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What's The Difference Between Niacin And Niacinamide
December 19, 2018 08:31 AM
When it comes to Vitamin B3, not all forms of Niacin are created equally. Aside from the risk of allergens and impurities, there are also separate forms with critical distinctions. The pure form is made solely of nicotinic acid which causes the flushing effect when it is taken by humans. The flushing effect is a redness that starts in the face and expands outwards through the rest of the body. It can make the skin feel warm, dry, and itchy for half an hour. The flushing effect is associated with vascular dilation that helps open up the tiny caPillaries and blood vessels to clean out all the toxic junk they may have accumulated.
Nicotinic Acid Lowers Cholesterol
Nicotinic acid is also associated with increasing HDL levels in the body to prevent heart disease and plaques from accumulating on the interior walls of arteries. Nicotinic acid is also known to lower the LDL and VLDL bad cholesterols that clog up arteries and lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Other Benefits of Vitamin B3
Vitamin B3 plays a critical role in building enzymes that help us carry out over 200 physical functions in the body. It is not produced naturally but is absorbed from foods such as yeast, green vegetables, milk, eggs, legumes, and fish. Aside from cardiovascular health, it plays a critical role in nervous health and sex hormone production.
How Does Niacinamide Differ?
Niacinamide is a water-soluble form of Niacin that is used to treat deficiencies or for therapies when patients need to take higher doses regularly to treat pellegra and the deficiencies that lead to it. When an excess of Niacin is built up in the body, your body may store it in this form. The chief distinction between this water-soluable hybrid and nicotinic acid is the effect on cholesterol and vascular dilation. Although flushing can be reduced by taking nicotinic acid daily and building up a tolerance to the effects, it is harder on the liver and more burdensome on the body to metabolize it in the high doses used for therapy of many illnesses: ADHD, Schizophrenia, nervous problems, migraines, and arthritis, among others. It is the preferred choice for maintaining a consistent and steady level of Vitamin B3 in the body and loaded into many beauty and skin products for women.
What Other Forms Can I Take?
You can take any form of the vitamin on a daily basis or supplement it with nicotinic acid when you need some additional flushing effect. You will notice that Niacinamide causes some symptoms of drying and itching that are similar to flushing when you take it in high doses. The no-flush formulation is called inositol hexanicotinate and made up from Vitamins B3 and Inositol Vitamin B8. The inositol acts as an additional buffer that makes inositol hexanicotinate easy to digest and take 1600 mg without side-effects: nausea, itching, flushing, dizziness, gout, liver damage, diabetes. Although multi-vitamin formulas and even fortified foods like breakfast shakes and cereals suggest that you are getting a full dose of B3 in each serving, this is very unlikely. The better choice is to take specifically formulated capsules rather than multivitamins if you are using it for therapeutic reasons.
Foundations in Health
August 04, 2017 09:14 AM
The key to a house that will last for a long time is a strong foundation. The same goes for your health. In nutritional therapy, there are five pillars of foundational health. When these pillars are very weak, opportunities for many different degenerative conditions are introduced. Through this lens, taking charge of your overall health becomes a lot more accessible. If you ignore the foundation, that will lead to relying on pharmaceuticals or other conventional therapies.
"The five pillars of foundational health are digestion, blood sugar balance, mineral balance, fatty acid balance and hydration. Holding these essential components together is a whole foods diet."
Read more: https://www.echoak.com/2017/08/foundations-in-health/
Essential Vitamins for Flawless Skin
December 05, 2016 08:59 AM
The secret to the fountain of youth has sent many men to their deaths. Also, women have strived to keep their skin looking youthful and exuberant. Living in an age where our overall health has been scientifically broken down, we realize that eating healthy and taking in the proper vitamins and minerals can make us live longer and look healthy. The fountain of youth can now easily be consumed with water, fruits and vegetables. Bon Appetit!!
"Vitamin A is also known as retinol, which promotes cell turnover in the skin and helps control acne outbreaks and has been found effective for treating hyperkeratosis Pillars"
The European Shrub With Massive Health Benefits
Once very popular in the making of brooms, Butcher's broom is now praised for its circulatory health benefits. Butcher's broom is an evergreen-like shrub native to the Mediterranean. Science has proven its ability to treat many circulatory and inflammatory conditions.
Butcher's broom possess anti-inflammatory properties and can help alleviate pain caused by swelling.. This makes it effective in treating inflammatory conditions such as lymphedema and carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you are experiencing cardiovascular issues, consider trying butcher's broom extract.
CORDYCEP: MEANING AND BENEFITS
Cordyceps is simply a fungus. Not typically kitchen friendly, but if health is your number one target, then it will make the best supplement in your system. Before we go deeper into its benefits let us first have a clear understanding of what this unpopular yet effective medicinal fungi is.
What is Cordyceps?
It is simply an ascomycete fungi genus with approximately four hundred species that are mainly parasitic. They weren't considered beneficial to health until a recent discovery of Cordyceps Sinensis popularly known as a caterPillar fungi (It attaches itself on the caterPillar). Despite limited research on its health benefits, Cordyceps seems to be the best remedy for most of the health complications related to poor diet, lack of exercise and more.
Let us take a look at some of its benefits.
1. A remedy for kidney disease - Cordyceps prevent rat's renal fibrosis. This condition (renal fibrosis) is evident in later stages of the organ. However, there is still need for more research on this fact.
2. Slows down Tumor Growth - There is some proof that Cordyceps trigger the immune system to combat cancer. Ability to improve the immune system was due to a result of research where there were some indications that Cordyceps slowed down tumor growth in many animals.
3. Increase libido - Lots of studies shows that Cordyceps raise the level of testosterone in rats. There are some claims that it also enhances sexual performance that is also yet to be proven.
Apart from slowing down tumor growth, kidney disease and increasing sexual performance that are yet to be confirmed, Cordyceps have other numerous health benefits according to researchers that are,
* Increase body oxygen uptake - Needed for maximum athletic performance.
* Reduce the aging effects - Slows down aging that has remained a bother for centuries.
* Strengthen muscles - For weight lifters and athletes looking to gain strong muscles with a little workout.
* Improves lung function - Improves breathing needed for athletic performance
* Good for the liver - Slows down liver complications that are known to lead to a liver transplant.
There are also some claims that Cordyceps may replace the steroids when it comes to improving athletic performance and muscle building. Among these claims is that Cordyceps can enhance stamina needed mostly by sportsmen and women. Other researchers claim that it can tone muscles, increase energy and even reduce fatigue after a long time of work.
In summary, the caterPillar fungi (Cordyceps) has a lot in store when it comes to solving health complications. However, these claims are yet to be confirmed. If the facts are as real as the researchers claim them to be, then Cordyceps will be at the top of the top list of best natural supplements ever discovered.
Importance of Magnesium in the body.
May 08, 2014 08:48 PM
Importance of magnesium
Magnesium is an important element that is essential for hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body. Its functions is to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, regulates blood glucose levels and aids the production of energy and protein, helps bones remain strong, supports a healthy immune system and lastly, keeps the heart beat steady.
Cause of lack in magnesium
Lack of magnesium causes many diseases. Substantial magnesium deficiencies have led to deaths caused by coronary diseases, diabetes, cancer and strokes. On the other hand mild magnesium deficiency causes nervousness, mental depression, increased sensitivity to noise, confusion, insomnia, twitching and trembling and apprehension.
Sources of magnesium are from foods we eat
Symptoms indicating lack of magnesium are: sleepiness, muscle weakness and hyperexcitablity.
Magnesium works in the brain miraculously as remarked by many scientists through researches. Magnesium L-Threonate has the capability to cross into the brain and boost magnesium levels. Magnesium L-Threonate boosts magnesium levels in the brain in that, it maintains a state of healthy sustained action. Through maintaining this healthy homeostasis, mental demands in the brain can respond well and perform cognitive responsibilities with less stress and fatigue.
The blood-brain barrier is a diffusion barrier, which impedes influx of most compounds from blood to brain. It is composed of high-density cells that prevent passage of substances from the blood stream, but in a more action than the endothelial cells in the caPillaries do in other parts of the body. Due the reasons, why most magnesium supplements do not cross blood barrier magnesium Threonte was introduced. Threonate is a vitamin C metabolite that acts as a carrier to help magnesium to penetrate into the brain.
What Are The Benefits Of Vitamin E?
April 17, 2014 05:01 AM
Vitamin E is composed of eight fat soluble vitamins and it’s available in four different forms. The fat soluble antioxidant can only be obtained in food as a supplement. They help in prevention of oxidative stress in the body and other vitamins.
There are different varieties of foods rich in vitamin E in terms of nutrients density with examples such as:
1. Tofu light, silken with a 25% daily value in every 5.3 mg.
Health benefits of vitamin E.
The health benefits come from the vitamins antioxidant property which remove free radicals that damage the cell structure due to its unstable compounds. It improves immunity and reduces cholesterol thereby reducing the risk associated with developing cancer.
Vitamin E prevents the blood platelets from clumping. Heart diseases, sunstroke and coronary artery disorders are prevented through consumption of high levels of vitamin E.
Vitamin E owing to its properties of antioxidant, promotes blood circulation to the scalp which help in reducing fatigue and make caPillary walls more stronger for nourished cells.
Vitamin E oil facilitates the healing process and since it’s extremely versatile, the vitamin E absorbed in the epidermis layer is used in treating and preventing sunburns.
Since vitamin E speeds up cell generation, it’s used to treat acne, scars, and wrinkles which makes the skin to appear more younger due to its anti-aging effect.
Vitamin E helps the skin to maintain its natural moist and appear to be more fresh. It’s also used to treat nails and cuticles by applying a few drops of vitamin E on them.
Vitamin E is believed to promote eye health and reduces the risk of eye damage associated with old age by 20%. i.e macular degeneration.
Can Clay Masks Help Rejuvenate The Skin?
March 09, 2014 10:39 PM
Using clay mask
Women are known to be very particular about their facial appearances and will go to any length to ensure they look as beautiful as she can be at all times. In the quest to sustain their youthful beauty, women are known to go for the most unlikely beauty treatment just to make sure they look attractive and pretty. One of these beauty treatments women go for is the use of Clay Masks which has been found to possess several benefits for beauty enhancement. The Clay Masks is known to be quite effective for detoxification, nourishment, soothing, and cleansing of the skin. Clay masks contain very charged particles that originate from the earth. The charged particles found in clay masks possess energy which they transfer and transmit into the human body where it does the job of energy restoration and balance restoration.
How it works
Clays and mud come in different qualities and types, buy one thing all types share in common is the ability to absorb toxins that are found in the human skin; purifying the skin in the process. The mode of operation of the clay masks is a very natural process whereby the clay works very deep into the patient’s skin, open the fine caPillaries, break up the microcrystals which are responsible for hindering blood flow, and finally allows all toxins and wastes in the body to be flushed. Some clay masks can be used for every kind of detoxification exercises, including very serious ones. However, certain clay types are known to be more suitable for some particular skin types. The red clay is good for normal skin, green clay works for all skin types, it absorbs oils from the skin and help remove toxins, pink clay is mostly used for dry and sensitive skin, while white clay is specifically most used for sensitive skins.
Health Benefits and Side effects of Grape Seed Oil.
March 08, 2014 09:09 AM
Grape seed history
Grape seed oil has been used for centuries to prevent and cure some diseases. In modern world, grape seed oil has been used to manufacture cooking oil and health practitioners recommend it use due to its health benefits.
Some of its health benefit includes.
It has is rich in antioxidants compounds, these compounds are very important because they help to eliminate free radicals in the body.
Grape seed oil improves heart functions, it is rich in HDL cholesterol which prevents heart diseases. This oil lowers the LDL cholesterol which is a major cause of heart diseases.
It is very beneficial to people suffering diabetes, it contains linoleic acid which is unsaturated fatty acid which is effective in alleviating diabetes.
It is beneficial to blood vessels especially caPillaries. Grape seed oil strengthens and repairs damaged blood vessel. This helps to alleviate conditions such as, spider veins, varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
It is also very beneficial to people suffering arthritis. Grape seed oil has anti-inflammatory properties which have soothing effects, they provide relief against swelling and pain caused by arthritis.
Grape seed oil is also very important to the skin, it alleviate skin acnes and blisters.
Grape seed oil is also rich in omega 3 fatty acids which have multiple benefits. Omega 3 increases concentration power, mind power and also general body health. Kids who have used grape seed oil have recorded increased concentration and improved performance in academics.
Grape seed oil moisturizes skin and boost skin tone. It has astringent properties which help to tighten and to tone skin. This makes users to be attractive, this boost self-confidence.
Although grape seed oil has various benefit to the body, it has some side effects. Some of the seed effects includes;
People who are allergic to grapes are not fit to use grape seed oil.
Those under ant-coagulate are still not fit to use this product.
User may suffer increase blood pressure, dizziness, headache, indigestion and nausea.
Can Butcher's Broom Boost Cardiovascular Health?
October 30, 2013 09:48 PM
Where to find Butchers Broom
The butcher’s broom also known as ruscus aculeatus is an evergreen low shrub that grows in the Eurasian region. It is known to produce greenish flowers that are small sized and blooms during Spring. It has leaves that produce red berries after the falling off of its female flowers. It is reputed among native cultures as much as asparagus, with the roots been eaten in various preparations.
It is mainly recurrent in woodland as a result of bird-spread though is now grown as a garden plant in regions across the world. It has general names like the pettigree, Jews’myrtle, sweet broom, petit houx and knee holly. Its roots are deployed as medicines in different remedies.
It has been used as an effective tool to constrict caPillaries and blood vessels by herbal and alternative medicine practitioners. Its efficiency in constricting blood vessels is considered to result from the constituent chemicals. This prevents the veins from pooling blood thereby improving the flow of blood in the hands, brain and legs.
It has been used to heal fractures and reduce swelling, as well as treatment for hemorrhoids and gallstones. It is reputed for constipation relief and ease of urine ejection.
As a result of its wide application and effectiveness, the German Health Commission listed it as a useful for the treatment of hemorrhoids. It is advised in medical circles that its use by pregnant women should be subject to consultation of a qualified medical practitioner to avoid possible contraindications and safeguard the fetal balance.
Clinical research is still open in several fronts to ascertain its virility and possible side effects as a result of the widespread usage across the globe by alternative medicine practitioners for a variety of medical conditions. This evidently will provide clues as to acceptable dosage and prescription in the years to come.
4. botanical.com: Broom, Butcher's
Can Butcher's Broom Help Fight Varicose Veins?
January 11, 2013 12:36 PM
Varicose Veins are abnormally thick veins that are twisted and enlarged. This problem occurs mostly in the leg and thigh veins. The thickened and twisted veins are called varicose veins. They can occur anywhere, but they mostly form in the legs because the legs work against gravity. Standing all day can increase the pressure on leg veins and cause varicose veins.
The normal function of veins is to carry blood from the outer body parts to the heart and lungs. The veins are provided with one-way valves, which prevent the blood from flowing backward within the vein. Defective or damaged valves are the main reason for varicose veins, as they allow the blood to flow backward, when it should be actually flowing up towards the heart. As the muscles contract to empty the veins, pressure builds up and this causes in the flow of more blood in the wrong way. Thus the pressure on the veins is increased and this causes varicose veins.
Factors that Aggravate Varicose Veins
There are different types of treatments available to shrink varicose veins and to improve circulation, from simple home remedies to surgeries or medications for severe cases. Natural supplements like Butcher's broom are considered to be a very effective treatment for varicosities.
Butcher's broom is a small, clump-forming evergreen shrub with tiny green flowers. It is an aromatic, diuretic and mildly laxative herb that helps reduce inflammation, increase perspiration and constrict the veins. The whole plant, young shoots and roots are used medically. Young shoots can be eaten like asparagus. It grows commonly in woodlands and hedgerows, and also on coastal cliffs. It is widely grown from Iran to the Mediterranean and the United States.
Its scientific name is Ruscus aculeatus, but it is commonly known as butcher's broom because butcher's used the stiff twigs to clean their cutting boards. The herb has been used for nearly 2000 years, but its medicinal uses have become common only from the last century. Investigations conducted in the 1950s indicated that butcher's broom can induce vasoconstriction and thus might be useful in treating circulatory diseases.
How It Works?
The two primary chemicals in butcher's broom, ruscogenin and neoruscogenin, can cause the blood vessels to narrow or constrict. Their anti-inflammatory properties help improve blood circulation in legs by preventing pooling of blood and reduce swelling.
Butcher's broom is used internally to treat venous problems that vary from varicose veins to hemorrhoids. It is also used to strengthen the veins and caPillaries. Butcher's broom may be the best natural solution for varicose vein treatment, because it helps with blood flow and circulation.
Niacin And Niacinamide?
November 18, 2012 10:32 AM
Niacin Vs Niacinamide
Niacin also known as nicotinic acid is an organic compound and it is one of the essential human nutrients. Niacin deficiency can result to pellagra. It is also used for reducing cardiovascular issues. A chemist called Hugo Weidel first described niacin in 1873 in his studies of nicotine in the oxidation of nicotine using nitric acid. The name niacin was derived from nicotinic acid + vitamin.
Niacinamide is also known as nicotinamide or nicotinic acid amide. It is the amide of niacin. Niacianamide is part of B-vitamin and it is water soluble. Niacinamide is derived from niacin. These two are components of B3-vitamin and they are often used as supplements interchangeably. However, there are some critical differences between these two vitamin B3 components. Niacinamide is derived from niacin and the body is able to convert niacin into niacinamide.
Niacinamide can also be made by our body from an amino acid known as trytophan which is usually present in animal foods. A chemical compound known as an amide is what makes niacinamide. Amide is defined by a nitrogen atom which is combined with a carbonyl group or C=O. Therefore, the main distinction between these two components is that niacinamide is a derivative of niacin.
Different Pharmacological Properties
Although the two are used interchangeably, they have different pharmacological properties. Their physical effects on the body also differ and people who are sensitive to their effects may prefer to use one over the other. Their usefulness in treating different conditions for instance high cholesterol, circulatory problem and osteoarthritis can also differ. Because of the pharmacological properties difference in niacin and niacinamide, different people can have different physical reactions when they take one as opposed to the other.
High niacin doses can cause flushing a condition that causes blood vessels to widen. This makes the caPillaries under the skin to expand to allow more blood to flow making the skin to become red and itchy. Niacinamide does not have the effect of skin flushing and that is why it is preferred over niacin in the treatment of pellagra, a condition that results due to lack of vitamin B3. The only affect that niacinamide may cause is excessive sweating.
Niacin And Cholesterol
Niacin on the other hand it is preferred in the treatment of high cholesterol levels while niacinamide is not preferred in this treatment. This is because since niacinamide is a derivative of niacin, the cholesterol lowering properties in niacinamide are inhibited. Niacin is also preferred in treating circulatory problems because of its effects on the blood vessels and the role it plays in lowering high cholesterol levels hence preventing hardening of the arteries.
