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Health Watch: What Do You Know About Vitamin K? Darrell Miller 12/30/17
9 Things You Should Be Eating If You Want to Lose Weight Darrell Miller 8/18/17
Lutein, the leafy-green nutrient, may help keep your mind young Darrell Miller 8/11/17
A Simple Thing As Taking A Breath Causes Us To Age Darrell Miller 11/22/15
The role played by iodine in weight management Darrell Miller 12/23/13
What Exactly Does Diindolylmethane (DIM) Do For The Body? Darrell Miller 5/20/13
If I am A Vegetarian, Do I Need Extra Iodine For Proper Thyroid Function? Darrell Miller 10/26/11
How Much Turmeric Should Be Taken For Alzheimer's? Darrell Miller 10/5/11
Is Wasabi Healthy For The Body? Darrell Miller 9/22/11
Horse Radish Darrell Miller 10/28/09
Mustard Extract Darrell Miller 8/14/09
Detox your Body with Wasabi Rhizome Darrell Miller 1/29/08
Exotic Herbs From The Amazon Basin Darrell Miller 6/22/07
Peppermint Oil for IBS Darrell Miller 3/24/07
Fruit and Vegetable Lightning drink mixes from Natures Plus Darrell Miller 2/6/07
Is Fish Oil good for my heart? Darrell Miller 10/25/05
Breathe Easy Darrell Miller 6/14/05
Breathe Easy - Don't underestimate the danger of asthma. Darrell Miller 6/12/05



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Health Watch: What Do You Know About Vitamin K?
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Date: December 30, 2017 03:59 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Health Watch: What Do You Know About Vitamin K?





Most people are familiar with benefits of vitamins. The most common vitamins with which people are familiar are A, B, C, D and E. However few people know about the benefits of vitamin K. It derives from the German word Koagulation which is similar to the English word coagulation. That refers to blood clotting. Most people are not deficient in vitamin K unless they suffer from malnourishment. Babies are usually given a shot of vitamin k within a day of birth to stimulate coagulation. There are a number of forms of vitamin K with K1 being the most common. It is also the one present in green vegetables. When people have blood clots, strokes or abnormal heart rhythms, doctors often prescribe anti K drugs such as warfarin which act as anticoagulants. Food high in vitamin K can aid in having a healthy heart. Foods that are high in vitamin K include green vegetables such as kale, spinach, collard greens, parsley, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Fruit , milk and meat also have vitamin k in different quantites. Vitamin K also comes in K2 and K3 versions which also aid in bone health. In fact study of 72,000 women over a decade followed by the The Nurses' Health Study found that those with less than 109 micrograms a day of vitamin K were 30% more likely to suffer a hip fracture. Overall Americans are not eating enough vitamin K. Eating more would promote healthier cardiovascular systems and stronger bones.

Key Takeaways:

  • Vitamin K is required by the human body for coagulation or clotting of blood.
  • Dietary sources of Vitamin K include but are not limited to kale, blueberries, spinach, mustard greens, and broccoli.
  • Some anticoagulant medications may interfere with the action of Vitamin K.

"K2, as well as K1, are believed to play an important role in bone health; low levels have been associated with an increased risk of both osteoporosis and arthritis."

Read more: http://www.caledonianrecord.com/features/health/health-watch-what-do-you-know-about-vitamin-k/article_b2ae97dd-2bd4-57df-8a42-307a4d5fe6a0.html

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9 Things You Should Be Eating If You Want to Lose Weight
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Date: August 18, 2017 12:14 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: 9 Things You Should Be Eating If You Want to Lose Weight





While different dieting fads forever come and go, there are certain staples of healthy eating that will always be relevant to a successful weight loss journey. For example, while it may sound counterintuitive at first, fats are an important part of a balanced diet—so long as they are healthy fats like the kind found in avocados. In place of carbohydrates, there are many creative substitutes available like zucchini noodles and spaghetti squash. Foods with few ingredients are also reliable safe bets for healthy eating.

Key Takeaways:

  • Dieters can get less caloric, filling and fiber-rich pasta options by saying no to the enriched versions, in favor of lentils, chick peas, zucchini and spaghetti squash noodles.
  • Plant proteins, like chick peas and beans are highly nutritious, cardiac friendly and cholesterol-lowing options, besides being as filling as meat.
  • Lower bad cholesterol and satisfy cravings with good fats, like avocados, tuna, salmon, olive and flax seed oil and nuts.

"Low-cal condiments like salsa, hot sauce, and mustard are an easy way to add a kick to many dishes."

Read more: http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/nutrition/g3141/what-to-eat-to-lose-weight/

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Lutein, the leafy-green nutrient, may help keep your mind young
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Date: August 11, 2017 09:14 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Lutein, the leafy-green nutrient, may help keep your mind young





There is always greatness found inside leafy greens. Adding them to your diet could very well provide the nutrients that you need to stay healthy. Lutein is the nutrient that you gain from eating those leafy greens. It has a great taste and provides an enormous number of benefits to the health. One of those benefits is keeping your mind young. Here's what you should know about this leafy green that you should be eating regularly.

Key Takeaways:

  • To get the benefits of the brain-boosting carotenoid, load up on lutein-rich foods when you start to hit middle age.
  • Countless studies have shown that the plant compounds and fiber can provide myriad health benefits—from a reduced risk of heart disease to a lower chance of obesity.
  • Aim for getting at least three cups of the dark, leafy greens like kale, chard, collards, and mustard greens every week—and make make eggs, peas, broccoli, zucchini, and avocados in your diet

"key ingredient in foods like kale and spinach can keep your brain performing like a younger person’s"

Read more: http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/what-to-eat/lutein-leafy-green-nutrient-may-help-keep-your-mind-young

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A Simple Thing As Taking A Breath Causes Us To Age
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Date: November 22, 2015 05:28 PM
Author: Darrell Miller
Subject: 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.

References

//www.brunswicklabs.com/blog/default-blog/oxidative-stress-effects-on-lipids-proteins-and-dna

//www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/healthy_aging/7_anti_aging_superfoods

//www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/features/anti-aging-diet?page=2


076280083156

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The role played by iodine in weight management
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Date: December 23, 2013 02:56 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: The role played by iodine in weight management

saltWhat is Iodine

Iodine is a mineral that is found in trace amounts in the body. Its effects in weight loss are, however, significant because it supports the thyroid gland’s function in accelerating metabolism. The following is a look at how iodine is important for weight management.

Studies on Iodine

Studies have conclusively proven that insufficient intake of iodine in the body has resulted to the enlargement of the thyroid gland or a drop in its functional capabilities. These result to weight gain even where there is a reduction in the consumption of calories.

A properly functioning thyroid gland is essential because it eliminates chances of body fat accumulation and water retention, which contribute to weight gain. An underactive thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism can, however, be corrected by daily intake of iodine by eating foods rich in the mineral or supplementation.

Natural sources of iodine

Include tea, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, onions, iodized salt, peanuts, Mustard, pine nuts, bladderwrack, kelp and various sea vegetables. Adults are required to consume at least 150 micrograms of iodine on a daily basis to ensure that their thyroid glands functioning optimally.

How Iodine Works

Iodine works by increasing the production of T4, which is a hormone that adjusts the body’s rate of burning fat and metabolism. It also increases mental and physical activities, which play an important role in weight loss.

Precaution

It is important to exercise care when increasing the intake of iodine because too much of it is also detrimental. Consulting a physician is advisable to ensure that the mineral is increased in moderation to ensure safety.

In conclusion

The amount of iodine in ones diet has a significant effect on weight loss. It is, therefore, necessary to ensure that the recommended daily amount of the mineral is consumed to ensure that the body is functioning optimally. Signs of iodine deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, impotence, low sex drive, irritability and problems in ones complexion, hair, teeth, and nails.

