lutein is present in high concentrations in the retinal tissue of the human eye. However, a study was conducted in human volunteers to determine whether taking lutein in supplement form actually increased the density of the carotenoid pigments present in the macula. In this study of eight individuals, researchers estimated the density of the Macular pigments prior to having each individual take 10 mg of lutein daily in supplement form for 12 weeks. Plasma lutein concentrations were measured at 4-week intervals. During the first four weeks of the study, plasma levels increased five-fold from pre-supplement measures, and then remained at this level for the duration of the study. It was also shown that, due to increased deposition of lutein in optical tissues, Macular pigment density increased by an average of 5.3% at the 4-week mark, and continued to increase until the duration of the study.1
A study was also conducted to investigate the possible role of specific nutrients in protecting the lens of the eye against aging, a risk factor for compromised visual function. The study was comprised of 376 individuals aged from 18 to 75. Of the nutrients measured, it was found that the lenses of individuals with higher concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin showed less of an effect from the aging process. The investigators concluded that these carotenoids might play a protective role in supporting the maintenance of healthy vision.2
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) was a landmark study of the effects of diet and antioxidant supplementation on eye health. The study enrolled over 3500 subjects aged 55 to 80 years who were followed for approximately 6 years. Among the data collected in this multi-faceted study was a self-administered Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ). The AREDS Report No. 22 examined the data from the FFQs and determined that, of the nutrients evaluated, only lutein and zeaxanthin were directly related to maintaining eye health with statistical significance3. These findings corroborated similar results of an earlier multi-center study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that also found that those with a higher intake of lutein and zeaxanthin maintained healthier eye function.4 These promising results have spurred the design of a second major clinical trial (AREDS2), which is currently enrolling participants to study the impact of supplemental xanthophylls (FloraGLO® Lutein and zeaxanthin) and other nutrients on age-related eye health.5
In addition, a double-blind placebo controlled trial was performed in ninety individuals who had signs of compromised visual function. Individuals were divided into three groups and received either 10 mg FloraGLO® lutein, 10 mg FloraGLO® lutein plus a multivitamin/multimineral formulation, or placebo for 12 months. In both the FloraGLO® lutein and FloraGLO® lutein plus other nutrients groups, improvements were seen in mean eye Macular pigment optical density, visual acuity and contrast sensitivity. No improvements were noted in the placebo group.6 These results demonstrate FloraGLO® lutein’s beneficial effect on maintaining healthy visual function.
Newly published research has demonstrated that lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation may enhance visual performance under glare conditions. Forty healthy subjects took daily doses of 10 mg FloraGLO® Lutein plus 2 mg zeaxanthin for six months. They were evaluated for changes in Macular pigment, glare disability and photostress recovery at the onset of the study, and at 1, 2, 4 and six months. After six months, subjects experienced an average increase in Macular pigment optical density (MPOD) of 39% compared to baseline, and all but two participants experienced some increase in MPOD. This increase in MPOD was also directly related to measured improvements in visual performance after exposure to bright light, as well as photostress recovery.7 This study suggests another way in which lutein and zeaxanthin can help support optimal visual function in healthy individuals.
Potent Antioxidant Protection*
Most of the beneficial effects of lutein are ascribed to its potent free radical scavenging abilities. It is well-known that lutein is a carotenoid related to beta-carotene and possesses antioxidant activity against a number of reactive oxygen species.8
More direct evidence for the free radical scavenging activity of lutein is found in studies of its effects on human lens epithelial cells. Cell cultures were exposed to ultraviolet light after pretreatment with lutein or alpha-tocopherol. Both nutrients were found to reduce ultraviolet-induced damage to lens epithelial cells. However, lutein was shown to have significantly higher photoprotective activity than alpha-tocopherol9 demonstrating its potential as a high-powered antioxidant.
A further review of the mechanisms of lutein in conferring a protective role reveals evidence for its antioxidant activity in various body tissues. Lutein has been shown to be an effective antioxidant in vitro as well as in experimental models of a number of body systems.10
Supports Healthy Skin*
A recent randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study has demonstrated the positive effects of oral and topical administration of lutein on skin health parameters (surface lipids, hydration, photoprotective activity, skin elasticity and skin lipid peroxidation). Forty female subjects were divided into four treatment groups. Treatment options included oral administration of 5 mg of FloraGLO® Lutein twice daily or placebo and topical administration of 50 ppm FloraGLO® Lutein twice daily or placebo. Each treatment group received either an active oral treatment with a placebo topical treatment, a placebo oral treatment with an active topical treatment, both active treatments, or both placebo treatments. Statistically significant improvements were seen in all five parameters tested in all treatment groups compared to the group receiving only placebos. The greatest overall improvements were seen in the group receiving both active oral and topical treatments, while lesser but still significant improvement was seen in both the active oral only and the active topical only groups. Additionally, oral administration of lutein conferred superior photoprotective activity (as measured by skin surface redness after exposure to ultraviolet light) and prevention of lipid peroxidation (as indicated by levels of malondialdehyde in skin lipids after exposure to ultraviolet light) than either topical lutein or placebo.11
Diverse Cinical Benefits*
Evidence from various experimental trials suggests that lutein may play a protective role on the circulatory and cardiovascular systems. Its antioxidant activity may also extend to the heart, skin, lungs and blood vessels, making it a nutrient with diverse clinical benefits. Lutein possesses the ability to promote the health of many body tissues.12
Suggested Adult Use: One softgel daily with food, or as directed by a health care professional.
Does Not Contain: milk, egg, wheat, sugar, sweeteners, starch, salt, or preservatives.
1. Berendschot TT, et al. Influence of lutein supplementation on Macular pigment, assessed with two objective techniques. Invest Opthalmol Vis Sci. 2000 Oct; 41(11): 3322-6.
2. Berendschot TT, et al. Lens aging in relation to nutritional determinants and possible risk factors for age-related cataract. Arch Opthalmol. 2002 Dec; 120(12): 1732-7.
3. Age-Related Eye Disease Study Research Group. The relationship of dietary carotenoid and vitamin A, E, and C intake with age-related Macular degeneration in a case-control study: AREDS Report No. 22. Arch Ophthalmol. 2007 Sep; 125(9): 1225-32.
4. Seddon JM, et al. Dietary Carotenoids, Vitamins A, C, and E, and Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration. JAMA. 1994 Nov; 272(18):1413-1420.
5. www.nei.nih.gov/neitrials/viewStudyWeb.aspx?id=120. Clinical Studies Database. Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2). Last Updated 2/28/2008. Viewed 5/15/2008.
6. Richer S, et al. Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-related Macular degeneration: the Veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry. 2004 Apr; 75(4): 216-230.
7. Stringham JM and Hammond BR. Macular pigment and visual performance under glare conditions. Optom Vis Sci. 2008 Feb; 85(2):82-8.
8. “Lutein and Zeaxanthin”. PDR Health. www.gettingwell.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/nutsupdrugs/lut_0164.shtml
9. Chitchumroonchokchai C, et al. Xanthophylls and alpha-tocopherol decrease UVB-induced lipid peroxidation and stress signaling in human lens epithelial cells. J Nutr. 2004 Dec; 134(12): 3225-32.
10. Krinsky NI. Possible biologic mechanisms for a protective role of xanthophylls. J Nutr. 2002; 132: 540S-542S.
11. Palombo P, et al. Beneficial Long-Term Effects of Combined Oral/Topical Antioxidant Treatment with the Carotenoids Lutein and Zeaxanthin on Human Skin: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2007; 20: 199-210.
12. Mares-Perlman JA, et al. The body of evidence to support a protective role for lutein and zeaxanthin in delaying chronic disease. Overview. J Nutr. 2002; 132: 518S-524S.
August 30, 2008 09:43 AM
Bilberry is a part of the herb world that has recently begun re-emerging because of recent scientific discoveries linking the fruit to therapeutic properties in blood vessel-related disorders. If you happen to suffer from any disorder that is related to weaken blood vessels, then you should definitely think about bilberry as part of your treatment, as it can be safe and extremely effective. Bilberry is a rich source of anthocyanidins, which gives it the unique ability to stabilize and protect collagen stores. This helps to prevent capillary leakage and hemorrhage. Bilberry is currently being used to treat vascular and blood disorders, and is also a main ingredient in the treatment of many visual problems. It has even been proven effective for varicose veins, thrombosis, diabetes, Macular degeneration, and angina.
Thanks to its rich amounts of anthocyanosides, bilberry is an extremely valuable treatment for a variety of disorders in which leaky veins cause tissue damage. Containing over 15 different anthocyanosides, bilberry protects the veins and arteries, as it boosts a great deal of physiological processes that results in the improved integrity of capillary walls. Additionally, anthocyanosides prevent platelets from sticking to the walls of vessels, which helps to prevent the formation of blood clots. Bilberry has shown healing properties including: analgesic, anti-arthritic, anti-clotting, antiulcer, anti-edemic, anti-inflammatory, anti-osteotic, cyclooxygenase inhibitor, inhibits collagenase, inhibits elastase, lipoxygena, smooth muscle relaxant, lowers blood sugar, and vasodilator.
With more than 100 names from around the world, bilberry also can be known by: huckleberry, whortleberry, European blueberry, myrtle bilberry, myrtle blueberry, myrtle whortleberry, Rocky Mountain whortleberry, red whortleberry, black grouseberry, low bilberry, mountain blueberry, huckleberry, and blueberry. Bilberry is a perennial shrub that can be commonly found in many different climates around the world that are characterized by damp woodlands and moorlands in northern Europe, northern regions of America, and parts of Canada.
Bilberry grows as a small shrub with wiry, angular branches that do not usually grow over a foot high. The branches of bilberry bear waxy flowers and black berries that are covered with a grey bloom when they are ripe. The leather-like leaves of bilberry are initially rose color, but turn to a yellowish-green in the summer and a fiery red in the autumn.
Growing abundantly in areas of England and flourishing best on high ground in the north and west regions of Britain, bilberry possesses a round fruit or berry that has a flat top and is approximately the size of a black currant, with a taste that is slightly acidic. The berry bushes prefer filtered shade and moist, fertile soil that is acidic and non calcareous. The bilberry plant is related most closely to blueberries and currants, all of which belong to the genus Vaccinium. Bilberries are rich in carbohydrates, tannin, vitamin A, and vitamin C. It also contains glucoquinine, which is able to lower blood sugar.
Finally, bilberry is considered an astringent; it exhibits antibacterial properties in the intestines. Bilberry’s analgesic properties are often thought to come from chlorogenic-acid and ferulic-acid content. Bilberry contains copper, quercetin, linoleic-acid, magnesium, pantothenic acid, ursolic acid, and zinc. This herb is good for the parts of the body that contain small fragile blood vessels such as the eyes and this is why this herb is associated with promoting eye health.
Gac Fruit Oil
August 25, 2008 07:04 PM
Most people have never heard of gac fruit, yet it is very popular in South East Asia, particularly in China and Vietnam. The fruit is grown on vines that reach the size of a cantaloupe and from North East Australia across to China and Vietnam it is used as both a food and a medicine. It is only fairly recently that it has found use in the West as a health food
So what’s so special about this fruit, known also as baby jackfruit and sweet gourd? Its bright red color should provide a clue, since it is jam packed full of beta carotene, lycopene and other strong antioxidants that not only helps to support the immune system, but also helps to retard the effects of aging. It has been used in Vietnam in particular to overcome the effects of an endemic deficiency in vitamin A, and is rich in provitamin A carotenoids. It is also widely used in Chinese medicine to treat a variety of complaints.
Antioxidants and Free Radicals
Antioxidants can boost health in a number of ways, and it might help you understand better the benefits that gac fruit can provide to explain what antioxidants do and why they are such an essential part of our diets. Every millisecond of every day of our lives, our natural metabolism of the conversion of blood glucose to energy generates small oxygenated molecules known as free radicals.
Free radicals are molecules that possess an unpaired electron and are highly unstable. Electrons generally travel in pairs, and when one of that pair is lost through a chemical reaction, the other electron has only one purpose in its short life: to pair up with another electron and it will do whatever it has to in order to achieve that. It is called a free radical, and its life is short. Free radicals destroy body cells, and this can have a dramatic effect, both visually on your skin, and internally on your general health.
Apart from those generated by your body’s own biochmemistry, free radicals are present in car emissions and other pollutants such as pesticides, smog and fried and barbecued foods. They are also formed in your skin by excessive exposure to the UV component of the sun’s radiation. That is why the skin of those living in hot climates tends to age earlier.
Free radicals are what make you look older as you grow older: they destroy skin cells as they are formed, but that is one of the least of their effects. They can also oxidize low density lipids (LDL) that carry cholesterol around your body, causing it to deposit fatty plaques on the walls of your arteries, which is a serious cardiovascular condition known as atherosclerosis.
Antioxidants can donate an electron to free radicals without then becoming free radicals themselves, and so destroy them as they are formed. However, the antioxidant can then lose its reducing power. Free radicals do not roam the blood seeking victims as many imagine them to, but react almost instantly, as soon as they are formed. It is important, therefore, that antioxidants are present in or close to every cell of your body. To achieve this, they must be bound to a fatty molecule, and the problem with many phytonutrients is that they have no associated fats or oils to carry them into the fatty tissues of the body.
