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August 15, 2008 11:53 AM
In the recent past, DHEA has shown scientists its amazing abilities within the human body. Clinical tests have created a huge amount of interest for both scientists and consumers, with estimates of about 500 in-depth clinical studies on DHEA taking place. These tests, which have been conducted at some of the most prestigious medical research centers and universities in the country, have proven DHEA to be one of the most important anti-aging and anti-disease substances of the 21st century.
DHEA is a crucial and important hormone that is produced in the adrenal glands. It is often called the mother hormone, as it forms the base for the biochemical actions of hormones like testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, and corticosterone. These hormones control important body functions that determine metabolism, energy output, endocrine mechanisms, and reproductive capabilities. DHEA directs the entire endocrine systems through activating and inhibiting enzymes. In its many clinical studies, DHEA has shown an unusually wide variety of physiological benefits. Although it has been known for many years that DHEA is made by the adrenal glands, the function of DHEA in the body has only been recently studied.
DHEA is produced by the adrenal glands, but it can also be found in non-patented prescription drugs and other over-the-counter forms. A lot of these supplements contain a synthetic DHEA-S. A lot of people consider Dioscorea extract, which can be found in Mexican Wild Yam, to have a natural source of DHEA. There are a lot of naturally occurring compounds that can mimic the actions of DHEA and, at the time, do not require a prescription. Wild Yam and Mexican Yam can give a botanical precursor of DHEA, which is considered a substantial source by a lot of health advocates. A great number of studies on DHEA that is derived from Mexican Yam have been conducted, with results concluding that DHEA derived from Mexican Yam and Dioscorea extract is a great idea. However, some controversy surrounds the value of Wild Yam as a valuable source of DHEA.
DHEA is used in the body to make other hormone, as it is the most dominant of all the hormones present in the body. It contributes to the proper growth of brain cells, inhibits the conversion of carbohydrates to fats, decreases the formation of blood clots, regulates hormones, decreases the stickiness of platelets that can clump to cause heart attacks and strokes, increase estrogen in women and testosterone in men, lowers LDL cholesterol, enhances overall immunity, and decreases symptoms of an enlarged prostate.
DHEA helps to reduce menopausal symptoms, promotes thermo genesis, helps to increase muscle mass, stabilizes blood sugar, inhibits appetite and discourages eating, boosts endurance, inhibits diseases associated with aging, helps to restore collagen and skin integrity, fights fatigue and depression, helps to inhibit certain tumors, improves calcium absorption to discourage osteoporosis, acts as an anti-inflammatory, and helps to lower blood pressure.
DHEA levels dramatically vary in each individual and can drop as a result of stress or other conditions such as blood sugar, fever, hypertension, nicotine ingestion, alcohol consumption, drinking coffee, and the presence of various diseases. Taking birth control pills and other synthetic hormones can also deplete levels of DHEA. When any of these occur, supplementation is needed. Therapeutic doses range from 5 to 25 milligrams per day which can be found here at VitaNet, LLC.
Your Mouth Has A Lot To Say About Your Health
January 10, 2008 08:24 AM
For those of you have read every magazine article on improving your health and sex life, tried every trick suggested to you, and still have not found the solution, you may be missing one fact that most people don’t even consider towards improving their love life with better health. A woman’s sexuality has to do with a great variety of factors including both physical and emotional issues. Physical influences include hormonal imbalances, which play a major role. Most women experience the rage of this imbalance during pre and post menopause, as well as our menstruation cycle, commonly known as PMS. But most people have not considered one other important physical factor that is affecting their sexual mood, which is gum disease. Although this connection is rarely talked about and may seem odd at first, it becomes obvious how it all works when you learn the science behind it.
Throughout the different stages of our lives, our hormones fluctuate greatly. From puberty to pregnancy and menopause, many of our tissues are affected, which includes our gums. The gums can swell up, bleed easily, and even change color during times of related hormone events. Gum disease may be prevented with Coenzyme Q10 supplementation. Once the hormone balances, the hormones often do not go back to their healthy state automatically. If you practice good oral hygiene, your gums will go back to normal, but if not, it will stay the same or get worse with out proper nutrition and Coenzyme Q10.
Most people never realize that the slight bleeding of their gums during pregnancy or pre-menopause has anything to do with their hormones and nutritional deficiencies. Slight bleeding, red gums, and swelling are all signs of the inflammation that is associated with gum disease. Most people do not pay attention to the signs of inflammation when it occurs in the mouth, as gum disease affects 23 percent of women ages 30-54 and 44 percent of women ages 55-90. Proper nutrition may help reduce the number of individuals affected by gum disease.
Even the beginning stages of gum disease, which are known as gingivitis, can greatly impact your mood and health. If it is not treated, gingivitis will advance into chronic inflammation, leaving devastating results on your health. When your gums are not healthy, a great amount of events involving chemicals takes place both locally and systematically. These chemical changes trigger your immune system to respond, leaving inflammation on the gum tissue. During inflammation, immune cells release substances called inflammatory cytokines, which boost immunity but also induce dark moods in some people. If these cytokines stay too high for too long, they can even potentially trigger depression. Chronic inflammation leaves your body feeling tired and burned out. Unfortunately, a lot of people who have gum disease do not even know they have it. Except for the sign of slight bleeding when flossing or brushing, an unsuspecting person may not be aware there is tissue breakdown until it’s too late.
The solution to the situation is really simple. Taking 100 to 400 milligrams of Coenzyme Q10 to boost the immune system and help the body reduce its production of cytokines as well as boost energy. Coenzyme Q10 can improve periodontal health so be sure to consider the health of your mouth as an important part of your overall health. When you feel healthy, your sex drive is also healthy. If you’re feeling run down and have no interest in sex, make a visit to your dentist and have your gums checked. There is no excuse to not get regular dental check-ups and visit your local health food store to practice good oral hygiene and boost over all health.
Big Pharma Plays God, Stealing and Altering Pant Compounds making Synthetic Drugs
January 02, 2008 02:24 PM
It has been claimed by the Nutritional Health Alliance (NHA) that the pharmaceutical companies are formulating their pharma drugs using natural plant-derived substances. This is not totally groundbreaking news, of course, since the whole pharmaceutical industry was based on natural products such as aspirin, derived from willow bark, and antibiotics derived from the penicillin mold.
While there is nothing wrong with them doing this, there are signs of their increasing lobbying to limit the supply of supplements so that Big Pharma can monopolize the production and supply of all supplements and remedies, natural or synthetic. What is disturbing is that bills such as the Adverse Event Reporting Bill, passed by Congress in February 2007 as the Dietary Supplement and Nonprescription Drug Consumer Protection Act, could conceivably place greater powers into the hands of the large pharmaceutical companies to restrict the sales of natural products that are not part of their ‘approved’ prescription range.
This Act requires users and distributors of over the counter and non-prescriptive natural remedies to report any adverse effects that they believe have been caused by the remedy they are using. What this does is to require untrained people to make medical decisions as to what is causing their adverse reaction.
A patient taking several prescription drugs and a vitamin supplement might naturally assume that it is the vitamin that is causing their reaction, since they will believe the drugs to be safe. Hence they will report the vitamin supplement as being the cause. Since the act does not oblige them to report reactions from prescription drugs, then this opens the door for Big Pharma to hijack plant compounds, and then alter them to make synthetic drugs.
The position of the FDA in all of this is dubious since that body has already made many decisions that favor the large pharma companies rather than the consumer, or producers of herbal remedies.
However, there is also the opposite view that the supplement industry is unregulated, and some degree of control is long overdue. While it is difficult to argue against this, it is the form of control that is in question and also the reasons behind it.
The pharmaceutical companies have long gained through America’s ill health, and it is to their advantage for Americans to become ill or suffer from the chronic diseases that come with a sedentary lifestyle and a diet of fast foods. The industry’s short-sighted approach has been to wait until people become ill and then treated them with expensive drug, rather than prevention that would ultimate lose them customers for their products.
A happy and healthy community, regularly taking supplements that keep them fit and well, is not to the advantage of pharmaceutical companies that prefer a depressed, unfit and sick American population to which they can sell their products. Hence the smear campaigns in the press regarding ‘uncontrolled’ natural remedies, untold bills in Congress, and what could end up as the ultimate revocation of our freedom to consume the natural products of our choice.
If we are taking two or three prescription drugs for a heart condition or to reduce the cholesterol levels in our body, and also an Omega-3 fatty acids capsule, we are urged to report the capsule if we have any side effects from the cocktail. Presumably on the basis that the drugs have been approved by the FDA, and so cannot possibly cause any side effects in us. A fish oil capsule is hardly likely to cause a heart attack, but many prescription drugs can if badly prescribed. However, it is the capsule that is likely to be fingered, banned and then included in a pharmaceutical product that is cleared by the FDA.
Those that take over the counter supplements, vitamins and herbal remedies are a threat and it is difficult not to become cynical about the intentions of such Acts of Congress and the people behind them. True, the supplement and herbal industry probably does require some form of regulation, but to phrase this in such a way as to require medically untrained people to report what they perceive as being the adverse effects of supplements rings of an intention to regulate by restriction or even banning.
When that occurs, Big Pharma will take these products and fashion them into expensive prescriptive drugs that are then approved for use by the FDA. What we were at one time able to purchase from our local health store we would now have to purchase at several times the price through prescription.
The health benefits of natural nutritional supplements are well documented, and the industry are now using methods to ensure standardization of the active ingredients where possible. However, this is not always possible with foodstuffs that do not always grow in standardized ways.
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) was passed by Congress in 1994 to protect and preserve our rights to healthy supplementation of our diets with natural products of our choice. The FDA has systematically failed to enforce this and prosecute synthetic manufacturers who have not kept to the law. The FDA does not need new powers, but the funding to implement those already in existence.
Lobbying in Congress by interested parties should not be allowed to undermine the rights of all Americans of the freedom to consume the products that will provide them with a healthier lifestyle. The DHSEA is all that is needed to preserve this and to protect consumers from Big Pharma and their need to create conditions conducive to an increasing need for their products.
Yes, the health supplements industry likely needs some form of regulation to ensure standardization of products as far as is possible, but the way to do this is not to place medical decisions into the hands of the untrained. Do not forget that these are natural products, available freely from nature in fruit, vegetable and animal products, and are not synthesized in a laboratory as many of today’s drugs are.
However, give them a free rein, and Big Pharma will hijack these natural products, change them and then sell them to us at highly inflated prices to do the job that already do for us: keep us healthy.
Set Your Snooze Control With Herbal Supplements
December 27, 2007 02:03 PM
Over one-third of adults say that they have symptoms of insomnia over the course of any one year. Unfortunately, about 10-15 percent of adults struggle with chronic insomnia. Lack of sleep can be traced back to too much stress, anxiety, caffeine, and discomfort from a medical problem, depression, work shift issues, or travel. For some people, insomnia presents itself as trouble falling asleep, while others have trouble staying asleep, and still others wake up too early. It all comes down to the same thing, people aren't getting enough restorative sleep, which leaves insomniacs feeling tired, irritable, and unfocused all day.
Before pharmaceutical sleeping pills were on the market, herbs were the treatment of choice to cure a restless night. As the list of adverse effects to sleeping pills grows longer and longer, herbal sleep aids are again becoming the option of choice. Valerian has been known to give insomniacs better sleep for more than 1,000 years as it eases stress and has been scientifically documented for its sedative effect. Even better, valerian is non-addictive and includes no morning hangover from using it. A study on valerian extract found that the time to fall asleep can be reduced to that of what prescription sedatives promise. Earlier in the year, a similar study found that the combination of valerian and hops shortened the time it takes to fall asleep in a group of twenty-seven insomniacs from what was almost an hour to just about twelve minutes. Chamomile tea has a soothing, sedative effect and is still a pleasant drink. Additionally, chamomile can be used for anxiety and to soothe intestinal upset such as indigestion and heartburn. Other mildly sedating herbs include lemon balm, catnip, passion flower, and skullcap. Still other herbs to consider include corydalis, which encourages feelings of relaxation, in turn helping people to fall asleep, and lavender oil, which acts as a great calming agent.
Green tea, which contains L-theanine, has a calming effect in the body and also strengthens immunity. When feelings of anxiety interfere with sleep, help can be found by taking L-theanine about an hour before one’s desired bedtime, as L-theanine interacts with the brain receptors that are associated with relaxation, therefore inducing a relaxed state of mind.
Serotonin also plays a huge role in sleep, while 5-HTP helps to make this chemical. Studies have proven that by taking 5-HTP, insomnia can be helped a great deal in terms of sleep quality and longer REM sleep periods. About 100-300 mg of 5-HTP should be taken before bedtime for most people. Since some people can feel a little nauseous when first taking 5-HTP, starting with 50 mg for the first few nights and building up to higher doses is advised. Some reports of vivid dreams and even nightmares have been reported fro taking large amounts of 5-HTP and those people who are taking anti-depressants should not take 5-HTP. L-Tryptophan is an amino acid that is converted into serotonin and has been proven to be a successful remedy for insomnia. Although this supplement was unavailable for several years, it is now back on the market.
Melatonin also plays an important role in regulating the body's clock as it is secreted for several hours each night. People with insomnia tend to have lower levels. Therefore, taking supplemental melatonin, especially in a time-release form, an hour or so before one’s desired bedtime can help to get back into a better sleep schedule. Lastly, magnesium can help resolve sleep issues, especially in those people who have sleep problems because of restless leg syndrome (RLS).
No matter what herbal supplement or mineral you decide to use, always consult your health care practitioner before adding vitamin supplements and herbs to ones diet while taking prescription medication. The above mentioned herbal supplements can be found at your local or internet health food store.
Natural Hormone Balance for Women
December 25, 2007 11:18 AM
The majority of women are affected by moderate-to-severe menopausal symptoms and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) at some point in their life. PMS that is clinically diagnosed consists of symptoms that are so severe and pervasive that careers, social interactions, and family lives are negatively affected. This occurs in eight to twenty percent of women in the Western world. Menopause and PMS are both characterized by a severe fluctuation or major falling of the female hormones estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin. Since many examples of women who are barely affected by natural changes exist, it can be logically inferred that female hormones are capable of remaining close to balanced, while others experience hormones that swing abruptly from one extreme to the next, causing severe mood swings. Although changes in hormone levels are the reason menopause and PMS occur, women do have some control over the severity of their symptoms.
There are many natural approaches to hormone balance along with other medical interventions that can be used either separate or together. However, one must remember that women are biologically programmed to have multiple children, which therefore, would limit the number of menstrual cycles in a lifetime. Additionally, women are now living thirty years past menopause, an experience that is relatively new. Also, a lot of the pain and anguish that is associated with menopause and PMS is actually related to obesity, high-calorie eating habits, and inactivity. Normal body weight and regular exercise often leads to mild or inconsequential PMS.
In 2002, estrogen and progesterone hormone replacement therapy, which is the standard treatment for menopausal symptoms, came under scrutiny after the publication of research that found that supplementation of estrogen significantly increases the risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Supplementing estrogen also does not protect against cardiovascular disease. As a result, US-dispensed prescriptions for estrogen declined from ninety-one million in 2001 to fifty-seven million in 2003. It has been found that a lot of the excess risk for breast and ovarian cancer was due to prescriptions being refilled indefinitely instead of hormone replacement therapy only being used at the onset of menopause. Additionally, supplemental estrogen was not paired and balanced with progesterone, causing a greater risk. Either way, the door to natural alternatives was opened wide, especially for those patients who have a family history of reproductive cancer. Natural therapy for menopause and PMS is based upon phytoestrogens.
Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that contain chemical structures which resemble estrogen. These plant compounds can exert weak estrogenic or antiestrogenic effects. Isoflavones from legumes such as soybean, red clover, licorice, as well as lignans like flaxseed and milk thistle are the most common and familiar phytoestrogens. Black cohosh has been shown to have antiestrogenic effects only. Phytoestrogens have been proven to reduce the risk for estrogen-dependent breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers as well as hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep disturbances. Although phytoestrogens do a good job at protecting women from symptoms of excess estrogen, phytoestrogens cannot replace estrogen when there isn’t enough. They don’t help with vaginal wall atrophy and dryness, thinning hair, lack of sexual desire, menopause-related urogenital itching, or infertility. For the best results, supplements of soy and red clover isoflavone should be taken 2-3 times daily. Although there are no herbal alternatives that actually raise levels of estrogen, natural medicine such as dong quai, licorice, milk thistle, ginseng, pycnogenol, and pollen for menopause and calcium, magnesium, B6, chastre tree, dong quai, and ginseng for PMS can balance existing female hormones and provide relief from symptoms.
Beyond Bran Fiber
December 25, 2007 08:35 AM
At one point in time, when you went to the health food store you usually only had choice of wheat bran, which is a good source of the insoluble fiber that helps your digestive system stay on track, or oat bran, which contains the soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol. Although both of these bran’s are still popular, as they have good reason to be, remaining excellent sources of dietary fiber, these days store shelves are gathering more and more fiber supplements ranging from encapsulated forms to powders and specialized to deal with a variety of health concerns.
Insoluble fiber has the ability to draw water into the intestines, preventing constipation and keeping waste matter from decaying within the body. However, it is the many types of soluble fiber that science has recently started investigating for health benefits. Part of soluble fiber’s value is closely related to its mechanical action, as it forms a thick gel within the digestive track that moves slowly to stop sugar from entering the body too quickly, therefore, helping to keep glucose levels down and carrying some fat and sugar out of the body completely. Additionally, when soluble fibers gel up it helps to reduce blood level cholesterol by trapping bile preventing the bile from doing its action (breaking down fats in the digestive tract so the body can absorb it). Unlike insoluble fiber, soluble fiber undergoes fermentation inside the colon to produce fatty acids that do a little bit of everything, including: helping the body digest food, protecting against polyps, stimulating immunity, increasing mineral absorption, and helping to keep cholesterol and glucose levels in check.
Soluble fiber is getting large amounts of research reviews. One study concluded that people who ate the least fiber are 63% more likely to have high levels of CRP (C-reactive protein). CRP is an inflammation marker that is associated with cardiovascular risk. Another study proved that flax seed improved glucose control. Another fiber source, psyllium, has been shown to bring relief to people with Chron’s disease, an inflammatory intestinal disorder.
Flax seed and psyllium are two of the best known types of soluble fiber available, but there are other types that aren’t as well known. Others including arabinogalactan (AG) have been shown to have a special affinity for natural killer cells. Beta-glucans are another form of fiber that can help boost immunity. Lignans, which are found in flax, have been shown to cause lower breast-cancer rates. Fenugreek is a spice that is rich in galactomannan, a heart-healthy fiber. Some fiber formulations pair up different kinds of fiber with complementary herbs. An example of this is Garcinia cambogia and Gymnema sylvestre, which can be used for glucose control; or astragalus, Echinacea, olive leaf, and shiitake to assist the immune system. Some supplements even provide natural enzymes which help prevent bloating.
It is, of course, important to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet. However, thanks to supplementation that is designed specifically for certain health concerns, it has become much easier to find the additional fiber that is needed by your body, no matter what kind of fiber that is. A large selection of fiber bran supplements can be found at your local or internet health food store.
Fight Acne by Eating Right to Lower Blood Sugar Levels
December 24, 2007 02:11 PM
If you are a teenager a cure for acne will likely be first on your list after finding a boyfriend or girlfriend, and most of us who have been teenagers can probably remember the misery that our perception of our looks gave us.
There have been many theories as to the cause of acne, and it is highly likely that there is more than one. The basic reason for the appearance of acne is that oils, dead skin cells and bacteria block the pores of the skin to form a variety of different types of pimples or spots, such as whiteheads, blackheads and pustules than can be irritating or painful. They can also be very unsightly, affecting the face, neck and sometimes the chest and back.
Studies have indicated that acne is caused by the over-production of sebum, a fatty oily substance secreted by the sebaceous glands of the skin to keep it supple and lubricated. If this is excessive, the sebum can block the pores causing blackheads, and become infected causing acne. So what causes this excess production of sebum? There are theories that it could be due to high insulin levels in the blood.