References:

  1. //www.naturalnews.com/008902.html
  2. //diet.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Iodine_Weight_Loss
  3. //www.askdrgarland.com/?p=1226
  4. //www.livestrong.com/article/292129-iodine-drops-for-weight-loss/
  5. //www.ask.com/question/do-iodine-supplements-help-you-lose-weight
  6. //www.trimnutrition.com/blog/the-nutritional-importance-of-iodine
  7. //theweightlossinstitute.com/mgold/iodine.php
  8. //voices.yahoo.com/iodine-weight-loss-5579691.html
  9. //www.3fatchicks.com

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What Exactly Does Diindolylmethane (DIM) Do For The Body?
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Date: May 20, 2013 01:52 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: What Exactly Does Diindolylmethane (DIM) Do For The Body?

broccoliDiindolylmethane otherwise known as DIM is a natural compound that is essentially synthesised when the body breaks down indole-3-carbinol a compound that is primarily present in cruciferous vegetables, like cauliflower and broccoli. The curative properties of the said vegetables have been documented, dating to many centuries ago. Today we have the advantage of scientific and technological advancement, as such medicine has been able to research and identify some specific benefits of diindolylmethane.

Today DIM is sold as a supplement or rather in supplement form and is known to offer an array of health benefits. Although not all benefits have been confirmed most of them have been researched, confirmed and documented. It is thus agreeable by most experts that DIM has enormous health benefits for both women and men. Some of these benefits include

Estrogen Metabolism

DIM supplements are known to enhance the effectiveness as well as the efficiency of the metabolic processing of this hormone. This enhancement has closely been linked to elevated levels of antioxidant protection of both the brain and the heart. The process is as well responsible for other documented benefits, including increase libido in women and men as well as dwindle the moodiness in ladies.

Hormonal balance

The enhanced levels of estrogen metabolism are known to stimulate other hormones including the testosterone. As such this aids the body to return the optimal levels and a state of hormonal balance. In essences the body becomes more responsive particularly to exercise and increases fat-burning metabolism, this not only help build the lean muscle much faster but also promote an overall healthier body.

Preventive medicine

DIM is in different aspects to play the role of preventive medicine. It is believed that it plays a key role in preventing certain types of cancers, including colon cancer, uterine cancer and breast cancer just to mention but a few. It has also been associated in helping prevent enlargement of prostates. Treatment Diindolylmethane especially the supplements have been used and are used to treat various ailments, such ailments include premenstrual syndrome, breast pain and endometriosis.

Risk reduction

DIM has been known to mitigate risks associated with hormone replacement therapy. Its desired effect on metabolism of estrogen makes it a common choice for mitigating the effects of environment estrogen exposure.

Diindolylmethane side effects

Very little is known of the safety or there lack of, of this compound supplements more specifically in the long term. Due to its ability to an effect on estrogen metabolism, it is postulated that taking DIM supplements could trigger hormone sensitive conditions such as endometriosis, hormone dependent cancers and uterine fibroids. As such it is advice that one seeks medical advice before using these supplements.

What are the sources of DIM?

As earlier mentioned this chemical compound is produced by digestion of indole -3-carbinol by the body. This compound is present in these vegetables; brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, collard greens, Mustard greens, kales and watercress. Where do you find these supplements? These supplements are available in most online vitamin stores as well as many food stores that specialize in dietary supplement.

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If I am A Vegetarian, Do I Need Extra Iodine For Proper Thyroid Function?
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Date: October 26, 2011 07:26 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: If I am A Vegetarian, Do I Need Extra Iodine For Proper Thyroid Function?

Thyroid, Your Health, And Metabolism

We are given absolute freedom unto what kind of diet we would like to engage ourselves in hence, at present we could see a lot of people engaging into different kinds of diets. The vegetarian diet is one of the many kinds of diets that are becoming really common today. The vegetarian lifestyle is a diet composed mainly of fresh and organic foods however, if you plan to employ the said diet, thorough planning is highly required. Despite the fact that there are already a lot of vegetarian foods that are sold commercially, vegetarians should be mindful and vigilant so that they could avoid vegetarian foods that are heavily processed that gives you the wrong impression that these foods offers you a balanced nutrition while in fact they are deficient with some vital vitamins and nutrients.

Perhaps, we are all aware of the importance of iodine as a nutrient for the body. Iodine plays a vital role in various biological functions such as growth, metabolism, and development. When a person is deficient with iodine, it can cause various ailments such as goiters, thyroid cancer, thyroid nodules, menstrual problems, and headaches. Among the groups that are very susceptible of developing iodine deficiency are pregnant women and children. Pregnant women who are unable to meet the recommended daily allowance of iodine will relevantly affect the intelligence of their baby.

Most vegetarians get iodine from the cheese, milk products, and fish they consume. If you would want to have the sense of assurance that you are getting enough iodine that you need every day, you have to eat foods that contain liberal amounts of iodine such as agar, turnips, kale, spinach, kelp, summer squash, asparagus, and Mustard greens. Walnuts, brown rice, and wheat are also beneficial in providing you some protection against iodine deficiency. We could also not avoid the fact that some vegetarians are still unable to meet the recommended daily allowance of iodine because of some circumstances. To avoid such deficiency, intake of iodine supplements regularly and as prescribed is also very helpful.

At present, there are already many supplements that you can conveniently purchase to help you address iodine deficiency. However, when you are planning to take any supplement, it is wiser if you seek your physician’s advice first so that you will be properly and adequately guided on the right amount of the said mineral your body needs. Intake of supplements should be individualized because each and every one of us has different requirements of iodine because of the salient factors involved. So if you do not want to experience any health problems brought about by lack of knowledge.

All of us should be careful when it comes to taking good care of our health because any wrong move you could commit would have great implications to your over-all health state.

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How Much Turmeric Should Be Taken For Alzheimer's?
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Date: October 05, 2011 02:08 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: How Much Turmeric Should Be Taken For Alzheimer's?

Turmeric is an herb which is a perennial plant included in the family of gingers. This plant is considered to be rhizomatous and has been found to be abundant in tropical countries such as South Asia. For its cultivation, this plant must grow in a climate with a temperature of 20 to 30 degrees Celsius and ample amount of yearly rain. In these kind of climates, this herb can grow healthy and abundantly. In some countries, an annual collection of rhizomes is done and then reproduced and grown the next season.

Turmeric is commonly used as a culinary spice or ingredient. It is dried in extreme temperatures of ovens and ground into a yellow to orange powder. This spice is common in many Asian dishes. Aside from its culinary use, it can also be helpful in maintaining the health of the human body. The known active ingredient of turmeric is Curcumin. This chemical substance has a unique slightly metallic taste and peppery in flavor. It also has a Mustard–like aroma. Hence, it is considered to be an important condiment in many Middle Eastern recipes. In addition to Curcumin, turmeric consists of about 5 % of essential oils.

With its many health benefits, one of the most interesting is its effect on the brain in helping prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Clinical studies and surveys reveal that people who consume large quantities of curry have a lesser risk and incidence of having Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, intensive studies are being conducted to test and prove its safety and effectiveness as a chemical substance which can greatly help in the prevention of the increasing number of Alzheimer’s disease cases. Other factors are also considered such as the individual’s diet, familial history, social and economic status as well as lifestyle.

Alzheimer’s disease has been closely related to the increasing damage of brain cells due to oxidation. This brain damage will significantly cause an effect to the person’s memory thus Alzheimer’s disease occur. Curcumin in the turmeric has the potent capacity to prevent this cellular damage thus slowing the development of such disease. Studies have also shown that Curcumin can significantly impede certain mechanisms that are involved in the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. Aside from its benefit in decreasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, turmeric also has a potential anti – inflammatory property and can effectively regulate blood cholesterol levels.

The recommended dosage of turmeric has not yet been officially established. Therefore, if you are planning to supplement with turmeric, it would be best that you should consult your doctor. The dosage of this supplement varies from person to person in terms of age, weight, other health conditions and status of his/her Alzheimer’s disease.

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Is Wasabi Healthy For The Body?
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Date: September 22, 2011 04:02 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Is Wasabi Healthy For The Body?

Overview

In the modern world we are familiar with different kinds of cuisine and we even focus on it sometimes. How many newly opened restaurants have you seen in your local area draw a crowd or how many food festivals do you go to a year? We as a society love food and most of the time comfort food. With this enthusiasm towards food it’s hard to find a person that is not familiar with wasabi.

Many consider this in a way as a comfort food in Japanese society and this is a food staple in most Japanese kitchens if not all of them. This is the common condiment to accompany any Japanese cuisine and it’s almost unfathomable to find a Japanese restaurant that does not have wasabi in their condiment menu. Beyond its greatness as a symbol of Japanese cuisine it would also seem that it has other benefits, health benefits in fact, so let’s try to find out what those are. First though, let’s find out more about this well known food condiment and see it in another light.

What is Wasabi?

