Search Term: " Programs "
Is marijuana a secret weapon against the opioid epidemic?
July 13, 2017 09:14 AM
Addiction to opioids is a huge problem,. It often starts with pain meds. Doctors prescribe opioids for pain and then the patient becomes addicted and needs more and more. This can ruin families and lives. Some believe marijuana can help because that can be used for pain instead. It does help some with pain already. Medicinal marijuana is already allowed in some places and people are swearing by it for pain and other issues. Others say marijuana can be addictive as well, though, so that would create its own problems.
"The reality is that the literature right now suggests that if anyone is using an opioid — whether it be a prescription painkiller or something like heroin — a prescription painkiller is more likely [than marijuana] to lead to drug abuse, she says, because it’s more addictive and obviously can be more lethal."
Read more: http://wunc.org/post/marijuana-secret-weapon-against-opioid-epidemic
One-month sugar detox: A nutritionist explains how and why
June 13, 2017 12:14 PM
Lots of detox programs show up online. They can help you lose weight or just get unhealthy things out of your body. This talks about one which helps with sugar. Since lots of us consume way too much sugar this is helpful. An expert explains why this is a good idea and how to do it. Detoxing can actually be unhealthy if they're done incorrectly so it's good to get info from someone who knows a lot about the topic.
"The good news is that even if you're not a true sugar "addict," by eliminating sugar from your diet, you can quickly lose unwanted pounds, feel better and have a more radiant appearance."
Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/09/health/sugar-detox-food-drayer/index.html
“No known lethal dose:” New potential for marijuana is treating drug addiction
May 24, 2017 04:14 PM
Research is showing that instead of abstinence for drug users it may be better to instead introduce them to a milder drug to help reduce the impact addiction has in their life. They believe marijuana can help crack, and cocaine users curb their addictions. Although they aren't completely certain about the science behind this development the progress made has been significant. Both crack and cocaine users have had a significantly higher success rate of quitting those drugs with the help of marijuana.
"Crack cocaine is said to be a low-end incarnation of a rich man’s drug."
Read more: http://fox6now.com/2017/05/17/no-known-lethal-dose-new-potential-for-marijuana-is-treating-drug-addiction/
5 Things to Know About Genetic Testing Bill
March 24, 2017 02:44 PM
Could you be pressured into submitting to genetic testing in the near future? A proposed piece of legislation could alter the 2008 law that protects us from mandatory genetic testing and or discrimination based on the results of such tests. The proposed changes get around the 2008 law by linking predictive tests to wellness programming and declaring wellness programs exempt from the prior rules. Bioethics experts believe that your genetic health Is nobody’s business and others point out that wellness programs have failed to produce proven results or savings.
"Despite the country's focus on the American Health Care Act, a smaller bill is also working its way through Congress — one that could overturn years of legislative protections for patients."
Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-care/nobody-s-business-5-things-know-about-genetic-testing-bill-n733416?cid=public-rss_20170316
Through Epigenetics, Curcumin Can Stop Cancer
August 20, 2016 10:28 AM
Epigenetics: In a nutshell, the way we eat turns on and turns off various genes in the body. Depending on your diet, you can turn on cancer preventative genes and turn on genes that promote cancer.
Curcumin is able to tell those apoptosis inducing genes to wake up and end the lives of cancer cells that are defying death. Curcumin can selectively kill cells that have out lived their lifespan with out hurting other normal cells in the body. It rePrograms genetically damaged cells to have a normal lifespan.
All of the healing properties of curcumin happen with zero side effects, unlike prescription drugs that your doctor prescribe, that no only have side effects, some of these side effects can be life threatening. Who wants that? Not Me!
If you have cancer, or any disease for that matter, try curcumin as a complementary supplement to what ever you are currently doing to fight it, or take curcumin as a preventative!
Can Guggle Extract Improve Bile And Fat Metabolism?
May 05, 2014 08:13 PM
Guggul extract on weight loss
It is good to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you do not do so, falling prey to a number of health complications is inevitable. Among the causes of these complications, fats metabolism happens to play a big part. There are numerous ways to help deal with problems associated with fat metabolism; guggle extract is one of them. A plant found in Asia and North African parts is widely used in weight loss Programs. Its bark contains some sap that is extracted to offer the desired product. Many people are asking questions on how this extract helps improve both bile and fat metabolism.
How effective guggul extract
The sap obtained is also referred to us gum guggle or rather guggglesterones. These plant steroids are responsible for the positive effects the herb on the body fat metabolism. How does it help reduce cholesterol? It simply prompts an increase in the functioning of the thyroid. Biologically, this helps enhance metabolism. It occurs because food digestion is improved while at the same time the conversion of carbohydrates to fats is inhibited thus reducing cholesterol levels in blood. Perhaps that is why it is used in most weight loss Programs.
Other health benefits of guggle extract
Furthermore, guggle extract improves bile functioning due to its cholesterol reduction characteristics. It kills two birds with one stone. As seen earlier, it inhibits formation of cholesterol on blood. Second, it helps in the excretion cholesterol from the body system. It is able to do this effectively due to the presence of phytochemicals. They inhibit farnesoid X receptor, which happens to be the bile acid receptor responsible for cholesterol levels in the body. It even blocks oxidation of low-density lipo-proteins thus enabling the breakdown of cholesterol into manageable compounds.
Finally, there is no doubt on if guggle extracts helps improve bile and fat metabolism. There may be a few people who question its effectiveness, but numerous studies have cemented the truthfulness of the idea. This herb also has other uses thus check out for our next article to understand more about it.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Saffron Extract?
March 26, 2012 08:01 AM
HEALTH BENEFITS OF SAFFRON EXTRACT
Saffron is one of the rarest and exotic spices found on the earth. Golden spice is the other name given to saffron, attributing to its reddish-golden color. It is the most common spice used in many Indian,Mediterranean and Italian cuisine. This culinary and exotic spice grows on a flowering plant- Crocus Sativa. It is grown in various countries around the world including many Asian and European countries. Areas with hot dry summers and wet springs are the most suitable areas for growing Saffron. While saffron is popular for its flavor, color and fragrance, this rare spice also, has many medicinal and health benefits. Saffron is a very expensive spice and this is mainly because of the fact, that for making 1gram of Saffron strands 150 flowers are required.
Mineral present in Saffron extract -
Saffron extract contains high amounts of copper, magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium, iron, and selenium. It is also a rich source of various vitamins like- vitamin A, B2 and C, niacin and folic acid. Apart from these Saffron also contains carotenoid compounds - crocetin, lycopeneand, safranel and crocin.
The various health benefits of Saffron are -
1) Cancer Treatment- Because of the presence of crocetin and carotenoid in Saffron, it has anti-mutagenic and anti-tumor properties. Several studies on Saffron extract have proved that Saffron extract delays papilloma carcinogenisis and tumor growth. Because of all these properties, Saffron extract can be used for treating and preventing skin cancer, liver cancer and sarcoma.
2) Anti-inflammatory properties- Saffron have anti-inflammatory properties and therefore it can be used in treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. It is capable of controlling inflammation and healing cuts and burns faster.
3) Potent aphrodisiac- For last many centuries, Saffron has been used as a “POTENT APHRODISIAC” inPersiaand many other Arabian countries. It can increase libido and improve erectile dysfunction by increasing the flow of blood in the pelvic region.
4) Eye Care- Several studies have proved that Saffron extract can treat certain eye problems like- macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. Saffron also protects the eyes from the harmful effects UV rays.
5) Anti-Depressants- Saffron extract can also be used in the treatment of patients suffering from depression. Researches have shown that Saffron gives equal results as given by therapeutic drugs like imipramine and fluoxetine.
6) Painkiller- Saffron extract can be used for treating many severe painful conditions like- stomach pain, menstrual pain, and kidney pain.
7) Weight loss- Researches have shown that Saffron can suppress the feeling of hunger, by controlling the percentage of serotonin content in the blood. Therefore, Saffron is used in many weight loss Programs, as it can reduce the compulsion to eat and feelings of hunger.
8) Skin- Saffron contains antioxidants, and therefore it is used in many beauty and anti-aging treatments.
9) Saffron during Pregnancy- During pregnancy, women are advised to drink Saffron milk, in order to enhance their pelvic blood flow. Also, due to its Carminative properties it helps in suppressing cramps.
Gas and bloating are very common problems during pregnancy and just one glass of Saffron milk can reduce flatulence and ease digestion.
What Makes Curamed such a good Pain Remedy?
October 24, 2011 08:24 AM
Curamed And Pain (Inflammation)Curamed is an herbal supplement primarily used as a pain relief treatment. This product is a combination of many herbs which has anti - inflammatory properties. In addition, this supplement which is a blend of many herbs is also useful in enhancing the defense mechanism of the body against harmful microorganisms and illnesses. And not to mention, Curamed also contains powerful antioxidants to help protect the body from free radical damage.
Many users have reported that Curamed is effective as a pain remedy. Clinically, Curamed is approximately equal to 4,000 milligrams of curcumin and 85,000 milligrams of turmeric. Turmeric is a pepper - like herb which has a bitter taste but mild aroma. This herb is commonly used since the ancient times as a home remedy for pain. The mechanism of action of this herb is said to be because of its ability to reduce inflammation thus reducing swelling and pain sensation. Clinical studies showed that the substance in turmeric is called curcumin. This is the chemical substance in the herb which has a strong anti – inflammatory property. It can even relieve swelling and pain during osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis attacks. The anti –inflammatory effect of curcumin has been compared to that of the common and effective anti -inflammatory drugs such as hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone. The good thing is that though they may have similar actions, curcumin does not have the toxic effects associated with those drugs such as ulcer formation, leucopenia and intestinal bleeding.
Curamed supplement contains proprietary complex which can provide an enhanced bioavailability and constant retention time inside the body. It is formulated using a distinctive and patented process so that it can deliver the anti – inflammatory ingredient curcumin to the body 1000%. The patented process also allows the chemicals to be inside the body for about 8 to 12 hours. Curamed is clinically studied and proven with the help of intensive research. In addition, Curamed has also been found to be an effective liver detoxifier and protectant.
