Search Term: " Ovaries "
How to strengthen your bones
December 10, 2016 07:59 AM
The vast majority of those affected are over 50, and mostly women - one in two women, and one in five men over the age of 50 will break a bone as a result of osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Society, with the wrists, hips, and spine most commonly affected. Stress exerts its adverse effects on bone density, mainly via the action of cortisol, one of the major stress hormones, says Max Tuck, author of Love Your Bones: The Essential Guide To Ending Osteoporosis And Building A Healthy Skeleton.
"It's believed that more than three million people in the UK are currently living with osteoporosis, associated with weakened, fragile bones."
health benefits of dhea and how it declines as we age
November 08, 2016 07:51 PM
The importance of DHEA to human health cannot be overlooked. Found in the bloodstream, dhea is the furthermost plentiful hormone steroid. It is secreted in the brain, testes and Ovaries and produced by the adrenal glands. Adrenal glands is the major producer of DHEA hormone. This hormone is changed to other hormones essential in the body such as estrogen and androgen.
Health benefits of DHEA
How DHEA levels diminishes with age
As we age, dhea levels biologically diminish. According to research by experts, in our young years, plenty of dhea is secreted since it is vital for brain development and growth. This gradually continues until the age of 25 years after which the levels start to decline. The impact of the diminishing levels of dhea are mostly felt when we hit 40 years and above. This is manifested in terms of difficulties in remembering information, low levels of libido particularly in women, dry skin and increased anxiety.
DHEA is a hormone that is essential to human beings as it aids in counteracting the aging process, making us feel good and above all improving our overall health. Taking dhea supplements for those aged 40 years and above will help keep at bay problems associated with low levels of DHEA.
Adrenal Glandular Supplements
May 18, 2014 11:06 AM
Healthful supplements can help keep up the strength of your organs by guaranteeing legitimate working of the glandular framework. Like all organs, the organs need healthful backing. Particularly when anxiety exhausts the assemblage of put away supplements. Your organs produce and discharge substances into the body for the body’s utilization. A breakdown or an irregularity of any one glandular substance can make gigantic issues around the body.
Organs has two classifications.
The exocrine organs - open onto a surface of an organ; or other structure, through a pipe. Samples of the exocrine organs incorporate the salivary of the mouth and the sweat and oil organs of the skin. Other exocrine organs are found in the kidneys, the mammary organs and the digestive tract.
The endocrine organs - are ductless, in this way emitting the substances they prepare (hormones) straightforwardly into the circulation system. By emitting hormones the endocrine organs help manage almost all substantial capacities. Samples of the endocrine organs incorporate the adrenal (on the kidney), the pancreas (behind the stomach), the pituitary organ (at the base of the mind), the pineal organ (connected to cerebrum), sex organs (testes/Ovaries), the thymus organ (underneath the thyroid) and the thyroid and parathyroid organs (in the neck).
Maintain a strategic distance from perk and soft drinks, which can dispose of vitality in your body and make you feel more tired. Furthermore, you ought to change your lifestyle. For instance, take a stab at dozing in until nine in the morning if at all conceivable and verify you practice and do exercises that minimize stress. Consume customarily and does something fun while staying far from contrary individuals and movements.
Caution in taking the supplement
In addition, you may want to take the fatigue supplements each day to help you recover from this glandular dysfunction and make you feel more energetic. If you have this syndrome, then there are supplements that you can take to help address the problem. Before taking any enhancers, contact your doctor and have him or her run a test first to see if you suffer from adrenal fatigue syndrome.
Benefits of herb chaste berry for women
January 17, 2014 08:20 AM
Premestrual Syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual syndrome impacts over 70% to 90% of ladies before menopause in the US and less for ladies in Southeast Asia in light of their contrast in living style and social structure. The event of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) have more than multiplied in the course of recent years because of the acknowledgement of it as a therapeutic condition that is initiated by bad eating methodology with high in soaked sustenance. Premenstrual syndrome is characterized as flawed capacity of the Ovaries identified with the ladies' menstrual cycle, it impacts a ladies' physical and enthusiastic state, and frequently meddles with every day exercises as an aftereffect of hormone change. The syndrome happens one to two prior week’s monthly cycle and after that decays when the period begins. In this article, we will talk about how standing berry tree impacts ladies with PMS.
I. Definition Chaste berry tree is an exceptionally significant herb; it has been utilized as drug since old Greek for menstrual issue incorporating absence of ovulation. Today the herb is well known for treating side effects of hormone lopsidedness.
II. How chaste berry tree impacts ladies with premenstrual syndrome it hard to accept that chaste beery tree holds no plant estrogen yet has been adequately utilized within treating premenstrual syndrome due to the accompanying lands
1. Iridoid Chaste beery tree holds iridoid incorporating aucubin and agnuside which are frequently intermediates in the bio combination of alkaloid. It serves to enhance invulnerable framework battling against irritation and serves to avoid muscle spam bringing about decreasing menstrual ache and spasms.
2. Androstenedione is the normal antecedent of male and female sex hormone generated by adrenal organ, chaste berry tree holds androstenedione which not just serves to tie the levels of terrible estrogen additionally equalize the levels of testosterone in the ladies figure bringing about decreasing the male example for some ladies with PMS.
3. Key oil Chaste berry tree holds cineol, pinene, castine and different substances, it serves to unwind the apprehensive framework and muscle that serves to diminish side effects of anxious pressure, for example, tension discouragement, menstrual agony and spasms brought about by over animated uterus muscle. It likewise serves to expand liver capacity for overall health.
4. Alkaloid As and alkaloid, it serves to diminish the manifestations of breast delicacy and bosom ache brought about over preparation of prolaction prior and then afterward ovulation.
5. Progesterone The chaste berry tree serves to repress if the levels of progesterone in the event that it is excessively high or raise the levels of progesterone in the event that it is excessively low, in this way, diminishing the danger of hormone awkwardness between estrogen and progesterone.
Kava root and its health benefits
October 18, 2012 07:51 AM
Also known as the intoxicating pepper, or botanically Piper methysticum, the kava shrub has for thousands of years been known to have health benefits from its roots. Kava roots have been known to provide relief from stress and physical ailments. With its origin in the pacific, now the kava root is known all around the world for its continued success in providing the mind and body with concentration and relaxation respectively.
The kava root contains a chemical component called kavalactone which when induced creates a relaxing feeling to the mind and body thereby treating stress and insomnia. Other health benefits of kava root are treatment of asthma, migraines and headaches, depression, gout, urinary tract infections, prostate inflammation and even reduction of pain in joints for rheumatism patients.
Recent researchers have proven that the kava root is effective in treating leukemia and cancer of the Ovaries as well as having the effectiveness of modern painkillers. It is recommended that you seek a medical expert's advice before you start using kava roots and no alcohol or other drugs should supplement it.
How Do I Use Phytoestrogen And Progesterone Creams For PMS?
September 22, 2011 11:04 AM
If you are a guy who had encountered women you probably would have heard about PMS. It is something that we as men are familiar with because often times, about once a month our female acquaintances would let us know that they should be allowed to act silly and have their way for the next few days all because they are experiencing PMS but is there truth to it? Let’s try to take a more scientific approach because my guess is, it is more serious than we know.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is defined by strong and consistent mood swings, tender breasts, fatigue, depressions, food cravings and irritability just to name some of the more common symptoms. Commonly this peaks around the late 20’s and early 30’s for females and it is a serious issue. It is not the kind of juvenile reason for tantrums that young female kids might lightly throw around. These symptoms can cause serious discomfort and many changes in the sufferer’s lives and at times in certain months it will be pretty intense and unnoticeable in some. It also happens in a predictable pattern which is one upside to allow the patient to prepare for it and can figure out certain ways to counter the effects so as to not allow PMS to take control of your life.
Phytoestrogen And Progesterone Creams
First off let look at some details about these substances. Phytoestrogen are chemicals that are derived from plants and have the primary property of having the ability to mimic estrogen in the human body which is the primary sex hormone in women. Estrogen on the other hand is the real thing and is a hormone manufactured primarily in the Ovaries with an essential responsibility of initiating and maintaining proper menstrual cycles in women.
Although this hormone can also be found in the male’s body we produce it at a lesser degree. Studies have shown that estrogen is an important factor in women’s reproductive cycles unlike men which does not really have much use for it and aims to keep the levels of this hormone down as it may cause more feminine bodily changes in men. With women however, supplementation with estrogen has been used to treat reproductive cycle issues so it is no surprise that these hormones are being incorporated into cream products to aid in PMS relief and how you use it depends on your specific cycle.
Some common guidelines is to use of about 100 to 200mg a day and it terms of when, it shall depend on the length of a female’s cycle. As a general rule though it should be taken 14 days prior to ovulation if the specific ovulation date is not known as ovulation starts fourteen days before bleeding starts. If no ovulation happens or you don’t have a period, use a 28 day cycle as a guide and choose any day to start. It is important that this is done before ovulation so it does not interrupt the body’s natural process of ovulation and hormone production.
How Stress Affects Your Adrenal Glands
June 08, 2011 02:00 PM
Avoiding Stress Is Hard To Do In Todays Fast World.
Your two adrenal glands lie just above each of kidneys, and they are responsible for the hormones that initiate the flight or fight response to stress, and also the way you handle stress. Cortisol is the hormone that primarily determines how you react to stress, while adrenalin and noradrenalin determine whether you stand and fight when threatened, or take flight to avoid undue danger. The adrenals also generate androgens and estrogen, though these are mainly produced in the testes and Ovaries respectively.
When you suffer long periods of stress, such as long-term illness or worry over financial problems or job loss, your adrenals can slow down their production of cortisol and your ability to handle stress gradually fails. This results in sleeplessness, long periods of tiredness and a progressive slowing down of your vital organs. It is imperative that you receive the correct treatment, yet many doctors do not recognize the condition of adrenal fatigue as a genuine one.
By taking substances such as the ancient Chinese remedy schizandra, that improves your ability to handle depression and stress, or andrographis that appears to have a stimulating effect on your adrenals, you can overcome this condition and both you and your adrenal glands get back to their normal selves.
Avoiding stress is the best way to recover from adrenal fatigue, but this is virtually impossible now a days. Taking herbal remedies like Schizandra and a good B-Complex can help you recover from adrenal fatigue and reduce the feeling of fatigue.
Give Schizandra or a B-Complex a try today!
Can Lycopene Help with Prostate Problems
May 09, 2011 11:14 AM
Lycopene and The Prostate.
Lycopene is an organic compound often associated with tomatoes. It is almost always touted to prevent prostate cancer, though the scientific community has not come to a conclusion yet. Scientists are nevertheless positive that it is good for the prostate, for it displays antiproliferative effects on prostate cells. Laboratory studies are very promising as it appears to inhibitory effect on tumor growth.
Prostate health has long been tied to consumptions of foods rich in lycopene. It is a carotenoid that is bright red in color, and as such can easily be obtained from brightly colored plant products, such as watermelon, papaya, pink guava, and apricots in addition to tomatoes. Like other carotenoids, it displays antioxidant properties. In fact, it is the most efficient scavenger of singlet oxygen of all antioxidants that are classified as carotenoids.
Reverses Oxidative Damage
There have been numerous studies on lycopene in the past few decades, and many of them have noted its antioxidant potential. It has become common knowledge that lycopene is good for the prostate, but not all people know that the prostate gland is its primary storage in the human body. Indeed lycopene interferes with the health of cells and tissues that make up the prostate gland.
One study that tracked down malignant prostate tissues prior to scheduled surgical removal studied the effects of regular intake of lycopene. It was documented and published that lycopene concentrations in the prostate doubled and the oxidative damage to DNA in prostate tissues decreased, suggesting a dose-related efficiency in the prevention of cellular damage brought on by free radicals and other reactive oxygen species.
Induces Apoptotic Death
High consumptions of lycopene appear to directly counteract with cancer cells and tumor growth, not only in the prostate gland, but also in the lungs, breasts, Ovaries, stomach, and cervix. It has also been tied to other disorders of the prostate, such as prostatitis and benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. It has been noted to slow down cell proliferation that leads to the enlargement of the prostate.
More imporatantly, lycopene seems capable of inducing the cellular process called apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in prostate tissues, most notably in carcinoma regions. This is also evidenced by a significant decrease in prostate-specific antigen in the blood, the reason why lycopene has gained the attention of researchers for prostate health, spurring a number of studies in recent years.
Maintains Prostate Health
Lycopene levels in the human body are largely dependent on dietary intake. As a general rule, the higher the intake of lycopene is, the healthier the prostate becomes. First, it neutralizes reactive oxygen species such as singlet oxygen and free radicals. It also inhibits the multiplication of prostate cells, effectively preventing benign prostatic hyperplasia, which is believed to afflict up to 80 percent of the male population. For those suffering from prostate enlargement, it slows the progression of the disease.
If you are, 40 years old or more you should consider taking lycopene as a preventative daily!
Fight Free Radical Damage From Toxins With Vitamins And Herbs
July 28, 2010 11:34 AM
There are many things that destroy the immune system. Each day we are bombarded with them in many forms. The following are some of the most common ones that are encountered.
Agene, also known as Nitrogen Trichloride, is used to bleach flour and give it a white appearance. Unfortunately, it can cause epileptic-like fits along with failure of muscle coordination. Excessive use of alcohol also severely impairs the immune system. It increases susceptibility to infection and weakens the central nervous system. Alcohol promotes chronic lung disease, malignancies of the neck and head, intestinal problems, hypoglycemia, diabetes, liver disease, and a whole variety of other problems. B vitamins, folic acid, niacin, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, and protein are depleted by alcohol. All of these nutrients play a huge role in immune health. Aspartame breaks down in the digestive tract into a toxic material known as methanol. In order to prevent methanol from metabolizing into formaldehyde, a poison, a person needs to take another poison, ethanol.
Glutamic acid is a substance that is found in monosodium glutamate, a flavor enhancer. It affects the central nervous system and can trigger depression, gloomy fantasies, and rage for as long as two weeks following the ingestion of monosodium glutamate. High-diet fat intake increases the levels of bile acids in the colon. This breaks down into deoxycholic and lithocholic acids, both of which are cancer-causing elements. This can cause cancer of both the colon and the rectum. A diet that is high in animal protein and fat can cause cancer of the pancreas, breast, gallbladder, Ovaries, uterus, prostate, and leukemia. Junk food such as sweets, white flour, and white sugar products, put a double amount of stress on the body. When too much junk food is eaten, the appetite for good, wholesome food is dulled.
