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Amino acid arginine found to be crucial to mental health; lowlevels contribute to oxidative stress and inflammation
October 01, 2018 09:52 AM
Mental health problems aren't always easy to treat but now that researchers have found an amino acid called arginine may help. This amino acid reduces oxidative tress and inflammation which lowers the risk of developing mental illness such as anxiety and depression. Improving your diet and supplementing with a supplement containing amino acid arginine could be the key to finally beating these conditions and the decreased quality of life they often bring to the patients suffering.
"Still, the authors argue that more research should be conducted to truly determine the role of amino acids (particularly those that reduce inflammation) in mental health."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-09-16-amino-acid-arginine-found-to-be-crucial-to-mental-health.html
6 Benefits Of Taking A Shot Of Olive Oil In The Morning
June 02, 2017 09:14 AM
Olive Oil has a myriad of different uses, around the house and all over. But specifically, it does wonders for the body. In all areas of general health, olive oil can be used to decrease blood pressure, which is helpful for the older generations, it's compounds are also great for healthy skin and fighting inflammation, a known cause of cancer. Olive oil also keeps the gallbladder healthy, as well as keeping you feeling full, beating down hunger pangs.
"The high-grade extra virgin olive oil contains around 30 polyphenols that act as antioxidants and reduce inflammation in the body."
Read more: http://www.thealternativedaily.com/benefits-of-olive-oil-shot-in-the-morning/
Heart tissue grown on spinach leaves
March 23, 2017 10:44 AM
In this sequence, a spinach leaf is stripped of its plant cells, a process called decellularization, using a detergent. The process leaves behind the leaf's vasculature. Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) were able to culture beating human heart cells on such decelluralized leaves. Plants and animals exploit fundamentally different approaches to transporting fluids, chemicals and macromolecules, yet there are surprising similarities in their vascular network structures," the authors wrote. "The development of decellularized plants for scaffolding opens up the potential for a new branch of science that investigates the mimicry between plant and animal."
Read more: Heart tissue grown on spinach leaves
The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet
March 19, 2017 10:44 AM
Dr. Michael Mosley writes about an 8 week blood sugar diet that will help you lower your blood sugar the natural way. Almost every physician recommends diet and exercise as the first line of defense in beating diabetes. This book gives you a great program to get your blood sugar under control through diet and exercise so you can avoid the nasty side effects that come from the medications that are used to treat diabetes.
Read more: The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet
What are heart failure, heart attack and cardiac arrest?
February 14, 2017 10:59 AM
Though all types of heart trouble pose emergency threats to people's health, there are many differences between them in terms of both causes and symptoms. "Heart failure" refers to some loss of the heart's successful function as a pump; "congestive heart failure" applies more specifically to when blood flow has backed up, causing the swelling of veins. A "heart attack" occurs when blood flow to the heart is cut off - sometimes, this is caused by a spasm. But if the heart suddenly stops beating, that is a "cardiac arrest", and is a problem with the timed electrical signals that make the heart contract.
"Blockages causing heart attacks are mostly caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries."
A metabolic switch to turn off obesity
November 01, 2016 04:04 PM
Here’s some good news to cheer you up. If you’ve been fighting a losing battle trying to lose weight, maybe you should quit beating yourself up about it. A new University of Montreal study of mice says when an enzyme is blocked in some neurons in the mouse brain, it becomes impossible for the mice to lose weight even when they stick to an ideal regime. So now you can blame it all on the ABHD6 enzyme.
"A research team at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) has generated genetically engineered mice, deprived of the ABHD6 enzyme in a localized area of the brain, namely in a specific population of hypothalamic neurons."
How Can I Raise Blood Pressure Naturally?
October 18, 2011 05:25 PM
One of the leading causes linked to most illnesses in some form or the other is an imbalanced blood pressure. Statistics have shown that 1 out of 3 adults in the US have imbalanced blood pressure. So much of our bodily functions rely on normal blood pressure to work well. Let us put it this way, if your blood pressure is higher than it is supposed to be that means it is giving your body more workload than it is supposed to have, so in turn what will happened is, your body’s degeneration will be amplified. A lot of your systems will be overworked, your heart will be overworked and eventually depending on the cause your arteries will take a beating causing other organ failures in more severe cases. Now on the other hand if blood pressure is too low, you may feel fatigued all the time, light headedness, dizziness, nausea, close to fainting or anxiety and these are all things that we want to avoid.
This is the process in which the blood is carried from the heart towards other parts of your body. This is done through blood vessels called arteries and ultimately blood pressure is defined as the force of the blood in which it pushes the arterial walls. How much pressure is experienced is also directly proportional to how much the heart beats per minute in other words blood pressure is also directly proportional to the rate of your heart beat. The faster it beats the higher your blood pressure is. The blood pressure form of measurement is based on systolic over diastolic rates. Simply put the systolic rate is when the heart pumps blood and the diastolic is when the heart is at rest in between pumps or beats and that is why the diastolic is usually lower than the systolic rate. With that said by now you probably are able to make the conclusion that blood pressure will be at its highest when you are active, nervous, or excited and on the other hand it is at its lowest when you’re a sleep.
Why would you want to increase your blood pressure?
Most of us will probably think that, that idea is ludicrous since most of us would like to avoid high blood pressure and a lot of us are taking medications to support that effort and do things like exercising and all the other stuff to help fight against high blood pressure. However there is also a problem when blood pressure is too low as stated above and that is why some people need to increase blood pressure. There are a couple of ways to do it. First and foremost is for you to make sure you are hydrated well. High liquid volume in the body will promote higher blood pressure. Second is to lie down and elevate your feet. This will increase the return of blood to the heart therefore increasing blood pressure. Eat smaller meals so that the body will not divert so much blood to your digestive tract for digestion. Some studies also have shown that small amounts of caffeine daily may help increase low blood pressure.
You can also try herbs like bitter melon and yohimbe to elevate the heart rate. An elevated heart rate will effectively raise blood pressure. If you have low blood pressure or high, make sure you get tested every other day and record the results. Maintaining a BP level of 80/120 is optimal for good health.
May 17, 2008 10:07 AM
Discovered by Phoebus Levene in 1905, D-ribose is a monosaccharide, and is a component of RNA that is needed for genetic transcription. It is a stereoisomer of ribose, and although not regarded as an essential nutrient since it is synthesized in the body, it is essential for life. It also takes part in human metabolism, helping to generate energy from food, and is a component of all living cells – animal or vegetable. It is contained in ATP and NADH and we could not live without it.
Because it is contained in all living organisms, D-ribose is a common component of the human diet, and required as a supplement only for specific needs. It for this reason that the human species developed and survived: the chemicals needed for life are either commonly found in nature or are manufactured by the body itself from other raw materials which themselves are common in our diet. The other stereoisomer is L-ribose, and this plays no part in human metabolism.
Energy is needed not only to enable us to walk and to run, but also to drive every part of human physiological activity, and all of the physical and chemical processes of life. Because of its nature energy cannot travel round the body in our bloodstream as if were a chemical entity, but must be released or generated where and when it is needed. For that reason every cell in our body contains an area called the mitochondria in which energy is generated. The molecule of energy, if there is such a thing, is called ATP, or adenosine triphosphate.
ATP controls the production of energy everywhere in the body, and allows muscles to contract and relax. This muscular activity is responsible for all movement, including the circulation of our blood through heart contractions, the diaphragm movement that creates the vacuum that allows us to breathe, and the operation of the digestive system by means of the peristaltic motion of the esophagus and the intestines. Each of the two ways in which ATP is generated involves D-ribose.
One is by means of D-ribose being used to produce new ATP, and the other is the recycling of used ATP. In the latter, D-ribose and ATP react to form ADP (adenosine diphosphate and D-ribose-5-phosphate with the release of energy. This diphosphate then reacts again with the ADP to produce new ATP and D-ribose. The reaction is catalyzed by an enzyme known as a ribokinase, a phosphotransferase that specifically catalyzes reactions involving phosphorus groups with an alcohol receptor group.
The heart muscle is operated by means of the calcium pump that depends upon both calcium and ATP for its operation. When ADP and phosphate are created by the effect of calcium and ATP coming together, then energy is provided to the muscle fibers of the heart. ADP then reacts with the phosphate and D-ribose in the presence of magnesium to reform the ATP. ATP is therefore essential for the continuation of the pumping action of the heart that maintains life in all mammals.
D-ribose is also part of the base of RNA and DNA, without which there could be no life. Because the cardiac muscle is easily depleted of ATP, the presence of D-ribose is of extreme importance and it has been proved that cardiac failure begins with the reduction in energy levels of the heart muscle that can be brought about by a lack of ATP in the muscle cells.
An important property of D-ribose is that it is unchanged by the liver, which is the chemical plant of your body in which a large part of the biochemistry needed for life takes place. This means that D-ribose can be taken in the diet and pass through the liver virtually unchanged, and then be transported in the bloodstream to where it is needed for the maintenance of ATP levels. That is why D-ribose is frequently given to treat heart attacks: because it can rapidly replace lost ATP and enable the calcium pump to get to work and keep the heart beating at its normal strength. Maintenance levels of this important sugar would not go amiss.
However, there are other uses to which the body can put this marvelous substance. Among these is the body’s ability to form Coenzyme A from it. This coenzyme is needed in the body for the breakdown of fatty acids, and many other chemical reactions, and also provides the raw material for many other necessary substances in human biochemistry.
Patients with low energy levels can frequently fail to be able to recover from illness. This is because that when illness stresses your body, your mitochondria become overwhelmed with work and begin to fail to produce sufficient ATP to keep the body going. Naturally, as your energy level drops, and your body cells are unable to respond to this, then the condition you are suffering from gets worse, and become stronger leading ultimately to possible death. Your immune system is put under a great deal of stress that uses up what little ATP you have left.
That is why when people start to get really ill, they tend to fade very rapidly: not because of the spread of the disease, but through a reduction in the ATP needed to provide the energy required for the body to fight the disease. Without an adequate supply of energy, your body would rapidly fade.
By taking a D-ribose supplement that passes unchanged right into your bloodstream and taken to where it is needed most, you body can rapidly generate sufficient ATP to keep up the fight against the agent that is making you ill. Your immune system is given a massive energy boost, and more importantly, your heart is kept beating. D-ribose is the answer to the prayer of many sick people, and also to athletes and bodybuilders needing quick bursts of energy. But what did they use before D-ribose was discovered to have the properties that it has?
