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Five Ways to Get CBD Oil and Concentrates
June 03, 2018 09:16 AM
Recently, Cannabidiol (CBD) oil has become very popular on the alternative medicine markets. Fuego (2018) discusses its' increasing popularity in the article titled, "Five Ways to Get CBD Oil and Concentrates". According to the article, CBD oil is used for the following conditions: anxiety, pain, seizures, pain, and sleep disorders. The product comes from marijuana and hemp. It is predicted that CBD oil sales will reach about $ 1.153 billion in sales by the year 2020.
"The legality of CBD oil made from hemp depends on whom you ask, but it can still be purchased in fifty states."
Read more: http://www.westword.com/marijuana/cbd-oil-how-and-where-to-get-it-10329926
The Science Of CBD Oil [Infographic]
August 17, 2017 04:14 PM
Cannabis is a booming business right now. Colorado was a state that legalized marijuana back in 2012 and the revenue generated from legal marijuana sales has grown so much that it is now a rival of the GDP of a few island nations. The medical cannabis industry is is one of the major sectors being developed right now. People have known about the benefits for decades and only now are these claims being researched and understood better.
"So far CBD oil has been found to treat addiction, inflammation, Multiple Sclerosis, epilepsy, mad cow disease, acne, diabetes, fibromyalgia, insomnia, PTSD, schizophrenia, Crohn’s disease, and many others."
Read more: http://www.valuewalk.com/2017/08/cbd-oil/
CBD Products Play Major Role in the Legal Cannabis Industry
August 16, 2017 07:14 PM
Hemp Business Journal and Vote Hemp released a report indicating the United States based hemp industry sold $688 million worth of products in 2016. The industry is expected to continue with this successful trend, with estimates of $1.8 billion in sales by 2020. Various companies are capitalizing on this success and trying to expand their markets - for example, a Hemp Education Center is being established by ChineseHempOil.com, Inc., to provide information about the health benefits of hemp. Other organizations, like United Cannabis Corp, are leading the way in developing medical uses and therapies that utilize cannabinoids.
Read more: CBD Products Play Major Role in the Legal Cannabis Industry
CBD Products Market Becoming Hottest Segment of Cannabis Industry as Demand Continues to ...
June 23, 2017 11:14 AM
CBD product sales have become the fastest growing segment of the cannabis industry. Cannabis manufacturers are scrambling to come up with new products for this increasing national and global market. New products such as a Kanna-infused CBD are being produced to enhance the health benefits of CBD. With these type of innovations in mind, investors are paying attention. Large cannabis manufacturers with public shares in the company have all been experiencing an increase in their stock prices. The trend is expected to continue.
Read more: CBD Products Market Becoming Hottest Segment of Cannabis Industry as Demand Continues to ...
Are the MCT Oil Nutrition and Health Claims Backed Up?
May 13, 2017 08:44 AM
Coconut oil has experienced a huge increase in sales and taken the media bystorm in recent years. coconut oil can be found not only in specialty health food stores, but at most local grocers as well. Diets high in MCTs (65% of coconut oil's makeup) have been shown to improve glucose tolerance and reduce body fat accumulation when compared to diets high in LCTs. MCFAs have also been shown to preserve insulin action in, and insulin resistance in rat studies. When compared with other fats, coconut oil contains 2.6% fewer calories. Keep in mind however that all high-fat foods and oils are calorically dense and simply adding in more calorically dense food to a diet already ample in calories is not likely to result in weight loss.According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, virgin coconut oil has potential antioxidant properties due to certain plant nutrients it contains called phenolic compounds.
"MCT oil is associated with a whole host of health claims including weight loss, decreased risk of metabolic syndrome, lowered abdominal fat, lowered inflammatory markers, decreased triglyceride levels, and the ability to raise HDL (good) cholesterol."
Read more: http://www.organicauthority.com/are-the-mct-oil-nutrition-and-health-claims-backed-up/
Developments in the Legal Cannabis Industry
March 03, 2017 10:59 AM
The legal marijuana industry is currently the fastest-growing business in the United States. If it continues to expand and reaches all 50 states, it could become even bigger than the organic foods market. According to The ArcView Group, a research company focused on cannabis industry investment, the U.S. market grew 74% in 2014, up from the prior year of $1.5 billion.
"A report published by The Hemp Business Journal estimates that the Cannabidiol (CBD) market will grow to a $2.1 billion market in consumer Sales by 2020 with $450 million of those Sales coming from hemp-based sources. In 2015, the market for consumer Sales of hemp-derived CBD products was $90 million, plus another $112 million in marijuana-derived CBD products which were sold through dispensaries - bringing a total CBD market to $202 million last year"
Hemp is a Wonder Plant
February 10, 2017 10:59 AM
Hemp is a really amazing plant. Energy drinks are a huge industry, but most of them are very unhealthy and even illegal to be sold to minors. The government of the United States has outlawed a crop that was cultivated for 10000 years. However, there has been an easing on the restrictions from both the state and federal levels recently.
"As cannabis continues to legalize, hemp is a wonder plant with never ever benefits, and it will continue to integrate in consumer products like RMHB."
The empire strikes back: DEA quietly announces "Schedule I" status for CBD extracts to comply with United Nations demands... CBD Prohibition begins on January 13, 2017
December 23, 2016 10:59 AM
There is concern over a rumor that the DEA seeks to create a brand new schedule I class of drugs just for marijuana extracts, known as CBD. They must go through a scheduling action to get approval, but many are outraged over the possibility of losing access to any medicinal product made from Cannabis. This can include non-psychoactive drugs. Some are trying to soothe the panic by stating that it doesn’t include hemp products. As long as it is not a drug, it is not restricted. We will have to wait and see how this plays out.
"Big Media, Big Pharma, Big Government, Big Banks and Big Agriculture are assaulting our bodies and minds by the hour, it seems."
GLUCOSAMINE: Origin and Action of Mechanism
February 06, 2012 01:08 PM
Glucosamine is an amino sugar made from glucose and amino acid glutamine. It is a monosaccharide that is found naturally in healthy joints, cartilages, ligaments, muscles and tendons. It helps in the formation and repair of cartilage and other body tissues. Glucosamine is available in the form of dietary supplements, cosmetics and sports drinks. Let us find out about the history of glucosamine and its role in repair and treatment of joint disorders.
HISTORY of GLUCOSAMINE:
Glucosamine was first discovered in 1876 by Dr. Georg Ledderhose. It was prepared by hydrolysis of chitin with Hydrochloric acid. Later on it was developed in sulphate blend. Since then, it has been studied multiple times and in multiple ways to find out its potent health benefits. It has been used clinically in Europe since 1960s. In 1971, researcher K. Karzel glucosamine HCl stimulated the production of glycosaminoglycan layer, which helps in protecting cartilages, ligaments and tendons from normal wear and tear. It became popular in United States in the mid 1990s with the publication of popular bestsellers such as 'The Arthritis Cure' by Jason Theodosakis. Now it has become the most popular selling dietary supplement with Sales of $200 million per year.
Glucosamine is naturally found in the body and can be synthetically made from the natural sources of chitin that is found in sea creatures such as shells of shell fish, bones and bone marrow.
How does Glucosamine Works in reducing Joint pain?
Our body's ability to produce glucosamine decreases as we age. Hence after any kind of injury cartilage, spinal discs and joints, the body may not be able to heal optimally. Aging and glucosamine depletion in the body leads to joint degradation. However, glucosamine supplementation can support cartilage and CT-integrity limiting degeneration.
Glucosamine supplements do not work like NSAIDS, which are known to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects on the body. The exact mechanism of significant analgesic effect of glucosamine supplements is unknown but according to various studies, glucosamine has no effect on cyclooxygenase system. Studies have shown that glucosamine stimulates synthesis of proteoglycan in a dose dependent manner. It helps in stimulating the production of cartilaginous matrix, hence counteracting the degrading loss of cartilage in case of arthritis or injury.
Several important studies demonstrate the role of glucosamine in stabilizing cell membranes, inhibit lysosomal enzymes and reduce the generation of oxygen free radicals by macrophages. It may inhibit interleukin 1 induced nitric oxide activity that leads to chondriotic cell death. Hence it increases aggrecanase activity that helps in preservation of proteoglycan.
Glucosamine along with Chondroitin sulphate stimulates synthesis of cartilage precursors as well as synovial fluid. They also limit the degradation of existing cartilage in any loss of joint integrity.
This non rapid acting drug has many beneficial effects in reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis. It is a powerful joint repairing supplement that rebuilds joint cartilage. Glucosamine supplements have been thoroughly evaluated to find out any potential side-effects. However, it has been proved that it does not have any of the side-effects of NSAIDS, surgery or opiods.
Can Dietary Collagen Help the Skin and Joint Tissue?
June 30, 2011 10:45 AM
Collagen and Your Health
Collagen is the most common form of protein in humans and other mammals. It is a major constituent of the extracellular matrix that provides structural support to animal cells from the outside. It displays great tensile properties, which is responsible for the strength and elasticity of the skin. Since it is a component of fibrous tissue, it is also found in ligaments and cartilages that make up joint tissue.
Dietary collagen has long been postulated to contribute to the biochemical composition of cells present in the skin and joints. Proponents of collagen supplements believe that dietary collagen is assimilated into the extracellular matrix and fibrous tissue. The scientific community has been doubtful about the efficacy of topical applications of collagen, but oral supplements have been promising in clinical trials.
Molecular collagen is composed of polymers of amino acids linked by peptide bands, which are too big at the cellular level to get absorbed through skin. On the other hand, intestinal absorption of dietary collagen remains a matter of controversy. That being said, nutraceutical companies have developed formulations of supplements that facilitate the best possible absorption rates and better bioavailability.
Tough bundles of collagen fibers comprise several polypeptide chains of fibrous structural proteins. All fibrous tissues have cells and extracellular matrix in between. High concentrations of collagen found in cartilages, ligaments, tendons, fascia, and even bones give these fibrous tissues tensile strength, the reason why the joints are capable of bearing a certain level of longitudinal stress without tearing apart.
Structural proteins make up the outer layer of the human skin and its appendages, such as the scalp, hair, and nails. The most important of these proteins are collagen, keratin, and elastin. Collagen fibers are responsible for the tensile properties of the skin. Keratin provides strength whereas elastin exerts an elastic effect. Collagen fibers affect the process of healing and its degradation leads to wrinkles.
Oral route of administration is believed to produce the health benefits linked to dietary collagen. While researchers have ruled out the health claims tied to collagen creams and lotions, they have reported encouraging results about dietary collagen. In fact, collagen supplements utilized in the management of rheumatoid arthritis and treatment of skin disorders have produced significantly positive outcomes.
One clinical trial that involved more than 200 participants diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis point to the medicinal potential of collagen as an adjunct treatment for rheumatism and osteoarthritis. There was a noticeable decrease in joint pain, morning stiffness, and restrained mobility, which were noted as statistically significant. For this reason, supplementation of collagen has attracted more research.
Dietary collagen is now becoming increasingly visible in the nutraceutical industry in that Sales have increased in the past few years. It has become the subject of numerous studies well underway, and as such developments in collagen supplementation are expected to produce formulations specialized for higher bioavailability. The good news is dietary collagen has not been linked to any adverse effects.
Get some collagen today and feel the difference it can make in your diet!
October 01, 2009 11:57 AM
In the past decade, ginkgo has received much attention. It has been revered throughout China and other areas of Asia for thousands of years. However, its popularity increased in Western countries. An increase in Sales can be attributed to interest in the benefits of ginkgo on conditions that are associated with aging like Alzheimer’s, memory loss, dementia, and circulatory disorders. Often, gingko is used to increase the blood flow to the brain, which improves memory problems like Alzheimer’s, to prevent strokes, and to increase blood circulation through vasodialation. The improved circulation is also thought to improve ear conditions, help blood flow to the retina, aid in preventing muscular degeneration, reduce frequency of asthma attacks, and help transplant recipients avoid rejection.
The ability of ginkgo to boost brain function has been studied extensively. Most importantly, ginkgo increases oxygen supply to brain cells, as the brain is the body’s most sensitive organ to oxygen deprivation. Additionally, ginkgo has been used to improve electrical transmission in nerves and supply more oxygen and nutrients to brain cells. The effect that ginkgo has on the brain and circulatory system disorders seems to be extremely promising for a variety of conditions. Ginkgo has also been found to be effective in treating migraine headaches. In one study that took place in 1975, ginkgo extract was given to individuals who were suffering from migraines. Results concluded that eighty percent of the patients showed improvement or were cured of the condition.
Ginkgo extract has also helped dementia that results from poor blood flow to the brain. Senile dementia is often recognized by depression, unusual fatigue, and memory problems. Ginkgo has the ability to help improve circulation to the brain tissue, which in turn improves brain function.
Blood platelet aggregation, or clotting, can cause serious problems in the body. Among these are strokes, heart attacks, and coronary thrombosis. It has been found that ginkgo can reduce the tendency for platelets to stick together and prevent them from forming clots in the arteries and veins.
The brain and nervous system are extremely sensitive to free-radical damage because of the high percentage of unsaturated fatty acids. It has been found that ginkgo’s antioxidant activity is particularly powerful in these areas, along with the eye and retina. This is extremely helpful in conditions like retinopathy, cataracts and macular degeneration. The central nervous system possesses fat lipids in the cell membranes that are typically attracted by free radicals. Ginkgo can help protect these cell membranes and prevent condition which can occur in the brain and nervous system that are often associated with aging, like memory loss.
The leaves of the ginkgo plant are used to provide adaptogen, alterative, antioxidant, antiseptic, and stimulant properties. Primarily, ginkgo is extremely helpful in treating ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, lack of attention span, blood clots, cardiovascular disorders, poor circulation, dementia, dizziness, edema, impotence, inflammation, ischemia, memory loss, lack of mental clarity, multiple sclerosis, muscular degeneration, PMS, Raynaud’s disease, senility, stress, stroke, and tinnitus.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with allergies, angina, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, cancer, carpal tunnel syndrome, coughs, depression, lack of equilibrium, eye problems, hearing problems, hemorrhoids, lung disorders, migraines, mood swings, toxic shock syndrome, transplant rejection, varicose veins, vascular problems, and vertigo.
Horny Goat Weed
October 31, 2008 01:04 PM
Item: #4758, 90 Tabs
Product Categories: Hormonal and Vitality Support
Positioning Purpose: The vitality and hormonal support industry is one of the most lucrative in today’s health sector, as evidenced by record Sales and an influx of new brands and product offerings. Amazingly, there are still people out there who do not realize that natural alternatives exist. Horny Goat Weed has been a staple in Eastern medicine for centuries, and continues to stand the test of time. Science advancement has helped us better understand its method of action, and we now know that it contains a number of compounds that help support energy, stamina and vitality.*
Product Details: NOW® Horny Goat Weed Extract contains 750 mg of horny goat weed extract (Epimedium grandiflorum, E. brevicorum), standardized to 10% Icariin. For increased support, we’ve added 150 mg of pure Maca Root per serving, another historically used herb that has been shown to support healthy hormones and vitality. Both compounds have a well-documented history of safety and effectiveness. Unlike other products within the hormonal vitality category, this formula can be used by both mean and women.
Nutrient Profile, per serving: Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium grandiflorum), 750 mg Maca Root (Lepidium meyenii), 150 mg
Ideal Users: NOW® Horny Goat Weed is ideal for healthy adults seeking additional hormonal and vitality support. It can be used safely by both men and women.
Recommended Use: As a dietary supplement, suggested use is 1 tablet taken daily, preferably with a meal. Complementary Products: Consider taking NOW® Horny Goat Weed with other NOW products, such as, TestoJack 100™, Tribulus, or ENERGY™
Other Ingredients: Cellulose, Croscarmellose sodium, Stearic acid, silica (vegetable source), magnesium stearate (vegetable source), and vegetable coating.
