Search Term: " Scienifically "
How to Know if You Need Long-Lasting Deodorant Protection
October 29, 2022 09:40 AM
NOW® Solutions long-lasting deodorant is scientifically formulated, combining the odor-fighting properties of zinc oxide with the floral notes of rose and ylang ylang. It offers amazing protection that you can count on to feel fresh throughout the day. But how do you know if you need long-lasting odor protection? Here are a few telltale signs:
Body odor that persists even after bathing
Intense body odor that causes people to take notice (and not in a good way) Excessive sweating that leads to chafing and discomfort If any of these sound familiar, then NOW® Solutions long-lasting deodorant is right for you. Keep reading to learn more about this product and how it can help you feel your best.
What is NOW® Solutions Long-Lasting Deodorant?
NOW® Solutions long-lasting deodorant is an all-natural, aluminum-free deodorant that uses zinc oxide—a naturally occurring mineral with astringent, antiseptic, and absorbent properties—to help control body odor. Zinc oxide has been used for centuries for its ability to soothe and protect the skin, making it an ideal choice for those with sensitive skin. Combined with the floral notes of rose and ylang ylang, NOW® Solutions long-lasting deodorant offers a refreshing scent that will leave you feeling refreshed and confident all day long. And because it's aluminum-free, you can rest assured knowing that NOW® Solutions long-lasting deodorant is safe for your skin.
How Does NOW® SolutionsLong-Lasting Deodorant Work?
The science behind NOW® Solutions long-lasting deodorant is simple but effective. When applied to the skin, zinc oxide creates a barrier that helps to absorb wetness and inhibits the growth of bacteria—the main cause of body odor. At the same time, the natural oils in rose and ylang ylang work to mask any existing body odor while also providing a pleasant scent. Together, these ingredients offer complete protection against body odor—all day long!
Body odor is never fun—for you or those around you. If you're looking for a natural solution that will keep you feeling fresh all day long, look no further than NOW® Solutions long-lasting deodorant. Formulated with zinc oxide and essential oils, NOW® Solutions long - lasting deodorant provides complete protection against body odor without the use of harsh chemicals or aluminum. So why wait? Give NOW® Solutions long - lasting deodorant a try today!
The Benefits of Horse Chestnut Extract
October 25, 2022 04:43 PM
Horse chestnut extract is a popular ingredient in European herbalism. It has many active constituents, including saponins and flavones, which have been scientifically shown to support the integrity of the vascular system and connective tissue.* Rutin, a powerful free radical scavenger, has been added to complete this formula.* Horse chestnut helps support healthy vascular system.
What is Horse Chestnut?
Horse chestnut is an flowering plant that is native to the Balkans. The tree can grow up to 30m tall and flowers in early summer. The fruit is a glossy brown nut that contains saponin.
The Benefits of Horse Chestnut
Horse chestnut extract is rich in saponins, flavones, and tannins, which are all substances that have been shown to support the health of the vascular system.* In addition, horse chestnut extract also contains rutin, a potent antioxidant.* Together, these nutrients work to help maintain healthy circulation and support the structure of connective tissue.*
How to Use Horse Chestnut Extract
Horse chestnut extract can be found in capsules or liquid extracts. For best results, follow the dosage instructions on the product label.
Rutin and its potential benefits
Rutin is a phytochemical that can be found in a wide variety of plants. Rutin-rich foods include apples, blackberries, buckwheat, chokeberries, cranberries, fonts, grapefruit, lemons, limes, onions, oranges, pineapples, tangerines, and many more. This nutrient is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and has been linked to a number of potential health benefits.
Some of the potential benefits associated with rutin intake include:
While research on the effects of rutin is ongoing, there is some preliminary evidence to suggest that this nutrient could offer a wide range of health benefits.
If you are looking for an herbal supplement to support healthy circulation and connective tissue, consider horse chestnut extract.* This potent formula contains saponins, flavones, tannins, and rutin—all of which have been shown to support vascular health.* Try horse chestnut extract today and see for yourself how this herb can help you maintain optimal health.
The Health-Supporting Properties of Curcumin
September 14, 2022 11:19 AM
Curcumin, the active polyphenolic extract of turmeric, is one of the most scientifically investigated plant compounds. Curcumin's health-supporting properties depend on its bioavailability. NOW Curcumin Phytosome is a unique form of curcumin complexed with phosphatidylcholine that clinically demonstrates enhanced absorption and bioavailability as compared with standard curcumin extracts. Clinical studies also show that curcumin phytosome is a powerful free radical scavenger, can help to support a balanced immune system response to normal metabolic stress, and can promote healthy joint mobility and flexibility.
The Benefits of Curcumin
Curcumin has been shown to offer a wide range of health benefits, thanks to its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.* Some of the ways in which curcumin supports health include:
Brain Health: Curcumin has been shown to promote cognitive function and healthy brain aging.* It does this by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, two factors that are known to contribute to age-related cognitive decline.*
Heart Health: Curcumin has been shown to support cardiovascular health by helping to maintain healthy cholesterol levels already within the normal range.* It also promotes healthy blood vessel function.*
Digestive Health: Curcuin supports a healthy inflammatory response in the digestive tract.* This helps to keep the gut lining healthy and promote regularity.*
In conclusion, curcumin is a powerhouse compound with numerous health-supporting properties. Thanks to its unique formulation as a complex with phosphatidylcholine, NOW Curcumin Phytosome is one of the most bioavailable forms of curcumin on the market today. If you're looking for a supplement to support brain, heart, and digestive health, look no further than curcumin phytosome!*
Red raspberry found to prevent head and neck cancers fromdeveloping and spreading
May 14, 2019 04:28 PM
Nasopharyngeal cancer is a form of cancer that unfortunately has a high rate of spreading to other areas of the body. A certain form of red raspberry called the Rubus idaeus has been shown to inhibit the ability of the cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body. Not only can Rubus idaeus help fight off certain forms of cancer, but it also helps protect against diabetes while protecting the heart and sustaining eye health.
"Nasopharyngeal cancer is a type of cancer that has a high incidence of spreading to a different part of the body, particularly in the neck lymph nodes."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-26-red-raspberry-prevents-head-and-neck-cancers.html
Protect yourself properly this cold season with oregano oil, plus 6other natural remedies
April 26, 2019 03:18 PM
CDC statistics indicate that most adults will get hit by the common cold at least a few times a year, but the antimicrobial properties of oregano oil may be able to help reduce your symptoms. A 2011 study, for example, found that an oregano oil throat spray could help control many cold symptoms. When combined with an overall healthy lifestyle, oregano oil can give your immune system an important boost. Ginger, probiotics, drinking herbal tea with honey and staying hydrated can also help.
"Be sure to look for a high quality oregano oil supplement (such as wild P73 oregano oil, which stands for “polyphenol 73%” and indicates a medicinal grade quality). To use, mix 3 to 10 drops of oregano oil in a tablespoon of water, swish it around your mouth for 30 seconds, then swallow."
Read more: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/cold-natural-remedy-2811.html
Pomegranate can prevent the growth and spread of four common typesof cancer cells
April 26, 2019 02:26 PM
There is a protective enzyme within pomegranate that is known scientifically as paraoxonase-1 (PON-1), and it has the ability to block oxidative stress that promote DNA mutations. These DNA mutations are often what lead to a cancer diagnosis. More research determined that not only does pomegranate help block gene mutations, but it can also stop the replication cycle of cancer cells in which they grow at alarming rates. Not only can it help disrupt this cycle, but it can also kill some cells altogether.
"In one study, a cup of day of pomegranate juice lowered inflammatory markers – such as C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 – in diabetic patients."
Read more: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/pomegranate-cancer-cells-2628.html
Understanding the many benefits of cannabis in cancer treatment
April 24, 2019 01:42 PM
Did you know that three out of four doctors claim that they, themselves would not undergo chemotherapy as a form of treatment if they were diagnosed with cancer? It makes you think about what this invasive treatment method really does to the body if physicians will not even take part themselves. Cannabis has the ability to kill cancer cells in many situations, without causing the same weakening of the body that is seen when patients undergo chemotherapy.
"While doctors like to promote the idea that there are no treatments scientifically proven to work besides the usual surgery/chemotherapy/radiation regimen, the truth is there is a strong body of evidence that many natural, non-invasive treatments are effective in the fight against cancer."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-28-benefits-of-cannabis-in-cancer-treatment.html
5 powerful reasons to start eating garlic TODAY
April 23, 2019 02:41 PM
Garlic is an essential ingredient in many kitchens, and also demonstrates an impressive array of health benefits. For example, garlic can encourage higher production of hydrogen sulfide, which helps to keep your blood vessels open and supple, reducing your risk of heart disease. Garlic can help mitigate metabolic syndrome and reduce your risk of several types of cancer, including stomach cancer. By neutralizing enzymes that help break down bone, garlic may also help to ward off osteoarthritis, too.
"Garlic, a member of the onion family, has a centuries-long history of medicinal use on a global scale."
Read more: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/garlic-heart-disease-2766.html
Honey is medicine: 4 Scientifically proven perks to using Nature'ssweetener
March 29, 2019 08:40 AM
Hey, honey. It should be included in your diet. Sure, it's delicious when used as a sweetner, but it's benefits are just as sweet as this concoction. There are many proven benefits offered to people who enjoy the all-natural sweetener we know as honey. Four of the benefits of using honey include cough and sore throat suppression, healing of scrapes and wounds, supports a healthy immune system, and aids in heart health. Yes, honey is important part of your iet.
"This potent superfood has a long history of being used as a natural remedy due to its health-boosting properties."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-26-honey-medicine-4-scientifically-proven-perks-to-using-natures-sweetener.html
Chronic Inflammation at the Root of Most Diseases + How to Prevent!
December 21, 2018 08:53 AM
Many people suffer from chronic inflammation and wonder how else to treat their pain. According to Harvard Medical School, chronic inflammation us the main source of problem in patient's suffering from heart disease, asthma, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer's. Symptoms of chronic inflammation include swelling and loss of blood vessels, lose or enlargement of kidneys, or even swelling or loss of muscle function. Eating food that are anti-inflammatory like vegetables, fruits, water, beans, healthy fats, protein and teas could reduce the severity of pain associated with chronic inflammation.
"The good news is that there are a lot of ways to avoid or reduce chronic disease-causing inflammation, including an anti-inflammatory diet plus other scientifically-proven inflammation-reducing tactics you can start doing today!"
Read more: https://draxe.com/inflammation-at-the-root-of-most-diseases/
Not just for coffee: Cinnamon found to have potent anti-cancer effects in latest research
June 13, 2018 09:16 AM
Two South Korean colleges performed a study in which they hypothesized that cinnamon could successfully decrease the growth rate or infiltration status of certain cancer cells. They found that Chinese cinnamon was able to successfully decrease the amount in which cancer cells were able to infiltrate healthy cells when it comes to colorectal cancer specifically. However, the findings showed that this is not the only area in which cinnamon derived from the Chinese twig can help aid in cancer prevention and recovery.
"Based on the findings, researchers discovered that extracts derived from the twigs of the Chinese cinnamon were able to reduce the chances of human colorectal cancer cells to infiltrate other cells successfully."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-06-10-not-just-for-coffee-cinnamon-potent-anti-cancer-effects-research.html
10 Hemp Seeds Health Benefits You Didn't Know About
November 29, 2017 07:59 AM
A university student has written an online article pointing out ten health benefits to hemp seeds. She prefaces her list by stating that hemp seeds contain only trace amounts of THC, the substance that will get a person high. One of the benefits a is that the seeds are full of good nutrients such as protein, omega-3 and omega-6 fats, and fiber. Another benefit is that they contain Gamma-Linolenic Acid, which controls inflammation. Other pluses include maintenance of digestive health and enhancement of skin and hair. The author includes photos of hemp seeds.
"Hemp seeds contain omega-3 fats and GLA, which, as already mentioned, strengthen the immune system and protect against cancer."
Read more: https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/10-hemp-seeds-health-benefits
Strawberries contain powerful anti-cancer medicines and have now been scientifically shown to prevent breast cancer
May 29, 2017 04:14 PM
In the war on breast cancer, we need all the help we can get, and now scientist have discovered it in the epitome of spring, strawberries. Scientist discovered that strawberries are high in a compound called phenolic that inhibited growth, cellular division and reproduction, particularly in the A17 group classification of tumors. Strawberry concentrates, which amounts to between 10 and 15 strawberries, lysis cell walls in the tumor, killing it. This can bring new hope to millions that suffer with this aggressive cancer.
"We have shown for the first time that strawberry extract, rich in phenolic compounds, inhibits the proliferation of breast cancer cells in in vitro and in vivo models."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-05-01-strawberries-contain-powerful-anti-cancer-medicines-and-have-now-been-scientifically-shown-to-prevent-breast-cancer.html
Science Says: No, You Can’t Overdose On Weed
April 28, 2017 03:44 PM
A website devoted to alternative lifestyles has an opinion piece about marijuana. The writer contends that it is scientifically impossible to overdose on marijuana. The writer states that the body has many substances similar to those found in marijuana. When a person takes in this product the body adjusts. The writer states the brain performs in similar fashion. She cites an author and a doctor. She claims there have been only three cases of death from marijuana overdose, but the causes have not been definitely attributed to marijuana use.
"Did you know, however, that it is physiologically impossible to fatally overdose on weed?"
Read more: http://www.thealternativedaily.com/you-cant-overdose-on-weed/
What a Guy Who Doesn’t Shower Can Teach Your Kid About Cleanliness
March 08, 2017 01:59 PM
While many parents are learning to stop using hand sanitizer, a man named David Whitlock, who has not showered in 10 years, has created an after-cleansing spray called Mother Dirt designed to replenish helpful bacteria. When the majority of bacteria is removed from our bodies, what comes back is the "bad" kind, unlike what is naturally there. Soap and detergent can do more harm than good, as most children need little more than tap water, and things like disinfectants in dishwashing soap or overwashing hands can be equally dangerous. Even so, nature can be dangerous, and the healthiest dirt comes from rural areas, and farm animals are still dangerous to immunocompromised childen. The five second rule seems to be scientifically proven, and tested frequently, by Mr.Whitlock.
"A lot of what keeps the nasty stuff away is having the good and friendly stuff on your skin."
Read more: https://www.yahoo.com/news/what-a-guy-who-doesnt-shower-can-teach-your-kid-183347435.html
Each Meal You Eat Triggers An Immune System Response, Sets Off Inflammation
January 25, 2017 12:59 PM
The research, carried out at the University Hospital Basel, was published, Jan. 16, in the journal Nature Immunology, and addresses the series of reactions taking place in the human body, both for healthy and overweight people. When it comes to people who suffer from diabetes, this substance causes chronic inflammation, thus killing the cells responsible for the production of insulin. IL-1 and insulin increased the uptake of glucose into macrophages, and insulin reinforced a pro-inflammatory pattern via the insulin receptor, glucose metabolism, production of reactive oxygen species, and secretion of IL-1 mediated by the NLRP3 inflammasome, noted the research.
"However, this new research presents the positive aspects of this type of inflammation triggered by digestion, as it seems that healthy people only have a short-term inflammatory response, directed at leveling the sugar uptake and the immune system."
Essential Vitamins for Flawless Skin
December 05, 2016 08:59 AM
The secret to the fountain of youth has sent many men to their deaths. Also, women have strived to keep their skin looking youthful and exuberant. Living in an age where our overall health has been scientifically broken down, we realize that eating healthy and taking in the proper vitamins and minerals can make us live longer and look healthy. The fountain of youth can now easily be consumed with water, fruits and vegetables. Bon Appetit!!
"Vitamin A is also known as retinol, which promotes cell turnover in the skin and helps control acne outbreaks and has been found effective for treating hyperkeratosis pillars"
Lion's Mane Mushroom; The Ultimate Natural Memory Enhancer
October 07, 2016 03:43 PM
Lion’s Mane Mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) also bearded tooth mushroom, bearded hedgehog mushroom, or satyr's beard is an edible and medicinal mushroom indigenous to Europe, Asia, and North America.
Lion’s Mane for neuroprotection, brain function, and enhanced memory
Nootropic effect is perhaps the biggest draw of Lion’s Mane mushroom. Scientifically, the mushroom has been proven to have neuroprotective abilities as well as boost cognitive function such as enhancing memory. It’s also associated with the manufacture of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) which is a natural antidepressant. All these gives it the ability to help in maintaining attention and focus. It's therefore, a natural supplement for general brain function.
Other health benefits
Digestion aid - Lion’s mane contains glucan polysaccharides which improve stomach mucosa functioning that enhances digestion as well as protect the skin against aging. In addition, it contains cythan that aide in the treatment of esophagus cancer and peptic ulcers.
Enhances Immune System – the mushroom is rich in antioxidants, polysaccharides, beta-glucan and beta-glucoxylan that strengthens the immune system, by exhibiting immune-modulating features that decrease arthritis.
Lowers High Cholesterol – research carried on an animal indicated that the mushroom reduced 45% bad cholesterol and added 31% good cholesterol making it a substantial ingredient in cholesterol-free diets.
Myelin sheaths Repairs- Lion’s mane does not show any toxicity when consumed. It also enhances myelin sheath growth. This explains why it’s used to treat multiple sclerosis and other conditions related to the central nervous system.
Lion's Main is a great supplement for older individuals looking to improve mental function.
What are the health benefits of Blue Cohosh
September 12, 2016 01:27 PM
Blue Cohosh is scientifically known as Caulophylum thalictroides (L.). Different people call it different names, some of the popular names are yellow ginseng, blue ginseng, squaw root and papoose root.
Blue Cohosh plays an important role in women health. Several years back it was used to treat menstrual cramps and excessive menstruation. This plant was used to also induce labor.
One plants broad based attack against cancer
August 16, 2016 02:41 PM
There are a multitude of ways cancer cells can form, lets look at a few ways and discuss them.
Epigenetics: A process that controls the behavior of genes. Dietary and lifestyle choices can alter the way our genes work. Exposure to toxins can cause protective genes to goto sleep and allow destructive genes to awaken all due to the way we eat and live. When this happens, disease can start.
Apoptosis: known as the programed life cycle of cells. this natural cycle can be interrupted and when this happens, the cell does not die as intended, old and genetically damaged cells form tumors.
Angiogenesis: damaged cancer cells need nutrients and oxygen to survive. Some cancers are able to form their own network of blood vessels.
Cancer Stem Cells: these are super cancer cells that can remain dormant for years which eventually activate and causes cancer to recur.
