Search Term: " Seed "
Systematic review studies the potential of black seed in loweringblood pressure
February 15, 2019 10:25 AM
Blood pressure, that one health problem you always hear about but really don’t have that much knowledge on. In a new study, research published by the journal of hypertension shows that black seed may be a potential aid in helping lower that blood pressure. The article reviews the basics of the study and provides you with uses and common ways to find black seed. It additionally provides you with a few extra foods that can help lower your blood pressure overall.
"Ten of these RCTs compared black seed with placebo and one compared black seed with standard treatment. They also looked at the associations between blood pressure reduction and the duration of treatment, dosage of black seed, and type of black seed."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-10-systematic-review-studies-the-potential-of-black-seed-in-lowering-blood-pressure.html
Top 8 Vegan Omega-3 Sources: How to Get Vegan Omega-3 Into the Diet
February 11, 2019 12:50 PM
Omega-3s have a wide variety of health benefits, from controlling inflammation to improving brain health. For vegans who wish to avoid fish-based omega-3 sources, a number of good vegan sources exist. Brussels sprouts are a superb source of omega-3s, as well as many other nutrients, as are walnuts. Algal oil — derived from algae — is another good source, and makes an excellent substitute for fish oil. Other good vegan sources include chia, flaxseed, hemp seed and spirulina.
"Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get a good amount of all three forms of omega-3 fatty acids into a plant-based diet, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)."
Read more: https://draxe.com/vegan-omega-3/
Caraway Seeds Support Weight Loss, Blood Sugar & More
January 23, 2019 09:42 AM
Caraway seeds are loaded in antioxidants, which do plenty of great things for the body, including aiding in weight loss, helping to maintain blood sugar levels to minimize the risk of developing diabetes, and so much more. It is time to add the seeds to your diet if they're not already a part o your menu and enjoy all of these enticing benefits for yourself. You are what you eat and it is important that you are great things, such as what you can be with the consumption of these awesome seeds.
"So what is caraway seed used for, and why should you consider upping your intake of this stellar spice cabinet staple?"
Read more: https://draxe.com/caraway-seeds/
Essential Oils: How to Choose the Right Carrier Oils for Them
September 05, 2018 05:52 PM
Carrier oils make it easier and safer to apply essential oils for therapeutic purposes, and some have their own beneficial qualities. For example, apricot kernel, borage seed, coconut, flaxseed and avocado oil all have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce pain and improve joint and skin health. Others are full of vitamins and nutrients that benefit your skin, including argan, jojoba, and sesame oil. Yet others can be beneficial to your hair’s health and appearance, including castor and coconut oils.
"Essential oils have powerful effects on our bodies, but you need to use a carrier oil to ensure safe topical application."
Read more: https://acedmagazine.com/essential-oils-how-to-choose-the-right-carrier-oils-for-them/
Leucine: The Muscle-Building Amino Acid Your Body Needs
June 23, 2018 09:54 AM
Leucine is a branched chain amino acid that is vital to building muscle, and can help to keep fat and blood sugar under control and prevent muscle deterioration in older athletes. It also has a role in promoting muscle recovery. Good dietary sources of leucine include grass-fed beef, venison, elk, tuna, chicken, lentils, wheat germ, hemp seeds, spirulina, and especially eggs. Leucine, like other branched chain amino acids, can only be ingested, not produced in the body.
"Keep reading for what you need to know about this branched-chain amino acid and how it can affect your health."
Read more: https://draxe.com/leucine/
Is Star Anise Good for You? 6 Benefits of This Sweet Spice
January 25, 2018 03:59 PM
Star anise, slight different than the anise seed, is very common in Asian cooking, comprising one of the key ingredients in Chinese Five Spice. The sweet licorice flavor is well regarded and just as much used in medicine. Recent finding have found strong links to its properties to help fight off bacterial and fungal infections and even has links to fighting the flu virus off. It has a good amount of antioxidants in it and this can help fight other diseases and even work with leveling blood sugar.
"In addition to killing off pathogenic strains of bacteria, some research also shows that star anise pods could possess powerful antifungal properties as well."
Read more: https://draxe.com/star-anise/
Anise Seed Benefits Blood Sugar & May Protect Against Ulcers
January 23, 2018 03:59 PM
Anise seeds are now being seen as one of the latest in a line of good for you herbs and spices. They are in the same family as celery and carrots, but with a slight licorice flavor. They have been found to have many properties to aid with health including lowering blood sugar and treating depression. The properties of anise itself, often seen as a digestive, can aid with stomach ulcers and maybe even stop the growth of fungus and bacteria.
"More recently, researchers have uncovered a host of health benefits associated with anise seed, including improved blood sugar levels, decreased menopause symptoms and even protection against stomach ulcers."
Read more: https://draxe.com/anise-seed/
Full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, cabbage needs to be a regular in your kitchen
August 23, 2017 09:14 AM
For anyone interested in healthy eating, cabbage is a useful vegetable to have handy around the kitchen. Cabbages have anti-inflammatory properties, are packed full of antioxidants, and help to fortify the body against cancerous cells. They are versatile vegetables that can easily be prepared as part of a side dish, appetizer, or even the main course. Cabbage plants are low maintenance and can be grown easily from seed, so it is possible to always have a fresh and abundant supply on hand. Once the cabbage plant is harvested, it can be used to make Cabbage Crunch Salad or as an ingredient in numerous other nutritious recipes.
"With its high concentrations of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, cabbage is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat."
Read more: https://www.healthnutnews.com/full-of-antioxidants-and-anti-inflammatory-compounds-cabbage-needs-to-be-a-regular-in-your-kitchen/
Your Health: Natural remedies to aid breastmilk production
August 22, 2017 04:14 PM
Breastfeeding has a variety of benefits to the development of babies. Emotionally, breastfeeding enhances the bond between mother and baby. Physically, there are numerous benefits of breastfeeding, such as protection against respiratory, urinary, and digestive infections. Breastfeeding also provides benefits against the development of allergies. If the mother experiences problems with breastfeeding, a supplement containing several herbs is recommended. These include fennel, aniseed, raspberry leaves, chamomile, and nettle, which each have unique benefits for breastfeeding.
"Most women are eager to heed the slogan "breast is best" but many find it is not as straightforward as they thought."
Read more: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=11907725
The Best Natural Treatments And Medicinal Plants For Liver Detoxification
August 06, 2017 09:14 AM
There are some great natural treatments and medicinal plants for liver detoxification. The liver is a very vital organ and it detoxifies your entire body. It synthesizes proteins and removes blood waste and it is responsible for the metabolism as well as the immune system. It also is responsible for processing all sorts of toxic substances. The good news is that the liver is actually the only organ that has the ability to regenerate and can function even when it is affected in a proportion of 80 to 90 percent.
"The good news is that the liver is the only organ that has the ability to regenerate and can function even when it is affected in a proportion of 80-90%."
Read more: https://www.healththoroughfare.com/medicine/best-natural-treatments-medicinal-plants-liver-detoxification/1142
5 healthy oils you need in your kitchen
July 03, 2017 04:14 PM
There are healthy oils out tere. Not all oil is the enemy. You need to use it in moderation but some of it is actually good for you. This gives an example of five oils you should get. They have health benefits so will be assets in your diet. They will allow you to fry, sautee, make salad dressings, and more but in a more healthy way. This is good because too much fat is bad for you.
"[E]ven olive oil has limitations, so it is best to know about the various oils that work differently for different forms of cooking. So, enhance your gourmet dishes and also stay fit with these cooking oils."
Read more: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/diet/5-healthy-oils-you-need-in-your-kitchen/articleshow/59385977.cms
This Fiber Rich Shake Will Help Keep Your Colon Clean!
June 25, 2017 05:14 AM
A good colon cleanse does the body good, providing a number of benefits to your health. But, purchasing a pre-made cleanse at the natural health store can cost quite the chunk of change. Why spend such money when you can make a colon cleansing shake for a fraction of the cost? This recipe helps you make the fiber rich shake that will do your colon right, all while providing a delicious and nutrient rich drink.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-nugh0NLSg&rel=0
"There is no better way to keep your colon clean than NATURAL"
End Discomfort & Pain from Gout Symptoms
May 25, 2017 09:14 AM
Not only is gout extremely painful, but many people don't realize that it affects all joints and not just those in the feet. Conventional treatment can be costly not only in a monetary fashion but also your time, but there's hope that a variety of natural treatments may provide a better alternative. For instance, cherries, celery seed, coffee, vitamin C and tumeric can help combat this painful condition. By considering these solutions and changes to your diet, there's hope yet of minimizing this for anyone afflicted by it.
"Researchers have found that two days of cherry intake can reduce recurrent gout attacks by 35 percent."
Read more: https://draxe.com/gout-symptoms/
Skin care: 5 foods that naturally heal stubborn acne
May 05, 2017 06:59 AM
While many consumers strive to maintain beautiful skin through the use of many expensive skin-care products, they often overlook some fundamental aspects. For instance, many do not realize that the diet someone observes can have a significant impact on how their skin looks and feels. Foods such as spinach, fish, flaxseed, sweet potatoes, dark cocoa, and other similar foods contain nutrients that not only reinvigorate the skin, but also prevent annoying conditions such as acne.
Read more: Skin care: 5 foods that naturally heal stubborn acne
Cooking With Canola Releases More Toxic Cancer-Causing Chemicals Than Any Other Type of Oil
March 14, 2017 01:59 PM
Canola oil is extracted from rapeSeed and despite claims that it's healthy, it's actually the worst type of oil you can use. Most canola oil is made from genetically modified crops and the modification actually increases risks to health including causing cancer. Oil made from rapeSeed used to be used as an industrial lubricant and canola can be used as a pesticide. It's important to also know that the oil is hydrogenated and can cause cardiac risks.
"In a nutshell, healthy living and canola oil simply don’t go well together."
February 19, 2017 10:19 AM
Are you maybe not getting enough vegetables and leafy greens in your diet? Do you just want to eat a healthier, more balanced and nutritious diet overall? Then the Spinach Smoothie video from ABC Health is great place for you to start your journey to that healthier lifestyle you have always been dreaming of.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61ElTdCXeu4
"This smoothie is refreshing and it gives you a great energy that will last the whole day."
The Health Benefits of Grape Seed Extract
Grape Seed extract is most commonly a waste product produced by the grape juice and winery industry. This is because grape Seed extract doesn't go into finished drinks. Grape Seed contains a wide variety of health-enhancing ingredients like protein, carbohydrates and lipids (healthy fats).
A study done on healthy volunteers found that grape Seed considerably increased the levels of antioxidants in the blood. So, another one of the benefits of grape Seed is it helps boosts the immune system to fight against harmful compounds which may reduce the risk of chronic diseases including breast, stomach, colon, prostate and lung cancer.
Hemp Bliss (Hemp Milk)Hemp pioneers launch organic hemp milk
The new Hemp Bliss organic hemp milk, by Manitoba Harvest, offers a nutritious alternative to dairy, soy, and grain based drinks. Offered in chocolate, vanilla, and original varieties, Hemp Bliss has a nutty undertone and naturally provides a boost of 1,200 mg Omega-3 and 5g or protein per serving. Made from fresh organic hemp Seeds and organic ingredients, hemp bliss has a rich, creamy and smooth taste. A 32 oz tetra pack is discounted at VitaNet 25% OFF MSRP. Listed as lactose-free, soy-free, nut-free and cholesterol-free, Hemp Bliss is ideal for those with allergies or sensitivities to dairy, nut, grain and soy-based beverages. Currently a large and growing trend in the market place, hemp foods are becoming increasingly popular for their health benefits, their strong digestible protein profile and their abundance of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Manitoba Harvest process the raw hemp Seed into USDA Certified Organic: hemp Seed oil, shelled hemp Seed, hemp Seed butter, and hemp protein powder. You cereal lovers can now enjoy cereal again with Hemp Bliss.
Fruit and Vegetable Lightning drink mixes from Natures Plus
February 06, 2007 02:41 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Fruit and Vegetable Lightning drink mixes from Natures Plus
Enjoy the Rainbow – the Color Wheel of Fruits and Vegetables
We’ve all heard the statistics, and have probably seen the signs in the produce section of our favorite grocery store: eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day is important,
Chances are also pretty good that we’ve also seen the newest food pyramid, encouraging Americans to “eat a rainbow of frits and vegetables.” That is, choose from the rich variety of colors for the best all-around health benefits.
In this Ask the Doctor, we’re going to look at the unique health components of different colored fruits and vegetables, and why they’re so important. Plus, we’ll learn about supplemental options, like fruit and vegetable drink mixes, for those days when our diets just aren’t that great.
Q. What’s the big deal about fruits and vegetables?
A. Well, for the main reason that they are whole foods – created by nature (or at least generations of farming) and are rich in a variety of nutrients. Processed foods can’t match the health benefits of strawberries or broccoli – items that have fiber, vitamins, and enzymes built right in.
Q. What does “eating a rainbow” of fruits and vegetables really mean?
A. This is simply an easy way of remembering to get as much color variety in your diet as possible to maximize your intake of a broad range of nutrients. The colors of fruits and vegetables are often a tangible clue to the unique vitamins and other healthy substances they contain. Getting a variety of colors, therefore, means getting a variety of the essential nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and strong.
Enjoying the Rainbow: Fruit and Vegetable Benefits:
Tomatoes, Berries, Peppers, Radishes
Lycopene, Anthocyanins, Ellagic Acid, Bioflavonoids including Quercetin, and Hesperidin
Reduces risk of prostate cancer; lowers blood pressure; scavenges harmful free-radicals; reduces tumor growth; reduces LDL cholesterol levels and supports joint tissue in cases of rheumatoid arthritis
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Carrots, Yams, Squash, Papaya
Beta-carotene, Zeaxanthin, Flavonoids, Lycopene, Vitamin C, Potassium
Reduces age-related macular degeneration; lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol; fights harmful free radicals; reduces risk of prostate cancer, lowers blood pressure; promotes collagen formation and healthy joints; encourages alkaline balance and works with magnesium and calcium to build healthy bones
Mushrooms, White Tea, FlaxSeed/ Pumpkin
Beta-glucan, EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), SDG (secoisolariciresinol digulcoside), lignans
Provides powerful immune boosting activity; activates natural-killer cells, B-cells and T-cells; may reduce risk of colon, breast and prostate cancers; boosts immune-supporting T-cell activity; balances hormone levels and may reduce risk of hormone-related cancers
Wheat Grass, Barley Grass, Oat Grass, Kale, Spinach, Cabbage, Alfalfa Sprouts, Mustard Greens, Collard Greens
Chlorophyll, Fiber, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Calcium, Folate, Glucoraphanin, Vitamin C, Calcium, Beta-Carotene
Reduces cancer risks; lowers blood pressure; normalizes digestion time; supports retinal health and reduces risk of cataracts; builds and maintains bone matrix; fights harmful free-radicals; boosts immune system activity; supports vision and lowers LDL cholesterol levels
Blueberries, Pomegranates, Grapes, Elderberries, Eggplant, Prunes
Anthocyanins, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Resveratrol, Vitamin C, Fiber, Flavonoids, ellagic acid, quercetin
May protect brain cells against Alzheimer’s and other oxidative-related diseases; supports retinal health; lowers LDL cholesterol and prevents LDL oxidation; boosts immune system activity and supports healthy collagen and joint tissue; supports healthy digestion; improves calcium and other mineral absorption; fights inflammation; reduces tumor growth; acts as an anticarcinogen in the digestive tract, limits the activity of cancer cells –depriving them of fuel; helps the body fight allergens
Q. Can you tell me a little more about the healthy components of fruits and vegetables?
Let’s take a look at some of the most well-studied and important nutrients:
Quercetin is found in apples, onions and citrus fruits (also is hawthorn and other berries and apple-related fruits usually used in traditional herbal remedies and modern supplements). It prevents LSL cholesterol oxidation and helps the body cope with allergens and other lung and breathing problems.
Clinical studies show that quercetin’s main points of absorption in the body appear to be in the small intestine – about 50%. The rest – at least 47% is metabolized by the colonic micro flora – the beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum. You may consider adding these beneficial bacteria (found in yogurt) either through the diet or a supplemental form.