Other ingredients containing the Curamed supplement include triglycerides, glycerin phosphatidylcholine lecithin, purified water and beeswax. It contains only natural ingredients and has no sugar therefore it is safe for diabetic patients and those who are under weight loss Programs. It also contains no salt and gluten making it safe for cardiovascular disease and Celiac disease patients, respectively. Each product container contains 30, 60 or 120 750 milligram – soft gel. It is made available in health food stores, drug stores and even Online. Make sure to check labels before purchasing since there are many imitations and fraud.
Recommended dosage depends on the individual’s age, gender, pain threshold, health condition and other related factors. The recommended dosage is usually one to two soft gels everyday. Give Curamed a try and feel the difference!
L-Arginine An Amino Acid Essential Or Not You Be The Judge?
January 06, 2009 04:01 PM
L-Arginine is an amino acid that is one of 20 needed by the body for its existence. To some, it is not what is known as an essential amino acid, since it can be biosynthesized by the body, but arginine is termed a conditionally essential amino acid in that we must include some in our diet because our biochemistry does not produce all that our body needs, particularly during the growing years.
Amino acids are the building blocks of life, and are the units from which proteins and ultimately our DNA are built. In fact DNA contains the blueprints for every protein used by our bodies, including all the enzymes without which our biochemistry could not occur. When a supply of a particular protein is needed, the DNA template provides the sequence of amino acids needed to produce it.
Of the 20 amino acids we need, only 10 can be produced by our body: the other 10 must be included in our diet and are termed 'essential' because they are an essential part of our diet, just as vitamins and minerals are. Without an adequate supply of essential components, we cannot survive, and if the essential amino acids are depleted in our diet then the body will break down muscle tissue to release them.
Although L-arginine is termed a 'conditionally' essential amino acid, it is included by many among the 10 regarded as being essential. Hence, depending upon who you read, it can be either essential or non-essential. That is because, as inferred earlier, arginine is needed for growth and development, and there is insufficient in the diet to meet these needs. Therefore, while it is essential in cases where growth is still taking place, it is not in those where normal growth is complete.
Proteins are essential for all animal life, forming not only the enzymes, or biochemical catalysts, but also muscles and DNA among other bodily tissues. Protein is also a necessary part of our diet, and it is from protein, animal or vegetable, that we get the amino acids in our diet. L-arginine is one of these, being available from all meats and seafood’s, and vegetables rich in protein such as soy, seeds, nuts and grains.
So what does arginine do for us, quite a lot in fact, many of its functions being related to our health? Arginine plays an important role in the healing of wounds, especially bone, assisting the immune function, decreasing blood pressure and speeding up the repair time of tissue. However, it possesses other properties such as increasing muscle mass, helping to increase male fertility and improving the circulation.
It also helps to remove ammonia from the body, and is a precursor for the biosynthesis of nitric oxide (NO2). It is in the way that L-arginine works with the nitrogen stores of the body that we will focus on here, prior to touching on its other properties.
L-Arginine transports, stores and excretes nitrogen, and used biochemically to manufacture nitric oxide. This oxide of nitrogen plays a very important role in your body, and is produced in every cell of your body. Nitric oxide helps in the dilation of your blood vessels, allowing a reduction in blood pressure, better circulation and helping to prevent a mans man-hood dysfunction, all of which are due to its relaxing effect on smooth muscle contraction and the promotion of the increased blood flow necessary for men and their functions. It is also important to your immune system and nervous system.
It works in a similar way to the effect of nitroglycerine on the heart: this is converted in the body to nitric oxide which relaxes the blood vessels and so reduces the amount of work needed by the heart. The way in which L-arginine forms nitric oxide is by the action of the enzyme nitric oxide synthase.
The amino acid is also an important component of the Citric Acid or Kreb's cycle, where it reacts with ammonia which is a toxic by-product in the generation of energy in the mitochondria. Ammonia is converted to urea by L-arginine and excreted from the body. This is another way in which L-arginine is involved in the storage and use of nitrogen-containing compounds in your biochemistry.
It was mentioned earlier that arginine is an essential amino acid for children. Studies have indicated that it supports the release of the human growth hormone from the pituitary gland although the amount released through supplementation of the amino acid varies widely between individuals. The growth hormone maintains the production of proteins and muscle tissue in the body cells. This reduces as we age, and arginine becomes non-essential, the smaller amounts needed in our biochemistry being manufactured by the body.
The anabolic effect of the supplement is believed to increase the effectiveness of exercise intended to increase muscle bulk and reduce the percentage of body fat, and many take L-arginine as a supplement while undergoing such anabolic fitness and exercise Programs. It is normally best to start with low supplement levels and work up due the potential side effects (diarrhea and nausea).
Arginine is an important component in the body's healing mechanisms for both tissue and bone, and studies have confirmed accelerated healing of wounds and fractures with arginine supplementation. Although the mechanism by which this occurs is not yet understood, there is evidence that it may be connected with the nitric oxide pathway and increased blood flow, and also with its effect on the immune system in reducing inflammation at the healing site.
Diabetics, however, should be careful with substances that promote the release of growth hormone, and children with incomplete bone growth should also use such agents only under medical supervision. With diabetics, their condition could be either exacerbated or improved, and those with herpes and some psychotic conditions should also be careful.
Nitrogenous compounds are essential to life, and L-arginine plays a significant role in the storage, use and secretion of them. Without it life would not be possible, although it is its visible uses, such as the effect of nitrous oxide on blood flow and of proteins on muscle metabolism, for which it is best known to those that use it, either as a supplement or as a remedy. Pure supplement form is available at your local or internet health food store.
May 17, 2008 10:17 AM
Recently, the Natural Products Association has experienced a flurry of activity on the legislative front. One month ago, Natural Products Association members went to Washington, D.C. to meet with their representatives and discuss legislation important to the association and the industry. Many who could not visit Washington in person were part of our "virtual march" on Washington that delivered e-mails, petitions, and videos to Congress on the importance of natural products. Natural Products Day was a great success, boasting higher than ever attendance at our evening Congressional reception, and resulting in additional co-sponsors for S. 771, the Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act sponsored by Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). The bill now boasts co-sponsorship of more than a quarter of the Senate. Its companion bill in the House of Representatives, H.R. 1363, sponsored by Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), has gained an additional five co-sponsors as the result of Natural Products Day meetings and now has 140 co-sponsors. These bills continue to build momentum, thanks to your support.
More recently, the Natural Products Association urged supporters to contact their legislators to include an amendment to the "Farm Bill" allowing food stamp recipients to purchase dietary supplements. This provision was similar to free-standing bills that have been introduced in the current and previous Congresses by Sens. Harkin and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and have earned the association's support. Although the amendment advanced further than other versions in previous sessions, it did not make the final Farm Bill, which was reported out of conference today. The good news is that the Farm Bill did contain significant increases in nutrition Programs and increased funding for organic farming, another supported goal of the Natural Products Association. Because of the strong effort of our supporters on the amendment's behalf, the bill was placed on Congress's radar screens and has greatly improved the chances as stand-alone legislation, S. 770, the Food Stamp Vitamin and Mineral Improvement Act, of seeing passage. We will continue to ask for support on this important bill as this legislative session progresses.
In addition, the Natural Products Association has been leading the fight to protect Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and to keep this important, safe, and effective supplement available to elderly consumers. The same players behind S. 762, which would wrongly classify DHEA as an anabolic steroid, proposed S. 2470 in late 2007 as a misplaced reaction the release of the Mitchell Report, which chronicled the abuse of steroids by professional baseball players. Although DHEA has no performance enhancing attributes, this bill was proposed to limit the access of minors to DHEA. The Natural Products Association and its supporters have worked hard to inform Congress of the benefits of DHEA, and that it is not an anabolic steroid and should not be classified as one. We have been able so far to prevent any movement on the bill, but the association continues to monitor its progress and make sure that this supplement remains accessible to the seniors who need it most.
Thanks to your help, the Natural Products Association continues to have an active presence on Capitol Hill that is felt by legislators. We could not do it without the help of you, our supporters, who know how important it is to stand up for natural products. The impact of your messages to legislators continues to help the Natural Products Association to ensure all natural products - from natural and organic foods to dietary supplements and health and beauty aids - are accessible to Americans. With your continued support we will continue to be known as a vocal group with a wide base of support through the rest of this legislative session and beyond.
To get involved, please visit our action center at www.capwiz.com/nnfa/issues/
Now Available in Vegetarian Capsules - Triphala
December 20, 2007 04:17 PM
Sustainably wildcrafted—organically cultivated fruits
Planetary Herbals, the company that introduced Triphala to the American health food market, offers you this premier product made from organic fruits: Triphala Gold.
The most highly revered detoxifying and tonifying compound in the 5,000-year Ayurvedic tradition.
Combines three sour and astringent fruits, legendary for their health-promoting effects: amla, behada, and harada.
Planetary Herbals: Your Source for Triphala
Triphala, an Ayurvedic staple, is designed to support digestion, assimilation, and elimination. In the United States, it is the cornerstone of botanical intestinal cleansing Programs. Triphala Gold is made from fruits sustainably wildcrafted on certified organic land in the foothills of Sri Lanka or Northeastern Madhya Pradesh. The fruits are then processed to maintain their freshness, purity, and quality. The indigenous community that harvests our three fruits is paid more than market price, which supports the ability of community members to remain in their ancestral homelands. The local pickers are trained in methods that allow for preservation of local forests and long-term ecological sustainability.
Take Charge Of Your Health With Herbal Bio-Identical hormones
November 04, 2007 03:17 PM
Bioidentical hormones assist women in overcoming acute menopausal symptoms, while improving skin. They help by strengthening bones, keeping the mind sharp, promoting energy and well-being, and helping to preserve vaginal tone and resist vaginal dryness. In men, these hormones add energy and vitality, while improving muscle tones and mental sharpness. Bioidentical hormones (BHRT) are exact duplicates of the hormones that are produced by the body. However, they are much more easily metabolized by the body into safe forms of estrogen than their counterparts, which stimulate toxic metabolites. When they are used in physiologic amounts, bioidenticals carry much fewer risks than synthetic hormones. However, despite the fact that research supports their use and proves them safe alternatives to prescription drugs, few physicians are actually using these hormones in their practices.