Supporting Science: Ning H, Xin ZC, Lin G et al. Effects of Icariin on phosphodiesterase-5 activity in vitro and cyclic guanosine monophosphate level in cavernous smooth muscle cells. Urology 2006;68:1350-4
Warning: Please consult a healthcare provider prior to use if you have any medical conditions, are taking medications, are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any disease.
June 19, 2008 04:06 PM
Many natural health practitioners are looking at chitin as a possible weight-loss tool in a diet program. While still under study, proponents of it have helped this natural product and formulations made from it popular. Those seeking to lose weight efficiently are buying this product in droves. Manufacturers and marketers of chitin have seen great Sales growth in Japan and the United States in recent years.
Chitin is a positively charged polysaccharide that comes from an animal source. This source is shellfish in the form of shrimp, crab and lobster. A polysaccharide is a string of sugar molecules found in the outer shell of these crustaceans. Chitin is also found in marine coral and the outer shells of certain insects, such as beetles and ants. Chitin shares chemical similarities with cellulose and starch, which are plant fibers.
The weight-loss benefits of chitin are in its binding properties. Some researchers believe that the positively charged polysaccharides attract negatively charged bile acids and free fatty acids. These acids are now bound by the positively charged chitin and therefore are not absorbed into a person's system. The result is the prevention of an increase in dietary fat, which puts the pounds on a person's frame.
Some evidence from studies does suggest that chitin breaks down in the stomach and changes to a gel. Some researchers believe this is where the binding takes place as this gel traps fats and cholesterols. This process is believed to occur in the intestine, where chitin prevents the fat from becoming absorbed and digested.
All types of fiber are beneficial for preventing the absorption of fat into the body, at least to some degree. Studies show that chitin, as an amino polysaccharide fiber may do this to a greater degree. Some proponents believe chitin has the capacity to expel up to four times its weight in fat. Some claim it binds 10 times its weight in fat and does this better than any other kind of fiber.
Some believe chitin works best when used in conjunction with a high-fat meal. If it's going to be one of those high-fat intake days, they say taking chitin can help you counter the fat. Taking chitin may help bind the fat molecules and take them through your system until they're eliminated. However, chitin does not bind carbohydrates, protein, or alcohol. Over-indulgence in them, even with chitin added to your diet, may mean you will still put on weight.
Because chitin is a non-digestible, non-absorbable fiber, it acts as a carrier. It doesn't absorb into your body as other foods can. It helps carry harmful fats away through its binding capabilities before they have a chance to settle in. Studies suggest chitin may do this and help improve blood cholesterol levels as it goes about its work.
Chitin is a calorie-free fiber supplement. A product that is abundantly available, it is even used in food manufacturing as an edible film to protect foods from spoiling. It is often found at a reasonable cost and is a product known for having few side effects. One caveat with chitin is that those allergic to shellfish should not consume chitin. In addition, pregnant women should not take chitin products because of a possible reduction in calcium and vitamin D absorption. Of course, any weight-loss program needs to rely on healthy foods and exercise in addition to any weight-loss supplements. It's all part of an overall healthy approach to losing weight.
Along with its possible benefits as a weight-loss tool chitin has other benefits. It is used in the manufacture of surgical thread. Being biodegradable, it dissolves over time as a wound heals. It also has properties that allow for its use as a wound-healing agent.
Studies continue in the uses of chitin as a weight-loss product. As a natural product, readily available, diet supplement manufacturers strive to make innovative products from it. Their focus is to further research chitin so they can use it to help those striving to take control of their weight.
Big Pharma Plays God, Stealing and Altering Pant Compounds making Synthetic Drugs
January 02, 2008 02:24 PM
It has been claimed by the Nutritional Health Alliance (NHA) that the pharmaceutical companies are formulating their pharma drugs using natural plant-derived substances. This is not totally groundbreaking news, of course, since the whole pharmaceutical industry was based on natural products such as aspirin, derived from willow bark, and antibiotics derived from the penicillin mold.
While there is nothing wrong with them doing this, there are signs of their increasing lobbying to limit the supply of supplements so that Big Pharma can monopolize the production and supply of all supplements and remedies, natural or synthetic. What is disturbing is that bills such as the Adverse Event Reporting Bill, passed by Congress in February 2007 as the Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act, could conceivably place greater powers into the hands of the large pharmaceutical companies to restrict the Sales of natural products that are not part of their ‘approved’ prescription range.
This Act requires users and distributors of over the counter and non-prescriptive natural remedies to report any adverse effects that they believe have been caused by the remedy they are using. What this does is to require untrained people to make medical decisions as to what is causing their adverse reaction.
A patient taking several prescription drugs and a vitamin supplement might naturally assume that it is the vitamin that is causing their reaction, since they will believe the drugs to be safe. Hence they will report the vitamin supplement as being the cause. Since the act does not oblige them to report reactions from prescription drugs, then this opens the door for Big Pharma to hijack plant compounds, and then alter them to make synthetic drugs.
The position of the FDA in all of this is dubious since that body has already made many decisions that favor the large pharma companies rather than the consumer, or producers of herbal remedies.
However, there is also the opposite view that the supplement industry is unregulated, and some degree of control is long overdue. While it is difficult to argue against this, it is the form of control that is in question and also the reasons behind it.
The pharmaceutical companies have long gained through America’s ill health, and it is to their advantage for Americans to become ill or suffer from the chronic diseases that come with a sedentary lifestyle and a diet of fast foods. The industry’s short-sighted approach has been to wait until people become ill and then treated them with expensive drug, rather than prevention that would ultimate lose them customers for their products.
A happy and healthy community, regularly taking supplements that keep them fit and well, is not to the advantage of pharmaceutical companies that prefer a depressed, unfit and sick American population to which they can sell their products. Hence the smear campaigns in the press regarding ‘uncontrolled’ natural remedies, untold bills in Congress, and what could end up as the ultimate revocation of our freedom to consume the natural products of our choice.
If we are taking two or three prescription drugs for a heart condition or to reduce the cholesterol levels in our body, and also an Omega-3 fatty acids capsule, we are urged to report the capsule if we have any side effects from the cocktail. Presumably on the basis that the drugs have been approved by the FDA, and so cannot possibly cause any side effects in us. A fish oil capsule is hardly likely to cause a heart attack, but many prescription drugs can if badly prescribed. However, it is the capsule that is likely to be fingered, banned and then included in a pharmaceutical product that is cleared by the FDA.
Those that take over the counter supplements, vitamins and herbal remedies are a threat and it is difficult not to become cynical about the intentions of such Acts of Congress and the people behind them. True, the supplement and herbal industry probably does require some form of regulation, but to phrase this in such a way as to require medically untrained people to report what they perceive as being the adverse effects of supplements rings of an intention to regulate by restriction or even banning.
When that occurs, Big Pharma will take these products and fashion them into expensive prescriptive drugs that are then approved for use by the FDA. What we were at one time able to purchase from our local health store we would now have to purchase at several times the price through prescription.
The health benefits of natural nutritional supplements are well documented, and the industry are now using methods to ensure standardization of the active ingredients where possible. However, this is not always possible with foodstuffs that do not always grow in standardized ways.
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) was passed by Congress in 1994 to protect and preserve our rights to healthy supplementation of our diets with natural products of our choice. The FDA has systematically failed to enforce this and prosecute synthetic manufacturers who have not kept to the law. The FDA does not need new powers, but the funding to implement those already in existence.
Lobbying in Congress by interested parties should not be allowed to undermine the rights of all Americans of the freedom to consume the products that will provide them with a healthier lifestyle. The DHSEA is all that is needed to preserve this and to protect consumers from Big Pharma and their need to create conditions conducive to an increasing need for their products.
Yes, the health supplements industry likely needs some form of regulation to ensure standardization of products as far as is possible, but the way to do this is not to place medical decisions into the hands of the untrained. Do not forget that these are natural products, available freely from nature in fruit, vegetable and animal products, and are not synthesized in a laboratory as many of today’s drugs are.
However, give them a free rein, and Big Pharma will hijack these natural products, change them and then sell them to us at highly inflated prices to do the job that already do for us: keep us healthy.
Peppermint Oil for IBS
March 24, 2007 11:01 AM
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a painful and frequently frustrating disorder of the intestines that’s often difficult to treat. Fortunately, there are scientifically studied natural products that effectively reduce the distressing symptoms of IBS.
Q. What is IBS?
A. IBS causes crampy pain, gassiness, bloating, and alterations in bowel habits. IBS is termed a functional disorder, because when the colon is examined, there is no visible sign of disease. While IBS causes significant pain and distress, no actual damage is occurring in the intestines.
There is a wide variability in IBS. Symptoms may be mild and fairly well tolerated. Or, the pain, discomfort, and bowel dysfunction may be disabling, limiting social interactions, employment, or travel.
While some individuals with IBS have diarrhea (frequent, loose stools with an urgent need to move the bowels), others have constipation (hard, infrequent stools that are difficult to pass). And, still others may experience both. Individuals with IBS also may have painful abdominal cramps and feel an urgent need to move the bowels, but are unable to do so.
A. The small intestine receives digestive material from the stomach and delivers it to the large intestine (colon). About two quarts (2,000 ml) of digestive material enter the colon from the small intestine every day. The colon absorbs water and salts from the material, which is progressively moved through the colon. This progressive movement continues until most of the fluid and salts are absorbed into the body and stool is formed. The stool passes to the left side of the colon, where it is stored until a bowel movement occurs.
Because researchers haven’t been able to find actual damage in the colon, it once was suggested that individuals with IBS have emotional problems or are overly susceptible to stress. While stress may cause symptoms of IBS to intensify, it doesn’t cause the condition.
Recent study has determined the colon muscle of an individual with IBS spasms after only mild stimulation. It’s thought the symptoms of IBS are produced by hyperactivity of the intestines. In other words, the intestines of individuals with IBS are more reactive to stressors and diet than usual. Almost everyone has experienced abdominal queasiness in response to everyday stress or certain foods. This may result in a brief bout of diarrhea or an upset stomach. However, this response is exaggerated in individuals with IBS.
Q. How prevalent is IBS?
A. IBS is very common. In fact, it’s one of the most frequent problems seen by family physicians. It’s the most common disorder diagnosed by gastroenterologists (physicians specializing in the treatment of digestive disorders). The overall prevalence rates range from 10% to 20% of the general population in most industrialized countries. As a result, the pain and disabling symptoms associated with IBS result in significant socioeconomic costs, as wall as reduction in quality of life for many individuals.
A. Normal bowel function varies from person to person. Some people move their bowels daily, while others may only have two to three stools a week. A normal bowel movement is soft, formed, and is easily passed without cramping or pain.
IBS, however, causes abdominal cramps and pain, which are often severe and disabling. Bowel movements may be irregular and alternate between diarrhea and constipation. The diarrhea may be quite loose and watery. Mucous may be passed. There is often much straining, urgency, and feeling of incomplete evacuation (emptying). Abdominal bloating and passing of gas is common. Nausea, lack of appetite, heartburn, and belching may also be present. Sleep may be disrupted resulting in fatigue and lack of energy. Understandably, persons with IBS often feel anxious and depressed.
Diagnosis of IBS is usually based on the continuous presence or recurrence of these symptoms for at least three months. Other intestinal conditions must be ruled out. These include Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, inflammatory conditions of the stomach or pancreas, ulcers, infectious disease, or gastroesphageal reflux disease.
Q. Are there clinically demonstrated natural alternatives to the over-the-counter drugs prescribed by my doctor?
A. Yes, both enteric-coated peppermint oil and clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs) have significant scientific research behind them. Both have been demonstrated to benefit individuals with IBS.
Q. What is clown’s mustard and what does it do?
A. The scientific name for clown’s mustard is Iberis amara. Other names for this herb are wild candytuft and bitter candytuft. Clown’s mustard is a white-flowering plant from Spain, where it grows in dry soil on hillsides and in cornfields. It is also grown in Britain, France, and the United States. Iberis amara is a member of the Brassicaceae family. Iberis refers to its place of origin, the Iberian Peninsula. Amara means bitter. The key components of clown’s mustard are glycosides and flavonoids that have specific actions on gastrointestinal tract tone.
Q. Is there scientific evidence that clown’s mustard benefits people with IBS?
A. There has been very impressive research on clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs). And, it has been used with great success in Germany for many years to treat IBS and other gastrointestinal diseases.
In a study of an herbal combination containing clown’s mustard, 20 patients were given the herbal combination for three to 32 days. They all had been diagnosed with chronic functional disorders for at least one to 20 years. The symptoms the patients experienced included pressure and pain in the abdomen, belching, heartburn, vomiting, nausea, fullness, lack of appetite, constipation, and diarrhea. The patients have been treated for their problems with a variety of antacids, anti-spasmodic agents, and motility-inducing substances. For the purposes of the study, the patients stopped taking these medications and received treatment only with the herbal combination.
Abdominal pressure and pain in the abdomen was the most common of all the experienced symptoms, with 11 of the patients rating it as severe. After six days of treatment, only sic of the patients continued to rate their abdominal pain and pressure as severe. After two weeks, this symptom had completely resolved for 16 of the patients. Diarrhea had been rated as severe in five of the patients. By day 14, only one patient continued to have moderate diarrhea.
Medications prescribed and taken for cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases often cause gastrointestinal problems. Because these conditions are chronic, these medications must be taken for a long time, often for life. With long-term use, these medications can cause erosion of the stomach lining and actual ulcers. Many of these medication-caused symptoms are similar to IBS symptoms: pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Most, if not all, of the individuals who have gastrointestinal problems caused from medications experience two or more of these IBS symptoms.
Forty patients who were taking medications for various types of cardiovascular disease and arthritis, and who are experiencing gastrointestinal problems related to their medications, were enrolled in a study. These symptoms included pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Twenty patients received clown’s mustard combined with other herbs that support gastrointestinal motility. Three days after the trial started, a significant improvement of all s symptoms was noted in those taking this combination. By day 14, abdominal pressure and pain, nausea, and heartburn were completely eliminated in the herbal combination group. Several other clinical trials that were conducted in Germany report similar results.
Q. How does this herb compare to prescription drugs?
A. A study compared clown’s mustard (combined with other herbs) to Reglan (metoclopramide), which is frequently prescribed to reduce the symptoms of IBS. While metoclopramide is a very effective medication, it also has numerous side effects. Metoclopramide can cause fatigue, anxiety, agitation, jitteriness, insomnia, yellowing of the skin or eyes, changes in vision, hallucinations, and seizures. Because of these serious side effects, metoclopramide must not be taken longer than 12 weeks.
In comparison study, 77 subjects were randomized to receive treatment of either clown’s mustard in a combination with other herbs, or metoclopramide. All subjects had pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. The subjects took 20 drops of their assigned treatment after meals three times daily. The duration of treatment was one to two weeks.
In both groups, a parallel improvement of all symptoms was observed. At no point in the study was a statistically significant difference in symptoms found. Both treatments significantly reduced pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. In short, both metoclopramide and the clown’s mustard herbal combination worked well at reducing the symptoms of IBS.
However, side effects occurred more frequently and severely in the metoclopramide group. Given the lack of differences noted between the products at reducing symptoms of IBS, it would seem sensible to choose the treatment with the fewest reported side effects and no limits on duration of use.
A. Peppermint oil has been shown to relax intestinal smooth muscle. In Great Britain, peppermint oil is currently being prescribed for IBS by physicians and it has been used as a digestive aid and to soothe upset stomachs for generations.
Peppermint oil has also been studied for use in an important examination of the colon. A colonoscopy is a procedure of viewing the interior lining of the large intestine (colon) using a colonoscope, a slender, flexible, hollow, lighted tube about the thickness of a finger. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine supports the idea that even people who are not at risk for colon cancer should have this test. The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women at average risk of colon cancer should have a colonoscopy every 10 years, beginning at age 50.
