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Experts find that vitamin D can soothe symptoms of COPD
May 13, 2019 04:23 PM
European scientists recently published new research in the journal Thorax which indicates that correcting a vitamin D deficiency can mitigate breathing and lung problems caused by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD symptoms include chronic bronchitis, asthma that cannot be reversed and persistent difficulty with breathing. However, the benefits only apply to people who have a deficiency of the vitamin. Vitamin D can help augment the immune system while reducing harmful inflammatory responses. Good food source of vitamin D include several species of fish, as well as eggs and mushrooms l.
"Carried out by a team of researchers from Europe, the study revealed that supplementing with regular doses of vitamin D safely and significantly reduced the symptoms of COPD."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-02-vitamin-d-can-soothe-symptoms-of-copd.html
Scientists find GARLIC may treat lingering Lyme disease
January 28, 2019 08:10 AM
Garlic is one of those things that has a lot of health benefits. People underestimate diet and the massive effect that it can have on someone's body and piece of mind. These scientists are constantly doing studies that indicate that certain foods can be considered natural remedies. They are being proven to help people with certain diseases and the truth of the matter is that garlic is one of the main substances that is getting good reviews.
"Known as persistent Lyme infection, it can last for months or even years, but now scientists from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have found a natural solution that could finally put it to rest."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-12-08-scientists-find-garlic-treat-lingering-lyme-disease.html
Seven warning signs your stomach pain is really this HIDDEN disease
June 07, 2017 07:14 AM
Many minor stomach concerns are nothing to to be concerned about. However, there are some symptoms you should never ignore as they can be signs of a serious illness that needs to be address. If you have any of the following symptoms: Mouth ulcers, anemia, loss of weight without trying, cramping, persistent diarrhea, a general feeling of unwellness or fatigue, you should make an appointment with your physician to assess you stomach pain. It is most likely nothing to worry about, but even IBD or Crohn's disease should be taken seriously and be managed by a physician.
Read more: Seven warning signs your stomach pain is really this HIDDEN disease
Drink This and SAY GOODBYE TO SINUSITIS FOREVER (SINUS INFECTION REMEDY)
April 28, 2017 05:59 AM
Sinus infections affect many people. When they do, it is hard to get anything done because these infections make you feel downright horrible. Tons of medications and remedies exist that you can purchase, but the easiest way to put an end to a sinus infection is by drinking this easy remedy. Many people swear by it, and the results come so quickly, there is little wonder why. Are you ready to learn the potion to rid sinus infections?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb_87lXsonk&rel=0
"Apple cider vinegar has a myriad of uses inside and outside the kitchen. This common ingredient provides numerous health benefits, including relief in the case of persistent and frustrating sinus infections."
What eating too much salt does to your body
March 19, 2017 01:44 PM
Salt is good for you in the right quantities but having too much is not healthy at all. Salt is hidden in many foods as well. You have to watch for it. This explains exactly what will happen if too much is consumed so that you can be more aware of it.
"While sodium is needed to carry out normal bodily functions, there is such a thing as overdoing it – and adding it to your cooking, shaking it habitually onto your potatoes or snubbing the warnings on supermarket packaging can come with a price."
Is the water you're drinking linked to causing heart attacks and cancer?
February 28, 2017 12:59 PM
Water chlorination has been the cheapest method of disinfection for over a century. Chlorine efficiently disinfects large quantities of water. It is generally used to prevent outbreaks such as salmonella, and can even inactivate the human norovirus. For these reasons, the EPA classifies chlorine as a pesticide. Even though chlorine is an effective pesticide, on a grand scale, it is hard to measure how quickly microorganisms learn to evolve and resist the persistent use of this chemical. Could widespread dependence on chlorine contribute to accelerated microbial resistance?
"Could widespread dependence on chlorine contribute to accelerated microbial resistance?"
Study: Cannabinoids May Treat Persistent Inflammatory Pain
February 04, 2017 02:59 PM
It has been discovered that Cannabinoids can treat persistent inflammatory pain. This is according to new research that has been published in the journal of neuroscience and it was also published online. The researchers say their data shows how it can help. There are also other studies done that have shown the same thing.
"This study joins a list of dozens that have shown that cannabinoids can treat and prevent inflammation, including one released just last month in the FASEB Journal which found that cannabis may treat chronic inflammation."
Signs You Have a Vitamin Deficiency
January 13, 2017 07:59 AM
When it comes to deficiency's there are many different signs that can tell you whether or not you have a vitamin deficiency in general. Some of these signs for knowing whether or not you have a vitamin deficiency include brittle hair, diarrhea, frequent bone fractures, and lastly having high blood pressure, as well as a deficiency in potassium.
"A rich or decadent meal can lead to a loose bowel movement, but persistent episodes of diarrhea may be evidence that the body is not retaining nutrients."
These May Be First Warning Signs for Depression in Kids
December 15, 2016 12:59 PM
Yes. Childhood depression is different from the normal "blues" and everyday emotions that occur as a child develops. Just because a child seems sad doesn't necessarily mean he or she has significant depression. If the sadness becomes persistent, or if disruptive behavior that interferes with normal social activities, interests, schoolwork, or family life develops, it may indicate that he or she has a depressive illness.
"It can be hard to study depression in families."
Acne's location on your body could reveal specific health issues
November 14, 2016 06:54 AM
If you struggle with acne, it may be telling you something about your overall health. It seems the main cause of most acne is a bad diet, however, acne in certain locations can help diagnose specific problems in our health. Clothing choices, cosmetic usage, stress and blood sugar levels can all be causes of acne.
"Although acne was formerly thought to be a simple skin condition caused by buildup of dirt and dead skin, it is increasingly being understood as a genuine inflammatory health condition"
Uses, Dosage and Side effects of Antimonium Tartaricum.
July 03, 2014 08:02 AM
It is not safe for pregnant, breast feeding or for child below 10 years to use Antimonium tartaricum without doctor’s consent. If pain is persistent, seek medical care immediately.
June 30, 2014 09:54 PM
Supplements That Can Improve Focus
March 23, 2014 07:57 AM
A focused mind is one that is able to concentrate on a particular issue and think about it, discuss it or deal with it and pay special attention to that subject. This explains why people have different focus abilities as brought about by their varying environments and capabilities. Enhanced minds quickly grasp ideas as opposed to low minded ones. A determined mind therefore understands and interpret facts more readily in an effective way, and this is why it is important for individuals to to be focused at school. However, there are instances where learners have limited focus abilities, but this can be improved by use of focus supplements. The following are the supplements that can be used to boost an individual's focus levels.
Supplement that can help improve focus
Tips On How To Maintain A Healthy Colon
November 17, 2013 02:29 AM
What Colon or Large Intestine Do
Dangers of Rhodiola Rosea? First Lets Look at The Benefits
December 20, 2012 08:02 PM
Rhodiola rosea also referred to as golden root or roseroot grows in the extremely cold parts of the world. Although there are over 200 different species of roseroot rhodiola rosea is the popularly specie due to its health benefits. It is currently widely used in Asia and Europe to treat several health conditions.
Improves Depression and Mood
According to a study in the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry Rhodiola rosea extracts helps improve mood as well as lifts depression. It is also known to help improve sleep, lower moodiness as well as lift mild to moderate depression. It is known to help relieve fatigue on the patients suffering from stress associated fatigue. It not only decreases fatigue it increases mental performance particularly concentration and reduces cortisol production in people suffering from fatigue syndrome. It is therefore important to note that supplementation with rhodiola rosea robustly cancels out physiological and behavioral changes induced by persistent exposure to gentle stressors.
Functions as an Adaptogen
It is also a known adaptogen meaning that it helps in strengthening your endocrine and immune nervous system, thus improves your ability to defend against internal and external stress. It works a little different from other adaptogens such as ginseng, it works on neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine which are associated with several illnesses such as seasonal affective disorders and fibromyalgia. It helps you to withstand stress as well as stress related diseases such as lowered immunity and hypertension. It has also been noted to increase the ability to exercise, reduces lactate levels as well as skeletal muscle damage mainly after vigorous exercise.
It is advisable that you consult your doctor before you start taking any rhodiola rosea supplement. Despite its numerous health benefits it has several negative side effects especially if high doses are consumed. The dangers include irritability, insomnia, dry mouth and dizziness. Pregnant women, breast feeding mothers and people suffering from manic depressive and bipolar disorders should not take rhodiola.
This Herb is considered generally safe for most individuals with many mood boosting properties.
October 09, 2012 01:04 PM
reishi mushroom A Therapeutic Plant
The actual Reishi mushroom, utilized for many year like a therapeutic plant and has its own healing and therapeutic attributes. Utilized mostly within the china and associated with Chinese medicine as well as The japanese medicine, there are lots of purposes of this product.
A few of the more vital features include:
Breathing and inflammation
It is also good for individuals with breathing difficulties as well as bronchitis, because of the anti-inflammatory attributes from the Reishi mushroom. Additionally , this may pass as a good anti-coagulant, to assist slim bloodstream. Battling allergies can also be among the features from the Reishi mushroom.
Manage Cholesterol Issues
Numerous experts additionally turn to the actual Reishi mushroom with regard to assisting to lower cholesterol levels amounts, lower blood pressure quickly, that help boost the elegance and energy of pores and skin. As the research still have to be carried out, a few believe the actual Reishi mushroom to become a good anti-cancer real estate agent, too.
You Can Combat Adrenal Fatigue!
January 21, 2011 02:08 PM
Have you experienced having difficulty to get up or stay awake in the morning, requiring caffeinated products to keep you going during the day or just being unusually tired for no reason? If your answer is “Yes!” to any or all of these questions, you may be experiencing Adrenal Fatigue.
Physiologically, the adrenal glands, which perch atop the kidneys, produce a manifold of hormones that are vital to life. In instances where there is inadequate production of these hormones, an individual generally undergoes a group of signs and symptoms including fatigue, low blood pressure, lightheadedness, unexplained body aches, sleep disturbances and digestive problems, unusual weight loss and loss of body hair. This group of signs and symptoms is termed as Adrenal Fatigue.
Adrenal Fatigue is a term coined in 1998 by Dr. James Wilson that refers to a cluster of both subjective and objective manifestations which an individual may experience due to insufficient adrenal function. People who are at higher risk of acquiring this condition are those who are experiencing frequent, extreme and persistent psychological, emotional or physical stress. This condition can be diagnosed by blood tests and stimulation tests that can reveal inadequate levels of adrenal hormones. Many tests are highly suggestive but an elevated plasma ACTH level associated with a decreased plasma cortisol level is diagnostic test for adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal Fatigue can be prevented naturally through lifestyle modification. Lifestyle changes such as more laughter in a day, short breaks during extreme psychological or physical stress, regular exercise, adequate sleep and relaxation and regular meals. It is important not to skip meals and food must be chewed well. Another tip for healthy adrenal glands is taking a daily supplement of vitamin C, pantothenic acid, magnesium and vitamin E.
Adrenal Fatigue is not a life-threatening condition. However, it can significantly affect an individual’s optimum functioning on his or her everyday life. This condition is mild, lasting about a few days or weeks, with good prognosis and with full recovery. Though, there are a small number of individuals who will undergo recovery difficult. The diet suitable for individuals having adrenal fatigue includes one that is composed of unrefined carbohydrates such as whole grains, high protein, high fat and high fiber at most meals. In addition, caffeinated products, hydrogenated fats and junk foods must also be minimized. Avoiding carbohydrates from root crops such as potatoes, limiting sugary fruits such as melons and lessening instances of becoming over-tired are also promising in the full recovery from adrenal fatigue.
Like any deficiency, supplements are also available to help combat Adrenal Fatigue. There are many glandular extracts that includes adrenal and other glands of the human body. Hydrocortisone (Cortef), for instance, is sometimes initiated as a hormonal replacement when the hormone cortisol is not or inadequately produced by the adrenal glands. However, this kind of treatment is typically the last resort because hydrocortisone may treat adrenal fatigue but it can make the adrenal glands weaker rather than stronger. Treatment using this hormonal supplement usually takes 6 months to 2 years.
