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Pineapples offer you enormous health benefits and can even help thebody fight off chronic disease
March 07, 2019 09:27 AM
Pineapples are more than just a sweet summer treat. They are filled with minerals and vitamins such as B6, copper, manganese, vitamin C, and an enzyme called bromelain. Bromelain is a bioactive compound that has many health benefits. It improves digestive health through rich soluble and insoluble fibers that can stimulate food in the digestive tract. Bromelain is also a natural cough remedy and can be five times more effective than syrup from the store. A lesser-known benefit is bone strengthening due to the high manganese content. Copper in the pineapple boosts blood circulation and wound healing. People who have arthritis also can benefit due to the great anti-inflammatory properties found within the fruit. Rich in potassium, pineapple can also help lower blood pressure as it counteracts the effects of sodium. It is a a great fruit with great benefits.
"Because of these bioactive compounds, people can enjoy a lot of health benefits just by eating pineapples."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-13-pineapples-health-benefits-fight-off-chronic-disease.html
How exactly does fish oil help the heart? It counteracts the effects of mental stress
May 28, 2018 05:16 PM
A study was recently done in which one half of the participants received fish oil, and the other half received olive oil as a placebo. When the participants were relaxing with a resting heart rate, there didn't seem to be any change between both groups of participants. However, when the group members were put into distressing situations, it was shown that those who had the fish oil had much lower levels of mental stress than those who received the placebo.
"Participants who took fish oil exhibited blunted heart rate reactivity while they were stressed compared to those who took olive oil."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-05-20-how-exactly-does-fish-oil-help-the-heart-counteracts-effects-of-mental-stress.html
Study shows low vitamin D levels linked to increased risk of bladder cancer
December 02, 2016 08:59 AM
After reviewing seven separate studies, researchers have come to the conclusion that low vitamin D levels can cause bladder cancer. The theory is that vitamin D activates the immune response within the transitional epithelial cells of the bladder. The immune cells are then able to identify and destroy cells before they can become cancer. If vitamin D levels are low, the immune response is negatively affected. This research counteracts the previous theory that bladder cancer is genetic.
"The researchers went further and tested a specific kind of cell that lines the bladder: transitional epithelial cells. The researchers found that these cells respond to vitamin D and activate an immune response."
Is Hemp Seed A Good Source Of Omega Oils?
January 31, 2014 06:35 PM
What is hemp seed
Exceptional health is the most imperative part of one's life. Individuals who do not consume healthy food are inclined to serious body illnesses, for example, heart ailments, high cholesterol & pulse, diabetes and so on. To forestall these health issues; one must take balanced diet and nutritive dietary substance. As per the nutritionists, hemp seeds are the complete diet and individuals must consume its seeds to stay hale and healthy.
Heath benefits of hemp seed
According to the hemp seeds sustenance facts, they have key vitamins, fats, and minerals that are crucial for a human body. The fatty acids found in them are useful for the health of heart. Other than this, individuals who consume hemp nourishment can pick up a control over fluctuating pulse and avoid cardiovascular ailments. The mixes of fatty acids are useful for patients experiencing joint inflammation.
Hemp is a rich origin of minerals and vitamins
It has a lot of phosphorous, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, and magnesium. Regarding the matter of vitamins, it holds vitamin E, A, D, C, and B-6. Hemp diet furnishes arginine also. The vitamin is used for removing lethal substances, for example, alkali, utilizes this vitamin. It helps in unwinding the veins and subsequently counteracts coronary course infirmity.
Hemp seed protein is not difficult to process.
The protein content in this sort of nourishment is more than what is found in meat, eggs, and other non-veggie lover suppers. These seeds are the best protein item for everyone. By consuming hemp sustenance, you can satisfy protein requirements of your physique framework.
Individuals who are managing stoutness and weight issues can most likely increase profits by expending hemp seeds. Fitness masters have distinguished the favorable circumstances of consuming this sort of nourishment. They say individuals who consume seeds of this harvest in breakfast, lunch, and supper can lose up to thirty pounds of weight in a month. With this, they should likewise polish physical exercises to addition brawny adaptability and quality. Notwithstanding it, stout individuals are suggested to stay far from high-calorie sustenance substance and drinks. By taking after this tracking, one can shed overabundance weight and increase an exceptional form shape.
The individuals who feel tired constantly must have seeds of this marvelous plant. The seeds keep you loaded with vigor throughout the day. Be it children, moms, men or elderly individuals, hemp seeds are handy for all. Because of its aforementioned health profits, individuals call it complete nourishment.
What is Wild Yam Root And How Does It Help PMS And More?
July 25, 2011 02:44 PM
Wild Yam And Your Health
Wild yam root refers to a group of tubers related to the common yam. While the common yam is consumed as a vegetable, wild yam root is known for its medicinal properties. It has been linked to many studies in the past few decades. It is a source of the plant steroid diosgenin, which is converted to progesterone in the laboratory. It has also shown to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Dioscorea villosa is the plant species often referred to as wild yam root, inasmuch as most products and supplements that are marketed as wild yam obtain extracts from this plant. Its positive effects on health are attributed to steroid-like organic compounds called saponins. Nevertheless, these saponins and other active ingredients of the root can also be derived in other closely related wild yam species.
Rebalances Female Hormones
Wild yam root is one of the most recognized plant species in the nutraceutical industry, especially in niches concerning the alleviation of hot flashes, night sweats, and other vasomotor symptoms. It is rich in compounds that precursors to human sex hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone.
Whether modified or not, the compounds extracted from wild yam root display estrogenic activities inside the female body, and they can be administered through the mouth or skin. They work normalize fluctuating levels of hormones, as is the case during menopause.
Counteracts Pain Chemicals
The phytochemical content of wild yam room is anti-inflammatory in nature. Not surprisingly, it has been used in the treatment of inflammation-induced disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, renal colic, ulcerative colitis, muscle cramps, abdominal pain, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Wild yam root suppresses the releases of endogenous compounds responsible for the perception of pain in certain body parts. In addition, it also inhibits the excessive productions of immune cells that trigger hypersensitivity and immune disorders, such as bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis.
Boosts Bone Mineral Density
Extracts of wild yam root are commercially touted to prevent bone loss characteristic of osteoporosis. Since the human bones are the primary reserves of calcium and other minerals, they undergo a continuous cycle of demineralization to meet the mineral demands of other parts of the body.
The process of demineralization that alters bone density throughout life is called bone resorption. It is influenced by other factors, such as sedentary lifestyle and mineral deficiencies. With a balanced diet, regular consumption of wild yam root has been reported to easily reverse bone loss.
Reduces Overall Lipid Levels
There is a growing body of literature devoted to the effects of wild yam root on overall lipid levels in the blood. Wild yam root supplements are believed to lower utilization of triglycerides in the liver, limiting the releases of cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins, and free fatty acids into the bloodstream.
In addition, regular intake of wild yam root extracts appears to interfere with the breakdown of fats into easily digestible fatty acids and their subsequent absorption in the small intestines. This results in lower fat intake and healthier levels of cholesterol.
What is stopping you from trying it?
What Makes a Good Joint Complex or Formula?
June 29, 2011 11:44 AM
Joint pain is a common medical condition that afflicts billions of people worldwide. It is brought on by many different factors, though most of the cases have been tied to arthritis. The joints are especially susceptible to inflammation in old age partly due to the fact that cartilage health becomes impaired as we age. The good news is that certain organic compounds replenish the cartilage content of joints.
Medications and remedies formulated to alleviate joint pain have been extensively studied in the past few decades. Analgesics remain the mainstay of treatment for arthritis to this day, but alternative medicine has also made advances. Proponents of nutritional supplements believe that a good joint formula does not only provide relief from pain but also supplies the proteins necessary for joint health.
Joint cartilage comprises a group of complex carbohydrates called polysaccharides or oligosaccharides that are attached to proteins. In a process called glycosylation, enzymes add long unbranched chains of carbohydrates to core proteins and form proteoglycans, which nourish the extracellular matrix found in cartilages. In the case of osteoarthritis, the proteoglycan content of joints dwindle with age.
Glucosamine is a precursor to polysaccharides and oligosaccharides. In particular, it is utilized by enzymes to form glycosaminoglycans, which are in turn added to proteoglycans. As a treatment for joint pain, it comes in the form of glucosamine sulfate and glucosamine hydrochloride. It is one of the most promising of all complementary therapies for arthritis as studies have reported positive results.
Therapeutic remedies that contain glucosamine often come with chondroitin. The sulfated form of chondroitin is a major constituent of proteoglycans, and as such it is generally found in large amounts in joint cartilage in humans. For decades, chondroitin has been used as a therapeutic remedy for arthritis in conjunction with glucosamine as they are believed to enhance the efficacy of each other.
Proponents believe that chondroitin and glucosamine supply the body with healthy quantities of glycosaminoglycans for use by enzymes in the synthesis of proteoglycans. There is consensus in the scientific community that its long term use for the sole purpose of treating osteoarthritis is safe. In addition, recent studies and clinical trials in the past few years have been very encouraging.
Methylsulfonylmethane, often abbreviated as MSM, is a compound listen as an ingredient in joint formulas. Nutraceutical experts believe that the best joint formula currently available contains all three: glucosamine, chondroitin, and methylsulfonylmethane. While glucosamine and chondroitin provides nutrition for cartilage tissue, MSM counteracts inflammatory mediators that cause joint pain.
Alternative remedies have been the subject of most studies on arthritis in recent years. While analgesics remain commonly used, dietary supplements are becoming increasingly popular among people suffering from joint pain. Glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM are the most studied of all supplements formulated for joint pain, the reason why health care providers recommend them first.
Grab yourself a joint formula complex and feel the difference!
Fight Pain Improve Blood Sugar And Heart Health with OPC Pine Bark Extract
June 07, 2011 11:36 AM
How Does OPC Pine Bark Boost Your Health?
OPC pine bark has become increasingly popular in the supplement industry due to obvious reasons. It is one of the best antioxidant formulas available today. There has been so much research involved in its development, and the studies that followed have published largely positive results. In the past few years it has received a lot of good press, which has significantly contributed to its commercial success.
