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Study confirms the healing potential of black cumin for asthmaticpatients
February 27, 2019 09:57 AM
A recent Annals of Saudi Medicine article suggests that black cumin can have significant benefits for the respiratory health of people with asthma. Researchers from Saudi Arabia’s Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University conducted a clinical trial involving 76 asthma patients. They supplemented the patients’ maintenance inhaler regimens with either one gram or two grams of black cumin, or else a placebo. Subsequent evaluation found that those who had received any amount of black cumin supplementation saw better improvement in lung function relative to those who did not receive any.
"Research suggests that black cumin, also known as Nigella sativa, can help people with asthma."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-20-healing-potential-of-black-cumin-for-asthmatic-patients.html
9 Causes of Leg Cramps–and How To Stop Them
August 08, 2017 04:14 PM
There are 9 causes of leg cramps. There are also ways to stop them and prevent a lot of pain. If you have not already experienced leg cramps, there is a high possibility that you will get them some time in your life. They can hit you at the worst possible moments. It can happen when you are in bed at night, or in the treadmill. If these leg cramps continue, then they can prevent you from going to sleep.
"A leg cramp is a sharp, sudden contraction or tightening of the muscle in the calf, which usually lasts a few seconds to a few minutes."
Read more: http://www.health.com/pain/leg-cramps-causes
This American Doctor Reveals Us The Most Powerful Natural Antibiotic That Kills Any Infection!!
June 24, 2017 12:14 PM
An American doctor gives a remedy for diseases that affect many people on a regular basis such as the flu, colds, and or respiratory problems. The remedy consists of raw garlic and organic honey in order for the remedy to work better. Garlic in many cultures is called white gold, which has allicin, the substance released when the garlic is chopped up. The honey should have no air bubbles in it when added to the bottle of chopped garlic. Make sure the bottle is labeled and stored in a cool dry place. It can last on the shelf for up to three months. It can be added to other foods and or taken in two tablespoon doses for easing the symptoms of the flu or other respiratory illnesses.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zxpENGmHxs&rel=0
"But on this occasion we will teach you how to prepare an excellent natural antibiotic which consists of two well known ingredients, honey and garlic."
Belching, intestinal gas and bloating: Tips for reducing them
June 15, 2017 09:14 AM
Bloating can hurt and can make your clothes not fit correctly. It isn't comfortable. Your skin can feel too tight. You feel large and cumbersome. Gas can embarrass you in public. It can be hard to hid it from others. Belching is the same way. This gives ways to lessen these. This will help you avoid humiliation and discomfort. It's great health advice since many suffer from these problems. They are normal but still aren't fun to deal with.
"Taking your time can help you swallow less air. Try to make meals relaxed occasions; eating when you're stressed or on the run increases the air you swallow."
Read more: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gas-and-gas-pains/in-depth/gas-and-gas-pains/art-20044739
YOU SHOULD DO THESE 8 BEAUTY HABITS EVERY NIGHT!!
March 25, 2017 04:44 AM
Beauty habits should be followed nightly. It is important to remove makeup before bed to prevent clogged pores. You should clean your face and use moisturizer. Toner should be used to maintain the ph balance levels. You should wipe your face and neck to keep it hydrated and clean. Use an eye cream to assist in Tightening the skin. Use of a silk pillowcase benefits the hair and skin. You should apply hand cream at night to soften hands. Turning on a humidifier prevents eczema or psoriasis. Tying up your hair at night can prevent acne breakouts. Using petroleum jelly on your feet at night can prevent cracked heels.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LwsjT_M6lU&rel=0
"Every day we are exposed to dangerous toxins, chemicals, UV rays, and pollution which reduce the quality of our skin and make it dry and damaged and can cause dark spots, lines, and wrinkles."
Why do my feet always cramp during workouts?
March 15, 2017 08:59 AM
Cramping in the legs can happen with dehydration caused by exercising and sweating but cramping in the feet can have a different source. Tight footwear can often be the problem because the feet can swell when they heat up. Pressure on the top of the foot can cause cramping. Keeping the top of the shoe loose can help prevent the pressure. Occasional cramping can be relieved by rolling the foot on a ball and massaging the foot, but a podiatrist may need to be consulted.
"Your muscles need water to function properly, so when we sweat, they’re getting less and less water, becoming tighter and tighter, which can lead to contractions within the muscle"
Read more: http://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/why-do-my-feet-always-cramp-during-workouts
What does a heart attack feel like? Symptoms could be mistaken for indigestion
February 25, 2017 02:59 PM
Most forms of cardiovascular disease are due to a buildup of fatty deposits in arteries. This prevents the body from getting oxygen to the heart, which can cause a stroke or heart attack. Many have heard that a heart attack presents with pain in the left arm, but not everyone has the same symptoms. Most often, there is Tightness in the chest that can spread to the neck, shoulders, and jaw. If a person with diabetes has a heart attack, however, nerve damage can cause less of the pain to be felt and they shrug it off as indigestion.
"The most important thing is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and be physically active. I recommend doing some form of exercise for at least 30 minutes at a time, ideally five times a week."
Relieve the Holiday Stress with Magnesium
The holiday season is meant for having quality time with friends and family, going on an adventure, taking time off work and so on. However, it can also be very stressful given the many guests to entertain, Tight budget to stick to, preparing family meals, the shopping craze and so much more. It is important to gain control in this period of the year since too much stress can lead to depression alongside other physical and psychological issues. Fortunately, we have magnesium, the original chill pill, to get you back into the holiday cheer.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a huge role in cell functioning and relaxation. It has been used in hospitals to treat a myriad of complications including anxiety, irritability, muscle cramps and headaches. Magnesium accounts for over 250 enzyme reactions in our bodies and regulates the secretion of stress hormones. It is basically the fuel that your body runs on and hence its deficiency will lead to undesirable symptoms like brain fog, anxiety, aggression and fatigue among others. Modern farming and lifestyle changes have led to rather low levels of magnesium in our bodies as compared to decades ago. Magnesium will particularly be used up in greater quantities by your body during periods of extreme stress like this holiday season. This will usually translate in poor stress management, thus the more reason you should take some magnesium.
Some of the magnesium-rich foods include parsley, avocado, bananas, kelp, leafy greens like spinach, soy beans, brown rice, cashews and almond. In addition to providing this crucial mineral these foods also pack other nutritional benefits. Alternatively, you can also take a magnesium supplement like magnesium citrate and magnesium oxide to help rid some of that holiday stress. Lastly, taking baths in Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) is also a great stress reliever plus it works wonders in treating colds, detoxifying the body, relieving back pain and sore muscles.
Hair Loss Prevention Secrets
November 19, 2016 02:54 PM
If you are one of the millions of people worldwide who suffers from alopecia, there are some things you can do to try bringing back that beautiful head of hair. These things do not work for everyone, but are always worth a try. Smoking, some prescription medications, stress, and alcohol can all have adverse effects on the hair. These, along with frequent hair treatments and Tight hairstyles, should be avoided as much as possible to keep the hair nice. Just like the rest of the body, hair needs the proper balance of nutrients to survive.
"Naturally, this includes vitamins and minerals. Many of them are essential to ensure the health of the follicle, the papilla and its matrix, and the hair that grows from it."
Meadowsweet can be a great pain reliever
Meadowsweet herb is used in the treatment of arthritis or anything that causes aches and pains. It is widely nicknamed “Queen of the Meadow”. Its history of use dates back to 1835 when it was discovered by a German chemist that the herb contains salicylic, a pain reliever. The herb grows well in damp meadows. Although it is native throughout Western Asia and Europe, it can now be found growing in North America.
Meadowsweet herb has the following health benefits:
Bulletproof coffee - coconut and butter does improve health
A cup of coffee is a common thing that most of people drink in the morning. However, since many people realized that coconut oil and butter are healthy fats (Axe, 2016), they started replacing cream with them. This coconut and/or butter coffee is known as bulletproof coffee and it is a new trend of healthy morning drink. It has been extremely popular all over the world.
Coconut oil has so many benefits for your body, such as:
· Increases your energy - its ingredient, MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides), is absorbed by the body and metabolized as fuel more quickly (Tifanny, 2016).
· Improves your immune system - There is a lot of lauric acid in coconut oil that is effective to prevent and cure many viruses (WebMD in Tifanny, 2016).
· Improves brain function – Its fatty acid plays an important role in memory and brain functions (Axe, 2016).
· Promotes heart health – Coconut oil contains good cholesterol that is good for your heart (Axe, 2016).
· Acts as anti-inflammatory – Antioxidant content makes coconut an effective anti-inflammatory food that help reduce arthritis (Axe, 2016).
· Is good for hair and skin – It is able to smoothen and Tighten the skin, as well as maintain healthy hair (Axe, 2016).
On the other hand, butter also offers many advantages for your health, such as:
· Prevents and treats many diseases - Omega 3 fatty acids in butter are essential for growth, as well as prevention and treatment of arthritis, coronary artery disease, cancer, inflammation, and high blood pressure (Leonard, 2016).
· Improves your brain, blood circulation, and hormonal system – It helps prevent neurodegenerative and heart diseases, increase energy expenditure, and act as anti-inflammatory (NN, 2014).
· Is good for bones and blood circulation – Butter contains vitamin K that plays an important role in blood clotting and keeping the bones strong (Leonard, 2016).
· Helps with weight loss – It makes you feel full for a longer period and its conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is an effective aid for losing weight (Leonard, 2016).
· Reduces caffeine sensitivity – Butter fat can protect the stomach from shakes and nausea caused by caffeine (Leonard, 2016).
· Boosts the energy – It provides more sustained energy for the body (Leonard, 2016).
· Accelerates metabolism and digestion – Vitamin A, D, and E contained in butter are easily absorbed by the body and stored in gastrointestinal tract (Axe, 2016).
Based on the facts above, coconut and butter coffee is a healthy drink. However, excessive consumption of this bulletproof coffee is not good. Healthy fats can only function effectively in the body if the amounts taken are mooderate, not more and not less. Moreover, drink this coffee as the replacement of your breakfast is not recommended since it does not have enough essential nutrients (Gunnars, 2016).
The European Shrub With Massive Health Benefits
Once very popular in the making of brooms, Butcher's broom is now praised for its circulatory health benefits. Butcher's broom is an evergreen-like shrub native to the Mediterranean. Science has proven its ability to treat many circulatory and inflammatory conditions.
Butcher's broom possess anti-inflammatory properties and can help alleviate pain caused by swelling.. This makes it effective in treating inflammatory conditions such as lymphedema and carpal tunnel syndrome.
If you are experiencing cardiovascular issues, consider trying butcher's broom extract.
Annatto Seeds, Leaves and Root.
Benefits of Annatto Seeds, Leaves and Root.
Coming from achiote shrub seeds, annatto is not just a food coloring. The red plant extract is also used to give colours to textiles and body care products.
The red colour of the seeds comes from the carotenoid content. Carotenoids are best known for their work in the eyes. They work as antioxidants to help fight off the damages caused by sunlight. Since carotenoids are strong antioxidants, annatto can be used to treat the skin by reducing wrinkle signs, blemishes and helps Tightening up the skin to make it look younger, all through free radical scavenging antioxidant properties.
Annatto leaves supports healthy digestion and healthy cholesterol levels.
The roots of Annatto can be extracted to be made an antidote to cure cassava poisoning.
Scientists are finding that antioxidant rich diets can help slow the aging process, slow the buildup of cholesterol, and slow mental decline. By adding annatto to your diet, you to can reap the benefits of a rich antioxidant diet.
Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help My Skin Look Younger?
Smooth, beautiful and highly toned skin is what everyone yearns for. In fact, a majority takes a couple of hours searching for the best skin treatment products. Who does not want a healthier and youthful looking skin? Perhaps, there is a plethora of skin treatment products that manufacturers pour into the market daily hence getting a reliable one that matches your skin needs can be worrisome. However, most of these products are not natural and carry the risk of adverse side effects. Apple cider vinegar is a natural product that is known to carry a full range of benefits to the skin. It is obtained from fermented crushed apples.
Benefits of apple cider vinegar to skin
It is recommended to use apple cider vinegar daily to reap maximum skin benefits. It is safe, effective and reliable in quickly curbing a variety of skin problems.
Can Aloe Sooth The Skin When Damaged?
March 13, 2014 04:25 PM
What is aloe vera
Aloe Vera is one of the natural products that is used to treat various skin diseases as well as maintaining and preventing some of the skin conditions. Aloe is rich in enzymes, minerals, vitamins and amino acids that help to heal and sooth damaged skin.
Aloe is rich in antioxidants compounds such as vitamin A and calcium which have been proved to have a soothing effects. They help to eliminate free radicals in the body which are known to cause rashes and growths on the skin. Upon it use, you will feel calm and relaxed.
Benefits of aloe vera
Aloe gel is effective in healing damaged skin especially skin prone too acnes, rashes and blisters. It has anti-bacterial properties which permanently heals damages skin.
Aloe provides instant relief from itching, sunburn, rashes as well as blisters. Apart from healing damaged skin. Aloe will moisturise skin and give you a natural look. It is rich in fatty acids that increases sebum production which makes skin to remain hydrated.
Aloe is non-staining and is easily absorbed. It does not stick on your skin, nobody will know if you have applied aloe after 10 minutes.
It is also effective in removing skin tags and dark spot. Though there are methods to remove skin tags and dark spot, aloe is one of the safest way to remove. It does not cause irritation and permanently removes skin tags and black spots.
Aloe also increases oxygen supply to the skin. This is very important since it enhances growth of skin tissues and also Tightens it. This is very important because it reduces saggy skins which are not pleasing.
Aloe extract will also reduce redness and swelling, reduce inflammation and speed up wound healing.
Thus, aloe is not only effective in soothing skin when damaged, it has multiple benefits to the user.
Health Benefits and Side effects of Grape Seed Oil.
March 08, 2014 09:09 AM
Grape seed history
Grape seed oil has been used for centuries to prevent and cure some diseases. In modern world, grape seed oil has been used to manufacture cooking oil and health practitioners recommend it use due to its health benefits.
Some of its health benefit includes.
It has is rich in antioxidants compounds, these compounds are very important because they help to eliminate free radicals in the body.
Grape seed oil improves heart functions, it is rich in HDL cholesterol which prevents heart diseases. This oil lowers the LDL cholesterol which is a major cause of heart diseases.
It is very beneficial to people suffering diabetes, it contains linoleic acid which is unsaturated fatty acid which is effective in alleviating diabetes.
It is beneficial to blood vessels especially capillaries. Grape seed oil strengthens and repairs damaged blood vessel. This helps to alleviate conditions such as, spider veins, varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
It is also very beneficial to people suffering arthritis. Grape seed oil has anti-inflammatory properties which have soothing effects, they provide relief against swelling and pain caused by arthritis.
Grape seed oil is also very important to the skin, it alleviate skin acnes and blisters.
Grape seed oil is also rich in omega 3 fatty acids which have multiple benefits. Omega 3 increases concentration power, mind power and also general body health. Kids who have used grape seed oil have recorded increased concentration and improved performance in academics.
Grape seed oil moisturizes skin and boost skin tone. It has astringent properties which help to Tighten and to tone skin. This makes users to be attractive, this boost self-confidence.
Although grape seed oil has various benefit to the body, it has some side effects. Some of the seed effects includes;
People who are allergic to grapes are not fit to use grape seed oil.
Those under ant-coagulate are still not fit to use this product.
User may suffer increase blood pressure, dizziness, headache, indigestion and nausea.
Benefits of Turbinado Sugar
February 08, 2014 04:41 PM
What is turbinado sugar
Turbinado sugar is a sugar cane-based, minimally refined sugar. It is medium tan in color and has large crystals. It's frequently mistaken for traditional tan sugar because of its light tan color, however its made in an alternate way. Many kind of people believe by this to become more healthy compared to each whitened as well as suntan Sugars, because it is usually much less ready as well as processed.
Color of sugar
The color may vary from an extremely gentle suntan to some more dark suntan. The actual color is actually molasses layer the actual deposits. Within processed whitened Sugar all the molasses may be eliminated.
True turbinado Sugar is recognized as vegan because it doesn't touch any kind of pet items throughout it's produce. Processed whitened Sugar is generally handled along with bone fragments char, a good pet byproduct.
Turbinado Sugar, whenever accustomed to sweeten espresso as well as teas, provides one more taste. It may be utilized like a ornamental leading with regard to cooked products along with other sweets. It may be replaced with regard to whitened Sugar in several quality recipes, however it might alter the actual color associated with whitened meals.
Hair Growth Vitamins?
December 20, 2012 08:09 PM
Keep your hair from falling out
Hair and beauty is a trendy industry, which doesn't have any fall back and recession. For a little better hair treatment, you might have to double or triple your budget. So, people living upon a non-stretchable financial background often look for remedies those can be taken in home. Hair fall can be due to shortage of few vitamins too. Few of the vitamins those have active effect upon hair fall are discussed below.
Role of several vitamins in hair growth:
B vitamins help in maintaining the surface of the hair strands and can be taken by eating beans and eggs. Biotin promotes hair growth whereas Vitamin A aids to the immune system so that hair strands stay healthy and less prone to brittleness. Vitamin C helps enhances blood circulation to the hair follicles and scalp making the hair roots stronger. It is found in fruits in adequate amount. Vitamin E helps in oxygen uptake to the scalp, nourishing the follicles.
About Hair Force by KAL:
Hair Force by KAL has the exact proportion of ingredients required for healthy hair. In addition to the above mentioned vitamins it has many useful macro and micro elements like zinc, copper, manganese, silica, inositol, L-methionine, choline, MSM, iron etc.
These are the basic structural components of the biological composition of hair. Vitamin B ingredients like riboflavin, niacin and folic acid control the brittleness of the hair strands. How does Hair Force by KAL work? The minerals and elements provide support to the molecular structure as they are the core building parts of those bio-molecules.
Vitamins keep all desired enzymes and blood circulation to the scalp steady. Few of them also help in Tightening the hair follicles. Hair fall is mostly caused by hair brittleness. If all the medicines are taken with time and regular care of the scalp is taken, its guaranteed that significant change in hair fall will appear soon.
What are The Steps to Make Kombucha from Extract?
November 21, 2012 07:58 AM
Kombucha is popularly known as a kind of tea which made by fermenting tea and sugar in the presence of yeasts and bacteria. But, in fact, it is a kind of beverage that is made from a colony of yeast and bacteria known as kombucha culture, frequently referred as a mushroom by its look though it is not a mushroom.
Steps to make Kombucha from extract:
Your kombucha tea is ready to be stored in bottles. Kombucha tea is used for various health benefits like detoxifying the liver to prevent cancer.
Its richness of enzymes and presence of bacterial acids help in detoxing your body from the effects of toxins to ease your liver from excessive burdens. It helps in improving your digestion, fighting the overgrowth of harmful yeasts and eliminating or reducing the symptoms of depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, etc. So, take kombucha and live a healthy life.
What Are The Health Benefits Of DMAE?
April 26, 2012 12:57 PM
Dimethylaminoethanol or DMAE is anorganic compound that is metabolically produced by the adrenal glands, testes and the brain in small quantities. It is converted into testosterone, estrogen and cortisone by the body. It is a known fact that the liver processes DMAE into choline, but the molecule thus produced is charged and cannot break the blood-brain barrier. Studies have shown that DMAE methylated in the brain acts as the precursor for the manufacture of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in the conduction of signals in the brain as well as the nervous system.
DMAE also stimulates phosphatidylcholine, a crucial part of cell membranes. However, the DMAE naturally produced by the body is sufficient only to maintain healthy brain and functions. It will not improve their functions. Though DMAE is found in fish such as salmon, anchovies, and sardines, supplementation in the pill form is important because of the practical difficulties having these foods in the right form and quantity on a daily basis to derive the benefits. DMAE supplements for oral consumption are through stores that sell health foods and groceries.
Daily consumption of DMAE in the supplement form provides a number of benefits to the body. Some of the benefits are as follows:
It helps prevent as well as treat cardiovascular problems and boost the body's immune system because of its strong antioxidant properties.It protects cells from the harmful effects of free-radicals by helping them retain the nutrients that are essential and expelling waste.As a precursor in the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, it supports the functioning of the brain in a number of ways. It increases a person's attention span, relieves behavioral problems and hyperactivity or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is also helpful in treating memory lapses and Alzheimer's disease.
It helps stop production of arachidonic acid which is responsible for wrinkling and aging of skin. Topical creams containing DMAE help Tighten skin and reduce wrinkles and fine lines.It is found to be effective in burning fat because of its involvement in the production of acetylcholine. It increases the metabolism in the body because of its thermogenic effect.It can be beneficial as an anti-inflammatory as well.It can reduce the amount of sleep required for a person by up to one hour.It can safely be used as a substitute for anabolic steroids.