During a colonoscopy, individuals are sedated and almost no discomfort is experienced. The insertion of the colonoscope into the rectum and up through the colon causes some spasming. This is a natural and expected event and the physician performing the exam administers medications that effectively reduce the spasms.
A recent study compared the use of peppermint oil and commonly used medications to reduce the colonic spasming in colonoscopy. The peppermint oil was introduced directly into the colon. Effective reduction of colon spasming was observed in 88% of the patients.
In a critical review and meta-analysis of peppermint oil for irritable bowel syndrome published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, eight randomized controlled trials were identified. The studies collectively showed peppermint oil is superior to placebo in improvement of the symptoms of IBS. Because of the good results of these trials, the authors of the review urged additional study of peppermint oil in IBS.
However, straight peppermint oil is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream from the stomach. In recent studies comparing enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules and non-enteric coated oil, both preparations provided effective symptom relief. However, the studies concluded the enteric-coated capsules delivered the benefit of the peppermint oil directly to the intestines. In the treatment of IBS, enteric-coated supplemental peppermint is most definitely preferred.
In fact, an enteric-coated peppermint oil capsule containing rosemary and thyme is extremely effective in the treatment of IBS. All three of these oils are classified as volatile oils, derivatives found in plants that impart taste and aroma. The combination of peppermint, thyme, and rosemary oils in enteric-coated capsules provides significant relief in IBS-related pain.
Q. Can clown’s mustard and other herbs be taken with enteric-coated peppermint oil?
A. Yes, peppermint oil capsules and clown’s mustard can be used together. However, depending on the symptoms, individuals with IBS may want to start with one supplement and then add the other if needed.
Q. How do consumers find these formulas?
A. Fortunately, herbal combinations containing clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are both available at health food stores, natural product supermarkets, pharmacies, and from health professionals. Most knowledgeable Sales personnel and health professionals can direct consumers to the most effective products.
Q. What should customers look for when purchasing peppermint oil?
A. As mentioned before, enteric coating of the peppermint oil is extremely important. The coating prevents the oil from being absorbed in the stomach. The enteric coated-capsule moves through the stomach to the small intestine and eventually to the colon, where it is released for maximum benefit.
Q. What is the dosage for peppermint oil?
A. The German Commission E approved peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable colon. In enteric-coated form, the Commission E recommends 0.6 ml per day. Enteric-coated peppermint capsules are available.
Q. Are there side effects or other contraindications?
A. Sometimes, the enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules may cause a transient burning sensation in the rectum when moving bowls. Reducing the dose will correct this.
Individuals who must refrain from alcohol should not take clown’s mustard in an herbal tincture, which may contain alcohol.
Q. What else can IBS patients do to feel better?
A. Food allergies or food intolerance may be associated with IBS. Dairy products and certain grains may trigger a painful episode of IBS. Determining those foods that initiate the problems and eliminating them from your diet can be very helpful.
Many people report their symptoms occur after a meal. Hyperactivity of the intestine of IBS is the response. Often, the strength of this response after a meal is in direct relation to the number of calories and he amount of fat in the meal. Reducing saturated fat, limiting calories, and increasing fiber intake may be helpful.
Stress also stimulates the intestinal hyperactivity. Relaxation training may reduce some IBS symptoms. Listening to therapeutic audiotapes, hypnosis, counseling, and biofeedback all have been shown to improve the healing response in persons with IBS.
IBS can be painful and frustrating, capable of causing much distress. While currently there is no cure for IBS, the symptoms can be managed. The pain, abdominal discomfort, and bowel problems of IBS all respond well to treatment with the use of key herbs, including clown’s mustard, and enteric-coated peppermint oil. These herbal combinations can be both effective and safe in treating IBS. Clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil are both effective front-line natural alternatives for IBS treatment.
Soft Drinks Contaminated by Benzene
May 27, 2006 09:24 AM
A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) testing program has found cancer-causing benzene in soft drinks at levels averaging four times the standard for tap water. The brand names have not been released.
The test data were uncovered by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which posted the test results on the group’s website, www.ewg.org
Highly elevated Benzene Levels
Between 1995-2001 the RDA tested 24 samples of diet soda for benzene. The result: 79% tested at levels above the federal limit for benzene in tap water, which is 5 parts per billion (ppb). The maximum benzene level detected was 55 ppb. In addition to the diet sodas, the FDA tested a number of other non-diet soft drinks. One cola was contaminated at 27 times the tap water limit, and fruit drink had a 95 ppb level.
“These results confirm our suspicions there are highly elevated benzene levels in some very popular drinks,” Richard Wiles, EWG’s senior vice president said in a press release.
Reaction Triggered by Preservatives
According to an article in beveragedaily.com, sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid in soft drinks can react together to form benzene. Sodium benzoate is a common preservative in soft drinks, and ascorbic acid is often added as an antioxidant to extend shelf life.
Negotiations between the FDA and the beverage industry in 1990 resulted in an agreement that the industry would voluntarily reformulate its soft drinks to prevent this combination. The recurrence of benzene contamination may be due to new soft drink manufacturers in the market who were not a part of, or aware of, the original negotiations.
Britain Pulls Soft Drinks from Shelves
In contrast to the U.S. situation, food safety campaigners in England were successful in having benzene –containing soft drinks removed from the supermarket shelves. The British Food Standards Agency pulled four soft drink brands which contained more than 1 ppb of benzene, and rushed out the results of tests on 149 drinks, including a range of fruit juice, iced tea, squash, fizzy and low-sugar drinks, according to The Times of London.
The Wellness Revolution and Contaminated Soft Drinks
The controversy over benzene in soft drinks is an example of how toxic exposure exists in our food and immediate environment. The constant exposure to toxics were-and especially our children—experience is a major cause of chronic illness.
In this situation, the organic products available for purchase in health food stores are especially vital. And since some exposure to toxics is unavoidable we must take advantage of the herbs and nutrients that support detoxification and the liver, the main organ of detoxification, as well as immunity for example, silymarin, N-acetyl cysteine, calcium D-glucarate, folic acid, Reishi and shiitake mushrooms, and turmeric.
Sources: www.ewg.org www.beveragedaily.com 02/25/06. Associated Press 04/11/06. www.fda.org.
Public Pressure Forces Corporations to Curtail Most Soda Pop Sales to schools
The Nation’s largest beverage distributors have agreed to halt nearly all soda Sales to public schools, according to a deal announced may 3rd by the William J. Clinton Foundation.
The companies have agreed to sell only water, unsweetened juice and low fat milks to elementary and middle schools, according to a spokesman for former President Bill Clinton. Diet sodas would be sold only to high schools.
The deal follows a wave of criticism by school districts and state legislatures amid reports of rising childhood obesity. Soda has been a particular target because of its caloric content and popularity among children.
May 20, 2006 12:15 PM
Today’s scientists might be less poetic that tea’s ancient admirers. But they are no less impressed by the fragrant beverage’s lengthy list of health-boosting compounds, including a powerful antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that may interfere with potentially harmful genetic changes. Researchers at the University of Rochester (New York) Medical Center have found that EGCG binds to a protein called HSP90, jamming an important gene-damaging mechanism (biochemistry 4/5/05). Tea may also help stymie cancer development by interacting with toxin-neutralizing enzymes in the liver and by encouraging apoptosis, a process that causes cells to die when their useful life is over.
Studies of actual tea-drinking humans have had mixed results; some show a cancer-preventive effect, others don’t. The most promising research comes from China, where green tea is the beverage of choice. Among more than 18,000 men, those who drank tea were half as likely to develop cancer of the stomach or esophagus (which leads from the mouth to the stomach) as non-imbibers (Carcinogenesis 9/02).
Americans have traditionally favored black tea, which has different chemical properties. A 2005 American Institute for Cancer Research survey showed that only 15% of the US population drinks green tea on any given day and less than 1% matches the per-person consumption seen in Asia (although green tea Sales have climbed considerably in recent years).
Meanwhile, the good news continues to pour in. in February, an investigation published in the Journal Carcinogenesis found a 22% drop in breast cancer risk among women who quaffed five cups a day. And in two preliminary studies, green tea extract, which provides tea compounds in an easy-to-take, form, has been linked to reduced risk of cancer in men with precancerous prostate changes and has benefited people with leukemia.
Night Health: A new approach to improving sleep.
May 12, 2006 05:41 PM
Our night health, including the quality of our sleep and dreams, may be the most critical overlooked factor contributing to both emotional and physical illness in modern times. For millions, night is a time of growing frustration and deepening struggle with insomnia as well as compromised and insufficient sleep. Mounting data has confirmed that sleep problems are strongly associated with virtually all major illnesses ranging from cardiovascular disease to diabetes, infections and cancer, and obesity to depression.
Night health refers to a new approach to sleep and dreams that integrates complementary and alternative medicine with effective conventional perspectives. It is essentially a comprehensive body-mind approach to sleep. The first in a series of articles introducing the concept of night health, this article begins with a closer look at the limitations of the simulated sleep offered by sleeping pills. It then examines the basic alternative of supplemented sleep: the place of natural sleep-supporting supplements. Finally, it offers suggestions for increasing the utilization of such alternatives by supplementing supplements with essential information, education and guidance offered by a new and unique software program and the first book about integrative sleep health.
As the public becomes increasingly aware of the health ramifications of sleep disturbances, more and more people are turning to sleeping pills. In fact, according to the IMS Health research, about 42 million prescriptions for sleeping pills were filled last year in the U.S. This represents a nearly 60 percent increase over the past five years alone. Some projections anticipate that the current $2.7 billion in annual sleeping pill Sales will more than triple by 2010.
But instead of solving the problem, sleeping pills often make sleep problems worse. Sleeping pills commonly result in dependence. They can alter normal sleep architecture, cause amnesia and residual daytime “hangovers,” and they often result in rebound insomnias when discontinued. Some sleep specialists argue that sleeping pill use is further associated with significant increases in mortality. Given the sense of desperation that can accompany insomnia, even such very serious concerns have not prevented Sales of sleeping pills from skyrocketing in recent years.
We are currently witnessing an unprecedented advertising campaign on the part of the pharmaceutical industry designed to convince the public that sleep medications are indeed a safe and effective strategy for addressing sleep problems. Despite clever and seductive advertising, however, it remains highly questionable whether sleeping pills can truly offer us sleep. I believe it is more accurate to say that they result in a kind of artificial or simulated sleep. Compared to natural slumber, sleeping pills cause a chemical knockout. Unfortunately, so many people have slept poorly for so long, they have forgotten what it is like to experience truly restorative, deep and refreshing natural slumber. Instead, many people now hold a naïve, limited sense of healthful sleep, confusing it with being knocked out. And sleeping pills satisfy that very naïve notion of sleep.
Rather than artificially simulating sleep with chemical knockouts, sleep-promoting supplements such as melatonin, valerian, and other botanicals support that body’s own sleep-facilitating mechanisms more naturally. Such products work in greater harmony with nature and, unlike conventional drugs, they do not stimulate sleep, they supplement sleep. I think of natural supplements inviting us to sleep. The very potency of many natural products lies in their very gentleness, which works cooperatively with both body and mind to induce healthful sleep.
I believe that the potential benefits and markets for such supplements remain largely untapped. Consumers’ expectations that sleep aids should knock them out rather than gently assist them in letting go into sleep must be addressed through targeted education and information campaigns. Consumers also need to learn how to use alternative sleep supplements in the context of a healthy sleep lifestyle or positive night health.
As helpful as they can be in promoting night health, sleep supplements alone will not do the trick. In fact, I believe many people get discouraged and discount the potentially positive benefits of sleep supplements after using them without proper guidance and understanding. Sleep supplements work best when they are geared to work synergistically as a part of a larger night health promotion program.
The availability of a wide range of over-the-counter health supplements offers an important freedom in healthcare choices. But with increased freedom comes increased responsibility. Consumers need to become significantly more informed. Particularly with regard to night health, such supplements need to be personalized and prescriptive. When it comes to sleep health, one size does not fit all. Whether we choose melatonin or valerian or a specific blend depends upon who we are and exactly what we need. By prescriptive I do not mean ordered by a physician, but specifically tailored to the needs of the individual.
Because of a significant shortage of health care professionals knowledgeable about sleep and the alarming trend towards increased use of sleeping pills, I have assisted in the development of a unique software program that provides sleep solutions that are both personalized and prescriptive. After more than a decade in development, the sleep advisor—an expert software system that thoroughly evaluates and provides personalized comprehensive recommendations for improving sleep—is now available.
More recently, I completed the first truly integrative book on night health. Healing night: the science and spirit of sleeping, dreaming, and awakening offers a new, comprehensive perspective on night health that complements the sleep advisors high pragmatic approach. Together, healing night and the sleep advisor offers essential supplements to sleep supplements.
Rubin R Naiman is a psychologist and clinical assistant professor of medicine at the university of Arizona’s health sciences center. He is also the sleep and dream specialist for dr. Andrew weil;s world renowned program in integrative medicine. Currently he serves as the sleep specialist at Miraval Resort, and is in private practice in Tuscon, AZ.
The above article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat a particular illness. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of a holistically competent licensed professional health care provider. The information in this article has not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Rubin R. Naiman, PhD
Perplexed about Protein? immunoglobulins to boost the immune system.
April 29, 2006 01:58 PM
The Wellness Revolution
Perplexed about Protein?
As protein and whey powders have advanced in popularity, the confusion about them has grown. In particular, protein processing technology has advanced by leaps and bounds; consumers are being presented with protein claims and counter-claims that are highly contradictory.
The confusion is part of a rapid growth. Little Miss Muffet’s quiet dish of curds and whey has expanded from a minor sideline aid for weight lifters, with Sales increases around to percent a year, into an explosive $1 billion a year industry, with some companies announcing Sales growth of 110 percent in just the last year.
The increase in market is from whey’s expanding appeal. As new technology has made whey’s nutritive value beneficial to a wide range of consumers, more people are using whey, and whey is being added to more products. The problem is, those advanced nutritive qualities are not included in all whey products. The fantastic immune benefits, for example, apply to only the top tier of whey products.
The standard of protein quality—the ability to provide indispensable amino acids—is judged on the basis of digestibility, nutrients, and amino acid composition. Whey has historically been acknowledged as on of the best sources of high quality protein.
With the increasing popularity of whey, attention on new processing methods has raised the bar on quality, and new products have greatly expanded nutritional values. What may have been an acceptable high-quality whey protein a few years ago, no longer makes the grade. Tony Lucchesi, Natural Sales Trainer at Source Naturals says, “The different processing methods have changed the entire protein market.”
He explains, “In separating casein from whey, (a process used to make cheese), most processing methods use heat, chemical modification, or pH adjustments. These all damage the native protein structure. The result is little or no biological activity in the whey product. All the low temperature drying and micro-filtration won’t help if the raw material is denatured before a protein is dried and brought to market.”
Damaged protein may have been acceptable a few years ago, but it isn’t now. Lucchesi continues, “Animal experiments have shown that polypeptides—whole, non-denatured proteins—have greater nutritional value than protein isolates.”
Protein isolates are what is left after the pasteurization process. The protein has traditionally been “Cross cooked” out of its normal balance. “What you have left are incomplete bits and pieces of whole protein,” he says. These protein bits have only partial nutrients.
The latest introduction to the protein category are concentrates, which are intact, biologically-active whole proteins. The entire difference is in the processing; high heat, acids, and traditional methods of separating the caseins from the whey are no longer used. The new processing preserves the nutrients of the protein. This is the method that is the basis for a new Source Naturals whey product, True Whey.
Lucchesi says, “TRUE WHEY is different in that it was designed to provide nutritional support for enhanced immune function. The entire process was designed for nutritive value. The preservation of these nutrients—lactoferrin, glutamine, immunoglobulins—give TRUE WHEY a huge benefit to athletes, children, and anyone interested in boosting their immune system.”
