Search Term: " Pycnogenol "
What is the History and Health Benefits of Pycnogenol?
March 24, 2012 07:51 AM
What Are The Health Benefits Of Pycnogenol?
Pycnogenol is a name of a product which is prepared from a tree French Pine also known as French Maritime Pine. Pycnogenol is a trademark name sold as a nutritional supplement. This supplement is mainly used for asthma and a condition known as chronic venus insufficiency. It is a water extract of the bark of the French Pine found in the coastal south west of France. Pycnogenol contains unique flavonoid compounds in high concentration. These compounds at such high levels of concentration have proven to be useful and beneficial on inflammation, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, erectile dysfunction, aging and healing of wounds.
History and Discovery of Pycnogenol:
Pycnogenol is a very powerful antioxidant made from a combination of natural antioxidants and phytonutrients. Since it is biologically made it is technically a bioflavonoid. A French scientist by the name Professor Masquelier gave the name Pycnogenol which is a scientific name for the oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) as well as other bioflavonoids. Pycnogenol is an extract from the French Maritime Pine and grape seed extract. Professor Masquelier along with a Swiss broker Horphag made attempts to commercialize Pycnogenol. Horphag without the consent of Masquelier registered the name Pycnogenol as a patent in the year 1990 which came under the ownership of Horphag in the United States. This caused severe legal disputes in the US. Horphag made huge profits from the intellectual property of Masquelier. This wonderful antioxidant was discovered by Jacques Cartier in 1953. In his books Cartier mentioned about the benefits of pine and how it cured and healed chronic diseases. Professor Masquelier discovered Cartier's book and recognized the benefits of these medicines which were rich in bioflavonoids.
Health Benefits of Pycnogenol:
Pycnogenol is a very powerful antioxidant which helps in regulating certain types of acids that gets absorbed in the human body through chemicals and free radicals. Antioxidants help in improving heart health and prevent cancer. Brain diseases like Alzheimer's can also be prevented with the use of Pycnogenol. It prevents the body from absorbing the toxic elements which are responsible for the development of brain diseases. It works as a good preventive tool. Pycnogenol also helps people who suffer from heart disease, which is a very common disease worldwide. It reduces swelling due to heart disease and helps in regulating the blood pressure. Pycnogenol also assists in reducing blood sugar levels in type ll diabetes, administered along with the anti-diabetes drugs.
The anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of Pycnogenol are beneficial in treating asthma. It also improved the tolerance to chemotherapy in cancer patients. Pycnogenol works well as an anti aging product along with Vitamin E, and reduces wrinkles.
Pycnogenol is available in the market in different supplement formulas containing about 20mg to 100mg of Pycnogenol. It is the most extensively researched product and has also passed a number of safety tests. Tests have proved that consuming Pycnogenol at higher dosage for longer periods is safe though there are a few minor side effects. These side effects are gastro intestinal discomfort, nausea, dizziness and headaches. If consumed with certain drugs it can cause major side effects due to drug interactions. Pycnogenol is a great antioxidant supplement which helps in protecting and healing the body from harmful chemicals. Before taking Pycnogenol daily as a supplement it is recommended to consult physicians who can advice on the ideal dosages.
Preventive Measures for Metabolic Syndrome/ Diabetes
February 10, 2012 07:55 AM
Metabolic syndrome is a serious health problem associated with cluster of conditions like high cholesterol level, high blood pressure, high sugar level and excessive fats in the abdomen. It increases risks of diabetes, heart attack and stroke. Having one of these conditions doesn't mean that you have metabolic syndrome. However, frequent occurrence of any of these symptoms can increase risk.
Knowing your family's medical history can prevent metabolic syndrome that can lead to diabetes. If it runs in the family, consult your doctor to have your blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure checked.
Avoid high carb diet to prevent metabolic syndrome and diabetes. During digestion, carbohydrate rich foods are broken down into sugar or glucose. Glucose gives energy to the body while calorie is the measure of burned energy. When high amount of carbohydrate is digested, it increases sugar level in the blood. The brain prompts the pancreas release insulin to neutralize blood sugar level. Diabetes happens when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin.
Replace high carb diet with more nutritious foods like oats, whole wheat, rye, red rice, sweet potatoes and buckwheat. They are energy giving food rich in dietary fibers. Fibers keep a healthy digestive system by improving digestion and eliminating body wastes. It maintains sexy abs by flushing out excess belly fats.
Stay physically active by engaging into sports and exercises. Inactive body does not use much energy. Unused energy is stored in the body in form of fats. Fat cells are resistant to insulin thus, increase blood sugar and cholesterol level. Fat cells slow down metabolism and increase weight gain. While lean muscles hastens metabolism even when the body is at rest. Lean muscle protects the body against insulin resistance.
Maintain a well balanced diet to reverse diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Raw fruits like oranges, berries, pineapple, grapes and other citrus fruits are good alternative for desserts like cakes. They are rich in Vitamin C that lowers cholesterol and burns fats. It is also rich in antioxidants that shield the body against harmful toxins.
Add green leafy vegetables to your diet to increase immunity from sickness like diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Green leafy vegetables are rich in Vitamin E that repairs and regenerates damaged cells.
Develop a healthy sleeping pattern. Sleep disturbances and staying up late at night prompt the pancreas to continually release insulin. This creates stress on the pancreas that leads to insufficient production of insulin. A well rested mind and body keep metabolic syndrome and diabetes away.
Try natural remedies like cinnamon, pine bark, and blueberry leaf extract. Cinnamon prevents diabetes and metabolic syndrome by lowering cholesterol and blood sugar level. Pine bark, when extracted produces Pycnogenol that absorbs glucose in the blood. It also protects the eyes from blindness and blurred vision caused by diabetes. Blueberry leaf extract regulates blood sugar level by increasing the body's sensitivity to insulin.
Health supplements like chromium and alpha lipoic acid have shown great results in preventing and managing diabetes. Chromium is a mineral that metabolizes carbohydrates to prevent weight gain. It stabilizes blood sugar and prevents hypertension.
Grape Seed or Pine Bark Extract, Which Is Best?
October 27, 2011 07:26 AM
Pine Bark Vs Grape Seed Extract
Pine Bark Extract and Grape Seed Extract are two well known products that are effectual in combating ADD. Pycnogenol however, is more expensive since it is a patented form of pine bark extract that is being sold in many health stores world-wide. The potent properties of both Pycnogenol and Grape Seed Extract are their proanthocyanidins or flavan-3-ols contents that are normally found in fruits and vegetables. The reason why these chemicals are beneficial is their capacity in aiding vitamin C to work better for the brain. Vitamin C is essential for the production of norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine (neurotransmitters involved in ADD). Vitamin C is also useful in providing the body with antioxidants that can help fight free radicals that are very injurious for your health and may lead to a dreadful disease such as cancer. In addition, another role of vitamin C in the body is its capacity to aid the body in chelating detrimental toxic heavy metals by flushing them out from the body.
Pine Bark Extract and Grape Seed Extract are also effective natural anti-histamines anti-inflammatory agents and immune boosters. Both extracts are also proven to be influential in terms of regulating enzymes that have significant effects in metabolism. Since the extracts are able to inhibit the breakdown of dopamine and norepinephrine, then it will also lead to a faster reuptake of dopamine.
Proanthocyanidins has been the subject of interest by many researchers in the scientific investigations that they have conducted because of its promising effects that could treat various venous conditions. The compound has been proven to be effectual in strengthening the walls of your capillaries, arteries and veins hence, is very useful in protecting you from ailments that involves the mentioned vital body parts.
The benefits of Pine Bark and Grape Seed are already published in many health magazines worldwide as well as in many TV shows like the 60 minutes. The antioxidant content of the extracts derived from Pine Bark and Grape Fruit contains liberal amounts of antioxidants that also acts as an antimugenic agent hence, could prevent DNA mutation. Since the extracts have such innate capability of inhibiting the mutation of DNA, it can be a cure to many chronic degenerative diseases that are caused by environmental mutagens.
Another benefit of OPCs is its relevant effects on peripheral venous insufficiency. This specific problem in the legs causes so much pain and discomfort which could also lead to disability. With OPC, relevant improvement in the condition could be noted as evidenced by a decrease in the pain felt, edema and cramps.
Comparing both extracts in terms of efficacy is so difficult to determine because Pine Bark Extract and Grape Seed Extract has similar components that are all beneficial to one’s health. The compounds that both extracts have are very useful to one’s health therefore comparing the two would be rootless considering all the health benefits that both extracts could offer.
Is Pycnogenol a Good Antioxidant?
April 01, 2011 03:10 PM
Pycnogenol And Your Health
Pycnogenol is the latest innovation in the antioxidant supplement industry. It makes use of oligomeric proanthocyanidins, select bioflavonoids, and organic acids that have been well investigated in a span of more than 30 years. As a trademarked product, it has been cited in more than 230 published works and systematic reviews that came into the conclusion that it is safe and effective. In fact, it is now an ingredient in over 300 health products.
Pinus pinaster is an indigenous plant species of western Mediterranean from which the patented Pycnogenol is extracted from. It is most populous in southwestern France, but it can also be found in large numbers in Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Morocco. Unlike new ingredients in some dietary supplements, Pycnogenol is all-natural and completely derived from the Maritime Pine, which may well be known in the now-obsolete scientific name Pinus maritima.
Neutralizes Reactive Oxygen Species Fast
Antioxidants work on the principle of replenishing the antioxidant reserves of each cell especially at times when our body is most susceptible to physical fatigue. Radical chemistry has taught us that reactive oxygen species, or ROS, are natural by-products of oxygen metabolism. There is nothing we can do to inhibit their releases, but our body does have a mechanism to neutralize them. Free radicals are one of the best known ROS and they are particularly reactive, causing a damaging chain reaction called oxidative stress.
What makes Pycnogenol different from other antioxidant supplements? It is the fastest-acting antioxidant out there with an absorption rate of only 20 minutes. In contrast with other known antioxidants, such as vitamin C and vitamin E, Pycnogenol is believed to readily cross the blood-brain barrier, expanding its uses in the central nervous system. This is the reason why it has been suggested to be of value in treatment of known disorders of the nervous system. More importantly, it works up to a record-high 72 hours before it gets excreted by the body.
Fight Inflammation and Cardiovascular Disease With Pycnogenol
Displays Potent Anti-Inflammatory Activities
There have been numerous citations that Pycnogenol is an effective inhibitor of inflammation intermediaries. It is postulated that it influences the productions and releases of eicosanoids that govern inflammatory responses. It has associated with the treatment of osteoarthritis, and preliminary results are encouraging. Also, it is believed that Pycnogenol interferes with the effects of histamine via its receptors, and acts on mast cells responsible for mediator release. This is the reason why it is widely accepted as a viable treatment option for asthma, multiple sclerosis, allergic rhinitis, acute dermatitis, atopic eczema, and other skin conditions.
Contributes to Overall Circulatory Health
Pycnogenol is one of the antioxidants under scrutiny for its medicinal potential in the prevention of major diseases that afflict the circulatory and cardiovascular systems. For one, it has been observed to significantly lower systolic blood pressure, making it an effective therapy for hypertension. It has shown to alleviate chronic venous insufficiency and remove varicose veins. Moreover, regular supplementation of Pycnogenol appears to improve performance in endurance athletes.
Pycnogenol is an excellent herb to add to anybodies diet. Give Pycnogenol a try today!