Cancer is a very complex disease, todays anti-cancer drugs are designed to address only one single pathway or gene with in cancer cells. Since cancer is a complex network of hundreds of genes and pathways, conventional drugs are very unlikely to be effective in the end.
Since a large majority of the drugs are designed around natural plants and their function, it would stand to reason that taking the natural plant would not only be effective but have zero side effects.
Fortunately, we have a plant that has been validated by thousands of scientific studies. This plant compound is called curcumin.
If you are somebody you know is suffering from cancer, you should seriously consider taking curcumin or telling family members about this wonderful plant compound.
Things to Know Before Using Arnica Cream for Pain Relief or Bruise Treatment
April 26, 2014 09:36 PM
Arnica medicinal qualities
The medicinal qualities of Arnica, or scientifically Arnica Montana, are known since long. This is a plant indigenous to Northern Europe. This herbal medicine is widely used as pain reliever. Rich in antioxidants. Arnica contains high amount of flavonoids such as carotenoids, tannins and inulin. It helps to alleviate pains of arthritis, bruises and injuries in short period of time. Since it has some dominant side effects, it is recommended that arnica should be taken under prescription of medics. However, arnica cream is available for common usage.
Healing qualities of arnica ointment:
Uses of Arnica
Things to Consider
Can Celadrin Help Joint Pain?
March 05, 2014 08:08 AM
In clinical studies, Celadrin cream application has been demonstrated to lessen joint torment in less than 30 minutes. This quite viable, all-common mitigating medication holds a protected mix of specific greasy acids and some menthol's to help reduce torment in the joints, advertise joint flexibility and grease and to help smooth sore muscles.
How can it function?
A long time involving usage in addition to strenuous action can certainly reduce the mobility of your joint parts in addition to deterioration your water that ones your joint parts via pain, ultimately producing osteoarthritis. Celadrin gives remedy in addition to rejuvenation of those joint parts. The item functions by lubricating your mobile walls, so improving your extra padding power involving joint parts in addition to bones. Fat have also been proven to avoid your routine involving redness, making an effort to relieve pain within the joint parts in addition to muscular tissues. When you suffer from muscle mass in addition to joint, Celadrin ointment affords the relief you have to make it through your worktime. Analyzed from prime educational facilities in addition to major medical stores, Celadrin ointment gives relief in order to aching muscular tissues in addition to joint parts.
It provides lubrication in addition to works just like a "cushion" among joint parts in addition to cartilage. Rigid joint parts in addition to pain are generally as a result of bad lubrication. Celadrin Product gives remedy in order to fatigued, aching muscular tissues in addition to joint parts. The majority of people think outcomes inside a half-hour.
Scientifically Efficient Joint pain Pain relief
The results involving human being specialized medical trial offers assist the effectiveness of Celadrin ointment. In a double-blind placebo-controlled trial run released within the Journal involving Rheumatology, forty five participants along with uncomfortable knee joint parts - ingested both Celadrin Mutual Proper care Pain relief or even a placebo ointment to put on topically double every day intended for 1 month. Members have been evaluated on several orthopedic procedures involving development. At the conclusion in the examine, your analysts known that the Celadrin had been a simple yet effective therapy intended for enhancing knee mobility, chance to ascend/descend stairways, chance to surge via seated, go in addition to have a seat, in addition to unilateral sense of balance. No changes have been welcomed in your placebo class. Another examine involving 28 people who have arthritis in the knee additionally revealed major improvements throughout knee function, range of motion in addition to pain decrease in a matter of a single week involving utilizing Celadrin ointment.
How cat's claw as a natural immune system booster to treat and prevent diseases
November 01, 2013 07:51 PM
What is cat's claw plant
The root of the cat's claw plant, which is scientifically known as Uncaria tomentosa, contains compounds called pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids (POAs) that are responsible for its healing powers. The consumption of the cat's claw roots in raw or extract form must not be mixed with other foods that may neutralize the helpful effects of the POAs. The name cat's claw is Latin and represents this woody Amazonian vine that has only recently grabbed the attention of scientists who now use high performance liquid chromatography to see the POAs and isolate them for medicinal purposes. Here is an explanation of how the herb works to treat or prevent diseases.
What does cat' claw plant benefits
The alkaloids in the cat's claw herb are responsible for strengthening the immune system, but the specific benefits are as follows. In the digestive tract, the herb is able to treat Crohn’s disease, gastritis and duodenal ulcers, intestinal inflammation, parasites as well as balancing the intestinal flora. To the immune system itself, the herb stimulates the production of white blood cells to help combat arising problems of arthritis, rheumatism, chronic fatigue syndrome and infections by viruses or fungi. In South America, it serves as a birth control herb because of its associated properties of causing an unfavorable environment in the uterus thus preventing a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus.
The anti inflammatory effects of the herb, together with its anti-tumor properties, all attributed to the alkaloids, prevent the damage of cells in the body by free radicals. As a result, patients having weak immune systems are able to significantly improve their chances of fighting diseases when they take in the herb as a supplement or tea. It’s the procyanidolic oligomers (PCOs) that stimulate phagocytes, which are special immune cells that destroy viruses and other organisms causing diseases. Excess use of cat's claw extracts or the herb itself can lead to nausea and headaches. The recommended dosage is 250mg of the extract taken twice in a day, or a teaspoon of cat's claw tea mixed with warm water, taken at most three times in a day.
Health Benefits Of Muira Puama Root
July 20, 2013 10:57 AM
Muira puama root is also known scientifically as liriosma ovata. In some places, it is fondly called the potency wood or the Viagra of the Amazon. It is a shrub that mainly grows in Brazil where most people chew its bark. In the western world the muira puama root is commonly marketed as either capsules or in the form of teas. Even though its use is not yet regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration); it is a very popular herb and is widely used because of the numerous health benefits that it offers, some of the health benefits are discussed below;
A study conducted by the UCLA School of medicine showed that its use caused a significant improvement in both sexual desire and erectile function; it does this by increasing blood flow in the pelvic area of both males and females thereby enhancing erectile function in men and increasing orgasmic sensations in women. It also enhances the production of sex hormones to both sexes. The same study of the muira puama root also noted that it can be used for stress management and to stimulate the nervous system. Because the herb is known to have anti- rheumatic properties it has been widely used by herbalists and some health practitioners to treat trauma and stress levels.
The use of this herb as a tonic for neuromuscular pains or disorders has also gained a lot of ground in the western world; in the US in particular muira puama root is used to treat cases of Menstrual cramps, PMS and neurasthenia.It is generally used to treat cases of mild exhaustion in both sexes and has produced splendid results in some instances where it has been used to treat some forms of central nervous systems disorders. One of the key benefits of the muira puama root is its naturalness and lack of major side effects on its users; whether it is used as an aphrodisiac or as a medicine.
Can Guarana Boost Energy?
January 24, 2013 01:29 PM
Guarana, scientifically named as Paullinia cupana is an evergreen vine indigenous to the northern regions of Brazil and Venezuela. Guarana berries are widely considered to be a great source of organic caffeine and also have been used for hundreds of years by native Amazonian tribes, the Guaranis to help retain their stamina levels and improve physical endurance. The natives believed that the drink made from this powdered ground seeds of the berries could provide more energy. They also claimed that, by drinking Guarana juice one could go on hunt for many days without food and also without feeling fatigue.
Guarana is used as an organic and effective energy booster. It has an identical chemical composition to that of caffeine, and also the plant seeds produce even greater caffeine effects than usual caffeine drinks. Guarana is released into the body much more slowly to provide longer stimulation. The plant immediately energizes the nervous system to provide sustained energy and may be taken in small dose to fight weakness and improve activity levels. Additionally, it decreases tiredness, and improves mental alertness. Also, Guarana extract is taken by sports athletes to keep up their peak performance.
Guarana is traditionally used for weight Loss as well. It helps reduce fluid retention, inhibits appetite and boosts metabolic process. As a result, the extra fat stored becomes a source of fuel to the body.
Guarana also consists of tannins, which is valuable in treating diarrhea and other types of digestive problems.
Because of higher content of caffeine, Guarana has received a reputation of a powerful stimulant and also aphrodisiac. When compared to other libido supplements, Guarana doesn't have any side effects.
As an all-natural adaptogen, Guarana can be used to boost the body's effectiveness against anxiety, stress and fatigue. It's traditionally been useful for migraines, menstruation pains as well as heart related illnesses.
st johns wort and depression
October 10, 2012 12:10 PM
St. John's Wort
St. John's Wort, also scientifically known as hypericum perforatum, or Klamath Weed, is a herb with yellow flowers. It has numerous composition of strong compounds like hypericin and hyperforin thathave shown evidence of antibacterial, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and antioxidant properties.
St John Wort can be used to treat mild session of anxiety depression and mood swings, the hyperforin chemical found in it, elevates the level of the neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin) that relay information in between cell and play a vital role in the nervous system. The herb has the ability to inhibit chemical associated with anxiety and depression and thus induce a sense of wellbeing and help moderate depression, anxiety, mood swings, chronic fatigue and low energy level.
Other benefit of the St John Wort is that it can help treat hangover and alcoholism; it also helps prevent the risk of getting Parkinson disease. It antibiotic and anti-viral properties can help treat congested sinus or a chronic cough its antibacterial and analgesic propertied help to treat wounds and burn.
What Makes St Johns Wort Good For Depression And Anxiety?
September 18, 2012 09:18 PM
St Johns wort
St Johns wort is a particular plant species. Firstly, in ancient Greek the medicinal uses of St Johns wort are recognized. It is an herb with yellow flowers. It contains active ingredients like flavonoids, anthrancenes, volatile oil and sugar alcohol which are used for medicinal purpose. St Johns wort binomial name Hypericum perforatum is also considered as wild plant, herb and weed. The other common names for this plant are Amber Touch-and-heel, goat weed, Klamath weed, Rosin rose and Tipton weed. As it is an herb its leaves and flowers are used for medicinal purpose.
What is St Johns wort?
St Johns wort is considered as a medicinal plant. It has yellow flowers which are used for medical purposes in various parts of the world. It is an herbal remedy to treat depression. This medicinal plant is also used for migraine, headache, muscle pain, chronic fatigue syndrome. It is also used for cancer and HIV/AIDS. St Johns is known as natural herbal remedy for mild to moderate depression. This highly valuable contains a chemical known as hypericin which effects against depression. This chemical act as mediatator in the nervous system which control the mood.
Does St Johns worth help depression? Depression has now become a common problem in humans now days. Due to the side effects of antidepressant medications, people are frequently moving towards natural remedies. St John wort is a complete health booster for the entire nervous system. It is recommended as a useful herbal remedy. It is scientifically proven that this particular plant is effective for mild to moderate depression. It has been used to treat mental disorders. St John wort is commonly used for depression and the conditions which are responsible depression such as anxiety, tiredness and sleep disorders. In most of the countries it is widely prescribed for depression. Wort is beneficial to people with mild depression but it is less effective on major depression.
St Johns wort medicinal properties:This medicinal plant is a powerful medicine.It is effective and well tolerated by the patients.You can feel yourself improving within the first week of usage of St John wort.As it is well tolerated by the patients, you can see fast results with fewer side effects.It decreases anxiety related to depression.It includes medicinal properties like antibacterial, anti inflammatory, antiviral, antidepressant and pain relieving.Traditionally it has been used to cure burns, headache, wounds, etc.
Though this is a powerful and remarkable medicine for treating mild to moderate depression, but still there is a question in the mind of health experts regarding major depression? In accordance with this, medicinal wort is less effective for the people who are taking other medications. St John wort is not effective on severe depression as discussed earlier. St John wort causes drug interaction so it might not be the right choice for the people who take other medication. You cannot ignore St Johns Wort, as it is a natural remedy for treatment of depression in spite of having few side effects.
Raspberry ketone for weight loss
June 11, 2012 08:21 AM
Raspberry ketones are natural compounds that are found in raspberry plants and that are able to regulate metabolism in the same manner as synephrine and capsaicin since they are chemically similar. Ketones are also responsible for the pleasant smell of raspberries and they are also used as a flavoring ingredient for processed food. Various studies have shown that these ketones are also extremely potent fat burners and this is the main reason why they are highly marketed as being an effective solution for weight loss.
It was scientifically proven that people who choose to live a healthy lifestyle and who also watch their weight can have a significant benefit from using raspberry ketone supplements. Most people can lose a considerable amount of weight by using these supplements and it works with any type of diet. It also works extremely well and burns fat even more effective when it is combined with a high protein diet that is low on fat. This is basically one of the main reasons why this supplement is so high in demand nowadays.
Whenever raspberry ketone is used as a supplement the core temperature of the body is significantly raised. Therefore the metabolism rate will also be increased and it will cause the body to burn fat and calories much faster, making this compound very popular and effective when it comes to weight loss. In addition, these ketones will also make the overall fat that the body is absorbing from a regular diet to be reduced. In fact, a study conducted on rats in Japan reveals that this compound is extremely effective in fat loss after it prevented fat from accumulating in their tissues. This is a strong evidence that proves how effective for boosting metabolism and burning fat this supplement really is. Although no study was documented on humans, there are various positive feedbacks from users that prove to be effective and free of any side effects as well.
Due to the raspberry ketone effectiveness, most nutritionists and dietitians are also recommending to eat a few raspberries along with meals. People who went for a healthy diet and also consumed raspberries on a regular basis have experienced positive weight loss results. This fruit is also very delicious and is rich in fiber so it is a good addition to any meal. Raspberry ketones are also known for several other health benefits such as maintain the level of fat and cholesterol in the body. Also, by consuming this compound you can also maintain your blood pressure levels in normal range, therefore these ketones are also good for maintaining the overall health for the cardiovascular system.
So basically all these healthy and beneficial properties make raspberries a very healthy fruit. They also contain anti-oxidants which are most needed for combating the harmful free-radicals present in the body. Since it would take many pounds of actual raspberries in order to get any significant results, supplements based on this compound are the perfect choice in order to get the recommended dosage (usually around 100-300mg).
What are the health benefits of Maitake mushrooms?
May 09, 2012 02:21 PM
Maitake mushrooms are scientifically called Grifola frondosa, and originated from the mountains of north eastern Japan. Loosely translated, maitake is a Japanese word for ‘dancing mushroom'. It is said that people dance for joy once they find one due to its health benefits and value. These mushrooms can be prepared and eaten with a number of foods. Today, they are also found as powders and dietary supplements in tablet or capsule form. Recent studies suggest that they have many anti-cancer and immune system benefits. It is very important to consult a physician before you begin to take these supplements, in order to know the right dosage that will provide health benefits. The following are the health benefits of taking maitake mushrooms every day:
Supports cardiovascular health:
People who eat a diet that includes a generous amount of maitake mushrooms have a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Taking these mushrooms daily can significantly decrease the risk of heart disease. Therefore, for a healthy heart, include maitake mushrooms in your diet.
Boosts immune system:
Taking maitake mushrooms in your diet is a simple way to boost your immune system. As we all know, it is important to have a strong immune system for our overall well-being. Otherwise, we cannot be able to fight off infections.
Prevents stomach problems:
Often, indigestion leads to a stomach ache. But there is a solution to this. Consuming maitake mushrooms can help in digestion, therefore preventing a stomach upset.
Lowers high blood pressure:
Studies show that maitake supplements and extracts can work miracles to reduce high blood pressure. Most cardiovascular diseases are caused by high blood pressure.
Relieves side effects of chemotherapy:
It is a well-known fact that chemotherapy has some side effects like hair loss, nausea, and vomiting. Thus, chemotherapy side effects can be effectively managed by daily intake of maitake mushrooms.
Scientific research reveals that taking maitake mushrooms every day can help to regulate the levels of blood glucose, thereby helping to control symptoms of diabetes.
Lowers high cholesterol levels:
People with high levels of cholesterol are at a high risk of suffering heart attacks. As well as diabetes control, studies indicate that maitake mushrooms may also benefit people with high cholesterol problems.
Other health benefits of maitake mushrooms
Besides the above health benefits, maitake mushrooms are also known to have other health benefits, such as their cancer-fighting abilities and weight loss benefits. They are also commonly used as food additives.
Maitake mushrooms for fighting cancer:
Maitake mushrooms have cancer fighting abilities and that's why they should be consumed daily. A recent research showed that maitake mushrooms, consumed in any form, can strengthen the immune system and stimulate production of cells that fight cancer. In simple language, consumption of maitake mushrooms can actually prevent the development of cancer. In addition, maitake mushroom ingredients can also limit cancerous cells from growing.
Maitake mushrooms for weight loss:
According to various studies, maitake mushrooms have been proven to be effective in weight loss. Many eat the mushrooms to help in their weight loss and reduce problems associated with obesity. A diet consisting of maitake mushrooms supplemented with light exercise can significantly help in weight loss.
What Is Glutathione Good For?
April 14, 2012 08:03 AM
What is Glutathione?
Glutathione (GSH)is a tripeptide derived from non-proteinaceous amino acids. Contains apeptide bond between the group unusual amino of the cysteine group and the carboxylside chain of glutamate. Glutathione, an antioxidant, helps protect cells from reactive species of oxygen such as free radicals and peroxides. Glutathione is nucleophilic at sulfuracceptors and conjugated electrophilic attack poisonous. Groups thiolare maintained in a reduced state to a concentration of about ~ 5 mM in animal cells. Indeed, glutathione reduces any link disulfideformed with in proteins cytoplasmic cysteines by acting as a donor of electrons.In the process, glutathione is converted to its oxidized form glutathione disulfide (GSSG). Glutathione is found almost exclusively in its reduced form, since the enzyme that turns its oxidized form, glutathione reductase,is constitutively active and inducible to oxidative stress.In fact, the ratio of reduced glutathione to oxidized glutathione in cells is often used scientifically as a measure of cellular toxicity. H2O2+ GSSG + 2 ------- 2GSH H2O.
Advantages of the Glutathione
Before discussing the benefits of L-Glutathione, let's first talk a little about the nutrient. Glutathione is an antioxidant enzyme dominant which is soluble in water.It is absorbed mainly in the liver.It helps fight against free radical damage.The free radical damage is harmful relatives. Glutathione is involved in a variety of other functions in the body.
The function of Glutathione - Benefits of Glutathione
Glutathione works in DNA synthesis and repair, protein and prostaglandin synthesis, and amino acid transport.It helps in the metabolism of carcinogens and toxins.Immune system is improved through the use of Glutathione, and contributes to the prevention of cellular oxidative damage, and activation of enzymes. Glutathione also helps and maintains the functions of other antioxidants.
