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The Health Benefits of Bilberry Extract
Bilberry supports better vision.
The main benefit of bilberry extract is for reducing the risk of macular generation and the other age-related eye diseases; glaucoma, cataracts and poor night vision. These advantages are due to the antioxidants phytonutrients the berries contain.
In other third world countries, the most essential vitamin needed is vitamin A. Lack of vitamin A during childhood can lead to blindness. In fact, hundreds of thousands of malnourished children go blind each year due to a lack of vitamin A in the diet.
Unfortunately, bilberry extract is not a source of beta-carotene. It is a source of another antioxidant called anthocyanin.
Bilberry extract has the highest eye supporting anthocyanins, of all the berries. If you want to support good eye sight, consider taking bilberry daily!
Pinolenic Acid - Appetite Control
April 25, 2008 02:50 PM
Mention "pine nuts" and peoples’ mouths are apt to start watering for a taste of garlicky pesto or fragrant pilaf. Ironically, the same ingredient that is so irresistible in gourmet cooking may help curb our out-of-control appetites. But only a particular variety of pine nut—Pinus koraiensis from Korea—will do.
Source Naturals PineSlim is a Korean pine nut oil (PinnoThin™). A small-scale study suggests that PineSlim may reduce feelings of hunger by increasing concentrations of appetite-suppressing hormones. The study also suggests that a feeling of fullness is experienced 30-60 minutes after taking PineSlim. For best results, PineSlim should be taken while following the Maximum Metabolism Weight Loss Plan™ enclosed in every bottle.
Enjoying good food is part of a healthy lifestyle, but too often we don’t know when to stop. PineSlim can help by addressing one of the most basic of the dozen deep metabolic systems identified by Source Naturals as critical to your optimal health: Hormones/Metabolism.
Less Calories for Improved Health
According to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, an estimated 66% of U.S. adults are overweight. A normal body fat level is one of the factors associated with many markers of good health, including insulin efficiency, healthy inflammation response, good circulation, and normal cell regeneration. One of the best ways to achieve healthy weight is by curbing the amount of calories we take in—but that’s not always easy to do. Now an ancient Asian food source may help.
Korean Pine Nuts—Traditional Asian Food
The Korean pine nut (Pinus koraiensis) has been used as a food source for centuries and is often served as a snack at social events in China. Korean pine nuts grow on evergreen trees that produce seeds (commonly referred to as nuts) that are rich in oil, particularly oleic, linoleic, and pinolenic acids.
Pinolenic acid is a fatty acid, which may influence healthy blood pressure. According to recent research, pinolenic acid also may increase concentrations of the satiety hormones glucogon-like peptide-1 (GLP- 1) and cholecystokinin (CCK).
Both GLP-1 and CCK are hormones that have been found to increase satiety and suppress appetite in normal-weight humans. They are believed to work by delaying gastric emptying. Retaining food in the stomach for a longer period of time may prolong a feeling of fullness.
In a randomized, double-blind trial, 18 overweight women received 3.00 grams of Korean pine nut oil (PinnoThin™)—the same amount as one daily dose of Pine Slim—or an olive oil placebo before a carbohydrate meal. Hormone measures of CCK and GLP-1 were taken from blood samples, and subjective measures of appetite were recorded. The study demonstrated a significant increase in appetite-suppressing CCK and GLP-1 hormones at 30-60 minutes after supplementation.
Your Source for Advanced Nutrition
The plant world offers an abundance of health promoting compounds. Today exciting discoveries are emerging from research into the health benefits of botanicals. The development of PineSlim reflects Source Naturals’ commitment to manufacturing supplements on the cutting edge of nutritional science. We are glad to partner with your local health food store in bringing you nutritional resources that help you take charge of your health.
Causey JL (3/28/06) Korean Pine Nut Fatty Acids Induce Satiety-producing Hormone Release in Overweight Human Volunteers, American Chemical Society Abstract, “Health Benefits of Lipids” Symposium. ABSTRACT 0117: TECH-3.
Fontana L. (2006) Excessive Adiposity, Calorie Restriction, and Aging. JAMA. 295(13): 1577-1578. Masoro EJ. (2005) Overview of caloric restriction and ageing. Mech Ageing Dev. 126: 913-922. Sugano M, Ikeda I, Wakamatse K, Oka T. (1994)
Influence of Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis)-seed oil containing cis-5,cis-9,cis-12-octadecatrienoic acid on polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolism, eicosanoid production and blood pressure of rats. British Journal of Nutrition. 72:775-783.
Fuji Hosts Astaxanthin Symposium
November 28, 2005 12:41 PM
Mount Laurel, N.J.—Fuji Chemical Industry Co. Ltd. Hosted the inaugural Symposium of the Japanese Society for Astaxanthin (JSA). The event featured recent research on astaxanthin, including a Hokkaido University study connecting astaxanthin supplementation to improvements in visual asthenopia (eye fatigue) and accommodation levels (switching focus between two fixed distances)l a University of Medicine mechanism-of-action study illustrating how astaxanthin may inhibit kidney damage and modulate blood sugar levels; and a University of juntendo study linking astaxanthin to improved visual acuity and reduced lactic acid levels in athletes. Other topics discussed at the Symposium included astaxanthin’s safety profile and beneficial effects on blood pressure. Charles DePrince, president of Fuji Health Science said, “I see the new Japanese Society for Astaxanthin as an impetus to more science and an opportunity to globalize the awareness of this exceptional carotenoids. I would like to see the society expand to an international level. To further this idea and the awareness of astaxanthin, Fuji Health Science would like to sponsor a similar Symposium next year in North America.”
Preventing Chronic Health Problems with AHCC
October 26, 2005 05:57 PM
Preventing Chronic Health Problems with AHCC
In a country supposedly as healthy as ours, an estimated 175 million people suffer from one form of chronic imbalance or another. This can take the form of obesity, which is the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States, second only to cigarette smoking; challenges to heart health, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, joint and cell health ,to name just a few.
In fact ,treating chronic health problems is what modern medicine has become .Sure, there are still many acute illnesses treated by modern medicine; but for the most part, we are fortunate enough to have long life spans and the health issues that go along with it. Therefore it is important to make sure that out immune systems are up to the task. That is where AHCC should become part of our daily lives.
AHCC is an nutritional supplement that was developed and is manufactured solely in Japan under strict practices. It is a hybridized extract of medicinal mushrooms where the active ingredient is an oligosaccharide made from the mycelia of several species of mushrooms, grown in rice bran.
AHCC and Cell Senescence
Every few years, a new buzz word comes along in medical circles. The latest one to be used both in a positive and negative fashion is senescence. For example, if an unhealthy cell can be artificially made to senesce, or grow old, then it will die sooner. If senescence of healthy cells can be delayed, that is an amazing achievement.
AHCC is the first nutritional supplement that shows principles of being able to promote certain cells in the immune system that keep us young and healthy, thus delaying immunosenesnscence.
AHCC and the Immune System
In order to get a full appreciation of how important taking AHCC on a daily bases is, one needs to understand the intimate role the immune system plays in our daily lives. It is responsible for riding our bodies of the unhealthy cells that are produced every day. The immune system protects us from the polluted air we breathe, the chemicaalized foods we eat, and most importantly, from the stress we bring upon ourselves just by the very nature of the way we live our lives. Our bodies were made for flight or fight capability; but never in history have we been in that mode on a daily basis. Our immune systems are under constant assault and it is up to you to take care of it even though you may not even be aware that it is there. We tend to only to think of our immune system when it is not working-when suffer mild or severe health challenges.
Without getting into too much detail, our immune system is a complex series of cells that all communicate with each other and must be balanced correctly in order for us to stay healthy. AHCC is able to encourage the helpful cells such as the natural killer (NK) cells while suppressing the ones that foster problems.
I am in clinical practice on a daily basis and use AHCC in almost every one of my patients. It is very versatile because of its effects on the immune system.
A Company Committed to Excellence
If everything I just told you wasn’t enough to convince you that AHCC should become part of your daily armamentarium, then here’s more fuel. AHCC is produced by a chemical company that is committed to excellence in manufacturing and most importantly in research. They have supported research at hospitals around the world, including local ones such as Columbia University, Harvard University and the University of California.
In fact, I just returned from a trip to Sapporo, Japan where the product is made and where each year, a team of scientists and medical professionals gather to discuss the latest research on AHCC, GCP, and oliganol-all products made by the same company. This was the 13th annual Symposium and was attended by close to 1000 professionals.
It is remarkable to me that this company is able to produce such well-documented research while still being a nutritional supplement company, which shows it can be done. To me, this is the sign of a nutritional supplement worth recommending. If it does what it says it is supposed to do and has research to support those claims, than that is something you want in your daily diet.
So, even though you may never have given your immune system a second thought, you really should; and the best way to help it out is by taking AHCC on a daily basis, just like I do. I recommend 500 mg per day in the summer months and 1500 per day in the winter months as a simple preventive. Stay healthy!
About the Author
Fred Pescator, M.D., a traditionally trained physician practicing nutritional medicine, is President of the AHCC Research Association. He is the author of The Hamptons’ Diet, Thin For Good and Feed Your Kids Well. Dr.Pescator lectures around the world, and has been featured on such shows as The View, The Today Show, Deborah Norville, The O’ Reilly Factor, and Extra. Recent interviews include Woman’s Health and Fitness, Let’s Live, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Fortune and more. He is also the author of numerous papers and magazine articals. Dr.Pescator is actively involved in clinical research , and is instrumental in developing and clinically testing many of the leading nutritional products. He is the President-Elect of the International and American Association of Clinical Nutritionists and a member of the National Association of Physician Broadcasters.
The above article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat a particular illness. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of a holistically competent licensed professional health care provider. The information in this article has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
July 13, 2005 12:42 PM
UROVEX: BUTTERBUR EXTRACT Supports healthy urinary urge and frequency Promotes healthy ...