At one time, it was adenosine monophosphate (that’s right, not ATP or ADP, but AMP) that was administered intravenously to those suffering from chronic fatigue, this substance being synthesized to ATP in the body over a period of time. However, it take a lot of time to be effective, and the injections had to be made daily into the muscle tissue, so it fell out of favor.
Then came an ATP supplement that could be taken orally, but the side effects were unpleasant, and that too went out of favor. However, towards the end of the 1990’s D-ribose was found to overcome all of these disadvantages, and not only be able to be taken orally, but also to work almost immediately by providing the mitochondria with a direct source of the sugar they need to generate energy.
It is now one of the most popular energy providing supplements on the market, and also a remedy for chronic fatigue that helps the patient to overcome energy-sapping medical conditions both directly and by providing the immune system with the energy needed to keep it operating effectively against masses of invading bacteria and viruses. There is nothing better than D-ribose for providing you with the energy boost that you need, whenever you require it, either to provide energy for your sport or to help you overcome illness.
B Vitamin Supplements
May 07, 2008 03:18 PM
The fact that B vitamins have had to be coenzymated before they can be used by your body has been known for some time, but it is only over the past few years that they have been made commercially available in that form. Before we discuss the B vitamins in their coenzyme form it might be appropriate to discuss what coenzymes are and how they differ from ordinary enzymes.
An enzyme is like an organic catalyst: it takes part in biochemical reactions by allowing such reactions to take place, but itself remaining unchanged. All enzymes are proteins formed in your body from amino acids and other protein material. A coenzyme, on the other hand, is somewhat like an enzyme for the enzymes, in that it is needed for the enzyme to do its job. Without a coenzyme, many enzymes could not promote the biochemical reaction it is responsible for.
The B vitamins are all water soluble, which means that they are readily excreted and it is not impossible that if you take a B vitamin supplement, the whole lot will be immediately excreted in your urine if not used by your body. Whether they are or not it is a fact that your body can quickly become depleted of the B vitamin group, especially if you drink a lot. Alcoholics in particular are frequently vitamin B deficient. Although the liver can store unused vitamin B, they are only very small quantities and insufficient to prevent a deficiency.
A deficiency in the B vitamins can cause a wide range of unpleasant conditions that are rapidly remedied with supplements. Pellagra is due largely to a deficiency in Vitamin B3, and causes hair loss, horrible skin lesions and many other side effects that you don’t want to know about. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause loss of memory, and is common in alcoholics and some vegetarians (vitamin B12 is animal derived). Other symptoms of a general B vitamin deficiency include exhaustion, heart palpitations, fibrillation, anxiety, restlessness, attention deficit disorder and many, many more.
It is not pleasant so you make sure that take enough vitamin B in your diet: dietary sources are far superior to pills although supplements will help you get over the symptoms of the deficiency until your diet takes over. Supplementation is also a good way to maintain a regular supply of vitamin B complex irrespective of your diet. The effects of a deficiency are so bad that a regular supplement is well worth taking.
However, back to coenzymes and why they are needed for the metabolism of B vitamins in your body. Most B vitamins are, in fact, coenzymes themselves. Keep in mind that the definition of a vitamin is an organic substance that is essential for the normal health of your body. If you lack even one vitamin, your health with suffer and eventually you will be likely to die. That describes all of the B vitamins perfectly, and they also just happen to be coenzymes. This is not coincidence, of course, and their biochemistry must have been recognized before the concept of coenzymes was formulated.
The B vitamins proper consist of eight distinct proteins: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), B12 (cyanocobalamin), and biotin and pantothenic acid. They are all essential components in human and animal metabolism, and most are also coenzymes.
Every cell in your body depends on B vitamins for its existence, which is why pregnant women should include a good supply of them in their diet, especially folic acid (B9). They are essential for the cellular development of the fetus. Folic acid is necessary for the synthesis of nucleic acids that allow cell growth and the production of red blood cells. However, not one can be placed in importance above any other since they are all essential.
With respect to the coenzyme factor, the vitamin B coenzymes are responsible for many of the biochemical reactions upon which life depends. Coenzyme B-12 for example is essential for two types of reaction that it catalyzes, one being a hydrogen atom exchange with alcohol and amine functional groups, the other being connected with methyl group transfer between molecules.
In humans, the first of these is responsible for an essential step that results in energy being metabolized from fats and proteins in the mitochondria and the second for DNA production in cells that is indirectly responsible for growth. Each of these is why a vitamin B-12 deficiency leads to excessive fatigue and also a lack of fetal growth (although folic acid can make up for the latter deficiency).
Thiamine (Vitamin B1) is a coenzyme for the metabolism of carbohydrates to energy. In the body it is present in the form of thiamine diphosphate, a coenzyme that assists in the decarboxylation of pyruvate as part of the citric acid cycle, otherwise known as the Krebs Cycle, that takes place in the mitochondria and is responsible for the generation of energy through aerobic respiration.
Another coenzyme that is involved in the Krebs Cycle is formed in the body from Vitamin B3, or niacin. This coenzyme, nicotinamine adenine dinucleotide, has a redox potential and can store energy for use later on. Vitamin B5 can be converted in the body to Coenzyme A that not only breaks proteins down into individual amino acids, but also takes part in the first part of the Krebs Cycle. There is a common pattern emerging here where the B vitamins have an important part to play in the generation of energy from fats and carbohydrates.
Similarly, Vitamin B6 is present in the body as the coenzyme Pyridoxal 5'-phosphate that helps to break down the body’s emergency energy store, glycogen, into energy when needed.
In these ways, and more, the coenzymes created in the body from the B vitamins help many of the reactions of life to take place, and without these coenzymes life could not exist. Hence the importance of the B vitamins themselves, and any deficiency could be disastrous to the metabolic processes that generate energy and keep you alive. It is not just the energy needed for exercise and normal human activity that will be compromised, but also that which keeps the heart beating and your diaphragm moving to allow you to breath.
Without a doubt, a Vitamin B supplement is one of the most valuable of all the vitamin supplements, and they are available in many forms. You might also find some of the B vitamins in their coenzyme form, though some of them may be unstable. However, whatever form they are taken in, Vitamin B complex should be one of the first on your vitamin supplement shopping list.
CoQ10 for Heart Health
March 28, 2007 12:39 PM
CoQ10 for Heart Health
More than 40% of all deaths in the
One of the most – if not the most – important things people can do to improve their overall health and life expectancy is to improve their heart health. Diet, exercise, and the wise use of dietary supplements can improve heart health dramatically. One dietary supplement that’s extremely beneficial to heart health is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).
Q. What is CoQ10?
A. CoQ10 is a natural, fat-soluble nutrient present in virtually all cells. CoQ10 also is known as ubiquinone. That’s because CoQ10 is ubiquitous and exists everywhere there is life. CoQ10 is vital to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. ATP is the energy-rich compound used for all energy-requiring processes in the body. Although COQ10 is produced by the body and exists in some dietary sources, these levels may be insufficient to meet the body’s requirements. CoQ10 levels diminish with age and as a result of dietary inadequacies and various disease states. Also, some drugs, especially a group of cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs known as “statin,” (Pravachol, Zocor, Lipitor, etc.) significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body.
Q. For what health conditions is CoQ10 used?
A. CoQ10 is beneficial in treating and preventing CVD and conditions such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), angina, and congestive heart failure (CHF). It’s been shown that heart attacks tend to occur when CoQ10 levels are low in the body. In addition, CoQ10 is beneficial for diabetes, immune dysfunction, cancer, periodontal disease, prostate cancer, and neurological disease.
Q. Why is CoQ10 especially important to heart health?
A. The heart is one of the most metabolically active tissues in the body. In the average person, the heart propels 2,000 gallons of blood through 65,000 miles of blood vessls by beating 100,000 times each day. Thus, it requires large amounts of uninterrupted energy. Heart cells have a greater number of mitochondria, and subsequently, more CoQ10 than any other type of cell. Each heart cell can have thousands of mitochondria to meet these energy demands.
Mitochondria are highly specialized structures within each cell and are often referred to as cell powerhouses. These tiny energy-produces produce 95% of the energy the body requires. The number of mitochondria in a cell depends on its function and energy needs. A cell’s ATP production is dependent on adequate amounts of CoQ10.
Heart disease patients are commonly CoQ10 deficient. Correcting such deficiencies often can produce amazing results. The presence of supplemental CoQ10 is a key to the heart’s optimum performance.
In people who have had a heart attack (myocardial infarction), CoQ10 assists in repairing the heart muscle and restoring heart function. This is due to increased ATP production.
Q. What studies support this fact?
A. A 1998 study found CoQ10 can provide rapid protective effects in patients with a heart attack if administered within three days of the onset of symptoms. The study focused on patients admitted to the hospital with an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) diagnosis. Seventy-three patients received CoQ10 (120 mg/d). The study’s control group consisted of 71 similarly matched patients with acute AMI. After treatment, angina pectoris (severe chest pain signifying interrupted blood flow to the heart), total arrhythmias (dangerously irregular heartbeats), and poor function in the left ventricle (the essential chamber of the heart) were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared to the placebo group. Total deaths due to sudden cardiac failure and nonfatal heart attacks also were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared with the placebo group.
In another study, CoQ10 was studied in 109 patients with high blood pressure (hypertension). The patients were given varying doses of supplemental CoQ10 with the goal of attaining a certain blood level (greater than 2.0 mcg/l). Most patients were on medications to treat hypertension. Half the patients were able to stop taking one to three antihypertensive drugs at an average of 4.4 months after starting CoQ10. Only 3% of patients required the addition of one antihypertensive drug. The 9.4% of patients who have echo cardiograms, performed both before and during treatment, experienced a highly significant improvement in heart wall thickness and function. This improvement was directly attributed to CoQ10 supplementation.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a debilitating disease that affects 5 million people in the
Q. I’ve heard that CoQ10 can also help people who have neurological diseases. Is this true?
A. Yes, it is. CoQ10 has been studied for its ability to improve the health of individuals with amotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. A recently completed study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health showed that CoQ10 caused a slowing of the progression of Huntington’s disease, a devastating and degenerative disease that is always fatal. In fact, no other medication, drug, or nutritional supplemental has ever been shown to cause a decline in the progression of this terrible disease.
