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Tips On How To Use CBD Oil For Anxiety
May 23, 2017 06:44 PM
Many people feel that weed is only a plant that is for getting high. In any case, an ever increasing number of individuals are discovering that it is really a restorative plant that has a considerable measure of advantages. Nervousness is the point at which you feel this mind-boggling feeling of fear about ordinary exercises. Individuals have freeze assaults which is them being in battle or flight mode and they appear to occur for reasons unknown or in light of the fact that they were activated by a specific circumstance.
Read more: Tips On How To Use CBD Oil For Anxiety
The empire strikes back: DEA quietly announces "Schedule I" status for CBD extracts to comply with United Nations demands... CBD Prohibition begins on January 13, 2017
December 23, 2016 10:59 AM
There is concern over a rumor that the DEA seeks to create a brand new schedule I class of drugs just for marijuana extracts, known as CBD. They must go through a scheduling action to get approval, but many are outraged over the possibility of losing access to any medicinal product made from Cannabis. This can include non-psychoactive drugs. Some are trying to soothe the panic by stating that it doesn’t include hemp products. As long as it is not a drug, it is not restricted. We will have to wait and see how this plays out.
"Big Media, Big Pharma, Big Government, Big Banks and Big Agriculture are assaulting our bodies and minds by the hour, it seems."
June 30, 2014 09:54 PM
What's So Special About Bentonite Clay?
March 09, 2014 10:46 PM
What is bentonite
Bentonite Clay is mined around Fort Benton, Wyoming, from whence it got its name. Really Bentonite is found in ample supply in the northwest of the United States around Wyoming and Montana. Bentonite has been utilized by Indians and locals for a long time to cure a mixture of maladies by detoxifying the form.
Bentonite is really simply regular earth from the beginning. It is 61% silica additionally holds 18% aluminum, and little measures of iron, sodium, and magnesium. It is basic, with a ph of 8.3 to 9.1.
Bentonite works inside by drawing in a mixed bag of toxic substances from the gastrointestinal tract. The Bentonite Clay has a negative charge while the toxins have a tendency to have a positive charge. Along these lines there is the fascination of the toxins to the dirt. When these are assimilated, the figure wipes out the earth and toxins and you are healthier
What Are The Benefits Of Tangerine Oil?
February 25, 2014 07:45 AM
What is tangerine
The ordinarily citrus inhaling tangerine fundamental oil is said to have numerous health profits. Initially from China, this crucial oil discovered its route first to Europe then the North America where know they are the most amazing maker of tangerines. Some individuals call it mandarin likewise, the name given by the Chinese. Yet some contended that mandarin and tangerine fit in with diverse species but from the same citrus crew. The Chinese were the first to uncover the numerous health profits of tangerine oil. Actually they were named after the renowned dignitaries and respectability of the then royal China in light of the fact that it was an estimated tree grown foods fit for sovereignty.
Tangerine oil can mix superbly and effortlessly with other crucial oils to prepare additionally energizing aromas. Ordinarily it utilized within China as a tonic. As a tonic, it helps the figure support its homeostasis and offset. It tones the skin, the muscles and additionally the distinctive inward organs of the form. It checks the irregular characteristics of the figure and amends them.
Benefits of tangirine
In healthy skin, tangerine oil is likewise broadly utilized. As an influential disinfectant, it can execute microorganisms bringing on illnesses of the skin. Acnes and pimples are treated with it. Sleek skin is likewise one issue that it can offer assistance. What's more like the greater part of the citrus family, it might be phototoxic. Importance one might as well practice compelling consideration when utilizing it on the skin when going outside in the sun. For the most part it is gentle with even a milder lemony aroma however pregnant ladies may as well first counsel their specialists before utilizing it, as they might as well when utilizing any oil so far as that is concerned.
Tangerine oil supports in the decontamination of the blood. It helps the evacuation of the poisons in the blood. An intense depurative, it additionally uproots unwanted substances in the figure like kidney or nerve bladder stones. As an against uncontrollable, tangerine key oil unwinds the muscles of the form as well as all the more significantly the inner organs too. It can help even the respiratory framework and is great as a reciprocal elective medicine for asthma. As it unwinds the organs answerable for the respiratory framework, asthma assaults may be maintained a strategic distance from. Indeed straightforward stomach issues like looseness of the bowels and dyspepsia that brought about us huge issues may be calm by it as it helps the organs of the digestive framework be toned, loose and rinsed.
Natural Anxiety Remedies
November 11, 2010 05:44 PM
Anxiety disorder is a much more common problem than what was once thought. It often affects people in their teenage years through middle age and later. Anxiety disorder appears to affect twice as many women as men. However, there may not be that wide of a disparity between the sexes. Psychologists simply believe that men are far less prone to report or even acknowledge that they have a problem of this nature. Anxiety disorders can either be acute or chronic. Acute anxiety disorder manifests itself in episodes that are commonly known as panic attacks. A panic attack occurs when the body’s natural “fight or flight” reaction occurs at the wrong time. This is a complex response in which the body prepares itself to deal with an emergency situation. Stress can often cause the body to produce more adrenal hormones, especially adrenaline. The increased production of adrenaline causes the body to step up its metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to quickly produce energy for the body to use. Additionally, the muscles tense up and the heartbeat and breathing become more rapid.
When faced with an assault, accident, or a natural disaster, this type of reaction is perfectly normal. However, the symptoms that are caused by the surge in adrenaline can be distressing and frightening when they occur at the wrong time. A person having a panic attack is often overwhelmed by a sense of impending disaster or death, which makes it impossible to think clearly. Other feelings that can accompany a panic attack include shortness of breath, a smothering, claustrophobic sensation, heart palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, hot flashes or chills, trembling, numbness or tingling sensations in the extremities, sweating, nausea, a feeling of unreality, and a distorted perception of the passage of time. This disorder can eventually have other cumulative effects such as generalized aches and pains, muscular twitching and stiffness, depression, insomnia, nightmares and early waking, decreased libido, and abnormal feelings of tension with an accompanying inability to relax.
Panic attacks are usually abrupt and intense, occurring at any time of the day or night, and lasting from several seconds up to half an hour. To the panic sufferer, it often feels as though they are much longer. A person having a panic attack sometimes believes that he or she is experiencing a heart attack or stroke. The attacks themselves are very unpredictable, with some people experiencing one every few weeks, and others having several each day. Panic attacks are often triggered by stress or certain emotions, but they can also be a response to certain foods, drugs, or illness.
Many people with acute anxiety disorder become afraid of being alone and visiting public places because they fear having a panic attack. This only adds to the level of anxiety and leads to abnormally restricted lives. Psychologists often believe that at least in some cases, panic attacks are self-induced, meaning that the fear of the panic attack is the very thing that brings it on. The following nutrients are recommended for dealing with anxiety disorders: calcium, magnesium, B1, B12, multivitamin and mineral complex, SAMe, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, chromium picolinate, DLPA, L-glutamine, coenzyme A, essential fatty acids, GABA, melatonin, bilberry, ginkgo biloba, milk thistle, catnip, chamomile, cramp bark, kava kava, hops, linden flower, motherwort, passionflower, skullcap, fennel, lemon balm, willow bark, feverfew, St. John’s wort, skullcap, valerian root, and mandarin oil.
Natural vitamins and herbs can be found at VitaNet ®, LLC Vitamin Store.
Papaya- May Be A Fountain of Youth
May 31, 2007 02:09 PM
Papaya- May Be A Fountain of Youth
Seventy years ago, when the Social Security Administration was developed during the Great Depression, age 62 was recognized as average life expectancy. These days, getting older is a whole different ball game. Not only are people living well into their 80s and 90s, they’re living better, too. People well into retirement are mountain biking, kayaking, jogging and hiking, as well as gardening, golfing and attending concerts – sometimes for their first time. Everybody, it seems, is on the go, from ages of 22 to 92.
Of course, you don’t have to wait until retirement to start planning for a longer more vibrant life. The best way to ensure happier and longer years ahead is to start young.
Nobody wants to spend retirement in the doctor’s waiting room or have their golden years intruded upon with illnesses or infirmities. And, most importantly, we don’t want to feel 80 years old even though our driver’s license says we are.
These desires and demands are not just wishful thinking. Huge advances in the understanding of how men and women age are being made almost daily. These findings are helping to improve our chances of living long, healthy lives. And, some of the most impressive findings have shown that using nutritional supplements can help – in particular, a specially formulated papaya preparation is able to fight two of the primary reasons we get old – oxidative stress and immune system decline.
This issue of Ask the Doctor is going to share the anti-aging secrets hidden in the papaya and how this tropical fruit may hold the key to a long, vibrant life.
Q. Why papaya? What does papaya have that other fruits and vegetables don’t?
A. Not many American moms put a papaya in their kids’ lunch boxes and papaya pie has yet to gain a following. But this tangy tasting fruit is now appearing fairly frequently in the produce departments of most grocery stores and its popularity seems to steadily increase each year.
The papaya’s bright orange flesh is fairly fibrous and very slippery – slicing a peeled papaya is a little like slicing a bar of wet soap. The core is filled with little black seeds that look a lot like caviar. And while eating a papaya will give you a day’s worth of vitamins A and C as well as potassium taking Fermented Papaya Preparation (or FPP) might just give you an additional 30 years of healthy vibrant life.
Q. What exactly is Fermented Papaya Preparation (FPP)?
A. It’s a specialized nutritional supplement. Backed by more than 30 studies to date, FPP has been used in
Q. How was FPP developed?
A. Japanese scientists noticed that individuals with higher amounts of papaya in their diets experienced certain health benefits.
Researchers who study aging decided to look at the papaya’s chemistry to see if it might have properties that could contribute to longevity. Several plant chemicals in the papaya showed promise. And when they combined papaya with specific yeasts and traditional Japanese fermentation techniques, FPP was born. This unique substance was then subjected to scientific studies to see its health impact; they determined that FPP is a superior antioxidant, a powerful immune-booster, and one of
Q. How does FPP help people live longer and healthier?
A. While getting older is an indisputable fact of life, aging, per se, is not. We can’t do much about our annual birthdays and we really shouldn’t even if we could. Every age is a cause for celebration and every life experience, both the difficult and the sublime, should be treasured.
However, we don’t have to accept the consequences of aging that can make a mockery of the “Golden Years” - heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, and cancer. Our parents and grandparents and the generations that preceded them might have had little say in how they aged. But we can. We can slow down the harmful effects of aging and FPP can help by reducing oxidative stress and immune system decline.
Additionally, fighting oxidative stress helps people retain their youthful appearance longer. Oxidative damage is the number one factor in facial aging.
Q. What exactly does oxidative stress mean and what does it have to do with aging?
A. One theory of aging is that harmful molecules called free radicals wreak havoc in our cells. Many of our body’s normal metabolic processes produce free radicals. For example, free radicals are a normal by-product in the production of ATP (the energy molecule) from glucose. Certain types of white blood cells destroy invading microbes by the production of free radicals. Free radicals are also formed by the many normal enzymatic actions that take place every minute every day.