June 29, 2005 02:13 PM
UROVEX: BUTTERBUR EXTRACT Supports healthy urinary urge and frequency Promotes healthy bladder control
Fear—the fear of job loss, embarrassment in social settings, sexual frustrations and psychological stress. That’s what life is like for the nearly 30 million people in the United States who have concerns with bladder control. A burden at any age, bladder issues are highly prevalent in both genders but more common in women. Urinary urge and frequency occurs when the smooth muscle of the bladder contracts without warning. SOURCE NATURALS UROVEX BUTTERBUR is a patented standardized extract that supports healthy urinary urge and frequency. Further, it has been shown to help minimize the sudden urge to urinate, according to a human clinical trial. It has also been shown to support smooth muscle relaxation in animal studies. In vitro studies show that UROVEX BUTTERBUR may reduce bladder cell irritation by inhibiting leukotriene synthesis.
What Goes On
If you experience this circumstance, you probably have two of the following indicators: frequency of urination (usually more than 8 times in 24 hours), urgency (an immediate and strong urge to urinate) and leaking or involuntary loss of urine. Although the changes in urinary anatomy—the result of normal aging—do not cause urinary trouble, they do create a situation that allows this to occur more easily. Aging results in a reduced size of the bladder, producing a decreased bladder volume and a need for more frequent bladder emptying.
Urination involves physiological processes within the urinary tract and the brain. Our brain normally suppresses the urge to urinate until we initiate urination. Neurons in the brain and in smooth muscle of the bladder involuntarily govern the detrusor (layered, smooth muscle that surrounds the bladder) muscle. This muscle contracts and relaxes based on the volume of urine in the bladder and the initiation of urination. The desire to urinate usually starts when the bladder has reached about half its physiologic capacity. This desire is suppressed by the cerebral cortex until a suitable time and place has been chosen. Butterbur relaxes the detrusor muscle, which reduces pressure on the bladder and thus relieves the urge to urinate. Each capsule contains 50 mg of standardized butterbur, yielding 7.5 mg of the active ingredients petasin and isopetasin. Our extract has been specially processed to remove undesirable pyrrolizidine alkaloids found in some brands.
UROVEX BUTTERBUR EXTRACT has been shown in research to improve the sudden urge to urinate. In one study, 24 women were given butterbur for 8 weeks. After three weeks, 17 women reported a significant reduction of the frequency of urination. Before they began taking butterbur, urination intervals were 30 to 90 minutes, while three weeks later the intervals of 17 of the women were between 90 and 150 minutes. Butterbur is a perennial shrub native to Europe, northern Africa and southwestern Asia that has been used medicinally for centuries to maintain a healthful, active lifestyle. The use of preparations from butterbur has included promoting proper smooth muscle tone, including relief for painful menstrual cramps and other traditional uses.
An All-Natural Solution
Source Naturals is pleased to partner with your natural food product retailer to deliver this botanical treasure that is so effective in solving this often untreated problem. Look for Source Naturals UROVEX BUTTERBUR. It is the only patented butterbur product for bladder control and other traditional uses and is available in 12, 30 and 60 capsule bottles.
CHOLESTEROL RESCUE - Maintain Your Cholesterol Wellness
June 29, 2005 01:48 PM
You live in a fat-drenched, fast food world, propped up by diets loaded with processed foods that stimulate your body to create excess bad cholesterol – or low-density lipoproteins (LDL). Your busy life is full of stress, and devoid of time for proper exercise. There are three ways to deal with cholesterol in the body, but a seemingly infinite number of lifestyle and hereditary elements that affect LDL levels. Is it any wonder you find yourself in danger of developing unwanted cholesterol levels? Source Naturals is devoted to helping you. So we developed CHOLESTEROL RESCUE as a comprehensive solution to help you keep cholesterol levels in the normal range. CHOLESTEROL RESCUE uses only natural ingredients, clinically researched to effectively maintain healthy cholesterol levels. It is scientifically formulated with the triple action of three ingredients that target the ways you can deal with your cholesterol concerns; combining the naturally occurring polymethoxylated flavone (PMF) and tocotrienol action of Sytrinol™ with the action of plant sterols. Research suggests that daily consumption of 800 mg of plant sterols, taken with food in two divided doses as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Source Naturals offers CHOLESTEROL RESCUE as part of our ongoing commitment to providing you with high quality natural supplements to support your healthy lifestyle.
Cholesterol & Your Body
On average, humans ingest approximately 300mg of cholesterol per day. Though an important part of a healthy body, a high level of cholesterol in the blood might be out of the normal range. Cholesterol is transported in your system by lipoproteins. There are two kinds of lipoproteins in your body, but the low-density lipoproteins, or LDL, are the major factors in developing unwanted cholesterol levels. If there are high levels of LDL circulating in your bloodstream, it can undergo oxidation by free radicals in the artery walls, which can then become trapped as imbalanced deposits. These deposits can build up, reducing critical blood-flow. CHOLESTEROL RESCUE has been specially developed to reduce LDL levels using two different methods: inhibiting the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver, and reducing the absorption of dietary cholesterol.
The Plant Sterol Effect
Sterols are an essential component of the cell membrane, and are produced by both plants and humans. While the most common sterol produced in humans is cholesterol, plants produce phytosterols, or plant sterols. Using a complex compound of plant sterols similar to cholesterol with only slight molecular differences, CHOLESTEROL RESCUE has been formulated to balance the amount of dietary cholesterol your body absorbs.
Plant sterols have long been known to inhibit the uptake of both dietary and bile-produced cholesterol in the intestines. The most plausible theory behind this is that, because of the similarity between plant sterols and cholesterol, the body cannot properly distinguish between the two during the absorption process, thereby displacing the uptake of cholesterol into your system. Research suggests that daily consumption of 800mg of plant sterols, taken with food in two divided doses as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
CHOLESTEROL RESCUE also contains SYTRINOL™, a proven natural alternative for maintaining cholesterol wellness. The patented blend of citrus polymethoxylated flavones (PMFs) and tocotrienols has been clinically shown to promote cardiovascular health by supporting normal cholesterol production by your liver, helping balance triglyceride production, and providing powerful antioxidant protection. The PMFs promote normal cholesterol levels by inhibiting both the production of cholesterol precursors, such as cholesteryl esters, and the activity of HMG CoA Reductase, an enzyme that synthesizes cholesterol in the liver. These PMFs can also balance the body’s production of triglycerides by inhibiting your liver’s triglyceride producing enzyme, diacylglycerol acetyltransferase. Tocotrienols help break down cholesterol building blocks, interfere with cholesterol production, and provide critical antioxidant protection. Because cholesterol becomes problematic when oxidized, the powerful antioxidant action of tocotrienols can help prevent the conditions that may affect your cardiovascular circulation.
Spearheading the Wellness Revolution in Cholesterol Defense
With so many ways to develop undesirable cholesterol levels in your body, you need to be proactive in maintaining your good health. In our on-going dedication to your wellness, and a commitment to delivering the benefits of our high quality supplements to the natural products marketplace, Source Naturals has produced a scientifically formulated blend of three effective ingredients in fighting unwanted cholesterol. Combining a comprehensive formula of allnatural components, clinically researched for promoting cardiovascular health, CHOLESTEROL RESCUE is available now at your local health food store.
Probiotics - Our Friendly Bacteria
June 16, 2005 10:51 AM
An estimated 10 quadrillion bacteria make their home in the average digestive system. Fortunately, less than one percent of the 400 different species found in the intestine are potentially harmful. The majority of intestinal flora are friendly bacteria, otherwise known as probiotics. These probiotic bacteria support good health by limiting the growth of harmful bacteria, promoting good digestion and increasing resistance to infection.*1
Probiotic bacteria are completely non-toxic. In fact, friendly bacteria have been used safely and effectively for more than 8,000 years, proving their value to human health.*2 Most often, probiotics have been consumed as part of cultured foods, such as acidophilus milk, yogurt, soy tempeh, and idli (cultured wheat). The friendly bacteria in these foods, specifically Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, and Bifidobacterium bifidum, multiply in the warm, moist environment of the human body by feeding on the carbohydrates and protein in the digestive tract, then establish colonies along the intestinal wall.
Beneficial Roles of Probiotics
Lactobacillus acidophilus and other friendly bacteria play many important roles in maintaining good health.* According to experts, regular consumption of probiotics is the best way to maintain healthy intestinal flora.*3, 4 Lactobacilli species do not survive very long in the colon, so bacteria colonies need to be routinely replenished.*
In addition to producing numerous vitamins, probiotics support healthy digestion.* Part of the reason fermented foods are healthful is that some of the proteins, fats and carbohydrates are partially digested by the bacteria, which increases overall digestibility and nutritional value of the food.*5, 6
Lactose intolerant individuals may gain even more benefits from probiotics. Lactobacilli bacteria ferment as much as half of the lactose in milk—the part of milk that results in the symptoms of bloating, cramps and gas in lactose intolerant individuals—by converting it to lactic acid. Consequently, people with lactose intolerance report fewer digestive problems with cultured dairy foods compared to fresh milk.*5, 7
The nutritional profile of foods is improved after being cultured with probiotics. Levels of several B vitamins, including vitamins B1, B2, B6 and B12, niacin, folic acid and pantothenic acid are higher in fermented foods, such as yogurt, cheese, kefir and buttermilk.*5 Fermentation also boosts the digestibility of soy foods.*8
Inhibiting bacterial growth:
Probiotics act as natural antibiotics, slowing the growth of harmful bacteria.*5, 6 These friendly bacteria produce substances, including lactic acid, acetic acid, benzoic acid, hydrogen peroxide and natural antibiotics, which limit the reproduction of certain disease-causing bacteria.*9
Another way that probiotic bacteria maintain a healthy digestive tract is by competing with harmful bacteria in the intestine. When the intestine is full of large colonies of beneficial bacteria, disease-causing bacteria are simply not able to multiply into harmful numbers because there are no available attachment sites on the intestinal wall.* This is one of the ways L. acidophilus inhibits the growth of Candida albicans, coliform (e. coli) bacteria and salmonella.*3, 4, 10, 11
Diarrhea can have many causes, but it always has the same result for the bacteria living in the intestine—it flushes them out, leaving the body vulnerable to the growth of opportunistic bacteria. It is important to replenish the body with probiotics during and after a bout of diarrhea.* Probiotic bacteria can also help keep the colon healthy when traveling.*4
Lactobacilli are one of the primary bacteria found in normal vaginal flora, and their presence is believed to inhibit the overgrowth of harmful bacteria, such as Candida. Lactobacillus acidophilus cultures are a popular folk remedy for vaginal health.*4, 10
Recolonization After Antibiotic Use:
Antibiotics, given to treat bacterial infections, ironically can contribute to unhealthy bacteria growth. Antibiotics destroy bacteria, the good along with the bad, leaving the intestine without its normal, healthful flora. In this compromised state, disease-causing bacteria can multiply unchecked by friendly bacteria.*12 When ingested during and following antibiotic usage, L. acidophilus rapidly restores normal flora, shortening the time that undesirable organisms remain in the gut.*3, 12 Bifidobacterium bifidum can also help normalize the intestinal flora after using antibiotics.*10
Producing the Best Probiotics
Fermenting foods with lactobacilli has been a time-honored method for both preserving and enhancing foods. Before refrigeration, fermentation was a valuable way to preserve food safety, and it remains in common usage today.
