Search Term: " Oppose "
Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) treats back pain naturally: Research
April 13, 2019 11:15 AM
Studies of chronic pain sufferers that have been dealing with pain over a twelve week span have shown promising success by consuming alpha lipoic acid (ALA) supplements. By taking 600 mg per day, patients saw a large decrease in the amount of pain that they were suffering due to the consumption of the ALA pills. Researchers hope that the success of ALA in correlation to chronic lower back pain could give patients the opportunity to rely on more natural methods as opposed to opiates.
"If you suffer from chronic lower back pain, there is hope beyond a life of just taking pharmaceutical painkillers all the time to cope with the agony."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/041571_alpha_lipoic_acid_back_pain_natural_treatment.html
How MCT oil supports brain health and improves memory
March 20, 2019 05:04 PM
MCT oils or Medium-Chain Triglycerides have numerous health benefits. For those with digestive issues, the good news is that they are easily absorbed and metabolized. The body can burn them for fuel as opposed to storing them as fat. They also cause levels of ketones to rise in your blood stream, making them great for weight loss, as a sort of short cut for the keto diet.They help in the development of neurotransmitters so they are great for memory issues. Some recent studies have shown improvement in brain function so they are being studies as a possible route for treatment of cognitive problems such as Alzheimer.
"MCTs have been shown to decrease fat and increase lean muscle mass, and MCT oil is currently sold to promote weight loss and improve athletic performance and endurance. MCTs are also routinely administered to prevent muscle wasting in critically ill patients."
Read more: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/mct-oil-brain-health-2816.html
Keto Diet and Diabetes: Do They Work Well Together?
February 26, 2019 03:36 PM
Some experts say the keto diet works well for people with Diabetes. The Keto diet involves getting your body to burn fat rather than sugar for energy. This involves eating a limited amount of carbohydrates. This works for people with Diabetes because it reduces the need for insulin and takes carbohydrates including sugar out of the diet. This is the most concerning aspect for a normal Diabetic. Multiple studies have shown benefits for people with Type 2 Diabetes and prediabetics.
"Let’s take a look at whether or not the keto diet may be a healthy choice for you and your diabetes management!"
Read more: https://draxe.com/keto-diet-and-diabetes/
Feeling down and moody? Lift your spirits by taking fish oilsupplements
February 21, 2019 02:05 PM
There are several cardiovascular benefits that coincide with routine consumption of fish oil supplements, but many are unaware of the cognitive benefits that fish oil also provides. The omega-3 fatty acids that are present in fish oil are vital in our system's ability to maintain structures of nerves and cell membranes that help defeat chronic conditions such as depression and anxiety. The omega-3 fatty acids work as a benefit for our cognitive function as opposed to making them more vulnerable as other harmful fats may do.
"Fish oil supplements are among the most popular dietary supplements, mainly for their ability to lower the risk of heart disease, thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-14-lift-your-spirits-up-by-taking-fish-oil-supplements.html
Sea buckthorn oil can promote liver health and decrease the storageof body fat
September 06, 2018 09:52 AM
More study is now being done regarding lesser known fruits and vegetables, not only for the betterment of human understanding, but also to potentially augment the list of natural alternatives to pharmaceuticals for the improvement of human health.
Healthy lipids and fatty acids have been on the nutrition radar for a while now, as these items are known for having useful bioactive ingredients, including high vitamin content, making them useful for human consumption. Sea buckthorn oil is a new face on the lipid list, but offering some impressive credentials. For example, the plant shows high levels of vitamin A and E, phytosterols and unsaturated fatty acids. One study suggests that the type of oil used by humans effects how much vitamin A the liver stores. The ware-housing effect was considerably upped when rats were given sea buckthorn oil as opposed to soybean oil. Sea buckthorn oil has other pluses too. It can reverse GERD and possibly ulcers, also lower cholesterol and promote heart health. It also reduces inflammation, making it useful for sore inflamed, reddened skin.
"Lesser known fruits and plants have been gradually taking the spotlight in alternative medicine as natural remedies to various health conditions and improving overall nutrition."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-09-01-sea-buckthorn-oil-can-promote-liver-health.html
Why does losing weight get harder with age?
August 18, 2018 09:53 AM
Many find it harder to drop the extra pounds later in life, and science is now backing up this theory with medical evidence that point to it being true. Each year that we grow older, our metabolism drops by approximately 1%. This means that the amount of calories we burn drops by this same amount. We also tend to store more white fat as opposed to brown fat. White fat is known to store more fat cells, while brown fat helps promote an increase in heart rate and other beneficial functions.
"Well, there are a couple things working against you. One, you’re most likely not burning as many calories as you did when you were in your 20s."
Read more: https://www.wahpetondailynews.com/health/why-does-losing-weight-get-harder-with-age/article_cc0254cc-a16b-11e8-8cf4-7710ae4a480b.html
Scientists call on feds to allow research on CBD for pets
December 10, 2017 03:59 PM
Veterinarians, researchers and pet owners are looking to loosen federal regulations on the use of marijuana products to help treat sick animals. Medical issues in dogs, such as epilepsy, arthritis, anxiety, loss of appetite and inflammation could potentially by helped by marijuana-based drugs and extracts.
Some people are already using marijuana extracts on their animals, such as those containing CBD, which is an element of marijuana that is not psychoactive. However, such extracts continue to be listed as Schedule 1 drugs by the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration, even when they contain little or no THC. THC is the active component in marijuana that causes intoxication.
The Food and Drug Administration has warned that marijuana products for pets sold in animal hospitals or online pet stores are illegal, since such drugs are unapproved. The FDA has suggested it will pursue legal action against those in violation of the law.
However, the policy-making body of the American Veterinary Medical Association, in conjunction with two group councils, is considering making a recommendation to the DEA for marijuana to be declassified as a Schedule 1 drug in order to enable research for both animal and human medical purposes. Declassification could also help prevent pet owners from accidentally overmedicating their animals in the absence of proper guidance from a medical professional.
In September, Republican senator Orrin Hatch of Utah introduced a bill that would facilitate research on use of marijuana-based medications, concurring that the drug is over-regulated, although he continues to oppose recreational use of the drug,.
Some veterinarians note that without sufficient evidence, it remains unsafe to use marijuana products on animals, with concerns about potential toxicity.
Yet researchers are continuing to wait for clearance to proceed on various relevant studies, such as use of marijuana for dogs with osteoarthritis, pruritis and epilepsy. Some research on use of products with CBD has been stopped until federal approval is granted. Gaining approval has been difficult due to government requirements, which continue to be an obstacle to moving forward.
"The concern our membership has is worry about people extrapolating their own dosages, looking to medicate their pets outside the realm of the medical professional"
Read more: https://www.aspentimes.com/news/scientists-call-on-feds-to-allow-research-on-cbd-for-pets/
Chestnut Benefits for the Brain, Bones, Heart & More
October 31, 2017 01:14 PM
Chestnuts offer some very amazing benefits for the brain as well as the heart and much more. As the temperatures get a bit colder, there is nothing better than picking up a chestnut treat from a local vendor and eating. Chestnuts are a very big part of the Winter season and they offer so many benefits to the human body. They help to improve digestion and they also help to make your bones a lot stronger.
"Chestnuts have a mildly sweet taste and can easily be added to a variety of different dishes."
Read more: https://draxe.com/chestnut/
Vasculitis: Inflamed Blood Vessels + 4 Natural Treatments
July 15, 2017 04:14 PM
Vasculitis is a technical term for inflamed blood vessels. This condition can cause an array of symptoms such as fatigue, neuropathy, confusion, mouth sores, ear infections, skin rashes, weight loss and nausea. It can also lead to more serious problems due to a lack of blood going to organs. It can also lead to strokes so it can be fatal. Luckily, there are both medical treatments available as well as lifestyle changes that can address vasculitis.
"There are approximately 20 different disorders that are classified as vasculitis."
Read more: https://draxe.com/vasculitis/
Healthy fats found to decrease intestinal inflammation
June 28, 2017 04:14 PM
Fat is not the enemy. There are healthy fats. It is also important to take fats in moderation. Your body does need them. The healthy ones have been linked to positive outcomes. An example is this discussing the fact that they help with intestinal inflammation, an unpleasant condition which can cause gas, bloating and pain. You can eat more healthy fats to see if these problems are decreased for you as they are for others.
"A study involving mice fed a diet of plant-derived healthy fats, including coconut oil or cocoa butter, as opposed to bad fats, reported drastically reduced bacterial diversity in the animals."
Read more: http://www.belmarrahealth.com/healthy-fats-found-decrease-intestinal-inflammation/
Are You Getting Enough Protein in Your Diet?
June 04, 2017 11:14 AM
Older woman are at a higher risk for not eating enough protein. Studies show that eating a low carb diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best option tI prevent any health risks. There are increased benefits in spreading protein out in meals, as opposed to eating protein just once a day. One dinner idea for high protein are basil pork chops, which include 30 grams of protein and can be made on a grill with lemon for flavor.
Read more: Are You Getting Enough Protein in Your Diet?
Dr. Sanjay Gupta presents: Weed, Weed 2 and Weed 3
May 23, 2017 04:44 AM
Throughout all the times people have been exposed to and experimenting with weed, marijuana, there are times now where the plant has been legalized in a couple states, as Opposed to the full legalization of the plant in some countries, the medical use was prepared for however when it comes to recreational use there are all types of worries. Thinking about the fact that the plant is used medically, it does lead to question the recreational purposed of the plant because of the existence of it medically.
"Actually, I really believe I can be cancer free for a long time."
Cholesterol in eggs and egg whites: Understanding the myth
February 23, 2017 02:59 PM
Eating eggs with the yolks as Opposed to eating just egg whites can be beneficial. People who consume a moderate amount of eggs have better antioxidant levels and an increase in HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). Most of the bad press about eggs come from outdated reports. Eggs are full of vitamins and minerals and consuming a whole egg on a daily basis toes not effect your bad cholesterol levels.
""Can you eat too many eggs?""
How does CBD help with Seizures
Seizures are the sudden changes in the brain's electrical activity. It usually affects how a person acts for a short period of time or appear. The symptoms of seizure include a loss of control and violent shaking. There can be several causes for the seizures. Anything that affects the brain's normal activity can lead to seizures. Several causes of seizures include injury to the head, fever, disease or even certain uses of medications. A person suffering from regular seizures due to brain disorder is called to be having epilepsy. Seizures can take different forms that affect many people in different ways, as some people call it electrical storms in the brain.
CBD has several therapeutic effects. Unlike THC, CBD has a less binding affinity to the CB1 and CB2, those are Cannabinoid receptors. Instead, CBD stimulates endogenous cannabinoid signal by suppressing enzyme fatty acid amide hydroxylase (FAAH). CBD helps in enhancing endocannabinoid by suppressing FAAH. CBD also Opposes the action of THC at CB1 receptor, thus help to mute the effects of THC. CBD also stimulates 2-AG, that activates the CB1 and CB2 receptors, where CB2 receptors are predominant in the immune system and peripheral nervous system. It is found that CBD binds directly with 'G-protein' coupled receptors and other ion channels to grant therapeutic effect. CBD is also known as the TRPV-1 stimulant that helps, CBD-rich Cannabis in the effective treatment of the neuropathic pain.
STEVIA – BETTER THAN SUGAR
Stevia is a natural sweetener that originates in South America – Paraguay and Brazil, mostly – with no calories and is remarkably much sweeter than sugar. The stevia plant Stevia Rebaudiana derives its sweetness from steviol glycocides. The extract is then processed for sale in the form of Truvia and PureVia around North America. It is not yet approved as an additive due to possible side effects of male infertility and genetic mutations.
Benefits of Stevia over Sugar
The yeast we hear about being in our bodies is called Candida albicans and it can ferment sugar in the body, causing the candidiasis infection with treatment involving cutting sugar out of your diet. Stevia does not react with the yeast and can also keep your food sweet.
Stevia is a safer and healthier option to sugar. It is natural and sweeter than sugar making it a great option to combat obesity and sugar level problems the world is constantly facing.
Can Ivy (Hedra helix) Support Healthy Airways And Lungs?
April 19, 2014 05:48 AM
The fact is that we cannot live without oxygen. Our respiratory tract acts as the link or rather the airway between the outside environment and our lungs. This explains why it is of much importance to ensure optimum health for our respiratory tract. The respiratory system being very sensitive, our lung health is largely enforced by the cilia, which keeps bacteria, dust particles and viruses at bay.
Benefits of ivy
Ivy (Hedra helix) is a plant that has been clinically proven an excellent cough medicine especially for those with asthma or bronchitis.
The Ivy leaf extract has various modes of action.
As an expectorant. This mode of action acts in that it helps bring mucus up from the lungs. This ensures that there are minimal problem ingredients entering the lungs.
As a mucolytic.This means it, helps dissolve mucus. Some types of coughs thicken mucus leading to blocked tracts.
As a bronchial dilator. This means that the medicine helps in opening up the air passageway for easier breathing.
The Ivy leaf extract has been termed as a solution to painful coughing though it does not really block out the action. Through the mucolytic action, it dissolves the mucus thus easing constriction. As Opposed to other solutions, the Ivy is tolerable to children thus making it suitable for both adults and children. Most importantly, it works efficiently with all age groups.
Where it grows. The Ivy can be described as a climbing plant, evergreen and fast growing. It grows in woodland and hedgerows especially in winter gardens. It is not a threat to healthy trees and requires regular trimming to avoid it becoming too heavy. In a close up, lung health is paramount for easier and safe breathing. Ivy leaf extract is a medicine that we count can on for excellent results. If pregnant or nursing, consult health care practitioner before use.
Supplements That Can Improve Focus
March 23, 2014 07:57 AM
A focused mind is one that is able to concentrate on a particular issue and think about it, discuss it or deal with it and pay special attention to that subject. This explains why people have different focus abilities as brought about by their varying environments and capabilities. Enhanced minds quickly grasp ideas as Opposed to low minded ones. A determined mind therefore understands and interpret facts more readily in an effective way, and this is why it is important for individuals to to be focused at school. However, there are instances where learners have limited focus abilities, but this can be improved by use of focus supplements. The following are the supplements that can be used to boost an individual's focus levels.
Supplement that can help improve focus
Are Cashews A Healthy Choice For A Nut?
February 03, 2014 07:30 PM
Are cashew nuts healthy?
Providing you consume them crude or dry broiled – and unsalted – different types of nuts are bravo. There isn't one sort of nut you might as well dodge. (As Opposed to prevalent thinking, cashews and macadamia nuts are extremely nutritious.) All nuts are a great wellspring of plant protein, hold no cholesterol and are low in immersed fat. Actually, most of the fat in nuts is unsaturated, a heart solid sort of fat.
The cashew nut might be seen uniquely in contrast to alternate sorts of nuts. Above all else, numerous individuals validate the way that this nut is much sweeter than alternate nuts we are utilized to. Cashews can additionally be consumed as snacks or could be utilized as a crude element as a part of the readiness of distinctive dishes, forsakes and even baked goods making them exceptionally adaptable.
When you consume cashew nuts
You ought not just savour them for the minute since they are surely delightful however you may as well additionally take the opportunity to acknowledge how solid they are. Some individuals are agonized over a lot of admission of nuts because of their reputed connectivity to weight issues and heart issues. The exceptional thing is that cashew nuts don't generally hold much cholesterol contrasted with different nuts. This can without a doubt delete the stresses identified with cholesterol in nuts, along these lines, making it an extraordinary part in dishes or as stand-alone snacks.
Benefits of cashew nuts
There are numerous points of interest to consuming these nuts. Above all else, they hold a ton of vitamins and minerals and that is one excuse for why we may as well guarantee expending these nuts consistently. Not just are cashews extremely flavorful and delicious, there are additionally known to be quite useful for the form and this due to the accompanying explanations:
They hold a high amount of potassium which, thusly, is a basic building piece of the blood. Potassium aides encourage the methodology of blood clotting, therefore helps us adapt effortlessly to wounds or cuts. Individuals who experience the ill effects of the condition haemophilia can additionally profit much from consuming cashew nuts on account of the high potassium content.
Cashew nuts are additionally known to be extraordinary wellsprings of filament. As we know, filament helps our digestive framework capacity well. Cashew nut filament permits us to process our sustenance better, in this way, helping simple defecation. When you have issues concerning customary and simple solid discharge, then it might be fitting to devour tree grown foods, vegetables and nuts that hold much filament. Iron is likewise held in cashew nuts. When you need press in your eating regimen, then you turn into an anaemic. Having anaemia is a condition wherein there are insufficient red platelets to convey oxygen all around your physique. Assuming that you are anaemic, then your different organs might be influenced and the level of vigor you have from regular can likewise be brought down. That is the reason legitimate oxygen measure ought to be guaranteed and that might be carried out by consuming foods grown from the ground, vegetables and nuts that can hold great measures of iron.
Cashew nuts likewise hold copper. The fundamental motivation behind this supplement is to support the figure in its press retention. As we have said, iron is one vital figure component and if brought with nourishment holding copper, then your physique can ingest the previous better.