However, outside sources can also cause free radical formation, as well. If we are exposed to pollutants in the environment, chemicals, additives and preservatives in the food we eat, or even direct sunlight, excess production of free radicals can occur, causing profound damage. This free radical frenzy is called oxidative stress, and is linked to almost every disease of aging including arthritis, heart disease, cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer. In fact, the reason why these are called diseases of aging is because the longer we are alive, the longer we are subjected to these free radical assaults.
Q. How does FPP affect the decline of our immune systems as we age?
A. Our immune systems consist of specialized tissues, organs, and cells, including several different kinds of white blood cells. Each type of white blood cell works in specific ways to keep us healthy and free of disease. They not only stand guard – on the alert for invaders – they can fight and eradicate microbes, too.
However, as we age, our white blood cells become less efficient in keeping viruses and bacteria from infecting us. They often mistake invaders for good guys, like nutrients. As they age, white blood cells may recognize foreign invaders, but be too tired to fight and let them in. This age-associated immune decline also results in single cancer cells being able to “take hold” and grow into tumors. By the time the white blood cells realize their mistake, the cancer is a widespread disease.
That’s why older members of society have more urinary tract infections, more pneumonia, more cases of bacterial meningitis, tuberculosis, herpes zoster, and much more cancer than younger adults do. Moreover, mortality rates for these diseases are often 2-3 times higher among adults than younger people with the same disease.
FPP steps in and takes charge. One kind of white blood cells, the macrophage “eats” and digests bacteria, viral particles, and free radical fragments. Research has shown that FPP helps macrophages work faster and ingest more disease-causing microbes. Scientists have also discovered that FPP increases the production of a chemical protein called interleukin that’s secreted by macrophages. Interleukin plays an important part in wound healing and keeping minor infections from becoming major infections.
Another important immune system cell is the natural killer (NK) cell, a white blood cell that is continually on the prowl for cancer cells. As the immune system ages, NK cells have trouble “seeing” cancer cells. Researchers have discovered that FPP boosts the activity of NK cells. Increased NK cell activity can result in the increased killing of cancer cells as well as cells infected by viruses.
Q. How does FPP help protect us from free radical damage?
A. FPP contains unique and powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize free radical damage. Antioxidants do this by donating an extra electron to the free radical without becoming frenzied or worked up into a free radical themselves. Although the antioxidant has donated an electron, it has a more stable “personality” and is less reactive. This action stops the domino effect and ongoing free-radical damage.
If you consider your body a temple, think of free radicals as stealing bricks from your temple’s foundation. FPP acts not only as policeman, but as a builder as well. It doesn’t just stop the theft of bricks; it helps create new ones, keeping the foundation strong and young.
FPP does this by affecting super oxide dimutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPX), the very genetic pathways that eliminate free radicals from the system. FPP is more than an antioxidant – it doesn’t turn into a pro-oxidant if you happen to take a large dose the way standard antioxidants can. Consider it an “antioxidant plus.”
Since aging is largely determined by how well our bodies can fight oxidative damage, using FPP can slow down the clock as it bolsters natural abilities with its own potent neutralizing activities.
Q. What else does science say about FPP?
A. As the subject of over 30 clinical studies, FPP has been shown to inhibit dangerous hydroxyl free radicals. In addition, it is also being considered for its immuno-protective effects.
Researchers and medical professionals have been studying FPP for years, tracking its effect on the immune system and aging. In fact, no less a personage then Dr. Luc Montagnier, co-discover of HIV 1 & 2 virus, has been conducting research on this natural immune booster.
Dr. Montagnier recommends using FPP as part of a tri-therapy (including antibiotics) that reduces the proliferation of the virus and stimulates the immune system. Since FPP has antioxidant and immuno-stimulative properties, it seems like an obvious choice for a combined approach to combating AIDS. Because of the higher free radical production in stage II of HIV infection, Montagnier believes that reducing this oxidative stress at the earliest stage of HIV infection may be a key factor.
In HIV-infected patients, the glutathione system is depressed even at the early stages. As part of a combination treatment, FPP increased the numbers of CF4 lymphocytes helped with weight gain and increased hemoglobin levels.
One scientific study showed the ability of FPP to inhibit dangerous hydroxyl and hydroxyl-like free radicals, while enhancing the production of protective super oxide. Other research by Dr. Lester Packer, a professor of Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology at the
And, in one randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, patients with cirrhosis of the liver were given FPP or a placebo. The results showed that 81.2% of the patients survived in the FPP group compared to 38.5% of participants in the placebo group.
These studies and many others like it, show that FPP can neutralize the effects of oxidative stress on disease states as well as slowing the normal aging process.
Q. So if we can prevent oxidative damage to our cells AND prevent decline in our immune systems, how much longer can we expect to live?
A. Most theories of aging and almost all researchers who study aging claim there IS a limit to how long the human body can remain viable. However, the oldest age achieved so far was 128 by a woman named Ma Pampo who lived in the
Right now, Japanese women have the longest life span of any country in the world, with an average life expectancy of 85.93 years. Japanese men live an average 78.87 years.
Q. Is FPP safe?
A. Yes, it is. Many health-conscious people in
Q. What is the recommended dosage level of FPP?
A. Dosages of FPP vary depending on individual needs and usage. For basic anti-aging support, 3 grams per day is fine. For additional support, up to 9 grams per day is recommended. To add a boost to your immune system when you need it, start out with 6-9 grams a day for the first 2-3 days (at the beginning of a cold, for example) and then move back down to 3 grams per day.
For individuals looking for optimum immune support, Dr. Montagnier advises morning and evening doses, preferably on an empty stomach.
November 22, 2006 01:45 PM
These three natural discoveries may be some of the most important health discoveries to date. From the mountains of Japan, the rainforests of Peru, and the learned halls of a prestigious university we have been given powerful allies in healthy immunity and cancer prevention. Thankfully, there are formulas available at health food stores that contain all three natural discovery dietary supplements in one convenient product.
Our immune systems are continuously assaulted from pollutants in the environment, toxic additives in our food, and common chemicals we use and depend on everyday. These assaults can leave us vulnerable to so-called simple diseases, like colds and the flu, as well as serious problems, such as cancer and autoimmune diseases. Staving off these threats means our white blood cells must stand ready to mount incredibly intricate defenses. Cat’s claw root extract, maitake D-fraction, and IP-6 with inositol provide powerful protection from disease and an all natural boost to our immune system.
Hydroviton CR highest-quality medicated cleanser for your skin!
February 25, 2006 02:02 PM
The Free Radical Theory
December 14, 2005 12:11 PM
The popular theory has been the subject of a great deal of research. Developed by Denham Harman, M.D., Ph.D., at the University of Nebraska in 1956, the free radical theory proposes that unstable molecules known as free radicals are responsible for inflicting extensive cellular damage, which causes cell death and dysfunction and eventually, disease. The most common type of free radicals are oxygen derived, and free radical damage is often referred to as oxidation.
Environmental sources of free radicals include radiation (I.E., sun exposure, X-rays), ozone and nitrous oxide, heavy metals (i.e., mercury, cadmium, lead), smoke, alcohol, saturated fat, and other chemicals and pollutants. The body itself generates free radicals in performing essential bodily functions including energy production and immune activities. Fortunately, the body also has the ability to create antioxidants to neutralize the free radicals and prevent extensive cellular damage. When free radicals are not neutralized by antioxidants, they inflict large-scale cellular damage which can cascade and lead to age-related degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and age –relaged macular degeneration. For example, free radical damage to joint cells may cause the cartilage to become rough or break down, and can lead to the development of osteoarthritis. Antioxidants are needed to comb at free radicals and prevent this cellular damage. “Oxidative stress can lead to DNA mutations, cell death, and disease, all of which contribute to aging,” said Gerald R. Cysewski, president and chief executive officer (CEO) at Cyanotech corp. “Antioxidants are produced naturally by the body to combat oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals. Increasing the amount of antioxidants in one’s system by consumption of supplements can provide further protection from the damaging effects of free radicals.”
Because the body is continually assaulted by free radicals, antioxidant supplementation is often necessary. “by taking certain nutrients that our bodies stop producing over time, supplements help us to maintain a youthful look and health, which in turn enhances the quality of life,” Alkayali said. “Furthermore, supplements can help decrease oxidative stress that may otherwise accompany age-related illness and disease.”
Many Substances are known antioxidants including certain enzymes, vitamins, phytochemicals and minerals, and include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, alpha-lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), Carotenoids, Selenium, superoxide dismutase, melatonin, quercetin, catechins, and zinc.
Consuming a diet high in plant sources of powerful antioxidants is an important step to deter ageing, because nutrients from foods are often highly bioavailable and can act synergistically to increase their health benefits. Garlic contains several antioxidant phytochemicals and minerals including allicin, beta-carotene, quercetin, selenium and zinc, and may have a protective effect against stomach and colorectal cancers.
Catechins are potent antioxidants flavonoids, with the best known source being green tea; they include gallocatechin (GC), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin (EC) and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). These antioxidants are being studied for their powerful abilities to combat free radical damage. In particular, EGCG has been researched for its reported protection against certain cancers and Alzheimer’s disease.
Green Foods such as seaweed, sea vegetables, young grain grasses and shoots, broccoli, cabbage and other green leafy vegetables pack a nutritional punch due to their concentratged amounts of antioxidant carotenoids, vitamins and the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD). SOD is produced by the body and neutralizes free radicals known as superoxide radicals, which cause damaging fat oxidation. GliSODin is a patented form of SOD derived from cantaloupe and bound to a wheat protein for superior bioavailability. “GliSODin promotes the body’s production of its own endogenous antioxidants, including SOD, catalase and glutathione peroxidase, in virtually every cell,” said Eric Anderson, brand manager at P.L. Thomas. “This activation of the cellular antioxidant defenses across the whole body creates a state of alertness against any shock of oxidative stress, including sun rays, to which our body may be exposed.”
Pomegranates contain two powerful antioxidants—ellagic acid, derived from fruit’s seeds, and punicaligans, found in the juice. “Research has shown that the juice from the pomegranate, rich in polyphenols, reduces oxidative stress by helping to produce enzymes to fight free radicals,” Alkayali said. NeoCell Corp. manufactures of ellagic-acid based Pomegranate Power, while P.L. Thomas supplies POM40p, a kosher-free pomegranate juice extract standardized to 40-precent punicocides, polyphenols belong to the punicalagin family.
Consumer demand is on the rise for products that address degenerative health conditions, including supplements that support function of the bones, joints, eyes. According to a June 2005 report by the freedonia group, “Bone and joint care products will continue to dominate the health maintenance segment, spurred by a growing customer base and a plethora of new and improved products expected to soon enter the marketplace.” The report also projected rapid gains for vision care. “Demand for vision care products will be propelled by aging baby boomers who are becoming aware of debilitating eye conditions and seeking both preventive measures and ameliorative treatments.” Dietary Supplements can help prevent and ease symptoms of age-related diseases affecting the joints, bones and eyes, including osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Bird Flu Vaccine in short supply !!