This in addition reduces the risk of heart attacks. On the other hand, Niacinamide may also be preferred for treating osteoarthritis and diabetes. The two can be used in treating physical and emotional stress. Either niacin or niacinamide may be used for treating anxiety and depression. For these two components of Vitamin B3 to be effective, doctors recommend that they ought to be taken in combination with Vitamin B1, B2 and C.
The benefits of the hawthorne berry
June 27, 2012 12:14 PM
It is in the autumn that the hawthorn flowers will give way to the red berries which are a very rich source of antioxidants and of course, flavonoids. The benefits of using them are numerous and most of the times people will get eat them because they can prevent the damage caused by free radicals, they will protect the blood vessels, they will stimulate the circulation and also strengthen the heart.
The hawthorne berry benefits: Dilates blood vessels,Reduces LDL levels (bad cholesterol), Prevents damaging effects of free radicals, Strengthens the heart, Regulates the heart beat.
The main reason to why people are using hawthorn berries is because they have a lot of heart benefits. People who have heart problems will certainly have chest pains as well associated with them and these pains are one of the things that these berries can help with. People who have a high blood pressure will also respond positively most of the times when using these berries. Because these berries will improve the blood circulation, there is going to be less strain put on the heart.
By using hawthorne berry preparations, the harmful plaque that forms around the arteries and blood vessels will be diminished. Mainly, this extract is going to help people in having the damaging LDL cholesterol in the body reduced.
Hawthorn berry contains two main heart benefitting constituents and they are the OPCs and the flavonoids. They are both very rich in protective antioxidant properties, which will prevent the oxidation caused by the free radicals. This is not only going to be beneficial for the caPillaries and heart, but also for the entire body.
Flavonoids can easily dilate the blood vessel, strengthen them and also protect the entire blood vessel system in order to eventually increase the blood flow. People who are exposed to inflammatory agents or are suffering from inflammation, will be happy to know that the OPCs and the antioxidant properties of Hawthorne berries will help them in this regard. For instance, the astringent hawthorn preparations can be used externally in order to soothe skin irritations, bug bites, minor cuts and acne. On top of that, using the extracts created from hawthorn berries will strengthen the heart and regulate the heartbeat.
For those who want to prepare a tincture, they will only need to soak some Hawthorne berries in alcohol for several weeks. What this will do is draw out their properties and concentrate them in the alcohol. More to that, the berries can be made into syrups, jams and jellies. Most of the times though they are used to flavor brandy or into wine fusions. Also, tea made using the berries of hawthorn trees are the best for enjoying a great healthy state for the heart.
The preparations of hawthorn berries have a long history of use and mainly their benefits were concentrated in heart tonics. Dioscorides, a green herbalist from the I (first) century recorded that hawthorn was used back then as a strengthener and as a tonic. In the sixteenth century, Paracelsus, a Swiss physician reported that he used Hawthorne's cardio-tonic effects. A few centuries later, it was used by American doctors in order to treat circulatory and heart disorders. Even today, Hawthorne is used a lot and studied even more to unravel more of its beneficial secrets.
What is Cordyceps Mushroom good for?
March 10, 2012 12:00 AM
Cordycep mushrooms have been receiving a lot of hype lately, as they are said to have many compounds that can benefit ones health. Cordycep mushrooms have been used for 1500 years in ancient Chinese history, and was proven to benefit a variety of factors. However, it seems as if people are having a tough time when it comes to looking for them, as they are known for being in natural habitats. Cordyceps itself is a type of fungus, and it includes over 400 kinds of described species. Cordyceps are abundant in tropical areas, as they tend to thrive better in humidity and high temperature. Cordyceps have also had an extensive history of being a medicinal fungi. Cordyceps are not really known in the Western world, as scientists have not been able to study it properly yet. However, since China has been studying the fungus for some time now, some of this fungus' secrets were already unfolded. The main reason to why Cordyceps have received so much attention is that the History Channel stated that if someone finds an ounce of Cordyceps, you will be given 900 dollars.
The Benefits To Taking A Supplement Of Cordycep.
One benefit to taking a supplement of cordycep is that it dilates the airways of your lungs, allowing more oxygen to your lungs. Cordyceps are also known for fighting the means of womens infertility. It also enhances mens sexual performance and fuction by stimulating the sex hormones. Cordyceps helps in building muscle and even improve ones physical performance as well. It also has the capability to reduce the effects of fatigue, and has anti-aging properties as well. These help in strengthening the liver and kidney, as it improves the natural flow of your blood. They help strengthen and even enhance your immune system because it has the capability to increase and improve a huge amount of natural killer cells.
Where Can You Find Cordyceps In Nature Habitats?
Cordyceps can be found in a huge array of areas such as Australia, Asia, Europe, North America, China, and Russia. However, they tend to grow in the South areas of tropical places. The best places to look for cordyceps would have to be in the areas where ants climb the moment before they pass away. Those areas are tree branches and the bottom of tree leaves. They can also be found in tropical forests as well. The fruiting body of a Cordycep sort of has a grass-like appearance, making it easy for them to be spotted. They also kind of look like worms, and though they are technically mushrooms, in wild areas, they can grow on plants, insects, caterPillars, and a variety of other fungus' as well.
Cordyceps can be found in a huge array of areas, so you must learn and know exactly what they look like to actually find a couple ounces. Cordyceps are said to be worth a fortune, and its value has even increased throughout the years. Even if it's tough to find cordyceps, at least the reward that you are given is decent.
Grape Seed or Pine Bark Extract, Which Is Best?
October 27, 2011 07:26 AM
Pine Bark Vs Grape Seed Extract
Pine Bark Extract and Grape Seed Extract are two well known products that are effectual in combating ADD. Pycnogenol however, is more expensive since it is a patented form of pine bark extract that is being sold in many health stores world-wide. The potent properties of both Pycnogenol and Grape Seed Extract are their proanthocyanidins or flavan-3-ols contents that are normally found in fruits and vegetables. The reason why these chemicals are beneficial is their capacity in aiding vitamin C to work better for the brain. Vitamin C is essential for the production of norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine (neurotransmitters involved in ADD). Vitamin C is also useful in providing the body with antioxidants that can help fight free radicals that are very injurious for your health and may lead to a dreadful disease such as cancer. In addition, another role of vitamin C in the body is its capacity to aid the body in chelating detrimental toxic heavy metals by flushing them out from the body.
Pine Bark Extract and Grape Seed Extract are also effective natural anti-histamines anti-inflammatory agents and immune boosters. Both extracts are also proven to be influential in terms of regulating enzymes that have significant effects in metabolism. Since the extracts are able to inhibit the breakdown of dopamine and norepinephrine, then it will also lead to a faster reuptake of dopamine.
Proanthocyanidins has been the subject of interest by many researchers in the scientific investigations that they have conducted because of its promising effects that could treat various venous conditions. The compound has been proven to be effectual in strengthening the walls of your caPillaries, arteries and veins hence, is very useful in protecting you from ailments that involves the mentioned vital body parts.
The benefits of Pine Bark and Grape Seed are already published in many health magazines worldwide as well as in many TV shows like the 60 minutes. The antioxidant content of the extracts derived from Pine Bark and Grape Fruit contains liberal amounts of antioxidants that also acts as an antimugenic agent hence, could prevent DNA mutation. Since the extracts have such innate capability of inhibiting the mutation of DNA, it can be a cure to many chronic degenerative diseases that are caused by environmental mutagens.
Another benefit of OPCs is its relevant effects on peripheral venous insufficiency. This specific problem in the legs causes so much pain and discomfort which could also lead to disability. With OPC, relevant improvement in the condition could be noted as evidenced by a decrease in the pain felt, edema and cramps.
Comparing both extracts in terms of efficacy is so difficult to determine because Pine Bark Extract and Grape Seed Extract has similar components that are all beneficial to one’s health. The compounds that both extracts have are very useful to one’s health therefore comparing the two would be rootless considering all the health benefits that both extracts could offer.
What Supplements Are Useful In Combating Blood Clots?
October 04, 2011 03:14 PM
Vitamins And Your Health
As we know for a fact, one of the properties of blood is its ability to coagulate in order to stop bleeding. This coagulated blood is commonly known as a clot. Blood clot is important to the body to prevent excessive bleeding and serves as a vital part in the process of inflammation and wound healing. However, if a clot occurs abnormally it can cause significant danger to the body. A blood clot can cause obstruction in the circulation and may result to life - threatening health conditions such as heart attacks, cerebrovascular accident or strokes and pulmonary embolism. It can also cause poor tissue oxygenation and perfusion which can damage the affected cells and might cause disability or inability to function of certain organs or body part.
There are many traditional modalities in preventing and treating abnormal blood clot formation. One of the most commonly used is the medication called Aspirin in low – dosage. This conventional drug is popularly prescribed by doctors to decrease the clotting property of the blood. However, in emergency cases, a surgical procedure may be deemed important to remove the blood clot which significantly interrupts proper blood circulation.
Aside from medications, there are many supplements that have the capacity to decrease the risk of abnormal blood clotting. These include supplements high in:
1. FISH OILS. Fish oils are rich in omega-3 fatty acid which has the capacity to thin the blood. Therefore, if the blood is not viscous, the pressure inside the blood vessel is lesser as well. A high blood pressure can cause damage to the walls of the blood vessels, thus activating blood clot formation. Also, a non – viscous blood can also better circulate into smaller blood vessels than that of a viscous blood, therefore, enhancing tissue oxygenation. Clinical studies also revealed that omega – 3 fatty acids can effectively decrease Thromboxane A which is one of the clotting factors found among platelets.
2. CHAMOMILE. This herb has an anti – platelet property. It has a mild to moderate effect in regulating clot formation.
3. GINGER. Ginger has many health benefits. One of its promising benefits is its mild anti – platelet property and its ability to dissolve fibrin. This herb is widely used as a supplement to enhance blood circulation all over the body.
4. CATECHIN AND QUERCETIN. These chemical compounds are classified as antioxidants. They can effectively reduce the adhesion property of platelets.
5. CURCUMIN. This chemical comes from the spice called turmeric. This is considered to be an anti – thrombotic, as well as a potent anti – inflammatory agent.
6. DEHYDROEPIANDROSTERONE (DHEA). This substance is primarily an anti – aging agent. However, studies reveal that it can significantly reduce the process of inflammation by preventing the substance that can generate inflammation within the veins, arteries and caPillaries called Cytokines. With decreased production of cytokines, it will result to lesser coagulation and clumping of platelets and reduced movement of bad cholesterol or Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) into the walls of the blood vessels, thus decreasing the chance of clot formation and atherosclerosis.
7. VITAMINS C AND E. These vitamins are important for preventing abnormal collagen – induced platelet activation by inhibiting the production of hydrogen peroxide. Vitamins C and E are also important in many enzymatic actions that regulate blood cholesterol levels.
What Herbs Are Vein Strengtheners?
September 28, 2011 02:17 PM
Blood vessels can be found all over the body. It is the passageway of blood so that cellular oxygenation as well as elimination of harmful substances from the cells would be successful. Blood vessels have three types, namely the arteries, the veins and the caPillaries. Arteries contain the blood from the pulmonary system which is highly oxygenated while the veins consist of blood which is deoxygenated and abundant in cellular waste. CaPillaries serve as a bridge between the two major blood vessels. Among these blood vessels, the veins are the only of its kind which has valves. These valves prevent backflow of blood since the direction of the blood in the vein is against gravity. Therefore, it is of no surprise that among the three types of blood vessels, veins are the most commonly damaged. In this article, we will be discussing of natural ways or herbs which are effective as vein strengtheners.
1. HORSE CHESTNUT. Traditionally, this herb has been used for the improvement of health the veins. In fact, Western medicine has considered this herb as the most effective herbal medicine for venous problems most especially Chronic Venous Insufficiency. It can improve venous return by improving the ability of the valves of veins to return blood to the heart from the lower extremities. This herb has also been found to decrease permeability of the caPillary wall permeability thus lessening fluid outflow into tissues. The recommended dosage for this supplement is 500 mg each morning.
2. GOTU KOLA. Gotu kola is a popular herbal medicine of the Indian Ayurvedic medicine. It is also considered to be one of the oldest herbal medicines all over the world. This herb has been found to be effective in improving the tone, flexibility and integrity of the blood vessels. Therefore, this herb has been long used as a treatment for circulatory problems most especially varicose veins. 200 milligram extract of this herb is usually suggested three times daily.
3. RUTIN. This is not an herb itself but a chemical substance which can be found in several plants. Rutin is considered to be a flavonoid which can be extracted from citrus peels, cranberries, asparagus and buckwheat. Clinical studies of this chemical compound have revealed that it be an effective relief treatment of damaged and edematous veins. This chemical can also be used for improving the strength of the caPillaries thus lowering the risk of damage.
These are only some of the herbs which are found to be effective as vein strengtheners. These herbs can be made into a poultice and applied to the skin so that positive effect can be obtained. Along with these herbs, it is also important that you should exercise regularly. Elevate your legs, if possible, especially when lying down at hours of sleep. This would greatly help in promoting venous return thus thwarting blood pooling at the lower extremities. It is also important that you should avoid long time standing or sitting. Health experts also suggest that people must avoid prolong crossing of legs and not to wear tight clothing and foot wears since this can possibly constrict veins..
Fight Pain Improve Blood Sugar And Heart Health with OPC Pine Bark Extract
June 07, 2011 11:36 AM
How Does OPC Pine Bark Boost Your Health?
OPC pine bark has become increasingly popular in the supplement industry due to obvious reasons. It is one of the best antioxidant formulas available today. There has been so much research involved in its development, and the studies that followed have published largely positive results. In the past few years it has received a lot of good press, which has significantly contributed to its commercial success.
OPC stands for oligomeric proanthocyanidin, a class of flavonoids. OPC has been in use as a nutritional supplement since the 1980s. To this day, it remains an important source of polyphenolic antioxidants. Moreover, it has been linked to a diverse variety of health benefits, and laboratory studies concerning its effects on human health are well publicized. Pine bark extracts are one of its best known sources.
Promotes Heart Health
OPC pine bark has long been associated with heart health. For one, it has shown to help lower lipid levels in the blood, including cholesterol, triglycerides, and lipoproteins. It interferes with the productions of bad cholesterol into the blood and protects the blood vessels from lipid peroxidation.
In addition, it facilitates normal flow of blood and combats chronic venous insufficiency. It contributes to the upkeep of blood vessel walls and keeps the veins and arteries in prime working condition. By so doing, it promotes proper circulation to the deepest reaches of the body and back to the heart.
Improves Kidney Function
OPC pine bark is particularly good for the kidney as it appears to improve renal function, especially in the context of metabolic syndrome. Central obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus, and high blood pressure are all symptoms of metabolic syndrome, which takes its toll on the kidneys.
Kidney problems have been observed in people with elevated levels of albumin in the urine. When filters of the kidney are damaged, proteins from the blood such as albumin leak into the urine. OPC pine bark restores health to the caPillaries in the kidneys that filters waste materials from the blood.
Counteracts Pain Chemicals
Sufferers of joint pain are likely to benefit from OPC pine bark. Joint pain is often tied to osteoarthritis, the most common form arthritis. It is often accompanied by stiffness and reduced mobility. OPC pine bark has been used as a therapeutic treatment for osteoarthritis and other causes of joint pain.
There is good evidence that OPC pine bark is effective in counteracting pain chemicals and relieving inflammatory pain. In several randomized, double blind, placebo controlled studies, regular intake of OPC improved joint pain and stiffness, reduced reliance on analgesics, enhanced physical function.
Prevents Oxidative Stress
OPC pine bark is free radical scavenger, first and foremost. It is arguably the most researched plant polyphenol largely owing to its potent antioxidant capacity. As an antioxidant, it prevents radical damage from progressing to oxidative stress and promotes cellular longevity.
OPC Pine bark may also help manage blood sugar. What is stopping you from taking OPC pine back daily?
Can L-Arginine Really Help with Circulation Blood Flow?
February 05, 2011 01:43 PM
The incorporation of nutrients from our diet to the parts of the human body is taken care of by the network of blood vessels that make up the circulatory system, including the distribution of oxygen. Blood flow in effect largely contributes to the effective utilization of bioactive substances from digested foods. The muscles that line the inner walls of blood vessels are responsible for healthy circulation with the aid of a substance that is catalyzed from L-arginine.
Arteries, caPillaries, and veins are the three primary members of the vascular highway that forms the systematic circulation. The arteries from the heart branch out in smaller vascular tubes called caPillaries, which are connected to the system of veins leading back to the heart. Blood continuously flows inside this complex loop of tubes and brings nutrition to the tissues at the end of caPillaries.
Endothelium and Smooth Muscle Cells
Circulation is a vascular function regulated by the smooth muscle cells within the blood vessel walls that promote streamline flow to avoid turbulence. In a lifetime the flow may result in chaos, depending on the health of blood vessels. A special class of tissues exposed to the blood plasma known as endothelium stimulates the smooth muscle cells that make up most of the systematic circulation to perform its function. However, factors associated with aging interfere with the proper functioning of both the smooth muscle cells and the endothelium.
The human body possesses a gene responsible for the encoding of a group of enzymes that aid healthy blood flow in the circulatory system. This gene identified as Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS), as the name suggests, has something to do with the endothelium and the chemical compound nitric oxide. While chronic expression of nitric oxide in the body may lead to inflammatory diseases, this gas actually serves a focal role in preventing damage to all tissues in the human body resulting from the deprivation of blood supply.
Nitric Oxide and L-Arginine
How? Nitric oxide is produced at the right amounts by all mammals for use as a signaling agent at the cellular level. In the circulatory system, nitric oxide is known to display vasodilator properties, that is, it brings about the relaxation of smooth muscle cells that line the blood vessel walls. Vasodilation is central to circulation and blood flow inasmuch as the widening of vascular walls leads to the flow of blood. Since nitric oxide must be manufactured at healthy levels, it is regulated by Endothelial NOS.
However, its production depends on the availability of Arginine in the human body. The amino acid L-arginine is not synthesized at sufficient amounts at all times, and thus it must be derived from our diet. No one can really tell what conditions govern the biosynthesis of L-arginine, and for individuals who have poor nutrition, levels of L-arginine are significantly low. This is the reason why medical professionals advocate the use of L-arginine to counter vascular diseases. Supplementation of L-arginine has in fact been associated to healthy circulation.
Your immune system and how fish oil can affect it
December 08, 2010 03:33 PM
Fish oil and immunity
One of the Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil is EPA, or eicosapentaenoic acid, which has a regulatory effect on the inflammatory response of your immune system. What that means is that EPA helps to modify the inflammation you experience with conditions such as arthritis, cystitis, an enlarged prostate and many other problems associated with inflammation such as acne.
