Search Term: " behavioral "
Omega-3s found to benefit children diagnosed with behavioraldisorders
April 26, 2019 03:15 PM
It is common knowledge that omega-3s can promote heart health, but now studies are showing that they can also help children who are suffering from behavioral disorders. A study was published within the Journal of Dietary Supplements that showed kids aged six to twelve showed great improvement in regards to their overall health status and quality of life when they were given doses of omega-3s on a regular basis. The study evaluated exactly 942 children, so the findings are quite consistent.
"To evaluate the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, the researchers used the Kidscreen-10 and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires (SDQ). The SDQ examines 25 positive and negative attributes, which are divided among five scales: emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity or inattention, peer relationship problems, and prosocial behavior."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-17-omega-3-benefits-children-with-behavioral-disorders.html
Natural remedy for OCD may lie in ashwagandha
February 11, 2019 11:11 AM
Physicians typically prescribe patients mainstream pharmaceutical drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as a way to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but new research is showing that another effective route may be available. Ashwagandha roots can be put into a powdered extract that can be combined with lactose in order to treat symptoms of OCD. A six week trial proved that after 30mg of ashwagandha each day, patients who suffered from anxiety noticed that their symptoms improved at the end of the trial.
"Patients may finally get their obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) under proper control thanks to an ancient Indian herbal remedy."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-09-natural-remedy-for-ocd-may-lie-in-ashwagandha.html
Scientists stunned to learn that gut bacteria seem to have control over your moods and brain function
July 13, 2017 12:14 PM
A team of researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles have found a link between their female subjects' gut bacteria and higher levels of anxiety, irritability, and distress. Subjects whose fecal matter contained the bacteria strain Prevotella displayed an increased number of neural connections linked to emotional, attention, and sensory brain regions. The findings of this study may help explain why individuals with irritable bowel syndrome and functional bowel problems are more prone to developing depression and anxiety.
"This is the first time that behavioral and neurobiological differences associated with microbial composition have been studied in this way."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-07-10-scientists-stunned-to-learn-that-gut-bacteria-seem-to-have-control-over-your-moods-and-brain-function.html
What you eat could help manage depression and anxiety
May 24, 2017 06:44 AM
Life was great, it was the occupation I needed, however I was a restless individual and I had gone up against a ton. A couple of years after the fact, Kelly had a comparably genuine time of misery which kept going much more. While she treated the manifestations customarily, with antidepressants and subjective behavioral treatment, she was left with a yearning to investigate the comprehensive side of emotional wellness treatment. Rachel Kelly found nourishing treatment while looking for correlative medicines for her own particular mental sick wellbeing.
Read more: What you eat could help manage depression and anxiety
Lack of sleep linked to behavioral problems in kids
March 19, 2017 01:44 PM
Not surprisingly, researchers have linked a lack of sleep to behavioral problems in kids. Specifically, a lack of sleep effects the executive functions in children, making simple tasks more challenging for them in school. These children would benefit from sleeping longer, and they would perform better in school. It is important for parents to see the the recommended amount of sleep for kids in their age brackets, and ensure their kids are getting enough sleep.
"Children who aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep have more difficulties with attention, with emotional control, with reasoning, with problem-solving, and also have behavioral problems."
Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-sleep-children-behavior-idUSKBN16N2XS?feedType=RSS&feedName=healthNews
Watch ANOTHER Man with Severe Parkinson’s Take Cannabis Oil to Settle his Tremors
March 16, 2017 11:14 AM
In considering whether cannabinoids are a suitable therapy for Parkinson's symptoms, the potential benefits must be weighed against the possible side effects. Used in moderation, cannabinoids appear to be relatively well tolerated. Even so, a review of clinical trials involving cannabinoids showed that nearly seven percent of participants discontinued them due to issues such as nausea, dizziness, weakness, mood and behavioral changes, hallucinations and impairment of cognitive (memory/thinking) abilities.
"His used just a single drop and his hands afterwards were rock steady and the Dyskinesia left."
Eat Peppers, Live Longer?
January 24, 2017 02:59 PM
Everyone knows that eating healthy can make your life better. What most people do not realize is that the food you eat can affect your life span. A new study is looking at peppers and says they can do just that, extend your life. It is not completely understood yet, but add them to your diet.
"Eating hot chili peppers may help you live longer."
Hyperactivity and Herbs That Can Help
Hyperactivity is a behavioral condition in children that involves being easily distracted, unable to concentrate, being aggressive and also impulsiveness. This often decreases the child grow and sometimes he/she may be punished at school for such behaviors.
The following are herbs recommended for alternative treatment of hyperactivity condition:
Catnip (Nepata cataria) acts as a mild sedative for young children and adults. It also makes one to rest and feel like sleeping.
Chamomile (Metricaria recutita)
It provides a safe nervine action to children while encouraging sleep.
Hops (Humulus Lupulus)
Hop plant flowers help in reducing nervousness and anxiety and encourages sedation.
Kava kava helps offset stress and disruption of sleep patterns as it has antianxiety and anti-panic properties.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
It helps in reduction of too much anxiety and nervousness thereby helping in treatment of hyperactive in children.
Extracts from green oats help in boosting attention and concentration
Passion flowers help in maintaining mental and physical wellness in a restless individual.
It is helpful to people who can’t sleep due to overactive mind as it has some nervine properties.
St. John’s wort
St. John’s wort promotes quiet and restful sleep to individuals who are unable to sleep due to nervous excitement.
Flowers and leaves of this plant help boosting sleep in individuals who are unable to sleep.
It has a mind calming effect that helps in reducing nervous tension and anxiety.
Can DMAE Help Memory And Mood?
December 19, 2013 07:23 AM
Do you ever feel like you are experiencing lapses in memory or you have a low general mood? There is evidence that DMAE might be able to help with both memory and mood. DMAE occurs naturally in the human brain. When we take supplemental amounts of the compound, brain function effects can be seen.
DMAE as a Supplement
It is thought that the supplement works by increasing the speed of the brain's turnover and synthesis of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter plays a strong role in maintaining general mental ability. It also works at supporting a stable, healthy memory in older adults. It is also believed that DMAE might work by stopping choline metabolism. This allows the free choline to gather in the blood, go into the brain, and stimulate the cholinergic receptors.
A French double-blind study was performed to measure how much of an impact the supplement DMAE has on both mood and vigilance. Four of the subjects were categorized as having anxiety, and four other subjects were the controls. They were each given 1200mg of DMAE over the course of 5 days. These subjects were measured daily for their EEG and convergence of the inter hemispheres of the brain. In the case of the four subjects that were given the supplement, progressive sync of the two brain hemispheres was found. This is correlated with increased neuromotor control, increased verbal memory, improvement in behavioral tasks, as well as better control of anxiety.
Another use for DMAE worth mentioning is its affects on learning deficiencies like ADD or hyperkinesia. Many doctors prescribe amphetamines for conditions like this, but DMAE has also proven useful. According to studies, hyperactivity and irritability decrease, and scholastic ability improves from supplementing with DMAE.
In addition to improving these conditions there is evidence that DMAE can improve life span, IQ, and motor mechanisms. It is very important to take the correct dosage of DMAE. I would start with taking 200-400mg first, and work your way up from there.
What Are The Benefits Of Pure Hempseed Oil?
March 18, 2013 04:40 PM
Hempseed oil is oil that is obtained from hemp seeds. Unrefined Hempseed oil that is cold pressed is green in color and dark to clear light. It also has a nutty pleasant flavor. If the Hempseed oil has a dark the color then the flavor becomes more grassier. Refined hemp oil is colorless and clear with little flavor. It lacks antioxidants and natural vitamins.
Refined Hempseed oil is used primarily to manufacture products of body care. Industrial Hempseed oil is used to produce paints, lubricants, inks, plastic and fuel. This oil has also found some limited use in industries that produce shampoos, detergents and soaps.
Hempseed has had a good relationship with humanity.
Hempseed high in fatty acids
Studies that have been conducted recently shows that it contains essential fatty acids and amino acids that are necessary for human life. It also has a rare protein referred to as globule Edestins that is similar to Globin that is fond in blood plasma of humans.
Pure Hempseed oil has high nutritional value because it consist 1:3 ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 essential fatty acids .This ratio matches with the balance that human body requires. In recent years, it has received attention as possible feed stock for large scale production of bio-diesel. This oil makes incredible cosmetic grade oil and quality dietary oil that are superior because of its high nutritional value.
It is used also as a skin care recipes because it has base ingredients that helps the skin to regenerate and heal. Pure Hempseed oil is highly emollient and this property makes it to be used to regenerate and nourish the skin directly. Hempseed oil is capable of penetrating the skin deeply unlike other oils that sits on top of the skin. Its deep penetrative property prevent the skin from aging because it allows essential fatty acids to penetrate the outer layer of skin fully thus encouraging a healthy moisture balance.
Hempseed oil contains a rich balance of essential oils
Pure Hempseed oil contains one of the richest and balanced natural sources of essential oils that are good for human consumption. The essential fatty acids help to restore wasting bodies and also improve immune system that is damaged. It is therefore not a surprise that modern researchers have studied this oil in relation to modern immune that attacks AIDS virus.
Hempseed oil is surely nature's oil that is most balanced for human nutrition (1:3 LNA to LA ratio) and it can be digested easily. In fact, modern research indicates that this oil can provide all our essential fatty acid requirements for life.
Rich in Omega-3
This is made possible because it has a balanced 80 percent essential fatty acid content of the oil. Omega 3, a component that is found in Hempseeds helps to prevent: growth retardation, motor in coordination, tingling in legs and arms, behavioral changes, visual impairment and learning inability, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, tissue inflammation, dry skin, edema, low metabolic rate, sticky platelets and other kinds of immune dysfunctions.
Rich in Omega-6
Omega 6 a component that is also found in Hempseeds helps in preventing: loss of hair ,skin eruptions ,liver degeneration ,kidney degeneration ,behavioral disturbances, drying up of glands excessive water loss from the skin that is accompanied by thirst, failure of wound healing ,susceptibility to infections ,growth retardation sterility in males ,arthritis like conditions, miscarriage in females, circulatory and heart problems. Prolonged absence of both omega 3 and 6 in your diet can be fatal and should be avoided.
Pure Hempseed oil is is ideal to be used in mayonnaise, dips and salad dressing because of its nutty pleasant flavor .It can be taken as an additional supplement for well being and general health. However it is not suitable to be used for frying because its benefits are reduced.
Dangers of Rhodiola Rosea? First Lets Look at The Benefits
December 20, 2012 08:02 PM
Rhodiola rosea also referred to as golden root or roseroot grows in the extremely cold parts of the world. Although there are over 200 different species of roseroot rhodiola rosea is the popularly specie due to its health benefits. It is currently widely used in Asia and Europe to treat several health conditions.
Improves Depression and Mood
According to a study in the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry Rhodiola rosea extracts helps improve mood as well as lifts depression. It is also known to help improve sleep, lower moodiness as well as lift mild to moderate depression. It is known to help relieve fatigue on the patients suffering from stress associated fatigue. It not only decreases fatigue it increases mental performance particularly concentration and reduces cortisol production in people suffering from fatigue syndrome. It is therefore important to note that supplementation with rhodiola rosea robustly cancels out physiological and behavioral changes induced by persistent exposure to gentle stressors.
Functions as an Adaptogen
It is also a known adaptogen meaning that it helps in strengthening your endocrine and immune nervous system, thus improves your ability to defend against internal and external stress. It works a little different from other adaptogens such as ginseng, it works on neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine which are associated with several illnesses such as seasonal affective disorders and fibromyalgia. It helps you to withstand stress as well as stress related diseases such as lowered immunity and hypertension. It has also been noted to increase the ability to exercise, reduces lactate levels as well as skeletal muscle damage mainly after vigorous exercise.
It is advisable that you consult your doctor before you start taking any rhodiola rosea supplement. Despite its numerous health benefits it has several negative side effects especially if high doses are consumed. The dangers include irritability, insomnia, dry mouth and dizziness. Pregnant women, breast feeding mothers and people suffering from manic depressive and bipolar disorders should not take rhodiola.
This Herb is considered generally safe for most individuals with many mood boosting properties.
What are the health Benefits of Cod Liver Oil
July 11, 2012 08:33 AM
Cod Liver Oil Benefits
This is a nutrient rich oil derived from Cod fish liver and can be in the form of capsules or oil. The Cod liver oil has been used for many generations to treat various health conditions and to boost the human's immune system. Otherwise, it is one of the recommended nutritional supplements especially when it comes to enriching your system with:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- DocoHexaenoic Acid (DHA),
- EicosaPentaenoic Acid (EPA)
All these nutrients are beneficial to the body in various ways and have proved to be great home remedies for conditions such as arthritis. So this is how all these nutrients will benefit the body.
Vitamin A is an antioxidant which helps protect the body from the development of free radicals and in the long run reduce the formation of cancer cells in the body. Therefore, your system will be protected from cancer and other diseases owing to the presence of beta carotene and alpha carotene. On the other hand, since Vitamin A is an immune booster it assists in treating measles, respiratory infections, viral infections, improves your eyesight, Inflammation Reducer, and cardiovascular performance.
One of the main benefits of Vitamin D is the fact that it helps the intestine absorb nutrients such as phosphorus and calcium which are vital for bone formation and strengthening. This is why Cod liver oil is an ideal home remedy for arthritis. It also prevents osteomalacia and weakening of muscles and rickets at the same time assist in regulation of blood pressure, reduces stress, tension, muscle aches and spasms and improves the general health of the skin.
EicosaPentaenoic Acid (EPA)
It it one of the main nutrients found in the Omega 3 fatty acids which normally assists in treating coronary heart disease, reduces formation of high triglycerides, controls high blood pressure and reduces inflammation. It also has a positive effect on depression, reduces formation of blood clots and improves the health of arteries. Actually, EPA is renowned for its positive effects on the health of the human heart.
DocoHexaenoic Acid (DHA)
DHA found in cod liver oil is a polyunsaturated fatty acid which is a main ingredient of the omega 3 fatty acids. Findings have it that DHA is an ideal component for controlling inflammatory disorders, arteriosclerosis, types of cancer, myocardial infection as well as thrombosis.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
The omega 3 fatty acids are mostly beneficial owing to the presence of DHA and EPA. However, findings indicate that the the omega 3 fatty acids are crucial for the enhancement cognitive functions especially when it comes to the memory. It is also an ideal remedy for children with ADHD considering the fatty acids assist in enhancing behavioral functions.
In other words, the cod liver oil is one of the recommendable nutritional supplements owing to its overall benefits to the immune, circulatory, cognitive and cardiovascular systems. This means that one teaspoon of the cod liver oil could save you from many health situations in comparison to not having it at all. It is also advised that you take at least 1-2 tablespoons everyday especially if you need such nutrients to boost your immune system.
What Are The Health Benefits Of DMAE?
April 26, 2012 12:57 PM
Dimethylaminoethanol or DMAE is anorganic compound that is metabolically produced by the adrenal glands, testes and the brain in small quantities. It is converted into testosterone, estrogen and cortisone by the body. It is a known fact that the liver processes DMAE into choline, but the molecule thus produced is charged and cannot break the blood-brain barrier. Studies have shown that DMAE methylated in the brain acts as the precursor for the manufacture of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in the conduction of signals in the brain as well as the nervous system.
DMAE also stimulates phosphatidylcholine, a crucial part of cell membranes. However, the DMAE naturally produced by the body is sufficient only to maintain healthy brain and functions. It will not improve their functions. Though DMAE is found in fish such as salmon, anchovies, and sardines, supplementation in the pill form is important because of the practical difficulties having these foods in the right form and quantity on a daily basis to derive the benefits. DMAE supplements for oral consumption are through stores that sell health foods and groceries.
Daily consumption of DMAE in the supplement form provides a number of benefits to the body. Some of the benefits are as follows:
It helps prevent as well as treat cardiovascular problems and boost the body's immune system because of its strong antioxidant properties.It protects cells from the harmful effects of free-radicals by helping them retain the nutrients that are essential and expelling waste.As a precursor in the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, it supports the functioning of the brain in a number of ways. It increases a person's attention span, relieves behavioral problems and hyperactivity or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It is also helpful in treating memory lapses and Alzheimer's disease.
It helps stop production of arachidonic acid which is responsible for wrinkling and aging of skin. Topical creams containing DMAE help tighten skin and reduce wrinkles and fine lines.It is found to be effective in burning fat because of its involvement in the production of acetylcholine. It increases the metabolism in the body because of its thermogenic effect.It can be beneficial as an anti-inflammatory as well.It can reduce the amount of sleep required for a person by up to one hour.It can safely be used as a substitute for anabolic steroids.
Research studies have shown that consumption of 200 to 500 mg of DMAE on a daily basis is helpful in improving health. However, it is important to start with a low dosage of DMAE and then gradually increase the dosage level to the optimum level. Higher dosage can cause headaches, insomnia and muscle tension. People suffering from conditions such as schizophrenia, mental depression and epilepsy should not have DMAE supplements. Pregnant and lactating women also should not have DMAE.
Summarizing, consumption of recommended amounts of DMAE is believed to be safe. Side effects due to consumption of DMAE are rare and not generally serious. However, it is important to use high-quality supplements in order to increase DMAE levels in the body and reap the benefits.
What Vitamins And Minerals Are For Mental Alertness?
August 29, 2011 10:33 AM
There are many vitamins and minerals which can help improve the health and functioning of the nervous system. Vitamins and minerals are significantly involved in many biological processes of the body. It influences the activities of the organs of the body including the brain. In fact, deficiencies on vitamins and minerals may result to psychological or even psychiatric symptoms in certain individuals. People with psychiatric problems are also prescribed with vitamin and mineral supplements which serve as one of its conventional treatment.
