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Are We Headed Towards a Food Shortage in America? : Essential Vitamins, Minerals, and Protein Powders to Maintain Good Health
May 07, 2022 09:33 AM
What is a food shortage, and why are we headed towards one in America?
A food shortage is a period of time where there is not enough food to meet the demand of the people within a certain region. This can be caused by a number of factors, including natural disasters, war, and economic downturns. In America, we are currently facing a perfect storm of conditions that could lead to widespread food shortages in the coming years. Climate change is resulting in more extreme weather patterns that damage crops, while at the same time, the population is continuing to grow. In addition, many Americans are struggling with financial instability, which makes it difficult to afford healthy food. As a result, we are heading towards a time where there may not be enough food to go around. It is important for everyone to be aware of this issue and take steps to reduce their impact on the problem. One way to do this is to reduce food waste, which will help to stretch our limited resources further. We can also support local farmers and producers who are working hard to ensure that everyone has enough to eat. By taking action now, we can help to prevent a future food shortage from becoming a reality.
The importance of having essential vitamins, minerals, and protein powders
It is essential for the body to have vitamins, minerals, and protein to survive. The body needs these essential nutrients to function properly. Vitamins help the body to produce energy, regulate metabolism, and maintain healthy tissues. Minerals are needed for the proper development and function of the skeletal system and muscles. Protein powders provide the building blocks for the growth and repair of tissues. Without these essential nutrients, the body would not be able to perform its basic functions. As a result, it is essential that people get enough of these nutrients through their diet or supplements.
The benefits of taking supplements during a food shortage
One of the most common questions people ask during a food shortage is whether or not they should take supplements. While there are benefits to taking supplements, it's important to understand that they should never be used as a replacement for real food. Instead, supplements should be viewed as a way to fill in the gaps when you're not getting all the nutrients you need from your diet. For example, if you're not getting enough vitamin C from the fruits and vegetables you're eating, taking a supplement can help ensure that your body gets the Vitamin C it needs. While supplements can't take the place of a healthy diet, they can be a helpful way to make sure you're getting all the nutrients your body needs during a food shortage.
How to store your supplements for long-term use
Supplements are an important part of many people's health regimens. If you want to make sure your supplements last as long as possible, there are a few things you need to do. First, always store your supplements in a cool, dry place. Heat and humidity can cause vitamins and minerals to break down, so avoid storing them in the bathroom or kitchen. Second, keep them out of direct sunlight. Ultraviolet light can also degrade vitamins and minerals, so it's best to keep supplements in a dark closet or cabinet. Finally, make sure the bottles are tightly sealed. Exposure to air can cause supplements to lose their potency, so it's important to keep them well-protected. Supplements generally have expiration dates of 2 - 3 years out, and are still good beyond the best used by date on the bottom of the bottles.
FAQs about food shortages and supplements
Q: What are the causes of food shortages?
A: Food shortages can be caused by a variety of factors, including natural disasters, war, economic instability, war and climate change.
Q: What are the effects of food shortages?
A: The effects of food shortages can be devastating. People may go hungry or face malnutrition, which can lead to health problems and death. Children are often the most affected by food shortages, as they need adequate nutrition to grow and develop properly. Families may also lose their livelihoods if they can't afford to buy food, which can result in poverty and homelessness
Q: What can I do to prevent a food shortage?
A: There are a number of things people can do to prevent a food shortage. Some of the most important include:
Q: What should I do if there is a food shortage?
A: If there is a food shortage, the best thing to do is to stay calm and ration the food you have. Try to eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein. Don't forget to include essential vitamins and minerals in your diet. You can also try growing your own food or raising your own livestock, If you have to. Store up Food if you see empty shelves at the grocery store.
Q: Are supplements necessary during a food shortage?
A: While supplements can't take the place of a healthy diet, they can be a helpful way to make sure you're getting all the nutrients your body needs during a food shortage.
Q: How can I store my supplements for long-term use?
A: There are a few things you need to do to keep your supplements safe and effective for long-term use. First, always store them in a cool, dry place. Heat and humidity can cause vitamins and minerals to break down, so avoid storing them in the bathroom or kitchen. Second, keep them out of direct sunlight. Ultraviolet light can also degrade vitamins and minerals, so it's best to keep supplements in a dark closet or cabinet. Finally, make sure the bottles are tightly sealed. Exposure to air can cause supplements to lose their potency, so it's important to keep them well-protected. Supplements generally have expiration dates of two to three years out, and are still good beyond the expiration date.
Omega-3 intake found to substantially slow brain "aging" byboosting nutrient circulation to memory-related brain regions
April 11, 2019 01:16 PM
Our brains are the most important thing we could ever possess, so why not take something that helps naturally assist it’s function. Omega-3 is the main focus of this article and centers on new evidence found that an aging brain can be somewhat suppressed by consuming some good ole omega-3. It quickly touches on two specific studies and their findings concerning the size of one part of the brain. Additionally, it outlines a few extra benefits of the vitamin and the importance of striking a good bodily balance.
"The researchers found that people who had higher blood levels of certain omega-3 fatty acids – namely ecosatrienoic acid, stearidonic acid, and ALA – had a bigger frontoparietal cortex and therefore performed better on fluid intelligence tests."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-13-omega-3-intake-found-to-substantially-slow-brain-aging.html
These natural fixes can prevent heartburn
February 08, 2019 08:23 AM
It’s estimated that 46% of people suffer regularly from heartburn. The good news is that heartburn can be treated through many natural remedies. One way to address heartburn is to improve digestion. The most basic way to do this is to chew your food properly. Quite simply, take smaller bites and chew for what seems like a long time. Also, avoid food triggers such as spicy foods, onions, mint, and carbonated drinks, all of which contribute to acid reflux. Finally, weight loss and decreasing your intake of alcohol and caffeine can also help to ease your heartburn woes.
"To reduce the need for over-the-counter medications, here are some tips on how to get rid of heartburn once and for all."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-12-20-these-natural-fixes-remedy-a-heartburn.html
Gut microbes can fight parasites: Probiotics may reduce infections, and severity of infections, in developing countries
June 08, 2018 09:16 AM
Parasites are a more common problem in some parts of the world, where soil quality is particularly conducive to their survival and growth. Unfortunately, for individuals that get infected with these parasites, it's becoming harder to get rid of them, as successive strains become more resistant to drugs.
Fortunately, new research is discovering that keeping parasites at bay and destroying those already present may have more to do with the environment of the gut. Individuals from villages in Indonesia and Liberia were the data pool used to find guts harboring parasites as well as those free of them. It was found that some bacteria were actually assistive of the parasites, while others made it hard on them. Since inflammation is the way that the gut generally fights off parasitic invasion, those bacteria that are anti-inflammatory are not useful in ridding the body, although those that aid in producing an inhospitable environment are. It may be that a eating a great deal more fermented foods could be a key, as such foods encourage the production of friendly and useful bacteria.
"Your ability to fight off parasitic worms may be aided by your gut microbiota."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-06-05-gut-microbes-can-fight-parasites-probiotics-may-reduce-infections-and-severity-of-infections-in-developing-countries.html
Homemade Hair Treatment for Frizzy, Dry and Damaged Hair - How To Get Shiny Hair, Silky, Smooth Hair
September 18, 2017 12:14 PM
This video discusses the struggles of frizzy hair, what some of the main causes of frizzy hair are, and how to combat it on a daily basis using things from your kitchen to make a mask, etc. The video details the recipe for a hair mask containing honey and corn starch and conditioner. This concoction is applied to dry hair and the scalp and then all hair is contained in a shower cap. The video does specify for users not to apply to scalp if they tend to have oily hair. This is in informational video for those whom may be looking to tame their frizzy hair.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VL1MYw1Jr0&rel=0
"No matter how often you suffer from frizzy hair you can use a variety of common ingredients from your kitchen to treat the problem with simple natural remedies."
Nootropics: Brain Boosting Supplements
May 23, 2017 03:44 PM
Nootropics are a source of hope for those looking to hone their memory and brain power, but with them come some dissent as well. The FDA currently has no approval on such things so the benefits of using them have not been clinically based for approval by the organization. Although the hope is that these can be leveraged to improve memory power for those surrounding us, it's important to understand the true effects of their nature and making a determination for yourself based on the facts, not simply what you've heard.
"Regardless of motivation or experience, there is one common thread that connects the Nootropic experience for everyone—balance."
Read more: http://www.einnews.com/pr_news/382056043/nootropics-brain-boosting-supplements
CBD from Hemp Oil vs. CBD from Medical Marijuana
May 17, 2017 10:44 AM
Two well known plants that are easily mixed up include the hemp and marijuana plant. Now many people are wondering what separates the CBD oil made from hemp and the CBD made from medical marijuana. Oil made from hemp was said to be least potent, but molecular wise they are the same. However, hemp plants grow much faster and can yield more. Since many medical marijuana growers do not have regulations on how to grow, harmful chemicals could be used which in return would be in the oil.
Read more: CBD from Hemp Oil vs. CBD from Medical Marijuana
Radicchio: The Vitamin K Vegetable that Supports the Heart & Bones (And Kills a Common Parasite!)
May 15, 2017 03:44 PM
Many people have not heard of radicchio, and if they have, they don't really know what it is, let alone use it for their own consumption. Radicchio is a leafy vegetable that can be used in many salads or other recipes. It has a somewhat spicy radish flavor. It has many health benefits including fighting cancer cells, creating stronger bones and being good for the heart. It is also loaded with antioxidants and actually gets rid of some parasites. So load up and fun tasty ways to use this helpful vegetable.
"Radicchio also contains a large amount of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are specifically known as the antioxidants responsible for keeping your eyes healthy."
Read more: https://draxe.com/radicchio/
ATTENTION. 5 Things You Should NEVER Do After Eating!!
May 06, 2017 04:29 PM
What do you do after consuming a big meal? If you are like many people, you are doing one of these five things after you eat, and if you are, it is time to get a new routine. These five items are all important to avoid doing after you've eaten, and the sooner that you make this a priority, the better. What shouldn't you do once you're finished with dinner and up from the table?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3VbSiyTges&rel=0
"After a satisfying meal, many of us just want to lay down for the rest of the night and watch a great movie or TV show. But little do we know, this is actually one of worse things you can do after you eat! It’s small bad habits like this that can get in the way of reaching our healthiest potential."
10 High-yield vegetables you should be growing this year
April 25, 2017 03:44 PM
There are all different types of vegetables that grow all types of quantities. The amount of different vegetables is what sparks different types of growth patterenta that can justify different amounts to grow, e.g. More or less. The different types of growing also affects the crop out or yeald that can change the growth. But there are more common, HIGH-Yielding veggies that will give you a greater quantity as apposed to cropping out a couple vegetables per plant.
"These plants will make indoor gardening a fun and enjoyable experience! What’s more, all of these suggested vegetables offer numerous health benefits."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-04-21-10-high-yield-vegetables-you-should-be-growing-this-year.html
Treading carefully on medical marijuana
March 24, 2017 11:44 AM
Medical marijuana has long been a controversial topic and countries all over the world are slow to make cannabis available for medical reasons. Many people swear by marijuana as an effective treatment for a variety of conditions. Unfortunately, there is limited scientific evidence to support some of these medical claims and proponents of the plant should be cautious when making such claims. This article provides an in-depth explanation of what has been proven in scientific research and what studies some countries are undertaking.
"The calls for legalisation of medicinal cannabis have been shrill and perhaps based on misunderstanding."
Read more: http://www.independent.ie/life/health-wellbeing/health-features/treading-carefully-on-medical-marijuana-35539393.html
drink caffine in low doses to fall asleep
March 22, 2017 11:14 AM
You can drink caffeine in low doses in order to fall asleep. You do not need to take a large amount. This may not work for everyone. But, one person found that they could sleep easier and their life got a little bit better after they had some caffeine. The only way to know if it works, is to try it yourself.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzmBnZye5ec
"drink caffine in low doses to fall asleep I feel really backwards. I've been around medicine, worked at a pharmacy, I've heard this before but never believed others who said it cause it seems impossible."
Eat These 7 Foods For Bigger Breasts
March 17, 2017 06:44 PM
Not every woman has what she considers the ideal breast size for her body shape. Genetics, body composition, and hormones all play a role in determining breast size. While there is no scientific research to prove that diet may increase cup size, traditional wisdom suggests that foods high in plant estrogen which mimic the natural hormone estrogen may stimulate breast growth. However, researchers caution that too much plant estrogen may not be a good thing. Alternatively, women might consider strength exercises that safely improve upper body strength and as an added benefit bolster the chest wall muscle behind the breast tissue.
Read more: Eat These 7 Foods For Bigger Breasts
Obesity could triple your risk of stomach cancer later in life
March 02, 2017 10:59 AM
A new report looking at what causes stomach cancer found three new somewhat surprising links: alcohol, processed meat and obesity. All three are linked with several other cancers, including colon cancer and breast cancer, but this is the first time they've been associated with stomach cancer. The report also finds more typical causes: smoking, eating food preserved with salt, and infection with a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori.
"Those who gained more than 45 pounds also faced twice the risk of developing esophageal cancer, compared to those who maintained a healthy weight."
7 Reasons You Need CBD Oil in Your Kitchen (and Medicine Cabinet)
February 17, 2017 10:59 AM
With marijuana now legal in 26 states and the District of Columbia, the cry for more research on cannabis oil has spread. Many are pushing for the use of cannabis oil, which is a potent form of the plant, to treat cancer and seizures. Though the use of the oil to treat symptoms of diseases is not currently supported by the FDA, some cases have shown success in relieving pain, preventing seizures, and slowing down cancer tumors. It’s important to get use a trustworthy source and start with small doses until you know how you will react.
"Nausea is one of the most common reasons people turn to medical marijuana; synthetic THC has been administered to battle nausea in the UK since the early 80s, and many cancer patients choose to smoke marijuana to battle the effects of chemotherapy treatments."
Skipping breakfast may be bad for your heart, doctors say
February 08, 2017 12:59 PM
Are you eating your breakfast? It has long been reported that breakfast is the best meal of the day, and new research suggests that going without it may do even more damage, particularly to your heart. What should you know about breakfast and the risks of not enjoying this meal as you should?
"Eating more calories earlier in the day and consuming less food at night may also reduce the odds of a heart attack, stroke or other cardiac or blood vessel diseases, according to the scientific statement from the American Heart Association."
The 10 superfoods that will rid you of cellulite
January 24, 2017 10:59 AM
No matter what size you are cellulite is a common problem - in fact it affects between 80 and 98 per cent of women, according to experts. There are some foods that you can eat and drink to help you get rid of this. Peppers are a good source of Vitamin C and Vitamin C is the perfect cellulite buster. Drinking green tea alongside a healthy balanced diet may speed up your metabolism and even support weight loss.
"Vitamin C is the perfect cellulite buster, as it is a critical nutrient involved within the formation of collagen."
7 Reasons You Need CBD Oil in Your Kitchen (and Medicine Cabinet)
January 23, 2017 10:59 AM
As Marijuana becomes more and more legal across the states, its plant leaves are becoming more popular tool. Oil from the leaves ,CBD oil, also has many great properties. It an affect the way you sleep helping you get a better nights rest. It also been known to change our mood and relieve your pain without any psychoactive properties. One of the most noteworthy reason to incoroporate this oil into daily life because it can help with cancer. It inhibits cell growth and manage seizures. The oil can be found all over as it is legal.
"First off, don’t confuse CBD oil with hemp oil — a nutritional oil more properly known as hempseed oil. Made from crushing hempseed or hemp hearts, hemp oil is very rich in linoleic and alpha-linoleic acids and antioxidants, and it has an optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids."
Always Stick with name brand CBD like Leaf Therapeutics
How The Year You Were Born Affects Flu Risk
November 28, 2016 10:59 AM
According to a study run by the University of Arizona and University of California Los Angeles, the year you were born could say a lot about the strains of influenza to which you are susceptible. The belief is that the first infection of flu you get when you are younger sets your immune system. And since there is usually a predominant strain of flu for a few decades at a time, it is most likely you7 were exposed to the one that was dominant around the time you were born.
"People's birth years can affect their risk of catching certain strains of influenza — probably because their first case of flu somehow sets their immune system . They've been spilling over into people for years and scaring scientists who see the potential for a pandemic of flu that could kill tens or even hundreds of millions of people."
Studies Linked to Soda Industry Mask Health Risks
November 19, 2016 09:54 AM
Can you trust the studies that are out there concerning soda and the health risks that it brings when consumed? Perhaps they're telling you the truth, but not the whole truth. Some are saying that the health risks of soda are being masked when the results are released to the public. What should you know?
"The notion that sugary drinks play a major role in the spread of obesity has prompted authorities and health officials to increasingly call for soda taxes and similar measures aimed at curbing their consumption."
Your Mood and mental health
September 20, 2016 11:52 AM
Bipolar disorder is a terrible mental disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by periods of severe depression, followed by periods of extreme euphoria. It can be rapid cycling, which means the person with the disease goes through many moods a day.
Once you figure out what the underlying cause such as brain chemistry, then you can take a natural approach to help boost serotonin or dopamine.
Always remember to be careful if on MAO inhibitors or SSRI inhibitors before taking natural remedies like 5-htp or dopabean to mess with serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain.
Is Spirutein A Good Meal Replacement?
March 21, 2014 02:18 AM
What is spirutein
Spirutein protein shakes are dinner swaps and protein supplements intended to help you meet your nutritional needs. The shakes are accessible in different flavors extending from espresso to berry, and you can buy them in single-serving bundles, in substantial holders or as canned shakes. While protein shakes can supplement your eating methodology or supplant dinners to lessen calories for weight reduction, they ought not reinstate adhering to a good diet.
Spirutein provides "green nourishment" for the reason that a portion from the health supplement put into the actual shakes tend to be through spirulina and also the eco-friendly tone, chlorophyll, that is recognized to provide unequalled nutritional revenue. In addition, Spiru-tein proteins lives in a mixture of grain, pea as well as soy meats. Flavorings, mineral deposits, nutritional vitamins, psyllium, guar chewing gum as well as oat feed may similarly appear within the smoothies, depending on the actual taste. The activity blend similarly provides house developed dietary supplements, for instance, Korean ginseng as well as ashwagandha. The actual combination of fixings can make Spiru-tein to some higher degree the supper than the health supplement. Presuming you don't put it to use in order to displace the banquet, you might notice that you'll placed on pounds instead of get healthy. Spiru-tein Activity provides 260 calories from fat for each 64-g details associated with proteins; eighty of these calories from fat tend to be through body fat.
If you're trying to reduce your own caloric entrance, the actual caloric high quality from the tremble provides sufficient calories from fat in order to displace the dinner. Be cautious associated with such as too much additional fixings, for instance, items from the dirt, crazy distribute or even yogurt, about the reasons these increment the actual calories from fat. The actual Blueberries as well as Lotion Spiru-tein provides 110 calories from fat with no body fat, therefore when you employ this in order to displace the dinner, you will have to consist of celery as well as grapefruits, yogurt or even whole milk in order to increase the actual caloric really worth. You can similarly choose to eat the vegetables as well as drink the actual healthy smoothie basic.
Why Should Children Be Taking A Multiple vitamin Daily?
January 17, 2014 07:52 AM
Childrens vitamin are essential for the development of any child.
Whether to multi or not is one question that many parents ask. Never the less there is little consensus on a daily multivitamin for children. Given the reality of today busy parents, it is of the essence to understand that such well-prepared meals at home fail to meet the needed quantity of vitamin that a child require. Some children may have bad eating behavior another cause for childrens vitamin deficiency.
What Should Children Eat?
