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Reduce Inflammation Through Diet: Foods to Eat and Avoid
April 30, 2022 10:02 AM
Do you suffer from inflammation? If so, you're not alone. Inflammation is a common problem that many people deal with on a daily basis. It can cause pain and discomfort in the body, and it can make everyday activities difficult to perform. Luckily, there are ways to reduce inflammation through diet. We will discuss the foods that you should eat and avoid if you want to reduce inflammation. We will also provide some helpful tips for getting started!
How can you reduce inflammation through diet?
There are many ways to reduce inflammation through diet, but perhaps the most important is cutting out processed foods and sugar. These foods contain inflammatory compounds known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which can aggravate existing inflammation or cause it to develop in the first place. In addition, studies have shown that eating a diet rich in vegetables and lean proteins can help to lower levels of inflammation throughout the body. Choosing whole grains, fruits, and healthy fats like olive oil is also a good way to support a body that is fighting against inflammation. In short, adopting a diet low in sugar and processed foods and high in fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can go a long way toward reducing inflammation both now and in the long term.
Supplements to take to reduce inflammation?
Inflammation is a natural and necessary part of our immune response, but if it becomes chronic or extreme, it can cause issues for our overall health. There are many different supplements that have been shown to be effective in reducing inflammation and promoting overall good health, including omega-3 fatty acids, Boswellia, pumpkin seeds, and turmeric. These nutrients work by interfering with the production of inflammatory hormones and enzymes, changing the chemical balance within our bodies and helping to reduce swelling and discomfort. Whether taken as a capsule or added to your diet through food sources like fish oil or ginger tea, these supplements can be an excellent way to boost your system's ability to fight inflammation. So if you're looking for ways to reduce inflammation and improve your overall well-being, consider adding these key nutrients to your daily routine.
The most effective anti-inflammatory supplements, Fish oil, Curcumin, and Boswellia!
While there are a number of different anti-inflammatory supplements on the market, some have proven to be more effective than others when it comes to reducing inflammation in the body. Perhaps the most commonly recommended supplement for this purpose is fish oil, which is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat that has been shown to be especially effective in reducing inflammation. Another popular anti-inflammatory supplement is curcumin, which gives turmeric its signature yellow color and is thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, another powerful anti-inflammatory agent is derived from the resin of Boswellia trees called Boswellia extract. All of these compounds have been shown to reduce inflammation in various scientific studies and can therefore be considered among the most effective anti- inflammatory supplements available today.
Tips for getting started on a anti-inflammatory diet?
When trying to get started on an anti-inflammatory diet, there are a few key strategies that can help make the process more successful. First, it is important to stock your pantry and fridge with plenty of healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, and reduce refined sugar intake as much as possible. These nutrient-dense foods are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that help to reduce inflammation and promote overall health.
Another key strategy to keep in mind when starting an anti-inflammatory diet is the use of supplements such as curcumin and CBD. These powerful compounds are believed to have anti-inflammatory effects in the body, helping to curb inflammation at its source vs. simply masking symptoms with painkillers or steroids. You can incorporate these supplements into your diet by taking them as pills or liquids or by incorporating them into your cooking through recipes like curried chicken or infused coconut oil tinctures.
The latest for calmness, relaxation, and to fight inflammation is CBD
CBD, or cannabidiol, has become increasingly popular in recent years as a natural solution for relieving stress, promoting relaxation, and managing inflammation in the body. Unlike THC, which is the psychoactive compound found in cannabis, CBD does not produce any high or altered state of consciousness. Instead, its many benefits are achieved through interactions with various receptors throughout the body, modulating mood and regulating pain response. As more and more people turn to CBD to achieve a sense of calm and well-being without depending on traditional pharmaceuticals, this powerful compound continues to gain widespread attention as a promising treatment option for everyday health issues. So if you're looking for a natural way to feel more mellow and at peace with yourself and your environment, consider giving CBD a try! With proven effects on everything from chronic pain management to improved sleep quality, this powerful all-natural remedy has something to offer everyone. Whether you're ready to give CBD a try for yourself or just curious about its many potential benefits, there's never been a better time than now to learn more about this exciting new approach to health and wellness.
Inflammation is one of the most common health concerns today, affecting people of all ages and backgrounds. While diet and lifestyle can be major contributing factors like white sugar, there are also a number of dietary supplements that can help to reduce inflammation in the body. Curcumin, fish oil, and CBD are some of the most popular supplements for managing inflammation. These substances work by targeting key pathways involved in inflammatory responses, helping to prevent or reduce swelling and pain. They can be taken on their own or combined with other anti-inflammatory compounds for maximum effectiveness. Ultimately, whether you are trying to manage chronic illness or simply boost your overall health, using supplements such as curcumin, fish oil, and cbd can be a great way to go about it. So if you're looking for more tools to manage inflammation in your diet, these are certainly worth trying out.
Whatever methods you choose, remember that making small changes over time will be much more effective than trying to overhaul your lifestyle all at once. With a little patience and persistence, you can start down the path toward better health today! Let dietary supplements assist you in your goal to reduce inflammation each day for a life time!
Can the Liver Be Repaired Once It Is Damaged?
April 29, 2022 11:33 AM
https://vitamins.vitanetonline.com/wp-content/uploads/liver-2934612_1920.png The liver is a vital organ in the body that performs many essential functions. It can be damaged by a variety of factors, including disease, alcohol abuse, and exposure to toxic chemicals. Once the liver is damaged, can it be repaired? In this article, we will explore the answer to that question. We will also discuss the various ways that the liver can be damaged and how those damages can be repaired.
What is the liver and what does it do?
The liver is a large, multi-functional organ that plays a vital role in the body. Its primary function is to filter the blood and remove toxins, but it also helps to regulate metabolism, store nutrients, and produce bile. The liver is divided into two main lobes, the right lobe and the left lobe. The right lobe is slightly larger than the left lobe and includes the quadrate lobe and caudate lobe. The left lobe contains the left lateral section and the medial section. The hepatic veins drain blood from the liver and pass it through the inferior vena cava to be returned to the heart. The hepatic arteries supply oxygenated blood to the liver tissue, while the portal vein carries nutrient-rich blood from the digestive organs. The bile ducts transport bile produced by the liver cells to the gallbladder, where it is stored until needed for digestion.
The liver is a hardworking organ that performs many crucial functions in the body. By keeping it healthy, we can help to ensure that our entire body remains healthy and functioning properly.
What can damage the liver and how does that damage occur?
The liver is a vital organ that performs many important functions, such as filtering toxins from the blood and producing bile to help digest fats. However, the liver can be damaged by a number of different agents, including viruses, alcohol, and certain medications. Viruses such as hepatitis C and hepatitis B can cause inflammation of the liver, which can lead to scarring and eventually to liver failure. Alcohol abuse is also a major cause of liver damage, as it can lead to fatty deposits, inflammation, and scarring. In addition, certain drugs (such as acetaminophen) can cause toxic damage to the liver cells. If the liver is not functioning properly, it can result in a build-up of toxins in the blood, which can lead to serious health problems.
Can the liver be repaired once it is damaged, and if so, how is that done?
The liver is a amazing organ. It is responsible for so many important functions in the body, from filtering toxins to producing bile to breaking down fats. When it is damaged, it can often repair itself. This is because the liver has a high regenerative capacity. hepatocytes, which are the main type of liver cell, can divide and grow back quickly when necessary. In fact, as long as about 25% of the liver remains healthy, it can regenerate itself completely over the course of a few weeks. There are a number of ways to damage the liver, such as through alcohol abuse or viral infections, but fortunately there are also ways to help it repair itself. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, and avoiding toxins, take liver supporting supplements like milk thistle and NAC can all support liver health and regeneration.
How can people prevent their livers from being damaged in the first place?
The liver is a vital organ that plays an important role in metabolism. However, the liver can also be easily damaged by alcohol, drugs, prescriptions, and environmental toxins, which are in the foods we eat. To help prevent liver damage, it is important to avoid excess alcohol consumption or avoid it all together, take medication as directed and if you are on medications that cause liver damage to discuss alternatives that do not harm the liver, and eat a healthy diet along with taking liver supporting supplements. Additionally, it is important to get regular exercise, as this helps to keep the liver healthy and functioning properly. By taking these steps, people can help to prevent liver damage and keep their organs healthy.
Are there any lifestyle changes or supplements that can help improve liver function even if it has been damaged already?
Liver damage is a serious concern for many people, as it can lead to a number of health problems. While there is no guaranteed way to reverse liver damage, there are some lifestyle changes and supplements that may help improve liver function. One potential change is to limit alcohol consumption, as alcohol is known to be damaging to the liver, mixing alchol and drugs can enhance the progress of liver damage. Additionally, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help improve overall liver function. There are also a number of herbal supplements that are thought to be beneficial for the liver, such as milk thistle and dandelion root. However, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement, as some may interact with other medications.
What are the possible consequences of not repairing a damaged liver?
Liver damage can have serious consequences if left untreated. Depending on the cause, there may be a variety of negative effects that result from an injured liver. For example, if the damage is due to excessive alcohol consumption, then scarring and inflammation of the liver tissue can interfere with its ability to filter toxins out of the blood. This can lead to a host of potentially dangerous health problems, including nausea, chronic fatigue, jaundice, and cirrhosis. You must address the cause before change for the good can happen. In addition, unresolved inflammation can increase one's risk of developing more serious conditions such as cancer or heart disease. To prevent these possible consequences, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after suffering from liver damage. This will allow doctors to properly diagnose the issue and develop an appropriate treatment plan. Addressing the cause is always preferable over simply treating symptoms alone. Ultimately, taking action now can help you protect your health in the future.
How can people find out if their livers need repair and where they should go for help if that is the case?
When it comes to liver health, there are a number of ways to find out if your liver needs some repairs. One method is to get tested for elevated liver enzymes, which are indicative of problems with the organ. You can also watch out for certain symptoms, such as fatigue, bloating or skin discoloration. If you notice any of these markers, you may want to consult with your doctor or a specialist in liver disease, who can help determine the best course of action. Depending on the underlying cause of your liver problem, treatment options may include changes to your diet and exercise habits, medications or even surgery in extreme cases. Whatever route you choose, it is essential that you address any issues with your liver as soon as possible in order to protect your overall wellbeing.
Generally, symptoms only show when liver function has dropped significantly.
Liver damage can often go undetected until it has reached a advanced stage. This is because the liver has an incredible capacity for regeneration and can continue to function even when up to 75% of it has been damaged. As a result, symptoms of liver disease often only become apparent when the organ has been severely compromised. By that point, the damage may be irreversible and serious complications may have developed. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the early signs of liver damage so that treatment can be started as soon as possible. These include fatigue, weight loss, abdominal pain, and yellowing of the skin and eyes.
Fortunately, Supplements like Milk thistle and NAC may help the body assist the liver in its repair.
The liver is a hardworking organ that is constantly exposed to toxins. As a result, it is susceptible to damage. Fortunately, supplements like milk thistle and NAC may help the body assist the liver in its repair. Milk thistle contains silymarin, a compound that helps to protect the liver from damage. NAC is an amino acid that helps to remove toxins from the liver. NAC also helps to replenish glutathione, a substance that plays a key role in liver detoxification. Together, these supplements can help to keep the liver healthy and functioning properly.
Whether you are looking for preventative measures to protect the liver or have an existing issue, it can never hurt to take either milk thistle, NAC, or both to support healthy liver function.
Athletes who want to boost their game are recommended to try beet root
April 26, 2019 04:10 PM
These days, athletes and performance experts are trying to find the best and most effective ways that they can increase their output in whatever field they may be a part of. In order to do so, many have started looking into herbal and holistic related remedies and boosts. One of these that has recently emerged as being beneficial for athletes is that of beetroot, which has found to increase productivity and performance levels for athletes while on the field.
"When it comes to cognitive performance, beetroot juice also has beneficial effects. A study published in 2016 investigated whether beetroot juice consumption might have a synergistic effect with exercise on neuroplasticity in older men."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-11-athletes-boost-game-try-beetroot.html
Foods That Cause Inflammation: 5 Foods to Avoid
August 26, 2018 05:53 PM
Inflammation serves as a guardian of your body warning you to be careful with whatever part is acting up. If inflammation is left untreated, it can cause disease. Eliminating certain foods from your diet can help keep you healthy. Processed meat, like beef jerky or bacon, can cause issues. Foods with large doses of added sugar should also be avoided. Refined carbs and food that contains vegetable and seed oil are also a no-no, as are anything with artificial trans fats.
"While the science behind these diets doesn’t impress most health experts, the ingredients in certain types of foods have been shown to harm the body from the inside out."
Read more: https://www.cheatsheet.com/health-fitness/foods-that-cause-inflammation-5-foods-to-avoid.html/
Selenium, vitamin K2 and nicotinamide riboside ride new research toward roles beyond being ...
May 26, 2018 09:16 AM
When we're in need of a new multivitamin, we typically just run to the local drug store and take whatever we see on the shelf. Lately, researchers have been digging deeper into what these mainstream pharmaceutical companies are putting into these multivitamin supplements. A good example is a chemical called selenium. Studies by certain commercial corporations claim that it has cancer fighting abilities, but the research seems to be a bit vague and even watered down.
"New indications for ingredients that have been featured in many multivitamin products have helped to expand their reach into different formulations and even standalone products."
Read more: https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2018/04/24/Selenium-vitamin-K2-and-nicotinamide-riboside-ride-new-research-toward-roles-beyond-being-multivitamin-bit-players
7 Health Benefits of Matcha You Should Know About Before Brewing a Cup
November 24, 2017 03:59 PM
Can you match the health benefits of Matcha? This one of a kind drink is like green tea on steroids. Whatever green tea can do Matcha can do better. Farmers use a different process to create this trendy drink. Matcha comes in powdered form which makes it super concentrated. Matcha has three times the amount of caffeine as a regular cup of tea. With all that caffeine, you can wake up with it or burn the midnight oil. It also may help with weight loss and reduce your risk of developing cancer. However, one must use caution when consuming this potent drink. Too much of a good thing always causes trouble. An overdose of Matcha can lead to pro-oxidative stress. So drink up to reap Matcha's wonderful benefits, just not too much.
"Here's the deal: If you're regularly drink soda, juice and sugary beverages, making the switch to unsweetened matcha will absolutely help!"
Read more: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/a46901/health-benefits-of-matcha/
Magnesium Could Prevent Fractures in Elderly
April 17, 2017 10:44 AM
Calcium and Vitamin D are widely known to improve your overall skeletal system health and prevent bone breaks and fractures. However, a new mineral supplement has emerged to help Vitamin D and calcium help with the skeletal system. Whether you take magnesium as a supplement or in increased amounts of your diet, you should do whatever you can to try and increase your magnesium intake to help improve your skeletal system health and prevent breaks and fractures.
Read more: Magnesium Could Prevent Fractures in Elderly
The Eat Whatever You Want Diet
April 12, 2017 06:44 PM
People are always looking for the magic element that can make you lose weight quickly. It is easy to feel depressed when the latest magic pill doesn't work. Just remember, this isn't a failure on your part. There are no magic potions, diets or pills that can make you lose weight quickly and with little effort. This article touts a different way to lose weight. It's not a magic cure and it requires a different way of looking at dieting. It's called the Eat Whatever the Fork you Want Diet. Read on for more details.
Read more: The Eat Whatever You Want Diet
TURMERIC WITH HONEY - The Strongest Natural Antibiotic!
April 06, 2017 05:15 AM
Its hard when your sick to fully get rid of whatever you have unless you take some medicine. Antibiotics are prescribed to help fight of a virus or infection in your body that most people think natural substances cannot fix. However, this video shows a natural ingredient that is proven to be the best antibiotic. Honey mixed with a few other ingredients like tumeric juice can be the best antibiotic to fight of any colds.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iIC_bDlYg8&rel=0
"You surely have heard of or even tried the amazing health benefits of the turmeric golden milk."
Cancer Researcher Discovers Radical way that Mushrooms can Destroy Cancer
March 29, 2017 12:29 PM
Dr Ranahan has worked in cancer research for quite sometime. He had a moment where he thought of mushrooms break down whatever they grow up, is there a way for them to attach to cancer cells so that the cancer cells would be broken down. After finding out no study had been completed like this one, he raised the money needed to do the study. The study was successful, however research is still going on.
"We’ve taken mushrooms and trained them to destroy, eat, live off of cancer cells."
Read more: http://www.healthnutnews.com/cancer-researcher-discovers-radical-way-mushrooms-can-destroy-cancer/
eye floaters review
March 23, 2017 04:44 AM
The book is not worth reading it promises to cure your eye floaters but does not live up to it at all, the video claims a "safe natural approach" that consists of talking about eating blueberries, even though that never fixed anyone's eyes, it is probably just better to spend you money on something that may help your eyes instead of getting a book that says to eat licorice and blueberries in capsules. you can eat whatever you want, if it isn't eye surgery, it's fraudulent.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0hT9LiZ8ho&rel=0
"How to finally rid of your stressful eye floaters, blocks of vision, the flashing lights – using a safe, natural and easy system."
Top 15 Reasons Why Sweet Potatoes Are Good For Diabetic Patients
February 17, 2017 07:59 AM
Being a person interested in food and a diabetic is not a good combination because of the restrictions put on carbohydrates. However, sweet potatoes can be good for those with diabetes as it can help in a variety of areas such as digestion, heart health, the immune system, and other areas that some foods are not.
"Foods for diabetic patients must include slow-digesting carbohydrates, in order for them to stay healthy."
Top 6 Foods That Boast Excellent Anti-Inflammatory Properties
January 29, 2017 10:59 AM
Inflammation can be a good sign when there is a cut or infection. It means the body is working to fight against whatever is attacking your body. However, inflammation that occurs for too long or frequently can cause more damage to you than the problems it fights against. If you want to avoid chronic inflammation that can slowly destroy your body, you should make sure to consume anti-inflammatory foods that help prevent it. Orange juice, virgin olive oil, blueberries, whole grains, cruciferous vegetables, and tomatoes have all been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
"Virgin Olive Oil is a staple food in Mediterranean diet."
Is your relationship with food on the rocks?
November 24, 2016 04:59 PM
Not everyone can manage to have a healthy relationship with food -- or, at least, that's the way it seems. Others seem like they're able to just eat whatever they want and stay alright, while others feel like they're addicted. Still, others bounce from diet to diet. Which are you? "Is your relationship with food on the rocks?" helps determine if your relationship with food is healthy, and what you can do about it if it's not.
"Eat healthy, but treat yourself. What, when and why we eat is so wrapped up in social and emotional factors that it goes way beyond simply fueling the body."