Caffeine decreases immunity in the body, with fibrocystic breast disease being connected with the consumption of foods that contain caffeine. It is often caused by the chemicals methylxanthine, theophylline, and theobromine, which are found in coffee, black tea, cola drinks, chocolate, and other soft drinks. These elements act on hormones that cause breast tissue to develop fibrocystic lumps. Caffeine takes away the body’s own use of iron and inositol, and is often suspected of causing cancer in the pancreas.
Food dyes and flavorings are the culprits in behavioral problems that occur in children and adults, with some of these problems being learning disabilities and hyperactivity. Sodium nitrate is a preservative that is often found in cured meats like hot dogs, bologna, and ham. It has the potential to produce permanent epileptic changes in brain activity and damage the central nervous system.
High protein diets can deplete calcium in the body, especially when the source of protein is an animal product. There are concentrated doses of hormones and antibiotics that are found in beef which suppress the immune system and promote tumor growth. Poly-unsaturated fats undergo a process that produces rancidity in oils. This process releases dangerous free radicals, which eventually lead to cancer.
Heavy metals like lead and mercury can cause serious damage to the nervous system, with even small amounts being considered toxic. Lastly, the wide use of vaccinations and antibiotics is considered to be one of the main causes of immune system disorders.
Our bodies are under constant attack by our toxic environment. Fortunately, with regular vitamin and herb use, one can help the body restore its immune system to proper function so we can live a happier healthier life.
August 26, 2009 01:19 PM
Used as a female regulator, cramp bark is considered to be a very valuable herb. It is also used to relieve cramps during menstruation. Early American practitioners used cramp bark to relieve cramps. This is where it got its name. This herb has been recommended by herbalists to help with pregnancy, after-pains cramps, and especially for the nervous discomforts of pregnancy.
Cramp bark is recognized as a uterine sedative. It is also an antispasmodic, used to relax the uterus and Ovaries. This herb has been used to treat women when nervous afflictions could possibly cause a miscarriage. Cramp bark can also be used to treat cramps anywhere in the body.
Cramp bark also acts as a muscle relaxant, affecting other organs including the intestine and skeletal muscles. This herb is considered to be the most potent uterine antispasmodic of the Viburnum species. This is because is contains more of the antispasmodic constituent scopoletin. Cramp bark also contains more antispasmodic volatile oils than other species. This herb typically works very quickly for simple menstrual cramps. If it fails to relieve symptoms, the discomfort is probably not due to uterine muscle spasm but to inflammation or irritation of the uterus or Ovaries, endometrial infection, or cysts. Black haw, a close relative of cramp bark, is also useful for uterine cramps, congestion, and irritation in the uterus and Ovaries with radiating pains. It may be better indicated for those types of complains. This herb has been used to stop contractions during premature labor.
Additionally, it has been used in the last trimester of pregnancy to build up uterine muscles and ensure an easy labor. However, it is important to consult with an experienced herbalist before taking any botanicals during pregnancy. Additionally, the antispasmodic constituents in cramp bark may lower blood pressure by relaxing vessel walls. If it is taken in large dosages of thirty drops or more every two to three hours, this herb may reduce leg cramps, muscle spasms, or pain from a stiff neck.
Fresh or dried berries from the cramp bark tree are used in Russia as a pulse regulator to treat high blood pressure, heart problems, coughs, colds, lung problems, kidney problems, and bleeding ulcers. A decoction of flowers can be used externally for eczema and other skin conditions.
The bark and berries of the cramp bark plant are used to provide alterative, antiabortive, antispasmodic, astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, nervine, and sedative properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins C and K. Primarily, cramp bark is extremely beneficial in treating asthma, convulsions, uterine cramps, leg cramps, heart palpitations, hypertension, nervousness, spasms, and urinary problems.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with after-pains of childbirth, colic, constipation, dysentery, epilepsy, fainting, gallstones, gas, jaundice, lockjaw, ovarian irritations, and rheumatism. It is important to consult a health care provider before considering taking this, or any supplement while on prescription drugs. For more information on the many benefits provided by cramp bark, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
March 27, 2009 01:56 PM
Menopause is the time at which a woman stops ovulating and menstruation ceases, which indicates the end of fertility. Menopause is not a disease, but rather a natural progression in life, similar to puberty. Many years before a woman stops ovulating, her Ovaries will begin to slow their production of the hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Estrogen and progesterone are often thought of as the reproductive hormones.
Although estrogen is essential in reproduction, it is also extremely important in other non-reproductive organs and systems in the body. Cells in the uterus, bladder, breasts, skin, bones, arteries, heart, liver, and brain all contain estrogen receptors. These organs need this hormone in order to stimulate these receptors for normal cell function. Estrogen is needed to keep the skin smooth and moist and the body’s internal thermostat working properly. Estrogen is also essential for proper bone formation. Even though estrogen levels drop sharply after menopause, they do not disappear entirely. Other organs take over for the Ovaries, continuing to produce a less potent form of estrogen. These organs, known as endocrine glands, secrete some hormones from fatty tissue in order to maintain bodily functions.
Progesterone works along with estrogen, stimulating changes in the lining of the uterus to complete the preparation for a fertilized egg during the second half of the menstrual cycle. If no egg is fertilized, the uterine lining is broken down and expelled, allowing the cycle to being again. Progesterone also has effects beyond the reproductive system, as it calms the brain and also affects other aspects of nervous system function. Testosterone is most important for both men and women, with women producing about 80 percent less than men do. However, it is the driving force for maintaining a healthy life and proper functioning organs.
The period when a woman’s body is preparing for menopause is known as perimenopause. For the majority of women, hormone production beings to slow down then they reach their thirties, continuing to diminish with age. Many women will experience few if any symptoms at this time, but others may suffer from anxiety, dry skin, fatigue, feelings of bloating, headaches, heart palpitations, hot flashes, insomnia, irritability, decreased interest in their significant other, loss of concentration, mood swings, night sweats, reduced stamina, urinary incontinence, uterine dryness and itching, weight gain, cold hands and feet, joint pain, hair loss, and/or skin changes.
Menopause occurs when a woman stops menstruating altogether. At this point, most of the acute problems a woman may have experienced are actually over and a new balance between all hormones should be established. However, women become increasingly vulnerable to other, potentially serious health problems at this time. Over the long term, the diminished supply of estrogen increased the likelihood of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and uterine atrophy. Osteoporosis especially is a major problem for women after menopause, with an estimated 80 percent of the hip fractures that occur in the United States every year being due to osteoporosis.
A proper diet, nutritional supplements, and exercise can help to minimize or eliminate most of the unpleasant side effects of menopause. The following nutrients are recommended for dealing with this stage of life: beta-1, cerasomal, coenzyme Q10, DHEA, essential fatty acids, lecithin granules, a multi-enzyme complex, soy protein, vitamin B complex, vitamin D3, vitamin E, boron, calcium, magnesium, quercetin, silica, zinc, l-arginine, multiglandular complex, a multivitamin and mineral complex, vitamin C, aloe vera gel, slippery elm, damiana, amaranth, chickweed, dandelion greens, nettle, seaweed, watercress, anise, black cohosh, fennel, licorice, raspberry, sage, unicorn root, wild yam root, hops, valerian root, gotu kola, red clover, dong quai, St. John’s wort, and Siberian ginseng.
All these above listed vitamins and herbs are available in capsule, tablet, or powder forms. When looking for natural alternatives to help replace estrogen naturally, look to your local or internet health food store for name brand products that can help restore an imbalance over time.
February 27, 2009 02:34 PM
Mumps, a common viral illness mostly occurring during childhood, is caused by a type of virus that is known as a paramyxovirus that infects the parotid glands, which are the salivary glands that are located at the jaw angles below the ears. Symptoms include swelling of one or both glands plus headache, fever, chills, decreased appetite, sore throat, and pain when swallowing or chewing, especially when swallowing acidic substances such as citrus juices. A lot of times, one of the parotid glands will swell before the other, and as swelling in one gland subsides, the other begins to swell. Mumps travels from person to person by means of infected droplets of saliva or direct contact with contaminated materials. This illness can be contracted through sneezing, coughing, kissing, talking, breathing, drinking out of the same glass as an infected person, and sharing utensils. This virus has an incubation period that can vary from fourteen to twenty-four days, with the average period being about eighteen days. A person with mumps is contagious any time from forty-eight hours before the onset of symptoms to six days after the symptoms have started. Although this attack is not as contagious as measles or chickenpox, it is similar in that one attack usually gives lifetime immunity.
Mumps occurs most commonly in those children that range between the ages of three and ten. However, it can occur through teenage years and, rarely, in adulthood. If this illness does occur after puberty, the Ovaries or testes may become involved and sterility may result. If the testicles are affected, they become swollen and painful, while abdominal pain will result if the Ovaries or pancreas is affected. Other organs that can be affected by mumps in rare or severe cases include the brain, pancreas, and kidneys. All of these can potentially cause serious complications.
The following bacteria are beneficial in dealing with mumps. Unless otherwise specified, the dosages given are for adults. For children between the ages of twelve and seventeen, the dose should be reduced to three-quarters of the recommended amount. For children between six and twelve, one-half of the recommended doses should be used, while one-quarter of the amount should be used for children under the age of six. Bifidobacterium bifidus should be taken as directed on the label to provide friendly bacteria, which contains antibiotic substances that inhibit pathogenic organisms. Vitamin C with bioflavonoids helps to destroy the virus and eliminate toxins if taken in dosages of 500 mg every 2 hours until improvement is noted.
One 15 mg zinc lozenge should be taken every 4 to 6 hours to aid healing. Acidophilus should be taken as directed on the label, as it contains antibiotic substances that inhibit pathogenic organisms. A free-form amino acid complex should be taken as directed on the label, as it is important for tissue repair and healing. 50,000 IU of vitamin A with mixed carotenoids should be taken daily, as it potentates immune function. Kelp, which contains essential minerals, iodine, and vitamins, should be taken in dosages of 1,000-1,500 mg daily. Additionally, the following herbs are beneficial in dealing with mumps: catnip, chamomile, dandelion, Echinacea, elderflower, lobelia, mullein, peppermint tea, slippery elm bark, barley, and yarrow.
Vitamin supplements are great to help fight off colds, but with the mumps always consult your doctor, if left untreated further life threatening complications may occur which is not desirable by anybody. Vitamin and Herbs are available at your local or internet health food store.
November 03, 2008 09:47 AM
Nowadays, it is so in to be thin and being anything but that carries a stigma, along with increased risks of serious illnesses. If that isn’t enough, recent research has found that infertility, which experts define as twelve months of unprotected intercourse that doesn’t result in a pregnancy, is also related to obesity. For women, the main obstacle is lack of ovulation, which is when the body refuses to release an egg every month. Too much abdominal fat stores an excess of estrogen, the hormone that needs to fluctuate in order for ovulation to occur. At the same time, male hormone levels rise, with all that estrogen and testosterone sending the women’s brain the wrong message.
When a couple is having trouble conceiving, evaluation by a fertility specialist is often a very good idea. Because it is pretty easy to count and evaluate sperm, it is easy to rule out any male problems, first. A woman who has irregular menstrual cycles should look for signs of hormonal imbalances like abnormal body hair, which indicates an excess in testosterone. Testing may reveal polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is marked by many cysts on the Ovaries, hormonal imbalances, and/or ovulation problems. But if the male’s sperm and both partners’ hormone levels are normal, and if the woman doesn’t have blocked fallopian tubes or poor thyroid function, then the problem could very well be caused by too much weight.
Obese people usually have some medical problems already; infertility seems to be just another hit. Studies have proven that even just a 5% to 10% loss of your current weight can get your Ovaries working again on their own. It is impractical to suggest normal weight, as it’ll take too long, while meanwhile, the Ovaries are aging. You shouldn’t wait until you reach your ideal weight before you try to conceive, but rather, keep dropping pounds for the sake of your overall well-being. Your partner may even want to get fit with you, as one study has found that conception can be difficult when both partners are overweight or obese. Since obese men have problems with poor sperm counts or quality, along with weight-related hormonal imbalances, they’re twice as likely to be infertile than men of normal weight. Fathers-to-be may also want to take folate, as low folate levels are linked with increased risk of defective sperm.
If you’re obese, herbs and supplements may help you get pregnant, but weight loss is the critical component. To encourage ovulation, whether you are obese or not, one doctor suggests a weight-loss or weight-maintenance program, along with beta-carotene, a nutrient for ovarian function, and chaste tree berry, for its hormonal effects to optimize ovulation. This plan has proven a fifty percent success rate. Even though fertility aids such as in vitro fertilization result in a live-birth rate of more than 82%, it has been found that only 55% of those births are single babies.
If women trying for children begin eating well and exercising daily, not only will they be able to conceive more easily, but they will be physically fit and able to play with their kids all through their lives. Diet and nutrition as well as natural prenatal supplements and extra folic acid are needed to support the birth of a healthy baby boy or girl. Stop into your local health food store and see what is available for fertility for both men and women.
September 02, 2008 10:10 AM
An isoflavone from soy has been evaluated for its effect on various female functions such as the menopause and some effects on estrogens. Soy products have been part of the diet in the Far East for thousands of years, and it is a known fact that these people suffer fewer incidences of conditions such as breast cancer, menopausal problems, rectal cancer and diseases of the heart and joints.
The benefits that such a diet appeared to confer on those taking it initiated many studies into the active constituents of soy, and how the biochemistry involved imparted these benefits. A result of this was an intensification of investigations into many so-called -women's functions' or 'women's problems' that hitherto had been accepted as a part of life. Now, however, they are better understood, just as many other components of the Oriental diet are being found to have wider implications in terms of disease prevention and increasing life expectancy. So back to soy and its isoflavone content.
Soy contains a number of isoflavones, commonly known as phyto-estrogens - plant estrogens - because their chemical formula is similar to that of estrogen, a female hormone. Isoflavones possess some properties that support the beneficial properties of estrogens, and others that suppress some of the risk factors possessed by estrogen. We shall discuss here how these isoflavones are related chemically to estrogens, and how they can be used to support some specific female functions.