Vitamins and Herbs to Fight Sunburns, and Sunblock to Prevent it
February 25, 2010 09:47 AM
Sunburn is the result of excessive exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. The amount of exposure that is required to cause a burn is unique to each individual, the geographical location, the time, and the atmospheric conditions. There are two types of ultraviolet rays, which are designated as ultraviolet-A (UVA) and ultraviolet-B (UVB). Both types of ultraviolet rays are dangerous. UVB rays attack the skin’s outer layers, while UVA rays attack the underlying layers of the skin.
The majority of sunburns are first-degree burns that cause the skin to become red, warm, and tender to the touch. Depending on the severity of the burn and the individual’s skin type, the burn may subsequently “cool” into a suntan or thin layers of skin may peel off. More serious sunburn can be categorized as a second-degree burn. A second-degree burn consists of extreme reddening, swelling, pain, and even blisters. This is a sign that the burn has gone deeper than just the surface layer of the skin and has caused damage and the release of fluids from cells in the lower layers of the skin. The result of this is eruptions and breaks in the skin where bacteria and other infectious organisms can enter. In the most severe cases, a burn can be accompanied by chills, fever, nausea, and/or delirium. These types of sunburns are extremely painful and are extremely dangerous for children. Sunburn can often be accompanied by dehydration.
Those people who are fair-skinned are more prone to sunburn than those darker-skinned individuals. However, no matter what your skin color, you will burn if you get enough exposure. Symptoms do not always appear while you are in the sun, as they may begin from one hour to twenty-four hours after sun exposure and they usually reach their peak in two to three days.
The effects of sun exposure are becoming an increasing concern today due to the decline in the earth’s ozone layer. The ozone layer is responsible for screening out the most harmful ultraviolet rays, but it is becoming increasingly thinner all over the world. Holes that fluctuate in size have even developed in various places. Additionally, the incidence of skin cancer is growing at an alarming rate. It has been found that having two or more bad episodes of sunburn as a child can make you much more likely to develop skin cancer as an adult.
The following nutrients are recommended for prevention and treatment of sunburn: coenzyme Q10, colloidal silver, DMB, a free-form amino acid complex, L-cysteine, a multivitamin and mineral complex, potassium, Pycnogenol, vitamin A with mixed carotenoids, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, an all-purpose bactericide spray, calcium, magnesium, essential fatty acids, silica, a vitamin B complex, vitamin E oil, and zinc.
Additionally, the following herbs may be beneficial in treating sunburn. Aloe vera gel has been noted to be remarkably effective in treating any kind of burn. It is responsible for relieving discomfort, speeding healing, and also helping to moisturize the skin and relieve dryness. A salve of calendula flowers and St. John’s wort can act as painkiller for burns and promote healing of skin wounds because these herbs have antiseptic properties.
Also, Lavender oil or chamomile oil used in a herbal bath can help to minimize the stinging and pain of sunburn. Comfrey and gotu kola tea can be made it to a compress for the affected area. Horsetail is good for tissue repair, while tea tree oil can help to heal sunburn and other skin irritation. Apple cider vinegar diluted with water is a great wash for sunburned areas.
To prevent sunburns, apply sunblock on any exposed skin before going out side to prevent skin damage before it starts.
Herbs, Serrapeptase, and your Sinus
February 18, 2010 04:26 PM
Sinusitis occurs when the nasal sinuses become inflamed. There are sinuses that are located above the eyes (frontal sinuses), inside the cheekbones (maxillary sinuses), behind the bridge of the nose (sphenoid sinuses), and in the upper nose (ethmoid sinuses). Sinuses are air-filled pockets in the skull that are connected to the nose and throat by passages designed to drain away mucous. The sinuses are the first line of defense to protect the lungs from infection. The majority of sinusitis cases affect the frontal and/or maxillary sinuses. However, any or all of the sinuses may be involved, with each individual tending to have problems with a particular set of sinuses. If the sinuses are too small or happen to be poorly position to handle the volume of mucous produced, they can become clogged. This causes pressure in the sinuses to increase, which causes pain. Those sinuses that are clogged for a long time are extremely prone to infection.
Sinusitis can be either acute or chronic. Acute sinusitis is usually caused by bacterial or viral infections of the nose, throat, and upper respiratory tract, like the common cold. Over 50 percent of all cases of sinusitis are caused by bacteria. Air travel can also lead to acute inflammation of the sinuses, due to the changes in air pressure. Chronic sinusitis problems, on the other hand, may be caused by small growths in the nose, injury of the nasal bones, air pollution, dental complications, emotional stress, smoking, and exposure to irritant fumes and smells. Allergic sinusitis may be the result of hay fever of food allergies, especially those allergies to milk and dairy products. People who have compromised immune systems are susceptible to fungal sinusitis, which is a potentially dangerous condition that requires aggressive treatment.
Sinusitis is characterized by symptoms such as fever which is usually low-grade but can be higher in some cases, cough, headache, earache, toothache, facial pain, cranial pressure, difficulty breathing through the nose, loss of the sense of smell, and tenderness over the forehead and cheekbones. If pain results from tapping the forehead just over the eyes, the cheekbones, or the area around the bridge of the nose, the sinuses may be infected. Sinusitis occasionally produces facial swelling which can be followed by a stuffy nose and a thick discharge of mucous. Those who suffer from sinusitis can have other unpleasant symptoms as a result of previous symptoms. Postnasal drip can cause a sore throat, nausea, and bad breath, while difficulty breathing can cause snoring and loss of sleep.
The following nutrients are considered to be helpful in dealing with and preventing sinusitis: acidophilus, bee pollen, flaxseed oil, a multivitamin and mineral complex, Quercetin, raw thymus glandular, vitamin A with mixed carotenoids, vitamin B complex, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, colloidal silver, DMSO, garlic, MSM, proteolytic enzymes, Pycnogenol, sea mussel, serrapeptase, and zinc lozenges.
Additionally, the following herbs may be helpful in preventing and treating sinusitis: anise, fenugreek, marshmallow, red clover, bayberry, bitter orange oil, cat’s claw, ginger root, goldenseal, horehound, mullein, nettle, olive leaf extract, and rose hips. Serrapeptase is an enzyme that is able to help keep sinus fluid thin and flowing properly. Serrapeptase also possesses anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce sinus inflammation which will ease pain and speed healing of the sinus cavity.
April 15, 2009 01:20 PM
Thrombophlebitis is when inflammation occurs in the veins due to the formation of a blood clot in that vein. This problem usually occurs in the extremities, especially the legs. Thrombophlebitis can be considered superficial if it affects the subsutaneous vein, which is one of the veins near the skin’s surface.
In superficial thrombophlebitis, the affected vein can be felt and may be seen as a reddish line under the skin. Additionally, swelling, pain, and tenderness to touch can occur. If widespread vein involvement is included, the lymphatic vessels may become inflamed. Superficial thrombophlebitis is a relatively common disorder that can be brought about by trauma infection, standing for long periods of time, lack of exercise, and intravenous drug use. The risk of superficial thrombophlebitis can be increased by pregnancy, varicose veins, obesity, and smoking. Thrombophlebitis can also be associated with environmental sensitivities to allergies. This condition is usually diagnosed according to physical findings and a medical history that indicates an increased risk.
Deep thrombophlebitis (DVT) affects the intramuscular veins farther below the skin’s surface. DVT is a much more serious condition than superficial thrombophlebitis because the veins affected are larger and located deep within the musculature of the leg. These veins are responsible for the transport of 90 percent of the blood that flows back to the heart from the legs. Symptoms of DVT may include pain, warmth, swelling, and bluish discoloration of the skin of the affected limb. These symptoms are often accompanied by fever and chills. The pain is typically felt as a deep soreness that is worse when standing or walking and gets better with rest, especially with elevation of the leg. The veins directly under the skin may become dilated and more visible. Inflammation situated in a vein in the pelvis is referred to as pelvic vein thrombophlebitis.
The reason or reasons for the formation of the clots in the veins are often unknown. However, in most cases, clots are probably the result of a minor injury to the inside lining of a blood vessel. If the vessel lining receives a microscopic tear, clotting is initiated. Platelets clump together to protect the injured area, and a series of biochemical events is initiated that results in the transformation of fibrinogen, a circulating blood protein, into strands of insoluble fibrin, which are deposited to form a net that traps blood cells, plasma, and yet more platelets. This results in a blood clot. Other possible causes of the formation of DVT include abnormal clotting tendencies; poor circulation; certain types of cancer; and Behcet’s syndrome, which is a condition that affects small blood vessels that predispose an individual to the formation of clots. The following factors increase the risk of DVT: recent childbirth, surgery, trauma, the use of birth control pills; and prolonged bed rest.
The following nutrients are recommended for the prevention and treatment of thrombophlebitis: acetyl-l-carnitine, coenzyme Q10, flaxseed oil, garlic, l-cysteine, lecithin granules, l-histidine, magnesium, MSM, Pycnogenol, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, vitamin E, zinc, and vitamin B complex. Additionally, the following herbs may be beneficial: alfalfa, pau d’arco, red raspberry, rosemary, yarrow, butcher’s broom, cayenne, ginger, plantain, witch hazel, skullcap, valerian root, ginkgo biloba, goldenseal, hawthorn, and olive leaf extract.
Natural vitamins are a great way to help prevent conditions such as these. If you suspect that you have thrombophlebitis, consult your doctor before trying to take the problem into your own hands. Natural vitamins such as the ones listed above can be found at your local or internet health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Natural vitamins and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
April 05, 2009 01:40 PM
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the newest name that has been given to a group of disorders of the central nervous system. With the long list of names this disorder has been given over the years, it is often confusing as to which criteria are for a diagnosis of ADHD or ADD. It is estimated that between 3 and 5 percent of children in the United States have ADHD, meaning that at least one child in a classroom of twenty-five to thirty children will have ADHD. There are three times as many boys diagnosed with ADHD, but the condition is increasingly being diagnosed in girls as well.
Although ADHD was primarily thought of as a childhood disorder, it can be found in adults as well. Experts have estimated that as many as 8 million adults may be affected, but 80 percent of them do not realize it. Some studies show that there is significant decline in ADHD symptoms as a person ages, while others estimate that between 30 and 70 percent of children with ADHD will carry some symptoms into adulthood. ADHD is a more complex disorder in adults, but it manifests itself into a problem with self-regulation. Without this self-control, an adult’s ability to do tasks is impaired. This condition can lead to marital conflicts, substance abuse, and financial problems. Infidelity is common because ADHD adults easily become bored with things, including spouses.
Factors that have been linked to the development of ADHD include heredity, anxiety, allergies, smoking during pregnancy, hyperinsulinemia, oxygen deprivation at birth, environmental stress or pollutants, artificial food additives, injury, infection, lead poisoning, and prenatal trauma. More emphasis has been placed on the role of diet in ADHD in recent years. Many people with these conditions react to certain preservatives, dyes, and salicylates in foods. These problems can cause the balance of chemistry in the brain to be thrown off, which produces undesirable changes in behavior. A low-protein diet may also be a contributing factor. Although a hotly debated topic for decades, studies have definitely shown that food additives do play a major role in hyperactivity.
Many researchers feel that ADHD is being over-diagnosed nowadays. It is difficult to accurately diagnose this condition because many of the symptoms appear in the normal, healthy children at many times during childhood. In fact, more than 60 percent of parents suspect that their child has ADHD at some point in their upbringing. What may merely be creativity or a high energy level can be diagnosed as ADHD. A diagnosis of ADHD should be made by a team of specialists who are experts in the disorder and it is wise to get a second opinion.
