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Curcumin found to be one of the best natural ways to alleviatedepression Darrell Miller 5/15/19
Marijuana found to lower blood flow to the brain: Study authorssuggest this may increase risk of dementia, but this effect also makes itmedicinally useful for epileptics Darrell Miller 5/10/19
3 Ways to Boost Your Endocannabinoid System (Without Cannabis) Darrell Miller 12/6/18
Boy Who Suffered 100 Seizures A Day Has Zero in 300 Days After Being Prescribed Cannabis Oil Darrell Miller 9/11/17
Jarrow challenges FDA on probiotics Darrell Miller 6/5/17
Should You Mix Turmeric And Weed For Pain Management? Darrell Miller 5/6/17
Could magical mushrooms contain the cure for depression? Darrell Miller 2/8/17
Toxins in Your Fast-Food Packaging? Darrell Miller 2/6/17
When to Take Your Vitamins: Timing is Key to Effectiveness Darrell Miller 11/9/16
Agave Nectar Darrell Miller 4/8/10
Safe Solutions for Chronic Pain Darrell Miller 3/30/07
Dramatic EPO Benefits for hyper active children Darrell Miller 6/3/06
New Frontiers in Enzyme Supplementation Darrell Miller 2/16/06
Benefits of Total Daily Formula Darrell Miller 10/13/05
Endnotes Darrell Miller 7/25/05
References Darrell Miller 7/15/05
ST. JOHN’S WORT AND AIDS/HIV Darrell Miller 7/15/05
References Darrell Miller 7/13/05
THE ORIGINS OF PYCNOGENOL Darrell Miller 7/13/05
Pain - Post Op and Relaxation Darrell Miller 7/13/05
TEA TREE OIL (Meleleuca alternifolia) Darrell Miller 7/11/05
HERBS FOR SUMMER HEALTH Darrell Miller 7/11/05
ENDNOTES Darrell Miller 6/23/05
Mushroom Miracales Darrell Miller 6/18/05
Nothing to Sneeze At Darrell Miller 6/18/05
Breathe Easy Darrell Miller 6/14/05
Green Power Darrell Miller 6/14/05
Catch Your Breath Darrell Miller 6/14/05
America's Most Wanted Darrell Miller 6/14/05
Cleanse That Body! Darrell Miller 6/14/05
Scents of Balance Darrell Miller 6/14/05
Good Hydration Darrell Miller 6/14/05
Fats: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly Darrell Miller 6/14/05
Your Healthy Harvest Darrell Miller 6/14/05
Truth in Labeling Darrell Miller 6/14/05
SPA: Satisfying Personal Attention Darrell Miller 6/14/05
Women and Depression! Darrell Miller 6/13/05
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number Darrell Miller 6/13/05
Winter Survival Kit Darrell Miller 6/13/05
Home on the Range Darrell Miller 6/13/05
Defeat Depression Darrell Miller 6/13/05
Centering Your Heart Darrell Miller 6/13/05
Ocean Treasures - For centuries, people have flocked to the sea.... Darrell Miller 6/13/05
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart Darrell Miller 6/13/05
Breathe Easy - Don't underestimate the danger of asthma. Darrell Miller 6/12/05
Acupuncture nutrient Connection Darrell Miller 6/12/05
Health Movements - Joining mind and body with healthy movement generates harmony Darrell Miller 6/12/05
Nutritional Calculator - hand-held nutrition calculator that you can carry in your vest... Darrell Miller 6/12/05
Fats for Life - the quality of the fat you eat is probably much more important than the... Darrell Miller 6/12/05
What the Medicine Men Knew Darrell Miller 6/12/05




Curcumin found to be one of the best natural ways to alleviatedepression
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Date: May 15, 2019 02:07 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Curcumin found to be one of the best natural ways to alleviatedepression





Curcumin has been known to be a silver bullet. It can be used to cure a host of diseases and conditions including cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. Now depression can be added to the list according to new research. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes that depression affects 16 million Americans every year. Although treatment for it is available, it usually comes with adverse effects. Therefore, there is compelling need for a safer means of treating people. Before this study, it has already been found from multiple studies that curcumin can have an effect on depressive conditions. It was reported to be well tolerated by patients with no adverse side effects. For their current study in Australia, the researchers looked at twenty years of data including current studies on curcumin. They then studied about 342 patients using curcumin and a placebo. From their results, there was a significant reduction in depression after treatment with curcumin compared with the placebo after six weeks of treatment. The researchers then concluded that compelling evidence exists for the use of curcumin in treatment of depression.

Key Takeaways:

  • Curcumin is the main ingredient that is found in turmeric and it has been known to be a silver bullet that can be used to treat several conditions.
  • Along with curing a list of diseases which include diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer, curcumin can now be used to cure depression.
  • Depression affects millions of people in the United States every year but while treatment for the disease exists many people stop the treatments because of adverse effects.

"The study also found that curcumin exhibited significant anti-anxiety properties, based on data from 377 patients."

Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-11-curcumin-seen-to-be-one-of-the-best-natural-ways-to-alleviate-depression.html

Depression has been linked to inflammation, consider trying CBD to boost mood, reduce anxiety, and reduce inflammation.

(https://vitanetonline.com:443/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=1&Message_ID=6325)


Marijuana found to lower blood flow to the brain: Study authorssuggest this may increase risk of dementia, but this effect also makes itmedicinally useful for epileptics
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Date: May 10, 2019 02:17 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Marijuana found to lower blood flow to the brain: Study authorssuggest this may increase risk of dementia, but this effect also makes itmedicinally useful for epileptics





Scientific literature on how marijuana works on the body is rapidly expanding. Right now, there are a plethora of studies on how marijuana works on the human brain. Some studies have shown that it can be effective in treating disorders of the brain like epilepsy. Recent tests show that marijuana can increase the risk of dementia because it restricts the flow of blood to the brain. These brain areas are essential for memory development. The area most affected is the hippocampus which can result in Alzheimer’s if prolonged. The researchers for the study used single photo emission computed tomography (SPECT) to measure blood flow to the brain after taking marijuana and they reported that there were very low and abnormal blood flow levels observed. This is when compared with persons who did not take marijuana. 982 patients were selected from a wide variety of data sources that was available to the researchers concerning persons who previously used or were still using marijuana. The results of the study showed that persons taking marijuana were at a risk of dementia due to the low blood flow to their hippocampus.

Key Takeaways:

  • The author notes that the studies regarding the effect of marijuana is increasing and this is particularly so regarding its effect on the brain.
  • Some recent tests show that it can increase the risk of dementia when marijuana is taken because it reduces the blood flow to the brain.
  • When the researchers used single photon emission computer tomography to analyze blood flow to the brain they observed abnormally low flow to the brain with users of marijuana.

"Users were analyzed using a brain SPECT and by conducting mental concentration tests against a sample of 100 people who had not used marijuana to determine whether there were significant differences that arose between users and non-users of cannabis."

Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-19-marijuana-lowers-blood-flow-to-the-brain-may-be-useful-for-epileptics.html

(https://vitanetonline.com:443/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=1&Message_ID=6304)


3 Ways to Boost Your Endocannabinoid System (Without Cannabis)
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Date: December 06, 2018 10:16 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: 3 Ways to Boost Your Endocannabinoid System (Without Cannabis)





endocannabinoid system includes mood, memory, pain, and more within the body. It is mainly found in CBD oil made from marijuana. This system's purpose is to keep every thing in check with one another from the circulatory system to the nervous system. There are other ways to help with regulation of the body. Not only CBS oil but CBC has been known for it's pain relief and anti-inflammatory qualities. To help your own endocannabinoid system, feed it, don't ignore it, and then nurture it.

Key Takeaways:

  • Cannabis is something that many people feel has a stigma but it can be helpful for your body.
  • CBD oil is one of those things that is getting a lot of positive reviews for treating pain and anxiety.
  • There are a lot of forms of cannabis that are widely known by the general public.

"To reduce the impact of stress on the endocannabinoid system, experts suggest introducing healthy behaviors such as exercise, social interaction, massage, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and even fasting, which Gersh notes can actually help increase natural endocannabinoids."

Read more: https://www.organicauthority.com/energetic-health/3-ways-to-boost-your-endocannabinoid-system

Leaf Therapeutics is a Trusted product from Solaray, never consume off brands stay with quality!

(https://vitanetonline.com:443/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=1&Message_ID=5875)


Boy Who Suffered 100 Seizures A Day Has Zero in 300 Days After Being Prescribed Cannabis Oil
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Date: September 11, 2017 09:14 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Boy Who Suffered 100 Seizures A Day Has Zero in 300 Days After Being Prescribed Cannabis Oil





Billy, an 11 year old living in Northern Ireland, will be the first person to receive a medical marijuana prescription in the United Kingdom. Billy suffers from severe epilepsy, which prevented more traditional medical treatments. His doctor agreed to prescribe it in the wake of overwhelming evidence of the success of Cannabidiol in treating his condition. Where previously Billy would experience up to 100 seizures a days - Billy has not experienced a seizure since starting his treatment 300 days ago in the United States. His mother also notes that it has helped with Billy's Autism - making better eye contact when he plays and communicates. To celebrate this largely important decision, the family is hosting an event, that already has 600 RSVP's, in support of Billy.

Key Takeaways:

  • Medical marijuana is increasingly being seen as a potential natural remedy to help combat different types of seizures.
  • CBD oil is helpful in that it's not psychoactive, meaning that it's ideal for treating seizures (in contrast to THC).
  • Billy is the first patient to have received a medical marijuana prescription specifically for seizures, and his condition has improved dramatically as a result.

"Before taking the CBD oil, Billy suffered from up to 100 seizures a day, which was severely damaging to his health, because one seizure could kill him."

Read more: https://www.civilized.life/articles/boy-who-suffered-100-seizures-a-day-completely-cured-with-cannabis-oil/

(https://vitanetonline.com:443/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=1&Message_ID=5240)


Jarrow challenges FDA on probiotics
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Date: June 05, 2017 11:14 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Jarrow challenges FDA on probiotics





Jarrow Formulas Inc. has released a 32 page comment challenging the FDA on it's stance on probiotics. It notes how the FDA won't approve the term probiotics in several cases, instead using the phrase active cultures and just how the FDA labels probiotics in general. The company also takes issue with the fact that fermentation is considered chemical alteration under the current guidelines. The draft was vetted by the supplement company's lawyers and could dramatically change dietary guidelines if accepted.

Read more: Jarrow challenges FDA on probiotics

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Should You Mix Turmeric And Weed For Pain Management?
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Date: May 06, 2017 11:44 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Should You Mix Turmeric And Weed For Pain Management?





An alternative health blog has a feature touting the benefits of Cannabidiol (CBD), which is found in cannabis. The writer states that CBD has been found to be effective in fighting chronic pain and reducing inflammation. The writer notes that CBD is classified as a Schedule One drug and may not be available legally in some states. CBD is available in states that have legalized medical marijuana. She recommends mixing CBD with turmeric. Other good mixing items include coconut oil, raw honey, and ginger root.

Key Takeaways:

  • CBD oil can be combined with a number of natural foods to treat chronic pain and inflammation.
  • CBD oil is legally available in Britain but in the US it can only be purchased in states where medical marijuana is offered.
  • Chronic pain sufferers can make something called "golden milk," which is a combination of CBD oil, coconut oil, ginger root, raw honey, black pepper, and turmeric.

"The importance of natural remedies (like our yummy golden milk) cannot be overstated."

Read more: http://www.thealternativedaily.com/turmeric-and-weed-for-pain/

(https://vitanetonline.com:443/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=1&Message_ID=4546)


Could magical mushrooms contain the cure for depression?
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Date: February 08, 2017 02:59 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Could magical mushrooms contain the cure for depression?





More Americans over aged twelve have been diagnosed with depression, a condition that can lead to high risk behaviors and even death from suicide. A medical journal from China recently published the benefits of the hen of the woods mushroom in treating depression. Early studies on mice have shown that it is a safe and effective treatment and has less side effects than chemically formulated medications to treat depression.

Key Takeaways:

  • Mental health issues, and depression in particular, have risen to alarming proportions in recent years. The CDC reports that at any given time, 7.6 percent of people in the U.S. over the age of 12 are afflicted with this condition.
  • As the CDC further notes, depression is associated with an increased risk of death from suicide and other causes; absenteeism and lower workplace productivity,
  • Fortunately, there is new hope for those afflicted with this devastating condition. Chinese medicine has long utilized mushrooms in the treatment of a variety of ailments, and Western medicine is finally catching on.

"Mental health issues, and depression in particular, have risen to alarming proportions in recent years. The CDC reports that at any given time, 7.6 percent of people in the U.S. over the age of 12 are afflicted with this condition."



Reference:

//www.naturalnews.com/2017-02-04-could-magical-mushrooms-contain-the-cure-for-depression.html

(https://vitanetonline.com:443/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=1&Message_ID=3910)


Toxins in Your Fast-Food Packaging?
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Date: February 06, 2017 07:59 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Toxins in Your Fast-Food Packaging?





Fast food isn’t exactly known for its health benefits, but a new U.S. study suggests even the packaging may be harmful. That’s because the study found one-third of fast food packaging contains chemicals that give it stain-resistant, water-repellant and nonstick properties. The trouble is these fluorinated chemicals have also been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers, hormone problems, high cholesterol, obesity and immune suppression in human and animal studies.

Key Takeaways:

  • Testing on more than 400 samples from restaurants nationwide revealed that nearly half of fast-food wrappers and one out of five paperboard food boxes contained detectable levels of fluorine, said lead researcher Laurel Schaider. She's an environmental chemist at the Silent Spring Institute in Newton, Mass.
  • Previous studies have linked some fluorinated chemicals such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) to kidney and testicular cancer, low birth weight, thyroid disease, decreased sperm quality, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, and immune system problems in children, the study authors said in background notes.
  • Major U.S. manufacturers voluntarily phased out PFOA and PFOS for most uses starting in 2011, but other countries still produce them. These study results show that fluorinated chemicals are still widely present in food packaging, the authors said.

"Major U.S. manufacturers voluntarily phased out PFOA and PFOS for most uses starting in 2011, but other countries still produce them."



Reference:

//www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=201372

(https://vitanetonline.com:443/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=1&Message_ID=3893)


When to Take Your Vitamins: Timing is Key to Effectiveness
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Date: November 09, 2016 06:54 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: When to Take Your Vitamins: Timing is Key to Effectiveness





The ideal method of getting necessary vitamins and minerals is through natural foods and juices. In most cases the modern diet does not provide all of the key nutrients needed for healthy living, so many people turn to vitamins and supplements. The effectiveness of these additions are often dependent on when they are taken and whether they are taken with or without food.

Key Takeaways:

  • “The best way to get all your nutrients is from food,” notes Dr. Ellen Kamhi, a medical school instructor and author of "The Natural Medicine Chest."
  • “But of course there is a large amount of scientific evidence that supports the use of supplements. There are many instances when your diet isn’t sufficient to provide all the necessary nutrients because of toxic growing conditions, the chemicals used in GMO crops, or simply poor eating habits.
  • “The calcium will most likely be absorbed but will block the absorption of magnesium,” she tells Newsmax Health. “And if you take iron supplements, avoid ferrous sulfate. Choose ferrous chelate or fumerate instead.”

"“The best way to get all your nutrients is from food,” notes Dr. Ellen Kamhi, a medical school instructor and author of "The Natural Medicine Chest." Read more: Timing When to Take Your Vitamins is Key to Effectiveness"



Reference:

https://www.google.com/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=//www.dolphnsix.com/news/1688189/when-take-your-vitamins-timing-effectiveness&ct=ga&cd=CAIyGjVkYjY3ZDViNDdiNGM3ZTc6Y29tOmVuOlVT&usg=AFQjCNEVX298afyiTIxGpvIeHGV_0TiLPA


(https://vitanetonline.com:443/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=1&Message_ID=3412)


Agave Nectar
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Date: April 08, 2010 04:31 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Agave Nectar

Agave Nectar Light Certified Organic 17 oz from NOWComments by Craig Gerbore, CEO of Madhava:

Reading through the attack articles and blogs that have surfaced recently one could think that using agave is bad for one's health. These claims are utterly false and misleading. They are extreme views drawn from extreme examples and applied way out of context. They are propagandizing and clearly designed to frighten, not educate. All of the fears and concerns associated with the overconsumption of sugars and calories in general have been unfairly cast on agave.

What is a "healthy" sweetener? One that you use moderately and sensibly.

Health concerns related to fructose and caloric sweeteners are all dependant on the overconsumption of them. All foods have calories and it is the overall consumption of calories that lead to obesity and related issues, not any one food source.

Agave's caloric value is comparable to the other sweeteners in the category. Due to its greater sweetness though, less agave is used compared to the others, so agave actually can reduce caloric consumption per serving. This is due to a higher fructose content. The higher content does not mean higher consumption though, due to the smaller portion used. But, it is not the single serving that matters, it is the number of servings which lead to the overconsumption issues which may result in health concerns.Agave Nectar Amber Certified Organic 17 oz from NOW

As a reference point, 9-10 teaspoon servings of agave would be the approximate caloric equivalent of one 16 oz soft drink. With this perspective, is agave really being overconsumed as a choice of sweetener for home use?

Every single health issue which the attackers have tried to associate with agave is really the result of a caloric overconsumption issue. There are no documented issues with normal, moderate consumption of agave or sweeteners in general as part of our everyday diet. For reasons unknown, some have attempted to isolate agave from the real world and real world conditions with the goal of inhibiting agave's use. They play on people's fears, reference false information and fail to address health issues in any meaningful way.

The purpose of this article is to debunk the controversial misinformation surrounding agave. All information debunking the myths and misinformation is based on current science and facts. It is our goal to provide you with useful information so that you can make your personal nutritional choices in a well-informed, science-based manner.

The Agave Controversy: Exposing the fraudulent article by Rami Nagel

By Dr. Susan Kleiner, PhD, RD, FACN, CNS, FISSN

And Craig Gerbore, CEO Madhava

The controversy about agave syrup was manufactured by the publication of a single article on the internet, which has been reproduced and adapted for virtually every other article produced on the internet and other media venues. That article, written by Rami Nagel and published on Naturalnews.com, was highly biased and full of inaccuracies, half-truths and misinformation about agave. Since the Naturalnews.com article has been the sole source of nearly all other popular articles in public media, we want to set the record straight with science-based, reliable information to offer a more balanced resource to those interested in learning more about agave syrup. Organic Blue Agave Nectar 16 Liq from FunFresh Foods Who is the author, Rami Nagel?

According to the description on the Naturalnews.com website, Rami Nagel is a "citizen journalist". This means that Mr. Nagel is self-employed, and not employed as an in-house journalist by the website. He wrote and published the article without any editorial or content oversight, and the editor of the website, Mike Adams, makes it clear that the article was not checked for incorrect or inaccurate information or facts. The introduction to the article, written by Mr. Adams, states that readers had written to comment that Mr. Nagel's resources were biased with conflicts of interest due to their financial interests in competing sweeteners, such as brown rice syrup. So even the website editor himself states that the article is not fact-checked, and it is biased and unbalanced.

Who is Russ Bianchi?

The sole resource interviewed for the article is Russ Bianchi, identified by the author as Managing Director and CEO of Adept Solutions, Inc. Mr. Bianchi has clear conflict of interest ties to the sweetener industry. We have documentation of the fact that Mr Bianchi had plans to market a product named Replace. It was to be touted as a low calorie alternative sweetener composed of natural and artificial ingredients! Mr Bianchi was prevented from marketing this sweetener as the result of a lawsuit against him by the owner of the formula.

Mr Bianchi is quoted by Nagel extensively and exclusively. Many, if not all, of his statements are blatantly false or misrepresentations of fact. He is clearly propagandizing against agave nectar.

Was anyone else interviewed for this article?

Yes. Craig Gerbore, president and owner of Madhava Agave Syrup, was extensively interviewed by the author but no parts of that interview were included in the article. Organic Maple Agave Nectar 16 Liq from FunFresh Foods

It is important to note that neither Mr Nagel or Mr Bianchi have not made themselves available for questions on their statements since the articles appearance. They remain out of sight and have entirely avoided the controversy their statements created.

What is agave nectar?

The opening line of this paragraph in the article by Mr. Nagel states:

"The principal constituent of the agave is starch, such as what is found in corn or rice."

This is absolutely false. There is no starch in agave. The source of carbohydrate in agave syrup is inulin, a polysaccharide made up primarily of strings of fructose units. Starch is a polysaccharide made up of strings of glucose molecules. They are significantly different, and this difference is why agave syrup is naturally sweet.

The very basis of the argument presented by Mr. Nagel is false.

The Process

The agave plant is a succulent, similar to a cactus. The agave sweetener comes from both the Salmiana agave plant and the agave Tequilana (Blue Agave) which are both organically farmed in Mexico and certified organic by USDA approved certifiers. As the salmiana plant grows it produces a stalk called the "quiote" and when this is removed, a natural liquid called "aquamiel". The liquid is collected from the plant, while Blue agave pinons are harvested and shredded to remove the similar juice. Either can be naturally processed thermally or by enzymes into agave nectar.

The juice of the plant is not naturally sweet. The string of connected fructose units that makes up the major proportion of inulin does not have a sweet taste, but when the fructose units are separated (the process is called hydrolysis) by the addition of an enzyme, similar to digestion, or thermally for most blue agave, the syrup becomes quite sweet. That is the entire processing chain for agave nectar. There are no additives, other ingredients or chemicals in Madhava agave nectar. It is absolutely pure and organic and GMO free.

? Mr. Nagel claims that agave syrup is a "refined corn fructose" similar to high fructose corn syrup. This is absolutely false. There is no relationship between agave syrup and high fructose corn syrup in any way, including the source of the product, or the manufacturing process.

? Mr. Nagel refers to a "confidential FDA letter" from Mr. Martin Stutsman, claiming that agave is fraudulently labeled. We contacted Mr. Stutsman at the United States Food and Drug Administration, and his response made it clear that there was never a "confidential FDA letter". He did publish a public letter referenced in an FDA document as "FDA letter from Martin Stutsman to Dr. Eric

Wilhelmsen (Wilhelmsen Consulting), May 8, 2000", regarding evaporated cane juice, a topic wholly unrelated to agave syrup.

? He continued in his response to us that the paragraph in Mr. Nagel's article inaccurately reflected the substance of his comments in the document.

This link will take you to the original document in which the letter was referenced (reference #2):

//www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/GuidanceDocuments/FoodLabelingNutrition/ucm181491.htm

In fact, Mr. Nagel fabricated the entire story of the letter. Mr. Stutsman is a lawyer, not a doctor. The quotes were completely taken out of context from the document, and the quotes never referred to agave syrup at any time. Nagel goes on to further misrepresent Mr. Stutsman's intent in the published document by weaving in other inaccurate information that is thoroughly unrelated to the original document. Mr Bianchi's subsequent statements on labeling issues are false and without merit.

Mr. Nagel is clearly caught red-handed. He has misrepresented the words of a government official, lied about the facts, and twisted the information to achieve his own agenda. This strategy is repeated throughout the article.

? Mr. Nagel continues his deceptive writing by referring to a quote by the late Dr. Varro Tyler in his book, The Honest Herbal. The first line of the paragraph is a direct quote from the book. Nothing else in that paragraph remotely resembles anything else found in Dr. Tyler's book. Mr. Nagel is trying to claim that agave syrup contains large quantities of saponins, and that they can be harmful to health. Here is the debunking of that paragraph:

1. Dr. Tyler does not include the variety of agave plant used for agave syrup.

2. The entire discussion is about the use of the sword-shaped leaves and the stem. Agave syrup is produced from the natural liquid in the plant. The saponins are isolated from the leaves of the plant.

3. There is no documented evidence to suggest agave syrup contains worrisome levels of saponins and the entire rest of the discussion about health dangers is fabricated and false.

Sugars

People are going to continue to consume sweet food and drink. There are only three categories of choice to sweeten food. Those are artificial sweeteners, stevia, or caloric sweeteners from natural sources, sugars.

Most people will not choose artificial. Many will not choose stevia. That only leaves the category of sugars. In this group, agave is a good choice due to its organic quality, ease of

use, neutral flavor, low glycemic index and the fact that less is used to equal the sweetness of the others in the category.

The sweeteners in this category are composed of three primary sugars used to sweeten foods: glucose, fructose and sucrose. These sugars belong to a class of compounds known as carbohydrates. "Saccharide" is a term that denotes sugar, or substances derived from sugar. Monosaccharides are simple or single sugars; disaccharides are derived from two joined monosaccharides and when they are hydrolyzed, or separated, they yield two molecules of simple sugar. Strings of more than two sugar molecules are called polysaccharides. This category includes compounds such as starches, cellulose and inulin.

Glucose and fructose are monosaccharides. Glucose and fructose are found abundantly in nature in fruits and plants. Sucrose is the disaccharide formed by the joining of glucose and fructose, also known as table sugar. When comparing their relative sweetness, glucose is the least sweet tasting, sucrose is next, and fructose is the sweetest of the three sugars, measured as 1.4 times sweeter than table sugar. Because it is so sweet, people typically use less fructose when sweetening foods compared to sucrose.

? In the article by Mr. Nagel he states , "fructose is not what is found in fruit. Commonly, fructose is compared with its opposite and truly naturally occurring sweetener, known as ‘levulose' (made by nature)..."

Another fabrication. In fact, levulose is just another name for fructose. There are various nomenclatures used in the scientific naming of compounds. Fructose and levulose are exactly the same thing; the names are interchangeable. It is no different than if you called your father, "dad", and your sibling called your father, "father". He would still be the exact same person. Fructose and levulose are different names for the exact same thing: a sugar found in nature.

Mr. Bianchi also is quoted to say that the body does not recognize the fructose in agave. This is another false piece of propaganda which demonstrates just how far he is reaching. If this were true, it would have no impact on us. He immediately contradicts himself with the claims of detrimental effects caused by the overconsumption of fructose.

Using Sugars

Sugars can be compared to each other in their ability to raise blood sugar levels by using the Glycemic Index. The scale is set from zero to 100, where low numbers do not have much impact on blood sugar levels, and high numbers raise blood sugar levels quickly. Fructose is very low on the scale. Because agave syrup is high in fructose, it has a rating of 32 or lower. Honey, which has a higher proportion of glucose to fructose, has a Glycemic Index of 58. Sucrose has a Glycemic Index of 68, and glucose, serving as the index standard, is 100.

All sugars, whether fructose, glucose, sucrose or others, contribute 4 calories per gram to our total diet. 1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams = 16 calories

In addition to calories, sugars sweeten our foods offering a desirable taste and adding enjoyment and pleasure to our dining. During cooking and baking, sugars allow for browning and the unique consistencies of syrups, candies, frostings and frozen desserts. The varieties of sugars, such as crystallized table sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, molasses, honey and agave nectar, among others, contribute different properties and flavors to foods.

When you add your own sugar to foods you are in control of how much sugar you use. Most people would never add as much sugar as do the food manufacturers. Moderate amounts of sugar can certainly be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet for an active individual. Natural sugars are easily metabolized and utilized by the body, offering a very efficient source of fuel for physical and mental activity.

Of course, sugars should be used in moderation in the diet. This can control calories and help create a diet that is dense in nutrients.

Impact of sugar on health and disease

? The remainder of Mr. Nagel's article works to link agave syrup with the increased incidence of obesity, diabetes, metabolic disease, and the general rise of morbidity and mortality in the population. This is an overconsumption issue involving far more than the occasional use of agave. Here are the facts:

• Rats that are fed a high fructose diet become obese and will develop the chronic diseases associated with obesity: insulin resistance, diabetes and metabolic disease.

• No one should eat a diet that reflects this type of experimental diet.

• Too much sugar in the diet, whether from fructose, glucose or sucrose, can be unhealthy. Diets high in sugar promote tooth decay and periodontal disease; create an overabundance of calories and a deficit of nutrients. This scenario typically leads to weight gain and the development of chronic disease.

• Active individuals can include a moderate amount of added sugar in their diet without negative health consequences. When calorie intake is balanced with physical activity, sugar serves as an efficient source of fuel for muscles, the brain and the central nervous system.

• According to the World Health Organization (2003), individuals can healthfully include 10% of their daily calories from added sugars. This translates into 200 calories for a 2000 calorie diet, or 12½ teaspoons of added sugar daily. Clearly, one can safely add a couple of teaspoons of sweetener to a cup of tea or coffee, or have a little sweetened food without worrying about their risk of developing disease.

• Agave syrup, which is sweeter than other sugars and low on the Glycemic Index scale, is a good choice to include as one of the added sugars in your diet because you will use less sugar (and therefore fewer calories) and minimally raise blood sugar levels.

Just a teaspoon of agave: the healthy use of sweeteners in your diet

We all want to live healthier and longer lives. Diet and nutrition plays a key role, impacting our health and our ability to perform physically and mentally now and into the future. Food offers us not only sustenance, but also pleasure and enjoyment. Food is present in so many parts of our lives: at celebrations, business events, family events, religious and spiritual occasions, sports outings, the focus of our family meals, intimate dinners, and sometimes just the excuse to socialize.

Sweet foods make us feel good. Sugar allows for the elevation of serotonin in our brains, the "feel good" neurotransmitter that elevates mood, helps us focus, and in the evening, helps us relax and sleep.

Sugar is a source of energy for our muscles, brain and central nervous system. Without sugar our bodies will not function at peak capacity.

Too much sugar, however, is not good. In small amounts sugar energizes us, but in large doses, repeated throughout the day, day in and day out, sugar puts stress on the body. The extra calories can lead to weight gain and obesity, which in time can lead to chronic disease. In the short term, high sugar intakes can lead to a nutritionally deficient diet and a sense of being on an emotional roller coaster.

So be selective about your use of sugars and use them in moderation in your diet. Just like all foods, a variety will enhance the nutritional content of your diet and the flavor and tastes that you can enjoy. Since sugars come in different forms and have different flavors, they can be used most effectively in specific foods and beverages. For instance, agave syrup is liquid and less viscous than honey, making it easy to mix into cold liquids like iced tea and coffee, and is great to add to cold unsweetened cereals for a little sweet taste. Agave's mild flavor allows chefs and bakers to sweeten foods lightly, without overpowering the taste of the dish.

Pay attention to how much sugar is added to your diet every day. Read labels so that you know when sugar is added to manufactured foods. Keep the consumption of added sugars in your diet to no more than 10% of your total daily calorie intake so that you have plenty of room for nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, protein-rich foods, nuts, seeds and healthy oils.

Remember that nutrition is a science based on facts. We are making great advances in our understanding of the science of foods and nutrition. Beware of people with hidden agendas using fear tactics to influence your choices. Don't take their opinion at face value. What are their credentials? What conflicts of interest do they have? If they do not disclose conflicts, then assume that they are manipulating the truth.

Most of all enjoy food. Think about what you need to eat to promote whole health. Don't overindulge, but don't deprive yourself of the bounty of wonderful tastes, either. Use celebrations as occasions to enjoy your favorite foods and try new ones. A teaspoon or two of sugar easily fits into the diet of an active, healthy person. Agave syrup offers an organic low-glycemic choice for those looking for that option.

Resources for this article:

Charley H. Food Science, 2nd Edition. John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY, 1982.

Figlewicz DP et al. Effect of moderate intake of sweeteners on metabolic health in the rat. Physiology and Behavior 98:618-624, 2009

Johnson RK et al. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, 2009

Tyler VE. The Honest Herbal, Third Edition. Pharmaceutical Products Press, New York, NY, 1993.

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Safe Solutions for Chronic Pain
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Date: March 30, 2007 12:09 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Safe Solutions for Chronic Pain

Safe Solutions for Chronic Pain

 

One of the biggest challenged in healthcare today is the problem of pain. There are simply too many people living each and every day with ongoing, unremitting chronic pain. And there are far too many healthcare providers who – for a variety of reasons – are failing to adequately address this serious problem.

Recently, 368 doctors who routinely care for patients with chronic pain agreed to take part in a unique study. The doctors were surveyed about the pain medicines hey prescribe, what kind of treatment goals they hope to achieve, and how they felt about their ability to help their patients. They were also presented with four chronic pain vignettes or mock case studies and asked to select the best treatment for each scenario from multiple choice answers.

Sadly, many doctors chose the worst treatment options in the case studies. The medications they reported using in their practices did not reflect current pain treatment standards. They tended to set low treatment goals 0 instead of aiming for a least a 75% reduction of pain for their patients, they settled for 10% to 20% reductions. And many of the doctors admitted they lacked confidence in their ability to relieve their patients’ pain and suffering.

Adding to the challenge are the almost daily news announcements about dangerous side effects in certain pain medications. Synthetic prescription COX-2 inhibitors, once hailed as the safest of drugs, have been linked to heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and intestinal bleeding. The over-the counter (OTC) drugs aspirin and ibuprofen kill over 16,000 people each year. And acetaminophen, the most widely used pain reducer in the United States is the leading cause of drug-induced liver failure.

As a doctor specializing in chronic pain disorders, I know that optimal pain management can be a real challenge. However, I also know:

-You do not have to live in chronic pain.

-Your chronic pain, no matter what the cause, can be reduced, and usually

eliminated.

-Chronic pain can be relived both effectively and safely with powerful all-natural

compounds.

Q. What is chronic pain?

A. Sudden, or acute, pain occurs when pain signals immediately fire in your nervous system alerting you to an injury, like a broken ankle, or an illness, such as appendicitis. Once the injury heals or the illness is cured, the transmission of pain signals stop.

Ongoing – or chronic pain – is much different. Chronic pain persists. Pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years. There may have been an initial injury, such as sprained back muscles, or an initial illness, such as a serious infection. There might be an ongoing cause of pain, such as arthritis, cancer, or fibromyalgia. Chronic pain also occurs without any past injury or evidence of body damage.

The most common kinds of chronic pain are headache, low back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, and neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to nerves or to the nervous system itself). While chronic pain differs in its origin and where it occurs, it is generally your body’s way of saying that something urgently needs attention, and will not o away unless its underlying causes are addressed.

These causes can usually be determined if you remember the acronym “SHIN”. This stands for Sleep, Hormonal deficiencies, Infections/Inflammation/Impingement, and Nutritional deficiencies. When these are treated, pain often resolves.

Q. Why is it so hard to effectively reduce chronic pain?

A. Unfortunately, many physicians’ entire education in pain management consists of “giving nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (pronounced en-sayds), COX-2 inhibitors, or acetaminophen and considering narcotics if the patient has cancer.

Some NSAIDs, like aspirin and ibuprofen, are available over-the-counter, while others, like the synthetic COX-2 inhibitors are only available with a doctor’s prescription. These mediations are usually inadequate and often toxic when used for chronic pain. And they do not address the problem(s) that the pain is trying to alert you to.

Q. What exactly are COX-2 inhibitors?

A. COX-2 inhibitors do pretty much what their name implies – they inhibit a natural enzyme in our body called the clclooxygenase-2, or COX-2, enzyme. There are two COX enzymes – COX-1 and COX-2 and both complete several actions in our bodies. One very important action that both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes share is the speeding up of our body’s production of prostaglandins. These hormone-like substances are made by the cells of the body and have several important functions.

Some of the most powerful prostaglandins cause inflammation, pain, and fever when we are sick or injured. Prostaglandins also protect the lining of the stomach from the damaging effects of acid. Other prostaglandins make sure our platelets (important blood cells) make blood clots when needed. Still others help our kidneys get rid of unwanted salt and water. And researchers have just recently recognized the importance of still another prostaglandin that protects our heart and blood vessels.

The NSAIDs reduce pain by reducing prostaglandin production by blocking or inhibiting the COX enzymes. In theory – less prostaglandins, less pain and welling seems reasonable. But if you really stop and think about it, it’s pretty easy to understand why this method of pain relief might result in significant consequences.

Pain and inflammation are often needed for healing. And just as needed is the protection of our stomach lining, blood clotting ability, assisting kidney function, and keeping our blood vessels healthy. And scientists are beginning to understand if you interfere with one natural response, you may be disrupting the body’s ability to prevent extremes and imbalances.

That’s why using aspirin and ibuprofen can result in stomach ulcers, kidney problems, and internal bleeding. And that’s why using synthetic COX-2 inhibitors can result in high blood pressure, blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes.