Research studies have shown that consumption of 200 to 500 mg of DMAE on a daily basis is helpful in improving health. However, it is important to start with a low dosage of DMAE and then gradually increase the dosage level to the optimum level. Higher dosage can cause headaches, insomnia and muscle tension. People suffering from conditions such as schizophrenia, mental depression and epilepsy should not have DMAE supplements. Pregnant and lactating women also should not have DMAE.
Summarizing, consumption of recommended amounts of DMAE is believed to be safe. Side effects due to consumption of DMAE are rare and not generally serious. However, it is important to use high-quality supplements in order to increase DMAE levels in the body and reap the benefits.
What Herbs Are Vein Strengtheners?
September 28, 2011 02:17 PM
Blood vessels can be found all over the body. It is the passageway of blood so that cellular oxygenation as well as elimination of harmful substances from the cells would be successful. Blood vessels have three types, namely the arteries, the veins and the capillaries. Arteries contain the blood from the pulmonary system which is highly oxygenated while the veins consist of blood which is deoxygenated and abundant in cellular waste. Capillaries serve as a bridge between the two major blood vessels. Among these blood vessels, the veins are the only of its kind which has valves. These valves prevent backflow of blood since the direction of the blood in the vein is against gravity. Therefore, it is of no surprise that among the three types of blood vessels, veins are the most commonly damaged. In this article, we will be discussing of natural ways or herbs which are effective as vein strengtheners.
1. HORSE CHESTNUT. Traditionally, this herb has been used for the improvement of health the veins. In fact, Western medicine has considered this herb as the most effective herbal medicine for venous problems most especially Chronic Venous Insufficiency. It can improve venous return by improving the ability of the valves of veins to return blood to the heart from the lower extremities. This herb has also been found to decrease permeability of the capillary wall permeability thus lessening fluid outflow into tissues. The recommended dosage for this supplement is 500 mg each morning.
2. GOTU KOLA. Gotu kola is a popular herbal medicine of the Indian Ayurvedic medicine. It is also considered to be one of the oldest herbal medicines all over the world. This herb has been found to be effective in improving the tone, flexibility and integrity of the blood vessels. Therefore, this herb has been long used as a treatment for circulatory problems most especially varicose veins. 200 milligram extract of this herb is usually suggested three times daily.
3. RUTIN. This is not an herb itself but a chemical substance which can be found in several plants. Rutin is considered to be a flavonoid which can be extracted from citrus peels, cranberries, asparagus and buckwheat. Clinical studies of this chemical compound have revealed that it be an effective relief treatment of damaged and edematous veins. This chemical can also be used for improving the strength of the capillaries thus lowering the risk of damage.
These are only some of the herbs which are found to be effective as vein strengtheners. These herbs can be made into a poultice and applied to the skin so that positive effect can be obtained. Along with these herbs, it is also important that you should exercise regularly. Elevate your legs, if possible, especially when lying down at hours of sleep. This would greatly help in promoting venous return thus thwarting blood pooling at the lower extremities. It is also important that you should avoid long time standing or sitting. Health experts also suggest that people must avoid prolong crossing of legs and not to wear Tight clothing and foot wears since this can possibly constrict veins..
What is Bioperine and How Does It Help with Absorption of Vitamins
April 21, 2011 03:14 PM
Get more from your food with Bioperine.
Bioperine is a patented form of an alkaloid found in black pepper. It is derived entirely from piperine, an organic compound responsible for the spicy taste of black pepper and long pepper. Piperine has been noted for its thermogenic properties believed to speed up the absorption metabolism of digested foods. Recent studies have discovered that it also interferes with the release of enzymes that govern the bioavailability of drugs and supplements. By so doing, it enhances the rate of absorption of vitamins.
The human body has a complex mechanism of controlling the substances that get in and out of systemic circulation. The first pass occurs in the alimentary canal, where gastrointestinal enzymes break down substances into smaller compounds. It is believed that a very small percentage manages to undergo intestinal absorption after digestion. In general, this is the part where constituents of supplements remain undigested and instead enter the colon together with waste materials.
The liver plays a central role to the metabolism of drugs and most bioactive compounds. The compounds that pass the intestinal walls and enter the hepatic portal system, a group of veins that direct blood and other compounds from the gastrointestinal tract to the liver, is further metabolized inside the liver. Anything that the body considers foreign is sent to the kidneys and easily excreted through the urine. This is the reason why bioavailability is significantly reduced after ingestion.
Counteracts Effects of Enzymes
Bioperine is the only compound known to interact with enzymes that controls the metabolism of foreign materials within the intestinal epithelium. P-glycoprotein is released in the digestive tract to deal with drugs and xenobiotics found in our diet. Vitamins are no exception to the Tightly regulated process of absorption in the intestines. These enzymes transport digested compounds to the liver.
It has been observed that piperine appears to reduce the expression of p-glycoprotein in the alimentary canal and other parts of the body. Proponents believe that bioperine, a purer form of piperine, is capable of counteracting the effects of the enzyme within the intestinal epithelium, making it easier for vitamins and supplements to enter the hepatic portal system.
Increases the Rate of Metabolism
Not all compounds that undergo the first-pass effect interact with the cells and tissues they are supposed to act on. If they should have an effect on any cell, they are still subjected to the actions of enzymes specialized for the expulsion of xenobiotics found in the systemic circulation and the rest of the body. For example, CYP3A4 removes foreign materials from the cells and facilitates their excretion.
Bioperine is touted to induce thermogenesis and stimulate cellular activities. By so doing, the effects of bioactive compounds are achieved while they remain inside the cells and tissues. The thermogenic properties of bioperine influence the rate of metabolism of digested compounds, including vitamins, minerals, and components of herbal preparations. Note that it can increase the update or prescription medications as well, so caution should be observed when consuming bioperine with medications.
If you want to give your body a nutrient boost, add bioperine to your supplement regiment to boost absorption.
Glutathion, Antioxidants, And The Body
July 14, 2010 02:41 PM
Glutathione is a simple protein that consists of three amino acids. These amino acids include glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine. Due to the chemical nature of sulphur-containing cysteine, glutathione is able to effortlessly donate electrons. This ability is the reason why it has powerful antioxidant properties. Intracellular glutathione status is a sensitive indicator of cellular health and of the cell’s ability to resist toxic challenges.
Glutathione is an important water-phase antioxidant that is an essential component in the glutathione peroxidase system. Glutathione peroxidase enzymes are crucial for detoxifying peroxides including hydrogen peroxide, which is generated within cellular membranes and lipid-dense areas of the cell, especially the mitochondrial membrane. Severe glutathione depletion often leads to cell death, while experimental glutathione depletion has been found to induce cellular apoptosis.
A cellular level of glutathione depletion seems to cause extensive damage to the mitochondria. Depletion of mitochondrial glutathione may, in fact, be the ultimate factor that determines a cell’s vulnerability to oxidative(free radical) attack. The mitochondria is the most crucial place for glutathione presence, as the cascade of oxidation-reduction reactions complete the final steps in respiration take place here. Throughout this process, which is called oxidative phophorylation, electrons invariably escape and react with the ambient oxygen in order to generate toxic free radicals. It has been estimated that 2% to 5% of the electrons that enter the mitochondria are converted into reactive oxygen species that generate considerable oxidative stress for the cell. These free radicals cause an immediate threat to other cellular components, such as the DNA, enzymes, structural proteins, and lipids.
The cumulative damage that is caused by oxygen and other free radical species is now determined to be the principal contributor to the degenerative disease process and the progressive loss of organ function that is commonly recognized as aging. Because of this, the cell is constantly challenged to destroy these free radicals before they can inflict any lasting damage. Minimizing oxidative attacks may actually be the ultimate challenge of being alive. Because of this, the reducing power of glutathione is of huge important to the cell.
Glutathione is important for helping to regenerate other antioxidants that are depleted from their constant work to fight off free radical challenges. Regeneration that is glutathione-induced may be the mechanism that is actually used by the cell in order to conserve lipid-phase antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin E, and the carotenoids. It has been confirmed by recent investigations that dietary vitamin C can actually protect us against tissue damage that results from glutathione depletion.
Additionally, supplementation with glutathione or its precursors can also quickly replenish any vitamin C deficiencies. Because of this, glutathione and ascorbic acid, both of which are pre-eminent cellular antioxidants, are Tightly linked, as glutathione can conserve vitamin C and vitamin C can conserve glutathione. When they are both present, these two antioxidants protect the entire spectrum of biomolecules that are found within the cell, as well as facilitate the cell’s best performance. It has been said that the glutathione status of a cell may be the most accurate single indicator of the health of the cell. This means that as glutathione levels go, the health of the cell will go as well.
Glutathione is available in capsule or tablet form at your local or internet health food store. Always choose name brands to ensure quality and purity of the glutathione supplement you choose to purchase for consumption.
May 08, 2009 10:00 AM
L-Cysteine is what is known as a non-essential amino acid, meaning that it can be biosynthesized by the body and hence not an essential part of your diet. Due to its possessing a thiol side chain, it is termed a hydrophilic amino acid with an affinity for aqueous systems. Because of this it is relatively highly reactive, and is therefore an important component of a large number of enzymes and proteins.
Although, after all, it is not an essential amino acid, deficiencies can occur in the young and in the old, and also in those suffering certain metabolic diseases. Dietary sources include high-protein foods such as chicken, turkey, pork, dairy products and vegetables such as cereals, broccoli, garlic and onions.
The biochemistry of this amino acid begins with another amino acid known as serine, and also methionine. The latter is fist converted to homocysteine, which is then combined with serine to form cystathionine. This is then converted into cysteine and alpha- ketobutyrate. The thiol group is highly reactive and gives cysteine its biological properties.
L-Cysteine possesses strong antioxidant properties due to the thiol group which easily undergoes redox reactions. However, it is for its detoxification effect on the body that the amino acid is mainly taken as a supplement. It is, therefore, these properties that we shall discuss first.
Cysteine can reduce the toxic effects of alcohol, such as a hangover or the more serious liver damage. The by-product of alcohol metabolism that does most damage and is responsible for the majority of the negative after-effects of excessive alcohol consumption is acetaldehyde. L-Cysteine converts acetaldehyde into the more acceptable acetic acid, and so prevents the aldehyde from having too much of a negative effect on your health and well-being. However, the results obtained from such studies have been from animals only, and the therapeutic effects of cysteine have not yet been tested on humans.
What has been tested and is known is that L-cysteine is effective in the detoxification of heavy metals in the body. A common source of heavy metal toxicity is mercury from amalgam fillings in the teeth. Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared in 1989 that dental amalgams are a hazardous substance under the Superfund law, many people still have them in their mouths.
The thiol group and L-cysteine has a high affinity for mercury and other heavy metals, as previously stated, and a supplement can be used to remove from the body any mercury leached from mercury-based tooth fillings. It can also be used to bind to copper, lead and cadmium. Lead and cadmium are particularly toxic to the human body, and even though lead is no longer used in plumbing or paints, and cadmium in toys or paints, there are still many sources of these two heavy metals available that can lead to human toxification.
An L-cysteine supplement can be used to remove these heavy metals from the body. Any proteins containing cysteine will Tightly bind heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, molybdenum, cobalt and mercury, and allow them to be excreted by the body in the usual fashion. This direct involvement in heavy metal detoxification is a very useful property of this amino acid.
Another detoxification application of L-cysteine is in direct involvement in protecting cellular glutathione levels, and also the prevention of the death of liver cells by acetaminophen poisoning. The latter is of particular interest to many people since acetaminophen is better known as paracetamol, and since this is a freely available over-the-counter drug, overdoses are not unknown. The result of an overdose is the necrosis of liver cells, with eventual liver failure and death.
The treatment of choice is N-acetylcysteine. If used within 10 hours of the overdose it is extremely effective, and even from 16 to 24 hours it is better than other controls. It is believed that the acetylcysteine liberates cysteine which, when available to the liver, enables the biosynthesis of glutathione. Glutathione can then maintain the production of the fifth metabolite required for the specific detoxification of the paracetamol/acetaminophen.
L-Cysteine is also an essential component in the biosynthesis of coenzyme A, an enzyme essential for the production of energy from fats and carbohydrates. It is also a very important component of hair, from which it is commercially produced. Without an adequate intake of L-cysteine the growth of healthy hair would not be possible.
There are several supplemental uses of L-cysteine including the treatment of bronchial conditions for which the amino acid can help to liquefy and clear mucus from the airways and lungs. It is also used to protect against side effects of chemotherapy treatment of cancers and for medical treatments for excessive exposure to radiation.
However, there are certain situations in which L-cysteine should be avoided when at all possible. Diabetics should not use it, and neither should those suffering from cystinuria, whereby large quantities of amino acids, including cystine, are excreted in their urine. L-cystine, incidentally, is formed by oxidation of L-cysteine.
Paradoxically the amino acid is one of the several hundred additives made to tobacco by the cigarette companies. Although, as with the majority of tobacco additives, its purpose is unknown there are two possible reasons for its inclusion. L-Cysteine is a known expectorant, so it could be added to promote the expectoration of mucus in the lungs which is promoted by smoking, and it also increases the production off the antioxidant glutathione that is depleted in smokers.
There are several other non-medical uses for the amino acid, but it is for is its detoxification properties that it is most used as a supplement. However, because it is largely derived from human hair or duck feathers, it may not be classed as kosher or halal in spite of many claims made to that effect, though the more expensive source of microbial fermentation from corn sugar can be.
The substance is recognized as safe by the FDA, and must be labeled as L-cysteine when it is present in a preparation intended for its therapeutic effects. Keep in mind however, that it should be avoided by diabetics.
Raw Material Costs
September 27, 2008 01:20 PM
NOW has faced more Tight supplies and substantial cost increases in 2008 than at any other time in memory. Currently, the entire Psyllium crop from India is in short supply and unusually high demand. As a result, raw material costs are substantially higher. We expect them to remain this way until the middle of 2009. The cost of organic, pure Maple Syrup has already increased about 30%, and this has forced us to increase our own prices in July of this year. Despite drastic cost increases on many individual nut products (from 10-40%), NOW is doing its best to lock current prices until our next wholesale catalog, in December. Both Vitamin C and Vitamin E, due to corn and soy costs, have skyrocketed. And as much as we dislike doing so, we will likely have to raise our Vitamin C prices soon.
These and many other ingredients are up substantially in cost, though we’re doing our best to maintain our excellent everyday values. The weak US dollar is a major contributing factor, as it has lost about 50% of its value vs. the Euro in recent years. Combined with many worldwide factors, our industry is facing price pressures that will lead to unavoidable higher prices. NOW is constantly working on innovative ways to keep our prices low without sacrificing our famous quality.
May 23, 2008 11:53 AM
Medical professionals, especially in Europe and Japan, have been using licorice more and more in medicine. The Chinese consider licorice to be a superior balancing and harmonizing agent, so it is added to many herbal formulas. It is reputed in many countries, including the United States, to be a treatment for stomach, intestinal and many other problems. What is it used for?
Licorice is being studied for its effects against oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which is a major component in atherosclerosis. Approximately 300 different phytonutrient compounds found in natural licorice are considered possible antioxidants.
Licorice is being tested for its ability to help prevent certain viruses from replicating themselves in body cells. It appears to stimulate the immune system into producing interferon, which is known for its anti-viral effects. It is an effective aid in treating herpes and hepatitis. Promising results are also being reported in tests using licorice to combat SARS, influenza and HIV.
Stomach and Intestinal Problems
Licorice is a natural home remedy for heartburn, gastritis and acid reflux. It helps to promote new cell growth in the lining of the stomach. It also enhances the stomach's self-protecting abilities. Licorice has been used to treat peptic ulcers and aid in healing other types of ulcers.
Throat and Respiratory Problems
Licorice is widely known in the world of alternative medicine as an expectorant and cough suppressant. Colds and flu have been treated with licorice since the days of the Romans. Many over-the-counter cough medicines contain licorice extract because it soothes the mucous membranes.
Other Medicinal Properties
Is Licorice Safe?
Licorice is not recommended for use by people who suffer from diabetes mellitus, heart disease, hypertension or kidney disease. It is also not recommended for use by women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Licorice, although not thought to suppress the immune system like pharmaceutical cortisones, may cause similar side effects in high doses. Some of these include weight gain, fluid retention and high blood pressure.
Description and Cultivation
The licorice plant stands up to five feet tall. It has spikes of lilac-colored flowers that have bean-like pods containing three or four seeds apiece. The root, which is used most frequently, reaches underground about three feet and branches into networks of rhizomes.
After three to five years, the roots and rhizomes are cleaned, pulped, boiled and then concentrated by evaporation. The root, if kept dry, will keep for an indefinite amount of time. If the licorice is powdered, it should be stored in an airTight container.
Licorice has been used for centuries in conjunction with established medicine, as an alternative herbal medicine, and as an herbal confection in many parts of the world. It is noted for its medicinal value in treating stomach, intestinal and other ailments, including helping to stimulate the immune system. Studies are ongoing to discover more potential uses for this naturally sweet herb.
Butcher's Broom Extract
May 02, 2008 11:04 AM
Butcher’s broom (Ruscus aculeatus) is a member of the lily family, and looks a bit like a holly bush with barbed evergreen leaves and bright red berries in the fall. At one time they were collected, tied together and sold to butchers as brooms to sweep out their shops.
The stiff leaves were particularly suitable for cleaning out offal and other waste products from butchered animals and also for scrubbing butcher’s blocks. It was also used as a deterrent to rodents with their eyes on the meat! Alternative names are sweet broom, kneeholy and Jew’s myrtle, so named because it was used during the Feast of the Tabernacles as one of the ‘four species’ used in the lulav.
The herb was commonly used in Ancient Greece and Rome, the Greeks using it to reduce swellings of various kinds and the Romans using it to treat varicose veins. It has the same uses today, only the mechanisms are understood better. It has been used for centuries in the Mediterranean area for the treatment of inflammations and problems with the circulation, and the Romans used to mash up the leaves and berries to add to wine, and they also used the roots and rhizome as a medicine by soaking them in wine. Today, it is illegal to use holly as a decoration in Italy, so butcher’s broom is used instead.
All parts of the plant are used, including the rhizome, and although it is used as a diuretic, and to control a loss of blood pressure experience by some people on standing up, it is its effect on blood vessels where its main medical benefits lie. Butcher’s Broom can strengthen certain portions of blood vessels, and change the flexibility properties of the cell walls.
The result of this is that the vessels are Tightened up, which helps to maintain the flow of blood throughout the body, but also renders the cell walls less likely to leak or crack under stress. The result is a reduction in blood leakage from stretched and weakened blood vessels such as those that result in hemorrhoids, and also of conditions caused by weakened valves in the veins such as varicose veins and spider veins.
The blood pressure in the veins is very weak since they are so far away from the heart, the blood having passed through the arteries, through the capillaries and into the veins on its way back to the heart before being pumped to the lungs. When the valves become weakened, particularly in the large veins in the leg, there is little to prevent the blood from coming under the influence of gravity and pooling back down the vein, causing distention and occasional ruptures.
A ruptured varicose vein can be very serious and cause significant blood loss. Weakened valves can also lead to the formation of blood clots, which is itself a very serious condition that eventually blocks the heart or causes a stroke. Not only can butcher’s broom strengthen the vein walls and prevent leakage, and also enable them to more easily resist the pressure that can cause them to rupture, but it can also be used to break down blood clots. In fact the herb is used in many European hospitals to prevent the formation of blood clots after surgery.
The active ingredients in the rhizome are saponins that contain the aglycones ruscogenin and neuroscogenin and the associated spirostanol and furostanol glycosides. The receptors that cause vasocontraction are known as adrenoreceptors, these receptors can be selectively stimulated by butcher’s broom extract to Tighten the veins and improve the return of blood. When introduced intravenously, butcher’s broom was noted to constrict venules (small veins that feed the main veins but not arterioles (the small arteries than feed the capillaries). Hence blood vessels can be selectively treated, and the effect on isolated blood vessels was enhanced by heating. Many supplements include calcium that helps to strengthen the blood vessel walls.
It is possible, therefore, to target the blood vessels that require constrictive treatment in order that they are strong enough to return blood to the heart rather than leak or distend. However, that is not the only health benefit that butcher’s broom provides. It can also be used as a diuretic. It is not a strong diuretic, but is used to relief the swelling of bruises and PMS, the reason given being that since leakage from the blood vessels is lessened, then more fluid is available to pass through the kidneys. There might be other reasons.
It is also use for the treatment of ortho static hypotension, the reduction in blood pressure that some people experience. It is believed that butcher’s broom can control this condition without increasing blood pressure, as most other remedies do, and which is almost as undesirable as the condition they are treating.