A good diet goes a long way in supporting the adrenal glands. If you are under a lot of stress and cannot change the amount of stress you experience due to work or marriage adding a b-complex can help restore adrenal function and combat stress.
August 13, 2009 12:09 PM
The mugwort plant is one of several species in the genus Artemisia. In Northern America, this plant is considered to be an invasive weed. The plant is very common and can be found growing on nitrogenous soils, like weedy uncultivated areas such as waste places and roadsides. The mugwort plant is a tall herbaceous perennial plant that grows from one to two meters tall and has a woody root. The leaves, which are between five to twenty centimeters in length, are dark green, pinnate, with dense hairs on the underside. The stem has a red-purplish tinge. The flowers are rather small with many yellow or dark red petals. This plant can be found flowering from July to September.
The mugwort plant is native to Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. Sometimes, it is referred to as the felon herb, St John’s plant, chrysanthemum weed, and wild wormwood. The plant’s root has a history of medicinal use. Mugwort was used in the ancient world as a treatment for fatigue and to guard travelers from evil sprits and wild animals. Roman soldiers are said to have placed mugwort in their sandals to keep their feet energized. One could curb fatigue by chewing mugwort leaves. Sometimes, mugwort is confused with wormwood.
Mugwort is popular in witchcraft. It is said to promote lucid dreaming and astral travel. Smoking or eating mugwort before going to sleep is supposed to make dreams much more intense. It also helps the dreamer to remember them upon waking. This herb contains wormwood oil, thujone, flavonoids, triterpenes, and coumarin derivatives. Thujone is toxic. For this reasons, expectant mothers should avoid consuming large amounts of mugwort. Due to toxicity concerns, the plant is recommended less often now.
In traditional Chinese medicine, mugwort still has a role in an aged, pulverized, and recompounded form. In this form, it is used to correct breech birth presentation. Additionally, mugwort can cause uterine contractions, so it has been used to induce abortion.
The leaves of the mugwort plant have been recommended for colic, diarrhea, constipation, stomach cramps, weak digestion, worm infestation, and persistent vomiting. This herb has also been used to stimulate the secretion of bile and gastric juices. It has also been used as a laxative, liver tonic, and sedative. Mugwort promotes circulation. Additionally, it helps with hysteria, epilepsy, convulsions in children, and menstrual problems. This herb has been used as a tonic to boost energy and strength. It has been used, combined with other ingredients, for neuroses, neurasthenia, depression, hypochondria, irritability, restlessness, insomnia, and anxiety.
In summary, the root and leaves of the mugwort plant are used to provide abortifacient and anthelminthic properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are lipophilic flavonoids and sesquiterpene lactones. Primarily, mugwort is extremely beneficial in treating anxiety, colic, constipation, depression, diarrhea, digestion, epilepsy, hysteria, insomnia, menstrual problems, vomiting, and worms. In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by mugwort, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
June 26, 2009 12:15 PM
Depression affects 22 percent of Americans between the ages of eighteen and older each year. It is one of the most common medical problems in the United States. Depression affects both young and old, and women twice as much as men. Depression is an illness of the whole body. It affects the nervous system, moods, thoughts, and behavior. It also affects the way you eat and sleep, the way you feel about yourself, and the way you react to and think about the people and things around you. Symptoms of depression can last for weeks, months, or years. There are various types of depression, which vary in the number of symptoms, the severity, and persistence.
People with depression generally withdraw and hide from society, losing interest in things around them and becoming incapable of experiencing pleasure. Symptoms of depression include chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, headaches, backaches, digestive disorders, restlessness, irritability, quickness to anger, loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies, and feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy. Many people who are depressed think about death and consider suicide. Things appear bleak and time seems to pass slowly. Someone with depression can be chronically angry and irritable, sad and despairing, or display little or no emotion at all. Some people try to sleep off depression, while others do nothing but sit or lie around.
There are three main types of clinical depression: major depressive disorder, dysthmyic disorder, and bipolar depression. There are variations in the number of associated mental symptoms, severity, and persistence within these types. Dysthmic disorder is a chronic, but less severe type of depresses ion. It is characterized by milder, persistent symptoms that may last for years. It usually doesn’t interfere with everyday tasks. Bipolar disorders usually begin as depression but progress into alternating episodes of depression and mania, characterized by abnormally and persistently elevated mood, energy, restlessness, or irritability. Bipolar depression is commonly known as manic depression. It has other symptoms including inflated self-esteem, a decreased need for sleep, and increased talkativeness, racing thoughts, distractibility, physical agitation, and excessive risk-taking.
The causes of depression are not fully understood. However, it is assumed that there are most likely many and they are varied. Depression may be triggered by tension, stress, a traumatic life event, a hyper-stimulated immune system, chemical imbalances in the brain, thyroid disorders, nutritional deficiencies, poor diet, the consumption of sugar, mononucleosis, lack of exercise, endometriosis, any serious physical disorder, or even allergies. Whatever the factors that trigger it, depression starts with a disturbance in the part of the brain that governs moods. Most people can handle everyday stresses, with their bodies simply readjusting to these pressures. When stress is too great for a person and his or her adjustment mechanism is unresponsive, depression may be triggered.
The following vitamin nutrients are helpful for those who are suffering from depression: essential fatty acids, 5-HTP, L-tyrosine, SAMe, taurine, omega-3, vitamin B complex, zinc, choline, calcium, magnesium, chromium, GABA, lithium, NADH, and vitamin C with bioflavonoids. Additionally, the following herbs may be beneficial: lemon balm, ginger, ginkgo biloba, licorice root, oat straw, peppermint, Siberian ginseng, kava kava, and St. John’s wort.
Great vitamin supplements like the ones listed above are available at your local or internet health food store. When looking for natural vitamin supplements, always look for name brands to ensure that you receive a high quality and pure product.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins, minerals, and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
February 23, 2009 11:54 AM
Mononucleosis is an infectious viral disease that is most often caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. More rarely, it can be caused by cytomegalovirus. Both of these viruses are members of the herpes family. Once the virus enters the body, it multiplies in lymphocytes. Mono then affects the respiratory system, the lymphatic tissues, and glands in the neck, groin, armpits, bronchial tubes, spleen, and liver.
Symptoms of mono include depression, extreme fatigue, fever, generalized aching, headache, jaundice, and loss of appetite, sore throat, pain on the upper left side of the abdomen, puffy eyelids, swollen glands, and sometimes, a bumpy, red rash. Additionally, the spleen may become enlarged and liver function may be affected. Meningitis, encephalitis, and rupturing of the spleen are very rare complications that may develop as a result of mono.
The virus’s associated with mono are extremely contagious, often being transmitted from person to person by close contact such as kissing, which explains why mono is often referred to as the “kissing disease.” The disease can also be spread by sharing food or utensils, as well as through sexual contact or through respiratory droplets. The incubation period for mono is about ten days in children and thirty to fifty days in adults. A lot of mononucleosis cases occur in the military and in colleges, as living conditions are crowded and sleeping patterns are inadequate. High school students also have a high incidence of this disease. Mono is most common among children and adolescents, as about 90 percent of people over age thirty-five have mono antibodies in their blood, which means that they had the disease at some point in their lives, although many do not even know they had it.
The symptoms of mononucleosis are very similar to those of influenza, which often results in mono often being mistaken for it. However, with mono, the symptoms tend to be more persistent, with acute symptoms usually lasting from two to four weeks, and fatigue persisting for three to eight weeks after the other symptoms disappear. The disease can even linger for a year or more in some individuals. It can also produce recurring, but successively milder, attacks. If the immune system has been compromised by an organ transplant, HIV/AIDS, or other viruses, the mono symptoms can be extremely serious and chronic.
Mononucleosis is diagnosed through a blood test called a spot test. This test reveals the presence of specific viral antibodies and also confirms the presence of mono. Additionally, a liver function test can assist in the diagnosis.
The following nutrients are considered to be extremely important in dealing with mononucleosis: acidophilus, proteolytic enzymes, vitamin A with mixed carotenoids, and vitamin C with bioflavonoids. Other nutrients that have proven to be both important and helpful include: DMG, a free-form amino acid complex, garlic, vitamin B complex, zinc lozenges, maitake extract, reishi extract, shiitake extract, a multivitamin and mineral complex, and raw thymus glandular.
Astragalus and Echinacea are also beneficial in boosting the immune system, while cat’s claw has immune-enhancing properties that act against viral infections. Dandelion and milk thistle are beneficial in protecting the liver. Goldenseal helps to fight infection, while olive leaf extract helps to inhibit the growth of viruses that cause mono. Pau d’arco balances the bacteria in the colon and spirulina contains phytonutrients that are helpful in boosting the immune system.
Whether you want to combat mono symptoms naturally or use prescription drugs, always consult your family physician before taking matters into your own hands. A correct diagnosis is important to how one might want to combat sickness in general. Natural vitamins like the ones listed above are available at your internet health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Red Pepper, Cayenne, Capsicum
December 18, 2008 04:51 PM
A remarkable whole body stimulant, Capsicum can boost blood flow, tone the nervous system, relieve indigestion, promote sweating, help to cauterize and heal ulcers, ease persistent pain, and fight off infection. One study on African plants found that Capsicum, when regularly ingested, is highly beneficial in hemorrhoids varicose veins, anorexia, liver congestion, and vascular conditions. The therapeutic actions of capsicum can be attributed to the alkaloid or glucoside content of the herb.
Capsicum boosts peripheral circulation and stimulates organ secretion as it expedites the therapeutic delivery and action of other herbs. This allows the medicinal benefits of these herbs to reach the inflamed tissue more rapidly because of enhanced blood flow. Cayenne insures rapid and even distribution of the active parts of the rest of the herbs to critical parts of the body, which include those that are involved in cellular respiration, metabolism, data transmission, and neural-hormonal activation.
For this reason, cayenne is included in many other blends, as even extremely small quantities can dramatically increase the efficiency of most other herbs. Capsicum stimulates everything from blood flow to peristaltic action in the stomach, to intestinal transit time. Capsicum’s ability to stimulate organ secretion and heart action makes it one of the strongest natural stimulants that are known.
Capsicum is also known to be unequaled in its ability to boost circulation and increase heart action. Cultures that consume significant amounts of cayenne pepper in their diets have been found to have lower rates of cardiovascular disease. A variety of desirable actions on the entire cardiovascular system can be produced by Capsicum, with its extraordinary ability to enhance cardiovascular performance and lower blood pressure. Capsicum is considered a superior food for the heart by herbalists, where capsicum in hot water is thought to help lessen the severity of heart attacks.
Many studies have also been done on Capsicum’s ability to reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis by reducing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. When cayenne is ingested along with dietary cholesterol, the typical rise in liver and blood serum cholesterol levels that ordinarily results was significantly inhibited. Additionally, bile acids and free cholesterol were subsequently eliminated from the body through the stool.
Another bonus of Capsicum is its ability to lower blood serum cholesterol, as it decreases blood pressure. There is additionally evidence that suggested that the herb is able to initiate other mechanisms that help in fighting hypertension. Because Capsicum stimulates organ secretion and boosts peripheral blood flow, it is not shocking that is also facilitates the faster removal of toxins from the blood stream and lymphatic system.
Additional benefits of Capsicum include its ability to boost the circulatory system, as it has the ability to help in preventing cold hands and feet, as well as Reynaud’s Syndrome. Capsicum also has antioxidant capabilities, making it a great scavenger of free radicals. Anti-cancer research has also found that Capsicum does demonstrate anticancer properties, as it inhibits certain enzymes that initiate the mutation of cells. This implies that taking Capsicum can give the body some protection against cellular mutation.
Capsicum has also been found to be an impressive pain killer, an anesthetic to ulcerated tissue, an aid in weight loss, a helper in psoriasis and rhinitis, and a reliever of fevers and chills. The list goes on and on, about the benefits of this amazing herb. Cayenne or red pepper can be found at your local health food store.
August 12, 2008 01:34 PM
Similar to everyone else, you probably have an occasional period where you’re down in the dumps. But don’t fret; feeling a little bit down every now and then is normal. But when these low feelings persist, you may be in trouble. If they deepen over time no matter what you’re doing to change them, then chances are that you are truly depressed. True depression occurs as a result of a loss of interest in nearly everything that once gave you pleasure. These pleasure feelings are replaced by an all-consuming feeling of emptiness and numbness which may be related to clinical depression.