Q. Why are we just now learning about the dangers of COX-2 inhibitors and other NSAIDs?

A. That’s a good question!

Many people over the age of 65 have chronic pain conditions and are frequent users of OTC and prescription NSAIDs. This age group also experiences heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease in greater numbers. So, if a 70 year old woman who’s been using Celebrex for the past two years for arthritis in her knees suddenly has a heart attack one morning, it would not be entirely unexpected.

For the past five or six years, researchers have been studying the possibility that NSAIDs may prevent certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, and other health problems. The ongoing, close scrutiny of large group of people taking these medications by scientists who were conducting these studies has resulted in the discovery of these dangers.

Q. What kind of natural compounds relieve chronic pain?

A. There are many – glucosamine, Omega-3 fatty acids, the B vitamins – the list goes on and on. Instead of disrupting normal bodily responses, these natural compounds work in harmony with our body to eliminate chronic pain. Three very powerful and very effective all natural plant compound pain and inflammation relievers are Sweet Cherry, Boswellia serrata, and White Willow Bark.

For many years there have been anecdotal or personal reports that claimed eating Sweet Cherries, specifically Prunus avium, wipes out back pain, arthritis, and gout. While anecdotal reports generally don’t account for much in the world of science, he sheer numbers of testimonials proclaiming the Sweet Cherry’s amazing ability to reduce pain made researchers sit up and take notice.

When Sweet Cherries were examined in the lab, it was easy for scientists to understand how this natural fruit is able to relieve pain. It seems Sweet Cherry’s bright red color is the key. Like many deeply colored fruits, Sweet Cherries are full of flavonoids called anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins.

These powerful plant compounds scavenge and destroy altered oxygen compounds called free radicals. Many degenerative, chronic diseases have been associated with the tissue damage caused by free radicals, including arthritis, heart disease, peripheral artery disease, and cancer. Cherry fruit extract is a natural anti-inflammatory compound, making it an excellent treatment for arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other chronic pain and inflammation diseases.

A pain relieving plant compound that comes from the bark of a tree, Boswellia serrata has been used by Indian healers for hundreds of years to reduce painful inflammation. When 20th century researchers looked at extracts of Boswellia Gum Resin in the laboratory they discovered the presence of powerful plant compounds, called boswellic acids.

Researchers found Boswellic Acids reduce inflammation in several ways. They open constricted blood vessels, improving blood flow to joints. They balance levels of leukotrienes – specific chemicals in the body that cause inflammation. And Boswellic Acids block two inflammatory chemicals that increase in asthma and inflammation of the colon. In addition to being helpful in treating these 2 illnesses, Boswellia has also been clinically studied and found to be quite effective in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis without any evidence of ulcers or stomach irritation.

Another bark extract, White Willow Bark is one of the oldest and most effective pain relievers. For over 2,000 years extracts from the bark of the White Willow tree have been used to ease aches and pains and reduce fevers. It is the original source of aspirin, but when used as the entire plant medicine, White Willow Bark is much safer than aspirin and quite effective.

White Willow Bark’s active ingredient is salicin and the combination of other compounds in the bark significantly enhances its pain killing power. In two large clinical trials of patients with chronic low back pain. White Willow Bark was found to be not only safer and much more effective than standard prescription therapies, it was also 40 percent more cost effective.

Salicylic acid from White Willow Bark lowers the body’s levels of prostaglandins, easing both acute and chronic pain. White Willow Bark reduces the pain and swelling of arthritis, headache, back and neck pain, muscle aches, and menstrual cramps. But, unlike aspirin, it doesn’t cause stomach bleeding or other known adverse effects.

Q. Do Sweet Cherry, Boswellic Acids, and White Willow Bark work on many kinds of chronic pain?

A. They do indeed. Because they reduce both pain and inflammation by a broad combination of actions, these natural extracts have been proven to be excellent against arthritis, back pain, and pain from inflammatory intestinal diseases (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), and would be expected to be helpful in most kinds of pain.

Sweet Cherry, Boswellic Acids, and White Willow Bark relieve inflammation without causing stomach irritation, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, blood clots, heart attacks, or strokes. That’s because these natural pain killers don’t disrupt the balance of enzymes or interfere with the body’s ability to prevent extremes and imbalances.

However, as with any pain therapy, Sweet Cherry, Boswellic Acids, and White Willow Bark work best when they are used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan to relieve the most common underlying causes of chronic pain or SHIN.

In addition, although these excellent natural remedies can often offer quick pain relief, natural remedies for severe chronic pains work best when they are given at maximum allowed doses and given 6 weeks to show their full effectiveness in combination with treating the pain’s underlying causes. The best chronic pain relief results when doctors and patients work together to meet the goals of treatment.

Some important last notes: Many causes of chronic pain are serious and life threatening. Everyone who is living with chronic pain must consult their doctor or other healthcare practitioner to determine the reason for their ongoing discomfort. In other words – make sure you know why you are having chronic pain and what’s causing the pain you want to relieve.

There are some types of chronic pain that only respond to opioids, or narcotic pain relievers. Morphine sulfate is an excellent pain medication and is used to relieve surgical pain, the pain of heart attacks, and pain from serious injuries. Morphine is also the very best drug for chronic cancer pain and non-malignant chronic pain. While many people fear opioids, these powerful pain killers can dramatically improve quality of life. If you are suffering with chronic cancer pain and you are hesitant to use morphine or another opioid, I urge you to discuss your concerns with your doctor other healthcare provider. No one with cancer should live with untreated or under-treated pain.

 

Conclusion

Even chronic pain can often be eliminated when SHIN is in combination with powerfully effective natural pain relievers. But, because some people may need to take pain relievers the rest of their lives, the medications they use must be safe as well as effective. The very safest come from natural plant compounds that have been studied for their ability to relieve chronic pain. You can become pain free and Sweet Cherries, Boswellic Acids, and White Willow Bark can help.



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Dramatic EPO Benefits for hyper active children
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Date: June 03, 2006 01:12 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Dramatic EPO Benefits for hyper active children

The noted essential fatty acid researcher David Horrobin, M.D., has made an incredibly important contribution to our understanding of the role that GLA plays in all facets of health. He notes, “The level of prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) is of crucial importance to the body. A fall in the level of PGE (in the brain) will lead to a potentially catastrophic series of untoward consequences including increased vascular reactivity, elevated cholesterol production, diabetic like changes in insulin release, enhanced risk of auto-immune disease, enhanced risk of inflammatory disorders, and susceptibility to depression.”

Dr. Horrobin notes in one such study: “About 20 children were treated with substantial benefit in about two thirds of them. Some responses were dramatic! In one case a boy whom they threatened with expulsion from school because of his impossible behavior was put on gamma-linolenic acid without the knowledge of the school authorities. After two weeks on GLA, the teacher, who was unaware of the treatment, contacted the parents and said that in thirty years of experience she had never seen such a dramatic and abrupt change for the better in a child’s behavior. Some children do equally well no matter if the oil is given by mouth or by rubbing into the skin. In others, there is the distinct impression that skin absorption, which will bypass malabsorption problems, may have a better effect.”

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New Frontiers in Enzyme Supplementation
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Date: February 16, 2006 04:17 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: New Frontiers in Enzyme Supplementation

New Frontiers in Enzyme Supplementation

By Nick Rana, CN, NOW Quality Assurance

Serrazimes® is a proteolytic (protein digesting) enzyme system containing protease that is derived from edible non-genetically engineered fungi (Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus melleus), that is designed as an alternative for Serrapeptidase (also known as serratio-peptidase and serrapeptase) in dietary supplements used for cardiovascular, anti-inflammatory, respiratory, or immune support.

Serrapeptidase was initially isolated from Serratia marcescens, a potentially pathogenic bacteria found in the gut of the Japanese silkworm. Recognized as a pharmacological agent, Serrapeptidase has wide clinical use in Asia and Europe for the management of assorted inflammatory processes (Rothschild, 1991). In recent years, recognition of the efficacy of the Japanese product has lead to growing interest in the US dietary supplement market.

The product’s efficacy and availability over the internet has fueled its popularity in the US dietary supplement industry, where it is used for anti-inflammatory support, cardiovascular support, respiratory support, and as an adjunct to antibiotic therapy. Recognizing the potential for a "Serrapeptidase-type” enzyme in the U.S. dietary supplement market, the National Enzyme Company developed a protease system that has the same in vitro (lab test) activity as Serrapeptidase, but that is from organisms that have a long history of safe use in dietary supplements. Serrazimes® is the product resulting from this search.

Since the 1960’s, plant and microbial protease enzymes have been studied for their role in the management of inflammation and inflammatory processes. In both animal and human trials, proteolytic enzymes, from a variety of sources, have repeatedly been shown to significantly reduce inflammation resulting from sickness or injury (Ryan, 1967)(Smyth et al, 1967)(Shaw, 1969)(Kumakura et al, 1988)(Lomax, 1999). The earlier research on the anti-inflammatory actions of proteases pointed entirely to their antithrombic and fibrinolytic aspects to explain this phenomenon. However, studies by Parmely (Infect and Immun Sept 1990) and others indicate that, in addition to degrading fibrin, microbial proteases may actually inactivate pro-inflammatory cytokines and to interrupt inflammatory responses.

Persons taking blood thinning or antibiotic medications and those with serious health disorders should consult their medical practitioner prior to taking Serrazimes®. As is the case with most supplements, please consult your doctor about the use of Serrazimes® during pregnancy and lactation.

The Product Development Team at NOW Foods is constantly researching new products like Serrazimes® to provide our customers with the tools that empower them to live healthier lives. Look also for our new unique digestive enzyme formulations from plant sources - backed by laboratory studies - to be introduced in March of 2006.

TECHNICAL NOTES:

Serrapeptidase is a selective alkaline metalloprotease enzyme, meaning that it works to activate specific biological systems of mammals and directly degrades or inhibits IgG and IgA immune factors as well as the regulatory proteins á-2-macroglobulin, á-2-antiplasmin, and antithrombin III (Molla et al, 1989)(Maeda and Molla, 1989).

While originally isolated from Serratia marcescens, a bacteria found in the gut of the Japanese silk worm, Serrapeptidase activity is also found in fermentation extracts of Serratia E-15, Aspergillus oryzae, and Aspergillus melleus. (Salamone and Wodzinski, 1997).

The Serrapeptidase activity of this high potency proteolytic (protein digesting) enzyme is determined using a spectrophotometric assay testing procedure that measures the enzyme’s ability to hydrolyze (digest) a standard casein protein substrate. Laboratory analyses have established that Serrazimes® has a 1:1 enzymatic equivalent of Serrapeptidase activity guaranteed to provide 600,000 specialized proteolytic Units per gram, or 20,000 units per capsule.



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Benefits of Total Daily Formula
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Date: October 13, 2005 04:45 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Benefits of Total Daily Formula

Benefits of Total Daily Formula

Mixed Carotenoids

All fruits and vegetables contain carotenes, the plant pigments responsible for the rich variety of colors we enjoy in the natural world. Beta carotene is the most familiar member of the carotene family. But beta carotene never exists by itself; it is always found with other carotenes in foods. We need more than just beta carotene alone. Carotenes are powerful antioxidants, which means they help reduce the body's free radical burden. Research suggests that carotenes work as a team to keep us healthy.5 Total Daily Formula provides beta carotene, alpha carotene, lutein, lycopene, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin from natural sources such as algal extracts, carrot oil, marigold and tomatoes (Caromix®).

Corn-Free Vitamin C

Total Daily Formula uses only corn-free vitamin C (ascorbic acid). The full daily intake of 6 tablets provides an exceptionally generous 800 mg of vitamin C.

Optimum B Vitamin Servings

Total Daily Formula supplies ample amounts of all essential B vitamins. Vitamin B3 is given as niacin plus an extra helping of niacinamide, the non-flush form of this important vitamin. The body uses pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) to deal with stress, so the formula provides 150 mg, which is 15 times the RDA. Vitamin B6 is another B vitamin people may run short of, so 60 mg -- 30 times the RDA -- is supplied. The formula contains 800 mcg of folic acid, the vitamin now recognized by the FDA as essential for prevention of neural tube defects in unborn babies. Folic acid also helps prevent accumulation in the body of homocysteine, a metabolite of the amino acid methionine.6 A high blood homocysteine level is now considered to be a risk factor for heart disease.7

Flavonoids

Flavonoids, also known as "bioflavonoids." are plant pigments widely distributed throughout the plant kingdom.8 Previously known as "Vitamin P," because they help reduce capillary permeability (leakiness) flavonoids are now regarded as "semi-essential" non-vitamin nutrients that benefit health in a variety of ways.9 In addition to maintaining the structure of blood vessels, flavonoids function as versatile antioxidants. Flavonoids protect vitamin C from destruction by free-radicals, helping to preserve the body's vitamin C supply.10 Total Daily Formula provides 100 mg of pure flavonoids from 112 mg of citrus extract.

Three superior sources of Calcium

Total Daily Formula contains three of the best absorbed and most effective forms of calcium available. MCHC (microcrystalline hydroxyapatite concentrate) is a naturally-derived compound composed of calcium, plus all the minerals and organic factors in living bone tissue. MCHC has been clinically shown to benefit bone health.11 Calcium citrate malate is a very well-absorbed form of supplemental calcium shown in recent research to be helpful for postmenopausal women.12,13 Calcium glycinate is chelated with the amino acid glycine, one of the most efficient mineral carriers for effective absorption.14,15

Magnesium glycinate

Magnesium is essential for strong bones and healthy hearts. This versatile mineral also regulates nerve function, keeps muscles relaxed and coordinates activity of over 300 enzymes in the body.16 Total Daily Formula contains 100 percent magnesium glycinate for exceptional absorption and gentleness on the intestinal tract.17 Magnesium glycinate has been clinically tested on people with severe malabsorption with excellent results.18

Trace Minerals

Total Daily Formula provides - in addition to zinc, chromium, selenium and iodine - vanadium and molybdenum. Vanadium helps maintain normal blood sugar.19 Molybdenum works as a co-factor for enzymes that help detoxify and eliminate foreign substances from the body.20

Bioperine® for Enhanced Absorption

Bioperine® is a natural extract derived from black pepper that enhances nutrient absorption. Preliminary trials on humans have shown significant increases in the absorption of nutrients consumed along with Bioperine®. 21 Betaine HCL - supplies HCL (hydrochloric acid) to assist digestion. All natural tablet coating made of vegetable concentrate and beta carotene.

Scientific References
1. Cheraskin, E. Ringsdorf, W.M., Clark, J.W. 1968. Diet and Disease. (p. 16). New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing.

2. Morgan, K.J. et. al. Magnesium and calcium dietary intakes of the U.S. population. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 1985;4:195-206.

3. Lakschmanan, F.L., Rao, R.B., Kim, W.W., Kelsay, J.L. Magnesium intakes, balances and blood levels of adults consuming self-selected diets. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1984;40:1380-89.

4. Mertz, W. The Essential Trace Elements. Fed. Proc. 1970;29:1482.

5. Perry, G. Byers, T. Dietary carotenes, vitamin C and vitamin E as protective antioxidants in human cancers. Annu. Rev. Nutr. 1992;12:139-59.

6. Landgren, F., et. al. Plasma homocysteine in acute myocardial infarction: Homocysteine-lowering effect of folic acid. J Int Med 1995;237:381-88.

7. Clarke, R., et. al. Hyperhomocysteinemia: an independent risk factor for vascular disease. New Eng J Med 1991;324:1149-55. 8. Havsteen, B. Flavonoids, a class of natural compounds of high pharmacological potency. Biochemical Pharmacology 32(7):1141-48.

9. Middleton, E. The flavonoids. TIPS 1984; 5:335-38.

10. Roger, C.R. The nutritional incidence of flavonoids: some physiological and metabolic considerations. Experientia 44(9):725-804.

11. Dixon, A. St. J. Non-hormonal treatment of osteoporosis. British Medical Journal 1983;286(6370):999-1000.

12. Smith, K.T. et. al. Calcium Absorption from a new calcium delivery system (CCM). Calcif Tissue Int 1987;41:351-352.

13. Dawson-Hughes, B. et. al. A controlled trial of the effect of calcium supplementation on bone density in postmenopausal women. New England Journal of Medicine 1990 Sep 27;323(13):878-883.

14. Albion Research Notes Vol. 4, No. 1, ©Albion Laboratories Jan,1995.

15. Ashmead, H.D. Intestinal Absorption of Metal Ions and Chelate, Springfield: Charles C Thomas, ©1985.

16. Wester, P.O., Dyckner, T. The importance of the magnesium ion. Magnesium deficiency-symptomatology and occurrence. Acta Med Scand 1992; (Suppl) 661:3-4.

17. Albion Research Notes Vol. 3, No. 1, ©Albion Laboratories, Feb 1994.

18. Schutte, S., et. al. Bioavailability of Mg diglycinate vs MgO in patients with ileal resections. Abstract 115, AJCN 1992;56(4).

19. Cohen, N. et. al. Oral vanadyl sulfate improves hepatic and peripheral insulin sensitivity in patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. J. Clin Invest 1995; 95:2501-09.

20. Sardesi, V.M. Molybdenum: An essential trace mineral element. Nutr Clin Pract 1993; 8:277-81.

21. Bioperine® - Nature's Bioavailability Enhancing Thermo-nutrient. Executive Summary' 1996; Sabinsa Corporation, Piscataway, N.J.



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Endnotes
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Date: July 25, 2005 10:37 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Endnotes

Endnotes


1 John R. Lee, M.D., NATURAL PROGESTERONE: THE MULTIPLE ROLES OF A REMARKABLE HORMONE, Revised. (BLL Publishing, Sebastopol, California: 1993), 4. See also U.S. Barzel, “Estrogens in the prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis: a review.” AM J MED, (1988), 85: 847-850 and D.R. Felson, Y. Zhang, M.T. Hannan, et al., “The effect of postmenopausal estrogen therapy on bone density in elderly women.” THE NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE. (1993), 329: 1141-1146.
2 Darrell W. Brann, “Progesterone: The Forgotten Hormone?” PERSPECTIVES IN BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE. Summer, (1993), 34:4, 642. See also A.I. Csapo and B.A. Resch, “Induction of preterm labor in the rat by the antiprogesterone.” AMERICAN JOURNAL OF OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY. (1979), 134:823-27.
3 Penelope Ody, THE COMPLETE MEDICINAL HERBAL. (Dorling Kindersley, New York: 1993), 52.
4 Daniel B. Mowrey, THE SCIENTIFIC VALIDATION OF HERBAL MEDICINE. (Keats Publishing, New Canaan, Connecticut: 1986), 112.
5 Lee, 16.
6 Ibid., 52.
7 C. Norman Shealy, M.D., DHEA THE YOUTH AND HEALTH HORMONE. (Keats Publishing, New Canaan, Connecticut: 1996), 34.
8 Lee, 4.
9 Ibid., 101.
10 Ibid., 50.
11 Ibid., 51.
12 Ibid., 101.
13 Ibid., 52.
14 Ibid., See also “Progesterone: Safe Antidote for PMS.” MCCALL’S MAGAZINE. October, (1990), 152-56 and Linda Carol Graham, “Do You Have a Hormone Shortage?” REDBOOK. February, (1989), 16.
15 Ibid.
16 Rita Elkins, M.A., DEPRESSION AND NATURAL MEDICINE. (Woodland Publishing, Pleasant Grove, Utah: 1995), 129.
17 Lee, 84.
18 Ibid., 87.
19 Ibid.
20 Alan R. Gaby, M.D., PREVENTING AND REVERSING OSTEOPOROSIS. (Prima Publishing, Rocklin, California: 1994), 150. See also John, R. Lee, M.D. “Osteoporosis reversal: the role of progesterone.” INT CLIN NUTR REV. (1990) 10:3, 384-91 and John R. Lee, M.D., “Osteoporosis reversal with transdermal progesterone.” LANCET. (1991), 336, 1327 and John R. Lee, M.D., “Is natural progesterone the missing link in osteoporosis prevention and treatment?” MED HYPOTHESES. 35, 316-18.
21 Lee, NATURAL PROGESTERONE, 4.
22 Ibid., 102.
23 Ibid.
24 Shealy, 34.
25 Lee, NATURAL PROGESTERONE, 71. See also R.A.Hiatt, R. Bawol, G.D. Friedman and R. Hoover, “Exogenous estrogen and breast cancer after bilateral oophorectomy.” CANCER. (1984), 54, 139-44.
26 Lee, 4. See alsoR.B. Gambrell, “The Menopause: Benefits and Risks of Estrogen-Progesterone Replacement Therapy,” FERTIL STERIL, 1983, (37, 457-74).
27 Ibid., 75
28 Ibid., 72. See also, L.D. Cowan, L.Gordis, J. A. Tonascia, and G.S. Jones. “Breast Cancer Incidence in Women with a History of Progesterone Deficiency. JOURNAL OF EPIDIMIOLOGY, 1981, (114) 209.17.
29 Schealy, 35.
30 Ibid..
31 Lee, 74.
32 Schealy, 35.
33 Lee, 102.

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References
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Date: July 15, 2005 09:52 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: References

ENDNOTES

1. Ritchason, Jack. Little Herb Encyclopedia. (Pleasant Grove, UT: Woodland Publishing, 1994; 208-9).
2. Diwu, Z. “Novel Therapeutic and Diagnostic Applications of Hy p o c rellins and Hypericins.” Ph o t o c h e m i s t ry - Ph o t o b i o l o gy, 1995, 61(6) 529-39.
3. Ritchason, 208.
4. Andreoni, A. et al. “Laser Photosensitization of Cells by Hypericin.” Photochemistry-Photobiology, 1996, 59(5): 529-33.
5. (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1993: 8, p.21
6. Flynn, Rebecca, M.S. and Roest, Mark. Your Guide to Standardized Herbal Products. (Prescott, Az..: One World Press, 1995, 73-4.
7. Linde, et al. “St. John’s Wort for Depression — An Overview and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Clinical Trials.” The Br i t i s h Medical Journal. 1996, 313(7052): 253.
8. Lohse, Mueller et al. Arzneiverordnungreport ‘94. 1994: 354.
9. Linde, et al., 254
10. Witte, et al.
11. Jackson, Adam. “Herbal Help for Depression.” Nursing Times, 1995: 9(30): 49.
12. Ha r re r, G.; H. So m m e r. “Treatment of Mi l d / Mo d e r a t e Depression with Hypericum.” Phytomedicine. 1994, 1: 3-8.
13. Krylov, A., Ibatov A. “The Use of an Infusion of St. John’s Wort in the Combined Treatment of Alcoholics with Peptic Ulcer and Chronic Gastritis.” Vrach.-Delo. 1993 Feb.-Mar.(2-3): 146-8.
14. Lavie, G. et. al. “Hypericin as an Inactivator of Infectious Viruses in Blood Components.” Transfusion. 1995, May 35(5): 392-400.
15. Hudson, J.B., Lopez-Bazzocchi, I., Towers, G.H. “Antiviral Activities of Hypericin.” Antiviral—Res. 1991, Feb. 15(2): 101- 12.
16. Science, 1991, 254: 522.
17. Ibid.
18. American Journal of Hospital Pharmacy. 1994, 51(18): 2251-67.
19. Journal of Association of Nurses Aids Care. 1995, Jan-Feb.: 225.
20. Diwu, 34.
21. Schulz, H. “Effects of hypericum extract on the sleep EEG in older volunteers.” The Jo u rnal of Ge r i a t ry, Ps yc h i a t ry and Neurology. 1994, Oct., 7: S39-43.
22. Vander Werf, QM. et al. “Hypericin: a new laser phototargeting agent for human cancer cells.” Lanryngyscope. 1996, April, 106: 479-83.
23. Miskovsky, P., et al. “ Subcellular Distribution of Hypericin in Human Cancer Cells.” Photochem-Photobiol, 1995, Sept. 62(3): 546-9.
24. “Hypericin as an inactivator of infectious viruses in blood components,” Transfusion, 1995, May 35(5): 392-400.
25. Wagner, H. and S. Bladt. “Pharmaceutical Quality of Hypericum Extracts.” Journal of Geriatry, Psychiatry and Neurology. Oct. 7, 1994: S65-8.



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ST. JOHN’S WORT AND AIDS/HIV
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Date: July 15, 2005 09:28 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: ST. JOHN’S WORT AND AIDS/HIV

ST. JOHN’S WORT AND AIDS/HIV

In 1991, some of the first work focusing on St. John’s wort’s effects on AIDS and the HIV virus began. Science magazine reported on the first study using the isolated hypericin, a key compound in Hypericum.16 Fred Valentine and Howard Hochster, researchers at New York University Medical Center, began one of the first studies looking at how hypericin can help uninfected T-cells from being infected with the AIDS virus in a cell culture. Their focus was on hypericin because it is a virucidal agent, meaning it can precisely target new virus particles and prevent them from infecting other cells.

The only two drugs at that time approved for treating HIV infection—AZT and ddI—work by interfering with the key viral enzyme, reverse transcriptase. Since hypericin works more effectively than many drugs in regards to the reverse transcriptase phase, and since many animal tests have shown that it has low toxicity at therapeutic doses, researchers (including Valentine and Hochster) began these studies largely hoping that not only would hypericin work on its own, but that it would have a sort of synergistic effect when used with either AZT or ddI. 17

Additional studies are pointing to St. John’s wort, and more so, hypericin, as having great potential in treating HIV. Acosta and Fletcher recently detailed the processes in which the human immunodeficiency virus works to infect human cells, and point out that hypericin is at least somewhat effective in inhibiting the four main phases of virus “growth”— binding and entry, reverse transcriptase, transcription and translation, and viral maturation and budding (the researchers note that hypericin is especially effective in binding and entry, the first phase.) This denotes that hypericin could eventually have special importance in completely stifling the development of the growth of any virus, and most importantly, that of the HIV virus.18

Another study assessing the use and attitudes of HIV sufferers concerning the use of more alternative treatments for the virus as opposed to clinical drug therapies showed both an extensive use of unconventional therapies and a very favorable response to using the alternative treatments, which, of course, St. John’s wort was among. “Participants at all sites expressed positive views upon increasing unconventional remedies.”19 The fact is that the world of synthetic medicines has been basically ineffective in not only treating and relieving the symptoms of AIDS, but also in finding a cure for the dreaded disease. Sufferers are giving alternative therapies a try, and the results are very promising.

A 1995 review appearing in Photochemisty-Photobiology treated the photodynamic properties of both hypericin and the structurally related hypocrellins for their anticancer and antiviral properties (especially the anti-human immunodeficiency virus). This article states that the promising anticancer and antiviral results obtained both in vitro and in vivo [in differing studies] have led to intensive investigation into their photo-physical and photochemical processes, especially kinetic studies of their intramolecular proton transfer . . . The biomedical advances of hypericins have been further promoted by significant progress in their chemical synthesis and the recent commercialization of . . . hypericin.20

Another study published in the September 1994 issue of Photochemistry-Photobiology gave hypericin the upper hand over the hypocrellins in treating HIV. Just one more vote in favor of promoting the use of St. John’s wort, and more specifically, hypericin, for use in treating HIV and in overall clinical medicine.

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References
TopPreviousNext

Date: July 13, 2005 12:42 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: References

ENDNOTES


1 Time Magazine, (April 6, 1992).
2 Indena Fact Sheet, # 16.
3 The New York Times. (April 25, 1993).
4 Jon J. Mich n ovicz, M.D., Ph.D. H ow to Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer, (New York: Warner Books, 1994), 103.
5 Richard A. Passwater Ph.D., Cancer Prevention and Nutritional T h e ra p i e s, (New Canaan, Connecticut: Keats Publishing, 1993).
6 G. Block, University of Southern California at Berkeley
7 “ L e u c o a n t h o c yanins Extract From Grapeseeds (Vins Vinifera),” Indena Publication
8 Liviero, International Symposium on Phytochemistry of Plants Used in Traditional Medicine.
9 R.I. Rayer, and C. L. Schmidt, Seminary Hospital, (Paris: 1981), 57, 2009 and Indena International Report (Data on File). 10 J . F. Thebaut, P. Thebaut and F. Vin, Gazet te Medicale, (1985), 92, 96.
11 L. Fusi, F. Czimeg, F. Pesce, R. Germagli, A. Boero, M. Vanzetti, G. Gandiglio, Ann Ott Clin, Ocul, (1988) 114, 575.
12 D. Zafirov, G. Bredy-Dobreva, V. Litchev, M. Papasovasvie, Ac ta Physiol Pharmacol, Inst i t u te of Phys i o l o g y, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, (Sofia, Bulgaria: 1990) 16 (3) 50-54.
13 B. Vennet, “Anti-ulcer Activity of Procyanidin Preparation of Wa ter Soluble Pro c yanidin Cimetidine Comp l exes,” Pharm Acta Helv, (Switzerland: 1989), 64 (11) 316-20
14 “Leucoanthocyanins Extract From Grapeseed (Vins Vinfera)” Indena Publication.



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THE ORIGINS OF PYCNOGENOL
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Date: July 13, 2005 09:48 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: THE ORIGINS OF PYCNOGENOL

THE ORIGINS OF PYCNOGENOL

For generations, certain tribes of North American Indians used bioflavonoids extracted from the bark of pine trees for a variety of disorders. Because of its marvelous healing properties, they called this pine the Annedda, or “tree of life.”

PINE BARK: GIVER OF LIFE

These native Americans, who routinely ate deer as their primary source of nutrition, when confronted with a scarcity of meat asked themselves ... where does the deer get its strength? They discovered that deer stripped away pine tree bark and we re able to derive life-giving nutrients from its organic composition. It was also observed that devastating diseases such as scurvy did not afflict those who ate the bark, leaves or needles of this pine tree.

CARTIER’S ENCOUNTER WITH ANNEDDA TEA

In 1535, Jacques Cartier learned of the medicinal value of the bark, which remained relatively unknown until 20 or 30 years ago, when scientists reviewed his notes and commenced research. Cartier became caught in the bitter snows of Quebec, while attempting to navigate the St. Lawrence River. Cartier and his crew subsisted on hard biscuits and cured meat and eventually came down with what was believed to be scurvy. Scurvy is an abhorrent disease which causes a very slow and agonizing death. Several of Cartier’s men died before they were approached by the Quebec Indians who prepared a tea they called “Annedda” from the bark of a certain native pine tree. The men took the tea and used its leaves as poultices. Their recovery was almost immediate. What must have seemed like a miraculous substance was technically, nothing more than vitamin C with bioflavonoids naturally inherent to the pine tree.

MASQUELIER’S SUBSEQUENT DISCOVERY OF PYCNOGENOL

Cartier was resourceful enough to document the incident. Over 400 years later, a French professor, Jacques Masquelier, assigned to the University of Quebec discove red Cartier’s account. Because he was already involved in bioflavonoid research, he became greatly intrigued by pine tree extract. Dr. Masquelier isolated a bio-active substance known as proanthocyanidin.

THE EMERGENCE OF PROANTHOCYANIDIN

After returning to France, Professor Masquelier found that this compound could be extracted from the bark of the French Maritime Pine pinus maritima found in abundance in southern France. Intensive research by Dr. Masquelier led to the discovery of Pycnogenol, which is another name for the group of bioflavonoids known as the proanthocyanidins. Subsequent in-depth testing revealed that these compounds are a nutrient treasure far more valuable that anyone originally thought. In time, the grape seed was found to contain the same compound and today, is considered an excellent source of Pycnogenol in France.

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Pain - Post Op and Relaxation
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Date: July 13, 2005 09:24 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Pain - Post Op and Relaxation

Relaxation, Music Reduce Post-Op Pain. New research has found that relaxation and music, separately or together, significantly reduce patients' pain following major abdominal surgery. The study, published in the May issue of the journal Pain, found that these methods reduce pain more than pain medication alone. Led by Marion Good, PhD, RN, of Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, the study is supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), at the National Institutes of Health. "This is important news for the millions of Americans who undergo surgery and experience postoperative pain each year," said Dr. Patricia A. Grady, director of the NINR.

"Better pain management can reduce hospital stays and speed recovery, ultimately improving patients' quality of life." Dr. Good and her research team studied three groups of patients undergoing abdominal surgery. In addition to the usual pain medication, one group used a jaw relaxation technique, another group listened to music, and a third group received a combination of relaxation and music.

Findings revealed that, after surgery, the three treatment groups had significantly less pain than the control group, which received only pain medication. "Both medication and self-care methods which involve patient participation are needed for relief," said Dr. Good.

"These relaxation and music self-care methods provide more complete relief without the undesired side effects of some pain medications." The findings have important implications for the 23 million people who undergo surgery and experience postoperative pain annually in the United States. Pain can hamper recovery by heightening the body's response to the stress of surgery and increasing tissue breakdown, coagulation and fluid retention. Pain also interferes with appetite and sleep and can lead to complications that prolong hospitalization.

Dr. Good and her research staff worked with 500 patients aged 18-70, who were undergoing gynecological, gastrointestinal, exploratory or urinary surgery. Prior to surgery, those in the music, relaxation or combination groups practiced the techniques. The relaxation technique consisted of letting the lower jaw drop slightly, softening the lips, resting the tongue in the bottom of the mouth, and breathing slowly and rhythmically with a three-rhythm pattern of inhale, exhale and rest. Patients in the music group chose one of five kinds of soothing music--harp, piano, synthesizer, orchestral or slow jazz.

On the first and second days after surgery, all patients received morphine or Demerol for pain relief by pressing a button connected to their intravenous patient controlled analgesia pumps. The groups receiving the additional intervention used earphones to listen to music and relaxation tapes during walking and rest, while the control group did not. The research team measured the patients' pain before and after 15 minutes of bed rest and four times during walking to see if the sensation and distress of pain changed.

Dr. Good found that during these two days postsurgery the three treatment groups had significantly less pain than the control group during both walking and rest. "Patients can take more control of their postoperative pain using these self-care methods," says Dr. Good. "Nurses and physicians preparing patients for surgery and caring for them afterwards should encourage patients to use relaxation and music to enhance the effectiveness of pain medication and hasten recovery."

Dr. Good's findings have implications for future research into the effectiveness of self-care methods on other types of pain, including chronic pain, cancer pain, and pain of the critically ill.

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Vitamin D Lack Linked to Hip Fracture. Vitamin D deficiency in post-menopausal women is associated with increased risk of hip fracture, according to investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass. In a group of women with osteoporosis hospitalized for hip fracture, 50 percent were found to have a previously undetected vitamin D deficiency. In the control group, women who had not suffered a hip fracture but who were hospitalized for an elective hip replacement, only a very small percentage had vitamin D deficiency, although one-fourth of those women also had osteoporosis. These findings were reported in the April 28, 1999, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study, conducted by Meryl S. LeBoff, MD; Lynn Kohlmeier, MD; Shelley Hurwitz, PhD; Jennifer Franklin, BA; John Wright, MD; and Julie Glowacki, PhD; of the Endocrine Hypertension Division, Department of Internal Medicine, and Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, was supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR. These investigators studied women admitted to either Brigham and Women's Hospital or the New England Baptist Hospital, both in Boston, between January 1995 and June 1998.

A group of 98 postmenopausal women who normally reside in their own homes were chosen for the study. Women with bone deterioration from other causes were excluded from the study.

There were 30 women with hip fractures caused by osteoporosis and 68 hospitalized for elective joint replacement. Of these 68, 17 women also had osteoporosis as determined by the World Health Organization bone density criteria. All the participants answered questions regarding their lifestyle, reproductive history, calcium in their diet, and physical activity.

Bone mineral density of the spine, hip, and total body were measured by dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) technique, as was body composition. Blood chemistry and urinary calcium levels were analyzed. The two groups of women with osteoporosis did not differ significantly in either time since menopause or bone density in the spine or hip. They did, however, differ in total bone density.

The women admitted for a hip fracture had fewer hours of exercise than the control group. Fifty percent of the women with hip fractures were deficient in vitamin D, 36.7 percent had elevated parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels (a hormone which can stimulate loss of calcium from bone), and 81.8 percent had calcium in their urine, suggesting inappropriate calcium loss. Blood levels of calcium were lower in the women with hip fractures than in either elective group.