There is the possibility of a deficiency of glutathione. It usually occurs during aging.For example, it is seen in macular degeneration related to age, diabetes, and lung and gastrointestinal diseases. It may be the cause of pre-eclampsia, Parkinson's, AIDS and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Where to get Glutathione
Some sources of glutathione include fruits such as tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruit, oranges, peaches and cantaloupe.It is found in vegetables such as avocados, potatoes, spinach, okra, acorn squash, and asparagus.It is found in most meats as well. Other sources of vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, parsley, and not only provide GSH - glutathione peroxidase, but it also stimulates the body to make more BA.Since cooking destroys much of glutathione, you will get more to eat raw or steamed vegetables for the best benefits of Glutathione.
Reduced glutathione is in a supplementation that we personally use a company called source naturals a Natural Product meeting the above requirements.The nutrient content in their signature product - Total Balance.
What Is Zinc and What AreThe Benefits of Taking OptiZinc
February 12, 2012 07:34 AM
Zinc is considered to be one of the most essential minerals that have the ultimate capacity to boost the immune health of a human body. Scientific researches revealed that zinc plays a major role in regulating the production of cells in the body's immune system. High levels of zinc can be derived from ginger roots, pecan nuts, oysters, peanuts, oats, peas, turnips, whole wheat grains, almonds and pumpkin seed. Zinc supplementation is getting a lot importance nowadays because of a number of health complications that can arise due to zinc insufficiency.
Intake of zinc supplements can help the body gain sufficient amount of resistance against acne, eczema, prostate disorder and even simple colds. Studies show that zinc has the optimum capacity to regulate the level of testosterone in the body which when left uncontrolled can eventually lead to the formation of annoying acne. Zinc also stimulates the body's natural ability to heal chronic infections. Zinc actually aids a number of enzymes that facilitate in collagen synthesis which leads to faster healing of wounds and infections.
Zinc is also known for its capacity to strengthen the body's immune system. In fact, it shortens the duration of common colds by enhancing the functions of white blood cells. Low level of zinc in the body makes an individual more susceptible to suffer from a number of health infections.
Zinc is scientifically proven to be effective in preventing the development of diabetes. It regulates the production of insulin and helps the blood sugar move into the cells. The mineral is even effective in reducing the risk of suffering rheumatoid arthritis because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
Inadequate amount of zinc in the body can lead to growth retardation, loss of appetite, bone degradation, low blood pressure, poor quality and rough skin and loss of sense of taste and smell. Zinc insufficiency can also be major culprit behind the development of weight loss, fatigue, hair loss, formation of white spots underneath the nails and diarrhea.
Zinc is also known for its capacity to promote a healthy and radiant skin. The mineral has a direct influence over hormones that control the production of oil, promote optimum cell growth and prevent the development of skin disorders like diaper rash, burns, psoriasis and dandruff. Zinc is a powerful mineral that optimizes cognitive function by enhancing memory and cognition.
Optizinc is actually a patented complex of methionine and zinc supplement that absorbs better and retain longer than any other zinc supplement available on the market today. In fact, OptiZinc is considered as the superior quality bioavailable form of mineral zinc. OptiZinc actually increases the availability of zinc in the body that is effective in promoting healthy cell functions which include digestion, reproduction, respiration, growth and development. OptiZinc also promotes a better and efficient brain, vision, nerve and immune functions. It is also capable of neutralizing the effects of damaging free radicals thereby reducing the user's risk of suffering from serious health conditions like cancer. Clinical studies show that OptiZinc works better than any other zinc supplement available on the market today.
How Does The White Kidney Bean Block Carbohydrates?
February 08, 2012 08:23 PM
The White Kidney Bean is referred scientifically as Phaseolus vulgar. It is bean plant that is native to the Indies, Europe and Peru. The major advantage of using this bean plant is because it has been proven scientifically proven as a good inhibitor of the digestion of some selected dietary carbohydrates. Its carbohydrate blocking ability has seen it being adopted in the manufacture of most weight loss and diet pills.
When you consume starch, normally referred to as the complex carbohydrates, the body then has the responsibility of breaking these food substances into smaller digestible units that are referred to as dextrins. This is usually done through a chemical process catalyzed by the enzyme amylase. The dextrins are later broken down to form glucose. This is then the product that is useful to the body. Glucose is required for body energy requirements. The glucose before being used by the body system is first stored in the muscle tissue or the liver in the form of glycogen.
The settling of glycogen in the liver is used for conversion to lipids and later their storage in fat form. White Kidney Bean is essentially used to block the digestive ability of alpha-amylase which is used in the breakdown of carbohydrates into dextrins and later into glucose which is then used up by the body system. The result of this means that all the carbohydrates pass through the digestive tract undigested. This therefore translates to a lower intake of energy and. This subsequently lowers the amount of body fat that is usually introduced into the body by the consumption of such foods. This is why this bean is an essential element for those seeking to lose weight.
The White Kidney Bean can be able to block the digestion of carbohydrates but is not capable of inhibiting the digestion of fats and simple sugars. This therefore calls for more adoption of dietary controls because the bean might not achieve the level of effect required. Even through the bean is able to inhibit the functioning of alpha-amylase, there still is another starch digestive enzyme called glucoamylase that can still be digesting the starch during the inhibition of the other enzyme. The White Kidney Bean is a good option for weight loss and weight management. The users are however still advised to ensure that they properly limit their intake of carbohydrates so as to get better results.
This bean is safe to take and does not have any health complications associated with it. The use of this bean is of much importance in losing that extra pound. The White Kidney Bean is especially helpful to those people who cannot get the proper time for preparing healthy meals. It is always important to keep in mind the fact that this bean is only useful in inhibiting the digestion of carbohydrates. This is why people are always advised to try as much as possible to limit their carb consumption. Some side effects like heartburn might be witnessed but in most cases they might not be very much pronounced.
Can Saw Palmetto Out Perform Synthetic Treatments For Enlarge Prostate?
October 03, 2011 02:53 PM
Saw palmetto is a tree type of plant which is scientifically known as Serenoa repens. It is abundantly found along the coast of southeastern part of USA. This plant bears flowers which comes in yellow and produces fruits which are berry - like and reddish black in color. Saw palmetto supplements are extracted from the plant’s berries. The berries are rich in fatty acids and phytosterols. Saw Palmetto berry extracts are made by drying the berry and mixing it with a solvent like hexane and ethanol.
Since the ancient times, Saw Palmetto has been long used as an edible food and an herbal plant. The most common use of this herb is for the improvement of benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. This illness usually results to problems with urination and sexual activity. The enlarged prostate may obstruct the flow of urine making urination difficult and even painful for some. It can also affect the individual’s sexual activity because the prostate is the gland responsible for producing seminal fluid which is a component of the male ejaculate.
The mechanism of action of this herb in improving the condition of benign prostatic hyperplasia is that it inhibits the action of the enzyme called 5 – alpha – reductase which is involved in the abnormal growth of the prostate gland. Another theory on its action in relation to benign prostatic hyperplasia is that it can effectively interfere with the chemical substance called dihydrytestosterone. One of the reasons of prostate enlargement is that there is increased amount of the hormone testosterone that binds to androgen receptor sites. Saw Palmetto extracts have been found to bind with androgen receptor sites and act as a phytoestrogen. Therefore, if the receptor sites are already filled up, testosterone hormones will not be able to attach to these receptor sites and provide an effect to the body. Hence, if testosterone is minimized, enlargement of the prostate gland will also be controlled.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a serious health condition. Several prescribed medications are available to treat this illness. Indeed, saw palmetto extracts may be helpful but this supplement must not be used as a substitute for your prescribed medications. It may have similar actions with BPH drugs such as Finasteride but its potency is different. Clinical studies have also revealed that saw palmetto supplements do not directly decrease the size of the prostate gland but the lining inside the gland. It thins the inside layer of the gland thus minimizing pressure that rests on the urine tubes or urethra.
Saw palmetto is generally safe. However, since it can cause significant changes inside the body, it is important that you should talk to your doctor first before using this supplement, most especially when you already have BPH. You have to consult your doctor and discuss with him or her about your current health status, past medical history, familial health history and other medications taken whether prescribed or not. Dosage of the supplement is also best determined by your doctor. This will greatly help in the avoidance of untoward effects and unnecessary negative interactions with the other drugs you are taking.
Does Lysine Help with Herpes Breakouts?
September 30, 2011 02:22 PM
Herpes and Lysine Relationship
For proteins to be utilized by body cells, they are broken down and metabolized into amino acids. Amino acids are the simple building blocks of protein which can be readily used by the cells of the body. There are 20 amino acids in which the human body uses. Eight of these are considered "essential" amino acids which mean that they are not produced by the body in natural ways but must be supplied through the diet or from the food we eat. One of the essential amino acids is Lysine.
Amino Acid Lysine
Lysine is has been long studied with its benefits on herpes simplex infections. Preliminary results showed that lysine supplementation on a regular basis can effectively inhibit the occurrence of genital herpes and sores related to herpes simplex virus.
Scientifically, there are two amino acids which have been discovered to have significant effects on herpes simplex virus, namely lysine and arginine. Lysine is effective in minimizing viral outbreaks and in improving the healing process of such infection. On the other hand, arginine can trigger occurrence of symptoms of the viral infection. The mechanism of action is said to be that lysine greatly inhibit the metabolism of Arginine. Clinical studies on tissues have revealed that arginine is the amino acid which is required by the herpes simplex virus to increase in number and become active.
Another use of lysine is that it can be employed as a mild anxiolytic. It has been found to have an effect on serotonin receptor sites on the digestive tract. Also, lysine plays a significant role in the proper growth of the individual and in the production of the chemical compound called carnitine which is a substance responsible for the metabolism of fatty acids into energy form. Carnitine in the blood also greatly helps in lowering blood cholesterol levels. Therefore, the risk of cardiovascular diseases associated with high cholesterol levels will be lessened. Another health benefit of lysine is that it can positively influence the absorption of the mineral calcium. As we know for a fact, calcium plays an important role in bone mineralization and maintaining its health and strength. Calcium is also required in the contraction of muscles such as that of the heart. Lastly, lysine is also required in the production of collagen. This chemical substance is necessary for bone and tissue growth and repair.
Deficiency of this amino acid will provide a feeling of nausea, dizziness, appetite loss, fatigue and stunted growth. Lysine can be obtained from the food we eat. Fish, especially sardines and cod, chicken, beef, lamb, eggs, milk and milk products like cheese and dairy and several fruits and vegetables contain high concentration of Lysine. The fruits rich in lysine include avocados, mangos, apples, papaya, pears and tomatoes. On the other hand, vegetables which have an abundant amount of lysine include legumes such as peas and beans.
While some people needs more amount of lysine supply, health experts have formulated concentrated levels of lysine in the form of supplements. Lysine supplements are available in the form of tablets, capsules, creams and suspensions.
Also, Red marine algae may help relieve the outbreak as well.
Huperzine And Memory
December 04, 2008 01:20 PM
Chinese club moss goes by the name Huperzia serrata, and gives its name to the sesquiterpene alkaloid it contains: huperzine A. This alkaloid has been found to be a superstar in the arena of brain-saving treatments for conditions such as Alzheimer's and age-related senility. Studies in China have found up to 60% improvements in the cognitive functions of such patients, and its potential has been recorded in the Journal of the American Medical Association. This is no mere folk remedy, and is the subject of serious study.
Known as Qian Ceng Ta, Chinese club moss has been a part of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries for the treatment of fever and inflammation, which is not surprising considering that most plants contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. However, what is unusual is the fact that it has also been found effective in treating some forms of dementia and depression, and also helps to reduce the incidence of panic attacks in those susceptible to them.
Not only that, but the plant has been found to possess diuretic properties, and a reduction in the swelling associated with water retention could also help to reduce the pain and other effects of swelling and inflammation. However, for now it is its effect on the brain that we are concerned, and research has indicated the likely mechanism by which huperzine A works.
Huperzine is an enzyme inhibitor - specifically inhibiting the enzyme acetylcholinesterase that breaks down acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in the processes of memory, learning and mood. Outside the brain, it is involved in the movement of skeletal muscle tissue as well as in the regulation of cardiac and other smooth muscles such as those of the blood vessels.
When acetylcholinesterase (AChE) attacks acetylcholine (ACh), the latter attaches to a chemical site on the enzyme where it is then destroyed. It is a deliberate function of the body, designed to terminate a synaptic transmission. The purpose of a neurotransmitter is to allow the transmission of an electrical impulse form one nerve cell to another over a gap between them known as a synapse. Once the transmission has been completed, the enzyme can destroy the neurotransmitter, and then another takes its place. In fact one molecule of AChE can destroy around 5,000 molecules of ACh.
However, with age and for other reasons, these neurotransmitters can become depleted so that it becomes increasingly more difficult for brain cells to communicate with each other, and their destruction becomes undesirable. There are drugs available to help prevent this happening (e.g. donepezil, galantamine and tacrine), and so help to improve the memory and mental function of people as they grow older or contract conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.
Huperzine A has been found to take up the site in the acetylcholinesterase molecule that would normally have been used by the acetylcholine, and so save it from destruction. The more Huperzine A molecules present, the more acetylcholine available to pass messages between brain cells, and the stronger the cognitive function of the subject or patient. The pharmaceutical drugs mentioned in the previous paragraph work in exactly the same way.
This is a very specific reaction, one molecule adopting exactly the same space as the other, and has been proved scientifically by comparing the physical shapes of the two molecules. It's just like a jigsaw puzzle, where only one piece can fit into each position. Except here there are two: Huperzine A and acetylcholine both fit into the exact same place in the chemical structure of the acetylcholinesterase molecule.
The biochemistry of the reactions involved is very complex, and shall not be discussed here, but the upshot is that Huperzine A can do exactly the same job as modern drugs to avoid this hydroxylation of the ACh needed for the proper functioning of your brain.
In fact, clinical trials have indicated Huperzine A not only to be comparable in effect to the drugs current used, but also likely safer with respect to the possible side effects. This has still to be confirmed, but the National Institute on Aging is currently carrying out a trial to evaluate this claim in tandem with its effect on Alzheimer's disease. It has also been examined at Harvard University for its effect on epilepsy on patients with whom alternative pharmaceutical treatments have been unsuccessful.
Another suggested benefit of Huperzine A is that it is an NMDA (N-methyl D-aspartate) receptor antagonist that provides protection against damage to the brain by an excess of glutamates, and that it can also help to protect nerve cells from damage. Since NDMA is responsible for the transmission of some types of pain, the antagonist can also act as an analgesic.
There are other benefits that Chinese club moss can provide, and myasthenia gravis is one of them. Although relatively rare, this is a serious condition in which acetylcholine receptors are deactivated on muscle cells. This is achieved through the autoimmune system malfunctioning and creating antibodies against the receptors, and the end result is paralysis and respiratory failure.
Huperzine A reduces the AChE available and so might possibly enable the acetylcholine to work more effectively and delay or even stop the deterioration of muscle function. When people hear of muscle paralysis they frequently forget that breathing requires muscle function, as indeed does your heartbeat. This is currently surmise, and studies are being carried out to determine whether or not this usage of Huperzine A is viable.
Another promising application of Chinese club moss extract is in preventing organophosphate poisoning. These pesticides permanently suppress acetylcholine. This results in seizures due to a lack of interruption of the signals from nerves to muscles. The seizures can result in rapid death from uncontrollable seizures, or from permanent contraction of the diaphragm muscle that allows breathing. Although no human studies have yet been carried out, animals given Huperzine A prior to organophosphate exposure have survived without seizures.
There are no doubts that Chinese club moss and the Huperzine A extracted from it are effective in preventing the suppression of acetylcholine, and in permitting the proper activity of this important neurotransmitter. It is finding an increasing number of potential uses beneficial to the human body, not the least of which would be a partial remedy for some of the effects of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Evening Primrose Oil
September 04, 2008 09:08 AM
The tiny seeds of the evening primrose flower are the source of oil that has been valued in the world for building health and overcoming a lot of common health problems. Evening primrose, also known as evening star, night willow herb, scabish, and tree primrose, has a recorded history of at least 500 years of use for its health promoting properties. Growing in a wider variety of climates, the plant can be found in rocky roadsides, shallow streams, or even high deserts.
The plant can even be found growing at elevations as high as 9,000 feet. This plant has yellow flowers from July through September that open after sunset and are pollinated by insects of the night. Open only until sunrise, the flowers die the next day, causing hundreds of small black seeds to form inside. These seeds are the source of the plant’s oil, with about 5,000 seeds being used for just one 500 mg capsule. Due to this, evening primrose can be relatively expensive. Evening primrose’s value in a variety of illnesses was recognized by American Indians and European immigrants. Indians used it to treat skin wounds, asthma, coughs, and also as a sedative. One of the first botanicals exported to Europe from North America, it was brought to Italy in 1619 and planted in the Padua Botanical Gardens. It was so valued by the Puritans that they called it the “King’s cure-all” and exported it to England. The ancients didn’t know scientifically why evening primrose was so effective for so many illnesses, but that didn’t affect its abilities. Modern science has found that the essential fatty acids that are found in the oil of the evening primrose seeds are the secret to the health-building properties.
Fat has gotten a bad name for itself in the past few years, but the truth is that there are actually certain types of fats that are vital for good health. One of these healthy fats is essential fatty acids, which are found in unprocessed vegetable, plant, and fish oils. One of the richest sources known is actually mother’s milk. Like vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids are nutritional substances that have far-reaching effects on many body processes.
These effects include reducing blood pressure, helping to prevent arthritis, reducing the growth rate of breast cancer, lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels, maintaining healthy skin, aiding in transmission of nerve impulses, playing a role in normal brain function, constituting the building blocks of body membranes, promoting proper hormone function, and forming the basis for prostaglandin production.
Because essential fatty acids can not be manufactured in the body, they must be consumed in the diet, with at least three percent of an adult’s daily caloric intake being recommended to be comprised of essential fatty acids. Children and pregnant women should have a diet containing at least five percent essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are essential for normal functioning of all body tissues.
Because of this, the list of symptoms of essential fatty acid deficiency includes reduced growth rate, skin disorders, male and female infertility, kidney abnormalities, decreased capillary resistance, susceptibility to infection, heart problems, anemia, enlarged liver, sparse hair growth in infants, poor wound healing, and an increased susceptibility to infection.