Per serving, TRUE WHEY offers 8 grams of un-denatured protein that includes 900 mg immunoglobulins and 190mg of lactoferrin. Its vanilla flavoring has gotten very high reviews, and it has a two-year shelf life. It appears that the bar has truly been raised in the whey protein category!
Echinacea: why does it work in real life but not in trials?
February 04, 2006 09:54 AM
The Wellness Revolution
Why clinical trials must take into account real dosage amounts!
You took it, and it worked. You’re one of legions of people all over the world who have found the little purple coneflower called Echinacea to be wonderfully effective in fighting colds. Echinacea is among the most popular herbal supplements in North America, accounting for 10% of herbal Sales in the U.S.
So why are some in the scientific community saying it doesn’t work?
How Controversy Over a Little Flower
It was a July 2005 study done at the University of Edmonton in Canada, published in the pages of the New England Journal of Medicine, that fueled the fire of controversy. On one side, there’s the community of people who take Echinacea to ward off colds and other respiratory tract infections (staying well or getting better quickly tends to make enthusiastic and loyal followers). On the other side is a spate of studies, culminating in the July 2005, giving the thumbs down to the flower’s healing powers.
The much-touted study was a placebo-controlled trial and was double-blinded (neither test group knew what they were taking). Healthy college students were given a dose of a rhinovirus infection, and were then sent to individual dorm rooms to take either an extract of Echinacea or a placebo. The results were disappointing to those of us expecting the scientific community’s “proof” to match ours—based on what our bodies and senses tell us. The study found no statistically significant difference between severity of symptoms or duration of the rhinovirus between the Echinacea and the control group. Why didn’t the study results match those of so many individuals?
What went wrong?
Noted herbalist and author Roy Upton states, [“The studies which found] positive results had dosages which were consistent with herbalist recommendations.”]
The University of Edmonton study didn’t.
Two oft-cited clinical trials in which positive results were found in the use of Echinacea for the common cold, both in vivo and in human volunteers, have been conducted by researchers Vinti Goel.
Tiny Doses, Minuscule Amounts of Active Herb
It is widely agreed among herbalists that the trial—also conducted by the team at the University of Alberta, Canada—published in the New England Journal of Medicine in July 2005 used radically smaller doses than those traditionally taken, doses so small they couldn’t possibly have worked. In the Turner trial, Echinacea extracts were given in doses of 1.5 ml tid, equivalent to 900mg daily, if the conductors of trial had consulted the real-life herbalist, say the natural health care community, they could have run a test that would have, well, tested something. The usual prescription dose for Echinacea taken by mouth ranges from 500 to 1,000 milligrams per day, and is taken three to five times a day, for seven days. This creates a range of 1500 to 5,000 mg per day. Most studies have shown Echinacea to have the greatest effectiveness when one starts taking it immediately upon feeling the early symptoms of coming down with a cold or virus.
Importantly, Echinacea has been proven in many tests, including those by Bauer and Wagner, Foster, and Hobbs, to have a supportive effect upon the immune system. That Echinacea stimulates macrophages and killer cells is proven.
Turner RB et al. New England Journal of Medicine, 2005 jul 28;353(4):341-8.
Upton R et al. Echinacea purpurea root: standards of analysis, Quality control, and therapeutics, American herbal pharmacopoeia, 2004
Goel v et al. Efficacy of standardized Echinacea preparation (echinilin) for the treatment of common cold: a randomized, double-blind, placebo- controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Pharmaceutical Therapy 2004: Feb,29(1):75-83.
Anabol Naturals Metabolic Fat Burners
January 07, 2006 01:01 PM
Founded in 1983, Anabol Naturals has been the premier provider of the highest quality pharmaceutical-grade, free form amino acids for 22 years. The Anabol Naturals cutting edge line of free form, amino acid-based formulas in renowned for purity, quality and efficacy by professional and world-class athletes, fitness enthusiasts, health and natural food stores, as well as longevity and wellness specialists.
Driving Sales nationally and internationally has been the recognition and recommendation of the Anabol Naturals line for product effectiveness and consumer satisfaction in such leading health bestsellers as Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis Balch and Healthy Healing by Linda Page.
The “Power” of trace Minerals…
October 08, 2005 11:56 AM
The “Power” of trace Minerals…
These articles piqued hartley’s interest with information about the amazing results people were receiving from drinking a little bit of sea water each day. This led him to research the great salt Lake, an inland sea located near his home. He found that the Great Salt Lake not only had the same minerals and balance discussed by George Crane, but that it was 6 to 10 times more concentrated than regular sea water without the pollution. Hartley knew there was a need for these minerals himself and had seen results from other people that the company was established with initial product Sales.
Science was slow to provide answers as to why the minerals from this desert sea caused such a dramatic and varied results in people, but Hartley knew from his growing stack of testimonials that the company’s first product, Inland sea water, was effective. He and his wife, Gaye, founded Trace Minerals Research in 1968 and started selling pure Great Salt Lake water to the public and a short time later, they discovered how to use nature’s own processes to remove the sodium, thereby creating low-sodium, Concentrace TraceMineral Drops.
Hartley and Gaye founded their company on the principle that nutritional supplements should get results and that if a customer does not actually feel an improvement in their health, they should not have to pay for it. This same principle is still evident today in Trace Mineral Research.
Not a single bottle of product leaves our manufacturing facility unless we can confidently back it up with the guarantee of “Feel the Difference or your Money Back.” This guarantee is made possible because minerals and trace minerals needed by Americans today are found in rich abundance, a natural balance and a highly assimilable principle ionic form from the Great Salt Lake. Trace Mineral Research sent most of their products into development because of the spectacular results many people were already discovering from low sodium ConcenTrace and Trace Mineral Drops. The company then combined their formulas of vitamins, herbs, enzymes and other nutrients to enhance the specific benefits people were reporting.
Trace Minerals Research now has a complete line of highly effective nutritional supplements each backed by our guarantee of “Feel the Difference of Your Money Back”. These products are also backed by research and we are continually researching new information on our existing and new products.
Our Philosophy at Trace Mineral Research has always been that the Earth was created with the prefect balance of all the nutrients that humans need to be healthy and happy. The only problem is that over the years humans have become victims of the water cycle. Dr. U. Aswathanarayana states, “Soil erosion leads to the depletion of essential nutrients elements in crops grown in depleted soil. When people consume a diet derived from such crops, the intake of essential elements becomes inadequate. This leads to the impairment of the relevant physiological functions, and causes disease.” For millions of years, every sprouting seed and towering tree has dissolved minerals to ionic form and raised them from the depths of the soil where they could easily be washed away by water. To add to this problem, aggressive farming has further depleted the soils. Furthermore, many fertilizers and pesticides bind trace minerals in the soil so that fewer minerals are absorbed by fruits and vegetables. The importance of minerals in the soil and their effects on human health are not new concepts. Dr. Alexis Carrel, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1912, states, “Soil is the basis of all human life and our only hope for a healthy world… All of life will be either healthy or unhealthy according to the fertility of the soil. Minerals in the soil control the metabolism of cells in plants, animal and man … Diseases are created chiefly by destroying the harmony reigning among mineral substances present in infinitesimal amounts in air, water and food, but most importantly in the soil. Even the AMA recognized the importance of minerals in our diet. “Variations in the distribution of certain minerals in the environment are known to have an effect on health.
The Lack of minerals in our soil is evidenced through the need for constant fertilization. Plants need nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, chlorine, carbon, boron, sulfur, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and molybdenum, some of which are commonly replaced through fertilizers to provide maximum crops through minimum investment. However, humans are known to additionally need calcium, sodium, fluorine, bromine, chromium, iodine, silicon, selenium, beryllium, lithium, cobalt, vanadium and nickel, which would not necessarily be replaced through fertilization for plants.
This continual cycle of soil depletion and minor replacement of minerals through fertilization in conjunction with a diet of processed foods has left many Americans deficient in minerals and trace minerals. This does not need to follow the water cycle. As water goes through the constant cycle from evaporation to precipitation, minerals are transported through rivers and streams where it is then collected in the seas thereby creating a natural equilibrium.
Today, Trace Minerals Research harvests minerals and trace minerals from the Great Salt Lake, a uniquely rich and pure desert sea. These minerals are the basis for each of their unique products and help provide a strong foundation for balanced supplementation.
August 30, 2005 01:22 PM
Kiss Herbal Supplements Goodbye
Healthful herbal therapies face a new attack in Congress.
If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny. – Thomas Jefferson
Our third president recognized the devastating health and liberty implications of allowing governments to dictate what people eat. One can only imagine the disgust with which Jefferson would regard elected officials who are currently betraying core American freedoms by working to revoke our rights to choose what foods we put in our bodies.
In 1994, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) estabilished that dietary supplements are foods. Its passage was a shinning moment of democracy that resonated with Jefferson’s beliefs on health freedom, as millions of Americans raised their voices to preserve our right to safe, natural supplements.
DSHEA Under Attack
But now, as countless people use supplements to enhance their health, some officials are tampering with the DSHEA. HR 3156, the dietary supplement access & awareness act introduced by representative Susan Davis (D-CA), is designed to deny Americans access to the supplements they rely upon for good health. Should HR3156 pass, herbal supplements will be subject to risk benefits analysis, under which adverse event reporting will empower the FDA to ban herbal supplement Sales.
Inexplicably, the bill pays no heed to the amount of herbal supplement associated with an adverse event. In other words, if someone ingests an unreasonably excessive amount of a herbal remedy, and as result experiences an adverse event, that would be enough for the FDA to ban that supplement—even if the overwhelming majority of consumers experienced positive benefits by using the supplement properly. This caveat, in addition to the relative ease with which an adverse event could falsely be linked to herbal supplements, has the potential to enable widespread, groundless bans of these health-enhancing, time-tested therapies.
Fight Back, Right Now!
We must act now to prevent the passage of HR 3156. For America’s sake, we must fight the forces in Congress that wish to ban our access to herbal supplements. In the name of democracy we must ensure that our elected officials are representing our interests and not furthering their own agendas. Without your immediate support, America’s health will be compromised as herbal supplements, one by one are banned under false pretenses.
To Quote Jefferson once again, “Never put off ‘till tomorrow what you can do today.” The need for your support is urgent, so please fax your representatives in congress today and urge them to oppose that passage of HR 3156. Contacting elected officials is fast and easy; visit www.NHA2005.com and use revolutionary technology that helps you compose faxes to congress. Become a good health ambassador; educate your friends on this gross impingement on our health freedom and encourage them to join the fight against health tyranny!
Fax the architects of HR 3156, Susan Davis (Fax: 202-225-2948), John Dingell (Fax: 202-226-0371) and Henry Waxman (Fax: 202-225-4099), and let them know that if they revoke your health freedom, you’ll vote for your health-care interests in the next election! It is only with your help that we can win the fight to keep safe, healthy supplements in our lives. For health, Freedom and liberty, visit www.NHA2005.com and Join the NHA Today.
Adverse Reactions to Foods and Dietary Supplements
August 27, 2005 08:27 AM
Adverse Reactions to Foods and Dietary Supplements
Answers to common Questions
The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that between 60,000 and 106,000 deaths per year in the United States are caused by prescription drugs. See JAMA, April 15, 1998 – Vol 279, No. 15. Fortunately, adverse reactions to foods and dietary supplements are far more rare than adverse reactions to drugs. However, we each consume a larger variety and quantity of foods than drugs. Because of this, and because each of us can react differently, an allergic or isolated reaction to a food or supplement is a possibility. Here’s helpful information about what to do if you or someone you care for has what appears to be an adverse reaction to a food or dietary supplement.
What types of reactions could I have?
The most common adverse reaction is an allergic reaction. In order to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction, carefully read all labels and buy products from reputable manufacturers who accurately disclose the ingredients in their products. If you need help finding these manufacturers, ask your local health food retailer for recommendations.
How do I know what caused my reaction?
Take time to carefully review what might have caused the reactions. Doctors and experts in toxicology look at several different factors in trying to determine the cause of a particular reaction.
1. Is this reaction a side effect of drugs I am taking?
Asking your self these questions can help limit the number of possible causes and may lead you to an answer more quickly.
What should I do if I have an adverse reaction?
Weather or not you know the potential cause of the reaction, follow these steps:
How can I reach the FDA or another government agency about my concerns?
Various state and federal agencies employ personnel who can help respond to concerns or questions about adverse reactions. Following is contact information for some of the agencies:
How can I report an adverse event?
FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) has an Adverse Event Reporting System (CAERS) that can be contacted in any of the following ways:
You can contact FDA’s MedWatch Program in any of the following ways:
For Non-emergencies related to products purchased via internet, fill out an online form on FDA’s website at vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/qa-top.html (see link to “form to report unlawful Sales”)
You may also contact any local poison control center, local or state health agencies, the department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Trake Commision, the Consumer Products safety Commission, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and t hey will forward your report to the FDA.
June 25, 2005 09:56 AM
Fresh Rub: A fresh clove of garlic can be used directly on warts and verrucae. When added to the diet, it works as a prophylactic against infection, helps to reduce high blood cholesterol and improves the cardiovascular system. Eating garlic regularly can also help to lower blood sugar levels.
Juice: Garlic juice can be taken for digestive disorders, infectious diseases and for atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Capsules: Powdered garlic can be taken in capsules and can be purchased in deodorized form. Garlic capsules are a convenient way to supplement the diet with garlic and are good for heart disease, high blood pressure and to fight infections of any kind. Pearls: Pearls are capsulized garlic oil which have been deodorized and are sometimes used as an alternative to the capsules.
(Note: Garlic pearls which have been deodorized are sometimes less potent in their biochemical action. Garlic’s strong, pungent odor compounds are excreted through the lungs and the skin. Eating fresh parsley and lemon juice can help to neutralize garlic odor on the breath.)
Maceration: Garlic cloves can be steeped in water overnight and taken as a treatment for intestinal parasites. Aged Oil: Considered by some to be a superior form of garlic. Storage: Fresh garlic can be stored in a cool, dry, dark place. Garlic extracts and oils should be kept in dark bottles and can be refrigerated.
Recommended Usage: Garlic pills and extracts should be taken as recommend on their labels. If using garlic in cooked form, it can be eaten abundantly. Raw garlic is stronger and should not be eaten indiscriminately as gastric upset might occur. Capsules and pills are best taken with meals.
Safety: Garlic is considered safe when taken in reasonable amounts however it is very heating and when ingested in excess can irritate the stomach. Taken in therapeutic doses during pregnancy or while nursing may cause some gastric upset. Placing fresh, raw garlic or garlic oil directly on the skin may also cause irritation or contact dermatitis. When using garlic externally, apply a layer of olive oil to the skin first.
Very high dosages of garlic tincture have been known to cause leukocytosis. Garlic does not have to be consumed raw to be effective. Moreover, the typical odor of garlic does not always have to be present in order for it to still posses health benefits. If you experience side effects such as a burning sensation when urinating, heartburn, flatulence or belching, you may want to use a processed garlic extract. To avoid garlic breath, deodorized forms of garlic are available. If taken properly, the safety and efficacy of garlic has been well established.
June 24, 2005 01:07 PM
ECHINACEA (Echinacea angustifolia)
Common Names: Black Sampson, Purple Coneflower, Rud beckia , Missouri Snakeroot, Red Sunflower
Plant Parts: roots, rhizome
Active Compounds: echinacoside, polysaccharides (echinacin), antibiotic polyacetylenes, betaine, caffeic acid glycosides, inulin, isobutyl amides, ess ential oil (humulene, caryophylene), isobutyl-alkylamines, resin, flavonoids (in leaves and stems), sesquiterpene esters (echinadiole, epoxy - echinadiole, echinax-anthole, and dihydor-xynardole). Pharmacology: Echinacea contains a variety of chemical compounds which have significant pharmacological functions. It has been the subject of hundreds of clinical and scientific studies which have primarily used an extract of the plant portion of the botanical. The rich content of polysaccharides and phytosterols in echinacea are what make it a strong immune system stimulant. The sesquiterpene esters also have immunostimulatory effects. Glycoside echinacoside is found in the roots of the plant. Echinacin has also been found to possess anti-fungal and antibiotic properties. This component of echinacea also has cortisone-like actions which can help promote the healing of wounds and helps to control the inflammatory reactions of allergies.