Ellagic Acid is a component of ellagitannins – dietary polyphenols with antioxidant (and possibly anticancer) properties. Polyphenols are the basic building blocks of many plant-based antioxidants. More complex phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids are created from these molecules.
Ellagic acid is found in many fruits and foods, namely raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates, and walnuts. Clinical studies suggest that ellagitannins and ellagic acid act as antioxidants and anticarcinogens in the gastrointestinal tract.
Ellagitannins are durable antioxidants, and happily, they do not appear to be diminished by processing, like freezing. This means the benefits are still strong, even in frozen packs of raspberries or strawberries, or some of the better multi-ingredient supplement drink mixes.
In scientific studies, ellagic acid also showed an anti-proliferative effect on cancer cells, decreasing their ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production. ATP is the molecule that provides the primary energy source for the cells in our bodies. In a sense, ellagic acid seems to deprive cancer cells of their fuel.
Beta-Carotene: Probably the best-known of the carotenoids, beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A. Many vegetables, especially orange and yellow varieties, are rich in this nutrient. Think summer squash, yams and of course, carrots.
Beta-carotene has long been associated with better eyesight, but it has other benefits, too. In a scientific study, beta-carotene decreased cholesterol levels in the liver by 44% and reduces liver triglycerides by 40%.
Lycopene is a carotenoid mostly found in tomatoes, but also in smaller amounts in watermelon and other fruits. Clinical studies have shown that lycopene consumption may decrease the risk of prostate cancer. In fact, high intakes of lycopene are associated with a 30% to 40% reduced risk. And, as good as beta-carotene is, its cousin, lycopene, seems to be an even stronger nutrient, protecting not just against prostate cancer, but heart disease as well.
Lutein is found in many fruits and vegetables, including blueberries and members of the squash family. Lutein is important for healthy eyes, and in fact it is found in high concentrations naturally in the macular region of the retina – where we see fine detail. It is one of the only carotenoids, along with its close sibling zeaxanthin, that is found in the macula and lens of the eye.
Lutein also supports your heart, too. In a scientific study, lutein reduced atherosclerotic lesion size by 43%. In other words, high intakes of lutein may actually help prevent coronary artery disease!
Interestingly, as is the case with lycopene, cooking or processing foods with lutein may actually make it more easily absorbed.
In clinical studies, men with high intakes of lutein (and its close cousin, zeaxanthin, found in broccoli and spinach) had a 19% lower risk of cataract, and women had a 22% decreased risk, compared to those whose lutein intakes were much lower.
Vitamin C: One of the best-known nutrients out there, vitamin C keeps our immune system strong; speeds wound healing, and promote strong muscles and joints. A free-radical fighter, vitamin C prevents oxidative damage to tissues, builds strength in collagen and connective tissue, and even reduces joint pain.
Sources of vitamin C are scattered throughout the spectrum of fruits and vegetables.
Potassium: Most Americans are deficient in potassium. For the most part, it’s hard to get too much of this valuable mineral. Potassium does great things for our hearts. Higher intakes of dietary potassium from fruits and vegetables have been found in clinical research to lower blood pressure in only 4 weeks.
Many researchers believe that the typical American diet has led to a state of chronic, low-grade acidosis – too much acid in the body. Potassium helps change pH balance to a more alkaline environment in the body and increases bone density.
This was proven in the long-running Framingham Heart Study which showed that dietary potassium, (along with magnesium and fruit and vegetable intake) provided greater bone density in older individuals.
Fiber is another food component many just don’t get enough of – especially if they’re eating a “typical American diet.” Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber. However, fiber from a good fruits and vegetable drink mix should be derived from inulin and chicory root. This soluble fiber source not only adds to the overall amount of fiber you need (25 to 38 grams a day), but also provides a nice “nesting ground” for the beneficial bacteria that populate the intestines. And, even though some fiber has a bad rap for inhibiting mineral absorption, inulin and chicory root are “bone building” fibers – they actually help the body absorb calcium.
Flavonoids are an overarching term that encompasses flavonols, anthocyanidins, and flavones, isoflavones, proanthocyanidins, Quercetin and more. They are almost everywhere: in fruits, vegetables, grains, herbs, nuts and Seeds – even in the coffee, wine and tea we drink. Flavonoids are responsible for the colors in the skins of fruits and the leaves of trees and other plants.
Flavonoids have many health benefits. They can help stop the growth of tumor cells and are potent antioxidants. Additionally, flavonoids have also been studied for their ability to reduce inflammation.
Anthocyanins: High on the list of important “visible” nutrients are anthocyanins. They color fruits and vegetables blue and red.
Anthocyanins are members of this extended family of nutmeats, the flavonoids. Typically found in high amounts in berries, anthocyanins are readily absorbed in the stomach and small intestine.
As antioxidants, anthocyanins dive deep into cell membranes, protecting them from damage. IT may be one reason why the anthocyanins from blueberries are considered such an important component in battling neuronal decline, like Alzheimer’s. Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are also excellent sources of this flavonoids group.
SDG lignans, (short for secoisolariciresinol diglucoside) are polyphenolic components of flaxSeed, pumpkin and other herbal sources. Much of the recent research surrounding lignans has focused on flaxSeed. In scientific and clinical studies, lignans from flaxSeed support hormonal balance and may have cancer-preventing abilities. In fact, in one study, flaxSeed lignans reduced metastatic lung tumor by 82% compared to controls.
The lignans in pumpkin Seed, also considered a major source, target 5-alpha reductase activity.
This enzyme catalyzes the conversion of testosterone into the more potent dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT, like testosterone, is a steroid hormone or androgen. Androgens are responsible for the development and maintenance of masculine sex characteristics in both men and women. Excess levels of DHT can cause serious problems with prostate or bladder health. That’s why modulation of the 5-alpha reductase enzyme is so important – it helps maintain healthy testosterone and DHT levels. By balancing the levels of these key hormones, pumpkin Seed lignans provide protection for prostate and bladder cells.
In addition, pumpkin Seed has been shown to modulate the enzyme aromatase. Aromatase is present in the estrogen-producing cells of the adrenal glands, ovaries, testicles, adipose tissue, and brain. Aromatase converts testosterone, an androgen, into estradiol, and estrogen.
Inhibition of the aromatase conversion can help maintain a balance of healthy testosterone levels in women, which has been shown to strengthen pelvic muscles and reduce incidence of incontinence.
In fact, a clinical study, involving a pumpkin extract in conjunction with soy, resulted in significant support for bladder health. After two weeks of supplementation, 23 of the 39 postmenopausal women enrolled in the study showed great improvement in urinary frequency and sleep. By the end of the six week study, 74.4 percent of participants found pumpkin extract safely and significantly improved “nocturnia,” that is, the need to urinate frequently at night. For individuals with 2 to 4 episodes of nocturnia prior to the stud, and 81.8% improvement was seen – also showing great improvement in sleep quality. After all, if you don’t have to wake up every couple of hours to go to the bathroom you’re bound to get better sleep.
Beta glucan: Mushrooms are intense immune-boosting powerhouses due to their beta-glucan content. Three well-studied power-house mushrooms that contribute beta glucan to the diet include maitake, reishi and shiitake.
The most significant constituents of mushrooms are long chain polysaccharides (molecules formed from many sugar units) known as beta-glucan. These huge molecules act as immunoregualtors in the human body, helping to stabilize and balance the immune system.
This includes specific support of white blood cells, or lymphocytes, the primary cells of the immune system. Lymphocytes fall broadly into three categories: T cells, B cells, and natural killer (NK) cells.
In one clinical study, 165 patients with various types of advanced cancer were given maitake mushroom compounds alone or with chemotherapy. Cancer regression or significant symptom improvement was observed in 58% of liver cancer patients, and 62% of lung cancer patients. Plus, when maitake was taken in addition to chemotherapy, the immune cell activities were enhanced 1.2 to 1.4 times, compared with chemotherapy alone.
In another clinical study, researchers determined that Reishi increased the number of cancer killing white blood cells and made them more deadly to cancer cells.
And, in a scientific study of human breast cancer and myeloma cancer and myeloma cancer cell lines, shiitake compounds provided a 51% antiproliferative effect on the cells – inducing “apoptosis’ – the programmed cell death that should occur naturally.
While beta-glucan are distributed throughout the mushroom body, the beta-glucan concentrations are significantly higher in the mycelium – the interwoven fibers or filaments that make up the “feeding structure” of the mushroom.
Bioflavonoids are commonly found in bright yellow citrus fruits, including lemons, limes and oranges. They are responsible for the bright pigment found in the skin of the fruit, and are considered a “companion” to vitamin C, seeming to extend the value of the nutrient within the body.
Hesperidin is just one of the valuable bioflavonoids found in citrus. Hesperidin appears to lower cholesterol levels, as well as support joint collagen in examples of rheumatoid arthritis.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG):
Polyphenols, most notably EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, are well-studied and powerful components of tea. EGCG has been shown to reduce colon and breast cancer risk. Green tea also boosts the immune system and encourages T-cell formation – part of the front-line defense of our bodies against sickness and disease.
Q. I’ve been seeing articles about fruits, vegetables and supplements touting “high ORAC value.” What does this mean?
ORAC is an acronym for Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity, and is simply a measurement of antioxidant activity of nutrients. Oxygen radicals, or free radicals, are unstable molecules. They grab electrons from other cells to use for themselves, and in the process can damage them. It is believed that free radical activity plays a role in the development of many diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and also plays a role in aging.
Antioxidants help prevent this damage by “loaning out” extra electrons to stabilize free radicals/ Consider any fruit or vegetable with a high ORAC rating as having a lot of “antioxidant power.”
I know I should eat more fruits and vegetables, but it just seems so hard to get five servings a day.
The number one excuse I hear for not buying frits and veggies is that “fruits and vegetables are too expensive.” But are they really? Certainly, fresh foods that aren’t in season and have to be shipped a distance can be a bit pricey. If anyone added up how much spend on fast food, or prepackaged or processed snacks, it would probably be shocking.
Luckily, there are many ways to get your “Daily 5”. For instance, frozen fruits and veggies retain much of their nutrient profile. They can be an excellent alternative when certain foods are out of season. So too, are fruit and vegetable drink mixes – excellent supplemental sources of some of the nutrients our bodies need most.
More recently, the American
Of course, for people not accustomed to the fiber in fruits and veggies, there is some reason to think it’ll increase gas. When cell walls break down, and fiber passes through the system, it can create flatulence. Folks who eat fruits and vegetables every day generally don’t have this problem. Their systems are already accustomed to it.
For those just starting out on a better diet, however, start slowly – it helps your body adapt. Cooking vegetables can help, too, because it begins breaking down the cell walls early on.
One thing is certain, however. The “Typical American Diet” and good health are mutually exclusive. The increase in type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension all point to the abuse our bodies suffer by eating diets high in fatty meats, processed sugars, and refined grains.
Q. Can I just drink fruit and vegetables drinks in place of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables?
Green drinks and fruit and vegetable drink mixes aren’t meant to replace whole foods, but they can be an excellent substitute when you’re rushed or traveling or just trying to fill everyday nutritional gaps. Their whole food ingredients absorb very easily and gently in the gut, and many of these drink mixes contain healthy doses of fiber, too.
Green drink mixes and food-based drink mixes combine many colorful fruits and vegetables and sometimes grasses in a healthy, mixable supplement assortment. While there have been many advancements in the field of green drinks, there are only a few that take the primary reason we eat into consideration: taste!
Happily, there are some companies out there with great-tasting drink mixes that also formulate based on the color concept, ensuring you get the broadest assortment of nutrients from a full range of fruit and vegetable colors to promote optimal health.
High-quality fruit and vegetable drink mixes offer the best from nature’s color wheel in a convenient and great-tasting supplement. So, the next tie you feel like taking a coffee break – try a fruit and veggie break instead. Your body and spirit will thank you.
Lower Cholesterol Naturally!
October 06, 2006 09:41 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (email@example.com)
Subject: Lower Cholesterol Naturally!
Because of organizations like the American Heart Association (AHA), we’ve learned a lot about cholesterol and how it affects our health. Thanks to these educational organizations, we know that high cholesterol levels can increase our risk for heart attacks and strokes and, by lowering these levels, we reduce these risks as well as keep our hearts and blood vessels healthy. We also know that our cholesterol levels can be improved through exercise, diet, and weight loss.
Although we’ve learned a lot through these educational organizations, there are still a few misconceptions about cholesterol. One of these being that not all cholesterol is harmful. There are both “good” and “bad” forms of cholesterol and a good balance between the two is what is needed for a healthy heart. Because so much emphasis is placed on lowering “bad” cholesterol levels, not enough attention is paid to the benefit of raising “good” cholesterol levels (HDL). Research states that raising HDL levels can provide even greater protection against cardiovascular disease than just simply lowering “bad” cholesterol levels. By raising HDL levels by simply 1%, the risk of heart disease can be lowered by 2% in men and 3% in women. Many studies have shown that low HDL cholesterol levels are an independent risk factor in heart disease. This is extremely important because we’ve learned that despite efforts to change a person’s diet and exercise habits, some people’s cholesterol levels are still unhealthy.
Prescription drugs to lower cholesterol are now available and have been proven by multiple studies to be very successful. The statins’ effectiveness in reducing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol has produced highly significant reductions in heart attacks and strokes. Although these medications do lower cholesterol levels, their side effects must be considered. Statin drugs can cause liver irritation, reduce CoQ10 levels in the body, are associated with myopathy, and are even linked to a rare and sometimes fatal condition called rhabdomyolysis. These drugs also have a relatively small effect on good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Thankfully, there are safe and effective solutions available that can help you manage your cholesterol levels naturally. However, first we must review what we know about cholesterol and heart disease.
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance needed to help digest fats, strengthen cell membranes, make hormones and insulate nerves. Although it is found in every cell of the body, cholesterol is mainly made in the liver, as well as cells lining the small intestine. Even though our bodies make all the cholesterol we need, we also get cholesterol from the foods we eat, such as egg yolks and organ meats. All foods from animal sources contain cholesterol, while plant derived food, including peanut butter and avocado, contains no cholesterol at all.
Cholesterol is important to many functions of the body. However, too much cholesterol in the bloodstream is extremely dangerous. After blood cholesterol reaches high levels, it builds up on the artery walls, and thus increasing the risk for blood clots, heart attack, and stroke. If the cholesterol clogs any of the coronary arteries, the heart’s supply of oxygen and nutrients will diminish, resulting in coronary heart disease, angina, or even heart attack.
Because cholesterol and other fats can’t dissolve in the blood and thereby can’t travel on their own, they have to be transported to and from the cells by lipoproteins. The two major lipoproteins are low density lipoproteins (LDL or “bad cholesterol) and high density lipoproteins (HDL or “good cholesterol”) LDLs carry cholesterol throughout the body to the cells and cause artherosclerosis by clogging up our arteries with fat. On the other hand, HDL prevents the fat buildup by carrying it away from the arteries and to the liver where it can be eliminated. Although high levels of LDL are associated with cardiovascular disease, high HDL can drastically reduce your risk of heart disease. As a result, the AHA has established three guidelines to keep your heart healthy: HDL levels about 40 for men and above 50 for women, LDL levels between 100 and 159, and a total cholesterol (HDL and LDL) of under 200.
Triglycerides are fats used as fuel by the body and a source for metabolism. These levels can fluctuate easily but increased levels are almost always a sign of too much carbohydrate and sugar intake. High amounts of triglycerides make the blood less capable of transporting oxygen and are another factor for cardiovascular disease. Thankfully, the HDL and LDL blend mentioned earlier can safely and effectively lower triglyceride levels.
It has been shown that high levels of HDL cholesterol are inversely related to coronary artery disease risk. However, what people do not know is that there are different subtypes of HDl, including HDL-2 and HDL-3. HDL-3 is produced by the liver and intestines and is responsible for scooping up free cholesterol from the blood vessel walls. The cholesterol carried by HDL-3 is chemically modified, forming a larger-sized subtype, known as HDL-2, or “mature HDL.” HDL-2 transports cholesterol to the liver for processing and elimination, and its molecules are then recirculated in the blood stream. Research has shown that HDL-2 provides more heart-protection because it moves the cholesterol away from arterial walls, and holds a greater number of receptor sites which allows it to carry a larger amount of cholesterol to the liver.
