Search Term: " Pulmonary "
Experts find that vitamin D can soothe symptoms of COPD
May 13, 2019 04:23 PM
European scientists recently published new research in the journal Thorax which indicates that correcting a vitamin D deficiency can mitigate breathing and lung problems caused by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD symptoms include chronic bronchitis, asthma that cannot be reversed and persistent difficulty with breathing. However, the benefits only apply to people who have a deficiency of the vitamin. Vitamin D can help augment the immune system while reducing harmful inflammatory responses. Good food source of vitamin D include several species of fish, as well as eggs and mushrooms l.
"Carried out by a team of researchers from Europe, the study revealed that supplementing with regular doses of vitamin D safely and significantly reduced the symptoms of COPD."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-02-vitamin-d-can-soothe-symptoms-of-copd.html
Study: Astragalus can improve symptoms of pulmonary arterial hypertension
May 10, 2019 02:20 PM
Astragalus is known in Chinese medicine because it has been used by the Chinese for centuries as a medicinal herb. Recent researchers have backed up the healing claims of the plant. In a new study that was done in China, Chinese researchers have discovered that polysaccharide extracts from astragalus can be effective against pulmonary arterial hypertension. To carry out the study they fed rats with monocrotaline in order to induce pulmonary arterial hypertension in them. Then they gave the rats 200 milligrams per kilogram of astragalus polysaccharides once in every two days for a period of two weeks. The results were positive. It was found that the polysaccharides of astragalus reduced the hypertension of the pulmonary artery induced by monocrotaline in rats. There were other benefits that were discovered. The treatment with the polysaccharide of astragalus also eliminated oxidative stress, promoted vasodilation, and reduced inflammation in the rats. All these suggest that astragalus lowers the blood pressure in individuals. The findings of the study were then published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine with the authors stating that astragalus can be used to eliminate symptoms of pulmonary arterial hypertension in individuals.
"In China, astragalus is one of the herbs commonly prescribed to help with diabetes management. Research has also shown that the active compounds in astragalus may help in reducing blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. Lab trials have shown that it improves metabolism, reduce blood sugar levels, and aid in weight loss."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-17-astragalus-improves-symptoms-of-pulmonary-arterial-hypertension.html
Even CBD can help reduce hypertension.
What Is Pterostilbene? Top 4 Benefits of This Antioxidant Compound
August 15, 2018 04:53 PM
Pterostillbene is an antioxidant compound found in blueberries, grapes and cranberries which shows a wide variety of potential benefits for cardiopulmonary and neurological health due to its potency as an antioxidant. It is closely related to resverstrol, but may be easier for your body to process and use. Pterostilbene can help fight against oxidative stress from free radicals, control inflammation, and even inhibit the growth of tumors! Pterostilbene is especially good at protecting the Brian and nervous system from damage.
"Pterostilbene and resveratrol share many of the same benefits, including fighting oxidative stress, but pterostilbene has been shown to have superior bioavailability."
Read more: https://draxe.com/pterostilbene/
5 Best Foods And Teas For Healthy Lungs
June 27, 2018 09:54 AM
The breathe of life is an oft-used phrase. It can refer to inspiration, or sudden healing. But, it always indicates a transformation and something wonderful. The metaphor springs from the fact that breathe is intrinsic to life itself. Very few things cause despair, or a low quality of health like its lack. Yet, there are a variety of diseases that can take one's breathe away, including chronic pulmonary disease, asthma and much more. Moreover, in these times, when there is an unfortunately high level of air pollution and stress, a time when the genes we pass onto our children undoubtedly reflects the stresses of our environment, in these times we find ourselves more than ever prone to losing our breath.
Fortunately, there are foods and herbs that can assist us in fighting back against the problems that would steal breath from us. Many foods assist the body by killing microorganisms, flushing out toxins, reducing inflammation and mucus, and also by reducing stress. Some very potent, healing food options include, garlic, turmeric, olive oil and oregano.
"Breathing is so fundamental that we hardly need to think of it, but when it is impaired, it’s hard to think of anything else."
Read more: https://www.thealternativedaily.com/5-best-foods-and-teas-for-healthy-lungs/
Eating These Foods Can Help You Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin D - Pulmonary Fibrosis News
April 08, 2017 06:44 AM
Vitamins are important to everyone. If you do not have enough there can be linked bone pain or muscle weakness. if you are not getting enough vitamin D there are a few ways you can get more. going outside will help you get the "sunshine vitamin". Men and woman need 600-400 IU a day from the sun. Salmon, Milk, Eggs, Orange Juice, Yogurt, Cod Liver Oil, Cheerios, Beef Liver, Tuna, and supplements can all helkp you reduce your chance of getting Pulmonary Fibrosis
Read more: Eating These Foods Can Help You Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin D - Pulmonary Fibrosis News
Omega 3 fatty acids may reduce bacterial lung infections associated with COPD
February 24, 2017 07:59 AM
Years of smoking takes its toll on the body. Many develop COPD, which causes mucous buildup in the lungs that blocks airflow, can also trap bacteria in the lungs that can lead to serious lung infections. The most common culprit is Haemophilus influenzae. Scientists have known for a while that foods high in omega-3 fatty acids are good for us, but they only just recently discovered that it is because of their anti-inflammatory properties. A new study is using omega-3s to reduce inflammation in COPD patients and lessen their chances of developing an infection.
"If we can figure out how to predict who is likely to get an infection, physicians could put them on a preventative medication."
Component of red wine and grapes can help reduce inflammation
November 14, 2016 01:09 PM
Red wine can help alleviate inflammation in the lungs. A main component in red wine and grapes is resveratrol and studies now show that this compound can help suppress inflammation. Asthma and COPD affect many people worldwide and can even cause death in many. Studies still need to be done to figure out ways to use the compounds in the best way to help the most people who suffer from upper respiratory tract inflammatory diseases.
"A component of red wine and grapes can help control upper respiratory tract inflammatory diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive Pulmonary diseases (COPD) and middle ear infection"
The Health Benefits of Boswellia
Boswellia, also known as the Indian frankincense, is a popular native tree in traditional medicine. The tree has numerous health benefits due to its anti-inflammatory properties. The following are some of them:
Chronic inflammation is at an epic high in America, largely due to poor diets. Taking boswellia daily can help reduce inflammation helping the body fight off diseases that may arise.
Defination and Benefits of Rutin
January 12, 2014 01:41 PM
What is Rutin
Rutin is a kind of bioflavonoid found in many citrus fruits, black tea, and buckwheat bran and even apple skins. It is also obtainable as a complement in tablet or capsule form. Rutin aids the body use vitamin C and generate collagen (skin’s key building blocks), can be utilized to treat conditions like hypertension and haemorrhoids, and can similarly lower cholesterol levels. According to Nutritional-Health-Guide, the recommended dose of rutin per day is about 500-mg.
Benefits of Rutin
a. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Rutin prevents inflammation, making it helpful for different agonizing inflammatory conditions like arthritis. It has been demonstrated to help restrain the discharge of inflammatory histamine from cells, making it significant to suppress chronic inflammation in addition to allergic reactions.
b. Advance Chronic Venous Insufficiency
In this situation, your veins fails return blood from the legs to heart effectively, leading to leg clamps, ankle swelling and varicose veins. A research found that persons with chronic venous deficiency taking rutin together with vitamin E and additional natural supplements had a decrease in swelling and clamping after 30 days.
c. Improve the Absorption of Vitamin C
When taken together, rutin aids the body absorb and gain from the antioxidant features of Vitamin C.
d. Strengthen Blood Vessels
This makes it essential for hemorrhoids and varicose veins. Rutin is famous to not only coagulate blood vessel walls, but also to enhance their permeability for improved nutrients absorption.
e. Anti-clocking properties that may thwart stroke and heart attack
Rutin consist of anti-thrombotic properties, which show it stops the action of a main protein concerned in the creation of blood clots. Study recommends rutin may assist prevent venous clots, heart attack and stroke that lead to Pulmonary embolism and deep-vein thrombosis.
f. Heavy Metal Chelator
Lastly, rutin aid rid your body of destroying metals such as iron.
Rutin has been demonstrated to be useful in controlling not only the above body diseases, but also other similar related health issues. People are called upon to take rutin supplement daily. The reason is that it would strengthen their blood cells, prevents possible blood clotting and destroys certain metals in your body harmful to your health.
How Does Creatine Boost Muscle Strength?
October 28, 2013 11:13 PM
How Does Creatine Boost Muscle Strength?
First of all what is Creatine? Creatine is a protein that is produced by the human body and converted to creatine phosphate and stored in muscles. The stored form can then be utilized for energy by the muscles. It is also found in meat and protein rich food products such as fish. Some clinical studies have surmised that creatine as an oral supplement enhance muscle strength and increase lean muscle bulk.
What Creatine Can Do?
Many young athletes utilize creatine supplements as part of their muscle building routines. Although there have been varied responses to these diet supplements creatine continues to thrive on the market as a sports and health vitamin. Other uses of it include lowering triglycerides in the body as well as homocysteine both of which play a role in heart attacks and strokes. Creatine also promotes better endurance and muscle strength among patients with chronic obstructive Pulmonary disease, Parkinson's disease and Muscular Dystrophy. Clinical trials are still under way.
Creatine, like all other medications and supplements may cause some adverse effects. It is important that you consult a health service provider or pharmacist before initiating the use of the supplement. The common side effects of Creatine include muscle cramps, weight gain, muscle strain, abdominal discomfort, changes in bowel movements, dizziness as well as liver and kidney dysfunction. This is due to the fact that this protein is metabolized in the liver and the kidney.
Creatine should be taken in the recommended dose. Taking more than the recommended dosage can result to severe adverse events such as Rhabdomyolysis which is the medical term for the breakdown of muscles, the components released after massive muscle cell death can damage the kidney and lead to kidney failure. The recommended dose for adults is 2g daily. Using creatine for prolonged periods may eventually lower your body's production of creatine and may lessen its effects.
When used judiciously and properly you can benefit from the positive effects of Creatine.
What Supplements Are Useful In Combating Blood Clots?
October 04, 2011 03:14 PM
Vitamins And Your Health
As we know for a fact, one of the properties of blood is its ability to coagulate in order to stop bleeding. This coagulated blood is commonly known as a clot. Blood clot is important to the body to prevent excessive bleeding and serves as a vital part in the process of inflammation and wound healing. However, if a clot occurs abnormally it can cause significant danger to the body. A blood clot can cause obstruction in the circulation and may result to life - threatening health conditions such as heart attacks, cerebrovascular accident or strokes and Pulmonary embolism. It can also cause poor tissue oxygenation and perfusion which can damage the affected cells and might cause disability or inability to function of certain organs or body part.
There are many traditional modalities in preventing and treating abnormal blood clot formation. One of the most commonly used is the medication called Aspirin in low – dosage. This conventional drug is popularly prescribed by doctors to decrease the clotting property of the blood. However, in emergency cases, a surgical procedure may be deemed important to remove the blood clot which significantly interrupts proper blood circulation.
Aside from medications, there are many supplements that have the capacity to decrease the risk of abnormal blood clotting. These include supplements high in:
1. FISH OILS. Fish oils are rich in omega-3 fatty acid which has the capacity to thin the blood. Therefore, if the blood is not viscous, the pressure inside the blood vessel is lesser as well. A high blood pressure can cause damage to the walls of the blood vessels, thus activating blood clot formation. Also, a non – viscous blood can also better circulate into smaller blood vessels than that of a viscous blood, therefore, enhancing tissue oxygenation. Clinical studies also revealed that omega – 3 fatty acids can effectively decrease Thromboxane A which is one of the clotting factors found among platelets.
2. CHAMOMILE. This herb has an anti – platelet property. It has a mild to moderate effect in regulating clot formation.
3. GINGER. Ginger has many health benefits. One of its promising benefits is its mild anti – platelet property and its ability to dissolve fibrin. This herb is widely used as a supplement to enhance blood circulation all over the body.
4. CATECHIN AND QUERCETIN. These chemical compounds are classified as antioxidants. They can effectively reduce the adhesion property of platelets.
5. CURCUMIN. This chemical comes from the spice called turmeric. This is considered to be an anti – thrombotic, as well as a potent anti – inflammatory agent.
6. DEHYDROEPIANDROSTERONE (DHEA). This substance is primarily an anti – aging agent. However, studies reveal that it can significantly reduce the process of inflammation by preventing the substance that can generate inflammation within the veins, arteries and capillaries called Cytokines. With decreased production of cytokines, it will result to lesser coagulation and clumping of platelets and reduced movement of bad cholesterol or Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) into the walls of the blood vessels, thus decreasing the chance of clot formation and atherosclerosis.