In order to understand how isoflavones work we go back to the 1980s, when alpha and beta estrogen receptors were discovered. Until then, the biochemistry of estrogen was not fully understood, and problems connected with estrogen had not been fully investigated.
Like all hormones, estrogen works by finding receptors that are located on cells. With regard to estrogen there are two types of receptor. The beta receptors are connected with the beneficial properties of estrogen, while the alpha receptors tend to lead to the unfavorable effects such as cancers related to estrogen. Each of your different tissue types possesses different ratios of these two receptor types.
The unfavorable alpha receptors predominate in tissues such as the breast, Ovaries and uterus. The favorable beta receptors predominate in the blood cells, bladder, prostate gland, thymus and bones. Studies have indicated that isoflavones appear to attack to the beta receptors and simulate the beneficial effect of estrogen when the levels of estrogen in the body are low, and allow the proper functioning of these cells in the body.
The alpha cells are also populated by isoflavones, which then protect these areas of your body against cancers that can be stimulated by estrogen, such as cancers of the breast, Ovaries and uterus. It appears that cancers that can develop when the alpha receptors are populated by estrogen do not occur when isoflavones have captured them
Isoflavones are present in the form of glucosides. These are composed of sugar and non-sugar components, the latter known as aglycones, and the main isoflavones in soybean are based on the three aglycones genistein, daizein and glycetein. The glucosides are water soluble and are broken down into enzymes known as B-glucosidases in the intestine. This releases the aglycones that can be further metabolized into other substances.
Current studies are examining the possibility that a diet rich in isoflavones taken early in life up to teenage years can reduce the incidence of breast cancer in later years. Isoflavones have been used in the laboratory to reduce the growth of prostate cancer cells, and animal studies have reinforced this finding. The fact that Japanese men suffer less from prostate cancer than those eating diets low in isoflavones also tend to reinforce this connection.
The same mechanism can be used to in prostate cancer by binding to testosterone receptors. Genistein, in particular, can help treat certain types of cancer by inhibiting enzymes such as tyrosine kinase that can become hyperactive and overstimulate the growth of potentially cancerous cells.
It is probable that the estrogen binding facility of isoflavones complements the activity of estrogen in women with low levels of hormone. When the female estrogen level is low, isoflavones can reduce the effects of the menopause and symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats become less severe. While not all women benefit, it has been found that women with these symptoms tend to suffer less when taking a diet rich in soy foods containing isoflavones.
In addition to its moderating effect on these cancers, and its effect on the menopausal symptoms on many women, soy isoflavones possess a few other beneficial health properties. They are strong antioxidants, and help to support the immune system by mopping up free radicals. They also help to protect from atherosclerosis by preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and depositing it as plaque in the arteries.
There is evidence that isoflavones in the diet can help to maintain strong healthy bones. This is largely through the fact that Chinese women taking a diet rich in soya suffer fewer fractures than those on a low soy diet, but studies are continuing into potential reasons for this. Estrogen receptors in bones regulate bone growth and density. Isoflavones can modulate these receptors and promote greater bone density just like estrogen hormones with out estrogen side effects.
Isoflavones have few dietary sources, the richest being soybeans and other soy products. These are very low in the non-Asian diet, so few people, other than Asians, receive the benefit of these phytochemicals. This is believed to be the major reason for Asians suffering significantly lower rates of certain cancers than non-Asians.
Soy milk and tofu are the richest sources, although there is no standardization of isoflavones in soy-based foodstuffs. This is because the isoflavone content varies according to growing conditions, although a diet containing the recommended quantities of soy foods, such as soy milk or soy beans, together with a low cholesterol diet, should help women to overcome many of the problems associated with excess estrogen, or a lack of it especially when taking in conjunction with essential fatty acids.
Any supplement containing soy will be beneficial to most women, particularly during the menopausal stages, although the effect of isoflavones on certain cancers to which women are susceptible cannot be ignored. Such supplements should therefore be used by all women from at the teens onwards, studies having indicating that an isoflavone-rich diet should be beneficial over the longer term.
Isoflavones from soy is effective in helping to support female functions, although the normal Western diet is traditionally very short in these forms of phytoestrogen. Isoflavones can modulate estrogen receptor sites through out the body helping the body regulate its functions and easy the symptoms related to a estrogen deficient body.
Fat Controls our hunger centers in the brain!
April 04, 2008 11:28 AM
The main cause of any chronic disease of aging including Type II diabetes, CV disease, obesity, osteoporosis, and cancer are all caused by miss communication between signals that tell your body how to turn energy into life and the brain. The two most important signals that we know of today are given by the hormones insulin and leptin.
Leptin is an extremely powerful and influential hormone that is produced by fat cells. It has totally changed the way scientific researchers look at fat, nutrition, and metabolism in general. Before leptin’s discovery in 1994, fat was regarded as strictly an ugly energy store that most everyone was trying to get rid of. However, after it was discovered that leptin is actually produced by fat, fat became an endocrine organ similar to the Ovaries, pancreas, and pituitary, as it influences the rest of the body, especially the brain.
Leptin is the most powerful regulator known to date of eating and reproduction. Your fat tells your brain whether you should be hungry or eat and make more fat, whether you should reproduce and make babies, or whether to maintain and repair yourself. It can then be stated that instead of your brain being in control of your body, your body, especially its fat and leptin, controls your brain.
Throughout history, it has been in ones best interest to store some fat to call upon during times of famine. However, it is also just as bad to be too fat. For most of our history, it was necessary to run, hunt, and avoid being prey. Therefore, fat storage had to be highly regulated and it still is. When a person typically tries to lose weight, the body tries to gain it back, resulting in what is commonly known as yo-yo dieting. Because of this, it has long been theorized that there is a “set point” and there must be a hormone that determines this.
Science now believes that leptin is that hormone. So in order to break the yo-yo cycle, one must control leptin. If a person is getting too fat, the extra fat produces more leptin that is suppose to tell the brain there is too much fat stored and the excess should be burned. Signals are then sent to the hypothalamus to stop being hungry, stop eating, stop storing fat, and start burning off some extra fat. Controlling hunger is a major way that leptin controls energy storage. Hunger is a very powerful drive that will make you do all you can to eat if it is stimulated long enough.
The only way to eat less in the long-term is to not be hungry and the only way to do this is to control the hormones that regulate hunger. The primary hormone that does this is leptin. It has recently been found that leptin not only changes brain chemistry, but can also rewire the neurons in areas of the brain that control hunger and metabolism to do its bidding. The inability of the body to hear leptin’s signals plays significant and even primary roles in heart disease, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, reproductive disorders, cancer, and even the rate of aging itself.
In a process called glycation, glucose reacts with protein which results in sticky, sugar-damaged proteins called advanced glycated end products, or AGEs for short. When protein is damaged, it can’t function or communicate properly. AGEs promote excessive inflammation and free radical damage. AGEs and free radicals from oxidation are two of the major molecular mechanisms that cause damage which leads to aging. AGEs cause skin and the lining of arteries to wrinkle and inflame, which contributes to plaque and heart attacks. They can also promote the formation of cataracts and macular degeneration leading eventually to blindness.
The glycation process has also been connected with the destruction of proteins and nerve cells that may lead to Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, and a variety of neuropathies. Glycation and oxidation are two of the major molecular mechanisms where damage accrues, disease occurs, and death results. High blood sugar can suppress your immune system, making you more vulnerable to infection and cancer. Highly aggressive cancers outpace the availability of oxygen and therefore must use an anaerobic fuel, in the form of glucose. By consuming glucose (sugar), we feed cancer. Lastly, high blood levels of sugar form non-fiber carbohydrates and excess protein send leptin and insulin levels upward.
If there is a known marker for long life, it is low insulin levels. Insulin’s purpose is not only to regulate blood sugar, but to store excess energy for future times of need. Insulin also lowers blood glucose levels as a side effect from storing it away, not regulating it. Today, high glucose is quite normal, as our insulin levels are typically much higher than they were among our ancestors. When you are constantly bombarding your cells with insulin, they become insulin resistant. This causes insulin levels to rise, creating a hormonal derangement that has a catastrophic effect on the metabolism.
High insulin contributes to making you fat because it tells your cells to store nutrients as fat rather than to burn it. Repeated high levels of insulin cause insulin resistance. The more fat the body accumulates the more leptin the body can produce so fat works against to slow down insulin production causing insulin resistance..
High insulin causes the retention of sodium, fluid retention, excretion of magnesium, elevated blood pressure, cognitive heart failure, blood clotting, and arterial plaque formation. Heart attacks are much more likely to happen after a meal that is high in carbohydrates than after one that is high in fat. This triggers a stress response which can cause arterial spasm, constriction of arteries, elevated blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and sudden death. Insulin resistance along with low magnesium keeps you from metabolizing important fatty acids that are vital to your heart health in general.
As critical as insulin is in your health, leptin may even be more so. Leptin plays a significant role in obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. But there are clues as to how to live a long and healthy life which brings us back to fat and leptin and our need to control it. One can control their insulin production and fat by dietary changes and blood sugar supplements.
Fight Osteoporosis With Minerals To Build Bones And Improve Quality Of Life
April 02, 2008 11:06 AM
Bone consists predominantly of collagen and calcium phosphate. The collagen provides the connective framework for bone that is hardened by the calcium phosphate, and without healthy bones, your quality of life would be significantly reduced due to bone breakage. That is why it is essential to supplement this framework with the vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a good bone density at those periods in your life when bone density is liable to deteriorate.
This begins to happen between the ages of 30 and 35 and in women and accelerates during the menopause, when your Ovaries stop producing the hormone estrogen that is necessary for the maintenance of healthy bones. Through time, your bone mass drops creating first a condition known as osteopenia, or reduced bone mass, and then osteoporosis, when your bones become brittle, porous and very prone to fractures.
Before we look at what can be done to reduce your chances of developing osteoporosis, lets have a close look at how bone develop so that it will be easier to understand the remedial action that can be taken.
Calcium is the most common mineral in the body, and the vast majority is in the bones and teeth. Phosphorus is also essential for healthy bones because as stated earlier, the bone consists of collagen that is hardened by calcium phosphate. The two main uses of phosphorus are in bone structure and animal metabolism, since phosphates are also essential for the vast majority of the energy-production chemical reactions within your body.
Calcium has other functions within the body other than bone, however, including exchange of fluids within and between cells, the maintenance of your heartbeat and in blood clotting. Vitamin D is necessary to help calcium be absorbed from your diet, through the membranes of the duodenum. More calcium is absorbed there than in the small intestine, and the calcium is also most available to the body when it is in a water-soluble form.
In fact, the reason that stones form in your kidney for example, is that the calcium is rendered insoluble through the formation of calcium oxalate from the oxalic acid in foods such as rhubarb and soy. High fat diets can also slow down the absorption of calcium.
Estrogen plays a significant part in bone physiology, and is an important factor in the maintenance of bone density in women. Bone is living tissue, and is constantly being absorbed and remodeled throughout life. The part played by estrogen is to maintain a proper balance between the osteoclasts, the cells that reabsorb bone tissue, and osteoblasts, the cells that form new bone tissue.
When estrogen is deficient, this balance is lost and rather than bone formation and resorption occurring constantly, they take place in spurts so that first an area of new bone will be formed, then resorption will occur some weeks later, resulting in a structure where there are cavities between areas of bone. With time, these cavities will increase and weaken the integrity of the bone structure.
However, that is not the whole story. The effect of estrogen is to limit the active period of osteoclasts so that the areas of bone resorbed into the body are relatively small so that the removed bone cavity can easily fill up with new bone by the osteoblasts, which are invigorated by estrogen. When estrogen is deficient, not only is the activity of the bone-forming osteoblasts reduced, but the bone-absorbing osteoclasts activity is not regulated, and they form deeper holes in the bone structure than the osteoblasts are able to fill.
The net result is bone loss, with more bone being reabsorbed than is being formed. The end result of all this is spongy bone tissue with many tiny hole and also with larger areas of missing bone. Eventually this passes a critical point and the bone fractures during normal use. A simple jump from one step to another can fracture a bone at its weakest point, such as at the hip joint where the neck of bone is thinner.
Not everybody is at the same risk, and there are certain risk factors that you should be aware of, each of which could increase the chances of you developing weak bones. The condition particular affects white or Asian women, and those who have a small frame. If you smoke and drink an excessive amount of alcohol, you will also be more prone to osteoporosis, although exercise can help you to avoid it. An inadequate intake of calcium and vitamin D will also contribute, and magnesium is an essential part of strong bone development.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has carried out surveys that indicate American women to be taking only 50% of the calcium recommended to maintain a healthy bone density. However, it is not only dietary calcium that is needed for the formation of bone, but also magnesium and boron, and vitamin D also helps with the absorption of calcium in the gut.
If you are on steroids then they can render you more prone to brittle bone disease. Unfortunately the symptoms of osteoporosis do not become evident until there has been a significant amount of bone loss, which is why post menopausal women, and those over 65, should have a bone density scan (DXA test). It is important to understand that osteoporosis is not a disease as such: you cannot ‘catch’ it, but it develops as the result of a gradual reduction in the minerals that maintain the density of your bone structure.
Your diet is important in helping you prevent bone loss and osteoporosis later in life, and your lifestyle is also important. Reducing your daily alcohol intake will certainly help, and cigarette smoking further retards the activity of the bone-creating cells. Calcium and vitamin D supplements will help, but do not restrict yourself only to these.
If you want to maintain proper bone density through and beyond the menopause stage of life, you should take a balanced supplement that contains a combination of vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a healthy balance between natural bone loss and regeneration. There is more to it that only calcium and vitamin D, and a balanced supplement takes this out of your hands. You can rest in the knowledge that you are doing the best for your body and its bone density.
Is Wild Yam Natures Progesterone?
November 15, 2007 07:20 AM
Dioscorea villosa, commonly known as wild yam, is a tuberous vine native to North America and parts of Central America. It was used by the Mayan and Aztec civilizations for pain relief and birth control and has also been given the names colic root and rheumatism root, demonstrating this early use of the plant. However, whether it is nature’s progesterone or not is another question that requires close analysis.