When your tissues become damaged or irritated, your immune system responds by rendering your vessels more porous, thus allowing fluids to leak through the caPillaries and applying pressure to the affected areas. Your blood vessels dilate to enable the large macrophages in your bloodstream and lymphatic system to get to the damaged or infected area to destroy any invading pathogens, and the affected site heats up to render the environment less attractive to bacteria.
The problem is, your immune system doesn't know when to stop, and conditions such as arthritis and cystitis become very painful, excessive swelling occurs adding to the pain and fluids build up adding even more to the pressure and your overall sensation of pain. The EPA in fish oils help to reduce all of this, and results in a reduction in swelling, less pressure and a reduction in pain levels. By taking fish oils, sufferers of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions can feel a lot more comfortable and accelerate their healing processes.
So if you are experiencing inflammation pain in any form, try adding fish oil as a natural remedy to help aid in the fight against inflammation pain.
stroke, what is it?
September 28, 2010 03:05 PM
A stroke occurs when a clot forms inside an artery that blocks the flow of blood to the brain. This is also called a thrombus. Embolism, which is a wandering clot, is carried in the bloodstream until it wedges in one of the arteries that lead to the brain. Aneurysms are blood-filled pouches that balloon out from weak spots in the artery wall and burst. A hemorrhage results when a defective artery in the brain that bursts, flooding the surrounding tissue with blood.
A mild attack can lead to temporary confusion and light-headedness, along with difficulty in speaking clearly, weakness on one side of the body, visual dimness and confusion, severe speech difficulties, and/or sudden or gradual loss or blurring of consciousness. Additionally, amnesia can occur, but it is not typically permanent. A coma can even result for short or long periods.
It is important to watch for early warnings of stroke. Although they may only last a few moments, early warnings include fainting, stumbling, numbness or paralysis of the fingers of one hand, blurring of vision, seeing bright lights, and loss of speech or memory. It is much wiser and significantly less expensive to start improving health in order to prevent this disease. Some doctors who have treated thousands of people suffering from stroke believe that most strokes can typically be prevented.
The Chinese often view strokes as being caused by blood stasis and stagnation of the liver. Chinese medical practitioners attempt to prevent strokes and treat them by treating constipation. Constipation causes a poisoned bloodstream, setting the stage for a possible stroke. Poisoned blood flows through thousands of miles of arteries, veins, and caPillaries. The walls of the arteries are made up for cells, which are subject to the same injury from toxins as the cells in the kidneys. The kidneys degenerate at the same time that the arteries do and even from the same causes. When the walls thicken and harden, degeneration results. As they harden they become more brittle, causing them to burst more easily under pressure. Pressure increases as the hole through the arteries grows smaller. AS the walls become more brittle, the extra pressure causes the blood pressure to rupture. This, in turn, causes a stroke. The brain cells rely primarily on oxygen-rich blood in order to get nourishment. If they don’t receive this nourishment, the brain cells will die. Other causes of this are poor diet, lack of exercise, obesity, and smoking.
Emotional health is an essential part to any healing. Strokes are often associated with resistance to change, giving up on life, and getting tired of doing all the same things over and over. It is important that we learn to accept changes and are able to go with the flow of life. Life can be exciting. Changes provide us with a new perspective on living.
Some herbs and supplements have been used to help as a preventative. These include vitamin E, vitamin C, coenzyme Q10, garlic, evening primrose oil, lecithin, chlorophyll, flaxseed oil, and germanium. For additional information on any of these, please contact a representative from your local health food store.
Pine Bark Extract
October 07, 2009 11:25 AM
Many Native American tribes relied on the bark of pine trees for its ability to treat a number of disorders. The Annedda pine was called the “tree of life” due to its marvelous healing benefits. Jacques Cartier, a noted explorer in 1535, wrote in his diaries about the early medicinal uses for pine tree bark. Cartier and his crew came down with scurvy after being caught in the bitter snows of Quebec and living on hard biscuits and cured meat. Multiple men died before Quebec Indians approached them and made a tea from the bark of a pine tree. After drinking the tea and applying poultices to their wounds, they were soon healed. The miraculous recovery is actually a result of the vitamin C and bioflavonoids in the bark. A French professor discovered Cartier’s account and became intrigued with studying pine tree bark. He isolated a certain kind of proanthocyanidin flavonoids from the extract and later found it to have antioxidant attributes.
Pine bark extract has become an important herbal remedy due to its antioxidant power. It is responsible for binding with collagen fibers and helping to restore elasticity in the skin. It also protects the body from free-radical damage, which prevents excess and premature wrinkles. Pine tree bark also protects caPillaries from free-radical damage that can cause phlebitis, varicose veins, and bruising. Those people who are suffering from skin conditions like psoriasis can also be benefited from pine bark extract. Along with being an antioxidant, pine bark is a natural anti-inflammatory. It helps heal joint pain that is associated with things such as arthritis and sports injuries. This herb helps to control and prevent edema and bursitis. Pine bark extract also helps with eyesight. It is responsible for reducing the risk of and treating diabetic retinopathy. Multiple studies have concluded that it is beneficial in improving night vision. One study even found marked improvement in visual performance in the proanthocyanidin group over a placebo group.
Additionally, pine bark extract may also help in inhibiting cellular mutations like tumors. Reports have found that this herb can help to prevent cellular deterioration in breast tumors and cardiovascular disease. There is also evidence that this herb possesses antiulcer properties that may help prevent the formation of undesirable chemicals in the stomach.
Pine bark can also benefit other conditions with its proanthocyanidin therapy. Among these are autoimmune disorders such as lupus, neural problems such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, and vascular problems like heart disease, atherosclerosis, and stokes. Pine bark extract can also treat common complaints such as insomnia, flu, and even the common cold. This herb is very helpful in improving memory, longevity, and the prostate.
Additionally, its stimulant properties are responsible for decreasing the production of histamines in allergic reactions like hay fever. 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 pine bark extract, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
September 24, 2009 10:50 AM
The pleurisy plant is a perennial herb that has several stems. It can be found growing three feet high, with branches at the top. The leaves are dark green on the upper surface and pale green on the underside. The flowers are richly colored orange and are found blooming from June through September. This plant is a member of the milkweed family. Monarchs, swallowtails, and other butterflies are especially attracted to the pleurisy plant when it is in flower. The plant prefers open, dry fields. It is often growing in abundance in the southern United States. Similar to other milkweeds, pleurisy root produces pods that reveal rows of silky reeds that drift in the wind in autumn. However, unlike most milkweeds, this species does not produce a milky sap.
This plant is native to North America. It was long used by Indians and pioneers. Often, it was spread onto sores after being powdered and mixed into a paste. Indians of several regions brewed a tea from the leaves to induce vomiting in certain rituals, while settlers and Indians alike made a tea from the root to induce perspiration and expectoration in severe respiratory conditions. Pleurisy was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopeia in the 19th century.
Pleurisy root developed its name because of its use for treating lung conditions. The name comes from the Greek root word pleura, which means “lung membranes.” This name implies that this herb is extremely valuable for treating pleurisy. This is because it relieves chest pain and eases breathing difficulties. Pleurisy was used by Native Americans. Then, they introduced it to the European settlers who were suffering from numerous respiratory problems.
This herb works primarily as an expectorant. Pleurisy helps to expel phlegm from bronchial and nasal passages. The herb is responsible for opening lung caPillaries. This aids in the release of mucus, which thins discharge. This process helps to reduce lung congestion and improve breathing.
In addition to its uses for pulmonary problems, pleurisy root is also used as a gentle tonic. This tonic helps with stomach pain that is caused by gas, indigestion, and dysentery.
Additionally, pleurisy root is a powerful diaphoretic. It increases body temperature and opens pores to induce perspiration. It has also been used against poisoning and acute rheumatism. Unfortunately, this is not recommended for children.
The root of the pleurisy plant is used to provide alterative, anodyne, antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, expectorant, febrifuge, nervine, mild purgative, and stimulant properties. Primarily, pleurisy is extremely beneficial in treating spasmodic asthma, bronchitis, acute dysentery, emphysema, fevers, indigestion, lung disorders, pleurisy, and pneumonia. Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with croup, contagious diseases, flu, gas, kidney problems, measles, and excessive mucus, absent perspiration, poisoning, acute rheumatism, scarlet fever, tuberculosis, and typhus.
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 while on prescription medications. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by pleurisy, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
Gotu Kola And Memory
September 15, 2009 04:30 PM
For centuries, gotu kola has been used in India and the islands of the Indian Ocean as a tonic and medicinal remedy. The herb was thought to increase longevity and improve energy. It was used in ancient days to treat leprosy, calm nerves, increase mental and physical power, stimulate and rejuvenate the brain, prevent nervous disorders, and avoid mental fatigue and senility.
This herb is considered to be one of the best herbal tonics, which is a substance that works to put the body into balance. A tonic makes sure that everything is working properly, while an herbal tonic helps to promote an optimum state in the body systems. This herb is responsible for gradually building the nervous system as a nervous system tonic. Gotu kola has been used for many different maladies, which include nervous disorders, deficient mental function, memory problems, epilepsy, and schizophrenia. The herb works by cleansing and purifying the blood by neutralizing acids and helping the body defend itself against toxins.
Research has found that an ingredient in gotu kola, known as asiaticoside, is responsible for speeding the healing of wounds. This ingredient is considered a blood cleanser and is also effective for diseases of the lungs. The herb stimulates the caPillaries and helps to improve brain function, varicose veins, and hypertension.
Gotu kola is often used to increase mental function and performance. A variety of studies have confirmed this herb’s ability to improve brain function. It is often prescribed in Europe and India for this purpose. Studies done in India have found the water extract of fresh leaves helps to improve memory and learning. Additionally, it was found to help overcome the negative effects that are associated with stress and fatigue.
Additional clinical trials in India have found that gotu kola is able to help increase the IQ and mental ability of mentally retarded children. The children that were involved in this study showed improved mental capacity and behavior. This herb was given to children in combination with capsicum and ginseng. This improved behavior and mental capacity can help individuals who have mental and learning disabilities to achieve a higher quality of life.
In ancient times, gotu kola was used to heal wounds and soothe cases of leprosy. One of the first studies done on this herb was with cases of leprosy. The asiaticoside content found in gotu kola has been used for years in Europe and the Far East to cure leprosy and tuberculosis. Recent studies on this herb center more on its healing ability. Gotu kola seems to be able to accelerate the healing of wounds and skin diseases. Additionally, it has been shown to be beneficial in helping repair tissue after surgery and trauma. The herb has the ability to strengthen veins and repair connective tissue, while nourishing the motor neurons.
The entire gotu kola plant is used to provide alterative, antiasthmatic, antispasmodic, blood purifier, diuretic, and nervine properties. The primary nutrients in this herb are catechol, epicatechol, magnesium, theobromine, and vitamin K. Primarily, gotu kola is extremely helpful in dealing with aging, arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, poor circulation, fatigue, heart problems, hypoglycemia, leprosy, memory loss, mental problems, nervousness, and senility.
Additionally, this herb is beneficial in treating blood impurities, depression, dysentery, fevers, headaches, insomnia, liver ailments, menopausal symptoms, pituitary problems, psoriasis, rheumatism, schizophrenia, thyroid problems, tonsillitis, effects of toxins, tuberculosis, varicose veins, lack of vitality, and wounds. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by gotu kola, please contact a representative from your local health food store.
August 15, 2009 01:37 PM
Myrrh is the reddish-brown resinous material that comes from the dried sap of a number of trees. Primarily, it is obtained from the Commiphora myrrha, which is native to Yemen, Somalia, and the eastern parts of Ethiopia. Additionally, it comes from Commiphora gileadensis, which is native to Jordan. The sap of a number of other Commiphora and Balsamodendron species is also referred to as myrrh. Its name is most likely of Semitic origin. The quality of myrrh can be identified through the darkness and clarity of the resin. However, the best method of judging the resin’s quality is by feeling the stickiness of the freshly broken fragments. The scent of raw myrrh resin and its essential oil is sharp, pleasant, somewhat bitter, and be described as being stereotypically resinous. It produces a heavy, bitter smoke when it is burned.
In ancient times, myrrh was valued as a fragrance and healing agent. Ancient Egyptain women used the burned myrrh to get rid of fleas in their homes. The Chinese used myrrh to heal wounds. They also used this herb for menstrual problems, bleeding, hemorrhoids, and ulcerated sores. Myrrh is often mentioned throughout the Bible. In the Old Testament it is referred to in the preparation of the holy ointment. In Esther, myrrh is used as a purification herb for women and it is a perfume in Psalm 45:8.
This herb is a powerful antiseptic. Similar to Echinacea, it is a valuable cleansing and healing agent. Myrrh works on the stomach and colon to soothe and heal inflammation. This herb also provides vitality and strength to the digestive system. Myrrh stimulates the flow of blood to the caPillaries. Additionally, it helps speed the healing of the mucus membranes. Among these include the gums, throat, stomach, and intestines. Myrrh can be applied to sore and it also works as an antiseptic. It can help promote menstruation, aid digestion, heal sinus problems, soothe inflammation, and speed the healing process.
Research has verified the use of myrrh as an antiseptic. Sometimes, it is added to mouthwash and toothpaste. Myrrh has also been found to have mild astringent and antimicrobial properties. This herb contains silyamrin, which is able to protect the liver from chemical toxins and help increase liver function.
The resin of the myrrh plant is used to provide alterative, antibiotic, antimicrobial, antiseptic, astringent, carminative, emmenagogue, expectorant, and stimulant properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are chlorine, potassium, silicon, sodium, and zinc. Primarily, myrrh is extremely beneficial in treating asthma, bronchitis, colds, colitis, colon problems, cuts, emphysema, gangrene, gastric disorders, sore gums, hemorrhoids, herpes, hypoglycemia, indigestion, infection, lung disease, excessive mucus, pyorrhea, sinus problems, mouth sores, skin sores, tonsillitis, and toothaches.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with abrasions, arthritis, boils, breath odor, canker sores, coughs, diarrhea, diphtheria, eczema, gas, menstrual problems, nervous conditions, phlegm, rheumatism, scarlet fever, thyroid problems, tuberculosis, ulcers, wounds, and yeast infections. 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 while on medications. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by myrrh, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
April 08, 2009 04:40 PM
Alfalfa was considered to be a miracle herb in ancient times, as the Arabs called it the “Father of Herbs.” This herb has been cultivated for more than two thousand years. When the Medes and the Persians invaded Greece in 400 B.C., they began cultivating alfalfa in that region. This was primarily because of its ability to survive even the roughest of climates. The roots of the alfalfa plant can extend as long as sixty-six feet into the subsoil. The Romans later discovered that alfalfa was excellent for their horses. North America was introduced to alfalfa thanks to the Spanish. Here in North America, the herb was used to treat arthritis, boils, cancer, scurvy, urinary tract disorders, and bowel problems.
The health benefits of alfalfa have been document thanks to modern research. This herb has been shown to be one of the most nutritious foods available. Herbalists consider this herb to be beneficial for many problems, with some even recommending it for any sickness due to the way it helps the body absorb protein, calcium, and other essential nutrients. Additionally, alfalfa is helpful in removing poisons and their effects from the body. It is also thought to neutralize the acidity of the body and help to break down carbon dioxide. Alfalfa is actually used to treat recovery cases of narcotic and alcohol addiction. It has also been found to help in cases of anemia by building blood.
Alfalfa is great because it contains both antibacterial and antifungal properties. This makes the herb a great body cleanser, infection fighter, and natural deodorizer. Alfalfa has also been used to clean teeth that are stained. Specifically, the extracts of alfalfa produce antibacterial activity against gram-positive bacteria.
Alfalfa is great for helping with milk production in nursing mothers. This herb can also stimulate appetite. This herb has also been researched and found to help lower cholesterol levels. Additionally, research has found that alfalfa can neutralize cancer. Alfalfa has been found to help in healing ulcers and treating arteriosclerosis, allergies, diabetes, and in strengthening the caPillaries and blood vessels. Often, alfalfa is used to treat appendicitis, water retention, urinary and bowel problems, muscle spasms, cramps, and digestive problems.
The leaves and flowers of this herb are used in order to provide healing effects. The properties of alfalfa include: alterative, antibacterial, antifungal, antirheumatic, bitter, blood purifier, deodorant, diuretic, and nutritive. The primary nutrients that are provided by alfalfa include essential amino acids, chlorine, chlorophyll, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B12, E, E, and K.
Alfalfa is primarily used to help with cases of anemia, arthritis, diabetes, contaminated kidneys, and pituitary problems, loss of appetite, blood impurities, hemorrhages, nausea, and peptic ulcers. Additionally, alfalfa can be beneficial when dealing with alcoholism, chronic appendicitis, allergies, high blood pressure, body odor, bursitis, cancer, high cholesterol, muscle and stomach cramps, gastric disorders, gout, intestinal problems, jaundice, absence of lactation, weak muscles, nosebleeds, stained teeth, and urinary problems. For more information on the healing effects of alfalfa, please contact your local health food store.
Noni Fruit Extract
November 22, 2008 09:34 AM
Tahitian Noni juice can promote a healthy body in many ways. These Noni benefits are conferred by the phytochemicals contained within the fruit pulp, but before discussing the benefits of Noni let's first have a look at what it actually is.
Morinda citrifolia is also known as the Indian or beach mulberry tree, and is a member of Rubiaceae family. Although it originated in Southeast Asia, it has spread all the way to French Polynesia and the Dominican Republic. It is mainly cultivated in Tahiti for its fruit, known as cheese fruit or Noni fruit.
Although it is a staple food in some areas of the Pacific, it has a pungent smell and a bitter taste, and often eaten either raw or cooked only in times of famine. However, the fruit is particularly rich in phytonutrients, and many people swear by the Noni benefits it to maintain a glowing healthy body, free from disease and many of the health problems from which most people suffer.
The strange thing about it is the taste: you would not drink Tahitian Noni juice by choice, nor eat the fruit, so how were these Noni health benefits discovered? Hunger likely explains it: those forced to eat it through hunger were likely the lucky ones, who actually ate a nutritional diet even though they were eating a fruit normally eaten only in times of famine.
Among the conditions that Noni fruit is believed to protect you from are cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol levels, asthma, cholesterol, strokes, migraines, a weak immune system, arthritis and some cancers. Many of these conditions should give you a clue as to the nature of the phytochemicals contained within the fruit, since most of them involve free radical attack and immune system response.
Prior to examining thee diseases and conditions in detail, let's have a look at the chemicals the fruit has been established to contain. It is rich in dietary fiber, offering 100% of the Dietary Reference Intakes of the Institute of Medicine for each 100g serving, and also contains enough carbohydrate to meet 55% of you DTI needs. However, that is just the start.
The Noni pulp powder contains ten times the DRI of Vitamin C, and large quantities of Vitamin B3 niacin), potassium and iron. The Tahitian Noni juice itself contains few nutrients, and only the Vitamin C is retained to any useful level. It is therefore the pulp powder that offers the major nutritional benefit. In fact, because it has to be pasteurized at high temperature to meet regulations the for liquid product, Noni juice loses most of its nutritional content, and even the 31% Vitamin C content is surprising since that too is destroyed at high temperatures.
