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What is Fenugreek Seed and How Does It Boost Your Health?
July 07, 2011 11:16 AM
Fenugreek seed and your health
Fenugreek seed is a spice often added to curries and other Indian dishes. It is a good source of protein and nutrients. In folk medicine, it has been used in the treatment of pain and irritation characteristic of inflammation. It is historically utilized to promote lactation. More recent studies have shown that it displays antiviral properties. In particular, it has been tested in allaying symptoms of cold infections.
Trigonella foenum-graecum is a plant species that belongs to the legume family. As such, it has been cultivated as a vegetable even before the ancient times. It is believed to be an indigenous species of the Fertile Crescent, a historic region that comprises the modern countries Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria. To this day, it remains an important crop, herb, and food source in these countries.
Combats Diabetes Mellitus
Fenugreek seed has been the subject of scientific research in the past few years. Drawing on its use in traditional medicine, it has been employed in the management of blood sugar. It improves the effect of the hormone insulin in regulating glucose levels. In fact, it has shown great potential in treating both type I insulin dependent diabetes mellitus and type II noninsulin dependent diabetes mellitus.
Alters Blood Lipid Profile
The phytochemical content of fenugreek seed enables it to effectively lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Clinical trials have recorded changes in lipids present in the systemic circulation after intake of fenugreek seed products. It is now postulated that it blocks the metabolic pathway for the synthesis of low density lipoproteins or bad cholesterol. Some sources say that it raises good cholesterol levels.
Increases Milk Production
Fenugreek seed is rich in organic compounds that promote the secretion of milk products within the mammary glands of lactating women by as much as 900 per cent. Traditionally, the seeds are ground into powder and consumed in large quantities by pregnant women. Today they are made into capsules, which have been reported to display the same benefits and remain popular in the Indian subcontinent.
Relieves Viral Infections
There is a growing body of literature devoted to the putative antiviral properties of fenugreek seed. A number of researchers have attested that the seed displays biochemical activity that interferes with the replication of viruses. For instance, topical applications of fenugreek extracts have shown desirable results in removing viral skin conditions, and oral intake has been effective in easing the common cold.
Promotes Skin Health
Fenugreek seed is a natural conditioner and moisturizer. It promotes retention of moisture in the skin and protects the outer layer of the skin from irritants. It has been used as salves to wounds, rashes, boils, bruises, allergies, and insect bites. It is made into a syrupy mixture that is directly applied to the hair. It regulates the production of sebum in the hair follicles and helps control dandruff.
Grab some fenugreek seed and feel the difference!
Vitamin D And Calcium - Phosphorus Absorption
January 14, 2011 12:21 PM
The human body is indeed a very complex system that needs various vitamins and minerals to sustain its vigor and life. One of the essential vitamins that is a must for our body to have is Vitamin D. The function of the said vitamin would sound very simple but if you ponder it deeper you will realize that beyond the simplicity lies its true essence and use.
The most vital function of vitamin D is for calcium and phosphorous absorption for bone and teeth growth. Not only that, it also aids in regulating the use and consumption of both minerals. To simply elaborate the vitamin’s mechanism of action, here goes the explanation. Adequate intake of Vitamin D could help your body decipher whether phosphorous and calcium will be deposited into your bones or would be discarded out of your system. Hence, for individuals who do not have sufficient intake of vitamin D, they would find it difficult to maintain homeostasis of the two essential minerals- calcium and phosphorous.
As early as now, we have to do our best and engage in different ways and means on how we can ensure that our body is getting enough vitamin D. It has been stated in several medical literatures that with adequate exposure to morning sunlight for approximately twenty to thirty minutes or an hour depending on the person’s skin tone, the body could generate its own vitamin D. the explanation for the difference in the required exposure is based on the fact that individuals who have dark colored skin has undeniably more skin pigments that could filter ultraviolet rays.
Because vitamin D is responsible in maintaining the health of your bones and teeth, a deficiency with the said vitamin would lead to a condition known as rickets. Rickets is characterized by bone fragility caused by depletion of calcium and protein deposits in your bones. However, as the golden rule dictates, too much of everything is bad. So if you consume too much of vitamin D, there would be a high probability that it will cause you a problem in your kidneys, heart and other vital organs brought about by calcium deposits.
Vitamin D can be found on the array of foods that we eat. Some food groups that contain high and liberal amounts of vitamin D includes: butter, milk, cod liver oil, cream, yogurt, tuna and egg yolks. However, despite of their high content of vitamin D, extra caution must be employed in eating such foods for it contains high level of bad cholesterol that is very detrimental to one’s body which in the long run would bring you to an undesirable state of health. Another wonder that vitamin D brings is the capacity of slowing down the growing number of cancer cells and in preventing grave illness such as multiple sclerosis, psoriasis diabetes mellitus and arthritis.
Good Colon Health Is Essential To Feeling Good
July 21, 2010 02:55 PM
There was once a case of a young man who had felt sick for years. Although it was nothing intense, it was just enough to make him feel listless, tired, and depressed. His medical doctors prescribed him a list of medications, but nothing seemed to help. Eventually, he went to a chiropractor who was also trained in nutrition. After a few urine tests and an examination of his diet, the chiropractor was able to diagnose the man’s problem as auto-intoxication. This meant that his body was actually being poisoned by his intestinal tract.
Auto-intoxication, also known as intestinal toxemia, is a condition that is brought on by eating the wrong types and amounts of food that certain bacteria can thrive upon and produce toxins from. These toxins permeate into the bloodstream and are carried into the rest of the body. Symptoms of auto-intoxication include fatigue, nervousness, gastrointestinal conditions, skin diseases, headaches, endocrine and circulatory disturbances, and others.
The chiropractor placed the young man on a regime of low-protein, high complex-carbohydrate, low-fat foods, with the main emphasis being on raw fruits and vegetables. The young man felt great within a month. His symptoms had gradually disappeared. He states that it was frustrating to suffer for so long when the answer to his problem was a change in diet. The diet changes were not hard for him. After so long being sick, he was willing to try almost anything. He claims that the relief he feels today has made the diet changes worthwhile. The toxins which are formed and sent into the bloodstream are sent to the liver first, where some, but not all, of them are filtered out. They are then sent back into the bloodstream where they poison various cells. Finally, they are excreted by the kidneys into urine, making their presence able to be detected through a urinalysis.
A lot of medical literature has been published that supports the link between illness and intestinal toxemia. The following are just a few examples of this literature. One doctor studied 472 cases of allergies, with allergies clearing up when intestinal toxemia was eliminated. After 23 years of observation, another doctor stated that toxemia is the underlying cause of asthma. About 50% of all cases of inflammatory arthritis can be greatly helped by removing the toxins that are formed in the intestine. Similarly, about 25% of all cases of irregular heartbeats seem to respond well to the elimination of toxemia. Several hundred cases of ear, nose, and throat diseases were from auto-intoxications. A high protein diet that is combined with intestinal stagnation has been shown to cause toxemia of pregnancy.
It was found that many cases of eye disease respond well when the intestinal toxins are eliminated from the picture. Both mental and physical nervous system diseases may result form auto-intoxication. One paper reported that 517 cases of mental symptoms that ranged from mental sluggishness to hallucinations were relieved by eliminating intestinal toxemia. Recent research has actually found that toxemia is related to schizophrenia.
The process of aging is even sped up by toxins in the body. Low back pain and sciatica can be caused by nerves that are irritated by intestinal toxins. One doctor reported that intestinal toxemia is an important causative factor in the production of a variety of skin diseases. Breast diseases have self-healed when auto-intoxication has been removed from the picture. It seems that the answer to many health problems is building up the immune system with a healthy diet that is high in complex-carbohydrates, low in fats, and contains an abundance of fruits and vegetables.
Increasing fiber in the diet can help colon function and eliminate the compounds that cause auto-intoxication. Acidophilus can help restore the intestinal balance once the colon has been cleansed boosting digestion and immune health. Look to your local or internet health food store for quality colon support supplements.
Natural Remedies To Control Blood Sugar
June 17, 2010 01:32 PM
Diabetes has now been found to be the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and Canada. It is a chronic disorder of carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. The disease starts off as a variety of metabolic changes that are associated with hyperinsulinemenia and hyperglycemia. When this happens, Insulin Resistance Syndrome results, which is a precursor to actual, full-blown, diabetes. If left untreated, insulin resistance will develop into full-blown diabetes, which includes greatly magnified risks of heart disease, stroke, eye and kidney disease, and loss of nerve function. It should be noted that diabetes is the principal cause of adult blindness and limb amputation.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In this type of diabetes, the body either does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is crucial for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. The body breaks down all of the sugars and starches that you consume into glucose, while insulin takes the glucose from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into the cells, the cells may be starved for energy immediately, and high blood sugar glucose levels over time can cause damage to your eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart. Diabetes occurs in people of all ages and races, with some groups having a higher risk for developing it than others. Diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans, as well as the older aged population.
Non-insulin-dependent diabetes, also known as type 2 diabetes, is a disease that is strongly associated with a sedentary lifestyle and the modern western diet. Inadequate physical activity, along with a diet that is high in refined sugars, saturated fats, and proteins, and simultaneously low in dietary fiber has resulted in an obesity epidemic throughout the United States and Canada. With this epidemic has risen the prevalence of type 2 diabetes. In fact, obesity is a main factor in type 2 diabetes, with almost 90% of those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes being obese at the time of diagnosis. Although there is still a disagreement as to whether obesity actually causes type 2 diabetes or whether diabetes causes obesity, there is one thing that is clear: the disease involves a huge disturbance to the metabolic balance of the body and weight is a major factor in blood sugar management. This disturbance leads to dramatic consequences for the individual.
In order to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, it is crucial that one prevents the onset of insulin resistance. Unfortunately, millions of North Americans unknowingly suffer from this syndrome. This places them at an increased risk for cardiovascular and neurological dysfunctions. Research has shown that complications that are associated with the development of insulin resistance may be mitigated effectively by conscientious dietary and lifestyle changes along with weight loss.
Vitamins B3, B6, B12, C, E, biotin, coenzyme Q10, and the trace elements chromium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc are all crucial for proper blood sugar defense and metabolic support, as well as the regulation of glucose metabolism. Supplementation with these nutrients at levels that are determined to be suitable for optimal nutritional health by cited nutritional authorities is an important part of product-rating criteria. Nutritional experts ask themselves whether the product in question contains vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, biotin, coenzyme Q10, chromium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc at potencies that are up to 100% of the potencies for these nutrients in the Blended Standard.
Excess weight seems to be a key factor in type 2 diabetes so it seems to reason that reducing body fat can help one improve insulin sensitivity. Losing weight is no easy task but is possible with consistent work. Fortunately, heath food stores have vitamin formulas that may help improve insulin sensitivity, but this is no substitute for good clean eating and exercise. For additional information on these supplements, please contact your local health food retailer.
Antioxidants and your health
May 17, 2010 10:44 AM
There is an impressive amount of scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of supplementing with a wide variety of antioxidants. Consequently, there are many health practitioners who have begun to recommend high dietary intakes of these crucial nutrients in order to prevent against oxidative stress. It was anticipated over two decades ago by leading researchers that high-dose supplementation with antioxidants is developing a significant role in the prevention and treatment of a lot of today’s common illnesses. It should be noted that antioxidants do not work in isolation. When an antioxidant neutralizes a free radical, it, itself, is oxidized and must be regenerated by another antioxidant before it can be used again. Because of this, it is crucial to supplement with a wide variety of antioxidants, in order to reflect what actually occurs in nature.
Vitamin C, an aqueous-phase antioxidant, is the main guard against oxidative attack in the extra-cellular matrix, as well as within the cytoplasm of the cell. Vitamin C happens to be a substrate for eight different enzyme systems that are involved in various cellular functions. Among these functions are collagen synthesis, ATP synthesis in the mitochondria, and hormone biosynthesis. Its main antioxidant partners are vitamin E and beta carotene, both of which help to regenerate vitamin C.
Of all the antioxidants, it seems as if vitamin E offers the greatest protection against heart disease because of its ability to protect the cardiovascular system from oxidative damage. It is lipid-soluble, making it an important component of the cell membrane, where it works to protect the cell against lipid peroxidation and control oxidation-induced inflammatory events. Recently, the gamma tocopherol form of vitamin E has shown a great deal of promise in its ability to reduce the risk of several oxidative stress related disease.
Beta-carotene is a member of a diverse group of photosynthetic pigments. It plays a huge role in human nutrition. As an antioxidant, it possesses a double-bond structure that allows it to react effectively with single oxygen radicals, absorbing and diffusing their energy. Beta-carotene also acts as a precursor for vitamin A by supplying a portion of the body’s requirement for the vitamin. This act alone plays a central role in the chemistry of vision. Beta-carotene and vitamin A both prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, reduce oxidative damage to DNA, and disable oxygen free radicals that are produced by exposure to sunlight and air pollution. These antioxidants are also involved in the activation of gene expression and the control of cell differentiation.
When combined together, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene produce and important antioxidant trio that plays a huge role in fighting oxidative and inflammatory events. There are several other antioxidants that should be noted due to their ability to work synergistically with the vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene trio. These include vitamin A, alpha-lipoic acid, lycopene, coenzyme Q10, and the antioxidant mineral, selenium. In order to determine whether a nutrient provides antioxidant support, scientists question whether the product contains vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, beta-carotene, alpha-lipoic acid, lycopene, coenzyme Q10, and selenium and to what strength these vitamins and minerals are per serving.
August 22, 2009 11:54 AM
Buckthorn is a bitter herb that is used for expelling impurities. It has been used in Europe for hundreds of years as a potent laxative for purging the body. The Cherokee Indians used this herb as a cathartic. It was also used for skin problems. Nicholas Culpeper, a seventeenth-century herbalist, recommended using bruised buckthorn leaves to stop bleeding when it was applied directly to the wound.
The buckthorn plant is a genus of about one hundred species of shrubs or small trees that range from one to ten meters tall. These plants are native throughout the temperate and subtropical Northern Hemisphere. They are also found more locally in the subtropical Southern Hemisphere in parts of Africa and South America. Some species of this plant are invasive outside of their natural ranges. This species has both deciduous and evergreen plants with simple leaves that are three to fifteen centimeters long. The plant bears fruits which are dark blue berries. The name for this plant comes from the woody spine on the end of each twig in many of the species.
The berries of the buckthorn plant are the part used medicinally. They are collected when ripe. From them, a nauseous, bitter juice is obtained. From this juice, with the addition of sugar and aromatics, buckthorn syrup is prepared. When they are freshly gathered in autumn, the berries are about one third of an inch in diameter. A series of rich but fugitive colors is obtained from the dried berries. The berries were originally sold under the name “French berries.” If they were gathered before they were ripe, the berries would create a yellow dye that was formerly used for staining maps or paper.
This herb is a well-known and extremely powerful laxative. It is also helpful for cleansing the liver and gallbladder. Buckhorn works by stimulating the flow of bile from both the liver and gallbladder. If one takes buckthorn hot, it will produce perspiration and also lower a fever. When made into an ointment, this herb will help relieve itching. Some evidence of antitumor effects of buckthorn has been found. However, there is no recent research to prove the information. Many believe that future studies will prove that it is beneficial.
This herb should not be abuse. Be sure to follow directions in order to avoid gastrointestinal cramping. It is important to consult a health care professional before taking this, or any herb, in order to obtain optimum effects.
The bark, berries, and root of the buckthorn plant can be used to provide alterative, anthelmintic, antineoplastic, antirheumatic, bitter, blood purifier, diuretic, emetic, febrifuge, and mild purgative properties. The primary nutrient found in this herb is vitamin C. Primarily, buckthorn is extremely helpful in treating bleeding, chronic constipation, fevers, gallstone, gastric disorders, liver disorders, and lead poisoning.
Additionally, this herb is very beneficial in dealing with appendicitis, edema, gout, hemorrhoids, itching, parasites, rheumatism, skin diseases, and external warts. In order to obtain additional information on the many beneficial effects provided by buckthorn, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store.
Vitamins Herbs And Antioxidants
October 17, 2008 09:48 AM
Grilling meat over an open fire is something our ancestors have been doing for thousands of years. But people today who are indulging in chicken and cheeseburgers face a lot of concerns that our ancestors never even dreamed of. These include air pollutants and cancer-causing compounds. Research has proven that grilling meats creates two types of compounds that can lead to cancer. More so, both briquettes and lump charcoal spew hydrocarbons and soot particles as they burn, which encourage global warming contribute to many health problems. However, the majority of us cannot resist barbeque. So instead of dodging barbequed food, learn to grill without the guilt and fewer health risks.
Barbeque emissions are well below those from motor vehicles and the industry in rank, but its environmental effects are just as harmful given that burning charcoal contributes to smog and global warming. Lump charcoal is actually made from charred wood, which is a factor in deforestation. It can be compared to fuels that we use in furnaces and water heaters, such as oil, gas, and wood. Like these other fuels, charcoal produces soot when it is burned. These particles in soot are air pollutants and microscopic solids which are inhaled and deposited in the lungs. Particle pollution is associated with asthma, strokes, heart attacks, lung cancer, and reduced life expectancy. Once animal fat drips onto the flame of a charcoal or gas grill, carcinogenic compounds rise with the smoke and are deposited on the meat. Other harmful chemicals are then formed on the food as it continues to char. The more time the meat spends on the grill, the more harmful chemicals that are created. These compounds do not form on vegetables, as it is a reaction with animal-based foods that generates the harmful effects. However, any food that is over-charred contains other types of cancer-causing substances.
Grilling is a method of cooking that adds to the formation and deposit of cancer-causing substances on meat, as both substances deposited are undesirable and carcinogenic. The high heat of grill cooking produces more harmful chemicals than oven roasting or baking a lower temperature, but beef and chicken must both be cooked at temperatures high enough to destroy E. coli and other harmful bugs.
Because cancer risk is influenced much more by long-term patterns than occasional patterns, the goal is to have a diet that balances calories you take in with calories you put out, and to eat a diet containing many fruits and vegetables. Grilling less meat and more vegetables can reduce pollution on many levels. Also, vegetarian sources of protein, such as veggie burgers, contain few or no harmful chemicals when grilled. So for those summer days when a barbecue is irresistible, be sure to use natural charcoal, which is made from environmentally friendly wood sources and low-emission plant wastes.
Thankfully, all natural charcoals are chemical-free. In order to minimize cancerous compounds on the grill, cook at lower temperatures and flip meat every one to two minutes. Marinating meat or precooking it in a microwave for two minutes will also reduce hazardous compounds and carcinogenic compounds can be reduced by grilling lower-fat meats with fewer fat drippings.
By simply limiting the animal protein portion and making vegetables and grains a larger part of the meal, you can minimize the carcinogens and maximize your intake of cancer-protective vitamins and natural compounds. For most eliminating meat is undesirable, so supplementing with herbs and vitamins that help boost the immune system and act as antioxidants such as grape seed extract, vitamin c, and bioflavonoids can help the body fight off those nasty carcinogens produced from grilling.
Beyond Bran Fiber
December 25, 2007 08:35 AM
At one point in time, when you went to the health food store you usually only had choice of wheat bran, which is a good source of the insoluble fiber that helps your digestive system stay on track, or oat bran, which contains the soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol. Although both of these bran’s are still popular, as they have good reason to be, remaining excellent sources of dietary fiber, these days store shelves are gathering more and more fiber supplements ranging from encapsulated forms to powders and specialized to deal with a variety of health concerns.
Insoluble fiber has the ability to draw water into the intestines, preventing constipation and keeping waste matter from decaying within the body. However, it is the many types of soluble fiber that science has recently started investigating for health benefits. Part of soluble fiber’s value is closely related to its mechanical action, as it forms a thick gel within the digestive track that moves slowly to stop sugar from entering the body too quickly, therefore, helping to keep glucose levels down and carrying some fat and sugar out of the body completely. Additionally, when soluble fibers gel up it helps to reduce blood level cholesterol by trapping bile preventing the bile from doing its action (breaking down fats in the digestive tract so the body can absorb it). Unlike insoluble fiber, soluble fiber undergoes fermentation inside the colon to produce fatty acids that do a little bit of everything, including: helping the body digest food, protecting against polyps, stimulating immunity, increasing mineral absorption, and helping to keep cholesterol and glucose levels in check.
Soluble fiber is getting large amounts of research reviews. One study concluded that people who ate the least fiber are 63% more likely to have high levels of CRP (C-reactive protein). CRP is an inflammation marker that is associated with cardiovascular risk. Another study proved that flax seed improved glucose control. Another fiber source, psyllium, has been shown to bring relief to people with Chron’s disease, an inflammatory intestinal disorder.
Flax seed and psyllium are two of the best known types of soluble fiber available, but there are other types that aren’t as well known. Others including arabinogalactan (AG) have been shown to have a special affinity for natural killer cells. Beta-glucans are another form of fiber that can help boost immunity. Lignans, which are found in flax, have been shown to cause lower breast-cancer rates. Fenugreek is a spice that is rich in galactomannan, a heart-healthy fiber. Some fiber formulations pair up different kinds of fiber with complementary herbs. An example of this is Garcinia cambogia and Gymnema sylvestre, which can be used for glucose control; or astragalus, Echinacea, olive leaf, and shiitake to assist the immune system. Some supplements even provide natural enzymes which help prevent bloating.
It is, of course, important to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. However, thanks to supplementation that is designed specifically for certain health concerns, it has become much easier to find the additional fiber that is needed by your body, no matter what kind of fiber that is. A large selection of fiber bran supplements can be found at your local or internet health food store.
Supreme Court Refused Ephedra Appeal…
May 17, 2007 01:39 PM
Supreme Court Refused Ephedra Appeal…The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider an appeal by Nutraceutical International Corporation, which sought to overturn a federal ban on the dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids. The court’s decision, issued without comment, lets stand a 2005 ruling by a federal appeals court that upheld the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) 2004 ban. David Seckman, executive director and CEO of the Natural Products Association commented on the refusal. “Obviously we were concerned about the consequences of the circuit court’s ruling on the risk benefit standard the FDA used in removing ephedra from the market, which is why we filed our amicus brief. As we clearly stated in the brief, we believe congress did not intend for such a standard to be used. But, since the Supreme Court decides to take up only between five and ten percent of cases brought to it, it is not a shock that they’ve decided not to hear it. We should note, however, that the denial of the Nutraceutical petition is not an affirmation by the Supreme Court that they agree with the lower court’s decision,” Seckman said. In April, the Natural Products Association had filed a “friend of the court” or amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court that challenged the lower court ruling on the standard used by the FDA to impose a 2004 ban on ephedrine alkaloids in dietary supplements.
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Allibiotic CF Fact Sheet
December 07, 2005 01:37 PM
Allibiotic CF Fact SheetNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 03/09/05
LIKELY USERS: People seeking support of the immune system and intestinal flora
KEY INGREDIENTS: Allicin (“AlliSure” patented, stabilized allicin from fresh garlic); Olive Leaf Extract (Olea Europaea with 18% minimum Oleuropein content); Elderberry extract, from fruit/berry, 60:1 concentrate (equivalent to 2,500 mg. of fresh berries of Sambucus nigra); Oil of Oregano (wild oregano from Origanum vulgare) ImmunEnhancer AG (trademarked Arabinogalactan from Larch Tree, Larix occidentalis)
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: AlliSure is the clinically tested, patented and stable form of allicin. Not allicin potential, but actual allicin. Allicin represents the immune supporting nutrients of raw garlic, and is chemically similar to penicillin, though with different physical properties. AlliSure shares garlic’s abilities to help maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and also has been shown to raise levels of a key T cell to enhance immune system function. Like raw garlic, AlliSure has antimicrobial properties linked to its ability to react with sulfur-containing metabolic enzymes. Allicin is also shown in studies to play a role in controlling blood sugar and abnormal cell growth.
Black Elderberries have strong antioxidant properties, containing flavonoids like anthocyanidins. They have been studied in relation to inhibition of viral replication and of minor inflammations.
Olive Leaf has been used as an antioxidant, cholesterol and blood viscosity regulator, and vasodilator. But its most important use has been as a way to help the body deal with undesirable organisms in the vital respiratory and intestinal areas.
Oil of Oregano (wild oregano, wild marjoram) contains carvacrol and thymol, which are responsible for much of its antimicrobial activities. It also has some anti-inflammatory effects.
Arabinogalactan from Larch tree bark (ImmunEnhancer AG) can help speed the immune system’s response to undesirable organisms and is often compared to Echinacea. It has also been shown to promote the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria.
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT INFORMATION: Patented and trademarked ingredients enhance quality controls and have clinical research. Rosemary Oil provides antioxidant protection for the capsule contents. Enteric coating protects the capsule from stomach acid to deliver its contents past the stomach. This helps to assure full potency and reduces the possibility of the oils repeating.
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: One softgel twice daily, preferably with meals. Try one before using the full dose.
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: Probiotics, Antioxidants, D-Flame
CAUTIONS: Pregnant & lactating women, children and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. Discontinue use if any uncomfortable side effects occur. This information is based on my own knowledge and references, and should not be used as diagnosis, prescription or as a specific product claim.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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Elkayam A, Mirelman D, Peleg E, Wilchek M, Miron T, Rabinkov A, Oron-Herman M, Rosenthal T. The effects of allicin on weight in fructose-induced hyperinsulinemic, hyperlipidemic, hypertensive rats. Am J Hypertens. 2003 Dec;16(12):1053-6. PMID: 14643581
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Hirsch K, Danilenko M, Giat J, Miron T, Rabinkov A, Wilchek M, Mirelman D, Levy J, Sharoni Y. Effect of purified allicin, the major ingredient of freshly crushed garlic, on cancer cell proliferation. Nutr Cancer. 2000;38(2):245-54. PMID: 11525603
Patya M, Zahalka MA, Vanichkin A, Rabinkov A, Miron T, Mirelman D, Wilchek M, Lander HM, Novogrodsky A. Allicin stimulates lymphocytes and elicits an antitumor effect: a possible role of p21ras. Int Immunol. 2004 Feb;16(2):275-81. PMID: 14734613
Rabinkov A, Miron T, Mirelman D, Wilchek M, Glozman S, Yavin E, Weiner L. S-Allylmercaptoglutathione: the reaction product of allicin with glutathione possesses SH-modifying and antioxidant properties. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2000 Dec 11;1499(1-2):144-153. PMID: 11118647
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Sela U, Ganor S, Hecht I, Brill A, Miron T, Rabinkov A, Wilchek M, Mirelman D, Lider O, Hershkoviz R. Allicin inhibits SDF-1alpha-induced T cell interactions with fibronectin and endothelial cells by down-regulating cytoskeleton rearrangement, Pyk-2 phosphorylation and VLA-4 expression. Immunology. 2004 Apr;111(4):391-9. PMID: 15056375
Shadkchan Y, Shemesh E, Mirelman D, Miron T, Rabinkov A, Wilchek M, Osherov N. Efficacy of allicin, the reactive molecule of garlic, in inhibiting Aspergillus spp. in vitro, and in a murine model of disseminated aspergillosis. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2004 May;53(5):832-6. Epub 2004 Mar 24. PMID: 15044429
Tsai Y, Cole LL, Davis LE, Lockwood SJ, Simmons V, Wild GC. Antiviral properties of garlic: in vitro effects on influenza B, herpes simplex and coxsackie viruses. Planta Med. 1985 Oct;(5):460-1. PMID: 3001801
Uchida Y, Takahashi T, Sato N. [The characteristics of the antibacterial activity of garlic (author's transl)] Jpn J Antibiot. 1975 Aug;28(4):638-42. PMID: 1099271
Yasuo Yamada and Keizô Azuma. Evaluation of the In Vitro Antifungal Activity of Allicin. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1977 April; 11(4): 743–749.
Duke JA. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1985, 423.
Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C, et al. (eds). PDR for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics, 1998, 1116–7.
Mascolo N, Autore G, Capasso G, et al. Biological screening of Italian medicinal plants for anti-inflammatory activity. Phytother Res 1987;1:28–31.
Murkovic M, Abuja PM, Bergmann AR, et al. Effects of elderberry juice on fasting and postprandial serum lipids and low-density lipoprotein oxidation in healthy volunteers: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Eur J Clin Nutr. Feb2004;58(2):244-9.
Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 104–5.
Yesilada E. Inhibitory Effects of Turkish Folk Remedies on Inflammatory Cytokines: Interleukin-1Alpha, Interleukin-1Beta and Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha. J Ethnopharmacol. Sept1997;58(1):59-73. Youdim KA, Martin A, Joseph JA. Incorporation of the elderberry anthocyanins by endothelial cells increases protection against oxidative stress. Free Radical Biol Med 2000;29:51–60.
Zakay-Rones Z, Varsano N, Zlotnik M, et al. Inhibition of several strains of influenza virus in vitro and reduction of symptoms by an elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L.) during an outbreak of influenza B Panama. J Alt Compl Med 1995;1:361–9.
OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT:
American Herbal Products Association. Use of Marker Compounds in Manufacturing and Labeling Botanically Derived Dietary Supplements. Silver Spring, MD: American Herbal Products Association; 2001.
Bennani-Kabchi N, et al. Effects of Olea europea var. oleaster leaves in hypercholesterolemic insulin-resistant sand rats. Therapie. Nov1999;54(6):717-23.
Bisignano G, et al. On the in-vitro antimicrobial activity of oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol. J Pharm Pharmacol. Aug1999;51(8):971-4. Gonzalez M, et al. Hypoglycemic activity of olive leaf. Planta Medica. 1992;58:513-515. Visoli F, et al. Oleuropein protects low density lipoprotein from oxidation. Life Sciences. 1994;55:1965-71. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd edition. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000:557.
Petroni A, et al. Inhibition of platelet aggregation and eicosanoid production by phenolic components of olive oil.Thromb Res. Apr1995;78(2):151-60. Pieroni A, et al. In vitro anti-complementary activity of flavonoids from olive (Olea europaea L.) leaves. Pharmazie. Oct1996;51(10):765-8. Zarzuelo A, et al. Vasodilator effect of olive leaf. Planta Med. Oct1991;57(5):417-9. OREGANO OIL (OIL OF OREGANO, WILD OREGANO, WILD MARJORAM):
Dorman HJ, et al. Antimicrobial agents from plants: antibacterial activity of plant volatile oils. J Appl Microbiol. Feb2000;88(2):308-16. Force M, et al. Inhibition of enteric parasites by emulsified oil of oregano in vivo. Phytother Res. May2000;14(3):213-4.
Hammer KA, Carson CF, Riley TV. Antimicrobial activity of essential oils and other plant extracts. J Appl Microbiol 1999;86:985–90.
Kelm MA, Nair MG, Strasburg GM. Antioxidant and Cyclooxygenase Inhibitory Phenolic Compounds from Ocimum sanctum Linn. Phytomedicine. Mar2000;7(1):7-13. Lamaison JL, et al. Medicinal Lamiaceae with antioxidant properties, a potential source of rosmarinic acid. Pharm Acta Helv. 1991;66(7):185-8.
Ponce MM, Navarro AI, Martinez GMN, et al. In vitro effect against Giardia of 14 plant extracts. Rev Invest Clin 1994;46:343–7 [in Spanish].
Stiles JC, Sparks W, Ronzio RA. The inhibition of Candida albicans by oregano. J Applied Nutr 1995;47:96–102.
Tantaoui EA, Beraoud L. Inhibition of growth and aflatoxin production in Aspergillus parasiticus by essential oils of selected plant materials. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol 1994;13:67–72. ImmunEnhancer AG (Larch tree Arabinogalactan)
Corado J, et al. Impairment of Natural Killer (NK) Cytotoxic Activity in Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infection. Exp Immunol. 1997;109:451-457. Currier NL, Lejtenyi D, Miller SC. Effect over time of in-vivo administration of the polysaccharide arabinogalactan on immune and hemopoietic cell lineages in murine spleen and bone marrow. Phytomedicine. 2003 Mar;10(2-3):145-53. PMID: 12725568
Egert D, et al. Studies on Antigen Specificity of Immunoreactive Arabinogalactan Proteins Extracted from Baptisia tinctoria and Echinacea purpurea. Planta Med. 1992;58:163-165. Gonda R, et al. Arabinogalactan Core Structure and Immunological Activities of Ukonan C, An Acidic Polysaccharide from the Rhizome of Curcuma longa. Biol Pharm Bull. 1993;16:235-238. Hagmar B, et al. Arabinogalactan Blockade of Experimental Metastases to Liver by Murine Hepatoma. Invasion Metastasis. 1991;11:348-355. Kelly GS. Larch arabinogalactan: clinical relevance of a novel immune-enhancing polysaccharide. Altern Med Rev. 1999 Apr;4(2):96-103. Review. PMID: 10231609
Kim LS, Waters RF, Burkholder PM. Immunological activity of larch arabinogalactan and Echinacea: a preliminary, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Altern Med Rev. 2002 Apr;7(2):138-49. PMID: 11991793
Levine PH, et al. Dysfunction of Natural Killer Activity in a Family With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Clin Immunol Immunopathol. 1998;88:96-104. Robinson RR, Feirtag J, Slavin JL. Effects of dietary arabinogalactan on gastrointestinal and blood parameters in healthy human subjects. J Am Coll Nutr. 2001 Aug;20(4):279-85. PMID: 11506055
Rolfe RD. The Role of Probiotic Cultures in the Control of Gastrointestinal Health. J Nutr. Feb2000;130(2S Suppl):396S-402S.
Salyers AA, Vercellotti JR, West SE, Wilkins TD. Fermentation of mucin and plant polysaccharides by strains of Bacteroides from the human colon. Appl Environ Microbiol. 1977 Feb;33(2):319-22. PMID: 848954
Uchida A. Therapy of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Nippon Rinsho. 1992;50:2679-2683.
What is cat’s claw?
November 11, 2005 05:30 PM
Q. What is cat’s claw?
A. Cat’s claw might be one of the most confusing (and most effective!) nutritional supplements available in health food stores today-with some fairly good reasons.
First, its mere name can be bewildering. Currently, there are at least 16 plants in the world that are called cat’s claw. Sometimes these plants are referred to as “Una de Gato”, Spanish for cat’s claw. While Uncaria tomentosa is the Latin name of the plant most frequently sold as cat’s claw supplements, these products vary vastly. Some cat’s claw nutritional supplements contain cat’s claw bark, some contain cat’s claw stems, and others contain compounds from the leaves of cat’s claw. All of these claim to help the immune system.
However, it is the root of Uncaria tomentosa that actually contains the true cat’s claw health benefits. Scientists, who have extensively studied every part of the plant, discovered that only extracts made from cat’s claw root possess the healing power to treat and prevent disease. While it would seem that this vital understanding might help clear up some cat’s claw confusion, not all Uncaria tomentosa roots actually contain healing properties.
To determine which cat’s claw roots do have healing properties, we have to go to the rainforests of Peru. This is where Uncaria tomentosa thrives. It’s a woody vine that’s found at the base of tall trees in the rainforests. As the plant grows, it winds up and around the tree, attaching itself to the trunk with curved cat-like claws found at the junctions of its leaves. The Ashaninka Indians, who make these rainforests their home, have used the roots of the cat’s claw plant for thousands of years to cure illness and maintain health in the tribe.
Healers in the Ashaninka tribe attribute the healing properties in cat’s claw to the “good sprits” that live in the plant’s roots. In order to obtain these healing properties, the correct cat’s claw root must first be harvested. The Ashaninka healers know which cat’s claw to use; they can actually “see” the good spirits hidden inside the root of the plant before they collect them. Some cat’s claw plant roots have the good spirits. Some cat’s claw plant roots don’t. If the cat’s claw root with good spirits is mixed with any cat’s claw root without good spirits, the healing power is lost. While there are no visible differences in the plants or the roots, only certain cat’s claw roots possess the power to heal. And, only the Ashaninka tribal healers seem to be able to see them.
Amazingly, however, scientists who were given cat’s claw roots by the Ashaninka to study in the laboratory discovered that they were able to “see” the good spirits, too! Using high performance liquid chromatography, or HPLC, a laboratory process that identifies various chemical compounds, the good spirits of cat’s claw roots were revealed to actually be important medicinal compounds, called pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids (or POAs).
At the same time, the scientists studying cat’s claw found they could “see” the non-healing properties as well. Again, using HPLC, they also discovered the presence of tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids (or TOAs) in certain cat’s claw roots. While the POAs have very powerful effects in the immune system, the TOAs have different effects in the body, none of which help the immune system cells at all.
And, if the TOAs and POAs are mixed together (as, so often happens in the vast majority of cat’s claw products), the resulting product is useless to healing and health. The TOAs cancel out the action of the POAs, making the cat’s claw root extract ineffective. Even as little as 1% TOA content can cause POAs to lose their ability to beneficially modulate the immune system.
This means that cat’s claw supplements that contain only POAs (in other words, cat’s claw that is 100% TOA-free) from the root of the plant will provide powerful effects in the immune system.
Skin Eternal #1 Skin Care Line – Source Naturals
November 04, 2005 09:16 AM
Skin Eternal #1 Skin Care Line – Source Naturals
November is National Skin Health Month! It’s also a time of year when exposure to stormy winter weather and overheated rooms can play havoc with skin. Source Naturals #1 Skin Eternal line can help nourish and recondition dry, chapped and irritated skin.
Source Naturals Skin Eternal skin care products in Whole Foods magazines annual Natural Choice Awards for two years in a row!
Skin Eternal products enhance skin tissue with breakthrough ingredients that go deep to the cellular level to recharge and revitalize delicate skin. These include alpha lipoic acid, CoQ10, vitamin C ester, DMAE, plus a wide variety of nutrients and plant extracts. This premier line includes luxurious cosmetic products as well as supplements that support healthy skin from the inside out.
All SAM-e supplements are not created equal
October 26, 2005 12:41 PM
All SAM-e supplements are not created equal
During the manufacture of SAM-e, two forms are produced known as the S,S and the R,S isomers. The S,S isomer is the biologically active form in the human body, whereas the R,S form is considered to be inactive. Double Strength SAMe 400 utilizes Italian SAM-e to yield the highest available percentage of the active pure S,S form on the market. Double Strength SAMe 400 contains an average of nearly 80% of the active S,S form. Other SAM-e products contain as little as only 50% of the active form. A higher content of the active form yields a more potent product.
The molecule SAM-e itself is highly unstable. It will degrade quickly in conditions of heat, light and moisture. To increase its stability, it must be formed into a salt. It is important to note that SAM-e used for dietary supplements exists in a number of salt forms. Double Strength SAMe 400 utilizes the SAM-e tosylate disulfate salt form. This salt has been the most extensively utilized form in clinical trials of SAM-e.
Because of the unstable nature of pure SAM-e it is also highly susceptible to degradation in an acidic environment like the stomach. To be utilized effectively, it must pass through the stomach for absorption in the small intestine. For this reason, only enteric-coated formulas should be used. Double Strength SAMe 400 tablets are enteric-coated to maximize the utilization and benefit of the SAM-e by the body.
Enhances Mood and Neural Function*
SAM-e has been studied for decades now for its potential role in enhancing mood and supporting healthy neural metabolism. In a double-blind placebo trial published in 1976, 30 individuals were given either SAM-e intramuscular injections (15 mg three times daily) or placebo. Individuals were assessed for improved mood and affect. It was found that 100% of patients in the SAMe group showed significant improvements in mood, while only 30% of the placebo group showed any improvement.1 The improvement seen with SAM-e in this trial was rapid, with a response time of between 4 and 7 days.
A second Italian double-blind placebo controlled study was published in 1987. Again, individuals showing signs of decreased affect and mood were administered 200 mg SAM-e as daily intramuscular injections, or a placebo, for four weeks. Each group consisted of 20 patients, with all medial and laboratory results being normal. Rating scales were used to monitor changes and the authors found that the treatment with SAM-e was significantly superior to placebo and was very well tolerated.2
Researchers had known that SAM-e injections showed benefit in mood enhancement based on the results of multiple clinical trials. However, with injections, chronic administration is always challenging. For this reason, oral doses are superior in terms of ease of administration. Studies were conducted to assess the efficacy of oral SAM-e preparations. One such study was published in 1990.
In this double-blind placebo-controlled trial, individuals were given increasing doses of SAM-e from 200 mg to 800 mg twice daily, or placebo, over the 21 day period of the trial. In the placebo group, one of the six individuals showed an enhancement of mood of 50% according to the rating scales, whereas 6 of the 9 individuals given the oral SAM-e showed a 50% or greater improvement in mood and affect.3 It was concluded that oral SAM-e, like SAM-e injections, can significantly enhance mood without significant side effects.
Another double-blind placebo controlled trial looked at the effects of administering 1600 mg of SAM-e, or placebo, daily to 80 women aged between 45 and 59. The administration took place for 30 days, after which the women were assessed for improvements. Rating scales were administered at 10 and 30 days. SAM-e supplementation significantly enhanced mood and affect in the women compared to placebo administration.4 SAM-e was also seen to be well tolerated, as three women in the placebo group and two women in the SAM-e group complained of minor side effects which did not interfere with continuation of treatment.
From kids to grownups, there’s a formula for everyone.
October 24, 2005 08:21 AM
The Mighty Multivitamin From kids to grownups, there’s a formula for everyone.
What’s the top-seller in the supplement world, year after year? You guessed it-the humble multivitamin/ multimineral. Millions of people start their day with multis to help ensure they get all the necessary nutrients that eat-and-run dining doesn’t always provide.
The praise bestowed on multis by the lab-coat crowd is richly deserved. In one study, people who took a multivitamin every day didn’t get as many infections, including reparatory and urinary bugs, as those taking placebos (look-alikes).
Harvard scientists fond that adding a multivitamin to a high-produce diet helps the body fend off such common dangers as heart disease and cancer. Swedish multi takers enjoyed reductions in heart attack rates (21% among men, 33% among women); this effect was not tied to such overall health habits as plentiful produce consumption and adequate exercise. And the American Cancer Society reports that long-term multivitamin use has been linked to a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.
No wonder so many people see multis as a nutritional no-brainer. As a report from the Council for Responsible Nutrition puts it, “Supplements are a proven bridge between what we should eat and what we actually eat.”
Committed to supporting independent health food retailers
October 21, 2005 08:10 AM
Committed to supporting independent health food retailers
“How do we Justify taking on another line of products?”
Eliminating slow-moving items is a great way to make room for NOW’s line of affordable high-quality products. Your bottom line cant afford to have shelves full of products that do nothing but collect dust. Our commitment to providing products that people actually want at prices that they can afford will help you overcome this common hurdle.
Selenium for Prostate
October 18, 2005 09:35 AM
Selenium - There have been many studies showing a direct connection between selenium and prostate cancer, and most nutritionist agree, it’s hard to get enough of it on a daily basis without taking a nutritional supplement. In the now famous Clark Study, a 63% reduction in prostate cancer was found in men who received 200 micrograms of selenium from a selenium-enriched yeast containing mostly seleniumethionine. The conclusion? Eat more tuna, Brazil nuts, and sunflower seeds, and to guard against gaps in your diet, take a daily supplement containing 200 micrograms (MCG) of selenium from selenium-enriched yeast or seleniumethionine!
Another Study conducted at Stanford University found that low plasma selenium is associated with a four to five-fold increase of prostate cancer. These results support the hypothesis that supplemental selenium may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. And because plasma selenium decreases with patient age, supplementation is particularly beneficial to older men.
Road Runner's Choice
October 05, 2005 04:46 PM
While researching the Aloe Vera Plant in Mexico and Texus, we noticed that the Road Runner bird consistently ran to a special variety of Aloe plant when it needed a drink. We took the plant the road runner chose, chemically analyzed it, and found it to have a more potent gel than other Aloe varieties. We then concentrated on this plant to produce George's "Always Active" Aloe.
Vegetarian Glucosamine - Promotes Healthy Joints
September 30, 2005 10:01 AM
New Product Announcement
Vegetarian Glucosamine - Promotes Healthy Joints
One tablet contains:
Suggested Use: 1 tablet twice daily.
MIGRAINE BLOCKER - Homeopathic Remedy for Headache and Migraine Relief
September 30, 2005 09:41 AM
NEW PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT
MIGRAINE BLOCKER - Homeopathic Remedy for Headache and Migraine Relief
One tablet contains:
VITAMIN E OIL 32,000 IU PER OUNCE - Source Naturals
September 30, 2005 09:29 AM
NEW PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT
VITAMIN E OIL 32,000 IU PER OUNCE
Pesticide Report Shows Widespread Body Burden.
September 16, 2005 10:50 AM
Women and Children Especially Vulnerable
Most Americans carry toxic pesticides in their bodies, according to a recent report. Often, the so called “body Burden” of these chemicals is well above government-defined safety levels. Included are pesticides linked to cancer, birth defects, low birth weight, declining sperm counts, and infertility.
Chemical Trespass, by the Pesticide Action Network, analyzes data collected by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) from blood and urine analyses of 9,282 people. Among the findings:
Pesticides residues and metabolites were found in every subject. The average person had 13 pesticides in his or her body. The Average 6 to 11 year old was exposed to certain organophosphorus (OP) pesticides at four times the levels deemed acceptable by the environmental protection agency. Children are especially susceptible to dietary pesticides since they eat more food on a body weight basis than adults.
Organochlorine (OC) pesticides were found as significantly higher levels in women. This probably reflects women’s higher body fat content; OC pesticides are stored in fatty tissue.
Mexican-Americans showed the highest pesticides exposure, probably due to their disproportionate employment in agriculture. However, the statistics did not include occupational information.
Many pesticides used widely in the past, such as DDT and chlordane, are still found in our bodies, even in children born years after they were banned.
Cause for Alarm?
The CDC, which tested for 116 environmental chemicals, stressed that presence of these chemicals in the body does not necessarily indicate disease and called for more study of the dosages that should cause concern. The Pesticide Action Network sharply criticized this approach as a “Failure to protect public health.” Much evidence links long-term, low-level exposure to chronic illnesses, the group said, and the problem is more acute when one considers the additive effects of combining chemicals.
Pesticides and the wellness Revolution
This study shows the need for a system that relies on organic agriculture and alternative pest controls. Meanwhile, individuals should take advantage of the organic products available in health food stores, and the herbs and nutrients that support detoxification and immunity—for example, silymarin, N-acetyl cysteine, Reishi and shiitake mushroom, turmeric, and much more.
Sources: Second National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, Center for Disease Control, available online at www.cdc.gov.exposurereport Chemical Trespass, Pesticide action network, available online at www.panna.org
August 30, 2005 01:22 PM
Kiss Herbal Supplements Goodbye
Healthful herbal therapies face a new attack in Congress.
If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny. – Thomas Jefferson
Our third president recognized the devastating health and liberty implications of allowing governments to dictate what people eat. One can only imagine the disgust with which Jefferson would regard elected officials who are currently betraying core American freedoms by working to revoke our rights to choose what foods we put in our bodies.
In 1994, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) estabilished that dietary supplements are foods. Its passage was a shinning moment of democracy that resonated with Jefferson’s beliefs on health freedom, as millions of Americans raised their voices to preserve our right to safe, natural supplements.
DSHEA Under Attack
But now, as countless people use supplements to enhance their health, some officials are tampering with the DSHEA. HR 3156, the dietary supplement access & awareness act introduced by representative Susan Davis (D-CA), is designed to deny Americans access to the supplements they rely upon for good health. Should HR3156 pass, herbal supplements will be subject to risk benefits analysis, under which adverse event reporting will empower the FDA to ban herbal supplement sales.
Inexplicably, the bill pays no heed to the amount of herbal supplement associated with an adverse event. In other words, if someone ingests an unreasonably excessive amount of a herbal remedy, and as result experiences an adverse event, that would be enough for the FDA to ban that supplement—even if the overwhelming majority of consumers experienced positive benefits by using the supplement properly. This caveat, in addition to the relative ease with which an adverse event could falsely be linked to herbal supplements, has the potential to enable widespread, groundless bans of these health-enhancing, time-tested therapies.
Fight Back, Right Now!
We must act now to prevent the passage of HR 3156. For America’s sake, we must fight the forces in Congress that wish to ban our access to herbal supplements. In the name of democracy we must ensure that our elected officials are representing our interests and not furthering their own agendas. Without your immediate support, America’s health will be compromised as herbal supplements, one by one are banned under false pretenses.
To Quote Jefferson once again, “Never put off ‘till tomorrow what you can do today.” The need for your support is urgent, so please fax your representatives in congress today and urge them to oppose that passage of HR 3156. Contacting elected officials is fast and easy; visit www.NHA2005.com and use revolutionary technology that helps you compose faxes to congress. Become a good health ambassador; educate your friends on this gross impingement on our health freedom and encourage them to join the fight against health tyranny!
Fax the architects of HR 3156, Susan Davis (Fax: 202-225-2948), John Dingell (Fax: 202-226-0371) and Henry Waxman (Fax: 202-225-4099), and let them know that if they revoke your health freedom, you’ll vote for your health-care interests in the next election! It is only with your help that we can win the fight to keep safe, healthy supplements in our lives. For health, Freedom and liberty, visit www.NHA2005.com and Join the NHA Today.
Pumpkin Seed Oil "Cucurbita pepo"
August 18, 2005 12:14 PM
Definition: Pumpkin seeds have a significant antiparasitic property to them and are routinely used to rejuvenate the prostate gland. As a rich source of zinc, which is highly recommended for the male reproductive system. Pumpkin seeds are highly nutritional, but those who can not handle the seeds can take Pumpkin seed oil in Pill form. Pumpkin Seeds are a symbol of health in China.
Possible applications: Intestinal parasites, Prostate disorders.
Scientific info: Swedish clinical trials found the that oil constituents of pumpkin seed combined with saw palmetto treated an enlarged prostate gland effectively. Pumpkin seed has a reputation of being a non-irritating diuretic. Pumpkin seed contains a rare amino acid called myosin found in the seeds of certain Cucurbita species, which is the primary protein constituent of muscles.
Complementary supplements: quassia, buckthorn, acidophilus, bee pollen, bee propolis, B-complex, Saw palmetto, kelp, garlic, black walnut, red clover, cascara sagrada, vitamin E, bioflavonoids, phytonutrients, blue-green algae, zinc and electrolyte supplements.
NEW PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT - Hyaluronic Joint Complex
August 03, 2005 01:27 PM
NEW PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT
Hyaluronic Joint Complex ™ with Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM
The Next Generation in Joint Formulas!
2 tablets contain:
BioCell Collagen is a trademark of Biocell Technology LLC, Newport Beach, California USA (US patent 6,025,327 - other USA and foreign patents pending). OptiMSM is a trademark of Cardinal Nutrition.
Suggested Use: 2 tablets twice daily, or as recommended by your health care professional.
Benfotiamine raises the blood level of thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP)
August 02, 2005 03:52 PM
Benfotiamine raises the blood level of thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP), the biologically active co-enzyme of thiamine.4
Thiamine and its Co-enzyme, TPP
Thiamine (vitamin B1) plays an essential part in the metabolism of glucose, through actions of it co-enzyme TPP (thiamine pyrophosphate). TPP is formed by the enzymatically-catalyzed addition of two phosphate groups donated by ATP to thiamine. TPP also goes by the name "thiamine diphosphate." In the cytoplasm of the cell, glucose, a 6-carbon sugar, is metabolized to pyruvic acid, which is converted into acetyl-CoA, otherwise known as "active acetate." Acetyl CoA enters the mitochondrion, where it serves as the starting substrate in the Kreb’s cycle (citric acid cycle). The Krebs cycle is the primary source of cellular metabolic energy. TPP, along with other co-enzymes, is essential for the removal of CO2 from pyruvic acid, which in turn is a key step in the conversion of pyruvic acid to acetyl CoA. CO2 removal from pyruvic acid is called "oxidative decarboxylation," and for this reason, TPP was originally referred to as "cocarboxylase." TPP is thus vital to the cell’s energy supply. Benfotiamine helps maintain healthy cells in the presence of blood glucose. Acting as a biochemical "super-thiamin," it does this through several different cellular mechanisms, as discussed below.
Benfotiamine and Glucose Metabolism Benfotiamine normalizes cellular processes fueled by glucose metabolites.
As long as glucose remains at normal levels, excess glucose metabolites do not accumulate within the cell. The bulk of the cell’s glucose supply is converted to pyruvic acid, which serves as substrate for production of acetyl CoA, the primary fuel for the Krebs cycle. Of the total amount of metabolic energy (in the form of ATP) released from food, the Krebs cycle generates about 90 percent.5 In the presence of elevated glucose levels, the electron transport chain, the final ATP-generating system in the mitochondrion, produces larger than normal amounts of the oxygen free radical "superoxide." This excess superoxide inhibits glyceraldehyde phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), as key enzyme in the conversion of glucose to pyruvic acid, resulting in an excess of intermediate metabolites known as "triosephosphates." Increase triosephophate levels trigger several cellular mechanisms that result in potential damage to vascular tissue. Cells particularly vulnerable to this biochemical dysfunction are found in the retina, kidneys and nerves.
Benfotiamine has been shown to block three of these mechanisms: the hexosamine pathway, the diaglycerol-protein kinease C pathway and the formation of Advanced Glycation End-poducts. As discussed below, benfotiamine does this by activating transketolase, a key thiamin-dependent enzyme.6 Benfotiamine stimulates tranketolase, a cellular enzyme essential for maintenance of normal glucose metabolic pathways.* Transketolase diverts the excess fructose-6-phosphate and glyceraldehydes-3-phosphate, (formed by the inhibition of GAPDH, as mentioned above), into production of pentose-5-phosphates and erythrose-4-phosphate and away from the damaging pathways. Benfotiamine activates transketolase activity in bovine aortic endothelial cells incubated in glucose.6 To test benfotiamine’s ability to counteract these metabolic abnormalities caused by elevated blood glucose, studies have been done in diabetic rats. Benfotiamine increases transketolase activity in the retinas of diabetic rats, while concomitantly decreasing hexosamine pathway activity, protein kinase C activity and AGE formation.6
Benfotiamine and Protein glycation Benfotiamine controls formation of Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs).
AGEs have an affinity for proteins such as collagen, the major structural protein in connective tissue. AGEs are formed through abnormal linkages between proteins and glucose. This occurs via a non-enzymatic glycosylation reaction similar to the "browning reaction" that takes place in stored food.7 At high glucose concentrations, glucose attaches to lysine, forming a Schiff base, which in turn forms "early glycosylation products." Once blood glucose levels return to normal levels, the amount of these early glycosylation products decreases, and they are not particularly harmful to most tissue proteins. On long-lived proteins such as collagen, however, early glycosylation products are chemically rearranged into the damaging Advanced Glycation End-products. AGE formation on the collagen in coronary arteries causes increased vascular permeability. This vessel "leakiness" allows for abnormal cross-linking between plasma proteins and other proteins in the vessel wall, comprising vascular function and potentially occluding the vessel lumen. A number of other potentially harmful events may also occur, including production of cytokines that further increase vascular permeability. Endothelin-1, a strong vasoconstrictor, is over produced, increasing the possibility of thrombosis and generation of oxygen free radicals is stimulated.8 It is vitally important to support normal glucose metabolic pathways so that formation of AGEs is minimized. Benfotiamine, in the test tube (in vitro) prevents AGE formation in endothelial cells cultured in high glucose by decreasing the glucose metabolites that produce AGEs.9 Endothelial cells make up the membranes that line the inner walls of organs and blood vessels. In a rat study comparing the effects of Benfotiamine with water-soluble thiamin, Benfotiamine inhibited AGE formation in diabetic rats while completely preventing formation of "glycooxidation products," which are toxic by products of chronic elevated blood glucose. AGE levels were not significantly altered by thiamin.10 Benfotiamine also normalized nerve function in the animals. After three months of administration, "nerve conduction velocity (NCV)," a measure of nerve function, was increased by both benfotiamine and thiamin; at six months, NCV was normalized by benfotiamine, whereas thiamin produced no further increases in this parameter.
Dysfunctional glucose metabolic pathways leading to AGE formation occurs in endothelial cells of the kidneys. In a recent animal study, benfotiamine was administered to rats with elevated glucose levels. Benfotiamine increased transketolase activity in the kidney filtration system of these rats, while at the same time shifting triosephophates into the pentose pathway and preventing protein leakage.11
Benfotiamine has an excellent tolerability profile and can be taken for long periods without adverse effects.3,12 The statements in this fact sheet have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1. Bitsch R, Wolf M, Möller J. Bioavailability assessment of the lipophilic benfotiamine as compared to a water-soluble thiamin derivative. Ann Nutr Metab 1991;35(2):292-6.
2. Schreeb KH, Freudenthaler S, Vormfelde SV, et al. Comparative bioavailability of two vitamin B1 preparations: benfotiamine and thiamine mononitrate. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 1997; 52(4):319-20.
3. Loew D. Pharmacokinetics of thiamine derivatives especially of benfotiamine. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther 1996;34(2):47-50.
4. Frank T, Bitsch R, Maiwald J, Stein G. High thiamine diphosphate concentrations in erythrocytes can be achieved in dialysis patients by oral administration of benfontiamine. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2000;56(3):251-7.
5. Pike RL, Brown ML. Nutrition, An Integrated Approach, 3rd Ed. New York:MacMillan; 1986:467.
6. Hammes H-P, Du X, Edlestein D, et al. Benfotiamine blocks three major pathways of hyperglycemic damage and prevents experimental diabetic neuropathy. Nat Med 2003;9(3):294-99.