High insulin levels are promoted by high blood glucose levels the more blood glucose in your blood then the more insulin your pancreas produces to help covert it into energy. Higher insulin levels are also associated with high levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). The result of this is an increase in androgens (male hormones), specifically dihydrotestosterone (DHT), metabolized from testosterone. This in turn causes an increased production of sebum leading to acne.
The complete chain, therefore, begins with increased levels of glucose in your blood and ends in acne. In order to prevent acne you would have to break this chain anywhere in its sequence, and the only viable place to do this is at the beginning reduce your blood glucose level. In order to achieve this you would have to determine what foods you are eating that could cause an excessively high level of glucose in your blood.
Glucose is metabolized from carbohydrates, ranging from complex carbohydrates to refined sugar. However, those that you should try to avoid are the refined carbohydrates such as pasta, white bread, rice and sugar. These are what are known as the high glycemic index foods that can cause a sharp rise in your blood glucose levels when consumed. The complex carbohydrates take longer to be metabolized and are not so prone to producing sudden increases in your sugar levels. These lead to more sustained and gradual increases in blood glucose that demand a steady insulin supply, rather than the sudden increase that can lead to acne. Such foods include high fiber whole grains, oats and the like.
Studies have indicated that twelve weeks on a diet of low glycemic index foods resulted in a significant reduction in acne symptoms when compared to a control that did not change their diet. It therefore seems likely that your nutrition can affect your acne, and that changes in your diet could lead to a significant long-term reduction in acne symptoms such as pimples, pustules and other types of lesion.
The same studies also proved a reduction in the androgen levels of those on the complex hydrocarbon diet compared to the controls, and also greater sensitivity to insulin. However, the test group also experienced a significant weight loss, and it was not conclusively proved whether the reduction in acne symptoms was due to the reduction in blood glucose levels or to the weight loss.
However, the result is in accordance with the insulin and androgen theory, and it is known that diabetes is connected with obesity, so the two might in any case be related. Acne, diabetes, and weight are all related to your blood sugar level, which is in turn related to diet and carbohydrate intake.
Although a low glycemic index diet is suggested, such a diet is not easy to apply properly, and a dietician could help you here. Persistence is the name of the game, and you will not see instant results. Note that the tests referred to above were over twelve weeks, and this is likely the minimum period you will need to stick to your diet. However, the minute you break it, and revert back to simple carbohydrates, your problem will return. There is no sudden cure, rather a continual dietary approach to the prevention of the condition. Acne is not a disease that you can catch and cure. It is a condition created by lifestyle and diet, and can only be controlled rather than cured until you grow out of it in your late teens or early twenties, although many people suffer from acne until later in life.
Your diet should include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and cereals, brown rice, fish, eggs and lean meats. You should avoid saturated and trans fats, and eat unsaturated fats and oils, with plenty of omega fatty acids, vitamins and minerals for a good skin and good health. Exercise will help by improving the blood flow to your skin.
You can also help your condition by taking some specific supplements. Saw palmetto and zinc will help to reduce the levels of testosterone in your blood, and vitamins E and B6 are also believed to help. Selenium, pantothenic acid and essential fatty acids are other supplements that can help with acne, but your best bet is to discuss your condition with a naturopath or somebody trained in the use of natural remedies and supplements with your condition.
Many swear by tea tree oil, although treatment has to be prolonged over a length period before it becomes effective, but you might prefer this to one of the chemical testosterone blockers that can be prescribed for acne in certain cases.
Overall, acne is not a serious condition but can be disfiguring. Although you can seek medical help in the event of serious attacks, your recommended treatment initially is to eat plenty of healthy foods low in simple carbohydrates, to take the appropriate supplements and nutrients to keep you healthy and to take plenty of exercise to maintain a good blood supply to your face.
In these ways you can reduce the number, depth and lasting effects of acne pustules, and in many cases clear the condition altogether.
Cayenne for your aches and pains!
December 22, 2007 11:15 AM
Cayenne is the spicy pepper that is found in the same family as bell peppers and jalapenos. It is responsible for putting the kick into a lot of different spicy dishes, but it also helps to promote better health. Cayenne creams have capsaicin, an active compound which has proven to ease the pain of arthritic joints, along with the discomfort from shingles, muscular aches and spasms, bursitis, diabetic neuropathy, and phantom pains that follow amputation. By rubbing capsaicin on the skin, one can get rid of the chemical messengers that usually send pain signals. Even though the source of pain will still be there, using capsaicin will cause relief from the pain. However, this effect won’t last, so you will need to keep applying the cream to continue to deplete messengers that send pain signals. To use capsaicin, start by applying it four times a day for the first four days, then cut back to twice daily. You can tell a cayenne cream is working because there is a definite tingle, sometimes even a sting when you first apply them. Be careful not to put too much of this potent stuff on irritated or broken skin and be sure to wash your hands after applying so that you do not get the cream into sensitive areas such as your eyes and mouth.
By consuming cayenne in foods or in a capsule, one can ease the pain of stomachache, cramps, gas, or indigestion. One can also benefit the cardiovascular system by lowering LDL cholesterol and can also protect the body from free radical damage. Even more promising research on cayenne has found that cayenne cranks up thermogenesis and also suppresses appetite, assisting in weight loss. This means that while your mouth is burning from the spicy food, you are also burning calories. This spicy herb has also shown promising results in its ability to protect the stomach lining from damaging effects of aspirin. If you know that you have an ulcer or gastritis, make sure to use cayenne cautiously as it could worsen those conditions.
If you are looking for a great way to cleanse your system, an effect detox drink can be made from cayenne. By simply squeezing the juice of one lemon into a pint of warm water and adding a pinch of cayenne and one tablespoon of maple syrup, an effective drink can be created. Drinking one or more cups daily will produce great effects. If you’ve decided to eat mostly raw fruits and veggies during your cleansing diet, you might find that the raw foods can be tough to digest. A lot of people have found that when their digestive fire is weak, the raw fruit and vegetables are not easily digested. By sprinkling a little cayenne on your foods, you can build up the inner digestive fire, making raw foods much more easily digested. To get all of these great and helpful benefits, you can find cayenne at any local health food store or pharmacy. Cayenne can enhance absorption of the vitamins and prescription drugs you are currently taking; always first, be sure to consult your health care practitioner to make sure that cayenne is right for you.
How to Manage Migraines Naturally: Magnesium - Feverfew - Butterbur - Ginger
December 21, 2007 10:41 AM
Before you can understand how to manage migraines naturally, it is necessary to understand exactly what they are and how certain treatments could work. It is not generally known that the word ‘migraine’ means ‘half the head’ because it frequently hurts only on the right or the left of the head of sufferer. Some people with migraines do feel pain on both sides at once, although this is not generally the case.
A migraine occurs in stages which are activated by fluctuations in the hormone content of the blood. The ‘aura’, when you see spots and flashing lights in front of your eyes, is the first stage of a migraine attack, and during this time the blood vessels in your neck and head are contracting. You could also find it difficult to concentrate and your fingers could feel cold. At this point they do not have the headache that starts when the blood vessels begin to dilate.
Rather than the contracted blood vessels slowly returning to normal, your hormones have an excessively strong reaction, and cause them to dilate rapidly and become much wider than they should be leading to a severe headache due to pressure on the nerves. Different hormones can be involves with each attack, and the range of effective natural treatments reflect this fact. During this period, your brain could swell slightly, your muscles can tense up and other things can happen to the chemical and hormonal balance of your body. That is why some herbal treatments work for some but not for others, and different people find different treatments effective for them. What works for you might not work for somebody else if their migraine has a different cause. Basically, though, migraines occur in two phases, one being associated with an excess of hormones and the other with a shortage.
It is not easy to live with a migraine since it can be completely debilitating. Some just have a severe headache, while others are affected for days at a time. The headache can become before and after the onset of the shimmering lights and other optical effects that are generated by the brain. It would certainly be useful if those prone to migraines had one or more of the possible natural remedies to hand since there is rarely time to seek to seek professional medical help once the migraine begins, and through the use of natural remedies a potentially bad attack could be nipped in the bud, and at least its effect on you reduced.
Magnesium is common in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and cabbage, whole grains, nuts and seeds. It is an essential mineral for human biochemistry, and is also needed with calcium for healthy bone development and maintenance.
Magnesium is a muscle relaxant, and relaxes the muscles of the blood vessels helping them to relax their dilatancy that cause the migraine pain. It is also useful to help the immune function, reduces blood pressure (by the same blood vessel relaxing mechanism) and also the rhythm of your heart. Magnesium therefore provides you with many health benefits, and though the western diet is not generally deficient in magnesium, some areas can be and a magnesium-containing supplement will not do you harm.
However, particularly high dose of magnesium can lead to nausea, diarrhea, low blood pressure and many other unpleasant side effects, so do not take more than the RDA (recommended daily allowance) in your supplement. Many studies have confirmed its effectiveness in reducing the symptoms of migraine, but not all studies have been successful. However, the condition is so debilitating to so many people, that it should be tried although not in excess. Make sure, however, that your doctor is informed since it could interfere with other medication you are taking for your migraine.
Riboflavin, vitamin B-2, is also believed to useful in reducing the duration and frequency of migraine attacks, working in much the same way as magnesium. It is known that there are many cases of people who suffer from vitamin B-2 deficiency also suffering from migraines, and a riboflavin supplement is also worth trying if you are a consistent victim of this condition.
Feverfew is the best known of the herbal remedies for migraine, and has been used for centuries in the treatment of fevers, headache, migraine and other painful conditions such as arthritis. The active ingredient is parthenolide, an anti-inflammatory that is also an anti-hyperalgesic, and that would explain its effect on reducing the pain. It also blocks lipolysaccharide-induced osteolysis by suppressing the activity of a eukaryotic transcription factor protein known as NF-kappaB that can cause a number of immune response problems, including inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, hence its use to relieve that condition.
Its effect on migraines could be explained by this activity in repressing the inflammatory response to certain stimuli that could be brought about by hormonal activity. Because it must be taken for a few weeks before the actual problem arises in order to be effective against it, feverfew is not effective to treat an existing attack, but to prevent future attacks. Double blind studies have proved its effectiveness in many tests, but not in all. However, if you take feverfew as a regular supplement in you diet, you might never have to try magnesium or vitamin B-2 supplements.
Some people swear by the leaves of feverfew, eating one per day which is easy way to take it. It is important, however, that you do so regularly, since it can take for up to 6 – 8 weeks for you to notice a reduction in your attacks. Don’t give up after 5 or 6 weeks, but continue, since the results will be well worth it. If you stop for a week or two you will have to start all over again. You might get a sore mouth and perhaps mouth ulcers to start with, but these will eventually go once your body is used to it.
You are probably best not to take if you are pregnant since it could cause you to abort. Otherwise, however, it has been shown to be effective in many severe cases. Feverfew is bitter, and can be used as a tea with other herbs, such as rosemary, lavender and sage. If you are taking warfarin, aspirin or other blood-thinning drugs, see your doctor first, and the same is true of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). If you are taking these for arthritis, the feverfew itself might be more effective!
If you are taking feverfew as a supplement using commercially available dried leaf then the recommended dosage is around 125mg of the dried leaf. It should contain at least 0.2% of parthenolide (0.25mg/daily), although other studies have indicated that a total of 0.7 mg parthenolide a day should be taken (100mg at 0.7%). Parthenolide is unstable so don’t take it after its sell by or best by date.
Butterbur is also useful in the treatment of migraines. The active ingredient here is petasin, a sesquiterpene ester that also has anti-inflammatory properties, all though it works in a different manner to feverfew. Here, it inhibits the activities of leukotriene generation in neutrophils and eosinophils, which indicates that it also possesses anti-allergenic properties that could help asthmatics that also suffer from migraines. It does not prevent the release of histamine, but does appear to reduce smooth muscle spasm.
You should never take the raw herb, only the extract, because it contains alkaloids that can harm you. The butterbur extract, however, is a perfectly safe supplement and found effective by many people in the treatment of migraine.
If your migraine is at the front of the head, then you should try ginger. Unlike feverfew, ginger works on a migraine as it is occurring, and improvement can be achieved for a bad migraine within half an hour. In fact if, like many people, you can feel a migraine coming on, half a teaspoon of freshly ground ginger can stop the pain before it starts.
Many herbal treatments for migraine include a combination of some of the above remedies, and many people swear by them. However, migraine treatment is very personal, and you should use what works best for you. If you are also taking other medical treatments however, please make sure that you refer to your physician before using any others, and that includes herbal remedies or supplements.
Now Available in Vegetarian Capsules - Triphala
December 20, 2007 04:17 PM
Sustainably wildcrafted—organically cultivated fruits
Planetary Herbals, the company that introduced Triphala to the American health food market, offers you this premier product made from organic fruits: Triphala Gold.
The most highly revered detoxifying and tonifying compound in the 5,000-year Ayurvedic tradition.
Combines three sour and astringent fruits, legendary for their health-promoting effects: amla, behada, and harada.
Planetary Herbals: Your Source for Triphala
Triphala, an Ayurvedic staple, is designed to support digestion, assimilation, and elimination. In the United States, it is the cornerstone of botanical intestinal cleansing programs. Triphala Gold is made from fruits sustainably wildcrafted on certified organic land in the foothills of Sri Lanka or Northeastern Madhya Pradesh. The fruits are then processed to maintain their freshness, purity, and quality. The indigenous community that harvests our three fruits is paid more than market price, which supports the ability of community members to remain in their ancestral homelands. The local pickers are trained in methods that allow for preservation of local forests and long-term ecological sustainability.
Power Your Day With Natural Energizer's
December 20, 2007 01:48 PM
If you tend to feel a bit tired now and again, there are plenty of natural energizers that you can use to power your day and provide you with that much needed energy to enable you to get going and keep going.
If you are suffering from chronic fatigue then you need something to get you going, and many people suffering from conditions such as fibromyalgia that can cause severe fatigue and very poor sleeping patters, need an energy booster each morning. It might not help the pain, but it will help their bodies to get moving and provide the energy required for everyday living.
So what substances are available to help you energize yourself for what the day is to bring you? The Chinese use cordyceps, which is type of mushroom that truly could be describes as ‘magic’. It grows on the caterpillars of a type of moth and can improve stamina and endurance, and also regulate sleeping patterns. It is useful for the prevention of depression, and improves the function of your lungs and also of the adrenal function. A low adrenal function can lead to low blood sugar and loss of energy.
Energy is obtained from the cellular mitochondria that metabolize blood glucose into energy. Part of this metabolic process requires the presence of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Coryceps is known to increase the ATP levels in human cells and so enable the mitochondria to generate more energy. It is used in China by those recovering from surgery or childbirth, and is known to replace the energy lost after heavy exertion.
Its added benefits to those suffering from sexual dysfunction are well known, and it appears to promote stronger blood flow to the extremities of the body. In Chinese medicine it replenishes yin and yang jing and is also a strong antioxidant. It is used extensively by athletes and people who expend a lot of energy while working and exercising.
A magnesium deficiency is rare in the western diet, but it can cause symptoms including fatigue, weakness, irritability, muscle cramps, insomnia stress and appetite loss. Your cardiovascular system is dependent on magnesium for its functioning, and it contributes significant to the strength of the heart muscle contraction and hence the blood flow.
It is also an important component of bone, and during times of stress its stores can be significantly depleted. It is when stressed, then, that most people might benefit from a supplement, and a general energy boosting supplement would also benefit from a small amount of magnesium to replace what is lost through stress. Many people needing a tonic to give them a start to the day might also be under stress for one reason or another, and a magnesium supplement will do them no harm.
D-ribose is found in all living cells. It is an essential building block of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid). DNA, of course, is essential to life while RNA is used in DNA replication. Ribose is responsible for providing energy to every cell in your body, and without it you would not exist. Athletes in particular believe that a ribose supplement increases stamina and endurance, and it is used to help speed up recovery of the heart after surgery and after heart attacks.
Ribose seems an excellent candidate to be included in any energizing tonic due both to its ubiquitous presence throughout the body and also because it is a sugar – a monosaccharide in fact, and hence simple and easily absorbed by the body.
Yohimbe is obtained from the bark of a predominantly West African tree, and when ingested it releases an indole alkaloid called yohimbine into the bloodstream.
Yohimbine is a vasodilator, which means that it widens the blood vessels allowing a greater flow of blood to the extremities. This is one reason why it is also prized by those suffering from erectile dysfunction although it also claimed to be an aphrodisiac. However, as an energizer it is likely the increased blood flow that provides a greater supply of oxygen to the muscles that is the most important property. There are also several more alkaloids contained in yohimbe bark that likely have an effect on its energy enhancing effects on the body.
Guarana is extracted from the seeds of the guarana shrub, native to South America, and Brazil in particular. The Amazonian natives use it in their food and drinks to improve their alertness and energy and its main benefits likely come from its caffeine content. This is about twice that of coffee beans, and it should therefore be used with caution.
An excess of caffeine can cause restlessness, tension and nervousness due both to the caffeine content (xanthines), and that of other alkaloids such as theophylline and theobromine. They not only enhance your alertness and energy levels but suppress appetite and increase your metabolic rate that results in an increased need for energy providing foods such as sugars. However, guarana is used by those needing a boost and makes a good energizer for those that find it difficult to keep both physically and mentally active throughout the day.
Bee products provide sugars in a natural form and are excellent and natural energizers for your whole body. Whether you use royal jelly, honey or any other of the bee products available as supplements, they will not only increase your energy levels but also provide you with many other health benefits.
From treating athlete’s foot to healing wounds and alleviating stomach ulcers, honey has many medicinal uses. It is an antioxidant and antiseptic, and can heal you of many conditions from head to toe, inside and out. Bee products are a must in any restorative or energizing tonic and are completely safe with no known side effects.
Each of the above six substances has its place as a natural energizer, and each could help to power your whole day. Put them together and you have an ultra-powerful mix of natural products that should enable you to meet any physical demands put on you. You are unlikely to come across such a combination of effective substances of course, but should make your choice of tonic from any or some of the above, and you can even use them in combination since they do not appear to interact with each other.
Antioxidant & Cellular Energizer for Heart, Brain, Immunity & Liver
December 18, 2007 05:28 PM
Coenzyme Q10 Ultra Potent 400 mg!
Antioxidant & Cellular Energizer for Heart, Brain, Immunity & Liver
1 softgel contains: Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) 400mg
Ubiquinone Coenzyme Q10 is a highly absorbably form of CoQ10. CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant to help fight oxidative stress which can cause premature aging. CoQ10 is a critical enzyme for cellular energy for all muscles in the body, especially the heart muscle that beats millions of times with out stopping in a lifetime. CoQ10 can help boost brain function, boost immunity, and boost liver function.
For those with gum disease, Coenzyme Q10 can support healthy gums and teeth. Have you had your Coenzyme Q10 today?
Pine Bark Extract 150mg - 95% Procyanidolic Value
December 18, 2007 04:49 PM
New Source Naturals Pine Bark Extract
150 mg Extract Standardized to 95% Procyanidolic Value
UPC: 021078020820 SN2082
Pine bark is a powerful antioxidant that can help strengthen blood vessels and boost overall health and wellness in individuals taking the supplement. We as individuals age by oxidation and destruction of cells in the body. Slow the aging process with antioxidants daily and look younger longer.
I recommend a good herbal tea loaded with antioxidants such as yerbamate royal by wisdom of the ancients in conjunction with a pine bark extract like this new Source Naturals supplement.
Eggs: An Excellent Source of Omega-3 Oils for Better Health
December 18, 2007 11:43 AM
Eggs have many health benefits, among them being the fact they can be an excellent source of omega-3 oils that can promote better health in those that take it as a supplement. Hens fed on flax seeds are particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids, although eggs have many health benefits other than omega-3.
Most of the health benefits of Omega fatty acids are well known, although many more are being continually discovered as scientists research the uses to which the substances can be put in our bodies. Omega-3 fatty acids have long carbon chains that are polyunsaturated, i.e. contain multiple double bonds in the hydrocarbon chain. As opposed to saturated fatty acids with no double bonds. They are important components of our neurological systems and help to build up cell membranes, but are probably best known for their effect in protecting us from cardiovascular diseases. Omega-3 fatty acids can help us to maintain a healthy heart, and so enable us to live longer.
