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Chronic Illness and eating healthy
November 09, 2007 12:43 PM
Chronic illness which exhibits itself as a recurring disease, with lingering and lasting symptoms is a growing pandemic amongst people today. The question is how much of this is due to neglect on the basics of healthy living? Today’s fast paced life style could be a factor for these reoccurring problems. For example, we pride ourselves on keeping five things in the air at the same time; this has caused us to slip from eating three healthy meals per day to drinking a slim fast or popping a diet pill to keep going. Moving away from proper diet and nutrition may be the reason our bodies are breaking down today resulting in chronic illnesses.
Whether you are free from or burdened by illness it is time to take charge of your health! The first thing one can do is basic research. Studies on dietary supplements in scientific and medical research are an ongoing process both in the United States and internationally. If you are interested in finding citations on a particular chronic illness or research that is available I recommend looking at government agencies such as (i) The Office of Dietary Supplements, (ii) The National Institutes of Health (NIH), (iii) The National Agricultural Library (NAL), and (iv) United States Department of agriculture (USDA). It is also possible to obtain research abstracts from different major databases such as MEDLINE for biomedical related articles and AGRICOLA for botanical and agricultural science. To find these different databases and governmental agencies, search google using the respective agency/database name.
Research shows that stress reduction can help to improve energy levels, improve sleep quality, and reduce high blood pressure. The following are some suggestions for reducing stress:
1. Weight lifting is not just about barbells and muscle-building but about stressing the body as a means for relieving stress.
2. Cardiovascular exercises such as jogging and bicycling.
3. Exercise is helpful by increasing blood flow to the brain, release of hormones, stimulates the nervous system and produces a feeling of well being.
Eating healthy including supplementation
1. Vitamin C or ascorbic acid has the ability to boost the immune system. Vitamin C also helps to produce neurotransmitters by converting L-Tyrosine into dopamine. Along with dopamine, ascorbic acid also synthesizes norepinephrine and serotonin which have been found to be directly related to control anxiety and depression.
2. B-Vitamins are also the important for reducing stress. For example, Niacin (Vitamin B3) helps the body fight stress in three ways, (i) controls blood sugars, (ii) improves blood flow and (iii) regulates the release of energy from carbohydrates.
Stress is a state of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors which are an unavoidable effect of living. Stress has been linked to coronary heart disease, psychosomatic disorders and various other mental and physical problems. Reducing stress is essential and can be done through diet and exercise. Nutritional science studies the relationship between diet and states of health and disease. Nutritional science has found human nutrition is very complex and varies widely and proper nutrition cannot be obtained by simply eating three meals a day because quite simply the average person just does not eat well. If you eat less than five servings of fruits and vegetables daily it is impossible to obtain all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs. In order to seek assurance that you are getting all your body needs I suggest you take a good multiple vitamins which supplies at least 100 percent of the daily value for various vitamins and minerals. It is a good idea however to discuss with your doctor the best choices as he or she knows your history and specific health needs best.
Chloride: The Forgotten Essential Mineral
November 20, 2005 07:54 AM
Chloride: The Forgotten Essential Mineral
Chloride is an “essential” mineral for humans. It is abundant in ionic trace mineral preparations. It is a major mineral nutrient that occurs primarily in body fluids. Chloride is a prominent negatively charged ion of the blood, where it represents 70% of the body’s total negative ion content. On average, an adult human body contains approximately 115 grams of chloride, making up about 0.15% of total body weight.1 The suggested amount of chloride intake ranges from 750 to 900 milligrams per day, based on the fact that total obligatory loss of chloride in the average person is close to 530 milligrams per day. As the principle negatively charged ion in the body, chloride serves as one of the main electrolytes of the body. Chloride, in addition to potassium and sodium, assist in the conduction of electrical impulses when dissolved in bodily water. Potassium and sodium become positive ions as they lose an electron when dissolved and chloride becomes a negative ion as it gains an electron when dissolved. A positive ion is always accompanied by a negative ion, hence the close relationship between sodium, potassium and chloride. The electrolytes are distributed throughout all body fluids including the blood, lymph, and the fluid inside and outside cells.2 The negative charge of chloride balances against the positive charges of sodium and potassium ions in order to maintain serum osmolarity.
Pivotal Roles of Chloride in the Body
In addition to its functions as an electrolyte, chloride combines with hydrogen in the stomach to make hydrochloric acid, a powerful digestive enzyme that is responsible for the break down of proteins, absorption of other metallic minerals, and activation of intrinsic factor, which in turn absorbs vitamin B12. Chloride is specially transported into the gastric lumen, in exchange for another negatively charged electrolyte (bicarbonate), in order to maintain electrical neutrality across the stomach membrane. After utilization in hydrochloric acid, some chloride is reabsorbed by the intestine, back into the blood stream where it is required for maintenance of extracellular fluid volume. Chloride is both actively and passively absorbed by the body, depending on the current metabolic demands. A constant exchange of chloride and bicarbonate, between red blood cells and the plasma helps to govern the pH balance and transport of carbon dioxide, a waste product of respiration, from the body. With sodium and potassium, chloride works in the nervous system to aid in the transport of electrical impulses throughout the body, as movement of negatively charged chloride into the cell propagates the nervous electrical potential.