OPC stands for oligomeric proanthocyanidin, a class of flavonoids. OPC has been in use as a nutritional supplement since the 1980s. To this day, it remains an important source of polyphenolic antioxidants. Moreover, it has been linked to a diverse variety of health benefits, and laboratory studies concerning its effects on human health are well publicized. Pine bark extracts are one of its best known sources.
Promotes Heart Health
OPC pine bark has long been associated with heart health. For one, it has shown to help lower lipid levels in the blood, including cholesterol, triglycerides, and lipoproteins. It interferes with the productions of bad cholesterol into the blood and protects the blood vessels from lipid peroxidation.
In addition, it facilitates normal flow of blood and combats chronic venous insufficiency. It contributes to the upkeep of blood vessel walls and keeps the veins and arteries in prime working condition. By so doing, it promotes proper circulation to the deepest reaches of the body and back to the heart.
Improves Kidney Function
OPC pine bark is particularly good for the kidney as it appears to improve renal function, especially in the context of metabolic syndrome. Central obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus, and high blood pressure are all symptoms of metabolic syndrome, which takes its toll on the kidneys.
Kidney problems have been observed in people with elevated levels of albumin in the urine. When filters of the kidney are damaged, proteins from the blood such as albumin leak into the urine. OPC pine bark restores health to the capillaries in the kidneys that filters waste materials from the blood.
Counteracts Pain Chemicals
Sufferers of joint pain are likely to benefit from OPC pine bark. Joint pain is often tied to osteoarthritis, the most common form arthritis. It is often accompanied by stiffness and reduced mobility. OPC pine bark has been used as a therapeutic treatment for osteoarthritis and other causes of joint pain.
There is good evidence that OPC pine bark is effective in counteracting pain chemicals and relieving inflammatory pain. In several randomized, double blind, placebo controlled studies, regular intake of OPC improved joint pain and stiffness, reduced reliance on analgesics, enhanced physical function.
Prevents Oxidative Stress
OPC pine bark is free radical scavenger, first and foremost. It is arguably the most researched plant polyphenol largely owing to its potent antioxidant capacity. As an antioxidant, it prevents radical damage from progressing to oxidative stress and promotes cellular longevity.
OPC Pine bark may also help manage blood sugar. What is stopping you from taking OPC pine back daily?
How Does Tart Cherry Work To Fight gout and Inflammation?
May 25, 2011 12:46 PM
Health Benefits Of Tart Cherry
Tart cherry may be the newest addition to the growing list of superfruits. This species of sour cherries have been cultivated for centuries, but only recently has research started to uncover its medicinal potential. It is believed to contain a larger number of phenolics and anthocyanins than its sweet counterparts. Plus, it has been linked to more studies in the past few years.
Prunus cerasus are species of cherries native to Europe and parts of Asia. Tart cherries have less than 10 varieties cultivated around the world, but they have steadily grown in popularity. There are two major cultivars: the bright red amarelle and the darker morello. Among the popular cultivars are Montmorency, Balaton, and Griotte de Kleparow.
Counteracts Pain Chemicals
Anthocyanins have long been associated with the alleviation of joint pains and related symptoms, and tart cherry are among the best sources of these organic compounds. Anthocyanins are actually pigments that give fruits such as apples and cherries their red coloration. As a general rule, fullness of color is directly proportional to the anthocyanin content of fruits. Cancer research on anthocyanins is considered unrivaled due to the availability and reliability of documented data. The anthocyanins found in tart cherries counteract the inflammatory mediators that initiate tumorigenesis, which are the same chemicals responsible for sensitizing joints to pain.
Promotes Purine Metabolism
Gout ensues when purine metabolites in the form of uric acid crystallizes and in the process triggers local inflammatory responses. High levels of uric acid in the blood may form into urate crystals anywhere, but often precipitate in the joints of the lower extremities. The big toe is particularly vulnerable to gout, but it may also manifest in the form of joint pains and kidney stones. Unfortunately, human beings lack a functional enzyme that breaks down uric acid and re-balance uric acid levels. This is when tart cherries come to the rescue. They contain phytochemicals that regulate purine metabolites and promote the excretion of uric acid.
Accelerates Muscle Recovery
It is a common belief in the nutraceutical industry that tart cherries are one of the best sources of antioxidants. Free radicals are natural by-products of cellular respiration, and they become so abundant during workout that the muscles begin to feel sore. It takes a longer time to recover from radical damage when the antioxidant defense of cells is compromised. The antioxidant profile of tart cherries enables the skeletal muscles to recuperate fast after intense physical exertion.
Improves Sleep Disorders
Tart cherries have been commercially touted to cure insomnia. While this remains to be proven, tart cherries are in fact excellent sources of melatonin, the primary hormone responsible for inducing sleep in response to dark environments. Sleep disorders may result from a variety of factors, including stress, and sudden lifestyle changes may interfere with the chemical reactions that govern our biological clock. Tart cherries provide a ready source of melatonin, which normalizes circadian rhythm and enables the brain to relax.
Fight back against gout and inflammation pain with Tart Cherry.
What is the Amino Acid Taurine and How Does It Boost My Health
April 26, 2011 02:26 PM
Taurine is a nutrient that improves cellular processes by regulating mineral salts in the human body. Many people consider it as an amino acid as it is derived from seafood and meats. It is not an amino acid in the strictest sense, but a naturally occurring sulfonic acid. It is pivotal to removing the water in the bile. Bile acids are produced in the liver in the presence of taurine and stored in the gallbladder.
Enhances Physical Capacity
Many energy drinks describe taurine as an active ingredient. Several groups of researchers believe it affects athletic performance, drawing on its biological roles. For one, taurine is necessary for the upkeep of skeletal muscles, and in athletes appears to lengthen duration of physical exertion. Also, it is implicated in chemical reactions in the nervous system, boosting mental clarity.
There is evidence that taurine has an effect on blood flow. In the circulatory system, taurine is important to regulating the level of water and minerals. It is widely accepted that it modulates the movement of elements and their metabolites in the blood, such as calcium, potassium, and sodium. In fact, taurine has been observed to significantly decrease high blood pressure in hypertensive patients.
Promotes Liver Health
Taurine is especially good for the health. Numerous studies have noted the effects of high levels of taurine on liver cells. It has been proven effective in removing any adiposity in the organ. Clinical trials have published results that emphasize its benefits to people with liver diseases, such as hepatitis and cirrhosis. It has also been observed that high intake of taurine counters hangover.
Lowers Serum Lipid Levels
In the liver, taurine plays an important role in inhibiting the releases of apolipoproteins, a class of proteins that bind with lipids to form lipoproteins. Apolipoprotein B makes up very-low-density lipoproteins and low-density lipoproteins, or what we refer to as bad cholesterol. This is the reason why taurine has been suggested to help people afflicted with cardiovascular diseases.
Normalizes Blood Sugar
It has been postulated that taurine protects the beta cells of the pancreas, the organ responsible for the manufacture of the insulin. Patients diagnosed with type 1 diabetes mellitus have been reported to experience an improvement in insulin levels. Taurine is also helpful for type 2 diabetes as it also appears to enhance glucose sensitivity of cells, thereby decreasing glucose levels in the blood.
Scavenges Free Radicals
Taurine is an antioxidant known for its wide-ranging benefits. It is almost always associated with oxidative stress brought on by physical exertion as it protects the skeletal muscles from the damaging effects of free radicals. More importantly, it protects the liver, the pancreas, and the circulatory system from the toxic by-products of metabolism, notably during oxidation of chemical compounds.
Given the health benefits of Taurine, everybody should be taking some daily!
What is Bioperine and How Does It Help with Absorption of Vitamins
April 21, 2011 03:14 PM
Get more from your food with Bioperine.
Bioperine is a patented form of an alkaloid found in black pepper. It is derived entirely from piperine, an organic compound responsible for the spicy taste of black pepper and long pepper. Piperine has been noted for its thermogenic properties believed to speed up the absorption metabolism of digested foods. Recent studies have discovered that it also interferes with the release of enzymes that govern the bioavailability of drugs and supplements. By so doing, it enhances the rate of absorption of vitamins.
The human body has a complex mechanism of controlling the substances that get in and out of systemic circulation. The first pass occurs in the alimentary canal, where gastrointestinal enzymes break down substances into smaller compounds. It is believed that a very small percentage manages to undergo intestinal absorption after digestion. In general, this is the part where constituents of supplements remain undigested and instead enter the colon together with waste materials.
The liver plays a central role to the metabolism of drugs and most bioactive compounds. The compounds that pass the intestinal walls and enter the hepatic portal system, a group of veins that direct blood and other compounds from the gastrointestinal tract to the liver, is further metabolized inside the liver. Anything that the body considers foreign is sent to the kidneys and easily excreted through the urine. This is the reason why bioavailability is significantly reduced after ingestion.
Counteracts Effects of Enzymes
Bioperine is the only compound known to interact with enzymes that controls the metabolism of foreign materials within the intestinal epithelium. P-glycoprotein is released in the digestive tract to deal with drugs and xenobiotics found in our diet. Vitamins are no exception to the tightly regulated process of absorption in the intestines. These enzymes transport digested compounds to the liver.
It has been observed that piperine appears to reduce the expression of p-glycoprotein in the alimentary canal and other parts of the body. Proponents believe that bioperine, a purer form of piperine, is capable of counteracting the effects of the enzyme within the intestinal epithelium, making it easier for vitamins and supplements to enter the hepatic portal system.
Increases the Rate of Metabolism
Not all compounds that undergo the first-pass effect interact with the cells and tissues they are supposed to act on. If they should have an effect on any cell, they are still subjected to the actions of enzymes specialized for the expulsion of xenobiotics found in the systemic circulation and the rest of the body. For example, CYP3A4 removes foreign materials from the cells and facilitates their excretion.
Bioperine is touted to induce thermogenesis and stimulate cellular activities. By so doing, the effects of bioactive compounds are achieved while they remain inside the cells and tissues. The thermogenic properties of bioperine influence the rate of metabolism of digested compounds, including vitamins, minerals, and components of herbal preparations. Note that it can increase the update or prescription medications as well, so caution should be observed when consuming bioperine with medications.
