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Study: Astragalus can improve symptoms of pulmonary arterial hypertension
May 10, 2019 02:20 PM
Astragalus is known in Chinese medicine because it has been used by the Chinese for centuries as a medicinal herb. Recent researchers have backed up the healing claims of the plant. In a new study that was done in China, Chinese researchers have discovered that polysaccharide extracts from astragalus can be effective against pulmonary arterial hypertension. To carry out the study they fed rats with monocrotaline in order to induce pulmonary arterial hypertension in them. Then they gave the rats 200 milligrams per kilogram of astragalus polysaccharides once in every two days for a period of two weeks. The results were positive. It was found that the polysaccharides of astragalus reduced the hypertension of the pulmonary artery induced by monocrotaline in rats. There were other benefits that were discovered. The treatment with the polysaccharide of astragalus also eliminated oxidative stress, promoted vasodilation, and reduced inflammation in the rats. All these suggest that astragalus lowers the blood pressure in individuals. The findings of the study were then published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine with the authors stating that astragalus can be used to eliminate symptoms of pulmonary arterial hypertension in individuals.
"In China, astragalus is one of the herbs commonly prescribed to help with diabetes management. Research has also shown that the active compounds in astragalus may help in reducing blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. Lab trials have shown that it improves metabolism, reduce blood sugar levels, and aid in weight loss."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-17-astragalus-improves-symptoms-of-pulmonary-arterial-hypertension.html
Even CBD can help reduce hypertension.
The key nutrients needed to prevent heart attacks, strokes andheart failure
May 08, 2019 04:33 PM
The CDC assesses that more than 5,100,000 Americans have some variant of heart disease, and that 610,000 will die from it this year alone. While the conventional range of treatments mostly relies on medications, micronutrient-based Cellular Medicine provides an alternative. Cellular Medicine pioneer Dr. Matthias Rath has carried out some very promising clinical research involving micronutrient supplementation. Dr. Rath believes that the American diet, medication side effects and modern food handling and production practices mean that many people are deprived of a range of important micronutrients, with very bad consequences for heart health.
"With the odds of surviving past the five-year mark currently standing at 50 percent, it’s clear that more effective prevention and treatment options are needed."
Read more: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/prevent-heart-attacks-2913.html
Vitamin K2 promotes healthy arteries and cardiovascular protection
May 07, 2019 04:13 PM
Vitamin K2 may help protect you against becoming one of the 17 million people estimated to die from heart disease this year. Vitamin K2 helps to moderate how much calcium builds up in the body and where. This is significant because the calcification of plaque-narrowed arteries plays a major role in heart disease. Vitamin K2 can help ensure that your body’s calcium supply stays in your bones and out of your arteries and other soft tissue, and can reduce your risk of heart disease by 50 percent or more.
"In one study, daily consumption of more than 32 micrograms of dietary vitamin K2 reduced the risk of arterial calcification and death from heart disease – by an incredible 50 percent."
Read more: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/vitamin-k2-nutrition-news-2650.html
Scientists now understand why OMEGA-3s are good for your heart:They protect against DNA damage in the cells that line your blood vessels
May 02, 2019 02:43 PM
In the era where there has been an increase in people's interest in physical health, one of the biggest things that has taken trend is that of OMEGA-3s and claims that they are good for a variety of reasons. Although until recently it has been unknown why it was good for you, new research has now shown that these nutrients can be beneficial for your heart, especially in terms of protecting it against DNA damage that can injure blood vessels.
"Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), components found in omega-3 fatty acids, promote antioxidant responses in the human aortic endothelial cells, protecting DNA from oxidative stress from reactive oxygen species (ROS)."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-12-omega-3s-protect-against-dna-damage-in-the-blood-vessels.html
HONEY found to reduce arterial plaque by an astonishing 30%... could it prevent heart attacks?
June 18, 2017 12:14 PM
Honey has been found to reduce arterial plaque by an astonishing 30 percent. People may wonder if it could actually help to prevent heart attacks. This is a very good question. There is a natural sugar that is found in honey that can actually help reduce the presence of arterial plaque by up to thirty percent. This is good news for people that enjoy honey in their diets. This natural sugar can also be found in mushrooms.
"New research has found that a natural sugar found in honey, known as trehalose, can help to reduce the presence of arterial plaque by up to 30 percent."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-06-15-honey-found-to-reduce-arterial-plaque-by-an-astonishing-30-could-it-prevent-heart-attacks.html
Testosterone Therapy May Have Benefits, But Risks Too
February 26, 2017 07:59 AM
Low testosterone can dim a man's sex drive, performance in bed, energy, and motivation. It can also have some harmful effects. When needed, testosterone replacement therapy can boost T levels back to normal and return him to the man he used to be. Still, there are also risks to TRT, and the long-term safety isn't clear. Here's what men need to know.
"All told, the Testosterone Trials seem to indicate that the best use of testosterone therapy is for treatment of decreased sexual function in men with so-called “low T” (low testosterone levels), said Dr. Thomas Gill."
What Are The Health Benefits Of Vitamin K2?
January 29, 2017 12:59 PM
Good for a multitude of health benefits, Vitamin K2 is often overlooked in favor of much more notable vitamins such as C or B12. It can help with everything from dental hygiene and health to improving upon our cardiovascular system. K2 is mainly found in animal products such as meat or eggs, as well as non-animal products such as fermented soybeans. Though it's not easy to detect a K2 deficiency, it can lead to severe complications in the long term.
"A nutritional dose of vitamin K can improve your cardiovascular health. It is beneficial for prevention of heart disease. According to the Rotterdam study in 2004, eating foods rich in natural vitamin K2 reduces the risk of both arterial calcification and cardiovascular disease by as much as 50%. Vitamin K2 prevent arterial calcification by stopping calcium from entering areas where it should not be."
Heart health: why low cholesterol is no longer the focus
December 18, 2016 02:59 PM
One of the main focuses in healthcare today is lowering cholesterol. While it is one of the few things about improving heart health that you can change fairly easily, it is not the only factor involved. Most doctors look to the total cholesterol to give an idea of a person’s health, but the HDL is actually the most important value to know. By consuming more foods like fish, vegetables, and nuts, we can help increase our HDL levels. This will, in turn, lower our LDL and total cholesterol values. We should be focusing on our good cholesterol, not total cholesterol.
"Foods that feature in the Mediterranean diet pyramid, such as fish, olive oil, vegetables and nuts, can increase ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and reduce inflammation, a biochemical trigger in the development of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, cancer, HIV, type-2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s."
Support Healthy Circulation and Arterial Function with Benfotiamine!
Benfotiamine is a derivative nutrient of thiamine (vitamin B1). Usually, many people suffering from peripheral neuropathy lack this crucial nutrient. Thiamine, Vitamin B1, is highly required for the nervous system to keep functioning properly. Maintaining adequate levels of Thiamine through diet alone is hard. Benfotiamine works to nourish the nerves and reverse the effects of peripheral neuropathy. It helps to support blood circulation, enhance arterial function and healthy blood vessels.
Increases blood circulation and vessel health
Benfotiamine helps to increase the rate of blood flow, especially for those patients suffering from low blood circulation. It is also required for the health of the nervous system and is required for the biosynthesis of a number of cell constituents, including certain neurotransmitters. Just like Vitamin B1, Benfotiamine demonstrated itself as a miracle worker when somebody suffering severely from beriberi got on his feet within hours after being injected with the nutrient. Since then, it has been performing the same "miracle" without fail.Benfotiamine also assists mental health, particularly warding off depression while facilitating memory functions and learning. It's deficiency will no doubt bring back the dreaded beriberi, while minor deficiencies will be manifested in the human body as extreme fatigue, irritability, constipation, edema and an enlarged liver. Forgetfulness, gastrointestinal disturbances, heart changes, irritability, and breathing difficulties are also common symptoms.
Promotes arterial functionBenfotiamine has been proven to improve the structural integrity of the veins and the entire circulatory system. Usually, people with varicose veins have an increased tendency to develop fibrin deposits in the tissue surrounding the affected veins. This causes the skin to become hard and lumpy. There is a decreased ability to break down fibrin, a compound involved in clot formation, thus an increased risk of the formation of a thrombus which may potentially cause life-threatening complications. Benfotiamine nutrient helps to promote fibrin breakdown hence promote the functioning of the arteries while enhancing the flood of blood.
Magnesium Can Offset The Effects of Calcium
For a healthy cells, a proper balance between magnesium and calcium is required. A proper balance is one where magnesium level is high and calcium level is low. If your cell has a high level of calcium then it can store anywhere and cause many serious problems in your body. A perfect balance between calcium and magnesium is required to regulate the harmful effects of calcium.
How calcium affects your body
Too much calcium can create a number of health complications. If it builds up around your bones, you might experience arthritis. If its level is high in your heart, then you might develop arterial lesions. Calcification might cause the bone spurs, cancer, heart disease, kidney stones, dental problems, cataracts, wrinkled skin, osteoporosis, and some other health complications.
What is the demand of the body?
Our body structure demands a proper balance of calcium and magnesium to operate smoothly. It needs an adequate level of magnesium to maintain a healthy heart. People who die of heart attacks have lower level of magnesium and high levels of calcium in the heart muscles. Patients with coronary heart disease is suggested to take large amounts of magnesium as it works better than any other drug. Magnesium lowers the fat and cholesterol levels and dilates the arteries of the heart.
How calcium and magnesium work together
Calcium and magnesium work together for the muscles. If the level of calcium is high and magnesium is low, then magnesium deficiency will create some major health problem. Even if the calcium level is not too high, the low level of the magnesium can result in some health problems. Hence, it is important to have an adequate amount of magnesium to make a balance between calcium and magnesium and to avoid magnesium deficiency.
Boost testosterone with free radical fighting fruits
As we age, hormone levels tend to decline, more so in women than men. The decline in testosterone in men is call andropause. This decline in testosterone is generally slower and can go un-noticed by most men. With the decline in testosterone, comes less energy and loss of sex drive.
Testes in men produce testosterone and can come under attach by free radicals, called oxidative stress. Excessive free radical activity threatens the testes' ability to make testosterone. It is vital to get plenty of fruits and veggies loaded with polyphenols which fight free radical damage.
Apples and grapes have been praised in traditional lore as wellsprings of health. Modern research has found that these fruits contain polyphenols which are strong antioxidants. Getting plenty of fruits can help lower blood pressure, reduce arterial plaque and fight free radical damage.
Like your mom always said, eat your fruits and veggies, she knew best. Sometimes it is hard to get adequate amounts of fruits and veggies in both adults and children. I suggest that everybody take a fruit and veggie supplement daily to offset poor diets.
What Health Benefits Does Black Currant Seed Oil Posses?
April 18, 2014 06:10 AM
What is a black currant
Blackcurrant is a small nutritious berry grown in places that experience temperate climates such as north and central Europe. For years, this nutritious fruit has been used for both food and medicinal purposes and scientists have also discovered that it contains vitamin C, antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Other medicinal properties of the fruit include:
Black currant seed oil is believed to contain lots of gamma and alpha linolenic acids, these compounds are also found in fish oils and are useful in improving memory and eyesight. Fatty acids also help in boosting cellular development including formation of healthy cell-membranes. According to a study conducted by Maryland University, gamma linolenic is the only Omega-6 fatty acid that can reduce swelling. It can also improve nerve functioning for diabetics and increase bone density by enhancing calcium absorption. Other studies also show fatty acids can help prevent allergic reactions, those who react adversely to external stimuli typically have lower levels of this compound in their bloodstream.
Preliminary studies show that those suffering from arterial malfunction experience reduced pressure levels after taking omega-3 fatty acids. The anti-inflammatory aspects of this substance also help in cutting back cholesterol levels within the blood vessels and platelet aggregation.
The substance is very useful in preventing untimely aging as it blocks wrinkle formation and fastens the process of repairing damaged tissues. Moreover, some scientists believe that omega-6 fatty compounds can be beneficial in curing eczema, including liver toxicity and symptoms of withdrawal caused by too much alcohol abuse. Black current seed oil can also lessen premenstrual syndromes by alleviating cramps, breast tenderness and depression while at the same time reducing nervous system stress. Though this product is beneficial in treating a myriad of conditions, it should be taken in moderation for the best results. You may also consult with a nutritionist for more information on how to consume it effectively.
Can Serrapeptase Help Speed Wound Healing and Scar Tissue?
December 01, 2012 11:08 AM
Serrapeptase is well known for known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is commonly known as Serratiopeptidase. It is a great proteolytic active enzyme that comes from the intestine of silkworms and mostly used in Asian and European clinics since decades. It has the ability to remove non living tissues in the body. In addition to being effective in reducing inflammation, the Serrapeptase supplements benefits to the patients in the reduction of heart disease, cancer and arterial blockage.
It Treats Inflammation
It is used to treat various inflammations, pain related problems and viral diseases. The health benefits of Serrapeptase are numerous. It benefits in speeding up wound healing and used for post operative recovery that is surgical recovery. Serrapeptase removes dead scar tissues effectively and allows living tissue to grow in your body. But Clinically there is no evidence that Serrapeptase can remove scar tissues from the surface of skin.
There are no serious side effects of Serrapeptase even it does not result into gastrointestinal problem. The lesser side effects makes it a perfect remedy for the treatment of minor to major health problems.
The Benefits of White Tea!!
November 23, 2012 01:25 PM
White tea is a special variety of lightly oxidized tea which has undergone very little processing. It is originally native to China and in recent times it has been cultivated in Nepal, Thailand and Taiwan. White tea has been popular in China for over a thousand years and was the preferred drink of the rich elite of the nation. It came into prominence during the reign of the Soong dynasty. It was considered precious and was presented as tribute to the Emperor.
According to legend Emperor Hui Zong lost most of his kingdom in his pursuit for the perfect white tea. White tea is an integral part of Chinese history and was a part of many of their traditional ceremonies. The rest of the world has only recently adopted this exotic beverage.
How Is It Produced?
White tea is derived from the Cammelia senensis plant and takes lot of time and effort to produce properly. The leaves and buds of the plant are carefully steamed and subsequently dried. It is not processed or rolled extensively like black or green tea. This makes white tea lightly oxidized and this unprocessed quality may be the reason for its numerous health benefits. We look at some of the health benefits associated with white tea.
An Antioxidant And More!
White tea contains antioxidants which help in protecting the body from harmful free radicals. These free radicals accelerate aging and damage DNA. White tea has substances which are effective against malignant cells and can help treat stomach, colon and prostate cancers. Flavonoids are a special variety of antioxidants which restrict the growth and development of cancerous cells. White tea has been shown to help in lowering blood pressure and promoting arterial functioning. It causes a reduction in the consistency of the blood and promotes smooth blood circulation. It protects against stroke by promoting a healthy circulatory system.
Active Ingredient Catechins:
Catechins are another group of antioxidants, which can help regulate cholesterol levels in the body. These antioxidants reduce bad cholesterol and prevent the arteries from hardening. White tea drinkers are reported to have greater strength and bone density. Also drinking white tea has shown positive effects for people suffering from bone related disorders like osteoporosis and arthritis.
This tea provides natural defensive against viruses and bacteria. It is conducive for the health of the immune system and provides protection against a variety of immune disorders. White tea contains small amounts of fluoride compounds which help keep your teeth healthy and clean. It eliminates the bacteria responsible for bad breath, tooth decay and plaque. It removes free radicals from the tissue and reverses the effects of weather, stress and poor dietary preferences to give you healthy glowing skin. White tea has many other health benefits to offer.
Its consumption is linked to increase in metabolism, weight loss and reduction in the symptoms associated with type-2 diabetes. White tea is a natural product free from excessive processing and harmful chemicals. It offers many health benefits and does not cause any harmful side effects. It is slowly gaining popularity as a health supplement among the global population.
Serrapeptidase: Natural NSAID
March 27, 2012 03:26 PM
Serrapeptase, also known as Serratia peptidase is a proteolytic (protein-splitting) bioactive enzyme found in the intestines of the silk worm. This silk-worm enzyme is widely used in Europe and Japan in clinical therapy for relieving pain and inflammation. When the silk worm leaves the cocoon, it regurgitates the serrapeptase in to create a hole in the cocoon for its escape. It was soon discovered that serrapeptase enzyme has a unique property to dissolve dead material consisting protein without even harming the living tissue. This property of dissolving dead tissue can be used in treating many health conditions.
How Serrapeptase work?
Protein is the main component of most of the fibrous materials in the body. Once these fibrous materials out-live their purpose or are over-grown, they start causing serious disease conditions involving fibrosis. Fibrosis is an abnormal thickening and scarring of connective tissue caused by infection, injury, surgery or lack of oxygen. Serrapeptase works as an anti-fibrotic and helps in relieving the conditions in connective tissue scarring and thickening has occurred.
Health Benefits of Serrapeptase:
This proteolytic enzyme is considered an alternative to NSAIDS (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) that are used to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Serrapeptase has been used to treat fibromyalgia, colitis, Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, varicose veins, ovarian cysts, ear and throat infections, enlarged prostate and postoperative inflammation. Studies have shown its effective results in prevention and removal of arterial plaque.
Serrapeptase in relieving Pain:
Pain and Inflammation Reduction:
Serrapeptase is a great anti-inflammatory and analgesic agent. It reduces the inflammation and gives relief from the pain. It works by blocking the release of pain inducing amines from the inflamed tissues. Due to its pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, serrapeptase is used in treatment as an alternative to NSAIDS. This enzyme gives relief from mild to moderate pain like headache and backaches. Hence it is used all the inflammatory conditions such as colitis, sinusitis, arthritis and many more.