7. Monnier VM, Kohn RR, Cerami A. Accelerated age-related browning of human collagen in diabetes mellitus. Proc Natl Acad Sci 1984;81(2):583-7.
8. Brownlee M. The pathological implications of protein glycation. Clin Invest Med 1995;18(4):275-81.
9. Pomero F, Molinar Min A, La Selva M, et al. Benfotiamine is similar to thiamine in correcting endothelial cell defects induced by high glucose. Acta Diabetol 2001;38(3):135-8.
10. Stracke H, Hammes HP, Werkman D, et al. Efficacy of benfotiamine versus thiamine on function and glycation products of peripheral nerves in diabetic rats. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes 2001;109(6):300-6.
11. Babaei-Jadidi R, Karachalias N, Ahmed N, et al. Prevention of incipient diabetic nephropathy by high-dose thiamine and benfotiamine. Diabetes 2003;52(8):2110-20.
12. Bergfeld R, MatsumaraT, Du X, Brownlee M. Benfotiamin prevents the consequences of hyperglycemia induced mitochondrial overproduction of reactive oxygen specifies and experimental diabetic neuropathy (Abstract) Diabetologia 2001; 44(Suppl1):A39.
Common Sense Guidelines for Avoiding the Flu and Colds
July 28, 2005 02:07 PM
Common Sense Guidelines for Avoiding the Flu and Colds
1. Eat a healthy diet. The most important way to prevent being infected is through a proper diet. Raw vegetables, fruits, sprouts, nuts, and seeds should be eaten in abundance. Fresh fruit juices such as apple and grape can help the body flush out toxins. Do not overeat. Avoid sugar, soft drinks, white flour products, chocolate, fried foods, alcohol and tobacco.
2. Exercise for health. Exercise at least three times per week to help strengthen the immune system. Regular exercise is known to help enhance the body’s resistance to disease. Exercise can improve the white blood cell count in the body, which fights germs. It stimulates the lymphatic flow and blood circulation, which allows for the blood flow to increase to the brain and all areas of the body. It can help release hormones that actually help you to feel good. Exercise can help relieve anxiety and stress in the body. It can help increase energy and an overall sense of well being.
3. Get plenty of rest. A good night’s sleep helps the immune system fight off illness. This keeps your immune cells powered up, according to research done at the San Diego Veterans Affairs Medical Center. In the study, 42 healthy volunteers were allowed only four hours of shut-eye overnight, which resulted in 30 percent drop in natural killer cells (key players in the battle against viral infections). Sleep deprivation also decreased immune cells, such as T-lymphocytes.3
4. Wash hands regularly. Viruses are easily transmitted during casual contact like shaking hands or touching a doorknob. Wash hands after coming into contact with someone who is ill. Keep hands away from face and mouth.
5. Use paper cups in the bathroom. Viruses can often spread through the family. Using small, disposable paper cups in the bathroom may stop some of the transmission. Toothbrushes should also be replaced regularly to avoid recontamination.
6. Wash towels and linens often. If someone in the family becomes ill, wash towels daily. Hot water should be used in washing to kill the viruses involved.
HAWAIIAN NONI (Morinda citrifolia)
July 11, 2005 08:50 PM
In a time when we are more concerned than ever with issues of health, a tried and true tropical herb called noni needs t o be added t o our list of the best natural remedies. It susage over hundreds of years supports it s description as a veritable panacea of therapeutic actions. At this writing, noni continues to accrue impressive medicinal credentials, and its emergence as an effective nat ural healing agent is a timely one. Amidst rising cancer rates, the high incidence of degenerative diseases like diabetes, and the evolution of ant ibiotic resist ant bacteria and new viral strains, herbs like noni are sought after for their natural pharmaceutical properties. Unquest ionably, all of us want to know how to:
Indian Mulberry (India), Noni (Hawaii), Nono (Tahiti and Raratonga), Polynesian Bush Fruit, Painkiller Tree (Caribbean islands), Lada (Guam), Mengkudo (Malaysia), Nhau (Southeast Asia), Grand Morinda (Vietnam), Cheesefruit (Australia), Kura (Fiji), Bumbo (Africa) Note: This is only a small sampling of vernacular names for Morinda citrifolia. Almost every island nation of the South Pacific and Caribbean has a term for this particular plant . This booklet will refer to the herb mainly as “ noni” or M. citrifolia, and is referring primarily to Hawaiin noni.
The parts of the noni plant most used for their medicinal and nutritional purposes are the fruit, seeds, bark, leaves, and flowers. Virtually every part of the noni plant is utilized for its individual medicinal properties; however, it is the fruit portion that is regarded as its most valuable. The seeds have a purgative action, the leaves are used to treat external inflammations and relieve pain, the bark has strong astringent properties and can treat malaria, the root extracts lower blood pressure, the flower essences relieve eye inflammations and the f ruit has a number of medicinal actions.
Morinda citrifolia is technically an evergreen shrub or bush, which can grow to heights of fifteen to twenty feet . It has rigid, coarse branches which bear dark, oval, glossy leaves. Small white fragrant flowers bloom out of cluster-like pods which bear creamy-white colored fruit. The fruit is fleshy and gel-like when ripened, resembling a small breadf ruit . The flesh of the fruit is characterist ically bitter, and when completely ripe produces a rancid and very dist inctive odor. Noni has buoyant seeds that can float formont hs in ocean bodies. The wood of the inflammatory, astringent, emollient, emmenagogue, laxative, sedative, hypotensive (lowers blood pressure) , blood purif ier, and tonic.
Noni has various chemical constituents. First, it has an impressive array of terpene compounds, three of which—L. Asperuloside, aucubin, and glucose— have been identified by their actyl derivatives. Both caproic and caprylic acids have been isolated.1 Second, bushfruits, a category of which noni fruit is a member, are also considered a good source of vit - amin C.2 Third, Hawaiin noni has been linked to the synthesis of xeronine in the body which has significant and widespread health implications. Last , the alkaloid cont ent of the noni fruit is thought to be responsible for its therapeutic actions. Alkaloids exhibit a wide range of pharmacological and biological act ivitiesin the human body. They are nitrogencontaining organic compounds which can react with acids to form salts and which are the basis of many medicines. The following is an in-depth chemical analysis of each plant part and it s chemical constituents.
discovered an alkaloid in the Hawaiin noni fruit which he calls proxeronine and which he believes has appreciable physiological actions by acting as a precursor to xeronine, a very crucial compound (see later sections) . In addition, a compound found in the fruit called damnacanthol is believed to help inhibit cert ain viruses and cellular mutations involved in cancer.
ROOT AND ROOT BARK
Recent surveys have suggested that noni fruit exerts antibiotic action. In fact, a variety of compounds which have antibacterial properties (such as aucubin) have been identified in the fruit.5 The 6-Dglucopyranose pentaacet ate of the fruit extract is not considered bacteriostatic.6 Constituents found in the fruit portion have exhibited ant imicrobial action against Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi (and other types) , Shigella paradysenteriae, and Staphylococcus aureaus. Compounds found in the root have the ability to reduce swollen mucous membrane and lower blood pressure in animal studies. Proxeronine is an alkaloid constituent found in Hawaiin noni fruit which may prompt the production of xeronine in the body. It is considered a xeronine precursor and was discovered in noni fruit by Dr. Ralph M. Heinicke. He has theorized that this proenzyme can be effective in initiating a series of beneficial cellular reactions through its involvement with the integrity of specific proteins. He points out that tissues contain cells which possess certain recept or sites for xeronine. Because the reactions that can occur are so varied, many different therapeutic actions can result when xeronine production escalates, explaining why Hawaiin noni is good for so many seemingly unrelated disorders. Damnacanthol is another compound contained in the fruit of the Hawaiin noni plant which has shown the ability to block or inhibit the cellular function of RAS cells, considered pre-cancerous cells.
Body Systems Targeted
The following body systems have all been effec-freeze-dried capsules, dehydrated powder or fruit, and oil. Noni plant constituents are sometimes offered in combination with other herbs. Some products contain a percent age of the fruit, bark, root and seeds for their individual therapeutic properties.
Extracts of M. citrifolia are considered safe if used as directed; however, pregnant or nursing mothers should consult their physicians before taking any supplement . High doses of root extracts may cause constipation. Taking noni supplements with coffee, alcohol or nicotine is not recommended.
Ideally, noni extracts should be taken on an empty stomach prior to meals. The process of digesting food can interfere with the medicinal value of the alkaloid compounds found in Hawaiin noni, especially in its fruit . Apparently, stomach acids and enzymes destroy the specific enzyme which frees up the xeronine compound. Take noni supplements without food, coffee, nicotine or alcohol. Using supplements that have been made from the semi-ripe or light - green fruit is also considered preferable to the ripe, whit ish fruit .
NONI: ITS USE AND HISTORY
Noni is a tropical wandering plant indigenous to areas of Australia, Malaysia and Polynesia. It is considered native to Southeast Asia although it grows from India to the eastern region of Polynesia. Morinda citrifolia has a long history of medicinal use throughout these areas. It is thought to be the “most widely and commonly used medicinal plant prior to the European era.” 7 Centuries ago, the bushfruit was introduced to native Hawaiians, who subsequently called it “noni” and considered its fruit and root as prized medicinal agents. Among all Polynesian botanical agents of the 19th and 20th centuries, Hawaiin noni has the widest array of medical applications. Samoan and Hawaiian medical practitioners used noni for bowel disorders (especially infant diarrhea, constipation, or intestinal parasites) , indigestion, skin inflammation, infection, mouth sores, fever, contusions and sprains. Hawaiians commonly prepared noni tonics designed to treat diabetes, stings, burns and fish poisoning.8 The herb’s remarkable ability to purge the intestinal tract and promote colon health was well known among older Hawaiian and Tahitian natives and folk healers. Interestingly, field observations regarding its repu-remarkable healing agent .
Wonder Herb of Island Folk Healers
Common to t he thickets and forests of Malaysia and Polynesia, and the low hilly regions of the Philippine islands, noni has been cultivated throughout communities in the South Pacific for hundreds of years. Its Hawaiian use is thought to originate from inter-island canoe travel and settlement dating to before Christ . Its hardy seeds have the ability to float which has also contributed to its distribution among various seacoasts in the South Pacific region. Historical investigation has established the fact that some of Hawaii’s earliest settlers probably came viaTahiti. For this reason, Tahitian herbal practices have specific bearing on the herbal therapeutics of islands to the nort h. The very obvious similarities between the Hawaiian vernacular for herbal plants like noni and Tahitian names strongly suggests the theory of Polynesian migrations to Hawaii. Cultures native to these regions favored using Morinda citrifolia for treating major diseases and ut ilized it as a source of nourishment in times of famine.9 Noni fruit has been recognized for centuries as an excellent source of nutrition. The peoples of Fiji, Samoa and Rarat onga use the fruit in both its raw and cooked forms.10 Traditionally, the fruit was propicked before it was fully ripe and placed in the sunlight . After being allowed to ripen, it was typically mashed and its juice extracted through a cloth. Noni leaves provided a veget able dish and their resiliency made them desirable as a fish wrap for cooking.
Noni’s Medical Reputation
Elaborate traditionalrituals and praying rites usually accompanied the administration of noni. Int erestingly, cultures indigenous to the Polynesian islands had a significant understanding of their flora. For example, native Hawaiians maint ained a folkmedicine taxonomy t hat was considered second to none.11 Noni was not only used for medicinal purposes but for its food value, for clot hing and for cloth dyes as well. Research indicates that noni was among the few herbal remedies that islanders considered “ tried and true.” In Hawaii, trained herbal practitioners reserved the right to prescribe plant therapies.12 Records indicate that Hawaiian medical practices were based on extensive and very meticulous descriptions of symptoms and their prescribed herbal treatments. Dosages were controlled and the collection and administration of plant extracts was carefully monitored.13 In addition to Morinda, it was not uncommon for these herbal doctors to also recommend using In regard to its application for common ailments, Hawaiians and other island communities traditionally prescribed noni to purge the bowel, reduce fever, cure respiratory infections such as asthma, ease skin inflammations, and heal bruises and sprains. In other words, noni was widely used and highly regarded as a botanical medicine.
A Timely Reemer gence
Today, the natural pharmaceutical actions of the chemical constituents contained in noni are scientif-ically emerging as valuable bot anical medicines. Tahitian “nono” intrigued medical practitioners decades ago; however, due to the eventual emergence of synthetic drugs, interest in this island botanical diminished until recent years. Ethnobot anists are once again rediscovering why Hawaiian people havet reasured and cultivat ed Morinda citrifolia for generations. Noni is now finding its way into western therapeutics and is referred to as “ the queen” of the genus Rubiaceae. Its ability to reduce joint inflammation and target the immune system have made it the focus of the modern scientific inquiry. Dr. Ralph Heinicke has conducted some fascinating studies on the chemical constituents of the Hawaiin noni fruit. His research centers on the proxeronine content of the fruit juice and how it profoundly influences human physiology. In addition, scientific studies investigating noni as an anti-cancer agent have been encouraging. It s conspicuous attributes and varied uses have elevat edits status to one of the best of the healing herbs. Today Morinda citrifolia is available in liquid, juice, freezedried capsules, or oil forms, and is considered one of nature’s most precious botanicals.
TRADITIONAL USES OF NONI
Throughout tropical regions, virtually every part of Morinda citrifolia was used to treat disease or injury. Its curative properties were well known and commonly employed. PatoaTama Benioni, a member of the Maoritribe from the Cook Islands and a lecturer on island plants explains: Traditionally Polynesians use noni for basically everything in the treatment of illness. Noni is a part of our lives. Any Polynesian boy will tell you he’s had exper ience with it . We use juice from its roots, its flowers, and its fruit... my grandmother taught me to use noni from the roots and the leaves to make medicine for external as well as internal use, and for all kinds of ailments, such as coughs, boils, diseases of the skin, and cuts.15
decoctions to stimulate delayed menst ruation.
XERONINE: THE SECRET OF NONI?
One informed professional on the subject of noni is Dr. Ralph Heinicke, a biochemist who has researched the active compounds of noni fruit for a number of years. He discovered that the Hawaiin noni fruit contains an alkaloid precursor to a very vital compound called xeronine. Wit hout xeronine, life would cease. In Dr. Heinicke’s view, noni fruit provides a safe and effective way to increase xeronine levels, which exert a crucial influence on cell health and protction. His research suggests that the juice from the M. citrifolia fruit contains what could technically be considered a precursor of xeronine—proxeronine. This compound initiates the release of xeronine in the intestinal tract after it comes in contact with a specific enzyme which is also contained in the fruit .
Because proteins and enzymes have so many varied roles within cell processes, the normalization of these proteins with noni supplemenation could initiate avery wide variety of body responses and treat many disease condit ions. Proteins are the most important catalysts found in the body. The beauty of obtaining a precursor to xeronine from the noni fruit is that the body naturally decides how much of this precursor to convert to xeronine. Disease, stress, anger, trauma and injury can lower xeronine levels in the body, thus creat ing a xeronine deficit . Supplementing the body with noni fruit is considered an excellent way to safely and naturally raise xeronine levels. It is the research and theories of Dr. Heinicke which have made the juice of the Hawaiin noni fruit a viable medicinal substance. He writes: Xeronine is analkaloid, a substance the body produces in order to activate enzymes so they can function properly. It also energizes and regulates the body. This par-ticular alkaloid has never been found because the body makes it, immediately uses it, and then breaks it down. At no time is there an appreciable, isolable amount in the blood. But xeronine is so basic to the functioning of proteins, we would die without it . Its absence can cause many kinds of illness.17 Because so many diseases result from an enzyme malfunction, Dr. Heinicke believes that using the noni fruit can result in an impressive array of curative applications. Interestingly, he believes that we manufacture proxeronine while we are sleeping. He proposes t hat if we could constantly supply our bodies wit h proxeronine from other sources, our need to sleep would diminish.18
How an herb is processed is crucial to how beneficial it is: this is especially true of noni, with its unique enzymes and alkaloids. Morinda citrifolia should be picked when the fruit is turning from its dark green immature color to its lighter green color, and certainly before it ripens to its white, almost translucent color. Once picked, noni, like aloe, will denature extremely quickly due to its very active enzymes. After harvesting, it should swiftly be flash frozen. This is similar to what is done to fish caught at sea to keep them f esh. This stops it from losing its potency while not damaging any of its constituents. To process noni, freeze-drying is recommended. This removes only the water without damaging any of this miracle plant’s vital enzymes and other phytonutrients like xeronine and proxeronine. This pure high-quality noni fruit juice powder is then encapsu-has a very harsh taste and an extremely foul smell, similar to the fruit it self . Other methods of processing include thermal processing, dehydrat ion and air drying. Thermal processing is generally found in liquids, while the dehydrat ed noni is then milled and encapsulated. Unfortunately both methods utilize high heat (110+°F) , which can deactivate many of the vital compounds that make noni so import ant . Air-drying is effect ive without using damaging heat but has serious quality control problems for commercial production.
MODERN APPLICATIONS OF NONI
Noni possesses a wide variety of medicinal properties which originat e from its differing plant component s. The fruit and leaves of the shrub exert antibacterial activities. Its roots promote the expulsion of mucus and the shrinkage of swollen membranes making it an ideal therapeutic for nasal congest ion, lung infect ions, and hemorrhoids. Noni root compounds have also shown natural sedative properties as well as the ability to lower blood pressure.
Leaf extracts are able to inhibit excessive blood flow or to inhibit the formation of blood clots. Noni is particularly useful for its ability to treat painful joint conditions and to resolve skin inflammations. Many people drink noni fruit extracts in juice form for hypert ension, painful menstruation, arthritis, gastric ulcers, diabetes, and depression. Recent studies suggest that its anticancer activit y should also be considered. Concerning the therapeutic potential of the Hawaiin noni fruit, Dr. Heinicke writes: I have seen the compound found in noni work wonders. When I was still investigating its possibilities, I had a friend who was a medical research scientist administer the proxeronine to a woman who had been comatose for three months. Two hour safter receiving the compound, she sat up in bed and asked where she was. . . . Noni is probably the best source of proxeronine that we have today.19 Studies and surveys combined support the ability of noni to act as an immunost imulant, inhibit the growth of certain tumors, enhance and normalize cellular function and boost tissue regeneration. It is considered a powerful blood purifier and contributor to overall homeostasis.
xeronine, which appears to be able to regulate the shape and integrity of cert in proteins that individually contribute to specific cellular activities. Interestingly, this effect seems to occur after ingestion, inferring that the most active compound of noni may not be present in uneaten forms of the fruit or other plant parts. Some practitioners believe that xeronine is best obtained from a noni fruit juice precursor compound. The enzymatic reactions that occur with taking the juice on an empty stomach are what Dr. Heinicke believes set cellular repair intomotion.
A study conducted in 1994 cited the anticancer activity of Morinda citrifolia against lung cancer. A team of scientists from the University of Hawaii used live laboratory mice to test the medicinal properties of the fruit against Lewis lung carcinomas which were artificially transferred to lung tissue. The mice that were left untreated died in nine to twelve days. However, giving noni juice in consistent daily doses significantly prolonged their life span. Almost half of these mice lived for more than fifty days.20 Research conclusions state that the chemical constituents of the juice acted indirectly by enhancing the ability of the immune system to deal with the invading malig-nancy by boosting macrophage or lymphocyte activit y. Furt her evaluation theorizes that the unique chemical constituents of Morinda citrifolia initiate enhanced T-cell activity, a reaction that may explain noni’s ability to treat a variety of infectious diseases. 21
In Japan, similar studies on tropical plant extracts found that damnacanthol, a compound found in Morinda citrifolia, is able to inhibit the function of KRAS- NRK cells, which are considered precursors to certain types of malignancies.22 The experiment involved adding noni plant extract to RAS cells and incubating them for a number of days. Observation disclosed that noni was able to significantly inhibit RAS cellular function. Among 500 plant extracts, Morinda citrifolia was determined to contain the most effective compounds against RAS cells. Its damnacanthol content was clinically described in 1993 as “a new inhibit or of RAS function.” 2 3 The xeronine fact or is also involved in that xeronine helps to normalize the way malignant cells behave. While they are still technically cancer cells, they no longer function as cells with unchecked growth. In time, the body’s immune system may be able to eradicate these cells.
with arthritic disease. One link to arthritic pain may be the inability to properly or completely digest proteins which can then form crystal-like deposits in the joints. The ability of noni fruit to enhance protein digestion through enhanced enzymatic function may help to eliminate this particular phenomenon. In addition, the alkaloid compounds and plant met abolites of noni may be linked to its apparent anti-inflammatory action. Plant sterols can assist in inhibiting the inflammatory response which causes swelling and pain. In addition, the antioxidant effect of noni may help to decrease free radical damage in joint cells, which can exacerbate discomfort and degeneration.
The alkaloid and other chemical compounds found in noni have proven themselves to effectively control or kill over six types of infectious bacterial strains including: Escherichia coli, salmonellatyphi (and other types) , shigella paradysenteriae, and staphylo - coccus aureaus.25 In addition, damnacanthol, was able to inhibitt he early antigen stage of the Epstein- Barr virus.
The bioactive components of the whole plant, combined or in separate portions, have demonst rat - ed the ability to inhibit several different strains of bacteria. Anecdotal reports support this action in that noni seems particularly effective in shortening the duration of certain types of infection. This may explain why noni is commonly used to treat colds and flu. The chemical constituents found in noni and the possibility that they stimulate xeronine production— as well as initiate alkaloid therapy—may explain noni’s reputation for having immuno-stimulatory properties. Alkaloids have been able to boost phagocytosis which is the process in which certain white blood cells called macrophages attack and literally digest infectious organisms. Interestingly, the ant it umoraction of noni has been ascribed to an immune system response which involves stimulating T-cells. tropical regions during World War II learned of the fruit’s ability to boost endurance and stamina. Native cultures in Samoa, Tahiti, Raratonga and Australia used the fruit in cooked and raw forms. M. citrifolia is considered a tonic and is especially recommended for debilitated conditions.
The process of aging bombards the body with free radicals which can cause all kinds of degenerative diseases. The xeronine theory promoted by Dr. Heinicke submit s t hat as our bodies age, we lose our ability to synthesize xeronine. To make matters worse, the presence of many environment altoxins actually blocks the production of xeronine as well. He believes that the proxeronine content of Hawaiin noni fruit juice can help to block these actions, thereby working as an antiaging compound.26 The phytonutrients found in noni assist in promot - ing cell nourishment and prot ect ion from free radicals created by exposure to pollution and other potentially damaging agents. In addition, Morinda citrifolia contains selenium, which is considered one of the best antioxidant compounds available.
While scientific studies are lacking in this particular application of noni, Hawaiians used various parts of the plant and its fruit to treat blood sugar disorders. Anecdotal surveys have found t hat noni is current ly recommended for anyone with diabetes.
A 1990 study found that extracts derived from the Morinda citrifolia root have the ability to kill pain in animal experiments.27 Interest ingly, it was during this study that the natural sedative action of the root was also noted. This study involved a French team of scientists who noted a significant central analgesic activity in laboratory mice.28 Dr. Heinicke has stated, “Xeronine also acts as a pain reliever. A man wit h very advanced int est inal cancer was given three months to live. He began taking the proxeronine and lived for a whole year, pain-free.” 29
Skin Healing Agent
One of the most prevalent hist rical uses of noni was in poultice form for cuts, wounds, abrasions, burns and bruises. Using its fruit extract for very serious burns has resulted in some extraordinary healing. Because skin is comprised of protein, it immediately responds to the presence of xeronine.
burn site throught he direct application of a noni poultice is considered quite effective by Dr. Heinicke and his colleagues, who have studied enzymatic therapy. Concerning burns, he has written: I believe that each tissue has cells which contain proteins which have receptor sites for the absorption of xeronine. Certain of these proteins are the inert for ms of enzymes which require absorbed xeronine to become active. This xeronine, by converting the body’s procol- langenase system into a specific protease, quickly and safely removes the dead tissue from burns.30
The xeronine link to treat ing drug addiction is based on the notion that flooding t he brain with extra xeronine can reverse the neurochemical basis for addiction. This natural alkaloid is thought to normalize brain receptors which subsequent ly results in the cessation of physiological dependence on a certain chemical like nicotine.3 1 The potential of Hawaiin noni as a natural stimulat or for t he production of xeronine may have profound implications in treating various types of addictions.