These researchers propose that vitamin D supplementation at the time of fracture may speed up recovery and reduce risk of fracture in the future. Current Dietary Reference Intake Guidelines contain a daily recommendation of 400 IU of vitamin D for people aged 51 through 70 and 600 IU for those over age 70.

"We know that a calcium-rich diet and regular weight-bearing exercise can help prevent osteoporosis. This new research suggests that an adequate intake of vitamin D, which the body uses to help absorb calcium, may help women to reduce their risk of hip fracture, even when osteoporosis is present," observed Dr. Evan C. Hadley, NIA Associate Director for geriatrics research.

"Osteoporosis leads to more than 300,000 hip fractures each year, causing pain, frequent disability, and costly hospitalizations or long-term care. "Prevention of such fractures would greatly improve the quality of life for many older women and men, as well as significantly reduce medical costs." The bones in the body often undergo rebuilding. Some cells, osteoclasts, dissolve older parts of the bones. Then, bone-building cells known as osteoblasts create new bone using calcium and phosphorus.

As people age, if osteoporosis develops, more bone is dissolved than is rebuilt, and the bones weaken and become prone to fracture. Also in many older persons, levels of vitamin D in the blood are low because they eat less or spend less time in the sun, which stimulates the body's own production of vitamin D.

Experts do not understand fully the causes of osteoporosis. However, they do know that lack of estrogen which accompanies menopause, diets low in calcium, and lack of exercise contribute to the problem. Eighty percent of older Americans who face the possibility of pain and debilitation from an osteoporosis-related fracture are women. One out of every two women and one in eight men over the age of 50 will have such a fracture sometime in the future. These fractures usually occur in the hip, wrist, and spine.

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Sleep Apnea, Diabetes Link Found. Adults who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea are three times more likely to also have diabetes and more likely to suffer a stroke in the future, according to a new UCLA School of Dentistry/Department of Veterans Affairs study published today in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Sleep apnea, a serious condition marked by loud snoring, irregular breathing and interrupted oxygen intake, affects an estimated nine million Americans. The culprit? Carrying too many extra pounds.

"The blame falls squarely on excess weight gain," said Dr. Arthur H. Friedlander, associate professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the UCLA School of Dentistry and associate chief of staff at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Los Angeles. Surplus weight interferes with insulin's ability to propel sugars from digested food across the cell membrane, robbing the cells of needed carbohydrates. Diabetes results when glucose builds up in the bloodstream and can't be utilized by the body. Being overweight can also lead to obstructive sleep apnea, according to Friedlander.

"When people gain too much weight, fatty deposits build up along the throat and line the breathing passages," he explained. "The muscles in this region slacken during sleep, forcing the airway to narrow and often close altogether." Reclining on one's back magnifies the situation. "When an overweight person lies down and goes to sleep," Friedlander said, "gravity shoves the fat in the neck backwards. This blocks the airway and can bring breathing to a halt."

Friedlander tested the blood sugar of 54 randomly selected male veterans whom doctors had previously diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. He discovered that 17 of the 54 patients, or 31 percent, unknowingly suffered from adult-onset diabetes. Using the same sample, Friedlander also took panoramic X-rays of the men's necks and jaws. The X-rays indicated that 12 of the 54 patients, or 22 percent, revealed calcified plaques in the carotid artery leading to the brain.

These plaques block blood flow, significantly increasing patients' risk for stroke. Seven of the 12, or 58 percent, were also diagnosed with diabetes. In dramatic comparison, the 17 patients diagnosed with diabetes showed nearly twice the incidence of blockage. Seven of the 17 men, or 41 percent, had carotid plaques. Only five of the 54 patients who displayed plaques did not have also diabetes. If he conducted this study today, Friedlander notes, he would likely find a higher number of diabetic patients. After he completed the study in 1997, the American Diabetes Association lowered its definition for diabetes from 140 to 126 milligrams of sugar per deciliter of blood.

"This is the first time that science has uncovered a link between sleep apnea and diabetes," said Friedlander. "The data suggest that someone afflicted with both diabetes and sleep apnea is more likely to suffer a stroke in the future." "Persons going to the doctor for a sleep-apnea exam should request that their blood be screened for diabetes, especially if they are overweight," he cautioned. More than half of the individuals who develop diabetes as adults will need to modify their diet and take daily insulin in order to control the disease, he added.

------------------------------

Stress, Surgery May Increase CA Tumors. Stress and surgery may increase the growth of cancerous tumors by suppressing natural killer cell activity, says a Johns Hopkins researcher.

Malignancies and viral infections are in part controlled by the immune system's natural killer (NK) cells, a sub-population of white blood cells that seek out and kill certain tumor and virally infected cells. In a study using animal models, natural killer cell activity was suppressed by physical stress or surgery, resulting in a significant increase in tumor development.

These findings suggest that protective measures should be considered to prevent metastasis for patients undergoing surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, according to Gayle Page, D.N.Sc., R.N., associate professor and Independence Foundation chair at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. "Human studies have already found a connection between the level of NK activity and susceptibility to several different types of cancer," says Page, an author of the study.

"We sought to determine the importance of stress-induced suppression of NK activity and thus learn the effects of stress and surgery on tumor development. "Many patients undergo surgery to remove cancerous tumors that have the potential to spread. If our findings in rats can be generalized to such clinical settings, then these circumstances could increase tumor growth during or shortly after surgery." The research was conducted at Ohio State University College of Nursing and the Department of Psychology at UCLA, where Page held previous positions, and at Tel Aviv University.

Results of the study are published in the March issue of the International Journal of Cancer. In laboratory studies, Page and her colleagues subjected rats to either abdominal surgery or physical stress, and then inoculated them with cancer cells. In the rats that had undergone surgery, the researchers observed a 200 to 500 percent increase in the incidence of lung tumor cells, an early indicator of metastasis, compared with rats that had not received surgery.

The experiment also showed that stress increased lung tumor incidence and significantly increased the mortality in the animals inoculated with cancer cells. "Our results show that, under specific circumstances, resistance to tumor development is compromised by physical stress and surgical intervention," says Page.

"Because surgical procedures are life-saving and cannot be withheld, protective measures should be considered that will prevent suppression of the natural killer cell activity and additional tumor development. "Researchers do not yet know how to prevent surgery-induced immune suppression, but early animal studies have shown increased use of analgesia reduces the risk."

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, and the Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Health. Lead author was Shamgar Ben-Eliyahu, Ph.D., and other authors were Raz Yirmiya, Ph.D., and Guy Shakhar.

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TEA TREE OIL (Meleleuca alternifolia)
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Date: July 11, 2005 09:32 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: TEA TREE OIL (Meleleuca alternifolia)

TEA TREE OIL (Meleleuca alternifolia)

Another important component of the first aid kit is tea tree oil. It can help with many minor conditions that commonly occur. Some include athlete’s foot, acne, boils, burns, warts, vaginal infections, tonsillitis, sinus infections, ringworm, skin rashes, impetigo, herpes, corns, head lice, cold sores, canker sores, insect bites, insect repellent and fungal infections. It is truly a remarkable oil with valuable properties for healing and to prevent infection. Tea tree oil is extracted from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia which is a shrub like tree found in the northeast t ropical coastal region of New South Wales and Queensland, Australia. There are over 300 different varieties of tea tree but only a few are known to produce the valuable, medicinal oil.

Tea tree oil contains at least 48 different organic compounds. The compounds work together to produce the healing abilities found in the oil. Research done in the 1950s and early 1960s found that tea tree oil is a germicide and fungicide with additional characteristics of dissolving pus and debris.1 Recent studies have found it effective for thrush, vaginal infections of candida albicans, staph infections, athlete’s foot, hair and scalp problems, mouth sores, muscle and joint pain, pain, and boils.2

Tea tree oil is a valuable antiseptic for skin infections. It is able to penetrate the epidermis to heal from within. Clinical studies have found that tea tree oil can heal quickly and with less scarring than other treatments. The oil is even effective against Staphylococcus aureus, which is often difficult to treat and is becoming resistant to antibiotic therapy. The oil can be applied two to three times a day with full strength or diluted. If an irritation occurs, a diluted solution can be tried. Even highly diluted concentrations have been found to heal in clinical studies.

Organisms against which tea tree oil has been shown to be effective include aspergillus, baceroides, Candida, clostridium, cryptosporidium, diptheroids, E. Coli, enter-obacter, epidermophyton, fusobacterium, gonococcus, hemophilus, herpes viruses, meningococcus. microsporium, petococcus, proteus, pseudomonas, spirochetes, staph, strep, trichinosis, and trichophyton3

Tea tree oil is an effective bactericide. It is safe for healthy tissue. It is a strong organic solvent and will help heal and disperse pus in pimples and wounds. It has been used to neutralize the venom of minor insect bites. It is able to kill bacteria by penetrating the skin layers and reaching deep into abscesses in the gums and even beneath the fingernails. It has been found to have some of the strongest antimicrobial properties ever discovered in a plant.4 Tea tree oil can help with fungal infections such as candida. Dr. Eduardo F. Pena, M.D. has studied Melaleuca alternifolia oil for its value in treating vaginitis and candida albicans.5 In studying candida researchers have gone to the extreme of infecting healthy volunteers with the organism. The yeasts proceeded to invade the bloodstream and internal organs. Then they were cultured from these regions. However, within a matter of hours yeasts could no longer be cultured, indicating that the immune systems of these individuals efficiently cleared the organisms from the tissues. Unfortunately, in today’s era a great many people are afflicted with compromised immune function.6

Tea tree oil acts as a mild anesthetic when applied to painful areas and to soothe cuts, burns, and mouth sores. It can help heal as well as reduce scarring. Burn victims in Australia are often treated with tea tree oil to help prevent infection, relieve pain and speed healing.

Tea tree oil can help prevent and heal acne. Tea tree oil has a reputation of being gentle on the skin. It does not produce the side effects of some medications such as dry skin, stinging, burning and slight redness after application. Tea tree oil can help to heal and prevent infections from occurring. A minor scrape or scratch can sometimes result in infection. Tea tree oil applied to the area can help prevent infection. The oil is effective in healing many types of bacteria but the most amazing thing is that is does not damage the skin tissue. Many of the recommended treatments can actually do damage to the skin resulting in scarring and sensitivity.

Tea tree oil can be used to prevent bites and stings. Bugs don’t like the scent and may stay away. There is no way to entirely void coming into contact with insects. Anyone who likes to be outdoors is vulnerable. Whether you live in the city or the country or anywhere in between, bugs abound. Tea tree oil or lotions and creams containing the oil can also be used to prevent bites. Insects don’t like the scent of the oil and are actually repelled by it. The Australian tea tree oil has been found to be highly effective in treating infections and destroying microbes while not irritating the skin. Many antiseptics can cause skin irritation, but tea tree oil seems to cause no harm to skin tissue.

Tea tree oil is an antiseptic and generally not taken internally. Some evidence has suggested mild organ damage from internal use. The oil when absorbed through the skin is non-toxic. Tea tree oil is most often recommended for exposed surfaces of the body such as the skin tissue and the mucous membranes. It should be noted that the original Australian aborigines made tea from the leaves without adverse affects. And the early settlers followed their exam - ple with positive results. But the tea was a very diluted form and the distilled oil is much stronger.

Endnotes

1. Cynthia B. Olsen. Australian Tea Tree Oil. (Pagosa Springs, CO: Kali Press, 1991).
2. James F. Balch MD and Phyllis A. Balch, Prescription for Nutritional Healing. (Garden City Park, N.Y.: Avery Publishing Group Inc., 1990), 681, 682.
3. Cass Ingram, Killed On Contact. (Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Literary Visions Publishing, Inc.), 15.
4. Michael A. Schmidt, Lendon H. Smith and Keith W. Sehnert. Beyond Antibiotics. (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books), 207.
5. Olsen, 8.
6. Ingram, 64-65.



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HERBS FOR SUMMER HEALTH
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Date: July 11, 2005 09:29 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: HERBS FOR SUMMER HEALTH

HERBS FOR SUMMER HEALTH

Just about everyone looks forward to the summer months when school is out and more time can be spent outside. Backpacking, hiking, camping, boating, and bike riding are just a few of the adventures available. It’s a time for connecting and becoming reacquainted with nature while exploring the out of doors. Family camping trips and backpacking through the wilderness can help us put our hectic lives in perspective and renew as well as refresh the body. Along with the adventures, a few bumps, bruises, bites and stings are expected. Before the summer holiday begins, prepare by having some herbal remedies on hand to help with minor accidents that may occur.

Aloe vera

Aloe is one of the best choices for the first aid kit. Commercial preparations can be taken along on trips. A leaf from the plant can be sealed in a zip lock bag and tucked in the first aid kit for short term use. The plant has numerous healing abilities and can be used on minor burns, rashes, bumps, scrapes and bruises. The aloe plant is very useful for many conditions.

Modern research has proven many of the benefits of Aloe vera. It has been used effectively for treating radiation burns, skin disorders, wounds, sunburn and dermatitis, to name a few. Aloe vera can help clean, soothe and relieve pain on contact. It penetrates through all three layers of the skin rapidly to promote healing. There are many different types of aloe products. Some include:

Aloe gel: This is the undiluted gooey substance that is found in the center of the leaves. Aloe concentrate: The concentrate is the gel when the water content has been removed.

Aloe juice: The juice is a digestible version of the aloe plant made from the gel with at least 50 percent Aloe vera gel. Aloe latex (aloin): The latex is the bitter yellow liquid from the pericyclic tubules of the outer rind of the leaf. The main constituent of this is aloin.1

Aloe is known for its healing and soothing effect on burns, wounds, and rashes. It can help clean, soothe and relieve pain on contact. It is able to penetrate all three layers of the skin rapidly to promote healing. It contains salicylic acid and magnesium which work together to produce an aspirin like analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect. The transparent gel on the inner leaf is applied directly to areas of the skin to treat burns, wounds, skin irritations and frostbite. The gel can is commonly found in many first-aid creams.

Research has found that aloe when applied externally can actually help speed healing and restore skin tissue.2 It also aids in healing when used externally in cases of wounds, frostbite and burns.3 The healing of burns may be due in part to the moisturizing effect of aloe. It is easily absorbed into the skin preventing the air from drying the damaged skin tissue.4 Aloe can help with many minor irritations that can occur during the summer months. Steven R. Schechter, N.D. conducted a study in 1967 at the Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati to determine the healing benefits of aloe. Research animals were being treated for laser burns. Dr. Schechter used several different preparations and consistently found the aloe vera gel to produce the most healing results. He found the gel to help with many skin disorders including burns, lesions and cancers. 5

As much as we try to avoid sun exposure, it is almost impossible to completely avoid getting a sunburn at some point in our lives. We may forget the sunscreen or stay out longer than expected. Excessive exposure to the sun can be detrimental to health. But, aloe vera may help to lessen the damaging effects of the sun. A sunburn can damage the skin as well as the immune system. Research by Dr. Faith Strickland of the Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas points to the possibility of aloe vera helping to eliminate the damage done to the immune system and skin. It may even help to restore the immune system to full function.

Many individuals have found that having an aloe vera plant growing in the home, within easy access, is an easy and simple way to treat common injuries. Commercial p reparations are also available which contain aloe. Scientists have found the plant to contain antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, anesthetic and tissue healing properties.

So why shouldn’t it be useful as a natural home remedy? Simply break off a leaf of the plant and slice down the middle of the leaf. Apply the thick inner gel to the injury whether it be a burn, insect bite, abrasion, scrape, rash, or other injury. The cut leaf can be placed directly on the wound and wrapped with gauze to secure it into place for a more serious injury. The skin will soak up of the gel as it soothes the affected area.

Toxicity is rare, but some do have allergic reactions to Aloe vera products. The aloin, found in the bitter yellow latex, containing anthraquinones, may cause severe cramping and should be avoided by pregnant women and children. Aloe can also help with the following:

  • • Kidney Stones
  • • Arthritis
  • • Viral, bacterial and fungal infections
  • • AIDS
  • • Cancer
  • • Ulcers
  • • Constipation
  • • Gum disease
  • • Gastrointestinal problems
  • • Digestion

    Endnotes

    1 Michael T. Murray, The Healing Power of Herbs. (Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1995, 30).
    2 Reader’s Digest Family Guide To Natural Medicine (Pleasantville, New York: The Reader’s Digest Association, 1993, 296).
    3 Michael A. Weiner and Janet A. Weiner, Herbs That Heal (Mill Valley, CA: Quantum Books, 1994, p 61).
    4 The Lawrence Review of Natural Products, 2.
    5 Steven R. Schechter, “Aloe Vera,” Let’s Live, December 1994, 51.



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    ENDNOTES
    TopPreviousNext

    Date: June 23, 2005 11:50 AM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: ENDNOTES

    ENDNOTES


    1 G.A. Cordell and O.E. Araujo, “Capsaicin: Identification, nomenclature, and pharmacotherapy.” Ann. Pharmacother. 27: 1993, 330-336.
    2 A.Y. Leung. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients used in Food. (John Wiley and Sons, New York: 1980.
    3 Cordell, 330-36.
    4 J.J. Jang, D.E. Defor, D.L. Logsdon and J.M. Ward. “A 4-week feeding study of ground red chile (Capsicum annuum) in male mice.” F o o d - C h e m - T o x i c o l . S e p t . 1992 30 (9): 783-7.
    5 John R. Christopher. Capsicum. (Christopher Publications, Springville, Utah: 1980), 27.
    6 Jack Ritchason. The Little Herb Encyclopedia, 3rd ed. (Woodland Publishing, Pleasant Grove, Utah: 1994), 44.
    7 Christopher, 4.
    8 Juliette Bairacli-Levy. Common Herbs for Natural Health. (Schocken Books, New York: 1974), 41-43.
    9 Charles B. Heiser. Nightshades. (W.H. Freeman, San Francisco: 1969), 18.
    10 Lenden H. Smith, M.D., E.P. Donatelle, M.D., Vaughn Bryant, Ph.D. et al. Basic Natural Nutrition. (Woodland Books, Pleasant Grove, Utah: 1984), 157.
    11 J. Jurenitsch et al. “Identification of cultivated taxa of Capsicum: taxonomy, anatomy and composition of pungent principle.” Chemical Abstracts. 91 July 30, 1977: 35677g.
    12 Daniel B. Mowrey. The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine. (Keats Publishing, New Canaan, Connecticut: 1986), 159.
    13 Ibid., 208-09.
    14 Michael T. Murray. The Healing Power of Herbs, 2nd ed. (Prima Publishing, Prima, California: 1995), 71.
    15 J. De Lille and E. Ramirez. “Pharmacodynamic action of the active principles of chile (capsicum annuum L.) Anales Inst. Biol. 1935: 6, 23-37. See also C.C. Toh, T.S. Lee et al. “The pharmacological actions of capsaicin and its analogues.” B r i t i s h Journal of Pharmacology. 1955: 10, 175-182.
    16 N.A. Castle. “Differential inhibition of potassium currents in rat ventricular myocytes by capsaicin.” Cardiovasc-Res. Nov. 1992, 26 (11): 1137-44.
    17 Murray, The Healing Power of Herbs, 72.
    18 Ritchason, 46.
    19 T. Kawada, et al. “Effects of capsaicin on lipid metabolism in rates fed a high fat diet.” Journal of Nutrition. 1986: 116, 1272-78. See also J.P. Wang, et al. “Antiplatelet effect of capsaicin.” Thrombosis Res. 1984: 36, 497-507, and S. Visudhiphan, et al. “The relationship between high fibrinolytic activity and daily capsicum ingestion in Thais.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1982: 35, 1452-58.
    20 K. Sambaiah and N. Satyanarayana. “Hpocholesterolemic effect of red pepper and capsaicin.” Indian Journal of Experimental Biology. 1980: 18, 898-99. See also M.R. Srinivasan, et al. “Influence of red pepper and capsaicin on growth, blood constituents and nitrogen balance in rats.” Nutrition Reports International. 1980: 21 (3): 455-67.
    21 Mowrey, 12.
    22 Ibid.
    23 Toh, 175-182.
    24 Mowrey, 12.
    25 Ibid., 19-20.
    26 Louise Tenney. The Encyclopedia of Natural Remedies. (Woodland Publishing, Pleasant Grove, Utah: 1995), 42. See also Peter Holmes. The Energetics of Western Herbs. (Artemis Press, Boulder: 1989), 322.
    27 Y. Lee, et al. “Flavonoids and antioxidant activity of fresh pepper (Capsicum annuum) cultivars.” Journal of Food Science. May 1995: 60 (3): 473-76. See also L.R. Howard, et al. “Provitamin A and ascorbic acid content of fresh pepper cultivars (Capsicum annuum) and processed jalapenos.” Journal of Food Science. M a r c h , 1994: 59 (2): 362-65.
    28 J.J. Espinosa-Aguirre, et al. “Mutagenic activity of urban air samples and its modulation by chile extracts.” Mutat-Res. Oct. 1993: 303 (2): 55-61.
    29 Ibid.
    30 Howard, 362-65.
    31 Z. Zhang, S.M. Hamilton, et al. “Inhibition of liver microsomal cytochrome P450 activity and metabolism of the tobacco-specific nitrosamine NNK by capsaicin and ellagic acid.” Anticancer-Res. Nov-Dec. 1993: 13 (6A): 2341-46.
    32 C.H. Miller, Z. Zhang, et al. “Effects of capsaicin on liver microsomal metabolism of the tobacco-specific nitrosamine NNK.” Cancer-Lett. Nov. 30, 1993: 75 (1): 45- 52.
    33 Murray, The Healing Power of Herbs, 71.
    34 Cordell, 330-36. See also Murray, The Healing Power of Herbs, 70-71.
    35 Murray, The Healing Power of Herbs, 72.
    36 C.P.N. Watson, et al. “The post-mastectomy pain syndrome and the effect of topical capsaicin.” Pain. 1989: 38, 177-86. See also C.P.N. Watson and R.J. Evans. “The post-mastectomy pain syndrome and topical capsaicin: A randomized trial.” Pain. 1992: 51, 375-79.
    37 Murray, The Healing Power of Herbs, 73.
    38 Watson, 177-86.
    39 C. Nelson. “Heal the burn: Pepper and lasers in cancer pain therapy.” Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 1994: 86, 1381.
    40 Ibid.
    41 “The capsaicin study group: Effect of treatment with capsaicin on daily activities of patients with painful diabetic neuropathy.” Diabetes Care. 1992: 15, 159-65. See also R. Tanden, et al. “Topical capsaicin in painful diabetic neuropathy. Effect on sensory function.” Diabetes Care. 1992: 15, 8-14, K.M. Basha and F.W. Whitehouse. “Capsaicin: A therapeutic option for painful diabetic neuropathy.” Henry Ford Hospital Medical Journal. 1991: 39, 138-40, and M.A. Pfeifer, et al. “A highly successful and novel model for treatment of chronic painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy.” Diabetes Care. 1993: 16, 1103-15.
    42 R. Tanden, et al. “Topical capsaicin in painful diabetic neuropathy: controlled study with long- term follow-up.” Diabetes Care. Jan. 1992: 15 (1): 8-14.
    43 Ibid.
    44 J.E. Bernstein, et al. “Topical capsaicin treatment of chronic post-herpetic neuralgia (shingles) with topical capsaicin. A preliminary study. Journal of American Academy of Dermatologists. 1987: 17, 93-96. See also Murray, The Healing Power of Herbs, 72.
    45 Sid Kircheimer. The Doctor’s Book of Home Remedies. (Rodale Press, Emmaus, Pennsylvania: 1993), 228.
    46 Murray, The Healing Power of Herbs, 74.
    47 G.M. McCarthy and D.J. McCarty. “Effect of topical capsaicin in therapy of painful osteoarthritis of the hands.” Journal Rheumatol. 1992: 19, 604-07. See also C. L Deal, et al. “Treatment of arthritis with topical capsaicin: A double blind trial.” Clinical Therapy. 1991: 13, 383-95.
    48 Murray, The Healing Power of Herbs, 74.
    49 Kircheimer, 14.
    50 Murray, The Healing Power of Herbs, 74.
    51 Michael T. Murray, N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. (Prima Publishing, Rocklin, California: 1991), 419.
    52 J. Y. Kang, et al. “The effect of chile ingestion of gastrointestinal mucosal proliferation and azoxymethane-induced cancer in the rat.” Journal of Gastroenterology- Hepatol. Mar-Apr. 1992: 7 (2): 194-98.
    53 K. G. Yeoh, et al. “Chile protects against aspirin-induced gastroduodenal mucosal injury in humans.” Dig-Dis-Sci. Mar. 1995: 40 (3): 580-83.
    54 Ibid.
    55 Ibid.
    56 L. Limlomwongse, et al. “Effect of capsaicin on gastric acid secretion and mucosal blood flow in the rat.” Journal of Nutrition. 1979: 109, 773-
    77. See also T. Kolatat and D. Chungcharcon. “The effect of capsaicin on smooth muscle and blood flow of the stomach and the intestine.” Siriraj Hospital Gazette. 1972: 24, 1405-18, O. Ketusinh, et al. “Influence of capsaicin solution on gastric acidities.” A m e r i c a n Journal of Proceedings. 1966: 17, 511-15, and Mowrey, 48.
    57 Mowrey, 48 and Limlomwongse, 773-77.
    58 M. Horowitz, et al. “The effect of chile on gastrointestinal transit.” Journal of Gastroenterology-Hepatol. Jan-Feb, 1992 7 (1): 52-56.:
    59 Christopher Hobbs. “Cayenne, This Popular Herb is Hot.” Let’s Live. April 1994: 55.
    60 V. Badmaev and M. Majeed. “Weight loss, the Ayurvedic system.” Total Health. Aug, 1995: 17 (4): 32-35.
    61 Murray, The Healing Power of Herbs, 75.
    62 C.N. Ellis, et al. “A double-blind evaluation of topical capsaicin in pruritic psoriasis.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 1993: 29 (3): 438-42.
    63 Murray, The Healing Power of Herbs, 75.
    64 S. Marabini, et al. “Beneficial effect of intranasal applications of capsaicin in patients with vasomotor rhinitis.” Eur Arch-Otorhinolaryngol. 1991: 248 (4): 191-94.
    65 Ibid.
    66 Mowrey, 242.
    67B. Dib. “Effects of intrathecal capsaicin on autonomic and behavioral heat loss responses in the rat. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1987: 28, 65-70.
    68 Murray, The Healing Power of Herbs, 72.
    69 Christopher, 31.
    70 M. Ponce, et al. “ In vitro effect against giardia of 14 plant extracts.” Rev-Invest-Clin. Sept- Oct. 1994: 46 (5): 343-47.
    71 Ibid.
    72 Humbart Santillo. Natural Healing with Herbs. (Hohm Press, Prescott, Arizona: 1993), 100.
    73 Daniel B. Mowrey. “Capsicum ginseng and gotu kola in combination.” The Herbalist premier issue, 1975: 22-28.
    74 Ibid.
    75 Mowrey, The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine, 102.
    76 J. Roquebert, et al. “Study of vasculotropic properties of Capsicum annuum.” Annales Pharmaceutiques Francaises. 1978: 36 (7-8): 361-68.
    77 Rita Elkins. Depression and Natural Medicine. (Woodland Publishing, Pleasant Grove, Utah: 1995), 161.



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    Mushroom Miracales
    TopPreviousNext

    Date: June 18, 2005 09:11 AM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Mushroom Miracales

    Mushroom Miracles by Bert Hoffman Energy Times, April 12, 2004

    Mention mushrooms and few people immediately recognize these humble fungi as important tools that can be used to boost well-being. More often, folks identify mushrooms as food with a peculiar appeal. But mushrooms' potential impact on health far surpasses their culinary reputation.

    You don't have to stretch your imagination too far to understand why mushrooms have been much neglected in the modern, Western medical search for plants that can boost health.

    Unable to make chlorophyll, often dependent on the kindness of other nutrient-producing organisms for their survival, these humble fungal denizens of dark, damp spaces seem to prefer an anonymous existence that is out of sight and out of the consciousness of the scientific mind.

    However, mushrooms have now assumed a spot in the center of the research spotlight. Because of their potent content of natural chemicals that appear to have a strong influence on human health and well-being, during the past decade mushrooms have been the subjects of intensive studies on how they can be used to reduce the risk of cancer and to treat these diseases.

    Appropriately, this recent round of research began in a place that has long revered these diminutive organisms: Japan. Japan and other Oriental countries have traditionally recognized the immense value of mushrooms as both food and medicine.

    Food and Medicine

    As an ancient Chinese saying notes, "food and medicine share a common origin." And one of the very earliest Chinese medical books, Shen Noug's Herbal (Shen Noug Pen Ts'ao Jing), first noted the extraordinary beneficial effects of eating mushrooms 2,000 years ago, back in the first century.

    More recently, but still well ahead of Western medical experts, in 1575, Pen Ts'ao Kang Mu (a Chinese compendium of medicinal therapies), written by Li Shi Zhen, outlined the medical benefits of about 20 mushrooms.

    Nowadays, modern researchers believe mushrooms' usefulness stems from the fact they contain a wealth of antioxidants. But these aren't just any antioxidants. Scientists think that some of these chemicals can potentially drop your risk of cancer, significantly lower blood pressure, help the body fight diabetes, offer protection for the liver, alleviate some of the ill effects of inflammation, lessen the chance of blood clots and help the body's immune system fend off viruses and other microbes. Quite a collection of benefits for these lowly beings!

    The 10,000-Year Mushroom

    Through the ages, the reishi mushroom (also known variously as the Mannetake, or 10,000-year mushroom, and the Immortality Mushroom) has been the most popular mushroom in Chinese, Korean and Japanese cultures. The reishi mushroom is frequently depicted in a wide variety of traditional Oriental artwork and even puts in an appearance in Chinese royal tapestries.

    To some, reishi's power goes beyond the natural and include the supernatural. Originally grown on aging plum trees, reishi is also sufficiently well regarded to be employed by the Japanese as a good luck charm. But you don't have to believe in the supernatural to be superbly impressed with reishi. The beneficial natural substances in reishi include steroids, lactones, alkaloids, triterpenes and polysaccharides.

    Large Molecules

    Of these chemicals, polysaccharides (complex chains of sugars) in particular have intrigued researchers looking into the way mushrooms help health. These polysaccharide macromolecules are very large (for molecules) and complex, a complexity that leads researchers to believe they are capable of conveying a huge amount of biological information that help the immune system stop cancer in its early stages. The differences in the benefits of various polysaccharides stems from their intriguing geometrical shapes.

    Distinctive Differences

    Even though two distinctive polysaccharides may contain the same number of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms, their three-dimensional differences-the way they are structured and branch off in different directions-can endow them with very different health benefits.

    Though they all share a basic structure (usually, these molecules consist of a main chain of atoms with various side chains), the slight variations of the side chains changes their effects.

    By deciphering the microscopic structures of these molecules, scientists think they are beginning to uncover which ones are most effective against cancer. For instance, in isolating a particularly useful polysaccharide called beta-D-glucan from reishi, researchers have found that this substance fights tumors in lab experiments (Chem Pharm Bull 1981; 29: 3611).

    Maitake Benefits

    Meanwhile, beta-D-glucan and other extracts taken from the maitake mushroom have also been shown to possess powerful anti-cancer effects in lab experiments (Immunopharm Immunotox; 19:175).

    In one instance, researchers in the laboratory who were trying out various substances on prostate cancer cells found that applying extracts of maitake results in a kind of programmed self-destruction (apoptosis) of these undesirable cancer cells (Molec Urol; 4:7). In addition, another substance known as maitake d-fraction has been shown to strongly fight cancer in lab animals-in one study, their liver cancer growths were reduced by up to 90% (Ann NY Acad of Sci; 833:204).

    At the same time, research in China on people has demonstrated that maitake may help reduce tumors and alleviate the effects of leukemia (Alter Comp Ther 12/98; 420).

    According to A.S. Daba and O.U. Ezeronye (Afr Jrnl Bio 12/03; 672), "Mushroom polysaccharides offer a lot of hope for cancer patients and sufferers of many devastating diseases.

    " [These substances support]...a fundamental principle in Oriental medicine...[they help] regulate homeostasis of the whole body and... bring the diseased person [back] to his or her normal state."

    The Activity of Active Hexose Correlated Compound Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC), an extract taken from shiitake and other mushrooms, is a relatively new substance that is also being researched for its anti-cancer benefits.

    Studies on AHCC began in Japan in the 1990s when scientists looked at how it could potentially help people recovering from liver cancer. In those tests, researchers found that giving people AHCC apparently helped them survive longer.

    In the future, scientists feel certain that they will uncover even more anticancer uses for mushrooms and the chemicals they contain. A key advantage to these natural substances is their lack of side effects. For instance, in research on an anti-cancer chemical called lentinan, taken from shiitakes, investigators have found that less than one percent of people experience the kind of discomfort that make them discontinue treatment. (This chemical has been used to treat stomach cancer.)

    But a long list of beneficial mushroom substances are probably still waiting to be discovered. More evidence of mushrooms' benefits: A study of mushroom workers in a part of Japan called the Nagano Prefecture found that these farmers enjoyed a significantly lower cancer rate than other inhabitants of that part of the country.

    In the rest of Japan, about one in six hundred people dies of cancer. But that rate death rate drops to about one in a thousand for mushroom raisers who eat a diet heavy in mushrooms.

    John Smith, PhD, from the University of Strath-Clyde, notes that "...increasing evidence [shows] mushrooms offer a remarkable array of medicinally important compounds that have yet to be evaluated by Western medical scientists." Mushrooms offer the best of both worlds: good health that tastes great.



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    Nothing to Sneeze At
    TopPreviousNext

    Date: June 18, 2005 08:41 AM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Nothing to Sneeze At

    Nothing to Sneeze At by Carole Poole Energy Times, August 14, 2004

    To many, nothing is more annoying than a persistent allergy. Runny nose, itchy eyes, hives, sneezing, coughing...Frequently, allergies seem to represent suffering with no end.

    When you are sensitive to something in your environment, often your only hope for relief appears to be to flee to an elsewhere that eludes the problematic, trouble-making allergen.

    Complementary measures are available that can lower your risk of allergic reactions. Heading off allergic reactions before they strike can help you enter a comfort zone that leaves nothing to sneeze at.

    Limit Your Antibiotics

    While people have always suffered allergies, today, many experts agree, allergies are on the rise. One possible explanation: antibiotics. For instance, research at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit demonstrates that kids who get antibiotics within six months of being born run an increased risk of being allergic to dust mites, ragweed, grass and animals. At the same time, if two or more cats or dogs live with them, they reduce their chances of allergies (Eur Respir Soc ann conf, 2003).

    " I'm not suggesting children shouldn't receive antibiotics. But I believe we need to be more prudent in prescribing them for children at such an early age," Christine Cole Johnson, PhD, says. "In the past, many of them were prescribed unnecessarily, especially for viral infections like colds and the flu when they would have no effect anyway."

    Dr. Cole's investigators found that by age 7, kids who got one or more rounds of antibiotics were:

  • • 1.5 times more likely to develop allergies
  • • 2.5 times more likely to develop asthma
  • • Twice as likely to get allergies if their mothers had allergies

    When antibiotics are necessary, they are crucial to quelling bacterial infections. However, if you or your children suffer colds or flus, diseases caused by viruses, antibiotics have no effect on your illness but could increase your chance of developing allergies.

    " Over the past four decades there has been an explosive increase in allergy and asthma in westernized countries, which correlates with widespread use of antibiotics and alterations in gastrointestinal (GI) microflora," says Mairi Noverr, a researcher on a study linking allergies to antibiotic use (104th Gen Meet Amer Soc Microbiol, 2004). "We propose that the link between antibiotic use and dysregulated pulmonary immunity is through antibiotic-induced long-term alterations in the bacterial and fungal GI microflora." While a lot of research needs to be done, it may help to fortify the probiotic, or good, microbes in your intestines with probiotic supplements. One study has shown that giving probiotics to pregnant women helped their children avoid allergic eczema, a skin condition (Lancet 2001; 357:1076-9).