Serrapeptidase has an anti-fibrotic and fibrinolytic action that prevents and treats the accumulation of plaque in the arteries. Plaque is the accumulated deposits of cholesterol, fatty substances, cellular waste products, fibrin and calcium. Excessive plaque formation impairs the normal blood flow and cause partial or complete blockage, which also results in arteriosclerosis. Serrapeptidase helps to prevent build-up of plaque in the body. Due to its fibrinolytic action, it also helps in dissolving of proteins and breaking down atherosclerotic plaques. The dissolved deposits are eliminated from the body.
Hence, serrapeptidase prevents coronary artery diseases and improves cardiovascular health.
Due to its anti-inflammatory and mucus dissolving properties, Serrapeptidase is very beneficial for chronic sinusitis sufferers. Serrapeptidase helps in thinning and expelling the thickened mucus secretion present in nasal cavities of sinusitis sufferer.
Serrapeptidase helps in reducing the recovery time in any injuries, wounds or surgery. It promotes healing in post-operative wounds by reducing the inflammation and pain.
Serrapeptidase is available in the form of supplements. If you are taking NSAIDS for any healthy condition, substitute it with serrapeptidase supplement
How Can I Raise Blood Pressure Naturally?
October 18, 2011 05:25 PM
One of the leading causes linked to most illnesses in some form or the other is an imbalanced blood pressure. Statistics have shown that 1 out of 3 adults in the US have imbalanced blood pressure. So much of our bodily functions rely on normal blood pressure to work well. Let us put it this way, if your blood pressure is higher than it is supposed to be that means it is giving your body more workload than it is supposed to have, so in turn what will happened is, your body’s degeneration will be amplified. A lot of your systems will be overworked, your heart will be overworked and eventually depending on the cause your arteries will take a beating causing other organ failures in more severe cases. Now on the other hand if blood pressure is too low, you may feel fatigued all the time, light headedness, dizziness, nausea, close to fainting or anxiety and these are all things that we want to avoid.
This is the process in which the blood is carried from the heart towards other parts of your body. This is done through blood vessels called arteries and ultimately blood pressure is defined as the force of the blood in which it pushes the arterial walls. How much pressure is experienced is also directly proportional to how much the heart beats per minute in other words blood pressure is also directly proportional to the rate of your heart beat. The faster it beats the higher your blood pressure is. The blood pressure form of measurement is based on systolic over diastolic rates. Simply put the systolic rate is when the heart pumps blood and the diastolic is when the heart is at rest in between pumps or beats and that is why the diastolic is usually lower than the systolic rate. With that said by now you probably are able to make the conclusion that blood pressure will be at its highest when you are active, nervous, or excited and on the other hand it is at its lowest when you’re a sleep.
Why would you want to increase your blood pressure?
Most of us will probably think that, that idea is ludicrous since most of us would like to avoid high blood pressure and a lot of us are taking medications to support that effort and do things like exercising and all the other stuff to help fight against high blood pressure. However there is also a problem when blood pressure is too low as stated above and that is why some people need to increase blood pressure. There are a couple of ways to do it. First and foremost is for you to make sure you are hydrated well. High liquid volume in the body will promote higher blood pressure. Second is to lie down and elevate your feet. This will increase the return of blood to the heart therefore increasing blood pressure. Eat smaller meals so that the body will not divert so much blood to your digestive tract for digestion. Some studies also have shown that small amounts of caffeine daily may help increase low blood pressure.
You can also try herbs like bitter melon and yohimbe to elevate the heart rate. An elevated heart rate will effectively raise blood pressure. If you have low blood pressure or high, make sure you get tested every other day and record the results. Maintaining a BP level of 80/120 is optimal for good health.
Can Vitamin B12 Boost Mental Alertness?
July 18, 2011 12:01 PM
The body needs various nutrients in order to make vital biological reactions possible. These bodily reactions are necessary for energy production, immune system enhancement and health improvement. These nutrients are classified into two, macro and micronutrients. In addition, these micronutrients are further divided into vitamins and minerals. These vitamins are needed by individuals to help the body grow normally. Vitamins can be supplied by the food we eat. However, the body can make certain vitamins such as vitamin D and K. Individuals who are in strict vegetable diet usually need vitamin B12 supplement. In this article, we will be focusing on Vitamin B 12 or also known as cyanocobalamin.
Vitamin B 12 is also a water– soluble vitamin. It is considered as essential because it is not produced by the body. Excellent sources of this vitamin include fish, shellfish, meat, milk and milk products. Vitamin B 12 is also available in supplements in combination with other vitamin B complex. Like the other B vitamins, vitamin B 12 is also necessary in maintaining healthy brain cells and in the normal production of red blood cells. Riboflavin is also a component of DNA which is the cells’ genetic material. Vitamin B 12 in the stomach combines with a substance called intrinsic factor so that it can be absorbed into the blood stream.
Vitamin B 12 boosts mental alertness because it facilitates normal formation of body cells most especially the nerve cells. Vitamin B 12 is also an important component of the myelin sheath. Myelin sheath is necessary for the proper functioning of the nerves. Myelin sheath functions by increasing the speed of the movement of the impulse. With the presence of myelin sheath, the impulse hops from one sheath to another instead of just moving continuously along the nerve fiber. This is the reason why vitamin B 12 is commonly employed for boosting mental alertness and concentration. In fact, it is also commonly employed for treatment of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.
Vitamin B 12 can also help lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases by decreasing the concentration of homocysteine in the blood stream. Studies show that high levels of homocysteine can greatly lead to atherosclerosis which is the narrowing of arterial walls. It can also increase the tendency of abnormal blood clotting thus increasing the risk of clotting – related disorders. These factors can precipitate heart attacks and cerebrovascular accidents or commonly known as stroke.
Another function of vitamin B 12 is its involvement with energy metabolism in every cell of the body. Therefore, vitamin B 12 is not only good for enhancing mental alertness but also increasing energy levels. It is also required by the body so that other nutrients from the diet can be absorbed and readily utilized by the cells.
Vitamin B 12 is relatively safe. It usually comes in combination with other B vitamins in the form of tablets, capsules, or liquid which can be bought over –the – counter.
Celery Seed Is A Herbal Diuretic, Antiinflammatory, Antioxidant, and Packed Full of Omegas
July 05, 2011 03:37 PM
What Does Celery Seed Extract Do For The Body
Celery plant is a member of the parsley family. This plant grows abundantly in humid and salty soil mostly in countries such as India and France. The plant can stand up to two to three feet in height with segmented leaves. It bears fruits and small white flowers. The flowers typically bloom during June to July. The seeds are found on its flowers which are very little in brown to dark brown in color. The seeds have a pungent smell and are commonly employed as nutritional supplement as well as herbal medicine. Celery seed has low amount of calories which make it suitable as a diet food.
Aside from being a recognized vegetable playing an important role in the culinary and diet food world, celery seed also has many significant health benefits. These include:
1. Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: Celery seeds promote a normal blood pressure and help decrease cholesterol in the bloodstream. Studies reveal that daily consumption of celery seed helps maintain your blood pressure within normal limits and facilitates in getting rid of unnecessary cholesterol in the body. Cholesterol may deposit into arterial walls which may cause obstruction with the blood flow thus increasing the risk of heart attack.
2. Diuretic: Almost a century ago, celery seeds have been commonly used as a diuretic. The active ingredients in celery improve urination thus promoting elimination of toxins out from the body. One of the most important contribution of celery seed as a diuretic is its effect on uric acid crystals deposited in the joints. Celery seeds can effectively clear out uric acid crystals in the joints thus preventing or relieving the person from gouty and rheumatoid arthritis.
3. Anti - inflammatory Property: Celery seed is said to have potent anti – inflammatory actions by decreasing swelling thus reducing pain. This is another reason why celery seed is utilized as an adjunct treatment for gout and rheumatoid arthritis.
4. Antioxidant Property: Like many other vegetables, celery seed is rich in antioxidant chemicals. Antioxidant is important to the body because these chemicals help neutralize free radicals inside the body. Free radicals are toxins which are harmful to the cells of the body by interfering with cellular division and tampering DNA replication.
5. Fatty Acid Source: Celery seed is found to contain high amounts of omega – 6 fatty acids. Together with the other essential fatty acid omega – 3, omega – 6 fatty acids is important in the functioning and health of the nervous system. These fatty acids are also significant for the normal growth and development of the body. These chemicals are also found to have the ability to improve the health of skin and hair, promotes strong bones, regulate metabolism and maintain reproductive health.
Celery seeds can be eaten raw dipped in dressing of choice. It can also be consumed together with other vegetables in a certain dish or recipe. Other preparations of celery seed include decoction and tincture. To prepare a decoction, add one – half teaspoon of powdered seeds to one cup or 200 mL of water.
Celery seed is available in easy to swallow capsules. Grab some today and feel the difference!
Triphala - Boost digestion, Improve Liver Function, Blood Sugar, Cholesterol And More
May 27, 2011 11:42 AM
What is the Ayurvedic Herb Triphala and What Does it Do for the Body?
Triphala, or “three fruits”, is an herbal preparation that originated from India. As its name suggests, it is made up of fruits extracts from three different plant species, namely: amla, beliric, and haritaki. These plants are native to India, but enjoy a significant presence throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia. Their historical uses are largely medicinal, with the exception of amla.
Allays Digestive Problems
The organic compounds that occur naturally in triphala have several properties that aid digestion and prevent gas. Triphala is often taken before meals as an appetizer because it increases digestive activities necessary for the perception of hunger. It is also widely used as a treatment for constipation for two reasons: it works as a mild laxative that induces the fast passage of foods and stimulates peristaltic movements in the colon.
Improves Liver Function
Triphala is especially good for the liver. For one, its addition to the diet speeds up the breakdown of bioactive compounds in the gastrointestinal tract. Regular intake of triphala has been observed to improve several liver functions, most notably the conversion of cholesterol to bile salts, which is crucial for the processing of lipids in the diet. More importantly, it raises the capacity of the liver to deal with harmful metabolites of foreign materials, such as drugs.
Regulates Blood Sugar
Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine recommend larger consumptions of triphala to individuals suffering from glucose intolerance, diabetes mellitus, and metabolic syndrome. The fruits that constitute triphala are known for their ability to interfere with the releases of simple sugars, such as glucose, into the systemic circulation. They work on the principle of sustaining a gradual but steady distribution of glucose to individual cells for several hours.
Lowers Bad Cholesterol
It is common belief in parts of Asia that triphala is good for the circulatory system. Apart from its putative role in the regulation of blood sugar, it also impacts overall lipid levels in the blood. The phytochemical content of triphala enables it to have an effect on the productions of very-low-density lipoproteins, precursors of low-density lipoproteins, or bad cholesterol. This results in fewer free fatty acids that often get trapped in arterial walls.
Promotes Healthy Metabolism
Athletes are likely to benefit from triphala, for it influences the conversion of bioactive compounds to energy for use by cells. Triphala appears to increase metabolic rate and facilitate better utilization of glucose and fats, the reason why it is now commercially touted as an herbal supplement that aids weight loss. Also, triphala has been observed to regulate water retention, which has been linked to obesity.
Protects Eye Tissue
Triphala contains a host of antioxidants that protect eye tissues. The eyes are susceptible to oxidative stress brought on by free radicals and other reactive oxygen species. Oxidative stress interrupts functions of ocular cells and damages cellular organelles, leading to many known diseases of the eye. Triphala has been associated with the prevention and amelioration of conjunctivitis, cataracts, glaucoma, and myopia.
Triphala being a fiber has a wide range of health benefits, give triphala a try today and feel the difference!
Why Are Fresh Sprouts Like Alfalfa, Barley, and Wheat So Good for Your Health?
May 24, 2011 11:22 AM
Sprouts For A Healthier Body!
Fresh sprouts are among the healthiest of all foods. They are rich in enzymes that are not found in the human body. These enzymes help facilitate better absorption of vitamins and minerals. Alfalfa, barley, and wheat are examples of plants that are capable of sprouting when soaked in water. They are best consumed fresh when they still contain all of their nutrients. They make excellent ingredients to salads and sandwiches that can complement any meal. They can be processed in juicing machines, too.
You might have heard of the nutritional value of grasses and legumes. Wheatgrass is becoming increasingly popular nowadays as they have been receiving a lot of good press lately. Wheatgrass and barley grass has in fact earned the moniker superfoods. Alfalfa, on the other hand, is a legume recently rediscovered for its phytochemical content. It has been a forage crop for centuries, but human consumptions have steadily increased in the past few years. Apart from the fact that wheat, barley, alfalfa can be consumed as fresh sprouts, they also bring similar benefits to human health.
Restore Normal pH Levels
Proponents of the alkaline diet believe that the body is in a constant cycle of alkalinity and acidity, which is partially dependent on the foods that we eat. The body raises alkalinity with every acidic by-products of digestion to maintain pH balance. That being said, a significant fraction of the human diet is acid-forming, tipping the balance in the process. Fresh sprouts are often linked to the alkaline diet, which aims to restore pH balance of the body.
Have High Nutrient Content
Alfalfa, barley grass, and wheatgrass are very good sources of vitamins and minerals. They are particularly rich in dietary minerals that help the body function at its best. Plus, they contain amino acids, essential fatty acids, dietary fiber, and carbohydrates in amounts adequate to complement any other foods that make up a healthy diet. One of the very noticeable improvements after months of consuming fresh sprouts is the increase in red blood cell count.
Cleanse the Body of Toxins
Aside from the fact that fresh sprouts are effective free radical scavengers, they also improve the natural antioxidant defense of the human body. Wheat, barley, and alfalfa are reliable sources of potassium, magnesium, manganese, and selenium, all of which are involved in chemical reactions that lead to effective removal of toxic by-products of metabolism. Fresh sprouts are capable of neutralizing reactive oxygen species such as free radicals. Furthermore, they facilitate the excretion of toxins.
Promote Heart Health
Fresh sprouts are particularly good for the cardiovascular system. They maintain the health of red blood cells. They limit the releases of low-density lipoproteins into the blood, thus lowering bad cholesterol and free fatty acids. They help control high blood pressure and promote normal blood flow. They maintain healthy levels of blood sugar by improving glucose metabolism. And, of course, their antioxidant profile enables them to protect the heart and arterial walls from lipid peroxidation.
Have you had your sprouts today?
Is There Any Benefit to Taking Grape Seed Extract?
April 15, 2011 02:12 PM
Grape Seed Extract And Your Health!Grape seed extract has been linked to many health benefits. It is entirely derived from grape products, but contains higher concentrations of organic compounds naturally occurring in grape seeds. It has long been known that grapes are excellent sources of bioactive compounds while grape seeds have more phytochemicals. In addition to their long list of all-natural antioxidants, such as tocopherols, flavonoids, and oligomeric proanthocyanidins, grape seed extracts contain the essential fatty acid linoleic acid, the reason why they are exceptionally good for the skin.
Accelerates Wound Healing
The circulatory system is the best venue for nutrient distribution throughout the body. The tissues that have direct access to the blood vessels are more likely to receive nourishment and heal faster in the process. Grape seed extracts induce the productions of proteins called vascular endothelial growth factor, which stimulates the growth of healthy blood vessels, thereby accelerating wound healing in any part of the body.
Improves Bone Density
Grape seed extracts have been noted to increase bone mass and strength. The bones are the primary storage of inorganic minerals in the human body, like elemental calcium. As such, they undergo a lifetime cycle of resorption and reabsorption to respond to the mineral needs of other body parts. Any imbalance in the process may result in bone porosity. It is postulated that the phytochemical content of grape seed extracts inhibits bone resorption.
Promotes Integumentary Health
Oligomeric proanthocyanidins, or OPCs, are of special note for their unique antioxidant activities. They are capable of scavenging free radicals and preventing cellular damage. At the same time, they protect the skin, the scalp, and the rest of the integumentary system from the harmful oxidative effects of ultraviolet rays. Grape seed extracts are particularly rich in OPCs, which have been tied to impede skin tumor growth.
Shows Cardioprotective Effects
Grape seed extracts contain an abundance of organic compounds that promote cardiovascular health. First, it has shown to be effective in lowering low-density lipoproteins, also known as bad cholesterol. Second, its antioxidant properties prevent the oxidation of bad cholesterol, which results in the formation of arterial plaques if subjected to oxidative stress. Third, grape seed extracts reduce complications of preexisting cardiovascular disorders.
Eases Digestive Problems
Grapes have long been reputed as a digestive in many cultures. Grape seed extracts, having flavonoids with bioactive properties, serve as a cleanser of the alimentary canal. They aid digestion and modulate the effects of enzymes on food. The same organic compounds limit the growth of microorganisms that populate the colon, which is the cause of many disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.
Prevents Tooth Decay
Grape seed extracts contain phenolics that interfere with the metabolism of sugars in the oral cavity. The bacteria that take up residence in the mouth rely on the availability of saccharine compounds, and they thrive well in the presence of simple sugars, such as sucrose, fructose, and glucose. Dental carries result from an abundance of these sugars and a growing bacterial population. Grape seed extracts impact both.
As you can see, grape seed extract has many health benefits. All who want to keep their body’s working in tip top shape should be taking grape seed extract daily!
What Does The Ayurvedic Herb Amla Do For The Body?
February 22, 2011 02:25 PM
Alma And Your Health
Amla is an herb famed for its high content of antioxidants, notably vitamin C. The berries, which are utilized as a source of food and in the production of dietary supplement, come from the plant species Phyllanthus emblica, or more commonly identified as Emblica officinalis, but other parts of the plants such as the leaves and bark have also been used in preparations in treatment of various diseases.
