Search Term: " Pine Bark "
Discover how a special kind of pine bark improves heart health byreducing the risk of metabolic syndrome
April 24, 2019 03:57 PM
With more and more consideration placed on ways to make you more healthy and physically well, there has been an increase in the holistic forms and natural remedies that have been implemented. In doing so, one interesting trend that is recently being discovered is that of pine bark, a more specific type, that is seen for heart health. By using this pine bark in different foods, it can decrease the risk of metabolic syndrome in individuals.
"Disease-fighting OPCs in pine bark are not only antioxidant (helping to scavenge dangerous free radicals), but have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, anti-allergenic, antibacterial and anti-aging effects as well."
Read more: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/pine-bark-heart-health-2823.html
Health Benefits OPC Grapeseed extract.
The grape seed concentrate is prevalent and sought after worldwide for all the great reasons for health purpose. It strengthens and secures the body cells and the blood vessel and venous dividers, boosts muscle repair and prevent inflammations . It likewise can shield the cardiovascular framework from free radical harms, therefore encouraging the bringing down of terrible cholesterol. What is grape seed extricate, you may inquire? It is a characteristic plant segment that is extricated from sound entire grape seeds that are lavishly thought with OPC's and other effective cancer prevention agents.
These concentrates are promptly accessible as resveratrol supplements in the market today. They are sold in type of cases, pills, and the preferences and contain resveratrol in high focuses. The measurements for these supplements will vary contingent upon every person and the goal of utilizing them. Regardless of the type of these supplements, ingestion is the thing that matters most. They bear few to no reactions, few as in somebody susceptible to grapes may have an issue. Be that as it may, quality supplements should not to stress you since they've been "modified" for every individual.
Preventive Measures for Metabolic Syndrome/ Diabetes
February 10, 2012 07:55 AM
Metabolic syndrome is a serious health problem associated with cluster of conditions like high cholesterol level, high blood pressure, high sugar level and excessive fats in the abdomen. It increases risks of diabetes, heart attack and stroke. Having one of these conditions doesn't mean that you have metabolic syndrome. However, frequent occurrence of any of these symptoms can increase risk.
Knowing your family's medical history can prevent metabolic syndrome that can lead to diabetes. If it runs in the family, consult your doctor to have your blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure checked.
Avoid high carb diet to prevent metabolic syndrome and diabetes. During digestion, carbohydrate rich foods are broken down into sugar or glucose. Glucose gives energy to the body while calorie is the measure of burned energy. When high amount of carbohydrate is digested, it increases sugar level in the blood. The brain prompts the pancreas release insulin to neutralize blood sugar level. Diabetes happens when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin.
Replace high carb diet with more nutritious foods like oats, whole wheat, rye, red rice, sweet potatoes and buckwheat. They are energy giving food rich in dietary fibers. Fibers keep a healthy digestive system by improving digestion and eliminating body wastes. It maintains sexy abs by flushing out excess belly fats.
Stay physically active by engaging into sports and exercises. Inactive body does not use much energy. Unused energy is stored in the body in form of fats. Fat cells are resistant to insulin thus, increase blood sugar and cholesterol level. Fat cells slow down metabolism and increase weight gain. While lean muscles hastens metabolism even when the body is at rest. Lean muscle protects the body against insulin resistance.
Maintain a well balanced diet to reverse diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Raw fruits like oranges, berries, pineapple, grapes and other citrus fruits are good alternative for desserts like cakes. They are rich in Vitamin C that lowers cholesterol and burns fats. It is also rich in antioxidants that shield the body against harmful toxins.
Add green leafy vegetables to your diet to increase immunity from sickness like diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Green leafy vegetables are rich in Vitamin E that repairs and regenerates damaged cells.
Develop a healthy sleeping pattern. Sleep disturbances and staying up late at night prompt the pancreas to continually release insulin. This creates stress on the pancreas that leads to insufficient production of insulin. A well rested mind and body keep metabolic syndrome and diabetes away.
Try natural remedies like cinnamon, Pine Bark, and blueberry leaf extract. Cinnamon prevents diabetes and metabolic syndrome by lowering cholesterol and blood sugar level. Pine Bark, when extracted produces pycnogenol that absorbs glucose in the blood. It also protects the eyes from blindness and blurred vision caused by diabetes. Blueberry leaf extract regulates blood sugar level by increasing the body's sensitivity to insulin.
Health supplements like chromium and alpha lipoic acid have shown great results in preventing and managing diabetes. Chromium is a mineral that metabolizes carbohydrates to prevent weight gain. It stabilizes blood sugar and prevents hypertension.
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.
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?
Fight Inflammation With Inflama-Care - Anti-inflammatory herbal combination
March 22, 2010 09:07 PM
Turmeric / Boswellia Complex
Our modern lives have untold benefits, as well as great challenges. Our dependence on man-made toxic chemicals, junk food, nutrient-imbalanced diets, and our stressful, sedentary lifestyles can alter our biochemical metabolism and affect our health. These unhealthy lifestyles and environmental changes have set our immune system on overdrive, a state call metabolic inflammation. Planetary Herbals Inflama-Care is a potent, herbal response to these modern challenges.
The Inflammation Cycle
As toxins and stress begin to alter our body chemistry and change the function of vital tissues, our body reacts with metabolic inflammation just as if it were being attacked. This reaction may result in a perpetual cycle of chemical imbalances and suboptimal health. Yet metabolic inflammation is often below the threshold of perception, not noticed or felt for years after its starts. It is only much later that the altered biochemistry and the system imbalances that it generates are noticed.
A Powerful Herbal Blend Inflama-Care helps support the body’s natural response to metabolic inflammation. The main component of the formula is the rhizome of the curcuma species, long used as a spice in India. Known worldwide as turmeric (Curcuma longa), it acts as an anti-inflammatory by inhibiting the activities of cytokines—inflammation messengers. This world-renowned spice is supported by boswellia, which inhibits proinflammatory enzymes, and ginger, an antioxidant that inhibits prostaglandin and leukotriene biosynthesis. Other herbs in the formula that inhibit inflammatory action include willow bark, Chinese skull cap, corydalis, holy basil, and hops.
The PhytoDynamic Difference
Planetary Herbals presents inflama-Care to help maintain the body’s biochemical balance and integrity. Inflama-care was formulated with a profound understanding of the ways in which plant compounds interact with human physiology. Planetary Herbals phytodynamic principles draw on herbal tradition, scientific research, and a level of clinical expertise unmatched in the natural products industry. Thie result: herbal products unsurpassed for quality and consumer satisfaction.
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.
November 25, 2008 12:08 PM
According to the 2006 National Health Survey from the National Center for Health Statistics, it is estimated that about 17.6 million adult Americans suffer from hay fever, with 6.8 children also suffering. Even more, physicians state that more than 11 million office visits are by patients seeking relief from hay fever, which is also known as allergic rhinitis. Symptoms of hay fever include itchy eyes, runny nose, congestion, and an endless amount of sneezing. All of these symptoms are caused by an overacting immune response to a variety of possible triggers, which include pollen from plants, dust, dust mites, airborne pollutants, mold, and pet dander.
Hay fever is marked by inflammation of mucous membranes in the eyes, throat, ears, sinuses, nose, and lungs. Although the development of inflammation in allergies is complex, one of the most influential factors is immunoglobulin E (IgE), which responds to protein allergens. Although there is a genetic component to susceptibility to allergic response to certain triggers, the focus of allergy relief is on the events that occur as a reaction.
Various natural products offer allergy relief by targeting the factors in allergy pathology. Similar to other areas of immune health, fruits and vegetables are suggested for the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that they provide. Vitamin C is a major antioxidant in the airway surface liquid of the lungs; therefore, it can severely impact allergies and asthma. Low levels of vitamin C have actually been associated with asthma in both adults and children. Also, low levels of vitamin E have been associated with asthma and other wheezing illnesses. Combining antioxidant ingredients also provides additional relief. Therefore, by combining vitamins C and E with the antioxidant NAC, pollen-induced airway inflammation is inhibited by blocking ragweed oxidases which cause oxidative stress and inflammation in the airways.
On its own, NAC reduces mucous viscosity and protects against lung tissue damage. According to scientists, lycopene may also be beneficial. As far as minerals are concerned, both magnesium and zinc have been proven to help. Quercetin has both antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties, allowing it to inhibit the release of histamine in nasal mucosa of allergic patients. Glucomannan was shown in a study to suppress allergy symptoms, while CLA reduces allergy symptoms such as sneezing.
One of the best natural remedies for allergies is comprised of botanicals such as licorice root, skullcap, Pine Bark extract, and butterbur. Licorice root offers anti-inflammatory activities along with aide in fighting IgE allergic reactions, while skullcap can restrict inflammatory cytokine production. Pine Bark extract blocks the release of allergy troublemakers in the body even better than a known pharmacological histamine inhibitor.
Similarly, butterbur has abilities in blocking histamine release by IgE-sensitized mast cells and relieving allergy symptoms as effectively as drugs without the drowsy side effects. Although allergies are widespread and disrupt the daily lives of many people, they strike one out of every four Americans, affecting six times more than cancer. The mechanisms of allergic reactions in the body, especially those in the upper respiratory system, are becoming more and more well-known.
Natural products are available that can help to address these mechanisms, along with the mediators that produce the inflammation and symptoms that allergies create. Natural vitamin supplements are available at your local or internet health food store.
Rescue From High Cholesterol
July 01, 2008 05:22 PM
Cholesterol is an unsaturated waxy solid that is manufactured in the body and has important functions relative to cell membrane management. It is also known to help produce bile to digest fats and can help in metabolizing fat-soluble vitamins. Cholesterol is both made in tissue membranes and derived through the diet. This is where the basis of good and bad cholesterol comes into play. Cholesterol that is made in tissue membranes is transported by high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which delivers the cholesterol to the liver. HDL is thought to remove cholesterol from arteries and delivers it back to the liver for processing. Increased levels of HDL have also been deemed as protective against heart disease. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), on the other hand, is dietary cholesterol that is transported and carries cholesterol from the liver to tissue membranes.
This factor is not what makes LDL cholesterol bad, instead it is the amount of cholesterol in the wrong place at the wrong time. Large amounts of cholesterol and LDL in the arteries can lead to plaques that gradually damage arteries over time, which leads to heart attack, stroke, or some other type of heart and vascular diseases. Because of these reasons, cholesterol management for heart and vascular health focuses on lowering LDL cholesterol. What is often overlooked is the value of raising HDL cholesterol levels, which can improve removal of cholesterol from dangerous locations in the arteries.