These Central American civilizations, of course, did not understand the reason why they were effective. Some of the symptoms treated can be caused by the menopause, and the wild yam is believed to contain natural forms of progesterone that can alleviate some of the adverse effects of the menopause on the body. Like most plants, they also likely act as anti-inflammatories, so relieving the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
Like any natural remedy, wild yam had its adherents and its detractors, though in recent years the plant has been used as the raw material for the production of cortisone and a form of progesterone: or at least so it is claimed, so let’s have a closer look at these claims and determine whether or not wild yam is indeed nature’s progesterone.
The human body uses organic compounds called hormones to regulate many of the chemical activities of the body. The hormones catalyze the chemical reactions and changes needed for the proper functioning of our bodies. Hormones are produced in small chemical factories dotted throughout our body called glands. Each gland is devoted to producing a specific hormone, or a range of them, and each hormone is designed for a specific purpose.
Each has an associated hormone ‘receptor’ at their targeted destination that fits the hormone like a jigsaw piece. When it turns up, the hormone attaches to the receptor and the reaction proceeds. That might be the initiation of energy production in cells, the activation of certain genes or even the stimulation of hair growth by the follicles or of the libido and the natural desire to procreate.
Hormones are manufactured from only three constituents: proteins, amino acids and cholesterol, and the steroidal sex hormones are created from cholesterol. Therefore, don’t reduce your cholesterol level too much!
Prior to puberty, all of the sex hormones are manufactured by the adrenal glands, and after puberty by the Ovaries in women and the testes in men. Progesterone is produced initially, and is then used as the building block for all the other sex hormones (hence the prefix ‘pro’). In women these are the estrogens and in males the androgens. Progesterone is made from the start of the menstrual cycle, and after day 12 they have reached a high enough level to halt ovulation. Progesterone levels continue to rise for about 8 days, and then if fertilization has not occurred, the progesterone levels trigger menstruation, and the lining of the womb is detached and expelled.
During certain phases of the menstrual cycle, the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone drop off, although the exact reason for the many and varied symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) are still unknown to a large extend. There appear to be several contributing factors, though estrogen and progesterone certainly appear to be two of the major ones. We shall concentrate here on the progesterone factor because that is what wild yam is claimed to address.
Although the main function of progesterone is to generate estrogen and testosterone, to restore the libido after menstruation, and maintain the integrity of the lining of the uterus and aid in gestation, it has many other purposes such as in thermogenesis (burning of body fats), protection against osteoporosis and is also believed to have a natural anti-depressant action. These are all supported by the symptoms that appear when the body is low in progesterone levels: depression, sudden increase in body fat, mood swings, loss of sex drive and a susceptibility to weak bones if the deficiency is long-term.
In other words, women that usually suffer from PMS, also generally suffer low progesterone levels. It is believed in some quarters that a progesterone deficiency causes an excess of estrogen that leads to these symptoms in addition to heart disease. No one really knows for sure, but a deficiency of progesterone seems to be the determining factor.
Women with menstrual problems continue to be issued with prescribed synthetic progesterone even though they do not have the same effect as natural progesterone. They can also lead to some unpleasant side effects such as fluid retention, strokes, jaundice, blood clots and depression: some of the symptoms it is intended to alleviate. Some take borage or evening primrose oil for the GLA that helps some of the effects, but this is taken to counter the over-production of the hormone prolactin in some women prior to menstruation, not a deficiency of progesterone.
Wild yam does not cause these symptoms, and is claimed by many to be very effective in alleviating the symptoms of PMS. The problem with the artificial forms of progesterone is that the liver’s job is to destroy foreign hormones, and send them to the digestive tract for expulsion. Natural hormones are not affected in this way, even if they come from a non-human source.
The chemical diosgenin in wild yam is very similar in structure to progesterone, and is believed to be the active principle. It is claimed that it can be used to produce not only progesterone but also other related hormones. However, some medical authorities and practitioners dispute this claim, and there is still a question as to how wild yam works. Because it does work, many people swear by it and claim that they could not live without it.
This is especially true of those that suffer from the more severe effects of PMS, and since wild yam does not work for everybody, it could be connected with the severity of the condition and the symptoms. Whichever is true, there appears to be little doubt in the eyes of those that use it as a cream that wild yam is indeed nature’s progesterone.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia
February 28, 2007 12:02 PM
This is a fast paced world. We are all busy; living our full lives, burning the candle at both ends. We all get tired. We all get sick from time to time and maybe even depressed. But the illness called chronic fatigue syndrome is not like the normal ups and downs that we experience in everyday life. People with chronic fatigue syndrome feel overwhelming fatigue, and often pain as well. This is an illness that does not go away with a few good nights’ sleep. It drags on and on and doesn’t resolve itself. It steals vigor and energy over months, and sometimes even years.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will talk about powerful vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs combined in scientifically validated formulas that people with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia can use every day. These nutrients help address some root problems of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia by restoring energy and health to sufferers.
Q. What is chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) also known as chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS), or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a group of symptoms associated with unrelenting and debilitating fatigue. The profound weakness of CFS causes a persistent and substantial reduction in activity level. You feel too tired to do normal activities or are easily exhausted for no apparent reason.
Besides extreme fatigue, symptoms of CFS include general pain, mental fogginess, flu-like symptoms, and gastrointestinal problems. A list of symptoms includes:
The number of symptoms and the severity of these symptoms can vary among people. The symptoms of CFS hand on or reoccur frequently for more than six months.
Q. Are chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia considered being the same illness?
A. Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a painful shortening of muscles throughout the body. FMS is basically a sleep disorder characterized by many tender knots in the muscles. These tender knots, called tender or trigger points, are a major cause of the achiness that people with fibromyalgia and CFS feel.
Approximately 80 percent of chronic fatigue syndrome patients have received and overlapping diagnosis of fibromyalgia syndrome. For most people, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are the same illness.
Q. What causes chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. There are many causes that can trigger CFS. Current research is looking at the roles of neuroendocrine dysfunction, viruses, environmental toxins, genetic predisposition, food sensitivities, yeast overgrowth, faulty digestion, or a combination of these factors.
For many people, CFS is triggered by a bout with a viral illness (like a cold or the flu), or even a stressful event. CFS is usually a mix of underlying causes. It is like a domino effect in that each problem can trigger another problem, and so on. For example, fatigue and poor sleep can trigger a weakened immune system, which can, in turn, trigger yeast or bacterial infections.
Q. Who gets chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. CFS is more common than you might expect. It strikes people of all ages, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. Approximately 800,000 people nationwide have CFS and over six million have fibromyalgia at any given time.
It is important to stress that CFS is a real illness; it is not “just in your head.” Unfortunately, sufferers of CFS may find that many healthcare practitioners discount the symptoms of this illness or misdiagnose it as another disease. This can lead to additional emotional suffering.
Q. How long does chronic fatigue syndrome last?
A. The illness varies greatly in its duration. Some people recover after a year or two. More often, those who recover are more likely to do so three to five years after onset. Yet for some people, the illness seems to simply persist. There are rare cases of spontaneous improvement after five years without undergoing any treatment. However, this is very unusual.
Q. What are the complications of chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. The patterns of CFS vary from individual to individual. However, many common patterns of symptoms are seen in CFS sufferers. These symptoms and problems interact and create new symptoms and problems. For example, infections and disrupted sleep can lead to digestive, hormone, and immune problems.
The most notorious pattern seen in CFS is the one in which a person suddenly comes down with a flu-like illness that doesn’t go away. These viral or bacterial infections can suppress the body’s master gland, the hypothalamus. Since the hypothalamus controls the other glands, including the adrenals, Ovaries, testes, and thyroid, suppression of this gland will lead to a subtle but debilitating decrease in the functioning of all glands and their hormones. Suppressed hypothalamic function from chronic infections can then trigger sleep dysfunction.
The suppression of the hypothalamus gland can lead to poor sleep because the body confuses its day/night cycles. Because of this, people with CFS have trouble staying in the deep, restorative stages of sleep that “recharge their batteries.”
Poor sleep can cause immune suppression, which may lead to secondary bowel infections. The bowel infections seen in people with CFS can cause decreased absorption of nutrients, which can lead to chronic vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Q. Is there a cure for chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. Treating chronic fatigue syndrome presents a significant challenge to people with CFS and their healthcare practitioners. Recently, a published placebo-controlled study ( of which I was the lead investigator) showed that when using an integrated treatment approach, over 85 percent of CFS and fibromyalgia patients can improve, often dramatically. The full text of this study can be seen at ‘www.endfatigue.com’. An editorial in the April 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Pain Management noted that this treatment, which I developed, is now a highly effective and excellent part of the standard of practice for treatment of fibromyalgia. Since this treatment addresses many different problems associated with CFS/FMS, it needs to be individualized to each patient.
Medications that provide symptom relief are frequently the first line of treatment chosen by healthcare practitioners for the person with CFS. These include medications for pain, sleep disturbances; digestive problems such as nausea, depression and anxiety, and flu-like symptoms.
However, medications have not been universally successful because they tent to put a bandage on symptoms instead of addressing the root problems. Because of this, medications may need to be supplemented by the other supportive therapies that can address the root problems.
People with CFS/FMS may be depressed, given the catastrophic lifestyle disruption these diseases may cause. They may also feel guilt and frustration because their symptoms were not taken seriously for such a long time. Fear can be a factor as employment and family relationships may be jeopardized by this illness.
Therapies that help people to relax and improve coping skills may be helpful and include counseling for emotional and mental health, cognitive behavioral therapy, sleep management therapy, and massage.
Daily Nutritional Supplementation for Energy
Good overall nutrition is important for everyone, of course. However, there are several vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that can have powerful nutritional effects for a person with CFS. All of the vitamins and minerals in a chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia formula should work together synergistically to help improve energy levels and overall health. Here are some key nutrients to look for in an energy formula:
Vitamins, Minerals & Other Key Ingredients
Vitamin A: Essential for healthy skin and mucous membrane integrity, healthy immune system responses and healthy bone growth and healthy reproductive processes. Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene is an antioxidant and free radical fighter. Vitamin E: Helps to relieve pain in CFS patients. Can also improve night leg cramps, which interferes with sleep.
Vitamin C: Enhances immune function by increasing natural killer cells, B and T cells. Can prevent chronic bladder infections by acidifying urine.
Vitamin D: Regulates immune functions of monocytes and neutrophils. Neutraphils are white blood cells that ingest invasive bacteria, and act as the first line of defense once bacteria makes it past the skin barrier.
Magnesium: Involved with immune support. Working with malic acid, enhances immune function by increasing natural killer cells. Magnesium is also critical for the relief of muscle pain.
Inositol: Enhances immune function by increasing natural killer cells.
Malic Acid: Working with magnesium, improves energy levels by improving cellular functions. Especially important in muscle metabolism.
Betaine: Works with B vitamins to synthesize amino acids, and acts as a precursor to SAM-e. SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine) is a naturally-occurring molecule in the body, and may have an effect on overall mood elevation.
Amino Acids: Glycine, Serine, Taurine, Tyrosine are essential for the production of energy in the body. Also essential for brain function.
Zinc: Supports the immune system by enhancing neutrophils activity and supporting healthy antigen-antibody binding.
Selenium: Supports immune function by enhancing antibody production.
Fructooligosaccharides: Provides nutrition for good bacteria in the intestinal tract, improving digestion and healthy microflora.
All of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional supplements on the list are important to ensure recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome. To ensure that your nutritional supplement regimen contains all of these ingredients, look for a powdered supplement formulated specifically for CFS/FMS sufferers that can be reconstituted in a beverage of your choice. A powdered drink mix is a pleasant, easy way to ensure that you are taking all of the needed vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that will give you the needed energy to recover from your illness.
B Vitamin Complex for Energy
In addition to the powdered energy drink mix, it is important that you also take a vitamin B-complex supplement specifically formulated for people with CFS/FMS. The B vitamin formula, which should include niacinamide, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, and choline, is especially important to restore the energy production needs of your body, as well as for mental function. It is also important to make sure that the dosages are high enough CFS/FMS needs. The chart in the next column lists the B vitamins that are critical for people suffering from CFS/FMS.
B Vitamins Effect on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Studies have demonstrated that people with CFS/FMS are often deficient in many of the B vitamins, which tends to worsen their symptoms of fatigue and mental “fogginess” and ultimately lead to a weakened immune system.
B vitamins - Effect on Energy
Thiamine (B1) - Essential in the process of energy production. This vitamin also removes lactic acid from muscles, which causes them to be sore in fibromyalgia patients.
Riboflavin (B2) - Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is crucial in the production of body energy. Supports healthy gluthathione reductase activity, which helps maintain gluthathione, a major protector against free radical damage. Vitamin B2 itself also has antioxidant qualities.
Niacinamide(B3) - Essential vitamin that is a component of the body’s energy furnace, helping to improve fatigue and “brain fog”.
Pantothenic Acid (B5) - This vitamin improves adrenal gland function, which will boost energy levels. It can also aid in weight loss by decreasing appetite.
Vitamin B6 - Working along with thiamine, this vitamin is critical in the process of energy production.
Vitamin B12 - Important for brain function and nerve repair. Aids in relieving fatigue symptoms in CFS patients. Folic Acid - Aids in strengthening the immune system, and aids in mental clarity and concentration.
Q. What other supplements can help me with CFS?
A. Many people with CFS/FMS are suffering from adrenal burnout. Adrenal burnout occurs when the adrenal glands are constantly producing cortisol in response to chronic stress like that seen in cases of CFS. Over time, this exhausts the adrenal reserve, meaning the adrenal gland can no longer increase cortisol production in response to stress.
The good news is that changes in our hormone levels can return to normal when stress is decreased. However, in cases of CFS that return to normal can be made much simpler by using a glandular therapy regimen to ensure healthy cortisol levels and adrenal function.
Glandular therapy uses the concentrated forms of bovine (cow) or porcine (pig) glands to improve the health of our glands. Pioneers in the field of endocrinology (the study of hormones) hypothesized that glandular extracts work by providing nutrients the body lacks and thus repairing the malfunctioning gland.
If CFS has left your adrenal glands in a stressed-out state, you should see great results by taking adrenal supplements. Be sure to buy an adrenal extract supplement that contains both whole adrenal and adrenal cortex extracts.