Wasabi in its most natural form pretty much looks like any other herb plant, green and leafy. Many times in the past it has been compared to be most like Mustard and horseradish. The main thing that sets it apart is its unique smell. As one would expect the wasabi plant is native to Japan and grows in its cool regions which are its mountain regions. In recent times though especially with the exceptional health of most Japanese compared to other cultures in the world the interest in wasabi for health benefits has been more looked in to.

Wasabi Health Benefits

Wasabi has many positive effects to our body but number one on my list would be cancer protection. Many studies have shown that wasabi is isothiocyanates rich which is a potent anti cancer chemical also found in broccoli and cabbage. This chemical is what gives wasabi its cancer fighting properties because it is believed to activate liver detoxifying substances that aids in clearing the liver of substances that damages cells and ultimately cause cancer. In addition it also is able to do this without causing any side effects on cells and cause damage to it. It also has been proven over time and nowadays modern research that it has anti inflammatory effects.

The same chemical once again that makes wasabi a cancer fighter is also what makes it an effective anti inflammatory. It also has the ability in certain studies to protect from platelet aggregation which in turn give wasabi the ability to aid in heart health and help in the prevention of stroke. You also may have seen in the market today some antibacterial products, mainly soaps and hand washes that are wasabi based. This should attest to the fact that wasabi also has antibacterial properties and it seemed to have the right characteristics to stop certain strains of bacteria from growing and proliferating.

Grab some wasabi today and reap the health benefits for your self.

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Horse Radish
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Date: October 28, 2009 11:39 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Horse Radish

Horse RadishThe horseradish plant is a perennial plant that is part of the Brassicaceae family, which includes Mustard, wasabi, broccoli, and cabbages. Native to southeastern Europe and western Asia, the plant is popular around the world today. The horseradish plant grows up to five feet tall and is mainly cultivated for its large, white, tapered root. The intact horseradish root has hardly any aroma. However, when cut or grated, enzymes from the damaged plant cells break down to produce allylisothiocyanate, which often irritates the sinuses and eyes. Once grated, if the plant is not mixed with vinegar or used immediately, the root darkens and loses its pungency. It quickly becomes unpleasantly bitter when exposed to air and heat.

Horseradish has been cultivated since ancient times. The Delphic Oracle in Greek mythology told Apollo that horse radish was worth its weight in gold. Horseradish was known in Egypt by 1500 BC and has been used by Jews from Eastern Europe traditionally in Passover. The plant is discussed by Cato in his treatises on agriculture. It is thought that horseradish is the plant known as Wild Radish by the Greeks. Both the root and leaves of the horseradish plant were used as a medicine during the Middle Ages, with the root used as a condiment on meats in Germany, Scandinavia, and Britain. This herb was taken to North American during Colonial times. It is not certain as to where the name horseradish come from. Some believe that it derives by misinterpretation of the German Merettich as mare radish. Others think the name comes from the coarseness of the root. The common thought in Europe is that it refers to the old method of processing the root called hoofing, in which horses were used to stamp the root tender before grating it.

For at least two thousand years, horseradish has been cultivated. It was brought to America by early settlers and used to treat conditions such as pain from sciatic, colic, and intestinal worms. Horseradish provides antibiotic action that is recommended for respiratory and urinary infections. The volatile oil in horseradish has the ability to work as a nasal and bronchial dilator. Internally, it has been used to clear nasal passages, alleviate sinus problems, help with digestion, work as a diuretic, aid with edema and rheumatism, and cleanse various body systems. Also, horseradish has been used to stimulate digestion, metabolism, and kidney function. Horse Radish This herb helps promote stomach secretions to aid in digestion. Horseradish can be used as a compress for neuralgia, stiffness, and pain in the back of the neck. Additionally, this herb can be used as a parasiticide.

The root of the horseradish plant can be used to provide antibiotic, antineoplastic, antiseptic, bitter, caminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, hepatic, parasiticide, mild purgative, rubefacient, sialagogue, stimulant, and stomachic properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, and vitamins A, B-complex, and P. Primarily, horseradish is extremely beneficial in dealing with loss of appetite, circulation, coughs, edema, excessive mucus, sinus problems, internal and skin tumors, and worms.

Additionally, this herb is very helpful in treating arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, congestion, gout, jaundice, kidney problems, irritated membranes, neuralgia, palsy, rheumatism, skin conditions, water retention, and wounds. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by horseradish, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store with questions.

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Mustard Extract
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Date: August 14, 2009 11:49 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Mustard Extract

Mustard is also referred to as Mustard greens, Indian Mustard, and leaf Mustard. This herb is a species of the Mustard plant. One of its sub-varieties includes Southern Giant Curled Mustard, which is very similar in appearance to headless cabbage such as Kale. However, it has a distinct horseradish-Mustard flavor. It is also known as green Mustard cabbage.

The leaves, seeds, and stems of the Mustard plant are edible. The plant can be found in some forms of African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Soul food cuisine. The leaves are used in African cooking, and the leaves, seeds, and stems are used in Indian cuisine. The plant has a particularly thick stem, it is used to make the Indian pickle and the Chinese pickle. The Mustard made from the seeds of this plant is called brown Mustard. The leaves are also used in many Indian dishes.

This species of Mustard plant is more pungent than closely-related greens like kale, cabbage, and collard greens. It is often mixed with these milder greens in a dish of mixed greens, which may even include wild greens like dandelion. Mustard greens are high in both vitamin A and K. Mustard greens are often used in Chinese and Japanese cuisines. Asian Mustard greens are typically stir-fried or pickled.

The ancient Greeks used Mustard for its medicinal value. Additionally, it was used for its flavoring. The Romans also used this herb. They added crushed seeds to wine for a spicy flavor. John Parkinson and Nicholas Culpeper, English herbalists, both recommended Mustard for ailments like epileptic seizures and toothaches. The herb was used by Native Americans and early colonists for rheumatism and muscle pain.

Mustard is a strong stimulating herb. It is responsible for promoting the appetite and stimulating the gastric mucous membranes to aid in digestion. An infusion of the Mustard seed stimulates urine and helps to promote menstruation. Additionally, it is a valuable emetic for narcotic poisoning, as it empties the stomach without depression of the system. Mustard is often used externally as a plaster or poultice for sore, stiff muscles. A plaster of Mustard can also be used to treat congestion, warm the skin, and clear the lungs.

The seeds of the Mustard plant are used to provide alterative, analgesic, blood purifier, caminative, digestive, diuretic, emetic, expectorant, irritant, rubefacient, and stimulant properties. The primary nutrients found in Mustard are calcium, cobalt, iodine, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B12, and C. Primarily, Mustard is extremely beneficial in dealing with indigestion, liver disorders, and lung disorders.

Additionally, the herb is very helpful in treating appetite loss, arthritis, blood impurities, breath odor, bronchitis, emphysema, sore feet, fevers, gas, hiccups, kidney problems, pleurisy, pneumonia, snakebites, sprains, and sore throat. Before supplementing with this, or any other nutrient, it is important to consult your health care provider. In doing so, you will ensure yourself optimum health benefits. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by Mustard, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.

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Detox your Body with Wasabi Rhizome
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Date: January 29, 2008 10:30 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Detox your Body with Wasabi Rhizome

The Wasabi rhizome, the underground fleshy stem of the wasabia japonica plant, is prized not only for its fiery flavour but also its effect in detoxifying the liver. However, make sure that you are getting the real McCoy since many restaurants in the USA do not use the genuine paste.

The wasabi is a plant of the cruciferous family, the same family as cabbage, broccoli, turnip, radish, horseradish and Mustard, and is native to Japan and Korea and now grown on the Pacific coast of Canada. It grows best in temperate to cold climates, especially in mountainous areas where there are plenty of cold streams.

Anybody who regularly enjoys sashimi and sushi should be familiar with the wasabi rhizome, that green lump of paste lying on the side of the plate. It is hot and fiery, although not in the same way as the chilli pepper that is fiery on the tongue and in the mouth. This tends to affect the sinuses more, and leaves a sweetish taste once the initial heat has dissipated. However, it is not always what it should be.

The last comment there refers to the practise, especially in the USA, of using dyed common horseradish as wasabi paste, so be careful of that since the two are not equivalent in the health benefits they impart to your body. Although of the same family as the horseradish, and sometimes termed the Japanese horseradish, ordinary horseradish does not have the same health benefits as genuine wasabi, and does not contain the same active ingredients so do not confuse the two.