Deficiency of Chloride
Deficiency of chloride is rare. However, when it does occur, it results in a life threatening condition known as alkalosis, in which the blood becomes overly alkaline. A tedious balance between alkalinity and acidity is in constant flux, and must be vigilantly maintained throughout the entire body. Alkalosis may occur as a result of excessive loss of sodium, such as heavy sweating during endurance exercise, and in cases of prolonged vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms include muscle weakness, loss of appetite, irritability, dehydration, and profound lethargy. Hypochloremia may result from water overload, wasting conditions, and extensive bodily burns with sequestration of extracellular fluids. In a situation in which infants were inadvertently fed chloride-deficient formula, many experienced failure to thrive, anorexia, and weakness in their first year of life.3
Excessive intakes of dietary chloride only occur with the ingestion of large amounts of salt and potassium chloride. The toxic effects of such diets, such as fluid retention and high blood pressure, are attributed to the high sodium and potassium levels.4 Chloride toxicity has not been observed in humans except in the special case of impaired sodium chloride metabolism, e.g. in congestive heart failure.5 Healthy individuals can tolerate the intake of large quantities of chloride provided that there is a concomitant intake of fresh water. Other situations in which increased blood levels of chloride are seen include diseases of improper waste elimination that occur in kidney diseases. Excess chloride is normally excreted in the urine, sweat, and bowels. In fact, excess urinary excretion of chloride occurs in high salt diets. Excessive intakes of chloride can occur in a person with compromised health in addition to an unhealthy diet. However, those that follow a healthy diet and lead an active lifestyle may need to consider supplementing their diet with this important mineral.
Chloride vs. Chlorine
The mineral supplement chloride is very different from the gas chlorine. While elemental chlorine is a dangerous gas that does not exist in the free elemental state in nature because of its reactivity, although it is widely distributed in combination with other elements. Chloride is related to chlorine however, as one of the most common chlorine compounds is common salt, NaCl. Chloride is a by-product of the reaction between chlorine and an electrolyte, such as potassium, magnesium, or sodium, which are essential for human metabolism. Chloride salts are essential for sustaining human metabolism and have none of the effects of isolated chlorine gas.
Sources of Chloride
Chloride occurs naturally in foods at levels normally less than 0.36 milligrams per gram of food. The average intake of chloride during a salt-free diet is approximately 100 milligrams per day. Unfortunately, chloride is found commonly combined with undesirable dietary sources. The most common of these negative sources is table salt. Table salt is made from a combination of sodium and chloride ions. Other unhealthful sources include yeast extracts, processed lunchmeats, and cheeses. Healthier sources of chloride include kelp (seaweed), ionic trace minerals, olives, rye, tomatoes, lettuce, and celery, although not in large enough amounts to supply the needs of an active adult.6 In its original form, however, chloride is leached from various rocks into soil and water by years of weathering processes. The chloride ion is highly mobile and is transported to closed basins, such as the Great Salt Lake, or oceans.7
Chloride is a highly important, vital mineral required for both human and animal life. Without chloride, the human body would be unable to maintain fluids in blood vessels, conduct nerve transmissions, move muscles, or maintain proper kidney function. As a major electrolyte mineral of the body, chloride performs many roles, and is rapidly excreted from the body. Active adults that eat a healthy diet devoid of salt and illnesses in which vomiting and/or diarrhea are profuse warrant the supplementation of additional chloride. Replacement of chloride is essential on a daily basis to maintain regular metabolic function. Chloride is safely utilized by the body, without negative health effects. Of the negative health effects that have been associated with diets high in chloride, these are mainly attributable to the accompanying sodium and potassium, two other electrolyte minerals to which chloride is often attached
1 Wesson LG. Physiology of the human kidney. New York, NY, Grune and Stratton, 1969: 591
2 Weast RC, ed. CRC handbook of chemistry and physics, 67th ed. Boca Raton, FL, CRC Press, 1986.
3 Kaleita TA. Neurologic/behavioral syndrome associated with ingestion of chloride-deficient infant formula. Pediatrics 1986 Oct;78(4):714-5
4 Beard TC. A salt-hypertension hypothesis. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol 1990;16 Suppl 7:S35-8
5 Seelig M. Cardiovascular consequences of magnesium deficiency and loss: pathogenesis, prevalence and manifestations--magnesium and chloride loss in refractory potassium repletion. Am J Cardiol 1989 Apr 18;63(14):4G-21G
6 Altschul AM, Grommet JK. Food choices for lowering sodium intake. Hypertension 1982 Sep-Oct;4(5 Pt 2):III116-20
7 Gelb SB, Anderson MP. Sources of chloride and sulfate in ground water beneath an urbanized area in Southeastern Wisconsin (Report WIS01 NTIS). Chemical abstracts, 1981, 96(2):11366g.
MSM - Natures Primary Sources of Organic Dietary Sulfur
August 02, 2005 03:48 PM
June 23, 2005 11:50 AM
7-Keto - The Key to Healthy Aging
June 21, 2005 05:05 PM
7-Keto " The Key to Healthy Aging
The global population is aging at an alarming rate and causing an explosion in health care costs, insurance premiums, cosmetic surgery and more. In the U.S. alone, more than one million baby boomers are expected to live to 100 years of age or older. This increased life expectancy presents a whole new set of health concerns that the medical community has not had time to address, since there is a greater need to care for age-related health problems in this ever-growing elderly population.1
Aging and the Decline in Vital Nutrients
We all grow old at the same rate but people age at different rates. Aging is a process of gradual changes that occur to varying degrees in each of us. Interestingly, the aging process is composed of different components and interactions, some of which can be impacted. One such component is the declining level of essential biological compounds, which causes our bodily functions to slow and become dysfunctional. Our organs don?t work efficiently, our immune system becomes lazy, we lack energy, our metabolism drops and we gain weight easily.1 7-oxo DHEA (7-Keto™) is a naturally occurring compound that declines with age.2 Replacing this key metabolite helps promote a healthy immune system and maintains resting metabolic rate at levels that accelerate weight loss during standard weight reduction programs.