The study compared CoQ10 against remacemide (an investigational HD drug made by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals), in 347 HD patients who were in the early stages of the disease. Remacemide blocks glutamate, the neurotransmitter scientists think may cause the death of brain cells that occurs in Huntington’s disease. While remacemide had no effect on the progression of HD, CoQ10 showed a trend toward slowing the disease by an average of 15%. This meant the HD group taking CoQ10 was able to handle every day activities of life a little longer than the patients taking remacemide or a placebo. They also were able to focus their attention better, were less depressed, and less irritable. The 15% slowing of decline means that CoQ10 can result in about one more year of independence for HD patients. Needless to say, the gift of an additional year of health in the lives of HD patients is incredibly significant.
Because of these impressive results with HD, researchers are hopeful that the studies of CoQ10 in those with ALS and Parkinson’s disease will similarly have a positive effect on the symptoms and/or progression of these neurological disorders, too.
Q. Why is it crucial for a CoQ10 supplement to cross the blood-brain barrier?
A. The brains’ blood vessels are composed of cells with extremely tight junctions. These junctions form the blood-brain barrier, which restricts what can pass from the bloodstream into the brain. While this barrier protects the brain, it can be a significant obstacle to central nervous system therapy. To leave the bloodstream and reach the brain cells, a substance must pass through the tightly connected cells of the capillary walls. Only substances with unique solubilities or those with a transport system can cross the blood-brain barrier to a significant degree. As a result, crossing the blood-brain barrier presents a significant challenge to supporting neurological health.
While most CoQ10 supplements enter the bloodstream and increase blood serum levels, only special forms of CoQ10 have been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier. For CoQ10 to enter the mitochondria within the brain, CoQ10 must first cross the blood-brain barrier to produce significant neurosupportive clinical results.
Q. How can one supplement have applications for neurological diseases, heart health, and even the immune system?
A. Supplements often have more than one function, especially when it’s a substance like CoQ10, which is present in all parts of the body. All nucleated cells (most cells other than red blood cells) have mitochondria and all cells require energy to function. CoQ10 is vital to ATP production. Thus, CoQ10 has applications not only in neurological (neurons or nervous system cells) and cardiac health (myocardium or heart tissue), but also for the immune system.
Q. Are all CoQ10 supplements created equal? Doesn’t CoQ10 just have to get into the bloodstream to be effective?
A. There are some important distinctions among CoQ10 products, as they vary greatly in quality and absorbability. It’s crucial to find a CoQ10 product that’s:
1. Scientifically shown to absorb through the digestive tract, cross cellular membranes, and increase mitochondrial levels of CoQ10. Chewable forms of CoQ10 provide rapid bioavailability and absorption. Serum level determination of CoQ10 in the bloodstream is not necessarily the most important measure of efficacy. For a CoQ10 supplement to be fully effective, it must cross the cellular barrier and raise intracellular CoQ10 levels. A key indicator of effective CoQ10 supplementation is its presence in cell mitochondria.
2. The natural form of CoQ10. The natural process uses living organisms. CoQ10 also can be synthesized by a chemical process, which produces a distinctly different product that contains chemical compounds not found in the natural form.
3. Formulated with ingredients that provide the transport system CoQ10 needs to cross cellular membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Not all forms of CoQ10 have been scientifically proven to cross cell membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Some prestigious groups that have investigated this issue include researchers at
4. Studied by respected organizations, with research published in peer-reviewed journals by reputable scientists.
Q. How much CoQ10 should I take?
A. Take 100 to 200 mg of CoQ10 daily, depending on your family history of heart disease and personal heart disease experience.
CoQ10’s safety has been evaluated. Dosages in studies have ranged from 100 mg to 1,200 mg per day. To date, no toxicities have been reported. Occasional mild stomach upset may occur. Taking CoQ10 with meals usually alleviates this rare effect.
Q. What are some other heart-friendly supplements?
A. CoQ10 is an excellent supplement for overall cardiovascular health, as in L-carnitine. L-carnitine is the naturally occurring form of carnitine that’s found in food and synthesized in the body. Much of the body’s L-carnitine is found in the heart and skeletal muscle, tissues that rely on fatty acid oxidation for most of their energy. Nearly 70% of the energy needed for heart function is derived from fatty acid breakdown. Proper L-carnitine supplementation transports fatty acids into cell mitochondria, where it’s burned for energy. L-carnitine is an excellent addition to CoQ10, especially for people with heart disease, and has been shown to improve many symptoms associated with CVD. In one study, people who had experienced one heart attack received either L-carnitine or placebo. The L-carnitine group had a statistically significant reduction in second heart attacks, and improved overall survival.
Q. What supplements support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol?
A. In addition to maintaining overall cardiovascular health, it’s also important to address your essential fats/lipids levels and healthy circulation/blood pressure. Fish oil supplements can significantly reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and homocysteine levels. Choose a supplement that’s a rich source of EPA and DHA, omega-3 fatty acids naturally obtainable in fish oil. Find a product that’s been clinically studied and purified to ensure it contains the beneficial active constituents of the whole oil, while removing any dioxins, DDT, PCBs, or heavy metals, toxins present in some commercial fish oil preparations. An enteric-coated garlic product that provides a minimum of 5,000 mcg of beneficial allicin supports healthy blood pressure and circulation. And magnesium, niacin, vitamin E, folic acid, hawthorn extract, and L-cysteine provide overall nutritional support to the heart and vascular system.
CoQ10 is not the only answer to the complex issues of heart disease, neurological disease, or immune dysfunction; however, research indicates that it’s a bigger piece of the puzzle than physicians and scientists ever imagined. The more we study this naturally occurring compound, the more benefits we find.
The key to this supplement is the manufacturing quality. For safety and overall effectiveness, use a CoQ10 product that’s supported by product-specific research from reputable institutions. Choose tested products from a well-respected company to increase your potential to achieve and maintain heart and blood vessel health.
Supplementation with clinically studied products can have a major impact on your heart’s health and strength. However, no supplement replaces the need to eat a healthful diet low in refined foods (especially sugar), and saturated fats, and to exercise your most important muscle – your heart – on a regular basis.
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
March 28, 2007 10:29 AM
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) affects about 65 million Americans, or about 1 in 3 adults. There are many potential causes of hypertension, but not necessarily any symptoms. In fact, 30% of the people who have high blood pressure don’t even realize it.
In other words, just because you don’t have symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have high blood pressure. That’s why it’s called “The Silent Killer.” And, make no mistake about it: high blood pressure is dangerous. It is the number one modifiable cause of stroke. Just lowering blood pressure reduces the chance of stroke by 35 to 40 percent. Other conditions, including heart attack and heart failure can be reduced from 25 to 50 percent, respectively.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we’re going to talk about high blood pressure and an exciting natural treatment for lowering blood pressure safely and effectively.
Of course, changing blood pressure numbers depends, in a large part, on the choices we make every day – how much we exercise, the foods we eat, and our lifestyle overall. But, for those times we need extra help, there is a new, scientifically-studied supplement to help us along our path to better health and lower blood pressure.
Blood pressure guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Q. What exactly is blood pressure?
A. Blood pressure is divided into two parts, systolic and diastolic. Systolic is the pressure of the heart beating. Diastolic is the pressure of the heart and vessels filling. When blood pressure numbers are written out, like “120/80,” 120 is the systolic pressure and 80 is the diastolic pressure. The unit of measurement for blood pressure is millimeters of mercury, written as “mm/Hg.”
Q. What is considered high blood pressure?
A. A person’s blood pressure can naturally vary throughout the day – even between heartbeats.
However, if the numbers are consistently high (over 120 systolic and 80 diastolic), after multiple visits to your healthcare practitioner, you may have either pre-hypertension or high blood pressure.
Young arteries and arteries that are kept young through healthy diet and exercise are typically more elastic and unclogged. Blood flows through them easily and without much effort. However, as we age, our arteries become more prone to plaque buildup (due to diets high in saturated fat and sedentary lifestyles) and don’t “flex” as well under pressure. The result is faster blood flow, all the time. Over the long term, it damages heart tissue, arteries, kidney and other major organs.
To get a better idea of high blood pressure, compare your arteries to a garden hose. When unblocked, a garden hose allows water to flow through it quickly and easily – without any real rush or stress. However, if you block the end of the hose with your thumb, closing it off even a little, water rushes out much more quickly.
For many years, high diastolic pressure was considered even more of a threat than high systolic pressure. That thinking has changed somewhat but high diastolic numbers could still mean organ damage in your body – especially for individuals under 50.
Q. What courses high blood pressure?
A. The reasons for hypertension aren’t always clear. However, there are lifestyle factors that contribute to high blood pressure that you can change:
Body type: Weight isn’t always a reliable indicator of whether or not you’ll have high blood pressure – but the type of weight is. Lean body mass – muscle – doesn’t increase blood pressure levels the way that fat can. However, fat body mass, especially fat around your middle, can contribute to high blood pressure.
Sedentary lifestyle: Too often, many of us sit down all day at work, and then sit down all night at home. Over time, this inactivity usually leads to weight gain, making the heart work harder to pump blood through the body. In a way, it almost seems contradictory, but inactivity usually leads to higher heart rates.
Sodium intake: Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much salt there is in processed foods. However, salt intake in itself is not necessarily bad. For people with a history of congestive heart failure, ischemia, and high blood pressure, sodium is definitely out. For those individuals, it leads to more water retention, which increases blood pressure. (Salt’s effect on water retention is one reason that so many sports drinks have fairly high sodium content – the sodium in the drink prevents your body from sweating out too much water.) But, for healthy individuals, moderate salt intake, especially a mixed mineral salt like sea salt or Celtic salt (good salt should never be white) is fine.
Low potassium intake: Unlike sodium, potassium is a mineral which most Americans get too little of. Potassium helps regulate the amount of sodium in our cells, expelling excess amounts through the kidneys. Low levels of this mineral can allow too much sodium to build up in the body.
Heavy alcohol intake: Having three or more alcoholic drinks a day (two or more for women) nearly doubles an individual’s chance of developing high blood pressure. Over time, heavy drinking puts a lot of stress on the organs, including the heart, liver, pancreas and brain.
Unhealthy eating: Eating a lot of processed or fatty foods contributes to high blood pressure. Adapting a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, fish, nuts and magnesium and potassium (like the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, known as the “DASH” diet) can bring it back down.