In conclusion, to prevent or heal these conditions, a diet that is rich in essential fatty acids must be present. Evening primrose oil is a good source of essential fatty acids, containing about 72 percent linoleic acid and 9 percent GLA. Have you had your evening primrose oil today?
Alfalfa Is One of Nature’s Most Nutrient-Rich Foods
February 14, 2008 12:29 PM
Most people have likely heard of alfalfa in relation to its use as an important animal feedstuff without understanding that it is one of nature’s most nutrient-rich foods. It appears to be a trait with most people, that what is used for animal feed cannot possibly be healthy to humans.
This completely ignores the fact that humans are themselves mammals, and what is good for the biochemistry of one mammal is likely (though not necessarily) good for most. A look at alfalfa and why it has been used to feed livestock is a good place to start a discussion on its merits as a nutritional supplement for human beings.
Alfalfa is a legume, or member of the pea and bean family, that has long been used as animal food and has been given the nickname “Queen of Forages”. It is behind only corn, wheat and soybeans as the fourth largest crop grown in the USA, and the vast majority is for animal forage. In fact there is twice as much alfalfa grown in the USA as cotton. Its nutritional value is not only from its high protein content of around 20%, but also from its exceptional vitamin and mineral content.
Although grown predominantly for animals, humans also eat alfalfa sprouts, although by far its greatest nutritional use is in supplement form. Before discussing specific claimed benefits such as its use in lowering blood glucose and cholesterol, alleviating the symptoms of arthritis and helping with digestive problems among only dozens of other traditional uses, it would be useful to review the nutritional content of the legume in terms of vitamins, minerals and any other biochemical content that could provide more general health benefits.
The vitamin and mineral content is not disputed, being determined by chemical analysis. It is not so much what is present in terms of variety that is impressive, but how much of each that alfalfa contains. Natural protein that is easily assimilated by the body has already been touched on, ranging from around 15% to over 20%. Many people also stress the rich chlorophyll content, but apart from the magnesium, chlorophyll has no nutritional benefit to humans. However, now for the impressive facts:
Alfalfa contains a high concentration of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, E and K and also Niacin, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin and Folic Acid. It is also rich in the following minerals: Boron, Calcium, Chlorine, Cobalt, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulfur and also some trace minerals. When you purchase alfalfa supplements you also get eight essential amino acids, necessary for the biosynthesis of proteins, enzymes and DNA.
Little wonder then that alfalfa has a long history of medicinal uses, and is also used as a feed for animals, providing practically all of their protein, vitamin and mineral dietary needs. The same could also be said of humans, and alfalfa is not classed as a ‘superfood’ without good reason.
However, it is easy to determine the fact that this plant is of high nutritional value, but when or why should you take alfalfa supplements, especially if you have a good dietary regime? In fact several facts are known through studies of the plant and also by traditional and established usage for certain ailments. Although not all claims can be scientifically verified beyond all doubt, it has been generally agreed that alfalfa is instrumental in reducing the uric acid content of your system, and is hence useful in the treatment of certain types of arthritis, and also perhaps gout.
Although the latter has not been unconditionally proven it has been traditionally used to treat gout that is caused by deposition of uric acid crystals in the joints, and further, alfalfa also contains many of the minerals recommended for its treatment. It is not, therefore, an unreasonable assumption that it should be an effective treatment. There are a few medical applications of alfalfa that have been carried out under controlled conditions, and while the official line is that more testing is required to firmly establish any benefits gained by taking the supplement, many people claim that it has been effective in the treatment of their own medical conditions.
Atherosclerosis, which is caused by excessive deposition of cholesterol in the arteries, has been reported to be reduced in animal studies, and while many people also claim that their condition has improved, more evidence is necessary before their claims can be scientifically supported. This, however, could be connected with the greater body of evidence suggesting that alfalfa supplements can help to reduce your LDL cholesterol levels.
It is free radical oxidation of low density lipoproteins that render the cholesterol attached to them more liable to be deposited excessively in your arteries, thereby causing the aforementioned atherosclerosis. The evidence of the effect of alfalfa in reducing LDL cholesterol is very promising, and if substantiated could well provide the proof needed that the supplement does indeed reduce the incidences of cholesterol plaques inside your arteries.
The same is true with regard to the reduction in blood glucose claimed to occur after taking an alfalfa supplement. Recorded human data is scarce, although once again some people claim that the supplement has improved their condition. However, in this case it is clear that more evidence is required before any claims can be made with any degree of confidence.
It is probably wise not to regard alfalfa as being a panacea for any of the above conditions, but it is also fair to regard it as being very rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins. Perhaps this is why it is believed to help with some common digestive complaints, and also help to control high blood pressure and improve your mental function. Whatever your belief in the health benefits of alfalfa supplements, you should consult a physician before relying on it as a definitive treatment for any condition. This is particularly true if you are also being treated for another condition.
Alfalfa might not specifically interact with any other drug, but you should always check up with your doctor when using any natural remedy in association with a prescription medicine. It contains a number of other vitamins which might interact with specific medications. Vitamin K, for example, can interfere with the action of blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin. This is not specific to alfalfa, and any foodstuff rich in a specific nutrient could equally interact with prescription medicines.
However, widespread homeopathic use over a long period of time has indicated that alfalfa has few if any side effects. It is effectively used in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of kidney problems and its name is derived from the Arabic for ‘father of all foods’. With over 300 nutrients and phytochemicals, alfalfa is one of nature’s most nutrient-rich foods, and its saponin and isoflavone content alone is sufficient to warrant many of the health claims made for it.
Give Your Health A Boost With Silica Hydride A Powerful Antioxidant
January 18, 2008 05:25 PM
Hydride ions are strong proton acceptors and hence fatal to free radicals. Silica hydride is consequently a powerful antioxidant that can be used to protect your body against the ravaging effects of these free radicals that destroy the cells of your body, and due to its other unique properties this is a molecule that could be a very useful participant in the various redox reactions that occur naturally within our bodies every microsecond of every day of our lives.
A free radical is a positively charged molecule that is deficient in an electron. Whereas stable compounds consist of electron pairs, a free radical consists of electron pairs and one unpaired electron. Although such a compound is not stable, it does not immediately disintegrate but grabs the nearest electron it can find. This would normally be an electron in the nearest body cell to it, whether it is a blood cell, a cell in an artery wall or a skin cell. The result is that the cell that loses the electron is disrupted.
Free radicals are formed in the body through its normal biochemistry, and also promoted by pollutants such as cigarette smoke, pesticides and traffic fumes. Excessive exposure to the ultraviolet radiation of sunlight or sunbeds also creates free radicals, as does excessive exercise, believe it or not. As stated earlier, these chemicals have only one purpose in your body: to grab an electron from wherever they can, and in doing so they destroy the cells that make up your body tissue.
This can lead to premature aging, heart disease and many other problems with your health. Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E are important parts of your diet, and silica hydride is an other supplement which has been relatively recently discovered to have antioxidant properties. A component of glacial streams, this substance is generally in colloidal form, or in the form of small particles maintained in suspension by the interaction of positive and negative charges on the surface of the tiny particles of which it consists.
The interface between the silica and water can be saturated with reduced hydrogen to form a surface that is overall negatively charged and can hence neutralize free radicals that are seeking the free electrons available from the negative charge. This is otherwise described as a reducing or anti-oxidant effect. All anti-oxidants play their part in neutralizing the properties of free radicals that result in the destruction of body cells.
This leads to premature aging of your skin, if a skin cell is affected, if it is a cell in your artery wall, then the artery will become damaged, and if a blood cell then you can suffer from any one of a number of abnormal blood conditions. The stealing of an electron from one molecule by another is scientifically termed 'oxidation', and the substances that prevent this from occurring are called antioxidants, or reducing agents.
An antioxidant will destroy free radicals by providing the extra electron, or chemically, a negatively charged hydrogen ion. This occurs practically instantaneously, in microseconds in fact, as soon as the free radical is formed, so you need a good supply of antioxidants in your body at all times. Free radicals do not roam your bloodstream looking for likely candidate cells to destroy – they do it right away with the nearest available, so antioxidants must be present at the time that the free radicals are created.
Other beneficial effects of such antioxidants are an increase in the potential for the mitochondria to generate energy within your cells, an increase in the hydration of body cells and a decrease in lactic acid build–up that occurs as the result of exercise. The negative charges of silica hydride atoms are very strong antioxidants and can dramatically increase the energy production of mitochondria. It has been shown to do so by up to six times in Chinese hamsters. There is more on this claim for such a significant effect on your energy production later.
In addition to its action as an antioxidant, silica hydride is an electron donor to other antioxidants that have been neutralized by reaction with a free radical. When antioxidants do their work they are not destroyed, but neutralized. They act by giving an electron to the free radical, and are then one electron deficient themselves. This could virtually turn them into free radicals also were it not for the other electron donors available. Silica hydride is one of these. Thus, Coenzyme Q10, another very powerful antioxidant, can have is potency regenerated by silica hydride. If you take a silica hydride supplement, you are not only taking an effective antioxidant, but also a substance that can recharge the batteries of other powerful antioxidants.
Another side effect of this substance is that the reacted hydrogen atoms can also be used in the body to maintain a slightly alkaline pH which is an additional health benefit. pH is a measure of the acidity and alkalinity of the body fluids, and should be maintained slightly alkaline, other than in the stomach where the digestive juices are strongly acidic.
Silica hydride is not essential to the body, so you cannot suffer from a deficiency of it. It is not known to be contained in any foodstuff or water source, and appears to be available only as a supplement. Consequently no optimum dosage has been determined, though the supplements available contain from 200 to 250 mg per capsule. Likewise, side effects from it are unknown since there have been few scientific studies carried out on it. It has, however, been described as the ‘perfect antioxidant’.
Some of the claims made for the substance include reducing lactic acid concentration during exercise. Lactic acid production during exercise causes tiredness and cramps, and silica hydride is said to increase the body’s production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) a substance essential for the production of energy in your body. This is through the reduction of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) to the reduced form NADH as a part of glycolysis and the citric acid cycle. Glycolysis is the metabolism of glucose to energy by the mitochondria.
If the claim that silica hydride effects this reduction of NAD to NADH six or seven times stronger than normal were true, then it would indeed be a significant energy booster invaluable to most athletes.
Set Your Snooze Control With Herbal Supplements
December 27, 2007 02:03 PM
Over one-third of adults say that they have symptoms of insomnia over the course of any one year. Unfortunately, about 10-15 percent of adults struggle with chronic insomnia. Lack of sleep can be traced back to too much stress, anxiety, caffeine, and discomfort from a medical problem, depression, work shift issues, or travel. For some people, insomnia presents itself as trouble falling asleep, while others have trouble staying asleep, and still others wake up too early. It all comes down to the same thing, people aren't getting enough restorative sleep, which leaves insomniacs feeling tired, irritable, and unfocused all day.
Before pharmaceutical sleeping pills were on the market, herbs were the treatment of choice to cure a restless night. As the list of adverse effects to sleeping pills grows longer and longer, herbal sleep aids are again becoming the option of choice. Valerian has been known to give insomniacs better sleep for more than 1,000 years as it eases stress and has been scientifically documented for its sedative effect. Even better, valerian is non-addictive and includes no morning hangover from using it. A study on valerian extract found that the time to fall asleep can be reduced to that of what prescription sedatives promise. Earlier in the year, a similar study found that the combination of valerian and hops shortened the time it takes to fall asleep in a group of twenty-seven insomniacs from what was almost an hour to just about twelve minutes. Chamomile tea has a soothing, sedative effect and is still a pleasant drink. Additionally, chamomile can be used for anxiety and to soothe intestinal upset such as indigestion and heartburn. Other mildly sedating herbs include lemon balm, catnip, passion flower, and skullcap. Still other herbs to consider include corydalis, which encourages feelings of relaxation, in turn helping people to fall asleep, and lavender oil, which acts as a great calming agent.
Green tea, which contains L-theanine, has a calming effect in the body and also strengthens immunity. When feelings of anxiety interfere with sleep, help can be found by taking L-theanine about an hour before one’s desired bedtime, as L-theanine interacts with the brain receptors that are associated with relaxation, therefore inducing a relaxed state of mind.
Serotonin also plays a huge role in sleep, while 5-HTP helps to make this chemical. Studies have proven that by taking 5-HTP, insomnia can be helped a great deal in terms of sleep quality and longer REM sleep periods. About 100-300 mg of 5-HTP should be taken before bedtime for most people. Since some people can feel a little nauseous when first taking 5-HTP, starting with 50 mg for the first few nights and building up to higher doses is advised. Some reports of vivid dreams and even nightmares have been reported fro taking large amounts of 5-HTP and those people who are taking anti-depressants should not take 5-HTP. L-Tryptophan is an amino acid that is converted into serotonin and has been proven to be a successful remedy for insomnia. Although this supplement was unavailable for several years, it is now back on the market.
Melatonin also plays an important role in regulating the body's clock as it is secreted for several hours each night. People with insomnia tend to have lower levels. Therefore, taking supplemental melatonin, especially in a time-release form, an hour or so before one’s desired bedtime can help to get back into a better sleep schedule. Lastly, magnesium can help resolve sleep issues, especially in those people who have sleep problems because of restless leg syndrome (RLS).
No matter what herbal supplement or mineral you decide to use, always consult your health care practitioner before adding vitamin supplements and herbs to ones diet while taking prescription medication. The above mentioned herbal supplements can be found at your local or internet health food store.
September 15, 2007 02:48 PM
For decades, researchers have known about the correlation between polysaccharides and immune system activity. Extensive research has shown that, once successfully absorbed by the bloodstream, these large polysaccharide molecules can potentially support the immune system by increasing the body’s natural production of cytokines—a group of specialized peptide proteins that serve as signaling mechanisms for cells and their target receptors.
Cytokines, such as lymphokines, monokines, interleukins, interferons, and TNF (tumor nectrosis factor) work within the body and encourage the activity of NK cells, T, cells, and B cells. Although specialized polysaccharides are derived from indigestible plant fibers, those same fibers may actually prevent them from entering the bloodstream, thereby minimizing their benefit to the immune system.
More recent scientific advances have determined that, by breaking these long polysaccharides into smaller components called hemicelluloses, these compounds could have a great effect on immune system support. Now Mushroom Glyconutrients was scientifically formulated to support optimal immune system function. It contains RBAC (Rice Bran Arabinoxylan Compound), a specialized type of glyconutrient that is formed when rice bran fibers are broken down using enzymes from select shiitake mushrooms. RBAC has been clinically shown to support the body’s overall immune system.
For added support, NOW Mushroom Glyconutrients also contains a blend of shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms—an excellent source of innate and adaptive immune supporting 1,3 beta-glucans.
Exceptional Ingredients For Exceptional Performance
June 02, 2007 02:52 PM
Anaerobic exercises, such as bodybuilding and strength training, as well as endurance based aerobic activities, such as marathon running and bicycling, are notorious for depleting the body’s reserves of glycogen, protein, electrolyte minerals, water, and other vital constituents. And as simple logic will tell us, the harder one trains, the more they will lose in the process. Failure to properly replenish these nutrients immediately after training can result in fatigue, delayed recovery, accelerated lactic acid levels, mental sluggishness, and intense soreness. According to research, immediate replacement of electrolyte minerals and carbohydrates, along with easily assimilated protein is an effective way to maximize amino acid utilization, when preventing the onset of fatigue. NOW Electro Pro Energy Drink contains all the elements to ensure proper post-workout recovery. By combining a perfectly balanced mix of electrolytes, protein and simple and complex carbohydrates, Electro Pro serves as an ideal supplement for recovering after intense training and exercise.*
This patented casein hydrolysate was scientifically formulated to provide athletes with a better source of protein for faster recovery, more efficient glycogen usage, better insulin response, and less fatigue. PeptoPro helps stimulate the body’s own natural production of insulin to help increase glucose uptake to hard working muscle cells. Its high dipeptide and tripeptide profile promotes fast absorption, and has been shown in human trials to accelerate muscle recovery. PeptoPro contains all 20 amino acids in the natural ratio of casein, a key factor in preventing muscle fatigue and muscle tissue damage because it is a predigested protein, PeptoPro is ideal for taking before and after workouts.
During intense exercise, the body quickly exhausts its reserve of electrolytes. If these aren’t replenished promptly, the body will fatigue at a very fast rate, and may dehydrate. Electro Pro contains calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium to help fuel even the most intense training session.
Carbohydrates are vital when it comes to providing the glycogen that is needed to fuel and refuel today’s athlete. Electro Pro contains a unique blend of dextrose, fructose and rice Maltodextrin to ensure that the body has a generous fuel source. Every serving contains 32 grams of quality carbohydrates.
Electrolyte Energy Formula
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Memory And Focus
May 08, 2007 02:05 PM
Memory & Focus
Some people think getting older often means getting slower. It’s true that as we age, we may find we can’t walk quite as fast, climb as many flights of stairs, or play sports as hard as we could when we were twenty. However, we k now that a healthy diet, regular exercise, and the right dietary supplements can make a huge difference in our health, strength, and mobility as we age.
This is true for our mental abilities as well. We may not think as quickly as we used to, might misplace our keys more often, and experience more “tip-of-my-tongue” word searches. These so-called “middle-aged moments” most often have minor consequences: a missed appointment or the forgotten name of an acquaintance. However, in a small number of cases, these mental slips can also be the first sign of serious diseases of aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease of other dementias.
The good news is, just like our physical health, we can improve how we function mentally. Eating healthy foods, taking the right supplements, and participating in regular mental exercise can significantly increase our mental endurance, improve our memory, and optimize our ability to focus.
In fact, groundbreaking and ongoing research has discovered that specific herbs and vitamins, particularly Ginkgo Biloba, Bacopa monnieri, folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12, and the important co-enzyme and antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid, all have powerful effects on memory and focus. These nutritional supplements have been scientifically shown to quickly reduce mild age-related memory chances, as well as greatly reducing the risk of developing more serious problems like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or other brain diseases later on in life.
Q. What is the difference between age related memory decline and dementia?
A. As we get older, our nerve cells need more time to spark and connect, slowing the process of bringing memories and events to mind. Another theory is that, as we age, we accumulate more knowledge and memories. The mind then has to sort through much more data to reference a memory. Almost everyone middle-aged and older notices this slowdown. Memory decline and problems with mental focus are a normal part of aging.