Those patients, who wish to address menopausal and andropause symptoms, or to achieve lifelong hormonal balance in order to prevent illness, often do not know where to go to find a comprehensive bioidentical hormone replacement program. Instead, they read whatever they can to formulate a plan and purchase various products that are available over the counter, often spending precious time and money on Programs and products that don’t do what they’re expected to do. One of the most common errors among people is putting together a program based solely on symptoms instead of first checking hormone levels. Symptoms may overlap from one hormone pattern to another. If you try to replace or augment specific hormones without having an accurate test of the levels first, your results will seldom be good.
If your doctor is prescribing transdermal hormones, make sure to do a saliva self-test to measure your hormones levels as it is much more accurate and revealing than other types of tests. You can submit your samples to Mead Labs, where you will actually receive a telephone consultation from a health professional to interpret your results followed by a program of products prescribed especially for you from one of their medical professionals. With your own results, you can learn a lot about the exact state of your hormones instead of blindly guessing from symptoms which may be similar. For example, men may not need testosterone shots or transdermal patches, as the results may show estrogen dominance. The answer for this is not adding more testosterone, because the man could be converting testosterone into estrogen, but instead a program including special herbs and nutrients may be much more beneficial. No matter your gender, your health professional at Mead Labs will design a safe and effective program based solely on bioidentical hormones, herbs, and nutrients first. In the past years, when prescription, non-bioidentical HRT was used by any women with menopausal symptoms, there was no testing to find out what kind of imbalance was actually occurring. Proponents of BHRT are trying to ensure that this method of prescribing the same combination and amounts of medications to everyone is not used with natural hormones. Because hormone profiles and levels can vary significantly from person to person, even those people in the same gender, testing hormones levels and obtaining recommendations from a medical professional who is experienced in BHRT are the key points to ensure you benefit from this therapy.
Exotic Herbs From The Amazon Basin
June 22, 2007 05:07 PM
Although many traditional herbal medicines have yet to find complete scientific corroboration in the West, it follows logically that people wouldn't use an herbal product for centuries if it didn't work.
Many of the popular herbs we all recognize as having great health benefits were only recently considered pretty exotic. Even green tea - a staple in China for centuries -has only lately gone main stream.
So it will likely be with herbs from the Amazon basin and its environs. The Amazon basin is one of the most bountiful environments on the planet. Explorers and botanists from the West have looked to this region for generations for the "next big thing." Of course, in many cases, the "next big thing" has already been in use for centuries.
In this issue of Ask the Medicine Hunter, we're going to look at some energizing and life- stimulating herbs that also happen to have great antioxidant properties, too. Best yet, many of them are available to us here from companies that practice fair trade policies.
Let's take a look at some of the herbal powerhouses coming out of the Amazon (and its nearby neighborhoods):
Maca (Lepidium meyenii) has been cultivated for a long time at least 2000 years. Related to brassica family plants like radishes, mustard and cabbage, its foliage does actually look somewhat radish-like, but grows close to the ground.
Maca is cultivated by the Andean people in Peru's central highlands, and contains a plethora of beneficial compounds that enhance overall health and vitality. The tradition of cultivating maca is an old one some strains have been found in Incan sites that date from 1600 B.C. During early European colonization, maca was used by the local native culture as a form of currency, much of the way cocoa was used by the Aztecs, further north in pre-Columbian Mexico.
Maca thrives in high altitudes - between 10,000 and 16,000 feet. The harsher the conditions, the better it grows, or so it seems. In fact, efforts to grow the plant in Central Europe haven't been as successful - maca seems to enjoy its home turf the best. In Peru, maca is a popular and beloved nutrient-packed superfood, and is commonly powdered and mixed into drinks at roadside stands throughout the Andes.
Q. I've heard of maca being used for healthy libido - are there any other benefits?
A. Maca is a natural energizer, and although it is recognized for it's libido enhancing abilities, it has other uses, too, acting as an adaptogen - similar to rhodiola or ginseng. In fact, in South America, maca is known as "Peruvian Ginseng." Though maca is not ginseng at all, some of the benefits of both plants are similar.
In any event, maca is recommended for boosting the immune system, menopause support, and hormonal balance in general. For daily use, maca is most recognized as a great source of energy and all-day endurance. Alkaloids from maca root may be partially responsible for both maca's energizing and libido boost. Research shows that maca affects the hypothalamic-pituitary (HPA) axis - boosting energy and overall aphrodisiac prowess in men and women. Maca contains novel compounds called macamides and macaenes, which have been proven in animal studies to significantly enhance energy, stamina and sexual function reasons people have been so consuming maca for 2000 years.
There are other serious reasons why maca is such an excellent plant. One group of compounds in maca is the isothiocyanates-aromatics constituents that are responsible for the "hotness" of mustards and radishes - fellow members of the brassica family. Isothiocyanates from other members of the brassica family may reduce the risk of breast and stomach cancer. Although the same constituents specifically from maca haven't beentested, it's plausible that they could have the same effects.
Q. I've heard a little about guarana extracts - is it just caffeine?
A. Guarana is widely loved for its mild stimulating effect, which is due to caffeine. But this is by no means this Amazonian herb's sole beneficial compound. Guarana (Paullinia cupana) is so logically ingrained in the culture of Brazil that it's practically a rival (actually out-sells) Coca-Cola in its soft-drink form. Like many other indigenous herbs, guarana was in use locally well before European settlement. Its Latin name comes fromthe German botanist C.F. Paullini, who first encountered the herb in the 1700s. This evergreen vine typically climbs fairly far up the Brazilian forest trees. The seed is the part that gets used. In one clinical study, guarana boosted the memory alertness of participants, even when the caffeine level per dose was a low 9 mg., as compared with approximately 100 mg for a cup of coffee. This effect suggests that other agents than caffeine contribute to a feeling of well being.
Guarana also contains powerful antioxidants including catechin, epicatechin and proanthocyanidins, which protect cells against destruction from free radicals, and impart benefits to the body's tissues and blood. The small seed of this plant is powerful in its health benefits.
Catuaba (Erythroxylum catuaba) is a common tree found in South America from Brazil to Peru, in the same genus as the coca plant. Catuaba contains components known as alkaloids. These alkaloids (called catuabine A, B, and C) are probably responsible for themental boost most people get when they take catuabe-based supplements or mixes.
There may be little confusion regarding catuaba, because various species and genus typesuse the common name. As a result, "catuaba" gets bandied around a lot, and one person'scatuaba may not be the next. Read labels carefully. The catuaba I've had the best luck with is Erythroxylum catuaba.
One of my favorite drinks in the world is coffee, and I'm sure at many people reading thisconsider it the essential part of their morning, too.
The part of coffee that we use the most is the seed of the coffee fruit - which appears as a bright, red berry. Most of the time, this fruit is sloughed off and left behind in the process of making coffee - it's really too delicate to last long in hot conditions.
But advances in technology have tapped a previously discarded resource. Though the fruit of coffee is available in any coffee-growing economy, a high antioxidant commercial extract of "coffee cherry" is now available from the fruits of coffee plants in Mexico.
Coffee fruit has many of the attributes of other dark-colored, anthcyanin-rich fruits. Coffee fruit (also referred to as "coffee cherry") appears not to be just another antioxidant, however. Current research on this once-forgotten, former castoff shows impressive abilities to decrease tumor size, and possibly even prevent their formation in the first place. It seems that the elements in coffee berry activate T-lymphocytes in such a way that mammary tumors are shrunk or simply put on hold. It will be fascinating to see how this science plays out.
Muira Puama Bark:
Muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides) grows between 15 to 45 feet high. Native to theAmazon basin of Brazil, the dried bark has been used for centuries as a traditional energysupport. Components include beta-sitosterol, campesterol and lupeol.
Muira puama, like other central nervous stimulants has been researched lately for its ability to boost memory retrieval and protect neural (brain) tissue. Who knows? Maybe this traditional ingredient could someday be on the cutting edge of natural medicines fighting Alzheimer's, much the way green tea and turmeric are currently. In one unpublished French study of 262 men with low libido and poor erectile function, 62% experienced significant improvement after taking an extract of Muira puama for two weeks.
Acai (Euterpe acai) berry is a traditional favorite (and readily available) food source for people in the Amazon. The tree is a tall-growing palm with berries that provide - a rich source of anthocyanins, potent purple pigments with extraordinary high antioxidant activity.
Once harvested, acai fruits decay rapidly. As with coffee fruits, special processing is the surest way to make certain the nutrients of acai berry make it to those of us outside the Amazon basin.
However, these wonderful fruits not only fight against free radical damage, but help our natural digestive enzymes and boost natural immune defenses, too. In fact, current research is investigating whether compounds in acai may have a fighting effect on leukemia, too. So far, the results have been very positive.
Look for supplements made using organically-grown, fair trade acai berry. The best companies ensure that the local people harvesting acai and the communities where they live gather more than just short-term benefits. The best companies work not just to provide jobs, but better lives for generations to come.
Q. What is sustainability and fair trade, anyway?
A. Sustainability refers to a set of naturally occurring circumstances, or intentionally designed practices and principles, which ensure that all parts or members of a situation are adequately nourished to promote their healthy continuance. In current parlance, sustainability often refers to practices and Programs designed and implemented to keep natural systems healthy and flourishing. Many such Programs focus on environmental protection and preservation of traditional cultures. In the world of medicinal plants, sustainable practices include organic agriculture, species management, fair trade, and benefit-sharing Programs.
In other words, sustainability pays people fair wages, puts resources back into their communities, and ensures that the resources that benefit us all are going to be around for a long time. It is an earth-friendly, people-friendly concept of commerce that happily, is taking root around the world.
The traditional cultures that use - and have used - these ingredients for generations wouldn't have done so if they hadn't been effective. Fortunately we live in an era when formerly locally-used herbs are now available far beyond their previous range. We are also fortunate to have companies and individuals working hard to make sure that the people who tend and care for these precious resources are paid fairly for their efforts, andthat their families and communities benefit from this commerce as well.
The great thing about using traditional herbs and ingredients that have been gathered in this manner is that you know they'll be around for a long time.
An Interview with Congressman Sam Farr, Representing California’s Central Coast.
May 30, 2006 02:36 PM
Ambassador to Health Profile
An Interview with Congressman Sam Farr, Representing California’s Central Coast.