Although many prescription medications have been developed to lower bad cholesterol, there are very few medications that target good cholesterol. Therefore, patients with naturally low HDL cholesterol, who can not alter these levels through diet and exercise, have limited medical options to reduce their risk of heart disease. Multiple nutrients have been clinically shown to favorably alter good cholesterol levels including: vitamins C, E, B6, B12, niacin, folic acid, magnesium and selenium, with protein-building amino acids, powerful antioxidants such as coenzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid, N-acetyle cysteine, and policosanol, and extracts of hawthorn, garlic, grape Seed, and soy isoflavones. Although this HDL-boosting combination does not result in a significant reduction in LDL, antioxidants found in this formulation can help stabilize LDL and prevent build up in the arterial wall.
This formula combines essential vitamins and minerals, at levels recommended by the American Heart Association. It contains amino acids, antioxidants, and botanicals that have all been used safely for years. No serious adverse effects have been found following supplementation and the combination is safe to use with statin drugs.
Plant sterols, found in nuts, vegetable oils, corn, and rice are structurally similar to cholesterol and are able to block its absorption. Each day the liver receives about 800 mg of cholesterol from intestinal absorption through receptor sites. After entering these channels, the cholesterol is absorbed into the bloodstream. Since plant sterols look similar to cholesterol, they fit perfectly into these receptor sites and block the absorption, which allows the cholesterol to remain in our intestines where it can eventually be excreted. A large amount of plant sterols reduces the amount of cholesterol transported from the intestinal tract to the liver. This cholesterol reduction causes a decrease in LDL levels.
Even if a person does not have high cholesterol levels, reducing bad and raising good cholesterol greatly reduces their risk for ever developing chronic heart disease. Due to side effects, physicians do not normally prescribe statin drugs to people without actual heart disease of high LDL cholesterol levels. Instead, they recommend dietary changes. The HDL-boosting combination and LDL-lowering pantethine and plant sterols blend can effectively help people with heart disease, uncontrolled cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels, or people who just want to improve their heart health.
The Skinny on Fats - Omega-3, Omega-6, Omega-7, Omega-9
October 04, 2006 04:53 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: The Skinny on Fats - Omega-3, Omega-6, Omega-7, Omega-9
Health experts keep changing the storey on fats. First we were told that polyunsaturated fats were better than saturated fats. Then it was discovered that refined polyunsaturates were favorite targets for free radical attack. Next, monounsaturated fats took center stage and have remained in the spotlight ever since. The Mediterranean Diet, with its high intake of olive and other oils high in monounsaturates, offers several important safeguards against cardiovascular disease, cancer and overall mortality. (Laino, de Largeril, Kokkinos, Trichopoulou). While monounsaturated fats are important for maintaining optimum health and smooth supple skin, it’s the kind of fatty acids and antioxidants they contain that make up the real story.
Dark green unrefined “extra Virgin” olive oil has a delightful full bodied flavor due to its natural antioxidants. Not only are the oils of various olive cultivars distinctive, they all help fight arterial plaque buildup. (Visioli) Olive oil has a long history in Europe as both food and medicine, and carbon dating of Seeds found in spain have shown that the use of olive oil dates back 8,000 years. Gourmet chefs usually prefer particular oils for various uses in making dressing, marinades, and sauces for dipping. Olive orchards have now achieved a status second only to that of vineyards.
Macadamia nut oil is another designer oil that is fast gaining a reputation among chefs and health experts. The nuts originated in Australia where they were staples in the diets of the Aborigines. In 1881, they were introduced in Hawaii and in the 20th century, made their way to California where several cultivars are now grown. Like olive oil, macadamia nut oil is rich in antioxidants and contains the highest levels, greater than 80 percent monounsaturates, primarily polmitoleic (omega-7) than other oils. (Hiraoka-Yamamoto)
Macadamia nut oil products found in mass market are typically refined, with many of the antioxidants removed. The highest levels of antioxidants in macadamia nuts are found in the shells. During cold processing, some of these antioxidants leech into the oil, increasing its antioxidant potential. (Quinn) unrefined and organic oils have a golden color, pleasing nutty aroma and buttery flavor. Scientists have found that macadamia nut oil lowers, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and may help prevent stroke. (Yamori, Colquhoun) It is delightful on vegetables, in soups, on popcorn, and as a replacement for butter in baking.
The essential oils (Fish oils, flaxSeed, GLA, DHA), which are available as liquid and packaged in black bottles, must be stored in the Refrigerator even when they have not been opened. You cannot heat or cook with them. Essential fatty acid supplements are convenient to take and have specific therapeutic value.
Cardiovascular and Nerves – Consumers have been advised to eat more fish rich in Omega-3 to reduce their risk of cardiobascular disease. However, experts worry that eating several servings of fish each week may not be safe especially during pregnancy, dursing or trying to conceive. Instead they recommend fish oil supplements such as Omega-3 from Algae , Fish oil, and Omega-6 Evening Primrose and Borage oils.
Pain Relief – A blend of cetylated fatty acids including myristate, myristoleate, laurate, oleate, palmitate and palmitoleate appear to be effective in reducing inflammation and pain in arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. (Vanderhaeghe) In a San Diego California study of sixty-four patients with osteoarthritis, an oral preparation of cetylated fatty acids known as celadrin significantly improved range of motion and flexibility. (Hesslink)
Two other studies of osteoarthritis patients at the University of Connecticut, using a topical preparation of Celadrin, showed significantly greater knee stability, improvement in stair climbing ability, balance and strength, and reduction of pain. (Kraemer)
Animal studies at the University of Minnesota have shown that cetylated fatty acids administered either topically or orally are well tolerated and rapidly dispersed throughout the body. (Gallaher) Doses for the oral form are 1500mg three times a day. The topical cream is applied two to four times a day.
Digestive enzymes and Herbs
August 25, 2006 02:26 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (email@example.com)
Subject: Digestive enzymes and Herbs
Digestive enzymes and Herbs
Raw food naturally contains the proper types and proportion of enzymes to assist in its own digestion. Food enzymes are released by the action of chewing, which ruptures the foods cell membranes. Like salivary enzymes, raw food enzymes play an important role in human digestion by predigesting food in the upper stomach, where contents may site for as long as an hour before gastric secretions deign their action.
Since enzymes are essentially destroyed at 118 degrees F, most forms of cooking and industrial food preparation render food devoid of enzyme activity. This places the full burden of digestion on the body processes and reserves. In time, this burden can weaken or overwhelm an individual’s ability to process and absorb vital food nutrients. Many health professionals believe that the prevalence of cooked and processed foods in modern society makes supplementation with digestive enzymes essential. Digestive enzymes also may be a benefit to those who suffer from clinical disorders of digestion and absorption.
Consider these advantages
- Comprehensive plant-source enzymes. Unlike supplemental enzymes of animal origin, plant enzymes work at the pH found in the upper stomach. Plant enzymes are active in the pH range of 3.0 to 9.0, facilitating early and more complete digestion to improve food nutrient utilization.
- Full Spectrum Activity. Buy digestive enzymes that act on all the food types. Protease break long protein chains (polypeptides) into smaller amino acid chains and eventually into single amino acids. Amylases reduce large carbohydrates (starches and other polysaccharides) into disaccharides such as sucrose, lactose, and maltose. Lipases digest fats (triglycerides) into free fatty acids and glycerol. Cellulases (not found in the human system) helps digest the fibrous cell walls of plants, exposing nutrients for use in the body and increasing their bioavailability.
- Enzymes for Lactose and Other Sugars. Each class of carbohydrate-rich food requires a specific type of enzyme for its digestion. When the body is unable to secrete sufficient levels of such enzymes, malabsorption and physical discomfort may result.
- Traditional Digestive Herbs. Artichoke leaf, peppermint leaf, fennel Seed, gentian root, ginger root, capsicum fruit (cayenne) all help with digestion. Herbs can be carminatives (for gas and bloating), bitters (to stimulate digestive enzymes and secretions) and digestive tonifier (to help strengthen, soothe and normalize digestive membranes.) Ginger (a classic tonic bitter and digestant) and artichoke help to support the liver and gallbladder, as does Gentain, perhaps the most bitter of the herbal gastric stimulants. Peppermint oil and fennel have been used for centuries to soothe digestion and reduce gas and bloating. Capsicum (red pepper) augments the absorption of herbs and other nutrients.
The healing power of borage oil
June 19, 2006 01:27 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: The healing power of borage oil
Borage oil, extracted from the Seed of the blue, star shaped borage flower, is gaining much attention by alternative health practitioners and main stream medicine alike for its profound medicinal properties. Whereas the oil is getting all the redit, it is actually the oil’s active component, gamma linoleic acid (GLA), which has drawn the interest of researchers. The majority of the early studies done on GLA, dating back to the late 1940’s, were conducted with the oil of evening primrose. For rezones cited in the title, more bank for the buck, borage Seed oil is now thought to be s superior source of GLA compared to evening primrose oil. Other plants forms and food concentrates that contain appreciable amounts of GLA include black currant Seed oil and spirulina.
Why GLA Supplementation?
A body with healthy biochemistry has the ability to produce GLA from the most essential fat linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is found most abundantly in the omega 6 family of oils, including safflower, sunflower, and corn oil. While it has been estimated that a majority of Americans and Europeans consume far to many omega 6 fatty acids in proportion to the beneficial omega 3 fatty acids (by approximately 10:1). Most biochemists agree optimal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids should be approximately 1:1. Despite the obvious over consumption of omega 6 oils rich in linoleic acid, some individuals lack the ability to convert linoleic acid to the much needed GLA.
As is the example with many of our modern day nutrient deficiencies, the adulteration of our food supply by today’s processing methods has much to do with the faulty fat metabolism suffered by many. A prime example is the hydrogenation process utilized to convert liquid polyunsaturated oils into semi-solid, altered saturated fats for use as margarine and commercially processed foods. Hydrogenation is accomplished by subjecting the oils to temperatures in excess of 250 C, and bombarding them with hydrogen ions in the presence of the heavy metal nickel, which irreversibly changes the chemical structure of the fatty acid molecule from a healthful “cis” configuration to a dangerous “trans” configuration. When these products are eaten in excess they are known, in some cases, to block the enzymatic conversion of linoleic acid to GLA. In addition to the damaging effects of hydrogenation, certain essential fatty acid nutrient cofactor deficiencies may exist to further complicate the conversion. Vitamins pro-A, A, C, E, B-2, B-3, B-6, pantothenic acid, B-12 biotin and the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, sulfur and zinc are all involved in essential fatty acid (EFA) metabolism.
Particular interest should be given to those afflicted with diabetes, cystic fibrosis, asthma, alcoholism, multiple sclerosis. For a myriad of reasons, including cofactor deficiencies, these individuals lack the enzymatic ability to convert linoleic acid to GLA and must obtain a direct source of GLA for proper hormonal regulation. In addition, excessive consumption of animal fats containing acachidonic acid competes for the same metabolic pathways occupied by GLA, thus minimizing its biological action.
These potential negating effects can simply be diverted to consuming a food source or supplement containing GLA which bypasses any previously necessary enzymatic conversion and floods the metabolic pathways with beneficial GLA. Nutrient deficiency should also be addressed. Here lies the true power of GLA.
Prostaglandins, biochemical regulators
Whereas GLA is the power, the prostaglandins deliver the punch in this biological equation. Just as linoleic acid is normally converted to GLA, GLA is further converted into the prostaglandin E1 (PGE1). Many of the benefits derived from GLA supplementation are a result of the hormonal regulatory action of the prostaglandins. Just like the “parent” precursors they are made from, the hormone-like prostaglandins orchestrate a host of important biochemical activities. Their general regulatory effects include the control of arterial muscle tone, sodium excretion through the kidneys, blood platelet “Stickiness,” inflammatory response and the immune function, just to name a few. The list may be endless as scientists continue to discover the regulating effects of prostaglandins. One way in which GLA has shown to decrease the probability of allergic and inflammatory conditions is by competing with arachidomic acid, which when left unchecked may potentiate a hyperimmune response.
As a result of the powerful regulating effects derived from the conversion of GLA to healthful prostaglandins, borage oil and other GLA supplements have shown to be beneficial in the treatment and relief of many classic and modern day health problems. The disease of diabetes, cystic fibrosis, asthma, multiple sclerosis are thought to be helped by bringing about a balance in an otherwise faulty fatty acid metabolism. According to a study released in the journal diabetes care, supplementation with GLA has shown promise in the reversal of diabetic neuropathy (a condition where the nerves degenerate and symptoms of pain and numbness follow). The study concluded that all diabetics should be considered for dietary protocol of GLA. Other conditions shown to benefit include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, skin conditions, arthritis, allergies, weight loss, improved behavior of hyperactive children and increased strength of hair and nails. Cited in the book, Super Nutrition For Menopause, written by the renowned nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman, is one of the most popular applications of GLA supplementation in the relief of menstrual pain. Sufferers use a maintenance does up to the seventh day prior to menstruation, then double the dose for the duration of their menstruation. Dietary restrictions of meat, dairy and eggs during this time has also shown to compliment this regiment. Many would agree with Ms. Gittleman’s credo in allowing mother nature to cure our ails before relying on synthetic drugs which often come with side effects.
More Bang for the Buck
Now comes the challenge of acquiring a GLA supplement suited to meet your needs. With the help of the information below you may maximize your desired result while at the same time stretching your dollars. Lets take a look at the facts. We will limit out narrative to the tree most popular forms of GLA supplementation: 1) borage oil, 2) evening primrose oil and 3) black current Seed oil. Potency is an important factor, as the higher the GLA content per gram, the more likelihood of greater biological activity. Borage oil contains 24% GLA, or 240mg per 1000 mg capsules. Black current Seed oil contains 18%, or 180mg per 1000 mg capsule and evening primrose oil contains 10% GLA, or 100mg per 1000 mg capsule. While black currant Seed may appear to run a close second to borage and have a slight edge on evening primrose, it contains a potent GLA inhibitor and should be considered last on the list. equally, if not more important than potency, is purity. Make it a practice not to purchase any oil product unless full disclosure of the method of extraction is printed on the label. If it is not, you may assume that the oil has been extracted in one of the following ways. Unfortunately, the popular use of the chemical hexane to extract oils is not required for disclosure. This method employs submerging cracked Seed in a gasoline like substance (Hexane) and then slowly allowing it to evaporate off yielding 90% oil recovery. This is the most common method used to extract evening primrose oil because of the incredibly small, hard Seed and low oil content. The second creative ploy is the claim that the oil has simply been extracted by a new high-tech method called supercritical fluid extraction (SCFE). This process “pregrinds” the Seeds then subjects them to pressures of 6000 – 10000 psi in the presence of the gas CO-2. Under such intense pressure CO-2 gas becomes a liquid in which the Seeds are submerged, ultimately yielding a 95% oil recovery. Look for oils that are labeled as “expeller pressed” without the damaging effects of light, heat and oxygen. The products should be contained in opaque (light resistant) bottles to protect them from the damaging effects of light. Optimally, you should find them in the refrigerated section of your local health food store. Due to the higher percentage of oil contained in the borage Seed, as compared to evening primrose and black current, borage is typically priced well below the others making it the most potent and economical choice. All things considered an expeller pressed borage oil, contained in an opaque plastic bottle, may provide you the absolute best source of unadulterated GLA supplementation.
One company that provides such a product and always fulfills the quality requirements listed is Barlean’s Organic Oils. Their organic flax oil and borage oils are available at VitaNet.