While it’s true that the older we get, our chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease increase, this illness is not a normal part of aging. Alzheimer’s is an irreversible, progressive dementia that slowly kills nerve cells in areas of the brain where memory, learning, though, and language take place. Often first appearing as people begin retirement, Alzheimer’s disease makes the “golden years” a time of loss and devastation. Memories vanish, relationships are erased, and independence is gradually lost.
After Alzheimer’s disease, the second most common cause of dementia in older people is multi-infarct dementia. Caused by a series of mini-strokes that damage or destroy brain tissue over time, multi-infarct dementia usually affects people between the ages of 60 and 75. Men are slightly more at risk. High blood pressure is the most significant risk factor for multi-infarct dementia.
Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, strokes, Huntington’s disease, Creutzfelt-Jakob disease, and alcoholism can also cause progressive and irreversible dementia.
While normal age-related memory and focus loss may mean we can’t remember where we put our car keys, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia may mean we can’t remember what our car keys are used for.
Q. Are any types of memory and focus loss reversible?
A. Yes. As women enter menopause, they frequently experience trouble remembering. This memory interference is caused by hormone fluctuations and can affect speech, thinking, and attention. Symptoms of menopause-related memory loss and poor focus include recognizing faces less well than in the past, missing scheduled appointments, and misplacing articles. Once a woman passes through menopause, her ability to remember and focus most often improves.
Certain medications, such as the heavily prescribed cholesterol lowering drugs called stains, can temporarily interfere with memory. Low vitamin B levels, artherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and thyroid disease can cause disruption of mental focus and memory loss. These problems usually resolve with treatment of the underlying disorder.
A certain type of stoke, called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) can cause memory loss that may be reversible. A TIA is a brief episode of stroke symptoms that come on quickly. Sometimes referred to as a “mini-stroke” or “warning stroke,” a TIA is caused by a temporary interruption in the blood supply to the brain. But, unlike a stroke, a TIA does not lead to permanent brain damage. While a TIA is usually short-lived, it is likely to occur again if not properly managed and can be a warning of future stroke.
Q. I seem to forget a lot of things. How can I be sure I don’t have Alzheimer’s disease or some other dementia?
A. If you, or other around you, are concerned about your memory, you should be examined by your health care practitioner. Once the cause of your memory and focus problem is diagnosed, treatment can begin. All causes of memory loss and mental focus disruption can be treated, even Alzheimer’s disease. While presently irreversible dementias cannot be cured, the progression of the disease may be slowed, and in some cases, stopped..
Research on memory loss and mental focus disruption has increased dramatically in the past few years. Discoveries regarding Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as well as age-related loss of memory and focus have recently been made. Most importantly, many new treatment options, including the use of nutritional supplements, have been developed.
Q. How can nutritional supplements improve memory and focus?
A. Several herbs and vitamins have been demonstrated to improve memory and mental focus. While some nutritional supplements work now to improve memory and focus, others work to prevent problems we might develop later.
One of the most researched herbs, Ginkgo biloba, has been found to be effective in improving currently experienced memory and focus loss; in other words, problems we are having now. Ginkgo has been studied in individuals who have age-related memory loss, as well as in those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. It seems that ginkgo can improve many brain functions, such as speeding up memory recall, protecting brain cells from chemical changes and free radical damage, improving blood flow to the brain, and helping nerve cells communicate with each other better.
Several studies examined ginkgo’s effect in healthy people who were experiencing normal age-related memory and focus problems. They determined that ginkgo improved memory, attention, and clarity of thinking. Ginkgo can also help restore memories that may be lost in TIAs, those mini-strokes that were discussed earlier.
In studies of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, the results showed that ginkgo slowed down the disease in those severely afflicted and actually improved those with very mild or moderate disease. In one of these studies, ginkgo was compared to four prescription cholinesterase inhibitors, medications commonly used to treat individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Using written mental tests, the researchers found that ginkgo worked just as effectively as the prescription drugs. While those taking one of the cholinesterase inhibitors dropped out of the study because of disturbing side effects, ginkgo had no side effects and improved symptoms equally as well.
Q. Hoe does Bacopa monnieri help memory and focus?
A. Like ginkgo, bacopa works on the memory and focus problems we are experiencing now. Bacopa grows in
Q. How does alpha lipoic acid help memory and focus?
A. Alpha lipoic acid (
Researchers have discovered unmistakable free radical damage in Alzheimer’s disease. Accordingly,
In a recent study, people with Alzheimer’s disease were given tests that measured through and memory. They were then given
Q. How do vitamins B12 and B6 help memory and focus?
A. Vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient in the regulation of nerve transmissions. It is required by the nervous system for normal brain function, and it may also help with mood.
Researchers have learned that people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias (including Parkinson’s disease) have elevated homocysteine levels. IN fact, t he amount of homocysteine in the blood corresponds to the severity of the disease. Most people with a high homocysteine level don’t have enough folate, vitamin B5 or vitamin B12 in their diet. Replacing these vitamins helps return the homocysteine level to normal.
Reducing homocysteine levels may prevent the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease, or other brain diseases, and improve the symptoms of those already afflicted.
Q. What about folic acid?
A. Folic acid has long been recognized as a vital nutrient for the brain and spinal cord. Recent research has demonstrated that folic acid has significant importance in Alzheimer’s disease.
An ongoing study of Alzheimer’s disease that began in 1986 has been studying 678 members of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in the hopes of learning how the disease develops, how it might be prevented, and how to treat it. Data collected in the study includes biographies the sisters wrote upon entrance to the order, blood samples from the sisters while they are living, and information gained from the voluntary donation of their brains after death.
Aptly named the “Nun Study,” ground breaking discoveries have already been made. It seems that diet and nutrition have a dramatic influence in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Sisters who had high levels of folic acid showed little evidence of Alzheimer’s-type damage in their brains after death. And, those nuns who had Alzheimer’s disease in spite of high folic acid levels had profoundly less brain damage from the disease. In fact, some sisters who had no outward evidence of Alzheimer’s disease while they were living had surprisingly extensive damage in their brains after death.
Q. Besides taking ginkgo, bacopa, B vitamins, folic acid, and ALA, is there other things I can do to prevent Alzheimer’s disease?
A. You may not know if you have a serious B-vitamin deficiency. Routine lab work does not measure the amount of B vitamins in your blood. You might want to ask your health care practitioner to have your B vitamin level in your blood measured, especially if you are having memory and focus problems. Keep in mind that this type of lab work is fairly expensive, however.
Supplements do not replace the need for a healthy diet, especially a diet with high levels of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and omega-3 fatty acids. Keeping your body healthy helps keep your brain healthy as well.
It also seems that the use-it-or-lose-it theory applies to our brain as well as our body. Research has shown that people who seek opportunities to keep mentally active, such as reading books, newspapers, and magazines, solving crossword puzzles, playing card games, and visiting museums, lower their risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dealing with age-related memory loss may be both frustrating and frightening. As the population of
In fact, more and more research shows prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is a reality. And age-related memory loss can successfully be improved as well. Taking the scientifically validated nutritional supplements ginkgo, bacopa, vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, and
Selecting the Right Probiotic is the Key to proper digestion
May 05, 2007 01:16 PM
Selecting the Right Probiotic is the Key
Do you ever think about what goes into your body each day? You should. One of the key to feeling good and being healthy s eating nutritious food and making sure our gastrointestinal (GI) tract has the tools it needs to optimally digest and absorb nutrients. The GI tract includes the stomach and intestines, which work to digest foods and eliminate waste.
A variety of “good” intestinal bacteria helps to keep the digestive system running. These “good” bacteria are called probiotic bacteria, or probiotics. Probiotics digest food, process waste, and keep the “bad” bacteria – which have the potential to cause disease and illness – in check.
This issue of Ask the Doctor will look at the probiotic bacteria that play an important role in maintaining our health and wellness: we need them, what they can do for us, and how to make sure we are getting enough. Also, we will talk about an exciting process that truly delivers probiotic bacteria taken in nutritional supplements. Encapsulated in a pearl-like sphere, they survive transport to the intestines, set up house, and exert their beneficial effects. As we will see, probiotic supplementation can help prevent and treat many different illnesses, unless the beneficial bacteria reach the intestines alive and active, the supplement is worthless.
Q. I thought bacteria were bad. How can bacteria be good for us?
A. Some kinds of bacteria do cause illnesses and disease in humans. “Strep” throat is an example of an illness caused by bacteria.
However, the majority of bacteria do not cause disease. In fact, there are types of bacteria that are actually beneficial. “Good” bacteria, known as probiotic bacteria, are used in the manufacturing of food and beverages. Some examples of foods that have probiotic food ingredients are buttermilk, yogurt, cheese, sausage, and acidophilus milk.
These same kinds of probiotic bacteria are present in our intestines and help to keep the digestive system running by digesting food and processing waste.
Q. What are probiotics?
A. Probiotics are live bacteria that are non-toxic and do not cause disease (non-pathogenic).
Some of the best-understood probiotic bacteria include members of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium groups. Because of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium’s ability to break down lactose, these probiotic bacteria are also known as lactic acid bacteria. Both of these types of probiotic bacteria are well studied and are available in both food and dietary supplements.
Q. Is there a difference between the probiotic bacteria that is found in yogurt, and in nutritional supplements?
A. Actually, the bacteria that are in yogurt, our intestine, and most natural supplements are the same types of probiotic bacteria, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria longum. Because of this, these bacteria are referred in a generic sense as probiotics. So, the term probiotics may refer to the “good” bacteria that are present in food or that live in our intestine, or that are part of a natural supplement.
Q. Where do these probiotic bacteria come from?
A. As recently as the middle of the last century, bacteria found naturally in food ingredients were used to make a fermented food product. For example, the example, the lactic acid bacteria found naturally in milk were used to make cheese. This was known as wild fermentation.
Wild fermentations are no longer used. Today, the probiotic bacteria used in food and natural supplements are harvested via a highly controlled fermentation process. This process results in high numbers of bacteria and ensures quality and purity of the bacteria.
Q. Why are probiotic bacteria important for digestive health?
A. Normal microflora (the term commonly used for intestinal bacteria) is associated with good health. An imbalance in this natural microflora (when the beneficial probiotics are outnumbered by the harmful bacteria) is frequently associated with various disease states such as yeast infections and colon cancer.
Eating foods or taking a nutritional supplement containing probiotic bacteria can help support and modify the composition of the large intestine microflora. Microflora of the large intestine assist digestion through fermentation (by making the intestines more inhospitable to invading bacteria species), protection against disease-causing bacteria, and stimulation of the immune system.
The probiotics, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, occupy a central role in the intestinal and provide health benefits.
Q. How do probiotic bacteria help with digestion?
A. Lactose is an important sugar that is converted to lactic acid by lactic acid bacteria. Lactose intolerance results from an inability to digest lactose, due to the failure of small intestine mucosal cells to produce lactase, an enzyme needed to digest lactose. This often results because of genetics, gastrointestinal disease, or because of the decline in the amount of intestinal lactase levels associated with aging. Lactase deficient people accumulate non-absorbed lactose in the gastrointestinal tract, which draws water and electrolytes into the gut and speeds waste through the intestines, leading to bloating, cramping, and diarrhea.
Approximately 50 million people in the
Lactic acid bacteria have been shown to help the breakdown of lactose, specifically by enhancing the activity of lactase (beta galactosidase), which improves lactose digestion and tolerance. Furthermore, in a randomized, controlled clinical trial, Bifidobacteria longum was shown to assist in the breakdown of lactose and relieve the symptoms of lactose intolerance (flatulence) in people with lactose intolerance.
Q. What is the difference between digestive enzymes and probiotics? Can they be taken together?
A. Digestive enzymes, such as protease, amalyse, and lipase, act upon food, breaking it down into simpler components that can be used by the body for energy. Without enzymes, digestion could not take place. Therefore, the food that we eat could not be absorbed and utilized by our bodies.
Probiotics help the enzymes to digest food and process waste. In essence, probiotic bacteria and enzymes work together to ensure that the digestive tract is running smoothly. When taken together, enzymes assure greater levels of digestion absorption of your food, and probiotic bacteria aid the enzymes in digestion and keep problems in check.
Q. Is helping to ensure a healthy digestive system the only use for probiotics?
A. Absolutely not! Probiotic bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, have been found to help prevent vaginal yeast infections in women that suffer from these reoccurring infections.
Approximately 35% of vaginal infections are caused by the yeast. Candida albicans, Candida, is a fungus that is a component of the normal gastrointestinal microflora. However, Candida must not be allowed to increase in numbers. An overgrowth is associated with adverse health effects like vaginal infections, oral thrush, or even serious systematic yeast infections. Probiotics have been shown to keep levels of Candida in check.
Probiotic bacteria have also been demonstrated to have anti-cancer properties. In baa clinical study, colon cancer patients given Lactobacillus acidophilus fermented milk showed a significant increase in numbers of intestinal Lactobacilli and a decrease in risk factors associated with colon cancer.
Patients suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can benefit from probiotic bacteria supplementation. Studies have shown that probiotic bacteria assist in maintaining remission in ulcerative colitis and preventing reoccurrence of Crohn’s disease. Manipulating the intestinal flora may prove to be more effective and better tolerated than the drugs that are conventionally given to treat these diseases. I one study, Lactobacillus acidophilus was found to improve the intestinal barrier and clinical status in children suffering from Crohn’s disease.
Probiotics supplementation can also improve and prevent skin disease, such as eczema. Studies have shown that probiotic bacteria can actually control inflammation associated with skin conditions. In one study, infants with eczema who were given probiotic-supplemented formulas showed a significant improvement in skin condition.
The chart below summarizes some of the diseases and conditions that probiotic bacteria can help prevent and/or improve.
Q. How often should probiotics be taken to ensure optimal support of the digestion system?
A. Probiotic bacteria do not permanently colonize in the body. They need to be replenished by the consumption of foods containing probiotic bacteria or by taking a probiotic natural supplement. Whatever form you choose to replenish the intestinal probiotics, they need to be ingested daily for their health-promoting effects to continue.
Q. If I take a probiotic nutritional supplement, how many bacteria should a good quality supplement contain?
A. The critical factor is not how many bacteria that a supplement contains, but rather how many bacteria reach the intestines healthy, vigorous, and ready to work.
A good quality supplement will deliver at least 3 billion living, healthy probiotic bacteria per dose to your intestines. The bacteria in the probiotic natural supplement should be a mixture of both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria.
Again, the critical key to a good quality probiotic supplement is that the bacteria must be alive to work. Only living probiotic bacteria can colonize in the intestines. A good quality probiotic nutritional supplement will have GUARANTEED levels of live bacteria at the point of consumption. Inferior brands will merely state levels of live bacteria at the point of manufacture.
Recently, a private laboratory tested various probiotic nutritional supplements in the marketplace, including one utilizing a new process that encapsulates the bacteria in a spherical, pearl-like coating. Each of these supplements were best-selling brands, two of them were enteric coated, and all had label guarantees about potency. The lab counted the levels claimed by each manufacturer.
Q. Then how do I know I am getting what I pay for?
A. First, look for a product that has a “use by” date or an “expiration” date clearly stated on the package.
It is also important to look for a probiotic supplement that does not require refrigeration. Probiotic supplements that require refrigeration often have been subjected to warm temperatures during shipment and storage that will inevitably kill off some or all of the bacteria.
It is also important that the product label guarantees live bacteria at the time of purchase, not at the time of shipment or manufacturing. However, from the laboratory test discussed, we see that sometimes these written guarantees are not worth the paper they are written on. There is one scientifically validated process that truly delivers live and vigorous bacteria to the intestine. This process suspends the probiotic bacteria in a moist paste and immediately seals the bacteria in a perfectly seamless, spherical, gelatin ball. This bacterial paste is completely protected from air and dryness so the bacteria are alive until the specialized gelatin dissolves – in the intestines.
Q. Why is it important to dissolve only in the intestine?
A. Lactic acid bacteria are not very resistant to the acids of the stomach. The harsh environment of the stomach destroys the majority of these bacteria.
This pearly-like coating technology protects bacteria from the stomach acid. The sphere is specially developed to only dissolve in the intestines. Enteric coating is not enough as it does nothing to protect the bacteria while they wait for purchase on the shelf.
Q. What does this proprietary coating technology mean to me?
A. This specialized process is an expensive processing step, but it has many advantages to you.
The pearl-shaped spheres actually “seal” the bacteria in the capsule, which protects them from air. Probiotic bacteria are anaerobic, meaning they do not require oxygen to live. In fact, the presence of oxygen can actually injure or kill probiotic bacteria. In addition, the special coating’s ability to seal the bacteria in the capsule stimulates the need for the nutritional supplement to be refrigerated – though they can be kept in the refrigerator, if desired.
By protecting the bacteria on the shelf and in the stomach, the probiotic bacteria successfully reach the intestine. As a result, there will be a greater number of healthy, intact bacteria that can colonize in the intestine.
Many health care practitioners believe all health issues are related in some way to the process of digestion. Probiotics play a crucial role in improving our digestive health, which, in turn, is interconnected to every single function in our bodies.
Taking a probiotic supplement is an excellent way to replenish the good bacteria in your intestinal microflora. A quality probiotic product contains two different types of bacteria from Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species with at least one billion live bacteria per dose.
But how do you know the bacteria re still alive? Look at the package. If there is no fate stamp, put it down. If it says the company guarantees there was a certain number alive at the time of manufacture, put it down. Tat means that the company is not willing to claim the bacteria are alive when delivered to the target site, the intestine. If the product must be constantly refrigerated, put it down. How do you know it didn’t sit in a truck for two days, or was in a warehouse before it was shipped to the health food store?
Find a probiotic that says the bacteria are guaranteed to be alive in the numbers stated on the label until the printed on the package. Find a product using unique, cutting edge science to deliver the probiotic bacteria in a form that uses spherical, sealed, triple coating to protect the bacteria. That company has gone to extra time and expense to make sure you reap the benefits that probiotics can offer.
Do you experience muscle pain and inflammation?
April 25, 2007 03:30 PM
Everyone experiences muscle pain and inflammation due to overuse and exertion. We’ve all had those softball games, weekend camping trips or chore-intensive days when our body lets us know we’ve overdone it.
So, what can you do about it? Well, fortunately, there is a proprietary formula with clinically studied ingredients that provides a natural solution: FlexAgility MAX.
FlexAgility MAX is designed to reduce pain and inflammation due to overuse. Its clinically studied ingredients have been shown to help balance the body’s own inflammatory response. Let’s take a look at FlexAgility MAX and answer a few questions you may have about it.