Congressman Sam Farr, a fifth-generation Californian, represents the state’s beautiful central coast. His district encompasses the length of the big Sur coastline in Monterey County, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the Salinas Valley “Salad bowl,” the redwoods, mountains and beaches of Santa Cruz County, and the majestic rural landscape of San Benito County. The health and wealth of this region has been strengthened by Rep. Farr’s focus on the environment, education and the economy. Rep. Farr was raised in Carmel, California and graduated from Willamette University with a BS in biology. He later attended the Monterey Institute of International Studies and the University of Santa Clara. He is fluent in Spanish. As a tough advocate for the health food industry, he has lobbied for strict federal organic standards.
Todd: Congressman Farr, thank you for taking the time to speak with us! Id also like to thank you for all the great things you’ve done for our community, form funding marine sanctuaries and authoring the Ocean’s Act to expanding Pinnacles national Monument. The League of Conservation Voters and others have recognized you as an “Environmental Hero”. And, you’ve worked hard to support the economic vitality of central coast’s $3 billion agriculture industry which includes a substantial organic segment. Our backyard here is also the home of a robust group of nutritional supplement manufacturers. An estimated 187 million Americans are currently taking dietary supplements as part of their daily healthy diet. In California, we’ve got 792 natural product manufacturers and distributors. Where do you stand on the state of our industry?
Congressman Farr: Well, thank you for the introduction and for asking to talk to me about nutritional supplement issues. I am very supportive of this industry and include myself in the 187 million Americans taking dietary supplements. I think supplements offer many safe and viable tools to maintain your health. The continued growth of this industry is an indication of both consumer confidence in the products and the products’ ability to fill the gaps where conventional medical care falls short.
Todd: It is estimated that by 2030, more than 70 million Americans will be over the age of 65 and the cost of health care could reach $16 Trillion per year. A recent study by the Lewin Group showed that by taking certain dietary supplements, seniors can lead healthier, more productive, independent lives while saving billions in reduced hospitalizations and physician services. Do you share our view that a Wellness Revolution is needed to counter the dilemma of an aging population versus shrinking health care support in the future?
Congressman Farr: Our health care system is definitely facing a challenge, especially as the Baby Boomers hit their 60’s and Americans are living longer than ever before. As a Baby Boomer myself, I am well aware of America’s aging population and the impact that will likely have not only on our social institutions but also our fiscal well-being. I agree that dietary supplements do play and will play an even larger role in the future as more seniors look for a way to augment their diets in order to stay healthy and active longer than past generations.
Todd: Our industry is regulated by DSHEA (the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act), which was passed unanimously by Congress in 1994 to create a reasonable regulatory framework for access to, information about, dietary supplements. But many say that the FDA and DSHEA weren’t adequately funded to do the job as tasked. “Supplements are unregulated” is a false argument we sometimes hear. To ensure that the FDA is able to carry out the law as Congress intended, Representatives Dan Burton (R-Ind.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) introduced H.R. 2485, the DSHEA Full Implementation and Enforcement Act of 2005. Did you support this bill and where does it stand today?
Congressman Farr: I think the DSHEA is a critical law and was proud to support it when Congress considered it in 1993 and 1994. I would certainly support H.R. 2485 if it came up for a vote in Congress. Unfortunately this bill has not moved since it was first introduced and referred to the Subcommittee on health in the house energy and commerce committee. Since this is an election year we have a tight schedule with only about 60 legislative days scheduled before we adjourn. That means it’s likely Congress will only finalize bills such as the appropriation bills that fund government before adjournment.
Todd: Our business climate has included some valid and rigorous challenges to improve our industry, from good manufacturing practices (GMP), to allergy labeling, to implications of Prop-65 in California. It’s disconcerting that a new bill, H.R. 3156 The Dietary Supplement Access and Awareness Act would try to capitalize on misconceptions about the industry. In an era of declining health care and declining insurance coverage, this bill would regulate supplements as prescription drugs. Among other things, it would also require adverse event reports to be turned over to the FDA, even though other foods, including those with identical ingredients, do not have the same requirements. This has the potential to be the next Prop-65-like Lawsuit mill. The result of H.R. 3156 would be chilling. It will knock smaller producers out of the market. It will result in higher prices for all supplements. It will decrease the availability of health-giving supplements to the public. What’s your feeling on this?
Congressman Farr: I am similarly concerned about H.R. 3156 and would oppose it if it came up for a vote in Congress. Like H.R. 2485, this legislation has been referred to a subcommittee on Health in the House Energy and Commerce Committee without any further action. The supplement industry has worked in good faith with the FDA since passage of DSHEA and H.R. 3156 would re-invent a wheel that isn’t needed. Instead, adequate funding as proposed in H.R. 2485 would provide ample oversight for the industry.
Todd: According to a recent study, 72% of the general population believe the government should fund more research on health benefits of nutritional supplements. Do you agreen and what can be done to meet this need?
Congressman Farr: I definitely agree that the federal government should play a bigger role in support of research regarding the health benefits of nutritional supplements. As a member of the House Appropriation Committee, I sit on the subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the FDA’s budget and I know the tight fiscal restraints the agency is under. I’ve worked with my colleagues to provide adequate funding, but it’s an uphill battle especially when we’re in a “robbing Peter to pay Paul” kind of situation. I recommend that people within the industry organize and use your consumer base to actively lobby Congress for additional funds. I’m fond of reminding people that the squeaky wheel gets grease – so let every Congress member and Senator know how much this issue matters to you.
Todd: When there is overwhelming scientific evidence that nutritional supplements provides relief for a disease condition, it currently takes a lawsuit to get the FDA to relent and allow the claim. Even then, the FDA strictly limits the claim and requires a disclaimer that does more harm than good in communicating this important information to the public. There is a new bill, H.R. 4282, The Health Freedom Protection Act that would end FDA and FTC censorship of health information. As an example, the 50% of all adult males who suffer from an enlarged prostate could receive relief from that condition by consuming a simple and safe ingredient, saw palmetto derived from the fruit of the dwarf American palm tree. The FDA censors that information. The public deserves a better opportunity to be informed about omega-3 EFA and heart disease, folic acid and birth defects, phosphatidylserine and cognitive impairment. Do you agree and do you support this bill?
Congressman Farr: I agree the public needs to access to the best information possible so they can make well informed choices about their health. I likely would support H.R. 4282 if it came up for a vote in Congress. Unfortunately this bill is in a similar situation as other we’ve mentioned in this interview – and again because of the tight schedule of an election year, it’s unlikely action will happen this year.
Todd: According to the barometer study, 85% of the US population is currently using some type of dietary supplement. Do you? Looking at your busy schedule from co-chairing the House Oceans Caucus to your seat on the Travel and Tourism Caucus, you are one busy congressman! Are you popping nutritional supplements please tell us!
Congressman Farr: I do take some nutritional supplements, though they vary and since Ginkgo Biloba isn’t among them I cant remember their names off-hand! One product I do use faithfully is Airborne to help me combat germs and colds that I might get from sitting on an airplane. But, like many Americans my life is over-scheduled and combined with the amount of air-travel I do, I find nutritional supplements helpful as I try to stay healthy despite my hectic lifestyle.
Todd: Thank you Congressman Farr! Live long and prosper!
DSEA Release of Health/Cost Impact Study Conducted by the Lewin Group, Initial Results, Wash DC; Nov. 2, 2005
NNFA database. Adam.F on 3-15-06.
DSEA Nutritional Supplement Barometer Study, 2005 Report, Prepared by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI).
Todd Williams; Source Naturals Marketing Programs Manager.
ABC News Calls for Input on Children and Supplements
April 26, 2006 04:39 PM
April 26th 2006,
ABC News Calls for Input on Children and Supplements
For a future report, ABC News has issued a call for “Stories” from parents whose children have taken dietary supplements. Queries like these, posted on the ABC News website, are used to identify potential participants for upcoming news Programs, such as “World News Tonight” and “20/20.”
To help ensure that ABC News hears from consumers who have had positive experiences, NNFA urges retailers to pass this information onto customers who purchase supplements for their children.
“This is a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a news story while it is still developing,” Said David Seckman, NNFA’s executive director and CEO, “Retailers especially should know of consumers who have a personal story about how dietary supplements have positively impacted the health of their children.”
The text of the query, which is in the business section of the ABC News Web Site, is as follows:
“Do you give your children Echinacea, melatonin or other supplements? Have you tried nonprescription treatments for your child’s ADHD or other aliments? Maybe you’re found that your teenager buys creatine of muscle building or has experimented with with herbal mood enhancers. If this sounds like you and you’d like to share your story, please fill out the form below and let us know whether an AFC News producer may contact you to possibly include you in one of our reports. Make sure to include a phone number where you can be reached, and we may give you a call.”
Those wishing to answer the query, which is located in the “Money” section of the ABC News Web site, can go to the following link: //abcnews.go.com/business/story?id=1884324 and complete and submit the web form. While anyone can submit their information, news organizations typically give preference to those without a connection to the industry about which they are reporting. NNFA will also be contacting ABC News directly to help ensure this story is accurate and balanced.
March 27, 2006 06:23 PM
Now Foods Vitamins Discount Prices
If there’s one truth to be told about the natural products industry, it is this. We will never have a shortage of companies claiming to be the best. It happens so often in fact, that distinguishing the quality from the questionable has become an exhausting task all in itself. After all, making claims is easy. What’s challenging, however, is supporting these claims with something concrete.
As no stranger to recognition, NOW takes pride in every honor that is bestowed upon us. And yes, over the past year, we have been blessed in many ways. Nothing, however, can match the sense of reward that comes from having our efforts, values and commitment to human wellness acknowledged by our peers, colleagues and valued customers. It is with the most sincere gratitude that we are once again able to share these with you.
Vitamin Retailer Magazine’s 2005 Vity Awards Every Spring, Vitamin Retailer Magazine recognizes the most outstanding dietary supplements, and honors the recipients with a Vity Award. The winning products are selected based on a number of criteria. This year, three NOW products were awarded 1st place honors.