Aging and a Healthy Immune System
Numerous changes occur in the immune system with advancing age, probably contributing to decreased immune responsiveness. Although all segments of the immune system are affected, investigators have most consistently identified declines in cellular or T-cell mediated immune function in the elderly. The decline in T-cell immune function is generally associated with an increased susceptibility to foreign organisms. For example, individuals with age-related declines in cellular immunity have an impaired response to vaccinations, making them more susceptible to health imbalances even though they have had their shots. In a clinical study presented at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology meeting in April 2004, the effect of 7-Keto on elderly immune function was evaluated. Healthy elderly adults were given 7-Keto orally twice daily over a period of one month. The study revealed that 7-Keto augmented several key T-cell mediated immune function parameters compared to placebo administration.4
Age-Related Weight Gain
Age-related weight gain and obesity are approaching epidemic proportions in our country.5 Weight gain is a disorder of energy balance involving energy intake and/or expenditure. Low energy expenditure, a drop in resting metabolic rate (RMR), is a challenge during most weight loss attempts due to age, calorie restriction, lack of physical activity or a combination of factors. RMR represents 60% of total daily energy expenditure. Maintaining a higher RMR as we age and during weight reduction programs helps us achieve and maintain a normal weight. Furthermore, compounds with the thermogenic potential to achieve even minimal increases in daily energy expenditure of 2-3% may have clinical relevance in preventing the decline in RMR with calorie restricted diets or weight loss, and in decreasing the risk of regaining weight. 7-Keto, a non-stimulant thermogenic compound, has been shown to significantly increase energy expenditure in humans.6 A recently completed clinical study, also presented at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology 2004 meeting, revealed that administration of 7-Keto to overweight adults in conjunction with a calorie restricted diet effectively reversed the decline in RMR normally associated with dieting. Obese participants following a calorie-restricted diet demonstrated a 5.4% increase in daily RMR with 7-Keto.7 The magnitude of the increase in RMR by 7-Keto is clinically relevant, and represents a promising agent for enhancing thermogenesis and weight loss in obese individuals on calorie-restricted diets. Additionally, 7-Keto has been shown in two confirmatory published clinical studies to result in three times more weight loss compared to diet and exercise alone. It has a favorable side effect profile and is easy and convenient to take.8,9 Our life expectancies will likely be longer than those of our parents, and our quality of life during those years will depend on how well we take care of our bodies now. Undoubtedly, the science of aging will give rise to new and exciting technologies to help us age more gracefully and healthfully. Maintenance of healthy immune function is keenly needed for improved quality of life in the elderly. Dietary manipulation and supplementation has been identified as a method of immune system renewal, and supplements such as 7-Keto may play an important future role as immune system modulators. Moreover, the addition of 7-Keto to any weight loss program will offer vital support of energy expenditure and help with the attainment of a manageable and healthy weight into our older years.
1. 1995 White House Conference on Aging, ?Executive Summary: The Road to an Aging Policy for the 21st Century," February 1996: 17-18. 2. Marenich LP. Secretion of Testosterone, Epitestosterone, Androstenedione, and 7-Keto-Dehydroepiandrosterone in Healthy Men of Different Ages. Prob Endokrinol. 1979; 25(4): 28-31. 3. Ginaldi L, De Martinis M, D?Ostilio A, Marini L, Loreto MF, Quaglino D. Immunological Changes in the Elderly. Aging 1999; 11(5): 281-286. 4. Zenk JL, Kuskowski MA. The Use of 3-acetyl-7-oxo-dehydroepiandrosterone for Augmenting Immune Response in the Elderly, Abstract Presented at the meeting of the FASEB, April 17, 2004, Manuscript submitted for publication. 5. Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Ogden CL, Johnson CL. Prevalence and Trends in Obesity Among US Adults. 1999-2000. JAMA 2002;288:1723-1727. 6. Astrup A. Thermogenic Drugs as a Strategy for Treatment of Obesity. Endocrine 2000;13(2):207-212. 7. Zenk JL, Leikam SA, Kassen LJ, Kuskowski MA. A Prospective, Randomized, Double Blind Study to Evaluate the Effect of HUM5007 and 7-oxo DHEA on Resting Metabolic Rate in Overweight Adult Men and Women on a Calorie Restricted Diet, Abstract Presented at the meeting of the FASEB, April 17, 2004, Manuscript submitted for publication. 8. Kalman DS, Colker CM, Swain MA, Torina GC, Shi Q. A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo Controlled Study of 3-Acetyl-7-Oxo-Dehydroepiandrosterone in Healthy Overweight Adults. Current Therapeutic Research 2000;61: 435-442. 9. Zenk JL, Helmer TR, Kassen LJ, Kuslowski MA. The Effect of 7-Keto Naturalean on Weight Loss: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Current Therapeutic Research 2002; 63:263-272.
John L. Zenk, M.D., is Chief Medical and Scientific Officer for Humanetics Corporation and President and Medical Director of Minnesota Applied Research Center, both located in Eden Prairie, MN. He has spoken nationally and internationally on the subjects of integrating conventional and complementary medicine, anti-aging technologies, evaluating the effectiveness of alternative medicine, and dietary supplement research and development. He is author of the book Living Longer in the Boomer Age, and co-author of the book Age Wise and is a frequent contributor to national media. He has served as Principal Investigator for 15 controlled clinical studies, three of which were recently published in national peer-reviewed journals, and has presented abstracts at the 11th World Congress for Food Science and Technology and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
June 10, 2005 10:16 PM
Mushrooms by Frank Sturges Energy Times, December 7, 1999
The interest in mushrooms as health enhancers has... mushroomed. Mushrooms, researchers have found, are filled with a long list of substances that may help us fight disease. Some of these natural chemicals boost immunity. Others may be effective against cancer and heart disease.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the research into mushrooms stems from the vast number of mushrooms that dot the landscape. At least 1.5 million types of fungi populate forests, fields, nooks and crannies, but studies have detailed the properties of less than 3,000.