Complementary Agents of Noni
PrimaryApplications of Noni
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1 a. The Surgeon General’s “Nutrition and Health Report.” b. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “National Health and Examination Survey (NHANES III)” c. The National Academy of Science’s. Diet and Health Report: Health Promotion and Disease Objectives (DHHS Publication No. (PHS) 91-50213, Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1990). e. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 2 Rolls BJ. Carbohydrates, fats, and satiety. Am J Clin Nutr 1995; 61(4 Suppl):960S-967S. 3 McDowell MA, Briefel RR, Alaimo K, et al. Energy and macronutrient intakes of persons ages 2 months and over in the United States: Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Phase 1:1988-91. Advance data from vital and health statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; No. 255. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics; 1994. 4 Center for Science in the Public Interest and McDonald’s Nutrition and You—A guide to Healthy Eating at McDonald’s: McDonald’s Corp,1991. 5 Bray GA. Appetite Control in Adults. In: Fernstrom JD, Miller GD eds. Appetite and Body Weight Regulation. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 1994:1-92. 6 Michnovicz JJ. How to Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer. New York: Warner Book Inc. 1994:54. 7 Carcinogens and Anticarcinogens in the Human Diet. National Research Council Report, National Academy of Sciences, 15 Feb. 1996. 8 Van Tallie TB. Obesity: adverse effects on health and longevity. Am J Clin Nutr 1979:32: 2723-33. 9 Somer E, M.A. R.D. Nutrition for Women. New York: Henry Hold and Company, 1993:273. 10 Swaneck GE, Fishman J. Covalent binding of the endogenous estrogen 16A-hydroxyestrone to estradiol in human breast concer cells: characterization and intranuclear localization. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1988:85;7831-5. 11 Colditz GA. Epidemiology of breast cancer. Findings from the nurses’ health study. Cancer1993;714:1480-9. 12 Hennen WJ. Breast Cancer Risk Reduction. The effects of supplementation with dietary indoles. Unpublished report 1992. 13 Deslypere BJ. Obesity and cancer. Metabolism 1995;44(93):24-7. 14 Somer E, M.A. R.D. Nutrition for Women. New York: Henry Hold and Company, 1993:281. 15 Whittemore AS, Kolonel LN, John M. Prostate cancer in relation to diet, physical activity, and body size in blacks, whites, and Asians in the United States and Canada. J Natl Cancer Inst 1995;87(9):629-31. 16 Key T. Risk factors for prostate cancer. Cancer Survivor 1995;23:63- 77. 17 Kondo Y, Homma Y, Aso Y, Kakizoe T. Promotional effects of twogeneration exposure to a high-fat diet on prostate carcinogenisis in ACI/Seg mice. Cancer Res 1994;54(23):6129-32. 18 Wang Y, Corr JG, Taler HT, Tao Y, Fair WR, Heston WD. Decreased growth of established human prostate LNCaP tumors in nude mice fed a low-fat diet. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1995;87(19):1456-62. 19 Nixon DW. Cancer prevention clinical trials. In-Vivo 1994;8(5):713-6. 20 Key T. Micronutrients and cancer aetiology: the epidmiological evidence. Proceed Nutr Soc 1994;53(3):605-14. 21 Gorbach SL, Goldin BR. The intestinal microflora and the colon cancer connection. Reviews of Infectious Diseases 1990;12(Suppl 2):S252-61. 22 Shrapnel WS, Calvert GD, Nestel PJ, Truswell AS. Diet and coronary heart disease. The National Heart Foundation of Australia. Med J Australia. 1995;156(Suppl):S9-S16. 23 Ellis JL, Campos-Outcalt D. Cardiovascular disease risk factors in native Americans: a literature review. Am. J. Preventive Med 1994;10(5):295-307. 24 DiBianco R. The changing syndrome of heart failure: an annotated review as we approach the 21st century. J. Hypertension 1994; 12(4 Suppl):S73- S87. 25 Van Itallie TB. Obesity: adverse effects on health and longevity. Am J Clin Nutr 1979;32(suppl):2723-33. 26 Kestin M, Moss R, Clifton PM, Nestel PJ. Comparative effects of three cereal brans on plasma lipids, blood pressure and glucose metabolism in mildly hyper-cholesterolemic men. Am J Clin Nutr 1990;52(4):661-6. 27 Story JA. Dietary fiber and lipid metabolism. In: Spiller GA, Kay RM. eds. Medical Aspects of Dietary Fiber. Penun Medical; New York, 1980, p.138. 28 Stein PP, Black HR. The role of diet in the genesis and treatment of hypertension. Med. Clin. North America. 1993;77(4):831-47. 29 Olin JW. Antihypertensive treatment in patients with peripheral vascular disease. Cleve. Clin. J. Medicine. 1994;61(5):337-44. 30 Tinker LF. Diabetes Mellitus—a priority health care issue for women. J. Am. Dietetic Association. 1994;94(9):976-85. 31 Gaspard UJ, Gottal JM, van den Brule FA. Postmenopausal changes of lipid and glucose metabolism: a review of their main aspects. Maturitas. 1995;21(3):71-8. 32 Coordt MC, Ruhe RC, McDonald RB. Aging and insulin secretion. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biology and Medicine. 1995;209(3):213-22. 33 Felber JP. From Obesity to Diabetes. Pathophysiological Considerations. Int. Journal of Obesity 1992;16:937-952. 34 Gillum RF. The association of body fat distribution with hypertension, hypertensive heart disease, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cardiovascular risk factors in men and women age 18-79. J Chronic Diseases 1987;40:421-8. 35 Haffner SM, Stern MP, Hazuda HP, et al. Role of obesity and fat distribution in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellits in Mexican Americans and non- Hispanic whites. Diabetes Care 1986;9:153-61. 36 Bonadonna RC, deFronzo RA. Glucose metabolism in obesity and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes and Metabolism. 1991;17(1 Pt. 2):12-35. 37 Shoemaker JK, Bonen A. Vascular actions of insulin in health and disease. Canadian J. of Applied Physiology. 1995;20(2):127-54. 38 Resnick LM. Ionic Basis of Hypertension, Insulin Resistaince, Vascular Disease, and Related Disorders. The Mechanism of ‘Syndrome X’. Am. J. Hypertension. 1993;6(suppl):123S-134S. 39 Trautwein EA. Dietetic influences on the formation and prevention of cholesterol gallstones. Z. Ernahrugswiss. 1994;33(1):2-15. 40 Cicuttini FM, Spector TD. Osteoarthritis in the aged. Epidemiological issues and optimal management. Drugs and Aging. 1995;6(5):409-20. 41 Melnyk MG, Wienstein E. Preventing obesity in black women by targeting adolescents: a literature review. J Am. Diet. Association. 1994;94(4):536-40. 42 Robinson BE, Gjerdingen Dk, Houge DR. Obesity: a move from traditional to more patient-oriented management. J. Am. Board of Family Practice. 1995;8(2):99-108. 43 Dulloo AG, Miller DS. Reversal of Obesity in the Genetically Obese fa/fa Zucker Rat with an Ehpedrine/Methylxanthines Thermogenic Mixture. J. Nutrition. 1987;117:383-9. 44 Dulloo AG, Miller DS. The thermogenic properties of ephedrin/methylxanthine mixtures: animal studies. Am J Clinical Nutr. 1986;43:388-394. 45 Richelsen B. Health risks of obesity. Significance of the regional distri-bution of adipose tissue. Ugeskr. Laeger. 1991;153(13):908-13. 46 Lissner L, Heitmann BL. Dietary fat and obesity: Evidence from epidemiology. European J. Clinical Nutrition. 1995;49(2):79-90. 47 Lissner L, Heitmann BL. The dietary fat: Carbohydrate ratio in relation to body weight, Current Opinion in Lipidology. 1995;6(1):8-13. 48 Ravussin E. Energy metabolism in obesity. Studies in the Pima Indians. Diabetes Care. 1993;16(1):232-8. 49 O’Dea K. Westernisation, insulin resistance and diabetes in Australian aborigines. Med J. Australia. 1991;155(4):258-64. 50 Bailey C. Fit or Fat . Houghton Mifflen, Boston, 1991. 51 McCarty MF. Optimizing Exercise for Fat Loss. Unpublished report. 52 Weinsier RL, Schutz Y, Bracco D. Reexamination of the relationship of resting metabolic rate and fat-free mass and the the metabolically active components of fat-free mass in humans. Am. J. Clinical Nutrition. 1992;55(4):790-4. 53 Evans WJ. Exercise, nutrition and aging. J. Nutrition. 1992;122(3 suppl):796-801. 54 Schlicker SA, Borra ST, Regan C. The weight and fitness status of United States children. Nutrition Reviews. 1994;52(1):11-7. 55 Raben A, Jensen ND, Marckmann P, Sandstrom B and Astrup A. Spontaeous weight loss during 11 weeks’ ad libitum intake of a low fat/high fiber diet in young, normal weight subjects. Stockholm Press. 1995;916-23. 56 Blundell JE, Cotton JR, Delargy H, Green S, Greenough A, King NA, Lawton, CL. The fat paradox: fat-induced satiety signals versus high fat overconsumption. Short Communication 1995:832-835. 57 Reinhold RB. Late results of gastric bypass surgery for morbid obesity. J Am Coll Nutr 1994;13(4):307-8. 58 McCredie M, Coates M Grulich A. Cancer incidence in migrants to New South Wales (Australia) from the Middle East, 1972-1991. Cancer Causes Control 1994:5(5):414-21. 59 Schiff ER, Dietschy JM. Steatorrhea Associated with Disordered Bile Acid Metabolism. Am. J. Digestive Diseases. 1969;14(6) 60 Nauss JL , Thompson JL and Nagyvary J. The binding of micellar lipids to Chitosan. Lipids. 1983;18(10):714-19. 61 Braconnot H, Sue la natrue ces champignons. Ann Chim Phys 1811;79:265. 62 Odier A. Memoire sur la composition chemique des parties cornees des insectes. Mem Soc Hist Nat Paris 1823;1:29. 63 Johnson EL, Peniston QP. Utilization of shellfish waste for chitin and Chitosan production. Chp 19 In: Chemistry and Biochemistry of Marine Food Products. Martin RE, Flick GJ, Hebard CE and Ward DR (eds.) 1982. p.415-. AVI Publishing Co., Westport, CT. 64 Shahram H. Seafood waste: the potential for industrial use. Kem Kemi 1992;19(3),256-8. 65 Rouget C. Des substances amylacees dans le tissue des animux, specialement les Articules (Chitine). Compt Rend 1859;48:792. Commission on Natural Health Products. 1995 67 Peniston QP and Johnson EL. Method for Treating an Aqueous Medium with Chitosan and Derivatives of Chitin to Remove an Impurity. US Patent 3,533,940. Oct. 30:1970. 68 Poly-D-Glucosamine (Chitosan); Exemption from the Requirement of a Tolerance. Federal Register. 1995;60(75):19523-4. Rules and Regulations. Environmental Protection Agency 40 CFR Part 180. April, 19, 1995. 69 Arul J. “Use of Chitosan films to retard post-harvest spoilage of fruits and vegetables,” Chitin Workshop. ICNHP, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC. 70 Karlsen J, Skaugrud O. “Excipient properties of Chitosan,” Manufacturing Chemist. 1991;62:18-9. 71 Winterowd JG, Sandford PA. Chitin and Chitosan. In: Food Polysaccharides and their Applications. Ed: Stephen AM. Marcel Dekker 1995. 72 Chitin Workshop. ICNHP, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC. 73 Advances in Chitin and Chitosan. Eds: CJ Brine, PA Sandford, JP Zikakis. Elsevier Applied Science. London. 1992. 74 Chitin in Nature and Technology. Eds: R Muzzarelli, C Jeuniaux, GW Gooday. Plenum Press, New York. 1986. 75 Zikakis, JP. Chitin, Chitosan and Related Enzymes. Academic Press, Inc. 1984. 76 Abelin J and Lassus A. Fat binder as a weight reducer in patients with moderate obesity. ARS Medicina, Helsinki, Aug- October, 1994. 77 Kanauchi O, Deuchi K, Imasato Y, Shizukuishi M, Kobayashi E. Increasing effect of a Chitosan and ascorbic acid mixture on fecal dietary fat excretion. Biosci Biotech Biochem 1994;58(9):1617-20. 78 Maezaki Y, Tsuji K, Nakagawa Y, et al. Hypocholesterolemic effect of Chitosan in adult males. Biosci Biotchnol Biochem1993;57(9):1439-44. 79 Kobayashi T, Otsuka S, Yugari Y. Effect of Chitosan on serum and liver cholesterol levels in cholesterol-fed rats. Nutritional Rep. Int., 1979;19(3):327-34. 80 Sugano M, Fujikawa T, Hiratsuji Y, Hasegawa Y. Hypocholesterolemic effects of Chitosan in cholesterol-fed rats. Nutr Rep. Int. 1978;18(5):531-7. 81 Vahouny G, Satchanandam S, Cassidy M, Lightfoot F, Furda I. Comparative effects of Chitosan and cholestryramine on lymphatic absorption of lipids in the rat. Am J Clin Nutr, 1983;38(2):278-84 82 Suzuki S, Suzuki M, Katayama H. Chitin and Chitosan oligomers as hypolipemics and formulations containing them. Jpn. Kokai Tokkyo Koho JP 63 41,422 [88,422] 22 Feb1988. 83 Ikeda I, Tomari Y, Sugano M. Interrelated effects of dietary fiber on lymphatic cholesterol and triglyceride absorption in rats. J Nutr 1989;119(10):1383- 7. 84 LeHoux JG and Grondin F. Some effects of Chitosan on liver function in the rat. Endocrinology. 1993;132(3):1078-84. 85 Fradet G, Brister S, Mulder D, Lough J, Averbach BL. “Evaluation of Chitosan as a New Hemostatic Agent: In Vitro and In Vivo Experiments In Chitin in Nature and Technology. Eds: R Muzzarelli, C Jeuniaux, GW Gooday. Plenum Press, New York. 1986. 86 Malette W, Quigley H, Gaines R, Johnson N, Rainer WG. Chitosan A New Hemostatic. Annals of Thorasic Surgery. 1983;36:55. 87 Malette W, Quigley H, Adickes ED. Chitosan effect in Vascular Surgery, Tissue Culture and Tissue Regeneration. In R Muzzarelli, C Jeuniaux, GW Gooday, Eds: Chitin in Nature and Technology. Plenum Press, New York. 1986. 88 Okamoto Y, Tomita T, Minami S, et al. Effects of Chitosan on experimental abscess with Staphylococcus aureus in dogs. J. Vet. Med., 1995;57(4):765-7. 89 Klokkevold PR, Lew DS, Ellis DG, Bertolami CN. Effect of Chitosan on lingual hemostasis in rabbits. Journal of Oral-Maxillofac-Surg, 1991;Aug. 49(8):858-63. 89 Surgery, Tissue Culture and Tissue Regeneration. In Chitin in Nature and Technology. Eds: R Muzzarelli, C Jeuniaux, GW Gooday. Plenum Press, New York. 1986. 90 Hiroshi S, Makoto K, Shoji A, Yoshikazu S. Antibacterial fiber blended with Chitosan. Sixth International Conference on Chitin and Chitosan. Sea Fisheries Institute, Gdynia, Poland. August 1994;16-19. 91 Shimai Y, Tsukuda K, Seino H. Antiacne preparations containing chitin, Chitosan or their partial degradation products. Jpn. Kikai Tokkyo Koho JP 04,288,017 [92,288,017] 13 Oct 1992. 92 Suzuki K, Okawa Y, Suzuki S, Suzuki M. Candidacidal effect of peritoneal exudate cells in mice administered with chitin or Chitosan: the role of serine protease in the mechanism of oxygen-independent candidacidal effect. Microbiol Immunol. 1987;31(4):375-9. 93 Sawada G, Akaha Y, Naito H, Fujita M. Synergistic food preservatives containing organic acids, Chitosan and citrus seed extracts. Jpn, Kokai Kokkyo Koho JP 04 27,373 [92 27,373] 30 Jan 1992. 94 Min H-K, Hatai K, Bai S. Some inhibitory effects of Chitosan on fishpathogenic oomycete, Saprolegnia parasitic. Gyobyo Kenkyu, 1994;29(2):73-4. 95 Nelson JL, Alexander JW, Gianotti L, Chalk CL, Pyles T. The influence of dietary fiber on microbial growth in vitro and bacterial translocation after burn injury in mice. Nutr 1994;10(1):32-6. 96 Ochiai Y, Kanazawa Y. Chitosan as virucide. Jpn Kokai Tokkyo Koho 79 41,326. 97 Hillyard IW, Doczi J, Kiernan. Antacid and antiulcer properties of the polysaccharide Chitosan in the rat. Proc Soc Expl Biol Med 1964; 115:1108-1112. 98 Shibasaki K, Sano H, MatsukuboT, Takaesu Y. pH response of human dental plaque to chewing gum supplemented with low molecular Chitosan. Bull- Tokyo-Dent-Coll, 1994:35(2): 61-6. 99 Kato H, Okuda H. Chitosan as antihypertensive. Jpn. Kikoi Tokyo Koho JP 06 56,674 [94 56,674] 100 Kato H, Taguchi T. Mechanism of the rise in blood pressure by sodium chloride and decrease effect of Chitosan on blood pressure. Baiosaiensu to Indasutori 1993;51(12):987-8. 101 Muzzarelli R, Biagini G, Pugnaoni A, Filippini O, Baldassarre V, Castaldini C, and Rizzoli C. Reconstruction of Periodontal Tissue with Chitosan. Biomaterials. 1989;10:598-603. 102 Sapelli P, Baldassarre V, Muzzarelli R, Emanuelli M. Chitosan in Dentistry. In Chitin in Nature and Technology. Eds: R Muzzarelli, C Jeuniaux, GW Gooday. Plenum Press, New York. 1986. 103 Borah G, Scott G, Wortham K. Bone induction by Chitosan in endochrondral bones of the extremities. In Advances in Chitin and Chitosan. Eds: CJ Brine, PA Sandford, JP Zikakis. Elsevier Applied Science. London. 1992. 104 Ito F. Role of Chitosan as a supplementary food for osteoporosis. Gekkan Fudo Kemikaru, 1995;11(2):39-44. 105 Nakamura S, Yoshioka T, hamada S, Kimura I. Chitosan for enhancement of bioavailability of calcium. Jpn. Kokai Tokkyo Koho JP 07 194,316 [95 194,316] 01 Aug 1995. 106 Maekawa A, Wada M. Food Containing chitin or its derivatives for reduction of blood and urine uric acid. Jpn. Kokai Tokkyo Koho JP 03 280,852 [91 280,852], 11 Dec 1991. 107 Weisberg M, Gubner R. Compositions for oral administration comprising Chitosan and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier. Antacid preparations for alleviating gastric hyperacidity. U.S. patent 3257275 108 Kanauchi O, Deuchi K, Imasato Y, Shizukuishi M, Kobayashi E. Mechanism for the inhibition of fat digestion by Chitosan and for the synergistic effect of ascorbate. Biosci Biotech Biochem1995;59(5):786-90. 109 McCausland CW. Fat Binding Properties of Chitosan as Compared to Other Dietary Fibers. Private communication. 24 Jan1995. 110 Deuchi K, Kanauchi O, Imasato Y, Kobayashi E. Biosci Biotech Biochem. 1994:58,1613-6. 111 Ebihara K, Schneeman BO. Interaction of bile acids, phospholipids, cholesterol and triglyceride with dietary fibers in the small intestine of rats. J Nutr 1989;119(8):1100-6. 112 Weil A, M.D. Natural Health Natural Medicine: Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1990:182. 113 Chen Y-H, Riby Y, Srivastava P, Bartholomew J, Denison M, Bjeldanes L. Regualtion of CYP1A1 by indolo[3,2-b]carbazole in murine hepatoma cells. J Biol Chem 1995;270(38):22548-55. 114 Intestinal Absorption of metal ions and chelates. Ashmead HD, Graff DJ, Ashmead HH. Charles C Thomas, Springfield, IL 1985. 115 Nutrient Interactions. Bodwell CE, Erdman JW Jr. Marcel Dekker New York 1988. 116 Heleniak EP, Aston B. Prostaglandins, Brown Fat and Weight Loss. Medical Hypotheses 1989;28:13-33. 117 Connor WE, DeFrancesco CA, Connor SL. N-3 fatty acids from fish oil. Effects on plasma lipoproteins and hypertriglyceridemic patients. Ann NY Acad Sci 1993;683:16-34. 118 Conte AA. A non-prescription alternative in weight reduction therapy. The Bariatrician Summer 1993:17-19. 119 McCarty MF. Inhibition of citrate lyase may aid aerobic endurance. Unpublished manuscript. 120 Bray GA. Weight homeostasis. Annual Rev Med 1991;42:205-216. 121 Dulloo AG, Miller DS. The thermogenic properties of Ephedrin/Methylxanthine mixtures: Human studies. Intl J Obesity 986;10:467-481. 122 Arai K, Kinumaki T, Fujita, T. Bulletin Tokai Regional Fisheries Res Lab. 1968;No. 56. 123 Bough WA. Private communication. 124 Freidrich EJ, Gehan, EA, Rall DP, Schmidt LH, Skipper HE. Cancer Chemotherapy Reports 1966;50(4):219-244. 125 A Drovanti, AA Bignamini, AL Rovati. Therapeutic activity of oral glucosamine sulfate in osteoarthritis: A placebo-controlled double-blind investigation. Clinical Therapeutics 1980;3(4):260-272. 126 K Deuchi, O Kanauchi, M Shizukuishi, E Kobayashi. Continuous and massive intake of Chitosan affects mineral and fat-soluble vitamin status in rats fed on a high-fat diet. Biosci. Biotech. Biochemistry. 1995;59(7):1211-6. 127 . BesChitin W in Chitin Wound Healing (video), Unitika Corporation, April 1992.
June 25, 2005 01:11 PM
REFERENCES 1Steven R. Schechter, N.D., Let’s Live. July, 1994, 60. 2Ibid., 58. 3Michael T. Murray, N.D., The Healing Power of Herbs, (Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1995), 266. 4Ibid., 266. 5Varro E. Tyler, Ph.D.., The Honest Herbal, (New York: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 1993), 156. 6Rob McCaleb, Better Nutrition, “Ginseng, Mental Booster,” July, 1993, 48. 7Claire Kowalchik and William H. Hylton, Editors, Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, (Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, 1987), 226. 8“Ginseng,” The Lawrence Review of Natural Products. Sept. 1990, 1. 9Ben Charles Harris, Ginseng, What it is...What it can do for you, (New Cannan, Connecticut: Keats Publishing, Inc., 1978), 6. 10Steven Foster, Asian Ginseng. Botanical Series No. 303, 1991, 4. 11Harris, 18-19. 12Jack Ritchason, The Little Herb Encyclopedia., (Pleasant Grove, UT: Woodland Publishing, Inc., 1994), 102. 13Ibid., 1. 14Louise Tenney, The Encyclopedia of Natural Remedies, (Pleasant Grove, UT: Woodland Publishing, Inc., 1995), 25. 15James F. Balch, MD.. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., Prescription For Nutritional Healing, (Avery Publishing Group Inc.: Garden City Park, New York, 1990), 337. 16James Duke, Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. (Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, Inc. 1985), 174. 17Murray, 268. 18Arnold and Connie Krochmal, Garden Magazine, Sept.-Oct., 1978. 19Foster, 5. 20Ibid., 5. 21Murray, 268. 22Daniel B. Mowrey, Ph.D., The Scientific Validation of Herbs, (New Canaan, Connecticut: Keats Publishing, Inc., 1986), 192. 23Ibid., 103. 24Janet Zand, OMD, L.Ac. Herbal Medicine (Internet), “Siberian Ginseng.” (Health World, 1996). 25Foster, 5. 26Simon Y. Mills, The Essential Book of Herbal Medicine, (London: Penguin Books, 1993), 531. 27Michael T. Murray, N.D., Male Sexual Vitality, (Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1991), 127. 28Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs. 228. 29Ibid., 228. 30Readers Digest Family Guide to Natural Medicine, (Pleasantville, New York: The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc., 1993), 310. 31Foster, 6. 32Murray, 270. 33Paul Pitchford, Healing With Whole Foods, (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1993), 393. 34Daniel B. Mowrey, Ph.D., Herbal Tonic Therapies., (New Cannan, Connecticut: Keats Publishing, Inc., 1993), 48. 35Murray, 275. 36Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, 229. 37Harris, 25. 38Murray, Male Sexual Vitality., 126. 39Mowrey, 152. 40Ibid., 266. 41The Lawrence Review, 1. 42Schechter, 60. 43Mowrey, Herbal Tonic Ther apies., 49. 44Tyler, 155.
VANADIUM W/CHROMIUM - Supports Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
June 24, 2005 05:15 PM
Today’s sedentary lifestyles and sugar-rich, nutrient-poor foods are contributing to the rise of obesity in our society. The result: challenges to your body’s system of balancing blood sugar levels and insulin activity. Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle helps keep blood sugar levels in the normal range, but sometimes you need nutritional support when you don’t have time to make those healthy food choices. Source Naturals, the science company, introduces VANADIUMW/CHROMIUM for blood sugar support. Research shows that these two important minerals help maintain normal blood sugar levels when used as part of your diet.
Vanadium works together with chromium to support healthy blood sugar levels. Research has shown that both of these important minerals play a key role in normal insulin function.
Vanadium: Balances Insulin Activity Vanadium, named after Vanadis the Norse goddess of beauty, belongs to a group of biologically important metals known as transition elements. These metals have a natural tendency to form complexes with organic compounds called coordination compounds that serve important biological functions.
Insulin is secreted by the pancreas in response to high blood glucose levels after meals. Without insulin, glucose cannot enter cells to provide fuel for cellular energy. The sugar that remains in the blood can create problems by binding with protein molecules, resulting in damaged, non-functioning structures, in a process called glycation. Some evidence suggests that vanadium supports these vital metabolic processes because of its ability to mimic the actions of insulin.
More Absorbable Form of Vanadium
Absorption of dietary vanadium and supplemental vanadium is poor. It is estimated that less than 5% of dietary vanadium is absorbed. Organic forms of vanadium, such as bis-glycinato oxovanadium or BGOV, are recognized as being more absorbable. BGOV is an organically bound, bioavailable form of vanadium complexed with the amino acid glycine. Glycine, an amino acid found in the protein of all life forms, generates superior vanadium absorption.
Chromium: Supports Glucose Metabolism Chromium is a trace element the body needs in very small amounts, but it plays a significant role in human nutrition. Its most important function is to help regulate the amount of glucose in the blood. Insulin plays a role in this process, by regulating the movement of glucose out of the blood and into the cells. Chromium is a key constituent of the compound known as glucose tolerance factor (GTF). This mineral enhances the effectiveness of insulin, encouraging glucose to enter cells, where it can be burned for fuel.
Chromium participates in glucose metabolism by enhancing the effects of insulin. Insulin binds to insulin receptors on the surface of cells, activating those receptors and stimulating glucose uptake by cells. Through its interaction with insulin receptors, insulin provides cells with glucose for energy and prevents blood glucose levels from becoming elevated. Glucose buildup in the bloodstream is associated with adverse changes in lipid profiles and increased challenges for cardiovascular health. Some studies examining the effects of chromium supplementation on lipid profiles have observed reduction in serum total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Source Naturals VANADIUM W/CHROMIUM includes ChromeMate®, a patented compound of chromium and niacin with proven GTF activity.
Taking responsibility for your health is at the heart of the wellness revolution. Sometimes life may seem like it’s passing you by and you may not have time to focus on staying healthy. Your local health food outlet is a great resource for nutritional education and effective, advanced natural products. Source Naturals is pleased to partner with these outlets to bring you products like VANADIUM W/CHROMIUM to help you maintain a healthy balance.
Anderson, R.1998. Chromium, glucose intolerance and diabetes. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 17(6):548-555. Jellin, J., et al. 2004. Vanadium Monograph. Pharmacists Letter/Prescribers Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Therapeutic Research Facility. Nandhini, S., et al. 1993. Insulin-like effects of bis-glycinato oxovanadium complex on experimental diabetic rats. Indian Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics 30:73-76.
June 23, 2005 10:53 AM
Known to the natives of the tropical Americas for millennia, Capsicum, or Cayenne Pepper, was introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus and became known as “Guinea Pepper. ” Originally used by Native Americans located south of the Mexican border, archeological evidence supports its cultivation from 7000 B.C. Apparently, mixing chocolate and red chiles was a taste treat exclusively reserved for Aztec royalty.5 The exact origin of the word Capsicum remains somewhat of a mystery. However, it is assumed to be a derivative of the Greek word kapto, meaning “to bite,” an appropriate reference to its fiery pods. Capsicum is the fruit of a shrub-like tropical plant and is technically considered a berry. Its designation as a “pepper” can be traced back to Columbus, who equated its hot taste sensation with that of black pepper.
In 1597, Gerard referred to Capsicum as extremely hot and dry and prescribed it for throat and skin infections. Health practitioners of the nineteenth century called phsysiomedicalists used Capsicum to counteract rheumatism, arthritis, depression and chills. In the early 1800s, Dr. Samuel Thompson utilize d Capsicum as a potent and safe natural stimulant. His followe r s , who would become known as Thomsonians, believed that Capsicum should be used to treat a wide variety of diseases. It was used orally and as a poultice to treat tumors, toothaches, feve r s , and respiratory ailments.
In 1804, Dr. John St e vens introduced the red pepper to England where it became the catalyst component in a variety of herbal blends. Subsequently, herbal and medical practitioners used Capsicum to fight infection and sustain the natural heat of the body. It became well known in American dispensatories and pharmacopeia. In 1943, The Dispensary of the United States recorded that, “Capsicum is a powe rful local stimulant, producing when CAPSICUM swallowed, a sense of heat in the stomach and a general glow over the body without narcotic effect.”6 Twentieth-century physicians recognized the medicinal value of Capsicum which eventually found its way to the American Illust rated Medical Dictionary, the Merck Manual and Materia Medica, where it was referred to as a rubefacient, local stimulant, counter-irritant, gastric stimulant, and diaphoretic.7
Today Mexican Indians continue to use Capsicum as an internal disinfectant and protectant against contaminated food and also to treat fevers.8 “Today the pepper is nowhere in the world more appreciated and more widely used than in Mexico and certain other Latin American countries, which together form the original home of all the peppers. Both at morning and at evening, practically eve ry dish the Indians eat included Capsicum, just as their food did 2,000 years ago. The diet of the Indians was, and still is, rather bland . . . maize, beans, squash, pumpkin, yucca, potatoes . . . little wonder that the pepper was so highly regarded. And of course . . . the peppers were a wonderful source of essential vitamins in a diet otherwise lacking in them.”9 Capsicum continues to be a source of vitality and health in numerous countries including the Bahamas and Costa Rica, where it is used to overcome colic or indigestion, in Africa for vascular disorders and by North Americans who use it as a tonic and natural stimulant.
Capsicum is currently experiencing a renaissance in that a number of recent studies have emerged adding to its already impressive list of actions. Scientists are taking notice and looking at Capsicum with new respect and interest. Perhaps what sets Capsicum apart is that unlike powe rful pharmaceutical stimulants and pain killers, Capsicum possess potency without deleterious side effects.
Vision Quest - help fight eye problems.
June 18, 2005 08:34 AM
Vision Quest by Phyllis D. Light, RH Energy Times, February 11, 2004
Since your eyes are in constant use every day, exposed to the damaging energy of sunlight and pollutants that waft through the air, these delicate orbs are often in danger of wearing out.
To keep this vital part of your anatomy functioning as you age, you have to feed and care for your eyes properly. Otherwise, you are in real danger of losing your vision and independence.
Your vision may be in danger. Experts estimate that 8 million Americans over the age of 55 are at serious risk of blindness linked to a condition called age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD can wipe out your central vision and is the primary cause of blindness in Western society.
While AMD causes no pain, it blurs the sharp, central vision necessary for driving, reading and other activities where you need to see either up close or straight ahead. During AMD, the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to pick out fine detail, is destroyed. The macula sits at the center of your retina, the nerve center at the back of your eye that senses light and sends optic signals to the brain.
Age is not the only risk factor for AMD. Scientists have isolated a genetic defect that can lead to some forms of macular degeneration (Nature Genetics 2001; 27:89-93). Smoking and excessive exposure to sunlight are other hazards best avoided if you want to save your sight.
In many cases, AMD progresses so slowly that victims of this condition don't even notice that their vision is deteriorating until much of it is irrevocably gone.
Dry and Wet AMD
Wet AMD occurs when blood vessels in back of the retina start to overgrow and leak blood. As this occurs, blood and other fluids push on the macula and quickly damage its sensitive nerve endings. When wet AMD occurs, you lose your central vision rapidly. If straight lines appear wavy to you, you may be suffering from wet AMD. If you notice this or other unusual vision changes, contact an eye care specialist as soon as possible. You need what is called a comprehensive dilated eye exam that can uncover signs of AMD.
Dry AMD strikes the eye when light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly deteriorate, gradually blurring central vision in the affected eye. As dry AMD progresses, a blurry spot in the center of your vision may appear. Eventually, as more of the macula becomes dysfunctional, the central vision in the eye can gradually disappear.