The vitamins and minerals which are good for the improvement of brain function and improvement of mental alertness are the following:
1. THIAMINE OR VITAMIN B1. Generally, insufficient amount of this enzyme may result to mild psychiatric symptoms. Studies revealed that people with inadequate amount of this vitamin has the symptoms of fearfulness, anxiety, depression, agitation and behavioral instability. This vitamin is necessary for the activity the body’s enzyme called pyruvate dehydrogenase. This enzyme is required for the conversion of pyruvate to acetyl – coenzyme A. If pyruvate is not catalyzed into acetyl – coenzyme A, the excess pyruvate in the body might be converted into lactate which can cause muscle pains and also psychiatric symptoms such as anxiety. Deficiency of this vitamin must be suspected when the person is alcoholic or malnourished.
2. RIBOFLAVIN OR VITAMIN B2. This vitamin is closely associated with major depression in relation to oxidative stress. Riboflavin is required for the metabolism of protein, fats and carbohydrates. The building blocks of these macronutrients are important for the maintenance of brain health and proper functioning of the nervous system. It can improve the energy levels and functioning of the brain, thus improving an individual’s mental alertness.
3. PYRIDOXINE OR VITAMIN B6. Studies show that low level of vitamin B6 is directly related to depression. Inside the body, pyridoxine is converted into its biochemical active form called pyridoxal phosphate which is important for mental alertness and brain functioning. Pyridoxine acts as a coenzyme involved in the synthesis of brain chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine and gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). This vitamin is also involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates and amino acids which are essential for boosting energy levels.
4. COBALAMIN OR VITAMIN B12. Deficiency of this vitamin is closely related to decrease mental functioning. Vitamin B12 is a cofactor of the enzyme methionine synthase which is important in the conversion of homocysteine to methionine. This is required for the production of energy in fatty acids and proteins which is important for the methylation reactions of brain chemicals.
5. VITAMIN C. This vitamin is considered to be a cofactor of the neurotransmitter dopamine and is involved in the conversion of dopamine to norepinephrine. These brain chemicals are important for the maintenance of proper mental alertness.
6. FOLATE. Decreased mental alertness and depression is a common symptom of low levels of folate in the body. This mineral is involved in the methylation and synthesis of DNA. It is important for the development of brain function and improvement of mental alertness.
7. MAGNESIUM. This mineral is involved in many reactions of the body. Individuals with decreased mental alertness are found to have low levels of magnesium in their cerebrospinal fluids.
8. ZINC. This is a mineral which is important in the catalyses of many enzyme sin the body. It is found in high amount in the brain which is important for nervous activities.
A Good Vitamin Plan Is Essential To a Health Child To Help Fight ADHD
December 21, 2010 06:19 PM
Have you known any child who is having difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity or over-activity? This child is probably experiencing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. ADHD is a common childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Researchers are not sure what causes ADHD, although many studies suggest that genes play a large role.
Like many other health conditions, ADHD probably is a result of a combination of factors. There has been no cure for ADHD yet palliative management is promising in reducing symptoms of ADHD and improving the child’s well being and optimal functioning. These include medications, psychotherapy, training and education or a combination of these managements. In this article, we will be focusing on the natural vitamins that can help fight the exacerbation of ADHD symptoms which include:
1. Choline: Choline is a vital precursor to the production of neurotransmitters such as Dopamine and Acetylcholine. These nervous system chemicals are helpful in supporting concentration, alertness, and memory.
2. Zinc: Studies show that children in ADHD categories have lower levels of zinc and clincal studies reveal that those children who supplemented with extra zinc along with traditional ADHD medications have reported improvement of signs and symptoms most especially hyperactivity and impulsivity. Foods high in zinc include Seafood, oysters, salmon, crabmeat, and, red meat like beef, lamb and pork, poultry such as turkey and chicken, dairy products, nuts, beans, fortified cereals, and whole grains.
3. Fish oil: Most Oily Fish contain omega-3 fatty acids With DHA. These chemicals can improve mental skills and enhance the child’s ability to organize activities. Possible cause for the low fish oil status of the ADHD children may be impaired conversion of the fatty acid precursors namely Linolenic Acid and alpha-linolenic acid to their longer and more highly unsaturated products, EPA and DHA, which are fish oil fats. Fish high in omega 3 fatty acids include salmon, albacore tuna, herring, mackerel, trout, sardines, flax seeds, walnuts, butternuts and soybeans.
4. Magnesium: Magnesium can have a calming effect. The best thing about magnesium is that it is abundantly found in many foods. Low dietary magnesium levels could lead to anxiety, irritability, and/or restlessness. This mineral can also play a role in sugar metabolism, which is important when wanting to stabilizing moods and concentration. Magnesium, a calming mineral, can be found in foods like nuts, black beans, peas, seeds and ready-to-eat whole grain cereals.
5. Vitamin B-6: Vitamin B-6 is needed for normal mental development and is important in the synthesis of brain chemicals including dopamine , serotonin, and norepinephrine. A B-6 deficiency has symptoms of inability to concentrate, irritability, and short-term memory loss. Regular consumption of vitamin B-6 could help reduce behavioral issues in a ADHD child. Good sources of B vitamins are milk, fish, eggs, yeast, green-leafy vegetables and cereals. Oranges are a great source of vitamin C and can improve our mood.
These are some of the natural vitamins that we find in our food. A good multiple vitamin supplements with iron can be safe and effective.
If you Suspect your child has ADHD, whats stopping you from getting him or her on a supplement plan today?
Fight Free Radical Damage From Toxins With Vitamins And Herbs
July 28, 2010 11:34 AM
There are many things that destroy the immune system. Each day we are bombarded with them in many forms. The following are some of the most common ones that are encountered.
Agene, also known as Nitrogen Trichloride, is used to bleach flour and give it a white appearance. Unfortunately, it can cause epileptic-like fits along with failure of muscle coordination. Excessive use of alcohol also severely impairs the immune system. It increases susceptibility to infection and weakens the central nervous system. Alcohol promotes chronic lung disease, malignancies of the neck and head, intestinal problems, hypoglycemia, diabetes, liver disease, and a whole variety of other problems. B vitamins, folic acid, niacin, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, and protein are depleted by alcohol. All of these nutrients play a huge role in immune health. Aspartame breaks down in the digestive tract into a toxic material known as methanol. In order to prevent methanol from metabolizing into formaldehyde, a poison, a person needs to take another poison, ethanol.
Glutamic acid is a substance that is found in monosodium glutamate, a flavor enhancer. It affects the central nervous system and can trigger depression, gloomy fantasies, and rage for as long as two weeks following the ingestion of monosodium glutamate. High-diet fat intake increases the levels of bile acids in the colon. This breaks down into deoxycholic and lithocholic acids, both of which are cancer-causing elements. This can cause cancer of both the colon and the rectum. A diet that is high in animal protein and fat can cause cancer of the pancreas, breast, gallbladder, ovaries, uterus, prostate, and leukemia. Junk food such as sweets, white flour, and white sugar products, put a double amount of stress on the body. When too much junk food is eaten, the appetite for good, wholesome food is dulled.
Caffeine decreases immunity in the body, with fibrocystic breast disease being connected with the consumption of foods that contain caffeine. It is often caused by the chemicals methylxanthine, theophylline, and theobromine, which are found in coffee, black tea, cola drinks, chocolate, and other soft drinks. These elements act on hormones that cause breast tissue to develop fibrocystic lumps. Caffeine takes away the body’s own use of iron and inositol, and is often suspected of causing cancer in the pancreas.
Food dyes and flavorings are the culprits in behavioral problems that occur in children and adults, with some of these problems being learning disabilities and hyperactivity. Sodium nitrate is a preservative that is often found in cured meats like hot dogs, bologna, and ham. It has the potential to produce permanent epileptic changes in brain activity and damage the central nervous system.
High protein diets can deplete calcium in the body, especially when the source of protein is an animal product. There are concentrated doses of hormones and antibiotics that are found in beef which suppress the immune system and promote tumor growth. Poly-unsaturated fats undergo a process that produces rancidity in oils. This process releases dangerous free radicals, which eventually lead to cancer.
Heavy metals like lead and mercury can cause serious damage to the nervous system, with even small amounts being considered toxic. Lastly, the wide use of vaccinations and antibiotics is considered to be one of the main causes of immune system disorders.
Our bodies are under constant attack by our toxic environment. Fortunately, with regular vitamin and herb use, one can help the body restore its immune system to proper function so we can live a happier healthier life.
Fight Hypoglycemia With Fiber
July 17, 2009 03:46 PM
Symptoms of hypoglycemia can be very subtle and difficult to recognize. Many people with hypoglycemia have become so used to their symptoms that often, they don’t even recognize their own abnormality. This is especially true when it comes to behavioral changes.
There is a whole variety of symptoms that can be caused when the body cells are deprived of sugar or when blood sugar drops too quickly. The most common symptom of hypoglycemia is fatigue. When referring to fatigue, the normal kind of fatigue that occurs after hard work or exercise is not what is being discussed. Hypoglycemic fatigue affects the muscles and nerves and usually can’t be relieved with rest or sleep. The brain is extremely dependent on glucose for its energy source. Once blood sugar levels have dropped, hormones kick into action. The release of adrenaline can cause sweating, tremors, hunger, and weakness. It should also be kept in mind that if your blood sugar levels drop at a more gradual pace, the patient may not even recognize the symptoms as those of hypoglycemia. Those experiencing symptoms of hypoglycemia may feel dizzy, confused, clouded, and emotionally unstable without any visible tremors. Symptoms such as anxiety or panic attacks can become a part of hypoglycemic mood swings.
Other mental symptoms of hypoglycemia include melancholy, irritability, hostility, confusion, and paranoia.
Along with the above, there are many other symptoms that can result from hypoglycemia. These symptoms include amnesia, anxiety, antisocial behavior, breathing difficulties, confusion, constant worry, crying jags, depression, digestive disorders, drowsiness, emotional instability, exhaustion, headaches, heart palpitations, impatience, inability to cope, insomnia, intense hunger, internal trembling, irritability, lack of concentration, nervousness, dizziness, seizures, severe sweating, fainting, tingling, and tremors.
Nocturnal hypoglycemia is when blood sugar levels are low at night time, causing insomnia. Eating a whole grain snack or small piece of cheese 30 minutes before going to bed can help to reduce occurrences of this scenario.
There are, unfortunately, hundreds of people that struggle with low-blood sugar symptoms and are unaware as to why. By simply switching for a diet that is high in refined carbohydrates to one that is comprised of protein and complex carbohydrates, one can bridge the gap between a dysfunctional life and a rich one. In order to determine whether you have hypoglycemia, you must first examine your eating habits. Simple facts like what and when you eat can directly affect how you feel. Anyone who has unexplained fatigue, depression, crying spells, anxiety, or apprehension should investigate low blood sugar levels as a potential culprit. You should also look into your family history, as hypoglycemia tends to run within families.
Those people who are chronically stressed and often find themselves on a roller coaster of blood sugar going up and down are especially prone to dips in energy at certain times of the day. These people have adrenals that are not functioning optimally, causing them to want sugar when they hit a real low point. Usually, in the mid-afternoon, adrenal glands are at their lowest level of functioning. If you do, in fact, suffer from hypoglycemia, you will feel good right after you eat and then your mood and physical status will deteriorate from two to six hours after eating.
Keeping your glucose levels stable is important to maintaining good health. Snacking on complex carbohydrate foods can help regulate the amount of sugar that is released into your blood system. Consuming large quantities of fiber can also slow down the absorption of sugar in the digestive tract and level out blood sugar.
Look for great advice and fiber supplements at your local or internet health food store. When purchasing products, always buy name brands to ensure quality and purity of the supplements you buy. Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Lycopene is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Vitamins and Herbs
April 03, 2009 02:52 PM
The whole human body is made up of cells that contain their own genetic material. In a healthy body, these cells divide at a controlled rate, growing and repairing damaged tissues and replacing dying cells. This predetermined rate of cell division is what keeps our bodies healthy. If cells keep multiplying when new ones are not necessary, a mass of tissue, often known as a tumor, is formed. This tumor can be either benign or malignant.
Benign tumors are not cancerous and can occur anywhere in the body. Benign tumors do not cause a threat to health, do not metastasize, and do not grow back if removed. Malignant tumors are cancerous and are usually serious. Often times, they can be life-threatening. Malignant tumors grow uncontrollably, interfere with normal metabolic and organ functioning, and have the ability to metastasize and invade other tissues. If a portion of a cell’s DNA is damaged, the cell can become abnormal. When an abnormal cell divides, it forms new cells that are a photocopy of the damaged genetic material. This ongoing process occurs constantly within our bodies. The majority of the time our bodies have the ability to destroy these abnormal cells and maintain a sort of cellular equilibrium. If a crucial part of the DNA is destroyed and the abnormal cells cannot be controlled any longer, cancer forms. All cancer cells have two things in common: growing uncontrollably and having the ability to metastasize. The immune system does not recognize cancer cells as dangerous or foreign.
Although the exact cause for the cell damage that initiates the cancer process is unknown (theoretically free radical damage causes DNA damage), the chain of events that leads to cancer is very complex, and each individual body reacts differently. It is a combination of genetic, behavioral, environmental, and lifestyle factors that are thought to be involved in turning normal cells into abnormal cells, and abnormal cells into cancer.
There are also factors that are believed to slow the process, while other factors can speed up the process. Possible contributors to the development and growth of cancer can be divided into three categories: external, internal, and lifestyle. External factors include unhealthy workplace environments and exposure to air and water pollution, chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides. Included in the internal factors include both genetics and infections. Lifestyle factors are those we personally can most readily control, such as diet, smoking, drinking, and sun exposure. External and lifestyle factors account for 80 percent of cancer deaths in the United States.
Just as each of us looks different, each of our bodies has its own unique composition. Some of us may react adversely to what some of us react well to. This is why some treatments prove to be successful for some, but not for others. This is why dietary wellness and prevention is so important. If we can keep our bodies healthy and avoid known cancer-causing agents, we have a good defense against cancer in the first place.
The following nutrients and supplements are designed for persons who have been diagnosed with cancer, as well as for those who wish to enhance their chances of avoiding the disease: coenzyme Q10, colostrum, DMG, garlic, IP6, melatonin, MSM, proteolytic enzymes, selenium, 7-keto DHEA, shark cartilage, SOD, vitamin A, shiitake extract, acidophilus, chromium picolinate, flaxseed oil, grape seed extract, kelp, l-carnitine, multienzyme complex, a multi-mineral complex, multivitamin complex, NAC, raw glandular complex, taurine, and vitamin B complex. Additionally, the following herbs may be beneficial: astragalus, birch, burdock root, cat’s claw, chaparral, chuchuhuasi, cranberry, dandelion, Echinacea, fennel, green tea, licorice root, macela, milk thistle, parsley, pau d’arco, red clover, suma, cardamom, cayenne, ginger, rosemary, sage, thyme, turmeric, ragwort, wood sage, curcumin, essiac, noni, olive leaf extract, rosemary, and boswellia.
All of the above listed herbs and vitamins can help restore the body to good nutrition and help boost the immune system so the body can find and fight back against cancer. Natural vitamins and herbs are available at your local or internet health food store. When purchasing supplements, look for name brand vitamins like Solaray and Source Naturals to ensure you receive quality and you get what you pay for.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Natural vitamins and herbs are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Vitamin D Supplements
July 29, 2008 02:55 PM
Scientists at the Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, California have recently begun studying whether there is substantial convincing biological or behavioral evidence that links vitamin D deficiency to brain dysfunction. The study found that there is biological evidence which proves that there is an important role for vitamin D in the development of the brain and its function. Supplementation for groups that are chronically low in vitamin D has been found to be extremely beneficial. Vitamin D is involved in brain function through its wide distribution of vitamin D receptors throughout the brain.
Vitamin D affects the proteins in the brain that are known to be involved directly with learning, memory, motor control, and possibly even maternal and social behavior. Research has shown that supplementation is beneficial to those groups whose vitamin D status is extremely low, especially nursing infants, the elderly, and African Americans, but the need for further study has been established. The authors of the study argue that vitamin D supplementation is necessary for those groups that are at risk.
Increased vitamin D levels protect the body against osteoporosis, cancer, and multiple sclerosis. There is now evidence that suggests that vitamin D may help protect against a potentially dangerous rise in blood pressure which occurs in some people as they get older. A study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition had researchers finding that as many as 60 percent of whites and more than 90 percent of blacks who participated in the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey had insufficient blood levels of vitamin D.
Researchers also investigated the association between vitamin D, blood pressure, and age. This investigation found that people with lower blood levels of vitamin D had significantly higher increases in systolic blood pressure as they aged than did those people who had healthy levels. Actually, the age-related rise in blood pressure turned out to be 20 percent lower in those people who had healthy vitamin D levels, as oppose to those people who did not. This suggests that vitamin D deficiency may play a critical role in high blood pressure development.
Many other studies have suggested that there is a role for vitamin D in reducing blood pressure. According to Vin Tangpricha MD, PhD., an assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Lipids at Emory University School of Medicine, there is not enough evidence that vitamin D prevents hypertension available, however, because vitamin D insufficiency is highly prevalent throughout the United States, it may be a good idea to take a vitamin D supplement solely because of the strong evidence on vitamin D’s ability to prevent osteoporotic fractures. It has been noted that further studies are needed in order to determine vitamin D’s effect on blood pressure.