There are few problems associated with the herb, although few studies have been carried out its use by pregnant women. Although the one test that was carried indicated no effect, it would be wise for pregnant or nursing women not to use it until further studies have been carried out. Due to its effect in Tightening blood vessels, its use is not recommended by anybody suffering from high blood pressure (hypertension). Many hypertension treatments are designed to render the blood vessels more elastic rather than constrict them.
In one very small study of pregnant women who used a topical cream containing butcher's broom, no side effects were seen for either the mother or the baby. However, very little information is available on how oral butcher's broom might affect a developing fetus, an infant, or a small child. Therefore, its use is not recommended during pregnancy, while breast-feeding, or during early childhood.
Because it Tightens blood vessels, butcher's broom may worsen high blood pressure or benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). Individuals with either of these conditions should not use any form of butcher's broom without first consulting a doctor. The known side effects have already been stated, and they are fairly mild, but few studies have been made on the herb other than in Europe, and the side effects have not been fully explored. It is unlikely; however, that there are any as yet unknown serious side effects since butcher’s broom has been used now for a long time, particularly in Europe.
The term ‘ruscogenin’ is used for the collective mixture of active saponins in butcher’s broom, and many of the supplements are formulated to include from 5 to 15 mg of these. However, check the label, since standardization is not yet required in the USA, and in theory a preparation can include much more or much less ruscogenin. It is frequently supplied with other active ingredients, such as vitamin C or calcium, and perhaps even horse chestnut that affect blood vessels in a similar way. Always follow the instructions on the package, since these are designed for the specific strength of supplement you are using.
Fight Stress With Magnesium Supplements
April 17, 2008 04:16 PM
When stress hormones are released into the body due to a stressful situation, several things may happen. Your metabolic rate can increase, heart rate jumps, blood vessels contract and get Tighter, the rate at which one breaths gets more frequent and shorter, muscles contract in response to stress among other things.
At the cellular level a significant inflow of calcium decrease cellular magnesium to calcium ratios which stimulates cellular function such as secrete fluids, contract, go into active mode. The muscles prepare to contract this includes the lungs, heart, and blood vessels. Nerves start to fire more frequent, the blood gets ready to clot, and secondary stress hormones are released. Normally when the stress crisis is over, magnesium moves back into the cells at the cellular level forcing calcium out relaxing the cells, this allows the body to slow down and relax, the nerves calm down and blood flow slows.
Magnesium plays a vital role to relax the body, once the stressful situation is over. The demand for magnesium goes up with stress. If there are inadequate amounts of magnesium in the body, this magnesium deficiency can in itself sustain a stress response. A magnesium deficiency itself can initiate and maintain a stress response without a trigger to cause the stress in the first place. Low magnesium states can prevent the body from relaxing and cause muscle cramping. After a stressful situation, adequate magnesium is needed to help the body shift over to a relaxed state.
Boarder-line magnesium individuals can have a mental, emotional, environmental or physical state of continuous stress where their bodies never come down out of the stress state. This can be detrimental to health and wellness. Drinking coffee, alcohol, and eating lots of sugary foods will cause the body to become depleted. Today’s diets high in over processed foods are lacking magnesium; one should supplement by either changing ones diet or adding magnesium to their diet in mineral supplement form.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include signs such as, muscle cramps or twitches, insomnia, irritability, sensitivity to loud noises, anxiety, nervousness, autism, ADHD, heart palpitations, angina, constipation, spasms in the muscles, headaches, migraines, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, asthma and kidney stones (typically caused by a calcium-magnesium imbalance), diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, menstrual cramps, irritable bladder, irritable bowel, acid reflux, and premenstrual syndrome, depression, low energy, weakness in the muscles, weakening bones (bone density loss), and calcification of organs.
Women who consume high amounts of calcium can actually create a greater deficiency in magnesium leading to greater bone mineral density lost then if no calcium was consumed at all. Foods today that are being fortified with calcium are actually helping women loose more bone density because magnesium is not in the right proportions.
To word off the negative effects of a prolonged or over-reaction to stress including a shortened lifespan, one needs to balance out their magnesium to calcium ratios by adding adequate amounts of both magnesium and calcium to their diet. Supplementing with 400 mgs to 800 mgs of elemental magnesium is critical for one looking to live a healthier longer life that is free from stress.
Keywords: Magnesium Deficiency, Fight Stress, Magnesium, Calcium, Fight High Blood Pressure
Description: Are you feeling tired, sick or maybe you feel like something is wrong but not quite sure what it is? Would you know if you had a magnesium deficiency? Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic functions in the body; learn how it can help you!
Great Taste, Lower Cholesterol, Triglycerides, And Blood Sugar
April 14, 2008 03:11 PM
Cinnamon, a spice that every child loves, known to be added to many culinary foods to enrich the tastes buds. Cinnamon is a very old spice mentioned in the bible and popular in ancient Egypt, once was considered more valuable than gold. There are several varieties of cinnamon available on the market. Chinese or cassia and Ceylon which are found in grocery and health food stores alike.
Cinnamon has been used for the same things over the centuries, as a food and drink additive as well as medicinal purposes cinnamon was one of the first spices to be traded between Europe and the Far East.
Today, cinnamon is used for cooking, baking, and medicinal purposes where recent studies suggest this herb might help equalize blood sugar levels. Several studies suggest that cinnamon may help prevent blood platelets from sticking together in the blood as well as lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Cinnamon is available in power, oil, or whole bark (water soluble and oil soluble) for every need and application you may come across. This herb comes from the cinnamon tree (bark), and can stay fresh un-refrigerated for up to 6 months and longer if left refrigerated and kept in an air Tight bottle.
Have you had your cinnamon today?
Biotin For Better Health!
April 14, 2008 12:42 PM
Biotin is one of the B vitamins, known as vitamin B7 and also, for some reason, vitamin H. If you have a deficiency of this vitamin you will know about it because it makes you bald. So keep up your vitamin B7 intake girls!
However, this should not be difficult since it is contained in cooked egg white (not raw), tomatoes, chard, onions, cabbage, strawberries, walnuts, halibut, carrots, liver, brewers yeast and cucumber to name but a few of the many sources. It makes sense that it has so many sources because biotin is essential for many of the biochemical reactions that take place continuously in your body.
It is contained in raw eggs, but is bound too Tightly to the protein to be available to your body. It has to be cooked before the bond is broken sufficiently to render it bioavailable.
Included in these is the all-important Krebs cycle that releases energy from food. It is necessary for the growth of your body cells, for the metabolism of the fats you consume and for the biosynthesis of the fatty acids that are eventually converted to proteins and then the DNA that is essential for life. In other words, without biotin we would not be here.
However, do not get overly worried about the necessity of biotin in your diet, since the same applies to all of the other vitamins you consume. That is what vitamins are chemicals that have been identified ages ago as being essential to life. Without vitamins we could not survive which is why the vitamin supplement industry is so strong and healthy.
So, what does biotin do specifically, other than being necessary for some of the essential biochemical processes in your body? These tend to look after themselves, so what are the physical attributes that biotin provides for you? The name should give you a clue. In fact it should be familiar since it is one of the more commonly mentioned ingredients of hair care products: “Biotin for Healthy Hair” - ring a bell?
Although a deficiency of biotin is rare with a healthy balanced diet, it can happen, and when it does your first sign might be your skin drying out, your cholesterol levels will increase, you will feel continually tired and depressed with a poor appetite and you will be nauseous. You will also frequently vomit, which puts the icing on the cake of a set of very undesirable symptoms. It is important, then, that you do not suffer from a deficiency of biotin, vitamin B7 or vitamin H, whatever you want to call it, and is why many people take a supplement just to make sure.
This is normally taken as part of a general B complex supplement or even a general multivitamin supplement, since almost everybody has no idea what this vitamin is and why it is so necessary for your continued health. So let's have a look at why biotin is so important, with specific reference to your hair, skin and nails. However, we shall also examine its deeper biochemical uses and explain why it is such an essential vitamin.
With regard to biotin supplements in hair preparations, it benefit’s by helping one grow thicker hair, symptoms of a deficiency is brittle hair. If you are deficient, you will lose your eyelashes and eyebrows in addition to your hair, depending on the severity of your deficiency. As stated, however, that is particularly rare. The biotin content of shampoos is likely useless since it is not absorbed through the skin.
What it does in the diet, however, is to thicken the nails and also the hair fiber giving it a fuller appearance, so that you appear to have more hair than you actually have. It also increases the flexibility of the hair, skin and nails rendering them less brittle and less liable to breaking and scaling. However, as previously stated if you eat a good balanced diet you should avoid these problems, although a vitamin B complex supplement will do the job just as well.
So what else does vitamin B7 do for you? Lots in fact, so let's have a look at the more important of them starting with the function of your body cells in the production of energy. Biotin takes part in the Citric Acid Cycle, otherwise known as the Krebs Cycle, whereby energy is created by the conversion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins into carbon dioxide and water. It is one of the essential metabolic pathways of life, and biotin is needed to recharge the Krebs cycle with metabolites when mitochondria become deficient in these essential components.
Without them you would begin to feel tired and lack energy, and this would get increasingly worse without a biotin supplement. It is amazing that your energy is created in the mitochondria which are a part of the tiny cells that make up the tissue of your body, and equally amazing that it depends upon, among other substances, a vitamin of which very few people are even aware of.
In spite of any other effect biotin has on your body, including providing healthy hair, skin and nails, its primary role in your body is in the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates into a form that can be used by your body for the production of energy. Biochemically, it functions as a coenzyme, which is a molecule needed to help an enzyme do its work. In fact an alternative name give to biotin is Coenzyme R.
It helps in the biochemical conversion of sugars to energy, and is a component of enzymes such as pyruvate carboxylase. That enzyme is protein contained within the mitochondria that contains a biotin prosthetic group, without which it could not function to help the body to generate energy during exercise. Suffice it to say that without biotin you would find it difficult to generate energy, especially when the demand for it is at its highest.
Biotin's biochemical role is not restricted to energy production however, and it is involved in the biochemical synthesis of amino acids and also of glucose from other sugars. Glucose is the main blood sugar that is manufactured in the body from the other saccharides that you eat, such as fructose.
A reasonable level of supplementation to ensure that you do not suffer from a deficiency is around 100 micrograms daily, although up to 5 milligrams (5000 mcg) are safe for the treatment of brittle nails or hair loss. Much depends on age and it is best taken as a vitamin B complex supplement, since the B vitamins appear to give best results as a team!
So, while you can have healthy hair, skin and nails with biotin, without it you will have no energy and likely have no need for your hair, skin and nails!
Age Gracefully With Anti Aging Nutrition
January 19, 2008 01:57 PM
With today’s society constantly frowning upon aging and advertisements constantly urging consumers to buy products to Tighten, firm, and rejuvenate their skin, our society has placed a very high value on youthful appearances. No one wants to look old, so a natural product to help this is very important. However, just because consumers want to use natural products doesn’t necessarily mean they will, as many wonder if natural products will actually work. Despite some reservation from the consumer, the popularity of all natural anti-aging products is on the rise. Although many products can help minimize signs of aging, companies are starting to recommend the start of preventative skin care regimens in a woman’s late teens.
The key to preventing aging is keeping skin clear, pores unclogged, and you skin moisturized in your twenties so that by the time you reach your thirties, aging is not quite as evident. By age thirty, collagen levels start to reduce, and skin starts to lose its elasticity. It is important to continue a skin care routine and work in some anti-aging products. By age forty and beyond, it’s extremely important to continue the regimen you have build in your thirties while adding an anti-aging serum.
On top of a regular skin care routine, it’s essential for women to use products that contain some level of SPF, which is very important for preventing fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots. Along with SPF, antioxidants are critical in anti aging products, preventing free radical damage and also minimizing facial redness by constricting protecting fine capillaries. Good antioxidant and anti-aging ingredients include blueberries, green tea, ginkgo biloba, cucumber, aloe, lavender, cranberry seed oil, and pomegranate.
Moisturizing the skin is also an anti-aging essential, helping the derma layer provide nourishment and adding cushion to support the skin. A good moisturizer will also help to fight dry skin and wrinkles. Some moisturizing formulas used in Japan have an ability to provide omega essential fatty acids and help to slow the formation of wrinkles. Jojoba, aloe, and avocado oils are also extremely hydrating and effective in the reduction and appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Since aging can cause the skin to be discolored, there are many products that can help to minimize the appearance of age spots and help to brighten and even out skin tone. A skin tone balancer, using natural skin lighteners such as kojic acid, lemon extract, and bilberry extract, can stop the process of melanin production and also reduce existing age spots. Sugar cane extract and sugar maple extract act as natural exfoliates, which help to brighten the skin by getting rid of dead skin cells. Night creams containing macadamia nut oil, mulberry bark, and licorice extracts help to firm and brighten the skin and also lighten age spots.
Although natural products are definitely better for consumers’ skin, they often have short shelf lives. In order to fight this, many companies create smaller batches with shorter shelf lives, to make sure that customers will use the entire product before it expires. For retailers to sell anti-aging products and compete with mainstream lines, marketers stress that education is needed to make consumers aware of how great natural skin care is.
CoQ10 for Heart Health
March 28, 2007 12:39 PM
CoQ10 for Heart Health
More than 40% of all deaths in the
One of the most – if not the most – important things people can do to improve their overall health and life expectancy is to improve their heart health. Diet, exercise, and the wise use of dietary supplements can improve heart health dramatically. One dietary supplement that’s extremely beneficial to heart health is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).
Q. What is CoQ10?
A. CoQ10 is a natural, fat-soluble nutrient present in virtually all cells. CoQ10 also is known as ubiquinone. That’s because CoQ10 is ubiquitous and exists everywhere there is life. CoQ10 is vital to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. ATP is the energy-rich compound used for all energy-requiring processes in the body. Although COQ10 is produced by the body and exists in some dietary sources, these levels may be insufficient to meet the body’s requirements. CoQ10 levels diminish with age and as a result of dietary inadequacies and various disease states. Also, some drugs, especially a group of cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs known as “statin,” (Pravachol, Zocor, Lipitor, etc.) significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body.
Q. For what health conditions is CoQ10 used?
A. CoQ10 is beneficial in treating and preventing CVD and conditions such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), angina, and congestive heart failure (CHF). It’s been shown that heart attacks tend to occur when CoQ10 levels are low in the body. In addition, CoQ10 is beneficial for diabetes, immune dysfunction, cancer, periodontal disease, prostate cancer, and neurological disease.
Q. Why is CoQ10 especially important to heart health?
A. The heart is one of the most metabolically active tissues in the body. In the average person, the heart propels 2,000 gallons of blood through 65,000 miles of blood vessls by beating 100,000 times each day. Thus, it requires large amounts of uninterrupted energy. Heart cells have a greater number of mitochondria, and subsequently, more CoQ10 than any other type of cell. Each heart cell can have thousands of mitochondria to meet these energy demands.
Mitochondria are highly specialized structures within each cell and are often referred to as cell powerhouses. These tiny energy-produces produce 95% of the energy the body requires. The number of mitochondria in a cell depends on its function and energy needs. A cell’s ATP production is dependent on adequate amounts of CoQ10.
Heart disease patients are commonly CoQ10 deficient. Correcting such deficiencies often can produce amazing results. The presence of supplemental CoQ10 is a key to the heart’s optimum performance.
In people who have had a heart attack (myocardial infarction), CoQ10 assists in repairing the heart muscle and restoring heart function. This is due to increased ATP production.
Q. What studies support this fact?
A. A 1998 study found CoQ10 can provide rapid protective effects in patients with a heart attack if administered within three days of the onset of symptoms. The study focused on patients admitted to the hospital with an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) diagnosis. Seventy-three patients received CoQ10 (120 mg/d). The study’s control group consisted of 71 similarly matched patients with acute AMI. After treatment, angina pectoris (severe chest pain signifying interrupted blood flow to the heart), total arrhythmias (dangerously irregular heartbeats), and poor function in the left ventricle (the essential chamber of the heart) were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared to the placebo group. Total deaths due to sudden cardiac failure and nonfatal heart attacks also were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared with the placebo group.
In another study, CoQ10 was studied in 109 patients with high blood pressure (hypertension). The patients were given varying doses of supplemental CoQ10 with the goal of attaining a certain blood level (greater than 2.0 mcg/l). Most patients were on medications to treat hypertension. Half the patients were able to stop taking one to three antihypertensive drugs at an average of 4.4 months after starting CoQ10. Only 3% of patients required the addition of one antihypertensive drug. The 9.4% of patients who have echo cardiograms, performed both before and during treatment, experienced a highly significant improvement in heart wall thickness and function. This improvement was directly attributed to CoQ10 supplementation.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a debilitating disease that affects 5 million people in the
Q. I’ve heard that CoQ10 can also help people who have neurological diseases. Is this true?
A. Yes, it is. CoQ10 has been studied for its ability to improve the health of individuals with amotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. A recently completed study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health showed that CoQ10 caused a slowing of the progression of Huntington’s disease, a devastating and degenerative disease that is always fatal. In fact, no other medication, drug, or nutritional supplemental has ever been shown to cause a decline in the progression of this terrible disease.
The study compared CoQ10 against remacemide (an investigational HD drug made by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals), in 347 HD patients who were in the early stages of the disease. Remacemide blocks glutamate, the neurotransmitter scientists think may cause the death of brain cells that occurs in Huntington’s disease. While remacemide had no effect on the progression of HD, CoQ10 showed a trend toward slowing the disease by an average of 15%. This meant the HD group taking CoQ10 was able to handle every day activities of life a little longer than the patients taking remacemide or a placebo. They also were able to focus their attention better, were less depressed, and less irritable. The 15% slowing of decline means that CoQ10 can result in about one more year of independence for HD patients. Needless to say, the gift of an additional year of health in the lives of HD patients is incredibly significant.
Because of these impressive results with HD, researchers are hopeful that the studies of CoQ10 in those with ALS and Parkinson’s disease will similarly have a positive effect on the symptoms and/or progression of these neurological disorders, too.
Q. Why is it crucial for a CoQ10 supplement to cross the blood-brain barrier?
A. The brains’ blood vessels are composed of cells with extremely Tight junctions. These junctions form the blood-brain barrier, which restricts what can pass from the bloodstream into the brain. While this barrier protects the brain, it can be a significant obstacle to central nervous system therapy. To leave the bloodstream and reach the brain cells, a substance must pass through the Tightly connected cells of the capillary walls. Only substances with unique solubilities or those with a transport system can cross the blood-brain barrier to a significant degree. As a result, crossing the blood-brain barrier presents a significant challenge to supporting neurological health.
While most CoQ10 supplements enter the bloodstream and increase blood serum levels, only special forms of CoQ10 have been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier. For CoQ10 to enter the mitochondria within the brain, CoQ10 must first cross the blood-brain barrier to produce significant neurosupportive clinical results.
Q. How can one supplement have applications for neurological diseases, heart health, and even the immune system?
A. Supplements often have more than one function, especially when it’s a substance like CoQ10, which is present in all parts of the body. All nucleated cells (most cells other than red blood cells) have mitochondria and all cells require energy to function. CoQ10 is vital to ATP production. Thus, CoQ10 has applications not only in neurological (neurons or nervous system cells) and cardiac health (myocardium or heart tissue), but also for the immune system.
Q. Are all CoQ10 supplements created equal? Doesn’t CoQ10 just have to get into the bloodstream to be effective?
A. There are some important distinctions among CoQ10 products, as they vary greatly in quality and absorbability. It’s crucial to find a CoQ10 product that’s:
1. Scientifically shown to absorb through the digestive tract, cross cellular membranes, and increase mitochondrial levels of CoQ10. Chewable forms of CoQ10 provide rapid bioavailability and absorption. Serum level determination of CoQ10 in the bloodstream is not necessarily the most important measure of efficacy. For a CoQ10 supplement to be fully effective, it must cross the cellular barrier and raise intracellular CoQ10 levels. A key indicator of effective CoQ10 supplementation is its presence in cell mitochondria.
2. The natural form of CoQ10. The natural process uses living organisms. CoQ10 also can be synthesized by a chemical process, which produces a distinctly different product that contains chemical compounds not found in the natural form.
3. Formulated with ingredients that provide the transport system CoQ10 needs to cross cellular membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Not all forms of CoQ10 have been scientifically proven to cross cell membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Some prestigious groups that have investigated this issue include researchers at
4. Studied by respected organizations, with research published in peer-reviewed journals by reputable scientists.
Q. How much CoQ10 should I take?
A. Take 100 to 200 mg of CoQ10 daily, depending on your family history of heart disease and personal heart disease experience.
CoQ10’s safety has been evaluated. Dosages in studies have ranged from 100 mg to 1,200 mg per day. To date, no toxicities have been reported. Occasional mild stomach upset may occur. Taking CoQ10 with meals usually alleviates this rare effect.
