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Eat (or drink) your vegetables: Make smoothies to maximize the lutein in spinach
May 06, 2019 03:40 PM
Spinach, one of the healthiest vegetables available, and it contains a high amount of lutein. The best way to get this lutein is to blend it in a smoothie or add it to a green juice. Because lutein is fat-soluble and stored in the immune cells, the researchers for this study were looking for ways to boost lutein levels in the blood and take advantage of its many health benefits. The research team that came from Sweden used Spinach to understand this process and they processed spinach in various ways, examining various heating and steaming methods to best bolster lutein content in spinach. They found that heating makes spinach to lose its lutein content and the more it is boiled, the more lutein that is lost. They found that the best way to consume spinach to preserve its lutein content is to take it cold. Therefore that is why adding spinach to smoothies is recommended for maximum consumption of lutein in spinach.
"There are many different ways of preparing spinach, but a recent study suggests that blending it in a smoothie or adding it to your green juice is the best way to maximize its lutein content."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-21-eat-or-drink-your-vegetables-make-smoothies-to-maximize-the-lutein-in-spinach.html
Zinc can protect against oxidative stress when it's taken togetherwith chocolate and tea
February 08, 2019 03:48 PM
As human cells burn energy in their processes, they give off "exhaust", if you will(cellular expiration), which can cause damage to components of the cell and surroundings. One of the byproducts in this respiration is superoxide, which may have a role in the aging process and other degenerative problems. However, there may be a metal that may help without hurting: zinc. And, some reseachers say, taking zinc with items such as chocolate or wine may enhance the process zinc has in breaking down the superoxide.
"A study published in the journal Nature Chemistry suggests that the nutritional benefits of zinc can be bolstered when combined with a natural compound found in chocolate and tea."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-04-zinc-protects-against-oxidative-stress-with-chocolate-and-tea.html
Carotenoids may also bolster brain function in older adults: Study
February 07, 2019 04:16 PM
Antioxidants and substances with anti-inflammatory properties have long shown to have great advantages on neurological function. Researchers are now finding that carotenoids can provide both of these beneficial properties, and that consuming carotenoids may help aid older adults in maintaining their brain health while preventing certain neurological disorders. The experts found that specifically lutein and zeaxanthin are the two carotenoids that have the most impact on successfully boosting cognitive function in seniors, as well as increasing verbal skills.
"However, while most studies have looked at the benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin in eye health, it should be worth noting that the two are also found in certain brain regions."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-12-19-carotenoids-may-also-bolster-brain-function-in-older-adults.html
5 Adaptogens That Will Improve Your Brain Function
August 29, 2018 10:53 AM
Adaptogens help protect your brain from stress and keep it working at peak efficiency. Ashwagandha, for example, can bolster focus, memory and cognition, as well as promoting the growth of new dendrites. Rhodiola can make neurons more sensitive to dopamine and serotonin, which increases mental clarity and focus, and has great potential for fighting depression and inflammation. Turmeric is an even stronger anti-inflammatory, and may help depression as well. Siberian Ginseng can help speed up processes in the brain, and improve learning and retention of new information. Finally, maca root can stabilize moods, fight brain fog and help inhibit breakdown of neurotransmitters.
"Adaptogens are substances that promote balance and negate the ill effects of stress in the body."
Read more: https://www.care2.com/greenliving/5-adaptogens-that-will-improve-your-brain-function.html
Fulvic Acid- The Key To Health
August 27, 2018 05:53 PM
Fulvic acid is a mineral found in plants but has been overlooked greatly for aiding humans. Fulvic acid helps to break down basic fats, amino acids, and minerals. It also helps in transporting these items to their intended cells. Fulvic acid helps to get rid of poisons, heavy metals acquired in the circulatory system, and helps to rebuild the body's immunity. Research has shown it helps make supplements absorb. It contains the basic 70 minerals.
"Not to be mistaken for folic acid, fulvic acid is thought to be one of the general key parts for your general wellbeing."
Read more: https://reportshealthcare.com/fulvic-acid-the-key-to-health/
Take bacopa every day to boost mental clarity
August 22, 2018 09:53 AM
Are you looking to bolster your brain health in a natural way? Bacopa might be able to help you. It offers many benefits to the brain. For starters, it can make you more durable when dealing with stress. It also can be used to regulate your neurotransmitters. Not only does it improve blood flow to your brain, it also inspires new formations of nerve cells. Finally, it has powerful effects on depression, inflammation, memory and brain elasticity.
"Together, these compounds make up eight percent of bacopa’s dry weight. Bacopasides are believed to play essential roles in the benefits that bacopa provides."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-08-13-take-bacopa-every-day-to-boost-mental-clarity.html
The incredible immune booster many have never heard of
June 24, 2018 05:54 PM
Astragalus, also known as Huangqi or Milkvetch, is a relative of the pea plant with remarkable adaptogenic qualities that can help boost your resilience against various types of physical and mental stress. Astragalus delivers a potent mix of anti inflammatory, antibacterial and immune system-boosting compounds that can help bolster your natural defense system and stimulate production of antibodies. Astragalus is easily grown in the garden in most U.S. regions, and can be prepared for consumption as an oil, tea, tincture, etc.
"For medical use, the root is made into powder, herbal decoctions, tea, capsules and ointments."
Read more: https://www.healthnutnews.com/the-incredible-immune-booster-many-have-never-heard-of/
If Your Kid Is Depressed Or Anxious, This Could Be Why
December 31, 2017 07:59 AM
A lot more children in this day and age are experiencing more mental disorders that were previously only diagnosed to adults, such as depression. Many factors can be causing this. Social media is much too image focused. Academic pressures are higher than ever before. Prepackaged junk foods and fast food are causing children to have poor diets. As adults we have to be aware of all these issues and bolster children's confidence while counterattacking negative influences.
"Instagram and Snapchat can have a detrimental impact on the mental health of young people."
Read more: https://www.thealternativedaily.com/what-is-driving-the-epidemic-of-anxiety-and-depression-in-school-age-kids/
Eat These 7 Foods For Bigger Breasts
March 17, 2017 06:44 PM
Not every woman has what she considers the ideal breast size for her body shape. Genetics, body composition, and hormones all play a role in determining breast size. While there is no scientific research to prove that diet may increase cup size, traditional wisdom suggests that foods high in plant estrogen which mimic the natural hormone estrogen may stimulate breast growth. However, researchers caution that too much plant estrogen may not be a good thing. Alternatively, women might consider strength exercises that safely improve upper body strength and as an added benefit bolster the chest wall muscle behind the breast tissue.
Read more: Eat These 7 Foods For Bigger Breasts
Biotin: What's the Beauty Buzz?
March 14, 2017 06:59 PM
Found in dietary supplements, makeup, and individual care items, biotin is accepted to bolster more beneficial looking hair, skin, and nails. Biotin additionally bolsters the wellbeing of moms and children amid pregnancy and breastfeeding; advances sound glucose levels as of now inside the ordinary range; underpins liver and eye wellbeing; and backings the general solid looking appearance of hair, skin, and nails. At the point when individuals don't get enough biotin in their eating regimen, they may encounter male pattern baldness, dry textured skin, cheilitis, glossitis, dry eyes, loss of craving, weariness, a sleeping disorder or discouragement. You can keep your scalp hydrated and sound by taking supplements of biotin, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc, to bolster your hair's imperviousness to breakage. Concerning nail wellbeing, biotin may help goad nail development, conceivably profiting individuals with nails that effortlessly chip, split or break.
Read more: Biotin: What's the Beauty Buzz?
A New Test of Pot's Potential to Replace Painkillers
December 14, 2016 07:59 AM
Hear a lot about marijuana in the news? Not sure of its purpose? Well a new study aims to anwser that. A new study is about to begin that would compare weeds affect as a painkiller, in the place of something stronger like opiods. More will be known as study moves ahead.
"The current status of medical marijuana research is rife with irony."
10 Reasons to drink lemon water on an empty stomach
November 08, 2016 12:59 PM
Lemon water is a nutrient powerhouse that some celebrities swear by. It is thought that lemon water ingested right away in the morning not only hydrates your body, but it also provides essential vitamins that help jumpstart your day. Everything from the enzymes to the antioxidants present in lemons does a great job of boosting most systems in the body to start the day off right. This simple drink can help detoxify the skin and curb hunger, while also providing some energy and bolstering the immune system.
"According to some health advocates, drinking lemon water on an empty stomach takes you one step closer to optimal health."
Manuka honey may be the future of antibacterial superbug medicine
October 27, 2016 01:43 PM
For many years honey has been a home remedy for its antibacterial and medicinal properties. Now, a new honey from New Zealand, called Manuka honey, is becoming popular for pushing the boundaries of what honey is known for. Studies found that this honey was effective against chronic wound infections and can inhibit bacteria growth. Others say that it has beneficial vitamins and nutrients, bolsters the immune system, helps acne, heals eczema, and fights cold among others. Most of these claims are not proven, but it hasn't stopped the honey cost from skyrocketing to $80 a jar.
""Even low dilutions of Manuka honey can curb the activity and growth of bacterial biofilms – the thin but resilient layer of microbes that build up on, and stick to, any surface including plastic.""
Why Should We Take A Multi-Strain Probiotic?
Most people taking a probiotic supplement or drink do so for the purpose of supporting digestive health. Probiotics increase the colonization of beneficial bacteria in the intestines and limit the proliferation of pathogenic or disease-causing bacteria. A healthy intestinal microflora is believed to not only enhance digestion, but also promote general health and boost immunity.
Probiotics Offer More than Digestive Health Support
Probiotics offer medical advantages that go past the extent of supporting digestive wellbeing. Recent studies demonstrate that particular strains of probiotics may be utilized to treat particular conditions. Here's a rundown of advantages of taking probiotics supplement or drink:
Blend of Probiotics with Other Ingredients
Products that contain probiotics and a blend of different fixings are picking up prevalence since they offer more extensive advantages for wellbeing.
The symbiotic blend of probiotics with prebiotics multiplies the development of solid microflora. Prebiotics are insoluble fiber, for example, Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and inulin, which achieve the colon in a genuinely undigested state. It is in the colon that probiotics feast upon prebiotics through a maturation prepare that happens in the colon. Amid this procedure, by-items called transient unsaturated fats (SFA) are delivered. SFAs help to keep up fundamental elements of the body and produce certain B vitamins.
Probiotics can be consolidated with proteins that help separate sustenance substances into easier structures to improve supplement absorption.
Consolidating probiotics with a multi-vitamin is famous yet stances challenges in assembling because of the touchy way of probiotics. Probiotics are delicate to light, dampness, heat, oxygen.
How Probiotics Manufacturers Can Provide Retailers with Reliable Probiotics Supplements
The greatest test that probiotics producers face is keeping the microorganisms alive amid the mixing procedure while guaranteeing strength amid timeframe of realistic usability. At the point when joined with different fixings that are similarly touchy, for example, proteins, compelling consideration ought to be taken to guarantee that the assembling and bundling procedure happen in a dry situation. Any dampness may initiate the proteins and wreck the probiotics.
Microencapsulation is a genuinely late innovation that guarantees the survival of probiotics amid surrounding so as to assemble and stockpiling it with an external covering. Microencapsulating shields probiotics from ecological defilement and forestalls unplanned blending of probiotics with different fixings in the recipe that may bargain its solidness.
Guaranteeing the Right Strain and Count
The wellbeing presenting advantages of probiotics are strain-particular. Diverse strains have particular capacities in the body and not all strains are valuable to wellbeing. Probiotic formulators must be knowledgeable in probiotic strains and the utilization of proper strains for the sought condition-particular capacities. Slight variety in the hereditary profile of strains could create undesirable results.
CLA in Weight Loss
January 21, 2014 10:05 AM
What is CLA
CLA, or conjugated linoleic harsh corrosive, has been the subject of an assortment of exploration in the previous numerous years. Over 200 studies have indicated that it may assume an exceptionally vital part in weight reduction, as well as in serving to battle disease, diabetes, and atherosclerosis (solidifying of the corridors). It is not made in the human figure, and is discovered commonly in meat and dairy fats, or as an over-the-counter supplement. Artificially, it is a marginally changed type of the fundamental greasy harsh corrosive, linoleic harsh corrosive, and an omega-6 fattening harsh corrosive. The CLA discovered regularly in the sustenance sources is most astounding in dairy cattle and bovines that expend an eating methodology rich in grasses, and the individuals who are nibbling in pastures; instead of the aforementioned bolstered monitored food, for example, grain, feed or silage. To quote Larry Satter, an Agricultural Research Dairy Scientist, "Pasture-nibbled cows had 500% more CLA in their milk than those nourished silage." Since the fat is the particular bearer of the CLA, the substance of the fat in the milk is extremely paramount. The higher the fat substance, the more stupendous the CLA sum is in the milk. This is as opposed to what is proposed when drinking milk. Skim or 1% is constantly proposed over the entire or 2%, to maintain a strategic distance from the overabundance calories and fat, since normally drain was tanked for the calcium content (or the protein). This adds an entire new profit to drain and dairy items, clearing a path for science to control the CLA substance of milkfat, and may open the entryway the CLA-improved sustenances.
Scientists accept CLA helps square fat cells that are in the figure from topping off with fat by meddling with a fat-archiving compound regarded as lipoprotein lipase, and additionally, by expanding the affectability of units to the hormone insulin. Creature studies have likewise demonstrated an expansion in lean bulk and fat lessening, or fat blazing; furnishing positive progressions to form sythesis, a decline in general muscle to fat ratio ratios. It is known as a "fat eliminator" on the grounds that it revs up muscle metabolism, in this way, helping increment lean tissue, bringing about the figure to need more calories to capacity (since fat units smolder next to zero calories), accordingly accelerating the fat smoldering procedure to make vigor.
Bromelain Supplements why?
November 06, 2010 10:32 AM
Bromelain enzyme may not be as familiar as other digestive supplements to most people but this helpful catalyst offers a wide range of benefits not only to the digestive system but also to other systems of the body.
Bromelain Enzyme Supplement
Bromelain enzyme is a proteolytic digestive catalyst that contains sulfur. From the word “proteolytic”, this substance aids in the digestion of proteins especially when taken with meals. On the other hand, when taken without meals, it is deemed to act as an anti-inflammatory supplement. Ananas comosus or the pineapple plant is the best source of this beneficial enzyme. However, fresh pineapple extract does not contain doses high enough to have a medicinal effect. Hence, a preparation to meet the body’s demand is produced. Bromelain supplements now come in the form of tablets and topical creams. They are now widely available and affordable to counterweigh the several uses it offers.
In the Digestive System, bromelain enzyme does not only help in digesting proteins but may also relieve gastric upset and heartburn especially when used together with other digestive enzymes like amylase, a catalyst responsbile for carbohydrate digestion, and lipase which is for the digestion of fats. Diarrhea conditions associated with deficiency in the proteolytic enzymes can also be alleviated with the use of this supplement.
In the Immune System, bromelain has been widely considered as an effective relief for pain and swelling caused by both injury and certain infections. Studies frequently show the bromelain’s ability in facilitating the body to restore health more quickly. The mechanism is said to be a reduction of fibrin and leukotriene accumulation, thus regulating the inflammation process. Researchers have demonstrated evidences that a daily intake of 1,200 to 1,800 mg of bromelain may help alleviate painful inflammation just like in rheumatoid arthritis.
