Search Term: " brains "
These 3 unexpected dangers of gum disease will make you want to gobrush your teeth
May 03, 2019 07:55 AM
Gum disease and poor oral health are both associated with a number of serious health risks on top of its basic symptoms like red, swollen gums and sensitive teeth. Gum disease is correlated strongly with heart disease, although the exact causative agent isn’t well understood. Bad oral health is also strongly associated with higher cancer risk, possibly because of the associated inflammation, or perhaps due to compounds created by mouth bacteria. There may even be a link with Alzheimer’s, as bacteria found in the mouth are often also found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
"Gum disease is a frustrating and painful enough condition on its own. Common signs and symptoms include bloody, red, painful, and swollen gums, bad breath, tooth sensitivity, and pain with chewing."
Read more: https://www.naturalhealth365.com/gum-disease-oral-health-2912.html
Omega-3 intake found to substantially slow brain "aging" byboosting nutrient circulation to memory-related brain regions
April 11, 2019 01:16 PM
Our brains are the most important thing we could ever possess, so why not take something that helps naturally assist it’s function. Omega-3 is the main focus of this article and centers on new evidence found that an aging brain can be somewhat suppressed by consuming some good ole omega-3. It quickly touches on two specific studies and their findings concerning the size of one part of the brain. Additionally, it outlines a few extra benefits of the vitamin and the importance of striking a good bodily balance.
"The researchers found that people who had higher blood levels of certain omega-3 fatty acids – namely ecosatrienoic acid, stearidonic acid, and ALA – had a bigger frontoparietal cortex and therefore performed better on fluid intelligence tests."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-13-omega-3-intake-found-to-substantially-slow-brain-aging.html
Here's what research shows about the mental health benefits ofginger
March 29, 2019 01:14 PM
Taking in a consistent amount of ginger throughout the week is showing to have several positive benefits in terms of both physical and mental health. Not only can ginger help patients who deal with chronic pain such as arthritic discomfort by treating inflammation, but it can also help improve cognitive function as well. Our brains are continuously faced with pollutants found in the air and food we consume, which can directly decrease our brain's functionality. The dopamine levels replaced by ginger can help aid in protecting our brains from these potential threats.
"Ginger is often used as an anti-inflammatory, making it a popular natural remedy for arthritis. The plant’s anti-inflammatory property can also help people with brain disorders like ADHD, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, brain fog, and depression, which are often associated with chronic inflammation of the brain."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-27-mental-health-benefits-of-ginger.html
How much omega-3 should you take each day?
March 27, 2019 10:28 AM
Many of us are well aware of the benefits surrounding omega-3 fatty acids, but exactly how much should we take on a routine basis in order to experience the most potent advantages? To receive benefits such as improved heart health, enhanced cognitive function, and inflammation reduction, people should be consuming 250 grams each day. This recommendation excludes pregnant women and children who should have around 300 grams each day due to their brains still being at a developmental milestone.
"DHA is essential for the eyes, brain and sperm cells. EPA is beneficial in reducing inflammation in the body."
Read more: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/food-news/how-much-omega-3-should-you-take-each-day/articleshow/67672802.cms
Bombshell study shows aspartame depletes neurotransmitters in thebrain, makes brains vulnerable to chemical damage from food and vaccines
March 04, 2019 02:26 PM
A recent study looked at the effects of aspartame on brain functions in rats. The results were impressive. The results showed a direct correlation between the dose of aspartame and the destruction of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are required for the function of your brain's neurons. The rats who were fed the aspartame had a reduction of Serotonin and an increase in Epinephrine. Epinephrine is associated with your flight or fight reactions. This study reminds us that although an ingredient might be approved by the FDA, it could have long term effects.
"A bombshell scientific study reveals that aspartame may be one of the most damaging vectors for the widespread “dumbing down” of humanity."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-12-17-bombshell-study-shows-aspartame-depletes-neurotransmitters-in-the-brain-5g-pesticides.html
PQQ is effective in combating neurodegeneration that can affect theaging brain
December 21, 2018 08:53 AM
A nutrient called Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) has shown potential for combating the degenerative neurological symptoms of Alzheimer’s, according to research published by Life Extension. Mice that were given a PQQ supplement developed smaller deposits of toxic proteins in their brains compared to the mice that did not, and also demonstrated better recall, memory, motor skills and learning relative to the control group. Other research suggests PQQ may help with Parkinson’s symptoms, and improve blood circulation within the brain.
"But there are many ways in which a person can reduce their risk of neurodegeneration as they age, like healthy eating."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-12-13-pqq-combats-neurodegeneration-that-can-affect-the-aging-brain.html
Compelling study confirms the therapeutic effects of curcumin inremoving fluoride from our bodies
December 03, 2018 02:03 PM
According to statistics recently released by the CDC, 66.3% of U.S. citizens are being exposed to fluoride poisoning through the country's public water supplies. The good news is that a study in Pharmacognosy Magazine points to curcumin as a natural solution to this growing problem. According to this Indian study, curcumin can protect our brains from fluoride poisoning. If you cannot afford to install a whole-house water filter in your home, curcumin may be a safe and affordable option to protect your family from the dangerous neurological effects of fluoride.
"The researchers looked specifically at fluoride-induced toxicity on the mice’s brains, including the chemical’s impact on lipid peroxidation, or rancidity, in brain tissue. They also evaluated markers of malondialdehyde, or MDA, a well-known marker of oxidative stress and oxidative damage, in the brains of mice from each test group."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-11-26-curcumin-removing-fluoride-from-the-body.html
From OCD to depression to anxiety, learn how inositol can preventmany mental health disorders
November 13, 2018 08:51 AM
Living at maximum wellness constitutes more than having a disease-free body, where all the parts are doing what they should. Mental health is also a key component to overall health. From PMS symptoms all the way to psychotic episodes, more than 40 million U.S. citizens suffer from a mental problem yearly. Although treating these potentially life-clouding conditions with pharmaceutical grade interventions is the norm, these interventions are not without the possibility of potentially hazardous side effects. A B vitamin, inositol is present in the human brain in large amounts. Scientists are considering whether significant supplementation of the vitamin might be a way to treat an array of mental conditions naturally and without side effects. The vitamin has already been shown to have positive effect in some mental conditions, which makes sense, as significant neural transmissions depend on the use of the vitamin. Moreover, it's also been shown that individuals with lesser amounts of the mood-regulating chemicals, serotonin and dopamine, have lower levels of inositol. Although more research needs to happen in some instances, there is promising research to suggest that elevating inositol levels could prove efficacious for an array of mental conditions, including panic attacks, bipolar mood disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression.
"In fact, other major neurotransmitters depend on inositol to relay messages, making it a key component in a lot of chemical systems in a person’s brain, including the ability to handle stress, learning and cognition, mood, productivity, sleep, and addiction."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-11-06-inositol-can-prevent-many-mental-health-disorders.html
How Nutrient Deficiencies Can Affect Your Mental Health
September 11, 2018 05:52 PM
We often separate who we are into two separate parts, specifically body and mind, acting a if we are some odd hybrid creature. But, the truth is that the brain is as much a part of the body as the fingers, muscles and hair are. We all expect our diet to affect our waistline, and strength, our energy and our hair's luster, or lack thereof. In reality, since our brains are as much affected by our diet as any other part, it stands to reason that our mind's ability to handle stress, emotions and mental load are very much affected too. All of which is born out by data which shows that diets that are imbalanced and overloaded with sugar, unhealthy fats, and chemical additives are apt to contribute to disease symptoms, like ADHD, depression and anxiety.
When the body lacks specific nutrients, like sufficient protein, it can hamper the body's ability to create needed brain chemicals that aid in our ability to handle emotions and stress. In fact, the brain is comprised of a great deal of fat. So, healthy a diet that has sufficient good quality fatty acids is important fro brain health. Brain health and stamina is affected by an array of nutrients that come from food, including magnesium, vitamin B12, zinc and vitamin D. Their lack can cause or hasten mood and behavior shifts that can become problems.
"But the foods we eat also play a role in how we feel mentally as well, and an imbalanced diet can mess with our heads just as much as our stomachs."
Read more: https://www.bustle.com/p/how-nutrient-deficiencies-can-affect-your-mental-health-11194369
Zinc-binding is vital for regulating pH levels in the brain
October 22, 2017 10:14 AM
According to a study from the University of Oslo, Zinc-binding plays a critical role in the regulation and sensing of pH in the brains of humans. This is one of the first studies to link the binding of zinc with bicarbonate transporters. Researchers from the University’s Centre for Molecular Medicine published these findings in Scientific Reports. These results are important because optimal ph levels are very important for our overall health. In fact, low ph levels in infants sometimes leads to brain damage. Lead researcher Preben Morth emphasized that research into zinc’s role in the regulation of ph is important for understanding overall brain health and function.
"An example of how important pH levels are to our health is demonstrated by the fact that pH levels in blood from the umbilical cord are always tested in newborn babies."
Read more: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171017092242.htm
5 things you can do to slow down brain decline as you get older
September 04, 2017 09:14 AM
"5 things you can do to slow down brain decline as you get older" gives ideas on how to slow down cognitive function with age. Each suggestion that is mentioned reports that studies have been done to back-up the statements given. The article suggests that sex can slow down brain decline either by social or biological impact or a combination of both. The amount of sleep a person gets can affect their brain health. Being a part of social, mental and physical activities can also help. Societies can affect brain decline because of stereotypes about activities done by men verses women. Stereotypical social activities done by women slow down brain decline. Lastly, the article suggests that being proactive early in life will have more benefits than waiting until brain decline has already begun.
"It's time for us to take a lifelong approach to keeping our brains healthy as we age."
Read more: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/5-things-you-can-do-slow-down-brain-decline-you-get-older-1636689
HOW TO FIX ALL YOUR SLEEP PROBLEMS WITH THIS TWO NATURAL INGREDIENTS!!
September 02, 2017 05:14 AM
This was an informational video about solutions for sleep problems. It is recommended that adults get 6-8 hours of sleep a night, but many people have sleep difficulties. Medications are often prescribed, but the video does not recommend using those, as they can be addictive. The video explained what happens to our brains and bodies during different phases of sleep. At the end of the video, there was a provided recipe (all-natural) that you can try for your sleep issues.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8nqiUjLYY0&rel=0
"Lack of magnesium in the body can cause insomnia and lack of required amount of potassium can remove the ability to sleep consistently throughout the night."
Extra virgin olive oil found to prevent Alzheimer's and protect the brain's memory function
July 01, 2017 12:14 PM
News outlet have recently been sharing the findings of researchers from Temple University who have discovered that extra-virgin olive oil has positive effects on the brain. These effects are beneficial towards Alzheimer’s disease as well as memory loss. The study was performed on mice with induced Dementia that were given food enriched with extra-virgin olive oil before they started to show any symptoms of the disease. Researchers are now interested to see if these issues can be stopped or reversed with olive oil. This is very beneficial as Alzheimer’s and Dementia are prevalent.
"Researchers from Temple University have discovered that extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) can not only help protect against memory loss, but it can also alleviate the conditions associated with Alzheimer’s disease."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-06-28-extra-virgin-olive-oil-found-to-prevent-alzheimers-and-protect-the-brains-memory-function.html
Marijuana for your memory? Study suggests wonder drug can reverse memory loss in older people
May 29, 2017 09:14 AM
Marijuana has been a hot topic for many years, but nothing like it is today. For years, people believed it caused addiction, destroyed brain cells, and many other nefarious results. Yet today, with legalization of this drug becoming ever more popular, many studies are looking into its efficacy for MS, pain, inflammation, anxiety and depression. A recent study indicated it might even help with the memories of elders. In Time we will learn its many benefits, but at the present, its used most for pain.
"The findings showed that marijuana clearly had a positive effect on mature and aging brains, though it has yet to be studied further in humans."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-05-15-marijuana-for-your-memory-study-suggests-wonder-drug-can-reverse-memory-loss.html
How diet influences our mood and mental health
February 10, 2017 02:59 PM
Our diet affects many aspects of our physical and mental health. The mental is what's discussed here. This talks about how what we eat affects our moods and our emotional well being. Read this if you think you might be at risk of such effects yourself so you know what to change.
"brains do not live in a vacuum; they play by the same rules as other organs in your body when it comes to being healthy."
Four foods you need to stop eating before bed if you're trying to lose weight
February 09, 2017 02:59 PM
There are 4 foods you need to stop eating before bed if your goal is to lose weight. Baked goods are among the worst possible things you could eat before going to bed. You should also avoid red wine because it will not be good before going to sleep. Salsa and dark chocolate are two others that you will want to avoid.
"If you like a bit of chip and dip before you hit the sack, salsa or any food with a spicy kick can result in heartburn and a bad sleep."
Matter: The Purpose of Sleep? To Forget, Scientists Say
February 07, 2017 12:59 PM
Sleep is really good for the body. It allows the body to rest and repair itself. Scientists also think we're supposed to forget certain things and that sleep helps with that as well. That forgetting process is discussed here. It's important and is just another reason we need to get enough sleep. It can be hard to do but is crucial to our health.
"In order to learn, we have to grow connections, or synapses, between the neurons in our brains."
A brain wide chemical signal that enhances memory
January 30, 2017 10:59 AM
Alzheimer’s seems to become more prevalent every day. This has lead to much research into what causes it and how to prevent it. While we still do not know the exact mechanism behind what causes it, there has been some discovery on ways to help fight the disease. A recent study has shown that keeping our brains active will help fend off the signs of mental decline. This discovery was uncovered in light of drugs that seem to help with the disease when they activate acetylcholine release and activate the brain for longer periods of time.
""Many current and future drug therapies for a wide range of brain disorders including Alzheimer's and schizophrenia are designed to target chemical systems such as acetylcholine""
Eat Mediterranean diet for a healthier and younger brain, studies say
January 17, 2017 10:59 AM
This article describes the impact that alzheimer's is making on the world. It describes how a mediterranean diet may help prevent this, and memory loss. It talks about the experiment that was done on 400 people in a three year period. The people who followed the diet from the article had less brain loss. Overall they say they need to do more research to associate it with the diseases but it's looking good.
"The researchers found that those who closely followed a Mediterranean-like diet were less likely to lose brain volume as they aged, compared with those who didn't follow such a diet."
Why the Blood-Brain Barrier Is So Critical (and How to Maintain It)
November 25, 2016 10:59 AM
It’s imperative to maintain a health blood-brain barrier. This serves as a guard for our brains letting in important things like glucose, amino acids, nutrients, and ketones while warding off toxins and pathogens. Ways to promote BBB health include taking vitamin B, drinking tea/coffee for caffeine, eating prebiotic fiber, upping magnesium intake, and sleep, just to name a few.
"The job of the gut lining is to be selectively permeable, allowing helpful things passage into the body and preventing harmful things from getting in."
Superaging: why some 80 year olds have the memory capacity of 20 year olds
November 08, 2016 09:54 AM
Superagers is a term used by researchers to describe a minority of senior citizens who appear to maintain memories as dependable as those many years younger. Science is just beginning to explain why superagers have such strong memories. While certain sections of superagers’ brains may deteriorate, their memory networks stay as functional as those of an 18-32 year old person. Neurology researchers at the Journal of Neuroscience are surprised by these recent findings. By observing superagers, researchers hope to learn more about the slowing down of cognitive function and the conditions associated with it.
"Now, researchers have provided some insight as to why and how some of our senior citizens are able to hold on to their robust memories."
Does Melatonin Decline As We Age?
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal glands. The circadian production of melatonin is tied to the day/night cycle. Light through the retina signals the pineal glands to suppress its production. Lack of light stimulation (at night) results to increased production of melatonin. The increased hormone production at night is associated with a good night’s sleep. According to a study, melatonin significantly reduces sleep latency and increases sleep efficiency. It has thus been used to treat insomnia.
Aging and Insomnia
Insomnia is commonplace among the elderly. As we age, sleep problems which include difficulty in falling asleep and maintaining the sleep are so rampant. This is so because melatonin production declines with age. With age comes the disruption of the circadian rhythms associated with the production of melatonin. To this end, melatonin supplements come handy to the elderly in maintaining a good night’s sleep.
Aging and Alzheimer's Disease
There is more to this hormone than a good night’s sleep and normal aging. There are evidences that melatonin suppresses Alzheimer’s disease. AD is the leading cause of dementia among individuals older than 65 years. Lack of sleep is a common symptom among AD patients and feels bad but sundowning (worsening of symptoms during evening hours) is worse. According to Netherlands Institute of Brain Research, the declining production of melatonin among the elderly not only affects the circadian rhythms but also enhances the development of Alzheimer.
Melatonin as an Antioxidant
Melatonin production starts to decline at age 60. This is the onset of diseases like AD which leads to increased production of free radicals in the brain. According to a review paper written in 2000, there is a lot of pathological changes among AD patients’ autopsied brains as a result of free radical activity. Melatonin carries antioxidant properties which fight the free radicals and protect the brain neurons.
Melatonin is a powerful hormone. Its function in sustaining optimal human health is crucial. New discoveries are being made on this versatile hormone. The fact that its production starts to decline at 60 only means that you need to use supplements and not fret over the onset of AD or insomnia. It is clear that besides being harmless and natural in treating insomnia, Melatonin is the most effective way of averting deleterious aging effects.
The benefit of Amino Acid L-Tyrosin for our brains
January 21, 2014 09:47 AM
L-Tyrosine is a nonessential amino acid because it can be made from phenylalanine, the another amino acid by our body. But from some researchers the body cannot make tyrosine from phenylalanine if stressed. In otherhand, L-Tyrosine is definitely present in many kinds of foods, such as milk, meats, eggs, nuts, cheese, bananas, beans and some seafood like fish.