Q. What are some other heart-friendly supplements?
A. CoQ10 is an excellent supplement for overall cardiovascular health, as in L-carnitine. L-carnitine is the naturally occurring form of carnitine that’s found in food and synthesized in the body. Much of the body’s L-carnitine is found in the heart and skeletal muscle, tissues that rely on fatty acid oxidation for most of their energy. Nearly 70% of the energy needed for heart function is derived from fatty acid breakdown. Proper L-carnitine supplementation transports fatty acids into cell mitochondria, where it’s burned for energy. L-carnitine is an excellent addition to CoQ10, especially for people with heart disease, and has been shown to improve many symptoms associated with CVD. In one study, people who had experienced one heart attack received either L-carnitine or placebo. The L-carnitine group had a statistically significant reduction in second heart attacks, and improved overall survival.
Q. What supplements support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol?
A. In addition to maintaining overall cardiovascular health, it’s also important to address your essential fats/lipids levels and healthy circulation/blood pressure. Fish oil supplements can significantly reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and homocysteine levels. Choose a supplement that’s a rich source of EPA and DHA, omega-3 fatty acids naturally obtainable in fish oil. Find a product that’s been clinically studied and purified to ensure it contains the beneficial active constituents of the whole oil, while removing any dioxins, DDT, PCBs, or heavy metals, toxins present in some commercial fish oil preparations. An enteric-coated garlic product that provides a minimum of 5,000 mcg of beneficial allicin supports healthy blood pressure and circulation. And magnesium, niacin, vitamin E, folic acid, hawthorn extract, and L-cysteine provide overall nutritional support to the heart and vascular system.
CoQ10 is not the only answer to the complex issues of heart disease, neurological disease, or immune dysfunction; however, research indicates that it’s a bigger piece of the puzzle than physicians and scientists ever imagined. The more we study this naturally occurring compound, the more benefits we find.
The key to this supplement is the manufacturing quality. For safety and overall effectiveness, use a CoQ10 product that’s supported by product-specific research from reputable institutions. Choose tested products from a well-respected company to increase your potential to achieve and maintain heart and blood vessel health.
Supplementation with clinically studied products can have a major impact on your heart’s health and strength. However, no supplement replaces the need to eat a healthful diet low in refined foods (especially sugar), and saturated fats, and to exercise your most important muscle – your heart – on a regular basis.
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
March 28, 2007 10:29 AM
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) affects about 65 million Americans, or about 1 in 3 adults. There are many potential causes of hypertension, but not necessarily any symptoms. In fact, 30% of the people who have high blood pressure don’t even realize it.
In other words, just because you don’t have symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have high blood pressure. That’s why it’s called “The Silent Killer.” And, make no mistake about it: high blood pressure is dangerous. It is the number one modifiable cause of stroke. Just lowering blood pressure reduces the chance of stroke by 35 to 40 percent. Other conditions, including heart attack and heart failure can be reduced from 25 to 50 percent, respectively.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we’re going to talk about high blood pressure and an exciting natural treatment for lowering blood pressure safely and effectively.
Of course, changing blood pressure numbers depends, in a large part, on the choices we make every day – how much we exercise, the foods we eat, and our lifestyle overall. But, for those times we need extra help, there is a new, scientifically-studied supplement to help us along our path to better health and lower blood pressure.
Blood pressure guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Q. What exactly is blood pressure?
A. Blood pressure is divided into two parts, systolic and diastolic. Systolic is the pressure of the heart beating. Diastolic is the pressure of the heart and vessels filling. When blood pressure numbers are written out, like “120/80,” 120 is the systolic pressure and 80 is the diastolic pressure. The unit of measurement for blood pressure is millimeters of mercury, written as “mm/Hg.”
Q. What is considered high blood pressure?
A. A person’s blood pressure can naturally vary throughout the day – even between heartbeats.
However, if the numbers are consistently high (over 120 systolic and 80 diastolic), after multiple visits to your healthcare practitioner, you may have either pre-hypertension or high blood pressure.
Young arteries and arteries that are kept young through healthy diet and exercise are typically more elastic and unclogged. Blood flows through them easily and without much effort. However, as we age, our arteries become more prone to plaque buildup (due to diets high in saturated fat and sedentary lifestyles) and don’t “flex” as well under pressure. The result is faster blood flow, all the time. Over the long term, it damages heart tissue, arteries, kidney and other major organs.
To get a better idea of high blood pressure, compare your arteries to a garden hose. When unblocked, a garden hose allows water to flow through it quickly and easily – without any real rush or stress. However, if you block the end of the hose with your thumb, closing it off even a little, water rushes out much more quickly.
For many years, high diastolic pressure was considered even more of a threat than high systolic pressure. That thinking has changed somewhat but high diastolic numbers could still mean organ damage in your body – especially for individuals under 50.
Q. What courses high blood pressure?
A. The reasons for hypertension aren’t always clear. However, there are lifestyle factors that contribute to high blood pressure that you can change:
Body type: Weight isn’t always a reliable indicator of whether or not you’ll have high blood pressure – but the type of weight is. Lean body mass – muscle – doesn’t increase blood pressure levels the way that fat can. However, fat body mass, especially fat around your middle, can contribute to high blood pressure.
Sedentary lifestyle: Too often, many of us sit down all day at work, and then sit down all night at home. Over time, this inactivity usually leads to weight gain, making the heart work harder to pump blood through the body. In a way, it almost seems contradictory, but inactivity usually leads to higher heart rates.
Sodium intake: Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much salt there is in processed foods. However, salt intake in itself is not necessarily bad. For people with a history of congestive heart failure, ischemia, and high blood pressure, sodium is definitely out. For those individuals, it leads to more water retention, which increases blood pressure. (Salt’s effect on water retention is one reason that so many sports drinks have fairly high sodium content – the sodium in the drink prevents your body from sweating out too much water.) But, for healthy individuals, moderate salt intake, especially a mixed mineral salt like sea salt or Celtic salt (good salt should never be white) is fine.
Low potassium intake: Unlike sodium, potassium is a mineral which most Americans get too little of. Potassium helps regulate the amount of sodium in our cells, expelling excess amounts through the kidneys. Low levels of this mineral can allow too much sodium to build up in the body.
Heavy alcohol intake: Having three or more alcoholic drinks a day (two or more for women) nearly doubles an individual’s chance of developing high blood pressure. Over time, heavy drinking puts a lot of stress on the organs, including the heart, liver, pancreas and brain.
Unhealthy eating: Eating a lot of processed or fatty foods contributes to high blood pressure. Adapting a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, fish, nuts and magnesium and potassium (like the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, known as the “DASH” diet) can bring it back down.
Smoking: If you smoke, stop. Smoking damages the heart and arteries – period. Nicotine constricts blood vessels, increases heart rate, and raises blood pressure. This in turn, increases hormone production and adrenaline levels, further stressing the body.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces the oxygen in the blood, making the heart work even harder to make up the difference. Since the effect of a single cigarette can last for an hour, smoking throughout the day leads to continuously revved-up blood pressure.
Some of these factors might sound like a lot to overcome. The important thing to remember is that all of these behaviors are changeable. If you have high blood pressure, modifying any of these can significantly lower blood pressure as part of an overall plan.
Q. What are the blood pressure numbers I should see?
A. Experts consider healthy blood pressure numbers to be 115/75 mm/Hg. The reason? They found that the risk of cardiovascular disease doubles at each increment of 20/10 mmHg over 115/75 mm/Hg. Even small jumps in blood pressure numbers increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Q. Okay, so other than diet, exercise and lifestyle changes are there other natural ways or supplements I can use to lower my blood pressure?
A. Yes, in fact, you hear about some of them in the news all the time – fish oil, CoQ10, and garlic. As effective as these symptoms are, they typically lower systolic pressure much more than diastolic pressure.
However, there is a blend of scientifically and clinically studied natural ingredients that lower high blood pressure separately, and work even better when they’re combined. This combination blend contains: dandelion leaf extract, lycopene, stevia extract, olive leaf extract and hawthorn extract.
Every one of these ingredients has been studied and recommended for years. But now, a scientific study on a supplement that combines them in one synergistic formula shows encouraging results for lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Let’s take a look at each:
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) originated in
The leaf of stevia is considered the medicinal part of the plant. Research shows that extracts of the leaf relax arteries and help prevent the buildup of calcium on artery walls – keeping them healthy and reducing blood pressure.
In a long-term, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. On average, participants’ blood pressure reduced from baseline 150 mm/Hg to 140 mm/Hg systolic and 95 mm/Hg to 89 mm/Hg diastolic.
And, in another double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia lowered blood pressure quite significantly – by an average of 14 millimeters of mercury in both systolic and diastolic readings. Those are impressive numbers!
Despite its role as a sweetener, stevia may have a side benefit to for those with hypertension – blood sugar regulation. Scientific studies show that extracts of stevia regulated blood sugar and reduced blood pressure.
A clinical study showed that stevia extract actually improved glucose tolerance by decreasing plasma glucose levels during the test and after overnight fasting in all participants. Regulating blood sugar is very important for those with high blood pressure. When blood sugar levels are high, blood vessels are inflamed. Many people with diabetes have high blood pressure as well. In a paired, cross-over clinical study, stevioside (one of the compounds in stevia) reduced glucose levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. It shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. Its shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes as well as hypertension.
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp. Oxycantha) has been used since ancient ties as a medicinal herb – even being mentioned by the Greek herbalist Dioscorides, in the first century AD. Traditionally, it has generally been used for support of the heart. Modern research points to bioflavonoid-like complexes in hawthorn leaf and flower that seem to be most responsible for its benefits on cardiac health, like blood vessel elasticity.
The bioflavonoids found in hawthorn include oligomeric procyanidins, vitexin, quercetin, and hyperoside. They have numerous benefits on the cardiovascular system. Hawthorn can improve coronary artery blood flow and the contractions of the heart muscle. Scientific studies show that the procyanidins in hawthorn are responsible for its ability to make the aorta and other blood vessels more flexible and relaxed, so that blood pumps more slowly and with less effort – sparing the cardiovascular system such a hard workout.
The procyanidins in hawthorn also have antioxidant properties – protecting against free radical cellular damage.
And, hawthorn may also inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme. Angiotensin-converting enzyme is responsible for retaining sodium and water, and may have roots in our evolutionary development. It influences blood vessel contraction and dilation, sodium and water balance and heart cell development – just about everything that has to do with blood pressure. This may have developed as a way of dealing with periods of drought and stress. By narrowing the blood vessels, the body could guarantee an adequate supply of blood and focus on repairing tissue.
Unfortunately, that can lead to real problems these days. Since many of us live in an industrialized society, and frequently have pretty sedentary lifestyles, conserving sodium just makes the conditions for high blood pressure that much worse.
Like the other ingredients in this combination, hawthorn showed benefits on other body systems, too. In clinical and scientific studies, it not only lowered blood pressure, but also showed anti-anxiety properties and regulated blood sugar.
Olive leaf extract:
Olive leaf (Olea europaea) comes up again and again in scientific and clinical studies as having beneficial effects on hypertension. One of olive leaf’s most beneficial compounds is oleuropein – the same compound that makes olive oil so helpful in reducing blood pressure. Here again, we have to look at the traditional Mediterranean diet, which features voluminous use of olives and olive oil. Not surprisingly, blood pressure is generally much lower in Greek and Italian populations.
But it’s not just the diet – scientific studies showed that oleuropein lowered blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels and prevented buildup of plaque in arteries. Plus, whether in olive leaf extract or in olive oil, oleuropein works as an antioxidant, too.
Dandelion leaf extract:
Dandelion (Taraxacum offinale) leaves provide a healthy supply of vitamins, much like spinach. In fact, although it has become the bane of North American gardeners and lawn owners, dandelion greens are a component of many gourmet salads.
Medicinally, dandelion has been used for centuries, dating back to ancient
They are a very rich source of vitamin A, and contain vitamin D, vitamin C, carious B vitamins, iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc and manganese, too. Dandelion leaves produce a diuretic effect in the body, similar to a prescription drug. Since one of dandelion leaf’s traditional uses was the treatment of water retention, it’s really not too surprising. Dandelion leaf is also rich in potassium – one of the vital minerals many Americans lack in their diet. So, even though it may act as a diuretic, it replaces more potassium than the body expels.
The diuretic effect of dandelion can relieve hypertension by drawing excess water and sodium from the body and releasing it through the kidneys as urine. Getting rid of extra water and sodium allows the blood vessels to relax – lowering blood pressure.
If a nutrient can be called exciting, lycopene is it. Lycopene is found mostly in tomatoes and processed tomato products, like pasta and pizza sauce. Related to beta-carotene lycopene shows great antioxidant abilities among its many talents. In fact, it shows even greater free-radical scavenging properties than beta-carotene, its more famous cousin. Healthy intakes of lycopene can guard against a variety of chronic conditions, including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, lowering homocysteine levels and reducing blood platelet stickiness that can lead to clogged arteries. It’s even being studied for its protective effect against prostate cancer.
And, for proof, you don’t have to look too far to see the amazing effect lycopene intake can have on health. The Mediterranean diet provides an excellent example. Its high intakes of vegetables, (tomatoes, of course, playing a central role) fish, and whole grains improve cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. The research on lycopene as a stand-alone nutrient has been compelling. A randomized clinical trial found that not having enough lycopene was associated with early thickening of the arteries.
So, it makes sense that other clinical trials, showed that higher intakes of lycopene frequently meant less thickening of arteries, and a reduced risk of heart attack. In one study, the risk of heart attack was 60% lower in individuals with the highest levels of lycopene. In a multicenter study, similar results were found – men with the highest levels of lycopene had a 48% lower risk of heart attack.
Q. What can I expect taking this herbal combination?
A. You should notice both systolic and diastolic numbers lowering in about two weeks. The scientific study showed that for pre-hypertensive and stage I, (early hypertensive individuals) this combination for ingredients lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
When you’re taking herbs to support your blood pressure, it’s important to keep it monitored so you have an accurate reading (and record) of your numbers. If you need to, you can pick up a home blood pressure monitoring device. These can retail for anywhere from $30 all the way up to $200, but buying one in the $30 to $50 range is a good idea and money well spent. Consider taking the machine to your local doctor’s office or fire department to have it tested for accuracy against a professional blood pressure monitor. See the chart below for tips on getting an accurate reading from a home monitor.
Tips for Accurate Blood Pressure Monitoring:
-Relax for about 5 to 10 minutes before measurement.
-If you have just come inside from cold outdoors allow yourself to warm up.
-Remove Tight-fitting clothing and jewelry.
-Unless your physician recommends otherwise, use left arm to measure pressure.
-Sit, don’t stand.
-Remain still and do not talk while using the monitor.
Q. Are there any side effects?
A. There were no side effects noted in the study. However, because of the mild diuretic effect of dandelion leaf extract, you may notice an increase in trips to the bathroom. It’s always important to make sure you don’t get dehydrated, so you may want to drink more water during the day.
High blood pressure doesn’t happen overnight. As we get older, the likelihood of developing hypertension increases. And, stressful, fast-forward lifestyles, bad diets and no exercise conspire to raise our blood pressure.
In my own practice I have helped patients move toward a healthier lifestyle, including diet, exercise, and blood-pressure reducing supplements. They live better, more vibrant lives as a result, and their blood pressure normalizes. It really can happen – you can bring your blood pressure back to normal, and this combination of scientifically and clinically validated ingredients can help.
Betaine HCI and Pepsin
January 28, 2007 08:41 PM
Betaine HCI and Pepsin
Betaine HCl is a form of HCl used as a nutrient to supplement the stomach’s own production of HCl, or stomach acid. While occasional indigestion may be a result of acid irritating tissue in the structure above the stomach known as the esophagus, a line of research suggests that the cause of this irritation may actually be less than optimal stomach acid production. Stomach acid is normally produced by the parietal cells of the stomach and the function of stomach acid is to break down food that enters the stomach into smaller fragments and nutrient components. These components move through the stomach into the small intestine where they are further broken down by digestive enzymes in the upper part of the small intestine. The individual nutrients that result from the digestion of proteins, fats and carbohydrates can then be absorbed and assimilated by the body and used for metabolism and growth. However, optimal stomach acid production is certainly a major step for the efficiency of the digestive process. Less than ideal stomach acid production prevents foods from being broken down properly and places an added burden on the remainder of the digestive process, including enzyme production from the pancreas.
As mentioned earlier, the presence of optimal stomach acid is necessary for the digestion and absorption of critical nutrients. Amino acids and other peptides from proteins, minerals, vitamin B12 and folic acid are examples of nutrients that require proper levels of stomach acid for their absorption and usage. The presence of adequate acid in the stomach is also required for the conversion of the digestive enzyme pepsin. Pepsin is produced in the stomach from its precursor pepsinogen, which is secreted by cells known as chief cells, and functions to help with the digestion of proteins. Pepsin breaks proteins down into their amino acid components. Since stomach acid is essential to the process of absorbing our nutrients from food, lack of sufficient acid production may lead to decreased health and general well-being.
Ideal stomach acid production is also essential for maintaining a healthy bacterial balance in the intestines. Firstly, acid production in the stomach itself provides a protective barrier that keeps the stomach environment safe. Secondarily, low levels of stomach acid can lead to improperly, incompletely, or poorly-digested food fragments that may cause an imbalance in the growth of normal bacterial flora in the intestines. Achieving the correct balance of flora is a key to maintaining proper digestive function and overall health.
Research also suggests that the body’s capacity to produce stomach acid normally declines as we age. Moreover, stress and other factors may impact proper stomach acid production. Occasional heartburn, bloating, belching, discomfort, and a "sour stomach" may often result from this. Food that we eat enters the stomach through the esophagus, or food pipe. At the junction of the esophagus with the stomach is a muscular structure known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). When food enters the stomach for digestion, the LES normally contracts, narrowing the passageway between the esophagus and the stomach and preventing the backflow of stomach contents into the esophagus. A major trigger for the process of Tightening the sphincter is the presence of sufficient stomach acid.
When sufficient stomach acid is sensed, the LES will close. However, in conditions where there is a lack of stomach acid, the sphincter remains open, allowing stomach contents, including acid, to flow back through the opening, potentially creating a sense of irritation and discomfort. Adequate stomach acid production is an essential criterion for the sphincter to function properly and prevent the backflow of stomach contents.1
A recent study assessed the incidence and causes of low vitamin B12 levels in elderly patients. The researchers suggest that the incidence of decreased vitamin B12 in the elderly, based on results of some epidemiological studies, is as high as 30-40%. When they looked at the possible causes of low B12 levels in 200 individuals that they followed, they found that food-B12 malabsorption accounted for 60-70% of the cases.2 In other words dietary B12 is bound to foods, generally animal proteins. The protein is normally broken down in conjunction with acid and pepsin in the stomach. However, low production of stomach acid may decrease the efficiency of this process and vitamin B12 remains bound to the protein source, leaving it unavailable to be absorbed. The absorption of countless other nutrients may also be impacted by low stomach acid and pepsin levels.
Gentian is an herb that is native to parts of Europe and Asia. The root has been used extensively by traditional herbalists to support digestive function due in large part to its bitter constituents. Its present day use as a therapeutic herb dates back to the Romans and Greeks, and related species have even been used in the Indian Ayurvedic system. Various traditional texts classify gentian as a bitter tonic and digestive stimulant, due to its ability to promote the secretion of digestive enzymes. The German Commission E has approved the use of gentian for digestive support, which leads to an increased secretion of saliva and digestive juices.3
Supplementation with the combination of nutrients and cofactors present in Betaine HCl Pepsin & Gentian supports the normal digestive function of the stomach and helps to ensure that the body maintains the efficiency of nutrient absorption from the foods that we eat. Gentian serves to stimulate digestive secretions in the stomach, priming it to digest the food that we eat, while supplemental Betaine HCl and pepsin provide support to the body’s innate production of these digestive factors.
Take 1 capsule with each meal, or as recommended by a healthcare professional.
1. Wright, Jonathan V., MD and Lane Lenard, PhD. Why Stomach Acid is Good For You. New York: Evans, 2001. 2. Andres E, et al. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) deficiency in elderly patients. CMAJ 2004; 171(3): 251-259. 3. Blumenthal M, Goldberg A and J Brinckmann, eds. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 2000.
October 17, 2006 01:50 PM
Carbohydrate loading is an ergogenic technique devised for endurance athletes to trick the muscles into storing more fuel than it normally would. Although carbohydrate loading has been hailed as an innovative training technique in the past few years, the discovery of carbohydrates as the preferred fuel of the body dates back several decades. In 1939 two scientists named Christiansen and Hensen demonstrated that the body burns carbohydrates before drawing upon its fat and protein. The research found that the body readily uses carbohydrates as fuel for the muscular and nervous system with minimal wastage and toxic by products – unlike the case with protein and fats.