7. VITAMINS C AND E. These vitamins are important for preventing abnormal collagen – induced platelet activation by inhibiting the production of hydrogen peroxide. Vitamins C and E are also important in many enzymatic actions that regulate blood cholesterol levels.
What Herbs Are Vein Strengtheners?
September 28, 2011 02:17 PM
Blood vessels can be found all over the body. It is the passageway of blood so that cellular oxygenation as well as elimination of harmful substances from the cells would be successful. Blood vessels have three types, namely the arteries, the veins and the capillaries. Arteries contain the blood from the Pulmonary system which is highly oxygenated while the veins consist of blood which is deoxygenated and abundant in cellular waste. Capillaries serve as a bridge between the two major blood vessels. Among these blood vessels, the veins are the only of its kind which has valves. These valves prevent backflow of blood since the direction of the blood in the vein is against gravity. Therefore, it is of no surprise that among the three types of blood vessels, veins are the most commonly damaged. In this article, we will be discussing of natural ways or herbs which are effective as vein strengtheners.
1. HORSE CHESTNUT. Traditionally, this herb has been used for the improvement of health the veins. In fact, Western medicine has considered this herb as the most effective herbal medicine for venous problems most especially Chronic Venous Insufficiency. It can improve venous return by improving the ability of the valves of veins to return blood to the heart from the lower extremities. This herb has also been found to decrease permeability of the capillary wall permeability thus lessening fluid outflow into tissues. The recommended dosage for this supplement is 500 mg each morning.
2. GOTU KOLA. Gotu kola is a popular herbal medicine of the Indian Ayurvedic medicine. It is also considered to be one of the oldest herbal medicines all over the world. This herb has been found to be effective in improving the tone, flexibility and integrity of the blood vessels. Therefore, this herb has been long used as a treatment for circulatory problems most especially varicose veins. 200 milligram extract of this herb is usually suggested three times daily.
3. RUTIN. This is not an herb itself but a chemical substance which can be found in several plants. Rutin is considered to be a flavonoid which can be extracted from citrus peels, cranberries, asparagus and buckwheat. Clinical studies of this chemical compound have revealed that it be an effective relief treatment of damaged and edematous veins. This chemical can also be used for improving the strength of the capillaries thus lowering the risk of damage.
These are only some of the herbs which are found to be effective as vein strengtheners. These herbs can be made into a poultice and applied to the skin so that positive effect can be obtained. Along with these herbs, it is also important that you should exercise regularly. Elevate your legs, if possible, especially when lying down at hours of sleep. This would greatly help in promoting venous return thus thwarting blood pooling at the lower extremities. It is also important that you should avoid long time standing or sitting. Health experts also suggest that people must avoid prolong crossing of legs and not to wear tight clothing and foot wears since this can possibly constrict veins..
How Does Serrapeptidase Support A Healthy Immune System, Regulate Inflammation, And More?
September 01, 2011 02:25 PM
What Does Serrapeptidase Do In The Body?
Serrapeptidase is an enzyme which is protein - digesting by nature. It is considered to be one of the types of proteolytic enzymes which consist of the chemical substance protease. This chemical is derived from a non - genetically engineered fungus of the family of Aspergillus. Serrapeptidase is a dietary supplement which may be isolated from Serrapeptidase oryzae and Serrapeptidase melleus. Studies have claimed that this dietary supplement is effective as an anti - inflammatory, respiratory aid, cardiovascular or immune support. Other names of Serrapeptidase include serration - peptidase and serrapeptase.
During the early 1990’s, Serrapeptidase was isolated from the microorganism Serratia marcescens which is a known human pathogen found in the digestive tract of the Japanese silkworm. Many studies have been conducted to uncover the medicinal purposes of this bacterial enzyme. In fact, it has been widely used clinically in specific areas of Asia and Europe primarily as an inflammation relief agent.
These are some of the uses of the enzyme Serrapeptidase:
1. ANTI – THROMBIC AND FIBRINOLYTIC. Serrapeptidase can significantly prevent the build – up of blood clots. These clots must not be accumulated to prevent thromboembolism which can cause life threatening health conditions such as heart attack and stroke. Aside from its ability to prevent clot formation, Serrapeptidase also has a good fibrinolytic ability. It can lyse or dissolve already – formed blood clots.
2. PH REGULATOR. This proteolytic enzyme is considered to be an alkaline metalloprotease enzyme. It can selectively act on specific biological systems and prevent the activation of immunoglobulin G and immunoglobulin A. These body chemicals are immune system factors which helps the body prevent from infections and illnesses.
3. GOOD PROTEIN DIGESTER. Clinical studies have revealed that Serrapeptidase has a very good ability to digest protein molecules and its substrates. This is the reason behind why Serrapeptidase can effectively dissolve protein – based tissues such as fibrins, blood clots, cysts and certain inflammations. The advantage of this enzyme is that it can dissolve unnecessary tissues without harming the normal living tissues.
4. PROFOUND ANTI – INFLAMMATIORY AGENT. Serrapeptidase can effectively prevent and reduce inflammation, thus reducing swelling and pain sensation. The mechanism of action is said to be that Serrapeptidase blocks the synthesis of pain – inducing amines. Another mechanism is that it can effectively inactivate pro – inflammatory chemicals known as cytokines. In fact, this chemical is one of the components of analgesic drugs in Europe. The positive effect of this enzyme is that it does not have any digestive side effects.
5. RESPIRATORY AID. This enzyme is also helpful in improving the health of the respiratory system. It effectively alters the elasticity and viscosity of the dense mucus in people with respiratory problem such as sinusitis, bronchitis, asthma, and Pulmonary diseases. People who are taking this enzyme supplement have shown improved liquefaction and expectoration of the mucus, thus Serrapeptidase is considered to be an effective mucolytic agent widely used all over the world.
Serrapeptidase is generally safe. Clinical studies have revealed that the sources of this enzyme are non – pathogenic except of one strain known as Serratia marcesens. This strain is pathogenic to human body. It may cause hypersensitivity or any untoward signs and symptoms. Therefore, it is best to consult a doctor before starting such supplementation.
What Is Thyme and How Can It Help My Lungs?
April 12, 2011 04:28 PM
Thyme And Lung Health.Thyme is a flavorful herb known for its significant presence in Western cuisines. It is grown for its strong flavor and pleasant aromatic odor, which are often attributed to an organic compound called thymol. The health benefits of thyme are ascribed to its unique combination of phytochemicals that protect the lungs and the rest of the respiratory system. The chemical compounds naturally occurring in thyme are extracted and added to many health and hygiene products.
Thymus vulgaris, the common thyme largely utilized as a culinary herb, is the same species where most thyme extracts are derived from. However, other species that belong to the genus Thymus have also been observed to produce similar health benefits. There are over 300 species of thyme, but the most widely cultivated in addition to the common thyme are T. herba-barona, T. serpyllum, T. x citriodorus, and T. variegata, and T. zygis. These species are known for their medicinal properties and commonly used in herbal preparations.
Fights Respiratory Tract Infections
In the pharmaceutical industry, thyme is best known for its high terpene content. Terpenes are organic compounds found in many plants that are noted for their antiseptic properties. Thymus species are very rich in thymol, which accounts for more than 50 per cent in essential oil extracted from Thymus vulgaris. Thyme is historically noted for its ability to ward off infections.
In ancient times, crushed leaves were added to poultices to disinfect wounds and dried leaves were made into tea to fight off sore throat. Today thymol is the main ingredient of many hygiene products such as natural sanitizers and the mouthwash Listerine. Thymol is so effective that adding it to water and gargling with the solution fights off infections of the respiratory tract and relieves inflammation.
Displays Antispasmodic Properties
Upper respiratory tract infection is often accompanied by respiratory spasms characteristic of coughs. Thyme also contains flavonoids, such as apigenin, luteolin, naringenin, and thymonin, all of which are spasmolytic in nature. Symptoms of cough may vary, depending on the nature of the condition. Fits of severe coughing may result from different causes, but are often caused by bacterial infection. The flavonoids content of thyme is thought to act on Pulmonary tissues and bronchial tubes, creating a soothing effect that results in the amelioration of respiratory spasms and the expulsion of bacteria.
Promotes the Discharge of Mucus
Thyme is a reputed expectorant with a long association with folk medicine of the Mediterranean region. For centuries, certain European communities have relied on thyme to effectively expel infected matter from the lungs and the bronchi. Herbal preparations come in tincture, tea, syrup, and even steam. The inhalation of thyme essential oil has been reported to be very helpful in easing the discharge of mucus. Thyme contains terpenoids in addition to thymol, which all act to increase the fluidity of mucus and exert antimicrobial activity when they reach the lungs, making it easier to cough up phlegm while disinfecting the respiratory tract at the same time.
Give Thyme a try and feel the difference!
September 24, 2009 10:50 AM
The pleurisy plant is a perennial herb that has several stems. It can be found growing three feet high, with branches at the top. The leaves are dark green on the upper surface and pale green on the underside. The flowers are richly colored orange and are found blooming from June through September. This plant is a member of the milkweed family. Monarchs, swallowtails, and other butterflies are especially attracted to the pleurisy plant when it is in flower. The plant prefers open, dry fields. It is often growing in abundance in the southern United States. Similar to other milkweeds, pleurisy root produces pods that reveal rows of silky reeds that drift in the wind in autumn. However, unlike most milkweeds, this species does not produce a milky sap.
This plant is native to North America. It was long used by Indians and pioneers. Often, it was spread onto sores after being powdered and mixed into a paste. Indians of several regions brewed a tea from the leaves to induce vomiting in certain rituals, while settlers and Indians alike made a tea from the root to induce perspiration and expectoration in severe respiratory conditions. Pleurisy was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopeia in the 19th century.
Pleurisy root developed its name because of its use for treating lung conditions. The name comes from the Greek root word pleura, which means “lung membranes.” This name implies that this herb is extremely valuable for treating pleurisy. This is because it relieves chest pain and eases breathing difficulties. Pleurisy was used by Native Americans. Then, they introduced it to the European settlers who were suffering from numerous respiratory problems.
This herb works primarily as an expectorant. Pleurisy helps to expel phlegm from bronchial and nasal passages. The herb is responsible for opening lung capillaries. This aids in the release of mucus, which thins discharge. This process helps to reduce lung congestion and improve breathing.
In addition to its uses for Pulmonary problems, pleurisy root is also used as a gentle tonic. This tonic helps with stomach pain that is caused by gas, indigestion, and dysentery.
Additionally, pleurisy root is a powerful diaphoretic. It increases body temperature and opens pores to induce perspiration. It has also been used against poisoning and acute rheumatism. Unfortunately, this is not recommended for children.
The root of the pleurisy plant is used to provide alterative, anodyne, antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, expectorant, febrifuge, nervine, mild purgative, and stimulant properties. Primarily, pleurisy is extremely beneficial in treating spasmodic asthma, bronchitis, acute dysentery, emphysema, fevers, indigestion, lung disorders, pleurisy, and pneumonia. Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with croup, contagious diseases, flu, gas, kidney problems, measles, and excessive mucus, absent perspiration, poisoning, acute rheumatism, scarlet fever, tuberculosis, and typhus.
In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen while on prescription medications. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by pleurisy, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
August 13, 2009 03:49 PM
The mullein is a genus of about 250 species of flowering plants. They are all part of the figwort family. Mullein plants can be found growing natively in Europe and Asia. The highest species diversity can be found in the Mediterranean region. The mullein plant is a biennial or perennial plant that grows from 0.5 to three meters tall. They have leaves that are spirally arranged and often densely hairy. The flowers have five symmetrical petals and can be yellow, orange, red-brown, purple, blue, or white depending upon the species.
Mullein was suggested to be used in treating eye problems, tonsillitis, coughs, stings, and toothaches by Dioscorides. This herb was first introduced to America by the early European settlers. Native Americans used mullein to treat lung problems, with some tribes even smoking the leaves to treat asthma. Mullein was used during the Civil War for respiratory problems. It was made into syrup for coughs. Dr. Edward Shook referred to mullein as a great herb for treating tuberculosis and other lung problems.
Mullein is traditionally well known for its use in treating respiratory disorders such as asthma, bronchitis, coughs, tuberculosis, and congestion. The herb can help to loosen mucus from the respiratory and lymphatic systems. Mullein both nourishes and strengthens the lungs. This herb is also used to relieve pain, soothe hemorrhoids, treat burns and bruises, and to induce sleep. Mullein has a calming effect on tissues that are inflamed and irritated nerves. Mullein helps to control coughs, cramps, and spasms. In tea form, this herb is good for dropsy, sinusitis, swollen joints, and can be applied to mumps, tumors, a sore throat, and tonsillitis. Though this herb has been used traditionally for centuries, there is still very little information known of its healing components.