November 26, 2005 02:23 PM
U.S Unprepared for Bird Flu Pandemic
Vaccine in short supply.
Officials worldwide are preparing for the worst, as bird flu spreads through asia and into Europe, resulting in the death of 140million chickens and ducks. Meanwhile waterfowl travel their migratory paths, shedding virus contaminated feathers, droppings and saliva into the water, air and soil.
Human cases of avian flue have so far been limited to individuals who had direct contact with sick birds. Experts, however, believe the virus could mutate into a form easily transmitted from human to human. The current strain, known as H5N1, is particularly lethal; it has killed 61 people—half of those infected.
A few times each century, flu pandemics sweep the world. One of the worst, the 1918 flu, killed 50 million people; it was also a bird flu, which jumped directly to humans. The grimmest forecast today is a pandemic that could kill millions. And, among developed nations, the united states is one of the least prepared.
After Delay, U.S. Must Wait in Line.
Congress and the President are considering spending billions to buy the drub tamiflu, which has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of bird flu. A few months ago, the manufacturer could have delivered much of this supply; now, orders placed by other countries have exhausted production capacity for the next two years, according to the New York Times. U.S. health agencies have 2 million doses on hand, enough to treat 1% of the population.
A Military Response?
Anticipating a crisis, President Bush asked Congress to consider using the military to enforce a quarantine, and requested a review of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which prohibits the armed forces from engaging in domestic policing. Critics question the effectiveness of a military response to a health problem, and point out that authorities can already call in the National Guard to deal with civil disorders.
Contagious Disease and the Wellness Revolution.
Concentrations of poverty, especially in Asia; huge, crowded farms and factories; poor hygiene; insufficient public health facilities; companies that refuse to produce unprofitable vaccines—all must be addressed to prevent future pandemics.
Meanwhile, individuals must do all they can to protect themselves. Wash your hands often and keep them away from your eyes and nose. Avoid contact with people who have respiratory illnesses. Clean surfaces used to prepare raw poultry with hot, soapy water, and cook poultry thoroughly. With so many potential assaults on your health, a wise strategy that is at the very core of the wellness revolution is to strengthen your immune system. Get enough sleep, take good daily multiple, and visit your health food store for a wide range of immune-boosting herbs and special nutrients to help you stay well this winter.
Sources: After Delay, U.S. Faces Line of Flu Drug, New York Times, 10/7/05; U.S. Warns of Future Flu Pandemic, Associated press, 10/10/05; Review of the monster at our door: the global threat of avian flue by Mike Davis.
Bird Flu Facts:
Symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, aches, pneumonia.
Virulence of current strain: kills 100% of birds, 50% of humans.
Projected U.S. Pandemic Death toll: ½ million.
Preventing Chronic Health Problems with AHCC
October 26, 2005 05:57 PM
Preventing Chronic Health Problems with AHCC
In a country supposedly as healthy as ours, an estimated 175 million people suffer from one form of chronic imbalance or another. This can take the form of obesity, which is the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States, second only to cigarette smoking; challenges to heart health, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, joint and cell health ,to name just a few.
In fact ,treating chronic health problems is what modern medicine has become .Sure, there are still many acute illnesses treated by modern medicine; but for the most part, we are fortunate enough to have long life spans and the health issues that go along with it. Therefore it is important to make sure that out immune systems are up to the task. That is where AHCC should become part of our daily lives.
AHCC is an nutritional supplement that was developed and is manufactured solely in Japan under strict practices. It is a hybridized extract of medicinal mushrooms where the active ingredient is an oligosaccharide made from the mycelia of several species of mushrooms, grown in rice bran.
AHCC and Cell Senescence
Every few years, a new buzz word comes along in medical circles. The latest one to be used both in a positive and negative fashion is senescence. For example, if an unhealthy cell can be artificially made to senesce, or grow old, then it will die sooner. If senescence of healthy cells can be delayed, that is an amazing achievement.
AHCC is the first nutritional supplement that shows principles of being able to promote certain cells in the immune system that keep us young and healthy, thus delaying immunosenesnscence.
AHCC and the Immune System
In order to get a full appreciation of how important taking AHCC on a daily bases is, one needs to understand the intimate role the immune system plays in our daily lives. It is responsible for riding our bodies of the unhealthy cells that are produced every day. The immune system protects us from the polluted air we breathe, the chemicaalized foods we eat, and most importantly, from the stress we bring upon ourselves just by the very nature of the way we live our lives. Our bodies were made for flight or fight capability; but never in history have we been in that mode on a daily basis. Our immune systems are under constant assault and it is up to you to take care of it even though you may not even be aware that it is there. We tend to only to think of our immune system when it is not working-when suffer mild or severe health challenges.
Without getting into too much detail, our immune system is a complex series of cells that all communicate with each other and must be balanced correctly in order for us to stay healthy. AHCC is able to encourage the helpful cells such as the natural killer (NK) cells while suppressing the ones that foster problems.
I am in clinical practice on a daily basis and use AHCC in almost every one of my patients. It is very versatile because of its effects on the immune system.
A Company Committed to Excellence
If everything I just told you wasn’t enough to convince you that AHCC should become part of your daily armamentarium, then here’s more fuel. AHCC is produced by a chemical company that is committed to excellence in manufacturing and most importantly in research. They have supported research at hospitals around the world, including local ones such as Columbia University, Harvard University and the University of California.
In fact, I just returned from a trip to Sapporo, Japan where the product is made and where each year, a team of scientists and medical professionals gather to discuss the latest research on AHCC, GCP, and oliganol-all products made by the same company. This was the 13th annual symposium and was attended by close to 1000 professionals.
It is remarkable to me that this company is able to produce such well-documented research while still being a nutritional supplement company, which shows it can be done. To me, this is the sign of a nutritional supplement worth recommending. If it does what it says it is supposed to do and has research to support those claims, than that is something you want in your daily diet.
So, even though you may never have given your immune system a second thought, you really should; and the best way to help it out is by taking AHCC on a daily basis, just like I do. I recommend 500 mg per day in the summer months and 1500 per day in the winter months as a simple preventive. Stay healthy!
About the Author
Fred Pescator, M.D., a traditionally trained physician practicing nutritional medicine, is President of the AHCC Research Association. He is the author of The Hamptons’ Diet, Thin For Good and Feed Your Kids Well. Dr.Pescator lectures around the world, and has been featured on such shows as The View, The Today Show, Deborah Norville, The O’ Reilly Factor, and Extra. Recent interviews include Woman’s Health and Fitness, Let’s Live, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Fortune and more. He is also the author of numerous papers and magazine articals. Dr.Pescator is actively involved in clinical research , and is instrumental in developing and clinically testing many of the leading nutritional products. He is the President-Elect of the International and American Association of Clinical Nutritionists and a member of the National Association of Physician Broadcasters.
The above article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat a particular illness. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of a holistically competent licensed professional health care provider. The information in this article has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
WHAT IS A FREE RADICAL?
July 13, 2005 09:57 AM
WHAT IS A FREE RADICAL?
Free radicals are unstable, unpredictable structures that pose a potential threat to healthy molecules on a cellular level. In their atte mpt to become stable, they assault and randomly impact healthy molecules, altering their functions in the process.
TO COMPLETLEY ELIMINATE FREE RADICALS, YOU MUST STOP BREATHING
The very act of breathing oxygen activates these reactive chemical structures. To make matte rs wo rse, because our generation, more than any other, is exposed to a number of potentially harmful environmental substances, free radical formation can reach epidemic proportions. Some of the more dangerous of these include:
EVEN EXERCISE HAS ITS PERILS
Exercising, as beneficial as it is, can initiate the release of free radicals within our cellular systems. Aerobic exercising produces oxidation products. Many of these compounds are not neutralized by our internal safety mechanisms and an overload can occur. Supplementing the diet with efficient antioxidants is highly recommended for eve ryone, but especially for those who exercise on a regular basis.
WHY ARE FREE RADICALS SO DANGEROUS
A free radical can destroy a protein, an enzyme or even a complete cell. To make matte rs wo rse, free radicals can multiply through a chain reaction mechanism resulting in the release of thousands of cellular oxidants. When this happens, cells can become so badly damaged that DNA codes can be altered and immunity can be compromised.
Contact with a free radical or oxidant on this scale can create cellular deterioration, resulting in cancer and heart disease. Tissue breakdown from this oxidative stress can also occur which can contribute to aging, arthritis and whole host of other degenerative conditions. “Through free radical reactions in our body, it’s as though we’re being irradiated at low levels all the time. They grind us down.”3
PREMATURE AGING AND FREE RADICALS:
Frequently, the oxidative stress caused by free radicals results in what we refer to as the aging process. While aging is inevitable, many of us hasten its outcome by not protecting ourselves, hence, we age prematurely. The early onset of wrinkling, arthritis, circulatory disorders, diabetes, heart disease and hardening of the arteries can result from free radical damage that could have been minimized by consistently taking strong antioxidants like Pycnogenol. More and more research suggests that it is a lack of certain protective nutrients, like the bioflavonoid compounds contained in Pycnogenol, which increases our risk of cancer and other degenerative diseases.4
WHY A NUTRITIOUS DIET DOES NOT AFFORD US ENOUGH PROTECTION
“They (antioxidants) may be much more important that doctors thought in warding off cancer, heart disease and the ravages of aging—and, no, you may not be getting enough of these nutrients in your diet.”5
Clearly, while diet modifications are invaluable, diet alone cannot provide the kind of physiological defense the body requires to inhibit free radicals before they cause biological harm. While there is no way to escape our exposure to free radicals, we can minimize potential cellular destruction by reducing their numbers.
PYCNOGENOL - MIRACLE ANTIOXIDANT
July 13, 2005 09:36 AM
Virtually each and every day, most of us are exposed to a number of toxic substances. Au to Exhaust, tobacco smoke , pollution, preservatives, and additives continually assault our bio-cellular systems. As a result, our risk of getting a degenerative disease is significantly increased. In addition, the aging process itself is accelerated by the p resence of free radicals. Consequently, premature tissue breakdown can occur. Inevitably, despite our best efforts, our environment will continue to surround us with potentially harmful pollutants. Certainly, there are several things we can do to minimize our health risks, including exercising, eating nutritiously and not smoking. Unfortunately, these measures are rarely enough to substantially decrease our risk of contracting certain degenerative diseases or of getting old before our time. While supplementing our diets with vitamins and minerals is st rongly recommended, certain remarkable, natural substances exist which have recently come to the forefront of scientific research. The most promising of these may be a compound called Pycnogenol, and everyone seems to be talking about it.
Pycnogenol has been associated with:
GARLIC: A NATURAL IMMUNITY BOOSTER
June 25, 2005 10:05 AM
GARLIC: A NATURAL IMMUNITY BOOSTER
With the arrival of new and frightening viral diseases like AIDS and flesh eating bacteria, boosting immunity is receiving new attention. Because these types of diseases have no effective cures or treatments, strengthening the body’s ability to fight off infection has become even more important.