The first was presented in recognition of our MSM 1000 mg. This marks the third consecutive year that we’ve watched our MSM excel in this category. Next was the award for Vitamin E, which went to our Natural Vitamin E-400 mixed tocopherol formula. Like MSM, this was also awarded 1st place st place for the third year in a row. Finally, the award for “Best Calcium”, which was given to our Calcium Citrate. With the calcium category regarded as one of the most competitive, taking top honors is an accomplishment that we’re all very proud of. Whole Foods Magazine Natural Choice Winner Best Sports Supplement
It should come as no surprise to anyone that there are literally hundreds of protein formulas available. When it was announced that our line of Whey proteins had earned the title of “Best Sports Supplement” from Whole Foods Magazine, we were truly honored to be selected as one of their Natural Choice winners.
Each year, Whole Foods Magazine evaluates hundreds of products, selecting only those that meet their demanding standards. Our Sports division has worked tirelessly to perfect our Whey proteins, and this award is a true testament to the efforts they have put forth. NOW is one of the very few companies that offers a line of 100% natural proteins, free of artifi cial sweeteners. Accordingly, this is an honor that we’re especially proud of. Nutrition Business Journal’s Lifetime Leadership Award, Elwood Richard
Nutrition Business Journal recently honored NOW founder Elwood Richard, with their prestigious Lifetime Leadership Award. Mr. Richard has been an active member of the natural products business since 1960 and is a strong advocate for both science and quality. He co-founded the NNFA standards committee, and sponsors industry organizations such as Citizens for Health, NNFA, ABC, AOAC and AHPA among others. His hard work, vision and commitment have inspired our entire organization
in supporting independent retailers, producing quality products and taking proactive measures towards environmental preservation.
Nutrition Business Journal’s Business Achievement Award, Environment of Sustainability In addition to the award presented to Elwood Richard, NOW was also the recipient of the NBJ Business Achievement Award for Environment of Sustainability. This honor is presented to businesses who have consistently participated in both internal and local initiatives to make positive environmental impacts. Notably, our recycling program has reduced waste output by over 50%. NOW FOODS Vitamins also conducts employee training Programs, supports community conservation efforts and hosts volunteer workdays to plant vegetation, remove litter and control lakeside erosion in a local forest preserve. These actions have earned us a number of community service awards from several local recreation organizations. Finally, we help support environmental organizations, including The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund.
AOAC adopts NOW Glucosamine Method
NOW Foods’ glucosamine HPLC method has passed the AOAC’s 2-year validation process to become the fi rst offi cial method for testing the standards of this popular joint health ingredient. It was selected by the expert review panel in April of 2003 as the “best method for further laboratory validation”. It will be published in the Journal of AOAC International and become available to the industry this summer, 2005. “Having NOW’s method for glucosamine become the offi cial AOAC method is a testament to the expertise of our staff, our focus on the science, and our commitment to quality,” said Michael Lelah, technical director of NOW Foods.
DuPage County Forest Preserve District’s Shooting Star Award.
The DuPage County Forest Preserve District of Illinois recently presented NOW Foods their Shooting Star Award at their annual Forest Preserve District volunteer banquet. This award recognizes the long-term efforts that our entire organization has made in order to improve and support the quality of the East Branch Forest Preserve in Glendale Heights, IL. This is also the fi rst time that the District has given this award to a company. As the primary recipient, we look forward to furthering our environmental efforts.
Recapping our 2004 Achievements
Eight 1st Place Vity Awards, from Vitamin Retailer Magazine
United States Department of Commerce Excellence in Export Achievement Award
Nutrition Business Journal’s Effort on Behalf of Industry Award Consumerlab.com Top Rated Brand in Health Food Stores based on Customer Satisfaction Natural Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA) Crusader Award, Elwood Richard Vitamin Retailer Magazine Manufacturer of the Year (2003)
NMI: Consumer Supplements for Health Maintenance
January 18, 2006 12:04 PM
NMI: Consumer Supplements for Health Maintenance
Harleysville, PA.—An estimated 187 million Americans are using dietary supplements to improve their overall health and well-being, according to the Barometer Survey, a nationwide online poll conducted by The Natural Marketing Institute (NMI). The study found 85 percent of Americans believe using dietary supplements can keep them healthier, while 72 percent want to have control over health decisions including the type of supplements available.
NMI (www.nmisolutions.com) also reported multivitamins were not only used most often, but also taken more regularly on a daily basis compared with other supplements. Supplements users were also found to be more likely to be affluent, married and higher educated. However, there is a need for more education, as 67 precent of survey respondents said conflicting stories in the media made them confused about supplements, and 70 percent believe their health care provider lacks important knowledge about the role of dietary supplements and health.
In addition, there is a widening gap between consumer attitude (what they say) and behavior (what they actually do), with regard to nutrition, use of multi-vitamins, diet regimens, exercise Programs and environmentally friendly products. NMI further reported 70 percent of consumers say taking a vitamin, mineral or dietary supplement every day is important, but only 60 percent use a multi-vitamin regularly, and only half of users take one on a daily basis. “The difference between attitudes and behaviors indicates a continuing struggle for consumers to fully integrate health and wellness measures into their lives,” said Steve French, managing partner. “While 86 percent of consumers believe there is a definite connection between diet and health, less than 50 percent select foods based on nutrition. And 45 percent admit that they know they should eat healthier, but don’t.
HERBS FOR HEALTHY SKIN
July 14, 2005 04:07 PM
HERBS FOR HEALTHY SKIN
The skin is actually the largest organ of he body and the largest channel of elimination. The health of the skin is dependent on the health of the other organs in the body. If they are running efficiently, the skin will be healthy. When the body is overloaded with toxins the liver, kidneys and gastrointestinal system cannot process and eliminate them fast enough. This puts excess burden on the skin which may lead to conditions such as acne, psoriasis, boils or rashes.
Red clover is a great blood detoxifier allowing for healthy skin. It is often recommended for cleansing Programs.
Yellow dock has been found to be a good alterative, especially for chronic skin problems. It is useful for leprosy, psoriasis and cancer. Modern herbalists recommend yellow dock for anemia, as a blood purifier, liver congestion, and skin problems. It is also considered beneficial for toxemia, infections, lymph congestion, ulcers and wounds. It is considered one of the best blood builders in the herbal kingdom.
Burdock is valued highly in the plant kingdom. It is used to purify the blood and strengthen the liver, kidneys, stomach and lungs. It contains volatile oils which are known to help clear the kidneys of excess wastes and uric acid, and burdock is used as a diuretic. It is used for skin problems such as acne, boils, psoriasis, and canker sores.
OBESITY AND POOR LIVER FUNCTION
July 12, 2005 10:26 AM
OBESITY AND POOR LIVER FUNCTION
Unfortunately, the liver’s role in weight reduction is rarely addressed. Boosting liver function is badly neglected in virtually all weight loss Programs. The liver is the primary organ involved in purifying the blood of impurities and in metabolizing fat. Liver support should be an integral part of any weight reduction strategy. Milk Thistle can help to expedite the removal of fat from the liver. Poor liver function is usually not implicated as a causal factor for obesity in the first place. O. Nomura and Y. Satomura in the 1986 edition of Int. J. Obesity stated, “Liver function is disturbed in a large percentage of overweight individuals.” The liver also plays a role in stabilizing blood sugar levels, which can contribute to food cravings and appetite surges.
July 07, 2005 04:22 PM
My kids are getting completely overloaded on sugar at school from meals and treats -- my daughter comes unglued and cant study. When i went to grade school, there was no lunch and no sweets available. What a change in society... Amanda Shrewsbury - Spring City, Utah...
You're right to be concerned about school food Programs, especially since budget restrictions have led a number of districts to use major fast-food companies as food service providers -- and even worse, to let soda companies stock school beverage machines.
Fortunately, the tide is starting to turn. Los Angeles is just one of a number of cities that are banning soda from their school buildings. Other districts are going so far as to offer organic lunches to there students. you may want to contact your school superintendent, as well as members of your local school board and let them know how you feel about what's best for your children.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
June 25, 2005 08:10 PM
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
1 . Chit osan Provides a Realist ic Approach t o Fat and Fiber Int ake.
Low-fat, high-fiber advocates have recommended a diet that is calorically fueled between 10 and 20 percent fat and includes 35 to 45 grams of fiber. Unfortunately, most of us, no matter how good our intentions are, will not be able to sustain this type of diet. Therefore, if we are going to face facts, a diet that reduces fat to 20-30 percent of the total caloric value and increases fiber to 20-30 grams/day is much more realistic and will help significantly in controlling weight, avoiding artery disease and promoting good colon health. Taking Chitosan prior to eating a meal can make dietary fat goals much more attainable while promoting a number of desirable health benefits. Because obesity ranks among the top ten diseases (which, by the way, are almost all related to obesity), the availability of a safe, health-promoting fat binder is desirable.
Weight control needs to be realistic and effective. Workable weight loss Programs are few and far between and usually involve a life style that many of us can never incorporate. While Chitosan is not a panacea for maintaining our youthful figures, it could be a very powerful dietary complement, facilitating what might otherwise be unattainable. Lowering the amount of dietary fats we eat, exercising more, and making sure we get enough fiber seems to be the winning combination for health and longevity. Chitosan is a valuable tool to use in attaining optimal nutrition and robust health.
2 . Chitosan Is an Effective Fat Binder.
While all the previously mentioned properties of Chitosan are notable, its extraordinary ability to bind fats promises to be its most valuable asset. To reiterate, getting rid of fat after it has been stored as adipose tissue is much more difficult than neutralizing its effects before it enters the blood stream. Chitosan accomplishes this formidable task by converting fat into a form that the body does not absorb and subsequently expels.
Any of us who occasionally eat southern fried chicken, a Big Mac, or a slice of cheesecake every once in a while can profoundly benefit from the fat binding action of Chitosan. As a fat binder, Chitosan can significantly reduce the amount of fat that enters our blood stream. Consider the possibilities. The foods mentioned above are full of excess fat grams. If you take four capsules (1 gram) of Chitosan with ascorbic acid, which is generally recommended, the fat content of that food is dramatically lowered.
Remember the discussion on how the liver has to deal with excess fat?