Clinical depression is another matter, this form of depression is an intense feeling of sadness that lasts for long periods of time and prevents people from leading a normal life. It is a treatable medical condition and is characterized by persistent and sometimes severe feelings of worthlessness, guilt, sadness, helplessness, and hopelessness. There may also be disturbance in sleeping or eating patterns, anxiety, regret, shame, grief, diminished ability to concentrate, and repetitive suicidal thoughts.
Having five or more of these symptoms for a span of two weeks or longer is categorized as clinical depression. However, there are shades of gray when it comes to being emotionally down, from low moods all the way to major depressive episodes. Dysthymia is a lot less severe than depression, but it lingers sometimes for years, allowing people to function adequately but consistently feeling unhappy. Bipolar disorder also causes people to have severe high and low mood swings, while seasonal depression is another form that rounds out the category.
According to a global study, depression may be the most disabling disease in the world. Researchers found that depression can worsen health more than angina, arthritis, asthma, and diabetes. Those who have depression and one or more chronic diseases are in the worst health of all. It is estimated that 19 million American adults are living with major depression, with up to 25 percent experiencing an episode of major depression at some point during their lifetime and women suffering twice as much as men do from major depression.
Suicide is strongly connected to depression and is the third-leading cause of death in 10 to 24 year olds, with most depressed people never seeking treatment. Those who are undiagnosed and untreated allow depression to worsen and last for years of untold suffering. About 15 percent of people with major depression die from committing suicide. Major depression is a life-threatening illness that should be treated by medical experts. There is no test that can diagnose major depression. However, it is important to rule out other medical problems that have similar symptoms as those of depression.
Depression is usually treated with medications and counseling. Natural remedies may also be effective in the treatment of depression, especially in those cases that are mild to moderate. Additionally, many nutritional, environmental, and lifestyle factors are involved and it is important to recognize that these factors are not only important for depression, but also for our total health. Getting people healthy gets them less depressed, generally speaking, and there are three supplements that can help ease the symptoms of depression naturally.
Lithium, which is a prescription drug for bipolar disorder, is a simple mineral with benefits for the nervous system to improve mood and cognition. Since patients with depression often have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids and DHA, proper DHA levels are essential for proper functioning of the neurotransmitters. Supplementing with essential fatty acids can help with depression symptoms.
Finally there is SAM-e, a molecule that naturally occurs in the cells of plants and animals, works well as an antidepressant without causing side effects for most people. Always consult your doctor if you suspect you may have clinical depression or when you start any new vitamin supplements with medication and never exceed the recommended doses on the bottle with out a doctors help.
Are You At Risk And What Can You Do About It?
April 23, 2008 04:54 PM
Did you know there are Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) that can have an endocrine disrupting ability? Meaning, these chemicals can have an estrogen like and anti-androgen effect on the body, disrupting the normal function of our endocrine system which can cause all sorts of health issues.
Back in the industrial boom directly following world war II these chemicals were widely used in plastics, cosmetics, personal care products, cleaning agents, clothing, household furnishings, and decorations, food and water, fertilizers, and pesticides and fungicides. These chemicals are being banned by the government but are not gone all together yet.
Endocrine disruptor chemicals are fat soluble which means when consumed they are stored by the body in our fat stores. This makes these chemicals a persistent pain in the butt for a very long time since fat soluble substances tend to be stored and slowly released; some claim the release can be years and years down the road.
These types of toxins can easily leach into water including juices and can vaporize into the air that we breathe in to our lungs. Once ingested, these chemicals can lead to reproductive, developmental, behavioral, neurological, endocrine, and immunologic adverse health effects that can last a lifetime.
Those men and women who want to have children may discover that one of both at have reproductive impairments due to POPs. Symptoms of toxicity are male infertility, gynecological problems, and accelerated puberty, developmental abnormalities of the reproductive tract, premature delivery, behavioral problems, abnormal thyroid function, cancer and heart disease. In cases of children, signs of toxicity are leukemia when fetal exposure is experienced.
The wide spread use of phthalates in industrial and consumer products has raised a lot of concerns. Phthalates are what keep plastics flexible. Dibutyl phthalate is used in PVC piping (in new homes the piping that supply water to faucets), various varnishes and lacquers, safety glass, nail polishes, paper coatings, dental materials, pharmaceuticals, children’s toys, and plastic food wrap. The heating of plastic containers either by microwave or a hot cup of tea can easily leach these phthalate’s in to food or drink exposing humans to high amounts of this toxin.
Also, Parabens are high on the watch list for those health minded. Parabens are a group of synthetic chemicals used as a preservative in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. The most common parabens are methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. These three are used as a bacteriocidal and fungicidal agent in many products we use every day. The FDA does not require approval of cosmetic ingredients before they reach the market place so cosmetic manufactures are free to use what ever they want in their products.
Parabens have been shown to have a mild estrogenic affect on the body, and are in practically all personal care products on the market today. If you are applying a name brand cosmetic onto your skin daily, take a look at the label to see if Parabens are used.
For those looking to stay away form all the above listed toxins look for products packaged in glass, PETE or HDPE bottles and containers. Look for packets lined with saran, and can linings made of polyolefins. Use biodegradable household cleaning agents and avoid sprays and insecticides. Cleaning supplies are not required to list ingredients so it is always buyer beware unless the label states it is free from PCBs, Parabens, and POPs.
Finally, when buying furniture avoid furniture that contains flame retardant PBDEs and limit children to the exposure of such furniture. Exposure to PBDEs can lead to some of the above listed symptoms and cause health problems. Staying healthy is a tough task with all the environmental toxins we face. By buying organic foods and avoid the above listed chemicals one can live longer and maintain better health over a lifetime.
Broken Cell Chlorella - Single Celled Micro alga
April 21, 2008 05:06 PM
Chlorella is what is known as a micro alga, a single celled vegetable organism that grows in fresh water. Microalgae are microscopic species of plant life that are likely responsible for the biological evolutionary history of our planet. Most people associate algae with seaweed: marine plant life. However, this is a restricted view since algae are also common on land, although are rarely conspicuous and still require an aqueous environment if not necessarily a salt water ocean.
The reason for this is that algae have no vascular tissue to draw moisture up into the body of the plant as terrestrial plants do, and they tend to be found in tropical regions, on snow in areas of the Arctic and also on exposed areas of stone and rock in symbiosis with fungi in the form of lichens. They can also be found in freshwater ponds and rivers, and chlorella is one of these.
Its scientific name is Chlorella pyrenoidosa, and it occurs worldwide. It is said to have the highest concentration of chlorophyll of any other known plant in addition to its other highly nutritional content. The superlatives are almost limitless for such a small plant that most of the general population is unaware of. It is the first plant known to have a true nucleus, it has been around for about two and half billion years, and it can multiply itself fourfold making it the fastest growing species of plant known on earth. It beats other fast-growing algae and bamboo out of site.
So what of its nutritional content? It is believed by NASA to be the ultimate foodstuff for long-term travel in space and an ideal crop for colonizing communities. Were a space community to be established on Mars, chlorella would be the first to be cultivated under these big glass domes we all see in the movies! It is more than just a foodstuff though; it is also the most powerful known natural detoxifier for the human body, which makes it practically the ideal food. Why is this?
If any food deserves to be referred to as a ‘superfood’ it is chlorella. It consists of over 60% bioavailable protein, and contains six members of the vitamin B complex (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 12) and also vitamins A, C, E and K. It is therefore very high in antioxidants and excellent for destroying free radicals as soon as they are formed, and before they can cause problems such as atherosclerosis and excessive cell damage.
It also contains more than its fair share of minerals such as calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, and also iodine, folic acid and a high proportion of iron. That is not all: it contains many more nutrients essential for a healthy life, but above all chlorella contains all eight essential amino acids.
Human biochemistry and metabolism need 20 amino acids to function properly, twelve of which can be manufactured by the liver from these eight: leucine, isoleucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine, and sometimes serine is added. These are called the essential amino acids from which all the others that your body needs can be manufactured.
Amino acids are needed to build proteins and DNA, manufacture body cells, repair damaged tissue, help the immune system to protect you from invading bacteria and viruses, ensure that the oxygen you breathe gets to the cells where it is needed to sustain life and carry out many other functions besides. Without them you could not exist. Chlorella contains five times more protein and amino acids than eggs do.
The Chlorella Growth Factor or CGF is a combination of these amino acids, together with nucleic acids, carbohydrates and peptides that have not yet been completely characterized. The CGF promotes the growth of body cells, and stimulates cell repair in a way not seen before in any other food. It has been shown to promote the growth of children in a natural and safe way.
Not only this, but it has been found not to promote the growth of diseased or cancerous cells, only healthy ones. The fact that that this accelerated growth does not happen with adults indicates that the Chlorella Growth Factor supports the natural growing process, although in adults it has been seen to accelerate the repair of damaged body tissue.
Chlorella also appears to strengthen the immune system, and researchers have found the presence of a polysaccharide in the cell walls of the microalgae that acts with CGF to produce an interferon that protects the helper cells that aid macrophages to destroy invading bacteria and viruses. It can help our resistance to influenza, choryza (common cold), fungi such as candida and many other forms of invasion by foreign agents into our bloodstream.
The detox effect of chlorella is largely contained within its cell walls that can bind with persistent toxic substances such as DDT, and bind with heavy metals to safely remove them from the body. In fact it is the ideal anti-toxin for life in today’s environment, full of vehicle exhaust fumes, pesticides and other chemical emissions. It has been claimed to be able to remove mercury from the body, but this has not been established.
Probably the only problem with the ingestion and the efficiency of the body to use Chlorella to its full extent is the strength of the cell walls. Chlorella has very strong cell walls, which could also account for the concentration of nutrients within them. the traditional method to overcome this was to mill them using small glass or ceramic beads to break the cell walls down, but the Japanese have come up with a more effective means. High frequency sound waves are used to break the cell walls down supersonically, a technique known as ‘cracking’, and once cracked the cells can release up to 65% of its nutrients, compared to the 50% of the milling method.
The nutritional content of single celled microalgae such as chlorella is amazing, and if the was only one food that you were able to eat, then this would be it. There is no other known species of plant or animal life that provides the range of vitamins, minerals, proteins and amino acids that chlorella does, and it truly is the king of all superfoods.
Growing Older, Feeling Better
March 28, 2007 02:15 PM
Growing Older, Feeling Better
Not long ago, when a man turned sixty-five, he became officially old – the best years of his life far behind him. The milestone meant his working days were done and if he was lucky, he might get four or five years to spend as he wished before illness and infirmity set in. It was simply expected and accepted that the older a man got, the sicker he got.
Well, not anymore. Today, a man age 65 is just as likely to be found hiking in the hills, running in a marathon, or even dancing in the streets than rocking in that proverbial front porch rocker. Because it’s becoming more and more evident that the older a man gets, the healthier that man has been.
Eating healthy, exercising, and kicking harmful habits (like smoking) can add years to a man’s life. Aging research is proving over and over again, that we can prevent and delay heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease – the major causes of disability and death in men over 50.
Now, it’s very true that good clean living from early on is preferable to sixty five years of bad habits and five years of good. But it’s also true that it’s never too late for men to make changes and vow to take better care of themselves. And one of the easiest and most effective ways men can improve their health is the addition of high quality nutritional supplements.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we’ll talk about specific dietary supplements that have been scientifically shown to improve the health of men over fifty, prevent the diseases that often strike at this crucial time in men’s lives, and actually slow the aging process.
Q. I just turned 50 and I’d like to begin taking nutritional supplements, but they seem so confusing. Where should I begin?
A. Many men feel the same way. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of nutritional supplements on health food store shelves. Figuring out which supplements provide the best health benefits for a 50+ man can be overwhelming.