One should considered nutritional deficiencies and dietary measures for treating ADHD. The following nutrients are recommended: calcium, magnesium, GABA, a multivitamin and mineral complex, Omega-3 fish oil, Pycnogenol, Quercetin, SAMe, acetylcholine, DMAE, l-cysteine, phosphatidyl serine, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, and zinc. Additionally, the following herbs may be beneficial: ginkgo biloba, ginseng, mullein oil, valerian root, catnip, chamomile, gotu kola, hops, kava kava, lemon balm, licorice, lobelia, oats, passionflower, skullcap, St. John’s wort, thyme, and wood betony.
Creating a nutritionally sound diet for children and adults can go a long way to controlling ADHD and ADD in general. Reducing sugar intake and adding good quality food that hasn’t been over processed which removes the needed vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients we all need to live healthy lives. The above vitamins, minerals and herbs are suggested to be helpful for those suffering as well as those who aren’t, but always consult your health care provider before adding dietary supplements to ones diet while on prescription drugs. Quality vitamins can be found at your local or internet health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins, minerals, and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
April 01, 2009 05:35 PM
Infertility is typically defined as a failure to conceive after a year or more of regular intimate activity during the time of ovulation. This term can also refer to the inability to carry a pregnancy to term. About 6.1 million American couples are impaired when it comes to their ability to have children, with 2.1 million of these couples being infertile. The exact cause of the problem can be extremely difficult to pinpoint, as ovulation, fertilization, and the passage to the fertilized ovum through the fallopian tube and to the uterus are extremely complex processes. In order for pregnancy to occur, many events must work together perfectly.
In 40 percent of infertile couples, problems that affect the male partner are either partially or wholly the cause of infertility. Infertility in men is usually the result of a low sperm count or an anatomical abnormality. There are a variety of factors that can result in a low sperm count. Among these factors are alcohol consumption, endocrine disorders, exposure to toxins, radiation or excessive heat, recent acute illness or prolonged fever, testicular injury, and rarely, mumps-induced wasting of the testicles. An abnormal enlargement of veins that drain the testicles, referred to as varicoceles, can cause infertility in men. This is because the veins of the testes are no longer able to moderate the temperature of the testicles correctly, which can negatively affect sperm.
The most common causes of infertility in women include an ovulatory failure or defect, blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids. Additionally, some women are able to develop antibodies to their partners’ sperm, which causes the woman to almost be allergic to them. Chlamydia, a transmitted disease which affects 4 million Americans each year, also causes many cases of infertility. There are also psychological issues, such as stress or fear of parenthood, which can also contribute to infertility.
However, in most cases, stress is usually the result of infertility, not the cause of it. Sperm abnormalities account for about 41 percent of infertility cases. The following reasons are the most common to explain why couples cannot conceive: the woman has endometriosis; the man has abnormal sperm, a low sperm count, or erectile dysfunction; the woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked; ovulation takes place rarely or irregularly; the couple is unable to have complete intimate relations; the cervical mucous attacks and kills the sperm; the woman does not manufacture enough progesterone to carry a baby to term; the woman is over thirty-four; and/or one or both members of the couple eats a poor diet and experiences too much stress. The following nutrients are extremely beneficial in helping one or both partners deal with infertility: selenium, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, vitamin E, zinc, DMG, octacosanol, phosphatidyl choline, essential fatty acids, l-arginine, manganese, proteolytic enzymes, Pycnogenol, raw orchic glandular, raw ovarian glandular, 7-keto DHEA, vitamin A, and vitamin B complex. Also, the following herbs have been shown to be beneficial in dealing with infertility: astragalus, damiana, ginseng, sarsaparilla, saw palmetto, yohimbe, dong quai, false unicorn root, gotu kola, licorice root, wild yam root, green oat, and yin-yang-huo. It should also be noted that heavy use of Echinacea, ginkgo biloba, and St. John’s wort may cause infertility in men, and should be avoided.
Infertility can be a complicated and mentally depressing due to lack of pregnancy by both men and women. Depression can lead to more stress and needs managed by a health care provider. Always consult your doctor when you think you are infertile. Natural vitamins like the ones listed above are available at your local or internet health food store. Look for name brands vitamins to ensure you receive quality supplements.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Fight Inflammation naturally
March 19, 2009 02:36 PM
Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that often affects many of the body’s organs. An autoimmune disease, it occurs when the immune mechanism forms antibodies that attack the body’s own tissues. The majority of experts believe that lupus is caused by a virus that has yet to be identified. According to this theory, the immune system develops antibodies in response to the virus that proceed in attacking the body’s own organs and tissues. This causes inflammation of the skin, blood vessels, joints, and other tissues to result. Other possible contributing factors to the development of lupus include heredity and estrogen and testosterone hormones.
This disease was named lupus, which means wolf, due to the butterfly-shaped rash that many people get over their cheeks and nose, which gave them what many people considered to be a wolf-like appearance. However, the rashes may appear elsewhere on the body, including the chest, ears, hands, shoulders, and upper arms. At least 90 percent of those people who contract lupus are women, with women of Asian background appearing to be at greater risk for developing lupus than other women. Although lupus may occur at any age, it usually develops between the ages of fifteen and thirty-five.
There are two different types of lupus: systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE). SLE is a systemic disease that affects many different parts of the body and severity ranging from mild to life-threatening. The first symptoms in many cases of SLE seem to resemble those of arthritis, with swelling and pain in the fingers and other joints. The disease can also appear suddenly, with acute fever and the characteristic red rash appearing across the cheeks. Additionally, there may be red, scaling lesions elsewhere on the body, with sores possibly forming in the mouth.
Other symptoms of SLE include abdominal and chest pains, blood in the urine, fatigue, hair loss, loss of appetite, low-grade fever, nausea, poor circulation in the fingers and toes, shortness of breath, ulcers, vomiting, and weight loss. Many times, the lungs and kidneys are also involved, as about 50 percent of those with SLE develop nephritis, which is inflammation of the kidneys. The brain, lungs, spleen, and heart may also be affected in serious cases. Additionally, SLE can cause excessive bleeding and an increased susceptibility to infection. Amnesia, deep depression, headaches, mania, paralysis, paranoia, psychosis, seizures, and stroke may also be present if the central nervous system is involved.
DLE is a less serious disease, which primarily affects the skin. The butterfly rash forms over the nose and cheeks, with other possible lesions elsewhere, primarily on the scalp and ears. These lesions, which are small, yellowish lumps, can recur or persist for years. When they disappear, they often leave scars or permanent bald patches on the scalp. Although DLE is not necessarily dangerous to overall health, it is a chronic and disfiguring skin disease.
Both types of lupus follow a pattern of periodic flare-ups, with alternating periods of remission. These flare-ups can be caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays, fatigue, pregnancy, childbirth, infection, some drugs, stress, unidentified viral infections, and chemicals.
In order for a diagnosis to be made, the following eight symptoms have to occur either separately or at the same time: abnormal cells in the urine; arthritis; butterfly rash on the cheeks; low white blood cell count, low platelet count, or hemolytic anemia; mouth sores; seizures of psychosis; sun sensitivity; and the presence of blood of a specific antibody that is found in 50 percent of people with lupus.
The following nutrients are considered to be extremely important in dealing with lupus: calcium, magnesium, l-cysteine, proteolytic enzymes (Serrapeptase and nattokinase), essential fatty acids, glucosamine sulfate, garlic, raw thymus glandular, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, zinc, acidophilus, kelp, a multivitamin and mineral complex, Pycnogenol, vitamin A, vitamin E, alfalfa, goldenseal, burdock root, feverfew, pau d’arco, red clover, licorice root, milk thistle, and yucca.
Natural alternatives can help support the body in the fight against lupus, but one should always consult a physician before taking matters into their own hands regarding this disease. Natural supplements like the ones listed above can all be found at your local or internet health food store.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
February 19, 2009 05:14 PM
Hay fever, which is an allergy to proteins in the pollen of trees, grasses, some plants, or mold, affects the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes, and air passages. Symptoms of hay fever include itchy, red eyes; watery discharge from the nose and eyes; sneezing; fatigue; and nervous irritability. Many of the symptoms of hay fever can be confused with those symptoms of the common cold. However, allergies cause a distinctive clear, thin nasal discharge, whereas secretions that come from colds are usually thick and yellow-greenish as the illness progresses. Colds are also associated with mild fever and are usually gone within a week. On the other hand, allergy sufferers often feel wiped out for many weeks.
At least 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal sneezes, runny nose, and itchy eyes that come with hay fever. There happen to be three seasons of hay fever which are distinguished by the different pollen present at these different times of the year. Tree pollen appears first, usually between February and May, depending on the climate. When trees, weeds, grass pollens, and people are out at the same time, the biggest problems arise. This usually occurs later in spring and in summer. The fall is the season for ragweed pollen. Depending on which pollen or pollens an individual is allergic to, hay fever may be present at any or all of these times.
In more detail, the following is a summary of the types of plants according to the times of year they are most likely to cause problems. Alder, hazelnut, and elm trees cause the most problems in February through May, while birch, maple, and oak trees are problematic in March through June. Beech and spruce trees bring about issues in April through June, while horse chestnut trees are responsible for causing problems in April through August. In April through September, Asters, pine trees, plantain, sorrel, stinging nettle, and various grasses are responsible for bringing about allergies. Buttercups are problematic in May through July and Goosefoot is an issue in June through September. In July through September, mugwort seems to pose a problem.
Those people who suffer from hay fever also often suffer from other atopic disorders like asthma and dermatitis. Those people who suffer from hay fever symptoms throughout the year are said to have perennial rhinitis, which can be caused by animal hair, dust, feathers, fungus spores, molds, and/or some other environmental agent. It should be noted that a susceptibility to hay fever tends to be an inherited condition. Those people who are most prone to allergies are often aware of the time of year and conditions under which they are most sensitive. A RAST test can easily be done and provide reliable results for a definitive diagnosis.
The following nutrients are beneficial for hay fever: bromelain, coenzyme Q10, Quercetin, raw thymus, vitamin A, vitamin B complex, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, proteolytic enzymes, zinc, calcium, magnesium, garlic, kelp, manganese, Pycnogenol, SOD, and vitamin E. Additionally, the following herbs have been noted to be helpful: alfalfa, chlorophyll, vitamin K, eucalyptus oil, eyebright, lady’s mantle, goldenseal extract, horehound, mullein leaf, stinging nettle, wild cherry bark, turmeric, nettle leaf, and noni juice.
In conclusion, discovering your allergic substance is the first step to recovery. When you can narrow down what is the cause then you can combat the problem with vitamins, herbs, and dietary changes. Your local or internet health food store has a large selection of herbal and homeopathic remedies for hay fever symptoms.
Lower Blood Sugar
October 16, 2008 01:54 PM
Many people struggle to control their weight. However, while they are going on and off various diets, they fail to realize that they are also struggling to control blood sugar. Actually, the cause of blood-sugar problems may be weight problems, as being overweight and having blood sugar problems tend to go hand in hand. Too many blood sugar swings during the day tend to increase hunger jags, snacking, and overeating. When you overeat, you’re much more likely to add on the pounds, setting the stage for obesity, pre-diabetes, and full blown diabetes.
Sadly, both pre-diabetes and overweight have become modern epidemics that are out of control, with two of every three Americans being overweight and over 100 million people having some signs of pre-diabetes. Both of these illnesses are nutritional disorders that result from eating too many unhealthful foods. However, there is good news: you can reverse pre-diabetes and control your weight.