Additionally, it needs to be determined if giving all patients vitamin D will help lower blood pressure. Those people who have a family history of other risk factors that are associated with high blood pressure, such as being older than sixty-five, should have their blood pressure checked regularly. Be sure to look for more studies and information on the effects of supplemental vitamin D on both white and black habitants of the United States to help battle vitamin D deficiency. To learn more about supplemental vitamin D, contact your local health food provider.
July 03, 2008 08:58 AM
Serotonin has not only been shown to regulate sleep, but it also is responsible for controlling mood, including feelings of optimism, relaxation, general sense of well-being, and the ability to focus and concentrate. When serotonin levels drop, it can lead to a lowered mood, which is what people experience with seasonal affective disorder, premenstrual syndrome, and general stress. People who experience these conditions also have been shown to experience decreased levels of tryptophan, which is responsible for the decrease in production of serotonin. Tryptophan depletion has been associated with a lowering in mood of normal healthy men. In one study, women who had recovered from major depression and ended drug treatment experienced temporary but clinically significant depressive symptoms after tryptophan depletion. In many studies that were performed in the 1970s, indications of trytophan’s ability to relieve lowered mood were found.
When shorter days begin in the fall and winter, negative effects on a significant percent of the U.S. population result. Some experience sadness, sleepiness, increased appetite, weight gain, and a loss of libido, which is what is known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). A key contributor to this is the increased synthesis of melatonin that occurs during the winter months. Daylight normally inhibits the conversion of serotonin into melatonin. Since the period of nighttime is longer in the winter versus the summer, there is a longer period of melatonin secretion. Increased synthesis of melatonin depletes serotonin levels, which, in turn, increase the symptoms of SAD. Those patients who experience SAD tend to crave starchy foods and sweets more, which happens when brain serotonin levels are low.
Tryptophan treatment may offer a substantial amount of help for people who are suffering from seasonal affective disorder. SAD patients who were treated with either light therapy or with tryptophan proved that patients with light therapy relapsed more quickly after the discontinued use, as apposed to those who were treated with tryptophan. Studies have also shown that SAD patients often feel better after being treated with tryptophan.
Serotonin also plays an important role in behavioral inhibition. Many studies have found that there is a decrease in aggressive behavior when serotonin is increased, while decreasing serotonin leads to impulsive aggressive behavior. Another study proves that healthy men who are depleted of tryptophan show more aggressiveness. When tryptophan supplementation was studied, participants who received the tryptophan significantly decreased their quarrelsome behavior and increased in sociable and agreeable behavior. Additionally, those patients’ perceptions of other participants’ agreeableness also increased.
Symptoms that are related to premenstrual syndrome include depression, cravings for foods that a rich in carbohydrates, insomnia, irritability, and hostility. More so, women with premenstrual syndrome dysphoria, which is a more severe premenstrual syndrome, have shown decreased levels of brain serotonin. This suggests that tryptophan may be involved, as premenstrual women who had tryptophan depletion have shown increased aggressive behavior. When tryptophan supplementation was studied on women who experienced premenstrual dysphoric disorder, mood swings, tension, and irritability, results showed that there were significantly greater improvements with l-tryptophan supplementation than with a placebo.
June 14, 2008 03:22 PM
DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol) enhances mental function through the improvement of concentration, mental clarity and mental alertness. It is also a mild brain stimulant because it increases and sustains the energy levels in the brain. It also improves the level of restful nighttime sleep because the sleep is deeper and less time is needed to reach a rejuvenated state. DMAE helps to boost mental function through an increase in the levels of acetylcholine and choline. These are the brain’s chemical messengers.
Because of DMAE’s ability to stimulate mental cognitive function, it also has been shown to improve learning, increase intelligence and elevate mood.
* Accelerates mental processes * Decreases irritability and overactivity * Does not cause drowsiness * Improves concentration * Improves IQ * Increases attention * Relieves mild depression * Aids in long-term treatment of schizophrenia
It is believed that DMAE may also increase physical energy. Athletes and other active individuals are using DMAE more and more because of its ability to enhance these brain functions. The connection between the mind and muscles is a means to focus on form and reduce the risk of injury. So, when the mind is enhanced, it communicates better with the muscles to improve and refine function.
Due to DMAE’s mild stimulating effect on the brain, athletes report that it is a good alternative for a quick lift instead of coffee. They also believe the stimulating effects last longer than they do with caffeine. DMAE used as a mild stimulant is also safer and healthier than caffeine.
How It Works:
DMAE, once consumed, is transported to the liver where it is converted into choline through the process of metabolism. A small amount is then converted into acetylcholine, which is a brain transmitter. Through this process, DMAE increases the levels of these brain transmitters (neurotransmitters). This causes a boost in mental cognitive function and memory.
Acetylcholine is also responsible for helping to conduct nerve impulses in the brain. Choline is also converted in the brain into phosphatidylcholine. This chemical rebuilds and protects existing cell membranes inside the brain. DMAE has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier faster than choline. Through this quicker travel, DMAE enhances cell protection and repair and helps our brains function better and create enhanced, positive behavioral changes in most people.
Other DMAE Uses:
DMAE is being studied for use in aiding a movement disorder in Parkinson’s patients. This disorder, called dyskenesis is caused by L-Dopa, which is administered to treat the effects of the disease. DMAE seems to counteract dyskenesis effectively and safely without interfering with the benefits of the therapy. DMAE is proving to reduce the effects of other disorders that involve involuntary movements. Two of these disorders being treated are blepharospasm (eyelid twitching) and benign essential tremors.
Age spot sufferers may find hope for treatment of their condition as well. DMAE has been found to inhibit the formation of pigment caused by aging (lipofuscin) and liver spots (lentigo). It may actually flush lipofuscin from the body, causing the skin spots to disappear over a few month’s time.
DMAE is being studied for its possible ability in helping to reduce cognitive impairments related to age. Aside from increased mental cognitive function, research has shown that DMAE may also be useful in treating the following conditions.
* Alzheimer’s disease * ADD (attention deficit disorder) * Hyperactivity
The use of DMAE as a regular dietary supplement is increasing steadily. All of its benefits in aiding mental cognitive function and brain stimulation are an attractive quality for everyone. Additional research showing that DMAE is useful in treating debilitating conditions such as Parkinson’s gives us new hope. As research continues and more new uses for DMAE are discovered, its popularity will continue to grow as well.
Omega-3 Fish Oil
May 02, 2008 03:07 PM
The benefits of fish oil come from two long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA primarily helps prevent behavioral and attention issues in children and adults. DHA is good for brain development starting as far back as when we are developing in the womb.
Scientists at Wayne State University in Detroit found that babies who had higher concentrations of DHA in their cord blood had greater visual, cognitive, and motor development when tested at the six month and twelfth month marks. Most pregnant women get less DHA then they need during those last few months of pregnancy. Supplementing with DHA can have profound benefits for baby as well as mother. DHA can extend gestation time which can reduce the rate of premature birthing. Some research suggests that DHA can help fight pre-eclampsia, a life threatening condition that happens to women that are pregnant. Omega-3 fish oil reduces platelet aggregation and vasoconstriction – both of which are symptoms of pre-eclampsia.
Eating fish is a good way to get the needed DHA in our diets but safety is always an issue with the fish that is being consumed. Cold water fish have been known to have potential toxins like mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, and dioxins. These toxins are not good for developing baby as well as the mother.
Brain power can be boosted in babies who are breast fed because of the high concentrations of DHA present in breast milk. Infants begin developing neuronal pathways associated with learning as soon as they are born and if they are not breast fed they should be supplementing their diet with DHA. Studies suggest that DHA plays a role in the production and regulation of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. Numerous studies show that breast fed babies have greater cognitive development and visual acuity then those who are formula fed.
The importance of fish oil for infants in brain development is clearly seen, fish oil is also important for older children and adults who want a mental boost. It’s never too late to take fish oil to boost mental health; studies suggest that Alzheimer’s disease can be slowed with the consumption of omega-3 fish oil as well. Have you had your fish oil today?
If burping up fish oil is not your cup of tea, give vectomega a try. vectomega is a dry fish oil that provides the same health benefits you experience with regular oil pills minus the oil.
Are You At Risk And What Can You Do About It?
April 23, 2008 04:54 PM
Did you know there are Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) that can have an endocrine disrupting ability? Meaning, these chemicals can have an estrogen like and anti-androgen effect on the body, disrupting the normal function of our endocrine system which can cause all sorts of health issues.
Back in the industrial boom directly following world war II these chemicals were widely used in plastics, cosmetics, personal care products, cleaning agents, clothing, household furnishings, and decorations, food and water, fertilizers, and pesticides and fungicides. These chemicals are being banned by the government but are not gone all together yet.
Endocrine disruptor chemicals are fat soluble which means when consumed they are stored by the body in our fat stores. This makes these chemicals a persistent pain in the butt for a very long time since fat soluble substances tend to be stored and slowly released; some claim the release can be years and years down the road.
These types of toxins can easily leach into water including juices and can vaporize into the air that we breathe in to our lungs. Once ingested, these chemicals can lead to reproductive, developmental, behavioral, neurological, endocrine, and immunologic adverse health effects that can last a lifetime.
Those men and women who want to have children may discover that one of both at have reproductive impairments due to POPs. Symptoms of toxicity are male infertility, gynecological problems, and accelerated puberty, developmental abnormalities of the reproductive tract, premature delivery, behavioral problems, abnormal thyroid function, cancer and heart disease. In cases of children, signs of toxicity are leukemia when fetal exposure is experienced.
The wide spread use of phthalates in industrial and consumer products has raised a lot of concerns. Phthalates are what keep plastics flexible. Dibutyl phthalate is used in PVC piping (in new homes the piping that supply water to faucets), various varnishes and lacquers, safety glass, nail polishes, paper coatings, dental materials, pharmaceuticals, children’s toys, and plastic food wrap. The heating of plastic containers either by microwave or a hot cup of tea can easily leach these phthalate’s in to food or drink exposing humans to high amounts of this toxin.
Also, Parabens are high on the watch list for those health minded. Parabens are a group of synthetic chemicals used as a preservative in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. The most common parabens are methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. These three are used as a bacteriocidal and fungicidal agent in many products we use every day. The FDA does not require approval of cosmetic ingredients before they reach the market place so cosmetic manufactures are free to use what ever they want in their products.
Parabens have been shown to have a mild estrogenic affect on the body, and are in practically all personal care products on the market today. If you are applying a name brand cosmetic onto your skin daily, take a look at the label to see if Parabens are used.
For those looking to stay away form all the above listed toxins look for products packaged in glass, PETE or HDPE bottles and containers. Look for packets lined with saran, and can linings made of polyolefins. Use biodegradable household cleaning agents and avoid sprays and insecticides. Cleaning supplies are not required to list ingredients so it is always buyer beware unless the label states it is free from PCBs, Parabens, and POPs.
Finally, when buying furniture avoid furniture that contains flame retardant PBDEs and limit children to the exposure of such furniture. Exposure to PBDEs can lead to some of the above listed symptoms and cause health problems. Staying healthy is a tough task with all the environmental toxins we face. By buying organic foods and avoid the above listed chemicals one can live longer and maintain better health over a lifetime.
Urinary Incontinence and Overactive Bladder: The Silent Conditions
February 07, 2008 05:56 PM
Even though we are all comfortable talking about cardiovascular issues, mind and brain function, and digestive wellness, the topic of bladder health is rarely discussed. Whether it is vaguely touched upon or completely ignored, bladder issues including urinary incontinence and overactive bladder get a low amount of coverage considering their prevalence throughout the world. Research has shown that 17 million Americans can be diagnosed with urinary incontinence and 33 million Americans suffer from overactive bladder. So with these figures, why is it that we rarely hear about these issues? Firstly, urinary incontinence and overactive bladder have been marked as taboo topics, as sufferers are not eager to openly talk about their experiences since they can be uncomfortable and embarrassing to discuss. Due to the social stigma that is associated with urinary incontinence, it is extremely under-diagnosed and under-reported. Another reason why people aren’t talking about bladder issues is because the market has only recently become recognized as financially viable as the market for urinary incontinence treatment reached more than $7 billion by the end of 2006, as compared to $276 million in 2000. With the new baby boomer population turning 60 in a few years, it is anticipated that urinary incontinence and overactive bladder treatment will soar much higher.
No matter the reason, these are serious health issues that affect people deeply. Both physiological and psychological aspects take their toll on a person. Studies have shown that people with these illnesses have a poorer quality of life, causing sufferers to become reclusive and isolated as they are too embarrassed to talk about their bladder issues.
However, there are a variety of ways that bladder health can be addressed, including pharmaceutical, behavioral, and natural approaches. Various drug therapies have been found to improve bladder control. However, most drug therapies also have unpleasant side effects such as dry mouth, dry eyes, blurred vision, and memory loss. Some drugs can even produce harmful long-term side effects. National continence groups also have recommendations as to behavioral interventions and exercises that can be taken to deal with bladder issues. Bladder control training, which involves teaching the bladder to completely fill and empty, is important to adequate fluids and avoid going to the toilet just in case. Kegal exercises can also be done to help strengthen the muscles that contract if you are urinating.
There are also natural herbal and nutrient options that are worth considering. These include Horsetail and Crateva nurvala, which both are means of improving bladder tone and control. Horsetail, which is high in silica, is known as a urinary astringent and antispasmodic. It relieves involuntary muscle spasms. Crateva has been shown to improve bladder tone and total bladder capacity. It improves urine flow, which helps the bladder to empty completely.
Since bladder health is a concern for many Americans, as it impacts what we do, where we go, our confidence levels, and sense of freedom, we need to start openly discussing bladder health and become more informed about the options that are available to us. Even though sufferers have learned to live with poor bladder health, recent research is making natural dietary ingredients an alternative for those who are looking for support to their bladder health.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia
February 28, 2007 12:02 PM
This is a fast paced world. We are all busy; living our full lives, burning the candle at both ends. We all get tired. We all get sick from time to time and maybe even depressed. But the illness called chronic fatigue syndrome is not like the normal ups and downs that we experience in everyday life. People with chronic fatigue syndrome feel overwhelming fatigue, and often pain as well. This is an illness that does not go away with a few good nights’ sleep. It drags on and on and doesn’t resolve itself. It steals vigor and energy over months, and sometimes even years.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we will talk about powerful vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs combined in scientifically validated formulas that people with chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia can use every day. These nutrients help address some root problems of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia by restoring energy and health to sufferers.
Q. What is chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) also known as chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS), or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a group of symptoms associated with unrelenting and debilitating fatigue. The profound weakness of CFS causes a persistent and substantial reduction in activity level. You feel too tired to do normal activities or are easily exhausted for no apparent reason.
Besides extreme fatigue, symptoms of CFS include general pain, mental fogginess, flu-like symptoms, and gastrointestinal problems. A list of symptoms includes:
The number of symptoms and the severity of these symptoms can vary among people. The symptoms of CFS hand on or reoccur frequently for more than six months.
Q. Are chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia considered being the same illness?
A. Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a painful shortening of muscles throughout the body. FMS is basically a sleep disorder characterized by many tender knots in the muscles. These tender knots, called tender or trigger points, are a major cause of the achiness that people with fibromyalgia and CFS feel.
Approximately 80 percent of chronic fatigue syndrome patients have received and overlapping diagnosis of fibromyalgia syndrome. For most people, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are the same illness.
Q. What causes chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. There are many causes that can trigger CFS. Current research is looking at the roles of neuroendocrine dysfunction, viruses, environmental toxins, genetic predisposition, food sensitivities, yeast overgrowth, faulty digestion, or a combination of these factors.
For many people, CFS is triggered by a bout with a viral illness (like a cold or the flu), or even a stressful event. CFS is usually a mix of underlying causes. It is like a domino effect in that each problem can trigger another problem, and so on. For example, fatigue and poor sleep can trigger a weakened immune system, which can, in turn, trigger yeast or bacterial infections.
Q. Who gets chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. CFS is more common than you might expect. It strikes people of all ages, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. Approximately 800,000 people nationwide have CFS and over six million have fibromyalgia at any given time.
It is important to stress that CFS is a real illness; it is not “just in your head.” Unfortunately, sufferers of CFS may find that many healthcare practitioners discount the symptoms of this illness or misdiagnose it as another disease. This can lead to additional emotional suffering.
Q. How long does chronic fatigue syndrome last?
A. The illness varies greatly in its duration. Some people recover after a year or two. More often, those who recover are more likely to do so three to five years after onset. Yet for some people, the illness seems to simply persist. There are rare cases of spontaneous improvement after five years without undergoing any treatment. However, this is very unusual.
Q. What are the complications of chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. The patterns of CFS vary from individual to individual. However, many common patterns of symptoms are seen in CFS sufferers. These symptoms and problems interact and create new symptoms and problems. For example, infections and disrupted sleep can lead to digestive, hormone, and immune problems.
The most notorious pattern seen in CFS is the one in which a person suddenly comes down with a flu-like illness that doesn’t go away. These viral or bacterial infections can suppress the body’s master gland, the hypothalamus. Since the hypothalamus controls the other glands, including the adrenals, ovaries, testes, and thyroid, suppression of this gland will lead to a subtle but debilitating decrease in the functioning of all glands and their hormones. Suppressed hypothalamic function from chronic infections can then trigger sleep dysfunction.
The suppression of the hypothalamus gland can lead to poor sleep because the body confuses its day/night cycles. Because of this, people with CFS have trouble staying in the deep, restorative stages of sleep that “recharge their batteries.”
Poor sleep can cause immune suppression, which may lead to secondary bowel infections. The bowel infections seen in people with CFS can cause decreased absorption of nutrients, which can lead to chronic vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Q. Is there a cure for chronic fatigue syndrome?