Nature’s Life uses the same basic principles developed and perfected by prehistoric nomadic peoples to produce Lactobacillus acidophilus products; with the exception that we use modern, high-volume equipment. These improvements, along with trained personnel, scientific methods and quality assurance practices, ensures that every batch meets our high standards of quality.
Our lactobacilli are cultured on nutrient-dense food concentrates, such as soy protein, green peas or non-fat milk. We add natural apple juice, pasteurized clover honey, strawberries, carrot juice or maltodextrin for flavor and to provide carbohydrates for the micro-organisms, plus we use only pasteurized water.
Our growth medium has a broad range of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, essential fatty acids, organic acids and naturally occurring plant phytonutrients such as flavonoids and carotenoids with beneficial antioxidant properties. The temperature and moisture are carefully controlled during the several days needed for the bacteria to multiply to peak potency.
At the peak of potency, Nature’s Life Liquid Acidophilus culture is poured directly into sanitized 16 oz. glass bottles and immediately refrigerated at 36°F to maintain peak potency. These liquid products are the most bioactive of all forms of acidophilus because they are dormant, rather than frozen.
For our freeze-dried powders and capsules, the warm liquid culture is immediately poured into containers, sealed and refrigerated. After cooling, the liquid is poured into trays and instantly freeze-dried. The frozen lactobacillus is then processed through a vacuum freezer to lower the moisture level to an absolute minimum. This freeze-dried product is packaged as either powder or capsules. When swallowed, the microorganisms will rehydrate and begin colonizing the gastrointestinal tract with friendly bacteria.
Nature’s Life acidophilus is not filtered, centrifuged or otherwise concentrated or separated from its growth medium to artificially obtain higher concentrations of bacteria per gram or capsule. Centrifuging may damage the lactobacillus by altering the natural clumping, chaining and branching of bacteria cells.*
Nature’s Life probiotic products retain all the benefits of the nutrient-rich growth medium. All the valuable by-products of the bacteria’s metabolism remain in the final product, including B-vitamins, enzymes, organic acids, antibodies and even naturally occurring antibiotics. The conclusion of experts is that products which are centrifuged or filtered are incomplete.13 14
Quality You Can Trust
Nature’s Life invests significant resources in perfecting the production of high quality Lactobacillus acidophilus cultures. You benefit from our knowledge and experience every time you choose our supplements.
Nature’s Life lactobacillus cultures are manufactured with rigorous specifications using state-of-the-art equipment. All equipment and containers are sanitized to ensure that no contaminants or unfriendly pathogenic bacteria corrupt the quality of the L. acidophilus. The large capacity fermentation tanks and freeze dryers maintain consistency in each batch.
Nature’s Life Lactobacillus acidophilus meets or exceeds all standards developed by industry associations and government regulations. These standards, established to determine the quality of the finished product, are:
All of Nature’s Life Lactobacillus acidophilus products meet the acid test for effectiveness:
Using Nature’s Life Probiotics
Nature’s Life probiotics, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. bulgaricus and Bifidobacterium bifidum, can survive in the stomach for at least an hour.*15 Nature’s Life recommends taking probiotics either on an empty stomach or with food, however the presence of food can help the organisms stay alive longer.16
Liquid acidophilus should be treated as a perishable product, since it contains live, active organisms. Like yogurt or milk, acidophilus should be refrigerated and used within a short period of time. Contact Nature’s Life for a recipe on how to make your own soy-based, milk-free yogurt.
June 13, 2005 01:18 PM
by Cal Orey Energy Times, August 2, 1999
Depression plagues the creative and the mundane. The disparate desperate driven to distress by depression include painters, poets, actors and musicians as well as truck drivers, clerks, electricians and physicists. The victim list encompasses Vincent van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Audrey Hepburn, Virginia Woolf and Ludwig von Beethoven, as well as millions of other sharers of melancholy misery.
More than 17 million American men and women experience depression in one form or another every year, according to the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) in Alexandria, Virginia. This includes the deeply destructive major, or clinical, depression, the wide mood swings of bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), and dysthymia, a milder, long-lasting form of emotional suffering.
Twice as Many Women In the depression scenario, women suffer twice as much: Two times as many women as men endure clinical depression, reports the NMHA. The mood-deteriorating effects of the hormonal disruptions women are heir to may be partly to blame.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about one of 10 Americans wades through at least one depressive swamp sometime during his or her life.
The good news: Research shows that diet and lifestyle can lower your risk of depression.
Birth of the Blues
Nowadays, mounting evidence suggests that depression may result more from physiological factors than psychological woes.
Some of the hidden reasons why you may be depressed include: nutritional deficiencies, exacerbated by overdosing on too much caffeine, sugar, alcohol and high fat foods; allergies; anxiety and chronic stress; and a chemical imbalance in the brain's gray matter. According to the NMHA, people with depression often possess too little or too large a quantity of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. Changes in levels of these brain chemicals may cause, or contribute to, clinical depression.
The NMHA also reports that an imbalance of melatonin, a chemical made by the body's pineal gland (located at the base of the brain), contributes to a form of wintertime depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This hormone is made at increased levels in the dark. Therefore, the body may oversupply this hormone during winter's shortened daylight hours.
Since the B vitamins are often involved in the production of energy, and a large component of depression may encompass the inability to get out of bed and deal with the world, experts believe that at least some of the signs of depression are linked to B deficiencies. For instance, studies cited in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima) by Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, demonstrate that folate deficiency and lack of vitamin B12 can compromise mental health (Drugs 45, 1993: 623-36; Lancet 336, 1990: 392-5).
Inositol: This vitamin is also part of the B vitamin complex, and it, too, has shown its ability to lift spirits. Research work in Israel shows that daily inositol given to 28 depressed patients for four weeks produced an overall positive effect. (Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 7:2, May 1997: 147-55). Inositol is found in whole, unprocessed grains, citrus fruits (except lemons) and brewer's yeast.
NADH: Allan Magaziner, DO, in his book The Idiot's Complete Guide To Living Longer & Healthier (Alpha), reports that brain energizing NADH, a metabolite of vitamin B3, enhances the production of the key neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin. "In a recent clinical trial," he claims, "nearly all patients given NADH for depression reported improvement in their symptoms and the absence of side effects or adverse reactions."
Another substance winning the spotlight for its effect on mood is SAM-e: S-adenosylmethionine. In New York on February 24, a Symposium coordinated by the American Health Foundation met to hear researchers present information from studies of SAM-e's ability to possibly ease depression.
"SAM-e is a natural product. You and I have it but as people age it declines in production in the body. And that's why we believe supplementation in older people is a beneficial means of bringing that back up and helping people that have depression," said the lead Symposium researcher, John H. Weisburger, PhD, MD, Director Emeritus, American Health Foundation in Valhalla, New York.
Another researcher, Teodoro Bottiglieri, PhD, Associate Professor of Biomedical Studies and Neurology, Director of Neuropharmacology at Baylor University reported: "SAM-e has been shown to enhance brain dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitter metabolism and receptor function. It may also aid in the repair of myelin that surrounds nerve cells. These mechanisms are likely to be responsible for the antidepressant effect of SAM-e."
(Bottiglieri is co-author with Richard Brown, MD, and Carol Colman of Stop Depression Now, a report on the powers of SAM-e just published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.)
SAM-e was first touted as an antidepressant in Italy in 1973. It's been reported that nearly 40 clinical trials demonstrate its beneficial effects as a natural antidepressant.
For instance, an analysis of more than 1000 people suffering depression showed that the effect of antidepressants in patients taking SAM-e was 17% to 38% better than dummy preparations. Conventional antidepressants show a 20% effectiveness rate (Bressa G. Acta Neurol Scand S154, 1994: 7-14).
5-HTP: Another popular supplement to boost mood and relieve depression is hydroxytryptophan. "This medication is actually a brain chemical that is metabolized from tryptophan into serotonin," says Magaziner. And since low serotonin levels have been linked with depression, and certain prescribed medications may up serotonin levels, 5-HTP is in demand.
"One of the more impressive studies supporting the efficacy of 5-HTP for depression evaluated 100 people who had previously found conventional antidepressant therapy to be inadequate. Forty-three of these folks reported a complete recovery, and eight showed significant improvement," reports Magaziner. Not only has 5-HTP been shown to work slightly better than drugs known as SSRIs (these include Prozac), he adds, it has fewer side effects than standard antidepressants, too. DHEA: Medical experts also believe that levels of the hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) may influence mood. Ray Sahelian, MD, in his book All About DHEA (Avery) reports an interesting study conducted by Dr. Owen Wolkowitz of the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco. A group of six depressed middle-aged and elderly individuals who took DHEA found that within a month they had better memory and mood. (Biological Psychiatry 41, 1997: 311-18.) "In addition," adds Sahelian, "other studies have also found that DHEA increases energy levels and a sense of well being." But follow package directions: Some people complain of greater irritability and overstimulation with DHEA, when they take large amounts.