One can self-diagnose pre-diabetes by looking for the most visible symptom: being chubby or fat around the waist. Other clues are cravings sweets and starchy foods, not being hungry at breakfast, and feeling tired or mentally fuzzy after lunch. Many physicians diagnose pre-diabetes when a patient’s fasting blood sugar falls between 100 and 124 mg/dl. There are several dietary factors that significantly increase the risk of overweight. Some of these being: too many calories, too many refined carbs, especially sugars, and too many unhealthful oils.
The average woman needs about 1,600 calories and the typical man needs about 2,000 calories daily, but the average American now consumes 3,900 calories each day, making it difficult to burn off all these calories and causing the accumulation of body fat. Because most excess calories take form of refined carbs and sugars, which are digested rapidly, rapid or extreme spikes in blood sugar levels, elevated insulin levels, and bouts of hunger result, which stimulate low blood sugar. Trans fats, which are found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, interfere with the body’s processing of fats and often lead to weight gain. Most of these problematic calories are found in fast foods, microwave foods, and other types of convenience foods, which are all best if they are avoided.
Even though pre-diabetes can be scary, it’s actually an opportunity to improve your eating habits and regain your health. To improve your health you can emphasize quality protein, emphasize high-fiber vegetables and fruits, include grapefruit in your diet, use more vinegar, and add some cinnamon. Since protein stabilizes and safely lowers blood sugar levels, be sure to start each day with some protein with breakfast and eat a little protein with each meal.
Most veggies and fruits are rich in fiber, which helps to lower blood sugar, so opt for salads and steamed broccoli while avoiding crutons, potatoes, bananas, and pears. Despite the calories, eating fresh grapefruit can help in weight reduction. The acetic acid in vinegar can also help to improve blood sugar and insulin levels, reduce appetite, and help with weight loss. Adding cinnamon has also been shown to reduce blood sugar levels. There are also several supplements that have exceptional value in improving insulin function or lowering blood sugar levels. These include lipoic acid, chromium, silymarin, omega-3 fish oils, vitamin D, and Pycnogenol.
You can also enhance the benefits of diet and supplements by increasing your physical activity as it helps build muscle and burn blood sugar and fat. Tackling pre-diabetes can not only reduce your long-term risk for health problems, such as heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, but also can allow you to quickly gain more energy and feel less post-meal fatigue.
Pine Bark Extract Boosts Nitric Oxide Production
January 17, 2008 03:24 PM
A recent study has found that Pycnogenol, which is an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, helps individuals by enhancing the production of nitric oxide (NO), which in turn leads to an increase in blood flow and oxygen supply to muscles. Nitric oxide is a key cardiovascular chemical that is produced by the body. It increases blood flow which allows more nutrients and oxygen to be delivered to the muscles. This helps muscles to cope with increased physical activity. The study also suggests that taking Pycnogenol provides more NO in response to neurotransmitters which allows for better expansion of arteries, which can then carry more blood. This process meets the enhanced oxygen demand of muscles and helps to avoid anaerobic metabolism. The results of this study also lead researchers to believe that Pycnogenol can be a natural alternative therapy in diseases involving oxidative stress.
The study was held at the Hiroshima University Graduate School of Bio-medical Sciences in Japan. Each day for two weeks, healthy, young men were given either 180 mg of Pycnogenol or a placebo. In order to identify Pycnogenol's effect on the release of nitric oxide, patients were infused with an inhibitor of L-arginine, which restricts arteries from expanding in response to the neurotransmitter acytelcholine. After two weeks of supplementation, the results revealed that blood flow had increased by forty two percent. Additionally, the group receiving a placebo did not show a significant blood flow increase at all. NO causes the muscle surrounding the arteries to relax, resulting in an increase in the diameter of the blood vessel, while acetylcholine stimulates the cells of arteries to produce NO from L-arginine faster. When the subjects being tested had taken Pycnogenol, the arteries relaxed and blood flow increased by Fourty two percent, as compared to the placebo group.
Although more research is warranted, this breakthrough is especially encouraging to athletes since Pycnogenol seems to allow people to move faster when they are exercising. It does this by satisfying the enhanced muscle oxygen demand and also increases the blood flow to the active muscles. People who are performing heavy physical activity experience the release of acetylcholine by nerves to arteries that are supplying the active muscles. This acetylcholine makes them expand, while the whole process requires that there is an enhanced production of nitric oxide.
A great variety of studies about Pycnogenol and sports nutrition have been conducted over the past years. The most recent one occurred a year ago. In this study, Pycnogenol was found to improve blood circulation even in extended aerobic muscle activity. Pycnogenol also enhanced sports endurance be alleviating the cramping and muscular pain that occurs in the majority of athletes. To sum it up, Pycnogenol is not only effective for enhancing and prolonging the performance of muscles during support, but it also supports muscle adaptation to a higher workload and allows the body to recover from physical faster.
When shopping for a good Pycnogenol supplement, look for a standardized extract that guarantees that each capsule or tablet contains a specific amount of active ingredients per serving, otherwise you might be purchasing something that is ineffective.
Natural Hormone Balance for Women
December 25, 2007 11:18 AM
The majority of women are affected by moderate-to-severe menopausal symptoms and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) at some point in their life. PMS that is clinically diagnosed consists of symptoms that are so severe and pervasive that careers, social interactions, and family lives are negatively affected. This occurs in eight to twenty percent of women in the Western world. Menopause and PMS are both characterized by a severe fluctuation or major falling of the female hormones estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin. Since many examples of women who are barely affected by natural changes exist, it can be logically inferred that female hormones are capable of remaining close to balanced, while others experience hormones that swing abruptly from one extreme to the next, causing severe mood swings. Although changes in hormone levels are the reason menopause and PMS occur, women do have some control over the severity of their symptoms.
There are many natural approaches to hormone balance along with other medical interventions that can be used either separate or together. However, one must remember that women are biologically programmed to have multiple children, which therefore, would limit the number of menstrual cycles in a lifetime. Additionally, women are now living thirty years past menopause, an experience that is relatively new. Also, a lot of the pain and anguish that is associated with menopause and PMS is actually related to obesity, high-calorie eating habits, and inactivity. Normal body weight and regular exercise often leads to mild or inconsequential PMS.
In 2002, estrogen and progesterone hormone replacement therapy, which is the standard treatment for menopausal symptoms, came under scrutiny after the publication of research that found that supplementation of estrogen significantly increases the risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Supplementing estrogen also does not protect against cardiovascular disease. As a result, US-dispensed prescriptions for estrogen declined from ninety-one million in 2001 to fifty-seven million in 2003. It has been found that a lot of the excess risk for breast and ovarian cancer was due to prescriptions being refilled indefinitely instead of hormone replacement therapy only being used at the onset of menopause. Additionally, supplemental estrogen was not paired and balanced with progesterone, causing a greater risk. Either way, the door to natural alternatives was opened wide, especially for those patients who have a family history of reproductive cancer. Natural therapy for menopause and PMS is based upon phytoestrogens.
Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that contain chemical structures which resemble estrogen. These plant compounds can exert weak estrogenic or antiestrogenic effects. Isoflavones from legumes such as soybean, red clover, licorice, as well as lignans like flaxseed and milk thistle are the most common and familiar phytoestrogens. Black cohosh has been shown to have antiestrogenic effects only. Phytoestrogens have been proven to reduce the risk for estrogen-dependent breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers as well as hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep disturbances. Although phytoestrogens do a good job at protecting women from symptoms of excess estrogen, phytoestrogens cannot replace estrogen when there isn’t enough. They don’t help with vaginal wall atrophy and dryness, thinning hair, lack of sexual desire, menopause-related urogenital itching, or infertility. For the best results, supplements of soy and red clover isoflavone should be taken 2-3 times daily. Although there are no herbal alternatives that actually raise levels of estrogen, natural medicine such as dong quai, licorice, milk thistle, ginseng, Pycnogenol, and pollen for menopause and calcium, magnesium, B6, chastre tree, dong quai, and ginseng for PMS can balance existing female hormones and provide relief from symptoms.
Build Healthier Skin With Antioxidant Rich Skin Moisturizing Lotions
November 02, 2007 04:32 PM
Antioxidant rich skin moisturizing lotions can help you to build healthier skin, since they can help to allow the appearance of the fine lines that eventually develop into the wrinkles that you dread.
Most people think about caring for their skin more in the summer when the sun is hot than in the colder winter months, but cold can also dry out your skin since you tend to sweat less. However, the summer brings with it the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun to a greater or lesser degree depending on your climate. Tough leathery skin is generally associated with skin neglect by white skinned people in the hotter areas of the world such as Australia and the southern parts of Florida and California.
You should look after your skin since it is important to you. It not only keeps everything inside that should be kept inside, but also generates vitamin D and contains the temperature control system that your body relies upon. Elephants flap their ears, dogs pant and humans sweat! Without your skin you would be in a bad way, so you should look after it. If you don’t keep it supple it gets dry and hard, wrinkled, itchy and can crack, into which the bugs and viruses needed to make you ill can enter.
All of this occurs when your skin loses its moisture. In order to keep it in tip top condition, and keep yourself looking young and attractive, you should keep it moist through the use of artificial moisturizers if necessary. So why does your skin dry out and how do moisturizers work to help overcome the effects of drying?
In fact the major problems that occur with your skin due to exposure to sun in the summer have nothing to do with drying out. Your skin actually does, as suggested above, become more affected by dryness in the winter when the relative humidity is low. It is in winter that you have to use lip moisturizer because of dry and cracked lips, not summer. However, summer has its dangers, even more than winter.
It is the UV radiation from the sun that damages your skin and can ultimately lead to skin cancer. The UVA and UVB radiation are at different wavelengths and have different effects. The combination, however, causes wrinkles, skin disorders when aging, premature aging, and dry leathery skin. Part of this is believed to be due to the breakdown of the collagen in the skin that maintains its elasticity, free radical damage and inhibition of the immune system.
When UV radiation breaks down collagen it causes the accumulation of abnormal tissue. When this builds up, enzymes are produced that are intended to repair the collagen, but sometimes it does not work properly and produces a disorganized and random accumulation of collagen fibers that eventually result in wrinkles.
Free radicals are chemicals that have a free electron available, rather than having all electrons in pairs as in stable compounds. It is therefore unstable and will steal an electron from healthy tissue and so damage the cell that it takes it from. Eventually, the cells die and genetic material within the cells can be altered. This can cause wrinkling of the skin and underlying tissues or even cancer by changing the DNA and RNA contained within the cell.
The final defense of the body against cell damage is paradoxically apoptosis, which is suicide by the damaged cells to prevent them becoming cancerous. This is what you see when your skin peels after sunburn – it is deliberate action on behalf of the cells of your skin sacrificing themselves to save the body as a whole. UV exposure can prevent this from occurring which is why it can lead to some forms of skin cancer.
However, it is the action of oxidants on the skin that cause most damage. The so-called drying out of skin is largely due to oxidant damage more so than to loss of moisture. The sweat glands in your skin can produce lots of moisture, but nothing can be done about free radicals other than provide the help of antioxidants to kill them off. Antioxidants destroy free radicals with glee, and hunt them down wherever they are. The common antioxidants in your body are vitamins A, C and especially the powerful vitamin E. That is why so many skin creams contain vitamin E, and sometimes also vitamin A.
However, there are many more antioxidants than these. Astaxanthin is one. ‘Asta what?’ I can hear you say, and I am not surprised. It is not very common in health stores, but has been approved by the FDA and in Europe as a food colorant. It is a terpene carotenoid, though does not break down to vitamin A in the human metabolism as other carotenes do. It is claimed to be fifty times more powerful as an antioxidant than vitamin E and acts as an internal sunscreen in the skin by blocking the harmful effects of UV radiation at cellular level.