If you want to give your body a nutrient boost, add bioperine to your supplement regiment to boost absorption.
What is Oligonol Good for and How Does It Boost My Health?
March 22, 2011 03:42 PM
Oligonol is the first ever nutritional supplement to contain low molecule polyphenolic oligomers. These polyphenols are derived from the plant Litchi chinensis, also known as lychee in the vernacular. The name oliginol is a portmanteau for oligomer polyphenol, which is widely touted to display bioavailability far superior to high molecular weight polyphenols present in most antioxidant supplements and the plants that they are extracted from. It boasts the most recent innovation of producing higher biological activity by using the low molecule technology developed by the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Nagasaki University in collaboration with Amino Up Chemical Co. Ltd.
Polyphenols have long been known to create health effects that are antioxidant in nature. These organic compounds have been tied to quenching reactive oxygen species, or ROS, a natural by-product of oxygen metabolism. ROS like free radicals are in fact deployed by cells in response to potential threats such as invasive pathogens. Given the high reactivity of free radicals, each cell releases endogenous antioxidants to scavenge ROS. However, the body’s antioxidant defense becomes compromised with continued exposure to stress.
At the cellular level, an imbalance between ROS and antioxidants creates a chain reaction termed oxidative stress, which damages cellular organelles and even DNA. This is when antioxidant supplements come to the rescue. Plant-based polyphenols such as those found in teas is widely believed to neutralize free radicals. Those found in lychee are of special note in that they are particularly helpful against oxidative stress. The proprietary low molecule technology of Amino Up Chemical Co. Ltd. processes these already potent polyphenols into more effective monomers and short-chain oligomers.
Protects Cardiovascular Health
Since oligonol was made available nearly two years ago, there have been a number of studies looking into its medicinal potential. A few of the earliest researches were double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials that investigated its effects on the cardiovascular system. It has been observed that oligonol appears to lower platelet reactivity, contributing to dilation of peripheral vessels. By so doing, it effectively promotes blood flow, which results in an increase in body temperature.
Counteracts Physical Fatigue
Recovery to fatigue induced by physical exertion is one of the benefits of oligonol that have been well investigated. In one single blind, placebo controlled study involving 47 participants, intake of oligonol lowered post exercise fatigue. The oligonol group of amateur athletes between 18 and 22 of age took two 100-mg oligonol capsules in two 26-day periods with a 9-day wash-out period and saw a noticeable improvement in fatigue recovery in comparison with the control group.
Reduces Visceral Fat
Oligonol continues to excite researchers from around the world with the publication of the study on its effects on visceral fat. There are cell-signaling protein molecules released by adipose tissues that are considered deleterious to human health, and thus called bad factor. Adiposity has been tied to higher mortality, with people having larger waists especially susceptible to many known diseases. Supplementation of oligonol has seen a sharp decrease in abdominal circumference and overall subcutaneous fat.
How Does the Herb Holy Basil Help with My Health?
March 10, 2011 02:04 PM
Holy Basil And Cholesterol, Inflammation, and more
Ocimum tenuiflorum, known as Holy Basil in the vernacular, is an herbal plant indigenous to South Asia, where it is called Tulsi. It is widely distributed across the subcontinent of India and surrounding countries and is primarily cultivated for its age-old medicinal benefits in addition to its religious significance to Vaishnavite practices of Hinduism. It has earned popularity as a health tonic over the centuries, and recent studies have supported its positive effects on human health. Today it is often associated with lowering cholesterol and glucose, acting as an antioxidant, and regulating inflammatory intermediaries.
Counteracts Stress Factors
The juice of holy basil has long been reputed to display adaptogenic properties. There have been countless accounts of its effectiveness in combating stress. In fact, the most compelling of all anecdotal evidence has something to do with its ability to create a feeling of wellness right after ingestion, the same tonic benefits attributed to ginseng. To date studies point to its homeostatic effects on the stress hormone cortisol, creating homeostatic effects on its metabolites and their interactions with compounds released in response to stress.
Neutralizes Free Radicals
Holy basil has been observed to show antioxidant activities, and this is one of its mechanisms in allaying symptoms brought on by fatigue. Free radicals are released by the body to dispose of pathogens, but are in turn disposed of by endogenous antioxidants. Oxidative stress ensues when there is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to neutralize them. The polyphenols found in holy basil helps the body quench excesses of free radicals.
Lowers Bad Cholesterol
There has been a growing body of literature devoted to the lipid-lowering properties of holy basil. The phytochemicals found in holy basil have been cited to affect the metabolic pathway that produces very-low-density lipoproteins, which is a precursor to low-density lipoproteins, or bad cholesterol, and bring about an increase in high-density lipoproteins, dubbed good cholesterol. Also, it has been associated to the overall decrease of lipids present in the bloodstream, notably free fatty acids.
Reduces Blood Glucose
One of the earliest observations on the health effects of holy basil is its properties that counter the progression of diabetes. It has been reported many times to have helped patients of type 2 diabetes mellitus, which results from the compromised ability of cells to respond to the hormone insulin. The use of holy basil extracts has yielded promising results on promoting the glucose uptake of cells, and, of course, the consequent decrease in glucose present in the blood.
Holy basil has been extensively studied for its anti-inflammatory benefits. The most recent research has pointed out that organic compounds found in holy basil may inhibit the enzyme called COX-2, which facilitates the synthesis of inflammatory mediators. Eicosanoids are endogenous substances produced by local tissues during inflammation, and a special group called prostanoids is responsible for the pain tied to inflammation. By targeting COX-2, holy basil greatly aids against inflammatory diseases such as arthritis.
What is stopping you from giving holy basil a try today?
Staying Healthy Means Keeping Your Blood In The Proper PH
October 21, 2007 07:04 PM
The blood should be electrolytically neutral, or very slightly alkaline. The proper pH for blood should be 7 or just above it, and many claim that it should be 7.35. In fact the truth is that your blood pH should be between 7.2 and 7.6. Outside these limits and you could have serious health problems, with your brain particularly being affected.
For those who have forgotten their school chemistry, pH is a measurement of the level of acidity or alkalinity of an aqueous solution. Anything over 7 is said to be alkaline, and below 7 is acidic. Where the pH has to be maintained at a certain level, a material called a buffer is used that counteracts the effects of other acids and alkalis to maintain the desired pH range. Buffers are very common in nature, as would be expected of life forms that depend upon water and aqueous solutions for their survival. Blood is an aqueous solution containing plasma, blood cells, nutrients and various other ingredients in both solution and dispersed solid form.
The human body possesses a very effective pH maintenance system that depends on various buffers, the kidneys and the lungs. Lets have a closer look at buffers and how they work. pH is, in fact, a measurement of the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) in a solution. The way a buffer works is to absorb or release H+ ions to keep the hydrogen ion concentration at a specific level. If there are too many H+ ions present in the blood, and it becomes too acidic, then the buffer will mop up the excess. If there are too few, and the blood becomes too alkaline, then the buffer will release more hydrogen ions into the blood. In this way the pH is maintained at the limits mentioned above.
Buffers in the human body include some forms of protein, phosphates and also hemoglobin. However, if the pH variations are more than just occasional, the buffers have a limited capability, and a more permanent solution is needed. If the blood is continually becoming too acidic, the bicarbonate ion is used to clear them up. Just as bicarbonate of soda is used to clear up excess acidity in your stomach that causes indigestion, so it can be used to clear up excess acidity in the blood. But how do we get the bicarbonate into the blood?
When the lungs inhale oxygen, they then exhale carbon dioxide. The bicarbonate ion, also called the hydrogen carbonate ion, is formed in the blood by dissolved carbon dioxide. The faster we breathe the more carbon dioxide we exhale and the less is left in the blood to form bicarbonate. The slower we breathe, the more carbon dioxide is available in the blood for bicarbonate. Thus, when our blood acidity increases we breathe slower, and when it decreases we breathe faster since less carbon dioxide is needed in the blood to form bicarbonate to neutralize the acid.
The kidneys also help to regulate the pH of the blood, although the biochemistry involved is fairly complex, and will not be covered here. It is enough to state that the body has a number of routes by which it can control the pH of the blood.
Current thinking is that alkaline and acidic foods should be balanced in your diet in order to place less of a strain on the body’s pH control systems. Since the blood pH must be slightly alkaline, then it might make sense to eat a slightly alkaline diet. However, it is not the actual food that matters, but what happens when the food is digested. Hence, orange juice is classed as an alkaline food even though it is high in citric acid and itself has a low pH. The same is true of lemons. They taste very sour, yet the result after digestion is alkaline. It is the end result that counts. After all, the stomach acid is very strong and very highly acidic, and eating slightly alkaline foods is not going to alter that. The digestive juices have to be highly acidic to break down the organic matter.
It had been calculated that a mix of around d 75% alkaline and 25% acidic food is a good combination of the two types to provide approximately the desired blood pH. Among the common acidic foods are meat, fish, poultry, plums, grains, eggs, wine, cheese and offal. The alkaline foods are most fruits and vegetables, orange and lemon juice, melons, potatoes and chocolate. Hence, it is possible to eat beef and chicken, and have the odd glass of wine so long as we eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. There is nothing at all unusual with that diet, and it underlines the importance of eating a healthy balanced diet. While more greens and whole foods are definitely healthier for you, you should not eat exclusively an alkaline diet.
If your blood pH is on the high side of the limit, then you can eat a bit more meat or fish, and if on the low side eat a more vegetarian style diet. It is important, however, that you eat healthily, irrespective of whether you are eating alkaline or acidic foods. Through history, the human race has adopted a more acidic diet than the ancient hunter gatherers. Grains are a relatively recent invention, introduced after the invention of stone tools to mill them, and dairy products are also relatively recent in terms of the whole of human history. Even the consumption of meat only began after mankind learned first how to trap and then developed tools to enable them to kill their prey.
Human biochemistry, then, has developed from a predominantly vegetarian diet. However, protein is still very important, and while protein intake is necessary, should comprise no more than 20% - 25% of your total food intake. The rest should comprise of mainly fruits and vegetables, with whole rather than refined or processes foods predominating. Sugar was not eaten in quantity until the industrial revolution.