St. John's wort: still the most touted natural therapy for defeating depression. In Europe, 23 clinical studies, reviewed in the August 3, 1996 British Medical Journal, found that this herb, also known as Hypericum perforatum, can be helpful in alleviating cases of mild to moderate depression. The work, which included 757 patients, has shown that hypericum produced fewer side effects than conventional anti-depressants.
Although experts have never satisfactorily explained exactly how St. John's wort benefits the brain, some theorize that it boosts serotonin levels. And it can help SAD sufferers.
"In a recent study of 20 people with SAD, four weeks' worth of St. John's wort significantly alleviated feelings of depression. Those people who added full-spectrum lights to the treatment program gained an even greater benefit," notes Dr. Magaziner.
Valerian: Anxiety and stress, which can cause depression and insomnia, may be helped by this herb, says the prolific Dr. Sahelian in his book Kava: The Miracle Antianxiety Herb (St. Martin's). In 101 Medicinal Herbs (Interweave), Steven Foster reports that "Ten controlled clinical studies have been published on valerian...one of which suggests that valerian should be used for two to four weeks before daily mood and sleep patterns improve."
Amino Acid Help
Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, may also help improve mood. (For more on protein, see page 65.) These chemicals are used by the body to construct neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that facilitate mental activity.
For instance, the amino acid L-tyrosine is necessary for the formation of transmitters adrenaline and dopamine. This substance, therefore, is given to alleviate depression and anxiety.
The substance L-dopa which is given to victims of Parkinson's disease is concocted from tyrosine. And several antidepressants alleviate bad moods by boosting the interaction of brain chemicals related to tyrosine.
In addition, since tyrosine is used to make adrenaline, this amino acid may be helpful for folks trying to cope with the mood problems related to stress.
Another amino acid that experts believe useful for better moods, L-methionine, is used by the body to make choline, a crucial substance for brain function. (Choline goes into the formation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.)
Methionine has been given to people suffering from schizophrenia and depression as well as to those with Parkinson's. Methionine plays a number of crucial roles in the brain and body since it helps form other vital proteins.
For those concerned about preserving a positive mood, researchers are positive that smoking worsens depression. A study at the Department of Behavioral Services at the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan found that daily smokers run twice the risk for major depression compared to those who only smoked occasionally.
Unfortunately, the investigators found that not only did smoking seem to lead to depression, depression, in turn, led to more smoking (Archives of General Psychiatry, 2/99).
"Smokers who have depression tend to see their smoking become a daily habit and it may be because they use nicotine to medicate their depressed mood," reported Naomi Breslau, PhD, who headed the research. Over a five year period, the researchers looked at about a thousand young people aged 21 to 30. They found that daily smokers generally start smoking in adolescence, and those who report early depression are three times as likely to eventually become daily smokers.
If you're feeling down, don't give up hope. Although depression can prove to be a depressingly complicated malady, daily, healthy habits can offset its effects. Getting consistent exercise, dousing your cigarettes and turning to herbal and nutritional help to treat mild depression may defeat those blues.
Botanical Arsenal - Plants can help our bodies fight off cancer's deadly ...
June 13, 2005 10:31 AM
Botanical Arsenal by Fred Thomas Energy Times, May 3, 1999
The complexities surrounding the various types of cancer stem from the variety of ways in which these diseases can wreak their havoc. Luckily, the equally complex world of plants contains novel compounds that can help our bodies fight off cancer's deadly progress.
Research into these botanical compounds is mushrooming. An example: The mighty maitake, a fungus with flair, alternately known as the king (it can grow as large as a basketball, worth its weight in silver to the ancient Japanese); the prince; the Hen of the Woods (it sticks out of from trees when it grows in the wild); and the dancing mushroom to those who leaped for joy when they found one growing in its native northeastern Japan.
Researchers today dub it with a new moniker: Herbal Heavyweight.
Mushroom with Potential
The maitake, with such other medicinal mushrooms as shiitake and reishi, historically has been eaten to promote general well-being and vitality. In the modern lab, however, scientists focus on the potent immune enhancing powers of maitake, which spotlight its cancer fighting potential.
Twenty years ago, maitake, Grifola frondosa, was an obscure, largely unavailable mushroom. A series of significant Japanese studies then catapulted it into prominence-and popularity.
Hiroaki Nanba, PhD, of the department of immunology at Kobe Women's College of Pharmacy on Kobe, Japan, and a leading international researcher on maitake, conducted the preliminary tests on the mushroom, demonstrating that it stimulates immune function and inhibits tumor growth.
In 1986, Dr. Nanba fed powdered maitake to mice injected with tumor cells; 86.3% displayed inhibited tumor growth.
Dr. Nanba and his colleagues went on to run additional mouse tests, finally reporting that this potent mushroom "directly activates various effector cells (macrophages, natural killer cells, killer T-cells, etc.) to attack tumor cells."
From then, maitake mushrooms were headed to fame as cancer ninjas.
Stoking The Immune Engine
Like other mushrooms, maitake is rich in complex polysaccharides, immunomodulators that successive tests after Dr. Nanba's have shown to be effective in cancer and AIDS treatment.
The polysaccharides in maitake have a unique structure, rendering them some of the most powerful to be studied (Chem Pharm Bull 1987:35:1162-8).
What makes maitake a particularly hot property is beta-D-glucan, its primary polysaccharide. Studies show that the body absorbs it readily, at which point it effectively stimulates interleukin-1, natural killer cells and macrophages, anti-tumor warriors that battle solid cancers (Chemotherapy 1990;38:790-6; also International Conference on AIDS, Amsterdam, 1992).
Effective And Safe
In addition to lab tests, trials on people have shown that maitake may offer powerful therapy against liver and stomach cancer (studies in China), breast and colon cancer (US research) and Kaposi's Sarcoma, the virulent cancer attacking AIDS sufferers.
Importantly, studies show that no side effects or interactions accompany maitake's efficacy.
Maitake fortunately has won the interest and enthusiasm of the scientific community. Currently, researchers at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, headed by Denis Miller, MD, are completing an exhaustive test of the anticancer and immunostimulatory actions of maitake on folks with advanced colorectal cancer. These investigators hypothesize that the polysaccharide beta-glucans derived from the fruitbody of maitake fight tumors and boost immune function. "Though it cannot be said that maitake ...[is] the cancer cure," said Dr. Nanba in his closing remarks at the Adjuvant Nutrition in Cancer Treatment Symposium in Tampa, Florida, in October 1995, "one can safely say that they do maintain the quality of life of patients and improve the immune system, resulting in the possible remission of cancer cells with no side effects."
More Bodily Benefits
Maitake maven Dr. Nanba also has tested-with strongly positive results-the effect of maitake on blood glucose, insulin and triglycerides in mice, whose levels of all three substances declined when they were fed the mushroom (H. Nanba working paper, Anti-Diabetic Activity by Maitake Mushroom, 1994).
With colleagues, Dr. Nanba showed that maitake lowered blood pressure in hypertensive rats (Chem. Phann. Bu//36:1000-1006,1988). Other studies suggest it may accelerate weight loss.
This admirable adaptogen (meaning it helps the body adapt to stress and normalize its functions) is water soluble and may be eaten in food or taken as a supplement. Vitamin C is believed to intensify maitake's beta-glucans and enhance their absorption.
It's not just what you eat that may help protect against cancer, but what you drink as well. Research from China and Japan, where tea is the everyday drink and rates of several cancers like breast and prostate are lower, may persuade you to turn over a new leaf in your own beverage choice. One of the first studies to spark interest in tea came from Shanghai (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, June 1, 1994), where people who drank two to three cups a day were found to have about a 60% reduction in the risk of cancer of the esophagus. The reason: tea leaves contain compounds called polyphenols, potent antioxidants.
In fact, in tests at the University of Kansas, three of these, known as catechins, far outshone the common antioxidant vitamins C and E. Clinical trials are just starting, but early results are encouraging. A team of Chinese scientists reported that in a third of people with precancerous mouth sores who drank three cups of a mixture of green and black tea the lesions shrank significantly.
Researchers at the Saitama Cancer Center in Japan found that green tea seems to improve the prognosis of breast cancer. They followed a group of women with early-stage tumors for seven years. Those who drank more than five cups of green tea a day were only half as likely to suffer a recurrence as patients who consumed fewer than four cups a day.
And at the University of Indiana, toxicologist James Klaunig found that the lungs of cigarette smokers who drank the equivalent of six cups of tea a day suffered 40 to 50 percent less damage from the toxins in smoke, potentially lowering their risk of lung cancer and other pulmonary problems. Simultaneously, research from Purdue University suggests tea's cancer-discouraging powers go beyond being an antioxidant. Scientists Dorothy and D. James Morre showed that a tea catechin dubbed EGCG inhibits a growth-promoting enzyme on the surface of many cancer cells-happily without affecting normal cells. And researchers at the Ohio State University College of Medicine found that EGCG counteracted another enzyme, urokinase, that helps cancer cells spread. To top it off, Mayo Clinic scientists recently showed that EGCG prompted prostate cancer cells to commit suicide (Cancer Letters, Aug. 14, 1998).
So far, most tea research has focused on green tea, and investigators agree it's more potent than the black tea most Americans favor. But because both kinds come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis (it's the processing that makes the difference as black tea is fermented, green tea isn't) both contain cancer-fighting polyphenols, just in different quantities. As long as the tea you drink (even decaffeinated) is fresh brewed, it's likely to provide some benefit; powdered and prepared teas probably don't. And adding milk may dilute the effect.