Children diet should consist of a wide variety of whole, fresh fruits, milk and dairy products and proteins as much as possible. Given the delicate nature of children’s growth, it is important to ensure that childrens vitamin needs be attained at all cost. Ideally, it is believed that children are supposed to get their vitamins from a balanced, healthy diet that they take daily. However, this does not mean that children are not getting enough childrens vitamin from food that they take at home.
While it is agreed that those children with good diets do not need to take a multivitamin, well there is no harm in them taking childrens vitamin since it will provide in any case the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of the needed key ingredients. Other benefits of taking a multiple vitamin include normal growth and development, healthy circulatory as well as nervous systems, proper bone and tooth formation, strengthen the immune system against infectivity, improve brain function among other benefits.
One question that lingers the mind of many experts and concerned d parents is whether their children are getting the right quantity of vitamins from the food that they take on a daily basis. A nutritional deficiency is something that any parent would not want for their kids thus the reason for multivitamin supplementation. It is advisable for all parents to seek nutritionist advise and ensure that they give their children formulated childrens vitamin purposely for their development.
Antioxidants and your health
May 17, 2010 10:44 AM
There is an impressive amount of scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of supplementing with a wide variety of antioxidants. Consequently, there are many health practitioners who have begun to recommend high dietary intakes of these crucial nutrients in order to prevent against oxidative stress. It was anticipated over two decades ago by leading researchers that high-dose supplementation with antioxidants is developing a significant role in the prevention and treatment of a lot of today’s common illnesses. It should be noted that antioxidants do not work in isolation. When an antioxidant neutralizes a free radical, it, itself, is oxidized and must be regenerated by another antioxidant before it can be used again. Because of this, it is crucial to supplement with a wide variety of antioxidants, in order to reflect what actually occurs in nature.
Vitamin C, an aqueous-phase antioxidant, is the main guard against oxidative attack in the extra-cellular matrix, as well as within the cytoplasm of the cell. Vitamin C happens to be a substrate for eight different enzyme systems that are involved in various cellular functions. Among these functions are collagen synthesis, ATP synthesis in the mitochondria, and hormone biosynthesis. Its main antioxidant partners are vitamin E and beta carotene, both of which help to regenerate vitamin C.
Of all the antioxidants, it seems as if vitamin E offers the greatest protection against heart disease because of its ability to protect the cardiovascular system from oxidative damage. It is lipid-soluble, making it an important component of the cell membrane, where it works to protect the cell against lipid peroxidation and control oxidation-induced inflammatory events. Recently, the gamma tocopherol form of vitamin E has shown a great deal of promise in its ability to reduce the risk of several oxidative stress related disease.
Beta-carotene is a member of a diverse group of photosynthetic pigments. It plays a huge role in human nutrition. As an antioxidant, it possesses a double-bond structure that allows it to react effectively with single oxygen radicals, absorbing and diffusing their energy. Beta-carotene also acts as a precursor for vitamin A by supplying a portion of the body’s requirement for the vitamin. This act alone plays a central role in the chemistry of vision. Beta-carotene and vitamin A both prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, reduce oxidative damage to DNA, and disable oxygen free radicals that are produced by exposure to sunlight and air pollution. These antioxidants are also involved in the activation of gene expression and the control of cell differentiation.
When combined together, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene produce and important antioxidant trio that plays a huge role in fighting oxidative and inflammatory events. There are several other antioxidants that should be noted due to their ability to work synergistically with the vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene trio. These include vitamin A, alpha-lipoic acid, lycopene, coenzyme Q10, and the antioxidant mineral, selenium. In order to determine whether a nutrient provides antioxidant support, scientists question whether the product contains vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, beta-carotene, alpha-lipoic acid, lycopene, coenzyme Q10, and selenium and to what strength these vitamins and minerals are per serving.
Vitamins and Herbs
April 03, 2009 02:52 PM
The whole human body is made up of cells that contain their own genetic material. In a healthy body, these cells divide at a controlled rate, growing and repairing damaged tissues and replacing dying cells. This predetermined rate of cell division is what keeps our bodies healthy. If cells keep multiplying when new ones are not necessary, a mass of tissue, often known as a tumor, is formed. This tumor can be either benign or malignant.
Benign tumors are not cancerous and can occur anywhere in the body. Benign tumors do not cause a threat to health, do not metastasize, and do not grow back if removed. Malignant tumors are cancerous and are usually serious. Often times, they can be life-threatening. Malignant tumors grow uncontrollably, interfere with normal metabolic and organ functioning, and have the ability to metastasize and invade other tissues. If a portion of a cell’s DNA is damaged, the cell can become abnormal. When an abnormal cell divides, it forms new cells that are a photocopy of the damaged genetic material. This ongoing process occurs constantly within our bodies. The majority of the time our bodies have the ability to destroy these abnormal cells and maintain a sort of cellular equilibrium. If a crucial part of the DNA is destroyed and the abnormal cells cannot be controlled any longer, cancer forms. All cancer cells have two things in common: growing uncontrollably and having the ability to metastasize. The immune system does not recognize cancer cells as dangerous or foreign.
Although the exact cause for the cell damage that initiates the cancer process is unknown (theoretically free radical damage causes DNA damage), the chain of events that leads to cancer is very complex, and each individual body reacts differently. It is a combination of genetic, behavioral, environmental, and lifestyle factors that are thought to be involved in turning normal cells into abnormal cells, and abnormal cells into cancer.
There are also factors that are believed to slow the process, while other factors can speed up the process. Possible contributors to the development and growth of cancer can be divided into three categories: external, internal, and lifestyle. External factors include unhealthy workplace environments and exposure to air and water pollution, chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides. Included in the internal factors include both genetics and infections. Lifestyle factors are those we personally can most readily control, such as diet, smoking, drinking, and sun exposure. External and lifestyle factors account for 80 percent of cancer deaths in the United States.
Just as each of us looks different, each of our bodies has its own unique composition. Some of us may react adversely to what some of us react well to. This is why some treatments prove to be successful for some, but not for others. This is why dietary wellness and prevention is so important. If we can keep our bodies healthy and avoid known cancer-causing agents, we have a good defense against cancer in the first place.
The following nutrients and supplements are designed for persons who have been diagnosed with cancer, as well as for those who wish to enhance their chances of avoiding the disease: coenzyme Q10, colostrum, DMG, garlic, IP6, melatonin, MSM, proteolytic enzymes, selenium, 7-keto DHEA, shark cartilage, SOD, vitamin A, shiitake extract, acidophilus, chromium picolinate, flaxseed oil, grape seed extract, kelp, l-carnitine, multienzyme complex, a multi-mineral complex, multivitamin complex, NAC, raw glandular complex, taurine, and vitamin B complex. Additionally, the following herbs may be beneficial: astragalus, birch, burdock root, cat’s claw, chaparral, chuchuhuasi, cranberry, dandelion, Echinacea, fennel, green tea, licorice root, macela, milk thistle, parsley, pau d’arco, red clover, suma, cardamom, cayenne, ginger, rosemary, sage, thyme, turmeric, ragwort, wood sage, curcumin, essiac, noni, olive leaf extract, rosemary, and boswellia.
All of the above listed herbs and vitamins can help restore the body to good nutrition and help boost the immune system so the body can find and fight back against cancer. Natural vitamins and herbs are available at your local or internet health food store. When purchasing supplements, look for name brand vitamins like Solaray and Source Naturals to ensure you receive quality and you get what you pay for.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Natural vitamins and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
November 12, 2008 09:51 AM
Gymnema sylvestre is found naturally in central and southern India, where it has been used in traditional Indian medicine for almost two thousand years. It is known as 'gurmar' in ancient Indian texts, a word meaning 'sugar destroyer', which gives an indication of its uses in medicine.
It is used to reduce the absorption of glucose into the body, and also reduce the sweetness of foods, both of which are desirable for those wishing to lose weight and to reduce the level of sugar in their blood. It was used for this purpose in Ayurvedic medicine, subjects being given the leaves to chew. As with many other ancient Ayurvedic remedies, this use of gymnema sylvestre has passed into modern times, and has sound scientific basis. First, however a bit more about the plant itself.
It is found predominantly in the Western Ghats, and also to the west of the mountains, around coastal Goa. It is a vinous plant that climbs on other bushes and trees, known in Sanskrit as Meshasringa, or ram's horn after the shape of the leaves from which the supplement is extracted. For what it's worth, the official name seems a mix of Greek and Latin (gymnos(Gr) - naked and Silva (L)- forest) for naked forest. That, however, is irrelevant to its uses, so let's have a look at the science involved and the active ingredients in the plant.
The main constituents are terpenoid saponins known as gymnemic acids, so one can assume that they were first found in this plant. They are glycosides, including hodulcine and ziziphin, which act as sweetness inhibitors so that there is no sweet taste in anything that is sweetened by sucrose. There are over 20 types of gymnemic acid in the leaves, of which the strongest, Gymnemic Acid 1, can suppress the sweetness even of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.
These are not irreversible effects, and last only about 10 minutes, after which normal sweetness is detectable by your tongue. During the active period, however, a solution of normal sugar will taste like ordinary unsweetened water. However, is this just a matter of taste, or does it affect the sugar itself?
Studies have shown that animals fed the leaves of Gymnema sylvestre develop hypoglycemia, probably because it stimulates the pancreas to generate insulin that reduces the level of sugar in the blood. Further studies have shown the presence in the leaves of a number of types of acylated derivatives of deacylgymnemic acid. There are well over a dozen types of saponins known to be contained within the leaves.
Other chemicals found include anthraquinones, flavanoids, chlorophylls, querticol, phytin, a number of glycosides and anthraquinones. The bush also contains alkaloids, although these are constituents in most plants used in ancient remedies. This is by no means all of the chemicals discovered, and many of the minor benefits of using it could be due to the minor constituents of this amazing little leaf.
A study of the above constituents will reveal a few antioxidants, and it is no surprise that the extract from Gymnema sylvestre also possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Gymnemic acid is believed to have a similar chemical structure to saccharose, and the plant extracts can be used not only to reduce a craving for sugar, but also to treat digestive problems and high cholesterol levels. So what scientific evidence is there other than the obvious effects reported by those that use it?
A study in the UK in 2005 found that an aqueous extract of Gymnema sylvestre caused the secretion of calcium and insulin from mouse and human cells to be increased at a specific concentration without affecting the cellular function. This means that the supplement can be used to stimulate the secretion of insulin with people with Type 2 diabetes without otherwise affecting health. Its usefulness to diabetics is obvious, but there are other health benefits to those that are not diabetic.
Anything that modulates a sweet tooth must be of use to those seeking to lose weight, particularly if they feel the need for sweet foods. In fact Gymnema tends to reduce food cravings for carbohydrates and sweets, and can be used by those seeking a natural means of curbing their appetite for sweet and sugary foods. Because excess weight can lead to diabetes,
Although there have been many discussions about the biochemical mechanism of the gymnemic acids in this effect on taste, recent evidence suggests that the phytochemicals act on both your taste buds and on those parts of the intestine responsible for absorbing nutrients from digested foods.
Not only that, but studies have also indicated that Gymnema sylvestre removes the bitterness of acerbic chemicals such as quinine in the same way that it removes the sweetness form cakes and candies, and if you drank tonic water it would taste just like water. On the other hand, if you ate an orange, you would taste the acidity but not the sweetness.
The way to use this remarkable supplement is to follow the instructions, and within about a week you will be able to control your appetite much better, and any cravings for carbohydrates you previously had will be much reduced. After a month or so, you will notice an accelerated rate of weight loss if you had been overweight, and diabetics will find a significant reduction on blood sugar between insulin shots.
Gymnema sylvestre can take care of any sugar or carbohydrate cravings, and is of significant use to the overweight, obese or to diabetics, and the mechanism by which it works has now been all but understood, although there are still some biochemical secrets that this amazing plant has yet to reveal. This amazing herb can be found at your local or internet vitamin store.
Fiber For Better Health
July 11, 2008 12:27 PM
We have been told that we must eat a certain amount of fiber with our meals because it is ‘good for us’. Most of us have been led to believe that this is because fiber promotes bowel motions and prevents us from suffering from constipation. It is also good for our digestive system. But how true is this, and just what are the real benefits of fiber in our diet?
First of what, what is fiber? Sure, we know there must be fiber in food such as cabbage, beans and celery because we can see it. But is all fiber actually fibrous? Of course not, so let’s first have a close look at what dietary fiber actually is.
Fiber is composed of these parts of a plant that are broken down by the action of enzymes in our digestive juices in the upper parts of our intestinal tract. Some fiber can be digested by the bacteria in our lower intestine, and some is not. So where does fiber come from? By that definition, fiber can be any part of your food, not only the stringy bits, and by definition are of vegetable origin.
Water insoluble fibers increase fecal bulk. That’s the stringy stuff in celery and string beans. It is also contained in cellulose materials, lignin, wheat bran, whole grains and most vegetables. These have the effect of increasing the efficiency of the peristaltic movement of the intestine on the passage of chyme (the creamy fluid that exits the stomach into the duodenum) through your system.
The liquid and nutrients are progressively removed, and the fiber maintains the bulk needed for peristalsis to work properly. Peristalsis is the rhythmic movement of the intestine that forces your food right from your stomach to your rectum. It is also the basis of some forms of industrial pump that operate on the same principle. Without fiber this pump would be inefficient.
Soluble fiber includes the gum and pectin that are obtained from plant cells. They swell up the chyme, and slow down its rate of travel through the gastrointestinal system, although they have no effect on fecal bulk. Specific examples are oat bran, fruit and most vegetables (all plants contain both). A peach, for example, consists of a skin which is insoluble fiber, and the juicy pulp beneath it which is predominantly soluble fiber.
Although a distinction is made between dietary and crude fiber, they both have their part to play. The term ‘fiber’ is a wide one and it cannot be said that fiber as a whole imparts a specific health benefit. The benefits of fiber are a combination of those imparted by the full range of types of fiber and their sources that are contained in the human diet, both crude and dietary, soluble and insoluble.
So what specifically are these benefits, other than just the generalization that they are ‘good for your intestinal health’? As you likely know, it is the fiber in your diet that binds your feces together into a solid, rather than leaving it as a mobile liquid. Although around 75% of feces are liquid, the bulk of the rest is fiber, bacteria and undigested food.
Since insoluble fiber makes feces bulkier and softer it can help treat constipation, where the stool has an excess of solid content. Any substance that absorbs water and swells can help with this condition. The same is true of hemorrhoids and a condition of the wall of the intestine known as diverticulosis. Once the inflammation has subsided, a high soluble fiber diet can help prevent a recurrence.
If you want to lose weight, a fiber diet can make you feel full without the calories, since fiber is calorie-free. There is also the fact that high fiber foods have to be chewed longer before they can be swallowed, and so you are liable to eat less in the same time. However, if you are determined, all that means is that you will have to lunch longer to get the same weight gain!
There is little doubt that a fiber-rich diet contributes significantly to intestinal health, and that if the correct amount of fiber is not taken then problems such as constipation, diarrhea, diverticulosis and a lack of absorption of nutrients will occur. The peristaltic pumping motion of the whole gastrointestinal tract, from the top of the throat to the anus, is dependent on solids rather than liquids. While a semi-liquid fecal consistency will pass through your body, it will take the bulk of the nutrition extracted from your food with it. It is fiber that is needed to bulk it up and to enable the liquid to be extracted through the intestinal wall and the fibrous solid to pass on through the colon to the anus.
There are other benefits of a diet high in fiber, though they generally depend on the type of fiber. Take cholesterol, for example. High LDL blood cholesterol levels are associated with atherosclerosis, and the consequent risk of heart disease and strokes, due to the oxidation of the LDL by free radicals. When the HDL lipids carry cholesterol back to the liver, it is destroyed by the action of bile acids. Since water soluble fiber binds bile acids, it figures that some types of fiber can promote the excretion of cholesterol from the body. The fiber most effective in achieving this comes from rolled oats and also pectin.
It has also been claimed that dietary fiber might be effective in preventing cancer of the colon. The theory is that bowel cancer is caused by toxins in the feces and if the fecal matter is expelled from the body quickly, the toxins will have less time to act. Fiber promotes the expulsion of the contents of the colon. This has not been confirmed, however.
What has been confirmed is that your bowel can collect mucoid plaque that sticks to mainly your colon, and is an ideal environment for parasites and yeast infections. The National Fiber Council has stated that most people do not eat enough fiber, and the average requirement is 38g a day for men and 25g a day for women.
So eat your fiber, because fiber can boost your intestinal health and wellness.
DIM For Estrogen Balance
July 10, 2008 03:26 PM
Diindolylmethane from broccoli can help with estrogen balance: There is plenty of evidence to suggest that, but before discussing the whys and wherefores, let's first have a look at the substance, where it comes from and why it should have any effect on estrogen or its balance.
Diindolylmethane is an indole contained in brassicas such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts and cauliflower. It is a dimer of indole-3-carbinol, which is itself formed by the autolytic degradation of glucosinolate glucobrassicin which is found in brassicas. Both this and the dimeric diindolylmethane are currently being tested for their antioxidant, anticancer and antiatherogenic properties, although this type of research has been mainly made on animals. When the cell walls of brassicas are ruptured, the enzyme myrosinase is released, that breaks down the glucobrassicin.
Because diindolylmethane is oil soluble it is more bioavailable to the body in the presence of vitamin E and other lipophilic substances, and these are normally included in oral supplements. However, back to estrogen and its effects upon human estrogen balance. Estrogen is the name for a group of steroids that function substantially as the female sex hormone. They have many effects on the body, including regulation of the menstrual cycle, breast development and promote the formation of secondary female characteristics such as reduced height and muscle mass.
Estrogen is also present in the male, where it regulates several factors pertaining to the reproductive system. It does not, however, take part in the process that determines sexual desire. If all of these properties are considered it would seem logical to believe that estrogen levels could be used to control weight increase, although claims that it can be use to enhance sexual performance seem ill founded: based more on hope than on science!
What science appears to have found, however, is that estrogen dominance, due to an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone levels in the body, can give rise to increased weight, and even obesity, in women. It can also lead to uterine, ovarian and breast cancers, and cervical dysplasia which, while not cancer, can give rise to cervical cancer if not treated. Estrogen imbalance, therefore, is not good news and something to be avoided if it possibly can. So what can be done to avoid it?
The answer is to find a hormonal balance, and this is where diindolylmethane (DIM) comes in. The substance has been found to have a positive effect on the balance between estrogen and progesterone, although eating broccoli will not be sufficient to do the job properly. Insufficient DIM is released by breaking the cell walls of broccoli through chewing to have much effect on the balance, about a kilo of broccoli a day being needed to have any noticeable effect. It is the diindolylmethane supplements that are able to have the desired effect in restoring the hormone balance and eliminating the undesirable effects of estrogen imbalance.
But why should estrogen imbalance occur? What are the factors that cause this dangerous condition, and if it is so common how did our ancestors manage without today's science? The answer to the second question lies in that to the first, but before we discuss that don't go thinking that your ancestors managed through thick and thin. Perhaps yours did, but your life expectancy is significantly greater than that of your parents when they were born. In fact, you don't have to go too far up your family tree to when you would be doing well if you hit forty! So the argument about your ancestors doesn't wash.
In fact, an estrogen imbalance can be caused by several factors: a slow estrogen metabolism that leads to an excess of estrogen because it is not broken down quickly enough is common, but far more common is the effect of pollutants such as pesticides, car exhaust fumes, emulsifiers, household cleaners and even some soaps. They contain chemicals known as xenoestrogens that our body believes to be real estrogens. They can stick to estrogen receptors on healthy cells, and can also prevent true estrogen from binding to the cell it should bind to. This results in an increase in free estrogen that cannot bind to the estrogen receptors that it should. Your ancestors did not have these problems with such 'estrogen mimics' and so managed just fine.