Real wasabi is normally used grated, and there are specific techniques that should be used to grate wasabi rhizomes to bring out the fullness of the flavour. True grated wasabi should be of a natural pale greenish color rather than the brighter green normally associated with sushi restaurant wasabi.

Traditionally, wasabi rhizome is used as a condiment with sushi, although their leaves can also be used in salad dressings and or as a delicacy pickled in soy sauce or sake brine. The genuine vegetable is difficult to cultivate which explains why ordinary horseradish is dyed and used in its stead, and the vast majority of non-Japanese do not know the difference because it is likely to be all they have consumed under the name of wasabi. The health benefits of the genuine article, however, are considerable greater.

So that’s what it is, but what does it do? What are the health benefits of wasabi rhizomes and why are they considered to be so good for your liver? Wasabi rhizomes contain substances that are very effective in detoxifying you liver, and that are also very strong antioxidants that provide you with good overall health benefits in their capacity to destroy the free radicals created by the pollution of modern living.

The active antioxidants in the rhizome are precursors of isothiocyanates, which are known as phytochemicals. These are chemicals that can protect or prevent diseases through its antioxidant properties. The term ‘precursor’ means that the isothiocyanates are synthesized by your body from the nutrients contained in the wasabi rhizome. Other examples of phytochemicals that you may have heard of are carotenoids, flavonoids and polyphenols that also possess antioxidant properties.

Other antioxidants are vitamins A and E, which is why these are used in anti-wrinkle creams, since their anti-oxidant effect helps to prevent the free radicals destroying the skin cells in the dermis and epidermis that leads to the wrinkles associated with aging. Wasabi is equally effective as an antioxidant, although it has other properties that are important to your liver.

The liver is your body’s chemical plant. That is where most of the chemical reactions take place that are essential for life. If your liver is unhealthy you can develop diseases such as hepatitis and cirrhosis, and a healthy liver is essential for life let alone a healthy life. Wasabi helps to detoxify and clean out your liver.

Apart from creating the wide variety of enzymes needed to process your food, and controlling the vast majority of the biochemistry of your body, your liver is also your detoxification plant that coverts toxins into biodegradable molecules that your waste disposal system can evacuate without harm. This occurs in two phases.

Phase I coverts the toxin to a form that your body can further process (the bioactive form), and Phase II breaks it down into a form that your kidneys can handle and eject it in your urine. Isothiocyanates are involved in the production of the enzymes that enable the chemical reactions of Phase II to proceed. They allow your body to cleanse itself of toxins, and without this process you would be less healthy and more prone to cancers and other undesirable conditions and diseases in your body.

It is becoming more important in this modern age with its increasing natural and synthetic pollution that your liver is working at peak efficiency. Your liver is equally as important to you as your heart and brain, and without it you cannot survive. Wasabi also contains glucosinolates that help the isothiocyanates to induce the production of Phase II enzymes, and it is general believed that eating this tuber cab help protect you against stomach, colon and breast cancers as well as help your cardiovascular system and blood clotting.

An interesting fact is how wasabi rhizome came to be traditionally served with raw fish. The isothiocyanates precursors, and the glucosinolates that wasabi also contains, apparently help to destroy the bacteria associated with raw fish, and help prevent disease and illness. It was likely found healthier to include a dollop of this green paste with your sushi than not, and so the use of common horseradish might be somewhat questionable if it has less of an effect.

Make sure, therefore, that your have the real thing, and apart from any specific health considerations associated with eating raw fish, you are best advised to take it as a supplement to help Detox your liver rather than visit sushi bars for your consumption. It will also help your wallet!



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Exotic Herbs From The Amazon Basin
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Date: June 22, 2007 05:07 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Exotic Herbs From The Amazon Basin

Although many traditional herbal medicines have yet to find complete scientific corroboration in the West, it follows logically that people wouldn't use an herbal product for centuries if it didn't work.

Many of the popular herbs we all recognize as having great health benefits were only recently considered pretty exotic. Even green tea - a staple in China for centuries -has only lately gone main stream.

So it will likely be with herbs from the Amazon basin and its environs. The Amazon basin is one of the most bountiful environments on the planet. Explorers and botanists from the West have looked to this region for generations for the "next big thing." Of course, in many cases, the "next big thing" has already been in use for centuries.

In this issue of Ask the Medicine Hunter, we're going to look at some energizing and life- stimulating herbs that also happen to have great antioxidant properties, too. Best yet, many of them are available to us here from companies that practice fair trade policies.

Let's take a look at some of the herbal powerhouses coming out of the Amazon (and its nearby neighborhoods):

Maca (Lepidium meyenii) has been cultivated for a long time at least 2000 years. Related to brassica family plants like radishes, Mustard and cabbage, its foliage does actually look somewhat radish-like, but grows close to the ground.

Maca is cultivated by the Andean people in Peru's central highlands, and contains a plethora of beneficial compounds that enhance overall health and vitality. The tradition of cultivating maca is an old one some strains have been found in Incan sites that date from 1600 B.C. During early European colonization, maca was used by the local native culture as a form of currency, much of the way cocoa was used by the Aztecs, further north in pre-Columbian Mexico.

Maca thrives in high altitudes - between 10,000 and 16,000 feet. The harsher the conditions, the better it grows, or so it seems. In fact, efforts to grow the plant in Central Europe haven't been as successful - maca seems to enjoy its home turf the best. In Peru, maca is a popular and beloved nutrient-packed superfood, and is commonly powdered and mixed into drinks at roadside stands throughout the Andes.

Q. I've heard of maca being used for healthy libido - are there any other benefits?

A. Maca is a natural energizer, and although it is recognized for it's libido enhancing abilities, it has other uses, too, acting as an adaptogen - similar to rhodiola or ginseng. In fact, in South America, maca is known as "Peruvian Ginseng." Though maca is not ginseng at all, some of the benefits of both plants are similar.

In any event, maca is recommended for boosting the immune system, menopause support, and hormonal balance in general. For daily use, maca is most recognized as a great source of energy and all-day endurance. Alkaloids from maca root may be partially responsible for both maca's energizing and libido boost. Research shows that maca affects the hypothalamic-pituitary (HPA) axis - boosting energy and overall aphrodisiac prowess in men and women. Maca contains novel compounds called macamides and macaenes, which have been proven in animal studies to significantly enhance energy, stamina and sexual function reasons people have been so consuming maca for 2000 years.

There are other serious reasons why maca is such an excellent plant. One group of compounds in maca is the isothiocyanates-aromatics constituents that are responsible for the "hotness" of Mustards and radishes - fellow members of the brassica family. Isothiocyanates from other members of the brassica family may reduce the risk of breast and stomach cancer. Although the same constituents specifically from maca haven't beentested, it's plausible that they could have the same effects.

Q. I've heard a little about guarana extracts - is it just caffeine?

A. Guarana is widely loved for its mild stimulating effect, which is due to caffeine. But this is by no means this Amazonian herb's sole beneficial compound. Guarana (Paullinia cupana) is so logically ingrained in the culture of Brazil that it's practically a rival (actually out-sells) Coca-Cola in its soft-drink form. Like many other indigenous herbs, guarana was in use locally well before European settlement. Its Latin name comes fromthe German botanist C.F. Paullini, who first encountered the herb in the 1700s. This evergreen vine typically climbs fairly far up the Brazilian forest trees. The seed is the part that gets used. In one clinical study, guarana boosted the memory alertness of participants, even when the caffeine level per dose was a low 9 mg., as compared with approximately 100 mg for a cup of coffee. This effect suggests that other agents than caffeine contribute to a feeling of well being.

Guarana also contains powerful antioxidants including catechin, epicatechin and proanthocyanidins, which protect cells against destruction from free radicals, and impart benefits to the body's tissues and blood. The small seed of this plant is powerful in its health benefits.

Catuaba Bark:

Catuaba (Erythroxylum catuaba) is a common tree found in South America from Brazil to Peru, in the same genus as the coca plant. Catuaba contains components known as alkaloids. These alkaloids (called catuabine A, B, and C) are probably responsible for themental boost most people get when they take catuabe-based supplements or mixes.

There may be little confusion regarding catuaba, because various species and genus typesuse the common name. As a result, "catuaba" gets bandied around a lot, and one person'scatuaba may not be the next. Read labels carefully. The catuaba I've had the best luck with is Erythroxylum catuaba.