    Green Tea Relief

    Research has demonstrated that various types of tea can produce a range of health benefits. Tea drinkers can add allergy relief to that list.

    Research in Japan demonstrates that for the allergy-oppressed, green tea may help them have nothing to sneeze at. In laboratory tests, scientist found that green tea contains a substance that blocks one of the immune cell receptors which is often a part of the allergic response. The substance, methylated epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), is believed to have a similar effect in the real world (J Agr Food Chem 10/9/02).

    " Green tea appears to be a promising source for effective anti-allergenic agents," notes Hirofumi Tachibana, PhD, the study's chief investigator and an associate professor at Kyushu University in Fukuoka. "If you have allergies, you should consider drinking it." Traditionally, many people have consumed tea as part of their effort to suppress sneezes, coughs and itchy eyes caused by allergies. This experiment supports the evidence that green tea, in particular, has a reliable effect.

    According to Dr. Tachibana, green tea's anti-allergenic benefits have not been completely established, but tea apparently has the potential to be effective against allergens like dust, chemicals, pet dander and pollen.

    Tea Antioxidant

    EGCG has also been shown to be a very active antioxidant, helping to quell the destructive effects of the caustic molecules known as free radicals. Green tea is richer in EGCG than black tea or oolong tea (a type that falls between black and green).

    Although other research has demonstrated that EGCG offsets allergic responses in lab animals fed this substance, scientists don't completely understand why it works for allergies. Researchers theorize that EGCG restricts the production of histamine and immunoglobulin E (IgE), two substances secreted in the body as part of the chain of chemical reactions that lead to an allergic reaction, says Dr. Tachibana.

    This study shows, for the first time, that a methylated form of EGCG can block the IgE receptor, which is a key receptor involved in an allergic response. The effect was demonstrated using human basophils, which are blood cells that release histamine. As of now, nobody knows how much green tea you need to guzzle to have the best protection against allergies and, of the several varieties available, nobody knows which green tea is best.

    Outside of the US, green tea is the second most popular beverage in the world, right behind water. In the US, however, black tea is more popular than green. But the allergy sensitive should think and drink green.

    Stay Away from Diesels

    Those who are allergic to ragweed or pet dander usually know they should avoid the source of their allergies. But now scientists have found that, for many allergy sufferers, diesel exhaust can also worsen sneezes and wheezes.

    Scientists at two southern California schools have shown that about half of us have inherited a sensitivity to diesel pollution that can make our allergies significantly worse (Lancet 1/10/04). "[T]his study suggests a direct way that pollution could be triggering allergies and asthma in a large number of susceptible individuals...," says Frank D. Gilliland, MD, PhD, the study's lead author. Diesel exhaust particles are thought to act as destructive free radicals in the lungs, forming caustic molecules that damage lung tissue. This irritation can cause your immune system to create larger amounts of compounds that make you sneeze and wheeze more.

    The Antioxidant Advantage

    Antioxidants, scientists believe, can help defuse this damage and ease the body's allergic responses. The California scientists looked at two antioxidant enzymes the body makes to protect the lungs called glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1) and glutathione S-transferase P1 (GSTP1). Only about five of ten people's immune systems can make all the effective forms of these enzymes. The rest of us lack this protection to some degree, and the immune system in about one in five people can't make any effective form of these enzymes.

    The research team found that people allergic to ragweed who lacked these antioxidant enzymes suffered more when they took in both ragweed pollen and particles from diesel pollution.

    Breathe Easier With C

    This research may help explain why many health practitioners recommend vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, to allergy sufferers. Vitamin C "prevents the secretion of histamine by the white blood cells, increases the detoxification of histamine and lowers the blood-histamine levels," says Sylvia Goldfarb, PhD, author of Allergy Relief (Avery/Penguin).

    Scientists continue to study the allergy conundrum. Meanwhile, sip a cup of green tea and shut the window before the next truck comes by.



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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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    Green Power
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    Date: June 14, 2005 06:11 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Green Power

    Green Power

    by Charles Scott Energy Times, January 4, 2005

    If you want to stave off infections, aging-even liver cancer-get your fill of chlorophyll, a vital nutrient in plants.

    The green in plants possesses unique powers. Green landscapes soothe the soul. A verdant expanse of green vegetation offers comfort, peace and ecological consolation. What makes some plants, including vegetables, green: Chlorophyll, a substance that is also a crucial nutrient for better health.

    Chlorophyll is a special chemical that consists of molecules which enable plants to collect sunlight. In a complex molecular process, vegetation then uses chlorophyll to harness the power from the sun's rays and build carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water. Those carbohydrates form the basic nutritional building blocks that we and other animals need to survive and thrive.

    Besides enabling the creation of carbohydrates, research shows that chlorophyll itself can help lower our risk of diseases like cancer. A recent study in China demonstrates that daily supplements of a chemical derived from chlorophyll can protect DNA, the genetic material in cells. When DNA is damaged and malfunctions, cells may reproduce wildly and become cancerous tumors. The latest experiments, performed by scientists affiliated with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Oregon State University (OSU), show that chlorophyll and its chemical relatives may insulate DNA from unhealthy changes linked to aflatoxin, a fungus that often contaminates corn, peanuts and soybeans. In China, liver cancer associated with aflatoxin is a widespread problem.

    " In the area of China in which we did our study about one in 10 adults die from liver cancer, and it's the third leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide," says George Bailey, PhD, a professor of environmental and molecular toxicology at OSU. "The findings of this research could be enormously important to many areas of China, Southeast Asia and Africa, where aflatoxin-related liver cancer is a real concern. Many of these deaths might be preventable with supplements that cost pennies a day."

    This research looked at about 180 people in Qidong, China. When people in the study were given supplements containing chlorophyll derivatives, they had less than half the DNA damage of people who didn't take supplements.

    According to the scientists, chlorophyll and similar substances may act as interceptor molecules, blocking the absorption of carcinogens. As John Groopman, professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, observes, the supplements these people took "...can effectively reduce aflatoxin levels, which should reduce the risk of liver cancer."

    Closer to home, other researchers point out that chlorophyll-rich vegetarian foods may help protect us from carcinogens in the typical American diet.

    If you've ever enjoyed a hunk of grilled meat, you've consumed substances scientists call heterocyclic amines, which are contained in the charred part of meat cooked on a grill. Studies have shown that these tasty tidbits can increase your risk of breast and other types of cancer. (Your risk from charred meat greatly increases if you are also a smoker.) However, if you eat a food like spirulina, a blue-green algae high in antioxidants that also contains plenty of chlorophyll, its protective substances can bind with these carcinogens within your digestive tract and keep them from being absorbed.

    Green Keeps You Younger

    While we always hear that eating more fruits and vegetables enhances our health, new research shows that eating green foods adds extra power to an anti-aging program.

    Two experiments at the University of South Florida Center for Aging and Brain Repair, published in the Journal of Neurobiology (7/15/02), show that spirulina and other greens can help shield the brain from the antioxidant damage that accumulates as one ages and may help reverse declines in learning and memory.

    The first study found that a diet rich in spinach helped lab animals stay smart as they grew older. Spinach's benefits, according to the researchers, are due to its rich antioxidant content, which can counteract free radicals (caustic molecules) created in the body during normal metabolism and increased by exposure to environmental pollutants, sunlight and radiation. When free radicals attack, cell walls and other cellular structures are compromised and DNA can malfunction. A lifetime of free-radical damage can slow your thinking and may be one of the causes of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, says Dr. Paula Bickford, lead author on the project.

    The second study found that the protective effect of green plants may be linked to their ability to reverse age-related accumulations of potentially harmful inflammatory substances in the brain. In this research, spirulina improved neuron function, lowered inflammation in the brain and reduced levels of chemicals linked to oxidative damage. In fact, spirulina didn't just slow the deterioration of neurotransmitter interactions caused by aging, it actually improved their function.

    " Not all foods are created equal," says Dr. Bickford. "Cucumbers taste good and have lots of fiber. But unlike spirulina and apples, they are not rich in phytochemicals that have antioxidant or anti-inflammatory effects in the brain."

    Green Immunity

    Aside from assisting brain function, spirulina also seems able to help pump up the immune system. Researchers at the University of California at Davis found that adding spirulina to cultured immune system cells significantly increases the production of infection-fighting cells called cytokines.

    A number of previous laboratory studies have found that spirulina can balance immune response: While easing allergic reactions, this powerful green food also was found to enhance the ability of immune cells called macrophages to both destroy bacteria and eliminate cancerous cells.

    " We found that nutrient-rich spirulina is a potent inducer of interferon-g (13.6-fold increase) and a moderate stimulator of both interleukin-4 and interleukin-1b (3.3-fold increase)," notes Eric Gershwin, professor at UC Davis. "Together, increases in these cytokines suggest that spirulina is a strong proponent for protecting against intracellular pathogens and parasites, and can potentially increase the expression of agents that stimulate inflammation, which also helps to protect the body against infectious and potentially harmful micro-organisms."

    What this means for you: Spirulina holds the potential to help the body protect itself against battalions of infectious invaders. " People have used foods like yogurt and spirulina throughout history," says Judy van de Water, PhD, associate professor at UC Davis. "Through research, we are learning exactly how these foods improve immune system function and how they are a beneficial addition to our diet."

    Throughout the history of life on earth, the healthy development of animal and human life has depended on green plants. Today, as our environment deteriorates and our bodies are under attack from an increasingly polluted world, we need those health-boosting greens more than ever.



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    Catch Your Breath
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    Date: June 14, 2005 05:56 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Catch Your Breath

    Catch Your Breath

    by Carl Lowe Energy Times, October 10, 2004

    Asthma is on the rise. This serious breathing problem already afflicts 300 million people around the world and is expected to hinder the lung function of 400 million people in 20 years (Annual World Asthma Meeting, 2/17/04).

    In the US, asthma continues to strike our kids. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (2/24/03), the rate at which kids developed asthma doubled between 1980 and 1995. By 2001, 6.3 million American kids had asthma. The cost of treating all these kids: more than $3 billion a year.

    Few researchers are prepared to state definitively why asthma rates have continued to climb during the past two decades. However, many investigators point to factors that seem inextricably linked to this disorder, which is marked by wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing spells.

    CO2 Buildup

    A report from the American Public Health Association and researchers at Harvard puts a lot of the blame for the high rate of asthma on global warming, smog and the atmosphere's growing burden of carbon dioxide. These are linked to industries and car exhaust that release pollution.

    In this increasing burden of toxins released into the atmosphere, the rate of asthma among toddlers has grown to be particularly worrisome. Their rate of asthma has climbed more than twice the national average: by 160% between 1980 and 1994. According to these researchers (Inside the Greenhouse: The Impacts of CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and Climate Change on Public Health in the Inner City), global warming-which involves large increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide released by internal combustion engines and and industrial processes-has fomented the asthma epidemic in several ways:

    • Extra heat in the atmosphere has stimulated rapid plant growth that results in more fungus, pollen and spores; this causes allergies that often lead to asthma. Weeds like ragweed, which release allergenic particles, have greatly increased during the past few years. • Extreme weather has caused more floods and damp houses, leading to more indoor air pollution from molds. • Diesel pollutants are now combining with pollen and mold to irritate lungs, causing troublesome allergic reactions.

    Bus Fume Hazards

    The report notes that in neighborhoods like Harlem, in New York City, 25% of all children suffer asthma. Rates are particularly high in children who live in apartments that are located along bus routes.

    A finding that surprised the scientists is the fact that carbon dioxide released by city traffic and the burning of coal and natural gas persists over urban areas, causing a dome of CO2 pollution.

    Research on air quality in New York City, Phoenix and Baltimore shows that these lingering CO2 domes contain from 400 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide to 600 ppm. Those levels are significantly above the global average of 379 ppm. Over the course of the earth's history, going back more than 400,000 years before the Industrial Age, research shows the atmosphere has averaged only 180 to 280 ppm.

    Nighttime Distress

    Breathing difficulties that increase at night can point to asthma, according to Robert Fink, MD: "Asthma can be a nocturnal disease, at its worst between 10 pm and 4 am, when cortisol [a hormone that regulates many bodily functions] levels are lowest" (Pediatric Asthma: Diagnosis and Treatment Goals, Medscape).

    Dr. Fink says that if problems with breathing are bad enough to interfere with sleep, a health practitioner should be consulted to analyze the difficulty.

    Diet and Asthma

    Although nobody can guarantee protection against asthma, research suggests that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce your risk. For instance, a study in Australia found that people who ate the most apples and pears reduced their chances of suffering from this breath-robbing disorder.

    In research involving about 1,600 people, aged 20 to 44, they found that those who consumed the largest quantity of these fruits enjoyed the lowest rate of asthma (AJCN 2003; 78:414).

    This is the latest study to confirm the fact that apples and other fruits help to keep lungs healthy. " There is extensive evidence from studies over the last 10 to 15 years that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is beneficial to lung health," observes Carol Trenga, PhD, a research scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle. "The most compelling evidence is linked to fruits high in vitamin C, which are associated with improved lung function in the general population of adults and children."

    Produce for Smokers

    Quitting smoking represents one of the best ways to reduce lung disease. But even if you smoke, research on smokers has found that those who ate a moderate amount of fruits and vegetables have fewer lung problems (American Thoracic Society 97th International Conference 5/2001).

    And you don't have to change your diet very much to make a difference: In that research, merely eating one and half pieces of fruit a day or eating about a tablespoon of vegetables daily significantly dropped smokers' chances of serious lung disease.

    Fruits and Veggies to the Rescue

    In a study at the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom, scientists looking at the diets of more than 2,500 people found that eating five or more apples or three tomatoes a week increased lung function. Eating apples and tomatoes also reduced the risk of wheezing.

    " The likelihood is that any effect is due to the concerted action of all the nutrients in apples and tomatoes, especially the antioxidants that are particularly rich in the peel of apples and contribute to the coloring of tomatoes," says researcher Sarah Lewis, PhD.

    " Antioxidants may work by protecting the airways against the insult of tobacco smoke and other atmospheric pollutants," she adds. Dr. Trenga recommends that everyone eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. She also notes, "[I]t is reasonable to suggest modest supplementation with for example, vitamin C (250-500 mg twice/day) and vitamin E (up to 400 IU per day), in at-risk populations as a complementary therapy after considering the specific needs of the individual...These levels are very safe and have other health benefits (such as vitamin E and heart disease) in addition to potentially improving lung health."

    Herbal Relief

    Since asthma is linked to allergies, herbs that help to quell respiratory allergies can possibly lower your risk of asthma. A blend of standardized herbal extracts that contains Phyllanthus emblica (Indian gooseberry or amla), Terminalia chebula (Harda or Haritaki), Terminalia bellerica (bedda nut tree), Albizia lebbeck (Indian walnut), Zingiber officinale (ginger root), Piper longum (Indian long pepper), and Piper nigrum (black pepper) has been found to improve breathing and reduce the effect of allergies (FASEB J 2004; Vol II:A912, Abs. 600.8). Other studies have shown that these herbs can relieve nasal congestion, ease sneezing and clear bothersome mucus (J Am Coll Nutr 22(5): Abs 46, 2003).

    Antibiotic Avoidance

    Avoiding antibiotics may also lower the risk of asthma. " Over the past four decades there has been an explosive increase in allergy and asthma in westernized countries, says Mairi Noverr, PhD, a researcher who has looked at the lin between antibiotic use with asthma and allergies. " We propose that the link between antibiotic use and dysregulated pulmonary immunity is through antibiotic-induced long term alterations in the bacterial and fungal GI microflora."

    In other words, Dr. Noverr's research shows that beneficial bacteria in people's intestines, which take part in strengthening immunity and regulating the immune response to pollen, may have been harmed by the overprescription of antibiotics by physicians. Dr. Noverr and his fellow researchers gave lab animals antibiotics before exposing them to candida albicans (a yeast infection). They then exposed the animals to mold spores. The result: a greater sensitivity to inhaling the spores and breathing problems similar to what people experience during hay fever season (104th General Meeting American Society of Microbiology).

    " The studies presented here are the first direct demonstration that antibiotic therapy can promote the development of an allergic airway response," says Dr. Noverr. On a global scale, the outlook for asthma is worrisome. As other countries continue their industrial growth, the burden on the earth's atmosphere will grow. Meanwhile, few serious measures are being taken to reduce global warming, and the national diet frequently neglects lung-friendly vegetables and fruits. But within that uncertain scenario, you can boost your chances of healthy lungs: Eat more apples. Stay away from smoky buses. Hope for clear skies.



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    America's Most Wanted
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    Date: June 14, 2005 05:23 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: America's Most Wanted

    America's Most Wanted

    by Brian Amherst Energy Times, January 6, 2000

    The United States eats well, a little too well, according to experts. Amply supplied with a large supply of high-calorie food, our diets might seem to be chock full of every conceivable nutrient. Well, to the question "Getting all the right vitamins, minerals and other nutrients?" the most appropriate answer seems to be "Not exactly." Eating a lot doesn't equal eating a lot of the most important vitamins and minerals. So, which vitamins and minerals are likely to show up in short supply in the typical American diet? Calcium certainly sits at the top of list. According to the most recent Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals, which is conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), women and girls age 12 and up are not consuming adequate calcium from their diet. Research reveals that about 1200 mg. day suffices for those over age 50 and 1000 mg a day should be adequate if you're between the ages of 19 and 50. Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Stanford University, ". . .osteoporosis is a pediatric disease." For long-range protection against that bone-weakening disease, kids should eat calcium-rich, low-fat dairy products and plenty of leafy greens (broccoli, cabbage, kale) as well as salmon (with bones), seafood and soy. But the calcium campaign does not end in early adulthood. Bone mass begins to deteriorate at about age 30. Menopausal hormonal changes can exacerbate bone brittleness. Medical conditions, including cancer, liver disease and intestinal disorders; prescription drugs; tobacco and alcohol indulgence; or a decline in activity, especially the weight-bearing kind, also jeopardize bone strength. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about one in every two American women will break a bone after age 50 due to osteoporosis. That translates into about half a million fractured vertebrae and more than 300,000 shattered hips. Frequently, those breaks are life-threatening.

    Crucial Calcium

    The critical role of calcium in many body functions is perhaps the most extensively clinically documented among nutrients. Researchers in the Department of Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, reviewed epidemiological and clinical studies conducted over the past two years on the relationship between dietary calcium and blood pressure (J Am Coll Nutr October 1999: 398S-405S). "Nearly 20 years of investigation in this area has culminated in remarkable and compelling agreement in the data," the researchers report, "confirming the need for and benefit of regular consumption of the recommended daily levels of dietary calcium." Investigators at the State University of New York, Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, presented results of their studies of calcium and vitamin C and gum disease at the June 26, 1998 meeting of the International Association for Dental Research. Two separate inquiries revealed that people who consumed too little calcium as young adults, and those with low levels of vitamin C in their diets, appear to have nearly twice the risk of developing periodontal disease later in life than folks with higher dietary levels of either nutrient.

    Calcium: Much Documented Researchers offer extensive evidence of calcium's benefits on many fronts: n Osteoporosis poses a threat to older men as well as women, according to Randi L. Wolf, PhD, research associate at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Dr. Wolf presented her award-winning study to an October 3, 1999 meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Dr. Wolf suggests that men increase their consumption of calcium, particularly after age 80, to avoid age-related declines in the amount of calcium absorbed. According to Dr. Wolf, "It appears that the hormonal form of vitamin D, which is the main regulator of intestinal calcium absorption, may have an important role. We are conducting more research to better understand the reasons for why calcium absorption declines with age in men." n Scientists at Tufts University in Boston did some earlier work on the calcium-vitamin D connection and reported it in the September 4, 1997 New England Journal of Medicine. Using the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) increased recommended daily intake of 1200 milligrams of calcium and 400 to 600 international units of vitamin D for people over 50, the Tufts researchers found that with supplementation of the nutrients, men and women 65 and older lost significantly less body bone and, in some cases, gained bone mineral density. n Two studies published in American Heart Association journals show that atherosclerosis and osteoporosis may be linked by a common problem in the way the body uses calcium. The September 1997 Stroke revealed that, in a group of 30 postmenopausal women 67 to 85 years old, bone mineral density declined as atherosclerotic plaque increased. Researchers reporting in Circulation (September 15, 1997) advanced the theory that the osteoporosis-atherosclerosis connection may be related to a problem in handling calcium. n For people who had colon polyps removed, taking calcium supplements decreased the number of new polyps by 24% and cut the risk of recurrence by 19%, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, School of Medicine. The study, published in the January 14, 1999 New England Journal of Medicine, was a first in crediting calcium with anti-cancer properties.

    The D Factor

    Without adequate vitamin D, your absorption of calcium slips and bone loss can accelerate, increasing the risk for fractures. Fifty percent of women with osteoporosis hospitalized for hip fractures at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston had a previously undetected vitamin D deficiency (Journal of the American Medical Association, April 28, 1999). University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers told participants at the April 14, 1997 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research that vitamin D "significantly inhibits highly metastatic, or widespread, prostate cancer in animals," suggesting its potential for treating men with similar conditions. Few foods that Americans eat, except dairy, contain much vitamin D, but we can usually synthesize sufficient amounts from as few as five minutes' exposure to the sun. But as skin ages, its ability to act as a vitamin D factory decreases. According to Michael F. Holick, the director of the Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center, upwards of 40% of the adult population over age 50 that he sees in his clinic are deficient in vitamin D. Recently, the National Academy of Sciences (the official body that decrees the required amounts of necessary nutrients) increased the daily recommendations of vitamin D to 600 IU for people over 71, 400 IU for those aged 51 to 70 and 200 IU for people under 50. The best dietary sources, apart from dependable supplements, are dairy and fatty fish like salmon. Four ounces of salmon provide about 300 IU.

    The Facts About Fats

    The American lust for low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets filled with sugary foods has exploded into nothing short of "obsession," according to experts at the General Research Center at Stanford University Medical Center (Am J Clin Nutr 70, 1999: 512S-5S). That mania oftens robs us of the crucial balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids typical of the Mediterranean diet that protect us from heart disease by controlling cholesterol and making blood less likely to form clots. These fatty acids cannot be made by the body but are critical for health: n Omega-3 fatty acid (linolenic acid) comes from fresh, deepwater fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) and vegetable oils such as canola, flaxseed and walnut. n Omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid) found primarily in raw nuts, seeds and legumes and in saturated vegetable oils such as borage, grape seed, primrose, sesame and soybean. The American Heart Association recommends limiting total fat consumption to 30% of daily calories. Saturated fats like those in dairy and meat products as well as vegetable oil should comprise 10% of total calories; total unsaturated fat (fish oils, soybean, safflower nuts and nut oils) should be restricted to 20 to 22% of daily calories.

    Be Sure About B12

    Vitamin B12 presents a particular problem for the elderly because older digestive systems often don't secrete enough stomach acid to liberate this nutrient from food. (The elderly have no problem absorbing B12 from supplements, because it's not bound to food.) Vitamins generally moderate the aging process but, ironically, that process and the diseases that frequently accompany it affect vitamin metabolism (Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax 83, 1994: 262-6). And because of those changes, we need more of certain vitamins. This is the case for vitamins D, B6, riboflavin and B12. Crucial for health, B12 is necessary to prevent anemia, and, according to recent studies, needed (along with folate and B6) to help stave off heart disease. B12, with thiamine and niacin, boosts cognition (Adv Nutr Res 7, 1985: 71-100). Screening for vitamin B12 deficiency and thyroid disease is cheap and easy and can prevent conditions such as dementia, depression or irreversible tissue damage (Lakartidningen 94, 1997: 4329-32). In the January 5-12, 1999 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the AHA urged doctors to screen levels of homocysteine (the amino acid byproduct of protein digestion that damages arteries, causes heart disease and, possibly, strokes) in patients at high risk for heart disease. They also recommended all Americans to up their daily levels of vitamins B6 and B12, as well as folic acid. Since fruits, vegetables or grains lack B12, vegetarians need B12 supplements. And they're a good idea for the rest of us, too.

    Folic Acid Benefits

    Folic acid made headlines in the early 1990s when the U.S. Public Health Service declared that "to reduce the frequency of neural tube defects [spina bifida, or open spine, and anencephaly, a lethal defect of the brain and skull] and their resulting disability, all women of childbearing age in the United States who are capable of becoming pregnant should consume .4 milligrams (400 micrograms) of folic acid per day." This recommendation followed voluminous research that showed taking folic acid was associated with a significantly reduced risk of birth defects. (The advisory is based on the fact that nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned. If you think you are pregnant, consult your health practitioner for supplementary advice.)

    A Team Player

    Folic acid's efficacy intensifies when it works with other nutrients. Among many studies on the preventive powers of folic acid on birth defects, one published in The New England Journal of Medicine (327, Dec. 24, 1992: 1,832-1,835), disclosed an even greater decrease in neural tube defects when supplements of folic acid contained copper, manganese, zinc and vitamin C. As a warrior against homocysteine, folic acid joins the battalion of B12 and B6 in detoxifying this harmful protein. At the University of Washington's Northwest Prevention Effectiveness Center, researchers recently analyzed 38 published studies of the relationship between folic acid, homocysteine and cardiovascular disease and, according to associate professor Shirley A. Beresford, MD, folic acid and vitamin B12 and B6 deficiencies can lead to a buildup of homocysteine.

    Compelling Evidence

    Canadian researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (275, 1996: 1893-1896) that men and women with low folic acid have a 69% increase in the risk of fatal coronary heart disease. This 15-year study of more than 5,000 people stressed the need for dietary supplementation of folic acid. Folic acid also has been credited with the potential to protect against cancers of the lungs, colon and cervix. It appears to help reverse cervical dysplasia, the precursor cells to cervical cancer, especially for women taking oral contraceptives, which may cause a localized deficiency of folic acid in the cells of the cervix. According to Shari Lieberman, PhD, and Nancy Bruning, authors of The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book (Avery), folic acid derivatives work with neurotransmitters, the chemicals that permit signals to be sent from nerve fiber to nerve fiber. A lack of folic acid can cause some nervous-system disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia and dementia; it also may be related to some forms of mental retardation. Other supporting roles of folic acid, according to researchers: the formation of normal red blood cells, important for preventing the type of anemia characterized by oversized red blood cells; strengthening and improving white blood cell action against disease; limiting production of uric acid, the cause of gout.

    The Best Sources

    Many foods are rich in folic acid: beef, lamb, pork and chicken liver, spinach, kale and beet greens, asparagus, broccoli, whole wheat and brewer's yeast. But experts believe that only 25 to 50% of the folic acid in food is bioavailable. Processing also reduces an estimated 50 to 90% of its content. Folic acid supplementation overcomes these obstacles with little risk, as it has no known toxicity. Women taking folic acid who are current or former users of oral contraceptives may require additional zinc. And be sure to augment your folic acid supplement with its synergistic counterpart, vitamin B12.

    Focus on Fiber

    The American Heart Association came out squarely behind fiber in a June 16, 1997 issue of its journal Circulation: Double your daily intake to lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. The American diet is consistently low in fiber, notes Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, author of the article. Twenty-five to 30 grams a day from foods (or supplements) are not only heart healthy but seem to aid weight control.

    Iron Problem

    Getting enough iron? An estimated 25% of adolescent girls in the United States are iron deficient, according to an October 12, 1996 issue of the British medical journal The Lancet, which reported that girls who took iron supplements performed significantly better on verbal tests than those who took a placebo. "Teenage girls should be regularly tested for iron deficiency because rapid growth and the onset of menstruation during puberty increase the body's need for iron," says Ann Bruner, MD, of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and a lead author of the study.USDA data reveal that women up to age 50 also tend to get much less than recommended levels of iron, a lack of which leads to anemia, a deficiency of red blood cells, hemoglobin or volume of blood. For kids, deficiency is more common from six months to four years and during the rapid growth spurts of adolescence when the body is growing so quickly that the body's iron stores may sink to dangerous levels. Vegetarian women run the greatest risk for deficiency, as meat is iron-rich; foods like beans, grains and vegetables also contain some iron. Supplements, of course, supply easily absorbable iron. And to absorb iron from vegetarian sources, take vitamin C with your meals. That boosts the amount of this mineral you will take in. Bear in mind, however, that certain folks-older men and post-menopausal women-generally have adequate dietary supplies of iron. Of greater concern, in fact, is excessive iron, and for these folks iron-free multivitamin and mineral supplements are available.

    Ante Up the Antioxidants

    Antioxidant nutrients help protect the body from oxygen-scavenging molecules called free radicals. The products of pollution, the body's own metabolic processes and other sources, free radicals are linked to heart disease, cancer and other chronic health problems. The most important antioxidants, which include vitamin C, E, beta carotene, and selenium, are often lacking in the American diet. Plus, optimal amounts of vitamin E cannot be consumed from food. You need supplements. The bottom line: even though we live in a land of plenty, you can still miss vital nutrients. So make sure to consume these vital substances.

    Sprouts: Nutritional

    Source of Missing Nutrients In the search for the nutrients missing from America's diet, one big help is the sprout. The sprout is truly one of nature's heavyweights: fresh, tiny and moist, its power punch of vitamins, minerals, protein, chlorophyll and disease-busting phytochemicals land it in a weight class far beyond that of its full-grown competitors. Size does NOT matter to this nutritional giant. A championship belt currently wraps around the miniscule broccoli sprout, catapulted into the ring by Paul Talalay, MD, professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Talalay discovered that the seedlings contain substantially more of the cancer-fighting substance sulforaphane than mature plants (Proc. Natnl. Acad. Sci. USA, 94, 10367-10372). Sprouts, the quintessential health food of the Sixties, provide a wonderfully varied and versatile way to get your daily greens. Raw or cooked, strong or mild, vegetable and grass sprouts and their algae cousins add low-calorie texture to recipes and a rich, diverse complement of nutrients and fiber.

    Ancient Asia to the Modern Lab

    Asians stir-fried sprouts as one of the earliest fast foods as long as 5,000 years ago. The ancient Chinese relied on sprouts for year-round vegetables in colder regions of their vast country. Today, researchers studying sprouts and adult plants have identified their important chemoprotective and other health-bolstering substances. In Paul Talalay's research project at Johns Hopkins, scientists found that three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain up to 50 times more sulforaphane than mature plants, which prompts the body to produce an enzyme that prevents cancer tumors from forming. Uniform levels of the compound saturate the shoots, unlike the chemically uneven adult plants. The Brassica family of broccoli and cabbage is richly endowed with phytochemicals that also help reduce estrogen levels associated with breast cancer. Other phytochemical compounds in the Brassica family are associated with the prevention of stomach and lung cancers. Most of the initial landmark work on phytochemicals' cancer-fighting powers has taken place since 1989 under the aegis of the National Cancer Institute's "Designer Food Program," which isolated, for example, the isoflavones in beans that seem to neutralize cancer-gene enzymes.

    Strong Suit: Soy and Spirulina

    The isoflavones and phytosterols in soy produce an estrogenic effect that appears to relieve menopausal symptoms and help prevent breast cancer. Soy foods expert Mark Messina, PhD, has done extensive work on the subject, some of which has been published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-6. Researchers also have synthesized a bone-strengthening form of soy isoflavones called ipriflavone, following impressive clinical trials in the treatment of osteoporosis (American Journal of Medicine, 95 [Suppl. 5A] (1993): 69S-74S). Spirulina and other micro-algae are fascinating organisms that inhabit a niche between the plant and animals kingdoms. Named for its tiny spirals, spirulina, a blue-green algae, grows in saline lakes but is cultured for maximum nutritional content. In her book Whole Foods Companion (Chelsea Green), Dianne Onstad notes that spirulina contains "the highest sources of protein, beta carotene and nucleic acids of any animal or plant food." Its nucleic acids, she says, benefit cellular regeneration; its fatty acids, especially GLA and omega-3 acids, make it one of the most complete foods. Sprouts, like any other produce, should be rinsed thoroughly before serving. People at high risk for bacterial illness-young children, the very elderly or folks with weakened immune systems-should limit their consumption of raw sprouts. But no matter how you eat them, you may find more spring in your step from these tiny, sprouting nutritional wonders.



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    Cleanse That Body!
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    Date: June 14, 2005 11:59 AM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Cleanse That Body!

    Cleanse That Body! by Lisa James Energy Times, January 6, 2005

    When toxins accumulate in your tissues, you can become fuzzy and sluggish. Here's how a New Year's internal cleansing can make you feel fresh and energized.

    What's your New Year's resolution? Losing weight? Getting fit? Kicking the [fill-in-the-blank] habit? Whatever the shape of your dreams for 2005, it won't be easy launching a self-improvement program unless you give your body a fresh start. Where to begin? Detoxification-an internal cleansing that can supply the energy you need to succeed in achieving your goals.

    No one can avoid toxins in our contaminated world, so many of us suffer from toxic overload, which can lead to fatigue, digestive problems and reduced immune function. " When we get out of balance, we get congested and toxic," says Elson Haas, MD, founder of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, California (www.elsonhaas.com), and author of The New Detox Diet (Celestial Arts), "and our bodies' regular elimination systems cannot keep up with it. We have problems with our skin, our intestines, our sinuses. We also become deficient in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Most people have both congestion and deficiency, and they would benefit greatly from detoxification."

    Toxins Within, Toxins Without

    Life's fundamental activities-breathing, eating, walking around-generate waste in the form of free radicals, the unstable molecules that can ravage cells and tissues. What's more, Dr. Haas says that just "being under stress, being afraid, being anxious all produce more free radicals in the body" (like when a work deadline hits on the same day your car dies). When you add to your internal toxins all the noxious items coming from the outside, including the dietary ones, the recipe is very unhealthy.

    " People are making poor choices in what they're putting in their mouths," says Dr. Haas. "They're taking in too much refined flour and sugar. There's a common problem in our country I call 'obese malnutrition'-people eating too many calories and not getting enough nutrition. People do a lot of junky fats and have a deficiency in the essential fatty acids that help protect cells."

    Our bodies are also awash in manmade poisons such as food preservatives and additives, and residues from pesticides and herbicides. "The amount of toxic chemicals we are exposed to in our environment is staggering," says Susan Lark, MD, clinical nutrition expert and author of The Chemistry of Success (Bay Books). She notes that the average American is exposed to 14 pounds of such assorted chemical junk each year.

    The body, however, does do its own housekeeping-and all of our cells detoxify every second of every day. "It's always a balance of garbage in, garbage out," says Dr. Haas, who has 30 years of experience in helping people detoxify. "Some of the toxins we break down into smaller components, some we just dump into the intestines for elimination."

    Problems arise when there's more dirt than the internal maid service can sweep away. Dr. Lark notes that toxins wind up being stored in cells, especially fat cells, where they can hang out for years. When they are finally released "during times of low food intake, exercise or stress" complaints can range from tiredness to dizziness (sound familiar?).

    That's where detoxification comes in, says Dr. Haas: "I think detoxification is a vital health care tool, particularly in this day and age when people are exposed to too many chemicals."

    Digest This

    The process of detoxification starts with cleansing the intestinal system. Alternative health practitioners observe that discombobulated bowels can become overly permeable (a condition called leaky gut syndrome) and allow in all sorts of things that they shouldn't, such as semi-digested food particles, leading to inflammation and complaints that include rashes and joint pain.

    Cleansing can be as simple as cutting down on what Dr. Haas calls the SNACCs-Sugar, Nicotine, Alcohol, Caffeine and Chemicals-or as thorough as a complete diet-and-supplement program with colonic irrigation (a sort of super-enema, professionally administered; if you're interested, contact the International Association of Colon Hydrotherapy at 210-366-2888 or www.i-act.org). The more powerful the program, though, the more likely you are to experience toxicity reactions such as nausea and headaches because of the volume of material being released. As Dr. Haas puts it:

    " If you did water and green salads for a week, you'd detoxify more intensely than if you just gave up sugar and white flour." If you're feeling extremely rundown, take a gentle approach at first or consult a nutritionally aware practitioner, especially if you have a preexisting medical condition.

    Getting more fiber is essential. Laurel Vukovic, a natural health teacher and author of 14-Day Herbal Cleansing (Prentice Hall), suggests following this daily regimen for two weeks: a teaspoon of psyllium (a fiber supplement); at least seven daily servings of fruits and vegetables, especially fiber-rich ones like apples, cabbage and carrots; and six glasses of water, along with daily exercise. Extra fiber "supports the intestines in eliminating the larger amounts of toxins that are released," says Vukovic, "prevent[ing] their reabsorption into the bloodstream." Some people find premixed cleansing formulas convenient; check your health food store shelves.