Also known as Indian gooseberry in the vernacular, amla is an important herbal remedy in Ayurvedic medicine, a system of medical practices native to India. It is also extensively used in Unani practices, which cover the countries of the Middle East, largely owing to the influence of earlier Hippocratic medicine on the region.
Scavenges Free Radicals
Amla is touted to be among the fruits that contain exceptionally high concentrations of vitamin C. The berries yield up to 445mg per 100g, which is at least 20 times higher than the ascorbate content of oranges. In addition, the plant produces a unique free cascading antioxidant now called emblicanin, purported to have very strong antioxidant properties, seeking out free radicals and effectively scavenging large numbers by converting into another form of antioxidant after neutralizing the first.
As you might already know, free radicals significantly contribute to the process of aging by producing effects related to oxidation. While the body manufactures endogenous agents that come to its defense, it has long been discovered that free radicals are able to multiply at an exponential rate and cause irreversible damage at the cellular level. This is the reason why supplementation of vitamin C as well as other antioxidants is advocated by the scientific community.
Lowers Bad Cholesterol
One of the studies concerning amla that have promising preliminary results is its use as a therapeutic remedy for elevated levels of blood cholesterol. There have been reports that the high density of tannins in amla is responsible for its effects on the production of low-density lipoproteins in the liver. These lipoproteins, notoriously labeled as bad cholesterol, is the main transports of cholesterol and triglycerides in the bloodstream and in the process gets attracted to the arterial walls, resulting in buildup of plaques associated to atherosclerosis and related heart diseases.
Inhibits Bone Resorption
Amla has also shown to have an effect on osteoclasts, which is involved in the degeneration of bone and cartilage tissues related to osteoporosis and many cases of arthritis. Intake of amla has been observed to induce death in osteoclasts and alter the gene expression in osteoclasts, thereby reducing bone resorption. That being said, it prevents further damages to bone and joints in patients of arthritis and osteoporosis.
There have been many scientific researches concerning the age-old applications of amla in many common ailments, such as fever, cough and colds, and constipation, age-related diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, and even enhancing the memory. Most of these studies are limited to India and has largely drawn on anecdotal evidence of the local communities.
If you want to give your body a health boost, try the Ayurvedic herb Alma today!
What are the Health Benefits of Vitamin K?
February 19, 2011 11:42 AM
6 Ways Vitamin K Can Boost Your Health
Vitamin K is belongs to the group of vitamins that are soluble in fat. There are a lot of chemical compounds that display the activities of this essential nutrient inside the human body, but the best known form of this vitamin is phylloquinone, a naturally occurring substance in green leafy vegetables. Many different synthetic forms have also been proven to exhibit the same health benefits.
Helps against Blood Loss
Vitamin K was named so largely owing to the fact that it is directly involved in the coagulation of blood, which was the first of its benefits to be discovered. K stands for the first letter of its German name, Koagulationsvitamin. The process by which our body controls blood loss during bleeding, both external and internal, is called coagulation, which describes the ability of the blood to thicken and form a clot. Coagulation is central to the health of blood vessels as it stops bleeding and starts the healing process.
Promotes Vascular Health
Phylloquinone and other forms of Vitamin K have long been used as a treatment for cardiovascular diseases. One form of calcification outside the bones occurs in the arterial linings, which wears down the elastic properties of vascular tissues. Arterial calcification in itself is a very serious medical condition and usually takes place in end-stage cardiovascular diseases. However, the absence of vitamin K in the body also brings on this disease.
Facilitates Calcium Absorption
There is strong evidence that vitamin K helps build strong bones, and is in fact utilized as treatment for osteoporosis. Vitamin K modulates the production of osteocalcin, which induces bone formation and reduces bone resorption by attracting calcium minerals inside the body. Premature calcification of bones negatively affects bone density, but the presence of vitamin K has been observed to avoid this.
Regulates Blood Sugar
The bone-building protein osteocalcin also acts as a hormone that triggers the beta cells in the pancreas to release more insulin, which instruct cells in different tissues of the body to absorb glucose from the blood. Glucose is either converted into ATP, the primary source of energy that power cellular functions, or stored as glycogen inside the cells. Either way maintains healthy blood sugar.
Breaks down Body Fats
Osteocalcin is also involved in the burning of fats in adipose tissues, including the unwanted flab on the belly. By stimulating these fatty tissues to release a hormone called adiponectin, body fats are broken down into smaller particles and in the process release energy. In fact, the abundance of adiponectin in the bloodstream has been closely tied to low percentage of body fats in adults.
Scavenges Free Radicals
Vitamin K helps clear the body of ravaging free radicals that damage everything at the cellular level. It is particularly associated with protecting the nerve cells from premature death due to oxidative stress caused by free radicals, the reason why it is used in studies concerning Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. With all its health benefits, it is prudent to ensure consumption of Vitamin K.
Do you get enough Vitamin K Daily?
Why Do We Need Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's) And What Source Is Best?
February 15, 2011 05:03 PM
EFA's can boost Your Health
Essential fatty acids are organic compounds that the human body necessitates to support healthy functions of organs and tissues but lack the ability to synthesize. Two fatty acids make up this group: (1) alpha linolenic acid, or ALA, and (2) linoleic acid, LA. Also referred to as EFAs, they are ubiquitous at the cellular level, but known to play an active role in neuronal and vascular tissues as well as in inflammation.
Maintains Cellular Health
One of the most recent advancements in cellular science is the discovery of lipid rafts, which are a part of the bilipid layer of cell membranes specialized for trafficking of cellular molecules, such as proteins and receptors. Also, these lipid rafts have an effect on the viscosity of cell membranes, thereby influencing fluidity that governs membrane-dependent functions of cells such as cellular signaling and phagocytosis, the mechanism by which cells swallow extracellular debris including pathogenic stimuli. Due to its being less stiff and more fluid, essential fatty acids make up cell membranes.
Modulates Neuronal Activities
It has long been postulated that learning and memory is influenced by the availability of intracellular substances known as endocannabinoids in a process called retrograde signaling. Unlike other neurotransmitters, endocannabinoids act on presynaptic cells while produced in postsynaptic cells, and by so doing enhances the signal transmission between nerve cells. Essential fatty acids are converted into endocannabinoids, which are produced on demand, and thus daily intake of EFA is a must. In addition, EFA has for years been in use as a treatment for depression and in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases.
Regulates Inflammatory Responses
The right amounts of essential fatty acids present inside the human body significantly contribute to the inflammatory responses of the immune system. There are chemical compounds that are produced by the body only in the presence of essential fatty acids, and a number of these compounds are essential to the process of healing and other processes implicated during inflammation. This is the reason why intake of EFA is highly regarded as a therapeutic remedy for reducing inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and autoimmune illnesses.
Promotes Cardiovascular Health
There is high risk of heart attack and related cardiovascular diseases in populations with low levels of essential fatty acids. Especially for individuals who are dependent on drugs that are known to cause oxidative stress in vascular tissues, susceptibility to damages of the blood vessel linings sets the stage for the buildup of macrophages and bad cholesterol in the form of arterial plaques. These plaques contribute to the thinning of the vascular passageways characteristic of atherosclerosis.
There is a reason why alpha linolenic acid and linoleic acid are considered essential fatty acids. They are a vital component of a healthy body with well-functioning organs and tissues. Good thing we have a wide list of food sources rich in EFA, which includes the oils of hemp, soya, canola, and wheat germ. EFA is also abundant in seeds of sunflower, chia, pumpkin, and flax.
EFA's should be an essential part of everyone's diet, have you had your EFA's today?
Did You Know Lecithin is More than a Brain Food
February 15, 2011 04:16 PM
Lecithin, first discovered as the yellow substance in egg yolk, is now associated with a wide array of health benefits. It is in fact made up of a number of naturally occurring substances that all play an important role in promoting overall health at the right amounts. Today lecithin is made available as over-the-counter supplements and utilized for many different purposes in the food industry.
Lecithin has been proven to reduce cholesterol serum levels. For one, it has a direct effect on the digestion of triglycerides and cholesterol from the foods we eat, blocking the pathway that breaks down fats into smaller particles and their consequent absorption by intestinal walls. Also, lecithin has been observed to attract free fatty acids in the bloodstream and move them away from arterial walls. More importantly, it inhibits the release of bad cholesterol and instead raises good cholesterol levels.
Induces Weight Loss
There are dietary supplements that make use of lecithin to assist weight loss. Since the amount of lecithin present in our diet contributes to the ability of the intestinal walls to break down fats, notably cholesterol, it practically flushes away unwanted calories. Lecithin is a part of a class of compounds called lipids, and, as a lipid, it is readily utilized by the cells to burn fats and power cellular functions.
Phosphatidylcholine, a major constituent of lecithin, is in the employ of every cell in the body as a form of protection and in cellular communication. It is one of the compounds that make up the lipid bilayer of cell membranes. Unfortunately, our systems use up more lecithin as a dynamic source of energy than what we supply our body, and this explains why we become more susceptible to stress.
Protects the Liver
Lecithin has always shown to be one of the compounds that promote liver health, and has been in use against certain diseases of the liver such as cirrhosis. This compound is responsible for speeding up the metabolism of lipids in the liver, and produce them only when needed, thereby removing the hazards associated with the buildup of fatty tissues that interferes with the functions of the liver.
Helps during Pregnancy
Choline is one of the most important compounds during pregnancy. It is in itself an essential nutrient with established daily value, being required to support healthy body functions, and lecithin is its best known precursor. Intake of lecithin before getting pregnant is recommendable as choline must be produced at sufficient amounts prior to conception to ensure healthy fetal development.
Lecithin, being a precursor of choline, is involved in improving brain function. There are neuronal processes that rely entirely on choline, whose absence in the nervous system results in decreased activity of these processes. In addition, it has long been postulated that the functional decline tied to aging is due to the depleting levels of choline in the body. Hence, it is prudent to replenish our choline reserves by eating foods rich in lecithin.
Turmeric, Curcumin, And Good Health
November 11, 2010 03:48 PM
Turmeric and its historyTurmeric is not just an ancient Asian spice but also an effective traditional alternative medicine used worldwide. Turmeric is a spice that originates in India and has been long used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese traditional medicine. This spice comes from the herb Curcuma longa L. which is a member of the Curcuma botanical group, a part of the ginger family of herbs called Zingiberaceae. The root and rhizome (underground stem) of this plant is crushed and powdered into ground Turmeric. Ground Turmeric is used worldwide as a seasoning and the main ingredient in curry powders. Ground Turmeric is also the source of Curcumin, an extracted potent substance also used as alternative medicine nowadays.
Turmeric, because of its Curcumin content, has many health benefits to humans. Firstly, Turmeric has an anti-inflammatory property. Its active ingredient, Curcumin, has been proven to help reduce inflammation. Decade to decade, Turmeric has been used as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat inflammations of the skin and muscles. Experiments done by researchers also revealed that this herb has been effective in decreasing post-surgical inflammation. This important health benefit of Turmeric is considered to be a result of the herb’s ability to slow down, if not to totally stop, Eicosanoid Biosynthesis, one of the processes the immune system undergoes during an inflammatory response.
Secondly, as a result of its anti-inflammatory characteristic, Turmeric also has an anti-arthritic property. It is widely used as an alternative medicine for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders. In addition, this herb also has a natural painkiller effect. Studies show that it has similar actions to the commonly used medications such as COX-2 inhibitor and Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs.
Thirdly, several studies have shown that Turmeric is also helpful in lowering the level of bad cholesterol in the blood known as the Low Density Lipoprotein or LDL and in increasing the body’s good cholesterol, High Density Lipoprotein or HDL. An increased level of LDL promotes cholesterol plaque deposits to the walls of blood vessels, most commonly in the arteries of heart. These plaques narrow the arterial diameter hence resulting to high blood pressure and even circulation blockage. An arterial block may cause poor circulation and oxygenation to heart muscles leading to cardiac injury then infarction. This is oftentimes the cause of heart attacks. It has also been discovered that Turmeric can promote excretion of dietary fats. Thus, controlling the intestinal uptake of fats, especially cholesterol.
Turmeric - Powerful AntioxidantLastly, Turmeric is also widely used because of its anti-oxidant property. Studies demonstrate that Turmeric is effective in eliminating free radicals in the body. These free radicals are harmful. It may cause cell mutations which can lead to tumor formation and, worse, cancer.
This herbal plant can be prepared in the household by pounding and pressing its roots to be able to extract the juice out. It is then mixed with water and may be used topically or by nasal inhalation. The root can also be lightly cooked and eaten. Turmeric is also helpful in earaches and to clear clogged sinuses thus easing breathing. This herb can also be purchased in bulk powder or standardized forms to ensure its beneficial properties are intact.
Bromelain Supplements why?
November 06, 2010 10:32 AM
Bromelain enzyme may not be as familiar as other digestive supplements to most people but this helpful catalyst offers a wide range of benefits not only to the digestive system but also to other systems of the body.
Bromelain Enzyme Supplement
Bromelain enzyme is a proteolytic digestive catalyst that contains sulfur. From the word “proteolytic”, this substance aids in the digestion of proteins especially when taken with meals. On the other hand, when taken without meals, it is deemed to act as an anti-inflammatory supplement. Ananas comosus or the pineapple plant is the best source of this beneficial enzyme. However, fresh pineapple extract does not contain doses high enough to have a medicinal effect. Hence, a preparation to meet the body’s demand is produced. Bromelain supplements now come in the form of tablets and topical creams. They are now widely available and affordable to counterweigh the several uses it offers.
In the Digestive System, bromelain enzyme does not only help in digesting proteins but may also relieve gastric upset and heartburn especially when used together with other digestive enzymes like amylase, a catalyst responsbile for carbohydrate digestion, and lipase which is for the digestion of fats. Diarrhea conditions associated with deficiency in the proteolytic enzymes can also be alleviated with the use of this supplement.
In the Immune System, bromelain has been widely considered as an effective relief for pain and swelling caused by both injury and certain infections. Studies frequently show the bromelain’s ability in facilitating the body to restore health more quickly. The mechanism is said to be a reduction of fibrin and leukotriene accumulation, thus regulating the inflammation process. Researchers have demonstrated evidences that a daily intake of 1,200 to 1,800 mg of bromelain may help alleviate painful inflammation just like in rheumatoid arthritis.
In the Cardiovascular System, bromelain supplement is theorized to play a role in the prevention of heart disease caused by atherosclerosis or thickening of the arterial wall due to plaque deposits. It slows down the clumping of platelets thus preventing a possible heart attack.
Bromelain May Also Relieve Pain
Lastly, bromelain may also relieve pain associated premenstrual syndrome and menstraul cramps. Studies reveal that they act as prostaglandin inhibitors. However, bromelain can also increase the bleeding during menstruation.
Bromelain supplement has no Recommended Dietary Allowance but doses of up to 1 gram taken 3 times a day showed no toxic effects. Experts also advise to take bromelain on an empty stomach supplemented with magnesium to increase the bromelain’s effects.
Just like any other drug or food supplement, bromelain also has side effects, nonlife-threatening to be exact. It may have drug interactions such as increasing the absorption of some medications like antibiotics, chemotherapeutic drugs and specific antihypertensive agents. In addition, it may also bolster the effects of blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), anti-inflammatory drugs and antiplatelet agents such as clopidogrel (Plavix). Since bromelain supplement can cause certain drug interactions, it is important to take this enzyme cautiously or under the supervision of a qualified health care provider.
To find quality bromelain supplements, look to your local or internet vitamin store.
Atherosclerosis and Policosanol
July 31, 2010 02:18 PM
Policosanol has been proposed as a treatment for a condition known as atherosclerosis, and prior to discussing the supplement and how it works, we shall first discuss the condition and what causes it. Cholesterol has a bad name, yet without it you could not live. Among its uses are the formation and maintenance of cell membranes, the production of hormones such as testosterone, its use by the liver as a raw material for bile and the metabolism of the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E & K. It also helps protect the arteries from damage.
So cholesterol is necessary. However, it is only sparingly water soluble, and has to be transported by large fatty molecules that are also water soluble: low density and high density lipids (LDL and HDL cholesterol). LDL lipids generally carry cholesterol in the blood to the areas of the body where it is needed, while the HDL lipids carry it back to the liver for metabolizing. Free radical oxidation of LDL lipids causes them to deposit on arterial walls, and progressively block them leading to atherosclerosis. Even small blood clots can block the arteries leading to stoppage of the heart or strokes if the artery is in the brain.
Policosanol is a supplement, obtained in the USA from fatty alcohols extracted from beeswax and wheat germ, and in Cuba from other plant waxes, that is believed to reduce this problem and possibly even help to reduce the extent of atherosclerosis. HDL lipids can also reduce the extent of LDL arterial plaques. Studies are still under way, although the known side effects are only slight and many claim that Policosanol has improved their condition substantially.
September 17, 2009 10:57 AM
Ancient Greeks used hawthorn berries for heart disease. The Greeks and Romans looked to hawthorn as a source of happiness and hope for the future. The berries were used by the Chinese for digestion and circulatory problems. Christian legend says that the crown of thorns that was placed upon the head of Christ was made from hawthorn. The crushed fruit or leaves were used as a poultice for their drawing powers to remove thorns and splinters for centuries in England. Native Americans believed that hawthorn was useful for rheumatism and heart problems.