There is also the fact that estrogen can be broken down in the liver by means of two different routes: one leads to a form of estrogen that metabolizes to provide many benefits, such as strong bones and a reduction in heart disease, while the other has the opposite effect of causing cancers, depression, osteoporosis and problems with your immune system. That is by no means the full list: you don't want to see that, believe me!
You might think that if estrogen is dominant over progesterone, then taking progesterone would resolve the problem. It would seem to be a good cure. In fact, it is not a good idea since progesterone can be metabolized into yet more estrogen, making the problem even worse. The real answer is to take a supplement containing the substance that solves the problem by changing the estrogen metabolism pathways in the liver: diindolylmethane. More of the so-called "good" estrogen metabolites are formed, and less of the bad. The actual estrogen levels are not changed, but the way in which the excess estrogen causes harm is changed. That way, it doesn't matter what the imbalance is, the estrogen cannot do ham to your body.
DIM possesses many potential positive benefits when used as a supplement. It can reduce your chances of getting breast, cervical and ovarian cancers, and also acts as a strong antioxidant, and helps to strengthen your immune system. It might help you to lose weight, but more studies are needed before this can be claimed conclusively. However, there is evidence at the moment that it has a weight reducing effect.
Its effect on sexual health is largely unfounded, but the effect of a placebo in this area can be astounding: that indicates how much psychology has to do with sexual performance. Nevertheless, the known and projected benefits of diindolylmethane are so significant that taking a supplement would seem a reasonable thing to do, and although your mom was right about you eating your broccoli, brassicas alone are not a rich enough source for a significant effect.
Natural Bar Soaps for the Kitchen and Bathroom
January 23, 2008 11:59 AM
Good natural bar soaps that contain only substances that are good for your skin are available, although most people pay little attention to them. Many people might be unaware of the fact but the skin is the largest organ of the body. As such, the skin needs taken care of just as much as any other major organ, yet few people pay much attention to what they bring into contact with it. Although a lot of money is spent on body products, do you really know what your skin needs for optimum health and what substances can do it harm?
Your skin carries out many functions other than keeping the bits inside that should be kept inside. It is a natural thermostat, containing the sweat glands that dampens it and allows evaporation to cool you down. It contains hairs and subcutaneous fat, both of which help you to remain warm when the external temperature is low. Your skin is designed to remain supple, and so allow free movement of the various parts of your body.
It is an ideal waterproof covering for your body that also protects you from infection. Although infection can set in if the skin is ruptured through cuts or grazes, the skin itself rarely suffers from surface infections when related to the number of infectious agents it is constantly in contact with.
The health of your skin is very important, especially in view of the fact that it regularly comes into contact with some very hazardous substances. What may not have occurred to you is that one of the many functions of your skin is to eliminate some of the body’s waste products. It does this when you sweat and the toxins that are emitted can harm it. Although not often infected, it does suffer from complaints such as psoriasis, eczema and acne that are not primarily caused by bacterial agents or viruses, and hence not true infections.
These conditions, however, are caused largely through the emission of toxic agents through the sweat glands. Acne for instance is caused by excessive emission of sebum that combines with dead skin cells to form acne which can also become infected with bacteria. Psoriasis is the excessive formation of skin cells at too rapid a rate, the true causes of which are as yet unknown. Skin cells can become cancerous due to excessive exposure to sunlight or ultra violet radiation, and skin cancer is the most common type of cancer that your doctor is liable to come across.
If you suffer from any specific skin condition, such as acne, or even dry skin that can be caused through excessive exposure to degreasing agents or dry winds, then your skin will need special care. The soap you use is very important in the way you care for your skin, and many people will use soaps that contain many ingredients that they cannot pronounce let alone understand.
Your skin needs cleansed regularly since it comes into contact with many dangerous and toxic substances. Apart from the everyday pollution of traffic fumes and factory emissions, there are also the substances that contaminate your skin at work and at home. At home specially, domestic cleaners can be very harsh on your skin, consisting of substances that are intended to clean away greases and oils, the very types of substance that protect your skin from the elements. When you clean your oven or your sink without gloves, you also clean off the protective oily layer on your skin and leave it open to bacterial attack.
Your skin can also become sensitized to many substances, so that whenever it comes into contact with them it promotes an allergic reaction that can cause irritations so severe that your life can become very miserable. Many people are allergic to various types of soap or detergent because they have become sensitized to them, and are unable to use that type of cleanser after sensitization.
Many soaps contain active ingredients that are intended to carry out specific functions. Thus, some contain antibacterial agents to inhibit the growth of specific types of bacteria on your skin, while others contain detergents to improve their cleaning power. However, some detergents can be very harsh on your skin, and try to avoid bar soaps containing PEG-6 methyl ether or butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). These can be harmful to your skin. There are others, and if your skin is sensitive try to avoid soaps containing animal products or petroleum derivatives.
Take tetrasodium EDTA, which is present in common bar soaps. It enhances the penetration of substances through your skin, which means that it can also enhance the penetration of the lees welcome ingredients in the soap as well as the moisturizers. Substances as sodium etidronate that is a synthetic preservative that might cause irritation to your skin and mucus membranes. There are several other synthetic detergents that are ingredients in bar soaps, and many kitchen soaps contain the same ingredients as personal or bathroom soaps, the difference between them being only in their moisturizer and perfume content.
Other ingredients than can cause potential problems are limonene, linalool and camphor, all of which can give rise to unwelcome conditions such as irritation or respiratory problems. The first two of these are common in bar soaps, as are benzaldehyde and benzyl alcohol which are irritants. Alpha-pinene, found in some bar soaps, is a sensitizer than can damage your immune system. Unless you know what a specific ingredient is, don’t use the soap. Instead you should use pure natural bar soaps containing antioxidants that are good for your skin.
A pure soap should contain the fat or oil that it is made from, good examples being coconut or palm oils, water, a water softener to enable the soap to cleanse the skin properly, an example being one of the penetrates, a moisturizer such as glycerine or lanolin and possibly a perfume derived from natural sources. Salt is also frequently used, and is a good bactericide.
Wherever possibly, you should choose a natural soap containing antioxidants. Citrus soaps, for example, contain vitamin C although many soaps contain antioxidants such as beta carotenes, vitamin A and vitamin E. Since soap consists of both oils and water, you can have both oil and water soluble antioxidants in your soap. The antioxidants help to protect your skin from the ravages of pollution and the effects of the sun’s rays, both of which generate free radicals that can accelerate the aging and wrinkling of your skin.
A good antioxidant, moisturizer and wetting agent in your bar soap will help to protect your skin from the effects of atmospheric pollutants, the drying effect of the sun and wind and also effectively cleanse the skin surface and pores of everyday dirt. If this is associated with an absence of synthetic chemicals that can cause irritation then you will be giving your skin the best protection that you can. This is true of soaps intended either for the kitchen or the bathroom.
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.
Stevia: Sweeten Your Life With Out The Weight Gain
November 13, 2007 02:55 PM
It is possible to sweeten your life with stevia, and without any weight gain, since it as exceptionally sweet herb. In fact it is member of the sunflower family, and is native to parts of South and Central America where it has been used as a sweetener since time immemorial. Also known as sugarleaf, it is a commercial crop, and is available as a dietary supplement.
Extracts of stevia have been found to be up to 300 times as sweet as cane sugar, although does not metabolize in the body to glucose. In fact it is thought to enhance the glucose tolerance of some diabetics, and can be used by people suffering from that condition as a natural sweetener, thus dispensing with the need for artificial sweeteners.
It is also useful for those on diets, especially carbohydrate controlled diets, and any other sweet-toothed person wanting to lose weight and still enjoy their favorite drink or desert. Many recipes have been published using stevia for the preparation of delicious sweets. So why is stevia so sweet and what other uses does it have?
Basically the sweet taste comes from glycosides, which are molecules in which a sugar is bonded to another molecule. The two main glycosides in stevia are called stevioside and rebaudioside. These are formed through glucose combined with the diterpene steviol in different ways, though some minor glycosides also contain rhamnose. Although they contain glucose, the glucose is not released into the bloodstream during digestion and the subsequent biochemistry.
Japan began the cultivation of the plant in the 1970s rather than produce artificial sweeteners that were suspected carcinogens (saccharin and cyclamate). Japan is now the world’s biggest consumer of stevia, even being used in the Japanese Coca Cola plants. Around 40% of Japan’s total sweetener volume is stevia. However, apart from its use as a natural alternative sweetener to sugar, stevia has specific properties, already alluded to, that renders it of particular attraction to certain groups of people, and we shall now take a closer look at these.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that is essential to regulate the glucose content of the blood. It stimulates the cells of the body to take in blood glucose and convert it to glycogen that can be used for energy. Without insulin the blood sugars would increase in concentration without regulation leading to very serious health issues that would eventually result in death.
Diabetes is a condition in which the body either does not produce sufficient insulin, does not use the insulin it produces properly, or produces no insulin at all. Hence, a sweetener that did not exacerbate this situation by being eventually metabolized to glucose, as most sugars are in the body, would be of great benefit to diabetics. This is exactly what stevia is. It is a very powerful sweetener, 250 – 300 times sweeter to the taste-buds than sucrose, normal table sugar, and it does not metabolize to glucose. It is heaven-sent sweetener for diabetics that have a sweet tooth.
It is very safe for them and has been consumed for centuries without any side effects. In fact, studies have indicated that stevia might even regulate the pancreas and help to stabilize the levels of blood glucose in the body, rendering it an effective and safe supplement for those suffering from hypoglycemia (excess blood sugar), diabetes and candidiasis, a yeast infection that thrives on sugar.
Apart from that, stevia is also popular with those who are on a calorie controlled diet – or any other diet for that matter, since an excessive sugar intake invariably leads eventually to weight increase. The 21st century western diet is drowning in sugar, with up to 10 spoonfuls of sugar in every small bottle of cola. There is sugar in cookies, hot dogs, bread, soy sauce, ketchup, cans of beans and peas, and even sugar in cigarettes, though that is the least of the health worries there!
For the first time in history, there are now more overweight and obese people in the world than hungry people, yet the sugar corporations claim that there is no scientific proof that sugar leads to weight increase. Worldwide, diabetes kills 6 people every minute, and obesity caused by the consumption of too much sugar leads to Type II diabetes. It had been shown that fructose is a major player in that corn syrup (fructose) is contained in many soft drinks and foods.
One of the major problems with refined sugars is that they contain nothing but pure carbohydrate. All the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients have been removed, so that when they are consumed, your body has to provide these nutrients needed to metabolize the sugar to glucose and then to energy. Humans cannot live on sugar alone, and in fact you are better drinking water than corn syrup or cane sugar solutions since at least water does not make demands on your existing nutrient store.
It was noted in 1929 by Sir Frederick Banting, one of those scientists credited with the discovery of insulin, that there was a significantly large proportion of diabetes among the sugar plantation owners that ate large quantities of refined sugar, whereas there was none detected in the cane harvesters who were able to chew on only the raw cane. The raw cane contains the minerals and vitamins needed to metabolize the sucrose.
Stevia is a potential answer to this problem, and it is such an obvious one that there are a lot of politics regarding its use. The big USA sugar corporations will undoubtedly be opposed to it, and the FDA has refused to allow its use as a food additive, only as a dietary supplement, yet its use in Japan has been very successful. It is also used throughout East Asia, including China, Korea and Taiwan, and also in South America, Israel and some areas of the Caribbean. It is available as a green powder in its crude form, and also brownish syrup redolent of licorice, but also as a more refined white powder that is likely best used as weak solution due to its sweetness.
It is totally free of calories; this may come as a surprise to many since it tastes so sweet. It is an excellent sweetener for children’s drinks since it does not cause cavities: unlike sugar it is not degraded by bacteria to produce the corrosive acid that eats into the enamel. It does not metabolize to a burst of energy that is practically addictive, since that generally then leads to tiredness and the need for more sugar to make up for it.
Stevia does not cause diabetes in any form, is not a food for yeast and it is beneficial to the pancreas. In short, it is a completely safe food supplement that has been used for centuries without ill effect, and if you want to prevent yourself from adding weight and protect against the possibility of Type II diabetes in particular, then stevia should be your sweetener of choice.
Are Inflammation, Immunity, And Allergic Reactions A Role For Supplements?
November 10, 2007 11:29 AM
Inflammation, immunity diseases and allergic reactions are all connected with your immune system, and the way the body reacts to what it considers to be foreign invaders that are a risk to your health. Although you may not understand that all three have the basic underlying cause, in fact they do, and here is why.
Inflammation manifests as pain and swelling in the inflamed area, and not only can the area also get hot, but it can also raise your temperature in general, commonly called a fever. Fever is the body’s way of raising temperature above that at which foreign organisms such as bacteria and viruses can live, so any inflammatory condition that results in fever by definition must be an immune response through the body trying to eliminate foreign invaders.
If your body gets injured in any way, your immune system responds, and usually calms down again if decides that the injury is not serious. Your immune system is actually initiated by what are known as pro-inflammatory hormones, such as prostaglandins that stimulate the nerves to signal pain and swell the blood vessels close to the injury to make room for the large white blood cells when they arrive. That also allows blood and plasma to rush out and cause swelling at the site of the injury. Other prostaglandins act to quell the immune response, and get your body back to normal.
Another such hormone is a cytokine, which informs the brain of the intrusion. Some cytokines called leukocytes stop the immune system when necessary to prevent the destruction of healthy tissue, and also halt the inflammatory response. If the leukocytes are not working properly, the body can be severely damaged as the immune system becomes uncontrolled and starts to attack healthy tissue.
Then there are the histamines that allow you to expel the agents causing the problem by sneezing, watery eyes, runny noses and scratching. They lead lymphatic fluid and blood to the site of the problem in order that the invasion can be attacked and destroyed.
It is the histamines that provide what is commonly referred to as an allergic reaction, which is really the immune system coming into action to remove invaders such as pollen, dust mites and any other agent that can cause an allergy. Immunity is caused by introducing small amounts of the agent into the blood, so that the immune system can develop a memory of them. Then, when the same invader returns at a later date, the system can immediately attack them with the antibodies that have been produced.
All of these: inflammation, immunity and allergies, are caused by the reaction of the immune system to what it perceives as an invader. Normally these are bacteria and viruses, but sometimes they react to other foreign bodies such as pollen. In some people this provokes no response at all, while in others it provokes the immune system to create antibodies against the pollen, and emit histamine to expel it.
Substances that cause allergies are referred to as allergens. Many allergens are environmental, such as dust, pollen and peanuts. Some people are allergic to certain animals, such as cats or dogs, and others to chemicals in the air such as hydrocarbon emissions, particularly when in particulate form.
The symptoms can be simple, such as a runny nose, a cough and hay fever or more complex such as hives, eczema and asthma. All of these are caused by the immune system reacting to an invader. There are also foods that cause internal inflammation, such as shellfish and whitefish, eggs and tomatoes. Many of these can be extreme, leading to serious illness and can even be fatal. So what can be done to treat people who are particularly prone to inflammation and allergic reactions?
Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to reduce inflammation, unlike their Omega-6 cousins that appear to increase it. Omega-3 oils contain chemicals known as eicosanoids, of which the prostaglandins are an example. While this might seem paradoxical, since prostaglandins are what set off the whole process, there are many types of these. Prostaglandin E2 is the type that leads to allergic immune reactions, and omega-3 fatty acids reduce the concentration of these in the blood.
Those who eat little fish tend to suffer more from inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and other conditions indicating a lack of control of the immune system. On the other hand, processed foods contain more omega-6 fatty acids that can promote these conditions. The major components of omega-3 oils are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and also DHA, docosahexaenoic acid. These are all anti-inflammatories and have been shown to have very positive effects on inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and eczema. Each of these is a different type of inflammatory condition caused by inappropriate immune response.
However, it not just fish oils that can help resolve problems with our immune system. Quercetin is what is known as a flavonoid. It is a strong anti-oxidant and natural anti-histamine that combats histamine release and the swelling associated with the immune response to allergens. It also counters the inflammatory agents of arthritis and so helps to reduce the pain associated with many of these conditions. It appears to work better in conjunction with bromelain, a very powerful anti-inflammatory that also possesses anti-allergen response properties. Bromelain is extracted from pineapple stems.
Another natural product is a resin extract that is obtained from the Boswellia serrata tree. It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and has been recommended for the treatment of arthritis (rheumatoid and osteo), Crohn’s disease and has been suggested as a treatment for asthma, though studies are still under way. However, world wide experience is that Boswellia is effective against gout, psoriasis and ulcerative colitis, to name another three totally different inflammatory conditions.
What all of this indicates are two things. First that inflammation, immunity and allergic reactions are connected conditions, and due to either poor control over or an over stimulated immune response to what the body perceives as being abnormal, in the way that hormones and other chemicals that are used to control our immunity detect it to be.
Secondly, there are many natural products that can be used as supplements to treat these effects caused by the immune system, and that their effectiveness has been proven, if not by scientific study, then by generations of traditional application as treatments of the symptoms of the conditions concerned.
However, although many have been proved by scientific study, others have not, and you should always refer to your physician before undergoing any treatment other than that prescribed. Also, there is incontrovertible evidence that the role for supplements in the treatment of inflammation, immunity and allergic reactions are beneficial. Many use nothing else.
CoQ10 for Heart Health
March 28, 2007 12:39 PM
CoQ10 for Heart Health
More than 40% of all deaths in the
One of the most – if not the most – important things people can do to improve their overall health and life expectancy is to improve their heart health. Diet, exercise, and the wise use of dietary supplements can improve heart health dramatically. One dietary supplement that’s extremely beneficial to heart health is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).
Q. What is CoQ10?
A. CoQ10 is a natural, fat-soluble nutrient present in virtually all cells. CoQ10 also is known as ubiquinone. That’s because CoQ10 is ubiquitous and exists everywhere there is life. CoQ10 is vital to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. ATP is the energy-rich compound used for all energy-requiring processes in the body. Although COQ10 is produced by the body and exists in some dietary sources, these levels may be insufficient to meet the body’s requirements. CoQ10 levels diminish with age and as a result of dietary inadequacies and various disease states. Also, some drugs, especially a group of cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs known as “statin,” (Pravachol, Zocor, Lipitor, etc.) significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body.
Q. For what health conditions is CoQ10 used?
A. CoQ10 is beneficial in treating and preventing CVD and conditions such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), angina, and congestive heart failure (CHF). It’s been shown that heart attacks tend to occur when CoQ10 levels are low in the body. In addition, CoQ10 is beneficial for diabetes, immune dysfunction, cancer, periodontal disease, prostate cancer, and neurological disease.
Q. Why is CoQ10 especially important to heart health?
A. The heart is one of the most metabolically active tissues in the body. In the average person, the heart propels 2,000 gallons of blood through 65,000 miles of blood vessls by beating 100,000 times each day. Thus, it requires large amounts of uninterrupted energy. Heart cells have a greater number of mitochondria, and subsequently, more CoQ10 than any other type of cell. Each heart cell can have thousands of mitochondria to meet these energy demands.
Mitochondria are highly specialized structures within each cell and are often referred to as cell powerhouses. These tiny energy-produces produce 95% of the energy the body requires. The number of mitochondria in a cell depends on its function and energy needs. A cell’s ATP production is dependent on adequate amounts of CoQ10.
Heart disease patients are commonly CoQ10 deficient. Correcting such deficiencies often can produce amazing results. The presence of supplemental CoQ10 is a key to the heart’s optimum performance.
In people who have had a heart attack (myocardial infarction), CoQ10 assists in repairing the heart muscle and restoring heart function. This is due to increased ATP production.