Garlic has an abundance of sulphur containing amino acids and other compounds that seem to initiate increased activity in the immune system. For example, macrophages, which kill invading pathogens are stimulated by the presence of garlic.20 The Journal of the American Medical Association states, “it [Garlic] may become known as one of the grand conductors of the body’s immune symphony,”21 Several studies have shown that garlic stimulates immune function by making macrophage or killer cells more active. In so doing, garlic can prevent the onset of colds and fevers by increasing resistance to infection and to stress. It is common knowledge now that stress can compromise immune function. We are constantly assaulted by inadequate nutrition, cigarette smoke, physical injury, mental tension, and chemical pollution. Recently, the notion that vaccinations may also tax the immune system has emerged. In light of the enormous pressure which our immune systems sustain, supplemental nutrients like garlic are clearly needed.
Unfortunately stress, is here to stay and affects us daily through poor diets, environmental pollution and nervous tension. One study from Japan revealed that when mice were exposed to stress, their immunoglobulin production decreased making then more susceptible to infection. When Garlic extract was added to their diets before experiencing stress, their immune systems were protected to some degree.22
Another reason why garlic is such a powerful immune system booster is offered by a medical doctor. Concerning garlic, Dr. Robert Atkins, M.D. of New York City has said: “Garlic is an important nutritional food, The most reasonable explanation for its effectiveness [as a contributor of power to the immune system] is that it picks up toxic materials and transports them out of the body.”23 The food factors contained in garlic also play a role in beefing up the body’s defenses against disease. Garlic is full of nutrients including 17 amino acids. Recent studies have found that the changes which occur in the immune system when autoimmune disease is present are the same as those found in malnutrition.24 Garlic is one of the best immune system fortifiers available.
remarkable content of germanium alone offers excellent immunostimulation. In addition to germanium, Garlic contains thiamine, sulfur, niacin, phosphorous, and selenium. Mother Nature knew what she was doing when designing garlic for human consumption.
Home on the Range
June 13, 2005 03:52 PM
Home on the Range
by Janis Jibrin, RD Energy Times, September 5, 1999
Got chicken? Americans can't seem to get enough of this bird. Last year each of us ate, on average, just about 80 pounds of chicken, a whopping increase over the 49 pounds we each devoured in 1980 and an eight-pound increase from 1995. Part of this food's popularity comes from its lean image as a healthier, less fatty alternative to red meat (don't forget to take the fatty skin off). Chicken's also a cheap protein source: At many popular supermarkets you'll find weekly specials at about a dollar a pound.
But at health food markets, chicken can cost upwards of $1.69 a pound. These birds may be touted as raised in an organic, stress-free environment and on a vegetarian diet, free of antibiotics. For many people, this poultry is a better buy.
The Alternative Chicken
Most of the supermarket chicken you pick up in grocery refrigerated cases are broilers, birds bred to mature in about eight weeks. In comparison, in the '60s, chickens needed 14 weeks to become adult poultry. Conventionally-raised broilers eat grain mixed with whatever's cheapest on the market, such as recycled cooking oil that's been used to fry fast foods and animal parts.
These birds reside in chicken coops the size of football fields and don't see the light of day until transported to the slaughterhouse. On the other roost, alternatively raised chickens are brought up in a variety of ways (see box), but usually enjoy a more relaxed life and diet.
Chickens on the farm receive antibiotics for two reasons: To fight off the diseases that can run rampant through a crowded chicken coop and to encourage faster growth.
Antibiotics Stimulate Growth
Mark Cook, PhD, professor of animal science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, explains, "Gut bacteria trigger an immune system assault, which makes chickens a little feverish, suppresses appetite and slows growth. Antibiotics stimulate growth indirectly, by keeping bacteria levels down, and preventing the immune reaction." When birds get sick, they often get dosed with even more antibiotics.
This widespread antibiotic use has come home to roost and may contribute to the growth of bacteria that, frequently exposed to chemicals, have evolved ways to keep from being killed by pharmaceuticals.
This development threatens human health. Bacterial infections that people contract, once easily cured by penicillin or other drugs, are now tougher to eradicate. For instance, campylobactor, a common bacteria found in chicken, and responsible for some food poisonings, now demonstrates signs of resistance to drugs like floroquinolones. A powerful class of antibiotics, floroquinolones used to dependably conquer this infection.
"Floroquinolones are an extremely important class of antibiotics, used to treat many types of infections such as urinary tract infection, a wide variety of gastrointestinal illnesses, pneumonia, almost everything," says Kirt Smith, DVM, PhD, epidemiologist, acute disease epidemiology section, Minnesota Department of Health.
A study by Dr. Smith, published in the New England Journal of Medicine (340, 1999: 1525-32), showed that the percent of floroquinolone-resistant campylobactor appearing in infected people in his state-Minnesota-climbed from a little over 1% in infected people during 1992 to 10.2% in 1998. He and other scientists strongly suspect that the rise is a direct consequence of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) decision to allow floroquinolones in poultry feed beginning in 1995.
Although it was nearly impossible for Dr. Smith to trace the precise origin of campylobactor poisoning, he believes chicken was usually the source-and not just U.S. chicken. Many of the infected people had returned from Mexico and other countries.
"Sales of floroquinolones for poultry use in Mexico has increased dramatically," notes Dr. Smith.
Many alternative chicken producers do not use any antibiotic-laced feed at all. Other farmers adjust the feed to lower gut pH, making it more acidic and lowering chances of bacteria. At the U. of Wisconsin, Dr. Cook is developing antibodies to suppress the immune response to bacteria so chickens won't need antibiotics to spur growth. Buying and dining on chicken raised with little or no antibiotics could beneficially lower your risk of contracting a hardy bacterial infection. Better to catch campylobactor from an antibiotic-free chicken than a conventional chicken, speculates Dr. Cook. "There's less likelihood the bug will be resistant, and a better chance your problem can be cured with antibiotics," he explains.
And, looking beyond your own immediate health risk, buying antibiotic-free chicken makes a small contribution to stopping the spread of antibiotic resistant bugs. A Matter of Taste Conventionally raised chickens get little exercise and live only eight weeks, so they're tender but bland.
"There's not much taste in a modern chicken. Free range or organically grown, older birds usually have more taste," notes Dr. Cook.
The days of barnyard chickens happily clucking and strutting around in picturesque nature have disappeared with the family farm. Today, chickens lead a meager existence. After hatching, baby chicks are tossed into a gigantic hen house that is home to up to 30,000 birds. Their short lives are lived within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) mandated 3/4 square foot per chicken. In that squeeze, birds can catch "chicken influenza," especially in winter when it's too cold to let in much fresh air.
Laying hens don't experience much more of a peaceful existence. These birds live their years with about five other hens, so crowded they can't flap their wings. Cages, suspended in the air, let eggs roll into a holding area. So they don't peck each other, hens are often debeaked, a painful process that can cause infection.
Hens go through natural laying and "dry" cycles. Growers manipulate this cycle by "forced molting," depriving hens of food for four to 14 days to keep them constantly laying. By the end of two years, hens are worn out. Their inactivity weakens their bones enough that electrical stunning, the usual method for knocking chickens out before slaughter, shatters their bones. So some wind up being plucked and boiled alive, according to Mary Finelli, program director for farm animals and public health at the Humane Society of the United States. The meat from these hens, tougher than other birds, was probably in your deli lunch sandwich. It's also used in the school lunch program or may end up in dog food.
"Generally, organically-grown broilers and hens have it better because room to move is part of the organic certification process," says Finelli. Finelli suggests visiting chicken suppliers to find out how chickens are treated. Or, she advocates a Humane Society book listing reliable firms. For a local producer call the society: 202-452-1100. According to a Consumer Report report, some growers force chickens out the last week of their lives to brand them "free range." So free range isn't a prime standard for choosing a decently raised chicken. However, turkeys thrive outdoors, so choosing free-range turkey is often a good idea for better tasting poultry.
In any case, organic is your best bet for chicken without pesticides. Make it your main choice for your 80 pound yearly consumption!
To fight cruel treatment of poultry:
• Forced Molting Ban. Forced molting is shocking hens for more eggs. To support petitions banning forced molting write: Docket Manage-ment Branch, FDA, Dept. Health & Human Serv-ices, 12420 Parklawn Drive, Room 1-23, Rock-ville, MD 20857. Include docket # 98P-0203/CP
• Downed Animal Protection Bill (House Bill 443, Senate Bill S515) spares some animals from the tortuous journey from chicken house to slaughterhouse. Mandates humane euthanization.
Botanical Arsenal - Plants can help our bodies fight off cancer's deadly ...
June 13, 2005 10:31 AM
Botanical Arsenal by Fred Thomas Energy Times, May 3, 1999
The complexities surrounding the various types of cancer stem from the variety of ways in which these diseases can wreak their havoc. Luckily, the equally complex world of plants contains novel compounds that can help our bodies fight off cancer's deadly progress.
Research into these botanical compounds is mushrooming. An example: The mighty maitake, a fungus with flair, alternately known as the king (it can grow as large as a basketball, worth its weight in silver to the ancient Japanese); the prince; the Hen of the Woods (it sticks out of from trees when it grows in the wild); and the dancing mushroom to those who leaped for joy when they found one growing in its native northeastern Japan.
Researchers today dub it with a new moniker: Herbal Heavyweight.
Mushroom with Potential
The maitake, with such other medicinal mushrooms as shiitake and reishi, historically has been eaten to promote general well-being and vitality. In the modern lab, however, scientists focus on the potent immune enhancing powers of maitake, which spotlight its cancer fighting potential.
Twenty years ago, maitake, Grifola frondosa, was an obscure, largely unavailable mushroom. A series of significant Japanese studies then catapulted it into prominence-and popularity.
Hiroaki Nanba, PhD, of the department of immunology at Kobe Women's College of Pharmacy on Kobe, Japan, and a leading international researcher on maitake, conducted the preliminary tests on the mushroom, demonstrating that it stimulates immune function and inhibits tumor growth.
In 1986, Dr. Nanba fed powdered maitake to mice injected with tumor cells; 86.3% displayed inhibited tumor growth.
Dr. Nanba and his colleagues went on to run additional mouse tests, finally reporting that this potent mushroom "directly activates various effector cells (macrophages, natural killer cells, killer T-cells, etc.) to attack tumor cells."
From then, maitake mushrooms were headed to fame as cancer ninjas.
Stoking The Immune Engine
Like other mushrooms, maitake is rich in complex polysaccharides, immunomodulators that successive tests after Dr. Nanba's have shown to be effective in cancer and AIDS treatment.
The polysaccharides in maitake have a unique structure, rendering them some of the most powerful to be studied (Chem Pharm Bull 1987:35:1162-8).