Nutritional Constituents of Gac Fruit
Not so with gac fruit, because in addition to the beta carotene and lycopene content, it is also rich in long-chain fatty acids, particularly linoleic and alpha linoleic acids. Not only that, but its beta carotene content is around ten times that of carrots, and it contains 70 times the lycopene of tomatoes! Vitamin C is another very powerful antioxidant, and gac contains 60 times the Vitamin C of oranges. It is also rich in other free radical busters, such as xeoxanthins and alpha-tocopherol, a form of vitamin E.
Altogether, gac fruit contains a free radical killing arsenal that should be enough to scare even the most courageous free radical back to where it came from. Other constituents of gac are numerous minerals, particularly zinc and iron.
That is why the sweet gourd is such a prized fruit, and why Southeast Asian women have skins that western women of the same age would die for! Antioxidants help to prevent the disruption and destruction of skin cells that are the major reason for aging looks, and why skin creams are packed with vitamins A and E, both strong antioxidants.
Health Benefits of Gac
Most of the health benefits of gac are provided by its antioxidant properties. Thus, if you have a high cholesterol level, gac can help you to avoid atherosclerosis by preventing the oxidation of the LDL cholesterol, which is the precursor to it depositing on your artery walls. The body needs cholesterol, but levels should be kept to within certain limits or the resultant atherosclerosis can narrow your arteries leading to cardiac problems and strokes, particularly in the very narrow arteries of the brain.
Gac also supports the immune system and helps to maintain prostate health, largely through its alpha tocopherol, or vitamin E content. Vitamin E is easily destroyed by free radicals, which is where the beta carotene is of benefit. This is the body’s first line of defense against free radicals, and each molecule can neutralize up to 20 free radical molecules before it is destroyed. This helps to save other antioxidants such as vitamin E.
Lycopene is particularly beneficial to the prostate and current research indicates that it can help to prevent prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease, plus some other diseases such as Macular degeneration that affects your sight. Perhaps this is one reason why the gac fruit membranes are used in Vietnam to promote healthy vision, and they also help to cure dry eyes. Lycopene remains in your body fat longer than normal beta carotene, and recent studies have found that men with high amounts of lycopene in their body fat are up to 50% less likely to suffer heart attacks as those with low amounts.
Gac fruit is jam-packed full of nutrients and antioxidants, and has no known side effects. It is used in Asia for weddings and other special occasions, and is grown on lattices in many gardens, although it has a short season. However, gac fruit is not known as the “Fruit from Heaven” for no reason, and if you were allowed the choice of only one fruit in your life, then this would be the one.
August 05, 2008 01:13 PM
Unlike macro-minerals such as calcium, which the body needs in gram amounts, trace minerals such as iron, selenium, zinc, silicon, chromium, sulfur, and copper are only needed in milligram or micrograms. However, these small quantities do not reflect the importance of trace minerals, as inadequate intake can have huge effects on the body. Lets discuss a few of these trace minerals.
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide, with 20 to 50 percent of people affected. The average body contains only one teaspoon of iron, but this mineral is crucial in oxygen transportation throughout the bloodstream and into cells. A lack of iron will starve the body of oxygen and energy, which cause the symptoms of iron deficiency to be fatigue, foggy thinking, irritability, headaches, and lethargy.
A lot of athletes have inadequate iron intake, impairing their exercise performance as it decreases hemoglobin levels and the amount of oxygen that is delivered to the muscles while it increases the time that is needed to recover from exercise. Iron is also important in immunity, with optimal iron intake strengthening the immune system and building resistance to colds, infections, and diseases. Even though inadequate intake is a common concern, too much can also cause health problems including stomach and intestinal cramps, nausea, and constipation.
The most important function of selenium is its antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase. This enzyme is invaluable in protecting red blood cells and cell membranes from free radical damage. Selenium works closely with vitamin E, sometimes replacing it in certain situations. Selenium holds an important role in maintaining the immune system and has been shown to reduce the risk of many health problems which include several types of cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain birth defects.
Zinc is a valuable antioxidant that supports many aspects of the immune system. Zinc works in the eyes to protect them against sunlight-related free radicals. Zinc supplements have been found to slow the progression of Macular degeneration, but high intakes of zinc and other antioxidants have been shown to lower the risk of developing this eye disease in the first place. This mineral can reduce the severity and duration of the common cold when in lozenge form, if started within 24 hours of the first cold symptom and taken every couple of hours. Taking 50mg of zinc daily or higher amounts for short periods of time is a good idea, but amounts over 150mg daily could cause metallic taste, stomach upset, or impair immune function.
Many modern diets contain extremely low amounts of silicon, especially since food processing removes much of the silicon. Silicon improves the elasticity and suppleness to skin that has been damaged by excessive skin exposure. Silicon is also important in natural bone formation, since deficiencies in silicon lead to bone weakness and sluggish wound health. Bone mineral density can be improved in people with osteoporosis by raising the intake of silicon.
Chromium is important in maintaining blood sugar levels, as well as many other roles in the body. Chromium deficiency impairs the blood sugar-insulin relationship, while chromium supplementation improves insulin response. Studies have shown that supplementing with chromium picolinate improves diabetes management by lowering blood sugar, insulin, cholesterol, or triglyceride levels and reducing the reliance on blood sugar medications. This mineral is also important in the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates.
Finally, Sulfur is needed in the joints to keep the connective tissues within them strong and stable. One source of sulfur, MSM, has been shown to significantly relieve pain and improve use of knee joints in studies. Through all of the above, one can see that trace minerals are extremely important contributors to health, even in small amounts.
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.
Fat Controls our hunger centers in the brain!
April 04, 2008 11:28 AM
The main cause of any chronic disease of aging including Type II diabetes, CV disease, obesity, osteoporosis, and cancer are all caused by miss communication between signals that tell your body how to turn energy into life and the brain. The two most important signals that we know of today are given by the hormones insulin and leptin.
Leptin is an extremely powerful and influential hormone that is produced by fat cells. It has totally changed the way scientific researchers look at fat, nutrition, and metabolism in general. Before leptin’s discovery in 1994, fat was regarded as strictly an ugly energy store that most everyone was trying to get rid of. However, after it was discovered that leptin is actually produced by fat, fat became an endocrine organ similar to the ovaries, pancreas, and pituitary, as it influences the rest of the body, especially the brain.
Leptin is the most powerful regulator known to date of eating and reproduction. Your fat tells your brain whether you should be hungry or eat and make more fat, whether you should reproduce and make babies, or whether to maintain and repair yourself. It can then be stated that instead of your brain being in control of your body, your body, especially its fat and leptin, controls your brain.
Throughout history, it has been in ones best interest to store some fat to call upon during times of famine. However, it is also just as bad to be too fat. For most of our history, it was necessary to run, hunt, and avoid being prey. Therefore, fat storage had to be highly regulated and it still is. When a person typically tries to lose weight, the body tries to gain it back, resulting in what is commonly known as yo-yo dieting. Because of this, it has long been theorized that there is a “set point” and there must be a hormone that determines this.
Science now believes that leptin is that hormone. So in order to break the yo-yo cycle, one must control leptin. If a person is getting too fat, the extra fat produces more leptin that is suppose to tell the brain there is too much fat stored and the excess should be burned. Signals are then sent to the hypothalamus to stop being hungry, stop eating, stop storing fat, and start burning off some extra fat. Controlling hunger is a major way that leptin controls energy storage. Hunger is a very powerful drive that will make you do all you can to eat if it is stimulated long enough.
The only way to eat less in the long-term is to not be hungry and the only way to do this is to control the hormones that regulate hunger. The primary hormone that does this is leptin. It has recently been found that leptin not only changes brain chemistry, but can also rewire the neurons in areas of the brain that control hunger and metabolism to do its bidding. The inability of the body to hear leptin’s signals plays significant and even primary roles in heart disease, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, reproductive disorders, cancer, and even the rate of aging itself.
In a process called glycation, glucose reacts with protein which results in sticky, sugar-damaged proteins called advanced glycated end products, or AGEs for short. When protein is damaged, it can’t function or communicate properly. AGEs promote excessive inflammation and free radical damage. AGEs and free radicals from oxidation are two of the major molecular mechanisms that cause damage which leads to aging. AGEs cause skin and the lining of arteries to wrinkle and inflame, which contributes to plaque and heart attacks. They can also promote the formation of cataracts and Macular degeneration leading eventually to blindness.
The glycation process has also been connected with the destruction of proteins and nerve cells that may lead to Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, and a variety of neuropathies. Glycation and oxidation are two of the major molecular mechanisms where damage accrues, disease occurs, and death results. High blood sugar can suppress your immune system, making you more vulnerable to infection and cancer. Highly aggressive cancers outpace the availability of oxygen and therefore must use an anaerobic fuel, in the form of glucose. By consuming glucose (sugar), we feed cancer. Lastly, high blood levels of sugar form non-fiber carbohydrates and excess protein send leptin and insulin levels upward.
If there is a known marker for long life, it is low insulin levels. Insulin’s purpose is not only to regulate blood sugar, but to store excess energy for future times of need. Insulin also lowers blood glucose levels as a side effect from storing it away, not regulating it. Today, high glucose is quite normal, as our insulin levels are typically much higher than they were among our ancestors. When you are constantly bombarding your cells with insulin, they become insulin resistant. This causes insulin levels to rise, creating a hormonal derangement that has a catastrophic effect on the metabolism.
High insulin contributes to making you fat because it tells your cells to store nutrients as fat rather than to burn it. Repeated high levels of insulin cause insulin resistance. The more fat the body accumulates the more leptin the body can produce so fat works against to slow down insulin production causing insulin resistance..
High insulin causes the retention of sodium, fluid retention, excretion of magnesium, elevated blood pressure, cognitive heart failure, blood clotting, and arterial plaque formation. Heart attacks are much more likely to happen after a meal that is high in carbohydrates than after one that is high in fat. This triggers a stress response which can cause arterial spasm, constriction of arteries, elevated blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and sudden death. Insulin resistance along with low magnesium keeps you from metabolizing important fatty acids that are vital to your heart health in general.
As critical as insulin is in your health, leptin may even be more so. Leptin plays a significant role in obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. But there are clues as to how to live a long and healthy life which brings us back to fat and leptin and our need to control it. One can control their insulin production and fat by dietary changes and blood sugar supplements.
Fight Night Blindness, Boost Eye And Vascular Health With Bilberry
March 19, 2008 09:01 PM
Weakness of blood vessels is often seen during the aging process when blood vessels become fragile. Dark bilberry fruit has been shown to reduce blood vessel permeability, improve capillary resistance, and provide antioxidant properties, to scavenge free radicals. One way to fight the aging process of the body is to promote health in the vascular system by eating nourishing foods, exercising, and learning how to handle stress. Evidence shows that eating five servings or more a day of fruit and vegetables can reduce the risk of heart disease, cataracts, and some other disorders that related to blood vessel health. The dark pigment in fruits and vegetables has many health advantages.
A lot of people think that the only way to improve blood vessel health is to reduce blood cholesterol, minimizing the risk of a heart attack. That is an essential goal, but blood vessels should also have strength and integrity to maintain their health in order to carry nutrients and oxygen through the body to feed the tissues. As we age, eye function begins to diminish and causes a lot of people to fear that they are losing their eyesight.
The blood vessels decline in function, but there are other factors such as the reduction of arrestin and rhodopsin. Arrestin is a protein while rhodopsin is the light sensitive pigment that can be found in the retina. The dark pigment of fruits and vegetables is extremely important to blood vessels and the health of the structures and proteins of the eyes. Brilliant colored fruits and vegetables may prevent strokes, heart disease, and help long-term vision because they improve integrity of blood vessels.
Bilberry fruit has been studied for over 40 years for its supportive effects on blood vessel health, blood circulation, and lymph flow. Blood vessels in the brain, heart, eyes, stomach, veins in the legs, and actually anywhere in the body have the potential to leak. In many regions bilberry extract has been used to support individuals with microcirculatory disorders including varicose veins, atherosclerosis, and degenerative retinal conditions including Macular degeneration and cataracts. Diabetes, atherosclerosis, poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, excess alcohol and an inability to handle stress can all contribute to blood vessel disorders and cause the capillary’s membrane to thicken, therefore, increasing capillary permeability causing edema and leaking of fluid.
During the aging process, oxidative damage occurs by free radicals in the eyes, which then causes a loss in the transparency of the lens. Symptoms that occur because of this are blurred vision, increased sensitivity to glare, reduced visual acuity, color perception, and light sensitivity. When the eye structure begins to break down, vision impairment and cataract formation result. Bilberry extract has been shown to improve vision and twilight vision, helping the retina adapt to darkness and glare.
With aging, a gradual degenerative process is experienced which is caused by free radical damage to our body’s genetic material, cell membranes, and tissues. Free radicals attack blood vessel endothelial cells, and they begin to rupture. Antioxidants help to prevent AMD and reduce the damage of the retina’s photo receptors. In summary, blood vessel health is an important part of age management. By improving diet, managing stress, exercising, and supplementing with bilberry extract, one can promote the health of blood vessels throughout the body, and therefore, support the eyes.