Q. What studies support this fact?
A. A 1998 study found CoQ10 can provide rapid protective effects in patients with a heart attack if administered within three days of the onset of symptoms. The study focused on patients admitted to the hospital with an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) diagnosis. Seventy-three patients received CoQ10 (120 mg/d). The study’s control group consisted of 71 similarly matched patients with acute AMI. After treatment, angina pectoris (severe chest pain signifying interrupted blood flow to the heart), total arrhythmias (dangerously irregular heartbeats), and poor function in the left ventricle (the essential chamber of the heart) were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared to the placebo group. Total deaths due to sudden cardiac failure and nonfatal heart attacks also were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared with the placebo group.
In another study, CoQ10 was studied in 109 patients with high blood pressure (hypertension). The patients were given varying doses of supplemental CoQ10 with the goal of attaining a certain blood level (greater than 2.0 mcg/l). Most patients were on medications to treat hypertension. Half the patients were able to stop taking one to three antihypertensive drugs at an average of 4.4 months after starting CoQ10. Only 3% of patients required the addition of one antihypertensive drug. The 9.4% of patients who have echo cardiograms, performed both before and during treatment, experienced a highly significant improvement in heart wall thickness and function. This improvement was directly attributed to CoQ10 supplementation.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a debilitating disease that affects 5 million people in the
Q. I’ve heard that CoQ10 can also help people who have neurological diseases. Is this true?
A. Yes, it is. CoQ10 has been studied for its ability to improve the health of individuals with amotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. A recently completed study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health showed that CoQ10 caused a slowing of the progression of Huntington’s disease, a devastating and degenerative disease that is always fatal. In fact, no other medication, drug, or nutritional supplemental has ever been shown to cause a decline in the progression of this terrible disease.
The study compared CoQ10 against remacemide (an investigational HD drug made by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals), in 347 HD patients who were in the early stages of the disease. Remacemide blocks glutamate, the neurotransmitter scientists think may cause the death of brain cells that occurs in Huntington’s disease. While remacemide had no effect on the progression of HD, CoQ10 showed a trend toward slowing the disease by an average of 15%. This meant the HD group taking CoQ10 was able to handle every day activities of life a little longer than the patients taking remacemide or a placebo. They also were able to focus their attention better, were less depressed, and less irritable. The 15% slowing of decline means that CoQ10 can result in about one more year of independence for HD patients. Needless to say, the gift of an additional year of health in the lives of HD patients is incredibly significant.
Because of these impressive results with HD, researchers are hopeful that the studies of CoQ10 in those with ALS and Parkinson’s disease will similarly have a positive effect on the symptoms and/or progression of these neurological disorders, too.
Q. Why is it crucial for a CoQ10 supplement to cross the blood-brain barrier?
A. The brains’ blood vessels are composed of cells with extremely tight junctions. These junctions form the blood-brain barrier, which restricts what can pass from the bloodstream into the brain. While this barrier protects the brain, it can be a significant obstacle to central nervous system therapy. To leave the bloodstream and reach the brain cells, a substance must pass through the tightly connected cells of the capillary walls. Only substances with unique solubilities or those with a transport system can cross the blood-brain barrier to a significant degree. As a result, crossing the blood-brain barrier presents a significant challenge to supporting neurological health.
While most CoQ10 supplements enter the bloodstream and increase blood serum levels, only special forms of CoQ10 have been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier. For CoQ10 to enter the mitochondria within the brain, CoQ10 must first cross the blood-brain barrier to produce significant neurosupportive clinical results.
Q. How can one supplement have applications for neurological diseases, heart health, and even the immune system?
A. Supplements often have more than one function, especially when it’s a substance like CoQ10, which is present in all parts of the body. All nucleated cells (most cells other than red blood cells) have mitochondria and all cells require energy to function. CoQ10 is vital to ATP production. Thus, CoQ10 has applications not only in neurological (neurons or nervous system cells) and cardiac health (myocardium or heart tissue), but also for the immune system.
Q. Are all CoQ10 supplements created equal? Doesn’t CoQ10 just have to get into the bloodstream to be effective?
A. There are some important distinctions among CoQ10 products, as they vary greatly in quality and absorbability. It’s crucial to find a CoQ10 product that’s:
1. Scientifically shown to absorb through the digestive tract, cross cellular membranes, and increase mitochondrial levels of CoQ10. Chewable forms of CoQ10 provide rapid bioavailability and absorption. Serum level determination of CoQ10 in the bloodstream is not necessarily the most important measure of efficacy. For a CoQ10 supplement to be fully effective, it must cross the cellular barrier and raise intracellular CoQ10 levels. A key indicator of effective CoQ10 supplementation is its presence in cell mitochondria.
2. The natural form of CoQ10. The natural process uses living organisms. CoQ10 also can be synthesized by a chemical process, which produces a distinctly different product that contains chemical compounds not found in the natural form.
3. Formulated with ingredients that provide the transport system CoQ10 needs to cross cellular membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Not all forms of CoQ10 have been scientifically proven to cross cell membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Some prestigious groups that have investigated this issue include researchers at
4. Studied by respected organizations, with research published in peer-reviewed journals by reputable scientists.
Q. How much CoQ10 should I take?
A. Take 100 to 200 mg of CoQ10 daily, depending on your family history of heart disease and personal heart disease experience.
CoQ10’s safety has been evaluated. Dosages in studies have ranged from 100 mg to 1,200 mg per day. To date, no toxicities have been reported. Occasional mild stomach upset may occur. Taking CoQ10 with meals usually alleviates this rare effect.
Q. What are some other heart-friendly supplements?
A. CoQ10 is an excellent supplement for overall cardiovascular health, as in L-carnitine. L-carnitine is the naturally occurring form of carnitine that’s found in food and synthesized in the body. Much of the body’s L-carnitine is found in the heart and skeletal muscle, tissues that rely on fatty acid oxidation for most of their energy. Nearly 70% of the energy needed for heart function is derived from fatty acid breakdown. Proper L-carnitine supplementation transports fatty acids into cell mitochondria, where it’s burned for energy. L-carnitine is an excellent addition to CoQ10, especially for people with heart disease, and has been shown to improve many symptoms associated with CVD. In one study, people who had experienced one heart attack received either L-carnitine or placebo. The L-carnitine group had a statistically significant reduction in second heart attacks, and improved overall survival.
Q. What supplements support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol?
A. In addition to maintaining overall cardiovascular health, it’s also important to address your essential fats/lipids levels and healthy circulation/blood pressure. Fish oil supplements can significantly reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and homocysteine levels. Choose a supplement that’s a rich source of EPA and DHA, omega-3 fatty acids naturally obtainable in fish oil. Find a product that’s been clinically studied and purified to ensure it contains the beneficial active constituents of the whole oil, while removing any dioxins, DDT, PCBs, or heavy metals, toxins present in some commercial fish oil preparations. An enteric-coated garlic product that provides a minimum of 5,000 mcg of beneficial allicin supports healthy blood pressure and circulation. And magnesium, niacin, vitamin E, folic acid, hawthorn extract, and L-cysteine provide overall nutritional support to the heart and vascular system.
CoQ10 is not the only answer to the complex issues of heart disease, neurological disease, or immune dysfunction; however, research indicates that it’s a bigger piece of the puzzle than physicians and scientists ever imagined. The more we study this naturally occurring compound, the more benefits we find.
The key to this supplement is the manufacturing quality. For safety and overall effectiveness, use a CoQ10 product that’s supported by product-specific research from reputable institutions. Choose tested products from a well-respected company to increase your potential to achieve and maintain heart and blood vessel health.
Supplementation with clinically studied products can have a major impact on your heart’s health and strength. However, no supplement replaces the need to eat a healthful diet low in refined foods (especially sugar), and saturated fats, and to exercise your most important muscle – your heart – on a regular basis.
Peppermint Oil for IBS
March 24, 2007 11:01 AM
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a painful and frequently frustrating disorder of the intestines that’s often difficult to treat. Fortunately, there are scientifically studied natural products that effectively reduce the distressing symptoms of IBS.
Q. What is IBS?
A. IBS causes crampy pain, gassiness, bloating, and alterations in bowel habits. IBS is termed a functional disorder, because when the colon is examined, there is no visible sign of disease. While IBS causes significant pain and distress, no actual damage is occurring in the intestines.
There is a wide variability in IBS. Symptoms may be mild and fairly well tolerated. Or, the pain, discomfort, and bowel dysfunction may be disabling, limiting social interactions, employment, or travel.
While some individuals with IBS have diarrhea (frequent, loose stools with an urgent need to move the bowels), others have constipation (hard, infrequent stools that are difficult to pass). And, still others may experience both. Individuals with IBS also may have painful abdominal cramps and feel an urgent need to move the bowels, but are unable to do so.
A. The small intestine receives digestive material from the stomach and delivers it to the large intestine (colon). About two quarts (2,000 ml) of digestive material enter the colon from the small intestine every day. The colon absorbs water and salts from the material, which is progressively moved through the colon. This progressive movement continues until most of the fluid and salts are absorbed into the body and stool is formed. The stool passes to the left side of the colon, where it is stored until a bowel movement occurs.
Because researchers haven’t been able to find actual damage in the colon, it once was suggested that individuals with IBS have emotional problems or are overly susceptible to stress. While stress may cause symptoms of IBS to intensify, it doesn’t cause the condition.
Recent study has determined the colon muscle of an individual with IBS spasms after only mild stimulation. It’s thought the symptoms of IBS are produced by hyperactivity of the intestines. In other words, the intestines of individuals with IBS are more reactive to stressors and diet than usual. Almost everyone has experienced abdominal queasiness in response to everyday stress or certain foods. This may result in a brief bout of diarrhea or an upset stomach. However, this response is exaggerated in individuals with IBS.
Q. How prevalent is IBS?
A. IBS is very common. In fact, it’s one of the most frequent problems seen by family physicians. It’s the most common disorder diagnosed by gastroenterologists (physicians specializing in the treatment of digestive disorders). The overall prevalence rates range from 10% to 20% of the general population in most industrialized countries. As a result, the pain and disabling symptoms associated with IBS result in significant socioeconomic costs, as wall as reduction in quality of life for many individuals.
A. Normal bowel function varies from person to person. Some people move their bowels daily, while others may only have two to three stools a week. A normal bowel movement is soft, formed, and is easily passed without cramping or pain.
IBS, however, causes abdominal cramps and pain, which are often severe and disabling. Bowel movements may be irregular and alternate between diarrhea and constipation. The diarrhea may be quite loose and watery. Mucous may be passed. There is often much straining, urgency, and feeling of incomplete evacuation (emptying). Abdominal bloating and passing of gas is common. Nausea, lack of appetite, heartburn, and belching may also be present. Sleep may be disrupted resulting in fatigue and lack of energy. Understandably, persons with IBS often feel anxious and depressed.
Diagnosis of IBS is usually based on the continuous presence or recurrence of these symptoms for at least three months. Other intestinal conditions must be ruled out. These include Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, inflammatory conditions of the stomach or pancreas, ulcers, infectious disease, or gastroesphageal reflux disease.
Q. Are there clinically demonstrated natural alternatives to the over-the-counter drugs prescribed by my doctor?
A. Yes, both enteric-coated peppermint oil and clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs) have significant scientific research behind them. Both have been demonstrated to benefit individuals with IBS.
Q. What is clown’s mustard and what does it do?
A. The scientific name for clown’s mustard is Iberis amara. Other names for this herb are wild candytuft and bitter candytuft. Clown’s mustard is a white-flowering plant from Spain, where it grows in dry soil on hillsides and in cornfields. It is also grown in Britain, France, and the United States. Iberis amara is a member of the Brassicaceae family. Iberis refers to its place of origin, the Iberian Peninsula. Amara means bitter. The key components of clown’s mustard are glycosides and flavonoids that have specific actions on gastrointestinal tract tone.
Q. Is there scientific evidence that clown’s mustard benefits people with IBS?
A. There has been very impressive research on clown’s mustard (in combination with other herbs). And, it has been used with great success in Germany for many years to treat IBS and other gastrointestinal diseases.
In a study of an herbal combination containing clown’s mustard, 20 patients were given the herbal combination for three to 32 days. They all had been diagnosed with chronic functional disorders for at least one to 20 years. The symptoms the patients experienced included pressure and pain in the abdomen, belching, heartburn, vomiting, nausea, fullness, lack of appetite, constipation, and diarrhea. The patients have been treated for their problems with a variety of antacids, anti-spasmodic agents, and motility-inducing substances. For the purposes of the study, the patients stopped taking these medications and received treatment only with the herbal combination.
Abdominal pressure and pain in the abdomen was the most common of all the experienced symptoms, with 11 of the patients rating it as severe. After six days of treatment, only sic of the patients continued to rate their abdominal pain and pressure as severe. After two weeks, this symptom had completely resolved for 16 of the patients. Diarrhea had been rated as severe in five of the patients. By day 14, only one patient continued to have moderate diarrhea.
Medications prescribed and taken for cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases often cause gastrointestinal problems. Because these conditions are chronic, these medications must be taken for a long time, often for life. With long-term use, these medications can cause erosion of the stomach lining and actual ulcers. Many of these medication-caused symptoms are similar to IBS symptoms: pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Most, if not all, of the individuals who have gastrointestinal problems caused from medications experience two or more of these IBS symptoms.
Forty patients who were taking medications for various types of cardiovascular disease and arthritis, and who are experiencing gastrointestinal problems related to their medications, were enrolled in a study. These symptoms included pressure and pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, abdominal fullness, and lack of appetite. Twenty patients received clown’s mustard combined with other herbs that support gastrointestinal motility. Three days after the trial started, a significant improvement of all s symptoms was noted in those taking this combination. By day 14, abdominal pressure and pain, nausea, and heartburn were completely eliminated in the herbal combination group. Several other clinical trials that were conducted in Germany report similar results.
Q. How does this herb compare to prescription drugs?
A. A study compared clown’s mustard (combined with other herbs) to Reglan (metoclopramide), which is frequently prescribed to reduce the symptoms of IBS. While metoclopramide is a very effective medication, it also has numerous side effects. Metoclopramide can cause fatigue, anxiety, agitation, jitteriness, insomnia, yellowing of the skin or eyes, changes in vision, hallucinations, and seizures. Because of these serious side effects, metoclopramide must not be taken longer than 12 weeks.
In comparison study, 77 subjects were randomized to receive treatment of either clown’s mustard in a combination with other herbs, or metoclopramide. All subjects had pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. The subjects took 20 drops of their assigned treatment after meals three times daily. The duration of treatment was one to two weeks.
In both groups, a parallel improvement of all symptoms was observed. At no point in the study was a statistically significant difference in symptoms found. Both treatments significantly reduced pain and pressure in the abdomen, cramping, abdominal fullness, nausea, heartburn, and lack of appetite. In short, both metoclopramide and the clown’s mustard herbal combination worked well at reducing the symptoms of IBS.
However, side effects occurred more frequently and severely in the metoclopramide group. Given the lack of differences noted between the products at reducing symptoms of IBS, it would seem sensible to choose the treatment with the fewest reported side effects and no limits on duration of use.
A. Peppermint oil has been shown to relax intestinal smooth muscle. In Great Britain, peppermint oil is currently being prescribed for IBS by physicians and it has been used as a digestive aid and to soothe upset stomachs for generations.
Peppermint oil has also been studied for use in an important examination of the colon. A colonoscopy is a procedure of viewing the interior lining of the large intestine (colon) using a colonoscope, a slender, flexible, hollow, lighted tube about the thickness of a finger. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine supports the idea that even people who are not at risk for colon cancer should have this test. The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women at average risk of colon cancer should have a colonoscopy every 10 years, beginning at age 50.
During a colonoscopy, individuals are sedated and almost no discomfort is experienced. The insertion of the colonoscope into the rectum and up through the colon causes some spasming. This is a natural and expected event and the physician performing the exam administers medications that effectively reduce the spasms.
A recent study compared the use of peppermint oil and commonly used medications to reduce the colonic spasming in colonoscopy. The peppermint oil was introduced directly into the colon. Effective reduction of colon spasming was observed in 88% of the patients.
In a critical review and meta-analysis of peppermint oil for irritable bowel syndrome published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, eight randomized controlled trials were identified. The studies collectively showed peppermint oil is superior to placebo in improvement of the symptoms of IBS. Because of the good results of these trials, the authors of the review urged additional study of peppermint oil in IBS.
However, straight peppermint oil is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream from the stomach. In recent studies comparing enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules and non-enteric coated oil, both preparations provided effective symptom relief. However, the studies concluded the enteric-coated capsules delivered the benefit of the peppermint oil directly to the intestines. In the treatment of IBS, enteric-coated supplemental peppermint is most definitely preferred.
In fact, an enteric-coated peppermint oil capsule containing rosemary and thyme is extremely effective in the treatment of IBS. All three of these oils are classified as volatile oils, derivatives found in plants that impart taste and aroma. The combination of peppermint, thyme, and rosemary oils in enteric-coated capsules provides significant relief in IBS-related pain.
Q. Can clown’s mustard and other herbs be taken with enteric-coated peppermint oil?
A. Yes, peppermint oil capsules and clown’s mustard can be used together. However, depending on the symptoms, individuals with IBS may want to start with one supplement and then add the other if needed.
Q. How do consumers find these formulas?
A. Fortunately, herbal combinations containing clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are both available at health food stores, natural product supermarkets, pharmacies, and from health professionals. Most knowledgeable sales personnel and health professionals can direct consumers to the most effective products.
Q. What should customers look for when purchasing peppermint oil?
A. As mentioned before, enteric coating of the peppermint oil is extremely important. The coating prevents the oil from being absorbed in the stomach. The enteric coated-capsule moves through the stomach to the small intestine and eventually to the colon, where it is released for maximum benefit.
Q. What is the dosage for peppermint oil?
A. The German Commission E approved peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable colon. In enteric-coated form, the Commission E recommends 0.6 ml per day. Enteric-coated peppermint capsules are available.
Q. Are there side effects or other contraindications?
A. Sometimes, the enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules may cause a transient burning sensation in the rectum when moving bowls. Reducing the dose will correct this.
Individuals who must refrain from alcohol should not take clown’s mustard in an herbal tincture, which may contain alcohol.
Q. What else can IBS patients do to feel better?
A. Food allergies or food intolerance may be associated with IBS. Dairy products and certain grains may trigger a painful episode of IBS. Determining those foods that initiate the problems and eliminating them from your diet can be very helpful.
Many people report their symptoms occur after a meal. Hyperactivity of the intestine of IBS is the response. Often, the strength of this response after a meal is in direct relation to the number of calories and he amount of fat in the meal. Reducing saturated fat, limiting calories, and increasing fiber intake may be helpful.
Stress also stimulates the intestinal hyperactivity. Relaxation training may reduce some IBS symptoms. Listening to therapeutic audiotapes, hypnosis, counseling, and biofeedback all have been shown to improve the healing response in persons with IBS.
IBS can be painful and frustrating, capable of causing much distress. While currently there is no cure for IBS, the symptoms can be managed. The pain, abdominal discomfort, and bowel problems of IBS all respond well to treatment with the use of key herbs, including clown’s mustard, and enteric-coated peppermint oil. These herbal combinations can be both effective and safe in treating IBS. Clown’s mustard and enteric-coated peppermint oil are both effective front-line natural alternatives for IBS treatment.
Neurological Health and CoQ10
February 25, 2007 12:06 PM
Between 1946 and 1965, 78 million Americans were born, creating the largest number of children in U.S. history. This Baby Boom generation has greatly influenced the makeup of American society and undoubtedly w ill continue to do so. Thanks to good nutrition and health care, Baby Boomers are aging well and have an excellent life expectancy. For the first time in history, we have more people turning 60 every day, and record numbers of adults reaching their seventh decade. As a result, neurological diseases associated with aging, such as Parkinson’s disease, are becoming major health care concerns. The good news is CoQ10 has applications for neurological diseases, in addition to its better known use for cardiovascular diseases.