The most common sign of dry AMD is slightly blurry vision. This can make it hard to recognize faces and also make it harder to read without very bright light. Dry AMD generally attacks both eyes, but vision can be lost in one eye while the other eye stays normal. In the early stages of dry AMD, drusen, yellow deposits that gather under the retina, may form. Dry AMD progresses in three stages:
Vitamins and Minerals for AMD
Fortunately, scientists have found ways to combat AMD: An analysis of a study called the national Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) shows that more than 300,000 Americans could avoid losing their sight to AMD if they took daily supplements of antioxidant nutrients and zinc.
This conclusion, reached by scientists at Johns Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute, is based on research involving more than 4,500 adults suffering various stages of AMD. The study demonstrated that people who already had some AMD could lower their risk of the more advanced form of this condition by 25% when they took vitamin C, natural vitamin E and beta carotene along with zinc. Those suffering from advanced AMD lowered their chances of losing vision by about 19%. (Supplements did not affect the risk of cataracts or the chances of some vision loss for people in the early stages of AMD.)
" Without treatment to reduce their risk, we estimate that 1.3 million adults would develop the advanced stage of AMD," says Neil M. Bressler, MD, professor of ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins and author of the current study, published in Archives of Ophthalmology (11/03).
According to Dr. Bressler and the other researchers, people who now have intermediate AMD (some vision loss) in one eye have about a 1 in 16 chance of having their vision deteriorate until they have advanced AMD. They also calculate that about 1 in 4 of those with intermediate AMD in both eyes and 43% of those with advanced AMD in one eye will develop advanced AMD in five years without treatment.
In their view, older people at risk of AMD blindness should take daily supplements of 500 milligrams of vitamin C, 400 milligrams of natural vitamin E, 15 milligrams of beta carotene, 80 milligrams of zinc as zinc oxide and 2 milligrams of copper as cupric oxide. Evidence also exists that a diet which is high in fat can cause AMD to progress to an advanced stage. The exceptions: The healthy fats found in fish and nuts (Archives of Ophthalmology 2003; 121:1728-37).
Oddly enough, some of the same pigments that color vegetables and other foods also color your eyes. And scientists believe that those pigments, which are classified as carotenoids, help protect the eyes by helping them fight off the negative effects of caustic molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are formed when the energy from sunlight strikes the eyes and disrupts the composition of natural chemicals found there.
When scientists compared healthy eyes with eyes suffering from AMD, they found that AMD eyes contained lower levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoid pigments contained in egg yolk, spinach, broccoli and other dark green vegetables (Ophthalmology 2003; 109:1780). Furthermore, they found that levels of these chemicals generally decline as you grow older.
" This research is a major step toward large-scale clinical studies to prove the extent to which lutein and zeaxanthin protect against age-related macular degeneration," says Paul S. Bernstein, MD, PhD, at the University of Utah School of Medicine at Salt Lake. "We know that these carotenoids are specifically concentrated in the macula of the human eye."
Dr. Bernstein adds that, as you age, taking supplements containing lutein and other antioxidants may lower your AMD risk. In his investigation, people with AMD who did not take lutein had one-third less lutein in their eyes than older people whose vision was normal.
Another eyesight hazard is cataracts, in which the eye's lens-the part that focuses incoming light onto the retina-becomes cloudy. Cataracts form when the proteins found in the normally clear lens become damaged; signs include progressively blurred vision (especially outdoors), focusing problems, seeing streaks of light from headlights and stoplights, and colors that look faded.
Cataract is the leading cause of blindness worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. One of every six Americans 40 and older suffers from some degree of cataract; it affects half of all Americans who reach age 80. Nuclear cataracts, the most common form of this disorder, develop in the center of the lens and tend to grow slowly. Cataracts may also develop at the back of the lens; this form is linked to eye trauma and long-term use of certain medications, including steroids.
Like AMD, cataracts become more common as people age. Up to 40% of individuals between the ages of 75 and 85 have them, compared with only 5% to 10% of those folks under the age of 65. And like AMD, sunlight exposure and smoking increase the risk of developing cataracts, as does the presence of diabetes.
Lutein and zeaxanthin, the carotenoids that are so plentiful in the macula, are also found in the lens (although in lower concentrations), leading many researchers to believe that these nutrients may help drop your risk of cataract development. Early studies indicate that an increased intake of lutein and zeaxanthin reduces one's chances of needing cataract surgery, the most common surgery in the United States (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1999; 70(4):509-16; 517-24).
Antioxidants and the Lens
Scientists believe that free-radical damage is a leading cause of cataracts, and so it isn't surprising that antioxidants have proved useful in preventing this problem.
Almost 500 women filled out diet questionnaires as part of a very large research effort called the Nurses' Health Study; those who had taken vitamin C supplements for 10 years or longer enjoyed the lowest rates of nuclear cataracts (Archives of Ophthalmology 2001; 119:1009-19).
So the answer to lowering your risk of eye problems is clear, whether you are already in your mature years or plan to be someday: Lead a healthy, eye-friendly lifestyle, eating a diet filled with colorful fruits and vegetables. Take frequent walks and jogs around the block.
And yes, when you kick back and take your just-as-frequent doses of antioxidant supplements, you're allowed to take your sunglasses off and see the world clearly.
Building the Burn
June 14, 2005 12:09 PM
Building the Burn by Marjorie Flakowitz Energy Times, June 11, 2004
When was the last time you exercised? During the past decade, the number of obese Americans has jumped by 50%. A big factor in this increase: lack of physical activity.
Today, technological society seems to make everyday life effortless: car windows retreat at the push of a button, remote controls keep couch potatoes from budging off the cushions and video games have replaced non-cyber ball playing. Americans don't move around and burn off the calories they eat. Instead, our sedentary ways are causing big stomach bulges and a big bulge in health problems linked to being overweight.
Want to lose those pounds? Consuming the right nutrients and pounding the pavement are a great start.
Number of Large Americans Grows Larger
Fifty-five out of every 100 Americans are now overweight. And the numbers continue to surge. To take yourself out of these alarming statistics, plan a consistent exercise program. If the thought of sweating during strenuous workouts at the gym scares you, relax. You don't have to do that much. According to a long list of research, a few half-hour walks a week can put you on the road to weight loss.
For instance, researchers at Duke found that walking a total of only 12 miles a week can help you control your weight even if you're not dieting (Archives of Internal Medicine 1/12/04). Of course dieting and taking the right supplements will help you lose weight a little faster, but walking burns off the pounds.
In the study at Duke, scientists gathered about 180 overweight, sedentary people and assigned them to one of four groups. The first group had to jog about 20 miles a week. The second group jogged 12 miles a week. The third group walked 12 miles, and the last group didn't do a thing.
" We found that the two low-exercise groups lost both weight and fat, while those in the more intensive group lost more of each in a 'dose-response' manner," says Cris Slentz, PhD, one of the researchers. " Simply put, the more you exercise, the more you benefit. Just as importantly, the control group of participants who performed no exercise gained weight over the period of the trial."
Everybody who was exercising lost weight; their stomachs and hips shrank. The folks who did nothing didn't just stay at the same weight; their weight went up.
Dr. Slentz adds, "From the perspective of prevention, it appears that the 30 minutes per day will keep most people from gaining the additional weight associated with inactivity. Given the increase in obesity in the US, it would seem likely that many in our society may have fallen below this minimal level of physical activity required to maintain body weight."
Of course, limiting the carbohydrates you consume and eating more protein at the same time as you exercise can help you lose weight more effectively. To help your body utilize protein more fully to fuel your exercise, many experts recommend taking enzyme supplements.
One of the most valuable enzyme combinations in this process is Aminogen(r), an all-natural, patented plant enzyme that assists the digestive tract in liberating the amino acids that are the building blocks of dietary protein. By helping separate these amino acids, absorption is boosted through the walls of the small intestines and your metabolism is better able to take up proteins and use them.
Add Chromium to Exercise
The mineral chromium is another supplement found helpful in aiding weight loss. An eight-week study at the University of Texas, Austin, compared weight loss among obese women who exercised and took chromium with the number of pounds that were lost by women performing the same amount of exercise without taking supplements (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 1997; 29:992-8).
The result: women taking chromium lost a significantly greater amount. How does chromium work? A study at the University of Vermont found that chromium may help muscles take blood sugar (glucose) out of the blood more effectively by improving what's called insulin sensitivity (18th International Diabetes Federation Congress, Paris, 8/03).
Insulin is released by the pancreas to help cells take in glucose. By exercising and keeping your weight down, and becoming more insulin sensitive, you potentially reduce your chances of getting diabetes. The cells quickly respond to insulin and blood sugar stabilizes.
On the other hand, when insulin sensitivity drops significantly, the body may suffer what's called insulin resistance, a pre-diabetic condition that complicates and slows the removal of sugar from the blood. The Vermont researchers found that chromium increases the activity of a protein called Akt phosphorylation. This is a natural substance made by the body that makes cells more sensitive to insulin and speeds the movement of blood sugar into cells, where it can be burned for energy. So, in combination with exercise, which also helps the body become more responsive to insulin, chromium may help keep blood sugar under control.
As Sandra Woodruff points out in her book Secrets of Good Carb, Low Carb Living (Avery/Penguin), "[P]hysical activity boosts the body's ability to process carbohydrate and helps reduce insulin resistance....Exercise acts much like an insulin-sensitizing drug to make the body's cells more responsive to insulin, which enables them to remove sugar from the blood more efficiently." The results of exercise and getting sufficient chromium can help support weight loss and healthy blood sugar levels. The Vermont research team found that the exercising chromium takers boosted their insulin sensitivity by almost 9%.
Building a Lean Body
A prime benefit of exercising while you lose weight is that physical activity builds muscle tissue. Muscle tissue, even at rest, burns more calories than fat cells, so having extra muscle means you can eat more and still maintain or lose weight. An aid in this process is Coleus forskohlii root, Benth., a plant that originated in India. Research shows that forskohlii furthers molecular energy processes within cells that support the development of lean body tissue (muscle) and the enzymatic reactions that break down fat.
In a study of about two dozen women who took forskohlii extract, researchers found that taking this supplement was associated with feeling more energetic and less hungry (Experimental Biology meeting, 2002). According to Vladimir Badmaev, PhD, who has studied forskohlii, this herb's help in supporting lean body tissue is crucial to maintaining a healthy weight.
" In highly overweight individuals, fat tissue can constitute up to 70% of body weight. The remaining proportion of body composition corresponds to the lean body mass. Lean body mass is composed of muscle, vital organs, bone, connective and other non-fatty tissues in the body," says Dr. Badmaev.
" The body's metabolic rate is in direct proportion to the amount of lean body mass. Therefore, safely maintaining or increasing lean body mass is an important consideration for any weight-loss strategy."
The Skinny on Calcium
Calcium, long known for its ability to strengthen bones, is now turning out to play a key role in weight maintenance as well. In one study, obese mice who were put on calorie-restricted diets lost body fat when fed extra calcium (Experimental Biology meeting 2000). Both supplemental calcium and low-fat dairy proved effective. What's more, low-fat dairy's ability to burn fat and provoke fat loss have been confirmed in additional research (Obesity Research 4/04; 12:582-90).
Fat cells contain calcium, and scientists believe that the more of this mineral a fat cell contains, the more fat will be burned off. This action is especially important when you cut back on calories, since that often gives your body the idea that it's starving, leading your metabolism to slow and making weight loss extremely difficult.
A Complete Program
To lose weight efficiently, stay in top shape and retain your feelings of energy, you also have to make sure you get enough of the vitamins and minerals necessary for good health.
For those eating a high-protein diet who are limiting their fruits and vegetables, taking a supplement that incorporates nutrients from fruits and vegetables can help restore your feelings of well-being and help maintain your motivation for dieting and losing weight. (Supplements are available that deliver these nutrients without carbohydrates.)
In addition, supplements of what are called ketogenic amino acids-the natural substances that form protein's building blocks-can also help fuel your weight-loss program. These special nutrients can be efficiently used for the body's energy needs, a process that helps you lose weight.
And don't forget to keep moving! Soon you may have the kind of results researchers produced at the University of Pittsburgh when they studied women who exercised 40 minutes, five times a week (Journal of the American Medical Association 9/10/03). Those women lost 25 pounds in six months.
Your results may be just as good or better!
Move it and Lose it! Burn off body fat!
June 14, 2005 12:04 PM
Move it and Lose it! Burn off body fat! by Mimi Facher Energy Times, June 1, 1997
So you're feeling a little blah, a little overweight, and you're looking to drop a few of those winter pounds gained during the colder months. Maybe you've dabbled with diets and jogged around the neighborhood a few times but you're still packing unsightly bulges. If so, you may be considering the idea of turning to supplements to help you drop those pounds. Well, two types of diet supplements now generally available, combined with a diet and exercise program, may be able to help you trim those stubborn pounds.
The first type of supplement, called metabolic optimizers, which include ephedra, caffeine and salicin (derived from willow bark), boost your metabolic rate, causing your body to burn calories faster. The second class, lipotropic substances, aid the body in fat mobilization, causing greater utilization of stored fat. These products include chromium, carnitine and hydroxycitric acid (HCA). Both classes of supplements have been around in various forms for quite a while but are now enjoying greater popularity among dieters.
Trying to cope with a weight problem is a dilemma expanding throughout modern society. According to a 1995 Harris poll, nearly 75% of Americans are overweight. Although it's well known that the way to lose weight is to expend more calories than you take in, supplements may be able to help you burn off extra calories.
Thermogenesis and You
Metabolic optimizers are supposed to aid weight loss through a process called thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is a natural process in which fat is burned to produce body heat. Fat that isn't burned is stored on the hips, thighs, stomach, etc. Thermogenic agents are designed to counteract your body's fat storage mechanisms by causing your body to maintain a higher metabolic rate-turning your internal thermostat up to burn fat faster. The thermogenic process can be jump-started by a number of factors including cold, exercise, certain dietary nutrients and metabolic optimizers.
The ephedra herb, also known as ma huang is one of nature's earliest medicines, known for over 5000 years to the Chinese, who used it to relieve allergies, coughing, wheezing and cold and flu symptoms. In the US, ephedra has been available since the 1800s.
The ingredients in ephedra include the alkaloids ephedrine, pseudoephedrine and norephedrine. Concentrated forms of these substances are used in today's over-the-counter cold, allergy and asthma relief formulas.
Ma huang's effectiveness as a weight loss aid is tied to its appetite suppressant and stimulant properties. By speeding up action of the thyroid gland, the ephedrine found in the herb acts a thermogenic agent, boosting the rate at which the body metabolizes fat and promoting weight loss. According to Mark Blumenthal, Executive Director of the American Botanical Council, "When used as part of a total package that includes diet modification and exercise, ma huang can be highly effective in the short run because it increases the speed of the body's metabolism and suppresses appetite."
Because of their strong stimulant effect, ephedra and its derivatives have engendered some controversy. However, in its long history, billions of doses of ephedra have been consumed without problem. But ephedra supplements should only be used as directed on product labels. People with cardiovascular problems, diabetes, thyroid or prostate dysfunction, high blood pressure and those taking MAO inhibitors, pregnant or nursing should avoid this herb.
Salicin Burns Fat
Salicin, a substance derived from willow bark-which is also the original source for aspirin, a related compound-can boost the burning of fat when combined with ephedra. An animal study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that while ephedra boosted calorie burning by almost 10%, when ephedra was combined with aspirin, extra calorie burning just about doubled. Another study in the Internatioanl Journal of Obesity showed that when overweight women took aspirin and ephedrine during a meal, their bodies burned off more calories than normal. (Eating a meal produces a thermogenic effect as your body expends energy in digestion. That's why dieters are told not to skip meals. Skipping meals lowers your metabolic rate, decreasing your calorie expenditure.)
Similar studies also show that caffeine, the stimulant that gives coffee its eye-opening kick, can also boost ephedra's thermogenic properties. But before using these combinations check with a health practitioner knowledgeable about nutrition. Aspirin or salicin may cause stomach upset in some people (although salicin is generally tolerated well.)
Carnitine: Lipotropic Amino Acid
To get carnitine into your system, you don't have to take it as a supplement. Your body already makes this vitamin-like substance. However, your body doesn't make that much. And it is said to be especially low in people with heart disease.
This non-essential amino acid (said to be non-essential because human bodies produce it) is a key ingredient in the formation of mitochondria membranes. Mitochondria are tiny structures in your cells that burn fats for energy. Consequently, sufficient carnitine is necessary for the movement of fat into the mitochondria where it is consumed. When not enough carnitine is present, the breakdown of long chain fatty acids slows down.
Said to improve the recovery rate for athletes (it may limit the production of lactic acid, a waste product in muscle tissue), carnitine can also lower cholesterol levels, boost levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) and decrease serum triglycerides (blood fats linked to heart disease). Not bad for a nutrient that coaxes fat into those teeny, ceullular, mitochondrial furnaces.
Go for the Chrome
Chromium-based supplements work as lipotropic agents by aiding insulin use in the body. This essential trace mineral is required for normal protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism. According to Dr. Michael Janson, author of The Vitamin Revolution in Healthcare and President of the American Preventive Medical Association (APMA), "Chromium is important for proper insulin activity. Insulin moves sugar into the muscle cells, where it is burned off as energy. Chromium improves the activity of insulin, and since insulin causes fat deposition, less of it means less fat deposition." Chromium has also been shown to build muscle tissue and to reduce LDL cholesterol, which has been linked to heart disease.
Although the body's minimum requirement is low, the American diet tends to be deficient in chromium, in part because the mineral can be difficult for the body to absorb. The fact that, in nature, chromium is most powerfully concentrated in brewer's yeast, wheat germ and liver-items most Americans rarely eat-probably hasn't helped either. Other natural sources of chromium include whole grains, molasses and beef. But it is estimated that 50% of Americans are chromium deficient. An early study found that overweight adults taking a chromium supplement lost an average of 22% body fat, while maintaining or gaining lean body mass. In another study, athletes consuming 200 mcg. of chromium a day showed an average loss of 7.5 lbs. of body fat after six weeks, without a corresponding loss of muscle tisue. Overall, although some studies question chromium's precise effects, many experts are optimistic about this substance because of its relationship to insulin in the body's metabolism.
Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA)
Another possible addition to the dieter's arsenal is HCA. In nature, HCA appears chiefly in a fruit called garcinia cambogia (sometimes also called Malabar tamarind or brindall berry), a citrus plant found primarily in Asia, where the rind is often used as a flavoring agent. HCA works by inhibiting the enzyme in the body responsible for converting carbohydrates into fat. HCA causes calories to be burned in an energy cycle similar to thermogenesis and acts as somewhat of an appetite suppressant. HCA is also said to have a role in reducing triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels.
Several animal studies have shown that HCA caused significant weight loss without a reduction in lean body mass. In other words, the pounds that came off came out of fat stores, and not out of energy or muscle reserves. This means that HCA takes off not just weight but body fat, making it a potentially effective tool against weight regain.
Dr. Elson Haas, director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, CA, and author of Staying Healthy With Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine, believes that HCA can be a helpful aid for dieters when used in combination with eating habit changes and exercise. He recommends an HCA and chromium blend for optimum appetite suppression. "This combination can keep the appetite down and reduce sugar cravings," he says.
Although human research data on HCA is still in the preliminary stages, the animal study results are positive, and the supplement seems to have minimal side effects in most people.
Some Overall Recommendations
You are likely to lose weight faster if you eat sensibly. This means avoiding foods high in fat or sugar (which are the most likely to add to stored body fat), but it doesn't mean starving yourself. A sensible balanced diet, along with moderate exercise, is still the best prescription for weight loss. As Dr. Haas puts it, "I'm a firm believer in diet and exercise. Using supplements responsibly can help you to lose weight provided they're combined with dietary changes and exercise. They won't work if you don't change anything." No one is suggesting that dietary supplements are a miracle cure for being overweight-as always in self-health care, there are no magic wands. But, used as directed and combined with a good diet and exercise plan, you could find that these supplements might help you work your way to a slimmer you.
Mimi Facher is a freelance writer who has contributed to Prevention, Cosmopolitan and Self.
Cleanse That Body!
June 14, 2005 11:59 AM
Cleanse That Body! by Lisa James Energy Times, January 6, 2005
When toxins accumulate in your tissues, you can become fuzzy and sluggish. Here's how a New Year's internal cleansing can make you feel fresh and energized.
What's your New Year's resolution? Losing weight? Getting fit? Kicking the [fill-in-the-blank] habit? Whatever the shape of your dreams for 2005, it won't be easy launching a self-improvement program unless you give your body a fresh start. Where to begin? Detoxification-an internal cleansing that can supply the energy you need to succeed in achieving your goals.
No one can avoid toxins in our contaminated world, so many of us suffer from toxic overload, which can lead to fatigue, digestive problems and reduced immune function. " When we get out of balance, we get congested and toxic," says Elson Haas, MD, founder of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, California (www.elsonhaas.com), and author of The New Detox Diet (Celestial Arts), "and our bodies' regular elimination systems cannot keep up with it. We have problems with our skin, our intestines, our sinuses. We also become deficient in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Most people have both congestion and deficiency, and they would benefit greatly from detoxification."
Toxins Within, Toxins Without
Life's fundamental activities-breathing, eating, walking around-generate waste in the form of free radicals, the unstable molecules that can ravage cells and tissues. What's more, Dr. Haas says that just "being under stress, being afraid, being anxious all produce more free radicals in the body" (like when a work deadline hits on the same day your car dies). When you add to your internal toxins all the noxious items coming from the outside, including the dietary ones, the recipe is very unhealthy.
" People are making poor choices in what they're putting in their mouths," says Dr. Haas. "They're taking in too much refined flour and sugar. There's a common problem in our country I call 'obese malnutrition'-people eating too many calories and not getting enough nutrition. People do a lot of junky fats and have a deficiency in the essential fatty acids that help protect cells."
Our bodies are also awash in manmade poisons such as food preservatives and additives, and residues from pesticides and herbicides. "The amount of toxic chemicals we are exposed to in our environment is staggering," says Susan Lark, MD, clinical nutrition expert and author of The Chemistry of Success (Bay Books). She notes that the average American is exposed to 14 pounds of such assorted chemical junk each year.
The body, however, does do its own housekeeping-and all of our cells detoxify every second of every day. "It's always a balance of garbage in, garbage out," says Dr. Haas, who has 30 years of experience in helping people detoxify. "Some of the toxins we break down into smaller components, some we just dump into the intestines for elimination."
Problems arise when there's more dirt than the internal maid service can sweep away. Dr. Lark notes that toxins wind up being stored in cells, especially fat cells, where they can hang out for years. When they are finally released "during times of low food intake, exercise or stress" complaints can range from tiredness to dizziness (sound familiar?).
That's where detoxification comes in, says Dr. Haas: "I think detoxification is a vital health care tool, particularly in this day and age when people are exposed to too many chemicals."
The process of detoxification starts with cleansing the intestinal system. Alternative health practitioners observe that discombobulated bowels can become overly permeable (a condition called leaky gut syndrome) and allow in all sorts of things that they shouldn't, such as semi-digested food particles, leading to inflammation and complaints that include rashes and joint pain.
Cleansing can be as simple as cutting down on what Dr. Haas calls the SNACCs-Sugar, Nicotine, Alcohol, Caffeine and Chemicals-or as thorough as a complete diet-and-supplement program with colonic irrigation (a sort of super-enema, professionally administered; if you're interested, contact the International Association of Colon Hydrotherapy at 210-366-2888 or www.i-act.org). The more powerful the program, though, the more likely you are to experience toxicity reactions such as nausea and headaches because of the volume of material being released. As Dr. Haas puts it:
" If you did water and green salads for a week, you'd detoxify more intensely than if you just gave up sugar and white flour." If you're feeling extremely rundown, take a gentle approach at first or consult a nutritionally aware practitioner, especially if you have a preexisting medical condition.
Getting more fiber is essential. Laurel Vukovic, a natural health teacher and author of 14-Day Herbal Cleansing (Prentice Hall), suggests following this daily regimen for two weeks: a teaspoon of psyllium (a fiber supplement); at least seven daily servings of fruits and vegetables, especially fiber-rich ones like apples, cabbage and carrots; and six glasses of water, along with daily exercise. Extra fiber "supports the intestines in eliminating the larger amounts of toxins that are released," says Vukovic, "prevent[ing] their reabsorption into the bloodstream." Some people find premixed cleansing formulas convenient; check your health food store shelves.
Fasting is a more intense detox approach that, according to Dr. Haas, "promotes relaxation and energization of the body, mind and emotions, and supports a greater spiritual awareness." He especially recommends fasting in the spring and autumn, which are times of transition. Some people do water-only fasts, but fresh vegetable juices are probably a better option, particularly if you haven't fasted before. Juices and plenty of fresh water also help cleanse the kidneys, another vital detox route.
Instead of juices you can use a special cleansing formula, such as the Spring Master Cleanser: 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup and 1/10 teaspoon cayenne pepper in 8 ounces of spring water. Dr. Haas recommends drinking eight to 12 glasses daily (and rinsing your mouth after each glass to protect your teeth from lemon's acids), augmented by water, laxative herb tea, and peppermint or chamomile tea.
Try fasting for a day to see how you feel. Dr. Haas suggests starting out by fasting from early evening through the night, and eating a light breakfast the following day. Subsequent fasts can gradually increase in length-experienced fasters may go up to two weeks without food.
Break your fast properly; for juice or cleansing formula fasts, eat a raw or cooked low-starch vegetable, such as spinach or other greens. "Go slowly, chew well and do not overeat or mix too many foods at any meal," says Dr. Haas.
Don't forget your liver, the organ that transforms noxious chemicals into substances your body can eliminate. The herb milk thistle, used since ancient times as a liver tonic, contains silymarin, which protects the liver from pollutants and helps it renew itself after toxic damage. Dandelion not only promotes the flow of bile from the liver, which helps clean out the junk, but also acts as a diuretic, helping the kidneys do their job. Green-food supplements, such as spirulina and cereal grasses, help neutralize toxins.
To maintain your cleansing gains, eat a healthy diet after detoxing. Focus on fresh organic foods, especially produce, beans and peas, whole grains and seeds (add organic poultry if you eat meat). Organic yogurt provides healthful probiotics, while fresh fish and ground flaxseeds provide omega-3 fats.
Clean Living Pays
The body's largest organ-the skin-provides a valuable contaminant exit path. Sitting in a hot tub or sauna "benefits the internal organs of detoxification," according to Dr. Lark, "by lessening the amount of toxins they must process." When sweatin' out the bad stuff, drink plenty of water and replace the calcium, magnesium and potassium lost through perspiration.
Another way to stimulate skin circulation is dry brushing, which also removes dead skin cells for a healthy glow (and is easier to fit into a daily routine). Using "a moderately soft, natural vegetable-fiber bristle brush" (Dr. Lark's suggestion), work in from the hands and up from the feet with light, short strokes that always move towards the heart. Vukovic says that a hot towel scrub is another option; put three drops of lavender essential oil in a basin of very hot water, dip in a rough terry washcloth and wring out, and then rub the skin briskly, starting with your feet and working your way up.
Once you've detoxified your body, you can start in on your immediate surroundings. Dr. Haas warns against using plastic food storage containers: "When food is heated in plastics some of the plastic material ends up in the food, especially if the food contains acids." Use glass containers instead. He also recommends avoiding aluminum pots and pans, and using stainless steel as an alternative.
Dr. Haas has seen what a good detox program can do: "It's amazing the kind of results people get-looking and feeling younger, more vital and healthy. They say, 'I'm sleeping like a baby,' they have fewer aches and pains. They have more peace in their bodies. I think detoxification is one of the keys to preventive medicine." So cleanse that body and let detoxification bring balance and renewal to your life.
Scents of Balance
June 14, 2005 11:54 AM
Scents of Balance by Rosemary Sage Energy Times, January 5, 2005
Life can feel like an emotional rollercoaster, with the high-stress jitters following the low-mood blues. But aromatherapy-the healing power of scent-can restore equilibrium.
The use of volatile plant oils, including essential oils, for psychological and physical well-being dates back thousands of years. The ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used infused oils and herbal preparations for medicinal, fragrant, cosmetic, even spiritual reasons.
During the late 20th century, people started to relearn the benefits of aromatherapy and these days, aromatherapy's reputation as a soothing, healing art continues to grow. Once you've experienced the odiferous power of aromatherapy's essential oils, you'll keep coming back for more: These gently wafting odors have the power to stimulate or calm, invigorate or relax.
When you enter this scented world, "there you will find nature in one of its most powerful forms-aromatic liquid substances known as 'essential oils,'" says Valerie Ann Worwood in The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy (Thorsons). Essential oils form what Worwood refers to as the "fragrant pharmacy," a collection of concentrated substances used in pharmaceuticals, foods and cosmetics.