Manganese and magnesium are different minerals found in cashew nuts. These two minerals help tissue and unit establishment. When you need your skin to look better or when you need your hair to develop well, then fitting cell and tissue development can help accomplish these objectives. Phosphorus and zinc, which are additionally vital for the working of our physique, can likewise be found in cashew nuts. Riboflavin and thiamine are additionally found in these delectable nuts and can help improve great vision, solid skin and likewise enhances our resistant framework.
CLA in Weight Loss
January 21, 2014 10:05 AM
What is CLA
CLA, or conjugated linoleic harsh corrosive, has been the subject of an assortment of exploration in the previous numerous years. Over 200 studies have indicated that it may assume an exceptionally vital part in weight reduction, as well as in serving to battle disease, diabetes, and atherosclerosis (solidifying of the corridors). It is not made in the human figure, and is discovered commonly in meat and dairy fats, or as an over-the-counter supplement. Artificially, it is a marginally changed type of the fundamental greasy harsh corrosive, linoleic harsh corrosive, and an omega-6 fattening harsh corrosive. The CLA discovered regularly in the sustenance sources is most astounding in dairy cattle and bovines that expend an eating methodology rich in grasses, and the individuals who are nibbling in pastures; instead of the aforementioned bolstered monitored food, for example, grain, feed or silage. To quote Larry Satter, an Agricultural Research Dairy Scientist, "Pasture-nibbled cows had 500% more CLA in their milk than those nourished silage." Since the fat is the particular bearer of the CLA, the substance of the fat in the milk is extremely paramount. The higher the fat substance, the more stupendous the CLA sum is in the milk. This is as Opposed to what is proposed when drinking milk. Skim or 1% is constantly proposed over the entire or 2%, to maintain a strategic distance from the overabundance calories and fat, since normally drain was tanked for the calcium content (or the protein). This adds an entire new profit to drain and dairy items, clearing a path for science to control the CLA substance of milkfat, and may open the entryway the CLA-improved sustenances.
Scientists accept CLA helps square fat cells that are in the figure from topping off with fat by meddling with a fat-archiving compound regarded as lipoprotein lipase, and additionally, by expanding the affectability of units to the hormone insulin. Creature studies have likewise demonstrated an expansion in lean bulk and fat lessening, or fat blazing; furnishing positive progressions to form sythesis, a decline in general muscle to fat ratio ratios. It is known as a "fat eliminator" on the grounds that it revs up muscle metabolism, in this way, helping increment lean tissue, bringing about the figure to need more calories to capacity (since fat units smolder next to zero calories), accordingly accelerating the fat smoldering procedure to make vigor.
Magnesium Is An Important Mineral For The Cardiovascular System
November 25, 2013 06:32 PM
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is an earth metal that is alkaline. It is the 8th most abundant mineral on the earth’s crust. Magnesium is soluble in water thus it’s commonly found in sea water. In human body it is the 11th most abundant element by mass. Most of the magnesium contained in our bodies resides in the teeth and skeleton - about sixty to sixty five percent. Almost all the remaining amount is found in muscle cells and tissues and only 1 percent is found in the human blood.
Magnesium is a very important mineral in human body and is needed for more than three hundred biochemical reactions. Some of its health benefits include formation of healthy teeth and bones, body temperature regulation, energy production and nerve impulses transmission.
Magnesium acts as a calcium channel blocker and it’s responsible for relaxation. Magnesium is very essential to the smooth functioning of the parasympathetic nervous system. A human body operates well in a relaxed and calm parasympathetic state as Opposed to the heart pounding and adrenaline driven state of sympathetic nervous system.
Physical and mental stress related to the flow of adrenaline, consumes large quantities of magnesium. This is because adrenaline affects blood pressure, muscle contraction, vascular contraction and heart rate - actions that all require continuous supply of magnesium for healthy functioning. The nervous system relies on adequate magnesium for the calming effects including a restful sleep.
Magnesium lowers the risk of suffering from coronary heart diseases. Many dietary surveys have found out that sufficient intake of magnesium may lower the risk of a stroke. Magnesium deficiency increases the chance of experiencing abnormal heart rhythms that increases the chance of having complications after heart attack.Thus,taking the correct amount of magnesium is beneficial to cardiovascular system.
Niacin And Niacinamide?
November 18, 2012 10:32 AM
Niacin Vs Niacinamide
Niacin also known as nicotinic acid is an organic compound and it is one of the essential human nutrients. Niacin deficiency can result to pellagra. It is also used for reducing cardiovascular issues. A chemist called Hugo Weidel first described niacin in 1873 in his studies of nicotine in the oxidation of nicotine using nitric acid. The name niacin was derived from nicotinic acid + vitamin.
Niacinamide is also known as nicotinamide or nicotinic acid amide. It is the amide of niacin. Niacianamide is part of B-vitamin and it is water soluble. Niacinamide is derived from niacin. These two are components of B3-vitamin and they are often used as supplements interchangeably. However, there are some critical differences between these two vitamin B3 components. Niacinamide is derived from niacin and the body is able to convert niacin into niacinamide.
Niacinamide can also be made by our body from an amino acid known as trytophan which is usually present in animal foods. A chemical compound known as an amide is what makes niacinamide. Amide is defined by a nitrogen atom which is combined with a carbonyl group or C=O. Therefore, the main distinction between these two components is that niacinamide is a derivative of niacin.
Different Pharmacological Properties
Although the two are used interchangeably, they have different pharmacological properties. Their physical effects on the body also differ and people who are sensitive to their effects may prefer to use one over the other. Their usefulness in treating different conditions for instance high cholesterol, circulatory problem and osteoarthritis can also differ. Because of the pharmacological properties difference in niacin and niacinamide, different people can have different physical reactions when they take one as Opposed to the other.
High niacin doses can cause flushing a condition that causes blood vessels to widen. This makes the capillaries under the skin to expand to allow more blood to flow making the skin to become red and itchy. Niacinamide does not have the effect of skin flushing and that is why it is preferred over niacin in the treatment of pellagra, a condition that results due to lack of vitamin B3. The only affect that niacinamide may cause is excessive sweating.
Niacin And Cholesterol
Niacin on the other hand it is preferred in the treatment of high cholesterol levels while niacinamide is not preferred in this treatment. This is because since niacinamide is a derivative of niacin, the cholesterol lowering properties in niacinamide are inhibited. Niacin is also preferred in treating circulatory problems because of its effects on the blood vessels and the role it plays in lowering high cholesterol levels hence preventing hardening of the arteries.
This in addition reduces the risk of heart attacks. On the other hand, Niacinamide may also be preferred for treating osteoarthritis and diabetes. The two can be used in treating physical and emotional stress. Either niacin or niacinamide may be used for treating anxiety and depression. For these two components of Vitamin B3 to be effective, doctors recommend that they ought to be taken in combination with Vitamin B1, B2 and C.
Benefits of using natural bar soaps
May 27, 2012 03:42 PM
Natural Vs Unatural Soap Bars
Chemically manufactured bar soaps are not only unhealthy to your body but they are also harmful to the environment. These bars soaps are manufactured with a main purpose of generating profits to these companies without paying much attention to the health of your skin. Fortunately there are natural bar soaps that are manufactured specifically to care for your skin. Natural bar soaps are manufactured using palm, coconut, rice bran, sunflower, soya bean and castor oils. There are numerous benefits that you will enjoy when using natural soaps as Opposed to using chemically produced soaps.
Among the most beneficial ingredient in soaps is glycerin. Commercially produced soaps are manufactured through the process of saponification. During saponification, all the glycerin that was used as an ingredient is removed and therefore the final product does not contain any glycerin. On the other hand during the manufacture of natural bar soaps, all the glycerin is maintained and therefore you get a chance to enjoy its benefits.
Natural Bar Soap
Natural bar soaps are not manufacturer using animal fats like the ones used in making commercial soaps. Animal fats are responsible for forming scum on the surface of the water during bath or washing. Therefore using natural bar soaps assure you of scum free water during bath.
Every ingredient in natural bar soap has unique quality that offers health benefit to your skin. On the contrary, commercially made soaps are manufactured using esthers, animal fat, low grade oils, wax,and alcohol. Esthers are known to be carcinogenic which makes them dangerous for your skin and also harmful to the environment. Many of the medicated soaps in the markets have triclosan as an ingredient. Triclosan is carcinogenic and can lead to skin cancer.
There are three manufacturing processes for making soaps i.e. hot process, melt and pour process and cold process. Melt and pour process produces transparent glycerin soaps. These soaps are not as harmful as commercial soaps but they are not natural soaps. Most of the commercial bar soaps are manufactured through the hot process. Due to the extensive heat used, all the benefits of natural soap are taken away. Natural bar soaps are manufactured using the cold process. During this process, animal fats, lye and oil combine to produce glycerin thereby giving the soap all the benefits of natural ingredients.
Great Smell And Good For The Skin
Natural soaps have a great smell that is derived from the ingredients used. Some of them are colored with natural colors which give them a more natural look. Therefore using these soaps not only does your skin look healthy but also smells great. Natural soaps do not rob your skin off its natural oils and therefore using these soaps ensures that your skin remains naturally smooth and softer. Chemically manufactured soaps will remove these oils from your skin leaving the skin dry and itchy. Natural soaps are suitable for all types of skins including the sensitive skins.
Due to the continued appreciation that people have on natural soaps, many soap manufacturers are labeling their soaps as natural even if they are not natural. It is therefore important that you understand what is meant by natural soaps. Natural bar soaps are made using organic compounds that have not been chemically altered in any way.
Acne Treatment of Different Skin Types
September 20, 2011 11:30 AM
Not everyone has the same skin type, and if you have acne, then the treatment could be dependent on your skin type. Before discussing the different acne treatments available, therefore, it will be necessary to discuss the various skin types.
Skin types are graded in a number of ways, anything from 3 types to several. Here we shall discuss more than the normal three (oily, dry and normal) but instead look at seven.
1. Normal Skin
Normal skin looks evenly colored and textured, firm and smooth without larger pores. People with normal skin probably had mild acne when at high school, but cleared up fairly quickly during the teenage years without specialized treatment or scarring. Acne in this type of skin normally requires only mild topical treatment and a mild antibiotic face wash to keep the pores clean of dead skin cells.
Treatments designed to reduce sebum production could result in dry skin susceptible to environmental damage. What must be kept in mind is that the prime cause of acne is excessive production of skin oil, correctly known as sebum, becoming mixed with shed skin cells within the sebaceous pores and plugging them. When this plug gets infected with bacteria, the immune system leaps into action to produce puss through leucocytes attacking the bacteria, and inflammation designed to create temperature conditions alien to bacteria.
If you use treatments formulated to reduce sebum production in oily skin, then you might lose the natural skin oil needed to keep your skin waterproof and resistant to the pollution and chemical agents that can cause dermatitis.
2. Dry Skin
If you got through adolescence with few or no skin problems, and you have dry hair and your skin feels dry after washing, then you have dry skin. It is even more important with dry skin that you do not use sebum-reducing treatments, if you even get acne at all. Only the mildest acne treatments should be used if you have dry skin, thought is unlikely that you will get anything other the very mildest case if you really have dry skin.
Your skin can dry through age, so to be of a dry skin type, you should have suffered, or be suffering, these problems while you are 35 years old or under. After that age your skin tends to dry out naturally.
3. Oily Skin
This completes the trilogy of the classic skin types. Oily skin is associated with acne, and if your hair is oily, you tend to tan very easily rather than go red in the sun, and if oily make-ups, such as some foundations, tend to last only a short time, then you likely have oily skin.
You will also have suffered from acne as a teenager, and your skin will have a particular 'look'. It will often appear shiny, and will also seem to have a coarse texture with larger pores than most others seem to have. You will tend to get a lot of blackheads, not only as a teenager.
Oily skin is classically associated with acne, and it is for those with that skin type that classic treatments will be prescribed, such as antibiotics and Accutane.
Apart from these three skin types, there are others that have been defined involving a combination of these and also age.
Sensitive skin is associated with broken blood vessels beneath the surface of the skin, and such skin types should be treated very carefully. If creams or lotions are applied to sensitive skin they should be rubbed in very gently as it could cause bruising.
Sensitive skin is no more susceptible to acne than most other skin types although significantly less so than oily skin. For that reason, treatments for sensitive skin should be similar to that for dry skin or in most cases normal skin.
Combination skin has an oily zone across the forehead, and down the nose and chin, the other areas of the face being normal or dry. Such skin can also be oily along the jaw line and normal to dry everywhere else. In such cases aggressive acne treatment might be necessary in the oily zones, and more mild treatments used in the areas which are normal.
There are three other classes or skin type based upon age or condition, one being mature skin and other ailing skin and the final type, surprise, surprise, being known as acne skin. Ailing skin is caused by skin conditions other than acne, and you should get the advice of a dermatologist if you believe you have this type of skin. Mature skin on the other hand is natural and occurs with age: the skin becomes slack and loose due to a slowing down of cell growth which causes the skin to lose elasticity. There is no cure for this type of skin other than cosmetic surgery, and it is rarely affected by acne.
Acne skin is normally oily and associated with blackheads, pimples and spots. It is not normally applied to serious acne conditions, being mostly associated with skin which is generally 'spotty', as Opposed to mostly clear. It is debatable whether acne skin is any different from oily skin which also tends to be covered with spots and pimples, and the treatments for acne skin are no different to those for oily skin: these are Accutane, antibiotics and topical treatments such as face washes and scrubs.
If you have acne skin you must be careful about the type of cosmetics and face cleansers you use, since either could aggravate your condition. This is not restricted only to those with oily skins of course, since everyone should be aware of the effect of cosmetics and face cleansers on their skin but it is more significant with those who suffer from acne. Cosmetics cannot cause acne, but they can help to aggravate infections which have already occurred.
Although most focus is placed on those with oily skins which are more susceptible to acne, people with any type of skin should consider carefully the types of cosmetic and cleansers which they use. Contrary to what you may have heard or read, acne has nothing to do with your diet - eating fatty foods or chocolates do not cause acne, which is caused only through production of excess sebum, or skin oil, by the sebaceous glands.
Irrespective of your skin type your physician will determine the best treatment that is appropriate for your particular case of acne. This may be different for individuals and may or may not change according to skin type. Antiseptic face washes or scrubs may be appropriate for some acne cases, Accutane might be the best treatment for others, while a course of internal antibiotics such as tetracyclines may be deemed appropriate for yet other cases.
Treating acne has three distinct phases:
1. Removal of the blackheads and lesions. The removal of lesions can also involve a degree of scar removal, although that is another topic. Black heads, whiteheads and other papules can be treated by the use of facial cleansers and scrubs. They should not be squeezed since the puss inside them could be forced deeper into the skin and so lead to a more generalized infection.
2. Treatment of the bacterial infection. The typical symptoms of acne, the papules, whiteheads and blackheads, are caused by bacterial infection of the plug of sebum and dead skin cells within the sebaceous follicles. The general treatment for such infections is antibiotics, both topically and internally. Tetracycline has already been mentioned as a common internal antibiotic, and several forms of antibiotics are used in facial scrubs of which peroxides and benzoates may perhaps be rather severe for dry and sensitive skins.
3. The third phase is treatment of the causes of excessive sebum production. This is generally not entirely treatable since it is predominantly due to excessive hormonal activity at certain times of your life such as puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. However, your physician may offer treatments such as the contraceptive pill which should be used with care.
Other treatments include agents that aid desquamation, so preventing the irregular shedding of skin cells that lead to the mixture of sebum and dead skin cells that form the plug that is so easily affected by bacterial infection.
Together these three stages of acne treatment can, if not prevent the condition, certainly reduce its extent and have less of an effect on your skin, particularly if you are the off the oily skin type. Doctors will take your skin type into consideration when determining the best acne treatment for you, although all generally this will only be with respect to topical treatments: treatments that are applied to the surface of your skin.
There are also a number of herbal treatments which are used in the treatment of various stages of acne, and many sufferers find these equally as effective as the more traditional forms of topical applications as prescribed by physicians. However given that the treatment you use is safe according to your physician, any that works for you is the acne treatment that you should likely use, irrespective of your skin type.
June 11, 2009 06:16 PM
The boswellia family of trees are specifically known for their fragrant, gummy sap, which possesses many medicinal uses. Among these, especially, if the use as an anti-inflammatory. It is believed that the frankincense of the bible was actually an extract from the resin of the Boswellia tree. Boswellia, which is also known as boswellin, has a long history of use in Ayurvedic healing. The resin is called salai guggal and has been used to treat asthma, arthritis, various inflammatory conditions, and to relieve joint pain and pain that results from sports injuries. The resin of the boswellia tree is also though to be helpful for treating back pain as well as some other chronic intestinal disorders.
The boswellia plant is a genus of trees that are known mainly for their fragrant resin. This resin has many pharmacological uses, particularly as anti-inflammatories. There are four main species of boswellia, producing true frankincense. Each type of resin is available in various grades. These grades depend upon the time of harvesting. The resin of the boswellia plant is hand sorted for quality. Anyone who is interested in frankincense is advised to obtain a small sample from each reputable dealer to determine the difference between each resin.
Boswellic acids are the main compounds that are believed to be at the source of boswellia’s anti-inflammatory properties. These acids have the ability to inhibit the enzymes that induce pain and inflammation in the body.