    Fasting is a more intense detox approach that, according to Dr. Haas, "promotes relaxation and energization of the body, mind and emotions, and supports a greater spiritual awareness." He especially recommends fasting in the spring and autumn, which are times of transition. Some people do water-only fasts, but fresh vegetable juices are probably a better option, particularly if you haven't fasted before. Juices and plenty of fresh water also help cleanse the kidneys, another vital detox route.

    Instead of juices you can use a special cleansing formula, such as the Spring Master Cleanser: 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup and 1/10 teaspoon cayenne pepper in 8 ounces of spring water. Dr. Haas recommends drinking eight to 12 glasses daily (and rinsing your mouth after each glass to protect your teeth from lemon's acids), augmented by water, laxative herb tea, and peppermint or chamomile tea.

    Try fasting for a day to see how you feel. Dr. Haas suggests starting out by fasting from early evening through the night, and eating a light breakfast the following day. Subsequent fasts can gradually increase in length-experienced fasters may go up to two weeks without food.

    Break your fast properly; for juice or cleansing formula fasts, eat a raw or cooked low-starch vegetable, such as spinach or other greens. "Go slowly, chew well and do not overeat or mix too many foods at any meal," says Dr. Haas.

    Don't forget your liver, the organ that transforms noxious chemicals into substances your body can eliminate. The herb milk thistle, used since ancient times as a liver tonic, contains silymarin, which protects the liver from pollutants and helps it renew itself after toxic damage. Dandelion not only promotes the flow of bile from the liver, which helps clean out the junk, but also acts as a diuretic, helping the kidneys do their job. Green-food supplements, such as spirulina and cereal grasses, help neutralize toxins.

    To maintain your cleansing gains, eat a healthy diet after detoxing. Focus on fresh organic foods, especially produce, beans and peas, whole grains and seeds (add organic poultry if you eat meat). Organic yogurt provides healthful probiotics, while fresh fish and ground flaxseeds provide omega-3 fats.

    Clean Living Pays

    The body's largest organ-the skin-provides a valuable contaminant exit path. Sitting in a hot tub or sauna "benefits the internal organs of detoxification," according to Dr. Lark, "by lessening the amount of toxins they must process." When sweatin' out the bad stuff, drink plenty of water and replace the calcium, magnesium and potassium lost through perspiration.

    Another way to stimulate skin circulation is dry brushing, which also removes dead skin cells for a healthy glow (and is easier to fit into a daily routine). Using "a moderately soft, natural vegetable-fiber bristle brush" (Dr. Lark's suggestion), work in from the hands and up from the feet with light, short strokes that always move towards the heart. Vukovic says that a hot towel scrub is another option; put three drops of lavender essential oil in a basin of very hot water, dip in a rough terry washcloth and wring out, and then rub the skin briskly, starting with your feet and working your way up.

    Once you've detoxified your body, you can start in on your immediate surroundings. Dr. Haas warns against using plastic food storage containers: "When food is heated in plastics some of the plastic material ends up in the food, especially if the food contains acids." Use glass containers instead. He also recommends avoiding aluminum pots and pans, and using stainless steel as an alternative.

    Dr. Haas has seen what a good detox program can do: "It's amazing the kind of results people get-looking and feeling younger, more vital and healthy. They say, 'I'm sleeping like a baby,' they have fewer aches and pains. They have more peace in their bodies. I think detoxification is one of the keys to preventive medicine." So cleanse that body and let detoxification bring balance and renewal to your life.



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    Vitanet ®

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    Scents of Balance
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    Date: June 14, 2005 11:54 AM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Scents of Balance

    Scents of Balance by Rosemary Sage Energy Times, January 5, 2005

    Life can feel like an emotional rollercoaster, with the high-stress jitters following the low-mood blues. But aromatherapy-the healing power of scent-can restore equilibrium.

    The use of volatile plant oils, including essential oils, for psychological and physical well-being dates back thousands of years. The ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used infused oils and herbal preparations for medicinal, fragrant, cosmetic, even spiritual reasons.

    During the late 20th century, people started to relearn the benefits of aromatherapy and these days, aromatherapy's reputation as a soothing, healing art continues to grow. Once you've experienced the odiferous power of aromatherapy's essential oils, you'll keep coming back for more: These gently wafting odors have the power to stimulate or calm, invigorate or relax.

    When you enter this scented world, "there you will find nature in one of its most powerful forms-aromatic liquid substances known as 'essential oils,'" says Valerie Ann Worwood in The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy (Thorsons). Essential oils form what Worwood refers to as the "fragrant pharmacy," a collection of concentrated substances used in pharmaceuticals, foods and cosmetics.

    When you sniff the aromas of essential oils, "they enter and leave the body with great efficiency, leaving no toxins behind," Worwood points out. "The most effective way to use essential oils is...by external application or inhalation. The methods used include body oils, compresses, cosmetic lotions, baths-including sitz, hand and foot baths-hair rinses...perfumes...and a whole range of room [scenting] methods."

    Plant Essences

    As Worwood explains, essential oils are produced in various parts of different plants. As a result, it takes a great deal of specialized work to extract essential oils. About 60,000 rose blossoms are consumed in the production of an ounce (!) of rose oil.

    Just as the antioxidant phytonutrients we eat in vegetarian foods link our bodies to the health-promoting chemistry of plants, the penetrating nature of essential oils are thought to connect our souls to the essences of flora. "From inside comes the voice and from inside comes the scent," observed the 19th century German doctor Gustav Fechner, quoted by Robert Tisserand in The Art of Aromatherapy (Healing Arts Press). "Just as one can tell human beings in the dark from the tone of voice, so, in the dark, every flower can be recognized by its scent. Each carries the soul of its progenitor."

    Fechner believed that the power of essential oils to stir our deepest emotions derives from their function as a vital means of communication in the plant world. As Tisserand asks, can't we imagine that flowers "communicate with each other by the very perfumes they exude, becoming aware of each other's presence?"

    The Science Behind the Scent

    While alternative medical practitioners have acknowledged the effectiveness of aromatherapy for thousands of years, only recently have conventional medical researchers begun seriously looking into how this technique works.

    For instance, a study of estragole, a chemical found in basil, fennel and tarragon, determined that it could potentially ease back pain by inhibiting inflammation of the sciatic nerve. (The sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body, runs from the back down the leg.) The researchers discovered that estragole is "active on nerves," a conclusion that aromatherapy practitioners, who employ the scent of these oils to soothe pain, already knew. Science is verifying another piece of information long known to practitioners-that while certain essential oils can calm you down, others prod your alertness. In a study performed at the University of Northumbria in England, scientists found that sniffing the scent of lavender lulls the human brain into a comfortable, rather stupefied state, while rosemary, in contrast, can sharpen recall.

    As the English researchers noted, lavender "produced a significant decrement in performance of working memory, and impaired reaction times for both memory and attention-based tasks." That's probably why the odor of lavender is noted for enhancing sleep. On the other hand, the scientists found that rosemary "produced a significant enhancement of performance for overall quality of memory and secondary memory factors." However, they did point out that under the influence of both of these oils, performance slowed when tackling a battery of memory tests. Apparently, the oils mellowed people so that they had little motivation to rush through the paperwork.

    As Frazesca Watson notes in Aromatherapy Blends & Remedies (Thorsons): "The aroma of the oils directly affects our moods and emotions and sometimes our short- and long-term memory. Together with a wide range of physiological benefits, the aroma can help with emotional upsets such as depression, anxiety, nervous tension, anger, apathy, confusion, indecision, fear, grief, hypersensitivity, impatience, irritability, panic and hysteria."

    Essential oils are especially helpful at defusing stress. Watson notes, "Treatments with essential oils are therefore very helpful for all sorts of stress-related problems, so common in our modern life."

    As scientific research into the effects of these oils continue, conventional medical practitioners are sure to embrace them in increasing numbers. But before there were scientists around to confirm the effects of these wonderful scents, the ancient medical practitioners in Egypt and Greece attributed the origins of aromatherapy to the gods. For many people in today's overstressed world, the relaxing assurance of essential oils certainly seems heaven-s(c)ent.



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    Good Hydration
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    Date: June 14, 2005 11:44 AM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Good Hydration

    Good Hydration by Lisa James Energy Times, June 17, 2004

    Ah summertime, and the living is lovely: ocean fragrances wafting on a summer wind, the summer sun warming the body and relaxing the mind.

    But all that sun and wind can dry your summer skin, making it uncomfortable and parched-looking. Moisture counteracts the discomforts that summer elements can bring, allowing your fresh, dewy look to shine through. Knowing how to hydrate your skin is the key.

    Skin Structure

    Skin consists of three layers, each with a different function:

  • • The deepest layer, the subcutaneous tissue, contains the fat cells that help hold in body heat and protect the vital organs, and that serve as an energy reserve.
  • • The middle layer, or dermis, is the thickest of the three layers. It is rich in nerve endings, blood vessels, sweat glands and hair follicles. The dermis also holds the oil glands that keep the skin properly lubricated and impervious to water. Two proteins, collagen and elastin, found in the dermis support the skin's top layer and provide shape, tone and flexibility.
  • • The topmost skin layer, the epidermis, protects the body against the outside world. It contains melanocytes, pigment-bearing cells that determine skin color and help guard against sun damage. The epidermis is also equipped with immune cells that guard the body against foreign substances. The epidermis is further divided into five separate sublayers. Cells are formed at the basal cell layer on the bottom; they then push their way upward until they reach the surface, called the stratum corneum, in a process that takes roughly 28 days. As the skin cells mature, they produce a tough protein called keratin, which also forms the structure of hair and nails.

    Natural Moisturizers

    Do you have dry skin? How well your skin holds moisture depends on the arrangement of cells within the stratum corneum. Fat contained in this layer, as well as natural moisturizing factor (made by the epidermis), also keeps skin moist. Unfortunately, as you age, the amount of natural moisturizing factor produced by your skin decreases.

    Skin Care 101

    Obviously, anything that affects the all-important epidermis can dry out your skin-sun and wind both rob skin of moisture. For starters, just say no to tobacco. Smoking tightens the skin's abundant blood vessels; this reduces the flow of oxygen and nutrients, creating dryness. Smoking also breaks down elastin, the protein that gives skin its flexibility. The next step is to add water from within. " It takes at least six to eight cups of pure water each day to keep the skin and body well hydrated," notes Jeanette Jacknin, MD, board-certified dermatologist and author of Smart Medicine for Your Skin (Avery/Penguin).

    Bathtime Tips

    At the same time, be careful about how you bathe your skin. Bathing or showering for too long, or using water that's too hot, can actually cause your skin to lose moisture for two reasons. First, prolonged bathing washes away the oils that help lock moisture in; second, it encourages your skin's own moisture to evaporate after you dry yourself off.

    Before you shower or bathe, Dr. Jacknin recommends using a dry, soft-bristled brush to increase skin circulation and gently remove dead cells. Brushing in small circles, gradually move up your legs and arms, always moving towards the heart. When you do get into the tub or shower, don't scrub your skin and don't use harsh cleaning agents. Instead, go for natural cleansers that feature such skin-friendly ingredients as glycerin.

    Feed Your Inner Skin

    As your body's largest organ, your skin depends on the nutrients in your diet. You have to feed your skin well if you expect it to stand up to wind and sun. " Eat fish, rolled oats and ground flaxseeds frequently," recommends Dr. Jacknin. "These foods are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help the skin retain moisture." Include other healthy oils, such as safflower and olive oil, in your meals. Supplemental omega-3s, in the form of flaxseed or fish oils, can also help.

    Supplemental Skin

    Various vitamins help make your skin happy and healthy. Skin growth and repair requires vitamin A, while natural vitamin E provides antioxidant protection and vitamin C promotes creation of collagen, which provides skin with its structure.

    The B vitamins are essential to keeping dryness at bay; without them, the skin can crack, peel and redden. Choline, a member of the B family that helps with fat transportation within the body, is available as lecithin. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is another skin-friendly nutrient. MSM provides sulfur, which the body needs to create healthy skin proteins. It also fights inflammation and encourages better blood flow.

    Slake Your Skin's Thirst

    A good moisturizer can help arid skin return to soft freshness. To get the most out of moisturizers, use them consistently, and start at a young age. " [M]ost people start to benefit from [moisturizers] in their twenties [when] their skin begins to dry with age," state Charles Inlander and Janet Worsley Norwood in Skin: Head-to-Toe Tips for Health and Beauty (Walker and Company). "Moisturizers boost skin health by preventing water loss from the skin."

    The same antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamin C and natural vitamin E, you feed your skin from within also abound in natural moisturizers, as do an impressive variety of herbal essences and essential oils. Aloe vera, used to treat burns for centuries, helps ease inflammation, as does chamomile. Fresh-smelling lavender oil helps soothe insect bites and minor wounds. Jasmine and peppermint offset excessive oil production.

    Moisturizers: Timing and Type

    The ideal time to moisturize is right after a bath or shower, since that's when evaporation promotes water loss; for best results, apply while your skin is still slightly damp. But bathtime isn't the only time to consider your skin's moisture needs. Carry some moisturizer with you so you can use it every time you wash your hands, especially if you're prone to cracked cuticles and split fingertips.

    Match your moisturizer to your skin type. If your skin tends to oiliness, use a water-based product; otherwise, an oil-based formulation -jojoba oil and shea butter are good choices-is fine. (Oily skin may first need a gentle astringent like lemon peel or cucumber to remove dirt and excess oil.)

    Also pay careful attention to the type of moisturizer you use. Lotions are easy to apply, but may not stay on your skin as readily as creams, which may be a better choice for your face, feet and hands. By all means, enjoy the summer sun. Just make sure your skin enjoys the summer, too, by staying hydrated and happy.



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    Fats: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
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    Date: June 14, 2005 11:18 AM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Fats: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

    Fats: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly by Thomas Sherman Energy Times, October 15, 2004

    We need fat to absorb vitamins, to keep our brains sharp, to survive. But not all fats are our friends. Find out which ones are the heroes and the villains in your diet.

    In a lot of cases health fads don't live up to their hype. But the case for consuming more good fats-the omega-3 fatty acids found primarily in fish, flax and hemp oils-is strong and growing stronger. As a nation we eat too little of these good fats, and our health would improve greatly if we relied a little less on the bad saturated fat in burgers, skipped the ugly trans fats in fries and indulged in more salmon and other seafoods.

    Fish and the Heart

    Need proof? A wealth of research supports fish oil's desirable effects, especially on heart health. While many people believe that heart disease is primarily a problem for men, women who have passed through menopause are just as susceptible to heart problems.

    " [Our] findings suggest that all women, and most likely men, would benefit from regular fish intake," says Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University in Boston. "A tuna fish sandwich counts, as does almost any other type of fish that is baked, broiled, grilled, or poached." But she points out that fried fish, which is often cooked in hydrogenated oils, is not helpful.

    In research on more than 200 women, performed at the Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts, scientists found that the arterial blockages among women who dined on fish were less (and impeded blood flow less) than in women who hardly ever ate seafood. Fish was especially helpful for women who had diabetes, a disease that makes you more prone to heart and circulation problems (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 9/04).

    These effects are important: Heart disease is the number one cause of death for women, and older women who suffer from diabetes are particularly susceptible. The number of people with diabetes has been increasing of late, mainly due to the fact that Americans are overweight. Right now about 18 million people have diabetes and another 20 million are expected to suffer this condition in the next four decades.

    " This study shows that following the current guidelines of eating at least two servings of any type of fish per week slows down the progression of heart disease in women with coronary artery disease (CAD), especially those who were also diabetic," says Dr. Lichtenstein, coauthor of the study. "We further found that eating one or more servings per week of fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as tuna or other dark-fleshed fish, is equally effective."

    Dangerous disruptions in heartbeat, known as arrhythmias, may also be affected by fish oil. "[E]xperiments show that fatty acids from omega-3 fish oils are stored in the cell membranes of heart cells and can prevent sudden cardiac death or fatal arrhythmias," notes Alexander Leaf, MD, medical researcher and professor at Harvard University.

    Fat for Your Brain

    The right kind of fat is also crucial for the function of your nerves and brain tissue, which is 60% to 70% fat. Incorporating omega-3 fatty acids into those cells can help keep your brain firing on all synapses. It may lower your risk of Alzheimer's disease, an irreversible form of mental deterioration that kills 100,000 Americans a year. About a thousand people a day in the US are found to have Alzheimer's, and experts believe that over the next 40 years 14 million of us will be doomed to being enveloped by the mental fog this condition produces.

    Research indicates that our brains probably need omega-3 fats for protection against the kind of damage that causes our mental capacities to slip. Once Alzheimer's starts, deterioration accelerates because brain cells start losing these fats.

    In experiments performed at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA (Neuron 9/2/04), scientists looked at how a lack of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, one of the omega-3 fats found in fish), affected the cellular processes that lead to Alzheimer's. They found that the part of brain cells that receive signals from other brain cells, the receptors, are vulnerable to damage from chemical reactions that take place inside the cells. However, DHA offers antioxidant protection against this destruction.

    When brain cells were denied DHA, the cells' receptors suffered extra harm. But when fish oil was present, brain cells were protected. In addition, animals that received extra omega-3s were better able to learn and find their way through mazes.

    Greg Cole, PhD, senior researcher on this study and a professor of neurology at Geffen, says, "We saw that a diet rich in DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, dramatically reduces the impact of the Alzheimer's gene [which made the animals more susceptible to Alzheimer's]. Consuming more DHA is something the average person can easily control. Anyone can buy DHA in its purified form, fish-oil capsules, high-fat fish or DHA-supplemented eggs." Fishes rich in omega-3s include salmon, halibut, mackerel, sardines and herring.

    Protecting Kids from Asthma

    A surprising benefit of omega-3s has been found in pregnant women and their newborns: Pregnant women with asthma who eat fish rich in omega-3s during their pregnancy lower their children's risk of asthma.

    Not just any fish will do. The study (American Thoracic Society International Conference 5/25/04) discovered that mothers who ate fish sticks during pregnancy doubled the asthma risk in their kids. " Fish sticks are deep-fried, and they contain omega-6 fatty acids, which encourage inflammation of the airways," says study co-author Frank Gilliland, MD, PhD, professor at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. "Oily fish [like salmon and trout] contain omega-3 fatty acids, which appear to be anti-inflammatory, and lead to the reduced potential for developing asthma and allergies."

    The USC investigation showed that when women with asthma ate oil-bearing fish during pregnancy, the risk of asthma for their children dropped more than 70%. The more fish that mom consumed, the less likely her baby was to develop asthma. Unfortunately, the study did not find the same benefit in women without asthma.

    " A family history of asthma is a very strong risk factor for a child developing asthma," Dr. Gilliland says. "It appears that oily fish interacts with the genes involved in the predisposition to develop asthma, and somehow reduces the risk."

    Although most of us try to avoid accumulating unsightly fat around our hips, the right kind of fat plays an integral part in the functioning of our bodies and may even keep us alive. Fats don't get much better than that.



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    Your Healthy Harvest
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    Date: June 14, 2005 11:05 AM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Your Healthy Harvest

    Your Healthy Harvest by Marjorie Flakowitz Energy Times, August 15, 2004

    Once frowned on by conventional farmers, organic food has won respect from everyone concerned about the health of both the earth and the people who inhabit it.

    Today, organic farming is considered one of the most rapidly growing areas of American agriculture. Organic foods sales topped $9 billion in 2002 and grew about 20%, up to almost $11 billion in 2003 (Organic Trade Association).

    So when you buy organic, you join an expanding market that takes advantage of great-tasting, good-for-you food. Long ago, when the practice of farming was first devised, all farming was organic farming. So today's organic movement is bringing farming back to its roots.

    But, safe to say, that is not what's motivating most consumers. A main reason for the popularity of organic food derives from the reassurance that organic foods, raised without artificial chemicals and pesticides, cut your exposure to toxic residues. A growing body of research shows organic food is richer in beneficial natural substances, too.

    " Organic food and organic farming represent a philosophy that goes beyond just the quality of the food," says Steve Meyerowitz in The Organic Food Guide (Globe Pequot). "It strives to maintain the integrity of the entire food chain-plants, soil, air, water, animals and people. We are all part of the same ecosystem."

    By eating organic, you eliminate pollution both from your body and the earth. Because our bodies are made of the animal and plant products we consume, our internal, physiological ecosystem and the earth's environment are inexorably entwined.

    Chilling Arctic Evidence

    As evidence of this connection, consider what's happened in the Arctic. Researchers who have analyzed Arctic water, ice, snow, soil and plants have found that chemicals used in farming and industry in other parts of the world have traveled north and accumulated in alarming quantity. How and if these chemicals break down depends on sunlight and the amount of organic matter contained in Arctic waters (American Chemical Society, 9/11/03).

    " Once pollutants enter the water column, their behavior is poorly understood-particularly the processes that govern their lifetime and concentrations," says Amanda Grannas, PhD, a researcher at Ohio State University. "Such pollutants are now being found in wildlife, from fish to seals to whales, and even in people living in the Arctic."

    Dr. Grannas and others looked at the pesticides lindane and hexachlorobenzene (HCB), two chemicals that have migrated to Arctic waters. Lindane is used by American farmers to treat seeds before they are planted. HCB, banned in the US in 1984, is still used in other countries to protect wheat from fungus.

    The scientists found that sunlight at the top of Arctic waterways can help break down some pesticides. At lower depths, however, cut off from the sun's rays, pesticides can remain largely intact. In this research, lindane proved to persist much more readily than HCB.

    " Lindane is one of the most persistent of pollutants," warns Dr. Grannas. "This could be because it's photochemically inert, whereas pollutants like HCB degrade relatively quickly. The main message is that pollutants can behave quite differently. These pollutants already affect local ecosystems, and could have repercussions for human health."

    Organics Means More Benefits

    Researchers are also finding that organic produce contains larger quantities of beneficial natural chemicals. For instance, one study (Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 2/26/03) showed that berries and corn grown organically can have almost 60% more polyphenolics. Polyphenolics are antioxidants plants use for protection against disease and which are good for humans. Researchers believe that when crops are grown conventionally, protected by pesticides and herbicides, they produce fewer of these substances. " This really opens the door to more research in this area," says Alyson Mitchell, PhD, assistant professor of food science at University of California at Davis, who led the research.

    These scientists compared levels of total polyphenolics and vitamin C content in marionberries (a type of blackberry) and corn grown organically, sustainably or conventionally, and also looked at chemicals in strawberries grown either sustainably or conventionally. (Sustainable farming falls between the organic and conventional methods, and concentrates on farming that's self-sufficient-for example, feeding cows hay you've grown yourself, and then using the cows' manure to fertilize another crop.) They found that organic marionberries and corn had 50% to 58% more polyphenolics. The sustainably grown strawberries had 19% more polyphenolics. And all the organic produce contained more vitamin C.

    Self-Defense for Plants

    According to Dr. Mitchell, the organic crops contained the high levels of polyphenolics you'd expect to find in wild plants, suggesting that, on conventional farms, pesticides reduce the necessity for plants to make these protective, natural chemicals. " If an aphid is nibbling on a leaf, the plant produces phenolics to defend itself," she says. "[P]henolics guard the plant against these pests."

    Pesticides kill insects like aphids and thereby reduce the antioxidants produced by the plant. " This helps explain why the level of antioxidants is so much higher in organically grown food," Mitchell says. "By synthetically protecting the produce from these pests, we decrease their need to produce antioxidants. It suggests that maybe we are doing something to our food inadvertently.

    " We know [polyphenolics] are beneficial [to human health], but we don't know what types of polyphenolics are beneficial, or in what quantities," Dr. Mitchell notes. " Originally, the question was just really intriguing to me. I found that the higher level of antioxidants is enough to have a significant impact on health and nutrition, and it's definitely changed the way I think about my food."

    Vitamin C in Oranges

    Meanwhile, nutritional research on the vitamin C in oranges turns up similar results: organic oranges are richer in this antioxidant nutrient than conventionally grown oranges (Great Lakes Regional Meeting, American Chemical Society, 6/2/02).

    The more common supermarket oranges are significantly larger than organically grown oranges, and they have a deeper orange color. Because of their larger size, "we were expecting twice as much vitamin C in the conventional oranges," says Theo Clark, PhD, chemistry professor at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.

    But when he isolated the chemicals in the oranges and further refined his search with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), spectroscopy demonstrated that organically grown oranges possess 30% more vitamin C than the conventionally grown fruits-even though they are only about half as large.

    Dr. Clark isn't sure why organic oranges are richer in vitamin C, but he says, "...[W]e speculate that with conventional oranges, [farmers] use nitrogen fertilizers that cause an uptake of more water, so it sort of dilutes the orange. You get a great big orange but it is full of water and does not have as much nutritional value.

    " However, we can only speculate. Other factors such as maturity, climate, processing factors, packaging and storage conditions require consideration." Along with analyzing oranges, Dr. Clark and his research team questioned about 70 people to measure their concept of the nutritional value of organic oranges. In this survey, 85% of the respondents thought that organic oranges have a higher nutritional content than conventionally grown fruit.

    Dr. Clark's laboratory work shows that "they were right on." In Dr. Clark's view, these issues are important because consumers have a right to know the real nutritional content of organic produce, and the fact that analyses show that organic fruit has much more vitamin C validates the benefits of eating organic.

    Defense Mechanism

    Both plants and animals protect themselves from disease with many of the same chemicals. The natural substances that, in a farmer's field, defend vegetables from insects and microbes before they are harvested for your dinner go to work defending your body after you eat and digest them.

    When you eat organic you bolster your health with more of these natural wonders. No wonder organic is becoming so popular!



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    Truth in Labeling
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    Date: June 14, 2005 10:44 AM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Truth in Labeling

    Truth in Labeling by Diane Stanton Energy Times, June 14, 2004

    Do you or don't you read food labels when you shop? If you don't, you're missing out on a prime source of information about your meals. If you want control of your health, focus on package labels and pick your foods carefully.

    The large print on food labels focus on what are called macronutrients: carbohydrates, fat and protein. Some of the smaller categories convey information about vitamins, fiber, and minerals, as well as the totals of fat and saturated fat contained in food. So, you have no excuse for claiming ignorance about your diet: the truth is in the labels.

    Food labels can be confusing to the uninitiated. Go into a big food store and you can be faced with what seems to be a forest of food information: more than 15,000 labels. Add to that fact that every year more than 30,000 new food products can be introduced to the marketplace, and what you're faced with is a jungle of food labels.

    That overwhelming wealth of food label information doesn't mean you should throw up your hands in dismay and give up reading and deciphering labels. You should arm yourself against that sea of labels with knowledge and, by understanding them, end your confusion and build your health.

    Label History

    A hundred years or so ago, food labels were only required to list the name of the food contained inside the package. The contents, quality and processes used to make the food were often a mystery. Little or no disclosure to consumers was made about how their food was created.

    By the early 1920s, the federal government, via the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), began requiring food companies to list the net weight of food on labels as well as the names and addresses of food processors and distributors. Finally, by the 1970s, listing basic nutritional information was mandated in a uniform way so that shoppers could have some basis for comparing foods. Then, in 1990, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act made major alterations to the kinds of labels that had to be included on food packages.

    The FDA and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) required significant changes to food labels that were supposed to make it easier for consumers to eat healthier diets. The labels requirements of 1994 included five major changes:

  • • The nutrition information on the label had to be printed in larger, more legible type.
  • • This condensed information had to be on the back or side of food packaging and titled as "Nutrition Facts." This type of information is also shown in grocery stores near the fresh food displays of fish, fruits and vegetables.
  • • The label had to include a column of information tagged as the "% Daily Value," designed to help consumers understand how the food could fit into a healthy diet.
  • • Each label had to include information about fat, cholesterol, fiber, sugar, calories from fat, and other information relevant to designing a healthy diet.
  • • The computed serving sizes were supposed to be more realistic and reflect the amount of food people actually eat at one sitting.

    Label Questions

    Consumer questions regarding food labels have led researchers to look into ways to help shoppers comprehend what food labels tell them. These studies are designed to help consumers match up their nutrition requirements with the foods they buy.

    For instance, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, scientists have devised a label tool called See It, Do It, Teach It to help people improve their diets through comprehension of food label information. " One of the goals of the project was to help...teenaged girls and menopausal women understand how they can get the daily requirement for calcium into their diet in order to help prevent osteoporosis," says Karen Chapman-Novakofski, PhD, associate professor and nutritionist in the school's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

    According to the See It, Do It, Teach It program, you should think of food labels as consisting of two sections:

  • • Food items you should limit: total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and, if you're eating a low-carb diet, total carbohydrates
  • • What you may need to increase: vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron

    " Much more attention has been paid to what people should limit rather than the nutrients needed. The average consumer doesn't know, for instance, how much vitamin A 10% of the Daily Value is, or how much calcium 25% of the Daily Value is," Dr. Chapman-Novakofski says.

    Upping Calcium Intake

    In their eight-week study of people's calcium consumption (Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 4/04), the University of Illinois research team found that people didn't know how much calcium was in the food they ate.

    After the initial part of the study, in which participants were shown how to look for calcium on labels, "the post-test revealed that the participants significantly increased their calcium intake to 821 mg per day, up from 372 mg per day," notes Dr. Chapman-Novakofski.

    " That's a lot closer to the daily requirements of 1,200 mg per day for men and women over 50, 1,000 mg for men and women aged 19 through 50 and 1,300 mg per day for [youths aged] 9 to [18] years," she adds.

    Parts of the Label

    The first item at the top of a nutrition food label tells you the portion size that the label measures. An important point to remember: these sizes are determined individually by each manufacturer. Consequently, all of the other values on the label are measured per portion.

    So, if you are comparing foods made by two different companies that employ very different portion sizes in their nutritional calculations, your label comparisons may be complicated.

    Another fact to be aware of: the listed portion size may be an odd division of the food within the container and not reflect a common-sense division. For instance, some food packages are labeled as containing 2.5 portions.

    And, to make things even more interesting, small boxes of candy that you might think contain barely enough for one helping may be labeled by the manufacturer as having two or more portions. As a result, if you eat the whole box, you often have to at least double the number of indicated calories, etc. to figure out the nutrients and calories you are consuming.

    The section of the label that notes calories, calories from fat and percent daily values is listed under the portion size. Here you are told how many calories you consume when you devour one portion and how many of those calories are derived from fat.

    This label focus on fat originated when consumers and dietitians were very concerned about Americans' fat consumption and hadn't yet switched their focus to carbohydrate consumption as a prevalent dietary health priority.

    Also included on the label: the daily value percentages aimed at showing you how much out of a total day's intake of various nutrients a portion bestows upon you.

    These percentage numbers are based on a theoretical analysis of a diet that contains 2,000 or 2,500 calories a day. (A notation at the bottom of the label tells you whether the calculation is based on 2,000 or 2,500.)

    Carb Facts

    If you've been eating a low-carb diet (or are planning this type of diet), the section of the label that lists carbohydrates may be especially useful. Under this heading, the label lists the totals for fiber and sugar.

    No matter what diet you are on, dietary fiber is desirable, since it represents indigestible carbohydrates that both pass through you without conveying any calories and keep beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract healthy.

    Most people want to limit their sugar totals, however, since this nutrient may raise your risk of being overweight and, when you eat a lot of it, may contribute to immune problems.

    Interestingly enough, when food chemists compute what is in food, they perform lab tests known as assays to distinguish its ingredients. (The manner in which these tests are performed are very strictly regulated by the FDA.)

    In fact, just about every nutrient listed on a food label is determined by laboratory test except for the carbohydrate content: the amount of water, fat, crude protein and ash are determined this way. But the total carbs are computed by simply subtracting the total of the other ingredients from the total amount of food, a kind of process of elimination.

    So while fat and protein are measured with precise lab tests, carbohydrate totals are figured by the leftovers. (The water and ash, by the way, are not usually listed on food labels.)

    Within the general carbohydrate group, are several categories of carbohydrates that produce very different effects in your body. These categories can be divided into sugar, sugar alcohols, dietary fiber and a collection of various chemicals that include organic acids, flavonoids, gums, lignans and others.

    According to the FDA, the food label only has to list the total carbs, sugar and dietary fiber. But some food companies now list things like sugar alcohols.

    Blood Sugar Effects

    Not all of these types of carbohydrates behave the same way in your body. For example, when your body digests table sugar, it turns immediately into blood sugar. So sugar and most other carbohydrate is what we call "digestible carbohydrate." Other carbs, such as sugar alcohol or glycerine, can be digested but do not turn to blood sugar. Still others, such as dietary fiber, are indigestible and pass through your body without impacting your blood sugar level.

    To date, the FDA has not focused on these important biochemical differences and treats all carbohydrates alike. This means that when you look at a food label, you do not see a number for the carbs that impact your blood sugar level. To do so, simply subtract the number of grams of fiber from the total number of carbohydrate grams.

    Net Carbs

    Recently, the phrases "low carb," "net carb" and "impact carbs" have begun to appear on food labels. These are not defined by the FDA; they were put on labels by by companies to help consumers pick out foods that are acceptable on low-carb diets. To arrive at the total of net carbs, food companies subtract the total amount of fiber and sugar alcohol from the total carbohydrates.

    Fiber Calculations

    Since the body cannot digest fiber, this nutrient (which is still important for good health) is not calculated into the total amount of carbohydrates. As for sugar alcohols, while-technically speaking-these are carbs and they do have calories, they have little effect on blood sugar and usually are not counted in total carbohydrates.

    According to the American Dietetic Association, people with diabetes who are managing their blood sugars using the carbohydrate counting method should "count half of the grams of sugar alcohol as carbohydrates since half of the sugar alcohol on average is digested.

    " Fiber is not digested, however. If the serving of food has more then 5 grams of fiber one should subtract the grams of fiber from the total carbohydrate grams." As you can see, when it comes to food, as in most things, knowledge is power. If you want power over your health, you need power over the food you eat. The road to that power is by reading food labels. What's in the food you're eating every day may surprise you.



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    SPA: Satisfying Personal Attention
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    Date: June 14, 2005 10:32 AM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: SPA: Satisfying Personal Attention

    SPA: Satisfying Personal Attention by Sylvia Whitefeather Energy Times, October 12, 2004

    Feeling stressed out? Looking for some time to relax and cool off, but just too busy to get away? Give yourself a spa treatment at home.

    Creating your own home spa experience is easy and the benefits are many. With some common household items and a few essential oils, you can luxuriate in your own special spa experience while recharging and renewing mind, body and spirit. Indulge with a few close friends for a unique, shared experience.

    Aromatherapy Adventures

    Using concentrated plant oils derived from flowers and plants, aromatherapy offers an ancient healing art that has gained newfound respect in the modern world. Aroma chemicals transfer quickly into the body, and researchers are finding unique ways to employ this ancient technique, including medical applications.

    Studies find that lemon balm or lavender oil reduces behavioral problems in older people with dementia (BMJ 2002; 325:1312-3). Rosemary has been found to improve memory and enhance mental functioning (Int J Neurosci 2003 Jan; 113(1):15-38).

    Only a drop or two of an essential oil is needed to receive their unique healing benefits. (Always dilute essential oils; never use or apply them directly to your skin without watering them down.) Essential oils can help you relax, rejuvenate, improve your memory and increase your energy.

    Some essential oils are reputed to reduce pain, kill bacteria, speed healing of injuries and help fight inflammation and infection (Natl Meeting, Amer Chem Soc, 8/02).

    Bathing Beauties

    When you feel like you're ready to spa, take the phone off the hook, unplug the TV and set aside a special, unbothered time and day for your at-home spa experience. Next, turn your bathroom into your special place. Light fragrant candles, put on your favorite soft music and fill the tub.

    When running the water you should select a water temperature that fits the effect you desire, according to Valerie Gennari Cooksley, RN, author of Healing Home Spa (Penguin). Water temperature that approximates your normal body temperature produces a sedative effect. On the other hand, hotter water-that which hovers around 100 degrees-induces sweating and helps cleanse and detoxify. In any case, limit your time in hot water to about 20 minutes. If you use cold water, only stay immersed for a few short minutes to rejuvenate and close the skin's pores.