The best adrenal supplement should also contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, L-tyrosine, betaine, pantothenic acid and licorice. Licorice contains glycyrrhizin, which is broken down into glycyrrhizic or glycyrrhetinic acid. This compound inhibits the activity of an enzyme that turns active cortisol into inactive cortisol. While in high amounts (greater than 100 mg of glycyrrhizic acid/day), licorice administration causes hypertension, no such effects have been observed at lower doses. Experts have speculated that inhibition of the cortisol-converting enzyme may reduce cortisol-related symptoms associated with adrenal insufficiency. The adrenal glands use these nutrients to manufacture cortisone and other compounds. It just makes sense to purchase an adrenal supplement with these supportive ingredients.
The Road to Recovery-Adequate Sleep
Disordered sleep is the underlying process that drives many of the symptoms of CFS/FMS. The most effective way to eliminate pain in CFS/FMS is to get seven to nine hours of deep sleep each night.
However, getting adequate sleep is easier said than done for CFS sufferers with underlying fibromyalgia symptoms. The muscle knots of fibromyalgia make it uncomfortable to lie in one position for an extended time, causing difficulty in returning to deep sleep. Because of this, people with CFS/FMS do not stay in deep stages of sleep to recharge their “batteries.” In addition, poor sleep can cause and be caused by the suppression of the hypothalamus gland, which causes the brain to think it is daytime instead of night time.
It may be helpful to use herbal products to promote good quality sleep. There are many natural supplements that are marketed as sleep formulas. To get the best results, it is very important that the right ingredients are in the sleep formula you buy. Therefore, it is important to look for an herbal sleep formula that is especially formulated for people with CFS/FMS. The combination of herbs is important as each herb addresses a different aspect of sleeplessness and muscle tension.
Ingredients - Effect on Sleep
Wild Lettuce - Has been found to have sedative effects.
Hops - Acts as mild sedative and has a sleep-inducing effect. Jamaica Dogwood Has been found to be mildly sedative and is often used for anxiousness.
L-Theanine - Causes significant increases of neurotransimitter concentrations in the brain, which promotes muscle relaxion and improves sleep.
Valerian - This herb has been clinically studied for its ability to improve sleep quality.
Passionflower - This herb eases nervousness and insomnia.
Putting It All Together
After a good night’s rest, a powdered energy drink mix formulated for people with CFS/FMS should be drunk along with a well-balanced breakfast as discussed earlier. In addition to the nutritional beverage mix, a vitamin B complex supplement designed specifically for CFS sufferers, also discussed earlier, containing niacinamide, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, and choline, should be taken every morning. The nutritional drink mix and the vitamin B complex supplement will ensure that your body has all the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients, to combat your overwhelming fatigue, pain, and “brain fog.” Taking a daily adrenal supplement, like the one discussed earlier, will provide the much-needed (and often depleted) nutrients your body may be lacking, and help you recover lost energy.
Together, these four interventions: sleep formula; morning energy drink; energy B complex supplement; and an adrenal complex- can make an incredible difference that you should begin to notice within 2-3 weeks of starting this program.
Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are complex physical diseases with physical causes. The unrelenting symptoms of fatigue, pain, and mental fogginess can be overwhelming and frightening. Partnering with a healthcare practitioner specializing in CFS and utilizing different medical treatments, supportive therapies, and lifestyle changes are healthy ways to combat chronic fatigue syndrome. And taking nutritional supplements formulated specifically for people with CMS/FMS that help boost energy or help you get a good night’s sleep can give you critical control over the outcome of your illness and set you on the road to recovery.
Fruit and Vegetable Lightning drink mixes from Natures Plus
February 06, 2007 02:41 PM
Enjoy the Rainbow – the Color Wheel of Fruits and Vegetables
We’ve all heard the statistics, and have probably seen the signs in the produce section of our favorite grocery store: eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day is important,
Chances are also pretty good that we’ve also seen the newest food pyramid, encouraging Americans to “eat a rainbow of frits and vegetables.” That is, choose from the rich variety of colors for the best all-around health benefits.
In this Ask the Doctor, we’re going to look at the unique health components of different colored fruits and vegetables, and why they’re so important. Plus, we’ll learn about supplemental options, like fruit and vegetable drink mixes, for those days when our diets just aren’t that great.
Q. What’s the big deal about fruits and vegetables?
A. Well, for the main reason that they are whole foods – created by nature (or at least generations of farming) and are rich in a variety of nutrients. Processed foods can’t match the health benefits of strawberries or broccoli – items that have fiber, vitamins, and enzymes built right in.
Q. What does “eating a rainbow” of fruits and vegetables really mean?
A. This is simply an easy way of remembering to get as much color variety in your diet as possible to maximize your intake of a broad range of nutrients. The colors of fruits and vegetables are often a tangible clue to the unique vitamins and other healthy substances they contain. Getting a variety of colors, therefore, means getting a variety of the essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and strong.
Enjoying the Rainbow: Fruit and Vegetable Benefits:
Q. Can you tell me a little more about the healthy components of fruits and vegetables?
Let’s take a look at some of the most well-studied and important nutrients:
Quercetin is found in apples, onions and citrus fruits (also is hawthorn and other berries and apple-related fruits usually used in traditional herbal remedies and modern supplements). It prevents LSL cholesterol oxidation and helps the body cope with allergens and other lung and breathing problems.
Clinical studies show that quercetin’s main points of absorption in the body appear to be in the small intestine – about 50%. The rest – at least 47% is metabolized by the colonic micro flora – the beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum. You may consider adding these beneficial bacteria (found in yogurt) either through the diet or a supplemental form.
Ellagic Acid is a component of ellagitannins – dietary polyphenols with antioxidant (and possibly anticancer) properties. Polyphenols are the basic building blocks of many plant-based antioxidants. More complex phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids are created from these molecules.
Ellagic acid is found in many fruits and foods, namely raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates, and walnuts. Clinical studies suggest that ellagitannins and ellagic acid act as antioxidants and anticarcinogens in the gastrointestinal tract.
Ellagitannins are durable antioxidants, and happily, they do not appear to be diminished by processing, like freezing. This means the benefits are still strong, even in frozen packs of raspberries or strawberries, or some of the better multi-ingredient supplement drink mixes.
In scientific studies, ellagic acid also showed an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells, decreasing their ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production. ATP is the molecule that provides the primary energy source for the cells in our bodies. In a sense, ellagic acid seems to deprive cancer cells of their fuel.
Beta-Carotene: Probably the best-known of the carotenoids, beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A. Many vegetables, especially orange and yellow varieties, are rich in this nutrient. Think summer squash, yams and of course, carrots.
Beta-carotene has long been associated with better eyesight, but it has other benefits, too. In a scientific study, beta-carotene decreased cholesterol levels in the liver by 44% and reduces liver triglycerides by 40%.
Lycopene is a carotenoid mostly found in tomatoes, but also in smaller amounts in watermelon and other fruits. Clinical studies have shown that lycopene consumption may decrease the risk of prostate cancer. In fact, high intakes of lycopene are associated with a 30% to 40% reduced risk. And, as good as beta-carotene is, its cousin, lycopene, seems to be an even stronger nutrient, protecting not just against prostate cancer, but heart disease as well.
Lutein is found in many fruits and vegetables, including blueberries and members of the squash family. Lutein is important for healthy eyes, and in fact it is found in high concentrations naturally in the macular region of the retina – where we see fine detail. It is one of the only carotenoids, along with its close sibling zeaxanthin, that is found in the macula and lens of the eye.
Lutein also supports your heart, too. In a scientific study, lutein reduced atherosclerotic lesion size by 43%. In other words, high intakes of lutein may actually help prevent coronary artery disease!
Interestingly, as is the case with lycopene, cooking or processing foods with lutein may actually make it more easily absorbed.
In clinical studies, men with high intakes of lutein (and its close cousin, zeaxanthin, found in broccoli and spinach) had a 19% lower risk of cataract, and women had a 22% decreased risk, compared to those whose lutein intakes were much lower.
Vitamin C: One of the best-known nutrients out there, vitamin C keeps our immune system strong; speeds wound healing, and promote strong muscles and joints. A free-radical fighter, vitamin C prevents oxidative damage to tissues, builds strength in collagen and connective tissue, and even reduces joint pain.
Sources of vitamin C are scattered throughout the spectrum of fruits and vegetables.
Potassium: Most Americans are deficient in potassium. For the most part, it’s hard to get too much of this valuable mineral. Potassium does great things for our hearts. Higher intakes of dietary potassium from fruits and vegetables have been found in clinical research to lower blood pressure in only 4 weeks.
Many researchers believe that the typical American diet has led to a state of chronic, low-grade acidosis – too much acid in the body. Potassium helps change pH balance to a more alkaline environment in the body and increases bone density.
This was proven in the long-running Framingham Heart Study which showed that dietary potassium, (along with magnesium and fruit and vegetable intake) provided greater bone density in older individuals.
Fiber is another food component many just don’t get enough of – especially if they’re eating a “typical American diet.” Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber. However, fiber from a good fruits and vegetable drink mix should be derived from inulin and chicory root. This soluble fiber source not only adds to the overall amount of fiber you need (25 to 38 grams a day), but also provides a nice “nesting ground” for the beneficial bacteria that populate the intestines. And, even though some fiber has a bad rap for inhibiting mineral absorption, inulin and chicory root are “bone building” fibers – they actually help the body absorb calcium.
Flavonoids are an overarching term that encompasses flavonols, anthocyanidins, and flavones, isoflavones, proanthocyanidins, Quercetin and more. They are almost everywhere: in fruits, vegetables, grains, herbs, nuts and seeds – even in the coffee, wine and tea we drink. Flavonoids are responsible for the colors in the skins of fruits and the leaves of trees and other plants.
Flavonoids have many health benefits. They can help stop the growth of tumor cells and are potent antioxidants. Additionally, flavonoids have also been studied for their ability to reduce inflammation.
Anthocyanins: High on the list of important “visible” nutrients are anthocyanins. They color fruits and vegetables blue and red.
Anthocyanins are members of this extended family of nutmeats, the flavonoids. Typically found in high amounts in berries, anthocyanins are readily absorbed in the stomach and small intestine.
As antioxidants, anthocyanins dive deep into cell membranes, protecting them from damage. IT may be one reason why the anthocyanins from blueberries are considered such an important component in battling neuronal decline, like Alzheimer’s. Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are also excellent sources of this flavonoids group.
SDG lignans, (short for secoisolariciresinol diglucoside) are polyphenolic components of flaxseed, pumpkin and other herbal sources. Much of the recent research surrounding lignans has focused on flaxseed. In scientific and clinical studies, lignans from flaxseed support hormonal balance and may have cancer-preventing abilities. In fact, in one study, flaxseed lignans reduced metastatic lung tumor by 82% compared to controls.
The lignans in pumpkin seed, also considered a major source, target 5-alpha reductase activity.
This enzyme catalyzes the conversion of testosterone into the more potent dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT, like testosterone, is a steroid hormone or androgen. Androgens are responsible for the development and maintenance of masculine sex characteristics in both men and women. Excess levels of DHT can cause serious problems with prostate or bladder health. That’s why modulation of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme is so important – it helps maintain healthy testosterone and DHT levels. By balancing the levels of these key hormones, pumpkin seed lignans provide protection for prostate and bladder cells.
In addition, pumpkin seed has been shown to modulate the enzyme aromatase. Aromatase is present in the estrogen-producing cells of the adrenal glands, Ovaries, testicles, adipose tissue, and brain. Aromatase converts testosterone, an androgen, into estradiol, and estrogen.
Inhibition of the aromatase conversion can help maintain a balance of healthy testosterone levels in women, which has been shown to strengthen pelvic muscles and reduce incidence of incontinence.
In fact, a clinical study, involving a pumpkin extract in conjunction with soy, resulted in significant support for bladder health. After two weeks of supplementation, 23 of the 39 postmenopausal women enrolled in the study showed great improvement in urinary frequency and sleep. By the end of the six week study, 74.4 percent of participants found pumpkin extract safely and significantly improved “nocturnia,” that is, the need to urinate frequently at night. For individuals with 2 to 4 episodes of nocturnia prior to the stud, and 81.8% improvement was seen – also showing great improvement in sleep quality. After all, if you don’t have to wake up every couple of hours to go to the bathroom you’re bound to get better sleep.
Beta glucan: Mushrooms are intense immune-boosting powerhouses due to their beta-glucan content. Three well-studied power-house mushrooms that contribute beta glucan to the diet include maitake, reishi and shiitake.
The most significant constituents of mushrooms are long chain polysaccharides (molecules formed from many sugar units) known as beta-glucan. These huge molecules act as immunoregualtors in the human body, helping to stabilize and balance the immune system.
This includes specific support of white blood cells, or lymphocytes, the primary cells of the immune system. Lymphocytes fall broadly into three categories: T cells, B cells, and natural killer (NK) cells.
In one clinical study, 165 patients with various types of advanced cancer were given maitake mushroom compounds alone or with chemotherapy. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was observed in 58% of liver cancer patients, and 62% of lung cancer patients. Plus, when maitake was taken in addition to chemotherapy, the immune cell activities were enhanced 1.2 to 1.4 times, compared with chemotherapy alone.
In another clinical study, researchers determined that Reishi increased the number of cancer killing white blood cells and made them more deadly to cancer cells.
And, in a scientific study of human breast cancer and myeloma cancer and myeloma cancer cell lines, shiitake compounds provided a 51% antiproliferative effect on the cells – inducing “apoptosis’ – the programmed cell death that should occur naturally.
While beta-glucan are distributed throughout the mushroom body, the beta-glucan concentrations are significantly higher in the mycelium – the interwoven fibers or filaments that make up the “feeding structure” of the mushroom.
Bioflavonoids are commonly found in bright yellow citrus fruits, including lemons, limes and oranges. They are responsible for the bright pigment found in the skin of the fruit, and are considered a “companion” to vitamin C, seeming to extend the value of the nutrient within the body.
Hesperidin is just one of the valuable bioflavonoids found in citrus. Hesperidin appears to lower cholesterol levels, as well as support joint collagen in examples of rheumatoid arthritis.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG):
Polyphenols, most notably EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, are well-studied and powerful components of tea. EGCG has been shown to reduce colon and breast cancer risk. Green tea also boosts the immune system and encourages T-cell formation – part of the front-line defense of our bodies against sickness and disease.