Benefits of L-Tyrosine
By using this food stuff can increased the amount of L-Tyrosine in our body. And Also L-Tyrosine can we get from some suplement. L-Tyrosine has benefits for our brains. L-Tyrosine need for creating the neurotransmitters such as dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. It can called stress hormone. This compounds that transmit chemical signals in our brains. The neurotransmitters that was produced by L-Tyrosine have effect significant for your mood, memory, concentration, focus and alertness. The neurotransmitter dopamine can affects the incentive mechanism in our brain which indicates it involved in feeling of happiness. Dopamine is also helps we keep motivated and handle problem that can make streesed. But too much stress can make our dopamine level decreased. It can make our brain less active and weak. The neurotransmitter epinephrine ability to increases our energy, heart rate and breathing. It because epinephrine produces oxygen with rich blood that travels to our brain. Moreover the neurotransmitter epinephrine can boosting our memory, enhance cognitive performance, polishing our senses and reducing pain level of sensitivity. And the third compound of neurotransmitters is norepinephrine. It can helps increase our concentrate and to develop new memories. Norepinephrine is also travels through our blood and can stimulate our brains. The effect of our body does not produce enough neurotransmitters, we will become depressed, fatigued, confused and also develop memory loss. So if you want to enhance your memories and don’t let your body has less L-tyrosine to products stressed hormone that you need. Food supplements have shown good results in improving the amount L-tyrosine in our body.
What Is GABA And Why Is It Important For The Brain
December 21, 2013 01:22 AM
What is GABA
The human brains need various supplements to make it work better. One such supplement is the gamma aminobutyric acid, abbreviated as GABA. It is the second most important neurotransmitter for the brain. The neurotransmitters allow synapses that transfer information to gray matter in human. This amino acid gives human an inhibiting experience thus making one calm. This makes it possible for one to have a feeling of well being and tranquility.
GABA on Human Body
GABA is useful in the human body because it acts as neurotransmitters. This means you are protected from nerve impulses. This neurotransmitter cools the brain. Research has shown that it helps to increase alpha wave production. This is related to the feeling of relaxation we have in brains.
With enough GABA, it is known to prevent the feeling of insomnia. This comes when neurons firing decreases to make one have a restful sleep. The calming effect helps an individual’s brain to have elevated moods which is an important part for reducing blood pressure. To enable an individual have more concentrations when working, they need to have increased levels of GABA.
Can DMAE Help Memory And Mood?
December 19, 2013 07:23 AM
Do you ever feel like you are experiencing lapses in memory or you have a low general mood? There is evidence that DMAE might be able to help with both memory and mood. DMAE occurs naturally in the human brain. When we take supplemental amounts of the compound, brain function effects can be seen.
DMAE as a Supplement
It is thought that the supplement works by increasing the speed of the brain's turnover and synthesis of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter plays a strong role in maintaining general mental ability. It also works at supporting a stable, healthy memory in older adults. It is also believed that DMAE might work by stopping choline metabolism. This allows the free choline to gather in the blood, go into the brain, and stimulate the cholinergic receptors.
A French double-blind study was performed to measure how much of an impact the supplement DMAE has on both mood and vigilance. Four of the subjects were categorized as having anxiety, and four other subjects were the controls. They were each given 1200mg of DMAE over the course of 5 days. These subjects were measured daily for their EEG and convergence of the inter hemispheres of the brain. In the case of the four subjects that were given the supplement, progressive sync of the two brain hemispheres was found. This is correlated with increased neuromotor control, increased verbal memory, improvement in behavioral tasks, as well as better control of anxiety.
Another use for DMAE worth mentioning is its affects on learning deficiencies like ADD or hyperkinesia. Many doctors prescribe amphetamines for conditions like this, but DMAE has also proven useful. According to studies, hyperactivity and irritability decrease, and scholastic ability improves from supplementing with DMAE.
In addition to improving these conditions there is evidence that DMAE can improve life span, IQ, and motor mechanisms. It is very important to take the correct dosage of DMAE. I would start with taking 200-400mg first, and work your way up from there.
Memory Loss - The Benefits of DHA to your Brain and Memory
November 09, 2013 06:34 PM
Benefits of DHA
As the human being grows older, he/she experiences physiological changes that may interrupt normal brain function. For instance, it may take him/her longer than usual to learn new information and retain it because the brain is not as quick as it used to be. As a matter of fact, the slowing down of mental processes is often mistaken as total memory loss. But in real sense, the brain can learn or retrieve information if it is given more time.The brain has the ability to produces new cells regardless of a person’s age. This simply means aging does not necessarily cause memory loss. It is your health habits, lifestyle and daily activities that affect the health of your brain. Everyone can avert memory loss, boost their cognitive skills and protect their grey matter, age notwithstanding.
How Does DHA Improve Memory?
DHA is an acronym for the words Docosahexaenoic acid. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that forms the main structural element of the testicles, sperm, the cerebral cortex and retina. The following foods are rich in DHA: herring, anchovies, fish roe or caviar, Bluefin, sardines, algae, swordfish, breast milk (instant milk formula as well). DHA is also manufactured from microalgae for commercial purposes.
A study was conducted to find out whether DHA supplements can boost brain function in individuals experiencing age-related cognitive decline. It was established that DHA is effective in improving memory and learning. In this study, the subjects were administered with either 900mg per day DHA or placebo for a period of six months. Learning and memory tests were conducted before and after the study. Those who were administered with DHA demonstrated significant improvements in both learning and memory after the study was complete. In another study, DHA was administered to patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, but the patients did not record any significant change. It can therefore be concluded that DHA is most effective when used as a preventive measure. In the first study, subjects had mild cognitive disorders but showed remarkable improvement after being supplemented with DHA, unlike those in the second study.
Memory loss can have devastating effects on the patient and his family, but this can be avoided through proper nutrition and supplementation. DHA supplements ensure that there are sufficient amounts of this vital fat in our brain tissues to maintain normal brain function even as we age. A dose of 100mg everyday normalizes cell membrane stores of DHA over time.
Coconut Oil for Memory Enhancement
December 27, 2012 12:53 PM
Coconut oil has been widely used for centuries for various purposes. Mainly, it is a cooking ingredient, used for frying and for adding flavor to meals. Aside from this, many nations have different ways of using it as treatment for various illnesses. Countries like Jamaica, Panama, and India believe that ingesting the oil helps prevent contracting any disease and helps in the speedy recovery when sick.
People from the Philippines and Thailand use the oil for massaging to provide relief from painful muscles and joints. Other topical uses are for moisturizing of the skin and for the healthy growth of hair.
Since 2008, new studies have been conducted to test the effects of coconut oil in enhancing the memory and to cure Alzheimer's disease.
MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) Benefit:
The most astounding find is the presence of MCT or medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil in high concentration. This MCT creates a string of processes that ultimately helps in curing neurodegenerative diseases.
MCT against Amyloid-Beta
Amyloid-beta is a protein that forms into plaques in the brains. They decrease the efficient functioning of the nerve cells that then causes the decline in memory.
Most drugs prescribed to Alzheimer patients target these plaques, to dissolve them and consequently see an improvement. Studies done on dogs by incorporating MCT in their diets showed that the levels of amyloid-beta has declined, which is a very positive effect. Likewise, energy levels in the brain have gone up among the test subjects.
MCT to Promote Ketone
One cause of Alzheimer's disease is the inability of the brain to metabolize glucose and transform it to energy. As you all know, glucose is the main energy source of the body that provides it the energy it needs to function. This glucose comes from the carbohydrate that comes from food sources. Without this fuel, the brain cells could degenerate. Fortunately, glucose is not the only source of energy for the brain. It can also come from ketones, which are produced from fats in the liver.
However, the liver does not continually produce this. The human body, being smart as it is, only produces ketones when the glucose level drops in order to compensate for the loss of energy source. This is why people who have cognitive disorders often go on a fat and protein diet to trigger the production of ketones, by lowering their intake of carbohydrates. Still, maintaining such a diet for long periods is hard. The good thing is studies have shown that ingesting MCT has increased the level of ketones in the body, regardless of the amount of glucose present in the system. It is believed that MCT is converted to ketone, thus, providing the brain the energy it needs.
MCT and Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Another study done on dogs showed an increased level of omega-3 fatty acids in their brain. Omega-3 fatty acids have many benefits to the body, including improvement of brain function. They support the effective transmission of energy from one neuron to another through the synapses. This consequently makes learning easier, promotes faster reactions, and heightens memory.
Unfortunately, this fatty acid is not produced in the body and people have to rely on food sources, such as fish and nuts. Studies have shown that MCT from coconut oil induces the production of omega-3 from fats that are already present in the body.
What Are The Organic Compounds That Provide Our Brains With Their Basic Fuels?
October 12, 2011 01:58 PM
Brain health and nutrition has shown vast growth in interest in terms of research the past years and correctly so because the brain is a very important part of the body. This is something in my point of view that could never be replaced. Other organs like the heart, liver or kidneys can be transplanted or who knows in the far and distant future that it may even be replaceable. Well, I guess that may be just the sci-fi geek in me talking but seriously though, with the complexity in which the brain is made I do not think there will be any possibility even in the wildest of imaginations that humanity will be able to figure out a way to replace the brain.
The irony in all of this though is with human beings pushing the boundaries of their minds and manifesting the results through technological advancements all the more are we needing to protect our brains because life has become more complex. Things that were supposed to make life easier for us now seems to do the exact opposite and each technological advancement causes more and more Americans to have less and less time to devote to making sure they get the right nutrition through the right food preparation so the brain will have all the nutrients it needs. So with this we should look at how we can help augment our efforts in trying to keep our brain functioning healthily in a natural way.
Brain Health and Organic Compounds
There is a wide variety of organic compounds out there and too many of them to mention in this article in fact. Basically, organic compounds are compounds that contain carbon however not all are considered organic but that is irrelevant to what we are trying to achieve right now. So for brain health, the first organic compound that has proven to be very important is the vitamin family of rich antioxidant properties like Vitamin C and E as a couple of examples. Increasing antioxidant levels in the body through these vitamins is a very good way to reduce the risk of diseases and allow better protection for our brain against oxidative stress.
Not only that, it will also allow better health for our nerves and neurons which plays a big role in brain functions. Another example of a potent antioxidant to promote brain health is DHA and ALA or Alpha Lipoic Acid because it is able to get into the brain much easier compared to other antioxidants and fight free radicals there. Carnitine and choline are also essential contributors in modulating brain health as they are precursors to the production of acetylcholine which is an important neurotransmitter to aid in efficient neurological functions. And lastly but certainly not the least, ATP or adenosine triphosphate is also very important to brain function as this compound supplies energy to virtually all the cells in the body and any bodily processes that require energy to function efficiently needs ATP and that includes our entire nervous system.
Keeping your brain healthy is important especially since Alzheimer’s is an ever growing problem in the United States. Keeping your brain healthy with DHA, ALA, and vitamins is the right step for anybody who wants to take preventive measures and protect the brain.
Improve Your Memory Naturall, How Does Huperzine A Help Improve Memory?
March 26, 2011 10:47 AM
Huperzine A and The Brain
Huperzine A is an organic compound naturally occurring in a plant species believed to be one of the oldest vascular plants still in existence. It is derived entirely from the firmoss Huperzia serrata, which is reputed for its memory-enhancing effects in China for the most part of its history. It has gained the attention of researchers and health professionals in the West owing to its purported role as a cholinesterase inhibitor, which delays cognitive decline and brain shrinkage tied to Alzheimer’s disease. It has become popular to people seeking other forms of cholinesterase inhibitors apart from those commonly available in the market, and anecdotal evidence points to its noticeable effects on symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Increases Quantities of Neurotransmitters
Cholinergic neurotransmission makes use of a system of nerve cells that participate in anti-excitatory activities in the central nervous system. These neurons rely on an endogenous compound called acetylcholine, which acts as the primary neurotransmitter in the brain, the brain stem, and the spinal cord. Acetylcholine as a neurotransmitter is synthesized from esterified acetic acid and choline, but its lifespan is cut short by the enzyme cholinesterase.
This enzyme induces the hydrolysis of this neurotransmitter back into choline and acetic acid. Huperzine A works on the principle of inhibiting the enzyme cholinesterase, resulting in a longer acetylcholine lifespan especially those in the brain. By doing so, it also raises the levels of other neurotransmitters that are in the employ of nerve cells.
Affects Chemical Compounds in the Brain
Nerve cells constantly respond to many chemical brains that may induce more neuronal activities that affect cognitive function. The busier nerve cells become, the sooner the brain is able to sustain concentration. An increase in neurotransmitters has been tied to greater neuronal activities. Also, there are exogenous chemical compounds that when ingested pass the blood-brain barrier and act as stimulants to nerve cells, such as caffeine.
It has been postulated that Huperzine A provides a nootropic effects by influencing endogenous brain chemicals and consequently stimulating neuronal activities in a similar way caffeine does. However, unlike caffeine, it is not considered a psychoactive drug. More importantly, a more recent study points to its effects on nerve growth factor, or NGF, a protein responsible for the growth and upkeep of nerve cells. This means Huperzine A not only influences brain chemicals, but also makes sure that nerve cells survive.
Creates Positive Effects on Neuroplasticity
In contrary to former claims that the brain does not change after early developments during infancy, recent studies point to changes in both chemical makeup and cellular structure as we age. These changes are a response to both physiological stimulus and learning experience. New nerve cells are created as we spend more time sharpening our mental skills, much like how the muscles respond to continuous exercise and body toning. This process of change in the brain is called neuroplasticity, which Huperzine A supports by acting as a vitamin-like nutrient to nerve cells and neurotransmitters.
If you want to improve brain function and memory, give Huperzine A a try today!
The Amino Acid Glycine Is A Component Of Collagen And Essential For Good Health?
March 23, 2011 03:45 PM
What Is The Amino Acid Glycine And How does it Work In the Body
Glycine is the smallest amino acid found in the human body. It is present not only in water-based environments but also in fatty tissues. Being one of the earliest amino acids to be discovered, it has been a subject of numerous studies in the last century. The abundance of data points to its indispensable role in maintaining the overall health of the body since it is quite ubiquitous at the cellular level.
Supplies Amino Acid Requirement of Proteins in Cells
It is a widely accepted fact that glycine is an amino acid necessitated for the production of proteins that the human body uses and accounts for more than 30 per cent of the protein group called collagen. Human cells in particular utilize glycine in manufacturing fibrous and muscle tissues, the reason why it has been in use in treatment of degenerative diseases. The total absence of glycine in the human body is impossible, given the role it plays in protein synthesis, but low levels of glycine can be harmful.
Converts into Glucose and Helps Regulate Blood Sugar
Glucogenic amino acids are a number of amino acids that can be converted into glucose. First on the list is glycine, which does not only aid against a sudden drop in blood sugar but also provides the body with enough glucose to support cellular functions. Feelings of weakness characteristic of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue are often attributable to an impaired capacity to produce enough energy. The process of gluconeogenesis converts non-carbohydrate compounds into glucose as a response.
Displays Inhibitory and Excitatory Neuronal Activities
While GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in human beings, glycine is also known to display inhibitory activities in the central nervous system. The spinal cord, brainstem, and the forebrain have all been identified to employ this amino acid in gylcinergic neurotransmission, which may be inhibitory or excitatory. It is postulated that glycine plays a major role in various mental disorders, and several studies concerning its psychoactive potential are well underway.
Scavenges Free Radicals and Reactive Oxygen Species
Although it is not considered an essential amino acid, which means the body produces quantities adequate to support physiological functions, depleting levels of glycine is not uncommon especially in individuals suffering from malnutrition and malabsorption. Glycine supplements have seen a surge in popularity in the latter half of the century as they are also known for their antioxidant activities. Enzymes responsible for antioxidant defenses necessitate glycine, which is an antioxidant in itself.
Supplementation of glycine has risen in the past few years especially when studies associating this amino acid to degenerative diseases have started to surface. A number of scientists believed that age-related and other degenerative diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis may be classified as deficiency diseases in that these diseases can easily be prevented or reversed with diet modifications. The incorporation of glycine in food products has also been reported to contribute to the upkeep of protein complexes needed by joints, muscles, and other parts of the body.
April 08, 2010 04:31 PM
Comments by Craig Gerbore, CEO of Madhava:
Reading through the attack articles and blogs that have surfaced recently one could think that using agave is bad for one's health. These claims are utterly false and misleading. They are extreme views drawn from extreme examples and applied way out of context. They are propagandizing and clearly designed to frighten, not educate. All of the fears and concerns associated with the overconsumption of sugars and calories in general have been unfairly cast on agave.
What is a "healthy" sweetener? One that you use moderately and sensibly.
Health concerns related to fructose and caloric sweeteners are all dependant on the overconsumption of them. All foods have calories and it is the overall consumption of calories that lead to obesity and related issues, not any one food source.
Agave's caloric value is comparable to the other sweeteners in the category. Due to its greater sweetness though, less agave is used compared to the others, so agave actually can reduce caloric consumption per serving. This is due to a higher fructose content. The higher content does not mean higher consumption though, due to the smaller portion used. But, it is not the single serving that matters, it is the number of servings which lead to the overconsumption issues which may result in health concerns.
As a reference point, 9-10 teaspoon servings of agave would be the approximate caloric equivalent of one 16 oz soft drink. With this perspective, is agave really being overconsumed as a choice of sweetener for home use?
Every single health issue which the attackers have tried to associate with agave is really the result of a caloric overconsumption issue. There are no documented issues with normal, moderate consumption of agave or sweeteners in general as part of our everyday diet. For reasons unknown, some have attempted to isolate agave from the real world and real world conditions with the goal of inhibiting agave's use. They play on people's fears, reference false information and fail to address health issues in any meaningful way.
The purpose of this article is to debunk the controversial misinformation surrounding agave. All information debunking the myths and misinformation is based on current science and facts. It is our goal to provide you with useful information so that you can make your personal nutritional choices in a well-informed, science-based manner.