It is the high phytochemical content of Noni powder that renders it such an important supplement, and a scan down the following components will give you an idea of how the fruit got its reputation. The known Noni benefits are obtained from:
Lignans: these are phytoestrogens that have been reported to offer a reduced risk of ovarian and breast cancers, osteoporosis and also cardiovascular disease. They possess antioxidant properties and although reports as to their effectiveness are varied, they appear to have beneficial health effects.
Flavanoids: These are phenolics, including asperulodisic acid and rutin. The former is believed to be effective against certain cancers, while rutin, also contained in buckwheat, is a strong antioxidant that strengthens caPillaries, and also helps to prevent atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Catechin and epicatechin: strong antioxidants that help prevent heart disease, strokes, diabetes and cancers. It also protects your skin against the harmful effects of the ultra-violet component of the sun's rays. Catechin is a form of flavanoid, and one of the more powerful of the antioxidants needed to destroy the free radicals that would otherwise ravage your body through the destruction of your body cells.
B-Sitosterol: a plant sterol that is believed to reduce the cholesterol in your blood, but still requires scientific proof, even though there is plenty of evidence to support its effect. Plant sterols are the basis of the cholesterol-lowering yoghurt drinks that you can but in your local supermarket.
This list is not exclusive, and there are several other phytochemicals found in Noni pulp powder that are believed to confer significant health benefits, but that are still seeking scientific support. The fact that such support has yet to be provided is not a reason to doubt their effectiveness, although the above benefits are sufficient to justify the reputation of this nutritional supplement that few have heard about.
There have been only around 110 reports on Noni research since the 1950s, so it is not surprising that the scientific proof is weak, although of these around 100 have appeared since the year 2000. Don't forget that there was no proof for the effectiveness of penicillin until it was discovered!
Even the biochemistry of the components of Tahitian Noni juice, such as the polysaccharides not mentioned in the above list, is in the early stages of research, and an increasing number of traditional remedies are being found to have a valid scientific and medical basis. These polysaccharides are a form of dietary fiber with probiotic properties that can be fermented by bacteria in the gut to form short chain fatty acids that possess many beneficial health properties.
Take the heterocyclic iridoids, for example. These are unknown to most people, yet they are found in many plants that have extensive medicinal properties, and might be responsible for many of them. They appear to possess anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antispasmodic properties, and support the cardiovascular system, the immune system and help to maintain a healthy blood sugar level. These are also contained in Noni pulp powder.
Another component of Noni fruit that most people have not heard of is damnacanthal. This inhibits certain tyrosine kinesis that basically have a controlling effect on the division of body cells. They particularly inhibit the Ras genes, responsible for some cancers due to uncontrolled cell division. Damnacanthal can prevent Ras genes from causing these cancers.
There are many more benefits that Tahitian Noni juice, or particularly the powdered Noni pulp, can confer, and it is recommended that it be taken as a supplement by anybody needing a general health tonic since it possesses such a wide variety of beneficial properties. The Noni benefits which those that use it enjoy area available to everyone, even though it is one of the lesser known of the beneficial health supplements.
Ginkgo Biloba Extract
September 19, 2008 09:25 AM
Ginkgo biloba, also known as the maidenhair tree, grows naturally in two small areas of Eastern China. It is believed that even these sources are artificial, and planted and maintained by monks over many centuries, and that there are no true natural sources of the tree left. Other than these, all living ginkgo trees are now artificially farmed.
The ginkgo seeds contain nuts that are a traditional food in China, served at Chinese New Year, and on other special occasions such as weddings, and is also used in traditional Chinese medicine. The seeds have been used in the treatment of coughs and asthma, and during the late 1970s and 80s, the uses of ginkgo biloba in medicine was extensively investigated with a view to determine the range of conditions that the tree could be used to treat. Given that many ancient Chinese remedies have found to be effective, and with a relevant scientific basis, this was a logical step.
It has been established that ginkgo biloba could have three possible effects on the body. These are:
* Improvement in circulation including that in the small caPillaries.
The last of these has been responsible for many cardiovascular conditions, and disorders of the kidneys, lungs and central nervous system, and is due to the effect of the platelet-activating factor (PAF) that ginkgo appears to inhibit.
Before delving deeper into the possible beneficial effects of Ginkgo, let us first examine the active ingredients believed to be involved in the perceived beneficial effects.
Ginkgo leaf extract contains terpenoids (bilobalides and ginkgolides) and flavonoid glycosides. Flavones can reduce the fragility of caPillaries, and protect the body from blood loss through damaged caPillaries, particularly in the brain. The Ginkgolides, particularly ginkgolide B, inhibit the platelet-activating factor and so increase the fluidity of the blood that improves circulation, again particularly in the micro-caPillaries of the brain. This is also why it is believed to reduce the incidence of cerebral thrombosis and resultant strokes.
The antioxidant effect of ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) has been widely studied, and by scavenging free radicals the extract can help to prevent cell membrane damage, and so prevent cells from being destroyed. It has been established that pretreatment of cells with GBE can prevent such damage in rats.
The anti-inflammatory properties of ginkgo biloba, as seen in some asthma patients for example, is thought to be due to the inhibition of the platelet-activating factor (PAF) by ginkgolide B, PAF playing a significant part in the inflammatory response to allergens, and PAF is now believed to be responsible for conditions such as asthma, renal diseases, central nervous system disorders and ischemia, a restriction in the blood supply, particularly to the brain.
It follows, therefore, that the effect of GBE on these conditions is likely to be due to PAF inhibition, and a reduction in the inflammatory response to a number of conditions. What evidence is there for this? In fact, results of the trials carried out have been inconclusive one way or the other.
Hence, a trial published by the Journal of the American Medical Association reported no effects after a 6 week trial of Ginkgo on Alzheimer’s and memory disorders. However, other trials have indicated positive effects after 6 weeks, and it could be that the GBE has to be taken for more than 6 weeks for any effects to be noticed. It is certainly believed to be a longer term treatment rather than have instant results, although some tests have shown improvement in concentration for up to 2.5 hours after treatment. The bulk of the evidence is favorable on the effect of GBE on memory disorders.
Test on rats, in which the blood flow to the brain was mechanically blocked by carotid compression, indicated that ginkgo biloba promoted an increase in the glucose and ATP levels in the brain neurons. Other trials have indicated that neurological damage in mice subjected to neurotoxins was reduced by the administration of GBE, and while not conclusive with respect to humans, the effect of GBE on the brain appears to be more than just opinion.
To sum up, ginkgo biloba is believed to be effective in treating the following disorders by virtue of its effect in improving the fluidity of the blood, protecting fragile caPillaries from damage, exerting an antioxidant effect on free radices, and so prevent damage to cell membranes, and its inhibiting effect on platelet-activating factor:
Circulation problems in the arteries can lead to blood clots that in turn cause strokes and cardiac problems. By preventing blood clots through the inhibition of PAF, ginkgolide B can help to maintain a healthy circulation system that also help to maintain circulation in the very small caPillaries that feed the brain.
This is caused by hardening and blockage of the arteries, and one of the effects of ginkgo biloba is to soften the arteries, help to unblock them and to prevent plaque formation by its antioxidant effect on the free radicals that cause the plaque by oxidation of LDL lipids. This is particularly true of the cerebral arteries.
The increased blood flow to the brain that GBE promotes can help to improve memory, although test are indicating that treatment has to continue for 6 weeks or more for it to be effective. Reduced blood flow to the brain is a common cause of memory impairment.
Ginkgo biloba has been used in the treatment of the symptoms of this condition, although it cannot be cured. It is thought that the improved circulation in the brain makes best use of the unaffected brain cells, improving memory and cognitive thought.
This is a condition where the extremities fail to warm up after being exposed to cold, and is caused by poor circulation in the small caPillaries in which the blood pressure is very low. They symptoms are numbness and pins and needles, and GBE helps to overcome this condition due to improvement in the circulation and protection of the caPillaries by rendering them less fragile.
GBE can help to reduce the symptoms of vertigo such as nausea and dizziness. This is believed, once again, to be due to an improvement in blood circulation.
There are few doubts that ginkgo biloba extract improves the circulation, particularly in the micro-caPillaries in the brain and extremities of the body, and also possesses antioxidant properties, both of which help to maintain and improve the memory, and that combined with its effect on the platelet-activating factor, most of the properties of GBE is due to its capacity to maintain and improve circulation, particularly through those blood vessels closest to the blood-brain barrier.
Essential Fatty Acids
September 16, 2008 08:54 AM
A lot of people tend to shy away from anything that has the word fatty involved with it, thinking that it will cause them to gain unnecessary weight. What a lot of people don’t know is that there are good fats and bad fats. The beneficial ones actually can help decrease the desire for food and for harmful fats. Fats are essential to health, as they help to balance the body’s chemistry and provide padding for the vital organs in the body. Fats give a source of energy for body processes and also help with the transportation and absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are all fat soluble.
There are three main categories of fats: saturated fats, unsaturated fats, and essential fats. Saturated fats are made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules. The carbon atoms from fatty acids hold together in a chain-like fashion and they can attach a hydrogen atom to them. When each potential place for a hydrogen atom has been filled and there is no more room for any more hydrogen atoms, these fats are considered saturated. The fat will be harder or thicker in consistancy the longer the chain.
These types of fatty acids are found in red meat, butter, cheese, sour cream, palm kernel, and coconut oils. When someone has a diet that is high in saturated fats, these fats clump together in the body and form deposits that lodge in cells, organs, and blood vessels and can lead to many health problems like obesity, heart disease, and breast and colon cancer.
Unsaturated fats are called this because at least two adjacent carbon atoms on a chain are not attached to hydrogen atoms. When at least two pairs of carbon atoms are empty, it is known as a polyunsaturated fatty acid. The more saturated the fat, the more easily it will stay hard at room temperature.
Essential fatty acids are crucial nutritional compounds that our bodies need in order to perform many functions. They can be found in the seeds of plants and in the oils of cold-water fish. Essential fatty acids can not be made in the body, so they must be found in a supplement or in the diet. Many factors, which include stress, allergies, disease, and diet high in fried foods, can increase the body’s need for essential fatty acids.
Fatty acids are the basic building blocks of all fats. A fatty acid is considered essential if the body is unable to synthesize it and the only way it can be obtained is through diet. Additionally, it is considered essential if a deficiency will cause disease. A deficiency of fatty acids can cause poor reproduction, lowered immunity, rough and dry skin, and slow growth.
Essential fatty acids are vital for many functions including: lowering triglyceride levels; helping to eradicate plaque from the walls of arteries; lowering blood pressure; altering the production of leukotrienes; constructing body membranes; helping strengthen cell and caPillary structures; prolonging blood-clotting time, which helps wounds to heal; helping the body manufacture hemoglobin; assisting in the manufacture of cholesterol; preventing the growth of bacteria and viruses assisting in the functions of glands and hormones.
Essential fats nourish the skin, hair, and nails; increasing the rate at which the body burns fat; helping the body maintain proper temperature; assisting in the body’s production of electrical currents that are vital for a regular heartbeat; and acting as a precursor to the production of prostaglandins. It is essential that everybody obtain good fat in their diet to maintain health, if one can not eat the proper foods, supplement forms of essential fatty acids are available.
September 05, 2008 09:02 AM
Bilberry has been used most commonly for centuries as a food, with the English traditionally eating bilberries with a rich cream. Large amounts of bilberries were imported annually from Holland, Germany and Scandinavia for use by pastry cooks and restaurant keepers to make jams, liqueurs, wines, and desserts up until World War II. Bilberry’s use is not only limited to food, as the juice of bilberry yields a clear, dark blue or purplish dye that has often been used to color wool in England.
Over the years, the bilberry fruit has gained recognition for its medicinal properties. Decoctions of the leaves and bark of the root have been used for a topical application to treat mouth and throat ulcers. Syrups have also been made from a mixture of the berries and honey to treat intestinal issues.
Additionally, the berries are very rich in vitamin C, with their astringent action explaining their historical use for diarrhea and dysentery. Many believe that the berries contain a pigment that can kill many strains of bacteria. Bilberry fruit and tea that are dried have been used to treat nausea as well as indigestion. Along with the above, other traditional applications of bilberry include inflammation of the mucous membranes in the mouth and throat, eyestrain or fatigue, and as a circulatory tonic. The leaves and berries have also been used for a homeopathic treatment of diabetes.
One of the main reasons that bilberry’s medicinal value came to attention in the Western world was because of its legendary ability to improve the nighttime vision of the British Royal Air force pilots during World War II. After consuming bilberry, it was found that they experienced improved visual acuity, making it easier to carry our nighttime bombing raids. It was also found that their eyes could adjust to darkness quicker and their vision was able to better correct after the effects of prolonged glare.
In the proceeding years, scientific research found that bilberry offered a wide range of benefits for both vision and other vascular disorders. French studies found that bilberry supplementation significantly enhanced the ability to adjust for glare and darkness. Bilberry can help to prevent compromised vision for anyone who is susceptible to eyestrain. In the last few decades, more studies have confirmed the medicinal value of bilberry for a variety of eye disorders. Bilberry is routinely used by European medical practitioners for patients with cataracts, venous insufficiency, visual disorders, peptic ulcers, caPillary fragility, and even dysmenorrheal.
Finally, bilberry has a great effect on the activity of many enzymes that participate in inflammatory responses. Those who bruise easily or have trouble with caPillary weakness can benefit from the anthocyanidin content of bilberry. These anthocyanidins offer many actions including: stimulating the production of collagen; protecting existing collagen stores in the connective tissue; preventing the formation and release of inflammatory compounds including histamine, prostaglandins, and leukotrines; preventing certain enzyme reactions that occur as a result of inflammatory conditions; and scavenging for free radicals to reduce cellular damage from oxidizing agents.
Evening Primrose Oil
September 04, 2008 09:08 AM
The tiny seeds of the evening primrose flower are the source of oil that has been valued in the world for building health and overcoming a lot of common health problems. Evening primrose, also known as evening star, night willow herb, scabish, and tree primrose, has a recorded history of at least 500 years of use for its health promoting properties. Growing in a wider variety of climates, the plant can be found in rocky roadsides, shallow streams, or even high deserts.
The plant can even be found growing at elevations as high as 9,000 feet. This plant has yellow flowers from July through September that open after sunset and are pollinated by insects of the night. Open only until sunrise, the flowers die the next day, causing hundreds of small black seeds to form inside. These seeds are the source of the plant’s oil, with about 5,000 seeds being used for just one 500 mg capsule. Due to this, evening primrose can be relatively expensive. Evening primrose’s value in a variety of illnesses was recognized by American Indians and European immigrants. Indians used it to treat skin wounds, asthma, coughs, and also as a sedative. One of the first botanicals exported to Europe from North America, it was brought to Italy in 1619 and planted in the Padua Botanical Gardens. It was so valued by the Puritans that they called it the “King’s cure-all” and exported it to England. The ancients didn’t know scientifically why evening primrose was so effective for so many illnesses, but that didn’t affect its abilities. Modern science has found that the essential fatty acids that are found in the oil of the evening primrose seeds are the secret to the health-building properties.
Fat has gotten a bad name for itself in the past few years, but the truth is that there are actually certain types of fats that are vital for good health. One of these healthy fats is essential fatty acids, which are found in unprocessed vegetable, plant, and fish oils. One of the richest sources known is actually mother’s milk. Like vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids are nutritional substances that have far-reaching effects on many body processes.
These effects include reducing blood pressure, helping to prevent arthritis, reducing the growth rate of breast cancer, lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels, maintaining healthy skin, aiding in transmission of nerve impulses, playing a role in normal brain function, constituting the building blocks of body membranes, promoting proper hormone function, and forming the basis for prostaglandin production.
Because essential fatty acids can not be manufactured in the body, they must be consumed in the diet, with at least three percent of an adult’s daily caloric intake being recommended to be comprised of essential fatty acids. Children and pregnant women should have a diet containing at least five percent essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are essential for normal functioning of all body tissues.
Because of this, the list of symptoms of essential fatty acid deficiency includes reduced growth rate, skin disorders, male and female infertility, kidney abnormalities, decreased caPillary resistance, susceptibility to infection, heart problems, anemia, enlarged liver, sparse hair growth in infants, poor wound healing, and an increased susceptibility to infection.
In conclusion, to prevent or heal these conditions, a diet that is rich in essential fatty acids must be present. Evening primrose oil is a good source of essential fatty acids, containing about 72 percent linoleic acid and 9 percent GLA. Have you had your evening primrose oil today?
August 30, 2008 09:43 AM
Bilberry is a part of the herb world that has recently begun re-emerging because of recent scientific discoveries linking the fruit to therapeutic properties in blood vessel-related disorders. If you happen to suffer from any disorder that is related to weaken blood vessels, then you should definitely think about bilberry as part of your treatment, as it can be safe and extremely effective. Bilberry is a rich source of anthocyanidins, which gives it the unique ability to stabilize and protect collagen stores. This helps to prevent caPillary leakage and hemorrhage. Bilberry is currently being used to treat vascular and blood disorders, and is also a main ingredient in the treatment of many visual problems. It has even been proven effective for varicose veins, thrombosis, diabetes, macular degeneration, and angina.
Thanks to its rich amounts of anthocyanosides, bilberry is an extremely valuable treatment for a variety of disorders in which leaky veins cause tissue damage. Containing over 15 different anthocyanosides, bilberry protects the veins and arteries, as it boosts a great deal of physiological processes that results in the improved integrity of caPillary walls. Additionally, anthocyanosides prevent platelets from sticking to the walls of vessels, which helps to prevent the formation of blood clots. Bilberry has shown healing properties including: analgesic, anti-arthritic, anti-clotting, antiulcer, anti-edemic, anti-inflammatory, anti-osteotic, cyclooxygenase inhibitor, inhibits collagenase, inhibits elastase, lipoxygena, smooth muscle relaxant, lowers blood sugar, and vasodilator.
With more than 100 names from around the world, bilberry also can be known by: huckleberry, whortleberry, European blueberry, myrtle bilberry, myrtle blueberry, myrtle whortleberry, Rocky Mountain whortleberry, red whortleberry, black grouseberry, low bilberry, mountain blueberry, huckleberry, and blueberry. Bilberry is a perennial shrub that can be commonly found in many different climates around the world that are characterized by damp woodlands and moorlands in northern Europe, northern regions of America, and parts of Canada.
Bilberry grows as a small shrub with wiry, angular branches that do not usually grow over a foot high. The branches of bilberry bear waxy flowers and black berries that are covered with a grey bloom when they are ripe. The leather-like leaves of bilberry are initially rose color, but turn to a yellowish-green in the summer and a fiery red in the autumn.