Measuring the pH of your blood is easy to do. It is simply a matter of using pH paper strips and checking the color change with your blood. They are available at most pharmacies and health food stores. If your pH level varies from 7.4 or 7.5, then you should change your diet accordingly. Higher than this, then eat more acidic foods, and if lower you should eat more alkaline food. It is simple equation, and the changes you will have to make to your diet will be minimal. Some of these changes can be made by the use of supplements that are carefully balanced to maintain your blood in the proper pH.
Selecting the Right Probiotic is the Key to proper digestion
May 05, 2007 01:16 PM
Selecting the Right Probiotic is the Key
Do you ever think about what goes into your body each day? You should. One of the key to feeling good and being healthy s eating nutritious food and making sure our gastrointestinal (GI) tract has the tools it needs to optimally digest and absorb nutrients. The GI tract includes the stomach and intestines, which work to digest foods and eliminate waste.
A variety of “good” intestinal bacteria helps to keep the digestive system running. These “good” bacteria are called probiotic bacteria, or probiotics. Probiotics digest food, process waste, and keep the “bad” bacteria – which have the potential to cause disease and illness – in check.
This issue of Ask the Doctor will look at the probiotic bacteria that play an important role in maintaining our health and wellness: we need them, what they can do for us, and how to make sure we are getting enough. Also, we will talk about an exciting process that truly delivers probiotic bacteria taken in nutritional supplements. Encapsulated in a pearl-like sphere, they survive transport to the intestines, set up house, and exert their beneficial effects. As we will see, probiotic supplementation can help prevent and treat many different illnesses, unless the beneficial bacteria reach the intestines alive and active, the supplement is worthless.
Q. I thought bacteria were bad. How can bacteria be good for us?
A. Some kinds of bacteria do cause illnesses and disease in humans. “Strep” throat is an example of an illness caused by bacteria.
However, the majority of bacteria do not cause disease. In fact, there are types of bacteria that are actually beneficial. “Good” bacteria, known as probiotic bacteria, are used in the manufacturing of food and beverages. Some examples of foods that have probiotic food ingredients are buttermilk, yogurt, cheese, sausage, and acidophilus milk.
These same kinds of probiotic bacteria are present in our intestines and help to keep the digestive system running by digesting food and processing waste.
Q. What are probiotics?
A. Probiotics are live bacteria that are non-toxic and do not cause disease (non-pathogenic).
Some of the best-understood probiotic bacteria include members of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium groups. Because of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium’s ability to break down lactose, these probiotic bacteria are also known as lactic acid bacteria. Both of these types of probiotic bacteria are well studied and are available in both food and dietary supplements.
Q. Is there a difference between the probiotic bacteria that is found in yogurt, and in nutritional supplements?
A. Actually, the bacteria that are in yogurt, our intestine, and most natural supplements are the same types of probiotic bacteria, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria longum. Because of this, these bacteria are referred in a generic sense as probiotics. So, the term probiotics may refer to the “good” bacteria that are present in food or that live in our intestine, or that are part of a natural supplement.
Q. Where do these probiotic bacteria come from?
A. As recently as the middle of the last century, bacteria found naturally in food ingredients were used to make a fermented food product. For example, the example, the lactic acid bacteria found naturally in milk were used to make cheese. This was known as wild fermentation.
Wild fermentations are no longer used. Today, the probiotic bacteria used in food and natural supplements are harvested via a highly controlled fermentation process. This process results in high numbers of bacteria and ensures quality and purity of the bacteria.
A. Normal microflora (the term commonly used for intestinal bacteria) is associated with good health. An imbalance in this natural microflora (when the beneficial probiotics are outnumbered by the harmful bacteria) is frequently associated with various disease states such as yeast infections and colon cancer.
Eating foods or taking a nutritional supplement containing probiotic bacteria can help support and modify the composition of the large intestine microflora. Microflora of the large intestine assist digestion through fermentation (by making the intestines more inhospitable to invading bacteria species), protection against disease-causing bacteria, and stimulation of the immune system.
The probiotics, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, occupy a central role in the intestinal and provide health benefits.
Q. How do probiotic bacteria help with digestion?
A. Lactose is an important sugar that is converted to lactic acid by lactic acid bacteria. Lactose intolerance results from an inability to digest lactose, due to the failure of small intestine mucosal cells to produce lactase, an enzyme needed to digest lactose. This often results because of genetics, gastrointestinal disease, or because of the decline in the amount of intestinal lactase levels associated with aging. Lactase deficient people accumulate non-absorbed lactose in the gastrointestinal tract, which draws water and electrolytes into the gut and speeds waste through the intestines, leading to bloating, cramping, and diarrhea.
Approximately 50 million people in the
Lactic acid bacteria have been shown to help the breakdown of lactose, specifically by enhancing the activity of lactase (beta galactosidase), which improves lactose digestion and tolerance. Furthermore, in a randomized, controlled clinical trial, Bifidobacteria longum was shown to assist in the breakdown of lactose and relieve the symptoms of lactose intolerance (flatulence) in people with lactose intolerance.
Q. What is the difference between digestive enzymes and probiotics? Can they be taken together?
A. Digestive enzymes, such as protease, amalyse, and lipase, act upon food, breaking it down into simpler components that can be used by the body for energy. Without enzymes, digestion could not take place. Therefore, the food that we eat could not be absorbed and utilized by our bodies.
Probiotics help the enzymes to digest food and process waste. In essence, probiotic bacteria and enzymes work together to ensure that the digestive tract is running smoothly. When taken together, enzymes assure greater levels of digestion absorption of your food, and probiotic bacteria aid the enzymes in digestion and keep problems in check.
Q. Is helping to ensure a healthy digestive system the only use for probiotics?
A. Absolutely not! Probiotic bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, have been found to help prevent vaginal yeast infections in women that suffer from these reoccurring infections.
Approximately 35% of vaginal infections are caused by the yeast. Candida albicans, Candida, is a fungus that is a component of the normal gastrointestinal microflora. However, Candida must not be allowed to increase in numbers. An overgrowth is associated with adverse health effects like vaginal infections, oral thrush, or even serious systematic yeast infections. Probiotics have been shown to keep levels of Candida in check.
Probiotic bacteria have also been demonstrated to have anti-cancer properties. In baa clinical study, colon cancer patients given Lactobacillus acidophilus fermented milk showed a significant increase in numbers of intestinal Lactobacilli and a decrease in risk factors associated with colon cancer.
Patients suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can benefit from probiotic bacteria supplementation. Studies have shown that probiotic bacteria assist in maintaining remission in ulcerative colitis and preventing reoccurrence of Crohn’s disease. Manipulating the intestinal flora may prove to be more effective and better tolerated than the drugs that are conventionally given to treat these diseases. I one study, Lactobacillus acidophilus was found to improve the intestinal barrier and clinical status in children suffering from Crohn’s disease.
Probiotics supplementation can also improve and prevent skin disease, such as eczema. Studies have shown that probiotic bacteria can actually control inflammation associated with skin conditions. In one study, infants with eczema who were given probiotic-supplemented formulas showed a significant improvement in skin condition.
The chart below summarizes some of the diseases and conditions that probiotic bacteria can help prevent and/or improve.
Q. How often should probiotics be taken to ensure optimal support of the digestion system?
A. Probiotic bacteria do not permanently colonize in the body. They need to be replenished by the consumption of foods containing probiotic bacteria or by taking a probiotic natural supplement. Whatever form you choose to replenish the intestinal probiotics, they need to be ingested daily for their health-promoting effects to continue.
Q. If I take a probiotic nutritional supplement, how many bacteria should a good quality supplement contain?
A. The critical factor is not how many bacteria that a supplement contains, but rather how many bacteria reach the intestines healthy, vigorous, and ready to work.
A good quality supplement will deliver at least 3 billion living, healthy probiotic bacteria per dose to your intestines. The bacteria in the probiotic natural supplement should be a mixture of both Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria.
Again, the critical key to a good quality probiotic supplement is that the bacteria must be alive to work. Only living probiotic bacteria can colonize in the intestines. A good quality probiotic nutritional supplement will have GUARANTEED levels of live bacteria at the point of consumption. Inferior brands will merely state levels of live bacteria at the point of manufacture.
Recently, a private laboratory tested various probiotic nutritional supplements in the marketplace, including one utilizing a new process that encapsulates the bacteria in a spherical, pearl-like coating. Each of these supplements were best-selling brands, two of them were enteric coated, and all had label guarantees about potency. The lab counted the levels claimed by each manufacturer.
Q. Then how do I know I am getting what I pay for?
A. First, look for a product that has a “use by” date or an “expiration” date clearly stated on the package.
It is also important to look for a probiotic supplement that does not require refrigeration. Probiotic supplements that require refrigeration often have been subjected to warm temperatures during shipment and storage that will inevitably kill off some or all of the bacteria.
It is also important that the product label guarantees live bacteria at the time of purchase, not at the time of shipment or manufacturing. However, from the laboratory test discussed, we see that sometimes these written guarantees are not worth the paper they are written on. There is one scientifically validated process that truly delivers live and vigorous bacteria to the intestine. This process suspends the probiotic bacteria in a moist paste and immediately seals the bacteria in a perfectly seamless, spherical, gelatin ball. This bacterial paste is completely protected from air and dryness so the bacteria are alive until the specialized gelatin dissolves – in the intestines.
Q. Why is it important to dissolve only in the intestine?
A. Lactic acid bacteria are not very resistant to the acids of the stomach. The harsh environment of the stomach destroys the majority of these bacteria.
This pearly-like coating technology protects bacteria from the stomach acid. The sphere is specially developed to only dissolve in the intestines. Enteric coating is not enough as it does nothing to protect the bacteria while they wait for purchase on the shelf.
Q. What does this proprietary coating technology mean to me?
A. This specialized process is an expensive processing step, but it has many advantages to you.
The pearl-shaped spheres actually “seal” the bacteria in the capsule, which protects them from air. Probiotic bacteria are anaerobic, meaning they do not require oxygen to live. In fact, the presence of oxygen can actually injure or kill probiotic bacteria. In addition, the special coating’s ability to seal the bacteria in the capsule stimulates the need for the nutritional supplement to be refrigerated – though they can be kept in the refrigerator, if desired.