What makes maitake a particularly hot property is beta-D-glucan, its primary polysaccharide. Studies show that the body absorbs it readily, at which point it effectively stimulates interleukin-1, natural killer cells and macrophages, anti-tumor warriors that battle solid cancers (Chemotherapy 1990;38:790-6; also International Conference on AIDS, Amsterdam, 1992).
Effective And Safe
In addition to lab tests, trials on people have shown that maitake may offer powerful therapy against liver and stomach cancer (studies in China), breast and colon cancer (US research) and Kaposi's Sarcoma, the virulent cancer attacking AIDS sufferers.
Importantly, studies show that no side effects or interactions accompany maitake's efficacy.
Maitake fortunately has won the interest and enthusiasm of the scientific community. Currently, researchers at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, headed by Denis Miller, MD, are completing an exhaustive test of the anticancer and immunostimulatory actions of maitake on folks with advanced colorectal cancer. These investigators hypothesize that the polysaccharide beta-glucans derived from the fruitbody of maitake fight tumors and boost immune function. "Though it cannot be said that maitake ...[is] the cancer cure," said Dr. Nanba in his closing remarks at the Adjuvant Nutrition in Cancer Treatment Symposium in Tampa, Florida, in October 1995, "one can safely say that they do maintain the quality of life of patients and improve the immune system, resulting in the possible remission of cancer cells with no side effects."
More Bodily Benefits
Maitake maven Dr. Nanba also has tested-with strongly positive results-the effect of maitake on blood glucose, insulin and triglycerides in mice, whose levels of all three substances declined when they were fed the mushroom (H. Nanba working paper, Anti-Diabetic Activity by Maitake Mushroom, 1994).
With colleagues, Dr. Nanba showed that maitake lowered blood pressure in hypertensive rats (Chem. Phann. Bu//36:1000-1006,1988). Other studies suggest it may accelerate weight loss.
This admirable adaptogen (meaning it helps the body adapt to stress and normalize its functions) is water soluble and may be eaten in food or taken as a supplement. Vitamin C is believed to intensify maitake's beta-glucans and enhance their absorption.
It's not just what you eat that may help protect against cancer, but what you drink as well. Research from China and Japan, where tea is the everyday drink and rates of several cancers like breast and prostate are lower, may persuade you to turn over a new leaf in your own beverage choice. One of the first studies to spark interest in tea came from Shanghai (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, June 1, 1994), where people who drank two to three cups a day were found to have about a 60% reduction in the risk of cancer of the esophagus. The reason: tea leaves contain compounds called polyphenols, potent antioxidants.
In fact, in tests at the University of Kansas, three of these, known as catechins, far outshone the common antioxidant vitamins C and E. Clinical trials are just starting, but early results are encouraging. A team of Chinese scientists reported that in a third of people with precancerous mouth sores who drank three cups of a mixture of green and black tea the lesions shrank significantly.
Researchers at the Saitama Cancer Center in Japan found that green tea seems to improve the prognosis of breast cancer. They followed a group of women with early-stage tumors for seven years. Those who drank more than five cups of green tea a day were only half as likely to suffer a recurrence as patients who consumed fewer than four cups a day.
And at the University of Indiana, toxicologist James Klaunig found that the lungs of cigarette smokers who drank the equivalent of six cups of tea a day suffered 40 to 50 percent less damage from the toxins in smoke, potentially lowering their risk of lung cancer and other pulmonary problems. Simultaneously, research from Purdue University suggests tea's cancer-discouraging powers go beyond being an antioxidant. Scientists Dorothy and D. James Morre showed that a tea catechin dubbed EGCG inhibits a growth-promoting enzyme on the surface of many cancer cells-happily without affecting normal cells. And researchers at the Ohio State University College of Medicine found that EGCG counteracted another enzyme, urokinase, that helps cancer cells spread. To top it off, Mayo Clinic scientists recently showed that EGCG prompted prostate cancer cells to commit suicide (Cancer Letters, Aug. 14, 1998).
So far, most tea research has focused on green tea, and investigators agree it's more potent than the black tea most Americans favor. But because both kinds come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis (it's the processing that makes the difference as black tea is fermented, green tea isn't) both contain cancer-fighting polyphenols, just in different quantities. As long as the tea you drink (even decaffeinated) is fresh brewed, it's likely to provide some benefit; powdered and prepared teas probably don't. And adding milk may dilute the effect.
Astragalus Against Tumors
Astragalus, an herb commonly used in Asia to boost stamina, has impressed western doctors for its potential for helping people cope with chemotherapy. As John Diamon, MD, W. Lee Cowden, MD and Burton Goldberg point out in the Definitive Guide to Cancer (Future Medicine), "Astragalus appears to protect the liver against the harmful toxic effects of chemotherapy and may be effective in treating terminally ill liver cancer patients." (They cite a study in the Jrnl of Ethnopharmacology 1990, 30:145-149.) In addition, they point out, research in Japan supports using a ginseng-astragalus combination to improve the function of natural killer (NK) cells which can boost immunity (Japanese Jrnl of Allergy, 37:2, 1998, 107-114).
Other studies confirm astragalus' potential in fighting off cancer. Research at the General Hospital of PLA, Beijing, showed that flavonoids (pigments) in astragalus could help protect cell membranes from oxidative damage caused by ultraviolet exposure (Chung Kuo Chung Yao Tsa Chih, 21(12):746-8; 1996 Dec).
A study of laboratory animals at Cunma University in Maebashi, Japan, found that Astragalus could help preserve immune function against the harmful side effects of chemotherapy (Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih, 15(2):101-3, 1995 Feb).
Like a flame attracting moths, garlic bulbs have irresistibly drawn the attention of medical researchers. A study at Aarhus University, Denmark, found that skin cells in laboratory dishes treated with garlic supplements lived longer, healthier lives than untreated cells (Jrnl Ethnopharm, 1994. 43:125-133).
Meanwhile, a long list of research demonstrates that garlic's phytochemicals may fight tumors and reduce the carcinogenicity of the pollutants and chemicals that assault us daily. A study in China reported in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine showed that garlic helped slow tumors in lab animals (1983, 11:69-73). Another study in the Journal of Nutrition found that compounds in garlic could "suppress the growth of human colon tumor cells" (126, 1355-1361).
Added to those benefits, Robert A. Nagourney, MD, reports in the Journal of Medicinal Food (1:1, 1998, 13-28), garlic may "modify the carcinogenicity of foodstuffs." In other words, studies show that garlic can make chemicals in foods like pork less likely to cause your cells to become cancerous. (Ind J Physiol Pharmacol, 39:347-353).
DNA, the stuff that genes are made of, face constant threats from free radicals, caustic molecules that can alter cellular structure and possibly cause genetic mutations that lead to cancer. But research into what are called oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC), flavonoids (pigments) derived from fruits vegetables, grape seed extract and the bark of maritime pine trees shows that OPC may be able to shield DNA from injury.
In particular, studies of a grape seed extract called Activin have demonstrated this substance can help liver cell DNA escape a destructive process called peroxidation (FASEB, 11:3, 2/28/97).
In these experiments, Activin demonstrated the ability to inhibit the growth of tumor cells as well as slow the replication enzymes of HIV viruses. This protective ability proved to be more potent than that of vitamin C, beta carotene and vitamin E.
What does the future promise to reveal? Scientists believe that many unexamined plants probably contain undiscovered phytochemicals that hold great potential for helping us fight the cancer epidemic.
Certainly, if the next few years produce as many results as the past decade, the next millennium will witness a long line of cancer-prevention discoveries. Before long, you should be able to take advantage of these potent substances.
As you gulp your garlic, tip your tea cup, mull your maitake, acquire Activin and await your astragalus, you may meditate on what may soon be added to our growing anti-cancer arsenal. Undoubtedly, scientists with a botanical bent will be uncovering more coveted anti-cancer secrets before too long.
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart
June 13, 2005 10:06 AM
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart by Louis McKinley Energy Times, January 2, 2004
From time immemorial, people have tuned into life's lessons that come from the heart. Sadly, times are changing: If you're like most inhabitants of today's harried world, you may be too distracted to detect important clues about your cardiovascular circumstances.
And while heart lessons may be more complicated than simply connecting the physiological dots, understanding those heart messages are imperative for improving and maintaining your heart health.
Every cell in your body relies on heart-powered blood flow to keep it supplied with nutrients, oxygen, hormones and other natural chemicals necessary for survival. Without that supply of life-giving substances, few cells in the body-including those within the heart itself-can survive very long.
And just as damage to a major roadway can cause mayhem with traffic patterns, damage to blood vessels and the heart can wreak a lumpy cardiovascular havoc that blocks the passage of blood and endangers your heart's well-being.
Your Heart Disease Chances
Within the last ten years, scientific research performed by investigators around the world has focused on the specific factors that most strongly influence your chances of developing heart disease and suffering either a heart attack or a stroke.
While much of your risk depends on your genetic inheritance and family history, several factors that determine your heart health are within your control.
The most important factors you can do something about include:
* Smoking: free radicals generated by burning tobacco causes significant damage to blood vessels and other cells
* Lack of exercise: the human body is designed for consistent, moderate physical activity; without exercise, the body slacks off in creating antioxidant protection for arteries
* Diabetes: when excess blood sugar persists, physiological processes begin that endanger the heart and arteries
* Cholesterol: when oxidized (a chemical process that has been compared to a kind of internal rusting), cholesterol can form artery-blocking plaque; antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and natural vitamin E may help the body limit this process
* High blood pressure: excessive pressure within the blood vessels raises the risk of damage to the heart and arteries; a program of weight loss and exercise can help control blood pressure
* Being overweight: the extra body fat carried around your middle is linked to a greater risk of heart problems
Heart Attack Signs
Do you think you know what a heart attack feels like? Well, if you think it feels like a dramatic pain somewhere in your chest that knocks you to the floor, you're probably wrong. "Most heart attacks do not look at all like what one of my colleagues calls the 'Hollywood' attack-the heart attack you see on television or in the movies," warns Julie Zerwic, MD, professor of surgical nursing who has studied what happens when people develop heart disease and suffer damage to their hearts.
"The symptoms [of heart problems] are not necessarily dramatic. People don't fall down on the floor. They don't always experience a knife-like, very sharp pain. In fact, many people describe the sensation as heaviness and tightness in the chest rather than pain," she says. And, if you're a woman experiencing a heart attack, you may not even feel discomfort specifically in your chest. Instead you may experience a severe shortness of breath. The apparent ambiguity of the discomforts caused by a heart attack lead many people to either ignore them or take hours to realize they need to go to the emergency room at the hospital.
Consequently, much fewer than half of all individuals undergoing a heart attack actually go to a hospital within an hour of the start of the attack. That delay can be a fatal mistake.
"Timing is absolutely critical," laments Dr. Zerwic. "If treatment starts within a hour after the onset of symptoms, drugs that reestablish blood flow through the blocked coronary artery can reduce mortality by as much as 50%. That number drops to 23% if treatment begins three hours later. The goal is to introduce therapy within two hours."