Vitamin and Mineral Content: vitamins A, E, C, iron, iodine, copper, sulphur and potassium
Recommended Usage: Echinacea works best if it is taken right at the onset of an infection in substantial doses and then tapere d off. It can be used in higher quantities as a preventative during winter months when colds and flu are prevalent. If using it to maintain the immune system, periodic use is believed to be more effective than continual usage. Typically, one should use echinacea for seven to eight weeks on followed by one week off. Guaranteed potency echinacea is currently available in capsule form only. Safety: High doses can occasionally cause nausea and dizziness. Echinacea has not exhibited any observed toxicity even in high dosages. Anyone who is suffering from any type of kidney disorder should restrict taking echinacea to one week maximum. Very heavy use of echinacea may temporarily cause male infertility.
Your Healthy Harvest
June 14, 2005 11:05 AM
Your Healthy Harvest by Marjorie Flakowitz Energy Times, August 15, 2004
Once frowned on by conventional farmers, organic food has won respect from everyone concerned about the health of both the earth and the people who inhabit it.
Today, organic farming is considered one of the most rapidly growing areas of American agriculture. Organic foods Sales topped $9 billion in 2002 and grew about 20%, up to almost $11 billion in 2003 (Organic Trade Association).
So when you buy organic, you join an expanding market that takes advantage of great-tasting, good-for-you food. Long ago, when the practice of farming was first devised, all farming was organic farming. So today's organic movement is bringing farming back to its roots.
But, safe to say, that is not what's motivating most consumers. A main reason for the popularity of organic food derives from the reassurance that organic foods, raised without artificial chemicals and pesticides, cut your exposure to toxic residues. A growing body of research shows organic food is richer in beneficial natural substances, too.
" Organic food and organic farming represent a philosophy that goes beyond just the quality of the food," says Steve Meyerowitz in The Organic Food Guide (Globe Pequot). "It strives to maintain the integrity of the entire food chain-plants, soil, air, water, animals and people. We are all part of the same ecosystem."
By eating organic, you eliminate pollution both from your body and the earth. Because our bodies are made of the animal and plant products we consume, our internal, physiological ecosystem and the earth's environment are inexorably entwined.
Chilling Arctic Evidence
As evidence of this connection, consider what's happened in the Arctic. Researchers who have analyzed Arctic water, ice, snow, soil and plants have found that chemicals used in farming and industry in other parts of the world have traveled north and accumulated in alarming quantity. How and if these chemicals break down depends on sunlight and the amount of organic matter contained in Arctic waters (American Chemical Society, 9/11/03).
" Once pollutants enter the water column, their behavior is poorly understood-particularly the processes that govern their lifetime and concentrations," says Amanda Grannas, PhD, a researcher at Ohio State University. "Such pollutants are now being found in wildlife, from fish to seals to whales, and even in people living in the Arctic."
Dr. Grannas and others looked at the pesticides lindane and hexachlorobenzene (HCB), two chemicals that have migrated to Arctic waters. Lindane is used by American farmers to treat seeds before they are planted. HCB, banned in the US in 1984, is still used in other countries to protect wheat from fungus.
The scientists found that sunlight at the top of Arctic waterways can help break down some pesticides. At lower depths, however, cut off from the sun's rays, pesticides can remain largely intact. In this research, lindane proved to persist much more readily than HCB.
" Lindane is one of the most persistent of pollutants," warns Dr. Grannas. "This could be because it's photochemically inert, whereas pollutants like HCB degrade relatively quickly. The main message is that pollutants can behave quite differently. These pollutants already affect local ecosystems, and could have repercussions for human health."
Organics Means More Benefits
Researchers are also finding that organic produce contains larger quantities of beneficial natural chemicals. For instance, one study (Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 2/26/03) showed that berries and corn grown organically can have almost 60% more polyphenolics. Polyphenolics are antioxidants plants use for protection against disease and which are good for humans. Researchers believe that when crops are grown conventionally, protected by pesticides and herbicides, they produce fewer of these substances. " This really opens the door to more research in this area," says Alyson Mitchell, PhD, assistant professor of food science at University of California at Davis, who led the research.
These scientists compared levels of total polyphenolics and vitamin C content in marionberries (a type of blackberry) and corn grown organically, sustainably or conventionally, and also looked at chemicals in strawberries grown either sustainably or conventionally. (Sustainable farming falls between the organic and conventional methods, and concentrates on farming that's self-sufficient-for example, feeding cows hay you've grown yourself, and then using the cows' manure to fertilize another crop.) They found that organic marionberries and corn had 50% to 58% more polyphenolics. The sustainably grown strawberries had 19% more polyphenolics. And all the organic produce contained more vitamin C.
Self-Defense for Plants
According to Dr. Mitchell, the organic crops contained the high levels of polyphenolics you'd expect to find in wild plants, suggesting that, on conventional farms, pesticides reduce the necessity for plants to make these protective, natural chemicals. " If an aphid is nibbling on a leaf, the plant produces phenolics to defend itself," she says. "[P]henolics guard the plant against these pests."
Pesticides kill insects like aphids and thereby reduce the antioxidants produced by the plant. " This helps explain why the level of antioxidants is so much higher in organically grown food," Mitchell says. "By synthetically protecting the produce from these pests, we decrease their need to produce antioxidants. It suggests that maybe we are doing something to our food inadvertently.
" We know [polyphenolics] are beneficial [to human health], but we don't know what types of polyphenolics are beneficial, or in what quantities," Dr. Mitchell notes. " Originally, the question was just really intriguing to me. I found that the higher level of antioxidants is enough to have a significant impact on health and nutrition, and it's definitely changed the way I think about my food."
Vitamin C in Oranges
Meanwhile, nutritional research on the vitamin C in oranges turns up similar results: organic oranges are richer in this antioxidant nutrient than conventionally grown oranges (Great Lakes Regional Meeting, American Chemical Society, 6/2/02).
The more common supermarket oranges are significantly larger than organically grown oranges, and they have a deeper orange color. Because of their larger size, "we were expecting twice as much vitamin C in the conventional oranges," says Theo Clark, PhD, chemistry professor at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.
But when he isolated the chemicals in the oranges and further refined his search with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), spectroscopy demonstrated that organically grown oranges possess 30% more vitamin C than the conventionally grown fruits-even though they are only about half as large.
Dr. Clark isn't sure why organic oranges are richer in vitamin C, but he says, "...[W]e speculate that with conventional oranges, [farmers] use nitrogen fertilizers that cause an uptake of more water, so it sort of dilutes the orange. You get a great big orange but it is full of water and does not have as much nutritional value.
" However, we can only speculate. Other factors such as maturity, climate, processing factors, packaging and storage conditions require consideration." Along with analyzing oranges, Dr. Clark and his research team questioned about 70 people to measure their concept of the nutritional value of organic oranges. In this survey, 85% of the respondents thought that organic oranges have a higher nutritional content than conventionally grown fruit.
Dr. Clark's laboratory work shows that "they were right on." In Dr. Clark's view, these issues are important because consumers have a right to know the real nutritional content of organic produce, and the fact that analyses show that organic fruit has much more vitamin C validates the benefits of eating organic.
Both plants and animals protect themselves from disease with many of the same chemicals. The natural substances that, in a farmer's field, defend vegetables from insects and microbes before they are harvested for your dinner go to work defending your body after you eat and digest them.
When you eat organic you bolster your health with more of these natural wonders. No wonder organic is becoming so popular!
Home on the Range
June 13, 2005 03:52 PM
Home on the Range
by Janis Jibrin, RD Energy Times, September 5, 1999
Got chicken? Americans can't seem to get enough of this bird. Last year each of us ate, on average, just about 80 pounds of chicken, a whopping increase over the 49 pounds we each devoured in 1980 and an eight-pound increase from 1995. Part of this food's popularity comes from its lean image as a healthier, less fatty alternative to red meat (don't forget to take the fatty skin off). Chicken's also a cheap protein source: At many popular supermarkets you'll find weekly specials at about a dollar a pound.
But at health food markets, chicken can cost upwards of $1.69 a pound. These birds may be touted as raised in an organic, stress-free environment and on a vegetarian diet, free of antibiotics. For many people, this poultry is a better buy.
The Alternative Chicken
Most of the supermarket chicken you pick up in grocery refrigerated cases are broilers, birds bred to mature in about eight weeks. In comparison, in the '60s, chickens needed 14 weeks to become adult poultry. Conventionally-raised broilers eat grain mixed with whatever's cheapest on the market, such as recycled cooking oil that's been used to fry fast foods and animal parts.
These birds reside in chicken coops the size of football fields and don't see the light of day until transported to the slaughterhouse. On the other roost, alternatively raised chickens are brought up in a variety of ways (see box), but usually enjoy a more relaxed life and diet.
Chickens on the farm receive antibiotics for two reasons: To fight off the diseases that can run rampant through a crowded chicken coop and to encourage faster growth.
Antibiotics Stimulate Growth
Mark Cook, PhD, professor of animal science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, explains, "Gut bacteria trigger an immune system assault, which makes chickens a little feverish, suppresses appetite and slows growth. Antibiotics stimulate growth indirectly, by keeping bacteria levels down, and preventing the immune reaction." When birds get sick, they often get dosed with even more antibiotics.
This widespread antibiotic use has come home to roost and may contribute to the growth of bacteria that, frequently exposed to chemicals, have evolved ways to keep from being killed by pharmaceuticals.
This development threatens human health. Bacterial infections that people contract, once easily cured by penicillin or other drugs, are now tougher to eradicate. For instance, campylobactor, a common bacteria found in chicken, and responsible for some food poisonings, now demonstrates signs of resistance to drugs like floroquinolones. A powerful class of antibiotics, floroquinolones used to dependably conquer this infection.
"Floroquinolones are an extremely important class of antibiotics, used to treat many types of infections such as urinary tract infection, a wide variety of gastrointestinal illnesses, pneumonia, almost everything," says Kirt Smith, DVM, PhD, epidemiologist, acute disease epidemiology section, Minnesota Department of Health.
A study by Dr. Smith, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (340, 1999: 1525-32), showed that the percent of floroquinolone-resistant campylobactor appearing in infected people in his state-Minnesota-climbed from a little over 1% in infected people during 1992 to 10.2% in 1998. He and other scientists strongly suspect that the rise is a direct consequence of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) decision to allow floroquinolones in poultry feed beginning in 1995.
Although it was nearly impossible for Dr. Smith to trace the precise origin of campylobactor poisoning, he believes chicken was usually the source-and not just U.S. chicken. Many of the infected people had returned from Mexico and other countries.
"Sales of floroquinolones for poultry use in Mexico has increased dramatically," notes Dr. Smith.
Many alternative chicken producers do not use any antibiotic-laced feed at all. Other farmers adjust the feed to lower gut pH, making it more acidic and lowering chances of bacteria. At the U. of Wisconsin, Dr. Cook is developing antibodies to suppress the immune response to bacteria so chickens won't need antibiotics to spur growth. Buying and dining on chicken raised with little or no antibiotics could beneficially lower your risk of contracting a hardy bacterial infection. Better to catch campylobactor from an antibiotic-free chicken than a conventional chicken, speculates Dr. Cook. "There's less likelihood the bug will be resistant, and a better chance your problem can be cured with antibiotics," he explains.
And, looking beyond your own immediate health risk, buying antibiotic-free chicken makes a small contribution to stopping the spread of antibiotic resistant bugs. A Matter of Taste Conventionally raised chickens get little exercise and live only eight weeks, so they're tender but bland.
"There's not much taste in a modern chicken. Free range or organically grown, older birds usually have more taste," notes Dr. Cook.
The days of barnyard chickens happily clucking and strutting around in picturesque nature have disappeared with the family farm. Today, chickens lead a meager existence. After hatching, baby chicks are tossed into a gigantic hen house that is home to up to 30,000 birds. Their short lives are lived within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandated 3/4 square foot per chicken. In that squeeze, birds can catch "chicken influenza," especially in winter when it's too cold to let in much fresh air.
Laying hens don't experience much more of a peaceful existence. These birds live their years with about five other hens, so crowded they can't flap their wings. Cages, suspended in the air, let eggs roll into a holding area. So they don't peck each other, hens are often debeaked, a painful process that can cause infection.
Hens go through natural laying and "dry" cycles. Growers manipulate this cycle by "forced molting," depriving hens of food for four to 14 days to keep them constantly laying. By the end of two years, hens are worn out. Their inactivity weakens their bones enough that electrical stunning, the usual method for knocking chickens out before slaughter, shatters their bones. So some wind up being plucked and boiled alive, according to Mary Finelli, program director for farm animals and public health at the Humane Society of the United States. The meat from these hens, tougher than other birds, was probably in your deli lunch sandwich. It's also used in the school lunch program or may end up in dog food.
"Generally, organically-grown broilers and hens have it better because room to move is part of the organic certification process," says Finelli. Finelli suggests visiting chicken suppliers to find out how chickens are treated. Or, she advocates a Humane Society book listing reliable firms. For a local producer call the society: 202-452-1100. According to a Consumer Report report, some growers force chickens out the last week of their lives to brand them "free range." So free range isn't a prime standard for choosing a decently raised chicken. However, turkeys thrive outdoors, so choosing free-range turkey is often a good idea for better tasting poultry.
In any case, organic is your best bet for chicken without pesticides. Make it your main choice for your 80 pound yearly consumption!
To fight cruel treatment of poultry:
• Forced Molting Ban. Forced molting is shocking hens for more eggs. To support petitions banning forced molting write: Docket Manage-ment Branch, FDA, Dept. Health & Human Serv-ices, 12420 Parklawn Drive, Room 1-23, Rock-ville, MD 20857. Include docket # 98P-0203/CP
• Downed Animal Protection Bill (House Bill 443, Senate Bill S515) spares some animals from the tortuous journey from chicken house to slaughterhouse. Mandates humane euthanization.
Hearty Soy - Soy will cater to your cardiovascular well-being...
June 13, 2005 10:19 AM
Hearty Soy by Joyce Dewon Energy Times, January 5, 2004
It's a diet food, it's a health food. Any way you look at it or eat it, soy's combination of benefits and its versatility as a component of a heart-healthy diet have led to a widespread popularity that continues to grow.
No matter what your taste preference, a soy food is available to satisfy your picky palate and cater to your cardiovascular well-being.
Annual Sales of soy in the US continue to grow more than 10% a year, edging toward the $4 billion mark. Today, the average American consumes about 10 mg of soy protein a day, even though the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends taking in at least 25 mg of soy to benefit your heart. Even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has signaled its approval of the soy bandwagon, allowing claims that daily soy can help lower the risk of cardiovascular complications.
As Good as a Drug
Researchers who have investigated how soy can help lower cholesterol and shrink the risk of heart disease have concluded that soy, in a diet with fruits and vegetables, can be as effective as cholesterol-reducing drugs (JAMA 7/22/03).
Researchers at the University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital compared the cholesterol-lowering power of soy and other vegetarian foods with that of lovastatin, a standard pharmaceutical used to reduce cholesterol.
In the study, scientists fed people a diet that, along with soy, had large amounts of nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, and high-fiber foods like oats and barley plus margarine made with plant sterols (natural substances derived from leafy greens and vegetable oils). Researcher David Jenkins, PhD, a nutrition science professor, thinks these foods may be good at dropping cholesterol because human evolution makes us well-adapted for an "ape diet," one high in fiber, vegetable protein, nuts and plant sterols.