    Try adding about 10 drops of either lavender or ylang-ylang oil to a warm bath to aid in relaxation and to release tight muscles. Don't rush; soak for at least 20 minutes and let the fragrant water vaporize your cares. Dry off with a fluffy towel and wrap yourself in your favorite bathrobe.

    Other bath enhancers you can add to your soak include oatmeal to soften the skin, seaweed for deep cleansing, Epsom salts to relieve aches, and baking soda to alkalize the body. Herbal sachets can be made by placing dried herbs in a muslin bag and dropping the bag into the water to release fragrances and healing chemicals.

    Fantastic Facial

    The facial is a standard spa procedure. Hold your face over a steaming bowl of hot water that contains lemon juice or a few drops of lemon essential oil for about 15 minutes. Use a towel over your head to hold in the steam.

    When your face is well moisturized, apply a facial mask. On dry skin, use either puréed, ripe avocado or a mask of honey and kelp. If your face is oily, apply either puréed, ripe bananas or a mask of peppermint oil and honey. If you are not sure of your skin type or have mixed skin, green clay can be used for a balanced facial. Green clay is rich in minerals while being antiseptic and healing, notes Valerie Ann Worwood, author of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy (New World Library). With the addition of warm water, it creates an instant facial mask. (You can also use prepared facial masks; ask about them at your health food store.)

    To apply the mask, begin at the forehead using upward strokes. Go easy around the eyes. Afterwards, put cucumber slices over your eyes and relax. Keep the mask on for about 15 minutes. Wash your face with warm water and then apply a moisturizer. Your skin should feel supple and look radiant.

    Pleasant Pampering

    Worwood recommends a few drops of rosemary oil and one tablespoon of baking soda in a basin of warm water to soothe your feet. Soaking your feet for about ten minutes softens the skin and nourishes the nails. After drying off, combine one-half cup sea salt with one-half cup of cooking oil, preferably olive, canola or sesame. Gently massage into each foot to stimulate reflex points and remove dead skin. Rinse and pat dry. Finish with a pedicure.

    This salt scrub can be used on any part of the body to eliminate toxins, increase circulation, improve lymphatic movement and cleanse the pores. A popular European treatment, it is especially helpful for parts of the body that store water, such as the tummy and thighs. Rinse completely after the scrub and apply moisturizer to dry areas.

    Since hands can age quickly, Worwood suggests using oils of rose, sandalwood and geranium for dry or neglected hands. You can also mix one-half cup of sugar with one-half cup cooking oil and a few drops of one of the above essential oils. Massage into each hand to moisturize and pamper your overworked hands. Rinse and apply your favorite lotion to seal in moisture. A gentle manicure adds the finishing touch.

    Healthy Hair

    Your special spa day wouldn't be complete without pampering your hair. Noted dermatologist David Bank, MD, suggests looking for shampoos that contain such gentle cleansers as avocado, borage oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil and wheat germ oil. Your shampoo should also contain moisturizing substances, such as aloe vera, to help give your locks shine and bounce.

    Check your hair's condition. Oily hair-that which feels greasy within a day of washing-responds best to frequent washing with minimal conditioning. A bad case of the frizzy tangles is a sign of dry hair, which needs a moisturizer-rich shampoo.

    Revive From the Inside With Green Drinks

    During your spa day, sip green drinks. Green drinks made from aquatic plants such as spirulina, seaweed and kelp contain needed minerals to nourish skin, hair and nails; these plants have been used for centuries to promote health and longevity. In addition to being high in minerals, they are also low in fat, high in fiber and rich in protein.

    The marine vegetables found in green drinks help detoxify the body, support the lymphatic system, alkalize the blood and tissues, and support a healthy thyroid. Many natural food stores carry green drink powders that can be added to juice or water. Sipping on a green drink can enhance the cleansing action of your home spa treatment, balance blood sugar levels and maintain your energy level during the day.

    Throughout your home spa experience, drinking spring water with a touch of lemon or lime can facilitate the elimination of toxins and keep you hydrated. Indulge in plenty of high-fiber fruits and vegetables, and avoid processed sugars and high-fat foods. Eating lightly allows your body to eliminate toxins from the inside out while you work on the outside.

    As Valerie Cooksley says, "...sound health occurs when the mind, body and spirit are in perfect harmony and balance." A home spa experience takes you a step closer to that harmony.



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    Women and Depression!
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    Date: June 13, 2005 07:48 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Women and Depression!

    Women and Depression by Lisa James Energy Times, March 11, 2004

    Just as fog veils a beautiful landscape, so depression veils life itself: rendering existence dark and dreary, narrowing the scope of one's dreams. And women are particularly prone to this lingering sadness.

    The good news: Depression doesn't have to linger forever. With proper nutrition, lifestyle changes and a revived outlook, you can break through that fog into a sunnier emotional clime. Women are more likely than men to fall prey to depression throughout their lifetimes, with women being twice as likely as men to experience major depression.

    While the greatest risk for both sexes falls at midlife, the gender difference appears early; one in ten teenage girls was found to suffer from major depression in one study (International Journal of Behavioral Development 2004; 28:16-25). What's more, childhood depression leaves a person more susceptible to mood problems in adulthood.

    One reason for the gender difference in depression, according to researchers, is that women tend to dwell on depressed feelings to a greater degree than men. Some scientists believe a family history of depression carries greater weight for women. Others theorize that the inner fluctuations of a woman's monthly cycle can leave her susceptible to stresses emanating from the outer world. Studies indicate that almost three-quarters of all premenstrual women experience some level of mood difficulties (Summit on Women and Depression, APA, April 02), and a woman's hormonal ebb and flow may even make her more vulnerable to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the kind of depression linked to a lack of natural light.

    Warning Signs Not surprisingly, many depressed folks feel sad and lethargic, down on themselves and the world. But in some people, depression is marked by agitation and concentration difficulties, or is accompanied by anxiety. Sleep disturbances-either insomnia or excessive sleepiness-often ensue, and activities that used to provide pleasure lose their appeal.

    Breaking depression's grip can do more than just lighten your mood-it may help safeguard your health. Studies suggest depression dampens the immune response and may increase the risks of coronary heart disease and diabetes (Archives of General Psychiatry 2003; 60:1009-14; Circulation 2000; 102:1773; Diabetes Care 2004; 27:129-33).

    Origins of Depression

    The reasons some people are pulled down by depression's undertow while others are able to stay afloat emotionally are complex, but researchers believe common factors link them all.

    One factor that can't be ignored is genetics. "If you are depressed, there is a 25% chance that a first-degree relative-a parent, child or sibling-is also depressed," says Hyla Cass, MD, author of St. John's Wort: Nature's Blues Buster (Avery). Other factors are physical problems and medication side effects. That's why your first step should be a consultation with your health care practitioner (if your moods are especially dark, seek professional assistance as soon as possible).

    Life's worries and cares also weigh more heavily on some people than on others. " [N]ot only will certain stressors [adverse events] cause depression as a direct response," notes Dr. Cass, "but they may predispose an individual to future episodes of depression." For example, the end of a relationship when you feel you've lost a lover and been humiliated (and been cheated on) raises your risk of depression (Archives of General Psychiatry 2003; 60:789-96).

    The Depressed Brain

    When depression hits, brain chemistry shifts. As a result, chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which relay messages between brain cells, go awry. For instance, a neurotransmitter called serotonin-critical to mood control-may decrease, leaving you feeling depressed, anxious, craving certain foods and unable to sleep.

    Conversely, "high levels of serotonin are associated with emotional and social stability," according to Dr. Cass. She adds that, in addition, sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone "affect brain cells directly."

    Lifting the Fog

    Because the causes of depression are so complex, leaving the darkness behind generally requires opening up several pathways. Part of feeling better simply lies in believing that you can. Researchers have found that depressed people who feel they have a sense of control over their troubles, do, in fact, have a better chance of recovery (General Hospital Psychiatry 2000; 22(4):242-50). Finding a community of like-minded folks bolsters your capacity to deal with mood problems. In some cases, time spent with a therapist can be a valuable aid in figuring out what's bothering you.

    On the physical side, losing weight can lift your spirits. Among women with severe obesity-itself a depression risk factor-losing weight has led to depression relief (Archives of Internal Medicine 2003; 163:2058-65). Research also indicates that exercise helps brighten dark moods.

    Nutritional Uplift

    A change in diet, along with certain supplements, can also help dispel depression. The first step on the road to emotional recovery: eat a lot of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, and stay away from overly refined foods with high levels of sugar.

    Omega-3 fatty acids, the kinds found in flax seed and fish, are essential to proper brain function. In several studies, people who took supplemental omega-3s found significant relief from depression.

    Key amino acids-the basic units of which proteins are built-serve as starting points for the production of mood-lifting neurotransmitters. In one trial, people who took an amino-acid mix that included tyrosine enjoyed better moods and were happier than people who took amino acids without it (Psychopharmacology (Berlin) Sept 4 2003).

    Along with amino acids, the body needs the right vitamins-especially members of the all-important B family-to create depression-fighting brain chemicals. In one study, people with depression who took vitamin B12 improved their chances of recovery (BMC Psychiatry 2003; 3:17).

    Another interesting observation: Vitamin B12 and its partners vitamin B6 and folate are essential to keep a protein called homocysteine (known primarily as a cardiovascular hazard) from reaching excessive levels, and people with high homocysteine are twice as likely to be depressed. This has led some researchers to speculate that folate may help keep depression under control (Archives of General Psychiatry 2003; 60:618-26).

    Herbs that may help beat back the blues include two that help the body deal with stress, eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) and schisandra (S. chinensis).

    A new diet, a new outlook: With the help of the right nutrients and the right support, you can break the bonds of depression.



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    Vitanet ®

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    Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number
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    Date: June 13, 2005 07:43 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number

    Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number by Carl Lowe Energy Times, March 10, 2004

    As women age, their physical needs shift. The health challenges that face a woman in her thirties do not match those of a woman in her fifties.

    At the same time, some basic health needs stay constant: At any age, every woman requires a wealth of vitamins, minerals and the other natural chemicals that fruits, vegetables and supplements supply. She also constantly needs families and friends to support her spiritual health.

    As the internal workings of your body alter, your lifestyle must stay abreast of those adjustments. Peak health demands a finely tuned health program designed with your individual needs-and your stage of life-in mind.

    Ages 30 to 45

    When it comes to maintaining health, younger women might seem to have it easier than older women. If they exercise and stay in shape, they maintain more stamina than women 10 to 20 years their senior.

    Unfortunately, many women in this age group mistakenly think they don't have to be as careful about their lifestyle habits and their eating habits as they will in later decades. But even if your health doesn't seem to suffer from poor eating choices or a sedentary lifestyle right away, your foundation for health in later life suffers if you don't care for yourself now.

    By age 45 you should have established the good habits that will carry you successfully through the aging process. As an added bonus, good lifestyle habits pay immediate dividends. If you pay attention to your nutrients and get plenty of physical activity when younger, you'll feel more energetic and probably enjoy better emotional health.

    Set Health Goals

    According to Gayle Reichler, MS, RD, CDN, in her book Active Wellness (Avery/Penguin), good health at any age doesn't just come to you-you have to plan for it. In order to stick to good habits, she says, "living a healthy lifestyle needs to be satisfying." Reichler believes that you need to picture your health goals to achieve them: "Every successful endeavor first begins in the mind as an idea, a thought, a dream, a conviction." Good health at this age and in later years requires a concrete strategy and visualization of how your body can improve with a healthy lifestyle.

    Your long-term health goals at this age should include an exercise program that will allow you to reach a physically fit old age with a lowered risk of disability. In addition, your short-term plans should encompass losing weight, staying optimistic, living life with more vim and vigor, increasing your capacity for exercise and lowering your stress.

    As Reichler points out, "Your long-term goal and your ideal vision establish what you want to achieve....[You should do] something good...for yourself every day and every week that makes your life easier and more consistent with your goals."

    Develop an Eating Plan

    Today, the average American gains about two pounds annually. As a result, every year a greater portion of the US population is obese and overweight. By controlling your food intake earlier in life, you may be able to avoid this weight gain. In his book Prolonging Health (Hampton Roads), James Williams, OMD, recommends basic changes to your diet that can provide long-term support of your health:

  • • Cut back on sugar. Dr. Williams says that, "Over my more than 20 years of clinical practice, I have found that nothing undermines health more than refined sugar."
  • • Limit your carbohydrates, especially the refined ones. Dr. Williams says you should "substitute whole grain breads for...white bread....[A]void commercial breakfast cereals....[E]at small amounts of beans several times a week."
  • • Cut calories. Cutting the amount of food you eat supports health in a number of ways and is believed to boost longevity. Dr Williams notes, "Calorie restriction is necessary...to normalize your weight...to reduce the metabolic burden of overeating on your liver and intestinal tract and to minimize insulin production from the glucose spikes caused by overeating." Problems with insulin production, linked to diabetes, may result from eating large amounts of sugary foods and little fiber, and are thought to accelerate aging.
  • • Eat mostly low-fat foods. Check product labels to limit fat. Foods that are high in healthy omega-3 fats, like fish and soy, can be eaten more often.
  • • Eat foods high in lean protein. Reichler recommends meats like lean beef, poultry, beans and non-fat dairy. • Eat fish. It provides a wealth of healthy fats and protein. "Fish, because it contains the good omega-3 fats, does not need to be lean; the same is true for soy products that do not have added fat," adds Reichler.

    Get Supplemental Help

    If you're in your thirties or forties and you don't take at least a multivitamin, start taking one today! A large body of research shows that taking vitamin and mineral supplements over a long period of time significantly supports better health.

    Calcium and vitamin D are two of the most important supplemental nutrients, helping to build stronger bones now that can withstand the bone-loss effects of aging.

    Calcium can also help keep your weight down. One study of younger women found that for every extra 300 milligrams of calcium a day they consumed, they weighed about two pounds less (Experimental Biology 2003 meeting, San Diego).

    In the same way, taking vitamin D supplements not only helps strengthen your bones, it can also lower your risk of multiple sclerosis (Neurology 1/13/04). In this study, which looked at the health records of more than 180,000 women for up to 20 years, taking D supplements dropped the chances of multiple sclerosis (although eating vitamin D-rich foods did not have the same benefit). And if you're thinking about having children at this age, a multivitamin is crucial for lowering your baby's risk of birth defects and other health problems. A study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that women who take multivitamins during pregnancy lower their children's risk of nervous system cancer by up to 40% (Epidemiology 9/02).

    " Our finding, combined with previous work on reducing several birth defects with vitamin supplementation and other childhood cancers, supports the recommendation that mothers' vitamin use before and during pregnancy may benefit their babies' health," says Andrew F. Olshan, MD, professor of epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health. "We believe physicians and other health care providers should continue to educate women about these benefits and recommend appropriate dietary habits and daily dietary supplements."

    In particular, Dr. Olshan feels that folic acid (one of the B vitamins), and vitamins C and A, are particularly important for lowering the risk of childhood cancers and birth defects.

    Ages 45 to 55

    When you reach this in-between age-the time when most women have moved past childbearing age but haven't usually fully moved into the post-menopausal stage-you enjoy a propitious opportunity to take stock of your health and plan for an even healthier future. One thing that may need adjustment is your sleep habits, as sleeplessness is a common problem for women in this age group. Even if you haven't been exercising or watching your diet until now, it's not too late to start. Making lifestyle changes at this age can still improve your chances for aging successfully.

    For instance, it is at these ages that women should have their heart health checked. Research published in the journal Stroke (5/01) shows that having your cholesterol and blood pressure checked at this time more accurately shows your future chances of heart disease than having it checked at a later date after menopause, in your late fifties.

    " The premenopausal risk factors may be a stronger predictor of carotid atherosclerosis [artery blockages] because they represent cumulative risk factor exposure during the premenopausal years, whereas the risk factors...during the early postmenopausal years have a shorter time for influence," says Karen A. Matthews, PhD, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In other words, Dr. Matthews' research shows that if you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol before menopause, you are at serious risk for a stroke or heart attack soon after menopause: These are important reasons that you need to start improving your health habits immediately.

    Increase in Heart Disease

    Before menopause, a woman's hormones and other physiological characteristics usually hold down her chance of heart disease. After menopause, when hormones and other bodily changes occur, the risk of heart attacks and stroke in women rises significantly. (Heart disease is the leading killer of women.) At least part of this increased risk is linked to the postmenopausal decrease in estrogen production.

    Dr. Matthews studied about 370 women in their late forties, measuring their weight, their BMI (body mass index, an indication of body fat compared to height), blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Ten years later, after the women had entered menopause, she and her fellow scientists used ultrasound to measure blockages in these women's neck arteries (a sign of heart disease).

    The researchers found that indications of potential heart problems (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight) when women were in their forties did indeed forecast future difficulties.

    " Women who had elevated cholesterol, higher blood pressures and increased body weight before menopause had increased blood vessel thickening and atherosclerotic plaque formation in the neck arteries after menopause. Such changes in the carotid arteries are associated with an increased heart attack and stroke risk," says Dr. Matthews.

    Heart Health Factors

    The four main lifestyle factors you should adjust at this age to support better heart function are diet, stress, exercise and weight. According to Dr. James Williams, "[M]ore than any other cause, dietary factors are the most critical factor in cardiovascular disease." He recommends eliminating "dietary saturated fatty acids as found in flame-broiled and fried meats." He also urges women to eat more fish and poultry, consume organic fruits and vegetables and cut back on refined sugar.

    Stress becomes an ever more important heart disease factor at this age as estrogen begins to drop.

    " Our study [in the lab] indicates that stress affects estrogen levels and can lead to the development of heart disease-even before menopause," says Jay Kaplan, PhD, of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (The Green Journal 3/02).

    Dr. Kaplan's research shows that stress in women ages 45 to 55 may reduce estrogen earlier in life and make women more susceptible to the arterial blockages that lead to heart disease. "We know from [lab] studies that stress can lower estrogen levels to the point that health is affected," he says.

    Stress can also hurt bone health: In a study of 66 women with normal-length menstrual periods, estrogen levels were low enough in half of the women to cause bone loss, making the women susceptible to osteoporosis.

    Exercise and Weight

    Although exercise used to be considered to be mainly a young woman's activity, the thrust of recent research suggests that physical activity actually becomes more important to health as you get older.

    A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that exercising and keeping your weight down is probably the most important thing you can do to lower your risk of heart disease as you enter your forties and fifties (Am J Prev Med 11/03).

    Of the people who took part in this study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who performed the most exercise were thinner and had a 50% chance less of dying of heart disease than overweight nonexercisers.

    " The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, a researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.

    An added benefit of exercise: If you burn up calories exercising, you can eat more and not have to worry as much about being overweight.

    Supplements and Diet

    If you're a woman at midlife, a multivitamin and mineral is still good nutritional insurance. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables are also important for getting enough phytochemicals, the health substances in plants that convey a wealth of health benefits.

    As you enter this age group, your immune system gradually slows down. To help support immune function, eating produce rich in antioxidant nutrients, and supplementing with antioxidants like vitamins C and E as well as carotenoids, can be especially important. For example, a study of people with ulcers found that people with less vitamin C in their stomachs are more likely to be infected with Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that can cause peptic ulcers and is linked to stomach cancer (J Amer Coll Nutr 8/1/03).

    This research, which looked at the health of about 7,000 people, found that vitamin C probably helps the immune system fend off this bacterial infection.

    " Current public health recommendations for Americans are to eat five or more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day to help prevent heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases," says Joel A. Simon, MD, MPH, professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.

    Calcium and Bones

    At midlife, calcium continues to be a vital mineral for supporting bone health.

    According to Gameil T. Fouad, PhD, "It has been routinely shown that a woman's calcium status and level of physical activity (specifically, the degree to which she participates in weight-bearing exercise) are positively associated with bone mineral density. It is less well appreciated that this is a process which takes place over the course of a lifetime."

    Dr. Fouad adds that calcium works in concert with other vitamins and minerals to keep bones healthy: "Research in the United Kingdom involving nearly 1,000 premenopausal women over age 40 illustrates those women with the highest bone density tended to have the highest intake of calcium. Surprisingly, this study also demonstrated that calcium does not act alone: those women with the best bone health also had the highest intakes of zinc, magnesium and potassium."

    Dr. Fouad stresses that supplements should go together with a lifestyle that includes enough sleep and exercise to help the body stay in top shape.

    " As a general guideline," he says, "a woman concerned with her mineral intake should take concrete steps to make sure she is getting adequate rest, is eating a well-balanced diet focused on fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein as well as getting adequate exercise....A multi-mineral containing bio-available forms of zinc, magnesium, copper and selenium is probably a safe addition to anyone's routine. Taking these proactive steps dramatically reduces the chances that deficiencies will arise."

    Ages 55 and Beyond

    Entering the post-menopausal phase of life can present challenging opportunities for a new perspective on life and health. While some signs of aging are inevitable, experts who have looked at how the human body changes with age are now convinced that healthy lifestyle habits can improve how well you can think, move and enjoy life well past age 55.

    As Dr. Williams notes, "In your fifties, the force of aging is undeniably present: Your body shape changes and organ function declines, both men and women have a tendency to gain weight....Heart disease becomes more common, energy and endurance are considerably reduced and your memory begins to slip."

    But Dr. Williams also points out that you don't have to age as rapidly as other people do. He believes you should employ a "natural longevity program...[that starts] to reverse the course of aging as early as possible."

    One key to staying vital as you age is your outlook on life, an aspect of life that's greatly enhanced by strong social ties.

    Avoiding the Aging Slowdown The latest research shows that one of the most crucial ways to slow the effects of aging is to exercise and keep your weight down. It won't necessarily be easy, though. The change in hormonal balance at this age makes the body more prone to extra pounds (Society for Neuroscience Meeting, 11/12/03).

    " In women, it has been demonstrated that major weight increases often occur during menopause, the time in a woman's life in which cyclic ovarian function ends and the ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone decline," says Judy Cameron, PhD, a scientist in the divisions of reproductive sciences and neuroscience at the Oregon Health & Science University.

    In Dr. Cameron's lab trials, she has found that the decrease in estrogen after menopause "resulted in a 67% jump in food intake and a 5% jump in weight in a matter of weeks."

    In other words, the hormonal changes you undergo as enter your late fifties causes your appetite to grow as well as your waistline: Developments that increase your chances of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and joint problems.

    Vigilance against this weight gain is necessary to save your health: Start walking and exercising. Research on exercise in people aged 58 to 78 found that getting off the couch for a walk or other physical activity not only helps control weight but also helps sharpen your thinking and helps you become more decisive (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2/16-20/04, online edition). This recent study, done at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, found that performing aerobic exercise improved mental functioning by 11% (on a computer test).

    " We continue to find a number of cognitive benefits in the aerobic group," says Arthur F. Kramer, PhD, a professor of psychology at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois. "The brain circuits that underlie our ability to think-in this case to attend selectively to information in the environment-can change in a way that is conducive to better performance on tasks as a result of fitness." In simple terms, that means that walking at least 45 minutes a day boosts brain power as well as protecting your heart.

    An Herb for Menopause

    The physical changes that accompan> y menopause can be uncomfortable. But traditional herbal help is available: Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), an herb used for eons by aging women, has been shown in recent studies to be both safe and effective (Menopause 6/15/03).

    " This [research] should reassure health professionals that they can safely recommend black cohosh to their menopausal patients who cannot or choose not to take HRT [hormone replacement therapy]," says researcher Tieraona Low Dog, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico Department of Family and Community Medicine.

    While HRT has been used to help women cope with menopause, a flurry of studies in the past few years have shown that HRT increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. Instead, black cohosh, which alleviates such menopausal discomforts as hot flashes, has been shown to be much safer.

    Keeping Track of Crucial Vitamins

    While continuing to take multivitamins and minerals at this age is important, some experts believe that as we grow older, vitamin D supplementation, as well as taking antioxidant nutrients, is particularly vital. Arthritis is a common affliction of aging, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one particularly destructive form of this joint problem. But taking vitamin D can significantly lower your risk of this condition.

    When scientists analyzed the diets of 30,000 middle-aged women in Iowa over 11 years, they found that women who consumed vitamin D supplements were 34% less likely to suffer RA (Arth Rheu 1/03).

    Other vitamins are equally important to an older woman's well-being. For example, vitamins C and natural E have been found to lower the risk of stroke in those over the age of 55 (Neurology 11/11/03). In this study, smokers who consumed the most vitamin C and natural vitamin E were 70% were much less likely to suffer strokes than smokers whose diets were missing out on these vitamins.

    Rich sources of vitamin C in food include oranges and other citrus fruits, strawberries, red and green peppers, broccoli and brussels sprouts. Sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils such as sunflower seed, cottonseed, safflower, palm and wheat germ oils, margarine and nuts.

    Saving Your Sight

    After age 55, your eyes are particularly vulnerable. Eight million Americans of this age are at risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that destroys structures in the back of the eye necessary for vision (Arch Ophthal 11/03). But you can drop your risk of AMD by taking supplements of antioxidant vitamins and zinc, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute.

    Their research shows that a dietary supplement of vitamins C, natural vitamin E and beta carotene, along with zinc, lowers the chances of progressing to advanced AMD in certain at-risk people by about 25%. Daily supplements also reduced the risk of vision loss by about 19%.

    The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin also help protect aging eyes. When scientists compared healthy eyes with eyes suffering from AMD, they found that AMD eyes contained lower levels of these vital nutrients (Ophthalmology 2003; 109:1780). Furthermore, they found that levels of these chemicals generally decline as you grow older.

    Healthy at All Ages

    When it comes to designing a healthy lifestyle, general rules like these can be followed, but you should individualize your plan to fit your needs. No matter which type of exercises you pick out or what healthy foods you choose, look for a strategy and a plan you can stick to. If you think a selection of foods are good for you but you absolutely hate their taste, chances are you won't be able to stick to a diet that includes them.

    The same goes for exercise: Pick out activities that you enjoy and that you can perform consistently. That increases your chance of sticking to an exercise program.

    Staying healthy is enjoyable and it helps you get more out of life every day, no matter what stage of life you're in.



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    Vitanet ®

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    Winter Survival Kit
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    Date: June 13, 2005 07:35 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Winter Survival Kit

    Winter Survival Kit by Joanne Gallo Energy Times, February 4, 2000

    Now that the flesh-baring season is but a distant memory, skin care may have dropped off your list of priorities. But unless you're planning on hibernating until May, Old Man Winter can play a cruel joke on your smooth, glowing complexion-causing cumulative damage not easily remedied. Defend yourself with our survival kit and keep the harsh elements from wreaking havoc on your outer sheath.

    Winter Blast

    Frigid temperatures and blustery winds take their toll on everyone's skin, whether it's normal, oily or dry. Cold dry air, combined with arid indoor heat, results in less natural sebum (oil) production. This oil acts as a protective barrier that helps hold moisture on the surface of the skin; hence less sebum leads to a rough and dry exterior. Icy winds can also cause redness as the stress induces tiny capillaries just underneath the skin's surface to burst.

    So the first order of business for winter skincare is preserving your skin's moisture. Along with external methods of bundling up all exposed areas, dietary habits can help preserve moisture internally.

    Skincare consultant Lynn J. Parentini, author of The Joy of Healthy Skin: A Lifetime Guide to Beautiful, Problem-Free Skin (Prentice Hall), suggests reducing your intake of coffee and tea, which act as diuretics; eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, which contain natural, vitamin-rich moisture; and increasing the amount of water you drink (those daily recommended eight glasses of water are even more important in winter).

    A Cleansing Experience

    Bathing can strip skin of its natural oils, so you should be careful of washing with overdrying soaps. Avoid deodorant soaps with harsh detergents which can irritate the skin, and look for milder soaps with moisturizers or a skin-softening shower gel. Neutrogena Rainbath Shower & Bath Gels gently cleanse and condition skin with a rich, full lather that won't leave a residue. Showers tend to be less drying than baths, but if you prefer soaking in a tub you can use bath oil to lubricate the skin. Also avoid very hot showers and baths as they can pull moisture out of the body.

    For extremely dry and sensitive skin, shower at night and follow with a rich moisturizer. Skin then can replenish its protective oils before the morning's icy blast.

    Skin Savers

    Now's the time to use a heavier cream moisturizer to counteract all these dehydrating forces, so finding the right one is imperative. In simpler times, choosing a body moisturizer came down to which one possessed the most pleasing smell. Today, lotions are formulated with nutrients and natural ingredients for powerful, soothing benefits. • CAMOCARE Soothing Cream contains patented Camillosan Camomile, a natural anti-inflammatory. This thick, therapeutic cream is great for dry patches on hands or elbows.

  • • Curel Ultra Protective Concentrated Antioxidant Moisturizer with SPF 15 features an exclusive "cationic technology" that delivers a high level of long-lasting hydration, as well as antioxidants like vitamin E to protect against environmental elements that can cause damage and premature aging.
  • • Nivea Creme, developed in 1911, reportedly smooths roughness even 12 hours after being applied. More than 98% of Nivea's ingredients are natural, and its Eucerit base resembles human sebum.

    Face the Season

    Faces need extra-special protection during winter, as moisturizers do double duty to fight the elements and aging. Many formulas contain alpha (AHA) and beta hydroxy acids: gentle exfoliants that slough off the top layer of dead skin cells to allow younger, smoother-looking skin to emerge. • Oil of Olay's Age Defying Series: Protective Renewal Lotion contains moisturizers, a beta-hydroxy complex, vitamin E and SPF 15. • Neutrogena Healthy Skin Face Lotion is formulated with alpha-hydroxy acids to ease lines, blotches and discoloration; vitamin A and pro-vitamin B5 to increase firmness and moisture levels; and antioxidant vitamins C and E to fight free radical damage and protect new skin.

    Sun Damage

    So you think the sun is the least of your problems in the winter? Better reflect on that matter again. The general public has finally warmed up to wearing sunblock in the summer, but year-round protection against ultraviolet (UV) rays is crucial to avoid premature aging.

    There are two types of UV rays, UVA and UVB: the former are responsible for aging and the latter for burning. Although UVB rays produce a more blatant sign of skin damage, it is limited to the epidermis, or outer layer of the skin.

    UVA rays, on the other hand, don't cause any discomfort, but they penetrate deep to the dermis or second layer of skin. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Department of Dermatology have shown that chronic exposure to sunlight can cause holes and breaks in the elastin and collagen fibers that give the skin its shape, definition and supple quality. This damage is what is known as "photoaging." Severely photoaged skin appears dry, scaly, leathery, spotted and deeply wrinkled.

    While the burning UVB rays are most intense during the summer months, UVA rays are prevalent year-round. Their effect on the skin is cumulative, so that the more you're exposed the more likely your skin is to age prematurely. And as only 14% of Americans wear sunscreen year-round (according to the American Academy of Dermatology), most of us are getting more UVA exposure than we realize.

    " New clinical evidence proves that sun damages the skin much faster than previously thought," notes Zoe Draelos, MD, clinical associate professor of dermatology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. "It only takes small amounts of sun exposure, such as walking to the car or to the mailbox, to start skin damage."

    And for those who engage in popular winter sports like skiing, UVA rays are even stronger at higher elevations. Sunblocks with high SPFs (sun protection factor) guard against UVB rays but they do not block against UVAs, so many sunscreen products do not sufficiently protect against the entire range of UVA rays.

    It is crucial, then, to look for products that guard against the entire spectrum of UVA/UVB rays. Sunblocks that contain zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or Parsol 1789 provide complete protection against aging and burning rays. Try Coppertone Shade UVA Guard SPF 30, Hawaiian Tropic 30 Plus Broad Spectrum Sunblock, L'Oreal Ombrelle Sunscreen Lotion or Spray in SPF 15, or PreSun Ultra SPF 30.

    Lip Tips

    Don't forget that the lips are particularly susceptible to sun damage too. In comparison to other facial skin, they have far fewer oil glands, no sweat glands, a much thinner protective outer layer and very few melanocytes, the cells that produce the protective pigment melanin. Accumulated sun exposure makes the lips less plump as UV rays damage their collagen and elastin fibers, resulting in rough spots, scaly patches or faded areas.

    Even if you wear lipstick on a regular basis, most do not contain the sunscreens and conditioners you can find in a lip balm. Blistex offers a wide range of lip care products, like their new Blistex Herbal Answer, which contains the conditioning qualities of five natural, herbal extracts: aloe, chamomile, avocado, jojoba and shea butter, plus SPF 15; Blistex Ultra Protection with SPF 30 has six protectants for advanced defense against cold, wind and sun; Blistex DCT (Daily Conditioning Treatment) with SPF 20 contains aloe, lanolin, cocoa butter, and vitamins A and E to help keep lips soft and supple. o



    --
    Vitanet ®

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    Home on the Range
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    Date: June 13, 2005 03:52 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Home on the Range

    Home on the Range

    by Janis Jibrin, RD Energy Times, September 5, 1999

    Got chicken? Americans can't seem to get enough of this bird. Last year each of us ate, on average, just about 80 pounds of chicken, a whopping increase over the 49 pounds we each devoured in 1980 and an eight-pound increase from 1995. Part of this food's popularity comes from its lean image as a healthier, less fatty alternative to red meat (don't forget to take the fatty skin off). Chicken's also a cheap protein source: At many popular supermarkets you'll find weekly specials at about a dollar a pound.

    But at health food markets, chicken can cost upwards of $1.69 a pound. These birds may be touted as raised in an organic, stress-free environment and on a vegetarian diet, free of antibiotics. For many people, this poultry is a better buy.

    The Alternative Chicken

    Most of the supermarket chicken you pick up in grocery refrigerated cases are broilers, birds bred to mature in about eight weeks. In comparison, in the '60s, chickens needed 14 weeks to become adult poultry. Conventionally-raised broilers eat grain mixed with whatever's cheapest on the market, such as recycled cooking oil that's been used to fry fast foods and animal parts.

    These birds reside in chicken coops the size of football fields and don't see the light of day until transported to the slaughterhouse. On the other roost, alternatively raised chickens are brought up in a variety of ways (see box), but usually enjoy a more relaxed life and diet.

    Chickens on the farm receive antibiotics for two reasons: To fight off the diseases that can run rampant through a crowded chicken coop and to encourage faster growth.

    Antibiotics Stimulate Growth

    Mark Cook, PhD, professor of animal science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, explains, "Gut bacteria trigger an immune system assault, which makes chickens a little feverish, suppresses appetite and slows growth. Antibiotics stimulate growth indirectly, by keeping bacteria levels down, and preventing the immune reaction." When birds get sick, they often get dosed with even more antibiotics.

    This widespread antibiotic use has come home to roost and may contribute to the growth of bacteria that, frequently exposed to chemicals, have evolved ways to keep from being killed by pharmaceuticals.

    This development threatens human health. Bacterial infections that people contract, once easily cured by penicillin or other drugs, are now tougher to eradicate. For instance, campylobactor, a common bacteria found in chicken, and responsible for some food poisonings, now demonstrates signs of resistance to drugs like floroquinolones. A powerful class of antibiotics, floroquinolones used to dependably conquer this infection.

    "Floroquinolones are an extremely important class of antibiotics, used to treat many types of infections such as urinary tract infection, a wide variety of gastrointestinal illnesses, pneumonia, almost everything," says Kirt Smith, DVM, PhD, epidemiologist, acute disease epidemiology section, Minnesota Department of Health.

    A study by Dr. Smith, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (340, 1999: 1525-32), showed that the percent of floroquinolone-resistant campylobactor appearing in infected people in his state-Minnesota-climbed from a little over 1% in infected people during 1992 to 10.2% in 1998. He and other scientists strongly suspect that the rise is a direct consequence of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) decision to allow floroquinolones in poultry feed beginning in 1995.

    Although it was nearly impossible for Dr. Smith to trace the precise origin of campylobactor poisoning, he believes chicken was usually the source-and not just U.S. chicken. Many of the infected people had returned from Mexico and other countries.

    "Sales of floroquinolones for poultry use in Mexico has increased dramatically," notes Dr. Smith.