The Agave Controversy: Exposing the fraudulent article by Rami Nagel
By Dr. Susan Kleiner, PhD, RD, FACN, CNS, FISSN
And Craig Gerbore, CEO Madhava
The controversy about agave syrup was manufactured by the publication of a single article on the internet, which has been reproduced and adapted for virtually every other article produced on the internet and other media venues. That article, written by Rami Nagel and published on Naturalnews.com, was highly biased and full of inaccuracies, half-truths and misinformation about agave. Since the Naturalnews.com article has been the sole source of nearly all other popular articles in public media, we want to set the record straight with science-based, reliable information to offer a more balanced resource to those interested in learning more about agave syrup. Who is the author, Rami Nagel?
According to the description on the Naturalnews.com website, Rami Nagel is a "citizen journalist". This means that Mr. Nagel is self-employed, and not employed as an in-house journalist by the website. He wrote and published the article without any editorial or content oversight, and the editor of the website, Mike Adams, makes it clear that the article was not checked for incorrect or inaccurate information or facts. The introduction to the article, written by Mr. Adams, states that readers had written to comment that Mr. Nagel's resources were biased with conflicts of interest due to their financial interests in competing sweeteners, such as brown rice syrup. So even the website editor himself states that the article is not fact-checked, and it is biased and unbalanced.
Who is Russ Bianchi?
The sole resource interviewed for the article is Russ Bianchi, identified by the author as Managing Director and CEO of Adept Solutions, Inc. Mr. Bianchi has clear conflict of interest ties to the sweetener industry. We have documentation of the fact that Mr Bianchi had plans to market a product named Replace. It was to be touted as a low calorie alternative sweetener composed of natural and artificial ingredients! Mr Bianchi was prevented from marketing this sweetener as the result of a lawsuit against him by the owner of the formula.
Mr Bianchi is quoted by Nagel extensively and exclusively. Many, if not all, of his statements are blatantly false or misrepresentations of fact. He is clearly propagandizing against agave nectar.
Was anyone else interviewed for this article?
Yes. Craig Gerbore, president and owner of Madhava Agave Syrup, was extensively interviewed by the author but no parts of that interview were included in the article.
It is important to note that neither Mr Nagel or Mr Bianchi have not made themselves available for questions on their statements since the articles appearance. They remain out of sight and have entirely avoided the controversy their statements created.
What is agave nectar?
The opening line of this paragraph in the article by Mr. Nagel states:
"The principal constituent of the agave is starch, such as what is found in corn or rice."
This is absolutely false. There is no starch in agave. The source of carbohydrate in agave syrup is inulin, a polysaccharide made up primarily of strings of fructose units. Starch is a polysaccharide made up of strings of glucose molecules. They are significantly different, and this difference is why agave syrup is naturally sweet.
The very basis of the argument presented by Mr. Nagel is false.
The agave plant is a succulent, similar to a cactus. The agave sweetener comes from both the Salmiana agave plant and the agave Tequilana (Blue Agave) which are both organically farmed in Mexico and certified organic by USDA approved certifiers. As the salmiana plant grows it produces a stalk called the "quiote" and when this is removed, a natural liquid called "aquamiel". The liquid is collected from the plant, while Blue agave pinons are harvested and shredded to remove the similar juice. Either can be naturally processed thermally or by enzymes into agave nectar.
The juice of the plant is not naturally sweet. The string of connected fructose units that makes up the major proportion of inulin does not have a sweet taste, but when the fructose units are separated (the process is called hydrolysis) by the addition of an enzyme, similar to digestion, or thermally for most blue agave, the syrup becomes quite sweet. That is the entire processing chain for agave nectar. There are no additives, other ingredients or chemicals in Madhava agave nectar. It is absolutely pure and organic and GMO free.
? Mr. Nagel claims that agave syrup is a "refined corn fructose" similar to high fructose corn syrup. This is absolutely false. There is no relationship between agave syrup and high fructose corn syrup in any way, including the source of the product, or the manufacturing process.
? Mr. Nagel refers to a "confidential FDA letter" from Mr. Martin Stutsman, claiming that agave is fraudulently labeled. We contacted Mr. Stutsman at the United States Food and Drug Administration, and his response made it clear that there was never a "confidential FDA letter". He did publish a public letter referenced in an FDA document as "FDA letter from Martin Stutsman to Dr. Eric
Wilhelmsen (Wilhelmsen Consulting), May 8, 2000", regarding evaporated cane juice, a topic wholly unrelated to agave syrup.
? He continued in his response to us that the paragraph in Mr. Nagel's article inaccurately reflected the substance of his comments in the document.
This link will take you to the original document in which the letter was referenced (reference #2):
In fact, Mr. Nagel fabricated the entire story of the letter. Mr. Stutsman is a lawyer, not a doctor. The quotes were completely taken out of context from the document, and the quotes never referred to agave syrup at any time. Nagel goes on to further misrepresent Mr. Stutsman's intent in the published document by weaving in other inaccurate information that is thoroughly unrelated to the original document. Mr Bianchi's subsequent statements on labeling issues are false and without merit.
Mr. Nagel is clearly caught red-handed. He has misrepresented the words of a government official, lied about the facts, and twisted the information to achieve his own agenda. This strategy is repeated throughout the article.
? Mr. Nagel continues his deceptive writing by referring to a quote by the late Dr. Varro Tyler in his book, The Honest Herbal. The first line of the paragraph is a direct quote from the book. Nothing else in that paragraph remotely resembles anything else found in Dr. Tyler's book. Mr. Nagel is trying to claim that agave syrup contains large quantities of saponins, and that they can be harmful to health. Here is the debunking of that paragraph:
1. Dr. Tyler does not include the variety of agave plant used for agave syrup.
2. The entire discussion is about the use of the sword-shaped leaves and the stem. Agave syrup is produced from the natural liquid in the plant. The saponins are isolated from the leaves of the plant.
3. There is no documented evidence to suggest agave syrup contains worrisome levels of saponins and the entire rest of the discussion about health dangers is fabricated and false.
People are going to continue to consume sweet food and drink. There are only three categories of choice to sweeten food. Those are artificial sweeteners, stevia, or caloric sweeteners from natural sources, sugars.
Most people will not choose artificial. Many will not choose stevia. That only leaves the category of sugars. In this group, agave is a good choice due to its organic quality, ease of
use, neutral flavor, low glycemic index and the fact that less is used to equal the sweetness of the others in the category.
The sweeteners in this category are composed of three primary sugars used to sweeten foods: glucose, fructose and sucrose. These sugars belong to a class of compounds known as carbohydrates. "Saccharide" is a term that denotes sugar, or substances derived from sugar. Monosaccharides are simple or single sugars; disaccharides are derived from two joined monosaccharides and when they are hydrolyzed, or separated, they yield two molecules of simple sugar. Strings of more than two sugar molecules are called polysaccharides. This category includes compounds such as starches, cellulose and inulin.
Glucose and fructose are monosaccharides. Glucose and fructose are found abundantly in nature in fruits and plants. Sucrose is the disaccharide formed by the joining of glucose and fructose, also known as table sugar. When comparing their relative sweetness, glucose is the least sweet tasting, sucrose is next, and fructose is the sweetest of the three sugars, measured as 1.4 times sweeter than table sugar. Because it is so sweet, people typically use less fructose when sweetening foods compared to sucrose.
? In the article by Mr. Nagel he states , "fructose is not what is found in fruit. Commonly, fructose is compared with its opposite and truly naturally occurring sweetener, known as ‘levulose' (made by nature)..."
Another fabrication. In fact, levulose is just another name for fructose. There are various nomenclatures used in the scientific naming of compounds. Fructose and levulose are exactly the same thing; the names are interchangeable. It is no different than if you called your father, "dad", and your sibling called your father, "father". He would still be the exact same person. Fructose and levulose are different names for the exact same thing: a sugar found in nature.
Mr. Bianchi also is quoted to say that the body does not recognize the fructose in agave. This is another false piece of propaganda which demonstrates just how far he is reaching. If this were true, it would have no impact on us. He immediately contradicts himself with the claims of detrimental effects caused by the overconsumption of fructose.
Sugars can be compared to each other in their ability to raise blood sugar levels by using the Glycemic Index. The scale is set from zero to 100, where low numbers do not have much impact on blood sugar levels, and high numbers raise blood sugar levels quickly. Fructose is very low on the scale. Because agave syrup is high in fructose, it has a rating of 32 or lower. Honey, which has a higher proportion of glucose to fructose, has a Glycemic Index of 58. Sucrose has a Glycemic Index of 68, and glucose, serving as the index standard, is 100.
All sugars, whether fructose, glucose, sucrose or others, contribute 4 calories per gram to our total diet. 1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams = 16 calories
In addition to calories, sugars sweeten our foods offering a desirable taste and adding enjoyment and pleasure to our dining. During cooking and baking, sugars allow for browning and the unique consistencies of syrups, candies, frostings and frozen desserts. The varieties of sugars, such as crystallized table sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, molasses, honey and agave nectar, among others, contribute different properties and flavors to foods.
When you add your own sugar to foods you are in control of how much sugar you use. Most people would never add as much sugar as do the food manufacturers. Moderate amounts of sugar can certainly be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet for an active individual. Natural sugars are easily metabolized and utilized by the body, offering a very efficient source of fuel for physical and mental activity.
Of course, sugars should be used in moderation in the diet. This can control calories and help create a diet that is dense in nutrients.
Impact of sugar on health and disease
? The remainder of Mr. Nagel's article works to link agave syrup with the increased incidence of obesity, diabetes, metabolic disease, and the general rise of morbidity and mortality in the population. This is an overconsumption issue involving far more than the occasional use of agave. Here are the facts:
• Rats that are fed a high fructose diet become obese and will develop the chronic diseases associated with obesity: insulin resistance, diabetes and metabolic disease.
• No one should eat a diet that reflects this type of experimental diet.
• Too much sugar in the diet, whether from fructose, glucose or sucrose, can be unhealthy. Diets high in sugar promote tooth decay and periodontal disease; create an overabundance of calories and a deficit of nutrients. This scenario typically leads to weight gain and the development of chronic disease.
• Active individuals can include a moderate amount of added sugar in their diet without negative health consequences. When calorie intake is balanced with physical activity, sugar serves as an efficient source of fuel for muscles, the brain and the central nervous system.
• According to the World Health Organization (2003), individuals can healthfully include 10% of their daily calories from added sugars. This translates into 200 calories for a 2000 calorie diet, or 12½ teaspoons of added sugar daily. Clearly, one can safely add a couple of teaspoons of sweetener to a cup of tea or coffee, or have a little sweetened food without worrying about their risk of developing disease.
• Agave syrup, which is sweeter than other sugars and low on the Glycemic Index scale, is a good choice to include as one of the added sugars in your diet because you will use less sugar (and therefore fewer calories) and minimally raise blood sugar levels.
Just a teaspoon of agave: the healthy use of sweeteners in your diet
We all want to live healthier and longer lives. Diet and nutrition plays a key role, impacting our health and our ability to perform physically and mentally now and into the future. Food offers us not only sustenance, but also pleasure and enjoyment. Food is present in so many parts of our lives: at celebrations, business events, family events, religious and spiritual occasions, sports outings, the focus of our family meals, intimate dinners, and sometimes just the excuse to socialize.
Sweet foods make us feel good. Sugar allows for the elevation of serotonin in our brains, the "feel good" neurotransmitter that elevates mood, helps us focus, and in the evening, helps us relax and sleep.
Sugar is a source of energy for our muscles, brain and central nervous system. Without sugar our bodies will not function at peak capacity.
Too much sugar, however, is not good. In small amounts sugar energizes us, but in large doses, repeated throughout the day, day in and day out, sugar puts stress on the body. The extra calories can lead to weight gain and obesity, which in time can lead to chronic disease. In the short term, high sugar intakes can lead to a nutritionally deficient diet and a sense of being on an emotional roller coaster.
So be selective about your use of sugars and use them in moderation in your diet. Just like all foods, a variety will enhance the nutritional content of your diet and the flavor and tastes that you can enjoy. Since sugars come in different forms and have different flavors, they can be used most effectively in specific foods and beverages. For instance, agave syrup is liquid and less viscous than honey, making it easy to mix into cold liquids like iced tea and coffee, and is great to add to cold unsweetened cereals for a little sweet taste. Agave's mild flavor allows chefs and bakers to sweeten foods lightly, without overpowering the taste of the dish.
Pay attention to how much sugar is added to your diet every day. Read labels so that you know when sugar is added to manufactured foods. Keep the consumption of added sugars in your diet to no more than 10% of your total daily calorie intake so that you have plenty of room for nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, protein-rich foods, nuts, seeds and healthy oils.
Remember that nutrition is a science based on facts. We are making great advances in our understanding of the science of foods and nutrition. Beware of people with hidden agendas using fear tactics to influence your choices. Don't take their opinion at face value. What are their credentials? What conflicts of interest do they have? If they do not disclose conflicts, then assume that they are manipulating the truth.
Most of all enjoy food. Think about what you need to eat to promote whole health. Don't overindulge, but don't deprive yourself of the bounty of wonderful tastes, either. Use celebrations as occasions to enjoy your favorite foods and try new ones. A teaspoon or two of sugar easily fits into the diet of an active, healthy person. Agave syrup offers an organic low-glycemic choice for those looking for that option.
Resources for this article:
Charley H. Food Science, 2nd Edition. John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY, 1982.
Figlewicz DP et al. Effect of moderate intake of sweeteners on metabolic health in the rat. Physiology and Behavior 98:618-624, 2009
Johnson RK et al. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, 2009
Tyler VE. The Honest Herbal, Third Edition. Pharmaceutical Products Press, New York, NY, 1993.
May 07, 2009 05:45 PM
L-carnitine is amino acid essential for the metabolism of fats into a form of energy necessary for extended aerobic activity. Originally discovered in Russia, and Germany a year later, the structural formulation of carnitine, as it is correctly known, was determined in 1927, although it is physiological and biochemical activity was not understood until the 1960s.
The amino acid is biosynthesized in the liver and kidneys from lysine and methionine. The vitamins niacin, B6, C and iron are essential for this reaction to take place. However, the supply of L-carnitine has to be supplemented by the diet, good sources being dairy products, red meat, nuts and seeds, pulses and fruits such as apricots, bananas and avocado. Most of the L-carnitine supply of the body is stored within the muscle tissue. However, it is not unusual for conditions to arise making it difficult for the body to obtain all the carnitine required.
L-carnitine enables fatty acids to be transported into the mitochondria, where cell metabolism occurs. The biochemistry is discussed below, although in simple terms the amino acid allows body fats, in the form of triglycerides, to be made more readily available for the generation of energy required for extended exertion. In this way, body fats can be used for energy and the supplies of glycogen stored by the liver can be retained for emergency use.
By providing the energy for endurance and stamina in this way, carnitine makes use of an otherwise unavailable energy source, and has the added benefit of reducing body fat stores and reducing strain on the heart.
Although there is generally a plentiful supply of L-carnitine available in a healthy diet, supplementation can ensure that a deficiency does not occur. Supplements are available in the form of L-carnitine or its acetylated derivative, acetyl L-carnitine.
In order for fatty acids to be used in the production of energy, their long-chain acetyl groups have to get inside the mitochondria where they are oxidized to the acetate to be used for the production of energy via the Citric Acid or Krebs cycle.
In order for the biochemistry to take place, fatty acids must be rendered suitable for binding to the carnitine molecule. The chemical grouping with a good affinity for L-carnitine is the acetyl or acetyl group, available in the molecule acetyl coenzyme A (CoA). The free fatty acid, therefore, is attached to coenzyme-A by means of a thioester bond, catalyzed by means of the enzyme fatty acetyl-CoA synthetase. The reaction is then completed by means of in organic pyrophosphatase.
In this way, the fatty acid in the form of an acetyL-carnitine derivative can be transported through the mitochondrial wall. This transportation takes place by means of several steps. These are:
1. As explained, the acetyl-CoA is attached to L-carnitine by means of the enzyme carnitine acetyltransferase I. This enzyme is conveniently located on the outer mitochondrial membrane.
2. The enzyme carnitine-acetylcarnitine translocase helps the acetyL-carnitine through the membrane.
3. Another enzyme, carnitine acetyltransferase II, located on the inner mitochondrial membrane, converts the acetyL-carnitine to acetyl-CoA, liberating the carnitine which returns to the muscle mass.
L-carnitine is the only known substance that allows fatty acids to cross the mitochondrial membrane, and therefore deficiencies must be avoided.
Another way in which carnitine is used in energy production is in the Krebs cycle itself. Part of this cycle involves the conversion of guanine diphosphate to the higher energy form guanine triphosphate. In this way energy can be stored in much the same way as it is in the conversion of ADP to ATP. Succinyl CoA is involved in this conversion, and one of the by-products of it is a corresponding succinate, that is then converted to a fumarate by the action of L-carnitine fumarate. Carnitine, therefore, has two parts to play in the production of long-term energy from the fatty acids contained in body fats.
Since the fatty acid triglycerides contained in body fats are a major source of energy in the heart and skeletal muscles, it is easy to understand how L-carnitine is believed to lead to the increased energy levels required for stamina and staying power. A major reason for its effect on longer-term or extended energy requirements is that in enabling stored body fats to be used for immediate and longer-term energy requirements, L-carnitine allows emergency glycogen stores to be retained for use once immediate fatty acid supplies or those of carnitine have been depleted, and so allows the energy supply to be extended even farther. Research has also suggested that the amino acid can possibly be used to treat liver and kidney disease, diabetes and chronic fatigue syndrome.