Refreshement With A Raw Food Diet
You need to be feeling rejuvenated and completely ready to conquer the world whenever you get out of bed each and every morning, yet you feel tired and cranky even with eight hours of rest. You have a tendency to feel even slower after your meals, and so you rely on coffee, soda, and energy products to keep you going. But those artificial stimulants are simply just insufficient to provide you the focus and sharpness you have to be productive and in high overall performance through the day. Even worse of all, your family, buddies, and loved ones have begun to complain that you often don't have the time, energy or mood to spend a quality moment with them. Is your insufficient strength holding you back from living a complete life?
What Are The Benefits Of Carob Powder?
September 20, 2014 02:50 AM
What is nourishment?
Nourishment is something that is inescapable for the supporting of life. Like air, water and asylum nourishment is likewise a fundamental necessity in our everyday life. In his occupied life, men have overlooked the criticalness of having solid nourishment. A man is approaching each part of his existence without any difficulty and has a state of mind that cares towards everything without exception. Engineering has progressed a great deal in the most recent decades, so do our dietary patterns. Bread has changed into burger; new chicken into KFC and god comprehends what else. There are wellbeing supplements, which help to keep up an adjusted eating methodology and stay solid.
What is Carob?
Have you ever become aware of carob? Then again, carob extricates. It is a nourishing supplement readied from carob plant and some different elements. It is a plant, which was first found in western Asia and the eastern piece of the Mediterranean area. Beetle bean gum is the name of the gum got from the carob seeds. They additionally find their application in natural pharmaceutical. The carob plants powdered units are dried and are then could be utilized as an element within natural solution.
Typically, carob is utilized as a thickener and is utilized in the production of sustenance, pharmaceuticals, beautifiers and a few pints. Because of its focal points carob has picked up much notoriety are late years. A percentage of the preferences of the carob that is the purpose behind its colossal prevalence are: they are low fat, low calorie and are a low perk option for chocolate. It is likewise utilized as the stimulant that we can discover in chocolates. Carob is acquired as carob powder and carob chips.
Some bad result about carob
There are a few myths about the carob, for example, carob contains cocaine and consequently it could be utilized as an option. The fact of the matter is the carob contains a few measures of the bromine not perk. The point of interest of carob is that it does not result in heart palpitations if expended in a little sum.
Benefits of carob
Dr. Subside D'adamo had formed carob Extract that has numerous profits. Carob concentrate could be utilized to keep glucose levels up. The carob concentrate is initially a mixture of 4 synergistic parts and it will help for keeping up solid intestinal vegetation and it will hinder dysbiotic bacterial over development.
Carob concentrate could be said as a low calorie, nutritious nourishment for everybody. It is assessed that the carob concentrate contains just 11 calorie for every teaspoon. Different elements contained in the carob concentrate are nectar and glycerin.
Here are 11 great profits of adding Carob to your eating methodology.
1- Contains Gallic Acid, which is utilized as an antibacterial, antiviral, against hypersensitive disinfectant.
2- Very high in Vitamin E
3- High in Calcium and Phosphorus
4- Caffeine substitute if utilized as an espresso substitute
5- Lowers Cholesterol
6- Non-Dairy substitute
7- High in Protein
8- Treats Diarrhea
9- High in Potassium
10- High in Calcium
11- Aids the Liver
Mending the Liver Using Carob
A considerable measure of the studies have been on the liver, and exactly how paramount they are to our bodies and great wellbeing. Our livers are in charge of so much that we completely must get to be more mindful of how to keep it solid. Our livers break down all our nourishments, scrubs the poisons in our bodies, forms the majority of our tangible data, and is our high temperature heater. It is the main organ in the body that can recover.
Our livers are greatly ill used in our public, and adding Carob to your eating methodology can assume a paramount part in serving to recuperate our livers. Having a solid liver is key to recuperating whatever remains of our bodies, I profoundly suggest any individual looking to mend themselves and have a healthier lifestyle, to first concentrate on mending their liver.
Now is the ideal time that we need to begin contemplating our nourishment propensities. In the event that you wish for a solid longer life, change your eating regimen. There are numerous nourishment things that are solid and wonderful in the meantime, so dear companion begins minding your well being, at last cash is not everything.
September 17, 2014 05:25 PM
What is a Maca Root?
Maca Root is one of the roots and tuber harvests of higher protein content. Until late years, this nutritious base of the Andes was little or nothing known for the lion's share of the individuals thereof, Peru (aside from the tenants of the Andes) and obviously overlooked by whatever is left of the world.
Maca (otherwise called Peruvian Maca or Maca Andina) has an astonishing quality to develop to remarkable statures: from 3800 to 4800 meters high in the most cold Andes mountains, where temperatures are amazing, from exceptional hotness morning to ice on the night, frigid winds, snow and persevering high power of daylight. In this antagonistic region, where there is little oxygen, there is uncommon vegetation develop just potatoes and maca sharp. There are no trees, no plants, just a couple of centimeters tall.
This tuber, irrelevant part of the tuberous root size and state of a typical radish, is effectively dried under the sun and keeps up its nutritious qualities, with elevated amounts of iron, for a few years stockpiling. It is brilliant nourishment and Incas additionally utilized it for its richness improving activity and its impact on sexual conduct.
There have been various effective studies on the action manure Peruvian maca creatures and people. In 1980, researchers from Germany and North America who were doing investigations of the herbs in Peru, rekindled enthusiasm toward its momentum Maca, naming it "the lost products of the Incas."
A percentage of the elements that have been recognized: amino acids, proteins, vitamins, minerals, follow components and auxiliary metabolites.
Maca - History:
Anthropological confirmation has been found in the development of maca in Peru since 1600 BC. The Incas considered Maca as a blessing from the divine beings. They additionally develop maca as nourishment, Lamac - developed in the Andes utilized for religious services and custom moves. Spanish accounts report that amid the victory of Peru, creatures brought from Spain not play ordinarily as of right now, the locals cautioned the vanquishers who nourished their creatures with maca, with what they got the levels of typical generation.
Concerning the stretcher, Father Cobo, amid the pilgrim time, he said: "Maca develops in the most rough and frosty of the good countries where there are chances to develop any plant sustenance."
Maca - Morphology and plant science
Maca is a biennial plant statures conduct, being pollinated toward oneself, cleistogamous, with a five-month conceptive stage and with a blossom that keeps going two roots.
Maca Root: Roots have shades extending from light yellow to dark through the tan, purple, and so on with sizes of 3-6 cm. transverse measurement of 4-7 cm. longitudinal, in the same way as a radish (reversed cone). The root is first in the improvement of items. There is no true distinction in taste or substance organization as the color of the root.
Stem: Short, subtle, in the same way as a carrot or radish.
Leaves: rosette, made with flanges sheath, petiole length with the top leveled. Limbo compound, has a length of 6 to 9 cm; the basal and cauline pinnatifid are somewhat lessened.
Inflorescence: group compound and infrequently basic. The blooms structure bunches, are helper bisexual, actinomorphic, green light and little, white pre-flowering calyx and corolla with 4 free petals somewhat bent at the peak.
Soil grown foods: units somewhat amagrinado. With a solitary seed in each one cell, ovoid, yellowish-red, 1-2 mm. wide.
Maca – Cultivation
Cultivola Maca is developed fundamentally for its tuberous root is naturally known as hipocolito (eg radish, turnip). The maca plant has the astonishing quality to develop to unprecedented statures (from 3800 to 4800 meters) in the unfriendly Puna Peruvian where temperatures are great: the serious high temperature of the morning to the sub zero frost of the night.
The puna is a pleasant yet great condition in this environmental locale is uncommon vegetation, just potatoes become astringent and maca. The air contains little oxygen, the sun is amazingly exceptional and extremely solid winds, it is consequently that no trees and plants have just a couple of centimeters tall.Maca planting is carried out from September to December. The seeds are scattered in the fields to be reaped in 6 to 8 months. After Recolta the roots to dry in the sun for 2 months, amid which they lose 75% of its unique weight. This moderate drying methodology causes the maca change of taste: an intense hot taste with a caramel flavor. The dried root could be put away for 4 years without losing its properties.
Does Curamin work?
December 22, 2012 11:00 AM
The Big Question: Does Curamin work?
Well, this herbal supplement is a quick, natural and safe pain reliever, which has been proven to work. Moreover, the composition does not have any side effects on the body. It enhances the defense mechanism of the body against any inflammation.
Curcumin (Inflammation Management)
The main ingredient of Curamin, Curcumin enhances the anti-inflammatory components of the body and works as the immune system's modulator. This implies that whenever you consume Curamin, it renders long term effects on the body, thereby controlling oxidative stress.
Nattokinase (Circulation and Inflammation)
Curamin contains an enzyme referred to as Nattokinase, which helps the circulation of the body and thus nutrients reach all corners of the body. Therefore, whatever part of the body might be affected, you can experience results after a few minutes of consumption. Similarly, waste products are also removed from one's body via excretory system much more efficiently. Nattokinase balances the fibrinogen level, meaning the muscles are repaired quickly when they are injured as a result of heavy muscular strain. Curamin has
DLPA (Mood Enhancer)
DLPA amino acids which hinders the breakdown of enkephalins. Enkephalins are often associated with moods. Therefore, you'll never have irritating feeling while undergoing stress and pain anymore. You can carry out your daily activities or even have happy moments with your family during the pain and inflammation.
5-LOX (Inflammation Trigger)
Most inflammations are triggered by uncontrolled behavior of the inflammatory enzyme, known as 5-LOX. This formula helps turn off the 5-LOX enzyme.
Boswellia (Anti-inflammatory Herb)
Curamin contains Boswellia serreta extract, a beta-boswellic acid, which hinders this enzyme's activity. Inflammation can be triggered by several factors. To handle all these factors, Turmeric: Curcumin longa is included in the Curamin. Curcumin longa, extracted from turmeric, is a great antioxidant. Inflammation and pain are common in life and they usually draw you back from having a stress free life. This is where Curamin comes in handy by offering the much needed relief to get rid of pain from your daily life.
Curamin Has a money back guarantee if it does not work by the end of the bottle send it back for a refund.
Curamin: benefits and ingredients
March 06, 2012 07:54 AM
Curamin: benefits and ingredients
It's a well known fact that most chronic pain in whatever part of the body is usually caused by inflammations. Such pain can only be relieved or eased by reducing multiple inflammations in the body. Most over the counter drugs produce dangerous side effects and as such, are greatly discouraged.
Scientists have recently made a breakthrough by discovering a combination of herbs known as Curamin that effectively treat or ease most instances of chronic pain usually caused by presence inflammations in the body
Curamin is an effective natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory drug that has captured lots of headlines of late. Curamin essentially works by cutting off multiple or several pathways that cause inflammations in the body hence reduce chronic pain as a result.
Curamin is basically a combination of two powerful herbs turmeric and Boswellia along with essential amino acids that helps the body to quickly absorb the pain relieving ingredients.
Curamin is an effective alternative to over the counter pain killers (OTC) which normally produce serious side effects such as liver damage, kidney damage or even in some instances heart attack. Curamin is 100% safe to use meaning it produces no side effects whatsoever.
Curamin is a fast pain reliever that doesn't have to be taken after every four hours unlike most pharmaceutical drugs. Curamin is a fast pain reliever essentially because, it is usually absorbed into the blood stream quickly, hence brings instant relief to patients as a result.
Curamin can be used to ease or treat all manner of chronic pain that include, joint pain, bone pain, back pain, arthritis etc. The plant based medicine contains fout key ingredients, which help in easing several types of chronic pain.
Here are four main ingredients contained in Curamin Curamin ingredients:
Curcumin a natural element derived from turmeric which contains anti -inflammatory properties. Curcumin is also an excellent antioxidant. Curcumin essentially works by cutting off multiple or several pathways that cause inflammations in the body. As if that's not all, Curcumin has also been discovered to contain properties that enhance brain function and is also an effective anti-depressant
Boswellia is another effective ingredient contained in Curamin. Boswellia work by preventing hyperactivity of an inflammatory enzyme called lipoxygenase.
DLPA or DL-phenylalanine
DLPA is a double part amino acid that works by preventing the breakdown of compound enkephalin which is responsible for positive mood or feelings.
Nattokinase is another very important enzyme that aids the flow of blood. Nattokinase plays a very important role in Curamin as it helps in ensuring that all Curamin ingredients are distributed or taken to all parts of the body for maximum relief against pain. Nattokinase is a very helpful blood thinning ingredient derived from soya plant.
Last but not least, Natural anti- inflammatory remedies or herbs reduce the body's inflammation without producing any negative side effects. The herbs can either be ingested or applied externally. Zero side effects means that an over dose of Curamin can only cause stomach upset or diarrhea only to a lesser extent. Curamin can be bought inform of capsule, powder or tablet format.
Grab some today and feel the difference curamin can make in your life.
Can Colostrum help With Herpes?
November 03, 2011 07:34 AM
Colostrum is a special substance produced by female mammals just before they give birth to their offspring. Colostrum is basically not milk but a pre-milk fluid that is often called by many as the “first milk” for the very reason that it is obtained after birth (during first milking). Colostrum production ceases with birth; birth also signals the body to produce milk which will then serve as the infant’s food.
The fluids that are coming out from the female’s mammary glands changes after the first milking; the colostrums concentration is no longer that high and as time passes, all that goes out from the mother’s breast is already pure milk. The transition process would last for approximately 2 to 3 days. For humans and other mammals colostrums is very necessary for survival because of its vital components such as immunofactors. Although death is not eminent for babies who were not able to receive colostrum, those who were able to take the substance are relatively healthier than those who were not able to take it at all.
To make sure that your baby could drink colostrums, it is advisable to harvest the substance as soon as the breasts are already producing it after birth. Once harvested, you can bottle-feed it to the newborn during the first day of life. In this way, you will be certain that your baby will receive enough amounts of quality colostrums that would provide him or her with the vital components that the substance contains. Colostrums truly play a vital role especially during the first 24 hours of life thus; it is a duty of every mother to try whatever ways there are to provide her infant with the wonder substance, colostrums.
It is already a proven fact that for humans and to other mammals, newborns that are able to take colostrums as their first meal is very significant for development and immunity. It is also necessary in keeping the infant healthy for the rest of his or her life. After birth, the immune system of the infant is still very fragile and undeveloped thus, making them very susceptible from various illnesses and diseases brought about by antigens, pathogens, and allergens. With colostrums intake, these newborns will be provided with immune factors that are so potent in regulating and maintaining homeostasis within the immune system.
At present, the prevalence of herpes simplex virus, AIDS, and other immune disorders warrants the necessity of providing newborns with mantle of protection through the utilization of colostrum. As we all know, herpes simplex virus is one potent virus that could cause detrimental effects to one’s health especially to those that have flimsy immune system like infants and the sickly. By allowing infants to take colostrums, they will be somehow protected from the fierce of herpes simplex virus thus prevents them from being sick regularly. Colostrum can strengthen the immune system and our immune system is the only thing that fights off this virus.
When it comes to our health, we should exert superlative efforts to attain the best health state we could ever have because by doing so, we could enjoy the world better.
What Vitamins Are Considered Antioxidants And What Do They Do In The Body?
November 01, 2011 07:09 AM
One of the many diseases that is getting very common these days is cancer; the worse thing is that, there is no real cure for the disease yet at present. Prevention is really very important so that you can spare yourself from suffering. The best measure that you can do is to include liberal amounts of foods that contain high amounts of antioxidants because these substances can help you fight free radicals.
Free radicals are very detrimental to one’s health because these agents add oxygen to the cells which will then lead to the destruction of the cells. With antioxidants, such damage will be prevented. Many health experts are now recommending their patients to include various kinds of fruits and vegetables in their diet to grasp ample amounts of antioxidants that are undeniably beneficial to one’s health. Vegetables and fruits that are brightly colored are the ones that contains many antioxidants these would include the following: carrots, red capsicum, and beet root.
Vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C are vitamins that are considered as potent antioxidants. Reservatrol that are found in red wine and red grape is also an important antioxidant that can help you fight cancer-causing agents. Grasping vitamins and antioxidants from sources that are natural is still the best but, in this kind of life that we have and in this fast paced world that we live, people tend to be very busy hence, making it difficult for them to prepare fresh foods. In instance like this, vitamin supplements are very necessary. At present, there are already so many vitamin supplements that are being sold in various health stores all over the globe. All of these vitamins are highly beneficial because of properties that they contain that could help propel your health towards a better state.
Health experts really stress the relevance of antioxidants in this modern world that we live. Since our environment is no longer as safe as before because of the evident pollution, protecting ourselves by taking supplements that are rich with antioxidants is very necessary. These compounds are not only effective in strengthening your immune system but can also offer you with anti-aging properties that can help you maintain a more youthful look.
It is also very necessary to take note that Vitamin C is a very potent antioxidant but unfortunately not all multivitamin supplements contain enough vitamin C hence, it is important to take vitamin C supplements. Regardless of whatever form of vitamin C or antioxidant vitamins you will take may it be from natural sources or from vitamin supplements, what is important is that you provide your body with properties that can help you achieve a better health state.
The reasons why natural sources are still being preferred is the fact that vitamin from pills are not easily absorbed by our system compared to vitamins that came from natural sources. If you do not want to suffer from any dreadful illness then is a great need to suffice your needs of essential vitamins and minerals because if you are taking enough vitamins that have high antioxidant content, you can protect your body from various ailments.
Can Royal Jelly boost Metabolism?
September 21, 2011 12:08 PM
The metabolism is becoming more and more well known in any community all across America as something to look at when we are talking about health and wellness as this is the source of all calorie burning and at the end of the day will help you lose weight. This is, in so many ways the bottom line, losing weight will make you and keep you healthy. In these times of a fast paced life where anyone and everyone is so busy to even worry about how much calories they eat versus how much they need, a need for alternative solutions aside from just working out and making sure that more calories are burnt than eaten is needed and the scientific community acknowledges that need as proven by the tons of research done regarding weight loss and embraced by the manufacturers as they are more than willing to provide us with what we need. So through all these studies, the logic of looking at the metabolism and how to boost it all seems natural and this is why.
The word metabolism is taken from the greek language and basically means change or transformation. In simple terms metabolism is defined as the amount of energy or calories your body burns at a given period of time. Whatever we are doing, no matter if we are active or at rest we are burning energy and if compared to a car, it’s like burning fuel and the car can be turned off but us on the other hand could not. Even when sleeping we are still essentially burning up fuel, just the very fact our brain still works and we are breathing while we are asleep is already a sign that we are burning energy.
Now where it will interest us in terms of energy and overall strength is that metabolism is based on a person’s body composition and fat tends to need less energy to maintain itself as it is not an active tissue compared to having lean muscle because it continually needs more and more calories to maintain itself therefore more muscle means faster metabolic rate. Now this is where we go back to the fact that we need help when it comes boosting metabolism aside from just increasing muscle, because that is so much harder than supplementing with something all natural like Royal Jelly.