The diet greatly influences health, and by addressing macro and micro nutrients, cholesterol health can be greatly reduced. Macro nutrients that affect cholesterol include fiber, protein, and fats. Micro nutrients are things such as vitamins and minerals, especially those that have potent antioxidant mechanisms, which can affect lipid peroxidation. Fiber, which has long been recommended by the American Heart association (AHA), lowers total and LDL cholesterol levels, while raising HDL levels. Although fiber is straightforward, the trick with protein is to always find a good source that does not have saturated fat and cholesterol that can negate its benefits. Although whey protein is animal-based, it has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. However, many people have looked to soy to provide cholesterol-managing protein.
When it comes to natural products, there are a few key nutrients that can help with cholesterol management. Among these are DHA, EPA, Omega-3s and 6s, Vitamin E, Vitamin B, and Niacin. Limiting oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation are also important components of cholesterol management. Although micro nutrients give a good level of protection from oxidation, a large amount of antioxidant fighters comes from botanicals, flavonoids, and carotenoids. Some flavonoids that can help with cholesterol care include cocoa, tea, and fruit.
Citrus bioflavonoids also help with antioxidant management, especially when they are combined with vitamin E. Fruits such as pomegranate and grape seed extract help to limit LDL oxidation. Botanicals such as garlic, which contain antioxidant constituents help to lower total and LDL cholesterol while still maintaining HDL levels. Other suggestions to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels include Pine Bark extract as well as some types of algae.
Whether you’re attempting to use just one or many of these approaches to battle cholesterol levels, there are many well-researched ways to both lower the bad and raise the good cholesterol.
Supports Healthy Blood Pressure
April 18, 2008 03:59 PM
3 tablets contain:
Suggested Use: 3 tablets mid-morning and 2 tabs mid-afternoon between meals on an empty stomach.
Pine Bark Extract Boosts Nitric Oxide Production
January 17, 2008 03:24 PM
A recent study has found that Pycnogenol, which is an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, helps individuals by enhancing the production of nitric oxide (NO), which in turn leads to an increase in blood flow and oxygen supply to muscles. Nitric oxide is a key cardiovascular chemical that is produced by the body. It increases blood flow which allows more nutrients and oxygen to be delivered to the muscles. This helps muscles to cope with increased physical activity. The study also suggests that taking Pycnogenol provides more NO in response to neurotransmitters which allows for better expansion of arteries, which can then carry more blood. This process meets the enhanced oxygen demand of muscles and helps to avoid anaerobic metabolism. The results of this study also lead researchers to believe that Pycnogenol can be a natural alternative therapy in diseases involving oxidative stress.
The study was held at the Hiroshima University Graduate School of Bio-medical Sciences in Japan. Each day for two weeks, healthy, young men were given either 180 mg of Pycnogenol or a placebo. In order to identify Pycnogenol's effect on the release of nitric oxide, patients were infused with an inhibitor of L-arginine, which restricts arteries from expanding in response to the neurotransmitter acytelcholine. After two weeks of supplementation, the results revealed that blood flow had increased by forty two percent. Additionally, the group receiving a placebo did not show a significant blood flow increase at all. NO causes the muscle surrounding the arteries to relax, resulting in an increase in the diameter of the blood vessel, while acetylcholine stimulates the cells of arteries to produce NO from L-arginine faster. When the subjects being tested had taken Pycnogenol, the arteries relaxed and blood flow increased by Fourty two percent, as compared to the placebo group.
Although more research is warranted, this breakthrough is especially encouraging to athletes since Pycnogenol seems to allow people to move faster when they are exercising. It does this by satisfying the enhanced muscle oxygen demand and also increases the blood flow to the active muscles. People who are performing heavy physical activity experience the release of acetylcholine by nerves to arteries that are supplying the active muscles. This acetylcholine makes them expand, while the whole process requires that there is an enhanced production of nitric oxide.
A great variety of studies about Pycnogenol and sports nutrition have been conducted over the past years. The most recent one occurred a year ago. In this study, Pycnogenol was found to improve blood circulation even in extended aerobic muscle activity. Pycnogenol also enhanced sports endurance be alleviating the cramping and muscular pain that occurs in the majority of athletes. To sum it up, Pycnogenol is not only effective for enhancing and prolonging the performance of muscles during support, but it also supports muscle adaptation to a higher workload and allows the body to recover from physical faster.
When shopping for a good pycnogenol supplement, look for a standardized extract that guarantees that each capsule or tablet contains a specific amount of active ingredients per serving, otherwise you might be purchasing something that is ineffective.
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.
Build Healthier Skin With Antioxidant Rich Skin Moisturizing Lotions
November 02, 2007 04:32 PM
Antioxidant rich skin moisturizing lotions can help you to build healthier skin, since they can help to allow the appearance of the fine lines that eventually develop into the wrinkles that you dread.
Most people think about caring for their skin more in the summer when the sun is hot than in the colder winter months, but cold can also dry out your skin since you tend to sweat less. However, the summer brings with it the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun to a greater or lesser degree depending on your climate. Tough leathery skin is generally associated with skin neglect by white skinned people in the hotter areas of the world such as Australia and the southern parts of Florida and California.
You should look after your skin since it is important to you. It not only keeps everything inside that should be kept inside, but also generates vitamin D and contains the temperature control system that your body relies upon. Elephants flap their ears, dogs pant and humans sweat! Without your skin you would be in a bad way, so you should look after it. If you don’t keep it supple it gets dry and hard, wrinkled, itchy and can crack, into which the bugs and viruses needed to make you ill can enter.
All of this occurs when your skin loses its moisture. In order to keep it in tip top condition, and keep yourself looking young and attractive, you should keep it moist through the use of artificial moisturizers if necessary. So why does your skin dry out and how do moisturizers work to help overcome the effects of drying?
In fact the major problems that occur with your skin due to exposure to sun in the summer have nothing to do with drying out. Your skin actually does, as suggested above, become more affected by dryness in the winter when the relative humidity is low. It is in winter that you have to use lip moisturizer because of dry and cracked lips, not summer. However, summer has its dangers, even more than winter.
It is the UV radiation from the sun that damages your skin and can ultimately lead to skin cancer. The UVA and UVB radiation are at different wavelengths and have different effects. The combination, however, causes wrinkles, skin disorders when aging, premature aging, and dry leathery skin. Part of this is believed to be due to the breakdown of the collagen in the skin that maintains its elasticity, free radical damage and inhibition of the immune system.
When UV radiation breaks down collagen it causes the accumulation of abnormal tissue. When this builds up, enzymes are produced that are intended to repair the collagen, but sometimes it does not work properly and produces a disorganized and random accumulation of collagen fibers that eventually result in wrinkles.
Free radicals are chemicals that have a free electron available, rather than having all electrons in pairs as in stable compounds. It is therefore unstable and will steal an electron from healthy tissue and so damage the cell that it takes it from. Eventually, the cells die and genetic material within the cells can be altered. This can cause wrinkling of the skin and underlying tissues or even cancer by changing the DNA and RNA contained within the cell.
The final defense of the body against cell damage is paradoxically apoptosis, which is suicide by the damaged cells to prevent them becoming cancerous. This is what you see when your skin peels after sunburn – it is deliberate action on behalf of the cells of your skin sacrificing themselves to save the body as a whole. UV exposure can prevent this from occurring which is why it can lead to some forms of skin cancer.
However, it is the action of oxidants on the skin that cause most damage. The so-called drying out of skin is largely due to oxidant damage more so than to loss of moisture. The sweat glands in your skin can produce lots of moisture, but nothing can be done about free radicals other than provide the help of antioxidants to kill them off. Antioxidants destroy free radicals with glee, and hunt them down wherever they are. The common antioxidants in your body are vitamins A, C and especially the powerful vitamin E. That is why so many skin creams contain vitamin E, and sometimes also vitamin A.
However, there are many more antioxidants than these. Astaxanthin is one. ‘Asta what?’ I can hear you say, and I am not surprised. It is not very common in health stores, but has been approved by the FDA and in Europe as a food colorant. It is a terpene carotenoid, though does not break down to vitamin A in the human metabolism as other carotenes do. It is claimed to be fifty times more powerful as an antioxidant than vitamin E and acts as an internal sunscreen in the skin by blocking the harmful effects of UV radiation at cellular level.
It is available naturally in krill, salmon, trout, crustaceans and some bird feathers, and is extracted from microalgae. Not all sources are palatable and it is best taken as a supplement, or to protect the skin, in a cream. Another super-antioxidant is pycnogenol. However, be aware of purchasing it under this trade name in the USA, since the term has been hijacked by others who are selling a different product under that name. The true chemical pycnogenol as named by Frenchman Dr. Masquelier is a very strong antioxidant: any others are mere imitations that are not the same product.
Chemically, pycnogenol is a proanthocyanidin, a flavanol extractable from grape seed or Pine Bark. Any product that comes from a different source cannot be pycnogenol. That said, the product is able to strengthen the skin and prevent wrinkles through its effect in scavenging free radicals. It stops the free radicals from destroying the cells of the skin and causing premature aging. Whether the chemical is extracted from Pine Bark or grape seed appears to make no difference. The chemicals are virtually identical, or should be if they are from the right form of Pine Bark.
The polyphenols in green tea also eradicate free radicals. They too are very strong antioxidants, just one of the remarkable properties of this plant. However, none of these will be of much help unless specifically applied to the skin. If taken internally, they will do a great job of mopping up free radicals in the blood, but very little will actually reach the skin.
In order to build healthier skin, you will have to use antioxidant rich skin moisturizing lotions that apply moisture to your skin, but more importantly also apply these powerful antioxidants. If you really want to maintain good looking wrinkle-free supple skin in sunny climates, then look for one or more of the above substances as an ingredient in your moisturizing lotion.
December 20, 2005 11:30 AM
Your Cells Supercharge Your Cells
The differences between aging and growing old are poles apart. Sure, they may sound similar in nature. But when you think about it, the two are as different as night and day. Growing old is about retirement and travel and enjoying what you’ve worked an entire life for. Aging, on the other hand, summons images of wrinkled skin, brittle joints, cloudy minds and medicine cabinets full of prescriptions. It’s safe to assume that the majority of us want to look, live, and feel better as we grow old. Not the opposite. Many of us are on the right track - committed to a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a well-balanced diet. And yes, these do serve as a solid foundation for good health during our golden years. It is our cells, however, that ultimately determine who grows old, and who just ages.
Still, slowing the proverbial hands of time is not all about health clubs and organic produce. If you want to grow old gracefully, you must nurture the ten trillion cells that defi ne you physically. Why? Because these cells are constantly under attack by free radicals - unstable molecules that either lack, or have an unpaired number of electrons. They scour the body in search of stable cells, and do whatever they can to rob them of their electrons, a process more formally known as oxidation. Considering that it’s environmentally impossible to completely avoid contact with the billions of airborne toxins that cause free radicals, the only other option is to safeguard your healthy cells. Making the commitment to a healthy lifestyle is the fi rst step in the process, and can be accomplished by eating healthier foods, exercising on a regular basis, and paying close attention to what you are exposed to environmentally.