As with many supplements, the question is often asked how does L-carnitine work in practice as opposed to the claims made for it by the supplement providers? Recent research indicates mixed results, but sufficient to justify its use. It is generally accepted that a supplement is necessary when there is a deficiency, but once that deficiency has been corrected further intake is unnecessary. However, it is also believed that during long and extended periods of exercise a carnitine deficiency does occur as L-carnitine is used up, and the supplement is necessary to ensure sufficient energy supply throughout the period of exercise.
There has also been a case reported in the Journal of Clinical Neurology (Negoro, Tsuda, Kato & Morimatsu, 1995) where a deficiency, caused by anorexia nervosa damaging the liver to the extent that it was unable to synthesize L-carnitine, was remedied by means of an oral supplement. Studies on endurance athletes have been mixed, ranging from no effect to L-carnitine being found to promote weight loss.
Carnitine has no unknown harmful side effects, and has been studied for medical applications other than as an energy supplement. For example it possesses extensive antioxidant properties, and can be used as a supplement against oxidative stress and the prevention of the lipid peroxidation that is a precursor to atherosclerosis.
Its use in osteoporosis and reducing bone mass is also being studied. The concentration of L-carnitine diminishes with age, and affects fatty acid metabolism in a number of tissues. Bones are particularly affected since they require continuous reconstruction. Without detailing the biochemistry involved in this, administration of carnitine helps to reduce the speed by which this occurs. Trials are so far been carried out only on animals.
In studies on both healthy volunteers and patients with type II diabetes, L-carnitine was found to improve storage of glucose in both groups, although its oxidation increased only in the group with diabetes. Other studies carried out include improving the function of neurotransmitters in the brains of elderly patients and in the treatment of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, and other neurological disorders.
In conclusion then, although the jury is out on the use of L-carnitine is an energy-giving or weight-loss supplement, it appears to be effective where the body's stores of carnitine could be depleted such as with long-term exercise, natural deficiencies or deficiencies caused through age. It is also under study in the treatment of various medical conditions. On balance, it would appear that the prospective benefits of L-carnitine render it worthy of use.
August 15, 2008 03:51 PM
DHA is the most abundant essential fatty acid (polyunsaturated fatty acids) found in the brain and retina. DHA is essential for the proper functioning of our brains as adults, and for the development of our nervous system and visual abilities during the first 6 months of life. DHA is found in cold water fatty fish, including salmon, tuna (blue fin tuna have up to five times more DHA than other types of tuna), mackerel, sardines, shellfish, and herring. Lets take a look at what DHA can do for you.
DHA makes infant formulas more like human milk than "conventional" formula containing Alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid, which are precursors to DHA. It has been an ingredient in several brands of premium infant formula sold in North America since 2001. Mead Johnson was the first infant formula manufacturer to add DHA and ARA (arachidonic acid) to its Enfamil Lipil product, several other manufacturers have followed. DHA levels in breast milk are higher if a mother's diet is high in fish.
DHA is also present normally in very high concentrations in the retina. DHA supplementation would be particularly important for mothers who have consumed excessive alcohol, because alcohol inhibits the desaturase enzymes necessary for DHA synthesis. Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is a type of Omega-3 fatty acid, a nutrient that has been studied for its role in heart, brain and eye health. An experiment that studied the individual effects of EPA and DHA found that EPA reduced natural killer (NK) cell activity and cell-mediated immune response, but that DHA does not so this study concluded that the immune-suppressing effects of fish oil are mainly due to EPA, not DHA.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil help lower triglycerides (fats in the blood), lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of blood clots, improve the health of arteries and reduce the amount of arterial plaque (which narrows arteries and causes heart disease). Many people believe that excessively high omega-6 rather than omega-3 in the modern diet is responsible for an increase in allergies and the need to take aspirin to reduce the risk of heart attack (myocardial infarction).
Sunflower, safflower and corn oil are particularly rich sources of linoleic acid, which is at the root of the omega-6 fatty-acid family. The ability of enzymes to produce the omega-6 and omega-3 family of products of linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid declines with age this is why we need more omega 3 DHA in our diets. In fact, a high omega-3 fatty acid diet increases the alpha-tocopherol content of heart muscle membranes by five times, and this effect is most prominently associated with DHA because the heart muscle prefers DHA as its raw materials to manufacture and strengthen its membranes.
Dietary DHA may reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing the level of blood triglycerides in humans. Low levels of DHA result in reduction of brain serotonin levels and have been associated with ADHD, Alzheimer's disease, and depression, among other diseases, and there is mounting evidence that DHA supplementation may be effective in combating inflammatory bowel disease as well.
Dietary changes in the past century have lowered the consumption of omega-3 to a state of subclinical deficiency that is epidemiologically related to cardiovascular disease, inflammatory disorders, mental and psychiatric diseases and suboptimal neurodevelopment. Decreases in DHA in the brain are associated with cognitive decline during aging and with onset of sporadic Alzheimer disease. DHA has a positive effect on diseases such as hypertension, arthritis, atherosclerosis,, adult-onset diabetes, mellitus, thrombosis, and some cancers.
In conclusion, if consuming DHA through your diet is impossible, you can purchase DHA as a supplement in two common forms: Fish oil capsules or DHA extracted from algae. Consuming DHA may help support body tissues in which DHA is prevalent — especially the brain, nervous system, heart, retinas, and colon. Staying healthy is important, have you had your DHA today?
June 14, 2008 03:22 PM
DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol) enhances mental function through the improvement of concentration, mental clarity and mental alertness. It is also a mild brain stimulant because it increases and sustains the energy levels in the brain. It also improves the level of restful nighttime sleep because the sleep is deeper and less time is needed to reach a rejuvenated state. DMAE helps to boost mental function through an increase in the levels of acetylcholine and choline. These are the brain’s chemical messengers.
Because of DMAE’s ability to stimulate mental cognitive function, it also has been shown to improve learning, increase intelligence and elevate mood.
* Accelerates mental processes * Decreases irritability and overactivity * Does not cause drowsiness * Improves concentration * Improves IQ * Increases attention * Relieves mild depression * Aids in long-term treatment of schizophrenia
It is believed that DMAE may also increase physical energy. Athletes and other active individuals are using DMAE more and more because of its ability to enhance these brain functions. The connection between the mind and muscles is a means to focus on form and reduce the risk of injury. So, when the mind is enhanced, it communicates better with the muscles to improve and refine function.
Due to DMAE’s mild stimulating effect on the brain, athletes report that it is a good alternative for a quick lift instead of coffee. They also believe the stimulating effects last longer than they do with caffeine. DMAE used as a mild stimulant is also safer and healthier than caffeine.
How It Works:
DMAE, once consumed, is transported to the liver where it is converted into choline through the process of metabolism. A small amount is then converted into acetylcholine, which is a brain transmitter. Through this process, DMAE increases the levels of these brain transmitters (neurotransmitters). This causes a boost in mental cognitive function and memory.
Acetylcholine is also responsible for helping to conduct nerve impulses in the brain. Choline is also converted in the brain into phosphatidylcholine. This chemical rebuilds and protects existing cell membranes inside the brain. DMAE has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier faster than choline. Through this quicker travel, DMAE enhances cell protection and repair and helps our brains function better and create enhanced, positive behavioral changes in most people.
Other DMAE Uses:
DMAE is being studied for use in aiding a movement disorder in Parkinson’s patients. This disorder, called dyskenesis is caused by L-Dopa, which is administered to treat the effects of the disease. DMAE seems to counteract dyskenesis effectively and safely without interfering with the benefits of the therapy. DMAE is proving to reduce the effects of other disorders that involve involuntary movements. Two of these disorders being treated are blepharospasm (eyelid twitching) and benign essential tremors.
Age spot sufferers may find hope for treatment of their condition as well. DMAE has been found to inhibit the formation of pigment caused by aging (lipofuscin) and liver spots (lentigo). It may actually flush lipofuscin from the body, causing the skin spots to disappear over a few month’s time.
DMAE is being studied for its possible ability in helping to reduce cognitive impairments related to age. Aside from increased mental cognitive function, research has shown that DMAE may also be useful in treating the following conditions.
* Alzheimer’s disease * ADD (attention deficit disorder) * Hyperactivity
The use of DMAE as a regular dietary supplement is increasing steadily. All of its benefits in aiding mental cognitive function and brain stimulation are an attractive quality for everyone. Additional research showing that DMAE is useful in treating debilitating conditions such as Parkinson’s gives us new hope. As research continues and more new uses for DMAE are discovered, its popularity will continue to grow as well.
May 30, 2008 02:43 PM
You're ready to leave the house, you're already running late and you can't remember where you put the keys. You try retracing your steps, check all of your coat pockets and start to panic. You can't remember where you put them or where you last saw them. Does this sound familiar? Do you have trouble focusing clearly? Our thinking process slows as we age. It is as if a cloud lingers over our brains, making it impossible to think clearly.
Improve Your Mind with Bacopa Extract
There is help for people who can't learn or think as fast as they once could. An all-natural product, bacopa extract, has been used for thousands of years as a "brain tonic" in India. It has been used to enhance memory, learning and concentration. This aquatic plant has strong antioxidant powers. It helps people retain new information by stimulating the brain's neurotransmitters.
Bacopa extract can be used for:
* Relieving anxiety
It also has antispasmodic and anti-allergic properties.
Clinical Study Proves Benefits of Bacopa Extract
A study reported in the August 2002 issue of Neuropsychopharmocolgy, "Chronic Effects of Brahmi (Bacopa) on Human Memory," stated positive results. The study found that "Brahmi decreased the rate of forgetting of newly acquired information."
This means you can learn faster and think more clearly when taking a bacopa extract. Consider, for example, a situation in which you are meeting people for the first time and being introduced to them by name. Will you be able to remember any of their names when you see them across the room in 10 minutes? How about if you run into them a few weeks later?
What if you couldn't remember their name, or worse, called them by the wrong name? That doesn't send a very good first impression. Or maybe you have been on the receiving end of this and have been repeatedly called the wrong name by someone. You know how irritating it can be. Bacopa extract can help in this type of situation. Taken daily over an extended period of time, you will see a difference in the amount of information you can retain. You won't have to struggle so much to recall where you left your keys or the name of the person you just met.
Studies have shown that bacopa extract is effective for mental acuity. It helps by smoothing neurotransmitters and relaxing the brain. It has no known side effects and is deemed safe for children, as well.
Pair Bacopa Extract with a Healthy Lifestyle for Best Results
As with any natural supplement, bacopa will not improve your mental health unless it is accompanies by healthy lifestyle choices. Make sure you get the proper rest your body needs, daily exercise and good nutrition. Furthermore, it is important to exercise your brain. Find ways to challenge your mental alertness on a daily basis. Combine this with a daily dose of bacopa extract and you will see improvement in the clarity of your thinking.
Alpha Lipoic Acid is a Powerful Antioxidant
February 15, 2008 02:55 PM
The discovery of alpha lipoic acid at the University Of Texas Chemistry Department in 1951 was not heralded with trumpets of joy at the revelation of such a powerful antioxidant, but was instead largely ignored. This is largely due to the biochemistry involved not being fully understood at that time, but by the 1980s it was a commonly used supplement, recommended for several medical conditions.
Chemically, the substance is a 5-membered cyclic disulphide with a carboxylic acid grouping. Biochemically, it’s extremely powerful antioxidant properties are largely due to the fact that it one of those rare active molecules that are soluble in both water and fats, and in fact is the only such antioxidant currently know. One of the properties that this ability enables it to possess is to cross the blood-brain barrier, and apply antioxidant propertied to the brain.
Antioxidants are essential to human life in that they destroy free radicals. These are compounds with free unpaired electrons that destroy human body cells in their hunt for electrons to pair with. Electrons come in pairs in organic animal tissue, just as they do in organic compounds. However, under certain circumstances this pairing can become destroyed, leaving a molecule with one of its electrons without a partner.
The factors that lead to this situation are many and varied, and our own biochemistry can produce free radicals during the normal chemical processes of life. However, pollution can also lead to the oxidation processes that create free radicals, common such pollutants being cigarette smoke, vehicle exhaust fumes, pesticides and the like. Excessive exposure to the UV content of sunlight can also create free radicals as can eating barbecued and smoked foods, and exposure to carbon monoxide and peroxides. Even the biochemical conversion of glucose to energy in our bodies creates free radicals.
These free radicals can destroy body cells, including DNA, and can create conditions such as premature aging due to destruction of skin cells, destruction of brain cells, strokes, cancers, diabetes, atherosclerosis due to oxidation of LDL cholesterol that deposits in the main arteries of the body, stiffening of the joints and many other undesirable conditions.
Free radicals are destroyed rapidly by antioxidants: the reaction is very rapid and most are destroyed immediately they are formed before they can do harm. Fortunately, if your diet is well maintained, the body possesses many antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E, and other substances such as Coenzyme Q10, flavanoids, xanthenes, polyphenols and carotenoids. Many of these are found in highly colored foods, and if your food is brightly colored, it should contain a good supply of antioxidants.
However, the problem with all of these is that they are either fat and oil soluble or water soluble, which means that they can either be freely carried round the body by the blood or have to be emulsified by the bile and transported via the lymphatic system that places restrictions on their effectiveness in certain organs of the body. The fact that alpha lipoic acid is soluble in both water and fats enables it to be carried to all parts of the body and to every organ, and can cross water/fat barriers that other antioxidants cannot do.
It can therefore be carried via the blood to the brain and carry out an essential antioxidant function within our brains. It took a long time for this property of ALA to be recognized and its consequent health benefits understood. It is, in fact, the ideal antioxidant. The substance provides many known benefits to the body due to its antioxidant properties and also helps the body to generate the maximum possible amount of energy from the blood glucose and thus improve the energy balance of your body.
However, it is with its antioxidant properties that we are most concerned here. One of the benefits of these properties is its effect in holding back the visible effects of aging on your body. Because it is both water and fat soluble, alpha lipoic acid can help destroy free radicals in every part of your skin; the areas served by the blood and the fatty and oily secretions are protected simultaneously by the same strong antioxidant. The end result is a reduction in the destruction of the cells through the dermis and epidermis and a reduction in the degree of wrinkling with age.
Its antioxidant effect in the brain renders ALA in great demand for reducing cognitive impairment with age. In fact studies have indicated that alpha lipoic acid can improve memory and brain function in the aging and the elderly. This effect appears to be increased by the synergistic combination of alpha lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine that work together to prevent cognitive decline in the brain through the effect of free radicals.
There is evidence that during a stroke, ALA works synergistically with vitamin E to reduce the effect of free radical damage on the vulnerable brain cells, and so reduce the longer term effects of the stroke. Together with ALC, it also reduces oxidative stress on the mitochondria of cells and in so doing helps once again to reduce the effects of aging, and maintain the body’s capacity to generate energy from blood glucose.
Cardiovascular disease is the main killer of the western world, largely due to our diets, and this is especially true of the USA. Although Americans appear unable to change their unhealthy diet, alpha lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine can be used to offset much of the damage done. ALA reduces the development of atherosclerosis through its antioxidant properties and the reduction of the adhesion of monocytes to the artery walls.
LDL trapped in the wall of the artery can be oxidized and enable monocytes to also enter under the surface of the arterial wall, where it changes into macrophages and ingests the oxidised LDL, causing the plaque that forms atherosclerosis. As the plaque thickens, the artery becomes increasingly restricted until the blood flow is significantly reduced or even stopped, causing cardiac failure or a stroke.
Alpha lipoic acid can prevent this free radical oxidation from occurring by destroying them before they act on the low density lipoprotein (LDL). Acetyl-L-carnitine works with the ALA to achieve this, as does another substance known as carnosine. Between them, these three musketeers work to keep your arteries clear and your brain functioning as it should, though it is the ALA that is most powerful due to its oil and water solubility properties.
Although alpha lipoic acid is available as a supplement, either alone or in combination with acetyl-l-carnitine, it is also available from natural food sources. It is particularly rich in offal such as heart and kidney, and also in broccoli, spinach and brewer’s yeast. It is also available in beef, and it is here that burgers can perhaps repay some of the damage that it causes. However, it is not a recommended source since burgers still cause more damage to your health than any of their constituent nutrients can allay.
Like any other supplement, you should seek medical advice before taking any substance if you have a health condition. Nevertheless, the benefits of alpha lipoic acid are such that it is difficult to see it doing anything but good. However, please consult your physician if are taking other drugs.
Omnivore Vs Vegan Who Is Right?
October 21, 2007 07:02 PM
The omnivore vs vegan argument as to who is right and who is wrong can be argued from a number of different platforms. There is the ethical issue of whether we should eat other animal life, and also the argument as which is ‘better for you’, based on arguments such as vitamin B12 is not available from a vegan diet. There is even the ‘lifestyle’ argument: does our lifestyle define our diet?
However, strictly, the only argument for or against either diet should only be made upon human biochemistry. Do both meet the needs of our biochemistry, or does one or the other lack something essential in our biochemical pathways? Obviously omnivores will lack nothing except by choice, since all foods are available for their consumption. If vegans do lack a specific chemical need, then is that available as a supplement in a form that can be effectively used in the chemistry of our bodies.
The one argument accepted by both sides is that it is essential for all animals to consume living things in order to stay alive themselves. These living thinks need not be alive at the time of consumption, but it is necessary that they eat the flesh of plant or animal life that at one time was alive and contained DNA. What that infers is that it is only vegetables that can survive on non-living tissue and this appears to be borne out in practice. No living animal known can live on inorganic matter only, but most plants can and do. Not all though, the Venus fly trap being an example.
It is easy to extend the moral problem of eating living tissue to living vegetable tissue that also contains DNA, and the argument must lie between animal and the derivatives of animals, and non-animal tissue. It has not yet been found that any organism has yet crossed the animal-vegetable divide, so the division is a valid one. That might seem obvious, but it is necessary to establish that for the argument between vegan and omnivore diets to be valid.