It is available naturally in krill, salmon, trout, crustaceans and some bird feathers, and is extracted from microalgae. Not all sources are palatable and it is best taken as a supplement, or to protect the skin, in a cream. Another super-antioxidant is Pycnogenol. However, be aware of purchasing it under this trade name in the USA, since the term has been hijacked by others who are selling a different product under that name. The true chemical Pycnogenol as named by Frenchman Dr. Masquelier is a very strong antioxidant: any others are mere imitations that are not the same product.
Chemically, Pycnogenol is a proanthocyanidin, a flavanol extractable from grape seed or pine bark. Any product that comes from a different source cannot be Pycnogenol. That said, the product is able to strengthen the skin and prevent wrinkles through its effect in scavenging free radicals. It stops the free radicals from destroying the cells of the skin and causing premature aging. Whether the chemical is extracted from pine bark or grape seed appears to make no difference. The chemicals are virtually identical, or should be if they are from the right form of pine bark.
The polyphenols in green tea also eradicate free radicals. They too are very strong antioxidants, just one of the remarkable properties of this plant. However, none of these will be of much help unless specifically applied to the skin. If taken internally, they will do a great job of mopping up free radicals in the blood, but very little will actually reach the skin.
In order to build healthier skin, you will have to use antioxidant rich skin moisturizing lotions that apply moisture to your skin, but more importantly also apply these powerful antioxidants. If you really want to maintain good looking wrinkle-free supple skin in sunny climates, then look for one or more of the above substances as an ingredient in your moisturizing lotion.
November 03, 2006 12:16 PM
Pycnogenol (pronounced pic-nojen-all) is a natural plant extract originating from the bark of the maritime pine that grows along the coast of southwest France. Pycnogenol® consists of particularly bioactive flavonoid species and its purity is in strict accordance with the United States Pharmacopoeia. Pycnogenol® was initially developed 35 years ago in Europe. During the past years it evolved as one of the most thoroughly researched nutritional supplements, with over 200 studies published in peer-reviewed journals. Seventy of these studies were clinical with in total more than 4,000 patients. Pycnogenol® taken in dosages from 25mg to 300mg is well tolerated and Pycnogenol® was attributed “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the FDA.
Pycnogenol® supports healthy capillaries
The “Career” of Pycnogenol® began in Europe, where it was first used to maintain vein and capillary health. Pycnogenol® has been shown to strengthen blood vessel walls, with 15 clinical trials showing fast relief from ankle and foot discomfort. A recent study with 200 passengers on long-haul flights showed that Pycnogenol® taken before departure and again during the flight supports foot comfort and healthy circulation. Travelers typically comment that with Pycnogenol® it is much easier to put shoes on again upon arrival. Clinicians in Germany discovered that Pycnogenol® also supports healthy capillaries in the eyes. Retinal capillaries may be affected by imbalanced blood sugar levels. In a multi-center field study with 1169 subjects Pycnogenol® supported healthy capillaries in the retina and improved visual acuity to some extent.
Pycnogenol® benefits the cardiovascular system
More detailed investigation of the interaction of Pycnogenol® with blood vessel walls at the University of Florida, Tampa led to an amazing discovery. Pycnogenol® stimulates an enzyme in blood vessel walls that is responsible for generating the most important vascular mediator, known as “nitric oxide” (NO). NO triggers relaxation of the arteries and supports clear blood flow. Hence, NO is the body’s mediator for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and circulation. NO plays such an important function for cardiovascular health that Dr. Louis Ignarro (UCLA) and his co-workers received the Nobel Prize for this discovery in 1987.
A number of factors, including aging, can interfere with the body’s efficient production of NO. Supplementation with Pycnogenol® for four weeks was shown to restore NO production and improve blood supply to the fingertips of elderly people in a Japanese study. Microscopic evaluation of blood vessel diameter at the root of fingernails showed an increased diameter of capillaries allowing better blood perfusion. Specific sensors applied to the legs showed increased oxygen and decreased carbon dioxide presence. Better blood, nutrient and oxygen supply with Pycnogenol® benefits everybody. Italian researchers were able to show that regular intake of Pycnogenol® helps defy muscle cramps and minor pain in athletes.
The relaxation of arteries has a favorable effect on blood pressure. In two clinical studies Pycnogenol® taken for at least eight weeks was found to significantly support normal blood pressure.
Pycnogenol® stimulated NO generation directly translates into clear blood flow. This was first demonstrated at the University of Arizona, Tucson in smokers. Pycnogenol® dose-dependently, starting at a single dose of 25mg, countered the typical effects of cigarette smoking on the blood. Also, Italian vascular specialists found that Pycnogenol® supported the circulation of individuals on flights between New York and London.
Pycnogenol® supports healthy blood sugar levels
Pycnogenol® can support normal glucose levels when taken as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle plan. A clinical investigation has confirmed the significant glucose-lowering effect of Pycnogenol®. It was noted that Pycnogenol® did not affect insulin levels. Pycnogenol® appears to facilitate previously insulin-resistant cells to uptake sugar from the blood stream by yet unknown mechanisms.
Pycnogenol® limits cellular irritation
Two clinical studies carried out in Germany this year with student volunteers demonstrated that Pycnogenol® has a potent effect in preventing cellular irritation. Pycnogenol® inhibits a molecular “main-switch” in immune cells that triggers the onset of cellular irritation in any part of the body. Moreover, Pycnogenol® was found to inhibit so-called COX enzymes, which are involved with minor pain-sensation related to cellular irritation.
Pycnogenol® sooths menstrual pain
Japanese gynecologists discovered in 1999 that regular supplementation with Pycnogenol® soothes the normal discomfort of menstrual pain, particularly during cramping. Another clinical investigation of 47 women in year 2004 confirmed the effect of Pycnogenol® in addressing menstrual pain. This year a double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center field study with 116 women again confirmed these results. Pycnogenol® is not suitable for on-demand relief during menstruation. The studies show that Pycnogenol® reached highest efficacy when taken regularly for months.
Pycnogenol® helps to support respiratory health
Challenges to normal respiratory function may result from incidents the immune system perceives as harmful. Pycnogenol® offers valuable help in supporting respiration due to its immune-modulating effect and its ability to limit cellular irritation. A study at the University of Arizona found that Pycnogenol® supports clear breathing and lowers mediators of cellular irritation in the blood stream. More recently, a placebo-controlled clinical study at the University of California, Loma Linda described how Pycnogenol® supported healthy respiration in 60 children aged 6-18 years. Pycnogenol® needs to be taken continuously for prolonged periods of time for maximum benefit to the respiratory system.
Pycnogenol® is investigated in clinical trials all over the world. New findings are posted on the website www.Pycnogenol.com.
Frank Schonlau Ph.D. is a biochemist who has spent nine years in medical research at the University Clinic of Munster Germany. His area of expertise covers vascular disorders, inflammation and dermatology. He has published more than 20 studies and review articles in the medical literature. Since entering the dietary field in 1999 he was involved in numerous studies on Pycnogenol® and communication of new health discoveries.
Your Cells Supercharge Your Cells
December 20, 2005 11:30 AM
Your Cells Supercharge Your Cells
The differences between aging and growing old are poles apart. Sure, they may sound similar in nature. But when you think about it, the two are as different as night and day. Growing old is about retirement and travel and enjoying what you’ve worked an entire life for. Aging, on the other hand, summons images of wrinkled skin, brittle joints, cloudy minds and medicine cabinets full of prescriptions. It’s safe to assume that the majority of us want to look, live, and feel better as we grow old. Not the opposite. Many of us are on the right track - committed to a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a well-balanced diet. And yes, these do serve as a solid foundation for good health during our golden years. It is our cells, however, that ultimately determine who grows old, and who just ages.
Still, slowing the proverbial hands of time is not all about health clubs and organic produce. If you want to grow old gracefully, you must nurture the ten trillion cells that defi ne you physically. Why? Because these cells are constantly under attack by free radicals - unstable molecules that either lack, or have an unpaired number of electrons. They scour the body in search of stable cells, and do whatever they can to rob them of their electrons, a process more formally known as oxidation. Considering that it’s environmentally impossible to completely avoid contact with the billions of airborne toxins that cause free radicals, the only other option is to safeguard your healthy cells. Making the commitment to a healthy lifestyle is the fi rst step in the process, and can be accomplished by eating healthier foods, exercising on a regular basis, and paying close attention to what you are exposed to environmentally.
The next step is to nourish and protect your cells. The best way to do this is to consume foods that are rich in antioxidants and other cell-friendly nutrients. Unfortunately, this task is often much easier said than done. Today’s average adult is busier than ever, making it far more diffi cult to consume fresh, unprocessed meals 100% of the time. This does not, however, imply that all hope is lost. Over the years, the nutritional sciences have made stunning advances that afford you the opportunity to live your life while still safeguarding the integrity of your most basic building blocks. Here are a few of the best.
Antioxidants work at the cellular level to paralyze the free radicals that cause oxidation throughout the body. Some of today’s most popular nutrients and dietary supplements fall into this category. They include vitamins A, E, and C, Selenium, Zinc, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Lycopene, Lutein, CoQ10, in addition to a host of others. And though similar in function, each of these free radical fi ghters has a unique role within the body.
Take CoQ10 for example. It’s present in every cell of the body, and is especially important for cardiovascular support. Lutein has been used extensively to prevent oxidation in the macular regions of the eyes. Zinc is a powerful immune system booster that has become extremely popular during cold and fl u season. Alpha Lipoic Acid is both fat and water soluble, and is commonly referred to as the “universal” antioxidant based on its ability to quench free radicals anywhere in the body.
Immune Boosting Herbs
Herbs such as Astragalus, Olive Leaf, Rhodiola, Echinacea, Panax Ginseng and Ashwaganda have been used for centuries to help support healthy cells and strong, responsive immune systems. They’ve also been shown to exhibit natural synergistic effects when used together. Today, they remain one of the most popular ways to naturally promote all-around wellbeing. When it comes to supporting healthy cells, NOW is pleased to offer one of the best selections of antioxidants, herbs and immune support formulas. Be sure to look for these and other great products at fi ne health food retailers, nationwide.*
OPCs (proanthocyanidins) are high-powered polyphenol antioxidants that belong to the fl avonoid family. Grape seed extract, pine bark extracts such as Pycnogenol and enzogenol, bilberry, gingko biloba, resveratrol and others all fall into this category. Research continues to suggest that OPCs work in the same manner that traditional antioxidants do, however their ability to eradicate free radicals is much greater and more versatile. Equally appealing, OPCs can easily cross the blood barrier of the brain to help protect brain and neural tissues from the damage caused by oxidative stress.
Throughout history, many civilizations have relied on organic mushroom extracts to encourage wellness. What we know now is that mushrooms such as Shiitake, Maitake, Reishi and others are rich in 1,3 Beta-glucans - soluble fi ber compounds that help support both innate and adaptive immunity. In addition, the active compounds in some mushrooms have been shown to stimulate the production of microphages, T cells, and other natural killer cells. These biological warriors serve at the front line when it comes to responding to bacterial attacks. They are of immeasurable value to the immune system, though drastically lacking in today’s average diet. In just the past few years, more and more healthconscious individuals have learned fi rst-hand how benefi cial they can be in the preservation of healthy cells.