However, in Dr. Zerwic's research, only 35% of non-Hispanic whites go to the hospital within an hour of the start of a heart attack. And among African-Americans, the number of people going to the hospital right away drops to a frighteningly low 13%.
Often, people will lie down or use a heating pad to relieve the tightness they feel in the chest," says Dr. Zerwic. "They may take some medicine and wait to see if that works. All these steps postpone needed treatment."
Signs of a possible heart attack include:
* Chest discomfort: Heart attacks most frequently cause discomfort in the center of the chest that can either go away after a couple of minutes (and come back) or persist. The discomfort may feel like strong pressure, fullness or pain.
* Upper body discomfort: An attack may set off pain or discomfort in either or both arms, and/or the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
* Shortness of breath: Chest discomfort is frequently accompanied by shortness of breath. But it's important to note that shortness of breath can take place even in the absence of chest discomfort.
* Other signs: You can also break out in a cold sweat, or feel nauseated or light-headed.
A Woman's Sleep Signs
If you are a woman who suddenly experiences a marked increase in insomnia and puzzling, intense fatigue, you may be in danger of an imminent heart attack.
In an attempt to understand how women's symptoms of heart problems differ from those of men, researchers talked to more than 500 women in Arkansas, North Carolina and Ohio who had suffered heart attacks. (Technically, what they had experienced is referred to as acute myocardial infarction.)
They found that chest pain prior to a heart attack was only reported by about 30% of the women surveyed.
More common were unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances and shortness of breath (Circulation Rapid Access, 11/3/01).
"Since women reported experiencing early warning signs more than a month prior to the heart attack, this [fatigue and sleep problems] could allow time to treat these symptoms and to possibly delay or prevent the heart attack," says researcher Jean C. McSweeney, PhD, RN, nursing professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. In Dr. McSweeney's study, more than nine out of ten women who had heart attacks reported that they had had new, disturbing physical problems more than a month before they had infarctions.
Almost three in four suffered from unusual fatigue, about half had sleep disturbances, while two in five found themselves short of breath.
Other common signs included indigestion and anxiety.
"Women need to be educated that the appearance of new symptoms may be associated with heart disease and that they need to seek medical care to determine the cause of the symptoms, especially if they have known cardiovascular risks such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, overweight or a family history of heart diseases," says Dr. McSweeney.
Dr. McSweeney warns that, until now, little has been known about signs that women are having heart trouble or heart attacks. The fact that most of Western medicine's past attention has been on heart problems in men has obscured the warning signs in women. As part of Dr. McSweeney's studies, she and her fellow researchers have discovered that more than 40% of all women who suffer a heart attack never feel any chest discomfort before or during the attack.
"Lack of significant chest pain may be a major reason why women have more unrecognized heart attacks than men or are mistakenly diagnosed and discharged from emergency departments," she notes. "Many clinicians still consider chest pain as the primary symptom of a heart attack."
Vitamins for Diabetes and Heart Disease
Having diabetes significantly raises your chance of heart disease, which means that keeping your blood sugar levels under control can reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack.
Today, 17 million Americans have diabetes and, as the country's population in general gains weight and fails to exercise, the number of people suffering this problem continues to grow.
The first line of defense against diabetes consists of exercise and weight control. All you have to do is take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day to drop your chances of diabetes (American Journal of Epidemiology 10/1/03).
"We have found that men and women who incorporate activity into their lifestyles are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who are sedentary. This finding holds no matter what their initial weight," said Andrea Kriska, PhD, professor of epidemiology at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
To help your body fight the development of diabetes, researchers also recommend vitamin C and natural vitamin E.
Researchers working with lab animals at the University of California at Irvine have found that these antioxidant vitamins can help insulin (the hormone-like substance secreted by the pancreas) reduce harmful blood sugar. In addition, these vitamins shrink the chances of organ damage that can be caused by diabetes (Kidney International 1/03).
In this investigation, these vitamins also helped reduce blood pressure, another risk factor that raises heart disease risk.
"Blood pressure was lowered to normal, and free radicals were not in sufficient numbers to degrade the sugars, proteins and nitric oxide," notes Nick Vaziri, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California. "We think this shows that a diet rich in antioxidants may help diabetics prevent the devastating cardiovascular, kidney, neurological and other damage that are common complications of diabetes."
Free Radical Blues
Dr. Vaziri and his group of researchers found that untreated diabetes raised blood pressure and increased the production of free radicals, caustic molecules that can damage arteries and the heart. Free radicals can change blood sugar and other proteins into harmful substances, boosting tissue and heart destruction.
In Dr. Vaziri's work with lab animals, he found that treating diabetes with insulin lowered blood pressure and helped keep sugar and protein from changing into dangerous chemicals, but allowed the free radicals to subvert nitric oxide, a chemical the body uses to protect itself from free radicals.
In this investigation, adding vitamins C and E to insulin insulated the body's sugars, proteins and nitric oxide from oxidative assault. This produces a double advantage: Lowering the risk of heart disease and other damage to the body from diabetes.
Maitake, an Oriental mushroom that has been shown to have many health benefits, can also be useful for people with diabetes who are trying to avoid cardiovascular complications. Laboratory studies in Japan demonstrate that maitake may help lower blood pressure while reducing cholesterol (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 1997; 20(7):781-5). In producing these effects, the mushroom may also help the body reduce blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of tissue damage.
Tobacco smoke is one of the most notorious causes of heart problems. In the same way a hard frost exerts a death grip on a highway, the smoke from cigarettes can freeze up arteries and hamper their proper function. A healthy artery must stay flexible to comfortably allow adequate circulation.
But "...when blood vessels are exposed to cigarette smoke it causes the vessels to behave like a rigid pipe rather than a flexible tube, thus the vessels can't dilate in response to increased blood flow," says David J. Bouchier-Hayes, MD, professor of surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who has studied the deleterious effects of tobacco.
This rigidity is called endothelial dysfunction. When arteries are rigid, blockages gum up vessels, clots and other impediments to blood flow appear, and your risk of heart attack and stroke increases (Circulation 2001 Nov 27; 104(22):2673).
This condition can also cause chest pain (angina) similar to that caused by a heart attack, and should be evaluated by a knowledgeable health practitioner.
Although all experts recommend you stop smoking to lower your heart disease risk, some studies have found that Pycnogenol(r), a pine bark extract that helps the body fight inflammation, may ease some of smoking's ill effects.
In a study of platelets, special cells in the blood that can form dangerous blood clots, researchers found that Pycnogenol(r) discouraged platelets from sticking together (American Society for Biochemical and Molecular Biology 5/19/98). By keeping platelets flowing freely, this supplement may alleviate some of the heart-threatening clots that tobacco smoke can cause.
In Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional therapy from India, an herb called guggul has also been used to lower the risk of blockages in arteries. This herb, derived from the resin of the mukul tree, has been shown to reduce cholesterol by about 25%. People taking this herb have also reduced their triglycerides (harmful blood fats) by the same amount (Journal Postgraduate Medicine 1991 37(3):132).
The Female Version of Heart Disease
For one thing, women often don't suffer from the crushing chest pain that for most people characterizes a heart attack; instead, many women experience back pain, sweating, extreme fatigue, lightheadedness, anxiety or indigestion, signs that can be easily misread as digestive troubles, menopausal symptoms or indicators of aging.
The genders also differ in how heart disease poses a threat. While men seem most endangered by the buildup of blockages in arteries, women apparently are more at risk from endothelial dysfunction. But more study needs to be done since, in many cases, researchers have been unable to pin down the precise mechanism that causes many women to die of heart disease.
Scientists have found that the number of women in their 30s and 40s who are dying from sudden cardiac arrest is growing much faster than the number of men of the same age who die of this cause. But research by the Oregon Health & Sciences University and Jesse E. Edwards Cardiovascular Registry in St. Paul, Minnesota, shows that while doctors can pinpoint the coronary blockages that kill men, they can't find specific blockages in half of the female fatalities they have studied (American Heart Journal 10/03).
"This was an unexpected finding. However, the study underscores the need to focus on what is causing these younger women to die unexpectedly because the number of deaths continues to increase," says Sumeet Chugh, MD, a medical professor at Oregon.
Since the failure of arteries to relax probably contributes to heart disease in many women, eating red berries, or consuming supplements from berries such as chokeberry, bilberry or elderberry, may be important in lowering women's heart disease risk. These fruits help arteries expand and allow blood to flow freely.
Red berries are rich sources of flavonoids, polyphenols and anthocynanins. The anthocyanins are strong antioxidants that give the berries their color. Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that these chemicals can interact with nitrous oxide, a chemical produced by the body, to relax blood vessels (Experimental Biology conference 5/20/02).
As researchers work to devise lifestyle roadmaps that can steer you around the perils of heart disease, they are finding that exercise is a key path to avoiding cardiovascular complications.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that those who exercised and kept their weight down (or took weight off and kept it off) experienced a significantly lower risk of heart problems (Preventive Medicine 11/03).
"The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. Burning calories in physical activity may be the secret to reducing heart disease risk and living longer, she says.
Dr. Fang's research used information collected from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 1975 and then computed how much people exercised, how their body mass indices varied and which of these folks died of heart disease during the next two decades.
In the study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who worked out and consumed more calories cut their risk of heart disease death in half.
Exercise Is Essential
"Subjects with the lowest caloric intake, least physical activity, and who were overweight or obese had significantly higher cardiovascular mortality rates than those with high caloric intake, most physical activity, and normal weight," Dr. Fang notes. The individuals in the study who were overweight and didn't exercise had a bigger risk of heart disease even if they tried (and succeeded) at eating less.
"This suggests that heart disease outcome was not determined by a single factor, but rather by a compound of behavioral, socioeconomic, genetic and clinical characteristics," according to Dr. Fang.
According to researchers, if your job requires a great deal of physical activity, your health will be better if you get another job. Exercise on the job not only doesn't decrease your risk of heart disease, it may actually raise it. The reason: On-the-job activity is linked to heart-endangering increases in job stress.
Research into this subject, performed at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, found that while recreational exercise slowed hardening of the arteries, workers who had to exert themselves during the workday had arteries that were blocked at a younger age (American Journal of Medicine 7/03).
In this study, researchers examined about 500 middle-aged employees as part of what is called the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study.
"We found that atherosclerosis progressed significantly faster in people with greater stress, and people who were under more stress also were the ones who exercised more in their jobs," says James Dwyer, PhD, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School. According to Dr. Dwyer, "This suggests that the apparent harmful effect of physical activity at work on atherosclerosis-and heart disease risk-may be due to the tendency of high-activity jobs to be more stressful in modern workplaces.
"It appears from our findings that the psychological stresses associated with physically active jobs overcomes any biological benefit of the activity itself."
On the other hand, the scientists found that heart disease drops dramatically among those who exercise the most in their spare time. In the study, people who vigorously worked out at least three times a week had the lowest risk. But even those who just took walks enjoyed better heart health than people whose most strenuous activity was working the TV remote. Dr. Dwyer says, "These results are important because they demonstrate the very substantial and almost immediate-within one or two years-cardiovascular benefit of greater physical activity."