GliSODin Anti-Aging and Antioxidant Protection
December 19, 2005 08:47 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (email@example.com)
Subject: GliSODin Anti-Aging and Antioxidant Protection
GliSODin Anti-Aging and Antioxidant Protection
- Superior Anti-Aging Formula
- Stimulates Natural Antioxidant Defenses
- Helps Protect DNA
- Reduces Oxidative Stress
- Prevents Oxygen Related Cell Damage
In the time it takes you to finish reading this article, you, your body and your cells will have aged. Some, more than others. Nevertheless, every second that ticks away should serve as a reminder that our time here is temporary. How much time we actually end up with depends on many things. Diet. Lifestyle. Environment. Superoxide Dismutase? I’ll explain. What some of the healthiest individuals fail to realize is that our bodies age from the inside out. Aging is not the result of passing time, but rather the result of what we’re exposed to environmentally, physically and chemically. It is the integrity of our cells, not our clocks, that determine how smooth the aging process fares.
Each day, we’re subjected to millions of elements that affect us in ways seldom seen, felt or noticed. From the moment we’re born, we rely on our cells to work around the clock - producing energy, fighting infections and sustaining life. These same cells eventually determine the rate at which we show (or hide) our age.
Taking into consideration that our planet has no shortage of toxins & germs, the need to safeguard our cells becomes very real. Constant exposure to exhaust, secondhand smoke, heavy metals, lead, fluoride and uncountable other noxious compounds should ideally provide us with nothing more than a routine immune system workout. Unfortunately, over long periods they hinder our “resistance” abilities and become stepping stones to accelerated aging.
Antioxidants. We’ve all heard the term before, and may even have a general understanding of their role. But to better grasp just how vital they are, it helps to know what’s happening at the cellular level. Free radicals are unstable molecular thieves that often lack electrons. To compensate, they rob healthy cells - a process better known as oxidation. Antioxidants work with the immune system to prevent oxidation, and clean up the mess it leaves behind. Hence, the name.
There are two types. Exogenous antioxidants are derived from our diet and include vitamins A, E, and C along with others such as alpha lipoic acid, selenium, CoQ10, grape Seed, pycnogenol and zinc. To date, we’ve been limited to exogenous antioxidants as a way to increase the rate at which our body wards off oxidation. They are not, however, our first line of defense. At birth, each and every one of us is equipped with three primary endogenous enzymatic antioxidants; SOD (Superoxide Dismutase), Glutathione Peroxidase (GPx) and Catalase.
While both types of antioxidants are beneficial, we’ve become reliant on those from the diet to compensate for our inability to boost the effectiveness of our 3 primary antioxidants. For years, researchers have been examining ways to enhance the activity of our built-in bodyguards. One in particular, Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) has been of foremost interest. SOD targets what many researchers regard as one of our greatest health threats and aging accelerators - Superoxide radicals. These highly reactive, merciless molecules incite enormous amounts of oxidative stress and are capable of wreaking havoc on healthy cells. When cells are left unprotected by SOD, the results can be disastrous - respiratory problems, premature aging, memory loss, cardiovascular challenges, vision failure and joint structure damage, among others.
Until now, we’ve been at the mercy of our natural SOD reserves to fight superoxides. Researchers have been working feverishly to produce an effective oral SOD supplement, but have continually encountered a frustrating hurdle - exposure to gastric acid denatures SOD, rendering it useless. As a result, the only effective way to supplement SOD was through injections. These, however, only yielded short-term spikes. And then something remarkable happened that changed everything. Nutrition scientists in France determined that by combining Cucumus melo (a melon high in SOD) with a wheat gliadin stabilizer, it would be possible to prevent SOD from deteriorating in the digestive tract, while preserving it in the blood for extended periods. Not only is this the answer to a puzzle that has plagued researchers, it’s a breakthrough that will impact the life of anyone seeking longevity and vitality.
As the first proven oral SOD supplement ever introduced to the public, GliSODin® has taken antioxidant protection, immune support and antiaging science to an entirely new level. The primary function of GliSODin® is to scour the body for superoxide radicals and reduce them to less reactive ions that can be swept away; a process known as dismutation. In addition, GliSODin® reduces the oxidation vulnerability of healthy cells, protects mitochondrial activity and safeguards DNA structure.
What’s most remarkable is that GliSODin® has actually been shown to stimulate the body’s own natural production of all three enzymatic antioxidants, including SOD. For the first time in history, we will have the ability to enhance the effectiveness of our body’s primary defense mechanism.
New GliSODin® from NOW® represents the ultimate in antioxidant protection. By increasing one’s level of SOD while stimulating the natural production of Glutathione Peroxidase and Catalase, GliSODin® delivers antioxidant protection unlike any previously released dietary supplement. Remember, the aging process begins at a level that we simply can not see, the cellular level. Shielding your cells from superoxide damage is one of the smartest steps you can take against aging before your due time. GliSODin® has made this a reality.
WHAT EXACTLY IS PYCNOGENOL?
July 13, 2005 09:42 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: WHAT EXACTLY IS PYCNOGENOL?
WHAT EXACTLY IS PYCNOGENOL?
Pycnogenol is a super antioxidant which consists of a highly bioavailable flavonoid called proanthocyanidin. This compound can be extracted from either pine bark or grape Seed, and both sources are virtually identical. Biochemists will confirm that as a class, the proanthocyanidin bioflavonoids, regardless of their source, possess the same biochemical activity with very slight exceptions.
The differences lie in the varying concentrations of the flavonoid and its purity. Extraction processes for each source d i ffer and may contribute to the cost of the type of Pycnogenol in question. Regardless of its source, Pycnogenol has demonstrated extraordinary antioxidant capabilities.
NATURE’S BEST DEFENSE AGAINST FREE RADICALS: ANTIOXIDANTS
Potent substances called antioxidants, which scavenge for dangerous free radicals, afford us the best prospect for disease prevention, toxin protection and sustained longevity and vigor. According to many experts, making sure we arm our cellular systems with adequate supplies of antioxidants should be our first health priority. “It has now been established that more than 60 human diseases involve free-radical damage, including cancer, heart disease and the acceleration of the aging process. All that you really need to know is that your body is under constant free - radical atta ck, and that you need to keep your antioxidant defenses strong.”1 The role of Pycnogenol as an exc e ptional free radical scavenger is just beginning to emerge, and the protective potential of Pycnogenol is impressive, to say the least. It’s only a matter of time before scientific data supports the fact that this family of nutrients is far more effective in its antioxidant capacity than previously assumed.
Some of the most common of free radical scavengers or antioxidants include:
While all of these are excellent cellular protectants, the compound missing from the above list may be the most remarkable of all.
PYCNOGENOL: THE HERCULES OF ANTIOXIDANTS
Pycnogenol provides some of the most potent compounds known to nutritionally support and potentiate the body’s defense system against oxidants. Continually emerging research supports the fact that Pycnogenol may be the best antioxidant nature has to offer. In this regard, it is 50 times more potent than vitamin E and 20 times more so than vitamin C.2 Pycnogenol is considered by some health experts to be the greatest nutritional breakthrough of our century.
RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS - The Most Comprehensive Antioxidant Formula Available
June 24, 2005 05:34 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (email@example.com)
Subject: RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS - The Most Comprehensive Antioxidant Formula Available
The average American’s life expectancy has risen dramatically over the last 100 years. Ideally those extra years will be quality ones. High levels of stress and exposure to environmental and dietary toxins can deplete our antioxidant stores, leaving us more susceptible to chronic health challenges. When we are young and healthy the body unleashes its own antioxidants, but as we age this internal antioxidant producing system declines and the body needs help. Free radicals cause oxidative stress, which is a major cause of accelerated aging. Source Naturals presents the science of RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS. This Bio-Aligned Formula™ is a significant advancement over other products currently available. No other formula provides the broad range of high potency, established and newly discovered water and fat-soluble antioxidants that RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS delivers.
Bio-Aligned Antioxidant Support
RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS™ supports multiple body systems with a balanced spectrum of plantioxidants™ (botanical extracts with unparalleled ability to combat free radicals), vitamins and specialty nutrients that have powerful antioxidant properties. Research suggests dietary antioxidants help balance and modulate free radical activity and help maintain structure and function of important components of cells such as lipids, proteins, and DNA.
Oxygen is required by your cells to generate energy, but it also contributes to oxidative stress or free radical damage, which is one of the primary causes of age-related damage to cells and tissues. Free radicals are unpaired electrons that can damage cells and compromise the function of tissues and organs. Antioxidants make free radicals stable by providing them with an additional electron. Unfortunately, now the antioxidant is missing an electron so, ironically, it becomes a free radical, which requires another antioxidant to donate an electron. Because this process starts a cascade of free radicals, scientists strongly recommend a broad range of lipid and water soluble antioxidants to minimize this negative effect. No other antioxidant formula follows the science better than RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS to defend against the widest spectrum of destructive free radicals, including peroxyl, hydroxyl, and superoxide radicals, and singlet oxygen.
Antioxidants neutralize destructive free radicals and support cardiovascular health by halting the oxidation of cholesterol. Cholesterol is only harmful to us if it becomes oxidized. Oxidized cholesterol is an unstable molecule that damages arteries. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS contains hearthealthy antioxidants including gamma E and tocotrienols, which are major lipid-soluble antioxidants that help maintain the integrity of cell membranes by preventing lipid oxidation. The formula includes hawthorn berry and grape Seed, CoQ10, lycopene and other powerful antioxidants for heart support.
Nourishing the Brain
Antioxidants are critical for brain and nerve tissue because the brain is mostly composed of fats, which are very sensitive to free radical damage. Research has shown that stress can directly set in motion mechanisms that promote aging, which affects brain and nerve tissue. Ginkgo has been shown to increase memory performance and learning capacity as well as improve blood flow. It is also a free radical scavenger. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS also contains DMAE, bilberry, CoQ10, grape Seed, lipoic acid, vitamin B-2 and lutein for broad spectrum support.
Powerful antioxidants help minimize stress damage to liver cells and tissues, thereby supporting detoxification. N-acetyl cysteine is a powerful antioxidant. It is also a precursor to glutathione, a critical antioxidant and detoxifying substance produced in the liver. Silymarin is known for supporting the regeneration of the liver. Since the liver is prone to fat incursion, which makes it vulnerable to oxidative damage, the following fat soluble antioxidants provide critical protection: CoQ10, lipoic acid, ascorbyl palmitate, and gamma E.
The immune system is unlike other body systems in that it is not a group of physical structures but a system of complex interactions involving many different organs. White blood cells generate enormous amounts of destructive free radicals in order to kill invading organisms. Vitamin C, a free radical scavenger, is concentrated in these white blood cells at a much higher level than in surrounding fluid. This extends their life and effectiveness by providing them with a built in defense mechanism against their own free radicals. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS provides water and fat-soluble vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate and ascorbic acid) along with vitamin A, beta carotene, CoQ10, lipoic acid, quercetin, selenium, gamma vitamin E, tocotrienols, zinc and turmeric, for added immune defense.
Skin & Connective Tissue
Skin is rich in lipids, proteins, and DNA, which are extremely sensitive to oxidation. Age-related changes due to oxidation, loss of elastic fibers and thickening of collagen fibers, cause skin to become fragile and less supple. A broad array of antioxidants protects skin and helps maintain its structure and tone. These include beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, grape Seed, zinc, amla (Phylanthus emblica), quercetin, DMAE, manganese and myricetin. Amla is a very effective herbal tonic. It is rich in polyphenols and vitamin C.
Eye tissue is particularly prone to the effect of free radicals. Vision involves light being focused through the lens onto the retina. The macula, or center of the retina, receives the most light. However, sunlight is a powerful free radical generator. Lutein, a potent, fatsoluble antioxidant concentrated in the macula, helps maintain the integrity of the macula and the blood vessels that supply the macular region. The eye also has aqueous tissue that is better protected by water-soluble antioxidants, such as bilberry and grape Seed. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS provides these ingredients, along with lycopene, zeaxanthin, lipoic acid, vitamin A, beta carotene and ascorbyl palmitate to support healthy eyes.
Mitochondria, the tiny energy factories within the cells, are the major source of free radicals produced by our own bodies. These components of cells produce ATP (the energy molecule) and provide energy for all cellular activity; therefore, antioxidants are crucial to keep the levels of oxidants they produce in check. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS provides the antioxidant power of green tea, lipoic acid, zinc, vitamin B-2, CoQ10 and Mega H-, a source of electron rich hydrogen ions. Coenzyme Q10 is fat-soluble and its primary functions include activity as an antioxidant and as a cofactor in many metabolic pathways, particularly in the production of ATP in oxidative respiration.
DNA, the blueprint for all molecules in the body, can be altered or damaged by oxidation. Protecting DNA is important for optimal health of all cells and tissues. According to invitro research, certain compounds, such as curcumin (from turmeric) and quercetin, can directly protect against strand-breakage and base oxidation. RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS contains these ingredients along with rosemary, pomegranate, raspberry, blueberry leaf, and carnosine. In in-vitro studies, L-carnosine reduced glycation, a process in which DNA and protein are damaged by glucose.
Living Longer, Living Better Strategies for Wellness
Taking personal responsibility for your health and exploring safe alternatives to support prevention is the basis for the wellness revolution. Your health food outlet is leading the way with education and quality products to help you take control of your well-being. Source Naturals is pleased to partner with these outlets to bring you the cutting edge nutritional science of RENEWAL ANTIOXIDANTS. Antioxidant protection is a fundamental part of the holistic healing system. Make this profound formula the cornerstone of your anti-aging program today.
Clement, M., Bourre, J. Graded dietary levels of RRR-y-tocopherol induce a marked increase in the concentrations of a- and y-tocopherol in nervous tissues, heart, liver, and muscle of vitamin E-deficient rats. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1334 (1991) 173-181. Borgstrom, L. Pharmacokinetics of N-acetylcysteine in Man. Eur J Clin Pharmacol (1986) 31:217-222. Hipkiss, A.R., et al. Carnosine, a protective, antiaging peptide? Int J Biochem & Cell Biol. 30, May 1998, 863-868.
Heart and Blood Vessels Resveratrol, Gamma E, Tocotrienols, Vit C, Hawthorn Berry, GrapeSeed, Myricetin, CoQ10, Ginkgo, Beta & Alpha Carotene, Zeaxanthin, Lycopene, Lutein, Astazanthin, Lipoic acid, Green Tea, Bilberry, Ginger, Turmeric, Blueberry Leaf
Brain and Nervous System DMAE, Ginkgo, Carnosine, Bilberry, CoQ10, GrapeSeed, Lipoic Acid, Vit B-2, Lutein
Liver Lipoic Acid, N-Acetyl Cysteine, Vit A, B-2,and C, Beta Carotene, Silymarin, CoQ10, Selenium, Zinc, Gamma E, Tocotrienols, Turmeric, Ginger Glutathione, Wheat Sprouts
Immune System Vit A & C, Beta Carotene, CoQ10, Lipoic Acid, Quercetin, Selenium, Gamma E, Tocotrienols, Zinc, Turmeric
Skin & Connective Tissue Beta Carotene, Vit B-2, C & E, GrapeSeed, Lutein, Lycopene, Zeaxanthin, Zinc, Amla, Quercetin, Manganese, DMAE
Eyes and Vision Lutein, Beta Carotene, Vit A & C, Bilberry, Lycopene, Zeaxanthin, Lipoic Acid, Quercetin, Gamma E, N-Acetyl Cysteine, Selenium, Zinc
Energy Production and Metabolism Green Tea, Ginger, Mega H-, Ginkgo, CoQ10, Lipoic Acid, Zinc, Vit B-2, Carnosine DNA Protection Turmeric, Quercetin, Rosemary, GrapeSeed , Resveratrol, Lycopene, Lutein, Tocotrienols, GliSODin®, Carnosine, Zinc, Manganese, Amla, Pomegranate, Raspberry leaf, Blueberry leaf
America's Most Wanted
June 14, 2005 05:23 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: America's Most Wanted
America's Most Wanted
by Brian Amherst Energy Times, January 6, 2000
The United States eats well, a little too well, according to experts. Amply supplied with a large supply of high-calorie food, our diets might seem to be chock full of every conceivable nutrient. Well, to the question "Getting all the right vitamins, minerals and other nutrients?" the most appropriate answer seems to be "Not exactly." Eating a lot doesn't equal eating a lot of the most important vitamins and minerals. So, which vitamins and minerals are likely to show up in short supply in the typical American diet? Calcium certainly sits at the top of list. According to the most recent Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals, which is conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), women and girls age 12 and up are not consuming adequate calcium from their diet. Research reveals that about 1200 mg. day suffices for those over age 50 and 1000 mg a day should be adequate if you're between the ages of 19 and 50. Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Stanford University, ". . .osteoporosis is a pediatric disease." For long-range protection against that bone-weakening disease, kids should eat calcium-rich, low-fat dairy products and plenty of leafy greens (broccoli, cabbage, kale) as well as salmon (with bones), seafood and soy. But the calcium campaign does not end in early adulthood. Bone mass begins to deteriorate at about age 30. Menopausal hormonal changes can exacerbate bone brittleness. Medical conditions, including cancer, liver disease and intestinal disorders; prescription drugs; tobacco and alcohol indulgence; or a decline in activity, especially the weight-bearing kind, also jeopardize bone strength. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about one in every two American women will break a bone after age 50 due to osteoporosis. That translates into about half a million fractured vertebrae and more than 300,000 shattered hips. Frequently, those breaks are life-threatening.