The consumption of protein derived from meat is not a prerequisite for size and muscle bulk, since the largest dinosaurs in the world were all herbivores, the largest being a member of the sauropod family at more than 175 tons, eclipsing the largest meat eater, the gigantosaurus at 8 tons. Thus, meat does not mean bulk. However, what has been proved is that the fastest creatures are carnivores. Hence if you want to be a top class sprinter, eat meat!
Carnivores, with their lean muscle mass and highly efficient quick use of available energy, have very short digestive tracts which are not good for digesting vegetable matter, but make best use of animal proteins and expel unnecessary mass from the body quicker. The argument in favor of the vegans is that the human digestive tract is not that of a carnivore.
In herbivores, the food takes longer to digest, and hence it remains in the digestive system longer. This means a longer alimentary canal, longer than humans have. Herbivores also move slowly, and a good example is the comparison of speed between the omnivorous chimpanzees and other small monkeys and the herbivorous gorillas and orangutans. On the one hand you have lean fast moving machines, while on the other you have large bellies and slow moving larger animals. Check out cows and sheep and compare their body fat with ours. Nor are we like herbivores.
So what are humans? Omnivores! Our teeth and intestines are those of omnivores, the teeth designed for ripping and tearing meat, and stripping leaves from trees, but also for grinding grains, and our intestines are something between the long and the short. People are able to eat and live on every type of food imaginable from brains to intestines to leaves to roots to ants and grubs.
The argument is therefore futile to consider historically. Let’s then study the advantages and disadvantages of each type of diet. Human beings are capable of life through consuming either animals or plants, or both. The argument seems, therefore, to be one of morality rather than biochemistry. However, is that really so? The vegan refusal to eat dairy products should not be taken as extremism, since the human being is the only animal species to drink milk of another species, or to use it to make other products. It is a practice born long after cattle were husbanded by humans for food. The problem with eating animal products lies not in the meat itself, but in the fat. Animal fat is saturated, which means that the fat molecule has no active double bonds in the chemical structure that can be used to break the fat down.
Animal fat also contains cholesterol, yet we cannot survive without cholesterol. It is the human band aid, used by the body to patch up damage to the cardiovascular system. Only, sometimes, too much is laid down and the arteries get blocked. However, many vegetable products have more saturated fats and cholesterol than many animal products, so a balance is called for. The unsaturated fats and oils for humans are said to be derived from seeds, such as flax seed and fish, especially oily fish. These are the Omega-3 oils. Although they can be obtained from some seeds and nuts, it has been proved that the best come from oily fish, such as wild salmon, mackerel and sardines.
The B vitamins are essential for life. The best sources are animal sources, though you get them from some vegetable sources such as brewers years (who eats lost of that?) and others, but animal sources are the best.
Also, there is no evidence to suggest that vegans live longer than omnivores. In fact all of the evidence indicates that a middle road is the best. For human beings the healthiest diet includes both meat and vegetable tissue. The best solution to good health is neither vegan nor carnivore. Nor is it traditional vegetarian, since it is the dairy products that cause many of our dietary products.
Studies of the biochemical pathways have demonstrated that all chemicals need to sustain healthy human growth and life are not available from a classic vegan diet. Some animal protein and B vitamins are essential that cannot be obtained form a normal vegan diet. It is possible, however, to maintain life by means of supplements.
However, for the healthiest form of human life, our biochemistry, history and physiology indicate that there is a balance somewhere between the extremes of both views that is right for us, and that either diet can be sustained with appropriate supplementation based upon what is missing from one diet or the other.
So, omnivore vs vegan. Who is right: both are right if they also supplement any nutritional deficiencies in their diet with vitamins and minerals that may be lacking from one diet or the other.
Resveratrol - Easing the Ails of age
May 28, 2007 11:35 AM
Resveratrol’s antioxidant actions at least partially explain its ability to battle both cardiovascular disease and cancer, two disorders linked with the kind of damage that accumulates as people age. For example, cholesterol becomes a heart hazard only after bombardment by free radicals causes it to adhere to artery walls; in lab studies Resveratrol has been found to reduce this effect. Resveratrol also makes blood less “sticky,” and thus less inclined to forming dangerous clots, while simultaneously coaxing blood vessels into a relaxed, open state that leads to enhanced circulation. No wonder one Taiwanese study found that rats given Resveratrol enjoyed 30% increase in blood flow within their brains, which reduces the risk of stroke (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 4/19/06).
Cancer development and the body’s anti-cancer defenses—depend on an elaborate interplay of enzymes and proteins, a system that Resveratrol has modified in several investigations. As a result, this compound shows great promise in helping to both stop cancer before it gets started and slow tumors down once they do become established. Resveratrol has also induced apoptosis—a kind of cellular suicide—in tests done on various cancer cell cultures.
If you’re having a party, open a bottle of wine. But if you want access to wine’s heartful advantages in concentrated form, open a Resveratrol supplement body instead. –Lisa James.
Memory And Focus
May 08, 2007 02:05 PM
Memory & Focus
Some people think getting older often means getting slower. It’s true that as we age, we may find we can’t walk quite as fast, climb as many flights of stairs, or play sports as hard as we could when we were twenty. However, we k now that a healthy diet, regular exercise, and the right dietary supplements can make a huge difference in our health, strength, and mobility as we age.
This is true for our mental abilities as well. We may not think as quickly as we used to, might misplace our keys more often, and experience more “tip-of-my-tongue” word searches. These so-called “middle-aged moments” most often have minor consequences: a missed appointment or the forgotten name of an acquaintance. However, in a small number of cases, these mental slips can also be the first sign of serious diseases of aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease of other dementias.
The good news is, just like our physical health, we can improve how we function mentally. Eating healthy foods, taking the right supplements, and participating in regular mental exercise can significantly increase our mental endurance, improve our memory, and optimize our ability to focus.
In fact, groundbreaking and ongoing research has discovered that specific herbs and vitamins, particularly Ginkgo Biloba, Bacopa monnieri, folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12, and the important co-enzyme and antioxidant, alpha lipoic acid, all have powerful effects on memory and focus. These nutritional supplements have been scientifically shown to quickly reduce mild age-related memory chances, as well as greatly reducing the risk of developing more serious problems like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or other brain diseases later on in life.
Q. What is the difference between age related memory decline and dementia?
A. As we get older, our nerve cells need more time to spark and connect, slowing the process of bringing memories and events to mind. Another theory is that, as we age, we accumulate more knowledge and memories. The mind then has to sort through much more data to reference a memory. Almost everyone middle-aged and older notices this slowdown. Memory decline and problems with mental focus are a normal part of aging.
While it’s true that the older we get, our chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease increase, this illness is not a normal part of aging. Alzheimer’s is an irreversible, progressive dementia that slowly kills nerve cells in areas of the brain where memory, learning, though, and language take place. Often first appearing as people begin retirement, Alzheimer’s disease makes the “golden years” a time of loss and devastation. Memories vanish, relationships are erased, and independence is gradually lost.
After Alzheimer’s disease, the second most common cause of dementia in older people is multi-infarct dementia. Caused by a series of mini-strokes that damage or destroy brain tissue over time, multi-infarct dementia usually affects people between the ages of 60 and 75. Men are slightly more at risk. High blood pressure is the most significant risk factor for multi-infarct dementia.
Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, strokes, Huntington’s disease, Creutzfelt-Jakob disease, and alcoholism can also cause progressive and irreversible dementia.
While normal age-related memory and focus loss may mean we can’t remember where we put our car keys, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia may mean we can’t remember what our car keys are used for.
Q. Are any types of memory and focus loss reversible?
A. Yes. As women enter menopause, they frequently experience trouble remembering. This memory interference is caused by hormone fluctuations and can affect speech, thinking, and attention. Symptoms of menopause-related memory loss and poor focus include recognizing faces less well than in the past, missing scheduled appointments, and misplacing articles. Once a woman passes through menopause, her ability to remember and focus most often improves.
Certain medications, such as the heavily prescribed cholesterol lowering drugs called stains, can temporarily interfere with memory. Low vitamin B levels, artherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and thyroid disease can cause disruption of mental focus and memory loss. These problems usually resolve with treatment of the underlying disorder.
A certain type of stoke, called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) can cause memory loss that may be reversible. A TIA is a brief episode of stroke symptoms that come on quickly. Sometimes referred to as a “mini-stroke” or “warning stroke,” a TIA is caused by a temporary interruption in the blood supply to the brain. But, unlike a stroke, a TIA does not lead to permanent brain damage. While a TIA is usually short-lived, it is likely to occur again if not properly managed and can be a warning of future stroke.
Q. I seem to forget a lot of things. How can I be sure I don’t have Alzheimer’s disease or some other dementia?
A. If you, or other around you, are concerned about your memory, you should be examined by your health care practitioner. Once the cause of your memory and focus problem is diagnosed, treatment can begin. All causes of memory loss and mental focus disruption can be treated, even Alzheimer’s disease. While presently irreversible dementias cannot be cured, the progression of the disease may be slowed, and in some cases, stopped..
Research on memory loss and mental focus disruption has increased dramatically in the past few years. Discoveries regarding Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as well as age-related loss of memory and focus have recently been made. Most importantly, many new treatment options, including the use of nutritional supplements, have been developed.
Q. How can nutritional supplements improve memory and focus?
A. Several herbs and vitamins have been demonstrated to improve memory and mental focus. While some nutritional supplements work now to improve memory and focus, others work to prevent problems we might develop later.
One of the most researched herbs, Ginkgo biloba, has been found to be effective in improving currently experienced memory and focus loss; in other words, problems we are having now. Ginkgo has been studied in individuals who have age-related memory loss, as well as in those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. It seems that ginkgo can improve many brain functions, such as speeding up memory recall, protecting brain cells from chemical changes and free radical damage, improving blood flow to the brain, and helping nerve cells communicate with each other better.
Several studies examined ginkgo’s effect in healthy people who were experiencing normal age-related memory and focus problems. They determined that ginkgo improved memory, attention, and clarity of thinking. Ginkgo can also help restore memories that may be lost in TIAs, those mini-strokes that were discussed earlier.
In studies of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, the results showed that ginkgo slowed down the disease in those severely afflicted and actually improved those with very mild or moderate disease. In one of these studies, ginkgo was compared to four prescription cholinesterase inhibitors, medications commonly used to treat individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. Using written mental tests, the researchers found that ginkgo worked just as effectively as the prescription drugs. While those taking one of the cholinesterase inhibitors dropped out of the study because of disturbing side effects, ginkgo had no side effects and improved symptoms equally as well.
Q. Hoe does Bacopa monnieri help memory and focus?
A. Like ginkgo, bacopa works on the memory and focus problems we are experiencing now. Bacopa grows in
Q. How does alpha lipoic acid help memory and focus?
A. Alpha lipoic acid (
Researchers have discovered unmistakable free radical damage in Alzheimer’s disease. Accordingly,
In a recent study, people with Alzheimer’s disease were given tests that measured through and memory. They were then given
Q. How do vitamins B12 and B6 help memory and focus?
A. Vitamin B6 is an essential nutrient in the regulation of nerve transmissions. It is required by the nervous system for normal brain function, and it may also help with mood.
Researchers have learned that people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias (including Parkinson’s disease) have elevated homocysteine levels. IN fact, t he amount of homocysteine in the blood corresponds to the severity of the disease. Most people with a high homocysteine level don’t have enough folate, vitamin B5 or vitamin B12 in their diet. Replacing these vitamins helps return the homocysteine level to normal.
Reducing homocysteine levels may prevent the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease, or other brain diseases, and improve the symptoms of those already afflicted.
Q. What about folic acid?
A. Folic acid has long been recognized as a vital nutrient for the brain and spinal cord. Recent research has demonstrated that folic acid has significant importance in Alzheimer’s disease.
An ongoing study of Alzheimer’s disease that began in 1986 has been studying 678 members of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in the hopes of learning how the disease develops, how it might be prevented, and how to treat it. Data collected in the study includes biographies the sisters wrote upon entrance to the order, blood samples from the sisters while they are living, and information gained from the voluntary donation of their brains after death.
Aptly named the “Nun Study,” ground breaking discoveries have already been made. It seems that diet and nutrition have a dramatic influence in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Sisters who had high levels of folic acid showed little evidence of Alzheimer’s-type damage in their brains after death. And, those nuns who had Alzheimer’s disease in spite of high folic acid levels had profoundly less brain damage from the disease. In fact, some sisters who had no outward evidence of Alzheimer’s disease while they were living had surprisingly extensive damage in their brains after death.
Q. Besides taking ginkgo, bacopa, B vitamins, folic acid, and ALA, is there other things I can do to prevent Alzheimer’s disease?
A. You may not know if you have a serious B-vitamin deficiency. Routine lab work does not measure the amount of B vitamins in your blood. You might want to ask your health care practitioner to have your B vitamin level in your blood measured, especially if you are having memory and focus problems. Keep in mind that this type of lab work is fairly expensive, however.
Supplements do not replace the need for a healthy diet, especially a diet with high levels of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and omega-3 fatty acids. Keeping your body healthy helps keep your brain healthy as well.
It also seems that the use-it-or-lose-it theory applies to our brain as well as our body. Research has shown that people who seek opportunities to keep mentally active, such as reading books, newspapers, and magazines, solving crossword puzzles, playing card games, and visiting museums, lower their risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dealing with age-related memory loss may be both frustrating and frightening. As the population of
In fact, more and more research shows prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is a reality. And age-related memory loss can successfully be improved as well. Taking the scientifically validated nutritional supplements ginkgo, bacopa, vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, and
CoQ10 for Heart Health
March 28, 2007 12:39 PM
CoQ10 for Heart Health
More than 40% of all deaths in the
One of the most – if not the most – important things people can do to improve their overall health and life expectancy is to improve their heart health. Diet, exercise, and the wise use of dietary supplements can improve heart health dramatically. One dietary supplement that’s extremely beneficial to heart health is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).
Q. What is CoQ10?
A. CoQ10 is a natural, fat-soluble nutrient present in virtually all cells. CoQ10 also is known as ubiquinone. That’s because CoQ10 is ubiquitous and exists everywhere there is life. CoQ10 is vital to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. ATP is the energy-rich compound used for all energy-requiring processes in the body. Although COQ10 is produced by the body and exists in some dietary sources, these levels may be insufficient to meet the body’s requirements. CoQ10 levels diminish with age and as a result of dietary inadequacies and various disease states. Also, some drugs, especially a group of cholesterol-lowering prescription drugs known as “statin,” (Pravachol, Zocor, Lipitor, etc.) significantly reduce CoQ10 levels in the body.
Q. For what health conditions is CoQ10 used?
A. CoQ10 is beneficial in treating and preventing CVD and conditions such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), angina, and congestive heart failure (CHF). It’s been shown that heart attacks tend to occur when CoQ10 levels are low in the body. In addition, CoQ10 is beneficial for diabetes, immune dysfunction, cancer, periodontal disease, prostate cancer, and neurological disease.
Q. Why is CoQ10 especially important to heart health?
A. The heart is one of the most metabolically active tissues in the body. In the average person, the heart propels 2,000 gallons of blood through 65,000 miles of blood vessls by beating 100,000 times each day. Thus, it requires large amounts of uninterrupted energy. Heart cells have a greater number of mitochondria, and subsequently, more CoQ10 than any other type of cell. Each heart cell can have thousands of mitochondria to meet these energy demands.
Mitochondria are highly specialized structures within each cell and are often referred to as cell powerhouses. These tiny energy-produces produce 95% of the energy the body requires. The number of mitochondria in a cell depends on its function and energy needs. A cell’s ATP production is dependent on adequate amounts of CoQ10.
Heart disease patients are commonly CoQ10 deficient. Correcting such deficiencies often can produce amazing results. The presence of supplemental CoQ10 is a key to the heart’s optimum performance.
In people who have had a heart attack (myocardial infarction), CoQ10 assists in repairing the heart muscle and restoring heart function. This is due to increased ATP production.
Q. What studies support this fact?
A. A 1998 study found CoQ10 can provide rapid protective effects in patients with a heart attack if administered within three days of the onset of symptoms. The study focused on patients admitted to the hospital with an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) diagnosis. Seventy-three patients received CoQ10 (120 mg/d). The study’s control group consisted of 71 similarly matched patients with acute AMI. After treatment, angina pectoris (severe chest pain signifying interrupted blood flow to the heart), total arrhythmias (dangerously irregular heartbeats), and poor function in the left ventricle (the essential chamber of the heart) were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared to the placebo group. Total deaths due to sudden cardiac failure and nonfatal heart attacks also were significantly reduced in the CoQ10 group compared with the placebo group.
In another study, CoQ10 was studied in 109 patients with high blood pressure (hypertension). The patients were given varying doses of supplemental CoQ10 with the goal of attaining a certain blood level (greater than 2.0 mcg/l). Most patients were on medications to treat hypertension. Half the patients were able to stop taking one to three antihypertensive drugs at an average of 4.4 months after starting CoQ10. Only 3% of patients required the addition of one antihypertensive drug. The 9.4% of patients who have echo cardiograms, performed both before and during treatment, experienced a highly significant improvement in heart wall thickness and function. This improvement was directly attributed to CoQ10 supplementation.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a debilitating disease that affects 5 million people in the
Q. I’ve heard that CoQ10 can also help people who have neurological diseases. Is this true?
A. Yes, it is. CoQ10 has been studied for its ability to improve the health of individuals with amotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. A recently completed study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health showed that CoQ10 caused a slowing of the progression of Huntington’s disease, a devastating and degenerative disease that is always fatal. In fact, no other medication, drug, or nutritional supplemental has ever been shown to cause a decline in the progression of this terrible disease.