Recent research has determined that the saponins, mucilage, and tannins in this herb contribute to the soothing topical effect that it possesses. These properties are ideal for treating lung ailments, coughs, colds, asthma, whooping cough, and emphysema. Also, this herb is suggested for pain, as a sleep aid, a laxative, and to get rid of warts. One study concluded that mullein inhibits the growth of bacteria, which is a known cause of tuberculosis in vitro.
The leaves of the mullein plant are used to provide analgesic, anticatarrhal, antispasmodic, antitussive, astringent, demulcent, diuretic, expectorant, mucilant, and vulnerary properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, iron, potassium, sulfur, and vitamins A, B-complex, and D. Primarily, this herb is extremely beneficial in treating allergies, hay fever, asthma, bleeding of the bowels, bleeding of the lungs, bronchitis, colds, sinus congestion, coughs, croup, diarrhea, dysentery, earaches, emphysema, glandular problems, hemorrhages, insomnia, swollen joints, lung disorders, lymphatic congestion, irritated membranes, nervousness, pain, pleurisy, Pulmonary disease, and tuberculosis. Additionally, mullein is very helpful in dealing with bruises, constipation, diaper rash, edema, eye problems, intestinal problems, menstrual symptoms, mumps, skin disorders, sore throat, toothaches, tumors, venereal diseases, ulcers, warts, and wounds.
In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen while on medications. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by mullein, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions.
Horny Goat Weed
December 06, 2008 10:05 AM
Horny Goat weed, correctly named Epimedium, or Yin Yang Huo in Chinese, is one of over 60 herbaceous plants of the Berberdaceae family. It grows naturally in Southern China, and also in Korea, Southeast Asia and some parts of Europe. Other names given to include Fairy Wings and Bishop's Hat.
Horny goat weed has been viewed as a natural alternative to Viagra, and many species of Epimedium are said to possess aphrodisiac properties, and is said to have got its name from a Chinese goat herder who notice that his goats became more 'frisky' with the lady goats after eating the plant. In fact studies have indicated to increase vitality, particularly the libido and male sexual vitality, although it also possesses some other health benefits in its effect on dementia and osteoporosis.
The term 'horny' is used in the colloquial sense, and has nothing to do with the shape of the plant, the flowers of which are star-shaped. In fact the Chinese name for it means 'licentious goat weed', making the English translation quite clear.
The main ingredient in horney goat weed is icariin, a flavonoid glycoside that acts as a PDE5 inhibitor. Others include the similarly named, but totally different chemical, icaritin, and also many other that will be discussed later. It is icariin on which we shall focus for the time being. Since this is central to its effect on erectile dysfunction, some time will be spent on explaining what PDE5 inhibitors do.
cGMP (Cyclic guanosine monophosphate) is a chemical that relaxes smooth muscle tissue, including the vascular smooth muscles in blood vessels. This can lead to the dilation, or increase in size, of blood vessels and increased blood flow. The corpus cavernosum of the penis is a spongy area that runs the full length of the penis, and contains many blood vessels that can be dilated through the action of cGMP and allow the increased blood flow to create an erection.
PDE5 (phosphodiesterase type 5) is an enzyme that can degrade cGMP and prevent the relaxation of these blood vessels, and so prevent them from dilating. A PDE5 inhibitor, such as icariin, prevents the PDE5 from degrading cGMP, and so allow a normal erection. Sidenafil, commonly known as Viagra, is a similar PDE5 inhibitor and works in the same way as icariin. Hence, the effect of Viagra is not to create an unnatural erection, but in fact to allow the cGMP to do its natural work by preventing the phosphodiesterase from stopping it doing so.
This is just one of the effects of horny goat weed: it is a more natural PDE5 inhibitor than Viagra is. It is also more specific than Sidenfil, and does not interfere with any of the other phosphodiesterases that are essential for other purposes. However, its effects do not stop there, because icariin possesses other properties, and is also only one of the many components of epimedium that can increase vitality.
Among these are a number of flavonoids in addition to icariin, sterols and the isoquinoline alkaloid magnaflorine, that possesses antioxidant properties and reduces LDL cholesterol. The exact mechanism by which horny goat weed works to increase sexual desire is unknown, but it is believed that it inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinetsrase (AChE). Cholinergic synapses are the spaces between brain cells that allow electrical impulses to be transmitted, and are an essential component of neuromuscular system response to stimulation.
AChE can stop these from working properly, and prevent neurotransmitters from effectively allowing sexual arousal. Horny goat weed can inhibit the activity of this enzyme and allow the neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine to do their proper job in allowing sexual arousal to occur. This, again, is a natural and not a chemical solution. It has also been found to reduce cortisol levels that cause stress which also reduces sexual desire.
The effect of Epimedium on smooth muscles can also aid those suffering from Pulmonary hypertension, in which the small blood vessels in the lungs become too narrow to be effective in allowing the transfer between oxygen and carbon dioxide. PDE5 inhibitors can help these blood vessels to relax and so be more easily dilated in the same way as those in the corpus cavernosum. Once dilated, they are able to carry more blood to and from the lungs and allow the reoxygenation process to continue smoothly.
Research has also discovered the possibility of horny goat weed possessing monoamine-oxidase inhibition properties. Monoamine oxidase enzymes can deaminate hormones such as dopamine, and can significantly reduce the production of testosterone. The inhibitor prevents this happening, and leads to elevated levels of dopamine, and also of serotonin and noradrenaline. Dopamine encourages the pituitary gland to release luteinizing hormone that in turn promotes the production of testosterone by the testes.
Another property of horny goat weed is that it can protect against the toxin beta-Amyloid, a protein that damages DNA in the brain, causing the death of brain cells and the accumulation of dead cells in your brain. This in turn leads to dementia and potentially Alzheimer's disease. The use of Horny goat weed is being studied closely in relation to this property. The active ingredient here is icaritin (not to be confused with icariin)
Epimedium also has implications in the treatment of the cartilage and bone damage that occurs with arthritis and osteoporosis. It is possible that this is connected with the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of magnaflorine, and icariin has been found to have bone-healing properties. It is known that damaged cartilage treated with horney goat weed displayed signs of growth and regeneration when compared to a placebo.
However, the most popular use of horny goat weed is in its effect on the libido and erectile dysfunction. The effect on the libido and sexual desire works equally well for men and women, and it is a preferred natural remedy to synthetic equivalents such as Viagra, Levitra and Cialis. The added benefits of the natural product render epimedium the preferred and safest solution for many people.
Health And Applications Of Coenzyme Q10
April 17, 2008 02:57 PM
Coenzyme Q10 is a critical cofactor in the biological energy process. It is a powerful antioxidant and plays a vital role in our health and wellness. Coenzyme Q10 is involved in many disease states, consuming adequate coenzyme Q10 can ensure that one maintains good health which can reduce the risk of chronic disease such as the ones listed below:
Many prescription drugs can cause Coenzyme Q10 to deplete especially statin drugs (cholesterol meds). Beta blocking drugs and anti-diabetic drugs can also leach the body of vital Coenzyme Q10 which could lead to the above diseases if left un-checked over time.
L-Glutathione Can Eliminate Toxins in the Liver
December 07, 2007 11:54 AM
L-glutathione is the reduced form of glutathione, and is a tripeptide synthesized in the animal and plant tissues from glycine, cysteine and glutamate. Commonly known as GSH, it contains thiol groups that are maintained in a reduced state, and is a very powerful antioxidant, considered to be the key antioxidant and protective substance in the body.
Glutathione can reduce any disulfide groups in the cytoplasm within the body of the cell, and ensures that the cytoplasm is a strongly reducing medium protecting against oxidation. It has a synergistic effect with other antioxidants to protect the body against free radicals and oxidizing agents that cause so much damage to the body through what is commonly referred to as ‘oxidative stress’. However, there is more to it than that and it attaches itself to toxic chemicals and drugs in the liver and renders them into a state suitable for elimination from the body.
These toxic materials include poisonous pesticides, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and chromium and many other substances that we come into contact with due to present day pollution of our atmosphere and foodstuffs. Glutathione can also help protect the body from the effects of chemotherapy and evidence is suggesting possible links with the control of some cancers, diabetes, atherosclerosis and many other degenerative conditions caused by free radical attack and the effects of pollutants.
The way that GSH acts in the cells is that the redox state of the glutathione-glutathione disulfide couple is critical to the health of the intercellular and intracellular fluid. GSH in the reduced state of glutathione reacts with an oxidative agent such as hydrogen peroxide to form the oxidized form, glutathione disulfide and water. It hence mops up oxidizers such as peroxides and free radicals within the cytoplasm of the body’s cells, and also in between the cells. The disulfide is then converted back to GSH by the combined action of the enzyme glutathione reductase and NADPH (the reducing agent nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate).
The cycle then repeats so that two molecules of glutathione continue to reduce damaging oxidizing agents without themselves being consumed. In so doing, the NADPH becomes oxidized. A continuous supply of NADPH is needed to allow GSH to undergo these biochemical reactions, and up to 10% of our blood glucose is used by the pentose phosphate pathway by which NADPH is synthesized.
Since this cycle consumes no glutathione, it would appear that a supplement is unnecessary. However, this is not the case since the molecule takes part in other reactions in the body, particularly in the elimination of toxic heavy metals from the body. Mercury is highly reactive with the thiol that GSH is, and so will bind to form a stable Hg-sulfydryl bond in the liver. This mercury-glutathione chelate is unable to bind to other proteins or gain access to the body cells, and is eventually harmlessly secreted. The same is true of many other heavy metals that are reactive with thiol’s.
In this way the body is protected from the harmful effects of these heavy metals. However, it results in the loss of the glutathione, and the pollution of modern day living can take a heavy toll of the GSH content of our bodies. For this reason a glutathione supplement is recommended, especially for city dwellers that may be exposed to more heavy metals than those residing in rural areas.
However, the form in which this supplement is taken is very important, because the human digestive tract contains a significant amount of gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase. That is an enzyme which apparently destroys glutathione before it can be absorbed. However, it can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream by dissolving the pill between the teeth and inner cheek. It has also been suggestion that the supplement could be administered by injection.
Others have suggested that rather than administer a supplement, individuals could take other supplements that contain the materials needed to stimulate the formation of GSH. Substances such as vitamin C, selenium (important in GSH biochemistry), methionine, alpha-lipoic acid and glutamine could all help to increase the body’s production of glutathione. A supplement of the constituent parts of cysteine, glycine and glutamic acid should also help. The dosage ranges recommended vary widely from 50mg to 500mg daily, and the effects of supplementation are not yet well know.
Some specific conditions that this wonder antioxidant is useful in treating include liver disease such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and so on. Patients suffering from these diseases show a massive reduction in their GSH content and prior GSH treatment appeared to offer a significant degree of protection in controlled clinical investigations. Patients suffering from chronic hepatitis C have been found to be associated with reduced GSH levels, particularly if also HIV positive.
Similar deficiencies have been noted in some lung conditions such as asthma and other Pulmonary conditions. In such cases it has been demonstrated that administration of GSH supplements sufficient to restore normal levels of the substance improved the patients’ conditions by a significant amount. Its effect on atherosclerosis appears to be significant since a decreased level of GSH peroxidase has been recorded in such patients in addition to an increase in lipid peroxides, indicating that oxidation of the arterial wall had been occurring.
Anti-viral therapies that rely on GSH biochemistry for their action have been found to be less effective in those with low GSH levels, and other studies have confirmed that supplementing with GSH improves the response to interferon treatment. These results indicate the activity of oxidizing agents and free radicals in liver conditions, and in fact this has been demonstrated by tests carried out in New York and Philadelphia in the 1990s.
This suggests that the liver is prone to damage by oxidative stress, and that GSH levels may be able to be used as an indication of potential liver disease. What is evident is that a strong case can be made for glutathione supplementation as protection against potential liver, Pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases, especially by those exposed to specific polluting agents such as primary or secondary tobacco smoke, auto and diesel fumes and chemicals and pesticides.
L-glutathione is useful, not only for the elimination of toxins in the liver, but also in protecting this large and vital organ from the oxidative stress that modern living brings. L-Glutathione and its precursors are sold over the counter at your local or internet health food store.
Better Diet, Easier Breathing for Men?