By protecting the bacteria on the shelf and in the stomach, the probiotic bacteria successfully reach the intestine. As a result, there will be a greater number of healthy, intact bacteria that can colonize in the intestine.
Many health care practitioners believe all health issues are related in some way to the process of digestion. Probiotics play a crucial role in improving our digestive health, which, in turn, is interconnected to every single function in our bodies.
Taking a probiotic supplement is an excellent way to replenish the good bacteria in your intestinal microflora. A quality probiotic product contains two different types of bacteria from Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species with at least one billion live bacteria per dose.
But how do you know the bacteria re still alive? Look at the package. If there is no fate stamp, put it down. If it says the company guarantees there was a certain number alive at the time of manufacture, put it down. Tat means that the company is not willing to claim the bacteria are alive when delivered to the target site, the intestine. If the product must be constantly refrigerated, put it down. How do you know it didn’t sit in a truck for two days, or was in a warehouse before it was shipped to the health food store?
Find a probiotic that says the bacteria are guaranteed to be alive in the numbers stated on the label until the printed on the package. Find a product using unique, cutting edge science to deliver the probiotic bacteria in a form that uses spherical, sealed, triple coating to protect the bacteria. That company has gone to extra time and expense to make sure you reap the benefits that probiotics can offer.
December 08, 2005 03:33 PM
Carnitine CreatinateNeil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 6/30/05
LIKELY USERS: Athletes, Bodybuilders, Dieters, People who consume a lot of fat, People needing cardiovascular support (energy for the heart), People who need quick energy, especially for fast muscle response, People with muscle wasting problems (including the elderly), Weightlifters
KEY INGREDIENTS: L-Carnitine and Creatine Monohydrate
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: Carnitine Creatinate Monohydrate is a specialized form of Creatine bonded to L-Carnitine. Creatine is a compound natural to the human body that aids in the regeneration of ATP, the chemical energy used by muscle tissue. During exercise, large quantities of creatine are irreversibly consumed. Clinical studies have shown that oral supplementation with Creatine can increase the amount of Creatine available in muscles for ATP production. L-Carnitine is an amino acid that is necessary for the transfer of fatty acids into the fat-burning parts of the cell, facilitating energy production from fat. The combination of these two compounds can produce a synergistic effect, making NOW® Carnitine Creatinate an ideal energy supplement.
ADDITIONAL PRODUCT USE INFORMATION & QUALITY ISSUES: Carnitine and Creatinate Monohydrate is a patented ingredient that has been the subject of research studies. It is supported by the scientific staff in the laboratories of both NOW Foods and the raw material supplier, both of which have a mutual interest in protecting the integrity and efficacy of this product. Protected by U.S. Patent No. 5,994,581 (L-Carnitine Creatinate Monohydrate).
Look at the price: this is a better way to buy both supplements than purchasing them separately.
This formula is suitable for vegetarians and is offered in both tablet and powder forms.
SERVING SIZE & HOW TO TAKE IT: As a dietary supplement, every two tablets provide 1,000 mg. (one gram) each of both L-Carnitine and Creatine Monohydrate. Or one teaspoon provides 1,150 mg.) each of both L-Carnitine and Creatine Monohydrate. Take one or more servings per day with a carbohydrate source, such as fruit juice or sports drinks.
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: CoQ10, carbohydrates, B-Complex vitamins, chromium, vanadium, Hawthorn leaf and flower extract, protein supplements. Adaptogenic herbs: ginsengs, Eleuthero, Rhodiola, Maca, Ashwaganda, licorice root
PRODUCT SPECIFIC: This product is very sensitive to moisture. Please keep in the original packaging or in a moisture resistant container. Do not take more than 20 grams per day. Discontinue use if cramps of stomach upset occur, especially if taking large doses. Do not take if kidney disease is present. Do not use large doses of caffeine with creatine, as it may increase the possibility of muscle cramping.
GENERAL: Pregnant and lactating women and people using prescription drugs should consult their physician before taking any dietary supplement. When taking any new supplement, use common sense and cautiously increase to the full dose over time to avoid any potential problems.
Packages may contain moisture or oxygen controlling packets or canisters that are not intended for consumption. In order to maintain maximum freshness, please do not remove these from your bottle (until the bottle is empty). Please recycle your container.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Fang S-M (1998) Carnitine Creatinate. U.S. Patent 5,994,581.
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Broquist HP (1994) Carnitine, in Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 8th ed., Shils ME, Olson JA, Shike M (eds.) Lea & Febiger, Philadelphia, pp. 459-465. Casey A, Greenhoff PL (2000) Does dietary creatine supplementation play a role in skeletal muscle metabolism and performance? Am J Clin Nutr 72(suppl):607S-17S. Columbani P, Wenk C, Kunz I, et al. Effect of L-carnitine supplementation on physical performance and energy metabolism of endurance-trained athletes: a double blind crossover field study. Eur J Appl Physiol 1996;73:434-9.
Dal Negro R, Pomari G, Zoccatelli O, Turco P. L-carnitine and rehabilitative respiratory physiokinesitherapy: metabolic and ventilatory response in chronic respiratory insufficiency. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol 1986;24:453-6.
Dal Negro R, Turco P, Pomari C, De Conti F. Effects of L-carnitine on physical performance in chronic respiratory insufficiency. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol 1988;26:269-72.
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Giamberardino MA, Dragani L, Valente R, et al. Effects of prolonged L-carnitine administration on delayed muscle pain and CK release after eccentric effort. Int J Sports Med 1996;17:320-4.
Green RE, Levine AM, Gunning MJ. The effect of L-carnitine supplementation on lean body mass in male amateur body builders. J Am Diet Assoc 1997;(suppl):A-72.
Harris RC, Soderlund K, Hultman E (1992) Elevation of creatine in resting and exercised muscle of normal subjects by creatine supplementation. Clin Sci 83(3):367-374.
Kendler BS. Carnitine: an overview of its role in preventive medicine. Prev Med 1986;15:373–90.
Kobayashi A, Masumura Y, Yamazaki N. L-carnitine treatment for congestive heart failure—experimental and clinical study. Jpn Circ J 1992;56:86–94.
Murray MT. The many benefits of carnitine. Am J Natural Med 1996;3:6-14 [review].
Tamamogullari N, Silig Y, Icagasioglu S, Atalay A. Carnitine deficiency in diabetes mellitus complications. J Diabetes Complications 1999;13:251–3.
Yesilipek MA, Hazar V, Yegin O. L-Carnitine treatment in beta thalassemia major. Acta Haematol 1998;100:162-3. CREATINE MONOHYDRATE: Almada A, Mitchell T, Earnest C. Impact of chronic creatine supplementation on serum enzyme concentrations. FASEB J 1996;10:4567.
Becque MD, Lochmann JD, Melrose DR. Effects of oral creatine supplementation on muscular strength and body composition. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2000;32:654-8.
Casey A, Constantin-Teodosiu D, Howell S, et al. Creatine supplementation favorably affects performance and muscle metabolism during maximal intensity exercise in humans. Am J Physiol 1996;271:E31-E7.
Earnest CP, Almada AL, Mitchell TL. High-performance capillary electrophoresis-pure creatine monohydrate reduces blood lipids in men and women. Clin Sci 1996;91:113-8.
Earnest C, Almada A, Mitchell T. Influence of chronic creatine supplementation on hepatorenal function. FASEB J 1996;10:4588.
Earnest CP, Snell PG, Rodriguez R, et al. The effect of creatine monohydrate ingestion on anaerobic power indices, muscular strength and body composition. Acta Physiol Scand 1995;153:207-9.
Felber S, Skladal D, Wyss M, et al. Oral creatine supplementation in Duchenne muscular dystrophy: a clinical and 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy study. Neurol Res 2000;22:145-50.
Feldman EB. Creatine: a dietary supplement and ergogenic aid. Nutr Rev 1999;57:45–50.
Green AL, Hultman E, Macdonald IA, et al. Carbohydrate ingestion augments skeletal muscle creatine accumulation during creatine supplementation in man. Am J Physiol 1996;271:E821–6.
Green AL, Simpson EJ, Littlewood JJ, et al. Carbohydrate ingestion augments creatine retention during creatine feeding in humans. Acta Physiol Scand 1996;158:195-202.
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Greenhaff PL, Bodin K, Soderlund K, et al. Effect of oral creatine supplementation on skeletal muscle phosphocreatine resynthesis. Am J Physiol 1994;266:E725-30.
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Research on SAMe....
October 26, 2005 12:49 PM
Two groups of researchers have conducted analyses of trials that utilized SAM-e for mood enhancement. One meta-analysis was published in 1994. The researchers analyzed the efficacy of SAM-e in oral or injection forms based on published trials dated between 1973 and 1992. The authors concluded that there was a significant improvement of 17 to 38% seen in trials of SAM-e compared to placebo response. They state that the efficacy of SAM-e was superior to placebo and its administration caused few side effects.5 A second review was published in 2002. The authors analyzed studies in which SAM-e doses ranged from 200 to 1600 mg daily. They also found a significant effect of SAM-e in comparison to placebo, with an evident rapid onset of effect at enhancing mood.6
Promotes Joint Comfort and Mobility*
As a sulfur donor to connective tissue, SAM-e plays a major role in protecting the integrity of cartilage tissue. An in vitro trial assessed the actions of SAM-e in cultured human articular chondrocytes. At a concentration of 10 micrograms/ml, proteoglycan synthesis and sulfate residue incorporation in chondrocytes was shown to be 60% higher than control levels. Based on these results, it was shown that SAM-e has a positive influence on the growth and health of cartilaginous connective tissue.7
In a double-blind trial with 734 individuals with compromised joint health. SAM-e given orally at a dose of 1200 mg daily for 30 days was shown to significantly promote joint comfort compared to placebo, with a high level of tolerability and low incidence of side effects. The researchers concluded that SAM-e is a highly effective supplement for enhancing joint comfort.8
Another trial evaluated the response of individuals experiencing discomfort in the joints to a regimen of 1200 mg SAM-e for 1 week followed by 800 mg for the second week, and then 400 mg for weeks 3 through 8. This open trial of 20, 641 people showed a strong ability of SAM-e to enhance feelings of comfort within the joints. The treatment was rated as “very good” or “good” in 71% of the participants, with an additional 21% rating the treatment effect as “moderate”.9
In a long-term trial lasting 24 months, SAM-e was given to 108 participants with compromised joint function. Individuals were given 600 mg orally per day for the first two weeks followed by 400 mg daily for the remainder of the trial. Individuals experienced significant enhancements in joint comfort, with dramatic improvements noted after 2-4 weeks of treatment. Improvements continued to 6 months and beyond.10
In addition to the above studies, a review was conducted in 1987 to assess the results of SAM-e supplementation in clinical trials for enhancing joint mobility and function. Over 22,000 individuals had participated in the clinical trials that were the subject of this review. The author concluded from his analysis that SAM-e was shown to be highly efficacious, rivaling or surpassing the effectiveness of other treatments, and also possessing a high level of safety.11 Because of this, SAM-e may be the treatment of choice for enhancing joint function.