Mushrooms produce so many beneficial compounds because they constantly fight off other fungi and microbes to survive. These substances, which mushrooms utilize for defense, can apparently help humans.
One of the most important of these classes of compounds are the polysaccharides. Scientists believe these long starch molecules spark immune action that can protect us against invading germs or cancer. They may do this by persuading the body to create what are called killer T-cells. These immune warriors destroy microscopic invaders and may help stop tumors.
According to Paul Stamets, author of Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms (Ten Speed), use of polysaccharides... "will synergistically, in combination with the individual's immune system, result in dramatic recoveries...Right now we don't clearly understand all the elements in those formulas to be able to predict downstream what will happen. But clearly with some people, it is tremendously effective" (Townsend Ltr, 6/98).
In addition, mushrooms also make biologically active chemicals called steroids and terpenes, says Christopher Hobbs, author of Medicinal Mushrooms (Interweave). These substances are thought to help fight off the formation of cancerous tumors.
Maitake: Useful Fungus
Maitake (Grifola frondosa) mushrooms, also known as "Hen of the woods," contain chemicals called beta glucans that can enhance immunity. Scientists are particularly fascinated by substances called the "D-fraction." Studies show these can spur immunity (Biol. Pharm. Bull. 17(12), Dec. 1994: 1554-60).
Researchers are also looking into the possibility that Maitake can help people with AIDS regain weight. And scientists are examining their effect on high blood pressure and diabetes.
In Tibet, the Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) has long been used to battle altitude sickness in the Himalayan mountains. Reishi is also reputed to soothe frayed nerves.
Scientific studies have supported these traditional uses, finding that people who consumed Reishi functioned better in low oxygen (Proceedings Contrib Symp 59 AB, 5th Intl Cong, 8/14-21, 101-104). Other research finds Reishi may help ease arthritis (Proc 1st Intl Symp on Ganoderma l. 11/17-18, 99-103, Tokyo).
Lion's Mane (Heri-cium erinaceus), also called "Monkey's head," has traditionally been a treatment for stomach problems in China. But researchers have found that chemicals in this mushroom help fight tumors (Biosci Biotech Biochem 56(2), Feb. 1992: 347-8).
During the past few years, scientific investigators have also begun to extract chemicals called erinacines from lion's mane. These substances, (known as Nerve Growth Stimulant factor) appear to encourage neuron regeneration. The potential uses: boosting nerve performance, fixing neurological damage and treating Alzheimer's disease (Tetrahedron Ltrs 35(10), 1994: 1569-1572).
Known as Cogmelo de Deus (Mushroom of God) in Brazil, the Royal Agaricus (Agaricus blazei) has been grown in Japan since the '70s where it enjoys widespread popularity. Researchers find that it provokes powerful anti-tumor effects. This fungus harbors more beta-glucans, immunity enhancers, than other mushrooms.
Can a fungus make athletes faster? A few researchers think so, pointing to Chinese Olympians who use Cordyceps sinensis. This fungus, traditionally grown on caterpillars, is another native of the Himalayas.
Traditionally, Cordyceps has been used to foster stamina, better breathing and immunity.
At least one study shows this fungus may help blood vessels dilate during exercise. By supplying extra blood to working muscles, Cordyceps may help fight off fatigue and boost performance (Abstracts from 5th Mycological Cong, Vancouver, 8/14-21).
The mushroom called Shiitake has been the subject of an extravagant amount of research since the '60s. Called the "elixir of life," it boosts immunity. Stamets reports that people with cancer who take Shiitake do significantly better in coping with their disease (Abstract 2nd Meeting Soc of Natl Immunity, Italy, 5/25/94).
Another characteristic of Shiitake mushrooms: a celebrated taste. The tongue and the palate take great pleasure in this health enhancer!
The Latest Breakthroughs in Garlic Research on Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease
June 09, 2005 05:22 PM
The Latest Breakthroughs in Garlic Research
on Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease
Presented at the 2005 World Garlic Symposium
Many of the world’s top-level scientists gathered in Washington D.C. this week for the 2005 Garlic Symposium, entitled, “Significance of Garlic and its Constituents in Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease.” The conference provided current scientific information about the effect of garlic and its constituents on health and performance. The symposium was held at the Georgetown University Conference Center on April 9-11, 2005.
“For the first time in seven years authorities in various fields of garlic research from all over the world to provide the latest updates, specifically regarding aged garlic extract and its actions in diseased states including heart disease and cancer,” commented Dr. Matthew Budoff, M.D. cardiovascular researcher at UCLA. “Garlic has been used medicinally for thousands of years in virtually all ancient cultures. Now, new metabolic roles for garlic are being proposed and there are many promising lines of research.”
Presentation highlights included:
Effect of aged garlic extract (AGE) has been tested in the placebo-controlled double blind randomized clinical study that determined that the atherosclerotic plaque burden detected by electron beam tomography (EBT) changed significantly with the use of aged garlic extract, Patients in Dr. Budoff’s study were able to significantly lower their total cholesterol, blood pressure, homocysteine and LDL cholesterol oxidation levels with aged garlic extract supplementation.
“Garlic is turning out to be a major player in cancer and heart disease prevention and control, especially in combination with drug treatments,” said Richard Rivlin, M.D. of Strang Cancer Prevention Center at Cornell. “It’s also showing us that we can start early. It’s madness to treat cancer and heart disease in their advanced stages. We need to start early and aged garlic extract is an excellent way to do that.”
Almost 400 scientific studies have been completed on aged garlic extract, done in major universities worldwide. These studies have focused on a variety of heart disease risk factors such as cholesterol, high blood pressure, homocysteine levels, inhibiting LDL oxidation, anti-platelet aggregation and adhesion, stimulating blood circulation; in addition to other studies on immune stimulation, cognitive effects, liver function and anti-tumor effects. .