Smoking: If you smoke, stop. Smoking damages the heart and arteries – period. Nicotine constricts blood vessels, increases heart rate, and raises blood pressure. This in turn, increases hormone production and adrenaline levels, further stressing the body.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces the oxygen in the blood, making the heart work even harder to make up the difference. Since the effect of a single cigarette can last for an hour, smoking throughout the day leads to continuously revved-up blood pressure.
Some of these factors might sound like a lot to overcome. The important thing to remember is that all of these behaviors are changeable. If you have high blood pressure, modifying any of these can significantly lower blood pressure as part of an overall plan.
Q. What are the blood pressure numbers I should see?
A. Experts consider healthy blood pressure numbers to be 115/75 mm/Hg. The reason? They found that the risk of cardiovascular disease doubles at each increment of 20/10 mmHg over 115/75 mm/Hg. Even small jumps in blood pressure numbers increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Q. Okay, so other than diet, exercise and lifestyle changes are there other natural ways or supplements I can use to lower my blood pressure?
A. Yes, in fact, you hear about some of them in the news all the time – fish oil, CoQ10, and garlic. As effective as these symptoms are, they typically lower systolic pressure much more than diastolic pressure.
However, there is a blend of scientifically and clinically studied natural ingredients that lower high blood pressure separately, and work even better when they’re combined. This combination blend contains: dandelion leaf extract, lycopene, stevia extract, olive leaf extract and hawthorn extract.
Every one of these ingredients has been studied and recommended for years. But now, a scientific study on a supplement that combines them in one synergistic formula shows encouraging results for lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Let’s take a look at each:
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) originated in
The leaf of stevia is considered the medicinal part of the plant. Research shows that extracts of the leaf relax arteries and help prevent the buildup of calcium on artery walls – keeping them healthy and reducing blood pressure.
In a long-term, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. On average, participants’ blood pressure reduced from baseline 150 mm/Hg to 140 mm/Hg systolic and 95 mm/Hg to 89 mm/Hg diastolic.
And, in another double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia lowered blood pressure quite significantly – by an average of 14 millimeters of mercury in both systolic and diastolic readings. Those are impressive numbers!
Despite its role as a sweetener, stevia may have a side benefit to for those with hypertension – blood sugar regulation. Scientific studies show that extracts of stevia regulated blood sugar and reduced blood pressure.
A clinical study showed that stevia extract actually improved glucose tolerance by decreasing plasma glucose levels during the test and after overnight fasting in all participants. Regulating blood sugar is very important for those with high blood pressure. When blood sugar levels are high, blood vessels are inflamed. Many people with diabetes have high blood pressure as well. In a paired, cross-over clinical study, stevioside (one of the compounds in stevia) reduced glucose levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. It shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. Its shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes as well as hypertension.
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp. Oxycantha) has been used since ancient ties as a medicinal herb – even being mentioned by the Greek herbalist Dioscorides, in the first century AD. Traditionally, it has generally been used for support of the heart. Modern research points to bioflavonoid-like complexes in hawthorn leaf and flower that seem to be most responsible for its benefits on cardiac health, like blood vessel elasticity.
The bioflavonoids found in hawthorn include oligomeric procyanidins, vitexin, quercetin, and hyperoside. They have numerous benefits on the cardiovascular system. Hawthorn can improve coronary artery blood flow and the contractions of the heart muscle. Scientific studies show that the procyanidins in hawthorn are responsible for its ability to make the aorta and other blood vessels more flexible and relaxed, so that blood pumps more slowly and with less effort – sparing the cardiovascular system such a hard workout.
The procyanidins in hawthorn also have antioxidant properties – protecting against free radical cellular damage.
And, hawthorn may also inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme. Angiotensin-converting enzyme is responsible for retaining sodium and water, and may have roots in our evolutionary development. It influences blood vessel contraction and dilation, sodium and water balance and heart cell development – just about everything that has to do with blood pressure. This may have developed as a way of dealing with periods of drought and stress. By narrowing the blood vessels, the body could guarantee an adequate supply of blood and focus on repairing tissue.
Unfortunately, that can lead to real problems these days. Since many of us live in an industrialized society, and frequently have pretty sedentary lifestyles, conserving sodium just makes the conditions for high blood pressure that much worse.
Like the other ingredients in this combination, hawthorn showed benefits on other body systems, too. In clinical and scientific studies, it not only lowered blood pressure, but also showed anti-anxiety properties and regulated blood sugar.
Olive leaf extract:
Olive leaf (Olea europaea) comes up again and again in scientific and clinical studies as having beneficial effects on hypertension. One of olive leaf’s most beneficial compounds is oleuropein – the same compound that makes olive oil so helpful in reducing blood pressure. Here again, we have to look at the traditional Mediterranean diet, which features voluminous use of olives and olive oil. Not surprisingly, blood pressure is generally much lower in Greek and Italian populations.
But it’s not just the diet – scientific studies showed that oleuropein lowered blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels and prevented buildup of plaque in arteries. Plus, whether in olive leaf extract or in olive oil, oleuropein works as an antioxidant, too.
Dandelion leaf extract:
Dandelion (Taraxacum offinale) leaves provide a healthy supply of vitamins, much like spinach. In fact, although it has become the bane of North American gardeners and lawn owners, dandelion greens are a component of many gourmet salads.
Medicinally, dandelion has been used for centuries, dating back to ancient
They are a very rich source of vitamin A, and contain vitamin D, vitamin C, carious B vitamins, iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc and manganese, too. Dandelion leaves produce a diuretic effect in the body, similar to a prescription drug. Since one of dandelion leaf’s traditional uses was the treatment of water retention, it’s really not too surprising. Dandelion leaf is also rich in potassium – one of the vital minerals many Americans lack in their diet. So, even though it may act as a diuretic, it replaces more potassium than the body expels.
The diuretic effect of dandelion can relieve hypertension by drawing excess water and sodium from the body and releasing it through the kidneys as urine. Getting rid of extra water and sodium allows the blood vessels to relax – lowering blood pressure.
If a nutrient can be called exciting, lycopene is it. Lycopene is found mostly in tomatoes and processed tomato products, like pasta and pizza sauce. Related to beta-carotene lycopene shows great antioxidant abilities among its many talents. In fact, it shows even greater free-radical scavenging properties than beta-carotene, its more famous cousin. Healthy intakes of lycopene can guard against a variety of chronic conditions, including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, lowering homocysteine levels and reducing blood platelet stickiness that can lead to clogged arteries. It’s even being studied for its protective effect against prostate cancer.
And, for proof, you don’t have to look too far to see the amazing effect lycopene intake can have on health. The Mediterranean diet provides an excellent example. Its high intakes of vegetables, (tomatoes, of course, playing a central role) fish, and whole grains improve cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. The research on lycopene as a stand-alone nutrient has been compelling. A randomized clinical trial found that not having enough lycopene was associated with early thickening of the arteries.
So, it makes sense that other clinical trials, showed that higher intakes of lycopene frequently meant less thickening of arteries, and a reduced risk of heart attack. In one study, the risk of heart attack was 60% lower in individuals with the highest levels of lycopene. In a multicenter study, similar results were found – men with the highest levels of lycopene had a 48% lower risk of heart attack.
Q. What can I expect taking this herbal combination?
A. You should notice both systolic and diastolic numbers lowering in about two weeks. The scientific study showed that for pre-hypertensive and stage I, (early hypertensive individuals) this combination for ingredients lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
When you’re taking herbs to support your blood pressure, it’s important to keep it monitored so you have an accurate reading (and record) of your numbers. If you need to, you can pick up a home blood pressure monitoring device. These can retail for anywhere from $30 all the way up to $200, but buying one in the $30 to $50 range is a good idea and money well spent. Consider taking the machine to your local doctor’s office or fire department to have it tested for accuracy against a professional blood pressure monitor. See the chart below for tips on getting an accurate reading from a home monitor.
Tips for Accurate Blood Pressure Monitoring:
-Relax for about 5 to 10 minutes before measurement.
-If you have just come inside from cold outdoors allow yourself to warm up.
-Remove tight-fitting clothing and jewelry.
-Unless your physician recommends otherwise, use left arm to measure pressure.
-Sit, don’t stand.
-Remain still and do not talk while using the monitor.
Q. Are there any side effects?
A. There were no side effects noted in the study. However, because of the mild diuretic effect of dandelion leaf extract, you may notice an increase in trips to the bathroom. It’s always important to make sure you don’t get dehydrated, so you may want to drink more water during the day.
High blood pressure doesn’t happen overnight. As we get older, the likelihood of developing hypertension increases. And, stressful, fast-forward lifestyles, bad diets and no exercise conspire to raise our blood pressure.
In my own practice I have helped patients move toward a healthier lifestyle, including diet, exercise, and blood-pressure reducing supplements. They live better, more vibrant lives as a result, and their blood pressure normalizes. It really can happen – you can bring your blood pressure back to normal, and this combination of scientifically and clinically validated ingredients can help.
Controlling Diabetes with Nutritional Supplements
December 15, 2006 04:07 PM
Controlling Diabetes with Nutritional Supplements
Perhaps no other disease is as closely linked to nutrition as diabetes. Not only doe nutrition play a role in its development, nutrition is also one of the disease’s most powerful treatments.
Because of this strong and critical connection to nutrition, researchers have carefully studied the use of nutritional supplements in the treatment of the disease. They found that many vitamins, such as vitamin C and the B vitamins, minerals such as chromium, as well as herbs like Gymnema sylvestre, can safely, effectively, and naturally lower blood sugars and help prevent diabetic complications.
What is even more important, however, is that these vitamins, minerals, and herbs can be combined together in a scientifically validated diabetic formula to work synergistically. That means their combined effectiveness is even more powerful. Like a group of good friends, these vitamins, minerals, and herbs do their best work when they are all together.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will talk about powerful vitamins, minerals, and herbs combined in a scientifically validated formula that people with diabetes can use every day.
But before we get into the specific formula, we need to first talk about diabetes.
Q. What exactly is diabetes?
A. When we eat, the process of digestion breaks down our food into nutrients. Most of the food we eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose). The sugar enters the bloodstream for delivery throughout the body and is then called blood sugar.