The body stores carbohydrates in the form of glycogen in the muscles and liver. This glycogen helps the liver to detoxify otherwise dangerous substances. It also supplies a readily available source of glucose to maintain the essential blood sugar level. Glycogen stored in a muscle is available for energy use for only that particular muscle, unlike glycogen stored in the liver, which is available systemically. At rest, and during low-intensity exercise, the body burns about an equal mixture of fat and carbohydrate for energy purposes. However, as work intensity increases, carbohydrates become the dominant fuel because of its quick availability. Laboratory research has shown that an exercise intensity of less than 40-50 percent VO2 max, the body burns mostly fat, and the degradation of stored glycogen is minimal.
The situation changes during high intensity exercise, when carbohydrates become the sole source of energy. The activity itself is limited by the availably of glycogen as an energy source.
Muscle glycogen is five times more available as an energy source for intensity exercise as compared to liver glycogen. When the muscle glycogen becomes depleted, the muscle its self begins to fail, and fatigue rapidly sets in marathon running, this dreaded phenomenon is known as “hitting the wall”.
Since it is obvious that the availability of glycogen is a limiting factor in endurance athletic events, exercise physiologists devised ways to increase glycogen storage in the body. In 1967 two Swedish exercise physiologists came up with carbohydrate loading, also called glycogen loading, as a method of supper-compensation of glycogen through diet and exercise.
Hydrate loading usually is approached by any of the following means:
According to researchers David Costill, Ph.D., carbohydrate consumption in excess of 600 grams daily won’t result in proportionally larger amounts of synthesized glycogen. In the first 24 hours of carbo-loading, the type of carbs eaten is not of critical importances. However, after the second day, Costill suggests eating complex rather refined or simple sugars.
Complex carbs are those which contain lots of intact fiber, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. An exception to this rule is pasta, which is a refined sugar but is good to ingest during carbo-loading. Complex carbs tend to maintain a steady output of the hormones insulin, which activates the enzymes glycogen synthetase, essential for effective glycogen storage.
Most experts today advocate a gradually tapering exercise program while increasing carbo consumption to about 525 grams daily. This avoids the problems associated with the low-carb period, such as fatigue, weakness, potassium loss and muscle tissue loss.
One day prior to competition, the athlete rests completely and consumes about 550 grams of carbohydrates.
The carbohydrate loading program should be limited to three times a year. More often than seems to decrease its effectiveness. Costill suggests that athletes engaged in intense exercise on a daily basis consume about 70 percent of their daily calories in carbohydrates. This will maintain adequate glycogen levels in both the liver and muscles, according to Costill.
Carbohydrate loading is of no real benefit in athletic events lasting less than 60 min, because lesser activity time does not deplete glycogen levels enough to inhibit work capacity of endurance.
Carbohydrate loading isn’t for everyone. Each gram of cellular glycogen is stored with 2.7 gram of water. This rapid water storage makes some people feel stiff and Tight, resulting in decreased performance. The only way to determine if the carbohydrate loading works for you is to try it – carefully!
Scratching the Surface
September 19, 2006 09:12 AM
Persistent yeast infections may indicate a body out of balance.
Say the words “yeast infection” to the average woman and she’ll probably start to squirm. The burning, the itching we’ve all been there. Yeast’s miseries drive millions of desperate woman to seek relief each year.
Yeast infections (also known as yeast vaginitis) start when candida albicans, a naturally occurring fungus, starts growing excessively, producing itchy discomfort and a whitish discharge. Most every woman will endure a vaginal infection at least once during her lifetime, and many of these episodes will be caused by candida. (Bacteria or Trichomonas vaginalis may also be to blame; to be sure have the necessary testing done.)
When yeast strikes repeatedly you should look for an underlying cause. One of the biggest is the extended use of certain prescription drugs, particularly antibiotics, birth control pills or steroids. Another is the presence of undiagnosed diabetes. If you’ve been on meds, or have other diabetes symptoms such as excessive thirst or fatigue, see your practitioner.
A number of alternative health authorities—though by no means all-see recurring yeast vaginitis as part of a systemic candida infection, also called candidiasis. They believe it occurs when intestinal yeast over-growth causes the bowel wall to “leak” partially digested food and toxins into the blood, causing such symptoms as depression, digestive woes, fatigue, irritability and rashes even weight gain. The solution lies in a diet that Tightly restricts sugar and other carbohydrates. To learn more www.yeastconnection.com.
Ditching the itch
In addition to addressing the underlying causes of persistent yeast infection you should also tame the beast where it lives. Fortunately, there are safe, natural therapies that can make life a lot more comfortable. Tea tree oil, a natural antiseptic available in both liquid and suppository form, may help, and aloe Vera gel can provide welcome itch relief. To bolster the effects of these topical treatments, some herbalists suggest taking cinnamon or the rainforest herb pau d’arco in supplemental form. Garlic, known for its antifungal properties, is another time-tested option.
After disposing of the harmful critters, replace them with helpful organisms. Organic plain yogurt, both eaten and applied directly, is a good source of these beneficial bacteria, especially when you add acidophilus or other probiotic supplements. Cutting down on your sugar consumption is always a good idea no matter what, as is upping your fiber intake (Oat bran is a good source).
To help keep things cool and airy, a little wardrobe management may be in order. Avoid Tight, synthetic fabrics (sorry, but those cute spandex pants have just got to go) in favor of looser garments made with natural fibers, especially white cotton underwear. If swimming’s your thing, don’t spend to much time sitting around in a damp suit—change into something dry as soon as possible.
If you have got an itch that won’t go away, don’t just scratch. Learning what’s really going on is the better way to experience sustained relief. –Lisa James.
Interview on symptoms of Fibromyalgia and one mans story
August 09, 2006 03:25 PM
Interview with Todd Williams from Source Naturals
Todd: Michael, many of us know someone with fibromyalgia, but many of us don’t know what FM is. Can you help explain the disease?
Michael: Yes. Fibromyalgia (pronounced Fie-bro-my-AL-ja) is a complex chronic pain illness that challenges patients and health care professionals alike. It is estimated that fibromyalgia affects 8 – 10 million women, men, and children in the U.S. alone. Symptoms include: extreme fatigue, sleep abnormalities, cognitive problems, difficulty speaking clearly, memory loss, brain fog, and so on. There’s also irritable bowel syndrome, restless legs, migraine headaches, neurological symptoms, anxiety and environmental sensitivities. Ninety percent of those afflicted with fibromyalgia are women. Ten percent are men. What activates fibromyalgia within a person can be anything from a thyroid condition to an auto accident, or some type of trauma or emotional stress. There is often a compromised immune system, hormonal imbalance, and even a possible enzyme deficiency. Because the stomach and intestines are made up of muscles, fibromyalgia affects the entire digestive tract. The members in my fibromyalgia support group in Santa Monica all have stomach problems. One of the doctors believes that the fibromyalgia I have to battle with daily is a result of a thyroid problem. Thyroid problems run in my family and, not surprisingly, my brother, who lives on the other side of the country has fibromyalgia as well. We correspond and share with each other what does and doesn’t work. My ten-year career as a schoolteacher came to an end due to having fibromyalgia. I lost the energy I needed to work non-stop ten-hour days. I was forced by necessity to go into early retirement. As a result, I had to find a new manageable way to live. So I then went to Los Angeles to pursue a part time acting career. Now, regardless of whether a task is big or small, I just try to do my best, one day at a time.
Todd: Michael, how did you experience the onset of Fibromyalgia?
Michael: although I’ve really had fibromyalgia for fifteen years, I wasn’t actually diagnosed by my doctor until 1996. I was very energetic and athletic while growing up. During my twenties, I first went to University of Arizona in Tucson, and then to Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and later to Point Loma University in San Diego, where I received a Master’s Degree in education. I followed that by moving to Florida to teach and to spend some time with my family. During summer breaks from teaching, I would go down to Florida Keys and visit Miami for fun. I had plenty of energy up until I was 28-30 years old, when I noticed a drastic drop in my energy level. At that time, when I would exercise, it was very difficult for my muscles to recover after a workout, even if it was a light workout. By the time I was thirty, the muscles in my feet became unbearably Tight. It became very difficult to stand or even walk very far. I had my feet X-rayed, and the reports would say that nothing was wrong. When I was thiry-five, I took some antibiotics to get rid of a cold and I ended up with severe reaction to the antibiotic, erythromycin. My stomach swelled up like a balloon and felt unbearably Tight. This was my first experience with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). I could no longer digest my food. I developed severe food and chemical sensitivities. I could no longer digest vitamin B properly. I would be in excruciating pain for several hours after eating almost anything. I had to leave my teaching position and I ended up being mostly bedridden for two years due to exhaustion and the inability to digest food. During this time I went to twenty doctors. I had colonoscopys, endoscopies, barium x-rays and thyroid tests, but the results were always indicating a normal range. I knew that I was horribly sick but the doctors and the tests repeatedly said that nothing was wrong with me. nevertheless, the doctors did provide more prescription medicines, especially antibiotics. It’s strange that not one of these doctors mentioned or prescribed probiotics in any form for rebuilding the flora in my intestines that was destroyed by the long antibiotic regimen. Eventually I would end up spending a large sum of money and going to 40 more doctors, with each helping just a little. It was a relief when I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia, because it helped me narrow in on what was really going on. Which everything falling apart, it was a relief to know it wasn’t a rare foot disease, or a stomach parasite, or AIDS. I wanted to encourage men and women who are finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia to not see it as a death notice, but rather a step in recovery. In 2002, I tried something new. I went online and submitted my medical history to Dr. Teitelbaum’s Diagnosis Program, which you can find at www.vitality101.com. His incredible program spat out about 200 pages of very insightful information on what my body was deficient in. I began taking some of his recommended supplements and began to see some definite results. In spite of my poor track record with medical tests, he also recommended thyroid testing for fibromyalgia suffers, even though it is well known that thyroid tests are frequently wrong. Dr. Teitelbaum believes that many people who have fibromyalgia were actually having a thyroid problem, even though their thyroid tests come out in the normal range. I’ve had numerous thyroid tests over the years, and they’ve all been normal. I trekked back to my doctor and pleaded with him, even mentioning that there was a history of thyroid problems in my family. At first, he refused, simply because the tests said normal. I think doctors, fearing litigation, are reluctant to try a treatment path unsupported by test results. When you think about it, test ranges are really averages. What happens if your physiology falls outside the normal average? The tragic answer is: you can fall through the cracks! Finally, after much debate and arguing, I was able to get my doctor to provide a prescription for a small dosage of thyroid medicine. I began taking it immediately after two days I began to notice that the Tight muscles in my stomach and legs began to loosen up. This seemed miraculous. Unfortunately, I also had some negative side effects from the medicine, so I stopped taking it. Nevertheless, I was amazed at how my body responded to such a small does of thyroid medicine. I think Dr. Teitelbaum is onto something. If you are fortunate enough to have an open minded doctor, perhaps that avenue is worth exploring. In Dr. Teitelbaum’s book, From Fatigue to Fantastic, he also advocates supplements for helping people with Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. I can verify that supplements have absolutely becomes part of my program and helped with restoring my systems to their natural balance. Some supplements that really helped me are: NADH, Glutathione, L-Carnitine, Acetyl L-Carnitine, revitalizing sleep formula, daily infusion powder and calcium D-Glucarate. Please feel free to check out the full list of supplements on my website. If you are fatigued, you should really read Dr. Teitelbaum’s book. To fibromyalgia sufferers, I highly recommend checking this list, visiting these doctors’ web pages, and trying their protocols. Thanks to these doctors and various regimens, including supplements, my health is much, much better. Most people would have never guessed I went through such an ordeal. I still have to pace myself, and not push the limits. Staying healthy and maintaining my energy is a priority, so I’ve learned not to over-extend myself. I’ve learned to say no to some projects and activities and not feel guilty about it.
Todd: Wow! That’s a lot to go through. Facing such huge obstacles, how did you keep your ship facing forward?
Michael: Well, living and healing are spiritual events. I am fortunate to have a degree in theology and I have a strong daily spiritual practice, which has helped me to survive and thrive with complications of fibromyalgia. That’s not to say there haven’t been some very dark days, but faith in God and the support of my spiritual network, including my wonderful family and friends have made all the difference. After arriving at LA, I had moved into a little apartment across the street from Warner brothers. My roommate and I had decided to start a little bible study. We invited our neighbors and we prayed for many things including for my health to improve. One of our requests was for a door to open at Warner Brothers. Within a short time, our Bible Study group grew and our home couldn’t contain all the people. A year later, the doors opened for me at Warner Brothers, and I was working on the West Wing.
Todd: that’s Great! Can we tell the folks about your new show?
Michael: My web page has a new category called, “Nutrition Show”, which will provide all the details.
Todd: Thanks Mike! For more about Mike and fibromyalgia, please visit his website at: www.captainhastings.com
An Interview with Congressman Sam Farr, Representing California’s Central Coast.
May 30, 2006 02:36 PM
Ambassador to Health Profile
An Interview with Congressman Sam Farr, Representing California’s Central Coast.
Congressman Sam Farr, a fifth-generation Californian, represents the state’s beautiful central coast. His district encompasses the length of the big Sur coastline in Monterey County, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the Salinas Valley “Salad bowl,” the redwoods, mountains and beaches of Santa Cruz County, and the majestic rural landscape of San Benito County. The health and wealth of this region has been strengthened by Rep. Farr’s focus on the environment, education and the economy. Rep. Farr was raised in Carmel, California and graduated from Willamette University with a BS in biology. He later attended the Monterey Institute of International Studies and the University of Santa Clara. He is fluent in Spanish. As a tough advocate for the health food industry, he has lobbied for strict federal organic standards.
Todd: Congressman Farr, thank you for taking the time to speak with us! Id also like to thank you for all the great things you’ve done for our community, form funding marine sanctuaries and authoring the Ocean’s Act to expanding Pinnacles national Monument. The League of Conservation Voters and others have recognized you as an “Environmental Hero”. And, you’ve worked hard to support the economic vitality of central coast’s $3 billion agriculture industry which includes a substantial organic segment. Our backyard here is also the home of a robust group of nutritional supplement manufacturers. An estimated 187 million Americans are currently taking dietary supplements as part of their daily healthy diet. In California, we’ve got 792 natural product manufacturers and distributors. Where do you stand on the state of our industry?
Congressman Farr: Well, thank you for the introduction and for asking to talk to me about nutritional supplement issues. I am very supportive of this industry and include myself in the 187 million Americans taking dietary supplements. I think supplements offer many safe and viable tools to maintain your health. The continued growth of this industry is an indication of both consumer confidence in the products and the products’ ability to fill the gaps where conventional medical care falls short.
Todd: It is estimated that by 2030, more than 70 million Americans will be over the age of 65 and the cost of health care could reach $16 Trillion per year. A recent study by the Lewin Group showed that by taking certain dietary supplements, seniors can lead healthier, more productive, independent lives while saving billions in reduced hospitalizations and physician services. Do you share our view that a Wellness Revolution is needed to counter the dilemma of an aging population versus shrinking health care support in the future?
Congressman Farr: Our health care system is definitely facing a challenge, especially as the Baby Boomers hit their 60’s and Americans are living longer than ever before. As a Baby Boomer myself, I am well aware of America’s aging population and the impact that will likely have not only on our social institutions but also our fiscal well-being. I agree that dietary supplements do play and will play an even larger role in the future as more seniors look for a way to augment their diets in order to stay healthy and active longer than past generations.
Todd: Our industry is regulated by DSHEA (the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act), which was passed unanimously by Congress in 1994 to create a reasonable regulatory framework for access to, information about, dietary supplements. But many say that the FDA and DSHEA weren’t adequately funded to do the job as tasked. “Supplements are unregulated” is a false argument we sometimes hear. To ensure that the FDA is able to carry out the law as Congress intended, Representatives Dan Burton (R-Ind.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) introduced H.R. 2485, the DSHEA Full Implementation and Enforcement Act of 2005. Did you support this bill and where does it stand today?
Congressman Farr: I think the DSHEA is a critical law and was proud to support it when Congress considered it in 1993 and 1994. I would certainly support H.R. 2485 if it came up for a vote in Congress. Unfortunately this bill has not moved since it was first introduced and referred to the Subcommittee on health in the house energy and commerce committee. Since this is an election year we have a Tight schedule with only about 60 legislative days scheduled before we adjourn. That means it’s likely Congress will only finalize bills such as the appropriation bills that fund government before adjournment.
Todd: Our business climate has included some valid and rigorous challenges to improve our industry, from good manufacturing practices (GMP), to allergy labeling, to implications of Prop-65 in California. It’s disconcerting that a new bill, H.R. 3156 The Dietary Supplement Access and Awareness Act would try to capitalize on misconceptions about the industry. In an era of declining health care and declining insurance coverage, this bill would regulate supplements as prescription drugs. Among other things, it would also require adverse event reports to be turned over to the FDA, even though other foods, including those with identical ingredients, do not have the same requirements. This has the potential to be the next Prop-65-like Lawsuit mill. The result of H.R. 3156 would be chilling. It will knock smaller producers out of the market. It will result in higher prices for all supplements. It will decrease the availability of health-giving supplements to the public. What’s your feeling on this?
Congressman Farr: I am similarly concerned about H.R. 3156 and would oppose it if it came up for a vote in Congress. Like H.R. 2485, this legislation has been referred to a subcommittee on Health in the House Energy and Commerce Committee without any further action. The supplement industry has worked in good faith with the FDA since passage of DSHEA and H.R. 3156 would re-invent a wheel that isn’t needed. Instead, adequate funding as proposed in H.R. 2485 would provide ample oversight for the industry.
Todd: According to a recent study, 72% of the general population believe the government should fund more research on health benefits of nutritional supplements. Do you agreen and what can be done to meet this need?
Congressman Farr: I definitely agree that the federal government should play a bigger role in support of research regarding the health benefits of nutritional supplements. As a member of the House Appropriation Committee, I sit on the subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the FDA’s budget and I know the Tight fiscal restraints the agency is under. I’ve worked with my colleagues to provide adequate funding, but it’s an uphill battle especially when we’re in a “robbing Peter to pay Paul” kind of situation. I recommend that people within the industry organize and use your consumer base to actively lobby Congress for additional funds. I’m fond of reminding people that the squeaky wheel gets grease – so let every Congress member and Senator know how much this issue matters to you.
Todd: When there is overwhelming scientific evidence that nutritional supplements provides relief for a disease condition, it currently takes a lawsuit to get the FDA to relent and allow the claim. Even then, the FDA strictly limits the claim and requires a disclaimer that does more harm than good in communicating this important information to the public. There is a new bill, H.R. 4282, The Health Freedom Protection Act that would end FDA and FTC censorship of health information. As an example, the 50% of all adult males who suffer from an enlarged prostate could receive relief from that condition by consuming a simple and safe ingredient, saw palmetto derived from the fruit of the dwarf American palm tree. The FDA censors that information. The public deserves a better opportunity to be informed about omega-3 EFA and heart disease, folic acid and birth defects, phosphatidylserine and cognitive impairment. Do you agree and do you support this bill?
Congressman Farr: I agree the public needs to access to the best information possible so they can make well informed choices about their health. I likely would support H.R. 4282 if it came up for a vote in Congress. Unfortunately this bill is in a similar situation as other we’ve mentioned in this interview – and again because of the Tight schedule of an election year, it’s unlikely action will happen this year.
Todd: According to the barometer study, 85% of the US population is currently using some type of dietary supplement. Do you? Looking at your busy schedule from co-chairing the House Oceans Caucus to your seat on the Travel and Tourism Caucus, you are one busy congressman! Are you popping nutritional supplements please tell us!
Congressman Farr: I do take some nutritional supplements, though they vary and since Ginkgo Biloba isn’t among them I cant remember their names off-hand! One product I do use faithfully is Airborne to help me combat germs and colds that I might get from sitting on an airplane. But, like many Americans my life is over-scheduled and combined with the amount of air-travel I do, I find nutritional supplements helpful as I try to stay healthy despite my hectic lifestyle.
Todd: Thank you Congressman Farr! Live long and prosper!
DSEA Release of Health/Cost Impact Study Conducted by the Lewin Group, Initial Results, Wash DC; Nov. 2, 2005
NNFA database. Adam.F on 3-15-06.
DSEA Nutritional Supplement Barometer Study, 2005 Report, Prepared by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI).
Todd Williams; Source Naturals Marketing Programs Manager.
The Refreshing Feeling of All Things New
December 05, 2005 07:07 PM
The Refreshing Feeling of All Things New.