Astragalus Against Tumors
Astragalus, an herb commonly used in Asia to boost stamina, has impressed western doctors for its potential for helping people cope with chemotherapy. As John Diamon, MD, W. Lee Cowden, MD and Burton Goldberg point out in the Definitive Guide to Cancer (Future Medicine), "Astragalus appears to protect the liver against the harmful toxic effects of chemotherapy and may be effective in treating terminally ill liver cancer patients." (They cite a study in the Jrnl of Ethnopharmacology 1990, 30:145-149.) In addition, they point out, research in Japan supports using a ginseng-astragalus combination to improve the function of natural killer (NK) cells which can boost immunity (Japanese Jrnl of Allergy, 37:2, 1998, 107-114).
Other studies confirm astragalus' potential in fighting off cancer. Research at the General Hospital of PLA, Beijing, showed that flavonoids (pigments) in astragalus could help protect cell membranes from oxidative damage caused by ultraviolet exposure (Chung Kuo Chung Yao Tsa Chih, 21(12):746-8; 1996 Dec).
A study of laboratory animals at Cunma University in Maebashi, Japan, found that Astragalus could help preserve immune function against the harmful side effects of chemotherapy (Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih, 15(2):101-3, 1995 Feb).
Like a flame attracting moths, garlic bulbs have irresistibly drawn the attention of medical researchers. A study at Aarhus University, Denmark, found that skin cells in laboratory dishes treated with garlic supplements lived longer, healthier lives than untreated cells (Jrnl Ethnopharm, 1994. 43:125-133).
Meanwhile, a long list of research demonstrates that garlic's phytochemicals may fight tumors and reduce the carcinogenicity of the pollutants and chemicals that assault us daily. A study in China reported in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine showed that garlic helped slow tumors in lab animals (1983, 11:69-73). Another study in the Journal of Nutrition found that compounds in garlic could "suppress the growth of human colon tumor cells" (126, 1355-1361).
Added to those benefits, Robert A. Nagourney, MD, reports in the Journal of Medicinal Food (1:1, 1998, 13-28), garlic may "modify the carcinogenicity of foodstuffs." In other words, studies show that garlic can make chemicals in foods like pork less likely to cause your cells to become cancerous. (Ind J Physiol Pharmacol, 39:347-353).
DNA, the stuff that genes are made of, face constant threats from free radicals, caustic molecules that can alter cellular structure and possibly cause genetic mutations that lead to cancer. But research into what are called oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC), flavonoids (pigments) derived from fruits vegetables, grape seed extract and the bark of maritime pine trees shows that OPC may be able to shield DNA from injury.
In particular, studies of a grape seed extract called Activin have demonstrated this substance can help liver cell DNA escape a destructive process called peroxidation (FASEB, 11:3, 2/28/97).
In these experiments, Activin demonstrated the ability to inhibit the growth of tumor cells as well as slow the replication enzymes of HIV viruses. This protective ability proved to be more potent than that of vitamin C, beta carotene and vitamin E.
What does the future promise to reveal? Scientists believe that many unexamined plants probably contain undiscovered phytochemicals that hold great potential for helping us fight the cancer epidemic.
Certainly, if the next few years produce as many results as the past decade, the next millennium will witness a long line of cancer-prevention discoveries. Before long, you should be able to take advantage of these potent substances.
As you gulp your garlic, tip your tea cup, mull your maitake, acquire Activin and await your astragalus, you may meditate on what may soon be added to our growing anti-cancer arsenal. Undoubtedly, scientists with a botanical bent will be uncovering more coveted anti-cancer secrets before too long.
Cancer at the Millenium - the war on cancer entering its third decade...
June 13, 2005 10:23 AM
Cancer at the Millenium by Harriet Brown Energy Times, May 1, 1999
With the war on cancer entering its third decade, the necessity grows clearer for medical science to engage the enemy on several fronts. Until recently, high-tech medical weapons like vaccines and gene therapy, inspired by a flood of insights into the molecular basis of cancer, garnered most of the hope, hype, headlines and research money. The science was sexy and the prospect of a "cure" dramatic. But, today, advocates of prevention receive equal, if not greater, attention.
Improving our diets and prudently supplementing with vitamins and minerals, can deliver a major preventive impact. Contentious experts concede that at least a third (and probably more) of all cancers can be blamed on a combination of eating too much of the wrong foods and not enough of the right ones.
The Dietary Difference
Though cancer can progress rapidly once it leaps past its inception, it develops over many years and in several stages. Beneficial compounds in food and supplements may intervene along a line that runs from initial exposure to carcinogens to the final step into outright malignancy. Nutrients may: - counteract environmental poisons and the toxic byproducts of liver metabolism
The Big Picture The dietary guidelines advocated by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute (which generally coincide with those of most health organizations) may sound familiar: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Get lots of fiber. Limit fat, especially animal fat. Go easy on meat and avoid the cured variety (they contain nitrites). If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation. Watch your total calories, and your weight. Pretty straightforward stuff.
Carotenoids, as their name suggests, are orange and red pigments in fruits and vegetables, most notably carrots and tomatoes, although they're also in everything from sweet potatoes to spinach and brussels sprouts (in the latter their distinctive color is masked by green chlorophyll).
Lycopene, a carotenoid found primarily in tomatoes, displays double the free radical-fighting activity of beta carotene, the most widely studied carotenoid. Of 72 studies looking at consumption of tomatoes or tomato-based products reviewed in the February 1999 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, almost half showed a significant reduction in one or more of a variety of cancers.
Research shows that lycopene may be best at lowering a man's risk of prostate cancer. A 1995 Harvard Medical School study (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995; 87: 1767-76) queried nearly 48,000 male health-care professionals about their consumption of fruits and vegetables. The only foods that reduced their risk of prostate cancer were, apparently, tomato sauce, tomatoes, pizza (tomato paste). For those who ate ten servings a week, risk dropped 45 percent; with four to seven servings, 20 percent. In animal studies lycopene decreased the number and size of mammary tumors (Eleventh International Symposium on Carotenoids, 1996).
Tomatoes are one of the richest sources of lycopene. Cooking tomatoes helps by releasing the lycopene from the plant cell walls. Also, the oil in tomato sauce enhances absorption in the stomach. Lycopene is also available in supplements.
Wine drinkers rejoiced when resveratrol, a constituent of the skin of red grapes, was found to protect their hearts (by blocking oxidation of LDL cholesterol and discouraging blood clotting). Now they have another reason to toast this potent antioxidant. When researcher John Pezzuto at the University of Illinois at Chicago screened about 1,000 plants for anticancer activity, he came up with one whose active ingredient turned out to be resveratrol. In lab tests it squelched both free radicals and inflammation, two well-known cancer inducers (Science, 6/10/97). In a study with mice, resveratrol reduced the number of skin tumors by up to 98 percent compared to control animals. Because the effective doses were high (Pezzuto estimates a person would have to quaff about five gallons of wine a day to get the equivalent) and because more than a drink or two a day may raise the risk of breast cancer, researchers don't recommend nondrinkers take up wine. But supplements of synthesized resveratrol (as well as grape juice) may help.
Saturated fat is an authentic dietary villain. Aside from clogging arteries, it's a suspected contributor to several cancers, though the evidence is greater for some cancers (prostate) than for others (breast cancer)
Of the two other main categories of fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, mono seems benign, if not positively protective. For example, in a study of the influence of diet on breast cancer, Greek researchers discovered that women who consumed higher amounts of olive oil (which is mostly mono) were less likely to be afflicted with breast cancer (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995: 87; 110-116).
When it comes to polyunsaturated fats, however, things get complicated. The fat that predominates in corn, sunflower and other vegetable oils, called omega-6, has long been associated with cancer risk in animal experiments. Likewise the type found in margarines, trans fats, which are partially saturated vegetable oils. On the other hand, the omega-3 fats called EPA and DHA, which are found primarily in deep- and cold-water fish like cod, mackerel, and halibut, protect against both heart disease and cancer. In an epidemiological study covering 24 European countries, British researchers established that mortality rates for colon and breast cancers declined as fish and fish oil consumption rose (British Journal of Cancer 1996: 74; 159-64). And Finnish scientists discovered that the breast tissue of women who had breast cancer contained significantly less DHA and EPA than the breasts of healthy women (Nutrition and Cancer 1995: 24; 151-160).
Experts believe the omega-3s' anticancer effect derives from its ability to tamp down the prostaglandins that stimulate inflammation. Chronic inflammation unleashes a steady stream of free radicals, which can damage DNA and thereby trigger cancer. Omega-3s also help the liver detoxify potentially harmful substances.
Fortunately for the fish-phobic, nonmarine sources of omega-3 fats include flaxseed and hemp oils.
Minerals to Lower Cancer Risk
n Calcium: possibly protective against colon cancer. In a recent trial (New England Journal of Medicine, 1/14/99) researchers gave people with a history of precancerous colon polyps either two 600 mg calcium tablets a day or a placebo for nine months and found fewer polyps. n Selenium: powerful antioxidant and supporter of immunity. Researchers find that cancer rates in various regions is lowered when soil and vegetables contain more selenium
In a selenium-depleted area in China afflicted with one of the highest incidences of stomach and esophageal cancer mortality in the world, scientists asked different groups to take various combinations of nutrients. After five years they found a significant reduction in the cancer rate among those who had gotten supplements of selenium, vitamin E and beta carotene (Biological Trace Element Research 1985; 7: 21-29). In the U.S. researchers studying the potential effectiveness of selenium supplementation for preventing nonmelanoma skin cancers came up with a surprise. The 200 mcg a day the subjects received for an average of 4.5 years had no impact on skin cancer but did significantly cut the rates of lung, colorectal and prostate cancers (Journal of the American Medical Association, 12/25/96).
More recently Harvard researchers determined that men with prostate cancer had much lower levels of selenium in their toenails (a measure of consumption) than healthy men (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 8/119/98).
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kale, have long been singled out for their association with protection against cancer. In a 1996 survey of 94 population studies and clinical trials focusing on consumption of cruciferous vegetables, 67 percent showed a reduced risk, the strongest link being with lung, stomach, colon and rectal cancers (Cancer Epidemiological Biomarkers 1996; 5: 733-748).