A few studies have been conducted on boswellia’s effect on sports injuries and arthritis. Among these, some have shown that boswellic acids may contain anti-inflammatory benefits that are extremely powerful. These benefits are similar to those found in ibuprofen and aspirin. One study done on rheumatoid arthritis patients found that pain and swelling were reduced after three months of treatment with boswellia. Those who used boswellia occasionally reported mild gastrointestinal distress, like heartburn and nausea, but there were no other reports of serious side-effects.
Boswellia has a long tradition of safe and effective use as a mild anti-inflammatory to alleviate pain and stiffness. It is also used to enhance mobility without serious side effects. However, further research is needed to confirm the long-term safety and effectiveness of this extract. Boswellia seems to be best taken as needed in order to reduce pain and stiffness, as Opposed to being taken regularly as a maintenance herb.
The resin of boswellia is used in many herbal formulas because of its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Primarily, this extract is most useful in dealing with arthritis, asthma, inflammatory conditions, joint pain, and sports injuries.
A boswellia standardized extract is recommended by many doctors. When dealing with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, 150 mg of boswellic acids are taken three times per day. For example, if an extract contains 37.5% boswellic acids, 400 mg of the extract would be taken three times daily. Treatment with boswellia should generally last between eight and twelve weeks. Generally, boswellia is safe when used as directed. Rare side effects include diarrhea, skin rash, and nausea. Any inflammatory joint condition should be closely monitored by a health care professional. To date, there are no well-known drug interactions with boswellia.
Boswellia comes in capsule form at your local or internet health food store. When making a purchase always read the label to ensure that the product is standardized to its active acids to ensure quality and purity and to ensure that the herb when taken regularly will function as intended.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Boswellia is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
May 07, 2009 05:45 PM
L-carnitine is amino acid essential for the metabolism of fats into a form of energy necessary for extended aerobic activity. Originally discovered in Russia, and Germany a year later, the structural formulation of carnitine, as it is correctly known, was determined in 1927, although it is physiological and biochemical activity was not understood until the 1960s.
The amino acid is biosynthesized in the liver and kidneys from lysine and methionine. The vitamins niacin, B6, C and iron are essential for this reaction to take place. However, the supply of L-carnitine has to be supplemented by the diet, good sources being dairy products, red meat, nuts and seeds, pulses and fruits such as apricots, bananas and avocado. Most of the L-carnitine supply of the body is stored within the muscle tissue. However, it is not unusual for conditions to arise making it difficult for the body to obtain all the carnitine required.
L-carnitine enables fatty acids to be transported into the mitochondria, where cell metabolism occurs. The biochemistry is discussed below, although in simple terms the amino acid allows body fats, in the form of triglycerides, to be made more readily available for the generation of energy required for extended exertion. In this way, body fats can be used for energy and the supplies of glycogen stored by the liver can be retained for emergency use.
By providing the energy for endurance and stamina in this way, carnitine makes use of an otherwise unavailable energy source, and has the added benefit of reducing body fat stores and reducing strain on the heart.
Although there is generally a plentiful supply of L-carnitine available in a healthy diet, supplementation can ensure that a deficiency does not occur. Supplements are available in the form of L-carnitine or its acetylated derivative, acetyl L-carnitine.
In order for fatty acids to be used in the production of energy, their long-chain acetyl groups have to get inside the mitochondria where they are oxidized to the acetate to be used for the production of energy via the Citric Acid or Krebs cycle.
In order for the biochemistry to take place, fatty acids must be rendered suitable for binding to the carnitine molecule. The chemical grouping with a good affinity for L-carnitine is the acetyl or acetyl group, available in the molecule acetyl coenzyme A (CoA). The free fatty acid, therefore, is attached to coenzyme-A by means of a thioester bond, catalyzed by means of the enzyme fatty acetyl-CoA synthetase. The reaction is then completed by means of in organic pyrophosphatase.
In this way, the fatty acid in the form of an acetyL-carnitine derivative can be transported through the mitochondrial wall. This transportation takes place by means of several steps. These are:
1. As explained, the acetyl-CoA is attached to L-carnitine by means of the enzyme carnitine acetyltransferase I. This enzyme is conveniently located on the outer mitochondrial membrane.
2. The enzyme carnitine-acetylcarnitine translocase helps the acetyL-carnitine through the membrane.
3. Another enzyme, carnitine acetyltransferase II, located on the inner mitochondrial membrane, converts the acetyL-carnitine to acetyl-CoA, liberating the carnitine which returns to the muscle mass.
L-carnitine is the only known substance that allows fatty acids to cross the mitochondrial membrane, and therefore deficiencies must be avoided.
Another way in which carnitine is used in energy production is in the Krebs cycle itself. Part of this cycle involves the conversion of guanine diphosphate to the higher energy form guanine triphosphate. In this way energy can be stored in much the same way as it is in the conversion of ADP to ATP. Succinyl CoA is involved in this conversion, and one of the by-products of it is a corresponding succinate, that is then converted to a fumarate by the action of L-carnitine fumarate. Carnitine, therefore, has two parts to play in the production of long-term energy from the fatty acids contained in body fats.
Since the fatty acid triglycerides contained in body fats are a major source of energy in the heart and skeletal muscles, it is easy to understand how L-carnitine is believed to lead to the increased energy levels required for stamina and staying power. A major reason for its effect on longer-term or extended energy requirements is that in enabling stored body fats to be used for immediate and longer-term energy requirements, L-carnitine allows emergency glycogen stores to be retained for use once immediate fatty acid supplies or those of carnitine have been depleted, and so allows the energy supply to be extended even farther. Research has also suggested that the amino acid can possibly be used to treat liver and kidney disease, diabetes and chronic fatigue syndrome.
As with many supplements, the question is often asked how does L-carnitine work in practice as Opposed to the claims made for it by the supplement providers? Recent research indicates mixed results, but sufficient to justify its use. It is generally accepted that a supplement is necessary when there is a deficiency, but once that deficiency has been corrected further intake is unnecessary. However, it is also believed that during long and extended periods of exercise a carnitine deficiency does occur as L-carnitine is used up, and the supplement is necessary to ensure sufficient energy supply throughout the period of exercise.
There has also been a case reported in the Journal of Clinical Neurology (Negoro, Tsuda, Kato & Morimatsu, 1995) where a deficiency, caused by anorexia nervosa damaging the liver to the extent that it was unable to synthesize L-carnitine, was remedied by means of an oral supplement. Studies on endurance athletes have been mixed, ranging from no effect to L-carnitine being found to promote weight loss.
Carnitine has no unknown harmful side effects, and has been studied for medical applications other than as an energy supplement. For example it possesses extensive antioxidant properties, and can be used as a supplement against oxidative stress and the prevention of the lipid peroxidation that is a precursor to atherosclerosis.
Its use in osteoporosis and reducing bone mass is also being studied. The concentration of L-carnitine diminishes with age, and affects fatty acid metabolism in a number of tissues. Bones are particularly affected since they require continuous reconstruction. Without detailing the biochemistry involved in this, administration of carnitine helps to reduce the speed by which this occurs. Trials are so far been carried out only on animals.
In studies on both healthy volunteers and patients with type II diabetes, L-carnitine was found to improve storage of glucose in both groups, although its oxidation increased only in the group with diabetes. Other studies carried out include improving the function of neurotransmitters in the brains of elderly patients and in the treatment of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, and other neurological disorders.
In conclusion then, although the jury is out on the use of L-carnitine is an energy-giving or weight-loss supplement, it appears to be effective where the body's stores of carnitine could be depleted such as with long-term exercise, natural deficiencies or deficiencies caused through age. It is also under study in the treatment of various medical conditions. On balance, it would appear that the prospective benefits of L-carnitine render it worthy of use.
Natural Sweeteners Vs. Artificial Sweeteners
April 30, 2009 10:16 AM
Artificial sweeteners are food additives intended to replace the sweetness of sugar without the calorie intake. There are also natural sweeteners that can replace sugar, so which should you choose? Natural sweeteners such as sugar, honey and grape juice are well known, although there are also the less well known, but much more effective, sucanat and stevia.
Sucanat is dried unrefined cane sugar, and unlike refined sugar retains the molasses. Stevia, on the other hand, is a shrub, native to Paraguay, the leaf of which contains a non-sucrose sweetener, 300 times the sweetness of sugar, and which is not absorbed by the body. It is a sweetener pure and simple, with no proven health issues. It is also Japan's most popular sugar substitute.
Artificial sweeteners have been known for many years, the first and best known being benzoic sulfanide, known to you as saccharin. The health risks of saccharin have been the subject of debate for over 100 years and have yet to be resolved. Studies had shown it to cause cancer in rats, and it was placed on a list of known or suspected carcinogens.
It has been banned for use in the USA, but that was lifted by the FDA in 1991, and in 2000 saccharin has no longer required a health warning label. The issue appears to have been resolved by rats metabolizing saccharin in a way not possible in humans. However, many are still suspicious of it, and if you don't trust a food additive then do not voluntarily consume it.
The top two artificial sweeteners in the USA are sucralose and aspartame. Sucralose, discovered in the UK in 1976, is the less emotive of the two, and is chemically the chlorocarbon trichlorogalactosucrose, produced by chlorination of sucrose and 600 times as sweet. It should be stressed that a chlorocarbon is totally different to a chlorinated hydrocarbon. It is generally considered safe to use, although it is very slow rate of degradation in waste water has raised concerns that concentrations could increase with increasing popularity of the sweetener.
According to' Sweet Deception', the book states sucralose to be discovered during the search for an insecticide, and is produced when sugar is treated with acetic anhydride, hydrogen chloride and trityl chloride among others in the presence of toluene, MIBK and dimethyl formamide among other solvents. Although marketed as coming from a natural source, it is anything but natural.
Aspartame was developed by G.D. Searle, and its approval by the FDA has been a matter of concern for many years. Promoted by Donald Rumsfeld, then CEO of Searle, he "called in his markers" to have the substance approved, which was not one of the more glorious moments in America's history.
It is used in over 6,000 products, most household names, yet was based on "inconclusive and incompetent science" according to detractors. In 1981, on the day of his inauguration, Ronald Regan suspended the powers of the FDA on aspartame, and then a month later appointed a new FDA head, Arthur Hayes, who immediately licensed the substance. Donald Rumsfeld was on President Regan's team.
There is a strong body of evidence that aspartame is toxic to humans, although the official evidence has discredit such studies. Recent evidence that linked aspartame to cancer has been stated as irrelevant to humans. In spite of the concerns, the substance has been approved, not only in the USA but also by the European Union. This might call into question the relevance of studies to humans, but many still believe that commercial considerations are behind these decisions.
In fact, an extensive study carried out by the Italian European Ramazzini Foundation, showed that aspartame can cause a significant increase in cancers and leukemias in rats at well below the doses allowed by the EU or the US. This substance required further study by bodies with no vested interest in the outcome.
Those that believe so point to the stevia situation. This natural sweetener is banned for use as a food additive in the EU, and cannot be sold as sweetener due to the FDA not recognizing it as such. It has also been banned in Hong Kong, even though it is the sweetener of choice in Japan, with no apparent side-effects becoming endemic in that country. The USA might not approve stevia as a sweetener, but it is considering lifting its ban on cyclamate.
Cyclamate was banned by the FDA due to tests on rats indicating a possibly carcinogenic effect, but no more positive than those on aspartame. Cyclamate is permitted in Canada, where saccharin is not, and also in the UK, but not throughout the EU.
It is obvious, then, looking at the various claims and counter-claims, and the conflicting legislation between civilized countries, that the artificial sweetener industry is wrought with uncertainty. In the past, it is almost certain that commercial considerations have come before the health of the nation, and that does not engender confidence.
In fact, the only sane approach to take at this time would be to avoid artificial sweeteners altogether, and stay natural. That is not to claim that natural products are safe to eat - far from it! Many of the most virulent poisons are natural, but the well-used natural sweeteners appear to be safer at this time than any of those artificially manufactured.
There might be objections to this where diabetes is concerned, and Canada, while banning saccharin for normal use, still allows it for use by diabetics. This is the one of the two major bodies that promotes the use of artificial sweeteners: the diabetic lobby and the weight loss lobby.
It is difficult to question the obesity and weight problem that America has while at the same time arguing against the use of artificial sweeteners. However, don't forget that stevia is widely used in Japan with no reported health problems, and stevia is a natural sweetener that is permitted for use as a food additive, and that is not absorbed by the body.
However, there is also a recent 2005 study that has indicated that diet drinks containing artificial sweeteners might fool your body into believing that the sweet taste is promising energy, and when it doesn't materialize, you feel hungry and eat more. This has been supported by animal studies.
These have shown convincingly that the sensation of sweetness induces the production of insulin with resulting hypoglycemia because there is no actual increase in blood sugar. This induces increased food intake. This has been proved with rats, and also proved was the fact that the natural response of eating less at the next meal, after sugary food, was gradually diminished in animals fed non-calorific sweeteners.
The choice is yours, but it would seem advisable to stick to natural sweeteners for the time being, at least until the studies carried out are in concurrence as Opposed to offering conflicting results depending upon who is doing the testing.
NPA Loby Day
April 29, 2009 04:12 PM
NOW Takes Top Honors in 3 Distinct Categories On March 24th, 2009 a large contingent of individuals from the Natural Products Association (NPA) visited Capitol Hill during Natural Products Day to lobby Congress on behalf of our industry. Among this contingent were seventeen individuals from the state of Illinois, including three from NOW Foods – President Al Powers, Mike Richard, and Truth Advocate Neil Levin. NOW had two goals during Lobby Day; to meet and lobby Illinois legislators and their staffers on important industry matters, and to obtain contact information for House and Senate lawmakers and their staff for the purpose of extending an invitation to visit and tour our Bloomingdale, Illinois headquarters.
During the day Illinois representatives visited the offices of Illinois senator Richard Durbin and Illinois congressman Bill Foster, and visited with a representative of newly appointed Illinois senator Roland Burris. In regard to legislation, members of the Illinois contingent supported an update to the national school lunch program, which was last revised in 1979, and renewed their support for the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act (DSHEA), the main body of laws regulating our industry. They also warned Illinois lawmakers that the possible dissolution of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into separate Food and Drug agencies could potentially lump natural products regulation together with drug regulation, despite the vastly superior safety record of natural products and dietary supplements.
They also presented information on a number of studies that showed the potential for over $20 billion in healthcare savings over a five year period if consumers were to take certain supplements, including calcium and vitamin D to maintain bone health, lutein and zeaxanthin to support visual function, folic acid to protect from birth defects, and more. Lastly, representatives from NOW Foods Opposed new regulations that could hurt businesses that, like NOW Foods, are responble for increasing American exports and creating new jobs for Americans during a protracted economic downturn.
Even though there was no immediate commitment from our representatives in Washington on the key issues discussed, we feel that this Lobby Day was successful in building more personal relationships with our elected officials, and in helping them to understand our industry’spassion and commitment to promoting optimal health for all Americans through the use of safe, high quality natural products.
Interested in learning more about important legislative issues affecting the natural products industry? Visit www.saveoursupplements.organd make sure your voice is heard in the fight to protect American’s access to safe, affordable dietary supplements and natural products.
Fight Cold Sores And Build Collagen
April 29, 2009 10:18 AM
Lysine is an essential alpha-amino acid, in that it cannot be biosynthesized by the human body, and therefore must be taken in your diet or as a supplement. It is synthesized in plants from aspartic acid, and metabolized in the body to produce acetyl-Coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA).
Before discussing its action on herpes, we shall first have look at how Lysine helps with the formation of collagen. Collagen is a protein that is produced in the body from lysine and proline, another amino acid. In fact the primary role of amino acids in your diet is as building blocks to form the much larger protein molecules.
Collagen is fibrous, and forms the connective tissue such as cartilage, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and skin. Even the external parts of the ears. It literally holds our skeletons together, and wraps the whole body up in skin, so if we had no collagen we would literally fall apart! Collagen is also used by body cells to form the matrix that the body cells use to attach to each other and is one of the most important types of tissue in your body.
It is so ubiquitous that over 30% of the protein contained in your body is collagen, and it is designed for its structural strength as Opposed to its ability to take part in chemical reactions as other proteins are. Lysine and Vitamin C are essential for the maintenance and formation of collagen.
There is not a lot of lysine in collagen - only about 4%, but it is very active in the cross-linking that forms the fibrils of collagen. Fibrils are the hair-like structures formed in a triple helix arrangement by three protein chains twisting round one another. The fibrils are bundled together in a straight line that has amazing tensile strength. The tensile strength of collagen is, weight for weight, stronger than steel!
In order for lysine to take part in this process effectively, some molecules have to be hydroxylated and others oxidized, forming aldehydes. Things can go wrong here, and deficiencies in the metabolic process can lead to some heritable conditions, or diseases of connective tissue. Among these are lathyrism, Cutis-Laxa and the Menkes kinky hair syndrome.
However, lysine is a very versatile amino acid, and not only is it necessary for the biosynthesis of all proteins, but is also heavily involved in the production of enzymes, hormones and antibodies. It is an important component of the calcium absorption process, and also, as previously stated, can be used in the treatment of herpes simplex.
This form of herpes is known commonly as 'cold sores', and is a result of the activity of the herpes virus. Viruses do not reproduce in order to ensure the 'continuation of the species', but replicate. In order to achieve this it requires the help of another amino acid, arginine. This is a common amino acid whose sources include grains, seeds, peanuts, raisins and chocolate.