This herb contains many different components which work together to benefit the heart and body. Hawthorn can both feed and strengthen the heart and arteries. It seems to work on the heart muscle to make it work more effectively. The herb may even help a damaged heart. Hawthorn contains some mild sedative properties, which can help when heart disorders are due to stress and with insomnia. Hawthorn has been used to treat and prevent arteriosclerosis, rapid heartbeat, feeble heartbeat, enlarged heart, angina, and breathing difficulties due to a lack of oxygen in the lungs. Some people recommend using hawthorn to protect against disease before symptoms occur.
Hawthorn is known for its ability to regulate arterial blood pressure. It increases the strength of the heart muscle and also works to increase coronary blood flow. This herb is great in helping to reduce the heart rate and lessen the heart’s workload.
Some studies have found that this extract is responsible for dilating the blood vessels, which results in reduced peripheral resistance. Hawthorn may also have some further cardio-protective effects that become pronounced after prolonged use. Research on 132 patients found substantial positive results with the use of this herb. These stage two stable heart failure patients had improved exercise tolerance, and a reduction in shortness of breath and fatigue after exercise. The researchers noted that for maximum effect, hawthorn must be used for one to two months. Cardiac improvement accelerates with long-term use and relatively high doses. One of the most positive facts about hawthorn is its safety. This herb is believed to be safe for long-term use without side effects. Some experiments have found that hawthorn dilates the blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, and strengthens the heart. This herb is commonly prescribed by German physicians to treat minor heart problems. Hawthorn also contains a mild sedative effect. This effect may contribute to a healthy heart. Stress, anxiety, and nervousness are often associated with heart conditions.
The berries and flowers of the hawthorn plant are used to provide alterative, antispasmodic, astringent, cardio-alterative, diuretic, sedative, and vasodilator properties. The primary nutrients found in hawthorn are choline, inositol, and vitamins A, B-complex, and C with bioflavonoids. Primarily, hawthorn is extremely beneficial in dealing with angina, arrhythmia, arteriosclerosis, high and low blood pressure, heart conditions, heart palpitations, and hypoglycemia.
Additionally, this herb is very helpful in treating arthritis, blood clots, edema, hypertension, insomnia, liver disorders, rheumatism, sleeplessness, and stress. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by hawthorn, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store.
August 27, 2009 02:40 PM
Garlic is very popular because of its health benefits. A perennial plant and member of the lily family, the bulb of the garlic plant is used for many medicinal purposes. Garlic was used by the ancient Hebrews, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Egyptians. The Chinese used this herb at least three thousand years ago to treat various ailments. The Egyptians ate garlic while building pyramids to increase their strength and endurance. Hippocrates suggested that this herb be used for treatment of uterine cancer. Native Americans used garlic to fight abdominal cancer, while the Europeans used this herb during the plague years to provide immunity. The main historical uses of garlic were to treat colds, coughs, toothaches, earaches, diarrhea, infection, arteriosclerosis, headaches, dandruff, tumors, worms, and hypertension.
Garlic is nature’s antibiotic. This herb is very effective in fighting bacteria which may be resistant to other antibiotics. The herb stimulates the lymphatic system in order to throw off waste material. Garlic is different from other antibiotics in the fact that it has the ability to stimulate cell growth and activity. This herb rejuvenates all body functions. Garlic opens up blood vessels, reducing hypertension. It is known as a health-building and disease-preventing herb.
Several studies have linked garlic to a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease. This herb has been found to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood, while lowering blood pressure, increasing immunity, and reducing the blood’s clotting ability. Research suggests that eating the equivalent of one-half to one clove of garlic daily can decrease total serum cholesterol levels by about nine percent. Anticoagulant capabilities have also been found in garlic by German researchers. Garlic is able to benefit those individuals who are suffering from peripheral arterial occlusive disease, which is better known as blood clots in the legs.
Garlic also contains antitumor properties, with studies showing it having the ability to inhibit the growth of cancer-causing nitrosamine. The National Cancer Institute even recommends adding more garlic, onions, and other similar vegetables to the diet. This would lower the risk of developing stomach cancer. Results from one study showed that garlic may be toxic to some cancer cells. It may encourage the immune system to spot the invaders and destroy them, allowing a natural immune process to destroy tumor cells.
Garlic is believed to stimulate the lymphatic system by ridding itself of toxins. The Russians consider garlic to be a natural antibiotic, which is why they consume it regularly. This herb is often used to prevent disease and heal the body. It is nourishing for the entire body, especially the heart, circulation, stomach, spleen, and lungs. Additionally, it has been used to stimulate circulation and to help the immune system function more effectively. Some believe that this herb may help prevent some forms of cancer, heart disease, strokes, and infections.
In summary, the bulb of the garlic plant is used to provide adaptogen, alterative, antibiotic, anticoagulant, antifungal, antineoplastic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, blood purifier, diaphoretic, digestive, expectorant, febrifuge, rubefacient, stimulant, and vulnerary properties. Primarily, garlic is extremely beneficial in dealing with asthma, blood impurities, high blood pressure, bronchitis, cancer, candidiasis, poor circulation, colds, colitis, coughs, infectious diseases, ear infections, fevers, flu, fungus, gastric disorders, heart disease, indigestion, infection, liver disorders, lung disorders, parasites, blood poisoning, prostate problems, respiratory problems, and staph/strep infections.
This herb is also good for treating acne, allergies, arthritis, childhood diseases, diabetes, diarrhea, edema, emphysema, gallbladder problems, hypoglycemia, insomnia, kidney ailments, pneumonia, rheumatism, sinus problems, ulcers, warts, and worms.
Garlic is a wonderful all purpose herb that can be found at your local or internet health food store. Always look for name brands when buying garlic to ensure quality and purity of the product you purchase.
Protect The Liver with Glutathione And Cysteine
April 23, 2009 01:54 PM
The tripeptide L-glutathione is synthesized in the body from L. glutamic acid, L-cysteine and glycine, a reaction that can occur in any cell of the body although it is essential that it also occurs in the liver. Should glutathione concentrations drop, they can be increased by supplementing with cysteine or any other of the three amino acids that are used in the biosynthesis of this important if substance
The tripeptide exists in two forms: the reduced form (GSH) which contains a sulfhydryl (SH) functional group attached to the cysteinyl part of the molecule, and the oxidized form glutathione disulfide (GSSG). As electrons are lost from the reduced form, two molecules combine to create a dimer formed by a disulfide bridge, the process which can be reversed through reduction of the GSSG. Such electrons are lost during its reaction with free radicals, in which the free radicals are neutralized by the donation of an electron from the oxidized version of glutathione.
The definition of a free radical is a molecule that is lacking one electron from an electronic pair. Its prime purpose is then to steal an electron from the nearest molecule to it. In doing so, it can not only destroy that molecule, but also destroy body cells and lead, not only to premature aging, but also to some potentially fatal conditions.
It is an unusual peptide in that it involves a link between the cysteine amino grouping and the carboxyl functional group of the glutamic acid. It is a powerful antioxidant, acting as an effective free radical scavenger and protecting the body cells from the effects of free radical oxidation. However, it is on its detoxification effect in the liver that we shall focus here prior to discussing some other uses to which the body puts glutathione in its two manifestations.
Much of the detoxification is connected with the thiol group in the molecule. Take mercury for example. The thiol grouping forms a strong Hg-sulfydryl chemical bond within the liver, in the form of a glutathione-mercury chelate. In this form mercury is unable to exert any toxic effect on the body and can be excreted in the normal manner. The same reactive pathway is followed by other heavy metals that can bond to thiol groupings. In this way L-glutathione can protect the liver from the effects of a number of toxic heavy metals such as cadmium and chromium.
This is an important property of the amino acid, particularly in industrial and urban environments where the population is more prone to exposure to heavy metals than their rural counterparts. However, the end result on the glutathione is that it is removed from the body, and, particularly with city dwellers, a supplement may be required to maintain a healthy concentration of this amino acid in the body and in particular in the liver. Therefore, although L-glutathione is not considered an essential amino acid, in that it is biosynthesized within the body, a supplement is sometimes required, particularly by those who live in large cities.
It is important to consider the form in which the glutathione supplement is administered. This is because of the presence of gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase within the digestive system. This enzyme appears to destroy L-glutathione before it can be absorbed in the intestine so normal oral forms of supplementation are likely to be ineffective. Possible forms of effective administration include buccal (between the cheek and teeth) and hypodermically.
An alternative means of supplementation is to take substances such as selenium, methionine, alpha-lipoic acid, vitamin C and glutamine that stimulate the biosynthesis of glutathione. Also, since the substance utilizes the raw materials of L-cysteine, glutamic acid and glycine in its intracellular production, supplementation with these amino acids should also help to produce L-glutathione.
That said, let's return to its antioxidant properties and its effect on the liver that contains the largest stocks of glutathione in the body. It is generally regarded as the most important antioxidant in the body. It protects cellular cytoplasm from oxidation by reducing disulfide groups and maintaining a highly reducing environment within the cytoplasm. It reacts with hydrogen peroxide and other oxidative agents, and is converted to the oxidized form GSSG. It is then reduced back to GSH through the combination of the reducing agent and an enzyme. The reducing agent is nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH), the enzyme being glutathione reductase.
The implications that this strong reducing effect has on the liver are significant. Reduced GSH L-glutathione levels have been found in patients suffering from HIV, hepatitis C and other liver diseases. Supplementation with GSH has been found to restore normal levels of glutathione to the liver, and it has been demonstrated that the treatment has improved such conditions significantly.
Atherosclerosis is a condition of the arteries caused by the deposition of plaques formed from oxidized low-density lipoproteins, otherwise known as bad cholesterol. The strong antioxidant effect of GSH prevents this from LDLs from being oxidized and deposited on the arterial wall. There are other results of glutathione supplementation that indicate the effectiveness of antioxidants in the treatment of serious liver conditions, and there are no doubts that combating the effects of free radicals and oxidizing agents within the liver has a positive effect on many potentially serious liver diseases.
Many of these are exacerbated by the generation of free radicals by relatively modern pollution sources such as pesticides, petrol and diesel emissions, tobacco fumes and various other chemical emissions. A strong antioxidant such as L-glutathione cannot be anything other than an effective means of reducing the biological effect of these oxidants. It protects not only the liver but also the lungs and cardiovascular system.
For all these reasons a supplement consisting of L-glutathione or its constituent parts, glutamic acid, cysteine and glycine, provide significant protection against the stresses and strains of modern living. Increased pollution levels and heightened oxidative stress levels within the body are playing havoc with our body defenses, and GSH is an important one of them that can easily be enhanced by supplementation. There are no known reactions to L-glutathione supplementation, but pregnant women and babies should receive expert medical advice prior to taking it.
L-Alanine Non Essential Amino Acid
January 05, 2009 04:31 PM
L-Alanine is one of 20 amino acids that are used by the body to manufacture the proteins essential for life. Each protein possesses specific biological properties that are imparted by the sequence of amino acids it contains. Proteins control the chemistry that takes place within the cells of our body, and comprise all of the enzymes that catalyze the body's biochemistry.
Amino acids are also the building blocks of DNA that determines the genetic make-up of individuals, and that also provides recipes or templates for the production of proteins from amino acid sequences. There is a different DNA template for every protein required by the body that determines which of the 20 amino acids are needed, and in what order they are to be combined with one another to manufacture the desired protein.
10 of these 20 amino acids can be synthesized by your body's biochemistry, the other 10 being essential parts of your diet. If you fail to include just of these 10, then your body will break down its proteins until it has obtained a sufficient supply of that amino acids for its needs. That involves muscle and other tissue degradation, and is one of the symptoms of malnutrition. Amino acids are not stored, and a daily supply is essential to avoid these symptoms.
L-Alanine is one of the ten that the body can manufacture, and used by the body to help build protein and also to enable the body to make use of glucose to generate energy. It does so as part of what is known as the glucose-alanine cycle. During anaerobic exercise, such as in weightlifting and sustained running, muscles produce lactate and also alanine.
The alanine is passed on to the liver where it is converted to energy via its conversion to glucose. This is not a particularly efficient means of creating energy because a byproduct of the process is urea, the removal of which in turn requires energy. However, it serves its purpose as an energy source once the liver is depleted of glycogen. In fact that is the major use to which alanine appears to be put by the body: the conversion of glucose to energy.
The way the glucose-alanine cycle works is that a process known as transamination produces glutamate from the amino groups of amino acids that are degraded during exercise. Glutamate is then converted to pyruvate by means of the enzyme alanine aminotransferase, with the production of alanine and alpha-ketoglutarate. This is a reversible reaction, and after the alanine has been carried by the bloodstream to the liver, the reaction reverses with the regeneration of pyruvate that undergoes gluconeogenesis (generation of glucose).
The result of this is glucose that returns to the muscle tissue to provide more energy. The glutamate is broken down to the ammonium ion in the mitochondria, which in turn enters the urea cycle with the production of urea.
In a nutshell, then, the glucose-alanine cycle removes glutamate and pyruvate from muscle tissue to the liver where glucose is generated from the pyruvate and returned to the muscle. Since gluconeogenesis involves the expenditure of energy, and this occurs in the liver rather than in the muscle, all the energy in the muscle can be used for muscle contraction.
L-Alanine possesses other properties, among them the ability to help maintain the health of the prostate. A study of benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate) indicated that treatment with L-alanine, glutamic acid and glycine over a period of three months reduced the symptoms. However, make sure that you consult your physician before using alanine in this way. This is not because there are any known adverse side effects, because there are not, but because it I always wise to so with any supplement taken with a view to treating any medical condition.
A less obvious application derives from the fact that it forms a stable free radical when deaminated. Deamination can be initiated by radiation, and so the concentration of this free radical can be measured to ensure that the correct dose of radiation is being given in dosimetric radiotherapy. It is not always easy to control the dose accurately, and this property of alanine allows it to monitored and to ensure that it is neither too low to have the desired effect, nor dangerously high.
Although it is a non-essential amino acid, and can be produced by the body, a dietary supply or supplement is advantageous if extra energy is required. Good dietary sources of L-alanine include meats, seafood, eggs, nuts, beans, seeds, brewer's yeast, corn and legumes among others. Supplements are also available, and useful for body-builders, weightlifters and others involved in anaerobic exercise. Due to the glucose-alanine cycle, it can possibly provide energy when lactate build-up would otherwise lead to muscle cramps.
Those for whom a supplement could be useful are athletes and others who are trying to build muscle and stamina, or reduce their body fat and also the obese and overweight for the same reason. There is also evidence that a combination of the amino acids alanine, glycine and arginine can help to reduce arterial plaque from oxidized low density lipoproteins, and can also help to reduce high blood pressure.
Deficiencies are rare, although groups that do not eat meat should be careful to eat foods with a good alanine content. There are no known side effects of a deficiency since the body will generate what is needed for normal purposes, and while the supplement appears to have no side effects, it is advisable that pregnant and lactating women should first seek medical advice. The same applies if you suffer from hypertension or diabetes. High doses of alanine might also affect those with kidney or liver disease.
Although the benefits of supplementation of L-alanine might not be immediately obvious, the results and the science indicate that it is effective in making better use of blood glucose in that the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) created in the muscle tissue is allowed to be expended on muscle contraction while the glucose-alanine cycle provides the energy needed for gluconeogenesis.
January 03, 2009 12:27 PM
Calcium is the most damaging mineral that is involved in the calcification of the blood vessel system. Ionic calcium, which is a floating form of calcium, is used by the body in daily functions like muscle contraction and relaxation, nerve impulse transmission, blood coagulation, and others. Calcium is a mineral that is capable of forming complexes with other components, such as proteins. These complexes can eventually lead to the formation of lesions, plaque, and the overall hardening of the blood vessels.
There are four different components that are found mainly in arterial walls which often combine with calcium. Elastin, a type of protein that makes up a good amount of the blood vessel wall, is the substance that allows the arterial wall to be elastic. During the process leading to atherosclerosis, elastin often forms complexes with ionic calcium, which results in a loss of elasticity.
Collagen, another type of protein that works with elastin to make up the bulk of arterial walls, forms complexes with ionic calcium, which leads to hardening of the blood vessel. MPCs, which are carbohydrates that contain a number of agents including amino acids, uronic acids, and chondroitin sulfate, are found within the arterial wall where they form complexics with ionic calcium to promote the formation of atherosclerosis. Beta lipoproteins and pre-beta lipoproteins transport a fatty acid and glycerol combination for storage in the liver, muscles, and other areas of the body.
Although beta and pre-beta lipoproteins form ionic calcium complexes and initiate the onset of arteriosclerosis, there are lipoproteins that do not form complexes with calcium, but interferes with the formation of ionic calcium complexes instead. It is clear that ionic calcium plays a huge role in the formation of arterial plaque and the actual hardening of arteries, due to the complexes it forms with components of the arterial wall. Because EDTA effectively ties up calcium complexes so that it can be eliminated through the urine, it is also clear why EDTA chelation therapy is a successful way to reduce the levels of atherosclerotic plaque and reverse the hardened condition that so often occurs in the artery walls.
EDTA chelation therapy was patented in Germany in 1930 and first used in medicine in 1941 to help with lead poisoning. It wasn’t patented in the United States until 1949, with several papers being published on its therapeutic effects following in the early 1950s. EDTA chelation therapy has been used in the U.S. to treat atherosclerosis since 1952, but was also used for lead poisoning and heavy metal toxicity before that. After its initial use for lead and heavy metal poising, it was noted that EDTA resulted in the reduction of severe pressure and pain in and around the chest, which led to the discovery of its abilities to treat atherosclerosis.