In the Cardiovascular System, bromelain supplement is theorized to play a role in the prevention of heart disease caused by atherosclerosis or thickening of the arterial wall due to plaque deposits. It slows down the clumping of platelets thus preventing a possible heart attack.
Bromelain May Also Relieve Pain
Lastly, bromelain may also relieve pain associated premenstrual syndrome and menstraul cramps. Studies reveal that they act as prostaglandin inhibitors. However, bromelain can also increase the bleeding during menstruation.
Bromelain supplement has no Recommended Dietary Allowance but doses of up to 1 gram taken 3 times a day showed no toxic effects. Experts also advise to take bromelain on an empty stomach supplemented with magnesium to increase the bromelain’s effects.
Just like any other drug or food supplement, bromelain also has side effects, nonlife-threatening to be exact. It may have drug interactions such as increasing the absorption of some medications like antibiotics, chemotherapeutic drugs and specific antihypertensive agents. In addition, it may also bolster the effects of blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin), anti-inflammatory drugs and antiplatelet agents such as clopidogrel (Plavix). Since bromelain supplement can cause certain drug interactions, it is important to take this enzyme cautiously or under the supervision of a qualified health care provider.
To find quality bromelain supplements, look to your local or internet vitamin store.
August 28, 2008 09:33 AM
Garcinia Cambogia is found naturally in India and parts of Asia, and also on the Pacific coast of South and Central America all the way from Peru up to Mexico, and likes a humid forested environment. Also known as Brindall berries, garcinia is believed to act as an appetite suppressant and allows you to lose weight by diminishing your desire for food.
The Malabar tamarind, as it is also known, is about the size of an orange resembling a small pumpkin, and an extract from the fruit and rind is used in several weight loss products. The health risks presented by synthetic diet pills render a natural product extremely attractive were it to be effective. So can Garcia curb your appetite? What is the scientific evidence for it, and what biochemical route would it take?
Although tests on animals have been very positive, human results have been inconsistent. In some double blind tests using a placebo, weight loss was up to three times that of the control, but in others there was no apparent difference between those taking garcinia, and those given a placebo. However, doubts have been raised of the validity of some of the negative tests, so what does science tell us?
The active ingredient in the cambogia extract is hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which is a powerful inhibitor of ATP citrate lyase, an enzyme that catalyzes the reaction between citrate and Coenzyme A to Acetyl CoA and oxaloacetate. Since the acetyl CoA is necessary in the synthesis of fatty acids and lipogenesis (the conversion of glucose to fatty acids), then anything that inhibits the biosynthesis of acetyl CoA must help to reduce the amount of fat stored in your body.
By inhibiting this reaction, that occurs outside the mitochondria so is not a direct part of the Citric Acid Cycle, HCA should theoretically suppress the formation of fats from carbohydrates, reduce food intake and thereby induce weight loss. But that is not the only mechanism.
A study at Georgetown University in Washington found that after 8 weeks of taking the garcinia extract, there was a 5.4% reduction in body weight and body mass index, and a significant reduction in low density lipoproteins (LDL) and triglycerides with an associated rise in high density lipoproteins (HDL). This is good news for those suffering from high cholesterol levels, since the LDL lipoproteins are those that carry cholesterol to the major blood vessels, and which when oxidized by free radicals deposit fatty plaques on the artery walls. These plaques constrict the arteries and the resultant atherosclerosis can lead to cardiac problems and strokes. HDL lipoproteins carry cholesterol back to the liver for destruction, and is known popularly as ‘good cholesterol’.
The studies also indicated modifications to certain indicators of the status of fat deposits in the body and of appetite modifiers in the brain. In this respect they found 38% decreases in serum leptin and increases in serotonin levels of 44%, and the excretion of fat metabolites in the urine increased from between 32% and 104%.
These are significant findings, and further research has indicated that HCA helps to suppress appetite. Serum leptin is an indicator of the level of fat stores in the body, and as the leptin levels in the blood reduces, the hypothalamus is given an instruction to increase the appetite so as to increase the fat levels again. However, it is believed that HCA possesses leptin-like properties, and this signal is either not generated or is modulated.
The increase in serotonin has the same effect. It is known that serotonin controls the appetite, although the exact mechanism has not yet been established. What is known is that serotonin activates certain neurons and melanocortin-4 receptors (MC4R) in the brain, that not only curb appetite but also block the effect of other neurons that would normally increase appetite by blocking the effect of MC4Rs.
This is how the banned anti-obesity and serotonin inciting drug Fen-Phen operated, and it appears that the hydroxycitric acid in garcinia cambogia extract acts in a similar, but safer, way. The problem with drugs such as Feb-Phen was that they created cardiac problems which could be dangerous to obese people whose hearts might have been weakened.
However, now that the biological pathway by which serotonin controls weight is believed to be known, if not fully understood, the way is becoming clearer as to how safer weight loss pills, acting through appetite suppression, might be developed. It also provides a valid scientific explanation for the effect of garcinia cambogia extract which might in itself prove to be that safer way.
The biochemistry supports the evidence of its effect on those wanting to lose weight, and also bolsters the claims that those tests and trials found to be negative were in some way flawed. Until the full chemical pathway is understood, the factors that can lead to flawed tests are unknown, although one could be the use of excessive fiber in some trials that could reduce the effect of the extract.
One of the effects of HCA is to limit the ability of your body to convert carbohydrates into fat (the Acetyl CoA inhibition mentioned above). That, combined with suppression of your appetite and a higher rate of thermogenesis, prevents the body from storing excess carbohydrates as fat. Instead you will have increased energy levels, so you should exercise to use this up while taking garcinia extract. For this reason it is popular with athletes and bodybuilders seeking an energy source that has not yet been banned from sport.
Although diet pills based on the same principle had side-effects and could make the user feel on edge, there are none known with garcinia. However, it is possible to reduce the absorption of some essential nutrients due to appetite suppression, so do not exceed the recommended dose. An excessive amount can also led to gastric discomfort, but none of these effects have been noted when the recommended doses have been adhered to.
However, if you are diabetic, pregnant or a nursing mother, you should consult with your physician or health professional before taking the extract. Garcinia Cambogia presents no specific risk to such people, and this warning should be given for all non-prescriptive treatments that your physician might be unaware of you taking.
Papaya- May Be A Fountain of Youth
May 31, 2007 02:09 PM
Papaya- May Be A Fountain of Youth
Seventy years ago, when the Social Security Administration was developed during the Great Depression, age 62 was recognized as average life expectancy. These days, getting older is a whole different ball game. Not only are people living well into their 80s and 90s, they’re living better, too. People well into retirement are mountain biking, kayaking, jogging and hiking, as well as gardening, golfing and attending concerts – sometimes for their first time. Everybody, it seems, is on the go, from ages of 22 to 92.
Of course, you don’t have to wait until retirement to start planning for a longer more vibrant life. The best way to ensure happier and longer years ahead is to start young.
Nobody wants to spend retirement in the doctor’s waiting room or have their golden years intruded upon with illnesses or infirmities. And, most importantly, we don’t want to feel 80 years old even though our driver’s license says we are.
These desires and demands are not just wishful thinking. Huge advances in the understanding of how men and women age are being made almost daily. These findings are helping to improve our chances of living long, healthy lives. And, some of the most impressive findings have shown that using nutritional supplements can help – in particular, a specially formulated papaya preparation is able to fight two of the primary reasons we get old – oxidative stress and immune system decline.
This issue of Ask the Doctor is going to share the anti-aging secrets hidden in the papaya and how this tropical fruit may hold the key to a long, vibrant life.
Q. Why papaya? What does papaya have that other fruits and vegetables don’t?
A. Not many American moms put a papaya in their kids’ lunch boxes and papaya pie has yet to gain a following. But this tangy tasting fruit is now appearing fairly frequently in the produce departments of most grocery stores and its popularity seems to steadily increase each year.
The papaya’s bright orange flesh is fairly fibrous and very slippery – slicing a peeled papaya is a little like slicing a bar of wet soap. The core is filled with little black seeds that look a lot like caviar. And while eating a papaya will give you a day’s worth of vitamins A and C as well as potassium taking Fermented Papaya Preparation (or FPP) might just give you an additional 30 years of healthy vibrant life.
Q. What exactly is Fermented Papaya Preparation (FPP)?
A. It’s a specialized nutritional supplement. Backed by more than 30 studies to date, FPP has been used in
Q. How was FPP developed?
A. Japanese scientists noticed that individuals with higher amounts of papaya in their diets experienced certain health benefits.
Researchers who study aging decided to look at the papaya’s chemistry to see if it might have properties that could contribute to longevity. Several plant chemicals in the papaya showed promise. And when they combined papaya with specific yeasts and traditional Japanese fermentation techniques, FPP was born. This unique substance was then subjected to scientific studies to see its health impact; they determined that FPP is a superior antioxidant, a powerful immune-booster, and one of
Q. How does FPP help people live longer and healthier?
A. While getting older is an indisputable fact of life, aging, per se, is not. We can’t do much about our annual birthdays and we really shouldn’t even if we could. Every age is a cause for celebration and every life experience, both the difficult and the sublime, should be treasured.
However, we don’t have to accept the consequences of aging that can make a mockery of the “Golden Years” - heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, and cancer. Our parents and grandparents and the generations that preceded them might have had little say in how they aged. But we can. We can slow down the harmful effects of aging and FPP can help by reducing oxidative stress and immune system decline.
Additionally, fighting oxidative stress helps people retain their youthful appearance longer. Oxidative damage is the number one factor in facial aging.
Q. What exactly does oxidative stress mean and what does it have to do with aging?
A. One theory of aging is that harmful molecules called free radicals wreak havoc in our cells. Many of our body’s normal metabolic processes produce free radicals. For example, free radicals are a normal by-product in the production of ATP (the energy molecule) from glucose. Certain types of white blood cells destroy invading microbes by the production of free radicals. Free radicals are also formed by the many normal enzymatic actions that take place every minute every day.
However, outside sources can also cause free radical formation, as well. If we are exposed to pollutants in the environment, chemicals, additives and preservatives in the food we eat, or even direct sunlight, excess production of free radicals can occur, causing profound damage. This free radical frenzy is called oxidative stress, and is linked to almost every disease of aging including arthritis, heart disease, cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer. In fact, the reason why these are called diseases of aging is because the longer we are alive, the longer we are subjected to these free radical assaults.
Q. How does FPP affect the decline of our immune systems as we age?
A. Our immune systems consist of specialized tissues, organs, and cells, including several different kinds of white blood cells. Each type of white blood cell works in specific ways to keep us healthy and free of disease. They not only stand guard – on the alert for invaders – they can fight and eradicate microbes, too.
However, as we age, our white blood cells become less efficient in keeping viruses and bacteria from infecting us. They often mistake invaders for good guys, like nutrients. As they age, white blood cells may recognize foreign invaders, but be too tired to fight and let them in. This age-associated immune decline also results in single cancer cells being able to “take hold” and grow into tumors. By the time the white blood cells realize their mistake, the cancer is a widespread disease.
That’s why older members of society have more urinary tract infections, more pneumonia, more cases of bacterial meningitis, tuberculosis, herpes zoster, and much more cancer than younger adults do. Moreover, mortality rates for these diseases are often 2-3 times higher among adults than younger people with the same disease.
FPP steps in and takes charge. One kind of white blood cells, the macrophage “eats” and digests bacteria, viral particles, and free radical fragments. Research has shown that FPP helps macrophages work faster and ingest more disease-causing microbes. Scientists have also discovered that FPP increases the production of a chemical protein called interleukin that’s secreted by macrophages. Interleukin plays an important part in wound healing and keeping minor infections from becoming major infections.
Another important immune system cell is the natural killer (NK) cell, a white blood cell that is continually on the prowl for cancer cells. As the immune system ages, NK cells have trouble “seeing” cancer cells. Researchers have discovered that FPP boosts the activity of NK cells. Increased NK cell activity can result in the increased killing of cancer cells as well as cells infected by viruses.
Q. How does FPP help protect us from free radical damage?
A. FPP contains unique and powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize free radical damage. Antioxidants do this by donating an extra electron to the free radical without becoming frenzied or worked up into a free radical themselves. Although the antioxidant has donated an electron, it has a more stable “personality” and is less reactive. This action stops the domino effect and ongoing free-radical damage.
If you consider your body a temple, think of free radicals as stealing bricks from your temple’s foundation. FPP acts not only as policeman, but as a builder as well. It doesn’t just stop the theft of bricks; it helps create new ones, keeping the foundation strong and young.
FPP does this by affecting super oxide dimutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPX), the very genetic pathways that eliminate free radicals from the system. FPP is more than an antioxidant – it doesn’t turn into a pro-oxidant if you happen to take a large dose the way standard antioxidants can. Consider it an “antioxidant plus.”
Since aging is largely determined by how well our bodies can fight oxidative damage, using FPP can slow down the clock as it bolsters natural abilities with its own potent neutralizing activities.
Q. What else does science say about FPP?
A. As the subject of over 30 clinical studies, FPP has been shown to inhibit dangerous hydroxyl free radicals. In addition, it is also being considered for its immuno-protective effects.
Researchers and medical professionals have been studying FPP for years, tracking its effect on the immune system and aging. In fact, no less a personage then Dr. Luc Montagnier, co-discover of HIV 1 & 2 virus, has been conducting research on this natural immune booster.
Dr. Montagnier recommends using FPP as part of a tri-therapy (including antibiotics) that reduces the proliferation of the virus and stimulates the immune system. Since FPP has antioxidant and immuno-stimulative properties, it seems like an obvious choice for a combined approach to combating AIDS. Because of the higher free radical production in stage II of HIV infection, Montagnier believes that reducing this oxidative stress at the earliest stage of HIV infection may be a key factor.
In HIV-infected patients, the glutathione system is depressed even at the early stages. As part of a combination treatment, FPP increased the numbers of CF4 lymphocytes helped with weight gain and increased hemoglobin levels.
One scientific study showed the ability of FPP to inhibit dangerous hydroxyl and hydroxyl-like free radicals, while enhancing the production of protective super oxide. Other research by Dr. Lester Packer, a professor of Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology at the
And, in one randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, patients with cirrhosis of the liver were given FPP or a placebo. The results showed that 81.2% of the patients survived in the FPP group compared to 38.5% of participants in the placebo group.
These studies and many others like it, show that FPP can neutralize the effects of oxidative stress on disease states as well as slowing the normal aging process.
Q. So if we can prevent oxidative damage to our cells AND prevent decline in our immune systems, how much longer can we expect to live?
A. Most theories of aging and almost all researchers who study aging claim there IS a limit to how long the human body can remain viable. However, the oldest age achieved so far was 128 by a woman named Ma Pampo who lived in the
Right now, Japanese women have the longest life span of any country in the world, with an average life expectancy of 85.93 years. Japanese men live an average 78.87 years.
Q. Is FPP safe?
A. Yes, it is. Many health-conscious people in
Q. What is the recommended dosage level of FPP?
A. Dosages of FPP vary depending on individual needs and usage. For basic anti-aging support, 3 grams per day is fine. For additional support, up to 9 grams per day is recommended. To add a boost to your immune system when you need it, start out with 6-9 grams a day for the first 2-3 days (at the beginning of a cold, for example) and then move back down to 3 grams per day.
For individuals looking for optimum immune support, Dr. Montagnier advises morning and evening doses, preferably on an empty stomach.