The current western diet has been changing to reduce cholesterol intake and improve our lifestyle. However, this has not all been well advised, and the resultant diet is rich in vegetable oils as opposite to animal fats, the relative levels of omega fatty acids having changed in favor of omega-6 fatty acids. These omega-6 fats are not as healthy for us as omega-3, and can lead to a thrombogenic state that more easily leads to cardiovascular diseases and blood clots. Rather than a normal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of around 2:1, this ‘improved’ diet has increased it to anything up to 50:1.
The American Heart Association has been advocating a diet richer in omega-3 fatty acids since 1996, yet while research continues to favor omega-3, the increase in consumption of vegetable oils has continued to increase, and with it a reduction in the overall health of a nation.
Omega-3 enriched eggs have been introduced as one means of redressing the balance. Hens fed on flax seeds lay eggs with a much higher proportion of omega-3 fatty acids than normal: up to and over 150mg per egg. Such eggs also have reduced cholesterol – over 15% less, and also are higher in vitamin E, a strong antioxidant, by up to 300%.
Two of the components of omega-3 oils, linoleic acid and linolenic acid, are what are known as ‘essential’ fatty acids. The term means that they cannot be manufactured in your body, so must essentially be introduced through your diet. When the human body developed to what it is now, the consumption of fish and other oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids was a significant part of our diets, and allowed our bodies to develop the biochemistry and metabolism that it uses today.
If we now upset that biochemistry by cutting our intake of unsaturated fatty acids, our metabolism will suffer and our general health decline. This is one reason why humans should interfere with their natural eating habits as little as possible, or if we do so excessively we should use supplements to replace what we are excluding from diets that have been natural to us for countless millennia. It is dangerous now for the human race to suddenly switch to a significantly different diet without suitable supplementation, because we do not know the long terms effects of doing so.
One way to maintain a steady intake of the fatty acids our metabolism needs in order to ensure our survival is to eat eggs, and especially omega-3 enriched eggs. Of course, eggs have a lot more beneficial health effects than just omega-3. Take choline for example. This is a trimethylated compound that is important in the metabolism of fats. It is the newest official B vitamin, and is an essential component of cell membranes. It is particularly important for the maintenance of the health of your brain, and preventing many brain disorders.
It is also important in methylation, an important biochemical process, and also in the biochemical synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This substance is used to pass messages between nerve cells and from nerve cells to muscles, and a deficiency can cause many health problems, including heart disease and diseases of the vascular system. Methylation is a very important biochemical reaction, being used particularly in messages between body cells and is used to switch genes on and off.
Up to 90% of Americans are deficient in choline, and subject to many diseases because of it. Symptoms include insomnia, fatigue, excess fat concentrations in the blood and problems with your nerves and muscular control. It can cause liver problems and heart problems, and cause a number of brain disorders.
Choline is available in the diet from lecithin and egg yolks, and also soya beans, flax seeds, peanuts and potatoes. The typical American diet is not conducive to an adequate choline intake, and increased egg consumption can help to redress this. This is particularly true of eggs from hens fed with flax seeds, or linseed, from which the triple benefits of choline, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E are obtained. Just two eggs will provide you with almost 50% of your daily requirement of choline.
Some are wary about the cholesterol content of eggs, but studies have indicated that it not so much the amount of dietary cholesterol that is eaten, but saturated fats that cause the excess deposition of cholesterol in the arteries. Cholesterol is an essential part of human biochemistry, and without any we could not survive. In fact, studies have shown that eating two eggs daily can improve your cholesterol levels
Eggs are also rich in lutein, and contain more than vegetables such as spinach. Lutein is an important carotenoid that is believed to prevent age related macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness, and also prevents the development of cataracts. Eggs also appear to have anti-clotting properties on the blood, and so help to reduce the thrombogenesis of omega-6 fatty acids.
Without a doubt, eating eggs is very good for your health, and especially so if they are rich is omega-3 fatty acids. They contain a wide variety of nutrients and truly are a complete food packaged by nature. Some may prefer to stay away from eggs and miss the omega-3 benefits so there is an alternative for diets that exclude eggs. Omega-3 is available in a supplement form that one can take on a daily basis to reap the benefits omega-3 presents.
Loose Weight By Cutting Dietary Fat Absorption
December 08, 2007 06:24 PM
You can lose weight by cutting dietary fat absorption, although in order to understand the need for this you have to appreciate the effect that fat has on your weight. Not only fat, but any form of calories.
The word ‘calorie’ appears to have a bad press, and there have been a lot of ill informed comments made about calories and whether calorie controlled diets are effective or not. Quite frankly, it is all said in ignorance. Whether you agree or not, the calorie is a measurement of energy and the calorie content of foods is what is calculated to be the energy value of these foods.
Once inside your body, that energy is either used up or converted to body mass. It is not necessarily converted to fat, since that extra weight could be in the form of muscle tissue. However, it is converted to body mass and so you can put on weight. The basic equation is that if you take in more energy than you use, then you add weight, and if you use more energy than you take in, then you lose weight. It is slightly more complex than that, but it is basically true.
That does not mean that if you eat a pound of dripping (the fat that drips off cooking meat) you will add a pound of weight. It is the calorific value of the dripping in terms of energy, whether measured in calories or in joules, that is the relevant factor, and if that is 4000 calories, which is about average for various types of dripping, then if you use up 4001 calories in exercise, you can safely spread your pound of lard on toast and eat it without putting on weight (you will have also to use up the calories in the toast).
It is the calorie equation that is important, and if this is negative then you will lose weight. You have to: it is a law of science! Whether your calories are in the form of cookies, candies, avocados (loads of them) or dripping, it is all the same. A meat calorie is the same as a vegetarian or vegan calorie. If you eat more than you use you put on weight.
Different foods contain different quantities of energy, or calories. If you buy a Big Mac you eat 570 calories, and 5 from your Super Pepsi. If the guy next to you has an English Muffin, he will have 140 calories. However, if he then goes home and slouches on the sofa watching TV and you go to the gym for a serious workout, he is liable to put on weight and you lose it. It’s all in the equation!
However, you don’t just use calories in exercise. Your metabolism is also important. In fact 65% - 75% of the calories you use in a day are used up by the body at rest: the metabolism that takes place 24/7 to keep you alive. The heartbeat, breathing and brain activity for example, all use up energy. So not all is doom and gloom, and you can burn up these calories even while you are sleeping.
However, there is another way to prevent the fat you eat from turning into weight. (Incidentally, if you exercise a lot, that weight will likely be in muscle mass, but if not then it will certainly be fat). You have a clue to the way that can be done in the first sentence of this article: ‘dietary fat absorption’.
If the fat is not absorbed into the body, then it is not available to be metabolized into body fat. It will pass through the body unchanged. It is not the fat you consume that makes you gain weight, but the amount of that fat absorbed through your intestines. But how is it possible to selectively prevent the fat in your diet from being emulsified by the bile and absorbed through the intestinal wall?
By means of chitosan. This is a fiber that absorbs part of the fat from the food you have eaten and hides it away from your digestive system. It cannot be broken down into sugars and then into fat to add to your unwanted weight. However, because it works after your meal, you get to eat what you want – that ‘finger lickin’ good’ stuff you love, but don’t suffer the consequences of failing to exercise to work it off. It’s like you just ate lettuce without the fried chicken with the crispy fatty skin.
So what is this miracle substance, chitosan? Biologists would recognize the name as being associated with chitin, the acetyl-glucosamine polymer that forms the carapaces, or shells, of crabs, lobsters and other marine shellfish. Chitosan is formed by deacetylating the chitin and is mainly used to enhance the growth of plants, and also as a filtration aid. So what does it do to help to remove some of the fat from your diet after you have eaten it?
The mechanism by which it does this is not fully understood, and in fact is still disputed in some quarters. However, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and it appears to act according to the claims. There are two possible mechanisms, one of which is connected with the deacetylation of the chitin molecule. Because of this, the resultant chitosan molecule has cationic groups on the polymer chain. Cations are positively charged, and can react with acids, not the least of which are the bile acids that break down lipids (fats) to render them into a form suitable for absorption.
It is possible for the chitosan to react with the bile acids and prevent them from breaking down the fats into a condition that enables them to be passed through the intestinal wall. However, it has also been proposed that dietary fibers work by increasing the thickness of the boundary layer of the intestine through which the fats would have to pass. This would have the effect of reducing the lipid uptake.
It is also possible that since chitosan is a fibrous substance, it attracts the fats through its charge and absorbs them into a swelling ball of fats and fiber that is not only impermeable by the bile acids, but also passes through the intestinal tract unchanged and eventually excreted. In fact, there is not proof for any of these projected mechanisms, and all are theoretically possible. The fact is that it appears to work, but must be taken for several weeks for the effects to be noticeable.
It is possible to lose weight by dietary fat absorption, and whatever mechanism is used by chitosan, it is well worth trying if you like your fatty foods but also want to lose weight. Combine chitosan with a good exercise regime and you might find that you can control your weight whatever you eat. Chitosan is available over the counter at any health food store.
L-Glutathione Can Eliminate Toxins in the Liver
December 07, 2007 11:54 AM
L-glutathione is the reduced form of glutathione, and is a tripeptide synthesized in the animal and plant tissues from glycine, cysteine and glutamate. Commonly known as GSH, it contains thiol groups that are maintained in a reduced state, and is a very powerful antioxidant, considered to be the key antioxidant and protective substance in the body.
Glutathione can reduce any disulfide groups in the cytoplasm within the body of the cell, and ensures that the cytoplasm is a strongly reducing medium protecting against oxidation. It has a synergistic effect with other antioxidants to protect the body against free radicals and oxidizing agents that cause so much damage to the body through what is commonly referred to as ‘oxidative stress’. However, there is more to it than that and it attaches itself to toxic chemicals and drugs in the liver and renders them into a state suitable for elimination from the body.
These toxic materials include poisonous pesticides, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and chromium and many other substances that we come into contact with due to present day pollution of our atmosphere and foodstuffs. Glutathione can also help protect the body from the effects of chemotherapy and evidence is suggesting possible links with the control of some cancers, diabetes, atherosclerosis and many other degenerative conditions caused by free radical attack and the effects of pollutants.
The way that GSH acts in the cells is that the redox state of the glutathione-glutathione disulfide couple is critical to the health of the intercellular and intracellular fluid. GSH in the reduced state of glutathione reacts with an oxidative agent such as hydrogen peroxide to form the oxidized form, glutathione disulfide and water. It hence mops up oxidizers such as peroxides and free radicals within the cytoplasm of the body’s cells, and also in between the cells. The disulfide is then converted back to GSH by the combined action of the enzyme glutathione reductase and NADPH (the reducing agent nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate).
The cycle then repeats so that two molecules of glutathione continue to reduce damaging oxidizing agents without themselves being consumed. In so doing, the NADPH becomes oxidized. A continuous supply of NADPH is needed to allow GSH to undergo these biochemical reactions, and up to 10% of our blood glucose is used by the pentose phosphate pathway by which NADPH is synthesized.
Since this cycle consumes no glutathione, it would appear that a supplement is unnecessary. However, this is not the case since the molecule takes part in other reactions in the body, particularly in the elimination of toxic heavy metals from the body. Mercury is highly reactive with the thiol that GSH is, and so will bind to form a stable Hg-sulfydryl bond in the liver. This mercury-glutathione chelate is unable to bind to other proteins or gain access to the body cells, and is eventually harmlessly secreted. The same is true of many other heavy metals that are reactive with thiol’s.
In this way the body is protected from the harmful effects of these heavy metals. However, it results in the loss of the glutathione, and the pollution of modern day living can take a heavy toll of the GSH content of our bodies. For this reason a glutathione supplement is recommended, especially for city dwellers that may be exposed to more heavy metals than those residing in rural areas.
However, the form in which this supplement is taken is very important, because the human digestive tract contains a significant amount of gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase. That is an enzyme which apparently destroys glutathione before it can be absorbed. However, it can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream by dissolving the pill between the teeth and inner cheek. It has also been suggestion that the supplement could be administered by injection.
Others have suggested that rather than administer a supplement, individuals could take other supplements that contain the materials needed to stimulate the formation of GSH. Substances such as vitamin C, selenium (important in GSH biochemistry), methionine, alpha-lipoic acid and glutamine could all help to increase the body’s production of glutathione. A supplement of the constituent parts of cysteine, glycine and glutamic acid should also help. The dosage ranges recommended vary widely from 50mg to 500mg daily, and the effects of supplementation are not yet well know.
Some specific conditions that this wonder antioxidant is useful in treating include liver disease such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and so on. Patients suffering from these diseases show a massive reduction in their GSH content and prior GSH treatment appeared to offer a significant degree of protection in controlled clinical investigations. Patients suffering from chronic hepatitis C have been found to be associated with reduced GSH levels, particularly if also HIV positive.
Similar deficiencies have been noted in some lung conditions such as asthma and other pulmonary conditions. In such cases it has been demonstrated that administration of GSH supplements sufficient to restore normal levels of the substance improved the patients’ conditions by a significant amount. Its effect on atherosclerosis appears to be significant since a decreased level of GSH peroxidase has been recorded in such patients in addition to an increase in lipid peroxides, indicating that oxidation of the arterial wall had been occurring.
Anti-viral therapies that rely on GSH biochemistry for their action have been found to be less effective in those with low GSH levels, and other studies have confirmed that supplementing with GSH improves the response to interferon treatment. These results indicate the activity of oxidizing agents and free radicals in liver conditions, and in fact this has been demonstrated by tests carried out in New York and Philadelphia in the 1990s.
This suggests that the liver is prone to damage by oxidative stress, and that GSH levels may be able to be used as an indication of potential liver disease. What is evident is that a strong case can be made for glutathione supplementation as protection against potential liver, pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases, especially by those exposed to specific polluting agents such as primary or secondary tobacco smoke, auto and diesel fumes and chemicals and pesticides.
L-glutathione is useful, not only for the elimination of toxins in the liver, but also in protecting this large and vital organ from the oxidative stress that modern living brings. L-Glutathione and its precursors are sold over the counter at your local or internet health food store.
Is Drugging Our Children The Answer Or Could A Natural Supplement Magnesium Help?
December 05, 2007 11:02 AM
ttention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been a commonly diagnosed illness occurring in children since the 1980s. Many people argue that ADHD should not be categorized as a disorder, but rather a set of problems that are normal to childhood. Either way, ADHD’s symptoms consist of wandering attention, nervousness, and hyperactivity. These symptoms can be extremely troubling for the parents and teachers that have to work with children suffering from ADHD. Drugs like Ritalin have been promoted ADHD treatments for many years, but have been found to have highly dangerous side effects and not be a solution to everything. Meanwhile, many nutritionists have discovered that many of the answers to ADHD can be found in a child’s diet in the form of food additives, sugar, and the missing essential nutrients.
One child who was horribly hyperactive, out of control, and diagnosed with ADHD by a school psychologist was taken off any foods that contained a particular red dye. Almost immediately, the child’s hyperactivity ceased and he began paying attention and living the life of a normal child. A study recently completed at Yale University School of Medicine supported this result, showing a direct connection between food additives and hyperactivity. This study consisted of 297 children who were given drinks that contained common artificial food colorings and additives that are usually found in food and candy. Meanwhile, a control group was given drinks without additives. The children who drank the additive-enhanced drinks showed a significantly greater amount of hyperactivity and had shorter attention spans.
Another common cause of ADHD symptoms in children is overdosing of sugar. With all the snack-like breakfast cereals available and the high sugar-constant treats, hyperactivity should be expected. Once a child consumes a large quantity of sugar, he will hit a high of out-of-control hyperactivity and then quickly become grouchy and prone to tantrums. This is often called a “sugar rush” and can easily be solved by taking children off sugar.
After removing chemical additives and processed sugar from the diet, ADHD symptoms have also been traced to a lack of mineral magnesium. This nutrient is essential and often missing from most diets today. Kids who drink a lot of soda or fruit juices are getting high amounts of sugar but not magnesium. Those children without magnesium often suffer from irritability, insomnia, and constipation. These symptoms, which are commonly diagnosed as ADHD, can be cleared up quickly by putting your child on a magnesium supplement. Most nutritionists agree, believing that many ADHD symptoms come from a high sugar diet and a magnesium deficiency. Sugar and over-stimulation, such as stress, actually exhausts a child’s nervous system. This can be cured with a magnesium supplement which allows the nervous system to rebuild. In addition, this supplement will assist the child in relaxing. Since children are the future for our society, helping them to survive in the best way possible, naturally, is something each and every one of us should take much more responsibility for.
Elderberry Can Boost The Immune System In The Winter
December 03, 2007 09:44 PM
The immune system is frequently overworked when the days get shorter and the temperature starts to drop, and elderberry can boost the immune system in winter for those that find themselves susceptible to all the colds, flu and other viral infections that seem to come out of the woodwork at that time.
Elderberry is the fruit of the elder tree that is native to Asia, Europe and North America. They are found just about anywhere due to their tolerance for a wide range of climates and soil types, and are frequently found by river banks. There are a number of different types of elder, in both small tree and shrub form, and it is those with the black and blue berries that are useful medicinally, not those with red berries. It is not only the berries that are used, but also the elder flowers. Elderflower wine has long been a favorite country wine, and the berries are used to make jam, pies and also drunk as juice.
Elder has been used for countless years for treating viral diseases such as influenza and colds, and it has also been found by some to be effective for the treatment of cold sores (herpes simplex). Its effect on flu is thought to be that it prevents the virus from entering and infecting the body cells, but more on this later. Historically, it has been used to promote the excretion of waste products through urination and sweating, which might be another reason why it is effective against colds and flu and some general respiratory problems.
The juice contains anthocyanins in the form of anthocyanidin-3-glycosides that appear to be very bioavailable to the body. The anthocyanins are more easily absorbed than those of blackcurrant juice, and are very strong antioxidants. The antioxidant effect is reinforced by the presence of large quantities of vitamin C. This difference in bioavailability has been proved though the administration of both blackcurrant and elderberry juice to volunteers, and testing the presence of the anthocyanins in the urine. This is a measure of their bioavailability, or how easily they are absorbed by the body, and the greater this bioavailability, then the more effective is their antioxidant effect.
Separate studies have indicated that anthocyanins derived from berries in general, not just elderberry, can reduce oxidative stress due to age, and also to help brain function. An improvement in the memory of the elderly has been seen to have improved after a course of berry juices rich in these powerful antioxidants. Elderberry antioxidants also improve the stability of LDL cholesterol by protecting against free radical oxidation, and thus helping to reduce the incidence of atherosclerosis that is promoted by the deposition of the oxidized LDL cholesterol on artery walls. This in turn helps to reduce the possibility of cardiovascular disease.
However, it is its effect on the immune system for which elderberry is generally studied by the medical professions. Elderberry helps to boost the immune system predominantly through the production of cytokines. To explain how these work, a quick summary of how part of the immune system works will first be necessary.
When intrusion into the body by an antigen (foreign body) is detected, the initial response is the inflammatory response. Chemical messengers called cytokines are released into the blood to inform the other parts of the immune system that an invader has been spotted.
The immediate effect is to increase the flow of blood to the affected part of the body by dilation of the blood vessels. The spaces between the cells in the vessel walls increase to allow the larger components of the immune system, such as the phagocytes that consume and destroy bacteria. Proteins also congregate and the temperature at the site rises to promote the reactions that the body uses to eject the invaders. The tissue therefore swells due to all the extra fluid and gets hot. The area becomes painful due to the accumulation of material aggravating the nerves, and if there is an infection, pus will eventually be formed from the dead neutrophils used to kill the bacteria or virus.
There are many different types of cytokine, including those that initiate the inflammatory response and others that stop the immune response once the invader has been killed off. Other cytokines, such as the interferons, stop viruses from multiplying, and others take part in the response only to specific types of antigen. Each cytokine has a specific message to pass to the relevant components of the immune system in order that the immune response is appropriate to the invasion concerned and does not overreact. Hence, a grain of pollen in the nose will elicit a lesser response than a varicella antigen that leads to those horrible chickenpox pustules.