Since then, thousands of scientific articles have been written concerning the many aspects of EDTA chelation therapies as well as its safety, which has been proven by its use on thousands of patients in over three million intravenous treatments by over one thousand doctors in the last fifty years. Not one fatality has been documented when established protocol has been followed, while the FDA approved the new drug application for EDTA without requiring any additional safety studies to determine its safe use. Have you tried oral EDTA?
August 29, 2008 09:20 AM
Gamma Oryzanol is extracted from rice bran oil, and is a mixture of substances that includes ferulic acid and sterols. It is not restricted to rice barn oil, and is also found in the bran of other grains, and some fruits and vegetables. It is commonly used as a sports supplement, although possesses other uses including treatment of menopausal symptoms and high cholesterol levels.
Athletes use gamma oryzanol to increase their muscle bulk through it increasing the levels of testosterone and other anabolic hormones. Although there is little scientific evidence for these effects, bodybuilders claim excellent results and the other benefits that the substance offers make it worthwhile taking. The reported benefits are so common and widespread that they are difficult to ignore, and it can be assumed that, in the absence of scientific evidence through test results, the athletes and bodybuilders are right until proven wrong.
Gamma oryzanol is reported to promote a number of metabolic effects on the body such stimulation of the Human Growth Hormone that is involved in increasing muscle bulk. It also induces increased release of endorphins, and improves recovery after exercise. Ferulic acid promotes increased strength, reduced fatigue and improved recovery.
The catabolic effect of cortisol is also reduced. Cortisol is produced during exercise and it is destructive to muscle tissue. What this does in practice is to increase your recovery time, and after a long run it can take two days to recover and allow your exercise effectively again. It is important that your body is conditioned to rapidly reduce its cortisol content after exercise, and ferulic acid helps you to do this.
Athletes have reported no side effects from doses of up to 900 mg of gamma oryzanol and 60 mg ferulic acid, which appears to be up to thirty times as bioavailable to the human body as gamma oryzanol. However, there are many more uses of the supplement than just metabolic ones.
Gamma oryzanol possesses strong antioxidant properties. Ferulic acid is a phenolic phytochemical, and a derivative of trans-cinnamic acid. As such, it is an antioxidant with strong reducing properties towards free radicals. Free radicals are implicated in cardiac problems cause by the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, leading to atherosclerosis that is responsible for strokes and blockages of the cardiac arteries.
Lipid peroxides can be formed by the oxidization of fats, and can damage nerve cells and muscle tissue. Antioxidants can also lead to premature aging through the destruction of human body cells, damage to DNA and also many forms of cancer. Although it is believed that components of gamma oryzanol can inhibit the initiation of some cancers, the evidence is still scanty and the research in its infancy.
Any substance that destroys free radicals is of benefit to your health, and Ferulic acid stands beside other strong antioxidants such as Vitamins A, D and E, and many of the high colored phytochemicals such as beta carotene. It is believed to have anti-cancer properties with some forms of cancer, such as breast and liver cancer, though, as referred to above, studies are continuing.
Paradoxically, intensive physical exercise can lead to the generation of more free radicals, since they are a by-product of the generation of energy in the mitochondria from blood glucose, and so, in addition to its beneficial metabolic and anti-catabolic properties, gamma oryzanol should be taken during exercise in order to reduce the effect of these dangerous molecules.
The effect of gamma oryzanol on cholesterol levels has been demonstrated, and complement the same effect offered by the fatty acid component of the bran oil. It appears to prevent the absorption of cholesterol by the digestive tract, and so allow it to be excreted naturally before doing any harm. It is believed that the phytosterols present in rice bran oil block the cholesterol absorption sites in the intestine, so is must continue down the intestinal canal until it is evacuated.
Cholesterol itself is essential to human metabolism and biochemistry, and without it we could not survive. Cholesterol is not soluble in water, and it has to be bound to low density lipids (LDL) to enable it to be transported round the blood to where it is needed: usually in the arteries to heal up arterial damage, a bit like a sticking plaster.
However, free radicals oxidize these LDLs and deposit them along with their cholesterol on the artery walls: that is the problem, not the cholesterol itself, and is why antioxidants such as gamma oryzanol are so important to us. Rice bran oil has been used by the Japanese for many years to treat elevated cholesterol levels and also to reduce high triglyceride levels.
It also acts as an anti-inflammatory, specifically in the stomach and can be used to treat gastritis, in that it reduces the inflammation of the stomach lining. There is some evidence from studies on animals that the substance could be effective in treating gastric ulcers, although the results with animals have not yet been tried on human subjects. Another mechanism, other than the anti-inflammatory route, is through the normalization of the secretion of the gastric juices.
Another use to which gamma oryzanol has been successful put is in the treatment of menopause symptoms. This is another of those situations where some trials have proved unsuccessful, but those that use it has found it be effective. Hot flashes and aging syndromes are two symptoms that have been effectively treated by use of the supplement, with one study reporting a 50% reduction in symptoms in 70% of patients.
The way this is theorized to work is through the inhibition of the secretion of leutinizing hormone by the pituitary gland, which promotes the hypothalamus to release endorphins. Endorphins help to overcome the effects of the menopause.
Gamma oryzanol, then, has found use by many athletes and bodybuilders in its metabolic properties in helping to increase muscle bulk and reduce fat, and by shortening recovery times by reducing the catabolic effect of cortisol. However, apart from these sports-related benefits, it possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial to your general health.
August 15, 2008 03:51 PM
DHA is the most abundant essential fatty acid (polyunsaturated fatty acids) found in the brain and retina. DHA is essential for the proper functioning of our brains as adults, and for the development of our nervous system and visual abilities during the first 6 months of life. DHA is found in cold water fatty fish, including salmon, tuna (blue fin tuna have up to five times more DHA than other types of tuna), mackerel, sardines, shellfish, and herring. Lets take a look at what DHA can do for you.
DHA makes infant formulas more like human milk than "conventional" formula containing Alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid, which are precursors to DHA. It has been an ingredient in several brands of premium infant formula sold in North America since 2001. Mead Johnson was the first infant formula manufacturer to add DHA and ARA (arachidonic acid) to its Enfamil Lipil product, several other manufacturers have followed. DHA levels in breast milk are higher if a mother's diet is high in fish.
DHA is also present normally in very high concentrations in the retina. DHA supplementation would be particularly important for mothers who have consumed excessive alcohol, because alcohol inhibits the desaturase enzymes necessary for DHA synthesis. Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is a type of Omega-3 fatty acid, a nutrient that has been studied for its role in heart, brain and eye health. An experiment that studied the individual effects of EPA and DHA found that EPA reduced natural killer (NK) cell activity and cell-mediated immune response, but that DHA does not so this study concluded that the immune-suppressing effects of fish oil are mainly due to EPA, not DHA.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil help lower triglycerides (fats in the blood), lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of blood clots, improve the health of arteries and reduce the amount of arterial plaque (which narrows arteries and causes heart disease). Many people believe that excessively high omega-6 rather than omega-3 in the modern diet is responsible for an increase in allergies and the need to take aspirin to reduce the risk of heart attack (myocardial infarction).
Sunflower, safflower and corn oil are particularly rich sources of linoleic acid, which is at the root of the omega-6 fatty-acid family. The ability of enzymes to produce the omega-6 and omega-3 family of products of linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid declines with age this is why we need more omega 3 DHA in our diets. In fact, a high omega-3 fatty acid diet increases the alpha-tocopherol content of heart muscle membranes by five times, and this effect is most prominently associated with DHA because the heart muscle prefers DHA as its raw materials to manufacture and strengthen its membranes.
Dietary DHA may reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing the level of blood triglycerides in humans. Low levels of DHA result in reduction of brain serotonin levels and have been associated with ADHD, Alzheimer's disease, and depression, among other diseases, and there is mounting evidence that DHA supplementation may be effective in combating inflammatory bowel disease as well.
Dietary changes in the past century have lowered the consumption of omega-3 to a state of subclinical deficiency that is epidemiologically related to cardiovascular disease, inflammatory disorders, mental and psychiatric diseases and suboptimal neurodevelopment. Decreases in DHA in the brain are associated with cognitive decline during aging and with onset of sporadic Alzheimer disease. DHA has a positive effect on diseases such as hypertension, arthritis, atherosclerosis,, adult-onset diabetes, mellitus, thrombosis, and some cancers.
In conclusion, if consuming DHA through your diet is impossible, you can purchase DHA as a supplement in two common forms: Fish oil capsules or DHA extracted from algae. Consuming DHA may help support body tissues in which DHA is prevalent — especially the brain, nervous system, heart, retinas, and colon. Staying healthy is important, have you had your DHA today?
Flax Seed Oil
August 07, 2008 01:53 PM
Flax seed naturally contains a variety of different categories of essential fatty acids, which includes alpha linoleic acid, linoleic acid, and omega-9 oleic acid. A lot of flax seed’s benefits are a function of its content of alpha linoleic acid, which is converted in the body to a longer chain of omega-3 EPA. Research has proven that supplementation with flax seed oil can help to increase the EPA concentrations in many tissues of the body. One of the main areas of research has been inflammation.
Many factors contribute to inflammatory reactions, including omega-6 linoleic acid, which can be converted into pro-inflammatory substances. Flax alpha linoleic acid can convert into EPA, which has the ability to convert into a prostaglandin that has anti-inflammatory properties. In inflammatory states, alpha linoleic acid and EPA compete with linoleic acid for enzymatic metabolism, resulting in a decreased production of pro-inflammatory substances. Many studies have found that the use of flax seed oil in domestic food preparation can reduce the production of inflammatory cytokines.
These studies have also shown the ability of omega-3 rich fish oils to inhibit inflammatory mechanisms in the autoimmune disease lupus nephritis, which lead to the investigation into flax having any abilities in this area. One trial found that 30g/d of flax seed was optimal for improving kidney function, decreasing inflammation, and reducing atherosclerotic development. Flax also contains antioxidants, which may be helpful to those who have SLE.
Research has also been conducted to investigate the hormonal modulating effects of ingesting lignans, which are antioxidant and phyto-estrogenic compounds that are found in flax seed. Clinical evidence indicates that phytoestrogens have an anti-cancer effect on the breast. Experimental studies in animals and humans have also demonstrated flax’s anti-cancer effects, with a 1998 review indicating that the consumption of flax may be used as a secondary prevention method against breast cancer. Flax seed has also been shown to promote prostate health, as it plays a key role in the treatment of an enlarged prostate.
The cardiovascular system is also another area of research focus for flax seed. One study showed that three months of flax seed supplementation resulted in LDL cholesterol levels dropping significantly, while HDL cholesterol did not change. Other research has shown serum lipid level reduction, but a large amount of flax seed was required to be consumed to get the same lipid-lowering effects as fish oils. Flax lignans also possess anti-platelet activating factor activity and antioxidant activity. Animal research has shown that flax seed reduced the development of aortic atherosclerosis’ by 46 percent and suppressed oxygen-free radicals.
The research concluded that dietary flax seed supplementation could prevent hypercholesterolemia-related heart attack and strokes. Lastly, the elasticity of arteries is an important factor of circulatory function, which decreases as the cardiovascular risk increases. Research has proven that obese people consuming a diet high in ALA from flax seed oil experience a marked rise in arterial elasticity, which reflects a rapid improvement in the arterial circulation.
Although flax seed offers many potential benefits, ingesting the right form of supplemental flax is crucial to gaining these benefits. Flax oil supplements are a good source of EFAs, but they do not provide great amounts of lignans. On the other hand, whole or ground flax seed is effective, but is not especially palatable. The best option of flax seed is the liquid in capsule form, as it delivers both EFAs and lignans. The nutritional value and certain beneficial results can be gained by consuming about 3,000 mg daily.
Bilberry Extract Is A Powerful Antioxidant That Strengthens Veins
April 12, 2008 11:06 AM
Bilberry extract is taken from the Vaccinium myrtillus, or bilberry, a small blue berry that has been used traditionally for the treatment of conditions now known to be due to inflammation and the action of free radicals on the body.
Among these is atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, caused by the free radical oxidation of the low density lipids that carry cholesterol around the bloodstream, and that cause deposition of fatty plaques on the arterial walls and eventually constricts them to a stage that can cause heart failure or a stroke, depending on whether the arteries are close to the heart or in the brain.
However, additional to treating this condition, bilberry has also traditionally been used for the treatment of varicose veins and also for certain eye conditions. In fact it was during the Second World war that the Royal Air Force in Britain received reports from pilots that their night vision improved after eating bilberries. Not only their vision, but the restoration of night vision after exposure to glare.
This was extremely important to war-time pilots who had to be able to rapidly adapt their vision to fly their plane after exposure to searchlights and explosive detonations. That is the reason for anything that appeared to promote this essential adaptation to be reported.
The pharmacology of these effects have been found to be due to the anthocyanosides in which bilberries are particularly rich. Anthocyanosides consist of an anthocyanaidin backbone, to which one of either arabinose, galactose or glucose can be bound. Since bilberry contains five of these anthocyanadins, then there are fifteen different anthocyanosides in the fruit concentrate.
The area of the retina that appears to control night vision, and the transition from day to night sight, is called the epithelium which is connected with purple vision. Anthocyanosides seem to have an affinity for this part of the retina, and in so doing plays an important part in this type of vision, specifically night vision although it is also beneficial in improving day vision.
Although bilberry also contains vitamins A and C, hydroquinone and tannins, it is the anthocyanosides that provide it with its unique antioxidant properties, and also its effect upon collagen fibers. It can cross-link collagen fibers to help overcome weaknesses in the connective tissues such as cartilage, tendons and the walls of blood vessels.
Its effect as an antioxidant is to prevent the cleavage of collagen by the cyzymes that are secreted by leukocytes generated by the immune system. By preventing histamine release, and release of prostaglandins and other proteins and cells mobilized during the immune inflammatory response to the detection of foreign invasion into human tissue, anthocyanosides can help to reduce inflammation and to protect against other extreme reactions of the immune system that can harm the organism it evolved to protect.
The most powerful property of anthocyanosides are their antioxidant properties: perhaps even its only property once all of the conditions it helps to protect against are fully understood. An antioxidant combines with free radicals and destroys them. Free radicals are particularly vile chemical entities that require an electron to make them stable, and they take this electron from the nearest source. This can result in oxidation and destruction of many bodily tissues leading to premature aging, atherosclerosis, eye damage and many other problems that result from the destruction of body cells and tissue.
The various constituents that make up bilberry act in concert to scavenge the free radicals and increase the supply of oxygen to the eye. The benefits of this are in helping to prevent cataracts and glaucoma, the latter due to the effect of the anthocyanoside cross-linking effect on the structure of the collagen in the eye. It can also help in cases of macular degeneration that affects the central area of the retina which might be due to the same property of there glucoside.
Moving away from the eyes and back to the vascular system, the collagen cross-linking properties of the flavonoids, which is what anthocyanosides basically are, can help to repair damaged vein tissue by strengthening the vein walls themselves, and also by providing support for the cell membranes, or outer layers of the cells.
This in turn builds up more strength in the vein tissue below the outside walls and contributes to an overall reduction in the weakness of the vein. This in turn enables it better to withstand the internal pressure put upon it by the failure of the valve that created the problem. In this way bilberries can be used to help repair the damage done by varicose veins and improve the function of the vein in returning blood to the heart from the extremities of the legs and also to help reduce the pain and swelling of varicose veins.
In addition to these beneficial effects on the vascular system and the eyes, bilberry can also help to decrease the permeability of the blood-brain barrier to pollutants, drugs and other undesirable chemicals by improving the resistance of the capillaries in the brain to the transfer of such substances through their walls. It does so by preventing the collagen of the capillaries in the brain being degraded either by enzymes or other agents, Also, by helping to strengthen that collagen structure so that it becomes more impermeable to the larger molecules that form the pollutants.
A lesser known constituent of bilberry is myrtillin, an anthocyanoside monoglucoside that is also available in all green plants, that possesses anti-glycemic properties. What this means is that it can reduce hyperglycemia and glycosurea, and so reduce blood sugar without reducing the blood sugar level to dangerously low levels. In other words it is an ideal insulin substitute.
Native Americans used green plants for teas for centuries and were free from diabetes until the came into contact with Europeans and adopted their dietary habits. Although the case has to be proved, it appears highly likely that it was the myrtillin that kept them free from a condition that affects so many other races.
Irrespective of that, however, it is for its powerful antioxidant effect that bilberry finds its best use, and also its effects on varicose veins. However, all of the above health benefits that bilberry provides, can likely be laid at the door of the combined antioxidant effect of its vitamin C content and the anthocyanosides – including the glucoside myrtillin.
Fat Controls our hunger centers in the brain!
April 04, 2008 11:28 AM
The main cause of any chronic disease of aging including Type II diabetes, CV disease, obesity, osteoporosis, and cancer are all caused by miss communication between signals that tell your body how to turn energy into life and the brain. The two most important signals that we know of today are given by the hormones insulin and leptin.
Leptin is an extremely powerful and influential hormone that is produced by fat cells. It has totally changed the way scientific researchers look at fat, nutrition, and metabolism in general. Before leptin’s discovery in 1994, fat was regarded as strictly an ugly energy store that most everyone was trying to get rid of. However, after it was discovered that leptin is actually produced by fat, fat became an endocrine organ similar to the ovaries, pancreas, and pituitary, as it influences the rest of the body, especially the brain.