The study compared CoQ10 against remacemide (an investigational HD drug made by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals), in 347 HD patients who were in the early stages of the disease. Remacemide blocks glutamate, the neurotransmitter scientists think may cause the death of brain cells that occurs in Huntington’s disease. While remacemide had no effect on the progression of HD, CoQ10 showed a trend toward slowing the disease by an average of 15%. This meant the HD group taking CoQ10 was able to handle every day activities of life a little longer than the patients taking remacemide or a placebo. They also were able to focus their attention better, were less depressed, and less irritable. The 15% slowing of decline means that CoQ10 can result in about one more year of independence for HD patients. Needless to say, the gift of an additional year of health in the lives of HD patients is incredibly significant.
Because of these impressive results with HD, researchers are hopeful that the studies of CoQ10 in those with ALS and Parkinson’s disease will similarly have a positive effect on the symptoms and/or progression of these neurological disorders, too.
Q. Why is it crucial for a CoQ10 supplement to cross the blood-brain barrier?
A. The brains’ blood vessels are composed of cells with extremely tight junctions. These junctions form the blood-brain barrier, which restricts what can pass from the bloodstream into the brain. While this barrier protects the brain, it can be a significant obstacle to central nervous system therapy. To leave the bloodstream and reach the brain cells, a substance must pass through the tightly connected cells of the capillary walls. Only substances with unique solubilities or those with a transport system can cross the blood-brain barrier to a significant degree. As a result, crossing the blood-brain barrier presents a significant challenge to supporting neurological health.
While most CoQ10 supplements enter the bloodstream and increase blood serum levels, only special forms of CoQ10 have been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier. For CoQ10 to enter the mitochondria within the brain, CoQ10 must first cross the blood-brain barrier to produce significant neurosupportive clinical results.
Q. How can one supplement have applications for neurological diseases, heart health, and even the immune system?
A. Supplements often have more than one function, especially when it’s a substance like CoQ10, which is present in all parts of the body. All nucleated cells (most cells other than red blood cells) have mitochondria and all cells require energy to function. CoQ10 is vital to ATP production. Thus, CoQ10 has applications not only in neurological (neurons or nervous system cells) and cardiac health (myocardium or heart tissue), but also for the immune system.
Q. Are all CoQ10 supplements created equal? Doesn’t CoQ10 just have to get into the bloodstream to be effective?
A. There are some important distinctions among CoQ10 products, as they vary greatly in quality and absorbability. It’s crucial to find a CoQ10 product that’s:
1. Scientifically shown to absorb through the digestive tract, cross cellular membranes, and increase mitochondrial levels of CoQ10. Chewable forms of CoQ10 provide rapid bioavailability and absorption. Serum level determination of CoQ10 in the bloodstream is not necessarily the most important measure of efficacy. For a CoQ10 supplement to be fully effective, it must cross the cellular barrier and raise intracellular CoQ10 levels. A key indicator of effective CoQ10 supplementation is its presence in cell mitochondria.
2. The natural form of CoQ10. The natural process uses living organisms. CoQ10 also can be synthesized by a chemical process, which produces a distinctly different product that contains chemical compounds not found in the natural form.
3. Formulated with ingredients that provide the transport system CoQ10 needs to cross cellular membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Not all forms of CoQ10 have been scientifically proven to cross cell membranes and the blood-brain barrier. Some prestigious groups that have investigated this issue include researchers at
4. Studied by respected organizations, with research published in peer-reviewed journals by reputable scientists.
Q. How much CoQ10 should I take?
A. Take 100 to 200 mg of CoQ10 daily, depending on your family history of heart disease and personal heart disease experience.
CoQ10’s safety has been evaluated. Dosages in studies have ranged from 100 mg to 1,200 mg per day. To date, no toxicities have been reported. Occasional mild stomach upset may occur. Taking CoQ10 with meals usually alleviates this rare effect.
Q. What are some other heart-friendly supplements?
A. CoQ10 is an excellent supplement for overall cardiovascular health, as in L-carnitine. L-carnitine is the naturally occurring form of carnitine that’s found in food and synthesized in the body. Much of the body’s L-carnitine is found in the heart and skeletal muscle, tissues that rely on fatty acid oxidation for most of their energy. Nearly 70% of the energy needed for heart function is derived from fatty acid breakdown. Proper L-carnitine supplementation transports fatty acids into cell mitochondria, where it’s burned for energy. L-carnitine is an excellent addition to CoQ10, especially for people with heart disease, and has been shown to improve many symptoms associated with CVD. In one study, people who had experienced one heart attack received either L-carnitine or placebo. The L-carnitine group had a statistically significant reduction in second heart attacks, and improved overall survival.
Q. What supplements support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol?
A. In addition to maintaining overall cardiovascular health, it’s also important to address your essential fats/lipids levels and healthy circulation/blood pressure. Fish oil supplements can significantly reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and homocysteine levels. Choose a supplement that’s a rich source of EPA and DHA, omega-3 fatty acids naturally obtainable in fish oil. Find a product that’s been clinically studied and purified to ensure it contains the beneficial active constituents of the whole oil, while removing any dioxins, DDT, PCBs, or heavy metals, toxins present in some commercial fish oil preparations. An enteric-coated garlic product that provides a minimum of 5,000 mcg of beneficial allicin supports healthy blood pressure and circulation. And magnesium, niacin, vitamin E, folic acid, hawthorn extract, and L-cysteine provide overall nutritional support to the heart and vascular system.
CoQ10 is not the only answer to the complex issues of heart disease, neurological disease, or immune dysfunction; however, research indicates that it’s a bigger piece of the puzzle than physicians and scientists ever imagined. The more we study this naturally occurring compound, the more benefits we find.
The key to this supplement is the manufacturing quality. For safety and overall effectiveness, use a CoQ10 product that’s supported by product-specific research from reputable institutions. Choose tested products from a well-respected company to increase your potential to achieve and maintain heart and blood vessel health.
Supplementation with clinically studied products can have a major impact on your heart’s health and strength. However, no supplement replaces the need to eat a healthful diet low in refined foods (especially sugar), and saturated fats, and to exercise your most important muscle – your heart – on a regular basis.
7-Syndrom Healing and 5-HTP
June 07, 2006 03:49 PM
Boomer Breakthrough – Keeping in the Game
If there is not thing boomers need to manage, its chronic stress. That’s because of its deleterious effects, which include accelerated aging and altered brain function. This month boomer breakthroughs will focus on 5-hydroxytryptophan or 5-htp, one of the most versatile and powerful anti-aging remedies. For starters, 5-htp is a more powerful antioxidant than either vitamin C or melatonin. This it deserves a place in ones daily vitamin regimen based on this fact alone. However, the better-known attribute of 5-htp is its stabilizing effects on the brain and nerves.
Mood, Anxiety and Depression
Chronic stress can lead to mood swings, anxiety, depression, poor memory, and reduced cognitive functions. Last month we recommended the Adaptogenic herbs Ashwagandha and Rhodiola as therapy for smoothing out periods of intense stress such as looming deadlines. For longer term stress supplementation with 5-htp is a better choice. That’s because extended periods of stress reduce brain levels of serotonin. Supplemental 5-htp is produced from the African plant Griffonia Simplicifolia and has over 30 years of safety and effectiveness in clinical use.
How do you know if you have low levels of serotonin? Persistent anxiety is one key and insomnia is another. 5-htp, an intermediary metabolite of serotonin, has proven to be clinically effective in reducing these disorders. Weight gain and eating disorders also appear to be associated with low serotonin levels.
Serotonin the Antiaging Neurotransmitter
Serotonin, one of three major neurotransmitters, has a calming effect and helps keep emotions in check. It has been extremely helpful in lessening panic attacks, various phobias, suppressing appetite, and reducing aggression, anxiety, and pain sensation. And, it may be more effective in relieving mild depression than antidepressants. In a 1991 Swiss study, the effectiveness of 5-htp in alleviating depression was compared to a conventional antidepressant, fluvoxamine (Luvox). Patients were divided into two groups and given either 100mg 5-htp or 150mg of fluvoxamine three times a day for six weeks. At the end of the test period, the 36 5-htp patients showed a greater percentage of improvement than the 33 fluvoxamine patients.
Other studies have compared 5-htp with antidepressants such as chloripramine and imipramine. 5-htp was at least as effective if not more so than the conventional drugs. Moreover, 5-htp has no reported side effects, although some patients have experienced mild nausea when they first take 5-htp. If this happens, merely back off and reduce the daily dose to 50mg and gradually increase it over a four-day period.
5-htp has an advantage over its precursor amino acid L-Tryptophan (LT). it is more readily absorbed than LT and is immune to meals without reducing its effectiveness. 5-htp, unlike LT, is not shunted into niacin, melatonin, picolonic acid and other amino acids. Seventy percent of oral 5-htp ends up in the bloodstream, crosses into the brain and is directly converted into serotonin.
It’s best not to combine 5-htp with antidepressant medications, although there have been no reports of adverse events. Suggested doses is 100mg 3 times a day or 200 to 200 mg taken at bedtime for insomnia.
Pain, Per-menopause and PMS
5-htp has additional benefits for boomers. It reduces hot flashes and is an effective anti-pain remedy. The concern over use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has led to interest in safe and effective methods of reducing hot flashes. Come anti-depressants (Prozac, ect.) have been effective in alleviating hot flashes in women with breast cancer or at risk of the disease. Increasing serotonin is the proposed mechanism by which this occurs. Serotonin in turn resets the brain’s heat regulating system. 5-htp is effective at raising serotonin levels, is free of side effects, and is an effective substitute for anti-depressants.
Additionally, 5-htp has been clinically useful in reducing premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) symptoms such as sadness, hopelessness, self-deprecation, tension, anxiety, emotional instability, tearfulness, anger and irritability.
Migraine and fibromyalgia share a common root in serotonin and adrenal hormone (Cortisol) receptor function. Serotonin plays a role in maintaining pain thresholds, vascular constriction/dilation and maintenance of restorative sleep. It is also thought to disrupt pain signals and induce the activity of endorphins, the brains natural painkiller.
Italian researchers report in two clinical trials involving patients with fibromyalgia, that 5-htp (100mg 3X/day) significantly reduced fibromyalgia symptoms. These include a number of tender points, subjective pain severity, morning stiffness, sleep patterns, and anxiety.
Now offers 5-htp in three convenient doses; 50mg for starters, 100mg for maintenance, and 200mg plus 250mg tyrosine, Niacinamide and vitamin B-6 to stabilize adrenal function and help control minor pain.
Adapted from 7-syndrome healing: Supplement essentials for Body and Mind by Marcia Zimmerman and Jayson Kroner, 2006, Nutrition Solution Publications.
Organic Diet protects Children's Brains...
October 05, 2005 10:24 AM
Children who eat an organic diet are protected from exposure to as least two agricultural pesticides, according to the national institutes of health’s environmental health Perspectives.
In the study, 23 children ages 3 to 11 ate their normal diests for the first three days. For the next five days, they ate organic replacements of many foods in their usual diet. In the final week, the children resumed their conventional diets. Researchs found that all 23 had metabolites of malathion and chlorpyrifos in their urine when they enrolled in the study. However, as soon as they switched to organic diets, these metabolites remained at zero levels until conventional foods are reintroduced.
“We were able to demonstrate that an organic diet provides a dramatic and immediate protective effects against exposures to organophosphorus pesticides that are commonly used in agricultural production,” the author wrote.
Source Naturals - Our Commitment to Your Well-Being
August 20, 2005 11:41 AM
Manufacturing nutritional supplements is a profound responsibility. We are constantly aware that the products we make are incorporated into your cells and tissues—they become the very substance of your being.
Our Commitment to Your Well-Being
As developers of a leading line of dietary supplements, we at Source Naturals know we have a unique responsibility.
When you take our supplements into your body, you entrust us with something precious and irreplaceable—your physical and mental well-being. You expect us to honor that trust by producing the highest quality supplements, based on advanced research, in formulations that can significantly impact your life. You expect Total Quality Assurance (TQA™).
A Culture of Quality Our Quality Control Department employs rigorous testing Our Commitment toYour Well-Being procedures that assure every product we produce is of the highest quality. We have set in place intricate protocols of checks and balances. But our commitment to quality does not begin or end at the laboratory door. From purchasing to warehousing, from the first stage of blending to the finishing touches in packaging, we continually strive to imbue quality at all points in our systems.
Clear protocols, policies and procedures establish the framework, but TQA at Source Naturals is a living system of dedicated people. TQA is our organizing principle. The whole company is structured around quality circle teams. They are fast and creative, enabling us to quickly take nutritional quality to the next level of performance. There is no entrenched bureaucracy, intent on maintaining the status quo. Instead, staff members participate in teams focused on the continual improvement of our products. In our everevolving quality circles, team members are encouraged to brainstorm and think “outside the box,” to discover innovative ways to raise product quality.
In these quality circle teams, one guiding principle is always focused on and reinforced—creating products that enhance the health and well-being of our customers.
Quality and Formulation
And because you take our products to address critical health concerns, the heart of TQA at Source Naturals is our formulation method. We understand the need to go deep to the underlying causes of health imbalances. Whether developing groundbreaking nutrients or comprehensive formulas, we are dedicated to accessing and addressing those root causes. For a step-by-step tour of TQA at Source Naturals, please read on.
ALPHA GPC - Improves Mental Performance
June 28, 2005 06:21 PM
The quality of our life experience—and our ability to live life to the fullest—is a direct result of optimal brain function. Only a few years ago, nothing could be done to stem the tide of poor circulation, forgetfulness and “mental fog.” But neurological science exploration has identified a fundamental brain compound critical to attention, learning, memory, and even the higher cognitive functions of reasoning and intuition. Research confirms that L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine (called Alpha-GPC for convenience) is crucial to neuronal function and structure. Derived from purified soy lecithin, Source Naturals ALPHA-GPC readily converts to acetylcholine in the brain, helping to maintain neuronal structure integrity. Source Naturals provides an easy and convenient means to profoundly impact the very nexus of our body and mind.
GPC Is Unique
No other nutritional compound comes close to GPC in its ability to boost critically important acetylcholine levels. Found in both the brain and the peripheral nervous system (including the nerve-muscle junctions), acetylcholine is a key nerve messenger molecule, or neurotransmitter. Aging brains are characterized by functional deficiencies in both acetylcholine and its cholinergic receptors. GPC is a highly bioavailable supplement that boosts acetylcholine levels to improve cognitive function. It is also a major choline reservoir, helping to protect the brain against damage from poor circulation and potentially toxic metabolites.
Deficiencies in acetylcholine can cause the body to break down phosphatidylcholine for its choline content, leading to the death of brain cells. Yet in controlled clinical trials of middle-aged subjects taking GPC, reaction time was enhanced and there was improved energy generation and electrical coordination in the brain. For older subjects, double-blind trials demonstrated that GPC had superior benefits over certain other brain nutrients for mental focus, recall, verbal fluency—a unique, marked overall enhancement of mental performance. GPC is an example of what the great Linus Pauling referred to as “orthomolecules,” that is, molecules that are “orthodox” or “correct” for the body. GPC excels as a protective nutraceutical for memory loss and mood enhancement. It protects cells of the brain (and other organs) from damage, shielding a range of important biomolecules against toxin build-up.
Extensive Clinical Testing
In clinical trials that involved more than 5,000 patients, GPC showed marked improvement in overall brain performance. Depending on the particular trial, 50-70 percent of the patients who received GPC had their mental functions improved to a degree “meaningful to life quality.” GPC has shown revitalizing effects on the declining brain, and preliminary evidence suggests GPC may act on the pituitary gland to partially restore its capacity to make vital for cell maintenance and longevity. Other unique brain features of GPC are its benefits for attention and recall in young healthy adults, and its superior bioavailability. GPC readily crosses the bloodbrain barrier to raise brain choline levels within a few hours following oral intake. GPC helps with body-mind integration by being a ready reservoir for acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter is ubiquitous in brain circuit maturation, expansion, renewal and repair, as well as in the “agility” or adjustments of the circuitry that occur during adult life. In addition, an animal study has shown that GPC increases the release of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), the most important and abundant inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. It acts as a “balancer” for the brain and helps induce relaxation and sleep. Without sufficient GABA, neurons fire at random, unable to make sense of incoming signals. GABA helps minimize “neural noise,” making it easier to focus and concentrate.
Why you should take GPC:
Fats: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
June 14, 2005 11:18 AM
Fats: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly by Thomas Sherman Energy Times, October 15, 2004
We need fat to absorb vitamins, to keep our brains sharp, to survive. But not all fats are our friends. Find out which ones are the heroes and the villains in your diet.
In a lot of cases health fads don't live up to their hype. But the case for consuming more good fats-the omega-3 fatty acids found primarily in fish, flax and hemp oils-is strong and growing stronger. As a nation we eat too little of these good fats, and our health would improve greatly if we relied a little less on the bad saturated fat in burgers, skipped the ugly trans fats in fries and indulged in more salmon and other seafoods.
Fish and the Heart
Need proof? A wealth of research supports fish oil's desirable effects, especially on heart health. While many people believe that heart disease is primarily a problem for men, women who have passed through menopause are just as susceptible to heart problems.
" [Our] findings suggest that all women, and most likely men, would benefit from regular fish intake," says Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University in Boston. "A tuna fish sandwich counts, as does almost any other type of fish that is baked, broiled, grilled, or poached." But she points out that fried fish, which is often cooked in hydrogenated oils, is not helpful.
In research on more than 200 women, performed at the Jean Mayer US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts, scientists found that the arterial blockages among women who dined on fish were less (and impeded blood flow less) than in women who hardly ever ate seafood. Fish was especially helpful for women who had diabetes, a disease that makes you more prone to heart and circulation problems (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 9/04).