Q. What is inflammation? Why does it happen?
A. Inflammation is actually an essential part of your body’s natural healing process. When some form of physical stress affects the body, the immune system responds by supplying defensive compounds to the stressed site. This is what causes the fluid build-up, pain and redness we typically associate with inflammation. And until the situation is resolved those symptoms will stick around. So, why is that good? Because without these signals – pain and inflammation – we’d probably do even more damage. In a sense, pain and inflammation are very effective stop signs.
The problem is, if our bodies are continuously bombarded by factors that trigger inflammation, these defenders (and their symptoms) are always around. This can mean unnecessary pain and inflammation following overuse and exertion.
Q. What does FlexAgility MAX have to do with inflammation?
A. FlexAgility MAX provides triple-action activity against occasional pain and inflammation, with powerful antioxidant free-radical scavengers, the enzyme bromelain, and a natural COX-2 inhibitor.
Q. So what is COX-2 and why should I inhibit it?
A. We’ve all been hearing a lot in the news about COX-2 inhibition and may have wondered about its connection to pain and inflammation. Let’s take a look:
Cyclooxygenase is an enzyme that comes in two main types, abbreviated for convenience: COX-1 and COX-2. The COX enzymes regulate compounds involved with inflammation, including prostaglandins. COX-1 is found throughout the body, and maintains the integrity of the stomach lining, circulation and kidneys.
COX-2 on the other hand, cruises along the central nervous system – it’s much more attuned to our brain’s sense of “what hurts.” Primarily activated by inflammatory stress, COX-2 generates prostaglandins – the hormone-like defensive compounds that cause the responses we associate with pain and inflammation due to overuse.
You can understand why so much research has focused on COX-2 inhibition. Decreasing its activity means short-circuiting the “inflammation cascade” that follows occasional overuse.
Because COX-1 is associated with a healthy stomach lining, it is not an enzyme you want to inhibit. Unfortunately, many products don’t know the difference between COX-1 and COX-2 – filing both with one blast.
Fortunately, there are ingredients in FlexAgility MAX that can tell them apart. One of them is IsoOxygene.
IsoOxygene is a patented hops extract shown in scientific studies to significantly inhibit COX-2, while leaving COX-1 alone. And, it is a 20 times more potent COX-2 inhibitor than other tested popular botanic products, including curcumin and grape seed.
Q. How do antioxidants support the body during times of inflammation due to overuse?
A. Overall, the body ahs a pretty darn good repair system. However, oxidative stress due to free radical damage can take its toll, especially during times of occasional physical stress. Free radicals and reactive oxygen species can damage cells, because they are hungry, unstable molecules in search of electrons. To find them, they attack other cells. These pillaged cells then become free radicals themselves, setting off a chain reaction of oxidative stress.
Free radicals are formed during the body’s normal functions, and can have benefits, such as neutralizing viruses and bacteria. However, in doing do, they erode the body’s own antioxidant defenses, too. And, free radicals typically become very active during times of inflammation due to overuse or other stressors.
The good news is that the herbal and antioxidant elements in FlexAgility MAX help support the body’s own natural anti-inflammatory defenses.
Take vitamin C, for instance. This extremely well-known antioxidant has been scientifically studied for its beneficial effects on muscle, collagen and connective tissue health. Collagen and connective tissue is what helps hold us together – literally.
And famous antioxidant, green tea, has been well-studied for the benefits of a polyphenol called epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or simply EGCG. In scientific and clinical studies, EGCG from green tea works as an overall antioxidant, scavenging free radicals, and supporting healthy collagen. In fact, one study showed that green tea polyphenols supported collagen health by 50% versus only 16% in controls.
The green tea extract in FlexAgility MAX is especially focused on these beneficial polyphenols. It’s standardized to contain 70% polyphenols – half from EGCG. The green tea acts in concert with elderberry and ginger in the formula to help prevent oxidative stress to the body due to occasional overuse.
Anthocyanins are natural antioxidants found in berries and vegetables. Black elderberry extract, one of the herbal ingredients in FlexAgility MAX, was shown in scientific studies to be more bioavailable – that is, more readily used by the body – than the natural bioflavonoids of other plants. Again, antioxidants help keep the body in optimum health- especially during times of physical stress.
Ginger, used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, provides strong, natural antioxidant activity. In fact, a recent scientific study found more than 50 separate antioxidants in ginger root.
Of course, there are many components of plants that show strong antioxidant properties. A scientific study comparing flavonoid antioxidant activity and inflammation have shown that rutin was the most effective in reducing the inflammation cascade.
Boswellia serrata is a tree found growing in the dry, hilly regions of
Another antioxidant ingredient in FlexAgility MAX, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), even helps the body produce more of its own antioxidants, cysteine and glutathione. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, N-acetylcysteine inhibited occasional pain and inflammation due to overuse and attenuated fatigue by 26% compared to controls!
N-acetylcysteine has also been shown in scientific tests to act as an antioxidant, supporting healthy collagen and synovial fluid.
The last ingredient, bromelain, provides the enzymatic pathway used by FlexAgility MAX. Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme derived from pineapple. Clinical and scientific studies showed benefits from bromelain in reducing pain and inflammation from occasional overuse.
So, there you have it- the triple action of FlexAgility MAX: COX-2 inhibition (and COX-1 sparing), antioxidant benefits, and enzyme support.
Q. Is there another product you’d recommend that I use with FlexAgility MAX?
A. One other product I recommend without hesitation is GS-500, a glucosamine sulfate supplement that has been shown to help build and support cartilage. The body’s connective tissue and cartilage include a natural compound called glucosamine. Supplemental glucosamine sulfate is up to 98% absorbable, so more glucosamine reaches the target structures. It has been clinically studied on its effect in building cartilage.
About Enzymatic Therapy:
Like Chris, Enzymatic Therapy is a trailblazer. Since our founding in 1981, we’ve been leading the industry with innovative natural products. After all, in 1993, Enzymatic Therapy introduced glucosamine sulfate, shown to help build and support cartilage, to the
In the intervening years, Enzymatic Therapy has been at the frontline of innovation and invention. Many revolutionary precuts, including Saventaro, Cell Forte, Heartburn Free, Petadolex Patented Brain Support, Whole Body Cleanse, Earth’s Promise, Hot Plants for Him and Hot Plants for Her have been introduced by Enzymatic Therapy.
One of the newest products, (and the reason you’re reading this) is FlexAgility MAX. FlexAgility MAX works with the body’s own natural anti-inflammatory pathways to relieve pain and reduce inflammation due to occasional overuse. Our proprietary FlexBend of ingredients, combined with antioxidants and the proteolytic enzyme, bromelain, is unique among natural products.
Scientific Method of Evaluating the Effectiveness of Natural Medicines
April 21, 2007 01:57 PM
Author Dale Ericsson, M.D.; Shinian Cao, M.D.; Fred Crawford, Ph.D; Dale Haufrect, M.D. and Tommy E Hall, Jr.; USA
It has been traditionally assumed that long chain mucopolysaccharide and other natural ingredients found in aloe vera are active only in aloe vera are active only in their unadorned and non-modified state. There is little scientific evidence, however, to support this conclusion. In fact, certain isolated components of aloe vera have pronounced specific pharmaco-therapeutic effects. The purpose of this series of experiments is to evaluate this unique method of scientifically evaluating biological and herbal products and to specifically compare fractionally distilled aloe preparation from a traditional ale preparation.
Utilizing the scientific method of white blood cell (T lymphocyte) culture, stimulation and metabolic turnover rates of more than 25 substances it was determined that:
1. the pivotal study had demonstrated that this type of T lymphocyte cell culture metabolic analysis is useful for evaluation the safety and efficacy of a variety of treatments in which there is only antidotal or clinical studies to support the therapeutic effect.
2. This technique of single blinded study has been employed to define the efficacy as well as compare fractionally distilled aloe vera (warren Aloe) and a traditional aloe vera product. Application of this type of blinded study to two different forms of aloe vera showed that the following conclusion may be expressed with certainty.
This data suggest that the fractionally distilled Aloe vera is bio-pharmaceutically active and provides specific changes in T cell cultures when compared to baseline and with natural aloe vera juice.
This information has been condensed. For entire report refer to EXPLORER! For the processional magazine; volume thirteen: number Two: Pages 15-19.
Growing Older, Feeling Better
March 28, 2007 02:15 PM
Growing Older, Feeling Better
Not long ago, when a man turned sixty-five, he became officially old – the best years of his life far behind him. The milestone meant his working days were done and if he was lucky, he might get four or five years to spend as he wished before illness and infirmity set in. It was simply expected and accepted that the older a man got, the sicker he got.
Well, not anymore. Today, a man age 65 is just as likely to be found hiking in the hills, running in a marathon, or even dancing in the streets than rocking in that proverbial front porch rocker. Because it’s becoming more and more evident that the older a man gets, the healthier that man has been.
Eating healthy, exercising, and kicking harmful habits (like smoking) can add years to a man’s life. Aging research is proving over and over again, that we can prevent and delay heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease – the major causes of disability and death in men over 50.
Now, it’s very true that good clean living from early on is preferable to sixty five years of bad habits and five years of good. But it’s also true that it’s never too late for men to make changes and vow to take better care of themselves. And one of the easiest and most effective ways men can improve their health is the addition of high quality nutritional supplements.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we’ll talk about specific dietary supplements that have been scientifically shown to improve the health of men over fifty, prevent the diseases that often strike at this crucial time in men’s lives, and actually slow the aging process.
Q. I just turned 50 and I’d like to begin taking nutritional supplements, but they seem so confusing. Where should I begin?
A. Many men feel the same way. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of nutritional supplements on health food store shelves. Figuring out which supplements provide the best health benefits for a 50+ man can be overwhelming.
The best foundation supplement is a high quality multivitamin. Research is repeatedly finding that even very healthy men who take daily multivitamins can significantly improve their health. In fact, an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recommends that all adult Americans take a vitamin supplement. Look for solid doses of vitamin supplement. Look for sol doses of vitamins and especially minerals. Multivitamins designed to be taken once a day are often woefully deficient in calcium, magnesium, and potassium. The only mineral a man should avoid is supplemental iron. Iron should only be in formulas for women prior to menopause. Men over 50 get all the iron they need from food and too much iron can cause health problems.
Look for men’s multivitamins that contain lycopene in the formula. Lycopene is the pigment that makes tomatoes red. The redder the tomato, the more lycopene is present. Numerous studies have shown that when men have high lycopene levels in their blood, they have a much lower risk of heart disease, age-related macular degeneration (a leading cause of vision loss) and prostate cancer.
Other important considerations are antioxidant blends, especially fruit- and tea-derived extracts; ginseng for energy and stamina; and digestive enzymes to aid in absorption and compensate for age-related decreased enzyme levels.
In fact, years of research has shown the foods a man chooses to eat (or not to eat) can have a profound impact on the health of his prostate gland. Because of this close nutritional link, prostate cancer may be the most preventable type of non-smoking related cancers.
Q. Aside from taking a quality multivitamin for general health, what nutritional supplements prevent and treat prostate cancer?
A. Six vital and all-natural nutrients can prevent prostate cancer from developing and even help fight the disease.
When men are exposed to excess levels of hormones, their risk of prostate cancer increases. A natural substance found in fruits and vegetables called calcium D-glucarate (or CDG), helps men’s built-in detoxification systems get rid of these harmful excess hormones.
This antioxidant has powerful effects on the prostate gland. In a recent study, researchers recruited 974 men to take part in a large clinical trial to determine if selenium could prevent cancer. The researchers found that selenium cut the rate of prostate cancer by 63%!
Green tea is the most widely consumed liquid in the world, after water. Men in
For many years, maitake mushrooms, or dancing mushrooms, have been linked to good health in those who eat them. That’s because maitakes contain an important compound called D-fraction. A recent study showed that maitake D-fraction destroyed 95% of human prostate cancer cells in lab experiments.
Promising preliminary reports demonstrate that lycopene can actually kill prostate cancer cells, so there has been an explosion of lycopene and prostate cancer research.
Q. What exactly happens to men’s hormones as they get older?
A. Just as women experience significant hormonal changes as they age, so do men. In fact, the term andropause has been used to describe men’s mid-life changes. Similar to menopause in women (where the decline of estrogen causes a myriad of symptoms), andropause in men signals the slow decline of testosterone, the chief sex hormone in men. While estrogen levels decline faster and more abruptly in women than testosterone levels do in men, testosterone decline can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms. These include abdominal weight gain, hair loss, reduced energy and sex drive, heart disease, and prostate enlargement. Whether a man labels these age-related changes as andropause or just the consequences of aging, most men will unfortunately experience some or all of them as their birthdays mount.
Q. So, is there a supplement that can give me the hormone level of a 20 year old?
A. Sadly, no, at least not yet! But there is a nutrient that can help the testosterone in a man over fifty “behave” more like a younger man’s testosterone.
A study that took place at the
The secret of DIM’s prostate cancer prevention is its ability to metabolize estrogen. While estrogen is generally thought of as a “female” hormone, a precise ratio of testosterone-to-estrogen is needed to maintain a man’s healthy sexual response, effective sexual function (erection of the penis and intercourse), strong bones and muscles, viable sperm, and a well-functioning prostate gland. As men enter their fifties, this ratio begins to change.
When men take DIM, however, their estrogen metabolism improves, testosterone metabolism accelerates, and the unwanted conversion of testosterone into estrogen is eliminated. This results in higher testosterone levels, similar to those seen in young men. As a result, DIM may speed weight loss, reduce prostate gland enlargement (benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH), and help men over 50 feel stronger and leaner.
Some supplements on the market today contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a precursor to DIM. However, I3C is unstable and requires activation in the stomach to be converted into DIM. This means I3C must be taken at a much higher amount and can undergo unpredictable and undesirable chemical reactions in your stomach and colon. DIM is by far the preferred supplement.
Q. What is saw palmetto? Does it reduce symptoms of Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH)?
A. Yes it does and very effectively too. Saw palmetto is a small palm tree native to
The prostate gland is about the size of a walnut and is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It wraps around the upper part of the urethra and its primary job is the production and storage of semen, the milky fluid that nourishes sperm. BPH is one of the most common health conditions in older men. Half of all men aged 40-60 and more than 90 percent in men over 80 have BPH. BPH causes the prostate gland to enlarge, putting pressure on the urethra.
Men have trouble starting or maintaining a stream of urine, find they can’t completely empty their bladders, and have to urinate frequently, even during the night. They may also have episodes of uncontrollable dribbling or complete loss of urine. BPH is caused by the conversion of estrogen to a very potent form of testosterone called, dihydrotestosterone (or DHT). When prostate cells are exposed to DHT, they multiply in number and get much larger.
BPH rarely improves. It most often remains the same for years or gets gradually worse. The need to continually urinate, interrupted sleep, dribbling, and loss of urine can significantly interfere with a man’s quality of life. Prescription medications that have been developed to treat BPH are only partially effective. And surgical removal of the prostate gland may result in even more persistent urinary incontinence and the inability to achieve an erection (ED).
However, saw palmetto berry extract relieves the symptoms of BPH by inhibiting the production of DHT. And, in study after study after study, saw palmetto caused none of the side effects that happen with prostate surgery or medications.
Q. There seem to be plenty of ads for supplements that claim they make men into Sexual Superheroes. Is there an “honest” nutritional supplement to help me sexually?
A. That’s a very good observation. And yes, there are honest nutritional supplements for men’s sexual health.
Sexual intimacy is an important, complex, and lifelong need. It makes us feel better physically and mentally and adds to our sense of security, belonging, and self-esteem. But just like other changes that happen to men as they get older, men’s sexual response most often changes, too. Declining testosterone levels, changes in blood flow to the penis, certain medications that older men are prescribed, and the presence of diabetes or heart disease can all affect men’s ability to engage in sexual activity.
When men have a chronic inability in obtaining and/or maintaining an erection, it’s called erectile dysfunction (ED). While ED is not an inevitable part of getting older, it does occur more frequently as men age. About 5% of 40-year-old men have ED, but more than 23% of 65-year-old men have difficulty maintaining erections.
The development of prescription medication Viagra (sildenafil citrate) has revolutionized ED treatment. When a man is sexually stimulated, Viagra helps the penis fill with enough blood to cause an erection.
Like all medicines, Viagra can cause some side effects, including headache, flushing of the face, and upset stomach. But because Viagra is a prescription medication, it requires a visit to a licensed healthcare practitioner. For many men, telling anyone (even a professional) that they are having trouble getting or keeping an erection is simply too embarrassing. Viagra is also fairly expensive and many older men do not have prescription drug health insurance.
These reasons may explain that while an estimated 30 million men in the United States – 10% of the male population – experience chronic ED, as few as 5% of men with chronic ED seek treatment.
Not every man can take Viagra, either. Men who use nitrate drugs, often used to control chest pain (also known as angina), must not take Viagra. This combination can cause their blood pressure to drop to an unsafe or life-threatening level. Men with serious liver and kidney problems who take Viagra must be monitored closely for possible serious side effects.
The good news is there is a nutritional supplement that’s formulated with vitamins, herbs, and glandular products that targets male sexual organs. The formula contains vitamin E, liver fractions, wheat germ, beta-sitosterol, and herbal extracts of muira puama, Mexican damiana, saw palmetto, cola nut, ginseng, and ginkgo biloba.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and men’s testicles, adrenal glands, and pituitary glands need high levels of this fat-soluble vitamin for proper functioning. Extracts of Muira puama, Mexican damiana, and cola nut have been studied for their beneficial effects on male hormones.
Study of ginkgo in sexual response came about when a patient in a nursing home who was taking the herb for memory enhancement noted that his erections were improved. Since then, study of ginkgo has shown it helps blood flow to the penis. Sexual response research in one ginkgo study showed that 76% of men taking ginkgo experienced improved sexual desire, erections, and orgasms.
While other nutritional supplements sold to improve sexual stamina often make outrageous claims, reputable manufacturers rely on science and results to sell their products.
An important note
Most often sexual problems are simply part of the aging process. They can also be signs of serious health problems. If the use of nutritional supplements for two months does not improve your erections, you do need to see your healthcare practitioner. Almost all practitioners understand how difficult this problem is for men to discuss and are experienced in getting the information as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
No man has the power to stop the passage of time. But every man has the power to make aging more healthy and less harmful. Research conducted on men who live to be 100 and beyond, has determined that those who reach extreme old age do so by avoiding ill health, rather than by enduring it. As I like to remind my patients, “Age is not determined by years, but by function.” And it’s never too late for men to detour around the major illnesses of getting older. With good nutrition, healthy habits, and high quality nutritional supplements, the best years of a man’s life can absolutely and positively be those he spends in his 70s, 80s and even his 90s.