A. Treating chronic fatigue syndrome presents a significant challenge to people with CFS and their healthcare practitioners. Recently, a published placebo-controlled study ( of which I was the lead investigator) showed that when using an integrated treatment approach, over 85 percent of CFS and fibromyalgia patients can improve, often dramatically. The full text of this study can be seen at ‘www.endfatigue.com’. An editorial in the April 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Pain Management noted that this treatment, which I developed, is now a highly effective and excellent part of the standard of practice for treatment of fibromyalgia. Since this treatment addresses many different problems associated with CFS/FMS, it needs to be individualized to each patient.
Medications that provide symptom relief are frequently the first line of treatment chosen by healthcare practitioners for the person with CFS. These include medications for pain, sleep disturbances; digestive problems such as nausea, depression and anxiety, and flu-like symptoms.
However, medications have not been universally successful because they tent to put a bandage on symptoms instead of addressing the root problems. Because of this, medications may need to be supplemented by the other supportive therapies that can address the root problems.
People with CFS/FMS may be depressed, given the catastrophic lifestyle disruption these diseases may cause. They may also feel guilt and frustration because their symptoms were not taken seriously for such a long time. Fear can be a factor as employment and family relationships may be jeopardized by this illness.
Therapies that help people to relax and improve coping skills may be helpful and include counseling for emotional and mental health, cognitive behavioral therapy, sleep management therapy, and massage.
Daily Nutritional Supplementation for Energy
Good overall nutrition is important for everyone, of course. However, there are several vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that can have powerful nutritional effects for a person with CFS. All of the vitamins and minerals in a chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia formula should work together synergistically to help improve energy levels and overall health. Here are some key nutrients to look for in an energy formula:
Vitamins, Minerals & Other Key Ingredients
Vitamin A: Essential for healthy skin and mucous membrane integrity, healthy immune system responses and healthy bone growth and healthy reproductive processes. Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene is an antioxidant and free radical fighter. Vitamin E: Helps to relieve pain in CFS patients. Can also improve night leg cramps, which interferes with sleep.
Vitamin C: Enhances immune function by increasing natural killer cells, B and T cells. Can prevent chronic bladder infections by acidifying urine.
Vitamin D: Regulates immune functions of monocytes and neutrophils. Neutraphils are white blood cells that ingest invasive bacteria, and act as the first line of defense once bacteria makes it past the skin barrier.
Magnesium: Involved with immune support. Working with malic acid, enhances immune function by increasing natural killer cells. Magnesium is also critical for the relief of muscle pain.
Inositol: Enhances immune function by increasing natural killer cells.
Malic Acid: Working with magnesium, improves energy levels by improving cellular functions. Especially important in muscle metabolism.
Betaine: Works with B vitamins to synthesize amino acids, and acts as a precursor to SAM-e. SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine) is a naturally-occurring molecule in the body, and may have an effect on overall mood elevation.
Amino Acids: Glycine, Serine, Taurine, Tyrosine are essential for the production of energy in the body. Also essential for brain function.
Zinc: Supports the immune system by enhancing neutrophils activity and supporting healthy antigen-antibody binding.
Selenium: Supports immune function by enhancing antibody production.
Fructooligosaccharides: Provides nutrition for good bacteria in the intestinal tract, improving digestion and healthy microflora.
All of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional supplements on the list are important to ensure recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome. To ensure that your nutritional supplement regimen contains all of these ingredients, look for a powdered supplement formulated specifically for CFS/FMS sufferers that can be reconstituted in a beverage of your choice. A powdered drink mix is a pleasant, easy way to ensure that you are taking all of the needed vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that will give you the needed energy to recover from your illness.
B Vitamin Complex for Energy
In addition to the powdered energy drink mix, it is important that you also take a vitamin B-complex supplement specifically formulated for people with CFS/FMS. The B vitamin formula, which should include niacinamide, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, and choline, is especially important to restore the energy production needs of your body, as well as for mental function. It is also important to make sure that the dosages are high enough CFS/FMS needs. The chart in the next column lists the B vitamins that are critical for people suffering from CFS/FMS.
B Vitamins Effect on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Studies have demonstrated that people with CFS/FMS are often deficient in many of the B vitamins, which tends to worsen their symptoms of fatigue and mental “fogginess” and ultimately lead to a weakened immune system.
B vitamins - Effect on Energy
Thiamine (B1) - Essential in the process of energy production. This vitamin also removes lactic acid from muscles, which causes them to be sore in fibromyalgia patients.
Riboflavin (B2) - Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is crucial in the production of body energy. Supports healthy gluthathione reductase activity, which helps maintain gluthathione, a major protector against free radical damage. Vitamin B2 itself also has antioxidant qualities.
Niacinamide(B3) - Essential vitamin that is a component of the body’s energy furnace, helping to improve fatigue and “brain fog”.
Pantothenic Acid (B5) - This vitamin improves adrenal gland function, which will boost energy levels. It can also aid in weight loss by decreasing appetite.
Vitamin B6 - Working along with thiamine, this vitamin is critical in the process of energy production.
Vitamin B12 - Important for brain function and nerve repair. Aids in relieving fatigue symptoms in CFS patients. Folic Acid - Aids in strengthening the immune system, and aids in mental clarity and concentration.
Q. What other supplements can help me with CFS?
A. Many people with CFS/FMS are suffering from adrenal burnout. Adrenal burnout occurs when the adrenal glands are constantly producing cortisol in response to chronic stress like that seen in cases of CFS. Over time, this exhausts the adrenal reserve, meaning the adrenal gland can no longer increase cortisol production in response to stress.
The good news is that changes in our hormone levels can return to normal when stress is decreased. However, in cases of CFS that return to normal can be made much simpler by using a glandular therapy regimen to ensure healthy cortisol levels and adrenal function.
Glandular therapy uses the concentrated forms of bovine (cow) or porcine (pig) glands to improve the health of our glands. Pioneers in the field of endocrinology (the study of hormones) hypothesized that glandular extracts work by providing nutrients the body lacks and thus repairing the malfunctioning gland.
If CFS has left your adrenal glands in a stressed-out state, you should see great results by taking adrenal supplements. Be sure to buy an adrenal extract supplement that contains both whole adrenal and adrenal cortex extracts.
The best adrenal supplement should also contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, L-tyrosine, betaine, pantothenic acid and licorice. Licorice contains glycyrrhizin, which is broken down into glycyrrhizic or glycyrrhetinic acid. This compound inhibits the activity of an enzyme that turns active cortisol into inactive cortisol. While in high amounts (greater than 100 mg of glycyrrhizic acid/day), licorice administration causes hypertension, no such effects have been observed at lower doses. Experts have speculated that inhibition of the cortisol-converting enzyme may reduce cortisol-related symptoms associated with adrenal insufficiency. The adrenal glands use these nutrients to manufacture cortisone and other compounds. It just makes sense to purchase an adrenal supplement with these supportive ingredients.
The Road to Recovery-Adequate Sleep
Disordered sleep is the underlying process that drives many of the symptoms of CFS/FMS. The most effective way to eliminate pain in CFS/FMS is to get seven to nine hours of deep sleep each night.
However, getting adequate sleep is easier said than done for CFS sufferers with underlying fibromyalgia symptoms. The muscle knots of fibromyalgia make it uncomfortable to lie in one position for an extended time, causing difficulty in returning to deep sleep. Because of this, people with CFS/FMS do not stay in deep stages of sleep to recharge their “batteries.” In addition, poor sleep can cause and be caused by the suppression of the hypothalamus gland, which causes the brain to think it is daytime instead of night time.
It may be helpful to use herbal products to promote good quality sleep. There are many natural supplements that are marketed as sleep formulas. To get the best results, it is very important that the right ingredients are in the sleep formula you buy. Therefore, it is important to look for an herbal sleep formula that is especially formulated for people with CFS/FMS. The combination of herbs is important as each herb addresses a different aspect of sleeplessness and muscle tension.
Ingredients - Effect on Sleep
Wild Lettuce - Has been found to have sedative effects.
Hops - Acts as mild sedative and has a sleep-inducing effect. Jamaica Dogwood Has been found to be mildly sedative and is often used for anxiousness.
L-Theanine - Causes significant increases of neurotransimitter concentrations in the brain, which promotes muscle relaxion and improves sleep.
Valerian - This herb has been clinically studied for its ability to improve sleep quality.
Passionflower - This herb eases nervousness and insomnia.
Putting It All Together
After a good night’s rest, a powdered energy drink mix formulated for people with CFS/FMS should be drunk along with a well-balanced breakfast as discussed earlier. In addition to the nutritional beverage mix, a vitamin B complex supplement designed specifically for CFS sufferers, also discussed earlier, containing niacinamide, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, and choline, should be taken every morning. The nutritional drink mix and the vitamin B complex supplement will ensure that your body has all the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients, to combat your overwhelming fatigue, pain, and “brain fog.” Taking a daily adrenal supplement, like the one discussed earlier, will provide the much-needed (and often depleted) nutrients your body may be lacking, and help you recover lost energy.
Together, these four interventions: sleep formula; morning energy drink; energy B complex supplement; and an adrenal complex- can make an incredible difference that you should begin to notice within 2-3 weeks of starting this program.
Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are complex physical diseases with physical causes. The unrelenting symptoms of fatigue, pain, and mental fogginess can be overwhelming and frightening. Partnering with a healthcare practitioner specializing in CFS and utilizing different medical treatments, supportive therapies, and lifestyle changes are healthy ways to combat chronic fatigue syndrome. And taking nutritional supplements formulated specifically for people with CMS/FMS that help boost energy or help you get a good night’s sleep can give you critical control over the outcome of your illness and set you on the road to recovery.
Is there a cure for chronic fatigue syndrome?
December 10, 2005 03:19 PM
A. Treating chronic fatigue syndrome presents a significant challenge to people with CFS and their healthcare practitioners. Recently, a published placebo-controlled study (of which I was the lead investigator) showed that when using an integrated treatment approach, over 85 percent of CFS and fibromyalgia patients can improve, often dramatically. The full text of this study can be seen at ‘www.endfatigue.com’.
An editorial in the April 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Pain Management noted that this treatment, which I developed, is now a highly effective and excellent part of the standard of practice for treatment of fibromyalgia. Since this treatment addresses many different problems associated with CFS/FMS, it needs to be individualized to each patient.
Medications that provide symptom relief are frequently the first line of treatment chosen by healthcare practitioners for the person with CFS. These include medications for the pain, sleep disturbances’ digestive problems such as nausea, depression and anxiety, and flu-like symptoms.
However, medications have not been universally successful because they tend to put a bandage on symptoms instead of addressing the root problems. Because of this, medications may need to be supplemented by the other supportive therapies that can address the root problems.
People with CFS? FMS may be depressed, given the catastrophic lifestyle disruption these diseases may cause. They may also feel guilt and frustration because their symptoms were not taken seriously for such a long time. Fear can be a factor as employment and family relationships may be jeopardized by this illness.
Therapies that help people to relax and improve coping skills may be helpful and include counseling for emotional and mental health, cognitive behavioral therapy, sleep management therapy, and massage.
Daily Nutritional Supplementation for Energy Good overall nutrition is important for everyone, of course. However, there are several vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that can have powerful nutritional effects for a person with CFS. All of the vitamins and minerals in a chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia formula should work together synergistically to help improve energy levels and overall health. Here are some key nutrients to look for in an energy formula:
Vitamins, Minerals & Other Key Ingredients Vitamin A: Essentail for healthy skin and mucous membrane integrity, healthy immune system responses and healthy bone grown and healthy reproductive processes. Vitamin A in the form of beta-catotene is an antioxidant and free radical fighter.
Vitamin E: Helps to relieve pain in CFS patients. Can also improve night leg cramps, which interferes with sleep.
Vitamin C: Enhances immune function by increasing natural killer cells, B and T cells. Can prevent chronic bladder infections by acidifying urine.
Vitamin D: Regulates immune functions of monocytes and neutrophils. Neutrophils are white blood cells that ingest invasive bacteria, and act as the first line of defense once bacteria makes it past the skin barrier.
Magnesium: Involved with immune support. Working with malic acid, enhances immune function by increasing natural killer cells. Magnesium is also critical for the relief of muscle pain.
Inositol: Enhances immune function by increasing natural killer cells.
Malic Acid: Working with magnesium, improves energy levels by improving cellular functions. Especially important in muscle metabolism.
Betaine: Works with B vitamins to synthesize amino acids, and acts as a precursor to SAM-e. SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine) is a naturally-occurring molecule in the body, and may have an effect on overall mood elevation.
Amino Acids: Glycine, Serine, Taurine, Tyrosine are essential for production of energy in the body. Also essential for brain function.
Zinc: Supports the immune system by enhancing neutrophil activity and supporting healthy antigen-antibody binding.
Selenium: Supports immune function by enhancing antibody production.
Fructooligosaccharides: Provides nutrition for good bacteria in the intestinal tract, improving digestion and healthy microflora. All of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional supplements on the list are important to ensure recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome. To ensure that your nutritional supplement regimen contains all of these ingredients, look for a powdered supplement formulated specifically for CFS/FMS sufferers that can be reconstituted in a beverage of your choice. A powdered drink mix is a pleasant, easy way to ensure that you are taking all of the needed vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that will give you the needed energy to recover from your illness.
B Vitamin Complex for Energy
In addition to the powdered energy drink mix, it is important that you also take a vitamin B-complex supplement specifically formulated for people with CFS/FMS. The B vitamin formula, which should include niacinamide, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B^, folic acid, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, and choline, is especially important to restore the energy production needs of your body, as well as for mental function. IT is also important to make sure that the dosages are high enough for CFS/FMS needs.
B Vitamins Effect on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Studies have demonstrated that people with CFS/FMS are often deficient in many of the B vitamins, which tends to worsen their symptoms of fatigue and mental “fogginess” and ultimately lead to a weakened immune system.
Chloride: The Forgotten Essential Mineral
November 20, 2005 07:54 AM
Chloride: The Forgotten Essential Mineral
Chloride is an “essential” mineral for humans. It is abundant in ionic trace mineral preparations. It is a major mineral nutrient that occurs primarily in body fluids. Chloride is a prominent negatively charged ion of the blood, where it represents 70% of the body’s total negative ion content. On average, an adult human body contains approximately 115 grams of chloride, making up about 0.15% of total body weight.1 The suggested amount of chloride intake ranges from 750 to 900 milligrams per day, based on the fact that total obligatory loss of chloride in the average person is close to 530 milligrams per day. As the principle negatively charged ion in the body, chloride serves as one of the main electrolytes of the body. Chloride, in addition to potassium and sodium, assist in the conduction of electrical impulses when dissolved in bodily water. Potassium and sodium become positive ions as they lose an electron when dissolved and chloride becomes a negative ion as it gains an electron when dissolved. A positive ion is always accompanied by a negative ion, hence the close relationship between sodium, potassium and chloride. The electrolytes are distributed throughout all body fluids including the blood, lymph, and the fluid inside and outside cells.2 The negative charge of chloride balances against the positive charges of sodium and potassium ions in order to maintain serum osmolarity.
Pivotal Roles of Chloride in the Body
In addition to its functions as an electrolyte, chloride combines with hydrogen in the stomach to make hydrochloric acid, a powerful digestive enzyme that is responsible for the break down of proteins, absorption of other metallic minerals, and activation of intrinsic factor, which in turn absorbs vitamin B12. Chloride is specially transported into the gastric lumen, in exchange for another negatively charged electrolyte (bicarbonate), in order to maintain electrical neutrality across the stomach membrane. After utilization in hydrochloric acid, some chloride is reabsorbed by the intestine, back into the blood stream where it is required for maintenance of extracellular fluid volume. Chloride is both actively and passively absorbed by the body, depending on the current metabolic demands. A constant exchange of chloride and bicarbonate, between red blood cells and the plasma helps to govern the pH balance and transport of carbon dioxide, a waste product of respiration, from the body. With sodium and potassium, chloride works in the nervous system to aid in the transport of electrical impulses throughout the body, as movement of negatively charged chloride into the cell propagates the nervous electrical potential.
Deficiency of Chloride
Deficiency of chloride is rare. However, when it does occur, it results in a life threatening condition known as alkalosis, in which the blood becomes overly alkaline. A tedious balance between alkalinity and acidity is in constant flux, and must be vigilantly maintained throughout the entire body. Alkalosis may occur as a result of excessive loss of sodium, such as heavy sweating during endurance exercise, and in cases of prolonged vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms include muscle weakness, loss of appetite, irritability, dehydration, and profound lethargy. Hypochloremia may result from water overload, wasting conditions, and extensive bodily burns with sequestration of extracellular fluids. In a situation in which infants were inadvertently fed chloride-deficient formula, many experienced failure to thrive, anorexia, and weakness in their first year of life.3
Excessive intakes of dietary chloride only occur with the ingestion of large amounts of salt and potassium chloride. The toxic effects of such diets, such as fluid retention and high blood pressure, are attributed to the high sodium and potassium levels.4 Chloride toxicity has not been observed in humans except in the special case of impaired sodium chloride metabolism, e.g. in congestive heart failure.5 Healthy individuals can tolerate the intake of large quantities of chloride provided that there is a concomitant intake of fresh water. Other situations in which increased blood levels of chloride are seen include diseases of improper waste elimination that occur in kidney diseases. Excess chloride is normally excreted in the urine, sweat, and bowels. In fact, excess urinary excretion of chloride occurs in high salt diets. Excessive intakes of chloride can occur in a person with compromised health in addition to an unhealthy diet. However, those that follow a healthy diet and lead an active lifestyle may need to consider supplementing their diet with this important mineral.