Lowering your risk of heart disease is substantially up to you. Listen to what your heart tells you it needs; then, exercise your right to fetch some cardiovascular necessities.
June 10, 2005 04:14 PM
Clean Living by Phyllis D. Light, RH Energy Times, December 3, 2003
Just as you wouldn't clean a closet by merely closing the closet door, you can't clean your body by closing your eyes to the toxins that assault our bodies every day. The modern world is filled with natural and manmade chemicals that can accumulate within and cause long-term health problems. So, in between bouts of housecleaning, an internal cleansing can keep your bodily systems feeling as clean as your sparkling household.
While modern life would be impossible without the chemicals that go into the gadgets and machines on which society thrives, these materials have a dark side: Each day we are exposed to hundreds of substances that have infiltrated our food, water and air. They lurk in our cleaning products, fabrics, personal care products, automobiles and even the building materials in our homes and offices.
"While our [bodies have] systems of detoxification to deal with and eliminate chemicals to which we are exposed, the sheer volume of these chemicals can overwhelm these detoxification mechanisms, causing these non-lifegiving substances to stay in our bodies where they can damage our health," says Steven Horne, AHG, herbalist and natural health consultant in St. George, Utah.
Added to this chemical mix, indulgences in alcoholic drinks, cigarette smoke, caffeine and over-the-counter drugs can further challenge your body's cleansing systems.
Water, Water Everywhere and How Your Health Can Shrink
Substances in the beverages you consume every day may contribute to the collection of toxins in your body.
A growing water problem, for instance, flows from the medications excreted into sewer systems and groundwater.
These drugs have already affected the environment: Estrogen from contraceptives have contaminated lakes and rivers, and caused deformities in fish while impairing the fertility of water animals and the birds who feed upon them. A study released by scientists at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found that the fertility rate of adult male fish exposed to synthetic estrogen from contraceptive pills dropped by 50% (Envir Tox & Chem 6/03). Scientists believe these defective animals are like the proverbial canaries in coal mines, reflecting health problems that may also be harming human health in ways we don't yet understand.
And clean machines can cause unclean bodies: When scientists from Queen's University (Drug Metab Dispos 2003; 31:306) examined the seminal fluid of infertile men, they found extra amounts of the chemical trichloroethylene (TCE), a degreasing agent used in the automotive and metal industries. TCE is also found in adhesives, lubricants, paints, varnishes, paint strippers, pesticides, spot removers and rug cleaning fluids, and it has entered the drinking water in many places.
Detox for Metabolic Balance
"Detoxification is the missing link in Western nutrition and an important but unexplored medical therapy," says Elson M. Haas, MD, author of The Detox Diet (Celestial Arts). Dr. Haas believes that when the body accumulates wastes that are not properly eliminated, disease often results: "The key to maintaining metabolic balance is to maximize nutrition and eliminate toxins." Dr. Haas has seen improvement in cholesterol levels, blood pressure readings and pain levels after his patients have detoxed.
When your body accumulates toxins, cells can stagnate and suffocate. To offset these problems, the body uses its built-in system of detoxification to remove toxins and cellular waste products.
In protecting itself against toxins, the body can quickly eliminate water-soluble compounds before they cause harm, excreting them in the stool, sweat and urine. Fat-soluble compounds, which make up most of the chemical toxins we are exposed to every day, are not so easily dealt with. The body uses enzymes in the intestines and liver to chemically break down these toxins and convert them into a form that can be pushed out of the body.
Your body inherits its ability to cope with toxins. But you can help the body in its detox tasks by providing nutrients that aid cleansing.
Colorful Eating Boosts Detox
Many experts believe that alkaline foods (fruits and vegetables) help the body detoxify, while meats and acidic processed foods slow the process.
"The right balance of acid and alkaline foods for each of us is, of course, the key," notes Dr. Haas. Animal products, sugar, white flour, and alcoholic beverages are thought to leave acid residues in the body.
"Brightly colored foods contain powerful antioxidants that help the liver with the detoxification process," says Brenda Watson, CT, in her book Renew Your Life (Renew Life Press). "...[raw] fruits and vegetables...contain enzymes... [that are] destroyed by cooking."
These enzymes can help the body detoxify and eliminate undesirable substances. However, Watson cautions, "If the digestive system is weak...too much raw food [can] cause upset, so raw foods should be added to the diet at a pace the body can tolerate. Taking digestive plant enzymes with meals can also aid digestion."
While those foods in a normal diet can help control toxins, if you have moved toward "toxic overload," or if you want to eliminate candida-a yeast that can cause health problems-Watson recommends a detox diet:
Foods that are allowed include:
When preparing dishes in this diet, use plenty of garlic and green foods. "Other anti-candida agents which may be used liberally include ginger, cinnamon, thyme and rosemary."
According to Watson, following this diet is a first step toward detoxing. If you experience serious difficulties linked to environmental toxins, consult a health practitioner.
In a world filled with chemicals whose effects are unknown, attention must be paid to the toxins around us. As our machines grow more complex and widespread, our health difficulties linked to these mechanisms may also grow.
June 10, 2005 03:24 PM
by Henry Wolfe Energy Times, July 11, 2003
Nutrients do you no good if you don't absorb them. Eating the right stuff and taking the right nutrients can still be wrong if they never make it out of your digestive tract and into your bloodstream.
For instance, dietary supplements usually should be taken along with food. The presence of food in the digestive tract aids the absorption of nutrients. As a general rule, if you take dietary supplements on an empty stomach, most of their contents will probably pass through you and never escape your intestinal tract before they are eventually eliminated. This is particularly true for the fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, D and E. By consuming fatty foods when you take these supplements, you enable your body to absorb a large amount of these valuable substances.
But there is at least one exception to this rule: Amino acid supplements (protein building blocks) should usually be taken on an empty stomach. Otherwise the other amino acids present in your meal may interfere with your use of these nutrients and counteract the benefits of the supplements.
The Standardization of Herbs
Taking herbs presents different challenges than consuming dietary supplements. While the chemical structures of nutrients in supplements are usually precisely identified, the active ingredients in herbs is usually a mixture of chemicals. Often, too, researchers disagree on exactly which active ingredients in herbs produce the health benefits linked to these botanicals.
But in an effort to derive the most from these substances, many experts recommend what are called standardized forms.
Standardized herbal supplements are formulas that have been created to insure they contain consistent and reliable amounts of certain beneficial chemicals that scientists have identified in these plants.
In the creation of these supplements, experts determine the standardized chemicals that are most likely the basis of the herbs' effectiveness.
By standardizing certain of the supplements' ingredients, therefore, standardized herbs limit the variation among batches of the product. You can rely on the fact that every purchase will contain the same amount of ingredients taken from the original plant. According to Michael Janson, MD, author of Dr. Janson's New Vitamin Revolution (Penguin/Avery), "Although herbs have a long history of use for medicinal purposes, it is only recently that they have been analyzed to reveal their most active components. These active chemicals are commonly present in very variable amounts in herbs, depending on where and how they are grown, soil quality, when they are harvested, the amount of rain and sun, and other factors.
"Standardized herbs have guaranteed specific amounts of the known, active herbal components, as well as the other factors that might be of help but are not as well studied" (www.drjanson.com).
Herbalists who specialize in using entire plants in their practices can recommend non-standardized preparations that you can often use.
In general, that kind of herbal use is more effective when you secure expert advice. If you lack access to an experienced herbalist and you're choosing botanicals on your own, standardized preparations are easier to take.
Absorption From the Gut
Most of the nutrients you take in are absorbed through the walls of your digestive tract. This most often takes place in the small intestine.
What to watch out for: Fast food, fast living and long work hours afflicts our digestion and can disrupt proper absorption. You have to be relaxed to properly absorb the nutrients in your food and supplements.
Consequently, the occasions for meals should be relaxed and enjoyable moments. Set aside enough time to appreciate, taste and thoroughly chew your food. Adequate digestion and absorption begin in your mouth.
Another way to increase nutrient absorption is with the use of digestive enzymes. Since the digestive tract depends on the enzymatic breakdown of food that reduces nutrients to absorbable form, taking enzymes can help your intestines make better use of nutrients as they pass through the digestive tract. Normally, enzymes are present in raw food, like uncooked fruits and vegetables. Since most of our food is eaten after it is heated, a process that breaks down enzymes, not many enzymes are present in today's diet. Therefore, taking supplemental enzymes may increase absorption.
Beyond everyday stress, a variety of problems can make absorption go astray, allowing important nutrients to escape and permitting unwanted substances to enter the body. For instance, a significant digestive malfunction that many experts have focused on in recent years is a condition that has come to be called "leaky gut."
As Anil Minocha, MD, director of digestive diseases at the Mississippi Medical Center and author of Natural Stomach Care (Avery), points out, "In a healthy individual, the wall of the intestinal tract is designed to absorb food molecules and prevent harmful microorganisms and toxic materials from passing out through the bowel wall and into the bloodstream. "In today's heavily polluted environment, the gastrointestinal tract of even the healthiest individual is called on to process an overwhelmingly large flow of septic and infectious materials."
Because of these digestion destroyers, as we take in a startlingly large amount of viruses, bacteria, toxic chemicals, fungi and processed foods, our digestive systems are often overwhelmed and are rendered unable to perform their tasks correctly. This constant assault on the stomach and intestines takes a serious toll. A frequent product of this process is the digestive walls' loss of their crucial ability to keep out unwanted toxins and organisms as they become, in Dr. Minocha's words, "loosened and inflamed." As a result, instead of keeping out harmful substances and absorbing helpful nutrients, spaces open up that begin to allow in "bulky, partially digested food particles, toxic substances and infectious microbes."
According to Dr. Minocha, the first signs of this absorption problem can include complaints such as allergic reactions, skin problems, joint pain, digestive difficulties, nausea, fatigue and lack of energy.
To improve your digestive absorption, Dr. Minocha recommends a six-part program that includes these steps:
* Detoxification by means of fasting and avoiding harmful items like sugar, over-processed foods, coffee and alcohol
* Taking herbs that can help the digestive tract heal, recover and repair itself; these include garlic, ginger and milk thistle
* Replenishing the beneficial bacteria of the digestive tract by eating yogurt
* Keeping track of your daily diet and eliminating foods that cause allergies and other reactions
* Consuming more fruits and vegetables while eating a high-fiber, mostly vegetarian diet
* Developing consistent, healthy lifestyle habits; these include not smoking, cutting the size of your meals and eating in moderation, exercising several times a week and controlling stress
Young and Old Digestion
The nutrients in your diet can also beneficially influence the state of your digestive system and its ability to distinguish among substances that are supposed to gain entrance to your body and those that should be kept out. Since aging can further compromise the discriminatory ability of your gut, Dr. Minocha also recommends a steady diet of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables plus supplements to keep your digestive tract functioning at full capacity as you grow older.