CoQ10 for Heart Health
March 28, 2007 12:39 PM
CoQ10 for Heart Health
More than 40% of all deaths in the
One of the most – if not the most – important things people can do to improve their overall health and life expectancy is to improve their heart health. Diet, exercise, and the wise use of dietary supplements can improve heart health dramatically. One dietary supplement that’s extremely beneficial to heart health is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).
Q. What is CoQ10?
A. CoQ10 is a natural, fat-soluble nutrient present in virtually all cells. CoQ10 also is known as ubiquinone. That’s because CoQ10 is ubiquitous and exists everywhere there is life. CoQ10 is vital to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. ATP is the energy-rich compound used for all energy-requiring processes in the body. Although COQ10 is produced by the body and exists in some dietary sources, these levels may be insufficient to meet the body’s requirements. CoQ10 levels diminish with age and as a result of dietary inadequacies and various disease states. Also, some drugs, especially a group of cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs known as “statin,” (Pravachol, Zocor, Lipitor, etc.) significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body.
Q. For what health conditions is CoQ10 used?
A. CoQ10 is beneficial in treating and preventing CVD and conditions such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), angina, and congestive heart failure (CHF). It’s been shown that heart attacks tend to occur when CoQ10 levels are low in the body. In addition, CoQ10 is beneficial for diabetes, immune dysfunction, cancer, periodontal disease, prostate cancer, and neurological disease.
Q. Why is CoQ10 especially important to heart health?
A. The heart is one of the most metabolically active tissues in the body. In the average person, the heart propels 2,000 gallons of blood through 65,000 miles of blood vessls by beating 100,000 times each day. Thus, it requires large amounts of uninterrupted energy. Heart cells have a greater number of mitochondria, and subsequently, more CoQ10 than any other type of cell. Each heart cell can have thousands of mitochondria to meet these energy demands.
Mitochondria are highly specialized structures within each cell and are often referred to as cell powerhouses. These tiny energy-produces produce 95% of the energy the body requires. The number of mitochondria in a cell depends on its function and energy needs. A cell’s ATP production is dependent on adequate amounts of CoQ10.
Heart disease patients are commonly CoQ10 deficient. Correcting such deficiencies often can produce amazing results. The presence of supplemental CoQ10 is a key to the heart’s optimum performance.
In people who have had a heart attack (myocardial infarction), CoQ10 assists in repairing the heart muscle and restoring heart function. This is due to increased ATP production.
Q. What studies support this fact?
A. A 1998 study found CoQ10 can provide rapid protective effects in patients with a heart attack if administered within three days of the onset of symptoms. The study focused on patients admitted to the hospital with an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) diagnosis. Seventy-three patients received CoQ10 (120 mg/d). The study’s control group consisted of 71 similarly matched patients with acute AMI. After treatment, angina pectoris (severe chest pain signifying interrupted blood flow to the heart), total arrhythmias (dangerously irregular heartbeats), and poor function in the left ventricle (the essential chamber of the heart) were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared to the placebo group. Total deaths due to sudden cardiac failure and nonfatal heart attacks also were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared with the placebo group.
In another study, CoQ10 was studied in 109 patients with high blood pressure (hypertension). The patients were given varying doses of supplemental CoQ10 with the goal of attaining a certain blood level (greater than 2.0 mcg/l). Most patients were on medications to treat hypertension. Half the patients were able to stop taking one to three antihypertensive drugs at an average of 4.4 months after starting CoQ10. Only 3% of patients required the addition of one antihypertensive drug. The 9.4% of patients who have echo cardiograms, performed both before and during treatment, experienced a highly significant improvement in heart wall thickness and function. This improvement was directly attributed to CoQ10 supplementation.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a debilitating disease that affects 5 million people in the
Q. I’ve heard that CoQ10 can also help people who have neurological diseases. Is this true?
A. Yes, it is. CoQ10 has been studied for its ability to improve the health of individuals with amotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. A recently completed study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health showed that CoQ10 caused a slowing of the progression of Huntington’s disease, a devastating and degenerative disease that is always fatal. In fact, no other medication, drug, or nutritional supplemental has ever been shown to cause a decline in the progression of this terrible disease.
The study compared CoQ10 against remacemide (an investigational HD drug made by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals), in 347 HD patients who were in the early stages of the disease. Remacemide blocks glutamate, the neurotransmitter scientists think may cause the death of brain cells that occurs in Huntington’s disease. While remacemide had no effect on the progression of HD, CoQ10 showed a trend toward slowing the disease by an average of 15%. This meant the HD group taking CoQ10 was able to handle every day activities of life a little longer than the patients taking remacemide or a placebo. They also were able to focus their attention better, were less depressed, and less irritable. The 15% slowing of decline means that CoQ10 can result in about one more year of independence for HD patients. Needless to say, the gift of an additional year of health in the lives of HD patients is incredibly significant.
Because of these impressive results with HD, researchers are hopeful that the studies of CoQ10 in those with ALS and Parkinson’s disease will similarly have a positive effect on the symptoms and/or progression of these neurological disorders, too.
Q. Why is it crucial for a CoQ10 supplement to cross the blood-brain barrier?
A. The brains’ blood vessels are composed of cells with extremely tight junctions. These junctions form the blood-brain barrier, which restricts what can pass from the bloodstream into the brain. While this barrier protects the brain, it can be a significant obstacle to central nervous system therapy. To leave the bloodstream and reach the brain cells, a substance must pass through the tightly connected cells of the capillary walls. Only substances with unique solubilities or those with a transport system can cross the blood-brain barrier to a significant degree. As a result, crossing the blood-brain barrier presents a significant challenge to supporting neurological health.
While most CoQ10 supplements enter the bloodstream and increase blood serum levels, only special forms of CoQ10 have been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier. For CoQ10 to enter the mitochondria within the brain, CoQ10 must first cross the blood-brain barrier to produce significant neurosupportive clinical results.
Q. How can one supplement have applications for neurological diseases, heart health, and even the immune system?
A. Supplements often have more than one function, especially when it’s a substance like CoQ10, which is present in all parts of the body. All nucleated cells (most cells other than red blood cells) have mitochondria and all cells require energy to function. CoQ10 is vital to ATP production. Thus, CoQ10 has applications not only in neurological (neurons or nervous system cells) and cardiac health (myocardium or heart tissue), but also for the immune system.
Q. Are all CoQ10 supplements created equal? Doesn’t CoQ10 just have to get into the bloodstream to be effective?
A. There are some important distinctions among CoQ10 products, as they vary greatly in quality and absorbability. It’s crucial to find a CoQ10 product that’s:
1. Scientifically shown to absorb through the digestive tract, cross cellular membranes, and increase mitochondrial levels of CoQ10. Chewable forms of CoQ10 provide rapid bioavailability and absorption. Serum level determination of CoQ10 in the bloodstream is not necessarily the most important measure of efficacy. For a CoQ10 supplement to be fully effective, it must cross the cellular barrier and raise intracellular CoQ10 levels. A key indicator of effective CoQ10 supplementation is its presence in cell mitochondria.
2. The natural form of CoQ10. The natural process uses living organisms. CoQ10 also can be synthesized by a chemical process, which produces a distinctly different product that contains chemical compounds not found in the natural form.
3. Formulated with ingredients that provide the transport system CoQ10 needs to cross cellular membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Not all forms of CoQ10 have been scientifically proven to cross cell membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Some prestigious groups that have investigated this issue include researchers at
4. Studied by respected organizations, with research published in peer-reviewed journals by reputable scientists.
Q. How much CoQ10 should I take?
A. Take 100 to 200 mg of CoQ10 daily, depending on your family history of heart disease and personal heart disease experience.
CoQ10’s safety has been evaluated. Dosages in studies have ranged from 100 mg to 1,200 mg per day. To date, no toxicities have been reported. Occasional mild stomach upset may occur. Taking CoQ10 with meals usually alleviates this rare effect.
Q. What are some other heart-friendly supplements?
A. CoQ10 is an excellent supplement for overall cardiovascular health, as in L-carnitine. L-carnitine is the naturally occurring form of carnitine that’s found in food and synthesized in the body. Much of the body’s L-carnitine is found in the heart and skeletal muscle, tissues that rely on fatty acid oxidation for most of their energy. Nearly 70% of the energy needed for heart function is derived from fatty acid breakdown. Proper L-carnitine supplementation transports fatty acids into cell mitochondria, where it’s burned for energy. L-carnitine is an excellent addition to CoQ10, especially for people with heart disease, and has been shown to improve many symptoms associated with CVD. In one study, people who had experienced one heart attack received either L-carnitine or placebo. The L-carnitine group had a statistically significant reduction in second heart attacks, and improved overall survival.
Q. What supplements support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol?
A. In addition to maintaining overall cardiovascular health, it’s also important to address your essential fats/lipids levels and healthy circulation/blood pressure. Fish oil supplements can significantly reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and homocysteine levels. Choose a supplement that’s a rich source of EPA and DHA, omega-3 fatty acids naturally obtainable in fish oil. Find a product that’s been clinically studied and purified to ensure it contains the beneficial active constituents of the whole oil, while removing any dioxins, DDT, PCBs, or heavy metals, toxins present in some commercial fish oil preparations. An enteric-coated garlic product that provides a minimum of 5,000 mcg of beneficial allicin supports healthy blood pressure and circulation. And magnesium, niacin, vitamin E, folic acid, hawthorn extract, and L-cysteine provide overall nutritional support to the heart and vascular system.
CoQ10 is not the only answer to the complex issues of heart disease, neurological disease, or immune dysfunction; however, research indicates that it’s a bigger piece of the puzzle than physicians and scientists ever imagined. The more we study this naturally occurring compound, the more benefits we find.
The key to this supplement is the manufacturing quality. For safety and overall effectiveness, use a CoQ10 product that’s supported by product-specific research from reputable institutions. Choose tested products from a well-respected company to increase your potential to achieve and maintain heart and blood vessel health.
Supplementation with clinically studied products can have a major impact on your heart’s health and strength. However, no supplement replaces the need to eat a healthful diet low in refined foods (especially sugar), and saturated fats, and to exercise your most important muscle – your heart – on a regular basis.
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
March 28, 2007 10:29 AM
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) affects about 65 million Americans, or about 1 in 3 adults. There are many potential causes of hypertension, but not necessarily any symptoms. In fact, 30% of the people who have high blood pressure don’t even realize it.
In other words, just because you don’t have symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have high blood pressure. That’s why it’s called “The Silent Killer.” And, make no mistake about it: high blood pressure is dangerous. It is the number one modifiable cause of stroke. Just lowering blood pressure reduces the chance of stroke by 35 to 40 percent. Other conditions, including heart attack and heart failure can be reduced from 25 to 50 percent, respectively.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we’re going to talk about high blood pressure and an exciting natural treatment for lowering blood pressure safely and effectively.
Of course, changing blood pressure numbers depends, in a large part, on the choices we make every day – how much we exercise, the foods we eat, and our lifestyle overall. But, for those times we need extra help, there is a new, scientifically-studied supplement to help us along our path to better health and lower blood pressure.
Blood pressure guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Q. What exactly is blood pressure?
A. Blood pressure is divided into two parts, systolic and diastolic. Systolic is the pressure of the heart beating. Diastolic is the pressure of the heart and vessels filling. When blood pressure numbers are written out, like “120/80,” 120 is the systolic pressure and 80 is the diastolic pressure. The unit of measurement for blood pressure is millimeters of mercury, written as “mm/Hg.”
Q. What is considered high blood pressure?
A. A person’s blood pressure can naturally vary throughout the day – even between heartbeats.
However, if the numbers are consistently high (over 120 systolic and 80 diastolic), after multiple visits to your healthcare practitioner, you may have either pre-hypertension or high blood pressure.
Young arteries and arteries that are kept young through healthy diet and exercise are typically more elastic and unclogged. Blood flows through them easily and without much effort. However, as we age, our arteries become more prone to plaque buildup (due to diets high in saturated fat and sedentary lifestyles) and don’t “flex” as well under pressure. The result is faster blood flow, all the time. Over the long term, it damages heart tissue, arteries, kidney and other major organs.
To get a better idea of high blood pressure, compare your arteries to a garden hose. When unblocked, a garden hose allows water to flow through it quickly and easily – without any real rush or stress. However, if you block the end of the hose with your thumb, closing it off even a little, water rushes out much more quickly.
For many years, high diastolic pressure was considered even more of a threat than high systolic pressure. That thinking has changed somewhat but high diastolic numbers could still mean organ damage in your body – especially for individuals under 50.
Q. What courses high blood pressure?
A. The reasons for hypertension aren’t always clear. However, there are lifestyle factors that contribute to high blood pressure that you can change:
Body type: Weight isn’t always a reliable indicator of whether or not you’ll have high blood pressure – but the type of weight is. Lean body mass – muscle – doesn’t increase blood pressure levels the way that fat can. However, fat body mass, especially fat around your middle, can contribute to high blood pressure.
Sedentary lifestyle: Too often, many of us sit down all day at work, and then sit down all night at home. Over time, this inactivity usually leads to weight gain, making the heart work harder to pump blood through the body. In a way, it almost seems contradictory, but inactivity usually leads to higher heart rates.
Sodium intake: Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much salt there is in processed foods. However, salt intake in itself is not necessarily bad. For people with a history of congestive heart failure, ischemia, and high blood pressure, sodium is definitely out. For those individuals, it leads to more water retention, which increases blood pressure. (Salt’s effect on water retention is one reason that so many sports drinks have fairly high sodium content – the sodium in the drink prevents your body from sweating out too much water.) But, for healthy individuals, moderate salt intake, especially a mixed mineral salt like sea salt or Celtic salt (good salt should never be white) is fine.
Low potassium intake: Unlike sodium, potassium is a mineral which most Americans get too little of. Potassium helps regulate the amount of sodium in our cells, expelling excess amounts through the kidneys. Low levels of this mineral can allow too much sodium to build up in the body.
Heavy alcohol intake: Having three or more alcoholic drinks a day (two or more for women) nearly doubles an individual’s chance of developing high blood pressure. Over time, heavy drinking puts a lot of stress on the organs, including the heart, liver, pancreas and brain.
Unhealthy eating: Eating a lot of processed or fatty foods contributes to high blood pressure. Adapting a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, fish, nuts and magnesium and potassium (like the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, known as the “DASH” diet) can bring it back down.
Smoking: If you smoke, stop. Smoking damages the heart and arteries – period. Nicotine constricts blood vessels, increases heart rate, and raises blood pressure. This in turn, increases hormone production and adrenaline levels, further stressing the body.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces the oxygen in the blood, making the heart work even harder to make up the difference. Since the effect of a single cigarette can last for an hour, smoking throughout the day leads to continuously revved-up blood pressure.
Some of these factors might sound like a lot to overcome. The important thing to remember is that all of these behaviors are changeable. If you have high blood pressure, modifying any of these can significantly lower blood pressure as part of an overall plan.
Q. What are the blood pressure numbers I should see?
A. Experts consider healthy blood pressure numbers to be 115/75 mm/Hg. The reason? They found that the risk of cardiovascular disease doubles at each increment of 20/10 mmHg over 115/75 mm/Hg. Even small jumps in blood pressure numbers increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Q. Okay, so other than diet, exercise and lifestyle changes are there other natural ways or supplements I can use to lower my blood pressure?
A. Yes, in fact, you hear about some of them in the news all the time – fish oil, CoQ10, and garlic. As effective as these symptoms are, they typically lower systolic pressure much more than diastolic pressure.
However, there is a blend of scientifically and clinically studied natural ingredients that lower high blood pressure separately, and work even better when they’re combined. This combination blend contains: dandelion leaf extract, lycopene, stevia extract, olive leaf extract and hawthorn extract.
Every one of these ingredients has been studied and recommended for years. But now, a scientific study on a supplement that combines them in one synergistic formula shows encouraging results for lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Let’s take a look at each:
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) originated in
The leaf of stevia is considered the medicinal part of the plant. Research shows that extracts of the leaf relax arteries and help prevent the buildup of calcium on artery walls – keeping them healthy and reducing blood pressure.
In a long-term, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. On average, participants’ blood pressure reduced from baseline 150 mm/Hg to 140 mm/Hg systolic and 95 mm/Hg to 89 mm/Hg diastolic.
And, in another double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia lowered blood pressure quite significantly – by an average of 14 millimeters of mercury in both systolic and diastolic readings. Those are impressive numbers!
Despite its role as a sweetener, stevia may have a side benefit to for those with hypertension – blood sugar regulation. Scientific studies show that extracts of stevia regulated blood sugar and reduced blood pressure.
A clinical study showed that stevia extract actually improved glucose tolerance by decreasing plasma glucose levels during the test and after overnight fasting in all participants. Regulating blood sugar is very important for those with high blood pressure. When blood sugar levels are high, blood vessels are inflamed. Many people with diabetes have high blood pressure as well. In a paired, cross-over clinical study, stevioside (one of the compounds in stevia) reduced glucose levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. It shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. Its shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes as well as hypertension.
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp. Oxycantha) has been used since ancient ties as a medicinal herb – even being mentioned by the Greek herbalist Dioscorides, in the first century AD. Traditionally, it has generally been used for support of the heart. Modern research points to bioflavonoid-like complexes in hawthorn leaf and flower that seem to be most responsible for its benefits on cardiac health, like blood vessel elasticity.
The bioflavonoids found in hawthorn include oligomeric procyanidins, vitexin, quercetin, and hyperoside. They have numerous benefits on the cardiovascular system. Hawthorn can improve coronary artery blood flow and the contractions of the heart muscle. Scientific studies show that the procyanidins in hawthorn are responsible for its ability to make the aorta and other blood vessels more flexible and relaxed, so that blood pumps more slowly and with less effort – sparing the cardiovascular system such a hard workout.
The procyanidins in hawthorn also have antioxidant properties – protecting against free radical cellular damage.
And, hawthorn may also inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme. Angiotensin-converting enzyme is responsible for retaining sodium and water, and may have roots in our evolutionary development. It influences blood vessel contraction and dilation, sodium and water balance and heart cell development – just about everything that has to do with blood pressure. This may have developed as a way of dealing with periods of drought and stress. By narrowing the blood vessels, the body could guarantee an adequate supply of blood and focus on repairing tissue.