Scientists at Johns Hopkins showed that sulforaphane, from these plants, stimulates enzymes that help detoxify carcinogens generated in the liver. When they injected rats with a cancer-causing chemical, only 26 percent of the rodents pretreated with sulforaphane developed mammary cancer, compared to 68 percent of controls. Even animals who did come down with cancer had tumors that appeared later and smaller.
Other researchers have focused on a cruciferous-vegetable compound called indole-3-carbinol, which has proved especially effective against breast cancer cells. Recently, scientists at the University of California at Berkeley found that indole-3-carbinol, rather than acting as an anti-estrogen, (as had been thought), actually stops breast cancer cells by turning off a protein critical to their replication (Jrnal of Bio Chem, 2/13/98). Consequently, when treating certain forms of cancer, some doctors have paired indole-3-carbinol with the chemotherapy drug tamoxifen - which counteracts estrogen - and found that the combination has proven more potent than either separately.
Several decades ago British physician Denis Burkitt proposed that the low incidence of colon cancer among native peoples in South Africa was attributable to the fact that their diet was rich in fiber. The fiber, it was hypothesized, bulked up the stool, speeding its passage through the bowel and reducing the time carcinogens contact its lining; it also helped neutralize cancer-promoting bile acids.
This concept has been backed up by numerous studies. Recently, Harvard researchers sprinkled cold water on this idea, finding that an examination of the eating habits of more than 80,000 female nurses, could find no protective effect against colon cancer or precancerous polyps from consuming fiber (NEJM, January 21, 1999). Most experts' take on this apparent refutation: Maybe the "high fiber" intake in this case wasn't high enough, and this is just one study among many.
Fighting Breast Cancer
Fiber has also been linked to reduced rates of breast cancer. At first it was thought that if fat was a breast-cancer culprit, fiber might just be a marker for a low-fat diet. But a look at Finland undermined that idea: Finnish women eat both a lot of fat and a lot of fiber, and their breast cancer rate ranks much below that in the U.S., (where we eat gobs of fat and little roughage).
Fiber helps take estrogen out of circulation as it passes through the liver, while the isoflavones in many high-fiber plants and vegetables are themselves weak estrogens, which compete for slots on breast tissue's estrogen receptors. The special fiber in flaxseed oil called lignans act against estrogen in two ways: by binding its receptors and by inhibiting the enzyme that converts other hormones into estrogen.
Fiber comes in two basic forms, insoluble (e.g., wheat bran, celery, the skins of fruits and vegetables) and soluble (e.g., oat bran, citrus fruits, beans). Until a few years ago, scientists believed that cancer protection came mainly from insoluble fiber, but that thinking has turned around.
A soluble fiber called citrus pectin has been shown to halt the tendency of prostate, lung, breast and skin cancers to metastasize, or spread (e.g., Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995; 87: 3448-353). Typically cancer turns deadly only when it gets into the bloodstream and invades new territory. Modified citrus pectin appears to stop this aggression by preventing cancer cells from attaching to healthy tissue.
While the name inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) sounds like a mouthful, many of us consume mouthfuls of this natural substance every day - in foods like corn, rice, whole-grain cereals, oats and wheat.
But now scientists have isolated IP-6 and found that this powerful antioxidant can slow the destructive cellular processes that lead to tumors. In a study published in Anti-Cancer Research (Nov/Dec 1998), scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine demonstrated that IP-6 could shrink liver tumors in laboratory animals.
The researchers believe that IP-6 can help prevent cancer and also be useful in lowering the risk of health problems like kidney stones and heart disease. Research like this continues to expand our knowledge of how to lower the risk of cancer. In the next millennium, with more and more information making its way into the media and onto websites, our power and the responsibility to reduce our risk of cancer will continue to grow and offer new possibilities.
Largest Human Clinical Study Confirms Aged Garlic Extract's Ability to Reduce Cancer Risk
June 09, 2005 05:26 PM
Largest Human Clinical Study Confirms Aged Garlic Extract's Ability to Reduce Cancer Risk Factors Presented at the 2005 World Garlic Symposium at Georgetown
Garlic has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Past research has established the significance of garlic and its healthful benefits. Recently new metabolic roles for garlic were presented at the Symposium, “Significance of Garlic and its Constituents in Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease” which was held at the Georgetown University Conference Center on April 9-11, 2005.
The conference brought together the world’s top authorities in various fields of garlic research to provide the latest updates, specifically regarding aged garlic extract and its actions in diseased states such as cancer.
One of the highlight presentations was on the biggest study ever conducted in the history of garlic supplementation, a 7 year long clinical study. The study was undertaken to determine aged garlic extract effects on stomach cancer and serous digestive problems that can lead to gastric cancers. It was performed through collaboration of National Cancer Institute (NCI) and leading Chinese researchers, who tested to see if aged garlic supplementation would significantly effect or reduce precancerous gastric lesions. The clinical study was double-blinded and randomized, with over 3,000 human subjects. It was led by Dr. Mitchell Gail at NCI and Dr. Wei-Cheng You at the Beijing Institute for Cancer Research.
Preliminary results of this study showed that people with the highest intake of allium-containing vegetables, like aged garlic, had only 40% of the risk of gastric cancers as those who rarely ate them.
Also from the Chinese study was another surprising finding: when researchers used aged garlic extract in combination with antibiotics to treat people with precancerous stomach lesions caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, 76% were completely healed. “It’s a very large and long-term study. We’re still sifting though the data, but we expect to report on it by the end of this year,” said Dr. Gail.
Another surprising presentation showed the results of several colon cancer studies reported from both Osaka and Hiroshima University in Japan. These studies clearly showed that the addition of aged garlic extract to cancer treatment was beneficial to colon cancer patients. Researchers found that those who consumed aged garlic extract experienced a reduction of the size and prevalence of tumors.
“Aged garlic extract has well-known antioxidant properties. The aging process eliminates garlic breath as well as those harmful properties, leaving only the antioxidants that protect against disease,” said cancer Symposium chairperson and lead UCLA researcher David Heber, M.D.
Almost 400 scientific studies have been completed on aged garlic extract, done in major universities worldwide. These studies have focused on a variety of heart disease risk factors such as cholesterol, high blood pressure, homocysteine levels, inhibiting LDL oxidation, anti-platelet aggregation and adhesion, stimulating blood circulation; in addition to other studies on immune stimulation, cognitive effects, liver function and anti-tumor effects.
The Latest Breakthroughs in Garlic Research on Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease
June 09, 2005 05:22 PM
The Latest Breakthroughs in Garlic Research
on Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease
Presented at the 2005 World Garlic Symposium
Many of the world’s top-level scientists gathered in Washington D.C. this week for the 2005 Garlic Symposium, entitled, “Significance of Garlic and its Constituents in Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease.” The conference provided current scientific information about the effect of garlic and its constituents on health and performance. The Symposium was held at the Georgetown University Conference Center on April 9-11, 2005.
“For the first time in seven years authorities in various fields of garlic research from all over the world to provide the latest updates, specifically regarding aged garlic extract and its actions in diseased states including heart disease and cancer,” commented Dr. Matthew Budoff, M.D. cardiovascular researcher at UCLA. “Garlic has been used medicinally for thousands of years in virtually all ancient cultures. Now, new metabolic roles for garlic are being proposed and there are many promising lines of research.”
Presentation highlights included:
Effect of aged garlic extract (AGE) has been tested in the placebo-controlled double blind randomized clinical study that determined that the atherosclerotic plaque burden detected by electron beam tomography (EBT) changed significantly with the use of aged garlic extract, Patients in Dr. Budoff’s study were able to significantly lower their total cholesterol, blood pressure, homocysteine and LDL cholesterol oxidation levels with aged garlic extract supplementation.
“Garlic is turning out to be a major player in cancer and heart disease prevention and control, especially in combination with drug treatments,” said Richard Rivlin, M.D. of Strang Cancer Prevention Center at Cornell. “It’s also showing us that we can start early. It’s madness to treat cancer and heart disease in their advanced stages. We need to start early and aged garlic extract is an excellent way to do that.”
Almost 400 scientific studies have been completed on aged garlic extract, done in major universities worldwide. These studies have focused on a variety of heart disease risk factors such as cholesterol, high blood pressure, homocysteine levels, inhibiting LDL oxidation, anti-platelet aggregation and adhesion, stimulating blood circulation; in addition to other studies on immune stimulation, cognitive effects, liver function and anti-tumor effects. .
PRECLINICAL PERSPECTIVE ON GARLIC AND CANCER. John A. Milner, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD 20892
Mounting evidence points to the anticancer properties of fresh garlic extracts, aged garlic, garlic oil, and a number of specific organosulfur compounds from garlic. These prevention characteristics arise through both a dose and temporal related change in several cellular events including those involving drug metabolism, immunocompetence, cell cycle regulation, apoptosis and angiogenesis. A block in carcinogen activation through modulation of cytochrome P450-dependent monooxygenases and/or acceleration of carcinogen detoxification via induction of phase II enzymes likely account for some of this protection. The block in preneoplastic lesions and/or tumors in several sites suggests a generalizable mechanism. The efficacy of water- and lipid-soluble allyl sulfur compounds against chemical carcinogenesis appears comparable, although more studies are needed. A shift in sulfhydryl groups, redox status or enzyme catalysis may account for some of the phenotypic changes. They may also account for the observed hyperphosphorylation of specific cell cycle related proteins and histone hyperacetylation; both of which have been correlated with suppressed tumor cell proliferation. Several forms of allyl sulfur compounds are effective in blocking cell division and inducing apoptosis, but notable differences in the efficacy among these various compounds and across tumor types are evident. While the expression of many genes and proteins can be influenced by allyl sulfides; the challenge is to determine which is responsible for a phenotypic change. Additional studies are needed with more modest exposures and over prolonged periods and that utilize transgenic and knockout models to assist in the identification of molecular targets. Finally, additional research is needed to identify sensitive “effect” and “susceptibility” biomarkers that can ultimately be used to identify responders from non-responders.