Coffee Fruit:

One of my favorite drinks in the world is coffee, and I'm sure at many people reading thisconsider it the essential part of their morning, too.

The part of coffee that we use the most is the seed of the coffee fruit - which appears as a bright, red berry. Most of the time, this fruit is sloughed off and left behind in the process of making coffee - it's really too delicate to last long in hot conditions.

But advances in technology have tapped a previously discarded resource. Though the fruit of coffee is available in any coffee-growing economy, a high antioxidant commercial extract of "coffee cherry" is now available from the fruits of coffee plants in Mexico.

Coffee fruit has many of the attributes of other dark-colored, anthcyanin-rich fruits. Coffee fruit (also referred to as "coffee cherry") appears not to be just another antioxidant, however. Current research on this once-forgotten, former castoff shows impressive abilities to decrease tumor size, and possibly even prevent their formation in the first place. It seems that the elements in coffee berry activate T-lymphocytes in such a way that mammary tumors are shrunk or simply put on hold. It will be fascinating to see how this science plays out.

Muira Puama Bark:

Muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides) grows between 15 to 45 feet high. Native to theAmazon basin of Brazil, the dried bark has been used for centuries as a traditional energysupport. Components include beta-sitosterol, campesterol and lupeol.

Muira puama, like other central nervous stimulants has been researched lately for its ability to boost memory retrieval and protect neural (brain) tissue. Who knows? Maybe this traditional ingredient could someday be on the cutting edge of natural medicines fighting Alzheimer's, much the way green tea and turmeric are currently. In one unpublished French study of 262 men with low libido and poor erectile function, 62% experienced significant improvement after taking an extract of Muira puama for two weeks.

Acai Berry:

Acai (Euterpe acai) berry is a traditional favorite (and readily available) food source for people in the Amazon. The tree is a tall-growing palm with berries that provide - a rich source of anthocyanins, potent purple pigments with extraordinary high antioxidant activity.

Once harvested, acai fruits decay rapidly. As with coffee fruits, special processing is the surest way to make certain the nutrients of acai berry make it to those of us outside the Amazon basin.

However, these wonderful fruits not only fight against free radical damage, but help our natural digestive enzymes and boost natural immune defenses, too. In fact, current research is investigating whether compounds in acai may have a fighting effect on leukemia, too. So far, the results have been very positive.

Look for supplements made using organically-grown, fair trade acai berry. The best companies ensure that the local people harvesting acai and the communities where they live gather more than just short-term benefits. The best companies work not just to provide jobs, but better lives for generations to come.

Q. What is sustainability and fair trade, anyway?

A. Sustainability refers to a set of naturally occurring circumstances, or intentionally designed practices and principles, which ensure that all parts or members of a situation are adequately nourished to promote their healthy continuance. In current parlance, sustainability often refers to practices and programs designed and implemented to keep natural systems healthy and flourishing. Many such programs focus on environmental protection and preservation of traditional cultures. In the world of medicinal plants, sustainable practices include organic agriculture, species management, fair trade, and benefit-sharing programs.

In other words, sustainability pays people fair wages, puts resources back into their communities, and ensures that the resources that benefit us all are going to be around for a long time. It is an earth-friendly, people-friendly concept of commerce that happily, is taking root around the world.

Conclusion:

The traditional cultures that use - and have used - these ingredients for generations wouldn't have done so if they hadn't been effective. Fortunately we live in an era when formerly locally-used herbs are now available far beyond their previous range. We are also fortunate to have companies and individuals working hard to make sure that the people who tend and care for these precious resources are paid fairly for their efforts, andthat their families and communities benefit from this commerce as well.

The great thing about using traditional herbs and ingredients that have been gathered in this manner is that you know they'll be around for a long time.



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Peppermint Oil for IBS
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Date: March 24, 2007 11:01 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Peppermint Oil for IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a painful and frequently frustrating disorder of the intestines that’s often difficult to treat. Fortunately, there are scientifically studied natural products that effectively reduce the distressing symptoms of IBS.

Q. What is IBS?

A. IBS causes crampy pain, gassiness, bloating, and alterations in bowel habits. IBS is termed a functional disorder, because when the colon is examined, there is no visible sign of disease. While IBS causes significant pain and distress, no actual damage is occurring in the intestines.

There is a wide variability in IBS. Symptoms may be mild and fairly well tolerated. Or, the pain, discomfort, and bowel dysfunction may be disabling, limiting social interactions, employment, or travel.

While some individuals with IBS have diarrhea (frequent, loose stools with an urgent need to move the bowels), others have constipation (hard, infrequent stools that are difficult to pass). And, still others may experience both. Individuals with IBS also may have painful abdominal cramps and feel an urgent need to move the bowels, but are unable to do so.

Q. What causes IBS?

A. The small intestine receives digestive material from the stomach and delivers it to the large intestine (colon). About two quarts (2,000 ml) of digestive material enter the colon from the small intestine every day. The colon absorbs water and salts from the material, which is progressively moved through the colon. This progressive movement continues until most of the fluid and salts are absorbed into the body and stool is formed. The stool passes to the left side of the colon, where it is stored until a bowel movement occurs.

Because researchers haven’t been able to find actual damage in the colon, it once was suggested that individuals with IBS have emotional problems or are overly susceptible to stress. While stress may cause symptoms of IBS to intensify, it doesn’t cause the condition.

Recent study has determined the colon muscle of an individual with IBS spasms after only mild stimulation. It’s thought the symptoms of IBS are produced by hyperactivity of the intestines. In other words, the intestines of individuals with IBS are more reactive to stressors and diet than usual. Almost everyone has experienced abdominal queasiness in response to everyday stress or certain foods. This may result in a brief bout of diarrhea or an upset stomach. However, this response is exaggerated in individuals with IBS.

Q. How prevalent is IBS?

A. IBS is very common. In fact, it’s one of the most frequent problems seen by family physicians. It’s the most common disorder diagnosed by gastroenterologists (physicians specializing in the treatment of digestive disorders). The overall prevalence rates range from 10% to 20% of the general population in most industrialized countries. As a result, the pain and disabling symptoms associated with IBS result in significant socioeconomic costs, as wall as reduction in quality of life for many individuals.

Q. What are the symptoms of IBS?

A. Normal bowel function varies from person to person. Some people move their bowels daily, while others may only have two to three stools a week. A normal bowel movement is soft, formed, and is easily passed without cramping or pain.

IBS, however, causes abdominal cramps and pain, which are often severe and disabling. Bowel movements may be irregular and alternate between diarrhea and constipation. The diarrhea may be quite loose and watery. Mucous may be passed. There is often much straining, urgency, and feeling of incomplete evacuation (emptying). Abdominal bloating and passing of gas is common. Nausea, lack of appetite, heartburn, and belching may also be present. Sleep may be disrupted resulting in fatigue and lack of energy. Understandably, persons with IBS often feel anxious and depressed.

Diagnosis of IBS is usually based on the continuous presence or recurrence of these symptoms for at least three months. Other intestinal conditions must be ruled out. These include Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, inflammatory conditions of the stomach or pancreas, ulcers, infectious disease, or gastroesphageal reflux disease.

Q. Are there clinically demonstrated natural alternatives to the over-the-counter drugs prescribed by my doctor?

A. Yes, both enteric-coated peppermint oil and clown’s Mustard (in combination with other herbs) have significant scientific research behind them. Both have been demonstrated to benefit individuals with IBS.

Q. What is clown’s Mustard and what does it do?

A. The scientific name for clown’s Mustard is Iberis amara. Other names for this herb are wild candytuft and bitter candytuft. Clown’s Mustard is a white-flowering plant from Spain, where it grows in dry soil on hillsides and in cornfields. It is also grown in Britain, France, and the United States. Iberis amara is a member of the Brassicaceae family. Iberis refers to its place of origin, the Iberian Peninsula. Amara means bitter. The key components of clown’s Mustard are glycosides and flavonoids that have specific actions on gastrointestinal tract tone.

Q. Is there scientific evidence that clown’s Mustard benefits people with IBS?

A. There has been very impressive research on clown’s Mustard (in combination with other herbs). And, it has been used with great success in Germany for many years to treat IBS and other gastrointestinal diseases.