Unfortunately, that can lead to real problems these days. Since many of us live in an industrialized society, and frequently have pretty sedentary lifestyles, conserving sodium just makes the conditions for high blood pressure that much worse.
Like the other ingredients in this combination, hawthorn showed benefits on other body systems, too. In clinical and scientific studies, it not only lowered blood pressure, but also showed anti-anxiety properties and regulated blood sugar.
Olive leaf extract:
Olive leaf (Olea europaea) comes up again and again in scientific and clinical studies as having beneficial effects on hypertension. One of olive leaf’s most beneficial compounds is oleuropein – the same compound that makes olive oil so helpful in reducing blood pressure. Here again, we have to look at the traditional Mediterranean diet, which features voluminous use of olives and olive oil. Not surprisingly, blood pressure is generally much lower in Greek and Italian populations.
But it’s not just the diet – scientific studies showed that oleuropein lowered blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels and prevented buildup of plaque in arteries. Plus, whether in olive leaf extract or in olive oil, oleuropein works as an antioxidant, too.
Dandelion leaf extract:
Dandelion (Taraxacum offinale) leaves provide a healthy supply of vitamins, much like spinach. In fact, although it has become the bane of North American gardeners and lawn owners, dandelion greens are a component of many gourmet salads.
Medicinally, dandelion has been used for centuries, dating back to ancient
They are a very rich source of vitamin A, and contain vitamin D, vitamin C, carious B vitamins, iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc and manganese, too. Dandelion leaves produce a diuretic effect in the body, similar to a prescription drug. Since one of dandelion leaf’s traditional uses was the treatment of water retention, it’s really not too surprising. Dandelion leaf is also rich in potassium – one of the vital minerals many Americans lack in their diet. So, even though it may act as a diuretic, it replaces more potassium than the body expels.
The diuretic effect of dandelion can relieve hypertension by drawing excess water and sodium from the body and releasing it through the kidneys as urine. Getting rid of extra water and sodium allows the blood vessels to relax – lowering blood pressure.
If a nutrient can be called exciting, lycopene is it. Lycopene is found mostly in tomatoes and processed tomato products, like pasta and pizza sauce. Related to beta-carotene lycopene shows great antioxidant abilities among its many talents. In fact, it shows even greater free-radical scavenging properties than beta-carotene, its more famous cousin. Healthy intakes of lycopene can guard against a variety of chronic conditions, including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, lowering homocysteine levels and reducing blood platelet stickiness that can lead to clogged arteries. It’s even being studied for its protective effect against prostate cancer.
And, for proof, you don’t have to look too far to see the amazing effect lycopene intake can have on health. The Mediterranean diet provides an excellent example. Its high intakes of vegetables, (tomatoes, of course, playing a central role) fish, and whole grains improve cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. The research on lycopene as a stand-alone nutrient has been compelling. A randomized clinical trial found that not having enough lycopene was associated with early thickening of the arteries.
So, it makes sense that other clinical trials, showed that higher intakes of lycopene frequently meant less thickening of arteries, and a reduced risk of heart attack. In one study, the risk of heart attack was 60% lower in individuals with the highest levels of lycopene. In a multicenter study, similar results were found – men with the highest levels of lycopene had a 48% lower risk of heart attack.
Q. What can I expect taking this herbal combination?
A. You should notice both systolic and diastolic numbers lowering in about two weeks. The scientific study showed that for pre-hypertensive and stage I, (early hypertensive individuals) this combination for ingredients lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
When you’re taking herbs to support your blood pressure, it’s important to keep it monitored so you have an accurate reading (and record) of your numbers. If you need to, you can pick up a home blood pressure monitoring device. These can retail for anywhere from $30 all the way up to $200, but buying one in the $30 to $50 range is a good idea and money well spent. Consider taking the machine to your local doctor’s office or fire department to have it tested for accuracy against a professional blood pressure monitor. See the chart below for tips on getting an accurate reading from a home monitor.
Tips for Accurate Blood Pressure Monitoring:
-Relax for about 5 to 10 minutes before measurement.
-If you have just come inside from cold outdoors allow yourself to warm up.
-Remove tight-fitting clothing and jewelry.
-Unless your physician recommends otherwise, use left arm to measure pressure.
-Sit, don’t stand.
-Remain still and do not talk while using the monitor.
Q. Are there any side effects?
A. There were no side effects noted in the study. However, because of the mild diuretic effect of dandelion leaf extract, you may notice an increase in trips to the bathroom. It’s always important to make sure you don’t get dehydrated, so you may want to drink more water during the day.
High blood pressure doesn’t happen overnight. As we get older, the likelihood of developing hypertension increases. And, stressful, fast-forward lifestyles, bad diets and no exercise conspire to raise our blood pressure.
In my own practice I have helped patients move toward a healthier lifestyle, including diet, exercise, and blood-pressure reducing supplements. They live better, more vibrant lives as a result, and their blood pressure normalizes. It really can happen – you can bring your blood pressure back to normal, and this combination of scientifically and clinically validated ingredients can help.
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.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia
February 28, 2007 12:02 PM
This is a fast paced world. We are all busy; living our full lives, burning the candle at both ends. We all get tired. We all get sick from time to time and maybe even depressed. But the illness called chronic fatigue syndrome is not like the normal ups and downs that we experience in everyday life. People with chronic fatigue syndrome feel overwhelming fatigue, and often pain as well. This is an illness that does not go away with a few good nights’ sleep. It drags on and on and doesn’t resolve itself. It steals vigor and energy over months, and sometimes even years.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will talk about powerful vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs combined in scientifically validated formulas that people with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia can use every day. These nutrients help address some root problems of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia by restoring energy and health to sufferers.
Q. What is chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) also known as chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS), or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a group of symptoms associated with unrelenting and debilitating fatigue. The profound weakness of CFS causes a persistent and substantial reduction in activity level. You feel too tired to do normal activities or are easily exhausted for no apparent reason.
Besides extreme fatigue, symptoms of CFS include general pain, mental fogginess, flu-like symptoms, and gastrointestinal problems. A list of symptoms includes:
The number of symptoms and the severity of these symptoms can vary among people. The symptoms of CFS hand on or reoccur frequently for more than six months.
Q. Are chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia considered being the same illness?
A. Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a painful shortening of muscles throughout the body. FMS is basically a sleep disorder characterized by many tender knots in the muscles. These tender knots, called tender or trigger points, are a major cause of the achiness that people with fibromyalgia and CFS feel.
Approximately 80 percent of chronic fatigue syndrome patients have received and overlapping diagnosis of fibromyalgia syndrome. For most people, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are the same illness.
Q. What causes chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. There are many causes that can trigger CFS. Current research is looking at the roles of neuroendocrine dysfunction, viruses, environmental toxins, genetic predisposition, food sensitivities, yeast overgrowth, faulty digestion, or a combination of these factors.
For many people, CFS is triggered by a bout with a viral illness (like a cold or the flu), or even a stressful event. CFS is usually a mix of underlying causes. It is like a domino effect in that each problem can trigger another problem, and so on. For example, fatigue and poor sleep can trigger a weakened immune system, which can, in turn, trigger yeast or bacterial infections.
Q. Who gets chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. CFS is more common than you might expect. It strikes people of all ages, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. Approximately 800,000 people nationwide have CFS and over six million have fibromyalgia at any given time.
It is important to stress that CFS is a real illness; it is not “just in your head.” Unfortunately, sufferers of CFS may find that many healthcare practitioners discount the symptoms of this illness or misdiagnose it as another disease. This can lead to additional emotional suffering.
Q. How long does chronic fatigue syndrome last?
A. The illness varies greatly in its duration. Some people recover after a year or two. More often, those who recover are more likely to do so three to five years after onset. Yet for some people, the illness seems to simply persist. There are rare cases of spontaneous improvement after five years without undergoing any treatment. However, this is very unusual.
Q. What are the complications of chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. The patterns of CFS vary from individual to individual. However, many common patterns of symptoms are seen in CFS sufferers. These symptoms and problems interact and create new symptoms and problems. For example, infections and disrupted sleep can lead to digestive, hormone, and immune problems.
The most notorious pattern seen in CFS is the one in which a person suddenly comes down with a flu-like illness that doesn’t go away. These viral or bacterial infections can suppress the body’s master gland, the hypothalamus. Since the hypothalamus controls the other glands, including the adrenals, ovaries, testes, and thyroid, suppression of this gland will lead to a subtle but debilitating decrease in the functioning of all glands and their hormones. Suppressed hypothalamic function from chronic infections can then trigger sleep dysfunction.
The suppression of the hypothalamus gland can lead to poor sleep because the body confuses its day/night cycles. Because of this, people with CFS have trouble staying in the deep, restorative stages of sleep that “recharge their batteries.”
Poor sleep can cause immune suppression, which may lead to secondary bowel infections. The bowel infections seen in people with CFS can cause decreased absorption of nutrients, which can lead to chronic vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Q. Is there a cure for chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. Treating chronic fatigue syndrome presents a significant challenge to people with CFS and their healthcare practitioners. Recently, a published placebo-controlled study ( of which I was the lead investigator) showed that when using an integrated treatment approach, over 85 percent of CFS and fibromyalgia patients can improve, often dramatically. The full text of this study can be seen at ‘www.endfatigue.com’. An editorial in the April 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Pain Management noted that this treatment, which I developed, is now a highly effective and excellent part of the standard of practice for treatment of fibromyalgia. Since this treatment addresses many different problems associated with CFS/FMS, it needs to be individualized to each patient.
Medications that provide symptom relief are frequently the first line of treatment chosen by healthcare practitioners for the person with CFS. These include medications for pain, sleep disturbances; digestive problems such as nausea, depression and anxiety, and flu-like symptoms.
However, medications have not been universally successful because they tent to put a bandage on symptoms instead of addressing the root problems. Because of this, medications may need to be supplemented by the other supportive therapies that can address the root problems.
People with CFS/FMS may be depressed, given the catastrophic lifestyle disruption these diseases may cause. They may also feel guilt and frustration because their symptoms were not taken seriously for such a long time. Fear can be a factor as employment and family relationships may be jeopardized by this illness.
Therapies that help people to relax and improve coping skills may be helpful and include counseling for emotional and mental health, cognitive behavioral therapy, sleep management therapy, and massage.
Daily Nutritional Supplementation for Energy
Good overall nutrition is important for everyone, of course. However, there are several vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that can have powerful nutritional effects for a person with CFS. All of the vitamins and minerals in a chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia formula should work together synergistically to help improve energy levels and overall health. Here are some key nutrients to look for in an energy formula:
Vitamins, Minerals & Other Key Ingredients
Vitamin A: Essential for healthy skin and mucous membrane integrity, healthy immune system responses and healthy bone growth and healthy reproductive processes. Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene is an antioxidant and free radical fighter. Vitamin E: Helps to relieve pain in CFS patients. Can also improve night leg cramps, which interferes with sleep.
Vitamin C: Enhances immune function by increasing natural killer cells, B and T cells. Can prevent chronic bladder infections by acidifying urine.
Vitamin D: Regulates immune functions of monocytes and neutrophils. Neutraphils are white blood cells that ingest invasive bacteria, and act as the first line of defense once bacteria makes it past the skin barrier.
Magnesium: Involved with immune support. Working with malic acid, enhances immune function by increasing natural killer cells. Magnesium is also critical for the relief of muscle pain.
Inositol: Enhances immune function by increasing natural killer cells.
Malic Acid: Working with magnesium, improves energy levels by improving cellular functions. Especially important in muscle metabolism.
Betaine: Works with B vitamins to synthesize amino acids, and acts as a precursor to SAM-e. SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine) is a naturally-occurring molecule in the body, and may have an effect on overall mood elevation.
Amino Acids: Glycine, Serine, Taurine, Tyrosine are essential for the production of energy in the body. Also essential for brain function.
Zinc: Supports the immune system by enhancing neutrophils activity and supporting healthy antigen-antibody binding.
Selenium: Supports immune function by enhancing antibody production.
Fructooligosaccharides: Provides nutrition for good bacteria in the intestinal tract, improving digestion and healthy microflora.
All of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional supplements on the list are important to ensure recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome. To ensure that your nutritional supplement regimen contains all of these ingredients, look for a powdered supplement formulated specifically for CFS/FMS sufferers that can be reconstituted in a beverage of your choice. A powdered drink mix is a pleasant, easy way to ensure that you are taking all of the needed vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that will give you the needed energy to recover from your illness.
B Vitamin Complex for Energy
In addition to the powdered energy drink mix, it is important that you also take a vitamin B-complex supplement specifically formulated for people with CFS/FMS. The B vitamin formula, which should include niacinamide, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, and choline, is especially important to restore the energy production needs of your body, as well as for mental function. It is also important to make sure that the dosages are high enough CFS/FMS needs. The chart in the next column lists the B vitamins that are critical for people suffering from CFS/FMS.
B Vitamins Effect on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Studies have demonstrated that people with CFS/FMS are often deficient in many of the B vitamins, which tends to worsen their symptoms of fatigue and mental “fogginess” and ultimately lead to a weakened immune system.
B vitamins - Effect on Energy
Thiamine (B1) - Essential in the process of energy production. This vitamin also removes lactic acid from muscles, which causes them to be sore in fibromyalgia patients.
Riboflavin (B2) - Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is crucial in the production of body energy. Supports healthy gluthathione reductase activity, which helps maintain gluthathione, a major protector against free radical damage. Vitamin B2 itself also has antioxidant qualities.
Niacinamide(B3) - Essential vitamin that is a component of the body’s energy furnace, helping to improve fatigue and “brain fog”.
Pantothenic Acid (B5) - This vitamin improves adrenal gland function, which will boost energy levels. It can also aid in weight loss by decreasing appetite.
Vitamin B6 - Working along with thiamine, this vitamin is critical in the process of energy production.
Vitamin B12 - Important for brain function and nerve repair. Aids in relieving fatigue symptoms in CFS patients. Folic Acid - Aids in strengthening the immune system, and aids in mental clarity and concentration.
Q. What other supplements can help me with CFS?
A. Many people with CFS/FMS are suffering from adrenal burnout. Adrenal burnout occurs when the adrenal glands are constantly producing cortisol in response to chronic stress like that seen in cases of CFS. Over time, this exhausts the adrenal reserve, meaning the adrenal gland can no longer increase cortisol production in response to stress.
The good news is that changes in our hormone levels can return to normal when stress is decreased. However, in cases of CFS that return to normal can be made much simpler by using a glandular therapy regimen to ensure healthy cortisol levels and adrenal function.
Glandular therapy uses the concentrated forms of bovine (cow) or porcine (pig) glands to improve the health of our glands. Pioneers in the field of endocrinology (the study of hormones) hypothesized that glandular extracts work by providing nutrients the body lacks and thus repairing the malfunctioning gland.
If CFS has left your adrenal glands in a stressed-out state, you should see great results by taking adrenal supplements. Be sure to buy an adrenal extract supplement that contains both whole adrenal and adrenal cortex extracts.
The best adrenal supplement should also contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, L-tyrosine, betaine, pantothenic acid and licorice. Licorice contains glycyrrhizin, which is broken down into glycyrrhizic or glycyrrhetinic acid. This compound inhibits the activity of an enzyme that turns active cortisol into inactive cortisol. While in high amounts (greater than 100 mg of glycyrrhizic acid/day), licorice administration causes hypertension, no such effects have been observed at lower doses. Experts have speculated that inhibition of the cortisol-converting enzyme may reduce cortisol-related symptoms associated with adrenal insufficiency. The adrenal glands use these nutrients to manufacture cortisone and other compounds. It just makes sense to purchase an adrenal supplement with these supportive ingredients.
The Road to Recovery-Adequate Sleep
Disordered sleep is the underlying process that drives many of the symptoms of CFS/FMS. The most effective way to eliminate pain in CFS/FMS is to get seven to nine hours of deep sleep each night.
However, getting adequate sleep is easier said than done for CFS sufferers with underlying fibromyalgia symptoms. The muscle knots of fibromyalgia make it uncomfortable to lie in one position for an extended time, causing difficulty in returning to deep sleep. Because of this, people with CFS/FMS do not stay in deep stages of sleep to recharge their “batteries.” In addition, poor sleep can cause and be caused by the suppression of the hypothalamus gland, which causes the brain to think it is daytime instead of night time.
It may be helpful to use herbal products to promote good quality sleep. There are many natural supplements that are marketed as sleep formulas. To get the best results, it is very important that the right ingredients are in the sleep formula you buy. Therefore, it is important to look for an herbal sleep formula that is especially formulated for people with CFS/FMS. The combination of herbs is important as each herb addresses a different aspect of sleeplessness and muscle tension.
Ingredients - Effect on Sleep
Wild Lettuce - Has been found to have sedative effects.
Hops - Acts as mild sedative and has a sleep-inducing effect. Jamaica Dogwood Has been found to be mildly sedative and is often used for anxiousness.
L-Theanine - Causes significant increases of neurotransimitter concentrations in the brain, which promotes muscle relaxion and improves sleep.
Valerian - This herb has been clinically studied for its ability to improve sleep quality.
Passionflower - This herb eases nervousness and insomnia.
Putting It All Together
After a good night’s rest, a powdered energy drink mix formulated for people with CFS/FMS should be drunk along with a well-balanced breakfast as discussed earlier. In addition to the nutritional beverage mix, a vitamin B complex supplement designed specifically for CFS sufferers, also discussed earlier, containing niacinamide, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, and choline, should be taken every morning. The nutritional drink mix and the vitamin B complex supplement will ensure that your body has all the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients, to combat your overwhelming fatigue, pain, and “brain fog.” Taking a daily adrenal supplement, like the one discussed earlier, will provide the much-needed (and often depleted) nutrients your body may be lacking, and help you recover lost energy.
Together, these four interventions: sleep formula; morning energy drink; energy B complex supplement; and an adrenal complex- can make an incredible difference that you should begin to notice within 2-3 weeks of starting this program.
Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are complex physical diseases with physical causes. The unrelenting symptoms of fatigue, pain, and mental fogginess can be overwhelming and frightening. Partnering with a healthcare practitioner specializing in CFS and utilizing different medical treatments, supportive therapies, and lifestyle changes are healthy ways to combat chronic fatigue syndrome. And taking nutritional supplements formulated specifically for people with CMS/FMS that help boost energy or help you get a good night’s sleep can give you critical control over the outcome of your illness and set you on the road to recovery.