These effects are important: Heart disease is the number one cause of death for women, and older women who suffer from diabetes are particularly susceptible. The number of people with diabetes has been increasing of late, mainly due to the fact that Americans are overweight. Right now about 18 million people have diabetes and another 20 million are expected to suffer this condition in the next four decades.
" This study shows that following the current guidelines of eating at least two servings of any type of fish per week slows down the progression of heart disease in women with coronary artery disease (CAD), especially those who were also diabetic," says Dr. Lichtenstein, coauthor of the study. "We further found that eating one or more servings per week of fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as tuna or other dark-fleshed fish, is equally effective."
Dangerous disruptions in heartbeat, known as arrhythmias, may also be affected by fish oil. "[E]xperiments show that fatty acids from omega-3 fish oils are stored in the cell membranes of heart cells and can prevent sudden cardiac death or fatal arrhythmias," notes Alexander Leaf, MD, medical researcher and professor at Harvard University.
Fat for Your Brain
The right kind of fat is also crucial for the function of your nerves and brain tissue, which is 60% to 70% fat. Incorporating omega-3 fatty acids into those cells can help keep your brain firing on all synapses. It may lower your risk of Alzheimer's disease, an irreversible form of mental deterioration that kills 100,000 Americans a year. About a thousand people a day in the US are found to have Alzheimer's, and experts believe that over the next 40 years 14 million of us will be doomed to being enveloped by the mental fog this condition produces.
Research indicates that our brains probably need omega-3 fats for protection against the kind of damage that causes our mental capacities to slip. Once Alzheimer's starts, deterioration accelerates because brain cells start losing these fats.
In experiments performed at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA (Neuron 9/2/04), scientists looked at how a lack of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, one of the omega-3 fats found in fish), affected the cellular processes that lead to Alzheimer's. They found that the part of brain cells that receive signals from other brain cells, the receptors, are vulnerable to damage from chemical reactions that take place inside the cells. However, DHA offers antioxidant protection against this destruction.
When brain cells were denied DHA, the cells' receptors suffered extra harm. But when fish oil was present, brain cells were protected. In addition, animals that received extra omega-3s were better able to learn and find their way through mazes.
Greg Cole, PhD, senior researcher on this study and a professor of neurology at Geffen, says, "We saw that a diet rich in DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, dramatically reduces the impact of the Alzheimer's gene [which made the animals more susceptible to Alzheimer's]. Consuming more DHA is something the average person can easily control. Anyone can buy DHA in its purified form, fish-oil capsules, high-fat fish or DHA-supplemented eggs." Fishes rich in omega-3s include salmon, halibut, mackerel, sardines and herring.
Protecting Kids from Asthma
A surprising benefit of omega-3s has been found in pregnant women and their newborns: Pregnant women with asthma who eat fish rich in omega-3s during their pregnancy lower their children's risk of asthma.
Not just any fish will do. The study (American Thoracic Society International Conference 5/25/04) discovered that mothers who ate fish sticks during pregnancy doubled the asthma risk in their kids. " Fish sticks are deep-fried, and they contain omega-6 fatty acids, which encourage inflammation of the airways," says study co-author Frank Gilliland, MD, PhD, professor at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. "Oily fish [like salmon and trout] contain omega-3 fatty acids, which appear to be anti-inflammatory, and lead to the reduced potential for developing asthma and allergies."
The USC investigation showed that when women with asthma ate oil-bearing fish during pregnancy, the risk of asthma for their children dropped more than 70%. The more fish that mom consumed, the less likely her baby was to develop asthma. Unfortunately, the study did not find the same benefit in women without asthma.
" A family history of asthma is a very strong risk factor for a child developing asthma," Dr. Gilliland says. "It appears that oily fish interacts with the genes involved in the predisposition to develop asthma, and somehow reduces the risk."
Although most of us try to avoid accumulating unsightly fat around our hips, the right kind of fat plays an integral part in the functioning of our bodies and may even keep us alive. Fats don't get much better than that.
Thanks for the Memory
June 11, 2005 03:49 PM
Thanks for the Memory by Estelle Sobel , February 6, 2002
Thanks for the Memory By Estelle Sobel
"I feel like every day, I lose my memory more and more. It started when I couldn't find my car keys, sometimes I forget directions. My mother has Alzheimer's so I'm concerned," says Jerry Solowitz, a 63 year old man.
Ellen Lerner, 37, sometimes worries that she can't keep track of everything in her job as a public relations executive. "I feel like stress can get to me easily, and I worry because I forget simple things like where I put a file."
Should these people be concerned?
"Yes," says Lynda Toth, Ph.D., co-author with Pavel Yutsis, M.D., of Why Can't I Remember? Reversing Memory Loss (Avery, 1999).
Jerry should start a specific program with a health practitioner who specializes in memory loss, due to lots of unsuspected new causes for memory dysfunction. Ellen needs to make lifestyle changes, as stress can definitely lead to memory loss.
"Cortisol, which is one of the stress hormones, can be harmful because it keeps calcium in the memory pathway too long and destroys the neurons, which is very damaging to the brain," notes Toth.
Why Does Memory Fail?
Memory fails for several reasons, says Augustine DiGiovanna, M.D., author of Human Aging: Biological Perspectives, (McGraw-Hill 2000), and Professor of Biology at Salisbury State University in Salisbury, MD.
Normal Aging: Much of diminished memory as we age is due to reduced blood flow to the brain from atherosclerosis, which is hardening and narrowing of the arteries. Decreased blood flow causes neurons to shrink and function less effectively.
Also, as we age we lose neurons and neuron connections that can lead to memory loss. So the way people think, how much they remember, and the mental activities they do determine how many brain cells survive through the years.
Finally, as people live longer, the chance is greater that the body's immune system and other defense mechanisms won't be able to protect against certain diseases that affect the brain and memory (Parkinson's, strokes, Alzheimers, atherosclerosis).
A Starving Brain: The brain is not getting fed the nutrients it needs (vitamins, minerals, amino acids, glucose). Without the right "food" the brain's energy levels become lowered and stop powering the memory cells. Then, free radicals can do more dirty work and continue to rust memory cells.
Drink And Sink: Alcohol passes through the blood-brain barrier and slows down the processing of information between memory neurons. Memory loss increases over time, as memory tissues shrink.
Sad Stories: Depression can imbalance the neurotransmitters and electrical charges of neurons.
Tense and Tight: High blood pressure can constrict and narrow blood vessels, limiting blood and oxygen flow to the brain.
One way to boost brain power is to take the right supplements.
Ginkgo biloba: The powerful medicinal herb ginkgo biloba increases blood flow and circulation to the head by dilating blood vessels in the brain, allowing more oxygenated blood to get to the neurons. It also protects against free radical damage.
Research: Ginkgo biloba extract displayed a significant effect on helping the mental abilities of people 50-59 years old (Phytotherapy Research 13, 1999: 408-415).
Pregnenolone: This powerful hormone regulates the balance between excitation and inhibition in the nervous system and helps enhance memory and brain function, possibly by repairing a fatty substance that is part of the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve cells. Research: A St. Louis University School of Medicine study on mice showed that pregnenolone enhanced memory and helped mice to navigate mazes better.
Huperzine A: This herbal supplement is derived from club moss found in China; in purified form it inhibits the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that you need for memory.
Research: Studies conducted by Alan Mazurek, M.D., found that huperzine A in purified form improves memory, enhances focus and concentration and has been used to improve memory loss in Alzheimer's patients (Alt. Ther. in Health Med. 5 , March 1999: 97-98).
Another study in The Journal of Neuroscience Research showed that huperzine A is a potent inhibitor of cholinesterase, which penetrates the brain and produces a dose-dependent increase of the neurotransmitters acetylcholine, norepinephrine and dopamine in rat cortex (41, 1995: 828-835).
Phosphatidylserine (PS): This substance, which occurs naturally in nerve cell membranes, helps keep fatty substances soluble and cell membranes fluid and helps reduce levels of cortisone which are damaging to tissues.
Research: Phosphatidylserine encourages a sense of calm by raising the levels of alpha brain waves and increasing the production of acetylcholine (Neuropsychobiology 24, 1990-1991: 42-48).
Vitamin E: This potent antioxidant attaches to bad cholesterol and helps prevent free radical damage to cells.
Research: Age-related processes like memory function and problem solving can be affected by free radical damage. Several studies show that vitamin E might slow the effects of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease (JAMA 282, August 18, 1999: 621). Acetyl-l-carnitine: Increases cognitive performance because it rejuvenates cellular membranes of mitochondria, the storehouses of energy contained in every living cell.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid: Preserves memory tissue by increasing glutathione levels, which protect fat stores in neurons from being damaged.
Nine Ways to Remember
Dr. Lynda Toth suggests the following ways to make the most of what you've now got.
1) Power Up Your Smile. Remove dental fillings and replace them with porcelain or ceramic ones. The mercury in metal fillings may be harmful (some believe) and can affect the brain and nervous system, inflaming memory tissue and preventing the entry of nutrients into the cells.
2) Don't Be a Tin Man/Woman Avoid exposure to aluminum. Don't use aluminum pots to cook in. Aluminum accumulates in memory tissue, damaging cells. In fact, autopsies of Alzheimers patients show they have unusually huge amounts of aluminum in the brain. But no one knows where this aluminum comes from.
3) Eat Right. Eat organic and pesticide-free foods. Pesticides get into the cells and can damage DNA.
4) A Matter of Taste. Avoid foods with artificial coloring, monosodium glutamate (MSG, often called "natural flavors" or "natural seasoning"). Also avoid processed foods with taste enhancers called exito toxins such as l-cysteine and aspartic acid.
5) In the Raw. Make sure that your diet consists of enzyme-rich 50% raw foods (fruits and vegetables) to feed the brain. Eat less animal fats.
* Drink green juices to support levels of the brain's clean-up enzymes.
*Eat lots of fiber, which helps remove toxins from the body. Pick up psyllium fiber.
*Limit intake of processed sugar, caffeine and alcohol to lessen the load on the liver and pancreas.
6) Cut Bait. Watch the fish that you eat. Lots of ocean and inland-caught fish are contaminated with mercury. Go for deep, cold water fish such as cod. Avoid shark and swordfish.
7). Oil Up. Supplement your diet with omega-3 fatty acids, such as cod liver oil or flaxseed oil. These fats lubricate memory cells.
8) Work That Body. Stay fit and exercise. Exercise helps oxygenate the body, reduces cholesterol, and builds and energizes new memory cells which reduces wear and tear on the brain function.
9) Do Mind Games. Read, listen to music. Tune into different radio stations than the ones you normally listen to. Do crossword puzzles and a wide selection of word games which can stretch your brain and give it a tough workout.
Student of Life
You need to keep learning your whole life to keep your brain and memory in tip top shape. The brain is adaptable, and you are always building new neurons, says Dr. Toth, which means that there is no limit to how long it can develop. Anything that stimulates the brain will help it to grow. That's why as you get older it's even more important to take classes, start a new hobby, travel. In fact, the challenge of learning and doing new things (without stopping in a fit of frustration) causes your brain to grow, says Dr. Mazurek.
The Good News
As people get older, their brains may actually improve and repair themselves through a complicated process that is designed to eliminate faulty neurons that are prone to making mistakes. At the same time, brain activity goes on that results in the development of new and improved connections with neighboring neurons.
Research also shows that memory improves if you train people to have faith in themselves. (The brain helps those who help themselves.) Apparently, a confident perspective can encourage the brain to actually improve to the point where its new-found abilities may increase to the point where it fulfills expectations.
So keep your chin up and stay away from the artery-clogging saturated fat that can cut off the brain's blood supply. It's all in the attitude, says Dr. DiGiovanna. And, of course, the key to a long and happy life with your brain is also on the end of your fork and in that bottle of supplements.
Estelle Sobel, is the co-author of Beautiful Skin: Every Woman's Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age (Adams Media, May 2000).
Magnesium Malate - Fight Aluminum Build-Up ...
June 03, 2005 11:44 AM
ALUMINUM has been the focus of much negative attention lately– numerous studies have indicated that aluminum accumulates in the body, especially in nerve tissues, potentially causing harm. Recently, scientific researchers have discovered that one compound may have the powerful effect of diminishing this unwanted aluminum accumulation. On the cutting edge of nutrition science, Source Naturals is one of the first companies to introduce this powerfully protective compound: MAGNESIUM MALATE.
THE DANGERS OF ALUMINUM
Aluminum is a naturally occurring metal. It has been the subject of recent studies on aging, and some scientists consider it to be harmful. It may come as a surprise that aluminum can be found in a wide variety of foods and manufactured products, such as baking powder, non-dairy creamers, antacids, deodorants, cookware, and food containers. Even tap water contains aluminum. With so many possible avenues for ingesting aluminum, we may be consuming more than nature originally intended. Mounting evidence that aluminum tends to accumulate in the body is even more cause for alarm. Unfortunately, there are no overt warning signs of excess aluminum accumulation, until levels become high enough to have adverse effects on health.
THE ALUMINUM-MAGNESIUM LINK
Researchers have suggested that aluminum may be more likely to accumulate in the brains of persons whose diets are Magnesium-deficient — which, unfortunately, includes 90% of Americans! Several studies have shown that animals fed diets low in Magnesium accumulate high concentrations of aluminum in the Central Nervous System. One of Magnesium’s many functions is to activate the enzyme tubulin involved in the maintenance of nerve tissue cells. It has been suggested that when there is not enough Magnesium in the body to plug into the appropriate receptor site on the tubulin enzyme, aluminum takes its place instead. This leads to the inactivation of tubulin and, consequently, inadequate nerve function. Because a Magnesium-deficient diet may increase the amount of aluminum taken up and stored by the body, it is vitally important that we take in sufficient amounts.
MAGNESIUM MALATE — A ONE-TWO PUNCH
MAGNESIUM MALATE supplies a one-two punch in combating excess aluminum accumulation. In addition to providing 45% of the U.S. R.D.A. for Magnesium, MAGNESIUM MALATE also supplies Malic Acid. Found abundantly in fruits such as apples, Malic Acid is also produced in the human body. It is a metabolite of the Krebs cycle, the set of biochemical reactions used to produce 90% of all energy in the cells of the body. Malic Acid readily crosses the Blood-Brain-Barrier and has been shown to bind to aluminum. It functions in the body by drawing aluminum away from the tubulin enzyme, so that Magnesium can plug into the receptor sites instead. Malic Acid’s unique ability to bind with aluminum means it can be flushed out of the body, preventing unwanted build-up.
THE PRO-ACTIVE APPROACH
With all of the negative evidence mounting against aluminum, educated consumers will want to take precautions in order to maintain their health and well being. Of course, the best way to avoid excess aluminum is to cut back on aluminum intake from known sources. Use only stainless steel or cast iron cookware, and look for aluminum- free deodorants and antacids. Always use filtered or spring water for drinking and cooking. And for those who want to take a pro-active approach, adding MAGNESIUM MALATE to your supplement regimen may be your best bet in depleting unwanted aluminum build-up in the body.
Higher Mind - Smart Nutrients for the Performance of a Lifetime...
June 02, 2005 12:18 PM
Our adult years are the time to reap the fruit of an active, meaningful life – appreciated by family and friends who value our experience and knowledge. For some, however, their later years are clouded by a mental decline that erodes their capacity to enjoy life. More of us are becoming apprehensive about the future health of our minds. Will we still be able to communicate our needs as well as our wisdom? As science focuses its investigative might on the workings of the human brain, new findings suggest that it is possible to enjoy a vital, healthy brain and mind – well into old age. Based on compelling research, Source Naturals formulated HIGHER MIND. It contains the most important Neuroceuticals™ now recognized by nutrition scientists – including phosphatidyl serine, a natural nutrient that promotes cognitive function. The connection is clear: nourish your brain; enrich your life.
To have a healthy, well-functioning brain and nervous system, we need the correct nutrients. Our diets must provide the necessary raw materials for nerve cells to grow, for the synthesis of neurochemicals, and for the maintenance of nerve cell membranes. Nutritional deficiencies can alter the brain’s metabolism, which is expressed by changes in perception and thinking, behavior and mood.
Brain Cells – Issued at Birth
Before birth, neurons (nerve cells) are created at the amazing rate of 15 million per hour. As infants, we have over 100 billion neurons, but this is the most we will ever have because – unlike most other cells in our body – nerve cells do not reproduce. A different strategy is used to replace the neurons that are naturally lost throughout life: nerve cells repair themselves and grow by extending branches of nerve fibers called dendrites (from the Latin word for tree). These are the communication links with other neurons that form the circuitry of the brain. A single neuron may be in contact with up to a hundred thousand others! When the density of this fragile organic communication network decreases, we experience a corresponding decline in mental acuity.
Brain Cell Membranes
The membrane is the working surface of a cell. It needs to be strong yet flexible, so the cell can maintain its integrity and be able to move and change shape. The membrane regulates the flow of nutrients into the cell and the removal of waste, plus controls the passage of molecular messages from outside the cell to its interior. Membrane ion pumps use a third of the cell’s energy just to maintain the correct ratio of sodium to potassium. In neurons, a rapid exchange of sodium and potassium ions across the nerve membrane is responsible for their unique ability to generate the electrical impulses that are the basis of all communication in the nervous system. As cells age, their membranes become less fluid and more rigid. Key membrane molecules called phospholipids are crucial to the health of neuron membranes, allowing the brain to maintain its youthful quality. The phospholipids in HIGHER MIND – especially phosphatidyl serine and phosphatidyl choline – are essential nutritional supplements for the aging brain.