Chloride vs. Chlorine
The mineral supplement chloride is very different from the gas chlorine. While elemental chlorine is a dangerous gas that does not exist in the free elemental state in nature because of its reactivity, although it is widely distributed in combination with other elements. Chloride is related to chlorine however, as one of the most common chlorine compounds is common salt, NaCl. Chloride is a by-product of the reaction between chlorine and an electrolyte, such as potassium, magnesium, or sodium, which are essential for human metabolism. Chloride salts are essential for sustaining human metabolism and have none of the effects of isolated chlorine gas.
Sources of Chloride
Chloride occurs naturally in foods at levels normally less than 0.36 milligrams per gram of food. The average intake of chloride during a salt-free diet is approximately 100 milligrams per day. Unfortunately, chloride is found commonly combined with undesirable dietary sources. The most common of these negative sources is table salt. Table salt is made from a combination of sodium and chloride ions. Other unhealthful sources include yeast extracts, processed lunchmeats, and cheeses. Healthier sources of chloride include kelp (seaweed), ionic trace minerals, olives, rye, tomatoes, lettuce, and celery, although not in large enough amounts to supply the needs of an active adult.6 In its original form, however, chloride is leached from various rocks into soil and water by years of weathering processes. The chloride ion is highly mobile and is transported to closed basins, such as the Great Salt Lake, or oceans.7
Chloride is a highly important, vital mineral required for both human and animal life. Without chloride, the human body would be unable to maintain fluids in blood vessels, conduct nerve transmissions, move muscles, or maintain proper kidney function. As a major electrolyte mineral of the body, chloride performs many roles, and is rapidly excreted from the body. Active adults that eat a healthy diet devoid of salt and illnesses in which vomiting and/or diarrhea are profuse warrant the supplementation of additional chloride. Replacement of chloride is essential on a daily basis to maintain regular metabolic function. Chloride is safely utilized by the body, without negative health effects. Of the negative health effects that have been associated with diets high in chloride, these are mainly attributable to the accompanying sodium and potassium, two other electrolyte minerals to which chloride is often attached
1 Wesson LG. Physiology of the human kidney. New York, NY, Grune and Stratton, 1969: 591
2 Weast RC, ed. CRC handbook of chemistry and physics, 67th ed. Boca Raton, FL, CRC Press, 1986.
3 Kaleita TA. Neurologic/behavioral syndrome associated with ingestion of chloride-deficient infant formula. Pediatrics 1986 Oct;78(4):714-5
4 Beard TC. A salt-hypertension hypothesis. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol 1990;16 Suppl 7:S35-8
5 Seelig M. Cardiovascular consequences of magnesium deficiency and loss: pathogenesis, prevalence and manifestations--magnesium and chloride loss in refractory potassium repletion. Am J Cardiol 1989 Apr 18;63(14):4G-21G
6 Altschul AM, Grommet JK. Food choices for lowering sodium intake. Hypertension 1982 Sep-Oct;4(5 Pt 2):III116-20
7 Gelb SB, Anderson MP. Sources of chloride and sulfate in ground water beneath an urbanized area in Southeastern Wisconsin (Report WIS01 NTIS). Chemical abstracts, 1981, 96(2):11366g.
ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS: CAUSE FOR WORRY
July 15, 2005 12:26 PM
ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS: CAUSE FOR WORRY
Among some of the most troubling food additives that we routinely ingest are artificial sweeteners, also referred to as non-nutritive sweeteners. Having received the FDA stamp of approval, they are liberally ingested with little thought to what their actual health risks may be. Andrew Weil, M.D., in his book Natural Health Natural Medicine, writes: More worrisome than preservatives are artificial sweeteners. Saccharin, a known carcinogen, should be avoided. Cyclamates, banned some years ago for suspected carcinogenicity, are not being reconsidered for use in food. They taste better than saccharin but cause diarrhea in some people. Avoid them too. Recently, aspartame (NutraSweet) has become enormously popular. The manufacturer portrays it as a gift from nature, but, although the two component amino acids occur in nature, aspartame itself does not. Like all artificial sweeteners, aspartame has a peculiar taste. Because I have seen a number of patients, mostly women, who report headaches from this substance, I don’t regard it as free from toxicity. Women also find that aspartame aggravates PMS (premenstrual syndrome). I think you are better off using moderate amounts of sugar than consuming any artificial sweeteners on a regular basis. A natural sweetener that may cause some people problems is sorbitol, originally derived from the berries of the mountain ash tree. Sorbitol tastes sweet but is not easily absorbed form the gastrointestinal tract and is not easily metabolized. It is a common ingredient of sugarless chewing gums and candies. If you eat a lot of it, you will probably get diarrhea. People with irritable bowel syndrome or ulcerative colitis should avoid sorbitol.
Ann Louise Gittleman, in her book, Super Nutrition for Women, writes: In 1977, a Canadian study indicated that when pregnant rats were fed large doses of saccharin, their male offspring developed bladder cancer. As a result, the Canadians banned saccharin and the U.S. Congress ordered warning labels on all saccharin products like Sweet ‘N Low. The national Academy of Sciences in 1978 evaluated the evidence and concluded that saccharin was primarily a promoter of other cancer-causing agents, a cocarcinogen. In the meantime, G.D. Searle developed aspartame, a combination of two amino acids and methanol (wood alcohol) . . . Few long-term studies of the effects of aspartame have been done. However, reports to the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control indicate that, as more people consume the substitute in large quantities, health may be affected. In some circumstances, individuals may be getting high levels of methanol; for example, it is estimated that on a hot day after exercise, an individual drinking three 12-ounce cans of diet cola could easily consume as much as eight times the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limit for methanol consumption. The most common complaints are dizziness, disorientation, tunnel vision, ear buzzing, loss of equilibrium, numbing of hands and feet, inflammation of the pancreas, high blood pressure, eye hemorrhages and seizures. Artificial sweeteners can stimulate hunger or cause additive allergies, just as sugar does. In other words, we get the disadvantages of sugar, along with the proven or suspected disadvantages of artificial sweeteners. While thousands of Americans continue to consume aspartame in unprecedented amounts, controversy surrounding its safety lingers. Dr. Richard Wurtman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has reported that abnormal concentrations of neurotransmitters developed when he fed laboratory animals large doses of aspartame. He believes that the phenylalanine content of the sweetener actually manipulates and alters certain brain chemicals which could initiate behavioral changes and even seizures. He also purports that while small quantities of aspartame may be safe, the cumulative effects of the compound—particularly if consumed with high carbohydrate, low protein snacks—could be serious (Wurtman I, 799-801, Wurtman II, 429-430, Wurtman III, 1060).
In spite of serious concerns, saccharine and aspartame packets sit in restaurant sugar bowls all over our country, while in Japan, natural stevia powder enjoys popularity as one of the best and safest non-caloric sweeteners available.
June 23, 2005 11:50 AM
SPA: Satisfying Personal Attention
June 14, 2005 10:32 AM
SPA: Satisfying Personal Attention by Sylvia Whitefeather Energy Times, October 12, 2004
Feeling stressed out? Looking for some time to relax and cool off, but just too busy to get away? Give yourself a spa treatment at home.
Creating your own home spa experience is easy and the benefits are many. With some common household items and a few essential oils, you can luxuriate in your own special spa experience while recharging and renewing mind, body and spirit. Indulge with a few close friends for a unique, shared experience.
Using concentrated plant oils derived from flowers and plants, aromatherapy offers an ancient healing art that has gained newfound respect in the modern world. Aroma chemicals transfer quickly into the body, and researchers are finding unique ways to employ this ancient technique, including medical applications.
Studies find that lemon balm or lavender oil reduces behavioral problems in older people with dementia (BMJ 2002; 325:1312-3). Rosemary has been found to improve memory and enhance mental functioning (Int J Neurosci 2003 Jan; 113(1):15-38).
Only a drop or two of an essential oil is needed to receive their unique healing benefits. (Always dilute essential oils; never use or apply them directly to your skin without watering them down.) Essential oils can help you relax, rejuvenate, improve your memory and increase your energy.
Some essential oils are reputed to reduce pain, kill bacteria, speed healing of injuries and help fight inflammation and infection (Natl Meeting, Amer Chem Soc, 8/02).
When you feel like you're ready to spa, take the phone off the hook, unplug the TV and set aside a special, unbothered time and day for your at-home spa experience. Next, turn your bathroom into your special place. Light fragrant candles, put on your favorite soft music and fill the tub.
When running the water you should select a water temperature that fits the effect you desire, according to Valerie Gennari Cooksley, RN, author of Healing Home Spa (Penguin). Water temperature that approximates your normal body temperature produces a sedative effect. On the other hand, hotter water-that which hovers around 100 degrees-induces sweating and helps cleanse and detoxify. In any case, limit your time in hot water to about 20 minutes. If you use cold water, only stay immersed for a few short minutes to rejuvenate and close the skin's pores.
Try adding about 10 drops of either lavender or ylang-ylang oil to a warm bath to aid in relaxation and to release tight muscles. Don't rush; soak for at least 20 minutes and let the fragrant water vaporize your cares. Dry off with a fluffy towel and wrap yourself in your favorite bathrobe.
Other bath enhancers you can add to your soak include oatmeal to soften the skin, seaweed for deep cleansing, Epsom salts to relieve aches, and baking soda to alkalize the body. Herbal sachets can be made by placing dried herbs in a muslin bag and dropping the bag into the water to release fragrances and healing chemicals.
The facial is a standard spa procedure. Hold your face over a steaming bowl of hot water that contains lemon juice or a few drops of lemon essential oil for about 15 minutes. Use a towel over your head to hold in the steam.
When your face is well moisturized, apply a facial mask. On dry skin, use either puréed, ripe avocado or a mask of honey and kelp. If your face is oily, apply either puréed, ripe bananas or a mask of peppermint oil and honey. If you are not sure of your skin type or have mixed skin, green clay can be used for a balanced facial. Green clay is rich in minerals while being antiseptic and healing, notes Valerie Ann Worwood, author of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy (New World Library). With the addition of warm water, it creates an instant facial mask. (You can also use prepared facial masks; ask about them at your health food store.)
To apply the mask, begin at the forehead using upward strokes. Go easy around the eyes. Afterwards, put cucumber slices over your eyes and relax. Keep the mask on for about 15 minutes. Wash your face with warm water and then apply a moisturizer. Your skin should feel supple and look radiant.
Worwood recommends a few drops of rosemary oil and one tablespoon of baking soda in a basin of warm water to soothe your feet. Soaking your feet for about ten minutes softens the skin and nourishes the nails. After drying off, combine one-half cup sea salt with one-half cup of cooking oil, preferably olive, canola or sesame. Gently massage into each foot to stimulate reflex points and remove dead skin. Rinse and pat dry. Finish with a pedicure.
This salt scrub can be used on any part of the body to eliminate toxins, increase circulation, improve lymphatic movement and cleanse the pores. A popular European treatment, it is especially helpful for parts of the body that store water, such as the tummy and thighs. Rinse completely after the scrub and apply moisturizer to dry areas.
Since hands can age quickly, Worwood suggests using oils of rose, sandalwood and geranium for dry or neglected hands. You can also mix one-half cup of sugar with one-half cup cooking oil and a few drops of one of the above essential oils. Massage into each hand to moisturize and pamper your overworked hands. Rinse and apply your favorite lotion to seal in moisture. A gentle manicure adds the finishing touch.
Your special spa day wouldn't be complete without pampering your hair. Noted dermatologist David Bank, MD, suggests looking for shampoos that contain such gentle cleansers as avocado, borage oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil and wheat germ oil. Your shampoo should also contain moisturizing substances, such as aloe vera, to help give your locks shine and bounce.
Check your hair's condition. Oily hair-that which feels greasy within a day of washing-responds best to frequent washing with minimal conditioning. A bad case of the frizzy tangles is a sign of dry hair, which needs a moisturizer-rich shampoo.
Revive From the Inside With Green Drinks
During your spa day, sip green drinks. Green drinks made from aquatic plants such as spirulina, seaweed and kelp contain needed minerals to nourish skin, hair and nails; these plants have been used for centuries to promote health and longevity. In addition to being high in minerals, they are also low in fat, high in fiber and rich in protein.
The marine vegetables found in green drinks help detoxify the body, support the lymphatic system, alkalize the blood and tissues, and support a healthy thyroid. Many natural food stores carry green drink powders that can be added to juice or water. Sipping on a green drink can enhance the cleansing action of your home spa treatment, balance blood sugar levels and maintain your energy level during the day.
Throughout your home spa experience, drinking spring water with a touch of lemon or lime can facilitate the elimination of toxins and keep you hydrated. Indulge in plenty of high-fiber fruits and vegetables, and avoid processed sugars and high-fat foods. Eating lightly allows your body to eliminate toxins from the inside out while you work on the outside.
As Valerie Cooksley says, "...sound health occurs when the mind, body and spirit are in perfect harmony and balance." A home spa experience takes you a step closer to that harmony.
Women and Depression!
June 13, 2005 07:48 PM
Women and Depression by Lisa James Energy Times, March 11, 2004
Just as fog veils a beautiful landscape, so depression veils life itself: rendering existence dark and dreary, narrowing the scope of one's dreams. And women are particularly prone to this lingering sadness.
The good news: Depression doesn't have to linger forever. With proper nutrition, lifestyle changes and a revived outlook, you can break through that fog into a sunnier emotional clime. Women are more likely than men to fall prey to depression throughout their lifetimes, with women being twice as likely as men to experience major depression.
While the greatest risk for both sexes falls at midlife, the gender difference appears early; one in ten teenage girls was found to suffer from major depression in one study (International Journal of behavioral Development 2004; 28:16-25). What's more, childhood depression leaves a person more susceptible to mood problems in adulthood.
One reason for the gender difference in depression, according to researchers, is that women tend to dwell on depressed feelings to a greater degree than men. Some scientists believe a family history of depression carries greater weight for women. Others theorize that the inner fluctuations of a woman's monthly cycle can leave her susceptible to stresses emanating from the outer world. Studies indicate that almost three-quarters of all premenstrual women experience some level of mood difficulties (Summit on Women and Depression, APA, April 02), and a woman's hormonal ebb and flow may even make her more vulnerable to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the kind of depression linked to a lack of natural light.
Warning Signs Not surprisingly, many depressed folks feel sad and lethargic, down on themselves and the world. But in some people, depression is marked by agitation and concentration difficulties, or is accompanied by anxiety. Sleep disturbances-either insomnia or excessive sleepiness-often ensue, and activities that used to provide pleasure lose their appeal.
Breaking depression's grip can do more than just lighten your mood-it may help safeguard your health. Studies suggest depression dampens the immune response and may increase the risks of coronary heart disease and diabetes (Archives of General Psychiatry 2003; 60:1009-14; Circulation 2000; 102:1773; Diabetes Care 2004; 27:129-33).
Origins of Depression
The reasons some people are pulled down by depression's undertow while others are able to stay afloat emotionally are complex, but researchers believe common factors link them all.
One factor that can't be ignored is genetics. "If you are depressed, there is a 25% chance that a first-degree relative-a parent, child or sibling-is also depressed," says Hyla Cass, MD, author of St. John's Wort: Nature's Blues Buster (Avery). Other factors are physical problems and medication side effects. That's why your first step should be a consultation with your health care practitioner (if your moods are especially dark, seek professional assistance as soon as possible).
Life's worries and cares also weigh more heavily on some people than on others. " [N]ot only will certain stressors [adverse events] cause depression as a direct response," notes Dr. Cass, "but they may predispose an individual to future episodes of depression." For example, the end of a relationship when you feel you've lost a lover and been humiliated (and been cheated on) raises your risk of depression (Archives of General Psychiatry 2003; 60:789-96).
The Depressed Brain
When depression hits, brain chemistry shifts. As a result, chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which relay messages between brain cells, go awry. For instance, a neurotransmitter called serotonin-critical to mood control-may decrease, leaving you feeling depressed, anxious, craving certain foods and unable to sleep.
Conversely, "high levels of serotonin are associated with emotional and social stability," according to Dr. Cass. She adds that, in addition, sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone "affect brain cells directly."
Lifting the Fog
Because the causes of depression are so complex, leaving the darkness behind generally requires opening up several pathways. Part of feeling better simply lies in believing that you can. Researchers have found that depressed people who feel they have a sense of control over their troubles, do, in fact, have a better chance of recovery (General Hospital Psychiatry 2000; 22(4):242-50). Finding a community of like-minded folks bolsters your capacity to deal with mood problems. In some cases, time spent with a therapist can be a valuable aid in figuring out what's bothering you.
On the physical side, losing weight can lift your spirits. Among women with severe obesity-itself a depression risk factor-losing weight has led to depression relief (Archives of Internal Medicine 2003; 163:2058-65). Research also indicates that exercise helps brighten dark moods.
A change in diet, along with certain supplements, can also help dispel depression. The first step on the road to emotional recovery: eat a lot of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, and stay away from overly refined foods with high levels of sugar.
Omega-3 fatty acids, the kinds found in flax seed and fish, are essential to proper brain function. In several studies, people who took supplemental omega-3s found significant relief from depression.
Key amino acids-the basic units of which proteins are built-serve as starting points for the production of mood-lifting neurotransmitters. In one trial, people who took an amino-acid mix that included tyrosine enjoyed better moods and were happier than people who took amino acids without it (Psychopharmacology (Berlin) Sept 4 2003).
Along with amino acids, the body needs the right vitamins-especially members of the all-important B family-to create depression-fighting brain chemicals. In one study, people with depression who took vitamin B12 improved their chances of recovery (BMC Psychiatry 2003; 3:17).
Another interesting observation: Vitamin B12 and its partners vitamin B6 and folate are essential to keep a protein called homocysteine (known primarily as a cardiovascular hazard) from reaching excessive levels, and people with high homocysteine are twice as likely to be depressed. This has led some researchers to speculate that folate may help keep depression under control (Archives of General Psychiatry 2003; 60:618-26).