The next step is to nourish and protect your cells. The best way to do this is to consume foods that are rich in antioxidants and other cell-friendly nutrients. Unfortunately, this task is often much easier said than done. Today’s average adult is busier than ever, making it far more diffi cult to consume fresh, unprocessed meals 100% of the time. This does not, however, imply that all hope is lost. Over the years, the nutritional sciences have made stunning advances that afford you the opportunity to live your life while still safeguarding the integrity of your most basic building blocks. Here are a few of the best.
Antioxidants work at the cellular level to paralyze the free radicals that cause oxidation throughout the body. Some of today’s most popular nutrients and dietary supplements fall into this category. They include vitamins A, E, and C, Selenium, Zinc, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Lycopene, Lutein, CoQ10, in addition to a host of others. And though similar in function, each of these free radical fi ghters has a unique role within the body.
Take CoQ10 for example. It’s present in every cell of the body, and is especially important for cardiovascular support. Lutein has been used extensively to prevent oxidation in the macular regions of the eyes. Zinc is a powerful immune system booster that has become extremely popular during cold and fl u season. Alpha Lipoic Acid is both fat and water soluble, and is commonly referred to as the “universal” antioxidant based on its ability to quench free radicals anywhere in the body.
Immune Boosting Herbs
Herbs such as Astragalus, Olive Leaf, Rhodiola, Echinacea, Panax Ginseng and Ashwaganda have been used for centuries to help support healthy cells and strong, responsive immune systems. They’ve also been shown to exhibit natural synergistic effects when used together. Today, they remain one of the most popular ways to naturally promote all-around wellbeing. When it comes to supporting healthy cells, NOW is pleased to offer one of the best selections of antioxidants, herbs and immune support formulas. Be sure to look for these and other great products at fi ne health food retailers, nationwide.*
OPCs (proanthocyanidins) are high-powered polyphenol antioxidants that belong to the fl avonoid family. Grape seed extract, Pine Bark extracts such as pycnogenol and enzogenol, bilberry, gingko biloba, resveratrol and others all fall into this category. Research continues to suggest that OPCs work in the same manner that traditional antioxidants do, however their ability to eradicate free radicals is much greater and more versatile. Equally appealing, OPCs can easily cross the blood barrier of the brain to help protect brain and neural tissues from the damage caused by oxidative stress.
Throughout history, many civilizations have relied on organic mushroom extracts to encourage wellness. What we know now is that mushrooms such as Shiitake, Maitake, Reishi and others are rich in 1,3 Beta-glucans - soluble fi ber compounds that help support both innate and adaptive immunity. In addition, the active compounds in some mushrooms have been shown to stimulate the production of microphages, T cells, and other natural killer cells. These biological warriors serve at the front line when it comes to responding to bacterial attacks. They are of immeasurable value to the immune system, though drastically lacking in today’s average diet. In just the past few years, more and more healthconscious individuals have learned fi rst-hand how benefi cial they can be in the preservation of healthy cells.
Enzogenol® Pine Bark Extract Fact Sheet
December 07, 2005 05:30 PM
Enzogenol® Pine Bark Extract Fact SheetNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 4/14/05
LIKELY USERS: Those seeking antioxidant protection; People trying to defeat the effects of aging KEY INGREDIENTS: Enzogenol® from New Zealand Pine Tree bark (Pinus radiata) Rutin (200 mg) and Grape Seed Extract (50 mg)
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: Enzogenol® is a powerful formulation of antioxidant bioflavonoids extracted from the bark of the New Zealand Pine (Pinus radiata) that is comparable to flavonoid formulations of other Pine Bark products. The flavonoids found in Enzogenol have been shown in clinical and non-clinical studies to support cardiovascular health and to protect cells and tissues from the damaging effects of oxidative stress. NOW® Enzogenol® also contains Rutin and Grape Seed Extract for their synergistic antioxidant benefits.
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT USE INFORMATION & QUALITY ISSUES: Enzogenol® is a powerful and highly effective formulation of antioxidants extracted from fresh New Zealand Pine Bark – one of the most comprehensive complexes of natural antioxidants. A breakthrough in processing technology combines all of these antioxidants in an Enzogenol® capsule in exactly the same ratios as are present in the tree's bark. What's more, the revolutionary pure-water extraction process doesn't use toxic solvents like traditional extraction processes do.
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: One to four capsules a day as an antioxidant dietary supplement.
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: Other antioxidants including Vitamin C, VitaBerry Plus+TM, Alpha Lipoic Acid, NAC, etc.
CAUTIONS: There are no specific cautions with this product.
GENERAL CAUTIONS: Pregnant and lactating women and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. This information is based on my own knowledge and references, and should not be used as diagnosis, prescription or as a specific product claim. Information given here may vary from what is given on the product label because it represents my own understanding of the science underlying the formula and ingredients. When taking any new formula, use common sense and cautiously increase to the full dose over time.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Hertog MG, Feskens EJ, Hollman PC, Katan MB, Kromhout D. Dietary antioxidant flavonoids and risk of coronary heart disease: the Zutphen Elderly Study. Lancet. 1993 Oct 23;342(8878):1007-11. PMID: 8105262 Keli SO, Hertog MG, Feskens EJ, Kromhout D. Dietary flavonoids, antioxidant vitamins, and incidence of stroke: the Zutphen study. Arch Intern Med. 1996 Mar 25;156(6):637-42. PMID: 8629875
Ames, BN, Shigenaga, MK, Hagen, TM (1993). Oxidants, antioxidants, and the degenerative diseases of aging. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 90, 7915-7922
HOW BIOAVAILABLE IS PYCNOGENOL?
July 13, 2005 12:30 PM
HOW BIOAVAILABLE IS PYCNOGENOL?
The results of isotopic testing confirmed that grape seed proanthocyanidins had a specific affinity for collagen, and demonstrated how long the bioflavonoid complex adhered to living tissue. Because this testing was not possible on pine bark sources of proanthocyanidins, data collected from grape seed testing has been extrapolated or applied to Pine Bark. Pycnogenol is rapidly absorbed and transported throughout the cellular system due to the high water solubility of the proanthocyanidins. Within one hour of ingesting this bioflavonoid complex, proanthocyanidins can be detectedin human saliva. Pycnogenol uptake in the body is rapid and is quickly distributed.
The bot tom line is that Pycnogenol is a water-soluble bioflavonoid which is quickly assimilated after ingestion into the bloodstream. There, it acts to scavenge free radicals and to strengthen connective tissue. The proanthocyanidins found in Pycnogenol can not only scavenge and remove free radicals, but inhibit their propagation as well.
THE TOLERABILITY AND SAFETY OF PYCNOGENOL
It would certainly be pointless to find a substance that while seemingly beneficial, was not safe or could not be well tolerated by its users. Studies have shown that pure sources of Pycnogenol are practically devoid of any oral toxicity. Even extremely high dosages administered over sustained periods of time showed no toxicity or side-effects.14 Virtually no actual or potential risks were found with this compound. Pycnogenol has been shown to be safe for conception, pregnant women, and the unborn fetus. It is devoid of any perior postnatal toxicity. On the contrary, the compounds were found to not only benefit targeted disorders, but a variety of other conditions improved as well.
THE TERM “PYCNOGENOL” - DISPUTED DEFINITIONS
July 13, 2005 09:51 AM
THE TERM “PYCNOGENOL” - DISPUTED DEFINITIONS
Be aware that the word Pycnogenol is used by some companies as a trade name. Technically it is a generic term for proanthocyanidins in France as intended by Dr. Masquelier. Proanthocyanidins refer to the flavonol class of the bioflavonoid family. Both Pine Bark and grape seed are viable sources for the compound. Think of it this way: vitamin C can be extracted from a number of sources, likewise proanthocyanidins or Pycnogenol can come from pine bark or grape seed.
It was Dr, Masquelier who named this family of bioflavonoids and actually discove red “Pycnogenol.” He intended the term to refer to this unique and specific category of bioflavonoids. Despite his intent, the word “Pycnogenol” has been trademarked by a variety of companies around the world. It is only in France, where Dr. Masquelier still controls the term, that it is used generically.
FREE RADICALS, CELLULAR CULPRITS AND PYCNOGENOL
It is a scientific fact that most of us will not live out our potential maximum life span. Unfortunately, because of the damage free radical cause within our cellular structures, many of us will die prematurely from one of a wide variety of degenerative diseases. Free radical damage has been associated with over 60 known diseases and disorders.
THE ORIGINS OF PYCNOGENOL
July 13, 2005 09:48 AM
THE ORIGINS OF PYCNOGENOL
For generations, certain tribes of North American Indians used bioflavonoids extracted from the bark of pine trees for a variety of disorders. Because of its marvelous healing properties, they called this pine the Annedda, or “tree of life.”
Pine Bark: GIVER OF LIFE
These native Americans, who routinely ate deer as their primary source of nutrition, when confronted with a scarcity of meat asked themselves ... where does the deer get its strength? They discovered that deer stripped away pine tree bark and we re able to derive life-giving nutrients from its organic composition. It was also observed that devastating diseases such as scurvy did not afflict those who ate the bark, leaves or needles of this pine tree.
CARTIER’S ENCOUNTER WITH ANNEDDA TEA
In 1535, Jacques Cartier learned of the medicinal value of the bark, which remained relatively unknown until 20 or 30 years ago, when scientists reviewed his notes and commenced research. Cartier became caught in the bitter snows of Quebec, while attempting to navigate the St. Lawrence River. Cartier and his crew subsisted on hard biscuits and cured meat and eventually came down with what was believed to be scurvy. Scurvy is an abhorrent disease which causes a very slow and agonizing death. Several of Cartier’s men died before they were approached by the Quebec Indians who prepared a tea they called “Annedda” from the bark of a certain native pine tree. The men took the tea and used its leaves as poultices. Their recovery was almost immediate. What must have seemed like a miraculous substance was technically, nothing more than vitamin C with bioflavonoids naturally inherent to the pine tree.
MASQUELIER’S SUBSEQUENT DISCOVERY OF PYCNOGENOL
Cartier was resourceful enough to document the incident. Over 400 years later, a French professor, Jacques Masquelier, assigned to the University of Quebec discove red Cartier’s account. Because he was already involved in bioflavonoid research, he became greatly intrigued by pine tree extract. Dr. Masquelier isolated a bio-active substance known as proanthocyanidin.
THE EMERGENCE OF PROANTHOCYANIDIN
After returning to France, Professor Masquelier found that this compound could be extracted from the bark of the French Maritime Pine pinus maritima found in abundance in southern France. Intensive research by Dr. Masquelier led to the discovery of Pycnogenol, which is another name for the group of bioflavonoids known as the proanthocyanidins. Subsequent in-depth testing revealed that these compounds are a nutrient treasure far more valuable that anyone originally thought. In time, the grape seed was found to contain the same compound and today, is considered an excellent source of Pycnogenol in France.