The critical role of calcium in many body functions is perhaps the most extensively clinically documented among nutrients. Researchers in the Department of Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, reviewed epidemiological and clinical studies conducted over the past two years on the relationship between dietary calcium and blood pressure (J Am Coll Nutr October 1999: 398S-405S). "Nearly 20 years of investigation in this area has culminated in remarkable and compelling agreement in the data," the researchers report, "confirming the need for and benefit of regular consumption of the recommended daily levels of dietary calcium." Investigators at the State University of New York, Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, presented results of their studies of calcium and vitamin C and gum disease at the June 26, 1998 meeting of the International Association for Dental Research. Two separate inquiries revealed that people who consumed too little calcium as young adults, and those with low levels of vitamin C in their diets, appear to have nearly twice the risk of developing periodontal disease later in life than folks with higher dietary levels of either nutrient.
Calcium: Much Documented Researchers offer extensive evidence of calcium's benefits on many fronts: n Osteoporosis poses a threat to older men as well as women, according to Randi L. Wolf, PhD, research associate at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Dr. Wolf presented her award-winning study to an October 3, 1999 meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Dr. Wolf suggests that men increase their consumption of calcium, particularly after age 80, to avoid age-related declines in the amount of calcium absorbed. According to Dr. Wolf, "It appears that the hormonal form of vitamin D, which is the main regulator of intestinal calcium absorption, may have an important role. We are conducting more research to better understand the reasons for why calcium absorption declines with age in men." n Scientists at Tufts University in Boston did some earlier work on the calcium-vitamin D connection and reported it in the September 4, 1997 New England Journal of Medicine. Using the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) increased recommended daily intake of 1200 milligrams of calcium and 400 to 600 international units of vitamin D for people over 50, the Tufts researchers found that with supplementation of the nutrients, men and women 65 and older lost significantly less body bone and, in some cases, gained bone mineral density. n Two studies published in American Heart Association journals show that atherosclerosis and osteoporosis may be linked by a common problem in the way the body uses calcium. The September 1997 Stroke revealed that, in a group of 30 postmenopausal women 67 to 85 years old, bone mineral density declined as atherosclerotic plaque increased. Researchers reporting in Circulation (September 15, 1997) advanced the theory that the osteoporosis-atherosclerosis connection may be related to a problem in handling calcium. n For people who had colon polyps removed, taking calcium supplements decreased the number of new polyps by 24% and cut the risk of recurrence by 19%, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, School of Medicine. The study, published in the January 14, 1999 New England Journal of Medicine, was a first in crediting calcium with anti-cancer properties.
The D Factor
Without adequate vitamin D, your absorption of calcium slips and bone loss can accelerate, increasing the risk for fractures. Fifty percent of women with osteoporosis hospitalized for hip fractures at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston had a previously undetected vitamin D deficiency (Journal of the American Medical Association, April 28, 1999). University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers told participants at the April 14, 1997 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research that vitamin D "significantly inhibits highly metastatic, or widespread, prostate cancer in animals," suggesting its potential for treating men with similar conditions. Few foods that Americans eat, except dairy, contain much vitamin D, but we can usually synthesize sufficient amounts from as few as five minutes' exposure to the sun. But as skin ages, its ability to act as a vitamin D factory decreases. According to Michael F. Holick, the director of the Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center, upwards of 40% of the adult population over age 50 that he sees in his clinic are deficient in vitamin D. Recently, the National Academy of Sciences (the official body that decrees the required amounts of necessary nutrients) increased the daily recommendations of vitamin D to 600 IU for people over 71, 400 IU for those aged 51 to 70 and 200 IU for people under 50. The best dietary sources, apart from dependable supplements, are dairy and fatty fish like salmon. Four ounces of salmon provide about 300 IU.
The Facts About Fats
The American lust for low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets filled with sugary foods has exploded into nothing short of "obsession," according to experts at the General Research Center at Stanford University Medical Center (Am J Clin Nutr 70, 1999: 512S-5S). That mania oftens robs us of the crucial balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids typical of the Mediterranean diet that protect us from heart disease by controlling cholesterol and making blood less likely to form clots. These fatty acids cannot be made by the body but are critical for health: n Omega-3 fatty acid (linolenic acid) comes from fresh, deepwater fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) and vegetable oils such as canola, flaxSeed and walnut. n Omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid) found primarily in raw nuts, Seeds and legumes and in saturated vegetable oils such as borage, grape Seed, primrose, sesame and soybean. The American Heart Association recommends limiting total fat consumption to 30% of daily calories. Saturated fats like those in dairy and meat products as well as vegetable oil should comprise 10% of total calories; total unsaturated fat (fish oils, soybean, safflower nuts and nut oils) should be restricted to 20 to 22% of daily calories.
Be Sure About B12
Vitamin B12 presents a particular problem for the elderly because older digestive systems often don't secrete enough stomach acid to liberate this nutrient from food. (The elderly have no problem absorbing B12 from supplements, because it's not bound to food.) Vitamins generally moderate the aging process but, ironically, that process and the diseases that frequently accompany it affect vitamin metabolism (Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax 83, 1994: 262-6). And because of those changes, we need more of certain vitamins. This is the case for vitamins D, B6, riboflavin and B12. Crucial for health, B12 is necessary to prevent anemia, and, according to recent studies, needed (along with folate and B6) to help stave off heart disease. B12, with thiamine and niacin, boosts cognition (Adv Nutr Res 7, 1985: 71-100). Screening for vitamin B12 deficiency and thyroid disease is cheap and easy and can prevent conditions such as dementia, depression or irreversible tissue damage (Lakartidningen 94, 1997: 4329-32). In the January 5-12, 1999 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the AHA urged doctors to screen levels of homocysteine (the amino acid byproduct of protein digestion that damages arteries, causes heart disease and, possibly, strokes) in patients at high risk for heart disease. They also recommended all Americans to up their daily levels of vitamins B6 and B12, as well as folic acid. Since fruits, vegetables or grains lack B12, vegetarians need B12 supplements. And they're a good idea for the rest of us, too.
Folic Acid Benefits
Folic acid made headlines in the early 1990s when the U.S. Public Health Service declared that "to reduce the frequency of neural tube defects [spina bifida, or open spine, and anencephaly, a lethal defect of the brain and skull] and their resulting disability, all women of childbearing age in the United States who are capable of becoming pregnant should consume .4 milligrams (400 micrograms) of folic acid per day." This recommendation followed voluminous research that showed taking folic acid was associated with a significantly reduced risk of birth defects. (The advisory is based on the fact that nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned. If you think you are pregnant, consult your health practitioner for supplementary advice.)
A Team Player
Folic acid's efficacy intensifies when it works with other nutrients. Among many studies on the preventive powers of folic acid on birth defects, one published in The New England Journal of Medicine (327, Dec. 24, 1992: 1,832-1,835), disclosed an even greater decrease in neural tube defects when supplements of folic acid contained copper, manganese, zinc and vitamin C. As a warrior against homocysteine, folic acid joins the battalion of B12 and B6 in detoxifying this harmful protein. At the University of Washington's Northwest Prevention Effectiveness Center, researchers recently analyzed 38 published studies of the relationship between folic acid, homocysteine and cardiovascular disease and, according to associate professor Shirley A. Beresford, MD, folic acid and vitamin B12 and B6 deficiencies can lead to a buildup of homocysteine.
Canadian researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (275, 1996: 1893-1896) that men and women with low folic acid have a 69% increase in the risk of fatal coronary heart disease. This 15-year study of more than 5,000 people stressed the need for dietary supplementation of folic acid. Folic acid also has been credited with the potential to protect against cancers of the lungs, colon and cervix. It appears to help reverse cervical dysplasia, the precursor cells to cervical cancer, especially for women taking oral contraceptives, which may cause a localized deficiency of folic acid in the cells of the cervix. According to Shari Lieberman, PhD, and Nancy Bruning, authors of The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book (Avery), folic acid derivatives work with neurotransmitters, the chemicals that permit signals to be sent from nerve fiber to nerve fiber. A lack of folic acid can cause some nervous-system disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia and dementia; it also may be related to some forms of mental retardation. Other supporting roles of folic acid, according to researchers: the formation of normal red blood cells, important for preventing the type of anemia characterized by oversized red blood cells; strengthening and improving white blood cell action against disease; limiting production of uric acid, the cause of gout.
The Best Sources
Many foods are rich in folic acid: beef, lamb, pork and chicken liver, spinach, kale and beet greens, asparagus, broccoli, whole wheat and brewer's yeast. But experts believe that only 25 to 50% of the folic acid in food is bioavailable. Processing also reduces an estimated 50 to 90% of its content. Folic acid supplementation overcomes these obstacles with little risk, as it has no known toxicity. Women taking folic acid who are current or former users of oral contraceptives may require additional zinc. And be sure to augment your folic acid supplement with its synergistic counterpart, vitamin B12.
Focus on Fiber
The American Heart Association came out squarely behind fiber in a June 16, 1997 issue of its journal Circulation: Double your daily intake to lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. The American diet is consistently low in fiber, notes Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, author of the article. Twenty-five to 30 grams a day from foods (or supplements) are not only heart healthy but seem to aid weight control.
Getting enough iron? An estimated 25% of adolescent girls in the United States are iron deficient, according to an October 12, 1996 issue of the British medical journal The Lancet, which reported that girls who took iron supplements performed significantly better on verbal tests than those who took a placebo. "Teenage girls should be regularly tested for iron deficiency because rapid growth and the onset of menstruation during puberty increase the body's need for iron," says Ann Bruner, MD, of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and a lead author of the study.USDA data reveal that women up to age 50 also tend to get much less than recommended levels of iron, a lack of which leads to anemia, a deficiency of red blood cells, hemoglobin or volume of blood. For kids, deficiency is more common from six months to four years and during the rapid growth spurts of adolescence when the body is growing so quickly that the body's iron stores may sink to dangerous levels. Vegetarian women run the greatest risk for deficiency, as meat is iron-rich; foods like beans, grains and vegetables also contain some iron. Supplements, of course, supply easily absorbable iron. And to absorb iron from vegetarian sources, take vitamin C with your meals. That boosts the amount of this mineral you will take in. Bear in mind, however, that certain folks-older men and post-menopausal women-generally have adequate dietary supplies of iron. Of greater concern, in fact, is excessive iron, and for these folks iron-free multivitamin and mineral supplements are available.
Ante Up the Antioxidants
Antioxidant nutrients help protect the body from oxygen-scavenging molecules called free radicals. The products of pollution, the body's own metabolic processes and other sources, free radicals are linked to heart disease, cancer and other chronic health problems. The most important antioxidants, which include vitamin C, E, beta carotene, and selenium, are often lacking in the American diet. Plus, optimal amounts of vitamin E cannot be consumed from food. You need supplements. The bottom line: even though we live in a land of plenty, you can still miss vital nutrients. So make sure to consume these vital substances.
Source of Missing Nutrients In the search for the nutrients missing from America's diet, one big help is the sprout. The sprout is truly one of nature's heavyweights: fresh, tiny and moist, its power punch of vitamins, minerals, protein, chlorophyll and disease-busting phytochemicals land it in a weight class far beyond that of its full-grown competitors. Size does NOT matter to this nutritional giant. A championship belt currently wraps around the miniscule broccoli sprout, catapulted into the ring by Paul Talalay, MD, professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Talalay discovered that the Seedlings contain substantially more of the cancer-fighting substance sulforaphane than mature plants (Proc. Natnl. Acad. Sci. USA, 94, 10367-10372). Sprouts, the quintessential health food of the Sixties, provide a wonderfully varied and versatile way to get your daily greens. Raw or cooked, strong or mild, vegetable and grass sprouts and their algae cousins add low-calorie texture to recipes and a rich, diverse complement of nutrients and fiber.
Ancient Asia to the Modern Lab
Asians stir-fried sprouts as one of the earliest fast foods as long as 5,000 years ago. The ancient Chinese relied on sprouts for year-round vegetables in colder regions of their vast country. Today, researchers studying sprouts and adult plants have identified their important chemoprotective and other health-bolstering substances. In Paul Talalay's research project at Johns Hopkins, scientists found that three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain up to 50 times more sulforaphane than mature plants, which prompts the body to produce an enzyme that prevents cancer tumors from forming. Uniform levels of the compound saturate the shoots, unlike the chemically uneven adult plants. The Brassica family of broccoli and cabbage is richly endowed with phytochemicals that also help reduce estrogen levels associated with breast cancer. Other phytochemical compounds in the Brassica family are associated with the prevention of stomach and lung cancers. Most of the initial landmark work on phytochemicals' cancer-fighting powers has taken place since 1989 under the aegis of the National Cancer Institute's "Designer Food Program," which isolated, for example, the isoflavones in beans that seem to neutralize cancer-gene enzymes.
Strong Suit: Soy and Spirulina
The isoflavones and phytosterols in soy produce an estrogenic effect that appears to relieve menopausal symptoms and help prevent breast cancer. Soy foods expert Mark Messina, PhD, has done extensive work on the subject, some of which has been published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-6. Researchers also have synthesized a bone-strengthening form of soy isoflavones called ipriflavone, following impressive clinical trials in the treatment of osteoporosis (American Journal of Medicine, 95 [Suppl. 5A] (1993): 69S-74S). Spirulina and other micro-algae are fascinating organisms that inhabit a niche between the plant and animals kingdoms. Named for its tiny spirals, spirulina, a blue-green algae, grows in saline lakes but is cultured for maximum nutritional content. In her book Whole Foods Companion (Chelsea Green), Dianne Onstad notes that spirulina contains "the highest sources of protein, beta carotene and nucleic acids of any animal or plant food." Its nucleic acids, she says, benefit cellular regeneration; its fatty acids, especially GLA and omega-3 acids, make it one of the most complete foods. Sprouts, like any other produce, should be rinsed thoroughly before serving. People at high risk for bacterial illness-young children, the very elderly or folks with weakened immune systems-should limit their consumption of raw sprouts. But no matter how you eat them, you may find more spring in your step from these tiny, sprouting nutritional wonders.
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number
June 13, 2005 07:43 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (email@example.com)
Subject: Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number by Carl Lowe Energy Times, March 10, 2004
As women age, their physical needs shift. The health challenges that face a woman in her thirties do not match those of a woman in her fifties.
At the same time, some basic health needs stay constant: At any age, every woman requires a wealth of vitamins, minerals and the other natural chemicals that fruits, vegetables and supplements supply. She also constantly needs families and friends to support her spiritual health.
As the internal workings of your body alter, your lifestyle must stay abreast of those adjustments. Peak health demands a finely tuned health program designed with your individual needs-and your stage of life-in mind.
Ages 30 to 45
When it comes to maintaining health, younger women might seem to have it easier than older women. If they exercise and stay in shape, they maintain more stamina than women 10 to 20 years their senior.
Unfortunately, many women in this age group mistakenly think they don't have to be as careful about their lifestyle habits and their eating habits as they will in later decades. But even if your health doesn't seem to suffer from poor eating choices or a sedentary lifestyle right away, your foundation for health in later life suffers if you don't care for yourself now.