In general terms, cytokines give the immune system a kick start once an antigen is spotted. The elderberry anthocyanins produce predominantly inflammatory cytokines, but also one anti-inflammatory cytokine, and so helping to boost the inflammatory response.
Some viruses use what are known as spike proteins that mimic the molecules of their host in order to gain access to cells by binding to the target cell receptors. However, these spikes are easily recognized by the immune system, and the elderberry anthocyanins are active in promoting this recognition. For that reason, viruses vigorously continue to change and mutate to overcome this, one manifestation of their success in achieving this being in the annual infections of influenza that have overcome last year’s antibodies by means of this mutation.
The influenza virus contains what are known as hemagglutinin spikes on its surface which, when deactivated, cannot break through your cell walls, enter the cell and replicate, thus leading to influenza. That is the mechanism by which the constituents of elderberries help to control influenza and reduce its effect on your body. If not deactivated, the spikes allow the virus to invade the cell and provoke the immune response that you know as the flu.
Many such winter ailments have a similar mechanism, which is why, apart from its general health benefits through its high antioxidant content, that elderberry can boost the immune system in winter.
An Ancient Herb And Its Application In Prostate Health
December 02, 2007 05:55 PM
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer as well as the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among American men. A prostate specific antigen (PSA) test has been shown to detect prostate cancer in its earliest stages. Even though cancer screenings are very important they are just one health concern when it comes to the prostate. As men get older, the prostate may become a source for many other problems that can, but not necessarily always, include cancer. Since the symptoms of some prostate conditions often mimic cancer, many men who learn they have a problem often immediately assume the worst. Therefore, it is important to understand the prostate and how potential changes might affect your health. Additionally, it is good to know what natural supplements you can take to ensure your prostate ages healthfully.
The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland found only in men just below the bladder and around the urethra, which functions as part of the male reproductive system. Throughout life the prostate continues to grow larger, but only after it becomes too large do problems begin to occur. The most common problem for men under fifty is prostatitis (inflamed prostate). This can cause a burning feeling during urination as well as frequent urination. It may be a sign that your body is fighting an infection, which can usually be treated with the use of an antibiotic. Nonbacterial prostatitis, on the other hand, does not respond to antibiotics and requires other forms of treatment. Men over fifty suffer most frequently from prostate enlargement or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Although older men are more at risk for prostate cancer, BPH is much more common. This issue occurs when the prostate becomes so enlarged that it squeezes the urethra, causing problems in urination, urinary tract infections, and in worse case scenarios kidney damage. However, prostate cancer will affect one out of ever six men over the course of their lifetimes, making it the most serious prostate problem, causing 27,00 deaths this year alone.
Prostate problems such as BPH are usually treated with prescription drugs, which often lead to unpleasant side effects such as mild dizziness, sleep problems, decreased sex drive, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, and fainting. For those people who don’t want to experience these side effects, there is a natural safe alternative available: saw palmetto. Saw palmetto is the best known of prostate-supportive herbs coming from palm tree berries. However, it does not work for all men or those with extreme cases of BPH. The prostate gland also needs zinc, which is hard to find in a typical diet. By adding zinc supplements to your daily regimen, you can easily stabilize hormones and possibly prevent prostate problems.
A great natural solution that comes risk-free and can help with a large range of prostate health issues is epilobium, which contains properties that have supported prostate health for centuries. Epilobium is a small willow herb used in traditional medicine for the treatment of prostate disorders and valued for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Because traditional use and modern research have proven that epilobium may help with BPH and prostatitis and has shown promising results for inhibiting cancer cell growth, it’s a great choice for prostate health.
A Periwinkle Extract Vinpocetine May Promote Cerebral Blood Flow
December 01, 2007 09:05 AM
Periwinkles form the plant genus Vinca, of which the lesser periwinkle and the greater periwinkle are the two members. They are also a form of dogbane, known for its alkaloid properties. Periwinkles are of interest to the medical profession due to their biosynthesis of a number of alkaloids that are used to protect themselves from bacteria and are also toxic to the herbivores that would otherwise eat them.
Many other plants produce alkaloids, perhaps the best known being poppy, that produces the alkaloid opium that is the precursor to heroin. The alkaloids of the periwinkle, however, have a much more beneficial use for mankind in their action on certain types of cancer such as Hodgkin’s disease, and also on the flow of blood to the brain.
The components of the periwinkle include vinblastine, which is used in the treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and it is the only plant known to produce the alkaloid, although only in very small quantities after synthetic seeding. This involves introducing modified tryptamines to the plant so that they produce the desired alkaloid, although only in quantities of 0.002% of the weight of the plant. Although small, this is still less expensive that synthesizing the alkaloid in a chemical plant rather than a biological one!
Chemists are now seeking more readily synthesizable alternative forms of the alkaloid that have the same effect, again using the periwinkle as a botanical chemical factory to provide them with a lead as to possible synthetic routes. However, it is for the application of another alkaloid of this amazing little plant that we are more concerned with here.
In addition to vinblastine, the periwinkle produces the alkaloid vincamine, a type of tryptamine that can be extracted from the leaves of the lesser periwinkle, the Vinca minor. This periwinkle has been used through the ages as an invigorating tonic and as an astringent to treat bleeding gums and sores in the mouth. Vincamine promotes the aerobic glycolysis that is essential to cerebral health.
Normal glycolysis, or the conversion of glucose to energy in the mitochondria of the cells of the body, occurs best in the absence of oxygen (anaerobic glycolysis). However, the brain produces up to and over 90% more energy through aerobic glycolysis in the presence of oxygen than through anaerobic. Hence one of the needs for such a rich supply of oxygenated blood being needed by the brain. As people grow older, or their brain tissue becomes damaged, then the supply of blood can be reduced and more and more anaerobic glycolysis is switched on. This results in an increasing loss of brain energy and hence brain function. Vincamine can reverse this effect, or at least maintain the status quo, and so enable people to maintain their brain function for longer.
It is also what is known as a vasodilator, and dilates the blood vessels in the brain allowing a greater blood flow. It is known to be beneficial in relation to tasks requiring focused concentration such as mathematical problem solving, and has also been found effective in the treatment of people with poor memory.
Vinpocetine (ethyl apovincaminate) is a derivative of vincamine, obtained by slightly modifying the molecule to produce a commercial form of the alkaloid. This possesses all of the beneficial effects of its precursor, including its positive effects on memory, believed to be due to the stimulation of serotonin production that improves the rate at which the brain can process information. Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears that has severely reduced the quality of life of so many people, can also be treated with vinpotecine.
Its vascodilation effect is thought to be through its action as a phosphodeaterase 1 (PDE1) inhibitor that results in an improvement in the plasticity of neurons. The mechanism is complex, but the end result is an improvement in the cognitive abilities of the subject. This is supplemented by the effect of vinpocetine on the calcium levels in the blood vessels. This renders them more plastic in much the same way that some anti-hypertension treatments work to reduce blood pressure by increasing the plasticity of the blood vessels by modification of their calcium levels. It can also reduce the viscosity of the blood through its action on the “stickiness” of leucocytes and so allow the blood to run more freely through the capillaries of the brain.
These effects have been demonstrated through double blind studies, and there is little doubt that vinpocetine helps to maintain a healthy cerebral circulation. So let’s have a recap on its various effects, and then finish with a summary of the conditions that the alkaloid can be used to treat or improve. The theory and biochemistry behind these effects is known, but is complex, but here are the major actions:
a) It improves blood flow by modifying the calcium content of the blood vessels and so improves their elasticity, hence allowing a freer movement of blood. In effect it helps the blood vessels to dilate easier.
b) It inhibits the enzyme PDE1 and by doing so helps to restore the elasticity of neurons in aging brain cells, allowing them to relax more and operate more effectively.
c) It promotes aerobic glycolysis, and so the rate at which the mitochondria of brain cells produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate) that is the chemical manifestation of energy.
d) It helps to maintain a good supply of glucose and oxygen in the brain to allow (c) to occur.
Not all of these may be separate effects, but the outcome is an improvement in conditions such as short term memory loss, dementia and other conditions associated with a reduction in the blood supply to the brain including Menière’s syndrome and vertigo. There is also evidence that it helps with hearing problems, macular degeneration of the eye, and fatigue.
It is a supplement that should be taken by the elderly to help with age-related memory problems, but has also been found to be beneficial in normal healthy people. The periwinkle extract Vinpocetine has been shown to have benefits, largely through an increase in the blood flow to the brain, and will be of use to anybody suffering from conditions that can be related to a deficiency in their cerebral blood supply.
Addiction Recovery With Chinese Herbs Like Kudzu
November 28, 2007 12:04 PM
Kudzu is Chinese herb that has been identified for the treatment of alcoholism. Anybody who has even had an addiction will tell you that addiction recovery is one of the most difficult of the tasks that life throws at us. Whether it is an addiction to tobacco or to heroin or anything in between is not easy, and those that join the ‘self-afflicted’ lobby do not help, but for the Grace of God...
Alcohol addiction is now potentially the most prevalent addiction in the world. There are now more that drink alcohol than smoke, and alcohol related problems are more than just a social problem, but cause the deaths of over 100,000 annually in the USA. One shudders at the thought of the world-wide death toll. It has been suggested that chemical addictions, as opposed to physical habits, can have chemical cures. Although the jury is still out on this one, there have been some positive results achieved in the treatment of addicts with natural remedies.
One of these natural remedies is the Chinese herb, kudzu. Kudzu is a climbing vine that can grow just about anywhere: in fields, lightly forested land and mountains. It is found throughout China, and also in the south eastern states of the USA. The reason for this strange distribution is that the plant was introduced to the USA by Japan at the 1876 Centennial Expo in Philadelphia.
The large blooms attracted gardeners who propagated them, and when it was discovered that the plant made good forage for animals, Florida nurserymen grew it as animal feed. Its effect in preventing ground erosion rendered it popular during the 1930s and 40s when farmers were paid up to $8 an acre for growing kudzu. Fodder and groundcover were the original uses of this vine in the USA irrespective of its medicinal uses on the other side of the Pacific.
Prior to it being recognized as a useful treatment for alcoholism, the vine had been used in China for generations for the treatment of such conditions as headaches, flu, high blood pressure symptoms, dysentery, muscular aches and pains and the common cold. It is still used to treat digestive complaints and allergies, and find use in modern medicine in the treatment of angina.
It is the root that is mainly used, which at up to six feet tall provides a plentiful supply of its active ingredients. These include isoflavones including daidzein and isoflavone glycosides, mainly puerarin and also daidzin. However, it is in its application in the treatment of alcohol addiction that the root is currently creating interest.
Studies in the 1960s on animals bred with an alcohol craving indicated that daidzein and daidzin reduced their consumption of alcohol when offered it, and further studies have indicated that the mechanism of this was by inhibition of enzymes necessary for metabolizing alcohols. This has not yet been successfully repeated in humans, but the effects on animals cannot be just coincidental. Or can it? That question can only be answered by those for whom kudzu has been found effective, although many laboratory studies have shown that it certainly reduces the alcohol consumption of those with a habitual heavy intake of the substance.
Of all the other substances that have been used in an attempt to reduce the extent of alcoholism in the Western world, none have been found truly effective. The three recognized treatments of Campral (Acamprosate Calcium), approved by the FDA in July, 2004, Naltrexone (Revia) and Antabuse work in three different ways. Campral is useful only once you have stopped drinking and have detoxed, Naltrexone interferes with the pathway in the brain that ‘rewards’ the drinker and Antabuse gives unpleasant side effects that are meant to put the drinker off drinking.
Although all have side effects of one type or another, they have been approved by the FDA, and must therefore be assumed safe if used as recommended. However, none are natural, and kudzu has been found to have no known side effects. It is a type of pea, and did you know that it grows about one foot a day? Luckily it only grows to about 20 feet!
It is kudzu’s lack of side effects that renders it so attractive as a treatment for alcoholism, although more tests are needed before the evidence for its effectiveness can be declared cast iron. Most of the tests to date have been carried out on heavy drinkers rather than true alcoholics, but they have all found the plant effective in reducing the amount that each member of the study drank, even though no limitations were placed on them.
Future studies should probably be designed to determine if the treatment is safe for such groups as pregnant women, young people and those with specific medical complaints such as liver problems. Naltrexone should not be used by anybody with serious liver problems, and even campral is only suitable if you have no more than a moderate liver problem. Since alcoholics can reasonable be expected to also suffer from liver disease, then a treatment that is safe for such people would be very welcome.
A 2002 meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism in San Francisco named kudzu and St. John’s Wort as being the two most promising treatments for alcoholism. The mention of St. John’s Wort raises an interesting point, and one that must be discussed. That is the question of standardized doses, and what can happen if doses of natural products are not standardized with respect to the identified active constituent.
The reason for the importance of this is that not all sources of a particular herb are equally well endowed with active constituents. Although, for example, a dose of 2.5 grams daily of kudzu root might be recommended, how does the percent content of isoflavones in different roots vary. That variation will mean that the amount of active ingredient taken in one 2.5g dose will differ from that in another, unless there is standardization.
The reason St. John’s Wort brought this to mind is that with this herb, used for some psychological problems such as depression, the active ingredient content was standardized. It was standardized to 0.3% hypericin, a napthodianthrone that causes an increase in dopamine levels. However, standard doses of St. John’s Wort gave inconsistent results and the reason for this could not be identified. It now has been. The active ingredient is now known to be not hypericin, but hypeforin, what is known as a prenylated phloroglucinol. The herb is now standardized on this substance.
This is a demonstration of the importance of identifying the active ingredients in a herbal treatment accurately, and also of standardizing doses. Kudzu doses must be standardized if their effect is to be consistent. There is now little doubt that addiction recovery is possible with Chinese herbs like kudzu, and who knows what else the ancient civilizations such as the Chinese have to offer us.
Support A Healthy Digestive System With Discount Vitamins
November 21, 2007 10:31 AM
Discount vitamins can help to support a healthy digestive system, but to explain how they do you first need to know how the system of pipes, tubes and chemical plants that make up the digestive system basically works.
The digestive system is a system of tubes through which your food is passed during the various stages of digestion, and also organs that produce the chemicals needed to break down your food into the nutrients needed by the body. The digestive system begins with the mouth, where the teeth cut and grind the food, and mix it with saliva containing the enzyme amylase that begins the digestive process by converting starch into maltose and dextrin, which are later converted to glucose. Amylase cannot work in the acidity of the stomach, which is why you should chew starchy foods such as bread and potatoes before it is swallowed and passed down the esophagus to the stomach.
The stomach is a natural food processor, containing concentrated hydrochloric acid that breaks the food down into smaller molecules. Once the food has been mixed and processed it passes into the small intestine where the real digestion begins. The liver and pancreas manufacture digestive juices and pass them into the intestine as the food is expelled from the stomach. These juices are mixed with the food, break it downs chemically into nutrients which are then absorbed through the walls of the intestine. The waste is passed into the colon, from which they are later expelled.
While in the stomach, its glands produce not only the stomach acid but also enzymes that break up proteins into smaller compounds including amino acids. The liver produces a number of digestive juices, including bile that dissolves fats and renders them water soluble to be digested by enzymes from the pancreas. The liver also produces enzymes that further breaks down the food in smaller molecules.
The whole process is controlled by the digestive hormones that are generated by the stomach and small intestine, namely secretin, gastrin and CCK (cholecystokinin). These control the release of the various digestive juices and chemicals into the digestive system, and once the food has been broken down the nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream and transported to the cells of the body where they are needed.
So, starting again from the top, how do discount vitamins and minerals help to support a healthy digestive system? First, we start with the teeth. It is essential for the proper use of food that it is shredded and ground properly before being passed to the body, and that the starches are broken down by the saliva enzyme amylase. The structure of your teeth is dependant on vitamin C and D, and the minerals calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. A deficiency in any of these would result in poor weak teeth, and your food would not be prepared properly for your stomach.
Vitamin B1 keeps your nerves in good working order, without which your appetite could not be regulated. Vitamin B3, or niacin, keeps the digestive tract in a healthy state and functioning properly. Vitamin B9, or folate (folic acid) carries out a similar task, and the B complex vitamins in general, then, keep the digestion process working smoothly and the peristaltic motion that moves the food along, also in good working order.
Manganese and chromium are essential minerals to the digestive system, without which enzyme activity would be limited and without chromium your appetite could not be controlled. Apart from that there is a lot that can go wrong with the digestive system and a good vitamin B complex or Vitamin B1 and B3 supplement, will help to maintain the proper functioning of the system. These vitamins will encourage proper control of the intestinal muscle function, and vitamins C and E will help deal with any inflammation in the bowel, or undue immune system activity. Acidophilus will also help to maintain a good population of healthy bacteria that are essential components of your digestive system. A probiotic supplement taken as instructed should achieve this.
A little considered function of the digestive system, perhaps because it actually takes place in the liver rather than the alimentary canal itself, is the disposal from the body of toxin absorbed by the small intestine. This is the chemical transformation of certain molecules into a form whereby they can be rendered water soluble and expelled in the urine. Substances such as drugs, alcohol, paint fumes and so on are formed into other chemicals that might be even more toxic than the originals for a short time, and since oxidation is used in many of these reactions, free radicals might be formed that can harm the body.
This danger, which is indirectly caused by the digestion of these substances, can be relieved by maintaining a sufficient intake of antioxidants in the form of Vitamins A, C and E to neutralize them. Some liver disease is caused in this way by insufficient vitamin nutrition, and a good discount vitamin supplement can help to prevent it by destroying the free radicals as they are formed.
This detoxification process then proceeds to a phase where the biochemically converted molecules are rendered into the water soluble form so that they can dissolve in the blood and be extracted by the kidneys into the urine. For this, a good supply of the tripeptide glutathione, glycuronic acid and some amino acids is needed. A supplement of these should also help the detoxification process.
Other supplements that can help the digestive system are natural enzymes. These work whether taken on an empty stomach or with food. On an empty stomach, at least two hours after a meal, they will immediately go to work in your blood and improve its condition. Taken with a meal they will help digestion the fats and reduce food waste by improving absorption.
There are many ways in which you can help to maintain a healthy digestive system by the use of discount vitamins, although any problem with your digestive system should be referred to your physician since there are many serious conditions that need expert medical treatment. Vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and other supplements, however, can help to prevent many of these from occurring.
Healthy Nuts: Pistachios can help lower cholesterol
November 17, 2007 10:49 AM
Pistachios has been consumed for over 9000 years, the pistachio tree can bear nuts for centuries. Originating in Western Asia and Asia Minor, pistachios were introduced to the United States in the 1854 by Charles Mason. Pistachios are used in a number of food applications from bakery goods to ice cream and dressings. Pistachios are a great source of potassium, copper, magnesium, fiber, calcium and Iron.
The FDA has approved a health claim with pistachios, when eating 1.5 ounces per day, pistachios can lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Pistachios are a rich source of protein and an excellent antioxidant in the form of polyphenols. Eating 1 ounce of pistachios gives you more polyphenols than one cup of green tea.
A recent study by Penn State University suggested that pistachios can lower cholesterol when eaten on a regular basis.
Milk Thistle May Help With Cirrhosis, Gallstones, and Hepatitis Liver Problems
November 14, 2007 12:34 PM
Milk thistle, botanically Silybum Adans, is a member of the daisy family that is native to the Mediterranean, the Middle East and North Africa but has also been introduced to California and parts of the eastern side of the USA, and can help with problems such as cirrhosis, gallstones and hepatitis. Although it has been recorded as being used in medieval times as a tonic for the liver, it is only relatively recently that its chemical components have been investigated. Analysis indicated the presence of hitherto unknown flavonoids which were given the name of silymarin. In general, flavonoids are strong antioxidants found in many fruits and vegetables that eat up the free radicals that cause so much damage to our bodies.
Free radicals are very unstable molecules that are generated through pollution, such as smoking, car fumes, perticides etc, and that destroy body cells accelerating aging. They also oxidise the low density lipids (LDL) that carry water-insoluble cholesterol through the blood to the arteries where it is needed to repair damage, resulting in excess deposition and the atherosclerosis that can cause strokes and heart disease.