WHAT EXACTLY IS PYCNOGENOL?
July 13, 2005 09:42 AM
WHAT EXACTLY IS PYCNOGENOL?
Pycnogenol is a super antioxidant which consists of a highly bioavailable flavonoid called proanthocyanidin. This compound can be extracted from either Pine Bark or grape seed, and both sources are virtually identical. Biochemists will confirm that as a class, the proanthocyanidin bioflavonoids, regardless of their source, possess the same biochemical activity with very slight exceptions.
The differences lie in the varying concentrations of the flavonoid and its purity. Extraction processes for each source d i ffer and may contribute to the cost of the type of Pycnogenol in question. Regardless of its source, Pycnogenol has demonstrated extraordinary antioxidant capabilities.
NATURE’S BEST DEFENSE AGAINST FREE RADICALS: ANTIOXIDANTS
Potent substances called antioxidants, which scavenge for dangerous free radicals, afford us the best prospect for disease prevention, toxin protection and sustained longevity and vigor. According to many experts, making sure we arm our cellular systems with adequate supplies of antioxidants should be our first health priority. “It has now been established that more than 60 human diseases involve free-radical damage, including cancer, heart disease and the acceleration of the aging process. All that you really need to know is that your body is under constant free - radical atta ck, and that you need to keep your antioxidant defenses strong.”1 The role of Pycnogenol as an exc e ptional free radical scavenger is just beginning to emerge, and the protective potential of Pycnogenol is impressive, to say the least. It’s only a matter of time before scientific data supports the fact that this family of nutrients is far more effective in its antioxidant capacity than previously assumed.
Some of the most common of free radical scavengers or antioxidants include:
While all of these are excellent cellular protectants, the compound missing from the above list may be the most remarkable of all.
PYCNOGENOL: THE HERCULES OF ANTIOXIDANTS
Pycnogenol provides some of the most potent compounds known to nutritionally support and potentiate the body’s defense system against oxidants. Continually emerging research supports the fact that Pycnogenol may be the best antioxidant nature has to offer. In this regard, it is 50 times more potent than vitamin E and 20 times more so than vitamin C.2 Pycnogenol is considered by some health experts to be the greatest nutritional breakthrough of our century.
Clearing the Air
June 13, 2005 10:34 AM
Clearing the Air by Robert Gluck Energy Times, August 1, 1999
One crisp winter morning in Vermont, Alan hoisted his skis over his shoulder and tracked through the dazzling snowpack to the lift about a quarter-mile away. He had trekked this gently uphill route many times and valued it as an invigorating warmup for a day on the ski trails. The path seemed to grow steeper, however, and the winter sun more blazing as Alan struggled for breath, sweat dampening his woolen cap. Weak and wheezing, he paused for what seemed like an eternity and finally turned back, plodding arduously through the ice.
Fit and athletic, the 42-year-old Alan heard the alarming news from his health care practitioner: asthma. The therapy: inhaled steroids.
The incidence of asthma-a chronic condition characterized by narrowing of the bronchial tubes, swelling of the bronchial tube lining and mucus secretion that can block the airway, making breathing difficult-has ballooned to alarming rates.
In the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of people reported to suffer from asthma increased from 10.4 million in 1990 to 15 million in 1995. In 1998, the epidemic cost about $11.3 billion.
Worldwide, experts estimate that the prevalence of asthma increased approximately 50% over the last 10 to 15 years. Nations with the highest rates are the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia; lowest are Indonesia, Albania, Romania and Georgia.
Deaths from asthma have doubled in the last decade and, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, asthma is the seventh most common chronic health condition in the United States. Children constitute the most disturbingly burgeoning segment of the asthma explosion, its sufferers numbering five to six million. The rate of asthma among children five to 14 years old increased 74% between 1980 and 1994; the rate for preschool kids skyrocketed 160%. Asthma is the number one chronic childhood illness and the third leading cause of hospitalization for children under age 15. More than 5000 Americans die from asthma annually; the fatality rate among children five to 14 years old more than doubled from 1979 to 1995, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation.
Waging War on the Wheeze
Asthma is indeed chronic, but it can be prevented and controlled and its effects reversed. Mainstream MDs command an arsenal of pharmaceuticals, some of which are essential for severe or urgent conditions. Consult your health care practitioner about any breathing difficulties.
Because of its complexity, however, asthma requires a balanced therapeutic approach: careful attention to diet, exercise and stress reduction while taking supplemental nutrients and botanicals can help ease asthma's discomforts. Antioxidant nutrients like vitamins C and E, fruits and vegetables rich in phytochemicals plus herbs like echinacea and garlic, all possess the potential for helping the body fight asthma.
Induced by an array of inherent physiological vulnerabilities, some of which may not manifest until adulthood, as well as environmental factors, asthma benefits from extra sleuthing into its causes and planning for relief.
Triggers and Therapies
Asthma is derived from the Greek word meaning panting or breathing hard, which pretty much sums up the malady: Wheezing and shortness of breath typify the attack.
In bronchial asthma, the commonest variety, the passages that carry air from the throat to the lungs narrow as a result of muscle contraction, local inflammation or production of excess mucus. Breathing becomes difficult and wheezy as air is expelled.
"Asthma symptoms are triggered by various factors such as allergens, irritants, infections, pollutants, medications, and emotions," says Anthony Rooklin, author of Living with Asthma: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Controlling Asthma While Enjoying Your Life (Penguin). "Triggers are substances or situations that would be quite harmless to people with ordinary airways, but that bring on asthma symptoms in susceptible individuals."
According to Ellen W. Cutler, nutritionist, enzyme therapist, chiropractor and author of Winning the War Against Asthma & Allergies: A Drug-Free Cure For Asthma and Allergy Sufferers" (Delmar), asthma is an allergic disease that is always triggered by allergens. "These allergens include not only foods, pollens and environmental factors such as perfume, animal dander and chemicals but also bacteria, climactic conditions and emotions," says Cutler.
"When these allergies are active from birth, asthma can be diagnosed early in life, even in infancy," she adds.
Cutler believes every individual with asthma should be able to lead a normal, drug-free life.
"Most asthmatics have been told that asthma is a chronic problem they will have to contend with for the rest of their lives. Asthma can be cured, not miraculously and instantaneously, but inevitably and permanently, once the allergies that cause it have been eliminated," she adds.
Dilating on Nutrients
Although it is vitally important for folks with asthma to develop a treatment plan with a trusted health care provider, that plan, according to experts, may lend itself to a rich variety of complementary options, especially nutrients, phytochemicals, minerals and enzymes.
According to Ruth Winter, author of A Consumer's Guide to Medicines in Food: Nutraceuticals That Help Prevent and Treat Physical and Emotional Illnesses (Crown), researchers in Nottingham, England, linked magnesium and lung function.
"Magnesium is involved in a wide range of biological activities, including some that may protect against the development of asthma and chronic airflow obstruction," Winter says. "Dr. John Britton and his colleagues at Nottingham University measured the magnesium in the diets of 2,633 adults aged 18 to 70 and they found that low magnesium was associated with reduced lung function and wheezing" (The Lancet 344, 1994: 357-62).
Magnesium actually boasts a long history as a bronchial relaxant, first demonstrated in 1912 on cows. Its potential was eclipsed, however, by pharmaceutical antihistamines and bronchodilators until its recent rediscovery.
Defending the Lungs
Antioxidants, with their ability to bolster the lungs' defense mechanisms by battling oxidizing free radicals that constrict bronchial tissue, wield tremendous force in the anti-asthma offensive. Michael T. Murray, ND, and Joseph E. Pizzorno, ND, in their Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), connect the steady decrease in dietary intake of antioxidants to the burgeoning incidence of asthma.
Among the top asthma-busting antioxidants:
Vitamin C. Murray and Pizzorno note that C is the major antioxidant present in the lining of the airway and cite generous evidence that when vitamin C is low, asthma incidence is high (Annals Allergy 73, 1994: 89-96). Vitamin C, taken over time, effectively suppresses histamine secretion by white blood cells.
Flavonoids. Also credited with reducing histamine production, flavonoids, notably quercetin and the extracts from grape seed, Pine Bark and ginkgo biloba, are key asthma-fighting antioxidants (J Allergy Clin Immunol 73, 1984; 769-74).
Carotenes. They limit production of allergy-related compounds (called leukotrienes) and bolster the lining of the respiratory tract (Biochem Biophys Acta 575, 1979: 439-45).
Vitamin E and selenium. Both reduce secretion of leukotrienes (Clinical Exp Allergy 26, 1996: 838-47).
Vitamin B12. Murray and Pizzorno cite the work of Jonathan Wright, MD, whose clinical trials with supplemental vitamin B12 proved strongly effective, especially for children with asthma.
A Bundle of Botanicals
Herbal remedies for asthma date back more than 5000 years to the Chinese emperor Shen-nung. The ancient Egyptians treated respiratory ailments with herbs as well; the Greeks favored mint, garlic, cloves and myrrh for pulmonary problems.
Today, the power of plants has been validated by clinical research and standardized for predictability. (Always consult a health care practitioner when seeking complementary therapies, and read the package labels carefully for dosages and cautions.)
In their book, Asthma: An Alternative Approach (Keats), Ron Roberts and Judy Sammut provide a concise guide to asthma-easing botanicals: Garlic: acts as antiviral, antibacterial and antihistamine; enhances immune response; contains the antioxidant selenium. Garlic also is an expectorant.
Echinacea: a traditional treatment for immune disorders and infections of the upper respiratory tract, known to shorten the duration of colds, coughs and flus.
Ginkgo biloba: inhibits the chemical responses that induce asthma discomfort (Br J Clin Pharmacol 29, 1990: 85-91).
Ginseng: stimulates immunity and the production of steroid-like hormones; helps chronic coughs.
Licorice: an expectorant, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic that also inhibits leukotriene production (Acta Med Okayama 37, 1983: 385-91).
Tylophora asthmatica: an Ayurvedic treatment that many respected experts believe can act both as an antihistamine and antispasmodic (Planta Med 57, 1991: 409-13).
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart
June 13, 2005 10:06 AM
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart by Louis McKinley Energy Times, January 2, 2004
From time immemorial, people have tuned into life's lessons that come from the heart. Sadly, times are changing: If you're like most inhabitants of today's harried world, you may be too distracted to detect important clues about your cardiovascular circumstances.
And while heart lessons may be more complicated than simply connecting the physiological dots, understanding those heart messages are imperative for improving and maintaining your heart health.
Every cell in your body relies on heart-powered blood flow to keep it supplied with nutrients, oxygen, hormones and other natural chemicals necessary for survival. Without that supply of life-giving substances, few cells in the body-including those within the heart itself-can survive very long.