Fight Histamine With Quercetin
February 11, 2008 03:48 PM
Quercetin is one of the more powerful of the body’s antioxidants, and it can also be used to reduce the rate of histamine release by the body normally initiated by contact with an allergenic substance (for which your immune system has designed an antigen). We shall examine the biochemical mechanism which this is achieved, but first let’s have a closer look at quercetin and what it actually is.
Quercetin is what is known as a phytochemical, which is simply the scientific name for a chemical that is naturally produced by plants. Other phytochemicals include vitamin C and omega 3 fatty acids, so the term is very broad ranging for any substance that is produced by plants. It is commonly known as a flavanol, one of a family of compounds known as flavonoids that give color to plants.
It is a very active flavonoid, with very powerful antioxidant properties, in addition to acting as an anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory. Histamine is an amine released as part of the body’s immune response to allergenics, and quercetin inhibits its manufacture and release. This amine is an irritant and can itself cause inflammation and the other symptoms associated with allergies such as runny and itchy eyes, a stuffy nose, sneezing and itchy spots. Quercetin can be used to alleviate these symptoms by blocking the manufacture in the body of the histamine that causes them.
It demonstrates other anti-inflammatory properties such as alleviating the symptoms of arthritis, and also helps to destroy free radicals in the body through its strong antioxidant properties, but before we discuss how it does this we shall have a closer look at the mechanisms used in its effect in inhibiting histamine.
Calmodulin is a protein that is used to transport calcium ions, Ca++, across the membranes of certain cells in the body, and by doing so it helps to mediate a number of biochemical processes within the body, among them the immune response and inflammation. It should not be thought these are always unwelcome responses: on the contrary, they are the body’s way of reacting to foreign bodies and preventing more serious conditions from developing.
However, there are instances where the body can become sensitized to certain substances and overreact to their presence leading to conditions such as hay fever or, considerably more serious, asthma. These are just two of the undesirable manifestations of the human immune system that we would be better without. What quercetin does is to prevent calmodulin from properly binding to certain enzymic proteins and so suppress the effect of these proteins. Among these are the enzymes that control the secretion of histamine from mast cells.
Mast cells are found mainly in areas prone to injury and at the interface between internal tissues and outside world, such as the nose, mouth, lungs, eyes, blood vessels and feet. They contain granules rich in histamine that degranulate and released the histamine when the immune system detects foreign bodies such as pollen grains and dust mites, especially when the body has created antigens against them.
Quercetin suppresses the release of histamine from the granules in the mast cells by preventing the degranulation. The release of the histamine is not completely halted, but its effects are reduced and quercetin is used in the treatment of asthma where it is believed to help reduce the symptoms by reducing histamine-induced swelling in the airways.
A similar application of this flavonoid is in reducing the inflammatory response to arthritis, the main cause of the swelling of this painful condition. Your skin can also be affected by inflammation that is partially controllable by quercetin. Collagen and fibronectin biosynthesis is increased that help to maintain not only healthy joints, but also to speed up the healing of wounds and repair damaged nerves. It is also believed that quercetin can hold back the effects of aging on the skin, and slow down the formation of wrinkles.
There are other applications of this versatile flavanol, including its effect on acute prostatitis where it reduces oxidative stress and the accompanying inflammation of the prostate gland. In fact, it is believed to have positive effect on many conditions caused by free radical oxidation and excessive reaction by the immune system causing inflammation. Apart from the allergies and arthritis previously referred to, quercetin is believed to have been effectively used in the treatment of gout, Macular degeneration and heart disease, and it can also help to prevent the oxidation of low density lipoproteins (LDL) responsible for transporting cholesterol to where it is needed to repair major blood vessels.
When these lipoproteins become oxidized by free radicals then the cholesterol associated with them tends to be excessively deposited in the arteries it is meant to be repairing, and lead to atherosclerosis. This condition can lead to heart failure or to strokes if the blood vessels are in the brain.
Studies have indicated that the flavonoid might help to prevent certain cancers by preventing the nutrition of some types of cancerous cells, effectively killing them. Due to its phytoestrogen properties, quercetin can be used to bind to the sites in cancerous cells that are receptive to estrogen and so prevent their growth. Many types of cancerous cells need estrogen for their growth and proliferation, and phytoestrogens mimic the effect of this hormone. However, these are laboratory studies, and more work is required.
More certain is the effect of quercetin on heart disease due largely to the aforementioned control of cholesterol deposition in your arteries, but also through its ability to strengthen the capillaries. However, when all things are considered, it is in the properties of this non-allergenic bioflavonoid to fight histamine release that it finds it’s most popular and effective use.
So what is the best way to take quercetin? Like most bioflavonoids, it is available naturally in the majority of plant foods. Particularly rich sources are broccoli, red onions, red apple skins, black tea, red wine, red and purple berries and almost all dark green leafy vegetables.
However, the name of the game these days is to take measured doses, and while you should continue to eat these foods, you can also receive controlled doses by use of supplements. From 200 to 500 milligrams thrice daily is a good average dose, depending on the severity of your immune reaction or allergy. Bromelain is believed to improve its absorption in the gut, and quercetin is frequently provided with bromelain, which itself is also a good treatment for allergies and excessive response of your immune system to irritation.
Bromelain is an enzyme, generally extracted from pineapple, and treatments higher than the above doses of quercetin with or without bromelain are available online, although like any natural remedy you should inform your own physician of the dosage you are taking.
There is no better non-allergenic bioflavonoid to fight histamine and its potentially unpleasant effects on your body than quercetin.
Better Vision Through Bilberries
January 17, 2008 02:20 PM
"Eat your carrots! They're good for your eyes!" Isn't this what your mother always told you? Isn't that what you learned as a kid? Well, how about re-writing that phrase? How about making it into the phrase: "Eat your bilberries!"
What is a bilberry? A bilberry is a shrub just over a foot tall. The bilberry plant possesses a fruit, the cousin of the blueberry, that is indigenous to Northern Europe. These fruits contain bioflavonoids, an antioxidant with a variety of health benefits. A thousand years ago bilberries were used to relieve diarrhea and kidney stones. Today, the bilberry sees use as a treatment and preventive measure in a variety of situations. Some of the benefits seen in the modern age include possible prevention of heart disease and Macular degeneration. In fact, bilberries may help strengthen the eyes when used by people regularly who aren't suffering from any ocular conditions.
The active ingredients in the fruit are tannins, which are an astringent and anti-inflammatory. The bilberry also contains anthocyanidins, which are compounds that strengthen capillaries and improve the flow of blood through the circulatory system. These anthocyanidins also increase the body’s production of rhodopsin, which is a pigment responsible for enhanced night vision and increased adaptability to changes in light by the eye. In fact, a jam made from the fruit was used by British Royal Air Force pilots in World War II who often reported that it improved their night vision, a crucial aid in an ace pilot's career.
The anthocyanidins in the bilberry fruit are a bioflavonoid. A bioflavonoid is a substance found in plants which helps strengthen the walls of capillaries. Many bioflavonoids support human health in various ways, such as naringenin which aids in cancer prevention. Others may be useful in treating liver conditions such as cirrhosis. The variety of bioflavonoid uses is a field that is still being developed.
Bioflavonoids have an extensive history. From the previously mentioned uses for bilberries to research after World War II into the connection between bioflavonoids and vitamin C, these biologically active wonder substances are an exciting branch of health supplements. They are available in various forms for your convenience.
Bilberry extract comes in a capsule form, usually meant to be taken three times daily. The manufacturer will have instructions in case of varying dosages. Bilberry extract contains the most potent dose of bioflavonoid that the bilberry has to offer. It is this potency that makes the extract the best choice for maximum ocular benefit. But it is not the only choice, in case you are looking for another way to enjoy receiving its unique health bonuses.
Bilberry tea is also made from the dried berries or the leaves of the plant. The berries are also eaten fresh or made into jam, just like the aforementioned British pilots did. The taste of a bilberry is very similar to that of a blueberry: slightly tart, slightly sweet. It has traditionally been baked in pies and it a special treat with syrup and ginger ice cream. That's a taste worthy of the fruit's pedigree!
In the world of health supplements, the unique properties and advantages this fruit, particularly bilberry extract, make it a worthy addition to anyone's daily regimen. Maybe there's a toddler in the house who won't eat his carrots. He will get similar eye benefits by eating the sweet fruit of the bilberry plant. Perhaps a tasty dessert that packs its own reward would be a welcome addition to the dinner table. The possibilities are limitless. Try some of the fruit or extract and invest in a healthier future.
Eggs: An Excellent Source of Omega-3 Oils for Better Health
December 18, 2007 11:43 AM
Eggs have many health benefits, among them being the fact they can be an excellent source of omega-3 oils that can promote better health in those that take it as a supplement. Hens fed on flax seeds are particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids, although eggs have many health benefits other than omega-3.
Most of the health benefits of Omega fatty acids are well known, although many more are being continually discovered as scientists research the uses to which the substances can be put in our bodies. Omega-3 fatty acids have long carbon chains that are polyunsaturated, i.e. contain multiple double bonds in the hydrocarbon chain. As opposed to saturated fatty acids with no double bonds. They are important components of our neurological systems and help to build up cell membranes, but are probably best known for their effect in protecting us from cardiovascular diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids can help us to maintain a healthy heart, and so enable us to live longer.
The current western diet has been changing to reduce cholesterol intake and improve our lifestyle. However, this has not all been well advised, and the resultant diet is rich in vegetable oils as opposite to animal fats, the relative levels of omega fatty acids having changed in favor of omega-6 fatty acids. These omega-6 fats are not as healthy for us as omega-3, and can lead to a thrombogenic state that more easily leads to cardiovascular diseases and blood clots. Rather than a normal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of around 2:1, this ‘improved’ diet has increased it to anything up to 50:1.
The American Heart Association has been advocating a diet richer in omega-3 fatty acids since 1996, yet while research continues to favor omega-3, the increase in consumption of vegetable oils has continued to increase, and with it a reduction in the overall health of a nation.
Omega-3 enriched eggs have been introduced as one means of redressing the balance. Hens fed on flax seeds lay eggs with a much higher proportion of omega-3 fatty acids than normal: up to and over 150mg per egg. Such eggs also have reduced cholesterol – over 15% less, and also are higher in vitamin E, a strong antioxidant, by up to 300%.
Two of the components of omega-3 oils, linoleic acid and linolenic acid, are what are known as ‘essential’ fatty acids. The term means that they cannot be manufactured in your body, so must essentially be introduced through your diet. When the human body developed to what it is now, the consumption of fish and other oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids was a significant part of our diets, and allowed our bodies to develop the biochemistry and metabolism that it uses today.
If we now upset that biochemistry by cutting our intake of unsaturated fatty acids, our metabolism will suffer and our general health decline. This is one reason why humans should interfere with their natural eating habits as little as possible, or if we do so excessively we should use supplements to replace what we are excluding from diets that have been natural to us for countless millennia. It is dangerous now for the human race to suddenly switch to a significantly different diet without suitable supplementation, because we do not know the long terms effects of doing so.
One way to maintain a steady intake of the fatty acids our metabolism needs in order to ensure our survival is to eat eggs, and especially omega-3 enriched eggs. Of course, eggs have a lot more beneficial health effects than just omega-3. Take choline for example. This is a trimethylated compound that is important in the metabolism of fats. It is the newest official B vitamin, and is an essential component of cell membranes. It is particularly important for the maintenance of the health of your brain, and preventing many brain disorders.
It is also important in methylation, an important biochemical process, and also in the biochemical synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This substance is used to pass messages between nerve cells and from nerve cells to muscles, and a deficiency can cause many health problems, including heart disease and diseases of the vascular system. Methylation is a very important biochemical reaction, being used particularly in messages between body cells and is used to switch genes on and off.
Up to 90% of Americans are deficient in choline, and subject to many diseases because of it. Symptoms include insomnia, fatigue, excess fat concentrations in the blood and problems with your nerves and muscular control. It can cause liver problems and heart problems, and cause a number of brain disorders.
Choline is available in the diet from lecithin and egg yolks, and also soya beans, flax seeds, peanuts and potatoes. The typical American diet is not conducive to an adequate choline intake, and increased egg consumption can help to redress this. This is particularly true of eggs from hens fed with flax seeds, or linseed, from which the triple benefits of choline, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E are obtained. Just two eggs will provide you with almost 50% of your daily requirement of choline.
Some are wary about the cholesterol content of eggs, but studies have indicated that it not so much the amount of dietary cholesterol that is eaten, but saturated fats that cause the excess deposition of cholesterol in the arteries. Cholesterol is an essential part of human biochemistry, and without any we could not survive. In fact, studies have shown that eating two eggs daily can improve your cholesterol levels
Eggs are also rich in lutein, and contain more than vegetables such as spinach. Lutein is an important carotenoid that is believed to prevent age related Macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness, and also prevents the development of cataracts. Eggs also appear to have anti-clotting properties on the blood, and so help to reduce the thrombogenesis of omega-6 fatty acids.