Pomeratrol™ Fact Sheet
December 19, 2005 09:09 AM
Pomeratrol™ Fact SheetNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 9/28/04
USER: Those needing antioxidant protection; People with a family history of cell growth abnormalities; Anyone concerned with aging
KEY INGREDIENT(S): Pomegranate fruit standardized extract 200 mg. (Punica granatum) containing 80% total polyphenols, including 40% Ellagic acid, Resveratrol (100% trans-resveratrol) 20 mg. from a blend of Japanese knotweed root extract (Polygonum cuspidatum) and grape skin extract (Vitis vinifera)
POTENTIAL BENEFITS: Ellagic acid is a polyphenol compound found in raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates, and other fruit. It has been shown to normalize cell death of abnormal cells, a process called apoptosis. This enhances the body’s cell growth control system by providing an important plant substance. It may bind to DNA to prevent damage to this all-important genetic material. This is a key step in preventing cell damage that leads to signs of aging.
The American Cancer Society says that research in animal and laboratory models has found that ellagic acid inhibits the abnormal growth of certain cells. Research at Ohio State University indicates that berries typically contain a few milligrams per ounce of ellagic acid, the actual level varying quite a bit from variables such as species, variety and growing conditions.
Resveratrol is an antioxidant compound that is a phytoestrogen, or plant estrogen, which is protective of hormone-mediated cells in the body. Resveratrol is a potent antioxidant if stabilized. If not stable, it may quickly metabolize out of the body. This compound is believed responsible for some of the beneficial effects of moderate red wine drinking on the cardiovascular system. Resveratrol is also considered to be beneficial to smokers’ lung tissue if it is stabilized to last long enough in the system to be transported there. Resveratrol is also an inhibitor of the COX-2 inflammatory enzyme and encourages cell death (apoptosis) of abnormally growing cells. In insect experiments resveratrol even repaired DNA, leading to a longer life for healthy cells even as it helped get rid of unhealthy cells. Again, this ability to protect cells and help the body rid itself of abnormal cells is a key factor in preventing signs of aging. One liter of red wine contains between 1.5 and 3 mg. of resveratrol.
OTHER IMPORTANT ISSUES: Resveratrol is a difficult substance to stabilize. Because of the difference between resveratrol produced in the oxygen-poor environment in red wine and the form of resveratrol in unstabilized supplements, it has long been thought that resveratrol supplements were not very effective in comparison with wine. Knowing the importance of how a resveratrol supplement is metabolized, Now’s scientific staff has recently developed a special technique of stabilizing this compound in order to have an antioxidant effect closer to drinking a good glass of wine. While both trans and cis forms of resveratrol are naturally occurring, most of the recorded health benefits are attributed to the trans form. Now’s Pomeratrol provides trans-resveratrol.
DOSE: One capsule per day. Resveratrol has been used safely in studies at doses equivalent to 500 mg./day.
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: Other antioxidants and plant compounds: Vitamin C, Pycnogenol, grape seed extract, and alpha lipoic acid.
CAUTIONS: Pregnant and lactating women and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. There are some indications that resveratrol is a mild anticoagulant ("blood thinner"), and it also may help keep blood vessels to remain open and flexible. Caution should be used by those on blood-thinning drugs. Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
GliSODin Anti-Aging and Antioxidant Protection
December 19, 2005 08:47 AM
GliSODin Anti-Aging and Antioxidant Protection
In the time it takes you to finish reading this article, you, your body and your cells will have aged. Some, more than others. Nevertheless, every second that ticks away should serve as a reminder that our time here is temporary. How much time we actually end up with depends on many things. Diet. Lifestyle. Environment. Superoxide Dismutase? I’ll explain. What some of the healthiest individuals fail to realize is that our bodies age from the inside out. Aging is not the result of passing time, but rather the result of what we’re exposed to environmentally, physically and chemically. It is the integrity of our cells, not our clocks, that determine how smooth the aging process fares.
Each day, we’re subjected to millions of elements that affect us in ways seldom seen, felt or noticed. From the moment we’re born, we rely on our cells to work around the clock - producing energy, fighting infections and sustaining life. These same cells eventually determine the rate at which we show (or hide) our age.
Taking into consideration that our planet has no shortage of toxins & germs, the need to safeguard our cells becomes very real. Constant exposure to exhaust, secondhand smoke, heavy metals, lead, fluoride and uncountable other noxious compounds should ideally provide us with nothing more than a routine immune system workout. Unfortunately, over long periods they hinder our “resistance” abilities and become stepping stones to accelerated aging.
Antioxidants. We’ve all heard the term before, and may even have a general understanding of their role. But to better grasp just how vital they are, it helps to know what’s happening at the cellular level. Free radicals are unstable molecular thieves that often lack electrons. To compensate, they rob healthy cells - a process better known as oxidation. Antioxidants work with the immune system to prevent oxidation, and clean up the mess it leaves behind. Hence, the name.
There are two types. Exogenous antioxidants are derived from our diet and include vitamins A, E, and C along with others such as alpha lipoic acid, selenium, CoQ10, grape seed, Pycnogenol and zinc. To date, we’ve been limited to exogenous antioxidants as a way to increase the rate at which our body wards off oxidation. They are not, however, our first line of defense. At birth, each and every one of us is equipped with three primary endogenous enzymatic antioxidants; SOD (Superoxide Dismutase), Glutathione Peroxidase (GPx) and Catalase.
While both types of antioxidants are beneficial, we’ve become reliant on those from the diet to compensate for our inability to boost the effectiveness of our 3 primary antioxidants. For years, researchers have been examining ways to enhance the activity of our built-in bodyguards. One in particular, Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) has been of foremost interest. SOD targets what many researchers regard as one of our greatest health threats and aging accelerators - Superoxide radicals. These highly reactive, merciless molecules incite enormous amounts of oxidative stress and are capable of wreaking havoc on healthy cells. When cells are left unprotected by SOD, the results can be disastrous - respiratory problems, premature aging, memory loss, cardiovascular challenges, vision failure and joint structure damage, among others.
Until now, we’ve been at the mercy of our natural SOD reserves to fight superoxides. Researchers have been working feverishly to produce an effective oral SOD supplement, but have continually encountered a frustrating hurdle - exposure to gastric acid denatures SOD, rendering it useless. As a result, the only effective way to supplement SOD was through injections. These, however, only yielded short-term spikes. And then something remarkable happened that changed everything. Nutrition scientists in France determined that by combining Cucumus melo (a melon high in SOD) with a wheat gliadin stabilizer, it would be possible to prevent SOD from deteriorating in the digestive tract, while preserving it in the blood for extended periods. Not only is this the answer to a puzzle that has plagued researchers, it’s a breakthrough that will impact the life of anyone seeking longevity and vitality.
As the first proven oral SOD supplement ever introduced to the public, GliSODin® has taken antioxidant protection, immune support and antiaging science to an entirely new level. The primary function of GliSODin® is to scour the body for superoxide radicals and reduce them to less reactive ions that can be swept away; a process known as dismutation. In addition, GliSODin® reduces the oxidation vulnerability of healthy cells, protects mitochondrial activity and safeguards DNA structure.
What’s most remarkable is that GliSODin® has actually been shown to stimulate the body’s own natural production of all three enzymatic antioxidants, including SOD. For the first time in history, we will have the ability to enhance the effectiveness of our body’s primary defense mechanism.
New GliSODin® from NOW® represents the ultimate in antioxidant protection. By increasing one’s level of SOD while stimulating the natural production of Glutathione Peroxidase and Catalase, GliSODin® delivers antioxidant protection unlike any previously released dietary supplement. Remember, the aging process begins at a level that we simply can not see, the cellular level. Shielding your cells from superoxide damage is one of the smartest steps you can take against aging before your due time. GliSODin® has made this a reality.
Nattokinase Fact Sheet
December 08, 2005 05:14 PM
Nattokinase Fact SheetNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 8/8/05
LIKELY USERS: People seeking to support heart health and healthy circulation.1-6
KEY INGREDIENTS: Nattokinase, an enzyme
STRUCTURE/FUNCTION USE: Nattokinase is an enzyme isolated from Natto, a traditional Japanese fermented soy food. Natto has been consumed safely for thousands of years for its numerous health benefits. More recently, both clinical and non-clinical studies have demonstrated that Nattokinase supports heart health and promotes healthy circulation. Each serving of NOWR Nattokinase provides 2,000 FU (Fibrinolytic Units) to help keep already healthy levels of blood clotting factors within a normal range. 1-6
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT USE INFORMATION & QUALITY ISSUES: An assay of 2,000 FU (Fibrinolytic Units) is equivalent to 160 IU on the Urokinase assay. The FU assay measures Nattokinase activity by using the fibrin plate method and measuring the absorption of released low-molecular weight substances.7 NOW Nattokinase is made from non-GE (non-genetically engineered) bacteria (Bacillus subtilis var. Natto) grown on non-GE soybeans and standardized on a base of non-GE, corn-derived maltodextrin.
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: Take one vegetarian Vcap once or twice a day between meals (without protein).
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: Vein SupremeTM, Tru-E Bio ComplexTM, Pycnogenol®, garlic, and cayenne
SPECIFIC: People with blood coagulation disorders or who take anticoagulant (“blood thinning”) medications (including aspirin) should consult a physician before use. Do not take if prone to bleeding. Unlike some other brands, NOWR Nattokinase contains no Vitamin K (K1 or K2), which would enhance clotting.
GENERAL: Pregnant and lactating women and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. This information is based on my own knowledge and references, and should not be used as diagnosis, prescription or as a specific product claim. Information given here may vary from what is shown on the product label because this represents my own professional experience and understanding of the science underlying the formula and ingredients. When taking any new formula, use common sense and cautiously increase to the full dose over time.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1. Fujita M, Hong K, Ito Y, Fujii R, Kariya K, Nishimuro S (1995) Thrombolytic effect of nattokinase on a chemically induced thrombosis model in rat. Biol Pharm Bull 18(10):1387-1391
Green Tea Extract Fact Sheet
December 07, 2005 10:23 AM
LIKELY USERS: People wanting antioxidant protection; Those trying to control cholesterol; People with high levels of inflammatory iron, including eaters of red meat; Those seeking to avoid caffeine, but wanting the benefits of green tea.
KEY INGREDIENT(S): Green tea extract (Camellia sinensis) 400 mg
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES:
Total EGCg content: 50% (200 mg.) (Epigallocatechin gallate, a Catechin) Total Catechins content: 80% (by HPLC method) (Catechins are a form of Polyphenol) Total Polyphenols content: 98% (by UV method) Polyphenols, especially catechins (including EGCg), are the main active ingredients in green tea, which act as antioxidants and bind iron, which may prevent some iron-dependent inflammation.
Less than 1% caffeine content, naturally occurring (versus one cup of green tea’s roughly 40 mg. of caffeine). There should be only around 3 mg. of caffeine, per capsule.
OTHER IMPORTANT ISSUES:
For one thing, women often don't suffer from the crushing chest pain that for most people characterizes a heart attack; instead, many women experience back pain, sweating, extreme fatigue, lightheadedness, anxiety or indigestion, signs that can be easily misread as digestive troubles, menopausal symptoms or indicators of aging.
The genders also differ in how heart disease poses a threat. While men seem most endangered by the buildup of blockages in arteries, women apparently are more at risk from endothelial dysfunction. But more study needs to be done since, in many cases, researchers have been unable to pin down the precise mechanism that causes many women to die of heart disease.
Scientists have found that the number of women in their 30s and 40s who are dying from sudden cardiac arrest is growing much faster than the number of men of the same age who die of this cause. But research by the Oregon Health & Sciences University and Jesse E. Edwards Cardiovascular Registry in St. Paul, Minnesota, shows that while doctors can pinpoint the coronary blockages that kill men, they can't find specific blockages in half of the female fatalities they have studied (American Heart Journal 10/03).