Growing abundantly in areas of England and flourishing best on high ground in the north and west regions of Britain, bilberry possesses a round fruit or berry that has a flat top and is approximately the size of a black currant, with a taste that is slightly acidic. The berry bushes prefer filtered shade and moist, fertile soil that is acidic and non calcareous. The bilberry plant is related most closely to blueberries and currants, all of which belong to the genus Vaccinium. Bilberries are rich in carbohydrates, tannin, vitamin A, and vitamin C. It also contains glucoquinine, which is able to lower blood sugar.
Finally, bilberry is considered an astringent; it exhibits antibacterial properties in the intestines. Bilberry’s analgesic properties are often thought to come from chlorogenic-acid and ferulic-acid content. Bilberry contains copper, quercetin, linoleic-acid, magnesium, pantothenic acid, ursolic acid, and zinc. This herb is good for the parts of the body that contain small fragile blood vessels such as the eyes and this is why this herb is associated with promoting eye health.
Butcher's Broom Extract
May 02, 2008 11:04 AM
Butcher’s broom (Ruscus aculeatus) is a member of the lily family, and looks a bit like a holly bush with barbed evergreen leaves and bright red berries in the fall. At one time they were collected, tied together and sold to butchers as brooms to sweep out their shops.
The stiff leaves were particularly suitable for cleaning out offal and other waste products from butchered animals and also for scrubbing butcher’s blocks. It was also used as a deterrent to rodents with their eyes on the meat! Alternative names are sweet broom, kneeholy and Jew’s myrtle, so named because it was used during the Feast of the Tabernacles as one of the ‘four species’ used in the lulav.
The herb was commonly used in Ancient Greece and Rome, the Greeks using it to reduce swellings of various kinds and the Romans using it to treat varicose veins. It has the same uses today, only the mechanisms are understood better. It has been used for centuries in the Mediterranean area for the treatment of inflammations and problems with the circulation, and the Romans used to mash up the leaves and berries to add to wine, and they also used the roots and rhizome as a medicine by soaking them in wine. Today, it is illegal to use holly as a decoration in Italy, so butcher’s broom is used instead.
All parts of the plant are used, including the rhizome, and although it is used as a diuretic, and to control a loss of blood pressure experience by some people on standing up, it is its effect on blood vessels where its main medical benefits lie. Butcher’s Broom can strengthen certain portions of blood vessels, and change the flexibility properties of the cell walls.
The result of this is that the vessels are tightened up, which helps to maintain the flow of blood throughout the body, but also renders the cell walls less likely to leak or crack under stress. The result is a reduction in blood leakage from stretched and weakened blood vessels such as those that result in hemorrhoids, and also of conditions caused by weakened valves in the veins such as varicose veins and spider veins.
The blood pressure in the veins is very weak since they are so far away from the heart, the blood having passed through the arteries, through the caPillaries and into the veins on its way back to the heart before being pumped to the lungs. When the valves become weakened, particularly in the large veins in the leg, there is little to prevent the blood from coming under the influence of gravity and pooling back down the vein, causing distention and occasional ruptures.
A ruptured varicose vein can be very serious and cause significant blood loss. Weakened valves can also lead to the formation of blood clots, which is itself a very serious condition that eventually blocks the heart or causes a stroke. Not only can butcher’s broom strengthen the vein walls and prevent leakage, and also enable them to more easily resist the pressure that can cause them to rupture, but it can also be used to break down blood clots. In fact the herb is used in many European hospitals to prevent the formation of blood clots after surgery.
The active ingredients in the rhizome are saponins that contain the aglycones ruscogenin and neuroscogenin and the associated spirostanol and furostanol glycosides. The receptors that cause vasocontraction are known as adrenoreceptors, these receptors can be selectively stimulated by butcher’s broom extract to tighten the veins and improve the return of blood. When introduced intravenously, butcher’s broom was noted to constrict venules (small veins that feed the main veins but not arterioles (the small arteries than feed the caPillaries). Hence blood vessels can be selectively treated, and the effect on isolated blood vessels was enhanced by heating. Many supplements include calcium that helps to strengthen the blood vessel walls.
It is possible, therefore, to target the blood vessels that require constrictive treatment in order that they are strong enough to return blood to the heart rather than leak or distend. However, that is not the only health benefit that butcher’s broom provides. It can also be used as a diuretic. It is not a strong diuretic, but is used to relief the swelling of bruises and PMS, the reason given being that since leakage from the blood vessels is lessened, then more fluid is available to pass through the kidneys. There might be other reasons.
It is also use for the treatment of ortho static hypotension, the reduction in blood pressure that some people experience. It is believed that butcher’s broom can control this condition without increasing blood pressure, as most other remedies do, and which is almost as undesirable as the condition they are treating.
There are few problems associated with the herb, although few studies have been carried out its use by pregnant women. Although the one test that was carried indicated no effect, it would be wise for pregnant or nursing women not to use it until further studies have been carried out. Due to its effect in tightening blood vessels, its use is not recommended by anybody suffering from high blood pressure (hypertension). Many hypertension treatments are designed to render the blood vessels more elastic rather than constrict them.
In one very small study of pregnant women who used a topical cream containing butcher's broom, no side effects were seen for either the mother or the baby. However, very little information is available on how oral butcher's broom might affect a developing fetus, an infant, or a small child. Therefore, its use is not recommended during pregnancy, while breast-feeding, or during early childhood.
Because it tightens blood vessels, butcher's broom may worsen high blood pressure or benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). Individuals with either of these conditions should not use any form of butcher's broom without first consulting a doctor. The known side effects have already been stated, and they are fairly mild, but few studies have been made on the herb other than in Europe, and the side effects have not been fully explored. It is unlikely; however, that there are any as yet unknown serious side effects since butcher’s broom has been used now for a long time, particularly in Europe.
The term ‘ruscogenin’ is used for the collective mixture of active saponins in butcher’s broom, and many of the supplements are formulated to include from 5 to 15 mg of these. However, check the label, since standardization is not yet required in the USA, and in theory a preparation can include much more or much less ruscogenin. It is frequently supplied with other active ingredients, such as vitamin C or calcium, and perhaps even horse chestnut that affect blood vessels in a similar way. Always follow the instructions on the package, since these are designed for the specific strength of supplement you are using.
April 30, 2008 03:03 PM
Sharks do not have skeleton of bone but of cartilage, which is a dense form of connective tissue. Its main components are cells known as chondrocytes that are responsible for producing collagen fibers, an elastic protein called elastin that is responsible for the skin returning to its original shape after being pinched, and ground substance that is rich in proteoglycan, a protein with glycosaminoglycan chains.
Shark cartilage is said to be beneficial in the treatment of many conditions including arthritis, psoriasis (allied to arthritis), rheumatism, eczema, acne, allergies and the most controversial – cancer. It is said to inhibit tumor growth by inhibiting angiogenesis – the formation of new blood vessels by growing them from old ones. This can lead to metastasis, or the spread of cancer between organs and also feed the cancer cells with blood.
Shark cartilage has been used medicinally for thousands of years, particularly in ancient China where its use is documented, and might also have been in other areas where the consumption of fish was high. However, the production of shark cartilage and its trade is not well documented. The major cartilage consuming countries are Australia, India, Japan and the USA, although it is used or consumed in many other countries, especially Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and, increasingly, Europe.
The best quality of cartilage is from the blue shark due to its higher chondroitin quality. Chemically, chondroitin is an acid mucopolysaccharide, and a very large molecule that is used for a variety of purposes. In arthritis it is difficult to get it to the source of the problem due to its physical size and large doses are used to ensure that at least a proportion passes through the caPillaries to the joints.
Arthritis is a particularly prevalent disease and comes in two forms: osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis develops over a long period of time, and generally the cartilage roughens and becomes thin, while the bone becomes thinner. Extra synovial fluid, that lubricates the joint, can be formed and that causes swelling. The bone tried to repair itself, but degeneration continues and the tendons become affected. Eventually inflammation can occur leading to severe swelling and pain. There are several causes, the most common being injury or repetitive hard use of the joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is completely different, and is caused by the immune system rather than wear and tear. The immune system mistakes parts of your joints as being foreign, and attacks the synovial membrane, or lining of the joint. It might also attack the sheath around the tendons. This eventually causes the cartilage to thin and the joints to wear, and the inflammatory response can cause painful inflammations. There is no apparent cause, though heredity, lifestyle and hormones might all be connected.
The effect of shark cartilage on arthritis is well documented, and in one study in the 1970s, only 11% of patients did not respond well to a treatment of cartilage injections. The pain relief the injections provided lasted from six weeks to over a year, though no reason could be provided for the vast difference. However, it did seem to demonstrate that the remedy was more than just a placebo. In another study involving bedridden osteoarthritis patients, eight out of ten could leave their beds after only three weeks of oral cartilage treatment. Shark cartilage appears to be effective when administered both intravenously and orally.
In a later placebo study involving 147 arthritis patients, they were given either shark cartilage or a placebo. Those with the placebo were encouraged to use other treatments when their pain became severe. After five years the placebo group reported a 5% drop in pain scores compared to 85% of the group taking shark cartilage. The joint deterioration in each group was assessed, and was considerably less in the cartilage group, who also lost less time at work through pain.
All of these results indicate that shark cartilage can be used to relieve osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis pain in at least 60% of sufferers. Since rheumatoid arthritis has been linked to psoriasis, this could also explain its effects on psoriasis. What the studies did indicate is that you need not wait five years to find if the treatment is effective or not: if you do not experience positive results within between four and six weeks, then shark cartilage treatment will likely not work for you.
There is no doubt that shark cartilage can provide relief to painful, swollen joints, and this is likely due to the mucopolysaccharides. It can also prevent the undesirable growth of new blood vessels into the cartilage and appears to help to regulate the immune system. These are also two of the reasons why it is believed by some to be an effective treatment for cancer by preventing metastasis.
It was the publication of the book “Sharks Don’t get Cancer” that started the rush for shark cartilage as a a treatment for cancer, but the problem is that sharks do get cancer – they even get cancer of the cartilage! However, that does not mean that the scientific reasons for the inhibition of metastsis are invalid. They are valid, and it is metastsis rather than the original cancer that ferquently leads to death. Metastsis is the spread of the disease round the body by the bloodstream, and shark cartilage appears to be able to help to prevent that. It also prevents the growth of blood cells into cancerous areas to feed the cancers with oxygen and other nutrients.
Although there are few reported side effects of shark cartilage, in the interest of safety it is advised that children and pregnant women should avoid it. The same is true of people recovering from recent surgery since it could slow healing due to its effect on repairing blood vessels. If you have a low white blood cell count, do not have a shark cartilage enema since it can cause a potentially fatal infection.
Otherwise it should be safe to take, and is available in many forms including creams, capsules, powders and injections. The recommended dosage is 1 gram dried shark cartilage for each 7 Kg (15 lb) body weight. Once you begin to see an effect on the pain of your arthritis, one can then try to reduce the dose to 1 gram for each 18 Kg (40 lb) body weight.
Activated Charcoal - Highly absorbent material to combat poisoning
April 24, 2008 02:44 PM
Activated charcoal has been treated by heat to open up millions of small spaces between the carbon atoms and turn it literally into an atomic sponge that adsorbs both organic and organic impurities.
This heat treatment is carried out in the absence of oxygen, so the charcoal cannot burn. Instead, what oxygen it did contain is driven off leaving behind all of these interstitial gaps that multiply the effective surface area by factors of ten. Since it is the surface area of the charcoal that determines its potency, then the greater this is the better.
Activated charcoal has a massive surface area, and just ten grams has the same surface area as nine American football pitches or 77 tennis courts. Ten grams is just marginally more than a third of an ounce. The term adsorb has a different meaning to absorb, and while a real sponge absorbs water by mopping it up through caPillary action and suction, activation carbon adsorbs substances through a form of chemical attraction. You get rid of water from the sponge by squeezing it, but that doesn’t work with activated charcoal, since the substances are bound to it, not just physically constrained.
This huge surface area provides activated charcoal with innumerable bonding sites, and when chemicals that are attracted to carbon pass by they are attached to the surface. They cannot get free again, as water in a sponge can, but are bound to the surface of the carbon. Because the digestive system has no effect on charcoal then whatever is bound to it passes naturally through the body.
It is most effective at binding other carbon-based materials, and other substances with the right electronic arrangement, but others will just pass straight through. Because it is a chemical process, once all of the empty bonding sites have been taken up, the charcoal loses its effectiveness and has to be replaced. It is possible to regenerate it, but hardly worthwhile for you to do so because of the small quantities you use.
Because of the way it works, activated charcoal can help people to recover from some forms of food poisoning. It can adsorb gases in the intestine and help to relieve the pain of excessive gas in the gut. It has many additional uses that will be touched on later, but for now we will look at its effect on poisons because that is where activated charcoal is of greatest benefit to us.
It does not adsorb and neutralize all poisons, but is very effective with those that it can be sued for. Professor Touery proved a point when he drank a lethal dose of strychnine in front of colleagues at the French Academy of Medicine in 1831 and came through unscathed. He had mixed the strychnine with activated charcoal, and the fact that he lived after drinking a dose that would certainly have led to a very painful death within minutes testifies to the powerful effect of activated charcoal as an potential antidote for poisoning.
Ever medicine cabinet should have an emergency supply of activated carbon, especially those with young children in the household. However, this is not good news for the pharmaceutical companies who have reacted by refuting some of the claims made in its favor: they have claimed that it is not effective against arsenic. If that is so, then how did Michel Bertrand survive after swallowing 5 grams of arsenic trioxide – 150 times what is regarded as the lethal dose? He did this is 1813 after mixing it with activated charcoal, just as Professor Touery was to do 18 years later with ten times the lethal dose of strychnine.
It is true, however, that it does not have this degree of activity with all poisons, and it has no effect on cyanide, alcohols, antifreeze (glycols) and lithium. It also has no effect on corrosive poisons such as the strong alkalis used in oven clearers, or hydrocarbons such as kerosene. The way it works is adsorb the poison and prevent it being released into the body. For that to happen, the poison must have an affinity for carbon, and its adsorption site, and not all substances possess that property. Those that do however are permanently bound and therefore safe.
For charcoal to be effective in neutralizing a poison, it must be swallowed within an hour of taking the poison, or the poison will be too far advanced ion the digestive process for the charcoal to do any good. Keep in mind, though, that it is not selective, and activated charcoal can adsorb nutrients and other beneficial constituents of your body’s chemistry. It is important therefore that you take in only when necessary: you might need several doses if the poison was severe, but once it has done its job it is not meant to be used as a maintenance material to take ‘just in case’. Used like that, it can do harm.
If charcoal can adsorb poisons then it makes sense to believe that it can also adsorb some of the harmful agents that cause food poisoning. Not all food poisoning of course, but certainly those organisms that emit toxins that are attracted to carbon. And this is, in fact, the case. Food poisoning is caused by bacteria rather than viruses, and is not the presence of the bacteria that make you vomit and feel very ill.
As bacteria grow in your body they release toxins, or poisons, into your digestive system. These poisons are what make you ill. They can seriously affect the complete gastro-intestinal tract, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and inflammation and swelling of the small and large intestine. The latter can cause abdominal cramps and severe colic, and the severity of the symptoms depends very much upon the type of bacteria and the number of them in your body.
Many of these toxins are attracted to carbon since they are frequently organic based, and activated charcoal can be used to adsorb them. Once adsorbed they lose their potency, and since carbon is not digested by the body, they are passed harmlessly through the colon and eliminated in the faeces. It can also be used to eliminate many other foreign bodies from your gut, including viruses and fungi and might possibly reduce the concentration of uric acid, which can bring relief to gout sufferers.
Activated charcoal has many uses, and is normally available in capsule form. It can be dangerous to take too much, particularly if you suffer from intestinal problems that cause constipation, because the charcoal itself can have that effect. However, there is no better emergency treatment for accidental poisoning in the home, although, since it is not suitable for all poisons, you must still regard poisoning as an emergency and contact the emergency services.
Activated charcoal, or activated carbon as it is sometimes called, is also a good emergency treatment for vomiting and the other unpleasant effects of food poisoning. It deals with bacterial toxins in the same way as any other, though once again you must refer to your physician before or after using it – preferably the former.
Bilberry Extract Is A Powerful Antioxidant That Strengthens Veins
April 12, 2008 11:06 AM
Bilberry extract is taken from the Vaccinium myrtillus, or bilberry, a small blue berry that has been used traditionally for the treatment of conditions now known to be due to inflammation and the action of free radicals on the body.
Among these is atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, caused by the free radical oxidation of the low density lipids that carry cholesterol around the bloodstream, and that cause deposition of fatty plaques on the arterial walls and eventually constricts them to a stage that can cause heart failure or a stroke, depending on whether the arteries are close to the heart or in the brain.
However, additional to treating this condition, bilberry has also traditionally been used for the treatment of varicose veins and also for certain eye conditions. In fact it was during the Second World war that the Royal Air Force in Britain received reports from pilots that their night vision improved after eating bilberries. Not only their vision, but the restoration of night vision after exposure to glare.
This was extremely important to war-time pilots who had to be able to rapidly adapt their vision to fly their plane after exposure to searchlights and explosive detonations. That is the reason for anything that appeared to promote this essential adaptation to be reported.
The pharmacology of these effects have been found to be due to the anthocyanosides in which bilberries are particularly rich. Anthocyanosides consist of an anthocyanaidin backbone, to which one of either arabinose, galactose or glucose can be bound. Since bilberry contains five of these anthocyanadins, then there are fifteen different anthocyanosides in the fruit concentrate.
The area of the retina that appears to control night vision, and the transition from day to night sight, is called the epithelium which is connected with purple vision. Anthocyanosides seem to have an affinity for this part of the retina, and in so doing plays an important part in this type of vision, specifically night vision although it is also beneficial in improving day vision.
Although bilberry also contains vitamins A and C, hydroquinone and tannins, it is the anthocyanosides that provide it with its unique antioxidant properties, and also its effect upon collagen fibers. It can cross-link collagen fibers to help overcome weaknesses in the connective tissues such as cartilage, tendons and the walls of blood vessels.
Its effect as an antioxidant is to prevent the cleavage of collagen by the cyzymes that are secreted by leukocytes generated by the immune system. By preventing histamine release, and release of prostaglandins and other proteins and cells mobilized during the immune inflammatory response to the detection of foreign invasion into human tissue, anthocyanosides can help to reduce inflammation and to protect against other extreme reactions of the immune system that can harm the organism it evolved to protect.
The most powerful property of anthocyanosides are their antioxidant properties: perhaps even its only property once all of the conditions it helps to protect against are fully understood. An antioxidant combines with free radicals and destroys them. Free radicals are particularly vile chemical entities that require an electron to make them stable, and they take this electron from the nearest source. This can result in oxidation and destruction of many bodily tissues leading to premature aging, atherosclerosis, eye damage and many other problems that result from the destruction of body cells and tissue.