Without a doubt, eating eggs is very good for your health, and especially so if they are rich is omega-3 fatty acids. They contain a wide variety of nutrients and truly are a complete food packaged by nature. Some may prefer to stay away from eggs and miss the omega-3 benefits so there is an alternative for diets that exclude eggs. Omega-3 is available in a supplement form that one can take on a daily basis to reap the benefits omega-3 presents.
A Periwinkle Extract Vinpocetine May Promote Cerebral Blood Flow
December 01, 2007 09:05 AM
Periwinkles form the plant genus Vinca, of which the lesser periwinkle and the greater periwinkle are the two members. They are also a form of dogbane, known for its alkaloid properties. Periwinkles are of interest to the medical profession due to their biosynthesis of a number of alkaloids that are used to protect themselves from bacteria and are also toxic to the herbivores that would otherwise eat them.
Many other plants produce alkaloids, perhaps the best known being poppy, that produces the alkaloid opium that is the precursor to heroin. The alkaloids of the periwinkle, however, have a much more beneficial use for mankind in their action on certain types of cancer such as Hodgkin’s disease, and also on the flow of blood to the brain.
The components of the periwinkle include vinblastine, which is used in the treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and it is the only plant known to produce the alkaloid, although only in very small quantities after synthetic seeding. This involves introducing modified tryptamines to the plant so that they produce the desired alkaloid, although only in quantities of 0.002% of the weight of the plant. Although small, this is still less expensive that synthesizing the alkaloid in a chemical plant rather than a biological one!
Chemists are now seeking more readily synthesizable alternative forms of the alkaloid that have the same effect, again using the periwinkle as a botanical chemical factory to provide them with a lead as to possible synthetic routes. However, it is for the application of another alkaloid of this amazing little plant that we are more concerned with here.
In addition to vinblastine, the periwinkle produces the alkaloid vincamine, a type of tryptamine that can be extracted from the leaves of the lesser periwinkle, the Vinca minor. This periwinkle has been used through the ages as an invigorating tonic and as an astringent to treat bleeding gums and sores in the mouth. Vincamine promotes the aerobic glycolysis that is essential to cerebral health.
Normal glycolysis, or the conversion of glucose to energy in the mitochondria of the cells of the body, occurs best in the absence of oxygen (anaerobic glycolysis). However, the brain produces up to and over 90% more energy through aerobic glycolysis in the presence of oxygen than through anaerobic. Hence one of the needs for such a rich supply of oxygenated blood being needed by the brain. As people grow older, or their brain tissue becomes damaged, then the supply of blood can be reduced and more and more anaerobic glycolysis is switched on. This results in an increasing loss of brain energy and hence brain function. Vincamine can reverse this effect, or at least maintain the status quo, and so enable people to maintain their brain function for longer.
It is also what is known as a vasodilator, and dilates the blood vessels in the brain allowing a greater blood flow. It is known to be beneficial in relation to tasks requiring focused concentration such as mathematical problem solving, and has also been found effective in the treatment of people with poor memory.
Vinpocetine (ethyl apovincaminate) is a derivative of vincamine, obtained by slightly modifying the molecule to produce a commercial form of the alkaloid. This possesses all of the beneficial effects of its precursor, including its positive effects on memory, believed to be due to the stimulation of serotonin production that improves the rate at which the brain can process information. Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears that has severely reduced the quality of life of so many people, can also be treated with vinpotecine.
Its vascodilation effect is thought to be through its action as a phosphodeaterase 1 (PDE1) inhibitor that results in an improvement in the plasticity of neurons. The mechanism is complex, but the end result is an improvement in the cognitive abilities of the subject. This is supplemented by the effect of vinpocetine on the calcium levels in the blood vessels. This renders them more plastic in much the same way that some anti-hypertension treatments work to reduce blood pressure by increasing the plasticity of the blood vessels by modification of their calcium levels. It can also reduce the viscosity of the blood through its action on the “stickiness” of leucocytes and so allow the blood to run more freely through the capillaries of the brain.
These effects have been demonstrated through double blind studies, and there is little doubt that vinpocetine helps to maintain a healthy cerebral circulation. So let’s have a recap on its various effects, and then finish with a summary of the conditions that the alkaloid can be used to treat or improve. The theory and biochemistry behind these effects is known, but is complex, but here are the major actions:
a) It improves blood flow by modifying the calcium content of the blood vessels and so improves their elasticity, hence allowing a freer movement of blood. In effect it helps the blood vessels to dilate easier.
b) It inhibits the enzyme PDE1 and by doing so helps to restore the elasticity of neurons in aging brain cells, allowing them to relax more and operate more effectively.
c) It promotes aerobic glycolysis, and so the rate at which the mitochondria of brain cells produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate) that is the chemical manifestation of energy.
d) It helps to maintain a good supply of glucose and oxygen in the brain to allow (c) to occur.
Not all of these may be separate effects, but the outcome is an improvement in conditions such as short term memory loss, dementia and other conditions associated with a reduction in the blood supply to the brain including Menière’s syndrome and vertigo. There is also evidence that it helps with hearing problems, Macular degeneration of the eye, and fatigue.
It is a supplement that should be taken by the elderly to help with age-related memory problems, but has also been found to be beneficial in normal healthy people. The periwinkle extract Vinpocetine has been shown to have benefits, largely through an increase in the blood flow to the brain, and will be of use to anybody suffering from conditions that can be related to a deficiency in their cerebral blood supply.
Lutein: A Plant Pigment That Provides Protection From The Sun
October 23, 2007 10:00 AM
Lutein is a plant pigment, and protects protection from the sun needed to prevent damage to the skin and eyes from its strong ultra violet (UVB) radiation. Lutein is a carotenoid and strong antioxidant that is found in red, yellow, orange and dark green fruit and vegetables such as broccoli, curly and sea kale, spinach, carrots peppers and squashes. It is also available from egg yolks, corn and some fruits such as pomegranates. It is the colored pigments, especially the reds, yellows and oranges, in which lutein is most found.
Lutein can also prevent cataracts and provide benefits for age related Macular degeneration. However, before discussing the benefits, it is necessary to discuss exactly what these conditions are and what causes them. Let’s have a heads up on cataracts first.
A cataract takes the form of a clouding of the lens of the eye that leads to blurred vision and eventual virtual blindness when the cloudiness is extreme. It is not blindness due to problems with the nerves of the eye, but due to the lens become cloudy, and scattering light entering the eye. It is not a film over the eye as many people believe, but a cloudiness of the lens, and cataracts can normally be treated by removing the whole lens and replacing it with a lens implant – or a synthetic lens.
It is not fully understood how lutein can help cataracts, but studies have shown that those take a large quantity of lutein in there diet have up to 50% less chance of getting cataracts that those that do not. It has also been demonstrated that men who ate broccoli and spinach regularly had a 25% less chance of getting cataracts. The same is true of those that include a lutein supplement of around 6 mg daily, although up to 20 mg is considered an effective dose.
However, it not only through its properties in protecting against cataracts that lutein can help to preserve the health of your eyes. It is also through its effect on Macular degeneration. The macula is small part in the center of the retina that allows you to see central vision in high detail, especially close up when you use the center of your eye. Age-related Macular degeneration, known as MD, affects your macula so that you can see fine round the edges, but your central vision is blurred. It is therefore difficult to drive, read or carry out tasks that need good central focus. You will find it next to impossible to thread a needle for example. It can come on very slowly, in fact so slowly that you never notice it because the change from day to day, or even week to week, is so small.
It is not coincidence that lutein is concentrated in the macula, and that a lutein supplement can help to prevent Macular degeneration. Lutein is believed to filter out some of the blue wavelengths of light, and it is the blue wavelengths that are though to cause free radical damage and oxidative stress to various organs of the body exposed to light, but specifically the eyes. That is why it is believed that lutein helps to prevent Macular degeneration, and studies have indicated a good supplement to consist of up to 30 mg each day.
It can also protect the skin from damage by UV radiation, and also prevents free radical damage to skin cells causing premature aging of the skin. The latter occurs through its antioxidant properties, while the former is because if its light filtering properties. It can not only filter out the blue light that can cause Macular degeneration but also ultra-violet radiation that affects the skin and can cause skin cancer. There is a fine line between the blue and ultra violet wavelengths from sunlight, and both can contribute to certain medical conditions. However, the absorptive properties of lutein are such that it can absorb the more harmful of these.
The antioxidant properties of lutein are important in their own right, and can help to reduce cholesterol deposition in arties and help to maintain a healthy arterial wall thickness. The same is true of any carotenoids that reduce heart problems, some cancers, especially of the cervix, stomach and lungs, and others that can be caused by free radical action and narrowed arteries such as strokes and brain hemorrhages.
Although it is not one of those supplements considered essential, lutein is biologically essential in that it cannot be produced by the body. It has to be taken through the diet. There is no specific recommended daily allowance (RDA) because life can go on without it, but it does play a role in your everyday health.
However, the average person has a lutein intake less than that needed to take advantage of its UV protection or antioxidant effect. As previously stated, the effective dose is considered to be 30 mg daily, and the average American intake is about 2 mg. That’s an awful lot of egg yolks or tomatoes you are going to have to eat! If you do intend to take your lutein from the natural source, then it much more easily assimilated into your body if not overcooked. Lightly steaming is the best way to prepare your vegetables for maximum nutritional effect.
You can also take lutein as a supplement in the form of tablets, creams and drinks, and can also be found in other supplements that contain carotenoids such as lycopene and beta-carotene. Although not consider essential to life, do not underestimate the health benefits to be gained from a diet high in lutein, especially if you value the health of your eyes.
All strong antioxidants provide you with health benefits due to their ability to destroy the free radicals that in turn destroy the DNA in your body cells, and disrupt the cells themselves. Combine that with their action as filters to the damaging rays of the sun and you have in lutein a plant product that is far reaching in the health benefits that it can provide you with. If you are looking for a lutein supplement, stop into your local or internet health food store for lutein is an over the counter supplement.
Consume Bright Colored Foods for Better Health
October 22, 2007 10:06 AM
A plate of colored food is not only very pleasing to our eyes, but also very healthy. What looks good to eat is also very healthy for us and if you are finding it difficult to persuade your children to eat those boring old tired looking vegetables, then try brightening up their plates with some nice bright colors.
Kids love brightly colored pop and candy so it should not be a difficult thing to persuade them to eat some brightly colored vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, quashes and even thinly sliced carrots with a nice dip. The more intense the color the better for you they appear to be. Colored foods are normally packed full of anti-oxidants that help to prevent diseases of the cardiovascular system and to mop up free radicals present in our bodies. These antioxidants are all chemicals, and many of the naturally occurring antioxidants are highly colored. They are very good at destroying free radicals.
Free radicals are a form of chemical that destroy body cells, and not only accelerate the effects of aging, but also harm our heart. A free radical is a molecule with an unpaired electron. Electrons like to go around in pairs. Every atom has pairs of electrons, and one atom has an odd number then it pairs up with another atom with an odd number, so the two form a compound with an even number of electrons.
However, now and again, the body’s metabolism throws up a molecule with an unpaired electron. That electron’s first thought is to find a partner, and it does so by stealing one from a cell in your body. The result is the disruption and destruction of the cell. Free radicals can also be formed by environmental pollution, cigarette smoke, pesticides and so on.
Anti-oxidants destroy free radicals, and generally keep us healthier for longer. They do so by mopping up the extra electron, and there are many different types of antioxidant that form part of our normal diet. Among them are vitamins A, C and E, but there are others that are complex highly colored organic compounds. Among these are the anthocyanins, known to paint and ink manufacturers as strong red pigments.
Anthocyanins are the pigments or dyes that color red grapes, egg plant, plums and blueberries and they are very powerful antioxidants. However, it is not only for antioxidants that we should eat colorful foods. Some dark green foods, such as spinach, green peppers, peas, celery and dark leafy vegetables, contain what are known as lutein. Lutein works in combination with zeaxanthin to protect our eyes from cataracts and a condition known as Macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness. Zeaxanthin is available from red peppers, oranges, egg yolk and corn.
Many people take folic acid supplements help maintain a healthy heart, and especially women to help prevent birth defects. However, the natural form of folic acid, folate is available from green foods such as lettuce, green beans, broccoli, peas, green grapes, and many other green foods. Broccoli and cabbage also contain indoles also known as indol-3-carbinol are believed to protect your from some cancers. So green is good!
Yellow is also good, and foods such as grapefruit, pineapple and melon help to boost the immune system and keep infections at bay, and also to provide energy and help maintain healthy eyes. Many antioxidants are yellow, although yellow might not a color that you would associate as being attractive to children, unless very bright. However, the yellow foods tend to be fruits rather than vegetables, and it is much easier to persuade a child to eat a pineapple than a squash.
Lycopene is another very powerful antioxidant that prevents the oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol that can damage the cardiovascular system through atherosclerosis. Lycopene is a red pigment very common in tomatoes, and is fat soluble. It is a member of the carotenoid family of antioxidants that are common in brightly colored foods such as carrots, red peppers and many yellow fruits and vegetables as described above. Lutein is also a carotenoid.
A diet rich in carotenoids is very good for keeping the effects of aging at bay and protecting you from heart problems. Lycopene is contained in the liver, colon, skin and prostate gland, and can occur at higher concentrations than most other carotenoids. People that suffer from HIV infections, high cholesterol diseases and inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis, are generally found to have low levels of lycopene in their blood.