Royal Jelly and Energy Boost
Royal jelly is an animal product and derived solely from honey bees secretions. Its main function in terms of affecting the metabolism comes from its unique combination of compounds that will aid the enhancement of energy production in the cells. This combination is composed of amino acids, trace minerals, monosaccharides and enzymes that have bioactive properties. Among the vitamins that it will provide naturally is the vitamin b-complex. This family of vitamins is well known for its muscle tissue building and energy boosting attributes. Another way that researches feel is a way it increases energy is through promoting overall well being since royal jelly has been related to increased production of several neurotransmitters in the body like serotonin and dopamine.
Does Eating Too Much Fiber Put On A Lot Of Flab?
September 02, 2011 11:33 AM
Fiber and Flab Overview
Many of us today has looked into fiber and its role in health and weight regulation, many researches also has backed up the claims of many companies that manufactures fiber supplements that fiber has benefits in both those areas. So whether you are someone who is an avid user of fiber or just someone who uses it occasionally, the question "Does too much fiber help me put on more flab?" might have come to mind a couple of times. I know it did for me, my reason was because I just simply felt heavier, for some they feel like they have a bigger pant size and these are just a few of the examples. Whatever the reason may be, for us to be able to answer that question with more accuracy, we need to examine two things. One is how fiber works in our body and two is how we gain weight in the first place and find out what the correlation is between the two.
Fiber and how it works
Many people use fiber for digestive purposes, more commonly for cleansing purposes and rightfully so because one of the main functions of fiber is to help alleviate the digestive tract through helping stool move along as long as there is ample amounts of water together with it. That is the catch because fiber works in such a way that when ingested into the intestines it absorbs the substances around it and it can do so as much as five times of its original weight. So with this, it can work both ways, if there is no water around to absorb, it absorbs solids therefore causing hardening of stool and move toward constipation for more severe instances. However with water around, it will absorb the liquid and create a flushing effect in our digestive tract aiding in the cleansing of toxins and other bacteria which could lead to more beneficial effects.
Weight Gain or Flab Gain
The formula for gaining weight is pretty simple. If you have worked out for any reason you might have come across the idea, calories equal energy and unused energy equals calories stored and calories stored equals weight gain. So when you gain weight it simply means you are taking in more calories that you can burn. That it is the only way you will gain weight and how does this relate to fiber intake?
Fiber and weight gain
According to researches too much fiber can cause weight gain and it does so because of its sponge like properties. Going back to what we talked about above, it can cause stool hardening and constipation and that can cause some temporary weight gain and bloating making you feel like you have gained weight and your stomach bigger. That is one way. The other is when trying to increase fiber intake through fruits and vegetables or by other means, the additional calories that come along with it may cause the actual weight gain and the additional flab so fiber may be part of it but is not the direct culprit of the flab gain.
How Does Pancreatin Help With Digestion?
August 23, 2011 12:33 PM
Pancreas and Pancreatin
The pancreas is an organ in the abdomen that lies just below the stomach and is a vital part of the endocrine system. Its main responsibility is to produce enzymes needed for the digestion and absorption of food. It is both an endocrine gland making several important hormones, including insulin, glucagon, somatostatin, as well as an exocrine gland. Most relative to our topic though is the function of secreting pancreatic juice containing digestive enzymes. These enzymes aid to further break down carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. Enzymes(Pancreatin) secreted include amylases which digest starch molecules, for fat its lipases, and proteases for digesting proteins.
Having a nice healthy digestive tract is more than just being free of discomforts, heartburn, gas, or constipation. We have to look at it at different perspective, like from “what happens to the food?” kind of perspective. When foods are not digested properly, its nutrients cannot and will not get to our body’s cells. Nutrients are captured within the food processing stages in our digestive system. The body requires a constant flow of nutrients to essentially for what it is suppose to do which is to grow, generate energy, and to repair tissue. A lack of digestive enzymes like pancreatin in the stomach and intestines may cause heartburn, bloating, indigestion and constipation. Sometimes without giving much thought to digestion, we think it’s as simple as food is placed in the mouth, chew, swallow, and digest. However nutrients are vital to every cell in the body, and even digestion requires the right balance of nutrients to signal the nerves to start gathering nutrients again.
Digestion processes all occurs in the gastrointestinal tracts. Whatever you eat flows through this system, but until absorption through the intestinal tract, the nutrients from your food are still physically outside of your body. Because the gastrointestinal tract functions like an internal skin and provides a barrier between whatever you ingest from the outside (external) and your internal bloodstream. Part of this process of digesting food is the selective transport of nutrients through the cell wall linings in your intestinal tract.
Once transported across the intestinal barrier to the inside of your body, that’s when the nutrients becomes part of our bloodstream and is rationed to all of your tissues via blood circulation to maintain organ function, aid in the need for energy, and mobilize growth and repair of new cells and tissues. Now for any mobilization of the nutrients to take place, food must first be broken down and this is where Pancreatin comes in along with other enzymes. On the other hand if pancreatin is insufficient it can lead to symptoms of malabsorption(abnormality in absorption of food nutrients), malnutrition(a state of lack of nutrition, vitamin deficiencies, and weight loss (or an inability to gain weight in children) and is often associated with steatorrhea (loose, fatty, foul-smelling stools), and is some select cases the lack of these enzymes can lead to type one diabetes.
What Can Chromium Picolinate Do In The Body?
July 23, 2011 03:15 PM
It is inevitable that health awareness and protection are very vital. It is also very crucial for us to take necessary measures and precautions to boost our guards from elements that could pose harm and threat to our very delicate body. If we just take these things for granted, for sure, we will be paying for the consequences of our own actions. Fortunately, we are living in this generation where in many have already been discovered that we could utilize to help us achieve a health state that we have always wanted. Chromium Picolinate is one useful element that could help us control the blood sugar levels in our body. Therefore, it is deemed necessary especially for those that are suffering from diabetes mellitus.
Many experts would claim that Chromium is beneficial in reducing body fat as well as in improving muscle tone. With the array of benefits it is capable of offering the human body; its discovery could be considered as a miracle breakthrough in the field of medical science. However, there are still questions that lurk in the minds of many about chromium. Questions like “could chromium be the answer of our predicament with the very common diabetes mellitus?” Such question is surely expected because not all are fully aware about its importance therefore; its discovery is not yet wholly appreciated. Because of this, there is a great need to educate the populace about its benefits.
Chromium is an important trace mineral that is useful in the metabolism of carbohydrates hence; it could play a vital role in the regulation and metabolism of blood sugar. Other benefits of chromium would also include management of cholesterol, and hypertension. Chromium can be grasped from many food sources. But it is most abundant in true brewer’s yeast. The more common nutritional yeast though has chromium content but is not as high compared to that of a true brewer’s yeast. Chromium can also be found in grains and cereals. However, at the course of the refining process, most of the said mineral is depleted and lost. Beers also contain small amounts of chromium.
Many individuals who have good knowledge about chromium would really agree about the above mentioned benefits. As a matter of fact, a lot of dieters and health conscious individuals could really testify about the benefits of chromium picolanate especially in improving muscle tone, fat metabolism, and blood glucose level control. At present, there are a growing number of people who are already enticed to take chromium picolinate because of the irrefutable benefits it offers. Needless to say, we are the culprits of our own actions. Whatever health state we would grasp is surely the result of the things that we have sow and invested for our health. If you do not want to suffer from dreadful consequences of your own doing then you have to give yourself the protection that you truly deserve.
Grab Some Chromium and fee the difference!
Potassium Iodide by Source Naturals And Thyroid Health!
March 19, 2011 11:36 AM
Potassium iodide can help protect the Thyroid from nuclear fallout. Make sure you get some for you and your family.
the thyroid will use whatever iodine it can find to function properly, if you do not supply your body with adequate
The thyroid will use whatever iodine it can find to function properly, if you do not supply your body with adequate amounts of iodine then your body will pull it from the environment. Radioactive fallout contains some iodine that the thyroid will use if no other source is present. This is why potassium iodide is recommended as a treatment for nuclear fallout.
We have thousands of bottles of all sizes 60, 120, and 240’s coming in next week. We will be sending out orders ASAP working round the clock to get the orders out for customers.
Get your orders in, the sooner the better.
How can I Tell if I am Magnesium Deficient?
February 09, 2011 01:25 PM
Magnesium The Essential Mineral
Magnesium is a dietary mineral that has established nutritional values in most countries. The presence of magnesium inside the human body involves many different chemical reactions, assisting more than 300 enzymes in their functional roles. That’s why we need to meet the daily recommended allowances for this dietary element, which has been calculated by the scientific community to supply the body with amounts adequate to support body functions.
An Essential Mineral
Not all enzymes are capable of producing the effects that they are programmed for on their own, and enzymes identified to rely on the presence of magnesium can be traced in almost all metabolic pathways. Molecules that comprise the structural units of RNA and DNA are extensively used as a source of energy of all cells, such as adenosine triphosphate or ATP. When enzymes utilize ATP for energy, they require another molecule that secures their binding to ATP, which is magnesium. In addition, ATP being the main source of energy that powers the functional roles of cells more often than not necessitates that it be bound to a magnesium ion to be fully activated.
Magnesium is ubiquitous in nature, and green leafy vegetables are ideal sources of this dietary element as well as nuts, wheat, seafood, and meat. In spite of that, it has been reported that in the US alone more than 60 per cent of the population does not meet the recommended daily intake for magnesium. The availability of magnesium in our diet does not ensure absorption of this essential mineral, and a significant fraction is in fact excreted along with other waste products in the urine or feces. Interestingly, diet high in protein or fat actually interferes with the absorption of magnesium.
A general feeling of malaise must not be taken lightly, for it is key indicator of magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is indispensable at the cellular level, and insufficient amounts of this element will certainly affect the way you feel, bringing about the perception of fatigue. If you feel weak all the time for no known reason, then it is recommendable to visit your doctor and find out if you have an alarming case of magnesium deficiency.
Keep in mind that high concentrations of protein and fat in the foods that you eat contribute to malabsorption of magnesium, and subsequently malnutrition. Certain medical conditions are known to deplete your reserves of elemental magnesium present in your body, notably diabetes mellitus. Drugs and medications also washes away the magnesium found in your diet and your body especially osmotic diuretics, cisplatin, ciclosporin, amphetamines, and possibly proton pump inhibitors.
Continued exposure to stress and excessive intake of alcohol both result in the unhealthy drop of magnesium levels in the blood. While there are environmental settings that we may not be able to alter, we can certainly control what we ingest. Supplementation is the only surefire remedy for magnesium deficiency, but the best way to combat whatever symptoms you are experiencing is to seek medical advice.
It is Essential You Get Your Magnesium Daily!
Fight Anxiety Disorders Naturally
December 14, 2010 04:27 PM
Do you suffer from an Anxiety Disorder?
Before considering how to test for anxiety disorders and discussing natural supplements that can help we should first discuss what anxiety disorders are - what the term means and if there are degrees of anxiety disorders as there are of depression and stress. First, what is anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural reaction to stress and it is anxiety that makes you worry about the consequences of not studying for an exam - so you study. It focuses you on problems so that you will be more likely to solve them, and helps you to perform better whatever you are doing. However, it can get out of hand and these positive mental processes become negative anxiety disorders.
With some people, anxiety becomes a dread of situations that were once everyday occurrences and can make your life a misery. Here are some forms of anxiety disorder.
Typical Anxiety Disorders
General Anxiety Disorder
Its symptoms include excessive sweating, worry, headaches, irritability, difficulty in sleeping, tiredness and tension in your muscles. It can lead to substance abuse and deep depression if left untreated.
These are three typical forms of anxiety, but how do you test for anxieties? Here are some tests that are used, beginning with the easiest - doing it yourself!
Testing for Anxiety Disorders
Many that believe they may have an anxiety disorder either tend to panic or go into a depression. It is far better to carry out a self-test. This anxiety test is very simple: simply tick which of the symptoms below you have experienced in the past six months:
I can't relax
I am always worried about something.
I get headaches for no apparent reason
I frequently sweat a lot and get hot flashes
I have no time for anybody and am easily annoyed
I find it hard to sleep and I often wake up during the night
My attention keeps wandering and I can't focus on anything
I sometimes get so worried I want to be sick or have a lump in my throat
If you have ticked more than three then perhaps you should pay your doctor a visit, or try some of the recommendations below.
b) Doctors' Tests
If you feel you might be suffering some form of anxiety disorder you should consult your doctor, particularly if you have tried the self test above and it indicates that you might be. Your doctor might carry out various tests for your general health, and if it is felt necessary you may be asked about your family history: is there any history of mental problems in the family, particularly with your mother or father.
Other questions may appertain to your own physical and mental background, such as have you been stressed for any reason lately, have you suffered anxiety or panic attacks in the past and what is your normal use of prescription and non-prescription medications and drugs. Do you smoke, drink or take any social drugs.
It is important that you are totally honest: the doctor is not judging you, simply trying to find the cause of your problem. Under the terms of their oath they cannot divulge anything you tell them to anyone else, so be honest and let them help you. Among the tests you will be given will be to declare all your history of anxiety-related symptoms. To achieve that, you will be asked a series of questions while the doctor assesses your mental condition.
Finally, you may be referred to a psychiatrist who will be able to help you more than your doctor. Psychiatrists have a good record in resolving anxiety disorders, but once you are diagnosed positively, what then? Chemical drugs? Or perhaps you would prefer something more natural such as herbal remedies.
Herbal Remedies for Anxiety
There are a number of herbs that can be used to treat anxiety disorders. Here are the more commonly used of these:
Passion flower contains the active substances maltol and ethylmaltol that your body's biochemistry uses to increase the concentration of GABA (gamma-butyric acid) in your brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that calms you and helps you to relax and forget anything that is making you anxious. It relieves muscle tension, can lower your blood pressure and some equate its effect to that of Valium: although it is totally different chemically it is similar in its effect. It offers a sedative effect and helps you sleep.
Kava Kava root
Kava kava. Generally just referred to as kava, comes from the Pacific and the kavalactones it contains increase the concentration of neurotransmitters in your vascular system, particularly serotonin, the feel-good substance. Its sedative effects have been likened to that of alcohol, and it can certainly give you a lift and certainly helps you worry less as it reduces the negative symptoms of stress and depression.
St. John's Wort
St. John's wort is a well-known anti-depressant and it can also help reduce the symptom of anxiety. The hyperforin the plant contains helps to improve the brain's content of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine that make you feel good, and St. John's wort certainly washes away your anxiety. Not only that, but the napththodianthrone in another of its important components, hypericin, promotes a reduction in depression through the inhibition of monoamine oxidase, a pro-depressive enzyme.
An extract of valerian root can help you to relax and sleep well, and this can often be enough to prevent your anxiety attacks. A lot depends on their cause, but if the attacks are mild and don't require extensive medical or psychiatric intervention, then valerian can help, particularly in treating stress-related anxiety. Make sure you stick to the recommended dose because valerian can be dangerous if taken to excess.
The four herbal remedies above should between them be all you need to treat your anxiety. One major problem is that, just like any chemical drugs, they only treat the symptoms and not the underlying cause which is something you and your physician will have to work on yourselves.
However, until then, the above herbal remedies for anxiety disorders are generally safer to use than prescription drugs and each has a well proven effect, both on the symptoms of anxiety and on depression.
June 26, 2009 12:15 PM
Depression affects 22 percent of Americans between the ages of eighteen and older each year. It is one of the most common medical problems in the United States. Depression affects both young and old, and women twice as much as men. Depression is an illness of the whole body. It affects the nervous system, moods, thoughts, and behavior. It also affects the way you eat and sleep, the way you feel about yourself, and the way you react to and think about the people and things around you. Symptoms of depression can last for weeks, months, or years. There are various types of depression, which vary in the number of symptoms, the severity, and persistence.
People with depression generally withdraw and hide from society, losing interest in things around them and becoming incapable of experiencing pleasure. Symptoms of depression include chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, headaches, backaches, digestive disorders, restlessness, irritability, quickness to anger, loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies, and feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy. Many people who are depressed think about death and consider suicide. Things appear bleak and time seems to pass slowly. Someone with depression can be chronically angry and irritable, sad and despairing, or display little or no emotion at all. Some people try to sleep off depression, while others do nothing but sit or lie around.
There are three main types of clinical depression: major depressive disorder, dysthmyic disorder, and bipolar depression. There are variations in the number of associated mental symptoms, severity, and persistence within these types. Dysthmic disorder is a chronic, but less severe type of depresses ion. It is characterized by milder, persistent symptoms that may last for years. It usually doesn’t interfere with everyday tasks. Bipolar disorders usually begin as depression but progress into alternating episodes of depression and mania, characterized by abnormally and persistently elevated mood, energy, restlessness, or irritability. Bipolar depression is commonly known as manic depression. It has other symptoms including inflated self-esteem, a decreased need for sleep, and increased talkativeness, racing thoughts, distractibility, physical agitation, and excessive risk-taking.
The causes of depression are not fully understood. However, it is assumed that there are most likely many and they are varied. Depression may be triggered by tension, stress, a traumatic life event, a hyper-stimulated immune system, chemical imbalances in the brain, thyroid disorders, nutritional deficiencies, poor diet, the consumption of sugar, mononucleosis, lack of exercise, endometriosis, any serious physical disorder, or even allergies. Whatever the factors that trigger it, depression starts with a disturbance in the part of the brain that governs moods. Most people can handle everyday stresses, with their bodies simply readjusting to these pressures. When stress is too great for a person and his or her adjustment mechanism is unresponsive, depression may be triggered.
The following vitamin nutrients are helpful for those who are suffering from depression: essential fatty acids, 5-HTP, L-tyrosine, SAMe, taurine, omega-3, vitamin B complex, zinc, choline, calcium, magnesium, chromium, GABA, lithium, NADH, and vitamin C with bioflavonoids. Additionally, the following herbs may be beneficial: lemon balm, ginger, ginkgo biloba, licorice root, oat straw, peppermint, Siberian ginseng, kava kava, and St. John’s wort.
Great vitamin supplements like the ones listed above are available at your local or internet health food store. When looking for natural vitamin supplements, always look for name brands to ensure that you receive a high quality and pure product.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Vitamins, minerals, 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.
October 11, 2008 10:26 AM
The non-essential amino acid glycine is needed to generate muscle tissue and also for the conversion of blood glucose into energy. It is referred to as being ‘non-essential’ because the body can manufacture its own glycine, and is therefore not an essential component of your diet. Other uses to which glycine is put by the body includes the maintenance of a healthy nervous system, and is necessary for the proper functioning of the digestive system.
Amino acids play three essential roles in the human body:
1. They are the building blocks of proteins: proteins comprise about half of the dry weight of the majority of your body cells, and without them there would be no life. They are produced using monomers known as amino acids, and there are about 20 different amino acids used to make the vast variety of proteins that make up the human body. Proteins are needed to form enzymes, the catalysts that permit the majority of chemical reactions within our bodies, and also genes, the building blocks of DNA.