The best foundation supplement is a high quality multivitamin. Research is repeatedly finding that even very healthy men who take daily multivitamins can significantly improve their health. In fact, an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recommends that all adult Americans take a vitamin supplement. Look for solid doses of vitamin supplement. Look for sol doses of vitamins and especially minerals. Multivitamins designed to be taken once a day are often woefully deficient in calcium, magnesium, and potassium. The only mineral a man should avoid is supplemental iron. Iron should only be in formulas for women prior to menopause. Men over 50 get all the iron they need from food and too much iron can cause health problems.
Look for men’s multivitamins that contain lycopene in the formula. Lycopene is the pigment that makes tomatoes red. The redder the tomato, the more lycopene is present. Numerous studies have shown that when men have high lycopene levels in their blood, they have a much lower risk of heart disease, age-related macular degeneration (a leading cause of vision loss) and prostate cancer.
Other important considerations are antioxidant blends, especially fruit- and tea-derived extracts; ginseng for energy and stamina; and digestive enzymes to aid in absorption and compensate for age-related decreased enzyme levels.
In fact, years of research has shown the foods a man chooses to eat (or not to eat) can have a profound impact on the health of his prostate gland. Because of this close nutritional link, prostate cancer may be the most preventable type of non-smoking related cancers.
Q. Aside from taking a quality multivitamin for general health, what nutritional supplements prevent and treat prostate cancer?
A. Six vital and all-natural nutrients can prevent prostate cancer from developing and even help fight the disease.
When men are exposed to excess levels of hormones, their risk of prostate cancer increases. A natural substance found in fruits and vegetables called calcium D-glucarate (or CDG), helps men’s built-in detoxification systems get rid of these harmful excess hormones.
This antioxidant has powerful effects on the prostate gland. In a recent study, researchers recruited 974 men to take part in a large clinical trial to determine if selenium could prevent cancer. The researchers found that selenium cut the rate of prostate cancer by 63%!
Green tea is the most widely consumed liquid in the world, after water. Men in
For many years, maitake mushrooms, or dancing mushrooms, have been linked to good health in those who eat them. That’s because maitakes contain an important compound called D-fraction. A recent study showed that maitake D-fraction destroyed 95% of human prostate cancer cells in lab experiments.
Promising preliminary reports demonstrate that lycopene can actually kill prostate cancer cells, so there has been an explosion of lycopene and prostate cancer research.
Q. What exactly happens to men’s hormones as they get older?
A. Just as women experience significant hormonal changes as they age, so do men. In fact, the term andropause has been used to describe men’s mid-life changes. Similar to menopause in women (where the decline of estrogen causes a myriad of symptoms), andropause in men signals the slow decline of testosterone, the chief sex hormone in men. While estrogen levels decline faster and more abruptly in women than testosterone levels do in men, testosterone decline can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms. These include abdominal weight gain, hair loss, reduced energy and sex drive, heart disease, and prostate enlargement. Whether a man labels these age-related changes as andropause or just the consequences of aging, most men will unfortunately experience some or all of them as their birthdays mount.
Q. So, is there a supplement that can give me the hormone level of a 20 year old?
A. Sadly, no, at least not yet! But there is a nutrient that can help the testosterone in a man over fifty “behave” more like a younger man’s testosterone.
A study that took place at the
The secret of DIM’s prostate cancer prevention is its ability to metabolize estrogen. While estrogen is generally thought of as a “female” hormone, a precise ratio of testosterone-to-estrogen is needed to maintain a man’s healthy sexual response, effective sexual function (erection of the penis and intercourse), strong bones and muscles, viable sperm, and a well-functioning prostate gland. As men enter their fifties, this ratio begins to change.
When men take DIM, however, their estrogen metabolism improves, testosterone metabolism accelerates, and the unwanted conversion of testosterone into estrogen is eliminated. This results in higher testosterone levels, similar to those seen in young men. As a result, DIM may speed weight loss, reduce prostate gland enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH), and help men over 50 feel stronger and leaner.
Some supplements on the market today contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a precursor to DIM. However, I3C is unstable and requires activation in the stomach to be converted into DIM. This means I3C must be taken at a much higher amount and can undergo unpredictable and undesirable chemical reactions in your stomach and colon. DIM is by far the preferred supplement.
Q. What is saw palmetto? Does it reduce symptoms of Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH)?
A. Yes it does and very effectively too. Saw palmetto is a small palm tree native to
The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut and is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It wraps around the upper part of the urethra and its primary job is the production and storage of semen, the milky fluid that nourishes sperm. BPH is one of the most common health conditions in older men. Half of all men aged 40-60 and more than 90 percent in men over 80 have BPH. BPH causes the prostate gland to enlarge, putting pressure on the urethra.
Men have trouble starting or maintaining a stream of urine, find they can’t completely empty their bladders, and have to urinate frequently, even during the night. They may also have episodes of uncontrollable dribbling or complete loss of urine. BPH is caused by the conversion of estrogen to a very potent form of testosterone called, dihydrotestosterone (or DHT). When prostate cells are exposed to DHT, they multiply in number and get much larger.
BPH rarely improves. It most often remains the same for years or gets gradually worse. The need to continually urinate, interrupted sleep, dribbling, and loss of urine can significantly interfere with a man’s quality of life. Prescription medications that have been developed to treat BPH are only partially effective. And surgical removal of the prostate gland may result in even more persistent urinary incontinence and the inability to achieve an erection (ED).
However, saw palmetto berry extract relieves the symptoms of BPH by inhibiting the production of DHT. And, in study after study after study, saw palmetto caused none of the side effects that happen with prostate surgery or medications.
Q. There seem to be plenty of ads for supplements that claim they make men into Sexual Superheroes. Is there an “honest” nutritional supplement to help me sexually?
A. That’s a very good observation. And yes, there are honest nutritional supplements for men’s sexual health.
Sexual intimacy is an important, complex, and lifelong need. It makes us feel better physically and mentally and adds to our sense of security, belonging, and self-esteem. But just like other changes that happen to men as they get older, men’s sexual response most often changes, too. Declining testosterone levels, changes in blood flow to the penis, certain medications that older men are prescribed, and the presence of diabetes or heart disease can all affect men’s ability to engage in sexual activity.
When men have a chronic inability in obtaining and/or maintaining an erection, it’s called erectile dysfunction (ED). While ED is not an inevitable part of getting older, it does occur more frequently as men age. About 5% of 40-year-old men have ED, but more than 23% of 65-year-old men have difficulty maintaining erections.
The development of prescription medication Viagra (sildenafil citrate) has revolutionized ED treatment. When a man is sexually stimulated, Viagra helps the penis fill with enough blood to cause an erection.
Like all medicines, Viagra can cause some side effects, including headache, flushing of the face, and upset stomach. But because Viagra is a prescription medication, it requires a visit to a licensed healthcare practitioner. For many men, telling anyone (even a professional) that they are having trouble getting or keeping an erection is simply too embarrassing. Viagra is also fairly expensive and many older men do not have prescription drug health insurance.
These reasons may explain that while an estimated 30 million men in the United States – 10% of the male population – experience chronic ED, as few as 5% of men with chronic ED seek treatment.
Not every man can take Viagra, either. Men who use nitrate drugs, often used to control chest pain (also known as angina), must not take Viagra. This combination can cause their blood pressure to drop to an unsafe or life-threatening level. Men with serious liver and kidney problems who take Viagra must be monitored closely for possible serious side effects.
The good news is there is a nutritional supplement that’s formulated with vitamins, herbs, and glandular products that targets male sexual organs. The formula contains vitamin E, liver fractions, wheat germ, beta-sitosterol, and herbal extracts of muira puama, Mexican damiana, saw palmetto, cola nut, ginseng, and ginkgo biloba.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and men’s testicles, adrenal glands, and pituitary glands need high levels of this fat-soluble vitamin for proper functioning. Extracts of Muira puama, Mexican damiana, and cola nut have been studied for their beneficial effects on male hormones.
Study of ginkgo in sexual response came about when a patient in a nursing home who was taking the herb for memory enhancement noted that his erections were improved. Since then, study of ginkgo has shown it helps blood flow to the penis. Sexual response research in one ginkgo study showed that 76% of men taking ginkgo experienced improved sexual desire, erections, and orgasms.
While other nutritional supplements sold to improve sexual stamina often make outrageous claims, reputable manufacturers rely on science and results to sell their products.
An important note
Most often sexual problems are simply part of the aging process. They can also be signs of serious health problems. If the use of nutritional supplements for two months does not improve your erections, you do need to see your healthcare practitioner. Almost all practitioners understand how difficult this problem is for men to discuss and are experienced in getting the information as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
No man has the power to stop the passage of time. But every man has the power to make aging more healthy and less harmful. Research conducted on men who live to be 100 and beyond, has determined that those who reach extreme old age do so by avoiding ill health, rather than by enduring it. As I like to remind my patients, “Age is not determined by years, but by function.” And it’s never too late for men to detour around the major illnesses of getting older. With good nutrition, healthy habits, and high quality nutritional supplements, the best years of a man’s life can absolutely and positively be those he spends in his 70s, 80s and even his 90s.
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.
Scratching the Surface
September 19, 2006 09:12 AM
Persistent yeast infections may indicate a body out of balance.
Say the words “yeast infection” to the average woman and she’ll probably start to squirm. The burning, the itching we’ve all been there. Yeast’s miseries drive millions of desperate woman to seek relief each year.
Yeast infections (also known as yeast vaginitis) start when candida albicans, a naturally occurring fungus, starts growing excessively, producing itchy discomfort and a whitish discharge. Most every woman will endure a vaginal infection at least once during her lifetime, and many of these episodes will be caused by candida. (Bacteria or Trichomonas vaginalis may also be to blame; to be sure have the necessary testing done.)
When yeast strikes repeatedly you should look for an underlying cause. One of the biggest is the extended use of certain prescription drugs, particularly antibiotics, birth control pills or steroids. Another is the presence of undiagnosed diabetes. If you’ve been on meds, or have other diabetes symptoms such as excessive thirst or fatigue, see your practitioner.
A number of alternative health authorities—though by no means all-see recurring yeast vaginitis as part of a systemic candida infection, also called candidiasis. They believe it occurs when intestinal yeast over-growth causes the bowel wall to “leak” partially digested food and toxins into the blood, causing such symptoms as depression, digestive woes, fatigue, irritability and rashes even weight gain. The solution lies in a diet that tightly restricts sugar and other carbohydrates. To learn more www.yeastconnection.com.
Ditching the itch
In addition to addressing the underlying causes of persistent yeast infection you should also tame the beast where it lives. Fortunately, there are safe, natural therapies that can make life a lot more comfortable. Tea tree oil, a natural antiseptic available in both liquid and suppository form, may help, and aloe Vera gel can provide welcome itch relief. To bolster the effects of these topical treatments, some herbalists suggest taking cinnamon or the rainforest herb pau d’arco in supplemental form. Garlic, known for its antifungal properties, is another time-tested option.
After disposing of the harmful critters, replace them with helpful organisms. Organic plain yogurt, both eaten and applied directly, is a good source of these beneficial bacteria, especially when you add acidophilus or other probiotic supplements. Cutting down on your sugar consumption is always a good idea no matter what, as is upping your fiber intake (Oat bran is a good source).
To help keep things cool and airy, a little wardrobe management may be in order. Avoid tight, synthetic fabrics (sorry, but those cute spandex pants have just got to go) in favor of looser garments made with natural fibers, especially white cotton underwear. If swimming’s your thing, don’t spend to much time sitting around in a damp suit—change into something dry as soon as possible.
If you have got an itch that won’t go away, don’t just scratch. Learning what’s really going on is the better way to experience sustained relief. –Lisa James.
7-Syndrom Healing and 5-HTP
June 07, 2006 03:49 PM
Boomer Breakthrough – Keeping in the Game
If there is not thing boomers need to manage, its chronic stress. That’s because of its deleterious effects, which include accelerated aging and altered brain function. This month boomer breakthroughs will focus on 5-hydroxytryptophan or 5-htp, one of the most versatile and powerful anti-aging remedies. For starters, 5-htp is a more powerful antioxidant than either vitamin C or melatonin. This it deserves a place in ones daily vitamin regimen based on this fact alone. However, the better-known attribute of 5-htp is its stabilizing effects on the brain and nerves.