The various constituents that make up bilberry act in concert to scavenge the free radicals and increase the supply of oxygen to the eye. The benefits of this are in helping to prevent cataracts and glaucoma, the latter due to the effect of the anthocyanoside cross-linking effect on the structure of the collagen in the eye. It can also help in cases of macular degeneration that affects the central area of the retina which might be due to the same property of there glucoside.
Moving away from the eyes and back to the vascular system, the collagen cross-linking properties of the flavonoids, which is what anthocyanosides basically are, can help to repair damaged vein tissue by strengthening the vein walls themselves, and also by providing support for the cell membranes, or outer layers of the cells.
This in turn builds up more strength in the vein tissue below the outside walls and contributes to an overall reduction in the weakness of the vein. This in turn enables it better to withstand the internal pressure put upon it by the failure of the valve that created the problem. In this way bilberries can be used to help repair the damage done by varicose veins and improve the function of the vein in returning blood to the heart from the extremities of the legs and also to help reduce the pain and swelling of varicose veins.
In addition to these beneficial effects on the vascular system and the eyes, bilberry can also help to decrease the permeability of the blood-brain barrier to pollutants, drugs and other undesirable chemicals by improving the resistance of the caPillaries in the brain to the transfer of such substances through their walls. It does so by preventing the collagen of the caPillaries in the brain being degraded either by enzymes or other agents, Also, by helping to strengthen that collagen structure so that it becomes more impermeable to the larger molecules that form the pollutants.
A lesser known constituent of bilberry is myrtillin, an anthocyanoside monoglucoside that is also available in all green plants, that possesses anti-glycemic properties. What this means is that it can reduce hyperglycemia and glycosurea, and so reduce blood sugar without reducing the blood sugar level to dangerously low levels. In other words it is an ideal insulin substitute.
Native Americans used green plants for teas for centuries and were free from diabetes until the came into contact with Europeans and adopted their dietary habits. Although the case has to be proved, it appears highly likely that it was the myrtillin that kept them free from a condition that affects so many other races.
Irrespective of that, however, it is for its powerful antioxidant effect that bilberry finds its best use, and also its effects on varicose veins. However, all of the above health benefits that bilberry provides, can likely be laid at the door of the combined antioxidant effect of its vitamin C content and the anthocyanosides – including the glucoside myrtillin.
Fight Night Blindness, Boost Eye And Vascular Health With Bilberry
March 19, 2008 09:01 PM
Weakness of blood vessels is often seen during the aging process when blood vessels become fragile. Dark bilberry fruit has been shown to reduce blood vessel permeability, improve caPillary resistance, and provide antioxidant properties, to scavenge free radicals. One way to fight the aging process of the body is to promote health in the vascular system by eating nourishing foods, exercising, and learning how to handle stress. Evidence shows that eating five servings or more a day of fruit and vegetables can reduce the risk of heart disease, cataracts, and some other disorders that related to blood vessel health. The dark pigment in fruits and vegetables has many health advantages.
A lot of people think that the only way to improve blood vessel health is to reduce blood cholesterol, minimizing the risk of a heart attack. That is an essential goal, but blood vessels should also have strength and integrity to maintain their health in order to carry nutrients and oxygen through the body to feed the tissues. As we age, eye function begins to diminish and causes a lot of people to fear that they are losing their eyesight.
The blood vessels decline in function, but there are other factors such as the reduction of arrestin and rhodopsin. Arrestin is a protein while rhodopsin is the light sensitive pigment that can be found in the retina. The dark pigment of fruits and vegetables is extremely important to blood vessels and the health of the structures and proteins of the eyes. Brilliant colored fruits and vegetables may prevent strokes, heart disease, and help long-term vision because they improve integrity of blood vessels.
Bilberry fruit has been studied for over 40 years for its supportive effects on blood vessel health, blood circulation, and lymph flow. Blood vessels in the brain, heart, eyes, stomach, veins in the legs, and actually anywhere in the body have the potential to leak. In many regions bilberry extract has been used to support individuals with microcirculatory disorders including varicose veins, atherosclerosis, and degenerative retinal conditions including macular degeneration and cataracts. Diabetes, atherosclerosis, poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, excess alcohol and an inability to handle stress can all contribute to blood vessel disorders and cause the caPillary’s membrane to thicken, therefore, increasing caPillary permeability causing edema and leaking of fluid.
During the aging process, oxidative damage occurs by free radicals in the eyes, which then causes a loss in the transparency of the lens. Symptoms that occur because of this are blurred vision, increased sensitivity to glare, reduced visual acuity, color perception, and light sensitivity. When the eye structure begins to break down, vision impairment and cataract formation result. Bilberry extract has been shown to improve vision and twilight vision, helping the retina adapt to darkness and glare.
With aging, a gradual degenerative process is experienced which is caused by free radical damage to our body’s genetic material, cell membranes, and tissues. Free radicals attack blood vessel endothelial cells, and they begin to rupture. Antioxidants help to prevent AMD and reduce the damage of the retina’s photo receptors. In summary, blood vessel health is an important part of age management. By improving diet, managing stress, exercising, and supplementing with bilberry extract, one can promote the health of blood vessels throughout the body, and therefore, support the eyes.
Fight Histamine With Quercetin
February 11, 2008 03:48 PM
Quercetin is one of the more powerful of the body’s antioxidants, and it can also be used to reduce the rate of histamine release by the body normally initiated by contact with an allergenic substance (for which your immune system has designed an antigen). We shall examine the biochemical mechanism which this is achieved, but first let’s have a closer look at quercetin and what it actually is.
Quercetin is what is known as a phytochemical, which is simply the scientific name for a chemical that is naturally produced by plants. Other phytochemicals include vitamin C and omega 3 fatty acids, so the term is very broad ranging for any substance that is produced by plants. It is commonly known as a flavanol, one of a family of compounds known as flavonoids that give color to plants.
It is a very active flavonoid, with very powerful antioxidant properties, in addition to acting as an anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory. Histamine is an amine released as part of the body’s immune response to allergenics, and quercetin inhibits its manufacture and release. This amine is an irritant and can itself cause inflammation and the other symptoms associated with allergies such as runny and itchy eyes, a stuffy nose, sneezing and itchy spots. Quercetin can be used to alleviate these symptoms by blocking the manufacture in the body of the histamine that causes them.
It demonstrates other anti-inflammatory properties such as alleviating the symptoms of arthritis, and also helps to destroy free radicals in the body through its strong antioxidant properties, but before we discuss how it does this we shall have a closer look at the mechanisms used in its effect in inhibiting histamine.
Calmodulin is a protein that is used to transport calcium ions, Ca++, across the membranes of certain cells in the body, and by doing so it helps to mediate a number of biochemical processes within the body, among them the immune response and inflammation. It should not be thought these are always unwelcome responses: on the contrary, they are the body’s way of reacting to foreign bodies and preventing more serious conditions from developing.
However, there are instances where the body can become sensitized to certain substances and overreact to their presence leading to conditions such as hay fever or, considerably more serious, asthma. These are just two of the undesirable manifestations of the human immune system that we would be better without. What quercetin does is to prevent calmodulin from properly binding to certain enzymic proteins and so suppress the effect of these proteins. Among these are the enzymes that control the secretion of histamine from mast cells.
Mast cells are found mainly in areas prone to injury and at the interface between internal tissues and outside world, such as the nose, mouth, lungs, eyes, blood vessels and feet. They contain granules rich in histamine that degranulate and released the histamine when the immune system detects foreign bodies such as pollen grains and dust mites, especially when the body has created antigens against them.
Quercetin suppresses the release of histamine from the granules in the mast cells by preventing the degranulation. The release of the histamine is not completely halted, but its effects are reduced and quercetin is used in the treatment of asthma where it is believed to help reduce the symptoms by reducing histamine-induced swelling in the airways.
A similar application of this flavonoid is in reducing the inflammatory response to arthritis, the main cause of the swelling of this painful condition. Your skin can also be affected by inflammation that is partially controllable by quercetin. Collagen and fibronectin biosynthesis is increased that help to maintain not only healthy joints, but also to speed up the healing of wounds and repair damaged nerves. It is also believed that quercetin can hold back the effects of aging on the skin, and slow down the formation of wrinkles.
There are other applications of this versatile flavanol, including its effect on acute prostatitis where it reduces oxidative stress and the accompanying inflammation of the prostate gland. In fact, it is believed to have positive effect on many conditions caused by free radical oxidation and excessive reaction by the immune system causing inflammation. Apart from the allergies and arthritis previously referred to, quercetin is believed to have been effectively used in the treatment of gout, macular degeneration and heart disease, and it can also help to prevent the oxidation of low density lipoproteins (LDL) responsible for transporting cholesterol to where it is needed to repair major blood vessels.
When these lipoproteins become oxidized by free radicals then the cholesterol associated with them tends to be excessively deposited in the arteries it is meant to be repairing, and lead to atherosclerosis. This condition can lead to heart failure or to strokes if the blood vessels are in the brain.
Studies have indicated that the flavonoid might help to prevent certain cancers by preventing the nutrition of some types of cancerous cells, effectively killing them. Due to its phytoestrogen properties, quercetin can be used to bind to the sites in cancerous cells that are receptive to estrogen and so prevent their growth. Many types of cancerous cells need estrogen for their growth and proliferation, and phytoestrogens mimic the effect of this hormone. However, these are laboratory studies, and more work is required.
More certain is the effect of quercetin on heart disease due largely to the aforementioned control of cholesterol deposition in your arteries, but also through its ability to strengthen the caPillaries. However, when all things are considered, it is in the properties of this non-allergenic bioflavonoid to fight histamine release that it finds it’s most popular and effective use.
So what is the best way to take quercetin? Like most bioflavonoids, it is available naturally in the majority of plant foods. Particularly rich sources are broccoli, red onions, red apple skins, black tea, red wine, red and purple berries and almost all dark green leafy vegetables.
However, the name of the game these days is to take measured doses, and while you should continue to eat these foods, you can also receive controlled doses by use of supplements. From 200 to 500 milligrams thrice daily is a good average dose, depending on the severity of your immune reaction or allergy. Bromelain is believed to improve its absorption in the gut, and quercetin is frequently provided with bromelain, which itself is also a good treatment for allergies and excessive response of your immune system to irritation.
Bromelain is an enzyme, generally extracted from pineapple, and treatments higher than the above doses of quercetin with or without bromelain are available online, although like any natural remedy you should inform your own physician of the dosage you are taking.
There is no better non-allergenic bioflavonoid to fight histamine and its potentially unpleasant effects on your body than quercetin.
Age Gracefully With Anti Aging Nutrition
January 19, 2008 01:57 PM
With today’s society constantly frowning upon aging and advertisements constantly urging consumers to buy products to tighten, firm, and rejuvenate their skin, our society has placed a very high value on youthful appearances. No one wants to look old, so a natural product to help this is very important. However, just because consumers want to use natural products doesn’t necessarily mean they will, as many wonder if natural products will actually work. Despite some reservation from the consumer, the popularity of all natural anti-aging products is on the rise. Although many products can help minimize signs of aging, companies are starting to recommend the start of preventative skin care regimens in a woman’s late teens.
The key to preventing aging is keeping skin clear, pores unclogged, and you skin moisturized in your twenties so that by the time you reach your thirties, aging is not quite as evident. By age thirty, collagen levels start to reduce, and skin starts to lose its elasticity. It is important to continue a skin care routine and work in some anti-aging products. By age forty and beyond, it’s extremely important to continue the regimen you have build in your thirties while adding an anti-aging serum.
On top of a regular skin care routine, it’s essential for women to use products that contain some level of SPF, which is very important for preventing fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots. Along with SPF, antioxidants are critical in anti aging products, preventing free radical damage and also minimizing facial redness by constricting protecting fine caPillaries. Good antioxidant and anti-aging ingredients include blueberries, green tea, ginkgo biloba, cucumber, aloe, lavender, cranberry seed oil, and pomegranate.
Moisturizing the skin is also an anti-aging essential, helping the derma layer provide nourishment and adding cushion to support the skin. A good moisturizer will also help to fight dry skin and wrinkles. Some moisturizing formulas used in Japan have an ability to provide omega essential fatty acids and help to slow the formation of wrinkles. Jojoba, aloe, and avocado oils are also extremely hydrating and effective in the reduction and appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Since aging can cause the skin to be discolored, there are many products that can help to minimize the appearance of age spots and help to brighten and even out skin tone. A skin tone balancer, using natural skin lighteners such as kojic acid, lemon extract, and bilberry extract, can stop the process of melanin production and also reduce existing age spots. Sugar cane extract and sugar maple extract act as natural exfoliates, which help to brighten the skin by getting rid of dead skin cells. Night creams containing macadamia nut oil, mulberry bark, and licorice extracts help to firm and brighten the skin and also lighten age spots.
Although natural products are definitely better for consumers’ skin, they often have short shelf lives. In order to fight this, many companies create smaller batches with shorter shelf lives, to make sure that customers will use the entire product before it expires. For retailers to sell anti-aging products and compete with mainstream lines, marketers stress that education is needed to make consumers aware of how great natural skin care is.
Better Vision Through Bilberries
January 17, 2008 02:20 PM
"Eat your carrots! They're good for your eyes!" Isn't this what your mother always told you? Isn't that what you learned as a kid? Well, how about re-writing that phrase? How about making it into the phrase: "Eat your bilberries!"
What is a bilberry? A bilberry is a shrub just over a foot tall. The bilberry plant possesses a fruit, the cousin of the blueberry, that is indigenous to Northern Europe. These fruits contain bioflavonoids, an antioxidant with a variety of health benefits. A thousand years ago bilberries were used to relieve diarrhea and kidney stones. Today, the bilberry sees use as a treatment and preventive measure in a variety of situations. Some of the benefits seen in the modern age include possible prevention of heart disease and macular degeneration. In fact, bilberries may help strengthen the eyes when used by people regularly who aren't suffering from any ocular conditions.
The active ingredients in the fruit are tannins, which are an astringent and anti-inflammatory. The bilberry also contains anthocyanidins, which are compounds that strengthen caPillaries and improve the flow of blood through the circulatory system. These anthocyanidins also increase the body’s production of rhodopsin, which is a pigment responsible for enhanced night vision and increased adaptability to changes in light by the eye. In fact, a jam made from the fruit was used by British Royal Air Force pilots in World War II who often reported that it improved their night vision, a crucial aid in an ace pilot's career.
The anthocyanidins in the bilberry fruit are a bioflavonoid. A bioflavonoid is a substance found in plants which helps strengthen the walls of caPillaries. Many bioflavonoids support human health in various ways, such as naringenin which aids in cancer prevention. Others may be useful in treating liver conditions such as cirrhosis. The variety of bioflavonoid uses is a field that is still being developed.
Bioflavonoids have an extensive history. From the previously mentioned uses for bilberries to research after World War II into the connection between bioflavonoids and vitamin C, these biologically active wonder substances are an exciting branch of health supplements. They are available in various forms for your convenience.
Bilberry extract comes in a capsule form, usually meant to be taken three times daily. The manufacturer will have instructions in case of varying dosages. Bilberry extract contains the most potent dose of bioflavonoid that the bilberry has to offer. It is this potency that makes the extract the best choice for maximum ocular benefit. But it is not the only choice, in case you are looking for another way to enjoy receiving its unique health bonuses.
Bilberry tea is also made from the dried berries or the leaves of the plant. The berries are also eaten fresh or made into jam, just like the aforementioned British pilots did. The taste of a bilberry is very similar to that of a blueberry: slightly tart, slightly sweet. It has traditionally been baked in pies and it a special treat with syrup and ginger ice cream. That's a taste worthy of the fruit's pedigree!
In the world of health supplements, the unique properties and advantages this fruit, particularly bilberry extract, make it a worthy addition to anyone's daily regimen. Maybe there's a toddler in the house who won't eat his carrots. He will get similar eye benefits by eating the sweet fruit of the bilberry plant. Perhaps a tasty dessert that packs its own reward would be a welcome addition to the dinner table. The possibilities are limitless. Try some of the fruit or extract and invest in a healthier future.
Bioflavonoids: Boost Your Brain and Circulatory Health
January 17, 2008 01:16 PM
Bioflavonoids are most commonly praised for their antioxidant properties. They were first identified in the 1930’s by Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Ph.D., a Nobel laureate. They are thought to prevent the breakdown of vitamin C in the body, and they also boast their own antioxidant capabilities. Over 5000 different bioflavonoids have been identified in nature. They are classified into categories including flavones, anthocyanidins, flavones, flavonols, isoflavones and flavans. Science is still discovering new types and their healing properties every day. The best part about them is that they are all natural and very powerful.
For example, scientists have been promoting the amazing benefits of the antioxidant found in dark chocolate. It is called epicatechin, and it is an excellent bioflavonoid for heart health. Studies show that it helps maintain healthy blood vessels. Antioxidants in dark chocolate are also believed to lower high blood pressure, according to a study published in the Aug. 27, 2003 edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association.
Rutin and quecertin, both found in red grapes, are also linked with a healthier circulatory system. A study conducted at the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1995 found that “the antioxidant and platelet inhibitory properties of other naturally occurring compounds in the wine the consumption of flavonoid-containing foods and beverages may retard atherogenesis and prevent thrombosis on a daily basis.” Translated into common terms, the researchers concluded that bioflavonoid may slow artery and vein degeneration and prevent blood clotting.
The American Heart Association feels that this area of research is very promising. Their website states, “Phytochemicals are chemicals found in plants. Plant sterols, flavonoids and sulfur-containing compounds are three classes of micronutrients found in fruits and vegetables. These compounds may be important in reducing the risk of atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of fatty deposits in artery walls.”
As far as healthy brain function is concerned, bioflavonoid is thought to help with microcirculation in small vessels throughout the body. You might recall seeing ginkgo biloba in the news. It has been shown to improve memory with its powerful bioflavonoid in numerous studies. What makes ginkgo especially significant is that its bioflavonoids have a stronger potency than many other bioflavonoids, and it seems to have specific benefits in the caPillary beds of the brain.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information recently reported the following on their website: “Flavonoids were shown to activate key enzymes in mitochondrial respiration and to protect neuronal cells by acting as antioxidants, thus breaking the vicious cycle of oxidative stress and tissue damage. Furthermore, recent data indicate a favorable effect of flavonoids on neuro-inflammatory events.” In other words, bioflavonoid is thought to help protect your brain cells from degeneration, and recent data shows that they may also reduce swelling.
Researchers are eager to discover all the healing properties bioflavonoids possess. Modern medicine is now faced with an all natural group of chemicals found in plant pigments that may prove to be effective in preserving brain function and promoting cardiovascular health. This is fantastic news for people that prefer natural supplements over expensive prescription pills. Current research shows that these chemicals have significant powers for enhancing overall health. In fact, many researchers advocate including bioflavonoid supplements in your daily health maintenance plan.