Insulin, a hormone that helps metabolize blood sugar, is made in the pancreas-a long, skinny gland located behind the stomach. Insulin takes blood sugar from the bloodstream and delivers it into the cells that make up the various organs in our body, such as our heart, lungs, and kidneys. The sugar provides energy to the cells to keep our hearts beating, our lungs breathing, and our kidneys excreting.
Type 1 diabetes, sometimes called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, most often starts in childhood. In this type of diabetes, the pancreas no longer makes insulin. The sugar stays in the blood instead of going into the cells where it is needed. Because of this, all people with Type 1 diabetes have to take at least one shot of insulin every day just to stay alive.
Type 2 diabetes most often starts in adults and is also the most common kind. About 90 to 95 percent of all people with diabetes have Type 2. In Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas is usually producing enough insulin. However, the body does not use it effectively. The condition known as “insulin resistance” occurs when the cells do not respond to (resist) insulin’s attempt to enter with glucose. The pancreas responds by producing more and more insulin. When the cells do not respond, high levels of glucose build up in the blood, leading to Type 2 diabetes. Almost everyone with Type 2 diabetes also is insulin resistant. Because the insulin is left unused, the pancreas thinks it isn’t needed and may eventually stop making it. People with Type 2 diabetes often need to take prescription drugs to lower blood sugar levels if dietary and lifestyle changes are not enough to control the problem.
In both types of diabetes, the sugar stays in the bloodstream instead of going into the cells where it is needed and belongs. When blood sugar builds up in the blood, it causes two problems. First, the cells become starved for energy. And, over a period of time, high blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels, nerves, eyes, and kidneys.
Q. What causes diabetes?
A. While scientists aren’t exactly sure why Type 1 diabetes happens, they do know the immune system is involved. A healthy immune system protects us from diseases caused by infections, such as colds or the flu, as well as diseases that start in our own cells, such as cancer. For some reasons, in certain people, the immune system becomes confused and begins attacking and destroying the cells in the pancreas that makes insulin.
Scientists aren’t exactly sure why Type 2 diabetes happens either; however, they have identified that it occurs most often in certain individuals. About 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight, have high blood pressure, and have high cholesterol levels in their blood.
Q. What are the symptoms of diabetes?
A. Type 1 diabetes develops very quickly. The classic signs of diabetes include:
-Frequent urination, because the body is trying to get rid of the excess sugar in the blood
-Intense thirst, because the body needs to replace the fluid lost through the urine
-Increased hunger, because the cells need nutrients
-Weight loss, because without insulin, the body begins to starve
The onset of Type 2 diabetes is often very gradual and may develop without any symptoms at all. Sadly, the diagnosis most often is made only after a complication of the disease happens.
Q. What are the complications of diabetes?
A. The complications of diabetes happen in both types of the disease. All diabetic complications are caused by chronically high blood sugars. The longer your blood sugar levels are elevated, the greater your chances are of having complications.
High blood sugar damages blood vessels. When high levels of sugar are continuously in the blood, the blood vessels become thicker and less flexible, causing poor circulation. Poor circulation can impair healing, especially on the feet and lower legs. High blood sugar also causes higher levels of fat in the bloodstream. The fat clogs and narrows the blood vessels. Partial blockages deprive the heart of some necessary nutrients. A complete blockage can result in a heart attack, heart pain (called angina), or stroke.
Nerve damage makes it hard for your nerves to send messages to the brain and other parts of the body. It may cause you to lose feeling in parts of your body or have a painful pins-and-needles-like feeling. While nerve damage most often affects the feet and legs, it can also affect other parts of the body.
Diabetes can damage and weaken the small blood vessels in the retina, the part of the eye that is sensitive to light and helps you see. When the blood vessels are weak, they can leak fluid, which causes swelling in the eye. The swelling blurs your vision. If the eye damage gets worse, your eye attempts to fix this damage by making new blood vessels over the retina. But because these blood vessels are fragile, they can break open easily and bleed into the eye. Scar tissue can then form. This may cause the retina to break away from the back of the eye, which can lead to visual impairment-even blindness.
Diabetes can also damage the blood vessels in the kidney so it can’t filter out the body’s waste. High blood pressure is also associated with kidney damage. If you have diabetes and high blood pressure, it is important to keep them both under control as much as possible. The longer blood sugar levels are left uncontrolled, the greater the amount of kidney damage that can occur. If the kidney damage isn’t stopped, some individuals may progress to needing kidney transplants or dialysis machines.
All of these complications, however, can almost always be prevented.
Q. How can the complications of diabetes be prevented?
A. Vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements can provide powerful tools for preventing serious complications and keeping people with diabetes healthy. The best nutritional supplement contains powerful vitamins, minerals, and herbs in a synergistic formula that can effectively lower blood sugars and provide the specialized nutrients people with diabetes need.
Q. Which vitamins, minerals, and herbs should be included in a nutritional supplement for people with diabetes?
A. The vitamins, minerals, and herbs in a diabetic formula should work synergistically and be clinically demonstrated to help prevent the known complications of diabetes. To get the best results, it is very important that the right ingredients are in the diabetic formula you buy.
Q. How often should I take a diabetic formula supplement?
A. Read the label of the diabetic formula you are considering buying. Most quality products need to be taken twice a day. Keep in mind that you will still need to take a high quality multivitamin in addition to the diabetic formula supplement. A diabetic formula is complementary. That means that it is designed to be and addition to your multivitamin routine, not a replacement.
Q. Could the diabetic formula lower my blood sugar level too much?
A. In general, too low blood sugar levels should not be a problem. A high quality diabetic formula containing synergistic vitamins, minerals and herbs, most often lowers blood sugars to normal levels. However, these vitamins, minerals, and herbs will not excessively lower blood sugar levels that are already normal.
Q. Do I need to continue monitoring my blood sugar when taking a diabetic formula supplement?
A. Diabetes is a disease that requires active participation from you. You need to be aware of your problem and be in control of it as much as possible. If you use a home glucose monitor to check your blood sugars, you may feel more comfortable by checking your levels more frequently when you first take a diabetic formula supplement. You should always follow the recommendation of your doctor or a licensed health care practitioner regarding how often you should check your blood sugar levels.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) (as well as most licensed health care practitioners), a good blood sugar range for most people with diabetes (before a meal) is from about 70 to 150. An ideal range is 70-120.
Taking a nutritional supplement formulated especially for diabetics that contain vitamins, minerals, and herbs that work synergistically in a scientifically valid formula will help you keep your blood sugars right where the
Q. Can’t I just take the diabetic formula supplement and not worry about my diet?
A. Unfortunately, you cannot. Successful diabetes management means doing lost of positive things. First, you need to see your licensed health care practitioner often. You need to choose foods wisely and stay active to have a positive influence on your blood sugar levels and your health. And, taking a diabetic formula supplement every day can really help. However, the diabetic formula supplement is meant to be an addition to your healthy diet, not a substitute.
Having diabetes might make you feel overwhelmed. Restrictions on what you may and may not eat might make you feel deprived and unfairly burdened. The possibility of disease complications may make you feel anxious and scared-even angry. It is only natural to ask “Why me?” Taking control of your diabetes, instead of letting it control you, can help with these feelings. Eating wisely and exercising every day are two important ways to improve your health. And, taking a nutritional supplement formulated specifically for people with diabetes every day can give you the critical control you need to direct your health for years to come. Many healthy years to come.
How to deal with Stress and Cortisol...
August 30, 2006 09:36 AM
beating the Aging Odds
All of us grow older, but aging is a choice. You have it in your power to retain much of the health, vitality and beauty of your youth. It boils down to a simple fact – retard oxidative stress and you’ll retard the aging process. The 70 million people who make up the “boomer” generation and are getting ready for an active retirement welcome this news.
Stress and Cortisol
The early twentieth century “stress doctor” Hans Selye, M.D. was renowned for his work on the human adaptive response and the effects of stress on aging. He taught that every stress leanves an indelible scar, and the organism pays for its survival after a stressful situation by becoming a little older. That’s because stress raises levels of the adrenal hormone cortisol. It increases internal generation of free radicals, disrupts normal metabolism and leads to aging conditions. Because of this, cortisol has been dubbed the age-accelerating hormone.
The more stressful our lifestyle and the level of environmental hazards we are exposed to, the higher cortisol levels will climb in an effort to jump-start our adaptive response. Coupled with a poor diet, this is a recipe for pre-mature aging. At least eleven major aging factors are related to high cortisol levels:
So, there you have it. Now let’s see how to tame cortisol and reduce oxidative stress.
Reducing Cortisol and Oxidative Stress
Be in the moment – stress reducing techniques such as meditation, prayer, visualization, yoga, chi gong, and listening to inspirational tapes induce calmness and a sense of balance.
Eat right for your genes – as we get older, we don’t digest animal protein as efficiently as when younger. Shifting to plant source proteins that are easier to digest and contain the full complement of vitamins and minerals is most desirable. We are accustomed to thinking of dairy, meat, poultry, and fish as “protein.” All vegetables are good sources of protein. Along with legumes, whole grains, and nuts, daily protein needs are easily fulfilled. Meals that combine a variety of tastes from plant foods also require less salt for flavor enhancement and this helps keep hypertension at bay. So, explore just how good meals can be that either do not contain meat or use it as a condiment. If you do need some salt, try substituting table salt with NOW Vitamins Potassium Chloride crystals.
Enzymes Increase Digestion
Use digestive enzymes such as Optimal Digestive System to insure that you are absorbing all the nutrients in your food. This product has been clinically tested for its digestive effectiveness helping to digest fats, carbs, proteins and even gas producing beans and cruciferous vegetables. Other enzymes, Serrazimes is a systemic enzyme that will help keep lymphatic’s clear of debris, support immune function, and boost your adaptive response to stress.
As many people reach middle age they have a tendency to gain weight around the navel. High stress amps up levels of cortisol that results in increased girth. Middle body fat is considered a significant risk factor for impaired glucose metabolism and cardiovascular disease. Check your waist to hip ratio by dividing your waist measurement in inches by your hip measurement. If you have a ratio of 0.85 or below, you have lower risk of insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease. This measurement is one of the best indicators of cortisol induced metabolic syndrome and weight gain.