Leptin is the most powerful regulator known to date of eating and reproduction. Your fat tells your brain whether you should be hungry or eat and make more fat, whether you should reproduce and make babies, or whether to maintain and repair yourself. It can then be stated that instead of your brain being in control of your body, your body, especially its fat and leptin, controls your brain.
Throughout history, it has been in ones best interest to store some fat to call upon during times of famine. However, it is also just as bad to be too fat. For most of our history, it was necessary to run, hunt, and avoid being prey. Therefore, fat storage had to be highly regulated and it still is. When a person typically tries to lose weight, the body tries to gain it back, resulting in what is commonly known as yo-yo dieting. Because of this, it has long been theorized that there is a “set point” and there must be a hormone that determines this.
Science now believes that leptin is that hormone. So in order to break the yo-yo cycle, one must control leptin. If a person is getting too fat, the extra fat produces more leptin that is suppose to tell the brain there is too much fat stored and the excess should be burned. Signals are then sent to the hypothalamus to stop being hungry, stop eating, stop storing fat, and start burning off some extra fat. Controlling hunger is a major way that leptin controls energy storage. Hunger is a very powerful drive that will make you do all you can to eat if it is stimulated long enough.
The only way to eat less in the long-term is to not be hungry and the only way to do this is to control the hormones that regulate hunger. The primary hormone that does this is leptin. It has recently been found that leptin not only changes brain chemistry, but can also rewire the neurons in areas of the brain that control hunger and metabolism to do its bidding. The inability of the body to hear leptin’s signals plays significant and even primary roles in heart disease, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, reproductive disorders, cancer, and even the rate of aging itself.
In a process called glycation, glucose reacts with protein which results in sticky, sugar-damaged proteins called advanced glycated end products, or AGEs for short. When protein is damaged, it can’t function or communicate properly. AGEs promote excessive inflammation and free radical damage. AGEs and free radicals from oxidation are two of the major molecular mechanisms that cause damage which leads to aging. AGEs cause skin and the lining of arteries to wrinkle and inflame, which contributes to plaque and heart attacks. They can also promote the formation of cataracts and macular degeneration leading eventually to blindness.
The glycation process has also been connected with the destruction of proteins and nerve cells that may lead to Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, and a variety of neuropathies. Glycation and oxidation are two of the major molecular mechanisms where damage accrues, disease occurs, and death results. High blood sugar can suppress your immune system, making you more vulnerable to infection and cancer. Highly aggressive cancers outpace the availability of oxygen and therefore must use an anaerobic fuel, in the form of glucose. By consuming glucose (sugar), we feed cancer. Lastly, high blood levels of sugar form non-fiber carbohydrates and excess protein send leptin and insulin levels upward.
If there is a known marker for long life, it is low insulin levels. Insulin’s purpose is not only to regulate blood sugar, but to store excess energy for future times of need. Insulin also lowers blood glucose levels as a side effect from storing it away, not regulating it. Today, high glucose is quite normal, as our insulin levels are typically much higher than they were among our ancestors. When you are constantly bombarding your cells with insulin, they become insulin resistant. This causes insulin levels to rise, creating a hormonal derangement that has a catastrophic effect on the metabolism.
High insulin contributes to making you fat because it tells your cells to store nutrients as fat rather than to burn it. Repeated high levels of insulin cause insulin resistance. The more fat the body accumulates the more leptin the body can produce so fat works against to slow down insulin production causing insulin resistance..
High insulin causes the retention of sodium, fluid retention, excretion of magnesium, elevated blood pressure, cognitive heart failure, blood clotting, and arterial plaque formation. Heart attacks are much more likely to happen after a meal that is high in carbohydrates than after one that is high in fat. This triggers a stress response which can cause arterial spasm, constriction of arteries, elevated blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and sudden death. Insulin resistance along with low magnesium keeps you from metabolizing important fatty acids that are vital to your heart health in general.
As critical as insulin is in your health, leptin may even be more so. Leptin plays a significant role in obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. But there are clues as to how to live a long and healthy life which brings us back to fat and leptin and our need to control it. One can control their insulin production and fat by dietary changes and blood sugar supplements.
Vitamin K2 - Description by Now Foods
April 02, 2008 03:29 PM
Product Description: NOW ® Vitamin K-2 contains 100 mcg of vitamin K-2 (as Menaquinone) per Vcap®. Vitamin K2 is the most biologically active form of vitamin K. Additionally, it is also the most beneficial for bone integrity, as well as for the support of arterial health.* To enhance its cardiovascular support properties, we’ve added 300 mg of Alfalfa, a plant that is well known for its rich stores of naturally-occurring vitamin K. NOW® Vitamin K-2 is vegetarian/vegan friendly, and free of many common allergens, including sugar, salt, yeast, wheat, gluten, soy, milk, egg, shellfish or preservatives.
Vitamin K2 - A critical Vitamin for optimal health!
April 02, 2008 03:28 PM
Positioning purpose: Vitamin K is best known for its role in normal blood clotting function. Recent research, however, has revealed its beneficial effects on bone and cardiovascular health. In bone tissue, Vitamin K is critical for the formation of healthy bone matrix, and bone quality is dependent on the presence of adequate Vitamin K. Vitamin K's role in arterial health revolves around its ability to support proper calcium metabolism in vascular structures.*
Alpha Lipoic Acid is a Powerful Antioxidant
February 15, 2008 02:55 PM
The discovery of alpha lipoic acid at the University Of Texas Chemistry Department in 1951 was not heralded with trumpets of joy at the revelation of such a powerful antioxidant, but was instead largely ignored. This is largely due to the biochemistry involved not being fully understood at that time, but by the 1980s it was a commonly used supplement, recommended for several medical conditions.
Chemically, the substance is a 5-membered cyclic disulphide with a carboxylic acid grouping. Biochemically, it’s extremely powerful antioxidant properties are largely due to the fact that it one of those rare active molecules that are soluble in both water and fats, and in fact is the only such antioxidant currently know. One of the properties that this ability enables it to possess is to cross the blood-brain barrier, and apply antioxidant propertied to the brain.
Antioxidants are essential to human life in that they destroy free radicals. These are compounds with free unpaired electrons that destroy human body cells in their hunt for electrons to pair with. Electrons come in pairs in organic animal tissue, just as they do in organic compounds. However, under certain circumstances this pairing can become destroyed, leaving a molecule with one of its electrons without a partner.
The factors that lead to this situation are many and varied, and our own biochemistry can produce free radicals during the normal chemical processes of life. However, pollution can also lead to the oxidation processes that create free radicals, common such pollutants being cigarette smoke, vehicle exhaust fumes, pesticides and the like. Excessive exposure to the UV content of sunlight can also create free radicals as can eating barbecued and smoked foods, and exposure to carbon monoxide and peroxides. Even the biochemical conversion of glucose to energy in our bodies creates free radicals.
These free radicals can destroy body cells, including DNA, and can create conditions such as premature aging due to destruction of skin cells, destruction of brain cells, strokes, cancers, diabetes, atherosclerosis due to oxidation of LDL cholesterol that deposits in the main arteries of the body, stiffening of the joints and many other undesirable conditions.
Free radicals are destroyed rapidly by antioxidants: the reaction is very rapid and most are destroyed immediately they are formed before they can do harm. Fortunately, if your diet is well maintained, the body possesses many antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E, and other substances such as Coenzyme Q10, flavanoids, xanthenes, polyphenols and carotenoids. Many of these are found in highly colored foods, and if your food is brightly colored, it should contain a good supply of antioxidants.
However, the problem with all of these is that they are either fat and oil soluble or water soluble, which means that they can either be freely carried round the body by the blood or have to be emulsified by the bile and transported via the lymphatic system that places restrictions on their effectiveness in certain organs of the body. The fact that alpha lipoic acid is soluble in both water and fats enables it to be carried to all parts of the body and to every organ, and can cross water/fat barriers that other antioxidants cannot do.
It can therefore be carried via the blood to the brain and carry out an essential antioxidant function within our brains. It took a long time for this property of ALA to be recognized and its consequent health benefits understood. It is, in fact, the ideal antioxidant. The substance provides many known benefits to the body due to its antioxidant properties and also helps the body to generate the maximum possible amount of energy from the blood glucose and thus improve the energy balance of your body.
However, it is with its antioxidant properties that we are most concerned here. One of the benefits of these properties is its effect in holding back the visible effects of aging on your body. Because it is both water and fat soluble, alpha lipoic acid can help destroy free radicals in every part of your skin; the areas served by the blood and the fatty and oily secretions are protected simultaneously by the same strong antioxidant. The end result is a reduction in the destruction of the cells through the dermis and epidermis and a reduction in the degree of wrinkling with age.
Its antioxidant effect in the brain renders ALA in great demand for reducing cognitive impairment with age. In fact studies have indicated that alpha lipoic acid can improve memory and brain function in the aging and the elderly. This effect appears to be increased by the synergistic combination of alpha lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine that work together to prevent cognitive decline in the brain through the effect of free radicals.
There is evidence that during a stroke, ALA works synergistically with vitamin E to reduce the effect of free radical damage on the vulnerable brain cells, and so reduce the longer term effects of the stroke. Together with ALC, it also reduces oxidative stress on the mitochondria of cells and in so doing helps once again to reduce the effects of aging, and maintain the body’s capacity to generate energy from blood glucose.
Cardiovascular disease is the main killer of the western world, largely due to our diets, and this is especially true of the USA. Although Americans appear unable to change their unhealthy diet, alpha lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine can be used to offset much of the damage done. ALA reduces the development of atherosclerosis through its antioxidant properties and the reduction of the adhesion of monocytes to the artery walls.
LDL trapped in the wall of the artery can be oxidized and enable monocytes to also enter under the surface of the arterial wall, where it changes into macrophages and ingests the oxidised LDL, causing the plaque that forms atherosclerosis. As the plaque thickens, the artery becomes increasingly restricted until the blood flow is significantly reduced or even stopped, causing cardiac failure or a stroke.
Alpha lipoic acid can prevent this free radical oxidation from occurring by destroying them before they act on the low density lipoprotein (LDL). Acetyl-L-carnitine works with the ALA to achieve this, as does another substance known as carnosine. Between them, these three musketeers work to keep your arteries clear and your brain functioning as it should, though it is the ALA that is most powerful due to its oil and water solubility properties.
Although alpha lipoic acid is available as a supplement, either alone or in combination with acetyl-l-carnitine, it is also available from natural food sources. It is particularly rich in offal such as heart and kidney, and also in broccoli, spinach and brewer’s yeast. It is also available in beef, and it is here that burgers can perhaps repay some of the damage that it causes. However, it is not a recommended source since burgers still cause more damage to your health than any of their constituent nutrients can allay.
Like any other supplement, you should seek medical advice before taking any substance if you have a health condition. Nevertheless, the benefits of alpha lipoic acid are such that it is difficult to see it doing anything but good. However, please consult your physician if are taking other drugs.
Astaxanthin, a Member of the Carotenoid Family, is a Powerful Antioxidant
January 31, 2008 09:00 AM
Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family responsible for the red color of many types of algae. Being a carotenoid, it is a powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger as well as support proper eye function.
However, such a bland statement belies the true worth of astaxanthin in its fight against free radicals. It is of particular benefit in its ability to absorb the high energy of singlet oxygen, releasing it as heat, and returning the singlet oxygen to its ground neutralized state. Singlet oxygen is a particularly harmful and reactive oxygen species of free radical that is formed in the body as part of our normal metabolism, and that contains a high level of free energy that can be used to oxidize and destroy the cells of your body.
In achieving this, astaxanthin is regarded as one of the most potent plant derived antioxidants known, being up to ten times more active than beta carotene, Lutein or its cousin canthaxanthin. So why are antioxidants so valuable to our biochemistry and what would happen if they did not exist?
Free radicals are thieves that use your body as their operating ground. They operate by stealing an electron from a molecule that comprises part of you, and in some cases when this occurs the cell from which the electron is removed is destroyed. Generally electrons go around in pairs, but occasionally an electron pair can lose one of the electrons during a chemical reaction. Many such reactions occur naturally inside the body, especially during the production of energy from blood sugars in the mitochondria, and such a molecule containing a single unpaired electron is called a free radical. Free radicals are also generated by the reactive components of many pollutants such as traffic fumes and cigarette smoke, tars and pesticides, and also by the effect of UV radiation in sunlight.
The only purpose of a free radical is to steal an electron from the first source it can find. Such reactions occur very rapidly after the free radical has been generated, and if this electron belongs to another body cell, then the cell is destroyed leading to effects such as premature aging or even cancers. Free radical oxidation of the LDL lipids that carry cholesterol around the blood causes the deposition of fatty plaques inside arterial walls that eventually become constricted or even blocked, leading to heart disease or strokes.
That is why antioxidants that destroy these free radicals are so prized, and the more of them that there are in your body then the less affect the free radicals will have on you. You will retain your youthful looks longer, and will be less liable to suffer from heart disease, cancers, circulation problems and conditions such as diabetes. Many abnormal conditions can be laid at the door of free radicals.
The stronger the free radical, the more harm it can do to you and a strong antioxidant such as astaxanthin is a very powerful weapon in your armory against them. Astaxanthin is a member of the oxygenated xanthophylls, and its high level of antioxidant power likely comes from the ketonic and hydroxyl functional groups of the ionone ring structure. It is more polar than most carotenoids, and this is a likely reason for its ability to span the cell membrane layers, with the active groups close to the hydrophilic-hydrophobic interface. They are thus more readily available at the sites where most free radicals tend to be found and provide immediate protection to the cell membrane and also to the intracellular mitochondrial membrane.
Many antioxidants destroy free radicals by donating an electron, and become oxidized themselves. Astaxanthin, however, does not do this, but instead adds the free radicals to its long double bonded chain hence avoiding oxidation and rendering it much more powerful than normal antioxidants. It is unusual among antioxidants in that it is also able to cross the blood-brain barrier, and so reduces oxidative stress that can cause neurological disorders in general, and also problems with eyesight. It can also attach itself to lipoproteins to enable it to be carried throughout the bloodstream, being available anywhere that free radicals are generated. The carotenoid is also active against active oxygen species that are responsible for inflammation.
Another property is its ability to neutralize the oxygenated free radicals formed by the photo-oxidation properties of UVA and UVB radiation. Included in these are the previously mentioned highly reactive singlet oxygen and also triplet oxygen that astaxanthin is able to neutralize without becoming oxidized. In fact reactive oxygen species in general can cause oxidative stress, and they have been thought responsible for many forms of disease and health conditions, and the powerful effect of astaxanthin in targeting many of these has led it to be regarded as highly beneficial to the immune system and to health in general.
Another benefit is the ability of the substance to help prevent the oxidation of high density lipoproteins (HDL) that are responsible for carrying cholesterol in the blood back to the liver for destruction. Free radical oxidation of HDL impairs its ability to transport cholesterol, and so decreasing the level of such free radical oxidation will by definition increase the quantity of good HDL available, and hence reduce the concentration of cholesterol in the blood. Studies have proved this to be the case, and astaxanthin supplements are very beneficial to those suffering from high blood cholesterol levels, and helps protect them from heart disease and strokes.
The substance is naturally available from a wide range of marine sources, such as lobsters (where it was first discovered), shrimp, salmon, trout and in a wide variety of red and green algae. The substance is also used as a red pigment. Carotenoids are essential, meaning that they are not produced in the human body and can only be obtained in our diets.
For that reason, the most convenient way to take it, apart from continually eating shrimp and lobster, is as a supplement. Astaxanthin is available either as a powerful antioxidant in its own right, or in combination with other substances with which it acts to provide a very strong deterrent to any free radicals that think they can freely roam your body.
Six Foods that Boost Heart Health
January 21, 2008 01:57 PM
The majorities of baby boomers are looking for a way to loose weight and lower their cholesterol. Both of these are two important factors in heart disease, which still remains the number one killer in the United States. The good news is that you can dodge heart disease through your food choices. Below are six foods that can help boost your heart health.
Many studies have proven the variety of health benefits given by fish, ranging from joint inflammation in arthritis sufferers to brain development in babies. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish support circulation and improve blood vessel function. Researchers have also determined that omega-3s can prevent heart-attack deaths as they stop the electrical disturbance that causes death and half of all heart attacks are due to these arrhythmias. Each week, you should eat one to two 3-ounce servings of fatty fish such as an Alaskan salmon, anchovies, herring or mackerel. By baking or poaching these fish at low heart you can help to preserve the omega-3s. For vegetarians, omega-3 rich flaxseeds can be added to oatmeal, smoothies, or salads. For those who don’t care for fish there are omega-3 oil supplements available as well.
Have you ever wondered why oatmeal is so good for you? In your body, this gluey beta-glucan, which is soluble fiber, binds to bile acids found in the intestines and stomach and excretes them as waste. In order to make more bile acids, the liver needs cholesterol and takes it from the blood. This results in lower blood cholesterol levels. You need 3 grams of soluble fiber each day to reduce your cholesterol by five percent. A cup and a half of cooked oatmeal is a good size serving that can be jazzed up in flavor with frozen berries, non-fat plain yogurt, almonds and much more.
High-glycemic foods like potatoes, white bread, and white rice should be avoided because you get a harmful burst of glucose and insulin that’s harmful immediately after eating them. These bursts tire out the pancreas in the long run and increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Research also shows that having high-glycemic foods at one meal will make you even hungrier and eat more at the next, which is why these foods are associated with weight gain. People with excess fat are much more likely to develop heart disease and stroke even if there are no other risk factors. Because of this, focusing on true grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and barley and choosing them over refined grains as much as possible.