Power Your Day With Natural Energizer's
December 20, 2007 01:48 PM
If you tend to feel a bit tired now and again, there are plenty of natural energizers that you can use to power your day and provide you with that much needed energy to enable you to get going and keep going.
If you are suffering from chronic fatigue then you need something to get you going, and many people suffering from conditions such as fibromyalgia that can cause severe fatigue and very poor sleeping patters, need an energy booster each morning. It might not help the pain, but it will help their bodies to get moving and provide the energy required for everyday living.
So what substances are available to help you energize yourself for what the day is to bring you? The Chinese use cordyceps, which is type of mushroom that truly could be describes as ‘magic’. It grows on the caterPillars of a type of moth and can improve stamina and endurance, and also regulate sleeping patterns. It is useful for the prevention of depression, and improves the function of your lungs and also of the adrenal function. A low adrenal function can lead to low blood sugar and loss of energy.
Energy is obtained from the cellular mitochondria that metabolize blood glucose into energy. Part of this metabolic process requires the presence of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Coryceps is known to increase the ATP levels in human cells and so enable the mitochondria to generate more energy. It is used in China by those recovering from surgery or childbirth, and is known to replace the energy lost after heavy exertion.
Its added benefits to those suffering from sexual dysfunction are well known, and it appears to promote stronger blood flow to the extremities of the body. In Chinese medicine it replenishes yin and yang jing and is also a strong antioxidant. It is used extensively by athletes and people who expend a lot of energy while working and exercising.
A magnesium deficiency is rare in the western diet, but it can cause symptoms including fatigue, weakness, irritability, muscle cramps, insomnia stress and appetite loss. Your cardiovascular system is dependent on magnesium for its functioning, and it contributes significant to the strength of the heart muscle contraction and hence the blood flow.
It is also an important component of bone, and during times of stress its stores can be significantly depleted. It is when stressed, then, that most people might benefit from a supplement, and a general energy boosting supplement would also benefit from a small amount of magnesium to replace what is lost through stress. Many people needing a tonic to give them a start to the day might also be under stress for one reason or another, and a magnesium supplement will do them no harm.
D-ribose is found in all living cells. It is an essential building block of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid). DNA, of course, is essential to life while RNA is used in DNA replication. Ribose is responsible for providing energy to every cell in your body, and without it you would not exist. Athletes in particular believe that a ribose supplement increases stamina and endurance, and it is used to help speed up recovery of the heart after surgery and after heart attacks.
Ribose seems an excellent candidate to be included in any energizing tonic due both to its ubiquitous presence throughout the body and also because it is a sugar – a monosaccharide in fact, and hence simple and easily absorbed by the body.
Yohimbe is obtained from the bark of a predominantly West African tree, and when ingested it releases an indole alkaloid called yohimbine into the bloodstream.
Yohimbine is a vasodilator, which means that it widens the blood vessels allowing a greater flow of blood to the extremities. This is one reason why it is also prized by those suffering from erectile dysfunction although it also claimed to be an aphrodisiac. However, as an energizer it is likely the increased blood flow that provides a greater supply of oxygen to the muscles that is the most important property. There are also several more alkaloids contained in yohimbe bark that likely have an effect on its energy enhancing effects on the body.
Guarana is extracted from the seeds of the guarana shrub, native to South America, and Brazil in particular. The Amazonian natives use it in their food and drinks to improve their alertness and energy and its main benefits likely come from its caffeine content. This is about twice that of coffee beans, and it should therefore be used with caution.
An excess of caffeine can cause restlessness, tension and nervousness due both to the caffeine content (xanthines), and that of other alkaloids such as theophylline and theobromine. They not only enhance your alertness and energy levels but suppress appetite and increase your metabolic rate that results in an increased need for energy providing foods such as sugars. However, guarana is used by those needing a boost and makes a good energizer for those that find it difficult to keep both physically and mentally active throughout the day.
Bee products provide sugars in a natural form and are excellent and natural energizers for your whole body. Whether you use royal jelly, honey or any other of the bee products available as supplements, they will not only increase your energy levels but also provide you with many other health benefits.
From treating athlete’s foot to healing wounds and alleviating stomach ulcers, honey has many medicinal uses. It is an antioxidant and antiseptic, and can heal you of many conditions from head to toe, inside and out. Bee products are a must in any restorative or energizing tonic and are completely safe with no known side effects.
Each of the above six substances has its place as a natural energizer, and each could help to power your whole day. Put them together and you have an ultra-powerful mix of natural products that should enable you to meet any physical demands put on you. You are unlikely to come across such a combination of effective substances of course, but should make your choice of tonic from any or some of the above, and you can even use them in combination since they do not appear to interact with each other.
Pine Bark Extract 150mg - 95% Procyanidolic Value
December 18, 2007 04:49 PM
New Source Naturals Pine Bark Extract
150 mg Extract Standardized to 95% Procyanidolic Value
UPC: 021078020820 SN2082
Pine bark is a powerful antioxidant that can help strengthen blood vessels and boost overall health and wellness in individuals taking the supplement. We as individuals age by oxidation and destruction of cells in the body. Slow the aging process with antioxidants daily and look younger longer.
I recommend a good herbal tea loaded with antioxidants such as yerbamate royal by wisdom of the ancients in conjunction with a pine bark extract like this new Source Naturals supplement.
A Periwinkle Extract Vinpocetine May Promote Cerebral Blood Flow
December 01, 2007 09:05 AM
Periwinkles form the plant genus Vinca, of which the lesser periwinkle and the greater periwinkle are the two members. They are also a form of dogbane, known for its alkaloid properties. Periwinkles are of interest to the medical profession due to their biosynthesis of a number of alkaloids that are used to protect themselves from bacteria and are also toxic to the herbivores that would otherwise eat them.
Many other plants produce alkaloids, perhaps the best known being poppy, that produces the alkaloid opium that is the precursor to heroin. The alkaloids of the periwinkle, however, have a much more beneficial use for mankind in their action on certain types of cancer such as Hodgkin’s disease, and also on the flow of blood to the brain.
The components of the periwinkle include vinblastine, which is used in the treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and it is the only plant known to produce the alkaloid, although only in very small quantities after synthetic seeding. This involves introducing modified tryptamines to the plant so that they produce the desired alkaloid, although only in quantities of 0.002% of the weight of the plant. Although small, this is still less expensive that synthesizing the alkaloid in a chemical plant rather than a biological one!
Chemists are now seeking more readily synthesizable alternative forms of the alkaloid that have the same effect, again using the periwinkle as a botanical chemical factory to provide them with a lead as to possible synthetic routes. However, it is for the application of another alkaloid of this amazing little plant that we are more concerned with here.
In addition to vinblastine, the periwinkle produces the alkaloid vincamine, a type of tryptamine that can be extracted from the leaves of the lesser periwinkle, the Vinca minor. This periwinkle has been used through the ages as an invigorating tonic and as an astringent to treat bleeding gums and sores in the mouth. Vincamine promotes the aerobic glycolysis that is essential to cerebral health.
Normal glycolysis, or the conversion of glucose to energy in the mitochondria of the cells of the body, occurs best in the absence of oxygen (anaerobic glycolysis). However, the brain produces up to and over 90% more energy through aerobic glycolysis in the presence of oxygen than through anaerobic. Hence one of the needs for such a rich supply of oxygenated blood being needed by the brain. As people grow older, or their brain tissue becomes damaged, then the supply of blood can be reduced and more and more anaerobic glycolysis is switched on. This results in an increasing loss of brain energy and hence brain function. Vincamine can reverse this effect, or at least maintain the status quo, and so enable people to maintain their brain function for longer.
It is also what is known as a vasodilator, and dilates the blood vessels in the brain allowing a greater blood flow. It is known to be beneficial in relation to tasks requiring focused concentration such as mathematical problem solving, and has also been found effective in the treatment of people with poor memory.
Vinpocetine (ethyl apovincaminate) is a derivative of vincamine, obtained by slightly modifying the molecule to produce a commercial form of the alkaloid. This possesses all of the beneficial effects of its precursor, including its positive effects on memory, believed to be due to the stimulation of serotonin production that improves the rate at which the brain can process information. Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears that has severely reduced the quality of life of so many people, can also be treated with vinpotecine.
Its vascodilation effect is thought to be through its action as a phosphodeaterase 1 (PDE1) inhibitor that results in an improvement in the plasticity of neurons. The mechanism is complex, but the end result is an improvement in the cognitive abilities of the subject. This is supplemented by the effect of vinpocetine on the calcium levels in the blood vessels. This renders them more plastic in much the same way that some anti-hypertension treatments work to reduce blood pressure by increasing the plasticity of the blood vessels by modification of their calcium levels. It can also reduce the viscosity of the blood through its action on the “stickiness” of leucocytes and so allow the blood to run more freely through the caPillaries of the brain.
These effects have been demonstrated through double blind studies, and there is little doubt that vinpocetine helps to maintain a healthy cerebral circulation. So let’s have a recap on its various effects, and then finish with a summary of the conditions that the alkaloid can be used to treat or improve. The theory and biochemistry behind these effects is known, but is complex, but here are the major actions:
a) It improves blood flow by modifying the calcium content of the blood vessels and so improves their elasticity, hence allowing a freer movement of blood. In effect it helps the blood vessels to dilate easier.
b) It inhibits the enzyme PDE1 and by doing so helps to restore the elasticity of neurons in aging brain cells, allowing them to relax more and operate more effectively.
c) It promotes aerobic glycolysis, and so the rate at which the mitochondria of brain cells produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate) that is the chemical manifestation of energy.
d) It helps to maintain a good supply of glucose and oxygen in the brain to allow (c) to occur.
Not all of these may be separate effects, but the outcome is an improvement in conditions such as short term memory loss, dementia and other conditions associated with a reduction in the blood supply to the brain including Menière’s syndrome and vertigo. There is also evidence that it helps with hearing problems, macular degeneration of the eye, and fatigue.
It is a supplement that should be taken by the elderly to help with age-related memory problems, but has also been found to be beneficial in normal healthy people. The periwinkle extract Vinpocetine has been shown to have benefits, largely through an increase in the blood flow to the brain, and will be of use to anybody suffering from conditions that can be related to a deficiency in their cerebral blood supply.
Support Healthy Joint Function With Discount Vitamins
November 22, 2007 11:05 AM
The joints are very important to your mobility and it is essential that you support health joint function with discount vitamins. The reason for discounted vitamins is that there is no need for you to pay more than you have to, and good healthy bones and joints need a good supply of several vitamins, minerals and other substances to remain healthy throughout your lifetime.
Vitamins C and D, and calcium and magnesium are the more common supplements that help to promote joint health, but glucosamine, chondroitin and gelatine also play a large part. Although the strength of the bone is important, it is disorders of the connective tissue that are mostly responsible for joint problems. Connective tissue holds the joint together and prevents excessive friction between bones.
Arthritis in both its forms – osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis – is characterized by a reduction in the cartilage tissue that provides a lining between the bones that make up the joint. As the cartilage becomes worn or its structure destroyed, the bones are exposed to each other and this causes the frictional damage that is osteoarthritis. With rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, the connective tissue and cartilage are attacked by the body’s immune system, causing inflammation. The reason for this is still unknown, but the inflammation leads to swelling of the joint and severe pain.
Both of these conditions can be helped by the use of glucosamine, a natural substance produced by the body to form cartilage and stimulate the formation of connective tissue. Normally taken in the form of the sulfate, glucosamine reduces arthritic pain, and over time can start to rebuild the lost cartilage. It is best taken in conjunction with chondroitin sulfate which is a substance also contained in cartilage and connective tissue.
A discount vitamin supplement containing glucosamine and chondroitin can help to avoid these conditions from occurring. Rheumatoid arthritis also responds well to anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. Much of the damage to the joint tissues can be caused by the action of free radicals that are aggressively destructive molecules created by the effects of pollution such as smoking, pesticides, heavy metals, alcohol and they are also produced by many of the processes occurring inside our bodies. The immune system itself creates free radicals to use as a weapon against invaders.
A free radical is a molecule that has lost an electron, especially an oxygenated molecule. The objective of such a molecule is to get back its electron, and it will do that by oxidizing any molecules it comes across: oxidation is the removal of an electron from a substance. Oxidation can destroy cell molecules which is why the aging process occurs through the destruction of body cells through the effect of oxidation by free radicals. They can also destroy the synovial fluid that lubricates the joints.
The molecules that can prevent this are caused antioxidants, and include some of the well known vitamins such as A, C and E, and also other substances such as Coenzyme Q10, fatty acids such as those in Omega 3 fish oils, beta carotene and the minerals zinc and copper are also effective at reducing the inflammation cause by free radical oxidation. These vitamins and minerals will not reduce the pain in your joints, but will relieve other symptoms such as the inflammation, and help the joint to recover.
Vitamin D is another that can help to cause arthritis and joint problems if you are deficient in it. Vitamin D deficiency is not uncommon, especially in those who live in northern climates where they do not get much sunlight. This vitamin helps to build cartilage and to maintain healthy bone density. Vitamin D is found in oily fish and eggs, but the majority of people suffer a deficiency, if only slight in many cases. Discount vitamin supplements containing all of these vitamins and minerals will help to maintain healthy joints. Vitamin A is available naturally from eggs yolks, oily fish and dairy products, and most people know that vitamin C is obtained from fresh fruit and vegetables, especially the highly colored foods that are also rich in other antioxidants such as anthocyanins and carotenoids.
Rich sources of vitamin E include nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and wheat germ. Taking Omega 3 oil supplements will not prevent arthritis, but will help to relieve the inflammation and hence the pain. However, in spite of all of this, the only vitamin that has been extensively tested on patients suffering from osteoarthritis has been vitamin E. It has been established that significant improvements in the condition of patients were achieved by administering from 400-600 International Units (I.U.) of vitamin E daily for two weeks.
Another substance that is a component of connective tissue and that can be taken to help rebuild what is lost in joint disease is hyaluronic acid. This chemical is found all over the body, and involved in the structure of many types of connective tissue, including the joints, the vitreous humor of the eyes and heart valves. In the joints it is rich in the synovial fluid that lubricates the joints, and also found in cartilage.
Although hyaluronic acid is contained in chicken soup, it is obtained mainly from rooster combs, then treated to reduce its molecular size so that it can be absorbed. Anybody allergic to chicken should seek their doctor’s advice on taking hyaluronic acid as a supplement.
It is highly recommended that a vitamin supplement be taken by anybody suffering from any form of arthritis or joint disease, but it is glucosamine that appears the best treatment for long term success. Glucosamine is a very large molecule, and it is difficult to get it to the site of the problem. To get to the joint, the molecule has to pass through the caPillaries, and very few glucosamine molecules can actually achieve that.
That is why the doses are so large, so that even if only a small percentage gets to the joint then that is enough to help rebuild cartilage. The antioxidants help to destroy the root cause of many forms of joint disease: the free radicals and anti-inflammatories can help relieve pain. However glucosamine and chondroitin not only relieve the pain, but also continue to work over time to repair the joint tissues. As with most supplements the body can only absorb so much glucosamine, only consume 500mg at a time but take it two to three times each day for best results.
Glucosamine is often provided in conjunction with MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) that is a natural form of dietary sulfur. Sulfur is believed to be essential for healthy soft connective tissues, tendons and so on. Calcium, too, is a useful supplement to take since it help to recover the bone density, but keep in mind that vitamin D is essential for the uptake of calcium, so a vitamin D supplement will be required along with the calcium. Although calcium will not in itself help joint disease, it will help to main a good bone density that is more capable of withstanding the stresses of a reducing cartilage density.
There is therefore quite a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and other substances that can help to support healthy joint function, and also to help repair joint damage, and discount vitamins are the best way to tackle the problem of maintaining a good intake of those that are most effective, namely, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, vitamins A, C, D and E, and supplemental MSM, hyaluronic acid and calcium.
You do not need them all, but only testing will enable you to decide which work for you. You should also contact your physician before taking discount vitamin supplements if you have any other medical problems.
Natural Remedies For Bumps, Bruises, Scrapes, and Insect Bites
November 10, 2007 09:52 AM
Whether you are a child or an adult you are as susceptible to the damage done to skin and soft tissue by hard activities as anybody else. So what can you look for if you decide have a day outdoors and face the dangers that you will come across that want to leave you bruised ,scratched, scraped, cut and itching from all the falls, knocks, stings and bites that most people experience when they are more used to spending their time indoors?
Bruises are caused by a knock, and can happen without you even being aware of it. The blood vessels get damaged and leak. If you notice it right away, you can lessen the degree of bruising by applying ice or cold water to constrict the caPillaries and cut down the flow of blood leaking from them. Some people bruise easier than others, and excessive bruising for no apparent reason could be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition and you should see your doctor.
A bump, or lump, can appear for many reasons, but generally settles down after a while. It can simply be the body's reaction to a hard knock that did not damage the blood vessels, but prompted a natural swelling to protect the area. They can also be caused by insect bites. You don’t always see these little pests – they have lunch then zip off without you even being aware of it until the area begins to itch and swell. However, if you have a lump under the armpit, in your neck or behind your ears it could be a swollen gland and you should contact your physician.
Everybody gets minor scrapes now and again, and when you spend any time outside you can get bitten by insects such as mosquitoes, midges, blackflies, horse flies – you name it, they will lunch on you as on any other animals. You can also get stung by vegetable nasties, though if you do then look around for a remedy. Strangely, many stinging plants have another plant close by that can be used as a remedy. This is likely because, after being stung, people just rubbed whatever was handy on the area and eventually these remedies were discovered.
Thus, dock leaves are often found beside nettles, and touch-me-not beside poison ivy. These are good natural remedies for stings caused through contact with these particular plants, and there are many other natural remedies that can be used for the other everyday hurts that people receive just for carrying out normal activities outside in a natural environment. Let’s have a look at some of the natural remedies that people have used through the ages, and that are still used to this day, even in proprietary creams and salves.
Calendula, or marigold, is very effective in relieving skin irritations and inflammation. It can be applied topically to relieve the symptoms of bruises, cuts and scrapes, and also for the initial treatment of burns and scalds. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used on inflamed or infected cuts and skin lesions. These properties are believed to be due to the high level of flavonoids found in calendula that have anti-oxidant properties and help the immune function to do its work. Among these is the powerful Quercetin with its strong anti-histamine properties.
It also appears to possess anti-viral properties, though the reason for this is not clear and is still under investigation. Marigold also contains carotenoids and triterpene saponins, both of which will contribute to the medicinal effects. The dried flowers or leaves, or the fresh flowers, can be used and it is an old adage that pus will not form where marigold is used. It is also good for the treatment of insect bites and boils, where it appears to either prevent infection or clear up any that are there. It has also been proven to prevent the seeping of blood from the caPillaries in scrapes, and to promote blood clotting.
Calendula was used during the First World War by British doctors to dress wounds and prevent infection. A dressing steeped in a mild solution of calendula extract was enough, and it likely saved many lives.