Many of the so-called ‘superfoods’ are also brightly colored, and useful not just for their antioxidant properties. Take cranberries for example. These bright red berries contain proanthocyanadins that prevent some bacteria such as e-coli from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract and cause urinary tract infections such as cystitis, and also from adhering to the gums. Cranberries can therefore be used in the treatment of some gum diseases. However, they also possess strong antioxidant properties that help to protect the body against some cancers and also heart disease.
Blueberries are high in vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants with strong anti-inflammatory properties. Pomegranates have exceptionally high antioxidant content and are excellent for a healthy cardiovascular system while strong green broccoli contains not only vitamin C and antioxidants but also folate (the natural form of folic acid) and the phytochemical sulforafane that is believed to protect against certain cancers.
The color of your food, therefore, not only makes it look pretty on your plate and attractive to children, but also indicates the presence of strong antioxidants and other chemicals that help to protect you from specific medical conditions. It is no coincidence that the vast majority of the so-called superfoods is vegetable in origin rather than animal, and also tastes good. You should eat as many of them as you can, and certainly at least five portions every day.
Some can also be used as a remedy for specific conditions in addition to being used for their preventative properties, such as cranberries are used in the treatment of diseases of the urinary tract, and specific diets can help to reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol in the body. Eating with your eyes is not always a bad thing. Some may find it hard to consume enough colorful fruits and vegetables to be beneficial so what is a person to do? Your local health food store has available powdered vegetable and fruit concentrates that supply all the needed nutrients in one simple drink.
Lutein - A plant pigment provides sun protection from the inside out.
July 09, 2007 01:21 PM
A plant pigment provides sun protection from the inside out.
Energy on earth begins with the sun’s rays, which spark the photosynthesis in plants that ultimately powers all life. (Petroleum is the residue of prehistoric plants crushed over eons into liquid form.) But the sun’s energy is not totally benign for us humans; excess exposure can cause skin to wrinkle and eyesight to dim.
Enter lutein. This plant chemical, reddish-orange like the setting sun, has become a hot commodity over the past several years because of its ability to protect both eyes and skin against sun damage. A member of the carotenoid family of nutrients, lutein is generally paired with its partner, Zeaxanthin, in a wide variety of foods, including egg yolks, fruits, corn and leafy greens such as spinach (where its bright color is masked by the green of chlorophyll). That’s a good thing, since your body can’t make lutein and so needs to obtain it from your diet.
The sun produces a whole spectrum of light rays, from the visible (red through violet) to the invisible or ultraviolet (UV). UV rays—both ultraviolet-A (UVA) and ultraviolet-B (UVB)—are troublemakers. They attack collagen, the protein that gives skin its shape, which leads to wrinkles and other signs of aging. What’s worse, UV is also capable of damaging skin cell DNA, a process that can promote cancer development. And UV isn’t the only culprit: The sun’s visible blue rays are believed to help create harmful molecules called free radicals within the skin.
The clue to lutein’s importance in fending off skin damage lies in the fact that it is found throughout both the outer (epidermis) and inner (dermis) skin layers, where as an antioxidant it fights free radicals and as an orange pigment it soaks up blue light. In one study, using lutein both orally and topically produced improvements in skin hydration and suppleness (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology 4/19/07). Lutein has also shown an ability to counter the inflammation and immune system suppression associated with excess UV exposure (Journal of Investigative Dermatology 2/04).
What is it? A red orange carotenoid found in a number of fruits and vegetables, generally with a similar compound called Zeaxanthin.
What does it do? This powerful antioxidant helps protect the eyes against both cataracts and age-related Macular degeneration (AMD); it also appears to defend the skin against sun damage and has been associated with reduced arterial wall thickness, a measure of cardiovascular health.
The Eyes Have It
Your eyes, like your skin, are directly exposed to the sun’s UV rays. Such exposure can cloud the eye’s lens to create cataracts. It can also disrupt the retina at the back of the eye particularly the macula, the part of the retina responsible for clear central vision—which can result in age-related Macular degeneration.
Not surprisingly, the eye is yet another one of the body’s lutein hot spots. This pigment is especially concentrated in the macula; in fact, of the 600 or so carotenoids that exist in nature, only lutein and Zeaxanthin are found within this all important structure. So it also isn’t surprising to learn that they Eye Disease Case Control Study, one of the first large-scale investigations into carotenoids and eye health, found a link between reduced AMD risk and high levels of lutein and Zeaxanthin. Current research has focused on the use of supplemental lutein in AMD patients, with promising results.
It isn’t only the outside of your body that may benefit from lutein. When oxidized by free radicals, LDL cholesterol settles into arterial walls. Lutein may help slow this process; in one study, people with the most lutein in their blood had 80% less vessel-wall thickening than those with the least (circulation 6/19/01).
So enjoy some fun in the sun. But respect the power of those golden rays, and let lutein help make playtime a safe time. –Lisa James.
Growing Older, Feeling Better
March 28, 2007 02:15 PM
Growing Older, Feeling Better
Not long ago, when a man turned sixty-five, he became officially old – the best years of his life far behind him. The milestone meant his working days were done and if he was lucky, he might get four or five years to spend as he wished before illness and infirmity set in. It was simply expected and accepted that the older a man got, the sicker he got.
Well, not anymore. Today, a man age 65 is just as likely to be found hiking in the hills, running in a marathon, or even dancing in the streets than rocking in that proverbial front porch rocker. Because it’s becoming more and more evident that the older a man gets, the healthier that man has been.
Eating healthy, exercising, and kicking harmful habits (like smoking) can add years to a man’s life. Aging research is proving over and over again, that we can prevent and delay heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease – the major causes of disability and death in men over 50.
Now, it’s very true that good clean living from early on is preferable to sixty five years of bad habits and five years of good. But it’s also true that it’s never too late for men to make changes and vow to take better care of themselves. And one of the easiest and most effective ways men can improve their health is the addition of high quality nutritional supplements.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we’ll talk about specific dietary supplements that have been scientifically shown to improve the health of men over fifty, prevent the diseases that often strike at this crucial time in men’s lives, and actually slow the aging process.
Q. I just turned 50 and I’d like to begin taking nutritional supplements, but they seem so confusing. Where should I begin?
A. Many men feel the same way. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of nutritional supplements on health food store shelves. Figuring out which supplements provide the best health benefits for a 50+ man can be overwhelming.
The best foundation supplement is a high quality multivitamin. Research is repeatedly finding that even very healthy men who take daily multivitamins can significantly improve their health. In fact, an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recommends that all adult Americans take a vitamin supplement. Look for solid doses of vitamin supplement. Look for sol doses of vitamins and especially minerals. Multivitamins designed to be taken once a day are often woefully deficient in calcium, magnesium, and potassium. The only mineral a man should avoid is supplemental iron. Iron should only be in formulas for women prior to menopause. Men over 50 get all the iron they need from food and too much iron can cause health problems.
Look for men’s multivitamins that contain lycopene in the formula. Lycopene is the pigment that makes tomatoes red. The redder the tomato, the more lycopene is present. Numerous studies have shown that when men have high lycopene levels in their blood, they have a much lower risk of heart disease, age-related Macular degeneration (a leading cause of vision loss) and prostate cancer.
Other important considerations are antioxidant blends, especially fruit- and tea-derived extracts; ginseng for energy and stamina; and digestive enzymes to aid in absorption and compensate for age-related decreased enzyme levels.
In fact, years of research has shown the foods a man chooses to eat (or not to eat) can have a profound impact on the health of his prostate gland. Because of this close nutritional link, prostate cancer may be the most preventable type of non-smoking related cancers.
Q. Aside from taking a quality multivitamin for general health, what nutritional supplements prevent and treat prostate cancer?
A. Six vital and all-natural nutrients can prevent prostate cancer from developing and even help fight the disease.
When men are exposed to excess levels of hormones, their risk of prostate cancer increases. A natural substance found in fruits and vegetables called calcium D-glucarate (or CDG), helps men’s built-in detoxification systems get rid of these harmful excess hormones.
This antioxidant has powerful effects on the prostate gland. In a recent study, researchers recruited 974 men to take part in a large clinical trial to determine if selenium could prevent cancer. The researchers found that selenium cut the rate of prostate cancer by 63%!
Green tea is the most widely consumed liquid in the world, after water. Men in
For many years, maitake mushrooms, or dancing mushrooms, have been linked to good health in those who eat them. That’s because maitakes contain an important compound called D-fraction. A recent study showed that maitake D-fraction destroyed 95% of human prostate cancer cells in lab experiments.
Promising preliminary reports demonstrate that lycopene can actually kill prostate cancer cells, so there has been an explosion of lycopene and prostate cancer research.
Q. What exactly happens to men’s hormones as they get older?
A. Just as women experience significant hormonal changes as they age, so do men. In fact, the term andropause has been used to describe men’s mid-life changes. Similar to menopause in women (where the decline of estrogen causes a myriad of symptoms), andropause in men signals the slow decline of testosterone, the chief sex hormone in men. While estrogen levels decline faster and more abruptly in women than testosterone levels do in men, testosterone decline can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms. These include abdominal weight gain, hair loss, reduced energy and sex drive, heart disease, and prostate enlargement. Whether a man labels these age-related changes as andropause or just the consequences of aging, most men will unfortunately experience some or all of them as their birthdays mount.
Q. So, is there a supplement that can give me the hormone level of a 20 year old?
A. Sadly, no, at least not yet! But there is a nutrient that can help the testosterone in a man over fifty “behave” more like a younger man’s testosterone.
A study that took place at the
The secret of DIM’s prostate cancer prevention is its ability to metabolize estrogen. While estrogen is generally thought of as a “female” hormone, a precise ratio of testosterone-to-estrogen is needed to maintain a man’s healthy sexual response, effective sexual function (erection of the penis and intercourse), strong bones and muscles, viable sperm, and a well-functioning prostate gland. As men enter their fifties, this ratio begins to change.
When men take DIM, however, their estrogen metabolism improves, testosterone metabolism accelerates, and the unwanted conversion of testosterone into estrogen is eliminated. This results in higher testosterone levels, similar to those seen in young men. As a result, DIM may speed weight loss, reduce prostate gland enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH), and help men over 50 feel stronger and leaner.
Some supplements on the market today contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a precursor to DIM. However, I3C is unstable and requires activation in the stomach to be converted into DIM. This means I3C must be taken at a much higher amount and can undergo unpredictable and undesirable chemical reactions in your stomach and colon. DIM is by far the preferred supplement.
Q. What is saw palmetto? Does it reduce symptoms of Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH)?
A. Yes it does and very effectively too. Saw palmetto is a small palm tree native to
The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut and is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It wraps around the upper part of the urethra and its primary job is the production and storage of semen, the milky fluid that nourishes sperm. BPH is one of the most common health conditions in older men. Half of all men aged 40-60 and more than 90 percent in men over 80 have BPH. BPH causes the prostate gland to enlarge, putting pressure on the urethra.
Men have trouble starting or maintaining a stream of urine, find they can’t completely empty their bladders, and have to urinate frequently, even during the night. They may also have episodes of uncontrollable dribbling or complete loss of urine. BPH is caused by the conversion of estrogen to a very potent form of testosterone called, dihydrotestosterone (or DHT). When prostate cells are exposed to DHT, they multiply in number and get much larger.
BPH rarely improves. It most often remains the same for years or gets gradually worse. The need to continually urinate, interrupted sleep, dribbling, and loss of urine can significantly interfere with a man’s quality of life. Prescription medications that have been developed to treat BPH are only partially effective. And surgical removal of the prostate gland may result in even more persistent urinary incontinence and the inability to achieve an erection (ED).
However, saw palmetto berry extract relieves the symptoms of BPH by inhibiting the production of DHT. And, in study after study after study, saw palmetto caused none of the side effects that happen with prostate surgery or medications.
Q. There seem to be plenty of ads for supplements that claim they make men into Sexual Superheroes. Is there an “honest” nutritional supplement to help me sexually?
A. That’s a very good observation. And yes, there are honest nutritional supplements for men’s sexual health.
Sexual intimacy is an important, complex, and lifelong need. It makes us feel better physically and mentally and adds to our sense of security, belonging, and self-esteem. But just like other changes that happen to men as they get older, men’s sexual response most often changes, too. Declining testosterone levels, changes in blood flow to the penis, certain medications that older men are prescribed, and the presence of diabetes or heart disease can all affect men’s ability to engage in sexual activity.
When men have a chronic inability in obtaining and/or maintaining an erection, it’s called erectile dysfunction (ED). While ED is not an inevitable part of getting older, it does occur more frequently as men age. About 5% of 40-year-old men have ED, but more than 23% of 65-year-old men have difficulty maintaining erections.
The development of prescription medication Viagra (sildenafil citrate) has revolutionized ED treatment. When a man is sexually stimulated, Viagra helps the penis fill with enough blood to cause an erection.
Like all medicines, Viagra can cause some side effects, including headache, flushing of the face, and upset stomach. But because Viagra is a prescription medication, it requires a visit to a licensed healthcare practitioner. For many men, telling anyone (even a professional) that they are having trouble getting or keeping an erection is simply too embarrassing. Viagra is also fairly expensive and many older men do not have prescription drug health insurance.