May 22, 2007 02:58 PM
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health reported that men who followed a diet rich in plant-based foods, whole grains and fish – a “Mediterranean” diet – were half as likely as their peers eating the most “western” style diet to develop chronic obstructive Pulmonary disease (COPD). Subjects eating significant amounts of refined grains, cured and red meat, desserts and sweets were at a 4.55 times greater risk of COPD. The researchers followed 42,917 men for over 12 years; 111 men in the group reported new diagnoses of COPD. Top-tier subjects with the healthier diet pattern were half as likely to have developed lung disease as bottom-tier subjects. The researchers stated that fruit and fish have both been tired to better lung function and lower risk of COPD, and noted that fruit and vegetables are good sources of antioxidant vitamins such as C and E, which have been tied to better lung function; omega-3 fatty acids in fish may also contribute to lung health. (Thorax, May 2007 Published online)… Natural Products Association.
June 25, 2005 10:59 AM
Ginkgo may be considered a wonder herb in that it has numerous medicinal applications. Its ability to increase oxygen to living tissue by boosting blood flow makes it invaluable for a number of disorders including heart problems, strokes, and geriatric senility.
Traditionally, the Chinese have used ginkgo to treat bronchial, asthmatic and Pulmonary conditions. Recently, research has indicated that certain compounds contained in ginkgo have been shown to effectively dilate arteries, veins and capillaries, which results in increased peripheral blood flow. It is this enhanced circulation of blood which seems to benefit the brain in particular.
Because it effectively boosts brain blood flow, ginkgo may have important potential for treating senility, short-term memory loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and other types of vascular diseases.
Ginkgo has been used for Raynaud’s disease, intermit tent claudication, numbness, ve rtigo and impotence. It is common practice in Europe and Asia to regularly prescribe ginkgo to improve mental function.
Not commonly known is ginkgo’s ability to treat respiratory disorders and stress. It can also function as an excellent antioxidant, due to its bioflavonoid content. Ginkgo also participates in enzyme regulation and protects the blood vessels against plaque build-up and the liver against toxic damage.
Nothing to Sneeze At
June 18, 2005 08:41 AM
Nothing to Sneeze At by Carole Poole Energy Times, August 14, 2004
To many, nothing is more annoying than a persistent allergy. Runny nose, itchy eyes, hives, sneezing, coughing...Frequently, allergies seem to represent suffering with no end.
When you are sensitive to something in your environment, often your only hope for relief appears to be to flee to an elsewhere that eludes the problematic, trouble-making allergen.
Complementary measures are available that can lower your risk of allergic reactions. Heading off allergic reactions before they strike can help you enter a comfort zone that leaves nothing to sneeze at.
Limit Your Antibiotics
While people have always suffered allergies, today, many experts agree, allergies are on the rise. One possible explanation: antibiotics. For instance, research at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit demonstrates that kids who get antibiotics within six months of being born run an increased risk of being allergic to dust mites, ragweed, grass and animals. At the same time, if two or more cats or dogs live with them, they reduce their chances of allergies (Eur Respir Soc ann conf, 2003).
" I'm not suggesting children shouldn't receive antibiotics. But I believe we need to be more prudent in prescribing them for children at such an early age," Christine Cole Johnson, PhD, says. "In the past, many of them were prescribed unnecessarily, especially for viral infections like colds and the flu when they would have no effect anyway."
Dr. Cole's investigators found that by age 7, kids who got one or more rounds of antibiotics were:
When antibiotics are necessary, they are crucial to quelling bacterial infections. However, if you or your children suffer colds or flus, diseases caused by viruses, antibiotics have no effect on your illness but could increase your chance of developing allergies.
" Over the past four decades there has been an explosive increase in allergy and asthma in westernized countries, which correlates with widespread use of antibiotics and alterations in gastrointestinal (GI) microflora," says Mairi Noverr, a researcher on a study linking allergies to antibiotic use (104th Gen Meet Amer Soc Microbiol, 2004). "We propose that the link between antibiotic use and dysregulated Pulmonary immunity is through antibiotic-induced long-term alterations in the bacterial and fungal GI microflora." While a lot of research needs to be done, it may help to fortify the probiotic, or good, microbes in your intestines with probiotic supplements. One study has shown that giving probiotics to pregnant women helped their children avoid allergic eczema, a skin condition (Lancet 2001; 357:1076-9).
Green Tea Relief
Research has demonstrated that various types of tea can produce a range of health benefits. Tea drinkers can add allergy relief to that list.
Research in Japan demonstrates that for the allergy-oppressed, green tea may help them have nothing to sneeze at. In laboratory tests, scientist found that green tea contains a substance that blocks one of the immune cell receptors which is often a part of the allergic response. The substance, methylated epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), is believed to have a similar effect in the real world (J Agr Food Chem 10/9/02).
" Green tea appears to be a promising source for effective anti-allergenic agents," notes Hirofumi Tachibana, PhD, the study's chief investigator and an associate professor at Kyushu University in Fukuoka. "If you have allergies, you should consider drinking it." Traditionally, many people have consumed tea as part of their effort to suppress sneezes, coughs and itchy eyes caused by allergies. This experiment supports the evidence that green tea, in particular, has a reliable effect.
According to Dr. Tachibana, green tea's anti-allergenic benefits have not been completely established, but tea apparently has the potential to be effective against allergens like dust, chemicals, pet dander and pollen.
EGCG has also been shown to be a very active antioxidant, helping to quell the destructive effects of the caustic molecules known as free radicals. Green tea is richer in EGCG than black tea or oolong tea (a type that falls between black and green).
Although other research has demonstrated that EGCG offsets allergic responses in lab animals fed this substance, scientists don't completely understand why it works for allergies. Researchers theorize that EGCG restricts the production of histamine and immunoglobulin E (IgE), two substances secreted in the body as part of the chain of chemical reactions that lead to an allergic reaction, says Dr. Tachibana.
This study shows, for the first time, that a methylated form of EGCG can block the IgE receptor, which is a key receptor involved in an allergic response. The effect was demonstrated using human basophils, which are blood cells that release histamine. As of now, nobody knows how much green tea you need to guzzle to have the best protection against allergies and, of the several varieties available, nobody knows which green tea is best.
Outside of the US, green tea is the second most popular beverage in the world, right behind water. In the US, however, black tea is more popular than green. But the allergy sensitive should think and drink green.
Stay Away from Diesels
Those who are allergic to ragweed or pet dander usually know they should avoid the source of their allergies. But now scientists have found that, for many allergy sufferers, diesel exhaust can also worsen sneezes and wheezes.
Scientists at two southern California schools have shown that about half of us have inherited a sensitivity to diesel pollution that can make our allergies significantly worse (Lancet 1/10/04). "[T]his study suggests a direct way that pollution could be triggering allergies and asthma in a large number of susceptible individuals...," says Frank D. Gilliland, MD, PhD, the study's lead author. Diesel exhaust particles are thought to act as destructive free radicals in the lungs, forming caustic molecules that damage lung tissue. This irritation can cause your immune system to create larger amounts of compounds that make you sneeze and wheeze more.
The Antioxidant Advantage
Antioxidants, scientists believe, can help defuse this damage and ease the body's allergic responses. The California scientists looked at two antioxidant enzymes the body makes to protect the lungs called glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1) and glutathione S-transferase P1 (GSTP1). Only about five of ten people's immune systems can make all the effective forms of these enzymes. The rest of us lack this protection to some degree, and the immune system in about one in five people can't make any effective form of these enzymes.
The research team found that people allergic to ragweed who lacked these antioxidant enzymes suffered more when they took in both ragweed pollen and particles from diesel pollution.
Breathe Easier With C
This research may help explain why many health practitioners recommend vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, to allergy sufferers. Vitamin C "prevents the secretion of histamine by the white blood cells, increases the detoxification of histamine and lowers the blood-histamine levels," says Sylvia Goldfarb, PhD, author of Allergy Relief (Avery/Penguin).
Scientists continue to study the allergy conundrum. Meanwhile, sip a cup of green tea and shut the window before the next truck comes by.
Catch Your Breath
June 14, 2005 05:56 PM
Catch Your Breath
by Carl Lowe Energy Times, October 10, 2004
Asthma is on the rise. This serious breathing problem already afflicts 300 million people around the world and is expected to hinder the lung function of 400 million people in 20 years (Annual World Asthma Meeting, 2/17/04).
In the US, asthma continues to strike our kids. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (2/24/03), the rate at which kids developed asthma doubled between 1980 and 1995. By 2001, 6.3 million American kids had asthma. The cost of treating all these kids: more than $3 billion a year.
Few researchers are prepared to state definitively why asthma rates have continued to climb during the past two decades. However, many investigators point to factors that seem inextricably linked to this disorder, which is marked by wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing spells.
A report from the American Public Health Association and researchers at Harvard puts a lot of the blame for the high rate of asthma on global warming, smog and the atmosphere's growing burden of carbon dioxide. These are linked to industries and car exhaust that release pollution.
In this increasing burden of toxins released into the atmosphere, the rate of asthma among toddlers has grown to be particularly worrisome. Their rate of asthma has climbed more than twice the national average: by 160% between 1980 and 1994. According to these researchers (Inside the Greenhouse: The Impacts of CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and Climate Change on Public Health in the Inner City), global warming-which involves large increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide released by internal combustion engines and and industrial processes-has fomented the asthma epidemic in several ways:
• Extra heat in the atmosphere has stimulated rapid plant growth that results in more fungus, pollen and spores; this causes allergies that often lead to asthma. Weeds like ragweed, which release allergenic particles, have greatly increased during the past few years. • Extreme weather has caused more floods and damp houses, leading to more indoor air pollution from molds. • Diesel pollutants are now combining with pollen and mold to irritate lungs, causing troublesome allergic reactions.
Bus Fume Hazards
The report notes that in neighborhoods like Harlem, in New York City, 25% of all children suffer asthma. Rates are particularly high in children who live in apartments that are located along bus routes.
A finding that surprised the scientists is the fact that carbon dioxide released by city traffic and the burning of coal and natural gas persists over urban areas, causing a dome of CO2 pollution.
Research on air quality in New York City, Phoenix and Baltimore shows that these lingering CO2 domes contain from 400 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide to 600 ppm. Those levels are significantly above the global average of 379 ppm. Over the course of the earth's history, going back more than 400,000 years before the Industrial Age, research shows the atmosphere has averaged only 180 to 280 ppm.
Breathing difficulties that increase at night can point to asthma, according to Robert Fink, MD: "Asthma can be a nocturnal disease, at its worst between 10 pm and 4 am, when cortisol [a hormone that regulates many bodily functions] levels are lowest" (Pediatric Asthma: Diagnosis and Treatment Goals, Medscape).
Dr. Fink says that if problems with breathing are bad enough to interfere with sleep, a health practitioner should be consulted to analyze the difficulty.
Diet and Asthma
Although nobody can guarantee protection against asthma, research suggests that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce your risk. For instance, a study in Australia found that people who ate the most apples and pears reduced their chances of suffering from this breath-robbing disorder.
In research involving about 1,600 people, aged 20 to 44, they found that those who consumed the largest quantity of these fruits enjoyed the lowest rate of asthma (AJCN 2003; 78:414).
This is the latest study to confirm the fact that apples and other fruits help to keep lungs healthy. " There is extensive evidence from studies over the last 10 to 15 years that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is beneficial to lung health," observes Carol Trenga, PhD, a research scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle. "The most compelling evidence is linked to fruits high in vitamin C, which are associated with improved lung function in the general population of adults and children."
Produce for Smokers
Quitting smoking represents one of the best ways to reduce lung disease. But even if you smoke, research on smokers has found that those who ate a moderate amount of fruits and vegetables have fewer lung problems (American Thoracic Society 97th International Conference 5/2001).
And you don't have to change your diet very much to make a difference: In that research, merely eating one and half pieces of fruit a day or eating about a tablespoon of vegetables daily significantly dropped smokers' chances of serious lung disease.
Fruits and Veggies to the Rescue
In a study at the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom, scientists looking at the diets of more than 2,500 people found that eating five or more apples or three tomatoes a week increased lung function. Eating apples and tomatoes also reduced the risk of wheezing.
" The likelihood is that any effect is due to the concerted action of all the nutrients in apples and tomatoes, especially the antioxidants that are particularly rich in the peel of apples and contribute to the coloring of tomatoes," says researcher Sarah Lewis, PhD.
" Antioxidants may work by protecting the airways against the insult of tobacco smoke and other atmospheric pollutants," she adds. Dr. Trenga recommends that everyone eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. She also notes, "[I]t is reasonable to suggest modest supplementation with for example, vitamin C (250-500 mg twice/day) and vitamin E (up to 400 IU per day), in at-risk populations as a complementary therapy after considering the specific needs of the individual...These levels are very safe and have other health benefits (such as vitamin E and heart disease) in addition to potentially improving lung health."