"This was an unexpected finding. However, the study underscores the need to focus on what is causing these younger women to die unexpectedly because the number of deaths continues to increase," says Sumeet Chugh, MD, a medical professor at Oregon.
Since the failure of arteries to relax probably contributes to heart disease in many women, eating red berries, or consuming supplements from berries such as chokeberry, bilberry or elderberry, may be important in lowering women's heart disease risk. These fruits help arteries expand and allow blood to flow freely.
Red berries are rich sources of flavonoids, polyphenols and anthocynanins. The anthocyanins are strong antioxidants that give the berries their color. Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that these chemicals can interact with nitrous oxide, a chemical produced by the body, to relax blood vessels (Experimental Biology conference 5/20/02).
As researchers work to devise lifestyle roadmaps that can steer you around the perils of heart disease, they are finding that exercise is a key path to avoiding cardiovascular complications.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that those who exercised and kept their weight down (or took weight off and kept it off) experienced a significantly lower risk of heart problems (Preventive Medicine 11/03).
"The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. Burning calories in physical activity may be the secret to reducing heart disease risk and living longer, she says.
Dr. Fang's research used information collected from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 1975 and then computed how much people exercised, how their body mass indices varied and which of these folks died of heart disease during the next two decades.
In the study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who worked out and consumed more calories cut their risk of heart disease death in half.
Exercise Is Essential
"Subjects with the lowest caloric intake, least physical activity, and who were overweight or obese had significantly higher cardiovascular mortality rates than those with high caloric intake, most physical activity, and normal weight," Dr. Fang notes. The individuals in the study who were overweight and didn't exercise had a bigger risk of heart disease even if they tried (and succeeded) at eating less.
"This suggests that heart disease outcome was not determined by a single factor, but rather by a compound of behavioral, socioeconomic, genetic and clinical characteristics," according to Dr. Fang.
According to researchers, if your job requires a great deal of physical activity, your health will be better if you get another job. Exercise on the job not only doesn't decrease your risk of heart disease, it may actually raise it. The reason: On-the-job activity is linked to heart-endangering increases in job stress.
Research into this subject, performed at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, found that while recreational exercise slowed hardening of the arteries, workers who had to exert themselves during the workday had arteries that were blocked at a younger age (American Journal of Medicine 7/03).
In this study, researchers examined about 500 middle-aged employees as part of what is called the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study.
"We found that atherosclerosis progressed significantly faster in people with greater stress, and people who were under more stress also were the ones who exercised more in their jobs," says James Dwyer, PhD, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School. According to Dr. Dwyer, "This suggests that the apparent harmful effect of physical activity at work on atherosclerosis-and heart disease risk-may be due to the tendency of high-activity jobs to be more stressful in modern workplaces.
"It appears from our findings that the psychological stresses associated with physically active jobs overcomes any biological benefit of the activity itself."
On the other hand, the scientists found that heart disease drops dramatically among those who exercise the most in their spare time. In the study, people who vigorously worked out at least three times a week had the lowest risk. But even those who just took walks enjoyed better heart health than people whose most strenuous activity was working the TV remote. Dr. Dwyer says, "These results are important because they demonstrate the very substantial and almost immediate-within one or two years-cardiovascular benefit of greater physical activity."
Lowering your risk of heart disease is substantially up to you. Listen to what your heart tells you it needs; then, exercise your right to fetch some cardiovascular necessities.
Immunity - The Big Picture
June 10, 2005 09:51 PM
Immunity: The Big Picture by Brian Amherst Energy Times, August 3, 1999
Your body wants to be well. Outfitted with a battalion of defenses for strategic deployment, your immune system explodes with resistant force at the first sign of infective invasion.
Think of the time a tiny splinter embedded itself in your thumb. By bedtime, the spot rose and reddened; by morning, white blood cells had launched their campaign, building a hot, throbbing fortification. By day's end, the bit of wood was propelled to the surface and ejected by the immune system warriors. Once again, a foreign assailant was summarily ousted.
The Protective Force
"Supporting the immune system is critical to good health. Conversely, good health is critical to supporting the immune system." So write naturopathic doctors Michael T. Murray and Joseph E. Pizzorno in their Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima).
Maintaining the immune system requires a comprehensive program of wholesome diet, resilient attitude, fitness enhancing activity and nutrients keyed to the clear and specific needs of this energetic machine.
The all-star lineup for immune sustenance: a high-potency multiple vitamin/mineral formula, vitamins C and A, bioflavonoids, isoflavones, zinc and selenium, antioxidants like ActiVin (grape seed extract) and Pycnogenol (French maritime pine bark), as well as the botanicals echinacea and astragalus.
But optimal partnering with your immune system also benefits from understanding its workings.
Lymph, a milky fluid consisting of water protein and immune cells, is the essence of the immune system. Powered by muscle movement (an important reason why exercise boosts immunity), the lymphatic system collects and transports lymph to the lymph nodes. These nodes contain certain immune cells and filter out invading antigens, as well as produce antibodies, before siphoning the lymph out into the bloodstream.
If you've ever had "swollen glands," that means your lymph nodes have been in overdrive.
Macrophages are the immune cells that filter lymph, consuming bacteria and cellular debris while protecting the lymph system from invasion and damage.
The White Blood Cell Album
In Monocytes collect cellular trash after infections and can trigger immune responses; eosinophils can eliminate foreign particles and, with basophils, are involved in immune response.
In Lymphocytes include varieties of T cells, which work with other white blood cells or attack and destroy foreign tissue, cancer cells or virus-infected cells; B cells that produce antibodies that bind to bacteria, viruses or tumors; and natural killer cells (NKCs) that destroy cancerous or virally-infected cells.
(Based on information in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine; The Road to Immunity: How to Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) by Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin; and the Johns Hopkins Family Health Book (Harper Resource).
Keep the System Sound
"But you must always be sure to maintain the mind-body-spirit link," he told Energy Times. "For the mind, it could be exercise, yoga or meditation. Evidence shows improved immune system responses from these therapies. And in any case, you never read in the headlines that somebody has been admitted to the emergency room overdosing on meditation.
"Intentionality also is an important part of the mind link: believing you are going to fare well. For your spirit, you must ask yourself such questions as, Do I feel connected to others?
"For the body, a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement. Much depends on your community: I live on Long Island, where there is a high incidence of breast cancer, so I would recommend green tea and isoflavones from soy products for women."
Dr. Benjamin stresses moderation in the use of immune-intensifying supplements, among which he cites mixed carotenoids, zinc and vitamin E.
The Soy Solution
In a study conducted by the University of Southern California at Norris and published in the March 4, 1998 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers reported that genistein, an active component of soy products, short-circuits the ability of tumor cells to elude destruction by the immune system due to an excess of defensive stress proteins.
Genistein seems to make cancer cells vulnerable to the immune response. Researchers at Wake Forest University told participants at the January 1999 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that dietary or supplemental soy fed to monkeys counteracted cell proliferation that is a cancer precursor.
That Championship C
Immune cells are known to accumulate and retain high levels of vitamin C. Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York now understand how that happens: Proteins called growth factors (which control growth and production of immune cells) also increase those cells' ability to take up vitamin C.
These researchers, reporting in the April 1998 issue of the journal Blood, explain that the additional glucose that the growth factors pump into immune cells (for enhanced energy), plus extra vitamin C, intensify immune response.
And folks with higher levels of vitamin C in their blood serum experience less cell damage from free radicals that leads to cancer, heart and pulmonary disease and other chronic conditions.
Scientists at the University of Buffalo (addressing the June 13, 1997 meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research) deduced from studying population groups that high levels of vitamin C are associated with low oxidative stress and lower risk of cell damage.
From A to Zinc
In Colostrum, the pre-milk liquid produced by mammals during the first 24 to 48 hours after birth, took the spotlight recently as a supplement imbued with multiple immune factors and natural antibiotics that augment body's immune response. A 1992 study showed that bovine colostrum might be able to reduce and prevente infections in immune deficient folks, especially those with AIDS.
In University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers found for the first time (on laboratory animals) that vitamin D appreciably inhibits widespread prostate cancer by binding to cancer cells and triggering cell death or their transformation to benign cells.
In Vitamin E exerts formidable immune-enhancing influence on both antibody and cell-mediated immunity. One fundamental study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (245, 1981: 53-58) established conclusively that vitamin E deficiency results in significant impairment of immune function. Later studies demonstrated that it reduces prostate cancer by up to one-third.
In Coenzyme A, described as a metabolic enzyme, takes part in starting numerous body processes that provide energy for the immune system. If you ever run short of this enzyme, fat processing within your body would grind to a halt.
in Researchers looking at a substance with the tongue twisting name 3-acetyl-7-oxo-Dehydroepiandro-sterone, believe it aids immunity by quelling stress hormones.
in Mushrooms contain natural substances called polysaccharides, believed to enhance immunity. In particular, maitake mushroom, which conveys the immune booster beta-D-glucans, is reputed to help fight infections and drop blood pressure.
in Men and women taking selenium supplements for 10 years had 41% less total cancer than those taking a dummy, according to a January 1997 study by Cornell University and the University of Arizona. Other studies have shown it to reduce the risk for colon cancer by about 60%. n Zinc may provide immediate protection against the all too common cold. Scientists at the University of Florida were the first to apply genetic fingerprinting methods like those used in criminal and paternity investigations to understand how nutrients directly affect human immune cells.
The study, in the April 1998 Journal of Nutrition, demonstrates that zinc signals cells to make the protein metallothionein, which protects against infections, toxins and other stressors.
Phytochemicals a la Carte
n Isoflavones from soy, fight angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels form to supply nutrients to cancerous growths. n Sulforaphane in broccoli, kale and cabbage activates anticancer enzymes.
n Omega-3 fatty acids in cold water fish block the synthesis of prostaglandins, natural compounds in the body that promote tumor growth.
n Ginger contains antioxidant compounds, each more potent than vitamin E. Recent studies on mice show ginger can prevent skin tumors. n Rosemary contains carnosol which deactivates carcinogens and helps limit the effects of prostaglandins.
Sometimes the world can look like a dangerous place, especially when you're sick and tired much of the time. But in the search for immunity, menus of health help like this ensure that no matter what your immunity needs, a boost can be yours with the proper nutrient selection.
Pycnogenol Complex - The Next Generation of Antioxidant Protection
June 04, 2005 02:14 PM
If there’s one factor that has the greatest negative impact on our health, it is the damage done to our cells by free radicals. These highly unstable molecules disrupt the biochemical processes that regulate life. Although a natural product of oxygen metabolism in the body, free radicals are also produced in vast quantities by modern technology. Our bodies’ natural defenses simply have not been able to keep up with the onslaught of these dangerous products of civilization. On the other hand, technology has offered help by identifying some of nature’s most powerful weapons against free radical attack. Source Naturals Pycnogenol® COMPLEX is an unprecedented combination of these extremely potent plantbased antioxidants, or Plantioxidants™. Consider them your antidote to the industrial revolution.