May 28, 2007 11:33 AM
Humankind has long searched for a special elixir that would confer immortality…or, failing that, at least prolong youthful vitality for a decent number of years. Resveratrol is no magic potion, but it has improved survival rates among mice at the ripe old age (for a mouse) of 114 weeks even overweight mice fed high-calorie chow (Nature online 11/1/06). What’s more the Resveratrol bolstered rodents stayed fit and trim well into their senior years; as Dr. Rafael de Cabo of the National Institute on Aging told the news service heartwire, such a finding “suggests that this compound may not just extend life but may also enable individuals to lead healthy and functional lives for longer.”
While tests continue on how Resveratrol could produce these results, it is believed that this substance may actually mimic the effects of calories restriction, which has been shown to increase longevity. Resveratrol apparently activates a gene known as SIRT1 activation is also associated with greater exercise capacity and fat burning.) in addition, Resveratrol both acts as an antioxidant itself by mopping up dangerous molecules called free radicals and helps enhance the antioxidant effects of vitamin C and E.
Scratching the Surface
September 19, 2006 09:12 AM
Persistent yeast infections may indicate a body out of balance.
Say the words “yeast infection” to the average woman and she’ll probably start to squirm. The burning, the itching we’ve all been there. Yeast’s miseries drive millions of desperate woman to seek relief each year.
Yeast infections (also known as yeast vaginitis) start when candida albicans, a naturally occurring fungus, starts growing excessively, producing itchy discomfort and a whitish discharge. Most every woman will endure a vaginal infection at least once during her lifetime, and many of these episodes will be caused by candida. (Bacteria or Trichomonas vaginalis may also be to blame; to be sure have the necessary testing done.)
When yeast strikes repeatedly you should look for an underlying cause. One of the biggest is the extended use of certain prescription drugs, particularly antibiotics, birth control pills or steroids. Another is the presence of undiagnosed diabetes. If you’ve been on meds, or have other diabetes symptoms such as excessive thirst or fatigue, see your practitioner.
A number of alternative health authorities—though by no means all-see recurring yeast vaginitis as part of a systemic candida infection, also called candidiasis. They believe it occurs when intestinal yeast over-growth causes the bowel wall to “leak” partially digested food and toxins into the blood, causing such symptoms as depression, digestive woes, fatigue, irritability and rashes even weight gain. The solution lies in a diet that tightly restricts sugar and other carbohydrates. To learn more www.yeastconnection.com.
Ditching the itch
In addition to addressing the underlying causes of persistent yeast infection you should also tame the beast where it lives. Fortunately, there are safe, natural therapies that can make life a lot more comfortable. Tea tree oil, a natural antiseptic available in both liquid and suppository form, may help, and aloe Vera gel can provide welcome itch relief. To bolster the effects of these topical treatments, some herbalists suggest taking cinnamon or the rainforest herb pau d’arco in supplemental form. Garlic, known for its antifungal properties, is another time-tested option.
After disposing of the harmful critters, replace them with helpful organisms. Organic plain yogurt, both eaten and applied directly, is a good source of these beneficial bacteria, especially when you add acidophilus or other probiotic supplements. Cutting down on your sugar consumption is always a good idea no matter what, as is upping your fiber intake (Oat bran is a good source).
To help keep things cool and airy, a little wardrobe management may be in order. Avoid tight, synthetic fabrics (sorry, but those cute spandex pants have just got to go) in favor of looser garments made with natural fibers, especially white cotton underwear. If swimming’s your thing, don’t spend to much time sitting around in a damp suit—change into something dry as soon as possible.
If you have got an itch that won’t go away, don’t just scratch. Learning what’s really going on is the better way to experience sustained relief. –Lisa James.
A Medical History
February 10, 2006 06:39 PM
Curcumin’s antioxidant powers are the common thread connecting the many health benefits and therapeutic virtues attributed to turmeric spice in the Ayurvedic medical tradition of India. Curcumin is the subject of numerous test-tube studies and animal experiments demonstrating various effects linked to reduction of free radicals and control of free radical based abnormalities. Preliminary human trials bolster these findings, suggesting Curcumin helps keep joints soothed and flexible, while protecting cells and tissues from free radical attack.
MECHANISMS OF CHITOSAN FAT- BINDING
June 25, 2005 08:02 PM
MECHANISMS OF CHITOSAN FAT- BINDING
The exact way(s) that Chitosan prevents fat absorbtion is not fully understood but a number of experimental observations support two basic mechanisms. The first mechanism involves the attraction of opposite charges which can be compared to the attraction of opposite magnetic poles. The second entrapment mechanism can be compared to the effect of a net. In the first mechanism the positive charges on chitosan attract the negatively charged fatty acids and bile acids binding them to the indigestible chitosan fiber. This mechanism can explain why chitosan reduces LDL cholesterol levels.
Our bodies make bile acids in the liver using the cholesterol from LDL. When chitosan binds bile acids it increases the rate of LDL loss thus improving the LDL to HDL ratio. If enough bile acids are bound, the fats are not solublized, which prevents their digestion and absorption. The second mechanism (figure 2) describes a netting effect of chitosan fiber.
In this model the Chitosan wraps around fat droplets and prevents their being attacked and digested by lipid enzymes. Fats unprotected by Chitosan are digested and absorbed. The “netting” mechanism has been seen to operate in vivo. 108
Substances that Enhance the Action of Chitosan
Fibers can be likened to a tangled-up chain. Fibers must “unravel” in order for them to be of maximum benefit to us. “Unraveling” is especially critical for chitosan because each link has a hook on which to attach lipids. Chitosan can absorb an average of 4 to 5 times its weight in lipids. Reports of numbers above and below this range have also been reported and may well reflect the rate or extent of unraveling that had taken place. Fiber formulations can be prepared that unravel rapidly and swell quickly. These highly effective formulations are called superabsorbants. When certain substances are added to chitosan, its remarkable fat-binding ability can be significantly enhanced.
D-Ascorbic acid (erythorbic acid) and L-ascorbic acid are C-vitamins which enhance chitosan’s ability to bind lipids. Combining chitosan with ascorbic acid results in even less fat absorption and greater fecal fat losses.77,108 In one study the addition of ascorbic acid to a chitosan enriched diet increased fecal fat losses by 87 percent and decreased fat absorption by over 50 percent.77
Cholesterol oxides cause lesions in artery walls which predispose blood vessels to collect plaque. These dietary cholesterol oxides profoundly influence the initiation of heart disease.Free radicals can also contribute to the formation of cholesterol oxides which are even more likely to damage the heart. Cholesterol oxides have been found in deep-fried foods, powdered eggs, processed meats and in human blood itself. Consequently, taking antioxidants like ascorbic acid is vital to protect against the cellular damage this type of free radical causes.112
In feeding experiments with animals, adding citric acid to a chitosan enriched diet resulted in a decreased feed consumption.77 The most likely explanation for this effect is that the citric acid may be enhancing the swelling action of chitosan leading to a sense of fullness, producing satiety and appetite suppression.
Indoles are remarkable phytochemicals which have the ability to selectively activate certain Mixed Function Oxidases (MFOs).113 These MFO’s help balance estrogen metabolism and prepare dietary toxins for elimination before they are absorbed. The presence of fiber in the intestines provides a bulk agent to carry the metabolized toxins out of the body. Chelat ed Minerals The very best approach to weight loss is to nutritionally augment food choices with nutrient supplementation. Certain biochemical compounds are essential to promoting vigor during the process of thermogenesis. Chelated minerals act to bolster, support and protect the organ systems of the body.114,115
For example, when fat is burned, heat and energy are released. If a lack of certain minerals exists, energy levels will drop. Minerals help to transport needed nutrients to depleted areas of the body, thereby stemming off the fatigue we so often experience after eating a fatty meal. Even more importantly, free radicals are released whenever fat is consumed and burned and the presence of chelated minerals helps to expedite the removal of these metabolites and facilitate the availability of fuel for energy.
Essential Fatty Acids
Prostaglandins control and balance many body functions. The dietary building blocks for making prostaglandins are the essential fatty acids (EFAs). The role of prostaglandins in weight loss has been extensively discussed in a recent review.116 EFAs exert profound lipid-lowering effects.They reduce the synthesis of triglycerides and very low density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) in the liver. EFA supplementation coupled with a low-cholesterol, low-saturated fat in diet produces a complementary effect in lowering serum lipid levels.117 Garcinia Cambogia ( Hydroxy Cit ric Acid) Garcinia Cambogia contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA). This form of citric acid inhibits the liver’s ability to make fats out of carbohydrates.118
Carbohydrates are converted to glycogen stores, not fat stores, giving the body a better energy reserve and an increase in stamina.119 Ephedra And Thermogenisis Thermogenesis means “creating heat.” This is one of the ways our bodies have of burning off excess calories and maintaining a constant weight.120 This is an area of weight management research that is being intensely studied. When we repeatedly yo-yo diet or abuse ourselves by eating too much, our thermogenic ability may be reduced. Numerous animal and human studies have confirmed the benefits of ephedra and methylxanthines in inducing weight loss and restoring thermogenic responsiveness.43,44,121
Pep Up and Go!
June 14, 2005 05:45 PM
Pep Up and Go!
by Harris Parker Energy Times, February 2, 2000
Feel your energy flagging?
You've lost count of the number of phone calls you fielded all afternoon-the last was from your son, who missed the late bus home from school-and colleagues needing your decision are lined up outside your office. Your husband has invited clients home for dinner. You wilt like a new hairdo on a damp August day and pray for a miracle to jump-start your engine.
Your pep quotient depends on three essential ingredients: nutrients you consume through your diet and supplements, how much you exercise and your sleep schedule.(Of course, if you're troubled by any kind of disabling, ceaseless fatigue accompanied by mental fuzziness, joint pain, sore throat, swollen glands, headaches and other chronic distress, consult your health practitioner.)
Vitamins and Energy
Certain nutrients are called vitamins because scientists consider them to be crucial for vitality. They generally function as coenzymes, partnering with the enzymes that are catalysts for the chemical reactions constantly taking place in our bodies. Our need to replenish our store of vitamins, which may merge with cell, muscle, enzyme, hormone, blood and bone structure once they have been absorbed, depends on their rate of utilization, according to The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book (Avery) by Shari Lieberman, PhD, and Nancy Bruning.
While a low-fat diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables helps supply important nutrients, a B complex supplement and a balanced multivitamin can guarantee daily vitamin levels.
Be Energetic with B Vitamins
Vitamins, especially the B vitamins, play extremely important roles in producing cellular energy. The chart on page 39 lists the key vitamins and describes their effects as well as the consequences of not getting enough of them. Their benefit is felt most profoundly in the energy producing process known as the Krebs cycle (which we'll explain in a moment).
Vitamins B2 and B3, for example, supply the major building blocks for substances that are called flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD and FADH) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD and NADH), which are critical elements of energy production in the Krebs cycle as well as a process called oxidative phosphorylation.
Hundreds of Reactions
Even though you may never have heard of NAD and NADH, these molecules are found in very many places throughout your body; they play a role in hundreds of biochemical reactions in all kinds of cells. B vitamins also combine with other materials to build coenzymes, chemicals which help form other chemicals necessary for cellular energy. B vitamins are crucial: miss out on one or more and you may break these metabolic chains necessary for peak energy.
Energy to Spend
The main energy currency of every cell single cell is ATP: a chemical called adenosine triphosphate. This material is used by cells for every imaginable task including reproduction, growth, movement and metabolism. Specialized metabolic cycles within the cell are designed to generate ATP.
Consequently, the more ATP our cells create, the more energy can be generated. The raw materials used to make cellular energy are glucose (blood sugar) and "free" fatty acids. The best way to supply your cells with the sugar they need is to consume complex carbohydrates which also supply fiber and other nutrients. When you eat carbohydrates, they are made into glucose which is stored as a starch called glycogen in muscles and the liver. Your body can rapidly turn glycogen into glucose for extra energy. (The process of making energy from glycogen yields carbon dioxide and water as well as ATP.)
The first step in making glucose into energy is called glycolysis. This complicated process requires nine different steps. During these steps, glucose is made into a substance called pyruvate. The process of glycolysis requires ATP, but yields twice as much ATP as is present when it starts.
From here, the process gets a little more complicated as pyruvate enters into a complex chain of events in tiny cellular structures called mitochondria. (Many metabolic events take place in the mitochondria.) The pyruvate molecules are converted to a molecule known as acetyl coenzyme A and eventually made into carbon dioxide, water and more ATP.
This process is known as the Krebs cycle or citric acid cycle. It also involves a series of events known as oxidative phosphorylation in which NADH formed during the Krebs cycle is oxidized to form ATP.
Why is fat such a concentrated source of energy? Free fatty acids enter the Krebs cycle to help generate ATP much more efficiently than glucose - producing roughly six times more energy per gram than glucose.
And Don't Overlook. . . . . .other supplements that may aid energy production: • Alpha Lipoic Acid, an antioxidant that works in the fatty tissues of cell membranes and in cells' watery interiors • Coenzyme Q10, also known as ubiquinone as it exists everywhere in the body, acts like a vitamin because it stimulates some reactions. CoQ10 protects cell membranes, especially of the heart, against oxidation and toxins.
Ginsengs: Energy Generators
With their legendary and slightly mysterious characteristics, the ginsengs are greatly respected natural energy boosters. " Perhaps no herb has excited so much interest in medical circles as ginseng, and yet, strangely, it does not actually 'cure' any one particular ailment," reports Michael Hallowell, the author of Herbal Healing (Avery) and a frequent lecturer on botanic medicine. "Rather, its virtue lies in its tremendous power as a tonic and invigorator. Russian athletes are prescribed large amounts of ginseng because researchers in Moscow have shown that it not only improves stamina, but also increases the efficiency with which blood is pumped to the muscles."
What are the physiological mechanisms that allow ginseng to bolster your get up and go? In order to unravel the legend and lore of ginseng, the first step is understanding the intricacies of the three types: • Asian (Panax ginseng), which produces the strongest and most profound stimulation; • American (Panax quinquefolium), which soothes at a more subtle level; • Siberian (Eleutherococcus senticosus), a stamina booster embraced by a wide range of athletes. All three varieties are treasured for their ability to help people adjust to stress.
The ginsengs are adaptogens, "biologically active substances found in certain herbs and plants that help the body and mind adapt to the changes and stress of life," says Stephen Fulder, MD, author of The Book of Ginseng and Other Chinese Herbs for Vitality (Inner Traditions). "Stress is not an illness in itself. Stress is change, our ability to adapt to all the changes that occur in life, emotional or physical, from exercise, work, chemicals, drugs, food, radiation, bacteria, disease, temperature, or simply too many late nights or too much fun."
The body reacts to stress by producing the hormone adrenaline, which throws the whole body into a state of alert. Metabolism, blood pressure and circulation accelerate; immunity and resistance drastically decline; performance suffers.
Enter the ginsengs, with their varied, subtle tonic qualities. The Greek name for this herb, "panax," means "panacea" or cure-all. But the Chinese, who first referred to it 2,000 years ago, more literally called it "ren shen" or "person root," in reference to its physical resemblance to a miniature human form.
" Most exhibit medicinal properties, but each species has a different chemical makeup and has a unique application in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)," says Kim Derek Pritts, author of Ginseng: How to Find, Grow and Use America's Forest Gold (Stackpole). "In general, all true ginseng contains biologically active saponins (chemicals similar to human hormones), essential oils, carbohydrates, sugars, organic acids, nitrogenous substances, amino acids, peptides, vitamins and minerals."