Q. I’ve been seeing articles about fruits, vegetables and supplements touting “high ORAC value.” What does this mean?
ORAC is an acronym for Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity, and is simply a measurement of antioxidant activity of nutrients. Oxygen radicals, or free radicals, are unstable molecules. They grab electrons from other cells to use for themselves, and in the process can damage them. It is believed that free radical activity plays a role in the development of many diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and also plays a role in aging.
Antioxidants help prevent this damage by “loaning out” extra electrons to stabilize free radicals/ Consider any fruit or vegetable with a high ORAC rating as having a lot of “antioxidant power.”
I know I should eat more fruits and vegetables, but it just seems so hard to get five servings a day.
The number one excuse I hear for not buying frits and veggies is that “fruits and vegetables are too expensive.” But are they really? Certainly, fresh foods that aren’t in season and have to be shipped a distance can be a bit pricey. If anyone added up how much spend on fast food, or prepackaged or processed snacks, it would probably be shocking.
Luckily, there are many ways to get your “Daily 5”. For instance, frozen fruits and veggies retain much of their nutrient profile. They can be an excellent alternative when certain foods are out of season. So too, are fruit and vegetable drink mixes – excellent supplemental sources of some of the nutrients our bodies need most.
More recently, the American
Of course, for people not accustomed to the fiber in fruits and veggies, there is some reason to think it’ll increase gas. When cell walls break down, and fiber passes through the system, it can create flatulence. Folks who eat fruits and vegetables every day generally don’t have this problem. Their systems are already accustomed to it.
For those just starting out on a better diet, however, start slowly – it helps your body adapt. Cooking vegetables can help, too, because it begins breaking down the cell walls early on.
One thing is certain, however. The “Typical American Diet” and good health are mutually exclusive. The increase in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension all point to the abuse our bodies suffer by eating diets high in fatty meats, processed sugars, and refined grains.
Q. Can I just drink fruit and vegetables drinks in place of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables?
Green drinks and fruit and vegetable drink mixes aren’t meant to replace whole foods, but they can be an excellent substitute when you’re rushed or traveling or just trying to fill everyday nutritional gaps. Their whole food ingredients absorb very easily and gently in the gut, and many of these drink mixes contain healthy doses of fiber, too.
Green drink mixes and food-based drink mixes combine many colorful fruits and vegetables and sometimes grasses in a healthy, mixable supplement assortment. While there have been many advancements in the field of green drinks, there are only a few that take the primary reason we eat into consideration: taste!
Happily, there are some companies out there with great-tasting drink mixes that also formulate based on the color concept, ensuring you get the broadest assortment of nutrients from a full range of fruit and vegetable colors to promote optimal health.
High-quality fruit and vegetable drink mixes offer the best from nature’s color wheel in a convenient and great-tasting supplement. So, the next tie you feel like taking a coffee break – try a fruit and veggie break instead. Your body and spirit will thank you.
What are the complications of chronic fatigue syndrome?
December 10, 2005 03:14 PM
A. The patterns of CFS vary from individual to individual. However, many common patterns of symptoms are seen in CFS suffers. These symptoms and problems interact and create new symptoms and problems. For example, infections and disrupted sleep can lead to digestive, hormone, and immune problems.
The most notorious pattern seen in CFS is the one in which a person suddenly comes down with a flu-like illness that doesn’t go away. These viral or bacterial infections can suppress the body’s master gland, the hypothalamus. Since the hypothalamus controls the other glands, including the adrenals, Ovaries, testes, and thyroid, suppression of this gland will lead to a subtle but debilitating decrease in the functioning of all glands and their hormones. Suppressed hypothalamic function from chronic infections can then trigger sleep dysfunction.
The suppression of the hypothalamus gland can lead to poor sleep because the body confuses its day/night cycles. Because of this, people with CFS have trouble staying in the deep, restorative stages of sleep that “recharge their batteries.”
Poor sleep can cause immune suppression, which may lead to secondary bowel infections. The bowel infections seen in people with CFS can cause decreased absorption of nutrients, which can lead to chronic vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Natural Progesterone and Menopause
July 25, 2005 10:15 PM
Natural Progesterone and Menopause
During the thirties and forties of a woman’s lifetime, progesterone production can decrease resulting in shorter intervals between periods. For example, when the Ovaries produce progesterone for only 9 days rather than the normal 14, menstruation may occur every 24 days rather than the usual 28 days. In addition, low levels of progesterone coupled with an estrogen dominance can cause the lining of the uterus to build up leading to abnormally heavy menstrual flows or even spotting between periods. Many women who are in perimenopause (the years just prior to the onset of menopause) experience these symptoms in combination with intensified PMS. Weight gain, bloating, headaches, irritability, depression, and anxiety are common complaints for women in their late thirties and throughout the forties. Frequently, these women had no cycle-related problems in their earlier years and suddenly become all to aware of a whole host of troubling symptoms. More often than not, a drop in progesterone and an estrogen overload are to blame.
Just because a woman no longer ovulates or has a menstrual cycle does not mean that she no longer needs to achieve a proper ratio of hormones. On the contrary, it is during these years that the right kind of hormonal supplementation needs to be implemented or menopausal symptoms and diseases like osteoporosis may develop. Today, estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) is recommended for many postmenopausal women with the assumption that it can help pre vent heart disease, osteoporosis and possibly Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately much controversy surrounds the prescription of synthetic hormones due to their potentially dangerous side effects. Ideally, a far better solution would be to supply the body with the proper natural biochemical building blocks to prompt the production of natural hormones. This is where phytoestrogens or plant-based compounds such as dioscorea (wild yam) can play a profoundly important role in managing menopausal disorders such as osteoporosis.
WHY DO SO MANYWOMEN SUFFER FROM HORMONE IMBALANCES?
July 25, 2005 10:06 PM
WHY DO SO MANYWOMEN SUFFER FROM HORMONE IMBALANCES?
The question of why so many women, young and old, suffer from a hormonal imbalance persists. Today’s environment and life style are certainly significant causal factors and explain, to a great degree why even young, seemingly healthy women may experience a lack of progesterone.
Dr. Peter Elliston of the Harvard Anthropology Department found through one of his studies of 18 women who all had regular menstrual cycles that seven of them did not experience a mid cycle increase in progesterone levels, suggesting that ovulation did not actually occur.12 Dr. Lee cites this as yet another example of the widespread incidence of anovulatory cycles occurring in young women throughout this country, a fact which is undoubtedly linked to rising infertility rates in the United States. Eating disorders, poor nutrition, widespread use of birth control pills, stress, pollution, etc., contribute to hormonally-related disorders and most certainly affect progesterone production, the ability to conceive and menopausal transitions.
CAUSES OF HORMONE IMBALANCES
Dr. Lee believes that widespread use of the birth control pill has caused the Ovaries to be compromised, possibly playing a role in the development of PMS that would normally not exist.13 Documented results from using natural progesterone have been impressive but remain relatively unknown by the majority of women. Progesterone therapy can help relieve the following PMS symptoms: breast engorgement, breast tenderness, irritability, headaches, depression, moodiness, fatigue, anxiety, bloating, water retention, cramps, and irregular periods.
Dr. Joel T. Hargrove of Vanderbilt University Medical Center has had some very impressive results using natural progesterone to treat his patients with PMS. He has had a 90 percent success rate using this form of progesterone.14 Interestingly, he used oral progesterone which had to be administered in a much heavier dose to achieve the same results Dr. Lee obtained with transdermal progesterone.15
The Role of Naturally Occurring Progesterone in the Body
July 25, 2005 09:50 PM
The Role of Naturally Occurring Progesterone in the Body
In light of the previous section, it is vital to keep in mind that when progesterone is produced and maintained, most of the negative side effects of estrogen are neutralized. Unfortunately, in far too many women, progesterone levels fail to do the job. Let’s discuss exactly what progesterone is responsible for.
A woman’s Ovaries produce two key hormones: estrogen and progesterone during her ovulatory years. The corpus luteum makes progesterone just before ovulation which rapidly escalates during the two week period following ovulation. The primary task of progesterone is to support implantation and sustain pregnancy. It does this by inhibiting uterine contraction and by suppressing the immune system’s response to the developing embryo as a foreign body.2
During the last two weeks of a woman’s menstrual cycle, progesterone is considered the dominant female hormone. During pregnancy, the placenta takes over the task of progesterone synthesis. Progesterone is also made in limited amounts in the adrenal glands of both men and women and in the testes of the male.
PROGESTERONE SECRETION RATES
The following breakdown gives general guidelines of amounts and time of progesterone secretion:
Approximately twelve days following ovulation, if fertilization has not occurred, progesterone levels decline rapidly, which initiates the shedding of the uterine lining, also known as menstruation.
In time, progesterone is transported through the bloodstream to the liver where it is metabolized and excreted as waste through the kidneys (urine) and the bile. Typically, pregnancy tests are reacting to increased levels of HCG or of progesterone in the urine, indicating that pregnancy has occurred. (Note: What is crucial to remember is that a woman’s cycle, regardless of her age, may not be characterized by the above scale. A number of factors may cause estrogen to remain dominant, even after progesterone is supposed to take over in the latter half of the cycle. Even young women who suffer from nutritional deficiencies, stress, etc. may experience an estrogen dominance, suggesting the need for natural progesterone supplementation.)
THE THREE-FOLD ACTION OF PROGESTERONE
1. It ensures the implantation and development of a fertilized egg and subsequent embryo and fetus.
2. It acts as a precursor to other steroid hormones such as cortisone which is produced in the adrenal glands and contributes to the production of the sex hormones including testosterone.
3. It exerts a number of desirable physiological actions.
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
June 13, 2005 03:44 PM
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
by Mary Ann Mayo & Joseph L. Mayo, MD Energy Times, September 4, 1999
It's front-page news. It's politically correct and socially acceptable. Talking about menopause is in. Suddenly it's cool to have hot flashes. Millions of women turning 50 in the next few years have catapulted the subject of menopause into high-definition prominence.
It's about time. Rarely discussed openly by women (what did your mother ever advise you?), meno-pause until recently was dismissed as "a shutting down experience characterized by hot flashes and the end of periods." Disparaging and depressing words like shrivel, atrophy, mood swings and melancholia peppered the scant scientific menopausal literature.
What a difference a few years and a very vocal, informed and assertive group of Baby Boomers make. Staggered by the burgeoning numbers of newly confrontational women who will not accept a scribbled prescription and a pat on the head as adequate treatment, health practitioners and researchers have been challenged to unravel, explain and deal with the challenges of menopause.
Not An Overnight Sensation
Menopause, researchers have discovered, is no simple, clear cut event in a woman's life. The "change of life" does not occur overnight. A woman's body may begin the transition toward menopause in her early 40s, even though her last period typically occurs around age 51. This evolutionary time before the final egg is released is called the perimenopause. Erratic monthly hormone levels produce unexpected and sometimes annoying sensations.
Even as their bodies adjust to lower levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, some women don't experience typical signs of menopause until after the final period. A fortunate one-third have few or no discomforts.
According to What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause (Warner Books) by John R. Lee, MD, Jesse Hanley, MD, and Virginia Hopkins, "The steroid hormones are intimately related to each other, each one being made from another or turned back into another depending on the needs of the body...But the hormones themselves are just part of the picture. It takes very specific combinations of vitamins, minerals and enzymes to cause the transformation of one hormone into another and then help the cell carry out the hormone's message. If you are deficient in one of the important hormone-transforming substances such as vitamin B6 or magnesium, for example, that too can throw your hormones out of balance. Thyroid and insulin problems, toxins, bad food and environmental factors, medication and liver function affect nutrient and hormone balance."
The most important reproductive hormones include:
Estrogen: the female hormone produced by the Ovaries from puberty through menopause to regulate the menstrual cycle and prepare the uterus for pregnancy. Manufacture drops significantly during menopause. Estradiol is a chemically active and efficient form of estrogen that binds to many tissues including the uterus, breasts, Ovaries, brain and heart through specific estrogen receptors that allow it to enter those cells, stimulating many chemical reactions. Estriol and estrone are additional forms of estrogen.
Progesterone: also produced by the Ovaries, it causes tissues to grow and thicken, particularly during pregnancy, when it protects and nurtures the fetus. Secretion ceases during menopause.
Testosterone: Women produce about one-twentieth of what men do, but require it to support sex drive. About half of all women quit secreting testosterone during menopause.
Estrogen's Wide Reach
Since estrogen alone influences more than 400 actions on the body, chiefly stimulating cell growth, the effects of its fluctuations can be far-reaching and extremely varied: hot (and cold) flashes, erratic periods, dry skin (including the vaginal area), unpredictable moods, fuzzy thinking, forgetfulness, fatigue, low libido, insomnia and joint and muscle pain.
Young women may experience premature menopause, which can occur gradually, as a matter of course, or abruptly with hysterectomy (even when the Ovaries remain) or as a result of chemotherapy. Under such conditions symptoms can be severe.
In the 1940s doctors reasoned that if most discomforts were caused by diminishing estrogen (its interactive role with progesterone and testosterone were underestimated), replacing it would provide relief. When unchecked estrogen use resulted in high rates of uterine cancer, physicians quickly began adding progesterone to their estrogen regimens and the problem appeared solved.
For the average woman, however, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) became suspect and controversial, especially when a link appeared between extended use of HRT (from five to 10 years) and an increase in breast and endometrial cancers (Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 37, 1997). The result: Women have drawn a line in the sand between themselves and their doctors.
Resolving The Impasse
Since hormone replacement reduces the risk of major maladies like heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, colon cancer and diabetes that would otherwise significantly rise as reproductive hormone levels decrease, most doctors recommend hormone replacement shortly before or as soon as periods stop. Hormone replacement also alleviates the discomforts of menopause.
But only half of all women fill their HRT prescriptions and, of those who do, half quit within a year. Some are simply indifferent to their heightened medical risks. Some are indeed aware but remain unconvinced of the safety of HRT. Others complain of side effects such as bloating, headaches or drowsiness.
Women's resistance to wholesale HRT has challenged researchers to provide more secure protection from the diseases to which they become vulnerable during menopause, as well as its discomforts. If the conventional medical practitioners do not hear exactly what modern women want, the complementary medicine community does. Turning to centuries-old botanicals, they have validated and compounded them with new technology. Their effectiveness depends on various factors including the synergistic interaction of several herbs, specific preparation, the correct plant part and dosage, harvesting and manufacturing techniques.