2. More relevant here, amino acids play an important role in the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) from ADP (adenosine diphosphate) by phosphorylation with creatine phosphate. The more creatine phosphate available, the more ATP can be produced. Since ATP is the molecule responsible for the generation of energy, then the more ATP available the more energy is generated. Although creatine is available from many food sources, it is destroyed by cooking, and over half of what you use is made from the three amino acids, glycine, arginine and methionine. The energy produced in this way is very short-lived, and last only a few seconds - more on that later.
3. Glycine is heavily involved in the production of collagen, which is the substance that maintains the flexibility of your skin and other connective tissues while still maintaining their strength and firmness. Without glycine your skin would become slack due to the degrading effect of sunlight, free radicals and oxidation.
The non essential amino acid, glycine, is believed to offer other benefits to the human body, but it is the second of those above, the production of ATP, which interests us here. ATP is an extremely important nanomolecule, second in importance to the body only to DNA, and possibly also RNA since the two are linked. RNA makes copies of your DNA structure for use in cell division and growth.
When a cell expends energy for whatever reason, such as when I am typing this, or when your heart beats, or even when your liver synthesizes a protein, one of the phosphate groups is removed from the adenosine triphosphate molecule, and converts it to adenosine diphosphate (ADP). The ATP is then said to be 'spent', just as your energy is spent when you are tired and can exercise no more.
The ADP is then immediately reconverted to ATP in the mitochondria, a part of every cell in your body. A cell can contain hundreds, or even thousands, of mitochondria, the number depending upon that particular cell's need for energy. Hence, cells in your muscles, or in your liver where most of the body's chemistry takes place, contain thousands of mitochondria whereas those in your scalp contain a lot less. Once changed to ATP, a phosphate is again lost when energy is expended, and so the cycle continues.
Glucose is needed allow the ADP to be converted to ATP, hence the need for sugars, or the carbohydrates from which they are manufactured in your body. Each cell can contain up to a billion molecules of ATP, although the couch potatoes among you probably have a lot less! Your store of ATP molecules last about 2 to 5 seconds before being changed to ADP although more rapidly for athletes that expend a lot of energy. Then the energy stored in the form of glycogen in the liver kicks in for another 4 - 6 seconds.
Additionally, you cannot expend more energy that the (eventual) sugars that you take in your diet, which can be in the form of ordinary 'sugar' (sucrose), fruit (fructose), glucose, carbohydrates that are metabolized into sugars, or any other member of the sugar family (e.g. lactose, maltose, etc.).
Glycine is one of what are called glucogenic amino acids, which refers to their ability to provide glucose to the blood. Because it helps to maintain proper blood glucose levels, it is often prescribed for conditions that are caused by low glucose levels, such as hypoglycemia that shows symptoms of fatigue and tiredness, and also anemia and what is known as CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome).
The one activity of the human body, in fact that of any mammal, for which ATP is essential, is the heartbeat. Without that no mammal could survive, or any other creature that relies on a circulation system for life. The only reason you heart has to beat is to pump your blood around your body, and it is your blood that contains the oxygen and nutrients needed to sustain life. Your cardiovascular health relies on lots of ATP being available to power each and every heartbeat.
Analysis of the heart during the final stages of heart failure has revealed that there is a general decrease in the myocardial arginine: glycine amidinotraferase (AGAT) gene expression, which is indicative of the necessity of this enzyme for proper heart function. The enzyme is responsible for the first stage in the biosynthesis of creatine from glycine.
Creatine is well known to athletes, and while it is available naturally from some food sources, it can be destroyed during cooking, and at least 50% of the creatine needed by the body is produced in the liver, pancreas and kidneys. It is creatine phosphate that is broken down into creatine and phosphate, the latter of which is used by the mitochondria to regenerate ATP from ADP.
The study carried out on the reduced AGAT levels found in heart failure patients indicates the importance of glycine to heart health. Without a good supply of glycine, there will insufficient creatine produced biochemically to generate the phosphate needed to for the ATP to produce the energy required to keep the heart pumping with the required strength. The energy provided by the mitochondria is used locally by the cells in which it is produced, and within a few seconds of that production. As explained earlier, ATP stores are used up within 2 - 5 seconds, and glycogen stores within another 4 - 6 seconds.
That is why sprinters cannot keep running at maximum speed for more than around 10 seconds or so, because the immediate availability of glycine, and hence creatine, are insufficient to last longer than that. That is one reason why they have to finish those 100 meters as fast as possible, because otherwise they would run out of energy. Other than trying to win, of course!
However, when it comes to the heart, ATP stores are essential, and the cells in your heart require a constant supply of ATP from creatine, which itself depends upon your intake or biosynthesis of glycine. Since dietary sources are insufficient to meet all your needs, and destroyed by cooking, a glycine supplement is the only way to ensure a sufficient intake. You cannot undernourish your heart and remain healthy.
ATP biosynthesis is essential if that of glycine theoretically is not, but the fact that 50% of your glycine requirement has to be produced by your body and the other 50% is sensitive to heat during cooking, a supplement of glycine could be essential to many people.
Herbs And Herbal Remedies Are Safe Foods
September 30, 2008 10:57 AM
A lot of people are just learning about herbs and have a lot of fear that if you tell someone about an herb they might overdose. No body wants to accidently hurt someone, but we must remember that herbs are food. So the real question is can we overdose with food and what is that in relation to a chemical overdose. Everyone should read the label on anything they put into their mouths so that they are responsible for their bodies. If we put something into our body, we are responsible for whatever action takes place.
A chemical drug overdose is extremely dangerous. There are warnings on bottles to keep them away from children and elderly people. Overdosing also includes the problem of mixing drugs, which causes serious problems. One should be sure to ask their pharmacist about the bad side affects of any drug he or she takes. The overdose of chemicals or drugs into the human body is undoubtedly dangerous and potentially fatal.
An overdose of herbs or food often causes an allergic reaction to that specific food or herb. From an herb standpoint, there are occasionally people who are allergic to a specific herb, which is why it is recommended that one starts on any herb at a very low dosage and then slowly builds up to the needed level. An overdose on herbs does not put the body into a life threatening situation. Rather, the body normalizes itself because it is simply dealing with a food.
The other situation that an overdose of herbs can cause is diarrhea, which is not a health problem unless it occurs over several days. Anyone who begins an herbal program and gets diarrhea should consult an herbalist, who will reduce the intake of those herbs that have a cleansing action on the body or colon. One can see that the overdose of an herb as compared to the overdose of chemicals is at opposite ends of the spectrum, with one being naturally cleansing and the being life threatening.
It is hoped that this knowledge motivates all of us to think of herbs as foods and not medicines. If we’re going to keep herbs out of the hands of drug companies, the fact that herbs are food must be stressed. Recent herb companies and long standing herbalists have upsettingly announced the fact that they are taking herbs to the doctors and the scientific world, taking them from the housewife who knows and uses them best.
Food or herbs can be toxic or dangerous, but not as much so as man-made chemicals. We must have the wisdom to choose foods or herbs that are not poisonous. Herbs and foods were created by nature to be safe for all people. Where as man-made chemicals are dangerous to all. One must use moderation in all things, as an overdose of herbs causes an allergic reaction that could be avoided with a little wisdom. Anyone eating any herb for the first time should begin at a low dosage and watch the bodily reaction for a couple of days. If not heavy cleansing of allergic reaction is felt, than more can be eaten.
Gac Fruit Oil
August 25, 2008 07:04 PM
Most people have never heard of gac fruit, yet it is very popular in South East Asia, particularly in China and Vietnam. The fruit is grown on vines that reach the size of a cantaloupe and from North East Australia across to China and Vietnam it is used as both a food and a medicine. It is only fairly recently that it has found use in the West as a health food
So what’s so special about this fruit, known also as baby jackfruit and sweet gourd? Its bright red color should provide a clue, since it is jam packed full of beta carotene, lycopene and other strong antioxidants that not only helps to support the immune system, but also helps to retard the effects of aging. It has been used in Vietnam in particular to overcome the effects of an endemic deficiency in vitamin A, and is rich in provitamin A carotenoids. It is also widely used in Chinese medicine to treat a variety of complaints.
Antioxidants and Free Radicals
Antioxidants can boost health in a number of ways, and it might help you understand better the benefits that gac fruit can provide to explain what antioxidants do and why they are such an essential part of our diets. Every millisecond of every day of our lives, our natural metabolism of the conversion of blood glucose to energy generates small oxygenated molecules known as free radicals.
Free radicals are molecules that possess an unpaired electron and are highly unstable. Electrons generally travel in pairs, and when one of that pair is lost through a chemical reaction, the other electron has only one purpose in its short life: to pair up with another electron and it will do whatever it has to in order to achieve that. It is called a free radical, and its life is short. Free radicals destroy body cells, and this can have a dramatic effect, both visually on your skin, and internally on your general health.
Apart from those generated by your body’s own biochmemistry, free radicals are present in car emissions and other pollutants such as pesticides, smog and fried and barbecued foods. They are also formed in your skin by excessive exposure to the UV component of the sun’s radiation. That is why the skin of those living in hot climates tends to age earlier.
Free radicals are what make you look older as you grow older: they destroy skin cells as they are formed, but that is one of the least of their effects. They can also oxidize low density lipids (LDL) that carry cholesterol around your body, causing it to deposit fatty plaques on the walls of your arteries, which is a serious cardiovascular condition known as atherosclerosis.
Antioxidants can donate an electron to free radicals without then becoming free radicals themselves, and so destroy them as they are formed. However, the antioxidant can then lose its reducing power. Free radicals do not roam the blood seeking victims as many imagine them to, but react almost instantly, as soon as they are formed. It is important, therefore, that antioxidants are present in or close to every cell of your body. To achieve this, they must be bound to a fatty molecule, and the problem with many phytonutrients is that they have no associated fats or oils to carry them into the fatty tissues of the body.
Nutritional Constituents of Gac Fruit
Not so with gac fruit, because in addition to the beta carotene and lycopene content, it is also rich in long-chain fatty acids, particularly linoleic and alpha linoleic acids. Not only that, but its beta carotene content is around ten times that of carrots, and it contains 70 times the lycopene of tomatoes! Vitamin C is another very powerful antioxidant, and gac contains 60 times the Vitamin C of oranges. It is also rich in other free radical busters, such as xeoxanthins and alpha-tocopherol, a form of vitamin E.
Altogether, gac fruit contains a free radical killing arsenal that should be enough to scare even the most courageous free radical back to where it came from. Other constituents of gac are numerous minerals, particularly zinc and iron.
That is why the sweet gourd is such a prized fruit, and why Southeast Asian women have skins that western women of the same age would die for! Antioxidants help to prevent the disruption and destruction of skin cells that are the major reason for aging looks, and why skin creams are packed with vitamins A and E, both strong antioxidants.
Health Benefits of Gac
Most of the health benefits of gac are provided by its antioxidant properties. Thus, if you have a high cholesterol level, gac can help you to avoid atherosclerosis by preventing the oxidation of the LDL cholesterol, which is the precursor to it depositing on your artery walls. The body needs cholesterol, but levels should be kept to within certain limits or the resultant atherosclerosis can narrow your arteries leading to cardiac problems and strokes, particularly in the very narrow arteries of the brain.
Gac also supports the immune system and helps to maintain prostate health, largely through its alpha tocopherol, or vitamin E content. Vitamin E is easily destroyed by free radicals, which is where the beta carotene is of benefit. This is the body’s first line of defense against free radicals, and each molecule can neutralize up to 20 free radical molecules before it is destroyed. This helps to save other antioxidants such as vitamin E.
Lycopene is particularly beneficial to the prostate and current research indicates that it can help to prevent prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease, plus some other diseases such as macular degeneration that affects your sight. Perhaps this is one reason why the gac fruit membranes are used in Vietnam to promote healthy vision, and they also help to cure dry eyes. Lycopene remains in your body fat longer than normal beta carotene, and recent studies have found that men with high amounts of lycopene in their body fat are up to 50% less likely to suffer heart attacks as those with low amounts.
Gac fruit is jam-packed full of nutrients and antioxidants, and has no known side effects. It is used in Asia for weddings and other special occasions, and is grown on lattices in many gardens, although it has a short season. However, gac fruit is not known as the “Fruit from Heaven” for no reason, and if you were allowed the choice of only one fruit in your life, then this would be the one.
B Vitamin Supplements
May 07, 2008 03:18 PM
The fact that B vitamins have had to be coenzymated before they can be used by your body has been known for some time, but it is only over the past few years that they have been made commercially available in that form. Before we discuss the B vitamins in their coenzyme form it might be appropriate to discuss what coenzymes are and how they differ from ordinary enzymes.
An enzyme is like an organic catalyst: it takes part in biochemical reactions by allowing such reactions to take place, but itself remaining unchanged. All enzymes are proteins formed in your body from amino acids and other protein material. A coenzyme, on the other hand, is somewhat like an enzyme for the enzymes, in that it is needed for the enzyme to do its job. Without a coenzyme, many enzymes could not promote the biochemical reaction it is responsible for.
The B vitamins are all water soluble, which means that they are readily excreted and it is not impossible that if you take a B vitamin supplement, the whole lot will be immediately excreted in your urine if not used by your body. Whether they are or not it is a fact that your body can quickly become depleted of the B vitamin group, especially if you drink a lot. Alcoholics in particular are frequently vitamin B deficient. Although the liver can store unused vitamin B, they are only very small quantities and insufficient to prevent a deficiency.
A deficiency in the B vitamins can cause a wide range of unpleasant conditions that are rapidly remedied with supplements. Pellagra is due largely to a deficiency in Vitamin B3, and causes hair loss, horrible skin lesions and many other side effects that you don’t want to know about. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause loss of memory, and is common in alcoholics and some vegetarians (vitamin B12 is animal derived). Other symptoms of a general B vitamin deficiency include exhaustion, heart palpitations, fibrillation, anxiety, restlessness, attention deficit disorder and many, many more.
It is not pleasant so you make sure that take enough vitamin B in your diet: dietary sources are far superior to pills although supplements will help you get over the symptoms of the deficiency until your diet takes over. Supplementation is also a good way to maintain a regular supply of vitamin B complex irrespective of your diet. The effects of a deficiency are so bad that a regular supplement is well worth taking.
However, back to coenzymes and why they are needed for the metabolism of B vitamins in your body. Most B vitamins are, in fact, coenzymes themselves. Keep in mind that the definition of a vitamin is an organic substance that is essential for the normal health of your body. If you lack even one vitamin, your health with suffer and eventually you will be likely to die. That describes all of the B vitamins perfectly, and they also just happen to be coenzymes. This is not coincidence, of course, and their biochemistry must have been recognized before the concept of coenzymes was formulated.
The B vitamins proper consist of eight distinct proteins: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), B12 (cyanocobalamin), and biotin and pantothenic acid. They are all essential components in human and animal metabolism, and most are also coenzymes.
Every cell in your body depends on B vitamins for its existence, which is why pregnant women should include a good supply of them in their diet, especially folic acid (B9). They are essential for the cellular development of the fetus. Folic acid is necessary for the synthesis of nucleic acids that allow cell growth and the production of red blood cells. However, not one can be placed in importance above any other since they are all essential.
With respect to the coenzyme factor, the vitamin B coenzymes are responsible for many of the biochemical reactions upon which life depends. Coenzyme B-12 for example is essential for two types of reaction that it catalyzes, one being a hydrogen atom exchange with alcohol and amine functional groups, the other being connected with methyl group transfer between molecules.
In humans, the first of these is responsible for an essential step that results in energy being metabolized from fats and proteins in the mitochondria and the second for DNA production in cells that is indirectly responsible for growth. Each of these is why a vitamin B-12 deficiency leads to excessive fatigue and also a lack of fetal growth (although folic acid can make up for the latter deficiency).
Thiamine (Vitamin B1) is a coenzyme for the metabolism of carbohydrates to energy. In the body it is present in the form of thiamine diphosphate, a coenzyme that assists in the decarboxylation of pyruvate as part of the citric acid cycle, otherwise known as the Krebs Cycle, that takes place in the mitochondria and is responsible for the generation of energy through aerobic respiration.
Another coenzyme that is involved in the Krebs Cycle is formed in the body from Vitamin B3, or niacin. This coenzyme, nicotinamine adenine dinucleotide, has a redox potential and can store energy for use later on. Vitamin B5 can be converted in the body to Coenzyme A that not only breaks proteins down into individual amino acids, but also takes part in the first part of the Krebs Cycle. There is a common pattern emerging here where the B vitamins have an important part to play in the generation of energy from fats and carbohydrates.
Similarly, Vitamin B6 is present in the body as the coenzyme Pyridoxal 5'-phosphate that helps to break down the body’s emergency energy store, glycogen, into energy when needed.
In these ways, and more, the coenzymes created in the body from the B vitamins help many of the reactions of life to take place, and without these coenzymes life could not exist. Hence the importance of the B vitamins themselves, and any deficiency could be disastrous to the metabolic processes that generate energy and keep you alive. It is not just the energy needed for exercise and normal human activity that will be compromised, but also that which keeps the heart beating and your diaphragm moving to allow you to breath.
Without a doubt, a Vitamin B supplement is one of the most valuable of all the vitamin supplements, and they are available in many forms. You might also find some of the B vitamins in their coenzyme form, though some of them may be unstable. However, whatever form they are taken in, Vitamin B complex should be one of the first on your vitamin supplement shopping list.
April 29, 2008 10:49 AM
Butterbur extract is taken mainly from the rhizome, root and leaves of the butterbur, a member of the daisy family. They are very hardy and have creeping underground rhizomes and large leaves like those of rhubarb. Another name given to it is the sweet Coltsfoot, and they generally grow in the temperate climates of Europe, North Africa and South west Asia. They like damp conditions, specifically marshes and ditches, and also riverbanks where there are always plentiful supplies of moisture.
It has been used by Native Americans for headaches and inflammation, and has been shown to be an effective remedy for hay fever and to provide relief from painful menstrual cramps. Butterbur has also been used throughout the middle Ages to treat fever and the plague, and has been recorded in the seventeenth century as being used for asthma, wounds and coughs. However, one of its most important applications is in restore bladder function in the incontinent and semi-incontinent.
Urinary incontinence is typified by an unusually high frequency of urination – more than 8 times a day, an immediate strong urge to pass water or leaking and involuntary urination. Any two of these three indicates urinary incontinence. As people age their bladders become smaller, and by definition the periods between urination will reduce. This does not, however, suggest that bladder size is the cause of urinary incontinence.
Urination is caused by the contraction of the smooth layered muscle that surrounds the bladder, called the detrusor, a contraction in turn caused by neurons both in the brain and in the detrusor itself. This naturally contracts and expands according to the volume of urine in the bladder, and once the bladder is about half full the brain will tell you that the detrusor is ready to contract to expel the urine. However, if the time is not convenient, the cortex will suppress this desire until a more convenient time.