Nuts are important for their unsaturated fats and their ability to help lower cholesterol. Walnuts actually contain omega-3 fatty acids, while almonds boost calcium, helping the heart muscle to contract, and Brazil nuts have selenium, which is a heart-protective antioxidant. About one ounce each day of nuts is good for you, but they do have a lot of calories so make sure to go easy on them. If you have a nut allergy, topping you salad with olives is a good alternative, as they contain unsaturated fats.
Beans also contain soluble fiber like oatmeal which helps to reduce cholesterol and keep arteries clear. By choosing the protein from beans instead of meat, you can cut back on saturated fats which raise cholesterol. Eating beans four to five times a week is recommended, as they can be added to a lot of meals. If you don’t tolerate beans well, try adding kombu, a sea vegetable, to them to help break down the components that cause gas. Your body also does adapt to beans over time, so try building up your bean servings slowly. Food enzymes can help reduce gas as well so don’t forget to take your enzymes.
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and other berries all have strong antioxidant properties that can help fight heart disease and are also low in calories and high in fiber. Eating two cups of fruit each day for general health is recommended, but you should eat as many berries as you can tolerate. Free radicals can break down cholesterol that is flowing in your blood and make them sticky so to deposit on the arterial walls of your blood vessels. Fight this with antioxidant rich foods to reduce cholesterol build up.
Eating healthy is one step in boosting heart health and overall cardiovascular health. Exercise is also important in keeping your body strong and vibrant so one can live a healthier longer life.
L-Glutathione Can Eliminate Toxins in the Liver
December 07, 2007 11:54 AM
L-glutathione is the reduced form of glutathione, and is a tripeptide synthesized in the animal and plant tissues from glycine, cysteine and glutamate. Commonly known as GSH, it contains thiol groups that are maintained in a reduced state, and is a very powerful antioxidant, considered to be the key antioxidant and protective substance in the body.
Glutathione can reduce any disulfide groups in the cytoplasm within the body of the cell, and ensures that the cytoplasm is a strongly reducing medium protecting against oxidation. It has a synergistic effect with other antioxidants to protect the body against free radicals and oxidizing agents that cause so much damage to the body through what is commonly referred to as ‘oxidative stress’. However, there is more to it than that and it attaches itself to toxic chemicals and drugs in the liver and renders them into a state suitable for elimination from the body.
These toxic materials include poisonous pesticides, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and chromium and many other substances that we come into contact with due to present day pollution of our atmosphere and foodstuffs. Glutathione can also help protect the body from the effects of chemotherapy and evidence is suggesting possible links with the control of some cancers, diabetes, atherosclerosis and many other degenerative conditions caused by free radical attack and the effects of pollutants.
The way that GSH acts in the cells is that the redox state of the glutathione-glutathione disulfide couple is critical to the health of the intercellular and intracellular fluid. GSH in the reduced state of glutathione reacts with an oxidative agent such as hydrogen peroxide to form the oxidized form, glutathione disulfide and water. It hence mops up oxidizers such as peroxides and free radicals within the cytoplasm of the body’s cells, and also in between the cells. The disulfide is then converted back to GSH by the combined action of the enzyme glutathione reductase and NADPH (the reducing agent nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate).
The cycle then repeats so that two molecules of glutathione continue to reduce damaging oxidizing agents without themselves being consumed. In so doing, the NADPH becomes oxidized. A continuous supply of NADPH is needed to allow GSH to undergo these biochemical reactions, and up to 10% of our blood glucose is used by the pentose phosphate pathway by which NADPH is synthesized.
Since this cycle consumes no glutathione, it would appear that a supplement is unnecessary. However, this is not the case since the molecule takes part in other reactions in the body, particularly in the elimination of toxic heavy metals from the body. Mercury is highly reactive with the thiol that GSH is, and so will bind to form a stable Hg-sulfydryl bond in the liver. This mercury-glutathione chelate is unable to bind to other proteins or gain access to the body cells, and is eventually harmlessly secreted. The same is true of many other heavy metals that are reactive with thiol’s.
In this way the body is protected from the harmful effects of these heavy metals. However, it results in the loss of the glutathione, and the pollution of modern day living can take a heavy toll of the GSH content of our bodies. For this reason a glutathione supplement is recommended, especially for city dwellers that may be exposed to more heavy metals than those residing in rural areas.
However, the form in which this supplement is taken is very important, because the human digestive tract contains a significant amount of gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase. That is an enzyme which apparently destroys glutathione before it can be absorbed. However, it can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream by dissolving the pill between the teeth and inner cheek. It has also been suggestion that the supplement could be administered by injection.
Others have suggested that rather than administer a supplement, individuals could take other supplements that contain the materials needed to stimulate the formation of GSH. Substances such as vitamin C, selenium (important in GSH biochemistry), methionine, alpha-lipoic acid and glutamine could all help to increase the body’s production of glutathione. A supplement of the constituent parts of cysteine, glycine and glutamic acid should also help. The dosage ranges recommended vary widely from 50mg to 500mg daily, and the effects of supplementation are not yet well know.
Some specific conditions that this wonder antioxidant is useful in treating include liver disease such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and so on. Patients suffering from these diseases show a massive reduction in their GSH content and prior GSH treatment appeared to offer a significant degree of protection in controlled clinical investigations. Patients suffering from chronic hepatitis C have been found to be associated with reduced GSH levels, particularly if also HIV positive.
Similar deficiencies have been noted in some lung conditions such as asthma and other pulmonary conditions. In such cases it has been demonstrated that administration of GSH supplements sufficient to restore normal levels of the substance improved the patients’ conditions by a significant amount. Its effect on atherosclerosis appears to be significant since a decreased level of GSH peroxidase has been recorded in such patients in addition to an increase in lipid peroxides, indicating that oxidation of the arterial wall had been occurring.
Anti-viral therapies that rely on GSH biochemistry for their action have been found to be less effective in those with low GSH levels, and other studies have confirmed that supplementing with GSH improves the response to interferon treatment. These results indicate the activity of oxidizing agents and free radicals in liver conditions, and in fact this has been demonstrated by tests carried out in New York and Philadelphia in the 1990s.
This suggests that the liver is prone to damage by oxidative stress, and that GSH levels may be able to be used as an indication of potential liver disease. What is evident is that a strong case can be made for glutathione supplementation as protection against potential liver, pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases, especially by those exposed to specific polluting agents such as primary or secondary tobacco smoke, auto and diesel fumes and chemicals and pesticides.
L-glutathione is useful, not only for the elimination of toxins in the liver, but also in protecting this large and vital organ from the oxidative stress that modern living brings. L-Glutathione and its precursors are sold over the counter at your local or internet health food store.
Green Coffee For Protection Against Oxidative Stress
November 17, 2007 11:46 AM
It is recorded that coffee drinking originated in Ethiopia in North East Africa, from where Arab traders introduced the plant to the Middle East. From there it moved to Turkey in the 15th century, where it was highly prized as a daily beverage due its invigorating properties. It is also believed that the infamous Captain John Smith introduced the plant to Virginia.
The Brazilian coffee trade was due largely to the introduction of the bean to that country by the French in 1727, and the Boston Tea Party of 1773 rendered it the only non-alcoholic drink worth consuming by the patriots of 18th century America. Now over 50% of Americans drink coffee daily, although this seems a somewhat conservative estimate, and the tea houses of England have largely been replaced by coffee shops and the ubiquitous Starbucks.
So much for the history of a beverage that has been prized for its stimulant properties, but recent research has established that not only is coffee a stimulating drink, but that it is a strong antioxidant due to its polyphenol content. However, not all forms of coffee have this property, only the green coffee bean before it has been roasted. Polyphenols are very powerful antioxidants that scavenge the free radicals that destroy body cells, and not only accelerate aging but also threaten the health of your cardiovascular system and the health of other major organs.
Free radicals are compounds with a spare electron. Normally the electrons in all stable molecules come in pairs, and any free electron without a partner is like a lovelorn bachelor. It will seek a mate, and take it from wherever it can find one. Usually it secures its partner by stealing an electron from one of our body cells. This can totally destroy the cell, as it might anybody who has its partner stolen, and cell destruction is not a good thing. It is the destruction of body cells that promotes the appearance that aging brings: the wrinkles and the loss of energy that is generated by healthy cellular activity.
Antioxidants destroy these free radicals, and come in a number of different guises. Vitamins A, C and E are all powerful antioxidants, as are many of the compounds that are essential to our biochemistry such as beta carotene and polyphenols. These polyphenols are found in practically all plants to a greater or lesser degree, and another rich source is grapes, and those found in green coffee beans are what are known as hydroxycinnamic acids the most abundant of which is caffeic acid. Another is chlorogenic acid, and together they form a very potent team in preventing the oxidation by free radicals of LDL (low density lipoprotein).
Low density lipoproteins are those that carry cholesterol from the liver to areas of the body that need first aid due to damage, such the arterial walls. However, this can be attacked by free radicals and oxidized which results in the deposition of excess cholesterol that can build up till it eventually constricts, and sometimes completely blocks, the major cardiac arteries. This is a serious condition known as atherosclerosis that can eventually lead to cardiac disease and arrest or to strokes if the artery is in the brain.
Not only do chlorogenic and caffeic acid help to prevent this from occurring, but they also help to prevent the cellular degeneration caused by the free radicals. They must be extracted from the green coffee bean because roasting or heating in any way, including brewing, destroys them. In fact, brewed coffee contains some potentially harmful substances called diterpenes that some believe can increase your chances of coronary disease by up to fifth if you drink coffee regularly over your lifetime.
It is also believed that green coffee extract can reduce the risk of diabetes due to its effect on your blood glucose levels. Evidence is coming to light that some polyphenols, including chlorogenic acid, might have inhibiting properties on the activity of glucose-6-phosphate, otherwise known as Robison Ester, which is involved in the metabolism of blood glucose and which is affected by diabetes which reduces its concentration. Chlorogenic acid is though to be able to redress this imbalance and not only reduce blood glucose levels, but increase the glycogen stored in the liver as an emergency energy source for the body.
Green coffee bean extract also possesses other beneficial properties, not the least of which is its effect in increasing the metabolism of fats in relation to carbohydrates. This assists in weight loss and also increases stamina. The decrease in the risk of diabetes of up to 50% in men, and slightly less in women, could be due to a combination of the regulation of glucose-6-phosphate and the regulation of blood glucose levels and glucose and weight management in general. The vast majority of diabetes patients are overweight.
In animal studies, the presence of chlorogenic acid appears to reduce the hyperglycemic peak that arises through the action of glucagon, a hormone used to counter hypoglycemia. The fact that chlorogenic acid reduced this sugar peak indicates its potential use in reducing abnormally high blood glucose levels. Another effect of this was an increase in the animal’s glycogen level and in the level of glucose-6-phosphate in the liver.
This indicates a reduction in glycogenolysis, by which glycogen is ultimately converted to glucose-6-phosphate and glucose, thus increasing the blood glucose levels and also of gluconeogenesis which is the production of glucose from carbohydrates and some glucogenic amino acids. In other words, green coffee bean extract can help to regulate blood glucose levels by preventing the liver from producing glucose from glycogen and carbohydrates.
However, the biochemistry apart, it must be stressed that these benefits are not obtained by drinking coffee, and it has to be repeated that the active agents in providing them are destroyed by the roasting and brewing processes. It is only the green coffee beans that can be used for protection of oxidative stress of human body cells and the gradual degradation into premature aging and many other related conditions.
The Healing Power Of Borage Oil’s GLA
November 13, 2007 10:22 AM
Borage is otherwise called the starflower, and the borage oil extracted from its seeds is very rich in GLA, gamma linolenic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid also obtainable from evening primrose oil. Borage, however, is richer in GLA, and is therefore a more economical source that the evening primrose.
A shrub, frequently seen in gardens, borage has historically been used as a salad food, and also in soups, and borage honey is prized in many quarters. Now, however, its main use is for the GLA extracted from the seed, which provides a higher yield of GLA than any other source. Borage seed oil contains up to 25% GLA, compared to the 17% from blackcurrant oil and 9% from evening primrose oil.
The importance of GLA to the body’s biochemistry is inestimable, and cannot be overstated. It is not so much the GLA that is so important, but the prostaglandin to which it is converted in the body. Prostaglandin E1 is a hormone-like substance that plays a part in many of the biochemical and metabolic processes of the body. Examples include the control of the immune system and inflammatory response, some kidney functions, and the tone of the arterial muscles, so important in the health of the cardiovascular system.
A good fatty acid metabolism benefits some very important aspects of our health such as maintaining a good blood pressure, low cholesterol levels, preventing inflammatory and immune system conditions such as arthritis, allergies and some skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis, and also improving the strength of the keratin-dependent tissues such as our nails and hair.
A deficiency in essential fatty acids also seems to stimulate the overproduction of a hormone in women called prolactin that can lead to the severe mood changes commonly referred to as pre-menstrual syndrome, or PMS. GLA appears to have a beneficial effect in the treatment of PMS, and some other conditions such as breast discomfort.
Gamma linolenic acid is created in the body from linoleic acid, of which there is a plentiful supply in margarine, vegetable oils and many processed foods, but there is a problem. Fatty acid molecules come in different isomeric forms, in which although the chemical is the same, the geometry or ‘stereochemistry’ is different. The healthy form is the ‘cis’ formation, and the other is the ‘trans’ stereoisomer. The trans fatty acids are formed by hydrogenation of oils to make them semi-solid, and more suitable for spreading. This hydrogenation process causes an irreversible change in the geometry of the fatty acid that can block the conversion of linoleic acid to GLA in the body.
Hence, although most of the western population has more than sufficient linoleic acid in their diets, many who eat an excess of trans fats have a deficiency of GLA. Some B vitamin deficiencies and a deficiency in certain minerals exacerbate this situation, and a gamma linolenic acid supplement is needed. Additional to this, the enzyme responsible for the conversion, delta-6-desaturase (D6D) can be affected by many modern environmental factors such as smoking, stress, alcohol, excessive animal fat consumption and even excessive linoleic acid consumption. The solution to all of this is GLA which does not require any enzymes for its creation, and supplemental GLA from any source can immediately take part in the biochemical pathway to the creation of the prostaglandin eicosanoids.
GLA provides the means and the resultant prostaglandins carry out the job of regulating the hormonal activity within human biochemistry. Prostaglandins help to regulate the function of many of the cells in the body, such as the smooth muscle cells of the arteries and veins that cause constriction or dilation, and on the stickiness of blood platelets causing their aggregation. They are important in the regulation of such functions as blood clotting, fluid balance and the production and balance of hormones. The anti-inflammatory properties of prostaglandin E1 are very important to the way that the body reacts to breaches by foreign invaders, and it is also thought to act to thin the blood and cause dilation of blood vessels, hence its effect in lowering the blood pressure.
So what does this mean to you, apart from the effects of the fatty acid on PMS? Borage oil can be used to treat a large number of different symptoms associated with a shortage of GLA and prostaglandin E1, and here are a few of the conditions for which a GLA supplement has been found beneficial.
A deficiency in GLA and other essential fatty acids can lead to loss of bone mass and subsequent osteoporosis and it is thought that fatty acids help the absorption of calcium by the digestive system, and to increase its deposit in bones. It can be used to increase bone mass and density and therefore strengthen the bones of those affected by osteoporosis. This is partially due to the hormone regulatory effect GLA has on the body.
Allergies appear to be very personal responses by the immune system to specific substances, and while borage oil has proved beneficial in a few allergies, and prostaglandins are known to regulate the activity of the immune response, the effectiveness of GLA treatment for allergies has been mixed. There is evidence that it can affect some cases, but not most.
GLA from borage oil can reduce the swelling and pain of rheumatoid arthritis, and helps to ease morning stiffness. Its effectiveness seems mixed, and you should try it for two or three months to determine if it helps you personally. Be careful, however, since some believe that it might react with some of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) used to treat this condition. Ibuprofen is one, so check with your physician before trying it.
If you suffer from high blood pressure, borage oil used in conjunction with Omega-3 fish oils might lower it, though more research is needed. There is a belief that the GLA is not the active agent here since Omega-3 oils are known to help to reduce hypertension, though the effect of prostaglandins on the factors that can reduce blood pressure is inarguable.
The healing power of borage oil should not be underestimated, and it has been used for centuries in folk medicine to treat many conditions, especially those that science has found to be caused by the immune system and the inflammatory response. Borage oil can be found at any Health Food Store.
Is Maca a Magic Root?
November 10, 2007 02:58 PM
Maca is packed with nutrients; loaded with vitamins and minerals to help fuel brain function and ease hormone irregularities as well as nourish the body.
Cranberry May Have More Uses Than Just Bladder Infections
November 03, 2007 01:04 PM
The effects of cranberry on bladder and other urinary tract infections are well known. The infections are caused by a bacterium, Escherichia coli, known to most people as E. coli that attaches to the wall of the bladder or the urinary tract, and is very difficult to dislodge with antibiotics once it is there.
Cranberry contains a glycoprotein that prevents the E. coli from doing this, and so acts by preventing, not the invasion of the bacterium itself, but the mechanism by which it causes the disease. Drinking cranberry juice on a regular basis can prevent cystitis occurring in women, or at least reduce the frequency of incidences.