Research demonstrates that plant hormones (phytoestrogens) protect against stronger potentially carcinogenic forms of estrogen while safely providing a hormone effect. Other herbs act more like tonics, zipping up the body's overall function.
Help From Herbs
Clinical trials and scientific processing techniques have resulted in plant-based supplements like soy and other botanicals that replicate the form and function of a woman's own estrogen.
The complementary community also can take credit for pushing the conventional medical community to look beyond estrogen to progesterone in postmenopausal health.
Natural soy or Mexican yam derived progesterone is formulated by pharmacologists in creams or gels that prevent estrogen-induced overgrowth of the uterine lining (a factor in uterine cancer), protect against heart disease and osteoporosis and reduce hot flashes (Fertility and Sterility 69, 1998: 96-101).
A quarter of the women who take the popularly prescribed synthetic progesterone report increased tension, fatigue and anxiety; natural versions have fewer side effects.
These "quasi-medicines," as Tori Hudson, a leading naturopathic doctor and professor at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, Oregon, calls them, are considered "stronger than a botanical but weaker than a medicine." (Hudson is author of Gynecology and Naturopathic Medicine: A Treatment Manual.)
According to Hudson, the amount of estrogen and progesterone in these supplements is much less than medical hormone replacement but equally efficacious in relieving menopausal problems and protecting the heart and bones.
According to a study led by Harry K. Genant, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, "low-dose" plant estrogen derived from soy and yam, supplemented with calcium, prevents bone loss without such side effects as increased vaginal bleeding and endometrial hypoplasia, abnormal uterine cell growth that could be a precursor to endometrial cancer (Archives of Internal Medicine 157, 1997: 2609-2615).
These herbal products, including natural progesterone and estrogen in the form of the weaker estriol or estrone, may block the effect of the stronger and potentially DNA-damaging estradiol.
Soy in its myriad dietary and supplemental forms provides a rich source of isoflavones and phytosterols, both known to supply a mild estrogenic effect that can stimulate repair of the vaginal walls (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-46).
To enhance vaginal moisture, try the herb cimicifuga racemosa, the extract of black cohosh that, in capsule form, builds up vaginal mucosa (Therapeuticum 1, 1987: 23-31). Traditional Chinese herbal formulas containing roots of rehmannia and dong quai have long been reputed to promote vaginal moisture.
Clinical research in Germany also confirms the usefulness of black cohosh in preventing hot flashes and sweating, as well as relieving nervousness, achiness and depressed moods caused by suppressed hormone levels. It works on the hypothalamus (the body's thermostat, appetite and blood pressure monitor), pituitary gland and estrogen receptors. Green tea is steeped with polyphenols, mainly flavonoids, that exert a massive antioxidant influence against allergens, viruses and carcinogens. The risks of estrogen-related cancers such as breast cancer are particularly lowered by these flavonoids, as these substances head directly to the breast's estrogen receptors. About three cups a day exert an impressive anti-inflammatory, antiallergenic, antiviral and anticarcinogenic effect.
Other phytoestrogen-rich botanicals, according to Susun Weed's Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way (Ash Tree Publishing), include motherwort and lactobacillus acidophilus to combat vaginal dryness; hops and nettles for sleep disturbances; witch hazel and shepherd's purse for heavy bleeding; motherwort and chasteberry for mood swings; dandelion and red clover for hot flashes.
Our Need For Supplements
Adding micronutrients at midlife to correct and counter a lifetime of poor diet and other habits is a step toward preventing the further development of the degenerative diseases to which we become vulnerable. At the very minimum, you should take:
a multivitamin/mineral supplement vitamin E calcium
Your multivitamin/mineral should contain vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Look for a wide variety of antioxidants that safeguard you from free radical damage, believed to promote heart disease and cancer, as well as contribute to the aging process.
Also on the list: mixed carotenoids such as lycopene, alpha carotene and vitamin C; and folic acid to help regulate cell division and support the health of gums, red blood cells, the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system.
Studies indicate a deficiency of folic acid (folate) in 30% of coronary heart disease, blood vessel disease and strokes; lack of folate is thought to be a serious risk factor for heart disease (OB.GYN News, July 15, 1997, page 28).
Extra vitamin E is believed to protect against breast cancer and bolster immune strength in people 65 and older (Journal of the American Medical Association 277, 1997: 1380-86). It helps relieve vaginal dryness, breast cysts and thyroid problems and, more recently, hit the headlines as an aid in reducing the effects of Alzheimer's and heart disease. It is suspected to reduce the thickening of the carotid arterial walls and may prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which contributes to the formation of plaque in arteries.
Selenium also has been identified as an assistant in halting cancer (JAMA 276, 1996: 1957-63).
The Omegas To The Rescue
Essential fatty acids found in cold water fish, flaxseed, primrose and borage oils and many nuts and seeds are essential for the body's production of prostaglandin, biochemicals which regulate hormone synthesis, and numerous physiological responses including muscle contraction, vascular dilation and the shedding of the uterine lining. They influence hormonal balance, reduce dryness and relieve hot flashes.
In addition, the lignans in whole flaxseed behave like estrogen and act aggressively against breast cancer, according to rat and human studies at the University of Toronto (Nutr Cancer 26, 1996: 159-65).
Research has demonstrated that these omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can reverse the cancer-causing effects of radiation and other carcinogens (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 74, 1985: 1145-50). Deficiencies may cause swelling, increased blood clotting, breast pain, hot flashes, uterine and menstrual cramps and constipation. Fatigue, lack of endurance dry skin and hair and frequent colds may signal EFA shortage. Plus, fatty fish oils, along with vitamin D and lactose, help absorption of calcium, so vital for maintaining bone mass.
In addition, studies show that the natural substance Coenzyme A may help menopausal women reduce cholesterol and increase fat utilization (Med Hyp 1995; 44, 403, 405). Some researchers belive Coenzyme A plays a major role in helping women deal with stress while strengthening immunity.
Can't shake those menopausal woes? Menopause imposters may be imposing on you: The risk of thyroid disease, unrelenting stress, PMS, adrenal burnout, poor gastrointestinal health and hypoglycemia all increase at midlife. Menopause is a handy hook on which to hang every misery, ache and pain but it may only mimic the distress of other ailments. For this reason every midlife woman should have a good medical exam with appropriate tests to determine her baseline state of health. Only with proper analysis can you and your health practitioner hit on an accurate diagnosis and satisfying course of therapy.
And if menopause is truly the issue, you have plenty of company. No woman escapes it. No woman dies from it. It is not a disease but a reminder that one-third of life remains to be lived. Menopausal Baby Boomers can anticipate tapping into creative energy apart from procreation. If not new careers, new interests await. An altered internal balance empowers a menopausal woman to direct, perhaps for the first time, her experience of life. She has come of age-yet again. Gone is the confusion, uncertainty, or dictates of a hormone driven life: This time wisdom and experience direct her. There is no need to yearn for youth or cower at the conventional covenant of old age. Menopause is the clarion call to reframe, reevaluate and reclaim.
Mary Ann Mayo and Joseph L. Mayo, MD, are authors of The Menopause Manager (Revell) and executive editors of Health Opportunities for Women (HOW). Telephone number 877-547-5499 for more information.
June 10, 2005 09:44 PM
Breast Cancer by Joseph L. Mayo,MD Mary Ann Mayo, MA Energy Times, May 2, 1999
What do you fear most? Bankruptcy? Floods? Heart disease? If you're like many women, breast cancer stands near the top of that dreaded list.
But that fear doesn't permeate other cultures the way it does ours.
A woman like Mariko Mori, for instance, 52 years old, Japanese, worries about intense pressures beginning to burden her toddler grandson. But worry about breast cancer? Hardly.
In Indiana, Mary Lou Marks, 50, has similar family frets, mulling over her 28-year-old daughter's career choice.
But on top of that, when Mary Lou tabulates her other worries, she recoils at the thought of breast cancer. She's heard about her lifetime risk: 1 in 8. Meanwhile, Mariko's is merely 1 in 40, according to Bob Arnot's Breast Cancer Prevention Diet (Little, Brown).
New studies have found the effect of carrying the gene linked to breast cancer, which is responsible for only 5 to 10% of breast cancer incidence, is not as great as first suspected. Earlier estimates that the gene reflects an 80% chance of incurring breast cancer by age 70 has been recalculated to be only 37% (The Lancet, 1998;352:1337-1339).
Complex Causesbr> Researchers agree: No one factor is solely responsible for breast cancer. Risk depends on many factors, including diet, weight, smoking, alcohol consumption, activity level and, of course, those genes.
Regardless of their actual chance of getting breast cancer, women worry. Mary Lou faces no factors that would place her in particular jeopardy. But her anxieties about radical therapies and medical expenses paralyze her: She forgets to visit her health care provider and skips her annual mammogram appointments. Mary Lou's daughter, perhaps in reaction to her mother's gripping fears, campaigns ardently for cancer prevention, educating herself and mobilizing against the cumulative effects of known cancer risks. Smart young woman: A malignancy, after all, can take years to develop. A tumor must swell to one billion cells before it is detectable by a mammogram.
The soy-rich regimen of Japanese women like Mariko Mori, for example, helps to explain the low breast cancer rates in Asian countries (see box at center of the page).
Tomatoes, because of their high quotient of the carotenoid lycopene, have been found to protect cells from the corrosive clutches of oxidants that have been linked with cancer in 57 out of 72 studies (The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, February 17, 1999, page A6, reporting on a Harvard Medical School study). For more on tomatoes see page 16.
But there's no one magic anti-cancer food or diet. Eating to prevent breast cancer requires a balanced menu with fiber, healthy fats, phytoestrogens and antioxidants, all fresh and free of chemical additives.
Modifying the balance and type of estrogen, the female sex hormone produced by the Ovaries, offers an important breast cancer safeguard. Fat cells, adrenal glands and, before menopause, the Ovaries, produce three "flavors" of estrogen, the strongest of which, estradiol, is believed to be carcinogenic when too plentiful or persistent in the body.
Estrogen does its work by attaching to estrogen receptors. Receptors are particularly numerous in the epithelial cells that line milk sacs and ducts in the breasts.
A receptor site is like a designated parking spot: Once estrogen is parked there it triggers one of its 400 functions in the body, from preparation of the uterus for pregnancy to intensifying nerve synapses in the brain.
The food we eat can be a source of estrogen; plant estrogens, called phytoestrogens, are much weaker than the body's estrogens, but they fit the same receptors. Phytoestrogens exert a milder estrogenic effect than bodily estrogen and are capable of blocking the more potent, damaging versions.
Soy also contains genistein, an "isoflavone" very similar in molecular form to estrogen but only 1/100,000 as potent. Because of its structure, genistein can attach to cells just as estrogen does; it also helps build carriers needed for binding estrogen and removing it from the body (Journal of Nutrition 125, no.3 :757S-770S). It acts as an antioxidant to counteract free radicals.
Soy is most protective for younger women. Postmenopausal women benefit from soy's ability to diminish hot flashes and for cardiovascular protection, especially in combination with vitamin E, fiber and carotene (Contemporary OB/GYN, September 1998, p57-58).
Experts don't know that much about the cumulative effect of combining hormone replacement with soy, herbs and a diet high in phytoestrogens. Menopausal women who boost their estrogen this way should work with their health care providers and monitor their hormonal levels every six to 12 months with salivary testing.
The Vegetable Cart
Fiber from fruits, vegetables and whole grains reduces insulin levels and suppresses the appetite by making make us feel full, thus helping with weight control, so important to resisting cancer. Fiber also helps build estrogen carriers that keep unbound estrogen from being recirculated and reattached to the breast receptors.
Cellulose, the fruit and vegetable fiber most binding with estrogen, also rounds up free radicals that damage DNA within cells.,p> Feeding the Immune System Despite heightened public awareness and efforts to stick to wholesome, healthful diets, experts increasingly link poor nutrition to depressed immune systems. Many Americans are at least marginally deficient in trace elements and vitamins despite their best attempts to eat well; that's why a good multivitamin/mineral is wise, even mandatory. Vitamins given to people undergoing cancer treatment stimulate greater response, fewer side effects, and increased survival (International Journal of Integrative Medicine, vol. 1, no. 1, January/February 1999).
Nutrients tend to work synergistically on the immune system. They should be taken in balanced proportions, and in consultation with your health care provider.
n Riboflavin (B2), pyridoxine (B6), pantothenic acid (B5), zinc and folate strengthen immunity. Selenium, in lab culture and animal studies, has helped kill tumors and protect normal tissues.
n Beta-carotene and vitamins A, E and C are antioxidants. Vitamin C enhances vitamin E's effects, boosting immunity and protecting against cell damage. The antioxidant isoflavones in green tea, with soy, convey the anticancer effects of the Asian diet. Research shows actions that discourage tumors and gene mutations.
The food you eat influences hormones. Excess sugar raises insulin, which acts as a growth factor for cancer and interferes with vitamin C's stimulation of white blood cells. It may contribute to obesity.
Alcohol is converted to acetaldehyde, which causes cancer in laboratory animals. It affects gene regulation by decreasing the body's ability to use folic acid. It increases estrogen and the amount of free estradiol in the blood. The liver damage that accompanies high alcohol consumption frequently reduces its capacity to filter carcinogenic products, regulate hormones and break down estrogen. Studies of alcohol consumption have caused experts to estimate that drinking more than two alcoholic beverages a day increases breast cancer risk by 63% (OB-GYN News, November 1, 1998, p. 12).
Fat Can be Phat
Fat cells produce estrogen. Excess fat stores carcinogens and limits carriers that can move estrogen out of your system.
Once estrogen has attached itself to a receptor, the health result depends on the type of fat in the breast. Saturated fat, transfatty acids and omega-6 fat from polyunsaturated vegetable oils such as safflower oil, peanut, soybean oil, corn oil and in margarine can increase the estrogen effect and trigger a powerful signal to the breast cell to replicate.
Breast tissue is protected by omega-3 fat chiefly from fish and flaxseed and by omega-9 from olive oil. Salmon once a week or water packed tuna three times a week are particularly beneficial. Fish oil supplements processed to reduce contaminates are available. Cod liver oil isn't recommended: its vitamin A and D levels are too high.
Flaxseed is the richest known plant source of omega-3. Use a coffee grinder to benefit from the seed and oil for the full estrogen effect; sprinkle ground flaxseed over cereal or fold into baked goods. Drizzle flaxseed oil, found in the refrigerator section of your health food store, over salads or cereal. (Store the oil in the refrigerator.)