Phosphatidyl Serine – Key to Cognition
For the past decade, researchers have been investigating the role in brain health of a remarkable neuroceutical, phosphatidyl serine (PS). This key structural molecule is integral to the matrix of fats and proteins that compose cell membranes. Although PS is found in all the cells of the body, its highest concentration is in nerve cell membranes. PS is rarely found in the foods we eat, so the body has to synthesize it, but the process is energy- intensive and becomes less efficient with age. Consequently, our levels of PS tend to decline as we get older. PS taken as a dietary supplement is well-absorbed, readily reaching the brain, where it helps create more effective, well-structured nerve cell membranes. The positive effects of PS supplementation have been demonstrated by 23 clinical studies with over 1200 human subjects, ages 43 to 90. Consistent and statistically significant results have confirmed the value of PS in improving age-related cognitive decline, as well as in improving behavioral aspects such as apathy and withdrawal.1 A major study concluded that for one particular measurable parameter of higher mental functions, PS recipients achieved scores of persons roughly 12 years younger.2 Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) is one of the most important proteins the body makes. It enables neurons to extend dendrites out to other neurons, allowing the brain to maintain an effective communication network. In experiments, PS enhanced the production and reception of NGF, which tend to drop off radically with age.3 The effects of PS at the cellular level are manifest in the performance of the brain as a whole. Subjects taking PS showed increased levels of brain energy metabolism. This enhancement corresponded to higher performances on cognitive tests.4
The Chemistry of Thought
Science now understands the role of neurotransmitters in regulating the body’s complex network of behavior. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals used by neurons to communicate with each other. Activated by a neuron’s electrical impulse, neurotransmitters travel between nerve cells, where they excite or inhibit (in various degrees) the electrical impulse in neighboring cells. One of HIGHER MIND’S key strategies is to improve the brain’s ability to produce and use acetylcholine, a key excitatory neurotransmitter. Acetylcholine is essential for both the storage and recall of memory, and partly responsible for concentration and focus. It also plays a significant role in muscular coordination. Patients showing cognitive decline may exhibit reduced ability to synthesize and utilize acetylcholine.5 The chemical building blocks of acetylcholine and other neurotransmitters are called precursors. The most important one for acetylcholine is DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol). This natural substance is found in various fish, such as anchovies and sardines. Supplements of DMAE (and phosphatidyl choline) promote increased levels of choline in the brain. Acetylcholine is created when an acetyl group is attached to the choline molecule, with the help of choline acetyl transferase (CAT), a key brain enzyme. Acetyl L-carnitine is an amino acid that activates this enzyme. Acetyl L-carnitine may also help reduce lipofuscin deposits in the brain because of its involvement in the metabolism of fatty acids.6 Lipofuscin is composed of oxidized fats and proteins; the brown “age spots” on the back of an elderly person’s hand are made of lipofuscin. The amino acid L-pyroglutamic acid sensitizes the acetylcholine receptor sites on a neuron membrane. A given amount of acetylcholine will then have a larger, more powerful effect. Studies have shown that supplements of L-pyroglutamic acid seem to enhance the ability to focus, remember, and learn.
Total Nutrition for the Brain
The neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenalin are critical to motor coordination, motivation, concentration, and alertness. Like acetylcholine, their production tends to decline with age. The precursors and activators of dopamine and noradrenalin included in HIGHER MIND are the amino acids N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine and DL-phenylalanine (DLPA), plus folic acid, vitamins B-3, B-6, and C. DLPA is also a precursor to PEA, a neuroamine that has a stimulating effect on the brain. Glutamine is an amino acid precursor to glutamic acid, a major excitatory neurotransmitter involved in mental activity and learning. Glutamine acts as an alternative fuel source for the brain when blood sugar levels are low. It also helps the brain dispose of waste ammonia, which is a natural result of protein breakdown but is irritating to neurons even at low levels. GABA is a dietary amino acid which is also an inhibitory neurotransmitter. GABA works to calm and balance the mind, enhancing mental focus. Along with taurine, these two relaxing neurotransmitters provide a balancing influence to the other, excitatory neurotransmitters. Taurine is found in brain tissue more than anywhere else in the body. It has antioxidant properties and serves as a nerve cell membrane stabilizer, preventing excessive or erratic electrical activity in the brain.
The Importance of Magnesium
Magnesium must be present in adequate amounts in the synaptic gaps between neurons or the neurons become hyper-reactive: causing noises to sound excessively loud and emotional reactions to be extreme. Magnesium also activates a key enzyme responsible for maintaining cellular sodium- potassium balance, which is absolutely essential to the electrical activity of nerve cells, as well as to the existence of the cell itself. (Cells would burst if the sodium-potassium ratio were wrong.) Magnesium also helps relax cerebral blood vessels and is important to the manufacture of ATP, the chief energy molecule of the brain. A buildup of aluminum has been found in the brains of some elderly. In 1989, the British medical journal Lancet published a study showing that drinking water with aluminum can increase the risk of damage by up to 50%. An abundant natural element, aluminum is now a common feature in our culture. It’s found in tap water, cookware, deodorants, beverage containers, baked goods, and of course as aluminum foil. In the brain, aluminum breaks down the structure of neurons – causing them to starve – by displacing magnesium from tubulin, a glycoprotein responsible for making microtubules. These tiny pipe-like structures within a neuron provide needed rigidity, as well as transport nutrients from the nucleus down the dendrites to the ends of the nerve cell. Magnesium malate is an excellent form of magnesium that ensures neurons receive this vital mineral.
B is for Brain Vitamins
HIGHER MIND also contains a high profile of B vitamins and other key nutrients that are often N A T U R A L S S O U R C E Strategies for Wellness SM ¤ lacking in older individuals. A deficiency in any of the B vitamins can alter nerve function and psychological well-being. Thiamine (B-1), known as the “nerve vitamin,” was first recognized because its deficiency caused beriberi, a degenerative nerve disease. Thiamine is part of the structure of nerve cell membranes and is important to the reparative process that neurons need to offset the stress of continual firing of the electrical impulse. Low amounts of thiamine can cause cell malnutrition in the hypothalamus, the brain’s memory center. 7 NAD and NADH, two coenzyme forms of Niacin (B-3), are the most plentiful coenzymes in the brain. They are essential to hundreds of enzymatic reactions, including ones that produce energy. NADH can stimulate the synthesis of key mood-elevating neurotransmitters. It is also one of the body’s most potent antioxidants. Pantothenic acid (B-5), cyanocobalamin (B-12), and folic acid are required to form the myelin sheath – the insulating covering of nerve fibers. A diet low in pantothenic acid has been shown to make test subjects emotionally upset, irritable, and depressed.7 A lack of B-12 can result in poor concentration and, in severe deficiencies, hallucinations. Pyridoxine (B-6) is precursor to over 60 enzymatic reactions and is involved in the synthesis of several neurotransmitters.
Brain cells almost exclusively burn glucose for their energy (other cells can also burn fat), and typically require 50% of all the glucose in the blood. Two B-like vitamins help in the utilization of glucose: PAK (pyridoxine alpha-ketoglutarate) may potentiate the effects of insulin and improve glucose utilization to the cells;8 Biotin is important for the transformation of glucose into energy in the brain. Lipoic acid and coenzyme Q10 are metabolic energizers that help produce ATP, the primary energy molecule in the body. Since the brain uses 20% of the body’s total energy supply, efficient ATP production is vital. Lipoic acid and CoQ10 are also powerful antioxidants that help regenerate other antioxidants in the body. The blood vessels feeding the brain become less efficient as we pass middle age. Since the brain depends on the bloodstream to deliver nutrients and oxygen and to remove waste, the quality of this blood flow is paramount to proper brain nutrition. Ginkgo biloba leaf extract has been shown in scientific studies to increase blood flow to the brain by helping vessels to dilate. It also promotes the smoothness and healthy integrity of blood vessel linings.
For the Life of Your Mind Without proper nutrition, the brain will deteriorate; therefore strategies are needed to both enhance current brain function and protect it throughout life. Based on the latest scientific findings, Source Naturals HIGHER MIND is formulated with neuroceuticals that support the mental functions that tend to decline with age. They give your brain the nourishment it needs to integrate perception, memory, and learning into a more comprehensive awareness – so you can excel for a lifetime.
DHA Neuromins - Feed Your Brain!
June 01, 2005 11:59 AM
In today’s society, “fat” has become a bad word. Our quest for good health has influenced many of us to drastically reduce our intake of fatty foods. But this dietary change has brought unintended consequences. As we’ve cut back on unhealthy saturated fats, we’ve also reduced certain “good” fats essential to our well-being. Few people realize how important fats are to a healthy brain. In fact, our brains are primarily fat, 60% by dry weight! And DHA, the most plentiful fatty acid in the brain, is crucial to brain health, from infancy to old age. Now DHA is available in a vegetarian source compatible with today’s trimmed-down lifestyle. Introducing: Source Naturals NEUROMINS DHA.
The Building Block of the Brain
DHA is shorthand for docosahexaenoic acid. This omega-3 long chain fatty acid is the primary building block of the brain and retina of the eye. The brain is 60% fat, and DHA is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain, comprising 25-35%. DHA is found in even greater concentrations - 50- 60% - in the retina. DHA is critical for infant development. Compelling research links DHA to the rapid cerebral and eye development that occurs during pregnancy and in the first few months after birth. DHA passes through the placenta to the fetus during pregnancy, and to the nursing baby through breast milk. Optimal levels of DHA in the bloodstream of pregnant women and the breast milk of nursing mothers are crucial to babies. In fact, DHA’s presence in breast milk may explain why breast-fed babies have demonstrable IQ advantages over babies fed formula without DHA. An emerging body of research led an expert committee of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization to recommend that DHA be included in infant formulas at levels comparable to those of mothers’ milk. Yet DHA levels in the breast milk of American women rank among the lowest in the world, and DHA is still not available in U.S. infant formulas.
Supporting a Healthy Nervous System
DHA’s benefits are not limited to infant development. Supplementation may be helpful to anyone with a low DHA intake, especially for supporting a healthy nervous system. DHA has been associated with optimal memory function, visual acuity, and maintaining a positive mental state. DHA is an integral component of all membranes with electrical activity. The cells in our brain, retina and other parts of the nervous system have a complex network of connecting arms that transport electrical messages throughout the body. DHA’s presence in nerve cell membranes is critical because this is where messages are transmitted. It is at the membrane that nerve cells generate the electrical impulses that are the basis of all communication in the nervous system. Without the necessary fatty acids, this communication system can break down or become less effective. DHA supplementation may be especially important as we grow older. The body’s ability to synthesize DHA, which is very limited in all human beings, may decline even further with age. Research suggests that aging interferes with the activity of delta-6-desaturase, the enzyme involved in the conversion of omega-3 fatty acids into DHA. Elderly people with inadequate or DHAdeficient diets may benefit from a supplementary source of DHA.
Insufficient in Today’s Diet
Because human beings cannot adequately synthesize DHA, most of it is obtained from our diets. The richest sources are red meats, animal organs and eggs - among the first foods to be eliminated by people concerned about fat intake. Today, the average American is getting less DHA from food, and vegetarians, vegans, and people on lowfat diets are especially at risk. Fish are a good dietary source, but must be eaten several times a week to provide enough DHA for optimal brain function. Fish obtain their DHA from microalgae – the nutritional basis of NEUROMINS.
Neuromins: a Pure, Safe Source Source Naturals DHA is obtained from NEUROMINS, a dietary supplement derived from algae in a base of sunflower oil. NEUROMINS DHA is a highly purified form of DHA, produced under tightly controlled manufacturing conditions. Unlike fish oil, which used to be the main supplemental source of DHA, NEUROMINS does not contain the fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which is not recommended for infants or children. Source Naturals NEUROMINS DHA is available in bottles of 30, 60 and 120 softgels, in both 100 and 200 mg dosages. Pure, safe DHA in the 200 mg dosage may be especially beneficial for pregnant or nursing women.
Attentive Child - Enhances Mental Concentration ...
May 31, 2005 05:14 PM
Most children are creative, energetic and spontaneous, but sometimes they don’t focus on requested activities. Sometimes kids find it difficult to apply themselves to the task at hand. Your child’s brain also may work differently than most people’s brains— just like the 5% of the population that is left-handed. Most people think an ultra-active child means an active brain, but active children may actually need a boost in brain metabolism. Source Naturals ATTENTIVE CHILD is a Bio-Aligned Formula™ designed to address the multiple systems that affect children’s ability to focus: neurotransmitters and brain metabolism, nerve cell communication, antioxidant defense, and essential fatty acid metabolism.
Comprehensive Brain Support
Parents are looking for a safe and natural product to support their children’s ability to focus. Source Naturals studied the research and created an experiential formula, based on the latest breakthroughs in cerebral and nervous system biochemistry. Each ingredient in ATTENTIVE CHILD plays a role in brain and nervous system structure or functioning, or is involved in important biochemical pathways. DMAE, a substance normally found in the brain, boosts brain metabolism and has been shown to enhance concentration. L-Aspartate is an amino acid neurotransmitter that stimulates brain activity. Research has shown that some ultra-active children may have special dietary needs for magnesium, zinc and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Magnesium is necessary for the transmission of nerve signals, and, along with zinc, for the processing of essential fatty acids into other vital biochemicals. DHA is an essential fatty acid that is very important for cerebral development and effective communication between nerve cells in the brain. Lecithin contains four phospholipids—fatty acid building-block molecules in nerve cell membranes. Phosphatidylserine, in particular, is vital in nerve cell communication and the electrical activity of the brain. Grape seed extract is a plant-derived antioxidant that protects the integrity of fatty acids in nerve cell membranes.
ATTENTIVE DHA™ in Tiny Kid Caps™
The ATTENTIVE CHILD formula can be supplemented with additional DHA. ATTENTIVE DHA Kid Caps are available in easy-to-swallow, small oval softgels, each containing 100 mg of DHA. For children who can’t swallow caps, simply pierce the gel and mix the oil with food. Sweeteners with Low Impact on Blood Sugar The delicious sweetand- tart taste in ATTENTIVE CHILD wafers comes from natural flavors, specially manufactured without sugar for Source Naturals. Unless specified, most flavors in other products contain maltodextrin, a sugar with a high glycemic index. The ATTENTIVE CHILD wafer itself is sweetened with crystalline fructose (natural fruit sugar) and xylitol (a naturally occurring sweetening agent found in many fruits and vegetables). These select natural sweeteners have a very low glycemic index—so ATTENTIVE CHILD will taste great to your child, but have little effect on blood sugar levels. We recommend carefully reviewing the labels of other products. They may contain honey, glucose, sucrose, maltodextrin, and maltose—all of which have moderate-tohigh glycemic indexes. In addition, maple sugar, molasses, malt syrup, rice syrup, and beet sugar contain varying amounts of high-glycemic-index sugars, which can set off blood sugar fluctuations that may affect concentration. Beware of children’s nutritional bars designed to enhance focus and concentration. Most have over 20 grams of sugar per bar. In contrast, each serving of ATTENTIVE CHILD contains only two grams of crystalline fructose, which has little effect on blood sugar.
Glycemic Index of Various Sweeteners
The glycemic index is a ranking of foods based on their immediate effect on blood glucose levels. It measures how much your blood glucose increases over a period of two or three hours after intake. The higher the glycemic index (GI), the greater the fluctuations in blood sugar. Sweetener Glycemic Index†
*sweeteners used in ATTENTIVE CHILD ™ †based on rate of 100 for glucose ††for information, see website www.wcommerce.com
Lifestyle Strategies for Your Child
You can help your child concentrate on schoolwork, chores and other challenges. Start with ATTENTIVE CHILD and ATTENTIVE DHA, and then incorporate a healthy lifestyle and nutrition routine.
Have your child’s overall health checked by a welltrained holistic health care professional, such as a naturopathic physician. It is particularly important to examine the functioning of your child’s thyroid gland (the master regulator of the body’s metabolism, which influences mood and energy level), and blood sugar metabolism (the brain depends on a steady supply of glucose to function properly, particularly when you are trying to concentrate).
Nutritional Health: Feeding the Brain
Help your child maintain a steady supply of energy and brain fuel by providing a balanced diet. Small, frequent meals are preferable since they dispense a steady level of glucose to the brain. Include foods high in the amino acid tyrosine, a precursor to neurotransmitters that support an alert state. It is found in protein foods, such as meat, poultry, beans, tofu, lentils and seafood. Also include complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, which are metabolized slowly and yield a steady supply of glucose. The simple sugars found in candy, cookies, sodas and other processed foods can lead to a rapid rise in blood sugar levels, followed by an abrupt decline, and should be discouraged. It is important to include essential fatty acids, especially omega-3 fatty acids, which are abundant in the brain and essential for its development and normal functioning. Supplement with ATTENTIVE DHA, and encourage your child to eat cold-water fish, such as salmon. Avoid the hydrogenated fats found in processed foods and margarine, as well as chemicals and food additives. A nutrition program consisting of fresh, unprocessed natural foods is the healthiest choice for everyone.
Some experts believe extended time watching TV and playing video games does not support optimal health or school performance. EEG studies have shown that these activities decrease brain activity rather than activating the brain. Encourage your child to spend time in outdoor physical recreation and in creative, challenging activities.
Supplement with ATTENTIVE CHILD and ATTENTIVE DHA
ATTENTIVE CHILD is available in bottles of 30 & 60 chewable wafers. ATTENTIVE DHA Kid Caps (algal-source Neuromins®) are available in 30- & 60-softgel bottles. References Amen, D. Windows into the....Mind. Fairfield, CA: MindWorks Press, 1997. Foster-Powell, K. & Miller, J.B. 1995, International tables of glycemic index. Am J Clin Nutr. 62:871S-93S. Natah, S.S. et al. 1997. Metabolic response to lactitol and xylitol in healthy men. Am J Clin Nutr. Apr; 65(4):947-50. Schmidt, Michael. Smart Fats. Berkeley: Frog, Ltd., 1997. Sears, William. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1998.