In incontinence, the desire is suppressed but the neurons still fire to contract the detrusor, expelling urine at inconvenient moments. Butterbur contains the sesquiterpenes petasin and isopetasin, which are known to reduce spasms in smooth muscle tissue and in vascular walls. It can therefore be used to control the involuntary spasms that cause urine leakage or expulsion against the patient’s wishes. These sesquiterpenes are at highest concentration in the roots of the plant.
The effect that the sesquiterpenes have in inhibiting the synthesis of leukotriene in leukocytes tends to support this effect, since leukotrienes can cause contraction of vascular and smooth muscle tissue. Not only this, but the spasmolytic effect could also be explained by the inhibition of cellular calcium caused by the petasin isomers.
Many studies have indicated that the effectiveness of butterbur extract is also useful in the prevention of migraines. There has been a lot of research carried out on the use of butterbur extract on migraine sufferers, and the effective dose appears to about 75 mg twice daily. There is little evidence of it being a cure but as a prophylactic there appears no doubt of its efficacy: there have been too many positive results against placebos for its effect to be deniable.
It is significant that leukotriene can cause constriction of the small blood vessels in the veins, and so affect the flow of blood. Butterbur, in inhibiting its biochemical production, helps to keep these blood vessels open. Lekotrienes are also important components of inflammation, and altogether it appears that whatever the real cause of migraine, the petasin isomers in butterbur have an effect in inhibiting its initiation. Add to that the potential reduction in calcium content that can cause blood vessels to become less flexible, and the argument for its effectiveness is both irrefutable and well explained.
In one example of such a double blind study that is representative of many, a group of patients given 50 mg butterbur extract twice a day for twelve weeks experienced a 60% reduction in the frequency of attacks, a reduction in the severity of the attacks they did have, and a reduction in the length of the attacks. Although the vascular theory of the cause of migraine is no longer supported, maintenance of the vascular system appears to at least reduce the likelihood of attacks.
The effect of butterbur on asthma and other allergic reactions is also well documented. This again is due to its anti-spasmodic properties and inhibitory effect on the inflammatory immune response through the inhibition of leukotriene synthesis and the consequent positive effect on the metabolism of prostaglandin. Prostaglandins also constrict vascular smooth muscle cells, regulate the mediation of the inflammatory response and constrict general smooth muscle cells. All of these can lead a to a variety of disorders cause by smooth muscle spasms in additional to urinary incontinence, such as menstrual cramps, liver and gastrointestinal disorders and asthmatic conditions.
In one study of allergic rhinitis, administration of butterbur extract appeared to result in a reduction in the histamine and leukotriene content of nasal fluids and no difference was noticed between this treatment and histamine treatment. This was a useful study because histamines causes drowsiness and butterbur can be used as a substitute for histamine without the sedative effect. A study in Germany in 1993 has shown that the stomach ulceration caused by the anti-inflammatory medications for arthritis was reduced by the administration of butterbur extract
Cetirizine is a commonly prescribed prescription treatment for allergic conditions, and studies comparing that with butterbur demonstrated them to be equally effecting in reducing the symptoms typical of allergic reactions such as sneezing, runny nose and nasal congestion. 50% of the patients in the group took each and there was no difference in results. Again it was explained by the petasin limiting the production of leukotriene and histamine, both of which are produced by the immune response and promote mucous secretions and inflammation. They also constrict airways that can be serious to asthma sufferers
These studies are simply providing scientific evidence and explanations for the tradition use of this plant for such conditions. Butterbur has been used for centuries to treat such conditions all over Western Europe, and once again the use of traditional medicine has been supported by modern investigative techniques.
Activated Charcoal - Highly absorbent material to combat poisoning
April 24, 2008 02:44 PM
Activated charcoal has been treated by heat to open up millions of small spaces between the carbon atoms and turn it literally into an atomic sponge that adsorbs both organic and organic impurities.
This heat treatment is carried out in the absence of oxygen, so the charcoal cannot burn. Instead, what oxygen it did contain is driven off leaving behind all of these interstitial gaps that multiply the effective surface area by factors of ten. Since it is the surface area of the charcoal that determines its potency, then the greater this is the better.
Activated charcoal has a massive surface area, and just ten grams has the same surface area as nine American football pitches or 77 tennis courts. Ten grams is just marginally more than a third of an ounce. The term adsorb has a different meaning to absorb, and while a real sponge absorbs water by mopping it up through capillary action and suction, activation carbon adsorbs substances through a form of chemical attraction. You get rid of water from the sponge by squeezing it, but that doesn’t work with activated charcoal, since the substances are bound to it, not just physically constrained.
This huge surface area provides activated charcoal with innumerable bonding sites, and when chemicals that are attracted to carbon pass by they are attached to the surface. They cannot get free again, as water in a sponge can, but are bound to the surface of the carbon. Because the digestive system has no effect on charcoal then whatever is bound to it passes naturally through the body.
It is most effective at binding other carbon-based materials, and other substances with the right electronic arrangement, but others will just pass straight through. Because it is a chemical process, once all of the empty bonding sites have been taken up, the charcoal loses its effectiveness and has to be replaced. It is possible to regenerate it, but hardly worthwhile for you to do so because of the small quantities you use.
Because of the way it works, activated charcoal can help people to recover from some forms of food poisoning. It can adsorb gases in the intestine and help to relieve the pain of excessive gas in the gut. It has many additional uses that will be touched on later, but for now we will look at its effect on poisons because that is where activated charcoal is of greatest benefit to us.
It does not adsorb and neutralize all poisons, but is very effective with those that it can be sued for. Professor Touery proved a point when he drank a lethal dose of strychnine in front of colleagues at the French Academy of Medicine in 1831 and came through unscathed. He had mixed the strychnine with activated charcoal, and the fact that he lived after drinking a dose that would certainly have led to a very painful death within minutes testifies to the powerful effect of activated charcoal as an potential antidote for poisoning.
Ever medicine cabinet should have an emergency supply of activated carbon, especially those with young children in the household. However, this is not good news for the pharmaceutical companies who have reacted by refuting some of the claims made in its favor: they have claimed that it is not effective against arsenic. If that is so, then how did Michel Bertrand survive after swallowing 5 grams of arsenic trioxide – 150 times what is regarded as the lethal dose? He did this is 1813 after mixing it with activated charcoal, just as Professor Touery was to do 18 years later with ten times the lethal dose of strychnine.
It is true, however, that it does not have this degree of activity with all poisons, and it has no effect on cyanide, alcohols, antifreeze (glycols) and lithium. It also has no effect on corrosive poisons such as the strong alkalis used in oven clearers, or hydrocarbons such as kerosene. The way it works is adsorb the poison and prevent it being released into the body. For that to happen, the poison must have an affinity for carbon, and its adsorption site, and not all substances possess that property. Those that do however are permanently bound and therefore safe.
For charcoal to be effective in neutralizing a poison, it must be swallowed within an hour of taking the poison, or the poison will be too far advanced ion the digestive process for the charcoal to do any good. Keep in mind, though, that it is not selective, and activated charcoal can adsorb nutrients and other beneficial constituents of your body’s chemistry. It is important therefore that you take in only when necessary: you might need several doses if the poison was severe, but once it has done its job it is not meant to be used as a maintenance material to take ‘just in case’. Used like that, it can do harm.
If charcoal can adsorb poisons then it makes sense to believe that it can also adsorb some of the harmful agents that cause food poisoning. Not all food poisoning of course, but certainly those organisms that emit toxins that are attracted to carbon. And this is, in fact, the case. Food poisoning is caused by bacteria rather than viruses, and is not the presence of the bacteria that make you vomit and feel very ill.
As bacteria grow in your body they release toxins, or poisons, into your digestive system. These poisons are what make you ill. They can seriously affect the complete gastro-intestinal tract, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and inflammation and swelling of the small and large intestine. The latter can cause abdominal cramps and severe colic, and the severity of the symptoms depends very much upon the type of bacteria and the number of them in your body.
Many of these toxins are attracted to carbon since they are frequently organic based, and activated charcoal can be used to adsorb them. Once adsorbed they lose their potency, and since carbon is not digested by the body, they are passed harmlessly through the colon and eliminated in the faeces. It can also be used to eliminate many other foreign bodies from your gut, including viruses and fungi and might possibly reduce the concentration of uric acid, which can bring relief to gout sufferers.
Activated charcoal has many uses, and is normally available in capsule form. It can be dangerous to take too much, particularly if you suffer from intestinal problems that cause constipation, because the charcoal itself can have that effect. However, there is no better emergency treatment for accidental poisoning in the home, although, since it is not suitable for all poisons, you must still regard poisoning as an emergency and contact the emergency services.
Activated charcoal, or activated carbon as it is sometimes called, is also a good emergency treatment for vomiting and the other unpleasant effects of food poisoning. It deals with bacterial toxins in the same way as any other, though once again you must refer to your physician before or after using it – preferably the former.
Biotin For Better Health!
April 14, 2008 12:42 PM
Biotin is one of the B vitamins, known as vitamin B7 and also, for some reason, vitamin H. If you have a deficiency of this vitamin you will know about it because it makes you bald. So keep up your vitamin B7 intake girls!
However, this should not be difficult since it is contained in cooked egg white (not raw), tomatoes, chard, onions, cabbage, strawberries, walnuts, halibut, carrots, liver, brewers yeast and cucumber to name but a few of the many sources. It makes sense that it has so many sources because biotin is essential for many of the biochemical reactions that take place continuously in your body.
It is contained in raw eggs, but is bound too tightly to the protein to be available to your body. It has to be cooked before the bond is broken sufficiently to render it bioavailable.
Included in these is the all-important Krebs cycle that releases energy from food. It is necessary for the growth of your body cells, for the metabolism of the fats you consume and for the biosynthesis of the fatty acids that are eventually converted to proteins and then the DNA that is essential for life. In other words, without biotin we would not be here.
However, do not get overly worried about the necessity of biotin in your diet, since the same applies to all of the other vitamins you consume. That is what vitamins are chemicals that have been identified ages ago as being essential to life. Without vitamins we could not survive which is why the vitamin supplement industry is so strong and healthy.
So, what does biotin do specifically, other than being necessary for some of the essential biochemical processes in your body? These tend to look after themselves, so what are the physical attributes that biotin provides for you? The name should give you a clue. In fact it should be familiar since it is one of the more commonly mentioned ingredients of hair care products: “Biotin for Healthy Hair” - ring a bell?
Although a deficiency of biotin is rare with a healthy balanced diet, it can happen, and when it does your first sign might be your skin drying out, your cholesterol levels will increase, you will feel continually tired and depressed with a poor appetite and you will be nauseous. You will also frequently vomit, which puts the icing on the cake of a set of very undesirable symptoms. It is important, then, that you do not suffer from a deficiency of biotin, vitamin B7 or vitamin H, whatever you want to call it, and is why many people take a supplement just to make sure.
This is normally taken as part of a general B complex supplement or even a general multivitamin supplement, since almost everybody has no idea what this vitamin is and why it is so necessary for your continued health. So let's have a look at why biotin is so important, with specific reference to your hair, skin and nails. However, we shall also examine its deeper biochemical uses and explain why it is such an essential vitamin.
With regard to biotin supplements in hair preparations, it benefit’s by helping one grow thicker hair, symptoms of a deficiency is brittle hair. If you are deficient, you will lose your eyelashes and eyebrows in addition to your hair, depending on the severity of your deficiency. As stated, however, that is particularly rare. The biotin content of shampoos is likely useless since it is not absorbed through the skin.
What it does in the diet, however, is to thicken the nails and also the hair fiber giving it a fuller appearance, so that you appear to have more hair than you actually have. It also increases the flexibility of the hair, skin and nails rendering them less brittle and less liable to breaking and scaling. However, as previously stated if you eat a good balanced diet you should avoid these problems, although a vitamin B complex supplement will do the job just as well.
So what else does vitamin B7 do for you? Lots in fact, so let's have a look at the more important of them starting with the function of your body cells in the production of energy. Biotin takes part in the Citric Acid Cycle, otherwise known as the Krebs Cycle, whereby energy is created by the conversion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins into carbon dioxide and water. It is one of the essential metabolic pathways of life, and biotin is needed to recharge the Krebs cycle with metabolites when mitochondria become deficient in these essential components.
Without them you would begin to feel tired and lack energy, and this would get increasingly worse without a biotin supplement. It is amazing that your energy is created in the mitochondria which are a part of the tiny cells that make up the tissue of your body, and equally amazing that it depends upon, among other substances, a vitamin of which very few people are even aware of.
In spite of any other effect biotin has on your body, including providing healthy hair, skin and nails, its primary role in your body is in the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates into a form that can be used by your body for the production of energy. Biochemically, it functions as a coenzyme, which is a molecule needed to help an enzyme do its work. In fact an alternative name give to biotin is Coenzyme R.
It helps in the biochemical conversion of sugars to energy, and is a component of enzymes such as pyruvate carboxylase. That enzyme is protein contained within the mitochondria that contains a biotin prosthetic group, without which it could not function to help the body to generate energy during exercise. Suffice it to say that without biotin you would find it difficult to generate energy, especially when the demand for it is at its highest.
Biotin's biochemical role is not restricted to energy production however, and it is involved in the biochemical synthesis of amino acids and also of glucose from other sugars. Glucose is the main blood sugar that is manufactured in the body from the other saccharides that you eat, such as fructose.
A reasonable level of supplementation to ensure that you do not suffer from a deficiency is around 100 micrograms daily, although up to 5 milligrams (5000 mcg) are safe for the treatment of brittle nails or hair loss. Much depends on age and it is best taken as a vitamin B complex supplement, since the B vitamins appear to give best results as a team!
So, while you can have healthy hair, skin and nails with biotin, without it you will have no energy and likely have no need for your hair, skin and nails!
First, the Painful Inflammation
April 03, 2008 12:43 PM
Inflammation occurs because of the reaction of your immune system to what it perceives as being the presence in your tissues of dangerous foreign particles. Your immune system generally reacts to particles. Typical particles are bacteria and viruses, pollen, smoke, your own body cells that are not doing what they should, moulds and fungi, and various other things that can circulate in your blood.
There are several reasons for the immune system being activated, some of them historical due to your body having an imprinted memory of previous bacteria and viruses that it has dealt with, and others the reaction to new invaders that it has never met before, and for which your immune system creates antibodies to destroy. Another is the recognition of abnormal body cells that have to be destroyed before they can proliferate, and yet another is when the immune system gets confused and itself damages your own tissues such as in rheumatoid arthritis.
Whatever the cause, inflammation is a common result of the immune system going to work, and can be extremely painful. It can cause damage to our own joints, vascular system and major organs, although treatment of the inflammation does not reduce the effectiveness of the immune response. You can safely treat the inflammation with anti-inflammatories and painkillers without the condition getting worse.
Common physical manifestations of inflammation are the swollen and painful joints of rheumatoid arthritis (osteoarthritis is not an immune response), the swelling in the airway of asthma, the spots and swellings of measles and chickenpox, the lesions of psoriasis and the swelling and pain of abrasions and cuts that have gone ‘septic’ or ‘poisoned’. The latter two are simply examples of the effect of phagocytes and leucocytes on bacterial infection – the white blood cells and their cohorts!
The reason that inflammation causes pain is that it affects nerve endings, and causes pressure against the damaged tissues that initiated the immune response. Although regular painkillers can control the pain of inflammation to an extent, they are generally not the ideal treatment. Herbal treatments are not necessarily always the ideal treatments either, but boswellia is one herb that has been proved to be effective in reducing the pain of inflammation.
Alfalfa Is One of Nature’s Most Nutrient-Rich Foods
February 14, 2008 12:29 PM
Most people have likely heard of alfalfa in relation to its use as an important animal feedstuff without understanding that it is one of nature’s most nutrient-rich foods. It appears to be a trait with most people, that what is used for animal feed cannot possibly be healthy to humans.
This completely ignores the fact that humans are themselves mammals, and what is good for the biochemistry of one mammal is likely (though not necessarily) good for most. A look at alfalfa and why it has been used to feed livestock is a good place to start a discussion on its merits as a nutritional supplement for human beings.
Alfalfa is a legume, or member of the pea and bean family, that has long been used as animal food and has been given the nickname “Queen of Forages”. It is behind only corn, wheat and soybeans as the fourth largest crop grown in the USA, and the vast majority is for animal forage. In fact there is twice as much alfalfa grown in the USA as cotton. Its nutritional value is not only from its high protein content of around 20%, but also from its exceptional vitamin and mineral content.
Although grown predominantly for animals, humans also eat alfalfa sprouts, although by far its greatest nutritional use is in supplement form. Before discussing specific claimed benefits such as its use in lowering blood glucose and cholesterol, alleviating the symptoms of arthritis and helping with digestive problems among only dozens of other traditional uses, it would be useful to review the nutritional content of the legume in terms of vitamins, minerals and any other biochemical content that could provide more general health benefits.
The vitamin and mineral content is not disputed, being determined by chemical analysis. It is not so much what is present in terms of variety that is impressive, but how much of each that alfalfa contains. Natural protein that is easily assimilated by the body has already been touched on, ranging from around 15% to over 20%. Many people also stress the rich chlorophyll content, but apart from the magnesium, chlorophyll has no nutritional benefit to humans. However, now for the impressive facts:
Alfalfa contains a high concentration of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, E and K and also Niacin, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin and Folic Acid. It is also rich in the following minerals: Boron, Calcium, Chlorine, Cobalt, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulfur and also some trace minerals. When you purchase alfalfa supplements you also get eight essential amino acids, necessary for the biosynthesis of proteins, enzymes and DNA.
Little wonder then that alfalfa has a long history of medicinal uses, and is also used as a feed for animals, providing practically all of their protein, vitamin and mineral dietary needs. The same could also be said of humans, and alfalfa is not classed as a ‘superfood’ without good reason.
However, it is easy to determine the fact that this plant is of high nutritional value, but when or why should you take alfalfa supplements, especially if you have a good dietary regime? In fact several facts are known through studies of the plant and also by traditional and established usage for certain ailments. Although not all claims can be scientifically verified beyond all doubt, it has been generally agreed that alfalfa is instrumental in reducing the uric acid content of your system, and is hence useful in the treatment of certain types of arthritis, and also perhaps gout.
Although the latter has not been unconditionally proven it has been traditionally used to treat gout that is caused by deposition of uric acid crystals in the joints, and further, alfalfa also contains many of the minerals recommended for its treatment. It is not, therefore, an unreasonable assumption that it should be an effective treatment. There are a few medical applications of alfalfa that have been carried out under controlled conditions, and while the official line is that more testing is required to firmly establish any benefits gained by taking the supplement, many people claim that it has been effective in the treatment of their own medical conditions.