INHIBITION OF CORONARY ARTERIAL PLAQUE ACCUMULATION BY GARLIC. Matthew Budoff, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, UCLA School of Medicine, California, USA
Effect of Aged garlic extract (AGE) has been tested in the placebo-controlled double blind randomized clinical study to determine whether the atherosclerotic plaque burden detected by electron beam tomography (EBT) will change at a different rate under the influence of AGE or placebo. EBT can non-invasively quantitate the amount of coronary calcification and track atherosclerotic plaque over time. Nineteen of 23 patients completed the study protocol. The patients were well matched for age, gender, statin use and cardiac risk factors. Patients underwent EBT and blood testing at baseline, and then again after 12 months of randomization. The average change in the calcium score (Volumetric method) ± SD for the AGE group (n = 9) was 7.5 ± 9.4% over the one year. The placebo group (n = 10) demonstrated 22.2 ± 18.5% annual progression, significantly greater than the treated cohort (p = 0.01). While there were no significant changes in cholesterol parameters, or C Reactive protein between the groups, high density lipoproteins and plasma homocysteine in the AGE group demonstrated a trend toward improvement compared to the placebo patients. Thus, although this is a small-scale trial, it demonstrates the potential of AGE to inhibit the rate of atherosclerosis (progression of coronary calcium), as compared to placebo over one year. Larger studies need to be performed to assess this potential anti-atherosclerotic therapy and the impact on coronary events.
INFLUENCE OF GARLIC ON ENDOTHELIAL DYSFUNCTION IN HYPERHOMOCYSTEINEMIA. N. Weiss, N. Ide, T. Abahji, L. Nill, C. Keller, U. Hoffmann. Klinikum der Universität München, D-80336 Munich, Germany
Endothelial dysfunction (ED) due to decreased bioavailable nitric oxide (NO) by increased vascular oxidant stress plays a critical role in the vascular pathobiology of hyperhomocysteinemia (hhcy). Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) minimizes intracellular oxidant stress and stimulates NO generation in endothelial cells. We performed a placebo-controlled, blinded, cross-over study to examine whether AGE prevents macro- and microvascular ED during acute hhcy induced by an oral methionine challenge in healthy subjects. Acute hhcy leads to a significant decrease in flow-mediated vasodilation of the brachial artery as determined by vascular ultrasound, indicative of macrovascular ED, as well as a decreased number of recruited nailfold capillaries during postischemic reactive hyperemia as determined by videomicroscopy, and to a decreased ratio of acetylcholine (endothelium-dependent) vs. sodium nitroprusside (endothelium-independent) iontophoresis induced skin perfusion as measured by laser doppler flowmetry, indicative of microvascular ED. Preliminary results show that pretreatment with AGE for six weeks diminishes the adverse effects of acute hhcy on endothelium-dependent brachial artery vasodilation and on acetylcholine-induced stimulation of skin perfusion. Whether or not this is accompanied by changes in biochemical parameters of ED is still under investigation. It is concluded that AGE may at least partly prevent a decrease in bioavailable NO during acute hhcy.
David Heber, MD, PhD, FACP, FACN
Professor, UCLA Department of Medicine - Division of Clinical Nutrition, at the David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, and UCLA School of Public Health; Director, UCLA Center for Human Nutrition; Director, NIH Center for Dietary Supplement Research in Botanicals (CDSRB); Director, NCI-funded Clinical Nutrition Research Unit; Vice Chair, UCLA Collaborative Centers for Integrative Medicine; Member, UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
Matthew Budoff, MD, FACC
Matthew Budoff, MD, FACC, is an associate professor of medicine at the UCLA School of Medicine and program director for the Division of Cardiology, as well as director of the Electron Beam CT Laboratory at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, Calif. He completed his undergraduate work at University of California, Riverside, and earned his medical degree at George Washington University in Washington D.C. Dr. Budoff’s efforts to identify and modify risk factors for cardiovascular disease using electron beam CT have been extensively published. His latest research focuses on the progression of arteriosclerosis.
Mushroom Immune Defense - Scientific Immunity Formula
June 04, 2005 10:08 AM
The immune system is a fascinating and complex group of cells and biochemical processes. Its many components work to protect you from environmental threats—but your immune system requires nutritional support to function optimally. Scientific research is proving that some of the most powerful immune-supportive nutrients are found in mushrooms. People who realize the critical importance of optimizing immune function should seriously consider adding an advanced mushroom complex to their daily regimen. No other mushroom formula offers the high-potency, broad-spectrum benefits of Source Naturals MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE. MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE features 16 of the best-studied species of health-supportive mushrooms, including shiitake, reishi, and maitake. These mushrooms contain compounds, including beta-glucans, glycoproteins and polysaccharides, that support a wide range of immune defenses: natural killer cell, T-cell and macrophage activity, and cytokine production. By combining a wide variety of mushrooms and fortifying them with extracts to ensure high potency, MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE offers a biochemically diverse formula that provides optimum immune assistance.
How Do Mushrooms Work?
Mushrooms are a treasure trove of bioactive compounds, but most of their immunomodulating activities have been attributed to polysaccharides (long-chain, simple sugars) and glycoproteins (polysaccharides naturally associated with proteins). These compounds activate a variety of immune responses.
MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE contains mycelia (networks of fibrous filaments) and extracts from the widest variety of mushroom species available. Included are the following mushrooms, which have demonstrated the most evidence for immune defense. Shiitake (Lentinula edodes): Lentinan, the beta glucan from shiitake, has been studied more extensively than similar substances and may be one of the most effective immunomodulators. Numerous studies have shown its ability to stimulate natural killer cell, T-cell, and macrophage-dependent responses.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum): Reishi’s polysaccharides may stimulate macrophages and enhance T-cell proliferation, according to in vitro studies.
Maitake (Grifola frondosa): Maitake enhances the activities of natural killer cells, T-cells and macrophages, according to animal studies. MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE contains MaitakeGold 404™, a highly specialized maitake product, rich in beta-glucans, which is the only maitake betaglucan fraction endorsed by the world’s premier maitake researcher, Dr. Hiroaki Nanba, Ph.D. Turkey Tails (Trametes versicolor): These mushrooms have a long history of traditional use in Asia. One in vitro study suggests that its polysaccharides stimulate macrophages.
Almond portabella (Agaricus blazei): This mushroom may stimulate the immune system by increasing T-cell activity, according to animal studies.
Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis): Cordyceps came to international attention during National Games in China when, in one week, three women’s track and field world records were broken. The coach partially credited a cordyceps elixir. Cordyceps was found to augment antibody and other immune responses in one animal study, and a cordyceps polysaccharide was found to elevate cytokines in vitro.
MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE contains 10 additional mushrooms, including enoke, oyster, Polyporus umbellatus, and Poria cocos. Vitamin C is added to enhance absorption and activity.
Unparalleled Immune Support
A focus on immune support can pay tremendous dividends for your entire life. If you are dedicated to good health, you want a powerful formula on your side. Source Naturals is proud to join forces with your natural foods retailer to bring you an unparalleled immune formula: MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE.
Hot Flash - Eternal Woman - Help put a stop to menopause pains.
June 02, 2005 12:27 PM
MENOPAUSE. FOR MANY WOMEN THIS MILESTONE is often preceded by uncomfortable, if not alarming, physical upsets. Its debut marks a transition period that can actually begin at age 40. Called pre-menopause, it is characterized by powerful hormonal changes with wide-ranging effects on a woman’s bodily systems. Pre-menopause usually lasts 3 to 6 years – and hot flashes are the number one complaint. Source Naturals Eternal Woman™ Menopause Line is answering this need with Hot Flash™. This safe, natural phytoestrogen formulation was created specifically to help reduce the frequency of hot flashes and night sweats.
Estrogen stimulates, affects and balances hundreds of processes during a monthly cycle. When its level fluctuates, the body’s internal balancing act is profoundly influenced. During premenopause, the body vainly tries to compensate for estrogen loss by releasing luteinizing hormone in pulses from the pituitary gland. This causes wild changes in skin temperature, resulting in hot flushes and night sweats. Now there is a gentle way to lessen this bodily response to declining estrogen. The answer lies in specific botanicals. Certain plants contain substances called phytoestrogens that are structurally similar to estrogen. New research demonstrates these natural, estrogen-mimicking phytonutrients may help minimize the compensatory increase in luteinizing hormone. Source Naturals HOT FLASH may help minimize the reaction to estrogen loss. It is packed with key phytoestrogens found in soy and in herbal extracts of black cohosh, vitex, licorice root and dong quai.
Hot Flash supplies high potencies of phytoestrogens from soy (including the isoflavones genistein, daidzein and glycitein), which have been shown to lessen the effects of luteinizing hormone and reduce the frequency of hot flashes in clinical studies. In addition, the black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) extract in HOT FLASH is standardized to 2.5% triterpene glycosides, including 27-deoxyactein. This family of beneficial compounds also may help reduce the occurrence of hot flashes. Eternal Woman HOT FLASH. This remarkable combination of safe, gentle and natural phytoestrogens helps reduce the frequency of hot flashes – the number one pre-menopausal complaint. For the FREEDOM TO CHANGE™ naturally... choose HOT FLASH by Source Naturals.
Under-Reported (and Underappreciated) Cholesterol control.
May 12, 2005 10:00 AM
Under-Reported (and Underappreciated) Solutions for Cholesterol and Triglyceride Controlby Richard Conant, L.Ac., C.N.
Fat and human existence are inseparable. Setting aside the fear and loathing over fat in the body that pervades our culture, we understand that fat is our friend. We cannot live without fat.
The human body contains many different kinds of fats and fat-like molecules. Collectively known as "lipids" these fatty substances include fatty acids, lipoproteins, phospholipids, glycolipids, triglycerides, steroid hormones and the infamous, dreaded cholesterol.
Lipids (fats) are found everywhere in the body, performing a variety of vital functions. The brain is a fat-rich organ. Brain neurons and all other nerve cells are protected by a myelin sheath, made largely out of fatty material. Cell membranes consist almost entirely of phospholipids (lipids that contain phosphorus) arranged in a sandwich-like double layer embedded with proteins. Sex hormones are lipids, belonging to the group of complex lipid molecules known as "steroids." Vitamin D is a lipid.