And just as damage to a major roadway can cause mayhem with traffic patterns, damage to blood vessels and the heart can wreak a lumpy cardiovascular havoc that blocks the passage of blood and endangers your heart's well-being.
Your Heart Disease Chances
Within the last ten years, scientific research performed by investigators around the world has focused on the specific factors that most strongly influence your chances of developing heart disease and suffering either a heart attack or a stroke.
While much of your risk depends on your genetic inheritance and family history, several factors that determine your heart health are within your control.
The most important factors you can do something about include:
* Smoking: free radicals generated by burning tobacco causes significant damage to blood vessels and other cells
* Lack of exercise: the human body is designed for consistent, moderate physical activity; without exercise, the body slacks off in creating antioxidant protection for arteries
* Diabetes: when excess blood sugar persists, physiological processes begin that endanger the heart and arteries
* Cholesterol: when oxidized (a chemical process that has been compared to a kind of internal rusting), cholesterol can form artery-blocking plaque; antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and natural vitamin E may help the body limit this process
* High blood pressure: excessive pressure within the blood vessels raises the risk of damage to the heart and arteries; a program of weight loss and exercise can help control blood pressure
* Being overweight: the extra body fat carried around your middle is linked to a greater risk of heart problems
Heart Attack Signs
Do you think you know what a heart attack feels like? Well, if you think it feels like a dramatic pain somewhere in your chest that knocks you to the floor, you're probably wrong. "Most heart attacks do not look at all like what one of my colleagues calls the 'Hollywood' attack-the heart attack you see on television or in the movies," warns Julie Zerwic, MD, professor of surgical nursing who has studied what happens when people develop heart disease and suffer damage to their hearts.
"The symptoms [of heart problems] are not necessarily dramatic. People don't fall down on the floor. They don't always experience a knife-like, very sharp pain. In fact, many people describe the sensation as heaviness and tightness in the chest rather than pain," she says. And, if you're a woman experiencing a heart attack, you may not even feel discomfort specifically in your chest. Instead you may experience a severe shortness of breath. The apparent ambiguity of the discomforts caused by a heart attack lead many people to either ignore them or take hours to realize they need to go to the emergency room at the hospital.
Consequently, much fewer than half of all individuals undergoing a heart attack actually go to a hospital within an hour of the start of the attack. That delay can be a fatal mistake.
"Timing is absolutely critical," laments Dr. Zerwic. "If treatment starts within a hour after the onset of symptoms, drugs that reestablish blood flow through the blocked coronary artery can reduce mortality by as much as 50%. That number drops to 23% if treatment begins three hours later. The goal is to introduce therapy within two hours."
However, in Dr. Zerwic's research, only 35% of non-Hispanic whites go to the hospital within an hour of the start of a heart attack. And among African-Americans, the number of people going to the hospital right away drops to a frighteningly low 13%.
Often, people will lie down or use a heating pad to relieve the tightness they feel in the chest," says Dr. Zerwic. "They may take some medicine and wait to see if that works. All these steps postpone needed treatment."
Signs of a possible heart attack include:
* Chest discomfort: Heart attacks most frequently cause discomfort in the center of the chest that can either go away after a couple of minutes (and come back) or persist. The discomfort may feel like strong pressure, fullness or pain.
* Upper body discomfort: An attack may set off pain or discomfort in either or both arms, and/or the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
* Shortness of breath: Chest discomfort is frequently accompanied by shortness of breath. But it's important to note that shortness of breath can take place even in the absence of chest discomfort.
* Other signs: You can also break out in a cold sweat, or feel nauseated or light-headed.
A Woman's Sleep Signs
If you are a woman who suddenly experiences a marked increase in insomnia and puzzling, intense fatigue, you may be in danger of an imminent heart attack.
In an attempt to understand how women's symptoms of heart problems differ from those of men, researchers talked to more than 500 women in Arkansas, North Carolina and Ohio who had suffered heart attacks. (Technically, what they had experienced is referred to as acute myocardial infarction.)
They found that chest pain prior to a heart attack was only reported by about 30% of the women surveyed.
More common were unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances and shortness of breath (Circulation Rapid Access, 11/3/01).
"Since women reported experiencing early warning signs more than a month prior to the heart attack, this [fatigue and sleep problems] could allow time to treat these symptoms and to possibly delay or prevent the heart attack," says researcher Jean C. McSweeney, PhD, RN, nursing professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. In Dr. McSweeney's study, more than nine out of ten women who had heart attacks reported that they had had new, disturbing physical problems more than a month before they had infarctions.
Almost three in four suffered from unusual fatigue, about half had sleep disturbances, while two in five found themselves short of breath.
Other common signs included indigestion and anxiety.
"Women need to be educated that the appearance of new symptoms may be associated with heart disease and that they need to seek medical care to determine the cause of the symptoms, especially if they have known cardiovascular risks such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, overweight or a family history of heart diseases," says Dr. McSweeney.
Dr. McSweeney warns that, until now, little has been known about signs that women are having heart trouble or heart attacks. The fact that most of Western medicine's past attention has been on heart problems in men has obscured the warning signs in women. As part of Dr. McSweeney's studies, she and her fellow researchers have discovered that more than 40% of all women who suffer a heart attack never feel any chest discomfort before or during the attack.
"Lack of significant chest pain may be a major reason why women have more unrecognized heart attacks than men or are mistakenly diagnosed and discharged from emergency departments," she notes. "Many clinicians still consider chest pain as the primary symptom of a heart attack."
Vitamins for Diabetes and Heart Disease
Having diabetes significantly raises your chance of heart disease, which means that keeping your blood sugar levels under control can reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack.
Today, 17 million Americans have diabetes and, as the country's population in general gains weight and fails to exercise, the number of people suffering this problem continues to grow.
The first line of defense against diabetes consists of exercise and weight control. All you have to do is take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day to drop your chances of diabetes (American Journal of Epidemiology 10/1/03).
"We have found that men and women who incorporate activity into their lifestyles are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who are sedentary. This finding holds no matter what their initial weight," said Andrea Kriska, PhD, professor of epidemiology at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
To help your body fight the development of diabetes, researchers also recommend vitamin C and natural vitamin E.
Researchers working with lab animals at the University of California at Irvine have found that these antioxidant vitamins can help insulin (the hormone-like substance secreted by the pancreas) reduce harmful blood sugar. In addition, these vitamins shrink the chances of organ damage that can be caused by diabetes (Kidney International 1/03).
In this investigation, these vitamins also helped reduce blood pressure, another risk factor that raises heart disease risk.
"Blood pressure was lowered to normal, and free radicals were not in sufficient numbers to degrade the sugars, proteins and nitric oxide," notes Nick Vaziri, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California. "We think this shows that a diet rich in antioxidants may help diabetics prevent the devastating cardiovascular, kidney, neurological and other damage that are common complications of diabetes."
Free Radical Blues
Dr. Vaziri and his group of researchers found that untreated diabetes raised blood pressure and increased the production of free radicals, caustic molecules that can damage arteries and the heart. Free radicals can change blood sugar and other proteins into harmful substances, boosting tissue and heart destruction.
In Dr. Vaziri's work with lab animals, he found that treating diabetes with insulin lowered blood pressure and helped keep sugar and protein from changing into dangerous chemicals, but allowed the free radicals to subvert nitric oxide, a chemical the body uses to protect itself from free radicals.
In this investigation, adding vitamins C and E to insulin insulated the body's sugars, proteins and nitric oxide from oxidative assault. This produces a double advantage: Lowering the risk of heart disease and other damage to the body from diabetes.
Maitake, an Oriental mushroom that has been shown to have many health benefits, can also be useful for people with diabetes who are trying to avoid cardiovascular complications. Laboratory studies in Japan demonstrate that maitake may help lower blood pressure while reducing cholesterol (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 1997; 20(7):781-5). In producing these effects, the mushroom may also help the body reduce blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of tissue damage.
Tobacco smoke is one of the most notorious causes of heart problems. In the same way a hard frost exerts a death grip on a highway, the smoke from cigarettes can freeze up arteries and hamper their proper function. A healthy artery must stay flexible to comfortably allow adequate circulation.
But "...when blood vessels are exposed to cigarette smoke it causes the vessels to behave like a rigid pipe rather than a flexible tube, thus the vessels can't dilate in response to increased blood flow," says David J. Bouchier-Hayes, MD, professor of surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who has studied the deleterious effects of tobacco.
This rigidity is called endothelial dysfunction. When arteries are rigid, blockages gum up vessels, clots and other impediments to blood flow appear, and your risk of heart attack and stroke increases (Circulation 2001 Nov 27; 104(22):2673).
This condition can also cause chest pain (angina) similar to that caused by a heart attack, and should be evaluated by a knowledgeable health practitioner.
Although all experts recommend you stop smoking to lower your heart disease risk, some studies have found that Pycnogenol(r), a Pine Bark extract that helps the body fight inflammation, may ease some of smoking's ill effects.
In a study of platelets, special cells in the blood that can form dangerous blood clots, researchers found that Pycnogenol(r) discouraged platelets from sticking together (American Society for Biochemical and Molecular Biology 5/19/98). By keeping platelets flowing freely, this supplement may alleviate some of the heart-threatening clots that tobacco smoke can cause.
In Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional therapy from India, an herb called guggul has also been used to lower the risk of blockages in arteries. This herb, derived from the resin of the mukul tree, has been shown to reduce cholesterol by about 25%. People taking this herb have also reduced their triglycerides (harmful blood fats) by the same amount (Journal Postgraduate Medicine 1991 37(3):132).
The Female Version of Heart Disease
For one thing, women often don't suffer from the crushing chest pain that for most people characterizes a heart attack; instead, many women experience back pain, sweating, extreme fatigue, lightheadedness, anxiety or indigestion, signs that can be easily misread as digestive troubles, menopausal symptoms or indicators of aging.
The genders also differ in how heart disease poses a threat. While men seem most endangered by the buildup of blockages in arteries, women apparently are more at risk from endothelial dysfunction. But more study needs to be done since, in many cases, researchers have been unable to pin down the precise mechanism that causes many women to die of heart disease.
Scientists have found that the number of women in their 30s and 40s who are dying from sudden cardiac arrest is growing much faster than the number of men of the same age who die of this cause. But research by the Oregon Health & Sciences University and Jesse E. Edwards Cardiovascular Registry in St. Paul, Minnesota, shows that while doctors can pinpoint the coronary blockages that kill men, they can't find specific blockages in half of the female fatalities they have studied (American Heart Journal 10/03).
"This was an unexpected finding. However, the study underscores the need to focus on what is causing these younger women to die unexpectedly because the number of deaths continues to increase," says Sumeet Chugh, MD, a medical professor at Oregon.