Since asthma is linked to allergies, herbs that help to quell respiratory allergies can possibly lower your risk of asthma. A blend of standardized herbal extracts that contains Phyllanthus emblica (Indian gooseberry or amla), Terminalia chebula (Harda or Haritaki), Terminalia bellerica (bedda nut tree), Albizia lebbeck (Indian walnut), Zingiber officinale (ginger root), Piper longum (Indian long pepper), and Piper nigrum (black pepper) has been found to improve breathing and reduce the effect of allergies (FASEB J 2004; Vol II:A912, Abs. 600.8). Other studies have shown that these herbs can relieve nasal congestion, ease sneezing and clear bothersome mucus (J Am Coll Nutr 22(5): Abs 46, 2003).
Avoiding antibiotics may also lower the risk of asthma. " Over the past four decades there has been an explosive increase in allergy and asthma in westernized countries, says Mairi Noverr, PhD, a researcher who has looked at the lin between antibiotic use with asthma and allergies. " We propose that the link between antibiotic use and dysregulated Pulmonary immunity is through antibiotic-induced long term alterations in the bacterial and fungal GI microflora."
In other words, Dr. Noverr's research shows that beneficial bacteria in people's intestines, which take part in strengthening immunity and regulating the immune response to pollen, may have been harmed by the overprescription of antibiotics by physicians. Dr. Noverr and his fellow researchers gave lab animals antibiotics before exposing them to candida albicans (a yeast infection). They then exposed the animals to mold spores. The result: a greater sensitivity to inhaling the spores and breathing problems similar to what people experience during hay fever season (104th General Meeting American Society of Microbiology).
" The studies presented here are the first direct demonstration that antibiotic therapy can promote the development of an allergic airway response," says Dr. Noverr. On a global scale, the outlook for asthma is worrisome. As other countries continue their industrial growth, the burden on the earth's atmosphere will grow. Meanwhile, few serious measures are being taken to reduce global warming, and the national diet frequently neglects lung-friendly vegetables and fruits. But within that uncertain scenario, you can boost your chances of healthy lungs: Eat more apples. Stay away from smoky buses. Hope for clear skies.
Clearing the Air
June 13, 2005 10:34 AM
Clearing the Air by Robert Gluck Energy Times, August 1, 1999
One crisp winter morning in Vermont, Alan hoisted his skis over his shoulder and tracked through the dazzling snowpack to the lift about a quarter-mile away. He had trekked this gently uphill route many times and valued it as an invigorating warmup for a day on the ski trails. The path seemed to grow steeper, however, and the winter sun more blazing as Alan struggled for breath, sweat dampening his woolen cap. Weak and wheezing, he paused for what seemed like an eternity and finally turned back, plodding arduously through the ice.
Fit and athletic, the 42-year-old Alan heard the alarming news from his health care practitioner: asthma. The therapy: inhaled steroids.
The incidence of asthma-a chronic condition characterized by narrowing of the bronchial tubes, swelling of the bronchial tube lining and mucus secretion that can block the airway, making breathing difficult-has ballooned to alarming rates.
In the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of people reported to suffer from asthma increased from 10.4 million in 1990 to 15 million in 1995. In 1998, the epidemic cost about $11.3 billion.
Worldwide, experts estimate that the prevalence of asthma increased approximately 50% over the last 10 to 15 years. Nations with the highest rates are the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia; lowest are Indonesia, Albania, Romania and Georgia.
Deaths from asthma have doubled in the last decade and, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, asthma is the seventh most common chronic health condition in the United States. Children constitute the most disturbingly burgeoning segment of the asthma explosion, its sufferers numbering five to six million. The rate of asthma among children five to 14 years old increased 74% between 1980 and 1994; the rate for preschool kids skyrocketed 160%. Asthma is the number one chronic childhood illness and the third leading cause of hospitalization for children under age 15. More than 5000 Americans die from asthma annually; the fatality rate among children five to 14 years old more than doubled from 1979 to 1995, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation.
Waging War on the Wheeze
Asthma is indeed chronic, but it can be prevented and controlled and its effects reversed. Mainstream MDs command an arsenal of pharmaceuticals, some of which are essential for severe or urgent conditions. Consult your health care practitioner about any breathing difficulties.
Because of its complexity, however, asthma requires a balanced therapeutic approach: careful attention to diet, exercise and stress reduction while taking supplemental nutrients and botanicals can help ease asthma's discomforts. Antioxidant nutrients like vitamins C and E, fruits and vegetables rich in phytochemicals plus herbs like echinacea and garlic, all possess the potential for helping the body fight asthma.
Induced by an array of inherent physiological vulnerabilities, some of which may not manifest until adulthood, as well as environmental factors, asthma benefits from extra sleuthing into its causes and planning for relief.
Triggers and Therapies
Asthma is derived from the Greek word meaning panting or breathing hard, which pretty much sums up the malady: Wheezing and shortness of breath typify the attack.
In bronchial asthma, the commonest variety, the passages that carry air from the throat to the lungs narrow as a result of muscle contraction, local inflammation or production of excess mucus. Breathing becomes difficult and wheezy as air is expelled.
"Asthma symptoms are triggered by various factors such as allergens, irritants, infections, pollutants, medications, and emotions," says Anthony Rooklin, author of Living with Asthma: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Controlling Asthma While Enjoying Your Life (Penguin). "Triggers are substances or situations that would be quite harmless to people with ordinary airways, but that bring on asthma symptoms in susceptible individuals."
According to Ellen W. Cutler, nutritionist, enzyme therapist, chiropractor and author of Winning the War Against Asthma & Allergies: A Drug-Free Cure For Asthma and Allergy Sufferers" (Delmar), asthma is an allergic disease that is always triggered by allergens. "These allergens include not only foods, pollens and environmental factors such as perfume, animal dander and chemicals but also bacteria, climactic conditions and emotions," says Cutler.
"When these allergies are active from birth, asthma can be diagnosed early in life, even in infancy," she adds.
Cutler believes every individual with asthma should be able to lead a normal, drug-free life.
"Most asthmatics have been told that asthma is a chronic problem they will have to contend with for the rest of their lives. Asthma can be cured, not miraculously and instantaneously, but inevitably and permanently, once the allergies that cause it have been eliminated," she adds.
Dilating on Nutrients
Although it is vitally important for folks with asthma to develop a treatment plan with a trusted health care provider, that plan, according to experts, may lend itself to a rich variety of complementary options, especially nutrients, phytochemicals, minerals and enzymes.
According to Ruth Winter, author of A Consumer's Guide to Medicines in Food: Nutraceuticals That Help Prevent and Treat Physical and Emotional Illnesses (Crown), researchers in Nottingham, England, linked magnesium and lung function.
"Magnesium is involved in a wide range of biological activities, including some that may protect against the development of asthma and chronic airflow obstruction," Winter says. "Dr. John Britton and his colleagues at Nottingham University measured the magnesium in the diets of 2,633 adults aged 18 to 70 and they found that low magnesium was associated with reduced lung function and wheezing" (The Lancet 344, 1994: 357-62).
Magnesium actually boasts a long history as a bronchial relaxant, first demonstrated in 1912 on cows. Its potential was eclipsed, however, by pharmaceutical antihistamines and bronchodilators until its recent rediscovery.
Defending the Lungs
Antioxidants, with their ability to bolster the lungs' defense mechanisms by battling oxidizing free radicals that constrict bronchial tissue, wield tremendous force in the anti-asthma offensive. Michael T. Murray, ND, and Joseph E. Pizzorno, ND, in their Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), connect the steady decrease in dietary intake of antioxidants to the burgeoning incidence of asthma.
Among the top asthma-busting antioxidants:
Vitamin C. Murray and Pizzorno note that C is the major antioxidant present in the lining of the airway and cite generous evidence that when vitamin C is low, asthma incidence is high (Annals Allergy 73, 1994: 89-96). Vitamin C, taken over time, effectively suppresses histamine secretion by white blood cells.
Flavonoids. Also credited with reducing histamine production, flavonoids, notably quercetin and the extracts from grape seed, pine bark and ginkgo biloba, are key asthma-fighting antioxidants (J Allergy Clin Immunol 73, 1984; 769-74).
Carotenes. They limit production of allergy-related compounds (called leukotrienes) and bolster the lining of the respiratory tract (Biochem Biophys Acta 575, 1979: 439-45).
Vitamin E and selenium. Both reduce secretion of leukotrienes (Clinical Exp Allergy 26, 1996: 838-47).
Vitamin B12. Murray and Pizzorno cite the work of Jonathan Wright, MD, whose clinical trials with supplemental vitamin B12 proved strongly effective, especially for children with asthma.
A Bundle of Botanicals
Herbal remedies for asthma date back more than 5000 years to the Chinese emperor Shen-nung. The ancient Egyptians treated respiratory ailments with herbs as well; the Greeks favored mint, garlic, cloves and myrrh for Pulmonary problems.
Today, the power of plants has been validated by clinical research and standardized for predictability. (Always consult a health care practitioner when seeking complementary therapies, and read the package labels carefully for dosages and cautions.)
In their book, Asthma: An Alternative Approach (Keats), Ron Roberts and Judy Sammut provide a concise guide to asthma-easing botanicals: Garlic: acts as antiviral, antibacterial and antihistamine; enhances immune response; contains the antioxidant selenium. Garlic also is an expectorant.
Echinacea: a traditional treatment for immune disorders and infections of the upper respiratory tract, known to shorten the duration of colds, coughs and flus.
Ginkgo biloba: inhibits the chemical responses that induce asthma discomfort (Br J Clin Pharmacol 29, 1990: 85-91).
Ginseng: stimulates immunity and the production of steroid-like hormones; helps chronic coughs.
Licorice: an expectorant, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic that also inhibits leukotriene production (Acta Med Okayama 37, 1983: 385-91).
Tylophora asthmatica: an Ayurvedic treatment that many respected experts believe can act both as an antihistamine and antispasmodic (Planta Med 57, 1991: 409-13).
Botanical Arsenal - Plants can help our bodies fight off cancer's deadly ...
June 13, 2005 10:31 AM
Botanical Arsenal by Fred Thomas Energy Times, May 3, 1999
The complexities surrounding the various types of cancer stem from the variety of ways in which these diseases can wreak their havoc. Luckily, the equally complex world of plants contains novel compounds that can help our bodies fight off cancer's deadly progress.
Research into these botanical compounds is mushrooming. An example: The mighty maitake, a fungus with flair, alternately known as the king (it can grow as large as a basketball, worth its weight in silver to the ancient Japanese); the prince; the Hen of the Woods (it sticks out of from trees when it grows in the wild); and the dancing mushroom to those who leaped for joy when they found one growing in its native northeastern Japan.
Researchers today dub it with a new moniker: Herbal Heavyweight.
Mushroom with Potential
The maitake, with such other medicinal mushrooms as shiitake and reishi, historically has been eaten to promote general well-being and vitality. In the modern lab, however, scientists focus on the potent immune enhancing powers of maitake, which spotlight its cancer fighting potential.
Twenty years ago, maitake, Grifola frondosa, was an obscure, largely unavailable mushroom. A series of significant Japanese studies then catapulted it into prominence-and popularity.
Hiroaki Nanba, PhD, of the department of immunology at Kobe Women's College of Pharmacy on Kobe, Japan, and a leading international researcher on maitake, conducted the preliminary tests on the mushroom, demonstrating that it stimulates immune function and inhibits tumor growth.
In 1986, Dr. Nanba fed powdered maitake to mice injected with tumor cells; 86.3% displayed inhibited tumor growth.
Dr. Nanba and his colleagues went on to run additional mouse tests, finally reporting that this potent mushroom "directly activates various effector cells (macrophages, natural killer cells, killer T-cells, etc.) to attack tumor cells."
From then, maitake mushrooms were headed to fame as cancer ninjas.
Stoking The Immune Engine
Like other mushrooms, maitake is rich in complex polysaccharides, immunomodulators that successive tests after Dr. Nanba's have shown to be effective in cancer and AIDS treatment.
The polysaccharides in maitake have a unique structure, rendering them some of the most powerful to be studied (Chem Pharm Bull 1987:35:1162-8).
What makes maitake a particularly hot property is beta-D-glucan, its primary polysaccharide. Studies show that the body absorbs it readily, at which point it effectively stimulates interleukin-1, natural killer cells and macrophages, anti-tumor warriors that battle solid cancers (Chemotherapy 1990;38:790-6; also International Conference on AIDS, Amsterdam, 1992).
Effective And Safe
In addition to lab tests, trials on people have shown that maitake may offer powerful therapy against liver and stomach cancer (studies in China), breast and colon cancer (US research) and Kaposi's Sarcoma, the virulent cancer attacking AIDS sufferers.