Now, however, there is a growing body of evidence that cranberry may have more uses than just for bladder infections. It is known to help prevent gum disease by the same mechanism: the bacteria are prevented from sticking to the teeth and gums by means of the same glycoprotein that is effective with E. coli and urinary tract infections
There is also evidence that cranberry juice can be helpful in resolving ear and respiratory infections. A study of a group of children in 2002 has indicated that cranberry juice can inhibit the adhesion to red blood cells of certain strains of the bacterium Haemophilus influenza that might cause a large proportion of middle ear infections. It seems to have an effect on the hair-like pili, by which bacteria stick to surfaces. This has been supported by results that indicated no effect on the bacteria strains that lack these pili.
These tests, however, were carried out experimentally in test tubes, but it is worth keeping in mind that such studies are under way, and that the results are looking very promising. However, they have not yet reached the stage where they can be stated to have been proved, though there is no reason why you should not try cranberry juice if any of your family is prone to such infections, especially of the middle ear.
Yet another study has established that cranberry might be effective in reducing the risk of heart disease by reducing the oxidation of blood cholesterol that makes it very sticky. There are two type of cholesterol, LDL cholesterol that carried the cholesterol from the liver through the blood to areas of your arteries that need repair. Your blood also contains high density lipoproteins (HDL) that carry excess cholesterol back to the liver for destruction and ejection from the body – that is the so-called ‘good’ cholesterol.
The LDL cholesterol works much like putty, covering the cracks in arterial walls, and without it you could have even more severe problems than with high levels of LDL cholesterol. However, when the LDL cholesterol gets oxidized by, for example, free radicals in the blood, then it becomes sticky and too much of it gets laid down on the artery walls.
Free radicals are produced through many agents, but the most common are smoking, environmental pollution and pesticides. These sticky coatings tend to build up after a time and lead to a condition known as atherosclerosis whereby the build up of coating can severely restrict the artery. This causes high blood pressure and can even lead to the artery becoming completely blocked. This can lead to serious heart problems and, if the artery is in the brain, even strokes.
In the study, a group taking one, two then three glasses of 27% cranberry juice daily for a month at a time were found have a 40% reduced risk of heart disease at the end on month three due to a 10% increase in the good HDL cholesterol. This was due to the antioxidant effect of the cranberry juice preventing the oxidation of the LDL cholesterol which causes the problems. Antioxidants mop up free radicals before they can do any damage.
Cranberries contain a high polyphenol content, and it is believed that it is these antioxidants that are responsible, though this has still to be proved. This antioxidant effect can also reduce the risk of cancer, render you less liable to inflammatory conditions and also give your immune system a boost by helping to clear up the free radicals that are one of your body’s worst enemies. However, that is not all that cranberries can do. There are even more exciting new developments that could have an impact on women suffering from ovarian cancer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention record that ovarian cancer is the 7th most common type of cancer in the USA, and the 5th most common cause of cancer deaths amongst women. The general treatment for ovarian cancer is by chemotherapy using the platinum drugs Paraplatin and Cisplatin. The problem with these drugs is that cancer cells can become resistant to them, and if higher doses are used it can lead to side effects including renal failure and nerve damage.
Tests were carried out using ovarian cancer cells and a 27% solution of cranberry juice, a common commercially available concentration. The cells were then treated with Paraplatin. It was found that the Paraplatin was six times more effective at killing the ovarian cancer cells than when the cells had not come into contact with the cranberry juice. This is a considerable difference. The rate of spread and growth of some of the other cancer cells were also reduced.
The reason that the cranberry was used was due to its wide range of potential health benefits in fighting stomach ulcers, cystitis and some other cancers. It is believed that the effect is due to very powerful antioxidants known as A-type proanthocyanidins, which are found only in cranberries. Other studies have found this chemical to have had an effect in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells in lung cancer, colon cancer and leukemia, all involving different types of cancer cell. Other antioxidants such as flavenoids and querticin in cranberry juice might also contribute, but the proanthocyanadin is believed to be the principal active agent due it being found only in cranberries.
The researchers temper their results with the caution that these are tests only, but that theoretically a cranberry supplement could be used as a part of a chemotherapy course. Animal studies are commencing shortly though it will be some time before a new therapy has been developed. It is possible; however, that the therapy could consist of a simple oral dose of cranberry juice taken during the course, but you should consult your physician for the most appropriate treatment for you.
However, what is certain is that cranberry may have more uses than just bladder infections.
Lutein: A Plant Pigment That Provides Protection From The Sun
October 23, 2007 10:00 AM
Lutein is a plant pigment, and protects protection from the sun needed to prevent damage to the skin and eyes from its strong ultra violet (UVB) radiation. Lutein is a carotenoid and strong antioxidant that is found in red, yellow, orange and dark green fruit and vegetables such as broccoli, curly and sea kale, spinach, carrots peppers and squashes. It is also available from egg yolks, corn and some fruits such as pomegranates. It is the colored pigments, especially the reds, yellows and oranges, in which lutein is most found.
Lutein can also prevent cataracts and provide benefits for age related macular degeneration. However, before discussing the benefits, it is necessary to discuss exactly what these conditions are and what causes them. Let’s have a heads up on cataracts first.
A cataract takes the form of a clouding of the lens of the eye that leads to blurred vision and eventual virtual blindness when the cloudiness is extreme. It is not blindness due to problems with the nerves of the eye, but due to the lens become cloudy, and scattering light entering the eye. It is not a film over the eye as many people believe, but a cloudiness of the lens, and cataracts can normally be treated by removing the whole lens and replacing it with a lens implant – or a synthetic lens.
It is not fully understood how lutein can help cataracts, but studies have shown that those take a large quantity of lutein in there diet have up to 50% less chance of getting cataracts that those that do not. It has also been demonstrated that men who ate broccoli and spinach regularly had a 25% less chance of getting cataracts. The same is true of those that include a lutein supplement of around 6 mg daily, although up to 20 mg is considered an effective dose.
However, it not only through its properties in protecting against cataracts that lutein can help to preserve the health of your eyes. It is also through its effect on macular degeneration. The macula is small part in the center of the retina that allows you to see central vision in high detail, especially close up when you use the center of your eye. Age-related macular degeneration, known as MD, affects your macula so that you can see fine round the edges, but your central vision is blurred. It is therefore difficult to drive, read or carry out tasks that need good central focus. You will find it next to impossible to thread a needle for example. It can come on very slowly, in fact so slowly that you never notice it because the change from day to day, or even week to week, is so small.
It is not coincidence that lutein is concentrated in the macula, and that a lutein supplement can help to prevent macular degeneration. Lutein is believed to filter out some of the blue wavelengths of light, and it is the blue wavelengths that are though to cause free radical damage and oxidative stress to various organs of the body exposed to light, but specifically the eyes. That is why it is believed that lutein helps to prevent macular degeneration, and studies have indicated a good supplement to consist of up to 30 mg each day.
It can also protect the skin from damage by UV radiation, and also prevents free radical damage to skin cells causing premature aging of the skin. The latter occurs through its antioxidant properties, while the former is because if its light filtering properties. It can not only filter out the blue light that can cause macular degeneration but also ultra-violet radiation that affects the skin and can cause skin cancer. There is a fine line between the blue and ultra violet wavelengths from sunlight, and both can contribute to certain medical conditions. However, the absorptive properties of lutein are such that it can absorb the more harmful of these.
The antioxidant properties of lutein are important in their own right, and can help to reduce cholesterol deposition in arties and help to maintain a healthy arterial wall thickness. The same is true of any carotenoids that reduce heart problems, some cancers, especially of the cervix, stomach and lungs, and others that can be caused by free radical action and narrowed arteries such as strokes and brain hemorrhages.
Although it is not one of those supplements considered essential, lutein is biologically essential in that it cannot be produced by the body. It has to be taken through the diet. There is no specific recommended daily allowance (RDA) because life can go on without it, but it does play a role in your everyday health.
However, the average person has a lutein intake less than that needed to take advantage of its UV protection or antioxidant effect. As previously stated, the effective dose is considered to be 30 mg daily, and the average American intake is about 2 mg. That’s an awful lot of egg yolks or tomatoes you are going to have to eat! If you do intend to take your lutein from the natural source, then it much more easily assimilated into your body if not overcooked. Lightly steaming is the best way to prepare your vegetables for maximum nutritional effect.
You can also take lutein as a supplement in the form of tablets, creams and drinks, and can also be found in other supplements that contain carotenoids such as lycopene and beta-carotene. Although not consider essential to life, do not underestimate the health benefits to be gained from a diet high in lutein, especially if you value the health of your eyes.
All strong antioxidants provide you with health benefits due to their ability to destroy the free radicals that in turn destroy the DNA in your body cells, and disrupt the cells themselves. Combine that with their action as filters to the damaging rays of the sun and you have in lutein a plant product that is far reaching in the health benefits that it can provide you with. If you are looking for a lutein supplement, stop into your local or internet health food store for lutein is an over the counter supplement.
Reduce Your Cholesterol With Natural Vitamins
July 12, 2007 08:58 AM
Thanks to the excellent efforts of health education organizations like the American Heart Association, we’ve learned a lot about cholesterol and how it affects our health.
We know: high cholesterol levels increase our risk for heart attacks and strokes: lowering our cholesterol levels will reduce this risk and keep our hearts and blood vessels healthy; and that diet, weight loss, and exercise will all help us in our quest to lower our cholesterol levels. We also know at times, despite these good efforts, some people’s cholesterol levels are still too high.
Prescription drugs to lower cholesterol are now available and they are heavily advertised by the pharmaceutical companies that make them. What the commercials neglect to say is these medications, collectively called statin drugs, have some serious side effects. Statin drugs can cause elevations in liver enzymes, an indication of liver irritation. They are associated with myopathy, a painful disorder of muscle inflammation and muscle degeneration. Ironically, statin drugs significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body, a deficit that can lead to heart disease.
Statin drugs have also been linked to a rare and at times, fatal condition called rhabdomyolysis. Because of this alarming link, the makers of cerivistatin, a popular stain drug, recalled this medication from the market on August 8, 2001. The Food and Drug Administration a greed with the recall and supported the decision.
Thankfully, there is a safe solution to the dangers of high cholesterol levels. A natural dietary supplement is now available that can lower cholesterol very effectively without any harmful side effects. Backed by many years of scientific research and clinical study, pantethine and plant sterols, also known as phytosterols, are nature’s answer to dangerous prescription cholesterol lowering medications.
To understand how pantethine and plant sterols work to lower cholesterol levels, we need to first review what we know about cholesterol and heart disease.
Q. What exactly is cholesterol?
A. Cholesterol is a soft, waxy, fat-like substance found in every cell of the body. We need cholesterol to help digest fats, strengthen cell membranes, insulate nerves, and make hormones. Cholesterol is made primarily in the liver but also by cells lining the small intestine and by individual cells in the body. While our body makes all of the cholesterol we actually need (about 1,000 milligrams a day), we also get additional cholesterol from foods we eat.
The highest source of cholesterol are egg yolks and organ meats such a liver and kidney. No plant-derived food contains cholesterol, not even peanut butter or avocado, even though these foods are high in fat. However, all foods from animal sources such as meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products contain cholesterol.
Q. How does cholesterol cause heart disease?
A. Although cholesterol serves many important functions in the body, too much cholesterol in the bloodstream can be dangerous. When blood cholesterol reaches high levels, it builds up on artery walls, increasing the risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke.
The heart is a muscle, and like all muscles, needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients. The bloodstream transports these nutrients to the heart through the coronary arteries. If the coronary arteries became narrowed or clogged by cholesterol and fat deposits (artherosclerosis) and cannot supply enough blood to the heart, the result is coronary heart disease (CHD). IF not enough oxygen-carrying blood reaches the heart muscle, a sharp, sudden chest pain (angina) may occur. If the blood supply to a portion of the heart is completely cut off by total blockage of a coronary artery, the result is a heart attack. This is most often caused from a blood clot forming on top of an already narrowed artery.
Q. What is LDL and HDL cholesterol?
A. Cholesterol and other fats can’t dissolve in the blood and, therefore, can’t travel on their own. They have to be transported to and from the cells by special carriers called lipoproteins. The two major lipoproteins are low density lipoproteins (LDL) and high density lipoproteins (HDL). LDL is most often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol whereas HDL is known as the “good” cholesterol.
LDLs carry cholesterol throughout the body to the cells. LDLs cause artherosclerosis by clogging up our arteries with the continual buildup of fat. HDL, on the other hand, prevents this fat buildup within arterial walls, by carrying it away from the arteries, to the liver where it is eventually processed and eliminated.
Q. What are triglycerides?
A. Triglycerides are fats used as fuel by the body and as an energy source for metabolism. Triglyceride levels fluctuate easily, changing after every meal. Increased levels are almost always a sign of too much carbohydrate and sugar intake. Triglycerides in high amounts make the blood more sluggish and less capable of transporting oxygen, particularly through the small blood vessels. High triglycerides, along with high LDL “bad” cholesterol, are considered strong and independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease, leading to a heart attack or stroke.
There are several medications physicians can prescribe for people with elevated triglyceride levels. Some of the most effective (as well as the most harmful) are the statins. The powerful, all-natural combination of pantethine and plant sterols can safely and, just as effectively, lower both triglycerides and LDL “bad” cholesterol and increase HDL “good” cholesterol.
Q. What is pantethine and how does it lower cholesterol?
A. Pantethine, a form of pantothenic acid (also known as vitamin B5) is found in foods such as liver, salmon, and yeast. Pantethine lowers cholesterol by blocking its production.
Cholesterol synthesis, or the production of cholesterol in the human body, is an incredibly complex process. It involves many biochemical reactions and enzymes activity requiring several steps.
Studies have shown that pantethine inhibits several of these enzymes and coenzymes. It blocks the activity of one coenzyme involved in cholesterol synthesis, HMG-CoA, by about 50%. This results in significantly lower cholesterol production. But, that’s not all. To compensate for the lowered cholesterol production, the liver pulls LDL out of the bloodstream. The end results? Studies have shown that on average, pantethine can lower total cholesterol levels by 16%, LDL cholesterol levels by 14%, serum triglycerides by 38%, and can raise HDL cholesterol by 10%.
Q. What are plant sterols and how do they lower cholesterol levels?
A. Plant sterols are the fats of plants. They are found in nuts, vegetable oils, corn, and rice. Plant sterols are structurally similar to cholesterol and are able to act as a stand-in for cholesterol and block its absorption.
The liver receives about 800 mg of cholesterol every day from intestinal absorption. Cholesterol is absorbed from the intestines through receptor sites – special channels that are shaped exactly like cholesterol molecules. The cholesterol enters these channels and is then absorbed into the bloodstream. Because plant sterols look like cholesterol, they fit perfectly into these channels. The cholesterol, being blocked from absorption, remains in our intestines where it is eventually excreted.
If we eat enough plant sterols, the amount of cholesterol transported from the intestinal tract to the liver is greatly reduced. And, just like pantethine’s effect on the liver, this cholesterol reduction causes the liver to pull LDL cholesterol out of the blood, reducing both total and LDL cholesterol levels.
Q. Can’t we get the benefit of plant sterols and pantethine just by eating those foods that contain them?
A. These amounts of plant sterol and pantethine found in food just aren’t enough to have much of an effect on our health. In order to lower cholesterol levels, we need to take a concentrated combination of pantethine and plant sterols in just the right ratio.
Plant sterols are bound in fibers in the plants. Even if we ate lots of raw fruits and vegetables, we wouldn’t be getting many of these beneficial plant fats. There are also several forms of plant sterols. Some ratios of these plant sterols are more beneficial than others. On the average, we eat 160 to 360 mg of plant sterols a day.
While pantethine is found in several food sources, it is difficult to get beneficial amounts from our food. There are about 12 mg of pantethine in 3 ounces of brewer’s yeast and 8 mg in an average serving of liver.
Q. How much pantethine and plant sterol combination should I take?
A. Many studies have examined the effects of pantethine and plant sterols on cholesterol levels resulting in the determination of the most effective amounts to take of these heart healthy nutrients.
Manufacturers of high quality nutritional supplements offer pantethine combined with plant sterols in the most beneficial ratio as determined by the research. The best results are obtained by taking a combination of 400 mg of plant sterols and 200 mg of pantethine three times a day.
Q. Should only people with actual heart disease or those with high cholesterol levels be concerned about cholesterol?
A. No, recent studies have shown that cholesterol lowering in people without heart disease greatly reduces their risk for ever developing CHD, including heart attacks and artherosclerosis. This is true for those with high cholesterol levels and for those with average cholesterol levels.
Most physicians would never consider prescribing statin drugs to people without actual heart disease or high cholesterol levels because of the many health risks of the drugs. But the combination of pantethine and plant sterols can naturally and very effectively help those people with heart disease, high cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels (or all three!) as well as those of us just wanting added “health insurance” for our hearts.
Q. Are pantethine and plant sterols safe?
A. Yes, both pantethine and plant sterols are very safe. Some people may experience some mild stomach upset when they first take pantethine. Taking the combination of pantethine and plant sterols with meals generally solves this problem.
Americans have listened, learned, and most importantly, taken to heart the vast and vital information on the need to keep our cholesterol levels under control. The result? More and more Americans are lucky enough to die of old age. The Centers for Disease Control recently released a report stating that the average American life expectancy has reached a new high of 76.9 years, thanks in no small measure to fewer people who are dying from heart disease,
The authors of this report stated that we could push our life expectancy even higher. We can attain healthy, old age by eating right, exercising regularly, and taking other simple steps to promote good health and prevent serious illness and heart disease. Taking the all-natural combination of pantethine and plant sterols is one simple, yet powerful step, to keep our hearts and blood vessels healthy for a long, long time.