Building Vital Energy
All the ginsengs strengthen, nourish and build Qi, the TCM concept describing basic vital energy circulating through our bodies. Every physical and mental function, from breathing, thinking, nutrition and circulation, is regulated by Qi. Although many of the Native American tribes used the abundant, indigenous Panax quinquefolium ginseng extensively, particularly to increase mental acuity and boost fertility, the herb never has been as popular in North America as it is in Asia. American ginseng traditionally has been a lucrative export crop to China, where the wild native variety suffers from overharvesting. Even today, according to Paul Bergner in The Healing Power of Ginseng & the Tonic Herbs (Prima), 95% of the American ginseng crop is exported to China, where XiYang Shen, or "western sea root," as it is called, is immensely valued and costs double what it does here.
Jacques MoraMarco, author of The Complete Ginseng Handbook: A Practical Guide for Energy, Health and Longevity (Contemporary), as well as a licensed acupuncturist and doctor of Eastern medicine, suggests American ginseng for a slight energy boost. The moderate effect of American ginseng is considered a more appropriate tonic to the intensity of our pace and diet.
Variations on a Theme
In TCM terms, American ginseng cools and moistens, as well as lubricates and strengthens the body. It is reputed to reduce fevers and night sweats and alleviate hot, dry lung problems like smoker's cough. With its emollient qualities, American ginseng is considered to treat dry, wrinkled skin effectively.
The Bolder Energizer
Asian ginseng, which includes red Korean panax, is a bolder energizer taken by those who feel depleted from anemia, blood loss, cardiovascular weakness, injury, shock or trauma, as well as the disabling effects of age. In general, Asian ginseng is warming and stimulating, urging the body to run faster.
Siberian ginseng, though botanically not a true ginseng, still acts similarly to Asian ginseng in its reputed power to control stress, boost energy, support the immune system, enhance performance and increase longevity. Called Wu Cha Seng in Chinese, Siberian ginseng is perceived by natural practitioners as an ideal herb for the healthy who want to lift both stamina and endurance. Experts believe it counteracts the effects of cortisol, the stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to injury, pain or emotional turmoil.
Natural Energy Boosters
The herbal pharmacopeia includes several other natural energy boosters available in various forms-shakes and bars for those on the run-loaded with nutrition absent from commercial snacks. Some choices: • Ginkgo biloba-used in Chinese medicine to heat the body and increase sexual energy. Ginkgo enthusiasts take this herb to increase the supply of oxygen to the brain and generally increase circulation. • Gotu kola-may stimulate the central nervous system and help eliminate excess fluid, thereby reducing fatigue. • Astragalus-a Chinese herb that enhances energy and builds the immune system. It is credited with strengthening digestion, improving metabolism, increasing appetite, combating diarrhea and healing sores. • Schisandra-also a Chinese herb, treats respiratory illness, insomnia and irritability and rejuvenates sexual energy. Its mild adaptogens help the body to handle stress. • Licorice-is a favored endocrine toner in Chinese medicine. It is reputed to support the adrenals, the pair of small glands directly above the kidneys that secrete steroidal hormones, norepinephrine and epinephrine, the "fight or flight" hormones. People with high blood pressure or edema, or pregnant women, should avoid it. • Ashwagandha-an Ayurvedic herb used for thousands of years in the traditional healing of India as a potent strength builder for men and women.
Experienced herbal practitioners acquire an impressive and fascinating store of knowledge and experience-you'll find it helpful to visit one as you begin your course of ginseng or other energy-boosting herbs.
When you visit a TCM practitioner, you'll notice that she evaluates your body's condition through an extremely careful examination of all the different systems: Several pulse points are felt in order to ferret out and detect troubling abnormalities. The condition and color of the tongue is observed to decipher digestive disorders. In addition, your urine may be examined to determine other imbalances and specific health problems.
In many cases, your TCM practitioner will recommend ginseng as an adaptogen that can give you an overall boost. When taking ginseng, follow the directions on the package. Note: in some cases, you may want to consume a little bit less if you suffer headaches, insomnia or high blood pressure. Consult your health practitioner if you are afflicted with either acute inflammatory disease or bronchitis.
Then take comfort in the eternal soothing wisdom of Chinese Traditional Medicine. In the first century A.D., the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (The Divine Husbandman's Classic of the Materia Medica) effusively described ginseng and the tonic herbs in this beguiling and intriguing manner: "The first class of drugs...are considered to perform the work of sovereigns. They support human life and they resemble heaven. They are not poisonous regardless of the quality and duration of administration."
America's Most Wanted
June 14, 2005 05:23 PM
America's Most Wanted
by Brian Amherst Energy Times, January 6, 2000
The United States eats well, a little too well, according to experts. Amply supplied with a large supply of high-calorie food, our diets might seem to be chock full of every conceivable nutrient. Well, to the question "Getting all the right vitamins, minerals and other nutrients?" the most appropriate answer seems to be "Not exactly." Eating a lot doesn't equal eating a lot of the most important vitamins and minerals. So, which vitamins and minerals are likely to show up in short supply in the typical American diet? Calcium certainly sits at the top of list. According to the most recent Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals, which is conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), women and girls age 12 and up are not consuming adequate calcium from their diet. Research reveals that about 1200 mg. day suffices for those over age 50 and 1000 mg a day should be adequate if you're between the ages of 19 and 50. Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Since strong bones are formed during "the first three decades of life," says Laura Bachrach, MD, of Stanford University, ". . .osteoporosis is a pediatric disease." For long-range protection against that bone-weakening disease, kids should eat calcium-rich, low-fat dairy products and plenty of leafy greens (broccoli, cabbage, kale) as well as salmon (with bones), seafood and soy. But the calcium campaign does not end in early adulthood. Bone mass begins to deteriorate at about age 30. Menopausal hormonal changes can exacerbate bone brittleness. Medical conditions, including cancer, liver disease and intestinal disorders; prescription drugs; tobacco and alcohol indulgence; or a decline in activity, especially the weight-bearing kind, also jeopardize bone strength. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about one in every two American women will break a bone after age 50 due to osteoporosis. That translates into about half a million fractured vertebrae and more than 300,000 shattered hips. Frequently, those breaks are life-threatening.
The critical role of calcium in many body functions is perhaps the most extensively clinically documented among nutrients. Researchers in the Department of Medicine, Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, reviewed epidemiological and clinical studies conducted over the past two years on the relationship between dietary calcium and blood pressure (J Am Coll Nutr October 1999: 398S-405S). "Nearly 20 years of investigation in this area has culminated in remarkable and compelling agreement in the data," the researchers report, "confirming the need for and benefit of regular consumption of the recommended daily levels of dietary calcium." Investigators at the State University of New York, Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, presented results of their studies of calcium and vitamin C and gum disease at the June 26, 1998 meeting of the International Association for Dental Research. Two separate inquiries revealed that people who consumed too little calcium as young adults, and those with low levels of vitamin C in their diets, appear to have nearly twice the risk of developing periodontal disease later in life than folks with higher dietary levels of either nutrient.
Calcium: Much Documented Researchers offer extensive evidence of calcium's benefits on many fronts: n Osteoporosis poses a threat to older men as well as women, according to Randi L. Wolf, PhD, research associate at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Dr. Wolf presented her award-winning study to an October 3, 1999 meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Dr. Wolf suggests that men increase their consumption of calcium, particularly after age 80, to avoid age-related declines in the amount of calcium absorbed. According to Dr. Wolf, "It appears that the hormonal form of vitamin D, which is the main regulator of intestinal calcium absorption, may have an important role. We are conducting more research to better understand the reasons for why calcium absorption declines with age in men." n Scientists at Tufts University in Boston did some earlier work on the calcium-vitamin D connection and reported it in the September 4, 1997 New England Journal of Medicine. Using the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) increased recommended daily intake of 1200 milligrams of calcium and 400 to 600 international units of vitamin D for people over 50, the Tufts researchers found that with supplementation of the nutrients, men and women 65 and older lost significantly less body bone and, in some cases, gained bone mineral density. n Two studies published in American Heart Association journals show that atherosclerosis and osteoporosis may be linked by a common problem in the way the body uses calcium. The September 1997 Stroke revealed that, in a group of 30 postmenopausal women 67 to 85 years old, bone mineral density declined as atherosclerotic plaque increased. Researchers reporting in Circulation (September 15, 1997) advanced the theory that the osteoporosis-atherosclerosis connection may be related to a problem in handling calcium. n For people who had colon polyps removed, taking calcium supplements decreased the number of new polyps by 24% and cut the risk of recurrence by 19%, according to researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, School of Medicine. The study, published in the January 14, 1999 New England Journal of Medicine, was a first in crediting calcium with anti-cancer properties.
The D Factor
Without adequate vitamin D, your absorption of calcium slips and bone loss can accelerate, increasing the risk for fractures. Fifty percent of women with osteoporosis hospitalized for hip fractures at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston had a previously undetected vitamin D deficiency (Journal of the American Medical Association, April 28, 1999). University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute researchers told participants at the April 14, 1997 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research that vitamin D "significantly inhibits highly metastatic, or widespread, prostate cancer in animals," suggesting its potential for treating men with similar conditions. Few foods that Americans eat, except dairy, contain much vitamin D, but we can usually synthesize sufficient amounts from as few as five minutes' exposure to the sun. But as skin ages, its ability to act as a vitamin D factory decreases. According to Michael F. Holick, the director of the Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center, upwards of 40% of the adult population over age 50 that he sees in his clinic are deficient in vitamin D. Recently, the National Academy of Sciences (the official body that decrees the required amounts of necessary nutrients) increased the daily recommendations of vitamin D to 600 IU for people over 71, 400 IU for those aged 51 to 70 and 200 IU for people under 50. The best dietary sources, apart from dependable supplements, are dairy and fatty fish like salmon. Four ounces of salmon provide about 300 IU.
The Facts About Fats
The American lust for low-fat, high-carbohydrate diets filled with sugary foods has exploded into nothing short of "obsession," according to experts at the General Research Center at Stanford University Medical Center (Am J Clin Nutr 70, 1999: 512S-5S). That mania oftens robs us of the crucial balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids typical of the Mediterranean diet that protect us from heart disease by controlling cholesterol and making blood less likely to form clots. These fatty acids cannot be made by the body but are critical for health: n Omega-3 fatty acid (linolenic acid) comes from fresh, deepwater fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) and vegetable oils such as canola, flaxseed and walnut. n Omega-6 fatty acid (linoleic acid) found primarily in raw nuts, seeds and legumes and in saturated vegetable oils such as borage, grape seed, primrose, sesame and soybean. The American Heart Association recommends limiting total fat consumption to 30% of daily calories. Saturated fats like those in dairy and meat products as well as vegetable oil should comprise 10% of total calories; total unsaturated fat (fish oils, soybean, safflower nuts and nut oils) should be restricted to 20 to 22% of daily calories.
Be Sure About B12
Vitamin B12 presents a particular problem for the elderly because older digestive systems often don't secrete enough stomach acid to liberate this nutrient from food. (The elderly have no problem absorbing B12 from supplements, because it's not bound to food.) Vitamins generally moderate the aging process but, ironically, that process and the diseases that frequently accompany it affect vitamin metabolism (Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax 83, 1994: 262-6). And because of those changes, we need more of certain vitamins. This is the case for vitamins D, B6, riboflavin and B12. Crucial for health, B12 is necessary to prevent anemia, and, according to recent studies, needed (along with folate and B6) to help stave off heart disease. B12, with thiamine and niacin, boosts cognition (Adv Nutr Res 7, 1985: 71-100). Screening for vitamin B12 deficiency and thyroid disease is cheap and easy and can prevent conditions such as dementia, depression or irreversible tissue damage (Lakartidningen 94, 1997: 4329-32). In the January 5-12, 1999 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the AHA urged doctors to screen levels of homocysteine (the amino acid byproduct of protein digestion that damages arteries, causes heart disease and, possibly, strokes) in patients at high risk for heart disease. They also recommended all Americans to up their daily levels of vitamins B6 and B12, as well as folic acid. Since fruits, vegetables or grains lack B12, vegetarians need B12 supplements. And they're a good idea for the rest of us, too.
Folic Acid Benefits
Folic acid made headlines in the early 1990s when the U.S. Public Health Service declared that "to reduce the frequency of neural tube defects [spina bifida, or open spine, and anencephaly, a lethal defect of the brain and skull] and their resulting disability, all women of childbearing age in the United States who are capable of becoming pregnant should consume .4 milligrams (400 micrograms) of folic acid per day." This recommendation followed voluminous research that showed taking folic acid was associated with a significantly reduced risk of birth defects. (The advisory is based on the fact that nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned. If you think you are pregnant, consult your health practitioner for supplementary advice.)
A Team Player
Folic acid's efficacy intensifies when it works with other nutrients. Among many studies on the preventive powers of folic acid on birth defects, one published in The New England Journal of Medicine (327, Dec. 24, 1992: 1,832-1,835), disclosed an even greater decrease in neural tube defects when supplements of folic acid contained copper, manganese, zinc and vitamin C. As a warrior against homocysteine, folic acid joins the battalion of B12 and B6 in detoxifying this harmful protein. At the University of Washington's Northwest Prevention Effectiveness Center, researchers recently analyzed 38 published studies of the relationship between folic acid, homocysteine and cardiovascular disease and, according to associate professor Shirley A. Beresford, MD, folic acid and vitamin B12 and B6 deficiencies can lead to a buildup of homocysteine.
Canadian researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (275, 1996: 1893-1896) that men and women with low folic acid have a 69% increase in the risk of fatal coronary heart disease. This 15-year study of more than 5,000 people stressed the need for dietary supplementation of folic acid. Folic acid also has been credited with the potential to protect against cancers of the lungs, colon and cervix. It appears to help reverse cervical dysplasia, the precursor cells to cervical cancer, especially for women taking oral contraceptives, which may cause a localized deficiency of folic acid in the cells of the cervix. According to Shari Lieberman, PhD, and Nancy Bruning, authors of The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book (Avery), folic acid derivatives work with neurotransmitters, the chemicals that permit signals to be sent from nerve fiber to nerve fiber. A lack of folic acid can cause some nervous-system disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia and dementia; it also may be related to some forms of mental retardation. Other supporting roles of folic acid, according to researchers: the formation of normal red blood cells, important for preventing the type of anemia characterized by oversized red blood cells; strengthening and improving white blood cell action against disease; limiting production of uric acid, the cause of gout.
The Best Sources
Many foods are rich in folic acid: beef, lamb, pork and chicken liver, spinach, kale and beet greens, asparagus, broccoli, whole wheat and brewer's yeast. But experts believe that only 25 to 50% of the folic acid in food is bioavailable. Processing also reduces an estimated 50 to 90% of its content. Folic acid supplementation overcomes these obstacles with little risk, as it has no known toxicity. Women taking folic acid who are current or former users of oral contraceptives may require additional zinc. And be sure to augment your folic acid supplement with its synergistic counterpart, vitamin B12.
Focus on Fiber
The American Heart Association came out squarely behind fiber in a June 16, 1997 issue of its journal Circulation: Double your daily intake to lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. The American diet is consistently low in fiber, notes Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, author of the article. Twenty-five to 30 grams a day from foods (or supplements) are not only heart healthy but seem to aid weight control.