Chitosan decreases the liver’s work load which lightens the stress put on other body organs by the presence of excess fat. In other words, Chitosan eases the metabolic processes that kick in after we eat excess fat. As far as our metabolic processes know, those fat grams may as well never have existed. 4 . Why Chit osan Is Called t he Fiber of t he Fut ure. After years of fiber “hyping” most of us are well aware of the profound benefits that fiber has for human health and longevity. Fiber is considered a dieter’s best friend. It has also been linked to slower rises in blood glucose which also profoundly affects how we store excess calories and when we feel hungry. Most fibers are hydrophilic which means they repel fat and attract water. Psyllium, for example, is used for its bulk forming action. This type of fiber absorbs water and is easily passed through the intestine, helping to maintain a normal bowel function.
Chitosan is different. While it possesses many of the same benefits as plant fibers like psyllium, Chitosan is “lipophilic” meaning that it “loves fat” It is a positively charged fiber that binds to negatively charged fatty acids. A fiber that attracts fat is unique to say the least.
OBESITY: A 2Oth- Century Plague
June 25, 2005 07:46 PM
OBESITY: A 2Oth- Century Plague
Our modern, fast-paced, high stress, sedentary lifestyle with over-abundant caloric intake is a prescription for obesity. Obesity is an especially critical problem for black women who have nearly twice the rate of obesity of white
women.41 Culturally, being overweight is not looked on graciously, even by physicians.42 There has been no end to the torture we have put ourselves through to be or at least look thin. From corssets to stomach stapling and liposuction to wiring our jaws shut, we’ve tried it all. So where are we today? The following are indicators of abundant obesity: Research and public education efforts are in agreement that excessive dietary fat is the primary cause of adult obesity.2, 46, 47 Despite the fact that food manufacturers have flooded the supermarkets with low-fat, artificially sweetened, “lite” products, we are fatter than ever before. Is maintaining a healthy weight really that difficult? In its simplest form gaining or losing weight is a matter of the balance between energy in and energy out. This simplistic approach led to the early starvation diets. Unquestionably, these conventional very-low-calorie diet plans do not work. For most of us the first thing we lose is our sense of humor; then maybe some weight or possibly our self-esteem. The fact is, as most of us have regrettably discovered, that drastically reducing our calorie tally only serves to slow our metabolism and make us even more efficient at the business of storing and hoarding fat. Since very-low-calorie diets didn’t work alone, exercise was added to the regime. This also failed miserably because the first thing the body does when it is in a starvation mode is to burn off muscle mass so as to conserve energy supplies. In fact, in animal studies, semi-starved animals maintained nearly the same fat to muscle ratio as their well-fed litter mates.43,44 Even worse, when food is again available the body not only gains back all the original fat but an additonal few pounds just in case this ever happens again. Is it any wonder then that yoyo dieting leads to obesity and a host of other problems?42,45 The reconstruction of muscle mass after starvation, a much slower process than regaining body fat, leaves a person feeling weak and even more lethargic than before he started his diet.
FEARING FATS: There's Plenty of Cause Overview
June 25, 2005 07:34 PM
FEARING FATS: There's Plenty of Cause Overview
A wealth of scientific evidence now exists which should have turned each and everyone of us into a fat “phobic.”1a-e In other words, virtually every health expert agrees that a high fat diet is directly linked to cardiovascular disease, various types of cancer and premature death. It’s no secret that excess dietary fat poses a tremendous health risk. The United States National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization and many other scientific institutes have confirmed the frightening hazards of fat. Health proponents generally concur that excess fat can significantly shorten one’s lifespan. More than 10,000 medical papers are published every year dealing with obesity and cardiovascular disease, two of the most insidious killers of Americans. Western eating habits, which promote fatty, salty, sugary foods, have created massive widespread disease and tremendous suffering. Studies have shown that fat is the macronutrient associated with overeating -
TABLE 1. Total fat grams in single servings.4
and obesity.2 In spite of this finding we are eating more fat and becoming fatter. The average absolute fat intake has increased from 81 to 83 grams per day over the last ten years.3 Our obsession with fatty foods has exacted an enormous toll in the form of rampant obesity, clogged arteries, hypertension, heart attack, stroke, breast cancer, etc. Many of us remain oblivious to the fat gram count of foods we routinely pop into our mouths, unaware that one fast food entree may contain more fat grams than one should consume in one given day. Take a good look at the following list of foods which have been assessed for fat content. Fast food has become a 20th-century sensation which continues to boom and expand throughout our society. Many of us literally exist on fast food, which is frequently also “fat” food. It’s no wonder so many of us “battle the bulge”, and have skyrocketing cholesterol counts. Our love affair with greasy, fried, rich, creamy foods has burdened our bodies with the dilemma of excess fat “baggage,” resulting in phenomenal amounts of money being spent on weight loss Programs. Worse still, thousands of Americans are dying before their time or living extremely compromised lives only because they ingest too much fat. Why is this? The bottom line is that fats taste good!5 Many of us were raised on seemingly innocuous foods that are loaded with fat. Some of these include:
macaroni and cheese battered fish sticks hot dogs cheese-filled casseroles pepperoni pizza burritos pancakes, waffles doughnuts pies and pastries ice cream candy bars ramen soup
Fat is also a major ingredient in most of the snack food we constantly nibble on, including chips, crackers, cookies, and nuts. Check ingredient labels to find the fat gram content of most snack foods. You’ll be surprised to find out just how fatty these foods are. Even a healthy sounding food like a “bran muffin” can contain 36 grams of fat! No wonder they stay so “moist”. In addition to the above foods, fat can add wonderful flavor to breads, vegetables and the like, and is usually used liberally in the form of butter, sour cream, whipping cream, melted cheese, cream cheese spreads, dips, cream sauces, and gravies. Fruits can also be high in fats. Did you know that one avocado has 30 grams of fat? One half cup of peanuts contains 35 grams of fat and only one glazed doughnut has 13 grams of fat. The majority of research points to fat as a much more dangerous culprit than anyone might have imagined. Saturated fats such as lard, palm, coconut oil, and beef tallow are particularly menacing. Research scientists have found over and over again that fats can contribute to the growth of tumors in animal studies.6 The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences reported that even a relatively small amount of extra body fat increases the risk of certain diseases for women and may compromise their longevity.7 Even being mildly overweight may be much more risky than anyone previously assumed.8
The Relat ionship between Breast Cancer, Fat s, Fiber And Indoles
Dr. Leonard Cohen, of the Dana Institute of the American Health Foundation at Naylor, believes that pre-cancerous lesions found in breast tissue will develop into cancer only if they are stimulated by certain agents such as fat.9 Women increase their risk of developing breast cancer when they consume a diet high in fat and animal protein and low in fiber, vegetables and fruits. When women put on weight, they have a tendency to create more estrogen since adipose tissue produces estrogen. Certain forms of estrogen, the so-called “bad estrogens” can act as carcinogens and are anything but desirable.10 High or unbalanced estrogen levels stimulate concerous tissue in the breast. Obesity is also associated with increased breast cancer mortality.11 The three most important ways to inhibit “bad” estrogen from inducing breast cancer are:
CLA and Cows
June 22, 2005 09:52 PM
CLA and Cows
Nutritional developments like that of CLA couldn’t come at a better time. America is a nation obsessed with weight, but successes in battling weight seem harder and harder to come by. Is there a nutritional reason for this? Have we been barking up the wrong tree in recent years, starving ourselves for fear of gluttony rather than looking at broader nutritional reasons for fat accumulation? For example, Dr. Cook says that modern nutritional dogma is that fat is bad. “I’m not sure the dogma’s right. We need to get down to very specific fatty acids.”51 One of the most exciting developments coming from CLA research is that modern animal-raising techniques may be partially responsible for those of us who eat meat getting fat around the middle, even though our consumption of meat may have declined or, at least, stayed about the same in recent years.
CLA has been declining in our diet. This one nutrient’s lack may mean many of us are gaining fat, despite eating less overall fat.52
This desire to simply eliminate fats without looking at the broader nutritional picture has its roots deep in our culture. The desire to starve ourselves to lose weight goes back centuries. We have often thought weight gain came solely from lacking self-control when, often, nothing could be further from the truth.
Take for example the experiences of conscientious objectors during World War II. These men who chose, for religious reasons, not to fight in the war, contributed in other ways. One group at the University of Minnesota underwent forced starvation to help scientists learn ways to help concentration camp victims recover after liberation.
Science learned many useful things, but one thing stands out. The objectors grew more hungry as they recovered and ended up weighing five percent more after they recovered than before the experiment began. (The same can be said for refugees and concentration camp victims, who also weighed more, on average after their ordeals than before.)53 This idea of dieting being the full answer to weight loss still persists, often tragically. Many have died of anorexia, obsessed with self-image. Others have died directly from ill-conceived meal replacement Programs.54 In the 1980s, Americans spent $15 billion on diet soft drinks alone,55 but consumers weighed more on average when the decade was over than when it began. You’d think all of this energy and dieting spent on the effort would have helped people lose weight. (Thankfully, many people have succeeded in losing weight and keeping it off. According to Dr. Pariza, this may well be the most significant part of CLA, not so much in losing the weight, but in helping people keep it off.56)
To drive the point home further, consider your parents. They ate a diet that was likely higher in fat than yours. They never saw “lite” versions of snacks in the store. Yet they, in general, weighed less than we do. Why? Surely exercise may have had something to do with it, but, no one has the complete answer. It seems likely that nutrition too played a role. CLA itself may hold part of the reason. As we have seen, CLA nutrition means less fat and more protein in our bodies. Recent research is showing that the amount of CLA in cows has dropped substantially since the times of our parents. In 1963, scientists found that CLA was as much as 2.81 percent of milkfat. The amount of CLA in the milk products varied with the seasons. At some times during the year, cows ate grass. At other times, they ate feed. However, in 1992, Pariza and his colleagues did a large food survey and found that this variation in CLA is no longer occurring. Furthermore, the amount of CLA in dairy products rarely gets above 1 percent of the milkfat. 57
In another research paper in 1994, scientists noticed that Australian cows have as much as three or four time the amount of CLA in the meat from similar American animals. Why? These differences probably “reflect different feeding conditions.” 58
Today, farmers use more efficient feeding methods that rely less heavily on natural grasses. This means less CLA in the meat we eat, and less CLA can mean a higher percentage of fat on our bodies. Consider too that skim milk contains virtually no CLA with its no fat content. This lack of CLA may actually hinder some people’s efforts to lose weight.