These reasons may explain that while an estimated 30 million men in the United States – 10% of the male population – experience chronic ED, as few as 5% of men with chronic ED seek treatment.
Not every man can take Viagra, either. Men who use nitrate drugs, often used to control chest pain (also known as angina), must not take Viagra. This combination can cause their blood pressure to drop to an unsafe or life-threatening level. Men with serious liver and kidney problems who take Viagra must be monitored closely for possible serious side effects.
The good news is there is a nutritional supplement that’s formulated with vitamins, herbs, and glandular products that targets male sexual organs. The formula contains vitamin E, liver fractions, wheat germ, beta-sitosterol, and herbal extracts of muira puama, Mexican damiana, saw palmetto, cola nut, ginseng, and ginkgo biloba.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and men’s testicles, adrenal glands, and pituitary glands need high levels of this fat-soluble vitamin for proper functioning. Extracts of Muira puama, Mexican damiana, and cola nut have been studied for their beneficial effects on male hormones.
Study of ginkgo in sexual response came about when a patient in a nursing home who was taking the herb for memory enhancement noted that his erections were improved. Since then, study of ginkgo has shown it helps blood flow to the penis. Sexual response research in one ginkgo study showed that 76% of men taking ginkgo experienced improved sexual desire, erections, and orgasms.
While other nutritional supplements sold to improve sexual stamina often make outrageous claims, reputable manufacturers rely on science and results to sell their products.
An important note
Most often sexual problems are simply part of the aging process. They can also be signs of serious health problems. If the use of nutritional supplements for two months does not improve your erections, you do need to see your healthcare practitioner. Almost all practitioners understand how difficult this problem is for men to discuss and are experienced in getting the information as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
No man has the power to stop the passage of time. But every man has the power to make aging more healthy and less harmful. Research conducted on men who live to be 100 and beyond, has determined that those who reach extreme old age do so by avoiding ill health, rather than by enduring it. As I like to remind my patients, “Age is not determined by years, but by function.” And it’s never too late for men to detour around the major illnesses of getting older. With good nutrition, healthy habits, and high quality nutritional supplements, the best years of a man’s life can absolutely and positively be those he spends in his 70s, 80s and even his 90s.
Fruit and Vegetable Lightning drink mixes from Natures Plus
February 06, 2007 02:41 PM
Enjoy the Rainbow – the Color Wheel of Fruits and Vegetables
We’ve all heard the statistics, and have probably seen the signs in the produce section of our favorite grocery store: eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day is important,
Chances are also pretty good that we’ve also seen the newest food pyramid, encouraging Americans to “eat a rainbow of frits and vegetables.” That is, choose from the rich variety of colors for the best all-around health benefits.
In this Ask the Doctor, we’re going to look at the unique health components of different colored fruits and vegetables, and why they’re so important. Plus, we’ll learn about supplemental options, like fruit and vegetable drink mixes, for those days when our diets just aren’t that great.
Q. What’s the big deal about fruits and vegetables?
A. Well, for the main reason that they are whole foods – created by nature (or at least generations of farming) and are rich in a variety of nutrients. Processed foods can’t match the health benefits of strawberries or broccoli – items that have fiber, vitamins, and enzymes built right in.
Q. What does “eating a rainbow” of fruits and vegetables really mean?
A. This is simply an easy way of remembering to get as much color variety in your diet as possible to maximize your intake of a broad range of nutrients. The colors of fruits and vegetables are often a tangible clue to the unique vitamins and other healthy substances they contain. Getting a variety of colors, therefore, means getting a variety of the essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and strong.
Enjoying the Rainbow: Fruit and Vegetable Benefits:
Q. Can you tell me a little more about the healthy components of fruits and vegetables?
Let’s take a look at some of the most well-studied and important nutrients:
Quercetin is found in apples, onions and citrus fruits (also is hawthorn and other berries and apple-related fruits usually used in traditional herbal remedies and modern supplements). It prevents LSL cholesterol oxidation and helps the body cope with allergens and other lung and breathing problems.
Clinical studies show that quercetin’s main points of absorption in the body appear to be in the small intestine – about 50%. The rest – at least 47% is metabolized by the colonic micro flora – the beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum. You may consider adding these beneficial bacteria (found in yogurt) either through the diet or a supplemental form.
Ellagic Acid is a component of ellagitannins – dietary polyphenols with antioxidant (and possibly anticancer) properties. Polyphenols are the basic building blocks of many plant-based antioxidants. More complex phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids are created from these molecules.
Ellagic acid is found in many fruits and foods, namely raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates, and walnuts. Clinical studies suggest that ellagitannins and ellagic acid act as antioxidants and anticarcinogens in the gastrointestinal tract.
Ellagitannins are durable antioxidants, and happily, they do not appear to be diminished by processing, like freezing. This means the benefits are still strong, even in frozen packs of raspberries or strawberries, or some of the better multi-ingredient supplement drink mixes.
In scientific studies, ellagic acid also showed an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells, decreasing their ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production. ATP is the molecule that provides the primary energy source for the cells in our bodies. In a sense, ellagic acid seems to deprive cancer cells of their fuel.
Beta-Carotene: Probably the best-known of the carotenoids, beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A. Many vegetables, especially orange and yellow varieties, are rich in this nutrient. Think summer squash, yams and of course, carrots.
Beta-carotene has long been associated with better eyesight, but it has other benefits, too. In a scientific study, beta-carotene decreased cholesterol levels in the liver by 44% and reduces liver triglycerides by 40%.
Lycopene is a carotenoid mostly found in tomatoes, but also in smaller amounts in watermelon and other fruits. Clinical studies have shown that lycopene consumption may decrease the risk of prostate cancer. In fact, high intakes of lycopene are associated with a 30% to 40% reduced risk. And, as good as beta-carotene is, its cousin, lycopene, seems to be an even stronger nutrient, protecting not just against prostate cancer, but heart disease as well.
Lutein is found in many fruits and vegetables, including blueberries and members of the squash family. Lutein is important for healthy eyes, and in fact it is found in high concentrations naturally in the Macular region of the retina – where we see fine detail. It is one of the only carotenoids, along with its close sibling zeaxanthin, that is found in the macula and lens of the eye.
Lutein also supports your heart, too. In a scientific study, lutein reduced atherosclerotic lesion size by 43%. In other words, high intakes of lutein may actually help prevent coronary artery disease!
Interestingly, as is the case with lycopene, cooking or processing foods with lutein may actually make it more easily absorbed.
In clinical studies, men with high intakes of lutein (and its close cousin, zeaxanthin, found in broccoli and spinach) had a 19% lower risk of cataract, and women had a 22% decreased risk, compared to those whose lutein intakes were much lower.
Vitamin C: One of the best-known nutrients out there, vitamin C keeps our immune system strong; speeds wound healing, and promote strong muscles and joints. A free-radical fighter, vitamin C prevents oxidative damage to tissues, builds strength in collagen and connective tissue, and even reduces joint pain.
Sources of vitamin C are scattered throughout the spectrum of fruits and vegetables.
Potassium: Most Americans are deficient in potassium. For the most part, it’s hard to get too much of this valuable mineral. Potassium does great things for our hearts. Higher intakes of dietary potassium from fruits and vegetables have been found in clinical research to lower blood pressure in only 4 weeks.
Many researchers believe that the typical American diet has led to a state of chronic, low-grade acidosis – too much acid in the body. Potassium helps change pH balance to a more alkaline environment in the body and increases bone density.
This was proven in the long-running Framingham Heart Study which showed that dietary potassium, (along with magnesium and fruit and vegetable intake) provided greater bone density in older individuals.
Fiber is another food component many just don’t get enough of – especially if they’re eating a “typical American diet.” Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber. However, fiber from a good fruits and vegetable drink mix should be derived from inulin and chicory root. This soluble fiber source not only adds to the overall amount of fiber you need (25 to 38 grams a day), but also provides a nice “nesting ground” for the beneficial bacteria that populate the intestines. And, even though some fiber has a bad rap for inhibiting mineral absorption, inulin and chicory root are “bone building” fibers – they actually help the body absorb calcium.
Flavonoids are an overarching term that encompasses flavonols, anthocyanidins, and flavones, isoflavones, proanthocyanidins, Quercetin and more. They are almost everywhere: in fruits, vegetables, grains, herbs, nuts and seeds – even in the coffee, wine and tea we drink. Flavonoids are responsible for the colors in the skins of fruits and the leaves of trees and other plants.
Flavonoids have many health benefits. They can help stop the growth of tumor cells and are potent antioxidants. Additionally, flavonoids have also been studied for their ability to reduce inflammation.
Anthocyanins: High on the list of important “visible” nutrients are anthocyanins. They color fruits and vegetables blue and red.
Anthocyanins are members of this extended family of nutmeats, the flavonoids. Typically found in high amounts in berries, anthocyanins are readily absorbed in the stomach and small intestine.
As antioxidants, anthocyanins dive deep into cell membranes, protecting them from damage. IT may be one reason why the anthocyanins from blueberries are considered such an important component in battling neuronal decline, like Alzheimer’s. Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are also excellent sources of this flavonoids group.
SDG lignans, (short for secoisolariciresinol diglucoside) are polyphenolic components of flaxseed, pumpkin and other herbal sources. Much of the recent research surrounding lignans has focused on flaxseed. In scientific and clinical studies, lignans from flaxseed support hormonal balance and may have cancer-preventing abilities. In fact, in one study, flaxseed lignans reduced metastatic lung tumor by 82% compared to controls.
The lignans in pumpkin seed, also considered a major source, target 5-alpha reductase activity.
This enzyme catalyzes the conversion of testosterone into the more potent dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT, like testosterone, is a steroid hormone or androgen. Androgens are responsible for the development and maintenance of masculine sex characteristics in both men and women. Excess levels of DHT can cause serious problems with prostate or bladder health. That’s why modulation of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme is so important – it helps maintain healthy testosterone and DHT levels. By balancing the levels of these key hormones, pumpkin seed lignans provide protection for prostate and bladder cells.
In addition, pumpkin seed has been shown to modulate the enzyme aromatase. Aromatase is present in the estrogen-producing cells of the adrenal glands, ovaries, testicles, adipose tissue, and brain. Aromatase converts testosterone, an androgen, into estradiol, and estrogen.
Inhibition of the aromatase conversion can help maintain a balance of healthy testosterone levels in women, which has been shown to strengthen pelvic muscles and reduce incidence of incontinence.
In fact, a clinical study, involving a pumpkin extract in conjunction with soy, resulted in significant support for bladder health. After two weeks of supplementation, 23 of the 39 postmenopausal women enrolled in the study showed great improvement in urinary frequency and sleep. By the end of the six week study, 74.4 percent of participants found pumpkin extract safely and significantly improved “nocturnia,” that is, the need to urinate frequently at night. For individuals with 2 to 4 episodes of nocturnia prior to the stud, and 81.8% improvement was seen – also showing great improvement in sleep quality. After all, if you don’t have to wake up every couple of hours to go to the bathroom you’re bound to get better sleep.
Beta glucan: Mushrooms are intense immune-boosting powerhouses due to their beta-glucan content. Three well-studied power-house mushrooms that contribute beta glucan to the diet include maitake, reishi and shiitake.
The most significant constituents of mushrooms are long chain polysaccharides (molecules formed from many sugar units) known as beta-glucan. These huge molecules act as immunoregualtors in the human body, helping to stabilize and balance the immune system.
This includes specific support of white blood cells, or lymphocytes, the primary cells of the immune system. Lymphocytes fall broadly into three categories: T cells, B cells, and natural killer (NK) cells.
In one clinical study, 165 patients with various types of advanced cancer were given maitake mushroom compounds alone or with chemotherapy. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was observed in 58% of liver cancer patients, and 62% of lung cancer patients. Plus, when maitake was taken in addition to chemotherapy, the immune cell activities were enhanced 1.2 to 1.4 times, compared with chemotherapy alone.
In another clinical study, researchers determined that Reishi increased the number of cancer killing white blood cells and made them more deadly to cancer cells.
And, in a scientific study of human breast cancer and myeloma cancer and myeloma cancer cell lines, shiitake compounds provided a 51% antiproliferative effect on the cells – inducing “apoptosis’ – the programmed cell death that should occur naturally.
While beta-glucan are distributed throughout the mushroom body, the beta-glucan concentrations are significantly higher in the mycelium – the interwoven fibers or filaments that make up the “feeding structure” of the mushroom.
Bioflavonoids are commonly found in bright yellow citrus fruits, including lemons, limes and oranges. They are responsible for the bright pigment found in the skin of the fruit, and are considered a “companion” to vitamin C, seeming to extend the value of the nutrient within the body.
Hesperidin is just one of the valuable bioflavonoids found in citrus. Hesperidin appears to lower cholesterol levels, as well as support joint collagen in examples of rheumatoid arthritis.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG):
Polyphenols, most notably EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, are well-studied and powerful components of tea. EGCG has been shown to reduce colon and breast cancer risk. Green tea also boosts the immune system and encourages T-cell formation – part of the front-line defense of our bodies against sickness and disease.