Atherosclerosis, which is caused by excessive deposition of cholesterol in the arteries, has been reported to be reduced in animal studies, and while many people also claim that their condition has improved, more evidence is necessary before their claims can be scientifically supported. This, however, could be connected with the greater body of evidence suggesting that alfalfa supplements can help to reduce your LDL cholesterol levels.
It is free radical oxidation of low density lipoproteins that render the cholesterol attached to them more liable to be deposited excessively in your arteries, thereby causing the aforementioned atherosclerosis. The evidence of the effect of alfalfa in reducing LDL cholesterol is very promising, and if substantiated could well provide the proof needed that the supplement does indeed reduce the incidences of cholesterol plaques inside your arteries.
The same is true with regard to the reduction in blood glucose claimed to occur after taking an alfalfa supplement. Recorded human data is scarce, although once again some people claim that the supplement has improved their condition. However, in this case it is clear that more evidence is required before any claims can be made with any degree of confidence.
It is probably wise not to regard alfalfa as being a panacea for any of the above conditions, but it is also fair to regard it as being very rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins. Perhaps this is why it is believed to help with some common digestive complaints, and also help to control high blood pressure and improve your mental function. Whatever your belief in the health benefits of alfalfa supplements, you should consult a physician before relying on it as a definitive treatment for any condition. This is particularly true if you are also being treated for another condition.
Alfalfa might not specifically interact with any other drug, but you should always check up with your doctor when using any natural remedy in association with a prescription medicine. It contains a number of other vitamins which might interact with specific medications. Vitamin K, for example, can interfere with the action of blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin. This is not specific to alfalfa, and any foodstuff rich in a specific nutrient could equally interact with prescription medicines.
However, widespread homeopathic use over a long period of time has indicated that alfalfa has few if any side effects. It is effectively used in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of kidney problems and its name is derived from the Arabic for ‘father of all foods’. With over 300 nutrients and phytochemicals, alfalfa is one of nature’s most nutrient-rich foods, and its saponin and isoflavone content alone is sufficient to warrant many of the health claims made for it.
Loose Weight By Cutting Dietary Fat Absorption
December 08, 2007 06:24 PM
You can lose weight by cutting dietary fat absorption, although in order to understand the need for this you have to appreciate the effect that fat has on your weight. Not only fat, but any form of calories.
The word ‘calorie’ appears to have a bad press, and there have been a lot of ill informed comments made about calories and whether calorie controlled diets are effective or not. Quite frankly, it is all said in ignorance. Whether you agree or not, the calorie is a measurement of energy and the calorie content of foods is what is calculated to be the energy value of these foods.
Once inside your body, that energy is either used up or converted to body mass. It is not necessarily converted to fat, since that extra weight could be in the form of muscle tissue. However, it is converted to body mass and so you can put on weight. The basic equation is that if you take in more energy than you use, then you add weight, and if you use more energy than you take in, then you lose weight. It is slightly more complex than that, but it is basically true.
That does not mean that if you eat a pound of dripping (the fat that drips off cooking meat) you will add a pound of weight. It is the calorific value of the dripping in terms of energy, whether measured in calories or in joules, that is the relevant factor, and if that is 4000 calories, which is about average for various types of dripping, then if you use up 4001 calories in exercise, you can safely spread your pound of lard on toast and eat it without putting on weight (you will have also to use up the calories in the toast).
It is the calorie equation that is important, and if this is negative then you will lose weight. You have to: it is a law of science! Whether your calories are in the form of cookies, candies, avocados (loads of them) or dripping, it is all the same. A meat calorie is the same as a vegetarian or vegan calorie. If you eat more than you use you put on weight.
Different foods contain different quantities of energy, or calories. If you buy a Big Mac you eat 570 calories, and 5 from your Super Pepsi. If the guy next to you has an English Muffin, he will have 140 calories. However, if he then goes home and slouches on the sofa watching TV and you go to the gym for a serious workout, he is liable to put on weight and you lose it. It’s all in the equation!
However, you don’t just use calories in exercise. Your metabolism is also important. In fact 65% - 75% of the calories you use in a day are used up by the body at rest: the metabolism that takes place 24/7 to keep you alive. The heartbeat, breathing and brain activity for example, all use up energy. So not all is doom and gloom, and you can burn up these calories even while you are sleeping.
However, there is another way to prevent the fat you eat from turning into weight. (Incidentally, if you exercise a lot, that weight will likely be in muscle mass, but if not then it will certainly be fat). You have a clue to the way that can be done in the first sentence of this article: ‘dietary fat absorption’.
If the fat is not absorbed into the body, then it is not available to be metabolized into body fat. It will pass through the body unchanged. It is not the fat you consume that makes you gain weight, but the amount of that fat absorbed through your intestines. But how is it possible to selectively prevent the fat in your diet from being emulsified by the bile and absorbed through the intestinal wall?
By means of chitosan. This is a fiber that absorbs part of the fat from the food you have eaten and hides it away from your digestive system. It cannot be broken down into sugars and then into fat to add to your unwanted weight. However, because it works after your meal, you get to eat what you want – that ‘finger lickin’ good’ stuff you love, but don’t suffer the consequences of failing to exercise to work it off. It’s like you just ate lettuce without the fried chicken with the crispy fatty skin.
So what is this miracle substance, chitosan? Biologists would recognize the name as being associated with chitin, the acetyl-glucosamine polymer that forms the carapaces, or shells, of crabs, lobsters and other marine shellfish. Chitosan is formed by deacetylating the chitin and is mainly used to enhance the growth of plants, and also as a filtration aid. So what does it do to help to remove some of the fat from your diet after you have eaten it?
The mechanism by which it does this is not fully understood, and in fact is still disputed in some quarters. However, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and it appears to act according to the claims. There are two possible mechanisms, one of which is connected with the deacetylation of the chitin molecule. Because of this, the resultant chitosan molecule has cationic groups on the polymer chain. Cations are positively charged, and can react with acids, not the least of which are the bile acids that break down lipids (fats) to render them into a form suitable for absorption.
It is possible for the chitosan to react with the bile acids and prevent them from breaking down the fats into a condition that enables them to be passed through the intestinal wall. However, it has also been proposed that dietary fibers work by increasing the thickness of the boundary layer of the intestine through which the fats would have to pass. This would have the effect of reducing the lipid uptake.
It is also possible that since chitosan is a fibrous substance, it attracts the fats through its charge and absorbs them into a swelling ball of fats and fiber that is not only impermeable by the bile acids, but also passes through the intestinal tract unchanged and eventually excreted. In fact, there is not proof for any of these projected mechanisms, and all are theoretically possible. The fact is that it appears to work, but must be taken for several weeks for the effects to be noticeable.
It is possible to lose weight by dietary fat absorption, and whatever mechanism is used by chitosan, it is well worth trying if you like your fatty foods but also want to lose weight. Combine chitosan with a good exercise regime and you might find that you can control your weight whatever you eat. Chitosan is available over the counter at any health food store.
Natural Remedies For Bumps, Bruises, Scrapes, and Insect Bites
November 10, 2007 09:52 AM
Whether you are a child or an adult you are as susceptible to the damage done to skin and soft tissue by hard activities as anybody else. So what can you look for if you decide have a day outdoors and face the dangers that you will come across that want to leave you bruised ,scratched, scraped, cut and itching from all the falls, knocks, stings and bites that most people experience when they are more used to spending their time indoors?
Bruises are caused by a knock, and can happen without you even being aware of it. The blood vessels get damaged and leak. If you notice it right away, you can lessen the degree of bruising by applying ice or cold water to constrict the capillaries and cut down the flow of blood leaking from them. Some people bruise easier than others, and excessive bruising for no apparent reason could be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition and you should see your doctor.
A bump, or lump, can appear for many reasons, but generally settles down after a while. It can simply be the body's reaction to a hard knock that did not damage the blood vessels, but prompted a natural swelling to protect the area. They can also be caused by insect bites. You don’t always see these little pests – they have lunch then zip off without you even being aware of it until the area begins to itch and swell. However, if you have a lump under the armpit, in your neck or behind your ears it could be a swollen gland and you should contact your physician.
Everybody gets minor scrapes now and again, and when you spend any time outside you can get bitten by insects such as mosquitoes, midges, blackflies, horse flies – you name it, they will lunch on you as on any other animals. You can also get stung by vegetable nasties, though if you do then look around for a remedy. Strangely, many stinging plants have another plant close by that can be used as a remedy. This is likely because, after being stung, people just rubbed whatever was handy on the area and eventually these remedies were discovered.
Thus, dock leaves are often found beside nettles, and touch-me-not beside poison ivy. These are good natural remedies for stings caused through contact with these particular plants, and there are many other natural remedies that can be used for the other everyday hurts that people receive just for carrying out normal activities outside in a natural environment. Let’s have a look at some of the natural remedies that people have used through the ages, and that are still used to this day, even in proprietary creams and salves.
Calendula, or marigold, is very effective in relieving skin irritations and inflammation. It can be applied topically to relieve the symptoms of bruises, cuts and scrapes, and also for the initial treatment of burns and scalds. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used on inflamed or infected cuts and skin lesions. These properties are believed to be due to the high level of flavonoids found in calendula that have anti-oxidant properties and help the immune function to do its work. Among these is the powerful Quercetin with its strong anti-histamine properties.
It also appears to possess anti-viral properties, though the reason for this is not clear and is still under investigation. Marigold also contains carotenoids and triterpene saponins, both of which will contribute to the medicinal effects. The dried flowers or leaves, or the fresh flowers, can be used and it is an old adage that pus will not form where marigold is used. It is also good for the treatment of insect bites and boils, where it appears to either prevent infection or clear up any that are there. It has also been proven to prevent the seeping of blood from the capillaries in scrapes, and to promote blood clotting.
Calendula was used during the First World War by British doctors to dress wounds and prevent infection. A dressing steeped in a mild solution of calendula extract was enough, and it likely saved many lives.
Another plant with similar properties is the alpine Arnica, which is useful to reduce the swelling and pain of bruises. It works simply by rubbing the leaves on the area when you have a fall or a hard knock. The active ingredients here are again flavonoids, and sesquiterpene lactones along with tannins, carotenoids and thymol. These, along with the flavonoids, stimulate the circulation and carry away any fluids trapped in bruises and swellings.
The sesquiterpene lactones act as anti-inflammatories and boost the immune system, helping to reduce swelling and pain. In fact terpenoid chemicals are common to many of the herbs and flowers that have found a use in the relief of pain in swelling and bruises. The same is true of Ledum, better known as Rosemary, traditionally used for the treatment of burns, ulcers dandruff, and dry skin and to get rid of lice among many other internal and topical applications.
The active ingredients of rosemary (ledum) include mono-, di- and triterpenes and also the ubiquitous flavonoids and camphor and linalool. If you wash down burns, grazes and cuts with a wash of ledum extract, then you will protect the patient from infection at the time when they are most vulnerable to infectious agents.
Hypericum has uses as an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, and is therefore useful for exactly the same conditions as all of the above. It also has astringent properties, so that like Calendula, Hypericum can be used to prevent the capillary seepage that frequently leads to infections. The active ingredients here are apparently flavonoids again, with their antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Considering that they are among the most common antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents in the plant world; it is no coincidence that flavonoids just happen to be contained in the vast majority of natural treatments for scratches, grazes and bruises. They reduce swelling, pain and inflammation, and also act as antiseptics by disrupting the cell walls of bacteria.
Hypericum is well known by its alternative name St. John’s Wort, where it is used in the treatment of depression. However, the active ingredients here are mainly hyperforin and hypericin, which have little to do with the topical benefits of the plant.
If you have suffered from insect bites and stings, then you would have been thankful had you brought some Apis Mellifica with you. Obtained from bees, this again contains terpenes among many other chemicals, and is used paradoxically in the treatment of bee stings and other insect stings and bites. It’s amazing how many of these old remedies contain terpenes of various types and also flavonoid chemicals. It is useful for most rashes that have raised puffy lumps, such as hives.
Finally, if you manage to stay out without getting any bruises, abrasions, scratches or bites, you will be very lucky. However, if you get sunburn through being out in the sun too long, just look around for some stinging nettle, or Urtica. The leaf contains polysaccharides and lectins that stop the production of prostaglandins in the body that cause inflammation. Your sunburn will ease and you be able to return home relatively symptom free from your day outdoors.
These natural remedies can be hard to find growing naturally due to many factors such as the time of year or your geographical location these herbs may grow in. Alternative sources are available at your local health food store where you can find all the above mentioned herbs in ointments and creams specifically formulated for your needs.
Digestive Enzymes To Improve Wellness For Kids
November 04, 2007 03:19 PM
It is very safe to say that most people experience some type of digestive difficulty, as digestive disturbances are very common, especially for those who do not practice healthy eating. The numerous advertisements for antacids and acid blockers clearly identify the degree of this problem. But, what about our children? It has been proven that kids are suffering from digestive problems more than ever before due to unhealthy eating habits and nutritionally deficient diets that are high in saturated fats and processed sugars and carbohydrates. The food that is served in school cafeterias often contains too much fried food and not enough fresh produce. Additionally, parents have to constantly fight a losing battle against advertisements for junk food. Many children follow in the footsteps of their parents, picking up the same bad eating habits, which frequently leads to poor digestion and health problems. Overeating, eating too fast, or not chewing food well hinders digestive capability leading to symptoms such as gas, heartburn, bloating, burping, bad breath, diarrhea, constipation, and general discomfort or fatigue after meals. Although these symptoms are common, they should not be considered normal as they are distress signals sent by our body telling us that the digestive process is not going smoothly and we are not receiving the full nutritional benefit of the food we eat. If digestion is not efficient or complete, inflammation may develop, which causes “leaky gut syndrome,” leading to various allergic reactions.
The brain is especially susceptible to protein fragments, which come from the incomplete digestion of grain gluten and dairy casein. Researchers believe that these fragments, which are called exorphins, are the main factors in the cognitive symptoms and abnormal behaviors of those kids with ADHD and autism. A recent study on thirty-six autistic children found that a majority of these children had digestive disorders including esophageal reflux and inflammation, gastritis, duodenitis and low carbohydrate digestive enzyme levels. Some doctors believe that seventy-five percent of the children that they treat have major deficiencies of pancreatic enzymes.
Enzymes are often called the spark of life or the missing link in nutrition because no plant or animal can exist without them. Digestive enzymes are protein catalysts which break down food so the body can absorb nutrients. Therefore, enzyme supplementation can be extremely helpful, especially when it is done in conjunction with dietary changes. And, yes, kids can take enzymes supplements, too. In children with digestive symptoms, enzyme supplements help to establish proper weight because better assimilation of nutrients helps growth and repair while still supporting a healthy metabolism. Digestive enzymes come in mild-potency enzyme formula which covers all of the food groups for children. Children should take a powder which is safest so there are no caps to swallow and chock on and powdered enzymes allow children to get their digestive enzymes through one scoop which can be added to your child’s favorite juice. Some formulas add potassium carbonate, this form of potassium adds a fun fizz to whatever beverage is used, but is not recommended in milk or water. Look for a powdered supplement that is sweetened with xylitol, a safe and natural sugar substitute which supports tooth and gum health. Since more children than ever suffer from the consequences of incomplete digestion, digestive enzymes are a safe and effective way to support digestion and assimilation of important nutrients into your child’s diet in an enjoyable way.
Take Charge Of Your Health With Herbal Bio-Identical hormones
November 04, 2007 03:17 PM
Bioidentical hormones assist women in overcoming acute menopausal symptoms, while improving skin. They help by strengthening bones, keeping the mind sharp, promoting energy and well-being, and helping to preserve vaginal tone and resist vaginal dryness. In men, these hormones add energy and vitality, while improving muscle tones and mental sharpness. Bioidentical hormones (BHRT) are exact duplicates of the hormones that are produced by the body. However, they are much more easily metabolized by the body into safe forms of estrogen than their counterparts, which stimulate toxic metabolites. When they are used in physiologic amounts, bioidenticals carry much fewer risks than synthetic hormones. However, despite the fact that research supports their use and proves them safe alternatives to prescription drugs, few physicians are actually using these hormones in their practices.
Those patients, who wish to address menopausal and andropause symptoms, or to achieve lifelong hormonal balance in order to prevent illness, often do not know where to go to find a comprehensive bioidentical hormone replacement program. Instead, they read whatever they can to formulate a plan and purchase various products that are available over the counter, often spending precious time and money on programs and products that don’t do what they’re expected to do. One of the most common errors among people is putting together a program based solely on symptoms instead of first checking hormone levels. Symptoms may overlap from one hormone pattern to another. If you try to replace or augment specific hormones without having an accurate test of the levels first, your results will seldom be good.
If your doctor is prescribing transdermal hormones, make sure to do a saliva self-test to measure your hormones levels as it is much more accurate and revealing than other types of tests. You can submit your samples to Mead Labs, where you will actually receive a telephone consultation from a health professional to interpret your results followed by a program of products prescribed especially for you from one of their medical professionals. With your own results, you can learn a lot about the exact state of your hormones instead of blindly guessing from symptoms which may be similar. For example, men may not need testosterone shots or transdermal patches, as the results may show estrogen dominance. The answer for this is not adding more testosterone, because the man could be converting testosterone into estrogen, but instead a program including special herbs and nutrients may be much more beneficial. No matter your gender, your health professional at Mead Labs will design a safe and effective program based solely on bioidentical hormones, herbs, and nutrients first. In the past years, when prescription, non-bioidentical HRT was used by any women with menopausal symptoms, there was no testing to find out what kind of imbalance was actually occurring. Proponents of BHRT are trying to ensure that this method of prescribing the same combination and amounts of medications to everyone is not used with natural hormones. Because hormone profiles and levels can vary significantly from person to person, even those people in the same gender, testing hormones levels and obtaining recommendations from a medical professional who is experienced in BHRT are the key points to ensure you benefit from this therapy.
Selecting the Right Probiotic is the Key to proper digestion
May 05, 2007 01:16 PM
Selecting the Right Probiotic is the Key
Do you ever think about what goes into your body each day? You should. One of the key to feeling good and being healthy s eating nutritious food and making sure our gastrointestinal (GI) tract has the tools it needs to optimally digest and absorb nutrients. The GI tract includes the stomach and intestines, which work to digest foods and eliminate waste.
A variety of “good” intestinal bacteria helps to keep the digestive system running. These “good” bacteria are called probiotic bacteria, or probiotics. Probiotics digest food, process waste, and keep the “bad” bacteria – which have the potential to cause disease and illness – in check.
This issue of Ask the Doctor will look at the probiotic bacteria that play an important role in maintaining our health and wellness: we need them, what they can do for us, and how to make sure we are getting enough. Also, we will talk about an exciting process that truly delivers probiotic bacteria taken in nutritional supplements. Encapsulated in a pearl-like sphere, they survive transport to the intestines, set up house, and exert their beneficial effects. As we will see, probiotic supplementation can help prevent and treat many different illnesses, unless the beneficial bacteria reach the intestines alive and active, the supplement is worthless.