Antioxidants mop these up like a sponge, and are some of the healthiest types of molecules that we can consume. The silymarin group of flavonoids are particularly attracted to the liver where they act as antihepatoxic agents that prevent the liver from becoming poisoned. But why should the liver be poisoned I can hear you ask, and what are the poisons involved? Can we avoid them? It is a very relevant question, and one that will make you wonder, every time you leave your home, especially if you live in a big city or an industrialized area.
Smoking cigarettes, working with volatile organic compounds that you can breathe in, such as paint and printing ink solvents, the exhaust fumes of cars and diesel engines, factory chimneys belching out tons of smoke, analgesics such as paracetamol, pesticides on your fruit and vegetables that you have failed to wash off, alcohol, etc, etc, etc…
All of these have to be removed from your body or you will die, awash with all these poisons that you have ingested, some deliberately and some not. The organ that does this is your liver: the powerhouse chemical plant of your body that carries out millions of biochemical reactions every day. Your liver converts all of these poisons into molecules that can be flushed away through your body naturally. However it places great stresses upon it, and even your liver needs a rest sometimes, or even just a little rejuvenating tonic would keep it happy.
Milk thistle has been used for just that purpose, especially when the liver has been toxified with excess alcohol, pesticide poisoning or even hepatitis. The silymarin initially coats the cells of the liver by binding to the cell membranes of the cell walls, so that the toxins are hindered from entering the cells. Its antioxidant properties then neutralise any free radicals present that are causing the damage to the liver cells.
It also helps to stimulate the production of proteins to help the healing process, and reduces the fibrosis that is the development of fibrous masses outside the liver cells caused by damaged cells excreting materials such as collagens outside the cells into the general body of the liver. Finally, milk thistle helps to prevent the activity of the immune system in causing inflammation of the damaged cells.
Silymarin acts very specifically on the liver, and is often used by physicians in the treatment of such liver conditions as jaundice, hepatitis, liver cancer and cirrhosis. In addition to its own effects it appears that it stimulates the production of glutathione that is also a very powerful natural tripeptide antioxidant produced by the body when it is under oxidative stress. Its effect on cancer and some diseases is not curative, but to allow the liver to continue to detoxify the body when otherwise it might fail and lead to toxicity problems from which the patient might not be able to recover.
Due to the remarkable regenerative powers of the liver, milk thistle is able to stimulate it into repairing its damage and grow fresh cells to replace the damaged ones. This is the reason for its effectiveness in otherwise very serious degenerative diseases. It is often prescribed by doctors for patients who are taking a number of different medications. Which help the liver to metabolize these medications, since without it, it might struggle to provide the true efficacy of the prescribed drugs.
So far we have been concentrating on the liver, but milk thistle has other properties not connected directly with the hepatic function. It can help to promote the production of bile in the gall bladder and so give the digestive system a boost when needed, where it also acts as a mild laxative. However, it can also help patients suffering from both lose stools and constipation due its effect. It can also help to relieve gallstones, though medical tests are generally carried out first to ensure that they are not too large for the milk thistle to handle.
It is also an anti-inflammatory, and is useful in the treatment of acne and other inflammatory responses, and also for inflammations in the gall bladder, kidney and bladder. There are few serious side effects, although, as milk thistle rids the body of toxins, these toxins can cause problems such as diarrhea, headaches and abdominal pain. Keep in mind that you are releasing poisons from the liver into your system so that they can be expelled by the usual means, and they will put up a fight along the way. However, the milk thistle will usually win in the end.
There currently appear to be no long term issues with taking milk thistle as a supplement over a long period, and it is good way to maintain a healthy liver. Keep in mind that the liver is the body’s chemical plant, where most of the biochemical reactions of life take place, and without we cannot survive. It makes sense, therefore, to look after your liver, and milk thistle is one way of doing that; some would say the best way.
So remember that, although milk thistle may help with cirrhosis, gallstones and hepatitis liver problems, you should be prepared for a short struggle before it wins the day. Always consult your family physician for a clear diagnosis before self prescribing herbs as treatment. Your physician can advise you as the correct course of action to take once diagnosed with a liver blood test first. But, to boost overall health and wellness milk thistle is a great herbal supplement to take on a daily basis.
Protein And Its Role In Bodily Functions
November 09, 2007 05:00 PM
Protein is an essential organic compound composed of 20 or more amino acids which are joined by peptide bonds. Proteins serve as structural material such as connective tissue, and hair (i.e. collagen and keratin) can function as enzymes and hormones, as transporters of essential substances such as oxygen, antibodies, or regulators of gene expression. The importance of protein cannot be overstated in its effects on overall health regardless of age. Dieters using the low-protein diet can be seriously lacking in many essential nutrients including minerals such as zinc, iron, manganese, chromium, copper, etc. These deficiencies can lead to chronic illness, fatigue and make mental function more difficult.
In order to fight sickness and disease, our immune systems need to be in optimum performance. Something you may not have realized but our immune system are almost all protein based. Providing the body with the correct proteins is like providing the proper building blocks of the immune system and can help to fight the common cold and infections better. Proteins are also used to repair muscles during exercise.
There are eight essential amino acids which the body cannot manufacture and which we must derived from our diet each day. The essential amino acids are (i) isoleucine, (ii) leucine, (iii) lysine, (iv) methionine, (v) phenylalanine, (vi) theronine, (vii) tryptophan, and (viii) valine. With this list of proteins it is possible to determine where we can find these amino acids and incorporate them into our diet. We need protein in our diet on a daily basis, especially for muscle function which requires a particular mix of amino acids which are not found in many food sources. For example, to increase muscle mass, you need glutamine, carnitine, taurine, and arginine amino acids.
Now that we know we need protein daily in our diet and that protein is essential to life. So the next question you may have is what kind of proteins are the best? Quality proteins found in your local grocery store can be found in meat, nuts, eggs, and other foods. If you turn to your local health food store, look at soy, casein, whey and egg proteins. The type of protein you take will depend upon what you are capable of eating, i.e. taste. Some people have trouble eating whey protein, while others cannot pallet egg protein.
The best protein found in nature however is derived from egg whites. Egg proteins are not only complete in its supply of what the body needs, the egg is rich in chlorine, niacin, potassium, magnesium, riboflavin, selenium, vitamin K, sulphur, and omega-3. An added bonus to eating egg whites is the lack of cholesterol and sodium in the yoke. Eggs are also one of the most tolerable proteins in the human body where over 90 percent of the proteins derived from eggs is digested into the individual amino acids our bodies need. By eating egg derived protein you are essentially supplying the body with the raw materials it needs for proper function. So, if you have been troubled by fatigue, poor hair and nails the answer may be to increase your protein intake or try an all natural egg white protein for three to four weeks and see what a difference it will make in your health and appearance
Chronic Illness and eating healthy
November 09, 2007 12:43 PM
Chronic illness which exhibits itself as a recurring disease, with lingering and lasting symptoms is a growing pandemic amongst people today. The question is how much of this is due to neglect on the basics of healthy living? Today’s fast paced life style could be a factor for these reoccurring problems. For example, we pride ourselves on keeping five things in the air at the same time; this has caused us to slip from eating three healthy meals per day to drinking a slim fast or popping a diet pill to keep going. Moving away from proper diet and nutrition may be the reason our bodies are breaking down today resulting in chronic illnesses.
Whether you are free from or burdened by illness it is time to take charge of your health! The first thing one can do is basic research. Studies on dietary supplements in scientific and medical research are an ongoing process both in the United States and internationally. If you are interested in finding citations on a particular chronic illness or research that is available I recommend looking at government agencies such as (i) The Office of Dietary Supplements, (ii) The National Institutes of Health (NIH), (iii) The National Agricultural Library (NAL), and (iv) United States Department of agriculture (USDA). It is also possible to obtain research abstracts from different major databases such as MEDLINE for biomedical related articles and AGRICOLA for botanical and agricultural science. To find these different databases and governmental agencies, search google using the respective agency/database name.
Research shows that stress reduction can help to improve energy levels, improve sleep quality, and reduce high blood pressure. The following are some suggestions for reducing stress:
1. Weight lifting is not just about barbells and muscle-building but about stressing the body as a means for relieving stress.
2. Cardiovascular exercises such as jogging and bicycling.
3. Exercise is helpful by increasing blood flow to the brain, release of hormones, stimulates the nervous system and produces a feeling of well being.
Eating healthy including supplementation
1. Vitamin C or ascorbic acid has the ability to boost the immune system. Vitamin C also helps to produce neurotransmitters by converting L-Tyrosine into dopamine. Along with dopamine, ascorbic acid also synthesizes norepinephrine and serotonin which have been found to be directly related to control anxiety and depression.
2. B-Vitamins are also the important for reducing stress. For example, Niacin (Vitamin B3) helps the body fight stress in three ways, (i) controls blood sugars, (ii) improves blood flow and (iii) regulates the release of energy from carbohydrates.
Stress is a state of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors which are an unavoidable effect of living. Stress has been linked to coronary heart disease, psychosomatic disorders and various other mental and physical problems. Reducing stress is essential and can be done through diet and exercise. Nutritional science studies the relationship between diet and states of health and disease. Nutritional science has found human nutrition is very complex and varies widely and proper nutrition cannot be obtained by simply eating three meals a day because quite simply the average person just does not eat well. If you eat less than five servings of fruits and vegetables daily it is impossible to obtain all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs. In order to seek assurance that you are getting all your body needs I suggest you take a good multiple vitamins which supplies at least 100 percent of the daily value for various vitamins and minerals. It is a good idea however to discuss with your doctor the best choices as he or she knows your history and specific health needs best.
NAC could be the ultimate flu and cold fighter this winter
November 07, 2007 02:56 PM
NAC could be the ultimate flu and cold fighter this winter. NAC may work even better than vitamin C and also carries may other health benefits as well. NAC is also known as N-acetyl cysteine known as a sulfur containing antioxidant. NAC is a precursor to glutathione, the most powerful antioxidant made by the body.
Routinely, people go to the hospital for Tylenol overdoses and the hospital administers high doses of NAC to protect the liver. NAC is also used to break up mucus that collects in the lungs. Research suggests that NAC is good for colds and flu. In 1997, a study was published in the European respiratory journal which involved 262 patients. Half of which got NAC and the other received placebo, those that consumed the NAC experienced little or no symptoms of flu even though their blood test confirmed the presence of the flu virus.
Studies have suggested that NAC can help AIDS patients by taking several thousand grams per day can lengthen life expectancy. Researchers suggest that high blood levels of glutathione are better than high levels of immune-cells to predict survival rate. NAC is also a powerful liver detox and can help women with Polycystic ovary syndrome.
Consider NAC as a supplement to be added to your daily supplement regimen.
Looking For A Calcium But Not Sure Which Is Best For You?
November 02, 2007 12:23 PM
Calcium is essential to good health, but if you are looking for calcium it can be confusing to decide in which form you take it. There are so many available and every one claims to be good for you, so why the difference? Why not just sell the best and let us all know what it is? Well, this same argument could be applied to all supplements that are sold in different forms, and also to many foodstuffs.
The supplement best for you might not be the best for the next person due to dietary requirements each persons diet is different, so it is better to learn about what is available then make your choice based upon knowledge rather than ignorance. It is not only the source of the calcium you have to bother about, but also the other vitamins that have be present to make sure that that the calcium is absorbed by the body in the way that you want it to be.
To understand that then you need to learn why the body needs calcium, other than just the bones and teeth that everybody knows about. After all, why else do we need calcium? It is only contained in bones and teeth – right? Wrong!
Although 99% of calcium is contained in your bones and teeth, 1% is contained in the blood, muscles and central nervous system. With out that 1% we would all die. Without teeth we would not. Calcium is essential for blood clotting and for the proper function of our muscles, brain and central nervous system. Calcium combines with phosphorus to create healthy bones and teeth, and is essential early in life to build up a strong skeleton. Note that phosphorus is also necessary so we also need an adequate supply of that mineral.
Calcium is essential to allow muscles to properly contract. Without that ability, muscles could not work, and a deficiency of calcium causes muscle cramps and spasms. The movement of the smooth muscles is regulated by a protein that is bound to calcium. This is just one of the uses of the calcium in the body that most people are unaware of.
Calcium also takes part in the binding process of the blood platelets during the coagulation of blood. Although most people are aware of the need for vitamin K and fibrin, in fact calcium is also essential in its interaction with the platelets in the coagulation cascade that eventually results in a blood clot that stops bleeding. Basically, without calcium, the blood could not form a clot. In addition to its effect on blood clotting, calcium also plays an essential part in the movement of ions through the membranes of nerve cells, and without it intercellular communication could not occur. Our nerve impulses would not occur and the body again would not be in a working condition.
However, the body has a way of modulating the calcium level in the blood past a minimum level needed for effective nerve cell communication, and below a certain level it can even use the calcium in the bones to divert to the more needy areas of the body. It is therefore not possible for the body to fail through a lack of calcium. The skeleton would disintegrate first. Nevertheless, nobody wants a disintegrating skeleton since that would be counterproductive to effective movement of the body, so a good source of calcium is essential for overall bodily health, not just that of the teeth and the bones.
There are many sources of calcium, but some are more suitable for absorption by the body than others. Chalk, or calcium carbonate, is an excellent source of calcium, but will fail to promote bone growth if your diet does not contain sufficient potassium, vitamin D, magnesium and strontium needed to make it work to build healthy bones. It is the most common on the shelves, and likely the cheapest, but not necessarily the best source. It is basically chalk or limestone, and only 10% of the supplement will actually become available for your body to use.
The bioavailability of a calcium supplement is a figure that indicates how much of the calcium is actually absorbed by the body during digestion. It is important that the supplement is digested and absorbed properly or the calcium will not be available for use. This availability is called the ‘bioavailability’. Calcium citrate has a bioavailabilty of 50%, but the size of the citrate part of the molecule is so large that only 10.5% of the molecule is available to the body as calcium. Not much more than the carbonate.
Calcium aspartate is highly soluble and produced by reacting calcium with aspartic acid to form the soluble salt. It is much easier to assimilate and be absorbed by the body than any of the forms above. The amino acid, aspartic acid, delivers the calcium exactly to where it is needed, where it is absorbed and used. Although a bioavailability figure is not available, it is not the amount of calcium that is significant here but the fact that it comes with its own transportation system and is immediately available where needed.
If you want to calculate the availability for yourself, find the molecular weight of the particular calcium product, and then the weight of the calcium contained within it. For example, in calcium carbonate, CaCO3, the molecular weight is 100 (40 + 12 + 3x16) and the atomic weigh of calcium is 40, so the amount of calcium present in 1000g calcium carbonate is 40% or 400g. Only 25% of calcium carbonate is absorbed, so only 10%, or 100g, of calcium is available for each 1000g supplement.
Calcium citrate on the hand (Ca3(C6H5O7)2.4H2O) has a molecular weight of 570, so the amount of calcium present is 3*40*100/570 = 21%. Since the bioavailability of calcium citrate is 50%, the amount of calcium available is only 10.5%, or 105g in 1000g citrate. You can carry out the same calculation on all the molecules if you know how much is absorbed by the body.
The bioavailability is calcium aspartate is 85%. Its molecular formula is [C4H6NO2]2Ca, and molecular weight 304. The calcium availability is therefore 40*100/304 = 13.16%. If 85% is absorbed, then 1000g provides 80% of 13.16 x 10 = 115.6g. The aspartate therefore wins it.
Amino acid chelates can also be used as a source of calcium, and its bioavailability is improved tremendously by including vitamin D and magnesium in the supplement. The bioavailability of these calcium chelates are not quoted, but is claimed to be high. Whether or not it is as high as the aspartame is debatable, though it is claimed to be.
Calcium is a very important mineral for human health, and there are several different supplements that can be used. The bioavailability of the calcium is different in each supplement, though the organic forms, calcium aspartate and amino acid calcium chelates appear to be the highest. When looking for a calcium supplement look for one with additional minerals added as mentioned above to help improve absorption and usability by the body.
Cranberry May Help Fight Cancer
October 31, 2007 12:26 PM
A recent study suggested drinking a glass of cranberry juice before chemotherapy treatment helped boost the effectiveness of the treatment for ovarian cancer. The boost was 6 times the effectiveness with chemotherapy. Researchers stress that this is only a preliminary test, tart juices may be a new option for those who have built up resistance to their treatments. The lead author Ajay Singh, a research associate and natural products chemist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, said: “This was surprising and encouraging.” Also, “cranberries are well known as a great antioxidant and immune boosting berry that can strengthen the body and now we found that it can actually increase sensitivity to chemo several-fold.”
Food Additives May Be Linked To Kids’ Hyperactivity
October 31, 2007 12:14 PM
Some may deny it but recently discovered that other ingredients in foods can spur hyperactivity in children. We once thought that sugar alone was the problem but now a published report in Sept. 6th edition of The Lancet suggests that preservatives like sodium benzoate in soft drinks and artificial colorings can cause children to have a hyperactivity disorder.
The researchers gave drinks to children ages 3, 8, and 9 years of age either placebo drinks or drinks laced with these preservatives. The end result, the children who took the laced drinks experienced more restlessness and shorter attention span then those children who did not receive the laced drinks. This experiment was conducted of a six week period.
As a result there has been some negative feed back form various authorities like the Schneider Children’s Hospital in New York said that removing additives from the diet may not clear up hyperactivity. I would say state the facts and let the parents decide weather to clean up their child’s diet or not.
Cleaning up the diet and moving to a more natural and organic lifestyle is what everybody needs especially our children. Better nutrition can promote a healthier child with fewer colds through out the year and boost learning. So what is keeping you from changing your child’s diet?
Artemisinin For Better Health And Wellness
October 25, 2007 02:09 PM
Artemisinin, also called Ching-hao-su is a herbal medicine extracted from the sweet wormwood herb, also known as the Artemisia annua. Asians have been using the leaf for centuries to cure simple ailments such as colds and parasitic infections, but it has recently become big business for its effect on malaria.
Sweet wormwood is predominantly a Chinese herb, used for over a thousand years for treatment of a large variety of conditions including malaria. It has also been used to treat wound and skin diseases, and has been recorded as far back as 200 BC as a component of Chinese prescriptions for specific illnesses.
Although the origins of sweet wormwood are in Asia however, it is now grown throughout the temperate regions of the world, and reaches its best in midsummer. Although best known today for its use in treating malaria, its medical uses include treating bronchitis, fevers and general feelings of malaise. It is primarily grown now for the supplement industry and as a non-prescriptive natural cure for malaria. It is a common and favorite herb for Chinese herbalists and sold both in the herbal form and as the extracted artemisinin.
Although there is a wide variation in the artemisinin content of sweet wormwood according to where it is grown, and under different agricultural conditions, it is the main active ingredient. Chemically, it is a sesquiterpene lactone containing an endoperoxide bridge that will be discussed later.
In order to attain the optimum yield of active artemisinin, the plant has to be grown in the right site for cultivation and fed with the correct fertilizers, the proper strain of the herb must be selected and the method of extracting the active chemicals is also critical. These are secrets that have been used for centuries by the Chinese herbalists who are masters of their craft and are now known to the west and being applied to scientific production of the extract.
There are benefits of artemisinin other than its effect on malaria, but that is the best known of its uses, so let’s have a look at that first. The herb has been used for a long time to treat parasitic infections, mainly flukes and worms that place great strains on the body having not only to feed these unwanted creatures, but also to excrete their waste and by-products. Malaria is caused by such a parasite, any one of four types in fact, and artemisinin appears to be just as effective on them.
The chemical contains what is known as an endoperoxide bridge that reacts with iron. The product of this reaction is a free radical, normally unwelcome in the body. However, malaria parasites contain high levels of iron, and the artemisinin reacts with that iron, forming free radicals that then go on to kill off the parasite. The free radicals that we take supplements to destroy, actually work for us in the destruction of the parasite that cause malaria. There is a silver lining in every cloud!
The reason that the medical world is so excited with this material is that malaria is second only to tuberculosis in its impact on world health. The problem is that the parasites that cause it have become largely resistant to the normal cures. They are not, however, resistant to the endoperoxide chemistry contained by artemisinin. It is now the major hope of world leaders in the fight to stop the inexorable increase in deaths due to malaria.