Q. What is CoQ10?
A. CoQ10 is a natural, fat-soluble nutrient present in virtually all cells. CoQ10 also is known as ubiquinone (existing everywhere there is human life). CoQ10 is vital to the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the energy-rich compound used for all energy-requiring processes in the body.
Q. Isn’t CoQ10 a supplement for heart health?
A. Yes, it is. Because the heart requires lots of ATP to meet its high energy needs, CoQ10’s function in heart health is well understood. Numerous clinical studies have demonstrated that when individuals with heart disease take CoQ10, their symptoms improve, sometimes quite dramatically. Supplemental CoQ10 improves the heart’s pumping ability, improves blood circulation, increases tolerance to exercise, and improves the heart’s muscle tone. CoQ10 also is a powerful antioxidant and protects heart tissue from free-radical damage.
Q. How does CoQ10 affect brain health?
A. CoQ10 works in the brain the same way it works elsewhere in the body: it’s essential to ATP production. Nearly all human cells contain tiny structures called mitochondria. Mitochondria are referred to as cell powerhouses because they produce cellular energy. Depending on what each cell’s job is. There can be several thousand mitochondria in one cell. If a cell needs a lot of energy, it will have more mitochondria. This explains why heart cells contain so many mitochondria; the continual pumping of blood requires continual ATP production.
The brain also requires huge amounts of uninterrupted energy to regulate, integrate, and coordinate ongoing nervous system transmissions. To meet this need, ATP production within the mitochondria of brain cells is vital. Since CoQ10 exerts such a powerful influence on heart cells in ATP production, it was a natural progression for scientists to wonder how it affects brain cells. Brain and nervous system research led to the conclusion that the same intracellular principles apply. CoQ10 is produced in the body to assist in ATP production. Without it, ATP cannot be produced.
The most important discovery regarding CoQ10 and the brain is that CoQ10, when formulated with certain ingredients, can cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain’s mitochondria. If large amounts of CoQ10 can get into the brain cell’s mitochondria, its ability to make ATP is greatly enhanced.
Q. What is the blood-brain barrier and why is it important?
A. The blood-brain barrier is a unique anatomical structure. The cells that make up the blood vessels that provide blood to the brain are extremely close together. This greatly restricts what can leave the bloodstream and enter the brain. While the blood-brain barrier protects the brain and spinal cord from potentially toxic substances, it also can be a significant obstacle to therapy of central nervous system disorders. Only substances with certain solubilities or those that have a transport system can cross the blood-brain barrier to a significant degree.
Obtaining optimal absorption of CoQ10 is difficult. The CoQ10 molecule is large and inflexible. The easiest and least expensive way to increase absorption levels is with the use of harsh solvents such as propylene glycol. However, at higher doses, these types of chemicals are considered dangerous (neurotoxic) to the person with a serious neurodegenerative disease. It is more difficult, as well as more expensive (considering raw materials, research, and proper manufacturing methods) to promote absorption with less harmful alternatives. However, reputable companies ensure that their products are safe for all their customers. Look for CoQ10 products formulated with vitamin E and other safe ingredients such as Micosolle.
Nearly all CoQ10 supplements enter the bloodstream. But, only CoQ10 supplements with special formulations have been scientifically shown to enter the mitochondria and cross the blood-brain barrier.
Q. If CoQ10 is made in the body, why take supplements?
A. While CoQ10 is synthesized in the body, these levels may be insufficient to meet the body’s requirements. Researchers have discovered CoQ10 levels diminish with age and as a result of dietary inadequacies and various disease states. They also have determined some medications significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body.
Although CoQ10 exists in some dietary sources, it may not be realistic to obtain CoQ10 through food alone. For example, it would take approximately 3 pounds of sardines, 7 pounds of beef, or 8 pounds of peanuts to equal 100 mg of supplemental CoQ10.
Q. How does CoQ10 help people with Parkinson’s disease?
A. CoQ10 seems to have several beneficial actions in the illness. Researchers have looked at mitochondria in brain cells and determined people with Parkinson’s disease have reduced activity of Complex I in the electron transport chain. Recent research has proposed the reduced activity of Complex I interferes with the brain-signaling chemical dopamine. Stored and newly synthesized dopamine is depleted. The dopamine depletion causes nerve cell degeneration.
A recent clinical study involved 80 patients with Parkinson’s disease (both men and women). The researchers first evaluated all the participants to establish scores for basic motor skills (measuring the ability to control physical movements such as walking), mental status (whether the person was depressed or experiencing memory loss) and the activities of daily living (whether the person was experiencing difficulty with handwriting, dressing themselves, using utensils such as knives and forks, and so on). This scale is known as the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). This process is known as establishing “baseline values,” that is, the condition of the patient before receiving any treatment.
Participants were divided into 4 groups. Each group received either 300 mg, 600 mg, or 1200 mg of the special form of CoQ10, or a placebo. The researchers observed the participants for 16 months.
The results of the study showed that all the participants who received CoQ10 had smaller declines in function compared to the placebo group, but the smallest decline was experienced by the group taking the highest amount of the special form of CoQ10.
The most significant results were noted specifically in the activities of daily living scores by the people taking 1200 mg of CoQ10 daily. These people retained better ability to feed and dress themselves, speak, walk, and bathe or shower by themselves. They maintained greater independence for a longer time. Parkinson’s disease, as with other neurodegenerative diseases, robs the sufferer of their ability to control the movements of their own body and care for themselves. Supplementation with CoQ10, while not a cure, is the first intervention that showed a slowing in the progressive deterioration of the function associated with this disease.
Q. What were the results of clinical research on Huntington’s Disease?
A. A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study respected type of study, was conducted at the University of Rochester. All of the 347 Huntington’s disease (HD) patients were experiencing some HD symptoms, but were still in the early stages of the disease. The patients (who did not know which drug they were receiving) were randomly assigned to four different treatment groups: 25 percent received Remacemide, 25 percent received CoQ10, 25 percent received both, and 25 percent received a placebo, or sugar pill. The researchers, who also did not know which patients got which drug, watched and recorded their progress for two and one-half years. Remacemide is a new drug made by Astra Seneca that blocks the neurotransmitter glutamate in the brain, that has long been suspected of contributing to the death of brain cells in Huntington’s disease.
Unfortunately, in the CARE-HD study, Remacemide had no effect on the progression of the disease in patients in the early stages. However, the individuals who received 600 mg of CoQ10 per day experienced some slowing of the disease progression. They were able to manage daily activities, such as meal preparation, housekeeping tasks, and personal care longer than those not on CoQ10. They were also able to focus their attention better and were less depressed and irritable. The portion of the studied patients receiving 600 mg of CoQ10 per day experienced a 15 percent decline in the progression of HD. According to the researchers conducting the study, a 15 percent decline in the progression of HD would roughly translate into approximately one more year of independence for patients. This is the very first study from more than a dozen Huntington’s disease patient trails that showed any modification of the course of the illness.
Of note, the effects of the CoQ10 had not abated at the end of the research study. That is, the benefit of using CoQ10, 600 mg per day, was still increasing; this suggests that the longer a patient supplements with CoQ10, the greater the decline in the progression of HD. The next phase of the CARE-HD research will test a higher dose of CoQ10 (1200 mg or more per day), with more patients (over 1000), for a longer period of time (approximately 5 years). This study should improve our understanding of the optimal dose and the total achievable decline in the progression of HD. The CoQ10 product used in the CARE-HD study was designated an Orphan Drug by the FDA. The product utilizes a proprietary, patent-pending delivery mechanism, which is proven to be safe and tolerable at high doses for people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, substantially improving brain tissue levels of CoQ10.
Q. What other diseases could benefit from CoQ10 supplementation?
A. Studies show CoQ10 levels are greatly reduced in Alzheimer’s patients. Mitochondrial abnormalities also are noted; however, research has yet to determine how or why this occurs. Some scientists believe damage to mitochondria is an early feature of the disease. Free-radical damage also is a feature of Alzheimer’s.
In a study of 27 Alzheimer’s patients, subjects were given 60 mg of CoQ10, 150 mg of iron, and 180 mg of vitamin B6 daily. Each patient’s mitochondria activity was effectively activated. All patients continued to experience gradual decline. However, researchers believed that with this combination, the progression was much slower and allowed the patients to experience 1 to 2 years of extended good health.
ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a progressive, fatal, neurological disease. It occurs when the nerve cells in the brain that control voluntary movement gradually degenerate. Investigation of CoQ10 in individuals with ALS is just beginning. Researchers at the Eleanor and Lou Gehrig ALS Center at Columbia University recently conducted a small clinical pilot trial of CoQ10 in ALS. The study was an open label study, which meant that everyone enrolled received CoQ10, 400 mg three times per day. Of the 16 patients originally enrolled, nine patients completed the study. Six of these nine patients experienced some benefits. The patients declined from 0 – 25 percent in functional scores, 6 percent in strength, and 10 percent in breathing ability. These scores reflect a positive trend compared to the 50 percent decline that is seen in the natural history of ALS over the same period of time (5 to 9 months). Citing the need to conduct more studies of the effectiveness of CoQ10 for people with ALS is rapidly and efficiently as possible to get answers to patients and clinicians, another clinical trial is currently underway at the Gehrig ALS Center. This is a pilot study to determine if CoQ10 has short-term effects on motor nerves in the brain using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). The researchers are going to try to “see” if CoQ10 can change the chemical sin the brain’s upper motor nerves of people with ALS, an important next step of the investigation.
Q. Can taking CoQ10 prevent neurodegenerative disease?
A. To date, there have been no studies or research examining whether CoQ10 can prevent these diseases.
Alzheimer’s disease prevention is being clinically investigated. Researchers have determined that people who take certain anti-inflammatory medications seem less likely to develop the illness. A large, multi-centered trial is studying this connection.
Q. How much CoQ10 should I take?
A. Depending on your family history of neurological disease and your disease experience, studies show benefits at doses of 100 to 200 mg of CoQ10 daily. Some studies used doses of up to 1,200 mg per day.
CoQ10’s safety has been evaluated. To date, no toxicities have been reported. Mild stomach upset may occur. Taking CoQ10 with meals usually alleviates this rare effect.
Q. What should I look for in a CoQ10 supplement?
A. Use products which have a strong clinical research track record, supported by product-specific research from reputable institutions, and have been proven to be safe, tolerable and effective in treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. The CoQ10 product you choose should be proven to: be absorbed, enter the blood stream, cross the blood brain barrier and increase mitochondrial levels of CoQ10. If the product you are considering does not have evidence to support these points, keep looking. Once you have found a candidate, examine the product’s safety and efficacy record for neurodegenerative diseases- if the product has not been proven to be safe and effective, keep looking. Good products exist; however, caveat emptor.
CoQ10 supplementation for people with neurodegenerative diseases is supported by contemporary clinical research. CoQ10 is certainly not the only answer to the complex issues of management and treatment of these types of diseases. However, research indicates that it is a bigger piece of the puzzle than physicians and scientists ever imagined. As we continue to study this naturally occurring compound, we are finding more and more benefits to the body.
All CoQ10 is not created equal. For safety and overall effectiveness, use a CoQ10 product that is supported by product-specific research from reputable institution, which is proven to be safe, tolerable and effective at high doses; deviating from this set of criteria may do more harm than good for people with these serious illnesses. Choose clinically tested products from a well-respected company and increase the potential to achieve and maintain brain and neurological health.
The Important Role of Nutritional Magnesium & Calcium Balance in Humans Living with Stress
August 23, 2006 03:14 PM
Part I. The Stress Response
The stress reaction is a host of responses necessary for any animal to live in the world. Commonly called the fight-or-flight reation, we as humans often experience it in rapid heartbeat and increased breathing rate. It comes when we exercise more vigorously than usual, or when we are suddenly and unexpectedly frightened.
We are all different. We show a range in how strongly we experience the stress response. Most of us are usually calm and experience the stress response when an unexpected noise frightens us to alertness, or we run to first base as fast as we can in a benefit baseball game that is not on our usual playtime schedule. We breathe harder for a while and notice our hearts beating faster and harder then usual, but after a while these responses all calm down, and we are again in our usual state—out or the stress response. Others of us are very low key, and it takes a lot to disturb our physiological calm. Still others of us are very sensitive to triggers of the stress response and go into it “at the drop of a hat” and to a greater degree than do calmer people. For some, parts of the stress response are almost always engaged—never really calming down all the way—giving one a hyper-vigilant or anxious demeanor.
When a stress trigger occurs, the body puts out stress hormones, magnesium and calcium, among other things, into the bloodstream. At the same time, nerve cells begin to “fire,” telling heart and muscles to “speed up. NOW!!!” These blood, nerve and organ changes make possible the instantaneous and collective rise in the body’s heart rate, blood pressure, and other necessities for the fight-or-flight reaction.
Much research has been done on the stress response, especially on the effects of stress hormones, such as adrenaline (also called epinephrine) on body, organ and cell. You can get an idea of how widespread the stress response is-affecting every aspect of physiology—by noting some of the reactions to adrenaline, one of the major stress hormones. See Table 1.
Much study as the cellular, biochemical and physiological levels has shown that the stress response vitally involves the influx of calcium into cells, resulting in a drastic change in the cells’ internal magnesium-to-calcium ratio (Mg:Ca).
In simple solutions, such as salt water, all ions are evenly dispersed. Not so in living cells. Ions are carefully and meticulously separated in living cells, and this ion “packaging” is vital to life processes and health. Calcium ions, for the most part, are kept outside cells while magnesium ions are kept mainly inside cells. The stress response changes this. During stress response, calcium ions rush inside the cell, and this alters the internal Mg:Ca ratio. This change in ratio exhibits wide effects because, while magnesium and calcium are very similar in their chemistry, biologically these two elements function and react very differently. Magnesium and calcium are two sides of a physiological coin: they are antagonistic to one another yet comes as a team. For example:
Scientific study shows more and more that the underlying cellular change enabling the stress response is a low Mg:Ca ratio caused by a large and sudden influx of calcium into cells. This stress response subsides when the cell’s magnesium returns to its dominant presence inside cells, moving extra calcium back outside cells to its “normal” Mg:Ca ratio. This underlying principle is present in studies of nerve cell-stress hormone response, organs such as hearts, the high blood pressure response to stress, and the blood-clotting reaction during stress, among many others. See Table 2.
In the normal healthy state, the stress response occurs when necessary, and subsides when the crisis or trigger is over. Since magnesium and calcium—two essential nutrients that must be obtained by the body from its dietary environment—are so essential to this important response, it is not surprising that nutritional magnesium and calcium status can affect the response.
Let’s see how.
In the normal unstressed state, cellular Mg:Ca ratio is high. If this cannot be maintained due to lack of adequate body magnesium or an overwhelming amount of body calcium, the ratio may not be able to maintain or return itself to its healthy nonstressed ratio. In such a case, the stress response, in the absence of an appropriate trigger, can occur. This can be seen when nutritional magnesium deficits cause high blood pressure or increase blood stickiness (platelet aggregation). Additionally, since a low Mg:Ca ratio can increase adrenaline secretion as well as cells’ response to adrenaline, a too low magnesium state can keep the stress response from subsiding in a timely way. Even worse, when body magnesium becomes drastically low, this becomes a stress trigger in itself, alarming the body into further stress response with out enough magnesium to back it up, resulting in a low magnesium-high stress crisis that can end in sudden death.
In the industrialized world, we live in a state of chronic, on-going stress. This environmental reality increases our daily need for magnesium in order to maintain a healthy stress response that can calm when not necessary.
Part II. Heart Disease Is Often a Magnesium Deficiency
Clearly, an adequate amount of nutritional magnesium—in proper balance with adequate nutritional calcium—is key to a healthy stress response. And yet today we have diets dangerously low in magnesium. Add the recent additions of nutritional calcium via supplements and food fortifications meant to stave off osteoporosis, and many of us are getting inadequate magnesium plus too much calcium. This results in a large occurrence of heart disease.
Not all, but much of the heart disease in the industrialized world can be explained by the low magnesium state of these societies. People with heart disease—for the most part—are people who are in a state of magnesium that is borderline or deficient. Many studies on heart disease patients exist due to medicine’s effort to understand and treat this widespread malady. Although not intended as such, this body of research shows us what stress can do to a person in a magnesium deficient state.
Part III. Mental and Emotional Stress Deplete Magnesium
It is commonly accepted that certain traditional risk factors for heart disease exist. This include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history of heart disease, and other factors, all of which can be linked to a shortage of nutritional magnesium. Recent studies tell us that stresses—both sudden and chronic—with their high magnesium requirements, are also strong risk factors for heart disease.
The sudden stress of the
Emotional stress and phobic anxiety cause heart problems in patients with heart disease—a population we know to be mostly low in their nutritional magnesium status. Chronic states of emotional stress, including a history of childhood abuse, neglect or family dysfunction, depression, and panic disorder, must now be added to the list of traditional risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Depression can be a symptom of low magnesium status. So can anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, hyperactivity, and over-sensitivity to loud noises. Do these newly found risk factors cause heart disease, or are they risk factors because the, as well as heart disease, can all be aspects of low magnesium status? These chronic sources of stress can increase the human need for magnesium as well as be caused by its deficit.
Emotional stress triggers in susceptible people can even bring a sudden death due to heart attack, presumably by initiating a stress/low-magnesium crisis. Such emotional “triggers” include work stress, high-pressure deadlines, social isolation and loneliness, low socioeconomic status, anxiety, war, fear of war, anger and rage. Identical stress triggers cause more human heart attacks regardless of age, race, gender, or geographic location, including continent.
Mental stress, such as working out a math problem, can be shown to have impact upon the magnesium-stress response connection, since it can bring on heart attacks in people with heart disease.
Part IV. Stress, Magnesium and Aging
We are hearing a lot about stress in the health media, and rightly so as this constant companion to our lives brings on the fight-or-flight syndrome, a stress response that, when activated, has been shown to shorten lifespan. When we realize that the stress response is exacerbated when we are low in magnesium, that we are living on low-magnesium foods for the most part, and that our lifestyles are more and more filled with chronic stresses and stressful events, we are not surprised to see that several aspects of magnesium deficiency are remarkably like aspects of the aging process.
When faced with out stressful lifestyles, coupled with a society presenting a chronically low-magnesium/high-calcium diet, what is our best defense? For many of us, magnesium supplements can help to preserve or restore a healthy Mg:Ca balance, so important to our health in these stressful times.
Peter Gillham's Natural Calm
December 30, 2005 08:55 AM
If you consider yourself a serious, competitionminded athlete, you already know how important the “edge” is when it comes to your success. Regardless of whether it’s shaving a second off your personal best, squeezing out one more rep on the bench, or bumping up your batting average by just a tenth of a point, the difference between achieving fi rst place and an honorable mention may be a simple as knowing what specialty nutrients can make it so.
Thanks to impressive advances in the science of sports nutrition, there are plenty to choose from these days. Creatine monohydrate, for example, helps foster the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a mitochondrial chemical that makes it possible to store, produce and use energy for muscular contractions. Another, branched chain amino acids (BCAA), help increase protein synthesis by promoting anabolic balance by preventing the catabolism that typically occurs during intense training. Pyruvate, a unique pairing of calcium and pyruvic acid, helps facilitate the transfer of glucose from the bloodstream into muscles where it supports the production of metabolic energy.