Lysine and arginine competes for the absorption and entry of tissue cells, and reduces the strength of arginine, so preventing the growth of herpes. For this reason a supplement of lysine can be used to reduce the effects of the herpes simplex virus, and lessen the symptoms of the cold sore.
However, it is not only cold sores but other forms of herpes that lysine can help to relieve. Herpes zoster is a virus that causes shingles. This virus is generated by the reactivation of the dormant varicella-zoster virus left in the tissues after chickenpox. It is a recurrent condition, and lycine can help to reduce recurrences as well as its severity. Apart from being an effective defense against herpes, and forming collagen, the amino acid imparts several other benefits to the human body.
Among these is osteoporosis. L-lysine is involved in calcium absorption in the intestine, and also helps to reduce the loss of calcium in the urine. In osteoporosis we have to try to make every calcium molecule ingested in the diet to be incorporated in the bone structure. L-arginine can work with lysine to enhance the activity of the body cells that produce bone.
Canker sores are often mistaken for cold sores, but they are actually quite different. They are small sores inside the mouth, and appear in the form of very painful ulcers. The cause is unknown, but is believed to be a virus, and lysine appears to help the condition. Although there have been no proper clinical tests carried out on its use as a remedy for canker sores, lysine appears to help, and a supplement is recommended as a treatment by many doctors. It will do no harm, and anybody suffering from these tiny but painful sores will try anything.
Although lysine deficiency is rare, it can occur, particularly amongst those observing a vegetarian macrobiotic diet, and also in athletes who frequently undertake vigorous exercise, especially with too little recovery time. The effects of a deficiency are fatigue, nausea, appetite loss, anemia, slow growth and kidney stones. The latter is likely due to a failure to absorb calcium, that L-lysine promotes, and the formation of calcium oxalate and other insoluble salts in the kidney.
Dietary sources include beans and other legumes, and although it should be available in cereals, baked foods and doughnuts, for example, the carmelization of sugars binds the lysine to the sugar, and so reducing its bioavailability. However, you can also get it in cheese, eggs, tofu and red meats.
If you are taking an arginine supplement, you should consult your physician prior to taking lysine. The reason for this is that lysine and arginine share biochemical pathways, and arginine can reduce the effective concentration of lysine.
However, it has not been tested by the FDA, nor approved, and any use is at your own risk. This risk appears to be very small, although its manufacture is not regulated. However, do not let this bother you: the proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say.
Many have found lysine to be effective with collagen or herpes problems, and a supplement of between 3,000 and 9,000 mg per day is recommended for those with herpes viral infections. It is not recommended for children under two years old. Lysine is available at your local or internet health food store at discount prices. Look for name brands to ensure purity and quality of the product you purchase.
Another Great Cold Sore Remedy is Red Marine Algae!
Strengthen The Liver and Kidneys With Leucine
April 27, 2009 02:08 PM
L-leucine is an amino acid that is used by the body to fuel exercise and muscle-building to provide you with that athletic edge that gets you ahead of your opponents. It does so in a number of ways, none of them specifically by the direct generation of energy as such.
It is also an essential amino acid, since it cannot be manufactured by your body and hence must be taken as a supplement or as part of your diet. Foods rich in leucine include nuts, whole wheat products such as wholemeal bread, and brown rice. It is a hydrophobic amino acid, meaning that it does not like water.
It is also one of three essential branched chain amino acids, the other two being L-valine and L-isoleucine, and offers many benefits to athletic performance that shall be discussed below It also helps to preserve the body's stores of glycogen, used as an emergency energy source. Other than these properties, it possesses others, such as the maintenance of the nitrogen balance in the body.
So how does it work to fuel your body while you are exercising? The answer is not as you might think. L-leucine doesn't increase your energy levels as creatine does when it elevates your ATP (adenosine triphosphate) levels. ATP is the molecule of energy that is synthesized in your body cells, and is then converted back to ADP, the diphosphate, with the release of energy in the form of muscular contractions.
This amino acid is what is referred to as a 'limiting' substance, in that the other amino acids cannot do their jobs in your body unless you have sufficient L-leucine in proportion to them. Specifically, you need two parts of L-valine and two parts of L-leucine to one part of L-isoleucine for optimum usage of the food that you eat.
Therefore you cannot just take the supplement without considering how much should be taken to ensure this balance. Excess will be wasted and a deficiency would fail to make proper use of the protein content of your food.
If you suffer from a deficiency, therefore, your body cannot make best use of the protein in your diet to the extent that muscle tissue will not be generated during exercise. In fact it causes catabolism, or the breakdown of muscle tissue, resulting in a loss of performance and possible increase in fatty tissue as Opposed to lean muscle. The only way to build muscle is take in sufficient nitrogen in the form of amino acids and protein, along with L-leucine to put that protein to best use.
One of the major properties of L-leucine is in stimulating the synthesis of skeletal muscle tissue and by using a supplement, the protein balance can be positive after a workout. It has been shown that this protein balance is generally negative until specifically L-leucine is consumed.
The way it works is to activate a muscle-generating pathway known as mTOR (mammalian Target of Rapamycin). mTOR is normally activated when the levels of ATP in the muscle cells is high, and when these levels drop then mTOR is deactivated. The activity of mTOR is sensitive to the concentration of L-leucine, and when the concentration of the amino acid in the body rises it informs mTOR that the protein in the diet is sufficient to manufacture skeletal muscle tissue, and so mTOR s activated.
Exactly how this is done is unknown, but is a fact the mTOR depends upon both L-leucine concentration and also ATP levels. This amino acid also decreases catabolism through a number of different mechanisms, one of which involves increasing insulin levels.
In fact, when insulin and L-leucine levels increase at the same time, there is a synergy that promotes the synthesis of new protein. Not only that, but the response of insulin to the presence of carbohydrates is enhanced, this resulting in an enhancement of your body's metabolism.
The amino acid can also be used to help those suffering from kidney and liver problems because it increases liver protein synthesis. It is therefore a useful adjunct both to diabetics and those suffering from liver and kidney disease.
However, because L-leucine is an essential amino acid with so many important properties, a deficiency can have specific consequences. Catabolism has been stated earlier as one such reaction to a deficiency, and others include decreased energy levels and irregularities in the levels of blood sugar.
Everything about this substance is not good however, and when taken by itself in excess, it can reduce the amount of the other amino acids in the blood, particularly of the other two branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). This in turn upsets the balance of amino acids, and reduces further the ability of the body to produce muscle tissue until a balanced supplement is taken.
Leucine also helps to maintain the nitrogen balance. It is essential for the human body to maintain a positive nitrogen balance, and L-leucine supports this. In fact, one study has demonstrated that after 12 hours infusion with L-leucine, nitrogen balance was improved by as much as 23%.
A supplement alone is not always sufficient to maintain a positive nitrogen balance. It is generally essential that you rest your body for a sufficient length of time to allow protein to be generated. If you don't take the required amount of rest, a surplus of protein could be used to maintain energy levels rather than replace lost protein and maintain a good nitrogen balance.
A positive nitrogen balance is essential for the generation of muscle tissue, such as in bodybuilding for example, since all proteins contain nitrogen and the net nitrogen intake must exceed the excretion rate. Not in gaseous form, of course, but in the intake of amino acids and proteins. The more positive your nitrogen balance is, the faster you will recover after exercise. It is essential for anabolic exercise.
L-leucine, therefore, is a supplement that can help to maintain your current muscle mass while undergoing strenuous exercise, in addition to increasing it while resting. It offers other health benefits, one being helping to maintain clarity of thought in the aged. However, it is for its effect on muscular build-up and the athletic edge that provides that the supplement is most commonly taken.
Hyaluronic Acid can help Restore Joint Function
December 01, 2008 10:03 AM
Hyaluronic acid, also known as hyaluronan, is one of the main components of the extracellular matrix of connective tissue and joints, and is one of the main chemicals contained in the synovial fluid that lubricates your joints. Before we discuss how it can be used to help restore the function of damaged joints, let's have a look at what causes joint pain, and why joints can break down long before their time.
You might have heard that arthritis is an inflammatory condition, or that it is due to the immune system. This is true to an extent, and rheumatoid arthritis is an immune system problem, although osteoarthritis is a different problem altogether. Arthritis is not the only cause of joint pain of course, but is by far the most common cause. As already inferred, there are two forms of arthritis, each with a different basic cause.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of joint disease, and is largely due to wear and tear, injury or can be hereditary. However it is usually initiated by damage, the joint surface becomes roughened and the bone around the damaged area gets thicker to compensate. A joint is where two bones meet, and not all joints move. You have the fixed joints in your skull, for example, and those between the ribs and the spine. However, arthritis generally affects the joints associated with movement, mainly the knees, hips, fingers, toes and elbows.
The ends of the bones are covered with a thin layer of cartilage, which can absorb shocks and both cushion the joint and allow the ends of the bones to move smoothly over each other. Round each joint is a membrane known as the synovium that is filled with the thick synovial fluid, which lubricates the cartilage. The bone ligaments hold them close to the joint, and prevent them moving too much and dislocating. Finally, the joint is completed by the tendons that attach the muscles to the bones they control.
Osteoarthritis causes a joint to deteriorate: the cartilage becomes rougher and wears, and the bone beneath the cartilage gets thicker. At the edge of the joint the bone tends to grow outwards, forming spurs and the synovium swells producing extra synovial fluid. This causes swelling and pain, and ultimately the joint can be damaged beyond repair. This process takes a number of years to reach a stage whereby pain and discomfort are felt.
Before that situation occurs, however, the joint tries to repair itself, and hyaluronic acid can take part in this process. It is mainly involved in the reparation of connective tissues such as cartilage, although there are other connective tissues which hyaluronan has been found to repair. These include skin, eyes and heart valves and hyaluronic acid can arguably be used to help repair all of them.
However, it is joint tissue with which we are concerned here, and hyaluronan is an important component of articular cartilage: the type of cartilage involved in movement (knees, hips, etc), as Opposed the type that forms your nose or the external part of your ears. It is believed that injections of hyaluronic acid can help to repair damaged articular cartilage. However, osteoarthritis is only one of the two forms of arthritis. The other is rheumatoid arthritis, and this is much more sinister.
Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by the attack of your joints by your own immune system, although why this happens is unknown. The most likely theory is that certain infections trigger the immune system, and it then proceeds to attack the synovial joints. Cytokines are responsible for inflammation of the synovial fluid, which can also cause fever, loss of weight and appetite, and inflammation of the blood vessels.
The body tries to generate more synovial fluid which causes swelling round the whole joint, putting pressure on the damaged areas, and generating even more pain. The inflammatory response commences and the whole area becomes seriously painful.
The smaller joints are most commonly affected, such as the fingers and toes, but it can progress to the elbows, hips and the knees. The joints become red, swollen and finally too stiff to be used. The sinusitis eventually leads erosion of the joint and deformation.
Because hyaluronic acid behaves like the synovial fluid, it is believed that it can be used to treat both forms of arthritis. It is a glycosaminoglycan, an unbranched polysaccharide of the same type as chondroitin sulfate that is commonly used to treat arthritis. It can be used to increase the viscosity of the synovial fluid, and render a more effective lubricant.
However, it is in treatment of osteoarthritis that hyaluronan is most likely to find success. It is used to improve the viscosity of the synovial fluid, so providing increased lubrication to the joint and helping reduce the pain. In fact it not escaped notice that those who eat a diet rich in hyaluronic acid tend to live longer and look younger than those that do not do so.
Commercial preparations are currently in use or under evaluation for disorders such as glaucoma, fractures, and detached retinas, damage to cartilage, healing ligaments and osteoarthritis. These last three are particularly of interest to arthritis sufferers, and signs are that they are effective with many cases.
However, it has also been established that smoking cigarettes can negate the effect of hyaluronic acid, and excessive levels of Vitamin C can also degrade it. Estrogen treatment, however, can enhance its effect in repairing connective tissue. Zinc deficiencies have also been found to have negative results, so make sure that these factors are addressed if you are using hyaluronic acid to treat arthritis.
Something to keep in mind if you are taking hyaluronic acid orally is the size of the molecule. It is a very large molecule, and suffers from the same absorption problems as chondroitin sulfate. There are smaller hyaluronan molecule versions available if you can find them, that improve the absorption through the intestine, but if not then the dose will generally be greater than expected due to the low absorption levels due to the molecule being too large to be easily absorbed through the tissues into the bloodstream.
Vitamin B Complex
November 24, 2008 04:45 PM
The connection between B vitamin complex and stress is well known; although why a good B vitamin complex can reduce stress is less well known. Before discussing the reason why a Vitamin B formula can reduce stress, we shall first have a look at stress and what causes it. The term means different things to different people, and a stressful situation to one person might not be such to another.
The biochemistry of stress is fairly complex, although involves the production and release of hormones into your bloodstream. When an event occurs that causes stress, the hypothalamus portion of your brain becomes involved. It releases cotocotropin releasing factor (CRF), a hormone that protects you from stress by raising your spirits. CRF sends signals to the pituitary gland causing the release of ACHT (Adrenocorticotropic hormone corticotropin) that causes cortisol to be released into the bloodstream by the adrenal glands. Cortisol speeds up the metabolism.
Coincidentally, the cells of the brain stem and spinal cord send a message that stimulates the adrenal glands to secrete epinephrine that increases the heart rate, breathing and alertness, ready for fight or flight. Both of these mechanisms then lead back to the pituitary gland and your new stress level can repeat the process or stop it, should your stress be reduced. If this cycle continues over an extended period of time it can have serious repercussions on your mental and physical health.
The B vitamins can help to regulate this biochemical function, and in doing so can reduce stress, and with it the associated anxiety and depression. In fact many of the symptoms of vitamin B deficiency are those that are also associated with stress: anxiety, nervousness, depression irritability and so on. There is no one specific form of Vitamin B that helps with stress, and there are eight in total. However, in saying that, the three members of the B vitamin complex that have most effect on stress are vitamins B 3, 6 and 12.
Every one of the B vitamins is involved in cell metabolism. Because they are soluble in water, they are quickly leached from the body so have to be replaced on a regular basis. The various B vitamins are needed by your body for specific purposes, such as Vitamin B1 (thiamin) is essential for the correct function of your nerves, brain and muscles. Although others have their own particular areas of responsibility, they are generally lumped together, not only because they are all soluble in water, but also because they each have a profound effect on the metabolism of your body.
Those mostly connected with the nervous system are Vitamins B3, B6 and B12. Vitamin B3 (Niacin) helps to maintain the proper health of your digestive system, skin and nerves, and B12 (cobalamin) is also needed for a healthy nervous system. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) along with vitamin B12 are the two principal members of the B complex that have an effect on stress, and a deficiency of these can make you more prone to this frequently debilitating condition. In fact many people that are suffering from a general Vitamin B deficiency have various forms of mental problems.
Because Vitamin B12 is available only from animal sources, deficiencies are common in vegetarians, and even more common in vegans who are advised to take a Vitamin B12 supplement. However, in general you are best to take a Vitamin B complex as Opposed to a supplement of any specific member of the B family. This is because a surplus of any one could lead to a depletion of others.
It is thought that much of today's stress is caused by an inadequate diet, and a diet deficient in various forms of Vitamin B is believed to render the subject particularly prone to stress and anxiety. People that have been suffering undue levels of stress over a protracted period of time can be helped by a regular treatment of B vitamins. In taking such supplements, however, you should also be aware of the various possible effects on your body that the causes of your stress can have. These are frequently neither understood nor recognized when they occur.
For example, if you are under stress due to a poor diet, or conversely, are eating a poor diet due to your high stress levels, you might be building up fatty deposits in your liver. Because of this your general health could be at serious risk in addition to your mental health. It is important, therefore, that you don't just restrict yourself to a B vitamin complex, but also take a supplement containing inositol and choline bitartrate.
These can reduce the fatty deposit that a poor diet can cause to build up in your liver with consequent risk to life. Such deposits affect the ability of your liver to destroy the environmental toxins to which become exposed as part of your daily life, and which can be directly related to your ability to counter high stress levels.
In general, however, if you are prone to stress and get nervous and worried about the slightest thing that doesn't go to plan, a B vitamin complex can help: vitamin B can reduce stress, although if your stress is sever you would be better advised consulting a physician than a health store.
Stress is a serious condition, and not one that should be treated lightly. It is possible to treat some stress conditions by using a good B vitamin complex, although should the stress be serious then you should consult your physician. Frequently the stress is not diet related, but due to personal circumstances that cannot be cured by any form of supplement.
However, there are few doubts that a course of Vitamin B supplements can help to overcome many of the metabolic causes of stress, and make up for any deficiency in these vitamins that leave your body almost as quickly as they enter it. Vitamin B can reduce stress, but only if your stress is due to a deficiency: and this is more common that most people are aware.
Guar Gum Fiber
October 27, 2008 04:21 PM
Guar gum is what is known as a soluble fiber, and it is well known that it promotes a healthy colon. You will not find soluble fiber in what you believe to be 'high fiber foods', yet it is a very important part of your diet, particularly if you have problems with your colon such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or even colon cancer.