Now for the other applications. Another major use of the chemical is in the fight against cancer. Those cancers that involve iron rich cells can be disrupted by artemisinin by the same mechanism that kills off malaria bacteria. It is not only parasites that are susceptible to free radical action, but also human cells, and if these can be selectively destroyed, then it is a step forward towards a cure for cancer. Such a cure does not yet exist, but mechanisms such as the endoperoxide bridge provide a means of controlling at least some cancers, the best results being obtained with leukemia and colon cancer. That is not to say, however, that cures for these cancers are currently available since tests are still under way. However, it would do no harm to use sweet wormwood or the artemisinin extract as a supplement.
Cancer cells tend to accumulate iron because it is needed in the cell division process that cancer takes advantage of. However, if cancer cells could be persuaded to accumulate more surface iron, or were artificially exposed to it, then perhaps the endoperoxide mechanism would be more effective. Studies on this mechanism of controlling cancer are currently under way.
At a more mundane level, if you suffer from intestinal parasites, then one or two milligrams each day should see them off. It has also been effectively used to deal with colds, coughs and other general conditions, but most effectively against those that cause fever of one kind or another. It has been used in Chinese medicine as a form of ‘cure-all’ to be used when specific remedies failed. Its greatest current uses are, however, in cancer and especially malarial treatments.
You have to be careful with artemisinin since it can be toxic if taken in the wrong form. The least toxic, and most active, is the water soluble form known as artesunate. However, it lasts the least time in the body and has to get to work quickly. The oil soluble form, artemether, is the most toxic, but can cross from the blood to the brain. However, the parent form, artemisinin is the very safe itself, and can also cross the blood-brain barrier and while some tend to use a combination of the three, others prefer just the parent form.
If you take too high a dose you can suffer neurotoxicity which makes you wobble when you walk, and makes you impervious to certain levels of pain. However, such doses are next to impossible accidentally, and there have been very few reports of adverse effects in humans. It should not be used for at least a month after you have had radiation therapy because that tends to release iron that can be attacked to form free radicals. The recommended dose is 200 – 100 mg daily though the doses should be spread throughout the day. It should also never be taken within 2 hours of any other antioxidant such as vitamins A, C and E. Otherwise artemisinin can be safely used for better health and wellness in the way that the Chinese have been using it for centuries. Artemisinin is available at your local or internet vitamin store.
October 24, 2007 11:37 AM
Ubiquinol has powerful antioxidant actions in target cells *
Although ubiquinone (oxidized coenzyme Q10) and ubiquinol (reduced coenzyme Q10) are kept at a constant ratio within the body, the majority of the total coenzyme Q10 pool is made up of ubiquinol. In fact, when ubiquinone is taken orally, much of it appears to be rapidly converted into ubiquinol. 1,4 Ubiquinol functions as a potent antioxidant in humans, including in low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) where it protects them from oxidative damage.1,4,5 The coenzyme Q10 molecule can be found in all membranes throughout cells.6 It appears to works in conjunction with both vitamin E and vitamin C to provide antioxidant actions throughout the body.7
Coenzyme Q10 supports mitochondria to enhance cellular energy production*
Coenzyme Q10, with its widespread distribution throughout the body, plays a crucial role in mitochondrial physiology as a critical member of the electron transport chain. This transport chain, which is part of cellular respiration, leads to the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), our body’s primary energy source. Levels of this key nutrient may decline as a healthy person ages.7,8 Animal studies have found that supplementation can restore normal levels in certain tissues 6, and human studies suggest that supplementing with this enzyme may have increased benefits when a person has depleted levels. 7
Coenzyme Q10 supports healthy heart functioning*
Concentrations of coenzyme Q10 are understandably high in the heart as these muscle cells require high levels of energy to constantly function optimally. A number of studies (both animal and human) strongly suggest that coenzyme Q10 supplementation is supportive for healthy heart functioning and for maintaining cardiovascular system health.7,9
Ubiquinol has been studied for safety and bioavailability in humans*
A recently published single-blind placebo-controlled study in healthy subjects found no safety concerns in people who took Kaneka’s QH ubiquinol supplement orally at doses of up to 300 milligrams daily for up to four weeks.4 Single oral doses of either 150 milligrams or 300 milligrams were given to fifteen healthy men and women, and standard laboratory testing (including hematology, blood chemistry, and urinalysis) as well as physical examination and electrocariography (EKG) results showed no clinically significant changes when tested two days after supplementation as compared to before the taking the supplement. In addition to the single dose study, 80 healthy volunteers were given either placebo, 90, 150 or 300 milligrams of ubiquinol each day for four weeks, and again no clinically significant differences were seen in any of the testing parameters after two and four weeks of supplementation, nor were there differences two weeks after discontinuation of the supplement. By monitoring levels in the blood, the authors found that ubiquinol was well absorbed.4
Studies in several animals also reveal no concern of toxicity in doses of ubiquinol up to 200 milligrams per kilogram of body weight for up to thirteen weeks.4 When compared to humans, this dose level is enormously higher than the recommended doses. Supplementation with ubiquinol appeared to be safe at even higher levels (up to 600 milligrams per kilogram body weight) in a study using a different animal. In vitro assays additionally found no safety concerns for the use of ubiquinol, as it was found to be non-mutagenic and did not cause damage to chromosomes in cells.
Suggested Adult Use: Take one softgel daily with food, or as directed by a nutritionally informed physician.
1. Mohr, D., V.W. Bowry, and R. Stocker, Dietary supplementation with coenzyme Q10 results in increased levels of ubiquinol-10 within circulating lipoproteins and increased resistance of human low-density lipoprotein to the initiation of lipid peroxidation. Biochim Biophys Acta, 1992. 1126(3): p. 247-54.
2. Weber, C., et al., Effect of dietary coenzyme Q10 as an antioxidant in human plasma. Mol Aspects Med, 1994. 15 Suppl: p. s97-102.
3. Okamoto, T., et al., Human serum ubiquinol-10 levels and relationship to serum lipids. Int J Vitam Nutr Res, 1989. 59(3): p. 288-92.
4. Hosoe, K., et al., Study on safety and bioavailability of ubiquinol (Kaneka QH) after single and 4-week multiple oral administration to healthy volunteers. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol, 2007. 47(1): p. 19-28.
5. Stocker, R., V.W. Bowry, and B. Frei, Ubiquinol-10 protects human low density lipoprotein more efficiently against lipid peroxidation than does alpha-tocopherol. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 1991. 88(5): p. 1646-50.
6. Crane, F.L., Biochemical functions of Coenzyme Q10. Journal of the
7. Jones, K., et al., Coenzyme Q-10 and cardiovascular health. Alternative therapies, 2004. 10(1): p. 22-31.
8. Schulz, C., et al., Comparison of the relative bioavailability of different coenzyme Q10 formulations with a novel solubilizate (Solu Q10). Int J Food Sci Nutr, 2006. 57(7-8): p. 546-55.
9. Coenzyme Q10. Monograph. Altern Med Rev, 2007. 12(2): p. 159-68.
Buy Ubiquinol at VitaNet, LLC ®
Lutein: A Plant Pigment That Provides Protection From The Sun
October 23, 2007 10:00 AM
Lutein is a plant pigment, and protects protection from the sun needed to prevent damage to the skin and eyes from its strong ultra violet (UVB) radiation. Lutein is a carotenoid and strong antioxidant that is found in red, yellow, orange and dark green fruit and vegetables such as broccoli, curly and sea kale, spinach, carrots peppers and squashes. It is also available from egg yolks, corn and some fruits such as pomegranates. It is the colored pigments, especially the reds, yellows and oranges, in which lutein is most found.
Lutein can also prevent cataracts and provide benefits for age related macular degeneration. However, before discussing the benefits, it is necessary to discuss exactly what these conditions are and what causes them. Let’s have a heads up on cataracts first.
A cataract takes the form of a clouding of the lens of the eye that leads to blurred vision and eventual virtual blindness when the cloudiness is extreme. It is not blindness due to problems with the nerves of the eye, but due to the lens become cloudy, and scattering light entering the eye. It is not a film over the eye as many people believe, but a cloudiness of the lens, and cataracts can normally be treated by removing the whole lens and replacing it with a lens implant – or a synthetic lens.
It is not fully understood how lutein can help cataracts, but studies have shown that those take a large quantity of lutein in there diet have up to 50% less chance of getting cataracts that those that do not. It has also been demonstrated that men who ate broccoli and spinach regularly had a 25% less chance of getting cataracts. The same is true of those that include a lutein supplement of around 6 mg daily, although up to 20 mg is considered an effective dose.
However, it not only through its properties in protecting against cataracts that lutein can help to preserve the health of your eyes. It is also through its effect on macular degeneration. The macula is small part in the center of the retina that allows you to see central vision in high detail, especially close up when you use the center of your eye. Age-related macular degeneration, known as MD, affects your macula so that you can see fine round the edges, but your central vision is blurred. It is therefore difficult to drive, read or carry out tasks that need good central focus. You will find it next to impossible to thread a needle for example. It can come on very slowly, in fact so slowly that you never notice it because the change from day to day, or even week to week, is so small.
It is not coincidence that lutein is concentrated in the macula, and that a lutein supplement can help to prevent macular degeneration. Lutein is believed to filter out some of the blue wavelengths of light, and it is the blue wavelengths that are though to cause free radical damage and oxidative stress to various organs of the body exposed to light, but specifically the eyes. That is why it is believed that lutein helps to prevent macular degeneration, and studies have indicated a good supplement to consist of up to 30 mg each day.
It can also protect the skin from damage by UV radiation, and also prevents free radical damage to skin cells causing premature aging of the skin. The latter occurs through its antioxidant properties, while the former is because if its light filtering properties. It can not only filter out the blue light that can cause macular degeneration but also ultra-violet radiation that affects the skin and can cause skin cancer. There is a fine line between the blue and ultra violet wavelengths from sunlight, and both can contribute to certain medical conditions. However, the absorptive properties of lutein are such that it can absorb the more harmful of these.
The antioxidant properties of lutein are important in their own right, and can help to reduce cholesterol deposition in arties and help to maintain a healthy arterial wall thickness. The same is true of any carotenoids that reduce heart problems, some cancers, especially of the cervix, stomach and lungs, and others that can be caused by free radical action and narrowed arteries such as strokes and brain hemorrhages.
Although it is not one of those supplements considered essential, lutein is biologically essential in that it cannot be produced by the body. It has to be taken through the diet. There is no specific recommended daily allowance (RDA) because life can go on without it, but it does play a role in your everyday health.
However, the average person has a lutein intake less than that needed to take advantage of its UV protection or antioxidant effect. As previously stated, the effective dose is considered to be 30 mg daily, and the average American intake is about 2 mg. That’s an awful lot of egg yolks or tomatoes you are going to have to eat! If you do intend to take your lutein from the natural source, then it much more easily assimilated into your body if not overcooked. Lightly steaming is the best way to prepare your vegetables for maximum nutritional effect.
You can also take lutein as a supplement in the form of tablets, creams and drinks, and can also be found in other supplements that contain carotenoids such as lycopene and beta-carotene. Although not consider essential to life, do not underestimate the health benefits to be gained from a diet high in lutein, especially if you value the health of your eyes.
All strong antioxidants provide you with health benefits due to their ability to destroy the free radicals that in turn destroy the DNA in your body cells, and disrupt the cells themselves. Combine that with their action as filters to the damaging rays of the sun and you have in lutein a plant product that is far reaching in the health benefits that it can provide you with. If you are looking for a lutein supplement, stop into your local or internet health food store for lutein is an over the counter supplement.
The Stomach And Intestinal Tract Go Hand In Hand For A Healthy Life
October 22, 2007 02:27 PM
Are you plagued with stomach cramps, pain in your abdomen, reoccurring heart burn, bloating, diarrhoea or constipation? I certainly have experienced each one of these through my own life and I am sure you may have too. These symptoms plague everyone at one point or another in their lifetime and are related to good digestion. Good digestion includes both the stomach and our gastrointestinal tract (GIT).
Our GIT is over 30 feet in length which processes food and nutrients, including the vitamin supplement regimen you take on a daily basis. As you grow older your digestive system begins to work less efficiently. Most people in their middle and later years can benefit from taking some form of digestive enzyme.
Our bodies react differently to different foods, for example, our bodies react to some foods by producing gas. If you have a problem with gas, it may be because your body is having trouble digesting these foods we eat. The following list may be some source foods to try avoiding.
However, if you can’t live without your favourite fruit (apples) or corn and dairy products, try taking two Plant enzyme capsules at the beginning of each meal. A more serious GIT problem can lead to what is called irritable bowel syndrome. Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic disorder that is characterized by abdominal pain, intestinal gas and diarrhoea, constipation or both. The watch list of foods to stay away from includes the list above as well as eliminating wheat, coffee, tea, citrus fruits, potatoes, additives, preservatives and white sugar. Though you may find yourself having to deal with a gastro irritation it is important to consider (i) what you eat (i.e. the food combinations one employs) and (ii) supplementing your diet to help your body digest food (i.e. taking two Super Enzyme capsules before each meal).
Constipation can become a chronic problem if it is not taken seriously. Steps should be taken as soon as possible correct constipation. Constipation is toxic, and according to the Harvard Health Letter, constipation is responsible for 2.5 million visits to the doctor and gives reason for the $400 million dollars spent on laxatives each year. To begin finding relief and recovery from constipation problems, start by watching your diet and its relation to the pattern of consistency in your stool and the ease of evacuation (ease of bowel movement). To help facilitate a consistent and frequent bowel movement try taking before bedtime one tablespoon of apple psyllium powder mixed with one packet of Effer-C dissolved in a large glass of water. Also, a lack of water in the diet can cause constipation. If a lack of water is the problem, drinking 1 gallon of water each day can help. Some may think that it is impossible to drink 1 gallon of water each day, but in fact it is relatively easy to do so. Keep a glass of water by your desk all day long at work taking sips every 15 – 30 minutes can help you get the needed water your body needs to cleanse its self effectively.
Digestive enzymes contain nutrients that feed friendly bacteria which are involved in cholesterol production, regulating energy, activating immunity, repairing cell damage, and elevating constipation. Therefore, it is imperative to stimulate the growth of these friendly micro-organisms. Adding a good probiotic to promote a healthy balance of intestinal flora, and regulate various digestive processes that are going on in your body can improve digestion and assimilation and restore the balance of normal intestinal function.
Consume Bright Colored Foods for Better Health
October 22, 2007 10:06 AM
A plate of colored food is not only very pleasing to our eyes, but also very healthy. What looks good to eat is also very healthy for us and if you are finding it difficult to persuade your children to eat those boring old tired looking vegetables, then try brightening up their plates with some nice bright colors.
Kids love brightly colored pop and candy so it should not be a difficult thing to persuade them to eat some brightly colored vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, quashes and even thinly sliced carrots with a nice dip. The more intense the color the better for you they appear to be. Colored foods are normally packed full of anti-oxidants that help to prevent diseases of the cardiovascular system and to mop up free radicals present in our bodies. These antioxidants are all chemicals, and many of the naturally occurring antioxidants are highly colored. They are very good at destroying free radicals.
Free radicals are a form of chemical that destroy body cells, and not only accelerate the effects of aging, but also harm our heart. A free radical is a molecule with an unpaired electron. Electrons like to go around in pairs. Every atom has pairs of electrons, and one atom has an odd number then it pairs up with another atom with an odd number, so the two form a compound with an even number of electrons.
However, now and again, the body’s metabolism throws up a molecule with an unpaired electron. That electron’s first thought is to find a partner, and it does so by stealing one from a cell in your body. The result is the disruption and destruction of the cell. Free radicals can also be formed by environmental pollution, cigarette smoke, pesticides and so on.
Anti-oxidants destroy free radicals, and generally keep us healthier for longer. They do so by mopping up the extra electron, and there are many different types of antioxidant that form part of our normal diet. Among them are vitamins A, C and E, but there are others that are complex highly colored organic compounds. Among these are the anthocyanins, known to paint and ink manufacturers as strong red pigments.
Anthocyanins are the pigments or dyes that color red grapes, egg plant, plums and blueberries and they are very powerful antioxidants. However, it is not only for antioxidants that we should eat colorful foods. Some dark green foods, such as spinach, green peppers, peas, celery and dark leafy vegetables, contain what are known as lutein. Lutein works in combination with zeaxanthin to protect our eyes from cataracts and a condition known as macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness. Zeaxanthin is available from red peppers, oranges, egg yolk and corn.
Many people take folic acid supplements help maintain a healthy heart, and especially women to help prevent birth defects. However, the natural form of folic acid, folate is available from green foods such as lettuce, green beans, broccoli, peas, green grapes, and many other green foods. Broccoli and cabbage also contain indoles also known as indol-3-carbinol are believed to protect your from some cancers. So green is good!
Yellow is also good, and foods such as grapefruit, pineapple and melon help to boost the immune system and keep infections at bay, and also to provide energy and help maintain healthy eyes. Many antioxidants are yellow, although yellow might not a color that you would associate as being attractive to children, unless very bright. However, the yellow foods tend to be fruits rather than vegetables, and it is much easier to persuade a child to eat a pineapple than a squash.
Lycopene is another very powerful antioxidant that prevents the oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol that can damage the cardiovascular system through atherosclerosis. Lycopene is a red pigment very common in tomatoes, and is fat soluble. It is a member of the carotenoid family of antioxidants that are common in brightly colored foods such as carrots, red peppers and many yellow fruits and vegetables as described above. Lutein is also a carotenoid.
A diet rich in carotenoids is very good for keeping the effects of aging at bay and protecting you from heart problems. Lycopene is contained in the liver, colon, skin and prostate gland, and can occur at higher concentrations than most other carotenoids. People that suffer from HIV infections, high cholesterol diseases and inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis, are generally found to have low levels of lycopene in their blood.
Many of the so-called ‘superfoods’ are also brightly colored, and useful not just for their antioxidant properties. Take cranberries for example. These bright red berries contain proanthocyanadins that prevent some bacteria such as e-coli from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract and cause urinary tract infections such as cystitis, and also from adhering to the gums. Cranberries can therefore be used in the treatment of some gum diseases. However, they also possess strong antioxidant properties that help to protect the body against some cancers and also heart disease.
Blueberries are high in vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants with strong anti-inflammatory properties. Pomegranates have exceptionally high antioxidant content and are excellent for a healthy cardiovascular system while strong green broccoli contains not only vitamin C and antioxidants but also folate (the natural form of folic acid) and the phytochemical sulforafane that is believed to protect against certain cancers.
The color of your food, therefore, not only makes it look pretty on your plate and attractive to children, but also indicates the presence of strong antioxidants and other chemicals that help to protect you from specific medical conditions. It is no coincidence that the vast majority of the so-called superfoods is vegetable in origin rather than animal, and also tastes good. You should eat as many of them as you can, and certainly at least five portions every day.
Some can also be used as a remedy for specific conditions in addition to being used for their preventative properties, such as cranberries are used in the treatment of diseases of the urinary tract, and specific diets can help to reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol in the body. Eating with your eyes is not always a bad thing. Some may find it hard to consume enough colorful fruits and vegetables to be beneficial so what is a person to do? Your local health food store has available powdered vegetable and fruit concentrates that supply all the needed nutrients in one simple drink.
Tongkat Ali: The Natural Viagra?
October 22, 2007 10:02 AM
Tongkat Ali is also known as Longjack, and is a well known aphrodisiac in South East Asia, the root of which has been found effective both as an aphrodisiac and in treating certain sexual problems including failure to achieve an erection. What Viagra does in the west, Longjack does in the east, only cheaper.
The tree is also called Pasak Bumi, and had originally been used for many years as a treatment for malaria, the side effects being accepted but not understood as originating from the malaria medication. Some though that the malaria itself perhaps caused them, and was a long time before the effect of tongkat ali on the testosterone levels in the body was understood.
The name literally means Ali’s walking stick, and is named after the long roots from which it is extracted. The tree itself is about ten metres high, and grows beneath the canopy of the Indonesian rainforests. However, due to a heavy demand for the product, the older trees are increasingly more difficult to find, and most of the herbal preparation is extracted from younger trees. The tree itself is not easy to cultivate outside its natural environment, and is very slow growing.