How free radicals are formed and their effect on the body
Oxygen both makes life, and takes life. The energy that animates us comes from the biochemical reactions that burn oxygen within our cells. And though carefully regulated by the body, this biological combustion, over time, inevitably leads to cellular damage. If oxidation is not carefully controlled, tissues are damaged faster than the body can repair them. This is caused by an excess of over-reactive, electron hungry molecules called oxidants or “free radicals,” which tend to disrupt normal cellular activity. Free radicals attack a cell’s membrane and can even damage its hereditary blueprint (DNA). Since free radicals are a natural result of certain metabolic reactions, the body synthesizes several types of antioxidant enzymes to neutralize them. In addition, we get essential antioxidants from the foods we eat. Vitamins C, E and beta carotene are the ones found most often in our diet. During this century, our environment has become a perpetual source of free radical contamination, primarily from radiation and the chemical pollution in our air, water and food. Today, we are literally overwhelmed with more free radicals than our bodies are accustomed to handling. Fortunately, science has found that certain plants contain special antioxidants that are far more powerful than the vitamins we typically get in our diet. With this knowledge, Source Naturals formulated Pycnogenol® COMPLEX, the most advanced combination of Plantioxidants available today in one product. Pycnogenol® is the proprietary name of a natural plant product made from the bark of the European coastal pine, Pinus maritima.
Natural protection against free radicals
Pycnogenol® Complex – A Cornucopia of Health Our knowledge of pine bark goes back nearly 500 years, to when the French explorer, Jacques Cartier, reported that a tea made from pine tree bark by Native Americans saved the lives of his crew who were dying of scurvy. Nutrition scientists have since isolated the extraordinary antioxidant compounds of pine bark. They have also discovered many other unique antioxidants throughout the plant kingdom. Plants have evolved bioflavonoids to protect themselves from free radical damage. One of the most abundant compounds in the plant kingdom, bioflavonoids are found in the pigments of bark, rinds, seeds, leaves and flowers.
Natural antioxidants in Pycnogenol® Complex
The active ingredients of Source Naturals Pycnogenol® COMPLEX are derived from a diverse range of nature’s plenty: pine bark, green tea, turmeric spice, rosemary, grape seeds, milk thistle seeds, bilberries, hawthorn berries and ginkgo leaves. Each of these Plantioxidants is an exceptional free radical scavenger, and each has a tendency to concentrate in a different organ of the body, thus providing targeted protection. And since their primary function is to capture free radicals, these Plantioxidants free up vitamin C, so it can perform its many other vital functions.
Defense Plants The two headliners of Source Naturals Pycnogenol® COMPLEX are the pine bark extract, Pycnogenol®, and an extract from grape seeds, Proanthodyn™. Their unsurpassed antioxidant activity – up to 20 times that of Vitamin C and up to 50 times that of Vitamin E – comes from a high concentration of proanthocyanidins.
Why Pycnogenol® Complex is formulated with extracts of pine bark and grape seed
These highly bioavailable flavonoids are able to cross the Blood-Brain Barrier, and can stay in the bloodstream for up to 72 hours. Few other nutritional antioxidants cross this barrier, and none do it as well. Proanthocyanidins therefore offer the brain and central nervous system unparalleled antioxidant protection. In particular, proanthocyanidins may help reduce the formation of lipofuscin, a brown waste material made of free radical-damaged proteins and fats. Over time, lipofuscin deposits form in the brain, heart, and skin. The “age” or “liver” spots that develop on the backs of some elderly peoples’ hands are made of lipofuscin. Because they’re rich in unsaturated fatty acids, cell membranes are the primary site of free radical attack. Proanthocyanidins are able to protect against both water- and fat-soluble free radicals. Also, their chemical structure is incorporated within cell membranes, making proanthocyanidins very effective in preventing damage to the cell’s interior. This is vital, because if a cell’s DNA is disrupted, it could lead to the abnormal reproduction of that cell. For many years now, Europeans have used pine bark and grape seed extracts to maintain vein and capillary health. Proanthocyanidins support the circulatory system by helping to keep collagen and elastin, the essential constituents of vessel walls, from breaking down during times of imbalance. And most importantly, proanthocyanidins can help prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. Scientists now recognize that it’s not cholesterol itself, but the oxidation of cholesterol that can be problematic.
How Plantioxidants benefit different organs in the body
The Power of Diversity
In addition to the broad protection offered by Pycnogenol® and Proanthodyn, Source Naturals Pycnogenol® COMPLEX offers an outstanding array of other Plantioxidants. Each has unique abilities to protect the body from oxidants. For several thousand years, Green Tea has been enjoyed in the Orient, not only for its taste, but also as a health tonic. Upon analysis, it contains several strong antioxidants, called Polyphenols, with exceptional free radical scavenging abilities. Polyphenols have been shown to be over 200 times more effective than vitamin E in preventing oxidative damage to brain cells. Source Naturals uses a potent extract of green tea that concentrates 2,000 pounds of fresh green tea leaves into one pound of finished product. This extract has been awarded 30 patents for its protective effects. The ancient Ginkgo Biloba tree has long been prized for its beneficial qualities. Like proanthocyanidins, ginkgo’s compounds are able to cross the Blood-Brain Barrier, and support cell membrane and capillary integrity. Its particular antioxidant constituents have been associated with superior oxygen transport to the brain. This is important because the brain uses 20% of all inhaled oxygen. Source Naturals Pycnogenol® COMPLEX uses a superior 50 to 1 extract, providing 24% Ginkgoflavoneglycosides and 6% Terpenoids. Bilberries were first studied for their capacity to heighten visual acuity in normal subjects under poor light conditions. In fact, to increase their night vision, RAF pilots ate bilberry jam during WW II. Its antioxidant compounds, Anthocyanosides, have an affinity for delicate eye tissues, where it quenches free radicals and supports capillary strength. Source Naturals utilizes a standardized bilberry extract with 25% anthocyanosides, 80 times more potent than regular bilberry.
The wide range of natural antioxidants in Source Naturals Pycnogenol® COMPLEX
Milk Thistle Seed Extract has been researched and used for over 20 years in Europe. Its antioxidant compound, called Silymarin, has a special preference for the liver. It’s one of the few nutrients that can support the liver’s natural regenerative processes. By enhancing DNA activity, liver cells can regenerate up to five times faster. Turmeric Extract contains 95% Curcumin, the active ingredient of this traditional East Indian spice. Curcumin promotes the body’s own production of antioxidant enzymes, including glutathione peroxidase, an important protector of the liver. Curcumin also increases the production and secretion of bile, which is used to remove cholesterol from the body. Quercetin has been well-researched for its free radical scavenging activity. Because of its ability to stabilize cell membranes, quercetin helps prevent damage and discomfort from reactionary (histamine- and leukotriene-related) processes in the body. Source Naturals quercetin has been isolated from plant sources. Rosemary and Hawthorn Berries both contain bioflavonoid antioxidants that have the unique ability to neutralize the hydroxyl radical, a particularly dangerous type of free radical. Hydroxyls are produced by exposure to excessive radiation and pollution from burned fossil fuels. The body has no innate defense system against it. Vitamin C is one of the most active and abundant antioxidants in the body, so it must be frequently replenished. Since it works in conjunction with bioflavonoids, each tablet of Source Naturals Pycnogenol® COMPLEX contains 500 mg of vitamin C, bound to Magnesium for increased bioavailability.
A World of Help
As we better understand how free radicals affect our health and well being, it’s important that we take advantage of the wonderful protective qualities found in certain plants. These Plantioxidants provide the appropriate means to counteract the destructive effects of excessive free radicals, which have become part and parcel of modern life. Source Naturals Pycnogenol® COMPLEX brings the diverse and concentrated power of the plant world into your world of wellness.
PYCNOGENOL ® - The Ultimate Antioxidant
June 04, 2005 02:04 PM
Pycnogenol® is a breakthrough in antioxidant protection that demonstrates how important natural nutrition can be for your health. Antioxidants are a class of biological molecules that function to scavenge and neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons that cause damage at the cellular level, and which unfortunately are unavoidable. Antioxidants – the most famous of which thus far have been Vitamin C and Vitamin E – work to protect living tissue by neutralizing free radicals, thereby interrupting many of their harmful activities. Pycnogenol®, one of the most powerful antioxidants yet discovered, is the proprietary name of a natural plant product made from the bark of the European coastal pine, Pinus maritima. It is 20 times more potent an antioxidant than Vitamin C, and 50 times more so than Vitamin E.
Free radicals are a real threat
Uniquely vulnerable targets of free radical attack that require a regular supply of antioxidants just to maintain a basic level of function include fatty acids – especially those in cell membranes – and sulfhydral proteins, which form one of the most common types of chemical bonds found in biological organisms. The importance of these substances for overall health cannot be overstated, as they are critical components not only of tissues throughout the body, but most importantly, of the principal regulatory organs – the brain and liver – and every blood vessel. Free radical attack on fatty acids – known as lipid peroxidation – and related destruction of sulfhydral proteins can lead to diminished function of cell membranes and whole organs. This, in turn, can contribute significantly to decreases in quality of life.
Free radicals are believed to be active in the development of cumulative damage to the system, as well as in many of the undesirable effects of aging. Free radicals are constantly being produced due to the natural intake of oxygen and generation of energy by the body’s cells. However, their production is heightened by pollutants such as tobacco smoke, alcohol, solvents, and oxidized cholesterol from foods. Therefore, health scientists suggest we may need to increase our intake of antioxidants either from foods or from supplements – such as Vitamin A and Beta Carotene, Vitamins C and E, Selenium, Cysteine, and now, Pycnogenol®.
Potent antioxidant protection from nature - Pycnogenol®
Originally discovered by renowned scientist Jacques Masquelier, Pycnogenol® is a natural 85% to 95% concentrate of proanthocyanidins extracted from the bark of the Maritime Pine. Proanthocyanidins are a special class of highly bioavailable, water-soluble bioflavonoids with unparalleled free radical scavenging activity. They readily cross the Blood-Brain Barrier to provide antioxidant protection to the central nervous system, and stay in the bloodstream for approximately 72 hours. Thirty years of sound European research shows that proanthocyanidins from Pycnogenol® are highly beneficial with no evidence of adverse effects, even after more than ten years of use. They also show no loss in potency after 12 years of storage.
Better health for an active life
As a potent antioxidant, Pycnogenol® is valuable for protecting the liver from free radical attack. Since the liver is the main detoxifying, nutrient-assimilating, and energy-generating organ of the body, this may mean more potential for activity in your life. Pycnogenol® may also aid recovery for athletes on strenuous workout regimes and in competition.
Healthy capillaries through healthy collagen
A major beneficiary of the protective actions of Pycnogenol® is collagen, the most abundant protein in the body. Collagen is responsible for maintaining the integrity of “ground substance,” the basic material in functional fluids, mucus linings, and connective tissue such as tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and most importantly, blood vessels linings. It is highly vulnerable to free radical attack, and a number of discomforting and depreciating processes are associated with its destruction. There is evidence showing that Pycnogenol® can provide remarkable support for the prevention of collagen destruction, and it has received much attention for its special affinity for capillaries, the smallest blood vessels. Pycnogenol® helps strengthen capillary linings in three key ways. First, Pycnogenol® functions to scavenge the free radicals that may compromise the integrity of collagen. Second, Pycnogenol® contains catechin, which is thought to stabilize collagen by forming hydrogen bonds and cross-linking collagen. Third, Pycnogenol® is Vitamin C-sparing, meaning it can fill in for C in a number of functions; this frees some Vitamin C – required for the synthesis of hydroxproline, a major structural amino acid of collagen – for use in building collagen. People who smoke and women who take oral contraceptives can reduce their heightened risk of Vitamin C depletion by taking advantage of Pycnogenol®’s Vitamin C-sparing activity.
Look to Source Naturals® for 25 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg, & 100 mg tablets of this natural wonder!