When you sniff the aromas of essential oils, "they enter and leave the body with great efficiency, leaving no toxins behind," Worwood points out. "The most effective way to use essential oils is...by external application or inhalation. The methods used include body oils, compresses, cosmetic lotions, baths-including sitz, hand and foot baths-hair rinses...perfumes...and a whole range of room [scenting] methods."
As Worwood explains, essential oils are produced in various parts of different plants. As a result, it takes a great deal of specialized work to extract essential oils. About 60,000 rose blossoms are consumed in the production of an ounce (!) of rose oil.
Just as the antioxidant phytonutrients we eat in vegetarian foods link our bodies to the health-promoting chemistry of plants, the penetrating nature of essential oils are thought to connect our souls to the essences of flora. "From inside comes the voice and from inside comes the scent," observed the 19th century German doctor Gustav Fechner, quoted by Robert Tisserand in The Art of Aromatherapy (Healing Arts Press). "Just as one can tell human beings in the dark from the tone of voice, so, in the dark, every flower can be recognized by its scent. Each carries the soul of its progenitor."
Fechner believed that the power of essential oils to stir our deepest emotions derives from their function as a vital means of communication in the plant world. As Tisserand asks, can't we imagine that flowers "communicate with each other by the very perfumes they exude, becoming aware of each other's presence?"
The Science Behind the Scent
While alternative medical practitioners have acknowledged the effectiveness of aromatherapy for thousands of years, only recently have conventional medical researchers begun seriously looking into how this technique works.
For instance, a study of estragole, a chemical found in basil, fennel and tarragon, determined that it could potentially ease back pain by inhibiting inflammation of the sciatic nerve. (The sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body, runs from the back down the leg.) The researchers discovered that estragole is "active on nerves," a conclusion that aromatherapy practitioners, who employ the scent of these oils to soothe pain, already knew. Science is verifying another piece of information long known to practitioners-that while certain essential oils can calm you down, others prod your alertness. In a study performed at the University of Northumbria in England, scientists found that sniffing the scent of lavender lulls the human brain into a comfortable, rather stupefied state, while rosemary, in contrast, can sharpen recall.
As the English researchers noted, lavender "produced a significant decrement in performance of working memory, and impaired reaction times for both memory and attention-based tasks." That's probably why the odor of lavender is noted for enhancing sleep. On the other hand, the scientists found that rosemary "produced a significant enhancement of performance for overall quality of memory and secondary memory factors." However, they did point out that under the influence of both of these oils, performance slowed when tackling a battery of memory tests. Apparently, the oils mellowed people so that they had little motivation to rush through the paperwork.
As Frazesca Watson notes in Aromatherapy Blends & Remedies (Thorsons): "The aroma of the oils directly affects our moods and emotions and sometimes our short- and long-term memory. Together with a wide range of physiological benefits, the aroma can help with emotional upsets such as depression, anxiety, nervous tension, anger, apathy, confusion, indecision, fear, grief, hypersensitivity, impatience, irritability, panic and hysteria."
Essential oils are especially helpful at defusing stress. Watson notes, "Treatments with essential oils are therefore very helpful for all sorts of stress-related problems, so common in our modern life."
As scientific research into the effects of these oils continue, conventional medical practitioners are sure to embrace them in increasing numbers. But before there were scientists around to confirm the effects of these wonderful scents, the ancient medical practitioners in Egypt and Greece attributed the origins of aromatherapy to the gods. For many people in today's overstressed world, the relaxing assurance of essential oils certainly seems heaven-s(c)ent.
Marilu Henner: Energy Personified!
June 14, 2005 11:50 AM
Marilu Henner: Energy Personified! by Stephen Hanks Energy Times, January 3, 2005
Marilu Henner is an actress, dancer and author, a health, fitness and cooking guru and a devoted mom. Now she's also an advocate for nutritional supplements. In this revealing interview, she offers her thoughts on the battle to support consumer rights and to create a better health care system in America.
"So, you want to know what my schedule is after I finish talking with you?" Marilu Henner says, in an almost breathless voice. "Today's Tuesday, right? Tomorrow morning I leave Los Angeles [where she lives] for New York City so I can do the Tony Danza Show first thing Thursday morning, Then, I take a 9 am flight back to LA because my son has a sleepover birthday party. I have a 7 am flight to New Jersey the next morning because I'm speaking about mental health at a conference at a big country club. The next morning, I catch a 7 am flight back to LA for my son's soccer games, one at noon and the other at 2. Whew!"
Trying to keep up with Marilu Henner would make anybody feel out of breath because the woman is energy personified. At 52, her schedule includes acting in movies, on television and in the occasional Broadway show, writing books (she's authored seven, including Total Health Makeover and Healthy Life Kitchen), teaching online diet and exercise classes through her website (marilu.com), taking Pilates classes three times a week and raising two sons, Nicholas (10) and Joseph (8).
But now, on top of all that, the former star of the TV show Taxi has become a health and nutrition activist, speaking out in favor of the use of dietary supplements whenever she can. This past September, Henner testified at a hearing of the House Subcommittee for Human Rights and Wellness to advocate increased funding for research and full implementation of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). During her testimony, Marilu described why she believes consumers should have access to more information about supplements and why the products should be made more accessible through both government initiatives and private health plans. "I believe that dietary supplements should be part of a campaign to improve our nation's health," Henner testified.
Energy Times recently caught up with Marilu at her Los Angeles home for a freewheeling conversation. Here, this vibrant yet down-to-earth celebrity displays her passion for health, nutrition and consumer issues.
Energy Times: You've become one of the most high profile celebrities to advocate a consumer's use of dietary supplements. What was your motivation to get involved in such a public way?
Marilu Henner: As a teenager, I had been a yo-yo dieter. I could be around 135 pounds and balloon up to 174. I knew I needed a different way of looking at my life. I couldn't concentrate on those stupid diets where I could lose 20 pounds in a week and then gain it all back over a weekend. But after my mom died at 58 in 1978, I said to myself, "It's not really about my body anymore, it's really about my health." I just became obsessed with health. I read everything I could get my hands on. I starting taking human anatomy classes, going to medical libraries and seeing nutritionists and doctors. And I started experimenting on myself, turning myself into my own guinea pig. It took me about eight years to put together a program. I always say that my health birthday was 1979, but it wasn't until 1987 that I could say I was living a completely healthy lifestyle.
ET: Were you ever really heavy when you were performing in a show? MH: Sure. When I first performed the role of Marty in "Grease" more than 30 years ago I weighed about 175 pounds. But I hid it well. When you wear those 1950s clothes you can get away with it.
ET: When did you start incorporating supplements into your health program? MH: Before I became pregnant with my first son in 1993, I had never been a supplement taker. But I started taking prenatal vitamins and dietary supplements when I was breastfeeding and they made me feel really good. After the pregnancy, I just kept taking them because I was getting the essential nutrients that I couldn't get from food alone. I was getting great stuff from my food, but with all the travel I do-you know, the eating on planes and in restaurants-I couldn't always shop for organic food. I had a doctor who understood the value of dietary supplements and encouraged me to use them. I've taken them ever since and I recommend them to my family and friends, as well as to people through my books and classes.
ET: What supplements other than vitamins do you find helpful in your total nutrition program? MH: I take vitamin E, omega-3 fish oils, antioxidants, garlic, coral calcium and echinacea supplements.
ET: So let's get back to why you decided to testify before Congress in support of supplement use. MH: I know that as soon as you put a celebrity face on an issue, people tend to pay a little more attention. When I was in Washington, I was able to tell Congress the personal stories I've heard about people who turned their lives around-from debilitating illness to vibrant health-when they got the information they need to make good choices. By good choices, I mean rejecting the manufactured foods of our society, with their over-reliance on sugar, meat and dairy, and the chemicals, hormones and steroids that usually accompany these products. Instead, we should be moving towards an organic, vegan diet that produces a sense of physical health. I also believe that a healthy diet includes the use of appropriate dietary supplements.
ET: Do you think that government is moving fast enough to reduce the restrictions on safe supplements? MH: Things could always move faster. But I remember years ago writing letters on behalf of people who wanted supplements without needing a prescription. When I would tell people about the benefits of soy products or supplements, they'd think I was nuts. Now those ideas are mainstream. The floodgates are open and people want to know more. You can't even keep up with all the information. I think that the government knows they're not going to get away with making people have a prescription to take their vitamins.
ET: What is the citizen's responsibility in all this? MH: We're in a real transitional phase and people should take responsibility to educate themselves. You have to question your doctors and recognize when something is or isn't working. You have to find a health practitioner who really knows their stuff.
ET: As you said, there's so much information out there, how do you decipher it all? How can someone be an educated information consumer?
MH: I know it's very difficult because there are so many options. Believe me, I've been doing this a long time and I'm glad I did the research. I think you have to read everything. You have to find a nutritionist/herbalist/doctor who's the real deal and knows what they're talking about. You have to recognize the symptoms in your own body and try to figure it out. I think if you start out with a good multivitamin, a calcium supplement, fish oils and vitamin E, that can be your base and you can't go wrong.
ET: Isn't a diet built on buying organic foods much more expensive? MH: Sure, it's a little more expensive. But there's nothing more expensive than bad health. There's nothing more expensive than food being thrown away because it doesn't taste right. Organic fruit tastes so much better than the perfect-looking fruits and vegetables sprayed with pesticides.
ET: What's your advice to people who want to start a workout and weight-loss program? MH: I'm always saying to people, "Look, you walk your dog, your cat stretches, your hamster runs on a hamster wheel. You're an animal, too, so go move, go do something." I know a lot of people believe that when you want to lose weight you have to go on these 1,200-calorie-per-day diets.
Well, my weight is always between 120-124 pounds and I eat close to 2,000 calories a day, but everything I eat is of quality. And I burn a lot of calories because I wear comfortable shoes and I move around in my life. I'm always strong, I never get sick and I feel like an animal.
ET: How do you view the future of healthcare policy in this country and where do you think nutritional supplements fit in? MH: I strongly believe that the general public needs more access to dietary supplements to maintain essential good health. American research and development has come up with really great products, but the American Medical Association and the drug companies have stigmatized supplements. So what's the result? Most Americans don't have access to safe supplements because they are not covered by their health plans, nor recognized as effective by the federal government. This really needs to be changed.
I think we should take 90% of what we're spending on drugs that barely keep people alive and start spending it on prevention, nutrition and changing lifestyle habits. In this country we're all about curing the disease rather than curing the patient. We don't look at the patient holistically and try to find out how the disease developed. Your doctor should be in charge of keeping you well, not keeping you in that strange state of, what I call, "dis-ease." It's like the medical and pharmaceutical establishment wants to keep you just sick enough so you'll continue to be a paying customer. They've convinced people to think they've got to take a pill to cure themselves rather than use their own bodies.
ET: Do you think medical schools will start training doctors to treat patients holistically and focus more on preventative medicine?
MH: I think we're seeing a lot more nutrition and alternative medicine specialists these days. And the general public is becoming more aware of health and nutrition issues then they were years ago. There's this groundswell of people saying "Wait, I need more information. Wait, my doctor's no longer God. I can't just keep taking these pills and trying to figure out all these warning labels and side effects."
ET: Do you plan on becoming more politically active on these issues? MH: Absolutely, I want to work with any organization that wants to improve school lunch programs, improve the healthcare system and get people more involved in understanding nutrition and disease prevention.
June 14, 2005 11:44 AM
Good Hydration by Lisa James Energy Times, June 17, 2004
Ah summertime, and the living is lovely: ocean fragrances wafting on a summer wind, the summer sun warming the body and relaxing the mind.
But all that sun and wind can dry your summer skin, making it uncomfortable and parched-looking. Moisture counteracts the discomforts that summer elements can bring, allowing your fresh, dewy look to shine through. Knowing how to hydrate your skin is the key.
Skin consists of three layers, each with a different function:
Do you have dry skin? How well your skin holds moisture depends on the arrangement of cells within the stratum corneum. Fat contained in this layer, as well as natural moisturizing factor (made by the epidermis), also keeps skin moist. Unfortunately, as you age, the amount of natural moisturizing factor produced by your skin decreases.
Skin Care 101
Obviously, anything that affects the all-important epidermis can dry out your skin-sun and wind both rob skin of moisture. For starters, just say no to tobacco. Smoking tightens the skin's abundant blood vessels; this reduces the flow of oxygen and nutrients, creating dryness. Smoking also breaks down elastin, the protein that gives skin its flexibility. The next step is to add water from within. " It takes at least six to eight cups of pure water each day to keep the skin and body well hydrated," notes Jeanette Jacknin, MD, board-certified dermatologist and author of Smart Medicine for Your Skin (Avery/Penguin).
At the same time, be careful about how you bathe your skin. Bathing or showering for too long, or using water that's too hot, can actually cause your skin to lose moisture for two reasons. First, prolonged bathing washes away the oils that help lock moisture in; second, it encourages your skin's own moisture to evaporate after you dry yourself off.
Before you shower or bathe, Dr. Jacknin recommends using a dry, soft-bristled brush to increase skin circulation and gently remove dead cells. Brushing in small circles, gradually move up your legs and arms, always moving towards the heart. When you do get into the tub or shower, don't scrub your skin and don't use harsh cleaning agents. Instead, go for natural cleansers that feature such skin-friendly ingredients as glycerin.
Feed Your Inner Skin
As your body's largest organ, your skin depends on the nutrients in your diet. You have to feed your skin well if you expect it to stand up to wind and sun. " Eat fish, rolled oats and ground flaxseeds frequently," recommends Dr. Jacknin. "These foods are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help the skin retain moisture." Include other healthy oils, such as safflower and olive oil, in your meals. Supplemental omega-3s, in the form of flaxseed or fish oils, can also help.
Various vitamins help make your skin happy and healthy. Skin growth and repair requires vitamin A, while natural vitamin E provides antioxidant protection and vitamin C promotes creation of collagen, which provides skin with its structure.
The B vitamins are essential to keeping dryness at bay; without them, the skin can crack, peel and redden. Choline, a member of the B family that helps with fat transportation within the body, is available as lecithin. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is another skin-friendly nutrient. MSM provides sulfur, which the body needs to create healthy skin proteins. It also fights inflammation and encourages better blood flow.
Slake Your Skin's Thirst
A good moisturizer can help arid skin return to soft freshness. To get the most out of moisturizers, use them consistently, and start at a young age. " [M]ost people start to benefit from [moisturizers] in their twenties [when] their skin begins to dry with age," state Charles Inlander and Janet Worsley Norwood in Skin: Head-to-Toe Tips for Health and Beauty (Walker and Company). "Moisturizers boost skin health by preventing water loss from the skin."
The same antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamin C and natural vitamin E, you feed your skin from within also abound in natural moisturizers, as do an impressive variety of herbal essences and essential oils. Aloe vera, used to treat burns for centuries, helps ease inflammation, as does chamomile. Fresh-smelling lavender oil helps soothe insect bites and minor wounds. Jasmine and peppermint offset excessive oil production.
Moisturizers: Timing and Type
The ideal time to moisturize is right after a bath or shower, since that's when evaporation promotes water loss; for best results, apply while your skin is still slightly damp. But bathtime isn't the only time to consider your skin's moisture needs. Carry some moisturizer with you so you can use it every time you wash your hands, especially if you're prone to cracked cuticles and split fingertips.
Match your moisturizer to your skin type. If your skin tends to oiliness, use a water-based product; otherwise, an oil-based formulation -jojoba oil and shea butter are good choices-is fine. (Oily skin may first need a gentle astringent like lemon peel or cucumber to remove dirt and excess oil.)
Also pay careful attention to the type of moisturizer you use. Lotions are easy to apply, but may not stay on your skin as readily as creams, which may be a better choice for your face, feet and hands. By all means, enjoy the summer sun. Just make sure your skin enjoys the summer, too, by staying hydrated and happy.
Fats: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
June 14, 2005 11:18 AM
Fats: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly by Thomas Sherman Energy Times, October 15, 2004
We need fat to absorb vitamins, to keep our brains sharp, to survive. But not all fats are our friends. Find out which ones are the heroes and the villains in your diet.
In a lot of cases health fads don't live up to their hype. But the case for consuming more good fats-the omega-3 fatty acids found primarily in fish, flax and hemp oils-is strong and growing stronger. As a nation we eat too little of these good fats, and our health would improve greatly if we relied a little less on the bad saturated fat in burgers, skipped the ugly trans fats in fries and indulged in more salmon and other seafoods.
Fish and the Heart
Need proof? A wealth of research supports fish oil's desirable effects, especially on heart health. While many people believe that heart disease is primarily a problem for men, women who have passed through menopause are just as susceptible to heart problems.
" [Our] findings suggest that all women, and most likely men, would benefit from regular fish intake," says Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University in Boston. "A tuna fish sandwich counts, as does almost any other type of fish that is baked, broiled, grilled, or poached." But she points out that fried fish, which is often cooked in hydrogenated oils, is not helpful.
In research on more than 200 women, performed at the Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts, scientists found that the arterial blockages among women who dined on fish were less (and impeded blood flow less) than in women who hardly ever ate seafood. Fish was especially helpful for women who had diabetes, a disease that makes you more prone to heart and circulation problems (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 9/04).
These effects are important: Heart disease is the number one cause of death for women, and older women who suffer from diabetes are particularly susceptible. The number of people with diabetes has been increasing of late, mainly due to the fact that Americans are overweight. Right now about 18 million people have diabetes and another 20 million are expected to suffer this condition in the next four decades.
" This study shows that following the current guidelines of eating at least two servings of any type of fish per week slows down the progression of heart disease in women with coronary artery disease (CAD), especially those who were also diabetic," says Dr. Lichtenstein, coauthor of the study. "We further found that eating one or more servings per week of fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as tuna or other dark-fleshed fish, is equally effective."
Dangerous disruptions in heartbeat, known as arrhythmias, may also be affected by fish oil. "[E]xperiments show that fatty acids from omega-3 fish oils are stored in the cell membranes of heart cells and can prevent sudden cardiac death or fatal arrhythmias," notes Alexander Leaf, MD, medical researcher and professor at Harvard University.
Fat for Your Brain
The right kind of fat is also crucial for the function of your nerves and brain tissue, which is 60% to 70% fat. Incorporating omega-3 fatty acids into those cells can help keep your brain firing on all synapses. It may lower your risk of Alzheimer's disease, an irreversible form of mental deterioration that kills 100,000 Americans a year. About a thousand people a day in the US are found to have Alzheimer's, and experts believe that over the next 40 years 14 million of us will be doomed to being enveloped by the mental fog this condition produces.
Research indicates that our brains probably need omega-3 fats for protection against the kind of damage that causes our mental capacities to slip. Once Alzheimer's starts, deterioration accelerates because brain cells start losing these fats.
In experiments performed at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA (Neuron 9/2/04), scientists looked at how a lack of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, one of the omega-3 fats found in fish), affected the cellular processes that lead to Alzheimer's. They found that the part of brain cells that receive signals from other brain cells, the receptors, are vulnerable to damage from chemical reactions that take place inside the cells. However, DHA offers antioxidant protection against this destruction.
When brain cells were denied DHA, the cells' receptors suffered extra harm. But when fish oil was present, brain cells were protected. In addition, animals that received extra omega-3s were better able to learn and find their way through mazes.
Greg Cole, PhD, senior researcher on this study and a professor of neurology at Geffen, says, "We saw that a diet rich in DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, dramatically reduces the impact of the Alzheimer's gene [which made the animals more susceptible to Alzheimer's]. Consuming more DHA is something the average person can easily control. Anyone can buy DHA in its purified form, fish-oil capsules, high-fat fish or DHA-supplemented eggs." Fishes rich in omega-3s include salmon, halibut, mackerel, sardines and herring.
Protecting Kids from Asthma
A surprising benefit of omega-3s has been found in pregnant women and their newborns: Pregnant women with asthma who eat fish rich in omega-3s during their pregnancy lower their children's risk of asthma.
Not just any fish will do. The study (American Thoracic Society International Conference 5/25/04) discovered that mothers who ate fish sticks during pregnancy doubled the asthma risk in their kids. " Fish sticks are deep-fried, and they contain omega-6 fatty acids, which encourage inflammation of the airways," says study co-author Frank Gilliland, MD, PhD, professor at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. "Oily fish [like salmon and trout] contain omega-3 fatty acids, which appear to be anti-inflammatory, and lead to the reduced potential for developing asthma and allergies."
The USC investigation showed that when women with asthma ate oil-bearing fish during pregnancy, the risk of asthma for their children dropped more than 70%. The more fish that mom consumed, the less likely her baby was to develop asthma. Unfortunately, the study did not find the same benefit in women without asthma.
" A family history of asthma is a very strong risk factor for a child developing asthma," Dr. Gilliland says. "It appears that oily fish interacts with the genes involved in the predisposition to develop asthma, and somehow reduces the risk."
Although most of us try to avoid accumulating unsightly fat around our hips, the right kind of fat plays an integral part in the functioning of our bodies and may even keep us alive. Fats don't get much better than that.
Your Healthy Harvest
June 14, 2005 11:05 AM
Your Healthy Harvest by Marjorie Flakowitz Energy Times, August 15, 2004
Once frowned on by conventional farmers, organic food has won respect from everyone concerned about the health of both the earth and the people who inhabit it.
Today, organic farming is considered one of the most rapidly growing areas of American agriculture. Organic foods sales topped $9 billion in 2002 and grew about 20%, up to almost $11 billion in 2003 (Organic Trade Association).
So when you buy organic, you join an expanding market that takes advantage of great-tasting, good-for-you food. Long ago, when the practice of farming was first devised, all farming was organic farming. So today's organic movement is bringing farming back to its roots.
But, safe to say, that is not what's motivating most consumers. A main reason for the popularity of organic food derives from the reassurance that organic foods, raised without artificial chemicals and pesticides, cut your exposure to toxic residues. A growing body of research shows organic food is richer in beneficial natural substances, too.
" Organic food and organic farming represent a philosophy that goes beyond just the quality of the food," says Steve Meyerowitz in The Organic Food Guide (Globe Pequot). "It strives to maintain the integrity of the entire food chain-plants, soil, air, water, animals and people. We are all part of the same ecosystem."
By eating organic, you eliminate pollution both from your body and the earth. Because our bodies are made of the animal and plant products we consume, our internal, physiological ecosystem and the earth's environment are inexorably entwined.
Chilling Arctic Evidence
As evidence of this connection, consider what's happened in the Arctic. Researchers who have analyzed Arctic water, ice, snow, soil and plants have found that chemicals used in farming and industry in other parts of the world have traveled north and accumulated in alarming quantity. How and if these chemicals break down depends on sunlight and the amount of organic matter contained in Arctic waters (American Chemical Society, 9/11/03).
" Once pollutants enter the water column, their behavior is poorly understood-particularly the processes that govern their lifetime and concentrations," says Amanda Grannas, PhD, a researcher at Ohio State University. "Such pollutants are now being found in wildlife, from fish to seals to whales, and even in people living in the Arctic."
Dr. Grannas and others looked at the pesticides lindane and hexachlorobenzene (HCB), two chemicals that have migrated to Arctic waters. Lindane is used by American farmers to treat seeds before they are planted. HCB, banned in the US in 1984, is still used in other countries to protect wheat from fungus.
The scientists found that sunlight at the top of Arctic waterways can help break down some pesticides. At lower depths, however, cut off from the sun's rays, pesticides can remain largely intact. In this research, lindane proved to persist much more readily than HCB.
" Lindane is one of the most persistent of pollutants," warns Dr. Grannas. "This could be because it's photochemically inert, whereas pollutants like HCB degrade relatively quickly. The main message is that pollutants can behave quite differently. These pollutants already affect local ecosystems, and could have repercussions for human health."
Organics Means More Benefits
Researchers are also finding that organic produce contains larger quantities of beneficial natural chemicals. For instance, one study (Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 2/26/03) showed that berries and corn grown organically can have almost 60% more polyphenolics. Polyphenolics are antioxidants plants use for protection against disease and which are good for humans. Researchers believe that when crops are grown conventionally, protected by pesticides and herbicides, they produce fewer of these substances. " This really opens the door to more research in this area," says Alyson Mitchell, PhD, assistant professor of food science at University of California at Davis, who led the research.
These scientists compared levels of total polyphenolics and vitamin C content in marionberries (a type of blackberry) and corn grown organically, sustainably or conventionally, and also looked at chemicals in strawberries grown either sustainably or conventionally. (Sustainable farming falls between the organic and conventional methods, and concentrates on farming that's self-sufficient-for example, feeding cows hay you've grown yourself, and then using the cows' manure to fertilize another crop.) They found that organic marionberries and corn had 50% to 58% more polyphenolics. The sustainably grown strawberries had 19% more polyphenolics. And all the organic produce contained more vitamin C.
Self-Defense for Plants
According to Dr. Mitchell, the organic crops contained the high levels of polyphenolics you'd expect to find in wild plants, suggesting that, on conventional farms, pesticides reduce the necessity for plants to make these protective, natural chemicals. " If an aphid is nibbling on a leaf, the plant produces phenolics to defend itself," she says. "[P]henolics guard the plant against these pests."
Pesticides kill insects like aphids and thereby reduce the antioxidants produced by the plant. " This helps explain why the level of antioxidants is so much higher in organically grown food," Mitchell says. "By synthetically protecting the produce from these pests, we decrease their need to produce antioxidants. It suggests that maybe we are doing something to our food inadvertently.
" We know [polyphenolics] are beneficial [to human health], but we don't know what types of polyphenolics are beneficial, or in what quantities," Dr. Mitchell notes. " Originally, the question was just really intriguing to me. I found that the higher level of antioxidants is enough to have a significant impact on health and nutrition, and it's definitely changed the way I think about my food."
Vitamin C in Oranges
Meanwhile, nutritional research on the vitamin C in oranges turns up similar results: organic oranges are richer in this antioxidant nutrient than conventionally grown oranges (Great Lakes Regional Meeting, American Chemical Society, 6/2/02).
The more common supermarket oranges are significantly larger than organically grown oranges, and they have a deeper orange color. Because of their larger size, "we were expecting twice as much vitamin C in the conventional oranges," says Theo Clark, PhD, chemistry professor at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.
But when he isolated the chemicals in the oranges and further refined his search with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), spectroscopy demonstrated that organically grown oranges possess 30% more vitamin C than the conventionally grown fruits-even though they are only about half as large.
Dr. Clark isn't sure why organic oranges are richer in vitamin C, but he says, "...[W]e speculate that with conventional oranges, [farmers] use nitrogen fertilizers that cause an uptake of more water, so it sort of dilutes the orange. You get a great big orange but it is full of water and does not have as much nutritional value.
" However, we can only speculate. Other factors such as maturity, climate, processing factors, packaging and storage conditions require consideration." Along with analyzing oranges, Dr. Clark and his research team questioned about 70 people to measure their concept of the nutritional value of organic oranges. In this survey, 85% of the respondents thought that organic oranges have a higher nutritional content than conventionally grown fruit.
Dr. Clark's laboratory work shows that "they were right on." In Dr. Clark's view, these issues are important because consumers have a right to know the real nutritional content of organic produce, and the fact that analyses show that organic fruit has much more vitamin C validates the benefits of eating organic.
Both plants and animals protect themselves from disease with many of the same chemicals. The natural substances that, in a farmer's field, defend vegetables from insects and microbes before they are harvested for your dinner go to work defending your body after you eat and digest them.
When you eat organic you bolster your health with more of these natural wonders. No wonder organic is becoming so popular!
June 14, 2005 10:52 AM
Nutritional Scorecard by Sylvia Whitefeather Energy Times, June 15, 2004
For over 50 years, the federal government has produced Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) as guidelines for vitamin and mineral intake. Then, in 1993, the Reference Daily Intakes (RDIs) superseded the RDAs. By applying this new designation, the government's guidelines are now supposed to represent the designated amounts that an average person should consume. With this in mind, and the fact that many experts think you should consume more than some of the RDIs, how does your nutritional scorecard add up? Answering a few nutritional questions can point you in the right direction.
Are you trying to lose weight? If you are, the latest thinking on weight loss opines that eating more protein may be the key to keeping your weight down. Two recent studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (5/18/04) found that people who ate a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet lost more weight and had better cholesterol levels than dieters who ate fewer fatty foods. Both studies found that a low-carb diet can improve your triglycerides (blood fats) and boost your HDL, or good, cholesterol.
Eating protein satisfies both tummies and taste buds. Researchers have found that the amount of protein eaten in a meal determines not only how much food you eat but also how satisfied you feel after eating (J Nutr 2004 Apr; 134(4):974S-9S). And when you feel satisfied after eating less food you improve your odds of losing weight.