PRECLINICAL PERSPECTIVE ON GARLIC AND CANCER. John A. Milner, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD 20892
Mounting evidence points to the anticancer properties of fresh garlic extracts, aged garlic, garlic oil, and a number of specific organosulfur compounds from garlic. These prevention characteristics arise through both a dose and temporal related change in several cellular events including those involving drug metabolism, immunocompetence, cell cycle regulation, apoptosis and angiogenesis. A block in carcinogen activation through modulation of cytochrome P450-dependent monooxygenases and/or acceleration of carcinogen detoxification via induction of phase II enzymes likely account for some of this protection. The block in preneoplastic lesions and/or tumors in several sites suggests a generalizable mechanism. The efficacy of water- and lipid-soluble allyl sulfur compounds against chemical carcinogenesis appears comparable, although more studies are needed. A shift in sulfhydryl groups, redox status or enzyme catalysis may account for some of the phenotypic changes. They may also account for the observed hyperphosphorylation of specific cell cycle related proteins and histone hyperacetylation; both of which have been correlated with suppressed tumor cell proliferation. Several forms of allyl sulfur compounds are effective in blocking cell division and inducing apoptosis, but notable differences in the efficacy among these various compounds and across tumor types are evident. While the expression of many genes and proteins can be influenced by allyl sulfides; the challenge is to determine which is responsible for a phenotypic change. Additional studies are needed with more modest exposures and over prolonged periods and that utilize transgenic and knockout models to assist in the identification of molecular targets. Finally, additional research is needed to identify sensitive “effect” and “susceptibility” biomarkers that can ultimately be used to identify responders from non-responders.
INHIBITION OF CORONARY ARTERIAL PLAQUE ACCUMULATION BY GARLIC. Matthew Budoff, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, UCLA School of Medicine, California, USA
Effect of Aged garlic extract (AGE) has been tested in the placebo-controlled double blind randomized clinical study to determine whether the atherosclerotic plaque burden detected by electron beam tomography (EBT) will change at a different rate under the influence of AGE or placebo. EBT can non-invasively quantitate the amount of coronary calcification and track atherosclerotic plaque over time. Nineteen of 23 patients completed the study protocol. The patients were well matched for age, gender, statin use and cardiac risk factors. Patients underwent EBT and blood testing at baseline, and then again after 12 months of randomization. The average change in the calcium score (Volumetric method) ± SD for the AGE group (n = 9) was 7.5 ± 9.4% over the one year. The placebo group (n = 10) demonstrated 22.2 ± 18.5% annual progression, significantly greater than the treated cohort (p = 0.01). While there were no significant changes in cholesterol parameters, or C Reactive protein between the groups, high density lipoproteins and plasma homocysteine in the AGE group demonstrated a trend toward improvement compared to the placebo patients. Thus, although this is a small-scale trial, it demonstrates the potential of AGE to inhibit the rate of atherosclerosis (progression of coronary calcium), as compared to placebo over one year. Larger studies need to be performed to assess this potential anti-atherosclerotic therapy and the impact on coronary events.
INFLUENCE OF GARLIC ON ENDOTHELIAL DYSFUNCTION IN HYPERHOMOCYSTEINEMIA. N. Weiss, N. Ide, T. Abahji, L. Nill, C. Keller, U. Hoffmann. Klinikum der Universität München, D-80336 Munich, Germany
Endothelial dysfunction (ED) due to decreased bioavailable nitric oxide (NO) by increased vascular oxidant stress plays a critical role in the vascular pathobiology of hyperhomocysteinemia (hhcy). Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) minimizes intracellular oxidant stress and stimulates NO generation in endothelial cells. We performed a placebo-controlled, blinded, cross-over study to examine whether AGE prevents macro- and microvascular ED during acute hhcy induced by an oral methionine challenge in healthy subjects. Acute hhcy leads to a significant decrease in flow-mediated vasodilation of the brachial artery as determined by vascular ultrasound, indicative of macrovascular ED, as well as a decreased number of recruited nailfold capillaries during postischemic reactive hyperemia as determined by videomicroscopy, and to a decreased ratio of acetylcholine (endothelium-dependent) vs. sodium nitroprusside (endothelium-independent) iontophoresis induced skin perfusion as measured by laser doppler flowmetry, indicative of microvascular ED. Preliminary results show that pretreatment with AGE for six weeks diminishes the adverse effects of acute hhcy on endothelium-dependent brachial artery vasodilation and on acetylcholine-induced stimulation of skin perfusion. Whether or not this is accompanied by changes in biochemical parameters of ED is still under investigation. It is concluded that AGE may at least partly prevent a decrease in bioavailable NO during acute hhcy.
David Heber, MD, PhD, FACP, FACN
Professor, UCLA Department of Medicine - Division of Clinical Nutrition, at the David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, and UCLA School of Public Health; Director, UCLA Center for Human Nutrition; Director, NIH Center for Dietary Supplement Research in Botanicals (CDSRB); Director, NCI-funded Clinical Nutrition Research Unit; Vice Chair, UCLA Collaborative Centers for Integrative Medicine; Member, UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
Matthew Budoff, MD, FACC
Matthew Budoff, MD, FACC, is an associate professor of medicine at the UCLA School of Medicine and program director for the Division of Cardiology, as well as director of the Electron Beam CT Laboratory at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, Calif. He completed his undergraduate work at University of California, Riverside, and earned his medical degree at George Washington University in Washington D.C. Dr. Budoff’s efforts to identify and modify risk factors for cardiovascular disease using electron beam CT have been extensively published. His latest research focuses on the progression of arteriosclerosis.