Getting enough iron? An estimated 25% of adolescent girls in the United States are iron deficient, according to an October 12, 1996 issue of the British medical journal The Lancet, which reported that girls who took iron supplements performed significantly better on verbal tests than those who took a placebo. "Teenage girls should be regularly tested for iron deficiency because rapid growth and the onset of menstruation during puberty increase the body's need for iron," says Ann Bruner, MD, of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and a lead author of the study.USDA data reveal that women up to age 50 also tend to get much less than recommended levels of iron, a lack of which leads to anemia, a deficiency of red blood cells, hemoglobin or volume of blood. For kids, deficiency is more common from six months to four years and during the rapid growth spurts of adolescence when the body is growing so quickly that the body's iron stores may sink to dangerous levels. Vegetarian women run the greatest risk for deficiency, as meat is iron-rich; foods like beans, grains and vegetables also contain some iron. Supplements, of course, supply easily absorbable iron. And to absorb iron from vegetarian sources, take vitamin C with your meals. That boosts the amount of this mineral you will take in. Bear in mind, however, that certain folks-older men and post-menopausal women-generally have adequate dietary supplies of iron. Of greater concern, in fact, is excessive iron, and for these folks iron-free multivitamin and mineral supplements are available.
Ante Up the Antioxidants
Antioxidant nutrients help protect the body from oxygen-scavenging molecules called free radicals. The products of pollution, the body's own metabolic processes and other sources, free radicals are linked to heart disease, cancer and other chronic health problems. The most important antioxidants, which include vitamin C, E, beta carotene, and selenium, are often lacking in the American diet. Plus, optimal amounts of vitamin E cannot be consumed from food. You need supplements. The bottom line: even though we live in a land of plenty, you can still miss vital nutrients. So make sure to consume these vital substances.
Source of Missing Nutrients In the search for the nutrients missing from America's diet, one big help is the sprout. The sprout is truly one of nature's heavyweights: fresh, tiny and moist, its power punch of vitamins, minerals, protein, chlorophyll and disease-busting phytochemicals land it in a weight class far beyond that of its full-grown competitors. Size does NOT matter to this nutritional giant. A championship belt currently wraps around the miniscule broccoli sprout, catapulted into the ring by Paul Talalay, MD, professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Talalay discovered that the seedlings contain substantially more of the cancer-fighting substance sulforaphane than mature plants (Proc. Natnl. Acad. Sci. USA, 94, 10367-10372). Sprouts, the quintessential health food of the Sixties, provide a wonderfully varied and versatile way to get your daily greens. Raw or cooked, strong or mild, vegetable and grass sprouts and their algae cousins add low-calorie texture to recipes and a rich, diverse complement of nutrients and fiber.
Ancient Asia to the Modern Lab
Asians stir-fried sprouts as one of the earliest fast foods as long as 5,000 years ago. The ancient Chinese relied on sprouts for year-round vegetables in colder regions of their vast country. Today, researchers studying sprouts and adult plants have identified their important chemoprotective and other health-bolstering substances. In Paul Talalay's research project at Johns Hopkins, scientists found that three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain up to 50 times more sulforaphane than mature plants, which prompts the body to produce an enzyme that prevents cancer tumors from forming. Uniform levels of the compound saturate the shoots, unlike the chemically uneven adult plants. The Brassica family of broccoli and cabbage is richly endowed with phytochemicals that also help reduce estrogen levels associated with breast cancer. Other phytochemical compounds in the Brassica family are associated with the prevention of stomach and lung cancers. Most of the initial landmark work on phytochemicals' cancer-fighting powers has taken place since 1989 under the aegis of the National Cancer Institute's "Designer Food Program," which isolated, for example, the isoflavones in beans that seem to neutralize cancer-gene enzymes.
Strong Suit: Soy and Spirulina
The isoflavones and phytosterols in soy produce an estrogenic effect that appears to relieve menopausal symptoms and help prevent breast cancer. Soy foods expert Mark Messina, PhD, has done extensive work on the subject, some of which has been published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-6. Researchers also have synthesized a bone-strengthening form of soy isoflavones called ipriflavone, following impressive clinical trials in the treatment of osteoporosis (American Journal of Medicine, 95 [Suppl. 5A] (1993): 69S-74S). Spirulina and other micro-algae are fascinating organisms that inhabit a niche between the plant and animals kingdoms. Named for its tiny spirals, spirulina, a blue-green algae, grows in saline lakes but is cultured for maximum nutritional content. In her book Whole Foods Companion (Chelsea Green), Dianne Onstad notes that spirulina contains "the highest sources of protein, beta carotene and nucleic acids of any animal or plant food." Its nucleic acids, she says, benefit cellular regeneration; its fatty acids, especially GLA and omega-3 acids, make it one of the most complete foods. Sprouts, like any other produce, should be rinsed thoroughly before serving. People at high risk for bacterial illness-young children, the very elderly or folks with weakened immune systems-should limit their consumption of raw sprouts. But no matter how you eat them, you may find more spring in your step from these tiny, sprouting nutritional wonders.
Your Healthy Harvest
June 14, 2005 11:05 AM
Your Healthy Harvest by Marjorie Flakowitz Energy Times, August 15, 2004
Once frowned on by conventional farmers, organic food has won respect from everyone concerned about the health of both the earth and the people who inhabit it.
Today, organic farming is considered one of the most rapidly growing areas of American agriculture. Organic foods sales topped $9 billion in 2002 and grew about 20%, up to almost $11 billion in 2003 (Organic Trade Association).
So when you buy organic, you join an expanding market that takes advantage of great-tasting, good-for-you food. Long ago, when the practice of farming was first devised, all farming was organic farming. So today's organic movement is bringing farming back to its roots.
But, safe to say, that is not what's motivating most consumers. A main reason for the popularity of organic food derives from the reassurance that organic foods, raised without artificial chemicals and pesticides, cut your exposure to toxic residues. A growing body of research shows organic food is richer in beneficial natural substances, too.
" Organic food and organic farming represent a philosophy that goes beyond just the quality of the food," says Steve Meyerowitz in The Organic Food Guide (Globe Pequot). "It strives to maintain the integrity of the entire food chain-plants, soil, air, water, animals and people. We are all part of the same ecosystem."
By eating organic, you eliminate pollution both from your body and the earth. Because our bodies are made of the animal and plant products we consume, our internal, physiological ecosystem and the earth's environment are inexorably entwined.
Chilling Arctic Evidence
As evidence of this connection, consider what's happened in the Arctic. Researchers who have analyzed Arctic water, ice, snow, soil and plants have found that chemicals used in farming and industry in other parts of the world have traveled north and accumulated in alarming quantity. How and if these chemicals break down depends on sunlight and the amount of organic matter contained in Arctic waters (American Chemical Society, 9/11/03).
" Once pollutants enter the water column, their behavior is poorly understood-particularly the processes that govern their lifetime and concentrations," says Amanda Grannas, PhD, a researcher at Ohio State University. "Such pollutants are now being found in wildlife, from fish to seals to whales, and even in people living in the Arctic."
Dr. Grannas and others looked at the pesticides lindane and hexachlorobenzene (HCB), two chemicals that have migrated to Arctic waters. Lindane is used by American farmers to treat seeds before they are planted. HCB, banned in the US in 1984, is still used in other countries to protect wheat from fungus.
The scientists found that sunlight at the top of Arctic waterways can help break down some pesticides. At lower depths, however, cut off from the sun's rays, pesticides can remain largely intact. In this research, lindane proved to persist much more readily than HCB.
" Lindane is one of the most persistent of pollutants," warns Dr. Grannas. "This could be because it's photochemically inert, whereas pollutants like HCB degrade relatively quickly. The main message is that pollutants can behave quite differently. These pollutants already affect local ecosystems, and could have repercussions for human health."
Organics Means More Benefits
Researchers are also finding that organic produce contains larger quantities of beneficial natural chemicals. For instance, one study (Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 2/26/03) showed that berries and corn grown organically can have almost 60% more polyphenolics. Polyphenolics are antioxidants plants use for protection against disease and which are good for humans. Researchers believe that when crops are grown conventionally, protected by pesticides and herbicides, they produce fewer of these substances. " This really opens the door to more research in this area," says Alyson Mitchell, PhD, assistant professor of food science at University of California at Davis, who led the research.
These scientists compared levels of total polyphenolics and vitamin C content in marionberries (a type of blackberry) and corn grown organically, sustainably or conventionally, and also looked at chemicals in strawberries grown either sustainably or conventionally. (Sustainable farming falls between the organic and conventional methods, and concentrates on farming that's self-sufficient-for example, feeding cows hay you've grown yourself, and then using the cows' manure to fertilize another crop.) They found that organic marionberries and corn had 50% to 58% more polyphenolics. The sustainably grown strawberries had 19% more polyphenolics. And all the organic produce contained more vitamin C.
Self-Defense for Plants
According to Dr. Mitchell, the organic crops contained the high levels of polyphenolics you'd expect to find in wild plants, suggesting that, on conventional farms, pesticides reduce the necessity for plants to make these protective, natural chemicals. " If an aphid is nibbling on a leaf, the plant produces phenolics to defend itself," she says. "[P]henolics guard the plant against these pests."
Pesticides kill insects like aphids and thereby reduce the antioxidants produced by the plant. " This helps explain why the level of antioxidants is so much higher in organically grown food," Mitchell says. "By synthetically protecting the produce from these pests, we decrease their need to produce antioxidants. It suggests that maybe we are doing something to our food inadvertently.
" We know [polyphenolics] are beneficial [to human health], but we don't know what types of polyphenolics are beneficial, or in what quantities," Dr. Mitchell notes. " Originally, the question was just really intriguing to me. I found that the higher level of antioxidants is enough to have a significant impact on health and nutrition, and it's definitely changed the way I think about my food."
Vitamin C in Oranges
Meanwhile, nutritional research on the vitamin C in oranges turns up similar results: organic oranges are richer in this antioxidant nutrient than conventionally grown oranges (Great Lakes Regional Meeting, American Chemical Society, 6/2/02).
The more common supermarket oranges are significantly larger than organically grown oranges, and they have a deeper orange color. Because of their larger size, "we were expecting twice as much vitamin C in the conventional oranges," says Theo Clark, PhD, chemistry professor at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.
But when he isolated the chemicals in the oranges and further refined his search with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), spectroscopy demonstrated that organically grown oranges possess 30% more vitamin C than the conventionally grown fruits-even though they are only about half as large.
Dr. Clark isn't sure why organic oranges are richer in vitamin C, but he says, "...[W]e speculate that with conventional oranges, [farmers] use nitrogen fertilizers that cause an uptake of more water, so it sort of dilutes the orange. You get a great big orange but it is full of water and does not have as much nutritional value.
" However, we can only speculate. Other factors such as maturity, climate, processing factors, packaging and storage conditions require consideration." Along with analyzing oranges, Dr. Clark and his research team questioned about 70 people to measure their concept of the nutritional value of organic oranges. In this survey, 85% of the respondents thought that organic oranges have a higher nutritional content than conventionally grown fruit.
Dr. Clark's laboratory work shows that "they were right on." In Dr. Clark's view, these issues are important because consumers have a right to know the real nutritional content of organic produce, and the fact that analyses show that organic fruit has much more vitamin C validates the benefits of eating organic.
Both plants and animals protect themselves from disease with many of the same chemicals. The natural substances that, in a farmer's field, defend vegetables from insects and microbes before they are harvested for your dinner go to work defending your body after you eat and digest them.
When you eat organic you bolster your health with more of these natural wonders. No wonder organic is becoming so popular!
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.
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
June 13, 2005 03:44 PM
Menopause: Disease or Condition?
by Mary Ann Mayo & Joseph L. Mayo, MD Energy Times, September 4, 1999
It's front-page news. It's politically correct and socially acceptable. Talking about menopause is in. Suddenly it's cool to have hot flashes. Millions of women turning 50 in the next few years have catapulted the subject of menopause into high-definition prominence.
It's about time. Rarely discussed openly by women (what did your mother ever advise you?), meno-pause until recently was dismissed as "a shutting down experience characterized by hot flashes and the end of periods." Disparaging and depressing words like shrivel, atrophy, mood swings and melancholia peppered the scant scientific menopausal literature.
What a difference a few years and a very vocal, informed and assertive group of Baby Boomers make. Staggered by the burgeoning numbers of newly confrontational women who will not accept a scribbled prescription and a pat on the head as adequate treatment, health practitioners and researchers have been challenged to unravel, explain and deal with the challenges of menopause.
Not An Overnight Sensation
Menopause, researchers have discovered, is no simple, clear cut event in a woman's life. The "change of life" does not occur overnight. A woman's body may begin the transition toward menopause in her early 40s, even though her last period typically occurs around age 51. This evolutionary time before the final egg is released is called the perimenopause. Erratic monthly hormone levels produce unexpected and sometimes annoying sensations.
Even as their bodies adjust to lower levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, some women don't experience typical signs of menopause until after the final period. A fortunate one-third have few or no discomforts.
According to What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause (Warner Books) by John R. Lee, MD, Jesse Hanley, MD, and Virginia Hopkins, "The steroid hormones are intimately related to each other, each one being made from another or turned back into another depending on the needs of the body...But the hormones themselves are just part of the picture. It takes very specific combinations of vitamins, minerals and enzymes to cause the transformation of one hormone into another and then help the cell carry out the hormone's message. If you are deficient in one of the important hormone-transforming substances such as vitamin B6 or magnesium, for example, that too can throw your hormones out of balance. Thyroid and insulin problems, toxins, bad food and environmental factors, medication and liver function affect nutrient and hormone balance."
The most important reproductive hormones include:
Estrogen: the female hormone produced by the ovaries from puberty through menopause to regulate the menstrual cycle and prepare the uterus for pregnancy. Manufacture drops significantly during menopause. Estradiol is a chemically active and efficient form of estrogen that binds to many tissues including the uterus, breasts, ovaries, brain and heart through specific estrogen receptors that allow it to enter those cells, stimulating many chemical reactions. Estriol and estrone are additional forms of estrogen.
Progesterone: also produced by the ovaries, it causes tissues to grow and thicken, particularly during pregnancy, when it protects and nurtures the fetus. Secretion ceases during menopause.
Testosterone: Women produce about one-twentieth of what men do, but require it to support sex drive. About half of all women quit secreting testosterone during menopause.
Estrogen's Wide Reach
Since estrogen alone influences more than 400 actions on the body, chiefly stimulating cell growth, the effects of its fluctuations can be far-reaching and extremely varied: hot (and cold) flashes, erratic periods, dry skin (including the vaginal area), unpredictable moods, fuzzy thinking, forgetfulness, fatigue, low libido, insomnia and joint and muscle pain.
Young women may experience premature menopause, which can occur gradually, as a matter of course, or abruptly with hysterectomy (even when the ovaries remain) or as a result of chemotherapy. Under such conditions symptoms can be severe.
In the 1940s doctors reasoned that if most discomforts were caused by diminishing estrogen (its interactive role with progesterone and testosterone were underestimated), replacing it would provide relief. When unchecked estrogen use resulted in high rates of uterine cancer, physicians quickly began adding progesterone to their estrogen regimens and the problem appeared solved.
For the average woman, however, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) became suspect and controversial, especially when a link appeared between extended use of HRT (from five to 10 years) and an increase in breast and endometrial cancers (Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 37, 1997). The result: Women have drawn a line in the sand between themselves and their doctors.