Importantly, studies show that no side effects or interactions accompany maitake's efficacy.
Maitake fortunately has won the interest and enthusiasm of the scientific community. Currently, researchers at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, headed by Denis Miller, MD, are completing an exhaustive test of the anticancer and immunostimulatory actions of maitake on folks with advanced colorectal cancer. These investigators hypothesize that the polysaccharide beta-glucans derived from the fruitbody of maitake fight tumors and boost immune function. "Though it cannot be said that maitake ...[is] the cancer cure," said Dr. Nanba in his closing remarks at the Adjuvant Nutrition in Cancer Treatment Symposium in Tampa, Florida, in October 1995, "one can safely say that they do maintain the quality of life of patients and improve the immune system, resulting in the possible remission of cancer cells with no side effects."
More Bodily Benefits
Maitake maven Dr. Nanba also has tested-with strongly positive results-the effect of maitake on blood glucose, insulin and triglycerides in mice, whose levels of all three substances declined when they were fed the mushroom (H. Nanba working paper, Anti-Diabetic Activity by Maitake Mushroom, 1994).
With colleagues, Dr. Nanba showed that maitake lowered blood pressure in hypertensive rats (Chem. Phann. Bu//36:1000-1006,1988). Other studies suggest it may accelerate weight loss.
This admirable adaptogen (meaning it helps the body adapt to stress and normalize its functions) is water soluble and may be eaten in food or taken as a supplement. Vitamin C is believed to intensify maitake's beta-glucans and enhance their absorption.
It's not just what you eat that may help protect against cancer, but what you drink as well. Research from China and Japan, where tea is the everyday drink and rates of several cancers like breast and prostate are lower, may persuade you to turn over a new leaf in your own beverage choice. One of the first studies to spark interest in tea came from Shanghai (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, June 1, 1994), where people who drank two to three cups a day were found to have about a 60% reduction in the risk of cancer of the esophagus. The reason: tea leaves contain compounds called polyphenols, potent antioxidants.
In fact, in tests at the University of Kansas, three of these, known as catechins, far outshone the common antioxidant vitamins C and E. Clinical trials are just starting, but early results are encouraging. A team of Chinese scientists reported that in a third of people with precancerous mouth sores who drank three cups of a mixture of green and black tea the lesions shrank significantly.
Researchers at the Saitama Cancer Center in Japan found that green tea seems to improve the prognosis of breast cancer. They followed a group of women with early-stage tumors for seven years. Those who drank more than five cups of green tea a day were only half as likely to suffer a recurrence as patients who consumed fewer than four cups a day.
And at the University of Indiana, toxicologist James Klaunig found that the lungs of cigarette smokers who drank the equivalent of six cups of tea a day suffered 40 to 50 percent less damage from the toxins in smoke, potentially lowering their risk of lung cancer and other Pulmonary problems. Simultaneously, research from Purdue University suggests tea's cancer-discouraging powers go beyond being an antioxidant. Scientists Dorothy and D. James Morre showed that a tea catechin dubbed EGCG inhibits a growth-promoting enzyme on the surface of many cancer cells-happily without affecting normal cells. And researchers at the Ohio State University College of Medicine found that EGCG counteracted another enzyme, urokinase, that helps cancer cells spread. To top it off, Mayo Clinic scientists recently showed that EGCG prompted prostate cancer cells to commit suicide (Cancer Letters, Aug. 14, 1998).
So far, most tea research has focused on green tea, and investigators agree it's more potent than the black tea most Americans favor. But because both kinds come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis (it's the processing that makes the difference as black tea is fermented, green tea isn't) both contain cancer-fighting polyphenols, just in different quantities. As long as the tea you drink (even decaffeinated) is fresh brewed, it's likely to provide some benefit; powdered and prepared teas probably don't. And adding milk may dilute the effect.
Astragalus Against Tumors
Astragalus, an herb commonly used in Asia to boost stamina, has impressed western doctors for its potential for helping people cope with chemotherapy. As John Diamon, MD, W. Lee Cowden, MD and Burton Goldberg point out in the Definitive Guide to Cancer (Future Medicine), "Astragalus appears to protect the liver against the harmful toxic effects of chemotherapy and may be effective in treating terminally ill liver cancer patients." (They cite a study in the Jrnl of Ethnopharmacology 1990, 30:145-149.) In addition, they point out, research in Japan supports using a ginseng-astragalus combination to improve the function of natural killer (NK) cells which can boost immunity (Japanese Jrnl of Allergy, 37:2, 1998, 107-114).
Other studies confirm astragalus' potential in fighting off cancer. Research at the General Hospital of PLA, Beijing, showed that flavonoids (pigments) in astragalus could help protect cell membranes from oxidative damage caused by ultraviolet exposure (Chung Kuo Chung Yao Tsa Chih, 21(12):746-8; 1996 Dec).
A study of laboratory animals at Cunma University in Maebashi, Japan, found that Astragalus could help preserve immune function against the harmful side effects of chemotherapy (Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih, 15(2):101-3, 1995 Feb).
Like a flame attracting moths, garlic bulbs have irresistibly drawn the attention of medical researchers. A study at Aarhus University, Denmark, found that skin cells in laboratory dishes treated with garlic supplements lived longer, healthier lives than untreated cells (Jrnl Ethnopharm, 1994. 43:125-133).
Meanwhile, a long list of research demonstrates that garlic's phytochemicals may fight tumors and reduce the carcinogenicity of the pollutants and chemicals that assault us daily. A study in China reported in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine showed that garlic helped slow tumors in lab animals (1983, 11:69-73). Another study in the Journal of Nutrition found that compounds in garlic could "suppress the growth of human colon tumor cells" (126, 1355-1361).
Added to those benefits, Robert A. Nagourney, MD, reports in the Journal of Medicinal Food (1:1, 1998, 13-28), garlic may "modify the carcinogenicity of foodstuffs." In other words, studies show that garlic can make chemicals in foods like pork less likely to cause your cells to become cancerous. (Ind J Physiol Pharmacol, 39:347-353).
DNA, the stuff that genes are made of, face constant threats from free radicals, caustic molecules that can alter cellular structure and possibly cause genetic mutations that lead to cancer. But research into what are called oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC), flavonoids (pigments) derived from fruits vegetables, grape seed extract and the bark of maritime pine trees shows that OPC may be able to shield DNA from injury.
In particular, studies of a grape seed extract called Activin have demonstrated this substance can help liver cell DNA escape a destructive process called peroxidation (FASEB, 11:3, 2/28/97).
In these experiments, Activin demonstrated the ability to inhibit the growth of tumor cells as well as slow the replication enzymes of HIV viruses. This protective ability proved to be more potent than that of vitamin C, beta carotene and vitamin E.
What does the future promise to reveal? Scientists believe that many unexamined plants probably contain undiscovered phytochemicals that hold great potential for helping us fight the cancer epidemic.
Certainly, if the next few years produce as many results as the past decade, the next millennium will witness a long line of cancer-prevention discoveries. Before long, you should be able to take advantage of these potent substances.
As you gulp your garlic, tip your tea cup, mull your maitake, acquire Activin and await your astragalus, you may meditate on what may soon be added to our growing anti-cancer arsenal. Undoubtedly, scientists with a botanical bent will be uncovering more coveted anti-cancer secrets before too long.
Immunity - The Big Picture
June 10, 2005 09:51 PM
Immunity: The Big Picture by Brian Amherst Energy Times, August 3, 1999
Your body wants to be well. Outfitted with a battalion of defenses for strategic deployment, your immune system explodes with resistant force at the first sign of infective invasion.
Think of the time a tiny splinter embedded itself in your thumb. By bedtime, the spot rose and reddened; by morning, white blood cells had launched their campaign, building a hot, throbbing fortification. By day's end, the bit of wood was propelled to the surface and ejected by the immune system warriors. Once again, a foreign assailant was summarily ousted.
The Protective Force
"Supporting the immune system is critical to good health. Conversely, good health is critical to supporting the immune system." So write naturopathic doctors Michael T. Murray and Joseph E. Pizzorno in their Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima).
Maintaining the immune system requires a comprehensive program of wholesome diet, resilient attitude, fitness enhancing activity and nutrients keyed to the clear and specific needs of this energetic machine.
The all-star lineup for immune sustenance: a high-potency multiple vitamin/mineral formula, vitamins C and A, bioflavonoids, isoflavones, zinc and selenium, antioxidants like ActiVin (grape seed extract) and pycnogenol (French maritime pine bark), as well as the botanicals echinacea and astragalus.
But optimal partnering with your immune system also benefits from understanding its workings.
Lymph, a milky fluid consisting of water protein and immune cells, is the essence of the immune system. Powered by muscle movement (an important reason why exercise boosts immunity), the lymphatic system collects and transports lymph to the lymph nodes. These nodes contain certain immune cells and filter out invading antigens, as well as produce antibodies, before siphoning the lymph out into the bloodstream.
If you've ever had "swollen glands," that means your lymph nodes have been in overdrive.
Macrophages are the immune cells that filter lymph, consuming bacteria and cellular debris while protecting the lymph system from invasion and damage.
The White Blood Cell Album
In Monocytes collect cellular trash after infections and can trigger immune responses; eosinophils can eliminate foreign particles and, with basophils, are involved in immune response.
In Lymphocytes include varieties of T cells, which work with other white blood cells or attack and destroy foreign tissue, cancer cells or virus-infected cells; B cells that produce antibodies that bind to bacteria, viruses or tumors; and natural killer cells (NKCs) that destroy cancerous or virally-infected cells.
(Based on information in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine; The Road to Immunity: How to Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) by Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin; and the Johns Hopkins Family Health Book (Harper Resource).
Keep the System Sound
"But you must always be sure to maintain the mind-body-spirit link," he told Energy Times. "For the mind, it could be exercise, yoga or meditation. Evidence shows improved immune system responses from these therapies. And in any case, you never read in the headlines that somebody has been admitted to the emergency room overdosing on meditation.
"Intentionality also is an important part of the mind link: believing you are going to fare well. For your spirit, you must ask yourself such questions as, Do I feel connected to others?
"For the body, a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement. Much depends on your community: I live on Long Island, where there is a high incidence of breast cancer, so I would recommend green tea and isoflavones from soy products for women."
Dr. Benjamin stresses moderation in the use of immune-intensifying supplements, among which he cites mixed carotenoids, zinc and vitamin E.
The Soy Solution
In a study conducted by the University of Southern California at Norris and published in the March 4, 1998 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers reported that genistein, an active component of soy products, short-circuits the ability of tumor cells to elude destruction by the immune system due to an excess of defensive stress proteins.
Genistein seems to make cancer cells vulnerable to the immune response. Researchers at Wake Forest University told participants at the January 1999 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that dietary or supplemental soy fed to monkeys counteracted cell proliferation that is a cancer precursor.
That Championship C
Immune cells are known to accumulate and retain high levels of vitamin C. Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York now understand how that happens: Proteins called growth factors (which control growth and production of immune cells) also increase those cells' ability to take up vitamin C.
These researchers, reporting in the April 1998 issue of the journal Blood, explain that the additional glucose that the growth factors pump into immune cells (for enhanced energy), plus extra vitamin C, intensify immune response.
And folks with higher levels of vitamin C in their blood serum experience less cell damage from free radicals that leads to cancer, heart and Pulmonary disease and other chronic conditions.
Scientists at the University of Buffalo (addressing the June 13, 1997 meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research) deduced from studying population groups that high levels of vitamin C are associated with low oxidative stress and lower risk of cell damage.
From A to Zinc
In Colostrum, the pre-milk liquid produced by mammals during the first 24 to 48 hours after birth, took the spotlight recently as a supplement imbued with multiple immune factors and natural antibiotics that augment body's immune response. A 1992 study showed that bovine colostrum might be able to reduce and prevente infections in immune deficient folks, especially those with AIDS.
In University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers found for the first time (on laboratory animals) that vitamin D appreciably inhibits widespread prostate cancer by binding to cancer cells and triggering cell death or their transformation to benign cells.
In Vitamin E exerts formidable immune-enhancing influence on both antibody and cell-mediated immunity. One fundamental study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (245, 1981: 53-58) established conclusively that vitamin E deficiency results in significant impairment of immune function. Later studies demonstrated that it reduces prostate cancer by up to one-third.