Q. I’ve been seeing articles about fruits, vegetables and supplements touting “high ORAC value.” What does this mean?
ORAC is an acronym for Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity, and is simply a measurement of antioxidant activity of nutrients. Oxygen radicals, or free radicals, are unstable molecules. They grab electrons from other cells to use for themselves, and in the process can damage them. It is believed that free radical activity plays a role in the development of many diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and also plays a role in aging.
Antioxidants help prevent this damage by “loaning out” extra electrons to stabilize free radicals/ Consider any fruit or vegetable with a high ORAC rating as having a lot of “antioxidant power.”
I know I should eat more fruits and vegetables, but it just seems so hard to get five servings a day.
The number one excuse I hear for not buying frits and veggies is that “fruits and vegetables are too expensive.” But are they really? Certainly, fresh foods that aren’t in season and have to be shipped a distance can be a bit pricey. If anyone added up how much spend on fast food, or prepackaged or processed snacks, it would probably be shocking.
Luckily, there are many ways to get your “Daily 5”. For instance, frozen fruits and veggies retain much of their nutrient profile. They can be an excellent alternative when certain foods are out of season. So too, are fruit and vegetable drink mixes – excellent supplemental sources of some of the nutrients our bodies need most.
More recently, the American
Of course, for people not accustomed to the fiber in fruits and veggies, there is some reason to think it’ll increase gas. When cell walls break down, and fiber passes through the system, it can create flatulence. Folks who eat fruits and vegetables every day generally don’t have this problem. Their systems are already accustomed to it.
For those just starting out on a better diet, however, start slowly – it helps your body adapt. Cooking vegetables can help, too, because it begins breaking down the cell walls early on.
One thing is certain, however. The “Typical American Diet” and good health are mutually exclusive. The increase in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension all point to the abuse our bodies suffer by eating diets high in fatty meats, processed sugars, and refined grains.
Q. Can I just drink fruit and vegetables drinks in place of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables?
Green drinks and fruit and vegetable drink mixes aren’t meant to replace whole foods, but they can be an excellent substitute when you’re rushed or traveling or just trying to fill everyday nutritional gaps. Their whole food ingredients absorb very easily and gently in the gut, and many of these drink mixes contain healthy doses of fiber, too.
Green drink mixes and food-based drink mixes combine many colorful fruits and vegetables and sometimes grasses in a healthy, mixable supplement assortment. While there have been many advancements in the field of green drinks, there are only a few that take the primary reason we eat into consideration: taste!
Happily, there are some companies out there with great-tasting drink mixes that also formulate based on the color concept, ensuring you get the broadest assortment of nutrients from a full range of fruit and vegetable colors to promote optimal health.
High-quality fruit and vegetable drink mixes offer the best from nature’s color wheel in a convenient and great-tasting supplement. So, the next tie you feel like taking a coffee break – try a fruit and veggie break instead. Your body and spirit will thank you.
Lutein eases blocked blood flow to eyes
August 11, 2006 01:50 PM
A recent study supported by Kemin Food Asia and conducted at the College of Medicine, Catholic University of Korea suggested that lutein protects the retina from cellular damage caused by eye conditions, including diabetic retinopathy and age-related Macular degeneration. The researchers injected rats with lutein prior to retinal ischemia, or reduced blood flow to the retina caused by obstruction of the blood vessels. Results showed the lutein inhibited retinal degeneration, which is marked by reduced expression levels of neuronal nitric oxide synthase and Cyclo-oxygenase-2, or COX-2. In addition, the reduction of these proteins appeared to be dose-dependent, which would imply benefit from increased exposure to this carotenoid. According to the lead author of the study, “These results suggest that a lutein supplement may protect against ischemia mediated cell death in the retina."
Lutein to fight age-related macular degeneration!
February 27, 2006 05:53 PM
Lutein: The Antiordinary Antioxidant
Lutein belongs to a class of compounds known as carotenoids. Carotenoids in general are yellow, orange, or red pigments responsible for many of the colors of the foods we consume each day. To date, over 600 carotenoids have been identified in nature, but are only produced by plants, algae and bacteria leaving humans and animals to consume carotenoids in the diet. Forty to fifty carotenoids are consumed in the typical US diet, but only 14 have been detected in the blood, indicating a selective use of specific carotenoids by the body. Lutein is one of these carotenoids found in the blood and has been increasingly associated with eye health over the last decade.
Lutein’s role in eye health
In the human eye, lutein is concentrated in the center of the retina in an area known as the macula. Lutein is deposited in the macula through the lutein we consume in out diet or through supplements. This area is responsible for human central vision and is colored intensely yellow due to high concentrations of lutein. Lutein is thought to be beneficial for eye health by reducing damage in the eye in two ways: 1) by absorbing blue light (blue light is thought to increase free radical formation in the eye) and 2) by acting as an antioxidant, reducing damage in the eye caused by free radicals. Leading carotenoid researchers believe these functions may lead to a reduced risk of age-related Macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
Age-related Macular degeneration
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the USA in those over 65. twenty-five and thirty million people are afflicted worldwide and currently there are no effective treatments for the disease. The disease has two forms known as dry and wet AMD.
Ninety percent of AMD cases diagnosed are the dry form. In dry AMD, also referred to as early AMD, debris deposits under the center of the retina (known as the macula) interfering with its normal function. Parts of the macula atrophy, causing the central vision to slowly become dimmer or more blurry. Wet age-related Macular degeneration, also known as late AMD, often develops in areas where dry AMD exists. Abnormal blood vessels grow and leak blood and fluid under the macula, causing scarring, which leads to rapid loss of central vision.
Dr. Joanna Seddon published one of the first studies demonstrating a link between lutein intake and AMD risk in 1994 (1). This epidemiological study compared the risk of developing AMD to nutrient intake and showed a significant reduction in risk for developing AMD as lutein intake reached 6mg per day (57% reduction in risk). Since the Seddon study, researchers have shown that increasing dietary lutein intake raises blood levels of lutein as well as levels of lutein in the eye (2). Bone et al. demonstrated that eyes with higher levels of lutein were less likely to be afflicted with AMD (3).
The latest clinical trial that investigated lutein’s role in AMD is known as the lutein antioxidant supplementation trial (L.A.S.T) (4). This study evaluated the effects of lutein supplementation for one year in 90 veterans diagnosed with dry AMD. Supplementation with lutein in these subjects significantly increased the concentration of lutein in the macula. Improvements in visual function were also detected with lutein supplementation. Glare recovery, visual acuity, and contrast sensitivity were all improved. This study continues to build on clinical evidence that the dry form of AMD may be responsive to changes in nutrition.
A cataract is a natural clouding of the lens, the area of the eye responsible for focusing light and producing clear, sharp images. For most people, cataracts are a natural result of aging. Currently in the US, cataracts are the second leading cause of blindness in the elderly behind AMD.
Lutein is the major carotenoid that has been identified in the human lens asn is thought to provide similar benefits to the leans that are seen in the retina. Two large epidemiological studies consisting of >70,000 women (age 45-71) and >30,000 men (age 45-75) compared the risk of cataract extraction to nutrient intake (5,6). Similar to AMD, a significant reduction in risk of cataract extraction was associated with lutein intakes of 6mg per day (20% reduction in risk). Besides cataract extraction, higher levels of lutein consumption have been associated with a decreased risk of cataract development and improvements in visual acuity and glare sensitivity in people with age-related cataracts.
The richest source of free lutein in the typical US diet are dark green leafy vegetables, with the highest concentration found in kale followed by spinach.
The average daily lutein intake is low, average between 1-2 mg/day. Currently there is no recommendations of the dietary guidelines for Americans 2005 (9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day) you would consume between 4 and 8 mg of lutein a day (7). Epidemiological evidence, animal models, and clinical data have indicated levels of 6-10 mg a day may be necessary to realize the health benefits associated with lutein consumption. By continuing to increase our intake of lutein, we begin to ensure the optimal health of our eyes.
Seddon et al. (1994) dietary carotenoids, vitamin a, c, and e, and advanced age-related Macular degeneration. Eye disease case-control study group. JAMA. 272: 1413-20.
Bone et al. (2000) Lutein and zeaxanthin in the eyes, serum and diet of human subjects. Exp. Eye Res. 71: 239-45.
Bone et al. (2001) Macular pigment in donor eyes with and without AMD: a case-control study. Invest. Ophthalmal. Vis Sci. 42: 235-40.
Richer et al. (2004) Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-relaged Macular degeneration: the veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry. 75: 216-30.
Brown et al. (1999) A prospective study of carotenoid intake and risk of cataract extraction in the US men. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 70: 517-24.
Chasen-Taber et al. (1999) A prospective study of carotenoid and vitamin A intakes and risk of cataract extraction in US women. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 70: 509-16
HHS/USDA. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. //www.healthierus.Gov/dietaryguidelines/CDC. National health and nutrition examination survey data 2001-2002. //www.cdc.gov/nchs/about/major/nhanes/nhanes01-02.html
Brandon lewis, Ph.D. is the applied research and Technical services manager at kemin health, L.C. in des moines, iowa. His responsibilities include the initiation and management of laboratory projects pertaining to the inclusion and analysis of kemin ingredients in vitamins and dietary supplements, as well as developing new applications and prototypes that include kemin ingredients. Prior to joining kemin, Brandon was enrolled at the university of Florida where he received his Ph.D. in Nutritional Science from the department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.
Clinical Strength Eye Support FAQ's
January 11, 2006 10:34 AM
Clinical Strength Eye Support FAQ's
What makes Clinical Strength Eye Support an effective supplement?
Though there are many biologically active ingredients in the formula the pair that have the greatest body of research to support their inclusion in Clinical Strength Eye Support is Lutein and Zeaxanthin.
According to a study published in the April 2004 edition of Optometry: The Journal of the American Optometric Association, the lutein antioxidant supplementation trial (LAST) concluded that visual function of study participants with symptoms of age-related Macular degeneration (ARMD) improved with the intake of lutein alone or lutein together with other nutrients, such as antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are fat soluble, yellow colored carotenoids found naturally in green leafy vegetables like spinach, egg yolks, corn, peaches and marigolds. Though these carotenoids are found in fatty tissues throughout the body, by far the highest concentration is found in the macula and retina of the eye. These fat-soluble antioxidants have been found to stop free radical reactions specifically the photo-reactive oxygen species that are particularly damaging to eye and skin tissues.
What role do some of the other key ingredients play? Beta-Carotene is another antioxidant carotenoid found naturally in dark green and orange-yellow vegetables and fruit. Unlike Lutein however Beta-carotene can be converted to Vitamin A as needed by the body. Vitamin A is necessary for proper eye function and may reduce cataract formation. Bilberry, Green Tea, Ginkgo Biloba and Grapeseed extracts contribute compounds called Polyphenols and Anthocyanidins. These antioxidant compounds protect blood vessels that supply needed blood flow to the eyes and peripheral tissues. Rutin and the other Bioflavonoids stabilize the collagen matrix and maintain the integrity of the vital blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the eyes. Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that inhibit free radical damage and are used by the body to prevent some of the degenerative patterns related to the aging process. Vitamin C may protect the eye from UV rays that can damage the lens and cause cataracts.
Taurine is a sulfur containing amino acid that is the most abundant amino acid in the retina of the eye and plays a role in healthy vision.
Selenium and Zinc are minerals that help the body to produce the important cellular antioxidants Glutathione and SOD that protect eye tissue from oxidative damage.
Your Cells Supercharge Your Cells
December 20, 2005 11:30 AM
Your Cells Supercharge Your Cells
The differences between aging and growing old are poles apart. Sure, they may sound similar in nature. But when you think about it, the two are as different as night and day. Growing old is about retirement and travel and enjoying what you’ve worked an entire life for. Aging, on the other hand, summons images of wrinkled skin, brittle joints, cloudy minds and medicine cabinets full of prescriptions. It’s safe to assume that the majority of us want to look, live, and feel better as we grow old. Not the opposite. Many of us are on the right track - committed to a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a well-balanced diet. And yes, these do serve as a solid foundation for good health during our golden years. It is our cells, however, that ultimately determine who grows old, and who just ages.
Still, slowing the proverbial hands of time is not all about health clubs and organic produce. If you want to grow old gracefully, you must nurture the ten trillion cells that defi ne you physically. Why? Because these cells are constantly under attack by free radicals - unstable molecules that either lack, or have an unpaired number of electrons. They scour the body in search of stable cells, and do whatever they can to rob them of their electrons, a process more formally known as oxidation. Considering that it’s environmentally impossible to completely avoid contact with the billions of airborne toxins that cause free radicals, the only other option is to safeguard your healthy cells. Making the commitment to a healthy lifestyle is the fi rst step in the process, and can be accomplished by eating healthier foods, exercising on a regular basis, and paying close attention to what you are exposed to environmentally.
The next step is to nourish and protect your cells. The best way to do this is to consume foods that are rich in antioxidants and other cell-friendly nutrients. Unfortunately, this task is often much easier said than done. Today’s average adult is busier than ever, making it far more diffi cult to consume fresh, unprocessed meals 100% of the time. This does not, however, imply that all hope is lost. Over the years, the nutritional sciences have made stunning advances that afford you the opportunity to live your life while still safeguarding the integrity of your most basic building blocks. Here are a few of the best.