Unlike many herbal remedies used in Asia, the effects of Tongkat Ali on the libido have been supported by scientific medical evidence, and it has been demonstrated to support the availability of unbound testosterone and to support hormonal balance in general. It had been used for many years to promote sexual desire and sexual ability before the medical evidence was obtained to provide scientific support to what was already known by the indigenous population: that it was effective in improving sexual ability, stamina, and endurance and to reduce mental fatigue in general.
Although it was originally used as a treatment for malaria, Longjack increases the natural production of testosterone in the body and hence improving the male sex drive and also that of women. It is a little known fact that women, too, need testosterone for their sexual impulses. However, it is probably more important from a physiological point of view that testosterone is essential to women in that it increases the metabolic rate and accelerates the burning and elimination of fats, and the production of red blood cells and the development of muscle tissue.
As the production of testosterone drops off with age, generally starting after about thirty years, bodybuilders find it increasingly more difficult to maintain a good body shape and muscle shape. They are interested in anything that could feasible maintain or even increase the production of testosterone by the body, and Tongkat Ali does this. To them, the increase in their libido, or sex drive, is a bonus that they will not refuse to take advantage of!
Eurycoma longifolia, the scientific name for the tree, increases the amount of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the body. ATP, along with its cousin adenosine diphosphate (ADP), is responsible for the availability of energy for use by the body. It is normally created from ADP and glucose, and an increased availability in the blood can reduce the fatigue caused by its consumption through vigorous exercise. However, if too much ATP is available, the subject can suffer from insomnia and restlessness since there is too much ATP in the body.
The function of the ATP is to provide available energy that can be used by the muscles in exercise. When energy is used up the ATP is converted to ADP, which needs more glucose to reform the ATP. If there is excess ATP, it is like a charged battery within the body, and we become restless until the energy available is used up.
Another benefit of this amazing substance is that it helps the body to increase its own production of sex hormones, rather than simply provide them for it. People who suffer from sexual dysfunction conditions tend to be provided with HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) from their physicians or doctors which involve the introduction of testosterone intravenously. The result of this is that your body recognizes that it has a sufficient supply of testosterone and so stops making it for itself. Eventually your body just stops testosterone production, and relies on the artificial supply it has got used to receiving. Longjack treatment, however, does not provide a supply of testosterone, but stimulates your body to produce its own, which is better for it in the long run.
You should, however, be made aware of the possible side effects or testosterone administration which are insomnia, anxiety and a possible reduction in your immune functions. There are also other possible side effects if you suffer from diabetes, or heart liver or kidney disease, and you should always refer to your doctor before commencing its use. If you start off your treatment with small doses and check out the side effects at each stage, then you will be able to safely find out if these side effects relate to you. If not, then you are all set as long as you obey the advice of your physician.
Another natural product that is recommended as an aphrodisiac is Horny Goat Weed, but when used in combination with Tongkat Ali it appears to have a synergistic effect. Horny Goat Weed is also called Fairy Wings and a number of other alternatives names, and is not one but about 60 different flowering plants found in southern China. It works by increasing the nitric oxide concentration in the body that helps to relax the smooth muscles.
By itself Horny Goat Weed is an effective aphrodisiac, but the combination of its effect in relaxing the penile muscles and the increased testosterone levels promoted by Longjack is extremely powerful, and much more effective in resolve sexual problems in men that either of them alone.
For this reason tongkat ali is frequently sold in combination with horny goat weed. Although not unusual, it is not common to find natural herbs that have such a profound effect on the libido and whose effect is backed up by scientific evidence. Tongkat ali is one of those, and although it is still currently mainly used in Asia, demand for it in the west is rising.
Staying Healthy Means Keeping Your Blood In The Proper PH
October 21, 2007 07:04 PM
The blood should be electrolytically neutral, or very slightly alkaline. The proper pH for blood should be 7 or just above it, and many claim that it should be 7.35. In fact the truth is that your blood pH should be between 7.2 and 7.6. Outside these limits and you could have serious health problems, with your brain particularly being affected.
For those who have forgotten their school chemistry, pH is a measurement of the level of acidity or alkalinity of an aqueous solution. Anything over 7 is said to be alkaline, and below 7 is acidic. Where the pH has to be maintained at a certain level, a material called a buffer is used that counteracts the effects of other acids and alkalis to maintain the desired pH range. Buffers are very common in nature, as would be expected of life forms that depend upon water and aqueous solutions for their survival. Blood is an aqueous solution containing plasma, blood cells, nutrients and various other ingredients in both solution and dispersed solid form.
The human body possesses a very effective pH maintenance system that depends on various buffers, the kidneys and the lungs. Lets have a closer look at buffers and how they work. pH is, in fact, a measurement of the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) in a solution. The way a buffer works is to absorb or release H+ ions to keep the hydrogen ion concentration at a specific level. If there are too many H+ ions present in the blood, and it becomes too acidic, then the buffer will mop up the excess. If there are too few, and the blood becomes too alkaline, then the buffer will release more hydrogen ions into the blood. In this way the pH is maintained at the limits mentioned above.
Buffers in the human body include some forms of protein, phosphates and also hemoglobin. However, if the pH variations are more than just occasional, the buffers have a limited capability, and a more permanent solution is needed. If the blood is continually becoming too acidic, the bicarbonate ion is used to clear them up. Just as bicarbonate of soda is used to clear up excess acidity in your stomach that causes indigestion, so it can be used to clear up excess acidity in the blood. But how do we get the bicarbonate into the blood?
When the lungs inhale oxygen, they then exhale carbon dioxide. The bicarbonate ion, also called the hydrogen carbonate ion, is formed in the blood by dissolved carbon dioxide. The faster we breathe the more carbon dioxide we exhale and the less is left in the blood to form bicarbonate. The slower we breathe, the more carbon dioxide is available in the blood for bicarbonate. Thus, when our blood acidity increases we breathe slower, and when it decreases we breathe faster since less carbon dioxide is needed in the blood to form bicarbonate to neutralize the acid.
The kidneys also help to regulate the pH of the blood, although the biochemistry involved is fairly complex, and will not be covered here. It is enough to state that the body has a number of routes by which it can control the pH of the blood.
Current thinking is that alkaline and acidic foods should be balanced in your diet in order to place less of a strain on the body’s pH control systems. Since the blood pH must be slightly alkaline, then it might make sense to eat a slightly alkaline diet. However, it is not the actual food that matters, but what happens when the food is digested. Hence, orange juice is classed as an alkaline food even though it is high in citric acid and itself has a low pH. The same is true of lemons. They taste very sour, yet the result after digestion is alkaline. It is the end result that counts. After all, the stomach acid is very strong and very highly acidic, and eating slightly alkaline foods is not going to alter that. The digestive juices have to be highly acidic to break down the organic matter.
It had been calculated that a mix of around d 75% alkaline and 25% acidic food is a good combination of the two types to provide approximately the desired blood pH. Among the common acidic foods are meat, fish, poultry, plums, grains, eggs, wine, cheese and offal. The alkaline foods are most fruits and vegetables, orange and lemon juice, melons, potatoes and chocolate. Hence, it is possible to eat beef and chicken, and have the odd glass of wine so long as we eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. There is nothing at all unusual with that diet, and it underlines the importance of eating a healthy balanced diet. While more greens and whole foods are definitely healthier for you, you should not eat exclusively an alkaline diet.
If your blood pH is on the high side of the limit, then you can eat a bit more meat or fish, and if on the low side eat a more vegetarian style diet. It is important, however, that you eat healthily, irrespective of whether you are eating alkaline or acidic foods. Through history, the human race has adopted a more acidic diet than the ancient hunter gatherers. Grains are a relatively recent invention, introduced after the invention of stone tools to mill them, and dairy products are also relatively recent in terms of the whole of human history. Even the consumption of meat only began after mankind learned first how to trap and then developed tools to enable them to kill their prey.
Human biochemistry, then, has developed from a predominantly vegetarian diet. However, protein is still very important, and while protein intake is necessary, should comprise no more than 20% - 25% of your total food intake. The rest should comprise of mainly fruits and vegetables, with whole rather than refined or processes foods predominating. Sugar was not eaten in quantity until the industrial revolution.
Measuring the pH of your blood is easy to do. It is simply a matter of using pH paper strips and checking the color change with your blood. They are available at most pharmacies and health food stores. If your pH level varies from 7.4 or 7.5, then you should change your diet accordingly. Higher than this, then eat more acidic foods, and if lower you should eat more alkaline food. It is simple equation, and the changes you will have to make to your diet will be minimal. Some of these changes can be made by the use of supplements that are carefully balanced to maintain your blood in the proper pH.
Omnivore Vs Vegan Who Is Right?
October 21, 2007 07:02 PM
The omnivore vs vegan argument as to who is right and who is wrong can be argued from a number of different platforms. There is the ethical issue of whether we should eat other animal life, and also the argument as which is ‘better for you’, based on arguments such as vitamin B12 is not available from a vegan diet. There is even the ‘lifestyle’ argument: does our lifestyle define our diet?
However, strictly, the only argument for or against either diet should only be made upon human biochemistry. Do both meet the needs of our biochemistry, or does one or the other lack something essential in our biochemical pathways? Obviously omnivores will lack nothing except by choice, since all foods are available for their consumption. If vegans do lack a specific chemical need, then is that available as a supplement in a form that can be effectively used in the chemistry of our bodies.
The one argument accepted by both sides is that it is essential for all animals to consume living things in order to stay alive themselves. These living thinks need not be alive at the time of consumption, but it is necessary that they eat the flesh of plant or animal life that at one time was alive and contained DNA. What that infers is that it is only vegetables that can survive on non-living tissue and this appears to be borne out in practice. No living animal known can live on inorganic matter only, but most plants can and do. Not all though, the Venus fly trap being an example.
It is easy to extend the moral problem of eating living tissue to living vegetable tissue that also contains DNA, and the argument must lie between animal and the derivatives of animals, and non-animal tissue. It has not yet been found that any organism has yet crossed the animal-vegetable divide, so the division is a valid one. That might seem obvious, but it is necessary to establish that for the argument between vegan and omnivore diets to be valid.
The consumption of protein derived from meat is not a prerequisite for size and muscle bulk, since the largest dinosaurs in the world were all herbivores, the largest being a member of the sauropod family at more than 175 tons, eclipsing the largest meat eater, the gigantosaurus at 8 tons. Thus, meat does not mean bulk. However, what has been proved is that the fastest creatures are carnivores. Hence if you want to be a top class sprinter, eat meat!
Carnivores, with their lean muscle mass and highly efficient quick use of available energy, have very short digestive tracts which are not good for digesting vegetable matter, but make best use of animal proteins and expel unnecessary mass from the body quicker. The argument in favor of the vegans is that the human digestive tract is not that of a carnivore.
In herbivores, the food takes longer to digest, and hence it remains in the digestive system longer. This means a longer alimentary canal, longer than humans have. Herbivores also move slowly, and a good example is the comparison of speed between the omnivorous chimpanzees and other small monkeys and the herbivorous gorillas and orangutans. On the one hand you have lean fast moving machines, while on the other you have large bellies and slow moving larger animals. Check out cows and sheep and compare their body fat with ours. Nor are we like herbivores.
So what are humans? Omnivores! Our teeth and intestines are those of omnivores, the teeth designed for ripping and tearing meat, and stripping leaves from trees, but also for grinding grains, and our intestines are something between the long and the short. People are able to eat and live on every type of food imaginable from brains to intestines to leaves to roots to ants and grubs.
The argument is therefore futile to consider historically. Let’s then study the advantages and disadvantages of each type of diet. Human beings are capable of life through consuming either animals or plants, or both. The argument seems, therefore, to be one of morality rather than biochemistry. However, is that really so? The vegan refusal to eat dairy products should not be taken as extremism, since the human being is the only animal species to drink milk of another species, or to use it to make other products. It is a practice born long after cattle were husbanded by humans for food. The problem with eating animal products lies not in the meat itself, but in the fat. Animal fat is saturated, which means that the fat molecule has no active double bonds in the chemical structure that can be used to break the fat down.
Animal fat also contains cholesterol, yet we cannot survive without cholesterol. It is the human band aid, used by the body to patch up damage to the cardiovascular system. Only, sometimes, too much is laid down and the arteries get blocked. However, many vegetable products have more saturated fats and cholesterol than many animal products, so a balance is called for. The unsaturated fats and oils for humans are said to be derived from seeds, such as flax seed and fish, especially oily fish. These are the Omega-3 oils. Although they can be obtained from some seeds and nuts, it has been proved that the best come from oily fish, such as wild salmon, mackerel and sardines.
The B vitamins are essential for life. The best sources are animal sources, though you get them from some vegetable sources such as brewers years (who eats lost of that?) and others, but animal sources are the best.
Also, there is no evidence to suggest that vegans live longer than omnivores. In fact all of the evidence indicates that a middle road is the best. For human beings the healthiest diet includes both meat and vegetable tissue. The best solution to good health is neither vegan nor carnivore. Nor is it traditional vegetarian, since it is the dairy products that cause many of our dietary products.
Studies of the biochemical pathways have demonstrated that all chemicals need to sustain healthy human growth and life are not available from a classic vegan diet. Some animal protein and B vitamins are essential that cannot be obtained form a normal vegan diet. It is possible, however, to maintain life by means of supplements.
However, for the healthiest form of human life, our biochemistry, history and physiology indicate that there is a balance somewhere between the extremes of both views that is right for us, and that either diet can be sustained with appropriate supplementation based upon what is missing from one diet or the other.
So, omnivore vs vegan. Who is right: both are right if they also supplement any nutritional deficiencies in their diet with vitamins and minerals that may be lacking from one diet or the other.
Natural Vitamin and Herbal Alternatives For Joint Health
October 18, 2007 03:58 PM
Joint tissue breaks down and arthritis sets in for a number of reasons, and there are several natural alternatives for joint health that can be use to prevent this and to treat affected joints.
Thyroid problems can slow down the production of adrenal hormones that are responsible for the production of cortisone and cosrtisol. These are anti-inflammatories, that when unavailable or in low supply can result in joint inflammation. If you suffer joint pain in the mornings that tends to improve as the day goes on, then it is likely that is the cause since adrenal activity can improve as the day progresses.
One of the main reasons for joint tissue breakdown is osteoarthritis whereby the cartilage wears down until it fails to provide the necessary protection against impact between the bones in a joint, or against the friction generated when two bones rub together. Injuries to joints can have the same effect, whereby an injury to a hip or knee can appear to clear up and then later the cartilage wears out sooner than expected. This can take several months or many years, depending on the severity and nature of the injury concerned.
Continual wear and tear can also cause joint tissue to break down. Athletes and other sportspersons often suffer twenty years or more after retirement from their sport due to the gradual wearing down of cartilage while they were active. Once they stop, this continues to a lesser extent until the cartilage is eventually worn away sufficiently for it to stop protecting the joint.
Problems with the auto-immune system can lead to rheumatoid arthritis and inflammation of the joints. This weakens them and can eventually completely destroy the tissue. In such cases the tissues in the joint tend to swell and become extremely painful. Gout can also damage joints, especially in the big toe. This is caused through a built up of needle sharp uric acid crystals. Another cause is a deficiency in sodium and potassium in the diet that are needed to help maintain calcium in solution. When these metals are in deficiency due, for example, to an adrenal problem or some other reason, calcium can deposit right in the joints, causing undue pain.
Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies are commonly associated with arthritis sufferers, and protein deficiencies are also believed to be a contributing factor of rheumatoid arthritis, and it is also true that degenerative arthritis can accompany rheumatoid arthritis. This occurs in almost 40% of cases, and diet and nutrition are now being recognized as a major cause of both types. Deficiencies in folic acid or its natural form of folate, vitamin E, zinc and selenium have all been associated with degeneration of joint tissue, so it makes sense that a supplement of these substances can help to avoid these conditions.
Standard medical treatment, however, is for the relief of pain and reduction of inflammation through the prescribing of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Typical NSAIDs are aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. Although it relieves pain, paracetamol is not an anti-iflammatory. An alternative to blocking the inflammatory reponse is to help to regenerate the damaged joint tissue.
However, reducing the inflammatory response to tissue damage does not address the underlying problem, but masks it. Not only that, but there are side effects associated with the use of NSAIDs. Excessive doses can create serious gastrointestinal problems, such as bleeding, ulcer perforation and even death is possible in severe cases. Anti-inflammatories cause gastric problems in up to 20% of cases
The newer Cox-2 inhibitors act on the enzyme that causes the inflammation within the joint, and while these can be very effective, they are still masking the underlying problem. Incidentally, the Cox-2 inhibitors should not be used with NSAIDs, and both increase the possibility of a myocardial infarction or heart attack. Also, if you are taking aspirin to reduce the risk of heart problems, you should be careful not to use other NSAIDs since they can interfere with the effects of the aspirin.
More effective in the long run is to treat the conditions with substances that deal with the cause of the problem. Vitamin C, for example, improves the lubrication effect of the synovial fluid in the joints, and vitamin E is a strong antioxidant that can help to repair damaged tissue and improve the circulation within the joints. Joints have very low blood circulation levels, which is a problem when trying to direct drugs to the joint tissues. Vitamin C is also good for improving the integrity of connective tissue. Zinc, manganese and copper are also instrumental in developing strong connective tissue and helping to repair the damage done to the joints.
Horsetail is a commonly used herbal remedy that can be taken as a tea, tincture or in capsules. It is the richest natural herbal source of silicon, which is used by the body to form connective tissue and collagen. Damaged connective tissue is rapidly repaired by horsetail, and its strength and elasticity significantly improved. It is commonly used in the treatment of arthritis and osteoporosis.
Cat’s Claw is used for its beneficial effect on the immune system, and frequently used successfully to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. However, this treatment is used more to help reduce the inflammatory effects of the condition than to effect a long lasting cure. Gotu Kola, also called Indian pennywort, is traditionally used for treating arthritis. The fresh leaves are effective in reducing the inflammation and pain, and help to improve the quality of life of arthritis sufferers. In Australia, it is referred to as ‘the arthritis herb’ and two leaves a day are said to be effective.
Another popular remedy is MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), although it is claimed to provide pain relief rather than a cure. Amino acids also seem to help, and L-cysteine helps promote collagen and connective tissue. It appears to work best when taken in combination with vitamin E and selenium that are powerful antioxidants. L-arginine has a similar effect in the reconstruction of joint tissue, again helping to repair damaged connective tissues.
There are therefore two approaches to treating both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, one providing pain relief and reducing inflammation, and the other repairing the damage done to the joint tissues. Vitamins, minerals, trace minerals and herbal remedies are used in both, though it is better to use a combination that provides pain relief and also helps to regenerate strong connective tissues in the joints.
When using combinations of remedies it is important that possible interactions are understood, and you should always seek the advice of your physician when using non-prescription remedies of any kind.
Adapt To The Stresses Of Life with Herbal Adaptogens
October 18, 2007 11:13 AM
Life today places a number of different types of stresses upon us. There are the normal stresses of living, of facing problems at work, financial worries and family stresses. Schedules are becoming busier as we try to pack more and more into each day, and relaxation time is cut to a minimum. For many of us, the stress starts when we waken and rush through breakfast, if we have time for one, to catch the bus or train to work, or to slip into the morning traffic rush that takes us an hour to travel 10 miles or less.
Once at work we have problems to deal with that continue throughout a rushed lunch period, and then back to the stress of trying to return home in the evening to open the bills and check if we have enough in the bank to pay them. However, that is not all.
Our environment is continually changing, and our bodies are subject to the stresses of pollution from the planes, trains and automobiles, not to mention the pesticides, preservatives plastics and harsh lighting. The noise of air conditioning and the continual musak of the stores and shopping malls and everything else that goes to completely stress us out, weekdays and weekends.
That is ignoring the smog, the disappearing ozone layer and increased UV radiation, the greenhouse effect and global warming, El Nino and everything else that causes worry or affects the delicate balance of the body’s biochemistry. Rather than adapting to our environment we are continually striving to adapt the environment to suit our needs. We should develop a flexibility of mind and body so that we can survive these modern-day stresses, and this is where the substances known as adaptogens are important.