According to Dr. Jenkins, "As we age, we tend to get raised cholesterol, which in turn increases our risk of heart disease. This study shows that people now have a dietary alternative to drugs to control their cholesterol, at least initially." Dr. Jenkins also thinks that soy and a vegetarian diet can be used to maintain normal cholesterol levels.
Dr. Jenkins' heart-healthy diet, designed to be easily prepared and consumed, includes oat bran bread and cereal, soy drinks, fruit and soy deli slices. For instance, in his study, a typical dinner consisted of tofu baked with eggplant, onions and sweet peppers, pearled barley and vegetables.
Dr. Jenkins adds, "The Food and Drug Administration has approved these cholesterol-lowering foods as having legitimate health claims for heart disease risk reduction. They're also being recommended by the American Heart Association and the National Cholesterol Education Program as foods that should be incorporated into the diet. And we have now proven that these foods have an almost identical effect on lowering cholesterol as the original cholesterol-reducing drugs."
Dr. Jenkins regrets that health practitioners often give drugs to people with high cholesterol instead of trying to control the problem with soy and other vegetarian foods.
Soy Safety Affirmed
Recently, some doctors have spread the story that soy may increase the risk of cancer because natural chemicals in soy act like estrogens, hormones that may contribute to breast and other cancers. However, research has failed to support this supposition.
As Dr. Jenkins points out, "the concerns have been whether soy estrogen might lead to hormone-dependent breast cancer or abnormal sexual development in children, yet we found no evidence to support this."
In another of Dr. Jenkins' studies, people were put on diets high in soy to see how their estrogen levels were affected. Then, the researchers measured estrogen byproducts in their urine. Since estrogen stimulates breast cancer cells to produce a special protein, the researchers measured the amount of this protein produced by each urine sample to calculate how much estrogen was present.
The total estrogenic activity in the urine of women on soy dropped to lower levels than it had been before they ate soy. "This finding suggests that soy may not have the estrogenic effects that were thought to alleviate menopausal symptoms but it refutes claims about its purported hormone risks," Dr. Jenkins says.
The study also demonstrated that soy can reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering levels of oxidized cholesterol, which is thought to stick to coronary artery walls and form dangerous plaques. Dr. Jenkins' other research demonstrates that soy consumption reduces cholesterol in general while also decreasing the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the body and maintaining the HDL (good) cholesterol. According to Dr. Jenkins, this confirms that soy should be promoted for its important role in preventing heart disease without fear that it will promote cancer.
In another study in China, researchers compared the dietary habits of more than 350 women with breast cancer to the foods eaten by more than 1,000 women who did not have cancer (Amer Assoc Canc Res Second Annual Intl Conf Fron Can Prev Res 10/27/03, Abst 1274). They found that eating large amounts of soy did not raise the risk of breast cancer.
Of course, anyone can develop allergies to almost any food, soy included. If eating soy causes you discomfort, find another source of healthy protein (see box on whey protein above).
Isoflavones, soy's plant estrogens, are believed to create some of the most significant heart-healthy soy benefits. Consequently, researchers urge those concerned about their cardiovascular health to combine a diet high in soy, fruits and vegetables with exercise for the highest level of heart protection. Cheaper than cholesterol drugs, tastier than many other healthy foods and available in so many forms, soy's popularity will certainly continue to explode. Soy burgers, soy drinks and soy just-about-everything will continue to be a big part of our lives.
Vitali-Tea - Tea fits a healthy lifestyle to a T...
June 13, 2005 09:45 AM
Vitali-Tea by Leah Brinks Energy Times, October 9, 2003
If the research is even only half right, tea fits a healthy lifestyle to a T. Whenever scientists look at a teapot's contents, they find striking health benefits: Heart protection. Reduced cancer risk. Better skin.
All of these are apparently in the bag when you choose to drink tea. Tea green, tea black: Which to choose? Actually, both types come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. Green tea is steamed and dried; black tea is fermented, which allows its darker color to develop. Some lesser-known types include white tea, which is actually green tea that undergoes the most minimal of handling. (Another rare white tea, white cantaloupe, is rich in antioxidants.) Oolong is a tea that falls between green and black in processing and flavor.
One increasingly popular tea color, red, is not tea at all, but an herbal brew called rooibos (technically, herbal teas are known as tisanes). This South African plant yields a citrus-flavored beverage high in vitamin C. Other herbs known for yielding flavorful infusions include chamomile, used to promote sound sleep; peppermint, a digestion easer; and rose hips, which, like rooibos, combines healthy vitamin C levels with a delightfully zesty taste.
The evidence for tea's health benefits has practically boiled over. For instance, researchers at the University of Rochester have found that green tea substances inhibit the action of a molecule irritated by tobacco smoke, a toxin central to tobacco's cancer-causing danger. This action, say the scientists, may be the reasons that smokers who drink tea suffer less cancer (Chem Res Tox 7/21/03).
The Rochester researchers found that tea helps protect a cellular molecule called the aryl hydrocarbon (AH) receptor. Ordinarily, AH is frequently disturbed by toxic substances that cause cancer and other illnesses. Tobacco smoke (as well as the pollutant dioxin) interacts with AH to initiate cancer and other problems.
But at least two chemicals in green tea-epigallocatechingallate (EGCG) and epigallocatechin (EGC)-interfere with AH's harmful activity. These substances, flavonoids similar to healthful chemicals found in grapes, wine and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, have been shown to lower cancer risk.
"It's likely that the compounds in green tea act through many different pathways," says Thomas Gasiewicz, professor and chair of Environmental Medicine and director of Rochester's Environmental Health Science Center.
In the Rochester study, Dr. Gasiewicz and his colleagues found that EGCG and EGC close down the AH receptor in cancerous animal cells and most likely produce the same benefit in human cells.
Still to be made clear is how tea is metabolized when the body digests tea, but the Rochester scientists are still peering through their microscopes and teapots to find out.
Scientists at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University have found that drinking green or white tea can significantly lower your risk of colon cancer as well the prescription drug sulindac, which has been shown effective for people at high tumor risk (Carcinogenesis 3/03).
"Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, and recent upswings in the Sales of green tea in the United States can be attributed to reports of potential health benefits against cancer and other chronic diseases," says Gayle Orner, an OSU research associate. "Teas exert significant protective effects in experimental animal models of skin, lung, esophageal, gastric, hepatic, small intestinal, pancreatic, colon, bladder and mammary cancer."
While many people today take aspirin and similar drugs that have been shown to lower cancer risk, this study shows that drinking tea and taking low doses of these drugs, called NSAIDs, can reduce the risk even further. (High doses of NSAIDs, while protective against colon cancer, can cause internal bleeding.)
"These are pretty exciting results," Orner says. "What's especially significant is that as far as we can tell consumption of tea has none of the side effects of NSAIDs, which can be severe, including bleeding, ulcers and even death."
In this research on animals, use of tea dropped the risk of cancer by about two-thirds. According to the lab results, drinking about three large cups of tea a day should provide significant cancer protection. Based on research in Japan that looked at how green tea lowers the risk of stomach cancer, the Linus Pauling scientists urge plenty of tea drinking: "The more the better."
Studies show that nations of tea drinkers have less trouble with their hearts than residents of places where tea is hardly ever brewed. And now research is starting to zero in on the substances in tea that benefit heart health.
A study of 240 Chinese men and women who have high cholesterol has found that chemicals in tea can significantly drop harmful cholesterol (Arch Int Med 6/23/03).
"Personally, I was very surprised," says David J. Maron, MD, professor at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, lead author of the study. "I expected, if anything, a very slight cholesterol-lowering effect. But what we saw was a 16% reduction in low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol."
LDL cholesterol is known as "bad" cholesterol because it can increase your risk of heart disease.
The researchers in this study gave people extracts of green and black tea enhanced with theaflavin, an antioxidant also found in green tea.
In the future, if past results are any indication, tea's rich supply of beneficial chemicals will continue to pleasantly surprise researchers with even more benefits.
June 12, 2005 01:59 PM
Certified Foods by Glenda Olsen Energy Times, July 13, 2003
What's in your food, and where does it come from? To most American consumers, that question may seem unimportant. But the answers might surprise you. Your food's origin and processing can make a big difference in its nutritional value, for better and for worse. Increasingly, concern over the quality of food and its influence on health are persuading shoppers to take a greater interest in their food. The result: More visits to natural food stores and more Sales of organic food.
Once upon a time, food used to be just food. Crops were grown on family farms, and animals were raised in barnyards. But today, corporations have conquered food production in a big way. Agribusiness is just that-a big business in which animals and plants are treated like assembly-line items and raised on factory farms.
While the term "organic" gets tossed around endlessly in the media, the term is often misconstrued. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), "Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones."
In addition, organic farmers generally do not use pesticides, sewage sludge or synthetic fertilizers. This type of food is also produced without genetically modified organisms and is not subject to radiation used to zap the bugs on food. Today, USDA-approved certifying agents inspect the farms where organic food is raised to ensure organic standards are followed. In addition, the companies that process food and handle organic food have to be USDA-certified. Meeting these standards allows companies to use the USDA's organic label on foods that are at least 95% organic in origin. Labels for foods that contain between 70% and 95% organic content can use the words "Made With Organic Ingredients," but cannot use the seal.
While the debate over the nutritional benefits of organic food has raged for decades, recent research is beginning to turn up evidence that organically grown fruits and vegetables may contain extra helpings of vitamins and other nutrients. A study at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, found that organically grown oranges contain more vitamin C than conventional supermarket oranges (Great Lakes Regional Meeting, Amer Chem Soc, 6/02).
Theo Clark, PhD, the Truman State professor who investigated the organic oranges, says that when he and his students began their research, "We were expecting twice as much vitamin C in the conventional oranges" because they are larger than organic oranges. To his surprise, chemical isolation combined with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy revealed that the organically grown oranges contained up to 30% more vitamin C than the conventionally grown fruits-even though they were only about half the size. "We speculate that with conventional oranges, (farmers) use nitrogen fertilizers that cause an uptake of more water, so it sort of dilutes the orange. You get a great big orange but it is full of water and doesn't have as much nutritional value," Dr. Clark says. "However, we can only speculate. Other factors such as maturity, climate, processing factors, packaging and storage conditions require consideration."
If you want to avoid pesticide residues in your food, research shows that going organic can make it much less likely that you or your family consumes these unwanted chemicals. Research, for instance, into the diets of children (Enviro Hlth Persp 3/03) shows that dining on organic fruits and vegetables, and organic juice, can lower kids' intake of pesticides.
These scientists took a look at the organophosphorus (OP) pesticide breakdown products in the blood of kids ages two to five who ate conventional supermarket produce and compared it with the OP found in organic kids.
The children on the organic diet had less OP in their blood than the other kids. As a matter of fact, the children on the conventional diet had six times the dimethyl metabolites, dimethyl being a pesticide suspected of affecting nerve function and growth. "Consumption of organic produce appears to provide a relatively simple way for parents to reduce their children's exposure to OP pesticides," note the researchers. "Organic foods have been growing in popularity over the last several years," says Jim Burkhart, PhD, science editor for the journal that published the study. "These scientists studied one potential area of difference from the use of organic foods, and the findings are compelling."
On the way to tonight's dinner, researchers have created genetically modified organisms (GMO), plants and animals that have been transgenically engineered. In the food world, that means organisms containing genes inserted from another species. Chances are if you eat food purchased at the typical supermarket, those comestibles contain GMO ingredients. In the United States, food companies are not required to label for GMO content.
A growing number of American consumers are upset about not being told about the GMO products in their food. But industry scientists, worried that informed consumers may someday turn their back on GMO foods, consider consumer ignorance to be an acceptable state of affairs.
For instance, the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) is fighting regulations that would require GMO labeling. According to ASPB President Daniel Bush, PhD, of the University of Illinois at Urbana, "The language...(in these types of regulations) is based on a system of beliefs of what is 'natural,' rather than a scientifically defined set of criteria focused on content and nutritional value. This is a radical departure from food labeling up to now, which is designed to maximize useful information for consumers concerning what is in the food they are buying."
Dr. Bush continues, "There are, of course, examples of voluntary labeling standards in the food industry that reflect how foods are processed, such as organic foods. The voluntary organic labeling standards were sought by the organic food industry. Kosher foods are also labeled as having been produced in accordance with specific beliefs. However, mandatory labeling of targeted production methods has never before been required and we believe would obscure rather than clarify important issues of food safety."
In other words, Dr. Bush opposes GMO labeling because he feels it would unnecessarily stigmatize GMO food items. Others are not so sanguine about the safety of GMO foods.
The arguments against GMO foods include:
These types of risks have motivated industry groups to urge more regulation of GMO crops. The Food Marketing Institute, the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) and the National Restaurant Association, plus seven other food groups, are worried that GMO plants grown to produce pharmaceutical drugs could contaminate the food supply and destroy consumer trust in food.
Mary Sophos, a vice president of GMA, warns, "To minimize the possible risks, a clear system of regulatory enforcement and liability needs to be in place. Until then, no permits for new field trials or for commercialization should be issued because there is no room for trial and error."
These food industry groups have voiced their concerns to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the USDA. Last year, the USDA forced ProdiGene Inc., a biotech firm, to dispose of 500,000 bushels of soybeans contaminated with a drug meant to treat diabetes. What are the chances of more GMO accidents? No one knows. But if you buy and eat organic, you minimize your risk and maximize your chances of dining on safer food.
June 11, 2005 05:04 PM
Power Protein by Joanne Gallo Energy Times, August 4, 1999
Chances are, if you've been trying to lose weight, build muscle, or increase your energy levels, then you've been hearing about protein. This essential nutrient has stolen the spotlight of the health industry as the alleged key to vitality and a solid physique.
With books like Protein Power (Bantam) and Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution (Avon) firmly implanted on The New York Times bestseller list, and protein bars and shakes growing in popularity, more people than ever are seeking to tap into the power of protein.
But before you go on an all-out protein-blitz, how can you decide what's best for you?
The Purpose of Protein
No doubt about it, protein performs a variety of roles. First and foremost, it is used to manufacture and repair all of the body's cells and tissues, and forms muscles, skin, bones and hair. Protein makes up the connective tissue that forms the matrix of bones; keratin is a type of protein used to make hair and nails.
It is essential to all metabolic processes; digestive enzymes and metabolism-regulating hormones (such as insulin, which influences blood sugar levels) are all made of protein. This nutrient also intricately takes part in transport functions: Without sufficient protein the body cannot produce adequate hemoglobin, which carries nutrients through the blood. Lipo-proteins are fat-carrying proteins which transport cholesterol through the bloodstream.
Protein helps regulate fluid and electrolyte balance, maintaining proper blood volume. Immunoglobulins and antibodies that ward off diseases are also comprised of protein.
Any protein that you eat that is not utilized for these purposes is stored as fat, although some may be broken down, converted to glucose and burned for energy. This can occur during intensive workouts, or when the body runs out of carbohydrates from the diet or glycogen from its muscle and liver stores.
"Even though the body can depend on the fat it has stored, it still uses muscle protein, unless it is fed protein as food," explain Daniel Gastelu, MS, MFS, and Fred Hatfield, PhD, in their book Dynamic Nutrition for Maximum Performance (Avery). "When dietary circumstances cause the body to use amino acids as a source of energy, it cannot also use these amino acids for building muscle tissue or for performing their other metabolic functions."
One can see why it is so important to eat a sufficient amount of protein daily in food, shakes or bars. Without it, bone tends to break down, the immune system can become impaired, and muscle strength drops as the body uses up muscle protein for energy.
Proteins are built of chains of amino acids, and 20 different kinds of these building blocks are necessary for protein synthesis within the body. Eleven of them can be manufactured by the body through a process called de novo synthesis; these are referred to as non-essential amino acids. The other nine, which must be obtained from the diet, are known as essential amino acids. (Although some amino acids are called "non-essential," in actuality they are vital: The body needs all 20 amino acids to function properly.)