Herbs that may help beat back the blues include two that help the body deal with stress, eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) and schisandra (S. chinensis).
A new diet, a new outlook: With the help of the right nutrients and the right support, you can break the bonds of depression.
June 13, 2005 01:18 PM
by Cal Orey Energy Times, August 2, 1999
Depression plagues the creative and the mundane. The disparate desperate driven to distress by depression include painters, poets, actors and musicians as well as truck drivers, clerks, electricians and physicists. The victim list encompasses Vincent van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Audrey Hepburn, Virginia Woolf and Ludwig von Beethoven, as well as millions of other sharers of melancholy misery.
More than 17 million American men and women experience depression in one form or another every year, according to the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) in Alexandria, Virginia. This includes the deeply destructive major, or clinical, depression, the wide mood swings of bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), and dysthymia, a milder, long-lasting form of emotional suffering.
Twice as Many Women In the depression scenario, women suffer twice as much: Two times as many women as men endure clinical depression, reports the NMHA. The mood-deteriorating effects of the hormonal disruptions women are heir to may be partly to blame.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about one of 10 Americans wades through at least one depressive swamp sometime during his or her life.
The good news: Research shows that diet and lifestyle can lower your risk of depression.
Birth of the Blues
Nowadays, mounting evidence suggests that depression may result more from physiological factors than psychological woes.
Some of the hidden reasons why you may be depressed include: nutritional deficiencies, exacerbated by overdosing on too much caffeine, sugar, alcohol and high fat foods; allergies; anxiety and chronic stress; and a chemical imbalance in the brain's gray matter. According to the NMHA, people with depression often possess too little or too large a quantity of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. Changes in levels of these brain chemicals may cause, or contribute to, clinical depression.
The NMHA also reports that an imbalance of melatonin, a chemical made by the body's pineal gland (located at the base of the brain), contributes to a form of wintertime depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This hormone is made at increased levels in the dark. Therefore, the body may oversupply this hormone during winter's shortened daylight hours.
Since the B vitamins are often involved in the production of energy, and a large component of depression may encompass the inability to get out of bed and deal with the world, experts believe that at least some of the signs of depression are linked to B deficiencies. For instance, studies cited in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima) by Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, demonstrate that folate deficiency and lack of vitamin B12 can compromise mental health (Drugs 45, 1993: 623-36; Lancet 336, 1990: 392-5).
Inositol: This vitamin is also part of the B vitamin complex, and it, too, has shown its ability to lift spirits. Research work in Israel shows that daily inositol given to 28 depressed patients for four weeks produced an overall positive effect. (Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 7:2, May 1997: 147-55). Inositol is found in whole, unprocessed grains, citrus fruits (except lemons) and brewer's yeast.
NADH: Allan Magaziner, DO, in his book The Idiot's Complete Guide To Living Longer & Healthier (Alpha), reports that brain energizing NADH, a metabolite of vitamin B3, enhances the production of the key neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin. "In a recent clinical trial," he claims, "nearly all patients given NADH for depression reported improvement in their symptoms and the absence of side effects or adverse reactions."
Another substance winning the spotlight for its effect on mood is SAM-e: S-adenosylmethionine. In New York on February 24, a symposium coordinated by the American Health Foundation met to hear researchers present information from studies of SAM-e's ability to possibly ease depression.
"SAM-e is a natural product. You and I have it but as people age it declines in production in the body. And that's why we believe supplementation in older people is a beneficial means of bringing that back up and helping people that have depression," said the lead symposium researcher, John H. Weisburger, PhD, MD, Director Emeritus, American Health Foundation in Valhalla, New York.
Another researcher, Teodoro Bottiglieri, PhD, Associate Professor of Biomedical Studies and Neurology, Director of Neuropharmacology at Baylor University reported: "SAM-e has been shown to enhance brain dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitter metabolism and receptor function. It may also aid in the repair of myelin that surrounds nerve cells. These mechanisms are likely to be responsible for the antidepressant effect of SAM-e."
(Bottiglieri is co-author with Richard Brown, MD, and Carol Colman of Stop Depression Now, a report on the powers of SAM-e just published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.)
SAM-e was first touted as an antidepressant in Italy in 1973. It's been reported that nearly 40 clinical trials demonstrate its beneficial effects as a natural antidepressant.
For instance, an analysis of more than 1000 people suffering depression showed that the effect of antidepressants in patients taking SAM-e was 17% to 38% better than dummy preparations. Conventional antidepressants show a 20% effectiveness rate (Bressa G. Acta Neurol Scand S154, 1994: 7-14).
5-HTP: Another popular supplement to boost mood and relieve depression is hydroxytryptophan. "This medication is actually a brain chemical that is metabolized from tryptophan into serotonin," says Magaziner. And since low serotonin levels have been linked with depression, and certain prescribed medications may up serotonin levels, 5-HTP is in demand.
"One of the more impressive studies supporting the efficacy of 5-HTP for depression evaluated 100 people who had previously found conventional antidepressant therapy to be inadequate. Forty-three of these folks reported a complete recovery, and eight showed significant improvement," reports Magaziner. Not only has 5-HTP been shown to work slightly better than drugs known as SSRIs (these include Prozac), he adds, it has fewer side effects than standard antidepressants, too. DHEA: Medical experts also believe that levels of the hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) may influence mood. Ray Sahelian, MD, in his book All About DHEA (Avery) reports an interesting study conducted by Dr. Owen Wolkowitz of the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco. A group of six depressed middle-aged and elderly individuals who took DHEA found that within a month they had better memory and mood. (Biological Psychiatry 41, 1997: 311-18.) "In addition," adds Sahelian, "other studies have also found that DHEA increases energy levels and a sense of well being." But follow package directions: Some people complain of greater irritability and overstimulation with DHEA, when they take large amounts.
St. John's wort: still the most touted natural therapy for defeating depression. In Europe, 23 clinical studies, reviewed in the August 3, 1996 British Medical Journal, found that this herb, also known as Hypericum perforatum, can be helpful in alleviating cases of mild to moderate depression. The work, which included 757 patients, has shown that hypericum produced fewer side effects than conventional anti-depressants.
Although experts have never satisfactorily explained exactly how St. John's wort benefits the brain, some theorize that it boosts serotonin levels. And it can help SAD sufferers.
"In a recent study of 20 people with SAD, four weeks' worth of St. John's wort significantly alleviated feelings of depression. Those people who added full-spectrum lights to the treatment program gained an even greater benefit," notes Dr. Magaziner.
Valerian: Anxiety and stress, which can cause depression and insomnia, may be helped by this herb, says the prolific Dr. Sahelian in his book Kava: The Miracle Antianxiety Herb (St. Martin's). In 101 Medicinal Herbs (Interweave), Steven Foster reports that "Ten controlled clinical studies have been published on valerian...one of which suggests that valerian should be used for two to four weeks before daily mood and sleep patterns improve."
Amino Acid Help
Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, may also help improve mood. (For more on protein, see page 65.) These chemicals are used by the body to construct neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that facilitate mental activity.
For instance, the amino acid L-tyrosine is necessary for the formation of transmitters adrenaline and dopamine. This substance, therefore, is given to alleviate depression and anxiety.
The substance L-dopa which is given to victims of Parkinson's disease is concocted from tyrosine. And several antidepressants alleviate bad moods by boosting the interaction of brain chemicals related to tyrosine.
In addition, since tyrosine is used to make adrenaline, this amino acid may be helpful for folks trying to cope with the mood problems related to stress.
Another amino acid that experts believe useful for better moods, L-methionine, is used by the body to make choline, a crucial substance for brain function. (Choline goes into the formation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.)
Methionine has been given to people suffering from schizophrenia and depression as well as to those with Parkinson's. Methionine plays a number of crucial roles in the brain and body since it helps form other vital proteins.
For those concerned about preserving a positive mood, researchers are positive that smoking worsens depression. A study at the Department of behavioral Services at the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan found that daily smokers run twice the risk for major depression compared to those who only smoked occasionally.
Unfortunately, the investigators found that not only did smoking seem to lead to depression, depression, in turn, led to more smoking (Archives of General Psychiatry, 2/99).
"Smokers who have depression tend to see their smoking become a daily habit and it may be because they use nicotine to medicate their depressed mood," reported Naomi Breslau, PhD, who headed the research. Over a five year period, the researchers looked at about a thousand young people aged 21 to 30. They found that daily smokers generally start smoking in adolescence, and those who report early depression are three times as likely to eventually become daily smokers.
If you're feeling down, don't give up hope. Although depression can prove to be a depressingly complicated malady, daily, healthy habits can offset its effects. Getting consistent exercise, dousing your cigarettes and turning to herbal and nutritional help to treat mild depression may defeat those blues.
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart
June 13, 2005 10:06 AM
Recognizing the Signs: Roadmap to a Healthy Heart by Louis McKinley Energy Times, January 2, 2004
From time immemorial, people have tuned into life's lessons that come from the heart. Sadly, times are changing: If you're like most inhabitants of today's harried world, you may be too distracted to detect important clues about your cardiovascular circumstances.
And while heart lessons may be more complicated than simply connecting the physiological dots, understanding those heart messages are imperative for improving and maintaining your heart health.
Every cell in your body relies on heart-powered blood flow to keep it supplied with nutrients, oxygen, hormones and other natural chemicals necessary for survival. Without that supply of life-giving substances, few cells in the body-including those within the heart itself-can survive very long.
And just as damage to a major roadway can cause mayhem with traffic patterns, damage to blood vessels and the heart can wreak a lumpy cardiovascular havoc that blocks the passage of blood and endangers your heart's well-being.
Your Heart Disease Chances
Within the last ten years, scientific research performed by investigators around the world has focused on the specific factors that most strongly influence your chances of developing heart disease and suffering either a heart attack or a stroke.
While much of your risk depends on your genetic inheritance and family history, several factors that determine your heart health are within your control.
The most important factors you can do something about include:
* Smoking: free radicals generated by burning tobacco causes significant damage to blood vessels and other cells
* Lack of exercise: the human body is designed for consistent, moderate physical activity; without exercise, the body slacks off in creating antioxidant protection for arteries
* Diabetes: when excess blood sugar persists, physiological processes begin that endanger the heart and arteries
* Cholesterol: when oxidized (a chemical process that has been compared to a kind of internal rusting), cholesterol can form artery-blocking plaque; antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and natural vitamin E may help the body limit this process
* High blood pressure: excessive pressure within the blood vessels raises the risk of damage to the heart and arteries; a program of weight loss and exercise can help control blood pressure
* Being overweight: the extra body fat carried around your middle is linked to a greater risk of heart problems
Heart Attack Signs
Do you think you know what a heart attack feels like? Well, if you think it feels like a dramatic pain somewhere in your chest that knocks you to the floor, you're probably wrong. "Most heart attacks do not look at all like what one of my colleagues calls the 'Hollywood' attack-the heart attack you see on television or in the movies," warns Julie Zerwic, MD, professor of surgical nursing who has studied what happens when people develop heart disease and suffer damage to their hearts.
"The symptoms [of heart problems] are not necessarily dramatic. People don't fall down on the floor. They don't always experience a knife-like, very sharp pain. In fact, many people describe the sensation as heaviness and tightness in the chest rather than pain," she says. And, if you're a woman experiencing a heart attack, you may not even feel discomfort specifically in your chest. Instead you may experience a severe shortness of breath. The apparent ambiguity of the discomforts caused by a heart attack lead many people to either ignore them or take hours to realize they need to go to the emergency room at the hospital.
Consequently, much fewer than half of all individuals undergoing a heart attack actually go to a hospital within an hour of the start of the attack. That delay can be a fatal mistake.
"Timing is absolutely critical," laments Dr. Zerwic. "If treatment starts within a hour after the onset of symptoms, drugs that reestablish blood flow through the blocked coronary artery can reduce mortality by as much as 50%. That number drops to 23% if treatment begins three hours later. The goal is to introduce therapy within two hours."
However, in Dr. Zerwic's research, only 35% of non-Hispanic whites go to the hospital within an hour of the start of a heart attack. And among African-Americans, the number of people going to the hospital right away drops to a frighteningly low 13%.
Often, people will lie down or use a heating pad to relieve the tightness they feel in the chest," says Dr. Zerwic. "They may take some medicine and wait to see if that works. All these steps postpone needed treatment."
Signs of a possible heart attack include:
* Chest discomfort: Heart attacks most frequently cause discomfort in the center of the chest that can either go away after a couple of minutes (and come back) or persist. The discomfort may feel like strong pressure, fullness or pain.
* Upper body discomfort: An attack may set off pain or discomfort in either or both arms, and/or the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
* Shortness of breath: Chest discomfort is frequently accompanied by shortness of breath. But it's important to note that shortness of breath can take place even in the absence of chest discomfort.
* Other signs: You can also break out in a cold sweat, or feel nauseated or light-headed.
A Woman's Sleep Signs
If you are a woman who suddenly experiences a marked increase in insomnia and puzzling, intense fatigue, you may be in danger of an imminent heart attack.
In an attempt to understand how women's symptoms of heart problems differ from those of men, researchers talked to more than 500 women in Arkansas, North Carolina and Ohio who had suffered heart attacks. (Technically, what they had experienced is referred to as acute myocardial infarction.)
They found that chest pain prior to a heart attack was only reported by about 30% of the women surveyed.
More common were unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances and shortness of breath (Circulation Rapid Access, 11/3/01).
"Since women reported experiencing early warning signs more than a month prior to the heart attack, this [fatigue and sleep problems] could allow time to treat these symptoms and to possibly delay or prevent the heart attack," says researcher Jean C. McSweeney, PhD, RN, nursing professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. In Dr. McSweeney's study, more than nine out of ten women who had heart attacks reported that they had had new, disturbing physical problems more than a month before they had infarctions.
Almost three in four suffered from unusual fatigue, about half had sleep disturbances, while two in five found themselves short of breath.
Other common signs included indigestion and anxiety.
"Women need to be educated that the appearance of new symptoms may be associated with heart disease and that they need to seek medical care to determine the cause of the symptoms, especially if they have known cardiovascular risks such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, overweight or a family history of heart diseases," says Dr. McSweeney.
Dr. McSweeney warns that, until now, little has been known about signs that women are having heart trouble or heart attacks. The fact that most of Western medicine's past attention has been on heart problems in men has obscured the warning signs in women. As part of Dr. McSweeney's studies, she and her fellow researchers have discovered that more than 40% of all women who suffer a heart attack never feel any chest discomfort before or during the attack.
"Lack of significant chest pain may be a major reason why women have more unrecognized heart attacks than men or are mistakenly diagnosed and discharged from emergency departments," she notes. "Many clinicians still consider chest pain as the primary symptom of a heart attack."
Vitamins for Diabetes and Heart Disease
Having diabetes significantly raises your chance of heart disease, which means that keeping your blood sugar levels under control can reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack.
Today, 17 million Americans have diabetes and, as the country's population in general gains weight and fails to exercise, the number of people suffering this problem continues to grow.
The first line of defense against diabetes consists of exercise and weight control. All you have to do is take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day to drop your chances of diabetes (American Journal of Epidemiology 10/1/03).
"We have found that men and women who incorporate activity into their lifestyles are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who are sedentary. This finding holds no matter what their initial weight," said Andrea Kriska, PhD, professor of epidemiology at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.
To help your body fight the development of diabetes, researchers also recommend vitamin C and natural vitamin E.
Researchers working with lab animals at the University of California at Irvine have found that these antioxidant vitamins can help insulin (the hormone-like substance secreted by the pancreas) reduce harmful blood sugar. In addition, these vitamins shrink the chances of organ damage that can be caused by diabetes (Kidney International 1/03).
In this investigation, these vitamins also helped reduce blood pressure, another risk factor that raises heart disease risk.
"Blood pressure was lowered to normal, and free radicals were not in sufficient numbers to degrade the sugars, proteins and nitric oxide," notes Nick Vaziri, MD, professor of medicine at the University of California. "We think this shows that a diet rich in antioxidants may help diabetics prevent the devastating cardiovascular, kidney, neurological and other damage that are common complications of diabetes."
Free Radical Blues
Dr. Vaziri and his group of researchers found that untreated diabetes raised blood pressure and increased the production of free radicals, caustic molecules that can damage arteries and the heart. Free radicals can change blood sugar and other proteins into harmful substances, boosting tissue and heart destruction.
In Dr. Vaziri's work with lab animals, he found that treating diabetes with insulin lowered blood pressure and helped keep sugar and protein from changing into dangerous chemicals, but allowed the free radicals to subvert nitric oxide, a chemical the body uses to protect itself from free radicals.
In this investigation, adding vitamins C and E to insulin insulated the body's sugars, proteins and nitric oxide from oxidative assault. This produces a double advantage: Lowering the risk of heart disease and other damage to the body from diabetes.
Maitake, an Oriental mushroom that has been shown to have many health benefits, can also be useful for people with diabetes who are trying to avoid cardiovascular complications. Laboratory studies in Japan demonstrate that maitake may help lower blood pressure while reducing cholesterol (Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 1997; 20(7):781-5). In producing these effects, the mushroom may also help the body reduce blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of tissue damage.
Tobacco smoke is one of the most notorious causes of heart problems. In the same way a hard frost exerts a death grip on a highway, the smoke from cigarettes can freeze up arteries and hamper their proper function. A healthy artery must stay flexible to comfortably allow adequate circulation.
But "...when blood vessels are exposed to cigarette smoke it causes the vessels to behave like a rigid pipe rather than a flexible tube, thus the vessels can't dilate in response to increased blood flow," says David J. Bouchier-Hayes, MD, professor of surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who has studied the deleterious effects of tobacco.