Mood, Anxiety and Depression
Chronic stress can lead to mood swings, anxiety, depression, poor memory, and reduced cognitive functions. Last month we recommended the Adaptogenic herbs Ashwagandha and Rhodiola as therapy for smoothing out periods of intense stress such as looming deadlines. For longer term stress supplementation with 5-htp is a better choice. That’s because extended periods of stress reduce brain levels of serotonin. Supplemental 5-htp is produced from the African plant Griffonia Simplicifolia and has over 30 years of safety and effectiveness in clinical use.
How do you know if you have low levels of serotonin? Persistent anxiety is one key and insomnia is another. 5-htp, an intermediary metabolite of serotonin, has proven to be clinically effective in reducing these disorders. Weight gain and eating disorders also appear to be associated with low serotonin levels.
Serotonin the Antiaging Neurotransmitter
Serotonin, one of three major neurotransmitters, has a calming effect and helps keep emotions in check. It has been extremely helpful in lessening panic attacks, various phobias, suppressing appetite, and reducing aggression, anxiety, and pain sensation. And, it may be more effective in relieving mild depression than antidepressants. In a 1991 Swiss study, the effectiveness of 5-htp in alleviating depression was compared to a conventional antidepressant, fluvoxamine (Luvox). Patients were divided into two groups and given either 100mg 5-htp or 150mg of fluvoxamine three times a day for six weeks. At the end of the test period, the 36 5-htp patients showed a greater percentage of improvement than the 33 fluvoxamine patients.
Other studies have compared 5-htp with antidepressants such as chloripramine and imipramine. 5-htp was at least as effective if not more so than the conventional drugs. Moreover, 5-htp has no reported side effects, although some patients have experienced mild nausea when they first take 5-htp. If this happens, merely back off and reduce the daily dose to 50mg and gradually increase it over a four-day period.
5-htp has an advantage over its precursor amino acid L-Tryptophan (LT). it is more readily absorbed than LT and is immune to meals without reducing its effectiveness. 5-htp, unlike LT, is not shunted into niacin, melatonin, picolonic acid and other amino acids. Seventy percent of oral 5-htp ends up in the bloodstream, crosses into the brain and is directly converted into serotonin.
It’s best not to combine 5-htp with antidepressant medications, although there have been no reports of adverse events. Suggested doses is 100mg 3 times a day or 200 to 200 mg taken at bedtime for insomnia.
Pain, Per-menopause and PMS
5-htp has additional benefits for boomers. It reduces hot flashes and is an effective anti-pain remedy. The concern over use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has led to interest in safe and effective methods of reducing hot flashes. Come anti-depressants (Prozac, ect.) have been effective in alleviating hot flashes in women with breast cancer or at risk of the disease. Increasing serotonin is the proposed mechanism by which this occurs. Serotonin in turn resets the brain’s heat regulating system. 5-htp is effective at raising serotonin levels, is free of side effects, and is an effective substitute for anti-depressants.
Additionally, 5-htp has been clinically useful in reducing premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) symptoms such as sadness, hopelessness, self-deprecation, tension, anxiety, emotional instability, tearfulness, anger and irritability.
Migraine and fibromyalgia share a common root in serotonin and adrenal hormone (Cortisol) receptor function. Serotonin plays a role in maintaining pain thresholds, vascular constriction/dilation and maintenance of restorative sleep. It is also thought to disrupt pain signals and induce the activity of endorphins, the brains natural painkiller.
Italian researchers report in two clinical trials involving patients with fibromyalgia, that 5-htp (100mg 3X/day) significantly reduced fibromyalgia symptoms. These include a number of tender points, subjective pain severity, morning stiffness, sleep patterns, and anxiety.
Now offers 5-htp in three convenient doses; 50mg for starters, 100mg for maintenance, and 200mg plus 250mg tyrosine, Niacinamide and vitamin B-6 to stabilize adrenal function and help control minor pain.
Adapted from 7-syndrome healing: Supplement essentials for Body and Mind by Marcia Zimmerman and Jayson Kroner, 2006, Nutrition Solution Publications.
Nutritional Supplements Could Save U.S. $6.5 Billion.
January 07, 2006 12:26 PM
Health Care Crisis Bankrupting U.S. Budget
Nutritional Supplements Could Save U.S. $6.5 Billion.
You probably never heard about it on the radio, nor saw its actions reported on CNN. Others can’t guess what its acronym stands for. The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an investigative arm of Congress examining the receipt and payment of public funds. This government office exists for the sole purpose of communicating to Congress those facts and figures which we, as a society, can’t afford to overlook.
And they are saying that the healthcare system is going to bankrupt us. The agency recently issued a special report called 21st Century Challenges, which concludes that current U.S. fiscal policies are unsustainable and, unless radical changes are initiated relatively soon, will “result in large, escalating, and persistent deficits.
The Money Pit
According to the GAO report, the United States spends more than 15% of our gross domestic product on health care, and that figures growing fast. We spend a larger percentage than is spent by any other industrialized country. What’s even more suprising is how little we get for the money. An estimated 45million Americans are uninsured. The United States continues to compare abysmally to the other industrialized nations in critical areas like infant mortality, life expectancy, and premature and preventable deaths.
Medicare and Medicaid together devour 20% of the federal budget. With the baby boomers—individuals born between the end of WWII 1960—hitting retirement age this year, those figures will only grow larger with each passing year. Unless, as the GAO report says, something is done quickly.
A report released just weeks ago by the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA) demonstrates that the government can save at least 6.5 billion in health care cost reductions if nutritional supplements are integerated into the healthcare system.
The Lewin Group, a market research firm, developed a report, entitled: Increasing Quality of Life While Minimizing Costs. It focused in on just two supplements, both of which concern reduction in disease prevention for people over age 65. Omega-3 oil, popular for its reduction in coronary heart disease, is projected to save 3.1 billion dollars. Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which supports healthy vision, will save 2.5 billion dollars if this supplement is added to health care plans, according to the study. Savings would come from reduced hospitalizations and doctor’s fees, as well as reduced nursing home use for those who in good health, could remain independent rather than needing to transfer to live-in care facilities.
Early last month, a bipartisan caucus on dietary supplements kicked off. It will be co-chaired by Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah), and Rep. Fran Pallone (D-N.J.), and its goal will be to examine the manner in which nutritional supplements may become a component of healthcare reform, such as part of an individual flexible Spending Account or health Saving account. As the GAO report indicates, the government interest is reaching critical mass and nutritional supplements are on the verge of entering a new era. As Congressman Cannon said during a November 2nd press conference, government needs to develop a sound policy supporting nutritional supplements “As more and more Americans start taking responsibility for their own health.”
Sources/Links for Further Reading:
Visit the website of the United States Government Accountability Office. //www.gao.gov/
House Government Reform Subcommittee on Human Rights Wellness. //reform.house.gov/
For more information about the Lewin Group’s Health Impact Study, please visit: //www.supplementinfo.org/
What is chronic fatigue syndrome?
December 01, 2005 12:39 PM
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 of 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 hang on or reoccur frequently for more than six months.
CLINICAL APPLICATIONS OF CAPSICUM
June 23, 2005 11:20 AM
CLINICAL APPLICATIONS OF CAPSICUM
Capsicum is a remarkable whole body stimulant that can boost blood flow, tone the nervous system, relieve indigestion, promote sweating, help to cauterize and heal ulcers, ease persistent pain and fight off infection. One very authoritative work on African plants suggests that Capsicum’s “regular ingestion is highly beneficial in hemorrhoids, varicose veins, anorexia, liver congestion and vascular conditions . . .the indigenous inhabitants of Africa and of the Antilles are remarkably free form all of these conditions as they use Capsicum fruit in their diet.”10 Most of the therapeutic actions of Capsicum are attributed to the alkaloid or glucoside content of the herb.11 The latest scientific studies conducted with Capsicum will be discussed in subsequent sections.
Because Capsicum boosts peripheral circulation and stimulates organ secretion, it expedites the therapeutic delivery and action of other herbs. In other words, the medicinal benefits of these herbs reach infected or inflamed tissue more rapidly due to enhanced blood flow.12 Consider the following statement: “Cayenne will insure the rapid and even distribution of the active principles of the rest of the herbs to critical function - al centers of the body, including those involved in cellular respiration, metabolism, data transmission, and neural-hormonal activation. Cayenne is included in several other blends for this reason. In extremely small quantities it can dramatically increase the efficiency of most other herbs.”13 Many health practitioners believe that the key to healing is CAPSICUM stimulation. Capsicum stimulates eve rything from blood flow to peristaltic action in the stomach, to intestinal transit time. The re m a rkable ability of Capsicum to stimulate organ secretion and even heart action makes it one of the strongest natural stimulants known. Se veral different kinds of herbal blends targeting various body systems will utilize Capsicum to boost the formula’s efficacy.
Capsicum is said to be unequaled for its ability to boost circulation and increase heart action. Interestingly, cultures who consume significant amounts of cayenne pepper in their diet have much lower rates of cardiovascular disease.14 Capsicum exerts a variety of desirable actions on the entire card i ovascular system. It has the extraordinary ability to enhance cardiovascular performance while actually lowering blood pressure.15 A quote taken from a card i ovascular publication re a d s , “Capsaicin has also been shown to prolong cardiac action potential in atrial muscle . . .”16 Michael T. Murray, N.D., has stated, “ Cayenne pepper [Capsicum] should be recommended as a food for its beneficial antioxidant and cardiovascular effects.”17 Herbalists have considered Capsicum as a superior “f o o d” for the heart. In fact, in cases where a heart attack is suspected administering capsicum in hot water has been thought to help lessen the severity of the attack. Capsicum can also be placed on or under the tongue in emergencies involving heart attack, stroke or hemorrhaging. 18 Note: Using Capsicum for any heart-related problem, especially a suspected heart attack should never take the place of medical attention or a physician’s care.
CAPSICUM Blood Cholesterol Reducer
Various studies have conclusively demonstrated that Capsicum reduces the risk of developing atherosclerosis (hardening of the a rteries) by reducing blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels .19 Additional clinical studies conducted in India found that when cayenne was ingested along with dietary cholesterol, the typical rise in liver and blood serum cholesterol levels was significantly inhibited. In addition, bile acids and free cholesterol were subsequently eliminated from the body through the stool.20 Interestingly, these tests revealed that using Capsicum was actually more effective in reducing cholesterol that capsaicin alone.2 1 Daniel Mowrey, Ph.D., emphatically points out that this is just one of many examples of the superiority of whole botanicals as opposed to their isolated components.22 Note: Using Capsicum in combination with Hawthorn is a particularly good cardiovascular tonic.
Blood Pressure Equalizer
While an added bonus of Capsicum’s capability to lower blood serum cholesterol is a decrease in blood pressure, additional evidence strongly suggests that the herb initiates other mechanisms that fight hypertension .23 “Cayenne, according to another study, also reduces the blood pressure in an even more direct manner: a number of years ago, a team of researchers discove red that capsaicin acts in a reflexive manner to reduce systemic blood pressure, a kind of coronary chemoreflex.”24 Adding Garlic to Capsicum creates an even better therapeutic blend for treating hypertension.