Traditional high fiber foods, such as bran, leafy vegetables and cereals, contain insoluble fiber that mechanically act as an aid to digestion and the movement of your food through your gastrointestinal system. Soluble fiber, on the other hand, is found in what are more commonly regarded as starchy foods, although unlike starch, the chemical bonds that attach the various sugar molecules together cannot be broken by the acids and enzymes used by your gastric system to digest them.
They thus pass through the body undigested, in the same way as insoluble fibers, and so contribute to the mechanical system upon which the peristaltic pumping motion of the intestine depends. Because it is not digested, soluble fiber contains practically no calories since it does not contribute to the metabolism of your body. Fiber imparts many benefits in addition to enabling your intestine peristalsis to move your food through your digestive system.
For a start they don't contribute to your nutrition, either negatively or positively, but provide bulk to what you eat and provide help to your bowel movements by giving the intestinal muscles something to bite on. One of the benefits of such foods is their effect on your blood sugar and preventing the onset of diabetes. They can also help you to avoid obesity through providing virtually calorie-free bulk to your meals. Some fibers can bind chemically to toxins and certain fats, and can clean out your colon. So what's the benefit of soluble fiber over the insoluble type, and where does guar gum enter the equation?
Basically, soluble fiber is water soluble while insoluble fiber is not. Insoluble fiber is contained in cereals, beans and peas, fruits and in fact anything that doesn't dissolve in water, even when acted upon by that concentrated hydrochloric acid that is the basis of your digestive juices. Soluble fiber can help to prolonging the time that your stomach acids and enzymes spend in digesting your food. Soluble fiber is reported as conferring many health benefits, and guar gum and pectin are two of its major forms.
Guar gum is obtained from the guar bean, indigenous to India and Pakistan, but also grown in the USA, China Africa and Australia. The bean is edible to humans, and also used as cattle feed and fertilizer. TO obtain the gum, the seeds are dehusked and milled, and the gum is a whitish powder, not gummy as you might believe. However, when dissolved in water it gels when it comes into contact with calcium or borax.
It is effective as a laxative, due to the bulk it forms when dissolved in water, and can relieve not only constipation, but is also an effective treatment for IBS, Crohn's disease, colitis and other conditions of the lower digestive tract. Because it enables the colon to eject toxins and other undesirable waste products much more rapidly, guar gum is good for the health of your colon, and absorbs not only toxins but also undesirable bacteria.
Guar gum is what is known as thermogenic: it helps your body to burn fat by converting it to energy, with a resulting increase in your body heat. Not only that, but because it contains very little calorie content, it can bulk up a meal, help to make you feel satisfied and lower the glycemic index of your meal. It is used in many types of weight loss products and diets, although its uncontrolled use can be dangerous due to the potential blockage of your esophagus through insufficient fluid intake. For that single reason you are unable to purchase guar gum in non-prescriptive weight loss products.
Another of the benefits of soluble fiber, and guar gum in particular, is that it accelerates the absorption of calcium in the colon. Since calcium is normally absorbed in the small intestine, as Opposed to the colon, this is good news for those seeking to lose weight. The reason for that is that the dairy products which traditionally contain most calcium tend to be high in calories, and guar gum enables you to get your RDA of calcium from a diet lower in these products by maximizing the calcium extraction and absorption right through the intestinal tract, and not only in the small intestine.
It has also been found to improve your tolerance to glucose. One of the problems that diabetics have is that sugars are absorbed mainly in the small intestine, whereas guar gum also enables it to be absorbed in the colon. Therefore, while the overall absorption level remains constant, there are no peaks and troughs since the absorption is constant through the entire intestinal tract rather than all the demand being in the small intestine. There is therefore less of a demand for insulin at certain times after a meal, so that the overall level of blood insulin can be reduced.
Guar gum is used as a delivery medium for certain drugs. Where it is desirable for a drug to be released into the colon as Opposed to any other part of the gastrointestinal tract, this is the ideal substance. Guar gum can be degraded, if not digested, by anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that live in the absence of oxygen). Certain drugs can be attached to the guar gum molecule, and after consumption will pass unchanged through the stomach, duodenum and small intestine.
However, when it reaches the colon, the anaerobic bacteria that populate the large intestine degrade the gum, and release the drug molecules into the colon where they are needed. There are a number of delivery techniques in addition to using the gum itself, including using derivatives of guar gum, using a combination of the gum and other polymers and also multiparticulate delivery techniques.
Partially hydrolyzed guar gum also seems to increase the population of your bowel with friendly bacteria, or probiotics, such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. These can help to prevent or reduce the symptoms of many bowel conditions, and probiotic drinks taken with guar gum can be extremely beneficial to people suffering the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and other similar disorders of the lower intestinal tract.
So if you have a disorder of your lower intestine or colon, try a soluble fiber such as guar gum as a natural treatment, and where appropriate also take that with a probiotic. Most people find that their symptoms improve and in many cases they disappear altogether.
Green Tea Extract
October 23, 2008 01:43 PM
Green tea is a form of tea made from the leaves of the Carmellia Sinensis, a shrub that is native to China and has spread to other areas of Asia including Japan and the Middle East. Drinking it is believed to impart many health benefits, including the prevention of obesity, heart disease and some forms of cancer and it has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 400 years.
Tea is known to have been consumed in China for around 5,000 years, and used, not only in Chinese medicine, but also in that of Japan, Thailand and India for a number of ailments including regulating blood sugar, treating wounds and digestive problems. The drinking of green tea to benefit the heart and other vital organs is described in the Kissa Yojoki (Book of Tea), written in 1191 by Eisai, a Japanese Zen priest.
This two-part book talks about the various medicinal benefits of green tea, such as preventing fatigue, curing beriberi, quenching thirst, clearing the thoughts, maintaining health of the urinary tract and improving digestive problems. It also explains how to grow tea and how to prepare and use the leaves. The methods of treatment of various ailments and medical conditions are described in the second part of the book.
The active ingredients in green tea are catechins, polyphenols with strong anti-oxidant properties. Antioxidants are important components of your diet due to their effect on free radicals. These are small molecules, generally oxygenated, such the superoxide cation and hydrogen peroxide that are generated during normal metabolic processes and also ingested in pollutants such as traffic and factory fumes and insecticides. Free radicals are also formed by the effect of the ultra-violet component of sunlight on your skin and other tissues.
The effect of free radicals on your body can be devastating, and they not only destroy cell membranes but also oxidize such molecules as the low density lipids (LDL) that carry cholesterol around your bloodstream. This allows the LDLs to be absorbed by the white blood cells and then deposited as fatty plaques in the walls of your arteries. The end result is a thickening and hardening of the arteries that leads to a condition known as atherosclerosis, where the blood supply to the brain and heart muscle is restricted, which can in turn lead to strokes and heart disease.
Their effect on your cells is to cause cancer and premature aging, among others, and free radicals are also believed to play a part in conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and also inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and diabetes. They can also cause damage to your DNA.
It is essential, therefore, that these free radicals are destroyed as quickly as they are generated, and that is what antioxidants do. You might be more familiar with the antioxidants Vitamins A, C and E, and phytochemicals such as flavonoids and carotenoids, but there are many substances available to you that are even more powerful such as the polyphenols found in green tea.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the most powerful of these with antioxidant properties at least twenty five times that of Vitamin E, and 100 times that of Vitamin C. EGCG comprises around 10-50% of the total catechin content of the tea and studies indicate that it likely helps to protect against DNA damage by free radicals, to protect against oxidation of LDL, provide protection against the damage of ultra-violet radiation and to protect you from the free radicals that are generated by smoking tobacco and general airborne pollution.
There are suggestions that the bioavailability of EGCG can be increased by consuming black pepper when drinking green tea, possibly due to the presence of piperine in the pepper. The piperine appears to retard the intestinal glucuronidation of EGCG and so allow more of it to be absorbed as Opposed to excreted. So if you are using green tea for health reasons, spice up your food with a small amount of black pepper - that's all it needs. You don't have to smother your food in it! It should be stressed that these tests were carried out on animals, although the biochemistry involved is much the same.
The oxidation of fat by your metabolism to provide energy is a very important factor in weight control. If the contribution of the fats you ingest to the energy generated by your metabolism is low, then the fats can go on to be deposited in your body. This is not only unsightly, in that it can basically make you look 'fat', but is also dangerous to your health. Fat deposits around your midriff and round the major organs of your body can be extremely damaging and a severe risk to your health.
It has been shown by a recent study in the UK (Birmingham University) that those taking green tree extract displayed a 17% increase in fat oxidation over those given a placebo. Not only that, but the ratio of fat oxidation to the overall energy expenditure showed a similar differential between the study and the control group. This provides evidence of green tea extract being able to control your weight by burning fat, and also to improve the tolerance to glucose and sensitivity to insulin of healthy people.
Many other health claims have been made for green tea extract, although many of these have little, if any, scientific basis. Among these are the claims that it can treat multiple sclerosis and be used to treat cancer, although claims that it can prevent the destruction of cell membranes due to its oxidative effect are supported by the biochemistry, if not the medical proof. There are cases where theoretical biochemistry can explain many of the applications of ancient remedies without needing modern day studies to support it.
Some of the research supporting the green tea theories include:
1. In 2006, a study was announced that had followed over 40,500 Japanese men and women, aged between 40 and 79, that had no history of coronary heart disease, stroke or cancer starting in 1994. It was found that those who drank at least 5 cups of tea per day had a 16% lower risk of dying from any cause and a 26% less risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than those that drank less than one cup of tea each day. Since cardiovascular disease and cancer are the major causes of death world-wide, these are significant results.
2. Again in 2006, it was reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that studies indicated that a higher consumption of green tea was associated with a reduction in human mental impairment when compared to the average.
3. Yale University School of Medicine reported later that year that, in spite of smoking more than their western counterparts, Asians suffered lower rates of cancer and heart disease, and put that down to them drinking over 4 pints of green tea daily. It was the polyphenol content of green tea and its antioxidant effect that was proposed for this result, known commonly as the 'Asian paradox'. A specific reason given for this was the antioxidant effect preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, and its subsequent deposition in the artery walls.
4. Another component of green tea is the amino acid L-Theanine that promotes relaxation, and it is believed that this could help to fight stress by inhibiting the excitation of cortical neurons.
There is a lot more evidence for the health benefits of green tea, and once again it appears that the ancients have been proved correct. Perhaps we should pay more attention to ancient remedies, although without the proper evidence much of it is ignored - for the time being at least. Green tea, however, has generally been accepted due to the research and studies carried out on ECGC (Epigallocatechin gallate) and in additional to the traditional form, is also available as a dietary supplement.
September 22, 2008 09:48 AM
Panax is a type of perennial plant with fleshy roots, and grows in Eastern Asia. Ginsengs contain ginsenosides that are triterpene saponins, steroidal compounds that are found only in Panax ginseng. The effects of these saponins are difficult to establish, but they are believed to be behind the properties of ginseng.
Panax ginseng is found predominantly in Korea, China and Siberia, although a genus has also been found in Vietnam. Panax are adaptogenic herbs that help promote resistance to anxiety, fatigue and stress, and are said to adapt the body to resist a number of different stressors. It has been proposed that adaptogenic herbs can balance the endocrine hormones of the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal axis.
They also normalize the immune system, and increase the activity of phagocytes, the killer cells. Additionally, they not only help to maintain homeostasis, but are believed to go further and act as allostatic agents, adapting response to maintain system stability in a more dynamic fashion, by changing interactive functions as Opposed to the individual adaption’s made in homeostasis.
Not all ginsengs are the same, and although Siberian ginseng is an adaptogen, it is not a true ginseng. Its roots are woody rather than fleshy, and it contains eleutherosides as Opposed to ginsenosides. These also are triterpenoid saponins, but of a different adaptogen. The herb is actually Eleutherococcus senticosus as Opposed to Panax ginseng and P. quinquefolius, both true ginsengs. Siberian ginseng was misnamed as a marketing ploy.
American ginseng is Panax quinquefolius, sometimes referred to by the Chinese as Huaqishen. It, too, is an adaptogen and a true ginseng, containing ginsenosides. However, it contains much less ginsenonide Rg1 than panax. This ginsenonide appears to possess estrogen-like activity and improves spatial learning. The other forms of ginesonide found in panax ginseng are:
Ginsenoside Rb1: This appears in greatest concentration in American ginseng, and appears to have an effect on the reproductive system. It not only has an effect on the testicles, but is believed to increase testosterone production through its stimulating effect on luteinizing hormone. It also helps to rdeduce the incidence of angiogenesis, which is the formation of new blood vessels from old, and also a stage in the development of malignant tumors from dormant ones.
Ginsenoside Rc: this possesses sedative properties, and in a study on breast cancer was found to have an effect in inhibiting the growth of these particular cancer cells. Ginsenoside Rc might therefore have use in the treatment or prevention of breast cancer. Studies have also suggested that this ginsenoside could increase the motility of sperm: the motiliy of sperm was found to increase significantly in a solution of ginsenoside Rc.
Ginsenoside Rf: this is present only in panax ginseng, and studies have indicate that it has an inhibitory effect on the Ca2+ neural channels in the brain, and so cokld have an analgesic effect. Studies have as yet failed to explain this effect that is seen in animal tests, but are continuing on this ginsenoside.
Ginsenoside Re: this ginsenoside has strong antioxidant effects and has a significant antidiabetic effect in that is reduces insulin resistance, which is likely why ginseng is taken to treat Type 2 diabetes. Studies are ongoing into the properties of this ginsenoside, and also on the other 10 or more that are known to be present in Panax ginseng. The effects of ginseng are difficult to establish with certainity because they work through so many different pathways and it is difficult to isolate one. More than one ginsenoside, for example, affects the calcium channels in the brain, and it is difficult to determine which does what.
There are fewer ginsenosides in Panax quinquefoilius, and in the USA it is only the panax version that can be traded as simply ‘ginseng’. One of the main problems with all ginsengs is that although it is one of the most studied plants, the majority of the studies have been on animals, and due to this, and the difficulties caused by the multiple pathways described earlier, many of the postulations have not been proved in humans.
However, if the theory as it is know today is taken into consideration along with the traditional uses of ginseng in traditional Indian (ayurvedic), Chinese and Native American medicine, it would be fairly accurate to say that ginseng is useful in helping your body to recover after illness or surgery, and to help you to deal with stress. It has also been proved to lower your blood glucose (sugar) levels, and help in the treatment of Type II diabetes, as already mentioned. There is evidence that it helps to boost your mental performance, memory and might help to slow down the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Ginseng can also give a boost to your energy levels, and it is genarally accepted that panax ginseng is more effective than the American version. In traditional medicine, Asian ginseng is said to be warming, and the American variery cooling. Thus Panax ginseng is useful for people recovering from illness and trying to recover their strength, acts as a tonic, stimulant and supports the immune system. In other words it helps the body to get whole again after being depleted.
It should not be used if you get very hot and red, such as with heat stroke, unless you use it in combination with the American version, because these are conditions of high yang and this type of ginseng will increase the yang even further.
American ginseng, on the other hand, is good for those with fevers, hypertension (high blood pressure), and suffereing the effcts of heat. It helps build the yin and reduce the yang, so if you always feel flushed and hot or are hyperactive then go for the American, and if you easily get chilled or find your hands and feet get cold very easily, reach for the Asian ginseng to increase your yang.
You often find ginseng as an ingredient in soft drinks, but the concentration is so low that it has no metabolic or pharmacological effect. The dose to be taken should be as stated on the pack, since there is no specific standardization. It has been noted that the effects can be lost if an excess of ginseng is taken, but generally the herb is safe and if you feel a bit down or lacking in energy, ginseng can work wonders for you.
August 18, 2008 12:01 PM
Whether coconut oil is good for weight loss or not, it is becoming an increasingly popular component of a weight loss diet. So how justified is this in view the fact that fats and oils are not normally regarded as being the best form of food to take if you want to lose weight?
Apart from any other considerations, fats are actually very important components of any diet. Consider, for example, how many vitamins are fat soluble: vitamins A, D, E and K are all fat soluble, and without fats in your diet vitamins would not be able to circulate and be taken to where they do most good. Fats are also essential building blocks for hormones and cell membranes. In short, you cannot survive without fats. Coconut oil is a fat.
In referring to coconut oil here, we are discussing virgin oil, not the refined form that is high in cholesterol. Refined, or processed coconut oils, is hydrogenated, which renders it more in nature to the longer chain fatty acids. Virgin coconut oil contains what are known as medium chain fatty acids (MCFA), which are easily metabolized by your liver into energy.
The longer chain fatty acids, also called triglycerides, are not easily broken down into smaller components, and tend to be stored in the body as fat. This fat can be particularly dangerous if stored round the midriff, and so long chain fatty acids are dangerous to your health. This does not apply to MCFAs, and a possible mechanism for this is discussed later.
An inability to distinguish between the different types of fats and oils in your diet is largely due to a lack of education in the chemistry of fats, and the lumping together of all fats and oils under the 'fatty' flag. Perhaps it is the use of the word 'fat' for the overweight condition and the fact that the triglycerides and other chemicals are known generically as 'fats' that triggers a connection between the two, but although this is logical, and in some cases justified, it is not always the case. There are fats and fats, just as there are lubricating oils and greases, and edible cooking oils and greases.