Super cortisol support with Relora is an herbal, vitamin and mineral formula that’s designed to fight mid-body fat by taming cortisol. Its key ingredient is Relora which is a blend of the herbal extract of Phellodendron amurense and Magnolia officinalis. A small double blind clinical trial found that pre-menopausal obese women – half of whom took Relora – lost a significant amount of weight. These were women who eat in response to stress. Thus the researchers proposed that Relora appeared to reduce cortisol and perceived stress, resulting in weight loss. Super cortisol support also contains Ashwagandha and Rhodiola, herbs traditionally use for increasing adaptive response and reducing stress. You can read about these herbs and other nutritional products in the book 7-syndrome healing: supplement essentials for mind and body. Written by myself and coauthor Jayson Kroner. This book can be ordered from Now Foods.
Additionally, Chinese scientists found that the active components in Relora called honokiol and magnolol delayed gastric emptying, which would make you feel full longer. An additional anti-aging benefit was observed by another group of Chinese scientists. They reported that honokiol is a potent arterial thrombosis inhibitor because it inhibits prostacyclin release; a promoter of platelet adhesion. Platelet stickiness increases stroke risk. Phellodendron and Magnolia have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries.
Quell Free Radicals
Health and longevity essentially rests on the body balance between free radical load and antioxidant reserves. Toxic exposure depletes some of your antioxidant reserves. Eating a diet rich in antioxidant fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains, helps you rebound. Continued toxic exposure will challenge your antioxidant status and may overwhelm your reserves. VitaBerry Plus+ is a powerful antioxidant formula that contains a range of high ORAC fruits that naturally augment the diet. ORAC stands for oxygen radical absorbance capacity. It is a measure of the ability of a food to quell oxygen free radicals, the most dangerous kind. VitaBerry Plus+ is a product after my own heart. In my book The Anti-Aging Solution, I wrote about how different color foods protect DNA and prevent aging. VitaBerry Plus+ contains the important colors described in my bood. You can order your copy from Now Vitamins.
True-E Bio Complex rounds out the antioxidant colors. It contains all eight tocopherols and eight tocotrienols in the natural ratio found in “tan” foods such as whole grains and legumes. It is the only natural vitamin E that is produced from soy that has not been genetically modified.
The best anti-aging advice I can pass on is from my friend and food columnist Joan Jackson. “Take Pleasure in Your Life TODAY and Enjoy What You Eat”
The Important Role of Nutritional Magnesium & Calcium Balance in Humans Living with Stress
August 23, 2006 03:14 PM
Part I. The Stress Response
The stress reaction is a host of responses necessary for any animal to live in the world. Commonly called the fight-or-flight reation, we as humans often experience it in rapid heartbeat and increased breathing rate. It comes when we exercise more vigorously than usual, or when we are suddenly and unexpectedly frightened.
We are all different. We show a range in how strongly we experience the stress response. Most of us are usually calm and experience the stress response when an unexpected noise frightens us to alertness, or we run to first base as fast as we can in a benefit baseball game that is not on our usual playtime schedule. We breathe harder for a while and notice our hearts beating faster and harder then usual, but after a while these responses all calm down, and we are again in our usual state—out or the stress response. Others of us are very low key, and it takes a lot to disturb our physiological calm. Still others of us are very sensitive to triggers of the stress response and go into it “at the drop of a hat” and to a greater degree than do calmer people. For some, parts of the stress response are almost always engaged—never really calming down all the way—giving one a hyper-vigilant or anxious demeanor.
When a stress trigger occurs, the body puts out stress hormones, magnesium and calcium, among other things, into the bloodstream. At the same time, nerve cells begin to “fire,” telling heart and muscles to “speed up. NOW!!!” These blood, nerve and organ changes make possible the instantaneous and collective rise in the body’s heart rate, blood pressure, and other necessities for the fight-or-flight reaction.
Much research has been done on the stress response, especially on the effects of stress hormones, such as adrenaline (also called epinephrine) on body, organ and cell. You can get an idea of how widespread the stress response is-affecting every aspect of physiology—by noting some of the reactions to adrenaline, one of the major stress hormones. See Table 1.
Much study as the cellular, biochemical and physiological levels has shown that the stress response vitally involves the influx of calcium into cells, resulting in a drastic change in the cells’ internal magnesium-to-calcium ratio (Mg:Ca).
In simple solutions, such as salt water, all ions are evenly dispersed. Not so in living cells. Ions are carefully and meticulously separated in living cells, and this ion “packaging” is vital to life processes and health. Calcium ions, for the most part, are kept outside cells while magnesium ions are kept mainly inside cells. The stress response changes this. During stress response, calcium ions rush inside the cell, and this alters the internal Mg:Ca ratio. This change in ratio exhibits wide effects because, while magnesium and calcium are very similar in their chemistry, biologically these two elements function and react very differently. Magnesium and calcium are two sides of a physiological coin: they are antagonistic to one another yet comes as a team. For example:
Scientific study shows more and more that the underlying cellular change enabling the stress response is a low Mg:Ca ratio caused by a large and sudden influx of calcium into cells. This stress response subsides when the cell’s magnesium returns to its dominant presence inside cells, moving extra calcium back outside cells to its “normal” Mg:Ca ratio. This underlying principle is present in studies of nerve cell-stress hormone response, organs such as hearts, the high blood pressure response to stress, and the blood-clotting reaction during stress, among many others. See Table 2.
In the normal healthy state, the stress response occurs when necessary, and subsides when the crisis or trigger is over. Since magnesium and calcium—two essential nutrients that must be obtained by the body from its dietary environment—are so essential to this important response, it is not surprising that nutritional magnesium and calcium status can affect the response.
Let’s see how.
In the normal unstressed state, cellular Mg:Ca ratio is high. If this cannot be maintained due to lack of adequate body magnesium or an overwhelming amount of body calcium, the ratio may not be able to maintain or return itself to its healthy nonstressed ratio. In such a case, the stress response, in the absence of an appropriate trigger, can occur. This can be seen when nutritional magnesium deficits cause high blood pressure or increase blood stickiness (platelet aggregation). Additionally, since a low Mg:Ca ratio can increase adrenaline secretion as well as cells’ response to adrenaline, a too low magnesium state can keep the stress response from subsiding in a timely way. Even worse, when body magnesium becomes drastically low, this becomes a stress trigger in itself, alarming the body into further stress response with out enough magnesium to back it up, resulting in a low magnesium-high stress crisis that can end in sudden death.
In the industrialized world, we live in a state of chronic, on-going stress. This environmental reality increases our daily need for magnesium in order to maintain a healthy stress response that can calm when not necessary.
Part II. Heart Disease Is Often a Magnesium Deficiency
Clearly, an adequate amount of nutritional magnesium—in proper balance with adequate nutritional calcium—is key to a healthy stress response. And yet today we have diets dangerously low in magnesium. Add the recent additions of nutritional calcium via supplements and food fortifications meant to stave off osteoporosis, and many of us are getting inadequate magnesium plus too much calcium. This results in a large occurrence of heart disease.
Not all, but much of the heart disease in the industrialized world can be explained by the low magnesium state of these societies. People with heart disease—for the most part—are people who are in a state of magnesium that is borderline or deficient. Many studies on heart disease patients exist due to medicine’s effort to understand and treat this widespread malady. Although not intended as such, this body of research shows us what stress can do to a person in a magnesium deficient state.
Part III. Mental and Emotional Stress Deplete Magnesium
It is commonly accepted that certain traditional risk factors for heart disease exist. This include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history of heart disease, and other factors, all of which can be linked to a shortage of nutritional magnesium. Recent studies tell us that stresses—both sudden and chronic—with their high magnesium requirements, are also strong risk factors for heart disease.
The sudden stress of the
Emotional stress and phobic anxiety cause heart problems in patients with heart disease—a population we know to be mostly low in their nutritional magnesium status. Chronic states of emotional stress, including a history of childhood abuse, neglect or family dysfunction, depression, and panic disorder, must now be added to the list of traditional risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Depression can be a symptom of low magnesium status. So can anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, hyperactivity, and over-sensitivity to loud noises. Do these newly found risk factors cause heart disease, or are they risk factors because the, as well as heart disease, can all be aspects of low magnesium status? These chronic sources of stress can increase the human need for magnesium as well as be caused by its deficit.
Emotional stress triggers in susceptible people can even bring a sudden death due to heart attack, presumably by initiating a stress/low-magnesium crisis. Such emotional “triggers” include work stress, high-pressure deadlines, social isolation and loneliness, low socioeconomic status, anxiety, war, fear of war, anger and rage. Identical stress triggers cause more human heart attacks regardless of age, race, gender, or geographic location, including continent.
Mental stress, such as working out a math problem, can be shown to have impact upon the magnesium-stress response connection, since it can bring on heart attacks in people with heart disease.
Part IV. Stress, Magnesium and Aging
We are hearing a lot about stress in the health media, and rightly so as this constant companion to our lives brings on the fight-or-flight syndrome, a stress response that, when activated, has been shown to shorten lifespan. When we realize that the stress response is exacerbated when we are low in magnesium, that we are living on low-magnesium foods for the most part, and that our lifestyles are more and more filled with chronic stresses and stressful events, we are not surprised to see that several aspects of magnesium deficiency are remarkably like aspects of the aging process.
When faced with out stressful lifestyles, coupled with a society presenting a chronically low-magnesium/high-calcium diet, what is our best defense? For many of us, magnesium supplements can help to preserve or restore a healthy Mg:Ca balance, so important to our health in these stressful times.
Peter Gillham's Natural Calm
Garlic for the Ages - eat garlic because it's good for your heart...
June 13, 2005 09:58 AM
Garlic for the Ages by Phyllis D. Light, RH Energy Times, January 1 , 2004
If you eat garlic because it's good for your heart, you swallow a plant renowned through human history: Garlic was eaten by Roman soldiers for courage; Egyptian slaves ate it to build strength; Christians, Moslems and Hindus include it in their sacred books. Others have used it as an aphrodisiac, a vampire deterrent and a magical charm.
Garlic has a long history as a culinary and medicinal herb that people either love or hate. Its pungent aroma and warming flavor captivates or repels, but its wealth of natural chemicals does great things for your heart.
Garlic (Allium sativum), a member of the onion family, is native to Siberia but, in modern times, has become a treasured naturalized citizen grown all over the world. Garlic's use in folk medicine dates back about 7,000 years, making it one of the oldest known medicinal foods or herbs.
In modern times, garlic is generally used as a condiment lending a unique, pungent flavor to dishes, but in medieval times, garlic was cooked and eaten as a vegetable in its own right. Today you can revel in a wealth of garlic choices, consuming garlic raw, cooked in various recipes, as a dried concentrated powder, as a fresh liquid extract or as aged garlic powder.