This rigidity is called endothelial dysfunction. When arteries are rigid, blockages gum up vessels, clots and other impediments to blood flow appear, and your risk of heart attack and stroke increases (Circulation 2001 Nov 27; 104(22):2673).
This condition can also cause chest pain (angina) similar to that caused by a heart attack, and should be evaluated by a knowledgeable health practitioner.
Although all experts recommend you stop smoking to lower your heart disease risk, some studies have found that Pycnogenol(r), a pine bark extract that helps the body fight inflammation, may ease some of smoking's ill effects.
In a study of platelets, special cells in the blood that can form dangerous blood clots, researchers found that Pycnogenol(r) discouraged platelets from sticking together (American Society for Biochemical and Molecular Biology 5/19/98). By keeping platelets flowing freely, this supplement may alleviate some of the heart-threatening clots that tobacco smoke can cause.
In Ayurvedic medicine, a traditional therapy from India, an herb called guggul has also been used to lower the risk of blockages in arteries. This herb, derived from the resin of the mukul tree, has been shown to reduce cholesterol by about 25%. People taking this herb have also reduced their triglycerides (harmful blood fats) by the same amount (Journal Postgraduate Medicine 1991 37(3):132).
The Female Version of Heart Disease
For one thing, women often don't suffer from the crushing chest pain that for most people characterizes a heart attack; instead, many women experience back pain, sweating, extreme fatigue, lightheadedness, anxiety or indigestion, signs that can be easily misread as digestive troubles, menopausal symptoms or indicators of aging.
The genders also differ in how heart disease poses a threat. While men seem most endangered by the buildup of blockages in arteries, women apparently are more at risk from endothelial dysfunction. But more study needs to be done since, in many cases, researchers have been unable to pin down the precise mechanism that causes many women to die of heart disease.
Scientists have found that the number of women in their 30s and 40s who are dying from sudden cardiac arrest is growing much faster than the number of men of the same age who die of this cause. But research by the Oregon Health & Sciences University and Jesse E. Edwards Cardiovascular Registry in St. Paul, Minnesota, shows that while doctors can pinpoint the coronary blockages that kill men, they can't find specific blockages in half of the female fatalities they have studied (American Heart Journal 10/03).
"This was an unexpected finding. However, the study underscores the need to focus on what is causing these younger women to die unexpectedly because the number of deaths continues to increase," says Sumeet Chugh, MD, a medical professor at Oregon.
Since the failure of arteries to relax probably contributes to heart disease in many women, eating red berries, or consuming supplements from berries such as chokeberry, bilberry or elderberry, may be important in lowering women's heart disease risk. These fruits help arteries expand and allow blood to flow freely.
Red berries are rich sources of flavonoids, polyphenols and anthocynanins. The anthocyanins are strong antioxidants that give the berries their color. Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine have found that these chemicals can interact with nitrous oxide, a chemical produced by the body, to relax blood vessels (Experimental Biology conference 5/20/02).
As researchers work to devise lifestyle roadmaps that can steer you around the perils of heart disease, they are finding that exercise is a key path to avoiding cardiovascular complications.
A 17-year study of about 10,000 Americans found that those who exercised and kept their weight down (or took weight off and kept it off) experienced a significantly lower risk of heart problems (Preventive Medicine 11/03).
"The fact is that those who both exercised more and ate more nevertheless had low cardiovascular mortality," says Jing Fang, MD, of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York. Burning calories in physical activity may be the secret to reducing heart disease risk and living longer, she says.
Dr. Fang's research used information collected from the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 1975 and then computed how much people exercised, how their body mass indices varied and which of these folks died of heart disease during the next two decades.
In the study, more than 1,500 people died of heart disease. Those who worked out and consumed more calories cut their risk of heart disease death in half.
Exercise Is Essential
"Subjects with the lowest caloric intake, least physical activity, and who were overweight or obese had significantly higher cardiovascular mortality rates than those with high caloric intake, most physical activity, and normal weight," Dr. Fang notes. The individuals in the study who were overweight and didn't exercise had a bigger risk of heart disease even if they tried (and succeeded) at eating less.
"This suggests that heart disease outcome was not determined by a single factor, but rather by a compound of behavioral, socioeconomic, genetic and clinical characteristics," according to Dr. Fang.
According to researchers, if your job requires a great deal of physical activity, your health will be better if you get another job. Exercise on the job not only doesn't decrease your risk of heart disease, it may actually raise it. The reason: On-the-job activity is linked to heart-endangering increases in job stress.
Research into this subject, performed at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, found that while recreational exercise slowed hardening of the arteries, workers who had to exert themselves during the workday had arteries that were blocked at a younger age (American Journal of Medicine 7/03).
In this study, researchers examined about 500 middle-aged employees as part of what is called the Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study.
"We found that atherosclerosis progressed significantly faster in people with greater stress, and people who were under more stress also were the ones who exercised more in their jobs," says James Dwyer, PhD, professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School. According to Dr. Dwyer, "This suggests that the apparent harmful effect of physical activity at work on atherosclerosis-and heart disease risk-may be due to the tendency of high-activity jobs to be more stressful in modern workplaces.
"It appears from our findings that the psychological stresses associated with physically active jobs overcomes any biological benefit of the activity itself."
On the other hand, the scientists found that heart disease drops dramatically among those who exercise the most in their spare time. In the study, people who vigorously worked out at least three times a week had the lowest risk. But even those who just took walks enjoyed better heart health than people whose most strenuous activity was working the TV remote. Dr. Dwyer says, "These results are important because they demonstrate the very substantial and almost immediate-within one or two years-cardiovascular benefit of greater physical activity."
Lowering your risk of heart disease is substantially up to you. Listen to what your heart tells you it needs; then, exercise your right to fetch some cardiovascular necessities.
Down with Blood Pressure
June 12, 2005 08:03 AM
Down with Blood Pressure by Kim Erickson Energy Times, January 6, 2002
More than one of four Americans suffers from high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. This so-called silent killer is often the first step in developing long-term problems like heart disease and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure leads to about 45,000 deaths a year and contributes to another 210,000. Hypertension is more common in women beginning at age 50, particularly African-American women. And since high blood pressure rarely causes obvious physical distress, unless your health practitioner monitors your blood pressure on a regular basis, it's easy to miss. The famous study by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), known as the Framingham Heart Study, found that half of all people who suffered a first heart attack and two-thirds of first-time stroke victims also had moderate to high blood pressure. What's more, left untreated, high blood pressure can also increase the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), aneurysms, loss of vision and kidney failure. Normal blood pressure is considered 120/80. When blood pressure reaches 140/90 or above on a consistent basis, you have high blood pressure. What do the numbers mean? The top number, systolic pressure, represents the peak pressure generated in your arteries when your heart beats. The bottom number, diastolic pressure, indicates the pressure when your heart is at rest between heartbeats. Among 95% of all people with high blood pressure, health practitioners can generally pinpoint no specific, single cause.
For decades, the most common recommendation for people with high blood pressure was to eat less salt. Experts have advocated reducing our salt intake to no more than three teaspoons a day: six grams (2400 mg), which is four grams less than the current national average. This recommendation was largely based on a study conducted by Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, Illinois, known as INTERSALT. The study tested more than 10,000 men and women from 32 countries. The researchers concluded that eating a lot of salt was linked to rises in blood pressure. Other scientists haven't always found the same results. One review of 56 clinical trials by the Integrative and behavioral Cardiology Program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York found only a modest reduction in blood pressure when the salt shaker was left unshaken. And an analysis of 58 studies by academics at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark found that, overall, studies did not support a general recommendation to reduce the amount of salt we consume. Added to all this confusion, many people are salt sensitive: their bodies retain excess salt instead of flushing it out of their systems. Unfortunately, only medical tests can reveal this sensitivity. Consequently, experts still recommend that you eat fewer foods containing salt. That means going easy on processed foods, lunch meats and soft drinks. In addition, increasing your intake of potassium, calcium and magnesium may help your blood pressure.
Foods rich in potassium and magnesium not only help regulate blood pressure, but may boost overall cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of stroke. Vegetarian items such as bananas, baked potatoes and oranges are rich in these minerals. Research that looked at 30,000 doctors found that those who ate diets rich in fiber, potassium and magnesium had lower blood pressure than the men who ate few of these mineral-rich foods (Circ, 1992; vol 86:1475-1484). A study of 40,000 female nurses found that their pressure decreased when they consumed fibrous and magnesium-filled foods (Hypertension, 1996, vol 27:1065-1072).
The nutrient CoQ10 is a vitamin-like substance which acts as an antioxidant in the body, decreasing the harm caused by caustic substances known as free radicals. Found in every part of the body, CoQ10 is necessary for producing energy in every cell. But it is estimated that nearly 40% of people with high blood pressure are deficient in CoQ10. Tests of CoQ10 seem to show that it can often reduce blood pressure by almost 10% (Cur Ther Res 1990;47: 841-845). It also appears to reduce blood triglycerides, blood fats linked to heart disease, and insulin, while slightly increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.
Perhaps the biggest breakthrough in lowering blood pressure without the use of prescription medicine came with a study known as DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). Funded by NHLBI and the National Institutes of Health, the multicenter study examined more than 400 people with high blood pressure. These folks were divided into three groups. One ate the standard high-sodium, high-fat American diet, the second a diet high in fruits and vegetables, and the third a combination diet rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products (the DASH diet). While the group eating plenty of fruits and vegetables enjoyed a modest reduction in blood pressure, the study found that combining low-fat dairy with produce lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 11.4 and 5.5 points, respectively. And the benefits came quickly. Many of the people on the combination diet lowered their blood pressure within two weeks. The results were so impressive that researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts suggested that the DASH diet may offer an alternative to drug therapy for people with hypertension and may even serve to prevent high blood pressure altogether. The DASH diet is low in saturated fat and rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Similar to the diet found in Mediterranean cultures, DASH also includes nuts, seeds and legumes, and is supplemented by non- or low-fat dairy products. Moderate amounts of protein-in the form of fish, poultry and soy-are also eaten. Eating in the DASH may also spur weight loss. Since being overweight can increase your blood pressure, the NHLBI strongly recommends a low-calorie diet such as DASH to take off extra pounds. Exercise and stress relief play critical roles in most pressure-reducing plans. Working out not only helps shed weight, it can also lower your blood pressure. Low to moderate aerobic exercise four days a week may lower blood pressure just as effectively as a higher intensity workout. And learning how to manage stress has helped dropped pressures in people with hypertension (Arch Intern Med 2001; 161:1071-80). Nutrition and lifestyle: two vital relief valves for dropping your high blood pressure and increasing your chances of longer life.
Improove Memory ...
June 09, 2005 05:49 PM
Mesmerizing Memory by Cal Orey Energy Times, January 1, 1999
In the 60s, the same rock 'n' rollers who belted out "One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small," often espoused the belief that certain pills could expand the mind. While counter-culture pill purveyors were pilloried for their pill-popping claims, 90s nutritional research has uncovered a stash of supplements that may amplify mental improvement.
Like a blues singer bending a high note, researchers are now humming with dramatic assertions that certain nutritional supplements can sustain and enhance concentration and memory function. For instance, studies reveal possible benefits for cognitive powers from vitamin C, magnesium and Ginkgo biloba. A recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA 278:1327-1332) said that an extract of Ginkgo biloba "can stabilize and, in some cases, improve the cognitive function and social behavior of demented patients."
A researcher in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences noted that a daily dose of vitamin E may "help protect the brain and its memories from the ravages of time." And the beat goes on: other evidence indicates that zinc, iron and boron may pump up short-term memory attention span and cut the time it takes to perform mental tasks.
Lester Packer, PhD, professor of molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley, told a joint 1996 United Nations-World Health Organization conference on Aging that "there is a growing body of evidence indicating that the free radical theory of aging and aging-related disease is valid," and that dietary and supplemental antioxidants can help fight illness and mental deterioration.
Vitamin E and other memory aids are believed to protect brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, "the ferrymen of the brain's communication system," that influence concentration and memory. Experts say that sustaining the level of these nerve chemicals in the brain can potentially improve all mental processes.
Too much alcohol, for example, commonly causes progressive mental decline, according to Secrets of the Superyoung (Villard) by David Weeks and Jamie James. The authors also point out that "the memory tends to worsen noticeably after 15 years of alcohol drinking, and much sooner in people who go on massive binges."
"The effects of cigarette smoke are subtler because the poisonous effects of carbon monoxide in each puff are temporarily offset by the alerting effects of the nicotine," they add. Can't remember the name of that singer cavorting in a music video? Tests have shown that smokers are worse at connecting peoples' names to their faces than nonsmokers.
n Learn something new: A second language, musical instrument, or unique puzzles and games keep neurons working like new.
n Turn off the TV: Read. Studies show that passively watching TV requires less concentration than eating cereal. Mental rejuvenation also requires physical activity. Exercise increases oxygen flow to the brain, which supports memory, concentration and cognition. One study has shown that exercise significantly brightened the moods of middle-aged and older women, regardless of whether they were pre- or post-menopausal, with or without hormone replacement therapy.
Supplemental Brain Help
Antioxidants, including the previously mentioned vitamin E (You haven't forgotten vitamin E already, have you?), provide crucial help for vigorous cerebral function. The free radicals created by tobacco smoke, air pollution, ultraviolet light and certain carcinogenic chemicals deconstruct cell membranes and may foster microscopic brain cell havoc. Antioxidant enzymes convert free radicals to more neutral, benign substances and nutritional antioxidants can neutralize free radicals by linking up with them.
Vitamin C, a brainy antioxidant all star, performs so well that, according to Dr. Khalsa, its levels in the brain are almost 15 times higher than in other parts of the body. This nutrient, he asserts, aids mental and physical longevity. In a UCLA study, people who ingested at least 300 mg of vitamin C daily lived more than six years longer than those who ingested less.
Added to this mix, magnesium also scavenges free-radicals, according to Dr. Khalsa. Plus, experts recommend grape seed extract (phytochemicals that protect a wide range of cellular structures) to safeguard nerve cells and mental capacity.
B Vitamins for the Mind
Boron plays a crucial part in mental function. Scientists at the USDA's Human Nutrition Research Center have linked boron deficiencies to chronic lethargy and fatigue. In brain studies, they found that the electrical activity of the gray matter in the boron deficient indicated increased drowsiness and mental sluggishness.
HupA basically protects the brain from free radical damage (due to low levels of antioxidant defenses) and maintains or enhances crucial neurotransmitter action. More specifically, HupA helps reduce the breakdown of acetylcholine, the vital neurotransmitter, and makes this substance more bioavailable. In addition, HupA helps make choline accessible to the brain for the synthesis of acetylcholine, according to a study in Neuropharmacology (30, 1991: 763-768).
Normally, the brain manufactures sufficient levels of the chemical phosphatidylserine, a lecithin-derivative that helps boost neurotransmitter release, but deficiencies of vitamin B12 and folic acid, or of essential fatty acids, may retard that production. Low levels of phosphatidylserine in the brain are related to impaired mental function and depression in the elderly. Scientists reporting in Aging (5, 1993; 123-33) describe "good results" using phosphatidylserine in the treatment of age-related cognitive ills.
Ginkgo Brain Power
Another ingredient in what seems like an alphabet-soup of brain nourishment is DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an omega-3 fat essential for normal brain function. Researchers met recently at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center's Nutrition Information Center to discuss "Keeping Your Brain in Shape: New Insights into DHA." Their findings revealed links between low levels of DHA and Alzheimer's, depression, memory loss, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and certain behavioral traits including aggression and hostility.
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health point out, however, that fish is an excellent dietary source of DHA. In their studies, they discovered that depression rates in Japan and Taiwan, where fish ranks a top spot on the menu, are significantly lower than in North America and Europe.
DHA also is crucial to the neurological development of children, according to findings published in Pediatrics (vol. 101, no. 1, January 1998). Researchers suggest that DHA-rich breast milk should be the model for infant formulas that enhance babies' neurological development. Scientists also have correlated some behavioral problems in children-ADHD, for example-to DHA deficiencies.
If you are a vegetarian, or have other cause for concern about a potential lack of DHA in your diet, you can rely on dietary supplementation of DHA. Bruce J. Holub, PhD, of the University of Guelph in Canada provided vegetarians in his research project with DHA supplements over a 42-day period and substantially increased their DHA blood levels.
The bottom line to enhanced mental performance is to take a balanced approach, says Robert Snider, MD, who specializes in preventive medicine in Massena, New York. "Maintaining brain power includes exercise, stress reduction and good nutrition." The message to keep in mind: Don't lose your nutritional balance or you could lose a piece of your peace of mind.
Recommended Reading: & Brain Builders (Reward Books, 1995), by Richard Leviton.
Brain Longevity (Warner Books, 1997), by Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD.
Omega 3 Oils to Improve Mental Health, Fight Degenerative Diseases and Extend Life (Avery, 1996), by Donald Rudin, MD, and Clara Felix.
Successful Aging (Pantheon, 1998), by John W. Rowe, MD, and Robert L. Kahn, PhD.
PHOSPHATIDYL SERINE (PS) - Maintain healthy cells ...
June 04, 2005 11:08 AM
All we have ever known or will ever feel, begins and ends with the hundreds of billions of nerve cells that form our brain. Without them, there can be no experience; for us, nothing would exist. Our mind and personality, the sense of who we are, emanate from this immensely intricate system of nerves. The brain’s remarkable ability to perceive and perform, remember and learn, is severely challenged by today’s social and physical environment. These environmental factors accelerate the decline in nerve cell activity that normally occurs with age. Recent clinical research is revealing how previously unrecognized nutrients can strengthen the body’s natural defenses against age-related cognitive decline. Source Naturals is proud to present the latest breakthrough in nutritional support for the brain: PHOSPHATIDYL SERINE.