The fatty acids in coconut oil are composed of relative small carbon chain lengths. Caprylic acid and capric acid contain 8 and 10 carbon atoms in the backbone compared to the 18 of the stearic acid that is commonly contained in animal fats. The longer the carbon chain in the molecule, the more difficult it is to break down, and the more likely it is to be stored in the body as a dense fatty deposit that places a strain on the heart.
Due to the shorter chain length the medium chain fatty acids hold less energy per unit weight. Apart from any other reasons then, coconut oil contains fewer calories than other fats and so if used as the bulk of your fat requirement, will be less liable to generate body fat. Not only that, but as inferred earlier, due to the smaller molecule these calories are more readily released as energy for use by your body rather than stored unused.
However, that is not the whole story on either count: coconut contains saturated fats, and also monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, although in small quantities. These, however, are present in only small amounts, although would still be expected to undergo oxidation and produce the rancid taste commonly found in aged unsaturated oils and fats. However, even after a year this does not happen, which indicates that coconut oil possesses some form of antioxidant properties. This is confirmed by the fact that people eating a diet rich in coconut oil has less of a need for the strong oil-soluble antioxidant vitamin E.
In fact, the metabolism of fats is usually connected with the carnitine transport system in the mitochondria, although the shorter chain fatty acids do not need carnitine for their metabolism. What happens then is that because carnitine promotes oxidation during stress, and causes oxidative damage to body cells, its absence in metabolism of coconut oil fatty acids results in a reduction in the oxidation that degrades unsaturated fats. Hence the lack of rancidity.
Taking this further, then, this lack of oxidation infers that those that take a diet rich in coconut oil (for example using it for cooking rather than animal and vegetable oils containing longer chain fatty acids) should be partially protected against cell oxidation in general. Oxidative effects such as aging, cardiovascular diseases and some cancers should be reduced, and studies have shown this to be the case. Those consuming coconut oil rather than other oils tend to age more slowly, suffer less from heart disease and tend to experience fewer incidences of cancer.
With regard specifically to weight loss, it is believed that consumption of medium chain triglycerides, as Opposed to longer chain triglycerides, results in a higher rate of thermogenesis, or the conversion of carbohydrates to energy (fats are also carbohydrates). The first step in this process requires the presence of Coenzyme A in the form of the enzyme acyl-CoA-dehydrogenase, and measurement of the activity of this enzyme has indicated that medium chain triglycerides exhibit much higher expenditure of energy than the metabolism of long chain triglycerides when being converted to fatty tissue. However, though the energy used up in this reaction, known as lipogenesis, was higher, the formation of fatty tissue was the same.
Hence, MCA uses more energy to produce the same amount of fat as LCA, and therefore, although more energy is used up, no new fat is generated by the liver. Since your dietary fat intake can ultimately have only three fates: burned as energy, stored as the emergency energy source glycogen, or deposited as fat, then it is logical that the more energy generated then the less fat will be stored.
In this way, coconut oil, with a high content of medium chain fatty acids, has a scientific explanation for causing weight reduction when used as a source of fat in the diet rather than animal or other vegetable fats or oils. It is converted to energy rather than fatty tissue, and if you exercise to use up that energy then your weight loss can be significant.
What this theory also states, however, is that coconut oil should be used as a replacement for other fats, and not in addition to it. If you take coconut oil in addition to your normal diet, do not expect to see results.
Vitamin D Supplements
July 29, 2008 02:55 PM
Scientists at the Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, California have recently begun studying whether there is substantial convincing biological or behavioral evidence that links vitamin D deficiency to brain dysfunction. The study found that there is biological evidence which proves that there is an important role for vitamin D in the development of the brain and its function. Supplementation for groups that are chronically low in vitamin D has been found to be extremely beneficial. Vitamin D is involved in brain function through its wide distribution of vitamin D receptors throughout the brain.
Vitamin D affects the proteins in the brain that are known to be involved directly with learning, memory, motor control, and possibly even maternal and social behavior. Research has shown that supplementation is beneficial to those groups whose vitamin D status is extremely low, especially nursing infants, the elderly, and African Americans, but the need for further study has been established. The authors of the study argue that vitamin D supplementation is necessary for those groups that are at risk.
Increased vitamin D levels protect the body against osteoporosis, cancer, and multiple sclerosis. There is now evidence that suggests that vitamin D may help protect against a potentially dangerous rise in blood pressure which occurs in some people as they get older. A study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition had researchers finding that as many as 60 percent of whites and more than 90 percent of blacks who participated in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey had insufficient blood levels of vitamin D.
Researchers also investigated the association between vitamin D, blood pressure, and age. This investigation found that people with lower blood levels of vitamin D had significantly higher increases in systolic blood pressure as they aged than did those people who had healthy levels. Actually, the age-related rise in blood pressure turned out to be 20 percent lower in those people who had healthy vitamin D levels, as Oppose to those people who did not. This suggests that vitamin D deficiency may play a critical role in high blood pressure development.
Many other studies have suggested that there is a role for vitamin D in reducing blood pressure. According to Vin Tangpricha MD, PhD., an assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Lipids at Emory University School of Medicine, there is not enough evidence that vitamin D prevents hypertension available, however, because vitamin D insufficiency is highly prevalent throughout the United States, it may be a good idea to take a vitamin D supplement solely because of the strong evidence on vitamin D’s ability to prevent osteoporotic fractures. It has been noted that further studies are needed in order to determine vitamin D’s effect on blood pressure.
Additionally, it needs to be determined if giving all patients vitamin D will help lower blood pressure. Those people who have a family history of other risk factors that are associated with high blood pressure, such as being older than sixty-five, should have their blood pressure checked regularly. Be sure to look for more studies and information on the effects of supplemental vitamin D on both white and black habitants of the United States to help battle vitamin D deficiency. To learn more about supplemental vitamin D, contact your local health food provider.
July 08, 2008 03:00 PM
Garcinia cambogia is a small tree bearing a small pumpkin-like fruit of the citrus family, and is steadily appearing in an increasing number of weight loss supplements. It is indigenous to parts of Africa and Asia, and the rind is commonly used in Indian cookery.
Although the fruit is particularly sour to the taste, it is used in form of an extract of the rind and claimed to act as an appetite suppressant and also to increase the body’s capacity to metabolize fat. Although there are conflicting claims being made about its efficacy, or lack of it, research shows that it definitely has promise as an agent to prevent and fight obesity and its use is steadily increasing in this respect.
The active ingredient is hydroxy citric acid, otherwise known as HCA, contained in the form of the potassium and calcium salts of the acid in the aqueous extract of the garcinia cambogia rind. It forms up to 30% by weight of the rind. It is tasteless and odorless, and so far found to have no toxic effects on humans. Animal studies have also been generally favorable.
HCA works in two specific ways both to reduce the desire to eat and to inhibit the storage of fat in the body. In each case, as with so many supplements that have an inhibitory effect on a physiological or psychological function or on a metabolic process, it involves an interaction with enzymes.
Citrate lysase is an enzyme in the body that helps to prevent lipogenesis and instead promotes the conversion of carbohydrates into fat. When this enzyme is inhibited from carrying out its intended part in the body’s metabolism, the process of carbohydrate oxidation is boosted, or, in other words, the excess carbohydrate is burned off, or changed into energy.
More fats could also be expelled unchanged from the body, but irrespective of that the end result is that less carbohydrate tends to be converted to fat. Garcinia cambogia, however, has not been found to reduce the body’s uptake of essential fatty acids which are necessary for health. Had this occurred, you would feel a raging hunger as Opposed to the appetite suppressing properties the extract is claimed to have.
The oxidation of carbohydrates can also lead to thermogenesis, or the boosting of the metabolism by increasing your body temperature. An increase in the metabolic rate helps weight reduction through an increased calorie demand while your body is at rest. However, that is not the only way in which the HCA extract works to help reduce your weight, or at least help to maintain it at a healthy level. Let’s return to its specific appetite suppression properties.
Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) is a neuroreceptor found in the central nervous system. It has many regulatory effects on the body, one of which is appetite. Although it is by no means the only chemical in the body that has an effect on the appetite, serotonin is a significant factor. As you get hungry, serotonin is released in the hypothalamus, an area of the brain that regulates sleep and eating. The release of serotonin increases when you see and or smell food. It is the agent that starts canine salivation, and a ravenous hunger in those that have no immediate access to food.
It also causes you to snack, and, as you eat, the serotonin level in the hypothalamus continues to increase until it reaches a point where it provides the hypothalamus with a feeling of repletion or satisfaction. You then stop eating. So the more serotonin is produced, the quicker you stop feeling hungry.
Garcinia cambogia extract has the effect of stimulating the emission of serotonin into the hypothalamus, and so suppresses your hunger quicker. You don’t stop eating altogether, but attain that feeling of satisfaction much quicker and so tend to eat less with each meal. This can not only help you maintain your weight at a healthy level, but also to reduce weight in the obese.
Although the extract can work through each of these mechanisms, it does not have such a significant effect on a very fatty diet. It can help if you switch to a relatively healthy diet, lower in fats, but the effect might not be strong enough to compensate for a poor diet in terms of fat content.
Studies have indicated an anti-oxidant activity that likely comes from the xanthones and xanthone derivatives that are also contained in the fruit. In fact there are other recorded uses of garcinia cambogia, and it has been used in traditional Indian medicine to treat fevers, dysentery, open wounds, ulcers and tumors.
According to a study carried out for the National Cancer Institute there is no documented toxicity effects on humans, and there is no regulation regarding the use of garcinia cambogia. It has not been evaluated by the FDA.
However, there are contra-indications in the case of pregnant and lactating women, more as a safety measure than for any particularly known risk. Alzheimer patients should avoid taking HCA since there is a possibility of it promoting the synthesis of acetylcholine in the brain, and its glycemic action renders it unsuitable for diabetics.
Conversely, this same action is a positive benefit by reducing the craving of healthy adults for sweet foods. However, HCA is frequently taken in combination with chromium due to the latter’s positive effect on the regulation of blood sugar levels. Nevertheless, diabetics should avoid any supplement containing chromium without professional medical advice.
The supplement should be standardized on the HCA content, and an average dose is around 500 mg – 1000 mg of 50% extract a day. However, this varies, and the most important aspect of such extracts is that when changing brands; be sure to compare the strength of the relative extracts and change your dosage accordingly.
Although the benefits of garcinia cambogia to those seeking to lose weight are debated, there is ample evidence to suggest that a regular intake of the extract is beneficial – and not only with respect to the maintenance of healthy weight.
Eggs: An Excellent Source of Omega-3 Oils for Better Health
December 18, 2007 11:43 AM
Eggs have many health benefits, among them being the fact they can be an excellent source of omega-3 oils that can promote better health in those that take it as a supplement. Hens fed on flax seeds are particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids, although eggs have many health benefits other than omega-3.
Most of the health benefits of Omega fatty acids are well known, although many more are being continually discovered as scientists research the uses to which the substances can be put in our bodies. Omega-3 fatty acids have long carbon chains that are polyunsaturated, i.e. contain multiple double bonds in the hydrocarbon chain. As Opposed to saturated fatty acids with no double bonds. They are important components of our neurological systems and help to build up cell membranes, but are probably best known for their effect in protecting us from cardiovascular diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids can help us to maintain a healthy heart, and so enable us to live longer.
The current western diet has been changing to reduce cholesterol intake and improve our lifestyle. However, this has not all been well advised, and the resultant diet is rich in vegetable oils as opposite to animal fats, the relative levels of omega fatty acids having changed in favor of omega-6 fatty acids. These omega-6 fats are not as healthy for us as omega-3, and can lead to a thrombogenic state that more easily leads to cardiovascular diseases and blood clots. Rather than a normal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of around 2:1, this ‘improved’ diet has increased it to anything up to 50:1.
The American Heart Association has been advocating a diet richer in omega-3 fatty acids since 1996, yet while research continues to favor omega-3, the increase in consumption of vegetable oils has continued to increase, and with it a reduction in the overall health of a nation.
Omega-3 enriched eggs have been introduced as one means of redressing the balance. Hens fed on flax seeds lay eggs with a much higher proportion of omega-3 fatty acids than normal: up to and over 150mg per egg. Such eggs also have reduced cholesterol – over 15% less, and also are higher in vitamin E, a strong antioxidant, by up to 300%.
Two of the components of omega-3 oils, linoleic acid and linolenic acid, are what are known as ‘essential’ fatty acids. The term means that they cannot be manufactured in your body, so must essentially be introduced through your diet. When the human body developed to what it is now, the consumption of fish and other oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids was a significant part of our diets, and allowed our bodies to develop the biochemistry and metabolism that it uses today.
If we now upset that biochemistry by cutting our intake of unsaturated fatty acids, our metabolism will suffer and our general health decline. This is one reason why humans should interfere with their natural eating habits as little as possible, or if we do so excessively we should use supplements to replace what we are excluding from diets that have been natural to us for countless millennia. It is dangerous now for the human race to suddenly switch to a significantly different diet without suitable supplementation, because we do not know the long terms effects of doing so.
One way to maintain a steady intake of the fatty acids our metabolism needs in order to ensure our survival is to eat eggs, and especially omega-3 enriched eggs. Of course, eggs have a lot more beneficial health effects than just omega-3. Take choline for example. This is a trimethylated compound that is important in the metabolism of fats. It is the newest official B vitamin, and is an essential component of cell membranes. It is particularly important for the maintenance of the health of your brain, and preventing many brain disorders.
It is also important in methylation, an important biochemical process, and also in the biochemical synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This substance is used to pass messages between nerve cells and from nerve cells to muscles, and a deficiency can cause many health problems, including heart disease and diseases of the vascular system. Methylation is a very important biochemical reaction, being used particularly in messages between body cells and is used to switch genes on and off.
Up to 90% of Americans are deficient in choline, and subject to many diseases because of it. Symptoms include insomnia, fatigue, excess fat concentrations in the blood and problems with your nerves and muscular control. It can cause liver problems and heart problems, and cause a number of brain disorders.
Choline is available in the diet from lecithin and egg yolks, and also soya beans, flax seeds, peanuts and potatoes. The typical American diet is not conducive to an adequate choline intake, and increased egg consumption can help to redress this. This is particularly true of eggs from hens fed with flax seeds, or linseed, from which the triple benefits of choline, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E are obtained. Just two eggs will provide you with almost 50% of your daily requirement of choline.
Some are wary about the cholesterol content of eggs, but studies have indicated that it not so much the amount of dietary cholesterol that is eaten, but saturated fats that cause the excess deposition of cholesterol in the arteries. Cholesterol is an essential part of human biochemistry, and without any we could not survive. In fact, studies have shown that eating two eggs daily can improve your cholesterol levels
Eggs are also rich in lutein, and contain more than vegetables such as spinach. Lutein is an important carotenoid that is believed to prevent age related macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness, and also prevents the development of cataracts. Eggs also appear to have anti-clotting properties on the blood, and so help to reduce the thrombogenesis of omega-6 fatty acids.
Without a doubt, eating eggs is very good for your health, and especially so if they are rich is omega-3 fatty acids. They contain a wide variety of nutrients and truly are a complete food packaged by nature. Some may prefer to stay away from eggs and miss the omega-3 benefits so there is an alternative for diets that exclude eggs. Omega-3 is available in a supplement form that one can take on a daily basis to reap the benefits omega-3 presents.
Are Vegan Supplements Good For Strict Vegetarians?
December 05, 2007 11:20 PM
The question as to whether or not vegan supplements are good for strict vegetarians cannot be answered or understood without a complete understanding of the meaning of the terms ‘vegan’ and ‘vegetarian’.
Where eating meat is concerned, there are several different types of diet, one extreme being the Atkins Diet where devouring animal flesh and fats is positively encouraged. However, it is not that extreme we are concerned with here, but the opposite, where no meat is eaten. Is there anything in a vegan diet that there is not in a vegetarian diet, or are vegan supplements harmful to strict vegetarians? These are questions that we shall now look at from a scientific viewpoint, since emotions are not involved in the answer to the question.
It is certainly true that for many people, emotions are very much involved in the distinction between an omnivore and vegetarian, and also between a vegetarian and a vegan. Some of these have to do with the concept of eating ‘friendly furry animals’ and others to do with the ethics of breeding animal life for the sole purpose of eating it. While these concepts have nothing whatsoever to do with the scientific arguments, they have a lot to do with the various types of eating habit used throughout the world.
Some reasons for a vegetarian diet are imposed by local agricultural and husbandry conditions, where meat is simply not available to most people, others due to religious beliefs and yet others to personal feelings of disgust at the moral arguments involved in eating animals that have been bred specifically for that reason. If we take carnivores and omnivores out of the equation, including those that do not eat red meats, but eat chicken and fish, what do we have?
Vegetarians that eat dairy products and eggs are referred to officially as lacto-ovo-vegetarians. The reasons for the name are obvious. They eat eggs, cheese and yoghurt and also drink milk. The strict vegetarians, on the other hand, who are part of the subject of this article, eat vegetables and dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese, but omit eggs. Then, finally, we have the vegans that eat only vegetable matter and no dairy products or animal based food at all. Each of these, you would think, would have a decreasing intake of nutrients essential for healthy and healthy growth.