In a study of an herbal combination containing clown’s Mustard, 20 patients were given the herbal combination for three to 32 days. They all had been diagnosed with chronic functional disorders for at least one to 20 years. The symptoms the patients experienced included pressure and pain in the abdomen, belching, heartburn, vomiting, nausea, fullness, lack of appetite, constipation, and diarrhea. The patients have been treated for their problems with a variety of antacids, anti-spasmodic agents, and motility-inducing substances. For the purposes of the study, the patients stopped taking these medications and received treatment only with the herbal combination.

Abdominal pressure and pain in the abdomen was the most common of all the experienced symptoms, with 11 of the patients rating it as severe. After six days of treatment, only sic of the patients continued to rate their abdominal pain and pressure as severe. After two weeks, this symptom had completely resolved for 16 of the patients. Diarrhea had been rated as severe in five of the patients. By day 14, only one patient continued to have moderate diarrhea.

Medications prescribed and taken for cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases often cause gastrointestinal problems. Because these conditions are chronic, these medications must be taken for a long time, often for life. With long-term use, these medications can cause erosion of the stomach lining and actual ulcers. Many of these medication-caused symptoms are similar to IBS symptoms: pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Most, if not all, of the individuals who have gastrointestinal problems caused from medications experience two or more of these IBS symptoms.

Forty patients who were taking medications for various types of cardiovascular disease and arthritis, and who are experiencing gastrointestinal problems related to their medications, were enrolled in a study. These symptoms included pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Twenty patients received clown’s Mustard combined with other herbs that support gastrointestinal motility. Three days after the trial started, a significant improvement of all s symptoms was noted in those taking this combination. By day 14, abdominal pressure and pain, nausea, and heartburn were completely eliminated in the herbal combination group. Several other clinical trials that were conducted in Germany report similar results.

Q. How does this herb compare to prescription drugs?

A. A study compared clown’s Mustard (combined with other herbs) to Reglan (metoclopramide), which is frequently prescribed to reduce the symptoms of IBS. While metoclopramide is a very effective medication, it also has numerous side effects. Metoclopramide can cause fatigue, anxiety, agitation, jitteriness, insomnia, yellowing of the skin or eyes, changes in vision, hallucinations, and seizures. Because of these serious side effects, metoclopramide must not be taken longer than 12 weeks.

In comparison study, 77 subjects were randomized to receive treatment of either clown’s Mustard in a combination with other herbs, or metoclopramide. All subjects had pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. The subjects took 20 drops of their assigned treatment after meals three times daily. The duration of treatment was one to two weeks.

In both groups, a parallel improvement of all symptoms was observed. At no point in the study was a statistically significant difference in symptoms found. Both treatments significantly reduced pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. In short, both metoclopramide and the clown’s Mustard herbal combination worked well at reducing the symptoms of IBS.

However, side effects occurred more frequently and severely in the metoclopramide group. Given the lack of differences noted between the products at reducing symptoms of IBS, it would seem sensible to choose the treatment with the fewest reported side effects and no limits on duration of use.

Q. What evidence supports use of enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules for IBS?

A. Peppermint oil has been shown to relax intestinal smooth muscle. In Great Britain, peppermint oil is currently being prescribed for IBS by physicians and it has been used as a digestive aid and to soothe upset stomachs for generations.

Peppermint oil has also been studied for use in an important examination of the colon. A colonoscopy is a procedure of viewing the interior lining of the large intestine (colon) using a colonoscope, a slender, flexible, hollow, lighted tube about the thickness of a finger. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine supports the idea that even people who are not at risk for colon cancer should have this test. The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women at average risk of colon cancer should have a colonoscopy every 10 years, beginning at age 50.

During a colonoscopy, individuals are sedated and almost no discomfort is experienced. The insertion of the colonoscope into the rectum and up through the colon causes some spasming. This is a natural and expected event and the physician performing the exam administers medications that effectively reduce the spasms.

A recent study compared the use of peppermint oil and commonly used medications to reduce the colonic spasming in colonoscopy. The peppermint oil was introduced directly into the colon. Effective reduction of colon spasming was observed in 88% of the patients.

In a critical review and meta-analysis of peppermint oil for irritable bowel syndrome published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, eight randomized controlled trials were identified. The studies collectively showed peppermint oil is superior to placebo in improvement of the symptoms of IBS. Because of the good results of these trials, the authors of the review urged additional study of peppermint oil in IBS.

However, straight peppermint oil is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream from the stomach. In recent studies comparing enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules and non-enteric coated oil, both preparations provided effective symptom relief. However, the studies concluded the enteric-coated capsules delivered the benefit of the peppermint oil directly to the intestines. In the treatment of IBS, enteric-coated supplemental peppermint is most definitely preferred.

In fact, an enteric-coated peppermint oil capsule containing rosemary and thyme is extremely effective in the treatment of IBS. All three of these oils are classified as volatile oils, derivatives found in plants that impart taste and aroma. The combination of peppermint, thyme, and rosemary oils in enteric-coated capsules provides significant relief in IBS-related pain.

Q. Can clown’s Mustard and other herbs be taken with enteric-coated peppermint oil?

A. Yes, peppermint oil capsules and clown’s Mustard can be used together. However, depending on the symptoms, individuals with IBS may want to start with one supplement and then add the other if needed.

Q. How do consumers find these formulas?

A. Fortunately, herbal combinations containing clown’s Mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are both available at health food stores, natural product supermarkets, pharmacies, and from health professionals. Most knowledgeable sales personnel and health professionals can direct consumers to the most effective products.

Q. What should customers look for when purchasing peppermint oil?

A. As mentioned before, enteric coating of the peppermint oil is extremely important. The coating prevents the oil from being absorbed in the stomach. The enteric coated-capsule moves through the stomach to the small intestine and eventually to the colon, where it is released for maximum benefit.

Q. What is the dosage for peppermint oil?

A. The German Commission E approved peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable colon. In enteric-coated form, the Commission E recommends 0.6 ml per day. Enteric-coated peppermint capsules are available.

Q. Are there side effects or other contraindications?

A. Sometimes, the enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules may cause a transient burning sensation in the rectum when moving bowls. Reducing the dose will correct this.

Individuals who must refrain from alcohol should not take clown’s Mustard in an herbal tincture, which may contain alcohol.

Q. What else can IBS patients do to feel better?

A. Food allergies or food intolerance may be associated with IBS. Dairy products and certain grains may trigger a painful episode of IBS. Determining those foods that initiate the problems and eliminating them from your diet can be very helpful.

Many people report their symptoms occur after a meal. Hyperactivity of the intestine of IBS is the response. Often, the strength of this response after a meal is in direct relation to the number of calories and he amount of fat in the meal. Reducing saturated fat, limiting calories, and increasing fiber intake may be helpful.

Stress also stimulates the intestinal hyperactivity. Relaxation training may reduce some IBS symptoms. Listening to therapeutic audiotapes, hypnosis, counseling, and biofeedback all have been shown to improve the healing response in persons with IBS.

Conclusion

IBS can be painful and frustrating, capable of causing much distress. While currently there is no cure for IBS, the symptoms can be managed. The pain, abdominal discomfort, and bowel problems of IBS all respond well to treatment with the use of key herbs, including clown’s Mustard, and enteric-coated peppermint oil. These herbal combinations can be both effective and safe in treating IBS. Clown’s Mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil are both effective front-line natural alternatives for IBS treatment.