Phosphatidyl Serine (PS) is a phospholipid which forms an essential part of every human cell, but it’s particularly concentrated in the membranes of nerve cells. Since the electronic messages that communicate and regulate every aspect of our lives travel along nerve cell membranes, the structural integrity of these membranes is imperative to our health. The nerve cell membrane is the site where molecules of sodium and potassium exchange electrons, causing the electrical impulse to be generated. This bio-electric current then travels along the membrane to trigger the release of neurotransmitters. These are the chemical messengers that cross synapses (gaps between nerve cells) to relay information to neighboring nerve cells. This sets other electrical currents in motion– along thousands of other nerve cells. This happens billions of times each second, and is how the brain and nerves coordinate and communicate with the rest of the body. PS has a very important function in the nerve cell membrane. As a key bio-structural molecule, PS provides vital support for the membrane proteins that enable nerve cells to communicate and grow.
Regulating the Flow
Unlike other cells in the body, nerve cells do not reproduce. Instead, they repair and rebuild themselves, using proteins called Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). Experiments verify that PS enhances the synthesis and reception of NGF, which tend to drop off radically with age.1 PS supplements enhance the cerebral cortex’s output of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter associated with our ability to think, reason, and concentrate. PS also stimulates the synthesis and release of dopamine, related to heightened states of attention.2 The brain’s response to stress also appears to be related to PS. When healthy young men were subjected to exercise-induced stress, those taking PS had a lowered stress response. This was measured by blood levels of ACTH, the pituitary hormone that triggers the adrenals to secrete the stress hormone cortisol.3
Subjects taking PS showed increased levels of brain energy metabolism and scored higher on cognitive tests.4 behavioral factors were also measured in elderly subjects; PS positively affected their mood states.5 Over 23 clinical trials have investigated the effect of PS supplements on more than 1200 human subjects, ages 40-93. Consistent and statistically significant results suggest that PS supports brain functions that tend to diminish with age.
Nutritional research continually reveals new potentials for wellness. Source Naturals is committed to helping people achieve a fulfilling life, and a fully functioning nervous system is central to this aim. Source Naturals PHOSPHATIDYL SERINE can help support your body’s natural regenerative processes, keeping your brain healthy and vital for a long, long time. Experience the difference with Source Naturals PHOSPHATIDYL SERINE.
Higher Mind - Smart Nutrients for the Performance of a Lifetime...
June 02, 2005 12:18 PM
Our adult years are the time to reap the fruit of an active, meaningful life – appreciated by family and friends who value our experience and knowledge. For some, however, their later years are clouded by a mental decline that erodes their capacity to enjoy life. More of us are becoming apprehensive about the future health of our minds. Will we still be able to communicate our needs as well as our wisdom? As science focuses its investigative might on the workings of the human brain, new findings suggest that it is possible to enjoy a vital, healthy brain and mind – well into old age. Based on compelling research, Source Naturals formulated HIGHER MIND. It contains the most important Neuroceuticals™ now recognized by nutrition scientists – including phosphatidyl serine, a natural nutrient that promotes cognitive function. The connection is clear: nourish your brain; enrich your life.
To have a healthy, well-functioning brain and nervous system, we need the correct nutrients. Our diets must provide the necessary raw materials for nerve cells to grow, for the synthesis of neurochemicals, and for the maintenance of nerve cell membranes. Nutritional deficiencies can alter the brain’s metabolism, which is expressed by changes in perception and thinking, behavior and mood.
Brain Cells – Issued at Birth
Before birth, neurons (nerve cells) are created at the amazing rate of 15 million per hour. As infants, we have over 100 billion neurons, but this is the most we will ever have because – unlike most other cells in our body – nerve cells do not reproduce. A different strategy is used to replace the neurons that are naturally lost throughout life: nerve cells repair themselves and grow by extending branches of nerve fibers called dendrites (from the Latin word for tree). These are the communication links with other neurons that form the circuitry of the brain. A single neuron may be in contact with up to a hundred thousand others! When the density of this fragile organic communication network decreases, we experience a corresponding decline in mental acuity.
Brain Cell Membranes
The membrane is the working surface of a cell. It needs to be strong yet flexible, so the cell can maintain its integrity and be able to move and change shape. The membrane regulates the flow of nutrients into the cell and the removal of waste, plus controls the passage of molecular messages from outside the cell to its interior. Membrane ion pumps use a third of the cell’s energy just to maintain the correct ratio of sodium to potassium. In neurons, a rapid exchange of sodium and potassium ions across the nerve membrane is responsible for their unique ability to generate the electrical impulses that are the basis of all communication in the nervous system. As cells age, their membranes become less fluid and more rigid. Key membrane molecules called phospholipids are crucial to the health of neuron membranes, allowing the brain to maintain its youthful quality. The phospholipids in HIGHER MIND – especially phosphatidyl serine and phosphatidyl choline – are essential nutritional supplements for the aging brain.
Phosphatidyl Serine – Key to Cognition
For the past decade, researchers have been investigating the role in brain health of a remarkable neuroceutical, phosphatidyl serine (PS). This key structural molecule is integral to the matrix of fats and proteins that compose cell membranes. Although PS is found in all the cells of the body, its highest concentration is in nerve cell membranes. PS is rarely found in the foods we eat, so the body has to synthesize it, but the process is energy- intensive and becomes less efficient with age. Consequently, our levels of PS tend to decline as we get older. PS taken as a dietary supplement is well-absorbed, readily reaching the brain, where it helps create more effective, well-structured nerve cell membranes. The positive effects of PS supplementation have been demonstrated by 23 clinical studies with over 1200 human subjects, ages 43 to 90. Consistent and statistically significant results have confirmed the value of PS in improving age-related cognitive decline, as well as in improving behavioral aspects such as apathy and withdrawal.1 A major study concluded that for one particular measurable parameter of higher mental functions, PS recipients achieved scores of persons roughly 12 years younger.2 Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) is one of the most important proteins the body makes. It enables neurons to extend dendrites out to other neurons, allowing the brain to maintain an effective communication network. In experiments, PS enhanced the production and reception of NGF, which tend to drop off radically with age.3 The effects of PS at the cellular level are manifest in the performance of the brain as a whole. Subjects taking PS showed increased levels of brain energy metabolism. This enhancement corresponded to higher performances on cognitive tests.4
The Chemistry of Thought
Science now understands the role of neurotransmitters in regulating the body’s complex network of behavior. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals used by neurons to communicate with each other. Activated by a neuron’s electrical impulse, neurotransmitters travel between nerve cells, where they excite or inhibit (in various degrees) the electrical impulse in neighboring cells. One of HIGHER MIND’S key strategies is to improve the brain’s ability to produce and use acetylcholine, a key excitatory neurotransmitter. Acetylcholine is essential for both the storage and recall of memory, and partly responsible for concentration and focus. It also plays a significant role in muscular coordination. Patients showing cognitive decline may exhibit reduced ability to synthesize and utilize acetylcholine.5 The chemical building blocks of acetylcholine and other neurotransmitters are called precursors. The most important one for acetylcholine is DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol). This natural substance is found in various fish, such as anchovies and sardines. Supplements of DMAE (and phosphatidyl choline) promote increased levels of choline in the brain. Acetylcholine is created when an acetyl group is attached to the choline molecule, with the help of choline acetyl transferase (CAT), a key brain enzyme. Acetyl L-carnitine is an amino acid that activates this enzyme. Acetyl L-carnitine may also help reduce lipofuscin deposits in the brain because of its involvement in the metabolism of fatty acids.6 Lipofuscin is composed of oxidized fats and proteins; the brown “age spots” on the back of an elderly person’s hand are made of lipofuscin. The amino acid L-pyroglutamic acid sensitizes the acetylcholine receptor sites on a neuron membrane. A given amount of acetylcholine will then have a larger, more powerful effect. Studies have shown that supplements of L-pyroglutamic acid seem to enhance the ability to focus, remember, and learn.
Total Nutrition for the Brain
The neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenalin are critical to motor coordination, motivation, concentration, and alertness. Like acetylcholine, their production tends to decline with age. The precursors and activators of dopamine and noradrenalin included in HIGHER MIND are the amino acids N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine and DL-phenylalanine (DLPA), plus folic acid, vitamins B-3, B-6, and C. DLPA is also a precursor to PEA, a neuroamine that has a stimulating effect on the brain. Glutamine is an amino acid precursor to glutamic acid, a major excitatory neurotransmitter involved in mental activity and learning. Glutamine acts as an alternative fuel source for the brain when blood sugar levels are low. It also helps the brain dispose of waste ammonia, which is a natural result of protein breakdown but is irritating to neurons even at low levels. GABA is a dietary amino acid which is also an inhibitory neurotransmitter. GABA works to calm and balance the mind, enhancing mental focus. Along with taurine, these two relaxing neurotransmitters provide a balancing influence to the other, excitatory neurotransmitters. Taurine is found in brain tissue more than anywhere else in the body. It has antioxidant properties and serves as a nerve cell membrane stabilizer, preventing excessive or erratic electrical activity in the brain.
The Importance of Magnesium
Magnesium must be present in adequate amounts in the synaptic gaps between neurons or the neurons become hyper-reactive: causing noises to sound excessively loud and emotional reactions to be extreme. Magnesium also activates a key enzyme responsible for maintaining cellular sodium- potassium balance, which is absolutely essential to the electrical activity of nerve cells, as well as to the existence of the cell itself. (Cells would burst if the sodium-potassium ratio were wrong.) Magnesium also helps relax cerebral blood vessels and is important to the manufacture of ATP, the chief energy molecule of the brain. A buildup of aluminum has been found in the brains of some elderly. In 1989, the British medical journal Lancet published a study showing that drinking water with aluminum can increase the risk of damage by up to 50%. An abundant natural element, aluminum is now a common feature in our culture. It’s found in tap water, cookware, deodorants, beverage containers, baked goods, and of course as aluminum foil. In the brain, aluminum breaks down the structure of neurons – causing them to starve – by displacing magnesium from tubulin, a glycoprotein responsible for making microtubules. These tiny pipe-like structures within a neuron provide needed rigidity, as well as transport nutrients from the nucleus down the dendrites to the ends of the nerve cell. Magnesium malate is an excellent form of magnesium that ensures neurons receive this vital mineral.
B is for Brain Vitamins
HIGHER MIND also contains a high profile of B vitamins and other key nutrients that are often N A T U R A L S S O U R C E Strategies for Wellness SM ¤ lacking in older individuals. A deficiency in any of the B vitamins can alter nerve function and psychological well-being. Thiamine (B-1), known as the “nerve vitamin,” was first recognized because its deficiency caused beriberi, a degenerative nerve disease. Thiamine is part of the structure of nerve cell membranes and is important to the reparative process that neurons need to offset the stress of continual firing of the electrical impulse. Low amounts of thiamine can cause cell malnutrition in the hypothalamus, the brain’s memory center. 7 NAD and NADH, two coenzyme forms of Niacin (B-3), are the most plentiful coenzymes in the brain. They are essential to hundreds of enzymatic reactions, including ones that produce energy. NADH can stimulate the synthesis of key mood-elevating neurotransmitters. It is also one of the body’s most potent antioxidants. Pantothenic acid (B-5), cyanocobalamin (B-12), and folic acid are required to form the myelin sheath – the insulating covering of nerve fibers. A diet low in pantothenic acid has been shown to make test subjects emotionally upset, irritable, and depressed.7 A lack of B-12 can result in poor concentration and, in severe deficiencies, hallucinations. Pyridoxine (B-6) is precursor to over 60 enzymatic reactions and is involved in the synthesis of several neurotransmitters.
Brain cells almost exclusively burn glucose for their energy (other cells can also burn fat), and typically require 50% of all the glucose in the blood. Two B-like vitamins help in the utilization of glucose: PAK (pyridoxine alpha-ketoglutarate) may potentiate the effects of insulin and improve glucose utilization to the cells;8 Biotin is important for the transformation of glucose into energy in the brain. Lipoic acid and coenzyme Q10 are metabolic energizers that help produce ATP, the primary energy molecule in the body. Since the brain uses 20% of the body’s total energy supply, efficient ATP production is vital. Lipoic acid and CoQ10 are also powerful antioxidants that help regenerate other antioxidants in the body. The blood vessels feeding the brain become less efficient as we pass middle age. Since the brain depends on the bloodstream to deliver nutrients and oxygen and to remove waste, the quality of this blood flow is paramount to proper brain nutrition. Ginkgo biloba leaf extract has been shown in scientific studies to increase blood flow to the brain by helping vessels to dilate. It also promotes the smoothness and healthy integrity of blood vessel linings.
For the Life of Your Mind Without proper nutrition, the brain will deteriorate; therefore strategies are needed to both enhance current brain function and protect it throughout life. Based on the latest scientific findings, Source Naturals HIGHER MIND is formulated with neuroceuticals that support the mental functions that tend to decline with age. They give your brain the nourishment it needs to integrate perception, memory, and learning into a more comprehensive awareness – so you can excel for a lifetime.
Glycerylphosphorylcholine -- Supports Cognitive Function in AD ...
May 24, 2005 09:52 AM
Cognitive Improvement in Mild to Moderate Alzheimer's Dementia After Treatment with the Acetylcholine Precursor Choline Alfoscerate: A Multicenter, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial Maria De Jesus Moreno Moreno, MD Instituto Nacional de la Senectud, Mexico City, Mexico
in both men and woman they consistently improved after 90 and 180 days versus baseline with adiministration of GPC three times a day, whereas in the placebo group they remained unchanged or worsened. Statistically significant differences were observed between treatments after 90 and 180 days.
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Multicenter clinical comparison of the effects of choline alphoscerate and cytidine diphosphocholine in the treatment of multi-infarct dementia. Curt Ther Res Clin Exp. 1991;49:683-693. 20. Muratorio A, Bonuccelli U, Nuti A, et al. A neurotropic approach to the treatment of multi-infarct dementia using L-c~-glycerylphosphorylcholine. Curt Ther Res Clin Exp. 1992;52:741-75l. 21. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Washington, DC: APA; 1994. 22. McKhann G, Drachman D, Folstein M, et al. Clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease: Report of the NINCDS-ADRDA Work Group under the auspices of Department of Health and Human Services Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease. Neurology. 1984;34:939-944. 23. Folstein ME Folstein SE. "Mini-mental state": A practical method for grading the cognitive state of patients for the clinician. J Psychiatr Res. 1975; 12:189-198. 24. Loeb C, Gandolfo C. Diagnostic evaluation of degenerative and vascular dementia. Stroke. 1983;14:399-401. 25. Hamilton M. A rating scale for depression.J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1960;23:56-62. 26. Hamilton M. Development of a rating scale for primary depressive illness. BrJ Soc Clin Psych& 1967;6:278-296. 27. Rosen WG, Mohs RC, Davis KL. A new rating scale for Alzheimer's disease. AmJ Psychiatry. 1984;141:1356-1364. 28. Reisberg B, Ferris SH, De Leon MJ, et al. The Global Deterioration Scale for assessment of primary degenerative dementia. Am J Psychiatry. 1982;139:1136-1139. 29. National Institute of Mental Health. Clinical global impressions. In: Guy W, ed. ECDEU Assessment for Psychopharmacology. Revised edition. Rockville, Md: National Institute of Mental Health; 1976:217-222. 30. Burns A, Russell E, Page S. New drugs for Alzheimer's disease. Br J Psychiatry. 1999;174:476-479. 31. Kumar V, Anand R, Messina J, et al. An efficacy and safety analysis of Exelon in Alzheimer's disease patients with concurrent vascular risk factors. Eur J Neurol. 2000;7:159-169. 32. Knapp MJ, Knopman DS, Solomon PR, et al, for the Tacrine Study Group. A 30-week randomized controlled trial of high-dose tacrine in patients with Alzheimer's disease. JAMA. 1994;271:985-991. 192 M. Moreno 33. Lindstrom MJ, Bates DM. Newton-Rapshon algorithms for linear-mixed effects models for repeated measure data. J Am Stat Assoc. 1998;83:1014-1022. 34. Thai LJ, Carta A, Clarke WR, et al. A 1-year multicenter placebo-controlled study of acetyl-L-carnitine in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Neurology 1996;47:705-711. 35. Rogers SL, Friedhoff LT, for the Donepezil Study Group. The efficacy and safety of donepezil in patients with Alzheimer's disease: Results of a US multicentre, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Dementia. 1996;7:293-303. 36. Rogers SL, Doody RS, Mohs RC, Friedhoff LT, for the Donepezil Study Group. Donepezil improves cognition and global function in Alzheimer disease: A 15-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Arch Intern Med. 1998; 158:1021-1031. 37. Corey-Bloom J, Anand R, Veach J, for the ENA 713 B352 Study Group. A randomized trial evaluating the efficacy and the safety of ENA 713 (rivastigmine tartrate), a new acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, in patients with mild to moderately severe Alzheimer's disease. Int J Geriatr Psychopharmacol. 1998;1:55-65. 38. Rosler M, Anand R, Cicin-Sain A, et al. Efficacy and safety of rivastigmine in patients with Alzheimer's disease: International randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 1999;318: 633-638. 39. Amenta E Bronzetti E, Del Valle M, Vega JA. Effects of alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine in neuroanatomy of aging brain in experimental animals [in Italian]. Basi Raz Te~: 1990;20:31-38. Address correspondence to: Scientific Department, Italfarmaco SpA, via dei Lavoratori 54, 20092 Cinisello Balsamo, Milan, Italy.