A vegetarian diet, as Opposed to that of a vegan, contains many nutritious foods that omnivores also eat, such as pulses (lentils, peas, beans), grains (wheat, oats), nuts, seeds and vegetable and fruits of any form. It can also include protein in the form of soy protein and tofu that can be formed into sausages, burgers and other meat-like products. Why vegetarians should want to make their foods look like meat is unknown, but that seems to what they prefer. The likely reason is that the majority of vegetarians and vegans became so after eating meat, and it helps them to stick to their diet by eating food in familiar forms.
Many have started their diets with what they know, and have substituted soy for minced beef in their spaghetti sauce, for example, and quorn for beef in their burgers. Together with a good piquant tomato sauce it is hard to tell the difference. Other than truly meaty dishes such as steaks, then, most meat dishes can be substituted for vegetarian alternatives or substitutes.
However, what does this do to the vegetarian’s nutrition? How does the vegetarian maintain a sufficient intake of minerals, vitamins and other nutrients by eliminating meat from their diet? Let’s have a look at some of the nutritional content of fish and meat that vegetarians are apparently not getting.
The first is protein, the main source for most people being from the flesh of meat and fish. Protein is essential for the maintenance of healthy muscles, vital organs, skin, and believe it or not, bones. A vegetarian eating eggs has no problems with protein, since eggs and cheese are full of it. There is also the protein in soy based foods and in quorn, a mycoprotein derivative of fungi. Nuts, peas, beans, cereal grains and seeds are all rich in proteins and the vegetarian does not have a problem in consuming an adequate supply of protein.
If we come to minerals, the most important for the health of your blood is iron. Green vegetables and whole grains are good sources of iron, as are pulses and some fruits. However, it is animal sources of iron that the body most easily absorbs, and in order for it to make use of vegetable sources, you should consume a good intake of vitamin C by eating plenty of fruits and green vegetables. You must take these at the same time as the vegetables that contain iron, or the iron will not be absorbed into the body. Otherwise, the vegetarian has a sufficient iron intake to maintain the health of their red blood cells.
The other critical mineral is calcium, essential for healthy bones and teeth. Many dark green vegetables are good sources of calcium, as are turnips, swedes and fortified soy milk. Zinc, too, is essential and without it many enzymes could not be synthesized by your biochemistry, and it is also necessary in the male reproductive system. Zinc, too, has many vegetarian sources, such as nuts, wheat germ and whole grains, and is also contained in soy.
So far in this evaluation neither vegetarians nor vegans have been seriously compromised by their diet, although there are arguments that a vegetarian diet can harm young children since there is insufficient protein available to allow normal growth and development. This is currently under debate, and it is a matter for parents to consider whether or not their children should be raised on a purely vegetarian diet.
However, when it comes to a vital vitamin that is necessary for the production of red blood cells and the prevention of anemia, vegans become unstuck. Vitamin B-12 is found predominantly in dairy products and other animal products. It is claimed that cereals enriched with B-12 and fortified soy products provide this vitamin to vegans, but what are the sources of the vitamin that is used as a supplement?
It is generally accepted that vegans require vitamin B-12 supplements, and also others such as calcium that they might be deficient in due to their diet. It is possible that the only real supplement needed is vitamin B-12, although many nutritionists claim that both vegetarians and vegans should take supplements to boost intake of those nutrients of which the normal route to the body is through eating foods of animal origin.
There are many nutrients obtainable from animal sources that are classed as neither vitamins nor minerals, and for which there are adequate supplements to suit the needs of vegans and vegetarians alike. Further evidence is needed, however, that vegans are deficient in these since many of them have alternatives of vegetable origin that might annul their necessity.
One thing, however, is absolutely certain, and that is the answer to the original question. It is absolutely true that vegan supplements are good for strict vegetarians. The reason for this is that vegan supplements are designed to replace not only nutrients that the body might be deficient in due to a strict vegetarian diet, but also those missing by the absence of dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt.
Vegetarians will also benefit from such supplements, and it could be important to their health that both vegetarians and vegans take them.
Addiction Recovery With Chinese Herbs Like Kudzu
November 28, 2007 12:04 PM
Kudzu is Chinese herb that has been identified for the treatment of alcoholism. Anybody who has even had an addiction will tell you that addiction recovery is one of the most difficult of the tasks that life throws at us. Whether it is an addiction to tobacco or to heroin or anything in between is not easy, and those that join the ‘self-afflicted’ lobby do not help, but for the Grace of God...
Alcohol addiction is now potentially the most prevalent addiction in the world. There are now more that drink alcohol than smoke, and alcohol related problems are more than just a social problem, but cause the deaths of over 100,000 annually in the USA. One shudders at the thought of the world-wide death toll. It has been suggested that chemical addictions, as Opposed to physical habits, can have chemical cures. Although the jury is still out on this one, there have been some positive results achieved in the treatment of addicts with natural remedies.
One of these natural remedies is the Chinese herb, kudzu. Kudzu is a climbing vine that can grow just about anywhere: in fields, lightly forested land and mountains. It is found throughout China, and also in the south eastern states of the USA. The reason for this strange distribution is that the plant was introduced to the USA by Japan at the 1876 Centennial Expo in Philadelphia.
The large blooms attracted gardeners who propagated them, and when it was discovered that the plant made good forage for animals, Florida nurserymen grew it as animal feed. Its effect in preventing ground erosion rendered it popular during the 1930s and 40s when farmers were paid up to $8 an acre for growing kudzu. Fodder and groundcover were the original uses of this vine in the USA irrespective of its medicinal uses on the other side of the Pacific.
Prior to it being recognized as a useful treatment for alcoholism, the vine had been used in China for generations for the treatment of such conditions as headaches, flu, high blood pressure symptoms, dysentery, muscular aches and pains and the common cold. It is still used to treat digestive complaints and allergies, and find use in modern medicine in the treatment of angina.
It is the root that is mainly used, which at up to six feet tall provides a plentiful supply of its active ingredients. These include isoflavones including daidzein and isoflavone glycosides, mainly puerarin and also daidzin. However, it is in its application in the treatment of alcohol addiction that the root is currently creating interest.
Studies in the 1960s on animals bred with an alcohol craving indicated that daidzein and daidzin reduced their consumption of alcohol when offered it, and further studies have indicated that the mechanism of this was by inhibition of enzymes necessary for metabolizing alcohols. This has not yet been successfully repeated in humans, but the effects on animals cannot be just coincidental. Or can it? That question can only be answered by those for whom kudzu has been found effective, although many laboratory studies have shown that it certainly reduces the alcohol consumption of those with a habitual heavy intake of the substance.
Of all the other substances that have been used in an attempt to reduce the extent of alcoholism in the Western world, none have been found truly effective. The three recognized treatments of Campral (Acamprosate Calcium), approved by the FDA in July, 2004, Naltrexone (Revia) and Antabuse work in three different ways. Campral is useful only once you have stopped drinking and have detoxed, Naltrexone interferes with the pathway in the brain that ‘rewards’ the drinker and Antabuse gives unpleasant side effects that are meant to put the drinker off drinking.
Although all have side effects of one type or another, they have been approved by the FDA, and must therefore be assumed safe if used as recommended. However, none are natural, and kudzu has been found to have no known side effects. It is a type of pea, and did you know that it grows about one foot a day? Luckily it only grows to about 20 feet!
It is kudzu’s lack of side effects that renders it so attractive as a treatment for alcoholism, although more tests are needed before the evidence for its effectiveness can be declared cast iron. Most of the tests to date have been carried out on heavy drinkers rather than true alcoholics, but they have all found the plant effective in reducing the amount that each member of the study drank, even though no limitations were placed on them.
Future studies should probably be designed to determine if the treatment is safe for such groups as pregnant women, young people and those with specific medical complaints such as liver problems. Naltrexone should not be used by anybody with serious liver problems, and even campral is only suitable if you have no more than a moderate liver problem. Since alcoholics can reasonable be expected to also suffer from liver disease, then a treatment that is safe for such people would be very welcome.
A 2002 meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism in San Francisco named kudzu and St. John’s Wort as being the two most promising treatments for alcoholism. The mention of St. John’s Wort raises an interesting point, and one that must be discussed. That is the question of standardized doses, and what can happen if doses of natural products are not standardized with respect to the identified active constituent.
The reason for the importance of this is that not all sources of a particular herb are equally well endowed with active constituents. Although, for example, a dose of 2.5 grams daily of kudzu root might be recommended, how does the percent content of isoflavones in different roots vary. That variation will mean that the amount of active ingredient taken in one 2.5g dose will differ from that in another, unless there is standardization.
The reason St. John’s Wort brought this to mind is that with this herb, used for some psychological problems such as depression, the active ingredient content was standardized. It was standardized to 0.3% hypericin, a napthodianthrone that causes an increase in dopamine levels. However, standard doses of St. John’s Wort gave inconsistent results and the reason for this could not be identified. It now has been. The active ingredient is now known to be not hypericin, but hypeforin, what is known as a prenylated phloroglucinol. The herb is now standardized on this substance.
This is a demonstration of the importance of identifying the active ingredients in a herbal treatment accurately, and also of standardizing doses. Kudzu doses must be standardized if their effect is to be consistent. There is now little doubt that addiction recovery is possible with Chinese herbs like kudzu, and who knows what else the ancient civilizations such as the Chinese have to offer us.
Stevia: Sweeten Your Life With Out The Weight Gain
November 13, 2007 02:55 PM
It is possible to sweeten your life with stevia, and without any weight gain, since it as exceptionally sweet herb. In fact it is member of the sunflower family, and is native to parts of South and Central America where it has been used as a sweetener since time immemorial. Also known as sugarleaf, it is a commercial crop, and is available as a dietary supplement.
Extracts of stevia have been found to be up to 300 times as sweet as cane sugar, although does not metabolize in the body to glucose. In fact it is thought to enhance the glucose tolerance of some diabetics, and can be used by people suffering from that condition as a natural sweetener, thus dispensing with the need for artificial sweeteners.
It is also useful for those on diets, especially carbohydrate controlled diets, and any other sweet-toothed person wanting to lose weight and still enjoy their favorite drink or desert. Many recipes have been published using stevia for the preparation of delicious sweets. So why is stevia so sweet and what other uses does it have?
Basically the sweet taste comes from glycosides, which are molecules in which a sugar is bonded to another molecule. The two main glycosides in stevia are called stevioside and rebaudioside. These are formed through glucose combined with the diterpene steviol in different ways, though some minor glycosides also contain rhamnose. Although they contain glucose, the glucose is not released into the bloodstream during digestion and the subsequent biochemistry.
Japan began the cultivation of the plant in the 1970s rather than produce artificial sweeteners that were suspected carcinogens (saccharin and cyclamate). Japan is now the world’s biggest consumer of stevia, even being used in the Japanese Coca Cola plants. Around 40% of Japan’s total sweetener volume is stevia. However, apart from its use as a natural alternative sweetener to sugar, stevia has specific properties, already alluded to, that renders it of particular attraction to certain groups of people, and we shall now take a closer look at these.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that is essential to regulate the glucose content of the blood. It stimulates the cells of the body to take in blood glucose and convert it to glycogen that can be used for energy. Without insulin the blood sugars would increase in concentration without regulation leading to very serious health issues that would eventually result in death.
Diabetes is a condition in which the body either does not produce sufficient insulin, does not use the insulin it produces properly, or produces no insulin at all. Hence, a sweetener that did not exacerbate this situation by being eventually metabolized to glucose, as most sugars are in the body, would be of great benefit to diabetics. This is exactly what stevia is. It is a very powerful sweetener, 250 – 300 times sweeter to the taste-buds than sucrose, normal table sugar, and it does not metabolize to glucose. It is heaven-sent sweetener for diabetics that have a sweet tooth.
It is very safe for them and has been consumed for centuries without any side effects. In fact, studies have indicated that stevia might even regulate the pancreas and help to stabilize the levels of blood glucose in the body, rendering it an effective and safe supplement for those suffering from hypoglycemia (excess blood sugar), diabetes and candidiasis, a yeast infection that thrives on sugar.
Apart from that, stevia is also popular with those who are on a calorie controlled diet – or any other diet for that matter, since an excessive sugar intake invariably leads eventually to weight increase. The 21st century western diet is drowning in sugar, with up to 10 spoonfuls of sugar in every small bottle of cola. There is sugar in cookies, hot dogs, bread, soy sauce, ketchup, cans of beans and peas, and even sugar in cigarettes, though that is the least of the health worries there!
For the first time in history, there are now more overweight and obese people in the world than hungry people, yet the sugar corporations claim that there is no scientific proof that sugar leads to weight increase. Worldwide, diabetes kills 6 people every minute, and obesity caused by the consumption of too much sugar leads to Type II diabetes. It had been shown that fructose is a major player in that corn syrup (fructose) is contained in many soft drinks and foods.
One of the major problems with refined sugars is that they contain nothing but pure carbohydrate. All the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients have been removed, so that when they are consumed, your body has to provide these nutrients needed to metabolize the sugar to glucose and then to energy. Humans cannot live on sugar alone, and in fact you are better drinking water than corn syrup or cane sugar solutions since at least water does not make demands on your existing nutrient store.
It was noted in 1929 by Sir Frederick Banting, one of those scientists credited with the discovery of insulin, that there was a significantly large proportion of diabetes among the sugar plantation owners that ate large quantities of refined sugar, whereas there was none detected in the cane harvesters who were able to chew on only the raw cane. The raw cane contains the minerals and vitamins needed to metabolize the sucrose.
Stevia is a potential answer to this problem, and it is such an obvious one that there are a lot of politics regarding its use. The big USA sugar corporations will undoubtedly be Opposed to it, and the FDA has refused to allow its use as a food additive, only as a dietary supplement, yet its use in Japan has been very successful. It is also used throughout East Asia, including China, Korea and Taiwan, and also in South America, Israel and some areas of the Caribbean. It is available as a green powder in its crude form, and also brownish syrup redolent of licorice, but also as a more refined white powder that is likely best used as weak solution due to its sweetness.
It is totally free of calories; this may come as a surprise to many since it tastes so sweet. It is an excellent sweetener for children’s drinks since it does not cause cavities: unlike sugar it is not degraded by bacteria to produce the corrosive acid that eats into the enamel. It does not metabolize to a burst of energy that is practically addictive, since that generally then leads to tiredness and the need for more sugar to make up for it.
Stevia does not cause diabetes in any form, is not a food for yeast and it is beneficial to the pancreas. In short, it is a completely safe food supplement that has been used for centuries without ill effect, and if you want to prevent yourself from adding weight and protect against the possibility of Type II diabetes in particular, then stevia should be your sweetener of choice.
An Interview with Congressman Sam Farr, Representing California’s Central Coast.
May 30, 2006 02:36 PM
Ambassador to Health Profile
An Interview with Congressman Sam Farr, Representing California’s Central Coast.
Congressman Sam Farr, a fifth-generation Californian, represents the state’s beautiful central coast. His district encompasses the length of the big Sur coastline in Monterey County, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the Salinas Valley “Salad bowl,” the redwoods, mountains and beaches of Santa Cruz County, and the majestic rural landscape of San Benito County. The health and wealth of this region has been strengthened by Rep. Farr’s focus on the environment, education and the economy. Rep. Farr was raised in Carmel, California and graduated from Willamette University with a BS in biology. He later attended the Monterey Institute of International Studies and the University of Santa Clara. He is fluent in Spanish. As a tough advocate for the health food industry, he has lobbied for strict federal organic standards.
Todd: Congressman Farr, thank you for taking the time to speak with us! Id also like to thank you for all the great things you’ve done for our community, form funding marine sanctuaries and authoring the Ocean’s Act to expanding Pinnacles national Monument. The League of Conservation Voters and others have recognized you as an “Environmental Hero”. And, you’ve worked hard to support the economic vitality of central coast’s $3 billion agriculture industry which includes a substantial organic segment. Our backyard here is also the home of a robust group of nutritional supplement manufacturers. An estimated 187 million Americans are currently taking dietary supplements as part of their daily healthy diet. In California, we’ve got 792 natural product manufacturers and distributors. Where do you stand on the state of our industry?
Congressman Farr: Well, thank you for the introduction and for asking to talk to me about nutritional supplement issues. I am very supportive of this industry and include myself in the 187 million Americans taking dietary supplements. I think supplements offer many safe and viable tools to maintain your health. The continued growth of this industry is an indication of both consumer confidence in the products and the products’ ability to fill the gaps where conventional medical care falls short.
Todd: It is estimated that by 2030, more than 70 million Americans will be over the age of 65 and the cost of health care could reach $16 Trillion per year. A recent study by the Lewin Group showed that by taking certain dietary supplements, seniors can lead healthier, more productive, independent lives while saving billions in reduced hospitalizations and physician services. Do you share our view that a Wellness Revolution is needed to counter the dilemma of an aging population versus shrinking health care support in the future?
Congressman Farr: Our health care system is definitely facing a challenge, especially as the Baby Boomers hit their 60’s and Americans are living longer than ever before. As a Baby Boomer myself, I am well aware of America’s aging population and the impact that will likely have not only on our social institutions but also our fiscal well-being. I agree that dietary supplements do play and will play an even larger role in the future as more seniors look for a way to augment their diets in order to stay healthy and active longer than past generations.