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Fruit and Vegetable Lightning drink mixes from Natures Plus
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Date: February 06, 2007 02:41 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Fruit and Vegetable Lightning drink mixes from Natures Plus

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:

Color

Source

Nutrients

Benefits

Red

Tomatoes, Berries, Peppers, Radishes

Lycopene, Anthocyanins, Ellagic Acid, Bioflavonoids including Quercetin, and Hesperidin

Reduces risk of prostate cancer; lowers blood pressure; scavenges harmful free-radicals; reduces tumor growth; reduces LDL cholesterol levels and supports joint tissue in cases of rheumatoid arthritis

Orange/ Yellow

Carrots, Yams, Squash, Papaya

Beta-carotene, Zeaxanthin, Flavonoids, Lycopene, Vitamin C, Potassium

Reduces age-related macular degeneration; lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol; fights harmful free radicals; reduces risk of prostate cancer, lowers blood pressure; promotes collagen formation and healthy joints; encourages alkaline balance and works with magnesium and calcium to build healthy bones

White

Mushrooms, White Tea, Flaxseed/ Pumpkin

Beta-glucan, EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), SDG (secoisolariciresinol digulcoside), lignans

Provides powerful immune boosting activity; activates natural-killer cells, B-cells and T-cells; may reduce risk of colon, breast and prostate cancers; boosts immune-supporting T-cell activity; balances hormone levels and may reduce risk of hormone-related cancers

Green

Wheat Grass, Barley Grass, Oat Grass, Kale, Spinach, Cabbage, Alfalfa Sprouts, Mustard Greens, Collard Greens

Chlorophyll, Fiber, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Calcium, Folate, Glucoraphanin, Vitamin C, Calcium, Beta-Carotene

Reduces cancer risks; lowers blood pressure; normalizes digestion time; supports retinal health and reduces risk of cataracts; builds and maintains bone matrix; fights harmful free-radicals; boosts immune system activity; supports vision and lowers LDL cholesterol levels

Purple/ Blue

Blueberries, Pomegranates, Grapes, Elderberries, Eggplant, Prunes

Anthocyanins, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Resveratrol, Vitamin C, Fiber, Flavonoids, ellagic acid, quercetin

May protect brain cells against Alzheimer’s and other oxidative-related diseases; supports retinal health; lowers LDL cholesterol and prevents LDL oxidation; boosts immune system activity and supports healthy collagen and joint tissue; supports healthy digestion; improves calcium and other mineral absorption; fights inflammation; reduces tumor growth; acts as an anticarcinogen in the digestive tract, limits the activity of cancer cells –depriving them of fuel; helps the body fight allergens

 

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. Oranges and other citrus are the most commonly associated with vitamin C, but it also is present in tomatoes, and to a lesser extent in berries and cherries.

 

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 Institute of Cancer Research discovered a reason many adults don’t eat their vegetables is – I’m not making this up – “a fear of flatulence.”

 

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.

 

 



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Is Fish Oil good for my heart?
TopPreviousNext

Date: October 25, 2005 02:59 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Is Fish Oil good for my heart?

I know that fish oil is good for my heart, but I was told I should also consume fish to protect my bones. Is there any truth to that?

Many people are familiar with the literature that omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Animal studies, and now recent human studies, suggest a role in bone health as well, particularly in relation to omega-6 fatty acids. A long-term study in California tracked the ratio of dietary omega-6 fats to omega-3s in relation to bone-mineral density in middle- and older-age individuals. They tested BMD by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry—the gold standard for assessing bone loss—and found that the higher the ratio of linoleic acid (omega-6) to alpha-linolenic acid(omega-3), the lower the BMD. These results were independent of age, body mass index and various lifestyle factors.

The ratios creating problems were in the range of 7 to 1 and 8 to 1 of omega-6s to omega-3s. Foods high in omega-6 (or with a high omega-6 and omega-3 ratio) are corn, safflower, sunflower, soybean, and cottonseed oils. One of the best sources of omega-3 is fatty, cold-water fish such as salmon. The best vegetarian source is flax oil. In addition, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, canola oil (I recommend cold-pressed and unrefined), and some dark, leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, purslane, Mustard greens and collards do have some omega-3s.

Also, available is a dry fish oil Vectomega by Europharma, if you do not want to take an oil softgel then give vectomega a try.



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Breathe Easy
TopPreviousNext

Date: June 14, 2005 06:19 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Breathe Easy

Breathe Easy

by Edward Bullard, III Energy Times, March 1, 1998

Don't underestimate the danger of asthma. When an asthmatic attack chokes the passageways to your lungs, cutting off your air supply, the consequences can prove frightening and disastrous.

Although asthma is the leading chronic illness among children, most sufferers are adults. The condition ranks as the 7th most common chronic affliction nationwide affecting 14 to 20 million people; about 11 million of these are over the age of 18.

The American Lung Association estimates that between 1982 and 1992 the total number of asthma cases jumped by more than 57%. Researchers can't pinpoint the reasons for this rise, but they have found that urban dwellers suffer a higher asthma risk.

Despite the gloomy statistics, those who suffer asthma can take reassurance from the progressive development of complementary and conventional treatments that control this condition. Anyone who suffers asthma should consult with a knowledgeable health practitioner.

How does asthma start? This airway problem may originate with allergies and sinus or bronchial infections (the bronchi are the tubes leading to the lungs). Some experts believe that air pollution, dust mites, cockroach remains and other environmental toxins may exacerbate the condition.

A family history of allergies and asthma also increases your asthmatic vulnerability since your genes may make you more prone to the airway inflammation that leads to breathing constraints.

Allergic reactions to food have been implicated in causing restricted breathing. Food found to most frequently instigate immediate lung difficulties include nuts, peanuts (which are, technically, legumes not nuts), eggs, shellfish and fish. Foods that do not cause immediate wheezing but may produce a delayed respiratory effect include artificial food colorings, wheat, citrus fruits, milk, chocolate and wheat products.

Since an allergic reaction to particular foods can apparently play a role in asthma, some people find relief by systematically eliminating foods from their diets, identifying troublesome items and then permanently avoiding those foods.

Asthma's Nutrition Gap

According to Richard N. Firshein, D.O., director of the Firshein Center for Comprehensive Medicine in New York City, asthma stems from cells' "disordered metabolism." In these circumstances, the body's immune system often mistakes allergens (normally benign substances) for infectious agents. In strenuously defending itself against allergens, the body goes on "red alert," says Dr. Firshein in his book Reversing Asthma (Warner), "exhausting itself in the process." This creates a need for extra vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Too often, he believes, this nutritional need is not met and asthma ensues.

In the presence of asthma, magnesium can help restore free breathing. Dr. Firshein reports that about 50 years ago, medical researchers discovered that treating asthma victims with magnesium sulfate opened up breathing passageways. Although magnesium by itself does not completely alleviate asthma attacks, many emergency room doctors still use it in conjunction with other treatments to restore breathing.

In explaining magnesium's usefulness in alleviating asthma, Dr. Firshein notes that magnesium competes with calcium in each cell to influence asthmatic reactions. For instance, calcium stimulates mast cells (reactive immune cells) to release histamine, a chemical that foments allergic reactions that hinder breathing. Conversely, magnesium "stabilizes" mast cells, quieting their activity so that they retain their histamine instead of flooding breathing passages.

In addition, calcium takes part in muscle contractions that can constrict breathing tube muscles. Magnesium can help relax those same muscles.

Although intravenous treatment with magnesium for acute asthma attacks must be carried out by a trained health professional, taking magnesium supplements over a period of time, may gradually help assuage asthma's wheezes.

How do you tell if you're short of magnesium? Standard blood tests of magnesium levels may be inadequate. As Dr. Firshein points out, normal blood tests only examine the amount of magnesium floating in the blood's plasma. That level can apparently appear sufficient even if red blood cells are magnesium-deficient. (Dr. Firshein recommends asking your health practitioner for a special red blood cell test.)

Ephedra for Asthma

Ever since about 3,000 BC, Chinese health practitioners have been giving the herb ma huang (Ephedra sinica) to asthma sufferers. In the 1920s, western medical researchers extracted a chemical called ephedrine from ma huang and soon synthesized this substance for use as a pharmaceutical. However, herbal experts believe that there are other beneficial substances in ma huang besides ephedrine that can ease breathing.

Although ephedra has been used successfully to ward off the allergies of hayfever as well as mild asthma, when this herb is taken over a long period its benefits may lessen. The reason: eventually the herb's ephedrine weakens the adrenal glands, according to Michael Murray, ND, and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima). To offset this effect, they recommend supporting the use of ephedra with licorice (Glycerrhiza glabra) as well as ginseng (Panax ginseng) which support the adrenals. In addition, vitamins C and B6 and zinc and magnesium plus pantothenic acid also boost adrenal function.

Licking Asthma with Licorice

Since much of asthma's deleterious effects on health stem from the fact it inflames breathing passageways, licorice root, which acts to squelch inflammation and which calms allergies, can be helpful in restoring normal breathing. Licorice, according to Drs. Murray and Pizzorno, promulgates the persistence of cortisol in our body, a hormone that acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

As an extra benefit, licorice can also forestall the side effects of cortisone, one of the most widely prescribed medicines for asthma. Licorice also boosts cortisone's desirable anti-inflammatory action while inhibiting the action of enzymes that would otherwise increase unwanted inflammation.