We need about 50 grams of protein a day to support the body's functions. The best sources of protein are eggs, meat, milk, protein shakes and yogurt.
Does your energy level go up and down during the day? To get off the energy rollercoaster, cut down on carbohydrates, and make sure the carbs you do eat are complex.
Carbohydrates have been getting some unflattering press lately. Yes, if you want to lose weight, you may want to go on a strictly low-carb diet. But for those not concerned with weight, carbohydrates are the principle source of energy for the body.
What's more, even if you do restrict carbohydrates, you should still eat a tiny bit of them. Without some carbs in the diet your body cannot regulate protein or fat metabolism. According to Michael and Mary Eades, MD, authors of The 30-Day Low-Carb Diet Solution (Wiley), "Carbohydrates control insulin and insulin controls your metabolic health."
So, make your carbohydrates count. Indulge in complex carbohydrates: whole grains, fruits and vegetables. In those foods, carbs are accompanied by fiber and larger amounts of vitamins and phytonutrients. Other reliable sources of complex carbohydrates are whole wheat bread, brown rice and oatmeal.
Are you concerned about your heart health? Fiber from beans, oats, legumes, nuts, rice bran, fruits and vegetables helps stabilize blood sugar and reduce cholesterol. Pectins, found in apples, pears, prunes and plums, are a particularly useful form of water-soluble fiber.
Insoluble fiber, in cereals, wheat bran and vegetables, reduces the risk of colon-related problems. In addition to adding fiber to the diet, dried beans and soybeans have been shown to lower cholesterol, improve vascular health and kidney functioning, preserve bone mineral density and reduce menopausal discomforts (AJCN 1999 Sept; 70(3 suppl):464S-74S). Fiber also promotes good bowel health and encourages the growth of beneficial intestinal flora.
You need 25 to 40 grams of fiber daily. If you have cut back on your carbohydrates, be sure to take a reliable fiber supplement.
Do you have problems focusing on mentally challenging tasks? If so, you should eat more fish and get more of the omega-3 fatty acids that fish and flax contain. Higher levels of this type of fat have been linked to better concentration while performing demanding intellectual work (Lipids 2004 Feb; 39(2):117-23).
Fats add flavor to food, making meals taste better. Monounsaturated fats like plain olive oil and canola are liquid at room temperature and are suitable for use in cooking at high temperatures. Researchers have found that a diet high in monounsaturated fat has the ability to decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol (J Nutr 2001; 131:1758-63). Other fats, such as extra virgin olive oil and flaxseed oil, are best used in dishes that don't need cooking, such as salads.
Although the RDI for fat is less than 30% of the total calorie intake, some researchers believe that if you eat healthy fat, eating too much is not a concern. Omega-3 fats are available in supplement form.
Do you suffer from dry skin? You may not be drinking enough water. This precious liquid is used by every cell of our bodies and makes up 60% to 75% of our body weight. Water is important for kidney function. Researchers in Italy found that drinking adequate amounts of water can help prevent the formation of kidney stones (Urol Int 2004; 72 Suppl 1:29-33).
Your activity level, environment and diet influence how much water you need daily. Try to drink at least eight cups of fluid a day from noncaffeinated, nonalcoholic sources.
Do you exercise frequently? If you do, you need more antioxidant vitamins like natural vitamin E and vitamin C as well as a healthy supply of carotenoids. A study at the School of Applied Medical Sciences and Sports Studies, University of Ulster, found that exercisers need more antioxidants. Otherwise, their exertion may release an excess number of free radicals (caustic molecules) in their bodies and do damage to the heart arteries and other internal organs.
Vitamins, in general, are defined as micronutrients that are necessary for life. They are necessary for the production of energy, a healthy immune system and hundreds of other functions in the body.
Vitamins aren't the only substances that produce big benefits in small quantities. Phytonutrients are chemicals in plants that have health-promoting properties. These nutrients are getting more and more attention from researchers who are keeping score on our nutritional requirements.
Do your meals contain plenty of calcium? If not, you may need supplements to keep your bones strong and help keep your weight down. One study, presented at the Experimental Biology 2003 meeting in San Diego, found that young women who consumed more calcium had better luck controlling their weight. In this research, it didn't take much calcium to make a difference in waistlines. Consuming just one more serving daily (a cup of milk or a thumb-sized piece of cheese, each of which contain about 300 mg of calcium) made, on average, about a two-pound difference.
In addition, many experts recommend multimineral supplements (along with multivitamins) to promote better health. A recent study of people with immune problems, for instance, found that those kinds of supplements seem to help boost the immune system (AT News 2004 Feb 27; 398:4-5).
Truth in Labeling
June 14, 2005 10:44 AM
Truth in Labeling by Diane Stanton Energy Times, June 14, 2004
Do you or don't you read food labels when you shop? If you don't, you're missing out on a prime source of information about your meals. If you want control of your health, focus on package labels and pick your foods carefully.
The large print on food labels focus on what are called macronutrients: carbohydrates, fat and protein. Some of the smaller categories convey information about vitamins, fiber, and minerals, as well as the totals of fat and saturated fat contained in food. So, you have no excuse for claiming ignorance about your diet: the truth is in the labels.
Food labels can be confusing to the uninitiated. Go into a big food store and you can be faced with what seems to be a forest of food information: more than 15,000 labels. Add to that fact that every year more than 30,000 new food products can be introduced to the marketplace, and what you're faced with is a jungle of food labels.
That overwhelming wealth of food label information doesn't mean you should throw up your hands in dismay and give up reading and deciphering labels. You should arm yourself against that sea of labels with knowledge and, by understanding them, end your confusion and build your health.
A hundred years or so ago, food labels were only required to list the name of the food contained inside the package. The contents, quality and processes used to make the food were often a mystery. Little or no disclosure to consumers was made about how their food was created.
By the early 1920s, the federal government, via the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), began requiring food companies to list the net weight of food on labels as well as the names and addresses of food processors and distributors. Finally, by the 1970s, listing basic nutritional information was mandated in a uniform way so that shoppers could have some basis for comparing foods. Then, in 1990, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act made major alterations to the kinds of labels that had to be included on food packages.
The FDA and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) required significant changes to food labels that were supposed to make it easier for consumers to eat healthier diets. The labels requirements of 1994 included five major changes:
Consumer questions regarding food labels have led researchers to look into ways to help shoppers comprehend what food labels tell them. These studies are designed to help consumers match up their nutrition requirements with the foods they buy.
For instance, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, scientists have devised a label tool called See It, Do It, Teach It to help people improve their diets through comprehension of food label information. " One of the goals of the project was to help...teenaged girls and menopausal women understand how they can get the daily requirement for calcium into their diet in order to help prevent osteoporosis," says Karen Chapman-Novakofski, PhD, associate professor and nutritionist in the school's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.
According to the See It, Do It, Teach It program, you should think of food labels as consisting of two sections:
" Much more attention has been paid to what people should limit rather than the nutrients needed. The average consumer doesn't know, for instance, how much vitamin A 10% of the Daily Value is, or how much calcium 25% of the Daily Value is," Dr. Chapman-Novakofski says.
Upping Calcium Intake
In their eight-week study of people's calcium consumption (Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 4/04), the University of Illinois research team found that people didn't know how much calcium was in the food they ate.
After the initial part of the study, in which participants were shown how to look for calcium on labels, "the post-test revealed that the participants significantly increased their calcium intake to 821 mg per day, up from 372 mg per day," notes Dr. Chapman-Novakofski.
" That's a lot closer to the daily requirements of 1,200 mg per day for men and women over 50, 1,000 mg for men and women aged 19 through 50 and 1,300 mg per day for [youths aged] 9 to  years," she adds.
Parts of the Label
The first item at the top of a nutrition food label tells you the portion size that the label measures. An important point to remember: these sizes are determined individually by each manufacturer. Consequently, all of the other values on the label are measured per portion.
So, if you are comparing foods made by two different companies that employ very different portion sizes in their nutritional calculations, your label comparisons may be complicated.
Another fact to be aware of: the listed portion size may be an odd division of the food within the container and not reflect a common-sense division. For instance, some food packages are labeled as containing 2.5 portions.
And, to make things even more interesting, small boxes of candy that you might think contain barely enough for one helping may be labeled by the manufacturer as having two or more portions. As a result, if you eat the whole box, you often have to at least double the number of indicated calories, etc. to figure out the nutrients and calories you are consuming.
The section of the label that notes calories, calories from fat and percent daily values is listed under the portion size. Here you are told how many calories you consume when you devour one portion and how many of those calories are derived from fat.
This label focus on fat originated when consumers and dietitians were very concerned about Americans' fat consumption and hadn't yet switched their focus to carbohydrate consumption as a prevalent dietary health priority.
Also included on the label: the daily value percentages aimed at showing you how much out of a total day's intake of various nutrients a portion bestows upon you.
These percentage numbers are based on a theoretical analysis of a diet that contains 2,000 or 2,500 calories a day. (A notation at the bottom of the label tells you whether the calculation is based on 2,000 or 2,500.)
If you've been eating a low-carb diet (or are planning this type of diet), the section of the label that lists carbohydrates may be especially useful. Under this heading, the label lists the totals for fiber and sugar.
No matter what diet you are on, dietary fiber is desirable, since it represents indigestible carbohydrates that both pass through you without conveying any calories and keep beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract healthy.
Most people want to limit their sugar totals, however, since this nutrient may raise your risk of being overweight and, when you eat a lot of it, may contribute to immune problems.
Interestingly enough, when food chemists compute what is in food, they perform lab tests known as assays to distinguish its ingredients. (The manner in which these tests are performed are very strictly regulated by the FDA.)
In fact, just about every nutrient listed on a food label is determined by laboratory test except for the carbohydrate content: the amount of water, fat, crude protein and ash are determined this way. But the total carbs are computed by simply subtracting the total of the other ingredients from the total amount of food, a kind of process of elimination.
So while fat and protein are measured with precise lab tests, carbohydrate totals are figured by the leftovers. (The water and ash, by the way, are not usually listed on food labels.)
Within the general carbohydrate group, are several categories of carbohydrates that produce very different effects in your body. These categories can be divided into sugar, sugar alcohols, dietary fiber and a collection of various chemicals that include organic acids, flavonoids, gums, lignans and others.
According to the FDA, the food label only has to list the total carbs, sugar and dietary fiber. But some food companies now list things like sugar alcohols.
Blood Sugar Effects
Not all of these types of carbohydrates behave the same way in your body. For example, when your body digests table sugar, it turns immediately into blood sugar. So sugar and most other carbohydrate is what we call "digestible carbohydrate." Other carbs, such as sugar alcohol or glycerine, can be digested but do not turn to blood sugar. Still others, such as dietary fiber, are indigestible and pass through your body without impacting your blood sugar level.
To date, the FDA has not focused on these important biochemical differences and treats all carbohydrates alike. This means that when you look at a food label, you do not see a number for the carbs that impact your blood sugar level. To do so, simply subtract the number of grams of fiber from the total number of carbohydrate grams.
Recently, the phrases "low carb," "net carb" and "impact carbs" have begun to appear on food labels. These are not defined by the FDA; they were put on labels by by companies to help consumers pick out foods that are acceptable on low-carb diets. To arrive at the total of net carbs, food companies subtract the total amount of fiber and sugar alcohol from the total carbohydrates.
Since the body cannot digest fiber, this nutrient (which is still important for good health) is not calculated into the total amount of carbohydrates. As for sugar alcohols, while-technically speaking-these are carbs and they do have calories, they have little effect on blood sugar and usually are not counted in total carbohydrates.
According to the American Dietetic Association, people with diabetes who are managing their blood sugars using the carbohydrate counting method should "count half of the grams of sugar alcohol as carbohydrates since half of the sugar alcohol on average is digested.
" Fiber is not digested, however. If the serving of food has more then 5 grams of fiber one should subtract the grams of fiber from the total carbohydrate grams." As you can see, when it comes to food, as in most things, knowledge is power. If you want power over your health, you need power over the food you eat. The road to that power is by reading food labels. What's in the food you're eating every day may surprise you.
Eat to Live - fruits and vegetables are more effective than foods like ...
June 14, 2005 10:38 AM
Eat to Live by Mary Menendez Energy Times, April 14, 2004
By now, most everyone with even a cursory interest in health knows that fruits and vegetables are more effective than foods like cheeseburgers at making your body more resistant to chronic diseases such as cancer.
But beyond that generality, few people seem to know how to fine-tune their meals for the most anti-cancer bang per bite.
Over the course of the lifetime of planet Earth, the plant world has devised and concocted a wealth of nutrients that can help your body fight off cancer.
It's time to put them to work for you.
Would you be interested in a tasty, quick way to cut your chances of certain types of cancer in half? The means to this desirable end are about as close as your refrigerator and your dining room table: All you have to do is cut open and eat a single orange every day.
According to cancer research in Australia, adding that extra serving of citrus fruit to your diet every day, only once a day, boosts immunity enough to significantly lower your risk of some common cancers.
" Citrus fruits [protect] the body through their antioxidant properties and strengthen the immune system, inhibiting tumor growth and normalizing tumor cells," says Katrine Baghurst, PhD, of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). According to Dr. Baghurst and her fellow researchers, oranges possess the most antioxidants of any fruit: more than 170 different phytochemicals.
The protection you can get from oranges is due to their influence on immunity. Your immune system has the assigned task of protecting you against cells that can turn cancerous. Sixty of the chemicals in oranges are substances called flavonoids that can help the immune system fend off inflammation and tumors.
When Americans eat fruits and vegetables, they don't eat the ones with the most anti-cancer (or other) health benefits. Instead, we dine on the same so-so produce too frequently. If we want more health benefits from our veggies, we'd better look to expand our culinary horizons.
" While people understand they should eat a variety of fruits and vegetables each day, they are not translating 'variety' in a way to capture health benefits, such as reducing their risk of developing chronic diseases," says Susie Nanney, PhD, acting director of the Obesity Prevention Center at Saint Louis University.
" People aren't eating the fruits and vegetables that contain the most nutrients," warns Dr. Nanney. "People are quite frankly confused about nutrition. I feel their pain."
Unfortunately, Americans rely too often on iceberg lettuce, corn, apples, potatoes and bananas; a steady diet of that produce doesn't produce the same benefits as indulging in a wider variety of vegetarian foods.
Dr. Nanney points out that the vegetables and fruits most effective at helping the body fight cancer are dark green leafy veggies, citrus (oranges, grapefruits), cruciferous vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower) and produce that has yellow or orange color.
Making Dinner Plans
Dr. Nanney's spectrum of desirable foods includes:
" When we look at how to get the most bang for your buck, the most power, it's by eating these other fruits and vegetables instead of the traditional choices," Nanney insists.
Studies show that tomatoes, colored by a pigment called lycopene, may be particularly helpful in lowering men's chances of prostate cancer. For instance, research on about three dozen men with prostate cancer found that those taking supplements of lycopene and other tomato phytochemicals had smaller tumors and less spread of their cancers (Exper Bio and Med, 2002; 227: 881).
The researchers conclude that "lycopene may have an antitumor effect and may be useful as an adjunct to standard treatment of prostate cancer, such as surgery, radiation therapy, hormones and chemotherapy. In addition, lycopene supplementation appears to have reduced the [spread of cancer within the prostate], suggesting that lycopene may have a role in the prevention of prostate cancer."
In a study on African-American men, who suffer a higher rate of prostate cancer than other Americans, researchers also found that lycopene can limit the DNA damage that may presage cancer (Amer Chem Soc Meeting #222, 2001).
" This study does not say that tomato sauce reduces cancer," cautions Phyllis E. Bowen, PhD, a nutritionist at the University of Chicago and lead investigator in the study. " It says that it reduces DNA damage that we think is associated with cancer."
Other studies have confirmed the finding that men who eat tomatoes suffer less prostate cancer. And if you want the most anti-cancer benefit from tomatoes, better cook them.
According to Rui Hai Liu, MD, Cornell assistant professor of food science, "[Our] research demonstrates that heat processing actually enhanced the nutritional value of tomatoes by increasing the lycopene content-[the] phytochemical that makes tomatoes red-that can be absorbed by the body, as well as the total antioxidant activity. The research dispels the popular notion that processed fruits and vegetables have lower nutritional value than fresh produce."
While you're making an effort to eat more of the colorful vegetables, you should also eat less fatty red meat and cut back on high-fat dairy foods, according to research from Harvard.
In this study, which covered eight years and looked at the diets of more than 90,000 women, scientists found that those premenopausal women who ate the most fatty red meat and regular milk had the highest chance of developing invasive breast cancer.
The scientists taking part in this study believe that eating more saturated fat from meat may increase hormone levels that boost the chances of breast cancer (Jrnl Natl Cancer Inst 2003;95:1079).
In this research, the total amount of fat didn't affect cancer risk, but the amount of animal fat did. Women who ate the most red meat had a 54% higher chance of breast cancer. Aside from avoiding red meat, women who wish to lower their risk of breast cancer should also limit their consumption of alcoholic beverages.
A study of two thousand post- menopausal women found that those who averaged about two drinks a day raised their risk of breast cancer by about 80% (Cancer Epidem, Biomarkers and Prevention, 10/03).
Here, too, researchers believe that alcohol affects the level of hormones that influence cancer.
The moral of the research into how food can slow cancer risk: Eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits early and often. Limit meat and alcohol.
Change the color of the fruits and vegetables on your plate for a better chance of a brighter future.
SPA: Satisfying Personal Attention
June 14, 2005 10:32 AM
SPA: Satisfying Personal Attention by Sylvia Whitefeather Energy Times, October 12, 2004
Feeling stressed out? Looking for some time to relax and cool off, but just too busy to get away? Give yourself a spa treatment at home.
Creating your own home spa experience is easy and the benefits are many. With some common household items and a few essential oils, you can luxuriate in your own special spa experience while recharging and renewing mind, body and spirit. Indulge with a few close friends for a unique, shared experience.
Using concentrated plant oils derived from flowers and plants, aromatherapy offers an ancient healing art that has gained newfound respect in the modern world. Aroma chemicals transfer quickly into the body, and researchers are finding unique ways to employ this ancient technique, including medical applications.
Studies find that lemon balm or lavender oil reduces behavioral problems in older people with dementia (BMJ 2002; 325:1312-3). Rosemary has been found to improve memory and enhance mental functioning (Int J Neurosci 2003 Jan; 113(1):15-38).
Only a drop or two of an essential oil is needed to receive their unique healing benefits. (Always dilute essential oils; never use or apply them directly to your skin without watering them down.) Essential oils can help you relax, rejuvenate, improve your memory and increase your energy.
Some essential oils are reputed to reduce pain, kill bacteria, speed healing of injuries and help fight inflammation and infection (Natl Meeting, Amer Chem Soc, 8/02).
When you feel like you're ready to spa, take the phone off the hook, unplug the TV and set aside a special, unbothered time and day for your at-home spa experience. Next, turn your bathroom into your special place. Light fragrant candles, put on your favorite soft music and fill the tub.
When running the water you should select a water temperature that fits the effect you desire, according to Valerie Gennari Cooksley, RN, author of Healing Home Spa (Penguin). Water temperature that approximates your normal body temperature produces a sedative effect. On the other hand, hotter water-that which hovers around 100 degrees-induces sweating and helps cleanse and detoxify. In any case, limit your time in hot water to about 20 minutes. If you use cold water, only stay immersed for a few short minutes to rejuvenate and close the skin's pores.
Try adding about 10 drops of either lavender or ylang-ylang oil to a warm bath to aid in relaxation and to release tight muscles. Don't rush; soak for at least 20 minutes and let the fragrant water vaporize your cares. Dry off with a fluffy towel and wrap yourself in your favorite bathrobe.
Other bath enhancers you can add to your soak include oatmeal to soften the skin, seaweed for deep cleansing, Epsom salts to relieve aches, and baking soda to alkalize the body. Herbal sachets can be made by placing dried herbs in a muslin bag and dropping the bag into the water to release fragrances and healing chemicals.
The facial is a standard spa procedure. Hold your face over a steaming bowl of hot water that contains lemon juice or a few drops of lemon essential oil for about 15 minutes. Use a towel over your head to hold in the steam.
When your face is well moisturized, apply a facial mask. On dry skin, use either puréed, ripe avocado or a mask of honey and kelp. If your face is oily, apply either puréed, ripe bananas or a mask of peppermint oil and honey. If you are not sure of your skin type or have mixed skin, green clay can be used for a balanced facial. Green clay is rich in minerals while being antiseptic and healing, notes Valerie Ann Worwood, author of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy (New World Library). With the addition of warm water, it creates an instant facial mask. (You can also use prepared facial masks; ask about them at your health food store.)
To apply the mask, begin at the forehead using upward strokes. Go easy around the eyes. Afterwards, put cucumber slices over your eyes and relax. Keep the mask on for about 15 minutes. Wash your face with warm water and then apply a moisturizer. Your skin should feel supple and look radiant.
Worwood recommends a few drops of rosemary oil and one tablespoon of baking soda in a basin of warm water to soothe your feet. Soaking your feet for about ten minutes softens the skin and nourishes the nails. After drying off, combine one-half cup sea salt with one-half cup of cooking oil, preferably olive, canola or sesame. Gently massage into each foot to stimulate reflex points and remove dead skin. Rinse and pat dry. Finish with a pedicure.
This salt scrub can be used on any part of the body to eliminate toxins, increase circulation, improve lymphatic movement and cleanse the pores. A popular European treatment, it is especially helpful for parts of the body that store water, such as the tummy and thighs. Rinse completely after the scrub and apply moisturizer to dry areas.
Since hands can age quickly, Worwood suggests using oils of rose, sandalwood and geranium for dry or neglected hands. You can also mix one-half cup of sugar with one-half cup cooking oil and a few drops of one of the above essential oils. Massage into each hand to moisturize and pamper your overworked hands. Rinse and apply your favorite lotion to seal in moisture. A gentle manicure adds the finishing touch.
Your special spa day wouldn't be complete without pampering your hair. Noted dermatologist David Bank, MD, suggests looking for shampoos that contain such gentle cleansers as avocado, borage oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil and wheat germ oil. Your shampoo should also contain moisturizing substances, such as aloe vera, to help give your locks shine and bounce.
Check your hair's condition. Oily hair-that which feels greasy within a day of washing-responds best to frequent washing with minimal conditioning. A bad case of the frizzy tangles is a sign of dry hair, which needs a moisturizer-rich shampoo.
Revive From the Inside With Green Drinks
During your spa day, sip green drinks. Green drinks made from aquatic plants such as spirulina, seaweed and kelp contain needed minerals to nourish skin, hair and nails; these plants have been used for centuries to promote health and longevity. In addition to being high in minerals, they are also low in fat, high in fiber and rich in protein.
The marine vegetables found in green drinks help detoxify the body, support the lymphatic system, alkalize the blood and tissues, and support a healthy thyroid. Many natural food stores carry green drink powders that can be added to juice or water. Sipping on a green drink can enhance the cleansing action of your home spa treatment, balance blood sugar levels and maintain your energy level during the day.
Throughout your home spa experience, drinking spring water with a touch of lemon or lime can facilitate the elimination of toxins and keep you hydrated. Indulge in plenty of high-fiber fruits and vegetables, and avoid processed sugars and high-fat foods. Eating lightly allows your body to eliminate toxins from the inside out while you work on the outside.
As Valerie Cooksley says, "...sound health occurs when the mind, body and spirit are in perfect harmony and balance." A home spa experience takes you a step closer to that harmony.
Power Meals - Shakes, smoothies and bars help make getting good nutrition easy.
June 14, 2005 08:28 AM
by Phyllis D. Light, RH Energy Times, March 12, 2004
Choices, choices, choices: For convenience, nutrition and either low-calorie or low-carb dieting, you now have an enviable range of choices. Shakes, smoothies and bars help make getting good nutrition easy.
Whatever your inclination, drinks and bars offer a shortcut to daily nutrition without cooking. And whether you use them as meal replacements, diet aids or healthy snacks, these power meals fill you up without filling you out.
That's the main reason these items have grown in popularity in natural food stores among the nutritionally knowledgeable searching for healthier alternatives to fast food.
No matter how hectic your day, you have no excuses anymore for missing your daily required antioxidants and minerals. Either select a bar suited to your taste, or put your blender or food processor to work in creating drinks that use fresh fruits and veggies, yogurt, low-fat milk or ice and protein powders for maximum nutritional output.
Quality note: always be sure to use organic foods for the best nutritional content, flavor and taste.
Prepared protein shake mixes and bars are ideal for losing weight, expanding personal energy or building muscle. Protein mixes are available in an assortment of flavors that are generally high in amino acids (protein building blocks) and low in carbohydrates. Of course if you are on a low-carb diet, forsake putting fruits and vegetables in your shakes; these items are too high in carbohydrates.
What's more, bars not only provide a wealth of different tastes, but different bars are also tailored to different needs-whether you're seeking to lose weight, gain muscle or replace a meal, there's a bar out there just for you.
If you use power shakes as meal replacements and you are on a low-carbohydrate diet, make sure the drink supplies plenty of protein and few carbohydrates. If you use either shakes or bars to replace one or more meals during the day, take a fiber supplement in addition. Fiber, which contains no calories, helps speed food through your digestive tract and may lower your risk of heart disease and cancer (Lancet 5/2/03).
And remember: powders and bars should also be low in sugars and saturated fats. The weight-loss benefit: If you drink high-protein shakes or eat bars that taste good and leave you feeling satisfied, you'll have a better chance of sticking to your diet long enough to lose a significant amount of weight.
Drink to Lose
Research into weight loss has established protein shakes and bars as reliable diet aids. A study of 100 dieters between the age of 35 and 65 found that people who drank a daily soy protein shake lost more than 14 pounds each in three months (Eur J Clin Nutr 2003; 57:514). And in a study reported in the Journal of American Dietetic Association (3/01), folks who had a protein shake in place of one daily meal lost almost twice as much weight over 12 weeks than those who ate their regular food with the same amount of calories.
Drinking your breakfast in the form of a protein shake can both increase your metabolism and help curb your appetite for the rest of the day.
Researchers at Harvard University found that metabolism rose faster after eating a high-protein breakfast and that blood-sugar levels stayed high for about six hours after the meal (AHA Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and and Prevention, 3/6/03). In comparison, when a sugary breakfast is consumed, blood-sugar levels rise quickly but fall rapidly, causing fatigue, tiredness and sleepiness.
Protein shakes are especially effective when you are on a weight-loss plateau, trying to lose those last few tenacious pounds. (But shakes, smoothies and bars should not be your only meals of the day. Eat at least one low-calorie meal daily to supply nutrients that may not be in your shakes or bars.)
Made with fruits and vegetables, smoothies are a tasty way of getting extra amounts of nutrients and soluble fiber. Using low-fat milk, yogurt, buttermilk or kefir, plus ice, creates a tempting and wholesome blend that lights up the taste buds. Powdered mixes can be used for added protein.
Fruits and vegetables in your smoothies not only fill you up on relatively few calories, but they boost your energy and supply plenty of bioflavonoids (healthy, natural chemicals from plants), antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
The fiber in smoothies can help reduce cholesterol, relieve constipation and aid in the prevention of high blood pressure. For reduced calories and added heart health benefits, low-fat or no-fat milk products can be used in place of cream or regular milk in most recipes. For the best taste sensation, combine sour and sweet fruits together.
Adding raw fruits and vegetables to smoothies provides natural enzymes that help with digestion and act as catalysts in hundreds of chemical reactions throughout the body. (You can also take enzymes in supplemental form.) Enzymes are not present in cooked foods since the heat of cooking destroys them.
Nutrition for Kids
If you have trouble getting your children to eat their fruits and vegetables, try giving them smoothies. Children can't resist these naturally sweet and healthy creations.
According to Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions (New Trends Publishing), smoothies should be "high in quality, contain healthy fats, be naturally sweet, and contain fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables."
Fallon also believes children should consume what are called lacto-fermented foods, including yogurt and kefir, which are aged to contain the kinds of friendly bacteria that normally live within our digestive tracts. For kids, Fallon also encourages the use of cream or cultured milk to ensure adequate fat and calcium, so important for the development of growing bodies.
Smoothies are an interactive drink as far as children are concerned, since they love to help blend them. For extra nutrition power, add nutritional yeast, nut butters or ground flaxseeds. These supply additional vitamins and minerals, along with healthy fats. You can also add silken tofu to bump up the protein content. If your child is lactose intolerant, try mixing smoothies with rice milk, soy milk or juice.
Bars Designed With A Woman's Needs in Mind
The modern woman is a multitasking wonder, constantly juggling work and home responsibilities. So it's no wonder that bars aimed at women are among the most popular bars there are. Many women, in eyeing the bathroom scale, shortchange themselves of the nutrients they need. That's why a woman's bar needs to provide minerals like calcium, a bone-building necessity.