    Many alternative chicken producers do not use any antibiotic-laced feed at all. Other farmers adjust the feed to lower gut pH, making it more acidic and lowering chances of bacteria. At the U. of Wisconsin, Dr. Cook is developing antibodies to suppress the immune response to bacteria so chickens won't need antibiotics to spur growth. Buying and dining on chicken raised with little or no antibiotics could beneficially lower your risk of contracting a hardy bacterial infection. Better to catch campylobactor from an antibiotic-free chicken than a conventional chicken, speculates Dr. Cook. "There's less likelihood the bug will be resistant, and a better chance your problem can be cured with antibiotics," he explains.

    And, looking beyond your own immediate health risk, buying antibiotic-free chicken makes a small contribution to stopping the spread of antibiotic resistant bugs. A Matter of Taste Conventionally raised chickens get little exercise and live only eight weeks, so they're tender but bland.

    "There's not much taste in a modern chicken. Free range or organically grown, older birds usually have more taste," notes Dr. Cook.

    The days of barnyard chickens happily clucking and strutting around in picturesque nature have disappeared with the family farm. Today, chickens lead a meager existence. After hatching, baby chicks are tossed into a gigantic hen house that is home to up to 30,000 birds. Their short lives are lived within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandated 3/4 square foot per chicken. In that squeeze, birds can catch "chicken influenza," especially in winter when it's too cold to let in much fresh air.

    Laying hens don't experience much more of a peaceful existence. These birds live their years with about five other hens, so crowded they can't flap their wings. Cages, suspended in the air, let eggs roll into a holding area. So they don't peck each other, hens are often debeaked, a painful process that can cause infection.

    Hens go through natural laying and "dry" cycles. Growers manipulate this cycle by "forced molting," depriving hens of food for four to 14 days to keep them constantly laying. By the end of two years, hens are worn out. Their inactivity weakens their bones enough that electrical stunning, the usual method for knocking chickens out before slaughter, shatters their bones. So some wind up being plucked and boiled alive, according to Mary Finelli, program director for farm animals and public health at the Humane Society of the United States. The meat from these hens, tougher than other birds, was probably in your deli lunch sandwich. It's also used in the school lunch program or may end up in dog food.

    "Generally, organically-grown broilers and hens have it better because room to move is part of the organic certification process," says Finelli. Finelli suggests visiting chicken suppliers to find out how chickens are treated. Or, she advocates a Humane Society book listing reliable firms. For a local producer call the society: 202-452-1100. According to a Consumer Report report, some growers force chickens out the last week of their lives to brand them "free range." So free range isn't a prime standard for choosing a decently raised chicken. However, turkeys thrive outdoors, so choosing free-range turkey is often a good idea for better tasting poultry.

    In any case, organic is your best bet for chicken without pesticides. Make it your main choice for your 80 pound yearly consumption!

    To fight cruel treatment of poultry:

    • Forced Molting Ban. Forced molting is shocking hens for more eggs. To support petitions banning forced molting write: Docket Manage-ment Branch, FDA, Dept. Health & Human Serv-ices, 12420 Parklawn Drive, Room 1-23, Rock-ville, MD 20857. Include docket # 98P-0203/CP

    • Downed Animal Protection Bill (House Bill 443, Senate Bill S515) spares some animals from the tortuous journey from chicken house to slaughterhouse. Mandates humane euthanization.



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    Vitanet ®

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    Defeat Depression
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    Date: June 13, 2005 01:18 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Defeat Depression

    Defeat Depression

    by Cal Orey Energy Times, August 2, 1999

    Depression plagues the creative and the mundane. The disparate desperate driven to distress by depression include painters, poets, actors and musicians as well as truck drivers, clerks, electricians and physicists. The victim list encompasses Vincent van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Audrey Hepburn, Virginia Woolf and Ludwig von Beethoven, as well as millions of other sharers of melancholy misery.

    More than 17 million American men and women experience depression in one form or another every year, according to the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) in Alexandria, Virginia. This includes the deeply destructive major, or clinical, depression, the wide mood swings of bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), and dysthymia, a milder, long-lasting form of emotional suffering.

    Twice as Many Women In the depression scenario, women suffer twice as much: Two times as many women as men endure clinical depression, reports the NMHA. The mood-deteriorating effects of the hormonal disruptions women are heir to may be partly to blame.

    According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about one of 10 Americans wades through at least one depressive swamp sometime during his or her life.

    The good news: Research shows that diet and lifestyle can lower your risk of depression.

    Birth of the Blues

    Nowadays, mounting evidence suggests that depression may result more from physiological factors than psychological woes.

    Some of the hidden reasons why you may be depressed include: nutritional deficiencies, exacerbated by overdosing on too much caffeine, sugar, alcohol and high fat foods; allergies; anxiety and chronic stress; and a chemical imbalance in the brain's gray matter. According to the NMHA, people with depression often possess too little or too large a quantity of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. Changes in levels of these brain chemicals may cause, or contribute to, clinical depression.

    The NMHA also reports that an imbalance of melatonin, a chemical made by the body's pineal gland (located at the base of the brain), contributes to a form of wintertime depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This hormone is made at increased levels in the dark. Therefore, the body may oversupply this hormone during winter's shortened daylight hours.

    Plan B

    Since the B vitamins are often involved in the production of energy, and a large component of depression may encompass the inability to get out of bed and deal with the world, experts believe that at least some of the signs of depression are linked to B deficiencies. For instance, studies cited in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima) by Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, demonstrate that folate deficiency and lack of vitamin B12 can compromise mental health (Drugs 45, 1993: 623-36; Lancet 336, 1990: 392-5).

    Inositol: This vitamin is also part of the B vitamin complex, and it, too, has shown its ability to lift spirits. Research work in Israel shows that daily inositol given to 28 depressed patients for four weeks produced an overall positive effect. (Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 7:2, May 1997: 147-55). Inositol is found in whole, unprocessed grains, citrus fruits (except lemons) and brewer's yeast.

    NADH: Allan Magaziner, DO, in his book The Idiot's Complete Guide To Living Longer & Healthier (Alpha), reports that brain energizing NADH, a metabolite of vitamin B3, enhances the production of the key neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin. "In a recent clinical trial," he claims, "nearly all patients given NADH for depression reported improvement in their symptoms and the absence of side effects or adverse reactions."

    Moody Spotlight

    Another substance winning the spotlight for its effect on mood is SAM-e: S-adenosylmethionine. In New York on February 24, a symposium coordinated by the American Health Foundation met to hear researchers present information from studies of SAM-e's ability to possibly ease depression.

    "SAM-e is a natural product. You and I have it but as people age it declines in production in the body. And that's why we believe supplementation in older people is a beneficial means of bringing that back up and helping people that have depression," said the lead symposium researcher, John H. Weisburger, PhD, MD, Director Emeritus, American Health Foundation in Valhalla, New York.

    Another researcher, Teodoro Bottiglieri, PhD, Associate Professor of Biomedical Studies and Neurology, Director of Neuropharmacology at Baylor University reported: "SAM-e has been shown to enhance brain dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitter metabolism and receptor function. It may also aid in the repair of myelin that surrounds nerve cells. These mechanisms are likely to be responsible for the antidepressant effect of SAM-e."

    (Bottiglieri is co-author with Richard Brown, MD, and Carol Colman of Stop Depression Now, a report on the powers of SAM-e just published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.)

    SAM-e was first touted as an antidepressant in Italy in 1973. It's been reported that nearly 40 clinical trials demonstrate its beneficial effects as a natural antidepressant.

    For instance, an analysis of more than 1000 people suffering depression showed that the effect of antidepressants in patients taking SAM-e was 17% to 38% better than dummy preparations. Conventional antidepressants show a 20% effectiveness rate (Bressa G. Acta Neurol Scand S154, 1994: 7-14).

    5-HTP: Another popular supplement to boost mood and relieve depression is hydroxytryptophan. "This medication is actually a brain chemical that is metabolized from tryptophan into serotonin," says Magaziner. And since low serotonin levels have been linked with depression, and certain prescribed medications may up serotonin levels, 5-HTP is in demand.

    "One of the more impressive studies supporting the efficacy of 5-HTP for depression evaluated 100 people who had previously found conventional antidepressant therapy to be inadequate. Forty-three of these folks reported a complete recovery, and eight showed significant improvement," reports Magaziner. Not only has 5-HTP been shown to work slightly better than drugs known as SSRIs (these include Prozac), he adds, it has fewer side effects than standard antidepressants, too. DHEA: Medical experts also believe that levels of the hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) may influence mood. Ray Sahelian, MD, in his book All About DHEA (Avery) reports an interesting study conducted by Dr. Owen Wolkowitz of the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco. A group of six depressed middle-aged and elderly individuals who took DHEA found that within a month they had better memory and mood. (Biological Psychiatry 41, 1997: 311-18.) "In addition," adds Sahelian, "other studies have also found that DHEA increases energy levels and a sense of well being." But follow package directions: Some people complain of greater irritability and overstimulation with DHEA, when they take large amounts.

    Herbal Relief

    St. John's wort: still the most touted natural therapy for defeating depression. In Europe, 23 clinical studies, reviewed in the August 3, 1996 British Medical Journal, found that this herb, also known as Hypericum perforatum, can be helpful in alleviating cases of mild to moderate depression. The work, which included 757 patients, has shown that hypericum produced fewer side effects than conventional anti-depressants.

    Although experts have never satisfactorily explained exactly how St. John's wort benefits the brain, some theorize that it boosts serotonin levels. And it can help SAD sufferers.

    "In a recent study of 20 people with SAD, four weeks' worth of St. John's wort significantly alleviated feelings of depression. Those people who added full-spectrum lights to the treatment program gained an even greater benefit," notes Dr. Magaziner.

    Valerian: Anxiety and stress, which can cause depression and insomnia, may be helped by this herb, says the prolific Dr. Sahelian in his book Kava: The Miracle Antianxiety Herb (St. Martin's). In 101 Medicinal Herbs (Interweave), Steven Foster reports that "Ten controlled clinical studies have been published on valerian...one of which suggests that valerian should be used for two to four weeks before daily mood and sleep patterns improve."

    Amino Acid Help

    Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, may also help improve mood. (For more on protein, see page 65.) These chemicals are used by the body to construct neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that facilitate mental activity.

    For instance, the amino acid L-tyrosine is necessary for the formation of transmitters adrenaline and dopamine. This substance, therefore, is given to alleviate depression and anxiety.

    The substance L-dopa which is given to victims of Parkinson's disease is concocted from tyrosine. And several antidepressants alleviate bad moods by boosting the interaction of brain chemicals related to tyrosine.

    In addition, since tyrosine is used to make adrenaline, this amino acid may be helpful for folks trying to cope with the mood problems related to stress.

    Another amino acid that experts believe useful for better moods, L-methionine, is used by the body to make choline, a crucial substance for brain function. (Choline goes into the formation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.)

    Methionine has been given to people suffering from schizophrenia and depression as well as to those with Parkinson's. Methionine plays a number of crucial roles in the brain and body since it helps form other vital proteins.

    Depressive Smoking

    For those concerned about preserving a positive mood, researchers are positive that smoking worsens depression. A study at the Department of Behavioral Services at the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan found that daily smokers run twice the risk for major depression compared to those who only smoked occasionally.

    Unfortunately, the investigators found that not only did smoking seem to lead to depression, depression, in turn, led to more smoking (Archives of General Psychiatry, 2/99).

    "Smokers who have depression tend to see their smoking become a daily habit and it may be because they use nicotine to medicate their depressed mood," reported Naomi Breslau, PhD, who headed the research. Over a five year period, the researchers looked at about a thousand young people aged 21 to 30. They found that daily smokers generally start smoking in adolescence, and those who report early depression are three times as likely to eventually become daily smokers.

    If you're feeling down, don't give up hope. Although depression can prove to be a depressingly complicated malady, daily, healthy habits can offset its effects. Getting consistent exercise, dousing your cigarettes and turning to herbal and nutritional help to treat mild depression may defeat those blues.



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    Vitanet ®

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    Centering Your Heart
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    Date: June 13, 2005 10:15 AM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Centering Your Heart

    Centering Your Heart by Lisa James Energy Times, January 4, 2004

    The romantic view of the human heart conjures up vivid images: The gallant lover, the committed enthusiast, the wise sage. When the romantic philosophy speaks of the heart, it speaks of things that lie at the very center of what it means to be human.

    Western medical science, though, views the heart as a biomechanical pump-marvelously engineered to be sure, but a physical device amenable to surgical and pharmaceutical tinkering.

    Between romance and technology lies the Eastern path. Eastern medical traditions, including Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and India's Ayurveda, see the heart as a seat of energy that must be kept in right relationship with the rest of the body.

    TCM: Yin, Yang and Qi

    The two great polarities of yin and yang are always shifting and rebalancing, according to Chinese philosophy, in our bodies as in everything else. Yin is dark, inward, cold, passive and downward; yang is light, outward, warm, active and upward.

    The energy that keeps us alive is called qi, or life force. Organs, including the heart, are seen as places where qi resides. Organs supply and restrain each other's qi, which flows along carefully mapped meridians, or channels. Disease occurs when disturbances in qi interrupt the flow of energy so that an organ experiences either a deficiency or excess of yin/yang.

    Circulatory Disturbances

    According to Chinese precepts, disturbances in the heart affect the whole body. "The movement of the blood throughout the body, TCM circulation, is managed by multiple organs, which in turn interact with one another. A failure in any one part of this system can result in pathology," says Jonathan Simon, LAc, an acupuncture expert in private practice and at the Mind-Body Digestive Center, in New York.

    "If there's a circulation issue, all the organ systems are going to be deprived of the nourishment supplied by the blood. The heart seems to have a dramatic effect on everything else in the body," says Ross Rosen, JD, LAc, CA, MSTOM, Dipl AC & CH (NCCAOM), of The Center for Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine P.A. in Westfield, New Jersey.

    Connecting the Dots

    While Western medicine probes the heart's physical functioning, TCM searches for energy imbalances by looking for patterns in a person's complaints.

    "The wrong approach, in my opinion, is to try to relieve a Western ailment before you have established the proper pattern," Simon notes. "For example, I once had a 20-year-old, slim patient who came to me complaining of hypertension. She had seen several other acupuncturists before she got to my clinic, all of whom had prescribed the number-one formula for hypertension in TCM. When I interviewed her, I discerned a very different pattern from the classic one for hypertension. I gave her the formula associated with her pattern, not her symptom, and she had great relief over the next three weeks. After consultation with her Western physician, she began to cut back on her medication, and is now off of her meds."

    TCM emphasizes taking a thorough medical history and using a sophisticated pulse-taking technique called the shen hammer method. Rosen calls pulse "the blueprint of one's health."

    Root Causes

    As in conventional Western medicine, TCM sees diet as a major culprit in heart disease. "Poor diet will cause problems depending upon on the constitution of the person," explains Simon. "For example, if one eats an excess of greasy and spicy food, that may build up and generate excess heat in the body. That may manifest itself as someone with a quick temper, red face and high blood pressure. On the other hand, a vegetarian who eats only salads may have low energy, a sallow complexion and low blood pressure. I try to tell my patients to keep balance in their diets, but to avoid cold, raw and greasy foods."

    TCM also sees unsettled emotions as a source of illness. Stress "creates stagnation in qi and in the blood, eventually," Rosen says. "When stagnation is long or severe, heat starts being produced. We say that heat goes into the blood and steams the body, and heat starts to dry out the vessels. This process winds up turning into atherosclerosis-it kind of vulcanizes the vessel wall. It deprives the vessel of its moisture, which deprives it of its elasticity. Blood pressure starts to increase."

    Managing one's emotions and not overworking body or mind is key, says Rosen: "The heart houses the spirit, the shen. When we see people with imbalances in emotion, the spirit starts to become agitated; once the spirit becomes agitated, the whole heart system goes out of balance."

    Signs of agitation include insomnia, anxiety and an inability to feel joy, along with chest pain and heart palpitations. TCM uses nutrition, herbs and acupuncture to bring the body back into balance.

    Ayurveda: Constitutional Energies

    Like TCM, Ayurveda sees health as a matter of balancing the subtle energies that power our bodies. In Ayurveda, these energies exist as three doshas, or basic constitutions:

    * Vata is cold, dry, light, clear and astringent. The skin of vata individuals is generally dry, thin, dark and cool, with hair that's curly, dark and coarse. Vatas change their minds readily and crave warmth.

    * Pitta is sharp, light, hot, oily and pungent. Pitta people tend to have skin that's soft, fair, warm and freckled, along with fine, fair hair. Quick-witted, pittas hold strong convictions. They prefer coolness, since they tend to perspire profusely.

    * Kapha is cold, heavy, oily, slow and soft. Kapha skin is pale, cold and thick, and kapha hair, which is usually brown, is thick and lustrous. Stable and compassionate, kaphas don't like the cold.

    Few people are one, pure dosha. Most contain varying levels of vata, pitta and kapha (abbreviated VPK), generally with one predominating.

    Doshas Unbalanced

    Ayurveda views the heart as "governing emotions and circulating blood," according to Sophia Simon, MS, LAc, of the Karma Healing Center in Newtown, Pennsylvania. In Ayurveda "heart problems arise mainly due to improper diet and stressful lifestyles," which causes a "derangement of vata dosha. This leads to thickening of the arteries, resulting in angio-obstruction."

    "Stress reduction is very important in heart disease," says Simon. "Meditation helps a lot with stress reduction, especially simple breathing exercises, yoga, etc." Some of Simon's recommendations have a familiar ring: Don't smoke, do exercise, eat a plant-based, low-fat diet. In addition, she says you should:

    * Avoid coffee and other beverages that contain caffeine.

    * Be loving and compassionate to all mankind.

    * Do things in a casual way. Speak softly. Avoid anger, especially holding anger for a long time.

    * Indulge in healthy, whole-hearted laughter.

    In addition, Simon notes that garlic is an Ayurvedic herb "most useful for heart problems.

    Keep your balance: In the great Eastern healing traditions, it is the key to keeping your heart healthy.



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    Ocean Treasures - For centuries, people have flocked to the sea....
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    Date: June 13, 2005 10:11 AM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Ocean Treasures - For centuries, people have flocked to the sea....

    Ocean Treasures by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, January 3, 2004

    For centuries, people have flocked to the sea to take advantage of its healing and restorative powers.

    "The ocean is alive with energy and abundant sea life," says Susie Galvez, owner of Face Works Day Spa in Richmond, Virginia and author of Hello Beautiful (MQ Publications). "It's an abundant source. Sea products are rich in minerals like magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, all of which are known for their deeply cleansing and antibiotic properties. When we think of the sea, we think of health, invigoration, the feeling of being alive and yet peacefully calm."

    "To the ancient Greeks, the image of Aphrodite rising out of the sea was beautiful because of the nutrients that the sea plants had given her," says Linda Page, ND, in Healthy Healing (Healthy Healing Publications). Today, sea plants still provide beauty benefits. "They have a complete spectrum of chelated minerals, which makes them easier to absorb, that add lustre and shine to your hair and eyes and improve skin texture and tone."

    Thalassotherapy (seawater treatment) includes using salts, mud, foliage, sand and water from the sea to stimulate, hydrate and nourish the skin, making it smoother, firmer and more resilient.

    "Using sea products in treatments is both restorative and detoxifying," says Galvez. "Now with modern technology, you don't have to live anywhere near the sea to take advantage of the wonderful health and wellness benefits. Your sea retreat source can be as close as your health food store."

    Seaweed's Beauty Benefits

    "Pollution, stress, fatigue and bad eating habits all affect the body," says Anne Mok, LaC, a certified Chinese herbalist and co-owner of Cornerstone Healing in Brooklyn, New York. This leads to vitamin and mineral deficiencies that can result in broken capillaries, loss of firmness, skin lesions, dry scaliness and more.

    The good news, Mok says, is since seaweed is packed with easy-to-absorb proteins, vitamins, minerals and lipids, it can protect against environmental pollution and ward off aging by nourishing and moisturizing the skin. "The seawater in seaweed is similar to human plasma, so it's an ideal way to get the nutritive benefits from the sea, vitamins A, C and E, and the minerals zinc, selenium and magnesium we need through the process of osmosis. Seaweed cleanses, tones and soothes the skin and regenerates body tissues, offering a new vitality and helping to maintain a youthful appearance. It also improves circulation, which has a positive effect on local fatty overloads and helps maintain the tone of the tissue." No wonder seaweed is used to firm the skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite!

    Seaweed captures all the richness from the sea. "There is no genetic manipulation, fertilizer or pesticides, just the sea, light and the tides," says Mok. "[S]eaweed is ten times richer in trace elements than land plants."

    Beauty aids from the sea include:

    * Kelp (laminaria), a large leafy brown algae, grows along cold climate coastlines and can bring a healthy glow to skin. "Kelp powder has exfoliating properties that make it a great addition to a facial mask," Galvez adds. "It increases blood circulation and stimulates lymph production to eliminate toxins. It's also a mineral-rich body scrub for removing surface impurities."

    * Crushed algae is often used in seaweed masks.

    * Carrageenan, a gel extracted from Irish sea moss, is commonly used as a cosmetic thickening agent. "It's a great moisturizer that holds nutrients and water in," says Mok.

    * Bladderwrack (fucus), a brown seaweed, is often used in cellulite-reducing creams to eliminate excess fluid from the skin.

    A Seaweed Beauty Routine

    Incorporating the benefits of seaweed into your beauty routine is easy. You can "purchase dehydrated seaweed at a natural food store to make your bath a mini-ocean," says Janice Cox, author of Natural Beauty at Home (Henry Holt & Co). "Fill the tub to the point that you're covered when you lie down," says Dr. Page. "The idea is to make your body sweat, to open your pores, release toxins and take in the sea nutrient benefits by osmosis. Boost the effect with a few drops of aromatherapy bath oils like rosemary and lavender. It'll help hold the heat in and improve your cleansing program." Rinse off and "you'll feel your skin tighten, due to the high iodine content of the seaweed," says Cox. "Your skin should also feel softer and firmer."

    Seaweed and algae body wraps are ideal ways to beautify the skin, rid your body of toxins and boost well-being and health. "It starts a program of detoxification very rapidly," says Dr. Page, who has also written Detoxification: All You Need to Know (Healthy Healing Publications). "It's amazing how it encourages weight loss and cellulite reduction." "Seaweed wraps are the most effective cellulite treatments," says Mok. "Seaweed and seaweed mud, especially, stimulate the cells to improve cellular activity and increase the efficiency of lymphatic fluid, which helps break down toxic deposits that can result in cellulite.

    "It's excellent conditioning for the skin and leaves it soft and glowing," says Claudia Spagnolo, spa director for the DeFranco Spagnolo Salon and Day Spa in Great Neck, New York.

    Revitalize With Sea Salts

    Sea salts contain minerals-such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, iron, sulphur, phosphorus and chlorine-that have a delightfully rejuvenating and revitalizing effect on skin.

    "Sea salts enhance the youthful healthy glow of the skin," says Spagnolo. "It creates a deep pore cleansing from shoulder to toe, removing rough, dry skin, helping to purify and slough off dead skin cells. It's great for an all-over exfoliation, and leaves the skin smooth and refreshed."

    "Sea salt has wonderful drawing properties, promoting the removal of toxins from the skin," says Galvez, author of Ooh La La Effortless Beauty (MQ Publications). "It's high in mineral content and nourishes the body."

    Sea salt also "guards against moisture loss, so it's ideal for dry skin and helps prevent aging," says Mok. In addition, it can be used to treat acne, eczema and psoriasis. Often done before a massage in spas, a "salt glow," which uses a vigorous scrub of coarse sea salts mixed with essential oils, rejuvenates and revitalizes the skin. Sea salt is also readily available at health food stores so you can do the same at home.

    Mineral-rich Dead Sea salts pack a salinity of 32%. "When bathing with Dead Sea salt you don't even need to use soap because the minerals remove redundant fat and dirt," says Mok. Dead Sea minerals are often used in shampoos, conditioners and shower gels. "Galvez adds, "Dead Sea mud mineral and vitamin content is very close to that of humans, and therefore treatments using the mud penetrate deeply."

    Ah! Home Spa

    It's easy to turn your bathroom into an oasis of calm and create a private spa to call your own.

    For a sea cure bath, mix together half a pound of sea salt and a pound of baking soda, add to a warm water bath and soak until the water has cooled, says Mok. "It's excellent for soothing itchy and dry skin and helps detoxify by pulling out toxic waste from the pores." Aromatherapy oils, like lavender, make your soak in the tub even more relaxing and luxurious. "It's a great way to de-stress after a long day at work."

    A seaweed wrap can release water retention and leave legs looking their sleekest, notes Mok. "Just soak legs in a bath of warm water and Epsom salts for 5 minutes, then pat dry. Apply a seaweed mask and wrap legs with plastic wrap and a warm towel. Relax for 15 minutes. Remove towel and plastic wrap and rinse."

    You can also try a sea salt rub by mixing two cups of kosher salt with one cup of olive oil until it forms a thick paste. (Be careful: the oil is slippery.) "While in the tub or shower, massage it into your skin using long strokes toward the heart, starting with your feet," says Galvez. Rinse off with warm water, use a soft washcloth to remove any residue, pat dry and apply moisturizer. "Your skin will be silky smooth and wonderfully hydrated." To create a spa environment at home, details make all the difference. "Think of your favorite beach get-a-way and go with an ocean theme," says Cox. "Include something for each of the senses." For example, put on a CD that has nature sounds. To capture the color of the water, use sea-colored towels. For scent, light candles that produce the scents of flowering plants (such as plumeria or citrus). Add "ocean" fragrance beads. When taking a bath, "use shells to scoop out sea salts or dehydrated sea weed and put them around the tub as decoration," says Cox. Smooth on a moisturizer with a sea-scented lotion when you finish your spa treatment.

    When you make an at-home sea spa experience a regular part of your routine, you reap a bounty of beauty and health benefits. "In just 20 minutes you can have a mini-vacation," says Galvez. "It's cleansing and relaxing."

    Then you will be ready to dive back into reality with renewed zest.



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    Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart
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    Date: June 13, 2005 10:06 AM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart

    Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart by Louis McKinley Energy Times, January 2, 2004

    From time immemorial, people have tuned into life's lessons that come from the heart. Sadly, times are changing: If you're like most inhabitants of today's harried world, you may be too distracted to detect important clues about your cardiovascular circumstances.

    And while heart lessons may be more complicated than simply connecting the physiological dots, understanding those heart messages are imperative for improving and maintaining your heart health.

    Every cell in your body relies on heart-powered blood flow to keep it supplied with nutrients, oxygen, hormones and other natural chemicals necessary for survival. Without that supply of life-giving substances, few cells in the body-including those within the heart itself-can survive very long.

    And just as damage to a major roadway can cause mayhem with traffic patterns, damage to blood vessels and the heart can wreak a lumpy cardiovascular havoc that blocks the passage of blood and endangers your heart's well-being.

    Your Heart Disease Chances

    Within the last ten years, scientific research performed by investigators around the world has focused on the specific factors that most strongly influence your chances of developing heart disease and suffering either a heart attack or a stroke.

    While much of your risk depends on your genetic inheritance and family history, several factors that determine your heart health are within your control.

    The most important factors you can do something about include:

    * Smoking: free radicals generated by burning tobacco causes significant damage to blood vessels and other cells

    * Lack of exercise: the human body is designed for consistent, moderate physical activity; without exercise, the body slacks off in creating antioxidant protection for arteries

    * Diabetes: when excess blood sugar persists, physiological processes begin that endanger the heart and arteries

    * Cholesterol: when oxidized (a chemical process that has been compared to a kind of internal rusting), cholesterol can form artery-blocking plaque; antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and natural vitamin E may help the body limit this process

    * High blood pressure: excessive pressure within the blood vessels raises the risk of damage to the heart and arteries; a program of weight loss and exercise can help control blood pressure

    * Being overweight: the extra body fat carried around your middle is linked to a greater risk of heart problems

    Heart Attack Signs

    Do you think you know what a heart attack feels like? Well, if you think it feels like a dramatic pain somewhere in your chest that knocks you to the floor, you're probably wrong. "Most heart attacks do not look at all like what one of my colleagues calls the 'Hollywood' attack-the heart attack you see on television or in the movies," warns Julie Zerwic, MD, professor of surgical nursing who has studied what happens when people develop heart disease and suffer damage to their hearts.

    "The symptoms [of heart problems] are not necessarily dramatic. People don't fall down on the floor. They don't always experience a knife-like, very sharp pain. In fact, many people describe the sensation as heaviness and tightness in the chest rather than pain," she says. And, if you're a woman experiencing a heart attack, you may not even feel discomfort specifically in your chest. Instead you may experience a severe shortness of breath. The apparent ambiguity of the discomforts caused by a heart attack lead many people to either ignore them or take hours to realize they need to go to the emergency room at the hospital.

    Consequently, much fewer than half of all individuals undergoing a heart attack actually go to a hospital within an hour of the start of the attack. That delay can be a fatal mistake.

    "Timing is absolutely critical," laments Dr. Zerwic. "If treatment starts within a hour after the onset of symptoms, drugs that reestablish blood flow through the blocked coronary artery can reduce mortality by as much as 50%. That number drops to 23% if treatment begins three hours later. The goal is to introduce therapy within two hours."

    However, in Dr. Zerwic's research, only 35% of non-Hispanic whites go to the hospital within an hour of the start of a heart attack. And among African-Americans, the number of people going to the hospital right away drops to a frighteningly low 13%.

    Often, people will lie down or use a heating pad to relieve the tightness they feel in the chest," says Dr. Zerwic. "They may take some medicine and wait to see if that works. All these steps postpone needed treatment."

    Signs of a possible heart attack include:

    * Chest discomfort: Heart attacks most frequently cause discomfort in the center of the chest that can either go away after a couple of minutes (and come back) or persist. The discomfort may feel like strong pressure, fullness or pain.

    * Upper body discomfort: An attack may set off pain or discomfort in either or both arms, and/or the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

    * Shortness of breath: Chest discomfort is frequently accompanied by shortness of breath. But it's important to note that shortness of breath can take place even in the absence of chest discomfort.

    * Other signs: You can also break out in a cold sweat, or feel nauseated or light-headed.

    A Woman's Sleep Signs

    If you are a woman who suddenly experiences a marked increase in insomnia and puzzling, intense fatigue, you may be in danger of an imminent heart attack.

    In an attempt to understand how women's symptoms of heart problems differ from those of men, researchers talked to more than 500 women in Arkansas, North Carolina and Ohio who had suffered heart attacks. (Technically, what they had experienced is referred to as acute myocardial infarction.)

    They found that chest pain prior to a heart attack was only reported by about 30% of the women surveyed.

    More common were unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances and shortness of breath (Circulation Rapid Access, 11/3/01).

    "Since women reported experiencing early warning signs more than a month prior to the heart attack, this [fatigue and sleep problems] could allow time to treat these symptoms and to possibly delay or prevent the heart attack," says researcher Jean C. McSweeney, PhD, RN, nursing professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. In Dr. McSweeney's study, more than nine out of ten women who had heart attacks reported that they had had new, disturbing physical problems more than a month before they had infarctions.

    Almost three in four suffered from unusual fatigue, about half had sleep disturbances, while two in five found themselves short of breath.

    Other common signs included indigestion and anxiety.

    "Women need to be educated that the appearance of new symptoms may be associated with heart disease and that they need to seek medical care to determine the cause of the symptoms, especially if they have known cardiovascular risks such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, overweight or a family history of heart diseases," says Dr. McSweeney.

    Dr. McSweeney warns that, until now, little has been known about signs that women are having heart trouble or heart attacks. The fact that most of Western medicine's past attention has been on heart problems in men has obscured the warning signs in women. As part of Dr. McSweeney's studies, she and her fellow researchers have discovered that more than 40% of all women who suffer a heart attack never feel any chest discomfort before or during the attack.

    "Lack of significant chest pain may be a major reason why women have more unrecognized heart attacks than men or are mistakenly diagnosed and discharged from emergency departments," she notes. "Many clinicians still consider chest pain as the primary symptom of a heart attack."

    Vitamins for Diabetes and Heart Disease

    Having diabetes significantly raises your chance of heart disease, which means that keeping your blood sugar levels under control can reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack.

    Today, 17 million Americans have diabetes and, as the country's population in general gains weight and fails to exercise, the number of people suffering this problem continues to grow.

    The first line of defense against diabetes consists of exercise and weight control. All you have to do is take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day to drop your chances of diabetes (American Journal of Epidemiology 10/1/03).

    "We have found that men and women who incorporate activity into their lifestyles are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who are sedentary. This finding holds no matter what their initial weight," said Andrea Kriska, PhD, professor of epidemiology at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

    To help your body fight the development of diabetes, researchers also recommend vitamin C and natural vitamin E.

    Researchers working with lab animals at the University of California at Irvine have found that these antioxidant vitamins can help insulin (the hormone-like substance secreted by the pancreas) reduce harmful blood sugar. In addition, these vitamins shrink the chances of organ damage that can be caused by diabetes (Kidney International 1/03).

    In this investigation, these vitamins also helped reduce blood pressure, another risk factor that raises heart disease risk.

    "Blood pressure was lowered to normal, and free radicals were not in sufficient numbers to degrade the sugars, proteins and nitric oxide," notes Nick Vaziri, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California. "We think this shows that a diet rich in antioxidants may help diabetics prevent the devastating cardiovascular, kidney, neurological and other damage that are common complications of diabetes."

    Free Radical Blues

    Dr. Vaziri and his group of researchers found that untreated diabetes raised blood pressure and increased the production of free radicals, caustic molecules that can damage arteries and the heart. Free radicals can change blood sugar and other proteins into harmful substances, boosting tissue and heart destruction.

    In Dr. Vaziri's work with lab animals, he found that treating diabetes with insulin lowered blood pressure and helped keep sugar and protein from changing into dangerous chemicals, but allowed the free radicals to subvert nitric oxide, a chemical the body uses to protect itself from free radicals.

    In this investigation, adding vitamins C and E to insulin insulated the body's sugars, proteins and nitric oxide from oxidative assault. This produces a double advantage: Lowering the risk of heart disease and other damage to the body from diabetes.

    Maitake, an Oriental mushroom that has been shown to have many health benefits, can also be useful for people with diabetes who are trying to avoid cardiovascular complications. Laboratory studies in Japan demonstrate that maitake may help lower blood pressure while reducing cholesterol (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 1997; 20(7):781-5). In producing these effects, the mushroom may also help the body reduce blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of tissue damage.

    No Smoking!

    Tobacco smoke is one of the most notorious causes of heart problems. In the same way a hard frost exerts a death grip on a highway, the smoke from cigarettes can freeze up arteries and hamper their proper function. A healthy artery must stay flexible to comfortably allow adequate circulation.

    But "...when blood vessels are exposed to cigarette smoke it causes the vessels to behave like a rigid pipe rather than a flexible tube, thus the vessels can't dilate in response to increased blood flow," says David J. Bouchier-Hayes, MD, professor of surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who has studied the deleterious effects of tobacco.

    This rigidity is called endothelial dysfunction. When arteries are rigid, blockages gum up vessels, clots and other impediments to blood flow appear, and your risk of heart attack and stroke increases (Circulation 2001 Nov 27; 104(22):2673).

    This condition can also cause chest pain (angina) similar to that caused by a heart attack, and should be evaluated by a knowledgeable health practitioner.

    Although all experts recommend you stop smoking to lower your heart disease risk, some studies have found that Pycnogenol(r), a pine bark extract that helps the body fight inflammation, may ease some of smoking's ill effects.

    In a study of platelets, special cells in the blood that can form dangerous blood clots, researchers found that Pycnogenol(r) discouraged platelets from sticking together (American Society for Biochemical and Molecular Biology 5/19/98). By keeping platelets flowing freely, this supplement may alleviate some of the heart-threatening clots that tobacco smoke can cause.

    In Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional therapy from India, an herb called guggul has also been used to lower the risk of blockages in arteries. This herb, derived from the resin of the mukul tree, has been shown to reduce cholesterol by about 25%. People taking this herb have also reduced their triglycerides (harmful blood fats) by the same amount (Journal Postgraduate Medicine 1991 37(3):132).