Mushroom Immune Defense - Scientific Immunity Formula
June 04, 2005 10:08 AM
The immune system is a fascinating and complex group of cells and biochemical processes. Its many components work to protect you from environmental threats—but your immune system requires nutritional support to function optimally. Scientific research is proving that some of the most powerful immune-supportive nutrients are found in mushrooms. People who realize the critical importance of optimizing immune function should seriously consider adding an advanced mushroom complex to their daily regimen. No other mushroom formula offers the high-potency, broad-spectrum benefits of Source Naturals MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE. MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE features 16 of the best-studied species of health-supportive mushrooms, including shiitake, reishi, and maitake. These mushrooms contain compounds, including beta-glucans, glycoproteins and polysaccharides, that support a wide range of immune defenses: natural killer cell, T-cell and macrophage activity, and cytokine production. By combining a wide variety of mushrooms and fortifying them with extracts to ensure high potency, MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE offers a biochemically diverse formula that provides optimum immune assistance.
How Do Mushrooms Work?
Mushrooms are a treasure trove of bioactive compounds, but most of their immunomodulating activities have been attributed to polysaccharides (long-chain, simple sugars) and glycoproteins (polysaccharides naturally associated with proteins). These compounds activate a variety of immune responses.
MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE contains mycelia (networks of fibrous filaments) and extracts from the widest variety of mushroom species available. Included are the following mushrooms, which have demonstrated the most evidence for immune defense. Shiitake (Lentinula edodes): Lentinan, the beta glucan from shiitake, has been studied more extensively than similar substances and may be one of the most effective immunomodulators. Numerous studies have shown its ability to stimulate natural killer cell, T-cell, and macrophage-dependent responses.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum): Reishi’s polysaccharides may stimulate macrophages and enhance T-cell proliferation, according to in vitro studies.
Maitake (Grifola frondosa): Maitake enhances the activities of natural killer cells, T-cells and macrophages, according to animal studies. MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE contains MaitakeGold 404™, a highly specialized maitake product, rich in beta-glucans, which is the only maitake betaglucan fraction endorsed by the world’s premier maitake researcher, Dr. Hiroaki Nanba, Ph.D. Turkey Tails (Trametes versicolor): These mushrooms have a long history of traditional use in Asia. One in vitro study suggests that its polysaccharides stimulate macrophages.
Almond portabella (Agaricus blazei): This mushroom may stimulate the immune system by increasing T-cell activity, according to animal studies.
Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis): Cordyceps came to international attention during National Games in China when, in one week, three women’s track and field world records were broken. The coach partially credited a cordyceps elixir. Cordyceps was found to augment antibody and other immune responses in one animal study, and a cordyceps polysaccharide was found to elevate cytokines in vitro.
MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE contains 10 additional mushrooms, including enoke, oyster, Polyporus umbellatus, and Poria cocos. Vitamin C is added to enhance absorption and activity.
Unparalleled Immune Support
A focus on immune support can pay tremendous dividends for your entire life. If you are dedicated to good health, you want a powerful formula on your side. Source Naturals is proud to join forces with your natural foods retailer to bring you an unparalleled immune formula: MUSHROOM IMMUNE DEFENSE.
May 31, 2005 04:27 PM
The human immune system is the extraordinary biochemical network responsible for keeping us well. As our molecular interface with the environment, it has evolved complex interactions with the plant world. Mushrooms, which form one of the most primitive plant groups, have been valued for decades by progressive medical practitioners as immunopotentiators. Only recently, however, has science identified and tested the specific mushroom nutrients that augment natural defenses. AHCC® (active hexose correlated compound) is a proprietary mushroom compound. It is wellresearched in Japan for its immune-supportive properties, in particular the ability to increase natural killer cell and macrophage activity. Hundreds of Japanese hospitals and clinics recommend AHCC as part of an immune maintenance regimen, and its potent effects are so highly regarded that sales exceed $200 million dollars per year.
AHCC ®: A Unique Compound
AHCC, or “active hexose correlated compound,” is a rich source of polysaccharides (beta glucan 1,3 and activated hemicellulose) and glycoproteins, plus amino acids and minerals. It is produced by enzymatic modification of several types of medicinal mushrooms, including shiitake. AHCC is derived from organically cultivated mushroom mycelia (the rich pre-mushroom stage, a network of fibrous filaments plus the medium it lives on and uses for fuel). The low molecular weight of AHCC makes it easier to absorb.
Natural Killer Cell and Macrophage Activity
Your trillions of cells are susceptible to damage by free radicals and toxins, so a healthy immune system uses its first line of defense—natural killer (NK) cells—to quickly identify and destroy threatening particles. The effectiveness of NK cells depends on their activity level, so boosting NK activity is a smart strategy for those committed to maintaining vibrant health and longevity. AHCC is a potent biological response modifier that may significantly increase activity of NK cells and macrophages, according to human and animal studies. Literally “large things that devour,” macrophages are white blood cells that engulf and aid in the removal of foreign particles.
Studies show AHCC also enhances production of cytokines, including interferons and interleukins. These intercellular chemical messengers trigger white blood cell production and activity. In one recent study, AHCC was shown to support normal basal levels of two cytokines, as well as NK activity. It is rare for a natural compound to have such a profound impact on strengthening the immune system.
Your liver is your body’s chemical manufacturing and detoxification factory. It must handle the full brunt of assault from environmental contaminants and pharmaceuticals. Stress further burdens this overworked organ. Human studies suggest AHCC supports healthy liver function.
Your Source for Scientifically Advanced Nutrition
Source Naturals AHCC is the original proprietary compound that is attracting worldwide attention. And with no adverse side effects reported in dozens of studies and abstracts, it is certainly a nutritional approach worth considering. At a time when our systems are challenged by an unprecedented array of toxins, research into the remarkable immune-supportive properties of the plant world is critical. Source Naturals is your connection to this research, dedicated to quickly bringing you the benefts of the latest emerging wellness strategies.