Supports Liver Health and Detoxification*
SAM-e supplementation can have profound benefits on liver function. These benefits center around its function as the major methyl donor in the liver, as well as its lipotropic activity. SAM-e also enhances the production of the antioxidant glutathione.
A number of trials have been conducted showing the ability of SAM-e to support liver detoxification functions and enhance liver health in individuals susceptible to toxin-induced liver compromise. SAM-e has the ability to normalize liver function by increasing the activity of enzymes needed to upregulate liver detoxification. These effects are comprehensive and rapid. Dosages used in these studies range from 600 mg to 1600 mg daily for 2 months to two years.12,13,14 In these trials, significant benefits of SAM-e supplementation were seen over placebo.
SAM-e has an excellent safety profile and is considered well-suited for long term use based on multiple clinical trials. Individuals diagnosed with manic depression should avoid SAM-e supplementation, as it may aggravate the manic phase *This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1. Agnoli A, Andreoli V, Casacchia M, Cerbo R. Effect of s-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAMe) upon depressive symptoms. J Psychiatr Res. 1976;13(1):43-54.
2. De Leo D. S-adenosylmethionine as an antidepressant. Curr Ther Research. 1987;41(6):865-70.
3. Kagan BL, Sultzer DL, Rosenlicht N,Gerner RH. Oral S-adenosylmethionine in depression: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Am J Psychiatry. 1990 May;147(5):591-5.
4.Salmaggi P,Bressa GM,Nicchia G,Coniglio M,La Greca P,Le Grazie C.Doubleblind, placebo-controlled study of S-adenosyl-L-methionine in depressed postmenopausal women. Psychother Psychosom. 1993;59(1):34-40.
5. Bressa GM. S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAMe) as antidepressant: metaanalysis of clinical studies. Acta Neurol Scand Suppl. 1994;154:7-14. 6.Mischoulon D, Fava M. Role of S-adenosyl-L-methionine in the treatment of depression: a review of the evidence. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Nov;76(5):1158S-61S.
7. Harmand MF, Vilamitjana J,Maloche E, Duphil R, Ducassou D. Effects of Sadenosylmethionine on human articular chondrocyte differentiation. An in vitro study. Am J Med. 1987 Nov 20;83(5A):48-54.
8. Caruso I, . Italian double-blind multicenter study comparing S-adenosylmethionine, naproxen, and placebo in the treatment of degenerative joint disease. Am J Med. 1987 Nov 20;83(5A):66-71.
9. Berger R, Nowak H. A new medical approach to the treatment of osteoarthritis. Report of an open phase IV study with ademetionine (Gumbaral). Am J Med. 1987 Nov 20;83(5A):84-8.
10. Konig B. A long-term (two years) clinical trial with S-adenosylmethionine for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Am J Med. 1987 Nov 20;83(5A):89-94.
11. di Padova C. S-adenosylmethionine in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Review of the clinical studies. Am J Med. 1987 Nov 20;83(5A):60-5.
12. Frezza M, et al. S-adenosylmethionine counteracts oral contraceptive hepatotoxicity in women. Am J Med Sci. 1987; 293(4):234-238.
13. Frezza M, Surrenti C, Manzillo G, Fiaccadori F, Bortolini M, Di Padova C. Oral S-adenosylmethionine in the symptomatic treatment of intrahepatic cholestasis. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Gastroenterology. 1990 Jul;99(1):211-5.
14. Mato JM, et al. S-adenosylmethionine in alcoholic liver cirrhosis: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, multicenter clinical trial. J Hepatol. 1999 Jun;30(6):1081-9.
Pep Up and Go!
June 14, 2005 05:45 PM
Pep Up and Go!
by Harris Parker Energy Times, February 2, 2000
Feel your energy flagging?
You've lost count of the number of phone calls you fielded all afternoon-the last was from your son, who missed the late bus home from school-and colleagues needing your decision are lined up outside your office. Your husband has invited clients home for dinner. You wilt like a new hairdo on a damp August day and pray for a miracle to jump-start your engine.
Your pep quotient depends on three essential ingredients: nutrients you consume through your diet and supplements, how much you exercise and your sleep schedule.(Of course, if you're troubled by any kind of disabling, ceaseless fatigue accompanied by mental fuzziness, joint pain, sore throat, swollen glands, headaches and other chronic distress, consult your health practitioner.)
Vitamins and Energy
Certain nutrients are called vitamins because scientists consider them to be crucial for vitality. They generally function as coenzymes, partnering with the enzymes that are catalysts for the chemical reactions constantly taking place in our bodies. Our need to replenish our store of vitamins, which may merge with cell, muscle, enzyme, hormone, blood and bone structure once they have been absorbed, depends on their rate of utilization, according to The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book (Avery) by Shari Lieberman, PhD, and Nancy Bruning.
While a low-fat diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables helps supply important nutrients, a B complex supplement and a balanced multivitamin can guarantee daily vitamin levels.
Be Energetic with B Vitamins
Vitamins, especially the B vitamins, play extremely important roles in producing cellular energy. The chart on page 39 lists the key vitamins and describes their effects as well as the consequences of not getting enough of them. Their benefit is felt most profoundly in the energy producing process known as the Krebs cycle (which we'll explain in a moment).
Vitamins B2 and B3, for example, supply the major building blocks for substances that are called flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD and FADH) and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD and NADH), which are critical elements of energy production in the Krebs cycle as well as a process called oxidative phosphorylation.
Hundreds of Reactions
Even though you may never have heard of NAD and NADH, these molecules are found in very many places throughout your body; they play a role in hundreds of biochemical reactions in all kinds of cells. B vitamins also combine with other materials to build coenzymes, chemicals which help form other chemicals necessary for cellular energy. B vitamins are crucial: miss out on one or more and you may break these metabolic chains necessary for peak energy.
Energy to Spend
The main energy currency of every cell single cell is ATP: a chemical called adenosine triphosphate. This material is used by cells for every imaginable task including reproduction, growth, movement and metabolism. Specialized metabolic cycles within the cell are designed to generate ATP.
Consequently, the more ATP our cells create, the more energy can be generated. The raw materials used to make cellular energy are glucose (blood sugar) and "free" fatty acids. The best way to supply your cells with the sugar they need is to consume complex carbohydrates which also supply fiber and other nutrients. When you eat carbohydrates, they are made into glucose which is stored as a starch called glycogen in muscles and the liver. Your body can rapidly turn glycogen into glucose for extra energy. (The process of making energy from glycogen yields carbon dioxide and water as well as ATP.)
The first step in making glucose into energy is called glycolysis. This complicated process requires nine different steps. During these steps, glucose is made into a substance called pyruvate. The process of glycolysis requires ATP, but yields twice as much ATP as is present when it starts.
From here, the process gets a little more complicated as pyruvate enters into a complex chain of events in tiny cellular structures called mitochondria. (Many metabolic events take place in the mitochondria.) The pyruvate molecules are converted to a molecule known as acetyl coenzyme A and eventually made into carbon dioxide, water and more ATP.
This process is known as the Krebs cycle or citric acid cycle. It also involves a series of events known as oxidative phosphorylation in which NADH formed during the Krebs cycle is oxidized to form ATP.
Why is fat such a concentrated source of energy? Free fatty acids enter the Krebs cycle to help generate ATP much more efficiently than glucose - producing roughly six times more energy per gram than glucose.
And Don't Overlook. . . . . .other supplements that may aid energy production: • Alpha Lipoic Acid, an antioxidant that works in the fatty tissues of cell membranes and in cells' watery interiors • Coenzyme Q10, also known as ubiquinone as it exists everywhere in the body, acts like a vitamin because it stimulates some reactions. CoQ10 protects cell membranes, especially of the heart, against oxidation and toxins.
Ginsengs: Energy Generators
With their legendary and slightly mysterious characteristics, the ginsengs are greatly respected natural energy boosters. " Perhaps no herb has excited so much interest in medical circles as ginseng, and yet, strangely, it does not actually 'cure' any one particular ailment," reports Michael Hallowell, the author of Herbal Healing (Avery) and a frequent lecturer on botanic medicine. "Rather, its virtue lies in its tremendous power as a tonic and invigorator. Russian athletes are prescribed large amounts of ginseng because researchers in Moscow have shown that it not only improves stamina, but also increases the efficiency with which blood is pumped to the muscles."
What are the physiological mechanisms that allow ginseng to bolster your get up and go? In order to unravel the legend and lore of ginseng, the first step is understanding the intricacies of the three types: • Asian (Panax ginseng), which produces the strongest and most profound stimulation; • American (Panax quinquefolium), which soothes at a more subtle level; • Siberian (Eleutherococcus senticosus), a stamina booster embraced by a wide range of athletes. All three varieties are treasured for their ability to help people adjust to stress.
The ginsengs are adaptogens, "biologically active substances found in certain herbs and plants that help the body and mind adapt to the changes and stress of life," says Stephen Fulder, MD, author of The Book of Ginseng and Other Chinese Herbs for Vitality (Inner Traditions). "Stress is not an illness in itself. Stress is change, our ability to adapt to all the changes that occur in life, emotional or physical, from exercise, work, chemicals, drugs, food, radiation, bacteria, disease, temperature, or simply too many late nights or too much fun."