Among the nutrients he recommends:
* Coenzyme Q10: By middle age, your body makes less of this powerful antioxidant that helps cells generate energy in the mitochondria (structures within cells that may decrease with age).
Dr. Minocha notes that research demonstrates CoQ10 may be able to help people with diabetes control harmful metabolic byproducts that appear in their bloodstreams.
* Natural Lycopene: This antioxidant, responsible for the red of both tomatoes and watermelon, has been shown to lower the risk of both heart disease and prostate cancer. As an antioxidant, natural lycopene also helps protect the digestive tract.
Absorption of the proper nutrients may be the key to health for many people. By paying closer attention to the well-being of your digestive tract and practicing lifestyle habits that promote maximum absorption, you may be able to substantially improve your nutrition and your health.
Basics of the Immune System
June 10, 2005 03:01 PM
Basics of the Immune System
by Leonid G. Ber, MD Energy Times, September 1, 1998
In a world filled with pathogens and microbes, good health and resistance to disease is no accident. It requires a vigorous and vigilant immune system. The immune system should be viewed as an internal security force that is constantly checking the identity of everything entering and already existing in the body. A cell or substance may be recognized as "non-self" and a potential enemy if it does not have the right molecular make-up. A cell displaying molecules produced according to a different blueprint than the body's own code may be recognized as foreign. To eliminate alien material that may harm the body, the immune system must take swift action.
Recognizing entities that originate outside the self forms the key to overall immune system response. This key is carried in the body by cells called macrophages (ma-kro-fajs), a name derived from a Greek term meaning "big eater." Macrophages eat or engulf foreign cells and molecules. When a macrophage encounters something that it distinguishes as being "non-self" or abnormal, it can attack the enemy with a series of assault weapons, including free-radicals (reactive substances) and enzymes, that dissolve and weaken the intruder. In fact, an enzyme produced by macrophages called lysozyme is recognized as one of nature's most powerful anti-infective agents. These chemical defenses, along with engulfment and complete digestion by macrophages, can effectively stymie invasion by disease-causing pathogens.
Harmful invasion can originate in the body's own cells as well as begin from outside sources. While we are constantly exposed to bacteria, viruses, fungal cells and parasites, destructive cancerous growths often start within the body.
Every day, thousands of the body's cells mutate into possible cancers. Under most circumstances, the immune system keeps these cells under control. But when the immune "security" system slips up, these harmful growths multiply unrecognized.
The initial immune response that recognizes invaders is called a "non-specific defense mechanism" since this immune response is generally the same toward all invaders. This counter-attack entails battling every invader pretty much identically: a macrophage can engage, dissolve, weaken, engulf, digest, eliminate. However, if, despite the initial immune efforts, the problem persists, a macrophage can tag an invader and "introduce" it to the rest of the immune system, thus recruiting more specialized types of immune cells to enter the battle. This tagging function endows macrophages with the name "antigen-presenting cells." (Antigens are substances that can provoke specific responses by the immune system.)
Most antigens are proteins. Proteins are relatively large molecules made of smaller units called amino acids. The specific geometric organization of amino acids is what conveys uniqueness to each protein. (Your genetic code forms a blueprint for the production of your own, individual proteins.) Protein molecules produced by one human being can act as an antigen for another human being. That's why organs transplanted from one person to another can be rejected by the immune system. Unless organs are transplanted from one identical twin to another (who share the genetic blueprint for protein creation), doctors must use immune-suppressing drugs to curtail organ rejection. At the same time as these medicines prevent transplant rejection, they also make people more susceptible to infectious diseases and cancer.
After one set of immune cells chemically tags antigens (invaders) for recognition, other highly specialized parts of the immune system go into action: Cells called T cells or T lymphocytes acknowledge the invaders and can take the further action (second line of defense) that is necessary to render them harmless.
T cells get their name from the thymus (an organ located behind the sternum) where they originate. The thymus, most active when we're young, usually shrinks and apparently slows or shuts down its activity about the age of forty.
A wide variety of T cells inhabit lymph nodes (soft, usually round, pea- or nut-sized organs) and other body areas. For instance, natural killer cells, as their name implies, are a particularly aggressive type of T cell. Another type of T cell is called T helper (a cell that supports development of immune response). T suppressors halt immune response when infection ends.
In order to make all these different cells work in concert, cytokines or messenger molecules are produced that facilitate constant communications between all the parts of the immune system.
The B Team
Other organs of the immune system include:
*bone marrow: a powerful cell producing organ where the majority of immune cells are born;
*spleen: an abdominal organ that forms a reservoir for the production of immune cells.
Lymph nodes oversee particular segments of the body where they collect and recycle tissue fluids. Like an early warning system, lymph nodes react when an invader is detected in the part of the body that it controls.
Yet another step in the so-called immune cascade entails action by lymphocytes, called B cells, which originate in the bone marrow. These cells produce antibodies which are immune proteins (immunglobulins) that attack specific antigens.
While traveling in the blood, an antibody can bind to an antigen, curtailing its harmful action. This bound up molecule forms a complex easily recognized by scavenging macrophages which make a quick meal out of the unlucky invader.
After enemy cells are removed from the body, knowledge of this victory resides in the immunological memory prolonging your resistance toward specific disease pathogens indefinitely. That's why someone who has recovered from a disease like the measles may be impervious to reinfection.
Rules for Optimum Immunity
Even though the immune system consists of a complex team of hard-working cells, enhancing your immunity is relatively easy:
Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Avoid continuous stress and negative emotions or cope with them through exercise or meditation. Consistent, moderate exercise can boost the immune system. Massage can also help although extreme care must be taken when inflammation or disease is already present.
Sleep 7-8 hours a day. Sleep allows the body to recover and rebuild. Protein synthesis, vital for a healthy immune system, increases during the night.
Stick to a healthy diet. Your immune system consists of trillions of cells. Consequently, nutrients important for cell health boost the immune system. A balanced low-calorie diet rich in complex carbohydrates, "good" fats (including fish oils, olive oil and flaxseed oil) along with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrient antioxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables can fortify immune cells. Plus, drinking plenty of water helps improve circulation of lymph fluid.
These recommendations are not hard to meet once they become a part of your daily routine. However, extra immune security may be necessary during flu season, while traveling long distances (airplanes are notorious sources of pathogens) or when working extensive hours in front of a computer screen. In addition, exposure to x-rays, immunosuppressive chemicals, ultraviolet radiation (the sun) or simply aging may give your immune cells extra burdens.
Your "specific" immune system does not respond immediately to the challenge of invasion by an infectious organism. Instead, it may require about 2 weeks for an effective reaction after antigen recognition and alerting T cells. During this period, the macrophages' non-specific defense assumes a crucial role in keeping infection in check.
Enhanced activity by macrophages is especially important for recognizing and destroying cancer cells. The most dangerous cancers are those that can mimic normal cells and avoid the immune system's wrath. Few substances can activate macrophage function in the body (aloe vera contains substances that contribute to this process). The most powerful macrophage activator recognized by the scientific community is a sugar-like substance called beta-1,3-D-glucan. Beta-glucan, extracted from the cell walls of common Baker's yeast, when taken in certain small amounts, can prevent infection by making macrophages more active in recognizing and attacking infectious bacteria, fungi and certain viruses.
This kind of activation can encourage macrophages to attack previously unrecognized tumor cells. As a result, tumors may be eradicated as the immune system mobilizes and produces what may be known as "spontaneous healing."
When a macrophage works overtime fighting disease, its demand for nutrients and energy increases dramatically. Vitamin C, known for its immune supporting function, seems to be especially important for maintaining fully active macrophages. Vitamin C collects in macrophages, often reaching forty times the concentration found in surrounding blood. What are conventionally considered normal amounts of vitamin C in the body may be insufficient to keep macrophages well supplied with this antioxidant. Therefore, extra amounts of vitamin C can keep the immune system in fighting trim.
Scientists are only now beginning to uncover the secrets of the highly organized immune system. One thing's certain: The immunity security team depends on proper lifestyle, nutrition and supplements to maintain the critical defenses necessary for good health.
Dr. Ber received his doctorate in internal medicine from the Yaroslavle, State Medical Institute in Yaroslavle, Russia.
May 31, 2005 04:27 PM
The human immune system is the extraordinary biochemical network responsible for keeping us well. As our molecular interface with the environment, it has evolved complex interactions with the plant world. Mushrooms, which form one of the most primitive plant groups, have been valued for decades by progressive medical practitioners as immunopotentiators. Only recently, however, has science identified and tested the specific mushroom nutrients that augment natural defenses. AHCC® (active hexose correlated compound) is a proprietary mushroom compound. It is wellresearched in Japan for its immune-supportive properties, in particular the ability to increase natural killer cell and macrophage activity. Hundreds of Japanese hospitals and clinics recommend AHCC as part of an immune maintenance regimen, and its potent effects are so highly regarded that sales exceed $200 million dollars per year.
AHCC ®: A Unique Compound
AHCC, or “active hexose correlated compound,” is a rich source of polysaccharides (beta glucan 1,3 and activated hemicellulose) and glycoproteins, plus amino acids and minerals. It is produced by enzymatic modification of several types of medicinal mushrooms, including shiitake. AHCC is derived from organically cultivated mushroom mycelia (the rich pre-mushroom stage, a network of fibrous filaments plus the medium it lives on and uses for fuel). The low molecular weight of AHCC makes it easier to absorb.
Natural Killer Cell and Macrophage Activity
Your trillions of cells are susceptible to damage by free radicals and toxins, so a healthy immune system uses its first line of defense—natural killer (NK) cells—to quickly identify and destroy threatening particles. The effectiveness of NK cells depends on their activity level, so boosting NK activity is a smart strategy for those committed to maintaining vibrant health and longevity. AHCC is a potent biological response modifier that may significantly increase activity of NK cells and macrophages, according to human and animal studies. Literally “large things that devour,” macrophages are white blood cells that engulf and aid in the removal of foreign particles.
Studies show AHCC also enhances production of cytokines, including interferons and interleukins. These intercellular chemical messengers trigger white blood cell production and activity. In one recent study, AHCC was shown to support normal basal levels of two cytokines, as well as NK activity. It is rare for a natural compound to have such a profound impact on strengthening the immune system.
Your liver is your body’s chemical manufacturing and detoxification factory. It must handle the full brunt of assault from environmental contaminants and pharmaceuticals. Stress further burdens this overworked organ. Human studies suggest AHCC supports healthy liver function.
Your Source for Scientifically Advanced Nutrition
Source Naturals AHCC is the original proprietary compound that is attracting worldwide attention. And with no adverse side effects reported in dozens of studies and abstracts, it is certainly a nutritional approach worth considering. At a time when our systems are challenged by an unprecedented array of toxins, research into the remarkable immune-supportive properties of the plant world is critical. Source Naturals is your connection to this research, dedicated to quickly bringing you the benefts of the latest emerging wellness strategies.
References Uno, K. et al. Biother 2000 14(3) 303-309. Matsiu, Y. et al. J Hepatol 37 (2002) 78-86.