Blood Detoxification CAPSICUM
“Cayenne is a kind of catalyst in the blood purification process . . . it acts as a diaphoretic, stimulating the excretion of wastes in the swe a t . ”25 Because Capsicum stimulates organ secretion and boosts peripheral blood flow, it would only stand to reason that it would also facilitate the faster removal of toxins from the bloodstream and lymphatic system. You may have already noticed that Capsicum is frequently added to blood-purifying herbal combinations. Circulatory Booster Researchers have found that the simulating action of Capsicum on surface capillaries can help to pre vent cold hands and feet.2 6 For this reason, it may be helpful for Reynaud’s Syndrome. Old remedies using Capsicum have even recommended placing it in socks to warm the feet and to help prevent frostbite. An old folk cure for a chilled body was a steaming hot cup of Capsicum tea. Free Radical Scavenger The rich flavonoid content of Capsicum gives it significant antioxidant capabilities. A recent study conducted in 1995 showed that Capsicum has a higher ascorbic acid content than chiles from the jalapeno or serrano varieties .27 Vitamin C and bioflavonoids can scavenge for dangerous free radicals which cause tissue damage and can predispose organs to degenerative diseases. Free radicals are found everywhere and are created as by-products of metabolic p rocesses including the act of breathing itself. Pollutants can expose the body to free radicals. An interesting study done in Mexico City and published in 1993 found that Capsicum extract was able to modulate the mutagenic activity of urban air samples.28 In other words, these potentially dangerous nitro - a romatic compounds found in polluted air were kept from mutating by red chile extract.29 Chemical breakdowns of Capsicum have also found that CAPSICUM the pepper is high in Provitamin A, which significantly contributes to its healing ability and immune fortification.30 Anti-Carcinogenic Compound Anti-cancer research recently tested Capsicum on laboratory rats and found that it does indeed demonstrate anti-cancer properties by inhibiting certain enzymes which can initiate the mutation of cells.31 What this implies is that taking Capsicum can afford the body some protection against the cellular mutation which occurs in malignant growths. Capsicum actually inhibited the formation of dangerous metabolites under laboratory conditions where they should have normally been activa t e d .3 2 This study implies that Capsicum may have many more sophisticated bio-chemical actions than previously thought.
An Impressive Pain Killer
Capsaicin has recently emerged as a remarkably effective pain reliever and has become the subject of recent clinical research . Applying capsaicin in cream or ointment form to painful joints, scar tissue or other painful conditions involving peripheral nerves confuses pain transmitters. In other worlds, capsaicin temporarily disrupts sensory nerve cell biochemistry there by impeding the relay of pain sensations from the skin surface. It does this by inhibiting a neurotransmitter called substance P. This specific compound is thought to be the main mediator of pain impulses from peripheral nerve endings.33 Substance P has also demonstrated its ability to inhibit inflammatory pain generated in arthritic joints in much the same way.34 Today, several over-the-counter topical preparations utilize capsaicin for the pain of arthritic joints. The ability of Capsicum to control severe and unresponsive pain is significant, to say the least. Modern clinical utilization of topical capsaicin may offer signifi-cant relief for a number of painful conditions including: diabetic neuropathy, cluster headaches, post-amputation pain, post-mastectomy pain, shingles and painful scar tissue.35
In the early spring of 1996, prime time national news show s reported that scientists had found that individuals who had suffered from chronic pain in post-surgical scars (heart bypass, arterial grafts, etc.) were successfully treated with topical preparations containing capsaicin. While this may have been news to many of us, clinical studies had been already published for several years that capsaicin held profound value for various kinds of pain which did not respond to established medical treatments. Typically surgical scars and regions around them can produce persistent pain or can be very sensitive to the touch even when completely healed. This type of pain phenomenon seems to respond well to capsaicin ointments and creams.
When capsaicin preparations were applied following mastectomy or breast reconstruction, pain was significantly relieved. Se veral double blind studies found that using capsaicin creams four times daily for 4 to 6 weeks resulted in much less frequent occurrence of sharp, jabbing pain.3 6 All thirteen patients studied had a 50 percent or greater improve m e n t .3 7 Various unpleasant sensations other than pain also improved with topical applications of capsaicin creams.38
MOUTH SORES FROM RADIATION OR CHEMOTHERAPY
A fascinating study conducted at the Yale Pain Management Center discove red that capsaicin could ve ry significantly lessen pain caused by mouth sores which frequently develop after chemotherapy or radiation.39 Apparently delivering the capsaicin in the form of soft candy (taffy) enabled the substance to be retained in the mouth long enough to desensitize the nerve endings causing the pain. Each one of the eleven case studies re p o rted that their pain had decreased and in two patients, it stopped entirely.40
Diabetic neuropathy is a painful nerve condition which can develop in cases of prolonged diabetes. Several double-blind studies have supported the considerable value of capsaicin creams for relieving the pain associated with this disorder.41 The results of a controlled study using Capsicum for seve re cases of diabetic neuropathy which did not respond to conventional therapy were published in 1992. A cream containing Capsicum was applied to painful areas four time a day and pain was carefully e valuated for 8 weeks at two-week intervals. The results we re impressive, to say the least. In the 22 patients who used the Capsicum the following results we re re c o rded: “Capsaicin tre a tment was more beneficial than vehicle treatment in the overall clinical improvement of pain status, as measured by physician’s global evaluation and by a categorical pain severity scale . . . In a follow-up study, approximately 50 percent of the subjects reported improved pain control or were cured . . .”42 No t e : While there was a burning sensation when the Capsicum c ream was first applied, some subjects found that its magnitude and duration lessened with continued application.43
The FDA has approved capsaicin-based ointments for the treatment of pain that results from diseases like shingles. Again, numerous studies have documented the value of capsaicin for decreasing the miserable nerve-related pain associated with shingles. The general consensus derived from these tests were that approximately 50 p e rcent of people suffering from shingles responded well to capsaicin creams, some even after 10 to 12 months.44
Note: If blisters accompany a shingles outbreak, it is better to wait until they have healed before using any capsaicin-based ointments or creams.
RELIEF FOR BURNING FEET
Frequently an uncomfortable “burning” sensation in the feet will occur in many people, particularly in diabetics. As ironic as it may seem, using capsaicin creams may actually alleviate this burning. “In various studies, diabetics who treated their burning feet with capsaicin got greater improvement and we re able to walk more easily than those not using the cream.”45 In addition, using topical applications of capsaicin as opposed to strong, oral drugs is much more preferable.
Clinical tests have confirmed that topical capsaicin ointments substantially alleviate the miserable pain that characterizes osteoand rheumatoid arthritis.46 These studies revealed that using 0.075 capsaicin cream reduced tenderness and pain.47 Dr. Michael T. Murray writes: “ . . . seventy patients with osteoarthritis and thirty - one with rheumatoid arthritis received capsaicin or placebo for 4 weeks. The patients were instructed to apply 0.025 percent capsaicin cream or its placebo to painful knees four times daily. Significantly more relief of pain was reported by the capsaicin-treated patients than by the placebo patients throughout the study . . .”48 Anyone suffering from osteo or rheumatoid arthritis should evaluate the effectiveness of capsaicin ointments for joint pain. Ester Lipstein-Kresch, M.D., has studied the effectiveness of capsaicin creams for arthritis and has stated: “You need to apply it three or four times a day on the affected area for at least two weeks before you’ll see any improvement. An initial burning sensation at the site is not unusual for the first few days, but this goes away with continued application.”49 Note: Capsaicin is also useful for tennis elbow due to its ability to block the transmission of pain.
MIGRAINE HEADACHES (CLUSTER TYPE)
Topical applications of capsaicin ointments intranasally may also help to relieve the pain of a specific kind of migraine headache called cluster headaches. Cluster headaches are characterized by s e ve re pain which typically radiates around one eye. The term “cluster” refers to the fact that these headaches tend to occur in clusters of one to three per day and can recur at intervals. Headache pain and severity we re reducing in groups using intranasal capsaicin.5 0 This type of capsaicin treatment should be done under a physician’s care. There is some speculation that capsaicin may be more effective in pre venting migraines before they develop into a full blown attack.51
Nothing to Sneeze At
June 18, 2005 08:41 AM
Nothing to Sneeze At by Carole Poole Energy Times, August 14, 2004
To many, nothing is more annoying than a persistent allergy. Runny nose, itchy eyes, hives, sneezing, coughing...Frequently, allergies seem to represent suffering with no end.
When you are sensitive to something in your environment, often your only hope for relief appears to be to flee to an elsewhere that eludes the problematic, trouble-making allergen.
Complementary measures are available that can lower your risk of allergic reactions. Heading off allergic reactions before they strike can help you enter a comfort zone that leaves nothing to sneeze at.
Limit Your Antibiotics
While people have always suffered allergies, today, many experts agree, allergies are on the rise. One possible explanation: antibiotics. For instance, research at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit demonstrates that kids who get antibiotics within six months of being born run an increased risk of being allergic to dust mites, ragweed, grass and animals. At the same time, if two or more cats or dogs live with them, they reduce their chances of allergies (Eur Respir Soc ann conf, 2003).
" I'm not suggesting children shouldn't receive antibiotics. But I believe we need to be more prudent in prescribing them for children at such an early age," Christine Cole Johnson, PhD, says. "In the past, many of them were prescribed unnecessarily, especially for viral infections like colds and the flu when they would have no effect anyway."
Dr. Cole's investigators found that by age 7, kids who got one or more rounds of antibiotics were:
When antibiotics are necessary, they are crucial to quelling bacterial infections. However, if you or your children suffer colds or flus, diseases caused by viruses, antibiotics have no effect on your illness but could increase your chance of developing allergies.
" Over the past four decades there has been an explosive increase in allergy and asthma in westernized countries, which correlates with widespread use of antibiotics and alterations in gastrointestinal (GI) microflora," says Mairi Noverr, a researcher on a study linking allergies to antibiotic use (104th Gen Meet Amer Soc Microbiol, 2004). "We propose that the link between antibiotic use and dysregulated pulmonary immunity is through antibiotic-induced long-term alterations in the bacterial and fungal GI microflora." While a lot of research needs to be done, it may help to fortify the probiotic, or good, microbes in your intestines with probiotic supplements. One study has shown that giving probiotics to pregnant women helped their children avoid allergic eczema, a skin condition (Lancet 2001; 357:1076-9).
Green Tea Relief
Research has demonstrated that various types of tea can produce a range of health benefits. Tea drinkers can add allergy relief to that list.
Research in Japan demonstrates that for the allergy-oppressed, green tea may help them have nothing to sneeze at. In laboratory tests, scientist found that green tea contains a substance that blocks one of the immune cell receptors which is often a part of the allergic response. The substance, methylated epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), is believed to have a similar effect in the real world (J Agr Food Chem 10/9/02).
" Green tea appears to be a promising source for effective anti-allergenic agents," notes Hirofumi Tachibana, PhD, the study's chief investigator and an associate professor at Kyushu University in Fukuoka. "If you have allergies, you should consider drinking it." Traditionally, many people have consumed tea as part of their effort to suppress sneezes, coughs and itchy eyes caused by allergies. This experiment supports the evidence that green tea, in particular, has a reliable effect.
According to Dr. Tachibana, green tea's anti-allergenic benefits have not been completely established, but tea apparently has the potential to be effective against allergens like dust, chemicals, pet dander and pollen.
EGCG has also been shown to be a very active antioxidant, helping to quell the destructive effects of the caustic molecules known as free radicals. Green tea is richer in EGCG than black tea or oolong tea (a type that falls between black and green).
Although other research has demonstrated that EGCG offsets allergic responses in lab animals fed this substance, scientists don't completely understand why it works for allergies. Researchers theorize that EGCG restricts the production of histamine and immunoglobulin E (IgE), two substances secreted in the body as part of the chain of chemical reactions that lead to an allergic reaction, says Dr. Tachibana.
This study shows, for the first time, that a methylated form of EGCG can block the IgE receptor, which is a key receptor involved in an allergic response. The effect was demonstrated using human basophils, which are blood cells that release histamine. As of now, nobody knows how much green tea you need to guzzle to have the best protection against allergies and, of the several varieties available, nobody knows which green tea is best.
Outside of the US, green tea is the second most popular beverage in the world, right behind water. In the US, however, black tea is more popular than green. But the allergy sensitive should think and drink green.
Stay Away from Diesels
Those who are allergic to ragweed or pet dander usually know they should avoid the source of their allergies. But now scientists have found that, for many allergy sufferers, diesel exhaust can also worsen sneezes and wheezes.
Scientists at two southern California schools have shown that about half of us have inherited a sensitivity to diesel pollution that can make our allergies significantly worse (Lancet 1/10/04). "[T]his study suggests a direct way that pollution could be triggering allergies and asthma in a large number of susceptible individuals...," says Frank D. Gilliland, MD, PhD, the study's lead author. Diesel exhaust particles are thought to act as destructive free radicals in the lungs, forming caustic molecules that damage lung tissue. This irritation can cause your immune system to create larger amounts of compounds that make you sneeze and wheeze more.