Springtime! We realize it's time to open the windows and let the fresh air in once again after a season of having everything shut up Tight. More time spent indoors through the winter can mean months of recireculated air, less time spent outside, and overindulgence in holiday food. That's a recipe for toxic build-up. As you start to think about spring cleaning you will do inside your house, don't forget about the cleansing that is good for the mind and body. Decker Weiss, NMD To cleanse and detoxify the whole body, rely on Enzymatic Therapy's Whole Body Cleanse†. The National Cancer Institute recommends eating 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day, yet most Americans get only 15 grams. It's clear the right amount and the right type of fiber can make a real difference in cleansing our system and maintaining regularity day by day.† Taking Whole Body Cleanse for thorough periodic detoxification and Fiber Fusion to tone and renew your system on a daily basis is a great way to greet Spring.†
A Time for Rejuvenation.
Every day we are exposed to toxins in our food, water, and the air we breathe. The natural variation in volume and variety of today's environmental contaminants is a challenge for your body's built-in detoxification systems. Toxins Come from Many Sources: Foods that may have been exposed to pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers.
Hormones used in raising livestock.
The burning of fossil fuels in automobiles and utility power plants which can affect air quality.
Treated wastewater that flows into rivers, lakes and streams which can contain unwanted pollutants.
Whole Body Cleanse† and Simple Cleanse † from Enzymatic Therapy handle the environmental toxins you take in from the environment (like pollutants) as well as toxins that you make yourself (like free radicals), without depleting your body's store of beneficial nutrients.† Which on is right for me?
October 06, 2005 10:08 PM
Magnesium is a dietary mineral with a wide array of biological activities in the body. Magnesium participates in numerous life-essential processes that occur both inside and outside cells. Magnesium deficiency impacts normal physiologic function on many levels. Adequate magnesium is a fundamental requirement for optimum function of the cardiovascular system, the nervous system and skeletal muscle, as well as the uterus and GI tract. Magnesium deficiency can affect health of the heart, bones and blood vessels and alter blood sugar balance .
Magnesium–Important for Everyone, Deficient in Many The average person living in a modern country today very likely consumes less than the optimum amount of magnesium . An abundance of data collected over the last two decades shows a consistent pattern of low magnesium intake in the U.S. This pattern cuts a wide swath across various age-sex groups. The USDA’s Nationwide Food Consumption Survey found that a majority of Americans consumed less than the recommended daily magnesium intake . Twelve age-sex groups were studied and this low magnesium intake was true for all groups except 0 to 5 year olds.
An analysis of the nutrient content of the diets of 7,810 individuals age four and above included magnesium among several nutrients where the amounts supplied by the average diet "were not sufficient to meet recommended standards" . The FDA’s Total Diet study examined the intakes of eleven minerals, including magnesium, among eight age-sex groups. Data was collected four times yearly from 1982 to 1984. Levels of magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc and copper were low for most age-sex groups . Surveys conducted in Europe and in other parts of North America paint a similar picture. Loss of magnesium during food processing is one explanation for this global lack of adequate dietary magnesium .
In particular, the elderly may be susceptible to magnesium deficiency for a variety of reasons, including inadequate magnesium intake, poor absorption due to impaired gastrointestinal function and use of drugs such as diuretics that deplete magnesium from the body . It has recently been theorized that magnesium deficiency may contribute to accelerated aging, through effects on the cardiovascular and nervous systems, as well as muscles and the kidneys .
Women who take both synthetic estrogen and calcium supplements may be at risk for low blood levels of magnesium . Estrogen promotes the transfer of magnesium from blood to soft–tissues. Low blood magnesium may result if the ratio of calcium to magnesium intake exceeds 4 to 1. Magnesium supplementation is thus advisable for women taking estrogen and calcium.
Young adults are not immune to magnesium deficiency. The University of California’s Bogalusa Heart Study collected nutritional data from a cross-sectional sample of 504 young adults between age 19 and 28 . The reported intake of magnesium, along with several other minerals and vitamins, was below the RDA.
Glycine is a highly effective mineral chelator. This is because it is a low-molecular-weight amino acid, hence is easily transported across the intestinal membrane. A study conducted at Weber State University found this particular magnesium glycinate was absorbed up to four times more effectively than typical magnesium supplements.
Magnesium-the Versatile Mineral
The average adult body contains anywhere from about 21 to 28 grams of magnesium. Approximately 60 percent of the body’s magnesium supply is stored in bone. Soft tissue, such as skeletal muscle, contains 38%, leaving only about 1 to 2% of the total body magnesium content in blood plasma and red blood cells. Magnesium in the body may be bound either to proteins or "anions" (negatively charged substances.) About 55% of the body’s magnesium content is in the "ionic" form, which means it carries an electrical charge. Magnesium ions are "cations," ions that carry a positive charge. In its charged state, magnesium functions as one of the mineral "electrolytes."
Magnesium works as a "co-factor" for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. Metabolism uses a phosphate containing molecule called "ATP" as its energy source. Magnesium is required for all reactions involving ATP . ATP supplies the energy for physical activity, by releasing energy stored in "phosphate bonds".
Skeletal and heart muscle use up large amounts of ATP. The energy for muscle contraction is released when one of ATP’s phosphate bonds is broken, in a reaction that produces ADP. Phosphate is added back to ADP, re-forming ATP. ATP also powers the cellular "calcium pump" which allows muscle cells to relax. Because it participates in these ATP-controlled processes, magnesium is vitally important for muscle contraction and relaxation. By controlling the flow of sodium, potassium and calcium in and out of cells, magnesium regulates the function of nerves as well as muscles .
Magnesium’s importance for heart health is widely recognized. The heart is the only muscle in the body that generates its own electrical impulses. Through its influence on the heart’s electrical conduction system, magnesium is essential for maintenance of a smooth, regular heartbeat . Magnesium appears to help the heart resist the effects of systemic stress. Magnesium deficiency aggravates cardiac damage due to acute systemic stress (such as caused by infection or trauma), while magnesium supplementation protects the heart against stress . This has been found true even in the absence of an actual magnesium deficit in the body.
Evidence suggests that magnesium may help support mineral bone density in elderly women. In a two-year open, controlled trial, 22 out of a group of 31 postmenopausal women who took daily magnesium supplements showed gains in bone density. A control group of 23 women who declined taking the supplements had decreases in bone density . The dietary intakes of magnesium, potassium, fruit and vegetables are associated with increased bone density in elderly women and men . In an interesting animal study, rats were fed diets with either high or low levels of magnesium. Compared to the high magnesium-fed rats, bone strength and magnesium content of bone decreased in the low-magnesium rats, even though these rats showed no visible signs of magnesium deficiency . While this finding may or may not apply to humans, it raises the possibility that diets supplying low magnesium intakes may contribute to weakening of bone in the elderly.
Maximizing Absorption––Chelated Minerals Explained Mineral absorption occurs mainly in the small intestine. Like any mineral, magnesium may be absorbed as an "ion," a mineral in its elemental state that carries an electric charge. Mineral ions cross the intestinal membrane either through "active transport" by a protein carrier imbedded in the cells lining the membrane inner wall, or by simple diffusion. The magnesium in mineral salts is absorbed in ionic form. However, absorption of ionic minerals can be compromised by any number of factors, including: 1) Low solubility of the starting salt, which inhibits release of the mineral ion, and 2) Binding of the released ion to naturally occurring dietary factors such as phytates, fats and other minerals that form indigestible mineral complexes .
A second absorption mechanism has been discovered for minerals. Experiments have shown that minerals chemically bonded to amino acids (building blocks of protein) are absorbed differently from mineral ions. This has given rise to the introduction of "chelated" minerals as dietary supplements. Mineral amino acid chelates consist of a single atom of elemental mineral that is surrounded by two or more amino acid molecules in a stable, ring-like structure.
Unlike mineral salts, which must be digested by stomach acid before the desired mineral portion can be released and absorbed, mineral chelates are not broken down in the stomach or intestines. Instead, chelates cross the intestinal wall intact, carrying the mineral Tightly bound and hidden within the amino acid ring. The mineral is then released into the bloodstream for use by the body. Research by pioneers in the field of mineral chelation and human nutrition indicates that the best-absorbed chelates consist of one mineral atom chelated with two amino acids. This form of chelate is called a "di-peptide." Compared to other chelates, di-peptides have the ideal chemical attributes for optimum absorption . Dipeptide chelates demonstrate superior absorption compared to mineral salts. For example, a magnesium di-peptide chelate was shown to be four times better absorbed than magnesium oxide .
Consumer Alert! Not all "amino acid chelates" are true chelates. In order for a mineral supplement to qualify as a genuine chelate, it must be carefully processed to ensure the mineral is chemically bonded to the amino acids in a stable molecule with the right characteristics. The magnesium bis-glycinate/lysinate in High Absorption Magnesium is a genuine di-peptide chelate ("bis" means "two"). It has a molecular weight of 324 daltons, considerably lower than the upper limit of 800 daltons stated in the definition of "mineral amino acid chelates" adopted by the National Nutritional Foods Association in 1996 .
Bioperine® For Enhanced Absorption Bioperine® is a natural extract derived from black pepper that increases nutrient absorption.* Preliminary trials on humans have shown significant increases in the absorption of nutrients consumed along with Bioperine® .
Scientific References 1. Abbott, L.R., R., Clinical manifestations of magnesium deficiency. Miner electrolyte Metab, 1993. 19: p. 314-22. 2. Durlach, J., Recommended dietary amounts of magnesium: Mg RDA. Magnesium Research, 1989. 2(3): p. 195-202. 3. Morgan, K.e.a., Magnesium and calcium dietary intakes of the U.S. population. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 1985. 4: p. 195-206. 4. Windham, C., Wyse, B., Hurst, R. Hansen, R., Consistency of nutrient consumption patterns in the United States. J AM Diet Assoc, 1981. 78(6): p. 587-95. 5. Pennington, J., Mineral content of foods and total diets: the Selected Minerals in Food Survey, 1982 to 1984. J AM Diet Assoc, 1986. 86(7): p. 876-91. 6. Marier, J., Magnesium Content of the Food Supply in the Modern- Day World. Magnesium, 1986. 5: p. 1-8. 7. Costello, R., Moser-Veillon, P., A review of magnesium intake in the elderly. A cause for concern? Magnesium Research, 1992. 5(1): p. 61-67. 8. Durlach, J., et al., Magnesium status and aging: An update. Magnesium Research, 1997. 11(1): p. 25-42. 9. Seelig, M., Increased need for magnesium with the use of combined oestrogen and calcium for osteoporosis treatment. Magnesium Research, 1990. 3(3): p. 197-215. 10. Zive, M., et al., Marginal vitamin and mineral intakes of young adults: the Bogalusa Heart Study. J Adolesc, 1996. 19(1): p. 39-47. 11. McLean, R., Magnesium and its therapeutic uses: A review. American Journal of Medicine, 1994. 96: p. 63-76. 12. Graber, T., Role of magnesium in health and disease. Comprehensive Therapy, 1987. 13(1): p. 29-35. 13. Sueta, C., Patterson, J., Adams, K., Antiarrhythmic action of pharmacological administration of magnesium in heart failure: A critical review of new data. Magnesium Research, 1995. 8(4): p. 389- 401. 14. Classen, H.-G., Systemic stress, magnesium status and cardiovascular damage. Magnesium, 1986. 5: p. 105-110. 15. Stendig-Lindberg, G., Tepper, R., Leichter, I., Trabecular bone density in a two year controlled trial of peroral magnesium in osteoporosis. Magnesium Research, 1993. 6(2): p. 155-63. 16. Tucker, K., et al., Potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetable intakes are associated with greater bone mineral density in elderly men and women. Am J Clin Nutr, 1999. 69(4): p. 727-736. 17. Heroux, O., Peter, D., Tanner, A., Effect of a chronic suboptimal intake of magnesium on magnesium and calcium content of bone and bone strength of the rat. Can J. Physiol. Pharmacol., 1975. 53: p. 304-310. 18. Pineda, O., Ashmead, H.D., Effectiveness of treatment of irondeficiency anemia in infants and young children with ferrous bisglycinate chelate. Nutrition, 2001. 17: p. 381-84. 19. Adibi, A., Intestinal transport of dipetides in man: Relative importance of hydrolysis and intact absorption. J Clin Invest, 1971. 50: p. 2266-75. 20. Ashmead, H.D., Graff, D., Ashmead, H., Intestinal Absorption of Metal Ions and Chelates. 1985, Springfield, Illinois: Charles C. Thomas. 21. NNFA definition of mineral amino acid chlelates, in NNFA Today. 1996. p. 15. 22. Bioperine-Nature's Bioavailability Enhancing Thermonutrient. 1996, Sabinsa Corporation: Piscataway, N.J.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Doctor's Best•1120 Calle Cordillera•Suite 101, San Clemente, CA 92673
White Flower Analgesic Balm
September 01, 2005 12:37 PM
White Flower Analgesic Balm
Maintaining Healthy Veins
July 25, 2005 09:36 PM
More than 40 million Americans have varicose veins, a term in Latin meaning “twisted and wollen blood vessel.” Although the condition is rarely disabling, it is disfiguring, causing discomfort and embarrassment to those afflicted.
many cases, genetic predisposition and gender determine who will develop varicose veins. A full 75% of Americans with the condition ar e women. At risk some women who may experience the beginning of this condition during pregnancy as the enlarging womb presses on the veins in the abdomen, increasing the pressure in the veins of the legs.
Age is another factor as the skin becomes less elastic, lessening vein support. Some individuals are genetically edisposed to a malfunction of the one-way valves that may cause a back low of blood to pool in super ficial veins, stretching and swelling them.
some health care professionals believe that our Western diet, high in refined carbohydrates and fat and low in fiber, may cause straining during bowel movement leading to hemorrhoids (anal varicose veins) and increase pressure on the leg veins. Our Western diet also eads to obesity and cardiovascular conditions such as plaque deposits in the arteries, abnormal clotting and platelet aggregation, cardiac dysfunction or failure, all leading to a weakened venous system that could increase the chance of developing varicose veins and edema (swelling in the legs). Those who ar e predisposed to varicose veins and who stand for long periods of time, especially on hard floors, may develop them more quickly.
If you are at risk of developing this condition as you age, emphasizing a diet high in fiber, legumes and grains, fresh fruits and vegetables will improve your chances of maintaining good vein health. Other nutritional supplements that may be beneficial are horse chestnut seeds, Centella Asiatica, Milk Thistle, Butcher’s Broom and bioflavonoids.
Horse chestnut seeds have a long historical use in the treatment of varicose veins and hemorrhoids. One active ingredient that has been researched is a saponin mixture called Aescin. In a recent study, Aescin was as effective as compression stockings in reducing leg swelling in patients with chronic venous insufficiency.
Centella Asiatica is a common edible herb also known as Gotu Kola in India. When grown in Madagascar, it has a higher content of a compound called triterpenic fraction (TTFCA) than the same herb has when grown in other parts of the world. This compound has been used for many years in the treatment of venous hypertension. In a study conducted in 1989, 120mg dosage was safely used in patients with poor venous blood flow and it improved the condition after one or two months.
Often, inflammation is a component of varicose veins. Milk Thistle, another herb commonly used for the treatment of liver disorders, was also found to reduce inflammation and edema in a recent Spanish study.
A bushy ever green perennial found throughout much of the Western world is Butcher’s Broom. Its saponin glycosides ar e anti-inflammatory and helped contract blood vessels, especially veins thus making it an important component of any natural for mulation used to improve venous conditions.
Certain bioflavonoids, such as quer cetin and rutin, have also been shown to be useful in the natural tr eatment of varicose veins as a strengthener of capillary and vein walls.
There are other nutritional supplements including vitamins and minerals that may help maintain vein health as we age. They are listed in my new book “A Doctor’s Guide to Natural Medicine.” To improve vein health and to decrease your chance of developing varicose veins: do not stand for long periods of time especially on hard sur faces such as concrete. If you can’t avoid this, make sure your shoes are well cushioned. If you are sitting for long periods of time either working or traveling, take walking breaks. Stop crossing your legs and exercise regularly to incorporates rhythmical contraction of the leg muscles. Rest with your legs elevated when taking a break. W earing good support hose and avoiding Tight knee-highs will promote good blood flow.
These things can be very important if you ar e genetically pr edisposed to varicose veins. Starting nutrients early may help diminish or delay venous problems.
Micromedex, Inc. Volume 96, 1974-1998. Diehmetal. Microcirculation Laboratory, Cardiovascular Clinic, Chieti, Italy.
Efficacy of Centellase in the Treatment of Venous Hypertension Evaluated by a Combined Micro circulatory Model. G. Belcaroetal. Current Therapeutic Research, Vol. 46, No. 6, Dec. 1989.
Effect of Silymarin on Different Acute Inflammation Models and on Leukocyte Migration. R. de la Puertaetal, J. Pharm. Parmacol. 1996, 48: 968-970 Merck Sciential Review, no. 10, 1995-04-30, pp. 2
STEVIA: THE IDEAL SWEETENER?
July 15, 2005 12:51 PM
STEVIA: THE IDEAL SWEETENER?
For anyone who suffers from diabetes, hypoglycemia, high blood pressure, obesity or chronic yeast infections, stevia is the ideal sweetener. It has all the benefits of artificial sweeteners and none of the drawbacks. Stevia can be added to a variety of foods to make them sweet without adding calories or impacting the pancreas or adrenal glands. It can help to satisfy carbohydrate cravings without interfering with blood sugar levels or adding extra pounds.
Using stevia to create treats for children is also another excellent way to avoid weight gain, tooth decay and possible hyperactivity. While it may take some getting used to initially, stevia products are becoming easier to measure and better tasting.
Stevia’s Unique Taste Sensation
When the whole leaf extract or powdered forms of stevia make contact with the tongue, the resulting taste can be described as a sweet flavor, with a slight licorice-like and transient bitter flavor. If stevia is used correctly with hot water or some other liquid, both those flavors will disappear. At this writing, researchers are working on a new extraction process that will preserve stevia’s sweetening potency while minimizing any aftertaste associated with the herb.
Additional Therapeutic Benefits
Consider the following quote: Stevia . . . is not only non-toxic, but has several traditional medicinal uses. The Indian tribes of South America have used it as a digestive aid, and have also applied it topically for years to heal wounds. Recent clinical studies have shown it can increase glucose tolerance and decrease blood sugar levels. Of the two sweeteners (aspartame and stevia), stevia wins hands down for safety. (Whitaker) Stevia has a long history of medicinal use in Paraguay and Brazil and while many of the therapeutic applications of stevia are anecdotal, they must be considered in that they have spanned generations. Experts who work with indigenous cultures frequently find that traditional applications of folk medicine can be verified with scientific data.
Stevia and Blood Sugar Levels
Clinical tests combined with consumer results indicate that stevia can actually help to normalize blood sugar. For this reason, the herb and its extracts are recommended in some countries as an actual medicine for people suffering from diabetes or hypoglycemia. Recent studies have indicated that stevia can increase glucose tolerance while decreasing blood sugar levels. Paraguayan natives have traditionally used stevia tea to regulate blood sugar. Stevia decoctions for diabetes are common and are usually prepared by boiling or steeping the leaves in water (Bonvie, 53). While scientific studies are certainly warranted, it is thought that disturbed blood sugar levels respond to stevia therapy while normal levels remain unaffected.
Stevia and Weight Loss
Stevia is an ideal dietary supplement for anyone who wants to lose or maintain their weight. Because it contains no calories, it can satisfy cravings for sweets without adding extra pounds. It is also thought that using stevia may decrease the desire to eat fatty foods as well. Appetite control is another factor affected by stevia supplementation. Some people have found that their hunger decreases if they take stevia drops 15 to 20 minutes before a meal. While scientific studies are lacking in this area, it is presumed that the glycosides in stevia help to reset the appestat mechanism found in the brain, thereby promoting a feeling of satiety or satisfaction. Much of our nation’s obesity epidemic is due to the over consumption of sugar-containing foods. Unfortunately, most sugary snacks are also loaded with fat, compounding the problem. When a sugar craving hits, anything will usually do. Doughnuts, candy bars, pies, pastries and cookies are considered high calorie, fattening foods. Using stevia to sweeten snacks and beverages can result making weight loss and management much easier.
High Blood Pressure
It is thought that taking stevia can result in lowering elevated blood pressure levels while not affecting normal levels. This particular application has not been researched, but its potential as a treatment for hypertension must be considered when assessing the value of herbal medicines for disease.
Stevia is thought to be able to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria and other infectious organisms. Some people even claim that using stevia helps to prevent the onset of colds and flu. Tests have supported the antimicrobial properties of stevia against streptococcus mutans (Bonvie, 54). The fact that stevia has the ability to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria helps to explain its traditional use in treating wounds, sores and gum disease. It may also explain while the herb is advocated for anyone who is susceptible to yeast infections or reoccurring strep infections, two conditions that seem to be aggravated by white sugar consumption.