The body reacts to stress by producing the hormone adrenaline, which throws the whole body into a state of alert. Metabolism, blood pressure and circulation accelerate; immunity and resistance drastically decline; performance suffers.
Enter the ginsengs, with their varied, subtle tonic qualities. The Greek name for this herb, "panax," means "panacea" or cure-all. But the Chinese, who first referred to it 2,000 years ago, more literally called it "ren shen" or "person root," in reference to its physical resemblance to a miniature human form.
" Most exhibit medicinal properties, but each species has a different chemical makeup and has a unique application in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)," says Kim Derek Pritts, author of Ginseng: How to Find, Grow and Use America's Forest Gold (Stackpole). "In general, all true ginseng contains biologically active saponins (chemicals similar to human hormones), essential oils, carbohydrates, sugars, organic acids, nitrogenous substances, amino acids, peptides, vitamins and minerals."
Building Vital Energy
All the ginsengs strengthen, nourish and build Qi, the TCM concept describing basic vital energy circulating through our bodies. Every physical and mental function, from breathing, thinking, nutrition and circulation, is regulated by Qi. Although many of the Native American tribes used the abundant, indigenous Panax quinquefolium ginseng extensively, particularly to increase mental acuity and boost fertility, the herb never has been as popular in North America as it is in Asia. American ginseng traditionally has been a lucrative export crop to China, where the wild native variety suffers from overharvesting. Even today, according to Paul Bergner in The Healing Power of Ginseng & the Tonic Herbs (Prima), 95% of the American ginseng crop is exported to China, where XiYang Shen, or "western sea root," as it is called, is immensely valued and costs double what it does here.
Jacques MoraMarco, author of The Complete Ginseng Handbook: A Practical Guide for Energy, Health and Longevity (Contemporary), as well as a licensed acupuncturist and doctor of Eastern medicine, suggests American ginseng for a slight energy boost. The moderate effect of American ginseng is considered a more appropriate tonic to the intensity of our pace and diet.
Variations on a Theme
In TCM terms, American ginseng cools and moistens, as well as lubricates and strengthens the body. It is reputed to reduce fevers and night sweats and alleviate hot, dry lung problems like smoker's cough. With its emollient qualities, American ginseng is considered to treat dry, wrinkled skin effectively.
The Bolder Energizer
Asian ginseng, which includes red Korean panax, is a bolder energizer taken by those who feel depleted from anemia, blood loss, cardiovascular weakness, injury, shock or trauma, as well as the disabling effects of age. In general, Asian ginseng is warming and stimulating, urging the body to run faster.
Siberian ginseng, though botanically not a true ginseng, still acts similarly to Asian ginseng in its reputed power to control stress, boost energy, support the immune system, enhance performance and increase longevity. Called Wu Cha Seng in Chinese, Siberian ginseng is perceived by natural practitioners as an ideal herb for the healthy who want to lift both stamina and endurance. Experts believe it counteracts the effects of cortisol, the stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to injury, pain or emotional turmoil.
Natural Energy Boosters
The herbal pharmacopeia includes several other natural energy boosters available in various forms-shakes and bars for those on the run-loaded with nutrition absent from commercial snacks. Some choices: • Ginkgo biloba-used in Chinese medicine to heat the body and increase sexual energy. Ginkgo enthusiasts take this herb to increase the supply of oxygen to the brain and generally increase circulation. • Gotu kola-may stimulate the central nervous system and help eliminate excess fluid, thereby reducing fatigue. • Astragalus-a Chinese herb that enhances energy and builds the immune system. It is credited with strengthening digestion, improving metabolism, increasing appetite, combating diarrhea and healing sores. • Schisandra-also a Chinese herb, treats respiratory illness, insomnia and irritability and rejuvenates sexual energy. Its mild adaptogens help the body to handle stress. • Licorice-is a favored endocrine toner in Chinese medicine. It is reputed to support the adrenals, the pair of small glands directly above the kidneys that secrete steroidal hormones, norepinephrine and epinephrine, the "fight or flight" hormones. People with high blood pressure or edema, or pregnant women, should avoid it. • Ashwagandha-an Ayurvedic herb used for thousands of years in the traditional healing of India as a potent strength builder for men and women.
Experienced herbal practitioners acquire an impressive and fascinating store of knowledge and experience-you'll find it helpful to visit one as you begin your course of ginseng or other energy-boosting herbs.
When you visit a TCM practitioner, you'll notice that she evaluates your body's condition through an extremely careful examination of all the different systems: Several pulse points are felt in order to ferret out and detect troubling abnormalities. The condition and color of the tongue is observed to decipher digestive disorders. In addition, your urine may be examined to determine other imbalances and specific health problems.
In many cases, your TCM practitioner will recommend ginseng as an adaptogen that can give you an overall boost. When taking ginseng, follow the directions on the package. Note: in some cases, you may want to consume a little bit less if you suffer headaches, insomnia or high blood pressure. Consult your health practitioner if you are afflicted with either acute inflammatory disease or bronchitis.
Then take comfort in the eternal soothing wisdom of Chinese Traditional Medicine. In the first century A.D., the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing (The Divine Husbandman's Classic of the Materia Medica) effusively described ginseng and the tonic herbs in this beguiling and intriguing manner: "The first class of drugs...are considered to perform the work of sovereigns. They support human life and they resemble heaven. They are not poisonous regardless of the quality and duration of administration."
June 14, 2005 11:44 AM
Good Hydration by Lisa James Energy Times, June 17, 2004
Ah summertime, and the living is lovely: ocean fragrances wafting on a summer wind, the summer sun warming the body and relaxing the mind.
But all that sun and wind can dry your summer skin, making it uncomfortable and parched-looking. Moisture counteracts the discomforts that summer elements can bring, allowing your fresh, dewy look to shine through. Knowing how to hydrate your skin is the key.
Skin consists of three layers, each with a different function:
Do you have dry skin? How well your skin holds moisture depends on the arrangement of cells within the stratum corneum. Fat contained in this layer, as well as natural moisturizing factor (made by the epidermis), also keeps skin moist. Unfortunately, as you age, the amount of natural moisturizing factor produced by your skin decreases.
Skin Care 101
Obviously, anything that affects the all-important epidermis can dry out your skin-sun and wind both rob skin of moisture. For starters, just say no to tobacco. Smoking tightens the skin's abundant blood vessels; this reduces the flow of oxygen and nutrients, creating dryness. Smoking also breaks down elastin, the protein that gives skin its flexibility. The next step is to add water from within. " It takes at least six to eight cups of pure water each day to keep the skin and body well hydrated," notes Jeanette Jacknin, MD, board-certified dermatologist and author of Smart Medicine for Your Skin (Avery/Penguin).
At the same time, be careful about how you bathe your skin. Bathing or showering for too long, or using water that's too hot, can actually cause your skin to lose moisture for two reasons. First, prolonged bathing washes away the oils that help lock moisture in; second, it encourages your skin's own moisture to evaporate after you dry yourself off.
Before you shower or bathe, Dr. Jacknin recommends using a dry, soft-bristled brush to increase skin circulation and gently remove dead cells. Brushing in small circles, gradually move up your legs and arms, always moving towards the heart. When you do get into the tub or shower, don't scrub your skin and don't use harsh cleaning agents. Instead, go for natural cleansers that feature such skin-friendly ingredients as glycerin.
Feed Your Inner Skin
As your body's largest organ, your skin depends on the nutrients in your diet. You have to feed your skin well if you expect it to stand up to wind and sun. " Eat fish, rolled oats and ground flaxseeds frequently," recommends Dr. Jacknin. "These foods are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help the skin retain moisture." Include other healthy oils, such as safflower and olive oil, in your meals. Supplemental omega-3s, in the form of flaxseed or fish oils, can also help.
Various vitamins help make your skin happy and healthy. Skin growth and repair requires vitamin A, while natural vitamin E provides antioxidant protection and vitamin C promotes creation of collagen, which provides skin with its structure.
The B vitamins are essential to keeping dryness at bay; without them, the skin can crack, peel and redden. Choline, a member of the B family that helps with fat transportation within the body, is available as lecithin. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is another skin-friendly nutrient. MSM provides sulfur, which the body needs to create healthy skin proteins. It also fights inflammation and encourages better blood flow.
Slake Your Skin's Thirst
A good moisturizer can help arid skin return to soft freshness. To get the most out of moisturizers, use them consistently, and start at a young age. " [M]ost people start to benefit from [moisturizers] in their twenties [when] their skin begins to dry with age," state Charles Inlander and Janet Worsley Norwood in Skin: Head-to-Toe Tips for Health and Beauty (Walker and Company). "Moisturizers boost skin health by preventing water loss from the skin."
The same antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamin C and natural vitamin E, you feed your skin from within also abound in natural moisturizers, as do an impressive variety of herbal essences and essential oils. Aloe vera, used to treat burns for centuries, helps ease inflammation, as does chamomile. Fresh-smelling lavender oil helps soothe insect bites and minor wounds. Jasmine and peppermint offset excessive oil production.
Moisturizers: Timing and Type
The ideal time to moisturize is right after a bath or shower, since that's when evaporation promotes water loss; for best results, apply while your skin is still slightly damp. But bathtime isn't the only time to consider your skin's moisture needs. Carry some moisturizer with you so you can use it every time you wash your hands, especially if you're prone to cracked cuticles and split fingertips.
Match your moisturizer to your skin type. If your skin tends to oiliness, use a water-based product; otherwise, an oil-based formulation -jojoba oil and shea butter are good choices-is fine. (Oily skin may first need a gentle astringent like lemon peel or cucumber to remove dirt and excess oil.)
Also pay careful attention to the type of moisturizer you use. Lotions are easy to apply, but may not stay on your skin as readily as creams, which may be a better choice for your face, feet and hands. By all means, enjoy the summer sun. Just make sure your skin enjoys the summer, too, by staying hydrated and happy.
Cancer at the Millenium - the war on cancer entering its third decade...