Each little clove of garlic is a powerhouse of good-for-you natural compounds, vitamins and minerals. The biologically active constituents of garlic include allyl sulfur compounds as well as the minerals germanium and selenium.
When you chop up raw garlic and allowed it to stand for about 10 minutes or more, the herb's fragments release an enzyme that converts its compounds from allyl sulfur to another natural chemical called allicin.
Although some allicin is found in garlic before it is cut apart, the yield multiplies considerably when the garlic clove is chopped or pressed and exposed to water (Garlic Conference, Newport Beach, 11/15/98; Penn State).
Many researchers believe that the more allicin produced, the better the health benefits. (Although this is still being debated among the garlic cognoscenti.)
But garlic's benefits don't end meekly on the kitchen counter with its allicin content rising.
Cooked garlic and aged garlic contain other helpful chemicals called diallyl sulphides. Consequently, in any form, garlic produces beneficial health effects.
Fortunately, since raw garlic juice or oil can often irritate the stomach lining, especially in people with sensitive stomachs and delicate digestive systems, garlic supplements and cooked garlic are both helpful for heart health.
Aged Garlic Extract
Aging garlic significantly reduces its irritating compounds and makes it easier on the stomach.
In the aged form, all of garlic's healthy sulfur-containing compounds are converted to water- soluble compounds that retain garlic's natural health benefits. In addition, the pungent odor of the garlic is greatly reduced, an outcome many people desire.
When a group of researchers at Brown University studied the effects of aged garlic extract on people's cholesterol levels, they found that after six months, cholesterol dropped about 6% (Am J Clin Nutr 1996; 64:866-70).
In another study from Brown, researchers found that aged garlic extract reduced platelet adhesion, a sticky blood problem that can cause vessel blockages (New Drug Clin 45(3):456-66). When platelets are less sticky, they are less likely to form blood clots that can cause heart attacks.
Garlic and Heart Disease
A growing body of research shows that a clove of garlic a day can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease.
A four-year study of 280 people who took dried garlic powder three times a day found a striking reduction in the types of arterial plaque blockages that threaten the blood supply to your heart. Interestingly, in this particular study, women displayed a greater reduction in plaque than men (Atherosclerosis 2000; 150:437-8).
Another study found that garlic may also keep important blood vessels more supple and less likely to spasm. Arterial spasms have been linked to heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems in women.
As you age, the aorta, one of the main arteries that carries blood, may harden, reducing blood flow from the heart and placing damaging stress on a number of other bodily organs. In research at Ohio State University, people who took garlic supplements had 15% less aortic stiffness than people who avoided garlic (Circulation).
In this study, scientists found that the older people enjoyed the greatest cardiovascular benefits from daily garlic use.
Researchers believe this extra benefit is linked to the fact that as you age, the endothelial tissue in the linings of the aorta and other blood vessels become less responsive to the need to dilate (expand). As a result, when more blood flow is required, and the heart pumps faster, these vessels take more of a beating from the friction of blood passing through them.
That restriction in dilation has two damaging consequences: In one instance, vessel walls can be injured. In response to these injuries, cholesterol collects on artery walls, plaque forms and the blood supply to the heart muscle can be restricted, leading to a heart attack. In other cases, arteries can restrict blood flow to the heart simply because of the inability to expand sufficiently.
The Ohio State researchers found that arteries in folks aged 70 to 80 benefited the most from taking garlic. But those in their 60s also benefited significantly.
Garlic's natural antioxidant properties can also help protect the heart from damage after surgery (BMC Pharmacology 9/02).
In a study performed on lab animals, researchers found that oxidative stress, a source of cell damage that takes place after surgery, dropped when the animals ate a diet that included garlic.
Oxidative stress can seriously reduce cardiac function, limit the amount of blood the heart can pump and cause permanent damage to the heart muscle.
Garlic Against Blood Clots
Under normal circumstances, blood clots serve a useful purpose: Cut yourself and a blood clot stops the bleeding. Without this clotting ability, you might bleed to death. But if your blood is too prone to clotting, these clumps can cut off blood supply to your heart and other organs, endangering your life.
In a study of apparently healthy individuals whose relatives had already suffered from heart disease, researchers found that their blood formed thick, tangled blood clots, increasing their risk of heart problems (Circulation rapid access 9/23/02). These blood clots are made of a substance called fibrin, a protein in the plasma that can form elastic threads that cut off blood flow.
While these researchers recommended aspirin as an anti-clotting measure for people at risk of heart disease, garlic can also help break up fibrin and possibly lower your chance of heart problems (Pharmatherapy 5(2): 83).
The fibrin that forms clots is produced by blood cells called platelets. Other scientists who have looked into garlic's benefits believe that one of its natural chemicals called ajoene may keep platelets from producing excessive fibrin and gumming up the flow of blood through arteries.
If you've rarely indulged in garlic, you may need a period of adjustment in growing accustomed to its unique taste and aroma. But its heart benefits confirm the long-ago observation by Pliny, an ancient Roman naturalist, that "garlic has powerful properties."
Take it to Heart - Lower Cholesterol
June 09, 2005 06:05 PM
Take it to Heart by Dawn Lemonathen Energy Times, January 2, 2002
Lifestyle is key to bettering your odds of beating heart disease. A few simple, everyday heart-friendly habits can help your heart help you. Right now, heart attacks and other cardiovascular complications like stroke have reached sky-high levels across the US.
Nearly 60 million Americans suffer from one of the various forms of cardiovascular disease and these often fatal complications cause more than 40% of all deaths in the United States. Statistics show that nearly a million Americans succumb to heart problems every year. The humongous cost: Heart disease and stroke consume almost $260 billion annually. Heart disease is the top cause of death for older Americans and remains the leading cause of death for all Americans age 35 and older. Coronary heart disease (CHD), also known as ischemic heart disease, is the most frequent cause of death for adults in the United States-accounting for more than 500,000 deaths a year. And even though most women have had their consciousness raised about their risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer, in fact, their chances of dying from one of the forms of heart disease is double their risk of succumbing to one of the forms of cancer. And ten times more women die from cardiovascular problems than die from breast cancer.
Cholesterol and Heart Health
Nuts and Heart Health
Vegetarianism vs Heart Disease
Heart Science - A Five-Tiered Approach to Heart Health ...
June 02, 2005 12:07 PM
Your heart is crucial to every function of your body. It is the sole organ which pumps oxygen-rich blood through the entire circulatory system, feeding your cells and making life possible. Only recently are Americans realizing the importance of a proper low-fat diet, regular exercise, giving up cigarette smoking, and cutting down alcohol consumption to maintaining a healthy heart. Unfortunately, there has been a huge gap in the number of nutritional supplements which provide nutrients and herbs to support normal heart function. That’s where Source Naturals HEART SCIENCE comes in. Two years in the making, and backed by numerous scientific studies, the nutrients in HEART SCIENCE are some of the most soundly researched of all. Combining high potencies of these super-nutrients, HEART SCIENCE is the most comprehensive, cutting edge nutritional approach to proper heart care available.
Source Naturals HEART SCIENCE— The Five Tiered Approach to Heart Health
Your heart never rests. Even while you sleep, your heart must keep working, relying on the constant generation of energy by the body for its very survival. If this vital organ stops beating for even a short amount of time, all bodily functions cease and life ends. Source Naturals HEART SCIENCE helps support heart function on the chemical, cellular, structural, and energetic levels. This broad spectrum formula includes ingredients specifically geared for
Energy Generators for An Energetic Organ
Every day, the human heart beats about 104,000 times, pumping over 8,000 liters of blood through the body! Because it requires so much energy to perform efficiently, the experts at Source Naturals included specialty nutrients in HEART SCIENCE such as Coenzyme Q10 and L-Carnitine — integral factors in the body’s energy production cycles — to enhance the body’s energy supply.
There are three main interconnected energy generating cycles in our cells — the Glycolytic (sugar-burning) cycle, the Krebs’ (citric acid) cycle, and the Electron Transport Chain. Together they supply about 90 to 95% of our body’s entire energy supply, using fats, sugars, and amino acids as fuel. Coenzyme Q10 is one of the non-vitamin nutrients needed to maximally convert food into ATP (the energy producing molecule). It is the vital connecting link for three of the four main enzyme complexes in the Electron Transport Chain, the next step in energy generation after the Krebs’ cycle. Using the raw materials generated by the Krebs’ cycle, the Electron Transport Chain produces most of the body’s total energy! The heart is one of the bodily organs which contains the highest levels of CoQ10, precisely because it needs so much energy to function efficiently.
CoQ10 is one of the most promising nutrients for the heart under investigation today. It has been postulated that as a result of its participation in energy production, CoQ10 improves heart muscle metabolism and the electrical functioning of the heart by enhancing its pumping capacity.8 Many factors such as a high fat diet, lack of exercise, and cigarette smoking can lead to suboptimal functioning of the heart, and therefore failure of the heart to maintain adequate circulation of blood. Interestingly, people whose lifestyles reflect the above factors also tend to have depleted levels of CoQ10 in the heart muscle.10
Researchers suggest taking between 10-100 mg per day of CoQ10;18,29 HEART SCIENCE provides an impressive 60 mg of CoQ10 per 6 tablets. Similar to CoQ10, L-Carnitine is important for energy production in heart cells. It is a natural amino acid-like substance which plays a key role in transporting fatty acids, the heart’s main source of energy, to the mitochondria, the “power plants” of each cell, where they are utilized for the production of ATP. Heart and skeletal muscles are particularly vulnerable to L-Carnitine deficiency. Studies have shown that supplementation with LCarnitine improves exercise tolerance in individuals with suboptimal heart and circulatory function, and seems to lower blood lipid status and increase HDL (good) cholesterol.16, 22 Each daily dose of HEART SCIENCE contains 500 mg of this extremely important compound.
Like CoQ10 and L-Carnitine, B Vitamins help improve the ability of the heart muscle to function optimally. Each B Vitamin, after being converted to its active coenzyme form, acts as a catalytic “spark plug” for the body’s production of energy. Vitamin B-1, for example, is converted to Cocarboxylase, which serves as a critical link between the Glycolytic and Krebs’ Cycles, and also participates in the conversion of amino acids into energy. A deficiency of B coenzymes within contracting muscle cells can lead to a weakened pumping of the heart.21
HEART SCIENCE is formulated with high quantities of the most absorbable forms of B Vitamins providing maximum nutrition for the high energy demands of heart cells.