Some of the more familiar non-essential amino acids include: n Carnitine helps remove fat from the bloodstream n Arginine helps burn sugar Essential amino acids include: n L-tryptophan, a precursor of the neurotransmitter serotonin, helps create calm moods and sleep patterns n L-lysine, required for the metabolism of fats n L-methionine a component of SAM-e (a supplement intended to relieve depression and arthritis, see p. 45)
The body forms and destroys protein from amino acids in a constant cycle of synthesis and degradation. You must consume protein regularly to replace the lost amino acids that are oxidized when protein is broken down and used for fuel. The amount of amino acids lost each day depends on what you eat and how much exercise you do.
Athletes vs. Weekend Warriors
Protein intake in the general population is still adequate, notes Gail Butterfield, PhD, RD, director of Sports Nutrition at Stanford University Medical School. "But we're learning that what is true for the general population may not be true for the athletic population," she says. "With heavy training there is greater protein degradation and you need to increase your intake. Thus, protein requirements are higher for athletes than regular people."
Also, if you diet or restrict your eating in any way, you may also not be getting enough protein.
Certainly, if you work out, eating protein is important. Providing four calories of energy per gram, protein keeps blood sugar steady during exercise. After exercise, it helps replenish and maintain stores of glycogen (stored muscle fuel) and decreases the loss of amino acids, as recent research has shown (J Appl Physiol 81 (5), Nov. 1996: 2095-2104). Lab studies in animals show that protein consumed after you run, lift weights, bike, etc..., helps stimulate muscle growth (Jrnl of Nut 127 , June 1997: 1156-1159)
High-protein diets are frequently touted to promote weight loss and increased energy. One of the most influential: the so-called 40-30-30 formula, developed by Barry Sears in his book The Zone: A Dietary Roadmap (HarperCollins), which describes a diet whose calories are 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat. The rationale: when you eat too many carbohydrates, your body uses these starches for energy instead of burning body fat. A high protein diet is supposed to keep your blood sugar balanced and stimulate hormones that burn body fat instead of carbohydrates for energy.
Other fitness experts such as Sherri Kwasnicki, IDEA International Personal Trainer of the Year of 1998, say that while protein is a necessary component of any diet, extreme high-protein plans aren't necessary for recreational fitness buffs. However, she notes that maintaining muscle mass is the key to aging gracefully, and getting enough protein is critical for that.
Many people today won't eat meat and dairy for ethical reasons, or to avoid the antibiotics and other chemicals in the raising of poultry and cattle. But that doesn't have to prohibit adequate protein intake. All soybean products, including tofu and soymilk, provide complete proteins, which supply ample quantities of all the essential amino acids.
In the past vegetarians were told to combine particular foods to make sure they consumed all the essential amino acids at each meal. (For example, beans with either brown rice, corn, nuts, seeds or wheat forms "complete" protein.) Today, diet experts aren't so picky. Eating a variety of plant-based foods throughout the day is just as effective as combining them at one meal.
Vegans who avoid all animal products should eat two servings at sometime during the day of plant-based protein sources, such as tofu, soy products, legumes, seeds and nuts.
The newest sources of protein are bars and shakes, which are growing steadily in popularity. Protein bars now constitute about 12% of the so-called energy bar market, with Sales increasing about 38% per year. These bars generally provide at least 20 grams of protein, including soy and whey protein and calcium caseinate (milk protein). The benefits: bars supply protein along with carbohydrates for energy; protein powders, on the other hand, provide quickly digested, easily absorbed amino acids.
Edmund Burke, PhD, author of Optimal Muscle Recovery (Avery), suggests "If you need extra protein, you may benefit from the convenience of a mixed carbohydrate-protein supplement... choose a supplement that's healthy and low in fat."
Amino acid supplements are also growing in popularity, reported to build muscle and burn fat, or improve mood by boosting brain neurotransmitters. The amino acids glutamine, phenylalanine, tyrosine and 5-HTP (a form of tryptophan) are all used to boost spirits and enhance brain function.
And if you still ponder the merits of those high protein diets, do keep in mind that protein may be better at controlling hunger than carbohydrates or fat since it steadies blood sugar, so it may help you stick to a reduced-calorie plan. But excess protein can't be stored as protein in the body: It is either burned for energy or converted to fat. And carbs are still the body's top energy source, so forgoing too many can leave you tired and sluggish.
Still, with so many vital functions-and a variety of sources to choose from-you can't afford to not explore the benefits of protein.
June 10, 2005 04:05 PM
by John Olan Energy Times, January 7, 2002
Water keeps you alive. About 50% to 70% of your cells are made of water. So when you talk about drinks, you're talking about water plus... But, oh, what a plus!
While water is crucial for survival, those pluses can add a waterfall of desirable ingredients to your diet, health and beverage indulgence. Even though water is the basic ingredient when you need a drink, healthy drinking has come to mean much more than H2O. The drink scene has bubbled up to include a new universe of usual and unusual liquids. When your thirst bursts upon the scene, you now have a tremendous choice of ways to quench.
The soy revolution in American nutrition has convincingly attacked the drink world. No matter what your age, nutritional requirements or taste preferences, it seems as though someone, somewhere, has designed a soy drink with you in mind. The most convincing health benefit of soy and soy drinks is its boost to heart health. Since 1999, the Food and Drug Administration has allowed soy drinks (and other soy products) to list soy's heart benefits. In so doing, the FDA reviewed 27 studies that demonstrated soy protein could help lower total cholesterol and LDL, the so-called bad cholesterol that can significantly raise heart disease risk. To be allowed the heart disease benefit on their labels, drinks, or other foods, must contain at least 6.25 grams of soy protein per serving, contain less than 3 grams of fat, less than a gram of saturated fat, less than 20 mg of cholesterol and not much salt. According to the FDA, if you consume four daily servings of soy, you can drop your LDL by up to 10%. That's great for heart health: each 1% reduction in total cholesterol can mean about a 2% drop in your risk of heart disease. The key research the FDA looked at included a two month study at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center that showed soy can help reduce your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol without lowering your HDL. HDL, the so-called "good" cholesterol, protects heart health and keeps your heart disease risk down (Arch Int Med, 9/27/99). Meanwhile, another study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (8/3/95) found that soy produces "significant reductions" in cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides, blood fats that can otherwise put your cardiovascular sysem at risk. Isoflavones, natural chemicals found in soy, are phytoestrogens, a weak form of estrogen that is believed by many researchers to produce health benefits. Some studies show that by producing what's called a "weak estrogenic effect," these chemicals may prevent the body's own estrogen from initiating cancer. While studies exist supporting these effects, this claim for cancer prevention is still controversial. A study of Asian women who moved to the United States found that the more soy they ate, the less their risk of breast cancer (Second Intl Symp on Soy and Tr Chron Dis 9/15/96). In any case, soy protein provides complete protein: all the amino acids, or protein building blocks, that the body needs to form its own proteins are found in soy. All of this good soy news has sent Sales of soy drinks and other soy foods soaring. While Sales of soy foods reached a little more $850 million in 1992, by next year they are expected to climb to well over $3.7 billion. Multivitamin Water For vitamin takers on the run, water is now available fortified with a wide collection of micronutrients. The key benefit: possible health enhancement by supplying vitamins your diet may omit. As Walter Willet, MD, points out in Eat, Drink and Be Healthy (Simon & Schuster), "research is pointing ever more strongly to the fact that several ingredients in a standard multivitamin.... are essential players in preventing heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and other chronic disease... It's the best nutritional bang for your buck." In a Russian study, a group of children, aged four to 14, with gastrointestinal diseases were fed multivitamin-infused drinks and beta carotene. The children experienced vast improvements, leading researchers to suggest fortifying the diets of folks suffering from gastrointestinal diseases with vitamin-containing drinks.
Green with Health
Everyone from mom to the US surgeon general tells you to eat dark green vegetables every day. The truth is, many of us just don't do it. Spirulina, wheat grass, barley grass and chlorella are often referred to as "green foods." Spirulina, a popular food supplement in Japan, is a vitamin and mineral powerhouse available in the US in powder and ready-to-drink shakes. Rich in protein, spirulina contains chlorophyll, carotenoids, minerals, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and unique pigments called phycobilins (PDR For Nutritional Supplements, Medical Economics). It's these same healthful pigments that give spirulina its blue/green color. In studies, spirulina has been shown to possess antiviral, antioxidant, anti-allergic and immune-boosting properties (Free Rad Biol Med. 2000; 28:1051-1055; Biochem Pharmacol 1998; 55:1071-1076; Inflamm Res 1998; 47:36-41; Spirulina platensis 1996; 59:83-87). Evidence exists that spirulina may favorably affect immune functions, inhibit some allergic reactions and lower cholesterol. Blended into shakes and drinks, spirulina can add a healthful boost to your day. Now, when Aunt May asks if you've had your green vegetables, just lift your glass, look her in the eye, tell her yes and mean it.
Federal Court Overturns FDA Ban on Ephedra at Low Doses
June 09, 2005 08:41 AM
Federal Court Overturns FDA Ban on Ephedra at Low Doses
by Rakesh M. Amin and Mark Blumenthal
A Utah Federal District Court recently limited the scope of a year old Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Final Rule1 banning the sale of all ephedrine-alkaloid dietary supplements.2 The Court’s ruling has a limited affect on the ability of companies to sell ephedrine nationally, but is important regarding FDA procedure for creating rules and enforcement powers. Ephedrine alkaloids are found primarily in the controversial herb ephedra (Ephedra sincica Stapf., Ephedraceae).
The District Court determined that the FDA’s use of a risk-benefit analysis was against the intent of Congress in passing the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act,3 which presumes all foods are safe and requires the FDA to prove the existence of a significant or unreasonable risk. The court held that to require food producers to establish a benefit before selling their product places an improper burden on them and was inconsistent with Congress’s intent when it passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) to clearly place the burden of proof of safety of a dietary ingredient on the FDA.4
Secondly, the court determined the FDA had to show by a preponderance of the evidence “a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury.”5 Therefore, in order to ban all Sales of a given product, the FDA must first prove that the dosage amount in the product presents an unreasonable risk.6 Prior to this ruling, the FDA was not required to consider dosage size before banning a substance.
This ruling has limited effects at the moment since the FDA may appeal this decision. Additionally, the ruling has no effect on the laws of several states (including California, Illinois and New York) which have banned all Sales of ephedrine alkaloids in dietary supplements. The ruling also only applies to products containing 10 mg or less of ephedrine alkaloids per daily dosage. Any product exceeding that amount is still banned and will continue to be enforced under the FDA rule.7
The court, in its ruling, specifically precluded the FDA from taking any enforcement action against Nutraceutical Corporation, the company that filed the lawsuit, for its sale of products containing 10mg or less of ephedra and for the FDA to consider further rulemaking “consistent with this Order”.8 However, the court did not specifically instruct the FDA to refrain from taking enforcement action against other brands containing less than 10mg of ephedrine.9 As such, companies considering launching new products containing ephedrine alkaloids are advised to do so carefully.
Nutraceutical Corporation president Bruce Hough was cited in The New York Times as saying that the company’s reason for filing the suit was not based on ephedra and that his company had no plans to begin marketing ephedra supplements in the near future.10 Hough was quoted as saying, “We filed it [the lawsuit] because the FDA established rules that could cause problems to the rest of our business.” Hough was referring to the legal basis upon which the FDA banned the sale ephedra. He told the American Botanical Council that the FDA was applying a drug standard of risk vs. benefit to herbs and dietary supplements – technically foods under the law. [Hough B. Personal communication to M. Blumenthal, Apr. 27, 2005.] His company filed the lawsuit in an attempt to deter FDA’s new procedure for creating what he considered arbitrary rules which contradict the plain meaning of existing federal law (DSHEA).
The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) issued a statement on April 26 clarifying its policy on the sale of ephedra in dietary supplements.11 AHPA has notified all its members that at this time it is the organization’s policy that none of its members should be selling low doses (10 mg or less) of ephedra in dietary supplements until the FDA has clarified its position on the Court decision. At this time it is not clear whether FDA plans on appealing the decision or will implement the new policy set by the Court.
The court decision does not affect the sale of the herb ephedra in traditional formulations intended for use that is consistent with traditional uses, e.g., pulmonary complaints, and are dispensed by licensed healthcare practitioners.
As might be expected, court’s decision has stimulated a new round of media and congressional criticism of the relative safety of herbs and dietary supplements as well as DSHEA. For example, a highly critical article by Chris Mooney was posted on the website of the American Prospect on April 25.12 The Prospect is relatively influential in Democratic and progressive political circles in Washington. The article uses language such as the court decision is a “scandal” and a “disturbing ruling”, refers to DSHEA as “a terrible law” and a “peculiar and misguided law” and the “wrongheaded standards encoded in the DSHEA”, and repeats the often-cited media mantra about “unregulated herbal supplements” and that the “FDA has been hamstrung and effectively rendered impotent.”
More information regarding the sale of ephedrine products or FDA regulations in general is available from the law offices of Rakesh M. Amin at (312) 327-3382 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 21 C.F.R. Pt. 119, Final Rule Declaring Dietary Supplements Containing Ephedrine Alkaloids Adulterated Because They Present an Unreasonable Risk (Published February 11, 2004) (Effective April 12, 2004) available at /dockets/98fr/1995n-0304-nfr0001.pdf
2 Nutraceutical Corporation and Solaray, Inc. v. Lester Crawford, D.V.M., Acting Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, et al., Case No. 2:04CV409TC, U.S. District Court for the Central District of Utah; available at gov/reports/204cv409-28.pdf
May 31, 2005 04:27 PM
The human immune system is the extraordinary biochemical network responsible for keeping us well. As our molecular interface with the environment, it has evolved complex interactions with the plant world. Mushrooms, which form one of the most primitive plant groups, have been valued for decades by progressive medical practitioners as immunopotentiators. Only recently, however, has science identified and tested the specific mushroom nutrients that augment natural defenses. AHCC® (active hexose correlated compound) is a proprietary mushroom compound. It is wellresearched in Japan for its immune-supportive properties, in particular the ability to increase natural killer cell and macrophage activity. Hundreds of Japanese hospitals and clinics recommend AHCC as part of an immune maintenance regimen, and its potent effects are so highly regarded that Sales exceed $200 million dollars per year.
AHCC ®: A Unique Compound
AHCC, or “active hexose correlated compound,” is a rich source of polysaccharides (beta glucan 1,3 and activated hemicellulose) and glycoproteins, plus amino acids and minerals. It is produced by enzymatic modification of several types of medicinal mushrooms, including shiitake. AHCC is derived from organically cultivated mushroom mycelia (the rich pre-mushroom stage, a network of fibrous filaments plus the medium it lives on and uses for fuel). The low molecular weight of AHCC makes it easier to absorb.
Natural Killer Cell and Macrophage Activity
Your trillions of cells are susceptible to damage by free radicals and toxins, so a healthy immune system uses its first line of defense—natural killer (NK) cells—to quickly identify and destroy threatening particles. The effectiveness of NK cells depends on their activity level, so boosting NK activity is a smart strategy for those committed to maintaining vibrant health and longevity. AHCC is a potent biological response modifier that may significantly increase activity of NK cells and macrophages, according to human and animal studies. Literally “large things that devour,” macrophages are white blood cells that engulf and aid in the removal of foreign particles.
Studies show AHCC also enhances production of cytokines, including interferons and interleukins. These intercellular chemical messengers trigger white blood cell production and activity. In one recent study, AHCC was shown to support normal basal levels of two cytokines, as well as NK activity. It is rare for a natural compound to have such a profound impact on strengthening the immune system.
Your liver is your body’s chemical manufacturing and detoxification factory. It must handle the full brunt of assault from environmental contaminants and pharmaceuticals. Stress further burdens this overworked organ. Human studies suggest AHCC supports healthy liver function.