Q. I thought bacteria were bad. How can bacteria be good for us?
A. Some kinds of bacteria do cause illnesses and disease in humans. “Strep” throat is an example of an illness caused by bacteria.
However, the majority of bacteria do not cause disease. In fact, there are types of bacteria that are actually beneficial. “Good” bacteria, known as probiotic bacteria, are used in the manufacturing of food and beverages. Some examples of foods that have probiotic food ingredients are buttermilk, yogurt, cheese, sausage, and acidophilus milk.
These same kinds of probiotic bacteria are present in our intestines and help to keep the digestive system running by digesting food and processing waste.
Q. What are probiotics?
A. Probiotics are live bacteria that are non-toxic and do not cause disease (non-pathogenic).
Some of the best-understood probiotic bacteria include members of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium groups. Because of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium’s ability to break down lactose, these probiotic bacteria are also known as lactic acid bacteria. Both of these types of probiotic bacteria are well studied and are available in both food and dietary supplements.
Q. Is there a difference between the probiotic bacteria that is found in yogurt, and in nutritional supplements?
A. Actually, the bacteria that are in yogurt, our intestine, and most natural supplements are the same types of probiotic bacteria, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria longum. Because of this, these bacteria are referred in a generic sense as probiotics. So, the term probiotics may refer to the “good” bacteria that are present in food or that live in our intestine, or that are part of a natural supplement.
Q. Where do these probiotic bacteria come from?
A. As recently as the middle of the last century, bacteria found naturally in food ingredients were used to make a fermented food product. For example, the example, the lactic acid bacteria found naturally in milk were used to make cheese. This was known as wild fermentation.
Wild fermentations are no longer used. Today, the probiotic bacteria used in food and natural supplements are harvested via a highly controlled fermentation process. This process results in high numbers of bacteria and ensures quality and purity of the bacteria.
A. Normal microflora (the term commonly used for intestinal bacteria) is associated with good health. An imbalance in this natural microflora (when the beneficial probiotics are outnumbered by the harmful bacteria) is frequently associated with various disease states such as yeast infections and colon cancer.
Eating foods or taking a nutritional supplement containing probiotic bacteria can help support and modify the composition of the large intestine microflora. Microflora of the large intestine assist digestion through fermentation (by making the intestines more inhospitable to invading bacteria species), protection against disease-causing bacteria, and stimulation of the immune system.
The probiotics, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, occupy a central role in the intestinal and provide health benefits.
Q. How do probiotic bacteria help with digestion?
A. Lactose is an important sugar that is converted to lactic acid by lactic acid bacteria. Lactose intolerance results from an inability to digest lactose, due to the failure of small intestine mucosal cells to produce lactase, an enzyme needed to digest lactose. This often results because of genetics, gastrointestinal disease, or because of the decline in the amount of intestinal lactase levels associated with aging. Lactase deficient people accumulate non-absorbed lactose in the gastrointestinal tract, which draws water and electrolytes into the gut and speeds waste through the intestines, leading to bloating, cramping, and diarrhea.
Approximately 50 million people in the
Lactic acid bacteria have been shown to help the breakdown of lactose, specifically by enhancing the activity of lactase (beta galactosidase), which improves lactose digestion and tolerance. Furthermore, in a randomized, controlled clinical trial, Bifidobacteria longum was shown to assist in the breakdown of lactose and relieve the symptoms of lactose intolerance (flatulence) in people with lactose intolerance.
Q. What is the difference between digestive enzymes and probiotics? Can they be taken together?
A. Digestive enzymes, such as protease, amalyse, and lipase, act upon food, breaking it down into simpler components that can be used by the body for energy. Without enzymes, digestion could not take place. Therefore, the food that we eat could not be absorbed and utilized by our bodies.
Probiotics help the enzymes to digest food and process waste. In essence, probiotic bacteria and enzymes work together to ensure that the digestive tract is running smoothly. When taken together, enzymes assure greater levels of digestion absorption of your food, and probiotic bacteria aid the enzymes in digestion and keep problems in check.
Q. Is helping to ensure a healthy digestive system the only use for probiotics?
A. Absolutely not! Probiotic bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, have been found to help prevent vaginal yeast infections in women that suffer from these reoccurring infections.
Approximately 35% of vaginal infections are caused by the yeast. Candida albicans, Candida, is a fungus that is a component of the normal gastrointestinal microflora. However, Candida must not be allowed to increase in numbers. An overgrowth is associated with adverse health effects like vaginal infections, oral thrush, or even serious systematic yeast infections. Probiotics have been shown to keep levels of Candida in check.
Probiotic bacteria have also been demonstrated to have anti-cancer properties. In baa clinical study, colon cancer patients given Lactobacillus acidophilus fermented milk showed a significant increase in numbers of intestinal Lactobacilli and a decrease in risk factors associated with colon cancer.
Patients suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can benefit from probiotic bacteria supplementation. Studies have shown that probiotic bacteria assist in maintaining remission in ulcerative colitis and preventing reoccurrence of Crohn’s disease. Manipulating the intestinal flora may prove to be more effective and better tolerated than the drugs that are conventionally given to treat these diseases. I one study, Lactobacillus acidophilus was found to improve the intestinal barrier and clinical status in children suffering from Crohn’s disease.
Probiotics supplementation can also improve and prevent skin disease, such as eczema. Studies have shown that probiotic bacteria can actually control inflammation associated with skin conditions. In one study, infants with eczema who were given probiotic-supplemented formulas showed a significant improvement in skin condition.
The chart below summarizes some of the diseases and conditions that probiotic bacteria can help prevent and/or improve.
Q. How often should probiotics be taken to ensure optimal support of the digestion system?
A. Probiotic bacteria do not permanently colonize in the body. They need to be replenished by the consumption of foods containing probiotic bacteria or by taking a probiotic natural supplement. Whatever form you choose to replenish the intestinal probiotics, they need to be ingested daily for their health-promoting effects to continue.
Q. If I take a probiotic nutritional supplement, how many bacteria should a good quality supplement contain?
A. The critical factor is not how many bacteria that a supplement contains, but rather how many bacteria reach the intestines healthy, vigorous, and ready to work.
A good quality supplement will deliver at least 3 billion living, healthy probiotic bacteria per dose to your intestines. The bacteria in the probiotic natural supplement should be a mixture of both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria.
Again, the critical key to a good quality probiotic supplement is that the bacteria must be alive to work. Only living probiotic bacteria can colonize in the intestines. A good quality probiotic nutritional supplement will have GUARANTEED levels of live bacteria at the point of consumption. Inferior brands will merely state levels of live bacteria at the point of manufacture.
Recently, a private laboratory tested various probiotic nutritional supplements in the marketplace, including one utilizing a new process that encapsulates the bacteria in a spherical, pearl-like coating. Each of these supplements were best-selling brands, two of them were enteric coated, and all had label guarantees about potency. The lab counted the levels claimed by each manufacturer.
Q. Then how do I know I am getting what I pay for?
A. First, look for a product that has a “use by” date or an “expiration” date clearly stated on the package.
It is also important to look for a probiotic supplement that does not require refrigeration. Probiotic supplements that require refrigeration often have been subjected to warm temperatures during shipment and storage that will inevitably kill off some or all of the bacteria.
It is also important that the product label guarantees live bacteria at the time of purchase, not at the time of shipment or manufacturing. However, from the laboratory test discussed, we see that sometimes these written guarantees are not worth the paper they are written on. There is one scientifically validated process that truly delivers live and vigorous bacteria to the intestine. This process suspends the probiotic bacteria in a moist paste and immediately seals the bacteria in a perfectly seamless, spherical, gelatin ball. This bacterial paste is completely protected from air and dryness so the bacteria are alive until the specialized gelatin dissolves – in the intestines.
Q. Why is it important to dissolve only in the intestine?
A. Lactic acid bacteria are not very resistant to the acids of the stomach. The harsh environment of the stomach destroys the majority of these bacteria.
This pearly-like coating technology protects bacteria from the stomach acid. The sphere is specially developed to only dissolve in the intestines. Enteric coating is not enough as it does nothing to protect the bacteria while they wait for purchase on the shelf.
Q. What does this proprietary coating technology mean to me?
A. This specialized process is an expensive processing step, but it has many advantages to you.
The pearl-shaped spheres actually “seal” the bacteria in the capsule, which protects them from air. Probiotic bacteria are anaerobic, meaning they do not require oxygen to live. In fact, the presence of oxygen can actually injure or kill probiotic bacteria. In addition, the special coating’s ability to seal the bacteria in the capsule stimulates the need for the nutritional supplement to be refrigerated – though they can be kept in the refrigerator, if desired.
By protecting the bacteria on the shelf and in the stomach, the probiotic bacteria successfully reach the intestine. As a result, there will be a greater number of healthy, intact bacteria that can colonize in the intestine.
Many health care practitioners believe all health issues are related in some way to the process of digestion. Probiotics play a crucial role in improving our digestive health, which, in turn, is interconnected to every single function in our bodies.
Taking a probiotic supplement is an excellent way to replenish the good bacteria in your intestinal microflora. A quality probiotic product contains two different types of bacteria from Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species with at least one billion live bacteria per dose.
But how do you know the bacteria re still alive? Look at the package. If there is no fate stamp, put it down. If it says the company guarantees there was a certain number alive at the time of manufacture, put it down. Tat means that the company is not willing to claim the bacteria are alive when delivered to the target site, the intestine. If the product must be constantly refrigerated, put it down. How do you know it didn’t sit in a truck for two days, or was in a warehouse before it was shipped to the health food store?
Find a probiotic that says the bacteria are guaranteed to be alive in the numbers stated on the label until the printed on the package. Find a product using unique, cutting edge science to deliver the probiotic bacteria in a form that uses spherical, sealed, triple coating to protect the bacteria. That company has gone to extra time and expense to make sure you reap the benefits that probiotics can offer.
Your Cells Supercharge Your Cells
December 20, 2005 11:30 AM
Your Cells Supercharge Your Cells
The differences between aging and growing old are poles apart. Sure, they may sound similar in nature. But when you think about it, the two are as different as night and day. Growing old is about retirement and travel and enjoying what you’ve worked an entire life for. Aging, on the other hand, summons images of wrinkled skin, brittle joints, cloudy minds and medicine cabinets full of prescriptions. It’s safe to assume that the majority of us want to look, live, and feel better as we grow old. Not the opposite. Many of us are on the right track - committed to a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a well-balanced diet. And yes, these do serve as a solid foundation for good health during our golden years. It is our cells, however, that ultimately determine who grows old, and who just ages.
Still, slowing the proverbial hands of time is not all about health clubs and organic produce. If you want to grow old gracefully, you must nurture the ten trillion cells that defi ne you physically. Why? Because these cells are constantly under attack by free radicals - unstable molecules that either lack, or have an unpaired number of electrons. They scour the body in search of stable cells, and do whatever they can to rob them of their electrons, a process more formally known as oxidation. Considering that it’s environmentally impossible to completely avoid contact with the billions of airborne toxins that cause free radicals, the only other option is to safeguard your healthy cells. Making the commitment to a healthy lifestyle is the fi rst step in the process, and can be accomplished by eating healthier foods, exercising on a regular basis, and paying close attention to what you are exposed to environmentally.
The next step is to nourish and protect your cells. The best way to do this is to consume foods that are rich in antioxidants and other cell-friendly nutrients. Unfortunately, this task is often much easier said than done. Today’s average adult is busier than ever, making it far more diffi cult to consume fresh, unprocessed meals 100% of the time. This does not, however, imply that all hope is lost. Over the years, the nutritional sciences have made stunning advances that afford you the opportunity to live your life while still safeguarding the integrity of your most basic building blocks. Here are a few of the best.
Antioxidants work at the cellular level to paralyze the free radicals that cause oxidation throughout the body. Some of today’s most popular nutrients and dietary supplements fall into this category. They include vitamins A, E, and C, Selenium, Zinc, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Lycopene, Lutein, CoQ10, in addition to a host of others. And though similar in function, each of these free radical fi ghters has a unique role within the body.
Take CoQ10 for example. It’s present in every cell of the body, and is especially important for cardiovascular support. Lutein has been used extensively to prevent oxidation in the macular regions of the eyes. Zinc is a powerful immune system booster that has become extremely popular during cold and fl u season. Alpha Lipoic Acid is both fat and water soluble, and is commonly referred to as the “universal” antioxidant based on its ability to quench free radicals anywhere in the body.
Immune Boosting Herbs
Herbs such as Astragalus, Olive Leaf, Rhodiola, Echinacea, Panax Ginseng and Ashwaganda have been used for centuries to help support healthy cells and strong, responsive immune systems. They’ve also been shown to exhibit natural synergistic effects when used together. Today, they remain one of the most popular ways to naturally promote all-around wellbeing. When it comes to supporting healthy cells, NOW is pleased to offer one of the best selections of antioxidants, herbs and immune support formulas. Be sure to look for these and other great products at fi ne health food retailers, nationwide.*
OPCs (proanthocyanidins) are high-powered polyphenol antioxidants that belong to the fl avonoid family. Grape seed extract, pine bark extracts such as pycnogenol and enzogenol, bilberry, gingko biloba, resveratrol and others all fall into this category. Research continues to suggest that OPCs work in the same manner that traditional antioxidants do, however their ability to eradicate free radicals is much greater and more versatile. Equally appealing, OPCs can easily cross the blood barrier of the brain to help protect brain and neural tissues from the damage caused by oxidative stress.
Throughout history, many civilizations have relied on organic mushroom extracts to encourage wellness. What we know now is that mushrooms such as Shiitake, Maitake, Reishi and others are rich in 1,3 Beta-glucans - soluble fi ber compounds that help support both innate and adaptive immunity. In addition, the active compounds in some mushrooms have been shown to stimulate the production of microphages, T cells, and other natural killer cells. These biological warriors serve at the front line when it comes to responding to bacterial attacks. They are of immeasurable value to the immune system, though drastically lacking in today’s average diet. In just the past few years, more and more healthconscious individuals have learned fi rst-hand how benefi cial they can be in the preservation of healthy cells.
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.
July 14, 2005 05:05 PM
Capsicum, Infection and Immune Power
June 23, 2005 11:29 AM
Capsicum, Infection and Immune Power
Capsicum not only stimulates organ secretion and circulation, it has a tonic effect on the immune system, making the body less vulnerable to microorganism invaders. Dr. John R. Christopher writes of an artist who observed that natives of Coyoacan, Mexico seemed to be particularly resistant to intestinal infection. He writes: “He [the artist] observed that the natives had a remarkable immunity to amoebic dysentery due to their fondness of raw chile peppers which they ingested in tremendous quantities as part of their normal diet.”69 In addition to intestinal infections, Capsicum has significant value for upper respiratory ailments including colds, influenza, s o re throats etc. Because it can increase blood flow to peripheral tissues, it insures the better deliver and assimilation of nutrients which are required by infected areas in order to heal quickly. This same action enhances the re m oval of waste material and tox i n s from inflamed areas thereby facilitating faster recovery. Whatever area of the body is afflicted, it is imperative that blood supply is adequately infused over the region. The constituents of the immune system which include macrophages, T-cells, etc., are blood-borne, there fore the better capillary delive ry of blood, the faster the healing process can occur.
A study published in 1994 found that Capsicum even had the ability to exe rt an anti-giardia effect in vitro.7 0 The effect of Capsicum was so impressive that a notation was made that its performance was considered superior to tinidazol (the pharmaceutical drug used to treat Giardia).71
The Preventive Power of Capsicum
Taking daily doses of Capsicum can help to protect the body f rom colds, flu, sore throats, other bacterial or viral infections, h e a rt disease, indigestion and fatigue.72 Capsicum is frequently combined with Garlic to create a potent immune system fortifier. Capsicum for Fatigue and Depression The natural stimulatory action of capsicum can provide better performance under conditions of stress. Laboratory studies involving animals which were stressed under a variety of conditions, performed better if Capsicum was added to their diet the day before testing.73 In addition, this study discovered that Capsicum was not as effective if taken two to three days prior to evaluation, indicating that its results were short-lived.74
Other studies found that the ability of Capsicum to stimulate circulation and respiratory reflexes may help to enhance physiologic performance under periods of stress or fatigue.7 5 Scientists in France have accrued additional evidence that taking Capsicum does indeed help to counteract fatigue.76 In addition to physical stress, mental disorders like depression may also respond to the stimulating effect of Capsicum. Ma n y health practitioners look upon depression as a “slowing down” of brain impulses and neurochemical reactions. Because Capsicum can increase peripheral blood flow and promote cellular function, its usage for mental disorders like depression should be further evaluated. Traditionally, pungent aromatics like clove have been utilized through aroma therapy to uplift the spirits and invigorate the mind. Capsicum works much in the same way. “Cayenne or Capsicum helps to stimulate circulation and has an energizing effect on the system. It has traditionally been used for ove rcoming fatigue and restoring stamina and vigor. It is considers a natural stimulant without the side effects of most stimulating agents.”77
Cleanse That Body!
June 14, 2005 11:59 AM
Cleanse That Body! by Lisa James Energy Times, January 6, 2005
When toxins accumulate in your tissues, you can become fuzzy and sluggish. Here's how a New Year's internal cleansing can make you feel fresh and energized.
What's your New Year's resolution? Losing weight? Getting fit? Kicking the [fill-in-the-blank] habit? Whatever the shape of your dreams for 2005, it won't be easy launching a self-improvement program unless you give your body a fresh start. Where to begin? Detoxification-an internal cleansing that can supply the energy you need to succeed in achieving your goals.
No one can avoid toxins in our contaminated world, so many of us suffer from toxic overload, which can lead to fatigue, digestive problems and reduced immune function. " When we get out of balance, we get congested and toxic," says Elson Haas, MD, founder of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, California (www.elsonhaas.com), and author of The New Detox Diet (Celestial Arts), "and our bodies' regular elimination systems cannot keep up with it. We have problems with our skin, our intestines, our sinuses. We also become deficient in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Most people have both congestion and deficiency, and they would benefit greatly from detoxification."
Toxins Within, Toxins Without
Life's fundamental activities-breathing, eating, walking around-generate waste in the form of free radicals, the unstable molecules that can ravage cells and tissues. What's more, Dr. Haas says that just "being under stress, being afraid, being anxious all produce more free radicals in the body" (like when a work deadline hits on the same day your car dies). When you add to your internal toxins all the noxious items coming from the outside, including the dietary ones, the recipe is very unhealthy.
" People are making poor choices in what they're putting in their mouths," says Dr. Haas. "They're taking in too much refined flour and sugar. There's a common problem in our country I call 'obese malnutrition'-people eating too many calories and not getting enough nutrition. People do a lot of junky fats and have a deficiency in the essential fatty acids that help protect cells."