By age 45 you should have established the good habits that will carry you successfully through the aging process. As an added bonus, good lifestyle habits pay immediate dividends. If you pay attention to your nutrients and get plenty of physical activity when younger, you'll feel more energetic and probably enjoy better emotional health.
Set Health Goals
According to Gayle Reichler, MS, RD, CDN, in her book Active Wellness (Avery/Penguin), good health at any age doesn't just come to you-you have to plan for it. In order to stick to good habits, she says, "living a healthy lifestyle needs to be satisfying." Reichler believes that you need to picture your health goals to achieve them: "Every successful endeavor first begins in the mind as an idea, a thought, a dream, a conviction." Good health at this age and in later years requires a concrete strategy and visualization of how your body can improve with a healthy lifestyle.
Your long-term health goals at this age should include an exercise program that will allow you to reach a physically fit old age with a lowered risk of disability. In addition, your short-term plans should encompass losing weight, staying optimistic, living life with more vim and vigor, increasing your capacity for exercise and lowering your stress.
As Reichler points out, "Your long-term goal and your ideal vision establish what you want to achieve....[You should do] something good...for yourself every day and every week that makes your life easier and more consistent with your goals."
Develop an Eating Plan
Today, the average American gains about two pounds annually. As a result, every year a greater portion of the US population is obese and overweight. By controlling your food intake earlier in life, you may be able to avoid this weight gain. In his book Prolonging Health (Hampton Roads), James Williams, OMD, recommends basic changes to your diet that can provide long-term support of your health:
Get Supplemental Help
If you're in your thirties or forties and you don't take at least a multivitamin, start taking one today! A large body of research shows that taking vitamin and mineral supplements over a long period of time significantly supports better health.
Calcium and vitamin D are two of the most important supplemental nutrients, helping to build stronger bones now that can withstand the bone-loss effects of aging.
Calcium can also help keep your weight down. One study of younger women found that for every extra 300 milligrams of calcium a day they consumed, they weighed about two pounds less (Experimental Biology 2003 meeting, San Diego).
In the same way, taking vitamin D supplements not only helps strengthen your bones, it can also lower your risk of multiple sclerosis (Neurology 1/13/04). In this study, which looked at the health records of more than 180,000 women for up to 20 years, taking D supplements dropped the chances of multiple sclerosis (although eating vitamin D-rich foods did not have the same benefit). And if you're thinking about having children at this age, a multivitamin is crucial for lowering your baby's risk of birth defects and other health problems. A study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that women who take multivitamins during pregnancy lower their children's risk of nervous system cancer by up to 40% (Epidemiology 9/02).
" Our finding, combined with previous work on reducing several birth defects with vitamin supplementation and other childhood cancers, supports the recommendation that mothers' vitamin use before and during pregnancy may benefit their babies' health," says Andrew F. Olshan, MD, professor of epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health. "We believe physicians and other health care providers should continue to educate women about these benefits and recommend appropriate dietary habits and daily dietary supplements."
In particular, Dr. Olshan feels that folic acid (one of the B vitamins), and vitamins C and A, are particularly important for lowering the risk of childhood cancers and birth defects.
Ages 45 to 55
When you reach this in-between age-the time when most women have moved past childbearing age but haven't usually fully moved into the post-menopausal stage-you enjoy a propitious opportunity to take stock of your health and plan for an even healthier future. One thing that may need adjustment is your sleep habits, as sleeplessness is a common problem for women in this age group. Even if you haven't been exercising or watching your diet until now, it's not too late to start. Making lifestyle changes at this age can still improve your chances for aging successfully.
For instance, it is at these ages that women should have their heart health checked. Research published in the journal Stroke (5/01) shows that having your cholesterol and blood pressure checked at this time more accurately shows your future chances of heart disease than having it checked at a later date after menopause, in your late fifties.
" The premenopausal risk factors may be a stronger predictor of carotid atherosclerosis [artery blockages] because they represent cumulative risk factor exposure during the premenopausal years, whereas the risk factors...during the early postmenopausal years have a shorter time for influence," says Karen A. Matthews, PhD, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In other words, Dr. Matthews' research shows that if you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol before menopause, you are at serious risk for a stroke or heart attack soon after menopause: These are important reasons that you need to start improving your health habits immediately.
Increase in Heart Disease
Before menopause, a woman's hormones and other physiological characteristics usually hold down her chance of heart disease. After menopause, when hormones and other bodily changes occur, the risk of heart attacks and stroke in women rises significantly. (Heart disease is the leading killer of women.) At least part of this increased risk is linked to the postmenopausal decrease in estrogen production.
Dr. Matthews studied about 370 women in their late forties, measuring their weight, their BMI (body mass index, an indication of body fat compared to height), blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Ten years later, after the women had entered menopause, she and her fellow scientists used ultrasound to measure blockages in these women's neck arteries (a sign of heart disease).
The researchers found that indications of potential heart problems (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight) when women were in their forties did indeed forecast future difficulties.
" Women who had elevated cholesterol, higher blood pressures and increased body weight before menopause had increased blood vessel thickening and atherosclerotic plaque formation in the neck arteries after menopause. Such changes in the carotid arteries are associated with an increased heart attack and stroke risk," says Dr. Matthews.
Heart Health Factors
The four main lifestyle factors you should adjust at this age to support better heart function are diet, stress, exercise and weight. According to Dr. James Williams, "[M]ore than any other cause, dietary factors are the most critical factor in cardiovascular disease." He recommends eliminating "dietary saturated fatty acids as found in flame-broiled and fried meats." He also urges women to eat more fish and poultry, consume organic fruits and vegetables and cut back on refined sugar.
Stress becomes an ever more important heart disease factor at this age as estrogen begins to drop.
" Our study [in the lab] indicates that stress affects estrogen levels and can lead to the development of heart disease-even before menopause," says Jay Kaplan, PhD, of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (The Green Journal 3/02).
Dr. Kaplan's research shows that stress in women ages 45 to 55 may reduce estrogen earlier in life and make women more susceptible to the arterial blockages that lead to heart disease. "We know from [lab] studies that stress can lower estrogen levels to the point that health is affected," he says.
Stress can also hurt bone health: In a study of 66 women with normal-length menstrual periods, estrogen levels were low enough in half of the women to cause bone loss, making the women susceptible to osteoporosis.
Exercise and Weight
Although exercise used to be considered to be mainly a young woman's activity, the thrust of recent research suggests that physical activity actually becomes more important to health as you get older.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that exercising and keeping your weight down is probably the most important thing you can do to lower your risk of heart disease as you enter your forties and fifties (Am J Prev Med 11/03).
Of the people who took part in this study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who performed the most exercise were thinner and had a 50% chance less of dying of heart disease than overweight nonexercisers.
" The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, a researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.
An added benefit of exercise: If you burn up calories exercising, you can eat more and not have to worry as much about being overweight.
Supplements and Diet
If you're a woman at midlife, a multivitamin and mineral is still good nutritional insurance. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables are also important for getting enough phytochemicals, the health substances in plants that convey a wealth of health benefits.
As you enter this age group, your immune system gradually slows down. To help support immune function, eating produce rich in antioxidant nutrients, and supplementing with antioxidants like vitamins C and E as well as carotenoids, can be especially important. For example, a study of people with ulcers found that people with less vitamin C in their stomachs are more likely to be infected with Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that can cause peptic ulcers and is linked to stomach cancer (J Amer Coll Nutr 8/1/03).
This research, which looked at the health of about 7,000 people, found that vitamin C probably helps the immune system fend off this bacterial infection.
" Current public health recommendations for Americans are to eat five or more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day to help prevent heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases," says Joel A. Simon, MD, MPH, professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.
Calcium and Bones
At midlife, calcium continues to be a vital mineral for supporting bone health.
According to Gameil T. Fouad, PhD, "It has been routinely shown that a woman's calcium status and level of physical activity (specifically, the degree to which she participates in weight-bearing exercise) are positively associated with bone mineral density. It is less well appreciated that this is a process which takes place over the course of a lifetime."
Dr. Fouad adds that calcium works in concert with other vitamins and minerals to keep bones healthy: "Research in the United Kingdom involving nearly 1,000 premenopausal women over age 40 illustrates those women with the highest bone density tended to have the highest intake of calcium. Surprisingly, this study also demonstrated that calcium does not act alone: those women with the best bone health also had the highest intakes of zinc, magnesium and potassium."
Dr. Fouad stresses that supplements should go together with a lifestyle that includes enough sleep and exercise to help the body stay in top shape.
" As a general guideline," he says, "a woman concerned with her mineral intake should take concrete steps to make sure she is getting adequate rest, is eating a well-balanced diet focused on fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein as well as getting adequate exercise....A multi-mineral containing bio-available forms of zinc, magnesium, copper and selenium is probably a safe addition to anyone's routine. Taking these proactive steps dramatically reduces the chances that deficiencies will arise."
Ages 55 and Beyond
Entering the post-menopausal phase of life can present challenging opportunities for a new perspective on life and health. While some signs of aging are inevitable, experts who have looked at how the human body changes with age are now convinced that healthy lifestyle habits can improve how well you can think, move and enjoy life well past age 55.
As Dr. Williams notes, "In your fifties, the force of aging is undeniably present: Your body shape changes and organ function declines, both men and women have a tendency to gain weight....Heart disease becomes more common, energy and endurance are considerably reduced and your memory begins to slip."
But Dr. Williams also points out that you don't have to age as rapidly as other people do. He believes you should employ a "natural longevity program...[that starts] to reverse the course of aging as early as possible."
One key to staying vital as you age is your outlook on life, an aspect of life that's greatly enhanced by strong social ties.
Avoiding the Aging Slowdown The latest research shows that one of the most crucial ways to slow the effects of aging is to exercise and keep your weight down. It won't necessarily be easy, though. The change in hormonal balance at this age makes the body more prone to extra pounds (Society for Neuroscience Meeting, 11/12/03).
" In women, it has been demonstrated that major weight increases often occur during menopause, the time in a woman's life in which cyclic ovarian function ends and the ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone decline," says Judy Cameron, PhD, a scientist in the divisions of reproductive sciences and neuroscience at the Oregon Health & Science University.
In Dr. Cameron's lab trials, she has found that the decrease in estrogen after menopause "resulted in a 67% jump in food intake and a 5% jump in weight in a matter of weeks."
In other words, the hormonal changes you undergo as enter your late fifties causes your appetite to grow as well as your waistline: Developments that increase your chances of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and joint problems.
Vigilance against this weight gain is necessary to save your health: Start walking and exercising. Research on exercise in people aged 58 to 78 found that getting off the couch for a walk or other physical activity not only helps control weight but also helps sharpen your thinking and helps you become more decisive (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2/16-20/04, online edition). This recent study, done at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, found that performing aerobic exercise improved mental functioning by 11% (on a computer test).
" We continue to find a number of cognitive benefits in the aerobic group," says Arthur F. Kramer, PhD, a professor of psychology at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois. "The brain circuits that underlie our ability to think-in this case to attend selectively to information in the environment-can change in a way that is conducive to better performance on tasks as a result of fitness." In simple terms, that means that walking at least 45 minutes a day boosts brain power as well as protecting your heart.
An Herb for Menopause
The physical changes that accompan> y menopause can be uncomfortable. But traditional herbal help is available: Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), an herb used for eons by aging women, has been shown in recent studies to be both safe and effective (Menopause 6/15/03).
" This [research] should reassure health professionals that they can safely recommend black cohosh to their menopausal patients who cannot or choose not to take HRT [hormone replacement therapy]," says researcher Tieraona Low Dog, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico Department of Family and Community Medicine.
While HRT has been used to help women cope with menopause, a flurry of studies in the past few years have shown that HRT increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. Instead, black cohosh, which alleviates such menopausal discomforts as hot flashes, has been shown to be much safer.
Keeping Track of Crucial Vitamins
While continuing to take multivitamins and minerals at this age is important, some experts believe that as we grow older, vitamin D supplementation, as well as taking antioxidant nutrients, is particularly vital. Arthritis is a common affliction of aging, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one particularly destructive form of this joint problem. But taking vitamin D can significantly lower your risk of this condition.
When scientists analyzed the diets of 30,000 middle-aged women in Iowa over 11 years, they found that women who consumed vitamin D supplements were 34% less likely to suffer RA (Arth Rheu 1/03).
Other vitamins are equally important to an older woman's well-being. For example, vitamins C and natural E have been found to lower the risk of stroke in those over the age of 55 (Neurology 11/11/03). In this study, smokers who consumed the most vitamin C and natural vitamin E were 70% were much less likely to suffer strokes than smokers whose diets were missing out on these vitamins.
Rich sources of vitamin C in food include oranges and other citrus fruits, strawberries, red and green peppers, broccoli and brussels sprouts. Sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils such as sunflower Seed, cottonSeed, safflower, palm and wheat germ oils, margarine and nuts.
Saving Your Sight
After age 55, your eyes are particularly vulnerable. Eight million Americans of this age are at risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that destroys structures in the back of the eye necessary for vision (Arch Ophthal 11/03). But you can drop your risk of AMD by taking supplements of antioxidant vitamins and zinc, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute.
Their research shows that a dietary supplement of vitamins C, natural vitamin E and beta carotene, along with zinc, lowers the chances of progressing to advanced AMD in certain at-risk people by about 25%. Daily supplements also reduced the risk of vision loss by about 19%.
The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin also help protect aging eyes. When scientists compared healthy eyes with eyes suffering from AMD, they found that AMD eyes contained lower levels of these vital nutrients (Ophthalmology 2003; 109:1780). Furthermore, they found that levels of these chemicals generally decline as you grow older.
Healthy at All Ages
When it comes to designing a healthy lifestyle, general rules like these can be followed, but you should individualize your plan to fit your needs. No matter which type of exercises you pick out or what healthy foods you choose, look for a strategy and a plan you can stick to. If you think a selection of foods are good for you but you absolutely hate their taste, chances are you won't be able to stick to a diet that includes them.
The same goes for exercise: Pick out activities that you enjoy and that you can perform consistently. That increases your chance of sticking to an exercise program.
Staying healthy is enjoyable and it helps you get more out of life every day, no matter what stage of life you're in.
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
June 13, 2005 03:44 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Menopause: Disease or Condition?
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
by Mary Ann Mayo & Joseph L. Mayo, MD Energy Times, September 4, 1999
It's front-page news. It's politically correct and socially acceptable. Talking about menopause is in. Suddenly it's cool to have hot flashes. Millions of women turning 50 in the next few years have catapulted the subject of menopause into high-definition prominence.
It's about time. Rarely discussed openly by women (what did your mother ever advise you?), meno-pause until recently was dismissed as "a shutting down experience characterized by hot flashes and the end of periods." Disparaging and depressing words like shrivel, atrophy, mood swings and melancholia peppered the scant scientific menopausal literature.
What a difference a few years and a very vocal, informed and assertive group of Baby Boomers make. Staggered by the burgeoning numbers of newly confrontational women who will not accept a scribbled prescription and a pat on the head as adequate treatment, health practitioners and researchers have been challenged to unravel, explain and deal with the challenges of menopause.
Not An Overnight Sensation
Menopause, researchers have discovered, is no simple, clear cut event in a woman's life. The "change of life" does not occur overnight. A woman's body may begin the transition toward menopause in her early 40s, even though her last period typically occurs around age 51. This evolutionary time before the final egg is released is called the perimenopause. Erratic monthly hormone levels produce unexpected and sometimes annoying sensations.
Even as their bodies adjust to lower levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, some women don't experience typical signs of menopause until after the final period. A fortunate one-third have few or no discomforts.
According to What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause (Warner Books) by John R. Lee, MD, Jesse Hanley, MD, and Virginia Hopkins, "The steroid hormones are intimately related to each other, each one being made from another or turned back into another depending on the needs of the body...But the hormones themselves are just part of the picture. It takes very specific combinations of vitamins, minerals and enzymes to cause the transformation of one hormone into another and then help the cell carry out the hormone's message. If you are deficient in one of the important hormone-transforming substances such as vitamin B6 or magnesium, for example, that too can throw your hormones out of balance. Thyroid and insulin problems, toxins, bad food and environmental factors, medication and liver function affect nutrient and hormone balance."