The Antioxidant Advantage
Antioxidants, scientists believe, can help defuse this damage and ease the body's allergic responses. The California scientists looked at two antioxidant enzymes the body makes to protect the lungs called glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1) and glutathione S-transferase P1 (GSTP1). Only about five of ten people's immune systems can make all the effective forms of these enzymes. The rest of us lack this protection to some degree, and the immune system in about one in five people can't make any effective form of these enzymes.
The research team found that people allergic to ragweed who lacked these antioxidant enzymes suffered more when they took in both ragweed pollen and particles from diesel pollution.
Breathe Easier With C
This research may help explain why many health practitioners recommend vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, to allergy sufferers. Vitamin C "prevents the secretion of histamine by the white blood cells, increases the detoxification of histamine and lowers the blood-histamine levels," says Sylvia Goldfarb, PhD, author of Allergy Relief (Avery/Penguin).
Scientists continue to study the allergy conundrum. Meanwhile, sip a cup of green tea and shut the window before the next truck comes by.
Your Healthy Harvest
June 14, 2005 11:05 AM
Your Healthy Harvest by Marjorie Flakowitz Energy Times, August 15, 2004
Once frowned on by conventional farmers, organic food has won respect from everyone concerned about the health of both the earth and the people who inhabit it.
Today, organic farming is considered one of the most rapidly growing areas of American agriculture. Organic foods sales topped $9 billion in 2002 and grew about 20%, up to almost $11 billion in 2003 (Organic Trade Association).
So when you buy organic, you join an expanding market that takes advantage of great-tasting, good-for-you food. Long ago, when the practice of farming was first devised, all farming was organic farming. So today's organic movement is bringing farming back to its roots.
But, safe to say, that is not what's motivating most consumers. A main reason for the popularity of organic food derives from the reassurance that organic foods, raised without artificial chemicals and pesticides, cut your exposure to toxic residues. A growing body of research shows organic food is richer in beneficial natural substances, too.
" Organic food and organic farming represent a philosophy that goes beyond just the quality of the food," says Steve Meyerowitz in The Organic Food Guide (Globe Pequot). "It strives to maintain the integrity of the entire food chain-plants, soil, air, water, animals and people. We are all part of the same ecosystem."
By eating organic, you eliminate pollution both from your body and the earth. Because our bodies are made of the animal and plant products we consume, our internal, physiological ecosystem and the earth's environment are inexorably entwined.
Chilling Arctic Evidence
As evidence of this connection, consider what's happened in the Arctic. Researchers who have analyzed Arctic water, ice, snow, soil and plants have found that chemicals used in farming and industry in other parts of the world have traveled north and accumulated in alarming quantity. How and if these chemicals break down depends on sunlight and the amount of organic matter contained in Arctic waters (American Chemical Society, 9/11/03).
" Once pollutants enter the water column, their behavior is poorly understood-particularly the processes that govern their lifetime and concentrations," says Amanda Grannas, PhD, a researcher at Ohio State University. "Such pollutants are now being found in wildlife, from fish to seals to whales, and even in people living in the Arctic."
Dr. Grannas and others looked at the pesticides lindane and hexachlorobenzene (HCB), two chemicals that have migrated to Arctic waters. Lindane is used by American farmers to treat seeds before they are planted. HCB, banned in the US in 1984, is still used in other countries to protect wheat from fungus.
The scientists found that sunlight at the top of Arctic waterways can help break down some pesticides. At lower depths, however, cut off from the sun's rays, pesticides can remain largely intact. In this research, lindane proved to persist much more readily than HCB.
" Lindane is one of the most persistent of pollutants," warns Dr. Grannas. "This could be because it's photochemically inert, whereas pollutants like HCB degrade relatively quickly. The main message is that pollutants can behave quite differently. These pollutants already affect local ecosystems, and could have repercussions for human health."
Organics Means More Benefits
Researchers are also finding that organic produce contains larger quantities of beneficial natural chemicals. For instance, one study (Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 2/26/03) showed that berries and corn grown organically can have almost 60% more polyphenolics. Polyphenolics are antioxidants plants use for protection against disease and which are good for humans. Researchers believe that when crops are grown conventionally, protected by pesticides and herbicides, they produce fewer of these substances. " This really opens the door to more research in this area," says Alyson Mitchell, PhD, assistant professor of food science at University of California at Davis, who led the research.
These scientists compared levels of total polyphenolics and vitamin C content in marionberries (a type of blackberry) and corn grown organically, sustainably or conventionally, and also looked at chemicals in strawberries grown either sustainably or conventionally. (Sustainable farming falls between the organic and conventional methods, and concentrates on farming that's self-sufficient-for example, feeding cows hay you've grown yourself, and then using the cows' manure to fertilize another crop.) They found that organic marionberries and corn had 50% to 58% more polyphenolics. The sustainably grown strawberries had 19% more polyphenolics. And all the organic produce contained more vitamin C.
Self-Defense for Plants
According to Dr. Mitchell, the organic crops contained the high levels of polyphenolics you'd expect to find in wild plants, suggesting that, on conventional farms, pesticides reduce the necessity for plants to make these protective, natural chemicals. " If an aphid is nibbling on a leaf, the plant produces phenolics to defend itself," she says. "[P]henolics guard the plant against these pests."
Pesticides kill insects like aphids and thereby reduce the antioxidants produced by the plant. " This helps explain why the level of antioxidants is so much higher in organically grown food," Mitchell says. "By synthetically protecting the produce from these pests, we decrease their need to produce antioxidants. It suggests that maybe we are doing something to our food inadvertently.
" We know [polyphenolics] are beneficial [to human health], but we don't know what types of polyphenolics are beneficial, or in what quantities," Dr. Mitchell notes. " Originally, the question was just really intriguing to me. I found that the higher level of antioxidants is enough to have a significant impact on health and nutrition, and it's definitely changed the way I think about my food."
Vitamin C in Oranges
Meanwhile, nutritional research on the vitamin C in oranges turns up similar results: organic oranges are richer in this antioxidant nutrient than conventionally grown oranges (Great Lakes Regional Meeting, American Chemical Society, 6/2/02).
The more common supermarket oranges are significantly larger than organically grown oranges, and they have a deeper orange color. Because of their larger size, "we were expecting twice as much vitamin C in the conventional oranges," says Theo Clark, PhD, chemistry professor at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.
But when he isolated the chemicals in the oranges and further refined his search with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), spectroscopy demonstrated that organically grown oranges possess 30% more vitamin C than the conventionally grown fruits-even though they are only about half as large.
Dr. Clark isn't sure why organic oranges are richer in vitamin C, but he says, "...[W]e speculate that with conventional oranges, [farmers] use nitrogen fertilizers that cause an uptake of more water, so it sort of dilutes the orange. You get a great big orange but it is full of water and does not have as much nutritional value.
" However, we can only speculate. Other factors such as maturity, climate, processing factors, packaging and storage conditions require consideration." Along with analyzing oranges, Dr. Clark and his research team questioned about 70 people to measure their concept of the nutritional value of organic oranges. In this survey, 85% of the respondents thought that organic oranges have a higher nutritional content than conventionally grown fruit.
Dr. Clark's laboratory work shows that "they were right on." In Dr. Clark's view, these issues are important because consumers have a right to know the real nutritional content of organic produce, and the fact that analyses show that organic fruit has much more vitamin C validates the benefits of eating organic.
Both plants and animals protect themselves from disease with many of the same chemicals. The natural substances that, in a farmer's field, defend vegetables from insects and microbes before they are harvested for your dinner go to work defending your body after you eat and digest them.
When you eat organic you bolster your health with more of these natural wonders. No wonder organic is becoming so popular!
Energy Cycles - Stress and lack of energy don't just frazzle your nerves
June 12, 2005 02:09 PM
Energy Cycles by Sylvia Whitefeather Energy Times, August 2, 2003
Feeling stressed out and exhausted from an overburdened schedule? Regenerating your personal energy necessitates defusing stress. Stress and lack of energy don't just frazzle your nerves; they can leave you depressed, anxious and vulnerable to a long list of health problems.
According to J. Douglas Bremner, MD, a psychiatrist at Emory University, Atlanta, when your brain overcharges on prolonged stress, your body pays a heavy, tiring price.
"If stress has effects on the brain and neurological function, then stress has effects on all parts of the body, including the heart, blood vessels, immune system and digestive system," says Dr. Bremner, author of Does Stress Damage the Brain? (Norton). "The long list of damaging effects can include heart disease, memory impairment, depression and even increased susceptibility to stroke and cancer."
A Good Night's Sleep
Although getting a good night's sleep is a basic part of lowering stress and boosting energy, many of us seem to be tossing and turning through an epidemic of insomnia. The fact that so many people appear to suffer from disturbed and unsatisfying sleep may signal not only a personal energy lack, but also a deeper health crisis developing on the horizon. Lack of sleep, along with stress, not only contributes to those lackluster afternoons of the blahs, but it can also derail your basic body rhythms, weaken your immune system and make you age quicker.
Researchers at the University of Chicago report that lack of sleep may deplete your get-up-and-go by upsetting basic metabolic functions and interfering with hormones. Pretty serious stuff: When people in this experiment cut back their sleep time to about four hours each night, their bodies behaved as if they were twenty years older and they started showing signs of developing diabetes. These effects happened in only a week of missing sleep (The Lancet, October 23, 1999).
The drastically reduced sleep schedule slowed the thyroid gland, reducing the production and action of thyroid hormones. As a result, metabolism slowed and the non-sleepers developed that awful sluggish feeling too many of us know and hate.
Stress from lack of sleep also coaxed the adrenal glands into releasing extra amounts of cortisol, a stress hormone whose purpose is to force the body into providing short-lived energy boosts. But after a while the body flames out, its ability to cope with daily demands drained even further.
"We found that the metabolic and endocrine changes resulting from a significant sleep debt mimic many of the hallmarks of aging," says Eve Van Couter, PhD, professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and director of the study. "We suspect that chronic sleep loss may not only hasten the onset but could also increase the severity of age-related ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and memory loss."
And when are you are constantly short-changed of sleep, it builds up an accumulative effect. Particularly susceptible are busy parents, shift workers, menopausal women and college students.
One way to take back your energy from this metabolic madness is to get twelve hours of sleep a night for a week. But aside from hitting the snooze button a few hundred times, a possible antidote to this cortisol nightmare may be vitamin C.
Fight and Flight
The human body, which evolved before the advent of split-level houses and SUVs, was built to survive life-threatening, physical danger. When it encounters modern-day stress, such as traffic jams and credit card bills, it releases extra cortisol, heightening the body's immediate ability to run or fight. As a result of cortisol release, senses go on high alert, heart rate speeds up, blood flow to muscles increases, and the immune system mobilizes to deal with what it thinks is an imminent crisis.
However, unlike physical danger that rapidly resolves (either you get away from what's trying to harm you or it does you in), today's stress drags on and on (at least till the next exit on the expressway), and the cortisol in the body continues to circulate.
The long-range result of persistent cortisol is a drop in energy, rampant fatigue and lowered immunity. You feel constantly tired and you get sick more often. You may also gain weight.
But researchers at the University of Alabama at Huntsville have found that large doses of vitamin C "reduce...the levels of stress hormones in the blood and also reduce...other typical indicators of physical and emotional stress, such as loss in body weight, enlargement of the adrenal glands, and reduction in the size of the thymus gland and the spleen," according to P. Samuel Campbell, PhD (American Chemical Society, 1999). Dr. Campbell believes that our prehistoric ancestors probably consumed large amounts of vitamin C in a tropical diet rich in fruits. "If so, the physiological constitution we have inherited may require doses far larger than the present RDA (the amount the government recommends) to keep us healthy under varying environmental conditions, including stress."
Iron Out the Fatigue
If you are a premenopausal woman, a lack of iron may also be draining your body of energy. According to experts, as many as one of every five women who menstruate may suffer anemia caused by a lack of iron. This type of problem is also frequent in teenagers and during pregnancy. (But before you take iron supplements, talk to your health practitioner to make sure this is the source of your fatigue.)