Since the failure of arteries to relax probably contributes to heart disease in many women, eating red berries, or consuming supplements from berries such as chokeberry, bilberry or elderberry, may be important in lowering women's heart disease risk. These fruits help arteries expand and allow blood to flow freely.
Red berries are rich sources of flavonoids, polyphenols and anthocynanins. The anthocyanins are strong antioxidants that give the berries their color. Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that these chemicals can interact with nitrous oxide, a chemical produced by the body, to relax blood vessels (Experimental Biology conference 5/20/02).
As researchers work to devise lifestyle roadmaps that can steer you around the perils of heart disease, they are finding that exercise is a key path to avoiding cardiovascular complications.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that those who exercised and kept their weight down (or took weight off and kept it off) experienced a significantly lower risk of heart problems (Preventive Medicine 11/03).
"The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. Burning calories in physical activity may be the secret to reducing heart disease risk and living longer, she says.
Dr. Fang's research used information collected from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 1975 and then computed how much people exercised, how their body mass indices varied and which of these folks died of heart disease during the next two decades.
In the study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who worked out and consumed more calories cut their risk of heart disease death in half.
Exercise Is Essential
"Subjects with the lowest caloric intake, least physical activity, and who were overweight or obese had significantly higher cardiovascular mortality rates than those with high caloric intake, most physical activity, and normal weight," Dr. Fang notes. The individuals in the study who were overweight and didn't exercise had a bigger risk of heart disease even if they tried (and succeeded) at eating less.
"This suggests that heart disease outcome was not determined by a single factor, but rather by a compound of behavioral, socioeconomic, genetic and clinical characteristics," according to Dr. Fang.
According to researchers, if your job requires a great deal of physical activity, your health will be better if you get another job. Exercise on the job not only doesn't decrease your risk of heart disease, it may actually raise it. The reason: On-the-job activity is linked to heart-endangering increases in job stress.
Research into this subject, performed at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, found that while recreational exercise slowed hardening of the arteries, workers who had to exert themselves during the workday had arteries that were blocked at a younger age (American Journal of Medicine 7/03).
In this study, researchers examined about 500 middle-aged employees as part of what is called the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study.
"We found that atherosclerosis progressed significantly faster in people with greater stress, and people who were under more stress also were the ones who exercised more in their jobs," says James Dwyer, PhD, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School. According to Dr. Dwyer, "This suggests that the apparent harmful effect of physical activity at work on atherosclerosis-and heart disease risk-may be due to the tendency of high-activity jobs to be more stressful in modern workplaces.
"It appears from our findings that the psychological stresses associated with physically active jobs overcomes any biological benefit of the activity itself."
On the other hand, the scientists found that heart disease drops dramatically among those who exercise the most in their spare time. In the study, people who vigorously worked out at least three times a week had the lowest risk. But even those who just took walks enjoyed better heart health than people whose most strenuous activity was working the TV remote. Dr. Dwyer says, "These results are important because they demonstrate the very substantial and almost immediate-within one or two years-cardiovascular benefit of greater physical activity."
Lowering your risk of heart disease is substantially up to you. Listen to what your heart tells you it needs; then, exercise your right to fetch some cardiovascular necessities.
Immunity - The Big Picture
June 10, 2005 09:51 PM
Immunity: The Big Picture by Brian Amherst Energy Times, August 3, 1999
Your body wants to be well. Outfitted with a battalion of defenses for strategic deployment, your immune system explodes with resistant force at the first sign of infective invasion.
Think of the time a tiny splinter embedded itself in your thumb. By bedtime, the spot rose and reddened; by morning, white blood cells had launched their campaign, building a hot, throbbing fortification. By day's end, the bit of wood was propelled to the surface and ejected by the immune system warriors. Once again, a foreign assailant was summarily ousted.
The Protective Force
"Supporting the immune system is critical to good health. Conversely, good health is critical to supporting the immune system." So write naturopathic doctors Michael T. Murray and Joseph E. Pizzorno in their Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima).
Maintaining the immune system requires a comprehensive program of wholesome diet, resilient attitude, fitness enhancing activity and nutrients keyed to the clear and specific needs of this energetic machine.
The all-star lineup for immune sustenance: a high-potency multiple vitamin/mineral formula, vitamins C and A, bioflavonoids, isoflavones, zinc and selenium, antioxidants like ActiVin (grape seed extract) and pycnogenol (French maritime Pine Bark), as well as the botanicals echinacea and astragalus.
But optimal partnering with your immune system also benefits from understanding its workings.
Lymph, a milky fluid consisting of water protein and immune cells, is the essence of the immune system. Powered by muscle movement (an important reason why exercise boosts immunity), the lymphatic system collects and transports lymph to the lymph nodes. These nodes contain certain immune cells and filter out invading antigens, as well as produce antibodies, before siphoning the lymph out into the bloodstream.
If you've ever had "swollen glands," that means your lymph nodes have been in overdrive.
Macrophages are the immune cells that filter lymph, consuming bacteria and cellular debris while protecting the lymph system from invasion and damage.
The White Blood Cell Album
In Monocytes collect cellular trash after infections and can trigger immune responses; eosinophils can eliminate foreign particles and, with basophils, are involved in immune response.
In Lymphocytes include varieties of T cells, which work with other white blood cells or attack and destroy foreign tissue, cancer cells or virus-infected cells; B cells that produce antibodies that bind to bacteria, viruses or tumors; and natural killer cells (NKCs) that destroy cancerous or virally-infected cells.
(Based on information in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine; The Road to Immunity: How to Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) by Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin; and the Johns Hopkins Family Health Book (Harper Resource).
Keep the System Sound
"But you must always be sure to maintain the mind-body-spirit link," he told Energy Times. "For the mind, it could be exercise, yoga or meditation. Evidence shows improved immune system responses from these therapies. And in any case, you never read in the headlines that somebody has been admitted to the emergency room overdosing on meditation.
"Intentionality also is an important part of the mind link: believing you are going to fare well. For your spirit, you must ask yourself such questions as, Do I feel connected to others?
"For the body, a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement. Much depends on your community: I live on Long Island, where there is a high incidence of breast cancer, so I would recommend green tea and isoflavones from soy products for women."
Dr. Benjamin stresses moderation in the use of immune-intensifying supplements, among which he cites mixed carotenoids, zinc and vitamin E.
The Soy Solution
In a study conducted by the University of Southern California at Norris and published in the March 4, 1998 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers reported that genistein, an active component of soy products, short-circuits the ability of tumor cells to elude destruction by the immune system due to an excess of defensive stress proteins.
Genistein seems to make cancer cells vulnerable to the immune response. Researchers at Wake Forest University told participants at the January 1999 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that dietary or supplemental soy fed to monkeys counteracted cell proliferation that is a cancer precursor.
That Championship C
Immune cells are known to accumulate and retain high levels of vitamin C. Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York now understand how that happens: Proteins called growth factors (which control growth and production of immune cells) also increase those cells' ability to take up vitamin C.
These researchers, reporting in the April 1998 issue of the journal Blood, explain that the additional glucose that the growth factors pump into immune cells (for enhanced energy), plus extra vitamin C, intensify immune response.
And folks with higher levels of vitamin C in their blood serum experience less cell damage from free radicals that leads to cancer, heart and pulmonary disease and other chronic conditions.
Scientists at the University of Buffalo (addressing the June 13, 1997 meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research) deduced from studying population groups that high levels of vitamin C are associated with low oxidative stress and lower risk of cell damage.
From A to Zinc
In Colostrum, the pre-milk liquid produced by mammals during the first 24 to 48 hours after birth, took the spotlight recently as a supplement imbued with multiple immune factors and natural antibiotics that augment body's immune response. A 1992 study showed that bovine colostrum might be able to reduce and prevente infections in immune deficient folks, especially those with AIDS.
In University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers found for the first time (on laboratory animals) that vitamin D appreciably inhibits widespread prostate cancer by binding to cancer cells and triggering cell death or their transformation to benign cells.
In Vitamin E exerts formidable immune-enhancing influence on both antibody and cell-mediated immunity. One fundamental study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (245, 1981: 53-58) established conclusively that vitamin E deficiency results in significant impairment of immune function. Later studies demonstrated that it reduces prostate cancer by up to one-third.
In Coenzyme A, described as a metabolic enzyme, takes part in starting numerous body processes that provide energy for the immune system. If you ever run short of this enzyme, fat processing within your body would grind to a halt.
in Researchers looking at a substance with the tongue twisting name 3-acetyl-7-oxo-Dehydroepiandro-sterone, believe it aids immunity by quelling stress hormones.
in Mushrooms contain natural substances called polysaccharides, believed to enhance immunity. In particular, maitake mushroom, which conveys the immune booster beta-D-glucans, is reputed to help fight infections and drop blood pressure.
in Men and women taking selenium supplements for 10 years had 41% less total cancer than those taking a dummy, according to a January 1997 study by Cornell University and the University of Arizona. Other studies have shown it to reduce the risk for colon cancer by about 60%. n Zinc may provide immediate protection against the all too common cold. Scientists at the University of Florida were the first to apply genetic fingerprinting methods like those used in criminal and paternity investigations to understand how nutrients directly affect human immune cells.
The study, in the April 1998 Journal of Nutrition, demonstrates that zinc signals cells to make the protein metallothionein, which protects against infections, toxins and other stressors.
Phytochemicals a la Carte
n Isoflavones from soy, fight angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels form to supply nutrients to cancerous growths. n Sulforaphane in broccoli, kale and cabbage activates anticancer enzymes.
n Omega-3 fatty acids in cold water fish block the synthesis of prostaglandins, natural compounds in the body that promote tumor growth.
n Ginger contains antioxidant compounds, each more potent than vitamin E. Recent studies on mice show ginger can prevent skin tumors. n Rosemary contains carnosol which deactivates carcinogens and helps limit the effects of prostaglandins.
Sometimes the world can look like a dangerous place, especially when you're sick and tired much of the time. But in the search for immunity, menus of health help like this ensure that no matter what your immunity needs, a boost can be yours with the proper nutrient selection.
June 10, 2005 05:32 PM
Allergy Alleviation by Cal Orey , February 2, 2002
Allergy Alleviation By Cal Orey
Welcome to the stuffed up world of seasonal allergic rhinitis: the wheezing, sneezing "inhalant allergies" that torment 35 million Americans. Adding insult to sinus pain, other allergens attack year-round. Air pollution, dust mites (microscopic gremlins that infest bedding, upholstery and rugs) and animal dander trigger allergies-or other respiratory ailments-in any season. Urban air is full of rubber tire particles, a true blowout for those with latex sensitivity. Altogether, roughly 50 million Americans-about one in five-suffer from some form of allergy, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). Tired of cross-pollinating with plants or being bowled over by dust balls? Vitamins, herbs and other nutrients can help you nip allergy discomfort in the bud.