Stevia can be used as an oral tonic to prevent tooth decay and gingivitis. Stevia extracts are sometimes added to toothpaste or mouthwashes to initiate this effect. Stevia is used in some Brazilian dental products with the assumption that the herb can actually help to prevent tooth decay and retard plaque deposits (Bonvie, 53). Stevia offers the perfect sweetener for oral products like toothpastes and mouthwash, enabling them to be more palatable without any of the drawbacks of other sweeteners.
Brazilians have used stevia to boost and facilitate better digestion (Bonvie, 53). Again, while this therapeutic application remains unresearched, the fact that stevia has a long history of use as a gastrointestinal tonic must be acknowledged. Plant glycosides can exert numerous therapeutic actions in the human body.
Stevia and Skin Care
Whole leaf stevia or its by-products have been used to soften and tone the skin and to ease wrinkles and lines. Facial masks can be made by adding liquid to the powder, and liquid elixirs can be used as facial toners to help Tighten the skin. Stevia concentrate in the form of drops has also been used directly on sores or blemishes to promote healing. For this reason, some advocates of stevia use it on other skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, or minor cuts or wounds. Stevia tea bags can be placed over the eyes to ease fatigue and to tone the skin. Stevia skin care products are available in clay bases, masks, and water-based creams. Liquid extracts can be directly applied to the skin.
Progesterone Cream - Supports Hormonal Balance
June 28, 2005 09:40 AM
Recent medical reports have profoundly shaken popular beliefs about the safety of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for women in menopause. You may be one of the six million women who are searching for alternatives. Source Naturals PROGESTERONE CREAM and PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM can help address normal menopausal discomforts, when used as part of a care for their own health needs. Source Naturals is committed to joining with your health food retailer to help insure that right.
Menopause and Hormonal Balance
Public confidence in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) suffered a major blow when the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health halted a large clinical trial out of concern for the safety of participants. Women are looking for natural alternatives to risky HRT.
Source Naturals Progesterone CREAM and PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM address the hormonal fluctuations that bring on the first disturbing hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings. Used together or separately, these creams address declining levels of progesterone and estrogen.
Progesterone Cream from Woman-Friendly Soy
Progesterone is a steroid hormone made by the corpus luteum of the ovary at ovulation, and in smaller amounts by the adrenal glands. It is a precursor to most other steroid hormones, including cortisol, androstenedione, estrogen and testosterone. Because it is the precursor to so many hormones, progesterone is crucial for overall hormone balance. Yet progesterone levels can drop to near zero during menopause. Source Naturals PROGESTERONE CREAM supplies natural progesterone from soy.
Unlike creams which don’t divulge their progesterone content, Source Naturals PROGESTERONE CREAM is guaranteed to contain 500 mg of progesterone per ounce! This pure white cream softens and smoothes skin. Along with natural progesterone, it contains aloe vera, wild yam extract, natural vitamin E, lecithin phospholipid, jojoba oil, and extracts of ginseng root and grapefruit seed. Natural rosemary oil is added as a fragrance. Available in both tubes and jars for your convenience.
Phyto-Estrogen Cream: Plant Compounds Renowned for Menopause Estrogen levels drop 40-60% at menopause. Phytoestrogens—estrogens from plants—have been shown to bind to the same receptor sites as estrogen, helping maintain normal menstrual cycles and menopausal transitions. When there is too little estrogen (the situation during menopause), phytoestrogens substitute for the lack of human estrogen. Conversely, when estrogen levels are high (as in some women who experience PMS), phytoestrogens compete with human estrogen for binding to receptors and decrease overall estrogenic activity.
Source Naturals PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM is an almond-colored cream that can be massaged into smooth skin areas to add oil-rich, moisture-binding protection. PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM offers some of the finest phytoestrogens in the botanical world, including 60 mg of soy isoflavones per ounce. PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAM also contains pomegranate seed juice (a natural source of estrone), red clover tops extract, black cohosh root extract, and dong quai root extract, along with aloe vera gel, natural vitamin E, cocoa butter, grapefruit seed extract, rosemary oil, and natural cherry almond fragrance.
Warning: Phyto-Estrogen Cream is not for use by women of childbearing age. DO NOT USE if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you may become pregnant.
Source Naturals offers you the first progesterone and phytoestrogen creams to utilize unique liposomal delivery of key ingredients. Liposomes are micro-penetrating lipid spheres made from lecithin, which pass through skin layers more easily than non-liposomal creams—for highest possible penetration of skin cells. Both creams are available in 2 and 4 oz jars. PROGESTERONE CREAM is also available in 2 and 4 oz tubes.
Lifestyle Tips for Menopause: A Strategy for Wellness
Eat Well: In certain cultures, hot flashes are practically unknown. It is generally true that women in these cultures eat foods rich in phytoestrogens. For example, in Southeast Asia, where soy proteins comprise 20% to 60% of daily protein intake, epidemiological studies suggest an association between a positive, trouble-free menopause and soy consumption.
Lignans—phytoestrogens found in flaxseed oil and unprocessed olive oil—may also have a protective effect. You should eat fresh, organic vegetables, fruits, cereals, beans, whole grains and small portions of fish or hormone-free chicken. Increase fluids and eat low-fat dairy foods. Avoid fatty meats, sugar, processed foods, fried foods, and chemicals. Adequate calcium intake— 1,500 mg per day—is crucial.
Use Supplements: Source Naturals HOT FLASH is an excellent complement to PROGESTERONE and PHYTO-ESTROGEN CREAMS. A recent comprehensive scientific review of natural menopause products (Annals of Internal Medicine 11/19/02) singled out soy isoflavones and black cohosh for their benefits in addressing hot flashes. Unlike most products, HOT FLASH contains clinical potencies of both soy isoflavones and standardized black cohosh extract. In addition, HOT FLASH contains additional herbs, renowned for use in menopause: vitex, licorice root and dong quai. To be sure you are covering all your nutritional bases, take a good daily multiple like MENOPAUSE MULTIPLE, especially designed for women 40+ years old.
Maintain a Healthy Weight: Women who are overweight have an increased risk of heart disease, while those who are thin or underweight are more susceptible to osteoporosis and hot flashes.
Rest and Relax: It is important to get adequate sleep, take naps if you feel tired, and avoid stress. Meditation and yoga can be helpful in reaching a state of calm. Take Care of Your Skin: A 1997 study of 3,875 postmenopausal women documented the relationship between low estrogen levels and skin dryness and loss of elasticity. Research has associated wrinkling with consumption of full-fat dairy products, butter, margarine, fatty meats and sugar. Drink lots of water—at least 1.5 liters daily. Water flushes out wastes, and acts as an internal moisturizer, keeping skin hydrated and supple. Spring water is beneficial since it contains trace minerals vital to healthy skin. For radiant skin, you should also try the Source Naturals SKIN ETERNAL™ family of creams and serums. This advanced cosmetic system recharges and revitalizes all skin types. Keep Cool. Avoid triggers such as spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, overheated rooms, hot beverages and stress. Wear layered clothing, and choose natural fabrics, such as cotton or wool.
Stay Active: Exercise benefits the heart and bones, helps regulate weight and contributes to overall well-being. Weight-bearing exercises are especially important for increasing bone mass. Kegel exercises (Tightening and relaxing of the pelvic muscles) can improve bladder control, and may enhance sexual pleasure. Try Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM): Alternative therapies— herbal remedies, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, naturopathic medicine and much more—can help you cope with the physical and emotional changes of menopause.
CLA and Body Fat
June 22, 2005 09:50 PM
CLA and Body Fat
Of all the health concerns facing Americans today, few are as important and daunting as weight loss and body fat. In the 1980s, Americans gained an average of eight pounds each. That’s on the order of 1 million tons of flab—2 billion total American pounds.45 So large is the current girth that as many as two in three Americans could be termed overweight.46 Being overweight and having excess fat increases the risk of heart disease, some forms of cancer and diabetes. That collection of health challenges would be difficult enough, but being overweight has many problems that accompany it, including battles with self-esteem.
Let’s give a historical example of this story. The emotional power of being perceived as too fat is caught with pathos in the life of former U.S. President William Howard Taft. Taft, who is the only man to serve as both president and as chief justice of the Supreme Court, was noted for his honesty and his integrity. The nation mourned his death, but much of his internal story focused on his battle with weight. One editorial cartoonist showed the island of Cuba tipping under his girth. Once, when he visited Japan, an entire village worked together to pull his rickshaw up a hill. When he married, his personal esteem showed when he told his wife that “I shall worry you so much with my appetite that you must gain strength to meet the trial.”
Taft refused to be seen on a horse because of how awkward he looked. At one point, he lost 75 pounds, but, like so many others, ended up gaining that amount back , and more, during the next 10 years. He died of athero s c l e rosis, something associated with being ove rwe i g h t .4 7 The tragedy of Taft is that, like so many suffering with weight trouble, he seemed to let it damage his self w o rth, when he was a great asset to his nation and to others. History and culture put into us that being overweight means lacking in self-control and being a glutton, when in reality this isn’t true. So many more factors are involved. Each person has a different metabolism. Certain nutrients can meet different needs, and a lack of those nutrients can lead to fat retention. CLA may be one of those nutrients, one of those factors in our diets that can change our shapes and that have nothing to do with self-control, just nutritional luck and knowledge. In a study of rats, 28 days after beginning the study, body fat in those that ate CLA was 58 percent less than in those who didn’t consume any (10.13 percent body fat versus 4.34 percent body fat, a highly significant difference). Also, the percent of muscle was about one percent more in animals that ate CLA. The weights of both sets of animals were about the same.48 (Muscle weighs more than fat. This can mean that you won’t necessarily lose weight with CLA, but would gain muscle mass, which is Tighter and more shapely.) The research in this area is slightly newer, but it has been reproduced in studies on other animals.49 That more than one kind of animal has shown that body fat is lower with supplements of CLA indicates that it will likely benefit humans as well.
In July 1997, preliminary results of one of the first human studies involving CLA showed promising, preliminary results. For three months in 1997, 20 volunteers participated in a study, daily consuming an amount of slightly more than one gram of CLA at breakfast lunch and dinner. Three months later, their weights and body-fat percents were measured. Half of the group took a placebo. The average weight of the 10 who took CLA dropped by about five pounds (not enough to be statistically significant), but the body fat percentage dropped by about 15 to 20 percent, or from 21.3 percent of average body fat to 17 percent of body fat. Meanwhile, the group taking a placebo had little or no effect on either. Half of the people in the study were men and half were women. Two people in the study decided to drop out because they received unpleasant gastrointestinal upsets. One of those who dropped out was in the placebo group, the other in the group taking CLA.63
Nobody would suggest that CLA supplementation would be a pill freeing you to sit slug-like on the couch to watch M*A*S*H* re runs. A healthy, weight-conscious lifestyle requires many factors including exercise. As far as science can tell, CLA may not be essential the way certain vitamins are. If you consume no vitamin C, you can expect to get scurvy and die. There are no known deficiency diseases associated with an absence of CLA.
Japanese consumers, for example, get very little CLA in their diets, but they also eat food very low in fat, and their lives are among the longest in the world.50 So, the role of CLA supplementation in regulating weight is most useful for those with a typically high-fat Western diet. As the science grows, it seems clear that CLA will lead to better health and more hope for people struggling with body fat.
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.
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.
Ocean Treasures - For centuries, people have flocked to the sea....
June 13, 2005 10:11 AM
Ocean Treasures by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, January 3, 2004
For centuries, people have flocked to the sea to take advantage of its healing and restorative powers.
"The ocean is alive with energy and abundant sea life," says Susie Galvez, owner of Face Works Day Spa in Richmond, Virginia and author of Hello Beautiful (MQ Publications). "It's an abundant source. Sea products are rich in minerals like magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, all of which are known for their deeply cleansing and antibiotic properties. When we think of the sea, we think of health, invigoration, the feeling of being alive and yet peacefully calm."
"To the ancient Greeks, the image of Aphrodite rising out of the sea was beautiful because of the nutrients that the sea plants had given her," says Linda Page, ND, in Healthy Healing (Healthy Healing Publications). Today, sea plants still provide beauty benefits. "They have a complete spectrum of chelated minerals, which makes them easier to absorb, that add lustre and shine to your hair and eyes and improve skin texture and tone."
Thalassotherapy (seawater treatment) includes using salts, mud, foliage, sand and water from the sea to stimulate, hydrate and nourish the skin, making it smoother, firmer and more resilient.
"Using sea products in treatments is both restorative and detoxifying," says Galvez. "Now with modern technology, you don't have to live anywhere near the sea to take advantage of the wonderful health and wellness benefits. Your sea retreat source can be as close as your health food store."
Seaweed's Beauty Benefits
"Pollution, stress, fatigue and bad eating habits all affect the body," says Anne Mok, LaC, a certified Chinese herbalist and co-owner of Cornerstone Healing in Brooklyn, New York. This leads to vitamin and mineral deficiencies that can result in broken capillaries, loss of firmness, skin lesions, dry scaliness and more.
The good news, Mok says, is since seaweed is packed with easy-to-absorb proteins, vitamins, minerals and lipids, it can protect against environmental pollution and ward off aging by nourishing and moisturizing the skin. "The seawater in seaweed is similar to human plasma, so it's an ideal way to get the nutritive benefits from the sea, vitamins A, C and E, and the minerals zinc, selenium and magnesium we need through the process of osmosis. Seaweed cleanses, tones and soothes the skin and regenerates body tissues, offering a new vitality and helping to maintain a youthful appearance. It also improves circulation, which has a positive effect on local fatty overloads and helps maintain the tone of the tissue." No wonder seaweed is used to firm the skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite!
Seaweed captures all the richness from the sea. "There is no genetic manipulation, fertilizer or pesticides, just the sea, light and the tides," says Mok. "[S]eaweed is ten times richer in trace elements than land plants."
Beauty aids from the sea include:
* Kelp (laminaria), a large leafy brown algae, grows along cold climate coastlines and can bring a healthy glow to skin. "Kelp powder has exfoliating properties that make it a great addition to a facial mask," Galvez adds. "It increases blood circulation and stimulates lymph production to eliminate toxins. It's also a mineral-rich body scrub for removing surface impurities."
* Crushed algae is often used in seaweed masks.
* Carrageenan, a gel extracted from Irish sea moss, is commonly used as a cosmetic thickening agent. "It's a great moisturizer that holds nutrients and water in," says Mok.
* Bladderwrack (fucus), a brown seaweed, is often used in cellulite-reducing creams to eliminate excess fluid from the skin.
A Seaweed Beauty Routine
Incorporating the benefits of seaweed into your beauty routine is easy. You can "purchase dehydrated seaweed at a natural food store to make your bath a mini-ocean," says Janice Cox, author of Natural Beauty at Home (Henry Holt & Co). "Fill the tub to the point that you're covered when you lie down," says Dr. Page. "The idea is to make your body sweat, to open your pores, release toxins and take in the sea nutrient benefits by osmosis. Boost the effect with a few drops of aromatherapy bath oils like rosemary and lavender. It'll help hold the heat in and improve your cleansing program." Rinse off and "you'll feel your skin Tighten, due to the high iodine content of the seaweed," says Cox. "Your skin should also feel softer and firmer."
Seaweed and algae body wraps are ideal ways to beautify the skin, rid your body of toxins and boost well-being and health. "It starts a program of detoxification very rapidly," says Dr. Page, who has also written Detoxification: All You Need to Know (Healthy Healing Publications). "It's amazing how it encourages weight loss and cellulite reduction." "Seaweed wraps are the most effective cellulite treatments," says Mok. "Seaweed and seaweed mud, especially, stimulate the cells to improve cellular activity and increase the efficiency of lymphatic fluid, which helps break down toxic deposits that can result in cellulite.
"It's excellent conditioning for the skin and leaves it soft and glowing," says Claudia Spagnolo, spa director for the DeFranco Spagnolo Salon and Day Spa in Great Neck, New York.
Revitalize With Sea Salts
Sea salts contain minerals-such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, iron, sulphur, phosphorus and chlorine-that have a delightfully rejuvenating and revitalizing effect on skin.
"Sea salts enhance the youthful healthy glow of the skin," says Spagnolo. "It creates a deep pore cleansing from shoulder to toe, removing rough, dry skin, helping to purify and slough off dead skin cells. It's great for an all-over exfoliation, and leaves the skin smooth and refreshed."
"Sea salt has wonderful drawing properties, promoting the removal of toxins from the skin," says Galvez, author of Ooh La La Effortless Beauty (MQ Publications). "It's high in mineral content and nourishes the body."
Sea salt also "guards against moisture loss, so it's ideal for dry skin and helps prevent aging," says Mok. In addition, it can be used to treat acne, eczema and psoriasis. Often done before a massage in spas, a "salt glow," which uses a vigorous scrub of coarse sea salts mixed with essential oils, rejuvenates and revitalizes the skin. Sea salt is also readily available at health food stores so you can do the same at home.
Mineral-rich Dead Sea salts pack a salinity of 32%. "When bathing with Dead Sea salt you don't even need to use soap because the minerals remove redundant fat and dirt," says Mok. Dead Sea minerals are often used in shampoos, conditioners and shower gels. "Galvez adds, "Dead Sea mud mineral and vitamin content is very close to that of humans, and therefore treatments using the mud penetrate deeply."
Ah! Home Spa
It's easy to turn your bathroom into an oasis of calm and create a private spa to call your own.
For a sea cure bath, mix together half a pound of sea salt and a pound of baking soda, add to a warm water bath and soak until the water has cooled, says Mok. "It's excellent for soothing itchy and dry skin and helps detoxify by pulling out toxic waste from the pores." Aromatherapy oils, like lavender, make your soak in the tub even more relaxing and luxurious. "It's a great way to de-stress after a long day at work."
A seaweed wrap can release water retention and leave legs looking their sleekest, notes Mok. "Just soak legs in a bath of warm water and Epsom salts for 5 minutes, then pat dry. Apply a seaweed mask and wrap legs with plastic wrap and a warm towel. Relax for 15 minutes. Remove towel and plastic wrap and rinse."
You can also try a sea salt rub by mixing two cups of kosher salt with one cup of olive oil until it forms a thick paste. (Be careful: the oil is slippery.) "While in the tub or shower, massage it into your skin using long strokes toward the heart, starting with your feet," says Galvez. Rinse off with warm water, use a soft washcloth to remove any residue, pat dry and apply moisturizer. "Your skin will be silky smooth and wonderfully hydrated." To create a spa environment at home, details make all the difference. "Think of your favorite beach get-a-way and go with an ocean theme," says Cox. "Include something for each of the senses." For example, put on a CD that has nature sounds. To capture the color of the water, use sea-colored towels. For scent, light candles that produce the scents of flowering plants (such as plumeria or citrus). Add "ocean" fragrance beads. When taking a bath, "use shells to scoop out sea salts or dehydrated sea weed and put them around the tub as decoration," says Cox. Smooth on a moisturizer with a sea-scented lotion when you finish your spa treatment.
When you make an at-home sea spa experience a regular part of your routine, you reap a bounty of beauty and health benefits. "In just 20 minutes you can have a mini-vacation," says Galvez. "It's cleansing and relaxing."
Then you will be ready to dive back into reality with renewed zest.
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart
June 13, 2005 10:06 AM
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart by Louis McKinley Energy Times, January 2, 2004
From time immemorial, people have tuned into life's lessons that come from the heart. Sadly, times are changing: If you're like most inhabitants of today's harried world, you may be too distracted to detect important clues about your cardiovascular circumstances.
And while heart lessons may be more complicated than simply connecting the physiological dots, understanding those heart messages are imperative for improving and maintaining your heart health.
Every cell in your body relies on heart-powered blood flow to keep it supplied with nutrients, oxygen, hormones and other natural chemicals necessary for survival. Without that supply of life-giving substances, few cells in the body-including those within the heart itself-can survive very long.
And just as damage to a major roadway can cause mayhem with traffic patterns, damage to blood vessels and the heart can wreak a lumpy cardiovascular havoc that blocks the passage of blood and endangers your heart's well-being.
Your Heart Disease Chances
Within the last ten years, scientific research performed by investigators around the world has focused on the specific factors that most strongly influence your chances of developing heart disease and suffering either a heart attack or a stroke.
While much of your risk depends on your genetic inheritance and family history, several factors that determine your heart health are within your control.