When it comes to fueling your body with the nutrients and compounds it needs to perform at its pinnacle, quality takes top priority. Purchasing a line of supplements based on the allure of the label won’t do a thing for your ability to improve, physically. In fact, it may end up costing you more than just money in the long run. NOW Sports supplements are developed under the same demanding, science-based standards inherent to every NOW product, and guaranteed to be exceptional in potency, purity and quality.
Now Foods Quality Sports Nutrition.
December 30, 2005 08:53 AM
“It is a flame which sinks for lack of fuel…” - Pierre Corneille
Athletes are one of the most unique breeds of life roaming the earth. On the surface, their traits are simple; sweat beaded foreheads, high-tech stop watches, chiseled physiques, running shoes, corporately endorsed attire, etc. But when you take just a moment to peer into what really makes an athlete an athlete, it’s becomes easy to see what sets them apart.
From bikers to bodybuilders, sprinters to swimmers, athletes epitomize what it means to be alive. These modern day, physically motivated warriors thrive on personal achievement, lament the thought of failure and in the process, subject their bodies to immeasurable amounts of pain and exhaustion. But these aren’t just traits to an athlete – they’re prerequisites. When you consider the enormous nutritional needs of the average busy adult, then and only then, can you begin to appreciate what the most physically active individuals require in order to succeed. And while these needs vary from sport to sport and lifestyle to lifestyle, there’s simply no denying their never-ending need to fuel, refuel and repeat. So whether you’re just starting out, or make it your life’s work, here are a few ways to get the most out of your training.
GliSODin Anti-Aging and Antioxidant Protection
December 19, 2005 08:47 AM
GliSODin Anti-Aging and Antioxidant Protection
In the time it takes you to finish reading this article, you, your body and your cells will have aged. Some, more than others. Nevertheless, every second that ticks away should serve as a reminder that our time here is temporary. How much time we actually end up with depends on many things. Diet. Lifestyle. Environment. Superoxide Dismutase? I’ll explain. What some of the healthiest individuals fail to realize is that our bodies age from the inside out. Aging is not the result of passing time, but rather the result of what we’re exposed to environmentally, physically and chemically. It is the integrity of our cells, not our clocks, that determine how smooth the aging process fares.
Each day, we’re subjected to millions of elements that affect us in ways seldom seen, felt or noticed. From the moment we’re born, we rely on our cells to work around the clock - producing energy, fighting infections and sustaining life. These same cells eventually determine the rate at which we show (or hide) our age.
Taking into consideration that our planet has no shortage of toxins & germs, the need to safeguard our cells becomes very real. Constant exposure to exhaust, secondhand smoke, heavy metals, lead, fluoride and uncountable other noxious compounds should ideally provide us with nothing more than a routine immune system workout. Unfortunately, over long periods they hinder our “resistance” abilities and become stepping stones to accelerated aging.
Antioxidants. We’ve all heard the term before, and may even have a general understanding of their role. But to better grasp just how vital they are, it helps to know what’s happening at the cellular level. Free radicals are unstable molecular thieves that often lack electrons. To compensate, they rob healthy cells - a process better known as oxidation. Antioxidants work with the immune system to prevent oxidation, and clean up the mess it leaves behind. Hence, the name.
There are two types. Exogenous antioxidants are derived from our diet and include vitamins A, E, and C along with others such as alpha lipoic acid, selenium, CoQ10, grape seed, pycnogenol and zinc. To date, we’ve been limited to exogenous antioxidants as a way to increase the rate at which our body wards off oxidation. They are not, however, our first line of defense. At birth, each and every one of us is equipped with three primary endogenous enzymatic antioxidants; SOD (Superoxide Dismutase), Glutathione Peroxidase (GPx) and Catalase.
While both types of antioxidants are beneficial, we’ve become reliant on those from the diet to compensate for our inability to boost the effectiveness of our 3 primary antioxidants. For years, researchers have been examining ways to enhance the activity of our built-in bodyguards. One in particular, Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) has been of foremost interest. SOD targets what many researchers regard as one of our greatest health threats and aging accelerators - Superoxide radicals. These highly reactive, merciless molecules incite enormous amounts of oxidative stress and are capable of wreaking havoc on healthy cells. When cells are left unprotected by SOD, the results can be disastrous - respiratory problems, premature aging, memory loss, cardiovascular challenges, vision failure and joint structure damage, among others.
Until now, we’ve been at the mercy of our natural SOD reserves to fight superoxides. Researchers have been working feverishly to produce an effective oral SOD supplement, but have continually encountered a frustrating hurdle - exposure to gastric acid denatures SOD, rendering it useless. As a result, the only effective way to supplement SOD was through injections. These, however, only yielded short-term spikes. And then something remarkable happened that changed everything. Nutrition scientists in France determined that by combining Cucumus melo (a melon high in SOD) with a wheat gliadin stabilizer, it would be possible to prevent SOD from deteriorating in the digestive tract, while preserving it in the blood for extended periods. Not only is this the answer to a puzzle that has plagued researchers, it’s a breakthrough that will impact the life of anyone seeking longevity and vitality.
As the first proven oral SOD supplement ever introduced to the public, GliSODin® has taken antioxidant protection, immune support and antiaging science to an entirely new level. The primary function of GliSODin® is to scour the body for superoxide radicals and reduce them to less reactive ions that can be swept away; a process known as dismutation. In addition, GliSODin® reduces the oxidation vulnerability of healthy cells, protects mitochondrial activity and safeguards DNA structure.
What’s most remarkable is that GliSODin® has actually been shown to stimulate the body’s own natural production of all three enzymatic antioxidants, including SOD. For the first time in history, we will have the ability to enhance the effectiveness of our body’s primary defense mechanism.
New GliSODin® from NOW® represents the ultimate in antioxidant protection. By increasing one’s level of SOD while stimulating the natural production of Glutathione Peroxidase and Catalase, GliSODin® delivers antioxidant protection unlike any previously released dietary supplement. Remember, the aging process begins at a level that we simply can not see, the cellular level. Shielding your cells from superoxide damage is one of the smartest steps you can take against aging before your due time. GliSODin® has made this a reality.
- US Center for Disease Control, 2005
December 07, 2005 01:27 PM
“Forty-three million Americans report that a doctor told them they have arthritis or other rheumatic conditions. Another 23 million people have chronic joint symptoms but have not been diagnosed with arthritis. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States, limiting the activities of more than 16 million adults.” - US Center for Disease Control, 2005
This is of alarming concern, especially if you’re one of the nearly 60 million US adults who live with a joint disorder. Clearly, you don’t need to be reminded of what a struggle it can be. Mundane tasks become major, and major tasks become painful reminders of what life was like when your joints were strong and seemingly indestructible. Many sufferers lose hope, while others hopelessly lose out on so many of life’s activities.
Over the past ten years, notable advances in the nutritional sciences have paved the path for landmark products such as Glucosamine, SAMe, Chondroitin, MSM, and others. As a result, millions have found relief in these products and continue to use them in their quest towards healthy mobility. Fortunately, the science behind these popular joint support supplements has done nothing but steadily improve. Celadrin® is perhaps the most convincing proof to date. Let’s examine.
In short, Celadrin® is novel blend of acetylated fatty acids, esters and other synergistic agents that enhance cell membranes throughout the body, resulting in greater mobility and more normalized joint function. The extremely high user success rate and virtually complete absence of side effects has helped Celadrin® rise to the rank of joint support extraordinaire. Yes, this is a bold statement. However, just one look at the supporting research is enough to convince even the most skeptical critics of what a true breakthrough it is. Celadrin®’s ability to provide fast, cumulative relief continues to be evidenced by extensive clinical research, as well as a steady flow of eye-opening human trials.
Unlike popular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) that simply mask joint discomfort, Celadrin® targets the source by enhancing cell membranes and restoring the vital fluids that cushion bones and joints. Ultimately, this is what makes it possible to enjoy a free range of motion without the bone-on-bone grinding that limits so many from their daily activities. Working in much the same manner that other fatty acids do, Celadrin®’s patented blend of esterified fatty acids spark positive changes at the cellular level. As this occurs, cell membranes become more responsive and less prone to articular cartilage deterioration.
“How long do I need to take it?”
Not only does it work well, studies continue to illustrate Celadrin®’s ability to work fast. This can be attributed to how easily absorbed the active ingredients are. In 2005, a University-led, placebo-controlled study examined 42 patients who struggled with knees that were…let’s just say less than fully functional. After just 30 minutes, 100% of the subjects treated with a topical form of Celadrin® reported significant improvement in joint mobility and support. Even more impressive, each participant demonstrated continuous and restorative benefits over the course of the entire 30 day study.
“How do I use Celadrin®?”
One of the most appealing elements of Celadrin® is the flexibility that users have when it comes to taking charge of their joint health. It is available in both oral and topical forms, and each is equally effective. Some users have reported greater results by supplementing the oral form while applying the topical lotion directly to the target areas in question. Still, no two people are alike. Accordingly, the severity and nature of each individual concern will vary from person to person. Therefore, it can be wise to determine which application works best for your particular situation.
“What if I don’t have joint problems?” For openers, you’re very fortunate. If your joints are strong and fluid, Celadrin® is one of the most effortless ways to keep them that way! Cartilage breakdown is gradual, and occurs over a long, delayed, unsuspecting period of time. In many cases, there is very little warning that your knee or shoulder is about to become part of a frightening and growing statistic. Your joints may feel fine today, but you’d be amazed at how fast that can change. Think of Celadrin® as Cartilage Insurance. You may not see an immediate need to support them right now, but if they do give out, you’ll sincerely wish you had.
“What should I look for in a Celadrin® product?”
As with every dietary supplement and joint-support product, you should always look for a quality formula from a trusted, well-established manufacturer with a history of producing quality products. NOW® Celadrin® products are scientifically formulated, tested for safety and potency and guaranteed to be of superior quality. Each full serving contains 1.5 g (1500 mg) of Celadrin® along with 300 mg of MSM for additional support. NOW® Celadrin® Liposome Lotion contains 7.5 % Celadrin® along with 1.25% USP Pharmaceutical grade natural Menthol. Both are now available at fine independent health food retailers nationwide.* credits: Jayson Kroner [mailto:email@example.com]
The “Power of Electrolyte Trace Minerals
October 13, 2005 01:08 PM
The “Power of Electrolyte Trace Minerals
The form of different minerals also play a key role in how well they are transported through the circulatory systemand the aqueous micro-environment of the cells. “whatever the nutritional potential of a food, its contribution is nonexistent if it does not pass the test of absorption”. Those minerals that your body is unable to break down to their ionic form are likely to pass completely from the body unassimilated, and for all nutritional intents and purposes, were never eaten. Authors Rosenberg and solomons offer the following insight:
“Insofar as minerals in the diet are often bound to protein, complexed with organic molecules in food, or otherwise imbedded in the matrix of food-stuffs, the mechanical processes of mastication, dissolution, dispersion, and often digestion are important preparative steps to absorption. Moreover, at the conclusion of the aforementioned reductive process, minerals generally emerge in the intestinal lumen as charged ions, e.g. Fe, Zn, PO4, SeO3.”
“Minerals should be ionic to be readily absorbed through transfer in the small intestine.”
Minerals that are absorbed in their ionic form are true liquid solution and have either positive or negative charges. They also have properties that distinguish them from each other and allow them to freely take part in biochemical communication throughout the body. These communications help nutrients move to those areas of the body that are in most need of their help.
“Imbalances of any of these ions or certain trace ions in the body…can lead to dysfunction in the conduction of electrical messages. This dysfunction quickly leads to a general body disturbance and loss of ability to maintain somewhat stable internal conditions.
The Light bulb demonstration that Trace Minerals Research uses is a simple yet effective scientific experiment to show how well different minerals break down into ionic solutions in water and their concentration in that form. The experiment uses a broken circuit from the electrical cord that is connected to two probes which are then inserted into distilled water. When a mineral is placed in the water, it will connect the circuit and light the bulb in direct relation to how well it breaks down into ionic solutions and it’s concentration in ionic form. If a mineral does not break down in water, it will not light the light bulb.
Adverse Reactions to Foods and Dietary Supplements
August 27, 2005 08:27 AM
Adverse Reactions to Foods and Dietary Supplements
Answers to common Questions
The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that between 60,000 and 106,000 deaths per year in the United States are caused by prescription drugs. See JAMA, April 15, 1998 – Vol 279, No. 15. Fortunately, adverse reactions to foods and dietary supplements are far more rare than adverse reactions to drugs. However, we each consume a larger variety and quantity of foods than drugs. Because of this, and because each of us can react differently, an allergic or isolated reaction to a food or supplement is a possibility. Here’s helpful information about what to do if you or someone you care for has what appears to be an adverse reaction to a food or dietary supplement.
What types of reactions could I have?
The most common adverse reaction is an allergic reaction. In order to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction, carefully read all labels and buy products from reputable manufacturers who accurately disclose the ingredients in their products. If you need help finding these manufacturers, ask your local health food retailer for recommendations.
How do I know what caused my reaction?
Take time to carefully review what might have caused the reactions. Doctors and experts in toxicology look at several different factors in trying to determine the cause of a particular reaction.
1. Is this reaction a side effect of drugs I am taking?
Asking your self these questions can help limit the number of possible causes and may lead you to an answer more quickly.
What should I do if I have an adverse reaction?
Weather or not you know the potential cause of the reaction, follow these steps:
How can I reach the FDA or another government agency about my concerns?
Various state and federal agencies employ personnel who can help respond to concerns or questions about adverse reactions. Following is contact information for some of the agencies:
How can I report an adverse event?
FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) has an Adverse Event Reporting System (CAERS) that can be contacted in any of the following ways:
You can contact FDA’s MedWatch Program in any of the following ways:
For Non-emergencies related to products purchased via internet, fill out an online form on FDA’s website at vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/qa-top.html (see link to “form to report unlawful sales”)
You may also contact any local poison control center, local or state health agencies, the department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Trake Commision, the Consumer Products safety Commission, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and t hey will forward your report to the FDA.
Progesterone: Ignorance Is Not Bliss
July 25, 2005 09:42 PM
Progesterone: Ignorance Is Not Bliss
Has anyone ever asked you if you might be suffering from a progesterone deficiency? Women ranging in age from 12 to 100 may be subject to low progesterone levels and as a result, can suffer from a whole host of mysterious ills related to a hormonal imbalance. While most women are fairly informed about birth control pills and estrogen replacement therapy with all of its controversy, few of us understand the very profound role progesterone plays in determining our overall health. Moreover, the therapeutic effects of natural progesterone remain relatively unknown and untapped. Of even more significance is that a growing number of women seem to be suffering from progesterone depletion and estrogen dominance. If you’re like I was, this notion struck me as a completely new concept. I can say now, in retrospect, that this bit of knowledge is clearly one of the most important pieces of information I have had the opportunity to research. So many symptoms that women have to endure are readily branded as just part of inevitable PMS or worse yet, products of an overactive imagination or emerging psychosis. It is has been through my own personal experience with terrible mood swings, horrendous periods and all sorts of miserable hormonal demons that I have come to write this booklet. Make no mistake however, the information contained herein is based on scientific fact and is backed by the experience of medical doctors. More than any other physician or scientist, Dr. John R. Lee, M.D. has pioneered and documented his remarkable results using natural progesterone from wild yam for his female patients. To say the very least, his findings have profound health implications for all women.
Natural plant-based progesterone may well be the most important breakthrough therapy for women to come out of the latter twentieth century. Ironically, its use from botanical sources has a long tried and true history. Like so many valuable natural treatments, the value of plant-based progesterones have been virtually ignored by modern medical practices.
Unfortunately, most physicians focus on the use of synthetic estrogen or artificial progestins to manage female disorders such as osteoporosis when, in reality, progesterone may be the key hormone. Ironically, natural progesterone, unlike its pharmaceutical counterparts, offers an impressive array of therapeutic actions with complete safety and efficacy. As previously mentioned, mainstream medicine continues to overlook the use of natural phytoestrogens which can offer practical treatment of hormonally-related disorders without negative side effects.
These simple plant-based medicinals have been used for generations by women of almost every culture and for good reason. These botanicals have been able to support the special health needs of both pre-and post-menopausal women with little or no side effects. Progesterone plays a profoundly more critical role in the maintenance of female health than previously assumed. Too little of this vital female hormone can lead to all kinds of menstrual disorders, infertility, miscarriages, osteoporosis and even cancer. Progesterone deficiencies are much more common that most of us would assume, even in younger women. Replenishing progesterone in its natural form is a safe and effective way of relieving a whole host of female symptoms ranging from the mildly annoying to the seriously debilitating. Simply stated: there are viable alternatives to popping synthetic hormones for problems like PMS or menopausal distress. In many cases, specific plant-based hormone creams can achieve better results without the significant health risks associated with synthetic hormonal analogues.
Today, the use of natural progesterone is dramatically growing as women and health practitioners alike become disillusioned with synthetic hormonal therapies. Using pharmaceutical estrogen has proven to be rather disappointing in treating osteoporosis.1 In addition, the controversy over the safety of birth control pills and estrogen replacement therapy for post-menopause rages on. In the midst of much misinformation concerning artificial hormonal drugs, plants like wild yam are being reconsidered and reevaluated for their intrinsic value.
Ironically, modern technological manipulations of these natural phytochemicals has resulted in more potency and more risk to the human body which was not designed to cope with artificial compounds. It turns out that ancient civilizations who turned to botanicals for female ills understood the value of natural therapies. In the face of high-tech pharmaceutical imitations, it turns out that Mother Nature knew what she was doing after all.
GARLIC: A NATURAL IMMUNITY BOOSTER
June 25, 2005 10:05 AM
GARLIC: A NATURAL IMMUNITY BOOSTER
With the arrival of new and frightening viral diseases like AIDS and flesh eating bacteria, boosting immunity is receiving new attention. Because these types of diseases have no effective cures or treatments, strengthening the body’s ability to fight off infection has become even more important.
Garlic has an abundance of sulphur containing amino acids and other compounds that seem to initiate increased activity in the immune system. For example, macrophages, which kill invading pathogens are stimulated by the presence of garlic.20 The Journal of the American Medical Association states, “it [Garlic] may become known as one of the grand conductors of the body’s immune symphony,”21 Several studies have shown that garlic stimulates immune function by making macrophage or killer cells more active. In so doing, garlic can prevent the onset of colds and fevers by increasing resistance to infection and to stress. It is common knowledge now that stress can compromise immune function. We are constantly assaulted by inadequate nutrition, cigarette smoke, physical injury, mental tension, and chemical pollution. Recently, the notion that vaccinations may also tax the immune system has emerged. In light of the enormous pressure which our immune systems sustain, supplemental nutrients like garlic are clearly needed.
Unfortunately stress, is here to stay and affects us daily through poor diets, environmental pollution and nervous tension. One study from Japan revealed that when mice were exposed to stress, their immunoglobulin production decreased making then more susceptible to infection. When Garlic extract was added to their diets before experiencing stress, their immune systems were protected to some degree.22
Another reason why garlic is such a powerful immune system booster is offered by a medical doctor. Concerning garlic, Dr. Robert Atkins, M.D. of New York City has said: “Garlic is an important nutritional food, The most reasonable explanation for its effectiveness [as a contributor of power to the immune system] is that it picks up toxic materials and transports them out of the body.”23 The food factors contained in garlic also play a role in beefing up the body’s defenses against disease. Garlic is full of nutrients including 17 amino acids. Recent studies have found that the changes which occur in the immune system when autoimmune disease is present are the same as those found in malnutrition.24 Garlic is one of the best immune system fortifiers available.
remarkable content of germanium alone offers excellent immunostimulation. In addition to germanium, Garlic contains thiamine, sulfur, niacin, phosphorous, and selenium. Mother Nature knew what she was doing when designing garlic for human consumption.