The Allergy Response
Your immune system triggers an allergic response when it overreacts to otherwise harmless substances or antigens (we're talking dust, pollen and mold).The alarmed immune system then launches a defensive chemical reaction, releasing potent chemicals (antibodies) supposed to destroy the "invaders." The antibodies, called IgE, carry the invading substances to special cells, which zap them with more biochemicals. Among these protective cells are mast cells: they release histamine, the substance that causes swelling and inflammation to the linings of the nose, sinuses and eyelids, resulting in sneezing, upper respiratory congestion and itchy, watery eyes.
Just Blame The Folks
Most allergies are determined by your genes. If your Mom or Dad sneeze and scratch, there's a good chance you will, too. "That is not to say that we directly inherit an allergy to any specific substance. Rather, it seems as if we might inherit some kind of immune system defect or weakness that leaves us more vulnerable to allergies," explain co-authors Glenn S. Rothfeld, MD, and Suzanne LeVert in their book Natural Medicine for Allergies: The Best Alternative Methods for Quick Relief (Rodale). For some people, allergies lurk in food, throwing the immune system into overdrive. "Many natural medicine practitioners believe that a diet high in animal fats will contribute to the development of allergy and asthma, as does a diet high in food additives, such as preservatives and dyes," says Gary McLain, PhD, in his book The Natural Way of Healing: Asthma and Allergies (Dell). Worse, allergies can up the risk of asthma, which afflicts 15 million Americans. Most people afflicted with asthma also suffer allergies: the two are linked, according to the AAAAI. Allergy triggers of asthma include pollen, mold spores and house dust mites. Remember Helen Hunt's asthmatic son in the movie As Good As It Gets? His character endured allergies to dust, and living in New York (and watching his mom date Jack Nicholson) didn't help his immune system. Coughs, ear infections, fevers and visits to hospital emergency rooms curtailed his social life (and limited his close-ups as well). That kind of routine happens in real life, too. (Well, maybe close encounters with Jack N. are not included for most.) But when we breathe substances such as molds, they can induce swelling and inflammation of the bronchial airways which narrow and restrict air flow. This, in turn, causes wheezing and shortness of breath and can trigger an asthma "attack," according to Andrew Engler, MD, who specializes in allergy and asthma in San Mateo, California.
The Nose Knows: Chemical Sensitivities
Imagine a picture-perfect, crisp, clear Saturday morning. You make a final stop on your weekly errand run to the dry cleaner, where you drop off your laundry and spend a moment chatting up the owner. Back in your car, your eyes tear and you feel a bit woozy. Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin, writing in The Road to Immunity: How To Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) sense that your reaction could be chemical sensitivity, a difficult to diagnose but, in their opinion, very real malady. (Of course, a clinician can test you for immune responses to certain chemicals.) Reactions to chemicals produce the typical allergic responses: puffy or red-rimmed eyes; swelling; aching or stiff joints and muscles; irritability or dizziness; respiratory inflammations; headaches and the like. Villains include aerosol sprays, tobacco smoke, glues, insecticides and herbicides, household chemicals and fragrances. Identification and avoidance are key, say the authors. Vitamin C, which binds with chemicals, is one of the best nutritional defenses.
Breathing Problems Expand
Americans now freely take lifesaving medicines such as antibiotics and insulin but, in some people, "they have the potential to alter the immune system, which is where allergies begin," says Dr. McLain. (Consult your pharmacist if you have questions about your prescription medication.) We, as a nation, are also eating more chemicals, from the pesticides drenched on plants to the preservatives poured on prepared foods. We're breathing polluted air, which can lead to or exacerbate asthma, and then we choke on recycled air in sealed buildings. And while a century ago you were likely to have spent much of your time close to home, you can now hop on a supersonic plane and be taken to the other side of the globe within a matter of hours. With travel comes exposure to even more exotic allergens that can drive your immune system to distraction.
The All-Natural Gesundheit
Certain allergy-relief nutrients and herbs can help make life more bearable. Here's how they work: n Vitamin C for the lungs. According to experts, when vitamin C is low, asthma is high. Vitamin C carries the major antioxidant load in the airways and therefore contributes mightily to the health of the lungs. A study in the Annals of Allergy (73(1994):89-96) reported that in seven of 11 clinical trials since 1973, vitamin C supplementation provided "significant improvements" in respiratory function and asthma symptoms. n Vitamin E and carotene to suppress allergic reactions. These antioxidants may also help protect the respiratory tract from caustic pollutants. Vitamin E is reputed to be one of the most important nutrients for antioxidant protection in the lungs. In addition, these two substances decrease production of allergy-related compounds called leukotrienes. n Zinc for the immune system. Research shows that a deficiency in this trace mineral can weaken your immune system, setting you up as a target for allergies and infections. (Some vegetarians may not store sufficient amounts of this mineral and should take supplements.) Zinc comes to the body's rescue by taking part in the production of IgA, the gastrointestinal antibody that lines the digestive tract. "When IgA binds to an allergen, it keeps it from being absorbed into the bloodstream and thus from causing an allergic reaction," report Rothfeld and Levert. Also, zinc protects mucous membranes and helps convert beta carotene to vitamin A, another anti-allergy, immune-boosting nutrient. In a study of 100 participants at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, half took a zinc-based lozenge, while the other half received a dummy preparation. The participants taking zinc experienced a 42% reduction in the duration and severity of their common colds (Annals of Internal Medicine, 7/96). n Quercetin as an antihistamine. A valuable, anti-allergic flavonoid (plant coloring agent that is a powerful antioxidant), quercetin shines as a potent weapon against allergies and asthma. Believed to inhibit histamine release from mast cells and slow the production of other allergy-related compounds, it stabilizes mast cell membranes. Other flavonoid-rich extracts include grape seed, Pine Bark, green tea and Ginkgo biloba. n Additional helpful nutrients: Vitamin B-12, particularly to combat sensitivity to sulfites (The Nutrition Desk Reference [Keats]); selenium, an antioxidant that breaks down leukotrienes (Clinical Science 77, 1989: 495-500); and magnesium to relax bronchial tissues (Journal of the American Medical Association, 262 : 1210-3).
Herbal Remedies To The Rescue
n Nettles for hay fever relief. Research at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, showed that 40 of 69 folks suffering from hay fever found moderate to extreme relief from taking freeze-dried stinging nettles (Planta Medica,  44-47). "It is nontoxic, cheap and preferable to antihistamines, which I think are significantly toxic," reports Andrew Weil, MD, in his book Natural Health, Natural Medicine: A Comprehensive Manual for Wellness and Self-Care (Houghton Mifflin). n Cayenne to reduce inflammation. Cayenne, known as hot red pepper, is rich in capsaicin, a potent flavonoid "counter-irritant" that dilates and soothes inflamed nasal and bronchial tissues, according to experts. A bonus: Cayenne also contains a rich amount of antioxidant vitamin C, which can help enhance your immune system. n Echinacea for allergy prevention. This popular Native American herb provides cold and allergy protection, particularly when you take it before encountering allergens. Studies reveal that echinacea aids your body's tissues and protects you from germs and allergens. In fact, German studies have found it possesses valuable antiviral, antibacterial and immunity-boosting properties.
Make Your World Allergy-Free
For the most effective allergy relief, make sure you stay clear of allergens that wreak allergy havoc. Visit an allergy-savvy health practitioner and get tested to find out which substances rock your respiratory world. Plus, allergy experts recommend: n Banish dust mites: sweep out clutter and have your house power-vacuumed, if necessary; wash bedding and linens in very hot water. n De-pollinate your environment: flip on the air conditioner to sift out pollen (keep its filter and any forced air registers clean); exercise indoors; machine dry, rather than line dry, your clothes. n Buy a home air filter, especially if you experience dust, pollen or pet dander allergies. n Avoid allergy triggers that dog your days: cats and canines (or consider the hairless or shed-less breeds), mold and tobacco smoke. No matter what you do or actions you take, allergies may always remain an annoyance in your life. But attention to the foods you eat, the places where you exercise and the right combination of anti-allergy nutrients can limit your discomfort.
Leveling The Leukotrine Playing Field
On a microscopic level, a series of biochemicals implicated in allergic reactions are leukotrienes, substances that may constrict the bronchial tubes (breathing passages). In some people, consuming the food additive tartrazine can cause severe asthmatic breathing difficulties by boosting leukotrine release. In turn, this can interfere with the body's use of vitamin B-6. The process in which lack of B-6 or "errors" in how your body uses B-6 causes allergic reactions and is complex. According to Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND in the revised edition of the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), breathing problems may begin when the metabolism of tryptophan (an amino acid) goes awry: "Tryptophan is converted to serotonin, a compound that, among other things, can cause the airways of asthmatics to constrict...Vitamin B-6 is required for the proper metabolism of tryptophan." Accordingly, a study of vitamin B-6, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that people with compromised breathing may possess less B-6 in their blood than others who breathe normally. When people with asthma were given B-6, their wheezing and asthmatic attacks dropped.
Fat Fix For Allergies
The fat in your diet or supplements can also influence your susceptibility to allergies and asthma linked to allergies. Epidemiologists have found that countries where children eat fish at least four times a month cut their risk of asthma by 67% compared to other parts of the world where they consume fewer fish. Research on omega-3 fatty acids, the kind of fat found in fish, flax and hemp oil, demonstrates that some of these substances can improve breathing. In particular, fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can help open up bronchial tubes. Studies in the American Review of Respiratory Disease and the International Archives of Allergy and Applied Immunology show that breathing passageways may not react so negatively to the presence of allergens when you eat more fish or take supplements containing these types of fats. Many of the scientists who study the kinds of fats we eat believe that the increase in allergies and asthma in the US during the twentieth century may be due to both increasing air pollution (which irritates our lungs) plus a simultaneous increase in our consumption of what are called omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 oils are contained in most of the vegetable oils Americans eat, including sunflower and peanut oils. While experts believe that we would be better off consuming a diet containing about five times as many omega-6 fatty acids as omega-3s, today we eat about 40 times as much omega-6s. The chemistry of how these fats influence our allergy susceptibility is complex. It begins in our cell membranes which consist mostly of fat. When we consume omega-3 fatty acids, in our diet or in supplements, and these fats enter cell membranes, the change in structure cuts the availability of arachidonic acid, a fatty acid your body can make and which is found in meat, eggs and dairy products. Eventually, it is thought that this change in cellular metabolism and reduction in arachidonic acid forces the body to make less 4-series leukotrienes, substances which are quite prone to provoking allergic inflammation and, instead, produce 5-series leukotrienes, leukotrienes which don't cause nearly as much trouble. This process requires patience. According to Pizzorno and Murray. "It may take as long as one year before the benefits are apparent, as it appears to take time to turn over cellular membranes in favor of the omega-3 fatty acids."