Resolving The Impasse
Since hormone replacement reduces the risk of major maladies like heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, colon cancer and diabetes that would otherwise significantly rise as reproductive hormone levels decrease, most doctors recommend hormone replacement shortly before or as soon as periods stop. Hormone replacement also alleviates the discomforts of menopause.
But only half of all women fill their HRT prescriptions and, of those who do, half quit within a year. Some are simply indifferent to their heightened medical risks. Some are indeed aware but remain unconvinced of the safety of HRT. Others complain of side effects such as bloating, headaches or drowsiness.
Women's resistance to wholesale HRT has challenged researchers to provide more secure protection from the diseases to which they become vulnerable during menopause, as well as its discomforts. If the conventional medical practitioners do not hear exactly what modern women want, the complementary medicine community does. Turning to centuries-old botanicals, they have validated and compounded them with new technology. Their effectiveness depends on various factors including the synergistic interaction of several herbs, specific preparation, the correct plant part and dosage, harvesting and manufacturing techniques.
Research demonstrates that plant hormones (phytoestrogens) protect against stronger potentially carcinogenic forms of estrogen while safely providing a hormone effect. Other herbs act more like tonics, zipping up the body's overall function.
Help From Herbs
Clinical trials and scientific processing techniques have resulted in plant-based supplements like soy and other botanicals that replicate the form and function of a woman's own estrogen.
The complementary community also can take credit for pushing the conventional medical community to look beyond estrogen to progesterone in postmenopausal health.
Natural soy or Mexican yam derived progesterone is formulated by pharmacologists in creams or gels that prevent estrogen-induced overgrowth of the uterine lining (a factor in uterine cancer), protect against heart disease and osteoporosis and reduce hot flashes (Fertility and Sterility 69, 1998: 96-101).
A quarter of the women who take the popularly prescribed synthetic progesterone report increased tension, fatigue and anxiety; natural versions have fewer side effects.
These "quasi-medicines," as Tori Hudson, a leading naturopathic doctor and professor at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, Oregon, calls them, are considered "stronger than a botanical but weaker than a medicine." (Hudson is author of Gynecology and Naturopathic Medicine: A Treatment Manual.)
According to Hudson, the amount of estrogen and progesterone in these supplements is much less than medical hormone replacement but equally efficacious in relieving menopausal problems and protecting the heart and bones.
According to a study led by Harry K. Genant, PhD, of the University of California, San Francisco, "low-dose" plant estrogen derived from soy and yam, supplemented with calcium, prevents bone loss without such side effects as increased vaginal bleeding and endometrial hypoplasia, abnormal uterine cell growth that could be a precursor to endometrial cancer (Archives of Internal Medicine 157, 1997: 2609-2615).
These herbal products, including natural progesterone and estrogen in the form of the weaker estriol or estrone, may block the effect of the stronger and potentially DNA-damaging estradiol.
Soy in its myriad dietary and supplemental forms provides a rich source of isoflavones and phytosterols, both known to supply a mild estrogenic effect that can stimulate repair of the vaginal walls (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 83, 1991: 541-46).
To enhance vaginal moisture, try the herb cimicifuga racemosa, the extract of black cohosh that, in capsule form, builds up vaginal mucosa (Therapeuticum 1, 1987: 23-31). Traditional Chinese herbal formulas containing roots of rehmannia and dong quai have long been reputed to promote vaginal moisture.
Clinical research in Germany also confirms the usefulness of black cohosh in preventing hot flashes and sweating, as well as relieving nervousness, achiness and depressed moods caused by suppressed hormone levels. It works on the hypothalamus (the body's thermostat, appetite and blood pressure monitor), pituitary gland and estrogen receptors. Green tea is steeped with polyphenols, mainly flavonoids, that exert a massive antioxidant influence against allergens, viruses and carcinogens. The risks of estrogen-related cancers such as breast cancer are particularly lowered by these flavonoids, as these substances head directly to the breast's estrogen receptors. About three cups a day exert an impressive anti-inflammatory, antiallergenic, antiviral and anticarcinogenic effect.
Other phytoestrogen-rich botanicals, according to Susun Weed's Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way (Ash Tree Publishing), include motherwort and lactobacillus acidophilus to combat vaginal dryness; hops and nettles for sleep disturbances; witch hazel and shepherd's purse for heavy bleeding; motherwort and chasteberry for mood swings; dandelion and red clover for hot flashes.
Our Need For Supplements
Adding micronutrients at midlife to correct and counter a lifetime of poor diet and other habits is a step toward preventing the further development of the degenerative diseases to which we become vulnerable. At the very minimum, you should take:
a multivitamin/mineral supplement vitamin E calcium
Your multivitamin/mineral should contain vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Look for a wide variety of antioxidants that safeguard you from free radical damage, believed to promote heart disease and cancer, as well as contribute to the aging process.
Also on the list: mixed carotenoids such as lycopene, alpha carotene and vitamin C; and folic acid to help regulate cell division and support the health of gums, red blood cells, the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system.
Studies indicate a deficiency of folic acid (folate) in 30% of coronary heart disease, blood vessel disease and strokes; lack of folate is thought to be a serious risk factor for heart disease (OB.GYN News, July 15, 1997, page 28).
Extra vitamin E is believed to protect against breast cancer and bolster immune strength in people 65 and older (Journal of the American Medical Association 277, 1997: 1380-86). It helps relieve vaginal dryness, breast cysts and thyroid problems and, more recently, hit the headlines as an aid in reducing the effects of Alzheimer's and heart disease. It is suspected to reduce the thickening of the carotid arterial walls and may prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which contributes to the formation of plaque in arteries.
Selenium also has been identified as an assistant in halting cancer (JAMA 276, 1996: 1957-63).
The Omegas To The Rescue
Essential fatty acids found in cold water fish, flaxseed, primrose and borage oils and many nuts and seeds are essential for the body's production of prostaglandin, biochemicals which regulate hormone synthesis, and numerous physiological responses including muscle contraction, vascular dilation and the shedding of the uterine lining. They influence hormonal balance, reduce dryness and relieve hot flashes.
In addition, the lignans in whole flaxseed behave like estrogen and act aggressively against breast cancer, according to rat and human studies at the University of Toronto (Nutr Cancer 26, 1996: 159-65).
Research has demonstrated that these omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can reverse the cancer-causing effects of radiation and other carcinogens (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 74, 1985: 1145-50). Deficiencies may cause swelling, increased blood clotting, breast pain, hot flashes, uterine and menstrual cramps and constipation. Fatigue, lack of endurance dry skin and hair and frequent colds may signal EFA shortage. Plus, fatty fish oils, along with vitamin D and lactose, help absorption of calcium, so vital for maintaining bone mass.
In addition, studies show that the natural substance Coenzyme A may help menopausal women reduce cholesterol and increase fat utilization (Med Hyp 1995; 44, 403, 405). Some researchers belive Coenzyme A plays a major role in helping women deal with stress while strengthening immunity.
Can't shake those menopausal woes? Menopause imposters may be imposing on you: The risk of thyroid disease, unrelenting stress, PMS, adrenal burnout, poor gastrointestinal health and hypoglycemia all increase at midlife. Menopause is a handy hook on which to hang every misery, ache and pain but it may only mimic the distress of other ailments. For this reason every midlife woman should have a good medical exam with appropriate tests to determine her baseline state of health. Only with proper analysis can you and your health practitioner hit on an accurate diagnosis and satisfying course of therapy.
And if menopause is truly the issue, you have plenty of company. No woman escapes it. No woman dies from it. It is not a disease but a reminder that one-third of life remains to be lived. Menopausal Baby Boomers can anticipate tapping into creative energy apart from procreation. If not new careers, new interests await. An altered internal balance empowers a menopausal woman to direct, perhaps for the first time, her experience of life. She has come of age-yet again. Gone is the confusion, uncertainty, or dictates of a hormone driven life: This time wisdom and experience direct her. There is no need to yearn for youth or cower at the conventional covenant of old age. Menopause is the clarion call to reframe, reevaluate and reclaim.
Mary Ann Mayo and Joseph L. Mayo, MD, are authors of The Menopause Manager (Revell) and executive editors of Health Opportunities for Women (HOW). Telephone number 877-547-5499 for more information.
Clearing the Air
June 13, 2005 10:34 AM
Clearing the Air by Robert Gluck Energy Times, August 1, 1999
One crisp winter morning in Vermont, Alan hoisted his skis over his shoulder and tracked through the dazzling snowpack to the lift about a quarter-mile away. He had trekked this gently uphill route many times and valued it as an invigorating warmup for a day on the ski trails. The path seemed to grow steeper, however, and the winter sun more blazing as Alan struggled for breath, sweat dampening his woolen cap. Weak and wheezing, he paused for what seemed like an eternity and finally turned back, plodding arduously through the ice.
Fit and athletic, the 42-year-old Alan heard the alarming news from his health care practitioner: asthma. The therapy: inhaled steroids.
The incidence of asthma-a chronic condition characterized by narrowing of the bronchial tubes, swelling of the bronchial tube lining and mucus secretion that can block the airway, making breathing difficult-has ballooned to alarming rates.
In the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of people reported to suffer from asthma increased from 10.4 million in 1990 to 15 million in 1995. In 1998, the epidemic cost about $11.3 billion.
Worldwide, experts estimate that the prevalence of asthma increased approximately 50% over the last 10 to 15 years. Nations with the highest rates are the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia; lowest are Indonesia, Albania, Romania and Georgia.
Deaths from asthma have doubled in the last decade and, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, asthma is the seventh most common chronic health condition in the United States. Children constitute the most disturbingly burgeoning segment of the asthma explosion, its sufferers numbering five to six million. The rate of asthma among children five to 14 years old increased 74% between 1980 and 1994; the rate for preschool kids skyrocketed 160%. Asthma is the number one chronic childhood illness and the third leading cause of hospitalization for children under age 15. More than 5000 Americans die from asthma annually; the fatality rate among children five to 14 years old more than doubled from 1979 to 1995, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation.
Waging War on the Wheeze
Asthma is indeed chronic, but it can be prevented and controlled and its effects reversed. Mainstream MDs command an arsenal of pharmaceuticals, some of which are essential for severe or urgent conditions. Consult your health care practitioner about any breathing difficulties.
Because of its complexity, however, asthma requires a balanced therapeutic approach: careful attention to diet, exercise and stress reduction while taking supplemental nutrients and botanicals can help ease asthma's discomforts. Antioxidant nutrients like vitamins C and E, fruits and vegetables rich in phytochemicals plus herbs like echinacea and garlic, all possess the potential for helping the body fight asthma.
Induced by an array of inherent physiological vulnerabilities, some of which may not manifest until adulthood, as well as environmental factors, asthma benefits from extra sleuthing into its causes and planning for relief.
Triggers and Therapies
Asthma is derived from the Greek word meaning panting or breathing hard, which pretty much sums up the malady: Wheezing and shortness of breath typify the attack.
In bronchial asthma, the commonest variety, the passages that carry air from the throat to the lungs narrow as a result of muscle contraction, local inflammation or production of excess mucus. Breathing becomes difficult and wheezy as air is expelled.
"Asthma symptoms are triggered by various factors such as allergens, irritants, infections, pollutants, medications, and emotions," says Anthony Rooklin, author of Living with Asthma: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Controlling Asthma While Enjoying Your Life (Penguin). "Triggers are substances or situations that would be quite harmless to people with ordinary airways, but that bring on asthma symptoms in susceptible individuals."
According to Ellen W. Cutler, nutritionist, enzyme therapist, chiropractor and author of Winning the War Against Asthma & Allergies: A Drug-Free Cure For Asthma and Allergy Sufferers" (Delmar), asthma is an allergic disease that is always triggered by allergens. "These allergens include not only foods, pollens and environmental factors such as perfume, animal dander and chemicals but also bacteria, climactic conditions and emotions," says Cutler.
"When these allergies are active from birth, asthma can be diagnosed early in life, even in infancy," she adds.
Cutler believes every individual with asthma should be able to lead a normal, drug-free life.
"Most asthmatics have been told that asthma is a chronic problem they will have to contend with for the rest of their lives. Asthma can be cured, not miraculously and instantaneously, but inevitably and permanently, once the allergies that cause it have been eliminated," she adds.
Dilating on Nutrients
Although it is vitally important for folks with asthma to develop a treatment plan with a trusted health care provider, that plan, according to experts, may lend itself to a rich variety of complementary options, especially nutrients, phytochemicals, minerals and enzymes.
According to Ruth Winter, author of A Consumer's Guide to Medicines in Food: Nutraceuticals That Help Prevent and Treat Physical and Emotional Illnesses (Crown), researchers in Nottingham, England, linked magnesium and lung function.
"Magnesium is involved in a wide range of biological activities, including some that may protect against the development of asthma and chronic airflow obstruction," Winter says. "Dr. John Britton and his colleagues at Nottingham University measured the magnesium in the diets of 2,633 adults aged 18 to 70 and they found that low magnesium was associated with reduced lung function and wheezing" (The Lancet 344, 1994: 357-62).
Magnesium actually boasts a long history as a bronchial relaxant, first demonstrated in 1912 on cows. Its potential was eclipsed, however, by pharmaceutical antihistamines and bronchodilators until its recent rediscovery.
Defending the Lungs
Antioxidants, with their ability to bolster the lungs' defense mechanisms by battling oxidizing free radicals that constrict bronchial tissue, wield tremendous force in the anti-asthma offensive. Michael T. Murray, ND, and Joseph E. Pizzorno, ND, in their Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), connect the steady decrease in dietary intake of antioxidants to the burgeoning incidence of asthma.
Among the top asthma-busting antioxidants:
Vitamin C. Murray and Pizzorno note that C is the major antioxidant present in the lining of the airway and cite generous evidence that when vitamin C is low, asthma incidence is high (Annals Allergy 73, 1994: 89-96). Vitamin C, taken over time, effectively suppresses histamine secretion by white blood cells.
Flavonoids. Also credited with reducing histamine production, flavonoids, notably quercetin and the extracts from grape seed, pine bark and ginkgo biloba, are key asthma-fighting antioxidants (J Allergy Clin Immunol 73, 1984; 769-74).
Carotenes. They limit production of allergy-related compounds (called leukotrienes) and bolster the lining of the respiratory tract (Biochem Biophys Acta 575, 1979: 439-45).
Vitamin E and selenium. Both reduce secretion of leukotrienes (Clinical Exp Allergy 26, 1996: 838-47).
Vitamin B12. Murray and Pizzorno cite the work of Jonathan Wright, MD, whose clinical trials with supplemental vitamin B12 proved strongly effective, especially for children with asthma.
A Bundle of Botanicals
Herbal remedies for asthma date back more than 5000 years to the Chinese emperor Shen-nung. The ancient Egyptians treated respiratory ailments with herbs as well; the Greeks favored mint, garlic, cloves and myrrh for pulmonary problems.
Today, the power of plants has been validated by clinical research and standardized for predictability. (Always consult a health care practitioner when seeking complementary therapies, and read the package labels carefully for dosages and cautions.)
In their book, Asthma: An Alternative Approach (Keats), Ron Roberts and Judy Sammut provide a concise guide to asthma-easing botanicals: Garlic: acts as antiviral, antibacterial and antihistamine; enhances immune response; contains the antioxidant selenium. Garlic also is an expectorant.