The lesson here seems to be that gluttony guilt would be better focused on balanced living. Healthy lifestyles coupled with the right supplementation can make a difference. CLA, though no magic bullet, adds to this lifestyle and could be the key that finally opens many weight (and fat) management doors. It could help many people keep the weight off.
7-Keto - The Key to Healthy Aging
June 21, 2005 05:05 PM
7-Keto " The Key to Healthy Aging
The global population is aging at an alarming rate and causing an explosion in health care costs, insurance premiums, cosmetic surgery and more. In the U.S. alone, more than one million baby boomers are expected to live to 100 years of age or older. This increased life expectancy presents a whole new set of health concerns that the medical community has not had time to address, since there is a greater need to care for age-related health problems in this ever-growing elderly population.1
Aging and the Decline in Vital Nutrients
We all grow old at the same rate but people age at different rates. Aging is a process of gradual changes that occur to varying degrees in each of us. Interestingly, the aging process is composed of different components and interactions, some of which can be impacted. One such component is the declining level of essential biological compounds, which causes our bodily functions to slow and become dysfunctional. Our organs don?t work efficiently, our immune system becomes lazy, we lack energy, our metabolism drops and we gain weight easily.1 7-oxo DHEA (7-Keto™) is a naturally occurring compound that declines with age.2 Replacing this key metabolite helps promote a healthy immune system and maintains resting metabolic rate at levels that accelerate weight loss during standard weight reduction Programs.
Aging and a Healthy Immune System
Numerous changes occur in the immune system with advancing age, probably contributing to decreased immune responsiveness. Although all segments of the immune system are affected, investigators have most consistently identified declines in cellular or T-cell mediated immune function in the elderly. The decline in T-cell immune function is generally associated with an increased susceptibility to foreign organisms. For example, individuals with age-related declines in cellular immunity have an impaired response to vaccinations, making them more susceptible to health imbalances even though they have had their shots. In a clinical study presented at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology meeting in April 2004, the effect of 7-Keto on elderly immune function was evaluated. Healthy elderly adults were given 7-Keto orally twice daily over a period of one month. The study revealed that 7-Keto augmented several key T-cell mediated immune function parameters compared to placebo administration.4
Age-Related Weight Gain
Age-related weight gain and obesity are approaching epidemic proportions in our country.5 Weight gain is a disorder of energy balance involving energy intake and/or expenditure. Low energy expenditure, a drop in resting metabolic rate (RMR), is a challenge during most weight loss attempts due to age, calorie restriction, lack of physical activity or a combination of factors. RMR represents 60% of total daily energy expenditure. Maintaining a higher RMR as we age and during weight reduction Programs helps us achieve and maintain a normal weight. Furthermore, compounds with the thermogenic potential to achieve even minimal increases in daily energy expenditure of 2-3% may have clinical relevance in preventing the decline in RMR with calorie restricted diets or weight loss, and in decreasing the risk of regaining weight. 7-Keto, a non-stimulant thermogenic compound, has been shown to significantly increase energy expenditure in humans.6 A recently completed clinical study, also presented at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology 2004 meeting, revealed that administration of 7-Keto to overweight adults in conjunction with a calorie restricted diet effectively reversed the decline in RMR normally associated with dieting. Obese participants following a calorie-restricted diet demonstrated a 5.4% increase in daily RMR with 7-Keto.7 The magnitude of the increase in RMR by 7-Keto is clinically relevant, and represents a promising agent for enhancing thermogenesis and weight loss in obese individuals on calorie-restricted diets. Additionally, 7-Keto has been shown in two confirmatory published clinical studies to result in three times more weight loss compared to diet and exercise alone. It has a favorable side effect profile and is easy and convenient to take.8,9 Our life expectancies will likely be longer than those of our parents, and our quality of life during those years will depend on how well we take care of our bodies now. Undoubtedly, the science of aging will give rise to new and exciting technologies to help us age more gracefully and healthfully. Maintenance of healthy immune function is keenly needed for improved quality of life in the elderly. Dietary manipulation and supplementation has been identified as a method of immune system renewal, and supplements such as 7-Keto may play an important future role as immune system modulators. Moreover, the addition of 7-Keto to any weight loss program will offer vital support of energy expenditure and help with the attainment of a manageable and healthy weight into our older years.
1. 1995 White House Conference on Aging, ?Executive Summary: The Road to an Aging Policy for the 21st Century," February 1996: 17-18. 2. Marenich LP. Secretion of Testosterone, Epitestosterone, Androstenedione, and 7-Keto-Dehydroepiandrosterone in Healthy Men of Different Ages. Prob Endokrinol. 1979; 25(4): 28-31. 3. Ginaldi L, De Martinis M, D?Ostilio A, Marini L, Loreto MF, Quaglino D. Immunological Changes in the Elderly. Aging 1999; 11(5): 281-286. 4. Zenk JL, Kuskowski MA. The Use of 3-acetyl-7-oxo-dehydroepiandrosterone for Augmenting Immune Response in the Elderly, Abstract Presented at the meeting of the FASEB, April 17, 2004, Manuscript submitted for publication. 5. Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Ogden CL, Johnson CL. Prevalence and Trends in Obesity Among US Adults. 1999-2000. JAMA 2002;288:1723-1727. 6. Astrup A. Thermogenic Drugs as a Strategy for Treatment of Obesity. Endocrine 2000;13(2):207-212. 7. Zenk JL, Leikam SA, Kassen LJ, Kuskowski MA. A Prospective, Randomized, Double Blind Study to Evaluate the Effect of HUM5007 and 7-oxo DHEA on Resting Metabolic Rate in Overweight Adult Men and Women on a Calorie Restricted Diet, Abstract Presented at the meeting of the FASEB, April 17, 2004, Manuscript submitted for publication. 8. Kalman DS, Colker CM, Swain MA, Torina GC, Shi Q. A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo Controlled Study of 3-Acetyl-7-Oxo-Dehydroepiandrosterone in Healthy Overweight Adults. Current Therapeutic Research 2000;61: 435-442. 9. Zenk JL, Helmer TR, Kassen LJ, Kuslowski MA. The Effect of 7-Keto Naturalean on Weight Loss: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Current Therapeutic Research 2002; 63:263-272.
John L. Zenk, M.D., is Chief Medical and Scientific Officer for Humanetics Corporation and President and Medical Director of Minnesota Applied Research Center, both located in Eden Prairie, MN. He has spoken nationally and internationally on the subjects of integrating conventional and complementary medicine, anti-aging technologies, evaluating the effectiveness of alternative medicine, and dietary supplement research and development. He is author of the book Living Longer in the Boomer Age, and co-author of the book Age Wise and is a frequent contributor to national media. He has served as Principal Investigator for 15 controlled clinical studies, three of which were recently published in national peer-reviewed journals, and has presented abstracts at the 11th World Congress for Food Science and Technology and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) and Mercury Cleansing Programs...
June 21, 2005 05:02 PM
Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) and Mercury Cleansing Programs
by Isaac Eliaz, M.D., M.S., L.Ac.
Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) is a dietary supplement derived from the peel and pulp of citrus fruit. MCP is mostly known for its positive effects on cellular health. Recently, however, clinical research on MCP has produced exciting results for its use as a gentle chelator (eliminator) of mercury and other heavy metals. Some of the expanding clinical applications for MCP include:
The Problem with Mercury
Recent news on mercury is particularly concerning for the U.S. population. In March 2004 the EPA issued a press release reporting nearly all fish contained traces of mercury. Some samples contained levels high enough to harm an unborn baby or young child's developing nervous system. These findings prompted the EPA to issue a warning to women who may become pregnant, pregnant women and nursing mothers advising them to eat only two meals of fish per week that are thought to have lower levels of mercury.1 In their most recent update (August 2004), the EPA issued a warning that 1/3 of the nation's lakes and 1/4 of its river ways are contaminated with toxic levels of mercury and other contaminants, and warned pregnant women and children against consumption of fish from these sources. Additionally, a National Academy of Sciences panel definitively warned that some children who had been exposed to mercury while in the wombs of their mothers were at risk for becoming those children "who have to struggle to keep up in school and who might require remedial classes of special education." The risk of mercury toxicity from fish has reached epidemic levels. Two studies have further spurred on the concerns of mercury toxicity, as they both found women to have mercury levels that are 8-10% above what is considered safe.1,2 Furthermore, women who ate more fish were found to have higher levels of mercury. Another source of mercury toxicity may be amalgam dental fillings. Heavy metals, in conjunction with the abundant presence of environmental toxins and xenoestrogens, constitute a dangerous insult to the body through DNA damage, hormonal modulation, immune suppression, oxidative stress, and cellular irritation.
A New Application for MCP Use: Heavy Metal Detoxification
The standard western medical approach for removing mercury from the body to treat mercury toxicity is chelation. This procedure is performed with harsh chelators that can cause multiple side effects while potentially robbing the body of some of its essential nutrients. While this may be the routine and most beneficial procedure when facing a serious toxicity problem, are there other, gentler ways to reduce mercury levels? Two recent clinical studies have found that MCP may be a promising new dietary solution for reducing heavy metal load. In one recent clinical study, MCP was administered to a group of volunteers, and baseline levels of their total body mercury burden were measured and then compared against levels after treatment with MCP (15 grams of PectaSol® daily) for four months. The results showed a significant average decrease (over 60%; p=0.03) in the total body mercury burden after treatment with MCP3 In an earlier study, PectaSol® was given to patients and proven to increase urinary secretion of heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic.4 Both studies concluded that MCP may be a promising alternative to the harsher intravenous chelating therapies as MCP was found to be both effective and free of any side effects.