Onions + Garlic = Better Breath

Despite their reputation for giving you bad breath, both onion and garlic can improve the breath of those afflicted with asthma. The reason: both of these plants restrict the action of an enzyme with the tongue twisting name of lipoxygenase, a chemical that helps produce inflammation.

Studies with animals showed that when they were fed onion extract, their induced asthmatic problems decreased. Part of onion's benefit may be due to its quercetin content. (Quercetin is a bioflavonoid available as a supplement.) Onion also contains Mustard oils, which are believed to slow the body's production of leukotrienes (substances that also increase inflammation).

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, the most abundant antioxidant nutrient in the lungs' inner lining, apparently protects against respiratory problems. Studies of people with asthma show that they possess less vitamin C both in their circulating blood and in white blood cells. When researchers induced bronchial constriction in people who volunteered for respiratory studies, they found that those given vitamin C didn't have as hard a time breathing. Experts recommend healthy doses of vitamin C plus other antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin E, carotenoids and selenium to lower the risk of allergic reactions and ease breathing. Antioxidant nutrients restrict the action of free radicals, molecules that attack the lungs and other parts of the cardiovascular system.

Chinese skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) also effectively fights inflammation without causing serious side effects. Experts believe its bioflavonoids stop the body from making biochemicals that inflame tissues. Aside from restricting inflammation, these bioflavonoids also act as antioxidants.

Strength in Numbers

Asthma support organizations can provide vital information: Organizations American Lung Association 1740 Broadway, New York, NY 10019-43741 (800) LUNG-USA llergy & Asthma Network/Mothers of Asthmatics Inc., 3554 Chain Bridge Road, Suite 200, Fairfax, VA 22030 (703) 385-4403, (800) 878-4403 th/aanma Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America,1125 15th Street, N.W., Suite 502 Washington, DC 20005 (800) 727-8462

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Breathe Easy - Don't underestimate the danger of asthma.
TopPreviousNext

Date: June 12, 2005 05:57 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Breathe Easy - Don't underestimate the danger of asthma.

Breathe Easy by Edward Bullard, III Energy Times, March 1, 1998

Don't underestimate the danger of asthma. When an asthmatic attack chokes the passageways to your lungs, cutting off your air supply, the consequences can prove frightening and disastrous.

Although asthma is the leading chronic illness among children, most sufferers are adults. The condition ranks as the 7th most common chronic affliction nationwide affecting 14 to 20 million people; about 11 million of these are over the age of 18.

The American Lung Association estimates that between 1982 and 1992 the total number of asthma cases jumped by more than 57%. Researchers can't pinpoint the reasons for this rise, but they have found that urban dwellers suffer a higher asthma risk.

Despite the gloomy statistics, those who suffer asthma can take reassurance from the progressive development of complementary and conventional treatments that control this condition. Anyone who suffers asthma should consult with a knowledgeable health practitioner.

How does asthma start? This airway problem may originate with allergies and sinus or bronchial infections (the bronchi are the tubes leading to the lungs). Some experts believe that air pollution, dust mites, cockroach remains and other environmental toxins may exacerbate the condition.

A family history of allergies and asthma also increases your asthmatic vulnerability since your genes may make you more prone to the airway inflammation that leads to breathing constraints.

Allergic reactions to food have been implicated in causing restricted breathing. Food found to most frequently instigate immediate lung difficulties include nuts, peanuts (which are, technically, legumes not nuts), eggs, shellfish and fish. Foods that do not cause immediate wheezing but may produce a delayed respiratory effect include artificial food colorings, wheat, citrus fruits, milk, chocolate and wheat products.

Since an allergic reaction to particular foods can apparently play a role in asthma, some people find relief by systematically eliminating foods from their diets, identifying troublesome items and then permanently avoiding those foods.

Asthma's Nutrition Gap

According to Richard N. Firshein, D.O., director of the Firshein Center for Comprehensive Medicine in New York City, asthma stems from cells' "disordered metabolism." In these circumstances, the body's immune system often mistakes allergens (normally benign substances) for infectious agents. In strenuously defending itself against allergens, the body goes on "red alert," says Dr. Firshein in his book Reversing Asthma (Warner), "exhausting itself in the process." This creates a need for extra vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Too often, he believes, this nutritional need is not met and asthma ensues.

In the presence of asthma, magnesium can help restore free breathing. Dr. Firshein reports that about 50 years ago, medical researchers discovered that treating asthma victims with magnesium sulfate opened up breathing passageways. Although magnesium by itself does not completely alleviate asthma attacks, many emergency room doctors still use it in conjunction with other treatments to restore breathing.

In explaining magnesium's usefulness in alleviating asthma, Dr. Firshein notes that magnesium competes with calcium in each cell to influence asthmatic reactions. For instance, calcium stimulates mast cells (reactive immune cells) to release histamine, a chemical that foments allergic reactions that hinder breathing. Conversely, magnesium "stabilizes" mast cells, quieting their activity so that they retain their histamine instead of flooding breathing passages.

In addition, calcium takes part in muscle contractions that can constrict breathing tube muscles. Magnesium can help relax those same muscles.

Although intravenous treatment with magnesium for acute asthma attacks must be carried out by a trained health professional, taking magnesium supplements over a period of time, may gradually help assuage asthma's wheezes.

How do you tell if you're short of magnesium? Standard blood tests of magnesium levels may be inadequate. As Dr. Firshein points out, normal blood tests only examine the amount of magnesium floating in the blood's plasma. That level can apparently appear sufficient even if red blood cells are magnesium-deficient. (Dr. Firshein recommends asking your health practitioner for a special red blood cell test.)

Ephedra for Asthma

Ever since about 3,000 BC, Chinese health practitioners have been giving the herb ma huang (Ephedra sinica) to asthma sufferers. In the 1920s, western medical researchers extracted a chemical called ephedrine from ma huang and soon synthesized this substance for use as a pharmaceutical. However, herbal experts believe that there are other beneficial substances in ma huang besides ephedrine that can ease breathing.

Although ephedra has been used successfully to ward off the allergies of hayfever as well as mild asthma, when this herb is taken over a long period its benefits may lessen. The reason: eventually the herb's ephedrine weakens the adrenal glands, according to Michael Murray, ND, and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima). To offset this effect, they recommend supporting the use of ephedra with licorice (Glycerrhiza glabra) as well as ginseng (Panax ginseng) which support the adrenals. In addition, vitamins C and B6 and zinc and magnesium plus pantothenic acid also boost adrenal function.

Licking Asthma with Licorice

Since much of asthma's deleterious effects on health stem from the fact it inflames breathing passageways, licorice root, which acts to squelch inflammation and which calms allergies, can be helpful in restoring normal breathing. Licorice, according to Drs. Murray and Pizzorno, promulgates the persistence of cortisol in our body, a hormone that acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

As an extra benefit, licorice can also forestall the side effects of cortisone, one of the most widely prescribed medicines for asthma. Licorice also boosts cortisone's desirable anti-inflammatory action while inhibiting the action of enzymes that would otherwise increase unwanted inflammation.

Onions + Garlic = Better Breath

Despite their reputation for giving you bad breath, both onion and garlic can improve the breath of those afflicted with asthma. The reason: both of these plants restrict the action of an enzyme with the tongue twisting name of lipoxygenase, a chemical that helps produce inflammation.

Studies with animals showed that when they were fed onion extract, their induced asthmatic problems decreased. Part of onion's benefit may be due to its quercetin content. (Quercetin is a bioflavonoid available as a supplement.) Onion also contains Mustard oils, which are believed to slow the body's production of leukotrienes (substances that also increase inflammation).

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, the most abundant antioxidant nutrient in the lungs' inner lining, apparently protects against respiratory problems. Studies of people with asthma show that they possess less vitamin C both in their circulating blood and in white blood cells. When researchers induced bronchial constriction in people who volunteered for respiratory studies, they found that those given vitamin C didn't have as hard a time breathing. Experts recommend healthy doses of vitamin C plus other antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin E, carotenoids and selenium to lower the risk of allergic reactions and ease breathing. Antioxidant nutrients restrict the action of free radicals, molecules that attack the lungs and other parts of the cardiovascular system.

Chinese skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) also effectively fights inflammation without causing serious side effects. Experts believe its bioflavonoids stop the body from making biochemicals that inflame tissues. Aside from restricting inflammation, these bioflavonoids also act as antioxidants.



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