    The Female Version of Heart Disease

  • Medical experts who have examined heart disease in men and women have found some striking differences.
  • For one thing, women often don't suffer from the crushing chest pain that for most people characterizes a heart attack; instead, many women experience back pain, sweating, extreme fatigue, lightheadedness, anxiety or indigestion, signs that can be easily misread as digestive troubles, menopausal symptoms or indicators of aging.

    The genders also differ in how heart disease poses a threat. While men seem most endangered by the buildup of blockages in arteries, women apparently are more at risk from endothelial dysfunction. But more study needs to be done since, in many cases, researchers have been unable to pin down the precise mechanism that causes many women to die of heart disease.

    Scientists have found that the number of women in their 30s and 40s who are dying from sudden cardiac arrest is growing much faster than the number of men of the same age who die of this cause. But research by the Oregon Health & Sciences University and Jesse E. Edwards Cardiovascular Registry in St. Paul, Minnesota, shows that while doctors can pinpoint the coronary blockages that kill men, they can't find specific blockages in half of the female fatalities they have studied (American Heart Journal 10/03).

    "This was an unexpected finding. However, the study underscores the need to focus on what is causing these younger women to die unexpectedly because the number of deaths continues to increase," says Sumeet Chugh, MD, a medical professor at Oregon.

    Since the failure of arteries to relax probably contributes to heart disease in many women, eating red berries, or consuming supplements from berries such as chokeberry, bilberry or elderberry, may be important in lowering women's heart disease risk. These fruits help arteries expand and allow blood to flow freely.

    Red berries are rich sources of flavonoids, polyphenols and anthocynanins. The anthocyanins are strong antioxidants that give the berries their color. Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that these chemicals can interact with nitrous oxide, a chemical produced by the body, to relax blood vessels (Experimental Biology conference 5/20/02).

    Working Out

    As researchers work to devise lifestyle roadmaps that can steer you around the perils of heart disease, they are finding that exercise is a key path to avoiding cardiovascular complications.

    A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that those who exercised and kept their weight down (or took weight off and kept it off) experienced a significantly lower risk of heart problems (Preventive Medicine 11/03).

    "The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. Burning calories in physical activity may be the secret to reducing heart disease risk and living longer, she says.

    Dr. Fang's research used information collected from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 1975 and then computed how much people exercised, how their body mass indices varied and which of these folks died of heart disease during the next two decades.

    In the study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who worked out and consumed more calories cut their risk of heart disease death in half.

    Exercise Is Essential

    "Subjects with the lowest caloric intake, least physical activity, and who were overweight or obese had significantly higher cardiovascular mortality rates than those with high caloric intake, most physical activity, and normal weight," Dr. Fang notes. The individuals in the study who were overweight and didn't exercise had a bigger risk of heart disease even if they tried (and succeeded) at eating less.

    "This suggests that heart disease outcome was not determined by a single factor, but rather by a compound of behavioral, socioeconomic, genetic and clinical characteristics," according to Dr. Fang.

    According to researchers, if your job requires a great deal of physical activity, your health will be better if you get another job. Exercise on the job not only doesn't decrease your risk of heart disease, it may actually raise it. The reason: On-the-job activity is linked to heart-endangering increases in job stress.

    Research into this subject, performed at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, found that while recreational exercise slowed hardening of the arteries, workers who had to exert themselves during the workday had arteries that were blocked at a younger age (American Journal of Medicine 7/03).

    In this study, researchers examined about 500 middle-aged employees as part of what is called the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study.

    "We found that atherosclerosis progressed significantly faster in people with greater stress, and people who were under more stress also were the ones who exercised more in their jobs," says James Dwyer, PhD, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School. According to Dr. Dwyer, "This suggests that the apparent harmful effect of physical activity at work on atherosclerosis-and heart disease risk-may be due to the tendency of high-activity jobs to be more stressful in modern workplaces.

    "It appears from our findings that the psychological stresses associated with physically active jobs overcomes any biological benefit of the activity itself."

    Playful Workouts

    On the other hand, the scientists found that heart disease drops dramatically among those who exercise the most in their spare time. In the study, people who vigorously worked out at least three times a week had the lowest risk. But even those who just took walks enjoyed better heart health than people whose most strenuous activity was working the TV remote. Dr. Dwyer says, "These results are important because they demonstrate the very substantial and almost immediate-within one or two years-cardiovascular benefit of greater physical activity."

    Lowering your risk of heart disease is substantially up to you. Listen to what your heart tells you it needs; then, exercise your right to fetch some cardiovascular necessities.



    --
    Vitanet ®

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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.



    --
    Vitanet ®

    Solaray - Ultimate Nutrition - Actipet Pet supplements - Action Labs - Sunny Greens - Thompson nutritional - Natural Sport - Veg Life Vegan Line - Premier One - NaturalMax - Kal

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    Acupuncture nutrient Connection
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    Date: June 12, 2005 05:53 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Acupuncture nutrient Connection

    Acupuncture nutrient Connection by Robert Gluck Energy Times, November 1, 1998

    The theory behind the practice of acupuncture confounds western science. This therapy, originating in Asia, is based on the concept that currents of energy called meridians flow through your body. However, no one has ever been able to conclusively demonstrate the existence of these meridians.

    Despite the evasiveness of these energy streams, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) holds that alterations in these energy flows can disrupt health and cause pain. Consequently, an acupuncturist punctures your skin with specialized needles to redirect the body's vital energy.

    Alleviating Illness

    Despite the fact that western scientists have not been able to find satisfactory evidence of the existence of these energetic meridians, studies show that acupuncture works and is especially effective at relieving pain. This therapy has been used to alleviate a variety of conditions including chronic pain, nausea and even mental illness. In addition, some practitioners apply it to those trying to shake off the chains of drug addiction. (More recently, many practitioners now also successfully use acupuncture to relieve physical problems in animals.)

    Of course, no matter what your perspective on this therapy, acupuncture's no panacea. While you might use acupuncture to relieve the discomforts of chemotherapy, you wouldn't use this technique as your primary weapon against a dangerous disease like cancer. Still, this reliable therapy occupies a welcome spot as an adjunct to many mainstream therapies. Consequently, many mainstream practitioners accept the validity of using acupuncture and many managed care companies reimburse this therapy. Some HMOs even keep a list of approved acupuncturists that they make available to enrollees.

    Acupuncture East and West

    The practice of acupuncture dates back at least 2200 years ago in Asia. Only during the last forty years has it become well-known and widely available in the United States. Today, 29 accredited acupuncture schools train practitioners in North America. In addition, traditional healers in Belize (south of Mexico) have been found to use a form of acupuncture derived from traditional Mayan medicine.

    Is the use of acupuncture by Mayan shamans coincidence? Or further evidence that acupuncture meridians really exist? No one knows for sure, although some experts believe the Mayan use of this therapy supports the notion that the original ancestors of the Mayans migrated from Asia.

    Needle Relief

    Acupuncturists insert needles into the body to relieve pain or enhance bodily functions. TCM holds that acupuncture, and the manipulation of these tiny needles, moves and manipulates qi (pronounced chee), the body's energy force.

    "Acupuncture is a method of balancing the body's energy," says Carol Alexander, an acupuncturist at the North Jersey Health and Pain Relief Center in Hackettstown, New Jersey. "Disease occurs because of an imbalance...Insertion of the acupuncture needles into meridians will bring about the balance of qi." Alexander has practiced acupuncture for 10 years and studied at the Tri-State School of Traditional Acupuncture in Stanford Connecticut.

    Alexander says patients sometimes suffer a blockage of qi or display too much or too little qi. The manipulation and placement of the acupuncture needles vary according to the need for adjusting meridian energy flow.

    Acupuncture can be used to prevent disease and, if disease is already rampant, it can be used to help the body correct the problem.

    In conjunction with her use of acupuncture needles, Alexander rarely prescribes single herbs but uses combinations of whole herbs that are very specific for different diseases and disease patterns. "Certain herbs, such as ginseng, are very prized in Chinese medicine," Alexander notes.

    "Astragalus is an herb used in China and around the world to tonify the qi and increase qi energy as well as stimulate the immune system."

    Licorice Root

    Alexander uses licorice root for assisting digestion and for helping women with menopausal discomforts. On the other hand, she recommends whole food concentrates like bee pollen granules for enhancing the immune system, peppermint for treating gastro-intestinal problems plus fiber supplements as well as the antioxidant/antihistamine quercetin, coenzyme Q10 and melatonin.

    "In terms of classes of nutrients, I use a lot of whole food concentrates: the green concentrates like barley greens, wheat grass powder, spirulina and blue-green algae," Alexander says. "These are high in minerals, antioxidants, nutrients and fatty acids. I also use some soy products because the isoflavone concentrates are very much anti-cancer."

    The Fine Points of Acupuncture

    Acupuncture needles are very fine, as thin as hairs. They are available in a variety of diameters and lengths. When an acupuncturist inserts these needles, the sensation is that of mild pinpricks. (The needles enter the body at depths of only 1/8th inch to two inches.) In many cases people experience mild pleasure during needle manipulation.

    "From a Western point of view it's important to explain that there is a distinct function of acupuncture treatment and that is to increase circulation," Alexander says. "We do stimulate nerves and we know that with the stimulation of nerves many neurochemicals and neurotransmitters are released. They move through the nerves and find receptor sights, some in the brain, some in other parts of the body."

    By stimulating nerves, acupuncturists can calm inflammation and deaden pain. These effects are believed to be linked to the release of endorphins and dinorphins, powerful painkillers and anti-inflammatories that the body produces for itself. Most acupuncturists use this therapy as part of an overall, multi-faceted treatment plan.

    Unique Energy

    "Qi is what makes you different from a sack of chemicals," points out David Molony, an acupuncturist at the Lehigh Valley Acupuncture Center in Catasaqua, Pennsylvania who studied at the Nanjing Traditional Medicine Hospital in China and has lectured at Cornell University.

    What You Need

    "You can manipulate qi with acupuncture, herbs and diet. Because people's bodies work differently, there are different approaches. When you ask the question what nutrients and herbs are effective at enhancing acupuncture, it depends on what the person needs, according to an Oriental Medicine diagnosis."

    An Oriental Medical examination, Molony says, begins with a long list of health questions designed to reveal factors that contribute to disease. A practitioner measures your pulse in several different places along your arm, inspects your tongue, may press on your stomach, sniff your general odor and closely examine your nails and skin for signs of problems.

    "You take in everything you can," adds Molony, a board member of the Acupuncture Society of Pennsylvania and former board member of the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. "This gives you clues that you need in order to make your diagnosis."

    Acupuncturists use nutrients and herbs that complement the treatment, as well as dietary and lifestyle counseling. Some acupuncturists don't specialize in herbal remedies, so these practitioners might go to a specialist like David Winston for advice. Winston, an herb expert skilled in Cherokee, Chinese and Western eclectic herbal medicine, works as an instructor, lecturer and consultant.

    "In China, acupuncture is considered a complementary therapy; you generally don't go for treatment and get purely acupuncture," says Winston who is working on a book about saw palmetto. "Herbal medicine, diet and qi gong are important therapies in their own right and acupuncture is one of those therapies. Qi gong is a form of martial arts that focuses on unique breathing and visualization methods. Qi is not exactly energy, it's energy in movement; it's what makes the blood move."

    Open Blockages

    Acupuncture is used to open blockages that sometimes build up in what TCM practitioners characterize as excessive heat or cold. These hot and cold spots do not always literally refer to the temperature of the body but are meant to depict changes in the character of the body's vital energy.

    Chinese acupuncturists don't necessarily treat diseases, but target clusters of physical discomforts. Winston says, "Herbal formulas change depending on the 'symptom pictures.' Somebody could have acute appendicitis but the symptom picture could vary. Usually Chinese acupuncturists use herbs like isatis (a very cold, drying herb that's a powerful anti-bacterial agent) and coptis (a powerful anti-bacterial herb)."

    Americans often visit acupuncturists complaining of back pain or some type of musculoskeletal problem-a wrenched knee, a ligament that hasn't healed properly or perhaps a torn rotator cuff. "If the injury is hot to the touch, it's red, it's inflammatory-that's a condition where there's excessive heat and in that condition the acupuncturist would give herbs that are cooling and anti-inflammatory such as the root of large leaf gentian."

    Pain that Moves

    If someone suffers pain that moves, pain that is sometimes exacerbated by damp or humid conditions, acupuncturists often prescribe clematis root, a wild variety of the garden plant that is an anti-spasmodic, or acanthopanax, a relative of Siberian ginseng used for damp pain.

    "If there's pain with excessive dampness," Winston says, "acupuncturists might use duhuo, a drying herb that opens the meridians."

    Molony agrees with Winston that when it comes to choosing herbs to enhance acupuncture, accurate analysis of the root cause of the health problem is paramount to making the right decisions. For example, if a person is qi deficient and her tongue is thickly coated, she may not be processing her energy properly. Phlegm builds up, decreasing energy. "What you want to do is give them herbs that move phlegm, like citrus peel, and combine that with acupuncture points that move phlegm also," Molony says.

    For stimulating metabolism, Molony uses lactoferin-processed colostrum from cows. He uses ginseng and atractylodes as qi tonics and he adds herbs like magnolia bark or atractylodes alba.

    Helpful Antioxidants

    He believes antioxidants are helpful too, as preventive medicines, including vitamins C and E. These valuable nutrients disarm the harm that reactive molecules can wreak within the body.

    So how important are herbs and nutrition to enhance acupuncture's effectiveness? Acupuncturists seem to agree that healthy doses of antioxidants (such as vitamins C and E plus antioxidants from grapeseed extract) as well as specialized herbs, turn this therapy into a highly effective healing tool. Those wanting to benefit from this penetrating technique should stock up on nutrients. Then sit back, relax, kick off your shoes and let the acupuncturist do her stuff.



    --
    Vitanet ®

    Solaray - Ultimate Nutrition - Actipet Pet supplements - Action Labs - Sunny Greens - Thompson nutritional - Natural Sport - Veg Life Vegan Line - Premier One - NaturalMax - Kal

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    Health Movements - Joining mind and body with healthy movement generates harmony
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    Date: June 12, 2005 05:49 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Health Movements - Joining mind and body with healthy movement generates harmony

    Health Movements by Sylvia Whitefeather Energy Times, December 6, 2003

    Mind/body exercises like yoga (especially the super-popular Bikram variety), tai chi and Pilates aren't just trendy, they're custom made to soothe the rough edges of modern life. So often does today's fast-paced world emphasize the mental and competitive aspects of existence that its inhabitants frequently neglect the necessity of gentle movement for the body. But these exercises are an antidote to the tendency to view the mind and body as separate entities.

    Modern science is validating what traditional teachers have always known: The mind dwells in every cell. Joining mind and body with healthy movement generates harmony, lowers your chance of chronic illness and promotes emotional stability.

    Yoga

    No one knows when yoga first appeared. Historians and archaeologists figure the practice was initiated in India somewhere between 3,000 and 1,500 BCE. But the father of the modern forms of yoga is considered to be a man named Patanjali, who wrote the Yoga Sutra around 200 CE.

    The literal translation of the word yoga is "union." As Jennifer Schwamm Willis notes in her book The Joy of Yoga (Marlowe), this practice represents "the union of body, mind and spirit." The purpose of learning the fundamental movements of yoga is to connect with your body, release knots of tension and improve strength and flexibility. In that way, the physical balance during a yoga session translates into inner balance during times of crisis or distress. Schwamm points out that ancient yoga practitioners believed "the aim of yoga is to quiet the fluctuations of the mind, to create stillness in order to hear one's inner voice..."

    Yoga is used by many for stress relief. But it has other important uses: In a study presented by Oregon Health & Science University at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in April 2003, yoga was shown to benefit folks with multiple sclerosis. The researchers found that participants who regularly attended yoga class for six months suffered less fatigue and improved their quality of life.

    A yoga class generally begins with warm-up postures, moves on to a core group of basic postures, and ends with poses meant to cool you down. An important aspect of yoga is breath work and control. Movement in and out of poses involves carefully orchestrated breath work. Inhalation and exhalation in timed sync with movement lies at the heart of yoga's benefits. Yoga beginners often feel stiff and inflexible. But with gentle, patient, regular practice, greater flexibility, strength and balance can be had. Experts say that a yoga session does not demand struggle; it asks for surrender. If one pose causes discomfort, try another.

    Bikram Yoga

    One particular form of yoga, Bikram, is hot in terms of both popularity and room temperature: Not only is it one of the biggest trends in the fitness world, this demanding, aerobic take on yoga is conducted in heated rooms designed to maximize muscle relaxation and minimize injury risk. The heat also helps facilitate cleansing and detoxification. It was created by Bikram Choudhury, a four-time Indian yoga champ who founded the Yoga College of India in Beverly Hills, California.

    As in other types of yoga, Bikram uses asanas, or poses, handed down through generations of yoga teachers. In this case, though, 26 asanas are done in a prescribed order over a 90-minute period. Everyone, from novice to expert, works out together, the idea being that each individual is working to stretch his or her own limits by becoming stronger, more flexible and less prone to illness.

    Bikram yoga stresses the tourniquet effect, in which blood floods through vessels after they've momentarily been squeezed shut. This pressurizing effect is supposed to flush out debris, quickening circulation and releasing stress. The tourniquet effect also helps cleanse the lymphatic system. Proponents say Bikram improves balance, concentration and posture; increases energy; and eases sleep.

    Like any other exercise program, Bikram yoga requires diligence: one center says a minimum of 10 classes over 30 days is needed for maximum benefits. And while hydration is important during all fitness routines, consuming adequate water is crucial when you're exercising in a hot room.

    Tai Chi

    Tai chi (also known as taiji or tai chi ch'uan) consists of a series of fluid movements that build endurance, increase flexibility and balance, and foster alertness of mind and spirit. Tai chi developed around the 13th century as a form of martial arts in China based on the power of flow and grace, rooting and yielding, flexibility and endurance. To the onlooker, a person practicing the movements of tai chi has the quality of someone swimming in air.

    This gentle form of movement can be practiced by people of almost all ages and physical conditions. Tai chi does not require special equipment, props or a floor mat. As a non-impact form of exercise, tai chi delivers minimal stress to the joints. Tai chi emphasizes proper body alignment and uses the large muscles in the legs to relieve stress from the hips, back and shoulders. It strengthens joints, increases range of motion and improves circulation of all body fluids. Like many other forms of mind/body exercise, tai chi relieves stress.

    Tricia Yu, author of Tai Chi: Mind and Body (DK), has been practicing tai chi for over 30 years. She believes that tai chi not only has benefits as a health exercise, but that it "can have a beneficial effect on your mental and emotional states, as well as help you to feel connected with your surroundings." Yu adds, "Like yoga, tai chi originated in a culture that views the mind and body not as separate but rather as different expressions or states of qi-vital energy or life force."

    Current research has validated the health benefits of tai chi. One study found that the knee strength of elderly people practicing tai chi improves significantly (J Gerontol A Biol Med Sci 2003 August; 58:M763-6). Participants in this study, whose average age was 72 years, benefited significantly after five months of tai chi. For the elderly, this extra strength and control translates into fewer falls and injuries.

    Tai chi may help immunity. In a study published in the September 2003 issue of Psychosomatic Medicine, researchers reported that elderly folks who participated in a tai chi class for a period of 15 weeks "saw an improvement in factors that suppress shingles [a painful viral condition] increase by 50%." They also showed an increased ability to move throughout the day and a significant improvement in their general health.

    Pilates

    Joseph Pilates (1880-1968) was a sickly child afflicted with asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. Determined to recover his health, Pilates studied both Eastern and Western forms of exercise, incorporating moves from gymnastics, yoga and wrestling, along with controlled breathing. With his wife, Clara, Joseph Pilates developed the form of exercise known today as simply Pilates. In the 1920s, Joseph left his native Germany and came to New York City and began teaching his exercise style in dance studios.

    Today, Pilates has gained acceptance both as an exercise style for fitness and as a system for physical rehabilitation. Because of its benefits, Pilates is practiced in hospitals, wellness centers, gyms and specialized Pilates studios. It is used by athletes, dancers and anyone looking to increase endurance and improve flexibility, balance and muscle tone.

    The basic principle of Pilates focuses on increasing what is called core strength. Core muscle groups include the abdominal, pelvic floor and back muscles. If these muscle groups are strong, then the body is balanced and strong. The Pilates method also encourages flexibility by building long, strong muscles without bulk.

    The Stott method is one of the most popular forms of Pilates. This technique combines traditional Pilates exercises with movements updated to conform with modern knowledge about the biomechanics of the human body. By stabilizing muscles in the pelvis and shoulders, and keeping the spine and pelvis in safe, neutral positions, knowledgeable Pilates instructors minimize the chance of injury during these exercises.

    Pilates exercises have been shown to help reduce back pain. Researchers report that "Pilates method can be useful for patients with chronic low back pain and deconditioning" (J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2002 May; 25/4:E3).

    According to Ken Endelman, the founder of Balanced Body, maker of Pilates equipment, "Pilates is a full-body exercise. It focuses on flexibility and control, not adding bulk; bulk defeats flexibility. This flexibility is particularly important as we age. Staying flexible is key, and Pilates is good at those types of things."

    A Pilates routine can be structured to fit your specific physical needs or goals. Instructors use specially designed equipment along with mat work to improve fitness. The human body was designed to move. Again and again, research shows that exercise maintains health, vitality, longevity, weight and quality of life. If you match your exercise with your physical needs and goals, and your personality, you are more likely to stay with that program whether it is aerobics, walking, Pilates or yoga. For real benefits, physical fitness has to be a lifetime endeavor.



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    Nutritional Calculator - hand-held nutrition calculator that you can carry in your vest...
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    Date: June 12, 2005 05:45 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Nutritional Calculator - hand-held nutrition calculator that you can carry in your vest...

    Nutritional Calculator by Thomas Barclay Energy Times, December 5, 2003

    For years, some folks have dreamed of having a hand-held nutrition calculator that you can carry in your vest pocket. Then, at every meal, you could whip out your little machine, hit a few buttons, do some nutritional calculatin' and eat only the best-and leave the rest. Fortunately, we have the next best thing: Internet nutritional calculators as well as books and nutrition nudges that can prod and educate you into consuming a healthier diet. (And if you have a PDA, that vest-pocket calculator is actually within reach.)

    When you apply nutritional calculation, you reap instant benefits, giving your body top-notch foods to stay healthy and avoid disease.

    For instance, when you log onto a nutritional calculation website like www.daysworth.com (more about these nutritional calculators in a moment), one of the first things you should let it calculate is your saturated fat intake: figuring ways to bring it down could possibly save your life.

    Fat Calculations

    All that saturated fat that you may be eating in ice cream, cheeseburgers, fried chicken, etc., leads to a cascade of physiological events that raise the risk of cancer. Consume a cheeseburger, with its 562.83 calories, 15.04 grams of saturated fat and 87.6 grams of cholesterol, and you lead your body to produce too much lithocholic acid, a substance that plays a key role in colon cancer.

    "Lithocholic acid is highly toxic, and it builds up in a high-fat diet," notes David Mangelsdorf, PhD, professor of pharmacology at Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Texas Southwestern. "We don't know how it causes cancer; but it is known to cause cancer in mice, and people with colon cancer have high concentrations of it." The problem with cheeseburgers and their fatty contents is that when the liver breaks down that supersized clump of cholesterol, the process ends with an oversupply of lithocholic acid, a bile acid that ends up in the intestines. There it can stimulate the process that leads to cancer cell formation (Science 5/16/02).

    "The rate of colorectal cancer is much higher in the United States... than in Japan, where people don't eat a lot of fat and colorectal cancer is almost nonexistent," notes Dr. Mangelsdorf.

    "Our bodies can handle slight changes in lithocholic acid that come from a normal diet, but not a high-fat diet," he says. "The current American diet can provide more fat on a daily basis than a human being was ever meant to handle."

    Teasing out where your dietary saturated fat is coming from is easy on a website like www.daysworth.com. By simply entering the foods you eat during the day into the calculator on this site, you can analyze your daily intake of calories, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats and protein.

    For instance, suppose on Monday you eat:

    Breakfast: scrambled eggs and sausage with hash browns, toast and butter, orange juice, coffee and non-dairy creamer.

    Lunch: cheeseburger, regular fries, chocolate milkshake.

    Snack: Milky Way candy bar, can of cola.

    Dinner: fried chicken, mashed potatoes with butter, iceberg lettuce, string beans, glass of root beer and chocolate pudding for dessert.

    Snack: potato chips and water.

    Enter all of those foods into daysworth.com and you find that your daily calories are about 4,000, your salt (4,700 mg) is too high, your vitamin E (8 units) intake is low and you're missing out on potassium-rich foods and fiber. Other potential nutritional difficulties in those meals include a heavy dose of saturated fat (56 grams) and cholesterol (topping 650 mg).

    The calculator will lead you to better sources of vitamin E (like almonds), potassium (almost any fruit) and fiber (whole-wheat breakfast cereals with fruits and nuts).

    The latest technological twist: If you have a PDA, you can download the USDA nutritional database. Visit www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp.

    Figuring It Out

    A host of other sites can help your calorie and nutritional calculation.

    For calculating the amount of calories you need during the day you can consult www.wvda.org/calcs, a website run by the West Virginia Dietetic Association.

    Nutritional Analysis Tools and System (NATS), which resides at nat.crgq.com/mainnat.html, can help you find foods that will aid your nutrition program. And over at gnutrition.sourceforge.net, you can download nutrition analysis software called Gnutrition. It contains data on 81 nutrients for over 5,000 foods.

    Aside from websites, books like The Nutrition Desk Reference (Keats) by Robert Garrison, Jr., MA, RPH and Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD, or Food-Your Miracle Medicine (HarperPerennial) can also help you calculate a more healthful diet.

    A pleasant surprise as you navigate your way through these calculators: Healthy food tastes good, too! You don't have to sacrifice food to get the nutrients you need. Just calculate, calculate, calculate!



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    Vitanet ®

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    Fats for Life - the quality of the fat you eat is probably much more important than the...
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    Date: June 12, 2005 02:39 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: Fats for Life - the quality of the fat you eat is probably much more important than the...

    Fats for Life by Henry Wolfe Energy Times, August 6, 2003

    For years, many experts argued that the only good fatty foods were the ones you didn't eat. That was a big, fat mistake. Overwhelming evidence now shows that certain fats are not only necessary for optimal health, but that the quality of the fat you eat is probably much more important than the quantity.

    Threatening Trans Fats

    "The biggest thing wrong with the fats Americans eat today is that they are eating too many trans fatty acids," says Fred Pescatore, MD, author of The Allergy and Asthma Cure (John Wiley). "About 42,000 foods contain trans fats. These fats are linked to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer."

    Trans fatty acids are fats that form when food manufacturers add hydrogen to fat molecules, a process called hydrogenation that makes fats stay fresh longer without growing rancid. Trans fats also form when foods are fried.

    Hydrogenation extends the shelf life of refined foods like cakes, donuts, and crackers. Unfortunately, it also creates fats that many experts believe can compromise your health. In a study of the health effects of trans fats, 26 people agreed to eat a diet that changed every five weeks, continually shifting the types of fats in their meals (American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2000). All of the diets in the study provided 30% of calories from fat. One fifth of the fat came from either soybean oil, semi-liquid margarine, tub margarine, shortening, stick margarine or butter.

    "We were interested in assessing what would happen when we substituted one fat for another," notes researcher Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, professor of human nutrition at Tufts University, Boston.

    The study showed that as people ate more trans fatty acids (in the more solid margarines) and fewer polyunsaturated fats (in the liquid oils), their triglycerides increased after each meal. Triglycerides are blood fats that boost heart disease risk.

    For instance, when these folks ate stick margarine, which is high in trans fats, their triglycerides climbed an average 18% higher than when they ate semi-liquid squeeze bottle margarine, a type of margarine that is softer because it is less hydrogenated. Stick margarine raised heart disease risk by causing a drop in HDL, or "good" cholesterol. Although butter increased HDL, it also caused a significant increase in LDL, the "bad" cholesterol that raises heart disease risk.

    Dietary Advice

    "The best dietary advice we can give people is to minimize their intake of animal and hydrogenated fats in order to reach the American Heart Association's target of 10% or less of total calories from saturated fat and trans fatty acids," Dr. Lichtenstein says. "That would mean consumers choosing low-fat and non-fat dairy products and lean cuts of meat, and the food industry decreasing the amount of hydrogenated fats used in their products." According to a study at Johns Hopkins University (Amer Coll of Card, 52nd Scientific Session, 3/30/03, Chicago), people who eat saturated fat have more visceral fat, fat surrounding their internal organs. This fat around the waist is now seen as a risk factor for heart disease and other illnesses.

    Another hidden problem in our fat consumption, according to Dr. Pescatore, hides within canola oil. Dr. Pescatore says that although many consumers believe canola oil is beneficial to health, the refined canola oil sold in the US has had its potential health benefits removed during processing.

    "People still think canola oil is healthy and eat too much of it," he says. "The problem with canola is that it is highly processed and refined....Processors hydrogenate canola oil to keep it from getting rancid."

    According to Fred Ottoboni, PhD, coauthor of The Modern Nutritional Diseases (Vincente Books), "Canola oil is lightly hydrogenated to take out the omega-3 fatty acids (the healthiest, but most unstable, fats) and then the food manufacturers filter the trans fats out. I don't worry about the trans fats in canola, but the problem is the huge ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3s."

    To get more of the omega-3 fatty acids, which are lacking in most Americans' diets, Dr. Pescatore advocates using macadamia nut oil. "Macadamia nut oil is higher in monounsaturated fats than olive oil; it is the healthiest fat with an omega-3 to -6 ratio of one to one."

    The Omega-3 Difference

    Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are basic forms of fat found in oils. Fish oil, hempseed and flax oil are high in what are called omega-3s. Certain plant-derived oils like corn and soy are richer in omega-6 fatty acids.

    "Primitive humans ate a diet that contained a one-to-one ratio of omega-3s and omega-6s," says Dr. Pescatore. "Today we (Americans) eat 20 times more omega-6 than -3; that's why we suffer so much chronic disease and chronic inflammation. For instance, the Japanese eat a (much better) diet that contains a two-to-one ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3." "Not all omega-6s are bad," he adds, "we just eat too many of them."

    Switching to healthier fat isn't hard. Eat more fish. When cooking, stick to oils like olive oil and macadamia oil. The quality of your oil and your health may improve in a big, fat way.



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    Vitanet ®

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    What the Medicine Men Knew
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    Date: June 12, 2005 02:17 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: What the Medicine Men Knew

    What the Medicine Men Knew by Phyllis D. Light, RH, AHG Energy Times, August 4, 2003

    When Europeans first landed on the shores of North America, they were greeted by Native Americans who were healthy and strong, tall and straight-boned, and who generally lived to a ripe old age. Curious and friendly, the Native Americans showed the newcomers how to harvest wild foods and grow suitable crops, and also demonstrated the medicinal use of herbs. The North American indigenous medical traditions evolved into an effective system during its long history, estimated at between 12,000 and 40,000 years. So, herbally, we owe a huge debt to the Native American willingness to share knowledge of North American plants. Many of the herbs sitting on the shelves of natural food stores today were originally found in the medicinal arsenal of Native Americans, including black cohosh, echinacea, goldenseal, pleurisy root, sarsaparilla, red root, black walnut, gravel root and American ginseng.

    Unique Healing Traditions

    The number of Native tribes in the United States is estimated at about 500, and each possesses a unique set of healing traditions. While the term "Native American medicine" does not describe a homogenous system of healing, common, underlying principles can be discerned in many of these tribal traditions. Most often, these healing traditions and practices have been handed down in a rich oral tradition from practitioner to practitioner, rarely finding their way into written descriptions.

    For instance, according to David Winston, a Cherokee medicine priest and herbalist living in New Jersey, "Cherokee medicine is based on connection-body, mind, spirit, family, community and God/Spirit. The Cherokee word for medicine, Nvowti, means 'power.' Anything that has power-water, ceremony, songs, stories, herbs-is medicine."

    On the other hand, Charles Alexander Eastman, PhD (Indian name: Ohiyesa), comments in his book, The Soul of an Indian, "The Sioux word for the healing art is wah-pee-yah, which literally means 'readjusting or making anew.' Pay-jee-hoo-tah, literally 'root,' means medicine, and wakan signifies 'spirit' or 'mystery.' Thus the three ideas, while sometimes associated, were carefully distinguished."

    Customized Treatment

    Native American healing philosophy advocates a customized treatment plan for each person's unique health problems.

    Consequently, healing techniques focus on the individual, not the disease, although the overall treatment may incorporate well-known ways for relieving the specific discomforts, aches and pains associated with an illness. Native healers employ herbs, ceremony, song and prayer in a manner tailored to each person they treat.

    Medicinal Sweat

    A central tenet in many Native American healing traditions is the need to sweat. As a result, Inipi, or Lakota sweat lodges, are located in most areas of the country. Sweating produces many benefits. It opens pores, cleanses the skin, enhances circulation, discourages the growth of bacteria in the body and functions as a detoxification outlet.

    The skin is well-suited for the elimination of toxins: Experts estimate that during everyday functioning, 30% of the body's wastes pass through the skin. For the Native American, the sweat lodge offers spiritual help as well as physical aid. And the use of sweating is generally not employed as the only treatment but is always accompanied by other therapies such as herbs.

    Native Americans are not alone in their reverence for using sweating to treat disease. A technique for sweating is fundamental to most traditional medicines, including Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

    Native American Herbs

    For native healers, herbs offer physical, emotional and spiritual support. In this tradition, herbs are consumed in teas, tablets or capsules, or are inhaled after being thrown onto the hot stones in a sweat lodge or otherwise burned to release their vapor. Smudging, a ritualized method for bathing a person or object with the smoke from sacred herbs such as sweet grass, sage or cedar, is a way of cleansing individuals, clearing a ritual space or sanctifying ceremonial tools. Each herb in the smudging process is used for a specific reason. Sweet grass grows the spirit, while sage and cedar dispel negativity. Frequently, herbs are taken as preparation for participation in rituals. "Sweet leaf is used as a tea before the sweat lodge ceremony in some Indian communities in South Dakota," notes Matthew Wood, RH, AHG, author of The Book of Herbal Wisdom (North Atlantic Books). "It promotes perspiration, relaxes the nerves, reduces tension and brings harmony and beauty to the participants."

    Connections

    The idea that everything in the universe, including people, is connected is a philosophy shared by many tribes.

    When a medicine person assesses an illness, she not only observes physical problems but also analyzes family and community dynamics. A person's relationship with God is believed to influence health. In this vein, prayers like Mitakuye Oyasin, a Lakota blessing that means "all my relations," appeals to the interconnectedness of each of us with other people, with the Earth, and with God.

    "Separation and isolation is one of the leading causes of illness," David Winston says. "There is a connection between everything-within ourselves and outside of ourselves. When we isolate and separate ourselves from our family, our community and from God/Spirit, then we suffer diseases of the spirit. Ultimately, we are responsible for our own spirits-to keep them healthy.

    "In addition," adds Winston, "from the Cherokee viewpoint, the nuclear family is seen as too small. There are too many single parents working too hard and under too much stress." In a Native American clan-based society, much of this stress is defused with the support of an extended family.

    Kinship philosophy is a basic part of the Native perspective, a kinship that extends beyond humans to all life, including animals, fish, and birds as well as the Earth itself. Consequently, care of the Earth is an integral part of kinship philosophy. Indigenous cultures have very specific knowledge of ecology and environmental ethics. In the kinship philosophy, damage done by man to the Earth is then reflected back in the body of man by diseases of the body and spirit. Man and his illnesses are seen as part of the ecology of the planet, not a separate, isolated force with the power to control.

    Modern Ills, Ancient Treatments

    Winston believes that Cherokee medicine offers the greatest aid to people with chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and some female reproductive complaints, as well as individuals with stress-related disorders. It can also offer aid to those who are depressed and feel alienated or disconnected from society.

    Native American medicine can offer balance and healing. It can be used in conjunction with Western medicine, providing a holistic and individualized treatments. To find a Native American healer, check with your local tribal community. Mitakuye Oyasin.



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