References Uno, K. et al. Biother 2000 14(3) 303-309. Matsiu, Y. et al. J Hepatol 37 (2002) 78-86.
May 12, 2005 09:33 AM
Keeping the Intestines Healthy"Friendly Bacteria" Therapy Breakthrough
by Richard Conant, L.Ac., C.N.
Ninety percent of the cells found in the human body are not of human origin.
No, this does not mean we are all products of some sinister alien experiment.
The human body is made up of about 10 trillion cells. This huge number is dwarfed by the bacteria we all carry around in our intestinal tracts. The lower bowel is a campground for roughly 100 trillion bacteria, single-celled plant organisms that can be seen only through a microscope.
When we enjoy good intestinal health, the bulk of these bacteria are beneficial. Known as "friendly flora," these tiny guests help digest our food by breaking down undigested proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The friendliest of the friendly bacteria are the "lactobacilli," so named because they produce lactic acid in the bowel, by fermenting carbohydrates. This lactic acid production is profoundly important for keep the intestines healthy. And good intestinal health is the foundation of overall health.
How do we maintain a thriving population of lactic acid-producing bacteria in the gut? First introduced into the human body through mother's milk, lactobacilli are somewhat fragile. Stress, poor diets, and antibiotics can kill them off. They should be replanted fairly regularly throughout life. One way to do this is through consumption of cultured milk products such as sour milk, kefir and yogurt, which contain live lactobacilli. They can also be consumed in dietary supplements, but this may or may not be a reliable route. Bacterial products do not keep very well on the shelf, they require refrigeration, and are largely destroyed on the trip from the mouth to the gut by our own digestive juices.
Introducing Lactobacillus sporogenes- a revolutionary new friendly bacteria supplement.
This article will focus on one particular species of lactobacilli, a relatively unknown member of the family called Lactobacillus sporogenes. This lactic-acid producing bacteria may prove to be one of the most practical forms for use in supplements, thanks to a unique property not shared by the more well-known friendly flora such as acidophillus. L. Sporogenes is a spore-forming bacteria. Safely enclosed within a spore coat that protects it from the environment, L. sporogenes is resistant to heat, oxygen and digestive acids. Once L. sporogenes reaches the intestines, its spore coat dissolves, freeing the bacteria to multiply and churn out the beneficial lactic acid. (The spore coat, made up of a calcium-protein-carbohydrate complex, is harmless).1
The difficulty of keeping friendly bacteria supplements alive is an ongoing problem for manufacturers of these products. Studies have analyzed various commerical products claiming to contain acidophilus and found they often contain few live bacteria.2,3 L. Sporogenes is naturally microencapsulated; this insulates it from the gauntlet through which friendly bacteria in dietary supplements must pass.1 Autointoxication-Poisoning by Bacterial Toxins The intestinal tract may also play host to pathogenic, or disease-causing bacteria. These "unfriendly flora" cause putrefaction and release injurious toxins into the lower bowel. This healthy picture is all too common, and has long been concern of wholistic health practitioners.
The concept of "autointoxication," poisoning of the body by intestinal toxins, was popular among doctors in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. An editorial on the dangers of autointoxication which appeared in the June 3, 1893 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) declared that "most likely a large majority of chronic diseases take their origin from this cause."4 The famous Russian physician Eli Metchnikoff pioneered the use of lactobacteria for preventing autointoxication and restoring bowel health. His landmark work 'Prolongation of Life' sparked interest in lactobacilli as a food supplement.5,6
Naturopathy, widely practiced during the early twentieth century, has always stressed the fundamental importance of bowel cleansing. With the advent of so-called "scientific medicine," naturopathy slipped into decline, and the concept of autointoxication was discredited. Over the last thirty years or so, this has changed. Naturopathic medicine has rebounded, and the importance of bowel health is once again recognized. A paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1964, while opining that autointoxication "was exploited by quacks and faddists" in the early 1900's concedes that "the concept of autointoxication must now receive serious consideration."7
Leaders in the rebirth of natural medicine such as Dr. Bernard Jensen have helped educate the public about the importance of keeping the bowels healthy through regular use of lactobacilli. Jensen is well-known for his extensive studies of regions such as the Hunza Valley in Pakistan where people commonly live well over one hundred years. Jensen and others have noted that the consumption of fermented dairy products containing lactobacilli is a common dietary practice in these areas. Their observations have contributed to the popularity of friendly bacteria supplements. At the same time, clinical research has provided ample evidence of the beneficial effects of lactobacteria supplementation.5,9<.sup>
Eubiosis-Keeping a Healthy Bacteria Population in the Intestinal Tract
In his book 'Tissue Cleansing Through Bowel Management, which contains a wealth of valuable wisdom on intestinal health, Dr. Jensen writes, "Where health and vitality are found, we invariably find the friendly and beneficial microbes ... To a large extent the flora in the bowel determines the state of health in an individual."8 In a healthy bowel the friendly flora make up the bulk of the bacteria population. The unfriendly, disease-causing organisms are in the minority. The good bacteria keep them firmly under control. This healthy microbial balance in the gut is called "eubiosis."
Life in our modern industrial society is hardly favorable to eubiosis. Residents of the Hunza Valley lead unhurried lives in a pristine, pollution-free environment. They grow their own food in fertile, nutrient-rich soil, work close to the landÐand consume lactic-acid producing bacteria on a daily basis. For the rest of us who cannot hope to enjoy this enviable lifestyle, eubiosis is something we should never take for granted. This means taking proactive steps to plant the seeds of health in our intestinal garden, by using a viable friendly bacteria supplement.
Supplements which help to populate the intestinal tract with friendly bacteria are known as "probiotics." The term "probiotic" literally means "for life.' (In contrast, "antibiotic" means "against life.") Probiotics restore the natural state of "eubiosis" that is so very important for health and longevity.