Olive oil, especially in the context of the so-called Mediterranean diet of vegetables, omega-3-rich fish and fresh fruit (Menopause Management, January-February 1999, p. 16-19), lowers the risk of breast cancer (The Lancet, May 18, 1996;347:1351-1356).
Selecting Organic Food
Buy or grow fresh, organic foods whenever you can. When grilling meat, fish or poultry, reduce the area where carcinogens may accumulate by trimming fat. Charred, well-done meat is known to be carcinogenic. When grilling, marinate meat first and reduce the cooking time on the grill by slightly precooking.
Cancer prevention is an interlocking puzzle requiring the limitation of fat consumption, weight control, exercise, stress reduction and care for psychological and spiritual balance. Possessing more cancer fighting pieces makes you more likely to be able to complete the prevention picture.
Joseph L. Mayo, MD, FACOG and Mary Ann Mayo, MA, are the authors of The Menopause manager: A Safe Path for a Natural Change, an individualized program for managing menopause. The book's advice, in easy-to-understand portions, isolates in-depth explanations with unbiased reviews of conventional and alternative choices. A unique perspective for mid-life women who want to know all their options.
Also from the Mayos - The HOW Health Opportunities For Women quarterly newsletter to help women learn HOW to make informed health choices. Learn HOW to: - Choose nutritional supplements
PREGNENOLONE - The Balancing Hormone
June 04, 2005 01:40 PM
Hormones are potent regulators of the most intricate biochemical functions involved in our metabolism, growth, development, emotion and behavior. For our bodies to function properly, our hormones must be in balance with one another. But aging, stress and environmental factors can contribute to hormonal imbalances, with serious impact on our well-being. Today, science has rediscovered a beneficial hormone with the capacity to reduce stress, fatigue and support mental alertness. This hormone is broad – spectrum in its influences - with the ability to balance the levels of other hormones in our bodies. Unfortunately, our production of this hormone declines as we grow older - suggesting the desirability of supplementation. Introducing: Source Naturals PREGNENOLONE.
A Wide Range of Beneficial Properties
Pregnenolone - a hormone produced from cholesterol in our adrenal glands, liver, skin, testicles, Ovaries, and brain - was the subject of intense interest in the 1940’s. Some of the earliest studies, performed by well-known researcher Hans Selye, found it to be helpful in reducing stress and fatigue. Additional studies were conducted throughout the decade, with positive results. Pregnenolone supplementation was found to benefit people who were under excessive stress. It also was reported to support joint and tissue function and to contribute to skin elasticity. Pregnenolone is believed to affect stress levels through its influence on the adrenal glands, which produce more steroid hormones when people are under stress. Pregnenolone may also affect brain chemistry in beneficial ways. It has been found to inhibit the GABA receptors in brain cells - which may result in increased mental alertness. It may also stimulate the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors, which play an important role in regulating synapses, thus influencing learning and memory.
Pregnenolone: The Unique Hormone
Much of the current interest in pregnenolone is related to its role as “the grandmother of all steroid hormones.” Pregnenolone is the starting point from which all steroid hormones are manufactured in our bodies. As a “hormone balancer,” it has the capacity to increase the levels of steroid hormones that are deficient in our bodies and to reduce the levels of excess circulating hormones. Some scientists believe pregnenolone is converted into other hormones only as they are needed by our bodies. The conversion of pregnenolone follows different pathways, depending upon cellular requirements. Pregnenolone may be converted into DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), which in turn can be changed into androgens (including testosterone), estrogens and other steroids; or, it may be converted into any or all of a chain of hormones including progesterone, corticosterone, and aldosterone. These characteristics make pregnenolone unique. Because cells may only convert pregnenolone into other hormones on an “as needed” basis, pregnenolone may correct imbalances in the levels of some hormones, without affecting others. This is a great advantage over steroid hormones like DHEA, which may create excess estrogen and testosterone. Pregnenolone is also distinctive because of the innumerable bodily activities it can influence. As a steroid hormone precursor, it is believed to be involved in every biochemical action exhibited by any steroid hormone. This means it may impact memory, mental alertness, stress responses, female reproductive cycles, the body’s natural defenses, and joint and tissue function. With such a wide spectrum of involvement, the potential uses of pregnenolone could be boundless. Source Naturals PREGNENOLONE is available in 10 mg sublinguals and tablets, as well as in 25 mg tablets. All potencies are sold in 60 and 120 tablet bottles.
Menopause Multiple - Eternal Woman
June 03, 2005 05:54 PM
Menopause happens to all women, but affects each woman uniquely. For some, the end of fertility (and the end of concerns about contraception) brings a sense of freedom. For others, it is a time of troublesome symptoms or perhaps the need for certain lifestyle adjustments. Menopause is a bridge to a point in life when many women report feeling more confident, empowered and energized than in their younger years. MENOPAUSE MULTIPLE is a Bio-Aligned Formula™ that helps bring alignment to a range of interrelated body systems: hormonal regulation, bone metabolism, cardiovascular health, energy generation and circulation.
After menopause, the Ovaries no longer secrete two critical steroid hormones in the amount or pattern characteristic of a regular menstrual cycle. These two hormones are estrogen and progesterone. The transition from regular ovarian function to its absence is often called the perimenopause or perimenopausal transition. The time involved can range from one to 10 years. More than one third of the women in the United States, about 36 million, have been through menopause. With a life expectancy of 81 years, a 50-year-old woman can expect to live more than one third of her life after menopause. Low estrogen levels are linked to some uncomfortable symptoms in many women. The most common and easy to recognize symptom is hot flashes -- sudden intense waves of heat and sweating. Some women find that these hot flashes disrupt their sleep, and others report mood changes. Other symptoms may include irregular periods, vaginal or urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence (leakage of urine or inability to control urine flow), and inflammation of the vagina. Because of the changes in the urinary tract and vagina, some women may have discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse. Many women also notice changes in their skin, digestive tract, and hair during menopause. Because the menopausal years place unique nutritional demands on a woman’s body, Source Naturals created MENOPAUSEMULTIPLE. This comprehensive formula brings together optimal amounts of the finest phytonutrients and herbs--including genistein, black cohosh, and chaste berry--plus vitamins and minerals known to support the biochemistry of mature women.
MENOPAUSE MULTIPLE is a comprehensive herbal-nutrient formula that supports the multiple, interconnected systems involved with female hormone function.
Hot flashes are related to hormone levels. As estrogen declines, FSH and LH (folliclestimulating and luteinizing hormones) increase, causing blood capillaries to dilate. This brings more blood and higher temperatures to the skin. Soy isoflavones and other herbs can mimic the effects of estrogen. Support for the adrenal glands is important since they account for most estrogen production after menopause.
During and after menopause, a woman’s hormonal balance and biochemistry change. Lower estrogen levels may affect bone density. Phytonutrients and calcium are important to maintain healthy bones in postmenopausal women. Calcium and magnesium work together in the metabolism of bone.
Heart & Circulation
Menopause increases concern for the health of the heart and circulatory system. Soy isoflavones and other ingredients may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. To regulate homocysteine levels for cardiovascular health, vitamins B-6, B-12, and folic acid are critical.
Among its many functions, the liver has the important job of promoting hormonal balance by processing excess levels of hormones. The powerful antioxidant, N-acetyl cysteine, helps the liver detoxify chemicals and milk thistle is a liver protectant.
The fatigue that is common during menopause makes nutritional support for energy and metabolism especially important. Metabolism can influence weight, energy levels, and mood. MENOPAUSE MULTIPLE contains ingredients that support energy generation, including the advanced nutrients CoQ10 and lipoic acid and ginkgo biloba.
Antioxidants help protect the circulatory system, which is important as estrogen declines. Antioxidants also defend tissues and cell membranes in all your body systems from free radicals, which are formed during normal cellular metabolism. Some important antioxidants: vitamin E, vitamin C, selenium, zinc, and manganese all have strong antioxidant powers.
Lifestyle Tips for a Healthy Transition
Get Moving. Exercise is a powerful remedy for many menopause complaints and may help prevent future menopause-related diseases. It promotes better, more restorative sleep, and it stimulates production of endorphins, or “feel good” brain chemistry. Some women report having fewer hot flashes when they exercise regularly. Eat Well. A balanced diet low in saturated fat and high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, with adequate water, vitamins and minerals contributes to good health. Women at perimenopause and beyond have special dietary concerns, because both heart disease and osteoporosis are greatly affected by diet. A balanced diet is also important for bone development and maintaining bone strength. Some women – especially those who are elderly and have reduced appetites, who diet frequently, who don’t consume diary products, or who have eating disorders – may not consume adequate vitamins and minerals to maintain optimal bone mass. There is evidence that the natural, estrogenlike compounds in soybeans and many other plant foods used in MENOPAUSE MULTIPLE may reduce hot flashes and vaginal dryness and increase bone density in women after menopause. Studies suggest that body cells respond to plant estrogens as if they were weaker versions of the human hormone. So consuming more of these estrogen-mimicking compounds may help compensate for the loss of estrogen naturally as women age. Prevent Bone Loss. Osteoporosis is one of the most preventable of bone diseases. Exercise maintains the strength of bones through aerobics, stair climbing, hiking, or walking. Prevention focuses on nutrition for bones, including a sufficient calcium intake of 1000 to 1500 mg/day.
Musculoskeletal System: Black Cohosh, Dong Quai, Licorice, Soy Isoflavones, Boron, Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Vitamins A, B-6, B-12, C, D & E, Folic Acid
Heart and Circulation: Black Cohosh, Coenzyme Q10, Dong Quai, Licorice, Soy Isoflavones, Magnesium, Vitamins B-6, B-12, & E, Folic Acid
Hormonal Regulation: Black Cohosh, Dong Quai, Licorice, Soy Isoflavones, Vitex, Vitamins B-5 & C
Liver Support: Coenzyme Q10, N-Acetyl Cysteine, Dandelion, alpha-Lipoic Acid, Silymarin, Selenium, Vitamin C, Biotin
Antioxidant Defense: Coenzyme Q10, N-Acetyl Cysteine, alpha-Lipoic Acid, Silymarin, Selenium, Zinc, Vitamins A, C & E
Energy Generation: alpha-Lipoic Acid, Coenzyme Q10, Magnesium, Manganese, Zinc, Vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5, & B-6, Niacinamide
CALCIUM D-GLUCARATE - Estrogen Detoxification
June 01, 2005 09:25 AM
From the womb to the tomb, we are subject to the effects of estrogen, the potent female hormone that shapes our lives. Variations in estrogen levels can have a dramatic effect on our cellular development. Source Naturals is proud to introduce a nutrient that may help the body remove excess estrogen, thereby giving relief to estrogen-sensitive tissues. Calcium D-glucarate is currently the subject of numerous clinical studies. It is proving to have great potential for addressing health concerns closest to our heart.
One of life’s most delicate balancing acts is found in the ebb and flow of hormones that is constantly taking place in the human body. These messenger chemicals are fundamental to the process of life. Produced by endocrine glands, hormones travel throughout the body, communicating with each other as they direct cellular activity. For example, the hypothalamus gland monitors hormone levels in the body. It signals the pituitary gland, advising it to send messages to the Ovaries to either produce or stop producing estrogen.
Estrogen is an extremely powerful hormone whose activity can be measured in parts per trillion. Therefore, it doesn’t take much to create an imbalance. Like all hormones, estrogen communicates with a cell by docking to a particular receptor site on that cell’s membrane. If there is an excess of these estrogen-sensitive receptors, or an excess of circulating estrogen in the bloodstream, normal cellular metabolism can be altered. Another problem is that estrogen receptors are not very particular; they will accept many chemicals – both natural and synthetic – other than estrogen.
How the body removes excess estrogen
One of the processes by which estrogen and estrogenic compounds are metabolized and broken down is through glucuronidation. In the liver, they’re bound to glucuronic acid and then excreted in the urine or feces. This process can be disrupted by an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase, which is found in the gastro- intestinal tract. It frees the bound-up estrogen or estrogenic compound, releasing it to be reabsorbed back into the bloodstream – to again affect cells. Obviously estrogen is needed by the body; however, too much can lead to cellular disruption. Since it can be very difficult to avoid the estrogenic chemicals rampant in our environment, another strategy is needed, and that is to reduce their negative effects by supporting the body’s natural ability to remove excess estrogen and other hormones and toxins.
Calcium D-glucarate and hormone metabolism
The removal of excess estrogen can be increased by a natural substance called Calcium D-glucarate (CDG), because it inhibits beta-glucuronidase activity in the body. This means that estrogen bound for excretion stays bound, and the total estrogen load on the body is reduced. In clinical trials, tissues that are sensitive to excess hormones – such as breast, liver, and lung – have been shown to respond favorably to CDG. In addition to estrogen and estrogenic compounds, CDG helps promote excretion of other hormone metabolites as well as cellular toxins and steroids.
CDG is made naturally in small quantities in the body; it is also found in a variety of fruits and vegetables: oranges, broccoli, carrots, spinach, and apples. Vitamin A has been shown to have a synergistic effect with CDG. One 500 mg tablet of Source Naturals CALCIUM D-GLUCARATE is equivalent to the phytonutrient activity found in 82 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables. The suggested use for preventative health maintenance is 3 to 4.5 grams per day. No toxicity has been found with its usage.
Phytonutrients also help reduce estrogen exposure
Another strategy to reduce the effects of excess estrogen is to increase the intake of plant estrogens. This helps for two reasons. First, by occupying estrogen receptor sites, these natural estrogenic compounds block synthetic estrogens from attaching to these sites. Second, phytoestrogens only mildly activate receptors. One of the best phytoestrogens is genistein, the isoflavone in soybeans responsible for soy’s beneficial influence on the human body. Increased intake of genistein and/or soy is being recommended by many health professionals, especially for post-menopausal women. Please see Source Naturals product literature on GENISTEIN as well as MENOBALANCE, our nutritional menopause formula with genistein and black cohosh. Both are part of our advanced line of nutritional support for women As new research sheds light on the importance of proper hormone balance to our health, it’s vital to protect ourselves from the increased burden of estrogen that we are encountering today. Source Naturals CALCIUM D-GLUCARATE is a timely nutrient that can make a real difference in our lives.