Another plant with similar properties is the alpine Arnica, which is useful to reduce the swelling and pain of bruises. It works simply by rubbing the leaves on the area when you have a fall or a hard knock. The active ingredients here are again flavonoids, and sesquiterpene lactones along with tannins, carotenoids and thymol. These, along with the flavonoids, stimulate the circulation and carry away any fluids trapped in bruises and swellings.
The sesquiterpene lactones act as anti-inflammatories and boost the immune system, helping to reduce swelling and pain. In fact terpenoid chemicals are common to many of the herbs and flowers that have found a use in the relief of pain in swelling and bruises. The same is true of Ledum, better known as Rosemary, traditionally used for the treatment of burns, ulcers dandruff, and dry skin and to get rid of lice among many other internal and topical applications.
The active ingredients of rosemary (ledum) include mono-, di- and triterpenes and also the ubiquitous flavonoids and camphor and linalool. If you wash down burns, grazes and cuts with a wash of ledum extract, then you will protect the patient from infection at the time when they are most vulnerable to infectious agents.
Hypericum has uses as an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, and is therefore useful for exactly the same conditions as all of the above. It also has astringent properties, so that like Calendula, Hypericum can be used to prevent the caPillary seepage that frequently leads to infections. The active ingredients here are apparently flavonoids again, with their antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Considering that they are among the most common antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents in the plant world; it is no coincidence that flavonoids just happen to be contained in the vast majority of natural treatments for scratches, grazes and bruises. They reduce swelling, pain and inflammation, and also act as antiseptics by disrupting the cell walls of bacteria.
Hypericum is well known by its alternative name St. John’s Wort, where it is used in the treatment of depression. However, the active ingredients here are mainly hyperforin and hypericin, which have little to do with the topical benefits of the plant.
If you have suffered from insect bites and stings, then you would have been thankful had you brought some Apis Mellifica with you. Obtained from bees, this again contains terpenes among many other chemicals, and is used paradoxically in the treatment of bee stings and other insect stings and bites. It’s amazing how many of these old remedies contain terpenes of various types and also flavonoid chemicals. It is useful for most rashes that have raised puffy lumps, such as hives.
Finally, if you manage to stay out without getting any bruises, abrasions, scratches or bites, you will be very lucky. However, if you get sunburn through being out in the sun too long, just look around for some stinging nettle, or Urtica. The leaf contains polysaccharides and lectins that stop the production of prostaglandins in the body that cause inflammation. Your sunburn will ease and you be able to return home relatively symptom free from your day outdoors.
These natural remedies can be hard to find growing naturally due to many factors such as the time of year or your geographical location these herbs may grow in. Alternative sources are available at your local health food store where you can find all the above mentioned herbs in ointments and creams specifically formulated for your needs.
CoQ10 for Heart Health
March 28, 2007 12:39 PM
CoQ10 for Heart Health
More than 40% of all deaths in the
One of the most – if not the most – important things people can do to improve their overall health and life expectancy is to improve their heart health. Diet, exercise, and the wise use of dietary supplements can improve heart health dramatically. One dietary supplement that’s extremely beneficial to heart health is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).
Q. What is CoQ10?
A. CoQ10 is a natural, fat-soluble nutrient present in virtually all cells. CoQ10 also is known as ubiquinone. That’s because CoQ10 is ubiquitous and exists everywhere there is life. CoQ10 is vital to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. ATP is the energy-rich compound used for all energy-requiring processes in the body. Although COQ10 is produced by the body and exists in some dietary sources, these levels may be insufficient to meet the body’s requirements. CoQ10 levels diminish with age and as a result of dietary inadequacies and various disease states. Also, some drugs, especially a group of cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs known as “statin,” (Pravachol, Zocor, Lipitor, etc.) significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body.
Q. For what health conditions is CoQ10 used?
A. CoQ10 is beneficial in treating and preventing CVD and conditions such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), angina, and congestive heart failure (CHF). It’s been shown that heart attacks tend to occur when CoQ10 levels are low in the body. In addition, CoQ10 is beneficial for diabetes, immune dysfunction, cancer, periodontal disease, prostate cancer, and neurological disease.
Q. Why is CoQ10 especially important to heart health?
A. The heart is one of the most metabolically active tissues in the body. In the average person, the heart propels 2,000 gallons of blood through 65,000 miles of blood vessls by beating 100,000 times each day. Thus, it requires large amounts of uninterrupted energy. Heart cells have a greater number of mitochondria, and subsequently, more CoQ10 than any other type of cell. Each heart cell can have thousands of mitochondria to meet these energy demands.
Mitochondria are highly specialized structures within each cell and are often referred to as cell powerhouses. These tiny energy-produces produce 95% of the energy the body requires. The number of mitochondria in a cell depends on its function and energy needs. A cell’s ATP production is dependent on adequate amounts of CoQ10.
Heart disease patients are commonly CoQ10 deficient. Correcting such deficiencies often can produce amazing results. The presence of supplemental CoQ10 is a key to the heart’s optimum performance.
In people who have had a heart attack (myocardial infarction), CoQ10 assists in repairing the heart muscle and restoring heart function. This is due to increased ATP production.
Q. What studies support this fact?
A. A 1998 study found CoQ10 can provide rapid protective effects in patients with a heart attack if administered within three days of the onset of symptoms. The study focused on patients admitted to the hospital with an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) diagnosis. Seventy-three patients received CoQ10 (120 mg/d). The study’s control group consisted of 71 similarly matched patients with acute AMI. After treatment, angina pectoris (severe chest pain signifying interrupted blood flow to the heart), total arrhythmias (dangerously irregular heartbeats), and poor function in the left ventricle (the essential chamber of the heart) were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared to the placebo group. Total deaths due to sudden cardiac failure and nonfatal heart attacks also were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared with the placebo group.
In another study, CoQ10 was studied in 109 patients with high blood pressure (hypertension). The patients were given varying doses of supplemental CoQ10 with the goal of attaining a certain blood level (greater than 2.0 mcg/l). Most patients were on medications to treat hypertension. Half the patients were able to stop taking one to three antihypertensive drugs at an average of 4.4 months after starting CoQ10. Only 3% of patients required the addition of one antihypertensive drug. The 9.4% of patients who have echo cardiograms, performed both before and during treatment, experienced a highly significant improvement in heart wall thickness and function. This improvement was directly attributed to CoQ10 supplementation.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a debilitating disease that affects 5 million people in the
Q. I’ve heard that CoQ10 can also help people who have neurological diseases. Is this true?
A. Yes, it is. CoQ10 has been studied for its ability to improve the health of individuals with amotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. A recently completed study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health showed that CoQ10 caused a slowing of the progression of Huntington’s disease, a devastating and degenerative disease that is always fatal. In fact, no other medication, drug, or nutritional supplemental has ever been shown to cause a decline in the progression of this terrible disease.
The study compared CoQ10 against remacemide (an investigational HD drug made by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals), in 347 HD patients who were in the early stages of the disease. Remacemide blocks glutamate, the neurotransmitter scientists think may cause the death of brain cells that occurs in Huntington’s disease. While remacemide had no effect on the progression of HD, CoQ10 showed a trend toward slowing the disease by an average of 15%. This meant the HD group taking CoQ10 was able to handle every day activities of life a little longer than the patients taking remacemide or a placebo. They also were able to focus their attention better, were less depressed, and less irritable. The 15% slowing of decline means that CoQ10 can result in about one more year of independence for HD patients. Needless to say, the gift of an additional year of health in the lives of HD patients is incredibly significant.
Because of these impressive results with HD, researchers are hopeful that the studies of CoQ10 in those with ALS and Parkinson’s disease will similarly have a positive effect on the symptoms and/or progression of these neurological disorders, too.
Q. Why is it crucial for a CoQ10 supplement to cross the blood-brain barrier?
A. The brains’ blood vessels are composed of cells with extremely tight junctions. These junctions form the blood-brain barrier, which restricts what can pass from the bloodstream into the brain. While this barrier protects the brain, it can be a significant obstacle to central nervous system therapy. To leave the bloodstream and reach the brain cells, a substance must pass through the tightly connected cells of the caPillary walls. Only substances with unique solubilities or those with a transport system can cross the blood-brain barrier to a significant degree. As a result, crossing the blood-brain barrier presents a significant challenge to supporting neurological health.
While most CoQ10 supplements enter the bloodstream and increase blood serum levels, only special forms of CoQ10 have been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier. For CoQ10 to enter the mitochondria within the brain, CoQ10 must first cross the blood-brain barrier to produce significant neurosupportive clinical results.
Q. How can one supplement have applications for neurological diseases, heart health, and even the immune system?
A. Supplements often have more than one function, especially when it’s a substance like CoQ10, which is present in all parts of the body. All nucleated cells (most cells other than red blood cells) have mitochondria and all cells require energy to function. CoQ10 is vital to ATP production. Thus, CoQ10 has applications not only in neurological (neurons or nervous system cells) and cardiac health (myocardium or heart tissue), but also for the immune system.
Q. Are all CoQ10 supplements created equal? Doesn’t CoQ10 just have to get into the bloodstream to be effective?
A. There are some important distinctions among CoQ10 products, as they vary greatly in quality and absorbability. It’s crucial to find a CoQ10 product that’s:
1. Scientifically shown to absorb through the digestive tract, cross cellular membranes, and increase mitochondrial levels of CoQ10. Chewable forms of CoQ10 provide rapid bioavailability and absorption. Serum level determination of CoQ10 in the bloodstream is not necessarily the most important measure of efficacy. For a CoQ10 supplement to be fully effective, it must cross the cellular barrier and raise intracellular CoQ10 levels. A key indicator of effective CoQ10 supplementation is its presence in cell mitochondria.
2. The natural form of CoQ10. The natural process uses living organisms. CoQ10 also can be synthesized by a chemical process, which produces a distinctly different product that contains chemical compounds not found in the natural form.
3. Formulated with ingredients that provide the transport system CoQ10 needs to cross cellular membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Not all forms of CoQ10 have been scientifically proven to cross cell membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Some prestigious groups that have investigated this issue include researchers at
4. Studied by respected organizations, with research published in peer-reviewed journals by reputable scientists.
Q. How much CoQ10 should I take?
A. Take 100 to 200 mg of CoQ10 daily, depending on your family history of heart disease and personal heart disease experience.
CoQ10’s safety has been evaluated. Dosages in studies have ranged from 100 mg to 1,200 mg per day. To date, no toxicities have been reported. Occasional mild stomach upset may occur. Taking CoQ10 with meals usually alleviates this rare effect.
Q. What are some other heart-friendly supplements?
A. CoQ10 is an excellent supplement for overall cardiovascular health, as in L-carnitine. L-carnitine is the naturally occurring form of carnitine that’s found in food and synthesized in the body. Much of the body’s L-carnitine is found in the heart and skeletal muscle, tissues that rely on fatty acid oxidation for most of their energy. Nearly 70% of the energy needed for heart function is derived from fatty acid breakdown. Proper L-carnitine supplementation transports fatty acids into cell mitochondria, where it’s burned for energy. L-carnitine is an excellent addition to CoQ10, especially for people with heart disease, and has been shown to improve many symptoms associated with CVD. In one study, people who had experienced one heart attack received either L-carnitine or placebo. The L-carnitine group had a statistically significant reduction in second heart attacks, and improved overall survival.
Q. What supplements support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol?
A. In addition to maintaining overall cardiovascular health, it’s also important to address your essential fats/lipids levels and healthy circulation/blood pressure. Fish oil supplements can significantly reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and homocysteine levels. Choose a supplement that’s a rich source of EPA and DHA, omega-3 fatty acids naturally obtainable in fish oil. Find a product that’s been clinically studied and purified to ensure it contains the beneficial active constituents of the whole oil, while removing any dioxins, DDT, PCBs, or heavy metals, toxins present in some commercial fish oil preparations. An enteric-coated garlic product that provides a minimum of 5,000 mcg of beneficial allicin supports healthy blood pressure and circulation. And magnesium, niacin, vitamin E, folic acid, hawthorn extract, and L-cysteine provide overall nutritional support to the heart and vascular system.
CoQ10 is not the only answer to the complex issues of heart disease, neurological disease, or immune dysfunction; however, research indicates that it’s a bigger piece of the puzzle than physicians and scientists ever imagined. The more we study this naturally occurring compound, the more benefits we find.
The key to this supplement is the manufacturing quality. For safety and overall effectiveness, use a CoQ10 product that’s supported by product-specific research from reputable institutions. Choose tested products from a well-respected company to increase your potential to achieve and maintain heart and blood vessel health.
Supplementation with clinically studied products can have a major impact on your heart’s health and strength. However, no supplement replaces the need to eat a healthful diet low in refined foods (especially sugar), and saturated fats, and to exercise your most important muscle – your heart – on a regular basis.
Red Wine Extract with Resveratrol - Powerful Antioxidant Protection
December 11, 2006 12:27 PM
Polygonum cuspidatum Root Standardized Extract 1 g
Yielding: Total Resveratrols 80 mg
Resveratrol 20 mg
Red Wine Extract 600 mg
Grape Seed Extract (Proanthodyn™) 50 mg
Grape Skin Extract (20% polyphenols) 50 mg
Green Tea Leaf Extract (95% polyphenols, 35% EGCG) 50 mg
Quercetin 20 mg
Buy Red Wine and Resveratrol at Vitanet
Pycnogenol: Heart, Blood Sugar and Cellular Health
November 03, 2006 12:16 PM
Pycnogenol (pronounced pic-nojen-all) is a natural plant extract originating from the bark of the maritime pine that grows along the coast of southwest France. Pycnogenol® consists of particularly bioactive flavonoid species and its purity is in strict accordance with the United States Pharmacopoeia. Pycnogenol® was initially developed 35 years ago in Europe. During the past years it evolved as one of the most thoroughly researched nutritional supplements, with over 200 studies published in peer-reviewed journals. Seventy of these studies were clinical with in total more than 4,000 patients. Pycnogenol® taken in dosages from 25mg to 300mg is well tolerated and Pycnogenol® was attributed “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the FDA.
Pycnogenol® supports healthy caPillaries
The “Career” of Pycnogenol® began in Europe, where it was first used to maintain vein and caPillary health. Pycnogenol® has been shown to strengthen blood vessel walls, with 15 clinical trials showing fast relief from ankle and foot discomfort. A recent study with 200 passengers on long-haul flights showed that Pycnogenol® taken before departure and again during the flight supports foot comfort and healthy circulation. Travelers typically comment that with Pycnogenol® it is much easier to put shoes on again upon arrival. Clinicians in Germany discovered that Pycnogenol® also supports healthy caPillaries in the eyes. Retinal caPillaries may be affected by imbalanced blood sugar levels. In a multi-center field study with 1169 subjects Pycnogenol® supported healthy caPillaries in the retina and improved visual acuity to some extent.
Pycnogenol® benefits the cardiovascular system
More detailed investigation of the interaction of Pycnogenol® with blood vessel walls at the University of Florida, Tampa led to an amazing discovery. Pycnogenol® stimulates an enzyme in blood vessel walls that is responsible for generating the most important vascular mediator, known as “nitric oxide” (NO). NO triggers relaxation of the arteries and supports clear blood flow. Hence, NO is the body’s mediator for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and circulation. NO plays such an important function for cardiovascular health that Dr. Louis Ignarro (UCLA) and his co-workers received the Nobel Prize for this discovery in 1987.
A number of factors, including aging, can interfere with the body’s efficient production of NO. Supplementation with Pycnogenol® for four weeks was shown to restore NO production and improve blood supply to the fingertips of elderly people in a Japanese study. Microscopic evaluation of blood vessel diameter at the root of fingernails showed an increased diameter of caPillaries allowing better blood perfusion. Specific sensors applied to the legs showed increased oxygen and decreased carbon dioxide presence. Better blood, nutrient and oxygen supply with Pycnogenol® benefits everybody. Italian researchers were able to show that regular intake of Pycnogenol® helps defy muscle cramps and minor pain in athletes.
The relaxation of arteries has a favorable effect on blood pressure. In two clinical studies Pycnogenol® taken for at least eight weeks was found to significantly support normal blood pressure.
Pycnogenol® stimulated NO generation directly translates into clear blood flow. This was first demonstrated at the University of Arizona, Tucson in smokers. Pycnogenol® dose-dependently, starting at a single dose of 25mg, countered the typical effects of cigarette smoking on the blood. Also, Italian vascular specialists found that Pycnogenol® supported the circulation of individuals on flights between New York and London.
Pycnogenol® supports healthy blood sugar levels
Pycnogenol® can support normal glucose levels when taken as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle plan. A clinical investigation has confirmed the significant glucose-lowering effect of Pycnogenol®. It was noted that Pycnogenol® did not affect insulin levels. Pycnogenol® appears to facilitate previously insulin-resistant cells to uptake sugar from the blood stream by yet unknown mechanisms.
Pycnogenol® limits cellular irritation
Two clinical studies carried out in Germany this year with student volunteers demonstrated that Pycnogenol® has a potent effect in preventing cellular irritation. Pycnogenol® inhibits a molecular “main-switch” in immune cells that triggers the onset of cellular irritation in any part of the body. Moreover, Pycnogenol® was found to inhibit so-called COX enzymes, which are involved with minor pain-sensation related to cellular irritation.
Pycnogenol® sooths menstrual pain
Japanese gynecologists discovered in 1999 that regular supplementation with Pycnogenol® soothes the normal discomfort of menstrual pain, particularly during cramping. Another clinical investigation of 47 women in year 2004 confirmed the effect of Pycnogenol® in addressing menstrual pain. This year a double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center field study with 116 women again confirmed these results. Pycnogenol® is not suitable for on-demand relief during menstruation. The studies show that Pycnogenol® reached highest efficacy when taken regularly for months.
Pycnogenol® helps to support respiratory health
Challenges to normal respiratory function may result from incidents the immune system perceives as harmful. Pycnogenol® offers valuable help in supporting respiration due to its immune-modulating effect and its ability to limit cellular irritation. A study at the University of Arizona found that Pycnogenol® supports clear breathing and lowers mediators of cellular irritation in the blood stream. More recently, a placebo-controlled clinical study at the University of California, Loma Linda described how Pycnogenol® supported healthy respiration in 60 children aged 6-18 years. Pycnogenol® needs to be taken continuously for prolonged periods of time for maximum benefit to the respiratory system.
Pycnogenol® is investigated in clinical trials all over the world. New findings are posted on the website www.pycnogenol.com.
Frank Schonlau Ph.D. is a biochemist who has spent nine years in medical research at the University Clinic of Munster Germany. His area of expertise covers vascular disorders, inflammation and dermatology. He has published more than 20 studies and review articles in the medical literature. Since entering the dietary field in 1999 he was involved in numerous studies on Pycnogenol® and communication of new health discoveries.
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