June 23, 2005 10:53 AM
Known to the natives of the tropical Americas for millennia, Capsicum, or Cayenne Pepper, was introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus and became known as “Guinea Pepper. ” Originally used by Native Americans located south of the Mexican border, archeological evidence supports its cultivation from 7000 B.C. Apparently, mixing chocolate and red chiles was a taste treat exclusively reserved for Aztec royalty.5 The exact origin of the word Capsicum remains somewhat of a mystery. However, it is assumed to be a derivative of the Greek word kapto, meaning “to bite,” an appropriate reference to its fiery pods. Capsicum is the fruit of a shrub-like tropical plant and is technically considered a berry. Its designation as a “pepper” can be traced back to Columbus, who equated its hot taste sensation with that of black pepper.
In 1597, Gerard referred to Capsicum as extremely hot and dry and prescribed it for throat and skin infections. Health practitioners of the nineteenth century called phsysiomedicalists used Capsicum to counteract rheumatism, arthritis, depression and chills. In the early 1800s, Dr. Samuel Thompson utilize d Capsicum as a potent and safe natural stimulant. His followe r s , who would become known as Thomsonians, believed that Capsicum should be used to treat a wide variety of diseases. It was used orally and as a poultice to treat tumors, toothaches, feve r s , and respiratory ailments.
In 1804, Dr. John St e vens introduced the red pepper to England where it became the catalyst component in a variety of herbal blends. Subsequently, herbal and medical practitioners used Capsicum to fight infection and sustain the natural heat of the body. It became well known in American dispensatories and pharmacopeia. In 1943, The Dispensary of the United States recorded that, “Capsicum is a powe rful local stimulant, producing when CAPSICUM swallowed, a sense of heat in the stomach and a general glow over the body without narcotic effect.”6 Twentieth-century physicians recognized the medicinal value of Capsicum which eventually found its way to the American Illust rated Medical Dictionary, the Merck Manual and Materia Medica, where it was referred to as a rubefacient, local stimulant, counter-irritant, gastric stimulant, and diaphoretic.7
Today Mexican Indians continue to use Capsicum as an internal disinfectant and protectant against contaminated food and also to treat fevers.8 “Today the pepper is nowhere in the world more appreciated and more widely used than in Mexico and certain other Latin American countries, which together form the original home of all the peppers. Both at morning and at evening, practically eve ry dish the Indians eat included Capsicum, just as their food did 2,000 years ago. The diet of the Indians was, and still is, rather bland . . . maize, beans, squash, pumpkin, yucca, potatoes . . . little wonder that the pepper was so highly regarded. And of course . . . the peppers were a wonderful source of essential vitamins in a diet otherwise lacking in them.”9 Capsicum continues to be a source of vitality and health in numerous countries including the Bahamas and Costa Rica, where it is used to overcome colic or indigestion, in Africa for vascular disorders and by North Americans who use it as a tonic and natural stimulant.
Capsicum is currently experiencing a renaissance in that a number of recent studies have emerged adding to its already impressive list of actions. Scientists are taking notice and looking at Capsicum with new respect and interest. Perhaps what sets Capsicum apart is that unlike powe rful pharmaceutical stimulants and pain killers, Capsicum possess potency without deleterious side effects.
How Does CLA Work?
June 22, 2005 09:46 PM
How Does CLA Work?
How could CLA hinder the growth and development of certain cancers in animals? Scientists have developed some intriguing possibilities, and many of them are related to the theory of antioxidants.
WHAT IS AN ANTIOXIDANT?
Well, one of the ironies of life is that oxygen, so essential to human life, also causes decay. Look at the parts of your car where paint may have pealed away, and you will notice rust, what scientists call oxidation. Molecules of oxygen combine with the iron or chromium on your car and change its chemical alignment to iron oxide or chromium oxide—rust. In a very real sense, the same thing happens to you as you age. Inside your cells, thousands of chemical reactions take place each moment. These reactions break apart the long chains of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen that make up body tissues and combines them in new ways. Some of those combinations cause decay. One example is when a free radical—a single atom of roaming oxygen—attaches itself to something useful, rendering it useless or even dangerous. If a free radical were to change DNA, for example, that could mutate a cell. This free radical process is one way this oxidation occurs, and antioxidants, often called free radical scavengers, attach themselves to the free radicals, blocking their damage. This can help improve life and help to cut the problems of oxidation. Indeed, many see antioxidants as a way of lessening the risks of cancer.
Many people know about important antioxidants, such as ascorbigen (vitamin C), selenium or alpha tocopherol (vitamin E), but nature provides numerous antioxidants. Many exciting ones are emerging, such as proanthocyanidins (often known as pycnogenol), quercetin (common in many fruits) and selenium (a mineral). C LA may be another antioxidant emerging from the research. Dr. Pariza and others found in a 1991 experiment that in the test tube, CLA was effective in battling free radicals. 28 It helped prevent damage to the DNA inside the cells. Pariza says in another paper, “Our hypothesis is that the antioxidant activity of CLA may at least in part explain its anticarcinogenic effect.”29 That would mean that one way CLA prevents cancer is because it blocks these dangerous free radicals. (Other theories about how it fights cancer include breaking down the chemicals that cause cancer into others that don’t .30 All the theories may be true in specific situations, and none might.) But like many other emerging, exciting areas of scientific inquiry, this idea that CLA is an antioxidant has doubters. Researchers J.J. van den Berg, N.E. Cook and D.L. Tribble wanted to see if CLA protected fatty membranes comprised of a substance called palmitoyl-2-linoleoyl phosphatidylcholine (PLPC) from the damage of biologic oxidation. In research published in 1995, they compared CLA’s effect to the wellknown antioxidant vitamin E. While vitamin E protected well, CLA did relatively little. They also found that CLA did not become a mineral chelator, an agent that helps natural minerals become available biologically. They bluntly said, “On the basis of our observations, a role for CLA as an antioxidant does not seem plausible.”31
Another study in 1995, however, showed that CLA can break down into other substances, called feran derivatives, that do act as antioxidants.32 As in all emerging sciences, debates ensue among honest, dedicated researchers. CLA may not, itself, be a antioxidant. Perhaps it acts as antioxidant in only certain situations. Perhaps things that come from CLA act like antioxidants. That is the state of the research today. (Indeed, Dr. Pariza says such debates are common in the field of antioxidants. 33)
What is important to remember is that in numerous animal models, CLA protected against the dangers of many different kinds of cancer in animals, and that, according to scientists, it is one of the most potent cancer-preventing substances of its kind known to science. Whether the cause of this effect was because of CLA or because of some other reason really isn’t that important.
Another thing to remember is that CLA is not a cancer drug. It is something that would be useful in addition to other cancer treatments. It is something to consider to lower your risks and, perhaps, lessen the effects of treatment. It should not be considered a treatment option on its own.
June 22, 2005 09:40 PM
Next time someone you know puts a burger on a charcoal grill, notice how the fat drops, sizzling, onto the briquettes beneath. As the drippings burn, the chemical content changes. This really is what burning is, a chemical change from a complex form of the substance to a more simple form. As it changes, many chemicals emerge—some harmless, others less so. One of those chemicals, benzopyrene, can cause mutation of bacteria in the test tube, and that led some scientists to believe it might cause cancer.1 Benzopyrene becomes part of the smoke that rises from the charcoal to settle back on the surface of a cooking burger. This was known as far back as the 1970s, and, for those interested in good health, it became another reason to cut meats from the diet and replace them with healthy grains and vegetable products. Many left it at that. Thankfully, scientists began digging more deeply into this phenomenon, measuring other chemicals and other methods of cooking. One such scientist was Michael Pariza. In 1978, Pariza studied heterocyclic amines to see if they were “mutagenic,” that is, if they would cause bacteria to mutate in the test tube. He found that burgers can be quite safely cooked with care.2 But what changed the direction of his research was an entirely original discovery, separate from what his paper set out to find. This discovery has shaped his career since and may well, in the years to come, help thousands, indeed millions, of people improve their health. What he discovered was that something in hamburger has a “mutagenic inhibitory” effect. That is, something in meat seemed to counteract the bad effects of these mutagens, indeed was an anti-mutagen. In his research, Pariza used a popular scientific test called the Ames Test, named for a scientist at the University of California at Berkeley. This test is still used today for its simplicity by numerous scientists. The test requires enzymes form rat livers stimulated with certain chemicals. Scientists put these enzymes and the possible mutagen onto bacteria. They observe the bacteria in a microscope to see if they have mutated. Pariza changed the experiment slightly. Instead of stimulating rat livers, he used enzymes from normal rat livers. The results showed this anti-mutagenic effect, but just what substance caused it was still a question. For nearly another decade, Pariza and others tried to isolate this substance. Finally, they managed to do so in 1987.3 Call it a previously undiscovered nutrient, one, by the best research now available, that seems essentially vital for optimal health. The substance is CLA— conjugated linoleic acid. Laboratory studies using animals show:
Marilu Henner: Energy Personified!
June 14, 2005 11:50 AM
Marilu Henner: Energy Personified! by Stephen Hanks Energy Times, January 3, 2005
Marilu Henner is an actress, dancer and author, a health, fitness and cooking guru and a devoted mom. Now she's also an advocate for nutritional supplements. In this revealing interview, she offers her thoughts on the battle to support consumer rights and to create a better health care system in America.
"So, you want to know what my schedule is after I finish talking with you?" Marilu Henner says, in an almost breathless voice. "Today's Tuesday, right? Tomorrow morning I leave Los Angeles [where she lives] for New York City so I can do the Tony Danza Show first thing Thursday morning, Then, I take a 9 am flight back to LA because my son has a sleepover birthday party. I have a 7 am flight to New Jersey the next morning because I'm speaking about mental health at a conference at a big country club. The next morning, I catch a 7 am flight back to LA for my son's soccer games, one at noon and the other at 2. Whew!"
Trying to keep up with Marilu Henner would make anybody feel out of breath because the woman is energy personified. At 52, her schedule includes acting in movies, on television and in the occasional Broadway show, writing books (she's authored seven, including Total Health Makeover and Healthy Life Kitchen), teaching online diet and exercise classes through her website (marilu.com), taking Pilates classes three times a week and raising two sons, Nicholas (10) and Joseph (8).
But now, on top of all that, the former star of the TV show Taxi has become a health and nutrition activist, speaking out in favor of the use of dietary supplements whenever she can. This past September, Henner testified at a hearing of the House Subcommittee for Human Rights and Wellness to advocate increased funding for research and full implementation of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). During her testimony, Marilu described why she believes consumers should have access to more information about supplements and why the products should be made more accessible through both government initiatives and private health plans. "I believe that dietary supplements should be part of a campaign to improve our nation's health," Henner testified.
Energy Times recently caught up with Marilu at her Los Angeles home for a freewheeling conversation. Here, this vibrant yet down-to-earth celebrity displays her passion for health, nutrition and consumer issues.
Energy Times: You've become one of the most high profile celebrities to advocate a consumer's use of dietary supplements. What was your motivation to get involved in such a public way?
Marilu Henner: As a teenager, I had been a yo-yo dieter. I could be around 135 pounds and balloon up to 174. I knew I needed a different way of looking at my life. I couldn't concentrate on those stupid diets where I could lose 20 pounds in a week and then gain it all back over a weekend. But after my mom died at 58 in 1978, I said to myself, "It's not really about my body anymore, it's really about my health." I just became obsessed with health. I read everything I could get my hands on. I starting taking human anatomy classes, going to medical libraries and seeing nutritionists and doctors. And I started experimenting on myself, turning myself into my own guinea pig. It took me about eight years to put together a program. I always say that my health birthday was 1979, but it wasn't until 1987 that I could say I was living a completely healthy lifestyle.
ET: Were you ever really heavy when you were performing in a show? MH: Sure. When I first performed the role of Marty in "Grease" more than 30 years ago I weighed about 175 pounds. But I hid it well. When you wear those 1950s clothes you can get away with it.
ET: When did you start incorporating supplements into your health program? MH: Before I became pregnant with my first son in 1993, I had never been a supplement taker. But I started taking prenatal vitamins and dietary supplements when I was breastfeeding and they made me feel really good. After the pregnancy, I just kept taking them because I was getting the essential nutrients that I couldn't get from food alone. I was getting great stuff from my food, but with all the travel I do-you know, the eating on planes and in restaurants-I couldn't always shop for organic food. I had a doctor who understood the value of dietary supplements and encouraged me to use them. I've taken them ever since and I recommend them to my family and friends, as well as to people through my books and classes.
ET: What supplements other than vitamins do you find helpful in your total nutrition program? MH: I take vitamin E, omega-3 fish oils, antioxidants, garlic, coral calcium and echinacea supplements.
ET: So let's get back to why you decided to testify before Congress in support of supplement use. MH: I know that as soon as you put a celebrity face on an issue, people tend to pay a little more attention. When I was in Washington, I was able to tell Congress the personal stories I've heard about people who turned their lives around-from debilitating illness to vibrant health-when they got the information they need to make good choices. By good choices, I mean rejecting the manufactured foods of our society, with their over-reliance on sugar, meat and dairy, and the chemicals, hormones and steroids that usually accompany these products. Instead, we should be moving towards an organic, vegan diet that produces a sense of physical health. I also believe that a healthy diet includes the use of appropriate dietary supplements.
ET: Do you think that government is moving fast enough to reduce the restrictions on safe supplements? MH: Things could always move faster. But I remember years ago writing letters on behalf of people who wanted supplements without needing a prescription. When I would tell people about the benefits of soy products or supplements, they'd think I was nuts. Now those ideas are mainstream. The floodgates are open and people want to know more. You can't even keep up with all the information. I think that the government knows they're not going to get away with making people have a prescription to take their vitamins.
ET: What is the citizen's responsibility in all this? MH: We're in a real transitional phase and people should take responsibility to educate themselves. You have to question your doctors and recognize when something is or isn't working. You have to find a health practitioner who really knows their stuff.
ET: As you said, there's so much information out there, how do you decipher it all? How can someone be an educated information consumer?
MH: I know it's very difficult because there are so many options. Believe me, I've been doing this a long time and I'm glad I did the research. I think you have to read everything. You have to find a nutritionist/herbalist/doctor who's the real deal and knows what they're talking about. You have to recognize the symptoms in your own body and try to figure it out. I think if you start out with a good multivitamin, a calcium supplement, fish oils and vitamin E, that can be your base and you can't go wrong.
ET: Isn't a diet built on buying organic foods much more expensive? MH: Sure, it's a little more expensive. But there's nothing more expensive than bad health. There's nothing more expensive than food being thrown away because it doesn't taste right. Organic fruit tastes so much better than the perfect-looking fruits and vegetables sprayed with pesticides.
ET: What's your advice to people who want to start a workout and weight-loss program? MH: I'm always saying to people, "Look, you walk your dog, your cat stretches, your hamster runs on a hamster wheel. You're an animal, too, so go move, go do something." I know a lot of people believe that when you want to lose weight you have to go on these 1,200-calorie-per-day diets.
Well, my weight is always between 120-124 pounds and I eat close to 2,000 calories a day, but everything I eat is of quality. And I burn a lot of calories because I wear comfortable shoes and I move around in my life. I'm always strong, I never get sick and I feel like an animal.
ET: How do you view the future of healthcare policy in this country and where do you think nutritional supplements fit in? MH: I strongly believe that the general public needs more access to dietary supplements to maintain essential good health. American research and development has come up with really great products, but the American Medical Association and the drug companies have stigmatized supplements. So what's the result? Most Americans don't have access to safe supplements because they are not covered by their health plans, nor recognized as effective by the federal government. This really needs to be changed.
I think we should take 90% of what we're spending on drugs that barely keep people alive and start spending it on prevention, nutrition and changing lifestyle habits. In this country we're all about curing the disease rather than curing the patient. We don't look at the patient holistically and try to find out how the disease developed. Your doctor should be in charge of keeping you well, not keeping you in that strange state of, what I call, "dis-ease." It's like the medical and pharmaceutical establishment wants to keep you just sick enough so you'll continue to be a paying customer. They've convinced people to think they've got to take a pill to cure themselves rather than use their own bodies.
ET: Do you think medical schools will start training doctors to treat patients holistically and focus more on preventative medicine?
MH: I think we're seeing a lot more nutrition and alternative medicine specialists these days. And the general public is becoming more aware of health and nutrition issues then they were years ago. There's this groundswell of people saying "Wait, I need more information. Wait, my doctor's no longer God. I can't just keep taking these pills and trying to figure out all these warning labels and side effects."
ET: Do you plan on becoming more politically active on these issues? MH: Absolutely, I want to work with any organization that wants to improve school lunch programs, improve the healthcare system and get people more involved in understanding nutrition and disease prevention.
Truth in Labeling
June 14, 2005 10:44 AM
Truth in Labeling by Diane Stanton Energy Times, June 14, 2004
Do you or don't you read food labels when you shop? If you don't, you're missing out on a prime source of information about your meals. If you want control of your health, focus on package labels and pick your foods carefully.
The large print on food labels focus on what are called macronutrients: carbohydrates, fat and protein. Some of the smaller categories convey information about vitamins, fiber, and minerals, as well as the totals of fat and saturated fat contained in food. So, you have no excuse for claiming ignorance about your diet: the truth is in the labels.
Food labels can be confusing to the uninitiated. Go into a big food store and you can be faced with what seems to be a forest of food information: more than 15,000 labels. Add to that fact that every year more than 30,000 new food products can be introduced to the marketplace, and what you're faced with is a jungle of food labels.
That overwhelming wealth of food label information doesn't mean you should throw up your hands in dismay and give up reading and deciphering labels. You should arm yourself against that sea of labels with knowledge and, by understanding them, end your confusion and build your health.
A hundred years or so ago, food labels were only required to list the name of the food contained inside the package. The contents, quality and processes used to make the food were often a mystery. Little or no disclosure to consumers was made about how their food was created.
By the early 1920s, the federal government, via the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), began requiring food companies to list the net weight of food on labels as well as the names and addresses of food processors and distributors. Finally, by the 1970s, listing basic nutritional information was mandated in a uniform way so that shoppers could have some basis for comparing foods. Then, in 1990, the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act made major alterations to the kinds of labels that had to be included on food packages.
The FDA and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) required significant changes to food labels that were supposed to make it easier for consumers to eat healthier diets. The labels requirements of 1994 included five major changes:
Consumer questions regarding food labels have led researchers to look into ways to help shoppers comprehend what food labels tell them. These studies are designed to help consumers match up their nutrition requirements with the foods they buy.
For instance, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, scientists have devised a label tool called See It, Do It, Teach It to help people improve their diets through comprehension of food label information. " One of the goals of the project was to help...teenaged girls and menopausal women understand how they can get the daily requirement for calcium into their diet in order to help prevent osteoporosis," says Karen Chapman-Novakofski, PhD, associate professor and nutritionist in the school's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.
According to the See It, Do It, Teach It program, you should think of food labels as consisting of two sections:
" Much more attention has been paid to what people should limit rather than the nutrients needed. The average consumer doesn't know, for instance, how much vitamin A 10% of the Daily Value is, or how much calcium 25% of the Daily Value is," Dr. Chapman-Novakofski says.
Upping Calcium Intake
In their eight-week study of people's calcium consumption (Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 4/04), the University of Illinois research team found that people didn't know how much calcium was in the food they ate.
After the initial part of the study, in which participants were shown how to look for calcium on labels, "the post-test revealed that the participants significantly increased their calcium intake to 821 mg per day, up from 372 mg per day," notes Dr. Chapman-Novakofski.
" That's a lot closer to the daily requirements of 1,200 mg per day for men and women over 50, 1,000 mg for men and women aged 19 through 50 and 1,300 mg per day for [youths aged] 9 to  years," she adds.