The most important reproductive hormones include:
Estrogen: the female hormone produced by the ovaries from puberty through menopause to regulate the menstrual cycle and prepare the uterus for pregnancy. Manufacture drops significantly during menopause. Estradiol is a chemically active and efficient form of estrogen that binds to many tissues including the uterus, breasts, ovaries, brain and heart through specific estrogen receptors that allow it to enter those cells, stimulating many chemical reactions. Estriol and estrone are additional forms of estrogen.
Progesterone: also produced by the ovaries, it causes tissues to grow and thicken, particularly during pregnancy, when it protects and nurtures the fetus. Secretion ceases during menopause.
Testosterone: Women produce about one-twentieth of what men do, but require it to support sex drive. About half of all women quit secreting testosterone during menopause.
Estrogen's Wide Reach
Since estrogen alone influences more than 400 actions on the body, chiefly stimulating cell growth, the effects of its fluctuations can be far-reaching and extremely varied: hot (and cold) flashes, erratic periods, dry skin (including the vaginal area), unpredictable moods, fuzzy thinking, forgetfulness, fatigue, low libido, insomnia and joint and muscle pain.
Young women may experience premature menopause, which can occur gradually, as a matter of course, or abruptly with hysterectomy (even when the ovaries remain) or as a result of chemotherapy. Under such conditions symptoms can be severe.
In the 1940s doctors reasoned that if most discomforts were caused by diminishing estrogen (its interactive role with progesterone and testosterone were underestimated), replacing it would provide relief. When unchecked estrogen use resulted in high rates of uterine cancer, physicians quickly began adding progesterone to their estrogen regimens and the problem appeared solved.
For the average woman, however, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) became suspect and controversial, especially when a link appeared between extended use of HRT (from five to 10 years) and an increase in breast and endometrial cancers (Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 37, 1997). The result: Women have drawn a line in the sand between themselves and their doctors.
Resolving The Impasse
Since hormone replacement reduces the risk of major maladies like heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, colon cancer and diabetes that would otherwise significantly rise as reproductive hormone levels decrease, most doctors recommend hormone replacement shortly before or as soon as periods stop. Hormone replacement also alleviates the discomforts of menopause.
But only half of all women fill their HRT prescriptions and, of those who do, half quit within a year. Some are simply indifferent to their heightened medical risks. Some are indeed aware but remain unconvinced of the safety of HRT. Others complain of side effects such as bloating, headaches or drowsiness.
Women's resistance to wholesale HRT has challenged researchers to provide more secure protection from the diseases to which they become vulnerable during menopause, as well as its discomforts. If the conventional medical practitioners do not hear exactly what modern women want, the complementary medicine community does. Turning to centuries-old botanicals, they have validated and compounded them with new technology. Their effectiveness depends on various factors including the synergistic interaction of several herbs, specific preparation, the correct plant part and dosage, harvesting and manufacturing techniques.
Research demonstrates that plant hormones (phytoestrogens) protect against stronger potentially carcinogenic forms of estrogen while safely providing a hormone effect. Other herbs act more like tonics, zipping up the body's overall function.
Help From Herbs
Clinical trials and scientific processing techniques have resulted in plant-based supplements like soy and other botanicals that replicate the form and function of a woman's own estrogen.
The complementary community also can take credit for pushing the conventional medical community to look beyond estrogen to progesterone in postmenopausal health.
Natural soy or Mexican yam derived progesterone is formulated by pharmacologists in creams or gels that prevent estrogen-induced overgrowth of the uterine lining (a factor in uterine cancer), protect against heart disease and osteoporosis and reduce hot flashes (Fertility and Sterility 69, 1998: 96-101).
A quarter of the women who take the popularly prescribed synthetic progesterone report increased tension, fatigue and anxiety; natural versions have fewer side effects.
These "quasi-medicines," as Tori Hudson, a leading naturopathic doctor and professor at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, Oregon, calls them, are considered "stronger than a botanical but weaker than a medicine." (Hudson is author of Gynecology and Naturopathic Medicine: A Treatment Manual.)
According to Hudson, the amount of estrogen and progesterone in these supplements is much less than medical hormone replacement but equally efficacious in relieving menopausal problems and protecting the heart and bones.
According to a study led by Harry K. Genant, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, "low-dose" plant estrogen derived from soy and yam, supplemented with calcium, prevents bone loss without such side effects as increased vaginal bleeding and endometrial hypoplasia, abnormal uterine cell growth that could be a precursor to endometrial cancer (Archives of Internal Medicine 157, 1997: 2609-2615).
These herbal products, including natural progesterone and estrogen in the form of the weaker estriol or estrone, may block the effect of the stronger and potentially DNA-damaging estradiol.
Soy in its myriad dietary and supplemental forms provides a rich source of isoflavones and phytosterols, both known to supply a mild estrogenic effect that can stimulate repair of the vaginal walls (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-46).
To enhance vaginal moisture, try the herb cimicifuga racemosa, the extract of black cohosh that, in capsule form, builds up vaginal mucosa (Therapeuticum 1, 1987: 23-31). Traditional Chinese herbal formulas containing roots of rehmannia and dong quai have long been reputed to promote vaginal moisture.
Clinical research in Germany also confirms the usefulness of black cohosh in preventing hot flashes and sweating, as well as relieving nervousness, achiness and depressed moods caused by suppressed hormone levels. It works on the hypothalamus (the body's thermostat, appetite and blood pressure monitor), pituitary gland and estrogen receptors. Green tea is steeped with polyphenols, mainly flavonoids, that exert a massive antioxidant influence against allergens, viruses and carcinogens. The risks of estrogen-related cancers such as breast cancer are particularly lowered by these flavonoids, as these substances head directly to the breast's estrogen receptors. About three cups a day exert an impressive anti-inflammatory, antiallergenic, antiviral and anticarcinogenic effect.
Other phytoestrogen-rich botanicals, according to Susun Weed's Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way (Ash Tree Publishing), include motherwort and lactobacillus acidophilus to combat vaginal dryness; hops and nettles for sleep disturbances; witch hazel and shepherd's purse for heavy bleeding; motherwort and chasteberry for mood swings; dandelion and red clover for hot flashes.
Our Need For Supplements
Adding micronutrients at midlife to correct and counter a lifetime of poor diet and other habits is a step toward preventing the further development of the degenerative diseases to which we become vulnerable. At the very minimum, you should take:
a multivitamin/mineral supplement vitamin E calcium
Your multivitamin/mineral should contain vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Look for a wide variety of antioxidants that safeguard you from free radical damage, believed to promote heart disease and cancer, as well as contribute to the aging process.
Also on the list: mixed carotenoids such as lycopene, alpha carotene and vitamin C; and folic acid to help regulate cell division and support the health of gums, red blood cells, the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system.
Studies indicate a deficiency of folic acid (folate) in 30% of coronary heart disease, blood vessel disease and strokes; lack of folate is thought to be a serious risk factor for heart disease (OB.GYN News, July 15, 1997, page 28).
Extra vitamin E is believed to protect against breast cancer and bolster immune strength in people 65 and older (Journal of the American Medical Association 277, 1997: 1380-86). It helps relieve vaginal dryness, breast cysts and thyroid problems and, more recently, hit the headlines as an aid in reducing the effects of Alzheimer's and heart disease. It is suspected to reduce the thickening of the carotid arterial walls and may prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which contributes to the formation of plaque in arteries.
Selenium also has been identified as an assistant in halting cancer (JAMA 276, 1996: 1957-63).
The Omegas To The Rescue
Essential fatty acids found in cold water fish, flaxSeed, primrose and borage oils and many nuts and Seeds are essential for the body's production of prostaglandin, biochemicals which regulate hormone synthesis, and numerous physiological responses including muscle contraction, vascular dilation and the shedding of the uterine lining. They influence hormonal balance, reduce dryness and relieve hot flashes.
In addition, the lignans in whole flaxSeed behave like estrogen and act aggressively against breast cancer, according to rat and human studies at the University of Toronto (Nutr Cancer 26, 1996: 159-65).
Research has demonstrated that these omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can reverse the cancer-causing effects of radiation and other carcinogens (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 74, 1985: 1145-50). Deficiencies may cause swelling, increased blood clotting, breast pain, hot flashes, uterine and menstrual cramps and constipation. Fatigue, lack of endurance dry skin and hair and frequent colds may signal EFA shortage. Plus, fatty fish oils, along with vitamin D and lactose, help absorption of calcium, so vital for maintaining bone mass.
In addition, studies show that the natural substance Coenzyme A may help menopausal women reduce cholesterol and increase fat utilization (Med Hyp 1995; 44, 403, 405). Some researchers belive Coenzyme A plays a major role in helping women deal with stress while strengthening immunity.
Can't shake those menopausal woes? Menopause imposters may be imposing on you: The risk of thyroid disease, unrelenting stress, PMS, adrenal burnout, poor gastrointestinal health and hypoglycemia all increase at midlife. Menopause is a handy hook on which to hang every misery, ache and pain but it may only mimic the distress of other ailments. For this reason every midlife woman should have a good medical exam with appropriate tests to determine her baseline state of health. Only with proper analysis can you and your health practitioner hit on an accurate diagnosis and satisfying course of therapy.
And if menopause is truly the issue, you have plenty of company. No woman escapes it. No woman dies from it. It is not a disease but a reminder that one-third of life remains to be lived. Menopausal Baby Boomers can anticipate tapping into creative energy apart from procreation. If not new careers, new interests await. An altered internal balance empowers a menopausal woman to direct, perhaps for the first time, her experience of life. She has come of age-yet again. Gone is the confusion, uncertainty, or dictates of a hormone driven life: This time wisdom and experience direct her. There is no need to yearn for youth or cower at the conventional covenant of old age. Menopause is the clarion call to reframe, reevaluate and reclaim.
Mary Ann Mayo and Joseph L. Mayo, MD, are authors of The Menopause Manager (Revell) and executive editors of Health Opportunities for Women (HOW). Telephone number 877-547-5499 for more information.
Clearing the Air
June 13, 2005 10:34 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (email@example.com)
Subject: Clearing the Air
Clearing the Air by Robert Gluck Energy Times, August 1, 1999
One crisp winter morning in Vermont, Alan hoisted his skis over his shoulder and tracked through the dazzling snowpack to the lift about a quarter-mile away. He had trekked this gently uphill route many times and valued it as an invigorating warmup for a day on the ski trails. The path seemed to grow steeper, however, and the winter sun more blazing as Alan struggled for breath, sweat dampening his woolen cap. Weak and wheezing, he paused for what seemed like an eternity and finally turned back, plodding arduously through the ice.
Fit and athletic, the 42-year-old Alan heard the alarming news from his health care practitioner: asthma. The therapy: inhaled steroids.
The incidence of asthma-a chronic condition characterized by narrowing of the bronchial tubes, swelling of the bronchial tube lining and mucus secretion that can block the airway, making breathing difficult-has ballooned to alarming rates.
In the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of people reported to suffer from asthma increased from 10.4 million in 1990 to 15 million in 1995. In 1998, the epidemic cost about $11.3 billion.
Worldwide, experts estimate that the prevalence of asthma increased approximately 50% over the last 10 to 15 years. Nations with the highest rates are the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia; lowest are Indonesia, Albania, Romania and Georgia.
Deaths from asthma have doubled in the last decade and, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, asthma is the seventh most common chronic health condition in the United States. Children constitute the most disturbingly burgeoning segment of the asthma explosion, its sufferers numbering five to six million. The rate of asthma among children five to 14 years old increased 74% between 1980 and 1994; the rate for preschool kids skyrocketed 160%. Asthma is the number one chronic childhood illness and the third leading cause of hospitalization for children under age 15. More than 5000 Americans die from asthma annually; the fatality rate among children five to 14 years old more than doubled from 1979 to 1995, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation.
Waging War on the Wheeze
Asthma is indeed chronic, but it can be prevented and controlled and its effects reversed. Mainstream MDs command an arsenal of pharmaceuticals, some of which are essential for severe or urgent conditions. Consult your health care practitioner about any breathing difficulties.
Because of its complexity, however, asthma requires a balanced therapeutic approach: careful attention to diet, exercise and stress reduction while taking supplemental nutrients and botanicals can help ease asthma's discomforts. Antioxidant nutrients like vitamins C and E, fruits and vegetables rich in phytochemicals plus herbs like echinacea and garlic, all possess the potential for helping the body fight asthma.
Induced by an array of inherent physiological vulnerabilities, some of which may not manifest until adulthood, as well as environmental factors, asthma benefits from extra sleuthing into its causes and planning for relief.
Triggers and Therapies
Asthma is derived from the Greek word meaning panting or breathing hard, which pretty much sums up the malady: Wheezing and shortness of breath typify the attack.
In bronchial asthma, the commonest variety, the passages that carry air from the throat to the lungs narrow as a result of muscle contraction, local inflammation or production of excess mucus. Breathing becomes difficult and wheezy as air is expelled.
"Asthma symptoms are triggered by various factors such as allergens, irritants, infections, pollutants, medications, and emotions," says Anthony Rooklin, author of Living with Asthma: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Controlling Asthma While Enjoying Your Life (Penguin). "Triggers are substances or situations that would be quite harmless to people with ordinary airways, but that bring on asthma symptoms in susceptible individuals."
According to Ellen W. Cutler, nutritionist, enzyme therapist, chiropractor and author of Winning the War Against Asthma & Allergies: A Drug-Free Cure For Asthma and Allergy Sufferers" (Delmar), asthma is an allergic disease that is always triggered by allergens. "These allergens include not only foods, pollens and environmental factors such as perfume, animal dander and chemicals but also bacteria, climactic conditions and emotions," says Cutler.
"When these allergies are active from birth, asthma can be diagnosed early in life, even in infancy," she adds.
Cutler believes every individual with asthma should be able to lead a normal, drug-free life.
"Most asthmatics have been told that asthma is a chronic problem they will have to contend with for the rest of their lives. Asthma can be cured, not miraculously and instantaneously, but inevitably and permanently, once the allergies that cause it have been eliminated," she adds.
Dilating on Nutrients
Although it is vitally important for folks with asthma to develop a treatment plan with a trusted health care provider, that plan, according to experts, may lend itself to a rich variety of complementary options, especially nutrients, phytochemicals, minerals and enzymes.
According to Ruth Winter, author of A Consumer's Guide to Medicines in Food: Nutraceuticals That Help Prevent and Treat Physical and Emotional Illnesses (Crown), researchers in Nottingham, England, linked magnesium and lung function.
"Magnesium is involved in a wide range of biological activities, including some that may protect against the development of asthma and chronic airflow obstruction," Winter says. "Dr. John Britton and his colleagues at Nottingham University measured the magnesium in the diets of 2,633 adults aged 18 to 70 and they found that low magnesium was associated with reduced lung function and wheezing" (The Lancet 344, 1994: 357-62).
Magnesium actually boasts a long history as a bronchial relaxant, first demonstrated in 1912 on cows. Its potential was eclipsed, however, by pharmaceutical antihistamines and bronchodilators until its recent rediscovery.
Defending the Lungs
Antioxidants, with their ability to bolster the lungs' defense mechanisms by battling oxidizing free radicals that constrict bronchial tissue, wield tremendous force in the anti-asthma offensive. Michael T. Murray, ND, and Joseph E. Pizzorno, ND, in their Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), connect the steady decrease in dietary intake of antioxidants to the burgeoning incidence of asthma.
Among the top asthma-busting antioxidants:
Vitamin C. Murray and Pizzorno note that C is the major antioxidant present in the lining of the airway and cite generous evidence that when vitamin C is low, asthma incidence is high (Annals Allergy 73, 1994: 89-96). Vitamin C, taken over time, effectively suppresses histamine secretion by white blood cells.
Flavonoids. Also credited with reducing histamine production, flavonoids, notably quercetin and the extracts from grape Seed, pine bark and ginkgo biloba, are key asthma-fighting antioxidants (J Allergy Clin Immunol 73, 1984; 769-74).