In Coenzyme A, described as a metabolic enzyme, takes part in starting numerous body processes that provide energy for the immune system. If you ever run short of this enzyme, fat processing within your body would grind to a halt.
in Researchers looking at a substance with the tongue twisting name 3-acetyl-7-oxo-Dehydroepiandro-sterone, believe it aids immunity by quelling stress hormones.
in Mushrooms contain natural substances called polysaccharides, believed to enhance immunity. In particular, maitake mushroom, which conveys the immune booster beta-D-glucans, is reputed to help fight infections and drop blood pressure.
in Men and women taking selenium supplements for 10 years had 41% less total cancer than those taking a dummy, according to a January 1997 study by Cornell University and the University of Arizona. Other studies have shown it to reduce the risk for colon cancer by about 60%. n Zinc may provide immediate protection against the all too common cold. Scientists at the University of Florida were the first to apply genetic fingerprinting methods like those used in criminal and paternity investigations to understand how nutrients directly affect human immune cells.
The study, in the April 1998 Journal of Nutrition, demonstrates that zinc signals cells to make the protein metallothionein, which protects against infections, toxins and other stressors.
Phytochemicals a la Carte
n Isoflavones from soy, fight angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels form to supply nutrients to cancerous growths. n Sulforaphane in broccoli, kale and cabbage activates anticancer enzymes.
n Omega-3 fatty acids in cold water fish block the synthesis of prostaglandins, natural compounds in the body that promote tumor growth.
n Ginger contains antioxidant compounds, each more potent than vitamin E. Recent studies on mice show ginger can prevent skin tumors. n Rosemary contains carnosol which deactivates carcinogens and helps limit the effects of prostaglandins.
Sometimes the world can look like a dangerous place, especially when you're sick and tired much of the time. But in the search for immunity, menus of health help like this ensure that no matter what your immunity needs, a boost can be yours with the proper nutrient selection.
June 10, 2005 04:08 PM
Basic Detox by Harriet Epstein , February 4, 2002
Basic Detox By Harriet Epstein Trying to stay healthy and clean in a dirty world can prove a difficult task. The rise of modern industry and agriculture has meant the widespread accumulation of toxins in our environment that can cause health problems.
As Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin point out in their book The Road to Immunity (Pocket), "Fat soluble chemicals are readily absorbed by the body but are difficult to excrete. To be excreted, they must first be enzymatically converted into water-soluble substances. Some of them can't be converted at all."
Bock and Sabin point out that a 1990 survey by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that looked at people's tissues found that everyone the agency examined had styrene (a chemical used to make plastic) and xylene (a paint and gasoline solvent) stored in their bodyfat.
The toxins that you encounter every day are not only present in air and water, but also may be found in food and medicines. If we eat beef that's been exposed to pesticides, those chemicals may be shunted into our bodyfat. Pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables may end up in a similar place.
To cope with chemicals, the human body has evolved methods for detoxifying. When we breathe out we often release inhaled toxins. Other toxins are purged through urine, feces and sweat.
One of the chief organs responsible for cleansing the body is the liver. This organ utilizes a pair of chemical pathways for breaking down and eliminating toxins. In our hectic, industrialized world, this flow of toxins can overwhelm the liver's ability to detoxify. In addition, the dual processes the liver uses to eliminate noxious substances may become unbalanced, allowing toxins produced by one pathway to build up to dangerous proportions.
Once liver function falters, toxic havoc ensues. Toxins may remain in the body, often stored indefinitely in bodyfat. The body's detoxifying systems may be swamped with toxins.
In protecting the liver and enhancing its detox functions, many naturopathic practitioners recommend the herb milk thistle (silybum marianum). According to Steven Bratman, MD, and David Kroll, PhD, authors of the Natural Health Bible (Prima), milk thistle helps the liver cope with its toxic load. Consequently, milk thistle is frequently used in Europe for liver problems like jaundice.
Bratman and Kroll point out that milk thistle "is one of the few herbs that have no real equivalent in the world of conventional medicine." As Lise Alschuler, ND, medical director at the Bastyr Natural Health Clinic, told Natural Digest, "Milk thistle protects the liver against toxic damage (and) helps prevent damage to the rest of the body."
The compounds in milk thistle that help zap toxins, known as silymarin, protect the liver by binding with substances that would otherwise interact with the liver and slow its function. They also help the liver repair itself and regenerate new liver cells.
As an extra bonus, silymarin acts as an antioxidant, protecting liver cell membranes from oxidative damage.
Dandelion has a place as another traditional treatment for toning the liver and boosting the body's filtration system. The leaves are a cornucopia of antioxidants and nutrients including B vitamins, vitamins A, C and D, plus boron, silicon, potassium, magnesium and zinc. They help detoxify by acting as a mild diuretic: they cause the body to eliminate excess fluid.
But herbalists worldwide have found the compounds in dandelion root most useful for helping alleviate liver and gall bladder malfunction. (If you think you suffer these difficulties, consult your health practitioner.) Two unique and helpful natural substances found in dandelion root are chemicals called germacranolide and eudesmanolide. The root, according to the Natural Health Bible, has traditionally been used to speed up a sluggish or congested liver as well as detoxing the body by eliminating constipation. Research indicates dandelion root may stimulate bile flow (Arzneimittel -forschung 9, 1959: 376-378).
Juniper berries (Juniperus communis), may also be taken with dandelion as a diuretic. This botanical, often used to combat urinary tract problems, is also an anti-inflammatory (Phyto Res 1, 1997: 28-31).
Heavy metals rank as dangerous toxins unleashed by modern industry. As Michael Murray, ND, and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, explain in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), metals like lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, nickel and aluminum can "accumulate within the (body) where they can severely disrupt normal function."
Public health experts estimate at least one in five Americans has been a victim of heavy metal poisoning. Lead may be the most common villain. In your everyday life, you may be ingesting metals from your cookware, from pesticides, cigarette smoke, dental fillings, polluted fish, and chipping house paint.
Signs that you may suffer from toxicity linked to heavy metals: Unusual fatigue, Persistent headaches, Unexplained muscle pains, Anemia, Ringing in the ears or dizziness and Tremors.
Of course, if you think you suffer from heavy metal poisoning, you should see a knowledgeable health practitioner as soon as possible. Murray and Pizzorno recommend an array of precautions to protect yourself against heavy metals in the environment:
Take a daily multivitamin and mineral.
Take extra amounts of vitamin C and B-complex.
Take amino acids that contain sulfur (taurine, cysteine and methionine) and high sulfur foods like onions and garlic (or supplements). (Consult your pharmacist of health practitioner before taking individual amino acids.)
In addition, Leo Galland, MD, in his book The Four Pillars of Healing (Random House) offers these tips for keeping your digestive tract functioning at top capacity:
Take supplements of lactobacil-lus acidophilus and lactobacillus plantarum, friendly bacteria that in-habit the large intestine. These microorganisms can help break down toxins and eliminate them.
Use aspirin and ibuprofen as little as possible. They increase the permeability of the digestive system, allowing allergens and other problematic substances to enter the body.
Do not use antacids. The stomach's acidic environment is designed to kill ingested bacteria and parasites.
To fight digestive problems or heartburn, cut back on saturated fat; eat smaller meals. Chewing on calcium tablets after meals may help. Foods that can exacerbate heartburn include coffee, alcoholic beverages and very spicy foods.
Dr. Galland also recommends not eating for four hours before bed.
Environmental Free Radicals
Detoxing the body may also require taking antioxidant nutrients to fight off what are called free radicals.
Free radicals are caustic molecues thought to be involved in causing many chronic problems such as cancer and heart disease. Free radicals are created within the body and its cells every time a metabolic activity takes place. While the human body has developed its own mechanisms for defending itself against these byproducts of metabolism, exposure to pollution, radiation and other toxins may overburden the body's free radical burden. Scientists believe that taking extra antioxidant nutrients like vitamins C and E and carotenoids (natural substances found in many vegetarian foods) may help prevent damage by free radicals.
Environmental oxidizing agents include ionizing radiation (from industry, sun, cosmic rays, x-rays) ozone and nitrous oxide (from auto exhaust) heavy metals (mercury, cadmium, lead) and cigarette smoke, along with other chemical and compounds from food, water and air. Free radicals are believed to play a role in more than sixty different health conditions, including the aging process, cancer and arteriosclerosis. (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1993;90:7915-7922).
The good news? Reducing exposure to free radicals and increasing intake of antioxidant nutrients can shrink the risk of these health problems.
"Antioxidants can't get rid of heavy metals and solvents," says Dr. Glidden, "but they do cut down on the damage they do while they're there. As toxins wander through your body, they generate metabolic reactions, resulting in free radicals. And anti-oxidants mop them up." The liver is the last line of defense in handling toxins; supplements help it regenerate itself.
The body itself does produce enzymes like Superoxide dismutase (SOD) catalase, and glutathione peroxidase which can defend against and defuse many types of free radicals.
Supplements of these compounds are also available to augment the body's supply.
These building block nutrients include the minerals manganese, zinc, and copper for SOD and selenium for glutathione peroxidase. Many vitamins and minerals act as antioxidants. Dr. Crinnion recommends a multivitamin with "a lot of B, especially magnesium."
Since chlorinated pesticides like DDT "rob the body" of B1 and Vitamin A, he says, it's a good idea to supplement these as well.
In addition, acidophilus, a beneficial bacteria that grows in the digestive tract (and found in yogurt) may restore immunity hurt by pollutants. A study on women with recurrent vaginal candidiasis found that acidophilus cut their infections by 300% (Annals Int Med 1992; 116:353-357.)
Another immunity enhancer, colostrum, a natural immune enhancer that promotes cellular repair (Food Res Intl. 1995, 28(1):9-16) can also help the immune system battle pollution.
Vitamin C vs Pollution
A study of vitamin's C's antioxidant properties, conducted by University of Buffalo epidemiologists, and presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Epidemiologic Research, revealed that people with higher levels of vitamin C in their blood serum have lower levels of a marker of oxidative stress.
"It is well known that oxidative stress (cell damage caused by free radicals) plays a role in arteriosclerosis, cancer, Pulmonary disease and other chronic conditions," said Holger Schunemann, M.D. a research assistant professor of social and preventive medicine at the University of Buffalo and lead author on the study.
"In this population, vitamin C was negatively associated with oxidative stress, suggesting it may play a role in protecting against these diseases." Vitamin C is the "greatest antioxidant," says Dr. Crinnion. "It has even been shown to clear lead from the blood."
A powerful fat-soluble antioxidant, Vitamin E scavenges free radicals protecting cells from oxidative damage. Vitamin E, "reverses toxicity of various toxic chemicals," says Dr. Walter Crinnion, "it is also a stabilizer of membranes." A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition regarding antioxidant vitamin supplementation and lipid peroxidation in smokers even indicates that an antioxidant-supplemented drink can reduce lipid peroxidation and susceptibility of LDL to oxidation in smokers and may ameliorate the oxidative stress of cigarette smoke.
Dr. Glidden recommends E preferably in the form of mixed tocopherols )If you take blood thinners, check with your health practitioner.)
Unfortunately, completely avoiding toxins in today's world is probably impossible. Civilization and toxic chemicals accompany each other hand in rubber-glove-encased hand. Still, with proper attention to nutrition and supplements to keep our bodies detoxifying, we can probably minimize health difficulties linked to these undesirables.
Federal Court Overturns FDA Ban on Ephedra at Low Doses
June 09, 2005 08:41 AM
Federal Court Overturns FDA Ban on Ephedra at Low Doses
by Rakesh M. Amin and Mark Blumenthal
A Utah Federal District Court recently limited the scope of a year old Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Final Rule1 banning the sale of all ephedrine-alkaloid dietary supplements.2 The Court’s ruling has a limited affect on the ability of companies to sell ephedrine nationally, but is important regarding FDA procedure for creating rules and enforcement powers. Ephedrine alkaloids are found primarily in the controversial herb ephedra (Ephedra sincica Stapf., Ephedraceae).
The District Court determined that the FDA’s use of a risk-benefit analysis was against the intent of Congress in passing the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act,3 which presumes all foods are safe and requires the FDA to prove the existence of a significant or unreasonable risk. The court held that to require food producers to establish a benefit before selling their product places an improper burden on them and was inconsistent with Congress’s intent when it passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) to clearly place the burden of proof of safety of a dietary ingredient on the FDA.4
Secondly, the court determined the FDA had to show by a preponderance of the evidence “a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury.”5 Therefore, in order to ban all sales of a given product, the FDA must first prove that the dosage amount in the product presents an unreasonable risk.6 Prior to this ruling, the FDA was not required to consider dosage size before banning a substance.