Our bodies are also awash in manmade poisons such as food preservatives and additives, and residues from pesticides and herbicides. "The amount of toxic chemicals we are exposed to in our environment is staggering," says Susan Lark, MD, clinical nutrition expert and author of The Chemistry of Success (Bay Books). She notes that the average American is exposed to 14 pounds of such assorted chemical junk each year.
The body, however, does do its own housekeeping-and all of our cells detoxify every second of every day. "It's always a balance of garbage in, garbage out," says Dr. Haas, who has 30 years of experience in helping people detoxify. "Some of the toxins we break down into smaller components, some we just dump into the intestines for elimination."
Problems arise when there's more dirt than the internal maid service can sweep away. Dr. Lark notes that toxins wind up being stored in cells, especially fat cells, where they can hang out for years. When they are finally released "during times of low food intake, exercise or stress" complaints can range from tiredness to dizziness (sound familiar?).
That's where detoxification comes in, says Dr. Haas: "I think detoxification is a vital health care tool, particularly in this day and age when people are exposed to too many chemicals."
The process of detoxification starts with cleansing the intestinal system. Alternative health practitioners observe that discombobulated bowels can become overly permeable (a condition called leaky gut syndrome) and allow in all sorts of things that they shouldn't, such as semi-digested food particles, leading to inflammation and complaints that include rashes and joint pain.
Cleansing can be as simple as cutting down on what Dr. Haas calls the SNACCs-Sugar, Nicotine, Alcohol, Caffeine and Chemicals-or as thorough as a complete diet-and-supplement program with colonic irrigation (a sort of super-enema, professionally administered; if you're interested, contact the International Association of Colon Hydrotherapy at 210-366-2888 or www.i-act.org). The more powerful the program, though, the more likely you are to experience toxicity reactions such as nausea and headaches because of the volume of material being released. As Dr. Haas puts it:
" If you did water and green salads for a week, you'd detoxify more intensely than if you just gave up sugar and white flour." If you're feeling extremely rundown, take a gentle approach at first or consult a nutritionally aware practitioner, especially if you have a preexisting medical condition.
Getting more fiber is essential. Laurel Vukovic, a natural health teacher and author of 14-Day Herbal Cleansing (Prentice Hall), suggests following this daily regimen for two weeks: a teaspoon of psyllium (a fiber supplement); at least seven daily servings of fruits and vegetables, especially fiber-rich ones like apples, cabbage and carrots; and six glasses of water, along with daily exercise. Extra fiber "supports the intestines in eliminating the larger amounts of toxins that are released," says Vukovic, "prevent[ing] their reabsorption into the bloodstream." Some people find premixed cleansing formulas convenient; check your health food store shelves.
Fasting is a more intense detox approach that, according to Dr. Haas, "promotes relaxation and energization of the body, mind and emotions, and supports a greater spiritual awareness." He especially recommends fasting in the spring and autumn, which are times of transition. Some people do water-only fasts, but fresh vegetable juices are probably a better option, particularly if you haven't fasted before. Juices and plenty of fresh water also help cleanse the kidneys, another vital detox route.
Instead of juices you can use a special cleansing formula, such as the Spring Master Cleanser: 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup and 1/10 teaspoon cayenne pepper in 8 ounces of spring water. Dr. Haas recommends drinking eight to 12 glasses daily (and rinsing your mouth after each glass to protect your teeth from lemon's acids), augmented by water, laxative herb tea, and peppermint or chamomile tea.
Try fasting for a day to see how you feel. Dr. Haas suggests starting out by fasting from early evening through the night, and eating a light breakfast the following day. Subsequent fasts can gradually increase in length-experienced fasters may go up to two weeks without food.
Break your fast properly; for juice or cleansing formula fasts, eat a raw or cooked low-starch vegetable, such as spinach or other greens. "Go slowly, chew well and do not overeat or mix too many foods at any meal," says Dr. Haas.
Don't forget your liver, the organ that transforms noxious chemicals into substances your body can eliminate. The herb milk thistle, used since ancient times as a liver tonic, contains silymarin, which protects the liver from pollutants and helps it renew itself after toxic damage. Dandelion not only promotes the flow of bile from the liver, which helps clean out the junk, but also acts as a diuretic, helping the kidneys do their job. Green-food supplements, such as spirulina and cereal grasses, help neutralize toxins.
To maintain your cleansing gains, eat a healthy diet after detoxing. Focus on fresh organic foods, especially produce, beans and peas, whole grains and seeds (add organic poultry if you eat meat). Organic yogurt provides healthful probiotics, while fresh fish and ground flaxseeds provide omega-3 fats.
Clean Living Pays
The body's largest organ-the skin-provides a valuable contaminant exit path. Sitting in a hot tub or sauna "benefits the internal organs of detoxification," according to Dr. Lark, "by lessening the amount of toxins they must process." When sweatin' out the bad stuff, drink plenty of water and replace the calcium, magnesium and potassium lost through perspiration.
Another way to stimulate skin circulation is dry brushing, which also removes dead skin cells for a healthy glow (and is easier to fit into a daily routine). Using "a moderately soft, natural vegetable-fiber bristle brush" (Dr. Lark's suggestion), work in from the hands and up from the feet with light, short strokes that always move towards the heart. Vukovic says that a hot towel scrub is another option; put three drops of lavender essential oil in a basin of very hot water, dip in a rough terry washcloth and wring out, and then rub the skin briskly, starting with your feet and working your way up.
Once you've detoxified your body, you can start in on your immediate surroundings. Dr. Haas warns against using plastic food storage containers: "When food is heated in plastics some of the plastic material ends up in the food, especially if the food contains acids." Use glass containers instead. He also recommends avoiding aluminum pots and pans, and using stainless steel as an alternative.
Dr. Haas has seen what a good detox program can do: "It's amazing the kind of results people get-looking and feeling younger, more vital and healthy. They say, 'I'm sleeping like a baby,' they have fewer aches and pains. They have more peace in their bodies. I think detoxification is one of the keys to preventive medicine." So cleanse that body and let detoxification bring balance and renewal to your life.
Power Meals - Shakes, smoothies and bars help make getting good nutrition easy.
June 14, 2005 08:28 AM
by Phyllis D. Light, RH Energy Times, March 12, 2004
Choices, choices, choices: For convenience, nutrition and either low-calorie or low-carb dieting, you now have an enviable range of choices. Shakes, smoothies and bars help make getting good nutrition easy.
Whatever your inclination, drinks and bars offer a shortcut to daily nutrition without cooking. And whether you use them as meal replacements, diet aids or healthy snacks, these power meals fill you up without filling you out.
That's the main reason these items have grown in popularity in natural food stores among the nutritionally knowledgeable searching for healthier alternatives to fast food.
No matter how hectic your day, you have no excuses anymore for missing your daily required antioxidants and minerals. Either select a bar suited to your taste, or put your blender or food processor to work in creating drinks that use fresh fruits and veggies, yogurt, low-fat milk or ice and protein powders for maximum nutritional output.
Quality note: always be sure to use organic foods for the best nutritional content, flavor and taste.
Prepared protein shake mixes and bars are ideal for losing weight, expanding personal energy or building muscle. Protein mixes are available in an assortment of flavors that are generally high in amino acids (protein building blocks) and low in carbohydrates. Of course if you are on a low-carb diet, forsake putting fruits and vegetables in your shakes; these items are too high in carbohydrates.
What's more, bars not only provide a wealth of different tastes, but different bars are also tailored to different needs-whether you're seeking to lose weight, gain muscle or replace a meal, there's a bar out there just for you.
If you use power shakes as meal replacements and you are on a low-carbohydrate diet, make sure the drink supplies plenty of protein and few carbohydrates. If you use either shakes or bars to replace one or more meals during the day, take a fiber supplement in addition. Fiber, which contains no calories, helps speed food through your digestive tract and may lower your risk of heart disease and cancer (Lancet 5/2/03).
And remember: powders and bars should also be low in sugars and saturated fats. The weight-loss benefit: If you drink high-protein shakes or eat bars that taste good and leave you feeling satisfied, you'll have a better chance of sticking to your diet long enough to lose a significant amount of weight.
Drink to Lose
Research into weight loss has established protein shakes and bars as reliable diet aids. A study of 100 dieters between the age of 35 and 65 found that people who drank a daily soy protein shake lost more than 14 pounds each in three months (Eur J Clin Nutr 2003; 57:514). And in a study reported in the Journal of American Dietetic Association (3/01), folks who had a protein shake in place of one daily meal lost almost twice as much weight over 12 weeks than those who ate their regular food with the same amount of calories.
Drinking your breakfast in the form of a protein shake can both increase your metabolism and help curb your appetite for the rest of the day.
Researchers at Harvard University found that metabolism rose faster after eating a high-protein breakfast and that blood-sugar levels stayed high for about six hours after the meal (AHA Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and and Prevention, 3/6/03). In comparison, when a sugary breakfast is consumed, blood-sugar levels rise quickly but fall rapidly, causing fatigue, tiredness and sleepiness.
Protein shakes are especially effective when you are on a weight-loss plateau, trying to lose those last few tenacious pounds. (But shakes, smoothies and bars should not be your only meals of the day. Eat at least one low-calorie meal daily to supply nutrients that may not be in your shakes or bars.)
Made with fruits and vegetables, smoothies are a tasty way of getting extra amounts of nutrients and soluble fiber. Using low-fat milk, yogurt, buttermilk or kefir, plus ice, creates a tempting and wholesome blend that lights up the taste buds. Powdered mixes can be used for added protein.
Fruits and vegetables in your smoothies not only fill you up on relatively few calories, but they boost your energy and supply plenty of bioflavonoids (healthy, natural chemicals from plants), antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
The fiber in smoothies can help reduce cholesterol, relieve constipation and aid in the prevention of high blood pressure. For reduced calories and added heart health benefits, low-fat or no-fat milk products can be used in place of cream or regular milk in most recipes. For the best taste sensation, combine sour and sweet fruits together.
Adding raw fruits and vegetables to smoothies provides natural enzymes that help with digestion and act as catalysts in hundreds of chemical reactions throughout the body. (You can also take enzymes in supplemental form.) Enzymes are not present in cooked foods since the heat of cooking destroys them.
Nutrition for Kids
If you have trouble getting your children to eat their fruits and vegetables, try giving them smoothies. Children can't resist these naturally sweet and healthy creations.
According to Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions (New Trends Publishing), smoothies should be "high in quality, contain healthy fats, be naturally sweet, and contain fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables."
Fallon also believes children should consume what are called lacto-fermented foods, including yogurt and kefir, which are aged to contain the kinds of friendly bacteria that normally live within our digestive tracts. For kids, Fallon also encourages the use of cream or cultured milk to ensure adequate fat and calcium, so important for the development of growing bodies.
Smoothies are an interactive drink as far as children are concerned, since they love to help blend them. For extra nutrition power, add nutritional yeast, nut butters or ground flaxseeds. These supply additional vitamins and minerals, along with healthy fats. You can also add silken tofu to bump up the protein content. If your child is lactose intolerant, try mixing smoothies with rice milk, soy milk or juice.
Bars Designed With A Woman's Needs in Mind
The modern woman is a multitasking wonder, constantly juggling work and home responsibilities. So it's no wonder that bars aimed at women are among the most popular bars there are. Many women, in eyeing the bathroom scale, shortchange themselves of the nutrients they need. That's why a woman's bar needs to provide minerals like calcium, a bone-building necessity.
Women also need to ensure that a bar contains enough of the B vitamins, particularly folate. This is especially true if a woman is pregnant, or wants to be: Folate is crucial in helping to prevent neural tube birth defects.
Folate also teams up with two other B vitamins, B6 and B12, to control homocysteine. This protein metabolism byproduct, when present in excessive amounts, is associated with heart disease.
Another popular ingredient in women's bars is soy, which has been duly recognized for its heart benefits. Studies also indicate that soy may help keep bones strong. (Not to mention the fact that the moisture soy holds helps make a bar's texture that much more appealing!)
The Protein Game
If you are unsure about how much protein you need each day, you are not alone. Are you getting too much, not enough, or just enough? Most people need between 45 and 60 grams of protein daily, and most protein shakes contain about 14 and 20 grams of protein per serving (check your labels). No matter what your nutritional needs are, you may find an answer in a smoothie, shake or bar. When it comes to power nutrition, tasting is believing!
Home on the Range
June 13, 2005 03:52 PM
Home on the Range
by Janis Jibrin, RD Energy Times, September 5, 1999
Got chicken? Americans can't seem to get enough of this bird. Last year each of us ate, on average, just about 80 pounds of chicken, a whopping increase over the 49 pounds we each devoured in 1980 and an eight-pound increase from 1995. Part of this food's popularity comes from its lean image as a healthier, less fatty alternative to red meat (don't forget to take the fatty skin off). Chicken's also a cheap protein source: At many popular supermarkets you'll find weekly specials at about a dollar a pound.
But at health food markets, chicken can cost upwards of $1.69 a pound. These birds may be touted as raised in an organic, stress-free environment and on a vegetarian diet, free of antibiotics. For many people, this poultry is a better buy.
The Alternative Chicken
Most of the supermarket chicken you pick up in grocery refrigerated cases are broilers, birds bred to mature in about eight weeks. In comparison, in the '60s, chickens needed 14 weeks to become adult poultry. Conventionally-raised broilers eat grain mixed with whatever's cheapest on the market, such as recycled cooking oil that's been used to fry fast foods and animal parts.
These birds reside in chicken coops the size of football fields and don't see the light of day until transported to the slaughterhouse. On the other roost, alternatively raised chickens are brought up in a variety of ways (see box), but usually enjoy a more relaxed life and diet.
Chickens on the farm receive antibiotics for two reasons: To fight off the diseases that can run rampant through a crowded chicken coop and to encourage faster growth.
Antibiotics Stimulate Growth
Mark Cook, PhD, professor of animal science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, explains, "Gut bacteria trigger an immune system assault, which makes chickens a little feverish, suppresses appetite and slows growth. Antibiotics stimulate growth indirectly, by keeping bacteria levels down, and preventing the immune reaction." When birds get sick, they often get dosed with even more antibiotics.
This widespread antibiotic use has come home to roost and may contribute to the growth of bacteria that, frequently exposed to chemicals, have evolved ways to keep from being killed by pharmaceuticals.
This development threatens human health. Bacterial infections that people contract, once easily cured by penicillin or other drugs, are now tougher to eradicate. For instance, campylobactor, a common bacteria found in chicken, and responsible for some food poisonings, now demonstrates signs of resistance to drugs like floroquinolones. A powerful class of antibiotics, floroquinolones used to dependably conquer this infection.
"Floroquinolones are an extremely important class of antibiotics, used to treat many types of infections such as urinary tract infection, a wide variety of gastrointestinal illnesses, pneumonia, almost everything," says Kirt Smith, DVM, PhD, epidemiologist, acute disease epidemiology section, Minnesota Department of Health.
A study by Dr. Smith, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (340, 1999: 1525-32), showed that the percent of floroquinolone-resistant campylobactor appearing in infected people in his state-Minnesota-climbed from a little over 1% in infected people during 1992 to 10.2% in 1998. He and other scientists strongly suspect that the rise is a direct consequence of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) decision to allow floroquinolones in poultry feed beginning in 1995.
Although it was nearly impossible for Dr. Smith to trace the precise origin of campylobactor poisoning, he believes chicken was usually the source-and not just U.S. chicken. Many of the infected people had returned from Mexico and other countries.
"Sales of floroquinolones for poultry use in Mexico has increased dramatically," notes Dr. Smith.
Many alternative chicken producers do not use any antibiotic-laced feed at all. Other farmers adjust the feed to lower gut pH, making it more acidic and lowering chances of bacteria. At the U. of Wisconsin, Dr. Cook is developing antibodies to suppress the immune response to bacteria so chickens won't need antibiotics to spur growth. Buying and dining on chicken raised with little or no antibiotics could beneficially lower your risk of contracting a hardy bacterial infection. Better to catch campylobactor from an antibiotic-free chicken than a conventional chicken, speculates Dr. Cook. "There's less likelihood the bug will be resistant, and a better chance your problem can be cured with antibiotics," he explains.
And, looking beyond your own immediate health risk, buying antibiotic-free chicken makes a small contribution to stopping the spread of antibiotic resistant bugs. A Matter of Taste Conventionally raised chickens get little exercise and live only eight weeks, so they're tender but bland.
"There's not much taste in a modern chicken. Free range or organically grown, older birds usually have more taste," notes Dr. Cook.
The days of barnyard chickens happily clucking and strutting around in picturesque nature have disappeared with the family farm. Today, chickens lead a meager existence. After hatching, baby chicks are tossed into a gigantic hen house that is home to up to 30,000 birds. Their short lives are lived within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandated 3/4 square foot per chicken. In that squeeze, birds can catch "chicken influenza," especially in winter when it's too cold to let in much fresh air.
Laying hens don't experience much more of a peaceful existence. These birds live their years with about five other hens, so crowded they can't flap their wings. Cages, suspended in the air, let eggs roll into a holding area. So they don't peck each other, hens are often debeaked, a painful process that can cause infection.
Hens go through natural laying and "dry" cycles. Growers manipulate this cycle by "forced molting," depriving hens of food for four to 14 days to keep them constantly laying. By the end of two years, hens are worn out. Their inactivity weakens their bones enough that electrical stunning, the usual method for knocking chickens out before slaughter, shatters their bones. So some wind up being plucked and boiled alive, according to Mary Finelli, program director for farm animals and public health at the Humane Society of the United States. The meat from these hens, tougher than other birds, was probably in your deli lunch sandwich. It's also used in the school lunch program or may end up in dog food.
"Generally, organically-grown broilers and hens have it better because room to move is part of the organic certification process," says Finelli. Finelli suggests visiting chicken suppliers to find out how chickens are treated. Or, she advocates a Humane Society book listing reliable firms. For a local producer call the society: 202-452-1100. According to a Consumer Report report, some growers force chickens out the last week of their lives to brand them "free range." So free range isn't a prime standard for choosing a decently raised chicken. However, turkeys thrive outdoors, so choosing free-range turkey is often a good idea for better tasting poultry.
In any case, organic is your best bet for chicken without pesticides. Make it your main choice for your 80 pound yearly consumption!
To fight cruel treatment of poultry:
• Forced Molting Ban. Forced molting is shocking hens for more eggs. To support petitions banning forced molting write: Docket Manage-ment Branch, FDA, Dept. Health & Human Serv-ices, 12420 Parklawn Drive, Room 1-23, Rock-ville, MD 20857. Include docket # 98P-0203/CP
• Downed Animal Protection Bill (House Bill 443, Senate Bill S515) spares some animals from the tortuous journey from chicken house to slaughterhouse. Mandates humane euthanization.