Adaptogens help us to adapt to the environment and withstand the stresses of modern life. The term was first used by Russian N.V. Lazarev in 1947 who defined an adaptogen as a substance meeting three specific criteria: it should cause a minimal disruption to the normal physiological function of the body, it must work by means of a range of chemical, physical and biochemical factors rather than through one specific action and must have an overall effect of normalization, so that no condition is aggravated to improve another.
There are a large number of identified adaptogens, among them several forms of ginseng: Panax, American, Siberian and Japanese; licorice, schizandra berries, rhodiola and others. These adaptogens tend to work in the body by improving the body’s availability and use of energy, improving the efficiency of removal of the metabolic waste and by-products, supporting the adrenal function so that the effects of stress are reduced or countered, improving the utilization of oxygen and helping to build up body tissue. In general the body works more efficiently in generating and using energy, muscle tissue and counteracting the effects of modern day stress, both environmental and psychological.
Of the ginsengs, Panax is very expensive for regular use, although many people prefer it. However, studies have shown that Siberian, or eleuthero ginseng, is a stronger adaptogen that Panax which is also called Korean or Chinese ginseng. In fact the other forms, including American and Japanese, tend to over-stimulate the body, and can also cause unwanted side effects such as constipation and over-excitement. The Siberian ginseng tends not to show these symptoms.
Siberian ginseng contains seven active substances known as eleutherosides A – F which are not present in the other ginsengs. These substances appear to have several properties that have been clinically proven. For example, they relieve insomnia, one of the symptoms of stress, high and low blood pressure, bronchitis, various forms of neuroses and, it is claimed, also some types of cancer. Siberian ginseng also allows humans to withstand noise, heat and extra stresses caused by severe workloads. It improves athletic performance and allows people to improve their work output under a variety of stresses. Athletes can train harder and recover quicker.
Another adaptogen is schizandra berries (also called schizandra chinensis and magnolia vine). Chinese herbalists class medicinal herbs by the five different flavors, sour, bitter, salty, acrid and sweet. Schizandra berries possess all five, and are therefore considered by the Chinese to balance all the systems of the body.
It is used in the West as a stress reducing adaptogen and is also included in sports and weight loss formulae. It helps insomnia and improves endurance and mental coordination. Schizandra is believed to be a good tonic for the liver and is often used in combination with Siberian ginseng (eleuthero) and licorice. The latter is another popular herb in China that is said to be a good tonic for the spleen. Licorice itself is a known anti-inflammatory since it contains flavanoids and saponins that promote the immune system. Licorice is thought be a useful supplement for HIV patients due to its effect on the immune system. It also increases corticosteroid levels by inhibiting the liver’s ability to break down adrenal hormone. However, people with high blood pressure should be careful with licorice since it can cause sodium retention. Like any other medication, you should seek your physician’s advice if you have any existing conditions.
Rhodiola, also referred as roseroot, is used for improved memory and enhanced vitality and it can also be used as a mood modifier. It is used by athletes of all types for increased strength and endurance, and improved cardiovascular and muscle recovery time. The Russians call it ‘Golden Root’ and it is a safe and effective adaptogen.
More and more people are turning to adaptogens to help them cope with the hustle and bustle of their daily lives, and they are becoming increasingly available from ordinary health stores. If you are finding it difficult to stay energetic and active then try them out. Not all work with every individual, but there is a large variety to choose from and most people are able to find an adaptogen that suits them and enables them to adapt to the stresses of daily life.
Pumpkin Seed Oil is good for your health
October 14, 2007 05:34 PM
Pumpkin seed oil, as the name suggests, is obtained from pumpkin seeds, which can also be eaten roasted in the same way that people eat sunflower seeds. When roasted, they are coated in a sauce such as Worcester sauce and then heated in low oven for a long period of time. The secret of roasting them to maintain their nutritional value is to keep the temperature low and the cooking time high.
The seeds are regarded as a ‘superfood’ that is rich in vitamins A and E, the essential fatty acids known as Omega 3 and Omega 6, zinc, iron, magnesium and potassium. The seed is known as a pepita in North and South America.
The oil is reddish green and many people find it delicious. It is best when used raw, and can be drunk in the form of smoothies or shakes, or used as a salad dressing. Some also enjoy drinking it raw, and using it as a spread instead of butter or margarine. The benefits it provides to the human body are a healthy brain function, increased energy and it has a special use in maintaining a healthy prostate gland.
The vitamin E content is high, especially gamma-tocopherol, and it has a high antioxidant effect with consequent anti-inflammatory properties. Its effect on arthritis, and inflammatory disease, has been investigated and the inclusion of pumpkin seeds in the diet has been found to reduce the inflammatory symptoms of the condition with a consequent reduction in pain. In fact, in a comparison test with indomethacin, a common arthritis treatment, pumpkin seeds compared very well and in fact had a more positive effect on the damage to the fats in the joint linings than did indomethacin, which tends to increase the concentration of lipid peroxides rather than reduce them.
Its effect on the prostate gland is partially due to its high zinc content that is present in a higher concentration in the prostate than in any other gland in the body, and also to its effect on the hormones that cause the gland to grow and swell to the extent that it constricts or completely blocks the urethra, the tube connecting the bladder to the outside of the body. This is caused by an enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT causes the over-proliferation of the prostate cells.
The reason for the effect of pumpkin seed oil on DHT is still under discussion, but some believe that it is connected with the zinc content and others with the high level of delta-7-sterine in the seed. The sterine appears to neutralize the effect of the DHt on the growth of prostate cells.
In addition to prostate enlargement, Osteoporosis is another problem associated with aging in men. It has been estimated that men over 50 have a 12.5% chance of suffering a fracture due to brittle bones, and it is though that this is connected with a deficiency of zinc. In fact a clear correlation has been established between osteoporosis in older men and low levels of zinc and the diet and in the blood. Pumpkins seeds, as already mentioned, are rich in zinc, and the benefits of their use as a supplement to avoid an enlarged prostate is reinforced by their effect in protecting against osteoporosis.
Pumpkin seeds contain a high concentration of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. These are specifically useful in protecting the cardiovascular system and prevent atherosclerosis. They also contain plant sterols known as phytosterols that are believed to help reduce the blood concentration of cholesterol. This types of sterols are the basis of the ‘cholesterol busting’ drinks that are sold in supermarkets. They also help to strengthen the immune system and are believe to help reduce the risk of contracting some types of cancer.
Pumpkin seed oil is a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid, an important unsaturated fatty acid that some studies have indicated can be used to prevent metastaes (the spread of the disease) development in patients with breast cancer. The most prized type of oil is that from Syrian oil, from the province of Steiermark in Austria. Such pumpkins are also grown in parts of North America, and the best oil is said to come from the first pressing, the so-called ‘virgin’ oil. If used in cooking, the temperature must be kept low, since many of the nutrients are destroyed much over 100 Celsius.
A little known use for pumpkin seed oil is in eradicating intestinal parasites. Many people are embarrassed at requesting professional help for worms, and pumpkin seeds are the ideal home remedy. The act almost immediately, and two or three hours after taking them, or the oil, then you should take a laxative. You should the parasites being removed with the bowel motions.
The worms are not actually killed, but are paralyzed, and cannot prevent themselves being removed with the bowel movement. If a laxative is not taken, however, they will recover and there will be no effect. As with any remedy for a health condition, therefore, it is necessary to understand how the seeds or oil work to help to remove the horrible parasites from your body. They are very common, and any self-help or natural remedy that actually works will undoubtedly be very popular, but if it is not understood that these creatures must be expelled from your body while paralyzed, then pumpkin seeds or oil will not work.
Those that failed to understand the process would then complain that the treatment does not work. In fact, it does work, and if the worms are expelled when they are unable to remain in your intestines then they will be removed. You must “read the instructions on the bottle” for the contents to work.
Pumpkin seed oil is a very potent mixture of chemicals that can cure or control a large number of conditions, and it is essential that you understand why you are using them. They can be used as a supplement to your diet, though it is easy to wonder why you should take this antioxidant rather than another.
Find out what pumpkin seed oil can do for you, and if it applies to you then use it. There are stronger antioxidants, and better foods to take in an attempt to protect from certain conditions. However, there are certain circumstances when pumpkin seeds will do the job better than most other supplements, and if you can fit them into your regular diet then they will not only do you ‘no harm’, as they say, but will do you a great deal of good. Look for organic pumpkin seeds or pumpkin seed oil at your local health food store.
Can Cod Liver Oil Help Depression?
June 19, 2007 01:20 PM
Can Cod Liver Oil Help Depression…In a study of almost 22,000 Norwegians aged over 40, those who regularly took cod liver oil were less likely to suffer depression than those who did not. The oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are linked to various benefits. Scientists said a spoonful of cod liver oil could reduce the risk of depression by as much as 30 percent. Prevalence of depression symptoms among cod liver oil users was 2.5 percent, compared to 3.8 percent in the rest of the population. The study also suggests that the longer the subjects took the oil, the less depressed they became. (Journal of Affective Disorders, volume 101, Issue 1-3, August 2007, pages 245-249)
Natural Calm Magnesium – The Anti-Stress Drink
June 01, 2007 10:16 AM
VitaNet, LLC is pleased to offer you Natural Calm – one of the most valuable mineral supplements you can take to support stress relief by restoring and balancing healthy magnesium and calcium levels. Developed by pioneering nutritional researcher Peter Gillham, Natural Calm is the best-selling magnesium supplement on the market, according to health food supermarket scanner reports. It features a proprietary process that provides absorbably, effective and fast acting magnesium.
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This sour Indian fruit can have a sweet appetite-stifling effect
May 26, 2007 05:44 PM
Stay satisfied with garcinia
This sour Indian fruit can have a sweet appetite-stifling effect.
It’s funny how modern science continues to support ancient systems of herbal healing. Such is the case with garcinia: the yellowish, pumpkin like fruit of the Garcinia cambogia tree, log valued in tropical Asian cooking for its sweetly acidic taste, is a traditional Indian remedy for digestive problems that is also used to make meals more filling. Today, garcinia (also known as brindleberry and Malabar tamarind) is used in natural weight-loss products based on research supporting its stomach satiating powers. Scientists also believe that garcinia helps block fat formation and regulate glucose (blood sugar) usage vital functions in an increasingly overweight world.
Filling up Faster
One reason so many people losing the battle of the bulge is that temptations to eat – and eat – are absolutely everywhere, often as the focal points of clever and well designed advertising campaigns. (Remember the slogan “belch’a can’t eat just one”?) To make matters worse, restaurants often serve overly generous portions and experiments have shown that the more food you serve, the more people will consume. For example,
The answer would seem simple – just eat less. But knowing when to say when isn’t easy. That’s where garcinia comes in, specifically an extract taken from the rind called HCA (Hydroxycitric acid). In laboratory animals HCA has upped levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that helps suppress appetite and elevate mood, which might help take the edge off the depressing and binge-eating urges that often affect would-be weight losers. At the same time HCA appears to reduce levels of another substance in the brain called neuropeptide Y, which enhances appetite (Experimental Biology meeting 4/06).
What is it: the pumpkin-like fruit of the garcinia cambogia tree; this Indian native is used in cooking and in Ayurveda, the country’s system of traditional medicine.
What is does: A popular ingredient in natural weight-loss aids, garcinia is being investigated for possible fat blocking and appetite-suppressing functions; it may also help regulate glucose (blood sugar).
Fat Smack down
The fat that stubbornly clings to your frame doesn’t always start out that way. In many cases, your body actually creates fat from excess carbohydrates (such as the icing encrusted doughnut you couldn’t pass u at breakfast). If you don’t burn off those extra carbs through exercise, they are broken down into citrates that are then transformed into the building blocks of body fat. This process is controlled by an enzyme called citrate lyase; HCA interferes with this crucial enzyme, an action that inhibits fat formation. Researchers believe the body uses those extra carbs to provide more energy; this mechanism may also have the happy side effect of further checking appetite. In addition, results from a Dutch lab study indicate that garcinia may blunt sugar-induced increases in glucose, which can help forestall diabetes development.
Garcinia works best when teamed with out nutrients and herbs, such as chromium, green tea and forskolin. In one investigation, over weight people who stuck to a supervised diet and exercise program supplemented with a combination of HCA, chromium and another herb called Gymnema lost body weight and mass, and showed improved fat burning capacity (Nutrition Research 1/04). This modern usage mirrors Ayurveda’s ancient precepts, according to which individual remedies are generally used in combination for more effective results. Looking to get your meals more staying power? Then look for garcinia in your favorite weight loss formula. –Lisa James
Better Diet, Easier Breathing for Men?
May 22, 2007 02:58 PM
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health reported that men who followed a diet rich in plant-based foods, whole grains and fish – a “Mediterranean” diet – were half as likely as their peers eating the most “western” style diet to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Subjects eating significant amounts of refined grains, cured and red meat, desserts and sweets were at a 4.55 times greater risk of COPD. The researchers followed 42,917 men for over 12 years; 111 men in the group reported new diagnoses of COPD. Top-tier subjects with the healthier diet pattern were half as likely to have developed lung disease as bottom-tier subjects. The researchers stated that fruit and fish have both been tired to better lung function and lower risk of COPD, and noted that fruit and vegetables are good sources of antioxidant vitamins such as C and E, which have been tied to better lung function; omega-3 fatty acids in fish may also contribute to lung health. (Thorax, May 2007 Published online)… Natural Products Association.
Turmeric and Alzheimer’s Disease
May 10, 2007 12:38 PM
Turmeric and Alzheimer’s Disease
Compare these findings to people over the age of 65 living in the
So what are people who are living in
Q. How can curry prevent these changes in the brain? Isn’t that a lot to expect from a spice?
A. Evidently, it’s not too much to expect from this spice. Curry comes from the turmeric plant – Curcuma longa is the plant’s official name. Curcumin, a plant compound in turmeric, is the source of curry’s instantly recognizable bright yellow pigment. When it comes to the scientific research of Curcuma longa, the terms curcumin and turmeric are both used. Both refer to the same thing- tumeric extract.
There have been more than 1300 studies on tumeric and its health benefits for humans. Research has shown tumeric is able to help the body get rid of cancer-causing toxins. Turmeric also blocks estrogen receptors and enzymes that promote cancer. And it’s been found to stop the growth of new blood vessels in cancerous tumors – an important factor in keeping cancer from getting larger and spreading throughout the body.
But one of turmeric’s most exciting health benefits is its ability to reduce, prevent, and stop inflammation. While inflammation is a normal and needed response to injury or disease, chronic inflammation can cause damage to tissues. And researchers are now finding inflammation plays a huge role in Alzheimer’s disease.
Q. I’ve always heard that Alzheimer’s disease was caused by complex growths in the brain called plaques and tangles. How can simple inflammation cause such a devastating disease?
A. You are right. Plaques and tangles are indeed the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. But researchers looking at the brain damage caused by Alzheimer’s have always noted the presence of inflammation wherever plaques and tangles form. In the past, this inflammation was thought to be simply a consequence of Alzheimer’s disease. Now scientists believe the inflammation itself starts a chain reaction ultimately contributing to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
` When cells in the brain are disrupted by inflammation, amyloid, and a protein normally found in the brain, beings to act chaotically. This chaos results in the creation of beta-amyloid, protein that is toxic to cells in the brain. Sticky deposits of beta0amyloid build up and collect around the cells, making dense clumps or plaques. Because the brain can’t break the plaques down and get rid of them, they stay right where they are and slowly accumulate.
Tangles result when long protein fibers that act like scaffolding for brain cells begin to twist and tangle. The cell is damaged and eventually dies. But the tangled proteins remain in the brain even after the dead neuron has been cleared away. And inflammation might be the culprit causing the long protein fibers to start tangling.
The consequence of these abnormalities of protein in the brain is more than the cell death they cause. They also act as roadblocks interfering with electrochemical messengers being shot from cell to cell. Therefore, the remaining healthy cells’ activity is diminished as well.
Research of identical twins has repeatedly shown that if one twin has Alzheimer’s disease, the other has a 60% chance of developing the disease, too. Scientists from the Karolinska Institute in
In fact, the inflammatory process might occur years before the onset of Alzheimer’s, and be the result of any number of infections people can contract. That’s why current research is searching for ways to protect brain cells from inflammation. And why some countries have low rates of Alzheimer’s disease, like
Q. Why curry? Couldn’t other lifestyle difference account for the low rates of Alzheimer’s disease in
A. That’s a good question. When researchers begin studying a disease, like Alzheimer’s, they look for trends to help them determine how and why the disease occurs. For example, we all now know the connection between cigarettes smoking and long cancer. But, it wasn’t until the 1930’s that doctors noticed the trend fro cigarette smokers to have more lung cancer than people who didn’t smoke.
So it has been with researchers studying Alzheimer’s disease. They know Alzheimer’s disease has an important connection to inflammation. They also know turmeric reduces inflammation. And when researchers noticed these trends – that people in India eat high amounts of curry from turmeric and have very little Alzheimer’s disease – they began to theorize that turmeric might be able to prevent or even treat the illness. And the research they designed around these trends has unequivocally found turmeric to be on common denominator.
Q. What have the turmeric studies shown so far?
A. Simply amazing findings are coming from curry research. Not only does turmeric slow down cancer growth, it’s also been found to correct the cystic fibrosis defect in mice, help prevent the onset of alcoholic liver disease, and may slow down other serious brain diseases like multiple sclerosis.
Researchers from the
And now the UCLA Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) is using turmeric in clinical trials and studying the effect of this powerful spice in patients diagnosed with this devastating disease. Clinical trials are the gold standard of medical research. But it’s rare in Alzheimer’s disease. And it’s even more rare when all-natural herbs and spices like turmeric are used in hopes the positive benefits will be discovered. The head of the UCLA’s research team was recently interviewed and stated that setting out to hopefully prove turmeric’s ability to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease was “tremendously exciting.”
Q. I recently read that one of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) was found to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Is this true?
A. Scientists recently studied ibuprofen, one of the NSAIDs investigated for Alzheimer’s disease Prevention. Ibuprofen belongs to a family of drugs that includes naproxen, indomethacin, nabumetone, and several others. These drugs are used most often to get rid of headaches, mild arthritis, and other kinds of pain and inflammation.
In the studies, the average dose of ibuprofen was 800mg a day. Patients took the product for two years. While the results suggested that ibuprofen might reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, ibuprofen’s side effects are too harmful to be a valid lifelong prevent aid treatment. Ibuprofen, like other NSAIDs, can cause gastrointestinal bleeding when used at high dosages over a long period of time. Long term use of ibuprofen can also lead to analgesic nephropathy, a kind of kidney damage caused by NSAIDs.
As we discussed earlier, turmeric appears to block and break up brain plaques that cause the disease and helps reverse some of the damage already present. Ibuprofen does not provide any protection against free radical damage. No anti-inflammatory medicine can do this.
Q. If I eat curry will I be protected against Alzheimer’s disease? There aren’t many foods or recipes I make that require curry, do I need to eat it every day? And how much do I need?
A. If you enjoy Indian cuisine, by all means, enjoy these delicious foods. You’ll benefit your brain and your appetite. But you make a good point, American meals rarely contain curry. That’s why supplements that contain extracts are suddenly quite popular. In fact, there are numerous turmeric/curcumin supplements on the market today.
But like all nutritional supplements, some turmeric supplements are superior to others. You need to read their labels to make sure the turmeric extract you are buying will provide the protection you need. Look for high-potency turmeric extract from turmeric (Curcuma longa) rhizome. And make sure the extract is standardized to contain 90% curcuminoids, the active ingredient in turmeric responsible for the positive research findings.
Researchers once thought that preventing for Alzheimer’s disease would elude them for decades. In fact, several scientists privately speculated the disease might never be ameliorated. They thought the origin of the disease was too complex and the symptoms of the disease were too profound.
That’s why ongoing research on turmeric is so exciting. A safe, natural, and effective way to protect against Alzheimer’s disease almost seems too good to be true. But, the nation of
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