June 13, 2005 10:23 AM
Cancer at the Millenium by Harriet Brown Energy Times, May 1, 1999
With the war on cancer entering its third decade, the necessity grows clearer for medical science to engage the enemy on several fronts. Until recently, high-tech medical weapons like vaccines and gene therapy, inspired by a flood of insights into the molecular basis of cancer, garnered most of the hope, hype, headlines and research money. The science was sexy and the prospect of a "cure" dramatic. But, today, advocates of prevention receive equal, if not greater, attention.
Improving our diets and prudently supplementing with vitamins and minerals, can deliver a major preventive impact. Contentious experts concede that at least a third (and probably more) of all cancers can be blamed on a combination of eating too much of the wrong foods and not enough of the right ones.
The Dietary Difference
Though cancer can progress rapidly once it leaps past its inception, it develops over many years and in several stages. Beneficial compounds in food and supplements may intervene along a line that runs from initial exposure to carcinogens to the final step into outright malignancy. Nutrients may: - counteract environmental poisons and the toxic byproducts of liver metabolism
The Big Picture The dietary guidelines advocated by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute (which generally coincide with those of most health organizations) may sound familiar: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Get lots of fiber. Limit fat, especially animal fat. Go easy on meat and avoid the cured variety (they contain nitrites). If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation. Watch your total calories, and your weight. Pretty straightforward stuff.
Carotenoids, as their name suggests, are orange and red pigments in fruits and vegetables, most notably carrots and tomatoes, although they're also in everything from sweet potatoes to spinach and brussels sprouts (in the latter their distinctive color is masked by green chlorophyll).
Lycopene, a carotenoid found primarily in tomatoes, displays double the free radical-fighting activity of beta carotene, the most widely studied carotenoid. Of 72 studies looking at consumption of tomatoes or tomato-based products reviewed in the February 1999 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, almost half showed a significant reduction in one or more of a variety of cancers.
Research shows that lycopene may be best at lowering a man's risk of prostate cancer. A 1995 Harvard Medical School study (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995; 87: 1767-76) queried nearly 48,000 male health-care professionals about their consumption of fruits and vegetables. The only foods that reduced their risk of prostate cancer were, apparently, tomato sauce, tomatoes, pizza (tomato paste). For those who ate ten servings a week, risk dropped 45 percent; with four to seven servings, 20 percent. In animal studies lycopene decreased the number and size of mammary tumors (Eleventh International Symposium on Carotenoids, 1996).
Tomatoes are one of the richest sources of lycopene. Cooking tomatoes helps by releasing the lycopene from the plant cell walls. Also, the oil in tomato sauce enhances absorption in the stomach. Lycopene is also available in supplements.
Wine drinkers rejoiced when resveratrol, a constituent of the skin of red grapes, was found to protect their hearts (by blocking oxidation of LDL cholesterol and discouraging blood clotting). Now they have another reason to toast this potent antioxidant. When researcher John Pezzuto at the University of Illinois at Chicago screened about 1,000 plants for anticancer activity, he came up with one whose active ingredient turned out to be resveratrol. In lab tests it squelched both free radicals and inflammation, two well-known cancer inducers (Science, 6/10/97). In a study with mice, resveratrol reduced the number of skin tumors by up to 98 percent compared to control animals. Because the effective doses were high (Pezzuto estimates a person would have to quaff about five gallons of wine a day to get the equivalent) and because more than a drink or two a day may raise the risk of breast cancer, researchers don't recommend nondrinkers take up wine. But supplements of synthesized resveratrol (as well as grape juice) may help.
Saturated fat is an authentic dietary villain. Aside from clogging arteries, it's a suspected contributor to several cancers, though the evidence is greater for some cancers (prostate) than for others (breast cancer)
Of the two other main categories of fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, mono seems benign, if not positively protective. For example, in a study of the influence of diet on breast cancer, Greek researchers discovered that women who consumed higher amounts of olive oil (which is mostly mono) were less likely to be afflicted with breast cancer (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995: 87; 110-116).
When it comes to polyunsaturated fats, however, things get complicated. The fat that predominates in corn, sunflower and other vegetable oils, called omega-6, has long been associated with cancer risk in animal experiments. Likewise the type found in margarines, trans fats, which are partially saturated vegetable oils. On the other hand, the omega-3 fats called EPA and DHA, which are found primarily in deep- and cold-water fish like cod, mackerel, and halibut, protect against both heart disease and cancer. In an epidemiological study covering 24 European countries, British researchers established that mortality rates for colon and breast cancers declined as fish and fish oil consumption rose (British Journal of Cancer 1996: 74; 159-64). And Finnish scientists discovered that the breast tissue of women who had breast cancer contained significantly less DHA and EPA than the breasts of healthy women (Nutrition and Cancer 1995: 24; 151-160).
Experts believe the omega-3s' anticancer effect derives from its ability to tamp down the prostaglandins that stimulate inflammation. Chronic inflammation unleashes a steady stream of free radicals, which can damage DNA and thereby trigger cancer. Omega-3s also help the liver detoxify potentially harmful substances.
Fortunately for the fish-phobic, nonmarine sources of omega-3 fats include flaxseed and hemp oils.
Minerals to Lower Cancer Risk
n Calcium: possibly protective against colon cancer. In a recent trial (New England Journal of Medicine, 1/14/99) researchers gave people with a history of precancerous colon polyps either two 600 mg calcium tablets a day or a placebo for nine months and found fewer polyps. n Selenium: powerful antioxidant and supporter of immunity. Researchers find that cancer rates in various regions is lowered when soil and vegetables contain more selenium
In a selenium-depleted area in China afflicted with one of the highest incidences of stomach and esophageal cancer mortality in the world, scientists asked different groups to take various combinations of nutrients. After five years they found a significant reduction in the cancer rate among those who had gotten supplements of selenium, vitamin E and beta carotene (Biological Trace Element Research 1985; 7: 21-29). In the U.S. researchers studying the potential effectiveness of selenium supplementation for preventing nonmelanoma skin cancers came up with a surprise. The 200 mcg a day the subjects received for an average of 4.5 years had no impact on skin cancer but did significantly cut the rates of lung, colorectal and prostate cancers (Journal of the American Medical Association, 12/25/96).
More recently Harvard researchers determined that men with prostate cancer had much lower levels of selenium in their toenails (a measure of consumption) than healthy men (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 8/119/98).
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kale, have long been singled out for their association with protection against cancer. In a 1996 survey of 94 population studies and clinical trials focusing on consumption of cruciferous vegetables, 67 percent showed a reduced risk, the strongest link being with lung, stomach, colon and rectal cancers (Cancer Epidemiological Biomarkers 1996; 5: 733-748).
Scientists at Johns Hopkins showed that sulforaphane, from these plants, stimulates enzymes that help detoxify carcinogens generated in the liver. When they injected rats with a cancer-causing chemical, only 26 percent of the rodents pretreated with sulforaphane developed mammary cancer, compared to 68 percent of controls. Even animals who did come down with cancer had tumors that appeared later and smaller.
Other researchers have focused on a cruciferous-vegetable compound called indole-3-carbinol, which has proved especially effective against breast cancer cells. Recently, scientists at the University of California at Berkeley found that indole-3-carbinol, rather than acting as an anti-estrogen, (as had been thought), actually stops breast cancer cells by turning off a protein critical to their replication (Jrnal of Bio Chem, 2/13/98). Consequently, when treating certain forms of cancer, some doctors have paired indole-3-carbinol with the chemotherapy drug tamoxifen - which counteracts estrogen - and found that the combination has proven more potent than either separately.
Several decades ago British physician Denis Burkitt proposed that the low incidence of colon cancer among native peoples in South Africa was attributable to the fact that their diet was rich in fiber. The fiber, it was hypothesized, bulked up the stool, speeding its passage through the bowel and reducing the time carcinogens contact its lining; it also helped neutralize cancer-promoting bile acids.
This concept has been backed up by numerous studies. Recently, Harvard researchers sprinkled cold water on this idea, finding that an examination of the eating habits of more than 80,000 female nurses, could find no protective effect against colon cancer or precancerous polyps from consuming fiber (NEJM, January 21, 1999). Most experts' take on this apparent refutation: Maybe the "high fiber" intake in this case wasn't high enough, and this is just one study among many.
Fighting Breast Cancer
Fiber has also been linked to reduced rates of breast cancer. At first it was thought that if fat was a breast-cancer culprit, fiber might just be a marker for a low-fat diet. But a look at Finland undermined that idea: Finnish women eat both a lot of fat and a lot of fiber, and their breast cancer rate ranks much below that in the U.S., (where we eat gobs of fat and little roughage).
Fiber helps take estrogen out of circulation as it passes through the liver, while the isoflavones in many high-fiber plants and vegetables are themselves weak estrogens, which compete for slots on breast tissue's estrogen receptors. The special fiber in flaxseed oil called lignans act against estrogen in two ways: by binding its receptors and by inhibiting the enzyme that converts other hormones into estrogen.
Fiber comes in two basic forms, insoluble (e.g., wheat bran, celery, the skins of fruits and vegetables) and soluble (e.g., oat bran, citrus fruits, beans). Until a few years ago, scientists believed that cancer protection came mainly from insoluble fiber, but that thinking has turned around.
A soluble fiber called citrus pectin has been shown to halt the tendency of prostate, lung, breast and skin cancers to metastasize, or spread (e.g., Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995; 87: 3448-353). Typically cancer turns deadly only when it gets into the bloodstream and invades new territory. Modified citrus pectin appears to stop this aggression by preventing cancer cells from attaching to healthy tissue.
While the name inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) sounds like a mouthful, many of us consume mouthfuls of this natural substance every day - in foods like corn, rice, whole-grain cereals, oats and wheat.
But now scientists have isolated IP-6 and found that this powerful antioxidant can slow the destructive cellular processes that lead to tumors. In a study published in Anti-Cancer Research (Nov/Dec 1998), scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine demonstrated that IP-6 could shrink liver tumors in laboratory animals.
The researchers believe that IP-6 can help prevent cancer and also be useful in lowering the risk of health problems like kidney stones and heart disease. Research like this continues to expand our knowledge of how to lower the risk of cancer. In the next millennium, with more and more information making its way into the media and onto websites, our power and the responsibility to reduce our risk of cancer will continue to grow and offer new possibilities.