Your Source for Scientifically Advanced Nutrition
Source Naturals AHCC is the original proprietary compound that is attracting worldwide attention. And with no adverse side effects reported in dozens of studies and abstracts, it is certainly a nutritional approach worth considering. At a time when our systems are challenged by an unprecedented array of toxins, research into the remarkable immune-supportive properties of the plant world is critical. Source Naturals is your connection to this research, dedicated to quickly bringing you the benefts of the latest emerging wellness strategies.
References Uno, K. et al. Biother 2000 14(3) 303-309. Matsiu, Y. et al. J Hepatol 37 (2002) 78-86.
May 09, 2005 06:10 PM
It's in the BloodNatural alternatives abound for managing cholesterol levels, backed by a growing body of research ©VR By Paul Bubny
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) last July lowered the threshold for considering the use of statin drugs—a move which some say was motivated more by profits than scientific evidence. For example, the Center for Science in the Public Interest pointed out that eight of the nine authors behind the new recommendations had financial ties to statin manufacturers, which stand to reap billions of dollars more from a category that grossed $14 billion in the U.S. last year. And though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January decided against authorizing over-the-counter (OTC) Sales of statin drugs, drug companies would still like to see this happen.
“The medical establishment’s pushing of these drugs to becoming the number one category of prescribed drugs in the world has led them to keep lowering the total cholesterol number that triggers the drug recommendation,” said Neil E. Levin, C.C.N., D.A.N.L.A., nutrition educator, product formulator, and “Truth Advocate” for NOW Foods (Bloomingdale, IL), which produces a number of supplements for addressing cholesterol. “This is despite the lack of evidence that total cholesterol means much as regards cardiovascular risks.
“Other tests are much more important in terms of predicting risks, including CRP (C-reactive protein), the balance of different cholesterol fractions, and homocysteine,” he continued. “Add adult-onset diabetes to the risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD).”
At the same time, the allegation that enormous Sales potential lay behind the lower threshold for prescribing statin drugs illustrates how widespread the problem of hypercholesterolemia (elevated total cholesterol) is. More than 100 million Americans have elevated cholesterol (total cholesterol values of 200 mg/dl and higher), and of these, more than a third have high cholesterol (levels of 240 mg/dl and higher), according to the American Heart Association. Those numbers have unfavorable implications for the incidence of CVD, as high cholesterol is considered a risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke.
While statin drugs haven’t garnered the same degree of negative publicity that COX-2 inhibitors have suffered lately, safety concerns have arisen nonetheless. For one thing, these drugs lower the liver’s production of coenzyme Q10 (coQ10) along with its production of cholesterol. “CoQ10 is related to energy production and immune functions, is an antioxidant, and [is] an important cardiovascular nutrient,” Levin said. “It is not good to lower one’s coQ10 levels by half!”
Moreover, said Levin, statins increase the tendency of muscle tissues to break down. “Combined with inactivity or certain drugs, this can stimulate muscle wasting,” he said. “Muscle is where a good deal of calories are burned, so a loss of muscle could affect mobility and energy production, potentially adding to obesity problems. These muscle changes occurred in patients and persisted for years after treatment was discontinued, as shown by muscle biopsies, even if no obvious muscle problems were observed by the patients.”
And the last word on the subject may not have been spoken. Predicted Dr. Frank King, Jr. president of King Bio Natural Medicine (Asheville, NC), “Once the appropriate studies are finished, these drugs, along with hypertensives, will hit the fan bigger than the COX-2 inhibitors.”
Also looking toward the future, Levin said that of the 20 million Americans who will be “targeted” for statin drug prescriptions under the new NCEP guidelines, “Some of these will want to try natural methods first. Others will rebel at the side effects of the drugs and experiment with alternative products.”
King and Levin both saw opportunity for natural products in the fallout from drug safety concerns, with King projecting that Sales of his company’s cholesterol-related homeopathic remedies will double in 2005. “The reports of deaths from drugs will always overshadow the trumped-up studies and news reports blasting dietary supplements,” said Levin. “Vioxx knocked vitamin E off the media’s radar screens pretty rapidly, though we still see ignorant reporters citing that [Johns Hopkins] vitamin E analysis as if it were true. But the comparable safety of supplements means that open-minded people will want to at least try natural therapies before signing in to a lifetime of drug therapies. Meanwhile, the studies on natural products will continue to build our credibility.”
Those studies keep coming in, with at least four major findings published in the past few months, plus a heart-health claim on walnuts authorized by FDA. They join a raft of earlier findings that link natural products—branded and otherwise—to healthy cholesterol levels.
"Blur of Products"
With so many natural alternatives to cholesterol drugs available, it can be hard to keep track. “As with any other category, the blur of products as they cascade over several shelves means that the retailer needs to have a good sense of what works and what they want to recommend to their customers,” Levin said. “Really, each person needs a protocol that would include antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, herbs, and oils. The pre-mixed cholesterol support formulas are a good starting place.”
To help retailers get a sense of “what works,” here is an alphabetical discussion of several nutrients that have demonstrated benefits in serum cholesterol levels. They include the following:
Barley may help lower cholesterol, according to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2004, vol.80, no.5: 1185-1193). Twenty-five adults with mild hypercholesterolemia consumed a controlled diet low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol for 19 weeks. They then added whole-grain products containing barley to their diets that contained low (0 g), medium (3 g), or high (6 g) amount of beta-glucan per day for five weeks. Total cholesterol was reduced by 4 percent 9 percent, and 10 percent, respectively. The diet with the highest amount of beta-glucan led to a decrease in LDL cholesterol of 17 percent.
Chromium. There’s evidence, Levin said, that chromium in doses of 500 mg a day may decrease levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the so-called “bad” cholesterol) and total cholesterol while raising levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good” cholesterol). At the annual meeting of the American College of Nutrition last October, a poster presentation on the safety of Benicia, CA-based InterHealth Nutraceuticals’ ChromeMate niacin-bound chromium won first prize; among other things, the presentation cited chromium’s role in maintaining healthy blood lipid levels.
Fatty Acids. The latest in a long line of studies demonstrating the benefits of fatty acids in heart health is a study published in The International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics in December 2004. It showed that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid, can restore normal blood vessel function in children with inherited high cholesterol. The study, which used Martek DHA produced from microalgae, concluded that restoration of normal blood vessel function has the “potential for preventing the progression of early coronary heart disease in high-risk children.”
“The evidence continues to accumulate on the cardiovascular benefits of DHA for people of all ages,” said Henry “Pete” Linsert, Jr., chairman and CEO of Martek Biosciences, an ingredient supplier based in Columbia, MD. “This study clearly indicates that DHA played an important role in healthy blood vessel function in the children in this study.”
On the Omega-Research.com Website maintained by fish oil manufacturer Nordic Naturals (Watsonville, CA) can be found summaries of several earlier studies linking omega-3 fatty acids to maintaining healthy blood lipid levels, as well as related benefits such as elasticity of the arteries. In a 2003 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that women receiving a mixture of 4 g eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA along with 2 g of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) had lower levels of LDL cholesterol after 28 days compared to those who received either the EPA/DHA supplements without DHA, EPA/DHA with a smaller dose of GLA, or GLA alone.
Flax is another source of omega-3s, and Arkopharma/Health From The Sun (Bedford, MA) offers FiProFLAX in a variety of forms. Marketing director Hugues P. Mas said the flax is “QAI [Quality Assurance International] certified organic and guaranteed GMO [genetically modified organism]-free.” On its Website, the company offers a cholesterol quiz geared to consumers, discussing the importance of omega-3s as well as other nutrients.
Garlic. Adding to an already considerable body of research demonstrating that garlic can lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides while increasing HDL cholesterol, researchers at UCLA in 2003 reported that Kyolic aged garlic extract reduced or inhibited plaque formation in the arteries of 19 cardiac patients taking statin drugs.
Lead researcher Matthew Budoff, Ph.D. commented at the time that the study “suggests that aged garlic extract may be a useful and beneficial dietary addition for the people who have high cardiovascular risk or who have undergone heart surgery.” Budoff has since presented several trade show seminars sponsored by Los Angeles-based Wakunaga of America, the makers of Kyolic.
Guggul. In use for centuries as a component of Ayurvedic medicine, guggul—a gummy resin tapped from the Commiphora mukul tree, which is native to India—has been studied since the early 1960s for its hypolidemic (blood-lipid lowering) properties. Sabinsa Corp. (Piscataway, NJ), an ingredient supplier which produces a standardized extract under the brand name Gugulipid, says the studies on guggul indicate that its hypolipidemic activity can be attributed to more than one mechanism of action.
Among the possible mechanisms are: inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis, enhancing the rate of excretion of cholesterol, promoting rapid degradation of cholesterol, thyroid stimulation, alteration of biogenic amines, and “high affinity binding and anion exchange.”
Homeopathy. “Homeopathy activates the body’s own control system to work properly,” said King. “This is the safest and most curative approach to take.
“Forcing the body into biochemical change even naturally doesn’t actually have the curative action of homeopathy,” King continued. “Homeopathy can even correct the genetic predispositions to disease we may have inherited from as deep as a thousand years into our family chain.” King Bio makes Artery/Cholesterol/BP, a homeopathic formula intended to help tone heart muscles and blood vessels.
Low glycemic index foods. In a study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that high glycemic load is negatively correlated to serum levels of HDL cholesterol. Assessing the relationship between blood levels of lipids and diet in a test population of 32 healthy males and females ages 11 to 25, the researchers found that glycemic load accounted for 21.1 percent of the variation in HDL cholesterol. They concluded that glycemic load appears to be an important independent predictor of HDL cholesterol in youth and noted that dietary restrictions without attention to glycemic load could unfavorably influence blood lipids.
Medicinal Mushrooms. Although its product SX-Fraction is intended primarily to address high blood sugar, Maitake Products, Inc. (MPI, Ridgefield Park, NJ) found in a clinical study that LDL cholesterol in diabetic patients declined modestly (from 142 mg/dl to 133 mg/dl) over a two-month period. Those taking SX-Fraction also lost about 7 lbs. in the same time period.
“The more impressive lowering of cholesterol, however, comes from the dietary fiber that is found in all medicinal mushrooms,” said Ellen Shnidman, manager of scientific affairs at MPI. She cited animal studies which documented the cholesterol-lowering properties of four different mushrooms: maitake, shiitake, agaricus, and enokitake.
For example, a study reported in the September 1996 issue of Alternative Therapies showed “a 44 percent reduction in total cholesterol in rats consuming maitake mushroom in their diet,” said Shnidman. “This cholesterol reduction is accompanied by weight loss, relative to rats eating a similar high-choelsterol diet without mushrooms. Apparently, cholesterol is excreted by the rats in sufficient quantity to aid in weight loss.”
Oat bran. A 2004 consumer study conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI, Harleysville, PA) for Nurture, Inc. (Devon, PA), which produces the ingredient OatVantage, found that 63 percent of consumers managing their cholesterol levels prefer oat-based ingredients.
Oat bran is the subject of a health claim authorized by FDA in 1999, and NMI research found that 69 percent of respondents preferred the FDA-permitted health claim, “Helps Lower Cholesterol,” over the model structure-function claim, “Helps Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels.” “This is significant for food, beverage, and dietary supplement manufacturers who want to increase Sales by using a more consumer-desired claim on the product label,” said Griff Parker, Nurture CEO.
Plant sterols. Also the subject of an FDA-approved claim for heart health, plant sterols (structurally similar to cholesterol in humans) can block the absorption of cholesterol, according to a number of studies. In an “Ask the Doctor” publication (available online at www.atdonline.org), Decker Weiss, N.M.D. noted that sterols enter the same receptor sites that cholesterol enters on its way to the bloodstream. “The cholesterol, being blocked from absorption, remains in our intestines where it is eventually excreted,” Weiss wrote. General Mills has just introduced Yoplait Healthy Heart, a yogurt high in plant sterols.
Policosanol. A mixture of fatty alcohols derived from sugar cane or beeswax, policosanol has been favorably compared in clinical studies to several types of prescription drugs for managing cholesterol. On its own, policosanol was found in a 1999 study to reduce LDL cholesterol while raising levels of HDL cholesterol.
Probiotics. “Several studies have indicated that consumption of certain cultured dairy products resulted in reduction of serum cholesterol, as well as triglycerides,” wrote Dr. S.K. Dash, president of probiotic manufacturer UAS Laboratories (Eden Prairie, MN), in his Consumer Guide to Probiotics. Among other studies, Dash cited two controlled clinical studies from the VA Medical Center at the University of Kentucky.
“In the first study, fermented milk containing [Lactobacillus] acidophilus was accompanied by a 2.4 percent reduction of serum cholesterol concentration,” he wrote. “In the second study, a different L. acidophilus strain reduced serum cholesterol concentration by 3.2 percent. Since every 1 percent reduction in serum cholesterol concentration is associated with an estimated 2 to 3 percent reduction in risk for coronary heart disease [CHD], regular intake of fermented milk containing an appropriate strain of L. acidophilus has the potential of reducing risk for [CHD] by 6 to 10 percent.”
Dash said his company’s DDS Probiotics contain DDS-1 L. acidophilus, “which has been researched and demonstrated to show cholesterol-lowering effect.”
Psyllium. “Internal cleansing is very important” in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, “especially if you do it with a lot of fiber,” said Sunil Kohli, vice president of Chino, CA-based Health Plus, Inc. The cholesterol-managing ability of fiber in general and psyllium in particular is “very well-established,” he said.
However, Kohli said, “It will probably do you no good if it’s random. It should be done on a regular basis, and it should be supervised. Consulting the doctor or pharmacist is important.”
Soy. The protein in soy “has evidence of lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, based on reviews of studies using over 20 g of soy protein per day,” said Levin. “Soy isoflavones are considered only partly responsible for this effect.”
Sytrinol. A patented proprietary formula derived from natural citrus and palm fruit extracts and containing citrus polymethoxylated flavones and palm tocotrienols, Sytrinol has been shown in clinical trials to improve total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides by up to 30 percent, 27 percent, and 33 percent, respectively. Having just wrapped up Phase III of a long-term trial of Sytrinol, Chicago-based SourceOne Global Partners, which owns the exclusive worldwide license for intellectual property associated with the ingredient, is commencing a study that combines Sytrinol with plant sterols.
Tocotrienols. On its Website discussing the science and benefits of tocotrienols (www.tocotrienol.org), ingredient supplier Carotech Inc. (Edison, NJ) identifies several benefits for blood lipid levels. Tocotrienols, according to the Website, have been shown to “inhibit cholesterol production in the liver, thereby lowering total blood cholesterol;” “[suppress] hepatic HMG-CoA reductase activity [and result in] the lowering of LDL cholesterol levels;” and “inhibit cholesterogenesis by suppressing HMG-CoA reductase.”
There are also nutrients that are emerging as potential weapons in the fight against cholesterol. Levin cited rice bran oil, resveratrol, pantethine, l-carnitine, and niacin as showing promise.
With all of this, Levin said, it’s important for retailers to remember that “they are not allowed to discuss diseases and remedies unless there is an approved FDA health claim allowed on the label, as with soy protein and plant sterols. What is allowed are structure-function claims such as ‘cholesterol support,’ ‘promoting normal, healthy circulation,’ ‘homocysteine regulators,’ etc.”
Supplementation is only one tool for managing cholesterol levels, manufacturers pointed out. “Besides nutrition, lifestyle is a key to controlling cholesterol,” Levin said. “Eating a variety of antioxidant-rich foods will prevent the liver from churning out cholesterol as a ‘cheap’ antioxidant. The body uses oxidized cholesterol to patch leaky and damaged blood vessels, so the ability to build healthy collagen is a must, using nutrients like vitamin C, Pycnogenol, rutin, hyaluronic acid, and MSM.
“Don’t forget exercise and stress reduction,” he added. “Stress results in high cortisol levels—usually accompanied by poor blood lipid levels—and a lack of good sleep to produce unhealthy people.” VR
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