Echinacea: a traditional treatment for immune disorders and infections of the upper respiratory tract, known to shorten the duration of colds, coughs and flus.
Ginkgo biloba: inhibits the chemical responses that induce asthma discomfort (Br J Clin Pharmacol 29, 1990: 85-91).
Ginseng: stimulates immunity and the production of steroid-like hormones; helps chronic coughs.
Licorice: an expectorant, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic that also inhibits leukotriene production (Acta Med Okayama 37, 1983: 385-91).
Tylophora asthmatica: an Ayurvedic treatment that many respected experts believe can act both as an antihistamine and antispasmodic (Planta Med 57, 1991: 409-13).
Battle Fatigue! Don't passively accept chronic exhaustion and weakness.
June 10, 2005 10:06 PM
Battle Fatigue! Don't passively accept chronic exhaustion and weakness. by Joanne Gallo Energy Times, December 6, 1999
Most folks wouldn't seek the distressing distinction of suffering chronic fatigue syndrome. Aside from a dizzying array of discomforts associated with the malady, the lack of a definitive cause, and few remedies offered by the medical establishment, scornful skeptics lob accusations of laziness or boredom or just plain moodiness. "Snap out of it!" they say, with little sympathy or understanding. "Just get moving!"
But if you're one of more than 3 million Americans affected by chronic fatigue, you know your problem is not all in your head. Your symptoms are real and they extend far beyond mere tiredness. In addition to a debilitating sense of fatigue that can make everyday existence feel like an overwhelming struggle, you may suffer from impaired concentration and memory, recurrent sore throats, nagging headaches, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes and fitful sleep. The persistence of any one of these effects alone could be debilitating, but the overall diminished capabilities of the chronic fatigue sufferer can become the most discouraging aspect of the disease.
But before you give up hope on kicking this energy-sucking ailment, look to natural ways to boost your immune system and regain your stamina for a more healthy and productive life. New research points to powerful, energy enhancing supplements which, combined with a nutritious diet and stress reducing techniques, can help you reclaim your body from a swamp of sluggishness.
Part of the public's misconceptions about chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) may stem from vague definitions of exactly what it is and its causes.
In the '80s, CFS was often mentioned in the same breath as the Epstein-Barr virus, which garnered much notoriety as the "yuppie flu": a state of chronic exhaustion that often plagued young, overworked professionals, as the media trumpeted. CFS was initially thought to be the result of the Epstein-Barr virus, and the two were often considered to be the same thing. Since the Epstein-Barr virus causes mononucleosis, the term "chronic mono" was also thrown around to refer to long-lasting states of fatigue.
Today, CFS is defined as a separate disorder from the Epstein-Barr syndrome. Researchers have found that CFS is not caused exclusively by the Epstein-Barr virus or any other single infectious disease agent. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, CFS may have multiple causes, in which viruses or other infectious agents might have a contributory role. Some of these additional possible culprits include herpes simplex viruses, candida albicans (yeast organisms), or parasites.
According to the CDC, a person can be definitively diagnosed with CFS when she or he experiences severe chronic fatigue for six months or longer that is not caused by other medical conditions, and must have four or more of the following problems recurrently for six consecutive months: tender lymph nodes, muscle pain, multi-joint pain without swelling or redness, substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration; sore throat, headaches, unrefreshing sleep and postexertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours.
Even if you are not diagnosed with CFS, you could still probably use some help in fending off fatigue. You may suffer from another poorly understood condition like fibromyalgia, which causes similar symptoms of exhaustion and pain with additional stomach discomfort. You may cope with another ailment like hypoglycemia or low thyroid function that zaps your energy. Or you could be like almost every stressed-out American adult trying to do it all at the expense of your well-being. Though researchers still search for a definitive cause for CFS, one thing is certain: Constant stress and poor nutritional habits weaken the immune system's ability to ward off a host of debilitating viruses and organisms. So before you run yourself down and succumb to a chronic condition, learn how you can build up your defenses now.
Some of the most exciting new research in CFS treatments focuses on NADH or Coenzyme 1, an energy-enhancing nutritional supplement. This naturally-occurring substance is present in all living cells including food, although cooking destroys most of it. Coenzymes help enzymes convert food and water into energy and NADH helps provide cellular fuel for energy production. It also plays a key role in cell regulation and DNA repair, acts as a potent antioxidant, and can reportedly improve mental focus and concentration by stimulating cellular production of the neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin.
A recent study conducted at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC, and reported in the February 1999 issue of The Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, showed that chronic fatigue sufferers improved their condition significantly by taking Enada, the stabilized, absorbable, oral form of NADH. The researchers found that 31% of those who took the supplement achieved significant improvement in relief of their symptoms, and a follow up study showed that 72% achieved positive results over a longer period of time.
Coenzyme-A and Coenzyme Q-10 (Co-Q10) are related coenzymes also necessary for energy production.
According to Erika Schwartz, M.D., and Carol Colman, authors of Natural Energy: From Tired to Terrific in 10 Days (G.P. Putnam's Sons) CoQ10 in combination with the nutrient carnitine enhances cellular energy production, thereby boosting energy levels. Coenzyme-A is required to initiate the chemical reactions that involve the utilization of CoQ10 and NADH for the production of energy at the cellular level.
Another important energy-enhancing nutrient is D-ribose, a simple sugar that is crucial to many processes in your body. D-ribose stimulates the body's production of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, an energy-rich chemical compound that provides the fuel for all body functions. D-ribose is essential to the manufacture of ATP and maintaining high levels of energy in the heart and skeletal muscles.
In addition to these new nutrients, a host of more familiar vitamins and minerals can help banish fatigue. According to Susan M. Lark, M.D., author of the Chronic Fatigue Self Help Book (Celestial Arts) nutritional supplements help stimulate your immune system, glands and digestive tract, promote proper circulation of blood and oxygen, and provide a calming effect. Some of Lark's recommended nutrients for building and regaining strength include:
Vitamin A: Helps protect the body against invasion by viruses that could trigger CFS, as well as bacteria, fungi and allergies. Supports the production and maintenance of healthy skin and mucous membranes, the body's first line of defense against invaders. Also supports the immune system by boosting T-cell activity and contributing to the health of the thymus, the immune-regulating gland.
Vitamin B Complex: Depression and fatigue can result from the body's depletion of B vitamins, which can occur from stress or drinking too many caffeinated beverages. Studies have provided preliminary evidence that CFS patients have reduced functional B vitamin status (J R Soc Med 92 , Apr. 1999: 183-5). The 11 factors of B complex are crucial to glucose metabolism, stabilization of brain chemistry and inactivation of estrogen, which regulate the body's levels of energy and vitality. n Vitamin C: Helps prevent fatigue linked to infections by stimulating the production of interferon, a chemical that can limit the spread of viruses. Helps fight bacterial and fungal infections by maintaining healthy antibody production and white blood cells. Also necessary for production of adrenal gland hormones which help prevent exhaustion in those under stress.
Bioflavonoids: Help guard against fatigue caused by allergic reactions; their anti-inflammatory properties prevent the production of histamine and leukotrienes that promote inflammation. Bioflavonoids like quercetin are powerfully antiviral.
Vitamin E: Has a significant immune stimulation effect and, at high levels, can enhance immune antibody response.
Zinc: Immune stimulant; improves muscle strength and endurance. Constituent of many enzymes involved in metabolism and digestion. n Magnesium and Malic Acid: Important for the production of ATP, the body's energy source. Magnesium is also important for women who may develop a deficiency from chronic yeast infections.
Potassium: Enhances energy and vitality; deficiency leads to fatigue and muscle weakness.
Calcium: Combats stress, nervous tension and anxiety.
Iodine: Necessary to prevent fatigue caused by low thyroid function, as it is crucial for the production of the thyroid hormone thyroxin.
In addition to nutrients to bolster your immunity, herbal remedies can also help suppress viral and candida infections. Garlic is a powerful, natural antibiotic, while echinacea and goldenseal have strong anti-infective abilities. Other botanicals help combat tiredness and depression: stimulating herbs such as ginger, ginkgo biloba, licorice root and Siberian ginseng can improve vitality and energy. For anxiety, moodiness and insomnia try passionflower or valerian root, which both have a calming effect on the central nervous system.
Eating For Energy
Supplements can only do their best if you eat a nutritious diet. Start by cutting out large quantities of sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy products, red meat and fat.
But what are the best foods when trying to restore energy or recover from illness? "High nutrient content foods with a good balance of proteins and carbohydrates," answers Jennifer Brett, ND, interim clinic director and chair of botanical medicine at the University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine.
"You want foods with high nutritional value-that's where vegetables end up looking better than fruit."
Brett enthusiastically pushes that "universal food," as she calls it: chicken soup.
"In China," she says, laughing, "they do make chicken soup, and they do think of it as healing, because they add astragalus and shiitake mushrooms. Vegetable soups with chicken or fish have high nutritional value and are easy to digest."
The same principle applies to juices, Brett says. Juices are a good way to tastefully get more phytonutrients from fruits and vegetables into your diet. Toss in protein powder, and you can make a complete meal in your blender.
"You get more energy from juicing," she explains, "more accessible nutrients and carbohydrates that are not bound up in fiber." Brett's additional recommendation: oatmeal.
"It's got protein and carbohydrates combined with a lot of minerals, which you may not get from a sugary cereal," she says. "Sure, they spray some vitamins on them, but if you don't drink the milk in the bottom of the bowl, you'll miss out on them. You might as well take a multivitamin."
Look to fiber for superior energy enhancement. Natural Energy author Schwartz calls it downright "miraculous": "In terms of conserving precious energy, fiber-rich foods are your cells' best friends," she writes. "It takes smaller quantities of them to give you a full, satisfied feeling. They release all their benefits slowly, which allows the cells to extract nutrients with much less effort. Then these fiber-rich foods graciously leave the body with ease and efficiency." Among these "slow burn" foods that Schwartz says raise blood sugar slowly and steadily and maintain energy evenly:
Alfalfa sprouts-high in fiber and low in cholesterol.
Apples-one medium unpeeled provides 10% of the recommended daily fiber dose; unlike sweeter fruits, which are rich in healthful fiber, they help regulate blood sugar.
Broccoli-along with such greens as cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collard greens and broccoli rabe, it's packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals n Brown rice, wild rice, other whole grains-fiber treasure troves, including barley, quinoa, millet and buckwheat.
Corn-excellent fiber source.
Lentils and other legumes-high in fiber, delicious beans are rich in culinary possibilities.
Oat bran and wheat bran-mix into yogurt or add to cereal for the best available access to fiber.
Popcorn-an excellent snack.
Citrus for More Energy
If constant colds and infections are draining your energy, healthy helpings of citrus fruit may be the pickup you need. According to Robert Heinerman, in Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing Juices (Parker), citrus fruit have been used for more than a thousand years as natural remedies for a wide variety of ailments:
Kumquat juice is supposed to help clear up bronchitis. Lemon juice with a pinch of table salt eases a sore throat. Lime juice in warm water soothes aches and cramps from the flu. Tangerine juice can break up mucous congestion in the lungs. Along with citrus' vitamin C, these fruits also supply carotenoids, antioxidants that provide disease-preventing benefits. Citrus also often contain calcium, potassium, folate (a B vitamin that fights against heart disease), iron and fiber.
Fruits are loaded with phytochemicals, naturally occurring chemicals that give fruit their vibrant colors. Yellow, red and orange fruits are also high in flavonoids, like quercetin, a substance which fights cancer. Quercetin also aids in prevention of cataracts and macular degeneration, according to author Stephanie Beling, MD, in her book Power Foods (Harper Collins).
Even the US Department of Agriculture agrees on this flavonoid's benefits, noting in its phytochemical database that quercetin is an "antitumor promoter, antiasthmatic, anticarcinogenic, antiplaque, cancer-preventive, capillariprotective." (Quercetin is also available as a supplement.)
Don't Avoid Avocados
For a vitamin rich food, few items beat the avocado which holds vitamins E and C as well as some B vitamins (B6, niacin, riboflavin). A significant source of beta carotene, though not nearly as much as carrots or sweet potatoes, avocados also contain high amounts of the minerals potassium, magnesium, copper and zinc.
Just 15 grams of avocado delivers about 81 international units of vitamin A as beta carotene. Beta carotene, a carotenoid in fruits and vegetables, is converted to vitamin A in the body. This vitamin, aside from providing antioxidant protection from damaging free radicals, is necessary for good eyesight, healthy skin and healing.
In addition, the avocado, like all of these healthy foods, tastes great. Which means that you can pep up and not have to sacrifice taste for zest.
Healthy Mind, Healthy Body
Remember that the path to wellness begins in your mind. Stress-reducing activities like yoga, meditation and massage and aromatherapy can have a great rejuvenating effect on your body. If you can learn to handle stress effectively instead of letting it control you-and strengthen your system with the right nutrients and diet-you'll find that fatigue can be a sporadic visitor rather than a chronic companion.
June 10, 2005 04:01 PM
Real Solutions by Susan Risoli Energy Times, November 1, 1997
The alarm sounds, you stumble out of bed and head to the bathroom. Suddenly, a burning sting wakes you with a jolt as you begin to urinate. One doctor visit later, you're on a strict antibiotic regimen to treat your urinary problem.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) affect 8 million to 10 million Americans, mostly women, each year. The culprit: the bacteria E. coli. Neglect may allow a UTI to spread to the bladder (where it causes cystitis), or kidneys: possibly life-threatening.
The good news: medical experts recognize that a diet change and avoiding certain risk factors may help fight off UTIs.
According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, about 20% of women experience UTI at least once, and many suffer recurrences. Sexually active women tend to incur more UTIs because of anatomical vagaries: the bladder sits just above the vagina, while the urethra, a structure from the bladder to the outside, protrudes in a tubelike ridge down the top part of the vagina to just above the vaginal opening. This structure allows sexual intercourse to push infecting bacteria into the urethra. Women's vulnerability to UTI also derives from their short urethras which are located near the rectum, a main source of UTI germs. These tubes provide an easy path to a bacterial home in the bladder.
Another risk booster: pelvic exams which may increase chances of UTI. A 1996 study conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago and reported in the Archives of Family Medicine (1996;5:357-360) found that 43% of women with UTIs had received a pelvic examination within the two months preceding infection. Only 16% of the uninfected had been examined.
Bladder infections can occur frequently in postmenopausal women due to thinning and drying of the vaginal lining. And mid-life women are not immune. "With the loss of estrogen support, the urethra becomes less flexible and elastic and, like the vagina, it can become easily irritated after sexual intercourse and, thus, much more prone to infection," reports Susan Lark, MD, in her book, Women's Health Companion: Self Help Nutrition Guide and Cookbook (Celestial Arts). "As women age, the lower urinary tract also stops manufacturing anti-adherence factors, which help to prevent bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall."
Every woman should keep her own "female" botanicals on hand to help boost her immune system when she is at high risk of developing a bladder infection. These include:
Cranberry: This immune-boosting, vitamin C-rich berry prevents germs from invading the lining of the urinary tract. A 1994 study of 153 elderly women conducted by researchers at the Harvard Medical School and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (1994:271: 751-4) showed that cranberry juice may keep harmful bacteria at reduced levels. More recently, a study by Amy B. Howell, PhD, and a team at Rutgers University found that cranberries contain a type of condensed tannin, a chemical compound called proanthocyanidins, that seemed to stunt the growth of E. coli, preventing it from adhering to the walls of the bladder and kidneys.