The most important factors you can do something about include:
* Smoking: free radicals generated by burning tobacco causes significant damage to blood vessels and other cells
* Lack of exercise: the human body is designed for consistent, moderate physical activity; without exercise, the body slacks off in creating antioxidant protection for arteries
* Diabetes: when excess blood sugar persists, physiological processes begin that endanger the heart and arteries
* Cholesterol: when oxidized (a chemical process that has been compared to a kind of internal rusting), cholesterol can form artery-blocking plaque; antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and natural vitamin E may help the body limit this process
* High blood pressure: excessive pressure within the blood vessels raises the risk of damage to the heart and arteries; a program of weight loss and exercise can help control blood pressure
* Being overweight: the extra body fat carried around your middle is linked to a greater risk of heart problems
Heart Attack Signs
Do you think you know what a heart attack feels like? Well, if you think it feels like a dramatic pain somewhere in your chest that knocks you to the floor, you're probably wrong. "Most heart attacks do not look at all like what one of my colleagues calls the 'Hollywood' attack-the heart attack you see on television or in the movies," warns Julie Zerwic, MD, professor of surgical nursing who has studied what happens when people develop heart disease and suffer damage to their hearts.
"The symptoms [of heart problems] are not necessarily dramatic. People don't fall down on the floor. They don't always experience a knife-like, very sharp pain. In fact, many people describe the sensation as heaviness and Tightness in the chest rather than pain," she says. And, if you're a woman experiencing a heart attack, you may not even feel discomfort specifically in your chest. Instead you may experience a severe shortness of breath. The apparent ambiguity of the discomforts caused by a heart attack lead many people to either ignore them or take hours to realize they need to go to the emergency room at the hospital.
Consequently, much fewer than half of all individuals undergoing a heart attack actually go to a hospital within an hour of the start of the attack. That delay can be a fatal mistake.
"Timing is absolutely critical," laments Dr. Zerwic. "If treatment starts within a hour after the onset of symptoms, drugs that reestablish blood flow through the blocked coronary artery can reduce mortality by as much as 50%. That number drops to 23% if treatment begins three hours later. The goal is to introduce therapy within two hours."
However, in Dr. Zerwic's research, only 35% of non-Hispanic whites go to the hospital within an hour of the start of a heart attack. And among African-Americans, the number of people going to the hospital right away drops to a frighteningly low 13%.
Often, people will lie down or use a heating pad to relieve the Tightness they feel in the chest," says Dr. Zerwic. "They may take some medicine and wait to see if that works. All these steps postpone needed treatment."
Signs of a possible heart attack include:
* Chest discomfort: Heart attacks most frequently cause discomfort in the center of the chest that can either go away after a couple of minutes (and come back) or persist. The discomfort may feel like strong pressure, fullness or pain.
* Upper body discomfort: An attack may set off pain or discomfort in either or both arms, and/or the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
* Shortness of breath: Chest discomfort is frequently accompanied by shortness of breath. But it's important to note that shortness of breath can take place even in the absence of chest discomfort.
* Other signs: You can also break out in a cold sweat, or feel nauseated or light-headed.
A Woman's Sleep Signs
If you are a woman who suddenly experiences a marked increase in insomnia and puzzling, intense fatigue, you may be in danger of an imminent heart attack.
In an attempt to understand how women's symptoms of heart problems differ from those of men, researchers talked to more than 500 women in Arkansas, North Carolina and Ohio who had suffered heart attacks. (Technically, what they had experienced is referred to as acute myocardial infarction.)
They found that chest pain prior to a heart attack was only reported by about 30% of the women surveyed.
More common were unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances and shortness of breath (Circulation Rapid Access, 11/3/01).
"Since women reported experiencing early warning signs more than a month prior to the heart attack, this [fatigue and sleep problems] could allow time to treat these symptoms and to possibly delay or prevent the heart attack," says researcher Jean C. McSweeney, PhD, RN, nursing professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. In Dr. McSweeney's study, more than nine out of ten women who had heart attacks reported that they had had new, disturbing physical problems more than a month before they had infarctions.
Almost three in four suffered from unusual fatigue, about half had sleep disturbances, while two in five found themselves short of breath.
Other common signs included indigestion and anxiety.
"Women need to be educated that the appearance of new symptoms may be associated with heart disease and that they need to seek medical care to determine the cause of the symptoms, especially if they have known cardiovascular risks such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, overweight or a family history of heart diseases," says Dr. McSweeney.
Dr. McSweeney warns that, until now, little has been known about signs that women are having heart trouble or heart attacks. The fact that most of Western medicine's past attention has been on heart problems in men has obscured the warning signs in women. As part of Dr. McSweeney's studies, she and her fellow researchers have discovered that more than 40% of all women who suffer a heart attack never feel any chest discomfort before or during the attack.
"Lack of significant chest pain may be a major reason why women have more unrecognized heart attacks than men or are mistakenly diagnosed and discharged from emergency departments," she notes. "Many clinicians still consider chest pain as the primary symptom of a heart attack."
Vitamins for Diabetes and Heart Disease
Having diabetes significantly raises your chance of heart disease, which means that keeping your blood sugar levels under control can reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack.
Today, 17 million Americans have diabetes and, as the country's population in general gains weight and fails to exercise, the number of people suffering this problem continues to grow.
The first line of defense against diabetes consists of exercise and weight control. All you have to do is take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day to drop your chances of diabetes (American Journal of Epidemiology 10/1/03).
"We have found that men and women who incorporate activity into their lifestyles are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who are sedentary. This finding holds no matter what their initial weight," said Andrea Kriska, PhD, professor of epidemiology at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
To help your body fight the development of diabetes, researchers also recommend vitamin C and natural vitamin E.
Researchers working with lab animals at the University of California at Irvine have found that these antioxidant vitamins can help insulin (the hormone-like substance secreted by the pancreas) reduce harmful blood sugar. In addition, these vitamins shrink the chances of organ damage that can be caused by diabetes (Kidney International 1/03).
In this investigation, these vitamins also helped reduce blood pressure, another risk factor that raises heart disease risk.
"Blood pressure was lowered to normal, and free radicals were not in sufficient numbers to degrade the sugars, proteins and nitric oxide," notes Nick Vaziri, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California. "We think this shows that a diet rich in antioxidants may help diabetics prevent the devastating cardiovascular, kidney, neurological and other damage that are common complications of diabetes."
Free Radical Blues
Dr. Vaziri and his group of researchers found that untreated diabetes raised blood pressure and increased the production of free radicals, caustic molecules that can damage arteries and the heart. Free radicals can change blood sugar and other proteins into harmful substances, boosting tissue and heart destruction.
In Dr. Vaziri's work with lab animals, he found that treating diabetes with insulin lowered blood pressure and helped keep sugar and protein from changing into dangerous chemicals, but allowed the free radicals to subvert nitric oxide, a chemical the body uses to protect itself from free radicals.
In this investigation, adding vitamins C and E to insulin insulated the body's sugars, proteins and nitric oxide from oxidative assault. This produces a double advantage: Lowering the risk of heart disease and other damage to the body from diabetes.
Maitake, an Oriental mushroom that has been shown to have many health benefits, can also be useful for people with diabetes who are trying to avoid cardiovascular complications. Laboratory studies in Japan demonstrate that maitake may help lower blood pressure while reducing cholesterol (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 1997; 20(7):781-5). In producing these effects, the mushroom may also help the body reduce blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of tissue damage.
Tobacco smoke is one of the most notorious causes of heart problems. In the same way a hard frost exerts a death grip on a highway, the smoke from cigarettes can freeze up arteries and hamper their proper function. A healthy artery must stay flexible to comfortably allow adequate circulation.
But "...when blood vessels are exposed to cigarette smoke it causes the vessels to behave like a rigid pipe rather than a flexible tube, thus the vessels can't dilate in response to increased blood flow," says David J. Bouchier-Hayes, MD, professor of surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who has studied the deleterious effects of tobacco.
This rigidity is called endothelial dysfunction. When arteries are rigid, blockages gum up vessels, clots and other impediments to blood flow appear, and your risk of heart attack and stroke increases (Circulation 2001 Nov 27; 104(22):2673).
This condition can also cause chest pain (angina) similar to that caused by a heart attack, and should be evaluated by a knowledgeable health practitioner.
Although all experts recommend you stop smoking to lower your heart disease risk, some studies have found that Pycnogenol(r), a pine bark extract that helps the body fight inflammation, may ease some of smoking's ill effects.
In a study of platelets, special cells in the blood that can form dangerous blood clots, researchers found that Pycnogenol(r) discouraged platelets from sticking together (American Society for Biochemical and Molecular Biology 5/19/98). By keeping platelets flowing freely, this supplement may alleviate some of the heart-threatening clots that tobacco smoke can cause.
In Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional therapy from India, an herb called guggul has also been used to lower the risk of blockages in arteries. This herb, derived from the resin of the mukul tree, has been shown to reduce cholesterol by about 25%. People taking this herb have also reduced their triglycerides (harmful blood fats) by the same amount (Journal Postgraduate Medicine 1991 37(3):132).
The Female Version of Heart Disease
For one thing, women often don't suffer from the crushing chest pain that for most people characterizes a heart attack; instead, many women experience back pain, sweating, extreme fatigue, lightheadedness, anxiety or indigestion, signs that can be easily misread as digestive troubles, menopausal symptoms or indicators of aging.
The genders also differ in how heart disease poses a threat. While men seem most endangered by the buildup of blockages in arteries, women apparently are more at risk from endothelial dysfunction. But more study needs to be done since, in many cases, researchers have been unable to pin down the precise mechanism that causes many women to die of heart disease.
Scientists have found that the number of women in their 30s and 40s who are dying from sudden cardiac arrest is growing much faster than the number of men of the same age who die of this cause. But research by the Oregon Health & Sciences University and Jesse E. Edwards Cardiovascular Registry in St. Paul, Minnesota, shows that while doctors can pinpoint the coronary blockages that kill men, they can't find specific blockages in half of the female fatalities they have studied (American Heart Journal 10/03).
"This was an unexpected finding. However, the study underscores the need to focus on what is causing these younger women to die unexpectedly because the number of deaths continues to increase," says Sumeet Chugh, MD, a medical professor at Oregon.
Since the failure of arteries to relax probably contributes to heart disease in many women, eating red berries, or consuming supplements from berries such as chokeberry, bilberry or elderberry, may be important in lowering women's heart disease risk. These fruits help arteries expand and allow blood to flow freely.
Red berries are rich sources of flavonoids, polyphenols and anthocynanins. The anthocyanins are strong antioxidants that give the berries their color. Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that these chemicals can interact with nitrous oxide, a chemical produced by the body, to relax blood vessels (Experimental Biology conference 5/20/02).
As researchers work to devise lifestyle roadmaps that can steer you around the perils of heart disease, they are finding that exercise is a key path to avoiding cardiovascular complications.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that those who exercised and kept their weight down (or took weight off and kept it off) experienced a significantly lower risk of heart problems (Preventive Medicine 11/03).
"The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. Burning calories in physical activity may be the secret to reducing heart disease risk and living longer, she says.
Dr. Fang's research used information collected from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 1975 and then computed how much people exercised, how their body mass indices varied and which of these folks died of heart disease during the next two decades.
In the study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who worked out and consumed more calories cut their risk of heart disease death in half.
Exercise Is Essential
"Subjects with the lowest caloric intake, least physical activity, and who were overweight or obese had significantly higher cardiovascular mortality rates than those with high caloric intake, most physical activity, and normal weight," Dr. Fang notes. The individuals in the study who were overweight and didn't exercise had a bigger risk of heart disease even if they tried (and succeeded) at eating less.
"This suggests that heart disease outcome was not determined by a single factor, but rather by a compound of behavioral, socioeconomic, genetic and clinical characteristics," according to Dr. Fang.
According to researchers, if your job requires a great deal of physical activity, your health will be better if you get another job. Exercise on the job not only doesn't decrease your risk of heart disease, it may actually raise it. The reason: On-the-job activity is linked to heart-endangering increases in job stress.
Research into this subject, performed at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, found that while recreational exercise slowed hardening of the arteries, workers who had to exert themselves during the workday had arteries that were blocked at a younger age (American Journal of Medicine 7/03).
In this study, researchers examined about 500 middle-aged employees as part of what is called the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study.
"We found that atherosclerosis progressed significantly faster in people with greater stress, and people who were under more stress also were the ones who exercised more in their jobs," says James Dwyer, PhD, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School. According to Dr. Dwyer, "This suggests that the apparent harmful effect of physical activity at work on atherosclerosis-and heart disease risk-may be due to the tendency of high-activity jobs to be more stressful in modern workplaces.
"It appears from our findings that the psychological stresses associated with physically active jobs overcomes any biological benefit of the activity itself."
On the other hand, the scientists found that heart disease drops dramatically among those who exercise the most in their spare time. In the study, people who vigorously worked out at least three times a week had the lowest risk. But even those who just took walks enjoyed better heart health than people whose most strenuous activity was working the TV remote. Dr. Dwyer says, "These results are important because they demonstrate the very substantial and almost immediate-within one or two years-cardiovascular benefit of greater physical activity."
Lowering your risk of heart disease is substantially up to you. Listen to what your heart tells you it needs; then, exercise your right to fetch some cardiovascular necessities.
Thanks for the Memory
June 11, 2005 03:49 PM
Thanks for the Memory by Estelle Sobel , February 6, 2002
Thanks for the Memory By Estelle Sobel
"I feel like every day, I lose my memory more and more. It started when I couldn't find my car keys, sometimes I forget directions. My mother has Alzheimer's so I'm concerned," says Jerry Solowitz, a 63 year old man.
Ellen Lerner, 37, sometimes worries that she can't keep track of everything in her job as a public relations executive. "I feel like stress can get to me easily, and I worry because I forget simple things like where I put a file."
Should these people be concerned?
"Yes," says Lynda Toth, Ph.D., co-author with Pavel Yutsis, M.D., of Why Can't I Remember? Reversing Memory Loss (Avery, 1999).
Jerry should start a specific program with a health practitioner who specializes in memory loss, due to lots of unsuspected new causes for memory dysfunction. Ellen needs to make lifestyle changes, as stress can definitely lead to memory loss.
"Cortisol, which is one of the stress hormones, can be harmful because it keeps calcium in the memory pathway too long and destroys the neurons, which is very damaging to the brain," notes Toth.
Why Does Memory Fail?
Memory fails for several reasons, says Augustine DiGiovanna, M.D., author of Human Aging: Biological Perspectives, (McGraw-Hill 2000), and Professor of Biology at Salisbury State University in Salisbury, MD.
Normal Aging: Much of diminished memory as we age is due to reduced blood flow to the brain from atherosclerosis, which is hardening and narrowing of the arteries. Decreased blood flow causes neurons to shrink and function less effectively.
Also, as we age we lose neurons and neuron connections that can lead to memory loss. So the way people think, how much they remember, and the mental activities they do determine how many brain cells survive through the years.
Finally, as people live longer, the chance is greater that the body's immune system and other defense mechanisms won't be able to protect against certain diseases that affect the brain and memory (Parkinson's, strokes, Alzheimers, atherosclerosis).
A Starving Brain: The brain is not getting fed the nutrients it needs (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, glucose). Without the right "food" the brain's energy levels become lowered and stop powering the memory cells. Then, free radicals can do more dirty work and continue to rust memory cells.
Drink And Sink: Alcohol passes through the blood-brain barrier and slows down the processing of information between memory neurons. Memory loss increases over time, as memory tissues shrink.
Sad Stories: Depression can imbalance the neurotransmitters and electrical charges of neurons.
Tense and Tight: High blood pressure can constrict and narrow blood vessels, limiting blood and oxygen flow to the brain.
One way to boost brain power is to take the right supplements.
Ginkgo biloba: The powerful medicinal herb ginkgo biloba increases blood flow and circulation to the head by dilating blood vessels in the brain, allowing more oxygenated blood to get to the neurons. It also protects against free radical damage.
Research: Ginkgo biloba extract displayed a significant effect on helping the mental abilities of people 50-59 years old (Phytotherapy Research 13, 1999: 408-415).
Pregnenolone: This powerful hormone regulates the balance between excitation and inhibition in the nervous system and helps enhance memory and brain function, possibly by repairing a fatty substance that is part of the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve cells. Research: A St. Louis University School of Medicine study on mice showed that pregnenolone enhanced memory and helped mice to navigate mazes better.
Huperzine A: This herbal supplement is derived from club moss found in China; in purified form it inhibits the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that you need for memory.
Research: Studies conducted by Alan Mazurek, M.D., found that huperzine A in purified form improves memory, enhances focus and concentration and has been used to improve memory loss in Alzheimer's patients (Alt. Ther. in Health Med. 5 , March 1999: 97-98).
Another study in The Journal of Neuroscience Research showed that huperzine A is a potent inhibitor of cholinesterase, which penetrates the brain and produces a dose-dependent increase of the neurotransmitters acetylcholine, norepinephrine and dopamine in rat cortex (41, 1995: 828-835).
Phosphatidylserine (PS): This substance, which occurs naturally in nerve cell membranes, helps keep fatty substances soluble and cell membranes fluid and helps reduce levels of cortisone which are damaging to tissues.
Research: Phosphatidylserine encourages a sense of calm by raising the levels of alpha brain waves and increasing the production of acetylcholine (Neuropsychobiology 24, 1990-1991: 42-48).
Vitamin E: This potent antioxidant attaches to bad cholesterol and helps prevent free radical damage to cells.
Research: Age-related processes like memory function and problem solving can be affected by free radical damage. Several studies show that vitamin E might slow the effects of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease (JAMA 282, August 18, 1999: 621). Acetyl-l-carnitine: Increases cognitive performance because it rejuvenates cellular membranes of mitochondria, the storehouses of energy contained in every living cell.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid: Preserves memory tissue by increasing glutathione levels, which protect fat stores in neurons from being damaged.
Nine Ways to Remember
Dr. Lynda Toth suggests the following ways to make the most of what you've now got.
1) Power Up Your Smile. Remove dental fillings and replace them with porcelain or ceramic ones. The mercury in metal fillings may be harmful (some believe) and can affect the brain and nervous system, inflaming memory tissue and preventing the entry of nutrients into the cells.
2) Don't Be a Tin Man/Woman Avoid exposure to aluminum. Don't use aluminum pots to cook in. Aluminum accumulates in memory tissue, damaging cells. In fact, autopsies of Alzheimers patients show they have unusually huge amounts of aluminum in the brain. But no one knows where this aluminum comes from.
3) Eat Right. Eat organic and pesticide-free foods. Pesticides get into the cells and can damage DNA.
4) A Matter of Taste. Avoid foods with artificial coloring, monosodium glutamate (MSG, often called "natural flavors" or "natural seasoning"). Also avoid processed foods with taste enhancers called exito toxins such as l-cysteine and aspartic acid.
5) In the Raw. Make sure that your diet consists of enzyme-rich 50% raw foods (fruits and vegetables) to feed the brain. Eat less animal fats.
* Drink green juices to support levels of the brain's clean-up enzymes.
*Eat lots of fiber, which helps remove toxins from the body. Pick up psyllium fiber.
*Limit intake of processed sugar, caffeine and alcohol to lessen the load on the liver and pancreas.
6) Cut Bait. Watch the fish that you eat. Lots of ocean and inland-caught fish are contaminated with mercury. Go for deep, cold water fish such as cod. Avoid shark and swordfish.
7). Oil Up. Supplement your diet with omega-3 fatty acids, such as cod liver oil or flaxseed oil. These fats lubricate memory cells.
8) Work That Body. Stay fit and exercise. Exercise helps oxygenate the body, reduces cholesterol, and builds and energizes new memory cells which reduces wear and tear on the brain function.
9) Do Mind Games. Read, listen to music. Tune into different radio stations than the ones you normally listen to. Do crossword puzzles and a wide selection of word games which can stretch your brain and give it a tough workout.
Student of Life
You need to keep learning your whole life to keep your brain and memory in tip top shape. The brain is adaptable, and you are always building new neurons, says Dr. Toth, which means that there is no limit to how long it can develop. Anything that stimulates the brain will help it to grow. That's why as you get older it's even more important to take classes, start a new hobby, travel. In fact, the challenge of learning and doing new things (without stopping in a fit of frustration) causes your brain to grow, says Dr. Mazurek.
The Good News
As people get older, their brains may actually improve and repair themselves through a complicated process that is designed to eliminate faulty neurons that are prone to making mistakes. At the same time, brain activity goes on that results in the development of new and improved connections with neighboring neurons.
Research also shows that memory improves if you train people to have faith in themselves. (The brain helps those who help themselves.) Apparently, a confident perspective can encourage the brain to actually improve to the point where its new-found abilities may increase to the point where it fulfills expectations.
So keep your chin up and stay away from the artery-clogging saturated fat that can cut off the brain's blood supply. It's all in the attitude, says Dr. DiGiovanna. And, of course, the key to a long and happy life with your brain is also on the end of your fork and in that bottle of supplements.
Estelle Sobel, is the co-author of Beautiful Skin: Every Woman's Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age (Adams Media, May 2000).