Chinese Medicine Versus Allergies
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views allergies as an imbalance of the liver, says Jason Elias, co-author with Katherine Ketcham of The Five Elements of Self-Healing (Harmony Books). "The average American's (liver) deals with about fourteen pounds of chemicals a year. What would normally be a minor irritant becomes major because the liver can't process them anymore," explains Elias. Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has traditionally been used to fight allergies since this herb battles inflammation as evidenced by Japanese research and a study published in the journal Allergy. Much of this anti-allergy action is thought to proceed from licorice's interaction with a biochemical called cortisol, a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. Cortisol (along with epinephrine, another adrenal hormone) relaxes the muscles controlling airways. By slowing the liver's breakdown of cortisol, licorice prolongs circulation of this hormone which, in turn, can help breathing passages stay clear. In addition, glycyrrhetinic acid, a compound in licorice, slows the body's manufacture of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, substances which exacerbate allergic inflammatory reactions. Ma Huang (Ephedra sinica) has been employed for thousands of years to aid breathing since chemicals in this plant widen breathing passages.
Homeopathic Remedies for Allergy
Homeopathic treatments consist of highly diluted substances designed to coax the body into healing itself. The effectiveness of homeopathy for hayfever has been demonstrated by research published in Lancet performed at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. There, scientists showed that homeopathically-prepared medicines produced statistically significant improvements in allergy sufferers. The appropriate homeopathic remedy for any illness depends on the personality type of the person suffering an allergy. These treatments are among those recommended by Dana Ullman: n Allium cepa: appropriate for burning nasal discharge that grows worse in warm rooms and improves outdoors. Relieves non-burning tearing from eyes, raw feeling in the nose with tingling sensation and violent sneezing. n Nux vomica: used when feeling irritable and chilled, with daytime fluent nasal discharge and night congestion that grows worse indoors. Also for those sensitive to cold and to being uncovered. n Pulsatilla: best for women and children with daytime nasal discharge and night congestion who are gentle, yielding, mild, impressionable and emotional. Used when congestion is worse in warm rooms, hot weather or while lying down.
Food Allergy Conundrum Food allergies can prove to be the toughest allergies to identify and eliminate. Jason Elias believes that people may develop food sensitivities from eating the same foods too often. "If someone has an allergy, I might say 'Let's get you off dairy for three weeks,'" he says, noting that some people have limited their hay fever problems by ceasing to consume dairy products. Many have also found relief by maintaining a food diary, keeping track of which foods are associated with allergy attacks and then eliminating those foods. So the next time you sneeze, don't just reach for your hanky, think back to the meal that you just ate. Your allergy problem may be sitting in your stomach as well as making you sneeze and stuffing your sinuses. Taking these kinds of anti-allergy preventive measures can provide life-enhancing relief that feels like a godsend. That lets you attain your healthy best.
This article included reporting by Judy Pokras.
Pycnogenol Complex - The Next Generation of Antioxidant Protection
June 04, 2005 02:14 PM
If there’s one factor that has the greatest negative impact on our health, it is the damage done to our cells by free radicals. These highly unstable molecules disrupt the biochemical processes that regulate life. Although a natural product of oxygen metabolism in the body, free radicals are also produced in vast quantities by modern technology. Our bodies’ natural defenses simply have not been able to keep up with the onslaught of these dangerous products of civilization. On the other hand, technology has offered help by identifying some of nature’s most powerful weapons against free radical attack. Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX is an unprecedented combination of these extremely potent plantbased antioxidants, or Plantioxidants™. Consider them your antidote to the industrial revolution.
How free radicals are formed and their effect on the body
Oxygen both makes life, and takes life. The energy that animates us comes from the biochemical reactions that burn oxygen within our cells. And though carefully regulated by the body, this biological combustion, over time, inevitably leads to cellular damage. If oxidation is not carefully controlled, tissues are damaged faster than the body can repair them. This is caused by an excess of over-reactive, electron hungry molecules called oxidants or “free radicals,” which tend to disrupt normal cellular activity. Free radicals attack a cell’s membrane and can even damage its hereditary blueprint (DNA). Since free radicals are a natural result of certain metabolic reactions, the body synthesizes several types of antioxidant enzymes to neutralize them. In addition, we get essential antioxidants from the foods we eat. Vitamins C, E and beta carotene are the ones found most often in our diet. During this century, our environment has become a perpetual source of free radical contamination, primarily from radiation and the chemical pollution in our air, water and food. Today, we are literally overwhelmed with more free radicals than our bodies are accustomed to handling. Fortunately, science has found that certain plants contain special antioxidants that are far more powerful than the vitamins we typically get in our diet. With this knowledge, Source Naturals formulated PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX, the most advanced combination of Plantioxidants available today in one product. Pycnogenol® is the proprietary name of a natural plant product made from the bark of the European coastal pine, Pinus maritima.
Natural protection against free radicals
Pycnogenol® Complex – A Cornucopia of Health Our knowledge of Pine Bark goes back nearly 500 years, to when the French explorer, Jacques Cartier, reported that a tea made from pine tree bark by Native Americans saved the lives of his crew who were dying of scurvy. Nutrition scientists have since isolated the extraordinary antioxidant compounds of Pine Bark. They have also discovered many other unique antioxidants throughout the plant kingdom. Plants have evolved bioflavonoids to protect themselves from free radical damage. One of the most abundant compounds in the plant kingdom, bioflavonoids are found in the pigments of bark, rinds, seeds, leaves and flowers.
Natural antioxidants in Pycnogenol® Complex
The active ingredients of Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX are derived from a diverse range of nature’s plenty: Pine Bark, green tea, turmeric spice, rosemary, grape seeds, milk thistle seeds, bilberries, hawthorn berries and ginkgo leaves. Each of these Plantioxidants is an exceptional free radical scavenger, and each has a tendency to concentrate in a different organ of the body, thus providing targeted protection. And since their primary function is to capture free radicals, these Plantioxidants free up vitamin C, so it can perform its many other vital functions.
Defense Plants The two headliners of Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX are the Pine Bark extract, Pycnogenol®, and an extract from grape seeds, Proanthodyn™. Their unsurpassed antioxidant activity – up to 20 times that of Vitamin C and up to 50 times that of Vitamin E – comes from a high concentration of proanthocyanidins.
Why Pycnogenol® Complex is formulated with extracts of Pine Bark and grape seed
These highly bioavailable flavonoids are able to cross the Blood-Brain Barrier, and can stay in the bloodstream for up to 72 hours. Few other nutritional antioxidants cross this barrier, and none do it as well. Proanthocyanidins therefore offer the brain and central nervous system unparalleled antioxidant protection. In particular, proanthocyanidins may help reduce the formation of lipofuscin, a brown waste material made of free radical-damaged proteins and fats. Over time, lipofuscin deposits form in the brain, heart, and skin. The “age” or “liver” spots that develop on the backs of some elderly peoples’ hands are made of lipofuscin. Because they’re rich in unsaturated fatty acids, cell membranes are the primary site of free radical attack. Proanthocyanidins are able to protect against both water- and fat-soluble free radicals. Also, their chemical structure is incorporated within cell membranes, making proanthocyanidins very effective in preventing damage to the cell’s interior. This is vital, because if a cell’s DNA is disrupted, it could lead to the abnormal reproduction of that cell. For many years now, Europeans have used Pine Bark and grape seed extracts to maintain vein and capillary health. Proanthocyanidins support the circulatory system by helping to keep collagen and elastin, the essential constituents of vessel walls, from breaking down during times of imbalance. And most importantly, proanthocyanidins can help prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. Scientists now recognize that it’s not cholesterol itself, but the oxidation of cholesterol that can be problematic.
How Plantioxidants benefit different organs in the body
The Power of Diversity
In addition to the broad protection offered by Pycnogenol® and Proanthodyn, Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX offers an outstanding array of other Plantioxidants. Each has unique abilities to protect the body from oxidants. For several thousand years, Green Tea has been enjoyed in the Orient, not only for its taste, but also as a health tonic. Upon analysis, it contains several strong antioxidants, called Polyphenols, with exceptional free radical scavenging abilities. Polyphenols have been shown to be over 200 times more effective than vitamin E in preventing oxidative damage to brain cells. Source Naturals uses a potent extract of green tea that concentrates 2,000 pounds of fresh green tea leaves into one pound of finished product. This extract has been awarded 30 patents for its protective effects. The ancient Ginkgo Biloba tree has long been prized for its beneficial qualities. Like proanthocyanidins, ginkgo’s compounds are able to cross the Blood-Brain Barrier, and support cell membrane and capillary integrity. Its particular antioxidant constituents have been associated with superior oxygen transport to the brain. This is important because the brain uses 20% of all inhaled oxygen. Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX uses a superior 50 to 1 extract, providing 24% Ginkgoflavoneglycosides and 6% Terpenoids. Bilberries were first studied for their capacity to heighten visual acuity in normal subjects under poor light conditions. In fact, to increase their night vision, RAF pilots ate bilberry jam during WW II. Its antioxidant compounds, Anthocyanosides, have an affinity for delicate eye tissues, where it quenches free radicals and supports capillary strength. Source Naturals utilizes a standardized bilberry extract with 25% anthocyanosides, 80 times more potent than regular bilberry.
The wide range of natural antioxidants in Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX
Milk Thistle Seed Extract has been researched and used for over 20 years in Europe. Its antioxidant compound, called Silymarin, has a special preference for the liver. It’s one of the few nutrients that can support the liver’s natural regenerative processes. By enhancing DNA activity, liver cells can regenerate up to five times faster. Turmeric Extract contains 95% Curcumin, the active ingredient of this traditional East Indian spice. Curcumin promotes the body’s own production of antioxidant enzymes, including glutathione peroxidase, an important protector of the liver. Curcumin also increases the production and secretion of bile, which is used to remove cholesterol from the body. Quercetin has been well-researched for its free radical scavenging activity. Because of its ability to stabilize cell membranes, quercetin helps prevent damage and discomfort from reactionary (histamine- and leukotriene-related) processes in the body. Source Naturals quercetin has been isolated from plant sources. Rosemary and Hawthorn Berries both contain bioflavonoid antioxidants that have the unique ability to neutralize the hydroxyl radical, a particularly dangerous type of free radical. Hydroxyls are produced by exposure to excessive radiation and pollution from burned fossil fuels. The body has no innate defense system against it. Vitamin C is one of the most active and abundant antioxidants in the body, so it must be frequently replenished. Since it works in conjunction with bioflavonoids, each tablet of Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX contains 500 mg of vitamin C, bound to Magnesium for increased bioavailability.
A World of Help
As we better understand how free radicals affect our health and well being, it’s important that we take advantage of the wonderful protective qualities found in certain plants. These Plantioxidants provide the appropriate means to counteract the destructive effects of excessive free radicals, which have become part and parcel of modern life. Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX brings the diverse and concentrated power of the plant world into your world of wellness.