"Women with heavy menstrual flow have the greatest risk (of anemia)," points out Susan Lark, MD, in Healing with Vitamins (Rodale). Dr. Lark recommends eating more iron-rich foods (like organic red meat) even if you are not anemic, since a mild iron deficiency can drag you down into the doldrums.
Vegetarians necessarily eat fewer iron-rich foods than do meat eaters. But if you take a vitamin C supplement when you consume such iron-rich vegetables as lima beans, pinto beans and spinach, your body can absorb more of the iron in these foods.
The Krebs Cycle: Keep the Wheel Turning
All of your cells make the energy that keeps you going. This process, a complicated chemical reaction called the Krebs cycle, transforms fatty acids and carbohydrates into ATP (adenosine triphosphate) for cellular energy. Mitochondria, small structures in each cell, are the centers of this energy production.
Energy production requires oxygen. The more oxygen available to the cells, the more energy is produced. Deep breathing and moderate exercise are simple, quick ways to oxygenate the body and boost energy. That is why walking, jogging and other physical activity wakes up your brain and restores pep.
If you've been looking for ways to feel more energetic, take a deep breath and go for a long walk before you sit down to your rejuvenating lima beans and vitamin C. And another thing...take a pass on those late-night TV shows. Sleep is more important.
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
June 10, 2005 04:08 PM
Basic Detox by Harriet Epstein , February 4, 2002
Basic Detox By Harriet Epstein Trying to stay healthy and clean in a dirty world can prove a difficult task. The rise of modern industry and agriculture has meant the widespread accumulation of toxins in our environment that can cause health problems.
As Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin point out in their book The Road to Immunity (Pocket), "Fat soluble chemicals are readily absorbed by the body but are difficult to excrete. To be excreted, they must first be enzymatically converted into water-soluble substances. Some of them can't be converted at all."
Bock and Sabin point out that a 1990 survey by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that looked at people's tissues found that everyone the agency examined had styrene (a chemical used to make plastic) and xylene (a paint and gasoline solvent) stored in their bodyfat.
The toxins that you encounter every day are not only present in air and water, but also may be found in food and medicines. If we eat beef that's been exposed to pesticides, those chemicals may be shunted into our bodyfat. Pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables may end up in a similar place.
To cope with chemicals, the human body has evolved methods for detoxifying. When we breathe out we often release inhaled toxins. Other toxins are purged through urine, feces and sweat.
One of the chief organs responsible for cleansing the body is the liver. This organ utilizes a pair of chemical pathways for breaking down and eliminating toxins. In our hectic, industrialized world, this flow of toxins can overwhelm the liver's ability to detoxify. In addition, the dual processes the liver uses to eliminate noxious substances may become unbalanced, allowing toxins produced by one pathway to build up to dangerous proportions.
Once liver function falters, toxic havoc ensues. Toxins may remain in the body, often stored indefinitely in bodyfat. The body's detoxifying systems may be swamped with toxins.
In protecting the liver and enhancing its detox functions, many naturopathic practitioners recommend the herb milk thistle (silybum marianum). According to Steven Bratman, MD, and David Kroll, PhD, authors of the Natural Health Bible (Prima), milk thistle helps the liver cope with its toxic load. Consequently, milk thistle is frequently used in Europe for liver problems like jaundice.
Bratman and Kroll point out that milk thistle "is one of the few herbs that have no real equivalent in the world of conventional medicine." As Lise Alschuler, ND, medical director at the Bastyr Natural Health Clinic, told Natural Digest, "Milk thistle protects the liver against toxic damage (and) helps prevent damage to the rest of the body."
The compounds in milk thistle that help zap toxins, known as silymarin, protect the liver by binding with substances that would otherwise interact with the liver and slow its function. They also help the liver repair itself and regenerate new liver cells.
As an extra bonus, silymarin acts as an antioxidant, protecting liver cell membranes from oxidative damage.
Dandelion has a place as another traditional treatment for toning the liver and boosting the body's filtration system. The leaves are a cornucopia of antioxidants and nutrients including B vitamins, vitamins A, C and D, plus boron, silicon, potassium, magnesium and zinc. They help detoxify by acting as a mild diuretic: they cause the body to eliminate excess fluid.
But herbalists worldwide have found the compounds in dandelion root most useful for helping alleviate liver and gall bladder malfunction. (If you think you suffer these difficulties, consult your health practitioner.) Two unique and helpful natural substances found in dandelion root are chemicals called germacranolide and eudesmanolide. The root, according to the Natural Health Bible, has traditionally been used to speed up a sluggish or congested liver as well as detoxing the body by eliminating constipation. Research indicates dandelion root may stimulate bile flow (Arzneimittel -forschung 9, 1959: 376-378).
Juniper berries (Juniperus communis), may also be taken with dandelion as a diuretic. This botanical, often used to combat urinary tract problems, is also an anti-inflammatory (Phyto Res 1, 1997: 28-31).
Heavy metals rank as dangerous toxins unleashed by modern industry. As Michael Murray, ND, and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, explain in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), metals like lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, nickel and aluminum can "accumulate within the (body) where they can severely disrupt normal function."
Public health experts estimate at least one in five Americans has been a victim of heavy metal poisoning. Lead may be the most common villain. In your everyday life, you may be ingesting metals from your cookware, from pesticides, cigarette smoke, dental fillings, polluted fish, and chipping house paint.
Signs that you may suffer from toxicity linked to heavy metals: Unusual fatigue, Persistent headaches, Unexplained muscle pains, Anemia, Ringing in the ears or dizziness and Tremors.
Of course, if you think you suffer from heavy metal poisoning, you should see a knowledgeable health practitioner as soon as possible. Murray and Pizzorno recommend an array of precautions to protect yourself against heavy metals in the environment:
Take a daily multivitamin and mineral.
Take extra amounts of vitamin C and B-complex.
Take amino acids that contain sulfur (taurine, cysteine and methionine) and high sulfur foods like onions and garlic (or supplements). (Consult your pharmacist of health practitioner before taking individual amino acids.)
In addition, Leo Galland, MD, in his book The Four Pillars of Healing (Random House) offers these tips for keeping your digestive tract functioning at top capacity:
Take supplements of lactobacil-lus acidophilus and lactobacillus plantarum, friendly bacteria that in-habit the large intestine. These microorganisms can help break down toxins and eliminate them.
Use aspirin and ibuprofen as little as possible. They increase the permeability of the digestive system, allowing allergens and other problematic substances to enter the body.
Do not use antacids. The stomach's acidic environment is designed to kill ingested bacteria and parasites.
To fight digestive problems or heartburn, cut back on saturated fat; eat smaller meals. Chewing on calcium tablets after meals may help. Foods that can exacerbate heartburn include coffee, alcoholic beverages and very spicy foods.
Dr. Galland also recommends not eating for four hours before bed.
Environmental Free Radicals
Detoxing the body may also require taking antioxidant nutrients to fight off what are called free radicals.
Free radicals are caustic molecues thought to be involved in causing many chronic problems such as cancer and heart disease. Free radicals are created within the body and its cells every time a metabolic activity takes place. While the human body has developed its own mechanisms for defending itself against these byproducts of metabolism, exposure to pollution, radiation and other toxins may overburden the body's free radical burden. Scientists believe that taking extra antioxidant nutrients like vitamins C and E and carotenoids (natural substances found in many vegetarian foods) may help prevent damage by free radicals.
Environmental oxidizing agents include ionizing radiation (from industry, sun, cosmic rays, x-rays) ozone and nitrous oxide (from auto exhaust) heavy metals (mercury, cadmium, lead) and cigarette smoke, along with other chemical and compounds from food, water and air. Free radicals are believed to play a role in more than sixty different health conditions, including the aging process, cancer and arteriosclerosis. (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1993;90:7915-7922).
The good news? Reducing exposure to free radicals and increasing intake of antioxidant nutrients can shrink the risk of these health problems.
"Antioxidants can't get rid of heavy metals and solvents," says Dr. Glidden, "but they do cut down on the damage they do while they're there. As toxins wander through your body, they generate metabolic reactions, resulting in free radicals. And anti-oxidants mop them up." The liver is the last line of defense in handling toxins; supplements help it regenerate itself.
The body itself does produce enzymes like Superoxide dismutase (SOD) catalase, and glutathione peroxidase which can defend against and defuse many types of free radicals.
Supplements of these compounds are also available to augment the body's supply.
These building block nutrients include the minerals manganese, zinc, and copper for SOD and selenium for glutathione peroxidase. Many vitamins and minerals act as antioxidants. Dr. Crinnion recommends a multivitamin with "a lot of B, especially magnesium."
Since chlorinated pesticides like DDT "rob the body" of B1 and Vitamin A, he says, it's a good idea to supplement these as well.
In addition, acidophilus, a beneficial bacteria that grows in the digestive tract (and found in yogurt) may restore immunity hurt by pollutants. A study on women with recurrent vaginal candidiasis found that acidophilus cut their infections by 300% (Annals Int Med 1992; 116:353-357.)
Another immunity enhancer, colostrum, a natural immune enhancer that promotes cellular repair (Food Res Intl. 1995, 28(1):9-16) can also help the immune system battle pollution.
Vitamin C vs Pollution
A study of vitamin's C's antioxidant properties, conducted by University of Buffalo epidemiologists, and presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Epidemiologic Research, revealed that people with higher levels of vitamin C in their blood serum have lower levels of a marker of oxidative stress.
"It is well known that oxidative stress (cell damage caused by free radicals) plays a role in arteriosclerosis, cancer, pulmonary disease and other chronic conditions," said Holger Schunemann, M.D. a research assistant professor of social and preventive medicine at the University of Buffalo and lead author on the study.
"In this population, vitamin C was negatively associated with oxidative stress, suggesting it may play a role in protecting against these diseases." Vitamin C is the "greatest antioxidant," says Dr. Crinnion. "It has even been shown to clear lead from the blood."
A powerful fat-soluble antioxidant, Vitamin E scavenges free radicals protecting cells from oxidative damage. Vitamin E, "reverses toxicity of various toxic chemicals," says Dr. Walter Crinnion, "it is also a stabilizer of membranes." A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition regarding antioxidant vitamin supplementation and lipid peroxidation in smokers even indicates that an antioxidant-supplemented drink can reduce lipid peroxidation and susceptibility of LDL to oxidation in smokers and may ameliorate the oxidative stress of cigarette smoke.
Dr. Glidden recommends E preferably in the form of mixed tocopherols )If you take blood thinners, check with your health practitioner.)
Unfortunately, completely avoiding toxins in today's world is probably impossible. Civilization and toxic chemicals accompany each other hand in rubber-glove-encased hand. Still, with proper attention to nutrition and supplements to keep our bodies detoxifying, we can probably minimize health difficulties linked to these undesirables.
Stevia, Xylitol Sugar alternatives ...
June 09, 2005 06:15 PM
Sugar Solution by Kristin Daniels Energy Times, January 4, 2002
Sugar Solution by Kristin Daniels
Low blood sugar-a blood sugar recession-can make the good times recede. While you can't live without blood sugar, too much or too little wreaks havoc on your body and mind. And when blood sugar dips low enough to cause hypoglycemia you may feel like your emotions have been shredded. Knowing how the body regulates blood sugar allows you a measure of control in keeping blood sugar in the proper groove, and makes life a little sweeter. Hypoglycemia occurs when you feel dragged out because of low blood sugar. Ironically, this low blood sugar syndrome may be caused by an overabundance of sugar in your meals and snacks. Those who point to hypoglycemia as a widespread problem claim that up to two of three women in America suffer from hypoglycemia. That would make it an epidemic of monstrous proportions. In a survey of 1000 folks complaining of hypoglycemia, published in the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation's winter 2000 edition, researchers found that low blood sugar sufferers complained of hypoglycemic discomforts in several main categories: 94% of the people in the study reported nervousness, 89% mentioned irritability, exhaustion affected 87%, depression struck 86% and drowsiness hit 73%. Other miseries included fatigue, cold sweats, tinnitus (ringing of the ears), rapid heart rate, blurry or double vision, confusion, sudden hunger, convulsions, sweating, sleeping problems, paleness, muscle pain, memory loss, crying jags, fainting and dizziness.
Body of Evidence
Diary of a Maddening Condition