Antioxidants work at the cellular level to paralyze the free radicals that cause oxidation throughout the body. Some of today’s most popular nutrients and dietary supplements fall into this category. They include vitamins A, E, and C, Selenium, Zinc, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Lycopene, Lutein, CoQ10, in addition to a host of others. And though similar in function, each of these free radical fi ghters has a unique role within the body.
Take CoQ10 for example. It’s present in every cell of the body, and is especially important for cardiovascular support. Lutein has been used extensively to prevent oxidation in the Macular regions of the eyes. Zinc is a powerful immune system booster that has become extremely popular during cold and fl u season. Alpha Lipoic Acid is both fat and water soluble, and is commonly referred to as the “universal” antioxidant based on its ability to quench free radicals anywhere in the body.
Immune Boosting Herbs
Herbs such as Astragalus, Olive Leaf, Rhodiola, Echinacea, Panax Ginseng and Ashwaganda have been used for centuries to help support healthy cells and strong, responsive immune systems. They’ve also been shown to exhibit natural synergistic effects when used together. Today, they remain one of the most popular ways to naturally promote all-around wellbeing. When it comes to supporting healthy cells, NOW is pleased to offer one of the best selections of antioxidants, herbs and immune support formulas. Be sure to look for these and other great products at fi ne health food retailers, nationwide.*
OPCs (proanthocyanidins) are high-powered polyphenol antioxidants that belong to the fl avonoid family. Grape seed extract, pine bark extracts such as pycnogenol and enzogenol, bilberry, gingko biloba, resveratrol and others all fall into this category. Research continues to suggest that OPCs work in the same manner that traditional antioxidants do, however their ability to eradicate free radicals is much greater and more versatile. Equally appealing, OPCs can easily cross the blood barrier of the brain to help protect brain and neural tissues from the damage caused by oxidative stress.
Throughout history, many civilizations have relied on organic mushroom extracts to encourage wellness. What we know now is that mushrooms such as Shiitake, Maitake, Reishi and others are rich in 1,3 Beta-glucans - soluble fi ber compounds that help support both innate and adaptive immunity. In addition, the active compounds in some mushrooms have been shown to stimulate the production of microphages, T cells, and other natural killer cells. These biological warriors serve at the front line when it comes to responding to bacterial attacks. They are of immeasurable value to the immune system, though drastically lacking in today’s average diet. In just the past few years, more and more healthconscious individuals have learned fi rst-hand how benefi cial they can be in the preservation of healthy cells.
The Free Radical Theory
December 14, 2005 12:11 PM
The popular theory has been the subject of a great deal of research. Developed by Denham Harman, M.D., Ph.D., at the University of Nebraska in 1956, the free radical theory proposes that unstable molecules known as free radicals are responsible for inflicting extensive cellular damage, which causes cell death and dysfunction and eventually, disease. The most common type of free radicals are oxygen derived, and free radical damage is often referred to as oxidation.
Environmental sources of free radicals include radiation (I.E., sun exposure, X-rays), ozone and nitrous oxide, heavy metals (i.e., mercury, cadmium, lead), smoke, alcohol, saturated fat, and other chemicals and pollutants. The body itself generates free radicals in performing essential bodily functions including energy production and immune activities. Fortunately, the body also has the ability to create antioxidants to neutralize the free radicals and prevent extensive cellular damage. When free radicals are not neutralized by antioxidants, they inflict large-scale cellular damage which can cascade and lead to age-related degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and age –relaged Macular degeneration. For example, free radical damage to joint cells may cause the cartilage to become rough or break down, and can lead to the development of osteoarthritis. Antioxidants are needed to comb at free radicals and prevent this cellular damage. “Oxidative stress can lead to DNA mutations, cell death, and disease, all of which contribute to aging,” said Gerald R. Cysewski, president and chief executive officer (CEO) at Cyanotech corp. “Antioxidants are produced naturally by the body to combat oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals. Increasing the amount of antioxidants in one’s system by consumption of supplements can provide further protection from the damaging effects of free radicals.”
Because the body is continually assaulted by free radicals, antioxidant supplementation is often necessary. “by taking certain nutrients that our bodies stop producing over time, supplements help us to maintain a youthful look and health, which in turn enhances the quality of life,” Alkayali said. “Furthermore, supplements can help decrease oxidative stress that may otherwise accompany age-related illness and disease.”
Many Substances are known antioxidants including certain enzymes, vitamins, phytochemicals and minerals, and include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, alpha-lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), Carotenoids, Selenium, superoxide dismutase, melatonin, quercetin, catechins, and zinc.
Consuming a diet high in plant sources of powerful antioxidants is an important step to deter ageing, because nutrients from foods are often highly bioavailable and can act synergistically to increase their health benefits. Garlic contains several antioxidant phytochemicals and minerals including allicin, beta-carotene, quercetin, selenium and zinc, and may have a protective effect against stomach and colorectal cancers.
Catechins are potent antioxidants flavonoids, with the best known source being green tea; they include gallocatechin (GC), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin (EC) and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). These antioxidants are being studied for their powerful abilities to combat free radical damage. In particular, EGCG has been researched for its reported protection against certain cancers and Alzheimer’s disease.
Green Foods such as seaweed, sea vegetables, young grain grasses and shoots, broccoli, cabbage and other green leafy vegetables pack a nutritional punch due to their concentratged amounts of antioxidant carotenoids, vitamins and the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD). SOD is produced by the body and neutralizes free radicals known as superoxide radicals, which cause damaging fat oxidation. GliSODin is a patented form of SOD derived from cantaloupe and bound to a wheat protein for superior bioavailability. “GliSODin promotes the body’s production of its own endogenous antioxidants, including SOD, catalase and glutathione peroxidase, in virtually every cell,” said Eric Anderson, brand manager at P.L. Thomas. “This activation of the cellular antioxidant defenses across the whole body creates a state of alertness against any shock of oxidative stress, including sun rays, to which our body may be exposed.”
Pomegranates contain two powerful antioxidants—ellagic acid, derived from fruit’s seeds, and punicaligans, found in the juice. “Research has shown that the juice from the pomegranate, rich in polyphenols, reduces oxidative stress by helping to produce enzymes to fight free radicals,” Alkayali said. NeoCell Corp. manufactures of ellagic-acid based Pomegranate Power, while P.L. Thomas supplies POM40p, a kosher-free pomegranate juice extract standardized to 40-precent punicocides, polyphenols belong to the punicalagin family.
Consumer demand is on the rise for products that address degenerative health conditions, including supplements that support function of the bones, joints, eyes. According to a June 2005 report by the freedonia group, “Bone and joint care products will continue to dominate the health maintenance segment, spurred by a growing customer base and a plethora of new and improved products expected to soon enter the marketplace.” The report also projected rapid gains for vision care. “Demand for vision care products will be propelled by aging baby boomers who are becoming aware of debilitating eye conditions and seeking both preventive measures and ameliorative treatments.” Dietary Supplements can help prevent and ease symptoms of age-related diseases affecting the joints, bones and eyes, including osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and age-related Macular degeneration (AMD).
Zeaxanthin with Lutein - The clearly-seen benefits of advanced eye protection
August 03, 2005 06:27 PM
Zeaxanthin with Lutein
The clearly-seen benefits of advanced eye protection
In the U.S. and other developed nations, the worst enemy of eyesight is not disease, it is the natural aging process. But even if the advance of years is unstoppable, new research shows that eyesight can be protected as we age. Two little-known carotenoids have been found to protect eyesight and combat the effects of aging upon the retina. Zeaxanthin and lutein, naturally found in many fruits and vegetables, form a natural filter on the retina, protecting the delicate photoreceptor cells from the damaging effects of blue-wave light and the UV radiation of sunlight. The two nutrients have also been found to be a natural antioxidant, further protecting the retina from the oxidation that arises from normal body functions as well as exposure to cigarette smoke, air pollutants, radiation, and environmental toxins.
Source Naturals unites the benefits of both of these nutrients in ZEAXANTHIN WITH LUTEIN, offering one of the most advanced approaches to eye protection available.
Key to Healthy Vision
A Harvard-led study found that eating lutein-rich foods five days per week meant subjects were eight times more likely to have healthy Macular pigment density than those who consumed the same foods just once a month. Another study at the University of Florida found that diets rich in lutein and zeaxanthin could substantially (82%) protect the macula. A number of companies offer either lutein or zeaxanthin, Source Naturals combines the benefits of both, just as both are used in the eye.
Part of Your Wellness Program
Bone, RA, et al. (2003). Journal of Nutrition. 133:992-998. Gail, C, et al. (2003).Investigative Opthalmology & Vis. Sci. 44:2461-246. Krinsky N, et al (2003). Annual Review of Nutrition. 23:171-201.
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The above information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Best Lutein Featuring Biolut Marigold Ext., 60 VC
July 27, 2005 11:54 AM
It has been well established that lutein is present in high concentrations in the retinal tissue of the human eye. However, a study was conducted in human volunteers to determine whether taking lutein in supplement form actually increased the density of the carotenoid pigments present in the macula. In this study of eight individuals, researchers estimated the density of the Macular pigments prior to having each individual take 10 mg of lutein daily in supplement form for 12 weeks. Plasma lutein concentrations were measured at 4-week intervals. During the course of the study, plasma levels increased five-fold from pre-supplement measures. It was also shown that Macular pigment density increased by an average of 5.3% after 4 weeks due to increased deposition of lutein in optical tissues.1
A second study compared the oral bioavailability of esterified lutein, the form in Best Lutein, versus non-esterified lutein in 18 human volunteers. Serum levels of lutein were measured at particular timepoints after consumption of a single dose of lutein. Researchers found that in these individuals, the lutein ester formulation was nearly 62% more bioavailable than non-esterified lutein, as determined by a higher mean area under the curve (AUC) and higher serum concentrations.2
A study was also conducted to investigate the possible role of specific nutrients in protecting the lens of the eye against aging, a risk factor for compromised visual function. The study was comprised of 376 individuals aged from 18 to 75. Of the nutrients measured, it was found that the lenses of individuals with higher concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin showed less of an effect from the aging process. The investigators concluded that these carotenoids may play a protective role in supporting the maintenance of healthy vision.3
In addition, a double-blind placebo controlled trial was performed in ninety individuals who had signs of compromised visual function. Individuals were divided into three groups and received either 10 mg lutein, 10 mg lutein plus a multivitamin/multimineral formulation, or placebo for 12 months. In both the lutein and lutein plus other nutrients groups, improvements were seen in mean eye Macular pigment optical density, visual acuity and contrast sensitivity. No improvements were noted in the placebo group.4 These results demonstrate lutein’s beneficial effect on maintaining healthy visual function.
• Potent Antioxidant Protection*
Most of the beneficial effects of lutein are ascribed to its potent free radical scavenging abilities. It is well-known that lutein is a carotenoid related to beta-carotene and possesses antioxidant activity against a number of reactive oxygen species.5
More direct evidence for the free radical scavenging activity of lutein is found in studies of its effects on human lens epithelial cells. Cell cultures were exposed to ultraviolet light after pretreatment with lutein or alpha-tocopherol. Both nutrients were found to reduce ultraviolet-induced damage to lens epithelial cells. However, lutein was shown to have significantly higher photoprotective activity than alpha-tocopherol6, demonstrating its potential as a high-powered antioxidant.
A further review of the mechanisms of lutein in conferring a protective role reveals evidence for its antioxidant activity in various body tissues. Lutein has been shown to be an effective antioxidant in vitro as well as in experimental models of a number of body systems.7
• Diverse clinical benefits*
Evidence from various experimental trials suggests that lutein may play a protective role on the circulatory and cardiovascular systems. Its antioxidant activity may also extend to the heart, skin, lungs and blood vessels, making it a nutrient with diverse clinical benefits. Lutein possesses the ability to promote the health of many body tissues.8 Safety
Suggested Adult Use: One capsule daily, or as directed by a health care professional. Take with or without food.
2. Bowen PE, et al. Esterification does not impair lutein bioavailability in humans. J Nutr. 2002 December; 132: 3668-3673.
3. Berendschot TT, et al. Lens aging in relation to nutritional determinants and possible risk factors for age-related cataract. Arch Opthalmol. 2002 Dec; 120(12): 1732-7.
4. Richer S, et al. Double-masked, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of lutein and antioxidant supplementation in the intervention of atrophic age-related Macular degeneration: the Veterans LAST study (Lutein Antioxidant Supplementation Trial). Optometry. 2004 Apr; 75(4): 216-230.
5. "Lutein and Zeaxanthin". PDR Health.
6. Chitchumroonchokchai C, et al. Xanthophylls and alpha-tocopherol decrease UVB-induced lipid peroxidation and stress signaling in human lens epithelial cells. J Nutr. 2004 Dec; 134(12): 3225-32.
7. Krinsky NI. Possible biologic mechanisms for a protective role of xanthophylls. J Nutr. 2002; 132: 540S-542S.
8. Mares-Perlman JA, et al. The body of evidence to support a protective role for lutein and zeaxanthin in delaying chronic disease. Overview. J Nutr. 2002; 132: 518S-524S.