L. Sporogenes-an ideal probiotic
Not every species of lactobacilli qualifies as an effective probiotic. As noted above, many do not survive processing, storage and passage through the digestive system very well. The following attributes make L. Sporogenes an ideal probiotic supplement:1,10,11
1) Naturally microencapsulatedÐstable at room temperature and can be stored unrefrigerated for long periods without loss of viable organisms.
2) Tolerates heat, stomach acid and bile, allowing it to successfully travel into the lower bowel.
3) Non-pathogenic, has only beneficial effects on its host. Has similar characteristics as acidophilus: prefers a mild acid environment; produces lactic acid, digestive enzymes, etc.
4) Readily multiplies in the human gut. In the stomach, the spore coat absorbs moisture and begins to swell. Upon reaching the small intestine, the bacteria cells germinate and begin to multiply, doubling in number every 30 minutes.
5) Produces enzymes which help digest protein, fats and carbohydrates. These enzymes include lactose, the enzyme that digests milk sugar.12
6) Creates a favorable environment (mildly acidic) in the gut for other friendly bacteria to thrive. Prevents overgrowth of pathogenic organisms.
7) Produces lactic acid in the form of L- lactic acid only.
The last point is especially important. Lactic acid occurs in the form of three isomers (substances with identical molecular structures that have different shapes): L-lactic acid, D-lactic acid and DL-lactic acid. The D form is metabolized slowly, and can produce acidosis in the system. (Infants have a particularly difficult time metabolizing D-lactic acid.)11,13 DL-Lactic acid, the kind acidophilus makes, may be converted to either D or L.
The L form is the one we want. L. sporogenes is a "homofermenter," it makes L-lactic acid exclusively. Lactic acid keeps the gut mildly acidic. This acidity is essential for the gut to be a hospitable home for friendly bacteria, and stops the growth of the unwelcome disease-causing bacteria.
L. sporogenes has only one drawback. It is a transient visitor that does not permanently colonize in the digestive tract. A study on the retention of L. sporogenes found no bacteria in the feces six days after consumption was discontinued.14
L. Sporogenes-Results from Clinical Studies
L. Sporogenes is used extensively in Japan and approved by the Japanese equivalent of the FDA. L. sporogenes has been given to hospital patients suffering from intestinal complaints such as gas and bloating due to abnormal fermentation, constipation, diarrhea and indigestion. (These problems often occur after surgery or chemotherapy.) A total of 16 clinical reports are on record in Japanese hospitals, documenting 293 case of digestive complaints treated with L. sporogenes.15 The overall improvement rate is an impressive 86 percent. Results are typically seen within four to five days. L. sporogenes has also been used with success to clear up diarrhea in newborns.16 Like other lactobacilli, L. sporogenes lowers blood cholesterol. (Lactobacilli break down cholesterol and bile salts in the intestinal tract.) Researchers at a hospital in New Delhi, India gave L. sporogenes tablets to 20 patients with high cholesterol for twelve weeks.17 Total cholesterol levels were substantially reduced, along with LDL cholesterol, and the beneficial HDL rose slightly.
The popularity of L. sporogenes in other countries as an ideal friendly bacteria supplement will no doubt be soon matched in the U.S. This microscopic helper for intestinal health is now sold in probiotic products under the name "Lactospore®."
1. Gandhi, A.B., Nagarathnam, T. Probiotics in veterinary use. Poultry Guide 1990;27(3):43-47.
2. Brennan, M., Wanismail, B., Ray, B. Prevalence of viable Lactobacillus acidophilus in dried commercial products. Journal of Food Protection 1983;46(10):887-92.
3. Gilliland, S.E., Speck, M.L. Enumeration and identity of lactobacilli in dietary products. Journal of Food Protection 1977;40(11):760-62.
4. Dalton, R.H. The limit of human Life, and how to live long. JAMA 1893;20:599-600.
5. Shahani, K.M., Ayebo, A.D. Role of dietary lactobacilli in gastrointestinal microecology. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1980;33:2448-57.
6. Metchnikoff, E.. Prolongation of Life. New York: G.P. Putnam Sons;1908.
7. Donaldson, R.M. Normal Bacterial populations of the intestine and their relation to intestinal function. New Eng. J. Med. 1964;270(18):938-45.
8. Jensen, B. Tissue Cleansing Through Bowel Management. Escondido, CA: publ. by Bernard Jensen, D.C.;1980.
9. Schauss, A.G. Lactobacillus acidophilus: method of action, clinical application, and toxicity data. Journal of Advancement in Medicine 1990;3(3):163-78.
10. 'General InformationÐLactospore®' 1996; Sabinsa Corporation: Piscataway, NJ.
11. Gandhi, A.B. Lactobacillus sporogenes, An Advancement in Lactobacillus Therapy. The Eastern Pharmacist August 1998:41-44.
12. Kim, Y.M., Lee, J.C., Choi, Y.J., Yang, H.C. Studies on the production of beta galactosidase by lactobacillus sporogenes. Properties and application of beta galactosidase. Korean J. Appl. Microbiol. Bioeng. 1985;13(4):355-60.
13. Oh, MS. D-Lactic acidosis in a man with short bowel syndrome. New Eng J Med 1979;31(5):249-52.
14. Hashimo, K. et. al. New Drugs and Clinics 1964;13(9):53-66.
15. 'Abstracts of papers on the clinical studies of Lacbon' Unpublished data.
16. Dhongade, R.K., Anjaneyule, R. Lactobacillus sporogenes (Sporlac) in neonatal diarrhea. Unpublished data.
17. Mohan, J.C., Arora, R., Khaliullah, M. Preliminary observations on effect of Lactobacillus sporogenes on serum lipid levels in hypercholesterolemic patients. Indian J. Med. Res. 1990;92(B):431-32.
VitaNet ® Staff