This ruling has limited effects at the moment since the FDA may appeal this decision. Additionally, the ruling has no effect on the laws of several states (including California, Illinois and New York) which have banned all sales of ephedrine alkaloids in dietary supplements. The ruling also only applies to products containing 10 mg or less of ephedrine alkaloids per daily dosage. Any product exceeding that amount is still banned and will continue to be enforced under the FDA rule.7
The court, in its ruling, specifically precluded the FDA from taking any enforcement action against Nutraceutical Corporation, the company that filed the lawsuit, for its sale of products containing 10mg or less of ephedra and for the FDA to consider further rulemaking “consistent with this Order”.8 However, the court did not specifically instruct the FDA to refrain from taking enforcement action against other brands containing less than 10mg of ephedrine.9 As such, companies considering launching new products containing ephedrine alkaloids are advised to do so carefully.
Nutraceutical Corporation president Bruce Hough was cited in The New York Times as saying that the company’s reason for filing the suit was not based on ephedra and that his company had no plans to begin marketing ephedra supplements in the near future.10 Hough was quoted as saying, “We filed it [the lawsuit] because the FDA established rules that could cause problems to the rest of our business.” Hough was referring to the legal basis upon which the FDA banned the sale ephedra. He told the American Botanical Council that the FDA was applying a drug standard of risk vs. benefit to herbs and dietary supplements – technically foods under the law. [Hough B. Personal communication to M. Blumenthal, Apr. 27, 2005.] His company filed the lawsuit in an attempt to deter FDA’s new procedure for creating what he considered arbitrary rules which contradict the plain meaning of existing federal law (DSHEA).
The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) issued a statement on April 26 clarifying its policy on the sale of ephedra in dietary supplements.11 AHPA has notified all its members that at this time it is the organization’s policy that none of its members should be selling low doses (10 mg or less) of ephedra in dietary supplements until the FDA has clarified its position on the Court decision. At this time it is not clear whether FDA plans on appealing the decision or will implement the new policy set by the Court.
The court decision does not affect the sale of the herb ephedra in traditional formulations intended for use that is consistent with traditional uses, e.g., Pulmonary complaints, and are dispensed by licensed healthcare practitioners.
As might be expected, court’s decision has stimulated a new round of media and congressional criticism of the relative safety of herbs and dietary supplements as well as DSHEA. For example, a highly critical article by Chris Mooney was posted on the website of the American Prospect on April 25.12 The Prospect is relatively influential in Democratic and progressive political circles in Washington. The article uses language such as the court decision is a “scandal” and a “disturbing ruling”, refers to DSHEA as “a terrible law” and a “peculiar and misguided law” and the “wrongheaded standards encoded in the DSHEA”, and repeats the often-cited media mantra about “unregulated herbal supplements” and that the “FDA has been hamstrung and effectively rendered impotent.”
More information regarding the sale of ephedrine products or FDA regulations in general is available from the law offices of Rakesh M. Amin at (312) 327-3382 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 21 C.F.R. Pt. 119, Final Rule Declaring Dietary Supplements Containing Ephedrine Alkaloids Adulterated Because They Present an Unreasonable Risk (Published February 11, 2004) (Effective April 12, 2004) available at /dockets/98fr/1995n-0304-nfr0001.pdf
2 Nutraceutical Corporation and Solaray, Inc. v. Lester Crawford, D.V.M., Acting Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, et al., Case No. 2:04CV409TC, U.S. District Court for the Central District of Utah; available at gov/reports/204cv409-28.pdf
May 13, 2005 08:38 AM
Sulforaphane Stimulates the Body's Cancer-Fighting EnzymesSecret Weapon Against Cancer Found in Broccoli Sprouts
by Richard Conant, L.Ac, C.N.
The health benefits of vegetables were known historically, long before researchers began seeing a connection between vegetable consumption and cancer prevention. Over the last twenty years, evidence concerning this connection has steadily accumulated. The latest and most promising findings reveal that specific vegetable constituents—"phytochemicals" to use current scientific parlance— enhance the body's defenses against cancer.
This article will focus on one phytochemical in particular, a sulfur-containing compound called "sulforaphane." Found in Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, sulforaphane may prove to be one of our most powerful cancer prevention allies. Recent studies have shown that sulforaphane stimulates, or "induces," "Phase two enzymes." These enzymes are an integral part of the body's elaborate detoxification system that renders carcinogens inactive. This detoxification system turns carcinogens and other toxic substances into harmless molecules that are excreted from the body.
We need not fear carcinogens—the body is equipped to deal with them.
These findings, coupled with an appreciation of the body's ability to defend itself against carcinogens, have the potential to dramatically change the way we look at cancer and substances in the environment that "cause" cancer. We need to minimize unnecessary exposure to carcinogens, and the staggering quantity of hazardous chemicals in the environment remains an urgent health concern, for cancer and many other health problems. But, knowing the body is equipped with the means to defend itself against toxins, we do not need to fear carcinogens as perhaps we have in the past.
The natural world is full of carcinogens.
What's more, even if you eat 100 percent organic food and live in a environment free of toxic man-made chemicals, you are still being exposed to carcinogens every day of your life. Food is the primary route of this exposure. Plants, for their own defense, produce over 99% of all the pesticides in agricultural products.1 Almost all foods—in their natural state—contain tiny amounts of naturally-occurring, potentially carcinogenic chemicals.
The point is not to trivialize the concern over environmental toxins. The point is that the natural world is full of toxins that are not man-made. These substances have been around since before we appeared, which is why we have evolved with a highly efficient system for neutralizing them before they can damage our cells and initiate the complex process that produces cancer.
Broccoli sprouts are a concentrated source of cancer-fighting sulforaphane.
We cannot avoid carcinogens. What we can do is support our internal detoxification system. Sulforaphane is a powerful tool in this effort. We can start by following the often-repeated advice to eat a variety of vegetables every day, and include broccoli in our menu.
There is an even richer source of sulforaphane than broccoli itself. In September 1997, a group of scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine made a breakthrough discovery— broccoli sprouts contain ten to one hundred times more sulforaphane than mature broccoli.2 Vegetable sprouts are generally regarded as exceptionally healthy foods. Broccoli sprouts now look like a shining star, especially when it comes to cancer prevention.
For those lacking the time or inclination to keep a fresh supply of broccoli sprouts on hand, broccoli spouts have been processed into an extract that is even more concentrated in sulforaphane. More on this later.
What have researchers learned about broccoli consumption and cancer rates?
More than 200 epidemiological studies—studies which track groups of people over time to uncover realtionships between variables such as diet and the incidence of disease—have invesitgated the connections between vegetable consumption and various forms of cancer.1 It should be understood that findings from epidemiological research are generally not regarded as conclusive; these studies are not controlled, and often use data gleaned from questionnaires, which are an imprecise method of gathering information. (In the case of diet questionnaires, for example, the study subjects may or may not record their food intakes with 100 percent accuracy.)
Epidemiological studies look for trends. To be credible, these trends need to show up consistently, in different population groups. Findings from the vegetable intake/cancer studies easily meet these criteria; the number of studies is large and the trend is consistent—vegetable consumption is strongly associated with a lower risk of developing cancer.
What about broccoli in particular? A paper published in the September 1996 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention analyzes epidemiological data gathered from 94 studies concerning the cancer preventive effect of brassica vegetables.3 (The Brassica genus, part of the Cruciferae family, includes broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower and brussels sprouts.) The data suggest that broccoli consumption reduces the risk of some of the most feared forms of cancer, including stomach and lung cancer.
Now, to put these data into a balanced perspective, the researchers point out that in most of the studies reviewed, brassica vegetable consumption was reported as part of the total vegetable intake. "In hardly any epidemiological studies was the effect of brassica vegetables separated from the effect of total vegetables or other vegetables by adjusting for consumption of these variables. Therefore, it is difficult to sort out whether the observed observation was attributable to brassica vegetables, to vegetables as a whole, or to other vegetables," they noted.
This uncertainty is a good example of why epidemiological studies alone do not give us open and shut conclusions. But the paper also adds that the apparent anti-cancer effect of brassica vegetables agrees with "the results of experimental studies in which brassica vegetables reduced mammary tumor incidence, hepatic tumor size, numbers of tumors per liver, tumor frequency, and the number of Pulmonary metastases when given to rodents before or after a carcinogen insult."3
When you put together a plausible trend from epidemiological research with results of experimental studies that agree with the trend, and then add additional research that reveals the underlying mechanism for these observations, a clear picture begins to take shape. And, indeed, we now have a fairly good idea as to just how brassica vegetables, especially broccoli, help prevent cancer.
How sulforaphane helps prevent cancer from developing.
To see how sulforaphane works, let's look at a brief overview of the body's detoxification system.
The detoxification of carcinogens and other toxic substances takes place in the liver, and involves two distinct enzyme-driven processes or "phases". Phase one enzymes neutralize toxins by various routes. Some of these convert toxins into substances that are immediately eliminated. However, other Phase one steps convert toxins into intermediate products which are carcinogenic themselves, and require further treatment before they can be excreted. Phase two enzymes do this vital job. Phase two enzymes deactivate these carcinogenic metabolites of Phase one, and the final breakdown product is then eliminated once and for all. (For an excellent review of this subject, see Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, by Drs. Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno.4)
Phase two is critical. If Phase one is in good working order, but Phase two is not, the potential threat from carcinogens increases. It is vitally important to keep Phase two operating well. This is where sulforaphane plays its cancer preventive role. Sulforaphane is a powerful inducer of Phase two enzymes.5,6
Broccoli sprouts-the ideal source of sulforaphane
Sulforaphane is one among a group of phytochemicals called "isothiocyanates." (These occur in brassica vegetables largely as "glucosinolates," which are precursors for isothiocyanates2,12 When the plant is crushed, glucosinolates are converted to isothiocyanates.) Sulforaphane induces Phase two enzymes exclusively, leaving Phase one enzymes alone. This means it helps reduce the load of carcinogenic Phase one intermediates without adding to the load by stimulating Phase one.8,9
As reported by the Johns Hopkins University research group, broccoli sprouts are an "exceptionally" rich source of sulforaphane (in the form of "glucoraphanin, sulforaphane's glucosinolate precursor). And broccoli sprouts have another advantage over mature broccoli. They contain almost no indole glucosinolates, phytochemicals present in mature broccoli that "can enhance tumorogenesis."2
Broccoli sprouts as an extract, now available as a dietary supplement, takes the concentration of sulforaphane to the next level. This recently developed nutraceutical product contains a potent 20 to 1 extract of three-day old fresh broccoli sprouts.
One 125 mg capsule supplies the same amount of sulforaphane as 125 grams, or about 5 ounces, of mature broccoli. Taking just one capsule a day is like eating two pounds of broccoli per week, which equals the intake of cruciferous vegetables believed necessary to obtain their health benefits.
1. Steinmetz, K.A. Potter, J.D. Vegetables, fruit, and cancer prevention: A review. J Am Diet Assoc. 1996;96:1027-1039.
2. Fahey, J.W., Zhang, Y., Talalay, P. Broccoli sprouts: An exceptionally rich source of inducers of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogens. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 1997; 94:10367-10372.
3. Verhoeven, D.T.H., et. al. Epidemiological studies on brassica vegetables and cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 1996;5:733-48.
4. Murray, M. Pizzorno, J. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing;1998:110-120.
5. Zhang, Y. Talalay, P, Cho, C., Posner, G.H. A major inducer of anticarcinogenic protective enzymes from broccoli: Isolation and elucidation of structure. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 1992;89:2399-2403.
6. Gerhäuser, C. et. al. Cancer chemopreventive potential of sulforamate, a novel analogue of sulforaphane that induces phase 2 drug-metabolizing enzymes. Cancer Research 1997;57:272-78.
7. McDanell, R., McLean, A.E.M., Hanley, A.B., Heaney, R.K., Fenwick, G.R. Chemical and biological properties of indole glucosinolates (glucobrassicins): A review. Fd. Chem. Toxic. 1988;26(1):59-70.
8. Talalay, P. Mechanisms of induction of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogenesis. in Advances in Enzyme Regulation, Vol. 28, Weber, G., Ed., 1989: Pergamon Press.
9. Prochaska, H.J. Santamaria, A.B., Talalay, P. Rapid detection of enzymes that protect against carcinogens. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 1992;89:2394-98.
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3. Acetylcholine (0.1 micromol/L)-induced NO-dependent relaxation was reduced from a control value of -76 +/- 1% to -46 +/- 4% during hypoxia and was further reduced to -35 +/- 2 % after reoxygenation.
5. Pretreatment with NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester abolished the early transient contraction, moderately attenuated the sustained contraction and had no effect on the transient relaxation. Mechanical endothelial disruption inhibited all hypoxia-induced vascular changes.
7. Garlic also significantly inhibited endothelin-l-induced contractions in a dose-dependent manner.
8. These findings show that garlic extract modulates the production and function of both endothelium-derived relaxing and constricting factors and this may contribute to its protective effect against hypoxic Pulmonary vasoconstriction.