The body stores and transports fatty acids in the form of triglycerides. A triglyceride contains three fatty acid molecules, which have a chain-like structure, linked to glycerol. (There are also mono- and di-glycerides, which have one and two fatty acid chains, respectively, attached to glycerol.)
Like many other things necessary to life, fat is a two-edged sword. Fat insulates us from the cold, cushions and protects our vital organs and serves as a storehouse for energy. Yet, when present in excess to the point of obesity, fat threatens health, happiness, self-esteem, social standing and longevity. The same is true of other lipids, most notably triglycerides and cholesterol. Transported throughout the body in the bloodstream, these essential lipids become a health liability when the blood contains too much of them.
Keeping fat in it its proper place, not eliminating or drastically reducing it, is the goal we should seek. In the blood, lipids must be maintained at healthy levels and ratios. When they are, an important foundation of good health is established.
How do we keep the blood lipids we need——triglycerides and the various forms of cholesterol——balanced at healthy levels? Diet and exercise are indispensable, these basics must come first. Along with the recommended dietary practices, a number of nutritional approaches offer help for maintaining healthy blood lipids. We will now give several of these a closer look.
In 1990, an herb used for centuries in the Far East was introduced to U.S. consumers. This herb, called "gum guggul," is proving to be one of the most effective natural cholesterol-lowering agents ever discovered. It also brings triglycerides down and raises HDL, the "good" cholesterol. The changes are substantial; gum guggul single-handedly normalizes the entire blood lipid profile, even in people with high starting levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
Gum guggul, also called simply "guggul," is a gummy resin tapped from the Commiphora tree. A cousin of myrrh gum, guggul has been used by Ayurvedic herbalists of India for at least 3,000 years; texts dating from around 1,000 B.C. mention the herb. Guggul was traditionally given for rheumatism and poor health caused by excess consumption of fatty foods. One ancient Sanskrit text describes in detail what happens in the body when blood fats are out of balance, due to sedentary lifestyle and overeating. The name of this condition has been translated as "coating and obstruction of channels."
Intrigued by the obvious similarity between "coating and obstruction of channels" and arteries clogged by fatty plaque, Indian researchers initiated a series of experimental and clinical studies in the 1960's to see if gum guggul would lower excess blood lipids.1 Both human and animal studies consistently showed cholesterol and triglyceride reductions.
Detailed pharmacological studies showed that guggul's lipid-lowering effects are produced by compounds in the resin called "guggulsterones."2 An Indian pharmaceutical firm then patented a standardized extract of gum guggul under the trade name "Gugulipid." The product contains a uniform 2.5 percent guggulsterones, which is higher than guggul resin in its natural state.
Because Gugulipid guarantees the necessary intake of guggulsterones needed for blood fat reduction, it has become the product used in clinical research. Phase I efficacy safety trials and Phase II efficacy trials have yielded more positive data.3,4,5 Most of the studies on gum guggul have used relatively small numbers of subjects; this tends to make mainstream medical scientists reluctant about natural remedies. A large, well-publicized double-blind Gugulipid trial on 400 to 500 people would go a long way toward giving this herb the credibility it deserves.
Another effective natural solution for blood fat control that should be better known is a relative of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). Pantethine is the active form of pantothenic acid in the body. Pantethine forms CoA, an essential co-enzyme for utilization of fat. CoA transports "active acetate," an important byproduct of fat metabolism that provides fuel for generating cellular energy. By promoting the burning of fats for energy, pantethine helps keep triglyceride levels down.6 Pantethine also helps regulate cholesterol production, by facilitating the conversion of fat into other lipid-based molecules needed in the body.6
Japanese researchers began studying the effect of pantethine on blood fats nearly twenty years ago. They reported their promising results at the Seventh International Symposium on Drugs Affecting Lipid Metabolism, held in Milan, Italy in 1980.7 Few in the medical or scientific communities took notice. Italian researchers followed up with several small clinical trials that confirmed the preliminary reports.6,8,9 An excellent cholesterol and triglyceride lowering agent that is safe and free of side-effects, pantethine remains, for the most part, ignored by mainstream science, although its usage is growing in alternative medicine circles. Pantethine it will no doubt prove to be one of the most important supplements for maintaining healthy blood fat levels.
When taken in high enough doses, niacin (vitamin B3) substantially lowers cholesterol. This has been known to medical science for many years.10 studies on niacin as a cholesterol-lowering agent go back to the 1950's. There was a fair amount of initial enthusiasm for niacin because it improves, unlike most lipid-lowering drugs, all parameters of the blood lipid profile. Niacin reduces total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. It also raises HDL cholesterol quite well. Interest in niacin has faded, in part because the necessary dose, 1200 milligrams a day or more, can cause flushing and gastrointestinal disturbances. Very high doses may be harmful to the liver if taken for too long.
There is a solution to the side-effect problem with niacin which, again, has failed to gain widespread attention. Inositol hexanicotinate is a flush-free form of niacin composed of six niacin molecules bonded to one molecule of inositol, another B-complex nutrient. Absorbed as an intact structure, inositol hexanicotinate is metabolized slowly, releasing free niacin into the bloodstream over a period of hours following ingestion.11 Inositol hexanicotinate has all the benefits of niacin for controlling blood fats. The flushing effect of ordinary niacin, which metabolizes much more rapidly, does not occur. Taking as much as four grams per day has not been reported to raise liver enzymes or cause other side-effects, but prudence dictates that people with liver problems should avoid very high doses of inositol hexanicotinate, or any form of niacin.12
We often think of vitamin E as synonymous with d-alpha tocopherol. Vitamin E is actually a whole family of compounds that includes various tocopherols and a group of lesser known but highly beneficial substances called "tocotrienols." All have vitamin E activity. Tocotrienols are similar in chemical structure to tocopherols, but they have important differences which give them unique and highly beneficial properties for human health.
Vitamin E is one of the most recognized antioxidants, nutrients that deactivate potentially toxic byproducts of oxygen metabolism known as free radicals. Vitamin E neutralizes peroxides, which result from the free radical oxidation of lipids, making it a key antioxidant in cell membranes. While d-alpha tocopherol has generally been regarded as the form of vitamin E with the strongest antioxidant activity, tocotrienols are even stronger.
The tocotrienol story is another example of a natural product slow to gain recognition. A Univeristy of California research team discovered that d-alpha tocotrienol is over six times more effective than d-alpha tocopherol at protecting cell membranes against free radical damage.13 In the presence of vitamin C, which recycles vitamin E-like compounds, its antioxidant activity is 40 to 60 times higher than d-alpha tocopherol. This study was published in 1991. Its safe to say few cardiac physicians know about tocotrienols, and we have yet to see 60 Minutes do a piece on "the powerful new form of vitamin E."
It would be a tremendous service to public health if they did, because the benefits of tocotrienols go far beyond their stellar antioxidant ability. Tocotrienols also lower total cholesterol and LDL, by impressive percentages. In one double-blind controlled study, tocotrienols reduced total cholesterol by 16 percent and LDL by 21 percent after twelve weeks. Another study recorded drops of 15 to 22 percent in total cholesterol along with 10 to 20 percent decreases in LDL levels.14 Now appearing on health food store shelves, tocotrienols are a health-protecting nutrients whose long overdue time has come. Derived from food oils such as palm oil and rice bran oil, tocotrienols have the same lack of toxicity as ordinary vitamin E.
1. Satyavati, G. Gugulipid: a promising hypolipidaemic agent from gum guggul (Commiphora wightii). Economic and Medicinal Plant Research 1991;5:47-82.
2. Dev, S. A modern look at an age-old Ayurvedic drug—guggulu. Science Age July 1987:13-18.
3. Nityanand, S., Srivastava, J.S., Asthana, O.P. Clinical trials with gugulipid. J. Ass. Physicians of India 1989;37(5):323-28.
4. Agarwal, R.C. et. al. Clinical trial of gugulipid—a new hypolipidemic agent of plant origin in primary hyperlipidemia. Indian J Med Res 1986;84:626-34.
5. 'Gugulipid' Drugs of the Future 1988;13(7):618-619.
6. Maggi, G.C., Donati, C., Criscuoli, G. Pantethine: A physiological lipomodulating agent, in the treatment of hyperlipidemias. Current Therapeutic Research 1982;32(3):380-86.
7. Kimura, S., Furukawa, Y., Wakasugi, J. Effects of pantethine on the serum lipoprotiens in rats fed a high cholesterol diet (Abstract) Seventh International Symposium on Drugs Affecting Lipid Metabolism, Milan, Italy, 1980.
8. Arsenio, L. Bodria, P. Effectiveness of long-term treatment with pantethine in patients with dyslipidemia. Clinical Therapeutics 1986;8(5):537-45.
9. Avogaro, P. Bittolo Bon, G. Fusello, M. Effect of pantethine on lipids, lipoproteins and apolipoproteins in man. Current Therapeutic Research 1983;33(3):488-93.
10. Crouse, J.R. New developments in the use of niacin for treatment of hyperlipidemia: new considerations in the use of an old drug. Coronary Artery Disease 1996;7(4):321-26.
11. Welsh, A.L. Ede, M. Inositol hexanicotinate for improved nicotinic acid therapy. International Record of Food Medicine 1961;174(1):9-15.
12. "Inositol hexaniacinate" (Monograph). Alternative Medicine Review 1998;3(3):222-3.
13. Serbinova, E., et. al. Free radical recycling and intramembrane mobility in the antioxidant properties of alpha-tocopherol and alpha tocotrienol. Free Radical Biology and Medicine 1991;10:263-275.
14. Qureshi, N. Qureshi, A.A. Tocotrienols: Novel Hypercholesterolemic Agents with Antioxidant Properties. in 'Vitamin E in Health and Disease' Lester Packer and Jürgen Fuchs, Editors. 1993; New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc.
Control Cholesterol with the following Supplements