Parts of the Label
The first item at the top of a nutrition food label tells you the portion size that the label measures. An important point to remember: these sizes are determined individually by each manufacturer. Consequently, all of the other values on the label are measured per portion.
So, if you are comparing foods made by two different companies that employ very different portion sizes in their nutritional calculations, your label comparisons may be complicated.
Another fact to be aware of: the listed portion size may be an odd division of the food within the container and not reflect a common-sense division. For instance, some food packages are labeled as containing 2.5 portions.
And, to make things even more interesting, small boxes of candy that you might think contain barely enough for one helping may be labeled by the manufacturer as having two or more portions. As a result, if you eat the whole box, you often have to at least double the number of indicated calories, etc. to figure out the nutrients and calories you are consuming.
The section of the label that notes calories, calories from fat and percent daily values is listed under the portion size. Here you are told how many calories you consume when you devour one portion and how many of those calories are derived from fat.
This label focus on fat originated when consumers and dietitians were very concerned about Americans' fat consumption and hadn't yet switched their focus to carbohydrate consumption as a prevalent dietary health priority.
Also included on the label: the daily value percentages aimed at showing you how much out of a total day's intake of various nutrients a portion bestows upon you.
These percentage numbers are based on a theoretical analysis of a diet that contains 2,000 or 2,500 calories a day. (A notation at the bottom of the label tells you whether the calculation is based on 2,000 or 2,500.)
If you've been eating a low-carb diet (or are planning this type of diet), the section of the label that lists carbohydrates may be especially useful. Under this heading, the label lists the totals for fiber and sugar.
No matter what diet you are on, dietary fiber is desirable, since it represents indigestible carbohydrates that both pass through you without conveying any calories and keep beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract healthy.
Most people want to limit their sugar totals, however, since this nutrient may raise your risk of being overweight and, when you eat a lot of it, may contribute to immune problems.
Interestingly enough, when food chemists compute what is in food, they perform lab tests known as assays to distinguish its ingredients. (The manner in which these tests are performed are very strictly regulated by the FDA.)
In fact, just about every nutrient listed on a food label is determined by laboratory test except for the carbohydrate content: the amount of water, fat, crude protein and ash are determined this way. But the total carbs are computed by simply subtracting the total of the other ingredients from the total amount of food, a kind of process of elimination.
So while fat and protein are measured with precise lab tests, carbohydrate totals are figured by the leftovers. (The water and ash, by the way, are not usually listed on food labels.)
Within the general carbohydrate group, are several categories of carbohydrates that produce very different effects in your body. These categories can be divided into sugar, sugar alcohols, dietary fiber and a collection of various chemicals that include organic acids, flavonoids, gums, lignans and others.
According to the FDA, the food label only has to list the total carbs, sugar and dietary fiber. But some food companies now list things like sugar alcohols.
Blood Sugar Effects
Not all of these types of carbohydrates behave the same way in your body. For example, when your body digests table sugar, it turns immediately into blood sugar. So sugar and most other carbohydrate is what we call "digestible carbohydrate." Other carbs, such as sugar alcohol or glycerine, can be digested but do not turn to blood sugar. Still others, such as dietary fiber, are indigestible and pass through your body without impacting your blood sugar level.
To date, the FDA has not focused on these important biochemical differences and treats all carbohydrates alike. This means that when you look at a food label, you do not see a number for the carbs that impact your blood sugar level. To do so, simply subtract the number of grams of fiber from the total number of carbohydrate grams.
Recently, the phrases "low carb," "net carb" and "impact carbs" have begun to appear on food labels. These are not defined by the FDA; they were put on labels by by companies to help consumers pick out foods that are acceptable on low-carb diets. To arrive at the total of net carbs, food companies subtract the total amount of fiber and sugar alcohol from the total carbohydrates.
Since the body cannot digest fiber, this nutrient (which is still important for good health) is not calculated into the total amount of carbohydrates. As for sugar alcohols, while-technically speaking-these are carbs and they do have calories, they have little effect on blood sugar and usually are not counted in total carbohydrates.
According to the American Dietetic Association, people with diabetes who are managing their blood sugars using the carbohydrate counting method should "count half of the grams of sugar alcohol as carbohydrates since half of the sugar alcohol on average is digested.
" Fiber is not digested, however. If the serving of food has more then 5 grams of fiber one should subtract the grams of fiber from the total carbohydrate grams." As you can see, when it comes to food, as in most things, knowledge is power. If you want power over your health, you need power over the food you eat. The road to that power is by reading food labels. What's in the food you're eating every day may surprise you.
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number
June 13, 2005 07:43 PM
Celebrating Women: Age Is Just a Number by Carl Lowe Energy Times, March 10, 2004
As women age, their physical needs shift. The health challenges that face a woman in her thirties do not match those of a woman in her fifties.
At the same time, some basic health needs stay constant: At any age, every woman requires a wealth of vitamins, minerals and the other natural chemicals that fruits, vegetables and supplements supply. She also constantly needs families and friends to support her spiritual health.
As the internal workings of your body alter, your lifestyle must stay abreast of those adjustments. Peak health demands a finely tuned health program designed with your individual needs-and your stage of life-in mind.
Ages 30 to 45
When it comes to maintaining health, younger women might seem to have it easier than older women. If they exercise and stay in shape, they maintain more stamina than women 10 to 20 years their senior.
Unfortunately, many women in this age group mistakenly think they don't have to be as careful about their lifestyle habits and their eating habits as they will in later decades. But even if your health doesn't seem to suffer from poor eating choices or a sedentary lifestyle right away, your foundation for health in later life suffers if you don't care for yourself now.
By age 45 you should have established the good habits that will carry you successfully through the aging process. As an added bonus, good lifestyle habits pay immediate dividends. If you pay attention to your nutrients and get plenty of physical activity when younger, you'll feel more energetic and probably enjoy better emotional health.
Set Health Goals
According to Gayle Reichler, MS, RD, CDN, in her book Active Wellness (Avery/Penguin), good health at any age doesn't just come to you-you have to plan for it. In order to stick to good habits, she says, "living a healthy lifestyle needs to be satisfying." Reichler believes that you need to picture your health goals to achieve them: "Every successful endeavor first begins in the mind as an idea, a thought, a dream, a conviction." Good health at this age and in later years requires a concrete strategy and visualization of how your body can improve with a healthy lifestyle.
Your long-term health goals at this age should include an exercise program that will allow you to reach a physically fit old age with a lowered risk of disability. In addition, your short-term plans should encompass losing weight, staying optimistic, living life with more vim and vigor, increasing your capacity for exercise and lowering your stress.
As Reichler points out, "Your long-term goal and your ideal vision establish what you want to achieve....[You should do] something good...for yourself every day and every week that makes your life easier and more consistent with your goals."
Develop an Eating Plan
Today, the average American gains about two pounds annually. As a result, every year a greater portion of the US population is obese and overweight. By controlling your food intake earlier in life, you may be able to avoid this weight gain. In his book Prolonging Health (Hampton Roads), James Williams, OMD, recommends basic changes to your diet that can provide long-term support of your health:
Get Supplemental Help
If you're in your thirties or forties and you don't take at least a multivitamin, start taking one today! A large body of research shows that taking vitamin and mineral supplements over a long period of time significantly supports better health.
Calcium and vitamin D are two of the most important supplemental nutrients, helping to build stronger bones now that can withstand the bone-loss effects of aging.
Calcium can also help keep your weight down. One study of younger women found that for every extra 300 milligrams of calcium a day they consumed, they weighed about two pounds less (Experimental Biology 2003 meeting, San Diego).
In the same way, taking vitamin D supplements not only helps strengthen your bones, it can also lower your risk of multiple sclerosis (Neurology 1/13/04). In this study, which looked at the health records of more than 180,000 women for up to 20 years, taking D supplements dropped the chances of multiple sclerosis (although eating vitamin D-rich foods did not have the same benefit). And if you're thinking about having children at this age, a multivitamin is crucial for lowering your baby's risk of birth defects and other health problems. A study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that women who take multivitamins during pregnancy lower their children's risk of nervous system cancer by up to 40% (Epidemiology 9/02).
" Our finding, combined with previous work on reducing several birth defects with vitamin supplementation and other childhood cancers, supports the recommendation that mothers' vitamin use before and during pregnancy may benefit their babies' health," says Andrew F. Olshan, MD, professor of epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health. "We believe physicians and other health care providers should continue to educate women about these benefits and recommend appropriate dietary habits and daily dietary supplements."
In particular, Dr. Olshan feels that folic acid (one of the B vitamins), and vitamins C and A, are particularly important for lowering the risk of childhood cancers and birth defects.
Ages 45 to 55
When you reach this in-between age-the time when most women have moved past childbearing age but haven't usually fully moved into the post-menopausal stage-you enjoy a propitious opportunity to take stock of your health and plan for an even healthier future. One thing that may need adjustment is your sleep habits, as sleeplessness is a common problem for women in this age group. Even if you haven't been exercising or watching your diet until now, it's not too late to start. Making lifestyle changes at this age can still improve your chances for aging successfully.
For instance, it is at these ages that women should have their heart health checked. Research published in the journal Stroke (5/01) shows that having your cholesterol and blood pressure checked at this time more accurately shows your future chances of heart disease than having it checked at a later date after menopause, in your late fifties.
" The premenopausal risk factors may be a stronger predictor of carotid atherosclerosis [artery blockages] because they represent cumulative risk factor exposure during the premenopausal years, whereas the risk factors...during the early postmenopausal years have a shorter time for influence," says Karen A. Matthews, PhD, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In other words, Dr. Matthews' research shows that if you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol before menopause, you are at serious risk for a stroke or heart attack soon after menopause: These are important reasons that you need to start improving your health habits immediately.
Increase in Heart Disease
Before menopause, a woman's hormones and other physiological characteristics usually hold down her chance of heart disease. After menopause, when hormones and other bodily changes occur, the risk of heart attacks and stroke in women rises significantly. (Heart disease is the leading killer of women.) At least part of this increased risk is linked to the postmenopausal decrease in estrogen production.
Dr. Matthews studied about 370 women in their late forties, measuring their weight, their BMI (body mass index, an indication of body fat compared to height), blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Ten years later, after the women had entered menopause, she and her fellow scientists used ultrasound to measure blockages in these women's neck arteries (a sign of heart disease).
The researchers found that indications of potential heart problems (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight) when women were in their forties did indeed forecast future difficulties.
" Women who had elevated cholesterol, higher blood pressures and increased body weight before menopause had increased blood vessel thickening and atherosclerotic plaque formation in the neck arteries after menopause. Such changes in the carotid arteries are associated with an increased heart attack and stroke risk," says Dr. Matthews.
Heart Health Factors
The four main lifestyle factors you should adjust at this age to support better heart function are diet, stress, exercise and weight. According to Dr. James Williams, "[M]ore than any other cause, dietary factors are the most critical factor in cardiovascular disease." He recommends eliminating "dietary saturated fatty acids as found in flame-broiled and fried meats." He also urges women to eat more fish and poultry, consume organic fruits and vegetables and cut back on refined sugar.
Stress becomes an ever more important heart disease factor at this age as estrogen begins to drop.
" Our study [in the lab] indicates that stress affects estrogen levels and can lead to the development of heart disease-even before menopause," says Jay Kaplan, PhD, of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (The Green Journal 3/02).
Dr. Kaplan's research shows that stress in women ages 45 to 55 may reduce estrogen earlier in life and make women more susceptible to the arterial blockages that lead to heart disease. "We know from [lab] studies that stress can lower estrogen levels to the point that health is affected," he says.
Stress can also hurt bone health: In a study of 66 women with normal-length menstrual periods, estrogen levels were low enough in half of the women to cause bone loss, making the women susceptible to osteoporosis.
Exercise and Weight
Although exercise used to be considered to be mainly a young woman's activity, the thrust of recent research suggests that physical activity actually becomes more important to health as you get older.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that exercising and keeping your weight down is probably the most important thing you can do to lower your risk of heart disease as you enter your forties and fifties (Am J Prev Med 11/03).
Of the people who took part in this study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who performed the most exercise were thinner and had a 50% chance less of dying of heart disease than overweight nonexercisers.
" The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, a researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.
An added benefit of exercise: If you burn up calories exercising, you can eat more and not have to worry as much about being overweight.
Supplements and Diet
If you're a woman at midlife, a multivitamin and mineral is still good nutritional insurance. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables are also important for getting enough phytochemicals, the health substances in plants that convey a wealth of health benefits.
As you enter this age group, your immune system gradually slows down. To help support immune function, eating produce rich in antioxidant nutrients, and supplementing with antioxidants like vitamins C and E as well as carotenoids, can be especially important. For example, a study of people with ulcers found that people with less vitamin C in their stomachs are more likely to be infected with Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that can cause peptic ulcers and is linked to stomach cancer (J Amer Coll Nutr 8/1/03).
This research, which looked at the health of about 7,000 people, found that vitamin C probably helps the immune system fend off this bacterial infection.
" Current public health recommendations for Americans are to eat five or more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day to help prevent heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases," says Joel A. Simon, MD, MPH, professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco.
Calcium and Bones
At midlife, calcium continues to be a vital mineral for supporting bone health.
According to Gameil T. Fouad, PhD, "It has been routinely shown that a woman's calcium status and level of physical activity (specifically, the degree to which she participates in weight-bearing exercise) are positively associated with bone mineral density. It is less well appreciated that this is a process which takes place over the course of a lifetime."
Dr. Fouad adds that calcium works in concert with other vitamins and minerals to keep bones healthy: "Research in the United Kingdom involving nearly 1,000 premenopausal women over age 40 illustrates those women with the highest bone density tended to have the highest intake of calcium. Surprisingly, this study also demonstrated that calcium does not act alone: those women with the best bone health also had the highest intakes of zinc, magnesium and potassium."
Dr. Fouad stresses that supplements should go together with a lifestyle that includes enough sleep and exercise to help the body stay in top shape.
" As a general guideline," he says, "a woman concerned with her mineral intake should take concrete steps to make sure she is getting adequate rest, is eating a well-balanced diet focused on fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein as well as getting adequate exercise....A multi-mineral containing bio-available forms of zinc, magnesium, copper and selenium is probably a safe addition to anyone's routine. Taking these proactive steps dramatically reduces the chances that deficiencies will arise."
Ages 55 and Beyond
Entering the post-menopausal phase of life can present challenging opportunities for a new perspective on life and health. While some signs of aging are inevitable, experts who have looked at how the human body changes with age are now convinced that healthy lifestyle habits can improve how well you can think, move and enjoy life well past age 55.
As Dr. Williams notes, "In your fifties, the force of aging is undeniably present: Your body shape changes and organ function declines, both men and women have a tendency to gain weight....Heart disease becomes more common, energy and endurance are considerably reduced and your memory begins to slip."
But Dr. Williams also points out that you don't have to age as rapidly as other people do. He believes you should employ a "natural longevity program...[that starts] to reverse the course of aging as early as possible."
One key to staying vital as you age is your outlook on life, an aspect of life that's greatly enhanced by strong social ties.
Avoiding the Aging Slowdown The latest research shows that one of the most crucial ways to slow the effects of aging is to exercise and keep your weight down. It won't necessarily be easy, though. The change in hormonal balance at this age makes the body more prone to extra pounds (Society for Neuroscience Meeting, 11/12/03).
" In women, it has been demonstrated that major weight increases often occur during menopause, the time in a woman's life in which cyclic ovarian function ends and the ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone decline," says Judy Cameron, PhD, a scientist in the divisions of reproductive sciences and neuroscience at the Oregon Health & Science University.
In Dr. Cameron's lab trials, she has found that the decrease in estrogen after menopause "resulted in a 67% jump in food intake and a 5% jump in weight in a matter of weeks."
In other words, the hormonal changes you undergo as enter your late fifties causes your appetite to grow as well as your waistline: Developments that increase your chances of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke and joint problems.
Vigilance against this weight gain is necessary to save your health: Start walking and exercising. Research on exercise in people aged 58 to 78 found that getting off the couch for a walk or other physical activity not only helps control weight but also helps sharpen your thinking and helps you become more decisive (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2/16-20/04, online edition). This recent study, done at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, found that performing aerobic exercise improved mental functioning by 11% (on a computer test).
" We continue to find a number of cognitive benefits in the aerobic group," says Arthur F. Kramer, PhD, a professor of psychology at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at Illinois. "The brain circuits that underlie our ability to think-in this case to attend selectively to information in the environment-can change in a way that is conducive to better performance on tasks as a result of fitness." In simple terms, that means that walking at least 45 minutes a day boosts brain power as well as protecting your heart.
An Herb for Menopause
The physical changes that accompan> y menopause can be uncomfortable. But traditional herbal help is available: Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa), an herb used for eons by aging women, has been shown in recent studies to be both safe and effective (Menopause 6/15/03).
" This [research] should reassure health professionals that they can safely recommend black cohosh to their menopausal patients who cannot or choose not to take HRT [hormone replacement therapy]," says researcher Tieraona Low Dog, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico Department of Family and Community Medicine.
While HRT has been used to help women cope with menopause, a flurry of studies in the past few years have shown that HRT increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. Instead, black cohosh, which alleviates such menopausal discomforts as hot flashes, has been shown to be much safer.
Keeping Track of Crucial Vitamins
While continuing to take multivitamins and minerals at this age is important, some experts believe that as we grow older, vitamin D supplementation, as well as taking antioxidant nutrients, is particularly vital. Arthritis is a common affliction of aging, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one particularly destructive form of this joint problem. But taking vitamin D can significantly lower your risk of this condition.
When scientists analyzed the diets of 30,000 middle-aged women in Iowa over 11 years, they found that women who consumed vitamin D supplements were 34% less likely to suffer RA (Arth Rheu 1/03).
Other vitamins are equally important to an older woman's well-being. For example, vitamins C and natural E have been found to lower the risk of stroke in those over the age of 55 (Neurology 11/11/03). In this study, smokers who consumed the most vitamin C and natural vitamin E were 70% were much less likely to suffer strokes than smokers whose diets were missing out on these vitamins.
Rich sources of vitamin C in food include oranges and other citrus fruits, strawberries, red and green peppers, broccoli and brussels sprouts. Sources of vitamin E include vegetable oils such as sunflower seed, cottonseed, safflower, palm and wheat germ oils, margarine and nuts.
Saving Your Sight
After age 55, your eyes are particularly vulnerable. Eight million Americans of this age are at risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that destroys structures in the back of the eye necessary for vision (Arch Ophthal 11/03). But you can drop your risk of AMD by taking supplements of antioxidant vitamins and zinc, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute.
Their research shows that a dietary supplement of vitamins C, natural vitamin E and beta carotene, along with zinc, lowers the chances of progressing to advanced AMD in certain at-risk people by about 25%. Daily supplements also reduced the risk of vision loss by about 19%.
The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin also help protect aging eyes. When scientists compared healthy eyes with eyes suffering from AMD, they found that AMD eyes contained lower levels of these vital nutrients (Ophthalmology 2003; 109:1780). Furthermore, they found that levels of these chemicals generally decline as you grow older.
Healthy at All Ages
When it comes to designing a healthy lifestyle, general rules like these can be followed, but you should individualize your plan to fit your needs. No matter which type of exercises you pick out or what healthy foods you choose, look for a strategy and a plan you can stick to. If you think a selection of foods are good for you but you absolutely hate their taste, chances are you won't be able to stick to a diet that includes them.
The same goes for exercise: Pick out activities that you enjoy and that you can perform consistently. That increases your chance of sticking to an exercise program.
Staying healthy is enjoyable and it helps you get more out of life every day, no matter what stage of life you're in.