"However, once you have an infection, cranberry juice cannot eradicate the bacteria. So drinking cranberry juice may be helpful in preventing an infection, but not in treating an existing one," according to Larrian Gillespie, MD, in her book You Don't have to Live with Cystitis (Avon Books).
Drinking two glasses of juice a day can help if you're UTI-prone. To avoid the sugar added to cranberry juice, concentrated cranberries are available in a gel-cap form.
Echinacea: This North American herb bolsters immune function and is believed to possess antiseptic and antiviral properties which may rev up the white blood cells that fight infection, reports John Cammarta, MD, in his book A Physician's Guide To Herbal Wellness (Chicago Review Press).
While cranberry is most commonly recommended for prevention, other herbs can also kill bacteria and are diuretic. These include:
Barberry: "The chemical berberine found in this herb is an impressive infection fighter. Studies show it kills the bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections," says author Jim O'Brien in his book Herbal Cures for Common Ailments (Globe).
O'Brien recommends making a tea with one half teaspoon of powdered root bark, then put it on low boil for 30 minutes. "The taste is unpleasant, so you may wish to add natural sweeteners and flavorings."
Uva-ursi: contains the ingredient arbutin, which fights germs in the urinary tract. "In addition," adds O'Brien, "the herb contains several diuretics that help flush the urinary tract, leading to faster healing. It also has several tannins, which act as powerful astringents drying out swollen, infected tissue. A third property of uva-ursi is allantoin, which promotes the growth of new cells."
"For this herb to be effective you must not eat or drink anything of acidic nature, such as citrus fruits or juices. Don't even take vitamin C supplements while using it," cautions O'Brien.
Coping With Pain
In her book Herbal Remedies for Women (Prima), medical herbalist Amanda McQuade Crawford offers an herbal recipe to help restore the urinary tract's normal pH. Herbal Formula I calls for 4 ounces of uva-ursi leaf, three ounces of marshmallow leaf, two ounces of yarrow flower (omit during pregnancy) and one ounce (or to taste) cinnamon bark. Steep the herbs for 10 to 20 minutes, then strain through bamboo or wire mesh. Drink 2 to 5 cups daily for 10 days. Crawford advocates drinking one to two cups per day for a week to 10 days after all symptoms have disappeared.
Urologist Gillespie has found that women with cystitis may notice certain foods and beverages (such as alcohol and acidic foods) exacerbate problems of pain and burning. Gillespie recommends cystitis sufferers avoid foods like apple juice, apples, apricots, melon, carbonated drinks, spicy foods, citrus fruits, coffee, ginger, grapes, guava, lemon juice, peaches, pineapple, plums, rhubarb, strawberries, tea, tomatoes and vinegar.
Limit refined sugar: this nutrient may stunt immune reactions. Most importantly, you can lower the risk of UTIs by drinking liquids. Water helps flush bacteria from the body so drink at least 6 to 8 eight-ounce glasses of filtered water daily.
June 10, 2005 03:52 PM
by Lisa James Energy Times, January 3, 2002
An American suffers a heart attack every 20 seconds. That adds up to 180 heart attacks every hour. Many of these life-threatening events don't have to happen: heart-healthy nutrients, weight control and exercise could ease this epidemic.
More evidence of how to protect your heart piles up every day, amounting to a stack of research thicker than the juiciest, most heart-threatening cheeseburger on a big, fat bun. To protect your heart, you've got to protect your arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart and also feed the heart muscle oxygen and nutrients.
Arteries are essentially three-layered tubes: the inner endothelium, a middle muscle layer which allows the artery to widen and contract, and an outer layer that encloses and supports the other two. When the lining, which is normally smooth, is damaged, the resulting rough patch develops plaque from LDL cholesterol, and the artery narrows and hardens.
When LDL cholesterol is oxidized into plaque, the resulting damage attracts large immune cells called macrophages which consume the oxidized LDL and get trapped in the developing plaque. Oxidized LDL is also associated with the death of muscle cells in the artery's middle layer (Circulation 2000; 102:2680). Plaque slows blood flow to the heart and can result in angina, chest pain often brought about by exertion. Heart attacks strike when unstable plaque ruptures, triggering blood clotting that blocks blood flow and may kill sections of the heart muscle as it's cut off from oxygen and nutrients.
Foods, like fatty meats, filled with saturated fat, are believed to start this heart-threatening process. Even by age 15, your arteries may be narrowing.
Antioxidants can help keep your arteries functioning smoothly by counteracting LDL oxidation. Lab research has shown that cells in the lining can be protected by natural vitamin E. Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits and whole grains is an important step in stocking your antioxidant arsenal. But many heart experts recommend supplementation, a strategy that's been shown to bolster the body's defenses (J Nutr Biochem 2001; 12:388-95).
Vitamins C and E: The Dynamic Duo
Antioxidant allies abound, but two of the most important are vitamin C and natural vitamin E. They work particularly well together because C is effective in the fluid that bathes all cells, while E defangs free radicals in the fatty areas, such as cell membranes. And vitamin C actually recharges vitamin E, increasing E's antioxidant effectiveness. Each vitamin provides protective benefits on its own. People with Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes who took vitamin E in one study saw drops in cholesterol and glucose and increases in antioxidants, such as superoxide peroxidase, produced by the body itself (Endocr Res 2001; 27:377-86). For its part, vitamin C has prevented free radical damage in individuals who inhale secondhand cigarette smoke and has improved artery lining function in persons with coronary artery disease (Free Radic Biol Med 2000; 28:428-36; Circulation 1999; 99:3234-40). When used together, this vitamin dynamic duo provides powerful protection against both LDL oxidation and high blood pressure (Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2000; 20:2087-93; Hypertension 2000; 36:142-6). They also help keep immune cells from sticking to arterial linings (Circ Res 2000; 87:349).
Vitamins C and E also seem to prove effective against inflammation that researchers think contributes to heart health. Research in this area continues, but scientists now believe that inflammation from infections with herpes simplex one, the cold sore virus, and Chlamydia pneumoniae, a respiratory tract bug, can foment heart trouble. Inflammation may slow blood flow to the heart and make clots more likely. Among persons with peripheral arterial disease, blockages in arms and legs, not getting enough vitamin C levels may increase inflammation (Circulation 2001; 103:1863). Vitamin E apparently soothes inflammation by decreasing the release of immune chemicals and calming the immune cells involved in atherosclerosis (Diet and Optimum Health Conference, 5/01, Portland OR). Clot Busters Vitamin E also reduces the risk of clots and lowers the chance of a clot sticking in a vessel. It keeps platelets, cells that cause clotting, from becoming too gooey and breaks up fibrin, a clot-forming protein. Garlic (Allium sativa) also discourages inappropriate clotting. Used medicinally since the beginning of recorded time, the Greek physician Dioscorides thought it could clean the arteries. The ancient faith in garlic's circulatory benefits are supported by modern research. Recent studies have found substances in garlic that keep platelets from clumping together and lower cholesterol. In one study, men with high cholesterol who took garlic extract for five months saw their total cholesterol drop an average of 7% and their LDL drop 10% (J Nutr 2001; 131:989S-93S).
Hunting Down Homocysteine
Homocysteine, an amino acid found in the blood, may also be linked to artery problems. Scientists believe that when too much homocysteine accumulates in the bloodstream, arteries stiffen and plaque forms. The causes of this buildup remain murky but it appears that perpetually angry folks have higher homocysteine levels. Estimates vary on how much of a risk factor homocysteine represents; between 10% and 40% of people who suffer heart attacks may have high levels. Excessive homocysteine also seems to be linked to other risk factors, such as insulin resistance, a diabetes precursor (Diabetes Care 2001; 24:1403-10). The good news: the so-called DASH diet-featuring fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, nuts and fish-may reduce homocysteine and drop your heart disease risk by 7% to 9% (Circulation 2000; 102:852-7). More benefits: simple B vitamins can control homocysteine. Folic acid (folate), along with vitamins B6 and B12, may help break it down and render it harmless. Taking these vitamins in supplement form has been shown to reduce homocysteine (Lancet 2000; 355:517-22). What's more, natural vitamin E may be able to restore artery lining function when homocysteine levels are high (Am J Cardiol 2001; 88:285-90). If you really want your ticker to tick stronger and longer, go long on your ready supply of heart healthy nutrients.
CAT’S CLAW DEFENSE COMPLEX - Health Secrets from the Rainforest
June 01, 2005 09:59 AM
Standard pharmaceutical drugs came into common use only around the turn of the century. Before that, herbal preparations were administered for health concerns. Today, in nearly every country in the world, herbs are used by health care practitioners as the focal point of health care. Only in the United States is the otherwise widespread use of herbs missing in mainstream culture. But now modern scientific investigation is confirming the benefits of herbal supplementation, which is paving the way for us to reclaim and implement herbs into our everyday lives.
The primary need for preserving the rainforests
Rain Forest Herbs
Scientists’ knowledge of the varied rain forest flora is far from complete. The plants which have been thus far identified are so elaborate in molecular structure that it’s difficult to understand how these molecules function, let alone how to reproduce them. What is known is that the biodiversity of the rain forest yields numerous biologically active plant constituents which can have a profound influence on supporting the body through times of imbalance. Preserving the rain forest means preserving these precious herbs and the unique constituents contained within them.
Cat’s Claw Defense Complex contains powerful rainforest herbs
A Synergistic Blend
Source Naturals CAT’S CLAW DEFENSE COMPLEX harnesses the power of some of the most complex botanicals on earth into a synergistic blend of defense-enhancing herbs, each with a unique set of compounds which complement the body’s natural physiology. Source Naturals CAT’S CLAW DEFENSE COMPLEX is the first step in the rediscovery of a long-standing herbal tradition. Source Naturals was the first full-line supplement company to introduce the herbal superstar, Cat’s Claw, and the first to offer it in a combination formula. CAT’S CLAW DEFENSE COMPLEX provides 2000 mg of Cat’s Claw per four tablets – more than many companies’ single ingredient Cat’s Claw products! It combines powerful rain forest herbs like Pau D’Arco and Western herbs such as Aloe Vera and St. John’s Wort with legendary Chinese herbs (Reishi Mushroom and Astragalus). Source Naturals Cat’s Claw Defense Complex also includes two categories of antioxidants for broad spectrum support.
How we ensure quality and potency
Cat’s Claw & Pau D’Arco – Peruvian Jungle Discoveries
Cat’s Claw was discovered in the depths of the Peruvian Amazon jungle. Researchers have discovered that components extracted from the herb can bolster the body’s innate defenses, address discomforts associated with stress, and support intestinal health. Source Naturals uses only the highest quality Cat’s Claw inner bark – which is at least twenty years old, the amount of time it takes the bark to reach its peak biological activity– and uses a careful process to insure that harvesting the bark doesn’t weaken or destroy the plant. Like all of our herbs, each shipment of Cat’s Claw is also routinely inspected and tested by a trained herbalist to ensure maximum quality and potency. Pau D’Arco is also native to the South American rain forest and, like Cat’s Claw, has a high concentration of active constituents – a combination of anthraquinones and naphthoquinones, primarily lapachol – in the bark of the plant. Each daily dosage of CAT’S CLAW DEFENSE COMPLEX contains 100 mg of Pau D’Arco bark and 100 mg of concentrated Pau D’Arco bark extract for broad spectrum support.
Herbs — Adaptogens for Balance
Of the Chinese herbs, Siberian Ginseng is one of the best known adaptogens. Adaptogens have a balancing effect, helping us adapt to increased stress levels and other changes, like different altitudes or time zones. Thus, supplementation with Siberian Ginseng can help prevent stress-related health concerns. Schizandra, a small creeping vine with red berries, is a Chinese adaptogen which helps regulate the body’s functions and cleanse it of toxins.
Herbs that energize the body and build resistance to impaired bodily function
The trio of Chinese mushrooms – Reishi, Shiitake, and Maitake – has been used by Chinese herbalists for centuries, and provides the highest quality natural support for the body’s defenses. Modern science has revealed the true power behind Reishi, Shiitake, and Maitake: high levels of polysaccharides – long chain sugar macromolecules which are known for their protective and cleansing abilities. CAT’S CLAW DEFENSE COMPLEX utilizes only the mycelia biomass of Reishi (200 mg), Shiitake (200 mg), and Maitake (150 mg) to ensure the highest level of activity. Astragalus is the premier tonic – or internal strengthener – of Chinese herbalism. In addition to helping energize the body, Astragalus also builds resistance to weakness and to impaired bodily function. Isatis is a cooling herb which has been shown to have a broad spectrum inhibitory action in in-vitro studies, and helps support normal liver function. Used for thousands of years, the aloe plant has been treasured for its varied uses both externally and internally. Aloe Vera juice is high in mucopolysaccharides, which have been found to have powerful protective capabilities. CAT’S CLAW DEFENSE COMPLEX provides 200 mg of aloe (200:1 concentration) extracted from the whole leaf of the plant.
Why St. John’s Wort is powerful and useful
It is generally agreed that hypericin and pseudohypericin, two bioflavonoids which are the active constituents in St. John’s Wort, probably act as monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, which current research has shown are powerful as internal cleansing agents. St. John’s Wort is particularly useful because of its ability to cross the Blood-Brain Barrier, through which many elements are unable to pass.
The liver’s health is essential because of its responsibility for over 500 different functions
Antioxidants and Plantioxidants – Supporting Complete Health
Source Naturals CAT’S CLAW DEFENSE COMPLEX includes key liver-supporting antioxidants like Zinc, Beta Carotene, and Vitamin C – nutrients that help protect the liver from stress and pollution induced free radical damage. These three nutrients are also wellknown for their ability to help strengthen the body’s resistance and move through imbalances quickly. The liver is responsible for over 500 functions, including converting vitamins to their active forms, and processing and eliminating waste products from the body; therefore its health is vital. Plantioxidants™ is Source Naturals’ term for Plant-Derived Antioxidant Bioflavonoids. Though most people are only aware of the vitamin and mineral antioxidants, the latest scientific research has indicated that the plant kingdom may provide the most potent antioxidants in the world. Plants, trees, and citrus fruits all contain bioflavonoids (also called polyphenols) – a large group of restorative compounds with similar chemical structures which help protect the body from the ravages of oxidative damage due to free radicals. Some of the Plantioxidants included in CAT’S CLAW DEFENSE COMPLEX are: Quercetin, which helps inhibit the body’s sensitivity to dangerous particles in the air; Proanthodyn, which promotes tissue repair by helping to strengthen collagen and elastin, the two primary structural components in cartilage; Silymarin, which promotes liver-tissue regeneration and optimizes liver-cell function; Green Tea, a remarkably potent antioxidant; and Ginkgo, which is renowned for helping transport oxygen to the brain.
The way to naturally bolster the body’s defenses
A Holistic Natural Answer
The natural world provides us with a seemingly endless supply of complex herbal compounds with unreplicable and unique constituents so varied and numerous that most doctors aren’t even aware of their existence. Source Naturals would like to change that with CAT’S CLAW DEFENSE COMPLEX – the natural way to bolster the body’s innate defenses. All the ingredients included are at optimal potencies, and in the forms best absorbed by the body. The result? The most powerful, holistic product available to help maintain the structure and function of the natural defenses – Source Naturals CAT’S CLAW DEFENSE COMPLEX.