Women also need to ensure that a bar contains enough of the B vitamins, particularly folate. This is especially true if a woman is pregnant, or wants to be: Folate is crucial in helping to prevent neural tube birth defects.
Folate also teams up with two other B vitamins, B6 and B12, to control homocysteine. This protein metabolism byproduct, when present in excessive amounts, is associated with heart disease.
Another popular ingredient in women's bars is soy, which has been duly recognized for its heart benefits. Studies also indicate that soy may help keep bones strong. (Not to mention the fact that the moisture soy holds helps make a bar's texture that much more appealing!)
The Protein Game
If you are unsure about how much protein you need each day, you are not alone. Are you getting too much, not enough, or just enough? Most people need between 45 and 60 grams of protein daily, and most protein shakes contain about 14 and 20 grams of protein per serving (check your labels). No matter what your nutritional needs are, you may find an answer in a smoothie, shake or bar. When it comes to power nutrition, tasting is believing!
Mane Attraction - lustrous Hair...
June 14, 2005 08:19 AM
Mane Attraction by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, February 12, 2004
Everyone wants thick, lustrous hair. Think of the allure attached to the locks of Samson and Lady Godiva and-fast-forward to the present-the full heads of Antonio Banderas and Julia Roberts.
" We're naturally attracted to hair as humans; it catches the light, it frames the face, we like the feel of it," says Catherine Jones, ND, LAc, a resident naturopathic physician at Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle, Washington. "Fair or not, historically in many cultures, rich, thick hair has been a sign of fertility and strength."
Along with that allure, latching onto natural ways to have great-looking hair gives you the benefits of looks and health. Every hair starts with a shaft that grows from a root. "The root is contained deep within the hair follicle," says Dr. Jones. "Each one has a sebaceous or oil gland, which supplies the hair with necessary lubrication as it approaches the surface of the scalp." Each hair follicle has its own growth cycle, including a resting period, the telogen phase, when hair falls out. Because of these constant hair phases, each of us loses, on average, about 100 hairs a day.
" The number of hairs the average person loses in a day tends to increase in the fall as the leaves fall from the tree and tends to decrease in the spring as the bulbs emerge from the soil," Dr. Jones says. "We really are connected to nature." Stress-due to rapid weight loss, infection, anemia, prolonged illness, hormonal changes, hypoactive thyroid disease, autoimmune conditions, eczema or psoriasis-can influence hair growth and loss.
Hair consists of proteins, lipids (fats), carbohydrates and pigment (gray hair has reduced pigment; white, none at all). Each shaft's structure is divided into a medulla, a cortex and an outer cuticle. " The cuticle is coated with an outside lipid-like layer, which protects the hair," says Dr. Jones. "As the hair grows out of the follicle, the cortex and cuticle become keratinized and harden." Dry or damaged hair is more susceptible to breakage. "The condition of the cuticle affects how the light reflects off the hair, giving it highlights and luster," Dr. Jones says. "Luster is affected both by what occurs inside the body as the hair is developing and what happens to the hair after it has grown from the shaft."
Sun, heat, moisture, pollution and hair products, dyes and bleaches can all dull the hair. "Applying chemical solutions to the hair, color, permanent waves or curl relaxers, damage the protein molecules that wrap around the shaft, leaving hair brittle and dull," says Christina Pirello, author of Glow: A Prescription for Radiant Health and Beauty (HP Books).
Conditioners and oils can leave a residue or weigh hair down. Hair sprays and products that contain alcohol can dry and damage the hair, as can using blow dryers and curling irons.
To combat hair-raising havoc, feed your hair natural nutrients for health. Silica and plants that contain silica/silicon both strengthen hair and promote growth. "Silica is a good mineral for hair health," says Walter Siegordner, founder of The Aurora Group, a personal care company. "It helps in the keratinization process of the cells that produce hair."
" Silica is a mineral that is involved in the synthesis of bone and connective tissue," adds Dr. Jones. "The hair follicle contains connective tissue so silica may promote the health and function of the follicle itself." Silica-containing herbs include nettles (Urtica dioica), horsetail (Equisetum arvense), oatstraw (Avena sativa) and alfalfa (Medicago sativa).
Sea plants like seaweed and kelp also provide vital nutrients. "Sea plants are essential ingredients in many natural shampoos and can be used to fortify damaged hair," says Pirello. "They're rich in vitamin A that prevents the build-up of dead skin cells, which can clog the hair follicles, inhibiting the growth and health of the hair, and also contain vitamin B, linked to the prevention of oily hair, baldness and dandruff. Calcium found in sea plants is essential to the structure of the hair shaft."
Eaten on s daily basis, sea plants are rich in nutrients that help maintain healthy, shiny hair, free of split ends, Pirello says. Try wakame in soups and salads, kombu or kelp in bean and vegetable dishes, nori in sushi, and hiziki and arame as side dishes. Since hair health is affected by digestive health, the fiber found in whole grains also helps. "Fiber prevents accumulation in the intestines that can result in the formation of toxins," says Pirello.
Miso, she adds, is especially good hair food. It "is rich in living enzymes that ease digestion, fortify the quality of the blood nourishing the body and hair, and provide us with essential oils, vitamins and minerals."
Key nutritional support includes adequate protein and amino acids, essential fatty acids such as cold-pressed flax seed oil and fish oil, copper, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, biotin, iron and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid). Zinc and selenium can help combat the effects of hyperthyroidism, which can result in thinning, lackluster hair.
Vitamin C can boost adrenal health. "When the adrenals are overtaxed and become fatigued, hair follicles will go into a resting phase," says Dr. Jones. (If you have a medical condition, she adds, check with your health care practitioner first before taking supplements.)
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, hair is associated with the kidneys' qi, energy that originates in these organs, and with blood quality. " From the traditional Chinese perspective, excess amounts of fat, protein, dairy, sugar, alcohol and salt in the diet acidify the body, damage the Kidney qi and are not good for the hair," says Dr. Jones. A diet rich in vegetables and grains is a great way to support healthy hair. "Iron and mineral-rich foods are considered blood builders and hair tonics. Foods such as blackstrap molasses, seaweed, nettles, and the herb polygonum multiflorum (also known as He Shou Wu and Fo-Ti) have been used throughout the years. Fo-Ti has also been used to prevent graying of the hair and support the immune system."
" Hair is extremely strong but at the same time it's extremely delicate," says Barsoum Bouchar, a cosmetologist and owner of the Virtuoso Salon in Birmingham, Michigan. "Many products work against the hair texture, so the cuticle is always raised. This causes tangles and split ends. With blow dryers, chemicals, colors and styling elements, the hair is tremendously abused." If you don't have to chemically treat the hair, he says, don't.
When replenishing the hair it's important to remember that it's composed of 97% protein and 3% moisture, says Bouchar. Shampoo cleanses the hair and removes buildup. "A moisturizer brings moisture back into the hair and smoothes the cuticle down, which is what makes hair shiny and gives it bounce. The one key ingredient in both shampoo and moisturizers is aloe vera. It heals the hair." " Avoid products with harsh surfactants like sodium laurel sulfate and propylene glycol," warns Siegordner. "These decrease the circulation in the scalp, reducing the pathway for nutrition to the hair bulb." Conditioners that aren't natural can also cause build-up. "When you apply heat to the hair through blow drying or styling, you end up 'burning' the hair," says Bouchar.
To stimulate hair growth, add a few drops of essential oils of rosemary, lavender and thyme to jojoba and almond oils, and rub into the scalp. Leave it overnight and then rinse it off. " Essential oils have antimicrobial and antifungal properties, stimulate the circulation to the hair follicles and combat dryness. They also smell good," says Dr. Jones.
For hair that's not chemically treated, "a vinegar rinse cleanses the hair, removes build-up and boosts shine," says Bouchar. Use one part vinegar to ten parts water, apply after a shampoo, comb though and rinse it off. To naturally lighten the hair, use the same ratio in a lemon rinse for five minutes for, say, four days in a row, and then stop.
If you want to color your hair, choose natural elements, too. "The best natural dye is henna," says Bouchar. "It's organic, just like hair is." Blonde hair becomes warmer with a coppery tone, brunette hair takes on a mahogany hue, gray hair looks like highlights.
To find a good natural hair stylist, Bouchar suggests asking which products they use and why. If your hair is chemically treated, it's especially important to work with a stylist you trust for the best care.
Keep your eye on the big picture when it comes to hair health. "Be proactive and treat the body holistically," urges Dr. Jones. "Nourish the glands, the organs and the vessels that are responsible for getting the necessary nutrients to the hair follicle. Pay attention to the physical, emotional and mental aspects of health. Once hair is lost it may come back but it will likely be thinner than it was before. It's important to take care of what you have."
Women and Depression!
June 13, 2005 07:48 PM
Women and Depression by Lisa James Energy Times, March 11, 2004
Just as fog veils a beautiful landscape, so depression veils life itself: rendering existence dark and dreary, narrowing the scope of one's dreams. And women are particularly prone to this lingering sadness.
The good news: Depression doesn't have to linger forever. With proper nutrition, lifestyle changes and a revived outlook, you can break through that fog into a sunnier emotional clime. Women are more likely than men to fall prey to depression throughout their lifetimes, with women being twice as likely as men to experience major depression.
While the greatest risk for both sexes falls at midlife, the gender difference appears early; one in ten teenage girls was found to suffer from major depression in one study (International Journal of Behavioral Development 2004; 28:16-25). What's more, childhood depression leaves a person more susceptible to mood problems in adulthood.
One reason for the gender difference in depression, according to researchers, is that women tend to dwell on depressed feelings to a greater degree than men. Some scientists believe a family history of depression carries greater weight for women. Others theorize that the inner fluctuations of a woman's monthly cycle can leave her susceptible to stresses emanating from the outer world. Studies indicate that almost three-quarters of all premenstrual women experience some level of mood difficulties (Summit on Women and Depression, APA, April 02), and a woman's hormonal ebb and flow may even make her more vulnerable to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the kind of depression linked to a lack of natural light.
Warning Signs Not surprisingly, many depressed folks feel sad and lethargic, down on themselves and the world. But in some people, depression is marked by agitation and concentration difficulties, or is accompanied by anxiety. Sleep disturbances-either insomnia or excessive sleepiness-often ensue, and activities that used to provide pleasure lose their appeal.
Breaking depression's grip can do more than just lighten your mood-it may help safeguard your health. Studies suggest depression dampens the immune response and may increase the risks of coronary heart disease and diabetes (Archives of General Psychiatry 2003; 60:1009-14; Circulation 2000; 102:1773; Diabetes Care 2004; 27:129-33).
Origins of Depression
The reasons some people are pulled down by depression's undertow while others are able to stay afloat emotionally are complex, but researchers believe common factors link them all.
One factor that can't be ignored is genetics. "If you are depressed, there is a 25% chance that a first-degree relative-a parent, child or sibling-is also depressed," says Hyla Cass, MD, author of St. John's Wort: Nature's Blues Buster (Avery). Other factors are physical problems and medication side effects. That's why your first step should be a consultation with your health care practitioner (if your moods are especially dark, seek professional assistance as soon as possible).
Life's worries and cares also weigh more heavily on some people than on others. " [N]ot only will certain stressors [adverse events] cause depression as a direct response," notes Dr. Cass, "but they may predispose an individual to future episodes of depression." For example, the end of a relationship when you feel you've lost a lover and been humiliated (and been cheated on) raises your risk of depression (Archives of General Psychiatry 2003; 60:789-96).
The Depressed Brain
When depression hits, brain chemistry shifts. As a result, chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which relay messages between brain cells, go awry. For instance, a neurotransmitter called serotonin-critical to mood control-may decrease, leaving you feeling depressed, anxious, craving certain foods and unable to sleep.
Conversely, "high levels of serotonin are associated with emotional and social stability," according to Dr. Cass. She adds that, in addition, sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone "affect brain cells directly."
Lifting the Fog
Because the causes of depression are so complex, leaving the darkness behind generally requires opening up several pathways. Part of feeling better simply lies in believing that you can. Researchers have found that depressed people who feel they have a sense of control over their troubles, do, in fact, have a better chance of recovery (General Hospital Psychiatry 2000; 22(4):242-50). Finding a community of like-minded folks bolsters your capacity to deal with mood problems. In some cases, time spent with a therapist can be a valuable aid in figuring out what's bothering you.
On the physical side, losing weight can lift your spirits. Among women with severe obesity-itself a depression risk factor-losing weight has led to depression relief (Archives of Internal Medicine 2003; 163:2058-65). Research also indicates that exercise helps brighten dark moods.
A change in diet, along with certain supplements, can also help dispel depression. The first step on the road to emotional recovery: eat a lot of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, and stay away from overly refined foods with high levels of sugar.
Omega-3 fatty acids, the kinds found in flax seed and fish, are essential to proper brain function. In several studies, people who took supplemental omega-3s found significant relief from depression.
Key amino acids-the basic units of which proteins are built-serve as starting points for the production of mood-lifting neurotransmitters. In one trial, people who took an amino-acid mix that included tyrosine enjoyed better moods and were happier than people who took amino acids without it (Psychopharmacology (Berlin) Sept 4 2003).
Along with amino acids, the body needs the right vitamins-especially members of the all-important B family-to create depression-fighting brain chemicals. In one study, people with depression who took vitamin B12 improved their chances of recovery (BMC Psychiatry 2003; 3:17).
Another interesting observation: Vitamin B12 and its partners vitamin B6 and folate are essential to keep a protein called homocysteine (known primarily as a cardiovascular hazard) from reaching excessive levels, and people with high homocysteine are twice as likely to be depressed. This has led some researchers to speculate that folate may help keep depression under control (Archives of General Psychiatry 2003; 60:618-26).
Herbs that may help beat back the blues include two that help the body deal with stress, eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) and schisandra (S. chinensis).
A new diet, a new outlook: With the help of the right nutrients and the right support, you can break the bonds of depression.
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number
June 13, 2005 07:43 PM
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number by Carl Lowe Energy Times, March 10, 2004
As women age, their physical needs shift. The health challenges that face a woman in her thirties do not match those of a woman in her fifties.
At the same time, some basic health needs stay constant: At any age, every woman requires a wealth of vitamins, minerals and the other natural chemicals that fruits, vegetables and supplements supply. She also constantly needs families and friends to support her spiritual health.
As the internal workings of your body alter, your lifestyle must stay abreast of those adjustments. Peak health demands a finely tuned health program designed with your individual needs-and your stage of life-in mind.
Ages 30 to 45
When it comes to maintaining health, younger women might seem to have it easier than older women. If they exercise and stay in shape, they maintain more stamina than women 10 to 20 years their senior.
Unfortunately, many women in this age group mistakenly think they don't have to be as careful about their lifestyle habits and their eating habits as they will in later decades. But even if your health doesn't seem to suffer from poor eating choices or a sedentary lifestyle right away, your foundation for health in later life suffers if you don't care for yourself now.
By age 45 you should have established the good habits that will carry you successfully through the aging process. As an added bonus, good lifestyle habits pay immediate dividends. If you pay attention to your nutrients and get plenty of physical activity when younger, you'll feel more energetic and probably enjoy better emotional health.
Set Health Goals
According to Gayle Reichler, MS, RD, CDN, in her book Active Wellness (Avery/Penguin), good health at any age doesn't just come to you-you have to plan for it. In order to stick to good habits, she says, "living a healthy lifestyle needs to be satisfying." Reichler believes that you need to picture your health goals to achieve them: "Every successful endeavor first begins in the mind as an idea, a thought, a dream, a conviction." Good health at this age and in later years requires a concrete strategy and visualization of how your body can improve with a healthy lifestyle.
Your long-term health goals at this age should include an exercise program that will allow you to reach a physically fit old age with a lowered risk of disability. In addition, your short-term plans should encompass losing weight, staying optimistic, living life with more vim and vigor, increasing your capacity for exercise and lowering your stress.
As Reichler points out, "Your long-term goal and your ideal vision establish what you want to achieve....[You should do] something good...for yourself every day and every week that makes your life easier and more consistent with your goals."
Develop an Eating Plan
Today, the average American gains about two pounds annually. As a result, every year a greater portion of the US population is obese and overweight. By controlling your food intake earlier in life, you may be able to avoid this weight gain. In his book Prolonging Health (Hampton Roads), James Williams, OMD, recommends basic changes to your diet that can provide long-term support of your health:
Get Supplemental Help
If you're in your thirties or forties and you don't take at least a multivitamin, start taking one today! A large body of research shows that taking vitamin and mineral supplements over a long period of time significantly supports better health.
Calcium and vitamin D are two of the most important supplemental nutrients, helping to build stronger bones now that can withstand the bone-loss effects of aging.
Calcium can also help keep your weight down. One study of younger women found that for every extra 300 milligrams of calcium a day they consumed, they weighed about two pounds less (Experimental Biology 2003 meeting, San Diego).
In the same way, taking vitamin D supplements not only helps strengthen your bones, it can also lower your risk of multiple sclerosis (Neurology 1/13/04). In this study, which looked at the health records of more than 180,000 women for up to 20 years, taking D supplements dropped the chances of multiple sclerosis (although eating vitamin D-rich foods did not have the same benefit). And if you're thinking about having children at this age, a multivitamin is crucial for lowering your baby's risk of birth defects and other health problems. A study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that women who take multivitamins during pregnancy lower their children's risk of nervous system cancer by up to 40% (Epidemiology 9/02).
" Our finding, combined with previous work on reducing several birth defects with vitamin supplementation and other childhood cancers, supports the recommendation that mothers' vitamin use before and during pregnancy may benefit their babies' health," says Andrew F. Olshan, MD, professor of epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health. "We believe physicians and other health care providers should continue to educate women about these benefits and recommend appropriate dietary habits and daily dietary supplements."
In particular, Dr. Olshan feels that folic acid (one of the B vitamins), and vitamins C and A, are particularly important for lowering the risk of childhood cancers and birth defects.
Ages 45 to 55
When you reach this in-between age-the time when most women have moved past childbearing age but haven't usually fully moved into the post-menopausal stage-you enjoy a propitious opportunity to take stock of your health and plan for an even healthier future. One thing that may need adjustment is your sleep habits, as sleeplessness is a common problem for women in this age group. Even if you haven't been exercising or watching your diet until now, it's not too late to start. Making lifestyle changes at this age can still improve your chances for aging successfully.
For instance, it is at these ages that women should have their heart health checked. Research published in the journal Stroke (5/01) shows that having your cholesterol and blood pressure checked at this time more accurately shows your future chances of heart disease than having it checked at a later date after menopause, in your late fifties.
" The premenopausal risk factors may be a stronger predictor of carotid atherosclerosis [artery blockages] because they represent cumulative risk factor exposure during the premenopausal years, whereas the risk factors...during the early postmenopausal years have a shorter time for influence," says Karen A. Matthews, PhD, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In other words, Dr. Matthews' research shows that if you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol before menopause, you are at serious risk for a stroke or heart attack soon after menopause: These are important reasons that you need to start improving your health habits immediately.
Increase in Heart Disease
Before menopause, a woman's hormones and other physiological characteristics usually hold down her chance of heart disease. After menopause, when hormones and other bodily changes occur, the risk of heart attacks and stroke in women rises significantly. (Heart disease is the leading killer of women.) At least part of this increased risk is linked to the postmenopausal decrease in estrogen production.
Dr. Matthews studied about 370 women in their late forties, measuring their weight, their BMI (body mass index, an indication of body fat compared to height), blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Ten years later, after the women had entered menopause, she and her fellow scientists used ultrasound to measure blockages in these women's neck arteries (a sign of heart disease).
The researchers found that indications of potential heart problems (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight) when women were in their forties did indeed forecast future difficulties.
" Women who had elevated cholesterol, higher blood pressures and increased body weight before menopause had increased blood vessel thickening and atherosclerotic plaque formation in the neck arteries after menopause. Such changes in the carotid arteries are associated with an increased heart attack and stroke risk," says Dr. Matthews.
Heart Health Factors
The four main lifestyle factors you should adjust at this age to support better heart function are diet, stress, exercise and weight. According to Dr. James Williams, "[M]ore than any other cause, dietary factors are the most critical factor in cardiovascular disease." He recommends eliminating "dietary saturated fatty acids as found in flame-broiled and fried meats." He also urges women to eat more fish and poultry, consume organic fruits and vegetables and cut back on refined sugar.
Stress becomes an ever more important heart disease factor at this age as estrogen begins to drop.
" Our study [in the lab] indicates that stress affects estrogen levels and can lead to the development of heart disease-even before menopause," says Jay Kaplan, PhD, of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (The Green Journal 3/02).
Dr. Kaplan's research shows that stress in women ages 45 to 55 may reduce estrogen earlier in life and make women more susceptible to the arterial blockages that lead to heart disease. "We know from [lab] studies that stress can lower estrogen levels to the point that health is affected," he says.
Stress can also hurt bone health: In a study of 66 women with normal-length menstrual periods, estrogen levels were low enough in half of the women to cause bone loss, making the women susceptible to osteoporosis.
Exercise and Weight
Although exercise used to be considered to be mainly a young woman's activity, the thrust of recent research suggests that physical activity actually becomes more important to health as you get older.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that exercising and keeping your weight down is probably the most important thing you can do to lower your risk of heart disease as you enter your forties and fifties (Am J Prev Med 11/03).
Of the people who took part in this study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who performed the most exercise were thinner and had a 50% chance less of dying of heart disease than overweight nonexercisers.
" The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, a researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.
An added benefit of exercise: If you burn up calories exercising, you can eat more and not have to worry as much about being overweight.
Supplements and Diet
If you're a woman at midlife, a multivitamin and mineral is still good nutritional insurance. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables are also important for getting enough phytochemicals, the health substances in plants that convey a wealth of health benefits.
As you enter this age group, your immune system gradually slows down. To help support immune function, eating produce rich in antioxidant nutrients, and supplementing with antioxidants like vitamins C and E as well as carotenoids, can be especially important. For example, a study of people with ulcers found that people with less vitamin C in their stomachs are more likely to be infected with Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that can cause peptic ulcers and is linked to stomach cancer (J Amer Coll Nutr 8/1/03).
This research, which looked at the health of about 7,000 people, found that vitamin C probably helps the immune system fend off this bacterial infection.
" Current public health recommendations for Americans are to eat five or more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day to help prevent heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases," says Joel A. Simon, MD, MPH, professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.
Calcium and Bones
At midlife, calcium continues to be a vital mineral for supporting bone health.
According to Gameil T. Fouad, PhD, "It has been routinely shown that a woman's calcium status and level of physical activity (specifically, the degree to which she participates in weight-bearing exercise) are positively associated with bone mineral density. It is less well appreciated that this is a process which takes place over the course of a lifetime."
Dr. Fouad adds that calcium works in concert with other vitamins and minerals to keep bones healthy: "Research in the United Kingdom involving nearly 1,000 premenopausal women over age 40 illustrates those women with the highest bone density tended to have the highest intake of calcium. Surprisingly, this study also demonstrated that calcium does not act alone: those women with the best bone health also had the highest intakes of zinc, magnesium and potassium."
Dr. Fouad stresses that supplements should go together with a lifestyle that includes enough sleep and exercise to help the body stay in top shape.
" As a general guideline," he says, "a woman concerned with her mineral intake should take concrete steps to make sure she is getting adequate rest, is eating a well-balanced diet focused on fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein as well as getting adequate exercise....A multi-mineral containing bio-available forms of zinc, magnesium, copper and selenium is probably a safe addition to anyone's routine. Taking these proactive steps dramatically reduces the chances that deficiencies will arise."
Ages 55 and Beyond
Entering the post-menopausal phase of life can present challenging opportunities for a new perspective on life and health. While some signs of aging are inevitable, experts who have looked at how the human body changes with age are now convinced that healthy lifestyle habits can improve how well you can think, move and enjoy life well past age 55.
As Dr. Williams notes, "In your fifties, the force of aging is undeniably present: Your body shape changes and organ function declines, both men and women have a tendency to gain weight....Heart disease becomes more common, energy and endurance are considerably reduced and your memory begins to slip."
But Dr. Williams also points out that you don't have to age as rapidly as other people do. He believes you should employ a "natural longevity program...[that starts] to reverse the course of aging as early as possible."
One key to staying vital as you age is your outlook on life, an aspect of life that's greatly enhanced by strong social ties.
Avoiding the Aging Slowdown The latest research shows that one of the most crucial ways to slow the effects of aging is to exercise and keep your weight down. It won't necessarily be easy, though. The change in hormonal balance at this age makes the body more prone to extra pounds (Society for Neuroscience Meeting, 11/12/03).
" In women, it has been demonstrated that major weight increases often occur during menopause, the time in a woman's life in which cyclic ovarian function ends and the ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone decline," says Judy Cameron, PhD, a scientist in the divisions of reproductive sciences and neuroscience at the Oregon Health & Science University.
In Dr. Cameron's lab trials, she has found that the decrease in estrogen after menopause "resulted in a 67% jump in food intake and a 5% jump in weight in a matter of weeks."
In other words, the hormonal changes you undergo as enter your late fifties causes your appetite to grow as well as your waistline: Developments that increase your chances of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and joint problems.
Vigilance against this weight gain is necessary to save your health: Start walking and exercising. Research on exercise in people aged 58 to 78 found that getting off the couch for a walk or other physical activity not only helps control weight but also helps sharpen your thinking and helps you become more decisive (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2/16-20/04, online edition). This recent study, done at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, found that performing aerobic exercise improved mental functioning by 11% (on a computer test).
" We continue to find a number of cognitive benefits in the aerobic group," says Arthur F. Kramer, PhD, a professor of psychology at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois. "The brain circuits that underlie our ability to think-in this case to attend selectively to information in the environment-can change in a way that is conducive to better performance on tasks as a result of fitness." In simple terms, that means that walking at least 45 minutes a day boosts brain power as well as protecting your heart.
An Herb for Menopause
The physical changes that accompan> y menopause can be uncomfortable. But traditional herbal help is available: Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), an herb used for eons by aging women, has been shown in recent studies to be both safe and effective (Menopause 6/15/03).
" This [research] should reassure health professionals that they can safely recommend black cohosh to their menopausal patients who cannot or choose not to take HRT [hormone replacement therapy]," says researcher Tieraona Low Dog, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico Department of Family and Community Medicine.
While HRT has been used to help women cope with menopause, a flurry of studies in the past few years have shown that HRT increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. Instead, black cohosh, which alleviates such menopausal discomforts as hot flashes, has been shown to be much safer.
Keeping Track of Crucial Vitamins
While continuing to take multivitamins and minerals at this age is important, some experts believe that as we grow older, vitamin D supplementation, as well as taking antioxidant nutrients, is particularly vital. Arthritis is a common affliction of aging, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one particularly destructive form of this joint problem. But taking vitamin D can significantly lower your risk of this condition.
When scientists analyzed the diets of 30,000 middle-aged women in Iowa over 11 years, they found that women who consumed vitamin D supplements were 34% less likely to suffer RA (Arth Rheu 1/03).
Other vitamins are equally important to an older woman's well-being. For example, vitamins C and natural E have been found to lower the risk of stroke in those over the age of 55 (Neurology 11/11/03). In this study, smokers who consumed the most vitamin C and natural vitamin E were 70% were much less likely to suffer strokes than smokers whose diets were missing out on these vitamins.
Rich sources of vitamin C in food include oranges and other citrus fruits, strawberries, red and green peppers, broccoli and brussels sprouts. Sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils such as sunflower seed, cottonseed, safflower, palm and wheat germ oils, margarine and nuts.
Saving Your Sight
After age 55, your eyes are particularly vulnerable. Eight million Americans of this age are at risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that destroys structures in the back of the eye necessary for vision (Arch Ophthal 11/03). But you can drop your risk of AMD by taking supplements of antioxidant vitamins and zinc, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute.
Their research shows that a dietary supplement of vitamins C, natural vitamin E and beta carotene, along with zinc, lowers the chances of progressing to advanced AMD in certain at-risk people by about 25%. Daily supplements also reduced the risk of vision loss by about 19%.
The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin also help protect aging eyes. When scientists compared healthy eyes with eyes suffering from AMD, they found that AMD eyes contained lower levels of these vital nutrients (Ophthalmology 2003; 109:1780). Furthermore, they found that levels of these chemicals generally decline as you grow older.
Healthy at All Ages
When it comes to designing a healthy lifestyle, general rules like these can be followed, but you should individualize your plan to fit your needs. No matter which type of exercises you pick out or what healthy foods you choose, look for a strategy and a plan you can stick to. If you think a selection of foods are good for you but you absolutely hate their taste, chances are you won't be able to stick to a diet that includes them.
The same goes for exercise: Pick out activities that you enjoy and that you can perform consistently. That increases your chance of sticking to an exercise program.
Staying healthy is enjoyable and it helps you get more out of life every day, no matter what stage of life you're in.