Carotenes. They limit production of allergy-related compounds (called leukotrienes) and bolster the lining of the respiratory tract (Biochem Biophys Acta 575, 1979: 439-45).
Vitamin E and selenium. Both reduce secretion of leukotrienes (Clinical Exp Allergy 26, 1996: 838-47).
Vitamin B12. Murray and Pizzorno cite the work of Jonathan Wright, MD, whose clinical trials with supplemental vitamin B12 proved strongly effective, especially for children with asthma.
A Bundle of Botanicals
Herbal remedies for asthma date back more than 5000 years to the Chinese emperor Shen-nung. The ancient Egyptians treated respiratory ailments with herbs as well; the Greeks favored mint, garlic, cloves and myrrh for pulmonary problems.
Today, the power of plants has been validated by clinical research and standardized for predictability. (Always consult a health care practitioner when seeking complementary therapies, and read the package labels carefully for dosages and cautions.)
In their book, Asthma: An Alternative Approach (Keats), Ron Roberts and Judy Sammut provide a concise guide to asthma-easing botanicals: Garlic: acts as antiviral, antibacterial and antihistamine; enhances immune response; contains the antioxidant selenium. Garlic also is an expectorant.
Echinacea: a traditional treatment for immune disorders and infections of the upper respiratory tract, known to shorten the duration of colds, coughs and flus.
Ginkgo biloba: inhibits the chemical responses that induce asthma discomfort (Br J Clin Pharmacol 29, 1990: 85-91).
Ginseng: stimulates immunity and the production of steroid-like hormones; helps chronic coughs.
Licorice: an expectorant, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic that also inhibits leukotriene production (Acta Med Okayama 37, 1983: 385-91).
Tylophora asthmatica: an Ayurvedic treatment that many respected experts believe can act both as an antihistamine and antispasmodic (Planta Med 57, 1991: 409-13).
June 10, 2005 05:32 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Allergy Alleviation
Allergy Alleviation by Cal Orey , February 2, 2002
Allergy Alleviation By Cal Orey
Welcome to the stuffed up world of seasonal allergic rhinitis: the wheezing, sneezing "inhalant allergies" that torment 35 million Americans. Adding insult to sinus pain, other allergens attack year-round. Air pollution, dust mites (microscopic gremlins that infest bedding, upholstery and rugs) and animal dander trigger allergies-or other respiratory ailments-in any season. Urban air is full of rubber tire particles, a true blowout for those with latex sensitivity. Altogether, roughly 50 million Americans-about one in five-suffer from some form of allergy, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). Tired of cross-pollinating with plants or being bowled over by dust balls? Vitamins, herbs and other nutrients can help you nip allergy discomfort in the bud.
The Allergy Response
Your immune system triggers an allergic response when it overreacts to otherwise harmless substances or antigens (we're talking dust, pollen and mold).The alarmed immune system then launches a defensive chemical reaction, releasing potent chemicals (antibodies) supposed to destroy the "invaders." The antibodies, called IgE, carry the invading substances to special cells, which zap them with more biochemicals. Among these protective cells are mast cells: they release histamine, the substance that causes swelling and inflammation to the linings of the nose, sinuses and eyelids, resulting in sneezing, upper respiratory congestion and itchy, watery eyes.
Just Blame The Folks
Most allergies are determined by your genes. If your Mom or Dad sneeze and scratch, there's a good chance you will, too. "That is not to say that we directly inherit an allergy to any specific substance. Rather, it seems as if we might inherit some kind of immune system defect or weakness that leaves us more vulnerable to allergies," explain co-authors Glenn S. Rothfeld, MD, and Suzanne LeVert in their book Natural Medicine for Allergies: The Best Alternative Methods for Quick Relief (Rodale). For some people, allergies lurk in food, throwing the immune system into overdrive. "Many natural medicine practitioners believe that a diet high in animal fats will contribute to the development of allergy and asthma, as does a diet high in food additives, such as preservatives and dyes," says Gary McLain, PhD, in his book The Natural Way of Healing: Asthma and Allergies (Dell). Worse, allergies can up the risk of asthma, which afflicts 15 million Americans. Most people afflicted with asthma also suffer allergies: the two are linked, according to the AAAAI. Allergy triggers of asthma include pollen, mold spores and house dust mites. Remember Helen Hunt's asthmatic son in the movie As Good As It Gets? His character endured allergies to dust, and living in New York (and watching his mom date Jack Nicholson) didn't help his immune system. Coughs, ear infections, fevers and visits to hospital emergency rooms curtailed his social life (and limited his close-ups as well). That kind of routine happens in real life, too. (Well, maybe close encounters with Jack N. are not included for most.) But when we breathe substances such as molds, they can induce swelling and inflammation of the bronchial airways which narrow and restrict air flow. This, in turn, causes wheezing and shortness of breath and can trigger an asthma "attack," according to Andrew Engler, MD, who specializes in allergy and asthma in San Mateo, California.
The Nose Knows: Chemical Sensitivities
Imagine a picture-perfect, crisp, clear Saturday morning. You make a final stop on your weekly errand run to the dry cleaner, where you drop off your laundry and spend a moment chatting up the owner. Back in your car, your eyes tear and you feel a bit woozy. Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin, writing in The Road to Immunity: How To Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) sense that your reaction could be chemical sensitivity, a difficult to diagnose but, in their opinion, very real malady. (Of course, a clinician can test you for immune responses to certain chemicals.) Reactions to chemicals produce the typical allergic responses: puffy or red-rimmed eyes; swelling; aching or stiff joints and muscles; irritability or dizziness; respiratory inflammations; headaches and the like. Villains include aerosol sprays, tobacco smoke, glues, insecticides and herbicides, household chemicals and fragrances. Identification and avoidance are key, say the authors. Vitamin C, which binds with chemicals, is one of the best nutritional defenses.
Breathing Problems Expand
Americans now freely take lifesaving medicines such as antibiotics and insulin but, in some people, "they have the potential to alter the immune system, which is where allergies begin," says Dr. McLain. (Consult your pharmacist if you have questions about your prescription medication.) We, as a nation, are also eating more chemicals, from the pesticides drenched on plants to the preservatives poured on prepared foods. We're breathing polluted air, which can lead to or exacerbate asthma, and then we choke on recycled air in sealed buildings. And while a century ago you were likely to have spent much of your time close to home, you can now hop on a supersonic plane and be taken to the other side of the globe within a matter of hours. With travel comes exposure to even more exotic allergens that can drive your immune system to distraction.
The All-Natural Gesundheit
Certain allergy-relief nutrients and herbs can help make life more bearable. Here's how they work: n Vitamin C for the lungs. According to experts, when vitamin C is low, asthma is high. Vitamin C carries the major antioxidant load in the airways and therefore contributes mightily to the health of the lungs. A study in the Annals of Allergy (73(1994):89-96) reported that in seven of 11 clinical trials since 1973, vitamin C supplementation provided "significant improvements" in respiratory function and asthma symptoms. n Vitamin E and carotene to suppress allergic reactions. These antioxidants may also help protect the respiratory tract from caustic pollutants. Vitamin E is reputed to be one of the most important nutrients for antioxidant protection in the lungs. In addition, these two substances decrease production of allergy-related compounds called leukotrienes. n Zinc for the immune system. Research shows that a deficiency in this trace mineral can weaken your immune system, setting you up as a target for allergies and infections. (Some vegetarians may not store sufficient amounts of this mineral and should take supplements.) Zinc comes to the body's rescue by taking part in the production of IgA, the gastrointestinal antibody that lines the digestive tract. "When IgA binds to an allergen, it keeps it from being absorbed into the bloodstream and thus from causing an allergic reaction," report Rothfeld and Levert. Also, zinc protects mucous membranes and helps convert beta carotene to vitamin A, another anti-allergy, immune-boosting nutrient. In a study of 100 participants at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, half took a zinc-based lozenge, while the other half received a dummy preparation. The participants taking zinc experienced a 42% reduction in the duration and severity of their common colds (Annals of Internal Medicine, 7/96). n Quercetin as an antihistamine. A valuable, anti-allergic flavonoid (plant coloring agent that is a powerful antioxidant), quercetin shines as a potent weapon against allergies and asthma. Believed to inhibit histamine release from mast cells and slow the production of other allergy-related compounds, it stabilizes mast cell membranes. Other flavonoid-rich extracts include grape Seed, pine bark, green tea and Ginkgo biloba. n Additional helpful nutrients: Vitamin B-12, particularly to combat sensitivity to sulfites (The Nutrition Desk Reference [Keats]); selenium, an antioxidant that breaks down leukotrienes (Clinical Science 77, 1989: 495-500); and magnesium to relax bronchial tissues (Journal of the American Medical Association, 262 : 1210-3).
Herbal Remedies To The Rescue
n Nettles for hay fever relief. Research at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, showed that 40 of 69 folks suffering from hay fever found moderate to extreme relief from taking freeze-dried stinging nettles (Planta Medica,  44-47). "It is nontoxic, cheap and preferable to antihistamines, which I think are significantly toxic," reports Andrew Weil, MD, in his book Natural Health, Natural Medicine: A Comprehensive Manual for Wellness and Self-Care (Houghton Mifflin). n Cayenne to reduce inflammation. Cayenne, known as hot red pepper, is rich in capsaicin, a potent flavonoid "counter-irritant" that dilates and soothes inflamed nasal and bronchial tissues, according to experts. A bonus: Cayenne also contains a rich amount of antioxidant vitamin C, which can help enhance your immune system. n Echinacea for allergy prevention. This popular Native American herb provides cold and allergy protection, particularly when you take it before encountering allergens. Studies reveal that echinacea aids your body's tissues and protects you from germs and allergens. In fact, German studies have found it possesses valuable antiviral, antibacterial and immunity-boosting properties.
Make Your World Allergy-Free
For the most effective allergy relief, make sure you stay clear of allergens that wreak allergy havoc. Visit an allergy-savvy health practitioner and get tested to find out which substances rock your respiratory world. Plus, allergy experts recommend: n Banish dust mites: sweep out clutter and have your house power-vacuumed, if necessary; wash bedding and linens in very hot water. n De-pollinate your environment: flip on the air conditioner to sift out pollen (keep its filter and any forced air registers clean); exercise indoors; machine dry, rather than line dry, your clothes. n Buy a home air filter, especially if you experience dust, pollen or pet dander allergies. n Avoid allergy triggers that dog your days: cats and canines (or consider the hairless or shed-less breeds), mold and tobacco smoke. No matter what you do or actions you take, allergies may always remain an annoyance in your life. But attention to the foods you eat, the places where you exercise and the right combination of anti-allergy nutrients can limit your discomfort.
Leveling The Leukotrine Playing Field
On a microscopic level, a series of biochemicals implicated in allergic reactions are leukotrienes, substances that may constrict the bronchial tubes (breathing passages). In some people, consuming the food additive tartrazine can cause severe asthmatic breathing difficulties by boosting leukotrine release. In turn, this can interfere with the body's use of vitamin B-6. The process in which lack of B-6 or "errors" in how your body uses B-6 causes allergic reactions and is complex. According to Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND in the revised edition of the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), breathing problems may begin when the metabolism of tryptophan (an amino acid) goes awry: "Tryptophan is converted to serotonin, a compound that, among other things, can cause the airways of asthmatics to constrict...Vitamin B-6 is required for the proper metabolism of tryptophan." Accordingly, a study of vitamin B-6, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that people with compromised breathing may possess less B-6 in their blood than others who breathe normally. When people with asthma were given B-6, their wheezing and asthmatic attacks dropped.
Fat Fix For Allergies
The fat in your diet or supplements can also influence your susceptibility to allergies and asthma linked to allergies. Epidemiologists have found that countries where children eat fish at least four times a month cut their risk of asthma by 67% compared to other parts of the world where they consume fewer fish. Research on omega-3 fatty acids, the kind of fat found in fish, flax and hemp oil, demonstrates that some of these substances can improve breathing. In particular, fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can help open up bronchial tubes. Studies in the American Review of Respiratory Disease and the International Archives of Allergy and Applied Immunology show that breathing passageways may not react so negatively to the presence of allergens when you eat more fish or take supplements containing these types of fats. Many of the scientists who study the kinds of fats we eat believe that the increase in allergies and asthma in the US during the twentieth century may be due to both increasing air pollution (which irritates our lungs) plus a simultaneous increase in our consumption of what are called omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 oils are contained in most of the vegetable oils Americans eat, including sunflower and peanut oils. While experts believe that we would be better off consuming a diet containing about five times as many omega-6 fatty acids as omega-3s, today we eat about 40 times as much omega-6s. The chemistry of how these fats influence our allergy susceptibility is complex. It begins in our cell membranes which consist mostly of fat. When we consume omega-3 fatty acids, in our diet or in supplements, and these fats enter cell membranes, the change in structure cuts the availability of arachidonic acid, a fatty acid your body can make and which is found in meat, eggs and dairy products. Eventually, it is thought that this change in cellular metabolism and reduction in arachidonic acid forces the body to make less 4-series leukotrienes, substances which are quite prone to provoking allergic inflammation and, instead, produce 5-series leukotrienes, leukotrienes which don't cause nearly as much trouble. This process requires patience. According to Pizzorno and Murray. "It may take as long as one year before the benefits are apparent, as it appears to take time to turn over cellular membranes in favor of the omega-3 fatty acids."
Chinese Medicine Versus Allergies
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views allergies as an imbalance of the liver, says Jason Elias, co-author with Katherine Ketcham of The Five Elements of Self-Healing (Harmony Books). "The average American's (liver) deals with about fourteen pounds of chemicals a year. What would normally be a minor irritant becomes major because the liver can't process them anymore," explains Elias. Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has traditionally been used to fight allergies since this herb battles inflammation as evidenced by Japanese research and a study published in the journal Allergy. Much of this anti-allergy action is thought to proceed from licorice's interaction with a biochemical called cortisol, a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. Cortisol (along with epinephrine, another adrenal hormone) relaxes the muscles controlling airways. By slowing the liver's breakdown of cortisol, licorice prolongs circulation of this hormone which, in turn, can help breathing passages stay clear. In addition, glycyrrhetinic acid, a compound in licorice, slows the body's manufacture of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, substances which exacerbate allergic inflammatory reactions. Ma Huang (Ephedra sinica) has been employed for thousands of years to aid breathing since chemicals in this plant widen breathing passages.
Homeopathic Remedies for Allergy
Homeopathic treatments consist of highly diluted substances designed to coax the body into healing itself. The effectiveness of homeopathy for hayfever has been demonstrated by research published in Lancet performed at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. There, scientists showed that homeopathically-prepared medicines produced statistically significant improvements in allergy sufferers. The appropriate homeopathic remedy for any illness depends on the personality type of the person suffering an allergy. These treatments are among those recommended by Dana Ullman: n Allium cepa: appropriate for burning nasal discharge that grows worse in warm rooms and improves outdoors. Relieves non-burning tearing from eyes, raw feeling in the nose with tingling sensation and violent sneezing. n Nux vomica: used when feeling irritable and chilled, with daytime fluent nasal discharge and night congestion that grows worse indoors. Also for those sensitive to cold and to being uncovered. n Pulsatilla: best for women and children with daytime nasal discharge and night congestion who are gentle, yielding, mild, impressionable and emotional. Used when congestion is worse in warm rooms, hot weather or while lying down.
Food Allergy Conundrum Food allergies can prove to be the toughest allergies to identify and eliminate. Jason Elias believes that people may develop food sensitivities from eating the same foods too often. "If someone has an allergy, I might say 'Let's get you off dairy for three weeks,'" he says, noting that some people have limited their hay fever problems by ceasing to consume dairy products. Many have also found relief by maintaining a food diary, keeping track of which foods are associated with allergy attacks and then eliminating those foods. So the next time you sneeze, don't just reach for your hanky, think back to the meal that you just ate. Your allergy problem may be sitting in your stomach as well as making you sneeze and stuffing your sinuses. Taking these kinds of anti-allergy preventive measures can provide life-enhancing relief that feels like a godsend. That lets you attain your healthy best.
This article included reporting by Judy Pokras.