B Vitamins also play a crucial role in the conversion of homocysteine, a group of potentially harmful amino acids produced by the body, to methionine, another more beneficial amino acid. While it is normal for the body to produce some homocysteine, even a small elevation in homocysteine levels can have negative implications. It is well documented that individuals who are genetically predisposed to having elevated homocysteine levels (homocysteinemics) tend to have excessive plaque accumulation in the arteries and premature damage to endothelial cells (cells lining the blood vessels and heart).26 Researchers have found that even those without this genetic abnormality, whose homocysteine levels are much lower than those of homocysteinemics, still have an increased risk for premature endothelial damage and the development of plaque in the arteries.24, 26 One study conducted among normal men and women found that those with the highest levels of homocysteine were twice as likely to have clogged arteries as were those with the lowest levels.24 Furthermore, it was found that the lower the research subjects’ blood levels of folate and B-6, the higher their homocysteine levels.24 Another study found that Folic Acid administered to normal men and women who were not even deficient in folate caused a significant reduction in plasma concentrations of homocysteine!3 In order to regulate homocysteine levels, it is critical to provide the body with sufficient amounts of B-6, B-12, and Folate, whether through the diet or through supplementation. HEART SCIENCE includes high levels of these three nutrients, providing B-6 in the regular and coenzyme form for maximum utilization.
The Dangers of Oxidized LDL Cholesterol
While many people have heard that high cholesterol levels may negatively affect normal heart function, few people understand exactly what cholesterol is, or how it can become harmful. Cholesterol is a white, waxy substance produced in the liver by all animals, and used for a variety of necessary activities in the body. Your liver also manufactures two main kinds of carrier molecules which transport cholesterol throughout the system: Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) and High Density Lipoprotein (HDL). Cholesterol is either carried out by LDL from the liver to all tissues in the body where it is deposited, or carried back by HDLs which remove cholesterol deposits from the arteries and carry them to the liver for disposal. Because of this, LDL cholesterol is considered damaging, while HDL is considered protective. Problems occur when there is too much LDL cholesterol in the body and not enough HDL.
When the body becomes overloaded with fat, an over-abundance of LDL particles are manufactured to process it, and they in turn become elevated in the body to a degree that the liver cannot handle. Rich in fatty acids and cholesterol, these particles are highly susceptible to free radical attack (oxidation). Once oxidized, LDL particles are no longer recognized by the body, which attacks them with immune cells. Immune cells which are bloated by oxidized lipids (called foam cells) are a key factor in the development of “fatty streaks” — the first sign of excess arterial fat accumulation. The bloated immune cells accumulate in artery lesions and create plaque in blood vessels, leading to obstruction and constriction of the vessels. Plus, these lodged foam cells continue to secrete free radicals into the bloodstream, making the problem worse.
The development of lesions in the arteries is not an uncommon problem. Arterial (and all blood vessel) walls are composed of a chemical matrix which holds the endothelial cells in place. That endothelial layer is the first and most important line of defense in preventing large molecules, such as cholesterol and fat, from entering the vessel wall. This matrix is composed of proteins, collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans (amino sugars). Arterial lesions can be caused by suboptimal collagen and elastin synthesis due to three factors: 1. Vitamin C deficiency (since Vitamin C is a key building block for collagen and elastin); 2. excessive consumption of rancid fats, or heavy usage of alcohol or cigarettes; and 3. free radical damage. Once these lesions are created, the body attempts to repair them by depositing LDL cholesterol — similar to the way one would patch a tire. If that cholesterol is not oxidized, i.e. chemically changed to a harmful, unstable molecule, then this process does not create a problem. But when arterial lesions are “patched” with foam cells, arterial walls suffer page 3 page 4 even more damage, because those foam cells release free radicals which can further damage cell membranes.
Unfortunately, most people have a lot of oxidized cholesterol floating through the bloodstream. The typical American diet, with its low antioxidant intake and overconsumption of fried and overcooked foods, contributes to the overall levels of harmful oxidized cholesterol. In fact, the average American intake of antioxidants is low even by USRDA standards, making Americans particularly prone to having high levels of oxidized cholesterol.
Fortunately, there are concrete steps you can take to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, and its subsequent ill effects on health. In addition to cutting out high-cholesterol and fatty foods, supplementation can protect existing cholesterol and all tissue cells — from oxidation. Antioxidants, substances which scavenge and neutralize free radicals, protect the cardiovascular system by halting the oxidation of cholesterol, and helping to prevent plaque accumulation in the arteries and the continual secretion of free radicals by foam cells. Supplementing the diet with high amounts of Vitamin C, a key antioxidant, also encourages a more healthy “patching” of existing lesions by using collagen (made from Vitamin C) instead of cholesterol. HEART SCIENCE contains generous amounts of the following antioxidants for their protective benefits:
The Regulating Trio
Three nutrients — Magnesium, Potassium, and Taurine — work closely together in the body to help maintain the normal electrical rhythm of the heart, promote proper fluid balance, and prevent excessive Calcium levels from building up in the heart and artery linings.
Artery Lining Protectors
Your arteries form an integral part of your cardiovascular system, carrying blood away from the heart to nourish other parts of the body. In a healthy heart, blood surges through the arteries with every beat of the heart. The arteries expand with each pulse to accommodate the flow of blood. When arteries become hardened and narrowed by the build-up of plaque, they can’t expand and are not able to transport blood efficiently throughout the body. This inability to open up increases blood pressure, putting a strain on the heart as well as the arteries. HEART SCIENCE includes ingredients specifically geared to protect against plaque formation within arteries and maintain the flexibility of these vital blood vessels. N-Acetyl Glucosamine (NAG) is a key amino sugar which forms the building blocks of mucopolysaccharides. Mucopolysaccharides, which are long chain sugars, are an integral component of connective tissue. They combine to form gel-like matrixes which are present throughout tissues in the body, helping to maintain the elasticity of blood vessels which must continually adapt to the changing pressures of blood flow. Each daily dose of HEART SCIENCE provides 500 mg — a substantial amount — of this vital tissue building block. There is evidence indicating that Silicon, a natural mineral, may protect against plaque formation in the arteries. Silicon is found mainly in connective tissues, where it helps bind the body’s chemical matrix. Bound Silicon is found in high amounts in arterial walls. Researchers have found that there is a steady decline in the Silicon content of the aorta and other arteries as we age. This may be due to the low fiber content of the typical American diet, since fiber is a key dietary source of Silicon.23 HEART SCIENCE includes 400 mg of Horsetail herb extract, a natural source of Silicon. Hawthorn Berry is without question the herb most widely used to encourage normal heart function. The beneficial actions of Hawthorn Berry on cardiac function have been repeatedly demonstrated in experimental studies. Supplementation with Hawthorn Berry has been shown to improve both the blood supply to the heart by dilating coronary vessels, and the metabolic processes in the heart, resulting in normal, strong contractions of the heart muscle.34 Also, Hawthorn may inhibit the angiotensen converting enzyme, which is responsible for converting angiotensen I to angiotensen II, a powerful constrictor of blood vessels.34 Bromelain, a natural enzyme derived from pineapples, has become well-known for its neuromuscular relaxing properties. Researchers have reported favorable results when using Bromelain for soothing vascular linings. Initial research also indicates that Bromelain may break down fibrin, the glue which holds platelets together to form blood clots.6
Capillaries are the smallest, yet some of the most important, blood vessels. If you think of your cardiovascular system as a series of roads which transport blood and oxygen, then your arteries are akin to interstate highways, your arterioles are the main city boulevards, and your capillaries are local residential streets. Capillaries are so small, in fact, that single red blood cells actually have to fold up to fit through them. Because of their tiny size and the intricate nature of their network throughout the body, capillaries are responsible for actually nourishing each individual tissue cell! Along the length of the capillaries are small openings called slit pores through which oxygen, glucose, and nutrients leave the capillaries and enter the surrounding interstitial fluid. From there, they cross cell membranes and nourish the cells. Similarly, the waste products of cells enter the fluid and cross over into the capillaries, where they are then transported to the liver and kidneys for disposal. If the capillary slit pores are torn or have lesions, then blood proteins and Sodium will leak out and cause the interstitial fluid to take on a more gel-like nature. This makes the transfer of oxygen and nutrients to the cells more difficult, as well as the disposal of cell waste products, turning the fluid into a stagnant swamp instead of a flowing river. In addition to its powerful antioxidant actions, Proanthodyn also helps protect collagen and elastin, the main constituents of tissue in the capillaries, and throughout the body. It is absolutely essential for capillary walls — which are only one cell thick — to be strong and stable, so that they do not allow blood proteins to leak into the interstitial fluid. Once the interstitial fluid takes on a gel-like consistency, the surrounding cells literally become starved from lack of nutrition. The exciting news is that the proanthocyanidins contained in Proanthodyn are among the few substances yet discovered which can help strengthen capillary walls, ensuring the liquid nature of the interstitial fluid.2 Plus, proanthocyanidins help keep capillary and artery walls flexible, allowing for proper blood flow to the heart.
The 1990’s mark a decade of increased awareness among Americans of important health issues. Much of the discussion has revolved around protecting that precious center of life we call the heart. Simple lifestyle change is one of the most effective ways to maintain and protect the functioning of the cardiovascular system. In order to take a holistic approach to heart care, make sure you include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (organic, if possible) in your diet, and cut down on fatty and cholesterol-forming foods. Reduce your salt and alcohol intake to a minimum. Try to get regular, sustained aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week. Don’t smoke – or if you do smoke, try to eat even more fresh fruits and antioxidant-rich vegetables to counter the amount of free radicals being produced in your body. Lastly, consider adding Source Naturals HEART SCIENCE to your health regimen. HEART SCIENCE, the most comprehensive formula of its kind, provides targeted protection to the entire cardiovascular system. By approaching the promotion of normal heart function on five different levels — through the inclusion of ingredients which supply energy, decrease harmful homocysteine levels, fight cholesterol build-up, help regulate electrical rhythm, and protect artery and capillary linings — HEART SCIENCE is the perfect addition to a holistic approach to heart care.
Source Naturals HEART SCIENCE™