How MCP Works as a Gentle Chelator
Pectins are natural gelling agents, binders, thickeners, and stabilizers in foods. They mostly consist of galacturonic acid and galacturonic-acid methyl esters with average molecular weights from 50,000 to 150,000 daltons. High-methoxy (HM) pectin has at least 50% DE (degree of esterification) or greater, while a low-methoxy (LM) pectin?s DE is 50% or less. For systemic chelation of heavy metals, pectin is modified to a low molecular weight, and low-methoxy content. My observation from using MCP as a detoxification agent in my clinic is that it works as a gentle chelator in the bloodstream and it is very useful for ongoing use. Because fish are still recommended as part of a healthy diet and an essential source of certain nutrients (essential fatty acids like DHA), mercury levels are also becoming a widespread health concern. It is a Catch-22 for dietary health. As the widespread environmental cleanup of mercury is unlikely in the short-term, the medical community should develop methods to treat toxicity or reduce high body levels of mercury body burden. One approach is the use of traditional and alternative medicine cleansing Programs along with the use of dietary supplements such as MCP that may act as gentle chelators. For chelation purposes, 5-15 grams of MCP should be taken per day depending on mercury levels for one year. Maintenance at 2-5 grams per day thereafter is usually sufficient. In my practice, I use 15 grams per day or 15 grams per day in the first 3-5 days of the month and 5 grams per day for the remainder of the month. MCP is generally regarded as safe and is well tolerated. Reported side effects have been rare, but may include mild and transient gastrointestinal discomfort.
1-CDC Press Release: Blood and Hair Mercury Levels in Young Children and Women of Childbearing Age-United States, 1999 (see:/media/mmwrnews/n010302.htm#mmwr3) 2-Schober, SE, Sinks, TH, Jones, RL et al. (2003) Blood mercury levels in US children and women of childbearing age, 1999-2000. Journal of the American Medical Association. 289(13) :1667-74. 3-Eliaz, I. (2004) Modified citrus pectin (MCP) in the treatment of cancer. Paper presented at: The American Chemical Society Annual Meeting; Philadelphia, PA. 4-Eliaz, I. and D. Rode (2003). The effect of modified citrus pectin on the urinary excretion of toxic elements. Fifth Annual Conference of Environmental Health Scientists: Nutritional Toxicology and Metabolomics, University of California, Davis.
Isaac Eliaz, M.D., M.S., L.Ac., is a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine and founder of Better Health Publishing®, an education-based company that provides health care professionals, consumers and other interested parties with scientific research on integrative medicine. He is a respected author, clinical practitioner and frequent guest lecturer on integrative medical approaches to health, immune enhancement and cancer prevention and treatment. Since 1991, Dr. Eliaz has maintained a busy private practice in Sebastopol, California, and is the current medical director of the Amitabha Medical Clinic and Healing Center (email:email@example.com) which focuses primarily on integrative and holistic protocols for cancer patients as well as those with chronic health challenges.
Marilu Henner: Energy Personified!
June 14, 2005 11:50 AM
Marilu Henner: Energy Personified! by Stephen Hanks Energy Times, January 3, 2005
Marilu Henner is an actress, dancer and author, a health, fitness and cooking guru and a devoted mom. Now she's also an advocate for nutritional supplements. In this revealing interview, she offers her thoughts on the battle to support consumer rights and to create a better health care system in America.
"So, you want to know what my schedule is after I finish talking with you?" Marilu Henner says, in an almost breathless voice. "Today's Tuesday, right? Tomorrow morning I leave Los Angeles [where she lives] for New York City so I can do the Tony Danza Show first thing Thursday morning, Then, I take a 9 am flight back to LA because my son has a sleepover birthday party. I have a 7 am flight to New Jersey the next morning because I'm speaking about mental health at a conference at a big country club. The next morning, I catch a 7 am flight back to LA for my son's soccer games, one at noon and the other at 2. Whew!"
Trying to keep up with Marilu Henner would make anybody feel out of breath because the woman is energy personified. At 52, her schedule includes acting in movies, on television and in the occasional Broadway show, writing books (she's authored seven, including Total Health Makeover and Healthy Life Kitchen), teaching online diet and exercise classes through her website (marilu.com), taking Pilates classes three times a week and raising two sons, Nicholas (10) and Joseph (8).
But now, on top of all that, the former star of the TV show Taxi has become a health and nutrition activist, speaking out in favor of the use of dietary supplements whenever she can. This past September, Henner testified at a hearing of the House Subcommittee for Human Rights and Wellness to advocate increased funding for research and full implementation of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). During her testimony, Marilu described why she believes consumers should have access to more information about supplements and why the products should be made more accessible through both government initiatives and private health plans. "I believe that dietary supplements should be part of a campaign to improve our nation's health," Henner testified.
Energy Times recently caught up with Marilu at her Los Angeles home for a freewheeling conversation. Here, this vibrant yet down-to-earth celebrity displays her passion for health, nutrition and consumer issues.
Energy Times: You've become one of the most high profile celebrities to advocate a consumer's use of dietary supplements. What was your motivation to get involved in such a public way?
Marilu Henner: As a teenager, I had been a yo-yo dieter. I could be around 135 pounds and balloon up to 174. I knew I needed a different way of looking at my life. I couldn't concentrate on those stupid diets where I could lose 20 pounds in a week and then gain it all back over a weekend. But after my mom died at 58 in 1978, I said to myself, "It's not really about my body anymore, it's really about my health." I just became obsessed with health. I read everything I could get my hands on. I starting taking human anatomy classes, going to medical libraries and seeing nutritionists and doctors. And I started experimenting on myself, turning myself into my own guinea pig. It took me about eight years to put together a program. I always say that my health birthday was 1979, but it wasn't until 1987 that I could say I was living a completely healthy lifestyle.
ET: Were you ever really heavy when you were performing in a show? MH: Sure. When I first performed the role of Marty in "Grease" more than 30 years ago I weighed about 175 pounds. But I hid it well. When you wear those 1950s clothes you can get away with it.
ET: When did you start incorporating supplements into your health program? MH: Before I became pregnant with my first son in 1993, I had never been a supplement taker. But I started taking prenatal vitamins and dietary supplements when I was breastfeeding and they made me feel really good. After the pregnancy, I just kept taking them because I was getting the essential nutrients that I couldn't get from food alone. I was getting great stuff from my food, but with all the travel I do-you know, the eating on planes and in restaurants-I couldn't always shop for organic food. I had a doctor who understood the value of dietary supplements and encouraged me to use them. I've taken them ever since and I recommend them to my family and friends, as well as to people through my books and classes.
ET: What supplements other than vitamins do you find helpful in your total nutrition program? MH: I take vitamin E, omega-3 fish oils, antioxidants, garlic, coral calcium and echinacea supplements.
ET: So let's get back to why you decided to testify before Congress in support of supplement use. MH: I know that as soon as you put a celebrity face on an issue, people tend to pay a little more attention. When I was in Washington, I was able to tell Congress the personal stories I've heard about people who turned their lives around-from debilitating illness to vibrant health-when they got the information they need to make good choices. By good choices, I mean rejecting the manufactured foods of our society, with their over-reliance on sugar, meat and dairy, and the chemicals, hormones and steroids that usually accompany these products. Instead, we should be moving towards an organic, vegan diet that produces a sense of physical health. I also believe that a healthy diet includes the use of appropriate dietary supplements.
ET: Do you think that government is moving fast enough to reduce the restrictions on safe supplements? MH: Things could always move faster. But I remember years ago writing letters on behalf of people who wanted supplements without needing a prescription. When I would tell people about the benefits of soy products or supplements, they'd think I was nuts. Now those ideas are mainstream. The floodgates are open and people want to know more. You can't even keep up with all the information. I think that the government knows they're not going to get away with making people have a prescription to take their vitamins.
ET: What is the citizen's responsibility in all this? MH: We're in a real transitional phase and people should take responsibility to educate themselves. You have to question your doctors and recognize when something is or isn't working. You have to find a health practitioner who really knows their stuff.
ET: As you said, there's so much information out there, how do you decipher it all? How can someone be an educated information consumer?
MH: I know it's very difficult because there are so many options. Believe me, I've been doing this a long time and I'm glad I did the research. I think you have to read everything. You have to find a nutritionist/herbalist/doctor who's the real deal and knows what they're talking about. You have to recognize the symptoms in your own body and try to figure it out. I think if you start out with a good multivitamin, a calcium supplement, fish oils and vitamin E, that can be your base and you can't go wrong.
ET: Isn't a diet built on buying organic foods much more expensive? MH: Sure, it's a little more expensive. But there's nothing more expensive than bad health. There's nothing more expensive than food being thrown away because it doesn't taste right. Organic fruit tastes so much better than the perfect-looking fruits and vegetables sprayed with pesticides.
ET: What's your advice to people who want to start a workout and weight-loss program? MH: I'm always saying to people, "Look, you walk your dog, your cat stretches, your hamster runs on a hamster wheel. You're an animal, too, so go move, go do something." I know a lot of people believe that when you want to lose weight you have to go on these 1,200-calorie-per-day diets.
Well, my weight is always between 120-124 pounds and I eat close to 2,000 calories a day, but everything I eat is of quality. And I burn a lot of calories because I wear comfortable shoes and I move around in my life. I'm always strong, I never get sick and I feel like an animal.
ET: How do you view the future of healthcare policy in this country and where do you think nutritional supplements fit in? MH: I strongly believe that the general public needs more access to dietary supplements to maintain essential good health. American research and development has come up with really great products, but the American Medical Association and the drug companies have stigmatized supplements. So what's the result? Most Americans don't have access to safe supplements because they are not covered by their health plans, nor recognized as effective by the federal government. This really needs to be changed.
I think we should take 90% of what we're spending on drugs that barely keep people alive and start spending it on prevention, nutrition and changing lifestyle habits. In this country we're all about curing the disease rather than curing the patient. We don't look at the patient holistically and try to find out how the disease developed. Your doctor should be in charge of keeping you well, not keeping you in that strange state of, what I call, "dis-ease." It's like the medical and pharmaceutical establishment wants to keep you just sick enough so you'll continue to be a paying customer. They've convinced people to think they've got to take a pill to cure themselves rather than use their own bodies.
ET: Do you think medical schools will start training doctors to treat patients holistically and focus more on preventative medicine?
MH: I think we're seeing a lot more nutrition and alternative medicine specialists these days. And the general public is becoming more aware of health and nutrition issues then they were years ago. There's this groundswell of people saying "Wait, I need more information. Wait, my doctor's no longer God. I can't just keep taking these pills and trying to figure out all these warning labels and side effects."
ET: Do you plan on becoming more politically active on these issues? MH: Absolutely, I want to work with any organization that wants to improve school lunch Programs, improve the healthcare system and get people more involved in understanding nutrition and disease prevention.