Todd: Our industry is regulated by DSHEA (the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act), which was passed unanimously by Congress in 1994 to create a reasonable regulatory framework for access to, information about, dietary supplements. But many say that the FDA and DSHEA weren’t adequately funded to do the job as tasked. “Supplements are unregulated” is a false argument we sometimes hear. To ensure that the FDA is able to carry out the law as Congress intended, Representatives Dan Burton (R-Ind.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) introduced H.R. 2485, the DSHEA Full Implementation and Enforcement Act of 2005. Did you support this bill and where does it stand today?
Congressman Farr: I think the DSHEA is a critical law and was proud to support it when Congress considered it in 1993 and 1994. I would certainly support H.R. 2485 if it came up for a vote in Congress. Unfortunately this bill has not moved since it was first introduced and referred to the Subcommittee on health in the house energy and commerce committee. Since this is an election year we have a tight schedule with only about 60 legislative days scheduled before we adjourn. That means it’s likely Congress will only finalize bills such as the appropriation bills that fund government before adjournment.
Todd: Our business climate has included some valid and rigorous challenges to improve our industry, from good manufacturing practices (GMP), to allergy labeling, to implications of Prop-65 in California. It’s disconcerting that a new bill, H.R. 3156 The Dietary Supplement Access and Awareness Act would try to capitalize on misconceptions about the industry. In an era of declining health care and declining insurance coverage, this bill would regulate supplements as prescription drugs. Among other things, it would also require adverse event reports to be turned over to the FDA, even though other foods, including those with identical ingredients, do not have the same requirements. This has the potential to be the next Prop-65-like Lawsuit mill. The result of H.R. 3156 would be chilling. It will knock smaller producers out of the market. It will result in higher prices for all supplements. It will decrease the availability of health-giving supplements to the public. What’s your feeling on this?
Congressman Farr: I am similarly concerned about H.R. 3156 and would Oppose it if it came up for a vote in Congress. Like H.R. 2485, this legislation has been referred to a subcommittee on Health in the House Energy and Commerce Committee without any further action. The supplement industry has worked in good faith with the FDA since passage of DSHEA and H.R. 3156 would re-invent a wheel that isn’t needed. Instead, adequate funding as proposed in H.R. 2485 would provide ample oversight for the industry.
Todd: According to a recent study, 72% of the general population believe the government should fund more research on health benefits of nutritional supplements. Do you agreen and what can be done to meet this need?
Congressman Farr: I definitely agree that the federal government should play a bigger role in support of research regarding the health benefits of nutritional supplements. As a member of the House Appropriation Committee, I sit on the subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the FDA’s budget and I know the tight fiscal restraints the agency is under. I’ve worked with my colleagues to provide adequate funding, but it’s an uphill battle especially when we’re in a “robbing Peter to pay Paul” kind of situation. I recommend that people within the industry organize and use your consumer base to actively lobby Congress for additional funds. I’m fond of reminding people that the squeaky wheel gets grease – so let every Congress member and Senator know how much this issue matters to you.
Todd: When there is overwhelming scientific evidence that nutritional supplements provides relief for a disease condition, it currently takes a lawsuit to get the FDA to relent and allow the claim. Even then, the FDA strictly limits the claim and requires a disclaimer that does more harm than good in communicating this important information to the public. There is a new bill, H.R. 4282, The Health Freedom Protection Act that would end FDA and FTC censorship of health information. As an example, the 50% of all adult males who suffer from an enlarged prostate could receive relief from that condition by consuming a simple and safe ingredient, saw palmetto derived from the fruit of the dwarf American palm tree. The FDA censors that information. The public deserves a better opportunity to be informed about omega-3 EFA and heart disease, folic acid and birth defects, phosphatidylserine and cognitive impairment. Do you agree and do you support this bill?
Congressman Farr: I agree the public needs to access to the best information possible so they can make well informed choices about their health. I likely would support H.R. 4282 if it came up for a vote in Congress. Unfortunately this bill is in a similar situation as other we’ve mentioned in this interview – and again because of the tight schedule of an election year, it’s unlikely action will happen this year.
Todd: According to the barometer study, 85% of the US population is currently using some type of dietary supplement. Do you? Looking at your busy schedule from co-chairing the House Oceans Caucus to your seat on the Travel and Tourism Caucus, you are one busy congressman! Are you popping nutritional supplements please tell us!
Congressman Farr: I do take some nutritional supplements, though they vary and since Ginkgo Biloba isn’t among them I cant remember their names off-hand! One product I do use faithfully is Airborne to help me combat germs and colds that I might get from sitting on an airplane. But, like many Americans my life is over-scheduled and combined with the amount of air-travel I do, I find nutritional supplements helpful as I try to stay healthy despite my hectic lifestyle.
Todd: Thank you Congressman Farr! Live long and prosper!
DSEA Release of Health/Cost Impact Study Conducted by the Lewin Group, Initial Results, Wash DC; Nov. 2, 2005
NNFA database. Adam.F on 3-15-06.
DSEA Nutritional Supplement Barometer Study, 2005 Report, Prepared by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI).
Todd Williams; Source Naturals Marketing Programs Manager.
CRN Steps Up Efforts Against Calif. High School Sports Supplement Bill
September 26, 2005 09:16 AM
Washington - The council for Responsible nutrition (CRN) has stepped up its efforts to amend Calif. S.B. 37, an oft-amended bill that originally sought to protect high school athletes from performance-enhancing substances, but has been recently changed to focus on two supplements—ephedra and DHEA—already illegal to California minors, As well as synephrine, which is on the U.S. Anti-doping Agency (USADA) watch list. In addition to its regular opposition efforts, including a position statement, CRN gave each legislator a poster, detailing concerns about the narrow focus on the bill and the possible motives behind the bill’s current focus on dietary supplements.
“We are not Opposed to preventing young athletes from abusing harmful products”, said Judy Blatman of CRN. “We are suggesting a simple amendment—change the words ‘dietary supplements’ to ‘performance enhancing substances.’ Broadening the language to include steroids, growth hormones and illegal drugs would encourage athletes to avoid use of harmful substances.”
The bill, created by Jackie Speier (D-Hillsborough), was introduced last year but was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for being to “broad, vague and unfocused,” according to Blatman. Schwarzenegger then drew fire for his connections to supplement marketers and several sports nutrition-based magazines.
August 30, 2005 01:22 PM
Kiss Herbal Supplements Goodbye
Healthful herbal therapies face a new attack in Congress.
If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny. – Thomas Jefferson
Our third president recognized the devastating health and liberty implications of allowing governments to dictate what people eat. One can only imagine the disgust with which Jefferson would regard elected officials who are currently betraying core American freedoms by working to revoke our rights to choose what foods we put in our bodies.
In 1994, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) estabilished that dietary supplements are foods. Its passage was a shinning moment of democracy that resonated with Jefferson’s beliefs on health freedom, as millions of Americans raised their voices to preserve our right to safe, natural supplements.
DSHEA Under Attack
But now, as countless people use supplements to enhance their health, some officials are tampering with the DSHEA. HR 3156, the dietary supplement access & awareness act introduced by representative Susan Davis (D-CA), is designed to deny Americans access to the supplements they rely upon for good health. Should HR3156 pass, herbal supplements will be subject to risk benefits analysis, under which adverse event reporting will empower the FDA to ban herbal supplement sales.
Inexplicably, the bill pays no heed to the amount of herbal supplement associated with an adverse event. In other words, if someone ingests an unreasonably excessive amount of a herbal remedy, and as result experiences an adverse event, that would be enough for the FDA to ban that supplement—even if the overwhelming majority of consumers experienced positive benefits by using the supplement properly. This caveat, in addition to the relative ease with which an adverse event could falsely be linked to herbal supplements, has the potential to enable widespread, groundless bans of these health-enhancing, time-tested therapies.
Fight Back, Right Now!
We must act now to prevent the passage of HR 3156. For America’s sake, we must fight the forces in Congress that wish to ban our access to herbal supplements. In the name of democracy we must ensure that our elected officials are representing our interests and not furthering their own agendas. Without your immediate support, America’s health will be compromised as herbal supplements, one by one are banned under false pretenses.
To Quote Jefferson once again, “Never put off ‘till tomorrow what you can do today.” The need for your support is urgent, so please fax your representatives in congress today and urge them to Oppose that passage of HR 3156. Contacting elected officials is fast and easy; visit www.NHA2005.com and use revolutionary technology that helps you compose faxes to congress. Become a good health ambassador; educate your friends on this gross impingement on our health freedom and encourage them to join the fight against health tyranny!
Fax the architects of HR 3156, Susan Davis (Fax: 202-225-2948), John Dingell (Fax: 202-226-0371) and Henry Waxman (Fax: 202-225-4099), and let them know that if they revoke your health freedom, you’ll vote for your health-care interests in the next election! It is only with your help that we can win the fight to keep safe, healthy supplements in our lives. For health, Freedom and liberty, visit www.NHA2005.com and Join the NHA Today.
More Benefits of Natural Progesterone - PROGESTERONE AND CANCER
July 25, 2005 10:22 PM
More Benefits of Natural Progesterone
PROGESTERONE AND CANCER
The two types of cancer that are hormonally related include breast and uterine cancer due to the fact that the tissue which make up these areas are much more sensitive to hormone levels. It is a well known fact that an excess of estrogen can increase the risk of developing uterine cancer and certain types of estrogen have been linked to the formation of malignant breast tumors.25 Any woman who continually suffers from insufficient progesterone can also increase her chances of developing certain types of cancer. A prolonged lack of progesterone can cause uterine changes which eventually result in the impaired shedding of the uterine lining. When this occurs month after month, endometrial hyperplasia can result, which is the abnormal thickening of the uterine lining. This buildup can lead to the development of uterine cancer. Progesterone can actually reduce the risk of developing uterine cancer which can develop from using estrogen therapy. 26 In addition, for women who have survived uterine cancer and have undergone hysterectomies, natural progesterone can be invaluable.
Because these women are advised to forgo hormonal treatments of any kind, they often suffer with osteoporosis or other symptoms typical of menopause. Taking natural progesterone poses no health risks and can help to prevent or treat these disorders. Concerning this group of women Dr. Lee writes:
These are the women for whom I first began using natural progesterone therapy. Not only did progesterone reverse their osteoporosis and, in many, it corrected their vaginal atrophy, but none, to my knowledge, have ever developed cancer of any sort . . . The evidence is overwhelming that natural progesterone is safe and only estradiol, estrone and the various synthetic estrogens and progestins are to be avoided to reduce the risk of endometrial cancer.27
In the case of breast cancer, studies strongly suggest that this type of malignancy is more likely to occur in premenopausal women who have normal or high estrogen levels and low progesterone levels.28Women over 35 who continue to have periods but no longer ovulate and women who are taking synthetic estrogen without progesterone during and after menopause may find themselves in this higher risk group. One of the most interesting studies on progesterone was conducted at Johns Hopkins University in 1981, where physicians studied 1083 women for between 13 to 33 years in assessing the incidence of breast cancer. They found that those women who had a progesterone deficiency were over 5 times more at risk of developing breast cancer than those women who had adequate progesterone levels.29 Moreover, the study found that women who suffered from a lack of progesterone also had ten times more cancer-related death from all types of malignancies than those who did not.30 These statistics are dramatic, to say the least. Consider the following quote:
. . . the evidence is strong that unOpposed estradiol and estrone [two forms of estrogen] are carcinogenic for the breasts, and both progesterone and estri-ol, the two major hormones throughout pregnancy, are protective against breast cancer. One is left to wonder why supplementation with these two beneficial and safe hormones are not the ones used routinely for women whenever hormone supplementation seems indicated . . . both hormones are available and are relatively inexpensive. Why have these two hormones been neglected by contemporary medical practice in favor of synthetic substitutes. 31
UTERINE FIBROID TUMORS
July 25, 2005 10:13 PM
UTERINE FIBROID TUMORS
Fibroid tumors of the uterus can develop when estrogen remains unOpposed by progesterone and can also result from repeated cycles where ovulation fails to occur. Typically women will suffer from these fibroids approximately ten years prior to the onset of menopause. Dr. Lee’s work with treating uterine fibroids once again reiterates the need for natural progesterone supplementation. He writes, “If sufficient natural progesterone is supplemented from day 12 to day 26 of the menstrual cycle, further growth of fibroids is usually prevented (and often the fibroids regress).”18
OTHER BIOLOGIC BENEFITS OF NATURAL PROGESTERONE
July 25, 2005 09:58 PM
OTHER BIOLOGIC BENEFITS OF NATURAL PROGESTERONE
While natural progesterone has been referred to as a progestin because it maintains the lining of the uterus, it is technically separate and totally different from synthetic progestins. In addition, natural progesterone provides a number of biological actions which progestins do not. Some additional benefits reported with the use of natural progesterone include:
THERAPEUTIC APPLICATIONS OF NATURAL PROGESTERONE
Note: Using natural progesterone in cream, oil or other transdermal form is also very hydrating to the skin.
Estrogen: The Hidden Culprit
July 25, 2005 09:45 PM
Estrogen: The Hidden Culprit
As mentioned, many women who suffer from a whole myriad of perplexing and distressing symptoms can be unsuspecting victims of an estrogen dominance. It is important to keep in mind that when estrogen is not balanced out by adequate amounts of progesterone, a whole array of diverse symptoms may develop, many of which are easily misdiagnosed and subsequently, mistreated.
In addition, we hear so much about keeping our estrogen levels up as we approach menopause, we rarely consider the fact that we may be suffering from an estrogen overload during pre-menopausal years. Most physicians neglect to discuss the very real effect of an estrogen dominance, but I can assure you that it is all too real. Enduring very heavy periods, developing sore and tender breasts, retaining water, bloating and serious bouts with depression are more of a problem for many pre-menopausal women in their forties than one would assume. In addition, most of us are unaware of the fact that a woman can have regular periods and not be ovulating. A continued lack of ovulation or impaired ovulation can also create a progesterone deficiency leading to an abnormal buildup of the uterine lining which is never sufficiently shed. The incomplete removal of the endometrium can lead to endometriosis, uterine fibroid cysts, fibrocystic breasts, bloating, depression, heavy or irregular periods and possible malignancies.
IS ALL ESTROGEN BAD?
Certainly, all estrogen is not bad; however, it would seem that most women suffer from a dominance of estrogen and a lack of progesterone. Estrogen is the hormone that initiates female puberty, causing the development of the breast, uterus, fallopian tubes etc. It also contributes to female fat distribution. Prior to menopause, estrogen levels drop causing an eventual cessation of the menstrual period.
Most conventional physicians will recommend estrogen replacement therapy to offset the risk of osteoporosis and to prevent cardiovascular disease, two actions which are still questioned in many scientific circles. The focus on estrogen therapy may be misguided in many cases. More and more evidence points to the fact that when progesterone levels are where they should be, conditions like PMS, osteoporosis, etc. dramatically improve. UnOpposed or synthetic estrogen poses a number of health risks which most women will recognize immediately through their own personal experience.
THE PRECARIOUS ACT OF BALANCING HORMONES
July 25, 2005 09:43 PM
THE PRECARIOUS ACT OF BALANCING HORMONES
The very delicate relationship between progesterone and estrogen levels is what creates hormonal balance. Today we frequently hear the phrase, “she’s suffering from a hormonal imbalance.” What exactly does a hormonal imbalance imply, and why is it so prevalent among women of all ages? The simple truth is that our twentieth-century life style creates a great deal of health risks not previously experienced by earlier generations.
Many of these new, modern factors adversely effect our endocrine systems, not to mention our overall health as well. Consequently, when we need to synthesize certain levels of progesterone, we may be lacking the proper nutrients or, as may be the case with women who have used birth control pills, our ovarian functions may be impaired. As a result, an excess of estrogen may develop predisposing us to a number of unpleasant symptoms. Unprecedented degrees of mental stress combined with exposure to toxins, pollutants, preservatives, chemicals, and drugs can impair a woman’s ability to produce progesterone. In addition, the consumption of sugary foods lacking in whole grains, overcooked, over processed, and fatty foods devoid of the raw enzymes we were meant to ingest can also wreak havoc with our glandular health. The consumption of hormonally fattened beef and poultry is certainly a concern, and may explain why premature puberty occurs in some children who are exposed to unnatural sources of animal estrogen.
Why is there more infertility now that ever before? Why do seemingly healthy young women suffer from all sorts of menstrual disorders and unprecedented levels of PMS? Why is osteoporosis such a threat today, and why is breast cancer killing so many relatively young women? Why do so many of us plow through perimenopause and postmenopause, perplexed by a wide variety of ills that threaten our emotional and physical well-being? All of these questions are profoundly linked to hormonal factors and almost always reflect an estrogen dominance and a progesterone deficiency.
I did not know that such a scenario even existed and like most women, did not understand that too much of certain kinds of estrogen can be extremely harmful. Furthermore, because I assumed that estrogen levels continued to decline as I got older, I never considered the possibility of a pre-menopausal estrogen overload. It is crucial to remember that when estrogen is unOpposed by adequate levels of progesterone, a hormonal imbalance occurs. UnOpposed estrogen is undesirable to say the least, and explains why so many women suffer from estrogen-related ills even as they approach menopause.
ST. JOHN’S WORT AND AIDS/HIV
July 15, 2005 09:28 AM
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.